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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Parental Controls and a Nesting Box

The next thing I did after Bow discovered rap music was to get him a cheap tablet at Wal*Mart. I wanted it to be something that I could leave with him, and if he did break it, it would not be an economic disaster.

 But I also wanted to make sure he did not do anything too extreme, while surfing the internet, so I set him up with a Google account as my son, allowing me to control it under Family Link. There was just one problem. As a sixteen year old, he was deemed too old for parental controls.

I had to fudge before I was able to finish the process of enrolling Bow in family link. He now has YouTube for Kids on his tablet, and for the time being this satisfies him.

Meanwhile, Queen, the cockatiel, laid another egg. This time the egg was perfect and not cracked. I had set up a basket for a nest before she laid the second egg, but Queen did not choose to lay her egg in the basket.

When I moved the egg to the basket nest, Queen did not choose to follow the egg there.

I read up on it and found that some cockatiels like more shallow nesting boxes, so I used a tea box that I got from Charla with the bananas, and I padded it with newspaper and put it in the corner where Queen had been trying to nest. I put the egg inside the box. Eventually Queen went back to nest on the egg.

Queen is kind of anxious and leaves the nest frequently, especially when I am looking at her, so I am trying to stay away to give her a chance to do her thing. She may be too old to be a mother, but however old she is, she lacks experience and needs some space to try to figure out what to do.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Bow Discovers Rap Music

Yesterday was a big and eventful day. Bow discovered rap music.

It started out like any other day. We have been having icy mornings, with everything covered in sheet of transparent frozen water.

This is not Bow's kind of weather, and no amount of cajoling will get him to leave the warmth of the inner pen.

On days like this, Bow remains in the pen, lying on his blanket and I venture forth to see what is going on outside.

On my way to the front yard I said hello to the two cockatiels and Summer the Quaker parrot. I noticed that the female cockatiel, Queen, was trying to nest, but I did not think much of it. In our backyard, the old mourning dove nest had been covered in ice, like a nest made of diamonds.

In the front yard, every tree and bush and blade of grass was coated with ice.

By noon, however, all that ice was melting and crashing to the ground.

After lunch, I brought the iPhone into the pen with Bow, so he could see what I had seen outside. But he was having none of that. He swiftly located the YouTube app and started surfing for new videos to watch. In no time at all, he had located a rap song and began to groove to it.

It was nothing I had planned on. I was in shock! I could not stop him, and he would not give me back the iPhone until long after the spirit of the song had left him. Luckily, he had a firm grip on the iPhone the whole time he was dancing and swinging on his rope to the beat of the rap song.

Bow is growing up. He needs his own electronic device, I thought, as I was cleaning out the bird cages last night. And then I noticed something unusual in the cockatiel cage. It was an egg. But it was cracked. She must have laid it while on a high perch.

Somehow when I saw her trying to nest, I did not take Queen quite seriously enough. I thought she was just playing at being a mother. I had seen her and King mating the day before, but thought nothing of it. I mean, I considered filming it, but decided that YouTube would not approve, so I didn't. Now I was really sad that she had not had a good enough nest to protect this egg, which was undoubtedly fertilized.

In the two years that I have been taking care of the cockatiels since I took them over from Sword, I have never found an egg in the cage, even though the birds have been active as a couple. I wondered if this was a fluke, or it means that King and Queen are ready to start a family.

Last night I went to Wal*Mart with two things on my shopping list: a tablet for Bow and a nesting box for Queen.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The End of a Paystream

Today is the day YouTube plans to cut me off. No more banana money for Bow.

After over nine years and and 1,968 video uploads, with  44,183  minutes that my videos were watched last month and monthly views of 30,424, I am going to lose my revenue stream for bananas, because I do not have one thousand subscribers. Today is the cutoff date.

They gave me a month, and I spent that month trying to get more subscribers. In the process, I seem to have alienated some of my most loyal viewers -- who are not now and never were subscribers!

Toward the end of last month, I was making around $40.00 per month. It has come down as I added commercials for myself and my channel to try to drum up subscribers. But my viewers are not my fans. They are not my friends. They are just people who like specific videos for reasons of their own. And if YouTube cared about its revenue as much as I care about mine, they would not have made this ridiculous rule about the thousand subscribers -- an impossible goal for someone who has a valuable product to sell, but is not herself popular.

Yes, my friends have subscribed. But I haven't got a thousand friends. And to tell you the truth, my subscribers do not watch my videos all that much. My own mother has better things to do than sit around all day watching my videos. My friends wish me well, but most of them have not seen most of my videos, because they have lives of their own. My real viewers are the nameless, faceless people who put food on our table, but will never, ever subscribe. My thanks go to them, even though I do not know who they are. And I understand why they do not wish to reveal their identity by subscribing.

