Remembering Cats

Recently, I’ve been going through some old photos.

Not old family photos made 100 years ago; these are more recent, and they’re of the cats I used to live with, the cats I think of as family members. Four-legged, furry, meowing, purring, playful, lazy, clingy but pretending they weren’t, daring, adorable…

You know, cats.

Let me tell you about some of them.

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This is Kes (sorry about the blurry photo; it’s a scanned analog photo, there were no digital cameras back then): he spent 13 years with us before he disappeared. He was daring, never giving up, playful, and wonderful. Lady cats loved him, and his voice was unbelievably gentle when meowing at them; you wouldn’t believe that a male cat could meow like that. When it came to the other males, though, it was a completely different story. And a completely different voice.

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This is Srećko; his name translates to Lucky. He was an indoor-outdoor cat, like Kes. Cuddly when he wanted to be, and then going out, invading another tom’s balcony, and quarreling with him, loudly, when he complained. And then coming back home to enjoy himself in a safe and warm place.

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This is Micko; a common name for a male cat over here. One day, Lucky brought him home, and then kept bringing him home until he accepted to stay. It’s a bit unusual for a cat to do that, but, hey, we couldn’t refuse to take him in. So we had two male cats for a while, and they got along great.

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Here they are together. They died within 3 weeks of each other; both got hit by a car.

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This is Srećkica (it translates to Lucky Girl). She was a stray kitten with an eye infection my mother found after the guys above died. The vet took care of the infection, and, with what happened to Lucky and Micko, Lucky Girl is strictly an indoor cat.

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Lucky Girl is 9 now, with a tiny indoor kingdom of her own. The cat on the photo within the photo is Wingnut (Wingnut and her human have been sending photos for Christmas all over the world, as a part of the Operation Spread Warm Fuzzies), and if the couch behind the kitties looks like generations of cats have been sharpening their claws on it… Well, they have. And they have turned it into the best kind of couch.

Because cats make everything better.

 

Silly Instagram Bots Are Silly

Actually, it’s the people using the bots who are silly.

I’ve been spending some time on Instagram, exploring it, enjoying it (if you wish to follow me, here I am, and you can mostly see the stuff I’m doing, and the books I’m reading, lots of books!), and noticing silly stuff.

For example, follow-for-follow accounts. Err, why? If you don’t like what I post, why would you follow me? And if I’m not interested in the stuff someone posts, like countless motivational pictures, why would I follow them? Just for the numbers game? Numbers mean nothing if there’s no genuine desire to support them.

Or, the accounts that are not openly follow-for-follow, but treat that dreadful growth hack marketing advice as if it was the Word of the God Almighty. You know the advice: follow people on social media, and if they don’t follow you back, unfollow them, because why would you follow people who don’t follow you? How about: because you like what they’re posting?

And then, there are bots. I follow Gary Vaynerchuk because I like what he says about marketing and storytelling, and because I feel that I can learn a lot from him and then adapt it to my needs (hey, we all need to know how to market our stuff!). Whenever I like his pictures/videos, I gain a few new followers, all entrepreneurs with a ton of motivational quotes on their profiles, many of them leaving vague comments on my pictures.

Comments that make it obvious that they haven’t even looked at the picture, so it’s clear that they’re using bots for it.

“Great shot”, “Awesome”, “Cute!” and such are supposed to be vague enough to fit most posts, but if I post a picture of the book I’m reading at the time, and make it clear in the hashtags that it’s The Exorcist, and some people comment “Sweet”, “Aw nice”, “Spreading good vibes”, or “Very cute”, it’s painfully obvious that they’re bots, and that the account owners couldn’t care less.

Or, if I post a picture with a Snapchat filter, state that I’m not feeling well, but at least my hair color is awesome, and get comments like “Super nice!”, is that really a human who saw the picture, or is it a bot?

The thing is, Gary Vaynerchuk is as successful as he is because (among other things) he takes the time to answer in person. His comments are his own, and so are his replies. Well, either that, or he is using bots that are so good that they can pass for actual caring human beings, the world as we know it has ended, and we can all go home now, thank you for the attention. And he talks about it, and his followers admire him… And then they use bots.

Don’t get me wrong: this isn’t a rant, and the bots don’t bother me. None of them are rude in any way, and they’re easy to ignore. The accounts will stop following me on their own as soon as they see that I’m not following them back, and it’s not like I’m going to miss the people who have zero interest in me or in what I’m doing.

I just see it as silly, and I don’t see the point. It’s like spam comments on blogs, except that people do manage to get followers that way (mostly those who are in the numbers game too, I guess).

How about you? If you use Instagram, how do you feel about that kind of comments?

Where Am I?

Well, I’m here. Didn’t go anywhere. It was just annoying. Spent half the November sick, then half the December, then a big chunk of January, February wasn’t much better… There was (and still is, I think) a nasty bug going around, making pretty much everyone sick, and coming back again and again and again.

Still, it’s not like I was doing nothing all this time; I was just more active elsewhere, on Instagram and on my blog in Serbian. The weather is improving, there were conventions to attend (I skipped one, but I did attend PotterMania, see the two cosplayers above), there were numerous book promotions, and I was taking a bunch of photos and blogging about these events. Then I’d start feeling weak again, and… You get the picture. With the warmer weather, though, I definitely feel better.

Then, there was a death in the family (an elderly grandaunt, she was 96), I’ve spent some time with an aunt I haven’t seen in years (living in different countries does that), another short story collection of mine was published (electronically only, in Serbian)… And there’s politics, with the protests every day after the presidential election.

Life goes on, as they say. And I’m still around, somewhere.

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Dare to take this book!
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Authors supporting each other at a book promotion, and a reader among them
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Author signing his book, first under his name after decades of writing and influencing others
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Me, taking photos of everything