Kitty Pic Caption Contest [en]

[fr] Photos de chats cherchent légendes.

It’s no secret for anybody that I have a thing for cats, and from what one can see on the internet, I’m not alone. [Twitter loves cats](http://twitter.pbwiki.com/Cats), for example. My friend Sarah and I nearly laughed till we cried looking through [The Cat Page](http://www.dropline.net/cats/) last night. Oh, and don’t forget [Dunecat](http://catmas.com/blog/_archives/2007/2/7/2716641.html), [Pursecat](http://www.acc.umu.se/~zqad/cats/index.html?view=1173277999-change.jpg) or [Bedcat](http://www.acc.umu.se/~zqad/cats/index.html?view=1173277999-Iminurbedz.jpg).

Anyway, I took a couple of pictures of Bagha yesterday which clearly deserve captions.

Pillowcat

Traycat

Inspired? Post your captions in the comments, and let’s have a laugh.

PS: a couple of [these](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/tags/bagha/) (like the [DVD one](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny/288589364/)) probably deserve captions too… take your pick!

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Please Make Holes in My Buckets! [en]

[fr] Tour d'horizon de mes différents "profils" à droite et a gauche dans le paysage des outils sociaux (social tools). Il manque de la communication entre ces différents services, et mon identité en ligne s'en trouve fragmentée et lourde à gérer. Ajouter des contacts en se basant sur mon carnet d'adresses Gmail est un bon début, mais on peut aller plus loin. Importer ses livres préférés ou des éléments de CV d'un profil à l'autre, par exemple.

[Facebook](http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=503315010) is [Stowe](http://stoweboyd.com/message)’s fault. [Twitter](http://twitter.com/stephtara) was because of [Euan](http://theobvious.typepad.com/). [Anne Dominique](http://annedominique.wordpress.com/) is guilty of getting me on [Xing/OpenBC](https://www.xing.com/profile/Stephanie_Booth). I can’t remember precisely for [Flickr](http://flickr.com/photos/bunny) or [LinkedIn](http://www.linkedin.com/in/sbooth) or — OMG! — [orkut](http://www.orkut.com/Profile.aspx?uid=7955153206158244373), but it was certainly somebody from [#joiito](http://joiwiki.ito.com/joiwiki/index.cgi?IrcChannel). The culprits for [Last.fm](http://www.last.fm/user/steph-tara), [DailyMotion](http://dailymotion.com/Steph) and [YouTube](http://youtube.com/profile?user=Steph “Even got there early enough to grab ‘steph’ — now I get password reminders almost everyday, great…”) have disappeared into the limbo of lost memories. [Kevin](http://epeus.blogspot.com) encouraged me to [sign up for a good dozen of blogging platforms](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2004/12/11/hosted-blog-platform-test-write-up/), open a [MySpace account](http://myspace.com/stephtara), and he’s probably to blame for me being on [Upcoming](http://upcoming.org/user/94465/). As for [wordpress.com](http://steph.wordpress.com), I’ll blame [Matt](http://photomatt.net) because he’s behind all that.

Granted, I’m probably the only one responsible for having [gotten into blogging](http://climbtothestars.org/about/ “Story here, abbreviated version.”) in the first place.

Let’s get back on track. My aim here is not primarily to point an accusing finger to all my devious friends who introduced me to these fun, [addictive](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/02/12/addicted-to-technology/), time-consuming tools (though it’s interesting to note how one forgets those things, in passing). It’s more a sort of round-up of a bunch of my “online selves”. I feel a little scattered, my friends. Here are all these buckets in which I place stuff, but there aren’t enough holes in them.

Feeds are good. Feeds allow me to have Twitter, [del.icio.us](http://del.icio.us/steph), Flickr, and even Last.fm stuff in my blog sidebar. It also allows me to connect my blogs to one another, and into Facebook. Here, though, we’re talking “content” much more than “self”.

One example I’ve already certainly talked about (but no courage to dig it out, my blog is starting to be a huge thing in which I can’t find stuff I know it contains) is contacts or buddies — the “Mine” in [Stowe’s analysis of social applications](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/02/07/stowe-boyd-building-social-applications/). I have buddy lists on IM and Skype, contacts on Flickr and just about every service I mentioned in this post. Of *course*, I don’t want to necessarily have the same contacts everywhere. I might love your photos on Flickr and add you as a contact, but not see any interest in adding you to my business network on LinkedIn. Some people, though — my **friends** — I’ll want to have more or less everywhere.

