Check out the Spaceblog. Anousheh Ansari is the worlds first female space tourist, the first female muslim in space, the first Iranian in space, and the first space blogger.

Initially I was sceptical about the sort of person that would spend twenty million dollars on a holiday, but I have to admit that a part of me is still not quite jaded enough to forget the excitement and joy of exploring space. There is enough nerd in me to still love the original Star Trek (though Voyager is still my favourite – gotta love Janeway).

Despite the highbrow aims of the International Space Station, Anousheh is enough of a tourist to explain some of the nuts and bolts questions that I am sure most of us have wondered about – how DO you wash your hair in zero gravity ?


I normally steer clear of baiting the religious, but when it comes to abominating homosexuality, I get cross, and am more likely to be rude. This landed in my inbox, and I wanted to share the joy, but I am not one for forward silly emails. I will, however, post it here, as the blog is a purely opt-in service.

Dr. Laura Schlessinger is a radio personality who dispenses advice to people who call in to her radio show. Recently, she said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22 and cannot be condoned under any circumstance. The following is an open letter to Dr. Laura penned by a east coast resident, which was posted on the Internet. It’s funny, as well as informative:

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination. End of debate. I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some of the other specific laws and how to follow them:

When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15:19- 24. The problem is, how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

Lev. 25:44 states that I may indeed possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?

I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself?

A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an
abomination – Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this?

Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle room here?

Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev. 19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? – Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively, so I am confident you can help. Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.

Dad is fine

I’m home from visiting him at the hospital, he was in good spirits and a bit of pain. He says that the Hills Private Hospital is not a patch on the one in Thailand, and the food is nowhere near as good. The great news is that he is allowed to go home tomorrow (initially they said he had to stay in for 2 nights), but I still haven’t heard from the doctor how the operation went.

I heard last thursday that he’d have to be cut open again, they only fixed 2 of the 3 compound fractures, and apparently one wasn’t fixed right. So now he has even more metal in his leg, and even more scars. And the countdown of the three months before he can walk begins afresh today. I guess we get to keep his car for a while longer. 😉

Friday night we celebrated the arrival of a new book keeper at work, Mita took today off to graduate form her Masters in Accounting – and yet she is happy to accept a job as a book keeper for a computer shop. What is the world coming to? Perhaps I shouldn’t whinge about my job so much!

After work we had dinner with Simone for her birthday – I gave her a pair of crocs (Holey Soles actually), and I think she is a convert. Lovely to catch up with her, and some old friends I hadn’t seen for a while.

Saturday morning the cleaners arrived bright and early, I raced off to work for a busy day selling macs, and then straight after work to a friends place to work on a top secret project. Details will be revealed in the fullness of time.

Then it was off to the Brandenbug Orchestra at Angel Place, thanks to the lovely Andrew, who bought the tickets at a charity auction. The music was divine, the company was better, but the free champagne was better still. With our heads ful of beautiful music we caught a cab back to The Warren View for Adam’s (brother in law) birthday party. A very big day.

Sunday I finished up the install of dad’s new computer (a wee bit more tinkering to do), and then dragged myself off to knitting. Good thing I did, as the amazing Emma had been shopping at Ecoyarns, and saw fit to include some unspun soysilk with her order for me to play with. I am sure I will cock up the spinning badly, but it’s for me, and nobody died to make it, so I will spin, and ply, and then dye (I already have the pink and orange food colouring) to my heart’s content. Thanks Emma, you are a world class shopper. You could shop for Australia. 😉

After knitting, Mark and I went to a Nettle family dinner, and collapsed into bed after a very full weekend.

And bless my mother. She took Custard out to Penrith on saturday morning to visit Matthew the wonder vet. No, I live nowhere near Penrith, and I must drive past a dozen vets to get to Matthew, but he is a great vet, and a superb human. I was Matthew that had to tell me that Fuzz Bucket had cancer, that Custard had a terminal abscess (so far he’s been wrong abut that one), and do the autopsy on Rhubarb. Matthew has never once made me feel stupid, ignorant or crazy, and all through every up and down, he has been compassionate, gentle, knowledgeable, respectful, and also open to new ideas and opinions. When I found a new treatment for abscesses in rabbits, Matthew was willing to let me try it, and I am sure his support and generosity with his time and expertise saved Custards life.

So we drive to Penrith. He’s cheap too.

Custard had some blood taken, and it appears that he is a little aneamic and has lost some weight. I’m going to give him another course of worm treatment, and weigh him every few days for the next month, and if nothing much changes we’ll revisit things in a months time. There doesn’t seem to be anything dramatic wrong, but he has lost weight (Custard has always been a fine figure of a bunny, so a little weight loss is out of character for him), and he seems to be a little more quiet and reserved than usual, not racing to attack the treat jar with his usual gusto. I didn’t worry much at first, as his chance in behaviour seemed to coincide with Rhuabrb’s death, but now it’s a few months on and he hasn’t bounced back as I would like.

Please keep your paws crossed for both Dad and Custard. I appreciate it.

Denistone Station

Anyone familiar with the Northern train line in Sydney would know Denistone Station as a strange twilight zone type of place. The trains all stop there, but no-one ever gets on or off the train. It’s like a ghost town, miles of bare concrete, but with a few lovely trees, including a Frangipani, and a couple of bottlebrushes that attract the lorikeets when they flower.

Because there is no commercial area around the station (just a big park, and houses on large blocks with established gardens), it is a haven for wildlife, and most mornings I see at least a bird or two. This morning, there were quite a few Sulphur Crested Cockatoos and I was lucky to get this shot of one looking at me.


And this guy – just poking his face out the front door, considering his options for the new day…..