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I meant the other thing.
November 22, 2010 9:16 AM   Subscribe

We need to talk about your cat because your cat is pissing me off.
posted by Cobalt (63 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
pick your socks off the floor and put them where the cat can't get them

really, is that so hard?
posted by pyramid termite at 9:21 AM on November 22, 2010 [14 favorites]


And close your damn bedroom door. Problem solved.
posted by 1000monkeys at 9:24 AM on November 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


Wow. The lengths some people will go to in order to feel they have some measure of control over their behavior...
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 9:26 AM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


So did they figure out what to do about the cat? The suspense is killing me!
posted by Splunge at 9:27 AM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Was this a topic you wanted to write about, and you just hit on the sock-eating cat as a conversational hook? Because this sounds like the most passive-aggressive move I've ever seen for yelling at your roommate. One I wish I'd thought of first.
posted by Artw at 9:28 AM on November 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


And why doesn't he clean the bathroom? And what does the tag "rands" mean? Is this in reference to Ayn?
posted by Splunge at 9:30 AM on November 22, 2010


> And what does the tag "rands" mean? Is this in reference to Ayn?

Does anyone read the links down here?
posted by Burhanistan at 9:32 AM on November 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oops, I though it was a misspelling of rants. My bad. Sorry.

So. The cat?
posted by Splunge at 9:37 AM on November 22, 2010


It's called changing the subject. No flow chart needed.
posted by kozad at 9:45 AM on November 22, 2010


Rands is not an Objectivist reference, but Jerkcity reference. I hope that clears things up for everybody.
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 9:52 AM on November 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I am looking for a used car.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 9:54 AM on November 22, 2010


This post overthinks a plate of regurgitated sock bits.
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:56 AM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does anyone read the links down here?

Recent experience says "no".

Or if they do it's so they can find a bit to complain about.

It's all to do with the kind of very clever dumb people that Mefites are - if they run across a metaphor they'll spend days discussing the ins-and-outs of the metaphor without touching for a second the thing it is a metaphor for. As for something that appears like it may be vaguely passive aggressive, well, that's their job, so obviously they are not going to let that stand. Even if it is a misidentifiucation as passive aggression.

(though the essay IS funnier if you read it as massive passive aggression, per that first comment)
posted by Artw at 9:57 AM on November 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Conversations meander from one topic to the next."

Adorable Kittens Hide Adorable Secret Kitten.
posted by ericb at 9:57 AM on November 22, 2010 [17 favorites]


Why is it that certain kinds of geeks always think they can systematize/quantify everything?

Seriously, flow-charting a conversation? In practice, the only flow I see is from point "A," where "A" is "acting like an insufferable douche," to point "B," where "B" is "removing own head from own ass."
posted by valkyryn at 10:00 AM on November 22, 2010


It's all to do with the kind of very clever dumb people that Mefites are - if they run across a metaphor they'll spend days discussing the ins-and-outs of the metaphor without touching for a second the thing it is a metaphor for.

Though I agree with the observation in general, here I think it's more a "This is a dumb metaphor for something that didn't really need a metaphor in the first place."
posted by valkyryn at 10:02 AM on November 22, 2010


I am just looking for a used car... what is all this?
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 10:13 AM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


ADORBAL SEKRET KITEH HAZ EATED MI BREINZ KTHXBEI

What were we talking about?
posted by tspae at 10:14 AM on November 22, 2010


I leave socks around the house as decoys so I may tread safely. Cats only eat socks because they think they're filled with foot-meat.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 10:17 AM on November 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


We had a cat thet liked to eat socks when I was a kid. Only wool, and not only socks. Mittens, blankets, teacosys, sweaterers, nothing was safe. This made cleaning the litterbox, this back in the days before clumping litter, the least desirable chore on the rotation. The size of those craps, man. Wool is nothing but fibre.

The worst though was the day Charlie decided to eat a ball of yarn that had been left around. It went in as string and then came out as string. Which took a couple of days. Which meant that someone has to wind-up the string coming out of the cat's ass and cut it every now and then, to keep the cat from dragging that string everywhere. It worst week to have the cat duty ever.
posted by bonehead at 10:19 AM on November 22, 2010 [11 favorites]


I describe a conversation as “verbal ping pong… you bat the little white verbal ball back and forth until someone wins”

I feel kind of bad for anyone who thinks a conversation is something that, by definition, someone needs to "win."
posted by dersins at 10:29 AM on November 22, 2010 [10 favorites]


pick your socks off the floor and put them where the cat can't get them

In what alternate universe are cats unable to get things that are not on the floor?
posted by The World Famous at 10:32 AM on November 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


By the time he was finishing that in HTML he could have bought new socks.
posted by stormpooper at 10:39 AM on November 22, 2010


Put your goddamned socks in a goddamned drawer, you goddamned bore. Then produce a four-page anal-ysis of the following topic: "How come if I'm as smart as I seem to think I am I couldn't figure out that the solution to this problem was to put my goddamned socks in a goddamned drawer and not, say, crank out a ridiculous blog post about how conversations are sort-of like systems analysis-ey stuff"? When you're about halfway into that, hit your pause button and move on to the following topic: "How come I have no friends?"

