Thursday, April 23, 2009

Fish eyes in cat food

Contaminated cat food
Contaminated cat food
nifwlseirff on flickr

I found these hard, nearly opaque balls in Gingy's food bowl, after he finished dinner. The slightly spongy white covering (felt like polystyrene), scratched off to reveal a very hard ball, similar to those in silica gel packets. I fished the emptied sachet out of the bin, cut it open and found another two balls, still in the bottom of the sachet. I have no idea how many more Gingy has eaten!

The suspected contaminated 100g sachet was Snappy Tom, Fresh Catch, Choice sardines with whitemeat chicken.

Safcol have stated that these are actually fish eyes. I've asked if fish eyes are hard enough that a fingernail won't dent them, and apparently fish eyes go very hard when cooked.

For the non-squeamish people, see this post about cooking a tuna eyeball.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Fear, micro to macro

Fear is something I've been running into a lot recently, both my own and from others. I'm scared that the second treatment for my adenomyosis won't work. The medication (Zoladex) has horrid side effects, and I'm struggling to cope. Other people display an incredible amount of fear when they find out this is predominantly a cancer medication. Until then, many are completely unconcerned and almost flippant. I find it amazing how much fear the C word can engender. Most people automatically assume cancer medication = chemotherapy. There are other medications, typically used in conjunction with chemo and radiotherapy.

Because I'm really not coping at all well with the treatment, I'm fear that, once again I won't complete my studies, I won't progress in Japanese, I'll lose touch with many of my friends (online, overseas, and offline) due to exhaustion, my health will worsen much further, and that I simply won't make it through the next 5 months.

Fear always increases when you feel that you have no choice.

As a learning initiative at my current workplace, we are participating in a course about Web 2.0 applications. There are so many useful ways to use and integrate such applications in a learning/teaching environment, not to mention in a corporate environment. I've found that many of these applications are not well understood, risks are not well thought out, and potential is often ignored. Much of this response seems to be based on fear and control - that data will be lost, read by the 'wrong' people, that people are too old to learn new things, it will require 'more work', or time will be wasted developing something that isn't used, etc., and companies are often left behind.

The project at work that had me out, about, and running training sessions is finishing, and I fear that there won't be much teaching in my near future. If I'm to type continuously every day, I fear my hands will be useless thanks to Raynaud's and inflammation. If I work in an open plan office every day, with the worst air-conditioning and no fresh air, it's likely I will get sinus infections (infections are worse than chronic sinusitis).

There are a lot of new opportunities for new directions at work, and I feel that everyone is afraid that if they don't got after all of them at once, and spread their few resources even thinner, they won't get anything. Managers fear that workers will take advantage of economically and environmentally sensible measures such as telecommuting, flextime, reduced hours, etc.

A fearful environment is not conducive to workplace productivity or happiness.

The world is very fearful, the economic situation, rising unemployment rate, constant threat of terrorism (and the constant reminders), climate and weather hiccoughs, resources running out, mega-illnesses, war, it goes on and on. The news programs do nothing to assuage fear, and politicians use the fear to secure votes. Then they wage war which only increases fear!

Change at all levels, engenders fear, especially if the reasons for the change are not understood. Often, even if the brain does understand, fear is still felt strongly. Emotions are such fickle things.

Unfortunately, I have no hints or funky strategies for dealing with, reducing working through fear.
If you do, please share.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


nifwlseirff on flickr

Attempting to maintain and not put on weight while I'm on a 6 month course of the cancer medication Zoladex, I've been trying to walk a lot more. Today's mini-hike was through Sherbrooke forest, from Grant's picnic ground back to Tecoma. There were some tough hills to carefully go down, and with great difficulty, slowly plod back up.

On the aptly named Lyrebird track, we saw (and heard) loads of wild lyrebirds, mostly unconcerned, scratching beside the track. The weather was awful, raining heavily at times, with mist regularly obscuring the track or trees on the other side of a few clearings. Tree ferns were extremely green, and sopping wet, a huge change from when they were sunburned from the hot weather in February/March.

I managed to recording a different lyrebird's song in the same location, only a few minutes after I shot the photo on the right (MP3 audio file). Lyrebirds mimic other bird sounds, and anything else like cameras, phone rings, chain saws, etc! I was surprised how large and strong they were, and that they didn't run away from the track!