Hello? Is there anybody out there?

Hi Frog Lovers. It’s been (counts the months/years on her fingers) quite some time since I last wrote here. I’m going to be here more often in the near future, I promise! I have loads to tell you.

Alcoholic beverages may be required. Yes for you too.

Five Frogs Blog

Do you have any requests? Any types of animals you’d like me to write about? If so, let me know in the comments.

In the meantime, here are a few of the frog’s best bits since I started writing here on the lily pad. I hope you enjoy them.

My Top Ten dumb-arse moments of all time (from August 2012)

Would you change your sex, if you could never change back again? (from May 2013)

Conversations with my brain: And then my Basal Ganglia went on strike (from March 2013)

Conversations with my brain: Tarsiers on crack (from November 2012)

And finally, we discover that the real reason women drink at the races is not because they’re keenly aware that they’re standing ankle-deep in mud while freezing in expensive-but-now-rain-soaked cocktail dresses in order to take part in an outdated social ritual based on animal cruelty. It’s to dull the pain of being slowly devoured by their ridiculously impractical head-wear. A revelation that will change human history (AKA you and your spermatophores are going home alone) (from August 2012)

I’m back, baby. Watch this space.

x

The day I saw the Orion Nebula

The Mount Burnett Observatory 45cm monster

The Mount Burnett Observatory’s 45cm monster

Hello lovely readers. I hope you survived the festive season and are tackling 2015 with gusto, alcohol and some laughs.

Those of you who’ve been visiting the Lily Pad for a while know that I love nature and science. Yes I do love things other than cats, quiet, you! In fact there’s a DOG in this post, so there.

If you’re new to the Lily Pad, you’ll find lots of deranged, sweary ramblings about animals and the natural world in general on this site. If you’re not interested in any of these things, ABORT ABORT GET OUT NOW.

I’m a big nerd and I never let my lack of science aptitude outweigh my passion, so despite having almost zero astronomical experience, I was thrilled last week when I spotted a tweet from the lovely Upulie promoting the Mount Burnett Observatory’s annual open day. The Mount Burnett Observatory is, in their own words, “An astronomical society based at Mount Burnett Observatory, in the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne. The Observatory was originally built in 1972 by Monash University. In 2011 the site was formally taken over by our organisation and it now has a new life as a community observatory.”

The community aspect of this organisation was soon very obvious. Upulie, The Child, and I rocked up late in the afternoon, hoping to catch a dome talk, the BBQ and then the oh-so-precious night-time stargazing. We weren’t disappointed. The team at the MBO are friendly and enthusiastic and we were soon up in the dome being blown away by the incredibly detailed knowledge of the telescope’s curator, Ken, ably assisted by Barry Cleland, the Observatory’s Librarian. Together they explained the history of the huge monster that was later going to help us peer out into the universe, and were incredibly generous with their expertise and knowledge.

We were encouraged to take a photo down the barrel of the telescope…

Astronomical selfies FTW

Astronomical selfies FTW

… and we even got to wind the dome – outstanding!

Upulie winding the dome. SO GREAT.

Upulie winding the dome. I’m winding a freaking astronomy dome, kids!

We saw the Sun through a solar telescope. OMFG. I SAW SUN SPOTS, PEOPLE! Mind. Blown. But wait, there was more.

After a very friendly BBQ, a paper plane competition (thanks for helping The Child out, Ken, your plane design is now enshrined as the ultimate in our house), and a visit from Dodge, the neighbourhood dog, we enjoyed an entertaining presentation from Perry Vlahos, the Observatory’s Media Liaison, on what we could expect in the skies later that night.

As the sun went down, a variety of other freestanding telescopes appeared and we saw the crescent Moon, and Venus. These words really don’t convey how exciting this all was. I was pretty content by then (SUN SPOTS, PEOPLE! VENUS, FFS!) but there was still some night-time viewing through the big telescope to be done.

Back up in the dome, we saw the moon again. After a bit of negotiation (thanks again, Ken), as the night became darker, I had one of the most thrilling experiences of my life. Looking up in the dark, through the dome aperture, they started to re-position the telescope and swing the dome around so we could view the Orion Nebula. It’s hard to explain why this had such a huge impact on me. As the aperture moved, suddenly different stars were coming into view and I felt an intense connection to this as ACTUAL SCIENCE rather than a tourism experience. No amount of watching The Universe compares to being in a working telescope dome.

Ken did his magic, and in a flash we were looking at the Orion Nebula. Holy crap. An actual piece of deep space, or “deep sky”. There were the four newborn stars at the centre of the nebula, with the swirling mass of gas and dust. And I was looking at them, with my own eyes.

Very, very late in the night, we were ridiculously privileged to see Jupiter, along with three of its moons in transit – Io, Europa, and Callisto. We could even see some of the bands of different coloured gases streaking across the surface. I don’t think I’ve ever exclaimed “Oh Wow!” so many times in one day.

We became members on the spot and I’m looking forward to more adventures and getting to know the MBO team better. My heartfelt thanks to them for making the event so enjoyable.

As we walked to the car, we gazed up at the edge of the Milky Way, so depressingly invisible from my back yard, and marveled.

The Moon. The Sun. Venus. Orion. Jupiter.

What a brilliant day, what a stunning sky.

I can’t wait to go back.

You can see the Mount Burnett Observatory’s website here, Facebook here, and Twitter here. I recommend you take a look.

Addendum: We also saw two satellites but I forgot because JUPITER and ORION and SUNSPOTS and TIRED. Sorry.

Have you ever been in an astronomical observatory?

 

Have a very Merry Frogmas

grumpy_frog Xmas

Hello my darlings. I know I’ve neglected you terribly lately but I’d still like to wish you all a wonderful Christmas, and a safe and happy 2015. Be kind to each other.

See you in the Gnu Ear.

Love,

The Frog

xxxx

Catapalusa the Second

Jones thinks the sequel is not a patch on the original

Jones thinks the sequel isn’t a patch on the original

Hi Frog Lovers. Back in May I had a one-blog-cats-on-the-internet-mega-festival and it was so successful* I thought I’d hold another one. So I started to write (I use that term very loosely) Catapalusa the Second – now with extra Prairie Dog.

Then Jane from The King’s Tribune published this blog post about how her little Italian Greyhound, Milton, almost died last night. I watched the drama unfold on Twitter and I’ve never wanted to own a 25kg dog so much in all my life (Milton needed a blood transfusion from a dog at least that big).

Milton pulled through, thanks to Jane’s dedication and another amazing example of the great good that can come from social media. However, Jane is now facing some hefty vet bills and more to come.

So, now I hope that all you animal lovers out there will donate to Jane’s fund to help pay for Milton’s vet bills.

If you can, please help.

Here is Catapalusa the Second to help you get in the mood.

No this isn’t Milton but it IS an Italian Greyhound smooching a cat. I’m sure Milton would if he had access to an obliging feline.

Cat perch. I want one. My neck muscles could do with a workout.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ExZ0i04pSeY

Cats are so demanding (part 2)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIjauUB1r5M

Damnit. Now I want a baby prairie dog.

So. Take pity on a sick frog and send me your tired, your weary, but most of all your favourite animal videos. And help Milton too. Please.

* It was not at all successful but I liked the videos so whatever.

 

Winter is coming but the cold never bothered me anyway – Game of Thrones Giveaway Winner Announced

ERMAHGERD! Is the pigeon not cooked, Gary?!{image}

ERMAHGERD! That pigeon is raw, Gary! {image}

I’d always suspected you were all in equal parts twisted and hilarious.

Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been running a great competition to give away a box set of Game of Thrones books by George R R Martin, thanks to Bookworld. To win, all you had to do was suggest the weirdest predictions for Season 5 of the television series.

I set you quite a challenge but SEVEN HELLS you all stepped up and went beyond the call of duty. I’ve had a very difficult time choosing between them all. Thank you (I think) so much for dropping by and allowing me a quick peek inside your truly beautiful and crazy heads.

Before I announce the winner, I’d like to share some of the themes that surfaced.

Seems like you’re very interested in making GoT a musical, possibly cabaret, or perhaps a Disney movie.

Yes I know winter is coming but the cold never bothered me anyway.

Many of you are obsessed with Jon Snow and if you can’t have him, you want the Mother of Dragons to.

Several of you wanted to see a mash-up of Harry Potter and GoT which I think someone really should get on to.

I recommend that you go look at all the comments because every one is brilliant, but here are some of my favourites:

  1. “Jon becomes head of the Night’s Watch and his first decree as commander is that black is sooooo last year, so he orders new pink uniforms for everyone, with a matching tiara for himself.” – Mitchell Osmond
  2. “All the boy actors get together to do a Broadway number with high kicking, top hats and tails while the girls perform synchronise swim routines, always smiling in the swamp. While this is happening the dragon creature sings “Puff the magic dragon” while the little dwarf guy paints his nails.” – Mark Downey
  3. “Bran takes over Hodor’s mind again and gets stuck. Unable to transfer back to his own body he begins his new life as Whoredor, working long nights at Littlefinger’s brothel until he catches the eye of Loras Tyrell.” – Alesha Martyn
  4. “We watch a “White Wedding” episode; Billy Idol makes a cameo” – Ed
  5. “Varys and Tyrion sail to Mereen and Varys hangs out with Grey Worm and share gelding stories. Tyrion realises he’s actually a Replicant and only has six hours to live.” – JuzzyTribune
  6. “It’s revealed Joffrey was actually killed by raw pigeon meat leaving Masterchef judges aghast.” – Joe Crisafulli
  7. “Danaerys finally discovers that kittens are a lot easier to manage than dragons, and changes her title to ‘Mother of Kittehs’. The people of Mereen are understandably confused by this, but are on the whole grateful that they’ll escape being turned into crispy critters. Drogon, however, is not impressed at all, and launches a campaign against his former mistress to win back her love. His idea of ‘love tokens’, though, is somewhat bloodthirsty – and there’s only so much well-done goat that one woman can eat.” – The Conscience Vote

The competition was fierce and I whittled it down to two very, very good contenders. One deserved to win for sheer oddness, the other on epic punnage and the sheer volume of their predictions. I wish I had two sets of books to give away!

In second place, winning a smug sense of accomplishment and a virtual pat on the back, is Andrew Mc, who gave us this punny prediction (and about 10 others – go check them all out):

“Rumours of Shae’s death have reached her father, Lord Butters, back in Lorath. With his mind churning, he immediately instructs one of his spies, Mar Jarine, to travel to King’s Landing to confirm or debunk the rumours. Mar Jarine wastes no time spreading himself around King’s Landing.”

Which leaves this winning prediction from Sue Knight, who wins the box set of books and membership to the smug I’VE READ THE BOOKS SO I KNOW WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN club:

“The Hound is sent to obedience school and after weeks of Walkies with the Walkers, he returns with a full poodle makeover.”

And now I want to see that in Season 5. Who do I need to talk to, to make that happen?

Congratulations, Sue, I will be in touch about delivering your books!

Thanks again for entering, lovely ones. If you didn’t win, fear not, you can still buy the set here. It’s going to be a long nine months until the next season, after all…

A Game of Thrones Giveaway!

PLEASE NOTE THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED.
HOWEVER YOU’RE WELCOME TO KEEP COMMENTING WITH YOUR PREDICTIONS (you beautiful, crazy freaks)

Hi my darlings. Did you watch the last episode of Game of Thrones Season 4 this week?

ER. MER. GHERD. Happy Fathers Day!

If you haven’t, then back away slowly and only return once you have; spoilers, sweetie.

I’ve read the books, and I had concerns about Season 4, but now I can’t wait to see how they deal with everything in Season 5. Are you a member of the smug I’VE READ THE BOOKS SO I KNOW WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN club yet? No? Then I have a brilliant competition for you.

The Frog has partnered with Bookworld to give away a box set of all seven of the Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire) books by George R R Martin. You can see the set here – RRP is $99.99 so this is a brilliant chance to get all those dragons, Brothers of the Night’s Watch, wenches, Unsullied, incest, weddings and murders, for free. And murders at weddings. And the occasional murder.

Did I mention there might be some murder?

All you have to do is leave a comment below*, giving me your wildest, craziest, silliest predictions for what we’ll see in Season 5. Entries will be open from publication of this post until Friday 4 July. The Frog (that’s me) will choose the funniest, most outrageous theory and that person will win the books.

Easy.

I already own the books (did I mention the I’VE READ THE BOOKS SO I KNOW WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN club?) but I do have some of my own Season 5 theories, based on how much the series has diverged from the books already. My theories** are:

  • Arya and the Hound (who miraculously recovers from his injuries) get married. No guesses about who dies at THAT wedding.
  • Ramsay Snow/Bolton marries Theon. It’s about time Westeros got into the marriage equality thing.
  • The Mountain won’t be mount’en anyone in the future (sorry).
  • Sansa will make Robin fly (oh god please yes make that little creep FLY mummy).
  • Fighters will learn to wear fricken helmets.
  • Jon Snow will finally know something***.

So put your thinking caps on, and leave a comment below. Hop to it. Winter is coming.

What are your wildest, craziest, silliest predictions for what we’ll see in Season 5?

* You must be an Australian resident to enter. Multiple entries are OK.

** These are not theories. They are wild conjecture based on my fetid imagination and warped sense of humour.

*** Actually I think that one’s  too unlikely even for my imagination. As if.

Catapalusa

Jones. On the internet.

Jones. On the internet.


Hi Frog-Lovers. Yes, again, this is a post-that-is-not-a-post. Things are crazy here at the Lily Pad, between work and studying my coaching qualification, writing has taken a back seat, from where it’s constantly asking “Are we there yet?”, kicking the back of my seat and throwing things at my head. Writing is a bit of a bastard, really.

In lieu of a real post, then, here are some cats. Lots and lots of cats. Oh and David Tennant. Enjoy!

I believe I cat fly…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UssVI-tYIrg

A cat. Holding a human’s hand. Yes.

Why the hell would you NOT want to watch cat videos? Oh and David Tennant.

Send me the links to your favourite cat videos. Please!

I’m linking up again with Laugh Link. Join in, add your link, or just have a browse and a laugh.
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The Laugh Link crew are:


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26 Years and Counting
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Another one bites the perch

Hi everyone. I’ve been very busy this week with work and study so this is another post that’s not a post.

Instead, I leave you with this wonderful video that made me smile this week. Bet you can’t help but smile when you watch it.

What’s made you smile this week?

Linking up with Laugh Link again this week. Click, comment, laugh. Link up if you have a funny/weird/smiley post of your own. Doesn’t need to be a new one!

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Has Game of Thrones jumped, raped and murdered the shark?

ERMAHGERD! Season 4 sucks arse! {image}

ERMAHGERD! Season 4 sucks arse! {image}

SPOILERS, SWEETIE.

If you haven’t watched Season 4 Episode 4 of Game of Thrones, ABORT ABORT ABORT. Read no farther. Go water your garden, or have a nice cup of tea. Have a bit of a pillage and burn (but remember to pillage BEFORE you burn, yo). Or better still, go watch Season 4 Episode 4 and then come back and read this.

I love Game of Thrones with the irrational passion of a typical historical fantasy fan. If you know any of those rarefied creatures, then you know that’s a LOT of passion. I watch it diligently. I defend it publicly. I am a big, big fan.

The first three seasons of Game of Thrones (let’s call it GoT from now on, because I’m a lazy wench), was filled to the brim with a tasty ale of smart storytelling, (mostly) excellent acting, and a fair serving of delicious, provocative shocks, especially for someone like me, who hadn’t read the books*.

Now we come to the fourth season and this previously cold, frosty and enjoyable tankard of pillage, violence and death is starting to give me indigestion. I’m starting to greet each episode with equal measures of passion and unease.

Let’s put aside the differences between the books and the television series. It would be completely unreasonable to expect the producers to be able to take 96 bazillion pages of book, with 7,641 major characters, and 12 major locations, and convert all that to meaningful narrative for television, without cutting some pretty massive corners. (Let’s also put aside, for now, that the fourth season has cut so many corners that the show is in danger of becoming round.)

