September 17, 2006

bird news

For about a week now, our pet cockatiel has been an unusual jerk. He gets moods on occasion, but not usually this mean and never for this long. He's taken up residence on top of one of the kitchen cupboards, and anytime anybody goes near it he hisses, bites, even flies down and attacks. He's bit my girlfriend hard twice over the past week, something he almost never does. We've tried both positive and negative reinforcement: special food, take him away from the cabinet, lock him in his cage when we're in the kitchen, but he invariably keeps winding up back up there, giving us the hairy eyeball and attacking anybody that gets too close.

Then, last night he got into a bit of an accident; he's okay but pulled out a bunch of flight feathers on one side, rendering him ground-bound until they grow back. Since he couldn't get away, he was stuck sitting on the couch with us for the evening. He didn't seem to mind, for the first time this week he sat quietly and pestered us for attention, which is what he ususally does when we're watching tv. Eventually he crawled down into a hole between my girlfriend and I and just parked himself there, probably to go to sleep.

Not so: about ten minutes later he crawled back up and started poking us again, and when my girlfriend sat up there wasn't the usual bit of bird fluff or a pile of poo on the couch, but a small egg about the size of a candy robin's egg.

Turns out, Sid isn't a he, it's a she. Further inspection of her cabinettop abode revealed a few more eggs, some squished. Of course, the only action Sid's gotten for the past two years is from the stuffed Pirate Parrot toy on top of her cage that she's gotten quite friendly with. Apparently, every so often unmated birds drop a few eggs, just to keep the ol' hormones kicking or something; sortof an Avian PMS.

I've had pets pee in the house, poop in the house, sleep in the stranges places and perform a wide variety of odd noises and strange behaviors. But sitting up and finding an egg lying where a previously-thought-to-be-male pet had been camped a few minutes ago is a topper on the pet weirdometer.

But there it was. She mostly ignores the eggs, but every once in a while she go over, push one around, and squat on it to keep it warm; according to the paperback reference manual we bought with the bird this is suppossed to be theraputic, even if there isn't anything more than a bit of unproductive goop inside the egg.

So now I'm trying to get used to calling him, "Her". Birds, if you've never taken a close look at their undercarriage, are pretty much androgynous creatures. Sometimes you can tell gender by plumage and stuff, but with cockatiels there is no really hard-and-fast rule, just a few guidelines. Either way, there's no handy genitalia flopping around for identification as there is on a mammal. Pick up the back end of my bird and all you'll get for your trouble is a peck on the fingers, a sort of primitive demure demand to mind your own business.

Anyway, we set her up with a shoebox nest in the bottom of her cage, and she's been much friendlier lately. I think this phase is about over, and she seems glad for it; she's been even quiter and friendlier than usual lately, like she missed hanging around with us while nature was having its way with her.

So thank God for that, I couldn't have put up with another week of birdy bitchery. Now I just have to figure out how long to leave the eggs in there, and what the hell to do with them when she's done with 'em.

Posted by Francis at 07:26 PM | Comments (6228) | TrackBack

September 10, 2006

September 03, 2006

tales of the plastic badge: nobody here but us field mice edition

Me: ___________ Security, how can I help you?

Drunk employee trying to call off overnite shift: Hey, who....who's the supervisor in manufacturing tonight?

Me: Nobody, there's nobody in the plant tonight.

Slacker: Nobody? Well...then who's in charge up there?

Me: Nobody. There's nobody here but me and the geese and gophers, and I think the geese left a few hours ago.

Slacker: Oh, okay, then, can I talk to the supervisor in Finishing, then?

Me: No. There's no supervisor in at all.

Slacker: Hm. Then how about _(random employee)_?

Me: No. No, they aren't here. Nobody's here. Nobody but me.

Slacker: Ummmm...okay, then...who is there?

Me: Me.

Slacker: And....

Me: Me. That's it.

Slacker: But _another employee_ always works Sunday, I'm sure he's there.

Me: Is ___________ a groundhog, or maybe a bunny rabbit?

Slacker: No.

Me: Then I'm sure he's not here.

Slacker: Oh....well, can you page him anyway, just to be sure?

Me: (puts slacker on hold)

Five minutes later:

Me: __________ Security, how can I help you?

Slacker: I think we got disconnected, I was trying to reach ____________.

Me: No, we didn't get disconnected, I'm pretty sure they aren't here.

Slacker: Oh, okay then. Who is there again?

Me: Nobody. Nobody at all, literally, I'm sitting in a big empty plant. I'm actually naked right now, because hey, why not, it's not like anybody's going to bitch.

Slacker: Hey, I don't like you refusing to help me. Let me I talk to your boss!

Me: Nope. Not until tommorow morning, unless you call her cell phone.

Slacker: Can I have her cell number?

Me: Sorry, against company policy.

Slacker: Oh. Okay then, fine, can I just have the finishing supervisor?

Me: (Pause...) Sure, hold on one minute.

Put the call into voicemail, take the phone off the hook, and go for a walk...until the next shift shows up.

Posted by Francis at 06:38 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

white hot rage moment of the day

American rappers use video of Americans dying in Iraq in their music video.


Posted by Francis at 04:24 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack