Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sadistic streak

It may be a little sadistic, but I rather enjoy torturing gingerbread men by dunking their heads in a mug of coffee or hot chocolate, then watching their icing faces melt away as they realise the true horror of their predicament. It is probably on par with lining up gummi bears and tearing the head off one while the others watch on. Playing with your food is acceptable!

Ok, so the compliments I received for my gingerbread cookies have spurred me to pop the recipe up for everyone to try out.

You will need the following for ~50 cookies
  • 250g butter, at room temperature
  • 200g sugar
  • 1/2 - 1 cup golden syrup
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 4 cups plain flour
  • 2 tbs ground ginger
  • 1-2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • additional flour for rolling dough
(1) Beat butter and sugar together with an electric mixer (easier, trust me - unless you have really sturdy wrists). This mixture should be creamy; add the syrup and egg yolks. Mix well.
(2) In a separate bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and bicarb. Gradually add to the syrup mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon. The mixture should become dough-like and will leave the bowl easily without sticking.
(3) Lightly flour a clean surface and place dough, knead it until it's smooth (don't clean the floured surface, you'll use it again). Roll into a ball, flatten to make a disc and wrap in clingwrap. Place in fridge to rest for 30 minutes.

Icing ingredients
  • 200g icing sugar
  • food colouring (red and green)
  • egg whites left from gingerbread recipe
(4) In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180°C. Get the egg whites and combine with 200g icing sugar. Separate icing sugar into however many colours your are wanting - one white, one green and one red etc. Leave one aside. In the others, add the desired food colours (8 drops) for a vibrant red or green. Cover each container with clingwrap and refrigerate.
(5) Collect the dough from fridge, and add more flour to surface if necessary. Roll dough to .5cm (5mm) thickness and use shaped cookie cutters for desired effect. (I found that taking 1/4 of the dough at a time and rolling it was easier and less messy).
(6) Place cut-out cookies on baking paper in 2 trays (I had to use 3), spacing them about 2-3cm apart (otherwise you end up with a MONSTROSITY). Pop in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until they're browned considerably. Take them out at 10 mins and they'll be soft cookies, leave them in a little longer and they'll be a little softer than gingersnaps. Leave on a rack to cool.
(7) Spoon icing into a piping bag (or if you're a genious, get a ziplock bag, spoon into a corner, twist the bag to seal the icing in and carefully snip the corner). Decorate!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Deck the halls with glowing Froggies!

Fa-lah lah lah lah, lah lah lah lah!

Thank you lovely Kassidy for sending me this great idea from National Geographic...

now if only Bunnings could supply the frogs too.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Xmas Domino Effect

The Xmas Domino Effect:

A roll of paper towel descends upon the full cup of Sunkist, knocking it into your Christmas BBQ dinner, marinading the pork chops and dressing the salad...

but it doesn't end there...

The steak on the neighbouring plate falls to the sandy floor after being bumped by the full tumbling beer bottle also knocked by the roll of paper towel...

All because a little bit of stray tomato sauce required some paper towel attention.

Best Xmas BBQ. EVER!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Cake! Anyone?

There are cakes...

... and then there are CAKES!

Fossil digging... did I hear a chorus of "YAY!"

Armadillo cake of awesome!

There just aren't enough miniture scale models of LotR cakes around anymore

Mmmm calamari cake

This tiger is too pretty to eat

And of course, the gore of the Halloween cake... yum!

... but then there is ... well... this:

Ever wanted to eat a child? Now you can, in cake form.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Could be a cute dogfish??

How could you not love this face?!?

This ADORABLE little face belongs to the African lungfish. It is one of the more advanced species of lungfish, with the Queensland or Australian lungfish being the most primitive (QLD species has only a single "lung", has lobe-fins similar to the coelacanth, and is the only lungfish species which can breathe through its gills - others gulp air as the gills are no longer efficient - therefore it is the only lungfish that cannot live out of water but must instead remain moist [other species may live for several months out of water in burrows etc]).

Another interesting thing to note, this African lungfish looks like Rosie, a King Charles spaniel...

*note the resemblance*

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Everything is better with BACON

Western Gateway to the BACON!

I am, of course, referring to KEVIN BACON!!

The story behind this, despite bacon coming from delicious pigs and actually making everything taste amazing, is that over the past month there have been numerous sightings of the elusive "celebrity of Gidgegannup" ... and happens to have been posted on nearly all the signposts in the Gidge town-site along Toodyay Road.

So come to Gidge... you might meet a celebrity :)

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Doubt you'll find these in the public library

I found some books online and I must say, I was a little disappointed with the first one, but tremendously amused with the second one onwards. Ah... what won't people write about?!

That's not a book... that's simply lies on a collection of papers, hastily glued together.

A pocket guide it may be, but encouraging puberty in boys with that kind of title won't make them mature.

Teeheehee! Who said you needed "meat"??

This book is special, simply because it was the first accidental discovery of strangely amusing books. An essential book for any straight man (you get to colour it in too)!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Día de los Muertos!!

Happy Day of the Dead!!


Respect the dead and love everyone who's passed on! Including the DINOSAURS!

Happy Days for Americain! Won the Melbourne Cup!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Dino'en!

It's All-Hallows-Even!

Since this a a rather awesome secular tradition nowadays, I know that we don't really embrace this in Australia, but that won't stop me from wishing all a Happy Hallowe'en :D

(Picture by Larkin-art, DA)

LOVE to the Pagans and Wiccans (and the dinosaurs before them)... you guys really knew how to party down with the creepy!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Your views both enrage and amuse me

I hate when you research something scientific, and you stumble upon something that just fuels your rage and frustrates you, bringing you back to your debate about how life would be better without religious nuts who's views are to cloud common sense in their attempt to rewrite science to fit their single book of "knowledge"; the misinformation that is the Bible.

Have a little read of this

A few notes, my ill-informed acquaintance:

-- Materpiscis did NOT die due to first man rebelling against his Creator about 1,600 years ago; where did you get 1,600 years? Did you date the fossil? Nor did it die in the Genesis flood supposedly 4,500 years ago... dear God!
[I don't recall reading about fish on Noah's arc, so why aren't all the fish dead and fossilised since the flood obliterates everything which wasn't on the arc or found higher ground? ------ See, I can ask outlandishly stupid questions like you too]

-- The world is not 6000 years old... that's a rather ridiculous notion, considering the evidence mounted up against it.

-- Not all Gogo formation specimens are transitional... Placoderms, for one, are not transitional forms to tetrapods. Members of the Osteolepidae however possibly are with their more advanced limbs and shoulder girdle.

-- Gogo formation is exceptional. It had the perfect environment in encasing specimens in nodules, hence the 3D fossilisation -- read John Long's book, Swimming in Stone [enjoy my EMPHASIS].

-- Oh, and yes, Materpiscis specimen might not be the very first viviparous organism, (there might have been an even more ancestral species that developed placental birth) but there were obviously other Materpiscis before her... HOWEVER, she is the earliest species discovered to display live, placental birth which suggests that internal fertilisation and prolonged internal care (gestation) is a lot more ancestral than previously thought to be.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I find silly things....

And they make me giggle... :

Everyone knows that "Hollywood" is like El Dorado and doesn't exist, and that "RERTH" is a real city where awesome people come from
(Children scare me when they leave things, like this, lying around for me to accidentally find amongst the shopping centre book shelves)

What I learnt at the local shops: flamingos are from the Ocean; the noise a cow makes is "woof"; and the elusive shark and domestic pig have once again escaped my keen eye on safari

In Australia... we find that cat is always preferred by 62% of dogs in their daily diet:
(There was an old dog who swallowed a cat... fancy that!)

Mmmm... I love a good creamed col(l)on as a midnight snack between study

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Nature abhors a vacuum... and pompous, uneducated folk

They are Apologetics Press. And they offer no apology in slaughtering science with the aim of disproving it (or as they've put it "rationalising") with common sense... and science. Their section, Sensible Science, is full of these common sense scientific articles on why science is wrong and religion is right - a little -hypocritical- guys.

Step up to the plate, my new nemesis, Brad Harrub Ph.D(?) (in what?)
He's one of the leading causes for sleep deprivation in evolutionists; his theories leave your mind gasping for correctly used scientific evidence and begging for a lack of religeous influence. Let me highlight one article in particular: Evolutionists just can't admit to getting something wrong!

