Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Edgar Rice Burroughs' hero of Mars, John Carter is finally going to be filmed.
These books were my introduction to Science Fiction and I loved them so I'll be in line for the movie.

Taylor Kitsch, who played Gambit in X-Men Origins: Wolverine has been signed for Carter and Lynn Collins has been signed for the part of the Martian princess Dejah Thoris. Production is due to start in November and the film released in 2012. It could be a success, no Brad Pitt or Tom Cruise. I hope they use CGI's wisely.

Burroughs created John Carter in 1911 and the first book was published in 1917. After being mysteriously transported to Mars, where he finds various creatures and people, rescues Princess Dejah Thoris from the Green Martians and helps to save the planet from destruction. The Martians are a varied lot especially colour wise, red, green, yellow, white and black. And they like their world to be called Barsoom, not Mars.

Friday, June 26, 2009


Yes, yes, I am still up and blogging at 'oh God O'clock' in the witching hours but I'm a bit over-stimulated (no, not the good kind) and it's 7's fault for insisting on putting 'Heroes' on at 11 instead of shifting some of those mediocre early programmes.

So when is a chicken not a chicken?
When it's in this product.
quality you can taste
Gourmet plus
Liquid stock
  • no animal content
  • no added msg
  • lactose free
  • gluten free
  • no preservatives

no trans fat


Perhaps the chicken part is a genetically modified cardboard carton that magically imparts a chicken taste for all us vegetarians who don't eat chicken.


These images of the Sarychev volcano erupting were taken by scientists on board the International Space Station, 220 miles above the earth.

A column of grey and brown ash billows up through a round hole in the cloud cover. The smooth white cloud is caused by condensed air created from the rapid rising and then cooling of the air directly above the ash column

This white cap is called a pileus cloud.

The eruption, which began a week ago, is ongoing. The ISS has been tracking the ash cloud since it is only a few handred miles from one of the world's busiest air corridors and flights have been diverted to avoid sucking the abrasive ash into aircraft engines.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


I'm still sorting out stories and no-one has officially gone to each house and said it was safe to turn on pilot lights etc.

It was about this time last year that I blogged about the idiot down the back who has built a garage and concreted over the big sewerage easement. That time the SE water bloke told me that 20 houses were affected including mum's. Obviously they didn't follow through and do something about the drains. There were diggers everywhere and holes in the footpath but at least traffic was flowing so my taxi could get through.

I did find out that it wasn't the kitchen sink that overflowed in the 'detested neighbour of 50 years' house. Her toilet exploded with considerable force showering shite a considerable distance. Mother is still sniggering.

The Gas person overseeing the evacuation took several steps back as my sister lobbed 'F bombs' in my mother's direction when she wouldn't get in the wheelchair without her necessities, none of which were.

In Aunt Patty's opinion, sister should have gone back and got dry clothes for mother even with the imminent danger of explosion. That has not gone down well with mother who is still singing the praises of glorious daughters. I get a guernsey here because I bought her a new night dress today...with her money.

Aunt Patty went stuck her foot further in her big mouth by telling mother that the government are taking money off obese people so I'll lose because I'm obese. I haven't got to the bottom of that piece of crap (sorry, it's on my mind) so disregard until mother says Aunt Patty would be broke if the government started taking money from ugly people.

Mommie Dearest, sometimes you make my heart sing.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009


The last few days have been a little strange to say the least.
Actually it's been brain sucking out through the ears strange.
Mother, of course.

But last night was not her fault.
I'm still trying to sort out exactly what went wrong after totally discarding Mother's version.

Neighbour next door notices sewerage coming up through the house toilets.
Rings South East Water who send a team to investigate.

(I should say here that Mother has been complaining about her toilet but because it involved the BrickOutHouse's girlfriend who she hates, we didn't take much notice.)

The team apparently ruptured the gas pipe. In the afternoon, night, light, dark, I haven't got that information.
So with sewerage there is now gas coming up through the toilets along with a lot of smell.

When I got the call, it was dark which is when that side of the street is evacuated in the lights of several fire engines. I wasn't there, I couldn't have got there since the roads were blocked off so I missed the excitement of getting mother out of the house.

I missed the wheelchair. I missed the looking for her flashlight (there weren't any lights apart from the umpteen fire engines which to mother didn't count). I missed the refusal to leave without all her medication. I missed the getting her and the wheelchair up one step into my sister's flat across the road which took two heaving and one pushing from behind.

I missed the three minute deluge which was the only rain for the day and night but hit her right on the head and got the heavers and pusher as well.

Sister made her a cup of tea to warm her up which she promptly dropped down her chest. Sister propped her in front of the split system air conditioner because no-one was allowed back into the house for dry clothes.

Panic stricken BrickOutHouse makes an appearance after running into the road block. Grandmother is safe but DIDN'T ANYBODY GET HIS CAT OUT? Defies commonsense and belts across the road to find the cat is sitting on the couch watching the pretty lights shinning in the window.

Neighbour of 50 years is playing to the gallery so an ambulance is called which she then refuses to use because they won't take her dog. Her house is apparently flooded with crap and my mother says it couldn't happen to a nicer person.

