Almost a week ago, I had to say goodbye to one of the best cats ever, Nomti.Longtime followers of the blog will remember this old cat getting mentioned now and again. He was a tough but loving kitty, often blunt and graceless, but also very genuine and sincere in his affections. He made a habit of soliciting pets, weaving between ankles and begging for the food humans were eating amid any social gathering my wife and I hosted. This and his gentle nature made him many friends, and rightfully so.
He was a beautiful, loving boy… And a better friend to me than many humans I’ve known.
Like any cat, he could be a shit sometimes. Notably, he had no sense of control when it came to food. He was like Garfield in his gluttony, and in his younger years there were actually several instances where he did get into our pasta while our backs were turned (including a lasagna once).He didn’t come to us as a kitten, instead we were graced to be his second home just as he turned 9. We adopted him from his prior owners because one of their family members had developed cat allergies. That was ironic, as we were specifically looking for a Siamese because my wife isn’t allergic to that breed while most other cats can make her very ill combined with her asthma.
They had kept him as an indoor/outdoor cat, and I don’t think they paid him much attention. They had little to say about the great personality we would later discover in him. He was also terribly overweight, at a whopping 26 pounds (almost 12 kg)! He was along bodied, long tailed cat… but he was so fat then he couldn’t lick his butt and keep himself properly clean.
We put him on a diet, gave him lots of play, and he slimmed down to 15 ponds within a year or so. But the excessive weight he bore for the first half of his life likely contributed to the diabetes that would emerge to plague him a few years later. For the most part, we were able to help him control this affliction by modifying and monitoring his diet.
My wife had wanted to add a cat to the household for her companionship while I was away and she was stuck at home underemployed. However, he gravitated to me pretty quickly as a lap cat and companion keeping me company over many long hours of writing. He would even help with editing…
Siamese are a more social breed of cat than most. When Kim found full-time employment and the house was empty for longer periods of time, we noticed a sadder tone to his moods. We had been talking about adding another cat to remove his loneliness for months, when we encountered a much younger adult Siamese seeking adoption out of pure fate. We brought him home within hours and named him Wesir. The little guy had been found abandoned on the streets, and had lots of separation anxiety… We couldn’t coax a purr out of him, although he was a nice cat.
The pair warmed up to one another in a week. Nomti took Wesir under his wing and they became exceptionally close for adult male cats not from the same litter. They would sleep with and groom one another, with Wesir being very attentive to the aging cat and making sure his hygiene was acceptable. In exchange, we swear Nomti taught him how to purr.
Wesir definitely is my wife’s cat, and she is the center of his universe. Nomti was never so fawning with his affections for me, but there was a plain honesty to them. His long lap-sits. The late nights watching me write and then sleeping nearby in my study. He was an assuring, guarding presence always.
When our friend Jessica needed a place to stay while putting her life into order, we welcomed her as a boarder in our home. And Nomti was there for her too, joining her at bedtime every night with his aura of protection and providing a loving companionship she needed at a difficult time.
His heart knew few boundaries. Even on his worst days, there was never a moment he wouldn’t spare a purr to help my bad times be a little better.
Nomti’s last year wasn’t kind to him as he reached an age of seventeen. His heath failed during my long unemployment when our money was incredibly tight. He got an infected eye and lost his sight in it despite the investment of money we really couldn’t afford into his treatment.
He never fully recovered from that. He became frail, getting down to a bony six pounds as we struggled to keep him well. His remaining good eye got infected over the winter, and while we began daily eye-treatments of antibiotics that seemed to promote some recovery, eventually they began to worsen again.
He just couldn’t fight off the infections that beset him. His immune system was failing, and it cost him his eyesight. Somehow we held onto hope he’d get better, but as his last few months dragged on it was clear that he was neither enjoying his life or going to round a corner and get well again.
His final crisis was a massive mouth infection that happened so quickly, and caused such swelling, that we thought he had gotten stung while eating a bee or wasp while we were at work. It was a grim sight as he could hardly eat, and then he lost control of his bladder.
As I comforted him, weak in my arms but still rasping out a purr, I realized that I was hanging on to him for my benefit… not his. I didn’t want to let him go. I didn’t want to lose my friend. But the world had become something that only pained Nomti. He couldn’t do any of the things he loved anymore; he could only shiver in the kitchen. He purred only to say he loved us, not to say he loved what his life had come to.
I was doing him a disservice.
The vet and his staff were kind. They ran a few tests confirming his diabetes was out of control, and there were likely numerous other issues stacked on top of that. And they let us stay with him as they eased him from a world that now only pained him, and into a place beyond it.
He purred despite it all, surrounded by love right to the end, in our arms. Then he was gone.
