Push Winners, Hibernatin’s Over, and I’m Gonna Kill That Darn CAT!

Kyo-monster!LOL…  Why is it when the little, adorable, champagne tabby kitten followed us home, everything he did was cute and funny, but now that he’s become a nearly-grown tyrant it’s… well, not so much?  Somewhere in the last month, after picking up the books he shoved off to bomb the dog for the 32nd time, or picked up the broken bits of some irreplaceable dollar-store figurine that he shoved off, or tried to find a pencil that didn’t have the damn eraser chewed off, his little antics stopped being quite so funny.  Everyone walks around with shoes on, covering their heinies, in fear of the tabby terror and his 20 claws that come flying out whenever you least expect it. 

OH, and here’s a really good one for you:  The smarty-pants can open up the metal tin that we keep their food in.  I’ve had this tin for about 20 years and no cat has ever opened it before, but KYO-monster can and does often.  He also likes to perch on the middle sash of the windows and watch the birds, which means there’s this horrid scrabbling noise and a galumph! that I am compelled to investigate and make sure nothing’s destroyed.  So much for the idea his little vest keeps him on his best manners.

And the monster will eat anything.  ANYTHING.  Especially if one of the kids is currently eating it.  I’ll be in my room, reading (snicker, yeah… we’ll go with that) and I’ll hear a scream from the other room, followed by “KYO!  GET OUT OF MY FOOD!  YUCK!  Now I have to get another bowl of cereal.  STUPID CAT!”  And I wonder why my grocery bill has gone up since his arrival.  It was cute when he was eating a nibblet or two of corn that fell from the table, “Awww, look!  Kyo likes corn!  Isn’t that funny?”  But now that he thinks he’s the KING of the house, it’s not nearly as “funny” when he jumps up on the table, landing (as planned, I have no doubt) squarely in your food.  “It’s got hair in it now, must be MINE  =^.^= ”  What a BRAT!

But we still love the little Booger (oddly enough, that’s Mag’s nickname, too… Booger… and he’s her cat, so it makes sense he’d BE one).  And I have to say with this last month’s general malaise, I’ve appreciated the distractions.  Ah, lovely February.  I think it’s the worse month of all for my Seasonal Affected Disorder.  I just start feeling like the sun will never come back, it’ll never get warm again, and why bother.  I read two and a half books in February.  I did finish Tainted, by the way.  It kinda felt a little long and by the last 100 pages or so I was skimming to see what happened next.  All I have to say is, NOW I know why I don’t date!  Dang!  And the last line of the book, I think, was the most frightening of all.  YIPES!

I also read Graceling and want to re-read it again.  I haven’t wanted to read anything since because I just loved it too much.  I don’t want to pick up Fire now because I know Katsa and Po aren’t in it.  I hope Cashore writes another book with them in it.  I’m sure there’s more than enough story to go forward.  Bitterblue’s rule could give plenty of material.  I have a feeling she’d become a graceling, she just had that kind of feel to her.

And I’m behind on the Lord of the Rings readalong.  I don’t want to leave Tom Bombadil 😦  Endings and leaving great characters are depressing.  But the sun is shining, my windows are open and the spring birds are back, so maybe I can finally quit hibernating and get back into a routine, not to mention eating better… I feel so icky from it all.

OKAY…. so I’m only about three weeks late with the winners for the Push giveaway, but here we go.  There was a total of 29 entries, and of those there were about 15 unique entries, but I’m going ahead and giving away two copies since it’s taken me so long to get off my lazy behind and do it.  So the winners, chosen by number at Random.org, are:

5.  Sue who said, “I have a couple that inspire me… Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner and A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.”

7.  Marci who wrote, “The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd has inspired me. I love her ease of writing style and her word choices.”

Congrats to the winners!

Kyo-Kun the Krazy Kitten!

Back in November, I wrote about how our newest kitten followed us home and became part of our family.  We named him Kyo-Kun, and he has settled into being the TURD of the house.  By that, I mean to say that I hear, “Stop that, you turd!” from the other room several times a day.  He absolutely adores Maggie, and likes to attack her sisters (that’s where the TURD comments come in).  He lies in wait, hidden from view, virtually invisible, and then jumps out… claws extended… and grabs Sam or Gwen’s rear ends when ever they walk by.  He tried it on me once…. ONCE.

Sleeping Kyo

Doesn't he look so sweet and innocent here? What a deception!

