Tag Archives: cats

The Omnipresence of James Franco in My Life

broadway barks

James Franco & A Cat

This past weekend James Franco participated in the annual Broadway Barks adopt-a-thon event and posed for a bunch of publicity photos with this adorable 3-month-old tuxedo kitten named Totes McGotes. Totes McGotes is an Anjellicle Rescue Cat, just like my Ali! And I’ve been volunteering with ACR at least once a week for a year and a half now. Very cool to have this kind of celebrity promotion, but unfortunately when Franco posted some of the pics on his social media outlets with the caption “YOU’VE GOTTA BE KITTEN ME!” and “adopt a pet,” he didn’t mention the name of our organization, the ASPCA, or the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals.

WHATEVER, JAMES. Totes McGotes can promote himself for adoption. Just look at dat wittle face. (Excuse me. I don’t know what came over me. It’s just that KITTENS!!!)

Or you could click here to read more about our awesome no-kill, grassroots, volunteer-run animal rescue nonprofit. Adopt adopt adopt.

Ahem. We can now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

OK, fine. So I do love how both James and the kitten are making smoldering, come-hither faces at the camera. It’s almost like James Franco needs a loving forever home too.

And I do have this weird hobby of posting photos of famous people with cats on Pinterest. For example:

Bob Dylan & A Cat

Bob Dylan & A Cat

John Lennon & A Cat

John Lennon & A Cat

Andy Warhol & A Cat

The point being, of course, that only really cool people have cats. Or interact with cats. Or pose with them for photographs, at least. But now I’m off topic.

My point is that James Franco is always popping up in my life! He is the only famous person I’ve ever seen in real life without having to, you know, pay money to see perform or whatever. (He was at the same preview performance of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” on New Year’s Eve 2012. He was wearing a striped scarf. He also loves Southern literature. We might be the same person.) Funnily enough, almost everyone I know who’s lived here for a year or more seems to have a Franco-sighting story. One of my co-workers has seen him trying to bum cigarettes off NYU students. Another saw him eating tacos, like a normal person. JAMES FRANCO IS EVERYWHERE, I TELL YA.

For example, Faulkner’s “As I Lay Dying” is one of my favorite novels, and who adapted it for film, both directing and acting in the movie version? James Franco. Whose novels do I see on display tables every time I walk into a bookstore? James Franco’s. And who was filling up my Instagram feed, until I remembered that is one of the few things in life I have control over, and unsubscribed? James freaking Franco.

A couple months ago there was some controversy because James Franco sent skeevy text messages to an underage teenage girl visiting NYC from Scotland. She had seen him perform in “Of Mice & Men” on Broadway, and tagged him in a photo she took of him as he was leaving the show, signing autographs, etc. And then he private messaged her wanting to meet up a hotel room. Um, ew.

Anyway, when this news broke, my Twitter-savvy co-worker announced it to our little desk area, as he always does with news items of personal interest. And I was like, “NO, PLEASE DON’T LET THAT BE TRUE. WHY WOULD HE DO THAT?” Because again, um, ew.

My co-worker then asked if James Franco was, I quote, “my boo.”

Me: NO, I AM JUST DEEPLY FASCINATED BY HIM. It’s also how I feel about Kanye West. And no one likes Kanye West. His music, yes, But Kanye the person, no. I mean, why does James Franco have to make so many kinds of art? He paints, he writes reviews for Vice, he teaches creative writing at UCLA, he’s written books. He did a book-signing at The Strand last month! And, of course, he acts in movies and now on Broadway. One person cannot possibly be good at all those things!

Co-worker: You sure have a lot opinions about someone who you claim is not your boo.

Me: Touché.

(For the record, I still don’t know how someone I don’t know personally can be “my boo.”)

Needless to say, it made perfect sense to me that of aaaaaaaaaaaalll the famous people/Broadway actors and allllll the nonprofits participating in this past weekend’s adopt-a-thon, James freaking Franco would be the one paired with an Anjellicle Rescue Cat. Go. Figure.

