Remain Insane

Ramblings of an animal loving, people hating, game enthusing, book nerd :D

In the merry month of May! May 10, 2012

Today my blog is one month old, hip hip hooray! 😀

 When I first started, I thought by now I might have one or two people interested in reading what I have to write, and maybe 100 views or so. A whopping 56 followers and 800 views later, I am amazed! I never thought that my little corner of the internet would gather so much interest so quickly! So this is just a post to say thankyou so much to all of those people who have checked out my blog and subscribed! ^_^ All of your lovely comments have continued to put a smile on my face each day, and I have loved talking to every single one of you! Thankyou for making my so far short-lived blogging experience so enjoyable, and I hope to be getting to know you all better over the course of this blog 🙂

As for getting inside this crazy person’s head, here is some more completely useless facts about myself:

1) I absolutely love lame jokes. My favourites are:

‘What’s the hurry? We’d love you to stick around for dinner.’

 Yeah. We could have whatever’s “lion” around!’

 ‘Oh wait, wait, wait. I got one, I got one. Make mine a “cub” sandwich!’ (From the Lion King :D)

and

If I love anything more than lame jokes, it’s lame Chemistry jokes 😀

2) I solely go for my football team Richmond Tigers in AFL because of how awesome their club song is. I mean listen to it!

3) I like chicken salt on my fish. I know, even I think its weird. Weird . . . . . and tasty 😀

4) I have recently re-kindled my love affair with anime. I loved it when I was a kid, and now 10+ years later, I suddenly have the overwhelming urge to watch Pokemon, Sailor Moon, Digimon, One Piece and Dragonball Z. This is largely due to the discovery of an anime shop that sells every possible type of anime merchandise a geek could hope for, lots of which I am seriously considering buying 😀

5) I worked at a wildlife park for almost 4 years. It has been my first and only job (talk about a lucky teenager!) It was an amazing place filled with wonderful animals that I grew strong attachments too, and I had so many unforgettable experiences there. Holding and catching baby saltwater crocodiles and huge pythons everyday, playing chasey with a sweet but stubborn donkey, cuddling koalas and forming close bonds with two wonderful affectionate Black Cockatoos and a beautiful kangaroo are just some of the many things that I will never forget. Sadly, the place closed down due to a fire in the lower area of the park, where some of our birds, such as our Boobook Owls and gorgeous Barking Owl died, and the owners were not willing to rebuild. The remaining animals have now been housed all around South Australia and Victoria, and I miss them dearly. Hopefully one day I will be able to travel and see some of them again, as they will always hold a special place in my heart!

My beautiful Bobbi!

Best lunch breaks ever!

And lastly 6) I love the 50’s. I honestly sometimes wish I was born back then. The music! The fashion! The grease monkeys! The chivalry! Give me an old school 50’s diner playing Elvis and I’ll be there in a flash, Poodle Skirt, lame dance moves and all 😀

I’d just like to thank you all again for being so lovely and for reading my posts! 🙂 And as for my ranting. . . .

. . . . I plan to continue 😀

 

You’re the devil in disguise May 6, 2012

Filed under: The Animal Loving — Gemma @ 10:02 pm
Tags: , , , , , , ,

 This my friends, is the face of evil:

Oh but don’t be fooled by his looks! Underneath this cute and fluffy exterior is a plotting and diabolical mastermind. When we first got him, while he was quite adorable, we assumed he was simple minded. He kept up this charade very convincingly for months with extremely dedicated idiocy through:

– Killing off a couple hundred brain cells per day through hitting his head on every single object possible.

– Running around the house at top speed on wet floors, losing balance and face planting the walls

– Diving and face planting the TV trying to catch the pretty pictures

– Licking poison

– Getting stuck in the bin

– Jumping in the shower over and over again while the water was on

– And becoming fascinated with and creepily staring at the ‘Magic Box’ (air conditioner)

After all this brain-cell-killing activity, I was very surprised when he started showing a bit of brainage. He would steal my clothes while I was in the shower so I would have to give him attention and chase him. I once spent 5 minutes chasing him around the house while he had a pair of my underwear on his head! When he felt that I was a terrible owner and was not feeding him soon enough, he would open all the cupboard doors himself and get his own food. He has also locked me in an epic battle of tomfoolery. He uses the shock tactic, scaring me when I least suspect it. I on the other hand, like the gentle loving person I am, use brute force >:D Everyday,  Jasper sets himself up in a strategic place around the house, and waits. After about 10 minutes, he will meow. Me being a gullible idiot, will stop what I am doing and try to find him, thinking something is wrong. Then, out of no where, ninja cat comes flying through the air and attacks me like this:

Possibly slightly fabricated

I think through these ambush attacks, it is quite probable that Jasper is in fact trying to give me a heartattack and kill me, in which I believe he will then eat me hence winning the battle. But I will give him no such satisfaction. Fighting back, I have locked him in the cupboard, chased him with the big scary duster, and also turned our water bed into a cat catapult while he was peacefully sleeping on it, by sitting my fat ass on it and sending him flying across the room. As the fight rages on, I seem to be losing miserably. I think more cat-apulting is in order ;D The score stands as such:

