Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Nice and Boring...

University classes have officially started, which means...

well actually it doesn't mean much for me at all, except homework and attending classes.

Haven't really been doing much of late, except studying. I have been waking up fairly early and I've been enjoying some really spectacular sunrises.

Sunrise in WA
I've also been watching the birds who show up and looking for the birds that I used to see that haven't shown up again at all. I suspect this has to do with new 'improvements' to the park nearby. They want to make it easy to keep tidy, and in the process destroyed grazing areas for all the parrots that used to be here. 

I USED to see these:

 Ringneck or more commonly here, 28s

Used to see them ALL the time before they tore out all the grass that grew alongside the road. The parrots would come down in small flocks and delicately pluck the grass seeds off the grass. They'd spend hours doing it. Then the park people moved in, ripped up the entire area and replaced with it shredded bark(?) and cement. Since then I haven't seen one Galah or 28. No crazy bathing sessions by flocks of Galahs on top of the library. No 28s goofing around in the garbage bins.

And they wonder why their numbers are declining... Sure the area kept filling up with litter, but it wasn't difficult to clean up. The area is right next to a school, and I'm fairly sure they could've set up some volunteer group to keep it clean enough to run a lawn mower (which is probably the real reason they replaced the wild grasses).

The ducks are still here; I saw one in the pool yesterday with a couple of people who were swimming. And I still see the big black parrots like these:

They're huge, and I've never managed to catch them roosting except once, and took a really grainy photo of it clutching the tippy-top branches of a tree while a bunch of Willy-wag tails harassed the hell out of it.

I'm not sure what species this is so, I'm not giving a definite identification. It's either a Carnaby's Black Cockatoo (which I'd be very surprised at given how rare they are) or it's a Forest Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo, which is more likely. The photo was taken at the extreme range of my camera, so that I got it on camera at all was a minor miracle.

So... I've been doing nothing but classwork, taking pictures of sunrises .... and nostalgically looking at parrot pictures I took a year ago, because they're not around anymore...

Yes, I lead a boring life. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

For No Good Reason.... Dinner!!!

For the last six weeks, I have been a complete and total bum. I haven't gone anywhere and haven't done anything of particular interest. The places I usually went before I went home for a visit, just haven't been calling me like they were before hand... 

Sounds like I'm depressed a little bit... But no, in reality, I just don't want to go to those places because it now requires a hike to get to them, instead of a quick bus trip. The regular main station closed down and they now let you out on the other side of the train tracks as it were.

The result?

I don't want to hike and extra 15 minutes to get to the stores I like unless I absolutely have to go. 
Yep. I'm just that lazy.

... okay so some of this has to do with a pinched nerve in my back...

Tomorrow however, I do need to make a trip down there because I need to get a few things, and that's where the stores are that sell those things. Don't get me wrong, I have been going to the grocery store, and am eating actual food, rather than living on a bag of carrots, which is doable, if you don't mind being orange... 

... and then there are those awkward questions,"Was one of your parents a muppet??"

So, here's a sample of dinner...  and no, I don't prepare the same thing every night, but this is an example.

When I go to the store to get tomatoes... there is this option. Many colored tomatoes, and many shapes and sizes, and they taste a hell of a lot better than what you are presented with at the stores in the U.S. 

In the background, I have also hauled out my sauce of choice; it's gluten free (which allows me to eat it without having to worry about intestinal distress in the middle of the night... or no intestinal distress at all... for weeks.. which in and of itself actually worries me more) and made in Italy, and I really wish they'd bring back the small jars, because I can't get through an entire jar of it in under five days. 


Anyway, I just slice of a few tomatoes of varied shape, size and color and then toss them into a small pot with some mushrooms and olive oil and some Italian herbs (which the brand name people, in their infinite wisdom, have renamed bolonaise herbs, just to give me a headache and aid acid reflux activity.) which I then saute, simmer... something like that.

I let them sit for a little bit, and then move them around some more. Repeat that a couple of times until the mushrooms look a little smaller (uh, those are better mushrooms than back home too.) and kinda squishy. The tomatoes end up slightly wrinkled, but it works.

Then I start some spaghetti going at the back. That's what that pot is in the background. I use gluten free noodles too, and they cook faster than regular wheat noodles, but taste just as good. My only complaint is that they get rice stiff in the fridge if you don't eat all of it when it's hot. 

Cold gluten free noodles kinda suck... 

