Remain Insane

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

Schoooool’s out for summer! School’s out forever! (I wish) December 7, 2012

Filed under: The Ramblings — Gemma @ 11:39 pm
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‘School’s been blown to pieces!’ Bit far? 😛

At last, I no longer have to do any more revision or stress over exams or drink a huge amount of caffeine just to be able to function. At last, no more Uni or long bus rides or falling asleep in lectures. Instead I have THREE MONTHS OF WONDERFUL HOLIDAYS! 😀 And being in Australia, this means these wonderful holidays also include the awesome season of summer! Now, take note that I use the term ‘awesome’ very loosely when it comes to summer. For example, right now I am inside in an air-conditioned room eating my summer fruits in a summery dress sitting by a window looking out into the lovely blue sky. Right now, summer is awesome! Later, I will have to step outside of my air conditioned house and walk to the bus stop while sweating profusely, feel like I am literally melting, having my skin scorched and will have a shit-ton of flies (Shit-ton: An ambiguously large number, larger than a crapton, but less than a holyfuckton. Usually equal to one metric ass load) trying to shove themselves up into every possible crevice on my face. Later, summer will be shithouse! Summer and I, we have a love-hate relationship, so many things to love, but so many things to hate!

Things to love:

– The Beach

Who doesn’t love the beach?! Swimming, a night time stroll, watching a sunset, having a picnic, playing a game of footy, add the beach to these normal activities and it makes them a million times more awesome! Spending a day at the beach with the lovely relaxing atmosphere it creates is totally worth the sandy butt crack you have by the end of the day!

Perhaaaps this isn’t the best way to deal with it though! 😛

– Summer fruits

SO MUCH LOVE! I find it almost impossible throughout the other seasons to eat healthy snacks as nothing is in season aside from the fact I whole heartedly respond with great gusto to my body wanting fatty foods 😛 But in summer: mangos, watermelon, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, blueberries, bananas, kiwifruit and oranges are available by the dozen, and I couldn’t be happier! Summer is probably the season I am the healthiest due to the sheer amount of mangos I consume alone, messy but delicious 😀

– Night time activities

Because of the longer days and Australian daylight saving, it only gets dark around 8-9 o’clock at night throughout summer! This gives you these wonderful extra hours to enjoy a lovely summers day without the scorching sun, which is best spent out walking, at the beach or simply having a waterfight in the back yard 😀

– Thongs

And no my English and American friends, I am not referring to the thong that is situated between your buttocks cheeks, I am referring to the good ol’ Aussie thongs, maybe better known as flip flops 🙂 While I’m not sure on the popularity or opinion of this footwear around the rest of the world, almost every Aussie owns a pair of these shoes. I find them so comfortable and wear them all summer long, hell, I can even run in these babies, though it definitely takes practice! 😛

– BBQ’s

There is nothing better than having a few friends over on a lovely summer evening while chucking a couple snags on the BBQ 🙂 It smells amazing, it tastes amazing, what is there not to love?! 😀

– Ice cream

Pretty self explanatory 😉 And mango sorbet is pretty awesome too!

-Summer rain

I don’t know what it is, but I find the smell of the air just before a summers rain amazing. The moisture in the air, the tingle of electricity, it is such an earthy but wonderful smell. Often I’ll watch the spectacular lightning and thunder display that follows this smell, but then go back outside again just after the rain has stopped, after the earth is damp, atmosphere has cooled and before the moisture is evaporated and again enjoy the simple but glorious smells. I always love the smell of rain, but it is always better in summer!

Things to hate:

– BUGS EVERYWHERE

Summer also unfortunately is that time of year where bugs make their presence quite known and they also happen to like to pop into your house and say G’day! Finding random spiders throughout the house daily, killing a hundred mosquitos so they don’t make a meal of you and swatting away the gazillion flies that insist of following you EVERYWHERE is what awaits you in an Australian summer. If there is one thing you have to admire them for, it is their persistence! But god almighty do I hate hearing that ‘bzzzzzzzzz’ constantly circling my head -___-

– Sleeping

Usually I love sleeping, but in summer, it is the worst! In winter when you are cold at night, its as simple as putting your electric blanket on or grabbing a hot water bottle, hopping under the covers and cuddling a boyfriend/girlfriend or a pillow and off you drift to dream land! In summer, you can sleep butt freaking naked with the fan blowing directly on you without the covers and the sheets are still sticking to your sweaty body!

