web analytics

That there’s a fox

I knew they’d bred foxes to be tame in Russia, but I didn’t realize it was part of a deliberate scientific study. They bred friendly foxes to friendly foxes and aggressive foxes to aggressive foxes and now (in a process they probably didn’t imagine when they started out sixty years ago) they’ve been able to sequence both genomes and compare.

There are about a hundred gene differences between the two groups of foxes, but they zeroed in on one gene in particular — one that is associated with with autism and Alzheimer’s in humans. That bit isn’t relevant, I just thought it was weird and interesting.

The thing I thought was cool: as the fox generations became friendlier, they developed things like white spots, floppy ears, curly tails. Physical characteristics we associate with domestic animals.

A NatGeo article about the study is here, which links to the actual study.

August 6, 2018 — 9:08 pm
Comments: 9


We went to the opening of that art show I told you about tonight, and one of my two had already sold by the time we got there! The gallery was packed full and hot as blazes, but gosh that was gratifying.

Got back to find a message informing me I’ve got fambly coming to visit in a month. Holy shit, the housecleaning I have to do!

The illustration? From this post back in 2009:

So I was tucking into my ptomaineburger and fries, and Uncle B was reaching over to nick some chips, when he made the shush face.

The man at the next table said, “no, it was definitely a stoat. Bigger than a weasel.”

“Yes,” a woman trilled, “and it was running around all night, stealing the chips right off people’s plates.”

I don’t remember that at all! Yes, expect more exciting recycled posts as I totally panic about all the shit I have to do in the very near future. Have a good weekend!

August 3, 2018 — 9:46 pm
Comments: 10

Yay me!

A couple of weeks ago, on a whim, I entered a couple of paintings in a very prestigious local art exhibit. And I got in! Which is awesome. This area is rich in artards, some of whom are really very good. So, yay me.

But that leaves me in a tough spot. The annual show for the local art association I belong to is a couple of weeks away, and now I’m short of stuff to put in. Like, I got nothing.

You dance with the one that brung you, so I’m doing my best to pull some things together. I’m very, very slow. It’s not that I spend so much time on each painting (though I sometimes do), but I like to leave and come back over a long period of time. It’s the main reason I never took up as a freelance illustrator — too slow.

Anyway, busy is all I’m saying. Excuses, excuses. That, plus cleaning a tiny, stinky litterbox like FOUR times a day.

The drawings? Repost. What can I say. Work doodles from ten years ago.

August 2, 2018 — 10:03 pm
Comments: 8

Then there’s this stuff…

This is (someone else’s) picture of kefir grains. I bought me some (local Sussex grains) on eBay and I’ve switched from yogurt to this. For now.

It’s basically the same organism(s) as yogurt, plus a few more. It tastes like yogurt, but it’s a thick liquid like a milkshake and it’s incredibly easy. No pre-heating the milk or keeping it at a stable temperature or anything.

Pour milk over grains, leave out overnight, swizzle around occasionally — TADA! The only downside is, you kind of have to make it every day. It is a living beast AND IT MUST BE FED.

I think I like thick yogurt better, frankly. But this stuff is so easy and so similar. Also, I kept a wodge of my old yogurt in the freezer for when I change my mind.

Anyone else make this stuff?

August 1, 2018 — 10:06 pm
Comments: 19

Pop Tarts!!!!

Uncle B buyed me some. It’s amazing how cheering it is to bump into an old, disreputable friend like this. Though I’m so old, I still think of frosting as a newfangled impertinence. I think you can buy them in some supermarkets here, too, but they’re in heretical flavors like chocolate marshmallow.

We bought these from Amazon Pantry. First we’ve ever used it. I assume it works the same in the States.

You buy “a box”, but they don’t really tell you what means. Only, every time you put something in it, they tell you what percentage of the box is full. I suspect it’s by volume, not weight. We bought six six-packs of a fizzy lemonade we find hard to get in the stores, so ours was super heavy without filling “a box”.

A tiny woman carried it to our door, which was somewhat shaming (I found it hard lifting). The famous box was plenty sturdy, I must say.

Eh. We’d probably do it again.

