Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Early to rise and early to bed...

...when I should be seeing pirates instead...

If only it were on Monday night!

Because I'm oh-so-piratey that I need to be in bed at a reasonable hour for work the next day (this daylight savings lark still makes me want to beat my alarm clock with a stick when it awakens me at what feels like 5.30am) and the Espy's rather a long, long way away...


And apparently it'll be about four months until the next Sforzando gig. They're pretty good. Actually, really good. Recently got a couple of their CDs and although it's kind of odd, the pirate-folk-punk thing works surprisingly well.

Definitely loving Welcome To My Shipwreck.

The only problem is that their music kind of makes you want to dance. A lot. Which isn't all that good if you're sitting in an office at the time...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Porque me gusta esta canción...

Narrator: "Larry will be performing the traditional Argentinian ballad, 'The Dance of the Cucumber,' in it's original Spanish. Bob the Tomato will translate."

Larry: "Miren al pepino"
Bob: "Watch the cucumber"

Larry: "miren como se mueve"
Bob: "see how he moves"

Larry: "como un leon"
Bob: "like a lion"

Larry: "tras un raton."
Bob: "chasing a mouse."

Larry: "Miren al pepino"
Bob: "Watch the cucumber"

Larry: "que suaves movimientos"
Bob: "Oh, how smooth his motion"

Larry: "tal como mantequilla"
Bob: "like butter"

Larry: "en un chango pelon."
Bob: "on a ... bald monkey."

Larry: "Miren al pepino"
Bob: "Look at the cucumber"

Larry: "los vegetales"
Bob: "all the vegetables"

Larry: "envidian a su amigo"
Bob: "envy their friend"

Larry: "como el quieren bialar"
Bob: "wishing to dance as he"

Larry: "Pepino bailarin, pepino bailarin, pepino bailarin"
Bob: "Dancing cucumber, dancing cucumber, dancing cucumber"

Larry: "Baila, baila, ya!"
Bob: "Dance, dance, yeah!"

Larry: "Miren al tomate"
Bob: "Look at the tomato"

Larry: "no es triste?"
Bob: "Isn't it sad?"

Larry: "El no puede bailar."
Bob: "He can't dance."

Larry: "!Pobre tomate!"
Bob: "Poor tomato!"

Larry: "El deseria poder bailar"
Bob: "He wishes he could dance"

Larry: "Como el pepino"
Bob: "like the cucumber"

Larry: "libre y suavemente."
Bob: "free and smooth."

Larry: "Pero el no puede danzar."
Bob: "But he can't ... Okay! Stop the music! What do ya mean I can't dance? I can dance! What about Uncle Louie's polka party? Didn't you see me dancing at Uncle Louie's polka party?"

Larry: "No comprendo."

Bob: "No comprendo? I'll show you 'No comprendo'!"

Jr.: "Mom! Dad! Look over here! Get a picture of me next to the cucumber in authentic Argentinian garb!"

Dad: "Okay, Junior. But we'd better hurry--I think the dwarves have your mother confused with someone else! Say 'Peas!'"

All: "Peas!"

Larry: "Escuchen el pepino"
Bob: "Listen to the cucumber"

Larry: "oigan su voz fuerte"
Bob: "hear his strong voice"

Larry: "como un leon"
Bob: "like a lion"

Larry: "listo a devorar."
Bob: "about to eat."

Larry: "Escuchen al pepino"
Bob: "Listen to the cucubmer"

Larry: "que dulce a su canto"
Bob: "oh how sweet his voice"

Larry: "la voz de su garganta perece un triar."
Bob: "the breath from his throat is like a chorus of little birdies."

Larry: "Escuchen al pepino"
Bob: "Listen to the cucumber"

Larry: "los vegetales"
Bob: "all the vegetables"

Larry: "envidian a su amigo"
Bob: "envy their friend"

Larry: "como el quieren cantar."
Bob: "wishing to sing as he."

Larry: "Pepino cantador, pepino cantador, pepino cantador"
Bob: "Singing cucumber, singing cucumber, singing cucumber"

Larry: "canta, canta, ya!"
Bob: "sing, sing, yeah!"

Larry: "Escuchen al tomate"
Bob: "Listen to the tomato"

Larry: "?No es triste?"
Bob: "Isn't it sad?"

Larry: "El no puede cantar."
Bob: "He can't sing."

