Monday, 26 May 2014

Research Giant Weta's they said. It'll be fun, they said.

For biology I'm currently doing a topic on (biological) evolution - it's pretty interesting. When you get to level 3 biology, suddenly the tables turn and everyone preaches that "if you do not understand evolution, you will never ever understand or get anywhere with, biology". So here I am, reading about biological evolution and finding a free KOBO eBook of Charles Darwin's - "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life."
     Charles Darwin was certainly recognised for his not so well written titles!

In reference to the title of this post, I was told to research the biological niche of the Tuatara and the Little Barrier Island Giant Weta, and compare and contrast the two. For those who are not so well informed, a biological niche is basically described as an "organism's 'way of life' " - how they live, where they live, how long they live, what they do to live, reproduce and survive in their habitat. Simple really. Except when you rely on Google and it comes up with nothing! Seriously, you try searching for the Giant Weta and see what you find that might describe its niche!
     This certainly caught my eye...
Creepy - no?

On the 40 hour famine. It was simple. Yeah, I think after skipping lunch and leading up to dinner I was seriously over it, seeing my family eat dinner (takeaways) wasn't that difficult. I just went for my shower and then ignored them eating the last of it. I was a little jealous, because it was something we haven't eaten in years. I had a good sniff of it, but it didn't make me feel hungry at all, it smelled yum, for sure, but not enough to make me hungry. Throughout that first day though, my head was kinda like, "umm, hey, you sure you haven't forgotten to do something? Like, eat perhaps?" But then dinner came and went and I was fine, skipping breakfast the second day in a row was a tad weird and the countdown was on til lunch and my goodness did it drag. Two hours to go...*half an hour later*, 1 hour 59 minutes to go...1 hour 58 minutes to go. I'm serious! I decided on pikelets for lunch which mum and I started making about 11:30, so I had to be ultra careful not to lick the mixer like I usually would whilst cooking. Then we couldn't even try the first, yummiest pikelets straight away. You know, the ones that are the best cos they've got the excess butter on them? Yeah...
     15 minutes to go and Mum covered up the clock on the oven. Cruel doesn't even begin to describe it! Five minutes left and I was counting down fully. One minute to go Mum buttered me a pikelet and 12 o'clock on the dot I devoured it. Lol. It was soooo good *sighs*.
     I was stoked, because my original goal was to raise $50, but with mum posting updates on Facebook and her friends sharing it around, I raised $101! So I'm really happy. I prefer to keep my goal low in money situations, so then I'm more likely to raise and exceed that goal. I know a few people who had high goals, and by the look of their online sponsoring they raised very little in comparison. Not that that matters, because every dollar counts, but if it were me I'd be gutted not to have reached my goal. It seems that in online donations, the 40 hour famine raised just short of $200,000. Hopefully that money goes a long way!

Friday night my car was picked up when they went to get dinner, however when my brother drove it home there were issues. Battery light coming on, other lights coming on and the gear flicking was 10 times worse than it usually is. So today I dropped it back in again to be sorted and I flat out refuse to pay for any costs this time round. It may not be the guys fault, we don't know, but something is wrong, so hopefully it is fixed today without a cost. Fingers crossed.
     So far I'm having to pay just over $600 for last weeks repairs which included the new battery, the new starter motor and a new ignition - as you need to replace it when you replace the starter motor for warranty of the part. I said that sooner or later, my car will be brand blimmen new! It's a cool little car, and seems to only have issues every few years. I'm not inclined to sell it when I'm soon to go to uni - what would be the use? Like I said, it's a cool little car, I like it and I know it.
     It just happens to cost a lot when it breaks down...What can you expect of a car its age though?

