27 April 2010

What a week!

The past week has been ful of fun times and laughter and pain (but you've kind of got to accept that when you're learning to ride a unicycle!).

Cats was amazing, though food in the restaurant wasn;t so good before hand.
Spunout was awesome.
More to come, but I'm out bush all week so don't know exactly when...

Here a pictures to whet your appetite though!

22 April 2010

All the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened

"...all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened"
Genesis 7:11/

Now, I'm one of the least religious people ever. But in this case its very fitting!
Remember how it hasn't rained in the Pilbara? Well, it did.
We've still not had much rain, but its been falling further down the catchments in Newman/Jigalong. 

So I innocently went for a drive on friday, joking about how there had better not be any water in some of the more awkward river crossings further down (think steep bumpy washed out drop down into a soft river base with standing water and keeping enough momentum to get you across the next 50m of river gravel...)

How shocked was I to encounter this at the first hurdle?!

Thats the "road" across the Oakover. Its normally a 300, wide gravel and rock crossing, with a couple of standing water pools. Its not normally a 300m wide fast flowing body of water.
My new fieldy was in front, and I saw him starting to out the car into low range to attempt a crossing. Not Good! So I ran up and stopped him, we radioed back to base to see if there had been any reports of flooding the previous day. Nope. It was all new. Flash flood! 
I stood around taking pretty pictures, and as I spun around taking this panorama:

I saw the river rising BEHIND where we had stopped the cars.
Very quick 3 point turn on the little island we were up on and we got the hell out of there. It would have been an interesting incident report! How did you lose these two utes? Well... 

Thats the video of the water rising over the track. We were parked up on the dry bit on the other side...
 I've seen this river in flood before, but I've never seen it actually in the act of flooding before. It was impressive!

Back on site, we warned the road trains, who carry our ore to port, that they should put word out to be cautious of the oakover crossing 50km up the sealed road, because the flood wave is on its way.

We told people at site, and they didn't understand what we were talking about, because the road trains could still get through. Yes, um, because they have a raised sealed road 50km away from where the current flooding is going on, we have a dodgy gravel track that bumps its way along the base of the river channels...

When the flood wave did hit the monitored river crossing 50km away, it rose 2m in half an hour:
Thats how we got 3 road trains washed away a few years ago. One truck crossed OK, so the guy coming in the other direction crossed, but in the 10 minutes between them  the river had risen so dramatically that it washed the truck away. Another 2 went the same way because it was night time and they couldn't see the extent of the water. They ended up doing an air rescue, using a mustering helicopter from one of the stations, and a jet ski, and the driver we taken to hospital with hyperthermia. 

Oh, and the flood also buried on of our contractors pumps that theyd left in the river chained to a tree. Oops.

19 April 2010


Thats the big volcano thats erupting in Iceland at present, and causing such chaos around the world.
How could a Geologist not write about it!

So, according to Wikipedia, this volcano has been active on and off for the last thousand years, but this event started rumbling in 2009, with the first eruption on the 20th March 2010. That one just cause 500 people problems. When it erupted again on the 14th April, the amount of ash it has thrown up into the atmosphere has grounded planes all over europe, backing up air passengers all over the world. And suddenly the world has realised just how reliant we have become on air travel! (image is the ash cloud on  17th April 2010)

So, whats actually going on?

Well. We all know about volcanoes, right? Rock, so hot that its not solid any more, works its way to the surface because its less dense than its surroundings, and escapes at the top. Kind of like the way oil sits on water.

Now sometimes this is a nice smooth process. It all depends on the chemistry of the rocks. But places like Hawaii have really runny lava that erupts nice and easily, whereas volcanoes like Mt Etna, in Italy, have very sticky, thick, only just about liquid lava which doesn't escape as easily. As this kind of lava gets to the surface, all the gasses in it expand due to the drop in pressure at the surface. And BANG! It blows the lava to pieces and results in very explosive eruptions.

Now, the Iceland volcano is different again. Icelandic lava is pretty runny in general, but in this case the volcano is erupting under a glacier.