So, here’s a hole in the buckets that I really like: I’ve seen this in many services, but the first time I saw it was on Myspace. “Let us peek in your GMail contacts, and we’ll tell you who already has an account — and let you invite the others.” When I saw that, it scared me (“OMG! Myspace sticking its nose in my e-mail!”) but I also found it really exciting. Now, it would be even better if I could say “import friends and family from Flickr” or “let me choose amongst my IM buddies”, but it’s a good start. Yes, there’s a danger: no, I don’t want to spam invitations to your service to the 450 unknown adresses you found in my contacts, thankyouverymuch. [Plaxo](http://www.plaxo.com/) is a way to do this (I’ve seen it criticised but I can’t precisely remember why). Facebook does it, which means that within 2 minutes you can already have friends in the network. Twitter doesn’t, which means you have to painstakingly go through your friends of friends lists to get started. I think [coComment](http://cocomment.com) and any “friend-powered” service should allow us to import contacts like that by now. And yes, sure, privacy issues.

But what about all my **profile information**? I don’t want to have to dig out my favourite movies each time I sign up to a new service. Or my favourite books. Or the schools I went to. I mean, some things are reasonably stable. Why couldn’t I have all that in a central repository, once and for all, and just have all these neat social tools import the information from there? Earlier today, [David](http://galipeau.blogspot.com/) was telling me over IM that he’d like to have a central service to bring all our Facebook, LinkedIn, OpenBC/Xing, and MySpace stuff together. Or a way to publish his CV/résumé online and allow Facebook to access it to grab data from it. Good ideas, in my opinion.

I’ll mention [OpenID](http://openid.net/) here, but just in passing, because although in my dreams in used to hold the promise of this centralised repository of “all things me”, I don’t think that it’s what it has been designed for (if I get it correctly, it is identity **verification** and doesn’t have much to do with the **contents** of this identity). [Microformats](http://microformats.org) could on the other hand certainly come in handy here.

So, please, make more holes in my buckets. Importing Gmail contacts in sticking feeds here and there is nice, but not sufficient. For the moment, Facebook seems promising. But let me use Twitter for my statuses, for example, or at least include the feed somewhere (I can only include one feed, so I’ve included my [suprglu one](http://steph.suprglu.com/), but it has a huge lag and is not very satisfying). Let me put photographs in my albums directly from Flickr. Talk with the profiles I made with other similar services. Grab my school and work info from LinkedIn and OpenBC. Then make all this information you have about me available to republish how I want it (feeds, feeds, feeds! widgets! buttons! badges!) where I want it.

Also, [more granularity](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2006/12/12/you-should-twitter/). Facebook has a good helping of it: I can choose which type of information I want to see from my contacts. I can restrict certain contacts from seeing certain parts of my profile. I’d like fine control on who can see what, also by sorting my people into “buddy groups”. “Friends” and “Family” as on Flickr is just not enough. And maybe Facebook could come and present me with [Stowe-groupings](http://climbtothestars.org/archives/2007/02/07/stowe-boyd-building-social-applications/) of my contacts, based on the interactions I have with them.

Share your wild ideas here if you have any.

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Cours de psychologie féline — euh, humaine [fr]

[en] Most efficient way for dealing with humans who complain that your cat is excerting revenge on them by peeing on doors: don't try to explain that cats don't have human feelings or attitudes. Instead, tell your cat sternly off in presence of the complaining person (just talk normally but firmly, of course, no being nasty), and say something like "Now, Puss, have you heard that? You can't go on peeing on doors like that. I want you to behave, understood?" And tell the person that you're going to have a serious discussion with the guilty feline about the situation.

Un truc infaillible pour régler le sort des personnes bien intentionnées qui se plaignent de problèmes avec votre chat en l’anthropomorphisant à outrance (concierge, voisine du dessus, etc.) Exemple: votre chat se venge des gens qu’il n’aime pas en allant marquer sur les portes des appartements quand il les voit. Tenter d’expliquer que ce genre de comportement ne correspond pas à la psychologie féline se solde en général par un échec cuisant et du temps perdu (conversation tournant désespérément en rond).

**Remède**

Ramasser le chat, qui durant la conversation est venu voir de quoi il s’agissait. Regarder ensuite sévèrement le coupable qui ronronne dans vos bras et lui dire: “Bon, Bagha, tu entends ce qu’elle dit, hein? Ça ne va pas du tout. Faut vraiment que tu apprennes à te comporter correctement, c’est compris? A partir de maintenant, plus de marquage sur les portes que la concierge vient de nettoyer, d’accord? Sinon, je vais me fâcher!”

