Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category

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.

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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?

Cheers

Robyn

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.

I’m smarter than a mouse

Posted: March 2, 2011 in Fun, Humour

Dear Morgan,

I outsmarted a field mouse tonight.  This may be a funny thing to be proud of to you, but to me it was a jubilant moment.  Up there with winning lotto, or trips overseas.  Of even hearing again.  It also gives me hope for the human race.  Despite having morons running things like our health system, we do seem to be slightly higher up the food chain than a field mouse!

Cat is being quite challenging lately.  For the last week, she has ceased bringing in dead rabbits as offerings, and instead, bringing in little live presents of field mice.  These she lets go in either the lounge or my bedroom, then proceeds to chase around the room at 90kmh.  Occasionally catching them in her mouth, and at this stage of the proceedings I try to catch the cat and put both mouse and cat outside at the same time.  This doesn’t always work.  Either she drops the mouse inside just before she goes out, then I get left with mouse, or if I’m successful at getting both out, she runs round to her cat door at full speed and brings it in again before I can even get to the garage to lock it!

Two nights ago I was chasing a mouse around the bedroom.  I lost it.  Mouse: 1.0  Cat 0.0  Human 0.0

Last night I was chasing a mouse around the bedroom at 1.30am.  I lost it.  Mouse 2.0  Cat 0.0  Human 0.0

Tonight at 9.00pm I was chasing a mouse around the lounge.  I lost it.  Mouse 3.0  Cat 0.0  Human 0.0

But then I got a lucky break.  It peeked out from under the ranchslider door.  I crawled over to the door, put my finger down so it couldn’t get under it again, and miraculously, after two dummy runs I caught it barehanded.  It’s now outside.  Mouse 2.0  Cat 0.0  Human 1.0

I can’t help but think of other people at this stage.  There are some people (mainly females), that start screaming at the sight of a mouse.  Why?  They’re a). Tiny.  b). don’t bite  c). very cute.  They are not scary at all.  They don’t even have teeth that will hurt us, not like sharks.  They can get into extremely small spaces.  Is this what females are afraid of?  That they might invade personal space?   It wouldn’t happen – they are animals and need to ‘breathe!’

Anyway – I now have two left to catch.  Both in my bedroom.  I’m confident with my new-found skills I might get them in the next week or so.  Either that or the two that have been left to run around my bedroom will mate and by the weekend I’ll have 32 of them to catch!

Life is always interesting in the country.

Cheers

Robyn

 

Dear Robyn,

OK, here are my answers to your 20 questions.

1). What was the naughtiest thing you did as a kid? How did this impact on your life now?

I think the naughtiest “thing” I did was just being generally stubborn, questioning everything and not automatically doing what I was told! I was one of those kids who is always going “Why? Why? Why? Why? But Whyyyyy?” and if any adult could not give me an intelligent answer why it was fair I had to do something then there was no bloody way I was going to do it just because they told me too. (After all, I figured blindly following “authority” without questioning it might be a bad thing since it might be unreasonable or dangerous).

How does this impact me now? I haven’t changed!!! (I only care about rules that are fair and will challenge any that are unreasonable).

2). How many times did your mother break the wooden spoon on you, and what did you do for that to happen?

I think she only did that once and I can’t remember what it was for (wow, must have been really effective!) We think it is hilarious now. I could always tell if I had been really bad by the sound of “STOMP STOMP STOMP STOMP” followed by the wooden spoon drawer opening. We still joke sometimes that if I misbehave she will get the wooden spoon out!

But I do remember once when I was in primary school (I think), I wouldn’t eat my vegetables so my mother threatened that if I didn’t eat them she would put them in the fridge and I would have to eat them the next day. I didn’t eat them. So the next day guess what I got to eat for breakfast? COLD hard vegetables. I still didn’t eat them. It’s a wonder my mother still has hair. Poor woman.

3). What is the best book you have ever read, and why do you rate it as your best?

There are a few:

Einstein: The General and Special Theory of Relativity

It’s just fascinatingly beautiful and thought provoking and Einstein had a great way of explaining himself as well as possessing an absurdly fun sense of humour. Anything by him is fascinating and fun – even his writings on the surface tension of water!

Jung: Psychological Types (Psychologische Typen)

My favourite of Jung’s works and where my interest in personality theories started. Whilst it’s not actually a theory and hasn’t been validated as true I have so far failed to find sufficient evidence that either it or the Myers-Briggs Indicator that was inspired by it to be untrue. And newer theories that are now taken more seriously seem to somewhat validate it.

Richard Dawkins: The Greatest Show on Earth

Chosen simply because it is his latest offering but anything this guy produces is brilliant. This is one of the most intelligent books I have ever read. What he doesn’t know about science probably isn’t worth knowing. After reading this I can’t see how any intelligent person could refute evolution as a scientific fact.

4). What was the animal that most influenced you as a child?

The horse. I love them. They are beautiful to look at, gentle, noble, strong and make intelligent companions for humans either as friends or workmates. As a child my friend had a gelding called Amigo. He was awesome. If we went “camping” in the back yard he would have to come too – even going so far as to sit in the tent with us and share our tea and damper bread and join in our silly games. And he did this “thing” with his feed bucket just to make us laugh (by sticking his hoof in it and biffing it around the paddock.) I am sure they have a sense of humour and love the way they “test” you when you first ride them to see what they can get away with. There is no zip in the back of a horse’s head that is for sure!

5). Have you eaten anything really stupid?

No, but I’ve tried smoking something stupid. When I was 12 a friend of mine and I decided to try making roll your owns. Only problem is we had neither roll your own papers or tobacco. So we improvised by using eucalypt leaves from a tree in back garden and A4 typing paper! They came out like giant sliffs, were a stinker to light, smelled like roasted koala bear and were about as horrendous as those awful menthol cigarettes you can get when you are trying to fool yourself you don’t really smoke. They didn’t exactly inspire me to never take up smoking but they didn’t inspire me to want to start either!

The most unusual thing I have eaten is jellyfish which I am rather partial to and eat whenever I can find it in Japanese restaurants.

6). What has been your most embarrassing experience in your life?

Well, I am shy so I could say the whole thing so far!

7). What is the funniest thing that has happened to you in the last year?

Running around the house playing games with Lia and Glyn’s 3 year old son Zac under strict instructions not to make him laugh too much otherwise he might throw up. After much giggling and more running around I threw up! So now the instructions go more like “Zac, don’t make Aunty Morgan laugh too much or she’ll barf!” I love kids. We have so much in common….

8). Who was your first boyfriend and why didn’t it last?

A super intellectual nerdy Mensa member who regularly devoured 4 books a day. He lived further down the country. We were only about 14. We spent several years writing very long intellectual letters to each other and sending them via the post 3 times a week and sometimes visited each other! I still have them somewhere. Particularly cool is the one where he had decided (at the grand age of 15) he wanted to marry me. But he wasn’t sure how I’d react so he made a hidden compartment in the letter and said to only open it if I really want to know. Our long distance communications didn’t last because he eventually moved up to Auckland and I decided I wasn’t so keen on his party animal side!

9). If you could have anybody in the world as your life companion, who would you choose and why?

A Burmese cat like your Kass. It would be cool to have such a loyal companion and be able come home at night to millions of hugs and someone who would listen for hours to your philosophical ramblings without complaining they are bored! I just love the way cats are always content just to be with you and don’t make any judgements about how much housework you’ve done today.

10). What is the gadget you would most like to buy and why?

Considering I have absolutely no sense of direction a Navman wouldn’t go a miss. Only my model would need to be able to give me really specific instructions – like how to navigate to the bathroom in a restaurant and find my way back safely to my table! I kid you not. Twice in the past few months I have gone to the bathroom in restaurants and ended up getting back to my table via the kitchen much to the surprise of the staff!

11). If you could live in another country for a year, which country would you choose and why?

