December 2009

And so ends 2009, the third year of this blog, although it seems I have been running out of things to say here recently and posts have been sparse. Maybe in the New Year I will be more inspired. I hope you won’t mind me repeating much of last year’s post and even the year before’s.

I said this last year and it still remains so true I’m will repeat it. You, my blog friends, have all enriched my life in so many ways. You’ve challenged my mind with your posts, you’ve helped me with my tech problems, you’ve taught me so much about your different worlds, you’ve entertained me with your humour. Some of you have shared your poetry and stories and your beautiful paintings and photographs. You’ve welcomed me into your lives and shared your innermost thoughts and I am grateful to each and every one of you.

I wish you all health, happiness and prosperity for 2010 and being half Scottish, I’ll close with the words of Rabbie Burns in Auld Lang Syne and make a toast (non-alcoholic, of course) to you all.

And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere!
And gie’s a hand o’ thine!
And we’ll tak a right guid willy waught,
For auld lang syne.

or for the linguistically challenged English speakers

And there is a hand, my trusty friend!
And give me a hand of yours!
And we will take a right good-will drink,
For old long past.

Eddi Reader, Scottish singer/songwriter, in a very different version of Auld Lang Syne

NB: Words and translation from the World Burns Club


The Adoration of the Magi
Fra Angelico and Fillipo Lippi
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

To everyone who is celebrating this feast, may I wish you and your families a very Happy and Holy Christmas.

From Handel’s Messiah the wonderful chorus, For unto us a child is born.

Robert Shaw and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Chorus

The baking is done, sort of. The presents are wrapped, sort of. The tree is up and the crèche is out with the house decorated in a festive way. The Christmas stockings are ready to be filled by Santa JMB who has so much stuff she will never be able to get it all in.

Yes, I make the same ones every year!

This year my daughter and her family have come to stay with us for Christmas and we will have the delight of my six year old granddaughter sharing Christmas with us. We will be nine for Christmas dinner at my house as we celebrate with longstanding friends and family.

I love poinsettias for they remind me of Australia and
right now I have ten in my house!

So far we have no snow thank goodness. Last year’s massive snowfall which kept us snowbound for five days over Christmas is still in our memories and we are not ready to deal with that again. I will be happy to have a rainy one which is the norm, but they are predicting a nice day this year.

In keeping with Miss Mogg’s post I will also post a few photos I took in Second Life and the Christmas card I sent to all my SL friends. Click to enlarge!

I decorated my log cabin in SL and even have snow!

I built a little snow family on the front boardwalk.

A reindeer came to warm itself by the firepit too

Brrr! Back inside to warm myself by the fire.

Christmas greeting from the JMB in Second Life

But in real life, may I wish all the many blog friends I have made over these past three years, if you are celebrating it,


It’s Christmas time again.

All over Second Life people are getting ready for it. Decorations start appearing and stores open selling all sorts of exciting and wonderful stuff.

…And there is a winter wonderland of climatic effects.

Almost everywhere you go there is snow on the ground and snow in the air. You can almost feel the temperature plunge. Beautiful flakes falling, you can almost see the breath in front of your face.

And there are the costumes. The sexy Santa’s helper costumes … and sexy elves’ outfits.

The inventiveness of the inhabitants of SL, all of us avatars, is almost limitless and the artistic effort can be wonderful.

Oh and speaking of Avatars, we were Avies long before the movie. I am just waiting to see my first SL Na’vi in one of the shopping malls ^_^

But back to the Christmas theme…

One thing about Christmas is the Christmas cards. Now you can buy cards but many people like to make theirs. I was suddenly reminded of it all when I got hit with two beautiful bespoke cards from two SL friends and decided I must make myself a new one to send round this year.

Last year I made one last year of me in white fur being kissed by a knight in the castle grounds and I did briefly think of recycling it… but figured that would surely have been a cop out.

So I set to work and came up with one I am happy with. I did think briefly of doing the sexy Santa’s helper thing.

And I did consider a sexy pink bunny-girl card and did a photo shoot.

But in the end I did an odd little juxtaposition of casual clothes with a winter wonderland scene. Not even furs (obviously artificial as you can’t get much more artificial than virtual reality) tho I do have something that would have fitted from another photo shoot.

So here it is…

Season’s greetings one and all x

For those who missed the first installment of the saga it is to be found here for Saturday Photo Hunt under the very fitting category, Technology.

For eleven long months I have not been able to print wirelessly from my MacBookPro, so in desperation we finally splashed out and bought the Fancy New Printer, a Canon MX860 which is a network printer. Not totally top of the line but second down although new ones seem to be issued very frequently, as this one only became available in August of this year.

While this device comes with a rudimentary setup manual one is directed to the 900 page plus online manual, incidentally with no index, for further instructions. Luckily Canon has telephone support and it took three telephone calls, one of which lasted for a hour, before all three computers were up and printing. Yes, finally, the MBP was able to print wirelessly.

Well this fancy device is a multifunction printer which also scans and faxes as is so common these days. Now we have it printing let’s try scanning shall we? First the desktop but no joy there. Then the MBP. Same story. Oh I guess we should try the Dell laptop. Miracle of miracles, it worked! One out of three. Well we do have a separate scanner of course but this thing is supposed to work!

More phone calls to the technical help line followed. The MacBookPro was up and running next, but after an hour trying to get the desktop computer functioning wirelessly the technician finally gave up and said why don’t you just plug it in with a USB cable, since it is right next to the printer. Sigh. So much for the new improved technology.

Now the Old Scientist is very techie indeed and I often wonder, how do ordinary people deal with these issues. He doesn’t do Macs so I was the one who talked with the tech people for that one. I must say they were very patient and precise with their instructions but it does sound like a job that could get old very fast.

After all that, we have decided that it is time for a new desktop computer, so I can hardly wait until that gets introduced into the network system. What fun it will be, as every time we change one little thing the whole system falls apart, until days later and many frustrating hours of struggle, most of the problems have been solved.

At Christmas, when my daughter and her husband visit, we will have 6 computers running off this home network as they bring their two laptops wiht them. How did we get so dependent on these machines? I mean does every family have a computer room like us? Two desktops, two laptops, two printers and a multifunctional printer, plus two scanners and two webcams. For two people? Shakes her head. It truly is the computer age in this household.


She doesn’t look very fast does she? But in a few years this young thoroughbred foal, who was bred by my brother in law, will be amazingly fast racing around the track.

So how fast do racehorses go? The current world record for 1 mile is held by Mr. Light, 1:31.41 set at Gulfstream Park in January of 2005. This works out to 39.38 MPH. Over the shorter distance of a quarter mile the fastest time was set by No Secrets Here in 2006, :20.886. If you do the math, that works out to 43.091 MPH.

I’d say that was pretty fast, wouldn’t you?



When you visit one of the most beautiful areas in the world, namely the Milford Sound in New Zealand, it is certainly undesirable to have bad weather as we did when we were there earlier this year.

This was my photo from that day while below there is one from the internet showing what we could have seen.

Of course it does rain there 182 days per year with an average annual rainfall of 7 metres, making Milford Sound one the wettest inhabited place in New Zealand and one of the wettest in the world. Rainfall can reach 250 mm during a span of 24 hours. The rainfall creates dozens of temporary waterfalls (as well as a number of major, more permanent ones) cascading down the cliff faces, some reaching a thousand metres in length. Smaller falls from such heights may never reach the bottom of the sound, drifting away in the wind. *

* From here.


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