Last week brought good news about my old dog, Sophie--she has steadily improved since last year's crisis and she's looking good. And then I had not-good news about my cat, Miss Dinah Fantastico. It turns out she has hypercalcemia and we have to figure out why. (It could be the c-word.) More info as it comes in. I also intend to do a Sophie: One Year Later post, which I will hopefully get to this week.
(Miss Dinah, my girl.)
Then Lilith Saintcrow contacted me about helping to put together her blog posts SquirrelTerror into book format. Yay--
Hold that thought, as Friday night came and I stumbled across something rotten. These posts--from a few years ago--were being plagiarized.
Seriously. PLAGIARIZED BLOG POSTS ABOUT SQUIRRELS. Stealing from FREAKIN' LILITH SAINTCROW.
The mess is mostly dealt with in that the posts were (mostly) removed and the plagiarist was banned from the site in question, but the ripples from this sort of thing will continue to be felt for a long time by the parties harmed, chief among them Lili. You'll find links to everything relevant in those posts if you'd like to catch up. If nothing else is learned here, let it be known that I have a rather intense sense of loyalty and mad Google Fu. Do NOT fuck with the select group of people I like and admire.
Finally, the MS Walk is in a couple of weeks--if you can, consider dropping some pennies my way here. If you'd like to read about why I'm walking, there's a lengthy post here on the subject.
Now I have to fast one cat for twelve hours before her tests, which means ALL THE CATS get fasted for twelve hours (you can't only not feed one...you just can't). If I go missing, they probably ate me.
This spurred this post but it's not the only reason I have strong feelings about it. It will, however, be the focus.
Guess who found SquirrelTerror was being plagiarized? Yes, chickadees, that would be me. My mad Google Fu is well documented, and I was working on the book, poking around the old posts (which were lost when her site was hacked but can still be found via the Wayback Machine and caches) when I stumbled across--
Wait, I can't show you, because the plagiarist deleted her posts (without publicly apologizing, from what I can see).
Oh, hold on, I *can* show you. Because nothing disappears from the internet.
Screenshot for those who don't want to click links:
Wow, that looked almost exactly like what I was just copyediting. Which was this post.
So there I was. In the rain. Digging a grave.
OK, OK, let me back up. This was about a week or so ago, the day after Squirrel!Neo and Juliet!Jay had their little interaction and Mercutio!Jay entirely lost his shit. Anyway, for some reason I hadn’t had coffee with my oatmeal that morning, I was just going to deal with caffeination after I ran some ungodly number of miles. Just…remember that the series of events I am about to relate happened while I was completely uncaffeinated.
So. Kids were off to school, it was raining, I went out to put my freshly-charged IPod on the treadmill before I changed into my running togs. I yawned, glanced out into the back yard…and paused. And stared.
There was a dead squirrel in my back yard. He lay on his back, little paws curled up, soaking in the rain and covered with what looked like mud. I couldn’t tell at that distance. I just saw his white chest and his little spattered belly, and he was so, so still.
“Oh, Christ Jesus,” I actually breathed. “Neo!”
I considered just doing my morning run and then dealing with the, ahem, crime scene. But then I thought of running six miles and staring at a dead rodent, and it just didn’t seem appetizing.
So I went to fetch a shovel.
This was the straight-edge shovel I bought when we needed to scrape moss off the roof ages ago. It’s practically new, and it’s a Serious Effing Shovel. Red and black and heavy-reinforced enough to be deadly in the right hands. You could seriously whap someone with this shovel and then use it to dig a grave in rocky soil. I believe in quality.
If you follow me with any regularity, you likely follow Lili because she is my Bad Horse and I shared links to SquirrelTerror whenever they went live.
So just imagine my horror for a moment as I scanned that post from DailyKos, initially looking for Lili's name or a link to her post. I mean, I wasn't only currently staring at those words in a Word doc--I remembered reading them two and a half years ago. Then I took a closer look and realized names had been changed. Neo was Sarge (Sarge? Seriously??), for example. Wait, what?
That's not a randomly scraped blog post. That's not quoting and forgetting to source.
That's trying to pass off someone else's work as your own.
First instinct: attack like a yappy, rabid chihuahua. (The visual is all the more humorous if you know I'm a giant Amazon woman.)
The second...break the news to Lili. Because (and I'll get to this in a second), I have seen the kind of damage done by plagiarism and this should be nipped in the bud before she releases her book. She's the content creator; she's the ones with rights. So I let her know. And the more digging I did, the more I found. No fewer than twenty posts, word for word--with names changed--were available by the same user, starting this past summer and continuing as early a s February of this year, all based on Lili's posts from 2010-2011.
