Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ursh vs the Rats of NIMH! (Now In Our House)

So anyone who knows us knows we’ve been having a squatter problem in our cottage. The squatters being small, furry and liable to steal food if given half the chance! No, we’ve not been invaded by a herd of rogue hobbits, what was here where….RATS!!

We’re out in the more agricultural area of Benoni. This is grand for a bit of piece and quiet and really nice if you have a habit of feeding the neighbours horses carrots when no ones looking, but the down side is we also get a lot of vermin in our small little cottage.

Recently it’s been rats that’ve come through the ceiling and then couldn’t get out again when the ceiling was closed up. Now imagine sharing your home with a bunch of beasts that are out to nibble on everything, destroy your stuff and keep you awake at night! (Parents of small kids may be excused!)

So it was with a heavy heart that we decided to poison the varmints. Believe it or not that was our last option! First we tried finding humane cages to catch and release the buggers, both of us not particularly keen on brutal deaths by poison, but no matter where we went, pet shops, hypermarkets, supply stores and hardware shops, no one had any.

Then we thought of traps, like maybe a quick break to the neck wouldn’t be so bad. (I’m not exactly sure how breaking your neck isn’t so bad but let’s leave that detail for now).
But the trap we got wouldn’t spring, it was stuck tight and a sumo wrestler could have launched his whole magnificent body onto it without fear of a single fat roll. In the end I guess that was okay as the rats wouldn’t eat the bait anyway. Picky bastards.

But they did eat the rat poison and a few days later, the smell started.

Now you know that smell. It’s not a smell you can mix up with say boiled tripe, poop or even your mad uncle Henry. It’s that smell, the death smell. (I’ve read authors describe it as ‘sickly sweet’. Sickly hell yes, but where the heck did they get sweet from???)

So brave Ursh decided to dive in and find and remove all ‘rat that is on the non living side of life’. She donned one of my pink shirts about her face, liberally sprayed with my deodorant, incase the smell was worse closer up and, clutching broom and dust pan like a trouper, went in to see what she could see.
And did she see!

We’d managed to get two of the vermin passed on to cheese heaven! Luckily they were in an easy area to get to and we had them up and out the cottage in no time! I’d like to say we stood there, like twin Rambo’s in the sunset, glistening with sweat as we surveyed our handy work with pride, but mostly we were just dry heaving and trying not to puke! How the hell does something so small pong so badly?

We now have a cat to help us take care of the last one who is proving too smart for poison. Mind you our kitten is such a passivist I wouldn’t be surprised to come home and find her with each arm around a rat, swaying too and fro singing, “Give peace a chance!” >_<

Well at least that’s 2/3rds of the problem taken care off! We’re humans, we use tools, we wear clothes (really cool clothes) and we are intelligent! We’ll get that last rat you just wait and see!!


[[[This is a King Rat. It's what happens when many rats are in a confined space. Their tails get entwined and start to knot and grow, yes grow, together. A Rat King can live for a while if there is food but most die pretty quickly. I'm showing this pic because we DIDN'T find one of these while cleaning! And when you look at it that way, really why complain?]]]

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pin Cushions and other colourful people!

I have 25 tattoos.

I don’t just say that to make you go OOOH, (though of course feel free to, I do like it awfully much), but also to start off my thoughts on Body Modification.

Body Modification is nothing new, people have been doing it as far back as I can remember, and I’m 32 years old, so that’s far back! Okay seriously, as far back as prehistoric times. Ever since the first cave man saw some shiny stone and thought, “Me hammer this in ear! Make She-caveman love me more!!!”

For some cultures it’s become a right of passage, you’re not a man till you’ve had a piece of you cut off or pierced or sliced into bite sized pieces. For other people it’s a way of standing out from the crowd, rebelling against society or just showing your individuality. Sometimes its even just to make yourself happy, bugger what everyone else thinks. < - - The Jo variety.

