Feline Mewsings #1

#1May 2000

Feline Mewsings is a personalzine / newsletter published quarterly by R-Laurraine Tutihasi, 29217 Stonecrest Road, Rolling Hills Estates, CA 90275-4936, 310-265-0766, laurraine@mac.com, http://www.weasner.com.  Distributed in print through FAPA and to other friends, available for the usual (a response of any kind, including letters, e-mail, and phone calls of comment; trade; contributions of illos, fiction, or articles; or even money:  $1.50 per issue or $5 per year).  A modified version is placed on the web shortly after paper publication; please let me know if you prefer just to read the web version.  Kattesminte Press #328.  @2000 R-Laurraine Tutihasi.


Welcome to the premier issue of Feline Mewsings.  This is a new zine that combines the previous Convention Log and Meowing Comments.  It will combine features of both zines and may have other additional features.  Some of this depends on my health and available time.

It is on a quarterly schedule to coincide with mailings of FAPA, the Fantasy Amateur Press Association.  Copies will be mailed out to FAPA and others about the same time.  Shortly after the printed copies are sent out, I hope to place a copy on the web.  This may be slightly modified due to copyright issues.

Please let me ask artists and other readers to contribute illos, letters of comment, book reviews, and other items.  If you would like to write a longer article, please check with me first.

This first issue coincides with my last issue of Convention Log.  This was not my original intention, but I fell behind in preparing the last Convention Log.

* * *


Some one in FAPA (I no longer remember who) asked how Mike became a software beta tester.  He initially became involved because he had press credentials as a journalist writing about Apple II products.  His titles at work, such as Program Systems Information Manager, also helped.  Once you get started, it seems fairly easy to continue.  Occasionally, a general call will go out looking for beta testers for new software.  If you respond quickly enough, you may be chosen.  Mike has done beta testing for Apple, Microsoft, AOL, CompuServe, and other companies.

A few years ago, Mike bought a Meade ETX telescope.  He was very impressed by it and wanted more information.  A search revealed very little information, so he started a web site.  His site can be reached from mine.  Mike’s interest in astronomy goes back to the age of six.  When he was thirteen, he got his first telescope, which he still has.  He took pictures through it that were published in his small town Indiana paper.  He also majored in astrophysics in college.

Last year, he was asked to write a chapter about the ETX for an astronomy book about small telescopes.  The request came via a referral from someone who had seen his site.  The book is scheduled to be out sometime this spring.

* * *

* * *


During the past few months, I have had the opportunity to attend several theatrical events.  Here I describe them and give my opinions of their quality.

Faust by Charles Gounod was one of the operas I had bought tickets for this season.  I like this opera quite a bit, and I was attracted by the fact that noted baritone Samuel Ramey was playing the title role.  We saw him in recital a couple of years ago, and I thought his age showed through his singing, but his performance in the opera was impeccable.  There are several versions of the Faust legend.  Gounod gives Marguerite a happy ending, but Faust is damned at the end of the opera.  Fortuitously, I was reading Swanwick’s Jack Faust about the same time.  That gave me another look at the Faust legend.  The pre-opera lecture also discussed the various incarnations of the legend both in written fiction and in musical treatments.  The performance was generally good.  I felt, at least at times, that the orchestra sounded colourless (not enough vibrato) and too brassy.  And most of the singers did not have good pronunciation of the French.

Sleeping Beauty on Ice was presented in February by the St.  Petersburg State Ice Ballet at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.  Cerritos is a small community due east of us.  It takes us about forty-five minutes to drive there in good traffic.  As performing arts centres go, it is relatively small.  The theatre where this show was presented probably only seats a few hundred people.  It is small enough that any seat would afford a good view of the stage.

