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Tag Archives: nature photography

this will help me into understanding more about this subject.

Indeed.  Thank you Spanish Spamster.

check out my sexual dimporphism

when a daddy koel ….

sitting around

… and a mummy koel…

coupling koels

… love each other very much, they make an egg and leave it in another bird’s nest to hatch and kill their babies, while they fly around keeping the humans awake at night …

Cuckoos getting cosy.

Your mate is concerned about world hunger.  Over at You Are What You Eat, he has provided two suggestions on how Hollywood could help wipe it out.  Angelina, its all over to you.  You have the ink, you can do it.

Your mate is concerned about the youth of today.  That is why over at WWJCD, he has provided twenty tips for healthy living, to help young people make wise choices and get out of difficult situations (“if somebody is about to stab you, try to make your body go all hard”).

Oh, and there is also this.  Something very, very important.  Please check it out.  Thanks to Bucket Man, affectionately referred to as Bucket Head.


Cuckoo Land

Greetings to you all on this National Day of Not Working For Australia.  The sun is shining, and like everyone else in Australia who is not out shooting wild pigs (4 different pig hunting magazines the last time I was at the newsagents) or at the beach (its still too cold, fools) I’m sitting around in my pyjamas.  Four weeks annual paid holidays, four weeks annual paid sick leave, 37 1/2 hour working week, low inflation, low unemployment, 3 months long service leave after ten years, paid parental leave, thats the answer to give the next time anyone in Australia ever asks “what has the union ever done for me”.  Next hobby horse.

I’m living in cuckoo land, and its not even an election year.  I’ve just wasted an hour of my life looking for a picture I took years ago of two koels mating, to post here.  (I will tag my photographs, I will tag my photographs, I will tag…)

But before I start, I did find a photograph of two galahs adapted to a very urban environment …

its still wood, isn't it?


Last year a much more serious birdwatcher than me pointed out the trilling of a fan tailed cuckoo.  There has been one nearby over the last month or so, as the various cuckoo migratory paths have opened up again with warmer weather.  For me, spring has arrived when the koel starts calling at all hours of day and night, and the other evening, I smiled instantly despite the depredations of the working day, when I heard the lonesome lover calling for a friend (anyone?  anyone?), and recognised the return of an old friend, who will now look for a nest of a wattlebird or something similar sized, to do her work for her.

Some raucous shrieking yesterday alerted me to a channel billed cuckoo, a huge big beaked dinosaur of a bird.  I’ve heard quite a few, but seldom seen them.  They are named after their bill for a good reason.  Every time I’ve been aware of one, noisy miners have come and chased them away.  Here is another bad picture of mine, of one I managed to get a bit close to.

Channel billed cuckoo

Big loud bugger

Your mate has been getting all righteous and prophetic over at the 6th Proletarian Anarcho-Lottery Syndicate, just letting the rich know what is coming their way (please).  At Poetry and Paranoia, he has a prayer (which may seem flippant or sarcastic, but it is not, it is sincere and deliberate and not mocking); a reflection on the death of Reverend Mr Moonie; and a poem about cancer and winning the lottery.

The Bulldogs lost the ARL grand final.  Football does not bring out the best in me.  I try to stay away from sports, but some things are ingrained from childhood.  My greatest failing is my loyalty, it persists and endures beyond all reason, in all aspects of my life.  I would like to apologise to my television.  I said words that I normally shy from.  My television deserves better than that, and it should not have to put up with it.  I hope it can find it within its digital heart to forgive me.  Until next time.

Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs

Oh Bulldogs, how many times have you broken my heart?

Hello Web Admin, I noticed that your On-Page SEO is is missing a few factors …

Indeed it is, especially the X Factor.  The Joe Chip Empire stands in the audition queue jostling with the teeny boppers, unable to get sufficient attention, at least sufficient to please the writer, who is an insatiable sod (or should that be sot?)  hey everyone, look at me, here’s a picture of a flower with a bird on top!

Eastern spinebill on bottlebrush


That worked really well.

Checking the google summaries, search terms that brought you kind people to “Poetry and Paranoia”  recently include:

  • do albinos originate from albania
  • bathysphere poem
  • Michael C Hall poem
  • poems about self obsession

That last one certainly nailed it, that is the main theme here!

