Tuesday, April 29, 2008


That's a Box jellyish or cubozoan. They're being studied as an intermediate stage of simple to complicated eyesight.
I'm still going through New Scientist magazines and picking up snippets that I've forgotten and this one was before I had a blog.
Dan Nisson, a vision expert described these predators as "fantastic creatures with 24 eyes, four parallel brains and 60 arseholes". Who needs a latin name after that.


I really could have used a hover charm yesterday but who can think of wingardium leviosa when a precious 30 year old Italian porcelain vase of roses is heading towards the concrete driveway.

It was my sister's fault, she of the 'throw everything out' school of housekeeping who didn't have a box to put it in.

I put it in a bag and surrounded the roses with the balls of wool I had but that didn't stop it from slipping straight through my fingers. Delicate roses make a kind of fragile clinking sound even from inside a cocoon of wool.

The damage is restricted to the back of the ornament where the original break was and which I was supposed to repair. The damn thing is top heavy and inclined to fall over if it's breathed on.
So it's now sitting on a tray, on a table, in a room with the door shut until I start the glueing.

Before that I had to clean dirt, dust and cigarette smoke from each petal and leaf. I couldn't use soap and water, too soaking or meths, too fast drying so I used a kitchen cleaner on one leaf at a time. Take a tip ladies and never throw away make-up brushes. The brush to put on the cleaner and cotton buds to take it off.

I went as pale as the first petal until I realized that that was its original colour and it was supposed to shine in the light. Now to clean the broken (50 at least) pieces, re-assemble them on the tray first then glue them to the main flowers. I should have it finished in about three weeks if the nerves hold out that long.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Ichthyosaurs were large reptiles that resembled fish, usually three to five metres in length, with flat, vertical tails resembling modern-day dolphins in shape. They swam with an undulatory motion which suggests they would have been too slow to pursue prey. Some species had long, tapering snouts fill with teeth but other fossils have been found without teeth suggesting that young ichthyosaurs lost their teeth on becoming adults and subsequently changing their diet. In other words, the eating habits remain a mystery until more fossils are found with their last meal preserved in their stomachs. The record for an ichthyosaur fossil was held by a 15 metre long Shonisaurus until archaeologist Keary Walde made a find on the banks of the Sikanni Chief River in Northern British Columbia in the summer of 1991.

Embedded in the slabs of rock bordering the river was a series of huge vertebrae rising out of the stone, continuiing for a couple of metres, then disapppearing back into the limestone matrix. Some of the vertebrae still had ribs attached. This isolated area is densely wooded uneven terrain, infested with mosquitoes and home to bears. A copy of his report reached this scientist.

Elizabeth Nicholls was a specialist in extinct marine reptiles at the Royal Tyrell Museum of palaeontology in Drumheller, Alberta, Canada. She had prospected the northern British Columbian mountains since 1989 but had never come across a complete skeleton or part of a skull only a few isolated bones. When she read Walde's report and realized that the geological formation was 220 million years old and the bottom of an ancient ocean she suspected that he might have found a giant ichthyosaur from the end of the Triassic period.
It was two years later when she finally stood beside the Sikanni Chief River. It took another 3 excursions between 1999 and 2001 to extract the fossil.

Excavating the fossil was difficult because the river floods the bone site for part of the year and the blocks of limestone holding the fossil had to be helicoptered out. Some of the blocks weighed up to 4,000 kgs.
The fossil was almost complete only missing about 2 metres of backbone which held the hind limbs. Some of the bones from the tips of the front flippers were found in the ancient ocean sediments nearby. The skull had been crushed during fossilization and this weighed one and a half tonnes.
The later named Shonisaurus Sikanniensis ichthyosaur was measured by palaeontologists at 23 metres (75 feet). Its skull was 5.8 metres long and each broad, tapered flipper was 5.3 metres long.

