Catster’s 5 Favorite Comic Book Cats

Catster is celebrating National Comic Book Day (September 25) with this post about their favorite cats in comics. I had forgotten all about Streaky the Super-Cat, Supergirl’s sidekick (to mirror Superman’s Krypto)!

“Streaky was also briefly a member of the Legion of Super-Pets, consisting of several high-powered animals, including a monkey, a horse, and Superman’s dog, Krypto. Since those halcyon days, comics have thankfully found more substantial roles for cats.”

comic-book-cats-05True — like the Siamese cat from Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman: Dream of a Thousand Cats. It’s a story that is at once wondrous and magical, but at the same time, sad, soulful and frightening — sounds like Neil. šŸ™‚

“The most wondrous and mystical cat on this list, the itinerant Siamese narrates a harrowing tale of love and loss. Seeking retribution against the callousness of her human owners, the Siamese goes on a visionary quest for the Cat of Dreams. The issue is an extended meditation on the question of whether cats dream, as well as the power of the imagination to create reality.”

Read more at:
For National Comic Book Day, Our 5 Favorite Comic Book Cats | Catster.

Amazon releases “Kindle Unlimited”: Read as much as you want for $9.99 a month

I got an email today about whether or not I want to have the book I edited, Dearest Girl of Mine, included in “Amazon Unlimited” (I said yes; it was a project I enjoyed thoroughly in another time of my life, but it was never anything more than an academic exercise). I had heard rumors about the new service but didn’t know it was ready to go.

Amazon’s long-rumored e-book subscription service is now a reality: “Kindle Unlimited.”
The company announced the $9.99-per-month service on Friday and said that it would let users “freely read as much as they want from over 600,000 Kindle books.” A portion of Audible’s audiobook library is also included.

Of course, the 600,000 titles represent only a small slice of all the Kindle books for sale through Amazon’s sprawling online store. This is due in part to disagreements between Amazon and some major publishers.

But the service has a number of hit titles thatĀ AmazonĀ is promoting, including “The Hunger Games,” the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” and the new Michael Lewis book “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt.”

via Amazon: Read as much as you want for $9.99 a month – Jul. 18, 2014.

Hmmm. While it sounds interesting, as a Prime member I already get to borrow one book a month, and I rarely do that. Not sure I’d be willing to fork over $10 a month extra for more.

today’s the fourth of July

Two musical offerings for you this holiday — Aimee Mann and Katy Perry, in no order of preference or merit and with nothing to connect them to each other except for a tenuous holiday reference. Between the two, though, whatever kind of 4th you’re having, one of these is bound to suit your mood. (Just be careful of the sparks from the KP one. Apparently she can shoot them right out of her body.)

earning money swagging

SwagBucksTwitterLogoI waste a lot of time online. On my phone, on my iPad, the computer. While I’m watching TV, while we’re eating dinner, whatever. I’m using surfing around aimlessly, in between more vitally important tasks like refreshing my Facebook feed.

A couple months ago I was obsessed with playing QuizUp. Like, constantly. I was as focused as I was back in 1993, when my friend Paula and I spent countless hours playing Yahtzee on her Apple II (high scorers forever!). And after awhile, it started seeming pointless. All these hours answering questions about “Friends” and “How I Met Your Mother”, and nothing to show for it. Surely my time futzing around online could be put to better use.

As a side note, right around then, I learned to great sadness that we wouldn’t be getting $200 of onboard credit on our next Disney Cruise (maybe 2016, maybe 2017). You used to get this, along with a discount, any time you booked a return cruise while still on the ship, and then you could just keep moving the reservation until you were ready to cruise again, even for years and years. Well, Disney doesn’t let you do that anymore — you have to actually take the cruise within 18 months, or you lose the 200 bucks of ship credit. Bummer.

So, I decided to put my online time to better use. Without making a chore of it, without spending much more time online than I used to anyhow, I started spending time on Swagbucks. I had an account there already but had never really tried to make much of it. The theory is, you do surveys, watch videos and ads, maybe sign up for special offiers (I never do those, though, as they often cost money, which defeats the purpose), and earn Swagbucks. And you can trade Swagbucks in for gift cards, to places like Target and Amazon, or even for straight-out money, through your PayPal account.

