Cats Online: Quintus and Tounsi [en]

[fr] Photos et vidéos de chats 🙂

Being a proper cat lady and an expert in social media I of course make sure my cats’ online presence is at least decent. Twitter doesn’t work too well because we only have one phone for the three of us, and I get to use it most of the time. On Facebook, I have thankfully (for my friends) joined a francophone “cat people” group where I post most of the kitty photos I take. Quintus and Tounsi do have their own presence on Facebook, though it’s spotty at best. (Do please like them, it’s good for their egos.)

During the last module of the social media and online communities course I direct, Thierry Weber came to give a couple of hours of training on YouTube and online video. I “played student” for the occasion, which inspired me to tinker a bit more with video in the future. I actually did some “videoblogging” early on, and was a rabid user of the initial Seesmic, but never really got into YouTube. Probably because I joined it early on (my username is “steph“, that should tell you) when it was still really crappy. (Which is why I used to post more to DailyMotion or Viddler.) I’ve also always found messing around with video formats and codecs and upload size a real nightmare, but now it’s much easier. With an iPhone and a programme like iExplorer to get the videos off it (warning: you have to pay), I’m actually looking forward to making some videos while I’m in India next month. Oh yeah: video editing… not so much for me. I shoot short sequences, throw them online, and that’s it.

So, without further ado, cat photos (Tounsi and Quintus) and videos from the last days.

Enjoy!

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How Was 2012 So Far? [en]

[fr] 2012, année chaotique, mais qui se termine avec un retour vers la stabilité. 2013 s'annonce plutôt bien.

A conversation last night had me thinking back about the last few years. This morning, I stumbled upon this post that I wrote end 2009.

2009 was a good year. I felt like I was getting my act together. Everything came crumbling down in 2010, my “shit year“, and 2011 was largely a year of grieving. Healthy grieving, I’d like to add. Not easy to go through, but a hugely empowering life experience.

What about 2012? Well, it’s not quite finished, though I have two weeks of Lausanne life to go before heading off to India for my annual vacation. So I might as well look back now.

2012 has been chaotic. It’s been a year of changes and uncertainty, both personal and professional. You know how at times you feel like your life or a relationship has not reached its point of equilibrium? That it’s in flux, going somewhere, but not there yet? That’s what 2012 has felt like. On a very practical day-to-day level (the most important one, actually!) I adopted two cats, lost one two months later, and brought another one back from the UK just about a month and a half after that. It may seem like nothing, but for somebody who sometimes finds day-to-day life a bit of a challenge, it was quite a disruption in my life, and whatever was left of the routines and habits I’d formed the previous years kind of flew out the window. To give just one example, I climbed back on my exercise bike for what is possibly the first time in 2012… yesterday.

Tounsi & Quintus à l'eclau, proximité 3

In addition to that 2012 came with its lot of work changes and uncertainty: the end of a long-standing gig, two other important sources of work and revenue left hanging for quite a few months, growing dissatisfaction with the social media industry and figuring out where I want to go these next years…

All this shuffling around was taking me somewhere, and I think that with the year wrapping up, I’m pretty much there. Things are stabilizing. (Proof if needed: In addition to climbing back on my bike, I cleaned the dust webs off my ceiling again this week-end, something I’d been doing regularly in 2009 but that disappeared sometime between now and then.)

2013 is looking good — and exciting.

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Cockerel, Anybody? [en]

[fr] Plein de nouvelles!

So, what’s up?

I’m in the UK. I’m helping Aleika find a new home for one of her cockerels, Hercule Poirot. He’s a super-good-looking guy, and he takes his job with the hens very seriously.

Hercule Poirot Head Shots 4

Do you know anybody in the UK who has chickens (hens!) and would like a stunning rooster to look over them? Do let me know.

I have had a week of holiday planned here for months, and in between Safran’s death and Somak’s appointment as Professor of Physics at Presidency University, Kolkata (so… back to India for the three of them!), we decided I would be taking Quintus back with me.

Quintus in Birmingham 6

Do you know any good people in Calcutta/Kolkata? I’m particularly interested in getting in touch with

  • people who are into organic farming/gardening in the area
  • expats who have done the move from the UK sometime during the last three years or so (moving companies! shipping! organisation!)

