Saturday, February 27, 2010

Shoot it!

So, I just got off the phone with my internet provider. Granted, it is 9:30 pm on a Saturday night, so conversations may not be as formal as ones being monitored during the day; but this one was hilarious. Also...this is Hawaii.

I made the call because my internet is giving me fits. It is sporadic and has been working whenever it bloody well feels like it, not necessarily when I want it to work. Anyway, the technician was running tests on my line, so, just shooting the breeze I mentioned that I had on my wall a giant black moth measuring about 6 inches across.  Without hesitation he said, "Shoot it!" Then he asked if I had any hairspray. When I asked him what for, he said I could get up really close and then, while spraying it, light the spray on fire (essentially torching it). Thoughts of a giant flaming moth fluttering around my head while standing on an  8 foot ladder went flickering across my vision. He then launched in to how harmful the dust of those moths are and how it could seriously blind me. I love it here.

Well, my internet is working, but the mammoth moth still lurks in the corner waiting for the opportunity to impair my vision while I'm preoccupied on the internet googling ways to kill moths... (by the way, my moth looks bigger and scarier)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Explore the native around you

Wow, my titles seem so misleading sometimes.  I actually don't mean that you should get in touch with your "inner self" or go streaking naked through your local mall. I was meaning that most communities have a Native Plant Society and they are often worth exploring.

Ours, the Kaua`i Native Plant Society, just had an outing last Saturday that was out of this world fun and enriching. We got to visit a project on the south side that is growing over 90 species of plants "inter-situ". After a few hours of removing weeds from a scenic restoration site, we then got to tour the Maka`uwahi Cave, the famous "sink hole" at Maha`ulepu. It was a fantastic day; educational, enriching, and just plain fun (here are pictures of the event).

Get out there and see if there is a Native Plant Society near you!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Domesticated savages

Brutal, primitive, threatening and dangerous beings who live very near, but outside the metropolis and its regulations. Hmmm. Sounds like King Kong, big cats at the zoo, or Cruella De Vil. But, no, I am talking about my landlord's three huge dogs.

This morning I witnessed something so gruesome I had to blog about it. During these dog's normal patrol of the neighborhood I observed them calmly lying in the sun chewing on something. Then, one of them (having finished what he was eating) got up and strolled into the tall grass and came out with something dangling from its mouth. Two little legs. It sauntered over to a cleared area and proceeded to tear it apart and swallow it down.

Now, I am not a strong advocate for feral cats, but this was appalling to me. These dogs are allowed to wonder at their leisure all over the neighborhood. They even have a history of killing another small dog at the end of my street. And yet, no effort is made to control them! They run up on people's (read mine) decks in the middle of the night. They chase cats under my house while I am trying to sleep, and they try to bite my car tires as I attempt to pass by them on my way out of our dead-end street.

What will it take to make this behavior stop? Even the savage in me comes out as I fantasize about one of them getting their teeth stuck in my tire and I snap their neck as I continue to drive away.  I seem to be stuck on a dog theme lately; but really, people should not own dogs if they can't be responsible for them. Dogs are a domesticated animal.  They need more than just being fed and let loose. Otherwise, they become savages; tearing apart garbage cans, barking incessantly, and killing other "domesticated" animals. Come on people.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mobile blogging. Wow. Now I can spout my opinions from anywhere! How exciting. More to come.

Anthropomorphism run amuck

Say what??!! Okay, I've been watching a lot of the Dog Whisperer lately trying to pick up on useful tips to have my little babies (read dogs) behave better and there is something very disturbing  that I am consistently seeing. Dog owners are treating their dogs as humans. Hence, the definition of anthropomorphismThe endowment of human characteristics to something that is not human.

Over and over again, we (yes, I am including myself) use human psychology as a technique in rearing our little angels. We assume that they can understand our logic and they are beaten into submission (or not) by our constant barrage of baby-talk, bribes, and babbling commands. It is amazing that anyone owns a well-behaved dog; I think it is purely the result of luck and/or a very stupid dog that can not be influenced by our own behavior.

Caesar Millan has it so totally right. What a dog needs is exercise, discipline, and affection (in that order). Period. Well, besides a good diet, obviously. The biggest problem is that dog owners are a lazy bunch and tend to give affection first and foremost. We unconsciously are petting them when they are barking their heads off at a cat - reinforcing their behavior! Millan encourages owners to give affection, but to give affection when the dog is in a balanced state of mind, not when the dog is fearful, anxious, avoidant or excited — when the affection itself can reinforce imbalance.

Reinforcing imbalance? Whoa. We humans have another term for this: enabling. And we are so, so good at it. So, Caesar, I am making a pledge: exercise, discipline, and affection every day. Um, well, at least discipline and affection every day. Especially affection.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Recycle, Re-use, Re-mill?

Global warming, climate change, drought, floods, famine...there is definitely a need to do my part in the "greening" movement. My solution: Re-milling. As many of you know, my favorite hobby is making delicious and skin-enriching soaps. Well, sometimes, in my quest to make the perfect body soap, I end up creating soaps that, although wonderful, don't end up on the top of my give-away list and thus linger too long on the shelves in my spare bedroom. The solution? Re-milling.

Re-milling is the process of taking the soap, grating it down into loose flecks, melting it down, and mixing in skin-nurturing goat's milk with a new essential oil. This process can all be accomplished in my energy-saving slow-cooker and the results have been fantastic!

The green soap on the left is a soy bar with tea tree oil. It is not only refreshing, but healing! The orange soap is also a soy bar but with an essential oil mixture of cardamom, sweet orange, lemon, and peppermint. YUM! Today's project (not pictured yet) involves Oatmeal and Honey soap mixed with Goat's Milk and Honey soap, more goat's milk, and cinnamon leaf essential oil. I think I'll name it Cinnamon Honey. Just let me know if you are interested in any of these wonderful soaps and I'll check to see if I have any left.