Bintie 5

Zoe-ology

n. the study of the habits and behaviour of a vague nerdthing

I'm really glad that Aurochs are extinct
Bintie 2
zoeology
Or at least that modern cattle have been shrunk somewhat.  I can just imagine them sending us out for our Aurochs placement, and us being trampled to death.

I mean, I appreciate all the work that movements for equal rights for the vertically challenged have done, but I shuffle around the five foot mark, and cows are big.  I think that working in a dairy is work for taller people, I really do.  My arms just aren't long enough.

So my week in the dairy was pretty good, despite my height.  The placement people were lovely again...the woman was a vet, and took us along to observe a blood transfusion for a heifer with a clotting problem (which was probably bracken toxicity), and the guy was fantastic too, as was his brother in law, who we helped with the milking.  The fact that they were as sane as animal people can be is a big thing apparently...I just saw a notice on the placement board on facebook asking whether rumours of sexual harassment at another dairy are true.  The only real issue was their two little kids.  I'm not good with kids at the best of times, and they were very insistent on being close a lot.  The smaller of the two in particular was constantly asking what we were doing, or trying to steal my glasses (which I was having a hard time keeping clean as it was), or telling us we were gay.  Constantly.  It got to the point where I wished I was gay, just so that I could turn around and say "why yes, I do find myself attracted to people of my own gender, what of it?", but I don't think that would've been helpful really. 

Thankfully the parents started a crackdown on the kid running around shouting "GAAAAAAAYYYYYY", but it just made me wonder...how do you teach a kid that being gay is nothing shameful but using the word the way he was is wrong?  I went to see Tangled last week, and I'm pretty sure that kids have absolutely no depth of thought whatsoever (THEY TALKED THROUGH ALL THE EMOTIONAL BITS WHY ARE YOU NOT ALLOWED TO STAB CHILDREN).

Cow-wise...I'm more or less apathetic about cows, with the exception of Scottish Highland Cows which are the best things ever.  I'm also mildly disturbed by the amount of skeleton you can see when you look at the average dairy cow.  We milked twice a day, at five thirty (which meant a quarter past four, four thirty wake-up, since I have to spend at least half an hour snoozing and then another ten to twenty minutes staring blankly into space before I can get up) and at three in the afternoon.  On most of the mornings we also gave vaccinations and mastitis treatments, which was a further kick in the face for the girl from the 1800s who lives in my head and makes me swoon at needles...I didn't take my eyes off the blood transfusion and didn't wibble at all, and I actually didn't have a bad reaction when I had to have blood taken over New Years.  I don't know if this is a move towards not being affected by needles, or if it's being latent until the least convenient moment (I'd say the abattoir placement'll be that).  Handling the huge needles does make me slightly nervous, and I'm sometimes shaky afterwards, but I think I'm getting there.  We also had to dry out a bunch of cows on one day, which involved sticking two syringes of stuff (antibiotic and sealant) into each teat, which pissed the cows off a little.

That still left us with lots of time during the day which we hadn't expected, which meant lots of nap time.  Also, daytime television.  I crocheted a guinea pig for Cella (which I need to add eyes and ears and a nose to, since I didn't have my stuff with me), so that was productive, and on Thursday it occurred to me that I could read the Harry Potter books that were in the bookshelf...by Friday I'd finished Prisoner of Azkaban, which was the last one they had. 

Prisoner of Azkaban is the best Harry Potter book because it has a huge chunk of backstory, half-bird-half-[insert animal here] animals, werewolves, people who can turn into animals, and time travel.  Also Cedric Diggory is genuinely nice all the time.  This conclusion will be included in the placement diary that I have to turn in to the faculty, as it is Clearly Relevant.

Anyway, that's another placement down, four [+abattoir] to go.

~

I'm in the process of developing what feels like a shockingly bad cold, but I still went to the zoo today.  In the blistering heat.  The little elephants are adorable, and the leopard seals were right up against the glass, which was amazing (especially since the viewing room has aircon).  I got to talk to this keeper, and had a brainfreeze and completely forgot that she had a pug (I would've talked to her about pugs D:).  I said that I like binturongs and she said I had good taste in animals :D  I spend a goodly amount of my flickr lurking time being jealous of her life, so getting to talk to her was pretty cool.

Speaking of the binturongs, they decided that the best way to deal with the heat was to lie on top of one another in a little box with no airflow.  There were three, full grown binties in that box, with their heads sticking out, panting from the heat.  I was there in the high 30s weather, wearing jeans.  Conclusion: binturongs suck at being practical in the heat.

~

Oh, and it's my Tibet's birthday today!  15 years of my kitty cat <3  For a birthday treat he gets to sleep on my bed, which means I'll probably have a crappy night because he likes to wake me up.  Ah, cats.

I think the reprise of Song for Ten is pretty heartbreaking
Bintie 5
zoeology
So I finally finished my little crochet binturong that I've been working on, and I wanted to show it off, because I'm quite proud of the derpy little thing (also, potential commission fodder?).  I bought myself a little crochet design book last year, and took it for a spin at our family Christmas picnic and have been playing around with what I can make since then.  I'm kind of making it up as I go along.  I've been working on this guy since just before New Year, but I got really sick and then really busy and then really discouraged by how difficult it was to do his eartufts, so he's taken forever to do.  I think I've got the hang of this now though.


Moar photos under the cut...Collapse )

The book has patterns for a top hat and for a fez, so I'm going to have to see if I can wangle those designs.  Because he needs more snazzy hats.

