Seventh Archive
Items from 27 March to 4 August 2010

3 August to 4 August 2010

Sharon is on holiday and has found a new friend. All of us hope she brings him back to the office.

Sharon with her new friend

Total deterioration

This morning it was three degrees at Mackay Airport which is only a mile or so away
from my home. By the time I reached work the temperature was six degrees. This
situation is not appreciated. It is not possible for me to increase the heat in my water bed
and last night 32 degrees was not really hot enough. Where is spring?

Shoes for SPRING

Flower filled shoes for spring

Kittens looking forward to SPRING

Kittens looking forward to spring

27 July to 2 August 2010

An illustration of the pancreas

I enjoy putting photographs and diagrams of body organs on my site and today I have an excuse to put the pancreas on view to illustrate the story about a new drug, Galvus, which will help those who have type 2 diabetes.

The drug, which is about to be added to the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, can help with large reductions in blood sugar levels. At present, only a third of all the type 2 diabetes patients are able to reach their blood sugar level targets.

Dr Neale Cohen, of the Baker Institute in Melbourne said that if a patient's glucose level was high then the drug had a very strong action and if the glucose level was low the action of the drug was very small which Dr Cohen described as 'quite an advantage'.

Galvus may make a difference to a great many people as 1.5 million Australians have type 2 diabetes.

HOT August

I became over-excited yesterday, on the first day of August, when the temperatures climbed and I felt quite hot. This is an abnormal situation and it led to me taking an unheard of step, ie turning my waterbed down from the usual 32 degree winter setting to a mere 28 degrees.

Today I have reconsidered my utterly rash action and the bed is now warming back up to 32 degrees.

A photograph of wax

A photograph of wax

25 July to 26 July 2010

Map of kayak trip being undertaken by Jonathan Tolhurst

Friend Jonathan, who used to work for Mackay Division of General Practice, is on day 30 of his kayak trek from Land's End (the most westerley point of England) to John O'Groats (the most northerly point in Scotland), in a kayak. As you can see from the map part of his trip was overland along a system of canals.

This is from Jonathan's blog from a day or so ago. "On reaching Luce bay I headed to the Eastern corner where I got out of the boat. I pulled the boat across the sand flats, through some marshland, and into a forest where I chatted with two rather bemused sailors who couldn't quite believe what I was up to. I then dragged the boat along minor roads all the way to Stranraer. I hadn't had any breakfast or lunch so by the time I arrived into Stranraer I was literally on my knees. I dragged the boat a total of 14 kilometres!

Kazahkstan back again

Before I wrote about the Kazakhstan National Library building a few days ago, I had never heard of the place then, today, a story jumped out at me about a man who had pieces of his shin bone (from his amputated leg) made into an engagement ring. The man and his fiancee, both English, met in Kazakhstan.

I initially thought the entire ring was made out of bone, however the ring, which cost $2500, was perfectly normal (as it should be for that price) and was made of platinum with a quarter carat diamond. Two tiny bits of bone from the man's shin were inlaid beside the diamond.

Pretty Hong Kong tram

Red tram in Hong Kong

Thanks Denis

17 July to 24 July 2010

Last will and testament

At our recent link nurse education meeting at Mackay Division of General Practice we had an interesting talk by Greg Grinke, manager of the Mackay office of the Queensland Public Trustees Office. The information he provided included the necessity for everyone aged 18 and up to make a will, the implications of having an Enduring Power of Attorney, and the Advance Health Directive.

The Public Trustee is a large organisation which not only helps people to write wills, but acts for deceased estates, oversees a number of charitable trusts, provides auctions of cars, jewellery and furniture (as a result of acting for deceased estates), provides adult guardianship, and is the place to go to look for unclaimed money.

Skeleton in a coffin

Follow that tram!

Hong Kong tram

My father drove trams in Melbourne for many years - they were always green. When I lived in Hong Kong the double storey trams, which I used to catch to work at the Sunday Post Herald, were also green. Today, apparently, the trams in Hong Kong come in many colours and above is one painted in my favourite colour, yellow. Thanks to Denis for the photograph.

