The best possible response
(photos by Bill Watterson and an octopus)
I think this is the best scientist photograph I have ever seen.
But people didn’t believe him on reddit. So Watterson made the photo sequence into a gif.
Here’s the gif for anyone curious.
I had to go through the notes to find the gif. Not because I didn’t believe him but because I wanted to see it.
Feel free to skip this post, I’m going a bit personal here.
I’m not well.
As a lot of you know, I have multiple diagnosed mental illnesses, such as severe depression and multiple anxiety disorders, along with a variety of not-officially-diagnosed ones. Unfortunately, this also means that I tend to react to situations in ways that neurotypical folk don’t.
I’m also an extrovert. The way I typically deal with bad days or high stress situations is by being in close physical proximity to my friends, or even just random people enjoying themselves. With the current pandemic, that’s not possible. I had wondered at the start of my social isolation how long it would take for me to break.
It was three days, for reference. It has been fourteen days since I was around people that don’t live in my house, not counting the one vet appointment that I had for Zoan. This is the longest I’ve been by myself since I started working twenty two years ago. This means that I’m not recovering my mental fortitude (for lack of a better word) on a daily basis.
Which makes the rest of this so much worse.
The way my brain works, it has times where things are fine, and times where things are Not Fine. This is, as far as I’ve been able to tell, a normal cyclical pattern. There isn’t anything I can do about this*, or even generally predict it. When it does start though, I recognize it happening and I make sure I have my coping measures in place – usually organizing additional board game / roleplaying nights, or visiting friends for a bit. This gives me enough mental fortitude to deal with the depression and not be a completely useless wreck of a human being.
That cycle started in early November. I received the phone call in mid-November that my mother had cancer, and she passed mid-December. This pushed me to try and force away those depressive thoughts, as I needed to “Adult Up” and actually operate. My mother needed me to do all sorts of things before she passed, and I needed me to do a bunch of them after. I know I can push things a bit, but I pay things back with interest – the longer I push, the deeper the depression gets after I’m done pushing.
I started with the deeper depression in January, around the time my partner arrived. It was rough, but I was starting to work through it. I took a trip to Indiana and we spent time with friends at the end of February. That’s, of course, when the proverbial excrement hit the ventilation system. The pandemic isn’t something I was prepared for, and even before things started getting locked down it started impacting my mental health.
Add in working from home. Add in my four-month-long migraine. Add in the social isolation. Add in deal with the battle report of the world. Add in the intense disappointment in how people are handling things. Add in my partner’s utter nightmare of a travel situation. Add in having to do a lot more work at home. Add in having routines disrupted. Add in losing food stability or the ability to even get food in less than five days. Add in losing an appointment I’ve been on a waiting list for for over six months (time to start back over on the list!).
I’m a walking disaster. I had to take time off of work Friday because I had been crying for about three hours straight. My head hurts so much that I’ve been trying to take 2-3 hot showers a day directly pointed at my neck to relax some of my tense muscles. I’m seeing the telltale signs of my body breaking down over long-term stress. I’m seeing stress-based illnesses in my cats even, as they take my stress on themselves. My temper is much shorter than normal and I’m just so aggravated by All The Things that I want to just scream.
This isn’t going to end anytime soon. I don’t have an end in sight, I don’t know how much longer I’ll have to do this. I still need to help my partner contact people regarding trying to extend something that isn’t supposed to be extendable. I still need to work (which, at least I’m still being paid?), and everything is just So Much.
I’m broken. I don’t know how to function long-term, or even how to keep things up short-term.
* – Other people in my situation take anti-depressants. There is nothing wrong with this – if you don’t have home made neurotransmitters, store-bought ones are fine. Problem being, I side-react to anti-depressants, making things about a hundred times worse. For those that knew me in high school, any of you ever notice me just staring at a wall for two days? Yeah, I don’t remember that because those were the side effects of my meds; I lost two days of my memory.
Today is a sleepy day for Issun. on Flickr.
Today is a sleepy day for Issun.
Head of security
GIVE ?HIM ? A? RAISE?
Can we talk about how cool this is? Cats are evolutionary predisposed to really like watching places from a vantage point. Domestic cats do this via windows, and wild cats do this by climbing trees or hiding in caves. (Hence why cats like boxes).
This cat took that just one step further, by using surveillance tech (something cats, again, are amazing at) to monitor many vantage points at once. This is not only a great example of technology creating winners (the cat) and losers (the mouse) but of how technology often creates unexpected outcomes.
Maybe humans are the smartest animals on the planet, but we’re generalists. We’ll never beat specilists, like cats, at what they do best.
This cat is better at watching security cameras than most of my guards ?
@isaacsapphire have you tried replacing your guards with cats?
Cats are very bad at showing up on time.
“Sometimes, when you practice a skill that you’re trying to improve, you might feel like you’re actually getting worse over time, instead of better. A common reason why this happens is that you’ve advanced from the first stage of learning, unconscious incompetence, to the second stage, conscious incompetence.
This means that you might start feeling like you’re suddenly making a lot of mistakes. In reality, however, you were likely already making those same mistakes beforehand. The difference is that you’re now good enough to actually realize when you’re making those mistakes, whereas earlier you simply didn’t have the necessary proficiency which is required in order to be able to notice it.”
You’re getting better, I promise! Keep it up! ?
A neighbor called and said she saw a swarm on a fire hydrant so I grabbed my bucket and ran there as fast as I could. I dabbed some lemongrass oil on the bottom of it and they walked in. After about 5 minutes I just scooped the rest in and bam! Free bees!
I got the queen on the first scoop too though. Apparently she was a new one because she was piping in there really loudly. This is my first personal swarm catch so honestly I’m not sure if that was supposed to happen or not.
What other website am i going to see posts where the op talks about “bam! Free bees!”
I feel this is an appropriate post to retell the time my dad got free bees (found an extra thrown swarm) but didn’t have any equipment to transport them, so he just grabbed the queen in a pint jar, let the other swarm into his Ford Escort, and drove down the highway to home with a swarm of bees loose in the car.
I would honestly die of delight to find someone who watched my dad (~72 white guy) driving down a major Illinois highway with a swarm of bees loose in the car just chillin.
I’m sorry, he’s just like that.
Imagine getting pulled over by the cops and just turning to the bees like Sic em gang
Listen. I studied bees for months and worked on designing some of our campus hives, I’m super comfortable around bees because I know how chill they usually are aND YET I AM STILL LOSING MY SHIT OVER THE THOUGHT OF THAT DAD JUST????? CHILLIN??? DRIVING DOWN A FRICKN HIGHWAY WITH A SWARM OF BEES?????? LOSE?!?!? IN!?!?! HIS!!?!?!? CAR?????!!!?!??!
For reference, here’s an example of the car he was driving:
Okay but I looked up “Queen bee piping” and apparently this sounds something like a duck playing a kazoo, and I am DELIGHTED.
me when i see a cat: CAT! cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat cat
Fun fact: when I see cute animals, I forget English and automatically revert to my native Hungarian. I don’t know what bystanders make of me, reciting guttural gibberish to rabbits.
But the real question is, what are you SAYING to the rabbits? Is it ‘RABBIT! rabbit rabbit rabbit rabbit rabbit rabbit bunny bunny bunny awww cute bunnyyyyy’?
Well, I usually say the Hungarian equivalent of ‘bun bun bun lil bun look at your tiny spoon-shaped ears awww bun brave little lawnmower bun’, but sometimes I say ‘hey rabbits, my sister’s gonna go to med school’ because I think everyone should know.
I live in Japan, and I always revert to English to talk to small animals, and I was cooing at this tiny little fluff machine of a puppy in baby english like “hello you’re so cute such a cute hello hello yess you’re good” and the 70 year old Japanese lady that was walking him started to *translate the baby talk english into Japanese* for her pup. She wanted to be sure he understood it too.
I was at a pet store with Eileen. A woman walked up to us and asked if she could pet her. Eileen’s collar has ‘Deaf Dog’ embroidered on it. The lady asked about it, I confirmed, yes, she’s deaf. The lady immediately switched to American Sign Language and asked her how was her day, was she being a good girl, she’s so pretty. Eileen is wagging her tail excitedly, knowing that someone is talking to her.
reblogging for that last story.
I grew up under the reign of the indomitable Kitten Little, First and Fiercest, who was a massive grey and white thundercloud of a cat. She was unquestionably gorgeous, smart as a whip, and meaner than satan with a hangover. She was also very incorrectly named–she was huge and old well before I was born, and only got huger and older as the years went on. During her years as Head Cat of our household, she conducted the complete domination of no less than three dogs (one of whom was a stray doberman), was implicated in the suspicious deaths of two of her predecessors, and supervised the raising of me and my siblings. Because her domain was overrun with tiny humans and inferior pets, she was frequently found lurking on the fireplace mantel, or on the ledge of the second-story balcony that overlooked the living room. From this position of power she could glare down at all of us and be safe from any grabby hands. Not that our hands remained grabby for long–Kitten Little was very clear in her communication that she would be touched on her terms only.
