A year ago today, we brought the YatCats home from the Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter. When we lost Amber, our 18yo ginger familiar, last year, I pushed hard to not be long without a cat in the house. Wife wanted an indoor cat this time. So, we agreed that two cats was a good idea. One would be a ginger, the other, a black cat.
Meeting the cats
We went to the shelter on a Saturday. After looking at the “new intakes,” we couldn’t find a female ginger. The volunteer took us to the “older cat” room, where the one female ginger was supposed to be. She was there, but a black cat was sleeping on her! I picked up the black cat, and she started purring like crazy. Wife and the volunteer checked out the ginger. When we put the cats down again, it was clear that the two were buddies. Both were about four months old.
That made the decisions easy! The volunteer pulled the paperwork. We went back up front and got the process started. We couldn’t take the kittehs home right away, since they had to be fixed. So, we made arrangements to pick them up the following Monday, 26-August-2019.
That itty bitty kitteh in the top photo became a chonk! She moves fast, though, when you shake the food bag. While she isn’t as much of a purr-kitty as Arwen, she’s loveable. She’s claimed that bed as her own. Arwen will come up and sit next to the bed, but she won’t sleep in it.
I always felt that Nala was like a little sister to Arwen, even back at the shelter. The two of them still sleep close, and groom each other. They don’t have a lot of boundaries. Nala’s favorite spots in the house are the back bathtub, particularly right after we get out, and the garage.
Arwen is a week or two older than Nala. She’s definitely very protective of the ginger. Arwen didn’t have the breed traits of a Maine Coon when we gotcha’d her, but those traits came out here. She chirps rather than meows. Turn on a faucet and she jumps to it, pawing the water. She’s totally willing to get her head wet.
Arwen purrs so much! She reminds us more of Amber in that regard. While Nala is equally curious, Arwen takes her protective detail duties very seriously.
Renaissance Professional Branding presents challenges and complications.
Renaissance Professional Branding
I had the privilege of being interviewed by a top-level IT professional for their podcast a couple of weeks ago. (The ep hasn’t dropped yet, but trust me, you’ll hear about it when it does.) As I was introduced, they referred to me as a “Renaissance man.” While I, to paraphrase Professor Tolkien, “cordially dislike” that characterization, when someone you respect uses it, well, OK.
Thing is, I do have a wide variety of professional activities. My bread-and-butter work is in the IT sector, as a teacher/trainer. I started teaching at the high school level, specifically teaching social studies. Traveling 30+ weeks a year, doing computer training, presented an opportunity. I used free time on the road to write history books. So, now I have two professional skill sets. I market those skill sets.
Branding diverse skills
When skills obviously complement each other, branding flows naturally. Teaching computer subjects meshes with computer consulting. Teaching Enterprise Disaster Recovery and selling books on the history of New Orleans? Not so much.
The Business Networking International (BNI) folks told me, pick one or the other and focus. I get that. For a localized marketing strategy, being NOLA History Guy in a BNI chapter made more sense. The universe of potential consumers of my computer training in metro New Orleans is smaller than the potential buyers of history books. So, around town, I shunted aside the professional skills that, for the most part, pay the rent.
(Side note: I don’t do BNI anymore. The travel limited my ability to attend weekly meetings. I still fully believe in the concept of “Givers Gain, though.
To an extent, it’s not hard to separate my diverse skill sets on social media. On Da Twittah, I use @EdwardBranley for my computer consulting and training. I maintain a page on Facebook for seashell software, my consulting business. In 2010, I started a “social media consulting” company, YatMedia. That entity has Twitter and Facebook presences as well. So, it’s easy to point folks to my technical side. Promotion of YatMedia in particular flows from those presences. Targeted advertising eliminates confusion with the history stuff.
Edward the Author
I sell six history titles and four novels. While selling books I’ve written isn’t confusing at face value, it’s the diversity of topics that creates problems. Promoting my author skill set happens on @NOLAHistoryGuy Twitter account, NOLA History Guy on Facebook (page), and New Orleans Uncovered (group). So, there may be a disconnect/confusion when someone explores both sides of my body of work, one or the other usually flows OK.
The challenge of LinkedIn
LinkedIn presents the toughest challenge for Renaissance Professional Branding. You come to my LinkedIn presence. Are you there for my skills with respect to UNIX/Linux, Enterprise Storge, or Business Continuity? Or, do the history books interest you? Would you like me to speak to your organization on the challenge of regional disaster recovery, or on the history of retail shopping in downtown New Orleans? While Lafitte the Pirate is arguably more entertaining than Highly-Available Stretch Clusters, both have their audiences.
