Me, Myself, and the Voices in My Head

A place to ramble and maybe make some sense about a thing or two.

Archive for the tag “nature”

Leave the bear alone you hillbillies!!

All day I have been listening to the local police scanner.  I keep it on because if there’s an emergency that isn’t being broadcast on the local news channels, I can usually get some information from the scanner.  Plus after years of having worked as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and disaster preparedness/response person, I’m just addicted to it.

So today’s noteworthy broadcasts have been about a small black bear that has wandered into town.  It’s not hurt anyone; it’s not gone into the residential areas; and it’s trying to find its way back to the woods.  At first someone thought it was a dog when it was near a residential area but it stayed over by the local airport (not an overly busy one).  It has been wandering around and I’m not worried about it coming over into the area where I live because it would have to cross a large Interstate highway plus the busy traffic at the intersection that crosses over it.  The state conservation agents have been working with the county law enforcement to track the bear and make sure that it keeps heading towards the woods.

Sadly, though, all the yokels in town have been coming out in droves to see it — especially after the story was aired on the local news.  Now the police are being called by the businesses in the area next to the Interstate highway because people keep trying to get closer and closer to the bear so they can take pictures of it.  Some have brought their dogs with them, like the conservation agents need that little bit of “help” with a bear that really doesn’t want to be where it is in the first place.

Right now it’s up a tree next to the local Pizza Hut.  It wanders between one of the banks, the Pizza Hut, a furniture store, and a Captain D’s restaurant.  I’m sure it smells plenty of trash from that area it would love to eat.  Hopefully the conservation and law enforcement agents will get rid of the crowd before the bear hurts itself.  The poor thing just wants to get back to its home (with a snack to-go if it can grab one).

Here’s an idea — if you want to see a close-up photo of a bear, pick up a book!  If you want to see a bear in person, go to a zoo!  If you see a bear in the wild, then lucky you — but for cryin’ out loud, stop trying to get in its way!

Well….at least now there’s something else to listen to.  Some drunken fool is chugging a Mountain Dew and whiskey outside a local grocery store and has pushed carts into the major 4-way intersection of town.  Now that sounds more like an average night.


Stupid clouds….

Today there is to be a solar eclipse.  I remember the last one that we could see from this area back in 1994.  I was still in college then and there was a big viewing party down by the science building.  It was great and everyone enjoyed it.

Now, all of the clouds that were supposed to be around during last week that didn’t come all decided to show-up today.  I was hoping that Youngest Son would get a chance to see the eclipse since it will be his first.

Then again, when it gets all dim and gloomy outside on a hot day like today, it just makes ya’ want to take a nap.  Which I’ve been doing with great success today.

Busy day makes for tired gal

Today’s been busier than I expected.  Woke up at 5 a.m. (as usual) and smelled something awful outside when I let the dogs out to go “walkies.”  Only Celeste came back stinking like she’d rolled on a skunk or something.  Had to give her a bath quickly because she was stinking-up the house in record time.  Husband went outside to look for whatever it was she got the smell from but there wasn’t anything and the smell had left.

So, I crammed her in our small bathtub and tried to get her clean as quickly as I could.  Not as easy as it sounds.  She’s in the process of shedding her winter coat, so there’s lots of hair that liked coating the walls, the tub, the floor, me, and the drains.  I was finally able to get the stink down to a tolerable level (just barely noticeable if you stick your face into her fur).  Then I spent about 30 minutes trying to get all of the hair into the trash and off of everything to which it was sticking.  I still have no idea what caused it but I’ve never wanted to own my own professional dog wash so much as I did this morning!  There’s one self-serve dog wash table in town but they’re not open at 0-Christ-Hundred in the morning.  If I had my own, it would be open when I need it!

Then I went to my therapist appointment today.  I took her the three page list of things I can and can’t do at work and what makes things easier and harder for me to work.  She asked if I’d applied for disability benefits.  I said I hadn’t because I didn’t believe I needed them.  She held up the list and said that if I had that many things I should have applied years ago.  That’s something I’ll wait and see what happens as I continue to look for answers on why I wasn’t rehired from my old job.

