Tag Archives: ebenezer

2013-12-21 16.37.37-2

Ebenezer, 2003–2013

Some of you may already know from Facebook or Instagram, but Ebenezer, a.k.a. Fidget, a.k.a. Hypercat, son of Ted E. Bare and American Beauty, passed away on Saturday. He had been qui­etly bat­tling heart dis­ease his entire life, occa­sion­ally seen as strong heart mur­murs, but offi­cially diag­nosed about 6 months ago as an enlarged heart.


At the time, he coughed a lot. He coughed in that wheezy trying-to-release-a-hairball sort of way. Of course, this was highly unusual for a naked cat. After it didn’t go away on its own, we brought him in to the vet. An ultra­sound con­firmed his heart was not only over­sized, but push­ing on his lungs. There was a lot of fluid in the lungs as a result. Without inter­ven­tion, his remain­ing time would be mea­sured in weeks. They hooked us up with heart med­i­cine (cat-sized doses of actual human heart med­i­cine), with a guess of another year or two until reach­ing his expi­ra­tion date. Things improved and he was mostly back to nor­mal. Perhaps not as much of a race-around-the-house, cat-tree-climbing mon­key as he was prior, just a slightly older ver­sion of him­self.

A lit­tle over a week ago, he had an episode. He had been sick for a cou­ple of days, prob­a­bly from a kitty-cold that Norman brought in, and hadn’t been eat­ing. We’d also had dif­fi­culty feed­ing him his pills. He yowled a cou­ple of times, had dif­fi­culty breath­ing, and wouldn’t move from the spot where he planted him­self on the floor. It was after-hours for our nor­mal vet, so I took him to the ani­mal hos­pi­tal. They rushed him to an oxy­gen cab­i­net and took some x-rays. The out­look didn’t look too good. There was a lot of fluid in there. They were look­ing at the pre-existing con­di­tion com­pounded by pneu­mo­nia.

Hangin' at the exclusive (and expensive) oxygen bar
Hangin’ at the exclu­sive (and expen­sive) oxy­gen bar

Miraculously, he was released the next morn­ing with a rea­son­ably clean bill of health. There was still fluid in there, but they were able to coax out a good amount with med­ica­tion. He was happy, chirpy, and feel­ing bet­ter. More impor­tantly, he was eat­ing like a horse — a very good sign.

One of the last pictures I ever took of the lil' guy. Resting between the hospital and regular the vet.
One of the last pic­tures I ever took of the lil’ guy. Resting between the hos­pi­tal and the reg­u­lar vet.

Our reg­u­lar vet checked him out later that after­noon, since she was more famil­iar with his case his­tory, and altered his meds to com­pen­sate for his weight loss, but thought he was recov­er­ing pretty well. The whole week, he was happy to eat food, drink water, and he was finally get­ting all his meds.

My hope was that he’d make it through Christmas. In fact, I’d assumed that would be the case. My real hope was that he would get through the chill of win­ter, to see another sum­mer — every naked cat’s favorite time of the year.

This Saturday we had an even worse episode. Some howls of pain, retreat­ing to the cat­box to puke, and when he got out, he flopped over on the wood floor of the next room, rolling around but oth­er­wise unable to stand or yowl. I rushed him back to the hos­pi­tal. I talked to him the whole drive because the typ­i­cal howls of cat-carrier-travel protest were more like whim­pers. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much they could do this time. A lit­tle after 2:30pm, I made the rough call to put him down. The oxy­gen wasn’t help­ing. He was pretty far gone and not really cog­nizant of his sur­round­ings. I sat and talked to him through the whole thing, hop­ing some part of him could still hear me despite the oth­er­wise lack of response.

2013-12-21 16.37.37-2

The last cou­ple of days have been pretty rough. There is most def­i­nitely an Ebenezer-shaped hole in my life. I started to make a list of the things I’ll miss, but it quickly spi­raled out of con­trol. Here is a brief snap­shot:

His smell. It’s nei­ther pleas­ant nor unpleas­ant, but it is present. You’d occa­sion­ally catch a whiff of it, either directly from him or from the blan­ket he’s been hud­dled in. He was a sweaty cat with a mild odor that I can best equate to the fur and sweat of horses on a sunny after­noon. It gets stronger over time, espe­cially when he turns a blan­ket into a sweat-lodge, which is why I gave him a bath every week or two.

Leave the bath­room door open, and he’d join you in the tub when you’re show­er­ing. Leave it closed, and he’d be wait­ing when you leave so he can lick up water drops from the bot­tom of the tub.

The heat vents that dou­ble as a cat perch.

