Friday evening I was walking to the library with Aiko. I was on the north side of the street, heading east. I saw a couple walking toward me, but there was a break in traffic and I crossed the street before we met. On the south side of the street, Aiko was uneasy. He kept stopping and looking back. I looked back too, and saw the couple that had been on the north side of the street, going west, were now about half a block behind me, on the south side of the street, going east.
Well, people do change their minds and turn around. But Aiko would not settle down, so at the next street I turned south. The couple behind us also turned south, but I was on the east side of the street and they were on the west. I stopped and let Aiko sniff for a while, so I got to the next intersection after them. They crossed to the south side of that street. I did not. I turned east. They also turned east, and continued to walk about half a block behind me, on the other side of the street, for about seven blocks. Then we were in a well-populated area, and I didn't see them again.
I am a short fat old woman, and my hands were encumbered. I had library books in one hand, and a leash and a bag of dog poop in the other. But I was walking a German Shepherd! How did they plan to assault me without getting bit? Also without getting a bag of dog poop in the face? Though it was one of the good bags, and probably wouldn't have burst even if it had hit. Also, I didn't have any money on me, though they didn't know that. I was wearing a fanny pack, which is where my wallet would have been if I was wearing my wallet. I thought about taking my phone out and taking their picture, but they had dropped back far enough by the time I thought of it that it wouldn't have been much of a picture. The fanny pack has the kind of buckle that you squeeze to open. Probably they planned to run up beside me, grab the buckle, and run off with the fanny pack before Aiko could react. They would have got my phone and my housekeys, and could probably figure out where I live from the phone.
Anyway, I do think that there is observable, identifiable behavior that signals that one human being is looking at another human being as prey, and I think Aiko observed and correctly identified it.
I rode over to Xilinx and rode with them instead.
We rode down to Niwot almost entirely offroad, because Bill has a brand new cyclecross bike. I was on my road race bike, sliding all over the place on the gravel and sand.
It was exhausting.
My coworkers DO all want to go out riding tomorrow, but I don't think I'll have time.
Pirate the bunny is so blind sometimes I feel like I need to hand-feed him to get him started on new food I put in his cage.
Monty got jumped by a posse of four chihuahuas today, all loose. We ran, because I don't want to have another chihuahua eaten.
My phone updated itself and has turned into Super Naggy Phone. "I see your battery is at 30%, would you like me to turn off Bluetooth?" Which gets really annoying when it tells me about six times a day that I have the ringtone silenced and might miss calls and would I like to change that. I'd like a NO FOREVER button.
We have milkweed growing like, well, weeds. We are cheering for monarch butterflies.
Some architecture at Regis University, mostly for basefinder
A sunset for elusis
I have a friend on G+ who is in an awful situation: a lesbian dying alone of lupus in her mother's basement in the deep south. She wants a lightsaber. I'm making the drive electronics for a lightsaber acting prop. This is a sample board for fitment purposes, to make sure that one channel of lighting works correctly with a control board someone else is doing, and also provides a one-shot-producing microcontroller using a hall effect sensor. The intent is that when a magnetic ring she wears gets close to the system, it detects the magnet, sends out a single pulse, and the control board handles sequencing and colors, then when her hand moves away it sends out a second pulse. (It's a silly way to handle off/on, in my opinion, but I'm working with someone else's design.) The whole works is a three channel, 1 amp per channel, LED driver with high efficiency, all designed to fit in (while not overheating) a 22mm in diameter cavity inside an aluminum lightsaber body.
I found an old body washer and bored it out to 22mm to make sure it slid snugly over the board.
The board is only about 1/3 loaded: one channel of LED driver and the microcontroller, and one big ol' coilcraft inductor to make sure it fits in the enclosure. It's missing two more drivers and another regulator to provide high efficiency power to the microcontroller. If I get the time I may port the code over to a TI microcontroller that uses 1/1000 the power of this one and costs 1/10 as much.
