frightened: (bike)
2012-02-25 08:01 am
Entry tags:

Rollin', rollin', rollin', rollin, huh!

Today I'm skating in Scar Wars: A New Hope, my first ever roller derby bout. My league have put it on for skaters who've just passed their basic skills. I'm very nervous, and I fell at practice yesterday and managed to wallop my hip. But it's gonna be cool.

My wife [personal profile] bethanthepurple is also skating in it. She's on Team Jedi. I'm on Team Sith. Fight!
frightened: Photo by Jason B (Default)
2011-12-02 08:34 pm

I've accidentally turned into an animal sanctuary

I blame the chickens.

Tomorrow I'm off to my birds-work to try and catch the nearly-full-grown red-eared terrapin (slider to the Americans) some bastard dumped in the koi pond. Hopefully once it's out and fostered at mine, I won't have to field idiots telling me "oh, but it's the kindest thing to do". No! No it bloody isn't! Skipping over the fact it's ILLEGAL to abandon animals like that, we have no way to provide it with an appropriate diet or the UV rays it needs. Also, the koi keep trying to eat its face. They're a lot bigger than it is. All we can do is hope it doesn't return the favour.

And they're a bugger to rehome, because they're a really common species for people to get sick of when they grow too big or need too much specialist equipment. Ho hum.

I managed to hand-feed and handle it last week, so I'm hoping that if I go in with a tin of sardines I can repeat the trick tomorrow. And I'm setting up its tank tonight.

I don't actually want to keep it though, so I've been emailing various rescue organisations. No luck so far.
frightened: (karate)
2011-10-26 08:58 pm


I swear to god I would give body parts to be surrounded by people who understand that my crazy is a real serious permanent condition, and that I don't need their denial when I've got enough of my own thanks. At least a kidney. My brain is trying to kill me and I have to field idiots telling me I don't seem mental or it's probably just the fucking weather. If platitudes were Prozac I'd never have to fill another prescription.
frightened: Photo by Jason B (Default)
2011-10-22 08:43 pm

Chicken updates

A week after getting them, all four chickens are alive and as well as can be expected, and I've had loads of eggs. [personal profile] bokbokosaurus* for lengthy updates. When I checked on them at bedtime tonight, they were lined up in the nestboxes making soft trilling noises.

* Please don't mention this account if you're commenting on that one; I'd like to keep the two separate.
frightened: Photo by Jason B (Default)
2011-10-16 07:59 pm
Entry tags:



Picked up four ex-battery hens from a driveway in Rubery yesterday lunchtime. Got them home on public transport in two cat carriers, which was a bit of a mission, and into the run on my allotment. Two came out of the carriers immediately, saw all the straw and space, and promptly went into a catatonic state of WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS I DON'T EVEN. The other two apparently decided that since the cat carriers offered more space, nesting material and privacy than they'd ever had in their lives before, they'd stay just where they were, thanks.

Eventually they all emerged and figured out the food and water, after first making a concerted effort to eat the wood shavings, dust bath and straw. One explored the coop, came out shouting, and made her bid for Top Hen, beating up each of the others in turn. She seems to have settled down today, though I put Vaseline on their combs (stops the attacker from getting a grip) and sprayed the bottom hen with anti-peck spray just in case.

They're not actually in terrible condition. Three are missing half their beaks, and they've all got bald spots, and the unfortunate hen at the bottom of the pecking order only uses one of her legs. But I was genuinely expecting worse. We'll see how they do.

The Top Hen, the only one with a proper-shaped beak, is Dippy. The next one down, with the frilly feathers, predatory walk and upright comb (all the others have their combs oversized and flopped over), is Trex. I assumed she'd be Top Hen, but she seems content with second place. She does like to stand up tall and give you assessing looks, though. Then there's Steg, with the mucky back feathers and enormous comb. Steg is curious about people, and is the one who'll run up and stare at you. And then there's Arky at the bottom, who gets most of Dippy's wrath because she's only got one working leg, so she's not as quick to get out of the way. But Trex seems to have decided she's Arky's bodyguard, and stands over her when she's resting and guards the door when she's in the nest box.

