Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Considering a Future Career

For my future career, I am thinking about becoming a vet. I am not sure if I want to be one, but I am thinking about it. So I decided I would like to see what a day in the life of a vet is like, and my mother phoned the vet and arranged to spend a day with him.
I went last week Tuesday, and it was very nice and interesting. I was there at 8:00, and received a friendly greeting. When I arrived, the vet was reading in a textbook about an unusual operation for later on in the day. The vet had an assistant who helped him, but didn’t actually operate.
During the morning there were seven operations, which were very interesting. But there was only one problem: I ate breakfast shortly before leaving, and so I felt rather light-headed during the first two or three operations. The first two operations were two female cats being spayed. I will spare you the grisly details in this post, but if you want me to write about them, just let me know. Anyway, the operations were interesting, but I didn’t watch too closely because I was feeling weird. The assistant would give the animals a dose of sedative, so that less anaesthetic was used. Then he would give them the anaesthetic in their leg, sometimes shaving the fur away to get at the skin. After he had done that, he would empty the cats bladder (if it was a cat), and then shave the belly. Then the assistant would wash the skin well with a liquid soap, rinse it and then the vet would take it to the operating table, and operate. By the way, one of the cats’ names was Bibi. I will include all the names of all the animals as I go.
Next, there were two beagles, a male and a female, by the names of Piesang (Afrikaans for banana) and Papaya respectively. They were in for a spay and neuter. These I also did not watch too closely, but soon felt better. After these two adorable dogs, there was a fox terrier cross by the name of Smudge, who came in for several tumours on her belly. These were soon removed, and she was alright.
After her, there was a massive Neapolitan Mastiff, who had come in earlier in the day, who was called Khublakan. He was a big, heavy dog, who had a tumour on his foot. The vet’s assistant said the dog must have weighed around sixty kilograms, which is a little less than me, and his head alone at least fifteen kilos, and I found this when I had to hold the dog’s head up while the vet pushed a pipe down the mastiffs throat to help him breathe while under the anaesthetic. Khublakan was carried to the table, and his paw shaved around the tumour, and then washed. The vet then cut the tumour out on the sides, between the pads. The tumour must have been on average three quarters of the size of a golf ball! After cutting it out, he then sewed the paw pads together again.
But there was a tragic happening in store. Later on, sometime after the operation, the vat’s assistant came to check Khublakan, and found him not breathing. He got the stethoscope and listened to the big dog’s head, but heard nothing. Khublakan was dead! Sadly yes. We were not sure what had caused him to die, but the assistant took him to an outside room, and had a look at the dog’s heart, and found that the cancer had spread to his heart.
Next up was a dog called Blackie, and he was like his name: black. Anyway, his problem was that he had trouble with one of his salivary glands, which were seeping saliva into his neck, in pockets I think, because he had two large squishy lumps on his throat. And the cure was simple: remove the gland, and plush the area of saliva congregation.
Another interesting patient was a beautiful white cat, who (surprisingly enough) was a diabetic. If you have seen one of my previous posts about Tartufo, this cat looked similar, but whiter, in fact snow white, and with longer fur. Her name was Lady Poppet, and she was staying with the vet while her owner was in hospital.
There was also a Jack Russell Terrier, who was blind in one eye, and had had the other one removed some time before, and so she couldn’t see. But the sad thing was, she had a stroke not long ago, and as a result her head constantly tilted to one side. When she stood up, her head would pull to the side, and she would go in circles until she sat down. But she was also old, and the vet was trying to convince the owner, who wanted to keep the dog, that it was time to put the dog down.
It was a very nice day, and I like the idea of being a vet. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a camera with me, and so I have no photos. I hoped you enjoyed the story of my day.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

My full-time hobby.

Everyone collects something. If you lived 100 years ago, you might have collected stamps. If you are an active little kid, you can easily collect bruises, or dirt. Most men collect tools, and some cars. Me? I collect something else: business cards.
This is my collection, minus the ones I have got since I took the photos.
It all started several years ago, actually. My first card was from Magnum Archery, an archery range not too far from us. I decided to collect the cards from the two archery places near us: the above mentioned, and The Bow Shop. Two years ago, our bows were stolen in the night out of our car. We went to an archery place in Benoni to buy new bows (South Africans will know where Benoni is), and I got their card. We also found another place in Centurion, and I soon had their card.
Around that time, I did not plan on a large collection. I was just interested in getting the business cards from all the archery places I knew. But then, sometime later, I started to like the idea of a collection. Until around October last year, I only had seven cards. But that soon changed when we went to a shooting range quite close to us, and they had eight or so different cards there, several from other places than the shop. I took seven (call me greedy if you like), and that was my starting boost. Over time, I collected more and more, and slowly my small bunch grew. But my biggest addition was when in march, my grandmother heard of my hobby, and gave me sixteen cards! It might not sound impressive, but to a starter, all is welcome.
The cards in the left and middle columns are some of the ones my grandmother gave me.
I now have 71 business cards in my collection. They range from The Bow Shop to Umklewu Bushveld Lodge, from For Horse and Country Saddlry to a tree feller, from a private photographer to Pringle of Scotland, from a pet shop to a dentist. When compressed, it is about 3 cm thick. I could never beat the world record, which is 900,000, owned by a boy of 10, so says the ‘Ripley’s Believe It Or Not’ 2010 book. All of mine have been collected, donated, or found honestly, and I hope to increase my number to over a hundred by the end of the year.

