Sunday, 28 July 2013

Darwin Show 2013

This sand sculpture was the first thing we saw after entering the showgrounds.  It was huge.
We have some interesting artists around here.
Yesterday we went to the Royal Darwin Show. It was interesting and fun. Now I am motivated to do more in my community, like the people who entered various events and categories. In past years I have entered cooking, and craft. My daughter has competed in many equestrian events in other years.

The ring events were mesmerising. I love the equestrian events and the polocrosse was quite exciting too. There were demonstrations of skillful driving and a Beaut Ute competition. The Grand Parade was a bit short but still interesting.

I enjoyed seeing the animals especially the Brahmin cattle exhibited by the students from Taminmin High School. Every year the standard seems to be higher. Wonderful teachers and students at that school.

The horticulture was well supported and this display of large pumpkins was impressive.

The orchids were fabulous, which was amazing because the Orchid Spectacular was just a few weeks ago. I thought most exhibitors for this section would have concentrated on that event rather than the Show.

Loved the birds. So many types of parrots.

My husband was really interested in the patchwork and quilting. The standard was very high. Somehow I do not think I will ever be able to achieve that.
The clothing was good. I know I can do dressmaking to an equally high standard if I put my mind to it.

The cooking was dull, although there were many many entries in the Junior Cookery categories. Cake icing is not easy here in this climate. No chocolates or confectionery at all.

We did not go on any rides or spend money in Sideshow Alley. I did buy a deep fried potato on a stick. Maybe it was called a tornado? It tasted better with a lot of salt, but it was fun to eat.

Our favourite part was a show called The Canadian Lumberjacks. Great entertainment. Free.

Saul's Mouse Circus was fun to watch. The mice were on a table, not a cage and they ran about on different wheels and ladders. Kids of all ages were spellbound. Free entertainment.

It was a good day out and the admission price was reduced for Seniors like me and my husband. The City Council provided free bus transport to the showgrounds, but we took our car. Parking was very well organised and trucks sprayed water all day to keep the dust under control.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Daughters

I have a daughter and once I was one too. There is an ad on TV lately where a mother listens to her teenage daughter pontificating about porridge. Mum is tolerant. I was not. So when a young friend sent me this poster I burst out laughing. Hopefully you will chuckle too.


 (Shhh We do not want to hear about sisters and aunties being perfect!!! Ever.)

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Burn test for fabrics

I enjoy sewing and sometimes I am good at it. Hidden in various places in my home are many pieces of fabric. Many. Some can be easily identified as silk or polyester or cotton or something else. Sometimes that matters and sometimes not. I came across some terrific information for testing the content of fabrics. The same test can be used for knitting yarns.

http://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/31497/how-to-identify-fabrics-with-a-burn-test

When you alter garments
the fabric choice is very important.
On that page you will find a short video of how to do the basic test, a downloadable chart of how to interpret the results, and some excellent comments from people who have used the test.

One knitter wrote:  I've used burn tests many times. It is invaluable. I've used it a lot to test knitting yarns where I've lost/misplaced the label. It's really helpful to know whether the yarn is wool or not!

An experiences stitcher wrote: Using a shot glass with a tablespoon of bleach is also a good way to test if a fabric is a purely proteinous fibre -- silk or wool (as opposed to a plant fibre such as cotton or linen). 


I do not sew this well.
Chlorine bleach will dissolve protein so if you put a little piece of silk in a tablespoon of bleach (I use a shot glass) and look hours later, the fabric will be gone! (Which is why you never use chlorine bleach to clean a silk garment.) Not so with a piece of polyester, which will still be in the shot glass no matter how long you leave it.

The trouble comes when fibres are blends. It's much more difficult to tell blends with a burn test, at least that has been my experience.


I thought this comment was also informative if you sew for charities: I belong to a quilt group and I am the Tester. We get donated fabric and we also make items to be donated. Some places only will take things made out of 100% cotton, for instance Ronald McDonald House. We have made pillowcases for them several times, and I test the fabric for them so as to make sure it is 100% cotton.


The photos I have used here all come from the Threads Magazine pages and were submitted by various readers of that magasine. That website is a valuable resource if you sew.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Taxing time

Today I visited our accountant and had my Income Tax return prepared. Big sigh of relief.

This year I should get something back. Should. Hope.

What is in it for me? Does my tax money really make this country better for my family? Yes, road, rail and other services are paid from government revenue. Yes, somebody must pay for the Defence Force. Yes, Centrelink benefits for the needy must come from somewhere. Yes, hospitals and medical services are provided by the government, although not quite enough. The list goes on.

Why does it all seem so scary?