And let me tell you something about Lili. You know how you and me are all like, "WHERE IS MY SHOVEL, SOMEONE GET ME A TARP--I ALSO NEED AN ALIBI AND A TRUCK"? Lili is the very definition of grace and restraint. She politely asked the person to remove the posts and blogged, making it clear this is her work should any trouble arise when the book is published. She worried about being a dick about this even though she had every frickin' right to be.
But here is the real thing I would like to get across today, Plagiarist.
What you are doing--or have done--hurts people.
It hurts the content creator.
That person you plagiarized? She (or he) feels incredibly violated by what you've done. It's a horrible, sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. Doesn't matter if it's blog posts or novels or art or anything else. It's a awful sense of betrayal that never goes away.
It means that SquirrelTerror book might not even see the light of day, because despite being the victim in this scenario, the content creator is the one who will get scorn heaped upon her. It means other content creators cut back or stop writing altogether. It means books by the original author get pulled from Amazon because someone reports it as being a copyright violation, creating more headaches for the victim.
It hurts the people who trusted you.
I have personal experience with this in a few ways, but most notably was a year and a bit ago when a friend and colleague, someone I thought highly of and trusted, turned out to have plagiarized a book I helped work on. I spent all weekend trying to find proof she was in the right, believing her, helping her, to find out it was a lie. And not only did her publisher lose money as the book was pulled immediately, but her friends--who had known her years--were crushed. They'd critiqued her book. They'd encouraged her, believed in her.
In the end, they didn't know what else she'd lied about. They lost someone they cared about, and that sense of betrayal continues to this day.
It hurts you.
When you are found out--and you will be found out--it's going to hurt you. Everything you've ever written will be questioned (at the day job, if it's proven one book by an author was plagiarized, our policy--and that of many small pubs--is to pull all the work by that author). Everything you write in the future will be questioned. After the initial shock wears off--and it will--the people who supported you will stop trusting you. They will feel betrayed by you.
Look, nothing is so important that you have to steal from others. I get it--you're swamped and feel like you need to take a shortcut. Well, actually, the fallout from relinquishing some duties or asking for an extension pales in comparison to the shitstorm once your plagiarism is discovered. Or maybe you're insecure and you want people to like you, so you repurpose someone else's work in order to impress others. Honey, all that effort goes out the window when your lies are discovered.
No matter how hard things are, it's gonna be worse when you get caught.
So don't do it. Come clean. And for fuck's sake, apologize (note: apologies include the words "I'm sorry" and don't include "but"). You're not a terrible person for making a mistake. Plagiarizing doesn't have to ruin you, but it requires a real effort on your part to make things right.
And, specifically, to the person who plagiarized Lili: You have taken something that might've seemed silly or unimportant that was not yours to take. You have possibly prevented a book from being published that readers have been clamoring for (and that she paid money to put together). And you did this to a generous, thoughtful, highly creative and wonderful writer who in no way deserved this, and you owe her a public apology for what you've done. You owe your readers a public apology. And you need to make things right.
To everyone, please, as a person to another person with thoughts and feelings and everything: think twice before you do this kind of thing and come clean if you already have.
P.S. For internet content creators who may be reading this post, I encourage you to follow Plagiarism Today to keep up to date on content theft and how it impacts you. (This is a totally unsolicited plug--I just really dig the site and have followed it for years.)
It started when I saw aged vegan cashew cheeses in an online store.
They're expensive, especially to ship them (they need to be overnighted & refrigerated). BUT I suffer from a malady known as "Why can't I make it myself?"
Indeed. Why can't I? I make everything else, with varying levels of success.
Thus began my experiments with cashew cheeses.
I started without bothering to age them and it turns out you can effectively mimic some basic cheese in recipes with some cashews, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and salt/spices. I'm a big fan of that as a ricotta cheese in cannelloni. (The Veganista site, incidentally, also has a wonderful mac & cheese recipe with cashews).
The lemon gives you a tangy cheese, but not exactly a sharp cheese. And this is where Artisan Vegan Cheese comes in.
I have this book and took some inspirations from it. The basic cashew cheese (and rejuvelac) recipe can be found here, so check that out. It seems complicated, but it's not. (I am not reprinting it here--go look. It's okay, I'll wait.)