This is of great interest to me, as I was researching literature on extant coelacanth by Peter Forey to add to my current research and description of a new fossil coelacanth specimen... and I instead found the link to Harrub's garbage bin, having referenced Forey's Nature article. Harrub goes on to belittle the scientific community for not admitting that they were incorrect in appointing the coelacanth as "transitional species to terrestrial tetrapods", when at the time the living species had not been discovered.

In 1938, a South African museum director (East London), Marjorie Courtney-Latimer, identified a fish as "unique" and ancient in appearance. She took it back to the museum and tried to contact a fellow scientist (with a hobby in ichthyology) and friend, J.L.B. Smith. He finally saw the specimen and declared it to be exactly what Miss Courtney-Latimer had suspected: the only extant species of an ancient fish lineage believed to have been extint since the dinosaurs. Due to this finding, Harrub believes that it couldn't be the direct ancestor to tetrapods because it exists now. The problem with this idea has been seen in the ape-human theory... "if man evolved from primitive apes and ape-like creatures then why are there still apes?"

Well, once upon a time... there were multiple species of coelacanth, big ones, medium ones, and tiny ones; all living happily at different times during the Earth's LLLLOOOONNNNGGGGG series of time periods and epochs. Some couldn't keep up with the changes in the world and died out, other lasted longer... sadly Latimeria chalumnae and L.menadoensis are (for now) the last of the entire Order, being the only living species left from this lineage.

For your benefit and understanding, Mr. Harrub:
There are many reasons as to why these species were not direct ancestors to the tetrapods. Simply, they could be a young species, maybe evolved some tens of thousands of years ago. It could have been another genera from the Coelacanthiformes which gave rise to the tetrapods. But, since science is bound to make a few mistakes now and then as it learns about new species and techniques in understanding currently known species, it is more likely that corrections are made to the phylogenic tree after discovering that lungfish are possibly more advanced than coelacanth (i.e. precursors to terrestrial lungs instead of swimbladder). While Forey says that the extant coelacanth live at depths of 100+ metres (and Harrub suggests that because of the depth, coelacanth couldn't be the transitional species), fossil coelacanths have been uncovered in areas where there was once a shallow sea with reefal fringes and coral atolls. One species does not dictate the behaviour and environmental influences for the rest within its Order.

So, put quite frankly, Mr. Harrub...
Nature abhors YOU!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I'd opt for extinction if I had a name like that. . .

Looking up strange dinosaur names today... similar to poor Megalosaurus' "Scrotum humanum" and the sad little Pachycephalosaur "Dracorex hogwartsia". I think I might have found the single most depressed dinosaur in their entire existence...

Erectopus superbus

This pathetically named Allosaur probably wished death upon himself. I would have surely conjured up an asteroid just for the occasion. The poor buggar appeared to have several -near- name changes over the past 100 years, but still managed to maintain his pornstar name. Essentially, Erectopus means "upright foot", add the superbus in and you get "proud upright foot". I highly doubt it would have felt superior and terrifying in the face of laughing herbivores.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I love you, Spike

Stegosaurus Week (13th Sept to 19th Sept) is coming to a close, and I haven't made a single mention about the awesomeness that is Stegosaurus.

For those who don't know, Stegosaurus was a herbivour which first appeared in the Jurassic (and probably had epic battles of survival against Allosaurus). The most commonly identified of the Stegosauridae family is most likely Stegosaurus stenops, since nearly everywhere I look (if you're searching for dinosaurs as much as I am), S. stenops is almost like the posterchild for what a Stegosaurus species is characterised for. It was short and stocky, but with large plates and typical 4 spikes on the end of the tail. Although, it wasn't the largest stegosaurid, it does seem to be the most common species.

So why is Stegosaurus so awesome??
Besides the clearly lethal set of tail-spikes Steg sported, and the pretty cool looking fashion statement they made during the Jurassic with their plate(-like Mohawks), there is one really awesome thing about Stegosaurus:

It had a "second brain"; near the base of its tail used for controlling reflexes in the rear part of its body. The "brain" in the hip region was not made of brain tissue, but instead, a complex nerve centre; the "sacral plexus." It was a secondary control center for the spinal cord. So despite the obvious tiny size of Stegosaurus' brain, and the possibility that it may have lacked intelligence, didn't mean it wasn't cleverly designed for its time in an evolutionary time-frame.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Feathery upset

I had this journal article in Nature brought to my attention; and low and behold! It has my favourite palaeoartist, Raul Martin's interpretation of this amazing predator, Concavenator corcovatus...

