Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wildlife Wednesday - Giant Toadfish

Dad visited last week and for the first time in a long time, we went out fishing on the river, in his tinny (that lives in my garage). Usually Dad brings the bad weather with him, but he must have tricked it this time because we had glorious sunshiny days. There was a bit of breeze both days we went out, but only for part of the day.

We had some good fishing too, or I did! The first day, I had 3 and Dad had enjoyed netting them for me! Luckily, the second day saw him get into the action too.

We didn't keep any of them. We could have kept the flathead but the first day I caught one early, and we let it go when we moved spots, thinking we wouldn't catch another. Then I caught another! The second day, we had two but we were late leaving to pick up Mr E and we didn't think we'd have time to clean the fish, so we let them go.

My other catches weren't ones we'd keep! But more on those fish, and the flathead, in the coming weeks.

This week is about the Giant Toadfish that I caught. It was a weird catch because it was heavy but a lazy kicker as I was pulling it in. I was thinking maybe an octopus, but when it kicked, it felt like a fish swimming not an octopus dragging. So I'm pulling up the mystery and Dad's there with the net. He scoops it up, struggles to lift it into the boat, and then we look at it. It's not pretty.

"What on earth is it?" I ask Dad, because he always knows.

"No idea."

So we stare at it. I pull out my phone and take snaps, and then the mouth opens and my camera is snapping at this tooth, this huge tooth! And the fish is making these noises, like it's moaning/gulping. It's body is shuddering. And we have a hook in its mouth and its mouth has that giant tooth. So we used pliers and unattached hook from fish, that's still moaning and shuddering. It's kind of eerie and disconcerting, especially when this fish looks like some sort of mutant.

Dad thinks we should keep it. I'm horrified. What on earth would we do with this fish? It doesn't even have a well-defined head to cut off for cleaning. Once I point this out, the fish goes back to the sea, leaving slime all over the net. So unpleasant!

Dad thinks he's caught a smaller thing on the Gold Coast but he has no idea what they're called. We're thinking parrot fish, or leatherjacket, or porcupine fish, or crazy toadfish. I'm doing random Googles while fishing but I give up. I know how long my ID takes.

When I get home, I tweet the pic to the guys at Wollongong Uni (Fish Thinkers) hoping they'll know, and another guy who's local and a diver answers and tells me it's a Giant Toadfish and they are unusual down this way. Looks like the fish did a Nemo in the current!

The Australian Museum website has this information, here.

So, here's the stats. We reckon it was about 70cm long, weighing about 3 kg. We were in about 12 ft water and I used a beach worm for bait. We were about 75m out off the Hay St boat ramp, the one in the middle of the road, not the end.

And that was Dad and my weird fish for the week!

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Sunday Story - Team Player

Team Player (my MMF) is getting close...

This week I was given a peek at the cover - and it's smoking hot! - but it's not the final version yet, so I can't share it, sorry. But I will tell you that it'll look very nice sitting beside Deep Diving.

And I got a peek at the blurb, which is a lot hotter than my attempted blurb. I'll share that, but I'm not sure it's the final version so keep it under your hat.

She’s never been shy about what she wants – and now she wants them both...

Hannah Maynard, sports reporter, is sure it’s only her lust-filled fantasies linking Australian rugby league captain, Charlie Maxxin, with relative newcomer, Lyle Smythe-Jones. She and Charlie have shared quite a few steamy sessions over the years, so surely he’s not in a relationship with the young, unflappable player she’s dubbed Marble Boy?

Hannah lures Charlie to dinner and his reaction is all the answer she needs. But she doesn’t want to report on the biggest secret in Australian sport – she wants to take part. However, it’s not just Charlie’s decision and it can’t be just casual. If Hannah wants in, she has to be all in, with Lyle, with Charlie, and with the hottest action any of them have ever experienced.

My edits are due back to Escape in a fortnight...which means that the story is moving along the conveyor belt and release is getting closer.

I don't have an exact date yet...but I'll let you know as soon as I do.

