Friday, October 31, 2008


These jagged bits of volcanic glass are the leftovers of pyroclastic explosions which scientists didn't think could happen two and a half miles deep on the Arctic Ocean seafloor. The water pressure at this depth was thought to inhibit this kind of eruption but the pyroclastic fragments means that an explosive blast of carbon dioxide was released.

Think of the Chaiten Volcano which erupted recently in Chile with that huge plume of gas and rock and put it underwater.

Analysis of some of the shards showed them to be bits of glass known as limu o Pele, or "Pele's seaweed". These are formed when lava is stretched thin around expanding gas bubbles during an explosion. Scientists collected rock and sediment samples and high definition videos showed shards and bits of basalt over the seafloor with some deposits on top of new lavas an indication the debris had fallen rather than been moved as part of a lava flow.

This is the 10 square kilometre area on the Gakkel Ridge, a mostly unexplored region of the Mid-Ocean Ridge where evidence of the explosive eruptions were gathered. Researchers named the small craters Loke, Oden and Thor. They are now looking at whether pyroclastic eruptions instead of the slow flowing Hawaiian lava type eruptions are common in the deep sea or it's because of special conditions along the Gakkel Ridge.

For the climate change deniers, this volcanic activity has nothing to do with the Polar ice melting faster than usual. The stratified waters of the Arctic Ocean can absorb and disperse any heat and gas from an eruption on the seafloor. Cold dense water in the depths are trapped near the bottom with little mixing with warmer surface layers. Almost no heat is transmitted to the underside of the Polar ice from approximately 3,ooo to 4,000 metres below.


600 little crocheted squares.

20 rows across.

30 rows down.

All crocheted together now.

Four rows of double crochet around the edge and it's done.

Bloody thing measures 6 feet by 4 feet.

Because it's going to bushfire country, it's all pure wool, just in case.

Four rows of double crochet, just four more rows but hot damn it looks good.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


This was taken yesterday in Aberdeenshire. Snowing in October, it's not even winter yet. The birds are staying in Siberia because it's warmer than England.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008



The cave is located deep inside Naica Mountain in the Chihauhuan Desert of Mexico. The mountain sits on a set of fault lines over a magma chamber two and a half kilometres below. This chamber sends superhot metal-rich fluids circulating throughout the mountain making the walls glow red.

The veins of lead, silver and zinc have been mined since the early 20th Century. The deeper levels of the mine are flooded so the miners pumped them dry and in 2000, Juan and Pedro Sanchez broke through a tunnel into this cavern.

The gypsum crystals started out in hot water saturated with calcium sulphate but as the magma began to cool about 600,000 years ago the minerals precipitated out of the solution and began to grow. The growth was extremely slow and researchers will be looking at how long it took for a crystal of 37.4 feet to reach that length, how old is the cave and why have many of the crystals fallen to the floor.

They are looking for signs of life that survive in extreme environments. Inside some of the crystals are fluid inclusions that may contain microbial DNA. One researcher is using a Raman spectrometer which beams light into the crystals then analyses the reflected light for wavelengths characteristic of organic life.

The orange jumpsuits worn by the team are specially designed and packed with ice as the cave has a temperature of around 49 degrees Celsius and over 80 percent humidity making it deadly to explore. One scientist said even with the suit they had about half an hour before feeling the effects, losing concentration and bodily strength.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


Tigtog has a new meme. Name eight places in your home country where you would like a house. I'm still working on the eight homes but in one of them I want this gorgeous Balinese day bed which is currently living in Daniella Helayel's designer home. I can see me lounging here with books, magazines and chocolates. It would have to be on a cliff overlooking the ocean. I like ocean storms.

But there seems to be something lacking. Something I'm sure I'd need. Oh yes, of course, The Butler.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Does anyone have a good LOLPenguin?

