Thursday, 29 April 2010

Perfect Pyramids, Plants and... Peacocks?

Hurrah! After 193 games, I finally won my fifth game of Pyramid Solitaire and landed the silver trophy. It cost nearly 10k points, but I've gained a profit of over 25k, so that works quite well. I figure that to be approximately 1:39 chance of winning a single game. It's going to take a while to pull of the two consecutive wins I need to get the gold...

My little Chocolate Cosmos plants arrived today, so I had the pleasure of planting those after a trip to Homebase to pick up some more pots. I collected some simple, plain terracotta pots which I thought would complement the silvery-green leaves and, later, the oxblood reddish brown, vanilla chocolate scented blossoms. I also picked up a dormant red currant stalk whilst I was shopping.

Red currant is a fortuitous find for me, as my garden is small and rather dark for the most part, only getting good sun in the morning - and thankfully currants enjoy shadier growing! It'll prove a fragrant, zangy compliment to the other fruits I have going, and will sit nicely in the darker patch near the roses... If I keep at it, I might even get some nice fruit at the end! (Although I found this rather funny picture at despair.com - I thought it was quite appropriate!)

Ooh, I rescued a ginger chicken on the way home today. Somehow, the silly orange bird had managed to get out, and it couldn't get back in it's pen again, so the poor thing was wandering up and down in the road, obstructing traffic and getting very upset. She could see her other chickeny pals, but there was a wire fence in the way!

I pulled over, herded her to the side of the fence and kept her out of the way whilst the traffic passed. She was going "bruuuuuuk, bruuuuuuk" in panic when I grabbed her, but as soon as she realised I was putting her over the fence, she held stock still and went quiet. Her speckledy friend took her over to the water and she settled down, happy as can be. (Img: Trajchegjerasimov - Worth1000)

Monday, 26 April 2010

Beautiful Blooms

And so, the gardening has started with a spring: I've spent two days turning soil, adding feed and mulching in compost, all ready to bed in my little seedlings. I've bedded peas against the fence, protected by cherry radishes and fronted with red and white onions. I know I've overcrowded them a little, due to our garden being virtually doll sized, but I have plenty of time to lift and move them as required. Sod's law states that I won't actually get any of it come harvest, but it'll be deeply satisfying until the ants, slugs and birds eat all my hard work. But this year I have defensive planting on my side!

Onions are great at discouraging cabbage whites, in much the same way that sage scares off carrotfly (which reminds me, I must buy some sage), so I will be using some of my little plantlets to surround and guard my delicate brassicas when I set in the broccoli.

Chives do much the same job but are also said to keep away slugs, aphids and carrot fly, which is why I have a big pot of them in the middle of my other pots, next to my pot of globe carrots and three different kinds of peppers. I've potted some fresh green mint which repels cabbage fly and ants near last year's strawberry plants (and encouraged some to grow near my normal strawberry patch), in the aim that the ants will be discouraged. I also found some marigold seeds that were given to me as a present a while back, so I've scattered those amongst my seedlings, in the knowledge that marigold has to be one of the most powerful defensive plants going when it comes to gardening - they produce an amazing natural pesticide from their roots, and they're known to be effective against starchy weeds like ground ivy.

Nothin' more satisfyin' than a good cuppa after a long hard dig, so after a trip to Homebase revealed a 10% off sale, where I picked up a stack of brown glazed clay pots to go with my greens, blues and blacks, His Lordship made me a wuhunderful cup. Though it seems I underestimated my requirements, as I still need to get pots for my lemon thyme, chocolate flowers when they arrive, and my garlic.

We also discovered why we didn't get many flowers from all the bulbs I planted along the fence. It turned out that the local municipal mowers have been going riiiight along the edge of said fence (scraping it a bit too) and mowing them all down. More frustratingly, there are DOZENS of Daffs across the road in full bloom in a nice grassy, neatly mown patch. *sigh*

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Baffling Beardies

After spending months concerned that Kyle's eyesight was bad, it turns out that dragons see in a broader spectrum than we do, including large portions of the UV range. Due to their side-set eyes, they have a much wider field of vision than humans - but this also explains why Kyle tends to run into flat into doors and misses the table when jumping; the wide-set eyes makes her depth perception screwy!

