Sunday, May 31, 2009
– Tue Apr 14, 12:45 pm ET
A jet of gas spewing from a huge black hole has mysteriously brightened, flaring to 90 times its normal glow.
For seven years the Hubble Space Telescope has been watching the jet, which pours out of the supermassive black hole in the center of the M87 galaxy. It has photographed the strange phenomenon fading and then brightening, with a peak that even outshines M87's brilliant core.
Scientists have dubbed the enigmatic bright blob HST-1, and are so far at a loss to explain its weird behavior.
"I did not expect the jet in M87 or any other jet powered by accretion onto a black hole to increase in brightness in the way that this jet does," said astronomer Juan Madrid of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, who conducted the Hubble study. "It grew 90 times brighter than normal. But the question is, does this happen to every single jet or active nucleus, or are we seeing some odd behavior from M87?"
Many supermassive black holes have jets of material that spray out perpendicularly from the donut-shaped ring of matter falling onto the black hole. These beams of hot gas are thought to result from magnetic field lines that are twisted by the black hole's mass, and propel charged particles outward.
But most rays do not appear to blaze up with such extreme intensity as HST-1. Scientists aren't sure if it is an exceptional case, or if it represents a normal event for black hole jets, which are still not very well understood. In this case, the bright knot of HST-1 is about 214 light-years from the M87 galaxy's core
To learn more about this bizarre light show, Madrid analyzed the seven years' worth of Hubble images of the jet in ultraviolet light to capture changes in HST-1's behavior over time. He also compared the Hubble data to photos of the jet taken in X-rays by the Chandra X-ray Observatory and in radio by other telescopes.
Madrid found that between 1999 and 2005, the blob continually brightened. By May 2005, HST-1 was 90 times brighter than it was in 1999. After that, it seemed to fade, and then intensified again in November 2006.
"By watching the outburst over several years, I was able to follow the brightness and see the evolution of the flare over time," Madrid says. "We are lucky to have telescopes like Hubble and Chandra, because without them we would see the increase in brightness in the core of M87, but we would not know where it was coming from."
More data will be needed to solve the mystery of why HST-1 acts the way it does.
"We hope the observations will yield some theories that will give us some good explanations as to the mechanism that is causing the flaring," Madrid says. "Astronomers would like to know if this is an intrinsic instability of the jet when it plows its way out of the galaxy, or if it is something else."
This strange case could provide a unique opportunity to learn more about black hole jets in distant galaxies, which are difficult to study because they are so far away. M87 is located 54 million light-years away in the Virgo Cluster.
Madrid's study is detailed in the April 2009 issue of the Astronomical Journal.
VIDEO: Black Hole Blazar Jets
VIDEO: Black Holes - Warpers of Time and Space
All About Black Holes
Original Story: Black Hole Creates Spectacular Light Show
Saturday, May 30, 2009
By Dr David Whitehouse BBC News Online science editor
The giant Lovell Telescope is at Merlin's hubWork has started to use optical fibres to link up the giant radio telescope at Jodrell Bank with five others that are scattered across England.
The telescopes comprise an array called Merlin that combines the data from each so they perform as a larger telescope.
The telescopes are currently linked by microwaves but replacing them with optical fibres will be a revolution.
The new project, e-Merlin, will be a massive leap in Jodrell's ability to look out into space, astronomers say.
Seeing the light
Connecting the array of radio telescopes with optical fibres will transform what is already a world-class facility.
"Merlin is the first to be making this leap forward with optical fibres," says its director Professor Phil Diamond.
The interconnected array of radio telescopes - Merlin stands for Multi-Element Radio-Linked Interfometer Network - centred on the Cheshire observatory has been a remarkable scientific success.
Since 1980, it has provided detailed images of objects ranging from the closest stars to the most distant objects in the Universe.
Merlin's scattered telescopes.It is the only instrument observing radio waves that is able to routinely provide images comparable in detail to those obtained by the Hubble Space Telescope.
But Jodrell Bank astronomers were aware that Merlin's full capabilities had not been reached so they devised e-Merlin.
Currently, each telescope in the Merlin array sends back its data to Jodrell Bank using microwaves which are able to carry just 0.5% of the signals collected by each telescope.
"With optical fibres, it will be possible to use 100% of the data from each telescope, and that will give us a much deeper view of the Universe," says Dr Simon Garrington, e-Merlin's project manager.
When fully operational, each telescope will be producing as much data as the entire UK public internet.
Speaking at a ceremony to mark e-Merlin's launch, Jodrell Bank's director, Professor Andrew Lyne, said that the expected increase in sensitivity of the array by a factor of 30 would open a new door on the Universe.
Via Peterborough and Birmingham
The communications company Global Crossing Europe are providing the backbone of the optical connections based on its extensive network running alongside railway lines and roads.
About 90km of new fibre will be laid to link the radio telescopes to the existing optical trunking.
The Merlin telescope at Cambridge will have an optical fibre that will follow the road network to Peterborough, Nottingham and then to Birmingham.
A Merlin view of an active galaxy some 10 million light-years awayThe two Merlin telescopes at Defford and Knockin in the south of England will also send their data to Birmingham where they will be combined with the Cambridge data to be piped up to Jodrell Bank.
The system will become operational in 2007 when Jodrell Bank will find itself at the centre of an unprecedented barrage of astronomical data.
So much data, in fact, that today's computers could not cope. Jodrell's astronomers are designing the network for the faster computers that will be developed in years to come.
When it is complete, Merlin will be a transformed instrument.
"It is going to revolutionise the science we are going to be able to do," says Jodrell Bank astronomer Dr Tom Muxlow.
"With the new array we will be able to do in just one day's observations what would have taken us three years."
Taken from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3749919.stm
Friday, May 29, 2009
Some of these sites are general sites with all kinds of recipes on them, others are specifically for certain types of recipes (e.g. vegetarian recipes, or kid friendly recipes). There are also some recipe sites spacifically for the holidays. Yeah, I know the holidays are a long way off, but since I'm posting recipe sites... *Shrugs*... Well, I figured I might as well throw the Christmasy ones in there too. So... Enjoy!