I had seen similar productions on TV and was sceptical about the quality that could be achieved on a piece of ice on a stage.  No one can skate very fast on it, which limits the complexity of jumps and other moves that can be performed.  Certainly, triple jumps are impossible.  However, I was pleasantly surprised.  Although the performers are not Olympic quality skaters, I thought they did a very commendable job.  There were a couple of mistakes.  The skater who played the prince felt down while simply skating in a circle with the other princes.  The skater who played the wicked fairy also fell down in a similar situation, although this was during a solo routine.  I was quite impressed with the pair that did the Red Riding Hood routine; they did a throw jump.  Of course, the jump was just a double jump or a single axel.  Much of the skating was a cross between pairs and ice dance.  There were quite a few lifts performed, especially by the prince and princess.  We were sitting in the front row, which got fairly cold so near the ice.  It was also nearly impossible to see the skaters’ feet.  The ice show was much shorter than the comparable ballet – only two hours, including the intermission.  Despite some of the shortcomings of this art form, we still managed to enjoy the performance.

Incidentally, the St.  Petersburg State Ice Ballet is the only company of its kind in the world.

Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet was also presented at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts by Ballet d’Opera de Bordeaux.  This is my favourite ballet, written by my favourite composer.  As with the ice ballet, the music was recorded.  The sets were simple but effective.  I enjoyed it as much as I have any production of this ballet and found it better than some that I’ve seen.

Many of you have seen Fantasia 2000.  It was presented in the Los Angeles area at, I believe, three IMAX theatres.  One of these was a temporary building.  That’s the one we went to, because it was the closest.  Having done so, I wonder whether the experience could have been better had we driven a little farther to a permanent structure.  However, the temporary structure was better than other temporary buildings and tents I’ve been in.  It was very sturdily constructed.  The portable toilets were spacious.  Everything was orchestrated with the efficiency of the Disney parks.  We bought the VIP tickets that included reserved seating and free refreshments.  We were not impressed by the exhibits in the foyer, most of which were geared toward children.  We were seated before the hoi polloi.  Our seats were excellent – centred with relationship to the screen.  The movie was new with the exception of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice segment.  Each part was introduced by a celebrity.  IMAX is not very flattering to age; Angela Lansbury would look better on a smaller screen.  I enjoyed the movie quite a bit.  As a whole, I like it better than the original.  However, that is a quite personal reaction, as I happen not to care for Disney’s interpretation of Beethoven’s Sixth.  I didn’t have a similar problem with the new film.  There were moments of humour and teary sentimentality.  If you haven’t seen it yet, I recommend it heartily to those who like this kind of fare.

The Museum of Television & Radio presented a tribute to "The Outer Limits" as part of its William S.  Paley Television Festival.  The venue was the Director’s Guild theatre.  I had been there years before, but the place had changed quite a bit.  It used to be on the corner with a large parking lot.  There is now a store on the corner, and there is a parking structure.  We had originally decided to attend, because Harlan Ellison was scheduled to be there.  Because of a dispute over the showing (or not) of the Demon with a Glass Hand episode, Harlan cancelled his appearance.  Robert Culp, who had also been originally scheduled to appear, also cancelled.  We decided to go anyway, because Martin Landau was going to be there.  Besides, we were both interested in "The Outer Limits." The evening began with short clips from the show.  This was followed by a showing of the episode The Form of Things Unknown.  This is the episode about the young man, played by David McCallum, who tilts time.  Other actors in it include Vera Miles, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, and Barbara Rush.  After the screening, Conrad Hall, Robert Justman, Martin Landau, David Schow, and Joseph Stefano discussed their experiences making the series and their feelings about the show and the recent version being shown on Showtime.  One observation they made was that in the original series, things were always back to normal at the end of an episode.  There was an optimism present throughout.  The current series is much darker.  Things are almost always worse at the end than at the beginning, and there is always a question about whether mankind is being wise.  While we would have preferred to have seen Harlan Ellison and Robert Culp, we felt the evening had been worthwhile.

The Colony’s first play of the season was A Shayna Maidel by Barbara LeBow.  This is the story of two sisters reunited in New York City in 1946 after being separated eighteen years earlier.  One sister was taken to a concentration camp in Poland, and the other was fortunate enough to escape to America with her father.  Their mother died in a camp.  It is a touching and heart-warming story.  The performance was excellent.  Many members of the audience were in tears during the sad parts of the play.