But there are limitless ways you can change your body these days! The three most popular ways to date are:

Often seen as the tamest version, since you can generally remove them at any time. (I say generally because sometimes, especially after a long time of wearing it, it becomes a case of looking better with the piercing in then with gaping Swiss-Cheese holes when they are removed!)
As to where you can be pierced? If you can pinch the skin it can be pierced! Eyebrows, ears, face, neck, heck even genitalia! (Gotta hope that piercing doesn’t end up catching on clothing though…)
If it’s a piece of your body then someone out there somewhere has put a piece of metal through it!

My favorite! < - - for anyone who might not have guessed! ^_^
A bit more permanent then the average piercing, they’re a colourful way to paint your skin. Tattoos are also a bit more painful but you’ll be happy to hear women take them better then men do! (Unless you’re a guy, but that’s not my fault.)
Tattoos can be fantastically beautiful if done right. Either huge and colourful or even small and sassy. They can show your views on life, your hopes and dreams or even what group you belong to.
(Like when you see the 80 000th woman with a butterfly or guy with a black panther you pretty much know they belong to the group, “Sheep”) :P

Implants, Amputations and Surgical work:
These are for the big boys / girls / hermaphrodites (Don’t want to leave anyone out).
Unlike removable piercings or hide-able tattoos, surgical work and implants are a tad bit more noticeable and a tad bit more, “shouldn’t decide to get it at the last moment”-ish. Should you go and amputate two fingers from each hand so that you can look like you have Velociraptor claws and then change your mind two months later… it can be a bit tricky.

But in this category the sky, or rather your imagination, is the limit! The things people have done to themselves can only really be showed in pictures. Horns, lumps, split tongues, holes, folds and whiskers! The average person might not find this attractive but to others it’s the best way to really express, and be, themselves! True, in some countries they might get burned at the stake as witches or demons, but usually they tend to avoid these areas and so no problem! And you have to admit, like a bad accident, you want to look away from them but you can’t help staring because – WTF??

But I personally love seeing what folk can get up to. The world is filled with allsorts of people that make it go round. So here’s to all those who provide the Gasps and No-Way’s and Holy-Mother-Of… !!! You lot give us great stories to tell our friends because, “You won’t believe what this guy did to his face!!!”


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

When I say scuba diving what’s the first image that pops into your mind? Water? Fish? Drowning in water as you’re eaten by fish? (Sometimes I think of a monkey playing a music box but that hasn’t much to do with what I’m saying…)

Ursh loves diving and one of the woes of her existence is that I never took it up as well. She can’t understand why I wouldn’t want to do it? There are so many reasons I should!
So shall we explore those reasons?

1. Ear and other injuries aren’t that frequent:
In fact an experienced diver seldom gets any injuries of any sort! Well Yay for the Experienced Diver!
That’s where they catch you. Experienced. I know me, I get injuries just thinking about maybe thinking about maybe getting injuries. I’m the one who’ll end up being the textbook case of ‘What Not To Do Ever Again In That Situation!’
IT wouldn’t be the first time.

2. Seeing all those frisky fish:
Sure you get to see some awesome fish and sea creatures underwater. You also see them at the Aquarium. It’ll cost less in the long run and you’re rather unlikely to get an eel trying to shake hands with its teeth!

3. Diving is doing something together:
So is going to the aquarium.

4. Scuba gear is only heavy on land:
The water then supports all your gear and you are A for Away. Of course you have to still get to the water! Now I’ve had a watermelon on my back (See previous blog – Extreme Sport???), and I can tell you that the air tank alone is that heavy! Now I am a small female with the upper body strength of a syphilitic kitten and I have to lug one of those things to the water? I’m more likely to stand up, fall straight back down and then wiggle like an upside-down beetle until someone cuts me free. (Which they won’t do until they’ve had a good laugh and popped a video of it on YouTube, I know my friends…)

5. You feel the water enshrine you, what bliss:
Apparently it’s like another world there, where you are weightless and graceful and encompassed by fishy beauty. Me thinks that sounds like a nice warm bath! (Just without the warm and heavy on the sea weed). I’m easy to awe; a big banana can make my day, with the added bonus of not making me snort 6 liters of water before hand. Besides I can swim and then TADA, magical moments on demand!