Interesting features of this 130 million year old predatory dinosaur:
(1) a strange hump on its back; and
(2) unusual calcareous lumps on its forearms (believed to bear quills - a possible evidence of feathers).

The eleventh and twelfth vertebrae are more prominent, being double the height of the rest of the vertebrae. This pyramidal crest may have been used in territorial disputes and/or attracting a mate, or even similarly used in a manner resembling Stegosaurus' plates. (To me, it looks like an ideal, gentle slope where a male Concavenator could rest his chest while romancing the lady... but that's my outlandish observation).
At this point, all we can gather is Concavenator is a rather strange specimen.

Now the bumps on the forearms is even more controversial than the odd triangular hump. So the problem here is this... C. corcovatus provides evidence that feathers began to appear earlier than previously thought. Which now puts a little twist in the Therapod family tree, as Concavenator is more closely related to "Big Al" (MOR 693) which, up until now, have never had a feathery relative. The sister lineage which has the feather-featuring dinosaurs (T. rex) and finally leading to modern-day birds has now been thrown into shambles over the rights to bear plumage.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Museums = Science, stupid!

. . . Well, apparently they have a museum. And for a mere US$21.95, you get admittance to the Creation Museum, Petersburg, Kentucky! *Yay!*

On the museum grounds, there's heaps to do! I mean, no museum is complete without "a zonkey, a zorse and wallabies!" in their petting zoo. Or camel rides, so you can feel like one of the three Wise men. Oh but wait! Inside the museum, there's a section on Natural Selection. In the corner of this exhibit, there's also a cave aquarium with a few poor, little blind cavefish under spotlight - "showing how natural selection allows organisms to possess characteristics most favorable for a given environment—but it is not an example of evolution in the molecules-to-man sense". . . what?!?

I really enjoyed the little jibe at Charles Darwin with naming their primate mascot "Charlie" with his triceratops buddy "Trike"... who in many a backwards religious-nut's mind means that Trike is an imaginary friend. And the irony doesn't stop there... Trike also happens to be learned in the Biblical ways and is guiding Charlie in the teachings. This piece of information will either break your heart or make you laugh (heartbreak: dinosaurs are now teaching the ways of the Bible. OR Laugh: since Trike doesn't exist in the opinion of most Creationists, this means Charlie's imaginary friend is teaching him stories of make-believe).

I've taken the virtual tour, and I must say, I've never laughed so hard in my life. I have two favourites. The Garden of Eden is great! There's Adam and Eve nestled amongst the bushes, shaded by glorious trees; surrounded by antelope and what appears to be poorly painted Quagga (or Hyracotherium). Oh, look over there! Through the trees! Yes, it's an Ankylosaurus browsing on some grass in the Garden of Eden. Funny, but I was so sure the Bible never mentioned Mr. Ankylosaurus? Then there's the Dinosaur Den... ah yes, the Dinosaur Den. Where large statues of dinosaurs roam wild... amongst the cavemen.

Oh oh look workshops! Lets have a look what they have to keep me and the world entertained. Hmm... it seems like all if not most of the workshops are run by the same person, Dr. Menton (he must be very knowledgeable)...

Three ways to make an Apeman, this looks promising - if only it didn't disappoint me completely! The description of this particular workshop annoyed me more than slightly:

"Did you know that there are only three ways to make an apeman? Far from being ancestors of humankind, apemen must be constructed by taking a human skull and declaring it to be ape-like (Neanderthal man), taking an ape skull and declaring it to be human-like (Lucy, or Australopithecus afarensis), or mixing fossil ape and human specimens together (as was done with Piltdown man)."

Now, there are a few things I want to clear up here before I continue my tour:
- Piltdown man was a hoax... you know, like the facade of Jesus seen nearly everywhere
- Sciencists actually document their errors, whereas creationists will rarely expose any mistakes they might have made.

But there's another workshop, Evolution: not a chance. And you're all so excited to know what that's all about, ey?:

"Evolution is bad science, but makes good magic! Using magical illusions, Dr. Menton illustrates the improbability of evolution. Biological systems leave little to chance. Instead, genetic information is precisely encoded in the DNA. You will see how to calculate the probability of the chance arrangement of amino acids required by evolution into biologically useful proteins. What are the odds that evolution happened? Not a chance!"

