firstfallenpanda: (Default)
Fires: last night on the way to fetch Phleep from Gandalf's I happened to glance up to see Devil's Peak on fire. It was awesome to see, like a special effect from a movie, while at the same time sobering and saddening to realise how much plant and animal life must've been destroyed. There are lots of pics on News24. The view this morning was of an ashen mountain. Thankfully no one was killed. I feel for the wildlife reserve, though, I have often admired the wildebeest standing sentry on that hill over the M3, watching the cars go by.

Snot: my fluishness has turned to green mucus, hooray. I am at home sick today, hoping this won't turn into an URTI*. I have had two in the last month. Apparently the 16 days total of burning fires has pushed up the pollution levels somewhat, I'm wondering if this is the cause of my unseasonal respiratory issues, I usually get URTIs in winter. Hello URTI my old friend...

Imminent baby: Scroob has gone into labour, I'm watching the Ravelry forum like a hawk. I will sms people as soon as there's news other than "dammit, contractions hurt". Leave a comment if you want to be on the sms list. I guess I'm the SA news portal :P.

Awesome doggies: a video showing why Border Collies are the best dogs evar. Also, craaaaazy Welshmen doing amazing things with LEDs and sheeps.

* Upper Respiratory Tract Infection, I get them so damn often :(

New cat!

Dec. 16th, 2008 11:25 am
firstfallenpanda: (Default)
We has a new cat! She is lovely and sweet, her name is Pandora and she's about 4 years old. She is the black one that I tried to home in late November, Phleep said we could take her if no-one else wanted her. She is fitting in really well, already taking up bed-space. She plays nicely with Puff, seems to ignore Nanuk but doesn't get on with Possum. I think they're too similar and fill a similar niche in our cat ecology. Possum is jealous of her and she is scared of Possum, which is really weird as Possum is the sweetest cat evar. I'm hoping it will get better, we've only had her for a couple of weeks. There's always Feliway (which I've been spraying around like air freshener, even though it really stinks and gets in my throat). It turns out she wasn't preggies, just fat. I brought her in to be spayed and after fighting with her to get the jelco in (it's the drip thing they put in the arm to inject into), and shaving her arms and her tummy, the vet saw her spay scar. Oh well, we didn't know. She was very very cross for about 2 days, not eating and hiding under the bed. I think the anaesthetic took long to wear off and she was feeling a bit ill. Her tummy is still all naked and chubby :P.

We have been watching True Blood recently, it is made of win. It's a vampire series set in a small town in Louisiana, where vampires come out of the coffin and try to "mainstream". It's based on novels, which are obviously a bit Mary Sue, but still has an interesting plot and believable characters and an awesome soundtrack. It's really recent (September 2008) so we'll have to wait a while for the second season to be made.

It really doesn't feel like Xmas yet, even though I have my tree up (despite Puff's best efforts at scaling the tree-trunk and trying to steal the ornaments). I think it's the lack of mass-shopping for presents and total consumerism, and the fact that I'm not that keen to spend the day with my extended family. We are all poor this Xmas, so I'm not buying presents for anyone except the children in my life. I'm going to take all the arb bath-stuff/biscuit/chocolate money and donate it to a good cause, then tell my family that on Xmas day. I plan to do the same for friends, btw. Maybe buy everyone a membership to the Animal Rescue Organisation or something. I remember a couple of years back wolverine_nun collected money at the annual Boxing Day Braai and donated it to various charities. Confluence and I have been discussing an idea like this and that's what will probably happen. For the price of a box of biscuits in a tin you can pay for a stray animal to be sterilised. Alternative gifts are the way of the future, no one needs more stuff.

It's a lovely day outside, even if I am at work. 

ps: This post courtesy of egadfly's meme, for which I did not have a sentence for December :P. But really, I have been wanting to post for a week or so, just haven't found the time.

ppss: go look at cute baby animals !

firstfallenpanda: (Default)
I don't think I will ever witness anything as amazing as a large white stallion doing a capriole*. Even if he did remind me of the fat white horse in the opera Bugs Bunny cartoon**.

The Lipizzaners were absolutely beautiful. Their origins as medieval warhorses are clear, I can totally see an armoured knight up there. They are huge and strong and radiate power with every move. I think only about a quarter of the audience appreciated the difficulty of some of the sequences, but I think all were impressed. It takes many years to train them and it shows. Most beautiful horses evar.

