Friday, April 27, 2012

Lyrid Meteor over Crater Lake.

A lovely view of Crater Lake, a nested caldera in Oregan, USA.  A few nights ago there was no sunset or moonglow to interrupt viewing of the Lyrid Meteor Shower which showed as many as 30 meteors streaking across the sky from various locations
From almost the same vantage point a composite of nine exposures combined to show our Galaxy and a bright Lyrid Meteor streaking across the sky. The image is copyright to Brad Goldpaint.

Other meteor showers this year include the Perseids in mid-August and the Leonids in mid-November, both expected to also dodge the glare of a bright Moon in 2012.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fata Morgana

This optical illusion known as a Fata Morgana makes strange shapes or a false wall of water appear above a watery horizon. When conditions are right, light reflecting off of cold water will be bent by an unusual layer of warm air above to arrive at the observer from several different angles. One hundred years ago, such a Fata Morgana mirage might have obscured real icebergs from the clear view of crew onboard the Titanic.
Additional evidence for this distortion hypothesis arises from the nearby vessel SS Californian which reported sightings consistent with Fata Morgana mirages. Read more about the SS Californian and the mystery of why she didn't come to the aid of the Titanic.
The above Fata Morgana mirage was taken off the US Pacific coast in 2008.
Look  at this Fata Morgana in greater detail.  The site also gives a very good explanation for the phenomenom.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Doing some housework

And we start with the important work, finishing off the jewellery that's been sitting patiently in boxes. The photography isn't great but at least I've figured out how to make the images smaller.  The big stone is Rhodochroisite so I decided to keep the beads as neutral as possible. 
 I thought these would be easy, just thread the beads on, close the clip and I'm done. No such luck, I had these beads off the chain so many times until the balance was right, my fingers were complaining.  It's not until it's picked up that any odd bead stands out like a sore thumb. The large stone here is Carnelian.
 This is silverplated and the central stone is a large cubic zirconia originally from an Avon necklace but the chain was so fine I was forever cutting it out of my hair when taking it off. It looks better here.
This is only one of four bracelets that I finished.  The dark beads are dichroic and shimmer from green to purple to black.  The only thing about these bead bracelets is getting the size right and even this one with so many beads, falls off my wrist.  The backside is large, the wrist is dainty.  I also made another necklace but I could not get it to photograph it without the sparkles flaring. It's central pendant is a jewell covered ladybird with beads of pale blue and turquoise.  The other monster thing about the necklaces, the clips (not the bracelet) close like shark teeth on a boogie board.  I have come home and slept in one rather than attempt to open the clip and strangle my self.
Next in line are my new hair combs.  The old hands are struggling to twist wire onto combs these days so when I bought the green brooch in an online sale, it seemed a perfect comb shape so I pinned it to fabric over cardboard then stitched around to make it more stable.  I could have removed the pin but I might go mad one day and ditch the long red hair and I'd still have a brooch.  It looked and felt so great, I went back and bought three more, well, the sale was still on or I might have thought twice but I didn't.  So I have a pink one at the top, a pale purple, green and one should always have black in the wardrobe.  I realized then that I was missing a red one so I found a rather nice oval with red stones, on sale, honest.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Awards night.

Liebster is a German word that translates to; dearest, beloved or in this case favorite. The idea of the Liebster Award is to give it to an up and coming blog with fewer than 200 followers. – in order to create new connections, and bring attention to their wonderful blogs.

Here are the conditions that go along with accepting the award;

1. Thank the Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.

2. Link back to the blogger who presented you the award.

3. Copy and paste the Liebster Blog Award on your blog.

4. Present the award to 5 bloggers who have a following 200 or less, who you feel deserve it.

5. Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment on their blog.

Thank you Elephant's Child and now for the hard part.

It's amazing how many blogs have disappeared from my list and deserted to Farcebook, even the political blog L.P. has shut up shop. 

