Tag Archive | Marshmallow Fluff

Meet the Cat challenge: Marshmallow Fluff

Not gonna get around to an updated About Me post with personal details any time soon, so instead, please enjoy some cat pictures.

Fluffy with paw planted decisively on edge of laptop

My name is: Marshmallow Fluff

My nicknames are: Fluffy, Mister Fluff, Fluff’n’stuff, Fluffernutter, Troublemaker

My breed is: domestic longhair

My age is: 5 this past February

I have lived here for: 3 years and a few months

My favorite human food: none, give me cat treats please

My favorite things to do: eat, play with balls and stuffed mice, stare intently at bugs, get fur on everything, hide from strangers, cuddle, keep tabs on the Suspicious Intruder Cat

My favorite room in the house: the bedroom, with my food, my warm spot to lie on the floor where the radiator pipe runs under it, and my safe space under the bed where nobody can get me

Do I snore?: yes, and my nose whistles when I do

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The other kind of “bringing home a new cat” experience

Marshmallow Fluff, first 48 hours: This place has one (1) safe spot, under the bed, and I will stay put right here forever

Chocolate Fiddlesticks, first 5 minutes: I will systematically stand on every available surface to choose my Pride Rock

Tortie standing on stove

…so, yeah, I got a new cat.

Way back when, I decided “if the fluff can get through a year with no emergency health issues, I’ll see if he can handle a second cat.” The deadline passed recently, so I’ve been watching the “Meet the Cats” page on the local cat cafe. A lot of the cats get snapped up pretty fast, but this one black-and-brown tortie just stayed and stayed and stayed…

I went in, decided I liked her, and called dibs.

Tortie sprawled on coat

Fiddlesticks is twice Fluffy’s age (10 years), half his size (a little old lady!), and 100% his opposite in temperament. She’s been here for a week, and was totally comfortable from minute one.

She came with the “fiddlesticks” part of the name, which I’m retconning to mean “chocolate fiddlesticks” so we can keep having a dessert-based name theme.

Tortie eating with feet in food dish

At first I kept the fluff in the bedroom with the door closed, Fiddles in the kitchen with a makeshift barricade in the doorway, and I traded off which one got access to the rest of the house.

Kept both of them shut in at night just to be safe, which worked out, because it turns out Fiddles really really wants to be where the action is. Jumped over the first barricade…jumped over the taller replacement barricade…couldn’t jump barricade #3, but managed to knock a box askew and get underneath it.

Tortie jumping on chair

She doesn’t even want attention or cuddles when she gets through! She’s happy to get petted, but mostly wants to go back to napping on a soft surface.

Trouble is, it can’t just be any soft surface. It has to be Where The People Are.

Tortie sleeping on bed full of plushies

Brought her home on Monday night. As of Wednesday, I was holding the fluff up to look over the barricade, and he was growling a little at the horrifying intruder. But not freaking out and bolting the way he does with strange humans! Which was promising.

Wednesday night, both of them were curious about what was on the other side of the barricade…

Fluff staring at wall of boxes

So I let Fiddles come through for a visit.

It lasted about 30 seconds. Fluff didn’t bolt, which was sort of unexpected, but he hunched up and backed away and made this very sad keening noise. Totally unfazed Fiddlesticks barely looked at him before wandering past. When she got between him and his escape route, I figured it was time to pick her up and move her out of the room.

(You wouldn’t know it from how calmly she sits, but this little lady becomes a flailing mess if you pick her up. Whatever she was sitting on — laundry, towel, carpet — it’s coming up after her, because she grabs it with all the claws.)

Fiddles loafing on a coat

The fluff is getting extremely spoiled through all of this. Every time he bravely survives an interaction with the Intruder Cat, he gets treats.

Fluff emerging from under bed for treats

Thursday night, I held him up for a viewing, and he didn’t growl at all…so I let Fiddlesticks out again, and the two of them spent a good half-hour in the same room.

Fiddles parked herself on a soft blanket and didn’t move. After about 15 minutes of this, Fluff decided it was an acceptable risk.

Fluff sitting in one corner of frame, Fiddles on blanket in other corner

As of Friday, the barricade is mostly dismantled, so Fiddles can go in and out of the kitchen freely.

Fluff gets shut in the bedroom overnight. Turns out he prefers to stay there during the morning/afternoon, so I leave the door closed — mostly to keep Fiddles from bothering him.

(If she’s allowed in, they won’t fight or anything…but she will help herself to his expensive prescription food. And avail herself of his box.)