* a leap into the air with all four feet and then a kick out with the back legs, apparently intended to decapitate foot-soldiers.

** kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit...


Oct. 1st, 2008 01:41 pm
firstfallenpanda: (Default)
I've started to upload the UK holiday pics to my shiny new Flickr Pro* account. There are some with humans in, if you are one of these and would prefer not to have your face all over the internets, let me know and I'll take it down. Most of the Innocent Fete and London Zoo pics are by [ profile] gnomeza, the rest of the London/wedding/Dorset pics are by me.

Other than that: meerkats! Sloth! Baby komodo**! and a giant friggin moth. Mothra, really. I have more from Dorset that will get uploaded tonight, hopefully. Argh, teh sloooow internets.

Birthday last week was good, my Phleep took me to the Tibetan Teahouse in Simonstown. We saw whales, just chillin 20m off shore. While I didn't feel the need to pull over (like so many many others, stupidly, on a busy road) I'm really glad they are there. Cetaceans ftw.

The birthday party on Saturday was cool, despite being crashed by family. Sorry I was a bit antisocial, I was a bit miff. Lovely to see you all, and thanks for the presents :).

* thanks, hodge and confluence!
** komodo dragons would be Gluttony, I suppose. Is there Really Bad Oral Hygiene a Deadly Sin? It damn well should be. Eww.

firstfallenpanda: (Default)
There's a cheetah downstairs, in for its annual checkup. It's screaming the screams of a small child throwing a tantrum: angry, scared and futile. It's stopped now, I hope they got the anaesthesia in.

In other news, see knitblog for updates on projects (if you care) and a report on yesterday's Train Ride From Hell (tm).

A rant on RSVPs... )

firstfallenpanda: (Default)

Here is a short run down of what we've done this past week. It would've been longer but Sky shows lots of Star Trek late at night :). Also, I would've put in links but I'm lazy and you can all use Google.

Seen lots of people (Scroobious and husband, Stefi, Claire, Mark, frogmort, Austin and quietly-mad Korean gf Yooen Mi*, Duncan tomorrow, AndRen)**. Went to the Innocent Fete last Saturday, it was awesome. I have millions of pics, courtesy of Mark (my delicious photographer, also does weddings and birthdays but only if all participants are naked) and lots of ferret pics, I'll put them up when I have more time and less Star Trek***. Had a fleeting meeting with local SCA (sorry again about the beer spillage, bend_gules).

Went to see Avenue Q, it's awesome. Featuring such songs as "The Internet is for porn", "Everyone's a little bit racist", "You can be as loud as the hell you want when you're making love" and "It sucks to be me", it's well worth the 30 poond (each) Phleep's work paid for us to see it. I promised bend_gules a review, but suffice it to say that it's really good and funny and everyone should see it. Gay Muppet pron!

Went to the Zoo with Mark, it was lovely. Photos of baby Komodo Dragons ("those are from the Galapagos, innit?" Argh, die morons) and marmosets and giant mantis egg-cases coming soon. Also spent lots of time walking in Regent's Park. I think I might move there as a bergie, it's so lovely. Also, I've discovered an unknown passion for Pimms. Mmmm, Pimms. It even rhymes, see?!

Been doing lots of knitting on tubes and buses, travel just takes so long here. Tomorrow I start my Ravelympics projects, whee. I have one that _has_ to be finished before I leave, I hope it goes well. 

The wedding is this Saturday, I'll post again next week. Until then, hope your weather is better than this humidity and rain. My dad says my cats are pining for me but the weather is lovely. Sigh. Also, I'm glad we're leaving London soon, it's expensive and I'm becoming addicted to sausage.

* yes, yes, the joke has been made often
** I would put in the LJ links, but I'm lazy
*** so probably at the parents, they don't have Sky. If I had Sky I would never leave the house. Maybe that's why so many Londoners get groceries delivered

ps: must remember to rant about how pathetic UK parents are and how badly behaved their kids are and how I could totally snatch one and they wouldn't notice and how they've handed all responsibility for raising their kids to the govmnt.
firstfallenpanda: (Default)
The not-so-serious bit:

The San Diego Zoo is made of win. They have a polar bear cam! You can watch nanuks, all day and all of the night. Check out the Nanukcam. Also, they have a Pandacam! They offer a bear breakfast, where you can visit the polar bears and pandas* and have pancakes. That sounds like the most me thing evar. If it were presented by a naked Jared Leto I'd totally be there (like a bear) even if I have to stow away on a plane. I need to be in San Diego in July. Sigh.

