Wednesday, August 31, 2005

New Family Member?

Ever since my boyfriend M. moved in with me in March, he's been asking if we could get a puppy. I already have two pets, a little old lady cat named Melody (aka Smelly or Melly), and a Keeshond dog named Tasha (aka Pie, Stink, or Stinky Head) - that's her, pictured. I thought that two were enough; I said no more pets till Melody shuffled off this mortal coil.

Just recently I changed my mind. I think that this is because two very good friends have just had a baby, and I suddenly have the urge for something small and cute in the house. And puppies have the advantage of being able to be locked outside when they are annoying. I won't even get sent to jail for it!

So we've started looking at dog breeds; M. really wants a Schipperke. He had a half breed Skippy (as he calls them) a few years ago and loves them to death. For myself, I had some reservations at first, mostly revolving around the fact that the breed standard comes with a docked tail, and I like my doggies to be able to waggle at me when they are happy. But apparently the breed standard has just been changed; no more mutilation of helpless puppies. So that's a plus.

I've been doing some research on the breed, and it sounds like one would fit in fine into our house. They apparently have strong personalities, which is a must - a timid dog would have a nervous breakdown inside five minutes at our place! Most of the listed negatives of the breed are the same as for the Keeshonden, and I already know I can deal with one of those.

The other advantage of us getting a Schipperke is that it will go with the Keeshond in the sense that I already have one dog that, when I get asked what breed she is and answer, the response is always (always!) "A what?!" If we get a Schipperke then that will go quite nicely.

Both dog breeds were bred to guard barges and river boats, one in Holland and the other in Belgium. I wonder if I have a subconscious urge to pilot some sort of waterborne vessel and am equipping myself with pets appropriately? Hmm.

Anyway, we're thinking of getting one around Christmas, when I have lots of time off work. The only problem I can forsee is that my sister, who works at the RSPCA, may well kill me if she finds out I got a dog anywhere else... I am hoping that we can fend her off with the "whattacutewiddlepuppy!" reaction.

Oh, and I suppose we'll have to think of a new odour-related nickname for the poor wee beastie.

Surprise Patriotism Waffle

(Warning: This post is a ramble with no real point.)

I am a huge deviantART nut - regular submitter of photomanipulations and slightly less regular submitter of photos. Last night I was in the middle of uploading a photo I took a while ago at Pine Island and, because the colours in the photo reminded me of it (you can find it here: ), I googled that poem that every Australian knows four lines of:

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.

I didn't even know who it was by, and I'd never read the whole thing before. (It's "My Country" by Dorothea McKellar, in case you didn't know.)

I was really surprised by the sudden feeling of nostalgia and patriotism that it evoked in me - not so much the over-used four lines I've posted here, but other bits of it.

Australians are very lazy about their patriotism, I think. We don't have our flag hanging all over the place and we don't shout it out to the world, but scratch the surface of most Aussies and you'll find a great deal of pride in our country, if not our government. (Can you be patriotic and simultaneously not support everything your government does? Maybe that's the main difference between us and the Yanks - we believe we can.)

I have one friend, L., who is a born and bred Aussie, but she feels a much stronger affinity for the landscapes of England than she does for our scraggly gum trees and burnt grasses. Her theory is that my affinity for Austrlian landscapes is a direct result of the fact that I am (I discovered last year) part Aboriginal. A very small part, mind you - my maternal grandfather's paternal grandmother (got that?) was an Aboriginal woman from northern NSW.

I don't know if that's true, though, because there are a lot of other fully "imported" Aussies who feel the same way I do.

But maybe I am more succeptible to patriotic giddiness at the moment because spring is in the air - the wattle is in full, frothy bloom, and the magpies have started swooping. I saw my first bicycle rider trying to avoid losing his helmet to a testosterone charged maggie yesterday.

Gotta love it.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The Cassandra Complex

A lot of my friends have been getting into blogging on this site (or maybe they've always done it and I am slow and only just noticed...!) and I thought I should create a login so that I can go and comment on their posts. Not sure how often I'll update this, but I thought I should post something other than "this space left intentionally blank" (which I did briefly consider!).

Why did I call the blog The Cassandra Complex? Wiki defines said complex as "knowing of a future event, such as a disaster, but not being believed" (it's also called the Cassandra Sydnrome, but that doesn't sound as cool).

It's derived from poor old Cassandra of Troy, who was cursed to see the future and not be believed. She obviously never heard of reverse psychology... "Guys, it's a really TOPS idea to accept the wooden horse from the guys we've been at war with for so long. Go on! ... What, you're not going to now? Oh, that's a pity..."

Cassandra was also cursed to get left out of the "Troy" movie, or so I've been told, but that's another story...

Anyway, that's the origin of the name I picked. But I have another definition for the Cassandra Complex, which is "the tendancy of people named Cassandra to get somewhat paranoid at their own lack of psychic abilities after prolonged exposure to fictional Cassandras (in movies and TV primarily) who have strange occult powers".

Or is that only me? *twitches*

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