Maybe someday YouTube will catch on.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Celebrating Bow's Sixteenth Birthday

Bow turned sixteen today. We celebrated quietly, just the two of us.

We did all the usual things that we used to do when I would throw Bow a birthday party every year, minus the guests. This year, Lawrence is not available, anymore,  and Sword is away at college, so Bow and I decided to celebrate alone. In some ways, I think Bow enjoyed this way of celebrating more.

He had less anxiety when the birthday song was sung, and he got the cake all to himself.

Usually, we blow out the candles together through the grille, before Bow selects which piece of cake he wants. But this time, as there were no others, I brought in the cake for him to blow out the candles by himself. Bow, however, did not take time to blow out the candles. He picked up a spoon and proceeded to devour as much as he could with the candles still burning.

I did eat one slice of the cake, one of the two that were dabbed with chocolate. Meanwhile, Bow had the rest all by himself, so I decided to call that lunch. The candles that were still burning did not bother him.

The six went out by itself, but the flame on the one was persistent, so eventually I blew it out.

In addition to the cake, Bow got a present from me, and a card addressed to him arrived in the mail from his friend Charla.

Bow is not very prompt with opening presents and cards. He puts it off and takes his own sweet time. For a long time he sat very still with his back to his present.

He took off the party hat he had on rather quickly, but he let me put it back on him again later and was even willing to pose.

By the time he tore open the card from Charla, Bow was almost too tired to open it fully to hear the beautiful birthday song it played  But once the song began to play, he was moving to the music.

All in all, Bow had a great day. He could not have enjoyed it more if there had been more presents or cards, because he likes to take his time and not be rushed in the enjoyment of his big day.

 Bow went to bed fully satisfied. And now he is sixteen.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Celebrating Valentine's Day

Yesterday was Valentine's Day, and we celebrated accordingly. Some people think that this holiday is only for romantic couples, but we have always celebrated it at my house, in whichever way that suited us. Even though she is away in college, and currently has a boyfriend, my daughter did not forget me on Valentine's Day.

Likewise, I did not forget to celebrate with Bow.

In my house, our favorite flavor of ice cream is coffee. I prepared a treat for two consisting of coffee ice cream, topped with whipped cream and a Dove chocolate piece shaped like a heart.

I went in with both treats, and I told Bow that one of them was for me.

Bow took his treat and ate the chocolate heart on top, and then, seeing that I had left mine on the floor as I went to lock the door, he helped himself to my share, too. I scolded him and took his ice cream for myself, but by then Bow had already managed to eat both chocolate hearts.

Bow is gentle and well mannered, but he is not good at understanding the difference between "mine" and "yours". We often see this as a problem with "sharing" if a human toddler behaves in that way, but the issue is not sharing at all. It is about realizing that once something is given to another person, it's not yours to take. It's a lesson in property rights, not asset allocation.

Once he was finished with his ice cream, Bow handed me back the empty glass goblet.

Later in the afternoon, I had another surprise for Bow: a Valentine's Day Balloon.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Innocence of Academics

People in the ivory tower are sheltered from the everyday concerns of those outside. They are willing to publish their findings without pay, because they are already secure in the funding for their day to day life. People outside the academy need to find ways to make what they do every day provide them with income.

Every day, I work at documenting life with Bow, and I also work at earning money for Project Bow. I post about Bow on this blog, and I also post videos on YouTube. This was yesterday's video:

Videos of grooming do much better than videos about academic papers, such as this one:

They also do much better than videos about the history of Project Bow, such as:

Today, I was contacted by someone from Cornell asking if they could film Bow and me and place the video on their site or on their YouTube Channel. Now, I am familiar with Cornell's channel. Bow and  I watched Anurag Agrawal on that channel. They currently have 98 subscribers! Why on earth should I give them my work product for free? They should be asking me for tips on how to improve their subscription rate.

I, too, need more subscribers for my channel. I will be happy to subscribe to their channel if they subscribe to mine. I will be happy for them to embed my videos on their site, so I can earn more money. I have already embedded one of their videos on my site.

There have been times when people have tried to shame me for wanting to be paid for what I do. But they get paid for what they do. YouTube videos have been paying for Bow's bananas. Until a better deal comes along, I am keeping that revenue to myself. In the meantime, if you have not yet subscribed to my channel, please do. It really does make a difference to Bow and me.