TSS ~ If Cats Ruled the World… oh, wait… they do. Nevermind.

This week has turned out to be the week of cats.  I finally got my review of Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper written and posted, then realized I’d forgotten the video clip I had wanted to tack on it.  A couple days ago, Maggie introduced me to an adorable website that also has an app for facebook (I spend entirely TOO much time on facebook lately) called FooPets, offering virtual cats and dogs (really kittens and puppies, perpetually) that you can feed, water, play with and even dress up and enter into fashion shows, as well as become a virtual breeder.  Now I have a virtual pet of my kitty-baby-son who passed away about 8 years ago, as well as a virtual one of our kitty-boy Dabu.  And then, to put the hairball frosting on the tuna cake, an adorable creamy orange tabby kitten followed us home from the grocery store and decided we were his people… no matter how much I screamed NO MORE CATS! 

So, first up… the forgotten Homer video 🙂

Some people don’t want to read animal books for fear the beloved pet will meet an unhappy end.  These people were no doubt scarred by books like Where the Red Fern Grows, Old Yeller, and The Yearling as children, and have vowed to never read a depressing pet book again.  For those people, as well as those curious to see and hear Gwen and Homer… like me… I had planned on putting the following video clip at the end of the review, as is my normal thing.  But being a bit out of practice, I totally forgot.  Better late than never 🙂

Able to leap tall bookcases! Catches flies mid-buzz! Yet the feline hero of HOMER’S ODYSSEY is blind, and this is his inspirational love story that completely changed the life of author Gwen Cooper.

Oh, and a new one I hadn’t seen before…  Gwen reading a passage from the book while Homer really gets into the gift of catnip 🙂

When Maggie came home the other day announcing she had just adopted a new kitten, I immediately boomed an emphatic NO!  She quickly chimed in that it wasn’t a real cat, but a virtual one found on a website her friend had shown her while they surfed on the computer farm at the library.  We sat down at my computer and she showed FooPets.  You’re greeted at once by the soft, furry face with big, hopeful eyes waiting to be loved and fed.

You can interact with your pet, feed and give him water, pet and play with him.  You can also take him shopping and buy him clothing and enter him in fashion shows.  And you can make him a her if you so prefer.  Maggie’s pet is a grey tabby named Laya (her own real-life cat is a grey tabby named Leia, but she couldn’t spell it 😉 )  This one is my FooKitten named Rambo.  Here he is dressed and ready for a fashion show.

Honestly, only a virtual cat would allow someone to dress him that way…

And all of that led up to the short-lived stance against taking in any new pets.  I mean, honestly… we already have 2 cats and a dog and 3 children.  Isn’t that enough animals?  I had told the girls months ago that as the pets died off, I would NOT be replacing them.  I’m tired of buying pet food and cleaning up the after effects of the pet food.  Tired of rewashing clothing because a cat enjoyed the comfort of the full laundry basket.  Tired of hairballs on book covers and seat cushions… do you know how much work you have to do to get cat vom out of upholstery? 

Then Thursday night, as Mags and I walked home from the grocery store, we happened to cross paths with a creamy-orange tabby cat.  Being the ever-loving animal lovers, we put down our bags and gave him a few appreciative strokes and some warm, cooing words, then set off for home.  Maggie updated me every few houses that the kitten (about 4 months old) was still following us, had crossed two streets and was continuing to follow us, and then all evening she informed me that he was still on our front porch.  To which I immediately resounded “NO, we’re NOT keeping him!”

When bedtime came, I kept having to yell at them to go to sleep everytime I heard the front door creak open.  Sometime around 11:30, Maggie whined that she couldn’t sleep because the poor kitty was crying (I never heard him) and it was cold outside.  Genuine tears of concern ran down her tired cheeks.  I told her to put on a CD and turn the volume up.  The cat was NOT staying. 

By 3:30 in the morning, when I was couldn’t sleep because I knew that poor baby kitty was cold and hungry, I went to the door and opened it to see if he was still there.  He was lying on the table on the porch, curled up tightly to keep warm, and didn’t even offer to slip in through the door crack.  It was as if he was saying it was enough to just dwell on our porch… to expect a place inside was too much to hope for.

