Oh Those Sneaky Geese

“Ahoy?” During my deck patrol I heard a suspicious sound and went to investigate. There was definitely something swimming around in the water at the back of the boat.

No answer, but there it was again!

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Maneuvering closer I repeated: “Ahoy?!”

Still no answer. My curiosity got the better of me and I just had to look….

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Oh it’s just those marina geese sneaking by on their sunset tour. Maybe they think I’m one of them and want me to join them, or maybe they’re trying to taunt me into chasing them. Either way, I’m not getting in that water!

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Writing 101 Day 13: Play with word count. For those who’d like to aim for a specific word count, take a look at some 100-word stories at 100 Word Story, or Reader’s Digest list of winning 100-Word True Stories, then take a stab at your own.

The Show Must Go On

I recently watched the Acro-Cats on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”. Who are the Acro-Cats you may be asking? They are a troop of specially trained trick cats that are far more talented than meow is. They’ve taken obstacle and agility course stunts to a much grander level, and even have their own music band called the Rock Cats. Not bad for a bunch of rescue kitties.

Here’s the show under review:

If anyone saw them like that for the first time, I guess I can’t blame those who couldn’t hold back their catty hairballs of sarcastic humour.  I have to catfess though, I thought the comments could have been much worse than they were, and was glad they weren’t. If their trainer Samantha Martin had been able to preface the performance by saying that sometimes things don’t go as planned, it might have gone a long way to elicit a little more understanding. Being a trick cat myself, I can totally empathize with the level of distraction those kitties must have experienced being on a show like that: the noise, the lights, the size of the venue. I probably wouldn’t have left the safety of my carrier either no matter what tasty treat they waved in front of me.

So what do you do when the stars of the show won’t purrform? The show must go on, and if you have to, fake some of it like it’s part of the show. I was very impressed with the way the humans just kept smiling and moving on to the next stunt with their arm raised ‘Ta Das” even when any of the cats couldn’t overcome it’s stage fright to perform it’s trick. Stephen Colbert, to the audience’s delight, joined the act and pretended he was a cat doing the “roll the ball along the balance beam” trick. Of course for those cats that did perform their tricks, the audience was very supportive and, judging by the laughter, all in all it was still very a entertaining act, even though it seemed like it was a bit of a fail. But on the other hand judging by the comments, some of audience members weren’t really sure if that was the way the act was supposed to be or not, so then it was actually rather genius when you think about it. The music really had a lot to do with that as some of the notes in light genre refrains seemed to play with the scene.

To be fair, I think their real abilities deserve equal air time so you can see they’re not fake. Take a couple of minutes and check out this video from Youtube.com. We think they, and what they are doing for shelter kitties everywhere, is very special and I wholeheartedly recommend their show to everyone.

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Writing 101 Day 12: Critique a piece of work; express your opinion on a topic or a piece of work. This is your opportunity to comment on something you’re passionate about, or review a piece of art or entertainment that you love or despise. You can approach this assignment in your own style and preferred format. Here are some ideas: Review something you’ve recently read, watched, or experienced: a book, movie, TV show, art exhibit, festival, or something else.

I’m So Gull-ible

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The weather, forecasted to be gray and rainy, unexpectedly turned out to be sunny and dry. After our Remembrance Day Service at Belcarra Regional Park yesterday, we returned to our Marina for a bit of an afternoon dock party. The humans set out their deck chairs, furnished a few deck tables with appetizers, and enjoyed the glorious afternoon together.

I was almost allowed to roam at will, but the humans were a little further away from our boat Minstrel than I was comfortable with and instead I started trespassing on a few boats in between. That ended with me getting closed up inside Minstrel for the rest of the day, which was okay because it was my nap time anyways.

But what really caught my attention just before then was the dock leading the other way, along the marina’s breakwater, that was standing room only for a flock of seagulls. My oh my, if I could only join that party! I did try. I lowered my body as low as it would go and almost floated across the dock as I skulked towards them. Unfortunately they have really keen eyesight, and as if on cue a large section of them closest to me just flew up in the air, only to land a little further down the dock. They weren’t ever going to let me get too close. Mom didn’t like the look of the big mess of fresh runny poop they left behind and shushed meow back to boat before meow, or her, could step in any of it. But what a rush though.

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Here on the west coast of North America we have the western gull (Larus occidentalis). Did you know that an older name for gulls is mew? In German it’s Möwe, Danish måge, Dutch meeuw, and French mouette. These gulls typically live for 15-25 years. One of a gulls favourite food are mussels which are readily available to them at this time of year along the docks at the waterline. They carry the shelled morsels up into the air and drop them onto hard surfaces, a method used to crack them open. We are constantly finding empty black shells, and sometimes crab shells, all over Minstrel’s decks. Clever, but messy birds.