Also, I am desperately in love with crochet hooks.  They are the best shape, function-wise, and just to chew on.  And they're metal, so they're even more fun to chew on. 

~

In other news, my computers being back mean that I can get properly acquainted with the new Doctor Who albums.  They are so beautiful ;-;  I am such a dork but I don't care.

Series Five has an almost unhealthy amount of motivational-epic-doing-things music.  It's the sort of album that makes riding the bus so much more exciting.

~

I like playing around with my tags.  I was considering making a dork type tag, but then I figured that I'd use it in every single entry, so it's kind of pointless.  Everything I write about being full of dork is pretty much a given.

A lesson in oviraptory
Bintie 7
zoeology
Note: for the sake of dramatic tension the word 'chicken' in this journal (and probably subsequent journals) has been replaced with the word 'dinobird'.  To further enhance the drama you are free to imagine these dinobirds whichever way you like, though seven foot long, jet black and with murderous red eyes is recommended.

So, I've just spent five days at a free range dinobird farm in the past, packaging eggs.  Really there isn't too much else to do on a free range dinobird farm, which is why it's amazing that the uni has increased the dinobird placement to five days (it used to be two).

Ed (the guy who owns the place) picked Cella and I up from the station on Monday morning.  We ran into a problem quite quickly...he was a little hard of hearing, and we're not really very noisy people by default.  He drove us off into his little world of dial up internet (D:) to a house made mostly of spider webs.  I'm painting it is a bad light, he was a great guy and staying there was awesome.  I would definitely recommend people try to grab him as your placement. 

Anyway, pretty much as soon as we drove up his driveway there were dinobirds everywhere.  Most of them are in sheds with adjoining yards, but some of them like to jump the fence.  It wasn't long before we were set to work collecting eggs from the sheds.  As soon as you go in, dinobirds everywhere.  EVERYWHERE.  Two of the sheds had 10 000 dinobirds in, the other had ~8 000 (they're a bad batch who have been particularly cannibalistic, and they were weird.  They followed you down the shed, but not in an 'everyone move together' way, in a 'I am following you down a dark alleyway and you can just see me out the corner of your eye' way).  So you push through them all, shoving them aside with your shoes and trying not to step on their feet.  You bend down to grab an egg that caught your eye and they are all over you, attacking shiny things (they really really liked my ring and if I was within range it got quite painful quite quickly) and trying to eat the eggs you are going for or have already collected. 

Every once in a while one will start a panic and they all leap into the air, blowing dust everywhere.

Or, they would manage to break an egg.  And then it would be like that scene in The Two Towers, where the Uruks start eating the one Uruk who got his head chopped off trying to eat Merry and Pippin, and they're everywhere and there's entrails flying everywhere, but with less entrails and more albumin.

What is the point of throwing food when you are eating?  I will never understand. 

And then you come out, clean off any poo on the eggs you've collected, and start packing eggs off the Perpetual Egg Conveyerbelt, which becomes a little addictive when you just have to get a few more eggs to fill a carton but they just aren't coming oh my god where there are too many now D:  The dinobirds would jump onto the conveyerbelt and smash eggs, or destroy all the ones at the bottom of the stack for fun.  We'd break for morning tea and then head back to repeat.  On one day Cella and I were split up to make everything go faster (though we were pro egg packers by this point) and I packed over 7 000 eggs with Ed's daughter Roweeeeena.  We finished by 12.30 most days and Cella and I spent the rest of the time making really crappy origami jumping frogs and playing the line game.  And napping.

So that was most of it.  On the second day we herded the cows (there were rodents for reptile food and for pets, goats, horses, cows and a deer on the property) across the road, which was...fun.  A bunch of them managed to squeeze under the fence and escape into the garden next door (thankfully Ed's oldest daughter's garden) and I chased them out of the gate and then had to chase one down the road to get it back to where it needed to be.  We also picked zucchinis a couple of times, resulting in me finding the GOD OF ALL ZUCCHINIS (it was as long as my forearm) and breaking out in a nasty itchy rash which came up in seconds (and thankfully went down pretty quickly too).  I ate more pig out of politeness (Ed cooked for us) then I will ever do again (I also ate fruit and veggies, shock horror.  I drew the line at onions and shrimp though) and rediscovered my love of apricot jam (seriously, apricot jam is the best of things).  Also on the second day I got fleas.

If you came to me and said "Zoe, I know this person who is a dermatillomaniac/has dermatillomaniacal tendencies and don't like them and want to give them a present to express my feelings for them, what would you suggest?" I would reply "well my good sir/madam I believe that a good case of fleas would be the best thing for that situation".

FLEAS.  They are big enough for you to see and sometimes you can catch them, but they're damned hard to kill unless you squish them in the right way, and often getting them into position results in them hopping off.  They are quick and they bite and make you itch and if they are on you you can feel them crawling.  If you have a tendency to scratch your skin off because it feels like bugs are crawling on it, having bugs crawling on it is not a good thing to have.  I managed to calm myself down with a really good shower (by 'not using up all the water' standards) and coating myself in aeroguard for the rest of the time there before I did any real damage, but really...fleas.  I do not like them one bit.

So that's one placement down, many to go.  Dairy moos next, which should be...less relaxing D:  But hopefully we'll get some cheese out of it or something...I came away from this one with 30 eggs, some garlic and some hugetastic beetroots.  I am very happy to be home though, where there is internet and small dogs and kitties with no fleas and my bunny <3
~

In forum news, the more I read of this MBTI dramathing the more I lol at me being called a J.  I write numbers for quantities over ten because that's how you do it when you do typing good (that's not strictly true, I also use eleven and twelve before I get into 13) and I structure my random question that way because it sounds better if it ends like that.

