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August 5th, 2004


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12:10 am - No Projecting Through The Cat
This is the part where I do a little horn tooting. But, like, not my horn. The cat's. And this is where things get kinda weird and very amusing to me. So do indulge me if you will whilst I giggle a bit.

As most of you know, for about three years now good ol' Abbie the Cat has a blog which gets updated every now and then. There's no advertising for it; everything is strictly word-of-mouth. Most of my projects are like that. Some things just seem cooler if they're Your Little Secret, y'know?

Rules for Cat Writing

I have a set of rules that I developed when I created the blog back in March of 2001. They must be followed for a post in Abbie's blog to get published. More or less. I won't bore you with all of the rules, just a few:

Rule #1 is No Projecting Through The Cat ("Boy the guy sure looks lonely, I bet he wishes someone would give him some smoochies")

Rule #2 is No Cutesy Cat Puns ("Wow today was meowy purr-fect!")

Rule #3 is Under Absolutely No Circumstances Will The Cat Refer To Me As "Daddy." (No example needed cause I've already written two things in parentheses that nearly made me retch.)

There's more to it than that, involving writing how I feel a cat would observe the world (he's self-centered which is why he never refers to Martha by name, only by "the other cat" cause that's what he considers her to be) and at times it seems almost like creative dogma (catma? Shit, about to break Rule #2) but I'd like to think the cat's developed his own voice over time. I'm trying to keep the writing style balanced between cat-like typing and sheer typographical nightmare.

I do get all gleepy inside anytime someone notes a Don Marquis influence, for I do admit his Archy & Mehitabel stories and poems are a source of great inspiration and creative influence, especially the near stream-of-consciousness style of writing (Abbie makes more typographical mistakes than Archy, who as a cockroach must jump on each typewriter key to write so at least his aim is good.)

And every now and then Eloise pops up -- I think it was Toon who said she felt it was like Archy & Mehitabel crossed with Kay Thompson's Eloise, which was another right fine compliment. (I just recently remembered Eloise signs her name much like Abbie does: "Me Eloise" and I'm trying to figure out if I remembered that outright, or if it just slipped in under my subconscious to come back up when writing the character.)

I figured the dogma was working because every time I did a little ego Google (egoogle?) I'd find someone else who'd linked the blog and said "This isn't like those other cat blogs out there..." or "If a cat really did keep a blog, this is what it would be like." Those are right fine compliments and I take 'em with a blush and an aw shucks and I usually go over and chuck the cat under the chin and go "You know what, buddy? You're famous. You have lots of friends all over." And he just either takes the chin-chucking and cat-smiles (doing that eyes half-closed thing) or he gets up because I'm bothering him and goes elsewhere to sleep.

Famous people what dig Abbie

And then there are famous people I respect and/or admire and/or think are pretty darn cool who've mentioned the cat before. This is what strokes the ego quite a bit.

Sarah Dyer of Action Girl comics fame (and writing Space Ghost episodes with Evan Dorkin fame and other cool stuff fame) said "It reminds me of one of my favorite childood reads, I, Scheherazade, if it had been written by Kay Thompson rather than Douglass Parkhirst." See? Another Eloise ref. Not bad.

Diane Duane, author of the Young Wizards series, has Abbie linked on her personal blog. I'm considering this a total honor because her two books about cat wizards, The Book of Night with Moon and To Visit The Queen are two of my all-time favorite cat books because she knows cats. She gets 'em. She knows how they relate to people. Plus she took the way cats sit and interact around each other and created houssh, which is a "sort of cat chess" involving positions of power and influence and the ability to see without being seen. Cat placement is strategy there. I dig that.

And a few Constant Readers tipped me off today that no less an august blogging personage as Wonkette has given Abbie props on her front page for a little thing he wrote about the DNC last week. I've known Wonkette dug the cat because when ego surfing a while back, I found an interview she gave where she dropped his name in a list that answered the question "What makes you laugh?" But she'd never mentioned him in her blog, and now she has. Very cool. I am quite flattered.

Common Misconceptions

Before we go, here are some common misconceptions about the cat that I've found while Googling:

1. Abbie is a girl cat. I know he doesn't refer to himself with third-person pronouns all that often, but you'd think the ol "I AM THE KING I AM THE KING I AM THE KING i have no testickals" post would've been a tip-off. Last year when I was developing the "Abbie falls in love" storyline (and subsequently dropped entirely because A: he was rushed to the vet in the middle of it, prompting Martha's first takeover and B: I couldn't find a way to end the storyline without being mean to Tish's cat Coriander, with whom Abbie was smitten) there were a few blogs who mentioned how cool and progressive it was for Abbie to be falling in love with the cat of the same gender. I didn't have the heart to break it to them that, well, while I agreed with 'em, it wasn't the case for ol' Abs. I very rarely comment in these blogs because I already feel like a weirdo for ego-surfing in (I always cringe because I just know my Google referrer with search term will have found its way into the blog's logs, and I know bloggers just looooooooove checking their referrers) and I feel as if it's almost an invasion through the Fourth Wall or something to be like "I found this blog entry by searching for my name." Anyway.