My human said she had read a rather humorous news article about a lady in Paignton, Devon (a small town in England) who reported having about 50 golf balls dropped on her house one summer by seagulls. They probably saw the balls as potential food, but then gulls see most things as potential food. Clever yes, but not so smart.

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Writing 101 Day 10: So far, we’ve found inspiration from our own experiences, images, words, and more. Today, let’s quietly observe the world around us and write about what we see. Find a spot where you can sit and observe for at least 20 minutes: a bench at a park, shopping mall, or museum; from inside your car in a parking lot; or even a place close to home, like your front porch. Ideally, it’s a location where you can watch action and interaction in a setting (between people, wildlife, weather, etc.) Don’t be afraid to take risks! Your response can be purely nonfiction and be an exact report of what you see, or a piece of creative nonfiction that uses storytelling elements (like point of view, pacing, and dialogue) to shape a more dramatic narrative.

News Flash: Curiosity Didn’t Kill The Cat…Satisfied?

IMG_3192Ok, so being a cat, wouldn’t it be fair to say I’m naturally curious about things? Isn’t it in stereotypical fashion that I would venture off to investigate other blogs to see what’s happening elsewhere?  Shouldn’t I be able to hop from blog to blog without getting shooed back to the proverbial boat, so to speak? I mean who wouldn’t wonder why the door at the end of the hall was several inches off the floor? Just because someone else asked that question, is it wrong to comment that you were wondering the same thing?:

I was going to ask the same….mol =^,,^=

So why out of the blue would a visitor there feel the need to reply to my comment with:

Okay, Pawcific–I guess you’ve heard that curiosity killed the cat? Better leave the questions to the humans.

? Is it just me, or was I just shooed away? Wasn’t the only logical thing for meow to reply back with:

Yes, and you must have also heard that satisfaction brought it back =^,.^=

? But then, how should I have taken the reply that followed?:

Yes, but that part never made much sense to me. Could you explain how satisfaction could resuscitate the deceased? Sorry kitty, not that I don’t want you to have 9 lives. Just doesn’t seem logical!

Was this bird mocking me? She did realize she was asking a cat didn’t she? However, it wouldn’t have been fair to the blogger whose comment section would have been hijacked in trying to explain it there now would it? Instead, taking advantage of expanding on a comment here on my blog is the “cat’s meow” don’t you think?  This cautionary expression sounds more like the moral of some fable or folktale, but has any such origin for it been lost? Did it really start out from Shakespeare’s time as “Care (meaning sorrow or worry) killed the cat?” Does cat actually mean cat or is it some anthropomorphism that refers to the curious nature of humans?  Has anything ever killed a mood, or a desire in you? In the play “Much Ado About Nothing” might the satisfaction adjoiner be a translation from the latter half of “What, courage man! what though care killed a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care.”? Metaphors are so tricky don’t you agree?

Why wouldn’t someone twist it around to the popular saying it is now to suit their needs? It is telling someone it’s best to mind their own business? Can being curious get you into trouble? Is it something that you say in order to warn someone not to ask too many questions about something? If not questioning the boundaries of the known, how will you humans ever know if there is limit to knowledge?  When reviving the unconscious or near dead, resuscitate is the appropriate term for that, correct? Therefore resurrect is more appropriately used in the case of the deceased, right? Isn’t the question then can I explain how satisfaction could resurrect the dead? Now, could it be a biblical parable? Wasn’t it when the human’s God was satisfied with his son’s redemptive death that he resurrected him? I’m no religious scholar but doesn’t that seem a logical connection?

I didn’t ask too many tough questions did I? It probably was annoying wasn’t it? We cats are like that sometimes aren’t we? But isn’t looking so adorable one of our most redeeming qualities? Was it worth the risk? Well, aren’t you glad to see that me and my nine lives weren’t killed in the process? Do you have any further thoughts or questions you’d like to add in the comments about this proverb? If it’s more than a few sentences long, maybe you’d care to expand on that in your own blog?

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Writing 101 Day 8: Do you ever peek at the comments you’ve left on other blogs? You might find ideas for future posts. Perhaps you left a response on a writer’s post but could have said even more, or wrote the beginnings of a larger discussion.

Messing About In A Boat

There is nothing – absolutely nothing – half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.

— Kenneth Grahame, Writer – The Wind In The Willows

IMG_2438And that’s exactly what I do. I mess about in a boat along with my humans and their boat friends. We call our group gatherings a “raftup” but another term “messabout” was used for an event in 1990 for the beginning of the Southern California Small Boat Messabout Society, SCSBMS. In the UK, “banter” is used especially in the canals. It doesn’t really matter what it’s called, it’s all the same… the emphasis will be more on talk and camaraderie than actually doing anything constructive.

