You think with all the time I spend on the Internet (like, all goddamn day), I’d have bother to go to www.hummingbird.net to get some answers to my musings. A while back, I wrote about all my hummingbirds disappearing, and it turns out it’s a normal occurance.

Elijah continues his noisy vigilance above the feeder, dive-bombing anyone who comes near. Ellen occasionally stands up to this shit, which K & I really enjoy. Elijah is definitely one fucking tightly-wound aggressive bird. Yeah, we love him just the same.

What feels comfortable isn’t always healthy. Habits are comfortable, but not always the best thing to do. Instead of doing something out of habit, we should try to choose what we are doing and why.

The only spontaneity many people experience is the impulse buy. Impulse buys are inherently unsatisfying experiences; what seemed needed or irresistible becomes just more crap once it arrives home. So the consumer believes that not only this, but all types of spontaneity is suspect, and vows to avoid it in the future. Until the next impulse buy. Real spontaneity– and urge from within — is snuffed out over time.

Welcome to the new section of The Nerge, which will feature items of note for The Laydees. So, here’s a caveat: If thoughts of female anatomy and their processes make you queasy, DON’T READ THIS SECTION. You have been warned.

Although I have named this section after the female chromosome, we welcome all women and women-lovers to the section, regardless of chromosomes or genitalia.

Now, to proceed. First order of business: I’d like to comment on pop culture, namely the new Sex and The City film. I had the sad (very sad) misfortune of seeing this preview. There was a particularly vile scene where some nasty bimbo insults another woman for having not having shaved her pubic hair. After viewing, I said to K, “I’d rather lie in a pool of vomit than watch that film.” And god knows, I hate vomit.

Still, I had some comfort in the thought that this was just a scene in a movie, and as weird as many straight women are in this country, they couldn’t possibly dislike body hair so vehemently.

Yes, I am *still* that naive. At times.

That illusion was crushed, shattered, and pulverized by a conversation I had the even sadder misfortune of overhearing while working in my cubicle. Some woman was reviewing this very scene of the movie as the quintessential greatness of the film. She fully identified with the mean bimbo, and further, went on to describe that in the film (unlike the preview) they had ACTUALLY SHOWN PUBIC HAIR. The horror… the horror… She, however, referred to it as “fringe”, a word said with utter distaste. She went on to postulate that The Fringe could not have actually been real, for that would mean the actress had ACTUALLY GROWN HER PUBIC HAIR. (Run! It’s the apocalypse!) The other women acquiesed to this assessment, for they, too, could not imagine — no, not even in their worst nightmares — that a woman would actually let her pubic hair grow on purpose.

Woe be it unto them if they knew who (or what) was sitting a few feet away from them. I bitterly fought my urge to stand on my desk and shout, “Hey! What the hell is wrong with a furry pussy?” But that would have surely led to job loss, and my audience would not likely gain enlightenment from my outburst.

Just like every other time I observe this phenomenon, I cannot conceive of the depths that the oppressed adopt the mentality of their oppression. To be sure, Fear of a Furry Pussy is not an important issue taken on its own. It’s only important as an element of the mind of the self-hating woman.

Tell me, people, why do you hate parts of your body? What purpose does hating yourself serve? Think about it.

ElijahAfter weeks and weeks of seeing only Earl, we are now experiencing a daily does of serious hummingbird drama. Earl’s place in the kingdom has been usurped by young upstart Elijah. Elijah has a large personality. He talks constantly, a steady stream of noise pouring from him, even when he’s at the feeder. He can’t stand the thought of other hummingbirds at the feeder, and spends a good portion of his day bullying. Yesterday he not only chased Ellen, he also rammed her mid-air.

Ellen is the new gal, somewhat small, and distinguished by her love for variety. She must eat from all four “flowers” on the feeder, going around clockwise for as long as she can before Elijah does his smackdown.

Most importantly, our beloved Ezzie has returned. Her diminuitive stature and her habit of tipping her head back and stretching out her neck when she’s feeding distinguishes her from the other hummingbirds.

Someone else who resembles Esther — about as large, but not quite as fat — has also appeared. We’re calling her Esther for now. She is just below Elijah in the hierarchy, meaning, she chases around Ellen and Ezzie, but runs from Elijah.

Ellen in the juniper treeYesterday there was a golden moment when Elijah had wandered off from his guard post in the juniper tree. Ezzie and Ellen showed up at the same time, and they were so delighted that no one else was around, that they actually shared the feeder. This NEVER HAPPENS. They enjoyed a happy, relaxed moment and I, too, felt very happy observing them. Of course, within a couple minutes, Big Esther came along and chase them away. Apparently, size really matters among hummingbirds.

We know some people (K’s Mom, for instance) who believe in all sorts of imaginary creatures — angels, fairies, ghosts. I feel that anyone who spends their time imagining those beings has not spent enough time around hummingbirds. Human imagination is no match for the sheer magic, charm, and unbelievability that is the hummingbird. When I see them appear to defy not just gravity, but all earthly forces, I am amazed and grateful that I occupy the same space as they do, often a mere arm’s length away.