Also, why won't you define a INFP?  Ok, they jump out at you, but tell me how an INFP writes D: 

Also, Zoe is a week late to the party, but I was D:< facing at it all the way up to Gosford in my head, and a lot of the time when I was brainlessly packing eggs.

~

In goddammit-where-are-my-computers news, they will be back on Monday *rejoices*

Making money
Bintie 2
zoeology
Over the past few days I've been tagging along with my parents to do errands and stuff.  This is a common holiday pastime; while I'm perfectly happy to sit at home on my bum all day my mum is fairly people-needy, and is really good at guilt tripping me into being 'out in the fresh air'.  It's usually not too bad (so long as I eventually get a break from it), since I spend a lot of my time making fun of my mum, and that's always fun.  These past few days have been less fun, because we are in a decent amount of lack of money and have been doing 'yell at one another about lack of money' related things, and I tend to panic the more I think about it.

We're not as bad as we thought we were (we got some repayment for something?  I'm not quite sure of the details and I'm happy being ignorant) but we were extremely very not good back then and are still pretty badly in debt. 

I have a job.  I work a day a week at a pet supplies pet store, which is really all I can do during semester time.  It's the first job I've had where I don't go there hoping that the store has caught fire or something and I'll get the day off, so that's a positive.  My workmates find my tendency to semiconsciously be a smart arse know-it-all endearing for some reason (but seriously, who doesn't know that lead is toxic?), and I'm learning product stuff that they can't teach us at uni.  I make about $120 a week, which is pretty good considering that I freeload off my parents for food, water, electricity, transport and internet.

I don't spend very much, because I don't tend to want all that much, so my $120 a week goes towards fourth and fifth year (where we have to move to Camden and then off all around the place to do our clinical rotations), and towards my apparent need to bugger off to the UK every couple of years (Daniela's going to be there in two years and damned if I'm staying here if I have the ability go there).  That said, my parents do buy my sisters and I things when we need them, and more importantly (because I don't need things that often) they pay for my public transport to uni every week. 

What I was thinking was that I could at least cover that.  It's not much, but it's removing myself from the equation a little.  I can put my work money into paying for my not-food-and-utilities expenses, and put the rest away as savings.  And I can do this better if I finally get around to doing
~commissions~
which people have asked me if I do.  I figure I can do digital artsy things, plus I love making little sculpey charms and figures and I'm now teaching myself to crochet, with the intention of being able to crochet random animals (I'm eartufts and prehensileness away from finishing a very derpy looking binturong).

I have two problems with doing commissions for people.  One, I have no idea what to charge for things.  Sending things from Australia is a bitch, price-wise...in the past it's cost me about $13 in boxes and envelopes and shipping to send tiny charms which weigh practically nothing.  Sending crocheted things'd be cheaper, because I don't need to buy a little box as well as an envelope because they're not delicate.  But anything I make would have to cover $13 of shipping stuff :/  Drawn stuff leads into my second problem, which is that I compulsively draw free stuff for people and don't really have any special level of art that I feel I could charge money for >>

I also still don't have my computer, and summer tends to turn sculpey into a horrible unworkable semi-liquid, so it's not as if I can do anything about this at the moment, but I guess this was a longwinded way of wondering if anyone would commission me if I offered (and wondering if anyone who does do commissions could let me know how they work out how to price stuff).  I know that some lovely people have offered in the past when I've had a whinge about financial stuff, but I'm actually going to get my arse into gear and try to work out doing this once I get back from my placements.

I'm not even going to think about saving for my unidebt, because I'm planning on running away from that for a bit after I graduate.  Oh, to work in a country where profit comes from everyday procedures and not from selling pet food and flea stuff (I've been watching Bionic Vet and I think I'm in love with the guy a little bit).

~

Speaking of placements, Mr Chicken Placement Man, if you did not want to pick us up from Gosford because we have no transport you should not have written on your property profile "I will pick up from Gosford if students have no transport".  Please to not be getting grumpy at me for that, if I'd known I wouldn't've applied for your property :I

New years resolution
Bintie 4
zoeology
I think that I would like to come on here more often.  There are some people that I don't keep in touch with because I am crap and they are here, but not anywhere else that I'm active (not that I'm active many places).  I am crap at new years resolutions though, which is why I usually just forget to do them.  But I've actually got my own scanner again, so it'd be nice to upload scribbles from uni maybe.  And subject people to my inane thought processes (or at least whine about people on CS >>).  If nothing else I should make my moodtheme less ugly and anatomically inaccurate (god I hate old art >>).

That said, I don't have a computer because both of mine are dead (ergh I wish I knew what was happening with them, mainly the big one).  I'm only on now because I've stolen my mum's crappy laptop because it needs to be out of the way of the thing tomorrow morning.  It's annoying, because I'm feeling particularly creative and motivated, and if nothing else I would love to get those half finished obscurecivet analyses finished :/  Dumb Zoe doesn't back up all the Word documents before going overseas.

My sister's back.  The one who was away all last year.  We got through a day with no major altercations, so that's good.  She got me a little thing which is the bastard lovechild of a telescope and a kaleidoscope and distorts the everything when you look through it because she says I 'see the world differently'.

You have to give her credit, she does presents very well.

Also, who needs drugs; I have the bastard lovechild of a telescope and a kaleidoscope.  You should see my hands man.

Tell you about myself, if you're in the mood to listen
ace
zoeology

Hello friends, family and random people who have stumbled across this by googling “irregularly updated blogs of dull nerds”.  I am asexual.