The Colony’s current Second Stage Production is David’s Mother by Bob Randall.  It always amazes me how well the Colony manages to dress the set to look so different from their main production.  The rather stark apartment of A Shayna Maidel was transformed into a cluttered, almost rococo, set for this play.  The play is about an adolescent with mental disabilities and his mother.  As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that the mother is over-protective of her son and has not allowed him to develop his capabilities.  The reasons for this are explored.  At the end, the mother realizes what she has done and starts to make amends.  The acting was superb, especially the performance by J.  Michael Wright, who played David.

* * *


Harold is the oldest boy in Mike’s family.  Mike is the youngest.  If I got my facts straight, there are twenty-two years between them.  Despite this age difference, they look and sound more alike than their other siblings.  Harold lives in New Jersey with his wife, Marie.  They travel quite a bit and come out here every few years.  I had met them on a previous trip while we were still living in Torrance.  This time, they stayed in our guestroom.  They were easy guests with few demands.

They arrived on a Thursday evening.  Mike picked them up after work.  He took the next day off to spend time with them.  We took them to the new Getty museum.  The old one, built as a replica of Herculaneum is being remodelled.  The new one opened a few years ago.  It is built in the Santa Monica Mountains overlooking the 405 freeway.  It houses most of the collection that was at the original museum.  With its high vantage point, it offers a view of most of the Los Angeles basin and the Pacific Ocean on clear days.  The place is architecturally spectacular and includes fountains and two unusual gardens, as well as the indoor exhibits.  The exhibits range from illuminated manuscripts to period furniture.  We spent most of the day here, including a delicious lunch.

On Saturday, we had a long and relaxed lunch with a friend of Marie’s.  In the evening, we took Harold and Marie to see A Shayna Maidel.

After they attended mass Sunday morning, we took them to lunch at Cocoa’s and then to a hotel near LAX so they could catch a flight the next day.

* * *


This year’s assembly was held at the Hilton Burbank Airport.  It is located across the street from the airport.  We shared the hotel with a group of black college students.  We went to the hotel Friday evening.  Aside from checking in with the group, we didn’t accomplish anything else.  John Hertz did not arrive with the programme book till the next morning.  I was not feeling energetic enough to join in the dance practice.  We retired early.

We woke up very early Saturday morning in order to have breakfast before joining a group outing to the Huntington for a tour of one of their galleries.  I had been to the Huntington Gardens many times but had not set foot in any of the galleries more than once.  We toured the gallery that included some articles from the English Regency period.  We returned from the tour with not much time before the buffet lunch, which was served outside by the pool.  The fare was excellent, as were all the meals served at this assembly.  The company was also excellent, and I stayed at the table talking long after we were all finished eating.  In late afternoon, we gathered again, this time inside, for tea.  That night was the ball.  This went quite well.  It is traditional for us to have a raffle.  I decided to participate, as it is a fund-raiser, and was rewarded by being able to come home with a bottle of dessert wine.  There were thirteen dances scheduled.  I managed to dance four, three with Mike.  Halfway through the ball, there is traditionally a supper served.  We left before all the dances were done.  I was tired, and it was already midnight.

There was a Sunday brunch served at a civilized hour.  We left after this, however, as nothing interested me enough to stay.  I was tired and needed to catch up with my sleep.  I enjoyed the weekend, however, and only wish I’d had the energy to participate in more of the activities offered.  The food was wonderful.

* * *


When you are counting objects, you go, "0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, A, B, C, D, …"

When asked about a bus schedule, you wonder if it is 16 or 32 bits.

When your wife says, "If you don’t turn off that damn machine and come to bed, then I am going to divorce you!" and you chastise her for omitting the else clause.

When you are reading a book and look for the space bar to get to the next page.

When you look for your car keys using "grep keys / dev / pockets."

When you look for your homework using "grep homework / dev / backpack."

When after fooling around all day with routers, etc., you pick up the phone and start dialling an IP number.

When you get in the elevator and double-press the button for the floor you want.

When not only do you check your e-mail more often than your paper mail, but you remember your {network address} faster than your postal one.

When you go to balance your chequebook and discover that you’re doing the math in octal.

When you dream in 256 palettes of 256 colours.

You’re writing a homework assignment and get to the end of the line in the middle of a sentence, tack on a "\," and continue writing on the next line.

You try to sleep and think, "telnet xxx.dreams.heaven."

You talk to G-d by sending e-mail to jesus@heaven.com.

