{ Under The Bluegums }

A personal blog with craft tutorials, reviews of books, films, and music, parenting advice, and opinions on society and politics.

August 30, 2010

Macro ladybugs

30 August 2010

I love taking macro photographs. The whole idea behind taking a peek at a world not oft looked at is intriguing to me.

I found these amazing images on LightStalking.com. These are some of my favourites (oh, beautiful Macro lens, where art thou! :) )

Ladybird in crocus

A Brush With Lush

Ladybird clambering

Click here to see more.

August 26, 2010

Wildebeest and zebra migratory patterns in threat

Wildebeests (connochaetes taurinus) run after crossing the Mara river during a migration in the Masaai Mara game reserve, 270 km (165 miles) southwest of capital Nairobi, August 25, 2010. The migration is the world's greatest wildlife spectacle taking place between the open plains of the Serengeti and the Masaai Mara as the animals migrate to greener pastures as the seasons change and the circle of life and death continues. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya (KENYA ANIMALS TRAVEL - Tags: SOCIETY ENVIRONMENT ANNIVERSARY IMAGES OF THE DAY)
26 August 2010

The Serengeti is a vast plain in Tanzania, dotted with watering holes and filled with wildebeest and zebra gathering in huge herds for annual migrations. It's a popular tourist haunt, and is a haven for wildlife in Africa.

But one of the world's natural wonders is in danger of having a highway scar the landscape and disturb the ancient migratory patterns of these massive herds.

The plain is one of the last hoofed migrations sites left in the world, and it is a symbol of wild nature the world over. It's also a huge source of income for Tanzanian people through ecotourism.

The highway is planned to be 420km long between Arusha at Mount Kilimanjaro and Musoma on Lake Victoria. The route cuts through the northern Serengeti, and so endangers 2 million wildebeest and zebra who travel from the south to the north in search of water.

It has been said that the highway could just as easily be built through the south of the plains without interrupting the migration patterns. If this isn't considered, there would be stunted migration, and animals would be hit by cars.

Visit this site and sign a petition to stop this plan!

Also click here.

August 25, 2010

Feederism

Man Eatting Chinese Food
25 August 2010

If you're sick and tired of the media industry pumping the fact that only skinny and beautiful women are sexy, why not join the latest sexual fetish claimed to be sweeping America: feederism.

There is nothing more "socially subversive" than this fetish, which means you gain weight - on purpose.

Feederism delights in the idea of purposefully being an absolute glutton - eating boxes of tinkies (or packets of Jambos in my case :) ) - and not feeling like a pig and not worrying about the weight you'll gain.

Feederism is based on either feeding someone excessively and watching them gain weight, or being the person being excessively fed.

This is a sexual subculture that seems to be forbidden - even stories about women planning to be the fattest woman in the world sends shivers through the spines of the aspiring skinnies around the world.

People analysing the situation are turning around and saying that it's about oral gratification and pleasure, or even the fact that your power to stay slim - and the responsibility for it - is taken away from you.

On the part of the feeder, it's about tumescence - watching something get bigger. This fantasy can also come out in the form of wanting to be pregnant or wanting someone to be pregnant.

Isn't it an amazing thing about humans? We supposedly don't even know why we like the things we like, most of the time.

New planetary system discovered

Ptolemaic, Geocentric Earth-centred, system of universe, showing position of Sun, Moon and planets and band of the ecliptic. From Andreas Cellarius Harmonia Macrocosmica Amsterdam, 1708.
25 August 2010

Astronomers in Europe have discovered a new planetary system that looks just like ours!

There are at least five planets orbiting around a star like hours in a pattern similar to the way our solar systems revolves.

This is the biggest discovery of its kind in 15 years, when astronomers could study stars beyond our galaxy for the first time.

There are no indications as yet that any of the planets would be able to carry life like ours does, but what do we know -we're 127 light years away!

The system was found in the south part of the Hydrus constellation, and the planets were discovered over seven years through the strongest telescope in the world.

Wouldn't it be something if one of these planets harbours life?

August 24, 2010

Rhinos and human nature

RAMAT GAN, ISRAEL - JULY 15:  A white rhinoceros and her calf graze at the Safari Park on July 15, 2009 in Ramat Gan, Israel. As few as 18,000 of this threatened species could remain as recent environmental reports charge that rhino poaching in Africa and Asia is about to hit a 15 year high to meet the demand for their horns which are believed to have medicinal value in some countries.  (Photo by David Silverman/Getty Images)
24 August 2010

South Africa is currently experiencing a massive problem with poaching, in particular rhino poaching.

