The Tamale Hut Café presents:
Kinetic Color
A collection of abstract artwork by Stephanie Bieniek
Only at The Tamale Hut Café
8300 W. Cermak Rd. North Riverside, IL
708-442-0948 - tamalehutcafe.com

Artwork will be on display until January 7, 2018
during normal Tamale Hut Café business hours:
Mon-Fri:7:30AM-7PM, Sat:8:30AM-7PM, Sun:8:30AM-6PM


For more information about Stephie's art, please also check out artbystephie.com.
For Matt's writing projects, please go to storiesbymatt.net. Enjoy your visit here!


10/23/10: The other night I was taking Kisu out for the last time before going to bed, and she ran to the door and stopped, obviously looking at something outside. I looked through the window and there was this little black cat sitting at the bottom of the stairs, looking up at us. Kisu's tail was going but we just stared at each other for a bit, Kisu and I and the cat. I called for Stephie to come see but when I left the door, Kisu barked and the cat ran across the street. When Stephie got there, all we could see was this little black puff on the other lawn, apparently still looking at us. Something told me to go investigate, so I left Kisu and Stephie in the house and went across.
     I don't know what made me do that. Maybe it was that the cat didn't run away, but stopped as if she was waiting for me. (Since we've had two female dogs, I refer to all animals as "she" until proven otherwise.) I approached her and she backed off a bit, running to the bushes there but then looking back to me and purring. I tried calling to her with my best "animal soothing" voice, and she came out of the bushes and approached me. I made no movements that I thought would be threatening, talking to her all the while. She was not real big and was mostly black, with white front paws and back legs, white belly, and lots of white whiskers. (Later Googling turned up the term "tuxedo cat". The picture here was from Google, since I didn't have the presence of mind to grab my camera.) She approached me and I showed her the back of my hand, like I would with a dog. She sniffed it and rubbed her head against it, and started rolling over on the grass.
     I thought to myself "This is not a cat that normally lives on the street." She didn't seem afraid of me at all, as she kept rubbing up to my legs and letting me scratch her tummy, playfully batting at my hands with her white paws. I thought I should try to get her inside while we figure out what to do, so I tried to pick her up, hoping not to be bitten or clawed, but she let me do it. I didn't hold her very close, not wanting to scare her, but as I moved toward the street, she gracefully leapt/fell from my grasp and started playing on the lawn again.
     At this point, I wasn't sure what to do. I tried coaxing her as I would a dog, but she just looked at me and kept doing little somersaults on the lawn. I left her there and went back to Stephie (and an obviously upset Kisu, who wanted to be involved) to discuss the situation. Stephie said she would call the police for advice, and I went back to try to coax the cat to the front porch. I picked her up again and after a couple more jumps, was able to get her inside.
     The cat didn't seem upset about being indoors, but just checked out her surroundings. When I put her on the couch there, I could see she did have claws, and counted myself lucky I didn't get scratched when carrying her. She tried pawing the door open, but I held it shut. Stephie eventually came out and told me the police said we could hang onto her until the owners came looking, or we could bring her into the station. We were not concerned about Kisu, who got along famously with our friend's cat when they met, but thought because of our lack of accommodations, like a litter box for example, it would be best if we took her in. We got dressed and with Stephie clutching the little cat to her chest, we drove to the police station.
     The people there couldn't be nicer. They took our name and address, and where we found the cat, and finally an officer led us back to the garage where they have several cages set up. He opened the larger of the cages and the cat jumped out of Stephie's arms and into the cage, where she went and curled up in the corner, looking a little frightened. I could see from Stephie's face that this upset her a little, but we went back to the front desk to ask what was going to happen next. We were told that they would hold the cat overnight to see if the owner would call, but she would be moved to the Animal Welfare League the next day if not. We felt a little better about that, since that's where we took Cheyenne when we found her, and that's where we adopted Kisu from. We went home and after taking Kisu out, I went to bed, but that little kitty was on my mind.
     The next morning, as I took Kisu out before going to work, I paused to make sure there were no cats out there before opening the door. I expected to see a bunch of them out there, as if the cat world now would know there's an easy mark here, but nobody was there. I asked at the train station if anyone was missing a cat, but no one knew of any. That cute little kitty was in the back of my mind all day at work, and I spent some of my lunch searching missing animal web sites to no avail. Wen I got home I called the police station and was told the owner had called, and she was picked up that afternoon.
     I was relieved and, oddly enough, a little disappointed at this. I'm thrilled that she's home with her family, but I feel, much as I did when we found Cheyenne, that I had developed a bond with her, despite our short time together. I can't help thinking that when she was sitting at the bottom of the stairs, waiting for us to come out, that she picked our house because she knew there were people here who would help her, either to get home or to be safe. I know that's silly, but I'm one of those people who anthropomorphize animals. And while there was really no way we could have adopted her had her owner not shown up, we do have some friends who recently talked of adopting a cat, and it would have been great if that's how the story turned out. But she's apparently home safe, so the story had a happy ending.