I've never put a video on my site before but theoretically, if I have put on the right code, you can go for a virtual tour on a Hong Kong tram through the video below.

I have removed the video of the Hong Kong tram ride as it was delaying loading of my site.

The tram system in Hong Kong began operations in 1904 although the system fell to pieces during the Japanese occupation. The trams, which operate on Hong Kong Island, are a tourist drawcard as well as transporting 240,000 residents every day. In early years the trams had a maximum speed of 40 km/h however today some can travel at 60 km/h.The double-deckers appeared in 1912. The first fleet of 26 trams was built in the United Kingdom and were then shipped, in pieces, to be assembled in Hunghum.

Take me to your leader

National Library of Kazakhstan

No, Diana, it is not a space machine but the design for one of the largest libraries in the world, the National Library of the Republic of Kazakhstan. When writing this blog I collect a great deal of research which I normally rewrite, however I am compelled to quote the following paragraph as it is such a wonderful example of architectural gobbledegoop.

"The two interlocking structures: the perfect circle and the public spiral, create a building that transforms from a horizontal organization where library museum and support functions are placed next to each other, to a vertical organization where they are stacked on top of each other through a diagonal organization combining vertical hierarchy, horizontal connectivity and diagonal view lines. By wrapping the transforming composition of spaces with a continuous skin we create a Mobius strip volume where the facades move from inside to outside and back again."

The library collection is made up of 5.5 million publications in 100 languages and include 25,000 rare books and manuscripts.

In case you are geographically challenged, Kazakhstan is in Eurasia and is the ninth largest country in the world. It has borders with Russia, China, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan and is home to 16.2 million people. It was the last Soviet republic to declare itself an independent country which it did on December 16, 1991.

14 July to 16 July 2010

As numerous conversations about shoes continue to take place at work it is high time I put some more photos here of shoes and Denis has sent me one to get me started. This is a very pretty red shoe which is also a motorcycle. I'd like to see anyone wear that to work!

Motorcycle shoe

If you're feeling hungry you could always eat this shoe.

Hamburger shoe

This is a weird sort of thong but if you're wearing it and anyone around you talks too much you can not only tell them to put a cork in it, you can demonstrate the phrase as well.

Cork shoe

I have just spent many minutes reading about the history of shoes. Obviously in caveman days there was a need to protect the foot and sort-of-sandals were worn which were made of plaited vegetation. Intricate designs began to appear when the Egyptian, Greek and Roman empires were in their hey day.

5 July to 13 July 2010

Dog shoots man

My sense of humour is somewhat black therefore I thoroughly enjoy news stories like this one where a dog shot his owner in the bottom. The man, who had been shooting pigs, had his loaded gun beside him on the back seat of a car when the dog stepped on the trigger. This article makes me think of the numerous stories over the years where idiot parents have loaded guns in their homes and where one child shoots another.

Apparently dogs often do to their owners what their owners do, with guns, to other animals. I had a quick scroogle search and found that three years ago a man in Iowa rested his loaded gun on the ground when retrieving a very dead pheasant. His dog then stood on the trigger and shot the man in the calf.

And earlier this year, also in the USA, a hunter of ducks put his shotgun on the ground while collecting decoy ducks. Guess what his black labrador did?

Leaning Tower of...

The leaning Capital Gate Tower

The leaning Tower of Pisa has quite a bit of competition these days, one building with a lean to it is the Capital Gate Tower in Abu Dhabi. The 35 storey tower, which rises to 160 metres, leans 18 degrees compared to the Tower of Pisa which only leans four degrees.

Every room in Capital Gate, which includes an hotel and office space, is different. There is absolutely no symmetry with every pane of glass also being different although that strains the imagination. The building includes a swimming pool on the 19th floor so people can not only put their heads under water but can also drown at a great height.

On one side is a shading device made of stainless steel which elimates thirty percent of the sun's heat.

Beware the sea cucumber

Beware the toothed sea cucumbers

Beware the Toothed Sea Cucumbers which have five teeth in a rather strange place. Should one of these dear little creatures moon you, you would be faced with five teeth which surround their anus. The sea cucumber does not eat with these teeth, they are to defend the creature against fish whose hobby is to swim into the anus to eat the intestines.

