Friday, 30 September 2011


In the past I have written about public footpaths in the United Kingdom. Since moving to Northamptonshire, I noticed a sign for a similar type of path: public bridleways.

On a bridleway you are allowed to ride a horse down it, unlike public footpaths which are limited to people and dogs: other than that, I do not think there are any other differences between them, though I guess that bridleways are more common in rural areas. I suspect I did walk on some bridleways in Nottinghamshire and Cambridgeshire, but I do not recall noticing signs similar to the one pictured above.

Thursday, 29 September 2011


We seem to be going through a bit of heatwave here in the United Kingdom! For the most part, the morning and afternoon have been about 76F/24C in temperature, and has now started to noticeably cool down. We had a breeze yesterday, and today has been far more still. A few people have said we are supposed to get snow sometime soon, but I am happy with the current weather, although it would be nice if it was a little cooler, or at least more windy.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Rumbles Fish Bar

Back in June, I wrote about North East Cambridgeshire and what where we used to live in Littleport was like. I mentioned about the local fish bar, although I did not refer to it by its name, Rumbles Fish Bar. Prior to us leaving Littleport, my brother was able to take a picture of the take-out place:

We have not had any fish bar take-out meals since moving to Northamptonshire, although we have found a local Chinese restaurant that is very nice.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Richard Pearce

A couple of weeks ago I learned that a friend of ours from a few years ago, Richard Pearce, died last month. Although it was a long, long time ago we last saw and spoke to him, the news of his death did upset me; and upon reading his obituary in the Mail Tribune I was shocked to learn that he had died from Alzheimer's Disease.

Richard Pearce, or "Dick", as we knew him as, was an extremely kind man. When we moved to Southern Oregon, he was the first of our neighbors to introduce themselves to us: he and his wife, Anne, helped us during our first years there, especially giving advice on how to manage the land and providing some history on the area. We went to their Christmas Eve parties to celebrate the season with them, with the first one we attended taking place a little over a month after we had moved up. Dick once took my Dad, brother, and myself to one of the speedways to watch a race, and during the wildfires in 2002, when we all had to evacuate from the valley, we were able to stay with him and Anne at their son's house with their family until we could return home.

They moved away in mid-2003, and we only had occasional contact after then. I regret that we did not speak much after their move (there was not a falling out or anything along those lines), but it is too late to change that now. I can ensure that Dick is remembered for the decent man he was.

Here are the links to his obituary and to his Alzheimer's memorial fund:

Richard Pearce
February 12, 1934 - August 21, 2011

Monday, 26 September 2011

Parents and music

A couple of weeks ago, my Dad heard the current Katy Perry song, "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)", and he found it to be one of most prominent earworms he had heard in a long time. However, he liked the song, and it encouraged both him and Mum to listen to One of the Boys and Teenage Dream this past weekend in the evenings.

Mum and Dad's opinions of the album were exclusively positive: they really liked everything, from her vocals, to the sound of her songs, to her sense of humour. They also expressed an interest in listening to Katy Hudson to compare her modern works with her first record.

I have heard about children (including people my own age) being embarrassed about their parents listening to their music., and in some cases, the parents even like it, much to their kids' disgust. I, on the other hand, am not really bothered if my parents listen to any from my music collection and decide that they like it. After all, before I had my radio and any of my own albums all I had to listen to was my parents music, and there were plenty of songs and artists from their collection that I loved. It seems pointless to me to get defensive over it.

While my parents listening to my music is of no consequence to me, I will admit that the language used in music did concern me at one point: when I received Under My Skin by Avril Lavigne several years ago (it was among the first albums I received), I was deeply worried about what their reaction would be to her swearing in one of the songs. In the end, I was just being paranoid, as hearing swear words does not bother them, and besides, a few months after I received Under My Skin they bought an Eminem album for themselves!

I do not expect them to listen everything that I have in my collection: I doubt that they would like Fergie or Evanescence, but I have been surprised before. Perhaps I should introduce them to Hilary Duff, Sara Bareilles, or even Pink next.

What about you? Are you bothered by your parents listening to/liking your music, or is it a non-issue?