I picked him up and carried him in and cuddled in my bed with him.  I’m worse than the kids.  LOL… I have no spine.  My will power was no match to this:

We’ve already named him Kyon-Kyon after the Fruits Basket character, Kyo.  He’s very loving and friendly, hisses a little at the dog and at Leia, but oddly enough gets on well with Dabu, who’s also a male… go figure.  And there just seems to be this gratitude that rolls off of him whenever you pet him, like he’s thankful to have a warm home and a family that loves him.  He’s a Thanksgiving kitty 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

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Marked: A House of Night Novel by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Title:  Marked:  A House of Night Novel

Authors:  P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Paperback:  306 pages

PublisherSt. Martin’s Press

Date Published:  2007

ISBN:  9780312360269

Miscellaneous:  This is the first book in the House of Night series.

I am known by many names… Changing Woman, Gaea, A’akuluujjusi, Kuan Yin, Grandmother Spider, and even Dawn…

As she spoke each name her face was transformed so that I was dizzied by her power.  She must have understood, because she paused and flashed her beautiful smile at me again, and her face settled back into the woman I had first seen.

But you, Zoeybird, my Daughter, may call me by the name by which your world knows me today, Nyx.

“Nyx,” my voice was barely above a whisper.  “The vampyre Goddess?”

… yes, in your world [my]children are called vampyre.  Accept the name, U-we-tsi a-ge-hu-tsa; in it you will find your destiny.

I could feel my Mark burning on my forehead, and all of a sudden I wanted to cry.  “I – I don’t understand.  Find my destiny?  I just want to find a way to deal with my new life – to make this all okay.  Goddess, I just want to fit in someplace.  I don’t think I’m up to finding my destiny.”

Believe in yourself, Zoey Redbird.  I have Marked you as my own.  You will be my first tru  U-we-tsi   a-ge-hu-tsa   v-hna-i   Sv-no-yi … Daughter of Night… in this age…. Within you is combined the magic blood of ancient Wise Women and Elders, as well as insight into and understanding of the modern world.

… “But I’m sixteen!  I can’t even parallel-park!  How am I supposed to know how to be your eyes and ears?”

Marked:  A House of Night Novel by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast, pages 39-40

Marked by P. C. Cast and Kristen Cast was a definite divergence from my typical reading, but I enjoyed it very much.  It’s a Young Adult (though, was edging very close to mostly adult, IMHO) book about a 16 year-old named Zoey who is marked by a Vampyre Tracker and has to leave her world and her old life behind and attend the private vampyre school, House of Night (for which the book series is named).  All young Zoey wants is a place to fit in and belong, but it’s clear from her abnormal Mark that “fitting in” isn’t going to happen.

The book is typical of YA hero books.  Zoey is the good-vamp and immediately knows that Aphrodite is her nemesis.  Zoeylacks the confidence, but overcomes that with the help of her friends who believe in her and encourage her.  She has those few trusted adults to turn to who also encourage her (and of course, none of them are her parents).  She’s surprised by the deep well of abilities and talents, and she sees and feels things others don’t.  And when the time comes to stand up and save the day, she does… over the whimpering and cowering body of Aphrodite, who, afterwards, draws the proverbial line in the sand and tells Zoey “it’s not over.”

But don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying the book is like everything else out there, simply that it follows a form.  The writing, owing probably to the way the two authors divvy up the responsibilities, is unique (a trait that is heavily stressed and embraced at the school, btw) and seems almost conversational.  It is narrated by Zoey, who says little asides to herself while telling the story, and we see the world of the fledgling vampyre through her unique perspective.

Whereas Twilight was a fun, reminiscense of high-school romance and first loves, squeeky clean and was more about temptation and timing, Marked is a bit more sullied.  Within the first few free minutes Zoey has in the school, she accidentally walks up on a guy standing in front of a kneeling girl, face in his crotch area and her hair blocking Zoey’s view.  It is an event that sets the tone of the book, as well as the relationship she has with the two later on (after she discovers their identities).  Yeah… I’d have to say, even after they were married, Bella never gave Edward a blow job (and the Casts use that term, too).  I’m trying to think of how I can sneak Marked back to the library before my 16-year-old can read it.

