Wednesday, March 17, 2004

The Known and the Unknown Worlds 

It's easy to come up with rules and prescriptions, but not so easy to follow them. Here's what I would say constitutes a good blog: 1) update daily, 2) keep it short, 3) don't talk about what everybody else is talking about, 4) but don't make it entirely about yourself. Needless to say, this blog fails miserably by these criteria (and no one else seems to follow these rules either, quite), which is why you shouldn't take any of my rules or prescriptions too seriously.

The past week has been hectic and somewhat distressing. Saturday Yeong and I attended the opera, an LA Opera production of Die Frau ohne Schatten, a beautiful, well-staged opera that played out like a supernatural fantasy story--about an Empress of the Spirit Realm whose husband will turn to stone unless she can acquire a shadow--until an odd, weirdly anachronistic resolution in which the two female leads singing ecstatically about the joys of motherhood. We had great seats, because I bought the tickets a year ago, before the move the new house; I couldn't afford them now.

Which segues to the next topic, my having to budget website expenses more carefully than I have until now. This Monday there was another spike in visitors to the site, which would be good except that big spikes bring surcharges from the hosting service. (And I can't figure out where the visitors are coming from; my server statistics are not revealing.) Even without such spikes, I don't have the reserve I once had to finance the site, so that the reluctant conclusion is that I'll be reducing paid reviews and essays on Locus Online down to nil, after another month or so. (There are some April 1st pieces, and one or two others, already committed.)

The distressing part of this past week was having negligently lost my cat, or one of my cats. Complicated story. Before I moved last year, I had 3 cats, all originally strays, all outdoor cats. When I moved (to a house with no yard to speak of), I kept the female cat and brought her indoors, and gave the 2 male cats to my friend Larry K (no, not that Larry K), who for a time had been my roommate at the old house--so he knew the cats. One of the 2 males--whom I'd both had for over 10 years--was quite old and died shortly thereafter. Recently Larry has been remodeling his house, and he asked if I could keep the other male, Puss'n'Boots, at my house for a few days while sandblasting was going on. I picked the cat up Sunday evening and brought him to my house. Since Puss'n'Boots knew me, he seemed calm enough, once he got here. He and my female cat weren't pals, so I put Puss'n'Boots in a separate room, with food etc, and cracked the window to let air in. Sometime during the night, he clawed a hole in the window screen, and escaped. By morning, he was gone, loose in a strange, unfamiliar area, 10 miles from what had become his home. I walked the streets and posted flyers and called the animal shelter, with no results--of course. It's hard to be optimistic that we'll ever find him. He was a tough male cat, so I'm not concerned that he might not survive. But I feel terrible that I betrayed him, let him get loose, and have no way to find him and take care of him again. You don't realize how many houses, how many yards and trees and bushes there are where a cat might be huddling, just in your own little neighborhood, until you walk up and down streets for 2 hours. For all that we have such control and knowledge of some parts of our lives, of some things in our technological, SFnal society, it only takes a lost cat to remind us how many things, in practice, remain unknowable.
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Mark R. Kelly

The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Mark R. Kelly, and do not reflect the editorial position of Locus Magazine.
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