Saturday 30 December 2006

I've got a cold mug of tea.

That's what happens when you start blogging I think.. next I'll be forgetting to wash or eat.
I just had to alter the Pink Floyd thing. Someone bypassed the comments, sent a kneemail to tell me that autoplay music on a site is annoying. And she's right. Because we don't all like the same music, and because you might want to read without distraction.
And even if you put the music there in the first place you, (or in this case me) become the custodian of the site and have to visit regularly to sweep, mop floors and wipe down the walls. (Whichever of you put those sticky fingerprints on the lightswitch, Yeuch!) You soon find that the same track, starting, as you open the door, gets a little old.
I'm in cogitation mode at present on what to do next. I think hot tea, followed by a sot of keyboerd bashing.
I'll play myself some music upon the electric phonograph whilst I ponder.

Friday 29 December 2006

Echoes. By Pink Floyd.


Overhead the albatross hangs motionless upon the air
And deep beneath the rolling waves
In labyrinths of coral caves
The echo of a distant tide
Comes willowing across the sand
And everything is green and submarine.
And no one showed us to the land
And no one knows the wheres or whys
But something stirs and something tries
And starts to climb toward the light
Strangers passing in the street
By chance two separate glances meet
And I am you and what I see is me
And do I take you by the hand
And lead you through the land
And help me understand the best I can
And no one calls us to move on
And no one forces down our eyes
And no one speaks and no one tries
And no one flies around the sun
Cloudless every day you fall upon my waking eyes
Inviting and inciting me to rise
And through the window in the wall
Comes streaming in on sunlight wings
A million bright ambassadors of morning
And no one sings me lullabies
And no one makes me close my eyes
And so I throw the windows wide
And call to you across the sky

Thursday 28 December 2006

Of Mice and Me

My old house had them, it was an old stone cottage, near two overgrown fields, every winter the field mice would look through the windows at the roaring log fire, assess the cheese wrappers in the bin, and move in. Tiny grey shadows flickered at the edge of vision, the kitchen was ransacked, as only mice know how. Flour and pasta spilled across the shelves, mouse droppings on the table.
The bloody parrot thought mice were for his amusement. The bastard watched calmly, mumbling quietly to himself, as the little grey despoilers ransacked his stash of sunflower seeds. They cached them in my sofa, after gnawing a hole in the back. BASTARDS!
My dog ignored them.
I borrowed a cat, but the cat sat on the mat. and sat. and sat. I feared the cat was receiving mouse pay for turning a blind eye. I tried with-holding cat food. The cat just raided the dog's food. After a serious one to one discussion the cat found itself stripped of rank and privileges, and given a dishonourable discharge from the service. Returned to unit, unsatisfactory conduct when faced with the enemy.

Serious discussion with the dog stalled when he looked me in the eye, yawned, and fell asleep.
The long ago girlfriend was vegetarian and begged me not to deploy the mousetraps with snapping jaws, so at a green festival, I bought a humane mouse trap, which allegedly caught them unharmed, to be released near a cheese shop. But no, it caught none, so after arguments and tears, the 'little nipper' mousetrap was deployed.
The first evening it averaged a mouse every twenty minutes.
Disposing of bloody mangled corpses saddened me, but having to hang all my foodstuffs from the ceiling enraged me, so more nippers were deployed along the western front. The mice abandoned all forms of contraception and set to producing huge families in the attic and below the floor. At night, they owned the house, and gnawed full time at any object that could be turned into mouse furnishings.
Angry hurling of books at the bedroom corner had little effect.
The girlfriend tended to use the bedroom floor as a giant laundry-basket/wardrobe, so the discovery of a palm sized hole in the bosom of the little black dress sparked something that might be described as fury, anger, rage of biblical proportion-had I stayed to describe it, rather than fleeing the premises on some flimsy excuse.
When I returned, things had been thrown at the walls, a big pile of clothing was bagged for disposal, and a large can of poison was on the table. For a while I ate only food from tins, which I opened myself. But I was not the target. My creature-friendly lover was putting out little bowls of choc chip and warfarin for those poor, harmless little rodents.

They loved it, they lined up to eat poison, which must have driven them to write their friends and invite them to visit too. Lines of mice waited patiently for their turn at the poison, "Bring it on!" they roared.
My mother had a catalogue, one of those things aimed at elderly people, full of things you never knew you needed, like um, devices for sucking the air out of frozen food bags, or egg timers that predict the weather, or overshoes that will not slip on wet leaves.. and ultrasonic mouse deterrents. She said she would buy one for us to try. I said it would not work, she replied that as she was going to buy it I should shut up and stop being so negative.

It arrived in the mail, a 6 volt battery, or mains supply was required. As it worked off a battery, I decided to give it a try, I put the box in my pocket and visited the Living World Pet Superstore.... Casually sauntering into the room full of pet rats, hamsters, gerbils, mice, rabbits,... I fumbled for the battery. CHAOS! the place erupted, furry animals ran in circles, squeaked madly, threw themselves at the bars. The humans were stunned, looking around- had a cat walked in?
but the battery was off, the furry beasts resumed their normal demeanour. I had to check again. CHAOS!