Sunday, 25 September 2011

A joke

Here is a joke I wrote back in 2008, done for our homemade Christmas crackers that year. I later used it for homemade Christmas crackers in 2010 at the party with relatives, and it attracted the most laughs of all my jokes:

"What element is not in the Periodic Table? Surprise."

Out of all the jokes I have written, this one is among my favourite. What do you think about it?

Saturday, 24 September 2011

My "Recipes": "Andrew’s Fruit Salad"

Episode six in the My "Recipes" series is entitled Andrew’s Fruit Salad:

1 large grapefruit.
100 grapes.
20 raspberries.
5 strawberries.
40 blueberries.
1 cranberry.
1 watermelon.
Lime Juice.

How to make it:

Mix everything inside the bowl.
Put a huge spoon inside it.

My verdict: this seems like any fruit salad with a variety of fruits, except it just has arbitrary numbers that distinguish it to make it “my” recipe (one cranberry?). Other than that, I think this one is fine.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Florence, Oregon

I was looking up what happened on this date in my family's history, and I learned that it was five years to the day that we were on vacation visiting friends in Florence, Oregon, a coastal town. We went up to Florence on the 22nd then journeyed back home on the 25th, and the friends we visited were two of the people who went on the rafting trip with us. We did not sleep at our friends' house, rather, we slept in a cabin they owned, located a mile or so away from their home.

Our trip consisted of visiting old-town Florence, going to the beach, watching sea lions, and going on house tour. The house tour was first on the list (although it occurred on the second day, as we spent the first day traveling), and it involved looking at the various styles of homes in the town: originally, we thought we were going to look at three or four houses in the space of an hour, but instead it ended up being several houses (I do not remember the exact amount) over the course of five hours! After the tour we spent an hour or so in old-town Florence, and bought a couple of kites for when we went onto the beach (there was a nice breeze at this point).

On the next day we went (without our friends) to Strawberry Hill, a place to watch the sea lions go about their daily life; then we had a look at a few manufactured houses before lunch. Afterwards, we met up with our friends on the beach and spent the entire afternoon there. My Dad and brother attempted to fly the kites we had purchased the day before, but amazingly, the wind was not strong enough to sustain the kites, despite us being on the beach. Once it became clear they were not going to be able to fly the kites properly, they put them away and we all went on a long walk on the beach. We had dinner at our friends' house last night, and they had invited a couple of their other friends over as well (they were two more of the six people Dad and I went rafting with three years prior).

The proceeding day was when we went back home. It was a fairly uneventful journey back, although we drove through a town called Coos Bay, and were glad we never stayed there (my grandparents, brother, and I were going to vacation there in 2003, but my parents drove through it and said that the hotel we would have stayed in was sandwiched between traffic). We also drove past another town, this one called Bandon, which was where we ended up going to that year instead: I am sure I can cover Bandon in another post.

I have fond memories of our trip to Florence, though there are three parts that, to this day, stand out for me: one was in the store where we bought the kites; a Shania Twain song played on the radio, and I remarked to Dad that it was her. Another was whenever we traveled in our truck around Florence, as we had our windows open, and I loved the feeling of sunshine combined with a breeze blowing into the vehicle. Finally, the third part was at the last house we visited on the tour; it was located in a neighborhood on top of a mountain overlooking Florence. From the balcony beheld a spectacular and far-reaching view of Florence, the ocean, the other mountains and houses, and the sunset. As I am writing this I can almost feel as though I am on that balcony again, taking in the scene.

I would be glad to go to Florence again: whenever I get the chance to come back to Oregon, it would be good to fit in a trip to the coast. That Florence trip is currently the most recent time I have been to the actual coast of the western US, as well as the most recent time I have even been to any coast in general.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

More roses

I know this is my third post in a row on roses, but the replacement batteries for my camera arrived and I wanted to take a few pictures of the roses myself to put on my blog:

Unlike when my brother took pictures of them, today has been cloudy and (very) windy. I did, however, get a picture of flowers from another rose bush in our back garden:

I am glad I was able to take pictures of the roses, especially the white roses as I do not think we had any of them before I took this photograph.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

A yellow rose (again)

Well, I can use another one of my brother's images of the yellow roses in the back garden:

Some new batteries for my camera should be arriving tomorrow. Providing the roses remain (which they should do, since they are fine today), I shall see if I can get some pictures of them too.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

A yellow rose

Our house has a garden in the backyard, and we are fortunate to have a few roses growing. My brother took multiple pictures of the roses, but I can only use one:

The rose bush had to be trimmed in a few places the other day, but rest assured that the beautiful heads are still intact, even with the current rain.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Stefani Germanotta

While on the topic of pop singers who appeared in other media prior to their fame and look radically different nowadays, one video I recently came across on YouTube was of Stefani Germanotta...Lady Gaga.