What You Need
Rejuvelac: grains that sprout, filtered water, cheesecloth, and time
"Cheese" base: raw cashews soaked in water, rejuvelac, nutritional yeast, oil (optional--smooths the texture out), salt (non-iodized), miso (I'm avoiding soy so honestly? I just used Vegemite), agar, more cheesecloth--see amounts in the linked recipe above
Extras: fresh basil, sun dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, miscellaneous herbs & spices, more cheesecloth
What You Do with It
1. First, make the rejuvelac. It's a fermented, non-alcoholic liquid made from sprouted grains. I used quinoa. It's the lengthiest part of the process but once you have some brewed up, it keeps in the fridge for a few weeks and you can easily make batches of cheese.
2. Once you have that, check out their sharp cheddar recipe. Make that, but only let it culture for two days or so. (Three days gives you a sharper flavour.) Now, the cheese might be...lumpy. Mine at this stage usually is because I have a Magic Bullet and not a Vitamix. But I add extra blending stages after it's cultured, and it smooths out then.
3. On that second day, here's what I did: I chopped up some fresh basil, some sun dried tomatoes (you can buy or you can make; I made mine...if dried and not packed in oil, soften in some hot water), and some roasted garlic.
How do you roast garlic? Peel off most of the papery skin (leave enough that it holds together), cut off 1/4 inch from the top of the bulb, toss some oil (I use grapeseed instead of olive as it doesn't smoke) on top, wrap in foil, and throw it in the oven for a while. 350F - 400F...ish? for...however long it takes to cook?
Look, if you want exacts, you're asking the wrong girl. I wing it. You can tell the garlic's done because it smells good and the tops are this glorious caramelish brown.
4. Mix that stuff with your basic cheese.
5. Now, lots of recipes call for using carrageenan powder and xanthan gum. I don't have those. I do have agar powder, so I used that. Two tablespoons of agar powder mixed in water, which I brought to a boil for a few minutes to activate and thicken. I mixed that with the aforementioned cheese mixture. Now, I think I either had too much cheese or not enough agar because mine came out the consistency of cream cheese, but that is GOOD. Hold on and I'll show you why.
6. Next you line your mold with cheesecloth. Because I am CLASSY, my "mold" was a Ziploc plastic container in the shape of a square. Yep. Classy. Pour the "cheese" in that, fold more cheesecloth over it. Pop it in the fridge.
7. It hardens over time. Mine...has not hardened much. Granted, I could leave it for a couple more months but fuck that shit, I want my cheese NOW.
As I said, mine ended up being like cream cheese, but that's totes okay because...I could make cheese balls, which I did tonight with some crackers. It was glorious.
Okay...I *know* it might not look super appetizing & I am not a photographer, *but* it looks no different from regular cheese balls, which are not the prettiest of foods.
8. To make the cheese balls, form some of your cashew cheese into a ball. Roll it in a dish of finely chopped herbs and spices, whatever you have around. Chives, basil, parsley, etc. Plus a bit of salt, cracked pepper, onion and garlic powder...you are totally the boss here. No really. I'm not going to tell you what to do: THE POWER IS YOURS, CHEESE MAKER.
Voila. You have aged, cultured, cashew cheese for snacking and entertaining.
Yes, yes, I know it seems like it takes a while, and it does, but once you have some underway, it's great. You'll have a new type ready to start aging and a previous one will be ready to eat. Plus just LOOK at all the awesome nutrients and stuff in cashews (and nutritional yeast). You get a nice dollop of protein and good fats--eat with some crackers and there are all your macro nutrients, motherfuckers. You're welcome.
I...do not have a whole lot to report with this update compared to last time. I did finish one project, but it was for-pay, so doesn't count.
Solomon's Seal's second draft was completed and is off to editor friend to tell me what I'm missing. Haunted revisions...are still in progress. Odin's Spear is in progress. Oblivion is still being plotted. And as if I don't have enough to do, I started two other things during Camp NaNoWriMo.
I've been trying to figure out precisely why I've been out of sorts and have had trouble focusing on--and finishing--anything right now, and I think I finally figured it out. Honestly, I have a lot of Big Life Stuff going on at the moment. Nothing bad--my mental health is fine, my pets are well, and things are fine at Chez Skyla. But big stuff is on the horizon and it's taken a lot of my attention.
I'm hoping within another month or so I'll have eased up a little on that, normalized, and regained my focus. But in the meantime, I'm going to stop stressing about not meeting my word count. There are, truly, more important things.