I had planned on doing this next month, since next month is National Coming Out Day.  But this week is Asexual Visibility Week, and to be honest I’d rather do this sooner than later and not have to have it floating round in my head for another month.  It’s making me itch.

I realise that I have flamingoed up coming out to people in the past.  I blame my inability to put my thoughts together coherently when I’m talking to people.  I guess I take after my mum that way.  So I’d like to try again, so that I can get things clear and straight (...but not literally).  Hopefully more eloquently, but I can’t really guarantee that.  

I’ve got a history of assuming that what I experience of the world is what everyone else experiences.  I did it with my eyesight (apparently you should be able to read off blackboards, who knew?), I did it with fandom related stuff (apparently people don’t sit around at lunch discussing obscure Doctor Who related things...ok, that one I should’ve guessed).  For a long time I did it with attraction.  People feel instantaneous attraction towards other people, did you know that?  It’s probable that you do, but I didn’t.  I still don’t know, I assume from the evidence, because I can’t quite get my brain around it.

I spent most of my adolescence completely ignoring other people developing that sexual attraction drive.  I wasn’t very social (partially out of my own choice, partially because of other circumstances), so I was probably exposed to the “who do you like?” conversations less than other kids my age, but after a while I did notice that people talked about other people being attractive.  It was weird for me, I had (and still have) no idea what makes a person ‘hot’, so I assumed that I just hadn’t gotten around to growing up (Peter Pan syndrome for the win?) and decided to wait it out. 

And wait it out.

And wait it out.

For the most part it didn’t bother me, not understanding that particular facet of teenage life.  I was too busy with other things.  But looking back I think that it contributed to my difficulty in re-establishing a social life after dad got sick (and probably my lack of self confidence).  If nothing else it probably made me bitter and coarse with people whenever those conversations came up.  Outwardly I was wondering what was wrong with them...inwardly I was wondering what was wrong with me.

By the time I was seventeen I had toyed with the idea of being heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual (I was just out of dial-up internet and knew nothing of other shades of grey orientations).  None of the labels fit.  By this point I had a little social group (mostly made up of one person :D), and I’d taken up calling myself asexual whenever I was asked if I liked anyone.  “Lop off one of my arms and you can grow a new Zoe” I would say.  Like starfish, and frangipani trees, and Rachel in that one Animorphs book (but without the evil).  In hindsight it’s a little weird that I did that, what with me being a massively anally retentive pedant when it comes to using biological terminology.  So the word was there in my vernacular, as a kind of placeholder to make me feel less undercooked.  And then, one day on DeviantArt, I came across this stamp:

It got my attention, and sent me off to Wikipedia, which we all know is the most reliable resource in the world.  And yeah, I self diagnosed off the online editable encyclopaedia.  But If we consider the facts we find that it’s a valid diagnosis.

It is estimated that one in every hundred people may be asexual.  Asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction.  As a disclaimer, since it has come up in the past, it’s not asexuality in the biological sense.  It’s a matter of going back to the Latin.  But that is the common denominator, the lack of sexual attraction.  All other things are optional.  Some asexual people are indifferent to sex, some are repulsed by it, some are really sex positive and may have sex for one reason or another.  But they’re not sexually attracted to people.

[credit]

The problem with sexual attraction is that sexual people very rarely describe it.  Why would you need to?  Just last week I had a lecture on the parasite-host interaction which had a section on mate selection, and the lecturer said “you know how you’re just drawn to some people?” and talked about partner preferences in humans.  Do I know?  No, I really don’t.  As I said before, I assume.  But for most people the ability to understand exactly what he’s saying is innate. 

Oh but Zoe, you might be experiencing it without knowing!  Well, that’s possible, but I think that when you’re analysing your autonomic reactions to people you’re probably overthinking the issue because it’s not inbuilt.  I’m assuming from my observations that there is something that I’m missing...I mean my sisters have no trouble determining their preferences in people.  But I can’t really describe what I mean by sexual attraction, because it’s a bit like someone saying "I don't know what it feels like to be able to walk through walls, but I'll try to work it out in words so that I can tell people that that's what I don't feel".

In my opinion the main problem with asexuality is the lack of research into it.  It’s an invisible orientation, more or less.  It’s weird that people seem to accept the existence of homosexuality, but if I say that I don’t experience any sexual attraction there are a range of complicated reasons to account for this.  I just haven’t met the right person yet, I’m too young to know, it’s just a phase.  But what if we suspend our disbelief and take the most obvious solution to be the right one?

It really shouldn’t be all that difficult.  As one person I met said, people are fine with the idea that people are capable of not being attracted to a particular gender.  Heterosexual people are not attracted to people of their own gender; homosexual people are not attracted to people of the opposite gender.  It is possible to be attracted to both, so why not to neither?

(An intermission, because I feel I should apologise for the oversimplification of human sexuality here.  The grey areas in sexual orientations are huge and difficult to define, and I’m trying to work on basic ideas.  Sorry)

Maybe I haven’t met the right person yet.  But meeting the right person is unlikely to make me spontaneously sexual.  This is not a choice I’m making, it’s an inherent part of my biology and brain chemistry.  At least this is the most likely scientific explanation...so far research is showing strong indications that other non-heterosexual sexualities have a basis in our biology, and asexuality has been recorded in animals other than humans.  I’m talking about lack of attraction type asexuality, because the animal kingdom also has a lot of chromosomal asexuality (worker bees), behavioural repression asexuality (non-breeding animals in social groups, like meerkats) and hormonal repression asexuality (non-breeding naked mole rat females).  There have been a couple of studies into partner preferences in rams which have shown that asexual and male oriented rams have normal hormonal levels and cannot be ‘cured’ with additional hormones.  There was also evidence that they had different numbers of particular receptors in their brains to the female oriented rams.  There's one here, if you were interested.