Hot lava + cold ice = water = explosions

Why? Ever made the very dangerous mistake of throwing water onto burning oil? It doesn't end well. The water flashes to steam and expands explosively, taking the burning oil with it and causing horrific fire balls (see picture!)

The same happens to the lava- when the molten ice mixes with the molten rock, the rock freezes instantly into a "glass"[i.e. solidifies so quickly its atoms can't get into a set structure kind of like with glass] and the ice flashes explosively to steam, explosively dispersing tiny little fragments of glass into the upper atmosphere.

Which then gets into plane engines and stops them from working and risks the plane dropping out of the sky.

What I find really amusing is that people are talking it personally, and expecting the government to drop everything and get them to where they need to be. It’s a
also known as an 
Act of God. 
Its no ones fault! No one can fix it or make it go away any faster. The volcano isn’t out to make your life harder. Its just doing what it does! Its costing the economy a huge ammount, they inevitably means its costing lots of people lots of money. But hey! You're stuck on holiday. Things could be worse.

I know, its not currently affecting me personally, but it might. Last time it erupted, it went on for two years. Hopefully it will boil off all the water and then hopefully the explosivity of the eruption will drop. But I've read a few reports of a "more sticky" lava coming up, so we'll see.
I'm flying home on the 3rd June. So fingers crossed it'll have died down by then. But if it hasn't, I don't expect the government to sail a ship over here to get me home.

Oh, and fingers crossed for Al- his ultra marathon is due to finish 3km from the volcano. Fingers crossed all his training won't go to waste!

17 April 2010

First win of the season!

So what if it was the 4th match of the season...

Go Eagles!

WCE 15.11 (101) to 11.12 (78) Essendon

16 April 2010

Getting to know you Thursdays (on a friday!)

1. What is your favorite cocktail (or beer)?
Cocktail- Hmmm... A good Pina Colada if I'm feeling fruity, or a Mohito if not. A few weeks ago, on our girls night out we had gorgeous Passionfruit & Vanilla Martinis:
Fresh passionfruit and homemade vanilla syrup shaken with a large serve of our very own local Wild Swan vanilla vodka, Licor 43 and pressed lemon juice. Served
straight up with a vanilla sugar dusted rim.
But in general I'm a beer girl, and an English one at that, so I like my beer flat and warm. But you'll mostly find me drinking:
  • Fat Yak- Matilda Bay
  • James Squire Golden.
  • Little Creatures Rogers (their Amber)
  • Sail and Anchor Porter. And their IPA is pretty good too!
  • Matsos Mango Beer.
  • Emu (for nights in on the sofa)
  • Pure Blonde at work
  • Anything I can get my hands on from local micro breweries.
  • Cider :D
  • Banana Bread Beer and Chocolate Stout from back home.
2. When is the first time you had a beer?
Is it bad that I don't remember a time when I didn't know what alcohol tastes like? From being knee high to a grass hopper I'd try my dads "nasty bitter beer" and mums red wine and pull a funny face. Now I love it! Well, the bitter beer anyway.
I probably started drinking semi regularly by 15. That sounds bad doesn't it! But I wasn't one of the teenage delinquants sitting on the street corner with their White Lightning. I probably am more of a lightweight now than when I was 17. And I never threw up til I was 19 and well and truely legal. See next point...

3. What is your funniest I was way too drunk story?
Erm... my 19th birthday. First one at University, and we were quite fresh into the first term so feeling particularly free and easy and up for anything... It involved downing lots of drinks in the Uni bar, heading into town to a shooter bar and having lots of those purchased for me, then carrying on to the Tequila bar (50 flavours of Teqila for a pound a shot!) and then being passed a funky green "tequilla" whoch turned out to be Absinthe, and they serve it as strong as it legaly comes.
I dont remember anything else.
Apparently my best friend bought be a cocktail and I took it by the straws not the glass and promptly dropped it, then threw up... then pretty much collapsed in the toilets. Somehow they found a taxi to get me home and put me to bed.
I woke up the next morning fresh as a daisy, presumably because I threw up everything that could possibly make me feel bad, and was under teh age of 20 and hence hangover-proof.

