29 June 2007

Daft cats

I was saying to someone at work today that you can't really train a cat, but you can get them to make a fool of themselves on cue.

Have a look at this video.

Grown men were in tears watching that in our office today (it was a quiet day).

And if you think that's funny, here it is with a bit of jazz. What you might call cat scat.

Satchmo, you've got nothing on this cat.

Home and as far away as possible

Youngest step-daughter Sarah watches Home and Away.

If she's working late she tapes it. Why, I don't know, since if you miss something you've probably seen it before anyway. All they do is recycle old plots with different characters; weddings, fatal accidents, infidelity. It's the same with all soaps really.

Eastenders is probably the same, but I haven't watched that since the ABC stopped showing it in Oz. That was back when Den and Ange were still running the Vic and Lofty was married to Miss Brahms daughter. Sorry I can't remember the character's name, but I always remember the song that Nick Berry sang, "We nearly made it".

Anyway, I think Sarah has finally found a reason to stop watching home and as far away as possible. His name is Lincoln Lewis, and he's the latest "heart-throb" to join the cast.

Now, if you look at the pic in that link, young Lincoln is good looking young bloke, and if you're a Queenslander, you'll know that he's the second son of the king, Wally Lewis, rugby league legend.

So why doesn't Sarah like him?

She went to school with him. Not just high school, but primary school too. They weren't exactly in the same group although they were in the same class, so she's a bit pissed off with the producers.

All I can say is, good onya Lincoln. If you can get a job on Neighbours as well I'll be a happy man.

26 June 2007

Sore back

I'm off work sick at the moment.

I was ok when I got up yesterday morning, but after my shower I felt a twinge in my neck. By the time I left for work I had a pain between the shoulder blades that just got worse as the morning went on. By ten thirty I'd decided it was just too uncomfortable, so I came home. I wasn't looking forward to the one hour bus ride home with a sore back, but it wasn't as bad as I expected, considering those low floor buses have really uncomfortable seats.

I can still feel it now, but at least I can turn my head without my eyes watering. I'll be back at work tomorrow.

I've never had time off because of back pain before. It's not that I've never had a sore back before, it's just that usually it's caused by spending the weekend digging in the garden, and it's usually lower down. I have no idea what caused this.

Back pain is also one of those things that make people think you're a bit of a slacker if you have time off as a result of it. If you've got a cold, people see you coughing and sniffing, and they keep telling you to go home. If you have a sore back, you don't generally show the symptoms, at least not outwardly. You might wince a bit every now and then, but you could be putting that on. In fact, if you can get yourself in a comfortable position (like I am now in an armchair at home), then there isn't much pain and you can still laugh and joke with your colleagues.

"Where's Steve?"

"He's gone home sick."

"He was laughing and joking five minutes ago, What's wrong with him?"

"Bad back."

"Yeah, right."

As much as I hate the runny nose, the coughing, and all the other stuff that comes with a cold, I'd rather be off sick with that than a dodgy back.

Oh, by the way, this is my one hundredth blog posting. When I first started I wasn't sure how long I'd be able to keep it up, but I'm not having any trouble coming up with things to write, and people are still reading it.

22 June 2007

Note to Xena

Leave the wildlife alone. Especially when Dizzy is in the yard before dinner and doing a spot of twitching.

We had a cockatoo in the yard late yesterday. Xena doesn't usually mind birds, but cockatoos are a lot bigger than the lorikeets and galahs that are our usual visitors and she tends to get a bit upset when she sees them in the yard. This one had been in the yard for a while before she noticed it, but when she did she took off downstairs to chase it off.

When she got to the bottom of the tree the bird was sitting in she discovered Dizzy was there, and Dizzy was not impressed. As I've mentioned before, she's never chased birds but will sit for ages and watch them.

There was a yelp just like the night before, but this time she ran the other way and got herself cornered. Dizzy, upset at having her pre-dinner relaxation spoiled wasn't going to let her off easy and was stalking her, determined to make her pay.

While all this was going on, Donna was up on the verandah looking for something soft to throw at the cat to make her stop.

She resisted the urge to scream out, "Puss! Leave the dog alone!" That would have been the ultimate in humiliation for Xena.

