CHAOSTOCOSMOS

Thursday, 31 August 2006

Do you suffer bag-lady syndrome?


BAG LADY
Originally uploaded by WAYNE HIEBERT.
BoingBoing say, "Bag-lady syndrome is a non-medical term for a common anxiety among women: the fear that they will end up destitute and on the streets. It affects women from all social strata and can be crippling."

As the article says, "Being single costs 80% that of a couple, and women are seven times more likely to be single and live six years longer." Women tend to be unprepared and overwhelmed when widowhood or divorce suddenly plops their financial security in their hands.

When you have only yourself to rely on, this can be a real worry. If you have ample resources, it's probably irrational, but if you are only just managing now, what other way is there to think? Whilst I won't say that I spend every waking minute in fear, the thought that I could end up on the street and hungry, crosses my mind and, is basically what motivates me to try to improve my situation.

The fear might not be entirely irrational, but can it be conquered?

Do you suffer bag-lady syndrome? Via: BoingBoing

Tuesday, 29 August 2006

How to really fight terrorists

"Imagine for a moment that the British government arrested the 23 suspects without fanfare. Imagine that the TSA and its European counterparts didn't engage in pointless airline-security measures like banning liquids. And imagine that the press didn't write about it endlessly, and that the politicians didn't use the event to remind us all how scared we should be. If we'd reacted that way, then the terrorists would have truly failed."

Bruce Schneier Via: BoingBoing

Monday, 21 August 2006

Modern-day diva is doing for herself

When you live alone, not only do you have to feed yourself and deal with aloneness on a psychological basis, you also have to kill your own spiders. This article made me giggle as it paints the true picture of what heroes we are - going into the unknown with a can of insect killer and broom, single-handedly. The writer says, "Because I’m so paranoid, I left the broom outside just in case he came back to life." LOL! Even with a fair command of common sense and after something like 25+ years of this, I still do the very same thing.

Modern-day diva is doing for herself

Saturday, 19 August 2006

Fluffy not fat

image Balu in the backyard amongst the vines. That really is all fur: when he's wet - he has to have a bath now and again, given the amount of muck his candy-floss soft fur picks up around the countryside - he turns into the most comical looking, skinny drowned rat.

Full size image: Fluffy not fat

Sunday Afternoon Stroll

Yesterday, I needed a bit of shopping from the local store and on the way home, I stopped in a restaurant in the valley for a coffee. One of the local smallholders, whom I often see around here, tending his fields and getting water from the tap at the horse trough, was in the restaurant, talking to a woman I did not know. One piece of conversation led to another and the man was telling this lady that I have a dog and some cats ... And that the cats follow us everywhere like ducklings. Infamy as a crazy cat woman! Who cares?

Here's the proof ...

image It really was a Sunday afternoon when all the ducklings decided to follow the dog and I out for a stroll. Here's four of them as we set off up the hill from the house. Khan leading, his sister Kitty half hidden behind him, Balu, then Betty bringing up the rear. Number five, Mico, can't be far behind.

imageSingle file everyone! Still Khan, Kitty then Balu, keeping more or less in line as we make our way across the valley. Mico and Betty had stopped to sniff a bush just the other side of the old ruined house.

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Mico, who, it must be said, is the most laid back cat I ever met, finally catches up just in time to meet himself - well the others - coming back!


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After a long walk, Khan stops off at the horse trough for a drink.



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While Betty detours to walk along the back of the communal laundry facilities.



image Almost home! Into the last stretch on the way back home and when one stops, they all stop for a well-earned sit down. Balu out front (no surprise: he always wants to be first to the food dish), Kitty, then Khan and, Mico stops to sniff the flowers again.

Oh, and Holly the Hound, of course.

In truth, the cats often follow us whether it's Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday too and, no I didn't train them to do it. They just seem to think that this is what you do. Natural really, I suppose! Smile

Musical Chairs (Feline Stylee)

image Balu, the mischievous tail with a cat attached snoozes on top of a HP printer box. (One of these days I'll get round to installing the printer!) What he really wants is my chair, but there is a double problem: I was sitting on it and secondly, Mico was on my lap. 

image Balu got fed up with the printer box. He tried getting on my lap, but there wasn't room for him as well as Mico - who he got on top of. So, I put Balu down after he'd disturbed Mico, so he decided that he'd lay across my desk instead - half on the mousepad and draping that tail in the way of the keyboard.

image After Balu managed to disturb Mico off my lap, Mico found a place on a dining chair, on top of one of the dog's blankets that had been washed and folded. He still doesn't get much peace, because his missus, Betty, turns up to squash herself onto that small chair with him. 

image When I got up from the desk for a "comfort break", everyone quickly left their spots and rushed in the direction of the food - just in case I was going to give them yet another meal. Well, I wasn't and Balu was the first to realize this, so he went back to the office and plonked himself down on the chair that Mico had adopted after Balu had disturbed Mico, by getting on top of Mico on my lap.

