Tuesday, September 30, 2008


It's spring in Antarctica and the ozone hole has already developed. Average temperatures over the area and controls on ozone depleting chemicals means the amount of ozone removed will be large but not record proportions.

The image above is of nacreous clouds at the Davis Base on September 1, 2008. These polar stratospheric clouds occur at 10 kms and higher above the surface of the earth. It's the particles in these clouds that initiate the chemical changes in the atmosphere that leads to the formation of the ozone hole.

In September 1987, the international treaty to protect earth's ozone layer was signed. The Montreal Protocol is a global agreement to limit the production and release of man-made substances which cause harm to the protective blanket of ozone in the stratosphere.

I posted another nacreous cloud in 2006.

Monday, September 29, 2008


There was a time when I would rush out of the house to get to mother's place early enough to help with the showering and cleaning and the cooking etc.

It's now more of a slow drag of the feet and a promise to myself that I can stop for coffee halfway. Of course I left in sunshine and got rained on after the coffee stop.

I did pick up bread and 2 litres of milk as per instructions. I made sure I had single dollars for the pharmacy delivery boy's tip because he also puts out the rubbish bins on Wednesday nights.

She was in the bathroom when I arrived. She was still there 45 minutes later and no, I didn't bother to enquire if she needn't help. I was busy making lunch. I was busy making up the shopping list for Thursday. I was busy totalling up the bills to pay on Thursday. I was busy bringing in the clothes from the dryer to fold up. I was busy drying myself off.

She went back to bed about 2.30 and went to sleep. I never leave while she's asleep, I make sure she knows I'm going otherwise she gets confused about whether I've been or not. So I walked home. That's 6kms today. I haven't done that for a while.

My sister rang mother to find out if I was still there. Mother said I wasn't but I had been sitting there all afternoon doing nothing.

A jury of daughters, if I could just be sure I'd get a jury of daughters.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


60 species of Anopheles mosquitos can transmit malaria. There are four forms of Human Malaria each caused by a different species of parasite, the most dangerous being Plasmodium Falciparum.

During the incubation period of malaria, the protozoa grow within cells in the liver then invade the red blood cells. The parasite starts to consume the haemoglobin and enlarges until it fills the cell when it breaks out and invades another cell.

The parasite hides from the immune system by depositing one of 60 different proteins on the surface of infected red blood cells. This is only the start of the changes made to the cell by the parasite. The red blood cell has no nucleus and no transport proteins to move nutrients and other chemicals around so the parasite has to do the work. Another parasite protein transfers to the cell surface helping it stick to parts of the body which stops it circulating and being destroyed by the spleen.

In one of Nature's twists, the iron in the blood cell is toxic to the parasite so it has to convert the haem into a pigment, haemozoin which it stores in its stomach. If anti-malaria drugs could disrupt this process, the parasite would die. Monash researchers are using synchrotron light to see the chemical changes that convert haem to haemozoin inside the parasite.

At the Eureka Awards for 2008, Associate Professor Brian Cooke from Microbiology received a Science to Art Award, which recognises his studies of fatal malaria cases and a resulting image of the surface of a human red blood cell infected with a malaria parasite.

Associate Professor Cooke said, "I hope that my small contribution may one day make a big difference to millions of people burdened by unnecessary illness. Simple and effective communication of our research is paramount, particularly in the present era of new, sophisticated technologies and merging disciplines. Science through art and graphic visualisation is a tantalising way to capture all imaginations."

School of Physics scientific photographer Steven Morton, who came equal 2nd in last year's Eureka Awards, produced this image, Cellular Renovations. He manipulated and pseudo-coloured the image after the National University of Singapore provided the raw imaging data gained by atomic force microscopy.

The knob-like bumps are part of the renovations that the malaria parasite makes to the red blood cell after it moves in during infection. The NHMRC-funded work at Monash University aims to understand the molecular nature of these changes in red blood cells that make malaria so severe.

Friday, September 26, 2008


A very very Happy First Birthday
Miss Charlotte.