Fluff asleep with face plonked down

The kitty fountain is in the living room, and so far they’re managing to share that nicely.

…Fiddles also discovered a fresher source of water in the next room.

Fiddles drinking out of toilet bowl

Doors get opened during the evening/night, the cats can mingle freely, and I keep an eye out to monitor anything that goes wrong. So far, peaceful coexistence is happening!

By which I mean, lots of wary curiosity from the fluff, and lots of total indifference from Fiddles. If she’s walking past him, once in a while she’ll slow down for a sniff, but that’s about it.

Fluff investigating a sleeping Fiddles

…What I really need is a door that the fluff can go through, but Fiddlesticks can’t. A nice boundary around his food and his safe spaces that automatically enforces itself, so he doesn’t have to.

Unfortunately, I think the only way to manage that involves special cat doors that take signals from collars. And installing one of those is…outside the scope of my lease.

Face-to-face Fluff and Fiddles inspecting each other

But so far? This is working out okay.

Executive Assistant went to the vet last week

Easiest and happiest vet visit he’s had!

First was 2 years ago, when Marshmallow Fluff was still staying at arm’s length from me — he stopped eating, but was still determined to hide and not be touched, I couldn’t get him in until he was physically too weak to put up a fight. Second was last year, bladder issues. He was happy to get picked up in general by then, but managed to scramble away the first time I tried to put him in the carrier.

This year he was in perfect health. They just can’t keep refilling his prescription food without an annual checkup.

Sleepy cat with paw on keyboard

Got him in the carrier first try, this year. He always comes out to investigate when I start doing yoga or stretches on the carpet, so I used that to lure him out of his napping spot. He got unusually tense when I scooped him up — he must’ve sensed something was amiss — but relaxed enough for me to dump him in.

I was prepared with the carrier braced between two chairs, turned so the open door faced straight up. (The enemy’s gate is down!)

…next year I’ll be even better prepared, and have a towel laid out underneath it.

Cat in carrier wrapped in blanket

I wrapped the carrier in a blanket for the trip, mostly to keep him calm, partly because it’s Cold outside.

Visits 1 and 2, he had to stay overnight for treatment, which was confusing and scary and got a “warning: will scratch people” note in his chart. Visit 3 was much shorter, I was right next to him 95% of the time, and he was…well, probably still confused and scared, but not threatened enough to fight about it.

Horrified cat looking over edge of carrier

Very unhappy, for sure. Did not authorize this. Wants to hide under his bed, but nobody will tell him which direction it’s in.

He weighs 15 pounds! (Last year it was 14. When he was originally picked up by Animal Control, from a household that was reported for neglect, he weighed 6. They had him on a special high-calorie diet to get his weight up before rating him healthy enough to put up for adoption.)

BCS is still a healthy neutral, so it’s not that he’s overweight. He’s just Big. If anything, I think he’s less well-rounded in the tummy than he was a year ago.

He was supposed to get a rabies shot while he was there, but they were all out of stock, with the delivery behind by several days. They said they were expecting the truck within the next few hours. I said, given how difficult all this is for the fluff, we’ll wait.

Unhappy cat hunched in open carrier

So I sat in the little room reading fic, and the fluff sat in his little carrier doing a disgruntled hunch, and we waited. A vet tech brought a bowl of water; he never got thirsty enough to drink it.

After the full few hours were up, the delivery truck arrived!…and the rabies shot refills were not on it. So we packed up and went home. Much to the cat’s relief.

He kept a safe distance from me for a few hours, but adjusted pretty quick after that.

Stern-looking cat with paw on keyboard

They said I could bring him back later, once the rabies shots were re-stocked, and they’d give the fluff his for free.

Part of me wants to spare him another Horrifying Ordeal so close to the last one. On the other hand, maybe it’ll reinforce the uplifting lesson of “hey look, you can stay calm and non-defensive and it’ll all work out fine, you get to go back home at the end.”

Family vac[cin]ations, the cat vs. the Horrible Strangers, reactions to Black Widow, Loki, Check Please!, Leverage: Redemption

Stuff about stuff that’s been up.

Family vac[cin]ations

My parents and brother came to town, making it the first time we’ve all been in one place for almost 2 years. (Parents have been vaccinated for a while, and they visited earlier in 2021. Brother is (a) young, (b) low-risk, and (c) not in a customer-facing position, so he only skated over the “2 weeks since second dose” theshhold just in time to get here.)

