Monday, March 14, 2005

Some Days You Blog, Some Days You Read

Spent some time last night reading reference material in Blogger Help when I really should have been knitting. There's always something new to learn there -- an overwhelming quantity, really, but it's all very useful when you absorb it a little at a time. I need to ping Peter and tell him about some of the "search engines" I discovered.

Sharon always seems to get tagged with on different subjects, and I was curious where they came from. As a Wired magazine reader from way back, I'd always thought of a meme as a concept or idea that spreads virus-like across the collective conscious of our culture (like a fad, only more scientifically described). Here in blog-land, memes are questions or questionnaires that get copied from blog to blog. If you get "tagged," then someone you know is challenging you to copy and answer those same questions in your blog. (Remember the "Getting to Know You" questionnaire going around in email about what brand of toothpaste you prefer? Yah, that's wicked revealing.)

Well, it turns out that there are a number of bloggers whose sole purpose for blogging is to think up and post questions on a daily or weekly basis. I found a by-no-means-exhaustive list of them at if you're ever interested. If you ever feel like blogging, but don't know what to write about (what's that like??), here's a resource.

But Wait, I Did Knit Too

I always feel a little goofy as a still-pretty-novice knitter, bragging about the baby steps I've taken in comparison to the fabulous, gorgeous, complicated works that so many knitbloggers proudly describe and photograph for their blogs. Still, I'm feeling a little chuffed that I figured out how to pick up stitches my very own self, and that the results look pretty neat.

I've made more progress on the felted tote and wound some more yarn for the Fletcher sweater. Until I can get to the yarn shop for help with the Warm Winter Poncho, that project is pretty much stuck.

Live from Boston University

Greg just called while I was in the middle of writing the above section. He went into Boston on the early train this morning to meet with the instrumentalists who will perform his wind quartet (flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon) in early May. Although all of them have had their parts for a few weeks now, today is the first time that they've rehearsed the piece together. Although the first reading wasn't note-perfect, it came close enough that Greg called home, all excited. Things are already looking good for May's performance.

When you're composing a piece for instruments that you don't play, you have to be content with the computer-generated MIDI playback that approximates the sounds of the individual instruments. Over time, you even get used to the MIDI. When your piece gets played by actual living musicians, though, the whole piece opens up, comes to life, and reveals dimensions of itself that get lost in the MIDI translation. No wonder Greg's excited -- in effect, he's hearing his own piece for the first time.

Today is going to be a busy day for Greg. This afternoon, his setting of the David Shapero poem After Ryokan, scored for tenor voice and viola, will be performed. I hope someone is recording the performances today. I've grown so used to hearing the MIDI playback that it will be a whole new world just to hear the words sung.

Here's a great meme that I just have to develop: Things I've learned from living with a composer.

Don't Read This While Eating

Charlie has been fascinated with Persephone the cat since we brought her home, though she doesn't exactly return that fascination. Unfortunately, his most enduring interest seems to be with the litter box. We've tried a cover, we've tried being hyper-vigilant about scooping as soon as the cat's done with her business... nothing seems to discourage him. (We have no place to put the litter box up out of his reach, or we would try that solution.)

Does anybody have any other suggestions? Can you put Accent on a cat's food to discourage doggie snacking, the same way you would for a dog who prefers the -- er -- products of his own kind? Do those motorized self-cleaning litter boxes live up to the expectations?


Pirate said...

Hey blogdog. I had a dog that did that and nothing we tried did any good. One thing you might try is sprinkling a bit of cayenne pepper here and there in the litter box, especially right after kitty has used it (if you can time it) that way kitty doesn't get cayenne pepper on its paws; doggies don't like cayenne pepper in their noses. A couple of encounters might be enough to dissuade him.

Anonymous said...

Another idea - we own 3 Labs and a cat - we use a baby gate for the room her litter box is in - she can get in/out but they can't! Works great - all dogs I know LOVE kitty chocolates!

I wouldn't use anything (an additive) long term or at all really, with a cat - the baby gate works wonders!