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March of the Hovercats

Yesterday, Seth presented me with a lovely set of fat cat bowls. They're beautiful, delicate porcelain things, with a very pleased cat painted on each one. When you tilt the bowl just right, you can see the cat's face at the bottom of the bowl with a tail painted on the exterior side. Likewise, if you tilt it on its other side, you'll see the face of the same cat painted on the exterior side, and a little tail popping up along the rim of the interior. We showed it to Sif. She now believes us persons are making pottery in her image.

We've reached an impasse with the cat creature over how exactly she prefers her tinned food. This is a cat who is otherwise quite unpicky about her dried kibble, and shows no interest in most human foods except stewed lentils, runny egg yolks mixed in with a bit of soy sauce and baked bean sauce and tuna brine. She will eat dried flowers and leaves when she goes outside. Tinned food though, that has to be absolutely perfect. She'll have a nibble of tinned food not more than 5 minutes out of the can. Once refrigerated, the food must be served at room temperature, preferably garnished with a generous sprinkling of dehydrated chicken. Tuna in florentine sauce is good. Expensive beef and chicken organic mixes are "too beefy". Purely organic chicken chow is too gamey when it has developed a very thin dried outer crust, especially if I don't garnish it generously with dehydrated chicken. She occasionally likes a little warm water poured on top of her chow, so she can have a bit of gravy.

I would like to point out that cats in my native country eat table scraps and mice. So do dogs, for that matter, and so do the mice. This tiny, hovering blimp of a cat is spoiled.

The weekend was kinder than it had been in a long time. I bought tickets to Sita Sings the Blues for next week. The store has lovely shirts. I was a little sad to find out all the women's Valmiki tops were sold out, and the Peacock Phonograph camisoles only came in Large. I did buy the Peacock Phonograph shirt and the Sita Shadow Puppet half-sleeve shirt. They both arrived yesterday. The Sita Shadow Puppet is particularly beautiful, with bronzed print that mottles very much like antique shadow puppets in real life do. I last saw leather shadow puppets from classic Malay plays up close at an art exhibition in Kuala Lumpur many years ago. They're very intricate things, and surprisingly fragile. The shirt captured that intricacy well. My only complaint is the American Apparel shirt used for the print is unusually tight for a Small, on par with a ballerina's leotard. I'm hoping that like a leotard, it loosens over time.

We went back to Nombe. The roast potatoes and wild nori are tasty, but I wished the new potatoes they used were just a bit smaller, and left to sit in the sauce for a little longer. They were good, but otherwise a touch too salty. Their beignets with apricot jam and creme fraiche were okay. A little too airy for a beignet. The salted trout and fried trout skin chazuke is soothing though. I would recommend the karasumi only if you plan for the rest of your menu being relatively light and bland. I think having the potatoes that night was too many salty things on the table together. Chicken yakitori with ume and shiso is great. Perfectly sweet and sour without being overwhelming. The ramen of the night happened to be in red curry. Far be it from me to turn away what essentially sounds like good won ton mien in laksa sauce, but I wasn't in the mood for it that evening. Will still definitely go back for tonkatsu ramen on a weekend though. The sake recommendations from Gil, resident sake specialist, are really spot on. Me and the spouse found flavours we liked, flavours we both kind of thought were interesting, but not to our taste, and flavours that were "No kidding this thing has a kick."

Workload may be crazy later in the week. I don't really know. Writing is impassive, cold as stone. I'm largely insecure about how I'm going to market a thing I've been writing for 6 years, now that I'm at the very tail end of it. It's a wrong genre, and a size most publishers and agents no longer find popular. More to the point, novellas are still largely things agents will recommend you keep in a drawer until you have actual novels published. But what if I don't write a novel? What if I like smaller parcels of writing? I worry a great deal all that hard work is for something I'll have to put away in a drawer, and perhaps, after 6 years, my style's gone down the drainpipe, in any case. Too many straightforward sentences, less obfuscating poetry. By the time this thing is done, there'll only be blood and vinegar.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 15th, 2010 04:04 am (UTC)
wet cat food
Darcy likes almost any kind of wet cat food -- I'm much more picky, as it has to look like meat chunks to me (i.e., I find "pate" fairly disgusting). But he likes it best prepared with a little water and some brewer's yeast (otherwise known as nutritional yeast: the yellow kind with large flakes) -- he purrs at it as I set it down for him.

