I Will Never Make Fun of the Made-Up Names in Anybody Else's SF Ever Again.
It's not just the difficulty of coming up with names to replace the X,Y,and Z placeholders for names of minor characters that I left all over the old draft of my novel that's moved me to make this rash declaration. It's the panoply of wacky names my students have. At the tutoring mill where I take the hard cases, the weird cases, and the Shakespeare cases, most of the students are upwardly mobile recent immigrants from the developing world. They have names like Tauseef and Syeda. Possibly Imtiaz and Soumya are the equivalents of Bob and Cathy in the distant hometowns of my students' parents, but I still have the odd feeling that I'm wandering through the backstory of somebody else's lame sword and sorcery draft whenever I look at my roster.
Back in the day, at Rutgers, my friend Erica used to talk about "my Cardassian student, Taryn Marac." Taryn Marac was a perfectly ordinary Rutgers freshman, but something about that name inevitably made one imagine her with a prosthetic forehead. And she was only French Canadian.
And now, for something completely different...
As I write this, the new cat is wandering around my study. He's an excellent new cat, or would be if he were the only cat in the household or, perhaps, one of three or more. Dan and I really enjoy his company. Our elder cat emphatically does not (though she was getting lonely after the even older cat died). Cat the Younger bullies Cat the Elder relentlessly in his bid to steal her long-held territory, and Cat the Elder now hides under or behind things pretty much all the time. It's heartbreaking. It's been going on for weeks. We've tried everything we can think of. Every print source we can find offers useful step-by-step instructions for various ideal methods of new-cat introduction, but not one of those sources offers any troubleshooting advice that can help if the introduction's already in progress and has gone off the rails. I'm having trouble finding an animal behaviorist in New Jersey. Yes, the situation has degenerated enough, we're ready to shell out the bucks for an animal behaviorist, if we ever manage to find one.
Anybody out there who knows anything practical about this kind of thing?
Or, failing that, does anybody want a really excellent young cat?