In 2000, Elizabeth (Betsy) Nicholls was awarded a Rolex Award which financed the next four years of laboratory work to remove the limestone matrix in which the giant fossil was embedded. She believed the species likely to be the largest predator that ever lived.
Unfortunately she died from cancer at the age of 59, on October 18, 2004. The giant marine reptile she put so much work into is still being studied and part of the fossil will go on display in 2008.
A further honour was given in March, 2008. Palaeontologists from the University of Calgary named a 2.6 metre-long plesiosaur, Nichollsia Borealis, in her memory. This fossil was uncovered about 60 metres below the surface in a Syncrude mine (oil sands) near Fort McMurray, Canada. It had lived about 112 million years ago and is considered one of the most complete and best-preserved plesiosaurs from the Cretaceous Period.
It's a fitting tribute to Elizabeth Nicholls who raised two daughters before turning to palaeontology full-time and earning a doctorate on marine reptiles in 1989.
Photo 1. Artist's rendition of shonisaurus sikanniensis
Photo 2. Numbered section of the grid showing the fossil location
Photo 3. Elizabeth Nicholls
Photo 4. Conducting field work in northern British Columbia
Photo 5. Nicholls and colleague Wendy Slobada working on the skull in 1999.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


Your sister gives you a blood pressure reading of 193/96 then rings you half way home and tells you that the machine is faulty.

By this time you've already by-passed the coffee and cake at the shop although you wonder why not have it since you could drop dead any minute.

Anything else happen?

Too many freeloading birds sitting on one side of the birdbath made it topple over and smash to smithereens. This time I've got no hope of cementing it back together.

It's bucketing down so I don't have to water the garden.

The space heater is on with no smell of roasting rodent.

And Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince opens in Melbourne on 27th November, 2008.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Myself: The keeping pile of New Scientist is getting bigger than the throw outs.

Me: Why don't you think outside the square?

Myself: Shuttup.

Me: Scanning from the whole magazine is making the pages wonky.

Myself: Shuttup.

Me: If you tear out the pages you want scanned you could throw out the magazines now.

Myself: ?

Me: Then you would only have one small box of papers to catergorize before scanning and you could do that in bed, in comfort.

Myself: *Thinking*

Me: Why are you thinking when it's a great idea?

Myself: Because I hate knowitalls.

Me: Some people always have to do things the hard way.

Myself: Shuttup!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


It's not my fault, blame Lad Litter and his temptation of the Meme Queen. They're left overs from another meme that went on forever and which I took seriously but not today.

Five weird things about me, to go with the other hundred or so I've posted here over the years.

1. If I was a monument.....I would be the pyramids, the big pyramids not those piddling little ones hanging about all over Egypt. I'd still have the glittering limestone tops, you know how I love bling.

2. If I was a poem.....I'd be the Odyssey. Ancient Greeks, Gods on high, Trojan women and revenge. Homer certainly knew how to string out a story.

3. If I was a landmass.....I'd be Hawaii. Surrounded by ocean and volcanic by nature. It's no coincidence that the Goddess Pele had long red hair. I'd wear green and have orchids in my hair and know what happens in the last series of 'Lost'.

4. If I was a sea animal.....(not a whale) I'd be an otter. Floating around on my back in the water eating my dinner off my chest seems like a good way to pass the time. Of course, I could also be a voluptuous mermaid, singing my siren songs to lure luscious young sailors to my waiting hands but that'd be fishy not animal.

5. If I was a taste......I'd be delicious and you can fill in whatever delicious rings your bell.


On Sunday as the HouseBwca and I were enjoying the cocktail hour, I thought I saw something flash across the hallway but the Bwca, looking through the bottom of a glass at the time, was inclined to think it was the shadow of a bird outside.

WRONG! Never rely on the word of a Bwca who's just tossed down a G&T.

I saw the same flash last night and then the little rodent shot out from behind the Tele and headed straight up the inside of the space heater. There's an enormous amount of space behind the bricks but I don't know how it got inside from the outside. So now there's a moral dilemma of freezing to death in winter or incinerating a furry family. Problem solved (I hope) by banging a shoe very loudly on the heater surround and sending them packing.

I've heard from Davo of Wombat's Waffles and he's hoping to get a post up in the next few days so keep checking. The caravan is working out well but internet connection is restricted to when he visits the town.