I had also been a bit concerned about Tsam, because I thought he'd broken a couple of his front teeth - he had only one front "fang" on his lower jaw. Much to my relief, that turns out to be completely normal too, as the front teeth are designed to fall out and be replaced on a regular basis.

He also worried me by sleeping oddly, until I also discovered that the dragon has a natural immense control over it's bone structure (such as making those soft spines stick out!). That allows them to do wacky things like go to sleep standing up - or in Tsam's case, just sleeping with his head up and his mouth hung open like an eejit.

One more fascinating fact then: the "third eye" in the top of a dragon's head really IS a third eye (otherwise known as a pareital eye). It has the ability to sense heat and shadows as well as acting as a killer bird detector - how coooool! In fact, they can use this third eye to tell them exactly HOW cool! If you want more beardie facts and info, you can find it here: BeardedDragons.

And I'm not mental! Beardies really are intelligent enough to recognise different people, and even their own names. Shame they just don't pay too much attention...

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Solitaire and Sneaks

Woohoo! I finally got my gold Solitaire trophy on Neopets! I've been working for AGES at that, so it's about time. Elkninja also sent me some NeoCash to buy funky things and a new Fyora Doll for my profile - thank you, I'll make great use of these then! My profile can be seen HERE. I'm still working hard on the Pyramids trophy and the Cellblock trophy too.

So as a treat to myself and the house, I've decided to purchase some Cosmos atrosanguineus, otherwise known as the "Chocolate Cosmos" flower. It's a mutant of the original Cosmos found growing in Mexico, but the chocolate variety mysteriously died out and became extinct in the wild - except for one root dating back to 1902. All the flowers are genetically identical clones as they've all grown from this one tuber and don't self-pollinate.

This flower has an extraordinary scent as well; as the name suggests, it smells for all the world like slightly melting chocolate with vanilla high notes. These pretty flowers are going in a plantpot on my windowsill methinks!

I do rather like deceptive things, appearing to be one item and turning out to be completely different - my favourite has to be the Hemeroplanes caterpillar.

When it gets scared, it dangles from its hind legs and inflates the upper half of its body, turning into something that looks disturbingly similar to a young, lethal pit viper sneaking up on you... Not only does it show off with cruel eyes, shiny scales and a perfect shape, it even goes for the potential predator; rearing to strike and pretending it is about to inject its deadly venom. Most enemies, including humans, fall for this rather marvellous bluff despite the fact this caterpillar isn't at all dangerous - he just looks it! (Img: Listverse.com)

Some animals react to danger in completely the opposite way - they vanish with perfect camouflage into the background and slip away unnoticed. This isn't just limited to the insect world either, as many frogs, fish, seahorses and reptiles have taken on this rather nifty jungle decor - my favourite of the reptiles has to be the Satanic Leaf-Tailed Gecko. This little fella is one step up from Terry (6" long, 13.3g), which means these must be Ninja Gecko - Terry's hard enough to find at the best of times!

There's lots and lots of disguising animals to be seen (or not, as is the case with the Leaf Mimic Frog - it even has mould spots, or the Leaf Fish that for all the world looks just like soggy dead leaves) just here at Conservationreport.

Related Quote of the Day: "Ooh look, I match the pillows today" - HL on discovering his shirt was the nearly the same colour. Ninja-y.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Hey, have you seen this?

Hey Mum, got you again! This is a game my family play - if you can make someone look at this hand sign, by any means necessary, you win. Below the waist: you get to hit them as well!

I forgot a bit from a previous post, just as His Lordship was rushing out to see his father at hospital, the local Jehova's Witnesses came to call. Normally he stops and has a nice long chat/cup of tea with them, but was obviously in a hurry. The Jehova's Ladies didn't utter a word of Bible and gave him a speedy lift straight there. Just goes to show -be nice to people and sometimes Karma returns the favour.

