Monthly Archives: June 2011

Superstitious Sheep Socks

There’s something you don’t know about me: I have a very odd superstition about my socks.  It began back in the wintertime, when my feet were so often frozen after a day volunteering with the birds that I began to pay special attention to my sock-layering techique.  Quite practically it all started just to keep my feet extra warm.

But then it went a bit strange.  I started to link the type and colour of socks I wore to the outcome of any particular day.  If my socks were one of my pink cow or sheep socks, it was going to be a very good day.  If I wore either black socks, or heavens forfend the ugly blue-with-brown-spots pair, it was going to suck.  Naturally I started to only wear my pink farmyard animal socks.

I say “naturally” as if it were even remotely normal.

Now, I consider myself a reasonably intelligent woman.  I’d even call myself sensible most of the time.  But as I’m sure you’re all thinking, this is not a sensible or intelligent logical leap to make.

I am Fab-ewe-lous, dammit!

So why did this occur?  Well mainly because life is not ours to control, and we like to pretend it is.  Thus, by telling myself that today will be a good day because I have my hot pink spotty sheep socks on, I can actually believe that choice influences the outcome of the day.  Obviously it has no real, quantifiable effect, but it does affect my perception of the events of the day.  It puts me in the frame of mind to take on challenges which I would shun and quake in fear of if wearing other socks.

In other words, I’ve deluded myself quite soundly.  But if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Survival Instinct

Firstly, I have just come out the other side of those atrocious Twilight books – one week of my life I’ll never get back.  Sheesh, I forgot how utterly ridiculous that final book is.  “Renesmee”??  Please.

In other news, I am currently trying to fight against my survival instincts.

You may or may not know that my day job is that of a falconer-in-training.  I basically spend my days feeding carnivorous birds scraps of meat while they fly around, trying to make sure my fingers don’t get in the way – and more recently, failing at just that.

First, some background information.  Owls don’t have great eyesight for things close to them – why would they need it, in the wild their prey is noisy rodents who give away their position with sound.  But obviously, what we feed our owls is dead already.  So what we do is place a bit of food in our palms, stretch our hands flat and try our best to aim for their beaks.

As a result, I now have a series of large owl-bites covering my right palm and fingers.

Yeah, that hurt.

The stupid thing is that my survival instinct is actually what’s getting me injured just now.  I feel the urge to pull away too quickly from the large, gaping beak of the owl in question – which in turn makes her miss the bit of food and get my flesh instead.

The culprit - an owl named Lump. She might look all cute and junk, but that's a mighty large beak.

So how do you train yourself to stop listening to your own survival instincts?  Especially when they’re wrong and in fact preventing the survival of your badly battered fingers??

I have a plan.  It involves cheating.

During the winter I used these fingerless fleece gloves to combat the freezing temperatures, yet leaving my fingertips free to do all the knots and nonsense I need to do.  Now, the problem with these is that sometimes when feeding the owls they caught the fingerless glove as well as the food – and once something is in their beaks they don’t want to give it up.  So the second part of my plan involves somehow layering some thin leather over the palm of the glove.  We have a bunch of leather at work, which we use to make jesses, anklets and the like, so I have a supply of that.  So I can reinforce the palm of my glove so that it’s not something they can bite into.

And thus save my poor little fingers.

I know I get braver when there’s something covering my vulnerable flesh, so the idea is that by doing this for a while I’ll get the confidence to override my survival instinct.  Eventually I won’t need the glove, and I’ll be able to feed large bitey owls safely.

In the meantime, I am well stocked with plasters/bandaids and antiseptic wound spray.

A Reading Rant: Twilight – this time, it’s personal!

Goodness me, it’s been exactly one month since my last post!  I don’t know where the time goes, honestly!  Mainly it seems I get bitten by carnivorous birds in my current occupation of choice, which perhaps makes the time fly faster – after all I am having fun, various bites and scratches notwithstanding!

But today I wish to talk about what I’m currently reading.  Prepare to gasp in disappointed astonishment, because not only am I reading said books, I’m actually rereading them.  And what are these illustrious tomes?

The Twilight books.

“Aaaagh!” I hear you cry.  Or maybe it’s just my shamed subconscious.  Either way.

You know the big problem I have with these books?  They’re not bad enough.  No, seriously, hear me out.  You start reading them, and they’re actually alright.  You get into them, and suddenly you’ve finished book one.  And it’s sneaky, the way its awfulness seeps into your awareness.  You don’t realise it right away, although granted the prose is fairly juvenile and blah, it’s nothing too different from other generic pick-it-up-in-the-supermarket-read-it-on-an-airplane kinds of books.

But then you think about it.  And really think about it.  And you get mad.  How dare this book be so sneaky!  Here you were, thinking you might be having a reasonably sensible journey through the life of a clumsy teenaged girl with a vampire boyfriend – but wait!

It’s trying to pull one over on you.

This girl Bella is not just clumsy, she’s childishly inept.  We’re told she can’t even walk in a straight line down a level surface without falling over – that’s not endearing, that’s bordering on handicapped.

And her vampire boyfriend?  Well he’s attracted to her – in the sense that she’s his “brand of cocaine” – but he tries to resist her and is generally a bit mean at first.  But then, just gives up and decides “eh, fuck it.”  How romantic!  But oh, wait – in a matter of days he’s declaring his undying love.

Is this supposed to be the ideal romance?  Teenagers making suicide pacts (or rather trying to talk each other out of suicide pacts in what sounds falsely oneupmanshipy to me “No I love you more, because I want to die if you die, but I don’t want you to die if I die!!”), is this what this generation of teens is supposed to idealise?  Romeo and Juliet is frequently mentioned, but is this a model to follow?

Nonsense.

And because Bella is so inept, Edward spends his whole time quite literally lifting her off her dainty little sprained ankles in case she happens to quite literally trip on something and impale herself.  He stops her from driving herself around, because he can do it better.  Ignores her wishes when he believes he knows what’s best for her.  Sleeps with her every night, in the most innocent of ways, so she doesn’t ever have to be weepy and alone.   Oh, and he constantly denys her sexual gratification.

This is something which pisses me off.  Bella is turned into a sex-crazed, uncontrollable she-monster, which Edward has to constantly peel off his angelic body in order to maintain his “control” of himself.  So we end up being a bit embarassed for her, constantly throwing herself at her boyfriend and being held at a distance like some over-enthusiastic groupie.

Bah, I get so irritated – it’s all so wildly imbalanced.  So basically I hate it, but I keep reading these goddamned books.  Something in me masochistically enjoys being irritated, and creating arguments in my head which I then share on the internet for all of you to enjoy.

Or ignore – either way.

In other news, I’ve still been writing!  Not terribly much, and not the Kelpie story I posted a snippet of, but something else I’m waiting to see what happens with.  I find I need to write a little vignette of these new ideas and then let them germinate for a while.  If I start writing too quickly I can find myself too far down a false lead and needing to backpedal in a disheartening fashion.  So both of these ideas are just growing and maturing and eventually I’ll write more of them.