29 March, 2006

  1. Seeing the creative 13's everyone comes up with. And I think, "now, why didn't I think of that?" Or, "I'll have to do that one next week." I haven't copied. Yet.
  2. Discovering great new blogs I would never have otherwise seen. I usually stick to the blogs of a regular few, so it's nice to see a change each week.
  3. Catching up on people's news after a week (this is when I really take time to read others' blogs).
  4. Finally finding a topic I'm happy with after days (okay, minutes) of dilemma. And finding thirteen things I can say about said topic (I'm usually stumped at four).
  5. Posting just before midnight every Wednesday. Why do I do that? It's still around Wednesday morning in much of the rest of the world. And why have I included that in my list? Staying up this late on a Wednesday night might be one of the drawbacks. Maybe I should scratch number five.
  6. Inventing a new T13 design if I can be bothered - so if it's one of the oldies, that means I'm too lazy this week. This one is an orchid I have growing in my backyard. It shouldn't be so beautiful. I treat it terribly - I never feed it, forget to water it for months on end, and then leave it out to get waterlogged when it has been raining for a solid week. I've clearly no idea of how to care for orchids, but this one continues to bloom.
  7. Having lots of people visit my blog on Thursday/Friday/Saturday - yes, I get T13 links on Saturdays (east coast Australian time) - which is always a fun surprise.
  8. Having lots of comments from T13-ers. Thursdays are my most popular day for comments.
  9. The new automatic link-up, which makes life SO MUCH EASIER!!! Cheers to Mr. Linky for making this available.
  10. The fact that people still leave comments, even though it's easy to just type your name and you're done. Read that as please, please, please leave a comment also. But I'm not really begging...
  11. That T13 is just growing and growing. So I get to check out more blogs. Take a look at the list of regulars on my sidebar. It's huge. And I'm sure it's getting huger. I know that isn't a word. Deal with it.
  12. That it's only once a week. I don't think I could handle this any more frequently than that.
  13. That just when I've run out of items for the list I find I'm at number 13. Woohoo. Another list for another week. This really is heaps of fun.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I have the autolink to make my life easier. Please leave a comment anyway, and I will comment on your Thirteen. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

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28 March, 2006

What I've been doing...

This is the baby quilt I made for a friend who will be pregnant for another four weeks. She hopes. She doesn't know the sex of the baby and I had already made a quilt that was too girly. So this isn't much of an improvement. But hell, two quilts is enough for a person who will show his/her appreciation by puking on it.

The picture is by the ocean looking out to Magnetic Island. Yes, my backyard. Well, only a few minutes from my backyard, anyway. It's a good thing it's so glary out there, as the water looked like a cup of coffee, thanks to the churning up that Larry gave it.

Oh, and Picasa/Hello hates me at the moment. It always loads up all my photos - except one!

27 March, 2006

Things I saw yesterday...



A weed?


Blue flying bug (and I should know what it is, but...)


Pomelos (much bigger than a grapefruit)

Flowering gum

Flowering gum again

22 March, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Things about Cyclone Larry that pissed me off.

I live in Townsville. We caught the edge of the cyclone which means, thankfully, it was all talk and no action for us. Damage was minimal. I am ever so lucky. And thankful. And sorry for the people further north who bore the brunt of the storm.

1. The wind and rain. They started pretty lightly in the afternoon while I was playing tennis. It put me off my serve (which sucks at the best of times).

2. The cyclone panic that hit the shops. People scrambling for ice cream is DUMB! What good is ice cream when you have no electricity for five days???

3. The Irish, idiot neighbour who didn't believe there would be a cyclone (and was to make $300 from bets if he was right) so didn't pack away all his shit in the backyard. Joke's on him - his (tarpulin - he's renovating) roof blew away.

4. The anticipation of the predicted four metre storm surge that would flood my house.

5. The people who suggested I go stay at their house because their house wouldn't flood and mine would and I'd lose everything anyway. Forget the fact that my car would be out in the open and could have been crushed by trees, roofs, flying chickens (though not sure that the chickens would crush a car, but you get my drift). Okay, so yes, the people were well-meaning, just very pessimistic.

