Big storm coming…

28 01 2011

This is the satellite photo from 2:30 pm this afternoon (Jan 28, 2011), showing Cyclone Bianca. She turned the corner (NW Cape) dumping rain etc. on Onslow and Exmouth last night. Now she’s off the west coast. There’s a strong chance she will cross the coast on Sunday, with heavy rain and very strong winds, somewhere around Bunbury. We live somewhere near Bunbury… We’re on cyclone watch now.

The unusual thing is that tropical cyclones typically don’t come too far south at this time of the year — they tend to stay in the Kimberley or Pilbara, crossing the coast there then petering out into a tropical depression over the inland areas, dumping rain on places like Kalgoorlie and Esperance. Later in the season (about March/April) they tend to track further south, though they’re rarely a cyclone by the time they reach the Perth area. Exception: Cyclone Alby in (April?) 1978 that wrecked homes in a swathe from Bunbury to Albany.

Of course, this cyclone may peter out, or just fade off into the Indian Ocean. Or collect more power, water and force and come screaming down the coast…

It’s time to get the outdoor setting into the shed, find the battery-operated radio, etc.

Oh, for my non-Aussie friends, to give you some idea of the size of this thing, the section you can see on the map is most of Western Australia and Texas would fit into it about four or five times over (depending on who you ask)!

Update: Satellite image from 3:30 am 29 Jan, 2011. That area of pink/red north of Perth is about to hit us now — 6:15 am. Sky has gone black, rain hasn’t started yet, but imminent. Thunder rolling… Oops. Rain just started. Very heavy rain — can’t see the estuary or the sand dunes in the distance as we normally can. And did I mention it’s hot? 28C in the house at 6:00 am.

Update 7:15 am 30 January 2011: Well, it looks like all we’ll get is some strong winds and some rain, thank goodness. The 5:30 am satellite image (below) shows that the main part of the cyclone has weakened considerably, so if/when it does hit the coast, it will bring rain and some winds. We’ve had very little of both so far, though areas to the north of Perth (Geraldton) and to the east of Perth (Northam, York) copped a fierce battering in that storm you can see in yesterdays’ photo — the big white blob with red and blue blotches between Perth and Geraldton. That one missed us totally and went inland following the other red blotchy bits. There are still plenty of warnings out for coastal areas though, as along with the wind and rain, there are also some pretty high tides.


See also:

Cockroach updates

27 01 2011

I just realised that I haven’t written a few updates about ‘my’ cockroach that’s now living with one of the entomologists from the Australian Museum (do a search on this blog for ‘cockroach’ to see my earlier posts — or just click this link). The quoted bits are from his emails to me advising me of the progress of my cockroach.

April 2010:

At least one of the oothecae ‘your’ female produced did hatch – the young were a pale grey all over – I only found 5 but then they all promptly disappeared into the leaf-litter and in the few rudimentary searches I’ve made I haven’t seen them again. This may mean nothing as their mother can remain hidden and unseen for a few weeks until I get worried and start looking for her – whereupon she is found hale and hearty. The species seems to be very good at avoiding detection and the smaller ones due to their size even more so.

The ‘related’ species they are in with – which seems to be not that closely related based on behaviour – is far more obvious and diurnal and so far NONE of their eggs have hatched. The cockroach expert hasn’t been down to Sydney to have a look at all the bodies of yours and various others – for a while yet so I have nothing to report on that other than it seem to check out now pretty well with Polyzosteria cuprea but the expert on the group will have to let us know if this is indeed correct and or if the locality is a new record for the species or not. Either way they are very useful specimens for us of a species we had very few specimens of before.

8 October 2010:

… your original female cockroach has just emerged from her winters sleep and seems as healthy as ever. I haven’t seen any babies as yet but then considering how well she can hide amongst the leaf litter in the cage there is still hope that they made it through to winter as well.

25 October 2010:

Just thought you’d like to know I saw your cockroach again yesterday and she was carrying yet another ootheca. I have now caught her out of the main cage and put her in a smaller one where I can better track the progress of the eggs. Anyway clearly P. cuprea is a very hardy long lived species! They are also very good at escaping detection – I still haven’t noticed any babies but can’t discount them as the original female was so good at hiding that several times I assumed she was dead and started looking for her body only to find her hale and hearty.

I replied, asking Martyn who the female had mated with! His reply:

Well that’s where it gets tricky. Most insects mate only once and store the sperm for the reproductive life of the female (this can be years). Some long lived species mate several times over a long lifetime, and some, like certain beetles and certain cockroaches can mate with multiple partners and the eggs are either fertilised with a mix of sperm OR the next eggs laid get fertilised by the last male to mate with her – in the latter case the earlier sperm are still viable but must now ‘wait their turn’.

Needless to say this is what I am hoping is the case here as the other species in there with her – although of the same genus – is of a different sub-set of that genus without the speckled legs. It is unlikely to be viable as a cross as a result OR maybe she’s laying blanks like a chicken does. The purpose of this segregation now is to see if the eggs hatch and what they look like.

4 November 2010:

Just thought you’d like to know that the last years babies are starting to appear now in the cage. All look like perfectly normal P. cuprea but all I have seen so far (about 3 ranging from half grown to adult) seem to be females so it might be option 3 and the result of parthenogenesis or it might be that this species throws more female offspring than males. Either way it is good news and the result is a success so far. If the colony can continue from here will be the next milestone.

More updates as they come to hand…

August 2014: The final chapter

Well hung!

27 01 2011

One of my work colleagues loved one of my fabric art pieces so much she got her husband to buy it for her for Christmas! She’s now had it framed and it’s hanging on the wall in her home.

She has a doctorate in marine ecology, so the undersea theme was a good match.

Thanks for sending me the photo showing it in its new home, Steph!

Etsy Treasuries #51 to 65

26 01 2011

It doesn’t seem that long ago when I posted the last set of Etsy Treasuries some of my stuff was featured in! Here it is, Australia Day (January 26), and I’ve got another 15 Treasuries to add — some of which are Australia Day Treasuries.

Click on a small image to show it full size.

2010 in review

2 01 2011

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 50,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 6 days for that many people to see it.


In 2010, there were 80 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 756 posts. There were 182 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 70mb. That’s about 4 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was August 3rd with 228 views. The most popular post that day was The *best* Blueberry Muffin recipe.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for blueberry muffin recipe, meshwork, blueberry muffin recipe frozen blueberries, blueberry muffins, and blueberry muffins recipe.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


The *best* Blueberry Muffin recipe July 2006


Fake names for documentation April 2007


IE min-height issue solved May 2007


Japanese Meshwork September 2008


Cleaning fusible glue off a Teflon coated iron July 2009
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