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Decluttering so I have room for more interesting stuff in my head - It seemed like a good idea at the time... [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
terribleturnip

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Decluttering so I have room for more interesting stuff in my head [Aug. 23rd, 2012|02:18 pm]
terribleturnip
It is with great relief I have dropped/blocked Groupon, Gilt, Foundary, Living Social, all of those sites. Done. For starters, my life, realistically, does not allow me to fit time-limited coupons into it. It’s hard enough for me to schedule things – to then have a deadline on getting a deal….I go places when it works into my life. There are no savings great enough to drive that bus for me. I’ve got back minutes per day spent either deleting them, or worse, checking them out, only to think wait, I could get this cheaper if I went direct, or if I’m going to have my follicles zapped with a laser, who do I want doing that, someone who’s giving it away to get new clients or someone with a waiting list? I’ve seen those coupons damn near RUIN restaurants, so I find it hard to get behind them, and again, if I go, the odds of good service and happy service are slim to none if the promotion was “successful”. Oh, I’ve used a few, and it worked out – but it’s just too bloody hard to coordinate. It’s not for me.

And it’s a huge relief to recognize that. There is stuff I’m simply not going to bother with anymore because the payoff is not worth the effort/time/money it takes to get there. I was frustrated at my attempts to declutter the house this summer – having had one weekend eaten up by having no power at all, one and a half to no air conditioning and two and a half to being sick. And then I realized – hey, there is other stuff I can “declutter”. Why am I going to the petstore every two weeks to buy cat food? Screw it. Buy enough to last two months and be done having to think about it, plus saving two lunch breaks buying damn cat food. And having to explain only six times a year instead of 24, that yes, I DO have a lot of cats.



Of course, it’s cats, so I’m taking a calculated risk here: There are significant odds that the day AFTER I come home with said two month’s supply (which for five, okay, six cats is a TON of food and litter) they will decide they HATE this food and will refuse to eat it again. But I’ve been playing that game with ZombieGeezerCat, thinking that surely if I buy 60 cans of her special food, she’ll turn t*ts up the very next day, but she’s STILL ALIVE. So, I’ll risk it.

Here are some things that you might enjoy. I don’t subscribe to many feeds...is that what you kids call them? When I’m time pressed, the e-mails showing up that I then have to delete because I don’t have time to read them, or let pile up and then I have to take, well, again, time to delete them, just depress me. Here are two that I’ve broken that rule for and several weeks in, I’m still happy I broke the rule.

http://wordsmith.org/awad/index.html

I subscribe to word of the day – I often know the words, but I often gain a little more insight, reading the official definition, and there’s always a quote at the bottom of the e-mail that’s often interesting or inspiring.

http://www.rolereboot.org/

What I love most about these is that they’re short and not meant to resolve anything, or even convince you of anything, and I sometimes disagree with the writer’s premise – but they open a door to thinking differently, or examining why you think about something in a certain way and we all could use more of that. If I had the time and space in my life, I would have a weekly salon and we’d use these essays for discussion topics.

“Star is caught devouring planet”
Perhaps the best headline I’ve seen in a while. You envision this big star, it’s solar surge-y maw opened wide, about to envelop a planet when suddenly it realizes that your telescope is trained on it, and it gets all shifty eyed and guilty. (Yes, okay, clearly what I know about astronomy can fit in a teacup chihuahua’s cranium.) But it’s also one of the most misleading headlines I’ve read in at least…a couple of hours. If by “caught” you mean they found evidence that the star had engulfed a planet at some point in time. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19332091 Dear journalists, stop expletiving up science. It’s cool enough.

If you want to read real, responsible science soundbite reporting, try this:

http://news.sciencemag.org/

It makes me fair giddy that when they quote a source, they actually tell you that the source did not participate in the study they’re reporting on, or to what extent they did. Responsible attribution of sources! I swoon! For the record, when they reported on the planet found inside the star, the headline was “Planet Devoured by Star”, which you will agree is still an awesome headline, albeit a responsible, accurate awesome headline.

