Bringing Back Buster (Day 9)

I was going to settle in for an evening of household chores, work catch-up, whatever, and absolutely not engage in a battle of wits with my demon cat. No, he’s not a demon. He’s never scratched or bitten me. He’s just never liked me all that much. In reverting to feral mode since getting out last week, he ignores calls of his name (or, at least, presents a stoic front; perhaps it’s possible that calling his name helps keep him close).

Buster in the crawlspace

Tonight’s negotiations with Buster once again went poorly.


So…I returned home tonight with some KFC, not because I enjoy the Kentucky Fried Cruelty so much (really, I don’t, but I did eat it; I’m sorry, Wayne Pacelle), but presented itself as a convenient solution to following a suggestion from a member of the animal rescue community who had suggested fried chicken as a lure. So I’d leave a trap with some fried chicken out over night.

But when I got out of the car, I heard Buster meowing. He seemed to be meowing to get my attention. I found him under the neighbor’s car, where he has spent considerable time. Unfortunately, I knew that he would not simply come when called. But I could get within feet of him.  We chatted and ate KFC popcorn chicken together. He let himself be vulnerable and got on his back and stretched and let me pet him. I was in no position no grab him, though, and I know he knew that. If I got too close, he relocated to another corner of the car. If I tried to sneak up on him, he ran to the grassy area between my house and my neighbor’s. It was a 30-minute game of cat and mouse, where I was the cat, and Buster was the mouse, and I lost.

I tried to be patient, but I knew I could spend the night in a standoff with him only to come up empty. I had a neighbor come over, and I hoped her approach would scare Buster toward me, and I might be able to snag him.

But Buster veered sideways, into the thicket in front of my house, and where there’s an accidental entrance to my crawlspace. (The front and back entrances have been alternately opened and closed throughout the week, as I’ve employed various strategies to catch Buster).  I was able to get within a couple of feet of Buster, but I was lying flat on my stomach on the ground, and he was recessed from an opening perhaps ten inches high.

Eventually, the negotiations, as in the past, failed, and he retreated.

Ooh, but I had him trapped there now! I thought. No, I had the other side of the house wide open. He certainly sprinted out the back.

So after getting scraped and dirty and humiliated once again, I came back inside, and I’ll now go back to the original plan of trying to trap him again.

So there’s the narrative of this evening’s episode.  I hate to have spent so much time on it. I really wanted to get to the emotional side of this saga.

This has been an emotionally draining saga. Yes, Buster has remained close, and I’m grateful for that. But the cat doesn’t like me. I’ve known that for the past two years. I’ve had cats who’d come to me when called and when not called. I’m being rejected by this cat in the worst way. Ok, still most reading don’t take this too seriously.

Look, I’ve been kidding about having too many pets for the past four-and-a-half-months, since I got kitten Desmond. Four pets is too many for me, but they’re mine. I’ve accepted responsibility of caring for them as long as they’re able to reasonably enjoy life. And they all fit in well together. The pit, the tabby, the tortie, and the black kitten. It’s insane at times, but as I exist day-to-day struggling to discover my identity, I do strongly identify as the guy with too many pets, who is glad to have all of them. It hurts a lot to lose one of them. It doesn’t matter that it’s only been two years and not twelve. It doesn’t matter that he never comes up to lie on my chest. It feels like a real lose.

So now I’ve jumped the shark, in case no one has ever read one of my blog posts before. “Struggling to discover my identity.” What?  It gets more existential….

I feel quite alone in this struggle. I have a lot of Facebook support. But I’m home alone with this, as I am when I struggle with illness or career woes or whatever the self-doubt of the day is. It sucks–for me–to be alone. And this cat episode is a trigger for that frustration. (Indeed, there are many. Perhaps I’ll touch on others some other time).

Also, it’s September, and I generally consider this month and next to be the small window of the year in which I can really make progress. The heat starts to abate. Cool breezes can be felt. I sweat less. The world is a prettier place. Time to find activities…

9:49PM Interrupted by a ruckus outside. I spotted a puffy dark cat running away from my porch, and it seemed another creature was near. I’m thinking the latter was Buster. In any case, I decided it was a good time to set up a trap. So there’s some semi-raw chicken in a shiny new trap on the porch.

Where was I? Basically, my last nine days have been about finding Buster and then getting Buster back inside. It’s been more physically and emotionally taxing than I could imagine.

But, then, I know others who have been dealt far more severe hands, and I know that, on many levels, obsessing over my lost cat is too much. I know it is, and I feel guilty about it.

So, this is a blog entry. What’s up with that? That’s subject for another day.


Herman gallery using Flickity from Metafizzy

Herman 2000-2014

This will be on the pet profile site soon, but I’ve been playing around with it outside of that. This is more of the clean, crisp pet memorial page I wanted when I started thinking about the pet profile project over the summer. More to come on that. February 14 was the one-year anniversary of Herman’s death, so I thought it was fitting to use him as my test subject. This is working pretty well on mobile devices, though I need to do some mobile landscape view tweaking.