* * *


The following cat haiku originated with the owner of seventeen cats:

You never feed me.

Perhaps I'll sleep on your face.

That will sure show you.

You must scratch me there!

Yes, above my tail! Behold,

Elevator butt.

I need a new toy.

Tail of black dog keeps good time.

Pounce! Good dog! Good dog!

The rule for today

Touch my tail, I shred your hand

New rule tomorrow

In deep sleep, hear sound

Cat vomit hairball somewhere

Will find in morning

Grace personified,

I leap into the window.

I meant to do that.

Blur of motion, then --

Silence, me, a paper bag.

What is so funny?

The mighty hunter

Returns with gifts of plump birds --

Your foot just squashed one

You're always typing.

Well, let's see you ignore my

Sitting on your hands.

My small cardboard box.

You cannot see me if I

Can just hide my head.

Terrible battle.

I fought for hours.  Come and see!

What's a 'term paper'?

Kitty likes plastic

Confuses for litter box

Don't leave tarp around

Small brave carnivores

Kill pinecones and mosquitoes

Fear vacuum cleaner

Want to trim my claws?

Don't even think about it!

My yelps will wake dead.

I want to be close

To you.  Can I fit my head

inside your armpit?

Wanna go outside.

Oh, shit! Help! I got outside!

Let me back inside!

Oh no! Big One

has been trapped by newspaper!

Cat to the rescue!

Humans are so strange.

Mine lies still in bed, then screams!

My claws aren't that sharp ...

Cats meow out of angst

"Thumbs! If only we had thumbs!

We could break so much!"

Litter box not here

You must have moved it again

I'll crap in the sink.

The Big Ones snore now

Every room is dark and cold

Time for "Cup Hockey"

We're almost equals

I purr to show I love you

Want to smell my butt?


The End of the Raven -- by Edgar Allen Poe's Cat

On a night quite unenchanting, when the rain was downward slanting,

I awakened to the ranting of the man I catch mice for.

Tipsy and a bit unshaven, in a tone I found quite craven,

Poe was talking to a Raven perched above the chamber door.

"Raven's very tasty," thought I, as I tiptoed o'er the floor,

"There is nothing I like more"

Soft upon the rug I treaded, calm and careful as I headed

Towards his roost atop that dreaded bust of Pallas I deplore.

While the bard and birdie chattered, I made sure that nothing clattered,

Creaked, or snapped, or fell, or shattered, as I crossed the corridor;

For his house is crammed with trinkets, curios and weird decor -

Bric-a-brac and junk galore.

Still the Raven never fluttered, standing stock-still as he uttered,

In a voice that shrieked and sputtered, his two cents' worth -


While this dirge the birdbrain kept up, oh, so silently I crept up,

Then I crouched and quickly leapt up, pouncing on the feathered bore.

Soon he was a heap of plumage, and a little blood and gore -

Only this and not much more.

"Oooo!" my pickled poet cried out, "Pussycat, it's time I dried out!

Never sat I in my hideout talking to a bird before;

How I've wallowed in self-pity, while my gallant, valiant kitty

Put an end to that damned ditty" - then I heard him start to snore.

Back atop the door I clambered, eyed that statue I abhor,

Jumped - and smashed it on the floor.

* * *


Milt Stevens (Alphabet Soup #25):  I really got a laugh from your comment to Eric Lindsay.  Last time, he had said, "A US study concluded 50% of all obesity factors could be attributed to TV viewing." You replied, "I do hope the other 50% of obesity factors can be attributed to eating.  Otherwise, the universe is much stranger than I care to imagine." I agree with your sentiments.

In another comment to Eric Lindsay, you mention living near a restaurant that offers "an all you can eat pizza buffet." I could certainly go for that.  There was a restaurant back in Rochester, NY, that offered an all you can eat salad bar that included pizza.  I used to go there quite a bit with a close friend.  The restaurant is no longer there.  When we were back in upstate New York a year and a half ago we tried the new Italian restaurant that has opened in the same place, but we didn’t think it was as good as the old one.