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Crystal Palace — Photo Gallery — National Geographic Magazine

You'll have to follow the link, the National Geo page wouldn't let me just grab the photograph.
The size of these selenite crystals has to be seen to be believed.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


The last post was Friday not Thursday. It was late and I changed the date for some reason so I thought it was time I was in bed.
I like a shower at night, it relaxes me. A shower in the morning is wasted on the day's dramas.
I sprinkle lavender oil on the pillow and drift off to sleep. The only one snoring is me and I don't hear myself.
That's usually the plan but last night when the soothing stream of hot water hit me so did the hot water tap. The little knob (shut up Hughes) that holds the handle on flew off and so did the tap.
The thing is small, my glasses are outside on the vanity basin.
I found the handle and put that back but I had to scrabble around the tiles with my toes to find the other thing. And screwing it on, oh fun, because the spindle had to be pulled out from the wall so I could put the tap handle on properly before I could get the screw thingy on.

And do you think I wasn't praying the hot water wouldn't run out before I could turn the tap off.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


These images are of the Xe Bang Fai River cave in Laos.
A French explorer went through the huge cave on a bamboo raft in l905 with another French team returning in 1995.
Caver John Pollack came here in 2006 and in 2008 when the spelunking team mapped an photographed the 5.9-mile length of the cavern for the first time. According to Pollack the Xe Bang Fai River cave has some of the largest rooms and structures of any river cave on earth. He said that everything about the cave is big including the spiders which can be 10 inches across.
Expedition co-leader Bob Osburn is producing a detailed map of the cavern and the expedition's photographer Dave Bunnell shot these pictures. The rest of the team consisted of four Canadian and four American researchers with Loatian guides and assistants.
The expedition was funded by the National Geographic Society and spent ten days surveying and photographing the cave.

This is the Cave's downstream entrance which was used by the expedition travelling in lightweight kayaks and communicating by walkie-talkie.

This spelunker is standing in front of draperies made of calcite deposits. They are located about 2 miles from the cave's downstream entrance.

This is a stalagmite of tremendous size which dwarfs the explorer. Stalagmites are made of mineral deposits from dripping water which evaporates and leaves the minerals behind.

The explorers called this large room "the Cathedral" for its high vaulted ceiling. The cave not only has a downstream entrance but an upstream one as well. The volume of water that passes through the cave and the size of its passages would make Xe Bang Fai River cave one of the largest river caves on Earth.


Morning phone call with demand. "You'll have to get some toilet rolls and bring them round, I'm having visitors." There was a slight pause while the steam vented through my ears. I bought 18 toilet rolls last Thursday and with the one in the cupboard, that made 19. There are two people living in the house and one visitor. Nobody gets through 19 toilets rolls in a week. Do you think that didn't start the day off peachy! She's hidden them, I know she has, alternatively they've fallen to the side of the pantry where she forgets to open the door. In any case I wasn't buying anymore so she goes to Plan B, ring my sister who takes some over.

I'm still in the dark hole from the weekend but it's getting shallow and light is beginning to shine from the outside in.

I was invited to an anniversary party on Sunday. The theme is science fiction since we're all sci-fi buffs. This mob go all out for costume parties and I didn't bother the first time I went and felt like an overdressed lady at a nudist convention. Suggestions were flying about, StarWars was big and someone suggested that with my hair I'd be great as Princess Leia. I'm thinking more along the lines of Jabba the Hut and wondering where I could buy a tiny Princess Leia on a chain to hang round my wrist.

By Monday night, I'm vowing never to go anywhere again but got a terrific idea for a costume. I can do this, I can go to this party even if it's the day we bury her. I get to Southland, still yes/no-ing and wander into Lincraft and there was the great omen that said "Cinders, you will go to the Ball". Beautiful sky blue gauze printed all over with golden stars (very Barbara Cartland) and just what I had in mind. The jewellery shop had a sale, blue and white crystal bracelets. OMG, a star tiara is born. I haven't had an excuse for making a tiara for years. The gold sandals I already have. The Oroton ritzy-ditzy necklace with the pearls and diamonds will get an outing. I'm half-way there I tell you.

So dear readers, what am I going as? Give up, too subtle. Let me give you a clue.
"Once upon a time, in a GALAXY far far away"
I'm too small to be a Universe, too large to be a constellation but a GALAXY is just right.

Now let's hope the scrap of paper I wrote my email address on isn't sucked into a black hole and my galatic presence forgets to be invited.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


I'm not quite back on an even level but the brain is slowly beginning to emerge from its hiding place. Rh was right on the button as a nervous collapse wasn't far away by Monday night.

