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standing ankle-deep in mud while freezing in expensive-but-now-rain-soaked cocktail dresses in order to take part in an outdated social ritual based on animal cruelty.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.


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.


The Frog


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.


Cats are so demanding (part 2)


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.



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…

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.

The Laugh Link crew are:


Have a Laugh on Me


Redcliffe Style


Melbourne Mum


Talking Frankly


26 Years and Counting

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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Be glad you’re not a male mantis

Puppy-dog eyes  Image

Puppy-dog eyes and alien-everything-else

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!



We’re going to need a bigger bird – welcome to Laugh Link!


I love nature. I have a thing for nature. No, not in the Cory Bernardi way. In a “wide eyed wonderment at the beauty and majesty of the natural world” way.

Which is a pity, because nature is a mental arsehole.

Take birds, for example.

Even the bird-lovers amongst us have probably been shat on by a bird at some point. Yeah, that’s pretty bad, but, fascinating as their toilet habits are, I want to talk about the propensity of our feathered friends to be utterly mental.

Let me tell you a story. A while back I was walking through the Melbourne central business district, minding my own business, as you do in a central business district, when I felt two little feet suddenly stand on my head. No clawing. No pecking. Just… standing. The creature attached to the claws just stood on my head for a few seconds, and then, as suddenly as it had arrived, it was gone. I looked around and there, standing on the footpath looking back at me, was a magpie lark.

Now, a magpie lark is not an aggressive bird. Mental, stupid and confused by life, but not aggressive.

Unlike real magpies, which are definitely all of the above. Here’s a magpie lark for your eyeball pleasure:

This was one of those miniature magpies they have on the emblem of South Australia. Imagine a normal, aggro, mental bastard magpie, and then wash it at the wrong temperature. You’d think throwing a bird in the wash with your undies wouldn’t improve its temperament, but apparently it does, because instead of making a magpie lark angry, shrinking them into magpie mini-me’s just makes them more mental.

A magpie lark, an otherwise typically functioning member of the Grallina genus, decided to stand on my head while I was walking down the street. Was it tired? Was it confused? Or was it just fucking with me? Did it land on my head with the intention of carrying me off to its nest for leisurely consumption later?

We’re going to need a bigger bird, Frank.

Let’s assume it was tired and see if this hypothesis (cough) flies. You’re a bird, flapping along above Spring Street.

You think “Wow, I’m really quite tired. Now, where can I perch for a moment to catch my breath? Looks like my options are the roof of that building (good, solid, safe, and stationary), or this tree (good, solid, safe, my natural habitat, stationary). Oh wait! There’s a small, dark brown, furry round thing, bobbing along at a brisk five kilometres an hour, weaving from side to side now and then to avoid other furry (and some non-furry) round things. Perfect!”

Is that what went through that mental bird’s mind before it landed on my head? If I fits, I sits?

We’ll never know.

What I do know is that after it flew off, I looked around at my fellow pedestrians for some support.

Did that really happen? Did a bird just fly down, perch on my head, and then, presumably after taking a quick breather and checking the time, fly off again?

I’ve never seen a group of people so intent on looking ahead and not meeting my eye, doing their best Sergeant Schultz impersonations.

Nope, we saw NOTHING. You’re on your own, mental-bird-attracting freak.

I can’t help thinking I heard that bastard mental bird laughing as I walked away.

Has nature ever been mental to you?

Welcome to the first Laugh Link post! Laugh Link is a linkup created by a group of bloggers to provide an outlet for humour writing. The Laugh Link Crew are:


Have a Laugh on Me


Redcliffe Style


Melbourne Mum


Talking Frankly


Gaynor Alder


26 Years and Counting

You’ll see this linkup move around the Laugh Link Crew’s blogs so please feel free to go visit them and explore these seriously funny gals. 
Now it’s your turn! Do you have a funny blog post you’d like to share? There’s no theme this week, so let your imagination go wild. The only requirement to link up? MAKE US CHUCKLE. 
That’s it.
Link away, and don’t forget to have a read of what other people link to – there’s going to be some damn funny stuff!

Steve the Working Urchin

Steve the Working Urchin

Steve the only Working Urchin on Twitter

Meet Steve. Steve is a sea urchin. He’s a WORKING sea urchin.