Just a few more days until HM Rage. I'm really looking forward to it, having heard about my friends going to it year after year and never being able to go myself. It's also coming up to National Gypsy Day (some of you will get it lol) and I'm aware of us having lived in our house again for nearly a full year! Even though it's frustrating because the section is small and there is no shed etc etc, I love this place.
     Dad is determined to sell it, but just like the last people who used to live here and own this place, we are connected to it. It would be heartbreaking to sell it, which makes this one year anniversary of being back here all the more special (I just won't be here to celebrate it...) It's also the companies' 1st birthday in June - I really hope we can sort something out and go out for a nice dinner to celebrate our success. Keeping my toes and fingers crossed for that family occasion! :)

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Soon: It Will Begin

For me, the 40 hour famine begins in two hours time...I'm not very impressed that there are two packets of chocolate biscuits within these walls begging to be eaten. If they're still there after 8 o'clock tonight...and they're eaten in front of me..Oh how cruel would it be! :O

Anywho so I'm going without food and internet until Saturday lunch time, my goal was $50 and thanks to four generous sponsors I've raised $60. I'm hoping to still raise more money for Malawi, hoping for $100, so we'll see what happens! I'm excited now that it's finally here and happening :D
But I'm glad I'm going without internet too, as I can see myself updating my blog every hour...hour 1, I'm coping all right. Hour 20, I've got a little headache, but I seem to be keeping myself occupied so I'm not doing too badly. Hour 35. Omgosh, I'm famished. People keep eating in front of me. I feel like ripping the food from their hands and devouring it myself....Hour 39, oh wow, one hour to go...I think I might die of starvation....HOUR 40!! My goodness! I thought this day would never come! *stuffs herself until she's sick* maybe that won't happen. But it's better to be without the internet so I don't keep people up to date lol

I got an email from my statistics teacher today, asking me whether I'd do any externals so I could go for a course endorsement? This had me wondering a little, does this mean my report for the internal I did was higher than achieved? No, surely not? "Hi, did you receive the assessment I sent in?" - "Yes, and I awarded you excellence"


So stoked right now, I seriously can't believe it! First credits for this year. In maths. Excellence...omgosh...

With that excellence under my belt and my excellence in bio TMA the other day, my enthusiasm has burst forth and I really want to catch up and do well. Bring on tomorrow, starvation and school work...unfortunately for all my subjects there are a lot of times I need to use the internet, which won't bode well for me...Ok, bring on Monday!

Today I started work at the usual place at 6am. Dad had to drop me off there and at youth group last night because my car has happened to brake down. Convenient aye? The battery died and it seems it took the starter motor down with it. Leaving it to be towed into the auto electricians to be fixed up. I'm imagining a $500 bill.
Anywho, so today at work I had to go and help with milking and drafting out the 140 cows, who calved this autumn, from the main mob. I stayed at the owners house for breakfast (bacon and eggs :D) and then afterward we had the cows to sort. Since they've calved, they need to be mated and for that they needed to have their tails painted and stickers stuck to just above the tails. We wouldn't usually use the stickers, but some farmers do so it's more obvious when the cow is on heat. But yeah, it was a glorious job and it took us three straight hours to do it, but we had a good system.
I would use a brush to remove loose hair from where the sticker was going, then the other person placed the sticker and considered whether the cow needed an injection, then I would circle back around and paint the tails. It took forever, but we got it done eventually, and I'll get about $90 from doing it all - a good days work!

HM Rage is in about a weeks time. I really really hope heaps of people go and we can scavenge a bus and bus driver from somewhere. Driving in separate cars to Matamata will be OK, but driving together in a bus would be so much more fun! I did my application form last night, so it makes it all the more real :)

Anyway, nothing new to post. Hope my friend Xj will have a good birthday on Saturday and everyone else has fun doing the famine!!

Monday, 19 May 2014

It's cold o.O

I could not resist!

