Dear Morgan,

I managed to embarrass myself again.  I seem to do this at regular intervals. But I want to share this with you as it is quite funny.

I called in to drop something off at my friends work.  She’s a receptionist at one of the medical centres here. She’s also a great friend, with a great sense of humour and fellow photographer. I know a few of the others at this medical centre as well, all photography related, and it always seems such a great place to work – busy but relaxed, and lots of humour.

To give you somthrush1-01sm-Edite background, you know I love birds, and I have a resident bird in the garden who has been there for a while. Over the hot dry summer, I installed a small round swimming pool for it, and I loved watching it take a dip each morning and afternoon. At the end of January, I headed away for a week. When I came back my resident bird was no longer there. I wondered if another cat had picked it off, and I felt really sad. I had told my friend about the missing bird earlier in the week.

Anyway – this hot afternoon I was catching up with her at her work, and she was telling me about her daughters bird, and I suddenly remembered!

“oh oh – I said – guess what? – My Thrush is Back!” I said really excitedly. In my excitement I must have spoken just a tad loudly, and all of a sudden there was dead silence. I looked around and everyone was looking at me.  For a minute I wondered what I had said, then I realised I was in a medical centre and Thrush has a totally different meaning for them.  ‘The Bird – The Bird – Thrush – the brown bird” I said and everyone cracked up.

Heaven knows why they thought I’d be excited about the other kind of thrush!





Dear Morgan,

I’ve spent the last few days researching how to increase traffic to my two blogs, my general one and my photography one.  Blogging isn’t a get rich quick scheme, it’s a slow and laborious way to use up lots of time you don’t have in the hope that someone may click on an advertisement, or buy one of your images, or buy one of your books in the hope of making a small amount of money.

The surefire way of doing this is to increase traffic.  You need to write interesting or informative or hilarious copy.  In doing so you hope to connect with a reader who feels the same way, and with any luck will share your blog-post with their million facebook readers or twitterers.  Unfortunately that doesn’t happen very often.

The first thing you need to do is get traffic.  Fortunately my blogs are already getting that for a couple of reasons. The first is because I started them back in 2008, and I’ve kept them up to date.  The second is because I’ve registered them to a couple of blogrolls.  That is, when I post something in the blog, they go automatically into a blog-reader for several thousand people to read if they wish.  The problem with my blog readers is that they are ‘deaf’ orientated, and I’ve really stopped writing about deafness and am now concentrating on photography.

The other important thing about blogs is to have the right tags for the search engines to find you.  A good example of this is my blog about the Sculptor Ron Mueck and the accompanying photography.  I have a photo of his sculpture called Naked Pregnant Woman with it labeled as such inside the blog.  This is attracting a huge amount of pageviews from Google.  I’m getting between five and eight thousand pageviews a month from this.  Unfortunately, they’re not staying around to click on ads or buying any photography because they’re not getting what they’re really after!!   The only good thing about this is that the advertisers think I’m good and therefore I am getting good advertisements on the blog for people to view.

In the last two days to help increase readership and then revenue, I have…

  • Added the privacy policy for Adsense which apparently will increase revenue somehow.
  • Added share buttons from ShareThis on each of my posts in both my blogs.
  • Joined Chime.In, a place where you can add a link to your blog each time you update to gain more readers.
  • Joined Blogcatalog with my general blog to gain more readers.  It’s quite the social network as bloggers love reading other blogs too.
  • Downloaded Hootsuite to manage social media.  I have yet to learn how to use it, but the whole idea is to do regular postings to drive readers to your blogs.

I have yet to research..

  • Other advertisement (Adclick) programmes
  • An affiliateship with perhaps Amazon or other advertiser
  • Become a Guest Blogger or ask a Guest blogger to submit an article to my blog.
  • Join a Blogcarnival

Several things i have learnt in the past month when researching all these processes…

  • You can make a six figure income from blogging
  • I know of a woman writing about homelife making $40k USD a year
  • You need to diversify .. eg. Have more than one blog, offer different income streams from say books, photography, writing, but have links to theses in your blogs.
  • You do need to spend time researching, commenting on other blogs, reading, and developing and planning what you are going to write yourself.
  • Everything I’ve learnt here doesn’t just apply to blogs, but to any website you might want to increase traffic to.

