Sunday, September 3, 2017

Things you should never ask a pharmacist.

Had an...erm...awkward conversation recently. I asked a pharmacist if he had any pea based powder. He said, "Pardon?" 

This didn't surprise me, as I often have to repeat myself. I'm prone to mumbling. I get told off a lot for doing this. 

I said it again, hoping my attempt to speak properly would be well received. It wasn't. He replied, "I'm not quite sure what you mean..." 

I noticed the strange intonations in his voice, but still didn't click straight away, because I was actually in quite a bit of pain at the time, and trying not to wince. 

Then I got it. Oh dear. He thought I meant, "P." In case you are from another country, where I live, "P" is the common name for meth. Or crystal meth. Or Ice. Or methamphetamine. That drug they manufacture on Breaking Bad.

Hardly surprising then that asking a pharmacist for some "P" based powder was likely to raise a few eyebrows... 

Once I realised my mistake, I explained that I meant p-e-a, as in the legume, those dear little nutritious green parcels that the princess couldn't sleep on. 

Actually, I didn't mention the fairy tale reference, I was way too mortified to think of anything humorous to say at the time. Especially since it's my local pharmacy and I go there a lot. 

Not everyone can embarrass themselves as easily, and as frequently, as I do. It's a special skill. Lucky me.

Of course, "p" is also for perfection, and what better way to illustrate that than with a picky of a phantastically photogenic phasmid;

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Swimming With Spiders

I'm wondering if swimming with spiders will be the next big thing. Surely swimming with dolphins must be getting a bit old by now?

I have seen spiders on the surface of a pond before, but it was news to me that there are actually water spiders who dive into the water to hunt fish and frogs. Good grief. 

I'm not sure I want to picture them doing this, but I have already. Apparently, some water spiders come in giant size, as big as a person's head. Yikes.

I do like spiders. If you've been to this blog before, you will probably already know that. I've even posted some homemade spider movies on my youtube channel. 

I'm still not sure I would want to go swimming with them though. And not just because I can't swim. Not well, anyway. 

I'm wondering if the spider at the top of this post decided he wanted to go for a swim in my laundry tub. 

I assumed not, which is why I endeavoured to rescue him. He endeavoured to resist my rescue attempts, which significantly hindered progress. 

His raised his front legs, not in an, "Oh I so need a hug! Why, thank you, big friendly giant for offering to pick me up," but more in a, "Come any closer and you die," kind of way. It's all about body language, isn't it. And knowing how to read it. 

He did quite a good scary spider impression, which persuaded me to proceed with caution. 

His attack modes operandi was an understandable reaction, of course, given my size, and his vulnerability. I'm pleased to announce that I won the battle. 

A bite-free bug relocation operation was successfully implemented. Isn't he handsome! I believe he is a Tunnelweb Spider, and possibly a female one;

There has been an interesting assortment of critters requiring rescuing from my laundry tub lately. I'm not sure what the tub attraction is, but you will be relieved to know that I check it regularly so no bug has to perish when they can't get out again.

One day I found this adorable baby weta in there;

Then recently, this praying mantis;

And here's another photo from a different angle because I couldn't decide which one to upload, so I decided not to decide and just post both;

I know this post rescue photo is a bit blurry, but I like the way the praying mantis is staring at me, and this is my blog, so if you object to blurry photos, I suggest you look away now;

I found a large furry spider in there recently too, but there was no time to do a photo shoot. Another difficult customer, that one. Sheesh.

Some spiders I can happily pick up with my hands. This one was just not that kind of spider. Like the other eight-legged beastie up above. Grumpy.

I wouldn't dare pluck this furry creature out of the laundry tub either;

He's a bit moody at times too, and likes to make his own decisions about where he wants to be. I'm pretty sure he didn't need my assistance, anyway. Unless he actually wanted to take a bath...

Monday, December 19, 2016

Code Caterpillar.

I was standing in the bus shelter the other day and just happened to glance down and what do I see but a little green caterpillar frantically hurtling across the footpath...towards the shelter...