The Food Network
Great Vegetarian Recipes
KidsHealth.Org - Recipes
Recipes on Parenting.Com
Discovery Health's Kid Friendly Recipes
Taste.Com.Au (An Australian Recipe Site)
Puddings And Christmas Recipes
BBC - Food - Recipes
UK TV - Food
Don't forget that you can experiment with recipes of your own too. Simply substituting an ingredient or two in a recipe can often create something unique and delicious. So, don't be afraid to experiment when you're cooking. You never know, you may invent something fantastically delicious! :)
P.S. Sorry to those who were expecting a post from Kero today, but you're seeing this post instead because I set it up to publish today in case we didn't get a chance to sort the photos required for Kero's post. Kero's post will be posted as soon as possible.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
'Bone voyage' as pets get airline
Friday, 17 April 2009
Dan Wiesel and Alysa Binder got the idea while travelling with their dog Zoe
A new airline scheduled to take off in the US fully expects its passengers to behave like animals.
On Pet Airways, of Delray Beach, Florida, all pets travel in the main cabin and owners are not allowed on board - not even in the cargo hold.
The airline claims to be the first designed specifically for the safe and comfortable transportation of pets.
Company founders Dan Wiesel and Alysa Binder say they got the idea while planning holidays with their pet dog.
'Handled as baggage'
"Currently, most pets travelling by air are transported in the cargo hold and are handled as baggage," said Mr Wiesel.
"The experience is frightening to the pets, and can cause severe emotional and physical harm, even death. This is not what most pet owners want to subject their pets to, but they have had no other choice, until now."
Seats are removed to make way for pet carriers
The airline has scheduled its first flight for cats and dogs for 14 July and will serve five US cities - New York, Washington DC, Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles.
Pets - or pawsengers, as the airline calls them - can be booked in online and are checked in to a Pet Lounge at the airport.
Pet attendants give the animals a "potty break" shortly before take-off and then monitor the animals during the flight.
Owners - or Pet Parents - can follow their travel progress using an online "pet tracker".
On its website, the airline promises never to leave a pet alone adding: "A pet attendant will always be within a cat's meow."
The flights will be made in 19-seat turbo-prop planes operated by Suburban Air Freight, which have their seats removed to make space for the pet carriers.
Taken from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8004122.stm
(I think there are photos in the article, so you might want to go to the link and check them out).
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
I've almost finished the blanket, so I want to do that before I do too much on the computer. I should be done in the next couple of days. When I'm done Kelly will take a photo and I'll post it for you. I'll also be sorting a post with photos of Kero we took on his birthday. Will post them and catch up on your blogs soon... Honest!
Enjoy whatever's left of your day! :)
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
I'm not sure how things technically work, but the Wii mimics your actions when you hold the special controler, allowing you to interact with the game. There's a certain amount of button pushing involved, but most of this is for menu navigation. And that's where the accessability for the blind becomes an issue. Not because of the buttons, but because of the menus. It's easy to remember which button is which - it has to be done for keyboards and TV remotes - and if you can't remember then there's always the option of bumpons or some sort of braille label. But the menus are the issue. Obviously, to navigate the menus and know what you have highlighted you need to be able to read the text.
But I know what they need to do to stop this being an issue... They need to develope some sort of in-game screen reader. Sort of like a game console version of my Jaws programme (though, cheaper would be preferable). Nothing fancy. Just something that reads out what you've highlighted on the menu. Sort of like how some racing games will speak the "3, 2, 1, Go!" thing when it comes up on the screen.
So, now all we need to do is find out how you go about getting in touch with Nintendo (or even some other computer manufacturer) so we can tell them what it is they need to do for their next games console. Like I said, Nintendo are half way there with the Wii.
Monday, May 25, 2009
1st May - Emma's birthday (Emma is a family friend)
2nd May - Kelly's birthday
9th May - Elizabeth's birthday (Elizabeth is my honorarily adopted sister)
12th May - Pam's birthday (Pam is a friend of mine)
15th May - Mam and Dad's anniversary
16th May - Felix AKA Baby Cat's birthday (Baby is Mam's cat)
16th May - Rachel's birthday (Rachel is my Sister-In-Law)
17th May - Eleri's birthday (that's Eleri from upstairs)
18th May - Lainie's birthday (Lainie is a Blogger friend that many of you know too)
20th May - Deanna's birthday (Deanna/Punkn is another bloggy friend many of you know)
21st May - Keith's birthday (Keith is Kelly's uncle)
22nd May - Mine and Kelly's anniversary
23rd May - Kero's birthday
25th May - Sir Ian Mckellen's birthday (you know who he is, right?)
30th May - Bev's birthday (she's my aunt)
30th May - Phillip's birthday (he's my uncle)
Also, Melissa had a birthday some time around mid May... I think it was around the 16th? So, happy birthday to her too. And, either May 16th or May 17th (I don't remember which) was Jewelz's son Austin's birthday, so happy birthday to him too. :)
And, a very happy birthday to any other May babies I missed out. :)
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Country of origin United Kingdom
Related products Root beer, sarsaparilla
Dandelion and burdock is a traditional British soft drink, drunk in the British Isles since about 1265. Traditionally it is made from fermented dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) and burdock (Arctium lappa) roots, and is naturally fizzy.
There have been a small number of stories concerning its origin, most now widely considered to be apocryphal. One notable example has it that St. Thomas Aquinas, after praying for inspiration for a full night, walked from his place of prayer straight into the countryside and, "trusting in God to provide", concocted the drink from the first plants he encountered. It was this drink that aided his concentration when seeking to formulate his theological arguments that ultimately culminated in the Summa Theologica.
Dandelion and burdock shares a historical origin with a number of drinks originally made from lightly fermented root extracts, such as root beer and sarsaparilla. They were included for a supposed health benefit. The dominant flavour in these other drinks is usually sassafras or wintergreen, both now derived artificially rather than from the plant itself, in part because during the 1960s safrole, the major component of the volatile oil of sassafras, was found to be carcinogenic. All of these drinks, while tasting similar, do have their own distinct flavour. Dandelion and burdock is most similar in flavour to sarsaparilla. The drink has recently seen an increase in popularity after previously poor sales.