Fun times!

4. How long ago did that story take place?
6 1/2 years ago? November 2003. Wow I'm getting old!

5. Tequila or Whiskey?
Definately tequila.
Bad memories of playing alcoholic pass the parcel at 17 with out of date JD and Jim Beam stolen from the backs of parents liquer cabinets...

15 April 2010

Jamie Oliver... TV Preacher?!

I came across this gem of a post from another 20SBlogger, T. The Destructor.

Its a reply to a womans view of Jamie Oliver, and one program in particular.
And it sums up a lot of what is wrong with the world.
I love it.

Apparently, Jamie went to a particularly obese bit of America and some people feel that he's a meddling "person" who is actually just out to get money, and that people should be allowed to choose (to die from obesity?) and that Jamie Oliver is no more than a glorified TV preacher, making heaps of money from peoples insecurities. But she counteracts it much more eloquently than I ever could.


Read it here!

On a different note, I'm adding a weekly aims thing at the side. 
Something to keep me focussed!
Off to Boxercise at the work gym now. Should be interesting!

13 April 2010

A decade in Oz

On Saturday I went to a friends party. Her and some of her fellow Kiwis were celebrating 10 years of living in Australia with a big "Come as your favourite Australian" party, with a whole lamb roast, Australiana quiz and lots of true blue fun and games. As much as possible in a house full of Kiwis, anyway!
 After a bit of deliberating I decided I was going to do as a Bungarra (big goanna lizard thing):
or as Ned Kellys mother (thanks to the trip to Melbourne Gaol.):

But after a conversation with said friend, ended up as the Australian matriach Kath (from Kath and Kim.)
Much easier, and lots of fun. Its amazing what you can buy in charity shops. The whole outfit, including shoes, cost $8.50!

Dead ringers :)

12 April 2010

Another BHP death. R.I.P.

There was another death at a BHP mine today, at Leinster.
My thoughts go out to his partner and kid, along with his workmates and those on the Emergency Response Team who worked so hard to try and save him.

Working underground isn't inherently more dangerous than doing anything else, but when things go wrong they tend to be harder to fix and more widely acknowledged. I feel much more exposed out bush than I ever did underground, and a friend of mine says she had more rocks hit her on the head in the open pit than when we worked together underground. But if something were to go wrong, its so much harder to save you. At least out bush I can just about always drive back out, or someone can drive to me. And the oxygen is never going to run out. 

1 day, 8 hours, 6 dances, sore feet!

Yesterday I went to DANCEmania:

The idea behind DANCEmania was to have one day where women could have a go at as many different styles of dance as possible.  Mad Camel Belly Dance has been able to organise the 11th of April 2010 to run DANCEmania with 6 styles of dance spread over 8 hours. With one ticket getting you entry into Belly dance, Bollywood, Samba, Cabaret, Burlesque and Lap dancing you will get to have a go at all 6 styles. 
The day is intended to be fun and laughter for women of all ages and skill levels so don't worry if you have never lapdanced before; there is a first time for everything!
I dragged a friend along and we had a great day!

It started with Cabaret, learning a dance (complete with feather boas) to "Hey Big Spender", then moving swiftly on to Samba. I'd never danced the Samba before, but I loved it! We learnt the basic foot move then worked it into a basic dance (the teacher showed us what you could do with it and we were all very glad to stick to the basics!) then did a funky party carnival style jump around. Great cardio!

After lunch came Bollywood. It was more bollywood fusion (so not to far removed from bellydance) which was a shame, because I'd have loved to have done some propper, snappy, more angular indian dance. 

Then came the most fun one: Lap dancing :D Around an empty chair. I loved it. Once you forget of the sleazy side, its actually a lot of fun. Free your inhibitions and try it some time! Simple moves if you know a bit of dancing, and much slower so there is time to put your own thing in too.

Hmm, what was next? Burlesque. Now, this one wasn't all I'd expected, but I think its more because of the teacher who made it very regimented and repetitive and not much fun. Cabaret was much more fun, even though they're a very similar style.

