Cats!! And other pets of the Fringe

I found a litter of feral kittens today.


I fed them some peanut butter
I fed them some peanut butter

They were all alone in a broken down cabin in the middle of the woods. My buddy Jordan and I waited 5 hours for mama to come back (we wanted to give her a home too!), but the kittens were dirty and extremely hungry and we didn’t think she was still attending them. Either way, Jordan decided the kittens should belong to him instead of being feral, so we carried them home in a box.




They all have brilliant blue eyes, but each of the four kittens is a different color!

This is Anne
Here we make eye contact with Morpheus
Here we make eye contact with Morpheus
This is Tulkas, or Brawly
This is Tulkas, or Brawly
Shai-Hulud, or Shel. He likes to burrow. We think he is the only male.
Shai-Hulud, or Shel. He likes to burrow. We think he is the only male.
Tulkas fell asleep while fighting his sisters.
Tulkas fell asleep while fighting his sisters.
Anne was the last cat out of the abandoned attic.
Anne was the last cat out of the abandoned attic.


Shel hates sleeping, just like me.
Shel hates sleeping, just like me.
But he loves cuddles
But he loves cuddles
Just heap 'em up.
Just heap ’em up.

These are short but uncompressed videos; might have to let them load.

Video time!

I think Jordan is planning on finding homes for most if not all of these tiny kittens, so if you are in my area and need a tiny fuzzy floofball of happiness, let me know.


What does this have to do with Fringe, you ask?

Isn’t it enough that I found them in the woods? No? Ok, we’ll talk about how the two kinds of pets relate to the fringe: Dogs vs cats!

Dogs, I feel, are almost cheating!


A dog has an amazing sense of smell and direction. It always knows which way is home.

A dog is always happy, no matter what, as long as it is with a human. It resists misery and doesn’t care about most things a human would find uncomfortable.

I’m not sure yet if dogs help their hiker resist the Fringe’s effects, or are a target for its machinations, or what.


Cats are extremely independent and stubborn. I think if Fate tried to turn a cat into a fringe hiker, the cat would refuse and just show up in your house even though you locked the door.

A fringe hiker with a cat companion would receive a lot of comforting cuddles, but even though the cat knows which way is home, it probably wouldn’t share that information with the human. Cats like to pretend they don’t know what we are saying.

Most cats, including this batch of kittens, hate rain though. Fringe hikers love rain. I think the cat would meow until you tucked it under your shirt to keep it dry.




Chantarelles, a delicious wild mushroom

I’m gonna get Fringed.


I found delicious Chantarelles, an edible and much-sought-after mushroom, three days in a row without even trying.


Remember, don’t eat mushrooms unless you have been helped by an expert. When in doubt, throw it out, unless you are trying to earn karma by undergoing a very painful gastrointestinal experience.


Anyway, chantarelles are a very tasty mushroom that can last an entire week in your fridge, which is good because I found 3 lbs of it. They are known as the Queen of the Forest, and I think I might use either that or “chantarelles” as a name for a character someday. They can be made into stews or a creamy pasta sauce. Like most shrooms, they must be cooked first.

Here's my stew, with just a hint of spiciness to it
Here’s my chantarelle stew, with just a hint of spiciness to it

Chantarelles grow on the ground, not on wood.


They have false gills that are simply a fold in the main structure of the mushroom, not a separate reproductive part of it. Often the gills criss-cross. A luxurious earthy apricot smell is released when you get enough of them together.


Their scariest lookalike is the Jack-o-lantern fungus, which grows in clusters but has a similar color and gill pattern. (Though with the lookalike, these gills are true gills that can be picked off the stem). This mushroom will make you very sick, though it won’t kill you.


If I was a fringe hiker, I’d probably have to eat this half-rotted Chicken of the Woods fungus:




What is a fringe hiker?

A fringe hiker is a cursed wanderer, forced to undergo catastrophe after catastrophe while they seek their Home. They grow tough, inside and out, and they learn how to cope with their situation by following three laws:



  • Experience Catastrophe
  • Avoid Annihilation
  • Push Homeward


All fringe hikers are trying to get Home, whatever that may mean to them. Fate, of course, conspires to prevent them from reaching home; they tend to meet with bizarre disasters whenever they get too close. Like the legendary Odysseus, fringe hikers often wander for decades while seeking a way back to their wives and homelands.


Between Scylla and Charybdis
Odysseus Between Scylla and Charybdis

Much like Odysseus, fringe hikers are very hard to kill. Some theorize it is because they are the playthings of the gods. But the gods hate having to interfere to save the life of a fringe hiker, and always exact a price for it later. To cope with the trials of the Fringe, a Hiker must become powerful in the ways of the wilderness.


There is a thin “fringe” of routes that satisfy these requirements and still wind slowly homeward. The miserable soul “walks the fringe” where he is uncomfortable but not dying, wandering but making progress. It’s often a thin line to tread.


We all see aspects of the Fringe in our daily life, and live by it half-consciously.

Traffic is worst when you’re in a hurry.

If you pack your raincoat, it won’t bother raining that day.

Examples of Fringe are very common in literature, from mythology to the classics to contemporary Discworld novels.


As a reader, you may find beauty in the idea of wandering the wide open world and overcoming all nature can throw at you.