Nutrient Amount in 330ml
Energy 2 kcal
Fat Less than 0.1g
Sodium Less than 0.1g
Carbohydrates Less than 0.1g
Sugar Less than 0.1g
Protein Less than 0.1g
A dandelion and burdock drink is likely to contain several ingredients common to similar drinks including carbonated water, sugar, (provided by high fructose corn syrup in America), manloid colourings, possibly phosphoric acid, citric acid and Dandelion and Burdock extract natural flavouring.
Imitations and variants
The "dandelion and burdock" drink for sale in many retail outlets usually contains neither plant. The retail drink is often carbonated and contains artificial sweeteners.
An alcoholic version, the DB&G, is made by mixing dandelion and burdock with gin.
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dandelion_and_burdock"
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Almost gave up on blogging. Decided not to though. Not sure what it was that made me think I'd had enough, nor what it was that made me decide not to scrap the blog. I think it was a combination of things that made me decide not to stop blogging, actually:
1. I'd miss my bloggy friends.
2. Kelly recently brought me a new laptop, and I wouldn't want it to go to waste.
3. I spent too much on Jaws to let that sit around doing nothing.
Don't get me wrong, I do like writing my blog posts. And I do enjoy sharing things with you all - be it an interesting site or article I've found, or something from my life - but... *Shrugs*... I don't know. I just feel so fed up with it all. Not with the blog as such, but with things in general.
Please don't ask me what I mean by all this, because I'm not really sure. And that's the problem. Well, I think that's the problem. So much has changed for me in the last couple of years. While it was going on I didn't have time to think. But now I do, and I wish I didn't. Well, I sort of wish I didn't anyway.
Is any of this making any sense? I don't suppose it matters. I don't really know what the point of this is, nor what sort of answers/comments I'm expecting to get to it. I just sat here to write a post, and this is what I ended up with. Whether it's a good thing or a bad thing, I don't know. I don't even know if I'm right to publish this post. Well, I'm hitting publish now, so it's too late to worry about that...
Friday, May 22, 2009
I've had a pretty quiet week this week. Mamgu and Dadci have had a couple of short visits, and the food truck came to visit, but not much else happened. And, it rained loads, so Mami and me haven't been able to have decent walks. Rain also makes my garden inspections difficult.
We've got reasons to celebrate this weekend. Today is Mami and Dadi's anniversary. I'm not sure what one of those is, but they seem to think it's a good thing. And tomorrow is a very important day. In fact, tomorrow is the most important day of the whole year. Tomorrow is my birthday. And there's nothing more important than celebrating my birthday.
I'll let you know next week what the humans get for me, and will probably have some photos to share. Right now though I hear something outside and need to go and see what it is... It might be the postman, he often comes about this time of the day. He's meant to come earlier, but he's always late... I don't mind, it gives me a chance for a lay in.
Licks and sniffs,
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
I don't normally say when I'm having a day off, but I have sod all to post about, and I hate not having a post for the day. So, since I had nothing to post about... *Shrugs*
Anyway, hope you're having a great day. :)
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
We're a bit worried about the beans though, because it took us a while to find what we needed to move them in to bigger pots, and they grew quicker than we thought they would. Anyway, they've ended up quite weak low down in the plants. We're hoping they'll strengthen, but if they don't then we don't hold out much hope for them, since if they don't strenthen then it's quite likely they'll snap and end up dead. We've done what we can to help them... All we can do now is hope for the best for them.
My carrots and tomatoes are starting to come up.
There's still not a whole lot to see with them though. It's carrots one end of the tray, tomato plants the other. I know which end is which on the tray myself, but I'm not sure which way around they were when the photo was taken.
And here's a new photo of my Sunflowers.
I haven't got as many now, because I gave a load of them away... It was like a Sunflower invasion! ;)
My Lavender's not really doing anything yet, so I didn't bother getting Mam to take a photo for me.
Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. While she had the camera out, Mam decided to snap a couple of photos of some of the flowers in the garden for you... Ones that were already there.
Enjoy whatever's left of your day! :)
Monday, May 18, 2009
The first week we went to Swansea, and we had lunch in a pub style resteraunt we both like. The place is called "Eli's" and is fantastic. I think I might have mentioned it on here before... It was some time ago though, so many of you would have missed me mentioning it. Anyway, it's one of our favourite places to eat, but we hadn't been there in a while.
The following week we just went and ran some errands, and we had lunch in the cafe at Asda. That was nice too. Not a whole lot of meat free choices, but still nice. And reasonably priced too.
But last Wednesday we went to the beach.
We figured that - since we'd been having some great weather - we'd pack a picnic and go off to the beach. Of course, the weather ended up being not as warm as it had been. In fact, it was a bit chilly, and there was rain threatening all the time. But... *Shrugs*... Hey, we were getting wet in the sea anyway. Besides, we planned a trip to the beach, and damn it, we were going to the beach! ;)
As you can see, the chilly wind didn't stop us playing in the sea. I insisted that you couldn't go to the beach without at least paddling a bit in the sea. So what if it was freezing cold... It's traditional to go for at least a quick paddle in the sea when you go to the beach. And, it wasn't too bad when we weren't standing still.
Besides, since we went on such a dull sort of day it meant there weren't really many others there, which meant I was free to run about and enjoy myself properly (see, I can run when I want to... I just don't usually want to. LOL!) I don't get to run about much, because it's not usually safe. But an almost deserted beach is the perfect place to run freely.
Mam figured out quite quickly that messing about instead of standing still stops you noticing the coldness of the water so much. That's her excuse for acting like an idiot while waiting for me to snap this photo anyway. Yeah, we all believe her... Of course we do. ;)
Oh no! The waves are trying to get my Mami... Run Mami, run!
Wayne came to the beach with us, but he said there was no way he was going in the water. He said it would be too cold. He had a point about the water temperature, but - as I already said - you can't go to the beach and not play in the sea, right? So he stayed up the top of the beach with our stuff while we went to play in the sea for a bit. Hence me taking the photos of Mam. So, sorry if the photos of Mam aren't too great... I did my best.