I’ve enjoyed doing the research.  Even if this doesn’t work, the exercise has been entertaining, I’ve gained more knowledge, and I’ve met new online people within the blogosphere.  So all is not lost.

If I see any success with what I have done, then I’ll do the same on this blog as well.  If anything, it might buy us a cup of coffee from time to time!



Dear Morgan,

I was reading our blog today and realised that nothing really funny has happened to me lately.  I must be getting all old and sensible all of a sudden.  Makes a change.  Even my cat has got old and sensible too.  No mice, rabbits, or any other creepy crawlies.

However, today I found myself setting up a new printer that I had bought a couple of months ago.  After unpacking it from the box and doing a quick set up, I grabbed hold of the user guide/manual that clearly read ‘READ THIS BEFORE YOU SET IT UP’.  Fortunately, I’m of slightly above average intelligence and had done it correctly, but I did spend five minutes reading it to make sure I hadn’t done anything stupid.  I have to say the guide was pretty boring reading after the 50 shades of grey trilogy.  It was so… well… clean!

Anyway, I set it all up, plugged the printer into the power supply.  Popped the CD into my player and went to install the software.  The instruction said ‘Please connect your computer to the printer by the USB cable’.    What USB cable?  I searched the box.  Nothing.  Nada.  I checked where I had opened it in case it had fallen out.  Nothing.   Maybe it’s kinky after all?  50 shades of printers!

The printer was not going to work without it, so into the car to drive the 15km back into town (grr) to talk to the store owners.  They opened the same printer box on the shelf to find…. No USB cable.   ‘Oh – this printer doesn’t come with the cable, you have to buy it separately’, they told me.

I have to say I’m rather gobsmacked.  The printer doesn’t effing work without it.   No one told me when I bought it I needed a cable.  It’s the stupidest thing I’ve come across for a long time.  To top it off, the printer is a Canon – a company usually reknowned for good service and products – but I have to say they really have let themselves down on this one. Why on earth are they selling products that are incomplete?   I liken it to selling a car without any ignition installed.




Dear Morgan,

I just re read a comment of yours from ages ago on this blog.  You were wanting the recipe for my home science experiment potato soup.  So here it is.  Good luck and enjoy…

Once upon a time, about 25 years ago, in another life, I was newly married.  Being newly married and not having much experience in the kitchen, I proceeded to experiment with different foods to try and please my new husband as all brides mistakenly tend to do.

It was a cool day, and so I decided to make potato soup for lunch.  Nothing like a hot soup to warm you up from inside out.  I searched the recipe books, to no avail, not one recipe could be found.  This was in the days before  home computers, internet, and Google.  When one used grey matter to be innovative.  I thought long and hard.  Lightbulb moment!

Out came my hardly ever used juicer from the back of the cupboard.  I peeled the potatoes then put the potatoes through the juicer.  Surprisingly I needed only a few potatoes to get the required amount of juice to make soup for two. I remember thinking how clever I was being, and how easy this all was!  I then poured the juice into a pot, and placed this on the element to heat it up gently.

As I brought it to the boil, the liquid rose.  And rose.  And rose.  Turning the element down in heat did not stop it.  I put the pot over the sink quickly as it overflowed.  I tipped a bit out, added water and put it back on the heat.

No sooner than I did that, the liquid rose again.  And rose and rose and rose.  Once again I put it over the sink where it overflowed.  Once again, I tipped half out and replaced it with water.

Once again I replaced it on very low heat.  Once again the bloody thing rose and rose and rose, and once again it overflowed into the sink.  This time it kept overflowing.