This little boy is a weird one, let me tell you.  I have witnessed him doing peculiar things like:

One day, he was sitting on the bottom shelf of the microwave cart when our gray tabby, Princess Leia, walked by.  Kyo climbed out and stood up on his hind legs, front legs raised above his head and paws opened wide, and then WALKED quickly over to Leia on his hind legs and attacked her.  It was bizarre to watch him do that, like a human kid doing a monster-gonna-get-you walk.  I wished I had THAT on camera.

This funny little boy also will walk over to the trash can, again walking on hind legs, and watch what I’m throwing away.  What, is he the recycling monitor?  Is he making sure I’m not throwing away anything good?  Sometimes I think he thinks he’s a human.

smiling little boy

Look closely, this smiling little boy is gripping Maggie's homework in his paws, after shredding it for her.

Yes, this little boy loves his girl so much that he likes to “help” her with her homework.  By “help” I mean that he attacks her pencil everytime it moves (just try to write without the end of your pen or pencil moving, not so easy, is it!), he’ll stretch out on her workbook, or chew on her paper.  Of course, I suppose he wouldn’t do that if she’d do her work at the table instead of in my bed, but hey! there’s no TV in there.  Brat and Cat-Brat, let me tell you!
Kyo chewing on Mag's pencil eraser Kyo getting Mag's pencil

This little Brat-Cat has a special affinity for pencil erasers, and has chewed them off of about half of our pencils.  We’ll be down to using caps and the long red ones before long!

Kyo eating the earaser.

Honestly, I have to wonder if the erasers will give him indigestion.

 

None of that compares to his latest escapade.  Okay, now we all know that cat-dog relations are rarely better than tolerating each other living in the same vicinity and sharing the same people, but apparently Kyo has a particularly deep loathing of the canine species.  So how does a cat like him express his detestation?  Puff up and hiss?  Not very effective.  Get in a few open-pawed swipes to the smelly-dog’s nose to the a satisfying sounds of painful yelps?  While fun, just not EVIL enough.  I know, drop bombs on the thing’s head while it sleeps.  YESSSSSS!

Kyo and the ARC-alanche pile

Here sits the EVIL Kyo, amidst my ARC-alanche pile... directly above Missy's bed.

Oh, yes… the cat has figured out a few things.  GRAVITY is a bitch.  BOOKS are heavy and have SHARP corners.  and that DOG sleeps directly below this stack of books.  Cue the evil cat laugh now!

Maggie and I watched him a few mornings ago sit up here like this, look over the edge to spy a sleeping Missy below, and then take his paw and shove ONE book at a time off in hopes that his aim was true.  I am NOT making this up.  The TURD looked over the edge AGAIN after dropping 3 bombs down to see if Missy was still there and if he’d done any damage.  Maggie and I just stared at each other and back to him, disbelieving he could’ve actually worked all that out.  The CAT sat there SMILING.  I’m serious!  HE WAS SMILING. 

Kyo hiding behind the ARC-alanche pile, waiting for Missy.

Is that DOG asleep yet?

I did get a couple of videos, but the lighting is bad here for videos at night.  Then uploading it to YouTube has made it even darker, so forgive the quality of the video.  I’m still learning 🙂  Maggie had an orange feather and was playing with Kyo. Kyo had been jumping all over to get it, but, of course, when I brought out the camera, he quit. Maggie did get him to do it a couple times more here.

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Okay, I gotta give Missy her chance for a rebuttal… equal time, and all that.  So here she is, waiting outside Hardee’s for me to get her food and come back out.

Have a great weekend 🙂

FFI ~ Kittens and Dead Bodies? Back Through the Stargate, Everybody!

fridayfillin.gif

1. The lesson I learned yesterday was reading a book with your ten-year-old while the new(ish) kitten is diving under the covers and attacking your feet is NOT easy, and very hard to talk over the giggling.

2. Weddings and funerals are where friends and family meet.

3. All these years I’ve looked forward to the kids growing up, and now that they’ve become interested in boys, I’m wishing they could be little again.

4. Like I told the cops, those bodies were like that when I arrived.

5. The truth is I was enjoying the Kyo the kittens play-time as much as Maggie was.

6. The feeling I could’ve died had it not been for the zip line is what I remember most from that day. (I went repelling, and I let go of the hand-loops, but luckily I was also hooked up via a clip, as well)

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to finishing up Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Maggie and Kyo, tomorrow my plans include our trip to the library and lunch, and watching The Seeker with Mags and maybe starting James and the Giant Peach with her and Sunday, I want to have finished Islands Apart, which I’ve been really enjoying, and watching a few episodes of Stargate!