This was filmed on an MTV show called Boiling Points a few years before she achieved fame. Essentially, the show is about trolling members of members of the public: if someone keeps calm for a certain amount of time, they win $100, but if they are angered and/or resort to profanity, they do not win the prize. Unfortunately, Stefani Germanotta ended up swearing and was the only one of the group who did not win anything! I doubt she is bothered, though, judging by her success.

I am a fan of Lady Gaga, her music, and am often interested in what new bizarre costume she comes up with next, but I like her natural look shown in the video above. I think it would be neat if she decided one day to make herself look like that again, even if only temporarily.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Katy Hudson

Ever heard of Katy Hudson? Well, if you listen to pop music regularly then you probably hear her voice every day and do not even realize it...even during this typing one of her songs played on my radio. She is colorful, full of fun, and has a great sense of humor, singing about waking up in Vegas, how wonderful California girls are, and being ecstatic about Friday night.

Yes, I am talking about Katy Perry. It may surprise you to learn that before One of the Boys came to be, Katy Hudson released her eponymous debut album in 2001. Unlike One of the Boys and Teenage Dream, Katy Hudson is a gospel album with rock and pop sounds, and is far, far, different in sound and feel to her later records. I do not normally listen to this style of music, but I found myself wanting to hear the whole album when I once listened to some clips of the tracks.  

I do prefer the music of Katy Perry, but to give credit where it is due, Katy Hudson is a good album, and her vocals then are as strong as they are now. Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to get hold of a copy of the record, as the label that released her album closed at the end of 2001, thereby ceasing the production of Katy Hudson. The album is rare, and the copies that are available for sale are very expensive.

If you go onto YouTube you can find a couple of interviews from her time in music as Katy Hudson. I have only watched one, then followed it with a recent interview she did. It is interesting to listen to Katy Hudson interviewed then to listen to Katy Perry.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Homemade pizza

It may come as no surprise that I do like eating pizza. Most of the pizzas I have eaten have tasted great, whether they have been from stores or restaurants; however, I have to admit that my mother makes excellent pizza too. The most common types of pizzas Mum makes are the familiar flavours of vegetable-only, chicken, meat-only, and Hawaiian.

Mum likes to experiment in her cooking, and pizza is no exception to this: she has created toppings that are not normally available commercially. For example, she once made a pizza that consisted of seafood; in this case, I do not mean little bits of mixed seafood on a pizza, instead, I am referring to substantial pieces of proper salmon. Other flavours include a steak and asparagus pizza (my least favourite, unfortunately), a spaghetti pizza (plus other pasta pizzas), and a brie and cranberry pizza. Perhaps one day she might do a pizza with burgers and/or french fries on.

None of my mother's pizzas are the same, even something as simple as two cheese pizzas from the same batch: in fact, the only thing consistent with all the pizzas Mum has made is that the breadmaker made the dough for every one of them. Last night she made a pizza with chicken, olives, onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and cheese. I do not know her exact recipe (with meals like pizza Mum does not even need to follow a recipe) and I did not help with the cooking, but here is a picture, taken by my brother:

Does it look good? I can assure you it was, and it is currently the largest pizza she has made yet!

If you like cooking I do recommend making your own pizza. You can make your own versions of the regular pizza types, or you can mix and match various toppings to make all sorts of weird and wonderful pizzas!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Blog FAQ

I have created a frequently asked questions page for Air Nice-to-Livelands. There are a few things that I will be able to cover better in there than in blog posts, though for some questions (such as where the blog got its name) it will link to relevant posts for convenience. Currently, the page is short (two questions as of this posting), but it will be expanded upon in the future.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

My "Recipes": "Andrew’s Chocolate Creature"

I have not done an episode of the My "Recipes" series for a long time. This is episode five, Andrew’s Chocolate Creature:

You need:

 Ghirardelli Chocolate.
Vanilla Cream.

