When you give a Mouse a Cat Hair

Lagging Mouse

I really must stop beating up my poor mouse. It just had some cat hair on its little sensors.

h/t: The Most Powerful Movements in Biology/ American Scientist

Gorillas asking for food, etc: a quiz

Fun was had participating in the Great Ape Dictionary experiment.

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Thermodynamically Motivated Gouda

I read an ebook this weekend. I enjoyed it a lot, even though it sprang a few formatting hernias on my iPad, probably because it was meant to be read on a Kindle. Trying to match the errant continuation of a hilarious paragraph on an adhering page was fun — an additional bonus in a way — especially since I’ve had my own share of ebook formatting problems. That the style it was written in was inspired by an author I also enjoyed, added to my interest.

My own similar-style attempt/WIP lead to an editor delicately advising me to maybe consider changing the entire work to a wordless graphic novel. (No biggie! Drawing pictures is so much easier than writing!) Hey, Neil de Grasse Tyson thought that Guardians of the Galaxy should have been a silent movie. Of course his reasons were scientific, not writerly, but whatever.

Which just crystallizes the thought that life should be about having fun and hunting the gorgonzola once in a while: Vive la France! (Alas, Google Search delivers no cheesy links between the election and gorgonzola.)

h/t: The Quantum Thermodynamics Revolution/Quanta Magazine;

A Twinkle on Mars/Joseph Jameson-Gould
       

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NaPoWriMo#10: Beastie Abecedarian

Beastie Abecedarian

(Friday Feline meets Friday Field Mouse)

A one-sided stand-off was occurring

between the window and the birdhouse;

cat whiskers slightly trembling,

deconstructing seeds: the field mouse

ever-twitching rodent fluff ball,

foraging for food with cheeky grin

good neighbours made by this glass wall

he outside and she within

inside the exasperation rose:

jiggling shivers ran across her fur,

kitten’s nostrils wide on her pink nose

lightly vibrating in a strangled purr

more twitching consumed the feline frame,

nose now pressed against the window pane

oh, let me out, that mouse is game!

perturbations, as she miaowed in vain

quite ignorant of her palpitations,

rather nonchalant he rises on his haunches;

stares with now-nascent suspicions

towards where an evil shadow launches:

ugly intentions from that thud emanate!

verily, he has a sudden epiphany:

why be sorry? he hightails for the garden gate,

excited though to be the subject of such scrutiny

yonder smart field mouse, for now, free,

zooms away, squeaking with rodentish glee.

(OK, I am out of time; H/T: today’s prompt)

Dmitri

           Something had been gnawing at the walls of my bedroom throughout the long dusks of fall. Initially, I had thought it a manifestation of my unquiet mind. I could hear the plaintive voices of neurosis bunnies with dragging claws and munching jaws nibbling through pink insulation and crunchy two-by-fours.
            I didn’t mention it to anyone. Night after night I would lie in bed listening intently. The scraping only happened when my eyelids drooped heavily with fatigue. More than once I’d jumped up to investigate, only to have the whispery, scratching mute suddenly. 
I pondered explanations. Was it the heat vents contracting or expanding? Spy cameras? Was it the blinds relaxing after a day of being tightly held, folded snug concertina-neat against the upper sill of the window frame? One scenario had dozens of industrious spiderlings weaving webs in the honeycomb structure of said blinds. I imagined the stronger-than-steel webs ripping slowly in soft anguish as I let down the blinds each night. I tried sleeping with the blinds up. This led to a wonderful night of moonlight beams playing hide-and-seek on the duvet covers. It didn’t solve the mystery of the whispery noisemaker.
 Then I found a mouse in the wine cellar. Well, it’s a wine cellar in the loosest sense, more of a damp storage closet in the basement, but apparently cellar is the most alluring word-on-the-ear in the whole of the English language. (Where did I read that?)
 As I descended the stairs one morning, on my usual let-out-the-dogs, let-in-the-dogs, feed-the-dogs, let-out-the-dogs…, I saw my three feline friends sitting in a neat row, their quivering nostrils pressed tightly against the glass door to the cellar. Curiosity piqued, I went to investigate. And there he was, twitchy mousie, sitting on top the lonely bottle of cabernet; eyeing his would-be captors with shiny indignant black currant eyes. I captured him and re-introduced him to the balmy breezes of the great outdoors.
 Of course, I should have known that it is not only the cat that comes back. The mouse is even more adept at it. This is the conclusion I have now reached, four months later and slightly wiser.
 The more recent noises in the wall didn’t seem to bear any relation to the cellar mouse, because they continued, even after it had been banished. I did briefly consider the possibility that he might have had family members stowed away in the rest of the house, but mystical chitter-beasts are much more interesting;  the cats didn’t deliver any further clues. Instead I added other more logical explanations to my list: birds nesting on the roof, a squirrel or a raccoon in the rain gutters, a tree branch stuck in the whirligig on top the bath room. And then the noise disappeared. Of course this coincided with hubbie’s return from his business trip- so obviously, it had just been just my wild imagination.
 Three days ago, as I returned from the grocery store, laden with provisions, my eldest daughter met me with shrieks of excitement.
“Mom, we have a mouse!”  (Already possessive and defensive in tone) “The cats were playing with him, but I chased them off. He’s in your shower now.”
And there he was: two inches of mouse and two inches of tail, sitting on the shower head, surveying the lay of the land like a diminutive overlord.
 Well, we couldn’t throw him out- it was cold outside. He’d never survive in the snow. It was patently obvious that, in a household where even the cats lack sufficient killer instinct, it would be completely out of the question to even consider such a cruel thing. We did what we had to do: we went to the pet store, bought a cage- with a running wheel and enough high-quality mouse feed to last ’til spring. The girls spent half-an-hour assembling the cage. The braver of the two volunteered to catch the mouse and introduce him to his new abode.
 Catching a wild mouse is not easy, and this one was no exception. It tried running up her trouser leg, down her back and into the inviting dip lurking from the low-cut jeans, to her immense mortification. (“Well, your ass was hanging out,” her sister pointed out indelicately.) It jumped into her hair and bit her finger. At last, it was captured and put into the cage. We rested and contemplated breaking the happy news to the father figure. Of course, as soon as we lifted the cage to transfer it to a position for better display and observation, the mouse did what all mice seem to be so very adept at: it deboned itself into a blob of gelatin and drooled through the bars of the cage, hit the floor running and disappeared into my closet.
 It took another three hours to catch him again. This time we transferred him to my studio shower cubicle, his luxury crate and a grade 8 Canadian Pacific Railroad History Project diorama from hot-glued popsicle sticks his playground. A sticker on the crate door proudly proclaims his carefully researched name: DMITRI.
“Dmitri like in the guy that developed the periodic table, Mom- NOT Dmitry, the president guy.”
 That was yesterday. My husband called me from work today.
“ I think you must have that old bar fridge in your studio checked out,” he said, “ It sounds like it has a problem. It was making a strange noise this morning as I passed it on my way to the garage.”
“Mmm, I’ll check it,” I said.
I know what he’s heard. That’s Dmitri running on his wheel in the shower now. It sounds like something mechanical with failing bearings. From here behind my work desk, I can see the three cats in the studio washroom. They’re sitting with their noses pressed against the shower glass.
(see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dmitri_Mendeleev for more on the real Dmitri)