My first award is for Miss Ann O'Dyne.  I can't link to her because she's in seclusion due to the League of Trolls making her blog life miserable. From the first time we met and almost wrecked a small eatery (broken glasses, tipped over bottles, fights with Lord Sedgwick) we've been blogmates.

Then another blogger who blogs so infrequently that it's always a joy to see a post. Take a bow Brandyman and hug your best beloved and Bear and Mits.

I really couldn't leave out my IT consultant Antikva an artist of note and noted for her injuries. How can I not love someone who falls over more often than I do.

Our Fen who is currently propping up another hospital bed deserves a bucket of love.  Keep writing Fen, reading about another's pain makes me feel so much better. She also has the most beautiful cats.

And my last goes overseas to a very funny boi who treasure acorns, Dr Who and Lego.  If I need a laugh and Sedgwick's off his game then this is the blog I run to.  The first thing I aim to do when I win Tattslotto is send him every StarWars lego toy in the inventory.

Damned hard work awarding awards and unlike the Logies, Oscars and Brownlow, I'm not even close to being pissed.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Well, I never!

You know you get to a certain age and think there's not much you don't know about life and stuff in general until you come across an article about flower frogs and don't take much notice until up comes a photograph.  Well, blow me down with a feather, so that's what those holey, spikey doovers that go in the bottom of vases to hold the flowers steady are called.  So I went looking for a few more images and they're in every shape, size, ceramic, glass and metal and some are frogs and some aren't.
I know all you flower people would probably know this but I'm of the silk flower brigade because they only fade not die.  I do have an English original flower frog in the original holder and original stand from the l930s. It's made of glass designed to look like tortoiseshell when the light shines through and was given to me by a friend who had a daughter-in-law 100% worse than mine.  She knew she would throw it out so I was to be its keeper and I still am.  I will always keep it as she was only given 3 weddings gifts and two she entrusted to me.
Flower frog, It really makes it live.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Life at the Home aka The Black Hole of Age

If you want to see life pass by in all its crap and glory, put a parent in a Home.
They don't change, in fact, Mother blossomed like bulb in Spring although I have to admit Autumn is more her style these days. 
Nasty things are happening in that left hand and arm where the cancer is creating havoc on nerves up around the shoulder and neck and who knows where else.
She had me cutting up cards the other day and I am not being dragged back into the days of servitude.
I am investigating an iPad or eReader for when she absolutely cannot hold a book in both hands, like last week.  She was terrified that she would go back to lying in a bed looking at the ceiling, not that she remembers doing that, it's just that we've told her how bad it was.
Phone call this morning and the hand is slightly better. Two fingers are cold, that's the carpel tunnel and two finger are burning hot, that's the Rheumatoid Arthritis, she says, self-diagnosing which is better than knowing the true situation.

It's the changing of the residents which is the entertainment.  I think of Elephant's Child whenever the MS sniveller whines about her lot in life. She's relatively young as against the oldies and could have had a nice unit, carer during the day and nurse on call at night but she prefers not to be independent. She is not liked much.
Opinionated new resident is not well liked either and her opinions are voiced very loudly.  Two of the little old ladies must have at least two wheel chair widths between them or it's like rumble in the jungle with fists flying.
What can I say about the escapee? Well he hates me because I wouldn't let him out the door.  He hides behind the potted palm just waiting for the one person who doesn't read the notice and doesn't shut the door hard and fast. They found him face down in the garden last week. We're not sure if he fell or was digging to freedom.  It still hasn't stopped him from trying to climb the fence or smash the combination lock on the gate with a pot plant. The good news is, he hasn't tried to strangle anyone in weeks.
And now the ladies, elderly, are having to deal with explicit sex lectures from a dear old bloke who barely uttered a word in 6 months. Something has shifted in his brain and he can't be stopped.

