Saturday, December 29, 2012

Dip your toes in this water.


The Mid-Cayman Rise in the Caribbean has hydrothermal vents which spew out super-heated chemical-rich fluids into the cold depths, some 3 miles deep in places. But various life forms have adapted and thrived in the harsh conditions.
The Mid-Cayman Rise is part of the mid-ocean ridge mountain chain where volcanic eruptions creates new oceanic crust that pushes tectonic plates apart but scientists theorize that along some slow-spreading ridges the sea floor becomes unusually thin.  That allows water to percolate down to rocks heated by volcanism below. The water picks up chemicals from the rocks and re-circulate and vent at the sea floor.

One of the deepest sites, the Piccard vent field (3.1 miles deep) has fluids gushing from the vents at a temperature just above 400 degrees C (750dF) which are amongst the hottest vents known but  different mineral compositions of the seafloor here produce many kinds of vents. This area displays the broadest range of geological processes all active in a small area of seafloor. After the vents had been mapped the researchers used two devices to collect samples. 

The SUPR (SUspended Particulate Rosette) sampler is designed to gather dissolved and particulate samples from warm water plumes rising from the vents. The analyzed samples provide chemical, microbial and mineral composition of the plumes and what effects they have on the surrounding ocean water.
Also used are isobaric gas-tight samplers which collect high-temperature vent fluids and maintain them at the high pressure of the deep sea when they come to the surface.  They prevent compounds such as methane and hydrogen sulfide, which are liquid at high pressure from becoming gases as the sample is brought to the surface. The idea is to capture gasses before they can interract with the sea water.

Scientists found three species of shrimp, two of them new to science.  The females of one species were full of orange eggs. Usually there is only one species of shrimp and tubeworms and shrimp never colonise the same vent.
Tubeworms are usually found at hydrothermal vents in the Pacific Ocean and at cold seeps in the Atlantic, whereas shrimps dominate hydrothermal sites on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.
Biologists now have to answer how both animals came together.

The remotely operated vehicle 'Jason' (barely visible at left of centre) found "furry walls" of microbial growth near the hydrothermal vents. The chemosynthetic microbes use chemicals from the hot waters for energy to produce their food which other animals consume. Since this is a place without light and without light, no plants, the microbes are the base of the ecosystem.
'Jason' also used its manipulator arm and vacuumed up snails, anemones, starfish,crabs, fish, shrimp, and tubeworms.

These researchers study this environment as they believe that life may have originated in the mineral and organic rich fluids at hydrothermal vents and hopefully they will recognize similar environments on other planets, if and when we find other planets beyond Earth.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The cuteness, it hurts



This kid either has the longest legs or the biggest mouth
but like his father he travels to the beat of a different
drum.

I know there's none at the North Pole...

Here's an oldie but a goodie for Elephant's Child

It's from my first Christmas of blogging and I still laugh at it.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

What's that saying about Angels hiding at Christmas?

I debated about whether Southland would be good today or better tomorrow.  Would my leg be worse than today? It would have been okay if I hadn't stretched the tendon stepping onto the scales, right foot first then the left, dumb. Weight is stationary at humongous.  A clue, I needed a clue so I rang for a taxi and got straight through, good, the drunks are home from last night.

I get money from the bank for mum, have breakfast/lunch and wander downstairs for the paper and food but the cherries aren't in yet.  Maybe just two mince pies for afters on  Christmas Day, so it's limp, limp to Bakers Delight and what a struggle to ignore all the lovely loaves of bread and the wafting smell of baking.

Then right in front of me is a golden haired munchkin that barely came to my dodgy knees.
She was holding a bunch of pink flowers wrapped in cellophane and was giving them to me. I looked around for parents, thinking she just wanted me to hold them for her but her mother just shrugged and said the child insisted I should have them.  When I thanked her I was rewarded with the most wonderful smile.

I am now thoroughly spooked. Two moments of unexpected kindness in a week.  There be Angels abroad in the world.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

'Tis the season......

I thought I must try and get into the Christmas spirit despite wanting to shove the family up the chimney and brick it so I went looking for trees and I found my ideal trees and I want both, now.



 This 20 ft. tree belonging to the Soo Kee Jewellery store was decorated with 3762 beads made from crystal, 500 lights and featured diamonds totalling 913 carats!
Of course, I would want some cheap tat, it was valued at US $1.55 million back in 2007 and had a final weight of just over 3000kg. It's okay though I have a concrete floor and it holds up even with me dancing.  20 feet, a tiny bit over the top for a small Oz brick veneer, I'll take one in a 6 foot version but I want all the diamonds.
 