So what is happening?  Not much to report from the Joe Chip clearance house.  The writer has been in the Betty Ford clinic, hanging out with the wives of former presidents (the one’s not solving any middle east crises at the moment), reminiscing about the old days with Elizabeth Taylor (not reminiscing with her of course, necromancy is banned in the grounds, but you’d never know it to look at … never mind), and seeking to overcome his “Gangnam Style” addiction (Psy says dress classy, dance cheesy, I manage to be cheesy at both).  There are three recent revolutionary pieces over at the 6th proletarian whatever (and yes there really is an Edgar, and yes, he is really lazy), including some gumph about rugby league football, trying to tempt Edgar into his classic Marxist sports rant, and a lazy piece of rubbish simply linking to a mainstream newspaper column asserting the world’s richest woman, Gina Rinehart, is a communist sleeper.

In the latest hard hitting poetry, I stick it to the man by asking whether some women have legs made of rubber.

*Sigh*  What is the point?

The following picture of Gina Rinehart is by Simon Lech, I failed to properly attribute it over there, and only Edgar can edit, so this is my correction:

All you have to lose is your chains of pearls …

“i am an albino girl poem”

Favourite internet search term of the week, which led some unfortunate browser to my haunting melodious lament, “Albino Girl”, who wasn’t even Albinanian.

Where do the years fly?  The Joe Chip Empire is crumbling.  The barbarians are at the gates, and Edgar’s wandered off – he was only supposed to be buying a packet of chips and a can of creaming soda, but I bet he’s in the record shop.  The blogs lie untended, slowly being covered by drifts of sand as the climate changes and the deserts spread (ahh, if only the desserts would spread – slowly encroaching lemon meringue pie would not be such a horror, though the fact I write of such visions may explain why my belly is not so slowly encroaching on my belt).

Australians love order.  They like to think of themselves as anarchic larrikins, but that is a complete load of bullshit.  You only have to look at the seasons.  In the northern hemisphere, they think it is still summer.  But how can it be, when here in Australia spring has been declared?  We do not let nature get in our way, hence the devastation of our environment.  Spring commences on 1 September here, we care naught for equinoxes and solstices and unofficial unlegislated astronomical stuff.  When I raise this with no doubt mightily bored compatriots at the change of each season (I can bore for Australia, it is one of my Olympic events, I won silver), they say things like “Hey my mate Joe Chip, you’re talking about natural, seasonal spring”.  WHAT OTHER KIND IS THERE?????  Idiots.

Sorry, please forgive me, I need calm in my life.  My only balm is the arts, and of course by the arts I mean poetry, and of course by poetry I mean doggerel.  Hence the only place there has been any Joe Chip action lately is in “Poetry and Paranoia.  Looking at the blog, I am a little worried about the writer.  I applaud his continuing television poetry and his murderous effort in “Dexter“.  TV poetry is the new art form for those who don’t wander lonely as a rain cloud in a spate of good weather.  However, I worry if he is slipping into premature middle age, with his comments in “Stuff” about how it is good that he is not ten years younger (for goodness sake, he’s only seven, what is he going on about?), because who knows what he might try with someone nameless that no doubt would lead to the same disaster it would have led to ten years ago; and then in the beautifully named “Ugly Fat Old Man” he writes tenderly about how he we deteriorates before his our eyes.  I knew there was something to worry about long ago, noticing how he writes in the third person about himself.

Now what is in all this for the reader?  Here is a picture I took in Penang of a wild dusky leaf monkey in the botanical gardens – sorry, no bird this time.

As you can see, I am eating leaves

Yes good on you you found a monkey after looking for hours, think you’re pretty good don’t you, wait until the macacques ambush you on the way out

Strange internet search terms …

Jessica Accardi,the possessor of a fine ability to convey with subtlety and nuance her thoughts and feelings about literature and art and other things, and who sends my heart aflutter with her love of rhubarb, beats me hands down – I had thought “hindu cryptozoology” was a strange search term to lead to my blog, but she wins with … I’m not sure I can say it.  See the comments on my post “This title is kinda vanilla” below.  I’m interested to hear what interesting google entries may have led strangers along your garden path.

No other postings this week, but here is a picture I took a few years ago of a southern boobook balancing on a palm frond.  We have had one visiting in the night recently, but no photographs I’m afraid.  This owl was wild, but residing in a State forest is perhaps used to people getting a bit close, and was not disturbed at all:

I love the scrunched eyes

Speaking of nocturnal visitors, we had a very welcome intruder the other night.  Sneaking into my front yard in pyjamas to confront a prowler, I saw a huddled shape in the driveway.  A moment later it bounded away, and in the street lights I saw it clearly: a swamp wallaby!  (While a zoologist may condemn this description, a wallaby is basically a sawn off kangaroo.)  People may think that kangaroos bound down city streets here, but they do not.  This was very unusual for me, I’ve rarely seen a wild kangaroo, as a city slicker.  A couple of nights later, he was back.  They are dark and timid and I do not hold out hopes of much of a photograph if he returns, but I’ll see what I can do.  Very exciting, its the little things that keep us going after all!