The ultrasonic deterrent was thus installed, at Rose Bank Cottage, and the stealers of cheese, despoilers of dresses, the attic nesters and carpet chewers packed their bags and left, a long column, chanting mouse marching songs, from our door toward the far horizons.
All that carnage, little mangled mousy corpses, over so long, was unnecessary, had I only known that ultrasonics upset the nervous systems of rodents,
The dog, by the way, could hear it, but was untroubled. His food supply had never been threatened, he could sleep through any scratching or squeaking, and had no possessions of interest to the small squeaky community.
I found this lack of support annoying, but somewhat tempered by the dog's belief that I am god. When not sleeping, his waking hours were spent awaiting my miracles, like the opening of any package containing food, or the magical making of things to fly and bounce, that can be chased and caught by a dog, and the provision of a roaring fire, in front of which a dog can sleep.
The current demesne also had mice, damn their furry hearts, so out I went to a well known electronics store, name begins map, ends lins, bought ultrasonic plug-in things, no more noises in the night, flickers of grey, mouseshit in the cupboards.
Internet research, interestingly, tells me these things don't work. But the mice have moved out. That's enough for me.

(Originally posted to comments at little red boat December 31, 2005 04:46 PM )


Loituma, from the album, 'Things of Beauty', Ievan Polka.

Nuapurista kuulu se polokan tahti
jalakani pohjii kutkutti.
Ievan äiti se tyttöösä vahti
vaan kyllähän Ieva sen jutkutti,
sillä ei meitä silloin kiellot haittaa
kun myö tanssimme laiasta laitaan.
Salivili hipput tupput täppyt
äppyt tipput hilijalleen.

Ievan suu oli vehnäsellä
ko immeiset onnee toevotti.
Peä oli märkänä jokaisella
ja viulu se vinku ja voevotti.
Ei tätä poikoo märkyys haittaa
sillon ko laskoo laiasta laitaan.
Salivili hipput...............

Now the full translation, English by Susan Sinisalo
The sound of a polka drifted from my neighbor's
and set my feet a-tapping oh!
Ieva's mother had her eye on her daughter but
Ieva she managed to fool her, you know.
'Cause who's going to listen to mother saying no
when we're all busy dancing to and fro!

Ieva was smiling, the fiddle it was wailing
as people crowded round to wish her luck.
Everyone was hot but it didn't seem to bother
the handsome young man, the dashing buck.
'Cause who's going to mind a drop of sweat
when he's all busy dancing to and fro!

Ieva's mother she shut herself away
in her own quiet room to hum a hymn.
Leaving our hero to have a spot of fun
in a neighbor's house when the lights are dim.
'Cause what does it matter what the old folks say
when you're all busy dancing to and fro!

When the music stopped then the real fun began
and that's when the laddie fooled around.
When he took her home, when the dancing was over
her mother angrily waiting they found.
But I said to her, Ieva, now don't you weep
and we'll soon be dancing to and fro!

I said to her mother now stop that noise
or I won't be responsible for what I do.
If you go quietly and stay in your room
you won't get hurt while your daughter I woo.
'Cause this fine laddie is a wild sort of guy
when he's all busy dancing to and fro!

One thing I tell you is you won't trap me,
no, you won't find me an easy catch.
Travel to the east and travel to the west but
Ieva and I are going to make a match.
'Cause this fine laddie ain't the bashful sort
when he's all busy dancing to and fro.

Wednesday 27 December 2006

Everyday Entertainments for Small Beetles

Don't worry, the newness will soon wear off, and I'l become a desultory blogger with years between posts. But just now I'm fooling myself into thinking I'm learning a new skill, and that counts as education and self-improvement. Thereby rendering messing about with a computer a positive act, rather than the default activity of a bloke who's avoiding doing domestic chores and is oblivious to encroaching chaos in his home.
So in my self improving strolls about the internet, I came across a neat little film, about a little red beetle. (Coccinellidae. 40 different species in Britain alone.)
Here in England, it would be called a Ladybird. We like them, they keep or roses free of aphids.
Children sing:
"Ladybird ladybird fly away home,
Your house in on fire and your children are gone,
All except one and that's little Ann,
For she crept under the frying pan."

The Ladybird in the film is not one who would fall for that cruel joke though.

Minuscule - Ladybug - The funniest home videos are here>

There's a lot of stuff yet to come on their start page, so play around a bit. One thing I liked. The start-page scene changes with the time of day. A little while ago it was golden, the sun setting. Now it's dark, the birds and insects seem to be chirruping differently too.

I predict a great future for these guys.
Love the sounds.
I think the flies have a Rolls Royce Merlin aero engine.

Eek! The mythical reader!