How to make it:

Melt and mold the chocolate into a round and medium sized head.
Make two big black eyes, but no nose or hair, because that will spoil it and ruin the fun.
Make a chubby body.
The eyes are black and have vanilla cream in the middle.
Cook how other chocolate teddies, bears, lion’s etc are cooked.
Have fun! Eat well!

My verdict: Oh dear, where do I start on this one? To begin with, the “creature” appears to be a limbless torso with a head without any features. There is no specified cake mix, so it appears the majority of the recipe consists of melted, moulded chocolate.

As no other ingredients have been listed, there is no way to know what the creature’s “eyes” are supposed to be made out of other than moulding more chocolate in the place of eyes or carving sockets into the head (the latter does not sound appealing in cooking). I also do not see the relevance of vanilla cream in this recipe.

Finally, since this recipe says that the creature is made out of melted chocolate, I guess the chocolate would have to set for eyes and vanilla cream to be applied. As such, cooking it would just melt it again (not to mention that the instruction “Cook how other chocolate teddies, bears, lion’s etc are cooked” is unhelpful if the reader does not know how any of them are cooked to begin with).

It could be a nice recipe if it was fleshed out, but under current instructions it is a mess.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

"You're Beautiful" - James Blunt, a piano cover

Occasionally, I like going onto YouTube and looking at covers of pop songs, especially piano covers. One of my favourite covers so far is one of "You're Beautiful" by James Blunt; I love the original version of the song (one of the best songs of 2006 in the US), and this piano cover is a perfectly-made rendition:

The cover has a sadder, slower, and gentler sound to it than the original: it is those qualities, and the fact it has been expertly played, that make it a brilliant cover. It would be good if there were a singer with a voice to fit this version, but the tune holds up very well on its own. The name of the uploader is "Microrator": they have performed countless piano covers and uploaded them to YouTube, and while I think all the music I have listened to from them so far is good, this one is the best.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Madonna era test

I took the Serenity character test over a month ago, then I did a few of the other tests listed on the website. Here are my results from the "Madonna era test":

You are Mid-80's Madonna

Mid-80's Madonna 57%

Blonde Ambition Madonna 57%

Veronica Electronica 38%

Cowgirl Madonna 38%

Cause-Celeb Madonna 38%

80's Madonna 32%

Madge 32%

Political Madonna 31%

Disco Madonna 26%

Movie-Star Madonna 25%

Rocker Madonna 25%

"You are willing to Open your Heart and Live to Tell what's on your mind./Although you are maturing your Papa still Preaches to you./You are responsible, you have made up your mind and you are Keepin your baby./You love to vacation. . . in La Isla Bonita!"

I have no problem with these results: mid-80's Madonna music is really good, after all!

Note: above image is not mine and is linked from:

Monday, 12 September 2011

A better Full Moon

While Full Moon is officially today, last evening it looked almost full, and incredibly bright. I was able to get a few pictures of it, but unlike last time where the Moon merely appeared as a featureless ball in the sky, in these pictures you can clearly see its landscape:

I am pleased with this image: it has to be one of my best pictures of the Moon. The clouds add to the colour while not obstructing the Moon itself.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

September 11th, 2001

I may not have been anywhere near the attacks on September 11th, 2001, and the attacks occurred as I was getting up that morning, but I remember much of the day clearly.

My brother and I were at home that day. The phones were out, and we became aware of that because when Dad attempted to use the Internet that morning it refused to log on (we were on dial-up back then), and then when he picked up one of the phones there was not a dial tone present. He did not think to turn the television on to check the news because we sometimes would have the phones drop out for seemingly no reason at all; in addition, the channels on our TV were tuned to the Los Angeles feeds, so we could not watch the local news to see if there was a problem with the phones anyway.

