Monday, September 28, 2009

Yukka (again)

Remember our spiky plant? The one that has gone a funny shape? (I have been told it is a yukka.)

The Man has a theory about this plant. He says that the plant did not like having its spikes cut off.

It laced its fingers and pondered the problem. Then it thought, "Hey! If I keep my fingers laced, maybe they won't get chopped off..."

"Look! No spikes!" it said. "Don't chop me! I'll be good!"

So far, it is working. We have not chopped off its spikes. Not the middle ones, anyway.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Crow convention

Last week sometime, Tuesday, I think, there was a huge crow convention held in my neighbourhood. At least fifty crows gathered on the roof of an apartment building down the road, the tallest building around here. When a huge flock of them took to the air and I pointed the camera up, I couldn't get it to focus.

I have never seen so many crows in one place before. Usually they gather in families of four or five, and sometimes seven or eight, but I'd never seen dozens gathering like that. They were very noisy, and I think they were plotting something.

I did get a couple of good shots, but only after most of them had left. In this one the power lines got in the way, but I quite like the effect.

One crow landed on the top of a pole on the building. I don't know what this pole is, but it doesn't look like a comfortable spot for a bird to land, really. That didn't stop the crow, though, who seemed to enjoy being top bird. In this picture you can see its feet wrapped around the pole.

When The Man saw this next photo, he told me I should add more pole coming out the top of the crow. I tried, but it didn't really work. I'm not that good at manipulating photos. I don't have the patience to get it right.

In any case, it already looks like crow-on-a-stick.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Help me! Help me!

I finally managed to get some more pictures of the lovely orange butterfly, this time with its wings open. Wide open, in fact.

In these pictures, particularly the first one, the butterfly face reminds me a bit of the original version of The Fly. I can imagine the butterfly wailing, "Help me! Help me!" (link to .wav file).

In fact, I just looked at the first picture while listening to that sound file, and now I wish I hadn't.


Work started last week, which goes some way to explaining my dearth of posting. (Not all the way. The rest of the way involves a lot of laziness.)

We now have, right after starting, three days of public holidays. This means a five day weekend, which is enough time for us all to get used to being on holiday again, and then suffer the trauma of starting work again, again. (I just used the word again three times in one sentence and I think it even makes sense. Do I get a prize for that?)

Today I went into Osaka to see a friend and inspect her kitten, who is growing fast and apparently turning into a rabbit, or at least his ears and back legs are.

While I was there, I showed my friend my current favourite YouTube video, this one, and she watched it three times in a row and laughed so hard I started to worry she might have a wee accident.

The video makes me laugh too, but it also makes me feel a little guilty, because I used to sleepwalk, too. I know how it feels when you wake up and know something is urgent but can't figure out what, or remember quite what terrible thing happened that made it necessary for you to try to climb into a small cupboard in the hallway. It is bewildering, and being laughed at when you are bewildered doesn't feel good.

So I have some sympathy for Bizkit, who seems to have hideous dreams about being chased, and I'm hoping he doesn't figure out how to watch YouTube videos. It would be humiliating for him to discover that ten million people have been laughing at him. It's bad enough when it's your mum and dad.

Friday, September 11, 2009


I have a problem with okra. My problem is that I consistently forget what it's called. If I want to say something about okra, I start off perfectly clear what I want to say, but as the word approaches it fades and disappears, leaving me saying stupid things like, "You know, that green vegetable..." I cannot think of any other word that this happens with. It's just okra.

Today I went out for lunch and the waitress told me the 'healthy plate' was tofu and okra burgers. That sounded good, I thought, and later when it arrived I thought to myself, "Ooh, what a good mix! Tofu and ... er ... um ..." This was just five minutes or so after the waitress had used the word okra. I stared into space until my burger went cold, trying to remember what it was.

I am hoping that now that I have typed the word okra six times (so far) in this post, perhaps it will stick, finally. My okra forgettery has gone on quite long enough. The Man is sick of me asking what that vegetable is called and gets quite testy when I forget yet again. Why do I forget okra? Such an easy little word. I should be able to remember it.

Am I the only person who forgets a specific word like this? (As far as I know it's only the one word, if you don't count people's names, which I forget on a regular basis.)


Monday, September 07, 2009

Why cheese?

From The Last Mughal, by William Dalrymple:

"He [Sir Thomas Theophilus Metcalfe] was a notably fastidious man, with feelings so refined that he could not bear to see women eat cheese. Moreover he believed that if the fair sex insisted on eating oranges or mangoes, they should at least do so in the privacy of their own bathrooms."

Mangoes and oranges I can understand. But . . . cheese?


We have a very spiky plant in our garden. It has been there as long as we have, and we have to trim the ends of the spiky leaves so we don't get stabbed going to get our bicycles. It can be quite painful.

Earlier this year the spiky plant did this:

We had nothing to do with it. Perhaps there was a strong wind and it got tangled up and stayed like that. Or perhaps, eventually, something is going to hatch from inside the folded over leaves.

It looks very strange, but we are leaving it that way. Less spiky is good.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

In the garden

We had a couple of visitors in the garden today. Besides the usual butterflies, a hummingbird moth came to check out the flowers. Why do hummingbird moths have fluffy tails? That's just wrong, on an insect. Hummingbird moths are a little creepy.

A dragonfly also visited, and stopped to rest on the dead hardenbergia. I don't know why the hardenbergia died. It just did, quite suddenly. The dragonfly didn't seem to mind.

Friday, September 04, 2009


Yesterday I went into Osaka to have lunch with a friend. While we were walking around Shinsaibashi, we passed a car showroom that included the glitteriest car I have ever seen. You've seen pictures of mobile phones that have been decorated with beads, right? Well, this car has been similarly decorated. All over. That has to be the most embarrassingly tacky car ever.

It was a shame I only had my phone camera.

(Found a better picture of it here, from when it was in Tokyo.)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Crow by river

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Orange butterfly

Strange things

Last night I was sitting out on our front step after dinner enjoyng the rest of my glass of wine, and two strange things happened.

First, off to the right somewhere, somebody laughed maniacally. It was a man's laugh, entirely deranged, and went on and on and on. (If you have a Mac, you can hear more or less what I heard if you do this: Go to System Preferences, select Speech, select Text to Speech, then for the Voice choose Hysterical. Then open TextEdit, type HA HA HA HA HA , highlight it, and hit F1. Turn your speakers up, but not too far up.)

A few minutes later, off to the left, in an ENTIRELY DIFFERENT HOUSE, someone else laughed maniacally. It was a woman's laugh, entirely deranged, and went on and on and on. (There is no woman's voice on the Mac that sounds anything like it.)

As I was sitting there wondering if our neighbourhood had suddenly been hit by laughing gas and wondering why it had skipped our place, a van pulled up across the road. Someone got out of the van – I couldn't see who – crossed the road, and dropped something in our letterbox. Whoever it was then got back into the van and drove off.

I checked the letterbox. There was a flyer for an expensive restaurant. Why had this flyer been delivered only to us?

The laughter had stopped. Everything was quiet except a few cicadas and one lonely-sounding frog. It was peaceful and cool. A cool August night? That's spooky even without maniacal laughter and mysterious restaurant flyer deliveries.

It turned out the restaurant flyer had been delivered only to us because the owner of a camera shop near here knows the owner of the restaurant, which he recommends, and had promised to let us know where it was. I guess that must have been the camera shop guy on his way home from work.

The demented laughter, on the other hand, is still a mystery.

In other news, this is my new favourite cartoon: Estimation. It made me laugh. (Because Macs do that, too.)