Jesus would be rolling in his grave! Biological organisms, while some may be similar in appearance or chemistry, may have the requirements of different proteins to function. On the topic of abiogenesis, the creationist's view is:

simple cells ----------------------------------> bacteria

Whereas, the entire theory of abiogenesis is a gradual increase in cellular organism complexity. This process (simplified) goes a little like this:

simple cells --> polymers --> replicating polymers --> hypercycle --> protobiont --> bacteria

If you want an amusing read, look towards a rather well written article by Robert Schadewald, Scientific Creationism and Error. And for more information between abiogenisis vs the abiogenesis of creationism, have a read into Ian Musgrave's Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics and Probability of Abiogenisis Calculations (where I got the simplified comparison of the theories above). So, from that it appears that Dr. Menton is a moron.

Moving away from the idiocies of the workshops, there's a lot more going on. You can have the museum host birthday parties, join their membership club, take photography lessons (essential more workshops), or do a bit of star gazing. But ignoring all of that, may I suggest you take a gander at the "GIVE" section, under "About the Museum"... for a laugh, you can see that "donations" is too sweet a word to use when money is desperately needed. Instead, just damn well GIVE your bank details... the Creation Museum will do the rest. Or if you're unhappy with your house, why not GIVE it to the museum... they always need more land.

Something to take away from all this. . .
1. Museums are only for science.
2. All museums I have visited are free (unless you want to see the temporary exhibits)
3. Museums try preserve species as separate units (unlike the donkey/horseXzebra in the Creation petting zoo) and generally don't display live animals (this is reserved for zoological gardens and aquariums)
4. Natural selection and evolution act upon each other, hand-in-hand
5. Bogus science will never replace real science

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Vintageosaurus mistakeii

Reconstruction of Laelaps (now known as Dryptosaurus) - by Edward Drinker Cope - possessing a typical (at the time) vertical posture, slouching head and useless arms. Image from Love in the time of Chasmosaurus

We occasionally make mistakes. Everyone can think of at least one major mistake they've made during their career (undoubtedly we make a couple in our personal lives which we may or may not wish to recall). But I want to look into some memorable vintage palaeo mistakes. . . the ones generally made when there is nothing in the known world (19th century known world) that can be comparable to the discovery of massive "lizard bones":

Most people will recognise this dinosaur more than the first palaeo reconstruction mistake, Megalosaurus. The first reconstruction of iguanodon was the huge iguana-like statue which still stands at Crystal Palace, south London, by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins. The "thumb spike" was placed on the tip of the snout, creating a more lizard-like appearance. In some aspects, Hawkins' iguanodon resembles a horned, very toothy chameleon.
The initial reconstruction of Iguanodon by Hawkins, and the current corrected version by Raul Martin.

Apatosaurus (formerly Brontosaurus)
Apatosaurus went through many changes, but one of the more notable was the correction of its skull. For many years until 1975, the poor sauropod borrowed the skull of a distantly related cousin, Camarasaurus - more closely related to Brachiosaurus. The contrast in the two skull types are quite astounding.

Left is the Camarasaurus skull, which for years was placed upon the body of "Brontosaurus", the skull on the right is that of a Diplodocus, a close relative of Apatosaurus (NE: Brotosaurus) and displays what the skull of Apatosaurus should have been like. Image from Taylor, M.P., Wedel, M.J., Naish, D. 2009. Head and neck posture in sauropod dinosaurs inferred from extant animals. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, 54(2): 213-220

Posture, poise and grace

For most dinosaurs, the position of the legs and the weight-bearing stance was often incorrect.
Tyrannosaurus, Iguanodon, Triceratops, Stegosaurus and even large sauropods have all fallen at the unbalanced positioning of their limbs and tails. Tyrannosaurus, for example, for many years had been depicted as near vertically erect like an alert meerkat and balanced precariously on its tail (which dragged along the floor similarly to sauropods depicted around the early 20th century). In the case of the sauropods, (such as Diplodocus) they were occasionally illustrated with bow-legs; dragging their enormous bulk through the dirt, long tail limp behind them. Due to this hefty burden, most sauropods were placed in an aquatic setting to allow them more buoyancy. Providing evidence in the fact that poor teaching and a long-standing reliance in religion and Creationism doesn't achieve results in reality.

