Aby-a-Day – 16 March 2020: Smol bols and pretty poses (Hipstamatic Monday)

I am kind of loving how the language of the internet is evolving. From L33t speak in the 1990’s to LOL cat speak, it’s really been a lot of fun to watch develop.

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And now we have the newest internet dialect: DoggoLingo. Just as LOL cat speak was applied to dogs, DoggoLingo is being co-opted by kitties. It’s a world of heckin good bois, chonks, bleps and peets, and, of course, smol bols

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Lorelai and Dashiell, especially, love to sleep curled up into the smallest balls they can. Rory making herself a tiny ball isn’t that hard; she’s a small cat, weighing only 2.6kg (just under 6lbs).

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But Dash, who is almost as big as Alfred (who is 4.6kg, just over 10lbs), can make himself into a pretty smol bol.

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I don’t know what he does with those gangly legs of his…but it’s impressive.

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Freddy and Izaak tend to do a double bol. I am not sure if Freddy has much say in the matter.

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Then we have the pretty poses. They have nothing to do with the language stuff above.

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They’re just pretty.

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Zak manages to make some pretty poses himself.

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For about five seconds. Then he goes and ruins it. Way to go, Zak.

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Yeah? Well…what you think is a moo point. You know, like a cow’s opinion. It doesn’t matter. It’s moo.

Aby-a-Day- 31 Januari 2020: The manbun that wouldn’t die (Photoshop Friday)

You know, say what you will about the internet and Facebook in particular, but sometimes it can be a very silly and hilarious place. Remember Jacoby’s manbun? The other day I found a Facebook group called This Cat is PHOTOSHOPPED.

Well, of course I had to join! By way of introduction, I posted the close-up photo of Jacoby with his manbun.

And it BLEW UP. I posted it on Wednesday, and as of this evening, my post has had 1,568 reactions and 98 comments. Wow.

Some of the comments on my post were awesomely hilarious:

“Khajiit has wares, if you have coin.”

“This cat has a 100% chance of stealing your girlfriend”

“This Cat is STEVEN SEAGAL”

“That’s one sexy cat! 🔥🐈
I am a little concerned about the fact that I think a cat is sexy though…”

“Jason Momoa in cat form?” “Jason MeowMeowa”

“He looks like he became a millionaire from Bitcoin but has since spent most of it on cocaine.”

And then, people started commenting with Photoshops they’d done including Jake and his Manbun.

Miroslav created a dating profile for Jake, with the caption “Unpopular opinion, Jacoby.” Someone else responded, “Nah, he vapes catnip in enclosed public spaces”

Micaela included Jake in a collage of celebrity manbuns.

Abigail had Smudge the cat confront Jake. Someone commented on her work, “I’m just here, trying to enjoy my salad, and I’m getting upstaged.”

Angela envisioned him as part of the cast of 90210.

But perhaps my favourite was the first photo comment, which started with Jessica asking me, “Can I use this photo for my religion? (ask me what my religion is). When I said, “Ohhhkay…what is your religion?, she responded with this:

I’m interested.

Aby-a-Day – 25 Januari 2020: “Get you a cat who can do it all” (Silly Saturday)

So, you may have noticed there’s a new social media challenge meme going around. Of course I had to do it…and of course, I had to do it with Jacoby. So…here you go: Jake’s profile photos on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and Tinder.

Aby-a-Day – 24 Januari 2020: Giant Military Cats (Photoshop Friday)

This week I discovered an interesting Giant Military Cats. As you might guess, it features giant cats Photoshopped into military settings.

Well. Challenge accepted! And I knew just the photos I wanted to use. So…

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…here you go, Giant Military Lorelai.

Aby-a-Day – 21 Januari 2020: Castle Cats (Cartoon Tuesday)

So, on our way to see Frozen 2 downtown, I couldn’t help but notice a power box decorated with the very lovely Castle Cats.

I had no idea what they were or what they referred to, and come to find out that they’re part of a video game designed by PocApp Studios, based right here in Skövde!