Your two Mums have done a
fantastic job of
raising a beautiful child.


.....beating the collection truck by one minute to a nice little desk chair I spotted around the corner.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


I hate Shrek and the Shrek show in the centre court when I'm trying to have a quiet cup of coffee and my back is killing me and my feet are hurting and my knees are begging for mercy.
Snotty nosed little kids loved it though. I am way past loving small children.

I did buy the StarWars video and it has the new and old version, 2 disc set. Colour me happy.

I was wearing a dress which was one of my successes, everything about it worked and I have been wearing it for a loooooong time. I reached up to the top shelf in the supermarket and I glanced down to find said dress has not much left under the arm pit. Threadbare and showing skin. How embarassment.

Christmas decorations are in the shops. You'd think they'd wait until after the footy final and Halloween and Cup Day but there they are, shelves up to the ceiling. Be cunning, Lincraft drop their prices long before December 25 but Big W doesn't.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Life is complicated with many serious problems that need solutions.

That started well now watch it go rapidly into triviality.

'Journey to the Centre of the Earth' starts tomorrow.

JB HiFi have 'Star Wars' out on DVD but it's the untouched version first shown in theatres. The good one without all the wankery Lucas put in later because he could. This edition is for a limited time only and knowing JB that could mean two days.

Film and DVD cost the same.

My old copy (original) is showing its age and I shouldn't play it or I'll wreck the video.

See how complicated life is and that's without culling the shopping list to pay for whichever one I choose.

I'll let Kevvie play with the financials in New York. I won't worry him about this. I wonder if Malcolm has a spare $20 he's not using?


I have to admit I am a sword & scorcery, fantasy film nerd. I even liked 'BeastMaster' and 'Conan the Barbarian'. So cheap day at the movies found me watching Hellboy 2 and the Golden Army.

Story so so, special effects great, Ron Perlman fantastic as Hellboy.

Fashionwise I loved the red silk sash worn by the evil elf prince.

You'll never think about tooth fairies the same way again.

The seats at the Europa theatre were a bit snug and not as soft on the rear as Gold Class.

'Journey to the Centre of the Earth' starts tomorrow and I'm hoping for Gold Class as I have another upgrade courtesy of Magnum ice-creams which explains why the seat felt a bit snug in Europa class.

Hellboy fans don't miss this on the big screen.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Only two weeks before daylight saving and I've still got one clock I didn't turn back.

I left home this morning in a north wind and warmth and came home tonight in freezing cold and soaking rain.

Spring means hard rubbish collection. I grabbed a nice little bentwood chair that just needs sanding and a coat of Estapol. The cars have been trawling all weekend so I was lucky to get that home.

My office chair caught a fatal case of metal fatigue so I put that out in its two pieces. The chair part went but the legs and expensive wheels are still there tonight. I tried to take the wheels off but no luck but they look good holding down three items that aren't mine. That's the best thing about HRC, the migration of objects from one end of the street to the other.

And it's Brownlow Medal night which nobody watches after the red carpet. I'm not a football fan but I did catch the last quarter of the Bulldogs and the Cats, good fun but enough for the year.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


I'm still tired. I have two days running around then the next day in bed. Please, I'm not complaining, bed is very nice when the sun is streaming in the window and I have books to read. It's just that even I'm beginning to notice washing piling up, dishes from other houses booking holidays in my kitchen for the peace and quiet and the chocolate stash has disappeared.

I'm also turning into one of those old ladies who shout at the ads on TV. It's the Ad Agency's job to make annoying ads so that we'll remember what they are but it doesn't mean I'm going to buy the products just because I remember them. It's about the only thing I remember these days.

Napisan is off the list until someone gives that repulsive kid the boot. Kids shouldn't be allowed in the laundry unless they're locked in and washing their own clothes. I'd have hit him with the Napisan after the first annoying question not that I would have done that to my own, I always threw whatever was to hand to give them a chance to dodge. Of course if they were looking the other way then all's fair in the mother/child war.