Prompt: "Shuos pranks."
with apologies to the black squirrels of Stanford University campus
Jedao and Ruo had set up shop at the edge of one of the campus gardens, the one with the carp pond and the carefully maintained trees. Rumor had it that some of the carp were, in addition to being over a hundred years old, outfitted with surveillance gear. Like most Shuos cadets, Jedao and Ruo would, if questioned, laugh off the rumors while secretly believing in them wholeheartedly--at least the bit about surveillance gear. Jedao had argued that the best place to hide what they were doing was in plain sight. After all, who would be so daft as to run a prank right next to surveillance?
"Lovely day, isn't it?" Ruo said brightly.
Jedao winced. "Not so loud," he said. His head was still pounding after last night's excesses, and the sunlight wasn't helping. Why did he keep letting Ruo talk him into things? It wasn't just that Ruo was really good in bed. He had this way of making incredibly risky things sound fun. Going out drinking? In itself, not that bad. Playing a drinking game with unlabeled bottles of possibly-alcohol-possibly-something-else stolen from Security's hoard of contraband? Risky. Some of those hallucinations had been to die for, though, especially when he started seeing giant robots in the shape of geese.
Fortunately, this latest idea wasn't that risky. Probably. Besides, of the many things that the other cadets had accused Jedao of, low risk tolerance wasn't one of them.
"Not my fault you can't hold your drink," Ruo said, even more brightly.
"I'm going to get you one of these days," Jedao muttered.
Ruo's grin flashed in his dark brown face. "More like you'll lose the latest bet and--" He started describing what he'd do to Jedao in ear-burning detail.
At last one of the other first-years, puzzled by what Jedao and Ruo were doing by the carp pond with a pair of fishing poles, approached. Jedao recognized them: Meurran, who was good at fixing guns despite their terrible aim, and who had a glorious head of wildly curling hair. "Security's not going to approve of you poaching the carp," Meurran said.
"Oh, this isn't for the carp," Ruo said. He flicked his fishing pole, and the line with its enticing nut snaked out toward one of the trees.
Meurran gave Ruo a funny look. "Ruo," they said, "the fish are in the opposite direction."
"Please," Jedao said, "who cares about the fish? No one has anything to fear from the fish. That's just nonsense."
"All right," Meurran said, sounding distinctly unimpressed, "then what?"
Come on, Jedao thought, the nut is right there...
As if on cue, a black squirrel darted down from the tree, then made for the nut.
Ruo tugged the nut just out of reach.
The black squirrel looked around, then headed for the nut again.
"Oh, isn't that adorable?" Meurran said.
"Don't be fooled!" Ruo said as he guided the squirrel in a figure-eight through the grass. "Why would the commandant be so stupid as to rely on carp, which can't even leave their pond?"
Meurran glanced involuntarily at the pond, where two enormous carp were lazily circling near the surface, as if the carp, in fact, had a habit of oozing out onto the land and spying on lazy cadets. "You're saying the squirrels--?"
Ruo continued to cause the squirrel to chase after the nut. "It makes sense, doesn't it? Everyone thinks the black squirrels are the cutest. They're even featured in the recruitment literature. Damnably clever piece of social engineering if you ask me."
Meurran was starting to look persuaded in spite of themselves.
Meanwhile, as Ruo made his case, Jedao leaned back and studied the squirrel with a frown. The local population of black squirrels was mostly tame to begin with and had proven to be easy to train with the aid of treats. (Ruo had made Jedao do most of this, "because you're the farm boy.") But while Ruo and Meurran argued about squirrel population dynamics, Jedao caught a slight flash from behind the squirrel's eyes--almost like that of a camera?
He opened his mouth to interrupt.
The squirrel made an odd convulsing motion, and the light flashed again, this time directly into Jedao's eyes.
Jedao closed his mouth, and kept his thoughts to himself.