Larry: "Pobre tomate."
Bob: "Poor tomato."

Larry: "El deseria poder cantar"
Bob: "He wishes he could sing"

Larry: "fuerte y ducle como el pepino"
Bob: "strong and sweet like the cucumber"

Larry: "Pero no puede ..."
Bob: "But he can't ..."

Larry: "!Ni siquiera da un silbido!"
Bob: "Can't even ... whistle! All right! That's it Senor! Come over here and let me sing YOU a song!"

Larry: "Adios, amigos!"

Narrator: "This has been Silly Songs With Larry. Tune in next time to hear Larry sing ..."

Larry: "Bob is really angry! I hope he doesn't catch me! It's so hard to run with this sombrero on my head...

Monday, October 29, 2007

It's clobbering time?

I'm really starting to hate the neighbour's overly grumpy, barking dog.

Tonight the neighbour's eldest daughter's dog came over to my place (he's taken to visiting whenever the eldest daughter sees her parents). I was returning him when the grumpy dog got out of their yard and decided it'd try its hardest to bite me repeatedly while going absolutely, utterly psycho.

Most unimpressed with that damned dog. Although I was very impressed with the way Buddy (their absolutely lovely dog) put himself between me and the grumpy dog and was trying to protect me, taking bites from the other dog as he did.

The daughter was talking with me about it and saying the last time they were there, the dog had bitten one of her kids and earlier today had tried its hardest to bite her while throwing itself against the fence, going nuts.

I swear if that dog tries biting me again, it's going to get the clobbering of its life. Yes, I know violence is no solution to violence, but seriously! That dog is an evil jerk.

But Buddy? Buddy is a sweetheart! And deserves to be showered with Schmackos.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Paintings, Love and Hate

The weather was bonkers today, so any plans for working on the yard had to be put on hold (unless I really wanted to get hit by flying branches or something). Instead, I mucked around with painting, read for a few hours and didn't do any of the cleaning I should have done...

In other thoughts, a random list of things I love and hate:

> Cadbury Desserts chocolate.
> Painting.
> Naps.
> The Side Show "Hey look! It's the election worm!" "...which is a lot better than being mounted by a frisky police officer..." "Cock fighting! And I don't mean the wussy version where you use chickens!"
> Finding old CDs with music I loved on them and playing them loudly. Love finding stuff I'd sort of forgotten about and am listening along and suddenly thinking, "Oh my gosh! I remember this song!!"
> Being able to make lasagne again.
> Necklaces from Diva. I seem to have gotten my fill of rings from there of late.

> Mullets.
> John Butler Trio.
> U2.
> Thinking of he who should not be thought of. Too depressing!
> The neighbour's barky dog.
> Nothing decent being on TV.
> Silverchair. I used to love them. It was a teenage thing, I guess, even though in hindsight you can sort of see them ripping off Nirvana. Frogstomp was so good, though. But now..? I 'unno. It's just not right since Diorama, "I'm an artiste!" and The Dissociatives. Young Modern is a piece of bollocks.

In other thoughts, I want a chandelier. Although I think the ceilings in the house may be a wee bit short for that and I'd probably end up tangled in it uncomfortably.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"Life is like a box of chocolates. A cheap, thoughtless, perfunctory gift that nobody ever asks for. Unreturnable, because all you get back is another box of chocolates. So you're stuck with this undefinable whipped mint crap that you mindlessly wolf down when there's nothing else left to eat. Sure, once in a while there's a peanut butter cup or an english toffee but they're gone too fast and taste is fleeting. So you end up with nothing but broken bits of hardened jelly and teeth-shattering nuts. If you're desperate enough to eat those, all you got left is an empty box filled with useless brown paper wrappers."
- Smoking Man
X Files, 4x07, Musings of a Cigarette Smoking Man

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday in Photos

^ 2am Sunday morning, mucking around with odd makeup, reviving some 80s horror and watching Rage. Tuned in just in time to see some Nick Cave and Grinderman stuff. Tres sexy. Especially his pimp-style moustache. Or is it the Chopper-style? Not totally sure... But somehow it works for him.

^ Books. Nothing like lazing about in bed reading on a Sunday morning. Especially when it's an enormously hot Sunday and it's just the right thing to be tangled in the sheets with a good book or two. And it was a good way to relax after being suprised by a large huntsman in the kitchen and then accidentally decapitating a bear five minutes after murdering the huntsman. Okay, it was just a porcelain bear on a little clock I was given when I was little, but I felt really bad about breaking his head off! Fortunately it went back on fine with some glue.