On the way back up the beach Mam decided she wanted to collect shells. She says she's going to put them in her garden somewhere. I don't have photos of them though... Mam is meant to be sorting photos of the shells to post on her own blog some time in the near future.
After some time to adjust, I don't tend to be bothered by cold temperatures. As you can see from the photo above though, Mam is another story. Poor Mam got a bit cold. Good thing we had a blanket she could wrap around herself. I did ask her at this point if she wanted to leave, but she didn't. Perhaps because Wayne was having such a great time with his kite?
I brought him the kite from the visitors centre thingy they had near the beach. It only cost me £1.50 and he happily played with that kite for about 2 hours. I think he'd have played longer, but he got hungry. LOL! So, I think that was £1.50 ($3) well spent, don't you?
Mam and I had our lunch after we played in the sea, because playing in the water made us hungry. I'm not sure what Mam had, but I had egg sandwiches. I did also take a salad with me, but I ended up taking it home and having it for dinner. I packed a salad for Mam too, but the lid came off the tub and it ended up more sand than salad... Oops!
The whole reason we were in the visitors centre was because I wanted a bucket and spade. You need those things for the beach, right? They had a sand castle making set, but it had things in it I didn't want. So I got seporate bits instead... Two different buckets, and two spades (in case someone else wanted to play in the sand too). I mostly played in the sand on my own though...
I've made loads of sand castles before, but usually someone else does the part where you turn the bucket over and get the sand out. I thought it was about time I did it on my own though. So, I tried... And I tried... And I tried again... And - eventually - I did it!
My first ever solo sand castle. :)
Mam helped me make another sand castle (once she'd warmed up a bit). It was better than the one I'd made on my own, but... *Shrugs*... Who cares. It was fun making both sand castles.
Oh no! Our castle is being attacked by dragons. Where are the knights when you need them?
One of those dragons is the teddy I brought home for Kero. The other one Mam kept.
We enjoyed ourselves making sand castles. Traditional ones, and... *Clears throat*... Not so traditional ones. I'd like to point out at this point that I had nothing to do with the following sand castle. If you want to blame anyone... Blame Mam.
Good thing the beach was pretty much deserted, isn't it? ;)
We left the beach soon after that. Though, not before allowing Wayne to demolish our sand castles.
We hadn't been entirely the only people there though.
The beach had quite high sand dunes. Mam and I literally had to climb them to get to and from the sea (no wonder we were hungry when we got back up the beach). We'd hardly made it back up the beach though when the tractor in the photo above started along the beach to flatten the sand dunes. If only he'd shown up a little sooner... LOL! Anyway, I had Mam's camera in my hand, so I figured I'd have a go at getting a photo of the tractor (I was told it was a tractor anyway). And this is that shot.
And that was the end of our beach trip. It turned out there was a dog beach where we went (just a little way up from where we were) so we could have taken the dogs with us. But we didn't know it existed until we went there, and it was too far to go back for the dogs then drive back to the beach again. We'll take them soon though (hopefully). Neither dog has been to the beach before, so it should be quite an interesting outing.
After the beach we went to run a few errands. While we were doing this Mam decided to get a few of the photos from the beach printed. That was when our "suggestive sand castles" got their name.
What happened was...
We went in Asda and asked how long it took to get photos developed. They said they had a 1 hour service, so Mam decided to use it. After all, we had some things we wanted to look for in Asda, so why not? (We were going to go and have a cuppa in the cafe too, but the Asda we were at didn't have a cafe). Anyway, Mam picked the photos she wanted done, paid them, got her slip thingy for picking them up, and off we went.
When she went back for them an hour later they were ready for her, and both the men working behind the photo counter were waiting for her too. The conversation went something like this:
Mam: Are my photos ready?
Guy 1: Yes, they are indeed. And I love your sand castles.
Guy 2: Yes... Very nice suggestive sand castles.
Guy 1: Maybe you should take yourself a look, love.
So, she had a quick look through the photos she'd printed. And...
Mam: Oh... I... I didn't know I'd printed that one.
She was embarrassed... They were amused. As for me? I was doubled up laughing. LOL!
On that note, I think that will do for today.
Enjoy whatever's left of your day! :)
P.S. I've had my hair cut since we went to the beach, so it's a lot shorter now than in these photos
Sunday, May 17, 2009
Anyway, her name is Susan Boyle, and you can check out a video clip of her performance here.
Oh yeah, and... Enjoy whatever's left of your day! :)
Saturday, May 16, 2009
I opened the door. There was a crunchy-cracky type noise. Then I was left holding the dryer door. Kelly tried to fix it, but when we turned the dryer on the door flew across the room... We decided it was probably best not to try that again. So, we have no tumble dryer. And - of course - it's rained ever since Thursday. *Sigh*
Good thing my parents are willing to come and fetch our laundry and get it dry for us, isn't it?
We're getting a new dryer as soon as possible, but since the cheapest will cost £200 ($400) we have to wait until we have the money (which will be the start of June). Then it takes a couple of weeks for them to actually get the dryer delivered... *Sigh*... We should have one again by the end of June though.
We'd get an indoor airer for when it's raining instead, but there's nowhere to put it where it wont be knocked over by me and will still allow the clothes to dry. I wish there was though, because I would like to be able to do that instead.
The object of six word Saturday is to describe your week (or a part of it) in just six words.
Six word Saturday is hosted by Kate. So, if you want to play along then visit her blog. Alternatively, you can post your six words in the comments section of this post.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Sorry I'm so late with my post this week, but I've been waiting for my Dadi to sort out the photos for me to post in it. He kept getting busy doing other things, so he only just had a chance to get them off the camera and on to the computer, and get them labeled for me.
The photo above was taken a few minutes after I got home from the groomer on Tuesday. Mami human did it. Of course, it took her loads of attempts, but I was happy to pose while she tried. I'm not a big fan of the groomer, but I do love to pose for the camera.
This next one was taken by Dadi human a little while later (after I'd had a nap and some dinner).
And here's another one Dadi human took. As you can see, I love sitting on his computer chair.
Dadi also took this photo of me and Mami. We all thought you might like it.