Is it a bad thing that I've no idea how to do algebra? Whatever I did learn of it a couple years ago has completely slipped my mind! Hehe, lucky it appears that you don't need it in life anyway! :D

It's been a good sort of week. Wednesday, myself and two others were on the Scholarship Biology tutorial - there wasn't really that much to it. It was more of an introduction to it, showing us what we should have done at level 2 and what we'd definitely need to do this year to have a possible chance at understanding the exam. It turns out that I haven't done a couple of standards at L2 that I should've done, however this is easily fixed as the teacher showed us how to access the level 2 work through the level 3 program (Why don't they do this for chemistry as well?!?!)
     She also suggested a few extra resources we'd find helpful. Mastering Biology is the first, and I definitely won't be using it. It's an online course that you do, however it costs about $200 to pay for the access code into the course and the text book. Another idea was to subscribe to an American science magazine which has all the latest research etc each week. The other option was to access and read a "Campbell and Reece" BIOLOGY book.
I think there are about nine or 10 editions of this book and it just so happens that I have the fourth edition on hand! It doesn't matter what edition you have, because the backbone of the information is the same and the research is just a little older. I was stoked! I looked on Amazon, and the most recent version is worth just under $200 new - not surprising for a hardback textbook designed for university students - it's about 8cm thick....So going back about five years ago when I was intending on vet science as a career, we found this in a second hand book shop and bought it for just $30! It's been sitting on my bookcase collecting dust all these years and I've only read a small portion of it :) Mum went hunting on Trade Me and found more of these books, particularly an 8th edition hardback that had just one dollar on it o.O Mum had a bit of a bidding war and bought it for a massive $5! Wow, I don't think the owner of this book realises what they missed out on...but I certainly wasn't going to alert them to it! Hopefully it'll arrive in the mail this week and I can see the difference between the editions. They'll be great to take to uni next year too. I can't believe my luck.

Doing the scholarship shouldn't be too hard if I put my mind to it, getting an excellence in my last test certainly gave me a boost of enthusiasm. It just means I really should do all three externals, and three internals (six out of the seven available standards), just to learn the information I will need for schol. And also go back on last years standards I didn't do and at least read up on the material. Which just leaves the two text books as added resources.

Last Friday was good because I finally finished my first statistics assessment - something I've been putting off. Thursday and Friday, I put myself into gear and just got straight into it, writing out the report wasn't too hard and I kept getting more ideas to put into it as's about five pages long lol. But there's lots of information in there, and I looked at the exemplars and a student got a merit with a one and a half page report with little information and no added extras. Fingers crossed my added extras do me well! That afternoon I went over to Sam's place to see her for a few hours, which was nice :)

Mum and I have been milking at our normal place since Saturday and we go through til Tuesday night. Then I'll go back on Thursday to help them put on mating stickers - something new for me. From now until mid July we're there every weekend, starting in June we're also going to be there every Wednesday and in July we've got about 8 days straight there. It also seems that we'll be needed to shift animals at their runoff in June.
     This is all because the owners go on their annual trip overseas for a month, so we'll be working with their daughter for all of June until she and her husband go on their holiday overseas when the owners come back. So I think Mum and I'll have to consider that place as our second home!
     Dad has started calling all of our clients to ask them about their winter spray plan, and when they'll want him to come in. It's actually quite funny listening to Dad on the phone like that - sort of like a telemarketer..."This is on special....This is best for this...I'm recommending for you a mixture of....And when do you want me there?" Although the difference is that he has English as a first language...

I've decided to do the forty hour famine early, starting Wednesday and ending Friday - rather than Fri-Sun as I'll be needed to work, so that means no internet for me after Wednesday night...gee, how am I to survive?! lol

My current issue I'm having at the moment is with my car - the battery is dying and I really really need to find a new one. My car is pretty specific when it comes to wanting parts, so it forms a lovely dent in my bank balance unfortunately. It's been pretty sluggish since about February, but only now as it gets colder it's starting to cause a problem, on Friday it took me four tries before it decided it'd let me go out, meaning Dad sent me on my way with his jumper leads for just in case and over the weekend he's been getting up at the crack of dawn with me to start my car. Surprisingly it is starting really well at 5 o'clock! The warrant is due mid June and I'm yet to find out whether windows are part of the inspection? The drivers door window motor has burnt out; another replacement part needed. But if I don't need it for the warrant then I just won't bother, so long as nobody accidentally opens that window...what goes down won't go up!! haha

Saturday afternoon our youth group had paintball. I can't believe I've lived here all these years and have never known a paintball existed here! Sadly, only 6 of us went, five teens and the leader, also only two girls, but it was still fun! It's a small section of trees with heaps of pellets and tractor tyres stacked up to hide behind. We played capture the flag three times and a free for all game at the end. I'm kinda brutal when it comes to paintball! I was the only one who had never played before so they probably weren't expecting that I'd hold down the trigger and free fire! I was continuously hitting the other team and took just one hit to my pinky in the first game. It split the skin and drew blood and stung a bit for a second there. I appreciate the fact I've still got a finger, as I can imagine a real bullet blowing it off....
All three games of capture the flag my team won. The third game a small wheel barrow tyre was hoisted by a pulley into a big central tree, acting as a second "flag" to get. I made it my goal to get there and pull it down while the two guys in my team fought for the flag. Away it came...however I wasn't expecting the thud as it crashed onto my head...ouchies. haha
     Free for all wasn't too fun. The other girl and her brother had to leave beforehand, leaving just the four of us to go for it. Being alone without a friend in a free firing war wasn't the best thing and I found myself getting blasted within minutes. That lot hurt, as one of the guys got me about five times - on the side of my waist and just below my ribs, sending me spinning around to cop one in the back and then as I put my gun in the air to show I'd been hit I got one square in the knee cap and one on the side of my shin. It hurt like heck! Another bullet must've hit my helmet as it exploded and sent paint flying onto my mouth - that stuff tastes gross by the way....

My back is killing me now, a few bruises have come up but I think I must've lifted a bucket of milk wrong at work and now I'm suffering from it. Probably because I have been lifting milk buckets up and over the yard fence (OSH would have a field-day) and then I've been helping Dad lift his spray boom and such today and yesterday. I guess it all adds up, silly silly.... It's crazy to think that since March I've been lifting and carrying milk buckets everywhere at work, then this weekend when there are just nine calves yet to wean and not much milk to lift at all....pathetic don't you think?!

Quite honestly though, I'd like to know who invited Jack Frost to come back? I'm living in my dressing gown and slippers!

Monday, 12 May 2014

40 Hour Famine

Nana should be just about home by now. She got here early afternoon on Friday and left about 9 o'clock this morning. Hopefully she's having a good drive - it was good to see her this weekend :) Saturday the three of us girls went into town and spent the day there, getting caught in endless bouts of rain that weren't meant to happen. Where do they teach weather forecasters? I'd like to say they need retraining.... I found the "outfit" I'll wear for the HM Rage themed BRIGHT AND TIGHT dinner; a bright yellow cardigan and a not very tight purple skirt. They go well together and I'll definitely wear them again, so well done me! I wasn't too keen on a brightly coloured second layer of skin - I don't think I'll stand out too much :)

My friend had her appendix out last weekend which means her plans for going to HM Rage and doing winter sports are completely out the window - talk about timing!!!! I think she was part of a touch team and netball team this winter, she'd normally do soccer, and she's not the sort of person who likes sitting around doing nothing. I can imagine her going nuts not being able to participate in things for the next five weeks!

I wouldn't usually use the word "bonkers" but that's the only word I find worth using when thinking about my current Biology test. Bonkers. Why do they have such out there questions, when finding the answer in the book is beyond impossible? My teachers have said to me to "just guess if you have to". However the probability of getting it right is probably 1% chance and 99% chance of making my teacher wonder what on Earth I'm on! It's going to take a little bit to work through this is the second and last book in that topic, but I'm thinking I won't be doing that external unless I get it all under whack....

Meanwhile, the 40 Hour Famine is coming up, and I'm doing it! It's my first time participating, and I'm going 40 hours without internet and food. Originally I figured I'd have a low fundraising goal of just $50, but I've made that already with Mum, Nana and a friend sponsoring me :) It's going to be interesting going without food for that long. I mean, there are times (more often than not...) where I skip lunch or breakfast. But never breakfast, lunch, dinner, breakfast, lunch. It's gonna be weird! Mum said that normally groups of friends do it together and away from home so you don't have to watch others eat. Although I know lots of people doing it, I don't think there is a planned "get together, suffer together" group going. So I'll have to just find a few really good books; My Sister's Keeper is ready and waiting on my Kobo, and hopefully everyone else won't have yummy meals, and chocolate sitting around (how cruel would that be?!) I will not break!
     It's always a little bit mystifying why it takes people to do certain things for fundraising to happen. Do the famine and go without for a set amount of hours and raise money to help the unfortunate and starving. Shave off your hair to raise money for cancer. I'm sure there are people who go blind during the Red Puppy Appeal. Of course there are others, like "buy a cupcake for SPCA" - why not do everything on four legs for  an amount of time instead? It's all one and the same isn't it?
     It really makes me wonder why it takes people to do something relative to the charity, before others will donate? Nobody wants to donate directly to the charity, but they're happy to support somebody who goes without food for 40 hours in the name of the starving? It's pretty darn crazy, no? Another example is people only donating after being a victim, like people donating to the local rescue helicopter only after it saved their life? One day everyone decides that everyone else will donate anyway, so why bother donating at all? Yet, tomorrow will come around and it'll make them wish they'd helped raise money for that helicopter to stay in the air. Everything is just so backwards.
     Yes, I'm one of those people who may buy a poppy, or daffodil, or a pink ribbon only if I feel like it. However Red Puppy Appeal I'll donate to if I ever see a fundraising stand - I'm picky and choosy. Others may only chuck a dollar or two in if there is a possibility of winning something or they get something beneficial out of it at the time. And there are those organisations where if you donate once, they'll guilt trip you into donating again and again and again until you feel you can't get out of it. But of course, people are happy to give money away to those who are physically demonstrating what is being supported - like going hungry or losing hair. It's sad.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Look UP

 If only the politicians and world leaders shared this view - the world may be a different place. The likes of this video is perhaps too little, too late. But it's true, and very clever.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

May the 4th be with you!!

Over the past couple days many things have come up that I've thought would be a good addition to my latest post. Each time I consider the wording, the possible title I could use to relate to the particular story and imagine my newest post getting longer and longer. Today, I've come up blank. It isn't often that a fog goes over my brain when I set in to write, but today it certainly has! I think it'll take me a while to come up everything I want to say.

However, today is Dad's birthday. Many times we joke about the fact he was born on May the 4th, and wonder about the chance of his parents possibly having named him the same name as a future Star Wars character - Luke, perhaps. I don't think Darth Vadar could've ever been a possibility! I think his day is going well - he's hasn't had to work, which surely must be a bonus.
     We had our traditional pancake stack for brunch, layered with lemon juice and icing sugar. Everyone who tries it, loves it. However it can be a bit sickening if you have too much. It's funny, because nobody I know has ever done pancakes the way we do. Everyone always gets one pancake at a time, and smothers it with yoghurt, cream, fruit and typical toppings like jam, marmite and nutella. Of course there has been another extreme, where at the Girls Rally I used to attend, pancakes were coated in chocolate of all kinds. M'n'M's melted from the heat and turned into a big, colourful, sloppy mess. Yes, lemon juice and icing sugar it'll always be!
     We all gave him cards, as per normal they were filled with smart comments. My brother played his usual trick and forgot to grab the envelope when his bought his card. This time around though, the only funny thing was that he bought the same card as he did a few years back - we all recognised it. At least he didn't top it off by accidentally writing "happy father's day" inside. Yes - it has been done before. You can trust my brother for the works when it comes to birthdays and Christmas.  Price tags being left on is the most common offense! :D
     Dad got a nice big snuggly dressing gown from me, I'm sure he'll use it as we come into winter. The second hobbit movie from my brother and a couple of nice beekeeping books from Mum. Yes - he's dangerously allergic to bees, having landed himself in hospital once before, and he wants to take up beekeeping. As if he isn't already busy enough, and he seemingly likes to live life on the edge...