And very tired, at 5pm, we started on BellyDance. Now, the day was organised by a belly dance troupe, so most of us had some previous experience and so this way more of a fun shake down at the end of the day. The best bit? dancing to Tarkans "Simarik", a turkish song we used to love at high school.

The Boy picked us up and ferried us home for a carb-fest of baked potatoes to replenish some of that expended energy. Tired and a bit stiff, and with very sore feet (dancing in heels?! if you'd seen me tottering around in Melbourne a few weeks ago you'd never believe it!) but happy.

08 April 2010

the making of Flag Poi

One of the things I'm getting into at the moment is Poi Spinning.
I love the dancing side, and saw this amazing video and was inspired to make my own:

So a quick trip to the fabric shop and here we go:

1) Cut fabric triangles:

2) Sew up edges.
3) Pull chain through all thr way down leading edge and some way across the base, leaving some "flap" but making it hard for it to coil up. I used a safety pin to pull it through.

4) Sew chain on so doesn't slip while spinning.


07 April 2010

Interval Training!

Yesterday I went to the WAMC interval session for the first time.

I wasn't sure if I'd actually go or not, so I went for a 6km run in the morning anyway, just in case I backed out. By 5 I was feeling up to going, actually looking forward to it. Though still slightly scared at the level people would be at.

So I rocked up and met the coach; he said not to worry, go at my own pace but make sure I could feel the difference in my intervals.  So we did:

Warm up: High knees 3x100m, Bum kicks 3x 100, with a gentle jog back again between each.


800m fast
400m slow
600m fast
200m slow
400m fast
200m slow
200m fast

5 minutes break and do it all over again!
Worked out about another 6km. So 12 for the day.
I definitely wasn't leading the pack but I also wasn't last by a long way either, so thats good :)

Quick dash home for tea and shower then back out the door to circus meet.
It was fun, but I felt quite shaky while spinning.

They do different things each week, and I'll definitely be back.
Hopefully it will help pick my pace up.

06 April 2010

Hot Cross Buns

I love Hot Cross Buns.
So I decided to make some. :)
I was at work for Easter, so only got around to it today...

This was the recipe, but I used 1/3 wholemeal flour instead of all refined. With hindsight I wouldn't, but I thought I'd try and make them that little bit less naughty- more fibre! But while they're still tasty, theyre just not quite right.


Honey Glazed. Yum!

03 April 2010

And so it begins...

Last night was the first night out bush for 2010.
We were a few hours drive away from the mine site on an overnight mapping campaign.
Hot sweaty day walking round recording rocks for posterity.

We were meant to grab some extra cooking gear from the regional caravan halfway out, but *someone* forgot the key... OOoops. Luckily we had a camp oven anyway, and thats all you need for instant pasta! And baked beans and bread. And plastic knives and forks. So using a screwdriver as a stirrer we still put together a hearty meal. I hate instant pasta. Yack! But it was a short notice trip and it was only one night. All the small portion food in the freezer is frostbitten and all the rest of the food is in massive packs- 5kg steak anyone? I feel a trip to Newman for small goods coming on.

After/during food prep, I got my poi out and had a play with the LED settings. There are some very cool patterns!

By 7:30 I got ready for bed, after nearly falling asleep in the middle of the creek watching for shooting stars (only saw one). Asleep at 8:30. I sleep so well out bush. No distractions I guess. I was expecting it to be harder to sleep because of the heat and humidity (about 34 degrees and 35% humidity according to the BOM at Telfer), but it wasn't too bad. Maybe I'm getting used to it, or maybe its cooler than last year.

I woke up at 3am, absolutely freezing! Even though the BOM says it was still 30oC... Maybe a 100ks and a weird microclimate makes all the difference... I only had my silk liner in my swag with me, so had to unzip and jump out and grab my sleeping bag from the car. Slept through until 6:30. 10 hours of lovely, peaceful sleep.

I love waking up out there. 
Heaven in the Pilbara.