Check out more Friday Fill-Ins here!

BTW, I’m a little frightened of the fact that when I went and added “dead bodies” to the tags, I had already used that before 😮

Fruits Basket Volume 5 by Natsuki Takaya

Kagura coverTitle:  Fruits Basket, Volume 5

Author:  Natsuki Takaya

Translator:  Althea Nibley

Paperback:  208 pages

Published:  2004

ISBN:  9781591826071

Challenges:  Manga Challenge, What’s In a Name?3 Challenge (food)

In this book we are introduced to Kisa Sohma, who is the tiger.  She enters the story when Tohru and Yuki are walking home and come across a drenched Haru carrying something in a blanket.  The bundle turns out to be a baby tiger, Kisa in animal form, and Tohru squeals “What a cute kitty!” in delight.  The “cute kitty” shows her how much she wants to be around people by chomping down on Tohru’s hand.  As it turns out, Kisa has run away from the Sohma house because she’s being made fun of at school.  She refuses to talk, and bites Tohru every time she tries to comfort her.  But Tohru’s persistance and kindness brings the girl around, and her explosive, “I LOVE YOU!!” accompanied by a warm, long hug turns her into a big sister in Kisa’s eyes.  Tohru’s past healing affection for Yuki, Kyo and Haru move them to compassion for Kisa and help her come out of her shell.

Other things in Fruits Basket, Volume 5 – Ayame… oh, Ayame! makes a visit, much to the consternation of both Kyo and Yuki, the latter telling his older brother he’d rather see him sink to the bottom of the lake than “bond” with him, to which Aaya replies, “I See!  We’ll ALWAYS be together as brothers then!”  LOL.. poor Yuki! 

We meet Megumi, Hanajima’s little brother, when the Prince Yuki Fan Club girls visit “wave girl’s” house in an attempt to find Hanajima’s weakness so they can get her out of the way of their destroying Tohru.  Megumi, like his sister, also has a power.  He can use a person’s name to curse them.  The girls run screaming from the strange siblings house in fear.  It’s also revealed in this scene that Hana has been a bit jealous of the Sohmas for taking Tohru away but, unlike the Fan Club girls, she understands if you love someone, you have to be willing to let them have their own life and other friends and not try to possess them.

Fruits Basket, volume 5 by Natsuki Takaya is one of my favorite Furuba books so far.  The characters are becoming more defined, and she’s relying more on the story and character interactions than on the slapstick shtick of the first couple books.  Not that I don’t find it hilarious when Kyo flies off the handle at Yuki, and I LOVE it when the cat ears and tail come out… Mags and I always giggle about that… but it’s more of a life and friends story that I feel a sense of becoming a part of their world, which always makes the best books, whether they’re regular novels or manga and graphic novels.  *sigh*  I give Fruits Basket, Volume 5 5 out of 5 stars.

Fruits Basket Volume 3 and 4 by Natsuki Takaya

KYO KYO!!!!Title:  Fruits Basket, Volume 3

Author:  Natsuki Takaya

Paperback:  200 pages

ISBN:  9781591826057

Challenges:  Manga Challenge

The third installment of Sensei Takaya’s delightful manga series that gives the reader a window into the life of the cursed Sohma family and how Tohru Honda, a sweet and naive young orphan they’ve taken in and with whom they’ve shared their secret that some in their family are possessed by the vengeful animal spirits of the Chinese zodiac, features the rebellious cat-posessed Kyo Sohma on the cover.  Kyo is probably one of my favorite characters, he is certainly one of the funniest, and this book introduces another of my favorites:  Hatsuharu, the bull.

The book begins with a school race, which the highly-competitive Kyo sees as an opportunity to beat his ultimate rival and cousin, Yuki Sohma, the rat.  The pictures had Maggie and I laughing out loud in public places, trying to keep ourselves under control but often not able,   class=”hiddenSpellError” pre=””>Kyo with his cat ears, fangs, eyes and tail with electric energy swirling around him as he focuses on thoroughly trouncing “That damn rat Yuki” in the race was hilarious.  It’s during the race that Haru shows up and challenges Kyo to a fight, during which Black Haru comes out and makes sexual innuendos about what he’s going to do with Tohru.