^ The freakish Tic Tac.

^ Cold chocolate mousse is one of the only solutions to disgustingly hot weather. As is ice-cream. But chocolate mousse is also good.

^ More books. For a moment, I thought about going outside to roast in the mid-afternoon sun to try to become slightly less pale. But it was just a little too hot and I didn't want to a) melt or b) get covered with cicadas. Reading inside in the cool was just a better option.

^ Painting. Suddenly developed the desire to do a lot more of it, but I have to find more good-quality acrylic paint (it's hard to find the ones I like to use) and some huge canvases. Although the detail work you can do with small canvases is fun, it's good to be able to just go totally wild with a huge canvas and a bucket-load of paint.

The number of cicadas around here is getting ridiculous. Was nearly deafened by them when on an ice-cream run today (it was more than 30 degrees, I figure that's as good an excuse as any for an ice-cream). When I was doing some raking, I found about 20 shells by the loquat tree. And there was this one (photos above) clinging to the outside of the house this morning...

Surely it's too early in the season for them to be out in plague proportions? Although I guess it's better than finding an enormous huntsman spider clinging to a baking tray in the kitchen this morning. Gross.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Blogthings randomness

You Are A Vampire

You have a real thirst for bliss, and you consider yourself a true hedonist.
And you're not afraid to walk alone in life, if it means getting what you truly crave.
You truly enjoy entrancing people. Not to mention the ensuing pleasures of the flesh.
Your tastes have been called decadent and bizarre. You usually give in to your temptations, no matter how primal

Your greatest power: Your flawless ability to seduce and charm

Your greatest weakness: Human flesh

You play well with: Werewolves

Err... Righty-oh.

Although someone said last week that they could see me as a vampire, which was a mildly odd sort of thing. Even though I do rather like nights. But I could see the vegetarianism getting in the way...

Mucked around with doing some paintings yesterday - they're not finished yet, but it's getting there. I really want to get some more large canvases (and need to get a whole lot of new tubes of paint, but haven't found the brand I like so far and will probably have to look a little more seriously).

Yesterday was oddly insanely productive. Did a load of cooking, cleaned the house, did the groceries, worked on paintings, etc. And today? Nothing at all.

Although sometimes nothing at all is quite nice...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Caution: rant ahead

Good gracious.

Insight makes me want to get stabby tonight.

I can't believe the level of disengagement and total lack of understanding or actual complete wilfull ignorance about the state of politics in Australia among the young voters on the panel tonight. Okay, the majority of people in Australia probably aren't interested in politics, but you sort of think with an election coming on, it's time to find some information out!

And especially the good ol' excuse of "I googled it and I couldn't find anything about the party." WTF? Type in any of the political parties and their sites will be up there in the top returned results... Or at least some wikipedia thing. But I guess it doesn't matter if they're not actually interested in finding out what the politician or party stands for once they're there.

The self-interestedness, bordering on obsession, was also astounding. It seemed like the majority of the young people on the panel only cared about personal gains (at the cost of all else) and getting more money in their pocket at the end of the week. Yeah, that's probably most young people for you, but I thought we had a little bit of concern about others, too? Or has society just become so "Me me me" that we ignore what needs to be done to help it? It's embarrassing to be part of Gen Y if that's what we're meant to be like.

I also can't believe there's a chick on the show who's saying that if you've never experienced any other government, you shouldn't change it because it'll be a change! Oh no! Change! The world will end! My goodness. With that attitude, she'll be marrying her first boyfriend - even if he's a total knob - while singing Tradition from Fiddler on the Roof.

Thank God there were a couple Labor supporters, but the majority of them were all "Wheee, yay John Howard! I wanna hump his eyebrows! He'll give me a couple extra dollars per week and that's a perfect reason to sell my soul and our environment and living conditions! I'm a tax cut whore!" or "Politics? Que?" or "I just vote how my parents vote."

And yes, that tax cut announcement thing made me annoyed. Not just because high income earners end up being the ones best off, but also because I personally don't mind paying tax at the current rate if there's actually going to be something done about education, health care, social services, etc. Plus what impact will it have on interest rates? A tax cut doesn't help all that much when you just have to put it on the home loan anyway.