Using library Flickity from Metafizzy.

Purrfect is the enemy of good

Terrible pun. And the actual aphorism isn’t even that appropriate here. I thought of titling this entry Bad is the enemy of good, but that would be a tad too self-critical.

When I was a week into developing, I hoped to have a couple of people try it out. I wasn’t looking for testers. I was well aware of what didn’t work, and I knew I’d be working non-stop to try to maximize functionality, usability, and design. I had tackled too large of a solo project for something I was going to need to present to an audience. If I care about what I’m developing, and even when I don’t, every aspect that doesn’t function or look like I ideally want it to is a source of internal strife. So I admit I suffer from Perfect Is the Enemy of Good Syndrome in my work. I deal with it by being blunt about my awareness of the shortcomings of what I’m delivering. I imagine that you would be hard-pressed to find one of the tens of thousands of project-advice-dolers (a new phrase I’ve just coined…PAD’s…Project-Advice-Dolers) who would recommend this strategy. But it’s not a strategy; it’s just my instinctive behavior.

Aside coming…I am certainly walking a tightrope here, blogging about my work process when I’m seeking to present my best self while I go through the process of finding work. Plenty of PAD’s do advise practicing authenticity, but they haven’t necessary met me. (I think I’ve just expanded the definition of PAD to include all advice-dolers. Let’s just call them professional advice dolers.)

So, I’ve got my long preface…I’ve been afraid to tell people, even just close friends, to try out For weeks, you have been able to create an account, create a pet, upload photos, and link in Flickr photos. And simply having a bunch of real data would have served–and will serve–to motivate me to keep working hard on this project. I get tired of just seeing my pets and my test data.

It’s now ten days post-Demo-Day, and this project serves as my vehicle for continuing learning while I search for paying (and non-paying) work. It would be wonderful if a few people created accounts and added a pet and a photo. I will invite people to do just that.

Speaking of Demo Day, I will toss a link to my presentation here, just for the record. Honestly, I cannot watch or listen to myself, so I offer it with no further comment.

Iron from TheIronYard on Vimeo.

Ok, one comment. I’m sufficiently embarrassed just from looking at the Vimeo still, and, yet, I obviously hope someone will see something of value you, or else, I wouldn’t be following through with this whole self-indulgent blogging exercise. Second comment–the app looks and functions a tad better than it did ten days ago, and it should continue to evolve towards the good.

Let’s put this puppy to bed

I don’t want any design critiques. It’s not finished yet. Demo Day is Friday. But I’ve got to say for the record that I’ve never worked so hard on anything. And 70% of my time has been spent on Javascript code, things like figuring out how to get dates to save to Parse and arrays to render directly to the page without loops but just a simple space after commas…and promises to deal with asynchronous events…I didn’t really get the latter working as I’d like. Keep mind I’m just team of one, so I’ve been dealing with:

  • Parse database
  • CSS/Sass styling
  • Bourbon/Bitter/Neas styling
  • Javascript
  • jQuery
  • Underscore/templates
  • Masonry/layout
  • Account management view
  • Splash screen
  • Parse pic list mgmt
  • Flickr pic list mgmt
  • Vine list
  • Backbone framework
  • Responsive design
  • Presentation TBD, somehow encapsulating all of this, and my overall background in coding and in life, in 5 minutes, this coming Friday

So…not quite done yet. But I need to at least put myself to bed. Moksha has already gone to bed. for the soul

Despite what I posted last night, I am really bleeping proud of myself. Every bit of code I write that works immediately or works three days after I got suck, is a bit I feel good about. If you detect some dissonance here compared to what I’ve previously written, perhaps there is, but there is plenty of room for both immense self-doubt and exuberant confidence to co-exist. Exuberant confidence? There are moments, and I’ll live-blog it right now, that think, even if no one else does, that it is remarkable that I have an app, which I could use to:

Upon seeing the following page in Flickr…

Within 60 seconds…

2. Create a account

3. Add the pet’s name

4. Add the user’s Flickr accont

5. Add the tag the user uses to tag their pet

6. Click View Page and

I’m not finished yet by a long shot. But I can do this…look at the kitty!

That guy with the cat

This essay A Man and His Cat by Tim Kreider (NYT // 2014.08.01) is worth the full read if you want to try understand that guy with the cat, which is basically me.

Some notable excerpts:

I lived with the same cat for 19 years — by far the longest relationship of my adult life.

I realize that people who talk at length about their pets are tedious at best, and often pitiful or repulsive. They post photos of their pets online, tell little stories about them, speak to them in disturbing falsettos…

This is especially true of childless people, like me, who tend to become emotionally overinvested in their animals and to dote on them in a way that gives onlookers the creeps.

…people have a certain reservoir of affection that they need to express, and in the absence of any more appropriate object — a child or a lover, a parent or a friend — they will lavish that same devotion on a [pet].

A man who is in a room with a cat — whatever else we might say about that man — is not alone.