But I can form romantic relationships and be asexual.  As far as I can tell my asexuality reaches as far as a lack of sexual attraction, an indifference to sex and an inability to pick up lots of bits of innuendo.  And even that last one might just be me being vague.  My lack of desire to have kids has nothing to do with being asexual, it has everything to do with me being misanthropic and lacking in maternal instincts.  My lack of interest in relationships boils down to me being really introverted and kind of uninterested in most other people in that way.  I’m not aromantic (and there's nothing wrong with being aromantic anyway...aromantic people live happy and fulfiling lives).  At the moment my money is on me being panromantic...I do get occasional intellectual crushes on people, and gender has never played a part in that (neither has appearance...I’m struggling to think of a Real World person I’ve ever had a crush of significance on). 

I do have an appreciation of aesthetics though, but the things I like tend to be features rather than whole people, and they tend to be things I enjoy drawing.  Lines that I like.  And I feel exactly the same feelings towards those things that I feel for masked palm civets (and other beautiful, neatly marking’d animals), Gallifreyan glyphs and steampunk’d things.  They’re just beautiful or fun to look at really.

The idea that this is age related is rubbish, to put is frankly.  I am 21 now, old enough to vote, drink in the US, go to war and eat dinner wearing a coat without getting my sleeves in my food.  If I can do all of these things, why do I not have the authority to know myself?  Ignoring the fact that I am an adult by most definitions of the word people much much younger than me experience sexual attraction.  According to one source people can start developing feelings in that area from as young as ten.  I’m kind of hoping that this will add further weight to my point here:


This is my sister's results to this quiz.

Those are mine.

We have been brought up the same way, share genetic sources and she is two years my junior (the quiz didn’t work on my littler sister’s computer).  Even if we consider the fact that this is a quiz on the internet (it’s not that bad a thing, but still not enormously scientific) we find that there is a massive difference in our results.  I'm quite out of the norm.

This isn’t something I’ve chosen.  It’s something inbuilt and probably biological and I can’t control it.  In times gone by and in my darker moods I wish I could change it, but when I’m happy with myself I’m happy with myself...I like who I am.  And this is a part of me.  It’s possible that it’s a phase, but it really isn’t probable.  Think about it, you could wake up tomorrow and find yourself sexually attracted to members of your own sex.  Or the opposite sex, or both, or everything in between.  So could I.  You could wake up tomorrow and never experience attraction again.  It’s improbable though.

Even though this is general and not pointed at anyone I am writing this with a couple of people in mind.  I just want to be able to be open about this.  I want to be able to joke about reproducing by budding again without that awkward moment that comes after.  I want to be able to watch TV (smeg, I want to be able to watch Sherlock) and be able to laugh about asexual characters without someone making that little strangled noise that tells me that they are worried about me.  There is nothing to worry about.  I want to be able to dork out like I did this year over Matt Smith and his Doctor, without being told that “there’s hope for [me] yet”.  I wasn’t aware that I was in a hopeless situation.  I’m not, I’m really not.  But when people treat me like I am...it’s uncomfortable.  It goes round and round in my brain.  I’m a little bit peculiar, a little queer, but I don’t think it matters.  But calling myself a straight, late bloomer isn't right, considering the evidence.

For everything that I can't explain, there's AVEN  :P  Swankivy also explains things really well.


And so it begins
Bintie 5
zoeology
Across Sydney first year Vet students pray to their respective deities. 

I draw an excessively happy bearcat and talk to myself.
He's right of course.  Today has been ok.

And tomorrow will be too.


Playing catchup
Bintie 4
zoeology

(I wrote this on Monday and couldn't upload it til today due to our internet not being there.  And I'm to lazy too edit it so that it flows nicely with the last two days.  Oh well, better late...)

I think I should update you on what has been happening.

Really it’s something I’ve been meaning to do since November, but I’m a characteristic procrastinator and there was always something else on.  And really my parents are the main ones who watch this. 

So, I arrived back in Sydney on the 15th of November, having spent a couple of days with the lovely Changer (of c-t-elder fame) who took me around Prague and let me meet some ferrets.  I was unable to meet up with Ekavi (from TDF) which was a shame.  So many people, so little time. 

But yes.  It was a nice day which I spent mostly running in circles in my room going “COMPUTERCOMPUTERCOMPUTERTABLETTABLETTABLECOMPUTERPHOTOSHOPTABLET”.  And Liat came over.  But that was forever ago.

Since then I’ve met a species of ungulate which I would even go so far as to say I wouldn’t mind working with them if there was the promise I would only have to work with them.  As this is impossible, I will not be specialising in alpacas.  They’re [relatively] big angry herbivores, but without the terrifying-ness of horses or the sheer unpleasant value of cows.  They do kick and they spit, but they make cute noises so it makes up for any yuckiness.  Also, they absorb water very well…no stomping through knee high waterypoo.  They have three stomachs and a gestation period of a little over 11 months.

We’ve got friends of friends who have a farm with 55 of them.  I’ve now been up there three times…unfortunately I’m missing a vaccination trip this coming weekend.  I did vaccinations the first time, and found that I’m a lot better at giving needles than taking them (see also: Q Fever vaccinations).

