Thursday, March 17, 2011

A temporary pet

I came home a few nights ago, saw a LOT of bird poo on my flower tent, looked up into our tree, and saw an owl!  She was soooo cute!  I had been talking to myself as I approached my door (but let's not dwell on that...), and I'm pretty sure I woke her up.  She was looking at me all squinty eyed and we just stared at each other for a really long time.  I eventually went in, and within an hour she was gone.  Dan and I figured that was it, but instead she came back the next two nights.  She was there when I got home each night, watching me over her shoulder as I came up the walk, swiveling her head around to follow me until I went inside.

Dan and I came up with a couple names.  We first called her Professor Squint, but debated (much later at night) about Major Hooter.  Before we could decide, she disappeared, and we haven't seen her since.  She was only around for three days, but we kindof miss her.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

One effect of the heat...

Our bathroom mirror fell of the wall!


Late Friday night we heard a crash and opened the bathroom door to find this.  Apparently the mirror had just been glued to the wall, and it couldn't take the heat and humidity that comes with being in a bathroom in the hottest place on the planet.  (I do know that last bit isn't true, but it certainly feels like it.)

Saturday morning we taped up all the cracks because I was worried that once we shifted it to its side to transport it outside the little bits would all rain down and we'd have a trail of mirror bits throughout the house.  We also wrapped newspaper around the jagged edge, and without any drama managed to move it to the front patio.  Where it still sits, waiting for our mantainence person to pick it up--it doesn't fit in the bin.


The cleanup was a pain, mostly because we had to make absolutely sure we got all the little pieces, but I did enjoy taking photos of the two of us in the broken mirror.  My favorite one is below, but I couldn't help wishing that a good friend and avid photographer back in Berkeley had access to our broken mirror--because really, how often does this actually happen?

Footie

I never told you all about Footie, or Australian Rules Football.

Wikipedia actually provides a good account, go figure, so I won't actually explain the game the way the Aussies see it, but rather share with you some thoughts I had while watching my first game.

It seems to be a combination of American football, soccer, and basketball, with a little volleyball thrown in for good measure. 
  • The tipoff is like in basketball
  • Players can only pass the ball by punting it football style or underhand serving it a la volleyball style
  • Time is measured like soccer
  • Players have to touch the ball to the ground every [10, or 15, or something] meters like travelling rules in basketball
Overall I was really impressed by the amount of precision each player has when passing the ball.  Punting is not the easiest way to pass something football shaped, and mostly it went where they were intending it to go.  Also, these guys run A LOT.  They actually have people who run out on the field (while game is still in play) with bottles of water just to keep the players hydrated because there are so few breaks.

Oh, and no one gets penalties while the game is being played.  Think about it.  Last year some player decked another one, I think knocking him out, and the aggressor got to finish the game while the other guy got hauled out on a stretcher (perhaps that bit is exaggerated).  Instead, at the end of each week, any player who did something wrong/morally questionable/just plain rude during a game has to appear before some footie trial board and get handed a punishment then.  I think the guy who decked the other guy had to miss like seven games or something.  It seems very weird to me.

But the best part is that if the person with the ball gets tackled, he has to get rid of the ball before he's taken down, or the ball becomes the property of the person who's doing the tackling.  American football requires players to hold on to the ball no matter what so that the other team doesn't get it, and footie completely reverses this.  So--when someone gets tackled, the ball often looks like it just pops out of their arms, because it all happens so fast, and if this happens a few times in succession, it begins to look like the footie players are chasing a greased up piglet at the county fair--they keep trying to hold on, but the little bugger just slips out.  It's HILARIOUS*.  though probably just to me...

*No, I do not condone piglet chasing in reality.  It's just a fantastic image.

Flower Tent

It's ridiculously hot here.  Seriously, it's crazy hot.  Not only is (was) February the hottest month, but this particular February was the hottest on record in the past two decades.  And we've apparently broken the record for consecutive days over 30 degrees Celsius.  It's been between 95 and 100 Fahrenheit here for at least a week. 

Accordingly, my plants aren't happy.  My marigolds have been holding on like real troopers for the past two weeks, and I've been really pleased that they continue to have a positive attitude about this heat.  Or at least they did, until today.  They only get about 2 hours of sun each day, and today they went from perky to completely dead looking in that small span of time.

So I built them a tent.  I'm hoping it will provide shade and not a greenhouse effect that makes everything under it 20 degrees hotter than it is already.  I guess we'll see tomorrow.