6. The people at work who thought a little flooding shouldn't keep me from work. There was no flooding, but I didn't go to work.

7. The devastation that Larry left. I think everyone in this region now knows of someone who has lost EVERYTHING.

8. The bananas. Are all gone. For at least a year.

9. So is a huge amount of sugar cane. And rambutans. And lychees. Oh, the lychees, I miss them already. And heaps of other tropical fruits...

10. The petrol stations that increased their fuel prices by 10 cents per litre from Saturday. Trust the petrol companies to start rubbing their hands together greedily in the face of others' misfortune.

11. The fact that Larry made landfall near Innisfail and Mission Beach, which are gorgeous places. There are many other areas not too far away that it could have destroyed and there wouldn't have been nearly the amount of devastation. Does that sentence make sense? Does it matter?

12. The fact that the Bruce Highway is flooded again and the government STILL won't do anything about it. We are not a developing country, but sometimes I think we are when, every time it rains up here, the highway gets cut by flood waters. This is the tropics. We have a wet season. Which means rain. And the highway is the only direct link between the towns in the north. Why do the pathetic decision making government people neglect us and refuse to fix that road so that a little rain does not leave us stranded?

13. Cyclone Wati. Just lingering about 500km off our coast. Intensifying. Heading south, so they say. Hopefully, not to be as big an asshole as Larry was.

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

To save time, I am doing the auto-link thing this week (if it works). Please leave comments also (please, please...). I will visit your T13's too. Oh, and thanks to Kimmy for sharing how to access the auto-link thing (technical speak there). You're great!

20 March, 2006

First casualty (that I have seen) of the cyclone

These birds normally hang out at the tip. The cyclone must have brought more food for them here. Or something.


Neighbours' disaster-in-waiting - before the storm

After the storm - he's got one helluva leak now...

The damn myna birds aren't even driven away by a cyclone!

Having trouble uploading pics, so this will have to do until later. The first two were last night, the bottom one was taken this morning.

The risk of flooding from the 4m storm surge has passed (yay - though do I still have an excuse to stay home??) and apparently we'll go fairly unscathed. Not so Innisfail, I hear.

I may venture outside once the wind dies down a bit...

Update: I'm just uploading pictures onto Flickr. It sure takes it's time. I haven't ventured out further than the end of the driveway, so there's not too much to see. The rain is bucketing down now, and the wind is pretty strong. I'm just so thankful that we missed the worst of the cyclone (sorry that there aren't any dramatic pictures as a consequence). Am still on flood watch, but things here are pretty good.

More on Larry

Well, I slept like crap, so now feel like crap. Kept getting up every few hours to make sure the ocean wasn't in my living room (I'm one of the suckers in a low-set house in a low-lying area). The ocean was still close to where it should be.

It's now the morning. The cyclone, now a Category 5 is set to cross between Innisfail and Mission Beach in an hour or so.

Threat map from last night

Threat map image from this morning

Have told a work colleague "fuck going to work" - she agreed. I'd be safe here, and safe there, but not safe between to two. And my poor car - couldn't lend that to Larry (I bet he's a terrible driver). Plus - how productive would I be there, when I'm imagining a coral reef establishing itself in my bathroom?

Am trying to post a few pictures. I have a feeling the more spectacular (??!) ones will be taken soon.

19 March, 2006

Larry update

This morning I decided it was time to do a bit of grocery shopping. I also thought I should buy some spare batteries and maybe a portable radio, since all the communication systems in my home require electricity. I thought I'd be in and out. Actually, no. I just didn't think. I walked right into CYCLONE PANIC!! The lines for the checkouts actually curled all the way around the supermarket. People were pushing and shoving to get at supplies. But here is my question. If you're stocking up for three days of power failure, why are you buying icecream??? A worker was standing at the battery section just filling up the shelves, which were being emptied as fast as they were filled. People had trolleys full of cans of coke (ever so essential) and toilet rolls. Since I only had to get a few things, it was almost fun to watch. Then I had to get in the line to pay! The express lane still took about 20 minutes to get through (and that's where trashy women's magazines come in handy. I now know all about Britney's second pregnancy, Reese's marriage problems and Bec and Lleyton's child's bodily functions. Riveting stuff.

