email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Monday, December 20, 2010


I don't live and die by the ups and downs of local sports teams.  I've lived here for 42 years and I doubt many of the team players have.  I know it is a job to them and that they get moved around.

But I also know that many of them try very hard to play well at hard games.  Professional level athletics are cruel.  In any sport, a few bits of bad luck can send a career off to another city, or to a car dealership.  Those people get banged up, beat around, and criticized for failing to do perfectly the things that over 99.99% of us could not even attempt to do.  Being a pro athlete is a hard and chancy life.

So I want to do something that most people won't do.  I'm going to thank a bunch of basically out-of-town guys for doing something they are highly paid to do.  I'm thanking the Washington Redskins football team for losing to Dallas today.

Not because they lost, but because so many of them tried so hard to win.  They came so close to winning that game on a team that has so many problems.  I respect that. 

I won't mention any particular problems.  Football plays are so interconnected that it is very difficut to single out any one problem.  If the offensive line is better, the quarterback has more time to throw a good pass.  If the receivers are better, they can catch imperfect passes.  If the quarterback is better, the recievers have a better chance to catch passes, etc.  No one player makes or breaks a team.  Its called a team for a reason...

And I'm tired of everyone screaming for the head of some poor kicker who is doing one of the weirdest athletic events possible - shoving an oblate ball through a narrow place, using his foot, and depending on 2 other guys to arrange the launch point...

Same on defense.

So I am thanking THE TEAM  for a great effort yesterday in a loss.  They got into a hole, and they fought their way out of it.  They came from far behind to tie the game toward the end.  They gave it their best.  They lost.  Well, someone has to lose.

They deserve applause for the effort.  Not for just showing up, for the effort.  I didn't see any person on the team who didn't try hard to win from the first second to the last.  That's what makes me follow a team.  Win, lose, or draw, if you try your best, I will follow you.  As I will support friends, family, and co-workers who try their  best...  We all owe support to anyone who does the best they can.

I played some high schools sports.  I was a 3 letter athlete.  I know what is is like to stand out on a field, exhausted, in the rain, knowing that you are losing the game in spite of the best you had to give.  And people booing from the sidelines...

I've kicked a soccer ball into midfield knowing that I was going to get smashed by someone equally desperate to prevent me from doing so.  I have had my ankle kicked apart so badly that when I landed on it on the next step, I could feel the joint pushed back in.  And couldn't walk for a week.

I've made a 20' putt that helped the team win.  And missed a 3' one that lost a match.

I've hit a tennis serve that aced a match.  And double faulted one that lost it.

For what it's worth, I have missed checkmates that would have won games and found moves that saved lost situations.  There is no fixed law of competition.  The best player doesn't ALWAYS win.  And the worst doesn't ALWAYS lose.  That's why you play the games...  Luck can be cruel.  Or wonderful.

So I think I understand the pro athletes a little bit.

So Washington 30, Dallas 33...  Its OK, because every one of you tried your best.  And I think I sense a team forming.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Assembling a Cat Tower

I decided to splurge by buying a cat tower.  I saw it in an ad and it looked too complicated to just copy.  Sometimes it is worth buying stuff.  So here is the sequence for assembling it...

 Be careful to use the 2-screw bolts at this point,  I missed that and had to undo some bolts!
The box wasn't drilled through all the way on mine,  I expect that was an anomaly.  Yours should be fine.  Cat not included, BTW...
 You can tighten the sisal posts very hard.  Big 3/8" bolts...
 Here you can see Iza in the box.  She liked it so much that she was IN the tower as I was constructing it.
That side ramp is hard to put on.  You might want to not bother with it,  Ayla and Iza don't use it.  But if you do, be aware that the set screw heads in the small bolts are weak and can strip out.  And I recommend you attach the brackets to the bottom of of the platform first rather than the ramp first...  It leaves better vision and set screw angle.  I did it the wrong way and had to crawl underneath the platform.  That was awkward.
 Its reaching the final stage...
Multiple views.

1 hour 45 minutes for complete assembly (from car to completion).  But I was taking pictures and not rushing it. And it is a heavy box.  I had to take all the parts out of the box in the car and some of the sisal rope posts are locked in pretty tight.  It would have been better to open the top box flaps and turn it upside down to get the parts out.  But its a good solid structure.  The 3/8" bolts can be tightened as hard as you can turn the posts.

Petco has this on for $149 sale til 12/18.  The $99 model is almost as good.  So far, the upper box is most popular.  The cats seem to like to look out the small square.

No home tools required, BTW.  All bolts and braces are attached with 2 hex head drivers provided.  Another thought...  To align the bolt holes with the tapped screw threads, a fat tapered pen works well. While I didn't rush the assembly, I did have to struggle sometimes getting the pre-drilled holes to match up with the tapped inserts.  And for those not familiar with hex head screws, I will point out the both ends fit the bolts.  Put the short end in for best leverage. Making the bolts really tight matters.  All in all, the structure is more solid than I first expected.

I almost forgot to mention that there are sturdy yarn loops under some of the platforms and boxes.   The instructions don't mention what they are for.  Those are for the hanging cat toys!  Do remember to hang those from the loops!  And position the platforms so the loops are where you want the hanging toys.