God.
posted by Decani at 10:40 AM on November 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


pick your socks off the floor and put them where the cat can't get them

In what alternate universe are cats unable to get things that are not on the floor?


Yeah huh? With my cats, the best way to keep them from messing with something is to just put it on the floor. Putting it on up on a shelf is tantamount to issuing a dare.
posted by Pants McCracky at 10:42 AM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


In what alternate universe are cats unable to get things that are not on the floor?

this one
posted by schmod at 10:54 AM on November 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'd rather talk about "Idiots we have known" for 500, Alex.
posted by sonika at 11:00 AM on November 22, 2010


I feel kind of bad for anyone who thinks a conversation is something that, by definition, someone needs to "win."

In his defense, he does mention, "If there is no problem, then, well, you’re shooting the shit."
posted by mmrtnt at 11:02 AM on November 22, 2010


In what alternate universe are cats unable to get things that are not on the floor?

any alternate universe that has such things as clothes drawers, plastic storage bins with snapping lids or vorpal dust bunnies hiding under the bed that love the taste of cat
posted by pyramid termite at 11:02 AM on November 22, 2010


As someone who had to deal with a roommate's two puke-prone cats, I have some sympathy for this guy. Some cats will deal with a closed door as a challenge and try to duck in whenever the door is opened, so you have the choice of either bisecting the cat or letting it in to puke under the bed (independent of sock eating).

However, my algorithm for the situation consisted of:
10 CAT VOMIT
20 PRINT "CLEAN UP YOUR DAMN CATS' PUKE"
30 GOTO 10

posted by benzenedream at 11:13 AM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Back when my husband was just my platonic roommate, I left town for a week to visit my folks around this time for the holidays. I had just adopted my little stray cat and she was Not Happy. While I'm gone my roomie posts the following in his LJ:

Subject: cat shit
last night (i believe exactly as i was typing my last post...probably exactly when i was typing about work and shit and diarrhea) the cat came in my room and took a shit in my closet...she had gotten shut out of the room with the litter box unbeknownst to me...so that sucked...at least the damage was concentrated (on my labcoat, i washed it like 50 times...and at least it's something i could douse in bleach as it's white as white can be...anyway...


and then the following day this:
Subject: more cat shit
so last night i start to relax and watch some tv...so i'm sitting on my bed, the cat comes in the room and goes under my bed...mind you i've been home for a few hours and the cat has had full access to its litter box...well, the cat shits under my bed and then just stays there under the bed too! waiting for me or something...so now it's just trying to spite me...i am not on speaking terms with Gertrude right now...anyway...


and a mutual friend replies to the second entry with the following:
I didn't know you had a cat!

She is angry with you for some reason. Once one of my roomate's cats was mad at my cat so she came and took a big crap in the bed WHILE I WAS SLEEPING IN IT!

Cats are weird.


and he responded:
it's my roommate's cat...she does this while i'm home and my roommate's not so i think she thinks i'm responsible for her too...like she's writing a letter to her congressman or something...perhaps she was angry at me for being angry at her when she shit in my closet the night before...who knows...or maybe she thought i should be feeding her or something...i don't know...

and I know it was wrong to react with laughter, but that "writing a letter to her congressman" thing got to me and I couldn't discuss it without giggling. It's a testament to our relationship that he did not respond like this fellow here...
posted by ifjuly at 11:17 AM on November 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


even the leaves are mocking me.
posted by msconduct at 11:22 AM on November 22, 2010


Cats are weird, but this dude is weirder than any cat I've ever met. He really must be scared as shit of anything that involves the remotest quantum of uncertainty.

The one thing that I can empathize with him on is that unpleasant housemates/roommates (whether or not cats are involved) can frequently suck.
posted by blucevalo at 11:29 AM on November 22, 2010


> "The worst though was the day Charlie decided to eat a ball of yarn that had been left around. It went in as string and then came out as string. Which took a couple of days. Which meant that someone has to wind-up the string coming out of the cat's ass and cut it every now and then, to keep the cat from dragging that string everywhere. It worst week to have the cat duty ever."