Harry Warner (Horizons, Vol.  61, No.  1):  All Japanese students are taught English.  Unfortunately, the emphasis is on the written language.  There are two ways that a Japanese student can learn spoken English.  One is to continue studying it as one enters college.  The other is to attend classes offered outside the schools.  When I was a graduate student at Chapel Hill, I met a group of Japanese students from one of these special classes.

The film that you refer to – "Kodak film that apparently will eliminate the need for flash in almost all photographic situations" – may be Kodak Max.  It is simply faster film.  There seems to be a trend to using more light-sensitive film in everyday situations.  When I first started taking pictures as a child, film speeds available were quite slow (ASA 64, for instance).  About twenty years ago, faster film speeds started to become available; ASA 400 is fairly standard these days.

Ben Indick (Ben’s Beat 58):  I saw the Central Park opera on TV.  I found it quite interesting.  Only time will tell how well I like it.  I didn’t dislike it.

Robert Sabella (Halcyon Days #83):  Is neurofeedback similar to biofeedback? Could you provide some information on the procedure?

Robert Sabella (Visions of Paradise #83):  You said your mother was bringing zeppoles for your Xmas dinner.  What are zeppoles?

You said your sons play the game with their friends.  What game is that?

Gordon Eklund (Sweet Jane 27):  I believe TV coverage of sports is similar regardless of the sport.  I follow figure skating and am often bothered by the use of close-ups.

I hope Milt Stevens didn’t say that Griffith Park is named after D.  W.  Griffith.  If he did, I must not have noticed.  I would have jumped on him immediately.  The park is named for Colonel Griffith J.  Griffith, who left the city the land for the park.  I don’t believe the two are related.  My information comes from the May 1995 issue of The Griffith Observer, a publication of the Griffith Observatory, which houses a planetarium.

I don’t know about the laws elsewhere, but there is still no waiting time to get married in Nevada.  The only waiting involved is the line to get your marriage licence.  They have it down to a science.  They give you the application while you wait in line.  There is a counter provided along one wall for writing on.  I believe the waiting period in California is one week.  In addition, a blood test is required.

Moi (Meowing Comments #8):  The vitamin B3 treatment that I tried seemed to have no effect.  It’s even possible that it made the vertigo worse.  I also recently had an ENG; this is a balance test involving the eyes and ears.  The results of that were equivocal.  An MRI was ordered.  I will be making another appointment to follow up on that soon.  My infectious disease specialist started me on an anti-viral, and that has had great effects.  The vertigo went away after two weeks.  My sleeping has improved enormously, and I have more energy than before.

As you probably noticed, I did not manage to get Convention Log into the mail for the last collation.  It will be appearing with this zine with the co-operation of the USPS.

Bridget Bradshaw (Fapacity 3):  I went through a lot of changes in the sixties – moving back to Rochester, NY, from Massachusetts; graduating from high school; starting college; going to England for junior year in college – but none were the kind of event I’d consider a life landmark.  One event I remember clearly was becoming snowbound at our house in the suburb of Pittsford.  We had a big blizzard with high winds that caused huge drifts as high as the houses on our street, which was a cul de sac.  It took the city three days to plough us out.  My aunt was visiting us and had to get to New York City.  We walked a mile to a main thoroughfare that had been ploughed and borrowed a friend’s car to drive my aunt to the Amtrak station.  The drifts were great for tobogganing.

Tom Feller (The Road Warrior):  I read Brightness Reef a few years ago, and it was the first book in Brin’s Uplift series that I liked well enough to buy a copy and read the sequels.  I have read at least part of the earlier series but don’t know if one of them was Startide Rising.  Can you give me a synopsis of the plot? I don’t own a copy.

Jack Speer (Synapse):  I believe saturated fats are usually of animal origin.

In discussing the cost of transporting people to other planets, I think you should consider the cost of supporting them and their descendants on Earth.  The problem is that many are not being supported.  I’m sure that many people who are living on the margin now would jump at the chance to make a go of it on a new planet.

Whether automatic backups are performed depends not on the hardware but the software.  It is definitely important to back up your data on a different medium.  We use a server, which is a third computer on our home network.

80/50 is low for blood pressure, but it must have been okay.  My doctor didn’t seem concerned.