By 10.30 Mother is back home in bed but no gas fire or hot water.

It's 4.35 Wednesday and still no gas and no information as to when and if anyone is going to light the pilot lights and make sure all is safe.

Of course, all this could be a figment of my imagination.

I have a headache.

Friday, June 19, 2009


Still with the blue mood.

These clouds over Leicester in England are called 'noctilucent' clouds, Latin for 'night-shining' and are usually seen over the polar regions.

They form at an altitude of around 55 miles which is called the mesosphere and are made up of tiny ice crystals which are illuminated by the sun below the horizon.
These clouds have been photographed in Antarctica where they are having an effect on the ozone layer.

NASA launched a satellite in 2007 to study these clouds. There are three instruments on board, one takes pictures of the clouds, another measure the temperature of the mesosphere and how much water vapour and other gasses are present and the third sees how much dust from meteors enters Earth's atmosphere.


Way back in May, this year, two bidders battled for 15 minutes to buy this rectangular-shaped blue diamond. The final bid was A$11.63 million to an anonymous buyer. The stone set a record price per carat at the auction at Sotheby's and a new world record price for a blue diamond.
Petra Diamonds mined it from the Cullinan mine in South Africa where most of the world's blue diamonds, of size and quality come from. This stone was mined in 2008, cut in 2009, mounted in a platinum ring and sent straight to auction.
The anonymous buyer has been identified as Joseph Lau Luen-Hung and as the first owner, has the naming rights. The blue diamond will be known as the 'Star of Josephine', all 7.03 carats of it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


The Greenland ice sheet, melting slightly but surely and letting loose its frozen secrets like this little purple bug.

Herminiimonas glaciei, has been buried under nearly two miles of ice for 120,000 years and researchers have brought back to life the dormant frozen microbes. It took them eleven and a half months to carefully warm the samples which then began to replicate.

The little purple-brown bacteria belongs to a rare family of 'ultramicro' bacteria that live in extreme environments (extremophiles, remember) and this group is really tiny.

While researchers have stressed that the bacteria was not harmful to humans, they also acknowledge that if it was harmful they would be hard to detect since they're so small they'd pass through the safety filters which are now in use in laboratories. Well, that's that covered.

The bugs were extracted from a core sample drilled from glacier ice. They filled a volume of 0.043 cubic micrometres and are thin rods with up to three long whip-like flagella.

The idea behind the study is to try and understand what life forms might be living in the extreme conditions on other planets.

Remember Mulder and the shape shifting alien bounty hunter who bled green acid blood in the frozen north and the alien virus? Then there was the episode of the wriggling worm thing at the Arctic base that crawled into the ear and latched onto the spine.

Why are we bringing back to life things we don't know which came from somewhere we don't know? And why don't I just stop watching old episodes of the X-Files?

Monday, June 15, 2009


Image by David Hall from Seaphotos.com

It's a face only a mother could love and was discovered off Ambon Island, Indonesia in January, 2008 by sports divers.

It was officially named as a new species. It's brightly coloured, 8 centimetres long, has a broad, flat face with forward-looking eyes and its DNA distinguishes it from other Histiophryne frogfish. It got the name of psychedelica because of the swirling stripes on the body. Those swirling bright orange, blue and white stripes remain whatever the background while other frogfish change colour to match the coral. H Psychedelica doesn't attract prey with a lure either, preferring to squeeze into tiny crevices in search of small fish.

It doesn't so much swim as walk on its leg-like pectoral fins but also hops to safety by squirting out little jets of water from gill-like openings at the back of its body that propel it along in irregular, arcing hops.

Apparently it didn't like being discovered since the 12 or so individuals disappeared in June, 2008. Divers are still searching for the elusive Psychedelica as researchers would like to know why it's so different from other species of frogfish.

X-Files, I tell you.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


I'm used to being woken up by the stomping of blackbirds in blundstones all along the roof, digging out the moss to find insects and wormy things. So I mentally said thank you to the one I saw this morning as I trawled around the corner to get the paper.

Whatever he had in his beak looked like a cross between an anaconda and a basilisk. He landed on the nature strip ready for breakfast when a magpie swooped down and stole it, after giving Mr. Blackbird quite a wallop.

The maggie found a quiet nature strip further away for his ill-gotten snack just in time to be whacked in the back of the head by a kookaburra who swiped the morsel and took off for the trees over in the golf course.

All this happened in a matter of minutes. I fully expected David Attenborough to swing down out of a tree with one of his running commentaries.

The kookaburra was a big surprise as I have heard them but not seen one since Australand and Mirvac ran roughshode over the small piece of bushland we enjoyed.

I hope to wake up to the blundstones again tomorrow, the spouting obviously needs a good clean.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


Antarctic is not all white ice and blue water. These are the Blood Falls at the snout end of the Taylor Glacier in the McMurdo Dry Valleys. The red colour is from iron oxide and colonies of microbes have been discovered just up from here.