Monday, April 21, 2008


I still have an open mind about the discovery of what looks like a pyramid in the sea off Japan, but these mysterious stone circles are natural.
In some remote polar regions such as Spitsbergen (image above) there are stone circles, polygons, islands and stripes made from stone over hundreds of years of winter freezing and summer thawing.
As ice forms on the surface, water is sucked up from the underlying soil by capillary action and more soil is pulled upwards to take its place. As a result of this process, known as frost-heave, the bumps push upwards and displace loose stones lying on the surface. The stones collect in a circle up to two metres wide around each bump.
Scientists estimate that it could take up to 500 years for a pattern to form from scratch.
When a second mechanism interacts with the frost-heave, the soil around the stone piles are squeezed when the soil freezes and swells. If the squeezing is strong, avalanches of stones form lines and polygons.
Different conditions create the other patterns: if the stones are sparse, they collect in islands, if the ground is sloped, the stones gather into stripes.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


The one who sent ME the email inviting ME to watch the video of ME naked.

I hope you used the IMAX camera or you'd have missed all the good bits.


Friday, April 18, 2008


Dame Helen Mirren wore this for the naming ceremony for the P&O superliner Ventura. Very last century but I love it.

This is the superliner, 115,000 tonnes, carrying 3,600 passengers and 1,200 crew. The ship even has a West End-style theatre and rock-climbing facilities.
You'll find me propping up the bar not climbing rock faces.

This is the Atrium....with stairs. Who needs rock climbing with these. I'll be in the bar.


And the boy/man loved sunflowers so these
are the stars where he's living and laughing.
The Astronomy Picture of the Day for his birthday.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I just love karma.

I thought when the house two doors up went for $550,000 that the Blight might read about it and choke.

Now one down the road, one that doesn't back on to the ritzy golf course, is up for auction for $490,000 to $560,000 and it's not much bigger than my place.

When himself pissed off with the Blonde he undervalued this house for the property settlement which ended up being all mine anyway.

I hope he still reads the Real Estate results and chokes.

It's true that money doesn't mean a thing but real estate is forever.

I hope he chokes.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


A team has dug down to an older layer of stones at Stonehenge and speculates that it was a place of healing.
read the latest here


On the other hand, Robert Schoch, a professor of science and mathematics at Boston University claims "It’s basic geology and classic stratigraphy for sandstones, which tend to break along planes and give you these very straight edges, particularly in an area with lots of faults and tectonic activity."

The Japanese government has taken a hands-off approach, leaving the arguments to the academic community to make a determination as to whether the formation is man-made or natural.In the meantime this will become an underwater tourist attraction to rival the Bimini Road as a controversial ancient man-made ruin or natural rock formation.

This is one for the Fylde and Wyre Antiquarian expert to debunk. I'm keeping an open mind. Geology does produce straight lines and other strange shapes like the Giant's Causeway between Britain and Ireland. This looks a little too architectural though and I'll be looking for further developments.

Friday, April 11, 2008


I couldn't find an image of Therese in the red jacket she was wearing yesterday so here's one I prepared earlier.
I'm fat and I wear what I like and I appreciate the fact that she does too but, a red jacket that walks into the room five minutes before the wearer is not great fashion.
I had a gasp moment when she walked out of the plane with Kev and the dress was just a smidgen short. Someone forgot to tell her that photographers shoot up the steps.
She can keep her lovely bright coloured jackets but go for a soft drape in a pure silk Australian wool blend. It's more flattering and more comfortable.
I keep wanting to reach into the tele and twitch the lapels, pull the peplum down, re-arrange the buttons and make the lady look like she's wearing the clothes not the other way round.
She doesn't have to go into old lady garb of shapeless, nondescript pale "Prime Minister's wife" colours.
I just would like her to be more impressively Australian-made comfortable.
At least she doesn't wear an akubra....or a tracksuit......


The cold is lingering, germs appear to like living in my chest.
Voice sounds like Lee Marvin on crack.
The hacking cough is bent on shooting bits of lung into orbit.
Eyes look like two proverbials in the snow and my brain is punch drunk.

It's the only explanation for finding a rocky road egg in the cupboard where I hid it before Easter and forgetting it, my mother getting something right for a change and being out-commonsensed by a Bwca.

Bwca: Last year when the machine stopped mid-dry, did you press the re-set button?

Me: What?

Bwca: The little red button on the machine that re-sets it if it overheats and cuts out.

Me: What?

Bwca: Re-set button, red.

Me: Flicks wand, (Ollivander's - Ash, Unicorn hair, 8 inches) zaps self in foot.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


That's right, April last year when the dryer deciding to stop in mid-dry. Since it was just as we were trying to shuffle Ma off to respite and everyone was under stress I didn't ask the BrickOutHouse to look at the machine.
He was still stressed out when she came home, still stressed all winter and then I didn't need it in summer.

