Sunday, March 30, 2008

If you need a laugh

Check out Ethan the laughing baby on You Tube -

Totally cute and adorable..........won't fail to make you smile......
Test failed. Was carded at the supermarket for a bottle of Bacardi. So much for "give me a haircut that makes me look older........"
So I should probably have taken the time to "style" it before putting it up on here, but the fact of the matter is that this is what it's going to look like on a day to day basis......

The right side looks longer, but when tucked behind my ear it's the same length. the front is longer than the back - thats the "fashion" apparently. I'm still not sure, it's certainly lighter, not as sweaty on the back of the neck, and probably easier to care for.......

Taxes done...

Woo hoo!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Bad Day?

Well, probably not bad. In the grand scheme of things it was probably a good day, but i've been feeling so very low all day, and now it looks like I may be coming down with a stomach bug. Ug. I miss Stian - not that I would wish me with a stomach bug on anyone, but I could use some hugs right now. I did get puppy hugs today, Jenny very kindly came and helped me move office furniture around this afternoon - the previous occupant finally moved out while I was away (well mostly), so I can spread out and stop working on top of my office mate, and maybe actually unpack. So I got to see Barkly and Goofy again, that was nice.

I feel my general unsettledness and unhappiness may be being compounded by the general state of disarray i've being trying to work in (not very successfully I might add). Now I have a lab space for lab things, and a good office space for office things, tomorrow i'll go in and unpack the boxes that have yet to be unpacked, maybe i'll even file things, go wild.

I also got a haircut today and I don't know whether it's just because i'm feeling so low or whether I just don't like it that much. I can't decide, i'm just not as excited about it as I hoped I would be. I'm very pragmatic when it comes to hair cuts, i've had everything from a shaved head to hair down to my butt, and up to this morning I was looking forward to having a change that matches the change in my life. I'll try and take a picture tomorrow and post it, see what you think. I'm hoping it will grow on me, otherwise I guess it's just grow it out, no biggy really considering i'm at sea for the next 6 weeks....

To try and make myself feel better this evening I went and got take out pizza for dinner (my favourite - Hawaiian - go figure), and it immediately came back out again. In some ways I hope it's just a bug thats bugging me and made me feel low all day, as that means it'll pass quickly hopefully. Stian then called tonight, so that picked me up a little (not enough to keep food down unfortunately), enough to try and do something I've always enjoyed doing - making doggy cookies. That was nice, though made me miss Riley boy. As soon as the oven goes off it's time for bed, I would love to sleep through the night tonight - so far i've not managed to sleep through yet and have been awake for a couple of hours around 2am, still on weird time zones. I'm sure thats not helping my general well-being either.

Beefy Dog Cookies

So here is a doggy recipe, and these particular cookies are for my pals Barkly and Goofy.

Bears Beefy Oat Cookies
1 cup oatmeal
1/4 cup butter/ margarine (no salt)
1 tsp low salt beef bullion
1 1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup corn meal
1/3 cup milk powder
3 cups wheat flour

Mix lightly oats, butter and bullion - cover in hot water and let sit for 5 minutes. Mix in corn meal and milk powder - mix in flour (adding 1/2 cup at a time) until a stiff dough is formed. Roll out to ~1cm thick, cut into shapes. Place on cookie sheet and glaze with milk (or mixed egg). Put in an oven at 350F for ~1hr - turn oven off and leave cookies in there to harden overnight (or ~10hrs). I usually keep cookies in the fridge, though you don't really have to - depends how quickly they might be used up. Make sure they are in a ziplock or box to keep moisture out.

Recipe an amalgamation of other online recipes available for pups!

House for sale....

So I spotted a house for sale in Manoa today (an area I would consider buying in here), the house is pretty small and falling down, so I wondered what the price would be. Well I just found out. $600,000 - the house is apparently in disrepair and a tear-down. Land is 2300 square feet. Eeek. Anyone want to go in on a house out here? Never going to get it on my own........

Thursday, March 27, 2008


Just sitting half watching TV, half emailing and two geckos just climbed up my window. Watching them wondering if I could get my camera out without disturbing, it suddenly dawned on me that they were on the inside of the window..............they then ran down the window, over and then under the windowframe, where i'm assuming there is a good size hole..............lucky thing crawlies don't creep me out.......

Oh.....and my computer may need a new logic board......and the warranty ran out 8 days ago......why does that always happen??

Sketchy Scientist??

I try really hard (really really hard) not to be the sketchy scientist Stian likes to describe as "normal" in his line of work - clever yet would forget their head if it wasn't attached and are just generally all around lacking in common sense. Yet things like today happen. And they happen more and more frequently and I'm beginning to get worried. Was I always like this and maybe just forgot? I'm certainly no brain-iac so have no excuse there........

So I have an appointment at the Apple store to go through a couple of problems i'm having with my iPhone and Laptop (nothing major, but i really miss my Purple Mac Goddess BL!). I've never really managed to get my bluetooth headset to work and thought it would be good to take it in while i've got an appt. Problem - I can't find the headset. I mention this to Stian in an email of frustration (realised this same day I lost my W2s). He emails back and tells me I had it at sea - duh. So I come back a little early today and start to go through everything and finally find the headset, pretty damn close to where he said it might be too. Yay - I have my headset for this appt and I might actually begin to be able to use the stupid thing.

So I go to plug in the headset to charge it, and as I lean over my bed I notice an envelope in the basket I keep under my side table. Hmmmm. And what is in that envelope, but not one, but two W2s.

So I'm losing it. Whats worse is the physical space I now live in has reduced by around 75% and I STILL LOSE THINGS.........

Filter For Good Program

"Americans send about 38 billion water bottles a year to landfills. Considering the 1.5 million barrels of oil needed to make those bottles, the environmental impact of plastic bottle waste is truly staggering. Brita and Nalgene have teamed up to create the FilterForGood pledge. It's a simple commitment to reduce your personal waste by giving up bottled water, even if it's just a few days each week. Together, filtered water and a reusable bottle are an ideal solution for going green at home and on the go. It's an easy change that can make a big difference."

"Many people drink bottled water because they believe it to be of a higher quality, cleaner and better-tasting, but that's not necessarily true."
  • In the United States, 24 percent of bottled water sold is either Pepsi's Aquafina (13 percent of the market) or Coke's Dasani (11 percent of the market). Both brands are bottled, purified municipal water.
  • Dr. Gina Solomon, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental advocacy group, told The New York Times that "there is no reason to believe that bottled water is safer than tap water."
  • In the U.S., public water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which requires multiple daily tests for bacteria and makes results available to the public. The Food and Drug Administration, which regulates bottled water, only requires weekly testing and does not share its findings with the EPA or the public.
So get out those re-usable bottles!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008


....ahhh.......and the best part, these avocados were FREE........just some exercise (climbing) required to get them........

So my American friends.....

....what the hell do you do when you've lost your W2s.....both of them (from MA and HI)........I still haven't uncovered the "safe place" i put them in during unpacking/packing madness and am now starting to different from the UK tax system makes me want to cry sometimes.........mostimes......

Monday, March 24, 2008

Mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine, mine

Check out all that storage space! I think i'll take down the cabinets on the left and put them in the other corner, free up some more counter space...

The other end - on the right is the door - at the moment to get to the lab you go through an annex that joins another two offices - eventually there will be a door on this far wall leading directly to the corridor. Until then i'm sticking a chest freezer, a fridge and (hopefully) a -80C freezer there in the next few days (the -80C will take a while, those are expensive!).

Check out the 60's orange and brown formica.....woo hoo!

Happy Easter!

A day late, but happy easter everyone! Hope you all had as good a one as me - catching up with friends and family, a couple of hours of kayaking and beach walking, snoozing and a nice meal with the Watlings - even a few chocolate eggs!

But today it's back to work (can you tell i'm stalling to get in the car and go). It's amazing how the list I wrote at the airport had things like "be pampered" and "eat salad", now my list has things like "do taxes" and "chase up work order that didn't come in". Shish.

One cool thing did come in though......:0)

Saturday, March 22, 2008


My car hit 700 miles on the clock today........Happy 700 Beach Belle!