Tonight I watched a neat show on PBS called Radioactive Wolves.  It’s about the wildlife that has returned to the area around Pripyat (outside of Chernobyl) and how the radiation has affected them.  Very interesting show.  I know it’s kind of weird but I’ve always wanted to go to Pripyat and see the ruins left behind after the 1986 explosion.  It’s amazing how nature is taking back the area where people lived for so many years and doing so even after all of the damage done.

I then watched a segment on NBC’s Rock Center about how Big Box Marts (like Costco) trick people into overspending on items and buying things they never meant to buy before they went into the store.  And that’s a reason why I don’t have a membership card to any of these places.  The lure of buying something you’ve never seen before but just have to have is too strong at times.  I don’t need 5 pounds of mayonnaise but I guarantee that if the price is right, I know people who will find a reason to make more egg or tuna salad sandwiches than could ever be eaten at one picnic.

Now, I’m tired and I’ve kept to my rule about posting each day, so I’m gonna relax and probably watch more television.  And check the dog.  And maybe think about taking her for another bath tomorrow.  And making sure I’ve got something with me before I let them out in the morning to make sure that if there’s an animal making the stink that it doesn’t anymore.


Persistent little buggers….

Today I discovered that the birds who’ve decided to take up residence in the cover on my propane tank outside have finally hatched their chicks.  And it must have been very recently because just the other day I checked and there were still eggs and today I saw a nearly naked bird.

I didn’t really want them in there.  When the weather began to get warmer and the birds returned from their winter migration, a lot were hopping around the backyard munching on the bugs that were disturbed after we had it mowed.  Husband and our lawn guy noticed a few pieces of dried grass and sticks coming out from under the cover where the gauges and fill valves are.  They opened it and found the very beginnings of a nest.  Not much there so they swept away the debris in hopes that the birds would find somewhere else to live.

A few days later I was outside playing with the dogs and noticed more bits of dried grass and feathers sticking out of the space between the tank and the cover.  I went over and opened it to find an incomplete nest but with more debris than had been there previously.  I figured since there weren’t any eggs I’d get rid of it and come back with some mesh to put over the hole on the top of the cover so they couldn’t return.

They knew they needed to get the eggs laid and were faster than I was.  The next time I went to the tank, not only was there a much bigger nest built but also four small blue eggs resting in a small space next to the cover.  I carefully closed it because I didn’t want to disturb the eggs or have any fall from the nest.  I waited a couple of days to make sure that they’d not abandoned the nest and opened the cover again.  That time I found the eggs in the same space but the birds had found a small square of cling film and placed it under their eggs.  They meant business and they weren’t going to be leaving.  So, I informed the family to leave the nest alone and we would wait to see if the birds would continue incubating there.

I checked on them again and the eggs had not yet hatched but one of the parent birds flew out of the cover as I opened it.  I’m really surprised it didn’t try to peck at me or defend the nest.  I’d made a lot of noise on the cover in hopes of shooing it away before I opened it.  But, it just flew away and I saw the four eggs still in their little space.  Today, however, I made noise and tried to make sure to shoo away any adult birds and thought I heard a bird above me in the tree giving something like a distress call.  Nope, what I heard was coming from inside the cover and that’s when I opened it a little and found the backside of the chick facing me.

So, I slowly lowered the cover and made sure not to disturb the nest.  I don’t know if all four have hatched or just the one I saw because I was too afraid to open it any wider for fear the naked chick I saw would topple out of the nest.  I’m sure sooner or later we’ll be seeing the little ones trying to get out of the hole in the top of the cover as their parents bring more food back to them.

And while it’s cute and neat to see nature up-close, I’m still putting that mesh up after these are gone.  Don’t want a repeat every year and I’m just really glad I don’t have to get my tank filled in the warmer months!


A little fall of rain

Today’s post is going to be short because it’s finally raining here and I’m taking some time to enjoy watching the birds looking for something to eat in the freshly mown grass.  They were doing that after it was mowed yesterday, but the rain has brought up a lot of treats for them.  And I also just got back from my therapist’s office and still feel in a funk about everything that’s going on at the moment.