Blood and vinegar may be fairly good ingredients for a novella.
Jul. 17th, 2010 04:45 am (UTC)
Re: wet cat food
Blood and vinegar might, yeah! Honestly, I think meat chunks may be the better way to go myself. It gives the cat something to chew, which pate certainly doesn't give them.

After looking up the ingredients of some 'grain-free' cat foods online, it seems that a number of formulations do add brewer's yeast to their mixes, probably to help the cat's coat, as well as add to their flavor. There's some DIY cat food recipes online too that seem to combine all manner of chicken bits with baby food and a bit of yeast, but those make me leery. In theory, it's great, but modern recipes call for way more dietary supplements than seems accessible to a normal pet owner.
Jul. 19th, 2010 12:53 am (UTC)
We tried pouched wet food for Jade, and she loved it. I'm now convinced the tinny smell/taste I'm getting just opening a can of cat food isn't my imagination, and is even more unappealing to the cat.

Reasons not to get disheartened with the story:

#1. I honestly believe that the age of the MEGANOVEL is over, and that the rise of the e-book is hastening that end.

Publishers and authors wallow in the size of the book, and demand that readers recognize by its MEGAHEFT its epicness, but when the playing field is leveled via e-book, all the things astute readers have long complained about in MEGANOVELS--that many are just padded story in dire need of severe editing--becomes glaringly obvious, without the pay-off of size to distract.

(It's a dubious pay-off: fantasy readers have grumbled abut this before, as it makes the convenient paperback not at all convenient. But anyway.)

As the need to justify paper costs or impress readers with girth is reduced, I do believe we're going to see more and more novellas published. We're already seeing a rise in novellas attached to series, which in years past would have been published in anthologies or magazines as a means of publicity.

#2. The rise of Urban Fantasy has opened the field a bit, by tugging it away from Eurocentric D&D/Tolkien nerdgasms, by pulling it away from Medieval European settings, and pushing for the exploration of non-European mythologies in fantasy. It's brought American readers, at least, closer to embracing "magical realism" (what I'd call fantasy in a contemporary setting) without the expectation that it will be about some miserably lovelorn chick in Mexico or Argentina.

I know "Finches" isn't strictly either of those subgenres--it leans closer to classic gothic horror in many ways--but the elements of crossover are there, and readers (and publishers) are more open to those elements these days.

#3. Speaking of horror: Asian horror = still popular. :)
Jul. 22nd, 2010 07:39 pm (UTC)
Pouched wet food didn't go well with the cat. I thought the chunks might amuse her, but she licked up all the jelly sauce and wasn't terribly keen on eating up the rest.

As for the rest, thank you. I do still love your knack for putting things into perspective. Now, I must take heart and think about using paperback genre novels as dangerous projectiles, and mock the miserable lovelorn ladies of Mexico and Argentina. :)
Jul. 23rd, 2010 12:35 am (UTC)
Gargh. Your cat is extra finicky!

I'm happy to help! It's been on my mind recently, because most of my SF collection is from the '70s and is in novella form; I really think the bigger SF is a thing of the '80s, and the mainstream success of SF post-space race and Star Trek. I remember there were calls to separate SF from F on the bookstore and library shelves, because SF was now credible and F wasn't. I wonder if that's where the push toward EPIC started--in the need to reclaim a little dignity amidst all those D&D plots and scantily clad warrior women covers.

I really do hope we're seeing a push back to those days, when it was about exploring an idea and the tightness of the story whatever its length, rather than flaunting your SF savvy with technology porn or plumping a story with nonsensical side plots. :)
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )