Archive for May, 2011

I like cats.

I like looking at cute and/or funny pictures of cats, and cute and/or funny pictures in general.

I loathe with a white-hot, deep-seated hatred that burns like the heart of a collapsing star  the comments on the I Can Has Cheezburger site.

funny pictures - dis...  dis juss rong.

Yes, yes it is.

Sweet zombie Jesus, these are grown people (mostly women but I will say “people” to be politically correct) who I assume have not suffered some sort of traumatic brain injury. They can obviously use a computer, so they must have some minimum level of education. It’s not as if they are simply smashing their fists into a keyboard while shrieking like scalded gibbons; most of the comments can be deciphered given enough time and patience. (And booze.) They have deliberately decided to write like not-very-bright children. Here is a sample taken from the comments of the photo above.


May 26, 2011 at 10:03 pm


pjperry says:
May 26, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Conconeulations, Joy! :D

Joy says:
May 26, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Ah, fank yew, piperry, butt (!) wat 4?

Joy says:
May 26, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Ooooh, pjperry, Ai r sorre!!! Ai mizspelted yur naem!! Ai nawt seez 2 gud, soe ai nawt spelz gud… iz bad kitteh. Swatz selfz.

pjperry says:
May 26, 2011 at 10:19 pm

Teh conconeulations is 4 b ing teh furst, or wat we call nawt second commenter. :roll: silleh, I no. Jussta cheezland custom. Don’t werree, nawt spelling gud is a positive fing in lolspeak. :D

Joy says:
May 26, 2011 at 10:40 pm

*hugs pjperry, rubs cheak*

pjperry says:
May 26, 2011 at 10:43 pm


Why? Internet peer pressure?  For some sense of belonging? Who started this trend? (Go ahead, you can tell me. I promise I won’t hunt them down and beat them to death with a dictionary.)

The phenomenon of mob mentality (not in the “ make him an offer he can’t refuse” sense of the word) is well known; people will do things in large groups that they would never do as individuals. I’m mystified as to how this can happen over the Internet, where the mob in question is not in actual physical contact. For the most part, when you are on the Internet you are alone, just you and the computer. Have their brains decided that these other people, identified only by words and a tiny graphic, are part of their mob and therefore should be followed? They are complete strangers, chances are they live in a different state (or possibly a different country) than you. Why do you care what they think?

Gah. I just will never understand people.


Pretty Bird

There is a peacock living somewhere near our house.

We have no idea where it came from; I was leaving for work one morning this last winter, opened the door and it was on our porch. So of course I had to go quietly back inside, get my camera, and take a picture. Because no one would ever believe me when I told them that there was a frickin’ peacock on our porch.

And I was right, when I told Mother Dearest that night that I had seen a peacock on our porch she said it must have been a turkey.


It's either a peacock or the world's first drag queen turkey.


As the weather has gotten warmer it has shown up more and more frequently, it probably lives somewhere in the woods around our house. Dad has seen it more than anyone, it will actually let him feed it bugs he finds, and one time he gave it some gum to see what would happen. (It ate it.)

He thinks it’s a girl, a peahen, but I’m of the opinion that it’s an actual peacock. We won’t know for sure until it finishes it’s spring molt, which has already begun. There are bits of feather starting to appear on the porch. It has an even more favorite perch conveniently nearby – Dad’s truck. The hood and the rim of the bed are deeply scratched, making the peacock less of a strange visitor and more of an odd pest.

Who knows, we might find out if peacock really does taste like chicken if it keeps at it.


The Castle

When I moved in to my parents’ house, I had no furniture. I had lived for several years in a travel trailer where everything was built-in. Since Mother Dearest has collected furniture for years she already had a bed and a futon and chairs and tables, that sort of thing, and I had … a small fridge and several sets of the wire cubes that you connect with little plastic connectors.

These guys are awesome for small spaces; you can put them together and take them apart as needed without a big hassle and they take up almost no room when broken down.

I had a cat climbing tower as well, a little one that was about four feet tall and worked fine in a small space when the kittens were little, but as they got bigger it became clear that it was not going to work.

There were some structural integrity issues.

So I decided to build a new one. It would have to modular, made from reasonably priced materials, accommodate around forty-five pounds of assorted cats, and be something I could do with my limited woodworking skills. It would also have to fit in a wide but shallow space in front of a window and beside a closet door.

To the Habitat Store!


This served as the base for the castle. It's a kitchen cabinet and cost fifteen dollars.

For those who are wondering how that thing could possibly be a kitchen cabinet, you should know that it’s upside down. It was originally mounted over a sink and the tall part on the right would be on the left of the sink. It had the primary requirement of being narrow, the castle had to fit against a wall and still allow a closet door to open.

We snagged a few loose drawers as well, one for two dollars and one for three, and headed home to modify my new purchases.

Thank goodness for Mother Dearest and her power tools.


Mother Dearest has forbidden me from posting any more pictures of her on Facebook. But we're not on Facebook, are we?

There was much figuring done and then the sawing of holes and scrap lumber was found to make legs that would raise the whole thing to window height.


Fast forward to the final fitting to make sure all the holes are in the right place and everything fits. Mother Dearest is being gracious as always.


Backside view with all the pieces in place. Mother Dearest got fed up with me taking her picture; she flipped me the bird and retreated to the front steps.

The whole thing was brought inside to be painted; bright turquoise on the outside and deep teal that looks almost black with yellow stars on the inside. I originally painted the inside yellow, ironed on butcher paper stars, painted around them, and took the paper stars off. it looked horrible so I had to go back and paint over the yellow areas with the dark teal. Instead I cut even more stars out of yellow paper and decoupaged them to the inside.

Trying to paint something this big in a house full of cats who live to find new and interesting places to sleep proved to be quite a challenge. At least I knew they would actually use it.
I covered the ramp leading from the bottom to what became the middle tier with burlap so it could be used as a scratching board as well. I made the decision to leave the legs unpainted and rubbed them with catnip oil. The rear ones have become Simon’s favorite scratching posts.

100_2851.jpg  I had lots of “help”.


They were absolutely thrilled when it was moved to its final place.

The final pieces, the two drawers and a little landing on the left by the portal leading from the bottom to the middle, were added about a week later.


They were thrilled all over again. It was like it was a new castle.


Thank you for spending so much time and energy making a nice high place for us. Now go away.


On Friday I walked into a wall.

I have no excuse; I wasn’t doing something else, for once I wasn’t thinking about something – I was utterly undistracted in any way.

And yet I walked directly into a wall. I knew I was going to do it a split-second before I actually did it, I had enough time to formulate the thought “Hey, a wall”:THUD:

It was a hallway I have walked down many times before so I can’t blame unfamiliarity. I knew there wasn’t a doorway or other opening there, my feet just decided to turn and ram me into the sheetrock.

Here’s the odd bit – I didn’t think it was weird at the time. I hit the wall and my brain went “Huh, you hit the wall. Situation normal. Continue.” Now that I’ve had time to think about it, I’m kind of becoming alarmed that I did that.  Did I fall asleep for a second? This is not out of the realm of possibility; I sleep-walk occasionally and have woken up stuck behind a door or trying in vain to walk through the wall. But I don’t think I fell asleep, unless I was having an incredibly realistic dream that exactly mimicked what I was actually doing. Again, that would be pretty normal for me, but it’s unlikely. Maybe it’s aliens or some sort of government mind control, but then why would space aliens (or the government) care if I walked into a wall?

Perhaps I should look in to acquiring an aluminum foil beanie.

Simple Simon

Having been inspired by Lyle (Hi Lyle! :waves: ) I have decided to write about my cats, of which I have many.

First up is Simon, or Simon Jester if you want to use his full name (and nobody does).


Hi there.

Simon is about six years old and I’ve had him for about four of those years. He is a Russian Blue mix, with very thick, dense fur that gets everywhere. Simon came to me via my sister, who got him and his brother Oreo from an ad on Craigslist. Simon, originally named Felix, was always a bit timid but seemed to like me well enough when I visited my sister and her menagerie.


Although it looks a bit like him, this is Simon's brother Oreo. No, I don't know why they named a grey cat Oreo.

Then one day Simon jumped up on top of the washing machine and tipped a bottle of fabric softener onto himself. He swallowed quite a bit of it and for a while we thought he might not make it, but he somehow pulled through.

He changed a bit, though. He became very skittish and easily frightened, especially by strangers and men. He has loosened up a bit since then but there was a point when just a man’s voice would send him scurrying for cover. He also developed what I call his “happy noise”; when he gets excited and starts purring, he makes this odd sort of chirping sound that sounds a bit like a squeaky toy or a small bird.

Click here to hear Simon’s happy noise.

He will also make this happy noise when he gives me his special wake-up call, which involves him licking me on the eye or in the ear while I’m rudely ignoring him to do something as unnecessary as sleeping. It’s a guaranteed eye-opener.

After I had been living by myself for about a year, I started thinking about getting a cat. My sister offered me Simon. He spent a few days hiding from me but seemed to enjoy my much quieter home.

When I acquired the kittens Firefly and Fearless, he spent almost a week under my bed, hissing at them when they came anywhere near him. And of course they wanted very badly to be his friend and kept trying to play with him.

Picture030710 012

He eventually figured out that they weren't scary monsters.

Then I moved back in with my parents and he met my Mom’s cat Nikki. Simon has decided that Nikki is the Antichrist and needs to be destroyed.

You know, in the right light she is quite menacing.

Since this isn’t an option, I have had to isolate him from her.  The rooms I live in, through a quirk of design, are the hottest in the house. No air circulates through them; I have fans in the hall that help but they are still terribly stuffy in summer. Keeping he locked up in a stifling hot room with what little air movement there was blocked by a solid door seemed too cruel.

Off to the Habitat Store!

I bought a pair of doors close to the size of the originals and Mom trimmed them to fit. We cut out a large opening in each door and stapled hardware cloth over it. They are not the most beautiful things in the world, but they work. They are also scratched all to hell because Firefly and Fearless, who have negotiated a truce with Nikki, are allowed in and out as they like (They scratch until some dumb human (me) opens the door.)


Some cats adjusted better to the kludgeriffic doors than others.

Simon seems to have adjusted well to this limited isolation with just me and the other two cats for company; he spends most of his day in my bedroom, sleeping under the bed.


He has gotten a bit more adventurous in his old age.


I have a little widget for my blog that tells me what search terms people have used to find my site. Some of them are understandable, while others worry me. Currently these are the top terms;

batman panties, hyper dental peeling stick review, dental peeling stick review, inmate hotplates, sticks peeling dental funciona

For the past two or three weeks, the primary search term has been some variation of the dental scrubby stick review I did however-long-ago-it-was. People seem to really be interested in whether or not a ninty-nine cent bit of fiberous material will give you a gleaming white smile.  (As I’ve told the three people who have emailed me with badly spelled questions, the answer is “Kinda sorta.”)

Then last week Inmate Hotplates showed up shortly after I posted my lightbulb cooking experiment and has been gaining fast. Every time I refresh the page the order is slightly different. It’s like watching the world’s slowest race. And just now, a brand-new contender has come from out of nowhere; ladies and gentlemen, I give you – Batman Panties.

That is so going to be my band name, if I ever get around to learning how to play an istrument.

It has everything – the hard-edged awesomeness of Batman paired with the gently wafting curtains of Panties.

It’s just … perfect.

Dream Weaver

I have odd dreams.

Please, try to control your shock.

I always have, it’s just my weird brain doing its thing. One of my favorites involves me winning the lottery. Fairly standard, right? But I dream about what I would do after I win. It seems I would get up and go to work like normal, but instead of working I just sit in the lobby all day playing on my computer and ordering pizza. Naked.

And then there’s the one about the circus where I’m in charge of shaving the elephants. That one’s pretty odd. All of my dreams are strange.

 Last night was no different. Here’s what occupied my mind last night.

I went to the Governor’s Mansion for dinner.  I  either can’t remember why or I never knew why, but there I was. The governer was Bedtime Bear, from the Care Bears, and he was married to Megan Fox. Again, this seemed perfectly normal. We sit down at this comically long table, like you see in the movies, with perhaps a hundred people sitting down to dinner. All the other people were in really nice clothes, I’m in my nightgown, and Bedtime Bear… well, he’s wearing fur of course.

This pompous fellow in a tux comes in, a butler straight from Central Casting, and announces dinner in a voice that sounds like Donald Duck. Servants wheel in these giant baskets and bowls, the size of grain silos or swimming pools. The diners are suppose to take one and past the rest. I start panicking because I think I’m going to get crushed by these massive containers, so I decide to go to the bathroom. I start wandering around this giagantic place, trying to find the one bathroom. Every single room I go into has someone sleeping in it. One room has suits of armor and hammocks had been strung between each of them, each one filled. The snoring was deafening.

I finally find the bathroom, which is actually a converted closet, and there is someone sleeping in there, too. It’s Bedtime Bear’s Uncle Bob.

And then I woke up.


I like yard sales.

In fact, I love them.

On Saturday when we were heading to lunch, we saw a big community yard sale in the local elementary school parking lot. It was early afternoon so many people were starting to pack up, but we decided to stop and take a look.

And then I saw them.

A bin filled with My Little Ponies.



I bought the whole thing for five dollars, forty of the wee beasties in all.

Now you might be saying; “But, Ghostie, what are you going to do with all those Ponies?”

I’m so glad you asked that, imaginary reader.

Here, have a cookie.

Welcome to the weird and wonderful world of customized My Little Ponies.

Why yes, that IS a My Little Pony frozen in carbonite.

I have been looking at these little babies online for a while now and I have been itching to try my hand at it, but I did not want to pony up (snerk) the five bucks to buy a new one.  You can find Ponies in fair but not collectible condition (know as “bait” or “bait ponies”, I’m not sure why.) on eBay, but I wasn’t looking to spend that much either.

Thank the stars that some unknown local girl decided to clean out her toy box.

I have sorted the Ponies into fakies (non-MLPs), MLPs from Happy Meals, and full-sized toys. I have already prepared a few of the fakies and I’m sketching up some designs for them.


Step one was to decapitate the pony if possible and cut the manes and tails off.


Step two was to boil the ponies to loosen the glue holding the manes and tails in. This is easily the oddest thing I've done this week.

I have already chosen my first test subject – the little green pony.

I think it will make an excellent zombie pony.



Laundry Day

I suffer from eczema and have very sensitive skin, a little genetic legacy from my Dad (who has really, really sensitive skin.)

A lot of things can cause my eczema to flare up, the most common culprits are chemicals found in everyday products. Most laundry detergents leave me feeling like my skin is on fire. I could buy really expensive detergents that would drain my already shallow bank account. So I make my own. It’s pretty easy too.

What you need –


This stuff.

Soap –   That’s a given. You need around eight ounces. I’m using soap I made myself specifically for making laundry detergent, but you can use something else. It doesn’t really matter what brand it is, all soap is pretty much the same. I’ve had good results with dollar store bars as well as the big bars, like Zote or Octagon, sold as laundry soap in the supermarket. If you do a lot of traveling you could just save up all the little hotel soaps, making this virtually free. [EDIT: DO NOT USE HOTEL SOAP! It contains some sort of foaming additive that will cause your soap pot to foam like a shaken soda and possibly burn you like it did me. DON’T DO IT!]If you have sensitive skin like me, try it out on your skin before making detergent out of it.

Grapefruit-seed extract (optional) – It’s the stuff in the little dropper bottle, it is a preservative sold for soapmaking. I add some just to be sure the soap won’t go bad but it’s not necessary. Soap isn’t really know for going moldy.

Fragrance (optional) – If the soap you are using is unscented or only mildly scented, you can add some fragrance or essential oil. I make my laundry bar soap unscented so I can change the fragrance if I want to, I just add a little essential oil in the end. Orange or lavender are especially nice (the larger brown bottle in the photo is five-fold orange oil, which is pretty cheap and smells just like fresh orange juice), but if you want bacon-scented detergent then go for it. I use about a tablespoon for six gallons, but you can add more or less depending on your tastes.

Borax – This is a naturally occurring mineral and can be found in the laundry aisle. The best known brand is 20 Mule Team, the box recently changed so it’s no longer green like mine but white. You’ll need two cups to make my recipe, but feel free to adjust the amount. I have really hard water and have found this amount works best.

Washing Soda – also called soda ash, you should be able to find this in the laundry aisle. The kind I use is made by Arm & Hammer. Again, I use two cups be feel free to adjust the amount according to your needs.

Note: Borax and washing soda can usually be found with the bleach and laundry additives but you might have to look very carefully, the Wal-Mart I get mine from usually tucks it away on the very bottom shelf.


They are the red-headed stepchildren of the laundry world.

A large pot – at least a gallon, preferably more

Long-handled spoon

knife or grater – for cutting up the soap

bucket – this recipe makes a lot! The bucket I use once held kitty litter and holds about six gallons. I transfer about two gallons into a smaller container (which also once held kitty litter) and keep it in the laundry room so I’m not tripping over a big bucket.


Okay, this is really easy.

Step 1

Bring water, about one gallon for every eight ounces of soap you use, to a boil. While it heats, use the knife or grater to cut the soap into little pieces and drop them into the water. It doesn’t have to be a fine powder, bigger pieces are fine. It will just take longer for them to melt in the water. The bars I’m using are only about four ounces each, so I’m using two of them.