And you music people will probably understand a lot more about this study than I certainly do: my takeaway is to start thinking about birdsounds as language instead of music and I find that opens up a lot of things to think about and now I’m resentful as hell that my lunchbreak is over and then I have to run out to the faire site tonight to dump a load and do set up and all I really want to do is sit on the deck and listen to my wrens, goldfinches, swifts, cardinals, mockingbirds, and robins and think differently about it. Plus whales. If we stopped thinking of it as singing and started thinking about it as language, do you think we might be less expletive-ish about making them deaf with sonar? Yes, yes, you can communicate through song...and it can be effective, but seriously if you have something urgent to say "Stop the car now" it's going to be more effective if you say it than if you sing it. Would we take animals more seriously if we thought of their sounds more as straight language than as borderline artistry? Oooh, I so want to be thinking on this than on aluminum foil, really I do! But duty calls, so I leave you with the study:

http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2012/08/birdsong-not-music-after-all.html?ref=hp
LinkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: thatliardiego
2012-08-23 06:21 pm (UTC)
“Star is caught devouring planet”

I read this and thought, "Tom Arnold is really off his diet for good this time."
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[User Picture]From: sestree
2012-08-23 07:14 pm (UTC)
So that's why when my local - rather LARGE - crow scolds me in the morning I am more apt to listen than to the morning doves? or is it because he (she?) is LOUD. And BIG.

Damned crow didn't live here but dumb ass me all poor babied it one hot day and put out water and now I've got a crow bitching when I go to the car.

Maybe it's not a morning crow?
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[User Picture]From: im_geva
2012-08-23 07:40 pm (UTC)
Of course birds are talking. No animal, bird, or insect makes noise for art. Fun maybe, but not art.
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2012-08-23 07:55 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes, of course -- but our perspective might be skewed if we (as in the public at large) think of their language as music. And I wouldn't be so sure about not doing things for the sake of art...google "Beluga sketchbook Mystic". Twenty years ago, animals didn't play, they only practiced hunting or evading techniques -- which we know is now BS. And some of them might use tools, but they didn't TEACH...whoops, okay, we caught them teaching each other. And dogs understood commands, but couldn't think abstractly about a word meaning an object, the way a great ape could (although 25 years ago, apes couldn't that either) but damn that border collie, he showed us.

It's such an exciting time -- the pace of narrowing the gap between what's "human" behavior and what's "animal" is accelerating at a wonderful rate. Religion's just about the only thing we have left...but I'm not going there!
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[User Picture]From: sestree
2012-08-23 08:42 pm (UTC)
wake me when they admit that rocks talk.
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[User Picture]From: ferlonda
2012-08-24 06:35 pm (UTC)
Talk to my shaman- she'll tell you all about how rocks talk. :)
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[User Picture]From: sestree
2012-08-24 07:14 pm (UTC)
:) I've never believed that they didn't talk - only that we often don't listen.

Used to drive my pastors absolutely MAD.
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[User Picture]From: ferlonda
2012-08-24 07:54 pm (UTC)
Good for you! Pastors need that kind of challenge to keep 'em fresh and thinking!
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[User Picture]From: sestree
2012-08-24 08:00 pm (UTC)
It's true. They do. I used to have the kids for 4th and 5th grade vacation bible school and loved the questions. Unfortunately the adults (I was a teenager) didn't appreciate the kids' questions. I thought they were great though.

Yes Mere I helped teach vacation bible school. You can quit laughing now.