And I spotted about 700 ants crawling along my ceiling today........ewwww, guess I was too tired to spot those yesterday.........quick trip to Longs, $20 later (though the guy at the checkout loved my Envirosax) and Grodnick now smells just like ant killer......if only there weren't swarms of mosquitos outside or i'd go and watch the water out there.......

In my shopping basket.....

  • Cantaloupe - $3.36 ($0.99/lb)
  • 4 Apples - $2.66
  • 2 Lemons - $1.78
  • 2lb baby carrots - $3.49
  • Pack Romaine Lettuce Hearts - $3
  • Bean Sprouts - $0.99
  • 1/2 Gallon 1% Milk - $3.59
  • 12 eggs - cage free Hawaiian - $4.19
  • Loaf whole wheat Safeway basic Bread - $3.49
  • 6 Sweet Italian Sausages - $5.99
  • Extra Firm Tofu - $1.50
  • Brie - $3.91 ($10.49/lb)
  • Safeway small pk Hummus - $3.59
  • 2 bottles Schwepes Tonic Water - $4.30
  • Safeway 12pk cooked sushi - $5.49 (yes I know, store-bought sushi, but it was a treat lunch and it was delicious!)
  • Total - $55.41 (with tax) - savings with Safeway card - $9.63
Okay, so I bought a couple of "treat" items, but please, how does a-not-even-close-to-full-handbasket of groceries suddenly cost over $50!!! I feel like I need to re-learn how to food shop, I got way too used to not even looking at prices on things. I guess I have a lot in the freezer and in cans from Costco, so maybe I should spread it out over the months or something, or maybe thats just a trick to try and make me feel better......

Fun things to come home to.......

- Ants in the kettle
- Mold in the toilet
- Dead termites everywhere.......including my bed......


Friday, March 21, 2008

Back at the ranch....finally.....

A slight detour, though I have to say an extremely pleasant and fun one. After posting "delayed in LAX" the delay then became a cancellation (broken plane, replaced, then the pilot was over his fly time, no more pilots as many flights were canceled due to weather, yadda yadda) with the only seats to Hawaii being available on the 22nd, everything else was booked solid (overbooked in fact - WHY AIRLINES DO YOU OVERBOOK ON HOLIDAYS AND SPRING BREAK, WHY????), better yet there were also NO hotels (because of all the cancellations and overbooking), so it was kip on LAX floor time.

Luckily I was first in the queue for rebooking (saw that one coming a mile away and got in line quick). After being told the above option I said I was happy to transfer airports just get me to HI asap. The next alternative was a flight from San Francisco in 2 days (21st) as long as I ran to catch the plane to SFO that left in 30 minutes. Book it! As I ran a little phone call to Stian's parents and sister and a fleeting visit was hastily arranged - arrived in SF at 10.30pm, caught the train and was tucked up in bed at Nicola and Mike's by midnight. The 20th was hang out day, I got to spend some wonderful time with Lala, Finn, Nicola and Mike, saw Stian's parents in the morning, even got to meet Grandma A (who reads this blog - Hi Grandma A!) which was super nice. I couldn't have imagined a nicer travel delay - thanks so much to Super Uncle Stian's Super Family! I was pretty sad to leave this morning too, can I be delayed another day??

So I got on a flight out of SFO in a first class seat (fully reclining I'll have you know) and arrived in Honolulu at 11am this morning. Ahhhh. Grodnick is just how I left it and it's good to be home. Went into work this afternoon to catch up on mail and even managed to get into my new lab - and I have to say that almost put me to tears today - my first lab, it was more than a little overwhelming. I'll have to post photos because it really is a relic of the 60's - wonderful oranges and browns - but it's way bigger than I expected (actually probably double the size that I expected) and it's my FIRST lab........MY first How did that happen??

Now I guess I have to get the $$ and students to fill it........