Wesir is still looking for his older brother, crying and searching all the corners of the house for him.
Nomti was, and ever shall be, my friend. And the truest of cats. As word of his passing spread, so many have contacted us with remembrances about him… That speaks volumes about how special he was to so many. Jessica even crafted a touching memorial to her lost friend as she worked through her sadness:
Like a hero of old she placed him amid the stars, surrounding him with catnip and the popcorn he’d beg to snack on whenever there was some to be had. Remarkably, a few kernels always seemed to be accidentally dropped his way.
It’s been a hard week, and I’ve needed space and time to grieve. This will serve as my update this Wednesday, and you can expect some posts on Friday but not Thursday.
I’ll be back next week with a full WIP-it check-in just before PortCon starts.
Take care… and if you have a cat, give them a hug for me.
Click the picture below for full-size. On Art-Tastic Tuesdays I feature a selected piece of visual art that I have come across. These are pieces that have inspired my writing or beautifully frame some concept or another that I have already written or want to write about. I present them without commentary so they may inspire you without the burden of my perspective, and pictures have links to the artists’ blog or website if at all possible.
If you are ever curious as to why a particular piece is special to me, or use it for a writing prompt and want to share, please drop a comment!
Time for a new weekly writer’s roundup of my works-in-progress and those ready to read!
This past week has been a doozy. My writing took a backseat to my seventeen-year-old cat when he got a nasty eye infection. I was very upset with the possibility that we might have to put him down. However, the antibiotics and eye-drops are slowly improving the situation.
You can’t see it in the picture above because of his happy squint, but his left eye’s gone white and might not regain sight. But he was mostly blind already, so it’s not a big deal to him. And now as a bonus, he also resembles Hakbutt Bryne.
I did manage to hammer my outline for The Orgcrist into shape amid the chaos, filling in its gaps and finding a great way to end it. It’s going to be awesome! :-) Instead of starting writing the story on Monday though, I answered the call of a friend in need who’s running the RPG section of my local geek convention, PortCon.
I’ve written about PortCon before. My home state of Maine doesn’t have a huge bastion of metropolitan geekdom, so PortCon is one big roof under which a large number of local fantasy and sci-fi fans can gather and have a convention that singularly we couldn’t have. We’re a very small community compared to most other conventions, but at the same time we’re like an extended family and clan. You don’t find that at many other Cons, and it’s yet another way that illustrates how Maine is “The Shire” of New England.
Nevertheless, PortCon is the largest annual convention in the state, held at the largest venue available within its borders! And even with that, the Con could use a bigger base of operations…
Anyways, I was thinking about doing some role-playing game mastering for PortCon last year. But I had dismissed it to focus on getting my book written. Then my friend Ian, who I met though PortCon and is a really great guy and gamemaster, asked me if I could help out. He’s running the RPG section of the Con this year for the first time, and was in a jam because he was short on game masters for the event.
“A friend in a jam? A Convention in danger, you say? Let me get my red cape…”
So now, I’m suddenly creating and running a bunch of RPG sessions in three weeks. ;-) But I get a free ticket to the Con out of the deal!
Fortunately, I have the pre-existing notes I made for a few games before shelving my ideas earlier this year. By combining that with some older concepts in my dusty back drawers, I was able to put together some proposals.
The staff’s been great, and allowed me to have a lot of fun crafting a quartet of one-shot adventures. Writing good one-shot role-playing sessions for strangers that will run in a four or five hour block is a challenge… but it’s got my creative gears spinning!
I finished my Über Redux of the classic 1984 TOON! adventure The Cartoon Olympics yesterday. The theme of this year’s convention is Sportsball… er… yes, Sportsball. I’m not a sports-guy, but I still wanted to run at least a few games that touched on the theme. The TOON! game immediately came to mind because of The Cartoon Olympics being the opening adventure in the out-of-print rule-book. TOON! is an ultra-lighthearted game that emulates the wacky spirit of classic Warner Brothers cartoons and others of yesteryear. It’s a simple, zany game that I think will really work in a convention setting.
So I revamped and expanded the whole adventure, filling it with my own original cartoon “superstars”. Now I’m looking forward to players taking on the roles of Katie Calamari, Beefalo Bob, Holly Hamhock, and Wet Wailin’ Willy as they run relay races with lit sticks of dynamite and dodge falling pianos. It should be a hoot! ;-)
My wife has even been lending me her awesome cartooning and design skills to make great player handouts! Here is her picture of Katie Calamari…
Next on the agenda is to write my three all-original adventures and get them done. The Werewolf Wrestling Federation vs. the Vampire Women, has already generated a lot of interest from the title alone. Its going to be over-the-top pro-wrestling action (a “sports” theme… see?) mixed with B-grade monster movie hijinks…
Five years ago, the werewolves came out of hiding… and entered the ring! Eager to reform their reputation, the Werewolf Wrestling Federation was created to show the face of lycanthropes as rambunctious entertainers and not bloodthirsty monsters. But now on the heels of their success, old enemies have emerged… Enemies with a chair aimed at the lycan’s backs… and a score to settle with them and mankind!