OK. And James Franco was maybe kinda sorta really great as an ’80s James Dean-esque stoner rebel kid in the wonderful series “Freaks and Geeks,” whose cancellation after less than one full season is a great injustice to classic high school television shows everywhere. That is one version of James Franco I genuinely appreciate.

Do yourself a favor and Netflix this series, OK?

Do yourself a favor and Netflix this series, OK?

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Let’s go on a virtual wild cat safari!

This is going to be the dumbest blog post ever, but today I discovered the most adorable wild cats ever and I can’t help but share a few photos.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you sand kittens!


sand catI want to squish it with cuddles.

So then I just fell down a rabbit hole of reading about and discovering these crazy- yet adorable-looking wild cat species. But I’m just going to share the photos here because that’s all that’s really important. Here are a few of my favorites.

Pallas’s Cat (what I believe to be an Ewok bred with a cross between a normal cat and a yeti):


Caracal kittens (no words needed):


Not quite  a cat, but still squish-able, the fennec fox:


Not a wild cat, but still cute, munchkin cat (an actual genetic deviation in domestic cats in which they have short, stubby legs but long bodies, like dachshunds):

tumblr_lgoyd0GPvE1qaj3gnAnd for anyone that makes fun of you for blogging about or reading a post entirely of random cat pictures:


This blog post is my new happy place.


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5 things (about life lately)

560379_10151458986121743_1899409956_n(1) Last night, I made Ratatouille a la Remy, just like in the Disney/Pixar film, thanks to smitten kitchen. I am immensely proud of myself and my mandolin for our hard work. Also, isn’t this one of the prettiest dinners you’ve ever seen? It’s really tasty, too. Now I want to try cooking other French-ish things like coq au vin or boeuf bourguinon. I love cooking. Cooking is my favorite.


(2) It’s funny how people always make Christmastime to be all winter-y, dreaming of White Christmases and decorating with snowmen and paper snowflakes, when really February is the dead of winter. And no one wants to go out on their Valentine’s date in 5 degree weather. It’s amusing how quickly everyone’s seasonal love for scarves, hot chocolate, and other warm coziness fades by this time of the year. I’m struggling to remember how deathly hot it was when we moved in at the end of June, when I took two frigidly cold showers a day and pressed chilled Diet Coke cans to my forehead to prevent overheating. (Photo taken from Sean’s office, at Madison & 42nd, overlooking Grand Central Station.)


(3) Central Park in the snow is the most beautiful, happy thing. When we got about a foot of snow on Feb. 9, there were hundreds and hundreds of New Yorkers out enjoying the snowfall. It looked like one of the old-timey Victorian postcards by Currier & Ives, depicting an era when people would go ice skating on frozen ponds instead of man-made ones and used wooden toboggans instead of the colorful plastic ones of today’s age. You know, like this? This was Central Park two Saturday’s ago.

Currier & Ives Central Park 2

It was such a delight to see children zooming around every which way on sleds and inner tubes and their own backs, dogs frolicking, and grown-ups giggling delightedly like children.


(4) I started volunteering one evening a week with the cat rescue organization from which we adopted our dear Ali. Myself and two other volunteers tend to the half dozen or so cats currently living at the UES Petco. We clean up after them, feed them, provide any medications, and love on them (of course!). Petco is a sad in-between place, like a cat orphanage, before cats are adopted or just temporarily fostered. Some of the kitties, like adventurous, not-quite-photogenic Diesel (above, who just went to a forever home this past weekend!) are sweet as can be. Some are problem children, who dump their food face-down into their litter boxes or hiss at all the other cats. The cats cycle out pretty quickly, fortunately, but it means there’s always someone new in transition there and you don’t know how they’re going to act. In case you couldn’t guess, I now want to adopt ALL OF THE KITTIES. Even the problematic ones.


