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We will not forget you, Space Bat

spacebat

Eight years ago today, at a launch of the space shuttle Discovery, a little brown bat flew onto the shuttle’s fuel tank during countdown and hung on for all he was worth. Experts who analyzed the footage afterwards (bat experts, natch) think he had a broken wing and dislocated shoulder or wrist.

Wrist. On a bat. Flying mammals are confusing.

They thought surely he would drop off, but he didn’t. Periodically, he shifted position, but hung on for as long as the shuttle was in sight. He died quickly in the cold and airless upper atmosphere. Or incinerated. Probably. But what a sendoff!

Space Bat, you will live forever in our hearts.

March 15, 2017 — 9:48 pm
Comments: 14

Sick chick

bosslady

No, it’s not bird flu. Symptoms don’t match. That was the first thing I checked.

Violence is an unhappy bird, though. She’s all miserable and lethargic and fluffed up. I looked it up and it could literally be hundreds of different things, but I started her right away on a wormer (they’re all due) and a tonic and scrambled her an egg (I know it sounds wrong, and it’s probably illegal here these days, but it’s the first thing anyone does with a sick chook). She’s currently in Chicken Hospital (a dog crate in the corner of the room).

She’s been sick for a couple of days and I do believe she’s perking up a bit. Might be the wormer starting to work. But today she’s started flicking her head, and that’s another clue. It might be lice or mites of some kind. So when I’ve posted this, I’ll pop a sleepy chick on top of the box and have a good look with the flashlight. At her vent, which is where they congregate. Joy! And then tomorrow lucky weasel gets to soak a chicken in a bucket of warm water.

If you think it’s undignified for me, imagine how the chicken feels.

March 14, 2017 — 8:19 pm
Comments: 24

Things on my shopping list that probably aren’t on yours

oxgall

It is what it says it is, though why ox gall and not sheep gall or weasel gall, I have no idea. It’s a very traditional wetting agent.

I’ve decided I’d like to try my hand at proper miniatures. I’ve always painted small — sometimes really small — but it takes more than little to make a miniature.

Certain paints, certain techniques, certain brushes, special frames with convex glass to let the surface breathe and not be touched. And holy shit all that stuff is expensive!

I’ve always been intimidated by the prospect. I know a bit about it, but never tried my hand. I mean, what’s the worst they can do — send the miniature police around to break my fingers?

Oh, the ox gall, in this case, is to brush lightly over vellum before you begin. It degreases the vellum (it is skin, after all) and makes it more receptive to watercolor.

Wish me luck. Mooooo!

March 13, 2017 — 10:18 pm
Comments: 7

News.

I’m putting this on its own so it doesn’t get tangled up in my weasel nonsense.

There was a sometime commenter here with the username Lipstick who was a stalwart of the blog Innocent Bystanders. Geoff, also a Bystander, informs me that she has died. I don’t know the details and I didn’t like to ask.

Death in the social media age is a strange thing. People that we both do and don’t know, that we experience only as voices, go silent. Or, rather, they stop adding new content, but the internet remembers them forever. Forever unchanged. It’s a weird immortality.

There’s a tribute thread on Innocent Bystanders if you
remember her well enough to want to pay your respects.

— 9:43 pm
Comments: 6

Speak to me, Ozymandias!

pharoah

Another one to file in the “cool things you will never, ever find in your back yard” file. They drained some standing water in a Cairo slum and found this. They found most of the rest of it, too. They think it’s Ramses II (the Big Guy), and there’s probably more where that came from in that particular small and trash-strewn corner of the city.

You’ve probably seen this one, too — it’s all over the news tonight. But, hey — I’ve been upstairs painting chickens this evening.

By which I don’t mean applying coloring agents to Mapp. I mean painting teeny, weeny, tiny chook portraits. Rendering minute burbly wattles is fun! I’m’a spend my whole weekend doing it.

Hope your weekend is just as awesome!

March 10, 2017 — 10:44 pm
Comments: 13

Let the cock jokes commence

rooster

I got a bit jammed up tonight, so here’s a lady shopping at Home Depot with her rooster. As you do.

I belong to a Facebook group called “Crazy House Chicken Lady and Friends” — and, yes, it’s about people who keep pet chooks in the house. And you thought I was nuts about chikkens.

