Month: February 2012

“Annoying bird”: Part 2 of 30 billion

Yesternight that sodding bird climbed up a few rungs on my “HATE LADDER“.

At the top of this ladder is Jedward.

I woke up at about 4:30am for some reason or another last night, and for some reason found it impossible to fall back asleep. I didn’t feel particularly tired, but I knew that that bastard bird was out there (whatever he’s supposed to be) – I couldn’t hear him yet but I knew full well that he’d start his onslaught of squawks and keep me awake for the best part of the early morning if I didn’t fall asleep soon.

Unfortunately, no amount of pulling the blanket over myself to cover my entire body, repositioning the pillows to allow for maximum comfort, or adjusting my posture, would permit my body the winks of sleep that it deserved.

Then…

“Re-EEK-ek-ECK-ECK-ECK!”

“Re-EEK-ek-ECK-ECK-ECK!”

“Re-EEK-ek-ECK-ECK-ECK!”

Already I could feel my sanity slipping away. That squawk could shatter souls. And that is basically all that it does, because there is nothing, at least in earshot, to hear it. That obnoxious attention-whore of a bird just does that for no other purpose than to annoy me.

Of course, I can close my window and put my earplugs in but I find it so much more self-satisfying to attempt to tackle the problem at its source, rather than pretending it’s just not happening – if you’re being repeatedly punched in the face, you don’t put on a blindfold and hope that the pain will go away if you just ignore it – no, you kick that bastard right in the knackers.

So, not for the first time, I decided to attempt to confront him. I got out of bed, slipped on my sandals, put on a T-shirt (the wrong way round, of course, but I was in no mood for fussing over details), and armed myself with a small but powerful torchlight.

I wandered into the kitchen towards the patio door and… couldn’t get it open. Bastard thing hardly ever cooperates with me when I need it to.

“Re-EEK-ek-ECK-ECK-ECK!”

I was as though he was actually mocking me.

So I decided I’d try the other patio door in the laundry room. On my way there I blundered into a cardboard box and nearly fell over, with enough noise that it should’ve woken the whole household but miraculously didn’t. I carried on towards the laundry room, and got the slidy door open in a near-instant.

I trudged through the little passageway leading to the back lawn.

“Re-EEK-ek-ECK-ECK-ECK!”

“Re-EEK-ek-ECK-ECK-ECK-ECK!”

My goal with this little expedition wasn’t exactly unreachable – I’d shine the torchlight onto him to give him some indication that he was being sought out. Last time I tried this, I actually got him to shut up. (Until I walked back inside again, of course, which pointed out the futility of the whole exercise – if you’re not a cat or a game hunter, name a battle of wits against a bird that you can feasibly win.)

Just one more of the reasons I want a cat.

Unfortunately, this bird is a master of stealth. He places himself in the tree strategically so that you can’t actually see him even with a set of X-ray binoculars. But he is absolutely definitely in this particular tree.

I shone the torchlight up into its branches, and tried to pinpoint exactly where the obnoxious avian caterwauler was perched. I shook it back and forth to try and a more obvious and intrusive signal. (Maybe I should’ve tried spelling out “SHUT YOUR PIEHOLE” in Morse Code with it.)

“Re-EEK-ek-ECK-ECK-ECK!”

Sonuvabitch. GET THE HINT YOU STUPID BIRD.

“Re-EEK-ek-ECK-ECK-ECK!”

He gave a grand total of zero shits that he was being blinded by a sort of miniature floodlight. He must have known I was down there, I could hear him virtually right above my head – but could I see him? Oh, if only.

I searched for something to throw at him. But there’s like nothing in the back garden – only a few small bushes, a bunch of spiky, malnourished grass and a lemon tree. Certainly not a pool, or any kind of rockery full of potential bird-killing stones. I found a couple of large rocks but they looked a bit too heavy to fling the distance required for me to get anywhere near where the bird was in the tree – and they looked like they might cause a substantial bit of property damage if I were to overegg the throw.

“Re-EEK-ek-ECK-ECK-ECK!”

Wait, what’s that whooshing sound, and why do I suddenly feel like I’m getting wet?

…The friggin’ retic had come on.

Not now, guys - I only thirst for bird blood.