From left to right, for the curious: Waterman 52V, Webster Four-Star, Scriptorium Pens Master Scrivener in Red Stardust, Conway Stewart Churchill in Red Stardust, Aurora 75th Anniversary, Nakaya Naka-ai in aka-tamenuri, Wahl-Eversharp Doric in Kashmir with #3 adjustable nib, and Pilot Vanishing Point Twilight.
Meanwhile, I swear I am writing flash fic right now. This caffeine is taking an unholy amount of time to kick in...
The Heiress Effect, by Courtney Milan.
The conceit of this book is brilliant. She has to stay single, for complicated family reasons, but her plan will stop working if she turns down any reasonable offer, so she has to make her person repellent enough to counterbalance the attraction of her considerable fortune -- without letting anyone see that she's doing it on purpose. I love it when the obstacles in a romance are not stupid! I love comedy of manners, when it puts extra constraints on the protagonist's solution space! Especially when the protagonist using a formidable intelligence and an immense amount of work to seem foolish and ineffectual!
I was disappointed that this book ignores the constraints that don't assist the story it wants to tell. (For example, these unmarried gentlewomen would not go to a dinner-party in a house without a hostess. One of them is accompanied by a chaperone, another is with her sister, and that is adequate for excursions in public places in daylight, but after dark, in a house full of young men -- no. It would not do.) These elements might not move the story forward directly, but they would do a lot to make the societal forces our heroes are working against seem powerful and real.
• What did you recently finish reading?
The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, by Amy Schumer. DNF. It isn't a bad book, but the more I read of it the more I found myself resenting the idea that it would be one of the approximately 3000 new books I have time left to read. Its greatest appeal for me is how thoroughly Schumer fights against shame. Read for Tawanda book group.
• What do you think you’ll read next?
I put a Climbing Mount TBR challenge on my Habitica To-Do list, but I'm not sure how to tackle it. Two of my book groups are on summer hiatus, so I have room to move. I like melannen's FMK polls, and I keep thinking I could do that too, but when I look at my shelves and ask, "Which of these are you going to read, really?" and "Which of these do you need to keep, really?" my answer is always, "All of them. All. Yes, even that one."
If I were to attempt CHEESECAKE  pinup art of a hexarchate character for lulz, it should be
Kel Cheris 
someone else I will name in comments
ticky the EXTREMELY DISAPPROVING tocky
 May or may not feature CHEESY partial nudity.
 The incomparable telophase once did me a sketch of blonde, busty Cheris with her space ferret because I kept joking that I would get a cover featuring blonde, busty Cheris with her space ferret. (Hexarchate AU...?!)
(In real life, I'm working on an art assignment...ahahahahaha.)
(Dear Louisiana: PLEASE STOP RAINING. At least it isn't downpouring enough that I feel that I have to pack for emergency evacuation, it's just raining drearily, but...)
- I now use a Kinesis Advantage2 keyboard at work. The layout is different enough from my old Microsoft Natural that I'm still climbing the learning curve after about a week. It may necessitate getting another one for home to prevent the hangover of switching back and forth.
- Not using any damn built-in laptop keyboards. I swear those things are a major problem. I do have an MS Natural at home, but until recently I was only using it on my work machine, not my personal one.
- Ahem. Jilling off about half as often as I used to, which means it's less time-consuming as well. Ah, the tribulations of sex reassignment surgery, as mine was called at the time.
Basically every time I do some mental arithmetic, I do the problem multiple times, coming at it from different directions. For example, maybe I need to find half of 47. I'd immediately take half of 46 and add 0.5, getting 23.5. But then I'd also take half of 50 and subtract 1.5, also getting 23.5.
(Sidenote: I know not everyone does this, as demonstrated by how outraged people are over Common Core. It just makes plain good sense to me. Mathematics shouldn't be the blind application of fixed algorithms -- you need to choose the approach that works best for you. And to do that, you need to see the different options and really understand how they're all the same thing, fundamentally. But most people don't really understand that. They can only solve problems in a single way they memorized 30 years ago. Then they feel dumb when their kid asks for help with their homework, and lash out.)