Instead, Dad went on a drive, taking his cell phone with him to find out if there was anyone he could phone locally (his phone was out-of-range at our home). He had the radio on, and the closer he drove to town the clearer its signal became, and he managed to hear that aircraft had crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center towers in New York City. Guessing that the phones were out for a reason somehow related to what was going on, Dad turned around and came home.

My brother, mother, and I were all sat at the dining room table when he came back into the house: before he had returned the three of us had decided to do some math. When Mum asked what was going on, Dad repeated what he had heard on the radio; Mum asked something about how much damage the towers had sustained, and Dad said they had been destroyed, causing Mum to gasp. He subsequently turned the television on.

I remember seeing the footage of the planes crashing into the twin towers and the buildings falling down as it was being played repeatedly on the television. I also remember the reports of Flight 93 with its crash in Pennsylvania, though I do not recall seeing as much video of the Pentagon being attacked as I did the World Trade Center. When I watched the buildings fall, a part of me hoped that the worst that had happened to the towers was not a collapse, but rather, just their outer walls had come down, and once the dust had settled the towers would still be standing. Sadly, I was soon forced to realize that this was not the case. The phones were then restored sometime before lunch, as we had a call from one of my uncles asking us if we were okay after what had transpired.

After lunch we continued to watch television, then my brother and I went outside for some of the afternoon, although I cannot remember if we went out on our own volition or if Mum decided to send us out. The weather was cloudy and humid, and we mainly spent our time out just walking around and talking. The television was still on when we came back inside, making the day one of the longest times we have ever had a television on consistently. Mum ensured that my brother and I were calm and all right before we went to bed; however, we were both holding up well from the day's events.

I cannot imagine how people felt in New York City and Washington D.C. that day, especially those within the twin towers when they knew there was no escape. I cannot imagine how Todd Beamer and the other heroes who prevented Flight 93 from hitting whatever its target was felt either. The events were alarming and deeply upsetting for us, to say the least, and we were living in a quiet part of the west coast of the United States.

September 11th, 2001 was a tragic day, and one that none of us will ever forget. It is important to note that the vast majority of the world's population stood with the United States and rejected the acts of those responsible for the atrocities: I believe that more education, caring, and understanding in the world will permanently prevent something on this scale from happening again.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Resting cows

I went out for a walk this afternoon, and during my time out, I took this picture of some cows resting in a field:

I love that one on the left laying down on her side: you do not often see them in that position, and I always find it fascinating when they are (horses are another animal that rarely lay on their sides, and they are fun to watch when they roll in dirt). These cows were content with resting, but a group I encountered further down the road walked towards the gate hoping that I had food for them!

Friday, 9 September 2011

A "Your Song" duet

Last year, I heard "Your Song" by Ellie Goulding, and I thought was a nice, gentle song. At the time I did not realise it was an Elton John song until Dad overheard Ellie Goulding's cover one day and asked who was singing the remake. A few months later, I heard the original "Your Song" on Heart Cambridgeshire: at first I was unsure about it, being used to the Ellie Goulding version, but after a few listens I considered both songs to be equal in how much I liked them.

I then thought how great it would be if Ellie Goulding and Elton John performed a duet of "Your Song": both have impressive vocals in each of their own versions of the song, and if they did a duet I truly believe they would complement each other very well and be magnificent.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Coffee problem

Here is a little something to make you laugh: I was making a coffee for Mum earlier this afternoon, but in the process of pouring the drink I put way too much of it in her mug, so I decided to have it instead and make another for her. I made the second coffee, and put in perfectly all the ingredients she likes in her coffees; she then had to go out of the kitchen for whatever reason, and I sat down to have the drink I unintentionally made for myself.

My brother then came in, saw a mug in the living room and assumed it was a drink I had done for Mum (it was actually a mug that had been used earlier and left in that room). He looked at the counters in the kitchen and saw that there was a drink ready, and even though he was planning to have water, he drank the coffee anyway. As I was eating something to go with my coffee, I did not pay any attention to what he had done, and I even said "you're welcome" to his thanking me for the drink.

Mum came in a couple of minutes later for her drink, but she could not find it. I was baffled, especially when Mum said she had not even touched the mug, but my brother then admitted he had been the one to drink her coffee, as he thought he saw Mum with a drink in the living room and assumed the coffee on the countertop in the kitchen was his. After some laughing and a facepalm, I proceeded to make Mum a third drink, and this time I ensured Mum received it.