There was a gap under the shelter so he could've made it into the cubicle and if he'd survived the bus patrons' feet, next stop was more footpath, where more humans and their tootsies were lurking. Beyond that was the road. If he'd by some miracle made it that far, a trio of sparrows loitering on the curb would most likely have noticed a green squiggle in motion. A fairly grim prognosis, I'd hypothesize. Not a very sensible itinerary, Mister Caterpillar.

Naturally, I sprang into action, nervously because I had an appointment to get to and couldn't risk missing the bus, and I know from experience that caterpillars can be very  tricky customers.

They do their damnedest to thwart ones attempts to rescue them. Valuable time molecules are wasted in the ensuing battle. And their delicate disposition requires a gentle approach. This particular caterpillar was in full on panic mode, wriggling wildly in protest. Did he seriously think he had a better plan?

Luckily the consequence of his boisterous resistance was that he back flipped himself onto my awaiting bus card so I was able to scoop him up and relocate him (before he back flipped himself off again) to a nearby garden.

While there were caterpillar style holes in the greenery that I rehomed him in, which suggested he may find himself amongst his own kind, I doubt it was where he started his journey. It was a very windy day and there was a very large tree above the bus shelter, so I think he probably got blown off of his perch.

As much as I like to help bugs return to their hometown, I wasn't about to scale the tree. Apart from the fact that my unco status dictates that I should stick to just hugging trees and sitting beneath them instead of climbing them, (and that I would've missed my bus, that as well) it was way too windy for such acts of altruism. Would've made some amusing headlines though. Let us peruse a few;

"Fire department rescues crazy caterpillar woman from treetops."

"Hypothermic windswept woman's garbled explanation confounds fire fighters: Why was she trying to rescue a caterpillar from a tree?"

"Fire fighter rescues woman from tree, then searches neighbouring trees in pursuit of cat called Mister Caterpillar."

"Fire department plead for public to leave caterpillars stuck up trees to their own devices." 

"Fire department rescue guidelines updated after surge of critters stuck up trees calls: cats - yes, caterpillars- no."

"Tree hugging caterpillar defender back on terra firma and being cocooned by mental health professionals."

"Woman and caterpillar both recovering well after wild wind sends pair plummeting into path of oncoming bus."

"Witnesses sought: Woman recovering in hospital, after miscalculating weight bearing capacity of branch, keeps asking nurses if Mister Caterpillar survived the fall. Anyone near the bus stop in question on the morning of the incident who saw a man in a green jumpsuit fall from the tree, or anyone who knows the mysterious Mister Caterpillar's current whereabouts, is asked to contact police."

I think I like that last idea best. Kinda makes me want to get a green jumpsuit for myself. Maybe Mister Caterpillar could be part of a new wave of super heroes. A crusader for truth and justice who saves the day in a lime green onesie. 

I wonder what his special power would be...the ability to spin himself an invisibility cocoon so he could hide from his adversaries? Has that been done before? I think there's a Moth Man, isn't there. Not sure what he does. Might ask google later.

Mister Caterpillar would of course be able to traverse any terrain with his sticky feet, (except perhaps the ocean) inching his way up tall buildings, and beneath underpasses. And he would not just be able to scale bridges, he could be a bridge... joining the gap in a broken swing bridge so the terrified little humans stranded on the side where the scary monster is salivating in their direction, could flee to safety. Three cheers for Mister Caterpillar!

But wait... let's rewind just a little...I just had a troubling thought...what if Mister Caterpillar was hurtling towards the bus shelter because he also had a bus to catch... Maybe he was worried he might be late for his appointment...

Obviously, such a possibility unearths a plethora of perplexing questions... is that why he back flipped onto my bus card in one (now suspiciously) easy move? Did he think, "Sweet! I can hitch a free ride on someone elses card!" 

Or was his back flip accidentally precise, was he really thinking, "What are you doing, stoopid human? Leave me be!  Can't you see I have a bus to catch!" As I whisked him away from his spot in the queue, was he cursing under his breath, wondering if it would be too late to reschedule?