How cool is that? I am not much of a gamer, but I may have to check out this game!

Aby-a-Day: 2 Augusti: Boss Chonk (Photoshop Friday)

There’s a meme going around with three cats at different levels, with the highest level cat being designated “Boss Chonk.” Well, we’re going to a cat show this weekend, and I bathed Izaak and Lorelai. I also bathed Alfred, to help get him used to bathing (something I should have started doing when he was younger). Whilst bathing these three, this meme inexplicably came to mind.

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So…I made a thing.

Aby-a-Day – 26 Juli: Remembering Jake’s man bun (Photoshop/Fashion Friday Flashback)

The other day, watching TV, a commercial for small loans came on, featuring “typical Swedes.” The man in the advert is meant to be Lars Johansson (the Swedish version of “Joe Average”), complete with manbun. I laughed and said, “Jeez…And of course he has a manbun! Manbuns are so 2016!”

Which reminded me of the time I Photoshopped a manbun on Jacoby. I’m still pretty proud of this one.

Grumpy Cat hunts with StarClan…

Sad news. Tardar Sauce, known worldwide as Grumpy Cat and possibly the most famous cat on the planet, died on Tuesday from complications from a urinary tract infection. She was seven years old.

She was an inspiration to all cats who wanted to become a meme, and if it wasn’t for her, Boston may never have had Strollercat. I was pleasantly surprised by her Lifetime show, Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever and I love the Grumpy Cat Weather App. I can’t believe she died so young.

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I drew her, once, in a cartoon about the “Aby smile.” She was surprisingly difficult ti draw!

May StarClan light your path, and you find good hunting, swift running, and shelter when you sleep, Tardar.

Aby-a-Day – 14 Mars: You’ll never pee alone (Thursday Things)

A friend of mine on Facebook posted this fascinating article about why cats feel the need to accompany us in the bathroom, and it was infinitely relatable. Because Izaak sits outside the bathroom when I’m in it and YELLS until I open the door.

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And when I open it…this happens.

Singas are Super: Picky Chicken

(Tweet by @jaygootz)

This photo came up in my Facebook memories today, and I realised that I haven’t posted about what may be the most famous Singapura on the internet…but I reckon only a very few of you know his name.

Picky Chicken was the companion of Wendy Gosselin. He lost his battle with oral cancer at the age of 12 on 28 May 2014. But he will live forever as one of the winners of the greatest photoshop battles ever.

(Photoshop by Dominyka Jurkštaitė)

There are even more Photoshop battles involving Picky Chicken on Reddit.

Aby-a-Day – 19 January: Pam Dave Zarings style portraiture (Photoshop Friday)

If you haven’t seen the hilariously bad “professionally” retouched family photos a woman posted on her Facebook account last week, you just might want to click those two hyperlinks above and take a look.

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And, of course, some clever person figured out how to get this hot new Photoshop look that’s trending right now. A Finnish Photoshop expert created a tutorial on how to recreate the captivating and bewitching look. Well, I’m always up for a good Photoshop challenge (like the Woodpecker, Snowmobile, and Man Bun memes), so I thought I would try it on Jacoby and Angel. I took this photo of Jake (appropriately enough, on the ferry leaving Helsinki) and created the masterpiece at the top of this post

I couldn’t find a brightly-lit photo of Angel’s face, so I used this one of her in a tree:

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And I came up with this:

I don’t think it works quite as well with cats as it does with humans, because the unretouched hair is part of what make the faces look so…odd. I tried get the same effect with the ears, but it’s just not quite the same.

Other People’s Abys – Cleo closes down a pet store chain

I don’t know how I missed this, but better late than never. Back in January, an Abyssinian kitten was seen for sale in a pet store in Brampton, Ontario, Canada…for $1,300 CDN!

Braydon Dennee first saw Cleo during a trip to the mall. According to him (and his photos), “You could see every single bone in her body…She wasn’t fighting back. She was just getting beat up by this other kitten.”

