Monday, August 28, 2006

Cats have ivory towers too

Your narrator, it would seem, has reason to fret about the well-being of her companionable feline. Despite my recent visit to the fine town of Edmond, no evidence exists that said feline partook in any boisterous socializing whilst she was left to her own devices. Perhaps the academic endeavors of my faithful cat have interfered with her once active (indeed rather wild) social life.

I do suspect that my little cat has neglected her duties as hostess in order to play the role of social agitator, encouraging and inspiring cats everywhere to rebel and rave against the social order in the most heinous of ways.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Jeni attacked by tricksy spider

Yesterday, I ran through a large cobweb. EWWW. Undoubtedly an attempt upon my life by some evil spider seeking revenge for the death of his kinsman. No more jogging at night along bush-adorned sidewalks.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Cats in Costumes

Look at the amazing jester cat! So perky and adorable, even while sitting calmly.

And shiver me timbers . . . it's pirate kitty!

*Brought to you courtesy of our sponsor, Friends of Catism.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

This week at PetSmart

Cat costumes on sale for the bargain price of $5.99. That's right, for just a few dollars, you can adorn your cat for Halloween or the masquerade. I have long suspected Gergiev of secretly nursing the desire to transform into a bear for an evening, so perhaps a trip to the store is in order.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

A New Teaching Philosophy, Part II

During the infamous Writing Program orientation last week, we were required to write about student conferences. My response below is, of course, very much in line with current pedagogical theory.

Student conferences function as an integral part of a student-centered writing class. Often during conferences, my student and I simply sit in the same room and stare intelligently at each other, basking in the bliss of self-knowledge and contemplating the act of writing in silent awe. Occasionally, murmurs of the wonders of writing escape from us half-consciously. The student eventually emerges from my office full of joy and enlightenment, as I revel in my success as the composition teacher-god.

Why Student Conferences Must Be Required

It is imperative that all instructors be required to conference with their students. Conferences help instructors maintain their roles as teacher-gods and are therefore essential to student success, much like the occasional offering of human sacrifices. Furthermore, imposing this burden on both students and teachers enables the dictatorship of the Writing Program to continue exerting control with an ironmost fist, an arrangement of power that forms the necessary foundation of all learning.

On Student Conferences and Catism

Student conferences also further the catist agenda of the Writing Program by providing a space for one-on-one instruction. Since the formal education of cats is only now beginning to gain acceptance through the hard work of critics like Cat Gergiev, it is essential that the needs of underprivileged cats be addressed on an individual basis.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A Catist Manifesto

In an attempt to prove my catist loyalties, your humble narrator dost present to you the following academic essay upon cats in popular culture.

I recently came across a quaint print of a painting featuring a cat for sale online. While attempts to depict cats and their lives in popular culture are encouraging to the catism movement, even the most simple analysis of such depictions reveal that this trend actually works against the goals of catism by stereotyping and debasing cats. "Naught Cat V" represents the prominent cultural trend to categorize and contain cats. In this painting, a single cat is shown lapping up milk, which, the title of the painting implies, he/she has presumably spilt. The close cultural association of cats and milk obscures the myriad roles and ventures of cats within contemporary society.

Furthermore, the painting exploits the "naughty kitten" figure that is so entrenched in popular representations of cats. Perhaps the most familiar manifestation of this figure is in the children's nursery rhyme:

Three little kittens, they lost their mittens
And they began to cry:
"O Mother dear,
We very much fear
That we have lost our mittens."
"Lost your mittens!
You naughty kittens!
Then you shall have no pie."

The naughty kitten figure combines an admiration of the playful and "cute" qualities associated with kittenhood with a mild exasperation for the results of such qualities. This ambivalent attitude toward kittenhood creates a tension that writers and artists find powerful. Unfortunately, the naughty kitten figure promotes an unrealistic image of cats as perpetually youthful, as always kittens. The problem of the three little kittens is juvenile and lighthearted in nature (the loss of mittens, inexpensive items which can be replaced), as is their punishment (the withholding of dessert). However, rather than being simply a nostalgic anecdote of kittenhood, this depiction has infiltrated popular culture to the extent that all cats are judged by this standard. The cat in "Naughty Cat V" is no longer a kitten, yet it is presented as one through the juvenile nature of its action. The frequency of such depictions trivializes the lives of full-grown cats, subjecting all cats to the expectations that are inappropriate and one-dimensional. Just as domesticated kittens are frequently stripped of their front claws by their human companions, who prefer to think of themselves as "owners" (and thus relegating cats to the status of objects), cats of all ages, genders, and colors are being declawed, domesticated, contained by images promoting perpetual kittenhood. The time has now come. Cats of the world, unite!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

A new teaching philosophy for a glorious new age . . .

So the great TU Writing Program orientation is now upon us. Inspired by Dear Brave Sara while attending this fine event, I have penned a grand new teaching philosophy. You may venture here to read it, gentle reader, if you are so inclined.

Monday, August 14, 2006

There's no place like home . . .

Your humble narrator hast finally returned home to her friends and cat after embarking upon her numerous adventures, including trips to the true Golden Gate bridge and to the lesser, one-lane, wooden-plank Golden Gate bridge near Eureka Springs almost precisely one week (down to the hour) after visiting its much larger and less scary counterpart.

Sadly, it seems that cat Gergiev toyed with the idea of interviewing potential new owners in my absence. Perhaps catism involves an anti-vagabonding strain of which I was unaware. So I must now endeavor to regain the affection of my beloved cat. For although your narrator didst offer to take said cat with her on road trip to the faraway land of Edmond, she didst refuse such kind offer, preferring to stay in humble abode alone, thus withholding her company from her doting human companion for the better part of two weeks.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


"Jeni, Jeni, who can I turn to?"

As the real Jeni, let me tell you where to turn to . . .
--turn to eBay for many lovely antique fans in working order
--turn to newly "-Scientist"-ed English teachers for complicated mechanical repairs on lovely fans that make very loud noises due to centripetal force driving fan blades into misaligned fan cage
--turn to overheated friends who dread cooking dinner for rescue of stalled vehicle
--turn to AAA to fix your car, if only temporarily
--turn to for relatively cheap airfare
--turn to friends whose names begin with "dear" and "brave" for transportation occurring before the ungodly hour of 5:30 a.m.
--turn to Gergiev or some other lovely blocks (i.e., cat) for love and affection
--turn to the Continental for Tulsa's finest salsa music and twenty of the loveliest crystal chandeliers
--always turn to bad 80s music while working out in hot apartment

And where not to turn to . . .
--do not turn to Ford Thunderbirds for reliable transportation
--do not turn to single air conditioner for proper cooling of entire apartment complex
--do not turn to any blocks for the safekeeping of pens, pencils, or potted plants
--do not turn to Big Bad Bobcat for coherent explanations of the theory of catism

"Jeni, Jeni, who can I turn to? (867-5309)
For the price of a dime I can always turn to you."