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The List........delayed at LAX

-Go food shopping!
-Eat salad and fruit (ive missed those)
-Go to beach at least twice before I head to sea again
-Go kayaking at least twice
-Move into lab space
-Order lab fridge and supplies
-Book tickets to next cruise
-Order supplies for next cruise
-Get paid properly
-Reorganize office (i left a mess, so am suspecting its still that way!)
-Finish paper (there are always papers to finish!)
-Set up histology lab
-Do some histology
-Go to coconut island to look at larvae cultivation tanks
-Do some molecular lab work
-Do some TEM
-Unpack bathroom (yup, things in there are still in boxes)
-Chase up a missing parcel
-Decide what to do 4 birthday
-Make garden (or at least start!)
-catch up with family & friends (sorry for neglecting you!)
-Get a haircut and feel pampered at somepoint this next 3wks.....
-get home furniture - coffee table, filing cabinet & chest drawers (oh
I wish for an IKEA on Hawaii!), has to be compact to fit in Grodnick tho

6hrs to go......

In LAX just one more 6hr flight to go and I'm home. Stian went off to
New Zealand to his next cruise, we parted ways at Santiago, next time
I see him will be back in Chile, and just for a few days before I head
to sea! Miss him already.

Still a little weird thinking of Hawaii as home, not quite comfortable
with it as yet, but I'm hoping it will get there. Have a good list
going of all the things I need to do before I get on this next cruise
in 3 wks, maybe I'll post that up here. One of my more exciting pieces
of news is that my lab is ready for me to move into - new paint job
and everything, woo hoo! On the other side I notice I am still not
being paid my correct salary.......... Ah Hawaii time again......

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

I'm outta here....

Just a couple more hours and i'll be on a plane, ready for a 36hrs of travel back to honolulu. Good to get out today though, have to come back this way in 3 weeks, so even getting an extra day at home is a big deal right now. Not looking forward to the flights, but all part of it I guess. When I get back i'll post some photos of the crossing ceremony was pretty funny. Last nights dinner was fun too, good food, good company, Stian and I left "early" though.....and by early I mean midnight.........ish, I'm getting old......

Monday, March 17, 2008

Back in Chile

We just pulled into Punta Arenas, customs guys are onboard and suspect
in half an hour or so we'll be allowed off the ship. Not that much
wandering is in the cards today, we'll be helping to offload boxes and
cargo and I have to go and see if I can find a home for my coral
babies - rather than kill them now - they have not built skeletons...:
0( - i'm going to leave them in a fridge in the warehouse down here
and pick them up in 3 weeks when I'm back for the next cruise - if
they die I would have killed them today anyway, if they survive maybe,
just maybe, they'll build skeletons in that 3 weeks. Many of them are
attached and look like they are working on it, so i'm hopeful. Maybe I
can even get someone to change the water out
occasionally...........but that might be a long shot.

Nice sunny day today, so a good one for offloading (nothing worse than
offloading in the rain!) - Stian is already outside and getting the
vans ready to be taken off the boat. Nothing is allowed off the ship
until the customs guys have cleared us, so it's sit and wait for just
a little bit longer. Tonight we have the end of cruise dinner which
should be fun, good meal, chilean wine and getting off the ship! My
flights back are still not finalized, so not sure if i'm leaving
tomorrow or the day after.......we'll see.......

Friday, March 14, 2008

On the way home.....

We're in the Drake and headed north and should get into port on the
17th. Woo hoo! We had the crossing ceremony last night, was fun, our
unrehearsed skits and dances went well, King Neptune's court enjoyed
the show but still covered us in mud and slime anyway. Not as gross
as the equator crossing, and somewhat colder, but just as much fun
was had by all. Today has been a lazy day, did get up for breakfast
this morning and almost immediately came back and took a nap. Packed
up some chemicals and equipment, got all my packing paperwork in
hand, watched a movie, took another nap and am now about to go to the
lounge to hang out. It's such a long transit through the Drake it's
nice to take my time packing and take good note of what I have and
what I need to bring down for the next cruise. Lots of people packing
in the labs right now, so i've stayed out the way a little - knowing
I don't get seasick at all I know i'll still be able to pack in a
couple of days when others are laid up..........:0)

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Blogger has just conked out so can't seem to upload anymore photos just at the moment. So here are a few non-science related ones. We're set to leave Palmer Station in about an hour, then in 5 days we'll be back at Punta Arenas, Chile. Though it's been a long cruise, it really hasn't seemed it, last bit really flew by. Oh - and the crossing ceremony was postponed to tonight, as we ended up working alot later than we thought at Station E. So i'm off to get my costume ready.....One of our more hairy landings through the ice. This is where I got really wet, you can't really see how deep it is through the ice chunks and alas it was past the top of my wellies!

