Thursday, 25 February 2010

Emma has a virus so you'd better stay away. Its a particularly unpleasant version that makes your joints very painful so you really dont want to catch it.

I can barely walk, but I limped to uni anyway because I had a compulsary tutorial on data handling this morning. I think I'll spend all weekend watching dvds and hopefully I'll be able to get rid of it before next week.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

We're all going on a summer holiday....

Summer - a time for holidays.

Unfortunately, the more grown-up you get, the less holidays you're allowed. Except, of course, for uni students. Undergrads get more holidays than even school kids. Unfortunately, I'm no longer an undergrad. This summer my holidays were only just a week long over Christmas. And Christmas seems a long time ago now.

So I've had to fit all my holidaying around my uni work and try to get as much of the important summer holiday activities in as possible. Summer holidays should involve some of each of these activities: swimming, fishing, boating, camping, snorkeling, beach combing, roadtrips, and bbqs. I am now happy to say that I have managed to fit in some of each.

I have been well over the required amount of beach combing for quite some time now, as that is all I have spent my summer doing - walking along beaches, sitting down and watching birds. The others have all been a bit more of a problem to fit in. I am still not satisfied with the amount of snorkeling, but everything else I am very proud to say I have managed to achieve (although, I would most definitely not complain if I got to do more of any of them). Roadtripping has also not been hard to fit in as I have been carting various friends and relations all around the east coast to go beaching with me, and, of course, I have had plenty of bbqs as well, so its really swimming, fishing, boating, and camping that have been the challenge.

The last two weekends have been fabulous for crossing off my list of summer activities. The weekend before last, I joined my family down the peninsula visiting my extended family. My Uncle Charlie had already taken Dad fishing in Fortescue that morning which was apparently spectacular with dolphins and seals, but they decided to go out again a bit closer to home and try for some flathead. So I tagged along (surprising Uncle Charlie slightly as he was expecting Rob to want to come instead) and went with them and my cousin Dain (Uncle Charlie's youngest son). Uncle Charlie's boat is exactly the sort of boat I like - not huge, but big enough that you can stand up and move around easily. I always love just being out on the water in any sort of boat so I enjoyed it immensely. Uncle Charlie even slowed down as we went past the Cormorants so I could have a look (we were going quite fast. I like going fast). Uncle Charlie caught the first fish and it was an absolutely tiny little white bait, but they got much bigger after that. I caught 11 flathead and Dad and Dion and caught some each as well. Uncle Charlie spent most of his time cleaning the fish we caught so we didn't have to stop and do it on the way home. The sunset was really beautiful as we went back to the jetty, too.

Last weekend, I saw my family again. This time we went camping at Lagoons Beach north of Bicheno. I was already up the coast doing fieldwork so I spent the Friday on the beach at Swansea and then went up to meet Mum and Dad and set up camp. Rob and Clinton came too, but they didn't get there until bedtime. We went for a walk on the beach on Friday night while we were waiting for the boys to arrive and found (much to my delight) that the microbes in the sand were luminescing (glowing in the dark). Bioluminescence is a natural phenomena that I have now been lucky enough to see twice, although the first time was much more impressive because there was much more. The microbes luminesce when they are disturbed so at the edge of the swash where the waves are hitting the shore it glows. You can also get them to glow by disturbing the wet sand by running along it and jumping and dancing. That was the highlight of our walk along the beach. The lowlight (for me, Mum has a different lowlight) was when I dropped my phone in the water. Thankfully, my wonderful Daddy was on hand to help dry it out and it survived the ordeal.

On Saturday we went for a drive into Bicheno to go for a swim at the beach where I have wanted to swim all summer (Mum and I had gone swimming there a couple of days before when she was beaching with me, but it wasn't enough). The waves were awesome for body surfing and we all had an amazing time. Rob, Clinton, and I went back on Sunday after we had packed up camp.

(picture of the beach we went swimming at stolen from Rob)

Unfortunately, the waves that were so awesome for bodysurfing in the sheltered bay, were not very cooperative for surf fishing in the much more exposed Lagoons Beach where we were camping, but we still had a go. The waves also meant it was too rough to snorkel around the rocks between Diamond Island and Denison Beach :(

The only other uncooperative things were the fire nazis who wouldn't let us have a campfire and the possum who decided to piddle on Clinton's tent and Mum's leg because it was sick of me shining my torch in its eyes.

So, there you are - my summer holidays. I promise my next post will have lots of lovely pictures to look at and not so many pesky words to read.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Update - the big news of the week

Ok, here is the big news in my life at the moment.

My research proposal is finally completed and submitted. Yay! All that stress, late nights, and Saturdays spent at uni are now over. At least for now. I don't even want to consider whats going to happen when I'm trying to finish my thesis. At least with my thesis, though, I can devote my time fully to it rather than trying to fit it in around spending most of time doing fieldwork up the coast. Anyway, back to the topic at hand.

