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15:41 - Friday, Sept. 24, 2004
another tookthekittenonawalk entry.
there's a hole from which another bigger, blacker, meaner, fatter cat comes every so often in the fence behind a few trees in the backyard. he purposefully leaves his scent there to piss off other cats (so to speak. ha-ha.).
moon unit likes to climb the tree with his scent on it, even though she's on a very sturdy blue leash and can't go higher than six-foot-two plus an arm-length plus a leash-leash, minus whatever branches the leash gets tangled with. she doesn't have a concept, like most other cats do, that her claws aren't 360 degree rotatable like squirrels. if you've ever seen a cat yowling up a tree, it's because they have figured this out and know they can't go down forwards. (they're just not smart enough to know they could back down. moon unit doesn't even yet realize this. she has backed down, but by accident. usually she just tries to go down forward and when she tumbles face first towards earth, oh well, there's usually a branch to catch you before you hit the ground, and usually it doesn't break. when i put my arms up to help her down, she doesn't mew pitifully and reach for me like the cats you see in movies in small towns where the fire department people have enough free time to rescue cats from trees. instead, she tries to claw my face off.
in primate behavior we have been learning how to sample and write down our target species' behavior in the zoos (since our closest primate is in central america, there's no in-the-wild observation to be done around here). there is a number of ways to record behavior: ad-libbing (freewriting for anthropologists, basically), focal sampling (focusing on one individual in the pack - easy if studying lorises, difficult if studying spider monkeys), and scan sampling, where you write down, from left to right, what each member of the social group is doing. here is what a focal sampling chart would look like for moon unit:
0300.15 - running around apartment with s-shaped fluffed up tail
0300.45 - running around apartment with s-shaped fluffed up tail and claws out
0301.15 - chewing power cords
0301.45 - attacking own back right foot
0302.15 - attempting to suffocate self with plastic bag
0302.45 - licking trashcan
0303.15 - biting butt of psycho-mouse toy
0303.45 - rolling around by front door with back legs in air, yowling
0304.15 - contemplating distance between third-floor balcony and nearby tree
0304.45 - losing balance on scintillating slippery futon
0305.15 - trying to climb inside dishwasher
0305.45 - trying to climb inside hot oven
0306.15 - succeeding in climbing on top of hot stoveburners
0306.45 - running around apartment with s-shaped fluffed up tail
i left out 'attacking people's faces' because that would have just gotten too repetitive.

in other news, i have quit my job as burger-flipper at the student union grill and now instead have a job driving drunk people home from the bars and/or campus for free.


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