Actually, my grooming appointment was the most exciting thing that happened to me this past week. Although, I did get a new teddy on Wednesday.
Mami went to somewhere that smelled different from anywhere else I've smelled before. I don't know where it was, but she said it was somewhere called "the beach" and she was telling me about the "sand" stuff that was there. She said that was probably what I could smell on the teddy - which is a dragon teddy - because they used it for something called "sand castles" while they were at this beach place. Mami says she'll tell you all about it as soon as Mamgu sorts out the photos for her (they're on Mamgu's camera).
And, yesterday (Thursday) Mami and I went for a really, really long walk, and we only just got home before a really nasty storm showed up. So, that was lucky, wasn't it?
But that's about it for my week. Other than those things it's just been my usual routine.
My next grooming appointment is for August 5th 2009, if anyone's interested.
OK, it's time for my nap...
Licks and sniffs,
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
1. What bill do you hate paying the most?
Answer: The electric bill, because - with how much the computers end up being on - it's usually our biggest bill.
2. Do you miss being a child?
Answer: Sometimes... Things seemed so much simpler when I was a child and could leave the worrying, bill paying, etc, up to the adults. Most of the time, however, I'm glad I'm not a child any more
3. Chore you hate the most?
Answer: It used to be cleaning up the "mess" in the yard, but since nobody expects me to do that now, it's washing dishes... There always seems to be so many!
4. Where was the last place you had a romantic dinner?
Answer: Well, if you count ones where there are three couples going out together, then it was at "The Royal Kitchen" on Valentine's Day. Otherwise... I can't remember. :(
5. If you could go back and change one thing what would it be?
Answer: I'd take someone with me to Canada for my first meeting with Kelly. I'm really lucky nothing bad happened... I was stupid to fly half way around the world on my own at the age of 18 to meet someone I hardly even knew.
6. Name of your first grade teacher?
Answer: Mrs Evans. She was also the headmistress of the school I was in at the time.
7. What do you really want to be doing right now?
Answer: Working with my plants and animals in my very own small holding. Unfortunately, I haven't got a small holding, let alone the animals to go in it. I have the plants though... Does that count? Alternatively, I'd like to be traveling all over the place in a Vardo (Gypsy caravan). Either would work for me. ;)
8. What did you want to be when you grew up?
Answer: A vet or a nursery nurse.
9. How many colleges did you attend?
Answer: Technically 2, but I never actually finished the courses (they weren't really what I wanted to be doing).
10. Why did you choose the shirt you have on right now?
Answer: It was on the top of the pile in my t-shirt drawer.
11. What are your thoughts on gas prices?
Answer: I haven't given them any thought to be honest.
12. First thought when the alarm went off this morning?
Answer: I was up before it went off, and don't remember what I thought when it did go off. Probably something like "better go turn that off."
13. Last thought before going to sleep last night?
Answer: I'm not sure. I tend to fall asleep mid way through musings on something (when I actually go to sleep) and I rarely remember what the musings were about. This is partly because they sometimes influence the themes of my dreams, and it's hard to figure out which point it was that thoughts became dreams.
14. What famous person would you like to have dinner with?
Answer: Michelle Paver, because I would love to hear about all the trips she took to get research for her "Chronicles Of Ancient Darkness" books.
15. Have you ever crashed your vehicle?
Answer: Unless bikes count I haven't even driven anything... Nobody will let me, and I'm not sure why. *Winks* But, if bikes do count, then yep. I crashed my bikes LOADS of times. Mostly I didn't get hurt, but there were a few quite painful crashes.
16. If you didn’t have to work, would you volunteer?
Answer: I'd like to say, "yes," to this one. But that would be a lie. So, I'm going to tell the truth and say, "no."
17. Get up early or sleep in?
Answer: I usually end up getting up early - whether I want to or not - and even when I need to get up early I'm usually up earlier than I need to be.
18. What is your favorite cartoon character?
Answer: I have to pick just one? That's so hard! Well, if I have to pick just one then I'm going to have to pick the one that gave me my dog's name... Keroberous (AKA Kero) from Cardcaptors.
19. When did you first start feeling old?
Answer: I haven't started feeling old yet.
20. Favorite lunch meat?
Answer: I don't eat meat any more. And I never really liked lunch meats anyway.
21. What do you get every time you go into Wal-Mart?
Answer: We don't have Wal-Mart here. We have Asda, which is meant to be the same thing, but there's nothing I get every time I go there.
22. Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual?
Answer: Not really. If I did then I wouldn't have gotten married. I do think people spend WAY too much on weddings though.
23. Favorite movie you wouldn’t want anyone to find out about?
Answer: I don't care if people know my favourite movies. They are: The Craft, Practical Magic, and the Harry Potter movies.
24. What’s your favorite drink?
Answer: Dandelion and Burdock pop. I don't have it often though. Not because I don't want it often, but because it's probably not good for me to drink 3 or more bottles of it a day, and if I allowed myself to do so then I probably would.
25. Who from high school would you like to run in to?
26. What radio station is your car radio tuned to right now?
Answer: I don't have a car, with or without radio, so I guess the answer is... It isn't. The radio in the bedroom is tuned in to BBC Radio 2 though, and the DAB digital radio in the kitchen has Radio 2, Radio 4, Radio 7, Radio Carmarthenshire, Real Radio, The Arrow, Magic, Heart and Planet Rock programmed in to it.
27. Sopranos or Desperate Housewives?
Answer: Neither thanks. I have taste you know!
28. Worst relationship mistake that you wish you could take back?
Answer: I'm not sure... There are probably several, but I can't choose one right now.
29. Do you like the person that sits directly across from you at work?
Answer: Nobody sits across from me anywhere but at the dinner table. It's usually Mam or Kelly then though, and I like them. ;)
30. Have you ever had to use a fire extinguisher for its intended purposes?
Answer: Nope. And I hope I never have to.
31. Last book you finished reading?
Answer: "For Love Of Lily" by Maggie Bennett. I posted a review of it about a month ago. I haven't read anything since, because nobody's had time to take me to the library for new books (I did get Kelly to take the old ones back for me though).
