vsbeetle: (Default)
When finally deciding that enough is enough and laying a bait trap in amongst a trail of happily foraging ants (in the kitchen), do not then immediately go on a mad killing spree and squash them all, for they will not be able to take the bait back with them when they are flat.

Really, though - we've been repelling ants in all downstairs rooms for several weeks, despite all non-lethal precautions. My main (hopefully far-fetched) worry now is that they're under the house and we'll all disappear in a large cloud of sand and a mountain of ants.

In other news, I lost a rat today. Emergency trip to the vet's after spotting what looked like a prolapse. Turned out I was right, the vet explained he'd done surgery for this before but rats are terrible at having recurrences, so I decided not to put a fairly shy rodent through the whole thing. I feel like a bit of a traitor but it's one of the risks of keeping pets.

Coming home with an empty carrier though led to all sorts of questions about death from the sprogs. Well, IIa anyway, IIb was being an aeroplane or something and wasn't at all bothered. Now we have to warn grandparents to expect such questions as 'Are you really really old?' and 'Are you going to die?' in the near future.
vsbeetle: (Default)
Yeah that's a typo up there in the title but it seems appropriate somehow.

I'm catching up on webcomics, one has the infamous 'It was a dark and stormy night...' line in it, and it links to this webpage: http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/ Wonder if I can write something, er, 'good' enough for that.

And this has also reminded me Atlanta Nights, a book I want a copy of but which is published on-demand through Lulu in the US (IIRC). (http://critters.critique.org/sting/) OK so it's a setup designed to embarass one particular allegedly unscrupulous publisher, but from what I've seen of the book itself it's a hoot and a great 'how not to write, *ever*' guide. :-)
vsbeetle: (Default)
...to those who don't know Buchanan Street (Glasgow).

There's a bloke selling coffee from the Tardis - when did *that* happen then?

In other news, the OH is finally getting a kilt. Men in kilts, mmm.
vsbeetle: (Default)
Singing along to 'Song to the Siren' (This Mortal Coil's version) is a really quick way to induce a not-quite-connected-to-the-world state. :-)


Apr. 8th, 2006 10:56 pm
vsbeetle: (Default)
I'm almost completely pissed off. For no good reason at all. Which in itself is pissing me off.

In other news, I have one annoying fingernail which is determined to stay rough no matter how I trim it back and guess what? IT'S PISSING ME OFF!

I think I should avoid people for a day or so. Snarl etc.
vsbeetle: (Default)
Deer shot dead after being ‘set free by animal rights activists’

March 28 2006

Eight pet deer have been shot dead after animal rights activists claimed to
have set them free.
In their second attack north of the border in less than a week, the Animal
Liberation Front said it destroyed £10,000 worth of fencing at a site in
Lanarkshire – believing it was a deer-farming operation.
However, that element of the Newmill trout fishery business near Lanark
closed six years ago and the 18 red deer retained there were treated as pets
as well as being a visitor attraction.
Ten animals disappeared into woods after more than one mile of fencing was
cut down.
The others were shot to prevent them from either falling into poachers'
hands or causing an accident on a nearby busy road.
Dave Buchanan, who works with his brother Sandy at the farm, described the
activists' actions as "madness".
He said the escaped deer would not have survived the week, adding: "I want
to publicise this because these people will be sitting somewhere thinking
they attacked a deer farm and let these animals go.
"I want them to know they got it wrong and it was a deer park with pet deer
in it and they have caused them to get slaughtered."
Last Wednesday, activists struck at a family-run deer farm near
Auchtermuchty, Fife. It was the first attack of its kind in Scotland.
Slogans which included "scum" as well as a threat ALF protesters would
return were sprayed in paint on the road leading to Reediehill Farm as well
as on a signpost.
In the initial attack, fencing was also destroyed but none of the 450 or so
animals were found to be missing.
The organisation accused the owners of running "a wildlife prison".
Mr Buchanan said that he believed the Newmill incident also happened late
last week but the destroyed fencing was not noticed until Sunday.
He said it must have involved several demonstrators, adding: "They cut the
fencing up into 30ft sections from top to bottom One person couldn't
physically have done that."
He said they had not run a deer farm for about six years. After new
government regulations required too much investment, they concentrated on
the fishery business.
"We kept the deer as pets although at auction they would probably be each
worth between £300 and £400. It's so sad they would cause the death of these
poor animals," he said.
"We had to shoot them because someone could have been killed if their car
struck one. And they could be the victims of poachers. There are many people
out there with dogs."
Mr Buchanan said he believed they had been "picked on" because the name had
remained Newmill trout and deer farm. "They have done a search on the web
and although we're no longer a farm they've seen that.
"We'll have to change the name. Ironically there is a big commercial deer
farm not too far from us."
Two cars at the Lanarkshire site also had their tyres slashed and their
windscreen wipers damaged.
An ALF spokesman yesterday claimed the group was behind both recent
incidents. He insisted it did not matter that the Lanark premises was no
longer deer farm.
"The activists may have been slightly influenced if they had known the deer
were not farmed but they are still in captivity," the spokesman said.
"We are still opposed to imprisonment of animals such as in circuses and
zoos. It is an extension to the moral question of slavery. It would still be
a legitimate ALF action."
A spokesman for Strathclyde Police had earlier said that there was no
evidence to suggest the involvement of animal rights campaigners.
Meanwhile, it is also believed that animal rights activists were behind
vandalism at the Armadale dog and speedway track in West Lothian.
Thousands of pounds worth of damage was caused to electrical systems,
vehicles and safety fencing.
A spokesman said: "The extensive graffiti indicates the culprits are animal
rights activists. It seems likely a recent television programme regarding
treatment of greyhounds has sparked off the action."
He added: "Ironically, the family sport of speedway stands to be a major
victim, even though it has no connection whatever with animals."