SA National Parks officials and guides are struggling to compete against poachers who arrive en masse, complete with their own helicopter, dressed to the nines in bulletproof armour and armed to the teeth with AK47s and other weapons.

It might seem like a bit of a Hollywood movie when it's put like that, but that's the truth.

And when the parks officials, and game farmers, are faced with these people, all they can do is watch their beloved, and what should be our beloved, rhinos being shot or darted and their horns hacked out of their heads, sometimes leaving orphaned or dead calves in their wake.

The reason that rhino poaching has such a hold in this country is because: firstly, South Africans don't care so much about it - as long as they can see one or two when they visit the Kruger National Park intermittently, they're pleased; secondly, China is paying big bucks for this miracle substance; thirdly, major stars such as Elle MacPherson admit to the miraculous way their skin improves when they use it; fourthly, because people just don't care.

I've been told many times that there's nothing that can be done about this. Even the new National Anti-Poaching Committee that was set up recently won't change a thing. I have hope that we'll change, but I'm starting to lose that...

Why? Human nature, that's why. We believe that we're at the top of the food chain. We don't have to answer to anyone. The planet is ours.

Too bad human nature isn't too forward-looking.

August 23, 2010

Dress me up...

23 August 2010

I love, love, love this dress!

It's so strange that I love dresses, but don't wear them...

sigh...

Via Wild & Precious

Creepy but beautiful!

These marionettes are by Eric Sanko. I think they're beautifully creepy! I'd even like to own one (as long as it's not frolicking in my bedroom at night!)

Visit his website here.

Via Accidental Mysteries

August 17, 2010

Celebrity worship: why?

Marilyn Monroe, motion picture actress, appearing with the USO Camp Show, Anything Goes, poses for the shutterbugs after a performance at the 3rd U.S. Inf. Div. area. February 17, 1954. Cpl. Welshman. (Army) NARA FILE # 111-SC-452342 WAR & CONFLICT BOOK #: 1466
17 August 2010

I've written an article about this phenomenon for MSN SA.

"I don't really know what it is about celebrities that adoring fans all over the world love.

I am not much of a celebrity fan myself, but still find I have a mysterious attraction to the flawless and stunning images of celebrities on the cover of fashion magazines, or the "fat", "ugly" and scandalised images of those in magazines such as Heat and People – I can’t help but look.

I am strong enough to resist it most of the time, but I do find myself reading up on gossipy headlines the more bored I am".

Click here to read the full article :) Update: Sorry, this link is no longer available following the move to MSN Prime.

I would love to know what you think!

August 16, 2010

Lead artist takes your breath away

16 August 2010

I always maintain that I can do anything I put my mind to...

This, however, is something I think needs YEARS of perfecting and much more talent than I have!

Dalton Getti is a 49-year-old who works as a carpenter. He lives in Connecticut in the US, and sometimes spends months on a single project!

Wow! All I can say.

Via accidental mysteries.

Afghan war STILL killing people, after almost 11 years

PALMERSTON NORTH, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 11: A young family member holds a photo of Lt Tim O'Donnell during the military funeral ceremony for Lt Tim O'Donnell, who died on August 3 in the central Afghan province of Bamiyan, at the Linton Army Base on August 11, 2010 near Palmerston North, New Zealand. O'Donnell is the first New Zealand soldier to be killed in the Afghanistan conflict, following an ambush which also left Lance Corporal Matthew Ball and Private Allister Baker and, as well as an Afghan interpreter wounded. New Zealand forces had expected to end their 7-year deployment in September this year until New Zealand Prime Minister John Key confirmed in May that he would retain them in the region for a further year. (Photo by Marty Melville/Getty Images)
16 August 2010

It is difficult to imagine that the war in Afghanistan is still going on. It has been in the news now since 2001, and, although it might seem like a small number, 2 000 US troops have been killed since the invasion began. You have to remember that this is 2 000 families who are in mourning over their children who went to the war thinking they had good intentions...and now they're dead.

