I’m glad we traded off the old coal fired steam cats. The new solar models are much less messy. No shoveling out the ashes, no steam and smoke, no stoking them up every four hours, no messy coal deliveries. Just have to remember to set them in the sun for about 5 hours every day to recharge them.
I thought I’d put this one up here at the same time I posted it on the old Tumblr account but I can’t seem to find it here. So here you go, how to draw your very own cat.
I have no idea what was going through my head when I drew this. Sometimes weird stuff just pops up in my brain.
Even though today is officially the start of spring it sure doesn’t feel that way. Temperature around 34 degrees, cloudy… We’re impatient to get outside and do something again.
Nevertheless, I had the camera out and was taking some photos of the indoor plants, some of which are flowering right now.
This guy is sitting in the kitchen window at the moment. Those flowers are only about a quarter of an inch across. Here’s another shot of a different cluster of flowers on the same plant with different lighting…
That camera does a great job taking closeups like that.
Another plant in flower at the moment is this one:
I love this plant. The color of the leaves, the texture, and those tiny little pink flowers that are about the size of the head of a pin. It’s a lot of fun.
MrsGF’s violets are in full bloom too right now:
Then there’s this really weird plant…
That’s Kai. I’m very surprised she held still long enough for me to get that photo. She usually runs away when she sees me with a camera.
And now, on to the stupidity…
Nothing makes me look dumber than when something goes wrong with my radio equipment sometimes. This one was a real gem, though.
For some reason the TS-990 decided to stop transmitting AM and I couldn’t figure out why. Everything seemed to be working just fine otherwise. I could still use SSB, the digital modes, FM, all were working fine. But when I keyed the mic using AM, it would go into transmit mode, but no signal.
I spent something like two hours this morning trying to diagnose what the problem was. As a last resort I got out my morse code key and hooked that up. Not sure why. Just was trying to eliminate other things as problems. I tried sending my callsign in CW and…
And nothing. Same symptoms as the AM problem. It went into transmit, but no signal, no power going to the antenna.
Hmph… I went on line and searched around, found out there was an update for the radio’s firmware, so I downloaded that and installed. That went well. In fact, better than well because now the noise blanker works the way it’s supposed to and some other little things were fixed. But same problem as before, no AM and no CW.
I pulled out the manual once more and started to dig through that and…
Oh. Oh, brother… All right, look, the 990 is a very complicated piece of equipment. I mean it has controls and knobs and buttons on it that I’ve never used in the almost four years I’ve owned the thing. So I suppose I can be excused for not noticing this.
Most of the knobs on the radio are “nested”, that is there is a central knob that controls one function, and an outer ring around the central knob that controls an entirely different function.
The Power knob which controls the rig’s output power is the central knob. The outer ring is something labeled “Car” which stands for carrier. The carrier setting is essential to transmitting in CW and AM modes. I normally have it set dead center right in the middle. But since I almost never do CW or AM I almost never touch it. But I do use the Power knob to adjust the wattage going out to the antenna or feeding into the amplifier.
Somewhere along the way, the Car knob got a bit sticky and started to track along with the Power knob when it was turned. But only in one direction: down. When I turned the power down, it was also dragging the carrier knob down towards zero, but not dragging it back up when the power was turned back up. Eventually the carrier was turned down to nothing. So without a carrier, there was no AM or CW.
Sigh… Spent more than two hours trouble shooting a problem that didn’t really exist. All I had to do was turn the Car knob back up to the center position and all was well.
And now I just found out my amplifier relay isn’t working… How did I get into this hobby in the first place?
The siamese are warm at last!
The little goof balls spend the time from November through March trying to keep warm. It doesn’t matter how warm we keep the house, they’re still cold. They spend all of their free time going from one furnace vent to another trying to keep their little cat toes warm. It’s rather pathetic, really, seeing them huddled up together by the vents trying to keep warm.
So I decided to do something about it this winter. I bought a heated cat bed off Amazon. Wasn’t real expensive, under $40. It has a heating pad in it. Not a very warm one, just 4 watts, with a pressure sensor that only turns it on when one of the cats is actually in the bed.
MrsGF scoffed. The siamese aren’t exactly all that smart, she reminded me, and they’d never figure out what it was. She did have a point. I’ve bought things for them before that other cats love; scratching posts, cat houses, toys, etc. And they look at the stuff, then look at me with this “what the hell is this?” kind of expression on their faces, and then go huddle in front of the furnace vents.
But not this time. It took Jay, the gray one at the rear, all of 5 minutes to figure out it was A) a bed, B) it was warm, and C) it was his. I’d hardly got the thing out of the box, plugged in and tested, and he was in it, all curled up and purring away. It took Meg, the seal point, a lot longer. Even after seeing her brother sitting in it she wasn’t sure what it was. But yesterday I went looking for them and there she was, curled up in it with Jay.
It’s been an interesting adventure with these two. They were young adults when we got them, healthy but completely unsocialized, even terrified of people. They didn’t even act like cats. we almost never saw them. Food would disappear, the litter boxes were being used, there were no messes or disasters, and when we did see them they looked healthy, so we just left them alone. Every once in a while they would forget that they were terrified and start to act like normal cats. We’d hear them running around the house late at night playing.
We didn’t push things with them. As long as they were healthy and seemed to be doing well, we just left them alone. We were afraid of traumatizing them more than they already were. It took a long, long time, but they finally became, well, cats. Meg now likes to sit next to MrsGF on the sofa in the morning, head butts her and rubs against her to get back rubs and head scratches. Jay comes out in the kitchen when I’m cooking and talks to me (siamese can be very vocal. You can have actual conversations with some of them) and rubs against my ankles and wants his back scratched. They’re waiting for us when we get up in the morning, dancing around and chattering at us. Jay is downright playful. He chases small balls around the house, loves to play with shoe laces.
I don’t know what it is about me and cats. I’ve had dogs and I’ve loved them all, but cats? I’ve always been fascinated by cats, ever since I was a toddler. Especially siamese. We’ve had siamese since, oh, the early 1980s, most of them either rescued or from households where they weren’t wanted, and they are absolutely amazing creatures that I still find endlessly fascinating.