Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wildlife Wednesday - corals

Here are a bunch of photos to show the different types of corals that I saw on my Green Island snorkels. I'm being slack today and not giving any information - sorry. I'm away house-sitting, inland, and all my books are at home. I know there's Google but I have a dodgy wifi and I'm struggling :)

Friday, September 25, 2015

Phallic Friday - losing your mind

I'm at a loss for a topic today. I'm away from home and my smutty mind seems to have been left behind and I don't really know how that happened! How can you leave half of yourself behind?

But there is something on my mind, and I'm not sure if this is a good thing or not for a blog post, but anyway...

I've worked in a male dominated industry all my life, which I've thoroughly enjoyed. I like men. I feel comfortable around them. The only issues have been with the female partners of the men I've worked with - not all, just some. And it's always been a puzzle to me. I'm not stunningly attractive, and mostly these women have been, so a large part of the puzzle has been why they find me a threat. So I've always been a bit wary of being overly familiar with the men I've worked with when I'm with their partners (and overly familiar doesn't mean in a touchy way, just that I'm careful not to talk to the men too much, or know too much about their life, etc).

So, I'm with a friend the other day. She's married. And as strange as this is, she worked with my husband, and I worked with her husband (not directly, but he was in the same line of work), before she and I became friends. Now I think we're better friends than either of us were with the men in our lives.

We're chatting the day after I'd been yacking too much to her husband (we were catching up on work-related things) and I apologised for talking too much shop with him. She laughed and said she didn't care and she was glad that he could talk to me. This was part of a larger discussion about other things - we have quite in-depth character analysis discussions sometimes and I think this is what we'd been talking about.

She said something that's been running around my mind ever since. She said that I don't have any games. I walk up and I'm saying, "This is me, who are you?" and then I ask questions to find out who that person is. She reckons this is why I get along with men because there's no artifice or games they need to wade through. She reckons the women I have problems with are the game-playing women who have mine-field conversations and I don't pick them because they dress and appear like most women - just some dress to play the game, others dress to fit in. (And me, I dress for comfort never fashion, so I don't fit in at all! :) Not that she said that!)

So I've been wondering about this conversation we had and her analysis of my character. And that's been on my mind, so much so that there's no smuttiness available at present! Stay tuned I'm sure it will return :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wildlife Wednesday - Brush Turkey

I'm late today - so sorry. I'm house sitting and I was so sure I'd have heaps of time to do things. I don't! My house is a tiny little box. I walk a few steps and get to my bathroom. This house, I walk 35 m to the bathroom!!!! I used to complain about my tiny box house, now I want it!!! I'm so lazy but it's wearing me out. Add in two dogs, two cats and two ponies to care for - plus me and my high maintenance needs, and I'm flat chat :)

Here's some information on Brush Turkeys from Birds in Backyards

This one is from Cairns Botanic Gardens. We came across him strolling down the boardwalk. When he got to us, he hopped off, walked around us in the rainforest, then hopped back on the board walk for the rest of his stroll :)

My Dad and my nephew have both had Brush Turkeys visit their yards in Sydney, which I thought odd but it seems they live anywhere!

Sorry for the brief post - but pony duty calls (and that's the animal kind, not the fetish) :)

(Actually, did I do a pony fetish?)

Friday, September 18, 2015

Phallic Friday - knowledge

I had a conversation with a young girl recently (she's 22) and it made me wonder about knowledge and how we gather it. She's a fashionista, modern girl, has an iphone, internet, girlfriends, a mother, etc.

Anyway, she was telling me that she'd gone to a Health Spa (beautician) for a Brazilian...except she didn't know what she was getting until the hot wax went in places she didn't think hot wax should go!

She'd asked her mother what the difference was between a bikini line wax and a Brazilian and her mother had told her there wasn't much. (!?!)

So she went to the Spa and booked in for a Brazilian. The beautician checked with her a few times to make sure that was what she wanted - but at no stage in that checking did she say exactly what a Brazilian was, and the client never asked exactly what she was getting.

And then the beautician visited areas the client thought was odd, and then hot wax went these places too...and it was too late for her now that she'd finally realised what she'd asked for.

I was laughing hard, but I was also shocked. When you only have to Google something to find out what it is, how did she not know what she was asking for? How did her mother not know? And how does a mother shrug off a question when she doesn't know the answer - isn't it better to say, "Look it up" like my Mum always did?