White King can go jump too. I use White King. I do not leap around the bathroom using the bottle as a substitute AK47 assault rifle. I do not laugh like a hyena on heat when killing algae in the cistern and what's more her bloody bathroom looks immaculate anyway.

Next on the list. Lynx! I have yet to find any cologne or aftershave that would turn a bloke into anything as luscious as chocolate. He doesn't even turn into goodlooking chocolate. I shouldn't complain about that ad really because it's obviously aimed at men who will buy crap-in-a-can if they think it will get them laid. Take a tip from me, leave the Lynx and buy the biggest box of chocolates you can find. You'll have more chance with that especially if you're coming to my house.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


This is a Rhodolite Garnet. It's a 16.98 carat, pear cut drop of lusciousness. It measures 17.5x14.7x9.98 mm and it's from Tanzania. We have Rhodolite Garnets mined in Australia and they are just as beautiful as this. I have one. *looks smug and waves hand*

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


This is the Pharkant Gyi Hmaw jade mine which in 2000 was still using manual labour to remove mining debris.

This photo from the UKSYU website shows people going through the tailings of a mine in Kachin looking for anything of value. A landslide at the Hmawsizar mine killed at least 20 people. The region has frequent landslides and flooding due to the rivers being clogged by mining debris and deaths are not reported to the outside world.

The Beijing Organizing Committee of the Games announced that the design for the medals would include jade from China's Quinghai province to show a part of Chinese culture. The Committee publicly stated that their officially licensed products were made with Quinghai jade not jadeite from Burma but most of the jade products in the market place are made from Burmese jade.

Burmese jadeite is a global business controlled by Burma's military regime. The regime has effectively consolidated military control over the entire gems industry by eliminating small and independent companies from mining and forcing all sales to go through national auctions held by government ministries in Rangoon.

Gems are now Burma's third largest export and provide the Generals with an important source of foreign currency. Much of this cash comes from China and none if any filters down to the Burmese people.

If you're buying overseas, always ask where the gem or jade comes from. We've all heard of 'blood diamonds' and now we can add 'blood jade' to the banned list.


I had a surprise in the mail yesterday. The solicitor who handled my divorce is retiring and she returned all the documents including the land title which I'd forgotten all about.

When he pissed off with his blonde I dug my heels in and refused to sell the house. My solicitor said I probably would get 85 per cent of the sale price which wasn't going to do me any good if I had no where to go. Of course Mother said I could come to live with her. I was even more determined not to sell after that.

I proposed that we keep an asset that would appreciate and change the title from joint owners to Tenants in Common. That meant he could leave his half to whom-ever, as could I, but both of us had to die before the heirs got it. I was being fair, I had my home and he had half an asset.

The Blonde got into my Mother-in-Law's ear, telling her how vicious I was and how I was stealing his house. Fortunately M-i-L was polite enough to hear my side after the initial nasty words I copped. I couldn't understand the reaction, I'd already told her what I was going to do. It was after my solicitor told me that he had given me the house, free and clear, that I was put in the picture.

He never told me why and I never bothered to ask. I did have to give up all claims to any money he would receive later and even there I had information he didn't. Any money from his mother was a gift to him and would not figure in a settlement which only left his super and I'd already had a chunk of that, what he wasn't giving to his girlfriends.

So I had my home and the jungle setting he'd left it in. When you visit, be polite and don't ask why I have paintings hanging in strange places because they're usually hiding a hole in the door or wall where Mr. Elegant fell over pissed as a newt.

It was a real pleasure to put that land title with the house title and my divorce papers.

And what's more, he never sent a card for my birthday.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


After walking to mother's (small m for murder) and getting rained on (I knew I would) it turned into another one of those days where nothing went right.

The big chimes nearly cracked the front window. Chairs, table and bucket ended up in the yard. My little glass lanterns went but only one had the glass broken.

Then the half-flush toilet decided to have delusions of grandeur and turn into Niagara Falls. Full flush turned the water off but not the half. After giving it a good thrashing, ala Basil, it still flowed and flowed.

