Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Christmas Curse strikes, again

For a number of years now, I’ve noticed that on or around Christmas, something major always goes wrong. Sometimes it’s to do with the cars, but mostly it’s to do with the house. One year it was a blocked toilet. Another year, my fire-fighting pumps stopped working because the idiots that did the servicing filled them up with 2-stroke petrol. That was a very bad year. This year, it seems the kitchen is taking its turn.

The Offspring and I had planned on doing some baking today – cupcakes and gingerbread men – for a pre-Christmas visit to family. Not gonna happen because the kitchen sink has sprung a leak, a big one. We found out when water started flowing from the cupboard under the sink.

Being the daughter of a mechanical engineer, I mopped up the water and started experimenting. Yup, the connection from the sink outlet to the pipe below isn’t just leaking, it’s spraying water. What’s worse, because of the way the two sinks are plumbed, we can’t use the smaller sink either. No sinks, no dishwasher, no baking or cooking. And it’s Sunday, less than 10 days before Christmas. I wonder how long it’ll take for a plumber to get out here…

I did consider calling an after-hours, emergency plumber…for all of about 5 seconds. Then I remembered the last time I’d had to do that. It was over twelve years ago and cost me $500 back then. Nope, definitely not gonna happen.

So here we are, up the creek without a sink. Sometimes I really wish I’d been born a plumber’s daughter.  😦

Meeks

 

 

 

 

 

Inevitably, this major something ends up costing a major amount of money.


I finally went and did it!

This one’s for Frank Prem who’s been hounding strenuously encouraging me to try and interest a bookshop in my books. Well, today I walked into the independent bookshop in Eltham and asked if I could leave a free sample of my work. 🙂

The sample is my tiny book of sci-fi short stories:

The paperback of The Egg is so thin, there’s no room on the spine for the title! But when I realised how cheaply I could print it on IngramSpark, I decided to use it as my ‘calling card’.

Getting back to that bookshop, I’ve been carrying a copy of The Egg around with me for weeks, but the moment was never right. It was too hot, too cold, I wasn’t dressed ‘appropriately’, I was too busy with other things…in short, I was a coward. I’m still a coward, but something clicked in my brain today, and I did the deed. I was dressed to do supermarket shopping so probably looked like a deranged bag lady, but I did it!

The owner of the shop was very nice and said she’d have to look at the book before offering it to her customers, even as a free sample. I reassured her that I expected nothing less. In reality, however, I don’t expect her to read it at all, and I don’t expect her to get in contact with me for another sample. Why? Because looking around the shop, I realised that sci-fi, even from big, traditional authors, is only a very small part of the books offered for sale. So the Egg is not exactly a good ‘fit’.

I also realised that dealing with a self-published author would inevitably cause a disruption to the normal processes of the shop. Why go to so much bother for a genre that probably doesn’t sell very well? Realistically, that is the truth, and I suspect I’d probably feel the same if the roles were reversed.

Nevertheless, I’m not disappointed. I overcame my nerves and gave it a shot, and that was the real purpose of the exercise. To prove to myself that I could. Next stop will be a second hand bookshop in Warrandyte and a cafe that leaves books lying around on the tables for customers to read.

If you guys have any suggestions for real world ‘marketing’, I’m all ears!

cheers

Meeks

 

 

 

 


Christmas in a Teapot. :)

As an antidote to all the marketing I did over the last few days, here’s something that’s just for fun:

Yes, it’s a bright, red teapot on wheels and it sells Mulled wine, Eggnog and something called a Maple Warmer. At those prices I doubt you’d want more than one, but the concept is so lovely I think I’d splash out on an Eggnog just for the fun of being able to say that I ‘bought it from a teapot’. 😀

I don’t have much information about the photo, but you can find it on http://www.jigsawplanet.com, under the category of ‘Christmas’. The puzzle creator is known as ‘puzzleaddict2’ and the photographer is on Instagram under the moniker of @nellcavallo.

Hope this brightened your day. 🙂

cheers

Meeks


Remember that Greenland Heatwave?

Climate Change is very much on my mind, and a part of my core motivation, but I don’t say much about it. My thanks to Bob for saying it so well.

Bobbing Around

Here is one of many reports as a reminder. For years now, Greenland and the sea to its north have experienced never-before high temperatures.

A research report, dated 10 October, 2018 offers an explanation.