I know the wait for Oblivion has--and continues to be--lengthy (for all three of you still reading); while the book continues to percolate in my brain, I'm hoping to write a few 'verse shorts in the meantime. Details coming soon. Thanks for your continued support!
Before I go, if you haven't already, please consider donating to my MS Walk fundraiser. I'll post once more about it this week but it's really important to me that we cure this fucking disorder.
Following me on various social media the past month would've told you something: I'm once again eating vegan. Though I've been a vegetarian for eighteen years (as of this month), I had a lot of unsuccessful attempts with veganism, up until 2011; due to work with a nutritionist, I finally got past some hurdles, expanded my diet, and happily ate primarily vegan food for several months.
Then I fell off the vegan wagon because CHEESE.
It's convenient. It's tasty. It was my first word as a baby (after "mum"). It's in everything I love.
The thing is, veganism solved some previously unexplained health problems--dairy is actually BAD for me. (sad face) And I can't ignore that anymore. So goodbye cheese, hello kale smoothies!
I am actually okay with this because I feel utterly fantastic. I have energy and my mental health has never been better.
Next stop: FIGHTING CRIME because I feel like motherfucking Wonder Woman now. (This is my workout T-shirt. And this is my workout theme song.)
Now I'd like to know, what are YOUR favourite vegan dishes?
Even if you're not vegan yourself, you likely have SOMETHING you love that's meat and dairy free. So link to recipes, book recommendations, or write up the recipe right in the comments if you like.
- bonus points if it covers all three macronutrients
- absolutely no soy (if I can't substitute almond milk, I can't have it)
- seitan is great! (I have no problem with gluten)
- nut-based cheeses are fine (I'm gettingintothose)
- I *can* technically eat eggs--it's just milk/cheese that's bad for me--and can get local free range, so if you have recipes with eggs, I'll take a look
- sugar is fine (I'm not diabetic; I *am* off of refined sugar, however, so consider I purchase the more expensive alternatives)
- no cheese = fewer processed foods = a lot less sodium in my diet, I've found, so I like recipes with saaaaallllttttt
- I take vitamins and supplements but it's good to get stuff from food, so consider iron, folate, Vitamin B6 & B12, Vitamin D, etc
Further, I am on Fitocracy, where I am antisocial and ignore all the strangers. If you want to be friends there, hit me up and we will level up together and give each other props for running and shit.
Final note, this is not an invitation to food criticism. I know me, I know food, and I know what I'm doing; if you disapprove of veganism or whatever, I DON'T FUCKING CARE. And if anyone says "What about protein?", they get hit with my Lasso of Shut the Fuck Up.
I'm the last stop on Dina James' blog tour for her new release. (Check all of the other stops here.) Fitting because, I think, I was the first to read it? I had the pleasure of working on this book with Dina, and before we get to the giveaway, I want to tell you why I think you need to read this book.
That's right, *I* am telling you. Because it's Dina's release week and she needs to sit her ass down and relax with some knitting, tea, and Dean Winchester while I do some work.
You may ogle but he's Dina's today.
Dina's new release is the second book in the Stranger Things series, Time Heals, which follows All Wounds (2011).
I am going to give you my top five reasons why you need to read these books.
1. Billy the Man-Wolf
Because, I mean, come on. Anyone who has read the books loves Billy. He's the heroine's loyal bodyguard and protector, a great big hulking Anubi (werewolf-ish) who drives a Mustang, eats everything in sight, and has a southern drawl.
You can read more about Billy at Melissa's site where Dina talks about the inspiration behind her take on werewolves or read my interview with him here where I try to get him to come live with me. *cough*
2. The Worldbuildling
As should be apparent from the first point, these books have fantastic, well-developed characters who are instantly lovable and they exist in a top-notch built world. They are REAL. Dina knows all the ins and outs of her various Ethereal realms, and it shows in the writing whenever Mistress Healer Rebecca encounters a new species or visits another world.
Nothlet, the hellhound puppy from All Wounds, returns in this book as well and...and let's just say there's a scene involving a particularly unique game of fetch you NEED to read.
4. It's Smart
Time Heals (without going into spoiler territory here) raises a very interesting point you may gather from the book blurb: that which can heal also can harm. At what point does one become the other? Time Heals asks this question and delves deeper into the mythology surrounding Healers.
I'm sorry, I had other points to make, but Billy. BILLY. Billy deserves two.