The Mythical reader happened along. It was all a bit scary when the little flag came up, to tell me someone had tripped the trap I so carefully set.
After a while, I gathered enough courage to creep out from behind the sofa and take a look.
Thank heavens, no scattered blood or viscera around the trap. I remember that from when the cottage got a nasty case of mousies. I really hated traps. But those mice just ate and destroyed, and eventually my innate niceness was destroyed, and the little nipper mousetrap, all blood and gore, became my ally.. I'll tell you about it one day, but just now I'm being as concise as I can.
Oh yes, the cheese had gone. A few pointy heelprints in the carpet gave a clue... Now, where did I recently see.... Oh yes, I think they are the prints of a pair of psychedelic pink Emilio Pucci high-heeled boots. A bit wonderwoman, don't you think, Red Dirt Girl?
(I wonder if that will work? Remember, I'm a bloke, I'm hacking away at this blindly, we don't read the instructions until after we've fucked-up) That link will probably send you to a top secret sub basement of the Pentagon, and scary blokes in black will abseil out of silent helicopters and smash through my windows, chucking stun grenades and shouting Bruce Willis dialogue. Oh dear. Perhaps I'd better pack a small bag ready for thirty years incarceration without trial... Let's see, teaspoon for tunnel digging....
Oh. Sorry, I was wandering again.
See, it's a bit problematic. Red Dirt Girl, she doesn't know it, but she's the cause of all this. Being on holiday, and not much liking the weather, and having read myself into a stupor, and not wanting to tackle the real stuff, like putting up shelves, chucking out that steel thing the scanner and printer sat on, until one two many painful knee bashes sealed its fate... I just went blogsurfing. And I was reading a Blogger site, full of poems that reminded me that I'd been poetry starved for a long time. They're just good. Really. The ones there- Oh look, I'm a buffoon, I'm talking about how good they are, and I'm bluh!. Bluh. There. just ran out of words.
(if my sister was reading this she'd be, rolling on the floor laughing. "Never happen!" she'd cry, knowing i was pre-loaded at birth with enough words for a dozen lifetimes.)
True though. There are two poems concerning a bicycle that ran off to live with a herd of goats.
Go there, read them yourself, lighten your life, browse the recipes, buy a pair of fearsomely expensive looking boots. That is, if the link doesn't dump you in a sub basement of the Pentagon.
Anyway, I was reading that and I wanted to say how much I'd enjoyed it, to give thanks, but I couldn't do it unless I had a blogger account so. So I got a blogger account and Then I thought I'd give it a go, and, well, that means the first visitor was lured by a false trail of cheese.
And then another... No cheese left though. It was a piece of Cantal, from the Auvergne in the middle of France. I'd planned to eat it with some crusty olive bread and a bottle of Kriek, which I found in the cellar.

I'll post this and see if the link works. If this is the last you hear of me, please write to your politicians and point out that I'm far too disorganised to pose a threat.

Tuesday 26 December 2006

An Inconspicuous Beginning.

Damn... What have I done? And why?

First of all who am I?
For most purposes, these days, I am Ersatz Soubriquet.

I have another name, several, in fact, but Ersatz has been taking over in leaps and bounds. He first came into existence... A long time ago, I won't disclose how long just now, but it was before the internet, when he worked with a quill pen.
Stop that!
Ersatz, you never had a quill pen.
I did!
Liar! You remember, you had a pen, like a wood stick, with replaceable nibs, that you used for carving the desk until Mr Dennis smacked you with a ruler. And then you had to ask Mr Dennis for a new nib and he was very cross.
And you had to dip the pen in an inkwell on the desk, full of Parker's patent Quink, blue-black, washable, for schools, refiller from the big bottle in the cupboard. And then you left a big blob of ink on your book, and then you blotted it with blotting paper, which was pink until it got blotty all over, and you always had blue fingers and..
What the hell is all this? What are you doing? ink and nibs indeed, you're supposed to be introducing yourself to the as yet, mythical reader.
But there isn't a reader, The reader is a myth, it's just me!
Look, this is the innertent, or as the rest of the world outside our fuddled head knows it, The Internet ! (ooh good! if you hit the keys harder the letters are bigger and blacker)(or whiter, in this case) and the innertent is full of shoals of aimless people who might happen along here and read this.
But why would they?
Stop asking questions, just trust me, they might, and if they did, they wouldn't want to read about your early school years.
They might.
Trust me, I'm your more sensible self, they don't.
So. You're me?
I am, only more sensible.
Oh. Do you remember Mr Dennis then?
Yes. He was very big, we were about eight years old, and he smelled of pee. And he had an old greeny coloured jacket and he could throw a piece of chalk so it hit you right between the eyes.
I remember that. He was very big on not day-dreaming, or looking out of the window, or bending nibs.
Bit of a tough task, then. me, us, never been good at focusing on the task in hand, the present, and so on.
Right. Lets try focus, get together in the same brain and get on with it, shall we?

I've just signed up for this bloggery and I've no idea how it works or who the hell wants to know what I think about anything.
Will I persist? who knows. time will tell. I'd better learn how to do it now, so don't hold your breath, unknown first reader
, because it might take months to figure out... Like what happened there? fonts changing size? and there's no teacher in the room. Maybe if I pull out the computer's plug it will fix itself... shall I buy a new keyboard?

That's it, I'm intimidated now by the empty space, I'll just go read someone else's blog and pretend I'm clever enough to do it.

Now what? Preview button..... post... Labels?

Anyway, mythical first reader, If you do happen by, please leave a comment. Try not to wound me too much.