I met Steve when the lovely Lindsay Waldrop was curating RealScientists* on Twitter. She tweeted a photo of him, saying “This is Steve. He’s a working urchin.” 

Regular visitors to the Lily Pad will understand why I immediately took to Steve. He’s not just any old urchin. He’s a WORKING urchin. With a Twitter account.



Lindsay has kindly indulged my insanity allowed me some time with Steve to interview him about life in the tank, the universe, and how tasty white star fish are.

Hi Steve. How are you today?

Hi Frog. I am lonely because the caretaker has not been in to see me because of anchor ice (e.g. snow storm). It is very distressing, but I think I will survive another day.

Oh Steve you poor thing. I’m sure your caretaker will get back to you as soon as she can. I’ve never seen an urchin like you before (I’m a frog, not a fish, after all). Can you explain to us what kind of urchin you are?

I’m a very special creature. Christopher Mah, an echinoderm expert at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, identified me as a slate pencil urchin, Eucidaris tribuloides. His blog is here: http://echinoblog.blogspot.com/

A WORKING slate pencil urchin. Very cool. What’s your favourite thing to eat?

I very much enjoy munching on algae that grow in my tank. I have been also know to eat the caretaker’s sea squirts, and the small white starfish that steal attention from me on occasion. They are far less adorable than me.

I’ve heard some terrible things about starfish so I don’t blame you for eating them. So how did you end up in your tank?

I spent some time in a fish store before the caretaker brought me home in a bag of water. This was stressful, as I have decided I do not care for rides in the car. I like my new tank home much better than a bag of water.

What do you like most about being a working urchin?

I enjoy the plentiful supply of algae and visits by the caretaker and my undergrad friends.

Is there anything you don’t like about being a working urchin?

My hermit crab tank-mates. They are annoying and crawl all over me. I wish I could eat them, but they are too fast to catch.

So who’s your best friend?

I suppose the caretaker, but don’t tell her I said that. I like to keep some mystery in our relationship.

Your secret is safe with me. So, apart from being crawled on by cheeky hermit crabs, what’s the worst thing that’s every happened to you?

Once, there was a problem with a pump that cleans the tank. It pumped out half of my tank’s water before the caretaker realized what was happening! I hid under a rock until the caretaker found me and replaced the water. I am still quite traumatized by it.

That sounds awful. Let’s talk about something happier. What’s the best thing that’s ever happened to you while working as an urchin?

I caught and ate one of those annoying white starfish that steal attention from me. It was tasty.

I like to hear when those evil starfish get their comeuppance! I met you through your caretaker but I see you have your own Twitter account now. How are you enjoying Twitter?

I am enjoying the attention very much. As an adorable and superior being, I deserve attention.

Indeed you do! Speaking of attention, what did  a handsome urchin like you do for Valentine’s Day? Did you have a hot date?

I was alone because of the anchor ice, with only hermit crabs  and snails to keep me company. Over lunch, the snails and I had a very slow conversation about the hermit crabs. It wasn’t the hot date I was hoping for. I blame climate change.

Oh. Well that’s awkward. I’m sure you’ll have lots of admirers now you’re on Twitter. In one sentence, why do you think people should follow you on Twitter, Steve?


Thanks so much for chatting with me today Steve. The algae is in the post.

Any time, Frog. Tell your friends to follow me. THE ONLY WORKING URCHIN ON TWITTER. 

Steve sleep

Steve heading to bed for the day

*@realscientists  is an account curated by a different scientist each week and it’s awesome not only because I met Steve through it, but also because of the fascinating, educational and often surprising content. Get on it, Twitlings.

2014 – The Year of the Llama

Turns out llamas know more about bread than you think

Turns out llamas know more about bread than you think

Hi Frog-Lovers. I know, I know, I’ve been neglecting you. I’m still here, still very busy. A quick reminder that you can still Torture the Frog Here until the end of February. 

In the meantime, I have a great post for you from a good friend of mine. Meet Michael (AKA Wonder Llama), who blogs occasionally over at The Wonderings of Sir Wonder Llama

Here my favourite quadruped shares his theory on aging. Or baked goods. Or something. Enjoy!

When I started writing this, it was supposed to be a pre-Christmas blog post about the trauma of being ill-prepared for the inevitable last-minute shopping frenzy – despite Christmas decorations being in the stores since September.