A few Mefites that follow me on Twitter might have seen the $3000 (THREE THOUSAND DOLLAR) vet bill that my kitty incurred over the weekend thanks to eating over 5 yards of yarn. It caused a linear intestinal blockage - her intestines literally started bunching up. I thankfully walked past when she started vomiting up the yarn, and had read this AskMe previously, so knew how serious it could be (destroyed guts! death!) and thus got her to the vet in time to sort it out. But three thousand dollars. Cat, you're an asshole, yarn doesn't taste good and what once was $0.50 at an estate sale is now more expensive than Alaskan quivet.

The worst part was that this seems to happens all the damn time with these beasts. When we went to pick her up yesterday, the only other cat in the waiting room had also eaten string and needed immediate surgery a week previously. I can only theorise that yarn eating is a government conspiracy designed to get those tax refund dollars out of our bank account and back into the economy.
posted by saturnine at 11:38 AM on November 22, 2010


I like how this guy both congratulates himself for being able to follow complex conversations and criticizes the roommate for an improper segue. Meanwhile, lots of us have both mastered these skills and understand that an "inexplicable" change of topic always has an underlying reason (which may be as simple as "Shut up, you're an asshole too" or as complex as "Your hatred of my cat feels like you're judging me").

Thus, further discussion is needed to find out what the real issues are. We humans, we're crazy complicated!

Anyway, my guess would be that the "wuh?" from "Your Cat" to "Why Don't You Clean the Bathroom?" is "Housekeeping: Who's Doing All of It?" Possibly with a side-dig at the author for not cleaning up his damn socks (thus allowing the cat to eat them), exactly as he does not clean up the damn bathroom.
posted by emjaybee at 11:48 AM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't quite decide if this is profound or inane. On the one hand, thinking about what other people are thinking is some of the most complex thinking humans do, and, some have argued, the reason for our pleasure in novels. Attempting to depict that in a form of programming - like notation is odd and sort of interesting.

On the other hand, social meta-cognition is some of the most unconscious and intuitive thinking humans do, where the vast majority of the info we're analyzing is tone, posture, gesture, glance - there's far more to be read in those signs than in the actual content of the words we're consciously formulating. And so the idea of actually applying such programming like notation to an actual conversation feels so alien and inadequate as to be laughable.
posted by Diablevert at 12:09 PM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


This thread by secret kitten is redeem'd.
posted by everichon at 12:13 PM on November 22, 2010


A further solution is possibly "wash your socks in hot water, so that the toes do not taste of nummy human toe-boogers", but "put your dirty socks in a covered hamper and your clean socks in a drawer" will do to get on with.
posted by jrochest at 12:17 PM on November 22, 2010


I can't quite decide if this is profound or inane.

It is neither. It simply is the way some people see the world, honestly and truly. I have tendencies this way myself, and have used a conversational "stack" model on occasion. It can be a helpful aide-memoire during a formal meeting, for example. I've used it to good effect during free-ranging public consultations to make certain that I don't miss anyone's comments.

There certainly are times when being relentlessly systematic isn't a great way to handle things. It fails horribly in less formal, contexts. It may appear alien and ridiculous and overwrought to you, but some need this level of structure and detail to cope. Rule-making is their way to deal with uncertainty.
posted by bonehead at 12:30 PM on November 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think it's also quite obvious that this guy is using the feminine form of the word "conversation" as in, "We need to talk", as opposed to the masculine form typified by, "Let's shoot the shit"


posted by mmrtnt at 12:45 PM on November 22, 2010


I would so love to have a real-time graph like this when I have a conversation with my Dad. He exploits any pause in the conversation to start in with a tangential rant. Then he resents any attempt to return to the original topic as an effort to "avoid the (entirely new, unrelated) issue".

Likewise for my wife, who is famous for telling a story and going 6 recursive sub-stories deep, rarely surfacing more than 2 before she's finished.
posted by CaseyB at 1:00 PM on November 22, 2010


Rands is like Merlin Mann in that they're both hilarious when they're doing their comedy stuff, but their "real" stuff with comedic bits is generally interminable.

Also: dongs
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:09 PM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


"writing a letter to my congressman" is my new favorite euphemism.
posted by sebastienbailard at 1:11 PM on November 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Another way to broach the subject:

The wind blew the door open and your cat ran out of the house and down the block. I'd help you find it but I had to throw all my socks away.
posted by Twang at 1:26 PM on November 22, 2010


This is a great and clever way to think about conversations...I'm pretty sure that 90% of the smart people above me bashing it didn't read far enough or deep enough to get to this:
"Understanding both your own conversation tolerances as well as the ones of those you converse with is essential to having a successful conversation, and the best way to know where they’re at is to look."

