marko_the_rat: (standing)
I tried out Google Radio on their 30 day free trial and found I really like it, but I also came to realise I can't afford to spend $12 a month on a luxury. I looked at the alternatives and decided to try out Pandora. Somebody had already registered an account on it using my email address, but it turns out it was easy to take it back by changing the password. It looks like whoever they were had abandoned the account some months ago anyway. At least their musical taste wasn't limited to the top 40. So if somebody called kangaroos06 had previously insulted you on Pandora, please be assured the rebranded Marko Rat is not like that. ;)

I am pretty pleased with Pandora so far. Its ability to pick musical sounds based on a band seems pretty good. I accept the price of a "free" service is advertising, but so far there hasn't been much. There seems to be no advertising when listening to music on the web interface and I've only heard one advert in the audio stream. There seems to be a lot of advertising on the Android app, but that will mostly be in the car when I can't look at it.
marko_the_rat: (standing)
@WhitePaw80 (on Twitter) asked: what draws you to being a rat? That question is far too involved to answer in 140 characters, so I will make a brave (foolhardy? vain?) attempt at doing so here.

Even though I'll be lampooned for it by the "new" furries, I truly believe the rat chose me, not the other way around. The more I reflect on it, the more honoured I feel by that choice. (For full disclosure, I should admit that Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH and Roland Rat were very big with me during my formative years, but that could just be the chicken and egg debate in fur.) It makes perfect sense: Who would want to be a rat? Rats are small, insignificant and reviled by Western culture. A rat acquaintance told me he was attracted to rats by their status as an iconoclast, but I don't think I ever sought out controversy intentionally. As far back as I can remember, long before I discovered the furry fandom (and, yes, probably even before NIMH and Roland Rat) I was attracted to rats. I thought they were cute (in spite of Western conditioning) and admired them for their intelligence and belligerent determination to live (here I owe a debt to a Christian TV preacher, one of my earliest memories relating to rats, who told the story of the family who tried to kill a rat that just wouldn't die). Which brings me to another early influence when it comes to rats: My father. He taught me to respect rats. He made a humane live rat trap, and I saw a rat escape from it once, by squeezing through a hole the size of its head. It gave me the willies at the time, but it showed me how determined rats are to live. He also told me a story (which I strongly suspect to be apocryphal) of how rats steal chicken eggs: One lies on its back and holds the egg with all four legs while the other drags his friend by the tail.

So the short answer is that I don't know. I could have just said that, but I wanted to be more honest than that, and to also lay out the early influences as I saw them.
marko_the_rat: (standing)
Google made this story out of my adventures in the US. It is a good incentive to use my phone for taking photos in fact because I'm often too lazy to sort through photos later. There will be more photos to come, especially from the Rodent Party, but I will put those up probably on Flickr later.

https://plus.google.com/110978269106056674656/stories/e4d63fe4-ecfd-3c2f-8a31-1fdab3ee0a5c14a389477f6
marko_the_rat: (standing)
In a few hours I will be heading off to the US. Sort of my gift to me for getting a job again last year. I will be having my first ever Thanksgiving (as a big yankophile, that's a big deal to me--thanks [livejournal.com profile] nicodemusrat and [livejournal.com profile] kit_ping) and I will finish off at MFF. Hope to see you guys there!
marko_the_rat: (Default)
This is from The Edge's Halloween party. I'm so glad I still got to celebrate Halloween even though I'm in Australia.

marko_the_rat: (standing)
Should I be doing a report on FurJam? I could plead lack of time, but sometimes I want to keep my own counsel. I had my highs and lows, as you would at any con (I know it's just a furmeet and will never be a con!). Thanks to the people who made it great. You know who you are. ;)