I can well believe that one…after all, I also have a red/sorrel Abyssinian who gets bullied by another cat. Bad enough that Abys don’t do well in cages to begin with.

Cleo’s plight sparked an internet attack on PJ’s pet stores. And it’s true: PJ’s Pet Centres are going out of business. Not sure if that “by popular demand” is referring to the closing or their restocking pet food…but I’m going to pretend it’s the former.

The only thing that stops this story from being a truly happy ending is the fact that no one seems to know what happened to Cleo. According to the news articles I found, the store pulled her to aid in her “recovery.” but no one seems to know where she ended up. If anyone does know…I’d love to hear the rest of this story!

Aby-a-Day – 12 February: Jake’s man bun (Photoshop/Fashion Friday)

So okay. Man buns, stupid as they may be, are a thing. Björn sent me this gallery of politicians rocking the man bun, and I was hit with inspiration.

Oh, yes I did. I took this photo of Jacoby and this Pinterest photo of a sad, sad hipster and brought the magic.

And there you have it: Jake with a man bun. Now can we stop this madness?

Aby-a-Day – 19 January: Sketching a smile (Cartoon Tuesday)

Sometimes, a cartoon idea can come from one simple idea. Like this one from May 2014. It started from a discussion on Facebook about the “Aby smile.” Abys seem to smile a lot…especially when they’re being naughty. That, coupled with a silly desire to draw Grumpy Cat, led to these rough sketches.

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And of course, the final version…

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Turns out, Tardar Sauce is way harder to draw than you’d think! I spent more time on her sour face than on the whole rest of the cartoon.

Aby-a-Day – March 31: Three April Fool’s Moon (Cartoon Tuesday)

This is not actually based on the (in)famous Three Wolf Moon T-shirt. It’s actually based on the even more awesome Three Grumpy Cat Moon T-shirt and the equally hilarious (if slightly illegal) Three Keyboard Cat Moon T-shirt.

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It had to be done. And I am going to try to get a shirt made, too. I’m holding my breath to see if Zazzle will let me make this – if they do, I’ll try to make a version for sale:

The moon background is actually two different moon photos by Moon-WillowStock on DeviantArt.

(Click cartoon to embiggen, or you can view all cartoons in Slideshow mode on Flickr.)

Aby-a-Day – March 6: On the wings of a woodpecker (Photoshop Friday)

So, I’m sure you’ve all seen the incredible and internet-infamous photo of a weasel riding a flying woodpecker by now.

If not, you probably saw my Wordless Wednesday post this week.

However, after I posted this on Wednesday, I got to thinking that…while it was good, it could be better. So, last night I went back and fixed it. And while I was doing that, I thought people might be interested in what I’d done to make Jacoby ride the woodpecker.

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For the quick original version, I went through all my photos of Jake looking for one of him in a pose similar to that of the weasel’s on the bird’s back. I finally decided on this one of Jake playing with the kittens in the Kitten Bowl.

Then, I found the biggest, highest-res image of the #WeaselPecker on the internet that I could, and I erased the weasel, leaving only the bird.

Then I scaled Jake down, put him on the bird’s back, and filled in the “holes” with colours taken from the bird and painted on underneath Jake using a feather brush. I also refined Jake’s edges using the “Refine Edge” tools under the “Select” menu. Then I toned Jake down to match the lighting on the bird a little better and put a slight motion blur (1 pixel) on him using the Motion Blur filter.

And it was good…but I knew I could do better. Jake’s front arm didn’t look right to me, his shoulder looked Photoshopped – even though it really wasn’t! – and I didn’t like the way his tail looked. So I went through the photos again, looking for arms and tails that would look better on my flying Jake.

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I found this photo of Jake hooking a toy with his paw, so I selected just his arm and shoulder, copied it onto a new layer over the current Jake and sized it down.

Then I erased the original arm, and blended the new arm in. Using the “Warp” function under the Transform menu, I tweaked the arm a little bit to make it look like Jake was holding onto the woodpecker’s neck (despite what National Geographic might think, it’s not that hard to make a mammal virtually hug a woodpecker).