(5) For Valentine’s Day (OK, technically the day after Valentine’s), Sean and I checked out the NYC location of Beecher’s Handmade Cheese, which opened in the fall. We went to the original — and only other — location of Beecher’s at Pike’s Place in Seattle on our honeymoon. It was eerie how similar the two locations looked, right down to the milk jug “stools” and the glass walls that allow you to watch employees make cheese on-site. We went to the downstairs “cellar,” which was surprisingly ritzy. They have nice happy hour deals where you can get the “world’s best mac ‘n cheese” for half-price and $6 glasses of wine. It was super-crowded and unorganized downstairs, and while the decor was nice and the macaroni was delicious, as expected, I think next time we’ll just eat in the casual upstairs deli. Same thing, lower price. 🙂

Then we came home and made fancy s’mores on our gaslit stovetop with a s’mores kit I got from the Brooklyn-based etsy shop whimsy&spice. These were a little more “grown-up,” with substantial graham shortbread cookies, maple-infused homemade marshmallows, and extra-fancy Madecasse chocolates.

But yeah, we did celebrate Valentine’s with mac & cheese and s’mores, so we are probably 10 years old, secretly.

P.S. My Valentine’s gift from Sean, which completely broke our rule of “not getting anything seriously nice,” is two tickets to see She & Him on the Central Park Summerstage this July, furthering my Zooey D. obsession. So sweet! I’m already envisioning myself in a flowy sundress and sandals in the NOT COLD.

Check these two cool kids out here. This will be my third time seeing M. Ward live, and you should definitely check out his work with indie supergroup Monsters of Folk. And give a listen to M.’s solo stuff, too.


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Cats are devious creatures: a short story

149711_10151338566421743_785199339_nThis evening, during a bout of pre-weekend visitors cleaning, I looked at Ali’s neglected cat bed and wondered why it was taking up precious floor space. You see, a couple of months ago, she had the ingenious idea of vomiting in her cat bed, and while we tried our best to clean it up, I guess the emotional stains are still lurking there for her.

She now prefers to leave her white belly-fur in other places: “her” third of the couch, the arm chair, MY dining chair.

And the sad, empty vomited-on cat bed just sits there neglected.

So I turned to Sean and said, “So I’m thinking about throwing her bed out. I mean, it was a donated to us anyway, and she never uses it. Plus, it’s covered in cat hair and is kind of gross.”

Sean: OK. Whatever you want.

I turned to gather up the rejected cat bed and take it down to the trash in the basement along with a hefty pile of newspapers and magazines for recycling, and what do I see?

Ali, “kneading” the bed she hasn’t intentionally touched for months. She gave me a look that said, “Just watch this, Mom. Try and throw out my ‘gross’ bed.”

Then she circled around about 95 times until she found that utterly perfect spot, curled up, and proceeded to nap there for at least an hour.

She migrated to a new napping spot when she noticed I left my cushy, pre-warmed spot on the couch for all of a minute to pour myself a new glass of water.

Cats, they are devious creatures, I tell you.

As a side note to cleaning and cats, can someone please explain to me how Ali has lost not one, not two, but FOUR cat toys in a 400 square-foot apartment?!? I moved around pretty much all the furniture tonight in order to do a really thorough sweeping, and I even took out everything under the bed and did some indoor-spelunking with a flashlight. They are NOWHERE to be found.

There are some more toys in our coat closet that the cat adoption people gave us, but they have bells in them and Sean hates them. I kind of do, too, but one evening Ali was looking so forlorn and bored (and Sean was out), I snuck one out and gave it to her. She chose 2 a.m. to get really rambunctious with it, and Sean was completely angered and baffled as to how she got an annoying-bell-toy. He thought we threw them all out.

He then proceeded to dispose of Ali’s toy IN FRONT OF HER. In the garbage.

No wonder she is so devious.

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Personality Quiz! with Ali the Cat

I have a special bond with my cat. As I mentioned recently, we even enjoyed a girls’ movie night recently, when we watched the documentary First Postition, during which I learned of Ali’s deep fascination with ballet electronics.

As you can tell, she’s loads of fun. So today she’s presenting a fun Personality Quiz, using a series of optical illusions. Just pick whether you see (A) or (B) in each image, then scroll down to see the results of your final tallies.

Do you see (A) a winter coat, or (B) a bed?

