Saturday, December 31, 2011


Just got back from a fishing trip – for work. I'm absolutely exhausted. Apart from the long drive and the intense day of sampling, I also had to process the specimens back at the lab and worked through the night to process them. I got home at 6am. Yep...I did an all-nighter at uni (thought those days were well and truly behind me).

Anyhow, it was 'interesting' working at the field site yesterday, which also happens to be a camp ground next to a big lake. I have been there twice before but the grounds have always been deserted. It was absolutely packed this time, mostly by young people with tattoos and/or facial piercings who are extremely eloquent and use words like 'fuck' and 'cunt' and 'youse'. These same people also have very young children who like to splash around where scientists are trying to collect fish. I was surprised to see that one of these young children (Dakota, age 4ish) can already say Jim Beam (no kidding). Clearly, if a creationist was serious about refuting natural selection, this camp ground (teaming with people who have bred who really shouldn't be passing on their genes) would have provided said creationist with lots of examples (and painted God as having quite a warped sense of humour).

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Home sweet home

Got back late last night from Canberra. After reading about Victor's delays at the airport, I was pleasantly surprised that (1) my Qantas plane left on time and (2) landed in Melbourne 15 minutes early!

Notable highlights of my trip back to Canberra:

1. Seeing family and friends
2. The Treasures exhibition at the National Library of Australia
3. Waking up in the mornings to the sound of chirping birds (I don't mind the screeching trams outside my Melbourne apartment but I much prefer the chirping birds).

Things to do now I am back in Melbourne:

1. Start working on my grant proposal
2. Plan a field trip to collect more fish
3. Begin post-Christmas diet
4. Think about plans for new year's eve (currently, sitting at home in front of air-con is on top of the list).

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

An afternoon with...

While the siblings hit the boxing day sales, I spent a peaceful afternoon at the NGA with Rothko, Bacon and Hockney (among others).

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Season's greetings

Merry Christmas every body. Be sure to enjoy the turkey/ham/seafood responsibly.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


It seems that Costco has become a new family favourite. I am not a fan. The store just oozes the very worst of America to me. Big warehouse. Big trolleys. Big packaging. Big crowds. Big people. Everything is big, big, big.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Am back in Canberra for Christmas. This afternoon, I went out to the Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve with some European visitors to show them some kangaroos.

Unexpectedly, it turned out to be quite a nostalgic trip for me and brought up memories of visiting the reserve when I was a kid and being traumatised by the emus (which were extremely bold in stealing food from children). This time 'round, the emus seemed much more subdued and left us alone. The highlight though was seeing a platypus, which was the first one I had ever encountered in the wild.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Swedish Christmas market

Nathan and I met up with my Norwegian friend a couple of weekends ago at the Swedish Church for the annual Swedish Christmas market.

I must admit I thought it was going to be really lame but was pleasantly surprised. There were heaps of stalls selling all things scandinavian and there was even a petting zoo for the kids. If you're a fan of ikea, you're bound to love the Christmas market.

My friend texted me to let us know that she was sitting near the stall selling Norwegian waffles. We walked towards her but were temporarily sidetracked when we saw the swedish shrimp sandwiches (Nathan's favourite) and had to stop to buy a couple of serves (This was followed by a danish hotdog each and then some Norwegian waffles).

During lunch, I asked my Norwegian friend if she could tell, by appearance alone, if a scandinavian was from Norway, Denmark or Sweden. She said she could and proceeded with an example....

"See that woman taking money for the Danish hot dogs? She is a typical looking Dane."

I glance over and see an ugly, obese woman with squinty eyes.

the generic brunette

I am TERRIBLE with recognising people at the best of times but I have come to realise that there is a particular phenotype that get's me muddled more than any other...the average brunette with shoulder length hair. This realisation came in the form of a very embarrassing incident on tropical island no. 2 last week, where I was supervising students on marine biology projects. Ten minutes after meeting with my group, I was in the dining hall and decided to sit next to a bunch of students. We struck up a conversation and I asked one of them what project she was doing. She looked at me with a horrified look and said "I'm in your group"!

Hot, hot, hot

"Very hot", was what I told the waitress when she asked me how I'd like my pork noodle soup. Big mistake. The burn in the mouth wasn't too bad but I could feel the pain in my stomach almost immediately as I slurped down the delicious stock. I tried to temper the heat with an ice cream afterwards (black sesame seed + durian) but it is now just a waiting game to see what happens at the other end...

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Back from paradise

Got back from Queensland late last night. It would have been nice to take a day off but, alas, I had a staff meeting.

The weather on Tropical island no.2 was mixed. The boat trip out was quite rough and many of the students suffered terrible motion sickness. I took a tablet and closed my eyes for much of the trip. Since I had the earphones on, I had no idea that people had been vomiting all around me until I opened my eyes 20 minutes before arriving. One of the students was so ill that she had to be carried off the boat.

The trip back to the mainland was a lot calmer. The flight from Brisbane and Melbourne wasn't very comfortable though. Despite getting an exit row seat, I was next to a rather large gentleman and I think we were both cramped for space. I am always worried about getting extra leg room that I overlook the potential drawbacks of being squeezed into a middle seat. The situation was resolved when I decided that I would use his arm as something cushiony that I could lean against.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Paradise (part 2)

Am about to head off to another tropical island, this time for teaching. Two tropical islands in two weeks. More sun. More warmth. More snorkelling. If the current cold start to Summer here in Melbourne is any indication, looks like my trip up north is timely.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Paradise (part 1)

I've been away these past few days, working on a remote sub-tropical island off the coast of NSW. Actually, the formal work part of the trip took all of 30 minutes (an inspection of research facilities followed by a report). The rest of the time was spent hiking around the island and snorkelling. I wouldn't call it a junket was more of a reconnaissance mission to see if I can come up with some clever research projects. The only thing I didn't like about the island was the spiders. There were orb weavers in the forest and huntsmans living in the bed room of the research station. I have no problems with crocs, sharks and snakes but am not a fan of spiders.