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Engineer Jokes

Are you an engineer? Do you have a daughter or son or husband or other family member who is an engineer? Several of my friends are engineers. Delightful and clever people indeed. Meticulous.

I hope they can laugh at these jokes because I think they are really funny.

(Yes, it is a sort of discrimination and probably considered offensive in some circles. I am not sure why actually, except that all workers should be treated with respect.)

Understanding Engineers #1

Two engineering students were biking across a university campus when one said, "Where did you get such a great bike?"
The second engineer replied, "Well, I was walking along yesterday, minding my own business, when a beautiful woman rode up on this bike, threw it to the ground, took off all her clothes and said, "Take what you want."
The first engineer nodded approvingly and said, "Good choice: The clothes probably wouldn't have fit you anyway."

Understanding Engineers #2

To the optimist, the glass is half-full. 
To the pessimist, the glass is half-empty. 
To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

Understanding Engineers #3

A priest, a doctor, and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers.
The engineer fumed, "What's with those guys? We must have been waiting for fifteen minutes!"
The doctor chimed in, "I don't know, but I've never seen such inept golf!"
The priest said, "Here comes the green-keeper. Let's have a word with him." He said, "Hello, George. What's wrong with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow, aren't they?"
The green-keeper replied, "Oh, yes. That's a group of blind firemen. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free any time."
The group fell silent for a moment.
The priest said, "That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight."
The doctor said, "Good idea. I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist colleague and see if there's anything she can do for them."
The engineer said, "Why can't they play at night?"

Understanding Engineers #4

What is the difference between mechanical engineers and civil engineers?
Mechanical engineers build weapons.
Civil engineers build targets.

Understanding Engineers #5

The graduate with a science degree asks, "Why does it work?"
The graduate with an engineering degree asks, "How does it work?"
The graduate with an accounting degree asks, "How much will it cost?"
The graduate with an arts degree asks, "Do you want fries with that?"

Understanding Engineers #6 

Normal people believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.

Understanding Engineers #7

An engineer was crossing a road one day, when a frog called out to him and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess."
He bent over, picked up the frog, and put it in his pocket.
The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn back into a beautiful princess and stay with you for one week."
The engineer took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to the pocket.
The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I'll stay with you for one week and do anything you want."
Again, the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket.
Finally, the frog asked, "What is the matter? I've told you I'm a beautiful princess and that I'll stay with you for one week and do anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?"
The engineer said, "Look, I'm an engineer. I don't have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog - now that's cool.



Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Steps and stairs


I do not know the origins of this picture.
I realised it is just photo-shopped, but I still think that the thought is wonderful. 

Saturday, 6 July 2013

A plant in our gardens

I am trying to work out how to defeat the weird advertisements now appearing on my computer. No thank you, Mr Advertiser, I do not want to have sex with Asian women. Not today, not any day. Mr Advertiser seems to have altered a couple of my posts as well. Nor do I want words appearing in blue colour and with underlining. Irritating. Cheap thrills for a cheap mind.

Cat's tail acalypha
On a brighter note though I thought you might like to learn a little about a plant that is common in local gardens here.

Many gardeners in my area grow what we call cat's tail acalypha. The scientific name is Acalypha hispida and it belongs to the Euphorbia family. There are other varieties of acalypha that grow well here too. They all like regular water and droop easily in dry windy weather. This particular acalypha originates in the tropical dry forests of Papua New Guinea, but is now found in most of the Pacific region where the climate is suitable. Most gardeners grow these plants from cuttings and I do not recall ever seeing seeds.

Cat's tail acalypha is quite showy with dark green leaves, toothed at the edge, and long hairy flowers. It is the female part of the flower, the stigma, that is the red bit. The flowers are long strands and look rather like chenille. Usually they are about 15 centimetres long, but often shorter. They may be pollinated by the wind or by insects. I have tried putting this plant in a vase inside, but it was totally hopeless and became a droopy sad mess never to recover.

How tall does it grow? Maybe two metres, but this plant can be a bit leggy so we pinch the tips to encourage a bushy growth. The old stems become woody and need to be removed every couple of years. It will grow in full sun, but appreciates some shade during the day and will be much better for it.  I have heard of it being grown indoors but somehow I doubt it is worth the effort as it likes so much light.

This plant is completely ornamental and I have read that every part of it is poisonous to animals. I doubt that, as the aphids and mealy bugs absolutely love it as do grasshoppers.

This plant does not have a dormant period during winter. We have no winter.

Friday, 5 July 2013

A Famous American

Neil Armstrong walks back to the landing module, 1969.
Stories about high achieving people fascinate me. I have read many biographies and never fail to be inspired, if only briefly. I can think of many excuses for not trying as hard as they do, you see.