His love of peo­ple, love of being a ham, never shy­ing away from atten­tion. He knew he was the star of the show when strangers are around.

His favorite spot, when the sun porch is cold or inac­ces­si­ble and there are no peo­ple around to per­form in front or sit on top of of was this mangy igloo, despite the really nice one perched on a heat vent. I think he liked the warm hug that the furry insides pro­vide:

Left: “this mangy thing”
Left: “this mangy thing”

Having to check every blan­ket before you sit down, to ver­ify the lump you see isn’t him. And hav­ing to warn vis­i­tors of the same.

The lit­tle guy rac­ing down­stairs to meet me when I got home, like a puppy.

The con­stant open/close slam­ming of the cab­i­net door when it’s food time. I actu­ally started miss­ing this about a month ago, when I installed soft-close cab­i­net dampers. He kept on try­ing to slam the food cabinet’s door, but it no longer made noise.

The “kitty siren.” This is the only cat I know of who, when it comes time to puke, had an early warn­ing sys­tem. He’d occa­sion­ally eat too much grass or slurp up a hair when drink­ing from the sink. If you heard that siren-like yowl, you had about 30 sec­onds to grab some paper tow­els and have them ready in front of him. He’d then puke twice (always twice) onto the paper.

His total and absolute indif­fer­ence toward cat­nip, but his love of the smell of bleach and his rolling-around on freshly-bleached bath­room tile.

That expres­sive face, with no fur to mask that expres­sion — you could instantly see con­fu­sion or dis­taste as it reg­is­tered. Happiness was a lit­tle more elu­sive to visu­ally spot, but you don’t need facial tics for that. A warm purr is suf­fi­cient.

The pointy way he sat. Based on pho­tos of other cats, I think this may the whole Sphynx breed and not just spe­cific to him. When he sat on a lap or chest, he’d be perched to spro­ing, with all of his weight on the pads of all four feet — not even sit­ting fully flat on the back feet. Physics and pounds-per-square-inch and such dic­tate that this gets extremely uncom­fort­able for the provider of the lap or chest. He would occa­sion­ally pan­cake out flat, but that was a rare occur­rence.

Always want­ing to touch some­body at night, with skin-to-skin con­tact. In win­ter, it’s nice to have a cat-shaped “hot water bot­tle.” In sum­mer, it’s less pleas­ant to have a sweat­mon­ster under the cov­ers. Although some­times the con­tact was of the pointy cut-off-circulation-to-your-arm vari­ety, he always wanted human con­tact.


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 We’ll close with a few of my favorite pho­tos of the lit­tle dude...

Svveatercat sphynx_in_natural_habitat IMG_1070 IMG_1888.JPG


...and a slideshow of him over time, start­ing when he first arrived home:


IMG_1862.JPG IMG_1876.JPG IMG_2336.JPG IMG_2330.JPG IMG_1905.JPG glasses_ebenezer IMG_1901.JPG cuddle IMG_4225 Squirrel Watching 2 IMG_3108 QuickTime Player 7001 IMG_5567 IMG_5144 IMG_4237 IMG_3343.JPG IMG_2653.JPG 11-ebenezer IMG_0019 2013-09-16 21.13.09 2013-05-06 23.50.38-2 IMG_2395 IMG_0575 IMG_2697 IMG_2521 IMG_1289 IMG_0078 IMG_0012 2013-03-18 20.54.44-2

Feel free to look through the posts tagged “Ebenezer” for more detailed sto­ries of his antics.


Posted in: Dear Diary Pictures


My Pet Bat

Life has been busy the last cou­ple of months and my lack of posts on this blog rein­forces that.  In early January, I got a MakerBot, which has been a bit of a DIY adven­ture — the sort of adven­ture that’s maybe not so fun and a lit­tle scary in places, but with time and dis­tance, you look back upon it and laugh.  Actually, things are pretty good on the MakerBot front and I expect to have a more detailed post on that in the not-too-distant future.

The MakerBot has kept me busy (assem­bling, print­ing, fix­ing, mod­el­ing).  There were a cou­ple of mod­ern works of fic­tion that hooked me and ate up a bunch of spare time (The Machine of Death and The Girl Who Played With Fire) as well as some non­fic­tion for work and fun.  Work has kept me busy, too.  All this added up to a per­ceived lack of time for blog posts.  I think I really did have the time, just no moti­va­tion.

I have good ideas for the next few posts per­co­lat­ing, but until then I leave you with what is prob­a­bly the eas­i­est post pos­si­ble to pro­duce: freaky pic­tures of my cat.