This season, I expected the usual serving of incest, violence, murder, sex, dragons and, of course, boobs. I haven’t been disappointed in that. There have been provocations aplenty, not to mention a lot of violence involving fowl. Between being sliced open in pies and eaten to violent extreme by The Hound, birds aren’t doing so well this season. Oh and Joffrey was murdered too.

AT LAST. What a turd.

I’m am disappointed, though. Where previous seasons have stalked slowly through the plot, sprinkling humour amongst the casually-examined graphic sex and violence, this season seems fractured and rushed. I’ve read the books and I’m still going WHO? WHAT? WHO WAS THAT? WHAT’S GOING ON?

Then there’s the laziness of the writing. Perhaps I wouldn’t be as disappointed, had the earlier writing been less clever. Scenes apropos of nothing that proceed with “Oh where could Bran be? Could he be at Craster’s Keep?”, then cut to Bran, 50 metres from Craster’s Keep, then cut to the head of the Night’s Watch conveniently telling them they could now have their trip to – you guessed it – Craster’s Keep, leave me rolling my eyes and wondering whether the work experience kid was the only person in the Writer’s Room that day.

As for the scenes inside Craster’s Keep, the less said the better. I couldn’t decide whether I needed to scrub my brain afterwards, or laugh my head off. Did the writers have a competition that week to see who could get the most c@nts into the script (and onto the screen)?

That scene was truly horrible, and brazenly calculated to titillate – revolting, even by GoT standards. The set-up is clear – we’re meant to hate these people with every fibre of our televisual beings, so we’ll cheer when Jon and his Black Brothers march in and eviscerate, behead and generally maul them all to death with monotonous predictability (and very sharp swords). Yawn.

It was lazy, lazy writing that left me feeling manipulated.

Bloody work experience kid**.

Where has the humour gone this season? In earlier seasons, the clever opportunities for a smile to balance out the horror were regular and plentiful. Littlefinger’s calm menace, always just one languidly arched eyebrow this side of a coma, has always been worth a giggle, but even the outrageous under-acting of the evil stud muffin could do nothing to save this episode.

So here I am, waiting for Episode 5. The books are far more graphic than the series, but until now I’ve been able to trust the show to be smart and provocative without being manipulative or crass. After Episode 4, I don’t trust it anymore. I don’t trust them to slow down and move through the storylines in the necessary depth to do them justice. I don’t trust them not to present another episode like Oathkeeper (or as I’ve come to call it, Audience-Breaker).

I love this show. I don’t want it to turn to shit, but if it continues like this, I won’t be wondering which Stark will be the next to get it in the neck, or whether Arya will end up on the throne of Westeros.

I’ll be wishing winter would hurry the fuck up.

* I have now

** Who is clearly a 14 year old boy.

Do you think Game of Thrones Season 4 has gone to the dogs?

I’m linking up with Laugh Link again this week. If you fancy a giggle, check out these other funny posts, and link up if you like – new or old posts, as long as they’re funny, weird or kooky!

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Be glad you’re not a male mantis

Puppy-dog eyes  Image

Puppy-dog eyes and alien-everything-else
Image

Hi Frog-Lovers – I hope you enjoyed/survived Easter, school holidays and other assorted horrors. We’re on the mend over here at the Lily Pad, after a neat circular exchange of bugs of various kinds (not the insect kind although perhaps a plague of locusts would be in-theme).

Now that I’ve said that, of course, we’ll be reporting the Black Death over here and bringing out our dead. Anyone got a wheelbarrow?

Awesome way to tempt the universe, Frog.

You may by now suspect that this post is another of those “this is a post that’s not a post” posts, and you’re probably not wrong.

In that spirit, I want to share another “The Truth About” video. This one features one of my favourite insects – the mantis. You may remember that I took one to McDonalds a while back. That one didn’t have a laser beam and as far as I know, it didn’t like live tennis porn.

I think the message from this video is “be glad you’re not a male mantis”. Trust me.

What’s your favourite insect?

I’m linking up with Laugh Link again this week. Go on. Click on it. I dare you!

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