Most excellent echidna, most spiny anteater

Don't get too close

Don't get too close ...

Another not so good photograph, but I record my encounter this evening with a nocturnal ambler 5 minutes walk from my home.   (My photographs are not as good as Mike’s, but I still wanted to brag about this meeting.)  It was an overcast afternoon, a light drizzle here.  I heard some movement in the bush and froze, hoping something interesting was about (and always cautious its not something that finds me, or more likely my wallet, interesting).  I thought there was a possibility it was a goanna.  I stayed still long enough and this fellow came along.  I was very happy to see this short beaked echidna, out and about a little early.  They are an ancient life form – the echidna and the platypus are the only extant monotremes, ie egg laying mammals, so they go back to early days of mammal evolution.

Thank you to those who comment in various places on my pieces.  A yell out this week to Thirsty Murphy, who put me onto Die Antwoord, and who has had me googling local kung fu schools to find a replacement for karate which has taken too much out of my knees and ankles.  In a similar vein, I am looking forward to the upcoming publication of “How Not to Get Hit” by Nathaniel Cooke in three months.

So: what has been happening around the Joe Chip Empire?  Here we go:

While there are some Trevor pieces in preparation, the fermentation is not complete.  A couple of alleged poems have been reblogged here recently, but you may wish to check them out in their natural environment over here.  (Of course if you prefer real poetry by a real poet, you would look here.) As well as a poem about the tragedy that is the story of Casper the tamed, hobbled, crushed so-called “friendly” ghost, the Marxian consequences of this disturbing story are considered here.  A warning to men who wish to stray because their wives do not understand them is here (speak more clearly, and perhaps brush your teeth occasionally).  Most importantly, fellow scientists, I have been wondering why we do not eat rocks, and acknowledging that I cannot eat eyes.

I’ve been reading a lot lately, but nothing has inspired me to actually say anything, so I won’t.  I’ve picked up a copy of “Basic Black”, tales of fear by Terry Dowling, and on the strength of a story I blogged about a little while back, I am very much looking forward to reading it.  I am at 75 000 words on the second draft of my own novel.  I say that out loud because it may make me have to do more work on it.

And as a reward for putting up with some not so good photographs, here are some pictures of a regular visitor to my home.  I feed them sometimes though I know I shouldn’t.  I have loved cockatoos since I was a young child, but it is not good to encourage them, they are very destructive.

very clever beggar

White cockatoo

very clever beggar

nice and fluffy

Old Tawny

Tawny Frogmouth

Tawny frogmouth - nocturnal visitor

Often mistaken for an owl, being of similar size and nocturnal habits, this is a Tawny Frogmouth.  I’ve come across them a few times.  This one was across the road from my old house, which was a nice surprise on returning home one winter evening a few years ago.

Those who place their faith in the competition of ideas and the holy grail of peer reviewed science should read “Cure Unknown: Inside the Lyme Epidemic” by Pamela Weintraub.  Self interest, self aggrandisement and self promotion are as rife in medical science as any other field of human endeavour, and just as often at the expense of truth and the well being of others.  I live in a country that does not even recognise lyme disease as existing within its borders, so that sufferers are seen as malingerers and liars.  This is an issue very close to my heart, and this book was more terrifying than any of the horror stories I read, but still, a very important books to read.  70 million stars out of ten.

Something strange is happening in Glossolalia – three reports in three weeks!  This week, read how childhood used to be – riding bikes, hiking, swimming unsupervised, building tree houses, wandering zombie haunted caverns – back in the days before children were cossetted and wrapped in cotton wool by helicopter parents.  Back in the good old days before Trevor ruined everything.  (Wander down an abandoned mine in my world and you are not going to meet the Wizard of Alderley or grumpy but kindly dwarves.)

Speaking of mines, were you aware that industrial rocks cannot fall from the sky and hit Albania?  Its a scientific impossibility, proven in poem.  And speaking of rocks and science, over at the Joe Chip Laboratory (somewhere around the corner from the Ponds Institute for the Morally Disabled), we have been taste testing rocks.  All in the name of science, and all for you, dear and gentle reader.