I am shocked to say that I haven't gotten an ounce of school done these holidays as was intended. I did start my stats report early this week. But this time, instead of fully using Excel, my teacher wants me to use iNZight - a programe designed for data analysis. It's really easy to use, but there is no work involved at all. Just copy the data in, and use a snipping tool to copy specific graphs and figures into the report. I find it hard to read the data and understand it because I'm not actually "working" with it. Yes, it makes some good graphs, done in the flick of a mouse click, but it's the cheats way of doing it and I much prefer using Excel - even if it takes forever. At least that way I can fully understand what I'm reading. Unfortunately I'll have to get used to it for future reports, but right now I'm going to use a mixture of them both to get it all slowly done.
     My excuse for no school is that the whole first week was an utter shambles of work work work. Week two I spent a few hours in town. The actual "city" town an hours drive north - not town five minutes down the road. Mum and I spent the day there on Monday while her car had its annual service and warrant. It was torture walking around for hours on end, when we both hate shopping. It didn't help that we'd spent the weekend fencing with Dad, and one of my legs was killing me. Seriously - it was wrapped around my neck, absolutely choking me and....well you get the idea!
     Wednesday my brother and I were back there, as he had a doctors appointment. So we used our time wisely to buy Dad his birthday present and hunt around for something for Mothers Day. Success all around.
     I had been invited to a get together on Thursday at the local lake by a friend from down the road. He said to be there any time after ten, so I got there at eleven to find nobody was there. A couple thoughts flashed through my head:  has he cancelled and just hasn't bothered to tell me? Or even worse, was this some joke invitation to see if I'd fall for it? I squashed the latter, as that is a typical school girl thing to do and just plain cruel and instead turned around and drove home. Later on I went and helped Dad with some more fencing instead. As it turns out, the get together thing still happened, except that people turned up later for some reason. I think he was probably a bit annoyed at me for not coming, when I said I'd definitely be there. But it must've just been a bit of a miscommunication or something. He was apologetic when I told him I'd arrived to find no-one.
     Friday and Saturday were taken up by two milkings each day. So in between work I dug my nose into my book and finished Marley & Me in four days. It took me a while to get into it, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. Yes I had a bit of a cry at the end. Now I want to see the movie again.

I had to think though, while reading the book, how cool it would be to write a column in a newspaper and be so well known like the author John Grogan was. I know I would never get a job with my sad attempts in English writing essays and having done no form of media study whatsoever. But hey, I've always got little sparks of ideas in the back of my mind for "just in cases". There is also the thought of how great it'd be to spite my English teachers marks on my attempted writing from the last few years, prove to them that yes, I am a very capable writer. But perhaps I should stick to one thing at a time!

We got quite a shock on Thursday when we heard that a baby we knew was in Starship - on life support. She was the daughter of one of my sisters friends, from a fellow homeschooling family we've known for years. She passed away on Friday after her life support was turned off. She was just over a year old. Mum and I were horrified. We only met her for the first time over Easter, when my sister was here and her friend dropped in to visit. The baby came with her and she was so full of life, very happy, very active. Pretty darn cute too I might add. So it was sad to hear about the news. The death of a baby certainly isn't anything you want to happen. We see it on the news all the time, of a baby being injured and dying as a result. I'd never considered what it'd be like if we personally knew the family...

On a brighter note though, we've got a full day of fencing tomorrow. Mum and I are helping the guys out to try and get it finished, it's a big job that is taking forever because of the many hold ups. Fingers crossed we'll get it all done. After that I'm fully back into school, youth starts up on Wednesday (yay, so looking forward to seeing everyone again) and then my Nana is coming up for Mothers Day weekend. I'm super excited to see her!!