In part I do this to provide to a checksum on the original answer, but also because I always feel a small thrill of surprise and delight. Math is internally consistent, and every problem has an infinite number of ways you can solve it. It's just so neat -- and also staggeringly impressive. Imagine writing an operating system with no bugs. Imagine being able to design a legal system without any need for judges, because there was a single, obvious, undeniable verdict for any case. Imagine a taxonomy with no edge cases, no "miscellaneous" categories.
Math is quite literally inhuman in its perfection.
Take that, Wittgenstein.
I sprang into action, emailing and leaving the justifiably hated voicemail for the LH volunteer coordinator, B. As luck would have it, I had trans group last night, so I got to see B. He says that a) he had thought that was as good as done earlier, b) now it really is mischief managed, c) LH has chairs & tables, and d) I'm a Hero of Socialist Queerdom for sounding the alarm. Another fine coincidence is that B had just called an unprecedented meeting of the trans group facilitators to talk about what we can do to boost attendance. That table should be a good start.
And oh by the way, there's another LH volunteer, P, who I know from the poly community. She's tall, zaftig, and cute. She's an amazing dresser. She says smart things in a deep, sexy voice. She's queer - yeah, nearly all LH volunteers are. And she'll be at the table for Trans Pride along with your ever-hopeful nun. Now that I type that, it occurs to me that she may not be as cisgender as I thought. Mrowr!
My parents knew I was a witch before I was born. The signs were there, they told me. They were unmistakable.
Well. Not all of the signs, or they never would have kept me as long as they did. But enough: My mother’s hair, previously sedate and well-mannered, turned curly and wild during her pregnancy, sometimes even grabbing forks from other people’s hands at meals. Clocks ran backward when she went near them, and thirteen grey cats took up residence in our front yard for the last month before I was born.
Also, I was born on a Tuesday.
I loved this from beginning to end. It's a pretty fast read (under 4,000 words), in lucid candle-language. Give it a try.
[Note to the pedantic: my "books" tag is for stories as well because I am lazy and bad at tagging.]
I am most interested in the following possible new stories in a hexarchate short collection
Jedao backstory when he was growing up with his family
what happened to Jedao's sister Nidana after Hellspin
Jedao backstory when he was serving with the Kel
what happens to Cheris after everything, with bonus math pedagogy
how Kel Ragath got Up to Things
gay romance on the Citadel of Eyes ([redacted]/Niath) with bonus angst
the misadventures of Andan Zhe Navo during her first military assignment
the founding of the heptarchate feat. Liozh and Kel
mini-gamebook about Jedao and his first anchor (actually, you're getting this regardless)
Nirai Mahar's backstory
follow-up on Tseya vs. Mikodez
Moroish Nija's training
Mikodez's rise to power, feat. Zehun
ticky the talky tocky
something else I will suggest in comments
ETA: If it helps, the mini-gamebook will also feature snarky commentary from Mikodez and Zehun.
Prompt: hexarchate, "birth dates."
When she was six, Cheris stopped receiving Mwennin birthday pastries.
For reasons that wouldn't become clear to her until much later, her parents had just moved out of the Mwennin ghetto in the City of Ravens Feasting and to a small house nearer the sea. Cheris missed their old home, even though it had been smaller, and she also missed the other Mwennin children who gathered in the streets to skip rope, or play tag, or chant the counting games that were so risky in the hexarchate. But the new house wasn't all bad. It had a garden, and Cheris liked to chase the dragonflies or pick flowers for her mother and father.
Her mother had impressed upon her that she had two birthdays. One of them was the ordinary birthday that all hexarchate citizens shared. Everyone (so her mother said) was a year old when they were born, for the time spent either in womb or crèche, and then they added another year each New Year. This way no one's birthday was singled out.