Anyway, the good news is, this time I actually took the effort to take photos. I wasn't able to bring water to the BBQ like I promised, so I hoped photo taking would go some way to making amends.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.978217748860106.1073741829.100000156692059&type=1&l=4bc6b91081
marko_the_rat: (fursuit)
(This is basically a repost of what I wrote last year, but I was so pleased with it I thought it beared repeating this year, especially in light of my late decision to join in.) A super model once quipped that she wouldn't get out of bed for less than $10 000 a day. You'll be pleased to hear that Rattus is much cheaper than that (ahem!) but when I go out on the Million Paws Walk in Rattus I will be giving my sweat and tears (I hope not to bleed during the march) for our four-legged friends and I want it to be worthwhile. Let me be clear: I am not too proud to beg. If you have any money you can spare, please visit https://mpw-qld-2014.everydayhero.com/au/paws-for-effect and donate what you can. All money goes directly to the RSPCA and they look after rats too! If you can't donate, then messages of support and spreading the word is also much appreciated. I already have a donation made in my name so I'm committed to marching, but I reserve the right to only march in a partial, depending on how much I get. If you want me to sweat, dig deep!
rattus million paws walk
marko_the_rat: (camera rat)
I know many of you may just want to skip to the photos. The rest of you are welcome to peak at the many words under the cut.

Read about my ratty adventures here... )

So huge love goes out to Dustan, Loupy and Jes'ad for making and organising the best Mardi Gras yet!
marko_the_rat: (standing)

  • Kangaroos. Taken from The New Oxford Book of Australian Verse, under the heading "Central Australian Aboriginal Songs (Aranda and Loritja languages). I love the music inherent in the words, even when translated into English, with the constant repetition of lines with small changes along the way.

marko_the_rat: (kangaroo)

  • The Kangaroo, by Barron Field. Taken from The New Oxford Book of Australian Verse.

marko_the_rat: Gothic or serious (gothic)
This is the eulogy I gave my father at his funeral, with a few additional personal observations.

AulisWe moved to Australia in 1975 when I was three. (It's my understanding that he wanted to be part of Gough Whitlam's vision for a new Australia, but he got thrown out of office later that year.) My dad was in his early 40s then but he started a new life for him and his family and then set to work with the vigour of a man half his age. After working all day as a carpenter he would build our home brick by brick, with his own two hands.

My dad loved to make things. I remember building a birdhouse with him, and my mother joked that it must have been a very expensive birdhouse for the number of hours we both put into it, but it was a labour of love. I never did pick up his knack for making things with my hands.

One thing I did pick up from him was his love of animals. Even in his twilight years he loved feeding the birds and the possums around the house. He tamed some of the possums enough that he could tentatively pet them. I know you shouldn’t do that, but I wasn’t going to deny him the pleasure he got from hand feeding them. In my moments of whimsy, I like to imagine the possums around the house got together and gave him a marsupial memorial. Between the food and the possum houses he built for them (which are still in use today) they owe it to him.

He also taught me to respect rats. He made a humane live rat trap, and I saw a rat escape from it once, by squeezing through a hole the size of its head. It gave me the willies at the time, but it showed me how determined rats are to live. He also told me a story (which I strongly suspect to be apocryphal) of how rats steal chicken eggs: One lies on its back and holds the egg with all four legs while the other drags his friend by the tail.

I always loved going to the flea market with him on Sundays. We were looking for different things when we got there so we always went our separate ways and then would meet up in the middle and compare loot, but I stopped going when he didn’t want to go anymore. It just wasn’t the same without him.

When he retired as a carpenter, he would sell firewood and pine cones as kindling. Not for the money, but because he loved cutting and bundling the wood. He built a stand with a locked box for the money that he carried on a wheelbarrow and I helped him write the signs for it. He collected the money in a jar and loved collating his takings on a scraps of paper.