Germany. I have always felt an affinity with Germans and when I was in Germany I loved the way it is organized so efficiently, that train timetables makes sense and they turn up on time, that it’s so clean and tidy you can lick the roads and that the people are so thoughtful (and above all else MAKE SENSE!)

What I love about the German people is that they are really honest and mean exactly what they say. So for example if they compliment you, you know they really mean it and are not just hiding the truth to keep the peace, saying what they think you want to hear or to manipulate you so they get what they want. And they tend to think of doing things in a way that will be helpful to other people. Like planning a project effectively so everything is well thought out from start to finish or designing windows for tall buildings that open inwards so occupants can wash the outside of the window from inside rather than having to clamber up the outside of their dwelling on a dodgy ladder (like we do in New Zealand!)

I also speak German so having the opportunity to speak completely in a foreign language for a year would be interesting! (Which incidentally should explain the occasional lapse into strangely Germanic spellings of Englisch words and capital Letters imposed on far too many Nouns!)

12). What would you study at university now if you could?

Hmmm, well in the past I have seriously considered studying Psychology, Philosophy, German, Computer Science and pretty much all the other sciences. But realistically I am interested in EVERYTHING (see question 18) so I get more fun out of watching Uni lectures on YouTube without spending any $$$ to change my mind all the time! (I find this guy’s lectures on Steganography really fun).

13). If you suddenly won or came into a lot of money – what would be the first three things you would do with it?

1. Come visit you

2. Stick the rest in the bank and live off the interest

3. Use it to help other people

14).What was the turning point for you which made you realise you were Atheist?

When I was seven I thought it might be worthwhile trying out church since my friends went and it seemed to be about nice morals I believed in like “love your neighbour” and “god is love”. When I got there we learned that God is vengeful and jealous and will throw anyone who does not obey his draconian and unfair laws into the eternal fires of hell where they will be burned alive forever…. It was at that point I figured the Christian God was a horrendously cruel entity, probably didn’t even exist and certainly didn’t deserve followers!

So when I say I am an Atheist this means I am 99.9% sure the probability that there is some spiritual entity in charge of the universe is incredibly unlikely (.1% is for the off chance I am wrong). But I am 100% sure that the Gods of organized religion are no more real than tooth fairies or Santa Claus.

15). If you could write a book, what would it be about?

Personality Theories or Aliens.

16). What has been the saddest moment of your life? The one that has affected you most of all.

I can’t think of any particular personal one. But in general it makes me sad that on the whole humans are not always very supportive or understanding of each other. Especially when things go wrong. I’ve been surprised when people criticise me for supporting things like the Auckland City Mission because “you shouldn’t give money to those homeless bums. Why waste your time caring about them?” My answer is always “why not? That could be to you one day”.

17). What would you most like to achieve in the next 10 years?

1. Become an A grade photographer like you

2. Record some decent songs

3. Get good at programming

4. Still have a job that contributes something meaningful to society.

5. Spend lots of quality time with friends and family

6. Get a Burmese cat!

18). If you could choose a complete new career – what would it be?

Web Developer. Though I can think of lots of others that are completely impractical and won’t be done in my lifetime:

Alien Hunter for SETI, Professional Skeptic, Songwriter, Poet, Photographer, Philosopher, Jazz Drummer, Hermit, Theoretical Physicist, Astronomer, Evolutionary Biologist, Robot Inventor, Programmer of Artificial Intelligence for Robots, Mathematician, Artist, Writer, Psychologist (in which case I would want to be the Richard Dawkins of Personality Theories and come up with a VALID one or crack what consciousness really is), Sound Engineer (take two as already been there, done that) and start something called “The Alien Abduction Company” that produces humorous but intelligent games with alien vs spy themes.

19). If you could change any part of your body – which part would that be?

I wouldn’t. I like me the way I am, although it would be quite cool if my eyelashes and eyebrows were naturally darker. I am so pale that without makeup on I look like the White Witch from Narnia! I have the kind of Scottish complexion that Billy Connolly refers to as “Pale Blue” (or “Pale Bloooooo” in his accent!) A friend of mine used to joke that I shouldn’t be allowed outside in the moonlight because I glow in the dark.

