More Kittens

About a month ago, my wife suddenly ran out the door and then after a few minutes she came back in carrying two kittens. They were tiny. They looked like they couldn’t be more than about 4 weeks old, if that. Someone had dumped them in an abandoned lot and my wife had agreed to foster them.

So I was thinking, oh great. More cats. I like cats, but we had four already. I figured they were small though, so what difference does it make if they’re around for a while? Turns out, trying to get kittens that young to survive is more difficult than I realized. They had to be fed every 5 hours or so and their stomachs weren’t used to solid food so they were having diarrhea for about two weeks.

Since my wife brought them in without asking, she didn’t overly burden me with cleaning up after them. I just had to deal with the terrible smell. I think she had this idea that if she got them and took good care of them, they would love her and hang on her the way the other cats hang on me. Unfortunately, both kittens have taken a liking to me, are constantly climbing up on the chair to sit with me, and are starting to try to sleep next to me in the bed now that they’re figuring out how to climb.

It doesn’t seem like it’s been that long, but they’ve been here for a month and a half now. They’re about twice the size they were when they arrived. I’m pretty sure we’re keeping the black one. We’ve been wanting another black cat anyway, since our black cat Thumper passed away last August, but he’s a lot different from her. And I guess it’s not really fair to her or him to think he can take her place. She was really something special.

As for the gray one, I don’t know. She’s still here. She was supposed to be adopted out but she gets on really well with her brother and it seems like it would be a shame to separate them. But I’m just not sure and my wife keeps asking me and I keep saying I don’t know, and she thinks I’ll still be saying that in a few years. She’s probably right.

They both get on well with all of the other cats, even though all of the other cats don’t get on well with each other. Maybe they can be the peacemakers in the apartment? That’s probably expecting too much from cats, but it would be nice.

Anyway, I tried to take them down to visit my Mom before they get too big. That trip ended in disaster. They started freaking out almost immediately and when I was almost in Manhattan, they threw up in the carrier, so I had to turn around and come back. I wonder if maybe they were experiencing flashbacks from when they were abandoned and it was traumatizing them? When we got back, the gray one passed out and the black one hid under the bed for a few hours. I’ll try to get them downtown again later this week.

I keep calling them black and gray because we haven’t really committed to names for them. We have a few names that were throwing around for them, but nothing definite yet.

New smaller cast iron skillet

Something my wife and I have been working on is switching our nonstick cookware out for healthier alternatives. It’s part of an overall plan to improve our lifestyle. I know the stereotype of an oily, cast iron skillet, doesn’t fit well with the notion of healthy living, but we’re going for balance, not extremes. Healthier food choices, including less meat and desserts. More exercise. Less binge watching and more reading. Reducing clutter in our home to make way for things and activities that matter to us. It’s a weird, happy synthesis of almost vegetarianism, the persistence of good physical fitness habits from my wife’s days in track and my time in the Army, and Japanese minimalism.

So, why cast iron? On the one hand, cast iron is just better than nonstick. Nonstick coatings flake off into your food over time. Someone tried to tell me they don’t, but I have eyes and I can see the inside of our pots and pans. It’s happening. I know we’re consuming that stuff and it just can’t be good for us, so we’re going to move away from nonstick and get a mix of stainless steel and cast iron. From what I’ve read, cast iron can leech iron into your food, but it’s not bad for you at all. Our bodies need that anyway.

So, what do I want to do with this little cast iron skillet? Well, it’s not really big enough to fry much. Maybe one egg at a time, but I haven’t quite nailed frying an egg in our larger cast iron skillet yet. Mostly I got it so I can bake biscuits and cornbread in it. I’m sure I’ll come up with some other uses over time. It’s just fun to have, like it’s a toy or something. And even though it’s a little more work to maintain them, cast iron skillets are oddly satisfying to have and use.

Chicken Vienna sausages in a cast iron skillet.
The seasoning on the skillet still needs some work.

I wish I could say we cooked something amazing in it right after I took that photo, but we just heated up some chicken Vienna sausages to have with eggs and rice for breakfast.

Updates 6.27

There’s a whole lot going on in the US right now but I’m at the point where I’ve started to tune it out. I’ll probably drop some rambling posts about the social unrest and venture into fringe conspiracy theories later, but not right now. It just gets so tiring, you know? Like, why should I try to carry the weight of the world’s problems on my shoulders (or in my head) 24/7? It’s a constant burden and it can weigh a person down.

So, I’m trying to get back to focusing on things that I actually enjoy, like manga, movies, studying Japanese, and cats. And I’ve been working more now that things are starting to get back to normal in New York City, which is nice.