Nevermind how many Afghans have been killed since then. The numbers cannot even be determined yet. The Taliban in Afghanistan, who have been portrayed as heartless murderers, have signalled they are willing to co-operate with international forces, the UN and human rights associations to determine the number of civilians who have died in the war.

The real problem I think is how readily the public believes anything its government is willing to tell it. The troops who have died in the military's efforts over in Afghanistan, and those who have died in the war in Iraq, are told to be patriotic, to fight for their country, to protect their families from terrorists, to save the country. It is this same government who sits cosy in their homes, living comfortably off their taxpayers' salaries, not ever having to venture out of the country to wage the war that they created. They merely point their pawns in the right direction. But it is not their families who suffer, and it is not them who end up with post-traumatic stress disorder because they've seen so much death and violence, and have partaken in it.

This is a great video of a former US troop renouncing everything that the war in Iraq and Afghanistan supposedly stands for.

Then WikiLeaks released pages and pages of documents pertaining to the war, poignantly bringing to mind the masses of information that has been withheld from the public. Click here if you'd like to see a summary.

I always say that if a government is not telling you everything, then you cannot make a well-informed decision about who you want to run your country. Perhaps people should think about how well they know their presidents before they elect them into office.

It might save a lot...a lot of money, a lot of worries, and a lot of people.

August 14, 2010

Our children! :)

Here are some pics of some of our children! :)

Ming, the unmotherly 'mommy', but she does enjoy to play
Look, we're high up!
Cuddling from the cold (Meep and Polly)

We're all connected!

Shadow of a Man Rubbing His Head14 August 2010

I went to my third Reiki lesson today. It's really part of preparation for Reiki as yet - last week we had psychic development, which I haven't really been practicing since.

Anyway, today we learnt about the different layers of the aura. The theory behind it all is so interesting: we have a physical body, which is surrounded by the etheric body. The etheric body is sort of a skin around our physical body. When children fall over their feet, it's as though they're wearing pajamas that are too big for them. Their etheric aura has grown in order to allow the physical body to fill it.

There have apparently been theories that with leaves that are going to grow soon, the etheric aura gows out in the shape of the leaf and the physical leaf actually grows into this space that has been made for it.

There is also an astral aura, which is liquid, and which we send out - subconsciously of course - into other people's auras to see whether we're compatible or not.

All of this is sort of disordered now, but it just makes me think that we're all so connected and we're don't realise it. We have such an ability to connect with each other, and yet we're all living in our own little worlds...driving our compartments down the road, sitting in our cubicles at work...all alone.

And I have to say also that when we read the auras, I couldn't see a thing!!! :(

August 10, 2010

Perhaps peer prejudice is to blame

10 August 2010

I happened across Hurricane Vanessa's blog post this morning about the UK's Marks and Spencer filling out their children's lines to cater for larger sizes - for children who are obese. They've even gone so far as to include bootlegs to balance out pudgy children's figures.

Vanessa mentioned then that compulsory PT in schools might be the answer to overweight children. Here are my thoughts:

I was a pudgy teen in primary and high school, and don't think compulsory PT does anything to teach you how to control your habits, besides the theory. I was insecure as it was at school because of being overweight, and one of the main issues here is also the way that pudgy children are treated by their not-so-pudgy peers - I found myself making excuses to avoid PT; not to avoid the exercise, because I desperately exercised at home (without losing the weight, I might add), but to avoid my peers.

I understand the need for children to learn about team work, but I think children also need to accept other people for who they are, and their prejudices about "fat" people usually come from their upbringing - small comments parents and grown-ups make around children can drastically affect the way that they think about life and about people.

If "fat" children were accepted into the team without judgement and prejudice, perhaps they would take part in more sports. I understand that in today's day and age, what with PlayStations and so forth, children are not too eager to get out there and look after themselves. But I don't think that schooling has any power in this.

Learning and change begins at home, and if their parents are allowing them to spend entire weekends in front of the game console and chowing down on take-out, which I might mention the parents are responsible for purchasing, then why should they change?

Even worse is if the parents are also stuck in front of the television every weekend! Parents need to take responsibility as well.

Perhaps this is a deeper societal problem that needs to be rooted out, rather than blaming the schooling system, which we already know is practically powerless when it comes to discipline, let alone changing the way children have been brought up to think.