Step 2

Once the liquid is boiling and the soap has dissolved, it’s time to add the borax and washing soda.

  It MUST be boiling or nearly so.

The washing soda won’t dissolve in cooler water, it will just form lumps in the bottom of the pot. Add a cup at the time, slowly, while stirring. The mixture will go cloudy after the washing soda is added, that’s normal. It will become more translucent once everything has dissolved.


Starting to ad the washing soda.(I didn’t have enough) The borax has already been added. Notice how translucent the liquid is.


Shortly after adding the washing soda. Very cloudy. When it finally cools it will be close to this color.


Washing soda and borax have dissolved and the mixture is once more translucent. It won’t stay like this. If you are adding scent or preservative, this is the time to do so.

Step 3

Here is where you have some options. What you have created is a concentrate; if you do nothing it will cool and reach a thick, pudding-like consistency. It is usable, but it doesn’t work too well in cold water washing. It does make a wonderful stain treatment at this strength and I usually dip a bit out into a washed-out cream cheese container to spot treat clothes and the carpet.

To dilute into a more usable consistency, take your bucket and run about a gallon of the hottest water your tap can provide into it. Carefully pour the concentrate into the water.

It will be very hot and can burn you! 

Stirring constantly, add more hot water until it’s as full as you like. Leave it to cool, it will take several hours, and you can give it an occasional stir or leave it alone.

All done!

My bucket holds about six gallons and that makes for a thin laundry soap using this recipe, resembling egg drop soup when cool. This works good for me, I tend to use too much soap so watering it down a bit means I actually use less when I splash in my regular amount. When my mother makes hers she uses less water and it closely resembles yogurt. I use about a cup of mine per load, while Mother Dearest uses about half that. I also use mine to wash my dishes, I put the liquid in a spray bottle and just spray it over the dishes in the sink before I start washing them. Works wonderfully.


The finished product. When the hot concentrate is added to the relatively cooler tap water it cools a bit and gets cloudy again.


Fearless is a helper.

If you did like I did and forget to make sure you have enough washing soda, prepare as usual. When you finally get your missing ingredient, scoop out about half a gallon of the mixture and bring it to a boil and add the powder. Let it dissolve and return the liquid to the bucket and stir vigorously.

If you want a more homogeneous end result, stir continuously while it cools (a vigorous stirring every few minutes for about six hours is good). An immersion blender works great for this. Mother Dearest does this, but I don’t mind the egg drop soup look. I store most of the mixture in the bucket and fill a big jug to keep in the laundry room. I just give it a hard shake before I use it to make sure it’s stirred up good.

A word of warning –


You will not believe the mess it makes. You just keep cleaning and cleaning and there’s still soap everywhere. It happened to me once and I still have nightmares.

It’s hard to break down how much this would cost, since there are so many variables. Depending on what kind of soap you use, how much washing soda and borax you use, and so on. For me, using homemade soap and this recipe, it costs less than two dollars to make six gallons and it lasts me for several months.

That’s pretty cheap.

It’s also very customizable, depending on your needs and your tastes, which is what I like about it. I’m always fiddling with different scents and amounts, but this is my core recipe.

I have a superpower.

Whenever I open a bottle of Dr. Pepper (the name-brand stuff, not the store brand) it explodes.

I’m not kidding; Every. Single. Time.

It happened again on Saturday; I was preparing to enjoy my delicious grilled cheese sandwich (I live a luxurious life) and decided to quench my thirst with a refreshing beverage.

Enter my nemesis – Cherry Dr. Pepper.

Oh, Doctor ... I both love and fear you.

I approach the bottle cautiously, the way you would act if you saw a spider you were not sure was poisonous or not. Gripping it firmly, I gave the top a cautious tweak.


“Okay,” I thought, “that’s not bad, just a little gas. And there’s a few bubbles, that’s expected. maybe this time …

Oh, hell.”



Dark red liquid went everywhere. Me, the table, my plate, the floor, a few cats that were hoping for a handout; everywhere. And of course I had to clean it up before it dried and got sticky, which meant a dish towel and a few rags were added to the list of casualties. And the cats were just thrilled that they had been sprinkled with a liquid.

My sandwich was cold by the time I was able to enjoy it, but I did have my glass of Cherry Dr. Pepper.

It tasted like sweet revenge.