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Actually, I'm not sure how I'm managing to go to the dentist without needing anything done. I mean, I sometimes need a bit of a clean, but I didn't even need that this time. And - though I do brush my teeth - I'm nowhere near perfect when it comes to brushing my teeth, and don't do it nearly as much as I should. I guess I'm just lucky. If that's the case, I hope my luck holds out.
On May 7th I had an appointment to see my Optical Pr... Erm... Artificial eye doctor. ;)
It's the same person I saw when I first had the other one made. I should have been seeing her regularly since that one was made, but I went off to Canada to get married with plans of "probably not coming back" and when I did come back had problems trying to figure out how to get hold of her. Her name is "Eirona" (Not sure if I spelled that right... It's pronounced "eye-ro-na") which I think is a really cool name for someone in her job. And, if you're wondering, I'm using her name because it's easier to type than her job description. Besides, it's less confusing to just call someone by their name.
Anyway, I spent last Thursday afternoon sitting in a dentist chair (they make her use a dentist's room, they wont give her one of her own). I was there for TWO AND A HALF HOURS while Eirona made the moulds that will soon become my new eyes.
First she had to squirt some cold stuff in my eye sockets that hardens with heat. This stuff moulds itself to the shape of the inside of my eye sockets so she knows what shape to make the eyes so that they fit comfortably. This mould is then used to make another mould, which is then used as a template for my new eyes. And, yes, she did have to do both eyes. She did them one at a time though. Once she had the template thing made, she had to figure out the size my Iris should be. Then she had to put the template in my eye sockets so she could get the positioning of the iris figured out properly.
After that she had to figure out the colour. At this point I could have probably asked for just about any colour I wanted to (within reason). I like the colour my eyes were though. They were a grey-blue colour. Like my Dad's but a few shades darker. My left eye was matched (as much as is possible) to my natural eye colour when I had it done all those years ago, so she used that one to figure out a colour match. Mam helped her with this step, and they ended up agreeing on a colour that's somewhere between what my eyes were and my Dad's eye colouring (it's next to impossible to have a 100% accurate match to a real eye colour, so there's always a shade or so difference one way or another).
Once that was done, she had to figure out the size my pupil should be. As well as the shading of the white of my eye (they put slight colour tints in it to make it look realistic... Apparently a slight blue tint will work best for me). She then had to write all this information on two sets of paperwork (one for the right eye, one for the left) and send the papers and eye templates off to wherever it is they make the eyes (Cardiff, I think) to be made in to a set of proper artificial eyes for me. They'll be back in three weeks, but Irona will be away when they come back, so she said I'd have to wait until she gets back to have them. I was going to be telling you that I'm not sure when I'll be going for the appointment, but that it will probably be mid to late June, but I got an e-mail yesterday with an appointment to go and have them fitted on June 25th 2009 at 10:00 am. In the meantime I'll have to put up with my old one in my left eye, and the temporary one in my right eye.
There now, don't you feel better for knowing all of that? ;)
Monday, May 11, 2009
What I have done, however, is brought and planted Lavender, Carrot and Tomato seeds. I brought the seeds on Wednesday, and planted them over the weekend. Well, I planted all the Lavender seeds anyway. I only planted about half the carrot and tomato seeds. And, no, I don't have photos of them to share. Why? Because there's nothing to see yet. I will, however, get someone to take photos when - or if - they grow.
I'm growing the Sunflowers because I had them for Easter. I'm growing the Lavender because I like Lavender. But I'm growing the beans, carrots and tomatoes because I wanted to try and grow some of my own food. If I have success with these, I might try growing some other food items in the future.
So far so good. I haven't killed any plants or flowers yet anyway, so that's a good start. :)
Mam's growing some food items too. I'm going to let her do her own blog about the items she's growing though. All I'll tell you is that they're different from mine. The idea being that - providing we have at least a few items grow - we can swap produce when the time comes.
My Grandma is also growing some food items (she's mentioned them on her blog several times). We haven't arranged a produce swap with my Grandma though. Nothing personal, it's just that Mam and I live within a few miles of each other, where as Grandma is further away. Meaning that it's easier for mam and I to swap produce than it is for us to swap with Grandma. Which is a shame really, because my Grandma is growing potatoes, and we could use some of those, since potatoes are something neither of us has attempted this year.
That's all on this topic for now. I'll post more when there's more to say.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Frugal living in the UK
All Things Frugal
Living On A Dime
You may also be interested in checking out a new blog I've recently stumbled across. It's called "It's Frugal Being Green" and is full of all sorts of useful tips, lists of titles of books you may find useful and informative, and links to various other blogs and web sites you may find useful and interesting.
If you have any other links and/or tips to add, feel free to add them in the comments section of this post.
Edited to add:
CelticSpirit recommends this site: The Dollar Stretcher
Saturday, May 09, 2009
(But then, I'm sure many people feel that way... LOL!)
To join in with six word Saturday, visit Kate. Or you can play along in the comments section of this post. Your call! :)
Friday, May 08, 2009
It appears a certain human needs to prove to another human just how cute a dog can be. So, to help her to do this I had my humans help me to find a selection of my cutest photos to share. So, here they are:
And, to prove I'm still just as cute, here's a photo of me taken this past Monday:
I hope you have all enjoyed seeing just how cute I am. Though, I'm sure most - if not all - of you already knew I was super cute. I know my humans know it... They're always telling me so.
Not much to tell about this past week.
Willow came over to play on Monday. Mami and Mamgu went somewhere and came back with sticks they wouldn't let us play with, and some other stuff. We were a bit upset about this, but then they took us walkies, so that made it better.
And, on Tuesday, a truck came with our food in it. Never seen that happen before. It was strange. Normally Mami or Dadi go away for a while and the food comes home with them. But not this time. This time a truck pulled up outside, Dadi went out to talk to the humans who got out of it, and when he opened the door to let Mami and me out of the living room the hallway was full of bags of food. I know they came from the truck, because I saw the humans that got off the truck come to our door with bags, but they didn't have any when they went away again. I was pleased to see that there was a whole bag full of food and treats just for me. Including a very tasty rawhide bone. I was VERY excited when I saw that bone in the bag. Mami couldn't get the wrapper off quick enough. I tried to help, but I was so excited that all I ended up doing was nearly knocking it out of her hand. When she finally got it opened, I grabbed it and raced off to give it a good chew. Ah, it was good! I hope they get the food to come this way every time... Especially if there will be treats in it.
Anyway, that's about it. Mami went out for a few hours on Wednesday, then again on Thursday. And they tell me Dadi's going out later today. But I haven't been anywhere special this week. Just for my usual walkies by the river - sometimes with just Mami, sometimes with Mamgu and Willow too - and I haven't done anything out of the ordinary. I have a grooming appointment next Tuesday (May 12th) though.
OK, I'll let this do for this week. Besides, I have some treats to chew, toys to play with, humans to supervise, garden inspections to do, and so on. A dog's work is never done!
Licks and sniffs,
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Kelly: It's not my fault. It's a pillow monster coming to get you!
Me: Don't be daft! Pillow monsters don't eat people!
Kelly: They don't?
Me: Of course not!
Kelly: Then what do they eat?
Me: Teddy bears.
Kelly: Right, OK...
Me: Yep... That's why our pillows are getting kinda flat.
Kelly: What do you mean?
Me: Well, my teddies are too high up for them to eat them... Pillows can't climb, you know.
Kelly: Of course... Whatever you say.
Me: But I know they eat teddy bears.
Kelly: You do?
Me: Yep.. If you think about it it's obvious... They're both filled with almost the same stuff.
Kelly: OK... Whatever you say... I think you should go to sleep now though.
(In other words, this conversation is getting too weird, even compared to some of our others).
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
First, all the Sunflowers out in their pots:
We have them on a small table just outside, because we figured it was time for them to go outside, and when we put them on the floor slugs came to try and eat them. As you can probably see, some of them are looking a bit sorry for themselves because of being moved, and I think partly due to the slug banquet that happened when we left them on the ground too.
As you can see, we put some canes in the pots ready for when (or if) they get big enough to need to be tied. We figured we might as well, then we wouldn't have to mess about with them so much later on.
We did keep one indoors though. We kept one in the pretty pot I got with the seeds, and we put it on the window sill. Here's a photo of that one for those of you who want to see it:
And, while we were out buying bigger pots and some canes, Mam brought me some runner beans to try and grow. We figured that - since I LOVE these kinds of beans - it would be something useful. That is, of course, if I have success with growing them. Here they are:
I'm also considering getting a couple of tomato plants, since tomatoes are something else I eat a lot of. And, I'm contemplating the idea of attempting to grow carrots too, since - again - they're something we eat a lot of (even Kero likes the odd bit of raw carrot).
In other news...
I tried some cucumber for the first time since I was a kid yesterday. And, guess what? I quite liked it. I didn't think much of it plain, but I had some in a sandwich with some egg and tomato, and it was tasty. :)
In a couple of weeks time I'm having lunch up with my Mam and Dad, so we've decided we'll have salad, and then I can try the other two items people generally have in a salad that I haven't tried since I was a kid. I didn't like them at the time, but tastes change as you grow up. Anyway, those things are beetroot and celery. Mam loves them, so almost always has some, which is why I'm going up there to taste them.
Trying these items isn't the only attempt I've made to eat healthier. I've also:
1. Replaced 90% of my snacks with fruit or yoghurts.
2. Replaced my first cup of tea of the day with a herbal tea (nettle and peppermint).
3. Refused to buy any ready meals, and instead been making at least 90% of our meals from scratch.
4. Replaced 98% of our fizzy drinks with fruit juices. And, since they are quenching our thirst better, this means they work out cheaper and produce less rubbish too.
5. I'm getting what fruit and vegetables I can as organic produce. A few items can't be brought that way (because the shops I use don't carry organic versions). But I'm looking for organic first with all items.
I'm also no longer eating meat or fish. This one is personal preference rather than for a healthier diet though. I've not had any meat or fish for more than a month now. I suppose technically I've become vegetarian, although some would argue the point. Why? Because many vegetarians don't eat some of the items I still do (e.g. eggs).
This isn't diet based, but we're also changing to environmentally friendly, plant based cleaning products. And, we've ditched the paper towels in favour of cleaning messes with cloths.
The parts of the above that produce less rubbish have resulted in a drastic decrease to the amount of rubbish we put out. We used to be filling about 2 bags of non-recyclable items per week. We now fill 1 bag every four weeks (bearing in mind, the bags we use over here are about half the size of the ones you guys use over in the US and Canada). Even our bags of recyclable items have gone down from 3 bags a week to about 1 & 1/2 bags per week (sometimes 2 bags per week) of various recyclables (which means everything except glass and paper) and 1 bag of paper every 6 weeks (sometimes it takes longer to fill a bag, but it depends on how much junk mail showed up... That's what most of our paper waste is). Glass has never been a large part of our rubbish though. We only have a couple of items in glass jars (some sauces, jams, etc) so we only have a jar/bottle or two per week (if that).
And we're doing pretty well with compostable items too. Our curb side recycling scheme that started at the end of last year (yep, we've made decreases in our rubbish that quickly, *smiles*) doesn't include glass, but does include compostable items. I think that's backwards, but there you go. Anyway, they provided us with a small bin - which is 7 inches, by 7 inches, by 9 inches - which stays indoors for items to go in straight away. Then they gave us another one that's about three times the size of that one, which gets put out each week for the rubbish men. Well, we hardly even fill the little tub (though we put the stuff out each week anyway). Bearing in mind they say "compostable items" includes: "Food waste, vegetable peelings, egg shells, tea bags, and other simular items."
If you're wondering, when it comes to the glass items, either Mam takes me somewhere to drop them off at a recycling centre, or Mam and Dad take them home (their recycling scheme does include glass). I think it's weird that ours doesn't. But at least it includes everything else, I suppose. I mean, it took them a good ten years longer than neighbouring counties to even get this far (Mam and Dad have had a recycling scheme for a good ten years. Some areas had it even before that).
OK, well I think that's enough rubbish from me. (Sorry... LOL!)