If animal voyeurism is your thing, check out the Apecam and the Elephantcam as well.

Is it bad of me that I only had a fleeting "oh, shame" thought for the Chinese people who died in the earthquake, while my heart wrenched when I thought of the pandas that had suffered? Too many people, not enough pandas.

The serious bit:

Polar bears have been listed as a "threatened" species now. Too much C02, not enough pack ice :(. The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the US Interior Department agency that evaluates endangered species, has declared them threatened. They are the first species to be listed due to global warming. The FWS, however, delayed this decision by more than a year in order for the Minerals Management Service (MMS), also part of the Interior Department, to complete the auction of land in the Chukchi Sea for oil exploration (despite lawsuits by environmental groups), and only made its decision at all because a court forced them to. The listing poses some interesting questions as under the Endangered Species Act anything that threatens a listed species is questionable. From a February article in Time:

...If the species is declared threatened, FWS will have responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act to protect the bears from their main danger — in this case, climate change. That means the government could be challenged legally for anything that increases carbon dioxide emissions — like a new coal power plant — on the grounds that further climate change would further endanger the polar bear. "It would be the first time that the Bush Administration would recognize that global warming had a significant and specific impact on a living being," says Eben Burnham-Snyder, a spokesperson for Markey. "This could have a wide-ranging effect on the energy and environmental policies of this country."...

Unfortunately, Big Oil's politicians have seen through this. The maintain that oil exploration and production will go on in the Arctic as they are sure it won't harm the polar bears or the other inhabitants. From the (this really good) LA Times article:

...But the department also issued special rules designed to exempt from the law offshore oil and gas drilling in prime polar bear habitat off Alaska's north coast. Moreover, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced he was taking a series of steps to short-circuit legal plans by conservation groups to use the polar bear's protected status to block new power plants and other sources of carbon dioxide and other gases that contribute to global warming. He said listing the polar bear as threatened "should not open the door to use the ESA to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles, power plants and other sources. That would be a wholly inappropriate use of the Endangered Species Act. The ESA is not the right tool to set U.S. climate policy."...

And a contender for Stupidest Politician Statement of the Year:

"Interior secretary said he saw no reason to hold up the offshore leases because Fish and Wildlife Service scientists said the projected decline of the polar bear was due to vanishing sea ice, not oil and gas development."

But "conservation groups, however, have been gearing up to test that premise in court":

...A Supreme Court ruling last year that defined carbon dioxide as a pollutant undermines the Interior Department's position, said Andrew Wetzler, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council. Under Massachusetts vs. EPA, he said, "you don't need to show that you can solve an entire problem by going after a specific source."...

This should be an interesting battle. I'm sad that all the local news had about it was a small line on Etv's scrolling bottom-of-screen news reel.

In other news, the small Alaskan village of Kivalina is suing various companies because their island is crumbling and will be uninhabitable by 2012. Depending on how it goes, it might open the way for more suits in that vein.

* yes yes, I know they're not really bears
firstfallenpanda: (redridingpand)
I just heard that the baby buff died, a week after it left us. Apparently the owner fed it too much lucerne and when its stomach inflated she thought she could leave it till the next day. After a R20k operation, which was successful, and freaking out so much when it was here, what a stupid thing to do. Oh well, I hope she's really cross with herself. Poor buff buff, what a way to die. Colic fatality.

See my flickr page for photo of the buff, as well as cute cat pics.
firstfallenpanda: (rollpanda)
So, the baby buffalo is doing well. His* eyes are inflamed and if they don't get better the operation will have been all in vain. He's full of life, though, attacked a nurse when she tried to give him a shot :P.

Looking forward to a weekend of vegging and knitting and watching movies. Not so looking forward to a family thing tomorrow. I don't really get on with my family, we have nothing in common. I think P and I will leave early to go watch movies at CW.