Excellent advice. However, 60% of the people in this thread have chlamydia.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:11 PM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I never, ever want to attempt to have a conversation with this person. I have a headache now.
posted by davejay at 2:40 PM on November 22, 2010


Oh all right, I'll say it: I CAN HAZ SOX?
posted by bwg at 4:27 PM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


This man sounds amazingly familiar, although like nobody in particular I can name. What's particularly recognizable is the petty pseudo-technical analysis used to frame his approach to the conversation as the clear and logical one, when he frankly admits he's got the ulterior motivation that he doesn't like the cat and wants it gone. Your emotions are whiny and irrational; mine are simply a response to external stimuli.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:19 PM on November 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was actually interested in this because my thesis involves looking for patterns in longer stretches of conversation.

Stacks and trees both have their advantages. Stacks are easier to model, but when the stack is done, it's hard to know what's going to happen next unless you have a tree.
posted by fontor at 5:31 PM on November 22, 2010


Angry man says angry things on the internet. I see a trend here.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 5:32 PM on November 22, 2010


Gaaaaa, I want to comment on this, but I don't have anything constructive to add. I will say that the comments section again saved me from reading the entire article. I got as far as "verbal ping pong" and came here to see how it went. Yeah, I kinda figured.

Thanks MeFi! I love you.
posted by Xoebe at 5:45 PM on November 22, 2010


pyramid termite : any alternate universe that has such things as clothes drawers, plastic storage bins with snapping lids or vorpal dust bunnies hiding under the bed that love the taste of cat

Heh, you don't have cats, do you?

They can open drawers, open lids (yes, even the kind with the flip-up snapping locks), and consider dust bunnies a worthy adversary.


BTW, people - The cat only exists as a pretense for the topic. Whether or not an actual cat really eats (ate) his ex-socks has no bearing on the actual topic. He hasn't tediously broken down an argument about cats, he has added spice to a blog post about real-world (as opposed to Aristotelian) arguments. Those of you complaining about his pedantry need to look in the mirror.

And also BTW, the "natural" flow of a discussion doesn't come easy to all of us - Seeing it diagrammed out like that makes a world more sense than trying to follow the seemingly endless context switches that happen in a real discussion. Now I see the problem - Most people simply blow their stack and while I may try to figure out what the price of tea in Germany has to do with ocelots, my conversation partner has merrily moved on, never to return to the joy of all things ocelotty.
posted by pla at 6:25 PM on November 22, 2010


I found a freezing cat on the street in NYC, and was able to find the owner though a vet ID number on her collar. The owner lived about 60 miles from here, but her boyfriend works nearby. I wonder how bad his socks were.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:36 PM on November 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


That looked too long so I reread this instead.
posted by neuron at 10:31 PM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Whether or not an actual cat really eats (ate) his ex-socks has no bearing on the actual topic. He hasn't tediously broken down an argument about cats, he has added spice to a blog post about real-world (as opposed to Aristotelian) arguments.

before enlightenment, pick up socks, close the door - after enlightenment, pick up socks, close the door

people TALK too much when they could DO something

i've not only addressed the problem, i've addressed the topic, too

fact is, it's easier for him to change his behavior than it would be to change the cat's

it's easier to change your actions than it is to get into a arisotelian conflict with real world kind of thinking using words - it's easier to use your hands than it is to use your tongue

see, i'm working on more than one level here, too
posted by pyramid termite at 12:36 AM on November 23, 2010


YouTube took secret kitten down. I hope this is the same video.
posted by NoraReed at 1:18 AM on November 23, 2010


YouTube took secret kitten down. I hope this is the same video.

It is.
posted by ericb at 8:14 AM on November 23, 2010


'The Secret Kitten' video posted by someone else at YouTube.
posted by ericb at 8:16 AM on November 23, 2010


It is.

I got here as quick as I could. I think the secret kitten sitch is under control now.
posted by cortex at 2:46 PM on November 23, 2010


cortex -- thanks much!
posted by ericb at 2:51 PM on November 23, 2010


And now that new YouTube link is dead: "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by 濱本まゆみ."

Watch it on NoraReed's link, or try these other YouTube links before they get pulled.
posted by ericb at 3:15 PM on November 23, 2010


Topic of Conversation: Your metaphor(s) are eating my patience.
posted by SomeTrickPony at 5:31 AM on November 24, 2010


The original author just tweeted: "My measure of effective communication is how much we communicate by saying nothing at all."
posted by Cobalt at 2:10 PM on November 24, 2010


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