(also as a video)

Posted in: Dear Diary Pictures

Norman the Terminator

Exhibit A: Ebenezer in the “Terminate Yourself” pro­mo­tion ear­lier this year Exhibit B: Norman with his ter­mi­na­tor hair­cut

A big chunk of Norman’s head has been shaved clean. As best as I can tell, he got in a cat fight, but the wound got infected and abscessed, so the vet cleaned things up. In the process, he got shaved in a way that I find rem­i­nis­cent of a Terminator. The pic­ture doesn’t really do it jus­tice — I couldn’t get him to hold still long enough for a good clear pic­ture, plus the cam­era on this model iPhone is not the great­est.


Posted in: Dear Diary Pictures

Two in the bush

Something a lit­tle bit sur­pris­ing hap­pened last week­end that I briefly twit­tered about, but never got around to writ­ing down. Kim was fin­ish­ing up some gar­den­ing in the front yard and Norman the cat was jump­ing through the grass, dig­ging in the dirt, and just being an ener­getic out­door kitty.

After I got my stuff put away and cleaned up a bit, I took a yowl­ing Ebenezer out on his leash. By this point, Norman was climb­ing around in the hedge that sep­a­rates our house from the lit­tle apart­ments next door. Ebenezer was curi­ous about the whole thing and was half in the hedge and half in the dri­ve­way. All the while, this spar­row was behav­ing in what seemed like an odd way. It would land on the dri­ve­way, chirp a bit, fly up to a nearby tree, then chirp some more, then land back down on the ground. I later real­ized it was try­ing to dis­tract the cats and get them to chase him away from the bushes. There was a sud­den very heavy bush-shaking *rustle*rustle*rustle* from the hedge, then Norman shot out and ran to the back­yard. Ebenezer and I chased him and found he had an ado­les­cent spar­row in his mouth. He was chew­ing on it, flipped it in the air a few times (once almost hit me in the face), and doing gen­eral cat-having-fun-but-in-torturous-ways sorts of things. Everything said and done, he ate all of it except for one leg and part of a wing. He con­tin­ued to prowl around that bush.

Later in the same evening, as I was har­vest­ing mint in the side yard, he came zoom­ing by with another bird in his mouth. It then occurred to me that bird­seed is cheaper than cat food, and if I could get past the moral issues of hav­ing lots of low-hanging bird feed­ers, Norman could catch all of his own food. This thought was dashed at feed­ing time when he yowled for food as if he was starv­ing and hadn’t just imme­di­ately eaten two birds. (At least, two that I’d per­son­ally wit­nessed — who knows how many more that I did not see?)

Part of me feels bad for the fam­ily of birds that got ter­ror­ized by Norman, but really — those birds should know to put their nest up in a high tree, not a bush with branches close enough together for a young cat to climb.

Posted in: Dear Diary

Photo dump: mystery switch, window perch, bathroom, sun

When my main machine was the 17″ lap­top, I had a great sys­tem for pulling pic­tures directly from my cam­era, almost imme­di­ately after tak­ing them, then push­ing them to Flickr with FlickrExport for Aperture. The new (well, not ter­ri­bly new now) MacBook Air does not meet the sys­tem require­ments for Aperture (I got the low end one), so I offload pho­tos into iPhoto as a tem­po­rary buffer until I remem­ber to move them over to Aperture. It is a sys­tem that should work pretty well, except for that “until I remem­ber” bit, where it all falls apart. I end up with days like today, where I import into Aperture and Flickr the past month or two of pho­tos. I then dump the high­lights into one mega-photo-post.

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As I tweeted the other day[1][2], the cas­sette player in my car broke. That fact alone should tell you about how old the stereo is. If you want solid num­bers, it is almost 11 years old, and is the stock stereo that came with the car. Ordinarily, this would be no big deal, as I own no cas­sette tapes, but given that a good chunk of my pod­cast lis­ten­ing is in the car and all of my drive music lis­ten­ing is via iPhone/iPod, and the only accept­able way to get that audio into the car is via cas­sette adapter (I refuse to use those FM radio trans­mit­ters), this posed a national emer­gency in my eyes.

Car stereos these days are almost lit­tle com­put­ers. The replace­ment I picked up is a JVC. The Sony stereos looked nice, but I refuse to get Sony, for rea­sons beyond the scope of this blog post. It has USB ports, one in the back and one in the front. I guess there is enough of a USB stack in there that you can plug in a Bluetooth adapter. (I’m still try­ing to fig­ure out why I’d want to.) You can even plug in a USB thumb drive full of MP3s and it will play directly from the drive. Additionally, if you plug an iPhone or iPod into the USB, it treats it as a first-class cit­i­zen and lets you con­trol things from either the radio but­tons or the iPod (so you can have the iPod hid­den away in the glove box or, like I do, have it on a dash­board mount.) Although I have yet to use it for a com­mute — just a short trip out to an elec­tron­ics sur­plus sup­plier in Beavertron — I am quite happy with it.