July 31, 2018 — 9:58 pm
Comments: 10

Settling in nicely

Forgive bad cellphone pic; the phone doesn’t make a scary noise when it takes a snapshot.

We’re doing fine, fine. No hostility. I might get a gentle hiss and a little flinch first thing in the morning, but he soon turns into a cuddle-bug.

Likes: chicken, tuna, string, giant stinky dumps.
Dislikes: loud sounds and sudden movements.

I’ll keep you posted.

July 30, 2018 — 8:32 pm
Comments: 14

The exact moment I got bit…

Well, the exact moment after the exact moment I got bit. The next photo is me with a bloody thumb and puss looking radiantly innocent. To be fair, he wasn’t going for me (that time). I was feeding him off my fingers and he got confused.

Yes. We have a new cat. Maybe. Let me tell the story.

We were sitting in the livingroom last night, front door open, trying to catch a breeze and this…kitten walked in. Took one look at me, squeaked and ran off.

We called around, but none of the neighbors had a new cat. This is the country; sub-humans sometimes dump kittens or pregnant mothers. We set a squirrel trap baited with kitty glop and caught him about noon today.

He’s pretty feral. I let him out of the trap in the bathroom and he flipped out. Eventually I caught him and got bit and scratched and hissed at for my trouble. But he calmed right down when presented with food. Amazing how that works.

We took him to a local cat rescue this afternoon, where they pronounced him healthy and probably tameable. They loaned us a big cage and a tiny litter box and we’ll see.

A few may remember the Story of Charlotte, a tiny black and white feral kitten I trapped in a squirrel trap during a heat wave sixteen years ago. History really needn’t repeat itself so exactly.

She’s met him. She sniffed the box he was in, hissed at it twice and sauntered off. It’s all down to Jack. There’s something wrong with that boy and he flips his shit if another cat comes in the yard. I mean scary loses it. If he loses it over this kitten, there’s no option. We’ll have to find another option.

July 27, 2018 — 9:10 pm
Comments: 21


This came across my Facebook (how Facebook knows I play Witcher 3, I hate to think). It’s a Geralt’s armor hoodie! SQUEEE!

If you’re not into Geralt, they specialize in various kinds of armor t-shirts and hoodies. These 3D things never look as good in person as they do in photographs, but it’s still pretty sweet.

There’s a big-ass typo on the front page that makes me wonder if we’re dealing with China. Alternatively, the licensing of so many different brands makes me wonder if we’re dealing with cowboys. Anyone want to take the risk?

They also do wall art, but I somehow think the Skyrim panorama wouldn’t go with our decor.

July 26, 2018 — 7:03 pm
Comments: 5

Wheat fire!

This is a thing that is happening this Summer: crop fires. This one was fairly near us, and there was one in Canterbury last week. Probably others; these ones are close enough to make the local news.

I don’t recall this happening in the States. Grass fires, yes. Wheat fires? Not that I recall. No reason why they wouldn’t, I just don’t remember it.

Drusillas is an exotic animal zoo. We’ve never been. It’s stupid money to get in, and the pitch seems aimed at kids.

It doesn’t look like any animals were hurt, though they evacuated the people.

July 25, 2018 — 9:47 pm
Comments: 11

It’s a plane!

Okay, not my picture. I stole it from this Sun article from Armed Forces Day. But that is totally what it looked like.

We were at a village fete, standing in the churchyard, when we heard the most extraordinary noise, and THIS went over. Low and slow.

It’s a Lancaster bomber, and it had an escort of Spitfires. It was spectacular.

Wikipedia tells me there are seventeen of these left and only two airworthy: “Of the 7,377 aircraft built, 3,736 were lost during the War (3,249 in action and 487 in ground accidents). Today 17 remain in complete form, two of which are airworthy, and eight of which are in Canada. Only four of the surviving 17 – KB839, KB882, R5868, and W4783 – flew combat sorties over continental Europe during the War.”

Where we are, the sky was black with these once. This one was flying commemorative events all weekend. We saw it again on Sunday, when we were driving to the cat sanctuary. I managed to whip out my phone and take three pictures of a completely empty sky.

I almost lead with one of those pictures, but I actually like you guys.

July 24, 2018 — 9:18 pm
Comments: 19