Reduced temperature differential between the Arctic and the tropics has made the Arctic jet stream wander all over the place. In 2011, its convolutions caused a cyclonic storm over the Sahara, lifting huge quantities of dust into the stratosphere. Then the jet stream took that dust and warm air into the Arctic.

This is what that looks like:

Meandering polar jet stream visible in red colours, upper-level trough visible in blue (graph by ECMWF).

The warm air directly caused warmth as it settled down. What the dust is doing is even worse: it reduces the reflectance of the ice.

These kinds of unprecedented, subtle interactions are the reason that every prediction of the rate…

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Beautiful artwork in the sea – The Coralarium

This sculpture installation literally took my breath away.

You can read about the artwork and the artist on My OBT. Thanks Donna!

cheers

Meeks


The Stress Test – before & after?

I haven’t actually done the stress test yet, that joy happens this afternoon, but I find myself stressing about the stress test because:

This is how I imagine myself to be:

But this is how I fear I’ll be after the stress test!

-sigh-

What is a stress test?

Basically, it’s a way to test how your body works under conditions of stress. The stress is provided by a treadmill. The test is to see whether you drop dead after 10 minutes of running on the treadmill…

Back when I used to go to the gym, I could run for 20 minutes, on an incline and step off feeling pretty good. Now? Close to 20 years later? I’m dreading it, not least because I know that my vanity will make me try harder than I should at 65…

-sigh-

According to the ECG, my heart is fine. Yet despite that, my blood pressure is nudging the top of the normal range. Something has caused this change because for most of my life, my blood pressure never deviated from ‘average’.

So…the stress test. I just hope I don’t end up as wet and smelly as that labrador. 😦

Meeks

 


Autism – nature PLUS nurture?

‘A new study is offering a clue into the origins of the disorder by finding a single dysfunctional protein may be responsible for coordinating expression in all the genes that result in autism susceptibility.’

I took that quote from an article on autism research published by New Atlas. I strongly recommend reading the entire article but the gist is that:

  1. Researchers have found hundreds of genes implicated in the Autism Disorder spectrum, not just one ‘master’ gene.
  2. These genes are like switches that can be turned on or off.
  3. While these genes are ‘off’, the person may have a tendency towards autism, but they will not be autistic – i.e. there will be no symptoms of autism.
  4. There is a protein called CPEB4 which ‘…is vital in embryonic development, assisting with neuroplasticity and helping regulate the expression of certain genes during fetal brain development.’ In other words, this is a good protein.
  5. In mouse models, not enough of this protein leads to brain structures and behaviours that are characteristic of autism. In other words, the lack of this protein causes those autism-related genes to be switched on and the result is Autism-like behaviour.

Now, mouse models are just an approximation of the human condition, but they do lend support to the idea that autism is not just a genetic condition/disorder. Instead, it may well be a case of environment acting on an underlying pre-disposition. And if that is the case, then maybe one day we’ll be able to keep those Autism related genes switched off.

Have a great weekend,

Meeks

 


Smiling Quokka

Because sometimes, nothing but a quokka will do!

Click a picture to be taken to its ‘home’. And if you want more, just search for Quokka.

You’re welcome 🙂

Meeks

 

 

 


Trump – as seen from Russia

I don’t often post about Donald J Trump, but I just have to reblog this brilliant article by Ends and Beginnings because the perspective is so new, and chilling.

The perspective comes from a reporter by the name of Julia Davis who reports almost exclusively about Russia. The chill comes from what the Russian media says about Trump.

I really, really recommend you read the entire article:

https://endsandbeginningsblog.wordpress.com/2018/07/26/legacy/comment-page-1/#comment-11617

Meeks


Celebratory Giveaway!!!

My favourite Silversmith in the UK has just passed a major milestone with her work and she’s celebrating by holding a giveaway. Please visit her blog for details. Honestly, this woman is a very talented jeweller with a great eye and all the pieces are lovely!

DawnGillDesigns

I can’t really believe this happened – I have had my 300th customer on Etsy. Not my 300th sale – 300 people from all over the globe – that I didn’t know – have chosen to pay me for something I made.

I hoped I’d be able to make some sales, and I hoped to cover the start up costs incurred with a new business, but I didn’t really expect it to happen, especially as I haven’t done any of the things that people said I should – craft fairs, paid adverts on social media, traditional advertising, loss leaders, sales, coupons and the like.

I want to thank all the people who have supported me so far, so I’m running a giveaway.

Here’s how it’s going to work.

“You’ll be able to pick any one of these items, all of which are currently listed for sale in my Etsy shop*…

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