Friday, June 20, 2003

The first thermodynamic law of cats

by Suw on June 20, 2003

It’s been quite warm and sultry of a night here lately, in that uncomfortable way of being too warm to sleep under the duvet, but not warm enough not to. So whatever Fflwff’s reasons are for deciding to cuddle up to me on a nightly basis lately, I’m pretty sure they’re not thermal. She’s not called ?Fflwff? for nothing.

However, my dear moggie has shown a decided preference for sleeping on my feet at night, albeit one at a time. Not comfortably next to, but actually on top of, as if she were attempting to hatch out a small clutch of footlings.

This is not particularly comfortable for me and I am at a loss to see how it could possibly be comfortable for her. My feet aren’t pillow-shaped and remain obstinately bony and angular regardless of how much she tries to squish them into shape. (Although she’s over a stone in weight, with hardly any fat on her, and usually manages to squish most things she sits on quite successfully.)

But, Fflwff doesn’t just sit on my feet, she purrs on them.

Cats purr with a dominant frequency of around 50 hertz ? a frequency which stimulates bone growth and fracture healing. What’s more, they have harmonics at around 120 hertz, which encourage tendon healing. This may well be one reason why cats can survive injuries that would kill other animals of the same size.

Whilst it’s true that purring cats heal quickly, and it’s true that I do have a long-term ankle injury-ette (it’s been slightly sprained for several months now, due to an unfortunate habit I have acquired of sitting at my desk for hours on end with my foot turned over), but I’m really not convinced that Fflwff is aware of my injury and therefore attempting to put some feline healing mojo on it.

I can see the logic behind the theory that dolphins can sense illness and injury in humans using sonar, but I’m pretty sure that purring cats do not have some inbuilt ultrasound scanner thing happening. Although I suppose it would be an interesting experiment to put purring cats on the bellies of a pregnant women and see if there’s any correlation between tail twitches and the gender of the wee bairn. Can’t see that one getting any funding, though.

That said, I’d like to think that if a purring cat was correctly applied directly to an injured area that it could effect some measure of additional healing. I would, therefore, like to give some serious thoughts to the use of purring cats in the treatment of migraines. As detailed in a previous post, I get migraines and they’re not nice. And mine aren’t even all that bad. Perhaps there could be contrapted some mechanism for bringing the purring cat into contact with the affected area.

Or not.

I don’t much fancy having a purring cat balanced on my head in the name of science and medicine. Especially not one with claws and teeth the size of Fflwff’s.

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What is this?

by Suw on June 20, 2003

The sky is blue, the setting sun is casting a shimmering gold through my window, the Libertines are playing impossibly loudly from my stereo, the chardonnay in my glass tastes divine, and I’m dealing with an emotion I haven’t felt for what seems like a long time. Weeks at least. Possibly longer. I actually feel? hm, yes, it is? it’s happiness. I actually feel happy.

Recently, despite perhaps the tone of my blogs, I’ve felt nothing but cornered, like the last living hen in the henhouse as Mr Fox stands in the hatchway, silhouetted by the rising sun, his mouth feathered and bloody, his tongue lolling as he contemplates that one, last kill.

No one ever said starting my own business would be easy, but no one ever said it would be this hard.

I’ve been self-employed since 97, and I thought that all that time spent worrying over where my next meal was coming from would have prepared me for this. I thought that somehow being self-employed as a journalist, and then as a web designer, would have given me some insight as to what I could expect from the process of starting my own business.

I thought I was prepared for the long hours, the ceaseless worry, the painful autonomy – having to decide absolutely everything yourself becomes tiring very quickly. But no, I don’t think I was prepared at all. This has been the singularly most difficult experience of my life, and my life has been no bed of roses.

It’s also been the scariest. Scarier than doing stand up comedy in front of 250 punters all baying for (and getting) blood. Scarier than playing my first gig, as singer and bassist, when I could do nothing more than pray for the fucking best and stare at one square inch of floor about 12 ft in front of me. Scarier than lecturing about British Popular Music from 1980 to Present to often uninterested (but thankfully never asleep) American students who didn’t understand the difference between Nine Inch Nails and a British band. Scarier even than throwing myself off a cliff with nothing but a cable tether to keep me from dashing my fragile body against the rocks below.

(Actually, that last one was more fun than scary. I don’t even want to know what that says about my psyche.)

I’ve coped, and not coped, with all this stress in various ways. Some of them healthy, some of them not. But over the last few months the whole stress thing has intensified and multiplied and generally become almost unbearable.

I’m not sure how many of the people that know me online have realised this. I think not many. Usually I’m a pretty chilled person, always ready with the sharp witty comeback, but lately I’ve been prickly and unreasonable. I’ve also been unfeasibly apologetic. Stress does that to you, I guess.

(That said, one more brainless snipe about the Matrix and I swear that blood will be shed, and it won’t be mine.)

So today, tonight, at that moment when I realised I was actually feeling happy, it came as a bit of a surprise. It’s a real feeling of elation. And it’s nothing born of others. It’s not that happiness I get when certain people email or pm me. It’s got nowt to do with other people’s praise or kind words.

On the face of it, it seems to come from the fact that today I conquered my web shop. This is something I’ve been putting off doing for months, and today I got it all working perfectly. (Well, as perfectly as anything online ever works, anyway.) I still have some cosmetic things to tweak, but the scripts all work, it’s integrated fine with my PSP, and it’ll be live next week (at which point obviously I’ll post a link).

But surely that can’t be the reason I’m feeling so good? Especially on a day when I usually feel a bit miserable. Tomorrow is the Solstice. After tomorrow, the days start drawing in and we’re back into the long slow descent into winter that I so hate.

Maybe it’s got nothing to do with things I’ve achieved today. Maybe it’s just because I’ve had so much sunshine that the microfreckles on my shoulders have come out.

Or maybe it’s because I’m starting to feel like I’ve turned a corner. Maybe this is the beginning of things starting to turn out good. Gods know that there is a lot that could still go horrendously wrong in my life. But somehow, I feel like I’ve crested a hill and now I can see the future all laid out before me, and it’s a good future.

I don’t know.

Whatever it is, I wish it would happen more often.

if you’ve lost your faith in love and music, oh the end won’t be long
because if it’s gone for you then I too may lose it, and that would be wrong
you know I’ve tried so hard to keep myself from falling
back into my bad old ways
and it chars my heart to always hear you calling
calling for the good old days
because there were no ?good old days?
these are the good old days

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