I had no idea sea cucumbers were so many, some 900 species, nor that they come not only in black, brown and olive, but also in bright colours and some are decorated with patterns. They range in size from an inch to more than a yard in length.

Very blue basketball court

Basketball court at Mackay State High School

This beautiful blue basketball court is a new addition to Mackay State High School.

3 July to 4 July 2010

Kial and Tamika

My grandson Kial is 18 today. Hope you have a wonderful year ahead. He is seen, above, with his girlfriend, Tamika.

28 June to 2 July 2010

Newspaper story on Jonathan Tolhurst's kayak trip

English friend, Jonathan Tolhurst, who used to work for the Mackay Division of General Practice, is up to day six on his marathon kayak trip from Lands End to John O'Groats. He spent the last six months planning for this trip and on June 26 he took delivery of the kayak at Sennen Cove, packed, and off he went.

He headed for England's only cape, Cape Cornwall and paddled along the coastline where he met two sharks just before he reached Porthereas Cove.

He continued to St Ives and onto Fishermans Cove where he ate a meal and 'hosted an impromptu nude photo shoot' as the beach was host to numerous naturists. On he went but needed assistance from a coastguard to guide him through the difficult-to-find entrance to Boswell. He reached Clovelly yesterday, July 1.

I asked him some months ago if he was taking his floaties which I had also asked him when he paddled another kayak from Mackay to Townsville a few years ago.

Jonathan Tolhurst upside down

Pet Gallery

My cat, Queenie, resting

Queenie, resting

My dog, Willow, resting

Willow, resting

25 June to 27 June 2010

Philosophy for children

I am clearly failing my grandchildren. I have given them numerous books over the years and there are more here for them when they visit, butI have never given them a book on philosophy.

Children's publisher, Milan, has produced 34 philosophical works, called Les Gouters Philos, which are specifically for children aged 8 and upwards. One would think these books would remain unsold on shelves however they have been translated in 18 languages and in France alone more than 900,000 copies have been sold.

The books go hand in hand with children's parties of course. Called philosophical teas, they are being held not only in libraries and at schools and in cafes, but are also being run by families who consider children from the age of six are more than ready to discuss philosophical ideas.

The collection has proved so popular that Milan has brought out a second series, aimed at six to eight-year-olds and other publishers are now doing the same thing.

A photograph of a shoe which is almost a catastrophe

A pussycat in a shoe

23 June to 24 June 2010

During the past few years those of us at Mackay Division for General Practice have had the pleasure, on various occasions, to meet with auditor Judith Robson during her regular visits for our ISO 9001:2008 certification. This week we not only saw Judith, but also her sister, Margaret, who is also involved in auditing.

Liz, with sisters Margaret and Judith

Liz with Margaret and Judith

Judith, who was previously CEO of both the Institute for Healthy Communities Australia Ltd and the Institute for Healthy Communities Australia Certification Pty Ltd, had a break from running the organisations for a few years but from 1 July will be CEO once again. She has worked extensively all over Australia as a consultant, trainer and lead auditor.

The sisters, and their brother, John, who runs a restaurant in Strathalbyn, originally came from Canberra. Margaret, who worked there for some years, wanted a change of direction and moved physically to Strathalbyn and joined a business enterprise where a wide assortment of grapes are grown on 400 acres including shiraz, pinot noir, cabernet savignon, chardonnay and merlot. She undertook a course in audit work and is also involved in auditing a variety of organisations including those funded by HACC.

Judith lives in Brisbane and is also involved in volunteer work for community groups. She has just returned from six months living in France at Eymet which is a bastide town. The site had been occupied during Roman times and in 1270 was founded by Alphonse of Poitiers when it became part of a defensive strategy against the English. The town includes the remains of fortified walls and a castle.


Cousins Katrina and Caitlin

Katrina (left) and her cousin, Caitlin, will leave Mackay tomorrow for a two week visit to India with a school group.I hope they have a very enjoyable time.