LinkedIn appears to be a jumble when you look at what I do. To help with that, I’ve some separation. I’ve got my personal umbrella, then seashell software and YatMedia underneath. I’m adding NOLA History Guy as a presence today. My goal will be to make an “omnibus” post daily or every other day that points to the specialized locations.
The bottom line
Renaissance Professional Branding is a work in progress. Please share your thoughts with me on what works and what doesn’t!
It’s really a simple concept. The National Command Authority says do it, you salute and do it. Members of our Forces do this daily. The Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron of the US Navy/USMC, along with the USAF Thunderbirds, get it. My son gets it, which is why the USS Topeka is out somewhere in the Pacific Ocean rather than docked next to a pier on Guam.
courtesy Blue Angels/US Navy
Flyovers are fun. The B-52s and F-16s that gave us a local treat last week. They offer a chance to step out the front door and look up. That’s advice I regularly suggest to what I call the “Blue Twitterati,” the folks on Da Twittah who rarely look up from their phones for anything.
Are the flyovers appropriate? At a time when these morons at the White House demonstrate absolute incompetence in the face of a pandemic, it’s not hard to figure out Donnie’s motives. Ascribing those motives to aviators, pilots, and their support teams is unfair.
Misuse of the military
Is Donnie Smallhands misusing the military? I look at the flyover of the Blue Angels tomorrow differently than the Angry Liberals Who Are Angry. People need more and deserve more than Pence and Kushner provide from government. Donnie’s people block experts from briefing Congress. They know their response to the pandemic is crap.
So, let’s have some military excitement!
Thing is, we’d have military excitement anyway. Air shows and public appearances are part of the mission of the demonstration teams. They can’t perform those parts of their mission during the pandemic. While air shows are outside, they’re not good social-distancing environments. Large gatherings and all that. Public appearances? Blue Angels follow orders – they can perhaps join school classes and other groups on Zoom. But their main mission, demonstrate the aviation capabilities of their respective service branches, well, that’s not happening on a Zoom session.
Let the aviators fly. Let the USAF pilots do what they do so well. Demonstrate those capabilities.
Lack of Liberal understanding
Do we need masks? PPE for healthcare professionals and first responders? Absolutely. Is a demonstration team flyover going to stop those things? Not in the least. What’s hindering our battle against COVID-19 is not Naval Aviation. It’s idiot Republicans who don’t mind watching people get sick and die. Hanging that on men and women obeying orders is wrong-headed. It indicates how badly liberals understand the military. That’s ironic, because so many Democrats actually serve their nation.
Disclaimer: My son is a Naval Officer (submarines), and I got to ride “Fat Albert” in 2012. I’m biased here.
We gotcha-ed the #YatCats, Nala and Arwen, on 26-August-2019. On their first visit to Metairie Small Animal Hospital’s clinic on W. Esplanade (our vets of 30+ years now), we told them the kittens were four months old. So, they backed that up to 26-April-2019. Mrs. YatPundit decided 1-May would be easier to remember in the future, so we designated May 1st as their birthday!
Gotcha Day still more significant
Breakfast, Gotcha + 1
To me, birthday is a guesstimate. Still, since this first one is when they transmorgify, kittens become cats, We’ll recognize it. Gotcha Day is more concrete. We went on Saturday, 24-August, and found them. They got fixed on the morning of 26-August and came home that afternoon. They slept well that first night, post-op and new surroundings wore them out. Their food dishes and the litter box sat in the den for a couple of days. They moved into the garage when we were confident they could get through the flap in the garage door. The people who built our house had a dog, then we got a dog and cat (Pippin and Brandy). Then came Amber, now the #YatCats. They navigated the dog door just fine.
Nala on Gotcha Day
The ginger kitty put on so much weight in a year! She was tiny when she came home. Now? She’s a chonk. She keeps up, though, wrestling her buddy, running around, and generally being a kitteh. That Office Depot box was Amber’s bed in our bedroom. She made regular use of it.
And here’s the chonk now. She’s wonderful. Mrs. YatPundit hopes going from kitten food to cat food will keep her from chonking out much more than she is now.
Arwen, Gotcha + 1
When I first spotted Nala, it was hard to tell what she looked like, because Arwen was asleep on top of her, at the Jefferson Parish Animal Shelter. My first impression of Arwen was, what a cute black cat. Then I picked her up and saw she was a tux kitteh. They were essentially roommates. So, the tux became part of the package. You
As she grew, Arwen demonstrated so many Maine Coon characteristics. Her mane grew out. Arwen’s “meow” is more a bird-chirp. She has an affinity for water (not surprising for m familiar, actually). The chirping meow is the most amusing to me.