They've survived their first 24 hours, which is a Good Start. And I sincerely hope we've now sorted out the pecking order. I've had three eggs so far, which is impressive, given they're meant to be off lay and knackered.
frightened: Photo by Jason B (Default)
2011-10-12 07:10 am

Chicken prep continues

I did DIY in the dark. With hammering. I am legendarily clumsy and failed woodwork at school. I still have all my fingers, which is astonishing.

The two runs are both up, roofed over the wire to keep the rain out (with wood till I ran out of wood, and then with tarpaulins), lined with tarpaulins on the floor, and filled with straw, since my super-fast-growing grass seed, well, didn't. (They'll never have seen straw before. You get SO MUCH STRAW out of a compacted bale. It's gonna blow their tiny chicken minds, and it smells beautiful.) The coop roof is painted with: "These birds are checked at least twice a day. They are rescue birds and will need time and rest to recover. In an emergency call NAME on NUMBER." The run roof is painted with: "These birds were saved from tiny, overcrowded cages. Even this little run is big and scary for them. They had never been outside before. They will get more room and treats as soon as they can cope." Hopefully that will prevent well-meaning intervention. The coop and run meet and sometimes exceed recommended welfare standards - I wouldn't even think of using them if they didn't - but I look at it and think "that's a bit small", so I can't blame other people for doing the same. But chickens are creatures of habit, and I'm introducing them to all sorts of terrifying new things, so let's go slow.

I still have to join the two runs together, and join the ensuing megarun to the coop. There's gonna be a lot of hammering steel mesh over the gaps, because cheapass coop + uneven ground != fitting together well. I already covered the bottoms of the runs with mesh to prevent burrowing attacks. I also need to put hasps and padlocks on the hinged section of the coop roof (it wasn't hinged till I MacGuyvered it. Now it is) and the run roofs (ditto). Oh, and mesh over the bottom of the nest box and coop to stop foxes and rats getting in that way. I think... I hope... one more evening, and it's habitable? Better be, since I'm getting the chooks Saturday morning...
frightened: Photo by Jason B (Default)
2011-10-03 09:43 pm

Ah, c'mon

Dear weather,

If you could manage a slow and lengthy transition from the unseasonal warmth to the forecast snow, me and my soon-to-arrive fragile chickens would appreciate it.

Love and kisses,


PS Have knitted 0.5 of 4 chicken jumpers, as modelled by some poor baldy hens here.
frightened: Photo by Jason B (me clown wig)
2011-09-20 09:47 pm

In nicer news

I'm getting 4 rescued ex-batt chickens on October 15th. Putting them on my allotment. Tasks yet to do:

- galvanised mesh floor for runs to prevent tunnelling
- replace wooden toggles and stupid little bolts with hasps and padlocks
- construct second run; finish painting second run; join two together
- draughtproof coop
- replace mesh roofs on runs with hinged wood
- acquire diatomaceous earth for de-lousing purposes
- knit jumpers in case of baldness
- tarps and some kind of soft scratchable flooring for runs
- sonic and stinky fox-repellents

Less worryingly )

Oh, and I need to make a sign explaining that it's not my fault they look like hell and don't seem to know what to do with enough space to stretch their wings, and if the state of them outrages people, then don't report me to the RSPCA, just buy organic eggs in future.
frightened: (sigh)
2011-08-31 06:42 am

Yeah, the aim is to keep them in BETTER conditions than the ones they were rescued from

So I bought one of these, with an extra run because I thought it looked a bit small. I'm transferring it over to the allotment and putting it up, box by box. So far I've got one of the runs constructed, though not reinforced to my satisfaction.

All the hen rescue places tell you to buy a coop and run that's meant to fit at least two more hens than you're planning to get, because the space in these things is seriously stingy. They're right.

6 to 10 hens? Seriously? Are you on crack? Have they been zapped by the incredible shrinking ray? You cannot keep 10 hens in that run. Well, it's physically possible, but it makes you an asshole. It's just over four feet by just over two feet - gives you just over ten square feet of space. Just over one square foot per hen. That's shitty. That's a couple of inches more than they had in a battery cage.

I'm only planning to keep 3 or 4 hens, and I'd feel seriously guilty about keeping them in one of those runs. I'm very glad I got a second one. I might get a third.
frightened: (bike)
2011-08-13 09:08 am

Orwell has spun in his grave so long, he has drilled a tunnel halfway round the earth

My bank has a "Central Fulfilment Unit".