19 June to 22 June 2010

Michael's turn

Michael's birthday

And this time it is the turn of my son-in-law, Michael, to have his photo on my website. The middle of the year is a very busy birthday time for our family. Best wishes to Michael for the coming year. As you can see from the photograph, I have a long way to go with my work on the extraction tool in Photoshop. My fine motor skills are not the best.

New frog!

Pinocchio Frog a new discovery

Being a frog tragic I am always ecstatic to read about a new discovery. The Pinocchio Frog, a tree frog, was discovered by Paul Oliver in the Foja Mountains in Papua New Guinea. The fascinating nose is quite mobile and points upwards when it calls for a mate. This frog is a member of the Australasian tree frogs, Litoria genus.

Conservation International and the National Geographic Society jointly ran the expedition which also discovered a new imperial pigeon plus a dozen other new mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects and birds. The isolation of the Foja area has meant numerous species have been able to evolve in peace.

Imperial Pigeon

New discovery, the Imperial Pigeon

13 June to 18 June 2010

Peggy with birthday flowers

Peggy is 93

Happy birthday, from her extended family in Mackay, to my dear mother-in-law, Peggy, who is 93 on Saturday, June 19.

Sunset in Mackay

Sunset in Mackay

We have some beautiful sunsets in Mackay, and above is one of them.

Eat chocolate

A very pretty heart

Some interesting Dutch research, which revolved around 470 healthy elderly men, showed that the one third of people in the trial who consumed the largest amounts of cocoa, (an average of 4.2 grams per day), had a 45% to 50% lower death rate than the one-third of men who did not consume any cocoa. Much of the cocoa was consumed as chocolate bars and boxed chocolate. Only 4 % was consumed as cocoa drinks. The four grams of cocoa equals two to three squares of chocolate.

The Heart Foundation, which encourages people to eat fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, as well as warm black or green tea, also suggests high polyphenol cocoa and chocolate may not only increase endothelial function (which is good) they will also reduce both systolic blood pressure and platelet reactivity.

For a healthy heart people should not drink more than five cups of coffee a day, and the drink should not be boiled, nor be prepared in a plunger. The maximum for alcohol is no more than two standard alcoholic drinks per day.

The Heart Foundation does not consider supplements of vitamin E, or combinations of antioxidant supplements, will prevent cardiovascular disease. So just eat chocolate.

6 June to 12 June 2010

Scott Green from LifeTec

Living at home, when you have health problems, can be difficult but LifeTec is on hand to provide help. Scott Green, the community development and marketing officer, says LifeTec provides information and specialist advice on a wide range of assistive technology.

With display centres in both Townsville and Brisbane, the organisation has some 1500 items for people to chose from and the database includes 6000 items.

Mandy and Liz woman the MDGP stand at the conference

Mandy and Liz woman the MDGP stand

Scott was in attendance at the Rural Doctors Association of Queensland's 21st annual conference which is being held at the Mackay Entertainment and Convention Centre. A number of us from the Mackay Division of General Practice took turns to man our information stall which was one of several dozen and which represented all areas of health.

The RDAQ, which is a not for profit organisation representing the interests of rural doctors and communities throughout Queensland, began in 1989.Under discussion at the conference were a variety of issues including the impact of the Federal health reforms on rural health services.

Whipping them in to shape

Conference attendee with whip

The gentleman above came to the conference with his whip! Which he cracked when quite close to our MDGP stand. Liz and I certainly straightened up and tried out best to shape up.

When a room is not a room

Eat this room

The room above is completely made of cake. I am stunned that clearly so much time has gone into making every item in the room when it could be eaten and demolished in minutes.

1 June to 5 June 2010

Lavarack Turtle

The Lavarack Turtle

The son of one of my work colleagues, whose surname is Lavarack, had the delightful experience of seeing the rare Lavarack turtle (Elseya lavarckorum) during his time in the Mt Isa region. This turtle, which was thought to be extinct since the ice age 15,000 years ago, was rediscovered in the late 1990's in north Queensland.

This fascinating creature breathes through its bottom, otherwise known as the (multi-purpose) cloaca which includes gill-like sacs, reproductive organs and an anus.