Dizzy let her go after a short while, but not before drawing a bit of blood.

They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks. I wonder if Xena learned anything yesterday.

20 June 2007

Note to Dizzy

Next time Xena the fat beagle is out in the yard barking at something she can't see, don't walk up behind her, tap her on the shoulder, and ask her what she's barking at.

We don't usually let the cat out after dinner as dinner is usually her motivation for coming back in. Tonight however we have a westerly wind blowing, which means it's pretty cold outside by Brisbane standards. We let her out to see how long it would be before she decided it was nicer inside and came back in.

While she was out there, Xena started barking at something, probably a neighbour's cat. All of a sudden there was a loud yelp and she flew across the back yard and dived through the dog flap in the door downstairs, yelping all the way. She was closely followed by Dizzy.

Now, we don't know for sure what frightened her, but we strongly suspect it was Dizzy walking up behind her in the dark.

I'm sure Diz had a giggle about it afterwards, we certainly did. In fact, I think she probably laughed so much she snorted.

She may not be evil, but she's got a sense of humour.

18 June 2007

Happy happy, joy joy

I'm a happy little vegemite.

Torchwood starts tonight on channel ten and I've just looked at the latest TV Week. Doctor Who is back on next Thursday. The TV Week could be wrong, and often is, but I'm hopefull.

17 June 2007

Dizzy the evil moggy

Look at the picture below. That's Dizzy the evil moggy, ruler of the Porter household, bane of Xena the fat beagle's existence. She looks like she's getting ready to rip the arms off anyone that comes within range.

It's all an act. Those of us that live with her know it's an act. The chooks certainly aren't afraid of her, even Xena remembers sometimes, especially when there's food around. She can usually fool visitors though. All it takes is an evil glare and they won't go with in five metres of her, not easy when the room is only four metres across.

I'm sure she has a good giggle about it afterwards.

As I said though, it's an act. She doesn't rule the house, she's an old softy and actually a bit of a nature lover, as she proved yesterday.

We decided the divas' pen needed a bit of a clean out. You'll recall from a previous post that the divas are in fact four chooks named after the Young Divas of Australian Idol fame. One of them even made it onto a fan forum for said divas.

Anyway, cleaning out the pen is an easy job as it's simply a dome that can be lifted by one person and moved around. All you need to do is rake everything up and chuck it in the compost bin, then spread another bag of sugar-cane mulch before replacing the dome.

The nest is just a large plastic flower pot surrounded with old roof tiles and nearly always has four eggs in it each afternoon. We've learnt from experience that whenever we clean out the pen there's always a family of mice under the nest. Yesterday was no exception.

Donna saw one of them before we moved the roof tiles, so I went upstairs to get Dizzy. Until recently, Dizzy has always been an indoor cat. It's only been about the last six months that we've started letting her out in the yard in the afternoon. We know she won't go far, and she always comes running at 5pm when it's dinner time. She's about ten years old now, so she's pretty predictable.

She followed me out into the back yard, almost walking to heel, and then over to the pen. Once she was in position we lifted up the nest and there were two adult and five baby mice. Needless to say, the parents immediately bolted in opposite directions, leaving the babies to their own devices.

What did Dizzy do? After having the babies pointed out to her because she hadn't noticed them, she sniffed them and watched them try to crawl away. That's it! No pouncing on them and devouring them in one mouthful, no clawing them to pieces. She just looked at them.

She didn't even do anything when the chooks came over and ate them from under her nose.

She was bird watching later on, sitting there watching about a dozen lorikeets eat. She got bored with that though and decided to run a couple of laps across the yard to work up an appetite before going upstairs to see if dinner was ready.

Evil? No way, she slept on my feet last night.

16 June 2007

A couple of things

I've been tagged by Caramaena again.

I tend to avoid these sort of things, mainly because I don't like passing them on. Just like I never pass on an e-mail that tells me to pass it on to ten people in your address book and you'll get good luck.

But I thought this one might be fun to have a go at, so here goes.