After the supermarket, I went to the bottle shop. Hey, if I'm housebound for the next day or two, I may as well have alcohol keep me company. It will be a good time to read some of the dozens of books I have waiting to be read. Books and wine - what better combination??

The eerie thing about the cyclone is that, until about a minute ago, the air was dead calm. Overcast and REALLY humid, but not a breath of wind. Now there are gusts that will slam a door, but that dies off really quickly. We're getting hourly weather updates on tv now. I'll be able to go to tennis this afternoon, but I'm not too sure about going to work tomorrow. Will have to wait and see what happens. Larry is now a Category 4 cyclone, which is the strongest we've had near Townsville since 1971.
The latest map from the Bureau of Meteorology.

18 March, 2006

Cyclone Larry

Yup, we've just been issued a cyclone "watch". Even if Larry, as he has been called, changes direction, we'll have lots of rain, glorious rain.

Can you tell I'm not overly concerned?

Update at 9pm Saturday: We've just moved from a "watch" to a "warning". And the area has been extended. I think the Bureau of Meteorology are just hedging their bets... The storm is supposed to cross land on Monday between Cairns and Townsville. Don't worry, I'll not go on about this much more. But if you're concerned for my wellbeing, or just curious, the Bureau website has all the latest - www.bom.gov.au - click on Queensland, then click on the links under Warnings for Queensland.

17 March, 2006

Happy St. Paddy's Day

Or St. Patty's Day, as a girl from work said, in an all-of-office email today. I just shake my head at some of my co-workers. It's shake my head or shake them. Anyway.

My day was okay. Didn't finish the paper I was meant to write. I think it's amazing that in my job I (along with about fifteen other people) get to write policy that will become the law. Makes me feel sort of powerful. But don't blame me - there are fourteen others that contributed. And the policy relates to a little bit of water use in a tiny area of my state (yes, Queensland - damn, can't hide that). Still, it's my job to write a chunk of it. And I didn't. Hmmm.

So, the reason I didn't can be attributed to a dead Welsh guy (yes, Welsh!) called - er, something starting with M. But it wasn't Patrick. Who was a pagan and got sold into slavery and converted to christianity and then spent the next some years in Ireland trying to convert all the Irish pagans to christianity. And succeeding, I guess, given the state of Irish religion these days. Then he died on 17th March (some year way back), and now we, on the other side of the planet, go out on the anniversary of his death, wearing green, painting our faces green, drinking green beer and eating green food in celebration of a dead guy we didn't know or much care for. Why, I ask. Well, the evening was good - especially as lunch turned into dinner turned into more drinks and my paper never got finished.

There's always Monday.

Big thanks to all those who visited and commented on my Thursday Thirteen. I know, you have to give (comments) to receive (comments), and I do hope that next week I'll be better at that. But last night I started to get attacked by sandflies and couldn't sit in front of the computer anymore so bailed early. One day I hope to be like Kimmy and have 73 links to my post. Can always hope. I'll wear insect repellant next week.

Great news: I got silver in the blog olympics training camp yesterday. This is significantly up on last time, where I got a pathetic bronze - for coming last, or close to. Am very proud. Just need to figure how to upload my medal thingy's.

Oh, and, and, and (picture leaping with excitement and anxiety to tell my story) - last night I cut all my hair off. Well, I paid someone to do it. And she was great. Have found my hairdresser. Finally. I still have a bit of hair left - the trim turned into a full-scale hacking (with my consent - I told her to do whatever she wanted) and I loved it. Do you think I can re-style it that same way??? Of course not. So I had to show it off. So I drove from the hairdressers (two minutes from my house) to a friends place (20 minutes from my house) so she could see my hair the way it was meant to be. I should have taken pictures. But then, my mother has posted enough pictures of me to last quite a while.