And in the midst of all of this is Accreditation time.  A time that is really important for a small home like this as the barracudabigtime Aged Care Health providers are always circling for any that don't make the grade.  This place would be torn down and two stories of tiny rooms at exorbitant prices would be up in no time.  So the nurses are not allowed to be over friendly, no hugs, no pats on the head, no nicknames, not even 'dear' and no loud voices.  Half of the residents can't hear if you talk softly and I'm certainly finding it hard, loud is my middle name.  The best thing about this place is the staff, take away their friendliness and kindness and the heart disappears. 

It's fine for the 'expert' who's been there a mere 3 weeks to say she'd like everyone to have their tea at the tables to be sociable before being put to bed.  It lasted one night. The next day every resident shot off to their room as soon as afternoon tea was finished and demanded to be in bed at 3.  They're in wheel chairs all day, backs hurt, bums hurt and all they want is to be settled and comfy in a bed for tea at 5. You'd have to be blind not to see the concentration waning and the bodies drooping but experiment is the name of the game.

Residents come and go, shuffling off to the big beyond and new ones take their place and the atmosphere changes to a more lively one only to change again in a few months. So if the 'expert' wants to know how things work or don't work, try having a meeting with us poor sods who are there day after day, year after year, on the other side of the bed.

I have no complaints about the staff or the Home, I think they are fabulous and are doing a great job of making the Home a home. They work for crappy wages as well.  Joe Hockey should try doing it for a week.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Time flies like like volcanic ash, fast.

Two years ago this month and Eyjafjallajokull, the unpronouncible Icelandic volcano, blew it's stack.

Scientists were worried then that neighbouring Katla caldera would also erupt and two years on, it's rumbling with erratic movements of the surface and bursts of earthquake activity beneath the caldera.
Katla's eruption in 1918 produced five times as much ash as the 2010 Eyjafjallajokull one. Last July, a flood of water burst from beneath the ice cap indicating that an extra pulse of heat from magma had reached the base of the ice.
Since Iceland was settled in the 9th Century, Katla has erupted nearly every 60 years but no significant event since 1918 and usually an eruption follows any eruption of Eyjafjallajokull within months. It seems it's well overdue.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Titanic still sails.

William Lange is the director of the Advanced Imaging and Visualization Lab at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and was on the the 1985 expedition that showed us the first images of Titanic. He returned to the site in 2010 to use new equipment and techniques to photograph the ship which lies at a depth of more than 13,000 feet where the water pressure is 10,000 pounds per square inch with near freezing temperatures on the seafloor.

In 1985 Bob Ballard's idea of live video images from the depths to a surface vessel was a revolution. The scientists could make real-time decisions on where to go in the ship but it still only had black and white video. Then humans went down in the submersible Alvin with high quality colour video cameras and a small ROV called Jason Jnr to penetrate into areas to small for Alvin.

These are photomosaics of Titanic from 2012 and 1987 and shows that the bow has remained relatively intact compared with the stern. The top mosaic consists of approximately 1,500 high-resolution still images shot in 2010, revealing structural changes that have occurred to the bow section.
The bottom image was the first complete image of Titanic on the seafloor and is made up of 100 images pieced together from the 53,000 taken by a towed camera sled. It took approximately 700 hours to make.
(copyright 2012RMS Titanic, Inc.)

There have been many Titanic visits made into documentaries but not enough was done on the position of the images in relation to the ship and the debris scattered on the seafloor. The hope was to detect a pattern in the placement of large sections of the ship indicating how it disintegrated as it sank. Bob Ballard proposed that as Titanic sank, the denser objects would fall more quickly and the less dense objects would fall more slowly and get separated over time by ocean currents to form a trail of debris. But later viewings showed that there were multiple debris fields that didn't fit that proposal.

The aft end of Titanic's keel is deeply embedded in thick, clay-like sediment and the port propeller is also visible in this view. (copyright 2012 RMS Titanic, Inc.)
William Lange felt that pieces of the wreckage were still not giving us the complete story. When in 2009, RMS Titanic Inc., the company which holds the salvage rights, was ready to return to Titanic, he went along to survey the site in an archaeological manner. The team developed scientific protocols including using REMUS vehicles which are not connected to the surface by cables and could be pre-programmed to map the seafloor with sonar devices. They also used a salvage ROV to collect high-resolution optical imagery. This enabled the team to see the wreck in 3-D, a time shot of Titanic as it was in 2010 and will be compared to other expeditions in the future as this voyage is compared to 1985.