The HouseBwca unscrewed the back of the machine today to see if it was just the rubberthingy that makes the machinethingy go round or something major. While she had the back off, she turned it on. Bloody rotten stinking machine purred like a kitten on catnip then took off like a Maserati on Grand Prix Day.

A whole year I have been draping washing from every available door handle and chair until I managed to swipe my Grandmother's steel twelve spoke round drying whatever which takes over the entire lounge room when it's up. It also weighs a jot less than the space shuttle but Ma didn't miss it.

By Murphy's Law, her dryer should be just about to cark it and I will have to give her mine.

Stop all this larking about with robots for housework, just install a bwca in every new home. They are cheap to keep, food, warm bed and gin. Don't sneeze on them though, they catch colds.

Saturday, April 05, 2008


Good things happen to good people.

The huge Easter egg filled with chocolates that was half price after Easter and which I bravely passed by, was half the half price this week. A bargain that good is too good to leave and believe me we haven't left much.

We topped up the Bombay for the cocktail hour and no paper bags for us. The bottle came in a blue velvet drawstring bag, if you don't mind. Colour us classy and slightly fuzzy around the edges.

Bad things happen too.

The HouseBwca and I seem to have picked up colds/sore throats/sneezing/head aches, in other words, germs. We've narrowed the suspects to a theatre full of grotty teenagers last Tuesday.
They left popcorn, coca-cola drinks, chocolate wrappers over the floor and seats so why wouldn't they leave a few trillion germs as well. I didn't need my sister to tell me they probably wiped their noses on their hands and wiped those on the seats for the next viewing. Eewww!

I can't afford to get sick now. I have a party invite for the 12th and sister is off to Perth on the 14th and I'm holding the fort with Ma. There's only one thing for it, drown them with Vitamin C. Lemon juice in the Bombay, 4 times a day, 5, if I put it on the weeties.

Now some history for Andrew and Jayne. I live in the middle of a sand mining belt in Melbourne and according to the local paper, the sand mines have been operating for the past 50 years but the pits left behind are filled with quicksand. This is usually a mix of sand, salt, clay and water and some of the pits are believed to be between 8 and 10 metres deep.

I've always known about the myths and legends of the local quicksands and hoped my boys never heard them. A forlorn hope of course, No. 1 son and the BrickOutHouse knew every dangerous place around and explored all of them.

The item in the article that caught my attention was that when some of the holes were filled in, they put old trains down there because they were built with asbestos on them and it was thought of as an easy disposal method. So, has anyone heard of this? Andrew? Jayne?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Hollywood is remaking "The Women", Clare Boothe Luce's wonderful bitchy film from 1939.
The Norma Shearer part will be taken by Meg Ryan. (gag)
Rosalind Russell replaced by Annette Benning. ( just might work but not for me)
Joan Crawford's gold digging husband stealing bitch is going to Eva Mendes. (won't work ever)

Why remake a classic ensemble film? Technically it's not a remake with all the updated modern women, updated locations and prbably updated language. The script for the 1939 film was bitchy, snitchy and no swearing but I doubt they'll stick to that for the next one.

Still on remakes or "not makes". Taking a good black and white "B" movie, putting in a star, Gene Hackman, adding a lot of explosions and flying bullets doesn't mean success. The original was about a witness protected by a policeman, travelling on a train to the trial. It had a great twist at the end and while I remember the film, I can't remember the title. It will probably arrive in my brain sometime during the night but the film was still better than the million dollar remake.

Having ranted about remakes I saw one yesterday that I did enjoy and the two stars were tops.
Colin Firth (who could read the telephone book and I'd still drool) plus the briliant Rupert Everett as St. Trinian's head mistress Camilla Fritton. The first name isn't a coincidence, he's re-created the hair do, the teeth and the walk of that other Camilla. In one great scene, Miss Fritton parades down the stircase in Elizabethan costume, her train held by two students and announces that she is preparing for the role of her life. Boom boom!

It's not the greatest comedy ever made but it's a mood lifter. I would have liked a cameo role for George Cole as Grandfather to Flash Harry Jnr. though.