But the Mwennin did it differently. They had their own calendar, which Cheris had memorized. Most nights her mother made her go to bed early so that she wouldn't be too tired in the morning when she had school. But sometimes her mother let her stay up, not to play make-believe with her collection of plush dragon toys or read a book, but to study the Mwennin calendar and its feast-days.
Cheris was very good at numbers, and very good at both the high calendar and the Mwennin calendar. Even after she'd gone to bed, she'd lay awake in the darkness, staring at the comforting candlevines that glowed faintly from the walls. Her mother and father always made sure to turn them down low, but not too low, so she wouldn't have to be afraid of the shadow-monsters that lived in the closet. Her teacher at school had assured her that, yes, meditation, especially during remembrances, would keep away the shadow-monsters, but when she repeated this to her parents, their faces turned sad, so she didn't talk about that anymore.
Because she was very good at calendars, she had a hard time falling asleep the night before her Mwennin birthday. Back in the old neighborhood, on your birthday, people would bring you pastries of fine flaky dough with sweet almond paste and rosewater syrup, or little kumquat candies, goat's milk caramels with little crunchy flecks of pistachios. And after dark, in the safety of your home, people would gather and sing songs in archaic Mwen-dal. Cheris liked the songs best of all, even if she stumbled over some of the words, because she had a clear, sweet voice and the adults always complimented her on how well she stayed in tune.
Her parents woke her early the next morning. She blinked up blearily at the pale morning light filtering through the curtains, then sat up in glee, thinking of the gifts that were to come. Then she noticed the looks on her parents' faces. They'd had the same ones when she said the teacher had encouraged her to meditate.
Cheris's father took her hands between his, then looked at Cheris's mother.
"Cheris," her mother said, "we can't celebrate your Mwennin birthday anymore. Do you understand? It's too risky."
Cheris didn't understand.
"You can have an extra dessert tonight," her mother went on. "But there will be no more Mwennin birthdays. Not for any of us."
Cheris's mother circled her with her arms. "We'll go for a walk by the shore when I get out of work," she said. "You'd like that, wouldn't you?"
Cheris sensed that her mother was even more upset than she was, and her mother didn't even like sweets. At least, she always gave her sweets to Cheris. "I'm all right," she said, because she wanted to be brave for her mother. "Can we have extra pastries on New Year's instead?"
There was a catch in her mother's voice. "Of course, my dear."
Cheris still wasn't sure why her mother was upset. True, she had hoped for something nice to eat today, but if she had the same number of pastries in total over the course of the year, it was basically the same. It wasn't so important what day she got to eat them.
And her mother was as good as her promise. Every New Year after that, up until Cheris left for Kel Academy, there were extra pastries.
I knew the basic story that Darwin, upon hearing that Wallace was about to publish something very similar, rushed Origin of Species into publications after sitting on it for years. Given that, I was surprised how openly this was acknowledged in the book itself, and how often and generously he credited Wallace's observations. It was still a bit hinky, using his famous naturalist connections to beat Wallace to publication, but it made me feel a lot more kindly towards him.
One thing that surprised me was the explicit uses of Lamarckian mechanisms. The common story puts Darwin as rejecting all that, but in fact he very frequently included it in lists of inherited traits upon which natural selection would work.
Darwin's understanding of inheritance is, of course, quite terrible. It makes me even more surprised that his ideas caught on at all at the time. There is no hint of thinking of genetics in a quantized manner (except, of course, for sex), which would fatally wound Darwinism from the very beginning. Analog traits just couldn't spread in the way needed. But I suppose the general lack of real genetic understanding prevented that flaw from being properly understood as well?
It's interesting to note that Mendel was publishing in the 1860s, but it was basically ignored by the scientific world, and Darwin never even became aware of it. It's not hard to imagine that evolutionary biology and genetics would have been fully accepted decades earlier if that synthesis had been made. And there was absolutely no good reason it didn't happen, just poor communication. Remember that whenever someone starts talking about "steam engine time" or similarly naive theories of history!