And on that note, farewell for now, and to paraphrase Jeff French, Readers, I love you all…

Yours faithfully,

Your mate,

My mate Joe Chip

The Power

Powerful Owl

Powerful Owl

This is not a great photograph, in fact it is not even a good photograph.  The light, the bush, my camera and my skill levels were all against me.  However I have not come across owls in the wild very often, and wanted to share my encounter with a Powerful Owl.  It is the largest owl in Australia, and in my state is listed as “vulnerable”.  This photograph was taken in Sydney Botanical Garden.  They mate at this time of year and can be heard calling particularly in March and April.  I have been fortunate to hear at least one over the last few weeks at home, but not spotted it yet.  I will try to keep to half decent photographs in future, but this one was more about the excitement of finally seeing one of these beautiful animals in the wild.  Check out those talons.

Joe Chip is at home amongst the dead this week.  I appreciate the interest of those who subscribe to and visit this site.  If I could ever encourage you to click on any of the links to have a look at my other work, could I encourage you to have a look at “Not Trevor” this week please?  It is not an easy site to publicise, and it is strangely personal.  Many thanks to those who have a look.

Attempts at humour and poetry appear here and here.

If anyone comes across Edgar Edgarberger, please tell him to get in touch.

Little Corellas … of Death!!!

Privet. Must. DIE.

Little Corella gorging on privet berries

Little corella

Snap away, I don't care

Well, there’s a title for you.  They are a threat to berries.

Not an uncommon bird around here any more, they appear seasonally, following the food.  This particular privet is now gone, the tree is a weed, a real pest and nuisance.  They are widespread and have altered the ecological balance, so that former large predators, such as currawongs, that were migratory, no longer have to leave for the winter, so smaller birds are under attack all year round.  Wrens and robins have now disappeared from many places.

Your mate has slowed down his posting.  He has decided to come clean.  For years he has been working on a horror novel.  (It may be crap, it maybe at least as rubbish as all the others he moans about, but it will be his, whether it is ever published or not.  All he can promise is a monster, and that many people die.)  Along the lines of Julia Cameron’s “morning pages”, the various blogs have been a good stimulus.  Now (dropping into the first person) I need to spend more time on the actual story, as the most recent draft is more than two thirds along, so there should be less done online.

Please feel free to click on some of the links below and check out your mate’s other posts, it makes him feel good for a little while …

For the first time in a long time, there is new entry over at “Not Trevor“, in fact, it is the Genesis of the Daleks, or not quite, it is the first time Trevor notices the existence of your not-quite-a-hero, whose name happens to also be Joe Chip.  Please have a look, it was a long time coming.

Your mate has been rhapsodising poetically about his lunchtime adventures when briefly free from the cubicle of death.  First about the young Mormon missionaries keener to evangelise to pretty young Asian girls than to your mate, and then about a strange day when everyone he passed seemed to have a scar.

You may be surprised that woolly little lamb scrotums (scrota?) do not taste like chicken, but that is our function at the Joe Chip Laboratories, to expose these and other truths.  And your mate provides assistance to a wandering fool thinking that there are loopholes to life, over at What Would Joe Chip Do?

This weeks yell out goes to Mike585 who wanders about marshes at night encountering badgers and foxes and toads, and records it wonderfully in words and photographs.  The patience this man has!  This is a really cool blog.

Reading: The Science Delusion by Rupert Sheldrake; Necroville by Ian McDonald.  I like McDonald a lot, really enjoyed Cyberabad Days, The Dervish House, and Brasyl.  I am finding this a little hard to get into, but I suspect the fault is mine, the clutter in the writing is deliberate but at the moment I need some clarity and simplicity.

I finished The Moth Diaries by Rachel Klein.  Bits were good, but overall not for me.  Its on a couple of lists of all time best vampire books and many people write about it favourably.  I did not find the terror creeping, because I did not care very much about the characters.  I am not a professional reviewer and as I have said before, I am not very articulate about these things, but I did not get what I wanted from this.  This does not make it a bad book, just not a great fit for me.  However, it did have me thinking about the nature of the vampire, and our ties to time and familiar settings.  Another book on one of those lists was “Fangland” by John Marks, and that did not do much for me either.  The failure is no doubt with me and my laziness and requirement for genre expectations to be fulfilled.  If I enter a leisurely stage of life again (like the times when I could meander through Tolstoy and Dostoevsky), I will lift my game, I promise.  I would like to be like the cool kid who never likes the second album of any band, and who is ahead of the game and finds the most wonderful obscure tidbits, but my favourite vampire books of recent years have both been massive best sellers: “Let the Right One In” by John Ajvide Lindqvist and “The Passage” by Justin Cronin.  I look forward to the upcoming re-release of Kim Newman’s “The Bloody Red Baron”.

Unexpected Visitor

White faced heron

an unexpected visitor

We don’t normally expect anything this large visiting backyards in Glossolalia (except Cthulhu perhaps, or a spider-woman).  I would have included a shot of it on the top of my old garage, but that may have tricked you into believing that birds can fly, when we know that is not possible. There was a drought at the time, so lots of marsh birds were looking elsewhere for tucker, even in the desolate suburbs of outer Dis.