I periodically go through these self-pity phases of  "I'm so lonely, I have no friends, I miss all the friends I used to have, how did I screw up the friendships so badly, etc". It's true, I did used to have lots of friends. I did go out often with them and do stuff. I seem to have become very antisocial in the last 2 or so years. Many of the friends I cut off cos they were just no good for me. Very self-destructive relationships there. I still miss them, though, and I often think of initiating contact. Then I think "what will I say? do I still want to be friends with these people? they've changed, they are no longer the people I was friends with and who I miss". I read stuff about them on blogs and through the wonderful stalking mechanism that is Facebook, and I'm glad they are doing well for themselves. Occasionally** I indulge in a bit of schadenfreude when I hear about something bad that's happened to them. But mostly I'm happy that they are happy. There is a thing tomorrow, some of the former friends will be there. But, it's hosted by someone I really can't stand and even though I like the person for whom the party is being thrown and I like most of the people going and it might be cool to see some of the former friends in a vague way, I will be very uncomfortable in that venue. I wish I could be grown-up and just Get Over It, but I can't and I'd rather stay out of situations where I'm uncomfortable or where I'll get all miff.

I think I will post this as not friends-locked. Maybe they will see it and know that I do feel bad about my actions and what happened and that I do miss them and wish them well, I don't sit up at night hating them. I'm just not sure I want to be friends with them. If that makes sense.

I have a question: can one be lonely and antisocial at the same time? I miss having people to do stuff with and I miss the people I used to hang with, but I also like being by myself and not having to be cheerful or think of things to say so people will think I'm interesting. Eh. Sometimes everything is such an effort.

The weather outside is turning cold and stormy, I'm looking forward to snuggles and a bad medieval movie on TV tonight. And possibly sushi. What I actually feel like doing this weekend is crawling into bed and moping and wallowing, but I think it would be better for me to do something else. So, tomorrow night I plan to go out to a club. I don't know which one (it's been so long, I don't know what's open anymore) and I don't know who will be there (maybe you?) but I will have a Good Time, even if I have to grit my teeth and pretend. I'm still in my twenties, dammit, enough of this watching TV and knitting crap. I used to go out dancing alot. It's time to rediscover my youf.

* I'm not sure what the sex is, I just use whatever I feel like when I refer to it.
** Ok, more like "frequently". I'm a bad person, yes, I know. It's not enough that I succeed, others must fail.


Apr. 16th, 2008 05:34 pm
firstfallenpanda: (minions)
In other, happier news, there's a week-old baby buffalo downstairs! She's sooo cute, all wet-nosey and hand-lickey. She's here for cataract surgery, poor baby. Have I mentioned how much this job rocks?


Apr. 3rd, 2008 10:55 am
firstfallenpanda: (minions)
Cheetah Outreach brings their cheetahs here for treatment. There's a king cheetah downstairs and I got to see him up close! Later, when he's unconcious, I'm going to go fondle him. Mmmm, big kitty.
firstfallenpanda: (Default)
I bought some make-up last night. I went for the Clarins automatically as I know it's cruelty-free. They did not have the shade of eye-shadow I wanted, so the woman pointed me to Givenchy. She assured me, several times, that it wasn't tested on animals. I told her it was something very important to me and I wouldn't buy it unless she could assure me that it was ok. So, I bought it and it was quite expensive. Now, after some Googling, it turns out that Givenchy is on the "banned" list according to Uncaged and The Bill Jordan Foundation from the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection's "Little book of cruelty free". So, I'm going to call Edgars today and demand a refund as I was blatantly misled. I'm actually quite pissed off. Next time, if it doesn't say so on the box, it's not bunny-free.

I am considering emailing Givenchy and asking them, but I don't know if they'll give me a straight answer.

Edit: I spoke to the cosmetics manager at Edgars, who said they'll gladly credit the makeup. She didn't seem that concerned that one of her salespeople blatantly lied to a customer to make a sale. What if I'd been a Muslim and bought a leather jacket that they assured me was cow and it turned out to be pig? I think I might actually write a letter to head-office, ccing a newspaper and animal rights group.
firstfallenpanda: (Default)
More and more, I feel that I should be doing this with my life:

Activists threaten to ram whalers

One day soon I will run away to join Sea Shepherd and eat lentils and tofu all day and ram those Japanese whale-killing bastards. Greenpeace is cool, but they're wusses. As fond as I am of Gandhi and his teachings, sometimes you need to open a can of whoopass before environmental criminals will listen. Australia may suck in other areas, but they're on the right track leading the international diplomatic anti-whaling protests.

Also, if you're not doing anything on Saturday the 26th, there's an anti-fur protest at Constantia Village. I plan to be there, red paint and all.


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