I yelled for my new husband for help.  This time I tipped half of it out and replaced half with water, and put it on the element again for him to see what was happening.  Once again it rose and rose and rose, and once again I managed to get it to the sink in time for it to overflow.  I felt like I was in a middle of a science experiment going badly wrong, not cooking lunch!

There was only one thing for it.

New husband went outside and dug a hole in the garden.  (After several expletives)

He came back up and got the pot and tipped the contents into the hole.

He then filled the hole in.

We decided to go out for lunch.

As we were leaving, I noticed the potato soup rising and bubbling out of the warm earth.

I didn’t say anything.

Not for 25 years!

I’ve long since moved away.  I still scan the papers in Auckland to see if anyone is reporting weird substances bubbling out of the ground, of the emergence of giant earthworms in a certain local area.

25 years later, in all things kitchen – I no longer use my grey matter for innovation.  Google is my new best friend.

Dear Morgan,

Do you ever have those moments when you say something, then realise perhaps it didn’t come out quite the way it should have?

I rarely get embarrassed, but last night was probably my most embarrassing moment since I packed myself up in the rocketship and crash landed down here in the top of the South Island…  It was like this…

Background:  Because I’m totally deaf at night, I have no way of waking up in the morning, except by a special alarm clock.  Instead of making a noise, it wakes you up by vibrating.  Quite simple, and most of my deaf friends and I simply call it ‘The Vibrator’.  We don’t even think of associate ‘vibrator’ with anything but our alarm clocks.  It’s a simple contraption and very effective.  You simply set the time, then clip it to yourself or to the pillow.  Go to sleep.  At the designated time you will be vibrated awake.

So last night at our committee meeting the conversation went something like this…

Me: ‘So what time should I pick you up on Sunday?”

Committee member: “Well we have to be at the station by 8.00am”

Me: “That’s okay I’ll just use my vibrator that morning”

Silence.  Laughter.  Silence.  Laughter.

Me – finally realising what I’ve said:  Vibrating alarm clock!”

Too late.  I do hope they don’t add it to the newsletter!!! The group hasn’t really realised the significance of me being embarrassed!!! A very rare event indeeed!!!!  Maybe I should give my clock a name instead?



Breeding like Rabbits

Posted: April 3, 2011 in Humour, Rant

Dear Morgan,

That mouse that the cat brought in, never turned up again, and I fortunately do not have the pitter patter of tiny mouse feet anywhere in the house.  I’m sure if I did, my cat would alert me to it, but she has not been interested in anything.  Although she does go into my wardrobe occasionally and I get suspicious, but as soon as I take an interest, she walks out – so I gather there is no mice in there.

But, rabbits are another matter.  Since the great big macho cat over the road got knocked down by a car and killed, it’s been completely up to Kassia to keep the rabbit population at bay.  But it’s worn her out totally.  Either that or she’s gone on strike.  So instead of being outdoors and hunting, she keeps moaning in front of the hall cupboards until I take out a fluffy brown blanket.  It then goes on the leather couch and she retires there for most of the day.  It’s not cold enough for her electric blanket yet!

Anyway.  There are rabbits galore.  Everywhere.  I never thought I would ever want to kill a living creature, but when several rabbits start eating up your $2000 lawn, you start to want to deal in arms and buy the biggest bazooka you can get your hands on and nuke the bloody things.  They are no longer CUTE or SOFT & FURRY.  They become monster ogres with giant paws that are making holes the size of china in your lawn.  They even eat the roots of your trees.  Grrrrrrrrrr!

To give you a lesson in the size of the problem imagine the following.

One house next to a vineyard.

100 yards away at the end of the vineyard, there are 15-20 rabbits frolicking.

100 yards away at the other end of the vineyard there are 15-20 rabbits frolicking.

These are not cute, as they don’t seem to understand boundaries and slip into my yard.  I know the grass is greener on my side but that is not the point!

Lets for the sake of making things easy we’ll say there are 20 rabbits at one end and 20 rabbits at the other.  40 rabbits altogether.  At least half of those are females.