Seems to work well with dragons too - Kyle had been banging on her door for about half an hour, so I let her out whilst I made sammiches. She'd happily gone back to her bed when I got back, and I found why she'd been knocking... She'd wanted to go to the toilet in private and being the discreet lizard she is, she found an empty box behind the sofa! Bless her, she does her best to be tidy and it certainly made cleaning up easy.

Doesn't work with some eBayers though: I missed a skirt I rather liked (well, two as it turns out from the same person) as I wasn't in at Auction end and they went unsold. I emailed the owner to ask if they were still interested in selling as the skirts were a reasonable 99p startoff with £1.50 postage each. The owner was interested - but promptly asked for £10 for the both. Hang on a what did you? £10?! I hate to say it, but they didn't sell, one's hem is falling down and the other has a broken zip and velvet scuffs - I'm not paying a tenner for that when they were going for 99p each!

I was pleased to see she relisted the items at 99p - but more than a bit disappointed to see she'd put them to £4 buy-it-now and £3 postage each. I won't buy them on auction or BIN out of principle. When they fail to sell, as I am confident they will do, then I'll offer again.

We had a herring gull stomping about on our flat roof near the back of the house at 6 this morning again. Trouble is, you can hear when a herring gull is busy doing it's shouty, heavy-footed dances from all over the house: "thud BLARK thud thud WAARKWARK thud thudthudthud THUD". Noisy gits. I got mad after half an hour, so I grabbed a broom and went round following it, banging the ceiling where it is, whilst His Lordship waved a long brush out of the window. Took us ages to scare the bugger off. RSPB says they have "Red Status" - I'm sorry RSPB, I'm certainly not letting the sod roost up there, no matter HOW comfy and convenient it is for him! (Img: Worth1000 QTFan451)

Quote of the Day: "If you think things can't get any better, you must be doing damn well, so smile about it!" - Me.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

The Phantom Lawnmower...

How very, very strange. We were cooking some lunch when I threw some bread out for our robin and the gang of sparrows - when I noticed a pile of grass clippings next to the composter, against my gooseberry plant. His Lordship was just as puzzled - it wasn't HIS pile of clippings - so who had dumped them there? How cheeky!

Until I had a look out the front. Someone has randomly mown my front lawn! I nipped round to the Romanian and the Pole next door to ask if they had done it - and he staggered back in shock. "I haven't mown MY lawn; someone has mown my lawn!" Ahh, they'd got him too. He laughed and said "We must have a friendly grass ghost!" How utterly bizarre - but not that I'm complaining! (Img: Possible photo of the Ghost Lawnmower - unknown source)

I still can't work out WHEN they did it though, as I don't remember seeing it yesterday - but then again we did go out most of the afternoon. We went bowling -I still suck - 34. Then for dinner at Mulberrys with mushroom soup and ostrich steak (they are doing a delicious BOGOF on their Grill menu on Weds) followed by an evening at the Theatre for the Tommy Cooper Commemorative Show which was a rather nice depiction of the highs and lows of our favourite magician. It could be that the Grass Ghost snuck in around then... (Img: His Lordship)

Thank you, we're delighted!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Bedside and Seaside

It's proving to be an interesting week, one way or another. His Lordship and I were a little worried by a double booking between His family and mine, but unfortunately His father has been taken into hospital. We haven't got a lot of information at the moment, but the doctors say they've found three "lesions" on his brain - the inflammation caused by one had pressed on a nerve, restricting the movement in his right arm. The meds they've supplied him have reduced the swelling and they're sending him in for further scans.

On a lighter note of fail, I have to laugh. They were looking at options if surgery is required and the anaesthesiologist is called Doctor Sleep. The surgeon's name is.... wait for it.... Doctor Knife! Although rather sensibly, he's chosen Doctor Sleep over the other anaesthesiologist - his name is so funny it kills me: his name is... Doctor Death! No word of a lie.