Are you sold yet? You should be. Enter to win the swag pack below AND a print copy of Time Heals by commenting on this post--include the words "enter me" in your comment if you want to be entered and you'll go in a random draw! We'll pick a winner on Monday. (If you want to comment but not be entered because you're a weirdo, you can do that too.)
Giveaway prize pack includes:
- a sample packet of Time Heals tea
- a set of plastic vampire teeth
- a print copy of Time Heals
- A SUPER SEKRIT SHINY THING (it's a surprise, but it's awesome, trust me)
I am busy with stuff and things--specifically there was a thing last week that taught me while I may write adrenaline/trauma right, my books have apparently missed the recovery period afterward when your body dumps another cocktail of things to balance the adrenaline and there are things like surround sound, technicolor bad childhood memories. That part kinda sucks.
With all the discussion of rape culture, assault, and what constitutes consent popping up, I made yesterday's ELEW post one about rape culture and writers, highlighting some of the rapey tropes I see in books and a hell of a lot of movies. There are wonderful comments on the post--please have a look.
This makes me sad and tired and you know what? Fuck you.
I am tired of reading scenes in books with a woman who says no, who is being touched without her consent, and it's treated as sexy (outside of erotica niches--you know, if you're writing dub-con, then fucking own it and go for it). I'm tired of reading books where men go beyond being take charge or a little arrogant into flat out dangerous abuse and it's okay "because he's hot." I'm tired of movies where sexual contact is forced on men by women (usually ugly, 'cause HAHA UGLY CHICK!) and it's supposed to be funny. I'm tired of the utter lack of awareness on the part of writers when they have the power to write realistically without condoning but waste it in favour of repeating cliches without thinking about it--I expect better of us.
I'm tired of the message that this is okay, I'm tired of being pressured to feel like I have to keep quiet about how uncomfortable it makes me. I'm tired of feeling sick to my stomach and having to be paranoid about everything I read and watch because it normalizes, idealizes, or belittles something that is very scary and very damaging.
Rape isn't sexy. It isn't a punchline. It isn't a punishment.
As I said on Facebook the other day, I'm fucking done. If you are a friend or family member of mine and you are a rape apologist, speak up so I can send you on your merry way. I'm drawing a line in the motherfucking sand about this. I can't reason with any human being who has so little respect for those of us wanting to live in a culture where we feel safe, so take your fucking apologies and go.
But I do have a flicker of hope, the more outrage I see on these topics. So fuck being sad and tired--let's get angry.
It is one of the reasons why I almost never write anything set in the future. Never mind that it's fiction--if I'd written Back to the Future 2 I'd be stressing right now about the lack of hoverboards. It's just A Thing with me.
My last finished WIP, however, is set in 2016. Only a couple years away and there are no hoverboards, the world is basically the same, so there's a slim chance it'll eventually come out and I'll be all "OMG behold my bad prediction and wrongness!" Except there is one* area where I'd very much LIKE to be wrong. I'd give anything to be wrong.
One of the main characters has multiple sclerosis.
And by 2016, I would very much like to see MS cured.
Prior to meeting a friend with the disorder, I honestly didn't know a whole lot about it. And if you're something like me, you possibly don't pay a lot of attention to things outside of your sphere that don't involve you. I think that's normal. I also think it's douchey. So let me educate you.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system which is composed of the brain and spinal cord. The disease attacks the myelin which is a protective covering wrapped around the nerves of the central nervous system.
Yeah, Skyla, but what does that even mean?
That means that one day, you might have vertigo. Another day, your hands might be numb and you drop things. Many days, you can't remember things. Other days, you can't control your emotions and have extreme panic attacks/anxiety. And still on top of it all, you often have extreme fatigue and are in pain.
It means one day you might go to stand up and not be able to walk. It means one day you might wake up and not be able to see.
I means one day your body might not be able to keep breathing.
I have a friend. A very good friend. We will call her Stacy.**
Stacy lives with MS. She has for years. MS is her reality.
Her reality is that, little by little, this fucking disorder is stealing from her. It is robbing her of pieces of herself and she can't control it. And at this moment in time, there have been promising breakthroughs with treatment but there is no cure.
And let me tell you something else about Stacy: she is the strongest person I know. She is stronger than you. She is stronger than me. And no matter how bad your day has been, no matter what you face, unless you're facing the likelihood that you are suddenly not going to be able to breathe (just let that sink in), your day wasn't all that bad.*** She faces this horrible illness with dignity and grace and a warrior spirit that inspires me daily.