Alas, the new year has been rung in, the crackers have, well, cracked, and 2014 is lying panting and heaving on the floor in front of me. Oh, and the icing on the cake being that I have returned to work.

Allow me to introduce myself. I am Michael, aka Wonder Llama. A currently thirty-something minion in the throes of a few inevitable and hopefully life-changing events.

Sadly, and by sadly I mean not so sadly, I was born in 1974. Those of you with an abacusesque mind will have put something and something together and worked out where my previous hinting of inevitability might be pointing. (Thank you for adding “abacusesque” to my vocabulary, Mike – Ed.)

May 2014.

As someone once said, it’s time.

I remember back in the 1980s thinking about the year 2000.

“Gee”, I’d think in my teen-minded voice, “in the year 2000 I’ll be 26!”.


That seems like a lifetime ago.

It probably is for someone who is fourteen I guess, but it’s long enough ago, and we all made such a fuss about the change of the millennium at the time, or at least the lead up to it, for it to be one of those ‘remember where you were when….’ moments.

But now it’s 2014 and I’m going to be 40 this year.


I don’t feel 40… I hope I don’t look it, although my ever-more-visible scalp may present a reasonable argument against my claim. On the inside I still feel the same as I did back in… well, 2000!

My back is a bit more achy, my eyes aren’t as good as they were and I know I shouldn’t be lifting rocks in the garden like I used to, but other than that…

But my life isn’t dominated by the fact that I only have five months of my 30s left. I have a bunch of ‘projects’ (that term annoys me cos it sounds wanky or like a school student) planned which I would like to achieve during 2014. Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t New Year’s resolutions, (although I have given up chocolate again), these are actual effort-induced achievements which I intend to see to completion this very year.

2014 – The year of the llama.

But having said all that, there is that unpleasant feeling in the back of my head that life is passing me by. I don’t mean I’m wasting it, I mean it is running out.

Think about when you buy a loaf of fresh bread. It smells good and tastes great.

The next day you eat a bit more, it’s still pretty ace as far as freshness and there’s lots left.

About half-way through, the bread is starting to be not as awesome as it was and what’s worse, you realise that despite only being half-way through, the slices that are left aren’t going to be as good as the first ones and by the end, they may possibly have a bit of mould on them and you’re not going to eat them.

Sounds a bit like life approaching 40. Half my loaf is left and those slices are littered with the memories of slightly better earlier ones. You know, the ones you ate without a sore back or with more hair, and quite frankly, I don’t even want to think about the slices at the end!

I guess the natural response is to spread on as much peanut butter as possible to the slices left. Well, it would have been until my gastric reflux and lack of gall bladder made peanut butter my kryptonite. My tasty, tasty kryptonite… It just needs some chocolate in order to make it even more delightful… and kryptonitey.


Best continue gnawing on this current piece of bread a little longer – it may be multigrain, it may be smothered in enough cholesterol-lowering margarine to line every vein in my body, but it’s still a slice in the first half of the loaf.

Where are you in your loaf of bread? Any slices going mouldy yet?

llama photo redacted

Earth-based Wonder Llama is a business drone with a postgraduate degree in Satellite Imagery and an opinion on everything. In his spare time he collects far too many Star Wars-related toys and has a rather nice wife and daughter. You can follow him on Twitter here.

Suddenly, there are deer in my bra

Oh deer

Oh deer

Hi Frog-Lovers. In case this is your first visit to the Lily Pad, between now and Christmas I’m hosting some wonderful and funny writers while I get some amphibious rest. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I do. Who knew so many of you were so hilarious!?

Today’s guest is my memoir mentor and writerly friend, the inimitable Helen Patrice. Here she shares a story of exotic locations, wild animals, and underwear.

So, FiveFrogs starts asking around her writing bloggy cronies for those of us who are known as Humour Writers. I’m apparently one of them. I gaily say that, sure, I can submit a blog post for promotion on her ‘Check out this funny writer person’ blog thing. I’m a funny person. I make people laugh. (Let’s not go into my dismal capital F fail in Hawaii to do stand-up. The non-appreciation from the back of the van could be heard for miles, echoing off Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa as we travelled the Saddle Road between them. Both Poliahu and Pele thought I sucked.)