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[User Picture]From: ferlonda
2012-08-24 08:15 pm (UTC)
Oh, golly! I bet those kids remember you very fondly!
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2012-08-25 01:12 am (UTC)
I taught Sunday School. Let's pause and contemplate THAT.
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[User Picture]From: sequinedlovenun
2012-08-23 07:59 pm (UTC)
Ha! Last night, during the 7 hour drive from NC to MD, Lani asks me "Mama, do you think when we make animal sounds at animals, we might really be saying something, and it might really be inappropriate or stupid? Like, the cat is saying he's hungry now, and we meow back at him "lightning bugs!" or something similar? " I'll have to tell her she's on to something.
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2012-08-23 08:17 pm (UTC)
Tell Lani that I have seen the look of utter contempt on Pushkin's face when I meow back at him and she's entirely correct.
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[User Picture]From: pyratelady
2012-08-23 11:33 pm (UTC)
I have those same thoughts! I always wonder if I meow back at a cat if I sound completely stupid. I will say that my "bark," which is basically me yelling "HEY" really sharply is pretty effective... it has brought a lot of dogs up short.
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[User Picture]From: thatliardiego
2012-08-23 11:36 pm (UTC)
I used to pretty much expect a "you idiot" look from Brat, because when I meowed back at him, I usually was mocking him anyway. Which resulted in him meowing back, which resulted at me meowing at him, which resulted ...
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2012-08-24 02:10 pm (UTC)
In him punching you in the eye...
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[User Picture]From: thatliardiego
2012-08-24 02:19 pm (UTC)
Well, yeah, there was that.
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[User Picture]From: ferlonda
2012-08-24 06:41 pm (UTC)
Frank the cat (part Siamese, part tabby) was a big talker. We always listened more or less patiently and when he wound down we'd say, "But then what happened?" and off he'd go again. I miss that cat and our conversations!

Once Ranzo the red bellied Poicephalus learned enough words in English he used them all the time and with inflection and tone to make his meaning clear.

Once I came back to the camper and he asked me, "Dere's a good bird?" (The "th" sound was hard for him so he used "ds" instead.) I said, "Yes, Ranzo, there's a good bird," and let him out of his cage. He said, "Apple?" and I, of course, answered, "Yes, Ranzo, you can have some apple!" I gave him a slice of apple and he said, with great satisfaction, "Apple!"

This was not an isolated incident. He used his words and noises completely appropriately except when he was practicing them. He would do the same thing with the word "shower" and "step up."

I'm sure all animals are speaking some kind of language that makes perfect sense to them even when they're not using sounds. We're just too slow to understand them and have the added handicap of thinking we're just sooooooo more important than anyone else on the planet...
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[User Picture]From: sestree
2012-08-24 07:21 pm (UTC)
My Lory (Pepper) uses cuss words when appropriate. When I would drop something she'd scream dammit dammit dammit (she knew that word when we got her) but I never thought much about it -- I'm prone to say the same thing.

Then Jon and I both dropped a dish (long story) and it went flying her direction. She screamed FUCK - pretty much clear as a bell nice hard consonants and all. Not a word I'd heard from her before. The F was a bit iffy but the rest was right there and in her (mine) voice.

She also says thank you but you have to catch the inflection and tone - her enunciation isn't the best because, well, she's a Lory. She also calls the cats and talks to the birds outside. She still calls for both of my boys and yells come in when someone knocks. Funny though, when my Mom died, she quit callling for her (Granny)

Go with that where you will ......

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[User Picture]From: ferlonda
2012-08-24 08:10 pm (UTC)
Parrots are simply amazing. I always thought birds were cool but Ranzo totally educated us in the seven years he was with us. Everything changed because of him and I will be forever grateful for his friendship. He died of complications due to anesthesia in 2007 and not a day goes by that we don't think on him and miss him.

Lories are such beautiful birds. A friend of mine had a couple of the Rainbow ones and when they flew around her house they were like animated light. So beautiful. Not tame or talking but truly lovely.

Those are such good stories! I have one, too, of course, in much the same vein.

I stubbed my toe next to Ranzo's cage one day and before I could stop myself I said, with great emotion, "DAMNIT!" Then I looked up and saw him looking right at me with great interest. I went into another room to cry and wait for my toe to stop hurting. Next day he dropped a toy off the dining room table (also his play station) and he said, very clearly in my voice, "DAMNIT!" dadgaderie and I had to go into that other room so we could laugh our heads off without risking encouraging him. :D