Ork Quest might prove to be an interesting spin on your typical fantasy RPG adventure with a liberal dose of humor and role reversal…
After accidentally ruining the debutante ball for the chieftain’s daughter Wartfair, a band of monsters is genuinely surprised that Rottbutt the Girthy would entrust them with an important quest! Of course, they are banished until they return with the artifact they quest for… and everyone keeps saying it’s a suicide mission… but maybe they’re wrong?
Can monstrous heroes like dimwitted Bert the Ogre or constantly overlooked Shahnana the She-Ork Shieldmaiden recover the magical grog horn they seek and return to the tribe?
And on the last day of the convention, I’ll run my mysterious mash-up of two literary classics: The Most Dangerous Game of Doctor Moreau!
I’m working hard to get all of this stuff done well before the convention. Then my mind can be at ease about keeping my promises before I start work on The Orgcrist. I also should have the feedback from my second alpha-reader this week on The Unicorn Hunters and Tears of the Joyous Mare. After a bit of unfortunate delay, I’m really eager to share these pieces on Aethereal Engines… So as soon as I can do the edits the feedback might require, they’re off to the beta-readers!
Alright, time for me to stop blogging and get back to writing some more fiction awesome role-playing adventures that inspire fiction! Take care!
On Tuesdays I feature a selected piece of visual art that I have come across. These are pieces that have inspired my writing or beautifully frame some concept or another that I have already written or want to write about. I present them without commentary so they may inspire you without the burden of my perspective, and pictures have links to the artists’ blog or website if at all possible.
If you are ever curious as to why a particular piece is special to me, or use it for a writing prompt and want to share, please drop a comment!
Click here for the full-sized image! If you are ever curious as to why a particular piece is special to me, or use it for a writing prompt and want to share, please drop a comment!
I’m still working on the new house, but I’ve had the luxury of a few spare moments to write now that I have my desk and internet setup. There’s still a ton of packed and half-filled boxes about, and this weekend will be focused on getting a new kitchen sink that doesn’t leak like the Titanic installed, but being able to sit and write at home is a welcome first step towards normality.
Progress is slowly being made. The washer-dryer has been reassembled and returned to function. Clean clothes are a godsend… even if the rest of the bathroom is still an ill-lit a jumble of boxes with a window that grants anyone on the entrance deck a wonderful view of you sitting on the toilet. Plus there is the fact that its door won’t latch properly and that the cats have now learned to exploit that fact…
However, at long last the kitchen cabinetry has been reassembled after cleaning and painting, allowing us to put away a bunch of items while crafting a functional space for food preparation. So huzzah for that!
Finally, a liberal application of hardening foam has sealed a great many holes in the interior of the house that were being used by, uh,… I don’t know exactly. Squirrels? Chipmunks? Mice? It might have even been Brown Jenkin himself noisily scampering through the walls and floors. Either way, they were loud and didn’t like it when I blocked-up their thoroughfares one bit! Now the house is much quieter as they seem to have moved on. Having two cats has helped turn the tide of this fight as well. Good job boys, particularly to my old mouser Nomti, who is at least partly blind and nearing 16 years old… He’s still got it!
So, all in all, we’re meeting goals and reaching objectives. Not as fast as I would like, but I can at least sense a change in the air as I start to have a little more time to write again. Everyone in the household is either exhausted, hurting or both from the month-long effort to make the house habitable. We’ve succeeded in that, but there is still so much to do… We’re seriously going to need a month of relaxing after this is all over to recover!
And when that day comes… I’ll be writing! Take care!
So this morning Sessela, a reader and fellow blogger on her site anthropomagic.com, nominated Aethereal Engines for the “Creative Blogger Award”. I am touched and flattered that she would take the time to say that she enjoys reading my stuff and that it inspires her to keep writing and blogging. That was a great way to start my day!
I used my Google-Fu to find out more about the Creative Blogger Award however, and instead of finding a list or previous winners or a homepage for the Creative Blogger Association™, I mostly found other blogs talking about their own Creative Blogger Award nominations. Unfortunately, it seems like there is no actual award and this is a chain-letter-bloggy thing making the rounds.