Week 1:  20 female rabbits get together with 20 male rabbits and do a bit of rabbiting hanky panky.    40 Adults. 20 Females
Week 2:  Holes in my lawn
Week 3:  Holes in my lawn
Week 4:  Holes in my lawn
Week 5:  Holes in my lawn
Week 6:  Holes in my lawn
Week 7:  20 Female rabbits give birth to 8 babies each.  That’s 160 Babies. 40 adults, 20 Females, 20 * 8 Babies (160)
Week 8:  20 Female Rabbits get together with 20 male rabbits and do a bit of rabbiting hanky panky
Weeks 9: Holes in the lawn
Week 10:  Holes in the lawn
Week 11:  Holes in the lawn
Week 12:  Kassia brings in four baby rabbits and puts 3  under my bed and one under the dining table.  So that makes 156 babies.

Adults – 40  (Females 20)
Babies – 156 (Females 78)
Total  – 196

Week 13-16: Holes in the lawn
Week 17: 20 female rabbits give birth to 160 babies.  Total baby rabbits: 316

Adults: 40 (Females 20)
Babies: 316
Total 356

Week 18: 20 female rabbits get together wither 20 male rabbits and do a bit of rabbiting hanky panky.
Week 19-24: Holes in lawn.  Kassia too exhausted to get any more babies and lounges around sleeping on the furry blanket in the lounge.
Week 25:  20 Female rabbits give birth to another 160 babies.  Total Baby rabbits: 476

Adults: 40 (20 Females)
Babies: 476
Total: 516

Week 26: The first babies are now sexually mature.  So out of the 156 babies, half of these will be female (give or take a few).  That’s 78 new females – add that to the other 20 – that 98 females doing a bit of rabbiting hanky panky.
Week 27-30: Holes in lawn.  Cat still too tired to do anything after the last 4 rabbits, and the magpies are onto to her and won’t let her into the vineyard anyway.
Week 31: 98 females have 8 baby rabbits each.  Total baby rabbits: 784 plus the last two breeding of 320 which now makes a total of 1104.

Total adults: 196  (98 Females)
Older babies:  320
New babies: 784
Total:  1300

Week 32:  The adults get it on again, plus the second lot of babies….
Week 32-40:  My lawn now looks like Craters from the Moon.  There’s an odd patch of grass, and my trees have all died as they have eaten all the roots.
Week 41 – the female populations of 98 + 80 (178) give birth to 8 rabbits each. Total:  1424 babies born.
Week 42 – I no longer have any lawn or any trees.  The ground is too dangerous to walk on.  If you do you’re likely to break both legs when accidentally tripping over a rabbit hole.  The ground is a seething mass of brown fur.  The cat is too scared to go outside for fear of giant bunnies.   Now 260 pairs of bunnies are in bunny heaven mating with each other to make more babies.   You can’t sleep at night knowing all this sexual activity is going on outside.  The ground reverberates and it’s not another earthquake – it’s just the earth moving for all these bunnies.

6 weeks later They give birth to 2080 rabbits.
I can’t count any more.  But in six, 6 week periods, a total of 4960 bunnies!

Adults females babies per adult Number of babies Total babies
Week 1 40 20 8 160 160
2nd 6 week 40 20 8 160 320
3 months 3rd 6 week 40 20 8 160 480
4th 6 week 40 20 8 160 640
5th 6 week 200 100 8 800 1440
6 months 6th 6 week 360 180 8 1440 2880
7th 6 week 520 260 8 2080 4960
8th 6 week 680 340 8 2720 7680
9 months 9th 6 week 1480 740 8 5920 13600
10th 6 week 2920 1460 8 11680 25280
11th 6 week 5000 2500 8 20000 45280
12 months 12th 6 week 7720 3860 8 30880 76160

Now where is that Bazooka – it hasn’t arrived yet!

