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Life with Chaos Cockatiel [Oct. 13th, 2012|11:53 am]
[Current Mood |busybusy]

Every now and then I feel like putting out a PSA for pet bird ownership, and today seemed timely after a morning of chasing Chaos Cockatiel around the house. Until a few years ago, I only had ever owned budgies. They're cute and cheerful, but the downside is that they are so overbred that one is lucky to have one that lives a long time. One gets tired of losing budgies to tumours. So when a friend of a friend mentioned that they had a cockatiel that needed a good home, I stepped up to the plate.

Any time a new bird comes into a house, there's a honeymoon phase where the bird is very friendly and tends to be quiet. They are ever so polite. Then, a few months in, one wonders why the quiet, polite bird is suddenly replaced with one that knows exactly how to push your buttons! They absorb every aspect of the daily routine.

Forget the Chaos Butterfly; Chaos Cockatiel knows how to wreak havoc in a large way on a small scale. You like this mirror? It's mine now. How about these cupboards? Mind if I chew on them? Hey, look at that, you're out of reach. The cocky arrogance overwhelms and exhausts as he looks for distractions to steal a bite of food. He'll chew through a bread bag in seconds flat.

Chaos Cockatiel is 11 years old but is a permanent toddler that screams, flies and poops everywhere. Many people buy pet birds without realizing just how long they will live. As a result, pet birds often have multiple homes, just like Chaos Cockatiel. Birds form long term relationships, and multiple homes and owners have turned him into a very needy Chaos Cockatiel. Where are you going? Are you going to be back? Do you still love me? Wheet? Wheeet? WHEET! He expresses all these feelings in variations on one sound when I'm trying to get some homework done before finally letting out a shower of whistles. Notice me! Love me! My heart breaks for such a simple creature.

He'll live another 9 years or more, and probably will, as we take good care of him. Few people understand that birds need vet care just like any other pet. So Chaos Cockatiel goes to the vet for an annual exam, where he hisses and scrowls at the nice people and makes a furious show of how brave he is. And he is stupidly brave and bold. It would take all day to recount the stupid things and near misses his bravado results in.

Life with "pet" birds is essentially life with a wild animal that has all its wild instincts intact. And one of those wild instincts is the urge to nest and mate. Suddenly any dark spot looks very attractive, and any male a competitor. Chaos Cockatiel's previous homes mistook his clucky sex noises to be kissy sounds, and unfortunately, probably unknowingly, encouraged some negative behaviour that still persists.

Have I mentioned the noise yet? Cockatiels are LOUD. Louder than budgies. One can tune out senseless budgie chatter, but try tuning out a piercing WHEET. Parrots are meant to communicate across a forest, and your house is not a forest. A closed door and loud music aren't always enough to drown out Chaos Cockatiel's calls. He's akin to a baby that can't be calmed and hushed. He can be LOUD for hours.

All the pet books and websites can't prepare one enough for cockatiel ownership because each individual is so different. If you're going to get a pet bird, you MUST BE SURE you LOVE the bird personality. You must love having a fragile pet that is constantly curious and likes to chew. You must be prepared to be bitten. Sometimes a lot. It's hard to equate the amount of mess or sound in a book.

But still I wouldn't trade Chaos Cockatiel. We'll be his last home, his forever home, no matter what. Because even when he's distracting enough to make a simple task take half an hour, he still has his alter ego Calm Cockatiel. Calm Cockatiel enjoys preening my hair and sitting on my chair or eating peas. He can chew for hours on a piece of string and is generally a joy to be around. It's taken a lot of time and training to tone down the Chaos Cockatiel behaviour.

So please, before considering a pet bird, consider all that it is going to come with it - just not the cost of the bird or the cage or the food or the vet (and please, please don't get a bird if you can't afford a vet) - make sure you truly have space in your home and heart for such a creature.
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I SWEAR I thought this was a parody at first... [Mar. 2nd, 2012|09:26 pm]
[Tags|]

Ah, I hate to give some people more attention than they deserve, but...combine two 80s Apple ads with an odd amount of fail and you get this:





I do like the poop shooting one much better though! It's supposed to be mud, but come on!



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Bug Jack Barron [Jan. 8th, 2012|09:07 am]
[Tags|]

It's funny how you can know about something, yet not know about it at the same time. Such is the case of Bug Jack Barron, a 1969 novel by Norman Spinrad. The reason I should have known about it is that it heavily influenced Transmetropolitan - his name is plastered all over writings about the graphic series and yet somehow in my youthful HST tunnel vision I failed to pick up on it.

It's possible that the timing was all wrong too - it was recently re-released as an eBook on Smashwords, so it was probably out of print for some time. The first couple of chapters had me lost for a bit before the story picked up its groove, and once I got on track that the "Bug" part was not a nickname, but the name of Jack Barron's call-in show, things went more smoothly from there.

I think it's unfair to categorize the book as science fiction, but it certainly must have seemed that way over 40 years ago. People were still struggling to figure out how all this new media and technology jazz was going to work or change their lives. Thankfully there isn't a heavy focus on technology - nothing is more painful than the clunky names that authors gave technology back then. In the future, a phone will still be called a phone, but there's no way Philip K. Dick and Ray Bradbury could have guessed that. The one glaring piece of outdated technology in the book is in fact the Bell Videophone, which just never ever caught on. The videophone figures prominently as the main form of communication between Jack, his friends, callers and enemies.