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I also wasn’t happy with Jake’s tail. Even though that’s how it really looked in the original photo, on the back of the woodpecker it looked odd. So, I took Jake’s tail from this photo of him and Angel.

Just as I’d done with the arm, I selected the tail and part of Jake’s rump, pasted it onto a new layer, and blended in to the rest of Jake.

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I still wasn’t happy with Jake’s neck and shoulders in the original version. Even though they weren’t Photoshopped at all, they looked like they were – it looked like I’d attached Jake’s head and shoulders to a different body, even though I hadn’t. So I took a nice shot of Jake’s body that I had considered as a possible arm donor…

This time, I didn’t need to flip it. I sized the body piece down, placed it over the rest of the body, and blended it in using the eraser in brush mode, with one of my fur brushes.

I did one more tiny tweak to Jake’s tag, bending it back with the “Warp” tool to make it look like it was being blown back by the wind. Then, when I had all the body pieces blended together the way I wanted them, I merged the layers to create a consolidated Jake.

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I turned the woodpecker layer back on, placed Jake on the bird’s back, and touched up the empty spaces underneath Jake with the rubber stamp tool. Then I added a slight motion blur to Jake as well as a slight drop shadow. And there you go: Jake riding a woodpecker!

Aby-a-Day – March 4: Wordless Wednesday (Because how could I not?)

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Aby-a-Day – February 14: “Cherished” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

This week’s Photo Hunt subject is “Cherished.”

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No question who is cherished in our house.

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I do believe it’s a two-way street, though. I think Jacoby cherishes me, too. He’s always by my side, helping.

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A recent article in The Huffington Post about the way felines and humans interact says, among other things, that the dynamics of cat-human relationships are very much like human-human bonds.

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“Researchers concluded cats do indeed attach to humans — especially women — as social partners, and not just because they want to keep their food bowls full.”

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One part of the article I really liked: “The researchers established that cats and their owners heavily influence one another, often to the extent that they control each other’s behaviors. Extroverted women with young, active cats seem to be the most in tune with each other. The kitties in these pairings only have to give subtle cues – for example, a single upright movement of the tail — to let their owners know they’re looking for friendly attention…cats also seem to remember human kindness and return the favor later. If an owner fulfills her feline’s wish to interact, the cat will often comply with the owner’s desire for contact at other times.”

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This right here, I believe, is why Jake is so good-natured about dressing up and posing for photos. I always tell people he does these things “because I ask him to” and, apparently, I was dead-on correct. He’s indulging me because I indulge him. Quid pro quo.

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I’ve always thought that interacting with a cat was like interacting with a small, non-verbal human. Seems I was onto something.

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We already know that cats recognise certain words (my Siamese Harri knew “Go on the bed and lie down” among other things), and that they invented meowing as a way to try to communicate with us on our terms.

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Cats also chose to live with us as opposed to humans deciding to domesticate them. Cats alone of all domesticated animals, researchers think, chose to enter into a partnership with humans.

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Dogs may be man’s best friend, but man is cat’s best friend.

MBTA Bingo

So this is kind of cool…I stumbled across this today looking up @lolmbta and #strollercat on Twitter:

MBTA Bingo! And…check out N-1! Cat in a stroller? That can only be the infamous Strollercat, right? So, in a way, Jacoby’s made the Boston Globe as well as the Herald!

Aby-a-Day – February 9: Awkward Bathroom Selfies (Hipstamatic Monday)

It’s amazing the fun you can have with just a mirror and a camera.

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I was getting ready for work the other day and Jacoby joined me in the bathroom to “help.”

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So I scooped him up and took some silly photos of the two of us.

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I was actually thinking of those “awkward bathroom cat selfies” you see on the internet.

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Jake just can’t be awkward in front of a camera, no matter how hard I try, I guess.

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By the way, you’ll notice that I am wearing my Winston “Adopt” T-shirt that I posted about last year.