Another Day, Another Blog

February 28, 2008

And with the spring, all things shall bloom again

Filed under: bright ideas, the dandelion wars — iamza @ 10:53 pm

My mini daffodils are blooming, and filling the garden with some much needed colour. Everything else (aside from the ubiquitous weeds, and my lawn) is still looking decidedly dead. Come on, shrubs, wake up, damnit. Winter’s nearly over!

In another week or two, I shall have to dig out the gardening equipment — the spades and the forks, the clippers and the mower — and try and restore some kind of order to an unruly lawn. Hopefully, I should then be able to find the pond again without getting my feet wet.

I haven’t checked on the fish all winter. So, uh, why do I have this pond again? Oh, right, I inherited it.

I also seem to have inherited a pair of Avon ladies. I think the previous resident was cheating on her Avon representative with another Avon representative. I get catalogues delivered to my door twice a week, and they come with a note saying “Hi, I’m your Avon Representative. My name is …..”

The notes are signed with two different names.

I am still trying to decide how best to break the news of the previous occupant’s indiscretions to my real Avon representative. The problem I have is that I don’t know which if the Avon ladies is the one I’m ‘married to’, and which is the ‘mistress’. Perhaps I should just put out Karen’s catalogue when Megan is expecting to pick up hers? That way, I can be a safe distance away from the inevitable tears and trauma that are bound to follow. As an added perk, maybe both Avon ladies will decide I’m also a no-good cheating cheater, and that I need to be taught a lesson. Yep, no more Avon catalogues for me, ever!

August 30, 2007

All I want for Christmas…

Filed under: bright ideas — iamza @ 5:34 pm

Dear Santa Claus 

This year, I’d really like a flying saucer for Christmas. No need to drag it down the chimney, or park it under the tree. Just have one of your elves drop it off when ready. I’ll even give him a lift home afterwards, if you like.

Love, etc.

August 27, 2007

Food for thought

Filed under: bright ideas, the joy of life — iamza @ 8:03 pm

At last, I own my very own kettle braai/barbeque. Woo! Charred sausages on demand, any day (well, night, anyway) of the week.

It only took us an hour to put together (or “ten minutes” according to the box and paper directions), but that was mostly because we spent “ten minutes” searching for a lock-washer that I dropped in my newly-cut lawn. I swear, it’s easier to find things when the lawn looks more like an African jungle; I am never cutting the grass again.

Once the kettle braai was assembled, it took us another “ten minutes” to get the “easy-to-light” heat beads (a.k.a. super charcoal) to catch alight. Two thirds of a box of firelighters, half a cylinder of lighter fluid, a can of gasoline, a box of dynamite, and a tank of jet fuel later, the heat beads finally started to glow red. So did the house, the neighbour’s house, the other neighbour’s house, the house out back, and the house across the way. We did what any good neighbour would do, and ran down to Sainsburys to pick up some extra sausages. Good thing, too, because when the fire service showed up, they were really hungry…

August 8, 2007

Link spam

Filed under: bright ideas, curiosities, science — iamza @ 10:31 am

Eidetic memory, here I come!

or possibly not.

Funny thing is, I remember studying for a history test when I was fourteen, and attempting to make a mental photograph of a critical page. When it came time to take the test, I found I could call up an image of that page in my mind, showing the overall shape and lay-out of the text (paragraph indentations, where the paragraphs went in or out on the unaligned left margin, how many lines of text there were, etc). Even though I couldn’t read all of the text, just having that image in my mind enabled me to answer the questions.

Alas, it was a one-time event. I’ve never been able to repeat that trick — a fact I found highly annoying when it came time to revise the three ginormous folders worth of work for my third year earth sciences course…

***

Last night, I was watching a repeat of a programme in which researchers attempt to recreate Stonehenge. It’s astounding to think that 4000 years ago, there were people who, armed only with buck antlers, logs, and stone axes, managed to move 40-ton stones with relative ease. I was especially intrigued by Gordon Pipe’s stone-rowing technique for moving giant slabs of rock. Never say you can’t learn anything of use from TV; if I ever accidentally travel back 4000 years in time, I now have a valuable piece of information to share with the locals, which should ensure that I live long enough to escape back to the future. Thanks, Mr. Pipes!

August 7, 2007

Postcards from the other edge

Filed under: bright ideas, the dandelion wars, the joy of life — iamza @ 8:25 am

Me: “I’ve got a huge thistle growing in the lawn!”

Mother: “Just cut it off at the stem, and use some weedkiller.”

Me: “But the weedkiller won’t work without the leaves.”

Mother: “Oh, okay. Wait, do you have a drill?”

Me: “Ye-e-es.” 

Mother: “So, drill into the stem, and pour some Jayes Fluid into the hole.”

Me: “And then sit and wait for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Plants to come knocking…”

Mother: “Use a silencer on the drill, and nobody’ll know.”

Yes, I love it when a plan comes together.

June 2, 2007

Filed under: bright ideas, elsewhere, humour, sci-fi — iamza @ 10:53 pm

May 11, 2007

Road trips

Filed under: bright ideas, elsewhere, the joy of life — iamza @ 7:00 am

At some point, probably in the not too distant future, I am going to have to buy a GPS thingy for my car. It is impossible to read a map-book whilst driving, and the idea of pulling off onto a sidestreet is unappealing. Not least because there are no straight roads in Britain, and diversions that look like they should be fairly straightforward invariably involve the sort of complex geometry that I’m sure snooker players can perform while standing on their heads on the edge of a snooker table, but for which I require paper, protractors, and one of those multi-angled rulers.

