February 28, 2011
It’s the morning of the last day and I must admit I don’t miss keeping up with hmm-hmm at all. She hasn’t made it into any of the papers or sites I’ve been reading and it’s rather nice, this world without hmm-hmm screeching and whining.
That said, I can’t even put into words how much I miss my daily roster. From The Mudflats to IM, PA, hmm-hmm-gates and all the links in between, my regular reading material has been sorely missed. Tomorrow you can bet I’m staying all day in my jammies and bunny slippers, drinking pots of coffee and catching up!
February 24, 2011
There are a couple of very good Splotch stories in the comments of the previous post. You should have a sticky beak. Apparently, we’ve all experienced these Ophthalmic Migraines in one form or another, we just haven’t known what to call them
My big purple splotch is down to the size and shape of a rice bubble, transparent, and while it continues to hover in my line of vision, it’s not nearly as annoying as before. Thank goodness.
However, it has made me think of making a tray of Rice Bubble Treats. Soul food from my childhood the ingredients of which I’m not ashamed to admit can still, occasionally, be found on my shopping list. Although in the US we called them Rice Krispies Treats.
When I was first introduced to Rice Bubbles in Australia, I was told the following story. There’s no moral, no car chase, no quiz at the end. It’s just a cute story called:
The Littlest Rice Bubble
Once upon a time there was a giant factory that made nothing but Rice Bubbles. Big, little, short, thin, round, stubby, tall – Rice Bubbles. One evening a new batch of just-born Rice Bubbles were spread out onto a huge drying rack and tucked away in a corner. The big machines were all shut down for the night, the lights went off and all went quiet.
The Littlest Rice Bubble woke up in the dark. She realized she was on the very bottom of the rack and wondered what one could see from the top where there surely would be more light. She wiggled around to get a better view – and her brave journey began.
The Littlest Rice Bubble wiggled and wriggled and squirmed and rolled and wiggled and wriggled and wiggled some more and squirmed and jiggled and wriggled and just as she got to the top of the tray all the lights went on, the machines began to hum and suddenly all the Rice Bubbles on the rack were upended and dumped into a humongous vat with thousands, if not millions of other Rice Bubbles and… The Littlest Rice Bubble found herself again at the very bottom of the Rice Bubble pile.
The Littlest Rice Bubble pulled herself together, took a very deep breath and determined not to give up. She wiggled and wriggled and wiggled and rolled and wiggled and squirmed and wriggled and wiggled all the way to the top of the vat. Finally, poking her little head through the very top of the heap she proudly looked around just in time to see the big, big vat tilt sideways, spilling its delicate cargo into hundreds if not thousands of brightly coloured boxes.
And in her box, The Littlest Rice Bubble realized she was once again – at the bottom of the pile. So she sighed a big sigh and began anew… she wriggled and wiggled and wiggled and squirmed and jiggled and rolled and wriggled and wiggled all night long until she’d made it to the top of the box.
The Littlest Rice Bubble was both happy and sad for while she’d made it to the top, she still couldn’t see anything because the box was sealed shut. But just then a miracle happened. She could feel herself moving, and something undid the box lid and suddenly there were bright lights and music and someone laughing and giggling but as she turned to get a better look, the box upended and dozens if not hundreds of Rice Bubbles went tumbling down into a big yellow bowl. Oh no! At the bottom again!
This would not do! The Littlest Rice Bubble pulled up her socks and wriggled and wiggled and wriggled and squirmed and jiggled and wiggled and wriggled and rolled and jiggled and wiggled and… well if you want to hear more you’ll have to wait. It’s a cereal, after all.
February 20, 2011
This is my new friend. I’ve named him Splotch because that’s what he looks like. A splotch. A giant purple splotch. With a pink halo.
Splotch was a gift to me from the little man who lives inside the special camera at the Ophthalmologist’s office. My doctor used him to get an image of my right lens/retina and since the little man takes his job very seriously and wanted to get it perfect the first time, he flashed a light into my right eye I’m guessing twenty times the light of the sun.
That was Thursday morning. When Splotch was still there on Friday arvo, I called my doctor who told me to come back straight away. I thought he was going to have a nice chat with Splotch and tell him to move on. Instead, he summoned the little man inside the camera who flashed a second light directly into my right eye almost as bright as the first one because, well I’m guessing because the two men decided they hadn’t killed enough brain cells the first time.