– Stupid tan lines

Having an olive skin tone can be great, but by the end of summer isn’t all it’s cracked up to be! Because my skin likes to soak up rays like there is no tomorrow, by the end of summer I have a different tan line for each piece of clothing I have regularly worn out in the sun! Last year I think I counted about 5 different tan lines on my shoulders, 4 on my back, 4 on my feet and 3 on my legs! At the end of summer I am very thankful for the oncoming winter so I can hide underneath jumpers and pants waiting for my skin to stop looking a tad bit demented 😛

– Humidity

While I love the smell of summer rain, I certainly don’t like how it feels after the moisture has been evaporated back into the air! The sheer heat of summer is bad enough on its own, but when the humidity is high and it’s muggy as all hell it is the worst! Also, humidity+curly hair honestly does result in what is depicted above! Its ok cartoon weather girl, I know your pain all too well! 😛

– Boyfriend’s car

It can reach 40+ degrees celsius around Adelaide. My boyfriends car also happens to not have air conditioning. We are in for one hell of a summer when it comes to car rides! 😛 I think we are going to have to have all the windows down otherwise we are going to get roasted!

Sticking our heads out the window when we drive is sounding mighty fine right about now!

Nevertheless, through the good and the bad, I plan to enjoy this summer through wonderful day trips out with the boyfriend, sitting out the back reading a great book or sitting inside watching anime, Modern Family, Big Bang Theory or playing Skyrim or Lego Lord of the Rings! 😀 And blogging of course 😉

I’m baaaaaaccccck!

😀

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Taking a walk on the wild side August 3, 2012

After begrudgingly taking up Work Ed. as a subject as high school, I never could have imagined it would have led me to obtaining a job at a wildlife park at 16 years of age. Shyly handing in my application for work experience lead to a wonderful week of hands on wildlife work, which then lead to my decision to begin volunteering my time on the weekend at the park. After one volunteer shift, I received a call from the boss asking me if I would like a job (Though asking me if I would like a job with animals was like asking if the sky is blue :P). A year ago, my time at Dundee’s Wildlife Park ended due to its closure, and this month I have been feeling particularly nostalgic. From having being chased by a horny koala to being beaten up by a kangaroo, these are some of the most memorable experiences and animals that I encountered in my time at Dundee’s 🙂

Sweety the fat ass Donkey

Waiting for food, as per usual!

Cranky, pushy, manipulative, stubborn, a complete pain in the ass (see what I did there ;)), the word ‘Sweety’ did not really extend much past her name 😛 As much as she was frustrating, you became accustomed to hearing her screeching ‘EEEEYYYOOORRRREE!’ the moment you opened the front doors of the park in the morning, and I loved her dearly. Yes some days she caused complete havoc for us keepers because she had opened all the gates overnight and let the wallabies out which means you had to round them up (imagine 10+ little jumping animals over about an acre of land….. I did a LOT of running those days), yes she would break into the hay shed and eat a weeks worth of hay in one sitting, and yes she would pretend to get stuck in gates so customers would pay her attention and then she would steal their food, but she will always be one of my favourites, the cheeky little shit 🙂

Cooper the kickboxing Kangaroo

Relaxing after a hard morning of beating Gemma!

