As in Alice falling down the rabbit hole to Wonderland. Except that the rabbit hole I keep falling down is YouTube. Did you know there is a video game in which you choose which of a selection of baby dinosaurs you want to be and then have to find food and evade predators until you grow to be an adult? It’s based on the prehistoric ecosystem of the Hell Creek formation and many scientists who study the flora and fauna of that era consulted on the game. From what little I’ve seen of it, the CGI is better than the various Jurassic Park films, and a good deal more scientifically accurate. If I had a kid, that would be the kind of video games I’d want them to play instead of those ghastly shoot-em-up games or kill-them-before-they-kill-us zombie/monster games. I may have to get a trial download for PC just to see the graphics.
I’m telling you, rummaging about on YouTube turns up some of the most interesting things — like video of ROV exploration of the deep oceans, or those great BBC English history videos, or some lady using a pattern from the 1940’s to make a dress, or twenty years of Time Team, or people building their own houses/homesteads, how-to videos that teach you how to do practically everything, videos about every hand craft you can imagine, videos about every hobby you can imagine.
Just this evening, I stumbled onto the channel of a Russian woman who is evidently a naturalist of some kind who cares for (rehabilitates?) birds of prey, mostly owls. She has an eagle owl, some smaller owls, as well as frogs, lizards, millipedes, and a cat. Some of her videos have titles or brief explanations in English, but they’re all narrated in Russian.
I studied Russian for 18 months once upon a time, and I’m fascinated by the sound of it. It’s been a while, but I still recognized words and phrases. More and more comes back the longer I listen to it. Every language has its unique sounds, its unique rhythm and meter. Russian has oddly shaped vowels interspersed with snarls and globs of consonants (the word for “hello” has 8 consonants and only 4 vowels — здравствуйте –zdravstvuite.) Whereas the English alphabet is derived from the Roman alphabet, the Russian alphabet is derived from the Greek alphabet, and it has more letters than ours. Russians only need four letters to spell “borscht” – борщ – that last letter is pronounced “shch.” The word for “bird” is птица (ptitsa) and both the “p” and the “t” are pronounced. It’s an infected language like Latin, with cases and endings, and a truly mind-bending system of verbs. It has no articles (“a/an” or “the”) and the verb “to be” has no present tense.
. . . Anyway, in one of the videos, she and three of her besties went to a lake in the country so that one of them could take a baby otter swimming. (Baby otters are not instinctive swimmers. They have to be taught.) — it was on a leash the whole time. Despite the surrounding vegetation being green, the lake water was so cold she had to put a wet suit on to go in swimming with it. One of her other besties is a veterinarian, and there was a video about her examining two birds (with some really state of the art equipment!) — a fairly good sized owl and some sort of hawk or falcon. The cat (named “Murloc”) walks on a leash, too.
My hair is finally beginning to get some length to it. It’s long enough to just barely touch the top of my shoulder and the hair across my forehead is down past my nose, i.e., if I want to see, I have to part my hair in some fashion to get it out of my eyes (the medical term for it is “growing out your bangs syndrome” and it’s a PITA). For some strange reason, I started parting it on the right. Then last week, I had a “DUH!” moment.
I have anisometropia, which is to say, the vision in my right eye (20/400) is very much worse than the vision in my left eye (20/40). I have excellent vision in my right eye until about 2 feet from my head, at which point it quickly deteriorates to “what chart?”. My left eye has fairly normal vision and I can function quite well without glasses — except I can’t drive without them. I usually read without glasses — and with just my right eye. (The left eye just tunes out.) Most of the time, I don’t wear my glasses in the house unless I’m at the computer or watching TV.
So, “duh!” if I part my hair on the right and don’t put a clip in it, the hair falls down over my good eye. (It only took about three weeks for me to realize this!) So now I’m parting my hair on the left, so if I don’t have a clip on it, the hair falls down over my right eye, which can’t see the furniture anyway. This situation will eventually resolve itself when the front part of my hair finally gets long enough that I can pull it all back into a pony tail. In the meantime, we are dealing with less-than-satisfactory interim solutions. And barrettes.
My mom called a while ago and during our chitting and chatting, she informed me that she just found out that my first cousin once removed’s husband (who is in the Air Force) just made brigadier general. She is the daughter of the cousin who drives in from New Mexico to take my mom and me to lunch ever so often., and her daughter (removed x2) is the one I send all the books to.
My “office” (and computer) is in the spare bedroom, which is carpeted. I have most of a sheet of 3/4-inch plywood on the floor under my desk and chair with one of those heavy plastic chair mats screwed to it because not only does my chair have wheels, so does my desk. I don’t have speakers hooked up to my desktop computer. I have an extension cord plugged into the speaker port on the computer which is taped to the underside of the desk with packing tape with the business end just under the front edge of my desk. I plug my ear buds into the extension cord jack. This set-up is a hold over from my medical transcription days when I was required to use headphones for transcription because of HIPAA privacy regulations regarding patient confidentiality. I have a pair of speakers, but I don’t use them. I’m just so used to putting on headphones/earbuds when I sit down at the computer. I noticed the other day that if I I have my earbuds in and shuffle my feet across that plastic mat, I get a double earful of static electricity. Gets your attention, I can tell you!
Gah, I hate scammers and telemarketers!!! I’ve had four (!!!) calls just during the time I’ve been typing on this blog post. They call to tell me they are about to deduct $299 from my bank account for some subscription unless I call their toll free number. They call pretending to be somebody from Microsoft telling me that the license on my copy of Windows is about to expire. They call about problems with my (nonexistent) credit card. They call me about a problem with my social security account.* Unfortunately, the brand of cordless phone I have on my land line doesn’t have the number blocking feature like my cell does and at any given time, about half my voicemails are from stupid scammers or telemarketers.
*Don't people realize that if the IRS, or the Social Security Administration, or any other governmental body has a problem with you, they are not going to call you on the phone? They are going to write you a letter about it and snail-mail it to you.