I love having books coming out!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Phallic Friday - masturbation

My Dad's been visiting so I've been slack on the posts - but I caught some cool fish to post for next Wednesday and a few Wednesdays after, so I didn't neglect the blog totally!!

I wasn't going to post today either (the day is almost over) but I just saw an article about masturbation on the site (you can read it here) and they claim that May is masturbation month - who knew? I didn't! I could have been celebrating all month!!! :)

There are some interesting claims in the article from a survey conducted by the sex toy brand LoveHoney. And given that the survey was done by a sex toy company, maybe the results are a bit skewed...but anyway...

They claim that 21% of men use sex toys at least once a week.

That 10% of women and 30% of men have never used sex toys.

60% of Aussies own more than 5 sex toys, and almost 25% own more than 11 sex toys.

They claim that 81% of women prefer using sex toys. But they don't say what the choices were.

They claim women spend longer (up to 30 mins) than men (about 10 mins) masturbating...which could be a reason for women preferring to use sex toys...but that's not said.

I'm a fan of masturbation and sex toys. I was converted early on after reading a magazine that's now defunct - Australian Women's Forum. They had a series (I think) or articles about sex toys and masturbation and advertised a women's only sex toy shop in Sydney, called The Pleasure Spot. In my late teens/early 20s, I was intrigued, so I went along. The woman who ran the place was awesome. So open about sex and pleasure and encouraging of people exploring their needs and wants. She had a shop full of sex toys and aids and explained then to me. I had no idea what anything was or how anything was used - such a sheltered life! It was an incredible experience. Her sales pitch, openness, and enthusiasm for people understanding sex converted me. I came away with my first vibrator. And then I moved away from Sydney - but she did mail order! When I die, someone is going to be incredibly shocked at my stash of sex toys :)

Are you a fan of sex toys? Did you know it was Masturbation May?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Phallic Friday - threesomes

I was excited to read this post today (here) on the website.

It's about a family, in Texas, with 3 parents, expecting their 3rd child. It's a relationship between 2 women and 1 man, and they love their lifestyle. They claim that it allows them more time for themselves, each other and for friends/hobbies. They claim that they can parent and work, juggling the demands of life, much easier in a threesome than in a couple.

They also want marriage. They've been together for 5 years and would love to be married even thought it's not legal. 

And this is where I think marriage equality is missing the point. Same sex marriage, is fine, but it's really not enough. If you want to talk about equality, then it needs to be that marriage is available to any form of committed relationship. Yet, I know that's unlikely to happen because people baulk at same sex marriage, so I can only imagine how they'd react to multiple partners, or other forms of relationships. But I still think same-sex marriage should not be referred to as marriage equality because it's still leaving people without.

This is one of the things that writing my MMF brought into light for me. Why are duos considered normal and trios or more are considered abnormal? And if you're in a threesome, how do you keep your relationship valid when the rest of society claims it's invalid?

Reading about this threesome relationship gives me hope for my MMF story, Team Player. My threesome is 2 men and 1 woman, so not exactly the same, but I'm glad that there are people living in multiple partner arrangements no matter what society tells them in 'right'.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Wildlife Wednesday - Gannets

A while back I did a post on what I thought might be the Australian Gannet - you can find it here. It's from 2014(!) and I was sure it wasn't THAT long ago!

Anyway, these birds are sometimes down near the beach, divebombing into the ocean for their feed. They're incredible to watch.

Here's some info from the Birds in Backyards website:
When they fly in groups, they're often herding fish into a shoal where they can dive and feed.
They have backward facing serrations on their bill that allows them to grasp the fish.
The fish is often swallowed before the bird reaches the surface even though they're only underwater for about 10 seconds.

Australian Geographic have and article here about the dangers these birds face when diving at speed after fish. They can have head or neck injuries from collisions with other birds, especially when they try to fight for the same fish!!

Gannets are now going to play a rather significant role in my writing life. I needed a team for my MMF rugby league book. I had picked a team name in my draft but there were a few other names similar, so I needed to make a change. And the Glebe Gannets came to my mind.