Well, this was obviously too much for Mico, who decided to get his revenge. He wanted his chair back, thank you, so he got on the chair, on top of Balu.

image You can see from his expression, the "WTF's going on here?" question is crossing Balu's mind, as Mico starts, not only to get on top of him, but start to snuggle down. 

And Balu's eyes narrow in a grimace, as Mico puts his entire, not insignificant, weight down on top of him. Revenge, sweet and complete! :) Mico even seems to be smirking.

image This pair, though seven years apart, unrelated and found in different parts of the island, have actually become very great friends. They often curl up together. Balu has never dared confront the larger cat and Mico is not the confrontational type at all. He'll normally put up with any amount of henpecking from Betty.

On this occasion though, I truly think Mico fully intended to let Balu know that he had overstepped the mark and, I don't blame Mico at all, because this is normal behavior for Balu - being incredibly cheeky and hoping he will get away with it.

Maybe one day Balu might (only might) learn that he won't always! 

Thursday, 17 August 2006

Changing How You Eat

405057_7926 As you may know, not fuelling up with the right nutrients can affect how well your body performs and your overall fitness benefits. Even though healthy eating is important, there are myths that hinder your performance if you listen to them.

Below, you'll find some myth busters on healthy eating.

1. Working out on an empty stomach. If you hear a rumbling noise in your stomach, the rumbling is trying to tell you something. Without listening to them, you are forcing your body to run without any fuel. Before you exercise or do any physical activity, always eat a light snack such as an apple.

2. Relying on energy bars and drinks. Although they are fine every once in a while, they don't deliver the antioxidants you need to prevent cancer. Fruits and vegetables are your best bets, as they are loaded in vitamins, minerals, fluid, and fiber.

3. Skipping breakfast. Skipping breakfast is never a good idea, as breakfast starts the day. Your body needs fuel as soon as possible, and without it, you'll be hungry throughout the day.

4. Low carb diets. Your body needs carbohydrates for your muscles and the storing of energy.

5. Eating what you want. Eating healthy and exercising doesn't give you an all access pass to eat anything you want. Everyone needs the same nutrients whether they exercise or not, as well as fruits and vegetables.

6. Not enough calories. Although losing weight involves calories, losing it too quickly is never safe. What you should do, is aim for 1 - 2 pounds a week. Always make sure that you are getting enough calories to keep your body operating smoothly. If you start dropping weight too fast, eat a bit more food.

7. Skip soda and alcohol. Water, milk, and juice is the best to drink for active people. You should drink often, and not rely on thirst to be an indicator. By the time you get thirsty, your body is already running a bit too low.

Changing how you eat is always a great step towards healthy eating and it will affect how your body performs. The healthier you eat, you better you'll feel. No matter how old you may be, healthy eating is something you should strive for. Once you give it a chance, you'll see in no time at all just how much it can change your life - for the better.

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Inspecting the vines

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It's impossible to go anywhere without at least one of "mummy's little helpers" following behind. This time, it's Mico.

Friday, 11 August 2006

So much for ‘foiling’ the terrorists

Whilst I have dealt with the tourist information aspect (no hand baggage ban leaving Tenerife), resisting the temptation to opine, personally, I agree with this Australian blogger's opinion that this is all crazy hype.

The panic-ridden, reactionary and totally undignified measures imposed, banning hand luggage on flights must actually have terrorists the world over laughing heartily with joy. What they may have been thwarted from doing, our own politicians and security have achieved ...

We are now all bloody terrified!

Especially when they call it A plan 'to commit unimaginable mass murder'. Look, one murder is bad. It does not get "badder" if there are 50 or 5,000.

What is a fact, is that a natural disaster, like a tidal wave, could come up and wipe out hundreds of thousands in an instant.

The level of panic far exceeds the threat here.

Yet, the politicians talk, but won't really commit to adequate measures needed to protect the environment. The priorities just seem, suspiciously, all wrong.

Sadly, however, we can hardly expect better from many of the leaders the world has today. Their style is only reactionary. I see imposing sanctions upon or severing diplomatic ties with countries whose policies you don't like in an equally poor light. These are no better than kids deciding not to play with the girl or boy they don't like in the playground. These reactions are childish and, it is clear to me that for as far as humanity THINKS it has come, it has a LOT of collective growing up to do yet.