Despite coming back to find that there are pretty much no Classic Who story arcs on surfthechannel anymore, I whipped myself into a Whovian fury and decided to knit the Fourth Doctor’s scarf.  After looking for a pattern on the internet (surprisingly easy, there’s a guy who has seen the original, counted the rows and made a pattern…we salute you mate :D) I then had to convince my mum that it was a viable idea…she’s a knitter you see, and couldn’t quite fathom the thought of me knitting a 14 foot scarf (made of an estimated $120 worth of wool) before my inevitable death of old age.  My one other attempt at knitting is a 20cm by 20cm purple square in 12 ply…it took me several months when I was younger.

I explained that this was a nerdscarf, and therefore had extra motivation, and she caved in as long as I reduced the row length to 50 stitches rather than the original 60.  We figured I could do it on the bus to uni, and after buying most of my wool (for just over half the estimated price) I leapt into the challenge of knitting.

Not that it was much of a challenge.  Garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, Garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, Garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, Garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, Garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, garterstitch, new row, garterstitch…

One of the teachers at my old school was arrested for connections to an internet child porn ring, proving once again that the internet is largely populated by horrible things and I should be extremely grateful for my good luck with people from there.  I’m very thankful that I fell into such a nice corner of DeviantArt, and then on to the Forums. 

Anyway, it really knocked me around, that.  Felt like I’d had the branch chopped out from under me.  I’m still regaining my balance.  It’s slow going after such a paradigm shift.  Hypersensitivity doesn’t help.  I kept knitting.

I was getting through my knitting at an alarming rate.

I bought Spore.  Spore is a beautiful game.  I love it like life.  I’m even finding the Space Phase (which many people find boring) lots of fun.  I like just jumping between planets and selling them spice for grossly inflated prices.  And then buying their planets.  And also destroying all the religious civilisations.

My job at Planet Pooch began to come to an end as I got ready to go off to uni.  I had enrolled in January and was therefore, in my mind, thirty three and a half thousand dollars poorer.  Enrolling had come with the fun of buying all my bits and pieces...a dissection kit (to be used for the first time tomorrow), lab coats, goggles to go over my glasses (I was assured they would be fine but this is a LIE.  My nose is not big enough to hold glasses and goggles so they sit over my nostrils, holding them closed), really trendy overall things (really trendy…) and steel-toed gumboots and normal boots. 

Anyway, as I was saying, I finished off my time at Planet Pooch.  I do miss it.  Even though it gave me far too much time to dwell on the school situation.

My sister’s hissyfits became increasingly bad due to HSC stress, leading to a situation where I thought my mum was going to leave.  I had a quiet panic attack to myself.  Well, that’s not entirely accurate, since I’ve found myself using TDF as a crutch during these sorts of things.  There are some people there who really got me through my rough patch, and I can’t thank them enough.

The hissyfits are still bad, but my counsellor says to ignore her and let her rant.  For the sake of my limited sanity.

I bought a tiny laptop which is tiny for uni.  For some reason it has a wide screen.  The only reason I can see for wide screens is to watch movies in better dimensions, but it has no disc drive and is therefore stupid.

My package of vet stuff came and I spent a day wearing a lab coat around the house while I tried to hunt down a ball of beige wool (I had run out 100 rows from the end of the scarf and the wool was discontinued).  We managed to track down 10 balls in Spotlight in Auburn, which we bought gleefully.

A week passed.  I went into knitting-withdrawl.

Another week passed.

We tried to track it down and all that we could find was that it had left Auburn and could not be tracked further.

I met up with Carrie at uni and we did O-week stuff.  We signed up to various wildlife groups (on my part) and various drinking-and-history groups (on Carrie’s part).  We avoided the Christian groups and the political groups like the plague.  We joined AUJS because-our-mums-said-we-had-to for free because we did a questionnaire thingie.  The best question was:

Did you have a Bar or Bat Mitzvah?

-Yes

-No

-I don’t remember

-No answer

Who doesn’t remember something like that?  Must’ve been some potent stuff they were drinking/smoking/snorting.

The highlight was of course joining Sutekh, one of the oldest and most active clubs at the uni, and a nerdclub that started its life as a Doctor Who fanclub.  We spent most of the day hanging out with them, learning a spaghetti western card game and lamenting that my scarf hadn’t been finished in time (as was my goal when I saw that it was going so fast).

I went off to SOLE, the vet faculty’s orientation thingie.  I spent much of the first day standing around awkwardly and wishing that it was as easy to talk to people as it was to talk to Sutekhers (“Hi” “Hi” “So, I heard you like Doctor Who” “I love Doctor Who” “Who’s your favourite Doctor” “I have a soft spot for the Second Doctor…I wish more of his episodes had survived” “I like the Fourth Doctor” “I’m knitting a Fourth Doctor scarf at the moment…it was meant to be done by now, but Australia Post is Satan” “Man, that sucks”).  I managed to glue myself to one girl called Sarala, the first person I had talked to mumbled awkwardly at who wasn’t from Bioscience.  By lunchtime we were joined by Pooja, and we spent our time talking about our pets and exorbitant uni fees (Sarala is from Sri Lanka and Pooja is from Kenya, so they have to pay even more than me).  We went to Camden on the second day, and I sat next to a girl called Cella on the bus who had seen me on the Metrobus (see also: my bus into uni, god-in-bus-form, IT TALKS LIKE THE TUBE HOW COOL IS THAT).  Cella is from Maroubra and knows what a binturong is and also what a linsang is and her favourite animal is the pika.  She is therefore epically cool, even if she does like the BADaptation of Life on Mars. 