These are a couple of photos from our Memorial Day long weekend cruise back in May of this year. Seventeen boats rafted together. We called it the Backyard Bash Cruise because this time the location was not far from our marina in local waters. Normally the group cruises across the Georgia Strait to Gabriola Island in the Gulf Islands but human dad felt that was too far to go for just a weekend, even if it was a long one. So we never went.

IMG_2430Our cruise master organized a pirate dinghy poker run and the silly humans frivolously dressed themselves and their dinghies in pirate fashion.  Not me though. Human mom forgot to bring my pirate hats. She had bought 2 of them last year from a Halloween clearance bin because she couldn’t decide which one she liked better. Guess what I’ll be this Halloween. To play, the humans were given some clues to find the location of 5 “stations” on the water where they would get a random playing card to create a poker hand. The winners won a share of the booty (ante). My humans didn’t win, but seemed to have a lot of fun in the process.

Our official cruise schedule for the year is over now. Minstrel is still waiting for one of her sick cats (engines) to recover before we can go boating again anyways. In a couple of weeks we will be taking the students from the boating course out on a day cruise. The students get to put theory into practice and actually plot the course, with paper and pen using paper charts, and take us from the marina to a nearby bay. If all goes well we will arrive in time for lunch and an afternoon to just mess about nothing.

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Writing 101 Day 7: Today, use a quote or passage from something you’ve read to introduce your post. You’ll see a similar technique at the beginning of a book or chapter in the form of an epigraph.

True Catfessions: Where I Write

whereIwriteComing to you live, from the entertainment capital of my house, is today’s post!  Yes, shockingly (or not) most of my writing is done in the TV room. During the day when the humans are at work, it’s actually a very peaceful den. Let me take you on a quick tour, and then please fill out a short poll at the end.

Dark red walls (darker than in this photo), were inspired by the colors of Vancouver Canucks hockey team, and compliments the light brown wall-to-wall carpet,  butter yellow couches, and the mottle of a reddish-brown brick fireplace. A mix of nautical and sports themed pictures and keepsakes adorn the walls, mantle, and matching black coffee and side tables. Those wide-slatted wooden horizontal blinds, covering the large ground level front window, diffuses the bright light by day and adds privacy by night. The extra-wide window ledge, overlooking a small garden bed, is purrfect for full-body lounging when I need to take a break. From there I can watch any street activities, or furiends looking for a drink from the garden’s stone-edged water feature.

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A Tweet For Volunteers

I was having a such a peaceful little cat nap when I was rudely woken by a little birdie tweeting loudly in my ear. Seems my human left the laptop open and I fell asleep on the keyboard after a little internet surfing that ended on Twitter. Glancing sideways at the screen unamused, my ears perked to attention when I recognized the above quote was tweeted by the Canadian Power & Sail Squadrons (CPS).

My humans are members of CPS; volunteers themselves for the past eight years now. They know full well the countless unpaid hours that they and the other dedicated volunteers have put into increasing awareness and knowledge of safe boating. Untold time and energy is invested into educating and training members and the general public, fostering fellowship among members, and establishing partnerships and alliances with organizations and agencies harbouring boating interests.

I rarely volunteer any of my tricks without receiving some kind of treat for doing them, but for humans, if not for the money, why do they do it? Apparently humans have deeper needs so they volunteer for an endless variety of reasons such as to:

  • gain experience,
  • acquire new skills,
  • meet new humans,
  • expand their network of contacts as a way to get a new job or start a career,
  • give back to their community,
  • help a friend,
  • promote a worthwhile activity,
  • feel good.

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Last week our squadron hosted a local shoreline cleanup event registered with the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup which is one of the largest environmental activities in Canada, and third largest in the world. Leading by example, my humans along with many other CPS members making up the over 50,000 Canadian volunteers, removed in a combined effort approximately 140,000 kgs of shoreline litter before it could get into the water. Meowee, aquatic life everywhere thanks you!

Whether discarded accidentally or deliberately, all shoreline litter is the result of human activities. Have you ever visited a beach the day after a public event such as a fireworks show? It’s disgusting! The amount of garbage left behind is staggering, and some of it ends up in the water by wind or wave before any cleanup efforts can get underway. Shoreline litter can significantly alter the sensitive balance of ecosystems and is particularly dangerous for marine life by way of entanglement and ingestion, which can lead to restricted movement, injuries, and even death by drowning, suffocation or starvation. Marine debris is a problem for all of us. It affects everything from the environment to the economy; from fishing and navigation to human health and safety; from microscopic plankton to giant blue whales.

It’s seems quite strange to me that garbage is made up of items humans consider worthless. However, according to a survey from a litter study in 2009, it costs over 11 billion dollars in cleanup and abatements…every year! That’s just in the United States of America alone, and Canada can’t really be all that different, never mind all the other countries in the world wherever humans live. I’ve also learned that the oceans have toilet bowls the size of Texas containing confetti size plastic bits and other debris that just won’t flush. Yes plural because there are apparently about five or six of them around the globe. I really don’t think there’s enough money in the world to pay for it’s clean up let alone the cost of repairs the damage it’s presence is causing. Now more than ever, all humans need to voluntarily clean up their act, and that my furiends would truly be priceless.