Let me give you a bit of backstory. Rugby league was created when a bunch of guys broke away from Rugby union because they wanted to be paid and compensated, especially for any injuries. This is why League has traditionally been the 'working class' game, and Union the 'rich man's' game.

Glebe, an inner city suburb of Sydney, was one of the first rugby league teams (there is some argument that it was the first, but others dispute this). Glebe no longer exists as a team in rugby league. I have a lot of connection to Glebe. My great-grandfather was one of those men who broke away from union to league. He played for Glebe. My grandparents lived in Glebe and I went to school there. So I think there's quite a lot of synergy for a Glebe team.

Gannets are here, at my beach. The two Gs go together. I'm sticking with a Sydney-based club. And Gannets are risk-takers, divebombing into the sea for food. They're awesome birds to watch. Brave and a little crazy. I think they'll work for my footy team.

My MMF story has found a home with Escape Publishing. I think it's even found a title - Team Player! And I have a team. Plus an editor. This means you should be able to read it sometime...maybe early in the new year. I'll let you know on dates (I don't have that yet!).

Welcome to the Glebe Gannets.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Sunday Story - The Hidden Life Of Trees

I read this book recently, The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. It's been translated into English from German so it's very European-focussed with most of the trees mentioned completely unfamiliar to me, and yet it was an interesting book.

He's presenting trees in a very anthropomorphic way and many examples are related human health, or human life, or human habits. In the beginning it kind of grated on me, but by the end I could see his purpose - or at least I think it's his purpose!

He's trying to make people love tress, as they love fluffy animals. He's trying to save trees by giving them human attributes so we can relate to them and ensure their existence.

He's saying that trees have such a huge life-span that our lifetime is almost an infinitesimal blip in their 'thoughts'. He's showing examples of inter-tree communication and support, to encourage people not to grow the single tree in an isolated location, but to look at trees as 'herd-animals'.

It was a nifty approach and by the end I thought he was clever in trying to get people to see trees in this way.

I love trees and I've despaired a few times at how many have been cut down around me as people "protect" their homes and lives. I've very happy to co-exist with trees. A few have fallen near me over my lifetime, and sure it scares the heck out of me at the time, but I've been really lucky to never have had any huge disaster from fallen trees or branches. Maybe I would feel differently had this not been the case.

Anyway, this book gave me an interesting read, produced a lot of strange ideas for stories, and gave me an interesting way to look at bringing science messages to people. I enjoyed it.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Phallic Friday - hypocrites

You know what riles me up more than anything else in the world? 

Those who say one thing, often with so much power and conviction, yet go right on out and do the opposite. Often hiding it, hoping no one will ever know.

A while back, someone abused me for 'writing that shit', and their tone, words, and judgement really hurt me. I was shocked at how much it hurt. Now, I find out that the person who was so quick to judge me for writing about sex, and so horrified that I would write such shit, has been caught having sex where they shouldn't. And do you know what? In many circumstances, I'd be supportive and non-judgemental...but in this case, wow, I was so furious, I shocked myself.

When someone is exposed as a hypocrite, my fury knows no bounds. I'm not sure why this is. Sometimes you're passionate about something that's a character flaw in yourself, so maybe that's the issue, even if I hope not.

It has to do with my upbringing in a religious family and wider community, and my questioning nature. Those things were bound to clash!

I'm not outwardly rebellious or confrontational...I'm more likely to walk away and ignore something I'm not happy about. There is my character flaw regarding hypocrisy - I should stand and fight, yet I don't. Often I don't have the mental energy to bang my head against a brick wall trying to change people's opinions. Often I just don't want to get into an argument that is unlikely to be resolved. But anyway... back to religion and questions...

I don't have a 'blind faith' that is so often required in religions. I have a questioning mind, so I want to know how and why and what and who. I want logic in answers. I want to understand. 

Being logical means I want to see people do what they say they believe. I want examples of their Christianity, or their beliefs.

Too often I was let down. Most people can't explain their faith.  And so many with a blind faith, do so without actions reflecting their beliefs. They sprout forth platitudes e.g. we should help the poor, and yet they live in luxury without caring that the city has homeless people, let alone their church community has people struggling to feed their kids.