Over the mushrooms and tomatoes I dump about a third of the jar of sauce... or rather, I spoon it out, add in some fresh parsley and then let it all heat up together with no lid. Mainly because I don't have any lids. If I absolutely need a lid, then I use a plate, which gets complicated when the food is done and you have to wash the plate in order to use it. I've only got one large plate and one small plate. It keeps things interesting.

So, this is what it eventually all looks like at the end. There's the spaghetti in one bowl, a green salad with a few little tomatoes on top with balsamic and roasted garlic dressing, and three small squares of garlic and herb ... pizza thingies. I got pizza the other night and ordered a starter. Those are the remains. The cup is full of cranberry, raspberry and something else smoothie. No, I didn't make the smoothie. Bought a bottle at the store, and it's good stuff. 

This concludes my random dinner post.
Hope you enjoy the pictures.

... now i'm hungry...


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

When it's not funny....

When I was around 12, I went to a youth camp for a few weeks in the summer. At the time I lived in coastal mountains along the western U.S., so when you went to camp, you generally ended up surrounded by Redwood Trees, poison oak and a ubiquitous amount of ferns. Among the Redwoods, that tend to grow in fairy rings (granted they are HUGE fairy rings), there isn't much vegetation at all, so lacking cabins that's were you rolled out your sleeping bag. You left your stuff there during the day and went to do camp activities. This camp was literally in the middle of nowhere and the possibility of someone taking your stuff was extremely low which was good. On the down side it also left your stuff wide open for practical jokes. 

As a rule, I do not pull pranks on people. I hate it when someone does it to me, and I refuse to pull some stupid crap at someone else's expense. I have only broken this rule twice and only because both people seriously had it coming. In one case, the person was pulling pranks that were destroying people's things and not everyone can just say,"Oh well, I can just replace this $200 Nikes. No biggy." I was not pleased when she destroyed my shoes next. Granted some of the pranks were fairly harmless and although extremely annoying, were sort of funny. But what this particular girl was doing, was not. In the second case, the person just kept going on and on about how he was the best practical joker at his workplace and no one could pull anything over on him. I finally lost my temper with the bragging after three weeks of repeatedly telling him that he should stop now. Then one night he made me think there was an intruder in the house, and scared the hell out of me. He thought it was hysterical. 

I decided to traumatize him.

I observed him for a while to see what made him leave a load in his shorts.

I waited to see what really screwed with him psychologically.

... and then I put something together that made him scream in terror for a few minutes.

Yes. I'm an evil bastard.

Simply because I don't think any of it is funny. 

This is revenge.

When Halloween rolled around, I discovered he was jumpy during horror films, which was something of a surprise. Horror films are something I really enjoy, and I understand what causes the unease. Isolation of the main character. Removal of the ability to see well. A lack of knowledge of your surroundings. And possibly most insidious is the aberration of familiar surroundings, ie, everything looks normal but as you look closer everything is made of tiny blinking eyeballs. Vsauce gives an excellent explanation of "creepy"and I suggest a viewing. Often it is the things that are creepy that freak us out the most, because it doesn't fit comfortably into the categories of 'stand and fight' or 'run like hell'. It's just ... wrong. The braggart tended to flip out over small things that were out of place. Something that looked like one thing.. and turned out to be something else. So.. following a Halloween party, in which he had leant me a resuscitator Annie doll to use as a prop, I set up the prank. He told me to just leave the doll in his room because he'd be gone at work for a few days. ... which was what I'd been waiting for. I took the doll down to his room after he'd left, stuck her under the covers of his bed and then used some pillows to make it look like there was someone in his bed, facing away from the door. I then put a pirate mask with a hideous face over the face of the doll... the thing about this mask was, from behind it had very realistic looking luxurious blond hair, so from the door way, it appeared a very curvy blond had decided to take up residence in his bed to welcome him home. 

It had been two months since he'd pulled his 'prank' on me, and I hadn't retaliated, so his guard was well down.

I wasn't there when he got home, but his housemate told me she was in the kitchen when she heard a shriek of pure terror and a giant crash. Apparently he'd gotten home, found the 'blond' in his bed and thought I'd just been goofing off  with the doll...he had not expected the face when he pulled the covers back, and screamed at the top of his lungs, and leapt backwards through the closed closet door. 

He demolished the door.

i felt sorry about the door.

He stopped bragging about pranks around me, and never pulled one on me again. He said I was likely to give him a heart attack with my retaliations.