This is the kangaroo that one day made me his own personal punching bag. During our morning rounds, we had to do a clean up in Cooper’s enclosure, which involved simply sweeping the pavement. Cooper seriously made this easier said than done. See, he hated the broom. He would attack it when ever he saw it. Give said broom to a short 16 year old female, and put her in an enclosure with a broom hating MALE kangaroo who is going to try and exert dominance over and is taller than said short female, and you have just condemned the poor lass to a beating. This particular morning, Cooper decided the usual push and shove that he usually gave me wasn’t enough. After being able to clearly read his particularly aggro mood, voicing this to my superior, and still being forced to go in with him due to my bitch supervisor, he cornered me at the far end of the enclosure, and started attacking me! He bit, clawed, pushed, punched, head butted and finally, stood up on his tail and kicked me in the chest with his hind legs. Now, this move by kangaroo is powerful enough to break ribs! Luckily for me, the kick was only half assed, nonetheless, I still was left winded with a great whopping bruise across my stomach and chest! I always disregarded my supervisors demands to clean his enclosure after that 😛

Claus the cuddly Koala

Ready or not, here I come! >:D

Being hand raised, Claus (who was born around Christmas, hence Claus from Santa Claus…… I still think for a koala a better name would have been Claws :P) liked his cuddles, and he would go to any lengths to get them. When he was a baby, we used to have him sitting on a branch in the gift shop, with the shop attendant looking after him for the day. On one of my shop shifts, Claus was obviously trying to get my attention for cuddles, and I must have been particularly and annoyingly ignorant. He definitely managed to get my attention after a while …… by climbing up my leg like a tree! After he climbed the rest of my body, he sat quite smugly in my arms while visitors where oohing and aahhing over how cute his little stunt was, while I was trying not to openly agonise over the gouges of skin that had just been removed from my leg 😛

Dundee the horny Koala

Waiting for me to enter his rape dungeon…..

Placing this guy in an enclosure right across from a female in breeding season never ended well for us keepers. With all the super sexy female koala hormones sending him into a sex crazed state, sometimes Dundee liked to try his luck on who ever came into his enclosure. As soon as you entered, he’d already whipped it out. As soon as you had your back turned, he’d strike. After a while, having a horny male koala run after you and try to make sweet koala love to your foot was just a part of the morning rounds, but we would still run away squealing if he started getting a bit too jiggy with it 😛

Bobbi and Yella the Black Cockatoos

Yella making himself look pretty for the camera 🙂

Bobbi refusing to get off my shoulder 😛

These boys were my life and joy at the park. Their enclosure would be the first I’d visit in the morning, and the last I’d visit in the afternoon. Black Cockatoo’s are very intelligent birds . . . . and also very cheeky! Bobbi, the White Tailed Cockatoo, was the more gentle of the two, even with that huge powerful beak. He liked to sit up on my shoulder close to my ear, groom my hair and make little whistle noises and murmurs in my ear. The only time he’d ever nibble and bite my hand was if I was trying to remove him from my shoulder! 😛  Every time he saw you he would always call out to you and make a racket until you would go and visit him. Yella, the Yellow tailed Black Cockatoo, on the other hand always made a racket! While he too liked to sit on my shoulder, it wasn’t to be cutsie, but to steal hats, sunglasses (and break them :P), and play with and pull out my hair! He’d swoop you, hang above your head upside down, and even give your nose a good honking if you gave him half a chance! They both had completely different personalities, but I could have never ever chosen between my feather babies! 🙂

Buff the Water Buffalo

Big softie!

While weighing up to 3/4 of a tonne with horns that stretched 2 metres in length, this guy was nothing but a big softie! 🙂 At first I was so scared that if I went near him he’d gore me with those sharp horns, but soon realised that he was a big gentle giant who loved his hay and carrots. When ever I went in with him to change the water in his trough I kept a safe distance, as he did from me. But once I was safely on the other side of the fence again, as if he knew it were now safe, he would come up for pats. I happened to discover he also enjoyed licking, when one day I had my face near him and he decided to cover it in friendly buffalo slobber 😛 This giant animal wouldn’t hurt a fly, which is why I got so angry when I caught some customers throwing rocks at him and his ostrich companion one day. In my murderous rage I struggled to stay professional while telling them to stop what they were doing, but when the little 15 year old bitch gave me attitude, I couldn’t help but lose my shit and start yelling at her. If I recall, I called her an idiot and told her to ‘Get the f*ck out.’ She wasn’t so high and mighty then as I personally kicked her out of the park >:) Meanwhile Buff was waiting by the fence for me for a pat, making me wonder why someone would ever in their right mind throw things at him. This quote from ‘Family Guy’ describes me perfectly in these situations: ‘I’m like one of those bald eagles on the Discovery Channel. Beautiful to look at . . . . . . . but mess one of my chicks and I’ll use my razor sharp talons to rip your f*cking eyes out!’ 😛