He always found time for me. He built a flying fox for me in the back yard and would pull me up it. He was always happy to give me lifts before I got my driver's license. Even when the alzheimer’s took all that away from him, he still wanted to spend time with me around the house. He was never cold with me, but he was emotionally distant, never wanting to share his feelings. It was his way, and I learnt to be that way too. He was my father and I loved him. I’m glad I got to tell him that in the hospital before he passed away, but I wish I’d told him that more often when I still had the chance.
marko_the_rat: Shocked (shocked)
I am reminded lately of a story about Jesus that I was much touched by. A man was walking with Jesus along a beach. He looked behind him and saw that during the darkest patches of his life there was only one set of footprints in the sand. He asked Jesus where he was when he needed him most. Jesus replied, "That was when I was carrying you." Sadly, I don't have Jesus to carry me, but sometimes my friends will do the same for me. Thank you.

I know I am not at my best right now, and for that I can only beg pardon. Hopefully I will be back to normal again (a new normal?) but it will have to be in my own time.
marko_the_rat: (standing)
Marcwolf and I had engine trouble 5k out from Gilgandra. The heater valve cracked, spraying coolant over the engine. We did a bush mechanic repair, and limped into Gilgandra. There we were lucky enough to find someone still in the 'closed' Toyota dealership, who (sulkily) sold us the part we needed. David fitted and we headed off again but we still overheated on the way out so we limped back, resigned to spending the night. (Echoes of my roadtrip bringing Ristin up to Brisbane were not lost on me.) A kindly motel keeper loaned us a spanner and David was able to remove the thermostat. (Dud I say how good he us with cars?) Our overheating troubles were over and we were able to motor in to Forbes. Our adventures continue.

BTW, when in Gilgandra we yes and recommend the Orona Windmill Motor Inn, just around the corner from the Toyota.
marko_the_rat: (standing)
(Heh, I never got around to posting my thoughts on the longest joke in the world, did I? Maybe later.)

Tomorrow I shall be embarking on a road trip down to ConFurgence in Melbourne with Marcwolf. I'm sure it will be a grand adventure. Rattus and Ziggy will be there of course, and maybe a surprise extra suit at a dance. I hope I'll see some of you guys there.
marko_the_rat: (standing)
I encourage those of you interested to read the longest joke in the world. A day or two later, I might give some reflections on it, not wanting to spoil the punch line for those who choose to read it through.
marko_the_rat: (standing)
Updated a few new photos to Roophilia 2.0: http://www.flickr.com/photos/roophilia/
marko_the_rat: (fursuit)
Attending a funeral gives one cause to consider one's own mortality. It included an exhibition of her life, photos from her life and things important to her. Such an exhibition for me would of course have Rattus as the centrepiece, but what if he could be more than that? What if he could be a participant too? I would love for Rattus to be sitting there among my much-loved plush, but then he could surprise people by actually having someone inside! Rattus is a simple creature; he has no regrets for the past or fears for the future--he lives only in the now. He would help to make the funeral what it should be: a celebration of my life. And it would firmly show where I stand on the debate about what should happen to a dead furry's fursuit. :)

Of course, I would neither know nor care. You could dump me in the tip and say good riddance to bad rubbish. But I hope there will be something better than that for my fursuits and most beloved plush.
marko_the_rat: (standing)
I got this lovely anonymous artwork for my birthday doing some word play on my age, but I don't know who the artist is so I don't know if it would be okay to share.
marko_the_rat: (camera rat)
As foreshadowed in my earlier Roophilia post, I am basically giving the old 1.0 website a rest. Breeding photos (if I take any again) may still go there, but otherwise new content will go to Roophilia 2.0. The old site was important in its day, but that day has passed. Putting it up on Flickr in fact gives it a new lease on life, because I will be able to throw stuff up much more quickly and easily in the future. At least that's the idea, so long as I don't get bogged down with descriptions and shuffling sets.
marko_the_rat: (standing)
[livejournal.com profile] ristin found a scrub turkey in our yard. At first I thought it had adopted our yard and I should call wildlife services (suburbia is not a good place for scrub turkeys) but it has since moved on. Hopefully it will be okay out there. We are not far from a nature reserve but we don't normally see native wildlife out here except for possums.

https://plus.google.com/photos/110978269106056674656/albums/5925896003983964225

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Marko T. Rat

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