I managed to lock my keys in my motorbike a good fifty minutes away... Genius. Thankfully I have a very understanding family (once they'd stopped laughing at me) whom kindly drove all the way back to go get the spare, leaving me to keep an eye on my siblings. To pass the time, we sat on the sea wall and watched the waves slosh against the rocks - until it occurred to them how much fun it would be to snatch a pebble from the bottom of the sea stairs, avoiding the tide...

Needless to say, the ocean always wins out - promptly slopping my brother right up his back and soaking his shoes. But, oh karma. A wave shot up the front of the sea wall and sloshed my sister and I whilst we sat cacking ourselves laughing at our soggy brother. Ah well, they managed to steal a couple of good stones from the seas.

Word of the Day: "sympathink" - Mumma.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Dief, Dief the Veggie Thief!

My sister was peeling vegetables for dinner, when they heard a noise from the hallway... Dief the Dog had stolen and was nomming down on some yommy carrot. I tell you, Mum's dogs are semi-vegetarian; they adore "chickens" which really are mangetouts and I have NEVER seen a dog get so excitable for food as Stottie does. Except he goes mad not for meat or treat - but for broccoli.

One of the neighbours still can't get Deifenbaker's name right - my favourite alternative so far has been "Cheese and Bacon", but she seems to have settled happily for "Beef'n'Bacon". Close enough I guess!

Another interesting little quirk is that they are indeed Pavlovian dogs - I don't mean crispy and meringue-like, I mean they respond without fail to a musical stimulus. In Mum's dogs case - Eastenders theme tune prompts a ferocious bout of licking! Soooo... If I leave this here, it will be like a dog-based trap just waiting to be triggered. Muwuhahahaha!


A friend of mine calls dogs "Dishlickers". I call these ones "portable dishlickers" due to their compact, easy to transport dimensions.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Corsets and Crystals

It's going to be a sparkly week when my things turn up! My American friend has sent my parcel today, the Chinese gemhunter should also be sending my box of rocks, I've found a supplier for some awesomeness "rocklets" and I placed my order for some new corset tops. I thought this one would go well with my dark blue jumper that has a diagonal zip across the front - that would look SUPERCOOL glittering out from inside. I picked three in the end, as they were buy two, get one free, from Corsets-UK.com. Red, blue and black with the scatter of sparkles down the front.

Talking of clothing, I really ought to do some ironing - I just spotted Tsam claiming king of the mountain, bobbiting on my stack of "waiting to be ironed"! Mind you, I might consider taking up Extreme Ironing as a hobby - it does look fun. The idea behind Extreme Ironing is to take it out into the world: at the top of mountains, under water on the sea bed, at race tracks, anything extreme - even at the Antarctic Pole of Inaccessibility. Although, in a bizarre twist, the Wii is bringing it back indoors again with it's Wacky World of Sports game...

Mind you, I think flying toy planes with Grandad comes under the heading of Extreme Sports simply for the danger factor involved! My Nan bought him a little plane for his birthday and I'd stocked him up on mints and batteries, prompting a run out to the local stretch of parkland for a scoot around. Yes Alfonzo, it turns out I DO know someone with a plane after all, but it's only 8" long - but lethal in the wrong hands. And unfortunately, Grandad had hold of the controls... Here's a great picture of him almost winging himself with it. Look closely and you can see the plane just about to ram him in the head (he ducked just in time)!

I may have to buy a couple of these planes myself on Maplin's Online - they're AWESOME. I do like the internet for purchases of all kinds, especially when it comes to Christmas shopping - you can find all sorts of unusual gifts, like Nan's animal print loo rolls I bought her last year, when she wanted "something pretty to blow her nose on"!

Monday, 5 April 2010

Yarrr, Mateys!