This is is one of my latest cards: a card from a Harley Davidson seller.

Since I took these photos, I have got a few more cards, and so they are not in the picture. Thank you for reading.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Working on a warship

You can call me an amatuer model builder. I do not build models of celebrities, nor for toy companies, or props for movies. I build my owm models of aeroplanes and hang them on my bedroom ceiling. The kit comes in a box with plastic grids on which the peices are. These you cut out and glue together, and then paint.

(Work in progress)

So far I have built two of my own model aeroplanes (these can be seen in an earlier blog post), as well as helped build two of my brothers' ones. That is all, and that is why I am only an amatuer.

Just a few weeks ago, I bought a model warship. The name of it is the USS San Francisco CA-38. It was launched in 1933, and commisioned in February 1934. In october the next year she was taken in for a refit at Pearl Harbour Naval Yard. Two months later, when the Japanese attack came, she was still under repair. Hastily repaired, she joined a task force to relieve wake Island, but was too late in arriving. In August 1942, the criuser covered for carrier in thhe Guadalcanal offensive. In Novenber, she came upon a superior enemy force, suffering major damage and losing 83 crewmen. After being decomissionedin 1947, she was awarded 17 Battle Stars, making her the most decorated ship in USN history.

It took me six days to complete construction on the ship, making my record, which previously a week. It is up on a shelf in my room. It came with an option of a full hull, or a waterline plate, which is just a plate in the cutaway shape of the hull, so that the ship could look like it is in the water. It comes with three main cannons, each with three barrles. In the middle of the ship, on the sides, are three smaller single-barreled guns. At the back and on the forward tower section are two quadruple-barreled guns each, making four of these. To top it all off, there are twelve Bren guns over the ship. These Brens are between 1.7 and 2 metres in length in real life, but on the model ship are a minute 6mm! These are rather hard to glue and paint. Also, the ship comes with two masts, two gantries, a searchlight tower, and two seaplanes.

It is fun to build models, and I am hoping to build up an air fleet. My brother Daniel wants to build a 1700's ship called the HMS Constitutioner.

I hope you like the photos.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Brass Brothers

  Everyone knows what a trumpet is: it is a brass instrument that has been around for thousands of years. But how many people know what a cornet is?
  A trumpet is basically a brass instrument that is blown on to make a sound, and is often used for announcing or calling. The modern trumpet has several valves, curving pipes, and is rather small. But then what is a cornet?
  The trumpet has evolved over hundreds of years, but the modern trumpet first appeared in the early 1800’s. The cornet was invented about the same time as the trumpet, first built in the late 1820’s. Even so, the cornet’s sound was preferred, and was more used than the trumpet for some years.
   This is a cornet. 
  Among other things, the cornet is slightly smaller than the trumpet, but it plays in the same key, Bb. The cornet has a sweeter, more mellow sound than the trumpet, and does not have the sharpness of the sound of the latter. Also, they look slightly different.
  This is a trumpet.
  I started playing the trumpet last year. When my father was in school, he played the cornet in the school band. Recently I have taken an interest in the cornet, and some time ago, my teacher told me that he had a cornet. So several weeks I ago asked him if there is any difference in the playing technique between the cornet and the trumpet, and he told me there isn’t. Also, he offered to let me play on his cornet. Then on Thursday I asked to borrow it for a week, so now I have one of each (not to own, of course).
  I am still trying to decide which I prefer, and if I choose the cornet, I might change to the cornet. I have included some photos so that if you do not know the difference, you can see. The shape of the cornet varies slightly.
  The best photo that I have of the two instruments has my brother’s French horn in it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tartufo, our cat.

This is about a cat of ours, who is about as old as they get, if not older. If he was a human, I would have a lot of respect for him, as the saying says you must respect your elders. And that is what he is. And his name is Tartufo (or Tufo for short), named after the Italian dessert.
Tufo’s previous owners, some friends of ours, got him shortly before their eldest son was born. Their son was born in July 1995, and I was born in November the same year. They got Tufo as a kitten, and gave him to us when they emigrated to Australia in 2003. So we have had him for nearly eight years, making Tufo near 16 years old.

But the amazing thing about him is that he is as fit and healthy as many other cats. He can still jump up onto chairs and beds, he will run if frightened, and shows no sign of rheumatism or any other illness. He is a very sweet cat and ‘talks’ to us if we talk to him. He loves tuna and chicken, and can smell it cooking, and will cry for some until you give him some. He is not a fighting cat, but sometimes one of our other cats, Caticus, will jump at him or bat at him with a paw. He also doesn’t hunt or stalk small animals.

Here he is 'talking' to me.
He has a lovely colouring of white and cream, and he is part Persian. He loves to be petted, especially scratched on the head and his ears rubbed, and likes to sleep on peoples beds, but not often mine.
In short, he is a lovely, quiet, but aged feline.