Besides, I kind of like the idea of being given directions by an inanimate object which talks like Frank Sinatra, or Spock from Star Trek. It takes the edge off those long lonely cross-country car journeys by giving one something else at which to swear.

I wish sometimes that I had the time and money to be able to do a cross-country road-trip across North America. Ideally, I’d get to see all the US states on the way out — except Hawaii, of course, unless I could get my hands on James Bond’s submarine car (with its see-through glass canopy for that all-round submersible spy-tracking capability) — and come back via the Canadian provinces. Just think of it: driving until you get bored, then looking for a small rural town in which to crash. If you’re lucky, the townspeople are kind and sweet, and don’t try to feed you to ancient Norse God-infested apple trees, or hit you about the head with freaky green meteorite rocks that turn you into a monster, or send you travelling to distant galaxies in ships part-crewed by naked grey aliens with attitude issues, or, you know, otherwise try to steal your car, money and/or life. :-)

I’d love to drive along the rocky cliffs on the coast of California, preferably in a convertible with a working retractable roof — but only if there are no birds about. Guano up close I do not need to see, thanks very much.

I’d love to go back to Quebec, preferably accompanied by someone fluent in french this time, and go canoeing on Lake Manicouagan. Better yet, I’d opt for a luxury yacht, and just sail round and round in circles for a few hundred years. Or, at least, until the RCMP stopped by to tell me I was no longer welcome because the bears were complaining about the noise…

I’d love to stop over in small towns, places where no tourist tries to go by design. Imagine travelling for weeks on end, deciding at whimsy, or by the flip of a coin, whether to turn left or right at the junction, or just keep on going straight. No deadlines, no timetables, no reservations to make and keep. Just a wide open road, and the horizon.

And a GPS that sounds like Spock.

May 4, 2007

Morning epiphany

Filed under: bright ideas, humour — iamza @ 9:22 am

April 6, 2007

Backyard safari

Filed under: bright ideas, the joy of life — iamza @ 9:29 pm

Tomorrow, I really need to buy a lawnmower. My back garden is beginning to resemble a very green veld. (Heh, just think: had lions evolved in England, they’d have green fur for camoflage. “Look, over there! Why, it’s Simba, the jolly green Lion-King!”)

I was trying to decide what sort of mower I’d like to buy. On the one hand, I could be very green (pun totally intended), and get one of those push mowers, which don’t require electricity to get the job done. My house-mate in Canada had one of those. It was a blessedly quiet machine — well, except for the cursing that inevitably ensued when the arms got tired, and my house-mate realized he’d only mowed a quarter of the lawn.

Aside from the relatively noise-free aspect, there are a couple other appealing factors about the powerless lawnmower:

1) If there were ever a terminal blackout, at least my lawn would still look good.

2) No electricity means no power cord to accidentally cut. Don’t laugh; it happens! And then you end up having to buy a new mower because buying a replacement power cord is, for all intents and purposes, impossible. Thanks, Mom, for teaching me this invaluable life lesson. :-)

3) As a novice mower, I feel far more comfortable with having only to focus on sharp blades. Adding electrical power into the mix feels a bit like an over-complication — something I may want to add at a later stage when I actually, you know, know what I’m doing.

Of course, use of a powerless lawnmower leads to the production of more sweat. Or, if you prefer, given that I’m a woman, a brighter (smellier) glow. Hey, I get to resemble a giant (albeit red-tinged) firefly. Bonus!

I am also thinking of purchasing a set of cricket shin guards to shield my legs from the inevitable stones that get tossed about when the lawn is mowed. Perhaps I should buy a helmet as well? And attach a bat to my belt to protect me from all those green lions I’m sure are hiding in the long grass in my very own backyard veld…

March 14, 2007

5 Useful items that someone other than me should invent

Filed under: bright ideas — iamza @ 2:21 pm

1) A teleporter. An environmentally friendly method of getting anywhere in the world in no time at all. No more crowded airports, sardine-can aeroplanes, or bus-rides that take forever to get anywhere at all.

 2) A space gateway to the stars. I’m not saying it’s going to be easy or cheap, but we should be making friends with our galactic neighbours, not hiding out in the basement.

3) An internal communication device with a ring tone that only the person being paged can hear. Also, an internal MP3 player, radio, and hi-fi. Best done soon, before I give in to the impulse to start dunking various bits of electronic wizardry in the nearest body of water I can find.

4) Cities that hover in the sky. That way, the marshlands can stay untouched, and if pipes start to leak, there’s no worries about flooding. True, there might be a short-term increase in the number of birds impacting against buildings, but that’s why Survival of the Fittest became the evolutionary rule. Also, (a) pigeons are not on the endangered list, and (b) statues everywhere could breathe a figurative sigh of relief (unless, of course, they were the termination point of the pigeon’s flight, in which case they’d do well to keep their mouths closed if they didn’t want to choke on the feathers).

5) Fold-up cars, so that parking issues become a non-concern.  

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