Two names you go by:
- I've been called a lot of things in the past, some of which I can't publish here, and that was by my friends.
- Steven. Yes I know that's my name, but most people call my Steve. When Donna calls me Steven I always think I'm in trouble for something, and I'm usually right.

Two things you're wearing right now:
- Slippers.
- My wedding ring.

Two things you would want (or have) in a relationship:
- Friendship.
- Trust.

Two of your favourite things to do:
- Taking photos.
- Learning something new.

Two things you want very badly at the moment:
- To have a job where I'm glad to get up in the morning and go to work.
- To have a job where I'm glad to get up in the morning and go to work.

Two pets you have had:
- A scorpion. Not the most exciting animal to keep as they spend most of their time hiding under a rock.
- Guppies. They got eaten by the goldfish.

Two people I would like to do this:
- Any volunteers? As I said, I don't like passing these things on.

Two things you did last night:
- Had a couple of glasses of Mount Gay Rum. Not as good as Tanduay, but better than some I've tasted. Unfortunately, it's very hard to find.
- Watched Big Brother, Friday Night Games.

Two things you ate today:
Maybe I should have done this later in the day when I'd had more than just a cup of tea. I'll have to tell you something I ate yesterday.
- My usual sandwiches and crisps at work. I always take lunch to work, it's so much cheaper than buying it, especially when you work in the city.
- Baked red snapper done in a sauce made from tomatoes, onion, herbs and white wine. The recipe is a variation of the one in the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet.

Two people you last talked to:
- Donna
- Xena the fat beagle. Sarah had gone to work by the time I got up otherwise it would have probably been her.

Two things you are doing tomorrow:
- Maybe work in the garden. The bindii is starting to come out again (no not Steve Irwin's daughter), so I'd better do something about that soon. They say spring is the best time to get rid of it as that's when they're growing the most, but it's winter here at the moment and the bindii is really taking off.
- If the tides and weather are okay, we might go for a walk out to King Island as Wellington Point. King island is the little clump of trees and bushes near the northern end of the sandbar in that link. You'll get wet if you try walking to it at high tide.

Two longest car rides:
- Our regular trips to Armidale.
- The drive from Arrawarra to home via Nimbin a couple of months ago.
We had a driving holiday for our honeymoon, so you could count that as the longest drive, but that was spread over three weeks and included a trip to Armidale.

Two favourite holidays:
- Driving a motorhome around the south island of New Zealand in May last year. That was Donna's first ever trip overseas.
- A week in Vietnam in January this year. That was Donna's first ever trip to a foreign country.

Two favourite beverages:
- Although I've only just discovered it recently, Tanduay Rhum (yes that is the correct spelling).
- Benedictine.

10 June 2007

I've just spent four hours burying the cat...

Four hours burying the cat?

Yeah, she wouldn't stay still.

Apologies to Monty Python for ripping off one of their sketches, but I've been digging holes.

We planted a couple of Grevillias recently at the bottom of the garden. That part of the yard doesn't drain too well and Grevillias don't like damp soil, so they haven't been doing too well. This morning I went downstairs with a shovel (actually the shovel was already downstairs, but you know what I mean) and I dug a couple of holes to relocate the the plants to give them a better chance of survival.

The first hole was near our herb harden (it only has rosemary and lemon grass in it, the other herbs died about two years ago). The second hole was underneath a navel orange tree (calling it a tree is being very kind). This navel orange... plant, has been in about three different locations in the yard and has made no effort whatsoever to do what orange trees are supposed to do, give oranges. It's flowered a couple of times and the flowers have turned into fruit. I've had bigger pimples than the oranges that grew on this, cough, cough, tree. Then they fell off.

So, the navel orange plant got dug up and in its place I put a Grevillea that wasn't doing too well.

Then I went over to the first hole I'd dug near the herb garden.

The hole, when I first dug it was about a foot deep and about 18 inches across. When I went to check it out, it wasn't there anymore. The bloody chooks had gone and filled it in again. I'm sure Xena the fat beagle had encouraged them. When I first broke the ground so to speak, Xena went and stood in the hole, such as it was. She then pretended she didn't know I was digging there. Even when I dumped a shovel load of dirt on her head she pretended not to notice.

You can't get good help these days.