Yes, I thought about directing her to Phallic Friday...but then how could I have written this post? :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wildlife Wednesday - Trevally

Golden Trevally
I think these are Trevally - Golden and Black - but I'm not 100% sure (story of my life, huh?).

On my diving trip to Green Island, these guys hung around the boat because they got a feed. They were impressive fish - both is size and inquisitiveness.

Black Trevally
These photos were taken when the other snorkellers had gone, so the fish behaved quite differently when there was just me there with them. They seemed to have little fear of me and came right up to check me out, check out my camera and see what I was up to.

But they never ventured far from the back of the boat because the crew would randomly throw out food and I guess none of them wanted to miss out!!

The size of them was impressive. I'd say they were 1 m long. In the last photo where you can see the ladder from the boat, there's a pole running along the boat that is 1m underwater. It's the pole that the learn-to-dive people had to hang onto while they did their drills and when they finished the dive before getting out. So if you check out the fish size, I'm not exaggerating :)

The fish feeding frenzy photo I took after I'd had feed thrown on me! The crew didn't realise I was lurking there waiting for the sharks and hurled out feed almost right on my head. First I knew was when I was buffeted by fish and then almost leaped out of the water as tails and mouths cut the surface and splashed. Big brave me thought the sharks had come to get me!! :)

Next time they threw out food, I had my camera ready and I was on the ladder, not in the food pathway!

Feeding frenzy
If you're keen on learning more about these fish, the Australian Museum has some great fact sheets. You can find them here.

Hope you enjoy the pictures.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sunday Story - being 'outed'

This is how I'm feeling - a bit bare!

I went to my Book club through the week. I love my Book Club. They're older ladies and it's taken me a while to feel like I fit in, but I love them. We discuss the books quite seriously, but in doing so little pieces of each person are divulged. It's special and they're lovely...but they're literary. We hold books to a fairly high standard - myself included. So I haven't felt the time is right for me to blurt out that I'm writing books of my own, however, if I write in a different sub-genre, I would have to tell them that part before publication. So it's been in the back of my mind.

Besides, I'm hiding a significant part of my life by not saying anything.

The last few months we've had a new girl who is mid-20s (to put this in perspective, I could be her mother, the others her grandmothers). Last time we met, she mentioned her favourite author was Nora Roberts and she was keen to find Aussie authors who wrote similarly. I couldn’t help myself, after the meeting I told her I’d bring her some Aussie romance authors’ books. So I went in with a bag full.

Almost every meeting someone (usually one woman) makes a disparaging remark about romance and I ignore it. Deep down I know I should defend it, but I can't, or I don't, or something. I used to feel that way, before joining RWA and seeing the diversity of romance novels, but I don't want to force my 'religion' down other's throats.

When I passed over the bag of books at the end of the meeting, everyone wanted to know what books they were. There were a lot. But we're all book-a-holics and share them regularly, so it wasn't a real surprise for the peering and questions. I said, “Romance, so you guys won’t read them.” Off they all went.

I pulled out a book by an author in her hometown and told her the connection – she squealed. Then she saw a Keri Arthur book and squealed even more. I mentioned I’d had a fan girl moment when I met Keri, more squealing. It draws everyone's interest (no one ever squeals!). The girl says, “OMG you met these authors, how on earth?”

How could I answer that if not honestly? I figured I’d just have to admit to RWA and writing dreams. Then there was quite a bit of squealing and shock and questions fired at me and begging to read my stories, etc. I just confessed all as it seemed easier. 

So I'm out. Cate Ellink is known by a few more people. I told them not to read my books as they weren't what they'd be interested to read, but I suspect they'll be read out of curiosity. I'm not sure if my skin is thick enough to take the critique. I hope it will be. But I know what I've said at book club about some of the books we've read, and I'm a harsh critic, and we're honest in our discussions, so I expect if they talk about my writing they'll be honest. I hope so...even if I'm scared.

So, Lily, who has been encouraging me to be brave...I was. And it wasn't as terrifying as I thought it could be. You were right - friends do accept you, no matter how odd you are and that's the best! :)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Phallic Friday - affairs and the media

I was thinking this week about affairs and the role the media plays - not in the affair itself, but in the repercussions when the affair is revealed.