I don't know whether to be nauseated or terrified.
frightened: (karate)
2011-07-11 11:55 pm

Cat :(

Short version: after a week, we finally managed to catch the stray cat that lives in my parents' garden, but he was so badly injured he had to be put down.

Long, miserable and graphic version under the cut.

Read more... )
frightened: (metallicar supernatural)
2011-05-17 08:23 pm

In emotional Safe Mode

This weekend, there was a death*, a birth**, a wedding*** and some fighting****.

I'm currently feeling fairly detached from everything. This is probably for the avoidance of explosions.

* One of the little kids from karate. One of those very sudden inexplicable things.
** Family friend, emergency c-section.
*** Old school friend. First church wedding I've ever been to.
**** Karate competition. Got my ass kicked. Very very full of adrenaline afterwards. Didn't help that I found out about the kid just before.
frightened: (toph bei fong fighting avatar)
2011-05-06 08:02 am

Off to karate camp till Monday

frightened: (karate)
2011-04-23 09:08 pm
Entry tags:

Yes, yes, free the weed and all that

But while it is, in fact, illegal, DON'T GROW IT ON MY ALLOTMENT, YOU MONUMENTAL ARSEHOLES!!!!!

So the wife was weeding up the far end of my allotment today, while I was digging out bindweed roots and planting spuds. And she says "Er, there's a plant with seven leaves down here." Well, there were two. With marks of watering, and potting compost still in their roots.

Some fucker planted cannabis on the overgrown end of my allotment. I pulled it up in a rage, and I was going to dispose of it somehow (hadn't planned that far ahead), and the Voice Of Reason (also known as the wife) pointed out we should probably contact the police. So we did.

I'm not in favour of the war on drugs. I think drugs should be legalised. I don't give a damn if someone smokes weed (although if you drive stoned, you're an irresponsible potentially-murdering fucker and you really should be arrested, just like if you drive drunk). I disagree with arrests for possession. I also think growing your own is better than giving money to organised crime.

But here's the thing: it is still illegal. When you possess or grow weed, you are taking a calculated risk. And you don't get to make other people take calculated risks without their knowledge or consent. You don't get to plant - no pun intended - drugs on me. Take responsibility for your own fucking habit, and grow it on your own fucking property.

Also, I know you can't tell because it looks like shit, but I work hard on that allotment. Clearing a couple of cubic feet of stones and invasive weeds takes me about an hour of sweating and hayfever and sunburn and backache. You don't get to treat it like an abandoned piece of waste ground that's yours for the taking. Fuck off.

And then things took a turn for the weirder still, when the police did show up and tried to convince us it was just mint! What species of mint has long, thin, serrated leaflets arranged in three pairs leading up to a single long one? What species of mint smells like the top deck of a bus that goes through Handsworth? And who the hell goes to that much trouble to cultivate mint where they think it won't be found?

The police were also singularly unhelpful when we raised the issue of my stuff being trashed in revenge for destroying the plants. "Did they see you pulling them up?" Well, no, but I think they'll notice that they're not there any more! And when they do, I'd quite like my garden to stay in one piece.
frightened: Photo by Jason B (me clown wig)
2011-04-20 10:22 pm

Texts you don't expect from your girlfriend...

... when said girlfriend is a Christian, a theology graduate, and a former teacher of religious studies:

"Shit! It's Easter! I TOTALLY ALREADY KNEW THIS. Yes."

Love you, girl.
frightened: (sigh)
2011-04-16 08:55 am

Dear Boots

Okay, so sometimes it's too much like hard work to put someone who actually knows about medicines behind the medicines counter. Even though that sort of raises the question of why the hell you bother having only-available-with-consultation meds, if you're going to fill that counter with staff who can't do consultations. If I'm gonna end up going through the meds myself and picking my own anyway, why have the barrier and make me feel like a supplicant? Okay. Fine. It's the school holidays. Maybe all your qualified staff were taking their spawn to Butlins. Okay.