Valentine’s Day happens in this book, as well, which brings Kagura back… much to Kyo’s displeasure.  Hatori, the Sohma family doctor, is introduced and Momiji makes another appearance and invites Tohru, Yuki and Kyo to the Sohma family spa for White Day.  Momiji, the rabbit, is another one of those funny, slightly naughty, characters who likes to look pretty.  The trouble is, though, the dress-wearing, fingernail-polished, blonde is a BOY.  Also, the interactions between Kyo and Momiji is reminiscent of the baby brother tag-a-long and annoyed older brother.  Kyo often noogies, pinches and restrains the over-zealous Momiji, who cries and whines loudly to any who’ll listen that he’s being abused by Kyo.

The final page of the book still makes me laugh, and I’ll often repeat it back to Mags, who will break out in groaning laughter and rolling her eyes.  Shigure shows Haru the little cosplay maid outfit he’s bought for Tohru as his White Day gift saying, “I can’t wait for her to call me Master wearing this.”  To which Haru replies, “Just Make sure you don’t get arrested, okay?”

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ShigureTitle:  Fruits Basket, volume 4

Author:  Natsuki Takya

Paperback:  216 pages

ISBN:  9781591826064

Challenges:  Manga Challenge

Fruits Basket, volume 4 begins with a new year at school and the addition of Haru and Momiji as first years at Yuki, Kyo and Tohru’s high school.  Akito, the abusive, frightening, mercurial head of the Sohma family visits the school, specifically to see Tohru.  He tries to come off as being kind, but it’s even scarier than when he’s his normal evil self.

Tohru is meets another Sohma in a shocking way when Yuki’s older brother, Ayame, crawls into her clothing in his snake form.  Ayame’s visit is an attempt to get closer to his brother, but Yuki seems to dislike and resent him.  Ayame’s visit also brings a reunion  of the Madubachi Trio (The nickname of Shigure, Hatori and Ayame as a group in high school) and stories of their escapades when they were in school.

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As a series, Fruits Basket is fun and light, with a bit of sexual humor and the occasional homosexual undertone.  Ayame owns a dress shop that may be a  “>cosplay store, and may or may not be in love with Hatori.  Haru also makes a comment about Yuki being his first love.  There is also violence, some amount of mysticism and Tohru’s ancestor worship with her mom’s picture… a Japanese thing, I know.  But, all in all, the story, writing and artwork tickles my funny bone and Maggie loves reading it with me, which is one of the best thing about them 🙂

Fruits Basket Volume 2 by Natsuki Takaya

Fruits Basket volume 2 by Natsuki TakayaTitle:  Fruits Basket volume 2

Author:  Natsuki Takaya

Softcover:  200 pages

ISBN:  1591826047

Challenges:  Manga Challenge

From the back cover:

A family with an ancient curse…
And the girl who will change their lives forever…

Ever since Tohru Honda discovered the Zodiac secret of the Sohma clan, her eyes have been opened to a world of magic and wonder. But with such a great secret comes great responsibility. When her best friends Hana-chan and Uo-chan come to the Sohma house for a sleepover, Tohru has her work cut out for her keeping the “Cat” in the bag and the “Dog” on a leash.

Mags and I started to read just a chapter or so last night and, before we knew it, there was one lonely chapter left.  The clock read 12:30 am, and we had church to go to, so we saved those last few pages for today.  Okay, the cover has Yuki Sohma on it, aka Prince Charming, Prince Yuki, Rat Boy and Damn Rat (the last one is Kyo’s pet name for him), and Maggie’s lip marks have permanently tarnished Sohma-kun’s face.  She’s eager for us to finish with book three, which has Kyo on the cover, so she can kiss all over him, too, and then make book 2 and book 3 fight over book 1.  What a deal, not only do we get books to read, but they’re dolls and action figures, too.  LOL!

So book 2 picks up after Tohru’s been staying… or shacking up as her aunt and cousins call it… with Shigure, Yuki and Kyo, and in this book her two best friend’s Hanna (she has electrowave powers) and Uo (who used to be a Yankee, which is like a gang girl, I guess) come for a sleep over.  This can prove disastrous if the guys aren’t careful, since an embrace from the opposite sex, accidental or on purpose, can cause them to transform into their zodiac animal.  Also in this book is a cross-dressing Yuki, a half-German boy who likes to wear girls clothes (Yuki was coerced, Momiji dresses that way because he likes to look pretty), New Year’s banquet, and Tohru is summoned to the Sohma estate to meet with Hatori, the one who erases people’s memories when they find out about the Sohma family curse.  Lots of sugar and love from Tohru and lots of animosity and rancor back and forth between Yuki and Kyo, with a smattering of perv-ishness from Shigure.