I spend the afternoon lying in the sunshine, reading ‘Perfume’ by Patrick Suskind. Not exactly a rip-roaring laughter book. More a grim but witty novel set amongst the scents and odours of France. Pee-hew! I’m up to page 90 and there’s already been one scent-related murder, with more to come, I can tell.

My laptop has lazed at my side. Twice during the afternoon, PizzaBoy has hunkered down behind it, and in a mousy voice, said: “Use me for blogging”.

To which my response has been: “Fuck off, Canada! Don’t pressure me! I’m a delicate writer.”

I lay there, and wondered what to be funny about. I could riff on my trip to Japan and China. I could, but…. Ho hum, I am such the weary traveller that it’s all very ho-hum, and what can I say that someone like Bill Bryson hasn’t said better. Not that he’s ever had the problem of too many deer in his bra at Nara.

I suppose I should explain. The shrine at Nara has a park with many charming deer roaming about. The deer mob visitors to the shrine. Many of the pathside vendors sell deer biscuits. No, not biscuits made of deer. Wafery type biscuits that are good for the deer to eat.

I wanted a not-your-usual tourist pic. Never mind me feeding the deer. I wanted the deer to mob me and eat off my body.

I lay down on a path where deer were seated nearby in the shade. I covered my clothed(must emphasise this, CLOTHED) body with pieces of deer bickie. Nothing. The deer looked away. Fool woman lying on the cold ground, desecrating the Nara shrine with her foul white ways.

Two Asian tourists took my photo and sniggered. Walked away.

I had to gather up my deer biscuits as best I could, which wasn’t very, because they fall to bits as soon as touched, and skulk away. Meanwhile, the Asian tourists are being flocked upon by deer, and they don’t even have any biscuits.


A bit later, I try again. I sit down on a bench. I coax deer over with biscuits in hand. Then biscuits in lap. Then I lie down and put biscuits upon my person. The deer back away. Fine then, no prone deer mobbing. I sit up, and inspired, shove biscuits into my cleavage. Crumbs make a break for it, due south. They bypass my bra and somehow my singlet and top and end up in the knees of my leggings, where they itch like mo-fo’s. (I am up with hipster language like mo-fo, LOL, and er…other things)

Deer approach. One reaches into my cleavage, turns its head a bit sideways, and delicately selects a wafer of biscuit, leaving behind wet, sticky deer drool and a warm nose-imprint. Suddenly, there are deer in my bra. Many of them, and they all want the same biscuit. Easy guys, easy! There’s enough cleavage for all! Truly. I’m a 14DD, wearing a totally unsupportive Aah-Bra.
I get my photos. The Asian tourists get photos. Possibly the deer do, too.

I am content. I have my photo. Enough now, deer. But the deer are relentless. They can smell the crumbs festooning me. One tries to get up under my skirt to get at the crumbs around my knees. I am the Tippi Hedren of deer.

“Nature! It’s all over me! Get it off!” I say to PizzaBoy, quoting ‘Madagascar’.

I stand up. The deer butt me gently under the boobs. I have to retire to a toilet cubicle to de-smear, de-deer, and de-crumb myself. I never do get those leggings completely biscuit-free. They get washed twice more during the trip. I am sure I can still feel crumbs in them.

I sit back and look at this blog entry. Is it funny? I can’t tell. I feel morose. There is nothing amusing any more. Nothing. The pup loathes me – he is sleeping with his back to me. Looking at that sunshine. Nothing funny about that. I think about yoga this morning. I know we laughed at something. It’s gone now.

I think this is the blight of every comedian – the strain of finding the funny means that often, nothing seems to be when examined closely.

Then I start fretting that this is part of me coming off my full dosage of anti-depressant and seeing how I fare at 10mg. Am I tipping headlong into The Bad Place? It doesn’t feel like it.

Oh, I drive myself mad with this kind of thinking. If only I could think it was funny.

Tell me, readers. How many deer are too many to have in your bra?

Helen smaller

Helen Patrice is a Melbourne poet, memoirist, and blogger. She lives with her husband, son, and a small crowd of animals. You can find her blog here, her Facebook page here, and her book of Poetry, “A Woman of Mars” from here or from the author herself.