Week 46.22

This one week with the new cat has felt like the longest week of my life. My brain cannot square the fact that it was only last weekend that we brought her home. I’ve aged significantly from worrying all the time!

I spoke too soon last Sunday when I said she was comfortable enough to use the toilet here. She went another three and a half days before pooping again — three and a half days in which I became obsessed with wondering why, and with when she would go again, during which I poked my head in to check the litter box, like, every hour.

I went and got some pumpkin to be boiled and pureed and mixed into her food for extra fiber; I made sure she was calm (I wasn’t); I think I even tried to talk her into it. Eventually it happened on its own, and my relief was as warm and palpable as the final product.

After being told that they have finicky gastrointestinal systems and raw/unprocessed food is best, I got her some 100% freeze dried salmon treats. That are literally chunks of recognizable salmon meat. You wouldn’t think a cat could turn down fish, but I found one. As I brought the uneaten treats to be flushed down the toilet, Asian parent as I am, I reminded her there were wild cats starving in sub-Saharan Africa.

Anyway it’s now Sunday and she hasn’t gone in three days — the cycle begins anew!


Speaking of cycles, this season of Crypto is jumping the shark. The news this week was the sudden collapse of FTX (the world’s second largest exchange after Binance), which was seemingly caused/engineered by Binance’s CEO, starting with a couple of tweets that caused a bank run that FTX was not prepared to cash. Then it turned out that FTX had secretly transferred billions of dollars of its customers’ funds to Alameda Research, its sister trading company, who lost it all on a series of gambles.

So FTX declared bankruptcy, its CEO Sam Bankman-Fried went from poster boy of the industry to most hated, dirty laundry about sex cults and drug addiction in the company got aired, and then on Saturday hundreds of millions of dollars started being transferred out of their accounts and liquidated on decentralized exchanges in a purported “hack” — surely a euphemism for insider theft. The great thing about on-chain finance is that this was visible to all, and unfolded live on Twitter and Etherscan.


Twitter, of course, is also going through an existential crisis. The last time this happened and we thought it might be time to leave was likely in 2017, because that’s when I set up a Mastodon account (that hasn’t been touched since). I can’t remember what happened then, possibly a post-Trump disinformation deluge or boycott? It sounds more serious this time, with the company falling apart thanks to the mismanagement and ego-driven strategy of you-know-who.

If that does happen, you should follow me at @brandon@mastodon.cloud.

In the meantime, the chaos has been fun to watch: blue checkmarks given to fake brand and celebrity accounts for $8 a pop, resulting in hilarious fake tweets. There was speculation that one tweet about a medical company making insulin free was the reason behind a huge drop in its stock price (who cares if it really was, what a great story!).


In gadget news, we’ve been using a handed-down Dyson v8 vacuum cleaner for the past few months. It’s a pretty good product but with the amount of fur we’re dealing with now, I couldn’t shake the feeling that we needed better.

So I was keen to get a new one at this year’s Singles Day sales on 11/11 but somehow their latest model, the v15, has been sold out for weeks even on Dyson’s own site. To compensate, there were pretty good bundles and deals for their last model, the v12, which is better in some ways than the v15 (lighter, has a proper on/off switch) and worse in ways I can deal with (smaller bin, slightly less suction).

It arrived on Sunday and while not in the same league as Apple, the unboxing and set up experience was pretty damned good for a household appliance. Everything was self-explanatory with minimal assembly. The laser “detection” module on the fluffy head makes cleaning up like a game: you see dust on the floor ahead literally light up, and sucking it up is so satisfying. They made housework fun.

All other 11.11 purchases in our household were also cat maintenance related; still no AirPods Pro for this big ape.


The Singapore Writers Festival is back again and we went to see Ted Chiang speak at the Victoria Theatre on Sunday. It was a little strange, in that he basically delivered a (very entertaining) lecture on time travel in fiction and film, but it was the sort of thing you’d expect to hear from a guest lecturer at a university. I was grateful for the chance to hear it, of course, but I suppose my image of a writers’ festival is one of writers talking about their own work. But if what our beloved authors really want to do between books is travel the world and give lectures on their pet subjects, I’m down.

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