Although, you know, my favorite chicken turns seven this year. If she starts to look doddery…

March 9, 2017 — 10:45 pm
Comments: 9

Rabbit holes

caynton

This thing has just popped up in my Facebook feed, so you may well have seen it. It’s a photo essay of a cave underneath a Shropshire field that was used as a place of worship by the Knights Templar. It’s a cool story: you squeeze in through a hole not much bigger than a rabbit hole, and there’s this 700-year-old maze of twisty passages carved out of the rock.

Bonus: if you follow this link in the Independent and you’re lucky in the ad rotation, you’ll get to see an animated version of the Lloyd’s ad I posted about yesterday. You know, the interracial gay wedding proposal one.

ANYway, the reason this story has popped up now (not immediately apparent unless you dig around) is that someone has been let in to take photos. Actually, the caves have been known about since forever (I guess, I couldn’t find a date) but they’ve been sealed since 2012.

The owners (it’s on private land) tried to accommodate everyone who wanted to go in, from pagans to satanists to the merely curious, and so, naturally, the graffiti, vandalism and garbage leaving got out of hand. Put up gates, gates torn down, so they sealed the whole thing. With earth, I guess.

One of the links I followed from Facebook promised video. Then I realized I was visiting the dang old Knights Templar themselves!

An organization calling themselves that, anyway. And very peculiar it is, too. The site is full of typos and grammar-os. The graphics look borrowed from video games. Their FAQ takes pain to describe the organization as non-political, not racist and welcoming to women. So, naturally, it appears to be ultra right wing, anti-feminist and all about the cultural defense of Western Christian civilization. Its centered in Brussels, of all places.

Cultural push-back. We’re going to see a lot of this.

March 8, 2017 — 8:06 pm
Comments: 13

That’s entertainment

popcorn

Watching, amazed, the latest Wikileaks kerfuffle unfold this evening. I don’t usually follow news stories through Twitter, but sometimes it’s more fun than straight news on a fast-moving topic. May I recommend the Vault 7 hashtag?

Speaking of Twitter, my bank tweeted this picture at me. I like that picture. That’s the kind of picture they use when they want my business.

When they want to virtue-signal, they use this imagery. Lest you think I’m just a grumpy old bigot, they’ve been hammering that picture since before Christmas. It’s on multiple banners hanging from the ceiling of our local branch. It’s the main image on the sign-in page of their online banking site. We get it already.

I like businesses (and politicians) better when they’re pandering to me, not trying to teach me Very Special life lessons or give me my medicine.

Eh. Back to Twitter. And watch your mouth — the TV is listening.

March 7, 2017 — 10:24 pm
Comments: 11

Yay! Candy bars!

picnic

Boo, candy bars will cost more in future. Is there nothing they won’t blame on Brexit? Though, in this case, they probably have a point…our currency hasn’t entirely recovered from the shock yet.

One of the great pleasures of being a nimmigrant is getting to try new junk food. I think I’ve worked my way down most of the candy bars — the novel ones, anyway — and this is my favorite. It’s called a Picnic. It’s raisins, peanuts and cookie stuck together with caramel and coated in chocolate.

It’s got an awesome texture. Me, I’m all about the textures. (No marshmallow. NO MARSHMALLOW).

Wikipedia tells me they’re sold in Australia, parts of Canada, New Zealand, New York City, India, Ireland, Russia, Ukraine, South Africa and the United Kingdom. New York City? New York City!

The Australasian version doesn’t contain raisins. Go figure.

The slogan was “Deliciously Ugly” — which. I dunno. Aren’t all chocolate bars somewhat turdlike in appearance?

One of the downsides of being a nimmigrant is I get blamed for all things American. Snickers bars, apparently, have always been sold as Marathon bars in the UK. And now Mars, Inc is selling them as Snickers here. And everybody is sore at me.

Mmmmm…Snickers.

March 6, 2017 — 9:32 pm
Comments: 20

Let’s end the week on a dog

picasso

Lookit that face! He’s a healthy dog, apparently. Just has a nasty congenital jaw deformity. I confess: I only love this story because of this dog’s name.

Picasso. His name is Picasso.

Abandoned by his breeder, he went onto the euthanasia list right away. Duh. Somebody dumped his (normal looking) brother off, too, and they sat on Death Row together.

Then some guy put him on Instagram and now he’s one of the most-requested adoptees in California. Feelgood story ugly mutt.

It’s going to rain all weekend here, so I’m’onna paint. I need a beret and one of those big white smocks with the bow. Good weekend, everyone!

March 3, 2017 — 9:23 pm
Comments: 15