Et préciser à la personne qui se plaint que vous allez avoir une discussion sérieuse avec votre chat et que vous comptez bien lui faire entendre raison.

A problèmes humains, solutions humaines.

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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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Friday Cat Blogging [fr]

Une photo de chat pour Laurent.

[en] Laurent launched the blogs without cats operation in reaction to Friday Cat Blogging. Here is a kitty for him. (Don't take this too seriously, it's an insider's joke!)

Missing Kitty [en]

My cat has been missing for a day, which is highly unusual. I’m letting off a bit of pressure by writing it down (and also, I am getting slightly bored of repeating the story on IRC). Oh, and don’t feed other people’s cats. Thank you.

[fr] Mon chat Bagha a disparu depuis hier après-midi. Je suis inquiète, je tourne en rond chez moi, donc j'écris. Cela m'évitera également d'avoir à  répéter tous les détails cent fois sur IRC. Ah oui, le message du jour, c'est: ne nourrissez pas les chats de autres. Merci. (Edit: il est rentré sain et sauf!)

Update 13.08 13:30: The cat just came home, safe and sound. I’m so relieved!

18:00: Bagha came back through the downstairs neighbour’s window, as usual. He messaged me, I ran there, picked up the cat and squeezed him (OK, not too hard, I know my cat basics). He ate a little, meowed, cuddled, and very soon wanted to go back out. Sign, in my opinion, of a cat who has been locked up rather than one who has been roaming around for two nights in a row. I feel like somebody has turned on the light after two days of fumbling around blindly in the dark.

The Story

Bagha has been missing now for over 24 hours.

He’s an outdoor cat. I let him out in the morning. He comes in and out as he wishes during the day. I bring him in for the night. He sleeps in the crook of my arm.

It usually takes me about 3 minutes to find him in the evening. If he’s not waiting for me in front of the building when I come home, I take my usual little trip around the neighbourhood and here he comes, running or trotting out of one of his favorite “places”.

Very rarely, I don’t find him straight away. I go out a couple of hours later, or he comes in on his own.

Even more rarely, I go to sleep without having found him. Let’s say that happened maybe ten times in the four years we’ve lived here. I then leave the door open with the chain (like during the day) so that he can slip into the flat. He takes advantage of other people going in and out to get into the

building. I wake up in the morning to find him curled up on my feet — or at the very worst, I find him waiting downstairs outside the door.

Not this morning.

I couldn’t find him last night. I’d been away all afternoon and part of the evening (nothing unusual). Between 8pm and 1am, I must have spent approximately 4 hours touring the extended neighbourhood, calling for him.

I checked the roads, of course. I always check the roads. I’m terrified one day I’ll find his dead body on the sidewalk. I know this fear comes from inside me much more than from the actual danger: it’s a slow road, Bagha has a healthy fear of vehicles, and he’s a pretty calm, laid-back cat who won’t be caught suddenly dashing into the middle of the road because something startled him.

Still, I check the roads.

This morning, I started touring the neighbourhood again. Further than the places I know he goes to.

Conclusion: he’s not outside, or I would have found him. (Well, he would have found me, that’s usually how it goes.)

So I toured again, calling outside garage doors, pausing and listening. He’s got a loud voice. I’ve heard him calling from the cellar or the flat on the fourth floor where he was locked in once. He knows how to make himself heard.

This, I tell you again, is the cat who usually comes running to me once he’s seen me.

He’s microchipped. This means that if somebody takes him to the vet or the shelter, he’ll be identified as mine and I’ll be contacted. If he gets killed by a car, he’ll be identified by the team who deal with animal remains, and I’ll be contacted. I checked all this with people involved. No, they hadn’t found my cat.

I spent the afternoon printing out leaflets to stick on the entrance doors of the neighbourhood buildings (I had already put one in mine before I left for lunch). Now there are 30 leaflets with contact details, photograph and description of the cat, as well as my suspicion that he is either injured or locked in somewhere, plastered all over the neighbourhood. As you are bound to ask, he’s neutered, so he’s not after some hot female kitty.

One phone call, from a man who said he’s just seen my cat. I went to see, knowing there could be a confusion — there are about 4-5 cats around here with similar markings to mine. I don’t think it was mine; first of all because it was outside, and I tell you, if Bagha was somewhere outside I would have found him; second because I went there, and called, and called again, and no cat appeared. But who knows. Maybe something really strange is going on here. I didn’t see the cat this man had spotted, so I can’t say for certain.