10/01/10: People might not know this, but even though I have a good sense of humor, I'm not big on pranks. In fact, I actively dislike the whole April Fool's Day concept. I think that particular bias came from reading too many magazines which think it's humorous to print fake stories for the "April Fool's Issue", but then I wind up reading it months later and, well, feel like a fool for wasting my time reading it. And I don't see what's so funny about wrapping someone's cubicle in toilet paper, for instance. It's a waste of toilet paper and the unfortunate victim winds up having to clean it up.
     But there was this one time that I was involved in a prank at work that I thought was really funny. I wasn't the primary instigator, just the support behind the instigator. It involved a certain sound file, which I have been looking for in my backups for years, with the intention of using here as part of this story. I finally gave up trying to find it and recreated it. It wasn't that difficult.
     It was the late '90's and I was working with a pretty good bunch of people. They left me out of most of the pranks they liked to pull on each other, and we got along fine. They had more work than they could handle, so there was what seemed to be a constant stream of temporary workers coming through the department, some of whom were right out of college. One of them was this smart aleck young kid named Aziz Khan. (I don't mind using his real, full name here. I doubt he would ever read this, and it's important to the story.)
     He had been working there for a little while, and really didn't get along with the rest of the team. I seem to remember he had a smug attitude like he was better than the rest of us for some reason. I think his parents might have been doctors or something and maybe he thought doing PC support was beneath him. Anyway, he wasn't well liked around the office.
     I overheard one of the guys one day saying that they had a clip of William Shatner screaming "Khan!" from the second Star Trek movie, and wouldn't it be funny if they could find a clip from The Fifth Element, where one character yells "Aziz, Lights!". I think at the time I was the only one with Internet access, so I ran back to my desk and in no time found the clip he was looking for. Even in the early days of the Internet you could find stuff like that easily.
     I also downloaded the demo of a progrm called CoolEdit, which I had used at home to edit audio files (today I would have used Audacity) and gave the file and the program to my buddy, who in no time whipped up a sound file combining the two movie clips. I remember us laughing so hard as he played it over and over. He even had the phrase in the file twice, which somehow made it funnier. Fortunately, Aziz was at lunch, so he wasn't around to hear this. But one of the guys had an idea.
     There's a feature in Windows that allows you to attach a sound file to an action performed by the user or the system. Mostly it's used for setting certain sounds to play when a dialog box opens or on a system alert, but there's a whole list of events you an attach sounds to. We were using Windows 98 back then, and I think there may have been even more than current versions have. (I seem to remember mouse click or mouse movement or something mouse related being available.) And lucky for us, back then nobody locked their system when they went to lunch. So one of the guys went into Aziz's cubicle, put the file on his PC, and attached the sound to every possible event on the machine. So when he got back from lunch and tried to do anything, his computer shouted "Aziz KHAN! Aziz KHAN!".
     He moved his mouse, it played the file. He clicked the Start menu, it played the file. He tried to open the Control Panel to remove the settings, and everything he clicked, it played the file. He was cursing as he tried to undo the settings and we were falling over laughing.
     I think if he had any sense of humor at all, he would have had a laugh with us. As I told someone at the time, if I had a clip of Shatner yelling MY name, I'd certainly have it on MY computer. I thought it was pretty clever, and there was no permanent damage. In fact, it didn't take him that long to undo everything, but he was a pain in the butt and (I guess) wouldn't give us the satisfation of having a laugh with us. No matter, because he didn't work there much longer and we haven't seen him since.
     But I did recreate that file. Here it is:




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