Stinkpot Turtle

The Stinkpot Turtle

Weird things, turtles, another turtle, known as the common musk turtle or stinkpot turtle (Sternotherus odoratus) breathes underwater through its tongue. Golly, aren't humans boring.

Some Shoes for a Change

As a slight change from spiders, snails and turtles, here are a pair of shoes. Very efishent ones.

Fishy footwear

It's not clean-up time

Fixating too much on keeping families healthy may not be a good thing. A decade ago there were a dozen or so household products which contained antibacterial agents however today there are more than 700! While such products have a valuable use, particularly in hospitals, they are now being added to ordinary products although no added health benefit has ever been shown by their use.

It is suspected that the relatively recent increase of surface antibacterial agents into homes may contribute to the present global health issue where, due to misuse of antibiotics, bacteria have developed a strong resistance.

People buy these antibacterial products because they think they help to protect the health of their families. The range of products now includes such items as antibacterial chopsticks and window cleaners.


Good old E.coli, discovered in 1885 by German bacteriologist Theodor Escherich, which is used widely in laboratories throughout the world.

27 May to 31 May 2010

Golden Orb Spider

The golden orb spider

Above is the golden orb spider (nephila komaci) which is the first species in the Nephila genus to be described in the past 131 years. I like spiders but I would prefer not to come across this one as their webs are often greater than one metre across.

Snails on Crystal Meth

Poor little pond snail

And from spiders it is an easy step to talk about snails who have been the totally unfortunate guinea pigs in a trial run by the Washington State University. The trial involved pond snails(Lymnaea stagnalis) being dumped in pond water spiked with methamphetamine and then being poked by sticks. Where was the SPCA or don't they have such a thing in the USA? When I dug two very large ponds and stocked them with snails I was entranced by their behaviour.

The trial was to prove that memories formed under the influence of meth, a highly addictive drug, are harder to forget than memories which are formed when one (or a snail in this case) has not been taking drugs.

Poor little snails, I wonder if they were given any treatment to help them get through withdrawal?

19 May to 26 May 2010

Palliative Care Centre team from Townsville

My photographic skills have deteriorated unfortunately as you can see from my photographs from the recent Mackay Division of General Practice Palliative Care workshop. Above are the four members of the Townsville Palliative Care Centre who made a flying visit to Mackay on Saturday to present a large audience with a full day workshop. The appreciative audience included GPs, residential aged care staff, allied health professionals and nurses from domicillary care organisations and private practices.

Doctors Kerrie Vaughan and Helen Archibald

Mackay oncologist/palliative care physician, Dr Kerrie Vaughan (left) spoke about enhanced understanding of symptom management. Dr Helen Archibald (right) facilitated the event which was wonderfully catered by Zest.

Dr Will Cairns, who led the Townsville Palliative Care Centre team, opened and closed the workshop and inbetween his team members, Debbie D'Urso (NUM), Alisha Chand (occupational therapist), and Rosemarie Labuschayne (social worker), provided a series of presentations which covered current developments in palliative care, the practice of palliative care, looking at function at the end of life, and improved communication.

Part of the workshop audience

Palliative care workshop attendees

Quick thinking

I was very happy today to learn about a new study, being run by the University of Adelaide, into whether having a mind that works quickly can benefit the quality of people's life as they age. The happiness came about because I had a wonderful image, of a brain, and with this story I can finally use it.

Researchers are looking for 200 women who are aged 60 and over for the new study. Professor Ted Nettelbeck is concerned that people who are slow thinkers may be at risk of problems with everyday functioning, as well as have memory issues, as they age. Women who apply to take part will undertake a cognitive task and will be asked to fill out a questionnaire.

A human brain without the human

Much of Professor Nettelbeck's research has involved the development and application of measures of timed performance, like inspection time and reaction time, to the study of individual differences in information processing. He is interested in determining whether the ability to think quickly has the potential as a biomarker for functional ageing.