So, I ended up making three drinks intended for Mum! It was not what I expected to do but it sure brightened up the afternoon a little bit.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

"Insanity" - Leanne Louise

The following song, "Insanity" by Leanne Louise, was recently uploaded to YouTube by LeanneLouiseMusic. I really like the music she has made so far, and I think she has a beautiful voice (she made a cover of Lily Allen's "Smile" that I think is as good as the original song), so I thought I would add a link to her recent song here:

I came across her channel a few months ago and have listened to and followed her music since then.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The kingsnake

During a midnight in August 2007, my Dad went up to his garage/office area: while he was there, he heard a slithering noise; he turned a light on only to see a snake. Dad went into his office to use the intercom to contact Mum in the house to ask her to ask me what type of snake had black, yellow, and red bands on it.

I was already awake at the time, and when Mum described the snake to me, I cried out "It's a kingsnake!", and rushed out of bed, put my robe on, grabbed Mum and Dad's camera, and went up to the garage. I was excited because it was the first real kingsnake any of us had seen and I did not want to miss it (the two previous "kingsnakes" we had seen were fakes, as one was a stick mistaken for a kingsnake, and the other turned out to be a lie).

By the time I got to the garage, the kingsnake had got under the fridge/freezer up there. Dad wanted the snake out of the garage, so he carefully tipped the fridge while I looked under it: the kingsnake then slithered onto one of the thin metal bars on the bottom of the fridge and hung itself on it. I took a picture of this, but warned Dad not to put the fridge back down or else he would likely harm the snake. The kingsnake got off the bar on its own, but it then slithered off into a part of the garage where it would be too difficult to find it at such a late hour.

Twenty-hours later, the kingsnake was still in the garage, and this time we all went up to look at the snake, and also to get it out of the building. We managed to get it into a bucket and took a few pictures, then we went outside to find a gopher hole the put the kingsnake down. I carefully reached into the bucket to handle the snake, but when I tried to put it down the gopher hole, it resisted by moving its head away every time. What did not help was that the snake was covered in a nasally unpleasant mucas, making it difficult to hold.

In the end, we took the snake away from the vicinity of the garage and house and let it go. I was fortunate that the kingsnake did not bite me nor even make any attempt to bite during my handling of it, though due to my limited experience of catching kingsnakes, I did not know if this was their standard behavior or a snake that did not mind being picked up.

Here is one of the pictures taken of the kingsnake:

Finally, in regards to looking for kingsnakes, remember this: "Red touch yellow, kill a fellow. Red touch black, venom lack." Why? It is very easy to confuse the harmless kingsnake with the highly-venemous coral snake. If the red bands touch the black, it is a kingsnake, but if the red bands touch the yellow, it is a coral snake. Fortunately, we did not get coral snakes in our part of Oregon, but this is still an important tip to follow and remind oneself of.

Monday, 5 September 2011

A loaf of bread (again)

I thought I would post a picture of an actual cake that our breadmaker in 2009 made, rather than a loaf of bread that looked like a cake:

The only part not from the breadmaker is the icing, which we applied to the cake ourselves. This is the cake I had for my 19th birthday: minted chocolate with cream cheese frosting.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Steve Irwin

It is five years ago to the date that Steve Irwin died from a stingray barb in a part of the Great Barrier Reef known as the Batt Reef. I remember that morning well: it was cool and sunny outside, and my brother and I turned my computer on to check the news as we normally did and were shocked to see the majority of news headlines reporting “Crocodile Hunter dies”.

Years ago, we used to watch Animal Planet frequently, with our favourite shows being The Crocodile Hunter and The Jeff Corwin Experience. We were always fascinated by the animals and places seen in each episode: we would be happy when learning about an interesting new animal, but upset when we learnt that the said animal was endangered. We did become fans of Steve Irwin and had a lot of respect for him and his work, and after the Crocodile Hunter, we watched The Crocodile Hunter Diaries, a show covering the day-to-day activities at Australia Zoo.