2. Martha is the human. At least one site has it listed like that! I think it's kinda cute but kinda weird, cause Martha definitely makes her cat presence known in her entries (complaining that Abbie's hogging the catbox when it's her turn, getting offended when someone says black cats are bad luck, etc.) But maybe that assumption was made after a quick perusal of the site, and might be fixed if the person read any further. Either way it's fine with me, cause the URL is spelled correctly.

For some reason I really dislike having cats use the word "human." It sounds so artificial to me. The meaning and the feeling keep ping-ponging from Bad Attempt At Cat Blog What Breaks All My Rules to Crazy Science-Fiction Intonation ("Feed us our kitty kibble, Hu-Man, and tell us more of this Earth custom you call Tu-Na-Fish.") It's why I use "guy" -- it feels more, well, vague. And better.

3. Abbie doesn't know what a freakin spellcheck is! We got a lot of those letters Back In The Day. Oddly enough nobody seems to mail the cat anymore. Either that or it's getting spamtrapped. I used to make sure the cat replied, in character, to every email sent, be it good or bad. Except spam. We don't reply to spam, even as hilarious as it would be for Abbie to reply to the Nigerian scammers. Maybe some day I'll choose a pet scammer and try to see how far he'll go even when Abbie keeps talking cat talk at him. But not tonight.

At any rate, yes, Abbie knows what a spellchecker is, but he just doesn't bother to use it because he's a cat and cats don't need to second-guess themselves. (Fun Fact: Most of the atrocious spelling in Abbie's blog is accomplished simply by typing really really really really fast and then not going back to make corrections -- though artistic liberty has been taken every now and then to deliberately make a misspelling if a letter omitted from a word makes the word look funny enough. The official explanation is that cats have big paws that can sometimes hit more than one key, or not enough.)

Anyway. This big furry throw rug of a cat is my bestest buddy in the whole wide world. I've had him ever since he was a wee tiny kitten. Some times when I've been low he's just curled up alongside me and put his head on my foot and sighed, and suddenly the world isn't such a bad place. Other times he'll pull some stunt and do something so preposterous (like binging on the catnip while I was at work and then hiding, stoned out of his gourd, half under the couch) I can't get mad at him for all the laughing. Frankly he's given me so much happiness and good cheer by just being a big funky cat that I felt like I had to share that with others. So, uh, without getting too mushy (keep yer boots off) I just want to say thank you to everybody who reads my silly cat blog or wears shirts with his picture on them or tells other people about it or quotes favorite lines and and and stuff. Yeah. I'm just glad the darn thing makes a lot of other people happy too.

So that's the cat. I'm gonna go bug him now with a few chin-chucks.

(24 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:annilita
Date:August 4th, 2004 11:53 pm (UTC)
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I love Abbie. I read his work all the time. Sometimes I forget that you do the writing for him. I have told lots of people about Abbie's blog, including a crazy cat lady who was offended that Abbie used a curse once or twice and got mad at me for exposing her to that.

When I was preggers with the first monster, I had bad insomnia, and I would sit at my pooter and read back through all Abbie's doings, because I came to his blog a year into it. As a result of my constant checking for updates, I've developed an affinity for his name and have stolen it to name baby #2.

If money were no object, I would buy a ton of stickers and put them all over like the old Andre ones. Or I would at least buy a t-shirt.

What can I say? I am an Abbie groupie.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:August 5th, 2004 06:45 am (UTC)
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I had to stop for a moment and think about what cussin' that cat has done, and then I realized he's dropped the occasional D and H-bombs -- granted, compared to the Eff Star Star Star they ain't so bad, but I can see crazy cat ladies or other kind souls putting their hand to their mouths and uttering "Oh my!" when they read it coming from a cat.

Oh, and if you do name Kid #2 after Abbie I think we'd both be seriously honored and flattered, but do not blame me if the kid develops a thing for jumping up on the counters and eating all the food when you're not looking.
[User Picture]
From:annilita
Date:August 5th, 2004 08:22 am (UTC)
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My first kid does that already.
From:thufir_hawat
Date:August 5th, 2004 12:10 am (UTC)
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I have been linked to abbiesayrelax for like a year, and it never refreshes. Cheated I say. I should be able to get all my bitchin' web based shit in one lj sized helping.
[User Picture]
From:byrneout
Date:August 5th, 2004 04:29 am (UTC)
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Agreed. I thought Abbie just wasn't updating.

On the other hand, now I have lots to read. Tra la.
From:subbes
Date:August 5th, 2004 12:10 am (UTC)
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Meow.
From:subbes
Date:August 5th, 2004 12:11 am (UTC)
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Incidentally, abbie needs an lj syndicated feed.
From:subbes
Date:August 5th, 2004 12:21 am (UTC)
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If you get a chance, Terry Pratchett's _The Unadulterated Cat_ has a great take on cat chess [moves are made at a sort of slow-paced slink, and rules involve being in a location to see as many other cats as possible without being seen oneself, perhaps, or maybe the rules exist on some other, higher plane of knowledge, like cricket], and also the game of "offside" (getting into as many out of the way places as possible [the winning location, so far, is the "dead space" between the exterior wall and drywalling], always being on the wrong side of the door, etc), "being good" (annoying the human but in such a way that the human can't get mad, because you were Being Good -- such as leaving a mouse on the doorstep, when Human tends to step out without looking first thing inthe morning, etc etc etc), and Eating Grass (because it'll send the humans into a tizzy trying to find the cat book to work out whether it's normal behavior, means the cat is sick, or what). Also, it's illustrated by Gray Joliffe, and, well, I like it. I think you might, too.