I'd like to add that only once I became happy with myself as I was by not having the constant pressure from feeling to be judged by my peers did I drop the weight, and I'm now a very healthy size 10-12 (depending on brand)!

An important step, to anyone who'd like to know, is to avoid the scale like the plague!

August 5, 2010

Would you eat cloned meat?

Genetic cloning montage
5 August 2010

Cloning was a dream of science-fiction many years before it became a reality, with Dolly the Sheep becoming the first mammal to be cloned in 1996.

The science is now more fact than fiction, and the method somatic cell nuclear transfer is now a fundamental research tool. Cloning has been used to save endangered species from becoming completely extinct, and farmers might consider the possibility that their cloned livestock would produce more milk, have leaner meat or have a higher resistance to diseases.

However, there is some concern about the yields from the cloned livestock being consumed: is there a danger in this?

The UK's Food Standards Agency said the sale of produce from cloned livestock is illegal, as it is considered a "novel" food, and needs special authorisation. To me this means that cloned produce would be more of a delicacy then?

There is no proof that cloned produce is dangerous in any way. Even if a cloned animal's yield has a so-far-unidentified harmful aspect, the likelihood of this characteristic being transferred to its offspring is slim.

There are also concerns that clones will not be cared for - they already have a likelihood to suffer from abnormalities such as kidney problems, or offspring are overly large. Even livestock that is bred in the normal manner are treated badly by abattoirs and dairies - what is the status of a clone?

Would you partake in a meal if you knew the meat or milk was from a cloned cow?

For more about this subject, click here.

An Irish Priest...

5 August 2010

Just something to brighten your day with a laugh! :)

VATICAN CITY, VATICAN - MARCH 25: Souvenir gifts featuring the face of Pope Benedict XVI are shown in St. Peter's Square on March 25, 2010 in Vatican City, Vatican. The Pope is facing increasing pressure over abuse allegations which involved the German, the American and the Irish Catholic Church. (Photo by Franco)
A distinguished young woman on a flight from Ireland asked the Priest beside her:

Woman: "Father, may I ask a favor?"

Priest: "Of course. What may I do for you?"

Woman: "Well, I bought an expensive woman's electronic hair dryer for my mother's birthday that is unopened and well over the Customs limits, and I'm afraid they'll confiscate it. Is there any way you could carry it through Customs for me………. Under your robe perhaps?"

Priest: "I would love to help you, dear, but I must warn you: I will not lie."

Woman: "With your honest face, Father, no one will question you." When they got to Customs, she let the priest go ahead of her.

Custom Officer: "Father, do you have anything to declare?"

Priest: "From the top of my head down to my waist, I have nothing to declare." The official thought this answer strange, so asked,

Custom Officer: "And what do you have to declare from your waist to the floor?"

Priest: "I have a marvelous instrument designed to be used on a woman, but which is, to date, unused."

Custom Officer: (Roaring with laughter, said) "Go ahead, Father." Next!

Do you think he lied? :)

August 4, 2010

Dr Randy Pausch's Guide to a Better Life

4 August 2010

This is an email that's making the rounds around the inboxes of the world this week. Dr Randy Pausch died of pancreatic cnacer in 2008, but his last book "The Last Lecture" was published before then, becoming one of the bestsellers of 2007.

I assume that the following are some points from his book?

Points on how to improve your life:

Personality:

1. Don't compare your life to others'. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
2. Don't have negative thoughts of things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
3. Don't over do; keep your limits.
4. Don't take yourself so seriously; no one else does.
5. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
6. Dream more while you are awake.
7. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
8. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner of his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
9. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
10. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
11. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
12. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
13. Smile and laugh more.
14. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

Community:

15. Call your family often
16. Each day give something good to others
17. Forgive everyone for everything
18. Spend time with people over the age of 70 & under the age of 6
19. Try to make at least three people smile each day
20. What other people think of you is none of your business
21. Your job will not take care of you when you are sick. Your family and friends will. Stay in touch.

Life:

22. Put GOD first in anything and everything that you think, say and do.
23. GOD heals everything
24. Do the right things
25. However good or bad a situation is, it will change
26. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up
27. The best is yet to come
28. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful
29. When you awake alive in the morning, thank GOD for it
30. If you know GOD you will always be happy. So, be happy.
Some great tips, take them or leave them...

August 3, 2010

Inaction

"Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy." - Thomas Carlyle