The Psycho Emu Gang

Peculiar animals indeed 😛

Apparently a normal female + a normal male = completely schizophrenic babies! After the emus first lot of eggs hatched, it was obvious the three little munchkins were just born weird 😛 When they were little enough, they’d sneak through the gaps in the fence and try to chase the alpacas. When they were a bit older, they would chase each other around the enclosure in complete terror of one another. They would run in circles for absolutely no reason. They would literally stare at their food for 15 minutes like they didn’t know what it was, then chow into it like their was no tomorrow. When I was in their enclosure, they would play with my hair, took great amusement it biting my butt, and loved it even more when they had a chance to chase me. I would also regularly get a bath when changing their water trough. Emus love water, so when I emptied their trough on the ground, they would sit in it for ages. After they were thoroughly soaked to the bone, they would stand up, come over to me, and shake themselves like a dog. I think I came home smelling like emu a lot 😛

Heartburn and Julius the Crocs

Heartburn doing what he does best……..nothing 😛

We had many crocodiles at Dundees, but none was more of a pansy than Heartburn, the largest crocodile in the park. 17 years old and 3 metres long, Heartburn was a pipsqueak for his age, and unfortunately for him, he never did make up for size with his lazy attitude 😛 When we emptied his pond to clean it, he would go have a sook in the bushes on the bank until we returned is pond to its normal state. These sulking fits went as far as us being able to pat him without him moving (on the tail mind you, though he was lazy and a push over, there was still no way I wanted to be anywhere near those jaws! :P) Julius on the other hand was small and young, but ferocious as they come! About a metre and a half in length, Jules would always jump out of the water snapping his jaws trying to get you as you passed his pond. When you cleaned his pond, you needed everyone to help, whether they were cleaning and watching, and you had to be on guard at all times! When I went into work one morning and my boss Maurice told me we had to move Jules to a new pond up the top of the park, I assumed there was going to be more helpers, but it turned out it was just him and me! Firstly, we had to loop a rope around his top jaw. Once this was done, Maurice got into the enclosure to tie his jaws while I was holding onto the rope making sure he didn’t get away. After lots of struggling and splashing, his mouth was finally tied. Next step was a bit tricker, we had to get him out of his pond, which was deep in the ground, had no gates and a metre high fence that a person could climb easily on their own, but a crocodile in tow made it a little more difficult 😛 Maurice passed Jules up to me, and I had to haul him over the side. When I finally got him over the fence, he started thrashing, and recalling every Steve Irwin move I’d ever seen, I sat on top of him and held him down. Just call me the Crocodile Wrestler 😉

The ones that were lost

Along with all the wonderful animals that still live, there have been many that have also passed away that made my time at Dundees so special.

Incoming Kangaroo kiss!

Rufus was one of the first animals I fell in love with. He was a hand raised Kangaroo with Mickey Mouse ears. He was such a loving little animal and I spent lunch time sitting with him while he lazily sunbaked in the beautiful weather. He would always find you in the morning to greet you, and planted big wet kisses on your cheek. After a year of working there when my supervisor told me he’d had a seizure, I was heart-broken. I found him lying under a little shelter twitching, grunting and almost lifeless. If I thought I spent a lot of time with him before, now I was spending every spare second I had with him. He couldn’t get up and move at all, so instead I hand fed him and gave him water out of a bottle. When I returned a week later and he was still holding on, but had been next to forgotten about and left to lie in the dirt and as a result had gone blind in his left eye, I was furious. I found a blanket, and lifted my 70kg baby onto it and bathed his eye. The next morning, I was told it was the day he was going to get put down. I battled for control of my tears most of that day, but  at the end of my shift I broke down. I went and sat with him, cuddling him, telling him how much I had loved him and holding him close with his head resting on my lap. After an hour, I finally had to walk away, knowing that I would never spend another lunch time enjoying the sun with my dear friend. I’ll never forget that kangaroo.