I paid for my few hours of freedom on Sunday. I wanted to stay longer but I can feel that woman in my brain, I can feel the eyes boring into the back of my head. My sister says it's because I let her in there but it's empathy, sixth sense, the ties that bind, whatever, I feel the vibes.

So two days of getting things to right and she's still arguing with me that what happened has never happened before and shouldn't I be getting the doctor.
It's happened numerous times but not for the last few years which is why I missed the early signals. Hindsight is great. I should have twigged a week ago but what can I do when the woman can't articulate exactly what is wrong or where pain is. She can tell me a highly coloured version of what she thinks caused the problem and now I can't get that version out of her skull.

And now the Bouvier sisters are coming to visit tomorrow. I'm sure they've already heard the harrowing account of Sunday's event and probably about me denying her a doctor's visit. I've warned my sister, she'll warn the BrickOutHouse to get the girlfriend out of the way and he won't come home.

They can all go to Hell. I won't be there to be maid for the afternoon, it's shopping day and somebody better have chocolate on special.

Monday, October 20, 2008


No blogging for a few days.

I might change my mind but at the moment, not.

The woman is driving me crazy and I will be busy banging my head on a wall.

Friday, October 17, 2008


This is another of Verdura's Wrapped Hearts.
Golden sapphires within golden ropes.


Fulco Santostefano della Cerda, Duke of Verdura (1898-1978) was a Sicilian aristocrat who became known as simply "Verdura". He start out by working with Coco Chanel as her textile designer but inspired by Byzantine jewellery, he created the multi-gemmed and asymmetrically patterned Maltese Cross brooches mounting them on the hinged cuff bracelets which she wore often.
She loved these so much she constantly reinterpreted the design. The cuffs above belonged to her.
The Duchess of Windsor, Greta Garbo, Barbara Hutton and Doris Duke all collected his elegant jewellery.

He had a talent for creating innovative designs such as his signature piece, the Wrapped Heart brooch/pendent seen above in Jadeite.
In the top photograph the Wrapped Heart is made of 62 cabochon rubies and 232 round diamonds set in 18K gold and platinum.
The design was originally created in 1941 as a Valentine's Day gift for the wife of one of Verdura's clients. The husband said, "I want to give her my heart - make something fantastic" and a classic was born.
If you'd like to see more of his creations go to the Verdura Gallery of the 2007 Exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. The Exhibit has another wrapped heart of golden sapphires which is beautiful.


Pardon, while I wipe up the drool. This is droolworthy.
It's a natural pink, raspberry shade of pink, Nigerian Tourmaline of 8.64 carats, 11.7 x 12.4 mm.
The Nigerian source of tourmaline has been almost worked out so a stone of this size is rare.
It's set in white gold with 0.34 carat weight of diamonds to frame the cushion cut gem and accent the bail where the chain goes through. The diamonds are set in a semi bezel which echoes the cushion cut shape.
A white gold chain set with tiny diamonds would be elegant for night wearing but just a plain one for day. I wouldn't want to be ostentatious or anything.
You have to admit this would be a fine substitute for Burmese ruby and keep loot out of the Junta's pockets.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


These are Cirrus clouds and you can see why their popular name is Mare's Tail. Very high clouds over Glencoe in Scotland and photographed by Frank Howie.
We had them over Cheltenham today and halfway to the matriachal home I sat in the park and watched them. Two days I've spent at the home and it will take tomorrow to calm down then I have to pay her bills and shop on Thursday. It's been too insane to blog about it.
On Thursday South East Water is sending a plumber to see which half of the property has a blockage in the sewerage pipes. We sold the backyard nearly 20 years ago but the main sewerage connection is on the other half. I was surprised that SE Water was right on the ball and brought up the computer records for May 2006 to show where the last blockage was. The thing is now, they don't have their own plumbers but a company that will charge up to $169 to the household who owns the blocked pipes.
I've told them not to come in the morning when I'm not there or they will have one confused plumber being told what to do by one confused drain owner. I hope it is 'him down the back' because he concreted over the sewerage connection and put in three huge trees along the fence line. I don't know if they have to go into every toilet in the house or just check outside but I removed every empty toilet roll holder from the back one and I filled a large washing basket with them. The BrickOutHouse only has to walk a few steps to the bin but he never does, it must be a bloke thing.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Two bills concerning the well-being of women have now been passed in the Victorian Parliament and why was there such a fuss about laws being dragged into the 21st Century?