MS pisses me off. It pisses me off so badly, I can hardly see straight. It's stupid and it's not fair and I don't care if "that's life." I don't accept that shit happens and we can't do anything about it. I don't accept that when the universe kicks us, we're supposed to bend over and ask for more.
Stacy doesn't either. She gets up every day and fights something so big, so overwhelming, most of us would be cowering in the dark, wallowing and waiting for it to consume us.
I am pissed off and so should you be. Stacy does not deserve this. No one deserves this. No one deserves to live with this fear, this lack of control over their own body.
In May, I am walking to raise funds to fight MS. And I would like you to pledge me.
Yes, I'm already over my goal. So? Does that arbitrary number I pulled out of my ass actually matter? What matters is that MS needs a cure and YOU can dig around your couch cushions for ten fucking dollars to throw my way. Skip your lattes this week and make a difference in people's lives.
Yes, I'm in Canada. So part of the funds go towards helping people with MS in my area. But the money also goes towards research and it doesn't matter WHAT country cures this, as long as someone does.
If this is a problem, don't donate to the MS Society of Canada then--donate to the MS Society in YOUR country. It doesn't matter how little--if we add our pennies together, like we did for Crestline, we can make a difference. Find out if you can attend the local walk and participate (especially since, you know, you probably CAN actually walk and aren't in a wheelchair yet from this fucking disorder). At the very least, do it for Stacy. Or do it for me and make me stfu about this.
Please, let 2016 roll around and have me be wrong.
Because I very much want you to do this, I'll tell you what: donate to the MS Society up until the walk on May 26****, let me know, and I'll give you one of my books. If you donate $10 or more, I'll give you any ebook. $50 or more, I'll give you any print book. (This offer includes Oblivion and Haunted when they're out this year.) Hell, $100 or more, and I'll get you a signed ARC of Oblivion before it comes out.
Pledge me via my fundraising page and then drop me an email (skyladawncameron [at] gmail [dot] com) telling me you want a book and which one, and it's yours. Donate to the MS Society in your country and forward me confirmation, and, again, a book is yours.
And I swear to god, if we don't beat this disorder, I am going to be impossible to deal with, so let's all get off our asses and put an end to motherfucking MS.
* Well, two. The other relates to North Korea. I'll nag you about that another day.
** Name changed to protect the innocent. Ish.
*** I am not interested in comparing "Who has the worst disorder" so just don't even start with me. My point is that everyone has something that sucks but I guarantee there are people YOU KNOW who have it worse than you, so try to have some perspective.
**** If you've already pledged--THANK YOU--you still count, just shoot me an email and tell me what you want.
Rodney Ballsnomore (then Rodney Ballsgalore) came to live with me a year ago today; someone had abandoned him in the country. He had a terrible cold, was extremely dehydrated and starving/underweight, it was the dead of winter and well below freezing, his front teeth had been knocked out...
And he was the sweetest damn cat imaginable.
What makes Rodney so extraordinary to me is that trauma just rolls off of him. Whatever he experienced, whatever was done to him, he's moved on, and he's the happiest cat I've ever met. A couple of my other cats hate him; rather than live in a constant state of anxiety, he just embodies the "haters gonna hate" attitude and goes on his merry way.
Every morning, he greets me my jumping on the cat condo and rolling around, purring. He is on my knee right now as I'm typing this, gazing up at me lovingly. There are a couple of cat rescue groups in the area and he could've gone to any one of them. Despite the nightmare that is having six cats sometimes, I wouldn't trade him for anything.
I've given him a home but he's given me so much in return.
And I do have a point to this beyond telling you about my cat.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to do things for others. A rescued cat. A friend in need. An evil auction. Everyone has a suggestion about what you can do to be happy, but when you're having a bad day, or you have a LOT of bad days, improve someone else's day. It'll help.
It's been through the example set by great friends over the years and the last year in particular that has helped me immensely; they have taught me who to be, which is the kind of person I'd want to have MY back if the chips were down.
Comments are moderated. I have a strict policy of No Douchebaggery and/or Trolling. You're free to disagree with anything I say, but your comment may or may not see the light of day (depending on the content of your comment and my particular mood). Any blatant trolling is immediately deleted with the offender's ISP info added to a personal file called In Case of Trouble.
I go through comments as often as possible but receive a ton of spam, so please be patient if your non-douchebaggy comment hasn't gone through yet--if I don't know you, you're not on my auto-publish list so I have to check by hand. And if you're a troll with nothing better to do than try to pick a fight with me, for the love of god, at least learn how to fucking spell.