With the stress of the research proposal now gone, field work has returned to being quite enjoyable. Apart from the weather, that is. The weather has been ridiculous. It hasn't been really hot, but it has been so humid that it is stifling anyhow. Look, this is Denison beach. See the mist? That's been almost constant for the past two weeks. Its not quite so bad at Swansea, but its still insane.

Last Friday, Moose and I finally managed to get our hands on the night vision binoculars and see what my little birdies do at night. The cloud cover was initially a problem, but that eventually cleared and the NVBs were awesome. Turns out my little birdies do exactly the same thing at night as they do during the day which is pretty awesome (especially considering that its a brand new scientific discovery never before published). It also turns out that Moose and I can manage to spend an entire night without trying to kill each other which I personally think is the more surprising discovery out of the two. Apart from the cloudiness and it getting rather cold, the only problem we had was a car load of drunken idiots going skinny dipping, but they didn't even notice we were there so it wasn't actually a problem.

Also big news, I have a new favourite word- "smef". Smef is a creation of Douglas Adams and should probably actually be written as S.M.E.F., but I like it better as smef. Smef stands for spontaneous massive existence failure, and describes perfectly that Friday I had two weeks ago that I don't want to talk about. Its also useful for such sentences as:
"I think it's smeffed!" which means "I think its suffered a spontaneous massive existence failure" or in the colloquial - "Its stuffed."
also "What in the smef is going on here?"
and simply "Smef!"

Unfortunately, 'smef' was the best part of Starship Titanic if you ask me (which you didn't). It definitely doesn't display Douglas Adams' genius in the same way as Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy does. It was still very useful as something to listen to while I was driving up and down the coast this week, though, as I have very sadly now run out of the Sherlock Holmes audio books Rob burnt me. Its quite disappointing really, but I guess all good things must come to an end. As has now, this post.

New Neighbour...

Most of you would remember a woman at uni that, during the final year of my degree, latched on to myself and my friend Megan, made our time at uni almost unbearable, and almost completely ruined our reputations and our relationships with both our colleagues and the faculty. It eventually got so bad that Megan and I would actually hide from her during lunch to avoid having to deal with her.

When this woman graduated (without flying colors, I feel compelled to add) and went up to Launceston to do her honours on something boring about squid, Megan and I were overjoyed that we would never have to deal with her again. Of course, I hadn't thought about the fact that I still have family and friends in Launceston and that they might have to deal with her instead. She then proceeded to embed herself into the life of one of them, and did her best to completely ruin it. At this point, I completely ran out of all Christian love and compassion towards this woman, and really, really hoped that it would be the last I ever heard of her.

But, alas, it was not to be. On Saturday I went in to my office at uni to work on my research proposal and there, in the office next to mine that had been empty since Malcom finished his thesis, was the woman herself. I nearly screamed. I said 'hi', but then immediately got to work and put my headphones on to discourage any conversation with her - I know from personal experience that if you show this woman the tiniest bit of friendliness, she can completely take over your life.

I assumed that she must have returned to do her PhD, but found out later from one of my friends that she had never finished her honours in Launceston and had come back down here to have another go. This made me feel a little better - I would finish my honours before she could finish hers. There is something about her that just makes me want to be better than her at everything and take her down a peg. Megan and I had both felt this way and it gave us a reason to work extra hard on all our assignments, and whenever we got a chance to compare results with her all the extra hard work paid off.

Competitiveness had worked as a coping strategy with her before, so I decided that I would use it again. Rather than despair that she had come straight back into my life, I decided to use it to my advantage. Everyday that I sit in that desk next to her will become a competition - who gets to uni first, who makes the most productive typing-like noises, who stays longer etc. I have the immediate advantage for two reasons: I actually know that we're competing and she doesn't (although it is in her nature to be competitive about everything anyway) and she has to take a smoke break every hour or so (or at least she used to and I'm assuming she wont have quit). It probably isn't the best strategy for dealing with anyone, but its going to have to do until I can muster any feeling of kindness, compassion, or brotherly love towards her and deal with her in a more Christian way.


My cherry tomatoes are finally ripening! And they're really yummy :)

Friday, 5 February 2010


The other day I was at uni when I overheard a conversation between two of my colleagues that share the office with me. One of the two had recently submitted a paper for publication in a scientific journal and had just received a rejection letter. The other apparently has more experience in having papers rejected than anyone in the building and so had been the natural choice for the first to come to for some sympathy and commiseration. The conversation ran in such a way that it reminded me of this piece of pure awesomeness and I thought I should share it with you all in case you have yet to see it.

Dirty, stinky smoker, but comic genius.

"Here have this basket of stuff and stay for the weekend."