According to Lange, the ship is decaying but the destruction is just more noticible due to the high resolution images available. The main aim is now to use the debris patterns to try and reverse the sinking and reconstruct what happened and when.

This is the first map of the Titanic wreck site based on images collected by Bob Ballard, Elazar Uchupi and William Lange during two WHOI expeditions in 1985 and l986. It was the most complete map until the new one was completed after this expedition.

If you have any questions then ask because I had to condense this down from four pages.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

From the home front

IE8 and I have had a little discussion and if it behaves then I'll stay with it but I've imported all bookmarks to both Firefox and Google Chrome and I can change anytime IE8 annoys me.  Thank you to Antikva for all your advice and see I've put a link in, something I wasn't happy about doing at Firefox.

I mean I did love my little orange cat icons but using it was like wearing a cardy two sizes too small with burrs in it.  I suppose I would have gotten used to it if I was using it for more than an hour a day but we're back where I started and I feel my computer is ning-nong friendly again.

The home hunting is still going on. I just wish it wasn't left to someone who can't remember whether to wipe her nose or blow her bum.  I'm so hopeful I've started to clean up, washing the cutlery and the other dishes.  Tonight I should have a brand new ladder with wide steps, only two, and a big can of undercoat paint.

I've spent two days finishing up most of my jewellery projects and there will be photos. I can't seem to remember that I have an instant camera.  The earrings I finally got around to making were so nice, swarovski crystal pearls in powder rose, that I went back to the website and bought 35 12mm pearls for a matching necklace.  No, I didn't need a matching necklace but it will look nice when I'm hanging out the washing.  And I just love magnetic necklace and bracelet clasps. The joy of not strangling oneself trying to unhook a stupid teeny clasp.

Next on the list is enhancing my natural hair colour.  Two inches of white hair is enough to tell me I wouldn't be happy looking my age, the face is bad enough and don't ask about the weight, never ask about the weight.  I'm not supposed to use anything until the eye and sinus trouble clears up but it's taking forever and depression will overtake me if I look in the mirror once more and see Miss Haversham looking back.

My ladder has just arrived, lovely big wide steps but will plastic steps take a 120kgs load?
That's what it says and it's not like I'm going to be standing on them for hours at a time but when 6'4" leaves I'll have to change the smoke alarm and the light bulbs myself.  As for the undercoat, that will go on when I have taken all his tools out of and off the cupboard I need to paint.  I must remember to spray considering the size of the redback that disappeared behind it last time I tried to clean up.

And a big thank you to River for sending Captain Mal to keep me company. 

Monday, April 09, 2012

For something I have such a passion for, I'm constantly amazed at how little I know about gems, precious and semi-precious.

Take this lovely rainbow piece. It's almost exclusive found in a place called the four corners region of the Colorado Plateau in the USA where the states of Arizona, new Mexico, Utah and Colorado touch. It's dinosaur bone, petrified, permineralized or replaced with agate-type compounds. The original bone material has been replaced so that the structural detail is preserved and the interior pores and cavities have been filled with silica or quartz cystals letting us see the unique cell structure of once living dinosaurs.

There is a wide variety of colours from dull brown which looks like dino poop to these gorgeous specimens which look anything but. It all depends on the impurities that were in the surrounding sediment, chlorite, chromium, iron-oxide and manganese being some. The pink piece is extremely rare. 
Of course non-gem grade fossilized dinosaur bones are found in many places around the world.

But only a small portion has everything needed for a fine piece to be made into jewellry like these from Mark Anderson.