I had picked the one night of the week that those things were scheduled to come on, and now the sprinklers all around the garden started spraying water liberally over the lawn. I only got marginally soaked, but even so my wits were drawing closer to their demise. I had traversed the full length of my tether. The color I was seeing was by now a violent shade of crimson.

“Re-EEK-ek-ECK-ECK-ECK-ECK-ECK!”

Of course, I’m not a violent or loud individual, so instead of swearing and potentially waking the whole suburb with my seething rage, I opted to just throw a twig into the tree as hard as I could in disgust at how horribly I’d failed my mission. Completely missed, obviously, and wouldn’t you know, he just kept on going.

I must’ve been out there for about 20 minutes and it was already getting lighter. I considered myself defeated. You win this round, squawky. FOR NOW.

My head hung low, I started walking back towards– ABBLGPBLPH WATER IN MY FACE AAALFLFGPFLPBLH

I hadn’t even noticed the two sprinklers in that little passage leading back to the laundry room. I was effectively trapped outside unless I wanted to get soaking wet.

“Re-EEK-ek-ECK-ECK-ECK-ECK-ECK!”

I must have stood there, with my wet, back-to-front T-shirt on, for about 10 minutes waiting for the things to go off, but they didn’t. Eventually I decided that I had two options: (1) stand outside indefinitely and wait for the sprinklers to turn off, all the while hearing smeg-for-brains screaming and hollering behind me, or (2) use my amazing ninja powers to make my way stealthily back into the house and evade getting water on (and in) every bit of my body.

“Re-EEK-ek-ECK-ECK-ECK!”

“Re-EEK-ek-ECK-ECK-ECK-ECK!”

I chose the second option, after some deliberation – although I had to improvise somewhat due to my severe lack of any sort of physical prowess, let alone “amazing ninja powers”. I hugged the wall of the house as I passed by them (since they were turned the other way towards the flower beds laid parallel to it) and actually stayed fairly dry… until I had to walk over one of them, which got my leg and my sandal thoroughly drenched.

I dried my feet, left my sandals just inside the patio door, locked up, and then went back to bed. No sooner had my head hit the pillow, than…

Oh, now that’s just insulting. Trust him to shut up now. If I had my way, that bird would have little going through his mind right now, other than a large, blunt rock.

As a result of all this I woke up close to 1pm this morning and felt like shit. Predictable. I can see that this battle of wits might go on for some time, as long as that tree he loves so much isn’t felled or something.

(As a matter of fact, the tree directly next to this one was cut down with a chainsaw the day before. It’d be nice to think that it was a kind of “word of warning” to the bird, but even if it was, he didn’t take the hint.)

I could really use someone in the know of Western Australian birds, by the way – that is, someone who could identify species just by approximate textual transcriptions of its “call”. I pose the question to you, fellow bloggers, what might this narcissistic numbskull of a night-terror go by the name of? 🙁

Surprise, surprise, surprise!

As the title may (loosely) imply, today was full of unexpected surprises. Three of them, to be accurate – all of which are listed below, in chronological order (which also happens to be the order when you list them in order of undesirability).

Surprise #1: Was woken up an hour earlier than usual.

This might not seem like that much of a surprise to the rest of you normal human beings with your healthy sleep patterns (you lucky, lucky bastards), but to my body with its messed up Circadian rhythms and its general lack of grasp on the Earth’s rotation and the fairly consistent timings of the daylight hours, this is the sensory equivalent of being woken up after sleeping for three days on a mound of jagged rocks, and then realizing that you have no food or water. Soreness, grogginess, headache, dehydration/malnourishment. And pissy attitude – that just comes with waking me up before noon by default, unfortunately.

This is actually a live webcam snapshot of me. Because I’m like this all of the time.

The reason for this early(-ish) awakening was that we apparently still weren’t/aren’t through with all of the bureaucratic nonsense you have to go through when you emmigrate. We had to go and apply for our new Australian driver’s licenses in Joondalup. My bro and I had to apply for learner’s permits, and my parents needed to renew their UK ones.

It was a fairly simple undertaking, but it prompted to think that this would just be another of those pointless and futile outings to, ostensibly, sort something out “officially” with the state, but in reality, to piss off and confuse everyone involved and achieve essentially nothing. It really makes me wonder why Australia can’t just recognize you as an Australian citizen when you… turn up.