Stian attempting to teach this scientist knots......yeah right.......

Rothera Base - British Antarctic Survey.......nice to be on a wee bit of Britain again......:0)

The Polar Plunge....

The Gould amongst the fjords of Marguerite Bay

Happy Fur Seal, basking in our one sunny day!


So here are a couple of "science" pixs from the cruise -

A bucket full of anemones. This is the anemone "haul" for one of the trawls - six different species of anemones. I took little pieces of all these anemones for genetics, from some I dissected and took some inner pieces for TEM analysis and the rest of the pieces were put into formalin for histology when I get back to the lab.

One of my corals put in it's own little tank to see if it spawns babies. You can actually see one of the babies crawling out by the tentacles (bottom just right off center - pink blob amongst the orange tentacles).

One of the babies under the microscope - this larvae is around 1mm across, pretty tiny to make such large corals!

Another one of the baby corals - this one has settled on the bottom of the tank and is starting to make it's tentacles. You can just about see how the larvae is divided up into "pieces" with it's mouth in the center. The darker "blobs" all around the edges are where the tentacles will appear in just a few short days. This picture was taken about 2wks ago - now they have tentacles and are feeding, but I haven't brought them out to take photos of - I want to leave them alone mostly (except changing 1/2 the water everyday and feeding every 2 days) so that they don't get disturbed. No-one has built a skeleton yet, but they have 5 days to do it!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Some Random Photos....

We just got into Palmer Station, so have quickly uploaded a few photos from the last few weeks. Will try and get a more cohesive post up here before we leave tomorrow, need to go through some photos to do it.......hope you all are well!

The aft of the ship, going through some islands at Marguerite Bay.

If I had a on Horseshoe island rock collecting....

Disturbed this fur seals snooze while using hammer.....

On the Antarctic continent (not one of the islands - woo hoo).

Gentoo from this morning. We went and collected equipment from a field station that has just closed for the season. Everyone went over in zodiacs and helped out, the weather was snowing and wet, so wasn't the best even for the birdies.

Coolest part of this morning - a leopard seal eating a penguin. I was in the zodiac with Stian when this happened. He came real close and checked the zodiac out, then went back to playing with and munching on his penguin. Totally cool.

Dave and Stian bringing back onboard one of the instruments - this is a megacore, collects mud in all those tubes (has large weights on top of the frame, so when it gets to the seafloor it's pushed into the mud, then as it's pulled out little trap doors at the bottom shut, trapping the mud in a perfect core).

Monday, March 10, 2008

Back to E

Lat - 65'S 59.03
Long - 67'W 16.88
Water Depth - 628m

Back at Station E to sample and the weather is looking co-operative
(if a little wet). We're about to put the camera in the water to get
some pictures of the bottom and do a CTD to get some water. After
that it's all mud, mud, glorious mud. And a trawl in there somewhere
too hopefully to get some more animals.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Rothera Base

Lat - 67'S 34.42
Long - 68'W 07.98
Rothera Station

After a fun day yesterday and this morning of rock collecting (the
weather has been beautiful, inspiring some to go swimming yesterday
afternoon after collecting rocks!) we have just arrived at Rothera
Station, a British base here in Marguerite Bay. The rock collecting
has been fun, today was cold though and the first site we dropped off
on was another hairy beach landing through slick ice, so I managed to
get really wet, then we visited 5-6 other places in the zodiac, so I
got kind of cold too. My feet are still like blocks of ice, but
warming up slowly. Needless to say I was not one to go swimming
yesterday, or i'd still be cold right now!

Stian just headed out to get the zodiacs ready to take people over,
and we'll have a few hours to get a tour of the base and look around.
Should be fun. After this we're headed back to Station E to continue
sampling where we were weathered out, then we'll head into Palmer
Station (via Peterson Field Camp to pick up some left over
equipment). On the way we will have a crossing ceremony - we crossed
the Antarctic Circle and King Neptune noticed, so all those who have
not crossed before (or in my case have crossed but never did a
ceremony or got a certificate) will be putting on a show for the
Kings court and then tested to see if we are worthy. Having done the
Equator crossing i'm told this is somewhat more mellow, but all us
Wogs met last night to plan our show and i think it's going to be a
good one........:0)

Friday, March 7, 2008

Rocks Rocks Rocks....