20). Write me two paragraphs of an opening of a ghost story…

Er, well I am not very good at this sort of thing but here goes.

Mando was relieved. Finally he could sit down beside the freshly lit fireplace with a good book and relax after a day of hauling boxes into his new abode – a cute little cottage in the countryside, right up on the hill. It had been wet and windy all day which was a bit depressing but Sally would arrive tomorrow and he knew she’d love the place and brighten it up with her laughter. He opened the book and paused to listen to the sounds of their new home – the fire crackling, the rain outside, the trees scraping up and down outside on the window pane making a squeak, the wind swirling around making howling and whimpering sounds… whimpering sounds? “That’s strange”, he thought. “I’ve never known wind to make that sort of sound before. It almost sounds human. How creepy”.

He ignored the uneasy feeling something with a tortured and unwell soul was creating the noise and resumed reading his book. But he couldn’t concentrate. He began to feel increasingly like there was something glaring at him from the hall. “Don’t be silly Mando”. The whimpering sounds became more elaborate and deep like growling. “Definitely not the wind then. Maybe an animal?” He started feeling distinctly uncomfortable and wished he had turned more lights on now. If Sally were here she would ease his fears and convince him it was just his overactive imagination, just what he needed because now he was petrified and reluctant to look and see if anything was really there. But he had to, just to reassure himself.

He stared into the fire for a while longer hoping the warm glowing colours might help him muster up more courage and that the noises would stop. They didn’t so he decided to bite the bullet and just do it. That is what Sally would do with her logical mind. He cautiously glanced down the dimly fire lit hall. A creeping sensation passed through him. “What the hell is that hunched over in the corner?” He let the flames play over the emaciated looking object, animating it slightly. “Did it … move? Surely that is just a pile of dirty rags. It’s just my mind playing tricks with the firelight”. He grabbed the torch he had been using earlier and pointed it down the hall. Two beams of light at floor level shot back at him from within the pile in an angry glare. Definitely eyes! He dropped the torch. “Shit! What is that? A starving dog?” He fumbled around for the torch while his mind started racing “What the hell do I do now? I can’t look. But if it’s an injured animal I have to do something, I can’t just leave it to suffer.”

He started making his way gingerly over to the doorway to look for the light switch. The eyes seemed to follow him. He felt around nervously on the wall for the switch and found it just as he stubbed his toe on a toolbox. “Ow!” The eyes suddenly rose up to a height of seven feet and started coming at him. “FCK! What sort of dog is this big?” He flicked the switch. Then he saw it, whatever it was with its hideously thin limbs and protruding ribcage, its drool covered mouth and wild eyes with pinpoint pupils boring into him.

At that precise moment the whole village of Devonsmire was woken by the blood curdling screams from the cottage on the hill. And that was the first and last time they ever heard the voice of Mando Alexander.

Sorry! I can’t count. So you get a whole intro instead of two paragraphs!

Morgan 🙂

Dear Morgan,

Thanks for your email asking me 20 questions.   Did you imbibe a bit too much brandy over Christmas?  The reason I’m asking you this as you actually sent me 21 questions, not 20.  I’m worried that something somehow affected your ability to count.  Or did you grow another finger or toe?  It happens you know – some people actually have 6 toes on their feet, or on one foot.  I’m pretty sure you’re like me and count on your fingers and toes!

Anyway – I’ve answered your 21 questions and the answers to them are below.  I look forward to seeing the answers to mine!

1. What was your biggest blonde moment in 2010?
Getting up at 6am thinking I hadn’t turned the water off on the garden.  When I got to the tap, everything was soaked and I was kicking myself for leaving it on for so long, to find that the tap was already off.  It took me another minute to realise it was pouring with rain, and that was the reason why it was so wet.  Then I realised, standing in my PJs at the garden tap, when it was barely light, that I also was being heavily rained upon!  I was too wet to go back to bed!!!