Passing by the hot dogs in the cooler at Zuppardo’s Family Market this morning got me thinking about how much I enjoy them. They also made me miss LT Firstborn, who could survive for weeks on end (and probably still does) on Hebrew National Hot Dogs.
I’m one of those folks who immediately associates hot dogs with ballparks. One of the most memorable scenes for me in Field of Dreams is when Ray and Terrence are at Fenway:
But my favorite hot dog interlude is in 2010: The Year We Make Contact. Dr. Heywood Floyd (played by Roy Scheider) talks with Dr. Walter Curnow (John Lithgow) about what they miss, because they’re on a spaceship near Jupiter:
Naturally, I fell down a rabbit hole of thought, which often happens while I’m sitting alone, waiting for a train to come by. Curnow likes the hot dogs in the Astrodome, and any good baseball fan knows the Astros don’t play there anymore.
So, my first reaction was, Curnow’s remark didn’t age well with respect to the real world. Shit, the entire premise of the film didn’t age well, given that the first NASA expedition to Jupiter was supposed to happen in 2001. While I’m willing to accept how that went off the rails, the details are more fascinating.
2001: A Space Odyssey vs 2010 Movie
2001 was a fantastic film, a Stanley Kubrick masterpiece. Like many films, 2001 was true to the novel’s spirit. While maintaining Clarke’s story, the film was more about the cinematography. That meant a lot of detail didn’t make the film. From Clarke’s original short story, The Sentinel to the book, there was a great extended story arc. An arc that needed completion.
That completion came sixteen years after the 1968 release of 2001, with the 2010 movie. I was fascinated! 2010 movie leverages the changes in tech from 1968 to 1984 nicely. It’s like the difference between Star Trek: TOS and ST:TMP. The story line for 2010 movie postulated a continuation of the Cold War political environment of the Reagan Years. That’s acceptable, in that nobody saw the fall of the Soviet Union a scant five years later coming.
Using a Soviet deep-space vessel to get out to the abandoned Discovery was quite prescient. Since the discontinuation of NASA’s Space Shuttles left the agency with no way to get to and from the International Space Station, Russian spacecraft haul supplies and replacement crew members into orbit. It’s taken to just the last five years for NASA to get re-supply going, with the SpaceX Falcon/Dragon hardware. Those have yet to bring humans up to ISS, though. So, NASA hitching a ride in the movie is quite believable. Doing so while the two countries are still picking at each other, yup, that’s not a stretch, either.
The technology behind the concept of deep-space travel isn’t all that much of a stretch. We have “medically induced comas” now, for slowing down bodily functions until the patient can heal enough for <insert surgery type here>. That’s aged well, as it were. Would that, in these days of the novel coronavirus, we could put folks into hibernation for six months to a year, then vaccinate them when we wake them up.
Cold War getting hot
A naval blockade and incidents leading to shooting incidents is rarely a stretch. The Russian Navy of 2010 was nothing compared to the Soviet Navy of 1984, but the attitude and possibility still existed. While the fifth column war we fight against Russia isn’t naval battles, the tension exists.
The backdrop of political tension on Earth as astrophysical tension builds up near Jupiter is solid. Being that far out brings Russians and Americans together. Being astronauts binds them. Clarke’s 1982 novel that inspired the movie offers more asides than can be included in a film. My favorite was the combined crew’s battle against “Russlish,” like you can stop tech geeks from lapsing, be it japanese and English, Dutch and English, or Chinese and any language.
The hot dog aside made the cut, and that made me happy. Floyd’s disdain for the Astrodome is typical of many who spend time in both Houston and DC. In either timeline, movie or reality, Houston is a different world. Floyd turning his nose up at “growing hot dogs indoors” may be influenced by having to go to Mission Control. Yankee Stadium seems too easy or mass-market a response for me, but the Washington Nationals weren’t part of the 1984 landscape.
The Brown Mustard
It is indeed important. Yellow mustard has its place, but a dog with mustard and relish needs to have brown mustard. Chili, cheese, and onions? Yellow is acceptable. The brand? I’m OK with Nathan’s, particularly since you can get their dogs at ATL Airport, but I opt for Hebrew Nationals, even though LT Firstborn has long left home.
Did it hold up?
Yes, the 2010 movie did just fine. Now, I’m off to go watch it again.
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