Perhaps the most pressing question, in my mind, at least, is what kind of appointment would a caterpillar need to catch a bus to? A cocoon fitting? An antenatal/metamorphosis class? Or maybe he just had a coffee date? With Moth Maiden?

I'm not on drugs, btw. I know I've said that before, it's just that sometimes when I read back through what I've written, I find myself thinking, "Huh? Is this woman on something?" so it's easy to see how others might think that too. Truth is, I'm just naturally like this. My brain thinks odd thoughts. Some of them, I share. With you, dear reader. Or dear spammers. Oh wait, the spammers don't actually read this waffle do they...

Friday, September 30, 2016

Pink katydid dining on a rosebud.

Some gardeners would grumble at the sight of a bug eating a rose, but not I. Feast on as many rosebuds as you desire, exquisite creature! Consider the garden your own personal buffet!

And while a picture may be worth a thousand words, there are  moving pictures of this katydid to go with!

Watching this clip almost inspires me to write a poem... stay tuned for an updated version accompanied by a poetry recital soundtrack...

(It's a pink rose this pink fellow is feasting on, btw, or at least, it would've been.)

Romance abounds in every garden, if you know where to look... and how to look past...

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Ant antics.

After numerous observations, I have arrived at the inevitable conclusion that ants are mischief makers. I don't mean in terms of raiding your jam jar or sugar stash, I'm talking about their antics in the insect world. Not only do they farm other bugs, they tease them as well.

I was admiring a young stick insect resting on a leaf one day when sticky's quiet time was interrupted by three ants who took turns at speeding towards his feet. Amusing to me, and to the ants too, I suspect, but not to sticky. He did not like his feet being tampered with. He would lift up his back foot in protest... then his front foot... then his other back foot... The ants just wouldn't leave the poor fellow alone.

Maybe sticky had just stood in something sticky, which attracted the ants, but I doubt it. I think they were just trying to mess with his head. Or trying to get him to play tag... can't rule out that possibility, can we...

I saw some ants doing the same thing to a katydid, and managed to capture a bit of their mischief on film;

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Bug vs Wind: A Stick Insect with Stickability.

As aforementioned, I had to leave Stick Insect Metropolis behind, :( , and while I haven't found such a densely populated sticky community since, I have met a few on my travels. Yay.

I've also discovered that my phone can record bugs in motion. Yay some more.

Speaking of motion, and movement, and trying not to move in a counter productive way, I'm not really built for battling against the wind. I'm just too slight... When the weather is wild, I have entertained many occupants of cars that whizz past me as I try desperately not to become airborne on route to the supermarket. Lucky them. Sheltered from the gusts by their metal bits, while I try not to do a Mary Poppins. Grumble grumble. My spindly little frame isn't cut out...or perhaps... suitably assembled...for such challenges.

Anyhoo, we humans spend a lot of time complaining about the weather, but I think bugs have it worse, which has prompted me to start a short video series; Bug vs Wind, to highlight their daily struggles in this wild wind tunnel we live in. 

Our first film star is a sticky! Wahoo! Isn't she amazing. She's clearly got a system--go with the flow, but never let go... as you swing high and low... I like her MO... Inspirational stuff, if you ask me. Why pay a life coach/therapist when one can glean free pearls of wisdom for surviving in this adapt-or-die world, just by spying on bugs?

The video is too large to upload here so you'll have to wander over to youtube to admire this stick insect with stickability.

This last photo is of our film star taking a well earned breather. Such composure. Hard not to be impressed, really.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Introducing the Camdeerhund

When I went to get my washing in one day, I discovered this intriguing creature clinging to my top. Naturally, I raced back inside to get my camera, but before I could take a photo, it relocated-to my face. Ahem. I waited patiently for it to review its surroundings and I'm relieved to report that it saw sense and flew over to my finger instead. 

It was a bit tricky taking the picture with one hand, but we got there in the end. I can't show you the original because that's on my no longer functional laptop, so this photo of a photo will have to suffice. I think it does this bug justice though, showing off its fascinating form.

I have named it a Camdeerhund, because it has a camel's hump, a reindeer's antlers, and cute little legs reminiscent of a Dachshund... A new species, perhaps...?