You have probably seen this type of thing before; you get tagged by someone and it asks you to do something and tag more people asking them to do the same. Personally, although I might enjoy the content and even participate in the request, I don’t go out and “tag” more people to make them feel obligated to participate themselves. You see, I’m a “chainbreaker”…
…Ok, well, maybe not like that, unless I’m dreaming. What I mean is that if people want to pick-up a challenge or activity that I share on my blog, that’s great and I would love to see it! But I’m not going to get all spammy and try to FORCE people to do it.
My 777 Challenge and Ten Books posts sprang from tag-chain items. I simply removed the tagging part and shared the results of the activities without trying to coerce others to do the same. I broke the chain.
The thing that is really sad about this particular tag-chain is that it pretends to be an accolade when at its heart it isn’t. Then bloggers, with very noble intentions, spread it along to other blogs they admire… and the cycle starts anew. However, I’m going to look at things positively and still enjoy the fact that someone cared for my writing enough to take the effort to nominate me. With that in mind, I’m still going to break the chain, but I’m going to provide you with some entertainment by following the “Creative Blogger Award” rules as best as I can. Those rules are:
1. Display the Creative Blogger Award logo on your blog
DONE! And thank you again Sessela, you’re a talented writer and I look forward to seeing more of your work!
3. Nominate a minimum of 5 other blogs and let them know
I’m not going to “nominate” anyone, but here are five blogs that I think are cool. You can let them know by checking them out yourself!
4. Write 5 random facts about yourself
I’m going to turn things up to eleven and give you Twenty Five Random Things About Me instead! Read on if you dare…
Twenty Five Random Things About Me
1. I wear a size 12 ½ wide to 13 ½ size shoe depending upon the brand and store.
2. I still own and adore a “Shogun Warrior” Godzilla given to me when I was 4 or 5 by my sister.
3. My wife and I own two rehomed Siamese cats. You’ve already seen Wesir, here is our old boy, Nomti:
5. I once left dishes in the sink… dirty and in water… for over a year, when I was 20. I threw most of them out after. Yes, young bachelors are gross.
6. This is my favorite Subreddit.
7. I was a huge fan of Robotech in the early 90’s but never saw the TV series on the air.
8. I have been told that I look like a pro wrestler, Bigfoot and Kool Aid Man.
9. I love Studio Ghibli movies.
10. I Hunted down and paid $80 in 1994 to get a VHS copy of “Rock & Rule”, a movie I had wanted to see since 1983 when I was 9 years old. I still have it.
11. I watched the movie Akira (Streamline version) 89 times between 1991 and 2001. I also own the soundtrack by the Geinoh Yamashirogumi. I had seen the movie Gremlins 32 times before 1989…
12. For about a 9 month period through the fall of 1994 until the spring of 1995, I had very vivid and emotional experiences that I believe were past life memories. I have not experienced anything so unrestrained and intense since.
13. In 1990-91, I had a crush on the Japanese exchange student in my high school, but was too shy to ever ask her out on a date.
14. My wife and I watched all three Lord of the Rings movies, the extended additions, back-to-back (that’s 11 hours and 6 minutes total) on Christmas day, 2007.
15. I did not drive or get a driver’s license until October 2001 when I was 27 years old.
16. I once worked with a man named Edward Knipping at a supermarket store when I was a 3rd shift stockman in the late 90’s. He kept wanting me to invest in his home business “Time Traders” which I thought was a bad idea as the info packet had a pyramid on the cover… Well, that and he told me he “used to be a millionaire” which made me think his investment advice was NOT his strong suit.
In 2002 he was convicted in the largest case of pyramid fraud in Maine history, having squandered 5 million dollars. True story, the BBC will back me up.
17. I was a paid videographer and filmed weddings for extra income throughout the 90’s. I got out of the gig when client’s attitudes began to make the job not worth the extra cash.
18. I love to visit Monhegan Island and in particular like to make a trip there on the Summer Solstice and then go to the highest point on the island.
19. I started to play Magic: The Gathering in 1994 and still play today.
20. I love Halloween and carving jack-o’-lanterns… Even if it snows overnight:
21. My 7th grade science teacher, having watched me ad-lib my way to an answer that was in no way correct but sounded as if it was… Made me stand before the class and proclaimed to all assembled that I had “The Gift of Gab” and would one day be pulled over by a state trooper and talk my way out of a ticket. In 2003, his prophecy came true.
22. I really enjoyed the documentary “Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns” even though I’m not a baseball or even a sports fan in general.
23. I want to write an awesome story about giant, Japanese style monsters saving mankind from killer robots.
24. I keep a crowbar handy in my house in case of zombie attack. I have also given a lecture and demonstration on how to survive a zombie attack and received an “A” grade for the presentation.
25. My favorite web comic is Namesake.