I thought it was fairly charming how Darwin often phrased sexual selection in terms of the appreciation of beauty. As in, at what level of development are animals advanced enough to appreciate beauty, and thus self-select for ornamentation?
Overall, I thought the first held up quite well. If you ignore everything it says about inheritance, it seemed decent as an intro to the concept of evolution. Descent of Man was a bit rockier, involving a lot of very uncomfortable "maybe humans are actually multiple species?" speculation. For his time, though, he still came across as a decent, humane guy. Someone I'd like to hang out with. And that's not an impression I often take away when reading the works of important scientists!
ENFP – Every minute of the rest of your life has been scheduled for you – and it’s a long series of arbitrary, solitary tasks.
That is frighteningly accurate.
What I went to the library to check out: Batman and Psychology. It was missing from the shelves of the main branch but the nice librarian put a copy on hold for me from one of the other branches, so I'll get to pick it up in a few days.
What I came away with from the one-cent-per-book discard sale:
- Replica and Resistance by Jenna Black. Casual perusal of the back cover suggests there is a replica with missing memories from his original who has been murdered PLEASE DON'T SUCK I eat this particular trope up with SPOONS.
- Gail Carriger's Curtsies and Conspiracies, Waistcoats and Weaponry, and Manners and Mutiny, books 2-4 of Finishing School; I will have to obtain book 1 somehow (I think someone else beat me to it at the discard sale). I don't even CARE if they're any good, those are fab titles, and at one cent per book it's hard to argue.--It turns out the library has book 1, Etiquette and Espionage, on Overdrive, so I could theoretically start it whenever I wanted to.
- David Marusek's Getting to Know You, a short story collection--the name sounds familiar but I can't place it. Anyway, I'll try the short stories and who knows? Maybe I'll enjoy them. Again, at one cent, not a huge loss if it's not for me after all.
- And finally, THE BEST FIND (well, other than CLONE AMNESIA, which is always Relevant To My Interests): America's Maritime Heritage by Eloise Engle & Arnold S. Lott, ©1975 by the United States Naval Institute, Annapolis, Maryland. I am dying of curiosity and also, I suck at all naval history that is not the Imjin War, so even a flawed--even a jingoistic--textbook will be interesting.
Which book(s) from my library haul should I read first?
David Marusek's GETTING TO KNOW YOU
Engle & Lott's AMERICA'S MARITIME HERITAGE
Gail Carriger's ETIQUETTE AND ESPIONAGE
Jenna Black's REPLICA
ticky the tacky tocky!
ETA: Feel free to elaborate on your votes in comments! =)
Notice the "age 16+" and "not for children."
I don't even CARE if the gameplay sucks, IT'S ABOUT TENTACLE MONSTERS AND SCHOOLGIRLS. AH HA HA HA HA. I need to make Joe play it with me while the dragon is visiting her grandparents for the summer.
Prompt: young Jedao (hexarchate/heptarchate), "cat, winter."
Jedao would rather have been doing anything but cleaning the bathroom, but his older brother Rodao had skipped out on the chore in favor of a night out with his boyfriend. Their mother was working late tonight, as usual, so she wouldn't know or care who did the job as long as it got done. Besides, Jedao considered it useful to have additional blackmail material on Ro. He couldn't decide whether it was hilarious or annoying that Ro had suddenly become interested in dating. At eleven, Jedao didn't see what all the fuss was about.
In the meantime, he still couldn't figure out how those weird purple stains had gotten onto the bathtub. Had his mother been pouring her experiments into the tub instead of disposing of them properly? Or did it have something to do with her attempts to brew up new and exciting shampoos?
"Jay," said a soft, snuffling voice from the doorway.
Jedao set down the sponge and sat back on his haunches. His six-year-old sister Nidana was scrubbing her eyes. "What's the matter?" he asked.
Nidana burst into tears.