This week in Sydney, it's been an ex-footy player who is now in the media side of football. He's high profile, young (as in late 20s, early 30s), married with a child. The media coverage has been about him having an affair with a female co-star in a stage production he was involved in. And the story broke because her ex-fiance spilled the beans.

I know he's hurting because he's been jilted, or cheated on, but is going to the media the right response? And is it the media's responsibility to bring this to the public's attention?

I'm really glad that I grew up when social media wasn't a huge thing because so much of this personal stuff remained personal.

I worked in a male-dominated industry, and I have to say that I was exposed to a lot of this sort of behaviour. Sometimes a few of the women did have discussions about whether or not it was our place to bring some of this to another's attention...but we always ended the discussions by saying it wasn't our business. I was the youngest there, so I took my cues from the older women (and men) I worked with. They firmly believed that marital issues didn't belong in the workplace. They believed that we didn't 'owe' it to anyone to keep them informed. And that's what I went with...and still do.

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I'd much prefer if someone's sexual affairs weren't broadcast as a part of my daily news. How do you feel?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wildlife Wednesday - sea cucumbers

Sea cucumbers are one of the weirdest things underwater - well, I think so anyway! They are many and varied types of them, but they all are kind of slug-like (or in the case of this photo, it could do for a Friday post!)

Sea cucumbers are echinoderms, related to sea urchins, sea stars, brittle stars and feather stars. They have spiny skin, although sometimes the spines are small and unobtrusive. The spines help them move along the sand, acting like crampons when climbing in snow.

They eat by filtering sand through their mouths as they move, extracting any nutrients. Kind of doing a similar job in the ocean to that of earthworms in the soil.

The Australian Museum only has information on one sea cucumber, the Snot Sea Cucumber!! It's not one of the ones I saw, but you can find the information here. National Geographic have some information here.

On the National Geographic webpage, I particularly like this bit - When threatened, some sea cucumbers discharge sticky threads to ensnare their enemies. Others can mutilate their own bodies as a defense mechanism. They violently contract their muscles and jettison some of their internal organs out of their anus. The missing body parts are quickly regenerated.

Sea cucumbers bred sexually and asexually. The most usual is sexual where a large group of sea cucumbers release eggs and sperm into the water and when they meet, fertilisation happens. Romantic, hey? ;)

Sea cucumbers can be eaten and have been for centuries in China. I can't say I'm keen on trying them...but there are worse things to eat!

This one was moving, can you see the tracks to the left of it?
Photo notes: The two cucumbers in the really green shots were at a deeper depth to the other two shots (maybe 10m deep compared with 4m). It makes a big difference to the lighting of the photo, doesn't it?

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Sunday Story - The Traveling Man

Happy Father's Day! 

This week I read The Traveling Man by Jane Harvey-Berrick, closely followed (okay, immediately followed by, even if it was 2 am) The Traveling Woman. Generally I'm pissed off when a book leaves me on a cliffhanger and it's a 'romance' because I think a romance needs a HEA or HFN ending, not an undecided one...but I don't know if this is marketed as a 'romance'. I think I got it from a Kylie Scott recommendation (I should stop looking at her recommended reads because they always keep me up all night!).

So, anyway, I totally loved The Traveling Man. It starts when the hero and heroine are ten years old. He comes to her town with the traveling carnival. She's a sheltered kid who reads, and for her, the carnival means magic. It's her birthday, so she's allowed to chose what they do, and she picks the circus. No one in her family is very happy about this but she's living a dream and it's gorgeous.

He steals her away from her stiff, controlling parents and shows her the inner workings of the carnival - and a different sort of life. This is the beginning of the most unusual, and beautiful, friendship.

These are fabulous books, with a riveting story about friendship and love. Book 1 has a cliffhanger, but Book 2 made me happy.

His name is Kes, for Kestrel, and that summed up the story for me. It's a story about learning how to fly, how to soar above the norm and find true happiness even if it's in unusual places.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Phallic Friday - penis size

I was worried about what to write on a Friday now that the fetishes are done, but something always seems to pop up :) and today it's penis size. This post is inspired by an article I read on the news website (here).

The article is about a man with an oversized penis and the problems it's caused him. Let me summarise the article so you don't get smut on your computer (Miss Lily) :)

A 52 year old Mexican man has set the record for the world's longest penis. It's 18.9 inches (48.2 cm) long, and the circumference at the tip is 10 inches (25 cm). The previous record was held by a penis with a 34 cm length.