For those who may not know, Bagha was also initially Aleika’s cat, and I adopted him when they moved from India to the UK, coming back home from India with him in my luggage. So, a little sense of déjà vu here 😉

On the work front, the OrangeCinema Official Bloggers project is underway. I spent a few days grading final reports for the course on social media and online communities I co-direct in Lausanne (some excellent, I have to say) and we’re preparing to welcome students for the third year of the course in September. I am looking for more writers for the ebookers.ch travel blog, and eclau is looking forward to everyone in Lausanne hearing more about coworking through the opening of a second space there, La Muse (which started out in Geneva). I will by the way be attending the Coworking Europe Conference 2012 in Paris (and probably speaking, will confirm in a couple of weeks). I have rekindled my enthusiasm for organising Bloggy Friday meetups (please do come to the next one, July 6th!) There’s more to say, but this is becoming a long paragraph 😉

What else should I tell you? I’m reading Drive, by Dan Pink, a fascinating book on motivation — and you should too, whether you’re interested in how your own motivation works, or in how to keep other people motivated (I’m thinking of taking a Sagmeister). I’ve started a group on Facebook for people in and around my area (and a bit further out) who like growing stuff on their balcony and elsewhere. I’m in the process of figuring out how to continue juggling judo, sailing, and singing (answer: be super organized). On the way to Birmingham, I stopped by for a day to stay with Steph and meet Emile The Cat.

Emile The Cat 1

I might not have told you, but Steph is my organisation inspiration (amongst many other things, which include being a very good friend!) and so I seized the occasion to face my calendar head-on and get a few holiday/travel dates sorted out. Short version: I don’t have a week-end available until June 2013 (don’t panic for me: it includes week-ends I have blocked out as “must stay at home and relax”).

I’ve also been realizing what a long way I’ve come regarding my organisational and time-management skills. Oh, I still fall in the pit every now and again, but a few discussions lately with people who seem to share the same core issues I have (had?) with time management, procrastination, perfectionism made me realize how far I have traveled.

I’m sure there was other stuff I wanted to say/blog about, but that’s the lovely thing about a blog, right? I can just write about it tomorrow, or the day after, or when I think of it. “Just.”

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Having Cats [en]

[fr] Avoir des chats, c'est aussi: des interactions sociales avec voisinage, amis, et connaissances; des pauses jeu, câlins, sorties; un encouragement à prendre soin de moi, en prenant soin d'eux; des balades dans le voisinage, pour les accompagner ou les trouver; un espace coworking muni de chats!

You might remember, when I was grieving Bagha, that I tried to sort through what pain was associated with not having a cat anymore, and what was of the loss of one particular cat I had loved, Bagha.

With my new cats, I am remembering there is a bunch of nice things about having cats (aside from them making your travels slightly more complicated) — whoever they are.

  • They help me connect to people socially. There are people in the neighbourhood I had pretty much not spoken to since Bagha’s death, and that I have spoken to again during these last weeks, because pretty much all we can easily socially connect on is cats. I find myself wanting to invite people over more (“come and see the cats” is a great pretext and easier than “I’d enjoy spending time with you” — I probably need to work on that, though ;-))
  • They encourage me to take downtime. Whether it’s watching them in the garden, playing with them, or petting sessions, I’ve been “stopping” more.
  • I have to care for them on a daily basis, and I’ve found that in a strange way, taking care of something/someone else encourages me to take care of myself too.
  • I walk around my neighbourhood, either to accompany them, or to look for them 🙂
  • I again manage a coworking space featuring kitty company, entertainment, and relaxation!

Er... Can you get down, please?

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Trucs en vrac [fr]

[en] A bunch of tips: kitty litter in the bathtub and how to clean the litter box properly and easily, deactivate 3G for better phone call quality, kill all your iPhone app "history" to improve battery life, think about your motivating end objective to find the courage to tackle the unexciting task at hand, keep ginger/garlic paste and other fresh spices in the freezer for Indian cooking, and use the Google Calendar web interface to add tasks to your days - with checkboxes!

Je pourrais faire un article pour chacun, mais non, allez, en vrac.

  • désactiver le 3G sur son smartphone pour que ses appels passent par le 2G, bien moins chargé (données!) — meilleure qualité sonore et moins d’appels coupés
  • pour se motiver, ne pas penser à la tâche à faire mais à l’objectif plus large vers lequel il nous amène (réserver les billets d’avion pour l’Inde… bleh… par contre, je me réjouis d’aller en Inde, et pour ça il faut des billets d’avion!)
  • la caisse des chats dans la baignoire pour diminuer la quantité de litière qui se balade dans la salle de bains (et dans l’appart); bonus, on nettoie sa baignoire chaque jour avant la douche (c’est vite fait)
  • pour vider la caisse, ma technique, inspirée par la vidéo en bas de cette page (super informative) sur tout ce qui touche à la litière pour chats:
    1. utiliser de la litière “clumping” (vous aimeriez gratter dans un bac de sable imbibé de pipi, vous?)
    2. soulever la caisse et l’agiter de droite à gauche comme un tamis: les divers “blocs” remontent à la surface
    3. mettre avec la pellette tout ce qui est visible dans un petit sachet plastique que vous nouerez une fois l’opération terminée et stockerez “quelque part” en attendant la prochaine sortie poubelles (balcon/rebord de fenêtre en hiver, ou boîte hermétique)
    4. taper une ou deux fois la boîte au sol (attention les voisins de dessous!) pour décoller ce qui serait resté coller, agiter, ramasser…
    5. faire un dernier “tour de bac” systématique, en raclant le sable d’un côté à l’autre, pour être sûr qu’on a rien oublié et ramasser les petits bouts qui trainent!