Now I’m back home, vaguely waiting for the phone to ring or the cat to walk in, trying to find something to do with myself. I feel like hell. I don’t know how I made it through the day. I miss my cat horribly, and I’m so worried that something bad might have happened. The thought I might not see Bagha again is just too hard to bear.

Is this the price to pay for love and attachment? Now I know why a part of me gave up on love so long ago. It hurts way too much. Yes, hard times and sad times are a part of life just like all the rest. But they shouldn’t have to be quite as horrible as moments like this one.

So while I’m at it, let’s be a little constructive. Do you ever feed “stray” cats? Think twice. Cats are always interested in food, specially if you give them nice juicy tuna when all they get at home is vet-recommended dry food. (By the way, don’t give too much fish to cats — it contains thiaminase, an enzyme which destroys the amino acid thyamin, which cats are incapable of synthesizing.) The “hungry stray” might very well be just a clever beggar from the next block. Bagha regularly gets fed all over the place, even though I spend my time asking people not to do so.

Feeding somebody else’s cat just lures it away from its home and owner, centre of territory and primary source of nourishment and cuddles. So please, don’t feed other people’s cat. For all you know, the cat may start making a daily trip across a busy road to come and sample the delicacies you have to offer.

Thinking of adopting the cat that wandered into your living-room one day and avidly lapped up the milk you gave it? Some very worried owner may well be looking for it. Make thorough enquiries in your neighbourhood before getting too involved with it (feeding, naming, buying a litter-tray). This may sound stupid, but while my upstairs neighbours were keeping Bagha during my first trip back to India, he was simultaneously being adopted by a nice couple living just the other side of the road. He still came back here to sleep, but he spent his days there, complete with name and tinned food.

So, to sum it up: cats are independant animals and like to look masterless. It doesn’t mean all of them are stray. Oh, and please don’t feed other people’s cats.

Now I feel a bit better. I’ll tour the garages and cellars again once it’s nice and silent during the night. Of course, I’ll let you know as soon as the kitty turns up again. Thanks for listening.

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Back Home [en]

Back home in Switzerland. Got the cat back, but not the cellphone.

Switzerland is grey and dark and cold. No colours, no sun.

I’ve got my cat back (with a bit of extra weight, just like his mistress who now feels a little tight in her trousers), my brave little car started at the turn of the key, only one of my plants has died (it was already on the way down before I left), but my cellphone has been blocked.

I feel a bit dazed. The change has been brutal. I feel disconnected, as if my presence here wasn’t completely real — or worse, as if India was just some kind of weird dream, a sensation I sometimes have when I am over there. Something else I need to sort out at some point, I guess.

I’m not too sure what I’m going to do now. There are lot of things to unpack, an extra CD/DVD-rack to buy (!), a few things to type up, and lots of photos and videos to upload and organize. The flat still needs work, too.

I think I’ll take a Lush bath.

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Just News [en]

Everything fine, India is less adventurous, more photos and videos online.

India is clearly less adventurous than it was for me, and there is therefore less to tell. I guess I’m adapting to the place too well! I’m having a very nice quiet time here, between walking the Shinde dogs and going out to eat in various places.

I went to see The Last Samurai last night. My mid-day meal was the occasion of using up a roll of digital film (understand: a memory stick) shooting pictures of Madhav’s friends. The Crab&Beer photographs are now online for your viewing in the Dumps section. I’ve also made more videos you can go and see.

Obviously, I’m not getting a lot of access to the Internet. Nisha and Shinde do live pretty far off, so if I get to check my mail once every two or three days I consider myself lucky. Please don’t hesitate to use the marvels of modern technology (understand: SMS) if you need to get in touch — as I said, my phone number is in the comments to the entry before last.

Enjoy the photos and the videos!

Update: just a note (for Mark, particularly) concerning the camera. I left my fancy phone behind in Switzerland, and a collegue of mine lent me a pretty sexy Sony Handycam — that’s what I’m using for the photographs and videos. I’m doing many more videos on tape, but those will have to wait until my return to Switzerland to see the light of the web.

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Une matinée en Inde [en]

Une matinée tranquille en Inde, à  la maison, avec un portée de six petits chiots.

J’émerge vaguement de mon sommeil au moment où Sagar rentre à  la maison. Mon passage à  la position verticale me fait douloureusement savoir que le mal de tête qui me tient compagnie depuis plusieurs jours ne s’est pas fait la malle pendant la nuit.