But when the exam was finished, the doctor assured me Splotch was just an Ophthalmic Migraine who would, eventually, move on of his own accord and I simply needed to wait him out. Ophthalmic Migraines are apparently painless, unlike temporal ones, so if I just kept Splotch in the dark and didn’t give him anything fun to look at, he would fade away into the sunset in a few hours. Or maybe days. The doctor wasn’t actually sure.
By Saturday evening I was so bored from sleeping and lying in bed listening to television I decided to try some editing. (I owe the nice lade who puts money in my bank a bit of time from not working on Friday.) But no matter what I did or how I moved my head, Splotch just refused to get out of my road. And the little clothes horse kept changing his shirt. First he was purple with pink trimmings, then yellow with blue and orange trim. Sometimes I could almost see straight through him but he’d figure out what I was up to and lunge back into his dark purple shirt, making me blind again.
The game of squint and seek left me with a bonified headache so I gave up and went back to bed. This morning I got up, looked out the window and this is what I saw…
Oh goody. He’s still here. I decided to ignore Splotch and read the news.
Squinting, blinking, shaking my head, peering around corners, cussing, nothing seems to discourage this little guy. And if he’s still here in the morning I’m supposed to call the doctor back so he can tell me all about Plan B.
At least… there better be a Plan B.
February 11, 2011
There are several places on the net to make donations to Queenslanders whose lives have been tragically interrupted by the December – January floods and Hurricane Yasi. I’ll get to them further on. This particular bit of fundraising touched me the most though and I’m anxious to share it with you.
Qld is a huge tourist state. Much of the state’s income revolves around tourism. Films are made, songs are written, slogans created. Sometimes a song catches on and rather than writing a new one each year, whole campaigns are created around a newer rendition of the original. Love You Queensland, for example, (just the one line) has been aired on television for as long as I can remember in that little ten second slot between shows and commercials that display the channels call number. The whole song, however, has morphed many times. It’s rather like watching someone take your favourite stuffed chair and recover it every year. It’s always the same, just different.
This particular rendition was created with added flood footage. It is perhaps one of the best testaments to the spirit of Queenslanders.
If you purchase the song for itunes, the money goes to flood relief. (Visit www.harvestrain.com.au for more information)
Love you Queensland:
How beautiful is that…
More links for donations, flood information:
Queensland Premier Anna Bligh’s Disaster Relief Appeal. Lots of government info on this site.
Courier Mail – Sunday Mail This is a wonderful site – It’s called Helping Hands: Queensland Recovers and it has everything all on one page. Where to donate, where to give help, where to get help, where to find people, where to get advice on rebuilding your broken home or business and finally, this little gem that I think is brilliant:
Back In Business live map Across the country, from the flooded areas to the burned sites, this map allows you to see what businesses are back up and running. It’s interactive, allowing the public to both view and add information. The huge banner says Tell your customers you’re trading again!
Then… I found this on Crikey and was riveted. A diary-like writing by a woman who watched the water rise as she packed up the family house and all of her memories. But it should come with a warning – something like ‘Tissues rated - two-box read!
I’m enjoying my she-who-must-not-be-named break, by the way, although I miss IM, Mudflats, Shannyn, PA, Palingates and P&K like crazy. Oh and all your glowing comments on the sites about (hmm-hmm) I miss all the wonderful snark! Although I noticed my skin looks clearer, my eyes are no longer bloodshot and I’m pretty sure my blood pressure is more normal than it’s been in a couple of years.
Is it possible to get indigestion from watching someone on youtube? I must remember to ask my doctor…
17 days to go
Edit: Hahahaha – I misspelled the word ‘flair’ in the title., making it ‘flare’ by mistake. And nobody caught it either! Where’s the spelling/grammar police when you really need them!
February 3, 2011
It’s been really quiet for the last few hours. Yasi has been downgraded to category 4 and slowed which – on the surface – looks like a good thing. But while the reduced speed lowers the size of coastal waves, it also means the winds stay in any one place longer, leaving more damage in Yasi’s wake.
The reports of the past few hours have mostly revolved around power outages, panicked calls from people who now want to be rescued after refusing to evacuate earlier on… and the fact that the core of Yasi shifted south by more than 125 km on landfall, a natural phenomenon that cannot be predicted with any degree of accuracy. It amazes me how the meteorologists can so accurately predict as much as they do.