Jenny Brockie asked one question that stuck out to me, and that was "Can you remember anyone other than Howard being in power?" I feel ancient being only 24 and remembering Paul Keating and Bob Hawke. My family isn't political, so I have no idea where my political interest sprang from. And my political persuasion has changed over time. I'll be voting for a different party this time to that in the previous election (I'm so sorry, Bob!). When I was young, I actually liked the Libs.

Oh the shame...

But from what I've seen of them growing up, going through tertiary education, entering the workforce and becoming a home-owner, I see the Liberals providing less and less for people. Cutting funding to universities, Work Choices, their environmental and climate policies, treatment of refugees, the adoption of Pauline Hanson policies, the Iraq war, AWB, dog-whistling politics, Tampa, children overboard, lack of condemnation of Guantanamo Bay, treating the Australian public like morons, not wanting to say "Sorry" but suddenly wanting to include Aboriginals in the constitutional preamble (which seems like a cynical ploy), AFP bumbling...

It's all rather depressing. Why not find out some information about the major parties and their policies? Why not think beyond getting $20 more per week and look at what the parties have to say about the environment, what will be done for educational facilities, how hospitals will be funded and run, welfare, relationships with other countries, treatment of refugees, desire and commitment to work within and with the law, will they promote unity and acceptance rather than fear, division and prejudice, etc? Why not engage with the political scene, even just a little? Explore, find out, understand?

You might find a love for the Labor party. Or the Liberals. Or the Greens. Maybe the Nationals. Maybe it's a long shot, but the Democrats are also another option. Then there's Family First if you're so inclined... Plus independents and a myriad of other parties and people. Your vote can make a difference, so be informed about how it can and what you could do with it. Don't just fall for the first shiny political promise carrot that's dangled before your eyes.

There are lots of options out there.

Including this, apparently...

River deep, mountain high

Etiquette is sometimes a challenging thing.

This morning, a question of etiquette sprang to mind as I walked to work. Why, you ask? Well... It was because I saw something disturbing (which got my "Disturbing Thing Of The Day" out of the way nice and early I suppose until I heard some guys at the shop talking about threesomes and baldness).

What was this disturbing thing?

The hippie neighbour taking a leak in their front yard.

"Watering" the lawn.

Pointing percy at the petunias.

A spring shower for the delicate October blooms.

You get the idea. Obviously, the etiquette of the thing would be for him to NOT do that at all in the yard. Or use the back garden or something. Or the toilet inside. Or build a fence.

I didn't need to see that. Thank God I had dark sunglasses on, though. That helped to cover the stunned look and I could pretend I hadn't seen that at all.

The main question is, what's the etiquette when you see that? Look in the opposite direction? Stare? Cheerfully wave and say, "Good morning, hippie neighbour! Cold one, innit?!"? Scream? Point? Tell him it's taking watering restrictions to a ridiculous extreme?

Any ideas?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Turn on the TV this morning and the first thing that's on is a story about a teen gunman shooting four people at a US school. Apparently the 14-year-old had been upset about being suspended from the school, SuccessTech Academy, the day before. He killed himself after shooting four people. According to one report, he had spoken in the days prior to doing it about coming in and "shooting up the school."

And according to the news people this morning, he wore a trench coat. AND was a fan of Marilyn Manson. As if suddenly it's Marilyn Manson's fault the shootings occurred. Unless Marilyn Manson is actually the child's parent, I kind of fail to see how he could be linked to it... Particularly when I'm sure there are lots of other people out there who have a bit of a soft spot for the man of the odd eye who have somehow managed to restrain themselves from grabbing some weaponry and blasting away at everything in sight. It's like after the Columbine massacre with Marilyn Manson and Rammstein and The Prodigy copping blame for "violence."

As for the trench coat thing, okay. I can see why people would feel like he's channelling Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, but it's also coming into the cooler season in the Northern Hemisphere and the trench coat phobia is making me wonder whether people in Melbourne I see in wearing them should make me worry about whether they're about to whip out a pistol. Or something... Also, what about the popularity of the awful Stella McCartney trench coats in the line she did for Target? When will this madness end!?

