Training Mr. Davis

I decided before I ever got my cat that I wanted to do clicker training with him. Mr. Davis is taking to it extremely well! One of the more recent things we were working on was having him jump up onto my wooden cube and wait there as I got his food for him – we’ve probably been at this for a little less than a week – me clicking and treating to get him up there, then clicking for him staying there for longer periods of time, then making the food and stopping to cue him back onto the cube and click and treat whenever he jumped down.

This morning, he meowed, jumped on the cube on his own, and watched me intently (and quietly) completely unprompted. He stayed there the whole time while I got his food, and waited until I said “Okay” to jump down, all without any clicks. I was so proud! It’s super helpful, too, because he was one of those cats who twined around your legs while you were in the kitchen, making food preparation a treacherous occasion.

The biggest trick is figuring out the course of action to take to train him to do something, since it involves shaping tiny steps in the right direction. My current challenge is his morning “is it time to get up yet?” habit, which includes climbing up onto my chest, meowing in my ear, and putting his paw on my face. Since the idea being clicker training is that you reinforce behavior you want, and I can’t very well bring the clicker and handful of treats to bed and spontaneously click when he’s sleeping quietly, I will need a different strategy.

Other clicker skills I’ve taught him are “up” and “down” on cue, and to sit and let me put his harness on. Still working on a reliable “come,” and a way for him to ask for me to play with him (his current strategy is to meow sadly and threaten the couch). Also, I’m teaching him to go into his crate, and to let me handle his paws so that I can clip his nails.

New Kitty

I brought home my new cat from the shelter today! This is my first cat as an independent adult-type-person, and he is wonderful. His shelter name is Mr. Davis, and though he’s been at the shelter for about a year, he doesn’t seem too attached to it, so new names are up for grabs.

We were apparently meant to be, as when I visited him the first time at the shelter he crawled right into my lap, bypassing the finger-sniff-test altogether. Today when I went to pick him up, all the cats were stressed and cranky (they are moving locations, so everything was being packed and shuffled up. Mr. Davis was laying on the ground with a very “don’t touch me” swishy tail, and the shelter people were looking for where they had packed the treats so they could lure him into the carrier. Then, all of a sudden, he stood up and waltzed right into the carrier, and then laid down and made himself comfortable. The shelter volunteers were in awe. Didn’t make a peep the whole ride home.

He was very low key when I brought him home, and after some sniffy exploring, made right in with the purring and the snuggles. He’s quite big, but very sweet. Here are photos!

And no, he doesn’t have a drinking problem, Josh was just using that bottle as a scale clue.


Church trap

Every morning on my way to work, I pass a little church on Buena Vista which, like many little churches, has a sign out front with a new message every week. This place, however, has the most bizarre, quippy, and humorous messages I’ve ever seen on a church sign. It’s to the point where I eagerly look forward to passing it, to see what weird or witty message is up.

Some favorites:

“I love the smell of chaos in the morning”

“It’s not about the shoes”

“Avoid churches” (which was followed by a bible verse, Matthew, I think, I cant recall it)

I’m intrigued to the point that I might stop in one Sunday and see if the sermons are as snarky as the board sign.

Website wonders

Internet, what am I going to do with my website?

I’ve come a long way as a builder of website, from scrappy do-it-yourself php, to work-done-for-you plugins like Gallery, to now when part of me just wants to dump everything and use Google Sites because of how simple it is. I realize that everyone’s website is “under construction” to some degree, but I have a bad habit of stopping early in grand designs.

Right now my biggest problem is that I feel dispersed across the internet. I want my website to be a centralizing force, but I’m not sure what I want that to mean, exactly. Here’s an inventory of my internet doings:

My portfolio site, which rose up to a state of half-finishedness before my getting a job and losing all motivation to make it pretty. The process was this: I’ll just lay out all the text and the basic format, and go in and make a stylish design and fancy menu later. As is evidence by my straight up text link navigation, “later” never happened. It is certainly minimal and straightforward, and I did toy with integrating some personal site stuff (as evidence by the sidebar on the first page), but nothing is set in stone.

My personal site, which is in absolute shambles. My intention for this place was to store my various non-professional projects and art, and at the time I was super proud of myself for getting Gallery up and running and integrated. I love to have that stuff sharable, but I hate that my personal site is tucked back and hidden. Is it appropriate, now that I have a job, to once more integrate all this stuff together?

My blogs, one of which is this one, and crossposted to Livejournal, my personal site, and Facebook notes. The other two could fall under the category of “projects,” I suppose.

My Picasa site, where I post my photos, both social fun photographs and my fledgeling attempts at Photography.

Add my Formspring and Twitter pages and I am spread and crossposted pretty thin.

Everyone has the sweeping desire to overhaul their website from time to time, and I’m up for the undertaking, I just need a *plan* before I go in this time. Should I Google Site it afterall? What are my goals with my web presence, beyond just consolidation? Who is my audience? What are my intentions??

Any advice is welcome.