As for the girl at camp.... she was much easier to stop, although I think I may have gone over the top. She had already been warned several times to stop intentionally destroying people's property by the camp Moms and she just kept doing it. Her pranks had a lot of kids upset and in tears. And she'd just laugh at them. When she filled my shoes with a combination of shaving cream and cheese whiz (cheese whiz can eat through cement, and it does very bad things to sneakers) I had had it. During my free time in the middle of the week, I went around collecting slugs. Big ones ranging in size from 5 to 8 inches long and put them at the very bottom of her sleeping bag before bedtime. Her sleeping bag was one of those mummy sacks. Difficult to get into and impossible to get out of if you are panicking. It took two camp Moms several minutes to get her out of it and she went home the next day. 

I held a small funeral for the slugs that died that day in order to teach her a lesson.

They were heroes.


I suppose this makes me sound like a total psychopath. 

I'm not. I just really really hate practical jokes.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Warm Pictures for the Frozen

Because most of the U.S. is freezing it's keester off, and other parts of the world seem to be attempting to drown with torrential rains and winds and just general unpleasant weather, I figured I'd just put up a few pics from where I am. 

Hopefully they will inspire some warmth??

.... and no, I wasn't intending to tease. 

Sunshine through the trees

A Rainbow Lorikeet... shot from below... word of warning. Do not stand beneath lorikeets. They are deadly accurate with their .. leavings.

Wish I could tell you exactly what kind of tree this is, but I'm still attempting to figure it out. But it is lovely when it's blooming, and the breeze is blowing the petals off the tree like snowflakes. 

Sorry, no idea what this is either, but it sure was pretty in the afternoon light. I was attempting to get it all light up inside by the sun, but it didn't quite work. 

Anyway. I can tell you that it is HOT here... okay, comfortable for me, but for most people I know, it would be TOO hot. Still, I thought I'd share. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Heard through a wall...

Acquired from Funnyasduck.net
I've been living here at the Uni now for a year and a half and in that time I've had two neighbors, both of which seem to have the same habit of ... beating the crap out of their desk. Normally I wouldn't know this, but considering that the desk is attached to the wall on the opposite side of my desk, it becomes obvious when a beating is taking place. The pens and pencils on my desk jump up and down. The things I have pinned to the board above my desk swing around in time to the concussive thumps... and whatever liquid beverage I happen to be enjoying, displays rampant seismic induced impact circles. While none of this really bothers me much, it does make me wonder why they feel the need to punish the desk... 

With the first neighbor, it wasn't just the desk. I knew exactly when she was moving around the apartment, because she stomped. I could track her every movement from desk, to kitchen, to bathroom and then back. I knew when she got up, because she always ALWAYS slammed the chair into the desk, as if launching herself into action. And there was also desk brutality. I know what some of you are thinking,"She's got a boyfriend." Um... no. No, definitely no 'friends' of that nature. She would just smash things around in there. Always knew when she was gone, because there was no smashing, crashing, thumping, stomping or anything else. But I knew when she got home, because she'd slam the front door.

She must have left a note for occupant number two.

"Keep up the good work I've started here. Beat the desk!"

There has been no meeting up with occupant 2 as of yet, but I know they are there, because they also beat the desk. ... like a large group of dwarves demanding dinner. 

There have also been fights with the windows, and honestly I'm not sure what's going on with that. Generally it takes place in the middle of the night when the rest of us are trying to sleep. Suddenly there will be banging on the windows next door, the sound of windows being removed from their housing, swearing (at least I think it's swearing) and then an astounding amount of noise which I'm surprised doesn't include the sound of shattering glass. 

They also slam the front door upon arrival and exit, which they do copiously throughout the day. 
I guess I'm just sensitive to noise. No one else seems to give two cents.

This really stems from being a very quiet person myself I guess. In fact occupant 1 jumped a foot into the air when I stepped out of my apartment on my way to class one morning.

"Sorry," I said,"Didn't mean to startle you."

She blinked up at me in shock (she was very small)," I though the apartment was empty! How long have you been here?" 

"About a year" I said amused.

"I haven't heard you at all!!" and she didn't seem happy about that. Then she excused herself and disappeared back into her apartment. 

In the end I guess I'm left wondering...

How can they be that noisy and secondly.... What the heck are they doing that produces that much noise??? 

... then again. I don't really want to know.