We visited a bunch of the local relatives. On one side, the grandparents who flatly refused to entertain unvaccinated visitors (so everyone’s had their shots). On the other, the grandparents who got their own shots as soon as possible, but were having unmasked indoor visits with my virulently antivaxxer aunt and her kids right up until they — the grandparents — tested positive.

Grandfather, who’d only had his first shot, got pretty sick and was hospitalized, but pulled through. Grandmother, who’d had both shots, barely got the sniffles, wouldn’t even have thought of getting tested if she didn’t live in the same house as a seriously-ill person. Aunt has only doubled down on how these fraudulent vaccines don’t even do anything, you guys.

I, uh, timed my part of the visit to not encounter the antivaxxer aunt.

Banging and drilling

A few relatives came over to my apartment to do some handiwork projects. Which meant the Fluff had his space invaded by Horrible Strangers, who talked and hammered and drilled and vacuumed and generally made Horrible Noises.

This cat was not a happy camper.

Normally he hides under the daybed, crouched on top of the boxes I keep under there. This time, he managed to shove one of the boxes away from the wall, so he could squeeze himself in behind it. Note, these are the boxes with the Leif & Thorn books in them — they’re heavy.

It took a solid 2 hours after the Horrible Strangers left before the fluff poked his nose out of his hiding spot. And then he went back under. It was a few more hours, and a few more exploratory peeks, before he was walking around the place like normal again.

Poor guy. He’s had such a nice year, and now this.

Black Widow (no specific spoilers)

Family had a bunch of Potential Outings planned, but the only one we actually did was seeing Black Widow on the big screen.

The building had small groups of other patrons; our theater was flat-out empty except for us. (So if you tentatively want to catch a movie but are worried about large groups in enclosed spaces…give it a shot.)

The movie was good! Mostly takes place during the period when Natasha was on the run after Civil War, gives her a solo adventure that fleshes out her backstory — both parts we knew about, and parts that are new. Funny, heartwarming when it wanted to be, makes good use of that Disney “sure, blow up all the cars you want” money.

I’m usually more into the magic and sci-fi sides of the MCU, and this was a Cap-style action-spy-thriller, no super-science beyond what you can use for “excuses to do cooler stunts.” So it wasn’t an instant favorite the way Captain Marvel was.

But it was good at what it wanted to be. It wasn’t a perfunctory “I want to support the general idea of more female superheroes getting their own solo movies” thing. It was fun, and I liked it. Marvel did good.

Speaking of Marvel:

Loki (also no specific spoilers)

The whole 6-episode series is out now, and I…

…didn’t…like it?

Which is wild, because it has all the ingredients for a thing I should like. Magic! Sci-fi! Time travel nonsense! Alternate versions of the same character having to deal with each other! Significant chunks of action on alien planets! Major queer and/or female characters! Shapeshifters! Quippy banter! Sassy, petty villain getting dragged kicking and screaming into a redemption arc!

The first episode sure felt like it was going to deliver on all those things in a way I enjoyed. And then every subsequent cliffhanger was like “okay…there were a couple specific scenes that are fun, but…is this going anywhere? This big moment should’ve been good, but why didn’t it have buildup? That dramatic setup we did get, why hasn’t it had any payoff? This weird bit, I can think of some in-universe reasons why it was weird, so is it setting up one of those, or is it just sloppy writing?”

And the answer was always “it’s just sloppy writing.”

…to be fair, I think sometimes the answer was COVID. There were scenes where you could see “none of the actors except the 2 leads are getting within 6 feet of each other, and it’s really restricting what the narrative can do.”

But that doesn’t explain all of it.

Feels like it should’ve been a full-length season. Make it a procedural, have Loki and company facing a Time Shenanigans case-of-the-week, and have the characters/relationships develop slowly over each case. Then at the end we get a multi-episode arc where the plot is all interconnected, the developments all come to a head, the status quo gets flipped over.

Instead we got pieces of that arc without any connective tissue. You get prickly suspicious characters skipping from “tense, mistrustful opponents” to “tentative admissions of Friendship” when they’ve only known each other for, what, a few days? With no tangible reason for their feelings to change. It’s just “this is the part of the story where that happens, so it’s happened.”

Ugh. It could’ve been so good! And it just…wasn’t.

…and speaking of “things I just finished that didn’t have connective tissue”:

Check, Please!

The famous, award-winning, funding-record-making, m/m webcomic? That I didn’t read during the whole length of its run. Finally picked up the print volumes when I saw them at the library, and that’s how I got through the whole thing.