2. Your photography is stunning. What would you advice be to beginners as to how to know when they have a great shot?
Look at the shot carefully, if it can be improved – improve it.  If it can’t be improved, then it’s probably a great shot!  Seriously though, a great shot is often quite flukey.  When all the elements are right, everything is lined up for you, and you happen to get the right angle and perspective.  Other times, when you work at it, you won’t be able to achieve the same result.  It’s a mystery to me!

3. What reaction do you get from people when you tell them you are an atheist?
The biggest reaction at the moment is that I should say ‘non-believer’ because the word ‘atheist’ sounds so horrible.  No matter how I explain that the word ‘atheist’ means ‘non believer’ it makes no difference.  Obviously ‘atheist’ conjures up visions of devil worship and witches in some people’s imaginations.  Most likely because that is what they’ve been told (a case of a christian upbringing or brainwashing) .  The other comment that is made is that I won’t always be an Atheist, and that eventually I’ll  ‘go back into the fold’.  In other words, they believe that somehow I will suddenly start believing in ‘miracles’ rather than ‘coincidences’, or that I’m sitting on the fence and if something happens, I’ll immediately re-convert.  Not a chance!

4. What is something the world would be better off without?
War.  Greed.  Jealousy.   Oil Barons (see 2nd word).  Mobile phones! Anal probing aliens!

5. If you could be a famous person for a day who would it be and why?
Kate Middleton.  Cos I’d like to shag a prince ! lol  Oops – that was ‘snag’.  Honest!

6. How many books did you read last year and which ones do you recommend?
I didn’t indicate ‘year’ in my list, but since March 2009, I’ve read 126 books.  I’ve actually read a few more than that but forgot to update the list!  Still – that’s an average of 2 per week so not actually a bad result.  The book I most recommend is ‘Tears of the Desert’ by Halima Bashir.  Absolutely brilliant.  The reason it’s so good is that I can’t stop thinking about it.  When a book affects you in that way, then you know the writer has achieved something rare and good.  I’d recommend it to anyone.

7. What do you feel are the most amusing aspects of my personality and of yours?
The ability to laugh at ourselves and our quirky personalities.  My most amusing is my competitiveness.  My ability to turn reading into an olympic sport!!  I can’t even help myself.  A friend of mine won’t even play Scrabble with me anymore!!!  Sigh!

Yours is the amusing way your imagination can go wild with marshmallows and elephants.  Whatever you are on, I’d like some !

8. How do you think we (humans) got here (on earth)
Sigh!  Didn’t you know?  You have to ask?  Well, it started with Planet Oxeon (or planet Ox for short).  The inhabitants there were once called shemanhunians.  They lived in utter peace and contentment.  They were only 4 feet tall, and all weighed 300 pounds.  All their food was on trees.  Even a cake tree.  When they mixed the leaves of any tree with water from their lakes, they could change the taste of that water to anything they wanted, depending on the leaf.

One day there was a terrible storm. It raged for two weeks, and when it finally abated, the leaves of all the trees had been stripped bare.  Gradually all the trees started to die.  Terrible food shortages were experienced, and the weakest began to die.

They sent SOS messages in bottles that they threw into the air.  These travelled in tiny worm holes to the outer regions of space.   A kind Minocthican from Planet MXcoen came across the bottle with a message, and sent out a party to Planet Oxeon to see what they could do to help.  The situation was so dire, that in the end it was decided that their planet had to be abandoned.  So Planet Oxeon was evacuated.  Airships were sent down and one by one filled up with Shemanhunians and taken to Planet MXcoen.  Each airship was filled with 400 Shemanhunians.  There were 396 airships altogether.  (MXcoen was a wealthy planet).  Many Shemanhunians chose to stay on their planet choosing death over life somewhere else.

All airships except one made it to MXcoen.  Airship 281 was accidentally sucked into a giant wormhole and deposited in our solar system, where they eventually found Planet Aerth (now spelt Earth because of poor education and mobile phone texting).  The Shemanhunians gradually adapted to life on Earth, grew taller because of better food.  They spread out and populated all the world.  In some countries they have maintained their weight, and in others became healthier and slimmer.  They became known as Humans.

