🐶 We paid a visit to this little guy (and his humans) yesterday. Although he was excited when we got there, he later growled a lot when he thought I was trying to steal his bickie, and finished the night hiding under an armchair so Thor, God of Thunder, wouldn’t find him 😢

a small white dog on a wooden floor looks at the cameraa small white dog on a wooden floor looks off-camera to the right

📚 I’ve finished All Systems Red (first in The Murderbot Diaries) by Martha Wells! I found it a really enjoyable science fiction novel with a wry, cynical sense of humour. The narrator is a fantastic character. Longer review available here.

Owning my content

One of the reasons I started this blog is that I’d come across the concept of the IndieWeb and really liked it. I went into some detail about that in my first post here. The principle of the IndieWeb that appealed to me most of all was the one about owning your content, instead of “sharecropping” it across half a dozen more narrowly focused sites and giving them control over the sole copy of all my data.

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🐶 I realised I’ve been slacking on the photo posts lately, so here’s Gizmo a couple of weekends ago. It was quite a warm afternoon, so the second we reached the shoreline at the beach, he wasted no time dunking himself in the water!

in shallow water at the beach, a small white dog inspects the oceanin shallow water at the beach, a small white dog 'flops' himself into the ocean, shoulder first

🐈 On Gidget not wanting to see guests

Gidget is an indoor-outdoor cat, but we (try to) keep her in between dusk and dawn (which is even the local bylaw, although hardly anyone abides by it haha). Last week she was giving us some problems: where usually she’d been coming in between 6–7pm, she was jumping the fence to a neighbour’s and not coming home ‘til 11pm, if we didn’t find her and carry her in before 6. She also wasn’t coming in for snacks over the course of the day like usual, nor spending her time chilling in our little backyard where she usually spends a lot of time.

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🐈 So, Gidget loves hot weather. Give her a heatwave and she has the time of her life, snoozing outside in temperatures of 36°, 38°, even 40°C. (That’s 97–104°F for the Americans.) I was remarking on this to my family and my sister mentioned that cats’ thermoneutral zone (i.e. the temperature range where the body doesn’t have to expend any extra energy maintaining the right body temperature) is much higher than humans’, at around 32°C (compared to humans’ 21°C, so long as you wear clothes!). This stunned me so much I had to look it up, but yup, it’s true: this veterinary researcher vouches that cats’ thermoneutral zone is around 30–38°C. Suddenly, all cats’ wintertime behaviour makes sense: obsessively seeking out sunbeams, sleeping on humans’ laps, or curling up as close to the heater as they can possibly get… (one of my childhood cats even managed to singe her whiskers this way, and wound up with a Salvador Dalí moustache for a few months). Of course, I’m not going to crank my household heating up to cater to this (I found one page, clearly written by a cat, which suggested keeping your house a toasty 30°C at a minimum at all times), but it’s a good thing to be aware of. If nothing else, it means I can quit worrying about her welfare just because she’s gone out on a scorching hot day.

📚 Finished reading R.F. Kuang’s The Burning God! The conclusion to her Chinese-inspired military fantasy trilogy. Overall I enjoyed it, despite some quibbles – it’d be my favourite of the three. I have a review up on my homepage. Note, unmarked spoilers for the first book within.

A linguistic pet peeve of mine: people saying “all X are not Y” when what they mean is “not all X are Y”. I’m usually easygoing about language differences, but this one completely changes the meaning of what you’re saying in a way where it isn’t always obvious what you meant. It’s clearly a mistake semantically, and one that’s been getting more and more frequent in recent years, at least online. You can’t (honestly) say things like “all kids don’t like sports” or “all Americans don’t live in urban areas with good service”… (the likes of which I see on Reddit all the time)

🏏 Interesting article here by Usman Khawaja on the hostility of Australian cricket to aspiring players from immigrant backgrounds, something he describes as “slowly changing”. IMO the pressure needs to be on for shit to change much faster, as it has for the women’s game.

Tracking my reading

One of my major hobbies is reading. I was a fanatical reader as a kid, and while I’ve definitely gone through periods where I haven’t read for pleasure so much (generally times when I was having to do a lot of reading for school or uni), it’s something I’ve come back to doing time and time again. I read sixty books in each of 2019 and 2020, which is a satisfying pace for me.

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photo of Jessica Smith is a left-wing feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also very interested in linguistics, history, technology and society. See her homepage here.