(Pratchett suggests cat names should be chosen so that you won't be embarrassed to yell at 4AM while banging a fork against a plastic bowl, and also that hte name be something short and easy to remember and yell when cat begins to dig up the prized roses. Like Zut, or, well, Bast. Although some other cat names he cites are Yarrgerroffoutofityoubastard and Mummywhat'sthattingunderthebedaaaaargh!, so he does deviate a bit from that naming scheme.)
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:August 5th, 2004 03:30 am (UTC)
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I think it's abbiesayrelax ? I forget who set it up but the Blogger account does have an RSS feed.
From:subbes
Date:August 5th, 2004 04:29 am (UTC)
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oh
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:August 5th, 2004 05:02 am (UTC)
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hmm. Previous posts and a check of the LJ scrape seem to indicate it's not updating anymore. Wonder why that is.

Say, whoever owns abbiesayrelax, can we talk? I wanna see what we can do to get things going again.
[User Picture]
From:arielblue
Date:August 5th, 2004 06:38 am (UTC)
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I seem to remember platys doing it maybe?

And yeah, it would be cool if it updated again, though it hasn't been killing me to go and check the site every couple-three days just in case there's an update. But then I get all WAH WAH WAH when I realize there was a new entry and it was a whole DAY ago and I didn't READ it yet.


P.S. ABBIE R000000000LZ
[User Picture]
From:platys
Date:August 5th, 2004 07:08 am (UTC)
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Yeah, I made abbiesayrelax, but I don't own it. But, I had to use a third party site to create the feed, since blogger didn't have an rss feed at the time. If you send me the link to the actual blogger rss feed, I'll email livejournal, and they can update it for us.
[User Picture]
From:platys
Date:August 5th, 2004 07:14 am (UTC)
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Nevermind, I found it. livejournal can update the feed for us. :)
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:August 5th, 2004 10:15 am (UTC)
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Excellent! Thank you very much!
[User Picture]
From:platys
Date:August 6th, 2004 06:53 am (UTC)
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They updated the URL overnight. which now means everyone's friends list is full of abbie goodness. Yay!
[User Picture]
From:phonemonkey
Date:August 5th, 2004 01:53 am (UTC)
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I love Abbie's blog too. I also thought he was a girl cat, because of the name. Always get a bit tense when the big guy has to go to the vet though.

The picture of Abbie and Martha as kittens is lovely, it's funny that they used to be the same size. AbbieKitten looked an awful lot like Tory's cat Kocic. I don't think she got enough to eat as a kitten (she was 6 months old when she was adopted through the shelter) because at 4 years old she is still tiny and kitten-looking.
[User Picture]
From:alphacygni
Date:August 5th, 2004 06:52 am (UTC)
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The misconception of Abbie's gender goes back a long way. The cats were described as being two girls, by the scary family who provided them. But then, at the first visit, the vet unceremoniously lifted up Abbie (at the time, short for Abigail) by the rump and said, "Uh, this one is a boy." Abbie became no longer short for Abigail, and it was decided that the de-gonading would take place as early as possible, lest Abbie and Martha repeat the tragic, shameful mistakes of their parents (also siblings).
[User Picture]
From:byrneout
Date:August 5th, 2004 04:31 am (UTC)
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Lookit the wee baby kitties!
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:August 5th, 2004 05:02 am (UTC)
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solche kleinen katzen!
(Deleted comment)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:August 5th, 2004 06:21 am (UTC)

Re: *wibble*

(Link)
HOLY CRAP - Abbie the cat made it onto Wonkette!!!

- Dave S.
[User Picture]
From:kyree
Date:August 5th, 2004 11:15 am (UTC)

Re: *wibble*

(Link)
I'm with you, Kes. Maybe once I stop going "awwww" I can say something coherent.
[User Picture]
From:beana_1977
Date:August 5th, 2004 06:16 pm (UTC)

having just been introduced to Abby and Martha's blog I just have to say

(Link)
OH MY GOD!!! does it get any better then this?
[User Picture]
From:lindito
Date:August 6th, 2004 10:17 am (UTC)

spatch...

(Link)
you are too cool for words.

as you know, i'm rather jaded (i guess this is how i ended up on the bbs-that-shall-not-be-named in the first place).

but reading about cat town (i still haven't read too much of it directly, especially when stuff keeps gets posted in places i frequent) makes me feel pretty glad to sorta-know you.

sorta-know? is that a real word? like usetacould?

gah. i'm starting to blabber. you know what i'm trying to say.

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