14 May to 18 May 2010

Gouda cheese enhances the immune system

As we grow older it appears we can help to both preserve and enhance our immune systems by eating probiotic cheese, such as gouda, every day. Dr Fandi Ibrahim from the University of Turku in Finland said it was important to look for new ways in which to thwart the immune system and as probiotic bacteria were known to enhance the immune system it had now been shown probiotic cheese had the same effect.

Old age brings about immunosenescene which is when the immune system begins to deteriorate thus enabling tumour cells to proliferate. The discovery about the value of probiotic cheese followed a trial where aged care residents ate either a placebo or probiotic Gouda cheese each morning for four weeks. The results revealed that the residents who ate the probiotic cheese had dramatically increased the number of white blood cells which fight infection.

Rats live on no evil star

I have loved palindromes for decades and for a time I was only aware of "Madam, I'm Adam" and the familiar "A man, a plan, a canal - Panama" then one night I read "Rats live on no evil star" and it became my favourite.

The English writer, Ben Jonson, coined the term palindrome back in the 1600's and while most of us think of words and phrases which are spelled the same way forwards and backwards, the word can also relate to numbers or a sequence of units. While the term palindrome is only four hundred years old, palindromes themselves date way back to 79 AD as a Latin word square was buried by ash that year at the Herculaneum.

Apparently Haydn's Symphony No 47 is known as the palindrome as the third movement of the piece goes forward twice, and backwards twice, and ends up back at the beginning.

Go hang a salami! I'm a lasagne hog.
Sit on a potato pan, Otis.
Stack cats


Palindrone. Ooops.

Sorry about that pun.

12 May to 13 May 2010

Interesting fungus thing

I found the interesting fungus thing, above, in my garden today. And I have just discovered, thanks to Wikipedia, that fairly recently fungi were granted their very own kingdom as opposed to the plant kingdom of which they were assumed to be a part for centuries. Apparently fungi diverged from the plant kingdom about one billion years ago.

Shattered secret garden

Shattered secret garden

Every now and then I wander into my secret garden but it is such a mess since Cyclone Ului that I rarely do more than pick up a dead palm frond, sigh a lot, and turn right around.

My library is in a mess

My messy library

During the past few years I have constantly bought books, often from the university and library book sales, and also from garage sales. As my original library was made up of tightly packed but very well ordered books, I simply put the new ones on top of shelves. I have now begun the huge task of getting it back into sections, each one in alphabetical order. Unfortunately I keep being distracted and to date have only sorted the Virginia Woolf/Bloomsbury books. This could become my new life's mission. Along with photographing the frogs in my house.

Small tidied section of my library

A tidy part of the library

5 May to 11 May 2010

Michael and hot rocks

A year ago I featured a photograph of Michael, at our mother's day dinner, eating hot rocks steak and, as he ordered exactly the same thing this year, I thought I would include another photograph.

Creative Commons

In the left hand column is a new logo, that of the Creative Commons licence. This means anyone can copy any of the text or any of the photographs, but if they are being used on another site, credit should be given to me.

A very different pair of shoes

Another pair of weird shoes

There are two questions, firstly how do they stay on, and secondly, why would anyone in their right mind wear anything that looks so uncomfortable?

Forest Spiral

Forest Spiral building in Germany

This building, known as the Forest Spiral at Darmstadt in Germany,features a landscaped courtyard which includes a running stream. There are 105 apartments on the site plus a restaurant in a turret. The architect, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, is an Austrian architect and painter who is well known for his designs which incorporate organic shapes.

29 April to 4 May 2010

This is a Cock-A-Poo

Above is a cross between a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle, and therefore a Cock-A-Poo. These designer dogs have breed names that are rather sad, not only the Cock-A-Poo, but also Doodle (Dachshund and Poodle), and Schnoodle (Schnauzer and Poodle).

Pam and Glenis

Pam and Glenis

Pam Savage, a multi-talented woman from CQU, was the guest speaker at our recent link nurse education night. Pam spoke to the nurses a year ago and was so well-received the link nurses asked particularly for her to speak a second time.

Pam, who is the author of Legal Issues for Nursing Students, published by Pearson, is the Mackay Campus Coordinator, School of Nursing. She is also a Barrister of the Supreme Court of New South Wales. Pam has an extensive background in clinical nursing, education and remote area nursing.

