I knew it had to happen some day. Bruno stopped eating a little over a week ago and when his decline went into suffering (his purr box broke near the end, it was heartbreaking) we were lucky enough to get an angelic female vet and assistant (Bruno likes women and is afraid of men) to perform the kindest, gentlest euthanasia at at home. I have the flu so I was in bed with him his last several days; there’s nothing he would have wanted more, I think. I still have the flu, and a broken heart, but I’m very grateful for the 10 years of love this wonderful cat gave me.
Now with bodies! No matter what I did, the Muse kept guiding me toward symmetry, especially adding the body. Yes it has 5 legs, like a Shedu. Yes it looks like a sheep. A powerful, gigantic, terrifying monster sheep. I still haven’t decided whether it will have 3 faces or 5.
This small project took a long time to finish, because it’s hot and my interest in sewing has dropped precipitously. I only touched it every few days, and then usually for less than an hour at a time. Anyway, it’s done now, and on my floor:
Just like Bruno himself. Here’s the source photo, taken a few years ago but not at all an unusual pose:
And here’s what it became in fabric and thread:
It’s 30.5″ x 17″. Very small compared to what I’ve been making lately. Here’s the back:
This technique looks a lot better stretched, as in Air/Nude. But since the black side has contrasting thread, it’s OK.
The quilt came out smaller than I expected. Bruno is a huge cat, this quilt leaves the impression of a normal-size cat. Here’s Bruno being an art critic: But before I got the camera out he was trying to sit on it, which I interpret as praise.
Read the whole thing, it’s one of those ideas that’ll stay with you. Excerpt:
There is now a pretty strong consensus that the cerebral cortex (which is, by no means, the entire brain, but it is likely that this is where culture is carried) is organized into small columns of neurons. In a 1978 essay Vernon Mountcastle called these minicolumns and suggested that they have about 100-300 neurons each. He estimated that the neocortex consists of 600,000,000 of these minicolumns. He also suggested that these minicolumns are organized into macrocolumns, about 600,000 of them — implying that there are hundreds of minicolumns per macrocolumn. (Mountcastle was clear that these numbers were just order of magnitude estimates & that is all I need for my purposes.) That makes these macrocolumns roughly the size of a typical invertebrate nervous system of 10K to 100K neurons. So, here’s my metaphor: Your neocortex consists of 600,000 buzzing bees going about their business.
The point of the metaphor is that, just as individual bees are autonomous agents (which must, nonetheless, feed and reproduce in a group), so the macrocolumns are autonomous agents (which are physically coupled to many other such agents). Bees go about their business by sensing optical and chemical gradients and features and by moving their bodies and excreting chemicals. The macrocolumns are not directly connected to the external world, but they have extensive inputs and outputs to other macrocolumns and to other regions of the brain and nervous system. From a purely information processing point of view, they are as capable of action as are bees. They “sense” neurochemical gradients in the intersynaptic space and act on their sensations by excreting chemicals into that space.
My friend Ken Levis named this beautiful, shy, wild yet affectionate creature “Peanut,” which may explain why she hides most of the time. I’m the only human other than Ken she will leave her hiding place in the closet for, and I’m cat-sitting this weekend. Peanut trusts me, but she doesn’t trust cameras, so I had to take these pictures from a distance with maximum zoom. If she finds out I turned her into this silly animated gif, she may never let me rub her belly again.