Sunday, November 26, 2006

Windy Blues

Oh boy! It sure is windy right now in Bristol. I can hear the winds howling outside my window. The BBC's weather forecast for tonight is "wet and windy". Here is a pressure chart from their website for tomorrow's forecast:

As you can see from the chart, the UK is stuck between high and low, which means we'll be getting pretty shitty weather tomorrow. Well, its already shitty now but it'll get worst. What a perfect start to the week. And I'll be tossed around again like a leaf as I ride to work. Perhaps we should adapt, evolve, and sprout wings to allow the wind currents to carry us to work, or wherever we want to go. Just like angels ......

On another note (lighter or heavier, you decide), I'm moving again. Again you say?! Yup, again. Hopefully some time in January, in the new year. The place which I'm staying now is almost perfect. Perfect housemates, perfect facilities, inperfect landlady, which is a real shame, so I'll be moving. And I hope it'll be to somewhere better and cheaper too. It'll be like a bird looking for a new nest, a hermit crab looking for a new shell, a mouse searching for a new hole. The winds of change are blowing again .....

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Biker Blues

It only been one month and I've had to bring my bike to the mechanics three times! The first time was for general servicing. The second time was to fix the clutch, which was coming loose, and the third time was to replace the bulb of the headlight and fix some bits and boobs. The bulb blew while I was on the motorway at night, and it was a really scary experience. Its really fustrating for someone who just wants to ride the bike to work and back.

While I was riding on the motorway, I was hit by a sudden gust of wind. It blew me towards the centre of the road, with the oncoming traffic coming dangerously close. Again, another scary experience. I think my bike is too light, hence it's being tossed around like a leaf in a wind. I will be upgrading to a bigger and heavier bike soon, hopefully a harley or a triumph, or even a BMW!

I've seen bikes of the same make and model ride past me before, and they sound a lot more quieter than mine. After some careful observation, I've noticed that my exhaust pipe is bigger than theirs. I think the previous owner did some modifications to it. Which isn't a bad thing. It is just that I live in a quiet and nice neighbourhood, and I feel embarassed every morning as I start my bike to go to work, shattering the peace and tranquility. I've noticed the granny living down the road has been giving me annoying looks every morning out from her window. But screw them! Although it sounds like I ride a mean bike, there isn't much power to bring it up to the "whee!" speed. I've got to throttle it all the way to the end to get some decent power. And it makes alot of noise while I do this. Which, again, isn't a bad thing. It really sounds like I'm riding a mean powerful bike. But the opposite is true in this case. Looks like its bark is worse than its bite!

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Animal Encounters XIII

The Red Panda

The red panda is a raccoon-like creature from the Asian continent. It can be found in Bhutan, India, Nepal, Laos, Myanmar, and China. For many decades the taxonomic classification of the panda was under debate as both the red panda and the distantly related giant panda share characteristics of both bears and raccoons. At first glance it may have a raccoon-like appearance. The red panda's fur is long, thick and fuzzy to protect it against rain and cold and its colour perhaps helps the panda to blend with the reddish moss and white lichen growing on the fir trees of its mountainous habitat at up to 5000 m altitude. These pandas have fur on the soles of their feet to aid grip on wet branches and to keep them warm when walking on snow. They are 50 -60 cm long and weigh between 3 and 6 kg.

They are excellent climbers, using their strong claws to grasp branches. The jaws are powerful and the teeth and forelimbs are specially adapted for manipulating and crushing bamboo shoots and leaves, which make up 95% of their diet. Red pandas are nocturnal, spending most of their day asleep in trees. As their bamboo diet is low in nutrition, sleeping for much of the day may help save energy.

They are an endangered species and the major threat to the red panda is habitat destruction. The loss of the forests which support the bamboo continues at an alarming rate, due to demand for land and timber by increasing human populations in China and Nepal. Did you know that the word panda comes from the Nepalese 'Nigalya ponya' which means bamboo eater? The red panda is also known as the lesser panda or red cat bear. In China it is called 'hon ho' or 'fire fox'.

Look into my eyes .....