I’ve seen many, many musical performances in my lifetime. There must be in the hundreds; I have no way to gauge how many. In all these performances, there’s only a couple that really stand out: my first concert at age 10 (Melanie), Eurythmics before anyone knew who they were, White Stripes at the Greek Theater, and a few more. Given those odds, I haven’t thought I would see many more shows that would surprise me. Last night I saw Jonathan Richman perform for the first time, and he BLEW MY MIND.

(Note: Now, I know when one talks about The Famous or those you don’t know, the professional thing to do is to refer to them by their last name. But this is not a professional venue; therefore, I will take liberties and refer to the subject as Jonathan, as if he is a friend of mine. I *felt* he was a friend of mine, which I know is the magic of his performance, but nonetheless…)

Jonathan came on stage, and with a blank, somewhat hangdog expression, immediately began playing a song about embracing suffering, a song that was characteristically heartfelt and amusing. He seemed comfortable and awkward at the same time. I guess he’s the expert on expressing divergent moods simultaneously. His first several songs were played in this manner, with more instrumental spans than lyrical components. And this was all very enjoyable, but it what came next was stunning.

Plunging into a song about why he doesn’t have a cell phone, Jonathan began to improvise wildly. He dropped the guitar to his side and sang with his hand on his heart. I mean, it was like he just forgot to play the guitar for a spell, because he really needed to sing. Then he walked away from the mic so he could sing to us directly. This simple move, which he repeated several times throughout the evening, was exceedingly charming. What singer leaves the mic? It’s completely counterintuitive – you can’t hear them well. But Jonathan didn’t care, he wanted to sing to us, in his way. He melted all of our hearts.

In the second half of the show, he was really in his element. In a song about being loved more than he prayed for, Jonathan expressed unrestrained joy by moving all over the stage, crouching, kneeling, playing reindeer bells, dancing a bit. His complete abandonment of convention and embracing of spontaneity is unparalled. I felt I saw music performed that was it was meant to be seen, heard, experienced: with total freedom for the artist.

Moreso, Jonathan had to end the show several times. Neither he nor we wanted the experience to end. He reprised the cell phone song and made it a sing-a-long. Again, have you ever seen a musician play the same song twice in one show? Me neither. Then he sang a happy birthday and a request for an audience member. Finally, he sang a short a capella song in a foreign language I didn’t recognize (he knows French, Italian, Spanish and who knows what else), and concluded by saying he didn’t now what it meant.

The conclusion of this story is obvious: if you EVER have an opportunity to see Jonathan perform, YOU MUST GO. K & I plan to go to every performance we can forevermore.

Last week K & I were coming home and we noticed a hose going all the way down the road and then down the hillside. This piqued our curiosity, but we were tired and shuffled on home rather than investigate. The next morning, fresh as a daisy, I was walking to the casual carpool and decided to detour towards the descending hose. There, at the bottom of the hillside, was a huge herd of GOATS!

Here’s the text from the City’s Office of the Administrator:

Goat grazing has become an important part of the vegetation management strategy employed by
the City of Oakland Fire Department. The goats are taken to the various open space areas within
the City and are allowed to graze until a sufficient amount of vegetation is removed to reduce the
threat of fire at that location. Prior to the placementof the grazing goats at the sites, Fire
Department, Public Works, Parks and Recreation staff reviewthe proposed fuels management
treatment for each location. In addition, shepherdsare on site to ensure that the goats only eat
invasive or undesirableplants and leave protected or endangered flora. The resulting grazed area
provides a firebreak that reduces the speed at which a fire can travel horizontallyand threaten
nearby structures.

It has been demonstrated by several fires within the City,that goat grazing plays a significant
factor in reducingthe spread of these fires and the damage caused.
Approval of the resolution would allow the Fire Department to start grazing during the spring.
In addition to getting an early start on fuel reduction within the City, the foliagethat the goats eat
is still green,provides better nutrients and is beneficial for the goats.

A kid will eat ivy too, wouldn’t you?In my field at the end of my street — I think of it as mine because no one else goes there — the thistle was about four feet high, the wild oats about five or six, and the fennel about eight. I had been trying to keep a path clear but the thistle and blackberries were getting the better of me. I kept thinking about how I was going to make the field accessible with a full-time job and only small pruning shares. My time and tools were both diminutive.

Bring in the goats. In a few days, they wiped out everything in site. The field is no longer a fire hazard, but it looks to me they did too good a job. Some areas are just bare dirt now. K believes that it’ll all grow back… I guess I’m wondering what will grow. More thistle? Because frankly I can do without that pokey stuff.

The goats themselves were unbearably cute and very calm. They looked quite well fed (no wonder). They were all different sizes, shapes, and colors. One goat let me pet her adorable nose (they appears to be mostly nanny goats) for a good ten minutes, which we both find very satisfying. I’d show you pictures, but they’re on K’s cell phone, and he doesn’t know how to upload them yet.

I do wonder how they eat brambles, prickers, and thorns…

It seems to me that breeding season has peaked among the locals. Lately there’s been a trio of Juncos (two males, one female) showing up in the yard in the wee hours. The last junco was spotted months ago, so this is BIG news here. We also have several more House Finches hanging about. There’s a male/female pair, with the female asking the male to feed her. Is she his daughter? Or kinky sex partner? She’s as big as she is. It makes you wonder.

Still no other hummingbirds besides the loyal Earl.