One thing I did have to deal with is its size. The old stereo is a double-height one. The new one is single-height. I bought a dash kit that has a cov­er­plate for that pur­pose, but it was this cheap-ass thing that did not fit right and looked pretty bad. You would think they would have stan­dard inter­changable cov­er­plates, like on desk­top PCs. Or maybe not. The more I think back to the days of build­ing tower PCs, the more I start to remem­ber three or four dif­fer­ent styles of cov­er­plate that were cer­tainly not inter­change­able. I ended up fash­ion­ing my own and adding what I now call “the mys­tery switch.”

New stereo and mystery switch 4
New stereo and mystery switch 1 New stereo and mystery switch 3

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A while back, the Make Magazine blog posted about a cat win­dow perch [1] [2] you could make from PVC, wire, and suc­tion cups. I tried my hand at it and have the main body, but have yet to sew the ham­mock part. It has been in this state for a few weeks, and yet I’m mar­ried to a seam­stress. Go fig­ure.


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I do not yet have before and after pho­tos of the bath­room remodel, but I do have a pic­ture of Ebenezer ask­ing for water from the bath­room sink. In the mid­dle of kitchen. Not hooked up to any­thing.

Ebenezer wants water from the disconnected sink

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And, of course, the post would be incom­plete with­out adorable sunny cat pic­tures. I have no idea what hap­pened to the sun over the past few days, but a few weeks ago, it was swel­ter­ing.

IMG_0045 IMG_5346 Ebenezer in the sun

Posted in: Dear Diary Pictures

Can’t work; cats will climb me

In offload­ing some pho­tos to Aperture and Flickr, I ran across this one from the other week. When doing work at home, it is usu­ally on the lap­top on the sofa or easy chair in the front room. With the ergonomic kneely chair at my desk, my back is exposed enough to allow Ebenezer to climb up it and perch on my shoul­der like a par­rot. He then either watches the mouse cur­sor move around the screen or searches for a higher perch to jump to. It can be pretty dis­tract­ing and he can get heavy and/or wig­gly.

Trying to work 2

See also: shoul­der perch­ing in the kitchen...

Short Hair, In Kitchen, With Ebenezer

(This entry is mainly an excuse to post more pho­tos of myself with short hair. I have amaz­ingly few short-hair pho­tos. It is still a new and novel thing, and I am try­ing to make the most of it.)

Posted in: Dear Diary Pictures

Ebenezer’s Snow Failure

Ebenezer’s pre­vi­ous day in the snow, back in 2005, was fun but unevent­ful. He went out in the snow, which was only a cen­time­ter or two deep, wan­dered around, then returned. This year, he almost did not make it out the door. Even with the sweater, he was cold and a bit unnerved by the depth of the snow.

Posted in: Dear Diary Pictures Portland

My life, the bad sitcom

Kim: Did the timer go off?

Me: I didn’t hear it.

Kim: You didn’t hear it?

Timer: *brrrrrring*

Me: The timer went off.

In other news, Ebenezer — the nekkid cat — has reaf­firmed some of his quirks. He is the only cat I know that is indif­fer­ent toward cat­nip, yet loves bleach. Kim is mop­ping the floor and we are hav­ing dif­fi­culty keep­ing him away. He likes to roll around on the wet floor.

Posted in: Dear Diary Quotes


Last week­end, this is where I biked to. There were peo­ple mak­ing out, peo­ple in a far-off drum cir­cle, a crazy old lady with a har­mon­ica, a pair of young Italian guys play­ing bocce ball, and lots of peo­ple walk­ing their dogs.

Mount Tabor, overlooking Portland

The reser­voir has funny lit­tle pro­cess­ing build­ings that look like a com­bi­na­tion between a cas­tle and a pirate ship.

Mount Tabor reservoir

And this is what I munched on:

Mount Tabor, picnic

One of the neigh­bor cats is get­ting very friendly. He keeps climb­ing up to the out­side win­dows. Keep in mind that these are not at ground level. With the added height of the base­ment and its win­dows, these par­tic­u­lar win­dow ledges are about 6 feet from the ground.

IMG_0078 IMG_0081 IMG_5062

Ebenezer says hi. He looks over the neigh­bor cats when they’re hang­ing out out­side the kitchen.

IMG_5044 IMG_5026

That’s all for now.

Posted in: Dear Diary Pictures Portland