Ah, yep. It comes down to his knees! (And if it was on me, it would rival the length of a maxi dress!!)

As for the girth, I can get both my hands to meet around it, so it's not as large as some heroes' cocks in some romance stories* :) (And if you want to know how I worked that out, I measured and A4 sheet of paper, folded back an inch or so, and then made it a cylinder to see if my hands wrapped around it! LOL Lucky no one sees me at my computer acting these stupid things out! How would I explain that?)

This poor man's penis rivals that of a horse's.

He says in the article that the size of his penis means he cannot get a woman or a job. He cannot work. His penis goes below his knees. He would like to be classified as disabled but that doesn't seem to have happened, or else there's no welfare in Mexico, as he lives in a room his brothers have given him, scavengers for food, and materials.

* In romance novels, regardless of sub-genre, there seems to be a mantra of 'big is best' but sometimes when I'm reading them and the girl's hands don't go around the guy's penis, my eyes get a little watery. Sometimes I even get the giggles. Big dicks don't do it for me, so I've always been amused as to why this phenomenon is so prevalent in romance.

Then I read a few authors' blog posts about this and I sort of could see their argument. Most of them were saying that we're writing fantasy, so why not make that fantasy aspect extend to the cocks that are servicing our heroines. And sure, I can see what they're saying, but don't we owe it to readers to keep it real too? I mean we have safe sex so it's real, shouldn't we have all sized dicks too? Or at least her hands should be able to hold it!

And if you think there was a similar post to this a while back, I found it here, from 2013. I can't believe it was so long ago!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Wildlife Wednesday - butterflies

On my recent holiday to Cairns, as well as diving, we went to the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary at Kuranda (

You know I'm fond of butterflies, so this was rather high on my agenda. There's something magical about a butterfly fluttering on to you and the little drift of air as the wings flutter.

This place has a walk-through butterfly 'aviary' where butterflies can come and land on you - as Mr E found out. He wasn't as excited by it as I was!

But the part I really loved, was the butterfly laboratory. You didn't get to go inside but they had glass viewing areas where you could watch what was happening.

In the laboratory, they sterilise the food for the caterpillars, making sure that there aren't any germs for them to pick up, or predators to eat them. The caterpillars are cared for so that 90% of eggs, hatch and survive to butterflies. In the wild, this percentage was much much lower (although I can't remember it. Maybe 15% or so).

The lifespan of the butterflies was interesting, and I took a photo of that information board so I wouldn't forget it!

The Ulysses Butterfly is my favourite. The bright blue is so completely shocking and vibrant, when you see one you really can't be mistaken. It makes my heart race and my hands go all sweaty...and I know that makes no sense, but the thrill of seeing one is incredible for me.

Ulysses Butterfly
When I was in Cairns in 1988/89, I did a bushwalking trip into the Daintree rainforest and these butterflies were everywhere. They thrilled me then. In those days, I had a film camera (there was no digital) and I was limited in my photo taking. These butterflies just don't seem to stop moving, so I never got a photo of one. My aim was to get a picture here at the butterfly sanctuary, so I'd have one. The thing that shocked me at the sanctuary was that when a Ulysses rests, it's wings fold above its body and there is no blue. I couldn't even tell that it was a Ulysses. They didn't rest for long, but they could have been sitting somewhere next to me, and I'd never know! Cheeky things :)

This is some of the stuff I learned in the laboratory (I bought a sheet so I'd remember!) -

  • Female lay eggs on host plants and different species have different host plants
  • there can be up to 300 eggs laid
  • when the eggs hatch, they become caterpillars that devour the host plant
  • when the caterpillar reaches a certain age and size, it stops eating and pupates (the age and size differs for each species)
  • when all the changes from a caterpillar to a butterfly have happened (inside the pupae case), a crumpled butterfly emerges. It takes a few minutes for the butterfly to get its juices flowing into the wings and pump them wildly
  • then the butterfly goes off to find a mate, and start the cycle over again.
Maybe a Red Lacewing
At the butterfly sanctuary, they had a small aviary for newly emerged butterflies. They remained in there for a few hours before being released into the large aviary, where they could find their mate.

It was a fascinating place. I think I could have spent hours there...maybe even asked them for work!

I could imagine spending all day marveling over butterflies - but maybe my fascination would wear off in a few hours :)