A good deal of attention is paid to the format of the call-in show, where Jack constantly signals to his producer to manipulate what the viewer sees - such as splitting the screen and cutting callers off. As such, the book also explores media literacy. I almost want to know if TV and radio personalities had as much power back in the day, or if Spinrad was just able to predict the power one personality could have over an audience.

Bug Jack Barron really gave me the shivers in more ways than one and it's fair to say that a lot of the concepts in the book have come to pass. Jack Barron is a social activist turned talk-show superstar, inviting his audience members to call in with what's bugging them. He stumbles quite by accident into a conspiracy that crosses race, economic status and political corruption.

It seems prudent to warn that the character of Jack Barron is also a little sexist and the characters often expouse racial ephitets. Jack is a bastard, plain and simple, and either you love bastard characters and writers or you don't. Anything that involves the future is also a product of the time it was made. I sense there is increasing discomfort with people of today looking at things of the past with all their ugly inequalities and prejudices. But it would be a shame to reject these cultural works or histories because they only serve as a reminder of how much growing and changing society has done and still has to do.

Like HST, Spinrad was also influenced by the Beats, seen in the stream of consciousness flow of the characters thoughts, anxieties and nightmares. Naturally there is a drug influence too. More straight up narration and storytelling alternates with this flow to make an interesting, well-rounded novel. I really enjoyed Spinrad's economical style of writing which keeps the book at a great pace. Gonzo fans will definitely enjoy this story of a hero-journalist!
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Playboy releases HST correspondence [Oct. 18th, 2011|05:54 am]
We all know HST led to write and FAX letters, so enjoy this new Trove!

https://www.playboy.com/magazine/correspondence-with-hunter-s-thompson
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Tweets for Today [Aug. 28th, 2011|01:00 am]
  • 05:30 Tweets for Today: 19:50 Tweets for Today: 00:00 Tweets for Today: 05:45 Roxanne Pulitzer's amazing Telluride man... t.co/EA34Xoo #
  • 07:29 @Borzage Nope :-) I was trying to feed Twitter to LJ, but I think something is broken with LoudTwitter. #
  • 07:30 Rum Diary trailer now available! t.co/ecT5C2u #
  • 07:36 @Borzage It's hard to believe those times ever existed! So magical :-) #
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Tweets for Today [Aug. 26th, 2011|01:00 am]

  • 19:50 Tweets for Today: 00:00 Tweets for Today: 05:45 Roxanne Pulitzer's amazing Telluride mansion - t.co/pxGzCDG - HS... t.co/eRH1XNp #

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The Rum Diary Trailer [Aug. 25th, 2011|08:48 pm]
[Tags|, , ]
[Current Mood |happyhappy]

After so many years, it doesn't seem real! I can't wait :-) If the video doesn't load, try watching it here: http://www.aintitcool.com/node/50965



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Tweets for Today [Aug. 8th, 2011|01:00 am]

  • 00:00 Tweets for Today: 05:45 Roxanne Pulitzer's amazing Telluride mansion - t.co/pxGzCDG - HST wrote about her during... bit.ly/nVfZhC #

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Tweets for Today [Aug. 7th, 2011|01:00 am]
  • 05:45 Roxanne Pulitzer's amazing Telluride mansion - t.co/pxGzCDG - HST wrote about her during her divorce trial. #
  • 09:10 @loudtwitter Is the service still in...service? I'm still waiting for an activation email and it's not in the junk folder. #
  • 22:09 @breakbeat Belated thanks for the RT! #
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I'm amused! [Mar. 20th, 2011|10:13 pm]
[Tags|]
[Current Mood |amusedamused]

If you enjoy wasting time on the Internet like most people, you'll probably love 20Q.net a 20 questions game that is surprisingly good at guessing -

Q19. I am guessing that it is Hunter S. Thompson?
Right, Wrong, Close
18. Are you Catholic? No.
17. Are you a teenager? No.
16. Are you white? Yes.
15. Are you American? Yes.
14. Are you a business person? No.
13. Are you part of an association or league? Yes.
12. Have you used a weapon? Yes.
11. Did you die under suspicious circumstances? No.
10. Were you involved in a scandal? Yes.
9. Are you known as a hero? Yes.
8. Were you nominated for an Academy Award? No.
7. Are you still alive? No.
6. Are you a political figure? Sometimes.
5. Are you known for your live performances? No.
4. Are you a movie star? No.
3. Do you play outdoors? No.
2. Are you old? Yes.
1. Were you popular in the '90s? Yes.

Q19. I am guessing that it is William Burroughs?
Right, Wrong, Close
18. Were you involved in a scandal? Yes.
17. Are you an only child? No.
16. Are you comedic? No.
15. Are you on a hit TV show? No.
14. Have you ever been in jail? Yes.
13. Do you appeal to teenagers? Yes.
12. Are you white? Yes.
11. Are you still alive? No.
10. Were you popular in the '40s? No.
9. Are you funny? Sometimes.
8. Are you attractive? No.
7. Are you a singer? No.
6. Are you a game show host? No.
5. Were you born between 1900-1950? Yes.
4. Do you wear makeup? No.
3. Are you an actor? Sometimes.
2. Are you still on the air? No.
1. Were you popular with children? No.
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