She suggested that I go back to school.  “And do what?” I asked her.  I have a bachelor’s degree and most of a master’s, but I can’t afford any more student loans.  There aren’t many grants/scholarships for second bachelor’s (which I’d need to really do what I wanted).  Plus, if I had the money to go back to school I’d have the money to open my own business and that sort of makes the whole conversation moot.

So for now I’m going to sit and watch the birds outside.  It’s quiet and the rain isn’t falling hard, so it makes it cooler outside but not so unpleasant that you’re terrified of going out in it.  Well, I’m not terrified of going out in it but you’d think the dogs — who will romp and roll in anything — believe it’s poisonous.  They keep looking at me when I open the door for them to go “walkies” as if I’ve completely lost my mind.

They may be right.  But they still have to do their business out there.


Discovery’s Mythbusters: Duct Tape Island and Unchained Reaction episode 2

Yeah, I know.  I should have posted my reviews last night but I was really busy and the whole fence thing had me miffed.  Today it wasn’t any better as I found my decorative fencing around my precious morel mushrooms moved (looks like it was kicked), but I digress.

Last night was Discovery Channel’s night for the new season of Mythbusters and for the second episode of Unchained Reaction.  One was slightly impressive while the other was educational but way too hokey to believe.

I’ll start with Mythbusters: Duct Tape Island — a one-hour episode featuring only Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman as they attempt to survive on a desert island with only duct tape available to them.  I had a feeling the show was going to be silly because the announcer said they had “an endless supply” of it.  So, if you thought that the small pallet of duct tape that “washed-up” on the beach was all they had, think again.  And we all knew that they wouldn’t actually be in danger of starving or dehydrating because they had a camera crew with them.  It’s not like we’re watching Survivorman, y’all.

In the intro to the “story,” they show the outline of an island.  Anyone with basic U.S. geography skills would have immediately recognized the shape as the silhouette of Oahu, one of the Hawaiian Islands.  If you need more information, it’s the island where Honolulu and Pearl Harbor are located.  Oahu is definitely not deserted, but they were able to find a beach resort where they could film their show.

Oh, did I say “resort?”  Why, yes I did — and that’s an important thing to remember while reading the rest of this review (remember “Turtle Bay” and Lost).

So, the guys are “stranded” and have to figure out how to signal for help, find water, find food, make clothing, make a shelter, stay focused, and escape from the island.  Signaling for help was easy.  They created a huge “SOS” sign out of duct tape and rocks on the beach.  The down side to their attempt is that duct tape is gray and doesn’t reflect well when covered with sand, making it harder for someone overhead to see.

When they attempted to find water, they did stage a good explanation of how you can’t drink just any water you find lying around.  Jamie (the brains) and Adam (Captain ADD-man) were each given different tasks to find water.  Jamie used the shrink-wrap that covered the pallet of duct tape to make a solar still in order to collect water.  While it’s a good and scientific idea, a solar still would not make enough water for two people in a reasonable amount of time.  Evaporation and condensation takes a while and it wasn’t a plausible idea for them.  Adam, however, did find running fresh water and made a water-bag out of duct tape so he could return with potable water for them to enjoy.

Both of the guys created unique shoes using duct tape which made walking on the hot sand, grasses, and rocks more bearable.  Adam even made himself a hat since he is very susceptible to the rays of the sun on his fair skin, and so that people who are used to him wearing his Stetson while Jamie has his iconic beret (which was present) could tell them apart.

As for finding food, Jamie was rather ingenious and successful in spear fishing.  He used bamboo and wood shards to create a multi-pronged spear and even added a small duct tape retrieval string and marked the center of balance to make it easier for him to throw.  Once he got off the shore and into the water, he actually speared a small fish.  True, he’d need a lot more than that to feed both of them, but it was successful and fun to watch.  Adam, however, was running around in the jungle after feral chickens.  Realizing that he could not catch one on foot, he first tried a simple snare trap with duct tape “wire” (which didn’t work) and then made a net out of the duct tape with which to catch a passing chicken.  The first chicken “caught” escaped through a hole in the side but the second was successfully captured.  Then, Adam made the announcement that the chicken they would be seen eating in a later scene was store-bought and not the chicken he had just caught.  The part he didn’t explain is that feral chickens are protected as wildlife in Hawaii and cannot be captured without special permits/licenses.  And Jamie didn’t eat the fish he caught either.  Both sat on the beach with their duct tape bag of fried chicken and duct tape platter of raw tuna and discussed how proud they were of their hunting abilities.