On a more serious note, why don't they look at what might have actually caused it, rather than knee-jerk-edly blaming music and trench coats? It reminds me of the thing with blaming "emo" for the suicides of Stephanie Gestier and Jodie Gater. And if you're not careful, the dreaded "emo" would come for your kids, too, apparently. It wasn't that they'd apparently suffered some pretty serious bullying at the school they'd attended, which had failed to deal with the issue, and they'd both been depressed.

Apparently the kid who did the shootings at SuccessTech had been involved in fisticuffs (it's my word of the week, apparently) with other kids at the school before. Maybe he'd been bullied, maybe he was depressed... Maybe the apparent readily-available nature of guns with that whole constitutional "bearing arms" thing that contributes somewhat. To paraphrase Dylan Moran (because I haven't watched Monster for a while), "When these school shootings happen in the US, everyone goes, 'Oh, this is horrible, dreadful, HOW could this happen!?' Well... Everybody has guns there. And guns only have a limited range of household possibilities. Unlike a Californian wine, say, which you could use to clean submarines..."

Instead of making misguided judgments and scapegoats and villains from things that really aren't to blame, perhaps it would be better to take a serious look at the factors contributing to such tragic actions. If the problems that can lead to these sort of things occurring are dealt with instead of dying with the victims and occasionally the perpetrators, maybe it could help prevent these things happening.

Surely the majority of these things don't happen without some kind of "cause" that's been compounded over time, which could possibly have been dealt with positively, rather than it being some brainsnap psychotic episode?

Monday, October 08, 2007

The friendly next-door dog.

He's so adorable! I'd actually go so far as to say he's the cutest dog in the world (now that my dog is dead and cremated - hard to be cute when you're in ashes).

Last night he met half-way down the next road and could smell the dog I patted after work on my hand. He looked at me with a doggy expression like, "How COULD you, you hussy!?" But then scratching behind his ears won him over again...

I've been thinking about getting another dog lately, although not in any serious way. This is the longest time I've ever gone without owning a dog in my entire life, but it hasn't seemed appropriate to get a new one since Derek died. He was such a perfect dog (yes, I am biased) and such a major part of my life for so many years that in some ways I'm not sure about whether I'd be happy with a replacement or not.

And if I didn't like the next dog, it's not like it's just for Christmas or something. It's for life! Or as Bubble would say on Ab Fab, "No! No! It's not for life, it's for Christmas!"

So while I'm unsure, I remain dog-less.

Sugar craving solution?

I realised I do have an obsession at the moment.

It's big, chunky, tacky rings from Diva.

Yes, they're made of glass and copper and the silver disappears within a few days and you end up with a band of green on your finger, but they're just so good!

They're the junkfood of the jewelry world.
I stole this from Smiley-Anne. With my own answers used instead, natch...

Full Name: Della
Birthday: Every August
Birthplace: Tanunda, South Australia
Current Location: Somewhere in the wilds of Victoria...
Marital Status: Single
Eye Color: Hazel
Hair Color: Brown with a white streak
Height: 169cm or something like that
Shoe Size: 9, 9 1/2
Right or Left Handed: Right
Your Heritage: English and German
Parents Still Together: Yes
Siblings: No. I ate them

Color Your Hair: No, and probably never will
Twirl Your Hair: Yup, on occasion. One of those occasions was in Bunnings... Strange. But do not underestimate the power of feminine wiles to get hardware guys to help you
Have Tattoos: Not yet
Have Piercings: Not yet
Want More Piercings: I did once have a list of about eight piercings I wanted, some of which reduce employability...
Like Roller Coasters: I want to go on one, just to try it out
Wish You Could Live Somewhere Else: Yes and no. I'd love to be back in the Barossa - every time I watch The Cook and The Chef, a little part of me goes, "HOME!" - but then here's not too bad in its own way either
Like Cleaning: Sometimes. Spring cleaning can be fun
Write In Print Or Cursive: Cursive
Own A Webcam: No
Own A Laptop: Yarp
Own A Mobile: Yeah
Think You're Attractive: I s'pose so.
Get Motion Sickness: Rarely
Want To Get Married: Maybe one day. It's not high on the list of things to do in life at the moment
Believe In Yourself: Yup
Get Along With Your Parents: Yup
Play An Instrument: Piano, but I'm out of practice
Like Thunderstorms: Unless they're in Summer and a dry storm... Then yes
Swear: *ahem*
Smoke: Nope
Drink: Alcohol? No
Shower Daily: Yup
Want To Go To College: Already done that...
Know how To Drive: Yup
Cheat On Tests/Homework: No
Believe There Is Life On Other Planets: Yup
Read The Newspaper: Daily
Wear Hats: As if... Fascinators are far more fun!
Believe In Miracles: Yes
Do Well In School: I did when I was there
Hate Yourself: No
Have An Obsession: At the moment, it's snow peas
Have a Best Friend: Yup
Have Close Friends: Yup
Care About Looks: Well, to a degree. They're not the be-all and end-all, but then you do have to make sure you're looking presentable, rather than like you've been dragged backward through a hedge by a threshing machine
Like Your Handwriting: Yup
Collect Anything: Crazy people