    Répéter 2-3 fois par jour (suivant le nombre de chats et de caisses), et dès qu’il y a des petits îlots dans la caisse :-). En passant, le nombre de caisses idéal c’est “nombre de chats +1” (cf. détention convenable du chat d’appartement)

  • pour la cuisine indienne, garder au congél dans des sachets ziploc feuilles de curry, blocs de pâte au gingembre et à l’ail, feuilles de coriandre, piments…
  • utiliser l’interface web de Google Calendar qui permet d’ajouter facilement des tâches à un jour donné (avec la petite case à cocher, s’il vous plaît!); on peut les glisser-déplacer d’un jour à l’autre, les créer directement sur la bonne journée (cliquer le lien “Task” quand on crée un événement), ne pas leur attribuer de date au départ et en attribuer une en faisant “monter” la tâche dans la liste classée chronologiquement. Reste à synchroniser avec iCal (si ça peut), mais c’est pour plus tard. (voir mon calendrier idéal)
  • [Edit 09.05.12: attention, il semblerait que ceci soit de l’intox! cf. commentaires] tuer tout “l’historique” des tâches sur votre iPhone pour récupérer une autonomie de batterie respectable (je crois que c’est ça qui m’a fait passer de “bon sang, 20% restants à 14h” à “bon sang, 76% restants à 21h!”): double-clic sur le bouton pour faire apparaître la liste, appuyer longuement sur une des applications pour faire afficher les petits boutons “kill” en haut à gauche de chaque icône, puis s’en donner à coeur joie; confirmez-moi si ça marche!

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Three Weeks With My New Cats, Tounsi and Safran [en]

[fr] Photos et nouvelles de mes nouveaux chats, Tounsi et Safran. Ils sortent depuis vendredi, allez voir les photos!

Gosh, three weeks already. I thought I was going to update you more regularly (well, if you’re subscribed to me on Facebook, you will have got many photographic updates — see also on Flickr) but time just flew by.

Where to start? Well, first, they have names. They had shelter names when I adopted them, of course: El Tunis and Brando. Now they have their real names: Tounsi and Safran.

Tounsi all set to go out Safran all set to go out

Here they are at eclau, ready to go outside. They don’t normally wear collars, but I got some elastic ones that are easy to slip on and off and made some name tags for them. They’ll wear them when they go out while they get acquainted with their new territory and the humans which inhabit it. This was after their first day out, back home (they have their “spots” on the couch:

Copycats

They have pretty different characters.

Tounsi is not that interested in humans to begin with, but he loves being petted and cuddled. He’s the dominant one of the two, independant, and a hunter. I have banned catnip mice from the flat (this video will show you why). He has round eyes, his lips are always slightly parted (and that’s when he doesn’t forget to close his mouth!), and his elbows stick out a bit — added to the fact he is very alert and tends to trot around to whatever interesting is going on, it gives him a bit of a comical look. He’s very soft, and always very hungry (he’s lost a bit of his paunch since I have him, but it’s been a struggle for me to figure out how to feed them).

Safran is very very cute. He looks like a cuddly soft toy. He’s a flirt: he always comes up to new humans, and if you crouch down, he’ll put his front paws on your knee or even on your shoulder and give you kitty-kisses in the ear (or lick it!). Very cute. But beware! He’s in fact quite shy, and his tolerance for petting is quickly reached. He lets you know that with teeth and claws (more often the former). That means that it’s fine to pet and cuddle him (carefully!) when he comes to you, but he’s better left alone if he’s napping in a corner. Same goes with carrying: when in the mood, he’ll try and climb on your shoulders and settle there, but if you pick him up to carry him you’ll be greeted with bites, hisses and growls (depending on the situation). I sense some learned helplessness here: he doesn’t even struggle to jump down (even when he’s free to just hop down!) but hisses and bites.

They are both splendidly litter-trained (not a single accident, fingers crossed!), and have mostly given up on trying to eat my plants and shred my tatamis and yucca with their claws since I got them kitty grass and a proper scratching post (this is only their third day with access to the outside). Look at the equipment:

New Cats 44.jpg

We do everything together

(Litter box in bathtub: less litter all over the bathroom and flat, and I clean my bathtub every day — it’s never been so clean!)