Adam created a “permanent camp” out of duct tape with hammocks and even a small table and stools with a duct tape chess set (to help them stay focused).  It seemed odd that they’d try to make a “permanent camp” if they were trying to escape from the island, but it’s television and if you try to reason it out too much you’ll just give yourself a headache.  Jamie made himself a surfboard out of duct tape and took it for a quick float in the ocean (he wasn’t able to stand up on it).  Finally, the guys made an outrigger canoe that surprisingly weighed just over 100 pounds from bamboo and duct tape that carried them and their “6-week supply of rations” out into the ocean.  I was impressed that they were able to make it over the breaker waves without the boat twisting or sinking.  Jamie even noted that the only water he was having to bail was what Adam was sloshing into the boat with his poor rowing skills.  Finally, they “found land” and disembarked their canoe, only to find they were back on the same beach as before (cue comedic sound effects and rimshot).

And why wouldn’t they return to the same beach?  They never left it.  Well, except to sleep and eat and get refreshed before continuing the shooting for each of the seven days they were out there.  They did not sleep on their duct tape pads nor in their duct tape hammocks.  They stayed at the Turtle Bay Resort with the rest of the crew and used locations that were utilized in the filming of the show Lost.  That way, they knew where everything was and how easily to get their inventions built and useable.  In one of the outtakes Adam makes a comment that there are too many footprints in the sand for it to be a deserted island.  While it was fun to watch, it was quite disappointing to know that they weren’t really trying to survive at any point.  Sure, they showed how duct tape can work in many ways, but it still took all of the fun out of it.  I’m sure they did it that way because the insurance companies wouldn’t want Discovery losing two of their biggest stars.

And Discovery has used two of their biggest stars to hawk their new show Unchained Reaction.  I’m not sure how much of it really is/isn’t Adam and Jamie’s idea, but having them introduce the theme, pretending to watch the building of the chain-reaction gags, and then coming out to “judge” and announce the winner doesn’t really sell me that it’s their idea.  I wasn’t impressed with the premiere episode, but I thought I’d give the second one a chance.

In the “Fire and Ice” episode, a team of aerospace engineers went up against a team of special effects specialists.  They had to use fire and ice in their contraptions and had to have a minimum of five gags that would continuously set off the next as well as be innovative and entertaining.  Halfway through the build, Adam and Jamie “gave” each team a compact car that they had to incorporate into the middle of their machine and it all had to be completed within five days.

The aerospace engineers did some really neat things with the fire and ice and showing fire making steam and melted ice (water) conducting electricity after salt was added when it was tripped into a tank.  They even got the closest to a Rube Goldberg Machine concept because they stated that they wanted their machine to raise a flag at the end in a miniature moonscape diorama.  Sadly, the beginning of their machine didn’t work as planned but they did get the flag raised in the end, after nearly hitting Adam and Jamie and special guest judge Adam Sadowsky, president of Syyn Labs and creator of the Rube Goldberg machine for the OK Go video, with a rocket that flew across the room into a refrigerator to trigger the flag.

The special effects team didn’t get as technical but were a lot flashier with their contraption.  They used fire and ice in their gags as well as melting a huge block of ice in a cauldron of fire to turn a waterwheel underneath it to trigger another gag.  They had explosive results and it was a lot of fun to watch.  They won the contest because their machine worked and had no issues.

I think what I became the most tired of hearing throughout the show was how they were trying to impress Adam and Jamie.  It was always “Adam and Jamie would want” this and “Adam and Jamie think like” that but Adam and Jamie aren’t really in the show.  I’ll probably watch the next episode to see if the third time’s the charm on getting me to like it.  But at the moment, they could take Adam and Jamie out of it, make it about creating actual Rube Goldberg Machines (that have to complete a specific task) and it would be a lot more fun to watch.


Post Navigation