There are times when one does stand and feel like an idiot. When one takes off the lid of the cistern and nothing..... I mean what do you do with a cistern, besides swearing at it and asking it what's wrong.

A bit of a poke provoked Niagara again. Poking the other end brought on bubbles and a gurgle.
So I looked a bit further in. Memo to self, never, never do that again. There's an ecosystem in the cistern. I have enough trouble cleaning the bowl. Who cleans the cistern?

So look upon me, destroyer of worlds inhabited by strange little algae things. Half a bottle of White King, the cleaning woman's version of Napalm and the cistern should be right. Should be, because I'm not game to look.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I wasn't going to go into the debate about decriminalising abortion which will move to the upper house on October 7 but these so-called pro-life groups have really got on my wick.

The Right to Life Australia, Salt Shakers church, Coalition against the Decriminalisation of Abortion, the Catholic church, the Tell the Truth Coalition and the Coalition for the Prosecution of Prenatal Child Killers are waging a disgraceful campaign of intimidation. Cabinet Minister Jacinta Allan was sent a box of animal organs so they don't think animals have a right to life.

The Tell the Truth group has spent $70,000 to promote their self rightous views. $70,000 would fund an orphanage in Cambodia, feed children, already living, in refugee camps in Darfur, fund schools in Aceh and help stop child sex slaves in S.E. Asia.

How many of these do-gooders camped outside detention centres to protest about the children locked away? How many children have they helped by donating to Care Australia? How many disabled children, overseas and in this country, have they sponsored or adopted?

They're a bunch of filthy hypocrites always banging on about the sanctity of the unborn child but never protesting about the wars that are killing children already born. And what pisses me off most, the men protesting. They don't have wombs, they can't bear children so why are they telling women what they can and can't do? Of course with their twisted logic, I wonder they haven't wanted an amendment to make lesbians have mandatory abortions since they're an abomination to the Lord and shouldn't be allowed to have families. Creeps.


It's a nice spring day outside, the breeze is a bit chilly but nice for walking. Tomorrow is not going to be nice, windy and cold with rain and I have to walk in it.

I've got to sort out the pills again. The morphine has been upped another 20 whatevers but instead of with the morning or evening pills, it's in the middle of the webster pack. This has caused massive confusion.

She can't get it straight that she isn't getting a new medication which is making her ill, causing confusion and stopping her from turning on the DVD player.

It confused her into taking Monday and Tuesday's pills on Thursday and Friday. That's what happens when you turn the pack upside down instead of back to front and it's all due to the new medication. She didn't take Friday night's medication at all because the new medication made her go to sleep early.

So I'm off to the pharmacy to find out why the dumb arse doctor asked for it to be this way. I'll get it put with the morning pills which is when she has the most pain. Then I have to pick up the 'you know' pills she's nearly out of and that's another 15 minutes of my life I won't get back. I think I was yelling again, something about not being a mind reader.

Hopefully it will only take a week to get back to normal, near normal, almost normal or anything approaching normal.

Friday, September 12, 2008


I had my Gold Class upgrade code and I was first in line to see 'The Mummy and the Dragon Emperor's Tomb'. Brilliant entertainment and I think it beat Indiana especially in the special effects department. John Hannah stole every scene but then he does in every 'Mummy' movie. The humour was subtle. Great escapism for a couple of hours. I just wish they hadn't kept saying 'mummy' through the movie, it made me remember what I was there to forget.

Next week, Hellboy2 and how stupid is it that, at my age, I'm reduced to sneaking off to see a film.

Daniel Craig just might tempt me back to see a James Bond film.

I'm still shitty on Warner Bros for not screening Harry Potter in November. Their story is that due to the writer's strike they haven't enough quality films for summer release. The HP forums reckon it's because Daniel Radcliffe is starring on Broadway and WB didn't want the nude scene in Equus (?) crossing over to The Half-Blood Prince movie. Pre-viewers of the film have said it's stuck very close to the book and the visit to the cavern is a great scene. I feel like Warner's have stolen Christmas. A dragon pox on them.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Well it would be a good move since 'Insanity Central' is gearing up again.
I walked over on Monday, insane move, since I hadn't been out of bed for nearly a week but I had to check the bills and pay the Mastercard.
I was there one hour and wanted to cut myself with a sharp instrument.