France's Anti-Piracy Squad had the fail of all fails - by pirating fonts for their own logo! The unlicensed font "Bienvenue" is an exclusive corporate typeface owned by France Telecom-Orange products, and was used to create the Hadopi logo. Zut alors! (Img: boingboing.net)

Piracy led me to thinking about gold, gold coin particularly, so I did an interesting bit of math with a view to calculating the value of a "Vorpal Sword" from gold pieces to today's money - the same sword used to slay the Jabberwock from Lewis Carrol's Jabberwocky! The current cost, according to multiple games and sites: 96000 gold. So, working on the principle that a good gold coin (of 24 carats) is about 1/10 oz, or 2.835g approx, and the price of gold( as of 12:22 05/04/10) is £23,768.41 per kilo - a bit of simple math (96000 coins times 2.835 grams is 272160 grams. Divide by 1000 for the kilo, 272.16 kilos, multipled by the current value of gold per kilo) - and we can now show that by today's money, a Vorpal Sword would set you back a healthy £6,468,810.47!

Whilst looking up the value of pieces of eight (actually, "pieces of eight" are made of silver, not gold!) I also found the Official Robot Pirates song from Lawlolawl Studios:


Related Quote of the Day: AlvinGordian: "0110000101101100011011000010000111100101101111011101010111 0010001000000111001101101000011010010111000001110011001000 00011000010111001001100101001000000110001001100101011011
00011011110110111001100111001000000111010001101111001000000 11101010111001100101110" Translation - "All your ships are belong to us."

Sunday, 4 April 2010

The Best Treat: Chocolate

Today's serving of goodness is all about chocolate - complete with related image. If I were to have a new phone, it would be LG's take on the IPhone - the "Chocolate" KW838. Better yet, LG's logo on a gentle rotation turns into the symbol of Nom - Pacman! Life IS Good.

Nahuatl word "xocolatl" means literally "bitter water". When raw cocoabeans are ground and whisked using a chicoli (a frothing stick) with chilli, flour and other ingredients, it makes a spicy, dark drink. I personally love the stuff! Chocolate was such a valuable commodity that many ancient Mexican cultures used the beans as a currency.

Here's some good news for my fellow chocoholics: cocoa or dark chocolate improves the overall health of the circulatory system, it stimulates the brain, reduces blood pressure, helps prevent coughs and diarrhea, reduces the risk of heart disease and may even be an anti-cancer agent. Xylitol naturally occurs in dark, unsweetened chocolate - so it's even good for your teeth!

Better news, the boost in endorphins from your beloved treat will act as a natural pain relief, so next time you get a boo-boo, scorn the kisses and grab some treats. Just remember, it is still high calorie and it's the dark unsweetened stuff that does the real magic.

Word of the Day: "Köszönöm" - Utrich the Hungarian, translation of "Thank you". The original "Nom".

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Fantastic Famous Fools!

I have a lot of respect for Patrick Moore, famous astrologer. He announced on BBC Radio 2 that on this day in 1976 at 9:47 AM, a once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event was going to occur that listeners could experience in their very own homes!

Pluto would pass behind Jupiter, temporarily causing a gravitational alignment that would lessen the Earth’s gravity. If they jumped in the air at the exact moment that this planetary gravitational effect occurred, they would experience a strange floating sensation. BBC2 received hundreds of phone calls from listeners claiming to have felt the sensation; one woman claimed she and her eleven friends had risen from their chairs and floated around the room! (Info: www.listverse.com)Believe it or not, this blog is not an April Fool; he really did pull this joke off!

Page dedicated to Tsammy - my favourite fool, on his hatchday! Luff you lizard!

Also, the picture (from Wikicommons) is also not an April Fool; it's a photograph of Aurora Borealis from the International Space Station - too pretty to miss out on!

Related Quote of the Day: “Place a sprig of spaghetti in a tin of tomato sauce and hope for the best.”- The BBC have a great sense of humour, having shown the Spaghetti Tree joke on Panorama, prompting thousands of callers to ring in asking how to grow their own trees.