Jedao stripped off the rubber gloves, quickly washed his hands, and put his arms around her. "Hey there," he said. "I didn't think the book I gave you to read was that scary." The book in question had featured a bold girl space adventurer who punctured space monsters with her space rapier. Ordinarily Nidana loved that sort of thing.
After the snuffling and wailing had dwindled, Nidana said, "I went outside to look at the tree with the really big icicles."
"All right," he said, "did you hurt yourself?" He'd had icicles fall on him before. The big ones were no joke. She didn't look injured, but maybe she'd had a scare.
"Jay," she said, "I can't find the cat. I think she got out."
"All right," he said, suppressing his alarm. The cat, which Nidana had named Bunny when she was five, had a talent for getting herself stuck up trees. (Nidana's vocabulary for animals had left something to be desired at that age. The family also had a dog named Bunny, two finches named Bunny, and a snake named Bunny.) Bunny-the-cat tried to escape at every opportunity, and while Jedao wouldn't have worried for her during warmer weather, he didn't like the thought of her trapped outside in the cold. "Go bundle up. Let's go look for her."
Jedao helped Nidana with her sweater, coat, mittens, hat, scarf, and boots, then pulled on his own winter clothes. He left a note tacked to the small corkboard next to the door, just in case. "Come on," Jedao said. "We'll find Bunny."
Nidana snuffled some more. "I didn't mean to, Jay."
"I know." It was too bad that Bunny-the-cat hated Bunny-the-dog. The latter was reasonably good at tracking, but his habit of trying to nip at Bunny-the-cat's tail whenever he could catch her wouldn't do them any good here.
They traipsed out onto the path that Jedao and his brother had shoveled that morning. The wind had blown more snow onto the path in feathered drifts, but it was still walkable. Unfortunately, it also meant that any tracks the cat might have left were obscured.
"Show me where you went," Jedao said.
Nidana led him to the sycamore with its mantle of glistening icicles. He broke one off from a lower branch so that she could suck on it. If nothing else, it would distract her.
"Bunny!" Nidana called in between licking her icicle. But there was no sign of the cat.
Jedao and Nidana checked all the buildings they were allowed into, and some that they weren't. The cat remained elusive. The sun sank lower and lower in the sky, and Nidana was starting to shiver. Jedao made sure not to walk too quickly for her to keep up, despite his increasing concern for Bunny.
At last, discouraged, they returned to the front door of their home. Bunny-the-dog almost bowled Nidana over when they came in. "Stop that," Jedao said, and made the dog sit. He and Nidana shed their winter clothes, and Jedao hung them up in the hallway closet. "Nidana, keep the dog entertained. I'll check around the house."
The dog's wagging tail was thumping loudly against the floor, and the dog was busy slobbering all over Nidana. Nidana didn't seem to mind this, and at least the dog kept her from bursting into tears thinking of the cat.
For his part, Jedao systematically searched every room of the house but one. He knew most of the cat's usual hiding places. At last he came to his brother's room and hesitated. Ro had threatened him on pain of being fed to the geese not to barge into Ro's room...but Jedao had checked everywhere else he could think of.
"The hell with this," Jedao said, since Nidana wasn't around to overhear him, and entered. The first thing he noticed was that one of the dresser drawers was slightly open. He pulled it out: aha. Bunny-the-cat was curled up in a nest of Rodao's socks, underwear, and...magazines? Jedao eased one of the magazines out from beneath the cat and flipped it open to a full-color picture of two naked men. Fascinated, Jedao started paging through.
Bunny-the-cat suddenly hissed. Jedao heard Bunny-the-dog woofing as he bounded toward them, and turned around to see Nidana padding after the dog. Hastily, he shoved the magazine back into the drawer. "The cat's fine, Nidana," he said. "She was just taking a nap."
"Can I see what you were reading?" Nidana said.
"No," Jedao said. He scooped the cat up despite her rather liberal application of claws and hastened out of his older brother's room, doing his best (which wasn't very) to herd Nidana and the dog at the same time. "The cat's safe, that's all that matters."