Yesterday, the morning phone call was loonier than usual but that could have been me. I'm out of the habit of being woken at 7.15 with,
Mother "Hello, what time is it - answer - I have to go for a piddle".
An hour later at 8.15 I get the second call,
Mother"What time is it?" I look at the clock and realised I've already told her 8.15 at 7.15 out of habit.
Me "You have a clock."
Mother "Yes, but I'm not sure what day it is".

This morning at 8.15, (check both clocks in the bedroom) another "What day is it?"
Me "It's Wednesday, cleaning lady day and if I find out you got up to clean up before the cleaning lady I'll kill you."
Mother "I haven't got any bread."
Me "You didn't have bread on Monday and it's Wednesday. What are you waiting for, the Bread Fairy?"
A long diatribe about the irresponsibility of The BrickOuthouse since he's had a girlfriend follows. It's her fault there's no bread because she doesn't let him get it. I believe there was a lot of screaming after this but I can't be sure.

Phone call at 10 a.m from BrickOutHouse, "Is there money in the bank?" "Is there anything wrong with the ATM card? Has the number been changed?"
Me "Plenty, no, why?"
Mother has mixed up paydays and thinks she's broke until Thursday.
Me "Buy two of f'ing everything and f'ing put one of f'ing everthing in the f'ing freezer!!!!"
BOH "I can't I'm on my way to work, I'll do it later."

Three days I've been back on the job. I have a headache. I lost nearly 6kgs in weight over the past five weeks and the desire to annihilate several Magnum ice-creams and the biggest bag of crisps is creeping up on me. My resolution not to get sucked back into this nightmare is gurgling its way down the nearest toilet.

Don't let anyone ever tell you that swearing doesn't solve anything, it bloody well fucking does.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


I thought I might have something intelligent knocking around in the drafts but not a thing for my brain to feed on so I tried my photo file to find this.
That's a single black Tourmaline needle in quartz. The precision cutting positioned the needle at the culet (pointy end) and extending perpendicular to the table so the tourmaline is reflected in a kaleidoscope-like effect.
It was photographed by Wimon Manorotkul who really knows her business.

Friday, September 05, 2008


The virus that was having such fun chewing up my lung got lonely so it invited a friend in to chew up my kidneys.

The pain I thought was a torn muscle from coughing and which I let go for 6 days before seeing a doctor was much more serious.

Apparently the falling out of the chair bit could have been passing out.

Temperatures above 38 degrees are fun, what with the hallucinations and vivid dreams not to mention being woken up by my name being called by nobody there.

Did I mention the pain? Almost gone now but I can't sit up for long. More worrying, I don't want to eat.

Jeebus but I've been crook. Still organising Mother from flat on my back.

Monday, September 01, 2008


No doubt MiLords Sedgwick and Hughes will be over to play havoc with that heading.
While I was sick I managed to miss my 800th blog post being posted. I hope it was something intelligent.

Spring in Melbourne is wonderful, we've had 4 types of weather today. I managed to get some food in and pasta sauce is on the go. I found over the last four weeks that it's no good making soup out of nourishing fresh things when all your stomach wants is plain old Heinz Big Red Tomato soup with toast and cheese.

Things to watch out for when ill.

Don't doze off in the chair without a safety belt. I'm ashamed to admit I did just that yesterday and fell flat on my face. I did a lot of damage to the Sunday papers but my glasses bounced.

Don't sit up in bed, in the middle of the night, with the doona wrapped round, after a coughing fit, when you're exhausted. You'll drift off to sleep because you're exhausted and then you'll wake up when your tongue falls out of your open mouth and you bite it.

Don't say I didn't warn you.