April in May

April in May

I meant to run the photograph of April last month so I could use the heading, April in April, but I forgot.

26 April to 28 April 2010

Heather's Birthday

Happy birthday Heather

I hope my sister-in-law Heather has a wonderful birthday today.

Interesting fact about websites

Web users spend 69% of their time viewing the left half of the page and 30% viewing the right half. What a dismal fact for me when I consider the left hand side of my page is the skinny column and most of the interesting stuff is on the right hand side.

25 April 2010

Tung Chung

Tung Chung

People have lived in Tung Chung, on Lantau Island in Hong Kong, for more than 1000 years. In the past Tung Chung was a rural village but today it is one of the new towns and is expected to have a population of a quarter of a million people when the building program is completed. Denis McCarthy took the photographs when he visited Hong Kong.

Nearby is one of the world's largest seated outdoor bronze Buddha statues, the Big Buddha, which is 112 feet tall. This particular Buddha symbolises the harmonious relationship between man and nature. Visitors to the statue need to be fit as they have to climb 268 steps to get to the top.

The Big Buddha

The Big Buddha on Lantau Island

Brain training software is not all it is cracked up to be

During the past few years special brain-training software has been a hit with people of all ages however a recent study by the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, UK, showed people who spent the same amount of time to surf the web made the same "modest cognitive gains".

A total of 11,000 volunteers underwent tests to gauge their reasoning ability and verbal and spatial memory and then spent six weeks either working with the brain-training programs or alternatively, they surfed the web.

A second round of cognitive tests six weeks later showed similar results for both groups. One conclusion was that the special software only made people better at those specific tasks on which they had been working.

18 April to 24 April 2010

I have been having a lot of fun today with coding. It happened because I had really admired several website designs my son, Nick, had done and when my sister-in-law, Heather, sent me some great photographs, I worked away and came up with this new page.

Imogen and Nick Marry

Imogen Young and Nick Wood marry

My niece Imogen has married Nick in Melbourne and many members of the family attended.

14 April to 17 April 2010

Nakagin Capsule Tower in Tokyo

This fascinating building, the Nakagin Capsule Tower in Tokyo, is fourteen storeys high and is made up of 140 prefabricated capsules stacked at angles around a central core. Each capsule is a self-contained living unit with kitchen facilities and a bathroom.

It was designed by Kisho Kurokawa and has two interconnected concrete towers. The capsules, which are eight feet by 12 feet in size were aimed at bachelors. The capsules were built off-site and included all the interior fittings and utilities before being shipped to the site. Any capsule can be removed without affecting any of the others.

The tower, which has been in use since 1972 is now deteriorating and plans have been afoot to have it demolished.

A living capsule in the Nakagin Capsule Tower in Tokyo

Nakagin Capsule Tower in Tokyo

Fascinating Facts about Flying Foxes

There has been a furore about flying foxes in the Mackay region for some time and I thought it high time that I found out more about them. I had no idea that baby flying foxes adhere to a nipple in the underarm of the mother and even when they are flying the baby does not fall off as it has teeth that face backwards!

And I look at my dog Willow, who is a very bright dog, and find it hard to believe the flying foxes could be more intelligent than he is. Going back to baby flying foxes, from the moment of birth they need eye contact with the mother or they die. One assumes this not a continuing need as the mother would find it difficult to see where she is flying while maintaining eye contact with an infant attached to the nipple in her underarm area.

Flying Fox

Photoshop is not an easy program to learn but once you have mastered the basics it can be a lot of fun to try out different exercises. I have always enjoyed the look (but not the feel) of many textures and below are photographs of strawberries, the first one of which has been placed behind a bark texture and the second behind material.

Strawberries in bark Strawberries in material

10 April to 13 April 2010

Dog yawning

A yawn is so contagious,that by now, having read the top lines you should be yawning. I am yawning and I am doing the writing, and the yawning. And more yawning. I read a study (Joly-Mascheroni, Senju and Shepherd) which suggested dogs are infected by the sight of humans when they yawn. My daughter-in-law and I tried this out on my dog but he wasn't the best subject. The idea is that dogs, by yawning in sympathy with humans, are showing empathy. By reading on further, I discovered that in order for humans to make dogs yawn, the human yawns need to be real yawns. As we all know, you only need to do a few fakes ones and you end up doing lots of real ones. I need to go to bed now.