These specimens have not been raided from official sites as it's illegal to collect dino bone on US state for Federal lands. Most of the bone available is in broken blocks and chunks which due to erosion, weathering, and method of deposition, the pieces are not associated with a complete dinosaur skeleton and are of little value to a paleontologist

But the colours of gem quality Dino Bone are worth looking at and it is Jurassic Age material dating from 136,000,000 to 145,000,000 years old.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

From Jupiter to us.

This is the Easter special.  An image taken from the Cassini spacecraft of the moon Io against the background of Jupiter. 

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

And here's one I prepared earlier...

I was supposed to post this before the merde hit the windfarm and it was worth posting.  On the menu it was sticky date pudding and pudding usually means heavy but this was like sticky date sponge. The sauce was toffee caramel with ice-cream and vanilla/cinnamon cream.  Every time this comes up on my screen saver I drool.  Mother wants to know if they do take-out.  She's decided not to go on any more trips by bus or have us wheel her any further than the park around the corner which I am pleased about.  She is more frail than she appears and I wouldn't mind carting a couple of these desserts down to the park.

I saw Doc Marvin yesterday and copped a mild lecture on thinking that everything that goes wrong with me is due to stress except for the blood pressure, up enough to power a rocket for NASA.  Despite leaving a note that no flowers are to be left near Mother, countless bunches came in for her birthday and while I was hauling the pollen laden allergens away from her, I caught pollen on my face.  Nothing came up on the skin, no itching but the sneaky little globules got in under my eyelid and into the sinuses.  So the eyelid is inflamed, the eyeball feels like it's being pushed out to sea, the bones around the brow and cheek are infected from the sinus cavity.
On the other foot, the tear in the Achille's tendon seems to have healed itself, go me!  
Now I have extra blood pressure tablets, sinus spray and eye drops.  Hopefully the morning nausea will now stop and I'll be able to open my eye straight away instead of waiting 5 minutes for it to unglue.

I have not bought an Easter egg or chocolates but compensated by buying hot cross buns and butter for Sunday brunch.  The expectant family is supposed to be going away to see his other grandmother who is loopier than the one he has here.  I will cheer for the freedom of a whole 2 days and 1 night but not until the car is out of sight. 

Sunday, April 01, 2012

White Elephant successful

The top image which I can't be bothered writing underneath because I'm lucky I got this far without a meltdown is mine from the White Elephant sale.  Handpainted gold on a bisque finish but I'd say a Chinese knock-off since there are no markings but really nice and I fell for it as soon as I saw it.

And here we have Mother who came out to supervise the selling while having lunch.  Her head was getting a bit sunburnt so I plonked a black straw hat on it and she ended up looking like Darth Mother.  She threatened me if I dared put it on the blog.  You can see by the blue sky what a fantastic day it was and even though we only had about 25 people buying, the total for the day was $438 but another $150 was due from the staff  so we did rather well.  Nothing was priced higher than $10, mostly $1 to $5 so I'm at a loss at how I managed to spend $60.  8 pairs of sunglasses for my sister and she still hasn't rung to say she liked them or sent me the $20.  Numerous kitchen (new) odments for the happy couple who still haven't found a bloody place to live yet.  Nobody wanted the cookbooks and 2 were right for me and 2 for River's kitchen. Sending soon River, promise. I really wanted to give you the little book of muffins and slices but it was too, too delicious to let go.  I'll probably never bake them but just looking is sometimes enough.

Firefox is still bamboozling me but is giving Antikva hours of hilarity at my incompetency despite her week long migraine probably caused by my pathetic emails.  The only thing I like is the row of little orange cats as icons, cheery, while I sob about the other stuff.  If I could just figure out how to get google images I'll be happy and importing bookmarks went well except I'm not used to everything being in alphabetical order. I don't do the alphabet very well, tend to get lost around m or n.

I see there's quite a few comments on the last post so I guess that Lord Rochester has been composing more of his memoirs.

River, I feel so guilty about that muffin book.  If only you baked and delivered by mail, I'd send it immediately but then I'd feel terrible that our Kath would miss out on the chocolate ones. Sometimes I wish I was a cold hearted bitch, it would make life so much easier.