Vazra begged and begged for me to take him to get his nails done. Every refined feline needs a manicure and pedicure now and again, right?
But I told him money was tight and he’d have to tend to it himself.
So he did.
And he was not happy when he found out it was on video, and he was even less happy when he found out I intended to post it.
Now I have to go sit in the corner because I’m being punished. As usual.
Oh, the answer is yes if you really must know. I’m always fascinated by the simplest of things just as I’m fascinated by the most complex of things. Whether it’s one of The Kids sleeping or grooming, a grain of sand on the beach or a pebble on the shore, a bird in the tree, an insect on the ground, two galaxies colliding hundreds of light years away, a black hole gobbling up planets in a solar system we’ll never reach, or a wisp of cloud in the sky—not to mention a trillion other things both ordinary and exotic—the cosmos fascinates me no matter what form it takes, no matter how banal or bizarre its display, no matter how mundane or magnificent its form. So sue me.
Let me start by saying a hearty “Thank you!” to mArniAc. After mentioning I had inadvertently recorded this video with the camera held sideways, and after venting my frustration at the lack of readily available tools that could rotate it without mangling it, I had not yet found the time to search for alternate solutions. I already have Microsoft’s Movie Maker available but couldn’t use it because its rotate function doesn’t preserve the original aspect ratio, so the resulting output is a mashed video that looks like it’s spent way too much time under heavy weight. Quicktime offers no rotate function. So I was stuck until I could hunt down something else.
Then mArniAc came to the rescue. She sent me an e-mail today with this link that included information on virtualdub, a GNU licensed video editing package. I downloaded and installed it, and the next thing I knew the video had been rotated successfully without losing its original aspect ratio. From there it was simple. I added letterbox bars on the sides to return the video to its original 320×240 size (although the actual video content has been reduced to 160×240 so it fits within the standard resolutions), ran it through Movie Maker to compress the AVI stream (since Quicktime kept mangling it for some reason), uploaded it to YouTube, and finally embedded the player.
So again, thank you ever so much, mArniAc! You saved me time and allowed me to show this cute little video of Kazon. Sure, it won’t win an award and doesn’t show him reading Shakespeare or solving the meaning of the universe, but I thought it was worth sharing and you enabled that. You go, girl!
Now on to the video…
As with all The Kids, Kazon and I have our little games, our personal interactions that no one else can share, and our innate understanding. This brief film shows one such piece of our relationship.
When Kazon wants attention, he asks for it. They all do, each in their own way, and each according to how I respond to them. For Kazon, it’s a question in his voice and the need to reach out and touch me to get my attention. What he says carries an undertone of purring that is quite evident. If I don’t respond verbally, however, he gets needier and closer and needer and closer until he just can’t stand it anymore—at which point he gets as close as possible, gives me a kiss and head butt, and paws at me incessantly, talking the entire time.
That’s what you’ll see below. All I kept doing was moving my head back and forth to let him know I was looking at him but not really listening (although I was). At the end… Well, at the end he takes matters into his own paws since I wasn’t giving him what he needed.
You know how much Kazon likes to open doors—any door. Cabinets aren’t a problem for him, an ability he’s taught to the rest of The Kids. But more intriguing is that regular doors aren’t a problem for him either. Remember the laundry room door he so expertly opened so he and his sister could go inside and play?
What makes this talent so fascinating is this: Kazon’s just not a smart guy. He’s sort of a dumb jock. There are times he doesn’t remember his own ass when he jumps on something, and that usually leaves him dangling precariously with his front end on the target and his back end swinging in the wind.
His lack of intellectual prowess makes his skills with doors all the more mesmerizing—and unusual. Yet he is in every sense of the word an expert when it comes to opening them.
As I explained in the original post about this, “If there’s a doorknob, he understands what it’s for and will try to use it. If there’s a handle, he’ll try to grab it and pull it down. If it’s a cupboard door, he knows to use his front paws to pull it open far enough to get his head inside — followed by the rest of him.” I have been repeatedly amazed by him in this matter. I know he’s learned from watching people that doorknobs open doors and that handles pull down and open doors, and he’s put these observations to use in his own endeavors.
But he’s not always successful. And that brings me to this video.
I was doing laundry one day and he had been in the laundry room with me, but I made him leave when I was ready to close the doors and go about my other chores. What I didn’t realize was that he wasn’t done in there, at least not yet.
The moment I walked away, he proceeded to try his magic. You’ll see him reach for the doorknobs, try to snag the tiny space between the doors, try to reach under them for leverage (which is how he normally opened those particular doors anyway), and basically search for an easy way in. However, he wasn’t particularly serious about getting in there and gave it only half the effort he normally would. Eventually—and let’s be honest: probably because he forgot what he was doing or why he wanted in—he decided it was too much work and gave up.
Remember when I said Vazra was insane? I said that because, among many other reasons, he plays in the bathtub with gleeful abandon—but he’s playing with the bathtub and not in it with something else. Well, now I can show you the proof.
Both of these videos were captured yesterday morning. Keep in mind I had to lighten them since the shower area gets indirect incandescent light and doesn’t make for a good video environment. The color is also a bit off due to lighting and the surrounding surfaces. Nevertheless, both show Vazra doing what he loves to do when he goes in the bathroom: jump in the bathtub and excitedly chase invisible rodents.
Odd cat, that one.
The first video is thirty-six seconds long. You can hear Loki talking as he enters near the end of the clip, and then you see his tail cut through the bottom of the screen. He didn’t want to be left out of whatever fun was to be had.
The second video is thirty-one seconds long. Since by this time everyone was in the bathroom and because I was paying attention to the camera instead of who was doing what around me, I don’t know which fur person’s tail swings through the frame near the end of this one.
Vazra’s habit of entertaining himself with the bathtub is quite a sight when he really gets going. There are times when I laugh until I cry because he turns into a wild animal—and all while chasing insubstantial vapors sneaking about the shower, ghouls and goblins only he can see.
[Update] I’ve uploaded new versions of the videos and changed the embedded players above to point to the latest versions. The original MOV files I uploaded created an out-of-sync state with the YouTube audio and visual components, so hopefully uploading AVI versions of the videos has resolved that. I’ll have to remember this in the future. And another thing: the conversion from AVI to MOV (to lighten it) and back to AVI (to upload a working copy) has degraded the quality a bit. That’s something else for me to watch out for.