GROUP A. Single women, lesbians, infertile single women who desperately want to bring a child into their lives and are prepared to go through the rigours of ART.

GROUP B. A clusterfuck of moral crusaders.

GROUP C. Women, who for various reasons, don't wish to procede with a pregnancy. Reasons include incest, rape, severe foetal abnormalities or accidental conception due to contraception failure.

Group B, the CFMC wanted to DENY Group A from having children they want because they find lesbians offensive and single women unsuitable without a protecting husband.

Group B, the CFMC wanted to FORCE Group C into having children they don't want.

So the bottom line is that a minority believes they have the moral right to dictate to a majority, Groups A and C, about which women can and cannot bear children unless it's in accordance with the archaic beliefs of Group B.

I sincerely hope this is the last battle we have to fight on these two issues.


The bill to de-criminalise abortion has now been passed in the Upper House.

John Brumby, who supported the legislation when it was passed in the lower house, spoke to reporters after the vote was passed 23-17 in the Legislative Council this morning.

"We'll now have in place in Victoria legislation that will take abortion out of the criminal code,'' Mr Brumby said.
"So I am pleased to see the result. It was a strong vote in the lower house, it's a comfortable majority in the upper house.''

Amendments to the bill are now being debated, before a third and final vote is held.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


blog readability test

Movie Reviews


From The Age newspaper today:

The lower house has voted 47 to 34 in support of the contentious Assisted Reproductive Treatment bill, which will now be scrutinised in the Upper House.

If passed by the Legislative Council the legislation will grant single and lesbian women access to reproductive treatment, including IVF.

Among those celebrating was Rainbow Families Council spokeswoman Felicity Marlowe, who has a two-month-old daughter Maude and lives in a same-sex relationship.

"What we've seen is a really sensible debate, unfortunately of course there are some people who have very diverse views about what a real family is or what constitutes good parenting but overall we've seen a really positive outcome," Ms Marlowe said.

"For families like mine that are same sex parented families it would mean better legal certainty for our children about who our parents are, better legal obligations for their non-birth parents and more rights bestowed upon them.

"What we'd be really wanting to see is that people understand that the spirit of this bill is that the rights and best interests of children are upheld and we believe that voting in favour of it in the upper house will ensure that our children are not second class citizens."

Congratulations to Felicity who has worked hard to make sure local Members of Parliament were emailed or visited by rainbow families.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Last night a conscience vote of lower house MPs backed the legislation - giving single women, lesbians and infertile couples greater access to fertility treatments - by 48 votes to 36.

Premier John Brumby outlined his support for the Bill saying the best interests of a child was the paramount consideration under the legislation.
"What underpins all of this is an understanding that we're really talking here about the quality of family life, the quality of family relationships determines the emotional, social and psychological outcomes for children not necessarily the family structure into which they have been born. And I think a key theme of this is that good parenting is about giving children unconditional love and that is certainly what I believe the Law Reform Commission was saying in its report." (Go Team Brumby)

The Victorian Law Reform Commission proposed changes after four years consultations.

Labor MPs Christine Campbell, George Seitz and Marlene Kairouz voted against with James Merlino, the Sports Minister saying that the bill turned children into commodities.

On the Opposition side, Ted Baillieu said, "Every child has got a father and mother and I think that ought to be the starting point." He said he was not making a judgement on same-sex couples who raised children.
Shadow attorney-general Robert Clark said the bill put the interests of parents well ahead of those of children. "In the past, if a child lost its mother, that would be regarded as a tragedy for that child...however, those tragedies, if this legislation is passed, would be occurring by a deliberate act," he said. (Is it just me or does that not make any sense)

Meet Miss C - commodity

Meet Miss C with Mum Kelly and Mum Samantha
not a commodity but child, much loved, wanted and cherished.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