Okay, so I've spent all this time, and have said a bit of everything, not much of anything. So I will post some pictures I have been meaning to post for a day or two. These are what north Queenslanders do (I'm from the south, so don't group me in with these people on this occasion) with roadkill.
Yes, that's kangaroo paws (real, not the plant), crocodiles heads, and stuffed cane toads. And I think the lower right may be kangaroos testicles... Please, someone, correct me on that one. Seeing this stall at the markets is NOT the highlight of my Sunday's. I found it so obsene, I had to share it.

A close up of cane toad atrocities! How revolting!!!

16 March, 2006


Okay, this one is a bit of a cop-out. I'm running late with posting this week's thirteen. It is Thursday night, Australian time. And then, I couldn't think of thirteen cool things, but just remembered an article in the paper on the weekend that gave me a bit of a chuckle. So here are thirteen signs with a sense of humour.

1. Sign over a gynaecologist office: "Dr. Jones, at your cervix."
2. In a podiatrist's office: "Time wounds all heels."
3. On a septic tank truck in Oregon: "Yesterday's Meals on Wheels."
4. On a plumber's truck: "Don't sleep with a drip. Call your plumber."
5. At a tyre shop: "Invite us to your next blowout."
6. At a towing company: "We don't charge an arm and a leg. We want tows."
7. On a maternity room door: "Push, push, push."
8. At an optometrist's office: "If you don't see what you're looking for, you've come to the right place."
9. Outside a muffler shop: "No appointment necessary. We hear you coming."
10. In a veterinarian's waiting room: "Be back in five minutes. Sit! Stay!"
11. At the electric company: "We would be delighted if you send in your payment. However, if you don't, you will be."
12. In the front yard of a funeral home: "Drive carefully. We'll wait."
13. In a radiator shop: "Best place in town to take a leak."

Finally, a sign which I adore!!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens

1. Kimmy

2. scouser

3. carol

4. carmen

5. denise

6. frog legs

7. pj

8. ginger

9. norma

10. kelly

11. k~

12. master enigma

13. mar

14. lena

15. libragirl

16. mama b

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

View More Thursday Thirteen Participants

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13 March, 2006

Another important email from my boss.....

The US government has a new website, http://www.ready.gov. displaying public service symbols for terrorism readiness, in the tradition of the old "duck and cover" campaigns after WWII. The fun thing is that these pictures are so ambiguous they could mean anything! Here are a few guesses about what they mean:

If you have set yourself on fire, do not run.

If you spot terrorism, blow your anti-terrorism whistle. If you are bald, yell really loud.

If you spot a terrorist arrow, pin it against the wall with your shoulder.

If you are sprayed with an unknown substance, stand and think about it instead of seeing a doctor.

Use your flashlight to lift the walls right off of you!

The proper way to eliminate smallpox is to wash with soap, water and at least one armless hand.

Michael Jackson is a terrorist. If you spot this smooth criminal with dead, dead eyes, run the f*** away.

Hurricanes, animal corpses and the biohazard symbol have a lot in common. Think about it.

Be on the lookout for terrorists with pinkeye and leprosy. Also, they tend to rub their hands together manically.

If a door is closed, karate chop it open.

If your building collapses, cower under a desk and kiss your ass goodbye.

Try to absorb as much of the radiation as possible with your groin region. After 5 minutes and 12 seconds, however, you may become sterile.

After exposure to radiation it is important to consider that you may have mutated to gigantic dimensions: watch your head.

If you've become a radiation mutant with a deformed hand, remember to close the window. No one wants to see that shit.

If you hear the Backstreet Boys, Michael Bolton or Yanni on the radio, it is a psychological terror attack. Cower in the corner or run like hell.

If your lungs and stomach start talking, stand with your arms akimbo until they stop.

If you are trapped under falling debris, conserve oxygen by not farting.

If you lose a contact lens during a chemical attack, do not stop to look for it.

Do not drive a station wagon if a power pole is protruding from the hood.

A one-inch thick piece of plywood should be sufficient protection against radiation. Always carry one!