I could really go for this little tree.
18 Carat solid gold was used by Steve Quick when he created this Christmas tree in 2008.
He then gilded the lily, you might say by sprinkling  200 carats of diamonds to look like snow, before topping it with a 4.52 carat stone set in platinum and shaped like a star. 

 Oh, it's just me isn't it? 

Friday, December 21, 2012

The longest week.





I was sitting at the taxi rank at Southland with 3 other oldies, like we have all the time in the world to wait for a cab.  One, a little older than the other 3, said, "Do you feel as though Christmas has already happened and we're just catching up?"
We all looked at each other and agreed.
Personally I think I'm only catching up on the last six months.
If I dropped anything on the floor in July, you can bet it's still there.

And a thank you to the kind gentleman who bought me a bottle of water on Tuesday when my Achilles Tendon went out in sympathy with Kath Lockett's. The right leg this time not the left. He said I looked distressed. And no, I didn't take the water, I had a bottle in the bag but the thought was worth a Christmas wish for him.

I always buy some chocolate for my Christmas Day but this year I think I'll buy Black Ice Vodka to alternate with the Bombay Sapphire.

Monday, December 17, 2012

A good home for the doll.

The Christmas party went well except for two people who caused chaos and believe me, the girls down there don't get enough money for putting up with them.  I forgot about Friday night, office parties and rain so I couldn't even get on to the Taxi line but a friend drove me home and pleased I was to get home.

The lady who won the doll doesn't usually come to the Home but she thought she'd be able to help out.  When they said her name and "You've won the doll", she couldn't think what she'd do with a doll.  Then she saw it and burst into tears and she was still teary when she thanked me later.  Apparently her mother collected large dolls and when she died, the collection went to the younger sisters and she didn't have one.  She said she felt as though her mother was there and made sure this time she collected her doll. So we were all happy, someone really nice won and no-one we didn't want to win, did.

Next relatives and residents meeting, I'll be making a suggestion that the party is held between 3 and 5 p.m.  4 to 6 is far too late and the jostling for getting to bed first was worse than running the Monash Freeway in rush hour.  It was well after 7 before mum was settled and I could leave.
Mind you I could have happily left at 4.10 but cunning that I am, I wedged myself in a corner where I couldn't be called on to look after any wanderers or pests.  It's taken 3 days and every pill I could shove down my throat to get rid of the tension, stress and loathing of all things Christmas.

I do have one decoration up, consider me festive.

Cat laughs (I hope)



If this works, it's my first Youtube upload.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Laughter is the best medicine

What is it about cats and boxes?  I have a photo of my Kitty curled up in an Easter egg basket that could only have been about 10 inches across. And it was nothing to see 3 of them curled up in my wool basket.

And for more cuteness, bunny ears hat.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Christmas Grump



Well this time last year, he was but a bun in the oven, actually just a scone.  His hair has fallen out but that happened to his father and the next thing we knew, voluminous brown curls erupted.  I want curls before Christmas, brownish red ones from the Irish half of his inheritance but he's just as likely to have black from the Russian side. He looks a bit serious here but then so would I if someone had dressed me to look like Kermit.


I have not been quite myself this past week.  I hate Christmas. I hate Christmas at the Home. I hate people who want to give me animals because I'm alone. I have a concrete budgie that needs painting and he's annoying me.  Animals are needy even the concrete ones. I hate birds who get feed and watered every day but still eye off my teeny 4 tomatoes and my 2 teeny banana chillies.
I hate the heat. I hate being fat in the heat. I hate having my senses attacked by Christmas smells of puddings and cakes and mince pies. My Christmas stash consists of 4 mince pies, 2 minute microwave puddings, light thick cream (and I don't believe there is such a thing) and all natural, no added sugar frozen berries and one block of Lindt intense coconut. The Christmas bird is half a free range chicken and I will have roast potatoes if Coles have the low GI ones they're always boasting about but I can never find.  This is not my Christmas Day, this is Boxing Day because you know where I'll be on the 25th, locked up with crazy old ladies 3 days from the full moon.

Tomorrow night is the Christmas Party.  I hate the Christmas party.

Friday, December 07, 2012

Where did our grogblogs go?