Kitten Little was a capital-C Cat. In her household, you respected animals. Or else.
Even as a small child, I loved all animals, but I adored Kitten Little. She was the iron-fisted ruler that I wanted to grow up to be, and I spent countless hours carefully observing her and trying to win her respect. This adoration was, in part, because of the fact that the neighbor’s German Shepherd refused to go anywhere near her. That dog had gotten loose one summer and bit me in the face, so I was very appreciative of Kitten Little’s dogless bubble. That incident had also instilled in me a fear of large dogs that would last for a good two years.
Being afraid of dogs meant that I absolutely refused to go over to my best friend Alicia’s house, because Alicia’s family were dog breeders. Huskies, mostly, but at that age all I cared about was bitey and bigger than me. She often invited me over, but I always told her no. Finally, around her birthday, she convinced me to come around for a sleepover: we would go to the movies first, and by the time we got to her house, her dad would have put all the dogs in kennels outside, so I could sleep peacefully in a dogless house. Based on these terms, I agreed.
Things went well. The movie was good, the dogs were all outside, and eventually we crashed in Alicia’s room. It was fine until I woke up around midnight and went to the kitchen to get a glass of water.
My night vision is very good, and I didn’t want to wake anyone up by turning on the lights, so the kitchen was dark when I slipped in. That’s why it took me a few seconds to realize there was something on top of the fridge.
Something…pretty large. Something with gleaming eyes, huge ears, and a tail. At first I thought it was a dog—it was too big to be a cat–but the movement of it was wrong. It was too still.
And the tail, draped over the edge of the fridge, was twitching gently at the very tip.
I knew that twitch.
I had seen that twitch a thousand times when Kitten Little had had enough and decided she was about to conduct a little surprise murder.
I realized that whatever was on top of the fridge was a cat. A huge cat. I don’t mean a big housecat–Kitten Little was a good metric for how big house cats could get, and this thing was easily twice her size. And I was small for my age, which meant this thing was at least half my size.
I had studied Kitten Little well. I knew what that tail twitch meant, what that fixed stare and hunched shoulders translated to. There was a fucking wildcat on top of Alicia’s fridge, and it was about to pounce on me.
I knew that there was no way I could outrun this thing, no way I could dodge it. I carefully, carefully, backed out of the kitchen. I did not break eye contact. As soon as I broke line of sight with the thing on top of the fridge, I booked it back to Alicia’s room and shook her awake. “Alicia,” I said calmly, “there is a leopard on your fridge. I think we have to do something about it.”
“No there’s not,” Alicia said.
“Yes, there is, I’m really very very sure there is.”
“No, he’s not a leopard,” Alicia said. And then proceeded to explain that they had a goddam pet serval.
Things that you should know about servals:
- They are a type of african wild cat
- They are primarily nocturnal
- They hunt prey by jumping on it, landing on its back, and biting the back of the neck to kill it
Things that you should also know about servals:
- They make fucking terrible pets, because they are wild cats. It’s very difficult to meet their needs in a home setting, and they will want to do the things they do in the wild, such as jumping on top of small, unsuspecting prey animals. Like myself.
“Alicia,” I said, less calmly, “Why did you not tell me about him?”
“You’re scared of big dogs. He’s not a big dog.”
This was, admittedly, true.
In the morning, I got a proper introduction to the serval, which was actually sort of great; I held no hard feelings about the near miss, and was pretty excited to meet him. It went well overall. Nonetheless, I was relieved to go home, to my dog-less, serval-less house.
Kitten Little sat up on the mantel. Her eyes were huge and gleaming, her ears sharp, her tail poofy and twitching.
“Will you murder me if I try to pet you today?” I asked.
Kitten Little stood, lifted her tail upright, and flopped the very tip over.
I knew what that meant. I clambered up on top of a chair to offer my hand, and Kitten Little permitted me to pet her very soft and fluffy self for about five whole minutes before pulling out the claws to tell me I was done.
The serval might be bigger and scarier, but I knew the truth: no cat was allowed to murder me.
Kitten Little had already called dibs.