Oh yeah… and a herd of cats.

If you want to watch the whole vid, it’s cool. The song’s great, Mags and I will randomly sing it without realizing it… occasionally at the same time, weird. But the parts I’m after is from 2:29 to 4:58, OR for an even shorter snippit, 3:29 to 3:46 for just the “Kyo and the herd of cats” part.

Fruits Basket volume 1 by Natsuki Takaya

Fruits Basket 1Title:  Fruits Basket Volume 1

Author:  Natsuki Takaya

Paperback:  216 pages

ISBN:  1591826039

Challenges:  Manga Challenge

From the back cover:

A family with an ancient curse…

And the girl who will change their lives forever…

Tohru Honda was an orphan with no place to go until the mysterious Sohma family offered her a place to call home.  Now her ordinary high school life is turned upside down as she’s introduced to the Sohma’s world of magical curses and family secrets.  Discover for yourself the Secret of the Zodiac, and find out why Fruits Basket has won the hearts of readers the world over!

First off, a caveat:  This is my first manga, and my first review of a manga book.  I’m not exactly sure how one writes a review for manga.  I could read a bunch of reviews then write it, but I’d probably end up regurgitating what I’ve read, then.  I don’t even know if the title is supposed to be italicized like novels, and can’t exactly use a quote from the book since it uses pictures to tell the story.  But, here goes….

I first heard about Fruits Basketfrom a friend who said his niece loved it.  I’d been circling the manga pool and dipping my toe in every time I went to the book store, but had not as yet jumped in.  I’d also been sampling anime with Maggie, and so I thought this series would be a great place to start.  This book was originally published in Hane to Yume magazine in 1999.  It was finally published in English in 2004 by TOKYOPOP (if you click the link, you can read the first chapter online).  It is also a 26-episode anime series, AND an online petitionpleading FUNimation to make a second season of the show (I’ve signed, btw 😉 )

So, right from the start, I know I’m going into a beloved series and am fairly safe in thinking I’ll like it, which, of course, I did.

The story is about how orphaned Tohru, who has never fit in anywhere, comes to stay with the Shigure, Yuki and Kyo Sohma, members of a family who suffer from a strange curse that transforms them into the animals of the Chinese Zodiac.  It’s a book about transformations, both the humorous, and often inconvenient, physical transformations of the Sohmas themselves (and embarrassing, especially since transforming back to human form renders them naked).  It’s also about how Tohru’s kind and quiet spirit affects them, causing them to mature and let go of some of their anger and bitterness, and to grow in affection and acceptance of one another.

Maggie’s Review:

I really love-love-LOVE Fruits Basket!  Yuki and Kyo are cute and it’s so funny when they fight.  Yuki’s mysterious and it’s funny when Kyo gets mad (which is all the time) and gets cat ears, eyes, teeth and tail and hisses at Yuki.  I like the whole Zodiac thing.  It’s funny, especially when Shigure is acting like a pervert 😀  Kagura is CRAZY!  She’s in love with Kyo, and she shows it by destroying him and beating him up and flipping him through the wall.  One thing I did NOT like about it is that it’s got a lot of cuss words in it.

Maggie is funny, she says she doesn’t like the cuss words, but she sure does laugh a lot at them.  BTW, the cuss words used are Damn, Dammit, and Bitch and Bastard are used once in the second book when Kyo and Uo are playing a card game (both have anger issues).  No F-bombs, or other strong words are used.  The books are labeled for teens, which I didn’t catch until after she’d watched the whole anime series, read book one and got halfway through book two. 

and now, a few moments of love’s reflection by Kagura Sohma 😀

and, after writing this, I realized that, technically, Vampire Kisses:  Blood Relativeswas my first “manga,” though it’s not really manga because it reads like a normal American book, not right to left.  It’s the right-to-left reading of FB that’s made it so dificult for Mags to read on her own.  I’m sure a few books in and she’ll be okay.  Also, since she won’t let me put FB on BookMooch or PBS… she’s already made off with the book… I guess she’ll be re-reading it on her own, which should help her manga-reading abilities.

Well, off to Hardee’s for dinner and to finish up FB vol 2 😀