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Writing 101 Day 5: One of the goals of Writing 101 is to tap into new and unexpected places for post ideas. Today, let’s look to Twitter for inspiration. Today, write a response to a tweet. Shape your post in any way you choose — agree or disagree with the tweet, or use it as a starting point for a story, personal essay, poem, or something else. Visit Twitter.com and enter #quotes in the search field, which will display tweets with this hashtag. Find a tweet that intrigues you.

Cats Eyes – A Reflective Perspective

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Cats Eyes – A Reflective Perspective

Eyes of the night begin to shine,
Outlining a path in the dark,
Reflections of light guide the way.

Drivers cruise through dimming streets,
Lines on the road fade away,
Eyes of the night begin to shine.

Headlights beaming into nothing,
Refracting points of light return,
Outlining a path in the dark.

Like a celestial constellation,
Keeping motorists from getting lost,
Reflections of light guide the way.

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Cascade, a form created by Udit Bhatia, is all about repetition, but in a smooth cascading way like a waterfall. The poem does not have any rhyme scheme.  The first verse can have any number of lines and dictates the number of verses to follow. Each line of the first verse in turn become the last line of the following verses: ABC, deA, fgB, hiC, or ABCD, efA, ghB, ijC, klD.


Writing 101, Day 4: You found inspiration in one word and used it as a springboard for a post idea. Images — including photographs and works of art — can also act as starting points for stories, essays, poems, and personal musings. For this exercise, use an image as the creative spark for today’s post. You might use it as the setting for a story or poem, write about how it makes you feel, or describe a memory conjured by it.

Eye Spy

Geocaching – A Study in Electronic Navigation

381I often pawndered how my humans ever managed to find their way around out on the water without getting lost. I mean there are no roads or street signs to follow at sea. I eventually learned that they have special electronic devices that can display charts of the ocean and where the boat is on them. How very useful. They have several of these visual devices, of varying sizes and capabilities, which are either fixed to the helm of the boat or carried around with them. Even though human mom took a basic boating course which included learning basic navigation, she didn’t really put much more thought into applying those skills after that. To her, it was the captain’s job to figure out exactly where they were, and how to get where they were going, and she was the admiral. That was until we started geocaching.

Geocaching is about finding little containers of treasures carefully hidden all over the planet, in publicly accessible places like parks and hiking trails…and beaches! Well the term treasure is used loosely since one human’s junk is another human’s treasure, but you never know what you might unearth. Like a house has an address, a geocache has a set of GPS coordinates. You plug the coordinates into the electronic device and it shows you where it is compared to where you are on some kind of map, or chart in nautical terms.

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Setting up a geocaching activity for members to play on a cruise.

Since you’re given the exact coordinates of the geocache’s location, it may seem deceptively easy to find, but unlike a road map, you are not given the exact route to it, just a couple of icons showing your location and its, with possibly a straight line connecting the two. The essence of navigation is to get from your current position to a pre-planned destination, and then to return safely. However, there could be forests, hills, mountains, lakes, streams, buildings, or in nautical terms, `hazards`that you have to navigate around first in order to get there. Because of all that navigational uncertainty, the key to a successful find whether it be a geocache or some other point of interest, is education and preparation.

Do you understand what GPS is and how it works? Do you know the different types of maps? Do you know how to load maps and GPS coordinates into a GPS device? Do you know what a waymark is? Do you know how to create a route of waymarks? Can you export a list of GPS coordinates to share with others? Conveniently the Canadian Power & Sail Squadrons  & United States Power Squadrons offer in-depth courses that specifically teach electronic charting, electronic navigation, and navigation by GPS, and you don’t need a boat or be a member to take them. But unlike riding a bike, if don’t use those skills often enough, you lose them. Cue geocaching. The rewards of geocaching go far beyond the material treasures you might find. Lessons in geography, map reading, navigation, nature, ecology, history, physical exercise, fellowship, and the Golden Rule come to life and are far more retentive because of this any-day real world game. Of that I am certain.

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Writing 101, Day 3: Prompts come in many different forms. Sometimes, a single word is all you need to get your mind’s wheels turning. Here are six words: TREASURE, REGRET, HOME, LOVE, UNCERTAINTY, SECRET.  Select one word in this list that speaks to you in some way. Have you always wanted to write about that wrong decision you made? Are you a long-term traveler looking for the right city to settle? Do you want to write a poem about your relationship?vThe beauty of the one-word prompt is that it’s open to interpretation. What do you think of when you hear this word? What do you see? This word is simply the seed for your post: feel free to shape your idea as you see fit.