And that is how Humans got to earth!

9.  …and what do you think the purpose of life is?
Purpose of life is to keep improving our lot generation after generation, and to have fun while doing so.  Not sure if this is what happens though!

10. Do you think there are aliens in outer space and if so what might they be like?
See question 8!

11. How would you describe the best way to spend a day?
Exploring new places with a camera, especially where very little people are. As in very few, not little little people!

12. What qualities in people really really really frustrate the hell out of you?
When I see bullying, meanness, oneupmanship, dishonesty, exaggeration, braggarts.

13. What is the most oddball thing (that isn’t true) you have believed in and how did you find out it wasn’t true?
A friend of my brothers came for dinner and told us that the little beetle that eats the hole in macaroni had some sort of virus, and was dying out.  This was affecting the crops and soon there would be a terrible shortage of Macaroni.  I believed him.  In my mind I pictured fields of macaroni with no holes blowing in the wind and little beetles getting fat by eating the out holes inside.

The next day I told my friend about this, while in a elevator full of people.  She laughed (as well as all the other people in the elevator) at my seriousness and earnestness and my emphasis that it was true!  She told me I had been ‘had’. but I didn’t believe her!!!

The problem is that I was about 22yo!!!  I am (still) so gullible!

14. If you could wave a magic wand and make the world perfect, what would it be like?
Everything would be free.  People would help each other because they want to, not for money.  Cars would run on air with no pollution.  Humans would love animals, revere them always.  There would not be a need for religion, people would be good and kind always.  There would be no hatred.  No one would be hurt or disabled, deaf or blind.  If they were, it would only be temporary as there would always be a ‘cure’ on hand.  Water would be clean everywhere.  Everyone would be vegetarian.  The sun would not be dangerous.  You could go freely around the world wherever you wanted.  There would be no borders.  There would be no war.  Without war, wealth could be spent where it was needed, in research development, space exploration, and humanity.

And the most important… everyone would have a burmese cat or 3.

15. What’s something you’ve done you’re really proud of?
I built my own vegetable garden with nails and hammer.  (and wood).  I’ve managed to grow vegetables!  Today I picked ONE brean,two tiny tomatoes, and ONE courgette.  I have ONE carrot left.  Gee – I’m not sure I’ll survive a disaster yet!

16. How important do you think science and reason should be to society?
Incredibly important.  In fact, it stand to reason that this is the one thing that people should base their education and facts on all the time.

17. What scares you (apart from sharks in swimming pools)?
Horror movies.  I won’t watch them.  Gremlins see… My other blogpost

18.  If Kass the cat could suddenly talk what do you think she’d be saying to us?
At the moment, she would be scolding me for going away so often.  She would also probably be telling me how she hunts, and decapitates her baby rabbits, and the reason she does it.  She would tell us about the three nasty magpies that keep dive-bombing her.  Right now she would be telling me that the wind is cold.  She would tell us what time we should go to bed, what food she wants and doesn’t want.  Moan about how bored she is when it rains.  She’s quite an intelligent cat, so she would probably give us her theory of relativity and discuss aliens.  She would probably tell us that Mika was abducted by aliens, and she was too, but after the anal probe how she got away! (Just had to get that in there somehow)!

19. How do you manage to get so many things done in one day (and am always amazed by this)?
By only putting my head in the clouds after they are done!  Lists.  I write lists.  I have them in my computer.  On the bench.  In my head.  I get great satisfaction of crossing things out once they are done.  I also imaginarily pay myself.  I imagine myself getting a salary for the jobs I do around the house.  If I don’t do the vacuuming, I won’t get imaginarily paid.  Works a charm.  Always have had a great imagination.  If I’m too tired, I try and imagine all those things getting done.  The only problem is imagination lets you down time and time again!  I’d like a genie.  Or fairy godmother.  Or George Clooney in a French Maids outfit, complete with fishnet stockings.  He’ll look into my eyes with those gorgeous eyes of his, and say.  “Where do I plug the vacuum cleaner into?”  Sigh!