6. Your chances of being eaten by a shark are slim:
I have no fear of sharks. (They’re not too good on the stealth and attack bit when on land). And I know the chances of being eaten by one in the water is slim. But I also know my chances of being indecently assaulted by sea slugs or stepping on the one and only deadly Rock Fish for 12 miles are significantly higher. As with injuries, when it comes to weird (it will be), painful (for me), amusing (for onlookers) attacks by aquatic animals, it will be Jo who gets dragged off to the brimy deep with a pod of over enthusiastic dolphins.

7. You have plenty of air in your tank
You have even more air on land.

But don’t get me wrong. I think diving is a lovely sport… for someone else! I’m only too happy to stay on land and watch others go off into the big blue, secure in my knowledge that I’m safe and warm and unlikely to suffer crippling Bends from nitrogen bubbles in my blood that yes, even experienced divers can get, so there!

Would anyone like to go to the aquarium with me?

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spidey Sense

My relationship with spiders is a complex one.

I say it’s a ‘love hate’ relationship but I suspect it’s a bit more of a ‘love to hate’ relationship. Granted there are few people in the world who see a spider heading towards them and are awash in tides of love and joy, but this is about me, not them – the glory-hogs!

Spiders and I have an unwritten agreement that, should they come into our cottage, they are automatically wavering the right to life. They are depressed spiders. Spiders who long to end it all in this creepy crawly world. Spiders who’ve come asking for my aid in moving on to that large, dewy web in the sky. And I am only too ready to oblige! (And if they are a particularly poisonous spider I often do it with a song in my heart and some extra wrist action with the shoe or spray, free of charge!)

Besides venom, which any sane person is spooked by, their good looks don’t appeal to me either. Most especially why do they need all those extra legs and eyes? They’re not impressing anyone! And why do they have to move like they do? All squiggly like. Someone told me it was so you could identify what it was that you were looking at. Like I’d see something clinging to the curtain and be swept away in a fit of doubt as to whether it was a spider or a tenacious elephant! (In which case I’d need a bigger shoe…)

My problem comes when it’s a big furry spider. Contrary to popular reaction, I don’t automatically reach for whatever hard spider-thumping material I can find. I suspect this comes from previous experiences where squishing a large spider meant that sooner or later I have to lift the object and clean out the spider jam left behind. *Trauma*

So I started catching them in Jars. And here in lies my problem. Once inside the jar I’m never sure exactly what to do with it. I could release it into the wild but then I feel that I’m not upholding my end of the deal, not to mention I know that, that spidey will then go off, become a real tramp and give birth to millions of babies who will all find their way back to me in some karmic tangle I never wanted to be a part of in the first place!
Yet I don’t particularly want to spray poison into the jar as that just seems like I’m not giving the thing a sporting chance. (Now if it was on the curtain pretending to be an elephant, that would be a different story…)

So I end up with a big spider in a jar. Now for most people that makes for a sleepless night, perhaps with worry that they’ll get up for a midnight snack and open the wrong jar and end up spreading something a lot crunchier then peanut butter.
For me though I seem to get hit with a warped maternal instinct. Before you know it I’m hunting crickets and other spiders to feed my kiddo! I show it off to other, slightly less enthusiastic, people and take too many pics that I then post on blogs for people to wonder over.

We actually once had a tarantula. A Chilean rose named Baby. (This was a consciously sadistic choice on my part as I’d love to tell new people, “Oh come meet Baby!” and they all think it’s a parrot or one of those little rats that Paris Hilton always has stashed away in her luggage.)

Baby once escaped over the Christmas holidays. (Knocked the tank lid off, who knew they were so strong?). For ten days going to the bathroom at night was a trial by fire thing. What to do if the tile you step on is suddenly fuzzy and moves? Luckily we did find her again, on my side of the bed, and she was recaptured. (This happened while we were awake as the story may have had a different ending otherwise). We later swapped her for a nice fuzzy, hay eating chinchilla.

So anyway now I have a smaller version, in a cheese jar, in the kitchen, patiently waiting to be fed its smaller brethren. You know I think I need to get out more…


Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Whenever I see an airplane flying over head I always wait for it to explode.