The roof blew off an evacuation centre in Cairns but no one was injured. Those who stayed behind in Cairns are no doubtedly saying thanks to whomever it is that runs the universe for letting Yasi slide ‘a little to the left’, leaving them all a bit more breathing room.
Sky News Australia is the best bet for gleaning accurate and constant up to date news on Yasi (either on cable or online) as she continues to dig further into Northern Queensland. As I connect this link the new report says Yasi is now a category 3. That’s good news
Now that first light is here I’m sure the visual reports of Yasi’s destruction will be coming to all the airwaves. But I hope not too many venture out into this mess as the winds are still strong and gusting and the outdoors is chockers with flying debris.
My sunrise was so calm it was eerie. I stood on my back porch and took this photo:
Facing north it’s hard to imagine that these innocent-looking clouds represent the outer edges of a massive monster that has terrorized hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders for the past five days straight. It’s also hard for me to imagine that these cloud formations over my backyard are part of a storm that reaches almost the entire length of my state.
In the coming days I’ll add links for making donations - the folder is just over there > with the links already in place for last month’s flood victims.
I should mention that the government did one Hell of a job preparing people and whole towns for this event. 50 Energex volunteers have been standing by south of Townsville, prepared to rush in as soon as the sky is clear to fix downed powerlines. Another hundred are on standby ready to fly in as they become needed.
4 Navy ships are on the water, prepared to act as command center to coordinate emergency and clean up services and outfitted with medical supplies and personnel – just in case.
400 Army troops are stationed in the areas and have already helped by doing the doorknock to urge people to take shelter rather than stay in their homes and to assist the transfer of our oldies from nursing homes in Yasi’s path.
The Air Force took charge of evacuating Cairns hospitals, transporting hundreds of patients to the safety of Brisbane hospitals. It will be their helicopters in charge of search and rescue.
Australian pollies all earned their pay this week – and most deserve bonus cheques on top, in my humble opinion. Qld Premier, Anna Bligh, with the hands-on assistance and full support of Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard showed the world how governing is meant to work: The needs of the citizens come first and the politics step out of the way so that can happen.
And to my readers and commenters, in case I’ve not said this lately, thank you for all your kind support – you are all so very much appreciated – OzMud
February 3, 2011
12:30am Thurs 3 Feb 2011
Grabbed some sleep and woke to the sound of rain on my window. Hubbs was sitting up in the lounge watching the updated wideos streaming live from Cairns. Only one problem – the storm has shifted and now the storm centre was crossing the shores some 125km south of Cairns – and of all the live reporters with satellite trucks and video feed equipment .
Yasi’s storm centre is actually touching down closer to where those people from Cairns had been evacuated ‘to’. Almost like the storm was chasing us rather than the other way around. How’s that for irony.
Here’s the latest from BOM (Australia’s Bureau Of Meteorology):
THE LARGE DESTRUCTIVE CORE OF CYCLONE YASI IS STARTING TO CROSS THE COAST BETWEEN INNISFAIL AND CARDWELL, WITH A DANGEROUS STORM TIDE AND BATTERING WAVES TO THE SOUTH OF THE CYCLONE CENTRE.
Tropical Cyclone Yasi, CATEGORY 5, will continue to move inland in a west-southwesterly direction towards the Georgetown area during the morning.
As the cyclone crosses the coast, an EXTREMELY DANGEROUS SEA LEVEL RISE [i.e. storm tide] will occur between Innisfail and Ayr, peaking between Mission Beach and Lucinda.
Higher than normal tides exceeding the high water mark, and damaging waves will continue between Cairns and Proserpine until at least the morning high tide.
VERY DESTRUCTIVE winds with gusts up to 290 km/h between Cairns and Ingham and the adjacent ranges will extend inland and gradually weaken.
The VERY DESTRUCTIVE CORE of the cyclone will take up to 4 hours to pass.
DESTRUCTIVE winds with gusts in excess of 125 km/h between Cape Tribulation and Ayr will spread inland overnight.
DAMAGING WINDS with gusts to 90 km/hr are occurring in remaining coastal areas between Cape Flattery and Proserpine, and are forecast to extend through to Mt Isa during Thursday.
Winds are forecast to gradually ease about the east coast during Thursday morning.
FLOODING RAINS will develop from Cooktown to Proserpine tonight and gradually extend inland.
BOM’s full accounting can be read here.