Je dors dans le “salon”, la pièce qui accueille les gens qui entrent dans l’appartement, puisque la chambre à  coucher est occupée par les propriétaires, mes amis Shinde et Nisha, et surtout par une portée de six petits bergers allemands couinants et leur mère.

Etape incontournable au lever, l’opération-pipi prend ici une toute autre dimension. Les WC sont “à  la turque”, comme on dit par chez nous, ce qui ne me dérange nullement. Par contre, je ne peux pas dire que je sois réellement enthousiaste de partager les lieux d’aisance avec les trois chiens adultes qui vivent ici. Première étape, donc, rincer tout d’abord à  grande eau la cuvette et les alentours afin d’en éliminer l’urine de chien…

Je me re-pose sur mon lit et je lis quelques pages de mon fascinant livre sur les mélanges culturels dans la région d’Hyderabad au XVIIIe siècle. Shinde fait sa puja à  la cuisine pendant que Nisha prépare à  manger. Je croise Sagar brièvement en allant prendre quelques photos, puis il va se coucher.

Le long tintement continu de la cloche annonce la fin de la puja. Shinde passe dire bonjour, et quelques minutes après c’est Nisha qui m’appelle pour déjeuner.

Installée sur le seul tabouret de la cuisine, je finis de me réveiller en plongeant ma cuillère dans le délicieux upama épicé préparé par Nisha. Je prends cependant soin de laisser les piments sur le côté. Sagar, réveillé par les appels insistants de Shinde, vient chercher son assiette et disparaît.

Je suis la dernière à  finir. Shinde est parti au travail après une courte prière (ou invocation? — il faudra que je lui demande) devant son autel; Sagar dort déjà  à  poings fermés.

Nisha et moi parlons du programme de la journée: ce matin, je lirai, puis j’irai au café internet cet après-midi avant que nous sortions les trois (avec Sagar) manger chez Pizza Hut. Shinde ne sera pas de la partie, comme c’est le jour où il rend visite à  son guru.

Saisie d’une subite inspiration, je demande à  Nisha son meilleur couteau. Suivant mon conseil, Shinde a ramené hier soir un grand carton pour les chiots – malheureusement un peu petit. J’ai vite fait de le dépiauter un peu pour en faire une sorte d’enclos assez grand pour contenir mère et petits. (Suivant un de ces raisonnemetns dont le secret m’échappe, Shinde avait prévu de n’y mettre que les chiots.)

Justement, une des petites bêtes piaille plaintivement depuis quelques minutes. Nisha a fini vaisselle et nettoyage de cuisine, et est à  présent occupée à  la puja. Sagar, lui, ne s’est pas réveillé malgré le bruit (une faculté toute indienne). Je vais donc m’y coller, même si la mère a une fâcheuse tendance à  me considérer comme une menace pour ses petits et à  la jouer “fais gaffe ou je te mords.”

Je constate qu’une fois encore, un des chiots s’est aventuré hors du tas de couvertures qui leur sert de nid. Il se retrouve maintenant sur le carrelage lisse et froid, incapable de rejoindre sa mère et les autres. Mon enclos sera bien utile. Je réussis à  remettre la petite chose sur le tas grouillant de ses frères et soeurs, malgré les efforts de Silky, la mère un peu surprotectrice et nerveuse, pour me tenir à  distance (elle s’assied sur ses chiots et fait mine de vouloir prendre ma main dans sa gueule.) Le bruit cesse.

Sagar, endormi à  moins d’un mètre de moi, n’a pas bronché.

Nisha vient nettoyer le coin des chiots et nous y installons mon carton. Elle me félicite avec enthousiasme pour mon idée (qui rendra également le nettoyage plus aisé). Silky s’y installe aussitôt avec les chiots, que je n’ai presque pas entendu couiner depuis.

Histoire d’habituer un peu Silky à  ma présence, je m’installe sur un coin du lit avec mon livre, pendant que Nisha passe le balai et la panosse dans tout l’appartement.

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Coup de barre [en]

Fini mon livre. Bruits de chiens.

J’ai fini l’unique livre que j’avais emporté avec moi. Dans la pièce d’à côté, un chiot jappe plaintivement. Il s’est probablement trainé hors du tas que composent ses frères et soeurs de porté. Le sol dallé est froid.

Les deux labradors vont et viennent dans l’appartement. Les seuls autres occupants humains du logis dorment.

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