And the word for the day has to be pandiculation which is when you yawn and stretch at the same time. I am yawning away but it is difficult to stretch when typing. A later study into yawning suggests that it reduces oxygen intake which is probably why I might faint at any moment. I wonder if my dog, Willow, who is lying at my feet, will empathise with that and faint as well?

7 April to 9 April 2010

Kansas City Library parking garage

When I first saw this building I thought it was the actual USA Kansas City Public Library but then discovered it was the parking garage for the library. The people of the city were asked to pick influential books and they became the design for the garage with the idea being to inspire people to use the library.

Banana Benders

Bananas behind frosted glass

I am a Queenslander these days, and have been for the past almost 29 years, so that qualifies me to be a banana bender. I had fun with the above image which combines a perfectly normal photograph of bananas with a texture overlay of frosted glass. Photoshop opens up a whole new world and makes one look at all photographs in newspapers, magazines and online, in quite a new way.

Wedding Anniversary

Thomas Mann and Merlyn Dudley 71st wedding anniversary

My parents, Thomas Mann and Merlyn Dudley, married 71 years ago on April 8. The matron of honour was Mum's sister, Daisy Roughsedge. The best man may have been Dad's friend, Angus Molloy.

6 April 2010

I am feeling quite guilt stricken. Just because I am surrounded by mad co-workers who are fixated on shoes does not mean I should seek out the most repulsive shoes known to man and put them on this site where my colleagues see them causing them to become, to use an expression I would not normally use, grossed out.

So to make up here are two pretty (expensive probably) pairs of shoes.

Pretty purple/pink shoes Pretty gold shoes

And happy birthday to David

Happy birthday David

3 April to 5 April 2010

Shoes that look like feet

These are shoes!

Once more my mind boggles, firstly over the fact that someone would even think to make shoes that look like feet, and secondly, that there might be people out there who would wear them. These are also for all the women at work who have a shoe fetish, but while there was a contender for the elephant dung shoes, I doubt those above would suit anyone. I very much hope not anyway.

Weird building

Weird building at Sopot, Poland

31 March to 2 April 2010


I am totally discombobulated. For the first time in decades I forgot to buy a second newspaper the day before Good Friday. I also do this the day before xmas day and then I hide the newspaper in the garden and I find it on the public holiday. I even added it to my list but forgot to read the list. I think I am still in recovery mode from two eye operations and a cyclone in such a short space of time.

So two cat photographs to cheer me up. Above is Snoopy and below is Gizmo on one of her visits.



I have a house full of frogs. When I decided to recode and expand this website, I decided to add a photographic page showing all the frogs in my house. What a dimwit! I have now completed the toilet and almost completed the bathroom and there are already close on 20 frogs! I look around the rest of the house and realise this may be a project which will outsee me. My Frog a Day page is now waiting for you.

28 to 30 March 2010

Shoes made of elephant dung

The photograph of the very interesting shoes, above, is especially for all the mad women at work who are fixated on footwear. The shoes were designed by UK artist insa who felt ten inch heels went wonderfully with balls of elephant dung. Words almost fail me, but not sufficiently that I couldn't use a pun for the heading.

Teapot service station

And here we have a service station which has gone to pot.

At 88 years of age this service station is holding up well. It is to be found in the United States at the town of Zillah in Washington State. The building, by architect Jack Ainsworth, was prepared as a political statement. A scandal involving then president Warren Harding, known as the Teapot Dome Scandal, sent the interior secretary to prison after he leased government oil reserves. While this building is thought to be the oldest service station in the United States, it sadly no longer operates.

27 March 2010

Dale's birthday

Happy birthday to my brother Dale

This is the first time I have wished anyone a happy birthday when I have had amazing eyesight.

8th archive 6th archive

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This page was updated by Diana Kupke (Diana Mann) on 8 January 2024