This anecdote is a charmer. It is about a famous astronaut, Neil Armstrong, the first man to set foot on the moon. I remember watching the television broadcast of the event, but I do not remember the comment about Mr. Gorsky.

ON JULY 20, 1969, AS COMMANDER OF THE APOLLO 11 LUNAR MODULE, NEIL ARMSTRONG WAS THE FIRST PERSON TO SET FOOT ON THE MOON.

HIS FIRST WORDS AFTER STEPPING ON THE MOON, "THAT'S ONE SMALL STEP FOR MAN, ONE GIANT LEAP FOR MANKIND," WERE  TELEVISED TO EARTH AND HEARD BY MILLIONS.

BUT ... JUST BEFORE HE RE-ENTERED THE LANDING MODULE, ARMSTRONG MADE THE ENIGMATIC REMARK, "GOOD LUCK, MR. GORSKY."

MANY PEOPLE AT NASA THOUGHT IT WAS A CASUAL REMARK CONCERNING SOME
 RIVAL SOVIET COSMONAUT. HOWEVER, UPON CHECKING, THERE WAS NO GORSKY IN EITHER THE RUSSIAN OR AMERICAN SPACE PROGRAMS.


OVER THE YEARS, MANY PEOPLE QUESTIONED ARMSTRONG AS TO WHAT THE - 'GOOD LUCK, MR. GORSKY' STATEMENT MEANT, BUT ARMSTRONG ALWAYS JUST SMILED.
One of the famous footprints

ON JULY 5, 1995, IN TAMPA BAY, FLORIDA, DURING QUESTION TIME FOLLOWING A SPEECH BY ARMSTRONG, A REPORTER BROUGHT UP THE 26-YEAR-OLD QUESTION ABOUT MR GORSKY.

THIS TIME HE FINALLY RESPONDED BECAUSE MR. GORSKY HAD DIED. NEIL ARMSTRONG FELT HE COULD NOW ANSWER THE QUESTION.

HERE IS THE ANSWER TO "WHO WAS MR GORSKY?":

IN 1938, WHEN HE WAS A CHILD IN A SMALL
 MID-WESTERN TOWN, HE WAS PLAYING BASEBALL WITH A FRIEND IN THE BACKYARD.  HIS  FRIEND HIT THE BALL, WHICH LANDED IN HIS NEIGHBOUR'S YARD BY THEIR BEDROOM WINDOW. HIS NEIGHBOURS WERE MR. AND MRS. GORSKY.  AS HE LEANED DOWN TO PICK UP THE BALL, YOUNG ARMSTRONG HEARD MRS. GORSKY SHOUTING AT MR. GORSKY, "SEX! YOU WANT SEX?!  YOU'LL GET SEX WHEN THE KID NEXT DOOR WALKS ON THE MOON!"

THE ANSWER CAUSED MORE THAN A RIPPLE OF LAUGHTER IN THAT ROOM.

NEIL ARMSTRONG'S FAMILY HAVE CONFIRMED THAT THIS IS A TRUE STORY.
 
    

Thursday, 4 July 2013

What a road!!!

My sister sent me this (without the music) and I thought it might interest others too especially if you have no chance of ever seeing this in person. I get car sick, sea sick, air sick, and more so I know I will never travel along this road. This clip is from Youtube.


Tianmen Mountains are in the northern Hunan Province of China, near the city of Dayong. (Many people are confused by the name Tianmen that is similar to the famous Tiananmen Square, in Bejing, thousands of miles away) 
To reach the summit you can take the Tongtian (avenue toward heaven) highway which has 99 sharp turns. At its end you have to climb the Tianti (ladder to heaven) stairs which has 999 steps. It is perhaps one way to reach heaven, scared to death by the road and out of breath from climbing!
But all the effort is worthwhile.

Monday, 1 July 2013

Territory Day Fireworks

Today is Territory Day.

We are the only state or territory in Australia that allows private citizens to purchase and let off fireworks. Today is the big day, from 6pm until 11pm officially. Adults must produce proof of age in order to make the purchases. The fireworks are for sale for one day only.

Right now it is night time, a very dark night. There are fireworks lighting up the sky everywhere I look. It is fabulous. There are extremely noisy bangs as the sounds echo off the concrete buildings. I am loving every minute, but my cat is hiding safely.

Yes, there are big free public displays as well. I have spent a fortune over the years on fireworks. But no longer. I watch and keep my wallet closed. Most families who buy their own fireworks for tonight would spend well over $100, possibly even over $200.