Will updatge as news becomes available – OzMud
February 2, 2011
In the waiting hours between preparation and Cyclone Yasi’s arrival in Queensland, Lincoln Archer at the Herald Sun has put together an eye-opening compilation of satellite images reflecting the true size of this category 5 cyclone. Have a look:
[Click image to enlarge]
Full article and more comparison photos here.
This image blew me away.
February 2, 2011
Posted by ozmud under 2011 February
| Tags: cairns
, category 5
, cyclone yasi
, massive evacuation
, port douglas
, qld storms
|  Comments
6am Wed 2 Feb 2011
Yasi upgraded to Category 5
February 02, 2011 6:44AM
TROPICAL cyclone Yasi has been upgraded to category 5 as it nears the north Queensland coast.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) in Brisbane said that at 5am AEDT Yasi was about 650 kilometres east-northeast of Cairns and 650 kilometres northeast of Townsville moving west southwest at 30km/h.
“The cyclone has now reached category five and will continue to move in a west-southwesterly direction during today,” the BoM said on its website this morning.
Read full update here.
Then there’s this from the Herald Sun:
Satellite image from Japan Meteorological Agency circa 10pm 2 Feb 2011 under headline:
Islands and towns evacuated as Cyclone Yasi threatens Queensland
John Ferguson, Wes Hosking
February 02, 2011 12:00AM
…Cairns was on edge last night as the 250km/h cyclone threatened to engulf the Cairns and Port Douglas region. The bureau is forecasting wind gusts of up to 295km/h at the centre of the storm.
…Residents from Port Douglas to Cairns CBD have been ordered to move to safety by 8am today under the unprecedented mandatory evacuation plan.
The area’s 190,000-plus population faces the dire threat of cyclonic winds up to 250km/h and a deadly “tsunami-like” storm surge of up to 7m.
Up to a metre of rain – 39 inches in the old measure - was forecast in some areas.
Cooktown to Townsville has been identified as the danger zone but the storm is expected to affect towns as far south as Mackay and as far west as Mount Isa.
Hundreds of people last night began fleeing up the Great Dividing Range to the Atherton Tablelands to escape the predicted storm surge as officials warned that Yasi was shaping as a terrifying 20-hour event with the tempest’s front up to 500km wide and its eye spanning 100km.
Six evacuation centres have been set up and troops deployed to provide rations, bedding, and emergency response.
…Queensland Bureau of Meteorology director Jim Davidson said that while the bureau had seen cyclones of similar intensity and others of similar size, it was rare to see them in combination.
“This is a double whammy in a sense,” he said.
Read full story update here:
============ UPDATE ============
[click image to enlarge]
Image erroneously named ‘Tuesday – should read ‘Wednesday’. New touchdown time prediction is set between 8:30pm and 10pm AEST. This new image shows the predicted course, including how far inland the cyclone’s outer storm is expected to extend.
February 1, 2011
1 February 2011 Tuesday 9pm
It was just announced on our local weather channel, currently dedicated to round-the-clock coverage of tracking Cyclone Yasi, that the Brisbane -Ipswich areas are officially clear of the cyclone. We’ll experience rain, wind and possibly hail, but nothing like the tree-shredding, roof-blowing weather they are going to deal with further north. I am so relieved.
By the way - some Australian reporters and politicians covering this event are pronouncing it ‘yah-zee and others ’yaht-zee’. Like the game.
News.com.au continues to provide timestamped updates on their website with all emergency instructions for those in Cyclone Yasi’s path and have even added a countdown clock. As of this posting, Yasi is scheduled to make landfall in 27 hours – or at aprox. 1am Thursday morning.
BOM has this to say and has upgraded their classification of the storm to read “Severe Tropical Cyclone Yasi”. BOM is Australias official centre of meterology. Here’s some of the new report:
YASI IS LARGE AND POWERFUL TROPICAL CYCLONE AND POSES A SERIOUS THREAT TO NORTH QUEENSLAND COMMUNITIES
The Cyclone will continue to intensify and move in a west-southwesterly direction overnight.
DAMAGING winds with gusts to 90 km/hr are expected to develop on the islands during Wednesday morning, then extend onto the coast during the day, and further inland across the northern tropical interior overnight.
Between Cooktown and Ingham these winds will become DESTRUCTIVE with gusts in excess of 125km/hr on Wednesday afternoon and VERY DESTRUCTIVE with gusts above 200 km/hr between Port Douglas and Cardwell during the evening as the cyclone approaches. These VERY DESTRUCTIVE winds will extend onto the coastal ranges including the Atherton Tablelands on Wednesday evening.
