August 5th, 2012


Checking In With Olympia

It’s been a few months since I’ve let you know how Olympia, our rescue kitty, is doing. The short answer is, she’s doing great!

(Demon kitty will swallow your soul!)

As you can see, she still loves to sit under the loveseat on the pillow that was once Galapagos’s. On occasion, when Olympia isn’t using it (which means she’s either under the bed or under the china cabinet — she’s an under cat), Galapagos will sit on the pillow, too, but for the most part she’s relinquished it to Olympia. They have argued over the pillow only once that I know of, and it was kind of adorable to see them both try to sit on it at the same time, but usually there isn’t a whole lot of arguing between the two of them. Most of the time they respectfully ignore each other.

That said, Galapagos will often stare at Olympia, usually when she’s eating. (Galapagos abhorred wet food until Olympia started eating it, and then suddenly wet food became the most desirable thing in the world and oh my God, she has to have it now, want, want, want!) She will also chase Olympia around the apartment, though these chases are extremely short and usually end with Olympia going right under the bed. Galapagos will sometimes chase her with one paw threateningly raised, but that’s as close as they’ve ever come to an actual fight. So I’d say they’re getting along well.

The real breakthrough is that Olympia is now allowing us to pet her without running away. She won’t let us pet her out in the open, but she’s receptive to it when she’s under the loveseat, so we have to get down on the floor to do it. But it’s totally worth it. She’s even started purring! Recently, there have been a few affectionate headbutts, too. What’s more, amazingly, Olympia loves to be brushed. Loves it! We’re hoping this, like the wet food, will rub off on Galapagos, who is currently taking an anti-brushing stance.

Olympia is also helping herself to the cat toys more. She waits until we’re not home or are asleep, and then she bats them around the living room until Galapagos tells her to be quiet because the humans are sleeping. She teaches Olympia this by chasing her under the bed, of course.

But the best thing of all? Olympia has begun to actually come out of hiding to chase the laser pointer! She will actually leave her comfort zone of being under things to chase the red dot around the apartment, right out in the open! And finally being able to see all of her like that, in action, I can finally and truly see what a beautiful cat she is, with her black coat and little white spot on her chest.

Olympia has made a fine and welcome addition to our home. Even Galapagos would grudgingly admit that, despite the fact that I don’t foresee them ever becoming snuggle buddies, just like I don’t foresee Olympia ever truly becoming a lap cat. But who knows? The future may surprise us. And if and when it does, I’ll be sure to let all you cat lovers out there know!

Originally published at Nicholas Kaufmann. You can comment here or there.


The Last Word on Readercon (Hopefully)

The Readercon ConCom has released a new statement that says, in part:

We apologize first and foremost to Genevieve Valentine and to Kate Kligman for not taking appropriate action based on their reports of being harassed by René Walling. Our policy clearly states that harassers will have their memberships permanently revoked; we did not adhere to this policy, despite undisputed evidence of harassment. The board failed in its responsibilities to prioritize the safety of our attendees, promote a welcoming and comfortable atmosphere at the convention, follow our policy, and uphold Readercon’s reputation as a place where reports of harassment will be handled appropriately. Our actions showed disrespect for Ms. Valentine and Ms. Kligman’s painful experiences of harassment and their bravery in speaking up. We offer our heartfelt apology for failing to justify the trust they placed in us and for compounding their distress.

The concom has voted to overturn the board’s decision in the matter of harassment committed by René Walling, and to permanently ban him from attending or participating in Readercon in any way. He may not purchase or otherwise acquire a membership; he may not participate in the program; he may not be or work for a dealer in the bookroom; he may not join any Readercon committee; he may not volunteer. We have informed Mr. Walling of this ban and he has not contested it.

I definitely recommend following the link through to the Readercon site and reading the whole statement. It’s long, but it’s worth it.

I want to thank the ConCom for working diligently to set right the terrible decision made by the Board. It feels like this was a long time coming, but it’s hard to believe it’s only been one week, give or take, since the Board’s original decision was announced. As we all know, a week in Internet time can feel like a month in real time, but the ConCom worked quickly to make amends and correct a bad decision. My hat is off to them. It’s also off to the over 400 people who signed the petition that was sent to the Readercon ConCom a few days ago.

Remember, folks, if you harass someone at Readercon — any kind of harassment, be it sexual, bullying, or any other variant — you are not welcome back at the convention. Ever. Period. Just like it clearly states on their website, and has for several years. Just like it says in the email that’s sent to every attending member, and has for several years. Had the Board members simply followed their own existing policy in this regard, rather than trying to coddle a serial stalker and harasser at the expense of every other attending member’s safety and comfort, they would still be on the Board today and would not have had to resign in disgrace. In fact, none of this would have happened.

But in a way, I’m glad it did. It brought to the fore the reality of harassment at conventions, especially of the sexual variety, and made it clear, in a way that I don’t think has been done before, that it will not be stood for anymore. Not at Readercon, and not anyplace else. And that’s a good thing.

So, long story short, I’m delighted by this turn of events. All that’s left for me to say is, I’ll see you at next year’s Readercon!

Originally published at Nicholas Kaufmann. You can comment here or there.