World vs Earth …

Back into the Ooze
Back into the Ooze 2019
by Rita de Heer

Climate change is a World-versus-Earth problem, I heard the other day.

Apparently people still don’t know how completely dependent on Earth our World is. The dragon will pass us by, and with a flick of its flaming tongue, or tail, will drag us with it into the inferno.

Earth is a planet that supports Life and is an inseparable part of it.

World is the human culture, the where and the what that we build and extract and dig and superimpose on the soil, that thinnest of layers between us and bed-rock.

The same bed-rock that we can not survive on without the natural services provided by sunlight, water, air, and soil. Is that really so hard to understand?

Air? Another thin thin layer. Above us. Blue where and when the Earth continues its work. A disgusting tan yellow where we think we have improved our lives. Where industry and wrong-living coughs out smoke and smog, dust and death. Dragons.

Water. Oh my people, Ocean is in so much trouble. We warm it. We degrade it. We dynamite and pillage, we fill it with cast-off refuse, we leak oil and bilge waters, spread disease and alien creatures, and still we expect whales, pristine rain, sparkling springs and sweet lakes of fresh water.

Life is the miracle that has become, and grown, and evolved over unimaginable distances and stretches of time. Life is the lives that by the millions have come and have gone, like stitches over and under, through the fabric of time.

We sapiens, living for ten or twenty thousand generations and perhaps two more, will dive under and also be gone.

Anxiety Rears its Head

David Gangur’s Stormy Sunset

So I read an article about World War III, how it’s already begun. I respect Stan Grant, the author, for his integrity so don’t find the content suspicious. Link included below for your interest. But the content of this article just aggregates with all the other anxiety-inducing news I’ve read since the Northern NSW floods.

I have an anxiety disorder and owe it to myself to not to step back onto the anxiety/immune system problems/inflammation treadmill after all the work I’ve done to get off it. I realize that to dampen down my increasing agitation, I need to back off from negative social media sensationalizing world problems.

I’m already doing what I can in relation to the primary challenge of our times–extreme climate change– and can’t do anything about the Russian invasion of the Ukraine. From this point on, I won’t be writing any letters to politicians, and I won’t be re-posting frightening, Earth-shattering scenarios.

I will be scrolling past all organizations asking for donations. I have my charities and will stick by them. I may post about real-world efforts towards mitigation, when and where I find them. I will continue to blog about science, art, story telling and story making, music and all the other things that tickle my fancy.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-04-10/russia-invasion-ukraine-rumblings-world-war-three-decades-ago/100977334?utm_source=abc_news_web&utm_medium=content_shared&utm_campaign=abc_news_web&utm_content=link

Gallery Mark 2: Maggy Cat

Trying a TILED GALLERY this time … still haven’t got the caption thing. Story follows.

In my lifetime so far I have had the care of five cats. I don’t say I owned them. They’re into tough love that way. However, this cat, by name of Maggy, was a greater ‘character’ than any other. She came to me due to her people going overseas, so had her kitten-hood with her previous carers.

Part floppy, she rarely trusted herself to climb trees. Fortunately. Her one and only attempt at a fence ended in tears and having a toe amputated. See above. After that no more fences either. That’s not to say that she didn’t get around. There were plenty of hiding places around the backyard to sit and study any wildlife living at ground level.

Which in my backyard consisted of snakes, water dragons, bandicoots, frogs and cane toads: and all those were off limits. Two due to venom. Two due to their vulnerable species status. The reason I kept Maggy indoors from sunset to morning.

In the daytime she unsuccessfully hunted garden skinks. Paling fences are prime territory for these little critters, 10 centimeters long including their tails, and too fast for a stocky cat. She did get a rat occasionally, bringing it headless to the back step.

Her greatest difference to any other cat I have met, was her love of water. She often shared my shower, walking in and out of the water fall until she was sneezing and sodden. After I towel-dried her, she’d sit on a little kindergarten chair I have by the windows, to lick and groom herself dry in the sun. She enjoyed fishing. Regularly caught goldfish with a hooky claw patiently hanging in the water.

She sat on the edge of the pond in mist or rain, tail hanging and getting wetter and wetter, reminding me of those macaque monkeys in Japan, sitting in the snow and steam from the hot pools. We’d know we could expect a thunder storm well ahead of time. Maggy would hide in the bookshelves, as you can see in the second picture. She loved napping in my knitting.

The day she went AWOL overnight, I suspected foul play. I searched everywhere. During the second night heard a weird noise. Thought it was territorial frogs bleating at each other. Next morning found her at the bottom of the patio steps to where she must have dragged herself. She died of a tick bite.

Maggy RIP

Blog Design: Blocks

Learning about Blocks

Good grief! The number of ‘blocks types’ available already boggles my mind, and that’s before I’ve invented any because I don’t see any that I can relate to. No, wait! A masonry gallery? What can I do with a masonry gallery? I’ll have to see …

Herewith my so-called Masonry Gallery

Animals I Have Known. Some were adopted into my family, some were animals I photographed while out walking, and some of the images represent animals I’ve known.

My idea was to have captions. I haven’t working out yet how to do that.

Clockwise from top left: Jesse, at attention; Tibby, saying: “Ha ha, I’m lying on the dog’s bed, get me off if you dare”; Snowy, here as Tintin’s sidekick, dressed in his spacesuit. When I knew him he was the dog of Mr and Mrs Ballantyne, the elderly couple living on my street in Sydney; Shirley Dog, from my home town; Mingey, a fast mover, a friend from walks at the Mullumbimby Cemetery.

TV: Muster Dogs

trailer: https://iview.abc.net.au/video/MP2147H010C00GN1

The four part program is the kind of reality TV that starts with a litter of puppies. It’s informative as well as good fun. The human handlers have been picked for their variety of work situation for their dogs to grow up in, and their personality and probable bonding with the pups.

The ‘plot’ is that five puppies of great breeding stock are transformed into working dogs in one year! When normally the training is up to three years. The question is, can it be done?

Last night I watched Parts 1 and 2 and saw the puppies transformed into 6 months old triers. Five passed their assessments easily, one having a few troubles including another dog in its pack having to be taken to the vet for snake-bite.

With over three thousand working dogs in Australia, muster dogs helping to manage cattle, goats, alpacas, sheep and even poultry is a reality in this country. Several of the people taking part in this ABC (Australia) series once mustered with humans-on-horseback, humans-on-motorbikes, and helicopter. Now working with up to twenty dogs, they say they’ll never go back.

The animals being managed are quieter, calmer, and not nervous and skittish. Mustering with dogs is time-saving, can be done in one day and can be done without a lot of forward planning such as needed with more people or machinery. Dogs are cheaper to run than helicopters and machinery, and a lot more love-able. Dogs are more sustainable and environmentally friendly as they are not as hard on the land as both horses and machinery.

It’s a great show! Can be seen on ABC iView.

Have a look at the trailer: https://iview.abc.net.au/video/MP2147H010C00GN1

Tech Problems, xyz

Digital Illustration of a Cyborg Neck: A puzzle, because I am confused

Having internet problems meant no posts, again. All my best intentions went astray. Over here, on the east coast of Australia, we are in a La Nina weather pattern. Meaning that in Peru and Chile, people are suffering drought. In between the odd sunny day we had rain, wind, storms, more rain. Flash floods. River floods. Landslides. Road closures. Communication outages. Mobile phone towers down.

You get the picture.

My confusion is about the reason why I had a personal communication outage for two weeks longer than anyone else living in my patch. I’ve taken the modem off the power. Put it back on. Reset it.

I’ve read every Help page and FAQ on my provider’s website … I could do that by Hot Spotting my laptop to my mobile. I discovered that possibly the laptop is having battery problems but that shouldn’t affect my internet connection, what do you think?

I’d do the Hot Spot thing 24/7 and cancel my ISP contract if I had the same level of service. But I don’t. An ISP connection gives me the ability to write this blog and marshal imagery to my fingertips. Without it I can only read blogs.

The Hot Spot gives me wide-ranging shallow paddling. An ISP connection gives me the ability to dive deep into the virtual surf, through the wave and come out the other side where there are new things to discover.

Yeah. I missed my connection to the world.

For some inexplicable reason, when I reset the modem again this morning, the little light for the internet flashed, then steadied, and I suddenly have connection? Huh? Why didn’t it work the first or second time I did it?

Well, better not look a gift-horse in the mouth …

What I Did Yesterday …

Embroidery in progress …

A couple of days ago I read someone else’s post on this, describing how you can ‘say’ whatever you like without anyone ever really knowing you. It’s what you ‘do’ … maintains the theory … that will identify you.

I don’t know yet if it’ll work. Can but try, in the words of one of my characters. I have several typical days, and since it has been raining here for about a week, I can only describe a typical day at home.

I wake but do not roll instantly out of bed. One of my eyes will never open right away, I have to lie there and think a while, convince it of the day. On blue-sky days, my bedroom is striped with light–due to vertical blinds–after sunrise. But, all this week, the daylight stays grey.

Roll on to my side, sit up, swing legs over the side. Stump down the grey corridor to the kitchen. Oh wait, you expected me to at least wash my face? Yeah, I did that. Ablutions. In the en suite.

And I dressed. T shirt and shin-length pants. Slide my house-keys and rest of needs-musts in my right pants pocket. Mobile/cell in the left pocket. A few years ago, I fell over in my house and after lying unconscious for a time, had to crawl injured to a landline phone to raise the alarm. Since then I’ve worn a mobile on me at all times.

The kitchen is in the middle of the apartment. Dark on a sunless day. I make it friendlier by pulling out the slide-out range hood so that its automatic light shines warm above the benches. I get a bowl out, spoon in muesli, cooked brown rice, LSA and hemp seeds. Mix and pour on rice milk. Boil water. Dole out mineral supplements and anti histamine. Today, due to the dark, I eat at the round dining table.

While still drinking my three mugs of warm water, I check yesterday’s step score on my mobile and enter it in my exercise chart. Also on the mobile, I check the weather to see what temperatures and humidity I can expect. Then I check the weather in the town where I lived last year, the weather in Copecabana in NSW; Dover in Tasmania; Perth in Western Australia; Karratha in Western Australia; Cape York in North Queensland, Amsterdam and Singapore. All my places of interest for various reasons.