As the centre approaches and crosses the coast sea levels between Cairns and Townsville will rise significantly above the normal tide with damaging waves, strong currents and flooding of low lying areas in coastal parts.
Flooding rains will develop from Cooktown to Sarina during Wednesday afternoon and then extend inland overnight.
And remember, this is the forecast for ‘before’ the storm makes landfall.
Hubbs and I are out of immediate danger – but please keep the candles lit and prayers coming for all the thousands of Queenslanders further north who are only just beginning the reality of this nightmare.
February 1, 2011
At the Online version of the Herald Sun, the National news section has these tidbits on the menu:
This is a newspaper which primarily services Victoria so of course their focus would be on the Victorian tourists currently lodged at the islands to the east of Qld. Victoria has also suffered from early-on January floods but has had a chance to return to a bit of normalcy. You know, like keeping their vacation plans rather than cancelling…
Frasier Island is a popular tourist spot for many Australians. It has an old world feel amid modern conveniences and the swimming, scuba diving, fishing and hiking are par excellence. Roughly 2000 guests and staffers are being ushered off the island as fast as the government can organise it.
This particular news article addresses this rushed exodus with emphasis on the fact that the government is footing the bill for guests and stafers alike, and that buses on the mainland will be on hand to take people wherever it is they need to go – as long as it’s far, far away from Queensland.
The words in the article fade into the whitish background of the page however, once you open the link and are face to face with the villain of the piece – Cyclone Yasi. The lone visual pretty much puts everything else into perspective. That white outline in the bottom left corner represents Queensland at 668,204 sq kilometres:
I’ve marked on the map where hubbs and I live. We’ve always been blessed by not being in the direct path of a tropical storm, cyclone or flood. This time though there’s a cyclone the size of my whole state bearing down on us and it looks as if we’re all in this big boy’s path.
Unlike Anthony which was downgraded to a non-cyclone category as it touched land, Yasi is expected to gain momentum and strength. It is currently a category two and predicted to be a category four on touchdown.
This is less than 48 hours away. I’m off to help restock the emergency rations and supplies. And I wouldn’t mind if any of you out there wanted to light a candle or two.
Welcome to the wet season :)
========== UPDATE ==========
Latest satellite images (MTSAT Infrared Colorized Images) set into moving loops can be seen here. This screenshot is from 5pm Au-EST [click to enlarge]
Live video coverage with timestamped, posted updates can be found at News.com.au here: I can’t embed live coverage, but it’s worth the time to go look at all the different agencies that have weighed in and track the progression of the biggest evacuation event the country has ever tackled.
Above is a helicopter’s view of one portion of Whitsundays Hamilton Island. It’s in Yasi’s direct path and the entire island is being evacuated. Now imagine the huge portion of the mainland, directly behind Whitsundays and try to picture it as being evacuated as well.
Below is a satellite image offered from the Japan Meteorological Agency at 1pm today (it’s 5pm as I write this):
We’re told the eye of Cyclone Yasi is 100km across. People are being warned not to confuse being in the eye with being at the end. The storm isn’t actually over yet. It’s more like a football game’s halftime. Yasi is so big it will take an hour for the eye to pass and then it’s right back to game on.
Thanks to all for the lit candles, good energies, hugs and prayers- keep ‘em coming!
February 1, 2011
…and so it is with eyes wide open I take a deep breath, muster courage and step boldly into the No-Palin Zone. For the next 28 days this post will not acknowledge a single tweet, FB rant, news retort or remark of any sort regarding Madame Sarah Palin.
It should be an interesting experiment in self-control. Especially with all the gossip on the horizon. Nonetheless, I made a promise and truly believe that not blowing smoke up her skirt for a month is a step in the right direction toward this woman-powered-by-hot-air’s permanent deflation.
When my nephew was three years old and going through a phase of monumental tantrum-throwing, his GP advised his mother and me to stop trying to find ways to quiet him down. He told us to literally walk away from him instead and act as if he wasn’t even in the room. After a fashion, it actually worked.
If you think about it, nothing else has worked for those of us who have been battling Sarah’s insanity since August of 2008. Maybe a little child psychology is what was meant to be used on her daily, relentless immature temper tantrums in the first place