I’ve been “Swagbucking” for just short of 2 months now, and I’ve earned $100. Yep, that’s 100 bucks! šŸ™‚ Yay! My goal was to at least replace that $200 onboard credit for our future cruise, and I’m half-way there already. Now I’m going to see how much we can put towards the cruise altogether, since it’s years away it might be a nice tidy sum.

But, it’s not a job. Some days I spend more time on it than I do on others. Sometimes I rack up a lot of Swagbucks, and sometimes just a 100 or so (cash equivalent: one dollar). I refuse to make it a chore. And it’s probably not worth your time if you don’t surf as aimlessly as I do, or if you don’t have the spare time I admittedly do. But for me, it’s a far better way to spend my aimless time online than anything elseĀ I’ve done.

helping hands

HH3A couple of days ago, I hurt my back. You know, as a side note, once upon a time I foolishly thought having rather serious back surgery would mean that I would stop saying things like “I hurt my back”. Silly me. Especially when the full sentence is, “I hurt my back cuddling kitties on the bed, and lying on my stomach for more than five minutes.”

Anyhow, as a result, I’m mostly down for the count this weekend, resting up with the heating pad and subsisting on Ibuprofen and Lortab. And watching a seemingly endless marathon ofĀ Game of Thrones episodes on HBO. I had a few bloodhtirsty dreams last night, as a result. And one about dragons. I’m okay, pain-wise, and I can get around okay if I’m careful. Rest is best, though.

I’m very grateful to have been able to order groceries from Fresh Direct; easy to order, and they should be delivered in an hour or so. It’s handy. We’re not crazy about using them in general; one bad delivery experience out of three so far isn’t good odds. It’s handy, especially on a day like today. Given my druthers, though, I’d rather do the shopping myself.

The worst part is, though, that what I really wish is that we had Wegmans. I mean, obviously, I always wish that. But this weekend especially — because I could do the shopping, if we had Wegmans. I’m up to walking the aisles — sometimes walking is good for my back. But I can’t bend, or lift, or carry. At Wegmans, I wouldn’t have to. I could use a motorized shopping cart, if I wasn’t up to walking. I could ask for help reaching anything — there are always employees everywhere in the aisles, and they’re always happy to help. I could count on the cashier to bag my groceries without comment, which never happens here. I could get the Helping Hands to load them into my car. True, they can’t follow me home, but Dave could bring most things up there, later. Here, there’s no help anywhere in the stores. Finding an employee is near impossible. The other day I stopped in Waldbaums and all of their freezers were broken — the thermometer on the one I was looking at was at 65 degrees — and I spent ten minutes finding anyone who worked there that cared. There’s just no one interested in doing anything above and beyond. That’s not a Long Island thing, though — it’s a non-Wegmans thing. At Wegmans, they don’t think helping their customers out is “above and beyond”. They think it’s the least they can do.

Cosumer Reports just named Wegmans the best supermarket in America, and Forbes says it is one of the best companies for customer service, along with the Apple Store and the Ritz-Carlton. And Fortune Magazine regularly names it as one of the best companies to work for. I guess that’s all for a reason, and I guess that’s why I miss it so much. Mostly, I’d give anything to see one of those orange jackets, because IĀ could use a helping hand.




I wasn’t always an anxious person. I thought more about past mistakes than anything else, fretted over decisions I’d already made. I was huge on regret. But then things changed, and now I confess I sometimes get anxious if I don’t have something to worry about.