New Cats 223.jpg

The first week with Tounsi and Safran was not that easy. Not their fault, but I had a very hard time naming them, I didn’t love them yet (I’m starting to), and I had a sudden backlash of grief (expected) about Bagha. The fact that Tounsi looks and behaves more like Bagha than I initially thought was particularly painful. I mean, look at these two photos, and tell me if they don’t remind you of somebody:

Tounsi Channeling Bagha

New Cats 95.jpg

Well, the hardest is past, they have been introduced to eclau and are starting to feel comfortable there, and they’ve been going outside (supervised most of the time) since Friday. I’m so happy for them! As for me, I’m starting to settle down and get used to having them around. I’m even starting to like them!

Head over to the rest of the photos.

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Hello, Cats! [en]

[fr] J'ai des nouveaux chats 🙂

When I came back from India a month ago, I launched the “cat adoption” project. A few leads that fizzled out and three shelter visits later, here we are!

New Cats 34.jpg

Who, me?

I have teh cutes

There will be many more photographs, backstories, and musings on how I’m adjusting to having new cats in my life.

Short version? They’re both around 2 years old, come from SOS Chats in Geneva, are shelter buddies, and get along really well. They’ve adapted super fast to their new surroundings — less than three hours after arrival, I had both of them on my lap at the same time. They don’t have proper names yet, even though they had shelter names and we’re trying on some new ones right now.

We’re getting to know one another!

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Linkball for a Sunday Night [en]

[fr] Un peu de lecture pour dimanche soir.

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Steph+Suw Podcast: First! [en]

[fr] Suw et moi avons enfin enregistré le fameux podcast-conversation dont nous parlons depuis notre première rencontre, en mai 2004. C'est en anglais et c'est assez long, mais on s'en est pas trop mal sorties pour une première!

Each time [Suw](http://chocnvodka.blogware.com/blog/) and I meet, we talk about recording a podcast together. [We met for the first time in June 2004](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2004/06/08/uk-trip-report/), and if I believe the [Podcasting and Beercasting Thoughts](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2005/03/23/podcasting-and-beercasting-thoughts/) I wrote a little less than a year later, that was indeed when we first started talking about using audio to record conversations.

I’m definitely sure that we talked about it at [BlogTalk 2](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2004/07/07/blogtalk-20-compte-rendu/). I don’t think Skype was in the air then, but we talked about hooking up our phones to some audio recording device, and left it at that. At that time, people were getting excited about “audioblogging” (did we already talk about “podcasting” back then? It seems a long, long time ago) and we agreed that were audio really became interesting was in rendering conversations. (See the [Podcasting and Beercasting Thoughts](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2005/03/23/podcasting-and-beercasting-thoughts/) post for more about that.)

Anyway, now we have [Skype](http://www.skype.com/), and [Call Recorder](http://www.ecamm.com/mac/callrecorder/) (which reminds me, I need to write up a post about the ethics of recording audio conversations), and we finally got round to doing it. It’s a bit long-ish (40 minutes — not surprising if you know us!) and has been slightly edited in that respect, but honestly, it’s not too bad for a start.

Here is roughly what we talked about.

– [San Francisco](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/01/12/im-really-liking-san-francisco/), web geek paradise
– City sizes (see this [London-SF superimposition map](http://flickr.com/photos/dotben/362322811/))
– Segways
– The cat/geek Venn diagram ([Twitter error message](http://flickr.com/photos/factoryjoe/355210755/))
– I really want a Wii
– IRC screen names
– The difficulties of pronouncing S-u-w
– When geeks name children: A unique identifier or anonymity?
– Stalkers and geoinformation
– Perceptions of security
– Giving out your phone number and address, and personal boundaries
– Airport security ([background…](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/01/15/airport-security/))
– Risk and expectations of risk
– Death, religion, and the medical industry
– Naming our podcast… something about blondes, apparently
– Clueless marketeering from the Fabric nightclub in London
– The repercussions of having a blog that people think is influential (even if
you don’t think it is)

Let us know what you liked and didn’t like! [View Suw’s post about this podcast.](http://chocnvodka.blogware.com/blog/_archives/2007/1/23/2675001.html)

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Meet the Spiff [en]

I dreamt of Spiff, Martine and Blork’s cat.

[fr] J'ai rêvé de Spiff, le chat de Martine, cette nuit. Récit du (bref) rêve.

Amongst my vivid morning dreams today was a meeting with Spiff. He had his pretty blue manucure. However, I was pretty astonished when he removed the SoftPaw off his left “index” by pinching it between two left claws. (Don’t ask my how he suddenly sprouted an opposable thumb to do that — this is a dream, remember?).

Unphased, he put the blue piece of rubber in his mouth, chewed it up, and swallowed.

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