“G’day mate! Welcome to our beautiful country! Just a quick question, what’s this country’s name?”
“Uhhh… ‘Australia’?”
“Correct and congratulations! Here’s your citizenship. The celebratory barbie’s just over there – mind the roos.”

Bonza! Mate.

When we got to the place where we needed to do all this, in Joondalup, we had to wait about half an hour or so to actually be called up to one of the counters. It had one of those systems where you walked in, got a ticket with a letter and number on it (like B145) and then whenever one counter was finished with a customer, the next ticket got called up. The previous time we’d encountered such a system was a week or two ago when we went to apply for Medicare – we got the ticket and had no sooner sat down than we got called up. Unfortunately, we were having no such luck today.

Eventually we got called up to deal with our applications. I was asked to fill out a form, which I did, and then to pay $17 for the application, which I did. Then this happened:

Surprise #2: On paying for my learner’s permit, I was told to go into the “test room”, complete my theory test and then return to the inquiries desk for my results.

…Okay.

So here’s where Australia truly shows how differently it handles things to the UK.

It begs the question: why does the theory test come before everything else? How can anyone, if they’re only applying for their learner’s permit, answer the questions to such an impromptu test in a reliable/sensible manner? What if that person’s never been in a car their whole life? (It’s unlikely, of course – but say you cycled to and from wherever you needed to go to since you were a youth, only travelling as a passenger in a car in emergency/cross-country outings, and certainly not paying much mind to the rules of the road. See what I’m getting at?)

What if they’re an idiot like me who can’t be trusted to do anything right?

Now, like any theory test, it required one to recap the knowledge previously learnt and think logically in order to apply it. Unfortunately, it turns out that I’m crap at thinking logically. On the test itself there were several questions pertaining to “which car should give way” and I’m sure that if I had some degree of logical thinking ability I would’ve aced them. It seems that a bunch of diagrams containing simple road layouts, clearly positioned cars and arrows indicating which direction they’re travelling in, gets translated in my head into a whole-page spread of that Alienese language from Futurama.

This is what my brain sees when I try to think logically. About anything.

This is awfully weird for me – I’m a creative kinda dude and I’m usually one to think with imagery. And it wasn’t as though I was under a tremendous amount of pressure to complete the test – there was a 35 minute time-limit but there were only 30 multiple-choice questions. Some of the questions were also piss-easy, like “should you always wear a seat belt” and “what should you do when you see a STOP CHILDREN sign”. It should’ve been a breeze because I’d taken lessons – but the knowledge had just evaporated, which sort of confirms the belief I have that I’m finding it incredibly difficult to learn anything now. I honestly wonder if it’s a disability.

When I got the results back I wasn’t expecting anything stellar – far from it. 16/30 – a fail (the pass mark is 24). Oh well, at least I scored more than fifty perc-

HOW DID MY BROTHER SCORE TWENTY. WHAT THE SHITTING HELL.

So we all left a bit bemused – not one of us had been aware that my brother and I had to take tests. I kinda felt disheartened about the whole thing – I was pretty sure I’d be getting my learner’s permit and at the end of the wretched hour-and-three-quarters that we spent in that building, I’d left short of $17 and my self-confidence. My brother, who had not taken a driving lesson in his life, scored four more points than me. Just went some way to proving even more unquestionably that somewhere deep inside… I’m an idiot.

We got home and had some lunch, because I hadn’t had anything all day. When you stay in bed for so long that you have all of 10 minutes to get dressed, gather up a load of paperwork and get out the door, feeding oneself becomes a somewhat lower priority.

So I settled down at my computer to chew over the events of the day. Then instead I opened up Reason and started doing some more productive stuff. Because today was pretty dumb, let’s face it.

Then…

Surprise #3: We received a call from the moving company, telling us that our furniture would be arriving tomorrow.

For those of you who’ve been keeping track of my blog, this is the same furniture that took four men four days to pack into a gigantic lorry, which was then transported to a container ship which spent about 7 or 8 weeks travelling the ocean to Perth.

There is… to put it mildly, a lot of stuff there.

So, we’re expecting some absolute chaos tomorrow. They’ll be around as early as 8:30am, so I’m told. At that point I’ll probably still be comatose, and everybody else will just be angry and stressed out for legitimate reasons. Oh, what fun. 🙁