Enjoy your day! :)
Monday, May 04, 2009
The rules say I'm meant to post it on my blog with a link back to who I got it from. Done that bit. :)
The rules also say I should pass it on to 15 of my new found bloggy friends. So, let's seee...
2. Veggie Mom
4. Call Me Kate
6. Guineapiglou (old friend, quite new blogger)
7. Barefoot Gardener (Pst, her blog is hard for me to comment on, so I'd appreciate it if someone could let her know I gave her this... Thanks).
9. Wifey (couldn't even contemplate not including her in this one. *wink*)
12. Marmite Toasty
As much as possible I listed them in order of how new I am to their blogs. #1 being the blog I'm newest to. The last couple I've been visiting for a couple of years, but I ran out of new blogs that I read, so I improvised a bit. LOL!
When I first made my blog I had no idea what I was going to blog about. I made it because my Grandma had made one, and she asked me to come and read hers. So, I figured that if I was going to be making an account to comment on her blog, then I might as well create my own blog.
I now have about half a dozen blogs that I update regularly (some more than others). That is, if you include the fantasy names list, links page, and important dates page (see sidebar for links). And just this blog alone has around 1150 posts on it. I'm guessing I managed to figure out what to blog about. ;)
Anyway, I just wanted to take this oppertunity to thank all of you for the comments you leave on my blog. And for the wonderful blog posts you all write, which are often the inspiration for some of my own blog posts. Keep the comments coming, and thank you - new readers and old - for taking the time to visit and comment on my blog!
Sunday, May 03, 2009
By Amy Roberts
1. Reach for Reusable
One microfiber cloth can take the place of 60 rolls of paper towels before it needs replacing — and is gentle enough to use on nearly all surfaces (even eyeglasses). Keep a few handy for absorbing spills, wiping down counters, de-streaking mirrors, and more.
2. Mug Around
Bring your own travel cup to your favorite java joint: Most places will fill it for you, and often at a discount. While you're at it, start carrying a refillable water bottle.
3. Be a Jughead
If your program won't take milk or juice cartons (and your taste buds won't mind), try switching to brands that use plastic jugs, which are much more recyclable.
4. Hug a Tree, Virtually
Before you hit the "print" button for that party Evite or Web driving directions, consider your options: Could you print on the back side of paper you've already used once? Jot down just the address if you're going to a familiar area? Or maybe use the "note" feature on your cell phone? If you prefer not to print double-sided, the backs of cut-up, once-used printer sheets make excellent by-the-phone notepaper.
5. Refill 'Er Up
Many cleaning products are available in large jugs for decanting into the smaller spray bottles. Also, look for concentrated cleaner refills for which you can reuse the old spray bottle and just add the water, and "ultra" strength detergents, which save packaging because you get more laundry loads out of the container.
6. Switch Your Portable Power
It's hard to find a program that recycles one-use batteries, whereas rechargeable ones can and should be recycled — and never sent to a landfill, since they contain cadmium. Plus, you'll be buying less, since you can easily charge up the reusable kind many times before they die.
7. Dry-Clean Greener
You may already bring reusable bags to the grocery, but here's a way to waste less at the dry cleaner, too: The Clothesnik bag ($30 plus shipping, reuseniks.com) lets you tote clothes to the cleaners — and never have to deal with pesky plastic sheaths again.
8. Bulk Up
For foods that come in hard-to-recycle tubs (yogurt, cottage cheese, sour cream, margarine), get the largest-size container and dole into smaller reusable ones as needed. Then, use the tubs for freezing leftovers (just don't microwave in them, as most are not designed to handle the heat and could melt). Other uses: stashing desktop odds and ends, as planters for growing herbs, or kids' crayon storage.
Taken from this site.
Saturday, May 02, 2009
Today is my hubby (Kelly)'s birthday. So, I wanted to wish him a very happy birthday. :)
To join in with six word Saturday, visit Kate's blog, or play along in the comments section of this post.
Friday, May 01, 2009
Now that I've taken over the posts about me properly, I have decided that they need a better name. So, from now on they are going to be the "Kero's corner" posts instead. I think it's a much better name for them. I mean, it has my name in it, so that's great to start with, right?
Anyway, I haven't done anything out of the ordinary this past week. I did end up walking in the rain without my coat on Saturday though. I hate being out in rain without my coat. I don't mind rain, but I hate getting wet. But the Mami human said we had to walk some. Stupid human. Still, at least she did have the good sense to realise that it was most important to get me dried off, and that she could wait. I guess she does have some sense after all.
OK, well, since I haven't got much to tell you this week, I thought I would do something different. You see, the Wifey human did a thing called a "tag" on her blog the other day. The Mami human was going to do it, but then she remembered she did it a while back. So, I said I would do it. And, here it is:
Eight things I'm looking forward to:
1. Dinner time.
3. Nap time.
4. My next play date with Willow.
5. Next time Mami human makes me a milky drink.
6. Next time Dadi human shares his chicken with me.
7. Next time Mamgu comes to visit.
8. The comments all you humans leave on this and any future posts from me.
Eight things I did yesterday (in no particular order):
1. Inspected my garden for intruders.
2. Ate some treats.
3. Went walkies.
4. Had dinner.
5. Had a milky drink.
6. Took lots of naps.
7. Played with my toys.
8. Barked at the mail man.
Eight things I wish I could do:
1. Reach the door handle to let myself out.
2. Open the cupboard where my treats and food are kept.
3. Take myself to town for a sausage roll.
4. Have chicken and cheese for dinner every day.
5. Go with the humans every time they go out, not just sometimes.
6. Make the humans understand me properly.
7. Stay off the lead all the time when we go walkies.
8. Have my own big bed so the humans don't keep hogging it.
Eight shows (or adverts) I watch:
1. Dog food adverts (especially ones for Cesar).
2. Other adverts with dogs in them.
3. The Dog Whisperer.
4. Cardcaptors (that's the show my name came from).
5. Breed All About It.
6. Pet Rescue.
7. Emergency Vets.
8. Pizza adverts
Eight people tagged:
Any dogs, cats, or other non-humans on the blogs who want to play.
Licks and sniffs,