Though a bit blurry, I feel this picture shows Woof for the cute freak he was 🙂

Rosie chatting up the camera!

In my third year at Dundees, there was a severe fire that completely burnt out the bottom of the park. In it, we lost some wonderful birds and owls. Woof was a Barking Owl, and he was quirky and loved for people to bark back at him when he called out, which sounded like a dog. Another bird we lost was Rosie the Major Mitchell, who loved daily scratches and talked to you non stop. Both had been there right from the start, and it wasn’t the same without them.

Sooky by name and sooky by nature!

Sooky the Galah didn’t actually pass away, but instead was stolen! This beautiful little bird lived up to her name to the fullest, loving cuddles from anyone at any time, so obviously someone decided they’d take her for themselves! Sadly, this was not the first or last time an animal was stolen…. sometimes I question people’s sanity! I have just always hoped the person that took her has looked after her well, she was a complete diva that needed papering to the fullest extent!

So many animals at that park over the 4 years have left me with so many wonderful memories. The good times, the bad times, the sad times and the times that made me laugh till my stomach hurt, I will never forget my time at Dundee’s and most of all the wonderful scaley, feathered and furry friends that made me look forward to work each day 🙂

 

Australia – What they didn’t show you in the adverts July 13, 2012

Welcome friends, to Australia! Please take a seat as we give you a brief walk-through of our wonderful country and the sights you will be seeing during your stay! The Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour, Uluru, The Great Barrier Reef, The Great Ocean Road . . . . . . no doubt these are the things you have been shown in the lovely pretty brochures of our country, but we will not be discussing these things today, oh no, we will be talking about the wildlife! While Kangaroos and Koalas are of course some of our native icons, there are many more . . . . . . interesting beasties that you will no doubt encounter at some point in your wild adventures! So please sit back, relax (paper bags can be located on your left in case of hyperventilation) and enjoy the side-show on the poisonous and dangerous, oh, I mean, the wonderful and fascinating creatures of Australia!

The Little Things

Here in the land down under, we have a range of creepy crawlies roaming completely free throughout our terrain (and houses) for your own personal viewing pleasure! There are thousands of these things all over Australia, so no doubt you will be lucky enough to get up close and personal with some of the following, neat huh?!

The Red-Back Spider

Easily identifiable by the red stripe on its back, the Red-Back Spider is considered one of Australia’s most dangerous spiders! It has a neurotoxic venom that, if injected into a human through a bite, causes severe pain, nausea, vomiting, fever and muscle spasms for up to 24 hours!

The White-Tailed Spider

Also containing a nifty venom, if this guy bites you, you are most likely to experience nausea, swelling, and receive a whopping big skin lesion, ulcer or blister that could lead to wide-spread skin loss, as the poison in its bite can rapidly kill skin cells!

The Funnel Web Spider

The Funnel Web Spider is one of the three most poisonous spiders in the world! Its acidic venom can cause muscle spasms, elevated heartbeat and respiratory distress, and can kill a person within 15 minutes!

The Huntsman Spider

Ranging from a 20 cent piece to the size of a man’s hand, this whopper is found EVERYWHERE. And when I say everywhere, I mean there is probably about 100 in this room right now, those little buggers just love to get right into all of our buildings and even snuggle up to you while you sleep!

The Bird-Eating Spider

Located in the warmer regions of Queensland, they are recognised as Australia’s largest spider. While their venom does not pose a lethal outcome (at least for humans anyway), these spiders have ridiculously long fangs to match their ridiculously large body, with their chompers sometimes growing up to 9cm!

The Scaley

Like snakes? Wonderful, we have plenty! Australia happens to be the very proud owner of some of the world’s most poisonous reptiles! We also happen to own a very large reptile species that is a direct descendant of the dinosaurs and is completely capable of successfully hunting man!