It was really thin. Cute and fluffy and disjointed. Kept setting up potential conflicts, but then skimming right over them.

I flipped back through some fail_fandomanon threads from when the updates were being released live, and it was a recurring theme for new readers to go “wait, was this just…resolved offscreen? Or did I accidentally skip a page?” (I was reading a physical book and would occasionally wonder if it skipped a page. It never did.)

…unsurprisingly, the author was in Hockey RPF fandom, and a lot of fans were bringing their interests from Hockey RPF fandom. So you would have character show up in the background, and readers would be like “aha, I can tell this is an expy of Real Player X, I enjoy him because I’m transferring my fannish feelings about Real Player X onto him.” Then they’d still be invested even if he only appeared 2-3 times and never did anything significant in-universe.

Reading it over the course of a couple afternoons — and with zero personal background in who these IRL hockey players are — was a breezy experience.

But, wow, I totally get why it was so intense and frustrating for so many people reading it in realtime. It would’ve been a constant cycle of “sets you up for something interesting, keeps you on the hook for a week or a month or several months for the next update, dashes your hopes when the setup gets deflated or sidestepped or offscreen-resolved, but hey, now there’s setup for another something interesting, maybe if I just wait for the next update in a week or a month or–“

It did work well enough for enough readers to bring the author buckets of money, though. And she delivered a complete series by the end — everyone who backed a Kickstarter to get a book, got a book — which is more than you can say for a lot of webcomickers who’ve taken people’s money. As many faults as I could pick apart in the writing: you go rake in that cash, girl.

Okay, to end this on a brighter note:

Leverage: Redemption

Sequel to the original TV series. Not a reboot, a retcon, or a reimagining — just “it’s been a decade in-universe, let’s pick back up with these characters and see how they’re doing now.”

And, wow. It’s the rare follow-up that’s so well-done, and so worth it.

The first 8 episodes are streaming free (at least in the US). The cases-of-the-week have the same “yeah, we didn’t fix the system, but we gave a complicated and satisfying comeuppance to this one exploitative scumbag” vibe of Leverage Classic. There are bits that make it clear it’s set in the 2020s — a Big Pharma creep who took CARES Act money, a reference to a politician who sounds like an AOC expy, that kind of thing — but it’s not “chasing the trending headline” in a way that’ll make it feel dated and irrelevant too fast.

They killed off Nate (his actor has sexual-assault accusations, makes sense not to employ the guy), and the other characters miss him in a way that’s present without taking over the show. Brought Sophie/Parker/Eliot back together. I assume Hardison’s actor has a job with a better-paying show, because he guest-starred briefly to establish that he’s still around, then brought in his also-genius-hacker kid-sister replacement on the team.

They also picked up a not-quite-Nate-replacement — he’s a newbie but learning the ropes fast, and he can fill the role any time they need a clean-cut business-savvy white guy.

After Elliot’s actor did a stint on the crew in The Librarians, it’s delightful to me that Flynn’s actor is the new guy on the Leverage crew. Please let the creators find an excuse to cameo Eve, Exekiel, and Cassandra in the next half of the series. That would be crossover catnip.

20 quarantine questions meme (with lots of spoons) (and not the metaphorical kind)

1. Are you an essential worker?

…I mean, I’d say Yes for society as a whole. But No for immediate survival needs in the midst of a pandemic.

2. How many drinks have you had since the quarantine started?

Alcohol, none. Don’t enjoy it. Energy drinks and sodas are a different story. In theory I could give up drinking them now that I never need to be awake at any specific time, but I…have not.

3. If you have kids… Are they driving you nuts?

No kids, but my cat keeps coming up to pester me, and then I have to stop whatever I’m doing and brush him for five minutes. (He literally did it while I was typing that sentence.)

And he seems to be experimenting with a strategy of “pat the human lightly with one paw for more attention,” but hasn’t totally worked out how to do that with his claws in.

A cuddly cat

4. What new hobby have you taken up during this?

Polyphasic sleep!

(Not totally new, I did it for a while once…all the way back when I was in high school, during summer vacation. Couldn’t keep it up for long because RL schedules intruded, but I remember being pretty happy with it.)

Started on April 8th with the regular 30-minute naps every 4 hours. Some of them end up being “30 minutes of lying very still in a dark room and not falling sleep before the timer goes off,” and so far one of them has always turned into “spend this whole 4-hour period asleep,” but it’s still closer to 6 hours of sleep per day than 8-9. We’ll see if I can condition myself to get it down to 3.
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