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My dinosaurs are cranky

Illustration by RJPalmerArt

Happy Leap Day!

I ran across a neat article about a dinosaur exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. I looked up the show only to find out it closed in January of 2017.

I hate the Internet sometimes.

Screw it. Still a neat article. It’s a NatGeo about feathered dinosaurs. I mean, we’ve known some had feathers for a long while, but the article went into more detail.

T. Rex was definitely feathered, apparently, because they fossils of his cousin, Yutyrannus Huali, have plumage.

I remind you that a chicken is a living dinosaur, and I wish to inform you my dinosaurs are very unhappy at the moment. It has not ceased to rain. I can recall on one hand the days without rain in the last six months. The lawn around the chicken run is mud, and the mud is now the consistency of chocolate pudding.

Three times a day, I pull on my wellies and squish out to feed wet, unhappy birds. The straw of their bedding just seems to suck moisture from the air. I can’t tell what’s mud and what’s chicken shit, I just know I come in covered in it. I’m sneaking heavy bags of wet straw and chicken shit into the household trash hoping I don’t get done for industrial waste.

I’m amazed none of the birds has gotten sick.

And tomorrow, we’re getting tropical storm Jorge (the Spanish named this one). High winds, rain and hail. I’m so utterly beyond sick of it, Oh My God.

But, hey, at least I didn’t mention the flu! Good weekend, everyone.

February 28, 2020 — 9:18 pm
Comments: 10

I do actually like toast, though

It’s National Toast Day. I shit you not.

I feel like a prize chump posting toast and twigs. I am so not into it.

I’m all over #coronavirus Twitter trying to figure we’re in for and when. In all of England, there are only 15 beds for the most acute respiratory patients. The NHS has already said they won’t waste resources on the “most vulnerable” — defined elsewhere as the oldies.

I wish I’d gone in and begged an emergency respirator when my cough was at its worst. I sounded like Aqualung for about six weeks this Fall.

Government here isn’t taking this seriously at all, unless they’re panicking behind the scenes.

Man, I could use a nice slice of toast about now.

February 27, 2020 — 9:29 pm
Comments: 14


This from the Woodland Trust: how to identify trees by their knobbly bits in Winter. I love these ID charts. I had all of this info printed on a neat small card I used to take hiking with me. To be honest, though, I’m not sure I identified a single tree that way.

It all looks so much clearer in an illustration. Which is why, even now, they use illustration rather than photography in botany and medicine. Here’s the big color version; may it be of some use to you.

The things that come across my Twitter feed while I’m obsessively refreshing for news of THE PLAGUE. The woman who’s cat we stole gave us a call to check on him earlier tonight.

Her granddaughter is in one of the Sussex elementary schools that have been shut because students went on a field trip to Italy last week. I reassured her that, as far as we know, not one person under the age of nine has caught the bug.

Did you know that? Quite unusual for a flu. This one appears to be firmly a boomer bug.

Nemesis creeps closer.

February 26, 2020 — 8:53 pm
Comments: 11

Silly Nordics…

This was promoted in my Twitter tonight (for those non-Twittererers, a promoted tweet is a paid advertisement). Yes, Nordic Cuddle is real (and worth a visit for gawking purposes). The CEO even has a TEDx talk on the virtues of cuddling.

And she looks Nordic.

Now, I’m not saying this is prostitution. I’m saying 100% of the men who book a cuddle at home will do so believing it’s prostitution. How they safeguard these poor women I can’t imagine.

Unless it is just prostitution.

Flu update: hey, remember I told you I knew someone local in quarantine? She came to see me at work today. She’d done her 14 days. Fourteen days is ten days too little.

February 25, 2020 — 8:29 pm
Comments: 9

Let the prepping begin!

Behold, a small portion of our canned goods horde. The bit that won’t fit in the cabinets any more. We’ve always kept a generous amount of non-perishables on hand, being people of constitutional paranoia, but shit does seem quite considerably closer to the fan today and we’ve just received a large order of stuff.

Ordered 20 kilos of cat food a moment ago and I believe Uncle B is eyeing a bulk booze purchase.