I continue to work on the next installment of Not Trevor, but the memories are too difficult to deal with.  In our anxious world, do we have as many words for mental illness as the Eskimos have for snow?  You betcha we do.  Think about it though, if the DSM is couched in terms of a wine-taster’s palate, who are the connoisseurs who enjoy the tasting? A dark and hidden group?  Thats why it is called Poetry and Paranoia.

This weeks truly terrible poetry is your mate’s tribute to 60s rock musicals, where he lambasts chickens for their failure at lactation and general lack of mammalian aspiration.  Just because you can rhyme does not mean you should, kiddies.  A trite contribution to Marxian theory with a short recitation of a visit to a bank is here, but you really wouldn’t bother clicking, except for the picture of communist superman.

Finally, in WWJCD?, one of nature’s terrible challenges.  A young woman laments the medical condition known as “spontaneous penis”.  Or is she suffering from the more disgusting, but easily treated, ingrown lizard?  Read it and find out.

A big hello this week to gingerfightback, who is seriously odd, and is nice enough to comment on some of my stuff occasionally.

Your mate reads a lot of horror stories (though not as much as he used to).  He is very used to being disappointed.  Somewhere (can’t be bothered reaching to my shelf) Orwell comments upon the difficulty with short story collections, the effort of settling in and allowing the mental furniture to be arranged, only to have to dump the lot a few pages later.  One lives with a novel a lot longer, and so the investment of settling in has a greater pay off.  Perhaps its just laziness.  I read a lot more novels than short story collections possibly for this reason, possibly for reasons of marketing and accessibility.  I read genre fiction also out of laziness, but also because of marketing – I like these particular sorts of things, so there is a good chance I will like books marketed as these sorts of things.  Yet reading horror and sf, what am I after?  The idea, the gimmick, the surprise, the special thing.  The difference between a genre novel and a genre short story is often just the space the idea is played out over.  I appreciate good characterisation, impressive use of language and so on, your mate is not just reading for the “thing”.  Often, to get a novel out of “the thing”, there is a predictable treatment, either the adventure novel or a thriller.  That is fine, I read on trains, I read on buses, I read late at night when I get a moment.  A thriller keeps the pages turning, but I have been there and done that so many times.  Looking back at my recent reading, I received a lot of pleasure from “Thought Crimes” by Tim Richards, a short story collection, and look forward to the release of another soon.  I very much enjoyed “2oth Century Ghosts” by Joe Hill (more than I enjoyed his novels, what was the point of ‘Horns’?), I was excited working my way through it.  I look forward to the thrillers of Michael Marshall (I confess “The Straw Men” is on my shelf of favourite novels), but they often read as high tech or spy thriller approaches to horror themes, with the associated predictablility.  Yet his “Substitutions” (writing as Michael Marshall Smith – I read it in the Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Vol 22) raised in me a frisson that I don’t get to experience very often as I grow older, until the end where “oh shit” turned to “Oh SHIT”, leaving me with a big smile.

So where is all this leading?  There were quite a few lovely bits of horror in that collection, but of course with the range of writers represented, one is often bound to be disappointed, after all it is someone else’s selection.  I found that with the previous volume.  Who knows, I am no reviewer, I am not particularly articulate about these things, I just know what I like.  Maybe it was my mood, maybe because I was reading on an e reader instead of a book.  However, having said that, there was one story which knocked my socks off, “Two Steps Along the Road” by Terry Dowling.  Excellent.  A premise which usually piques my interest only to leave me “meh” is that of a paranormal investigation group, from the government or a university.  It is treated so well here, and the monster, who is not hidden at all, who walks amongst us and eats meals with us and talks with us about itself, is terrific.  Nice and interesting, good story, enjoying it a lot, then, on a commuter train, in broad daylight with people all around, I realised that I was scared.  Usually, the best I can hope for in horror fiction is that other spice, disquiet, and I am happy when I get it.  However, I do not scare easily when reading.  I can be fearful for a character I have invested in, but not scared like watching a horror movie scared.  Sometimes when I cannot sleep images from reading may scare me or lead me to unpleasant places, but again, that is not scared while reading.  I loved it.  If you get a chance and if you like horror at all, I recommend it.  I have bought his novel “Clowns at Midnight” on the strength of it, so we will see how that goes.

And I enjoyed this.

And your mate is still blushing from the maybe declaration of some kind of love in the comments under “The Crimson Pimpernel” below.  You are too kind!!