Rodent Take Over

Posted: March 12, 2011 in Fun, Humour
Tags: , , , ,

By Morgan MacLaren

This post is rated R_18 for humans and R_50 days for mice…

Dear Robyn,

I think you are in serious trouble. I laughed my arse off at your last post about the mice. I hear you still haven’t caught the two that were hiding in your bedroom. This doesn’t bode well because I did some research into mice and there are some alarming statistics for what “two” mice of opposite gender are capable of in their lifetimes… Did you realise:


  1. Mice are a bit like, ahem… rabbits… in that they like do house maintenance. (Particularly screwing in lightbulbs*)
  2. Mice have litters of 10 pups on average after a 20 day gestation period
  3. 25 days after the pups are born and have been weaned the females are ready for lightbulb duty again
  4. 50 days after pups are born they themselves are old enough to go to Uni and get up to no good with their own lightbulbs and the other student mice their own age.

This makes for rather an alarming possibility. A population explosion in your bedroom! If we presume that your two mice are a boy called Bertie and a girl called Beatrice and that all litters created are 50% split male and female, I imagine your mice population might unfold something like this over the coming year – remembering that with each generation of pups there is a growing number of partners available:

(And in case you are wondering – yes, I did actually do the math for this! I am not guessing. You can download my calculations and check them with this .xls mice breeding )

Day 0 (The day you lost your two mice)
Our darling little pair, Bertie and Beatrice notice the lights aren’t working in your bedroom and decide to screw in a lightbulb* for you. (Aww, such thoughful guests!)

Day 20
Bertie and Beatrice become the proud parents of 10 skirming “pinkies” called Boris, Benjamin, Bucko, Baldrick, Bartie, Britta, Bronhilda, Berta, Betsy and Brenna (aka “Team 2”)
Population: 12

Day 45
Whatdaya know? That bloody lightbulb blew again. Bertie and Beatrice to the rescue.

Day 65
Bertie and Beatrice become the parents of 10 more little darlings: Curtis, Calvin, Colin, Clayton, Clem, Carla, Crystal, Cybil, Cindy and Cloe (Team 3).
Population 22

Day 70
The 10 “B” named boys and girls from Team 2 reach University age and learn to screw in their own lightbulbs at their student flats (your sock drawers)… (that’s 5 girls and 5 boys with the potential to make 50 kids each litter)

Day 90
Bertie and Beatrice have a romantic evening “celebrating” after the birth of their first 50 new grand children from their “B” Team 2 children (aka Team 10**)
Population 72

Day 110
Bertie and Beatrice spawn Team 4 (Douglas, Dorris, D… oh b*gger the names! Who can keep track of 30 kids?)
Population 82

Day 115
Team 2 make repairs in the student flats again and teach their Team 3 siblings how to do this at the same time.

Day 135
Bertie and Beatrice have a ANOTHER romantic evening “celebrating” the birth of their next 100 grand children from both their “B” and “C” children (Teams 11 and 12).
Population 182

Day 140
Team 10 fix some lightbulbs

Day 155
Bertie and Beatrice create 10 more sproglets called Team 5
Population 192

Day 160
Teams 2-4 have a mass celebration to welcome Team 10’s litter of 250 pups (affectionately called Team 38)
Population 442

Day 180
Bertie and Beatrice go out partying, get pissed and make a boo boo after celebrating the birth of their 150 extra grand children to their kids from Teams 2-4
Population 592

Day 185
Teams 10-12 have a party

Day 200
Bertie and Beatrice obtain 10 new screaming pink things with stinky nappies (Team 6)….
Population 602

Day 205
Teams 2-5 have a great time in the sock drawer and Teams 10-12 relocate to bigger premises in the wardrobe to accomodate their 750 new pups born today (Teams 39-41)!
Population 1’352

Day 210
Team 38 screw in 125 lightbulbs and blow a fuse.