I set this as wallpaper and after looking at it for a while, had a giggle.  It looked so like every grogblog I'd ever been to and I started to pick out penguins who reminded me of us old time bloggers.
Miss O'Dyne and Lord Sedgwick would agree with me.  The rather cliquey mob on the right hand side, probably the literary types.  The sharp beak penguin having a go on the left with his victim, leaning back from the blast.  I'm sure I recognize a notorious wine lover about to go a step too far over the side of the berg. A shame I can't see the flippers, the overly large ones would belong to MiLord S.  Rh always threatened to turn up but we never saw him and the running joke was that he was disguised as a potted palm as there always seemed to be one lurking.
The more I look at this, the more I remember about those days of early blogging. We all knew each other online, romances blossomed, dislikes intensified with face to face meetings. The funny bloggers were just as funny in real life, the earnest ones just as earnest and sober bloggers, I doubt there were too many of them.
Now there are big blog affairs and big discussions in big venues but they'll never have quite the atmosphere of those hole-in-the-wall up an alley way bars where seats were hard, wait staff non-attentive and the sound level would drown the noise of a 747.  All it took was an email with a secret squirrel address and we'd be there.
We've all moved to Facebook for virtual meetings (not me) and we've all added years and grey hairs and in Sedgwick's case, longer feet.  Oh for the good old days of younger livers and more supple bodies. In Miss O'dyne's case, she did a medal winning slide off a bench seat, went under the table and emerged smiling on the other side.  Shame about the broken wine glass we had to hide in the flower arrangement.  But thank goodness for the absence of camera phones.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The countdown is on.


It's only 21 days til Christmas.  TWENTY-ONE, do you realize?
I'm ready.
There's gin and bubbly in the cupboard.
I have two of my favourite authors hidden so I can't read them until the day.
I have one of my favourite stories, The Wind in the Willows, ready to watch on a new dvd I was lucky to find on ebay.
I have bought exactly one present.
I do have several lined up waiting to be sewn but I keep changing the colours.  I'll have to stop, time is running out. Still there's nothing wrong with a New Year unexpected gift.
All I have to do is survive the Residents Christmas party and the Residents Christmas dinner.
Fortunately, Christmas Day is three days from the full moon.
Every year it feels less like a celebration and more like a memory and some of those memories I'd like to forget.
I'll be really upset this year if the ex doesn't send me an email of his garishly decorated abode including The Blonde with her nose so bright (a fondness for Christmas booze) hanging off the rooftop.
He was no slouch at the nose so bright either, having been born on the 24th which meant he was pissed from that day until January 2nd. 
I didn't manage to get the Christmas brooch tree up for this year but that's okay there's no room for it in the mess of boxes that are cluttering up the lounge because I'm still trying to organize my mess from the BOH's mess.  My Christmas wish is for them to get a house and move it all away.
I don't have a Christmas wish for me, I've lived another 12 months, it's a gift.


Sunday, December 02, 2012

Let's talk about the fat problem.


No, it's not me but this is what 25 stone, 300 lbs or 151 kgs looks like and that is what I weigh  and this is what I look like.  The body actually belongs to and English woman who has lost 13 stone.

'I knew I was bigger but it didn’t really bother me. I was a bubbly person.
'When you’re big, you never think: "I best not eat that take away." You just eat it.

And eat she did, in her words, she loved kebabs and MacDonalds but a normal portion wasn't enough so at age 25 she weighed in at 25 stone.
She had a gastric bypass and it wasn't painless, it's an operation on your insides and comes with pain. 
 
Before the operation, she had to go on a liquid diet for a month to help shrink her liver - and she shed three and a half stone. 
'The next few months were hard. I had to get my head around the new eating plan. For the first two weeks, I could only drink fluids.
'Slowly, I started eating food but much smaller portions.
'Eating out wasn’t easy. I had to watch my family tucking into a nice meal while I had soup or a salad but fitting into a smaller dress size felt much better than any food could make me feel.'
 
Laura, who is now a trim size 12, warns surgery isn’t an easy way out and she has worked hard to maintain her figure.
  
She said: 'Everyday is a battle. I’ve joined a slimming group to take control of what I eat and I go to the gym four times a week.


Sounds like fun, doesn't it?  If you read it carefully and between the lines, she's fitting into a smaller dress size but she's had to alter her entire personality to do it.  Personally I think she was talked into doing this and if she could lose three and a half stone on a liquid diet and had the willpower to do it for a month then the doctor should have encouraged her to keep going.  So everyday is still a battle with food and it will be a battle for the rest of her life.  Food will always be at the forefront of her mind.  That bubbly personality has been chained by surgery to be replaced by a dress size state of mind.  
 
Apart from the physical problems I always have with any abdominal surgery. I mean you could play snakes and ladders on my body using the stitch marks.  I would not be happy living my life in fear of food, I have enough anxiety about blubber now.  And to top it off, scientists have found that genetic markers for obesity also share genes for happiness.  Suck it up skinny hoomins, your constant harping is depressing me and making me forget where I hid the biscuits.