Clearly, you have not seen Shakespeare in Love, not that I think you’re missing anything.  I’m not sure what everyone saw in it.  I found it slightly entertaining but totally unbelievable.  It’s as though twentieth century people were going through the motions of pretending to be sixteenth century characters.  The plot concerns a woman who disguises herself as a man in order to be able to work on stage.  She is given the part of Romeo.

I’ll try to make a fannish map of the Los Angeles area, just don’t hold your breath.  It may take me a few months, possibly more.  Also, most of the address information I have is for LASFS members; so the map will be reflective mostly of the LASFS membership.

Richard Brandt (Creature of Habit, Number 32):  I gave "Final Wave" a fair trial.  I watched at least three episodes before giving up.  It seemed to have too many inconsistencies.  I much prefer "Farscape," which premiered at the same time on the same station.

Bill Bowers (Xenolith 44):  Much sympathy with your health problems.  One of my uncles developed emphysema toward the end of his life after smoking like a chimney for most of his life.  Towards the very end, he had to carry an oxygen bottle with him everywhere.

It seems like nostalgia time looking at your letter column.  I remember receiving fanzines from and meeting Cy Chauvin at Autoclave.

Gregg Calkins (the rambling fap 116):  I wish you the best of luck in moving to Costa Rica.  I hope it turns out as well as you hope.  I remember seeing a container in front of someone’s house, so other people must do as you contemplate.

Michael W.  Waite (Trial and Air, Vol.  1, No.  1):  Welcome to FAPA.

I’m so sorry to hear of Mae Strelkov’s passing.  I’ve read many articles she submitted to an Aussie fanzine titled The Mentor and probably elsewhere as well.

Ross Chamberlain (Quondam Bleep, Vol.  2, No.  4):  The first word processor I ever used was WYSIWYG.  It was a program called Bravo that ran on the Xerox (can’t remember the name) workstation that predated personal computers.  I waited years for PCs to have a program that was WYSIWYG.  Today most word processors are but not in the same way as Bravo.  Bravo allowed you to switch back and forth between WYSIWYG and a mode that showed all the formatting codes.  WordStar for DOS came close, and I think WordPerfect is also.  I use word these days, mostly because that’s what we have.  Mike has done beta testing for Microsoft and buys their products.  Besides, WordPerfect for the Mac lagged in development.  I’m not completely satisfied with Word, but it does most things okay.

My religio-philosophical beliefs are somewhat similar to yours.  I believe in a Macro Soul that is made up of all the smaller souls.  That is as close to a deity as I come in my beliefs.  Macro Soul transcends time and always exists.

I don’t think you’re missing much by not having seen The Matrix or Shakespeare in Love.  I found most of The Matrix quite gripping, but the ending spoiled it all for me.  It made it seem as though all the rest of the film had merely been a warning and not real events.  I found Shakespeare in Love much too anachronistic.  I got the feeling that I was watching actors pretending to be Shakespearean without adopting Elizabethan attitudes of the period.  For a real flavour of the period, I recommend Elizabeth.

There are chocolate-covered ice cream balls (or similar shapes) sold in supermarkets as "bon bons" or other similar names.  I also remember similar confections being sold in theatres in Britain and Germany.  I believe I might have had some in Germany.

* * *


For several years, I have been a subscriber to the Colony Theatre, which has been performing in a small equity-waiver theatre in Los Angeles, just south of Glendale.  I go there rather than other more expensive theatres, because I feel I really get my money’s worth from this company.  Every production I’ve seen has been done excellently.  I may not have liked everything I’ve seen, but they were all well done.  There are no big name actors in this troupe, but there are a number of actors who have appeared in secondary roles on TV and in the movies.  Some of the actors are strictly stage actors.

The group has been trying now for several years to get a better place to perform.  Finally, at the end of April, a new theatre in Burbank had its ribbon cutting.  The place will be shared with other local groups.  It is a very nice small theatre, more than twice the size of their current one.  It has nice red velvet seats.  The place is not quite finished yet, but they expect to open their next production there in August.  The ribbon cutting was attended by the mayor of Burbank and a large number of the Colony actors.

This zine is also making its debut.  I plan to keep it to twelve pages or less for the foreseeable future.  Printing and mailing costs are quite high.

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