2.Do you see (A) a wireless printer/scanner combo, or (B) a chair?

3.Do you see (A) a throw pillow, or (B) a bed?

4.Do you see (A) a drinking glass, or (B) a water bowl?

5.Do you see (A) a storage container, or (B) a chair?

6.Do you see (A) a shopping bag and writing pen, or (B) toys!!!

7.Do you see (A) a good book, or (B) a chair?

Now tally up how many questions for which you answered (A) and how many for which you answered (B). Scroll down for your results! Discover your inner desires and deepest fears! Discover who you really are!


If you answered mainly (A)s…

Congratulations! You’re a human being. You have opposable thumbs and the largest mental capacity in the animal kingdom! You can earn a college degree, learn how to cook a curry, and distinguish between a jazz ensemble and a Peruvian pipe band. You can savor a Picasso painting or a Nabokov novel. However, you have to participate in nasty things like paying taxes, traffic jams, and public speaking. Life is alright.

If you answered mainly (B)s…

Congratulations! You’re a cat! You get to nap and play and eat all. day. long. You get free back massages FOR LIFE, not to mention free food and housecleaning. You live by two rules: “If I fits on it, I sits on it,” and “If I can play with it, it’s a toy” (which is a much less rhyming and cutesy rule). The world apartment is your oyster! Carpe diem! Seize the day…or at least the four hours of it for which you will be forcibly awake. YOUR LIFE IS AWESOME.

Ah! Now THIS is the life. Sorry, humans. Also, dogs drool, cats rule…and stuff.



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Becoming an ‘almost’ dog-person

While I think I have the most perfect, sweetest kitty in the world:

Living in this city full of dog-lovers has converted me…into an almost dog person. As in, I will never, ever stop taking a million photos of my cat and obsessing over every cat I see up for adoption, but I can understand the appeal of a dog. Dogs are loyal, playful, and a lot of other things that most cats, sadly, are not (although Ali does live by the mantra “if I can play with it, it’s a toy” and does cute things like wait patiently outside the bathroom door for our morning cuddle session).

Yesterday Sean and I went to Central Park to enjoy the warmer weather and the gorgeous fall leaves. For a while, we planted ourselves on a bench by the Conservatory Boat Pond — easily one of my favorite places in the city world — admiring this view:

And also the dog parade passing us by. So many pretty and HAPPY dogs out that afternoon! We’ve become pros at identifying the breeds, and then watching YouTube videos of “Dogs 101” from Animal Planet in order to learn more about them. After much debate, we decided that if we ever got a dog, it would have to be a REAL dog. A dog that needs a backyard, that loves to go on walks, that weighs as much as I do, and could in no way be mistaken for our cat’s breakfast. More specifically, we would love to have a husky.

I’ve seen a number of huskies up here, because it actually does get chilly. I love everything about them, especially their blue eyes! However, getting a dog seems like a cruel idea with such a small apartment (and all that fur! I can’t even imagine…), so for now, we like to admire our neighbors’ huskies and photos of huskies you can find on the Internet.

Now, if I ever do actually get a husky, I insist that it be a puppy. I’m glad we adopted an adult cat, but husky puppies. Are. So. Adorable.

See? How could you say “no” to a face like that?

Here’s the main researcher and her cuddly, domesticated silver fox.

If I couldn’t get a husky, I’d want to get a domesticated silver fox. “What?!?” you exclaim. Well, during our Hurricane Sandy trapped-indoors-for-days period, we watched a PBS documentary called Dogs Decoded on Netflix, which educated us about how dogs are superior beings that will one day rule the earth. (Kidding.) But really, we did learn a lot of fascinating stuff about how dogs have evolved. We learned that wolves cannot be domesticated, but a bunch of researchers in Siberia were able to domesticate silver foxes through selective breeding of “affectionate” versus “aggressive” individual foxes.

The “aggressive” foxes were the things of nightmares, and will not be pictured in this post.

And if I couldn’t have a silver fox, I’d want Mr. Fox of Fantastic Mr. Fox fame.




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