The reason for bringing up some of the errors in palaeontology (and particularly reconstructions) is in showing that when first uncovered, after the initial analysis and subsequent recording of characteristics and features, not everything about a specimen will be correct. More often than not, since science is forever updating its knowledge and techniques, things which may not have been considered important may, in fact, turn out to be the exact source of information which could completely alter the definition of that specimen... as an example, I turn your attention to BMRP 2002.4.1 "Jane"... (in my heart, always a Nanotyrannus), or maybe the example of the absorption of Stygimoloch and Dracorex as individual species into different growth stages of Pachycephalosaurus would be for better understanding.

Monday, August 30, 2010

"Bird brain"... not such an insult

So, I was going through the TED library of film clips for something interesting to watch and I stumbled upon this piece of gold: Einstein the Parrot.

This was as equally impressive as the documentary I saw of Alex the African Grey who passed away in 2007 at age 31. The vocal range of these guys is amazing and the understanding and recognition of commands and simple words and phrases is really impressive. But the brains don't end at the African Grey Parrot. . .

The kea, (possibly my favourite parrot of mischief) a large New Zealand parrot, have also been know for their intelligence. They've been observed to become destructive (damaging cars, bins, and home roofing), disruptive and bored whilst in captivity; requiring mental stimulation in the form of rather complex puzzles.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Nicotine patches clearly aren't working

There must be something in the water in Perth. . .
In the past 2 weeks, there have been two really obscure public displays which have just made me wonder if the people who catch public transport have all their lights on up stairs?!

First account... a well dressed, suited man sat on the bench next to me while I stood waited for my bus home from the university. He pulled his laptop out, plugged in his headphones and looked around to see if there was anyone behind him or if his bus was arriving. I could see the screen of his laptop off the reflection of the bus stop glass. He started watching porn. . . and to make matters worse (for him), while he was checking to see if his bus was coming or if people were watching over his shoulder, his headphones unplugged from the laptop and everyone waiting around the same stop overheard the sighs, groans and moans... and a suited business man furiously tapped his keyboard to mute it.

And... today, I saw a man stir his freshly lit cigarette in his take away coffee, remove it, relight it and proceed to repeat the steps. Finally he broke the cycle by sipping his coffee through his cigarette like a straw. . .
What the hell Perth?!?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Makes you wonder. . .

Ok, so I have been noticing the number of children's toys which I feel are dumbing/screwing with kids. There are soooo many, but here are a tiny glimpse of examples. I think the kids of today have lower standards than previous generations in terms of anatomical correctness (Barbie excluded), and what constitutes as a "good" read.

Koalas, like wombats, have backwards-facing pouches... not like the above.
If this is a "Museum quality" replica without its jaw attached then I wouldn't visit.
This was a very happy book... great to teach kids about death and how Death feels about it.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

One Year On

As I sit in those moments of quiet,
When sadness invades me,

I know that yesterday,

You were here.

Now you are away from us,

Not knowing your future,

Or when you'll come home, but yesterday,

You were here.

It has now been a week,

A week since you last were in the house,

An entire week since we carried you away,

To the place where we did not know your future,
but just last week,
You were here.

Another day passes;

A week ago, you were still with us,

In daily reports from the clinic,

They did not know your future, But we could still hope, and,
You were here.

More days pass,;

A week ago you left us,

Your head cradled in our hands,

Your spirit gracefully moving upward,

But for a few hours of that day,

You were here.

Sadness invades again,

As I know that once those hours pass,

I can no longer look back,

Over the span of a familiar week's time,

To find that comforting point when,

You were here.

More time will pass;

Sadness will not so much invade as menace,

And I will mark the days,
Saying things like,
"last month, last summer, last Halloween, last year,"
You were here.

I dread that day,

One year from now,
That first marking of the time,
That your body was no longer with us;
Though we will never forget you,

Your tangible memory fades,

The feel of your fur, your head, your back, your weight against us,

The smell and sounds of you when,

You were here.

The emptiness is beginning to fade,

To change into another reality,
One with you still playing a part,

But a role of ethereal presence rather than physical comfort we crave;

Your memory, your spirit, your essence and counsel,

Dwell with us, but this feeling is not the same as when,

You were here.

