I know my recounting of the pooping habits of our various cats probably gets a little old, but I have another cat fecal saga to relate. It began a couple months ago when I first started finding cat shit in my laboratory back under the low part of the ceiling where I store things like old laptop power bricks and ATX power supplies. It didn't take me long to catch the culprit red-handed (or, as it were, assholed). It was Marie, aka "the Baby," our tiny big-eyed ancient cat who resembles reanimated taxidermy. There was no arguing with her decision to poop in this part of the laboratory floor, which was covered with a piece of carpet scrap. Evidently she'd made the decision that it was a better place to shit (and, no doubt, piss) than either of our two litter boxes. So, in self defense, I added a new litter box, assuming that she'd use that in preference to the floor. But I was wrong. She'd developed a habit of shitting on carpet fragments and nothing was going to make her change. I was forced to put down a good ten or twelve square feet of cardboard to completely cover that area of the floor before she began using the litter box like a well-behaved cat should.
But at some point a few days ago she stopped going into the laboratory and developed another disgusting shitting habit. I was in my laboratory sitting in front of my computer when, off in the distance, I heard Gretchen reacting in horror to discover a fresh pile of cat poop next to the bed in the bedroom (on my side, naturally). The Baby ended up crapping there a couple times before we reluctantly moved the litter box there. (It's one of the last places one wants to put a litter box, just short of the middle of the dinner table.) But we'd acted too slowly, because the next time she defecated, she did so next to the litter box, on the carpet.
That happened yesterday, and there was no way we were going to adjust to living with this revolting new behavior. She'd presented us with an emergency. I came up with the idea of confining her in the upstairs bathroom with food, water, a comfy place to sleep, and a litter box. Initially Gretchen was horrified by this proposed incarceration of her "the Baby," but in the end that's what we did.
At first the Baby cried and wanted to get out, but within an hour she'd curled up and gone to sleep. At some point last night she took one of her trademark ginormous dumps in her litter box, conclusively demonstrating she was out of the rut of shitting next to the bed. We opened up the bathroom to let her out, but she'd already developed Stockholm Syndrome with regard to her new digs. She had no desire to leave. So I've been keeping her supplied with food and a steady stream of rocks heated on the woodstove, and she's been putting a steady stream of poops in her litter box.
Today as I further foamed-filled cracks and installed styrofoam, I found myself listening to another techy podcast. This was by a gentleman known as "the Jesus Geek." His podcast was designed to provide tech advice for Christians, which is a little strange considering that tech advice for Christians should be essentially the same as tech advice for heathens (given that the tech that both use is the same). It didn't turn out to be a particularly religious podcast either. Occasionally there would be references to things in Christian culture, and there was a half-hearted attempt to end some shows with a tie-in to scripture, but for the most part it provided your standard tech tips for both Mac and PC, with occasional mentions of Linux. Lacking live call-ins, it was a pretty lifeless production, and I assumed I'd stop listening.
But then I caught the podcast where the Jesus Geek talked about content filtering and "accountability" software and I listened in fascination. You see, the Jesus Geek wasn't just talking about using this software to protect children (boneheaded enough in itself). He was talking about adults installing it to protect themselves! Not only that, he insinuated that in a healthy marriage, couples would audit each others' internet behavior by trawling through logs of visited sites, presumably looking for pornography and (perhaps) satanism.
The podcast was a window into a culture where repressive Big Brother techniques are accepted as necessary for survival in a world of troubling complexity. The Jesus Geek did agree that content filtering had a downside: it might make it difficult for a Christian gentleman to research certain medical issues that he might have trouble discussing with his wife. (He seemed to think the burden here would mostly be on the man, as if women never Googled issues related to their pussies.) But he seemed to believe that if such things showed up in the log generated by an accountability package, there would be a way to explain it to an "accountability partner."
It all seemed like such a bother. Do Christians really have such little faith in their own self control? Do they really have the time to pour over logs of their spouse's behavior looking for evidence of sin? Hearing this podcast dispelled much of my fear of the power of the Christian right. Going through so much wasted motion, it's difficult to imagine them having a Darwinian advantage against rational heathens.
Another video greenhouse tour, this one in the 12 degree cold of night. You'll hear me mistakenly use the word "slate" when I mean "shale."
The bottom of the greenhouse door, where I'd done most of the recent inside excavation.
Outside the greenhouse, viewed from the east.
Outside the greenhouse, viewed from the south.
Odd-shaped styrofoam-covered surfaces just behind the top west end of the south-facing glass.