This new stamp issue by artist Peter Trusler and paleontologist Pat Vickers-Rich shows six different species from Australian megafauna which roamed Gondwanaland. This was a supercontinent which existed for hundreds of millions of years and began to break up more than 100 million years ago.
Peter Trusler is an Honorary Research Associate in the School of Geosciences and principal in the Palaeontological Laboratory at Monash University. Professor Pat Vickers-Rich is Director of the Monash Science Centre.
All of the Megafauna went extinct approximately 50,000 years ago except for the Tasmanian Tiger which was still alive last century so the artist had to base his images on fossils and relics.
The Wildlife of Gondwana travelling exhibition which opened at Monash University's Science Centre today not only has giant versions of the stamps but 300 original and cast fossils as well as other images by Trusler.

Monday, October 06, 2008


You have to admit it, Posh is good value when you need a laugh. Those chicken legs on stilts are a riot. I think the secret is that there are little tiny wheels in the soles so she doesn't actually have to lift the shoes because I doubt she'd have the strength. She just glides along as one of her lads pulls her. I can't look too closely, they're making my knees hurt.

While we're on shoes, I hate gladiator sandals. When I was a kidwholovedfashion there were two types of sandals, pretty ones with daisies punched in the leather and a strap across and there were roman sandals. They were brown, ugly, clunky and cheap. Guess which ones I wanted and guess which ones I didn't get. So gladiator sandals are bringing back childhood traumas which I thought I had forgotten.

They must be hell to undo when you're pissed.


The eye test was okay. A very minor difference from 2001 so I'm only up for one pair of frames and two sets of lens. If you keep something long enough, you'll use it and that goes for a pair of gold metal frames from 1976. They're just for reading and it saved me a heap of money.

The frames these days are so tiny it's like looking through a letter box slit. The glasses I wear for best were sunglasses and I made OPSM put clear lens in the frame. Stupids, I'm paying and I know what I want, big glasses so I have peripheral vision.

Two weeks and I'll have distance specs without the left lens falling out and reading glasses that I don't have to tape to my nose because the arms are at two different angles.

How hard is it to look and check when I tell them I have one ear higher than the other when they're trying to jam an arm where there's nothing to hold it?

My Seniors card hasn't arrived so I couldn't get a discount at the ice-cream parlor and to round off an annoying day, some sweet young thing rang and offered me a free hearing test, as though I was old.

Sunday, October 05, 2008


Keep a diary.

Put everything in it.

So when she says she's never called you 'Fatso' you can give her date, time and place.

Insanity Central is very busy today.

Friday, October 03, 2008


Ahem, a senior's moment but only by one day.


This will be thr first of my postings when I get past the acute blogger's block. (I think I might have managed to do that)

I have opinions on just about eveything but I'll be kind to you and keep most of them to myself. (I think I lied about this one)

I lean to the left politically, dislike discrimination and support Gay and Lesbian Rights. (Nothing's changed)

If you want sports news, I can't help you. The same with reality TV shows, I have enough drama in the backyard without watching Survivor somewhere else. (I think I still had three cats at this stage and mother was just about to go troppo)

I don't do drugs, drink, gamble or get laid which makes me stick my hand in the toaster some mornings to see if I'm alive. (I didn't specify prescription drugs, pokie machines, Bombay Sapphire and hadn't yet discovered the joys of Internet nekked blokes)

My mind has a tendency to ramble and fall out of my mouth without thinking. (Oh bloody hell, three years on and nothing has changed)

Thursday, October 02, 2008


Today I found out I haven't had my eyes tested since 2001.

They can't be too bad.

I can still see through four layers of clothes to the cute bloke underneath.

I love unwrapping presents.

As long as they're useful.

Cute blokes usually are.

I wonder why people say "You'll go blind".

I'll ask when I have my eyes tested next Monday.


Take a pinch of copper, throw in some iron, a smidgeon of manganese chromophore and a few million years of metamorphosis and Mother Nature produces something unique.
This magnificent, flawless multi-colour tourmaline from Mozambique weighs 59.40 carats and is going straight to the 'Want List'.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008



A term used to distinguish larger water plants from microscopic algae.

They may be floating or rooted.

I went out with a lot of macrophytes in my younger days.