We ended up talking about him all day when he died, and we watched several episodes of The Crocodile Hunter and The Crocodile Hunter Diaries in the subsequent Steve Irwin marathon on Animal Planet, plus the memorial service and an abundance of other shows about him. I remember the Internet being exceedingly difficult to navigate on the day of his death with tens, possibly even hundreds of millions of people logging on to read about him.

To this day I think Steve Irwin was, and still is, a strong net positive to the world: while his critics opposed his handling of animals (and I can understand their point), his documentaries of nature did educate millions of people of what issues the environment faces; he cared about nature, and through his work and influence, he helped others care about nature too. One fact that we did not know about him until after his death was his buying up of huge swaths of land so that it would be safe from development, and thus, safe for the flora and fauna inhabiting it.

I have read in recent years that Australia Zoo has run into problems, most notably financial difficulties. I think it would be more than just a shame if the zoo ever closed, and I hope the work Steve Irwin did there will not come to an end and be left to live on in memory.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

A loaf of bread

I was randomly looking through some pictures earlier, and found this one from 2009 of a loaf of bread:

I remember taking this image because I thought the loaf was almost perfect in its appearance, and because it looked like a "cake loaf". We used to make cakes with our breadmaker besides just bread, and the cakes were often shaped like this while bread was much more rough. Regardless of how they looked, they all tasted great, cake or bread!

Friday, 2 September 2011

My old view

When we lived in Oregon, I had my own room, and it was the smallest of the trio of bedrooms within our house. Despite this, it was still a large room if compared to British standards, and I had plenty of space for all my belongings; I also had a big desk for all my work, computer, and numerous other items. However, what I miss most about my old bedroom is not my desk or how spacious the room was, but rather, the view from my window.

As I sat at my desk, I could just look to my left towards a spectacular view of our front yard: we had two acres of land at the front of our house, containing a few trees (including some Christmas trees we planted), a gentle slope to the road, and plenty of grass. I would often see deer feast and/or rest in our yard, or watch dozens of small birds peck the ground.

I especially loved my room in spring: I would have the window open to allow in the breeze, and I would have my radio turned on to listen to my favorite radio station (itself a topic for another post). Whenever I looked out the window during that time of the year, the grass in the front yard would be a beautiful shade of green, and the trees would be full of leaves. Looking at the greenery while listening to my radio and having a cool breeze blow on me always cheered me up or calmed me down.

I deeply miss my old view and the positive feelings associated with it, but alas, I could not bring my view with us on our move. I am fortunate that our current residence has a relatively decent view from my window, even if it is of the local houses; but just like my view in Oregon used to be, I only have to look left to see it.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Aly & AJ

I blogged before about hearing Julian Velard's song "Sentimental" at a store in Littleport, and being glad I heard it. This is not the first occasion where I have heard a song in a store and really liked it: the previous time this occurred was in 2005 during a visit from my grandparents.

We all went to an Ashley Furniture store in Medford, and my parents found a sofa that they found appealing, so they discussed it with each other and with one of the clerks. While this was happening, a song playing from one of the televisions caught my attention: for the next two minutes, I watched the video and listened to the sound of "Do You Believe in Magic" by Aly & AJ (now going by the name "78violet").

This was my introduction to Aly & AJ, and I really liked the song: I took pleasure from the instrumentals that formed the tune, Aly & AJ's vocals, and the overall happy sound to "Do You Believe in Magic". I noted a few of the lyrics to look up when we got back home, and that was my task when I next went on the Internet. During my research I was pleased to see that they had an album out, Into the Rush, and I made sure to ask for it for my birthday later that year (and I received it). To date, Into the Rush is the only Aly & AJ album I own, but I am interested in their second studio album, Insomniatic, and their Christmas release, Acoustic Hearts of Winter.

Whenever I listen to "Do You Believe in Magic", I always think of that afternoon in Ashley Furniture. It seems odd to associate a song with a furniture store, but that merely adds to the charm of the song for me, and besides, I remember it being a beautiful day outside that day.

Regarding the aforementioned sofa, Mum and Dad decided to buy it, though it was ultimately sold in October of 2009, as it was unfeasible to bring to the United Kingdom due to its size. However, I am still listening to and will continue to listen to Aly & AJ's music.