Still using the mobile I will have quick look at Facebook comments, trying not to get involved yet with anything needing research and or deep thought.

Today, after stacking the dishes in the sink, I started on my exercises. Eleven–I’m building up to fifteen– push-aways against the front door. It’s timber and the only place in the apartment that can take it. Eleven stand-ups from sitting on a chair not using my hands. Walking with half kilo weights, twelve stretches from front of the house to the back. I expect to graduate to 1 kg weights after my birthday in a few weeks.

Chart to record daily exercises

Make a cup of coffee and sit down with the laptop. Check my emails and answer the ones requiring it. I resist getting involved with newsletters though do read a couple of articles from the Fifth Estate Magazine. Do my Wordle.

Rain, rain, go away, many of my local acquaintances are saying. I also read a science article (on the weather website?) about research in Antarctica with ice cores. Averaged out over two thousand years, east coast Australia has had only two hundred wet years. That’s ten percent. Can’t get away from climate change. It’s going to get a lot drier is the forecast.

By about 11.00 a/m, I open the work of the day. MELD, part two of the Doomed series. I’m in the thick of a structural edit. I need to lose at least twenty thousand words, rewrite the first chapter, and re jig the first act. Finesse the middle fifty percent. The final act is good to go.

So, today, I read chapters 7 and 8 aloud to figure how I need to change them.

At about noon, a pathology assistant arrives. Courtney is her name. She is the only live person I talk with today. IE it’s Friday. No phone calls. I’m still isolating, as I have several co-morbidities and do not want to get sicker than I already am. I’m lucky because I don’t have to go out for a blood test. S & N come to the house. Takes ten minutes. My veins are recovering after the beating they received having chemo this time last year.

Afterwards I walk round the house for a while to start to build up the step count. I visit all the rooms in turn about twenty times. Lunch then. A frozen meal. Wack it into the microwave, 4.50 minutes. Dish up. Yum. Another three mugs of warm water. I read the two first chapters of MELD, printed out earlier, and start to mark up bits to keep and bits to cut.

Today, I do my lying down exercises after lunch. On my bed. Yes, the temptation is to doze off. Twelve air-grabs that warm up every muscle. Six bridges to a count of ten per bridge. Six legs raises, each leg, each raise for a count of ten. Twelve clam-shells, hold open to a count of ten. Doze, five to ten minutes.

Oh man. This is taking a long time. It doesn’t feel like I don’t do anything much.

Get up. More walking in the house. Still raining. BOM (Bureau of Meteorology) says 120mm has fallen in the last 24 hours and a huge rain cloud still hangs overhead. No going outside today. I get some walking music going. It’s God Speed You! Black Emperor today. I walk about an hour more, 5000 paces plus.

Sunset despite rain

When I rest this time, I do some embroidery while I listen to an ABC podcast. The stitching is slow but joyful. The colors sing. After the podcast I catch a few minutes of news. Nothing cheerful about that with old man Putin doing his thing.

Dinner is two rounds of toast, smashed avocado and a boiled egg. A pear for dessert. Three mugs of warm water. I start to re-read The Tailor of Panama by John Le Carre (1996) which I will talk about in the future.

After dinner, I work on this. I’m not posting it tonight. I need to mail myself some photos, from my mobile to my laptop.

Art: Dune’s Fremen & Sandworm

Front cover of card with close-up of one of the fremen warriors of Dune

A couple of the reviews I’ve read of the new film version of ‘Dune’ by Frank Herbert, have said how much better it was having read the book first. So ordered my near-and-dear co-SF reader a copy that would not make it in time for his birthday, supply chain troubles and so forth.

Decided to paint him a birthday card as a teaser, and whispered a promise to our four-year-old descendant–in a fit of over-the-top confidence–to make it a ‘pop-out scary-monster’ card.

Luckily, I had Youtube to help me. Pop-out cards are a favorite subject for craft and I soon found more than I needed.

Since this is the first pop-out I’ve ever made, I managed to stretch a four stage process into about ten steps.

But feel reasonably pleased with the result. {Had to make the sandworm more recognizably a monster … I know the maw is different in the movie.}

A Fremen on one of Dune’s Sandworms, hooking open its maw to stop it diving under the sand

‘Plan B’

Low-hanging stratocumulus sunset over Mullumbimby, Northern NSW

Plan B is where you go when Plan A evaporates.

It’s sobering to see a map of where climate activists hang out and where they do not. Just go to https://350.org/ and you will see the sad fact of the matter.

Plan A has been evaporating… I doubt that anyone in the science of it still believes the world can claw back to less than 2 degrees warming and therefore that much more, more violent weather. Probably we are already in that bracket.

And now there’s a war looming. Even if it does end up being posturing, millions of units of extra exhaust gases will have been pumped into the atmosphere to get the elements of the threat to the Ukraine borders.

It’s still winter up there in the northern hemisphere. Would a severe cold snap stop proceedings?

Can hope.