This past Monday, businesses started opening back up. There’s still no dining in, which is a good thing honestly, but it was super nice to be able to get the car washed, drive downtown, and get takeout from Thai Terminal and Veniero’s. I really missed their food, especially Veniero’s cheesecake. It was so good that I didn’t even bother to take a photo of it before gobbling it down.

Hopefully, COVID-19 doesn’t spike. I’m not really interested in another shutdown, but with all of the protests and rioting, it could happen. I wasn’t really prepared last time, so if there’s going to be another shutdown I’m not going to get caught with my pants down again. I picked up my Mom and we went to New Jersey to shop at Walmart. My cart was overflowing. LOL. I didn’t hoard TP or paper towels, but I picked up quite a few canned and frozen items along with olive oil, honey, canned soups, and other staples.

We stopped by Mitsuwa Marketplace in Edgewater and the grocery was open (which was great because we needed Yakult) but the food court was still closed. Daiso was open and we wound up picking up some nice dishes with cat designs:

So, I’ve moved on to memorizing Japanese kanji. It’s actually more fun than I expected. I’m starting to remember the component parts of the kanji and it’s making it easier to start guessing at the meanings of other kanji. I’m hoping that by the end of the year I can read simple kid’s books in Japanese.

Speaking of Japanese, if you haven’t read Dungeon Meshi / Delicious in Dungeon, I highly recommend it. The last chapter was especially good. It’s probably the best chapter in the manga.

And speaking of reading, I’ve plowed through about 50 books so far this year, including the entire Witcher series. That one is really hit or miss and The Last Wish, which the Netflix series is based on, is definitely the best of the bunch. It was worth the time, though, as someone who really enjoys fantasy novels. I’m reading a book about Israeli history right now and it reminded me of why I was so fascinated with Middle Eastern history while I was studying it in college. I’ll probably go on a run of books about modern Middle Eastern history next. I also want to get around to reading The Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. I’ve been putting it off, even though I’m really interested in it.

Last thing I want to mention before putting things away so we can eat dinner is that there are new kittens in the apartment. Here’s one of them:

The Myth of Police Protection & the Importance of Gun Ownership

The riots clearly showed that the police cannot protect you. I don’t say that to demean the police in any way. It’s just a numbers thing. There aren’t enough police to deal with the mob if the mob decides they want to attack.

The mob did attack here in New York City. They looted and burned and destroyed. They set a building on fire next to where I live. Multiple police vehicles drove right past them as they looted. I can’t imagine they didn’t see the hordes of people. They didn’t try to stop it. Not because they didn’t want to, but because they had other issues they were trying to deal with already. They were overwhelmed. I’m just glad the FDNY showed up in time to put out the fire before it took the whole building or jumped to our building.

In the news there were plenty of videos of store owners standing guard with guns, both black and white. There were also videos (mostly mocking) of white people with guns standing guard around their neighborhoods. People were mocking them (especially the white people with guns) as if they were stupid or doing something wrong or borderline illegal, but they protected themselves and their property. They still have homes and businesses while others do not. Why? Because the police can’t respond to every call when the mob starts to riot and those business owners and homeowners ensured their own safety with their own guns.

The Left wants to take away people’s guns. The Left wants to riot. The Left doesn’t want people to be able to defend themselves against roaming mobs. The Left wants to defund police departments. The Left wants to be able to attack people with impunity and also be the ones to dole out their own brand of justice through “community enforcement teams”.

These riots showed that gun ownership isn’t just a Constitutional right, it’s a necessity.

We need more of this:

A short note about the ability to join this blog as a “user”

A few months ago, I decided to enable the setting that allows “anyone” to register as a user of this blog with a default role of “subscriber”. I had previously had it turned on but it was a long time ago and I couldn’t remember why I had turned it off.

Today, I disabled the feature again. It doesn’t seem to be that useful, or at least it’s not useful in any way that I could tell. A lot of people signed up as users. Over 250, but I couldn’t see that I had 250 additional people looking at anything on the blog regularly. The email addresses used to sign up were, by and large, what appeared to be references to spammy websites, like [email protected], for example.

Even worse, I started getting people making login attempts using my username. I’m not sure if they somehow found my username as a result of my allowing people to join as subscribers or if it was just a guess, but either way, it’s annoying. I know people are going to try to be dicks and gain access to other people’s websites no matter what, but I don’t like feeling like I’m contributing to my own insecurity.

So, I shut off the ability for people to join as new subscribers. I also deleted everyone who had joined as users except for two people who looked legit. If anyone joined as a genuine attempt to subscribe, I’m sorry. You’ll have to follow the blog through the WordPress app or using RSS.