On a technical level, the characters are well-developed and most of them are likable.  The ones you aren’t meant to like, Aphrodite’s sycophants, her step-loser (step-dad), even Kayla, her ex-best friend, aren’t developed beyond the point of, “name, relationship and purpose… next!”  I would also add, that the Casts have dug deep, imagination-wise, to create a half-a-step-away alternate-reality where vampyrism has always existed, and contain everything in our world (stars, books, mythology) but claiming it as it’s own, Faith Hill is a vampyre for instance.  Also, they borrow a bit from Wicca and the Native American, as well as other bits and pieces from other religions, to create the Vampyre religion, worship of the Goddess Nyx.  It’s rather interesting in that regard, as well.

Fun and a bit naughty, Marked by P. C. Cast and Kristen Cast is my beginning into the world of vampyres, and I’m looking forward to reading the next book, Betrayed.  I give Marked 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I highly recommend visiting The House of Night website, it’s a lot of fun.  You can read the first chapter of Marked there, as well as check out videos of the other HoN books, and even make a pic of yourself with a vampyre Mark.

The video I picked for this book is a lot of fun.  It is a bit long, but you can get a feel for how playful P. C. and Kristen are, both as mother and daughter and as co-authors. It’s a spoof interview, and the Casts contributed to the script.  It’s not so much about Marked, all I found for it were teenage fan-vids, several containing Britney Snow as their hoped-for Stevie Rae… Britney Snow gets on my last nerve D-:< .  But the series has been optioned, so a movie may be coming to a theater near you… or a series on the WB.

Viral Video Wednesday ~ The Two Talking Cats

Okay, so it’s been a while since I’ve done a VVW post. I’ve gone to where I do a vid clip with each book review, and that’s kind of soothed the video-sharing need in me. I was planning to make today’s VVW my fav Monty Python sketches, but then I came across this while cleaning out my bookmarks, aren’t they adorable?

According to the videographer, TheCatsPyjaaaamas, “Stina [on the right] and Mossy [left] usually fight instead of communicate, so this was an odd moment. They kept “talking” for about 1 hour, constantly.”

Actually, though, I have to admit I find their chatter a bit creepy, like The Kittens of the Corn, or something. Perhaps if I understood what they were saying to each other, I wouldn’t be so creeped out by them… Hmmm….

mcjansen seems to think Mossy’s accusing Stina of having a problem with her body odor:

Jurobei, on the other hand, says, “I have spent the last 14 years of my life living in and around cats, and have learned their secret language.”

However, samyb1234 seems to see a more sinister conversation going on here.

klaatu42 offers this suggestion, “here’s what it sounds like if you have your babel fish in your ear translating for you.”

Well, I dunno… maybe the babelfish wasn’t needed after all, because digifish seems to have figured out what Stina and Mossy are saying:

I guess I just had to open my ears and listen to them! 😉

Well, lookie here… I never knew he spoke Cat…. Do you think he’s trying to sell them car insurance?

So, what’s your favorite talking animal vid? leave a comment, or better yet, post you vids and link back here 😀

Emoti-CATZ and Other Silly Pet Pics

First off, I want to thank everyone for their well-wishing and concern for me while I battled the belly bugs. I am much recovered and am almost back to 100% normal again… though, still a little nervous over any bubbles or sounds my stomach makes for fear of a recurrance. I walked to the grocery store yesterday and had steak, brussel sprouts, baked potato, garlic dinner rolls and yogurt for my first real meal in nearly five days… it was delicious! :-p Invigorated by the great dinner, I went exploring for some funny pics to use on my LibraryThing Profile, and had to share some of them!

First off, the whole emoticons thing can be confusing for me. Smiley :-), Big Grin :-D, Surprise 8-O, Angry D-:, Frustrated :-S, tongue (or tasty) :-p, sick :-x, and frowny 😦 are the ones I use most often. I also have a page bookmarked with an expanded list. (Oh, I also use :-/ for meh).

As actual face-to-face conversations have been replaced or exceeded by electronic communications, we’ve lost the facial expressions and body language received from conversations in person, and even the tone of voice clues from phone chats. If I were to say, “Wow, I just love my job” you wouldn’t know if I were being genuine or sarcastic, and thus emoticons were born.