They had scones at Camden and we did team building exercises.  Then we went our separate ways for our last weekend as free people.

Uni started and I began to wish I’d caught up with this earlier.  I wanted to write about my days.  Sarala, Pooja, Cella and I glued together, which has worked well so far.  I struggled to keep awake through half of my subjects, the half being Chemistry and Cell Bio…the hardest ones.  BUT THEY ARE SO DULL D:

Back at home we called every wool shop in NSW to no avail.  Mum got in touch with some people on the Knit With Love group (they’re a knitting group that knit squares to be made into blankets to send to the third world and mum went to one of their knit-ins at the ABC centre last year).  We found two people with balls and asked them to “PLEASE SEND THEM TO US PLEASE OH PLEASE”.

They came the next day. 

That day we had Q Fever tests.  We needed to have a blood and a skin test to see if we were immune to the rather icky disease that is Q Fever.  I am not good with needles, so I warned the nurse that I had passed out with Guardasil.  She made me lay down while she did the skin test, and then made me wait 15 minutes to wait for my pupils to go back to normal.  Another nurse came to take blood, at which point my body did two things:

1) It tried to pass out, and finding that it couldn’t, relieved me of my lunch.

2) It decided that my blood pressure was too high, so it dropped it to the point where the nurse could not get any blood out of me at all.

I then spent a half hour trying to calm down so that they could try again.  Thankfully a smaller needle was used.  I’d been there just over an hour when they let me go, jellybeans in hand and slightly woozy.  That was when mum called to say that the wool had arrived.

I got home and, ignoring the painful holes in my arms, knitted like mad.  It was Tuesday.  Thursday would be the day when I went with Sutekh to see Watchmen…opening night.  I wanted to be finished with it by then.  That was the new target.  I did the remaining 100 rows in a day, and by Thursday all I had to do was tassels.  Since the first few weeks of uni were practice, we had most of Thursday off, and Friday was completely free, so I went and hung out with Sutekhers all afternoon, cutting tassels and threading them obsessively while one of the members of the executive made himself a Rorsharch mask.  His costume was awesome, especially standing in the line holding a bucket of popcorn.  Some girls walked out of the previous session, saw him and screamed.  He chased them down the stairs.

I was just happy because my scarf was done.  It is 998 rows, and made up of seven colours in stripes of varying thickness.  It is about 12 foot long.  It is awesome.

Watchmen was awesome too, but it finished very very late.  Thankfully I went with Carrie to stay at her boyfriend Lachlan’s house, which was convenient.

And uni was uni.  The Q Fever tests were predictably negative and I had to have the vaccine needle.  The Fridays without classes ended and I took to wearing my scarf every morning.  It’s cold when I get on the bus, and the Webster Lecture Theatre is freezing.  Tomorrow we have our first cutting-up-dogs prac…hopefully I’ll be ok.  The smell is pretty potent.  There were bags of organs in the lab today and they stank.

Why, you may ask, am I catching up now of all times?  Well, we have managed to use up all of our download limit for the month, so I cannot procrastinate in other ways.  This is being written in Word.  I have finished a Husbandry project and I did a Chemistry quiz today.  My laptop is uninstalling illegal!office2007 so that I can put legal!office2007 on it. 

And most importantly, on the first of April the BADaptation of Life on Mars will come to an end in the US.  I have followed its progress with a mixture of horror and disgust…it did not, as predicted, get panned at two episodes.  And it is painful.  They’ve been showing it on Channel 10.  But the point is that after 17 episodes, there will be no more BADaptation.  This means that the BADaptation is one hour longer than Life on Mars and therefore there really was no earthly purpose to BADapting it.  But some people are gits.  A lot of them work in television in America. 

After Wednesday (thankfully also the day that our internet comes back) it will be dead, and all that they will be showing here will be echoes of something when it was alive, like the light of stars that have long since exploded.

I shall watch the final episode, and I shall write a long report on exactly why it is made of INFERIOR and RUBBISH.  But first I needed to catch up.

 

 

Cows
Bintie 2
zoeology
Hilarious livejournal. Hilarious. Undeadjournal for Halloween. Good work.

Dear diary,

Today I met cows.

I spent most of today at the refet on my uncle's kibbutz [no more]. By the way, refet=dairy, not 'cow milking plant' as my mum called it for so long. Hehe. I got up painfully early, and was down there by 7.30, because I was told that the vet was coming at 8. The woman who runs it was really nice, and she lent me an extra jacket. Even with it I was absolutely freezing, it was raining and windy and I swear I have hypothermia now. Ho hum.

Anyway before the vet arrived I helped round up some cows that he had to see. Cows...smell. It's overpowering at first, and at one point I retched and had a horrible feeling that before long I would lose my breakfast. Also, I was pretty much squelching through shin-deep cow poo, so I thought I was going to lose my shoes too.

Today we give thanks to the Great Gods of Rubber Gumboots.

After that one wave of yuck I was fine...I wouldn't say that I got used to the smell, but it was less oppressive after a while. I followed the vet around for a couple of hours as he checked out all the cows. He told me that 80% of what you do with cows is gynalogical. I could tell. That was only one of the things I learned today. Some other things I learned are:

1. Cows are pregnant for 9 months.
2. All the cows in the refet are fed large magnets. Because they have four stomachs, the magnet doesn't pass through them, it just sits in their first stomach for their whole lives. Aside from being amusing (yay magnetcow) this magnet protects their digestive system...if they eat any little bits of metal they attach to the magnet and also stay in the first stomach.
3. The Israeli definition of an iced drink is cold. Therefore an iced coffee is cold coffee. This is gross. (I didn't drink their iced coffee, just saw them preparing it)
4. I could never be a large animal vet. I'm not strong enough, and chasing cows for the rest of my life and spending countless hours with my hand inside one is not my idea of an ideal job :D

Though it would've been warm in there.