Lat - 68'S 09.18
Long - 67'W 06.95

We finished at station G (nothing much in the coral collecting
unfortunately, but a few anemones here and there) and moved on to do
some rock collecting for another project for the next three days.
Another Principle Investigator (PI) was funded for 3 days on this
cruise to collect rocks from some of the islands around Marguerite
Bay. Research cruises are expensive (especially to Antarctica) so the
funding agencies always try to fill up the days with as many projects
fit on one cruise - we were going to Marguerite Bay to do our
sampling, so it makes sense to have a few extra days added to the
cruise to get this guy his rocks, rather than send him out on a whole
other cruise. It's going to be the same on my next Antarctic
adventure in April - we have two projects running on the same ship.
So this morning I got to go ashore and help do some rock collecting,
it was a brief visit but was nice to stretch the legs and do
something different. We went over in the zodiacs and had a fun beach
landing through slick ice - more fun for us I'm guessing than Stian
who had to direct the whole thing and keep people safe. As we landed
through the ice and had to jump out with our gear, some waves came in
and threw ice into the boat and at us - nothing very unsafe, but a
little hairy, as chunks of ice on the back of your legs as you try
and get out of a zodiac is not the most fun. And Stian didn't even
get to go ashore as there was no where to tie up the boat, so he
returned to the Gould until we were finished. We stayed on land for
around an hour and came back to the boat, the next party just went
out a short while ago (we're all taking it in turns to go - 7 science
at one time), so in the next three days everyone will have a chance
at land. Hopefully Stian got to go ashore on this trip.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008


We're sampling - Blake Trawling - a type of small trawl thats pretty
tough and can be used in rougher weather. I got off shift at midday
having had no sampling at all last night. Went to bed and was woken
at ~3pm to say that a trawl was coming up. Up I jumped, went outside,
helped sampled, got my few corals and anemones and went back to bed
at around ~5.30pm. ~7.15pm another phone call, another trawl coming
up, jump out of bed, yadda yadda as above, and back to bed by
~9.30pm. 11.15pm Stian wakes me, yet another trawl is coming up. So
out I wander and grab my samples, only this time I'm now on watch so
can't go back to bed. In theory that is, the weather is still rough
and we now have plenty of animals so don't really need to do another
trawl, so we may have a little downtime waiting for it to calm down
enough to trawl, so maybe enough for another 1hr nap in there

Site G

Marguerite Bay
Lat - 68'S 06.13
Long - 71'W 10.81
Water Depth - 582m

After a super busy (and muddy) shift for the first 8hrs we were
suddenly all done and headed out to the next site, G....or so we
thought, when one of the head gaskets on the engine failed and we
ended up limping along on one engine until they fixed it. Amazingly
5hrs later they did fix it and at around 11pm last night we arrived
at site G to start surveying. Unfortunately our bad weather followed
us, and increased in size somewhat. We're locked inside, winds
sustained 35knots and gusting to 45knots. So this last shift has been
a book reading, movie watching, game playing, napping watch. Too
bumpy to get my babies out the fridge to photograph either (I now
have 6 babies feeding on plankton and growing strong). Site F didn't
yield many corals at all, but I did get some good anemones from
there, enough numbers to really do some things with. I also got
plenty of water for aragonite analysis, and everyone got enough mud
and other animals to keep all satisfied.

I'm holding out for site G, from this area last time I was here I got
some really good corals (and anemones too), so i'm hopeful of a's hard when I got such a great sample on the first
trawl of the cruise, nothing else really compares to 10lb of corals
in one haul!

We're also really close to the British Antarctic base Rothera too,
we're all still hoping we get a little visit in, but if this weather
continues we might just get skunked. We'll see.......

Sunday, March 2, 2008

By the by......

.........our Captain on this cruise is Captain Scott........I liked

Saturday, March 1, 2008