Behold! My new emoticon reference chart!

emoticatz

Lol…. I forgot, I 😉 a lot, too…

Some other funny pics I came across….

catz in cagez catz bunz
catz halp, not camzcatz and mowzcatz poutzcatz in accidentzcatz kill

And since I’m The Kool-Aid Mom, a couple Kool-Aid pics…

Whacha flava?
Spart-Aid

How do you feel about emoticons? Which do you use most often?

Viral Video Wednesday ~ Top Viewed Videos

Ach! After a couple months of sluggishly trying to get back into the habit of blogging, and an even longer diversion from SecondLife, I’m finally posting a new Viral Video Wednesday meme. Embarrassingly pathetic show on my part given I started VVW, but I’m back on task… finally.

And since it took me awhile to get back into the swing of reading, too, I’m struggling to catch up on books. With a goal of 75 books by December 31st (same as last year, but unmet), I figured out I need to finish 6 books a month which is an average of 1 and a half a week, and by the middle of February, when I committed to this goal, I had only finished 3 books. To be on track, I should have finished 14 books now, and I’m currently reading book 14, The Appeal by John Grisham, and expect to finish it this evening.

However, reading like a fiend and not taking a lot of time exploring the realms of the YouTube for VVW offerings. Alas, I am in the dark for what is popular videos at the moment. So I figured the best way to resolve this issue AND be able to post what has always been my favorite meme (I have so much fun planning the posts and finding the vids!) is my favorite vids of YouTube’s most-viewed.

So here we go!

I happened to catch this first one on the “Featured Video” section. With a little over 75,000 views, it’s not a “top viewed video” but it’s fun to watch. It’s midly obnoxious, but apparently the girl in it has done that on purpose, mocking an even more obnoxious video “kittens inspired kittens“. And now, Cats! inspired by Cats!:

With nearly 830,000 views, YouTube lists Dirty Hotel Stories with Nadine Velazquez as the most viewed video today. This vid brings you …what else? Truly dirty stories of real-life experiences of hotel stays. A sultry hostess in a black neglige and pearls relays these tales (relax, it’s brought to you by <a href=”http://www.tripadvisor.com/ target=”_blank” TripAdvisor.Com:

The following video proves that the “hot air” in government doesn’t just issue from politician’s mouths… With nearly 335,000 views, this clip is a gas:

Bo Burnham gives a brief tutorial with eight steps on how to be a YouTube star. With nearly 260,000 views today, it’s a funny look at the lengths some vloggers go to to become popular.

Aussie vlogger Natalie Tyler Tran of CommunityChannel has entertained nearly 144,000 viewers today exposing herself as that person in the house who puts back all-but-the-last-dribble empty container back in the fridge. Quite adorable, she’s fun to watch and with her accent she’s a pleasure to listen to:

Sheeba the Cat and her pet man play a game of Risk in the next video. Sheeba, a funnel-headed black cat, exhasperates her man (who alerts her to the fact that he called in sick to work to entertain her) by making illegal moves and trying to eat the game pieces. The clincher to this funny video is when he asks her if she’s ready to play TWISTER. With nearly 500,000 views this week, Cat Plays Risk by Daneboe:

As many of you know, I am a fan of FRED, and last month Fred was a guest star on Nickelodeon’s iCarly. I actually cancelled an appointment to be able to stay home and watch the episode… lol. I love the show anyway and watch it with my kids, but we definitely couldn’t miss the double… or, quadruple? pleasure of Fred in a faux-iFight with Freddie, iCarly’s director and producer, not to mention ardent-worshipper of Carly and antagonist to iCarly’s co-host Sam. With over 5 million views in a moth:

And now, one of YouTube’s most watched videos of all time, nearly 85 million views, Achmed the Dead Terrorist. Creator and comedian Jeff Dunham has been one of my favorite comedians since I first saw his act on HBO about twenty years ago, when he, Peanut (a woozle) and Jose Jalepeno… on a stick… made both my mother and I laugh, a rare teenage-parent event.

And NOW… it’s your turn! What are your favorite videos? Post links in the comments or, better yet, blog them and join the VVW meme!