Although it was kind of annoying when I asked for "a non-drowsy antihistamine that isn't loratadine" and she went through several loratadine brand names before offering me cetirizine and chlorphenamine. Does it say "non-drowsy" on it? Does it? Then I don't fucking want it. Okay. Chill your beans, Lorna. And it was also sort of annoying when she tried to claim loratadine, cetirizine and chlorphenamine were the only antihistamines there were. Er, no they ain't. Don't make me vault this counter and start rifling through the boxes myself. Okay. Deep breaths. Calm happy place. Whalesong. Yeah.

Could you at least have a member of staff who has remembered her glasses, and so doesn't need me to read the medicine boxes for her? Please?

(I got acrivastine in the end. Let's see what this does.)
frightened: (sigh)
2011-04-09 09:49 am

Dear filthy revolting inhabitants of Erdington, Birmingham

It is unseasonably warm and sunny. This means that people like me, who overheat easily and are trying to avoid being a Sweaty McStinkfeet, will be walking the pavements in sandals.

(For yes, trainers do actually come off! They are not welded to your feet until such time as they disintegrate from their own terrible fumes.)

Here is a typical, though not exhaustive, list of things I would rather not have near my naked toes:
  • Pools of human piss, canine piss, Special Brew or White Lightning (the four are often indistinguishable)
  • Lumps of phlegm in a saliva suspension
  • Dog shit
  • Used condoms

No love, for fear I might catch something,

frightened: (karate)
2011-03-28 09:24 am

I... got my kata tip

That means that the senseis think my performance of enpi kata is adequate to grade on. (You have to get three tips on your belt, for combinations, kata and semi-freestyle sparring, before you can grade.) I wasn't even going for any tips. I just did the course because it was compulsory for brown and black belts. At the start of the course, I didn't know all of enpi and I couldn't do the jump.

This course really brought home how much fitter and stronger I need to be, as a brown belt. Afterwards I was just exhausted. I sat on the floor, drank Lucozade and ate cake for twenty minutes until I had the energy to get up and get changed. (Much like after the Halesowen Aquathlon, where I spent twenty minutes sitting on the changing room floor, eating cake, rubbing moisturiser into my chapped belly, and staring into space.) In a year or less, I'm going to have to do that, plus a four-to-six hour grading afterwards. Oh god.

OKAY! Now I'm off to the gym.
frightened: (karate)
2011-03-27 07:25 am

Oh god so tired

Big anti-cuts demo in London yesterday; contrary to media reports, it was not an orgy of violence and there were not widespread pitched battles with the police. On these legs? Darling. I could sit on the floor and snarl, maybe. My feet and knees don't like me right now.

Wife was full of preparation and planning and sandwiches and earplugs. Earplugs make large noisy crowds vastly more pleasant. [personal profile] barakta got us on the coaches. Our Unison steward was also a saint of organisation and looking-after-people.

I hate it when the clocks go forward. Very strong coffee this morning. Lost an hour's sleep and am not happy about it. That was mine, dammit. I was using it for sleeping.

Now I have to bike to work (public transport so bleeding unreliable of a Sunday) and get everything done quick. Then I have to bike over to the main dojo so I can do a two-hour black-and-brown-belt course on a kata I barely know (enpi) and certainly can't perform (there's a 360-degree jump out of kibadachi into kokutsudachi. HAHAHAHAHAHA).
frightened: (bike)
2011-03-21 07:31 pm

Amazingly productive day

If there's anybody who reads my LJ who doesn't have some kind of mental or chronic illness, it's probably not clear what all the fuss is about. But for me, this is one of the best days I've had in a long time, and I've done a bunch of stuff I've been meaning to get around to. There's still stuff that needs doing - I didn't get around to picking up my prescription, for instance - but still, this was a damn good day. Recently, if I'd managed one of these things, I was calling it a success.

Stuff I did! YAY! Go team me! )

Phew! Now I think I'm going to bed.

* Bad thing: discovering the raspberry bush you want to save is thoroughly tangled up with couch grass you want to fatally kill very hard to death until it dies of it and isn't alive any more.

Worse thing: starting the uprooting and untangling process with your bare hands, and finding the large and thriving nest of red** ants in there.

** Since I didn't get stung, I'm thinking they were actually yellow ants, which are less aggressive. Still startled the hell out of me.