Didn't know

Feb. 7th, 2006 01:20 am
vsbeetle: (Default)

That FoE were involved with this campaign. I admit I've not been keeping up to date with it - AIUI the massive cost is due at least in part to the necessary clean up of various sites along the route. These sites would still need something doing with them, but another bit of motorway? Perhaps not the best thing...
vsbeetle: (Default)
All praise the Wacom, for it is nifty. Look ma, I can draw!
vsbeetle: (Default)
There used to be a tattoo place in town here, but the bloke who ran it has emigrated. Now, he had a card of mine which I'm now trying to replace. (he also did a cracking design for me which I never had enough money to get done, and of course the image disappeared in a reformat, drat it.)

The design is celtic, a circle of three women pulling one anothers hair. Like the beard pullers (http://www.emblibrary.com/EL/product_images/U1150.jpg) but female. It was a good card, and it used to sit in the window of the student house in Menstrie, so it had sentimental value even though it was a tatty old card.

My google-fu is nowhere near up to finding this image, I don't even know what it was called. Anyone got any ideas? Help?
vsbeetle: (Default)
One or two of you might have seen this already. I am going to print two copies and hand them to grandmothers with no further comment. I will stop them both from overfeeding the sprogs with sweets even if I have to start slapping their wrists when they hand out jelly tots. (PS apologies if the cut doesn't work, I've not tried that before...)

Combining food additives may be harmful, say researchers

Read more... )
vsbeetle: (Default)
"*Please fw*

Circus2iraq has been unable to return to Iraq since the first tour in
early 2004 and all the signs are that it'll be a long time before it's
possible to go back again. We're still working with people over there
to rebuild one of the schools in Falluja that was destroyed by the US
in November 2004.

Meanwhile, as Boomchucka Circus, some of us will be going to Palestine
this winter to work with kids traumatised by the violence there,
especially in the refugee camps. Kids face heavily armed checkpoints
routinely, on their way to and from school. Sometimes they're under
curfew, 24hours a day for days on end. Sometimes homes are destroyed.
Their fathers and other men are liable to be arrested and held for
months on administrative detention at any time.

Jenny spent quite a bit of time in Palestine and talked about teaching
some kids to juggle using stones. It was the first time the children
had seen stones as toys instead of weapons. As we saw in Iraq, play
can transform objects, places and situations and we hope to do that
again in Palestine.

There are a lot of emotional problems among Palestinian kids because
of the trauma they see. Like the children in Iraq, when given paper
and pencils, they tend to draw tanks, guns and bombs. In Iraq we found
that after a show they started drawing clowns, jugglers and magicians.

We're also looking into the possibility of doing a couple of weeks of
'encounter' work, bringing Palestinian and Israeli kids together. No
one's saying that childhood friendships are the whole solution. Of
course children who play together can grow into adults who oppress or
kill each other. Nelson Mandela's prison guard was a white man who had
grown up with black children as friends, but was still drawn into the
apartheid structure as an adult. Still there's no knowing whether his
childhood experiences made him a more compassionate man once he had

There are arguments against the value of bringing people together when
one 'side' has much more political power than the other and of course
that's extremely relevant to things like negotiations, but one of the
big obstacles to peace in Palestine and Israel is fear. Even moderate
Israelis often support things like the Wall because they're afraid.
We've got a contact who we met in Iraq last year, who works with
Palestinians in Jerusalem to bring Palestinians and Israelis together,
something few people are able to do because of the restrictions on
Israelis travelling into the occupied territories and vice versa.

So we do think it's worthwhile doing a couple of weeks trying to bring
kids from Israel and Palestine together but for the rest of the three
months our priority is to work with kids in Palestine who are

So… please can we have some money.

Each person who goes will have to commit to doing their own
fundraising for travel, food and accommodation but there are other
expenses like translators, some equipment, travel within the country –
which mounts up in taxi fares because of the checkpoints making it
impossible to travel by bus reliably. We want to leave lots of play
parachutes behind for people who can use them, so the kids can keep on
with the games after the clowns have gone.

We don't have administration costs, the Boomchucka members absorb
those, so everything you give us goes into the project. Boomchucka is
an unincorporated co-operative, which also keeps admin costs to a

The circus in Iraq was incredible. If you missed the reports at the
time, look at our website – there are loads of pictures of happy
children, many of whom we were told hadn't laughed like that, from
their bellies, since before the war.www.circus2Iraq.org This is your
chance to help make it happen again.

Boomchuckas and thanks,


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