That's interesting that Pepper no longer calls for her Granny. When Frank the Cat got so sick the only answer was that horrible trip to the vet, we brought him to Ranzo and said, "Say bye, bye to Frank, sweetie. He's really sick and today he's decided to leave us." Which was true- his expression made it perfectly plain that he was done. Ranzo looked at Frank really hard (they were pretty good friends though Frank never understood why in the world we wanted anything as silly as a bird) and didn't say a peep. Weeks and weeks later we took Ranzo to the bird sitter as we were going away for the weekend and he couldn't come with us. He knew the sitter and loved her and her house and other birds but when we said, "Bye, bye," he totally freaked out. He threw himself to the floor and screamed and beat his wings against the wall, feathers went flying and even a drop of blood from his nares where he hit them against the wall... We managed to catch him in a dish towel and the three of us cuddled him and managed to calm him down but golly- it was a job. We didn't know what to say at first and then we realized what was going on so we re-explained what had happened with Frank the cat and after a while he seemed to "get it." Saying over and over again that we'd be back if we possibly could seemed to do the trick. He shuffled his feathers together and sulked on our hands and then suddenly, he shook it off and was done. When we left he was happily playing with a new toy and we all had a much greater appreciation for his intelligence and memory.

Darn birds...
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[User Picture]From: sestree
2012-08-24 09:11 pm (UTC)
Oh wow - that is cool and yes they associate things - bye bye makes sense - bye bye meant leave and never come home.

Pepper is tame. I've had her for about 15 years and she wasn't full grown when I got her. Her wings aren't strong enough for full flight. She prefers to climb about anyway. She was raised with cats (and a doberman) so she is unafraid of the cats and Sasha and she are great friends. Sadly a hopping cussing red bird tends to scare cats so they won't play with her :(

What kind is Ranzo?

((sorry for hijacking your post Mere))
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2012-08-25 01:14 am (UTC)
Eh, you two! I just decluttered and now there's feathers EVERYWHERE.

Get a room! Or a birdcage. Or your own damn LJs...oh, that's right...
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[User Picture]From: sestree
2012-08-25 01:15 am (UTC)
::smooch::

I did tell you about the big damned crow bitching at me didn't I?

Tickling your bird fettishes are we?

See ya t/m darlin
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[User Picture]From: ferlonda
2012-08-25 04:17 pm (UTC)
Yes, we felt reeeeeally stupid about the whole "bye, bye" incident after we'd figured it out. We never spoke to him casually again. He was way too smart for that!

Ranzo was a red bellied poicephalus, a small African parrot in the same general family as the Senegals. They are generally very sweet birds, relatively quiet and relatively tidy. In other words, they don't scream all the time and they don't usually throw food! :D He was a particularly good talker and had an extensive vocabulary but his favorite things were sounds. He was the Foley artist of our lives while he was with us. Every door squeaked, the phone beeped before you touched the buttons, etc. He was such a doll. But he was very sick, too. We believe he may have had Proventricular Dilation Disorder even before we bought him but whatever it was he never had a normal life. He should have lived 30-35 years but only lived seven and the last couple of years were pretty tough for him. We were so traumatized at his death that we could not bear to have him necropsied. Which we should have done. I'm sorry for that now but at the time it was just impossible. He was our only bird, my Mom's "grandbird," and his death was so sudden and unexpected (though in hindsight he was too weak for anesthesia which is what killed him) that we were incapable of thinking at all clearly.

Pepper sounds like a real character! How wonderful that she's been with you so long. So many parrots I meet are rescues with the most dire stories behind them. I'd love to see pictures of her or even meet her. I just love birds even though we don't have one these days and probably never will again. I love bird sitting, though, and get regular fixes when we're in Seattle because friends have a red belly who we get to sit for.

Anyway... we should probably take our bird talk somewhere else! Sorry, Turnip! We just got carried away. :)
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[User Picture]From: dreamaastrid
2012-08-24 01:02 am (UTC)
" I have to run out to the faire site tonight to dump a load "

I'm just imagining you heading out to faire just to poop and then heading home.. LOL!
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[User Picture]From: kiltboy
2012-08-24 01:03 am (UTC)
At least use the right icon for this...
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[User Picture]From: skivee
2012-08-24 01:05 am (UTC)
This has nothing to do with your post, but I saw it and thought of you:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/19319086
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[User Picture]From: terribleturnip
2012-08-24 02:15 pm (UTC)
So when they're all clustered out in the sun, trying to be healthy, and I come along and smear them by the hundreds into boxelder bug paste...I am the skin cancer of boxelder bugs, just faster-acting.

Thank you for introducing me to the word "monoterpenes". I will use it all weekend.
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