They've been happily surviving in a briny pool approximately 5 kms wide, sealed more than 1,300 feet below the glacier ice for millions of years.
They've adapted to 'breathe' iron to produce energy and were discovered in the water slowly leaking from the glacier where the pools are buried. This water flows erratically and it's taken researchers years to collect enough to test.
The very salty water which doesn't freeze because of its extreme saltiness, was devoid of oxygen but loaded with elements of iron and sulphur.

Two species of living microbes have been cultured, Thiomicrospira arctica, which metabolizes sulphur and Desulfocapso sulfoexigens, which can live without oxygen but it's not yet known how many different species are living in the pool itself. Life forms like these are called extremophiles and many think these are what will be discovered on the planets in our solar systems.
Antarctica, alien virus, X-files, you all remember those episodes, don't you?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Maria Callas was a Diva, a word that's been devalued these days (pop divas, I ask you!) Her voice could be a little rough and raw at times but her passionate acting in all her famous roles evened everything out.

On the 2nd of August, 1947, she debuted in "La Gioconda" wearing a crystal and pearl crown designed and crafted by the Atelier Marangoni of Milan. Maria, like a lot of singers, was superstitious and from that first triumph in Verona, always insisted on wearing the specially designed Marangoni and Swarovski creations for her stage roles. There was a golden wreath for the Druid Priestess in Norma, a renaissance-style cabochon crystal corsage for Anna Bolena and this magnificent tiara, necklace and earrings (weighing three and a third pounds) worn by Callas for her Metropolitan Opera debut in 'Tosca' in 1956.

Ennio Marangoni started to design and produce stage jewellery after WW2 and in the 1950s and 1960s created, for the Opera world wide, magnificent stage jewells using only crystals and pearls from the Austrian firm of Swarovski.

In 1956 Callas appeared on the 'Ed Sullivan Show' to sing selections from 'Tosca' but the crystals sparkled so brightly under the studio lights that she was only able to wear the earrings.

In 2008, the set was loaned to the Los Angeles Opera for a revival of 'Tosca'. Atelier Marangoni joined the Swarovski group in l999 and the company now owns this set of Callas jewells valued at $US85,000.

The set was designed to be worn during the second act of 'Tosca'. Floria Tosca is determined to sacrifice herself to the evil Baron Scarpia in return for the life of her true love, the artist Mario Cavaradossi. She sings the aria 'Vissi d'Arte' before she picks up the knife to kill Scarpia rather than submit to his demands.
This is the youtube of her Covent Garden performance but without this jewellery.

The Swarovski Company arranged an exhibition of her stage jewells which is travelling the world. "Maria Callas & Swarovski: Jewells on Stage" showcases her roles from 1947 to 1961 but unfortunately isn't likely to be coming to Australia.
I wouldn't mind a browse through the archive of the Atelier Marangoni which contains over 14,000 peices of jewellery and fashion accessories including more than 500 pieces of stage jewellery.

Monday, June 08, 2009


Like these Swarovski crystal flash drives that River kindly sent to me.

And which would go perfectly with this elegant crystal mouse.
Or for my down in the dumps mood, a blast of crystal colour.
To go with this little item which is just crying out for Miss O'Dyne
to match it up with her travelling wheelie bag.


I'll go along with that.

Sunday, June 07, 2009


Lucy Pringle has photographs on the new season's crop circles. I particularly like this one of a dragon fly.
Some circles are amateurish, some intricate enough to qualify for their 'ufo' status and some, in past years, have been done as advertising.
They look brilliant from the air but messy on the ground. Lucy Pringle studies the electro-magnetic properties of the trampled ground along with other researchers and the debunkers of all things 'mystical'.
If they're all done by planks strapped to the feet of pranksters then I'm very impressed with their precision and artistry.

Friday, June 05, 2009


Just in case you lot think my stress is just a minor glitch in my life plan.

I sat down this afternoon to finally sew up the hems on my new dresses which have been hanging on the wardrobe door for three weeks now.

Thread the needle, tension's fine, foot to the pedal.

Nothing, nada, no response. I can't believe it. The machine's just been repaired.

My feet are pedalling like crazy and nothing's moving.

Oh, I see, my feet are pedalling like crazy.

My electric machine sits on the old treadle machine and there are the feet, treadling away like crazy.

Pathetic, honestly.


It didn't take long for ArseholesGasLimited to send out the confirmation letter for the increase in mother's direct debit. Two days as a matter of fact, so why haven't they still got my P of A after a month?

Mother is sick, urinary tract infection and is now on antibiotics so hopefully the hallucinations will slowly go away or fastly, bit hard to tell with her neural network.

What she's told the Bouvier sisters about me won't go so quickly. I really might have to belt one or both at the funeral.

So while I'm organising all the financial and health details of the old girl, I fail to look closely at mine. AGL didn't take my direct debit for gas out of my last pension or this one. Fortunately I got a cheery soul at the call centre and I didn't have the heart to rip his out. The direct debits are still being taken out on that end but it hasn't shown up on the bank balance.

Never mind Marlborough, around here it's Kafka Country.