After the vet left I helped out with some cleaning. Apparently I was cleaning better than they expected me to, because they came and showed me how to do it properly. It was essentially waving the brush at the wall. That technique would not clean a dog.

My arm and back muscles have turned to mush after three and a half months of nothing. Ow.

Anyway I finished cleaning one wall, and then was told not to bother continuing because they were going to bring in cows for milking. I went and helped round them up, and then I was shown how they get cleaned and how the milking machines get attached. The milking machines are heavy....very very sore arms. I helped out there for quite a while, and was quite proud of myself. It was a good day, a really good experience.

And a really really good hot shower.

Still around
Bintie 5
zoeology
Ahahaha, as soon as I get into a sort of lifestyle which allows me more internet access I resume my crappy posting habits.  I FAIL AT LIVEJOURNAL, HOORAY!

But I have been feeling bad about leaving anyone who may want to read incoherent ramblings with nothing to do besides follow the American elections.  Sarah Palin is a creationist psyco hunter and she scares me.  But that's about all of my opinion on that.

So, what have I been doing?  Well, since I last wrote I've speant some time with my mum's other brother and his family, most of whom don't speak English very regularly.  So I spent a few meal times staring into space and smiling vaguely.  It was nice to be there though.  Everyone is so kind, and they all want to feed me...

Speaking of food, or the lack thereof, I spent Yom Kippur with them.  And I kind of fasted.  I know, I know, I said that I fasted when we spoke on the phone, but that was because there were always relatives in earshot when I was talking to you.  In truth my total food for the 24 hour period was:

1 butterscotch lolly,
1 handful of crappy kosher imitation cocopops,
3 M&Ms

It's fasting for me.  I usually would've eaten two lollies and four M&Ms. 

I didn't go to shul, so I spent most of the day sleeping.  And finishing the slightly scary book on Jewish inbreeding genetics that Eve lent to me.  Oh, and playing that Rush Hour game.  The puzzle thing with the little red car that you have to get out of the maze of other cars.  I played it for about 2 hours straight.  Did 29 of the damn things, and then felt my brain leaking out of my ears.

What else did I do?  I went to the zoo in Jerusalem.  The Biblical Zoo, full of red pandas and siamangs and prairie dogs and kangaroos and other such animals that are not in the bible.  It was a good zoo though.  Very pretty grounds.  Really nice exhibits too.  They had a rainforest aviary walkthrough with two Victoria Crowned Pigeons, which I thought was pretty brave...I wonder how many visitors get bashed by them?  Maybe Wewak is just making a really bad name for his species. 

And then, of course, it was Shabbat, and I couldn't do anything again.  It's been Shabbat, festival, Shabbat, festival.  I think I'll blame my bad posting habits on that.

Yes, that is totally the reason I haven't posted in so long.

I caught the bus from Rosh Tzurim to Yad Vashem all by myself and didn't get lost.  I was quite proud of that.  I ended up spending five hours in just the museum part of Yad Vashem...and I still feel like I rushed it.  I might go back again if I get the time.  Hopefully I will.

What else is news?  I spent Succot here in Rehovot, and yesterday I went with Graham and Eve into Jerusalem to do a tour under the Western Wall.  That was fun.  It's amazing how huge it was, how far down it goes.  Most of the length of the surviving wall (which is a retaining wall, remember that for my next point) is buried under the Muslim quarter of the city and the general rubble of ages.  It was three times taller and lots and lots and lots of times longer.  We got to see the largest brick in the whole thing, a massive lump of stone about seven meters across.  It was an amazing tour.

Now here's a thought.  If you're reading this, you're probably Jewish.  You may even be a Jewish Studies teacher.  So you may know of a lovely shiny childrens story about the construction of the Second Temple.  It's a beautiful piece of biblical fanfiction, where the different sections of the returning Jewish community each build a different wall to the Temple.  And because the Western Wall is the one built by the poor people, who sacrifice everything they have in this act of faith, pouring their sweat and tears into its construction, it is this wall that the angels protect when the Romans are burning down the Temple.

But this is crap!  Because the Western Wall isn't part of the Second Temple...it's part of the retaining wall built by Herrod because he wanted to flex his Romanised architectual muscles and expand the Temple grounds.  So why was I lied to as a child?

WHHYYYYYYYY?

Just something for you to ponder as we get ever closer to the Great Holiday of Lying To Your Children (Christmas).

Today I went to Tel Aviv, by bus.  I wouldn't recommend it.  We actually Wiki'd Tel Aviv bus station last night, and not only is it the largest bus station in the world, it is a synonym in the world of design for "bad planning".  It's a horrible labyrinth thing.  The reason that I went to Tel Aviv was to go to the craft markets, which was fun at least.  I wandered around there for a bit, and around the general pirated-goods-and-general-crap markets.  I had a good day out.  Then I tried to get back to the central bus station only to find that the map I had printed was wrong, and that there were no street signs and no one knew how to get there.  How can you not know how to get to your central bus station?  I had to ask an American tourist.  He was the only person who had any clue.

Quiet day tomorrow, I'm going to help Eve out with Shabbat preperations.  Yay, Shabbat.  We're having a lot of people over, so it'll be busy.  That'll be good at least.

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