The Inland Taipan

Ladies and gentleman, I present to you, the most venomous snake in the world! It can kill an adult human in 45 minutes, and one bite contains enough poison to kill 100 people, or 250, 000 mice! Shy but highly intelligent, they are mostly found in our deserts, so watch your step, we don’t want you stepping on our world record holder!

Eastern Brown Snake 

While it is not much to look at, the Eastern Brown Snake of Aus currently holds second place in the world’s most venomous snakes! From the horrified looks on your faces, I can reassure you dear visitors that fortunately these magnificent beasts are found all around our country, so it is complete guarantee that you shall get that close encounter you so dearly desire! Lucky you!

The Saltwater Crocodile

Growing up to 8 metres in length, able to propel themselves half of their own body length out of the water, with a deadly death roll and a snap pressure of 15 tonne in its jaws (aka, what it would feel like if you got hit by a truck), the Saltwater Crocodile is one of the world’s most dangerous predators. After thousands of years of hard work, evolution has perfected the crocodile and his hunting abilities, with one of the most admirable aspects being able to find patterns in their chosen preys behaviour to maximise their hunting. Planning on taking a dip in our rivers or ocean? Just make sure you play nice and share, crocs are not only found in rivers, but on beaches all across the top of Australia, happy swimming!

The Sea Dwellers

While crocs can be found in both river and ocean, we certainly can’t let them take centre stage for our sea creatures! Nothing says: ‘I visited Australia!’ like an encounter with and a scar from one of these guys!

Box Jellyfish

We have another record holder folks! Classed as one of the most poisonous animals in the world, the Box Jellyfish is usually mostly transparent, so it’ll sting you before you even know it! Each of its tentacles contain 500, 000 cnidocytes (harpoon-like spikes), each of which can be used to pump venom into its unsuspecting prey…… that is a lot of poisonous spikes!

Blue Ringed Octopus

While only quite small, this little guys poison is strong enough to kill humans. Even better, there is no existing antivenom available to with-hold the poison which is 10, 000 times more toxic than cyanide! You have to rely on your own body to fight it off, lets hope you have a healthy immune system!

Stone Fish

Watch where you step! This fish, known as the most poisonous of its kind, often looks like a mere rock or piece of coral, allowing us unsuspecting humans to step on one of its 13 venomous spikes!

The Great White Shark

While Bondi Beach may look inviting, this is what awaits unsuspecting surfers under the surface! Seeing this large predatory fish with 300 serrated teeth travelling towards you at 24km an hour might seem quite scary, but I swear he is just smiling and wants to give you a grand welcome to his territory!

The slightly fabricated Beasties

While many will try to tell you that these beasts are merely local Australian myths, you never EVER want to underestimate these crafty creatures that are shrouded by an air of mystery!

Bunyip

Found to be lurking in swamps, billabongs, riverbeds and waterholes, the word Bunyip literally translates to ‘devil’. Believed to be an evil spirit working his magic at night, the Bunyip likes to prey on lone campers near the Murray River, often leaving no trace of the unfortunate souls it devours.

Drop Bears

For those seeking an animal with a bit more oomph than wussy and fluffy creatures, look no further than the Drop Bear! A new evolutionary strain of the cute and leaf-eating Koala, this unusually large, vicious and carnivorous animal likes to attack its prey by dropping on their heads from above! If you are a little frightened of these vicious Koala’s, never fear, a fork in your hair and a little Vegemite behind your ear completely deters the creatures from targeting you 😉

So there you have it my lovely visitors! I’ll take it by the shocked looks on your faces you are in complete awe of our creatures and can’t wait to leave the de-brief to begin to come face to face with each and every single one! Now I will just open the door to let you out . . . . . .what’s wrong? What are you all waiting for?! Get out there and explore our wonderful country! No sir, you can not get back on the plane, it is currently under maintenance for the next week, aren’t you lucky you are completely stranded in such a lovely place! Ma’am please, sobbing is really not necessary. You are surrounded by so many interesting animals, why not go and enjoy it! And if you haven’t been to Australia yet to bask in our wildlife: Where the bloody hell are ya?! 😉