Been In A Fist Fight: Fisticuffs at dawn! No, thankfully
Considered A Life In Crime: Do I look like I'd be capable of that? Too much effort. Plus all the dying that happens (eg: Melbourne gangland war stuff)
Considered Being A Hooker: I've never even considered playing rugby
Lied To Someone: Yup
Been Used: Yup
Used Someone: Yup
Been In Love: Yup
Kicked Someone In The Nuts: I once hit someone accidentally in the nuts with a nut...
Stolen Anything: Once when I was little. I felt so bad about it afterward and gave what I'd taken back
Held A Gun: Yup
Cheated On Someone: No, and I don't think I ever would
Been Cheated On: Yes
Been Drunk: Nup
Passed Out: Nup
Been High: Sugar high, yes
Smoked A Cigarette: Nope, but probably have inhaled enough smoke thanks to friends, etc who smoke
Been Dumped: Yup
Skipped Class: Once or twice
Skipped School: Nah
Made Out With Just A Friend: Yup

Mood: It's a Monday. Ask me tomorrow
Hair: My hair's being big and curly at the moment
Clothing: Shirt, sweater, knee-length skirt
Shoes: Black peep-toe six-inch heels
What You Smell Like: Peaches
Thing You Smell: The smell of offices, which makes my soul die
CD In Stereo: Rammstein's Rosenrot
Thing I Ought To Be Doing: Having lunch

Color: Black
Number: 11
Sport: Not a sporty person, but I love watching cricket
Animal: Dogs
Drink: I've got an obsession with Boost juice's Mango Magic at the moment
Soda: Not really a fan of soda
Book: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte or Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens
Flower: Orchids
Place To Be: In the Barossa. And that does NOT include Gawler OR Lyndoch
Theme Park: Not a theme park kinda girl. Surely there are other, more fun, things to ride
Fruit: Mango!

A Daydreamer: On occasion
Sarcastic: Yup
Angel: On the odd occasion
Devil: Not as much as some people like to think...
Shy: Sometimes
Talkative: Yup

Thursday, October 04, 2007

One for the entomophobics...

He was on his back when I found him, looking dead.

I poked him with the point of my shoe.

He moved.

I turned him over, photographed him and then he clumsily flew off.

Obviously, it's important to interact with nature in your lunch break... Particularly if it provides photo opportunities.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


I'd forgotten.

But tomorrow I remembered about a cafe that used to be in a town near where I grew up. It was called Forget-Me-Not Cafe or something along those lines and took over a shop area that was a hairdresser and later became an overly crammed second-hand store full of nothing worth having.

When I was little, Mum and I would sometimes go there for a treat. The food was nice, as I recall, and there seems to be some variety of distant memory about chocolate milkshakes. The cafe itself was always dark - its small 1870s windows and low ceiling made it that way. There was a mysterious kitchen. And pictures of forget-me-nots on the menu.

Until then, I'd quite forgotten.

The clouds were so unusual tonight that I ended up spending a ridiculous amount of time photographing them. And then they were blown away and we're currently enjoying some pleasant gale-force winds... Sometimes such weather makes you wonder why you even bother raking the yard when it ends up looking like the central collection point for the leaves and twigs of the universe.

Whenever the moon and stars are set,
Whenever the wind is high,
All night long in the dark and wet,
A man goes riding by.
Late in the night when the fires are out,
Why does he gallop and gallop about?

Whenever the trees are crying aloud,
And ships are tossed at sea,
By, on the highway, low and loud,
By at the gallop goes he.
By at the gallop he goes, and then
By he comes back at the gallop again.
- "Windy Nights," Robert Louis Stevenson