Day 225
Bertie and Beatrice who’ve decided they definitely don’t want any more kids ditch that idea when they see their newest and cutest 200 grand children to Teams 2-5 and decide to make one more litter…
Population 1’552

Day 230
Party at the student flats with lotsa socks flying for Teams 10-15 and 1’250 sprogs are born to Team 38.
Population 2’802

Day 245
Bertie and Beatrice deliver their Team 7 set of 10 sprogs.
Population 2’812

Day 250
Teams 2-6 launch Squeak-Fest in the linen cupboard to mark the opening of a great new nightclub and visit the hospital (the bathroom medicine cabinet) afterwards to visit Teams 10 – 15 and see their 1’500 little ones (Teams 42-47)
Population 4’312

Day 255
Teams 38-41 hold Squeak-A-Thon party at Club Linen

Day 270
Bertie and Beatrice accidentally screw in a lightbulb and Teams 2-6 produce 250 more grand kids (Teams 20-24)
Population 4’562

Day 275
Teams 10-19 find 250 accidental lightbults also but are not put off using them even when greeted with 5’000 new screaming arrivals from Teams 38-41
Population 9’562

Day 290
Bertie and Beatrice decide with the arrival of Team 8 that 80 offspring is more than enough and they’re never doing round the clock feeds and nappies again.
Population 9’572

Day 295
Teams 2-7 are happy to have more sprogs though and hold another party at Linen while 2’500 new sproglets are delivered in the BIG new hospital (the bathroom vanity cupboards) to Teams 10 – 19
Population 12’072

Day 300
Teams 38-47 find the mirror ball in the walk in closet and start a new night club called “Ball” which requires the installation of 1’250 lights, while Team 73 introduce 6’250 future club goer to the world.
Population 18’322

Day 315
Bertie and Beatrice attempt changing a lightbulb with “protection” (the plastic lunch wrap from the kitchen Pharmacy up the hall), Teams 2-7 spawn 300 new members to create Teams 25-30
Population: 18’622

Day 320
750 party-goers boogy at Ball for Teams 10-24 while the hospital in the vanity unit has a catastrophy trying to deliver 12’500 pups for Teams 38-47 all on the same night.
Population 31’122

Day 325
Teams 73-77 mate for the first time. All 6’250 of them. Seriously? Don’t they know what a hassle they are making for the hospital in the future?

Day 335
Bertie and Beatrice get the fright of their lives when they discover the plastic wrap didn’t work and they now have a Team 9!
Population 31’132

Day 340
Teams 2-7 shout Team 8 free drinks at Ball and Teams 10 – 24 spit out 3’750 new pinkies.
Population 34’882

Day 345
All hell breaks loose as Team 38-57 do a bad thing at a club crawl of Linen, Ball and the new Attic Club. Mondo sized Teams 73-77 overload the newly created “Bathtub Hospital” with 31’250 pups making Teams 109-113
Population 66’132

Day 360
A quiet one. Teams 2-8 create 350 new kiddies
Population 66’482

Day 365
Mondo Mayhem. 25’000 pups born to Teams 38-57 making the total population 91’482!!!

So there you have it. If you don’t manage to catch those mice by the end of the year you will have 91’482 little stinky inhabitants in your room!

Of course there is something else to consider here. Generally speaking critters from the same close family don’t mate otherwise you get inbreeding (well, except in some countries….). So either this means a good thing – you won’t have 91,000+ mice in your room, or a bad one – you will and they all have 2 heads, five arms and seven tails!

I wish you and the cat A LOT OF GOOD LUCK!

Morgan 🙂

Q: How many mice does it take to screw in a lightbulb?
A: Two. But I don’t know how you get them in there!

I named the teams in generations:

Team  1              = Bertie and Beatrice
Teams 2-9        = Their own children (litters of 10)
Teams 10-37   = Their grand children (litters of 50)
Teams 38-72   = Their great-grand children (litters of 250)
And so on…. up to Team 113 (litter of 6’250)

Some teams did not produce offspring as they were born less than 70 before the end of the year.