20. Describe the perfect man and where you get one.
There is no such thing as a perfect man.  Only perfect women!  So you can’t get a perfect man anywhere.  You can try at www.yourperfectman.com What did it tell you?

Server not found?

I rest my case!

Yet www.yourperfectwoman.com will lead you to website where they will be found!

21. What are your aspirations for 2011?

  1. To get Morgan to visit me
  2. To get my foot fixed
  3. To pay off more of my mortgage
  4. To somehow save and get to see my daughter who is living in europe.
  5. To look at selling my car and buying a 4×4 to explore the back and beyond
  6. To keep trying new things photography wise,  and improving my photography.

Cheers
Robyn

Dear Robyn,

Today I tried out some of the finalists for the “Do Us a Flavour”  Chip competition Bluebird is running at the moment. The one where they let the public loose on designing winning potato crisp varieties. I entered it myself – my flavour was “Pan Fried Rainbow Trout with Lime”.

So now that there are four finalists with chips out in the stores I thought I’d put in my vote so I have been trying them – so far three from the four flavours;

Paua Fritters with Lemon Wedges
Sunday Roast (the Crispy Bits Left in the Pan)
Butter Chippin
Cheesy Garlic Bread

It’s quite remarkable how fast Bluebird got these flavours out. Do they have “crispy bits from the Sunday roast” flavour lying around in the lab somewhere? Just in case?….

The first pack I tried was Paua Fritters. I was quite keen to try this since my own flavour was also a seafood with citrus and to be honest I wasn’t convinced that could work on a chip. But surprisingly it does! Sort of like seafood dip does. And the chips really do taste like Paua. I’m quite impressed with this flavour because any kind seafood is my favourite food – EXCEPT Fugu (blowfish which the Japanese eat and is deadly poisonous if prepared wrong and I am not brave enough to play Russian Roulette with a fish) and Paua! Every time I’ve eaten it in the past I’ve thought “hmmm, great flavour, shame about the bits of rubber truck tyres”. Problem solved, bung the flavour on a potato and bingo – edible Paua without any automobile parts. I quite like the exciting, exotic flavour of this one and that you can’t get Paua anywhere else but NZ. So so far this one is getting my vote.

Cheesy Garlic Bread is not bad either. Actually also tastes pretty much like it’s title – mild cheesy flavour that’s been briefly shown a garlic clove. Just enough so it doesn’t run away screaming. It could easily be anything else though – chicken for instance. I am wondering if this one will win because the flavours are not particularly overpowering and it’s pretty easy to blob in front of the tele with a bag and realize you’ve munched most of it while you weren’t paying attention even though you swore you would only eat a few. The Paua one by contrast is quite citrus tangy and smacks you in the head so you can’t really think about anything other than what you are eating.

The last one I tried was Sunday Roast. I think this is a great idea for a flavour but don’t think Bluebird pulled this one off unfortunately. If it tastes like a roast then it’s a roast containing mostly pumpkin that someone cooked by accidentally putting it in a Tupperware container and melting it in the oven! And forgetting to put in the roast while they were at it. I think the spare chemicals Bluebird had lying around in the lab might have been “Sunday Roast With The Crispy Bits From The Pan Make By Your Inept Flatemate (606).”  Ate two chips and then felt sick so I’ve left the rest for Phil to polish off. Will be interesting to see what he thinks as foods always taste 100% different to him from what I think.

So that just leaves Butter Chippin which I haven’t seen in the stores. But it sounds interesting as it’s supposed to be based on spices like cinnamon, chillis, ginger and coriander which I love. So looking forward to seeing how that one works.

Anyway, what do you make of my Photoshopping efforts with the trout? You had to supply a “photo” with your entry but I don’t have ready access to Lake Taupo or fishing gear to land a fish for a photo so I grabbed a painting of one online and a photo of some swimming pool water and did some morphing to make it look somewhat like a fish underwater. After a bit of messing around with the components below I got the image at the top of this page.

Anyway, if you happen to try any of the chip flavours I’d be interested to hear which ones you like or think will win!

Morgan 🙂