And exactly as pointed out from The Psychology of Terror the other day, "There is no way to overstate the abhorrence that we feel, but we must keep these events in perspective to save ourselves from the fear that they are meant to provoke."

To introduce measures that encourage mass panic, is, in my mind, irresponsible.

Some measure of security is, I accept reluctantly, necessary and, I am not at all opposed to searches. There's good that can come out of some restrictions, such as preventing drunk tourists from getting on a plane with bottles of booze.

But these current measures, however, go too far and the "terror" in it, is not actually the possibility of a bomb, it's the fact that you can NOT complain or refuse to comply, because the airline will simply refuse to carry you.

Nobody has suggested it yet, to my knowledge, but there seems to be enough "trigger happy" reaction going on that they could have you arrested under suspicion, if you objected. Is this freedom and democracy, or a dictatorship and a police state?

Those who buy the fear mongering will think it impolitic to ask, but, now what are people supposed to do if the airline manages to loose their hold luggage, as they are so fond of doing? Will airlines provide enough compensation, soon enough, now people can no longer carry on all the essentials they'll need.

There may be those who think, "Huh, she won't be saying that when it happens on her flight!" Too right, if it happens on a flight I am on, I won't say a thing, because, more likely as not, I'll be dead. And, given that the odds are probably still well on my side, I'll risk it, because right now, even that seems more free than living under a regime of fear!

The validity of the specific measures is also called into question, when you look at the details we currently have available. It strikes me as quite ridiculous, for example, that parents are being asked to taste their baby's milk, because I cannot see what good that would do, when you consider this piece of information:

US sources said that the main fear of British authorities was that terrorists planned to hide micro-bombs in false bottoms built into opaque energy drink bottles, enabling them to still drink the contents. (Emphasis added.)

Another thing which puzzles me is why it is now deemed necessary to ban all liquids from passengers. You might ask why this was not introduced in the the mid-1990s, when a plot to use explosives in bottles in attacks on aircraft was discovered.

And, I have to think, it was not done, because either or both the following conditions apply a) it was deemed sufficiently probable that such items would be successfully discovered by then current security and b) that the risks were not in danger of affecting a large enough number to justify the panic it would cause.

That, in turn, raises suspicion in my mind over the measures introduced yesterday.

They seem either ignorantly stupid, or suspiciously fear inducing for a purpose.

Meanwhile, I am sure that these same flights are still selling these same drinks on board (at a premium) and which are delivered to the plane in greater quantity than even a quite sizeable group of potential bombers could carry on board. Do we know if those are checked, if they are sealed?

What would stop a terrorist plotter from getting a job in fizzy drinks distribution to airport caterers, for example?

I'll bite my tongue on whether a threat really exists and just the response is wrong, or whether it's the UK-US warmongers willfully implanting our minds with yet more fear in an attempt to justify their illegal invasions again, but it is somewhat interesting that it comes right after Robert Pape said that "The only thing that has proven to end suicide attacks, in Lebanon and elsewhere, is withdrawal by the occupying force."

Of course, the poor man will be written off as crazy, at best, but at least one person sees the possibility, "that the raids could even have been timed to distract attention from criticisms of the government's stance on the Lebanon crisis."

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Some Thoughts on Freedom

"Pervading nationalism imposes its dominion on man today in many different forms and with an aggressiveness that spares no one. The challenge that is already with us is the temptation to accept as true freedom what in reality is only a new form of slavery." - Pope John Paul II

"A free America... means just this: individual freedom for all, rich or poor, or else this system of government we call democracy is only an expedient to enslave man to the machine and make him like it." - Frank Lloyd Wright

"The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either." - Benjamin Franklin

Thursday, 10 August 2006

Mico, man of convenience

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There are cats who have no idea what what to do with the potty, except that it is a pretty cool place to sleep on hot days.

Tuesday, 8 August 2006

Perfectly Armless

image Balu thinks it's dinner time (whether it is or not), so this is what he does to ensure that I am unable to ignore his demands. He lays, with his weight across my mouse arm. You can't fault the little bugger for resourcefulness, can you? Even his expression is "pissed off" with having been made to wait moments. Balu, in case you have not gathered from various entries, is the sort of cat who, if he were not incredibly cute, one might happily strangle. Because he's handsome (and he knows this), he gets away with anything. Smile

Only traitors try to make us afraid of terrorists

"The bottom line is, terrorism doesn't kill many people. Even in Israel, you're four times more likely to die in a car wreck than as a result of a terrorist attack. In the USA, you need to be more worried about lightning strikes than terrorism. The point of terrorism is to create terror, and by cynically convincing us that our very countries are at risk from terrorism, our politicians have delivered utter victory to the terrorists: we are terrified.", Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing
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