No specific news in the UK, just a general louder ringing of alarm bells on news and social media.

Actually, no, strike that — social media has gone nucking futz about coronavirus. My little pea brain is so full of argumentation and rumor I don’t even know how to pass any of it along. As if passing any of that howling junk along was a good idea.

Temperature going up where you are?

February 24, 2020 — 8:51 pm
Comments: 20


The little one likes fire. Yes, he does. Here he is big and in color.

He also likes laps and annoying the hell out of big cat. They’ve been running back and forth like a Tom and Jerry cartoon all week. A little hissing and biting, but well within the appropriate bounds of brotherly bant.

Speaking of fire, the conservative(!) government has today announced a ban on the burning of coal and wet wood in households. There are rural people this will very much affect.

Not us. We gave up actual coal for solid fuel — they’re like charcoal briquets — but that ain’t the point. As Uncle B likes to grumble, the Greens never get more than 3% of the vote here, but all their policies get enacted anyway.

I don’t know what they’re putting up their noses if they think we can get rid of non-electric cars in 15 years, but there you go.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

February 21, 2020 — 8:59 pm
Comments: 11

Neanderthals buried their dead. With flowers.

You know I have a thing for Neanderthals. I read many years ago that they buried their dead with flowers. They knew because archeologists found flower pollen on top of the bones.

I didn’t realize there was doubt cast upon it subsequently. For example, because rodents sometimes carry flowers into their burrows in that cave. That fact astonished me, but then again it didn’t. I gave a pet mouse a flower once and she spent the afternoon sticking her whole head in it to sniff.

I digress.

They’ve found another burial and it again they found flower pollen and signs of digging. But they were more careful excavating this one.

Another win for muh bois.

p.s. all the current links in the sidebar of that New Scientist article linked above are about Coronavirus. I’m’a go read them. Some very interesting comments on that topic from readers in the thread below this one.

February 20, 2020 — 9:45 pm
Comments: 11

…it’s what they don’t say…

Say, we haven’t done a virus update in a while.

We know someone locally under self-quarantine. No symptoms or anything. She’s just come home from Hong Kong and has been asked, along with her whole family, not to leave the house for two weeks.

What’s interesting is we didn’t know they were doing this. If they asked her, they must have asked thousands of others just back from the East, and there has been zero reporting of it. If I hadn’t had a phone call from her, we still wouldn’t know.

Did you know there were over 5,400 people in California alone that have been asked to self-quarantine since February 14? The number is from an article in the Wall Street Journal making the rounds on #Coronavirus Twitter.

Unfortunately, the article is behind a paywall, so that’s the only number I can read, but it must be thousands more nationwide. Did you know they were doing this? I didn’t.

As it happens, I’m feeling a little better about this outbreak. In my opinion as an art school dropout who’s read several books about the 1918 pandemic, it should’ve have started heating up around the world by now.

Either it’s a fizzle outside China for some reason, or it has a longer incubation time than they’re proposing.

February 19, 2020 — 9:25 pm
Comments: 11

Zen Poultry

I got a message from YouTube today; somebody asking to use a sample from this chicken video of mine.

I’ve rewatched in like a bajillion times since then. My first two chooks pecking around in the sunshine. I could watch it all day.

I hope he doesn’t use my nice chooks in chicken porn.

February 18, 2020 — 8:43 pm
Comments: 7

Romaine calm; lettuce not panic

Iceberg lettuce shortage. We went to two different supermarkets today with no success.

I Googled it when I got home and, sure enough, there were half a dozen articles about the February shortages of vegetables, particularly iceberg lettuce, due to colder than average temperatures in Spain.

In February 1997 and 1998. As an enthusiastic consumer of iceberg lettuce, you’d think I’d remember shortages every February, but no.

Which is why you can sucker people into believing this year’s hurricanes, wild fires, rainy season or any other regular weather phenomenon are the ZOMG Worstest Ever. We don’t remember for shit.

So I got a nice crispy looking romaine.

February 17, 2020 — 9:23 pm
Comments: 7