January 28th, 2012

Ann Vole

critter update

This time I counted the baby degus, there were 10 of them (2 grey) instead of 8 but they all look the same age and general size. I am not sure if some other degu had 2 or if the one mother had only delivered 8 when I counted last and still had two to go. I never saw activity with the lemming but felt no need to check him out because he is either dead or should not be disturbed because he is hibernating. Still have 4 definitly pregnant degus and a pregnant chinchilla. i developed some new ways to please chinchillas with petting and got my pregnant chinchilla to sleep in my hands. Chinchillas seem to not get any pleasure from just fur petting but thery do enjoy the massage of the structures below their skin. The base of their ears is a given pleasure spot because rabbits and horses also like that and have similar ear structure. What is new to me is the spot between the eye and ear and slightly toward the chin where there is a slight bump in the skull and jaw muscles. That spot is obviously heavenly for them to gently circle the bump. A similar spot is found making an equalatteral triangle with the base of each ear and the third point on the neck then about the center of that triangle is this spot that seems to melt the chinchilla's eyes into an almost-shut look of bliss. I figure I should make a youtube series of clips of instructions on how to pet various small animal species. A few years back I bought a mother-daughter pair of degus with genetic defects. The daughter just had a protruding chest sternum (catilage that connects the rib tips) like her mother but her mother also has a normal right front leg that she appears unable to control. The daughter died about 14 months ago but the mother is still healthy (and about 5 years old). I heard an unusual type of squeeking and tracked it down to this mother so picked her up and noticed her left hind leg was bleeding and looked like the skin was pushed down on what would be a human shin all the way from half-way up, down to the ankle. I pet her the best way I know for degus and got her to almost sleep while making sure the injury had stopped bleeding. She was getting around fine including climbing even though she cannot use her right front leg and avoids using her left back injured leg. I don't have a clue how she got injured but it must have happened while I was playing with the ferrets and not opened the degu cage yet. edit: a protruding sternum is called "pectus carinatum"
Ann Vole

musical instrument equivalent of yodeling

The classic sound of the rock band U2 includes making an octive jump or close to an octive while playing their electric guitars. I heard that they were instructed on that sound by a guy named Simon Jeffes who started an instrumental band called "Penguin Cafe Orchestra". The music by this group accounts for half or more of my favorite pieces of music. I figure this practice of yodel-like playing on string instruments is my primary attraction to this music. I have been raving about the short film "The Gruffalo" but I would say the element that most attacts me is the character theme music for the mouse (rather then the theme music for the other characters). This bit of music features two instruments (guitar and piano) playing yodel-like waves of trills in a kind of echo to each other. The result is like a yodel duet with a funky rhythm but set in a minor and major key repose. I need to figure out the musical terms for all the aspects of this music and study them as this bit of music is likely my second favorite piece of music ever (the first being a tune called "Yodel 3" by Simon Jeffes on a collaborative album called "Arcane")

Here is a youtube of the mouse theme by René Aubry but played as a performance (not the sound track of The Gruffalo)

this is not my favorite song but is the song that inspired it by The Penguin Cafe Orchestra
and here is a more representative song from The Penguin Cafe Orchestra

This is the recording I am refering to for my favorite song (for sale on Amazon)