--"You were here" by Jenine Stanley


A year ago today, I said goodbye to you for the last time. I held you and pleaded to keep you longer if you were willing. You were too weak, and I knew I was being selfish. It felt like the longest drive, and when we arrived, I wished it had taken longer. I carried you in your blanket; you didn't fight... I knew by then that you had given up. I lay you on the table, the Vet came in to see us. Not once did I stop holding you - but she had to take you away through the back door. You weren't gone long, but you came back ready to leave. I held you again and whispered in your ear, and then your legs gently buckled and you got very heavy. You lay there, head slumped in my hand; and I closed your eyes. The Vet checked your vitals and announced "She's gone now". I cried. If love alone could have saved you, you never would have died.

I still cry, but maybe not as much.

I know I have my memories... but I only wanted you. You're my best friend and were always there for me through the hard times. I miss having you there... with all your quirks and love and life. You were more than a cat to me, I grew up with you forever by my side. You'll always have a special place in my life and I'll always love you for how you were and not how you left.

Forever loved; Always missed
"Seal Moosh"


Friday, August 6, 2010

23 years old... and still loving dinosaurs

So, it was my birthday on the 1st. It was pretty low-key, but enjoyable all the same. Dinner with the family and my grandma on Saturday night, dinner with Ben on Sunday night and finally the Friday (today's) dinner with friends.

To top off my first week at 23y.o.a I have been signed onto a fossil reconstruction contract with a university demonstrator and palaeoscientist (who worked on
Materpiscis). I'm stoked! In fact, I was so excited that I was almost squealing down the phone at my demonstrator. So, sorry for deafening you. Why the excitement? Well, I'll have my name published in association with the main authors in a notable scientific journal. My first publication... and that's exciting!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Teach the Controversy

If you want to get me fired up with comments like this:

Fine, each to their own beliefs! But you just infuriate me when you force your backwards mindset onto people who've made up their minds within your belief/faith system and don't share the same ideals as you. At least with the sciences, you can debate and bring evidence into the mix to form a sound hypothesis and demonstrate or provide a better solution to another learned person's theory. Failure in obtaining a desired conclusion to a hypothesis for a scientist only fuels their search for the correct knowledge and allows them to gain more understanding about limitations. The religious appear to suffer under failure (different link to previous) and those who fail are shunned.

Science is evolving (like the dinosaurs did; like humans did; like everything did) and is not stifled by a single book of outdated ideals and rules on how life should be conducted, dictating the person's entire past, present and future. It's adaptive, moving with the times, bettering our existence - whereas religion is stale and can't deal with change even if the change is necessary.

Evolution is both a fact and a theory...
creationism is neither.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Webcomic me this...

For those of you who enjoy reading webcomics in your free time/work time/study time (cos I don't judge - we all lose focus), I have a very short list of recommendations.

1. Tyson Hesse's "Boxer Hockey" is a must-read - you'll fall in love with the character design and even more so with Rittz while being amused by the random comic strips in between the main storyline.
2. Kimmo Lemetti's "Gone with the Blastwave" - if you're less interested in the day-to-day life stories of normal people, then you'll enjoy the bemusing outlook of the Red Team in a warring, post-apocalyptic Earth.
3. Jeph Jacques' "Questionable Content" - if you're not already reading this I am surprised... since it's listed as one of the most popular webcomics with the most views. Relationships with music, literature, and some science references... and a whole lot of drinking.
4. Randall Munroe's "XKCD" - not for the scientifically, mathematically or linguistically challenged... but if you lie awake at night fearing the return of Jurassic Park's velociraptors, I suggest you read.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Movies for kids creates Emos

Is it just me, or has this new generation of children become disenchanted with Disney movies?

They now have to watch films such as Coraline and 9; both harbouring themes which, for young children, are too complex to grasp and instead direct the audience down a darker path (causing nightmares, spending the night in the company of the parents, and may lead to bed-wetting in the extra sensitive child).

I mean, in 9, the characters are similar to the adorable Sackboys from LittleBigPlanet, but in a post apocalyptic world ruled by machines, where all human life has been extinguished and they're the last remnants of the "human soul". This kinda implies to kids that feeling dark and depressed about the world around you is good, because eventually the world will end (but Sackboys will fight, frolic and die just like you did).

! Instant emo child!

(more entertainment for me in shopping centres :) )