With one last page still hanging on the calendar, I prematurely offer this years ten best films.
Birdman should not be missed by anyone; Interstellar is a real treat; Gone Girl was filmed perfectly; John Wick aspires to be (and maybe is) the best retired-hitman-revenge movie of all time; Lucy is a great action-think film; Guardians of the Galaxy entertains almost everyone; Under The Skin perplexes wonderfully; Snowpiercer is full of great characters and is metaphorically over-ripe; The Lego Movie and The Boxtrolls prove stop-motion animation can trump green screen and computer animation.
Funny is in the ear of the beholder. Timing, pacing, delivery, grasp of storytelling—all very important. These girls have made the funniest video I've seen in months. Honestly, this wouldn't tickle as hard if Haylee and Amanda were one single google search less naive, or if their rendition of Sir Mixalot's Big Butts was bad, or if they sang the middle stanza. But their cluelessness adds to their hella good performance and is multiplied by the fact that some of the lyrics offend them enough to make me laugh so hard I lost my breath.
This is a continuation of an article I wrote five years ago explaining how I trained my cats to hike with me (original article here).
Recently, I was asked how I handled litter box needs during car rides and on the trail. A great question; to answer it, I share the following (please bear with...some of this is tangential but pertinent).
The first step in transporting your cat from home to hiking trail is deciding if you are going to confine your cat to a carrier or pet backpack; use a pet halter and seat-belt fastener; or allow him/her to ride loose in the car. I quickly learned that my current cat, Cecil, does not like to wear a halter, so he is either in his backpack/carrier or loose (depending on length of trip).
I familiarized Cecil with his backpack by leaving it open in a corner of our house and playing with him in and around it for weeks. Eventually, he chose it as a place to nap.
I recommend "vehicle trial-drives," prior to beginning any cat hiking, during your initial 'determine how attached your cat is to you' phase (which can take two weeks or two months depending on your cat and how much time you spend together).
Even if you have no intention to teach your cat to hike with you, I suggest you take your pet on a monthly ride in your vehicle if—for no other reason—than to insure he/she doesn't solely associate car rides with going to the Veterinarian. After a few car rides (both at night and during the day) your cat will become familiar with your car, understand it is the same as the inside of your house, and will relax in his/her spot. When going on a short (less than 60 minute) ride, Cecil prefers to ride on the left side of my lap against the door. I secure my cats in their carrier(s) during long drives.
I only bring along a litter box when I intend to be away from home for more than 24 hours and/or the cats are going to be riding in the vehicle for more than 6 hours.
Cats are similar to humans in their toilet preferences and routines. Just like people, cats prefer to use the toilet in their own home. Many people choose to 'hold it' rather than use public bathrooms, which—for cats—means digging in unfamiliar earthy, sandy, hard-compact dirt. On more than one occasion, I have witnessed our female cat, Aggie, go for over 12 hours without a bathroom break, even though she was outside for nine of those hours in the forest with us. Cecil, on the other paw, seems to look forward to using the entire great outdoors as his sandbox and, even when we are only going on a quick hike, will begin to look for a place to squat after only 30 minutes outside.
In an essay about cat bathroom behavior, there is one final thing which needs mention...it's impossible for a cat to accidentally urinate or defecate. Every time they squat, they do so with intent. A decade ago, I took one of my previous cats, Gus, on a short drive to hike the forest trails near Prescott, Arizona. Weeks earlier I had taken him on a weekend trip and on that trip I had put a litter box in the car's rear foot-well. This trip, I did not. I had not vacuumed the car since that earlier trip and I also failed to notice a small amount of litter had fallen onto the carpet. We were on the road no more than ten minutes and I heard him scratching at the carpet in an attempt to cover his urine (this is the primary reason I recommend you choose to confine your cat in a backpack or carrier...even on short trips).
My second creation, also from an Oregon beach, is the same—but different—all over. This rock is an ever so slightly flattened egg-shape covered in tiny "craters". It is painted with enamel and measures 2¼" long, 2" wide, and 1¾ deep (57mm x 51mm x 46mm).
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