And so, hypocrisy brings me to hot, I stun myself into shame.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Wildlife Wednesday - spider's webs and eggs

I came across some odd things the other day which I assume are spider's webs holding eggs. I'm not really sure, and I've not a clue how to look these up either!

They were on some tress on the edge of a path. Not hidden, right out in the open. The web part was thick, really thick. These weren't small either, I guess they were a bit bigger than a tennis ball but not as large as a soccer ball, each round part that is. They were maybe 1 metre off the ground.

When I got quite close, there were little black flecks inside the web that I thought looked like baby spiders. But it could be my imagination!

Anyway, there were three of these 'contraptions' within a couple of metres, and then I didn't see any more.

So, any ideas what these are?

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Wildlife Wednesday - footy players again

Here I am 'banging on about footy again' (as Rhyll says) but I have to share because I worked hard again while watching.

So Dragons v Storm had me all hot under the collar until I realised it was the week before the rep round, and the Aussie players would be missing. Man, was I bummed. And then, Thursday night TV game, I realise the Aussie players are in that game. Holy hell, that meant they might be there on Sunday. And yes! My assumption was totally false. Aussie players were playing their round. Which meant Storm at full strength, which meant quite a lot of perving for me to do.

As Mr E will tell you, I dragged myself off my sick bed to go. On Friday I was sure I'd die with fevers. But fortunately, by Sunday fevers had gone and the sun was shining, there was no breeze and WIN Stadium had a seat with my name on it. Oh boy!

Nothing like perving with your hubby and mother-in-law right there teasing you! Add that every single person around our seats hated the Storm, hated Cooper Cronk, and everyone could see who my camera phone was zoomed in on. Yep! Nothing like being the odd woman out :) But I persisted! When Cronk got sinbinned for 10 minutes for a professional foul, you should have heard the stadium - I've never heard so many boos and jeers as for the long time it took him to walk off that field. He laughed initially, but I wondered how he felt by the time he'd got into the dressing rooms. I think only Cameron Smith would have had more animosity.

Cooper Cronk
While I've been crushing on Cronk, it's been almost impossible not to get caught up with the rest of the team, but especially Cameron Smith and Billy Slater. Billy Slater is really social media savvy, and his wife's an incredible artist who is also good on the social media. So I've been following the Billy rehab after his two shoulder surgeries. I've been watching his return to teh game with amazement, each week he's improving when the first week he was good anyway. The man is a freak.

But on Sunday, after the game, he stood and signed autographs for the kids before going off the field. I'd made a little detour on the way out, so I was pretending I owned one of those kids and checking him out. Fabulous with the kids, he didn't miss signing anyone, or duck out of any photos. He got down to their level, smiled, posed, signed. Professional, but this was a man who liked kids, and probably remembered being these kids years back. He was fantastic.


Billy Slater
He was little. Freaking hell, is he little. I'd seen him on the field and he's not the tallest guy, but he doesn't have to be so I didn't think much of it. But it's not just height. He's fine-boned, all muscle and sinew, sort of like a jockey's body.

I was astounded.

Photos don't seem to pick it up. And I was standing there, staring at the poor man, trying to get his physique into my head because I want him in my MMF. He's the type of body I want for one of my guys but I didn't do a good enough describing him. And I don;t have words. My brain's still trying to process the big heavily muscled guys I'm used to seeing on the footy field, with this guy who should be riding horses. A guy who's so short, yet he flies up for balls higher than everyone else on the ground. A guy so little, yet he's made the Australian Team. And I start wondering how he'd look next to Jonathon Thurston. Would JT, who everyone says is tiny, look so little next to Billy?

Cooper Cronk & Will Chambers
And then I hear Mr E and his Mum calling me. And since this version of me doesn't exist for the MIL, I can't really explain why I'm standing there staring into space trying to find the words to describe a man's body. So I leave. And I'm still perplexed...but not by the man who usually has all my attention.

It's strange my imagination! But boy, did I have a great day out :)