Explaining anxiety to someone who doesn’t have it, or doesn’t live with it, is hard to do. I don’t know that I’m really up to trying. All I will say is, in my case, it never even helps when I tell myself, or when someone else tells me, that I’m worrying for no reason, or that everything’s okay. But it’s not for no reason if it turns out there *is* something wrong, you know, so the only thing that usually calms me down is finding a way to be sure — to rule out danger. It’s not very easy to do that, though, and it never lasts for long. Something can go wrong any time. You can get up for work one day and an hour later your life is changed. You can be standing in your living room and seconds later you can be gone, with no warning. It can all go away that quickly, and there’s no way to reach back in time and stop it from happening, no matter how much it seems like you should be able to. Sometimes there’s no reason to worry. Most of the time, really. I know that. But I didn’t see it coming last time, after all. This time, maybe if I’m watching carefully enough, it won’t be able to happen at all.

temporary vehicular disenchantment

I’m not a car person. I don’t spend much time looking at nice cars, or even knowing the difference between them. Maybe I notice the color of a car, but that’s about it. I’ve driven an SUV, and it didn’t do much for me. Dave’s convertible is very nice, I admit, but in general the whole car thing is low on my radar. I don’t even like to drive. If my only car was a limo, I’d be content. Alas, I’m still waiting for that day.

IMG_0344Having said that, I bought my car in 2009, a Nissan Versa, and I’ve been very fond of it. I love the color, which is a lovely bright Superman blue. I love the hatchback, which I find very convenient — great for shopping. I made sure it had a jack for my iPhone, and that was all I really cared about stereo-wise. It was incredibly affordable, too — downright cheap, as far as new cars go. A win all around.

Except this week, it needed about $1,000 in repairs, and I find I’m a little annoyed. Let’s just say that as a result, I’m not feeling the love as much.

I mean, Supes, didn’t we have a deal? I would say nice things about you, and on average I’d only put a mere 7,500 miles or so a year on you. Not demanding at all. In return, you would go from point A to point B without, you know, breaking down. That’s my only real request from you, as a vehicle. But starting last Friday, you haven’t been holding up your end of the deal. First, muffler. Honestly, did it have to be something so embarrassingly noisy? For a day I was that car that, when you’re at a stoplight and you think, “Wow that’s a loud noise, is it me? No, it’s that poor guy over there, good”, well, I’m that guy. Then for inspection, you needed tires and brakes. Come on, now. Greedy, much? It’s not like I worked you especially hard, took you on long trips or taxed your resources. The occasional jaunt to Canada doesĀ not count as above and beyond the call of duty, even if it is another country. You like Canadia, anyhow.

Well, what’s done is done. You’re fixed and back home and we can just put this behind us. Just, you know, don’t press your luck and ask for anything, any time soon. Not even wiper fluid. Just lay low and give it a little time, please. It’s temporary, I promise.

rereading anna karenina

786716Last year I read 54 new books, from start to finish. Some were shorter than others, but some were hugely long, so on the whole it was a record I was proud of. And I definitely enjoyed myself, finding new authors, a new series or two, reading all the big titles that came out in the past year or so. It meant I always had something to say about whatever anyone was reading, and it was fun zooming past my goal of 52-books-in-a-year. This year, though, I’ve read a fraction of that. And this summer, I’m being really lazy and rereading. I love to reread my favorite books. Some are comfortable old favorites from teen years, or fantasy novels that take me away from everyday humdrum. My favorite reread of all, though, is Anna Karenina.

I first read it towards the end of high school, many moons ago. I also don’t know how often I’ve reread it since. If I had to count, I’d put it close to double digits, and since it’s a pretty long book, that’s saying something. Why do I keep going back to it? The language is lovely, and the descriptions are beautiful. The story is compelling and tragic. Anna, though, has never been very sympathetic to me, and Vronsky less so. Watching their doomed trajectory is fascinating, but it’s Levin I love, and through him, Kitty. Without a doubt my favorite literary passage, anywhere, is the scene where Levin harvests the grass and hay with the peasants who work his farm, every minuscule detail of it. It’s not the tragedy but the everyday simplicity that I keep coming back for.

Maybe that’s why I’m rereading Anna Karenina this summer. True, it starts with disappointment and indecision for Levin, but in the end, it’s nothing but love and contentment. That’s what I want. The ugly, impassioned, hurtful way Anna and Vronsky crash through the lives of everyone around them is the kind of drama I never could see the value of, in literature or out of it. Give me a sweet couple who hurts no one at all by being wonderfully in love any day.