This expectation comes not from say, growing up in a Taliban family, or having a particular desire to see all those who can afford to fly elsewhere annihilated (Though that one would make for some great therapy sessions should I feel I ever need them), but from watching way, way, way too many action / adventure / horror / thriller movies. (In fact you can blow a plane up in almost any movie genre! Heck even a good Romantic Comedy could start with an unfortunate plane explosion, “Oh no, my husband was just blown to smithereens, thank goodness I have this fabulously handsome, kind hearted stranger to get me through it!”)

It always makes me think of movies where the hero, a James Bond-good looking bloke with reasonable intelligence and a fine set of teeth, comes swooping in at the last moment to rescue the girl of his dreams before the plane explodes. (Which is great for his girl but a bit sucky for everyone else on the plane).

Curiously enough I don’t have a problem with air travel and have done so a few times in my life. As you may have guessed none of my planes blew up. Though we did have a bomb scare once and the airline had to put us up at a hotel and feed us really crumby burgers of which my youngest brother hoarded 7 – just in case. (He was always terribly nervous in planes and didn’t seem to be helped by my sisterly encouragement of “OH MY GOD WHAT WAS THAT??” every time we hit turbulence. I had a great childhood….)

I have no worries about the plane I’m in going down. My view is that there is precious little I can do to make the situation better, not really having the option of: -* File Open - Load Saved Game  Do Not Get On Plane Have A Sleep In Instead*. I’d probably just be resigned to my fate and wonder if it will be quick or slow. Will I die from impact? Or from hitting the water? Or from a bite from the snakes on the plane?! (Hey, it happens in movies!!)

So to anyone going on a trip anytime soon. I’ll be watching your plane go by.


Friday, April 2, 2010

I want to ride my motorbike...

**Vroom Vroom**

Ursh got the chance to ride her brother-in-law’s ‘1100cc Yamaha FZR‘ motorbike today. For those who don’t know bike talk that means, “A really big, big powerful blue machine that’s noticeably shiny. ” When she came back from the ride her own eyes were noticeably shiny and I got to hear about the experience, which was really nice, the first, second and third time.

Then it was my turn!
Eek no! I didn’t ride it myself alone, that’s just crazy talk! If you ever want to find out what a human looks like crushed hopelessly beneath a mega bike, pick me (though I won’t like you for it), but for actually riding one on my ownsome? Yeah. No.

But we decided to go out together on it to get Ursh some dinner. A decently long ride without a high percentage chance of sudden death? I like it!

But it had been raining so we had to make it slow going. Anyone who’s been up our drive way knows it’s no exaggeration to call it 500m of “OH!!!” With rocks, bricks, ditches, dales, potholes and the occasional squished frog, it’s a road hazard on the best of days, in the rain it likes to try out “Death Trap” as a title. But hey, why wait for good conditions? Are we men or are we mice? (Why are there only those two choices?)

We did wait for the rain to ebb and then off we went!!
Slowly. Trying not to take the taunting of the snails that zoomed past us too seriously. (Man those guys can be mean!)

And then we hit the road!
And then we hit the rain! (Because no matter the laws of nature, Murphy ’s Law wins out every time!)
Well I guess the plus side is if you can take the elements on your first go then the rest of the time it will be smooth sailing, right?
Maybe don’t try this at home…

It was a lovely ride, smooth and well more smooth. Yip definitely smooth!

But there were some downsides. The two that grabbed and held my attention where:-
1. The seats are made of smooth leather. It looks snazzy yes, but it doesn’t give your botty much grip. If your rear is on the small side you tend to slip and slide rather a lot which can be a bit of a bother at speeds.
2. The force of the bike moving is powerful and dead set on ramming the pillion rider boob first into the driver and not in a nice, kinky sort of way either! You begin to feel like you’re melding at a sub atomic level!

Still it was a really fun! I’ll stick with Ursh’s smaller bike for comfort and a steady sense of motion where my stomach actually stays inside my body, but it is nice to play with the big kid’s toys once in a while!

[*Ursh wuvs da bike, yes she does!!*]