Jasper: 459

Gemma: 3

As he sleeps peacefully next to me right this moment, it seems the battle is over for the day, but the night is young. From the evil glaces he was shooting me before, I believe tonight may be the night he finally plans to smother me in my sleep. I shall take the duster to bed with me for protection . . . . just in case. Until next week my lovelies, unless Jasper gets to me first! 😐

 

Alex the Grey, move aside Gandalf! April 14, 2012

Filed under: The Animal Loving — Gemma @ 2:21 pm
Tags: , ,

Animal behaviour absolutely fascinates me. How a crocodile will sit in the same spot for up to a week to watch its prey’s movements, and learn exactly how to catch it before it strikes to optimise its kill. How African Painted Dogs have learned to hunt in a funnel formation, driving the unsuspecting prey straight into the alpha males waiting teeth before it knows what hit it. How some great apes, just from watching humans at a distance, have learnt how to row a boat, paint, use sign language and to even use objects like hammers and nails. But there is one animal in particular that even I find my mind hard to wrap around, and the sheer comprehension of his achievements is mind blowing.

Get your nerd on guys, it’s about to get geeky in here.

This amazingly adorable and fluffy bird right here, in my mind, was a part of one of the most eye-opening and amazing studies of our time. This is Alex. He is an African Grey Parrot, the smartest bird in the world. Now Alex, he wasn’t just your run-of-the-mill bird. What was so special about Alex you ask? Well Alex . . . . . WAIT FOR YOUR MIND TO BE COMPLETELY BLOWN. . . . . . . . he could talk. Now before you shake your head, think ‘Oh Gemma you ninny, loads of birds can talk!’, and conclude that I am in fact deranged, let me explain why this particular case of a bird talking is so special.

When you talk to a bird, does it actually understand what you’re saying? When you hear a bird say ‘Hello’ or ‘Pretty boy want a cracker’, does it understand what IT was saying? If you’re answer was: ‘Of course not!’, you’d be in fact 100% right. The act of listening and repeating what we say is called mimicry. This is simply when the bird has heard a human repeat a word so much that the bird can then replicate it. The bird has no idea what it’s saying of course, this is just a new noise that it has added to its repertoire. The bird only realises that this new interesting noise is worth something when us humans flip out over it and give it food or pats every time it says it. The bird will continue to make this noise until the cows come home, in which it will then learn to moo if it means more love and attention.

This right here is what is special about Alex. He did not just mindlessly listen to human speech and repeat a random assortment of words in the hope of a bit of extra food; he could ACTUALLY UNDERSTAND what you were saying to him and what he was saying back to you. Just actually think about this for a moment. This is a BIRD, a ‘bird-brain’, a being that was believed to have no higher order of thought that is VERBALLY COMMUNICATING with humans and has LEARNT A LANGUAGE! Please watch the following video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6KvPN_Wt8I

DID YOU SEE WHAT HE DID THERE?!!! IS YOUR MIND NOT BLOWN?!

A 30 year study with Alex saw him learn and understand 150 different words and phrases, and was predicted to have the intelligence of a 5 year old. He could identify 50 different objects like ‘key’ or ‘wool’, he could count up to 6, he could distinguish 7 different colours and 5 shapes, he understood the concepts of bigger, smaller, same, different, over and under! He could answer multiple questions about the same objects. He asked his own questions when he wanted to know something. He could understand the concept of zero or ‘none’. Just imagine how hard that would be for an animal, which base their whole thought process on sight, to understand we are asking him to identify something that isn’t there! He understood how to put language together:  for example, he knew what a cherry and a banana was. The first time he was fed apple, which he didn’t know, he said it tasted like banana. When he saw it, he thought it looked like a cherry. He could never properly pronounce the word ‘apple’, so what did he call it? Banerry. He combined two objects that he knew to describe one that he didn’t. If he said he wanted banana and was presented with a nut, he would stare at it, glare at the researcher, and repeat his request. If presented with a nut again, he would throw it at them! Even bird super stars turn into divas! 😛

Every time his owner, Dr Irene Pepperburg, left for the day he would tell her he loved her and told her to behave herself. Once Dr Pepperburg asked him what colour a block was (it was green), and because he was bored and feeling cheeky, he stated every other colour he knew except green. After an hour of this, Dr Pepperburg decided to leave him be, put him back in his cage, and went out of the room. As she was walking down the hallway, Alex started screeching ‘It’s green! It’s green! I’m sorry! Come back! Green green green green!’.

Now if the fact that this bird can understand language and communicate with humans isn’t enough, he taught another African Grey Parrot to talk. And not just mimic, he taught it to understand things like he did. Again, let me reiterate. THIS IS A FREAKING BIRD, WHO UNDERSTANDS ENGLISH, TEACHING ANOTHER FREAKING BIRD TO UNDERSTAND ENGLISH. When the other bird, Griffin, struggled with a word, Alex would correct him and they would talk to each other, IN ENGLISH, until he got it right. This parrot, this so called ‘bird-brain’ Alex, was simply astonishing. When he died, he had not even reached his full potential. He opened the whole world’s eyes to how amazing and smart animals are. He showed us that African Greys have the same intelligence as dolphins and Great Apes, which are one step away from humans on the evolutionary scale. And we humans had the nerve to think birds are stupid?

Not so stupid now are they?