Commentary: March 2003 Archives

I've barely watched any news in the past couple of weeks. In the beginning it was mostly because I was just too busy and doing other things to get in front of the TV. But lately I've been choosing not to watch the news, just because there's too much damned war footage.

So if there's anything else going on in the world that's worth hearing about, drop me a message :)

German Cockroach

OK I'm thoroughly sick of cockroaches. Even though I've been pretty good lately about not leaving any food lying around, there seems to be no letup in the number of these little nasties running around. Worse is that they're coming into my study a lot more, perhaps because I have baits in the kitchen. The aquarium provides them with a source of water, so they've taken up residence in here >:(

So I'm now on a quest to find fish-friendly, chemical free methods of cockroach extermination. I've yet to try any of the following methods, so any comments on their successfulness would be appreciated!

Some methods I've found on the web include:


  • A bowl of cheap wine placed under the sink will kill roaches; they drink, fall in and die
  • Set out water and dry cement where roaches visit; they will ingest both and die
  • Cedar, Japanese mint, scotch spearmint, and bay leaves are good natural repellents and make good barrier treatments
  • Woodstream Corporation’s Victor Poison-Free Ant & Roach Killer� uses a 4% Japanese mint essential oil blend as an effective knockdown treatment for American and German roaches
  • Ordinary soap sprays or solutions that use common dishwashing liquids can also be used against roaches for similar knockdown effects
  • Dorsey Inc. (Shellshock�) is a desiccant made up of 85% diatomaceous earth and comes in a squeeze dust applicator. It is slower acting (six weeks or more), but roaches will stay away longer
  • Desiccants such as silica gels and diatomaceous earth products stimulate roaches and other insects that come into contact with them to immediately seek out a moisture source. Without a water source, they will quickly dehydrate and die
  • Dorsey Inc. (Repeel�) is a desiccant made up of diatomaceous earth and citrus oil from orange peel and is useful as a barrier treatment
  • Silica gel and diatomaceous earth can both be used inside houses to treat cracks, wall crevices and voids, and attics to repel roaches and deny harborage in these areas
  • Organic Plus Inc. (Organic Plus�) is a desiccant registered for home and garden use for roach control
  • BioLogic produces a gel formulation (BioRoach™ and Roach Stopper™) which contains live nematodes in bait stations which can be used in areas where roaches frequent. Roaches are attracted to the water in these baits, and are then infected and killed by the nematodes. Nematodes are microscopic parasitic worms that are harmless to humans and animals, but are able to infect and kill insects
  • Garlic oil is highly repellent to German roaches
  • The use of talc with citrus oil soap sprays will facilitate cuticular penetration and control roaches more effectively
  • Insects can be trapped and killed without resorting to dangerous chemicals: generally a poison nontoxic to humans is mixed with a food that insects find attractive, and spread in the infested area. Examples are oatmeal (attractive) and plaster-of-Paris (poisonous), and cocoa powder and flour (attractive) and borax (poisonous)
  • Apparently if you mix a dish of plaster of paris with sugar the cockroaches head for it like bees to honey. You place next to it a small amount of water which the cockroaches drink (I didn't know that cockroaches drank personally), and then the water hardens the plaster of paris and they simply harden from the inside out
  • Sanitation is the key to keeping cockroaches from taking over. Don't leave food uncovered. This includes pet dog food. Pour a little bleach down drains. Cockroaches keep away from the smell of chlorine. Keep drains covered--roaches love to use drains as watering holes.
  • Diatomaceous earth is mined from the fossilized silica shell remains of diatoms, microscopic sea animals. The advantage to this substance is that it is virtually non-toxic to humans. Because it has an abrasive quality, diatomaceous earth degrades the waxy layer causing the insect to dry out and die. It is important that only natural diatomaceous earth be used for insect control not DE treated for swimming pool filter use, as this contains crystalline silica, a dangerous respiratory hazard. One source of DE may be found at feed stores for horses and cattle. A member of the staff here at EAD uses this and says that it is easy to use with good results.
  • Silica aerogel is a non-abrasive, chemically inert substance that is used as a dehydrating agent because the small particles absorb moisture and oils. Sometimes small bags of silica aerogel are inserted in electrical equipment packages to prevent the accumulation of moisture during shipping or storage. Silica aerogel is also used in the florist trade and often can be purchased from a florist. The silica aerogel particle has a static charge that enables it to stick tightly to the cockroach body. Once on the body, the aerogel absorbs the waxy protective coating which desiccates and kills the cockroach.
  • Prevention is the best protection - see the section on Prevention. Additionally, you can try mixing 1 part borax, 2 parts flour and 1 part icing sugar, add enough water to mix to a thick dough and then knead well. This can be used on cracks behind skirting boards and cupboards, but remember borax is poisonous. Clean thoroughly behind cupboards and stoves - cockroaches also love electrical equipment.
  • An open bottle of eucalyptus oil or tea-tree oil can be very effective in cupboards or near susceptible areas. Non-Chemical Sticky traps are available commercially (try a health food shop first). A heat gun which emits very hot air can be used to flush out and kill cockroaches or alternatively close windows and doors, turn on lots of heaters to get the temperature of the house to 50�C for three hours - obviously the middle of summer is an ideal time to try this. Try a bait of icing sugar and borax in a jar placed near cockroach run. Fill a margarine container three quarters full of water: add a dessertspoon of cooking oil which will float on top of the water: the cockroach climbs into the container, but the floating oil makes it very difficult for it to escape. Place near cockroach sites.
  • Make a non-toxic roach bait and set it out in roach infested areas:

    1/2 cup sugar
    1/4 cup shortening or bacon drippings
    1/2 cup chopped onion
    1/2 cup flour
    8 ounces baking soda

    Combine sugar and shortening. Add onion, flour, and baking soda. Mix in just enough water to make a dough-like consistency. Put small balls in plastic sandwich bags (other alternatives: spread some on margarine tub lids, or put in a lidded plastic container with small roach-sized holes cut in the bottom of the sides for the roaches to use to get in and out but that will keep pets out) and place in roach-infested areas. The bait creates gas in the roach when eaten. Because roaches can't belch, their digestive tracts explode.


Sites referenced:
http://www.symbios-witticism-page.com/bug.htm#6
http://www.darlingsindiapers.com/Mothers2Mothers/dangeroushomes02_iaw.htm
http://www.web-therapy.com/cockroach.htm
http://www.co.forsyth.nc.us/EnvAffairs/wqts/pest.htm#COCKROACHES
http://www.ecwa.asn.au/info/altpest.html#cockroaches
http://www.anapsid.org/pestcontrol.html#roaches

If anyone has any more creative solutions for killing cockroaches, and that's safe to use around tropical fish, post a comment! :)

An Eerie Sky

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Bombing of Baghdad

The war on Baghdad began today :(
It seemed fitting that dust from a dust storm out west blew in over Sydney and cast an eerie brown glow over the city, as if even nature itself was saddened.

The sunset was actually whiter than normal, the sky was white instead of blue. It eventually got a little pinker before finally setting quietly.

I just hope all of this will be over quickly.

I am in agreement with the ~90% of Australians who don't think we should be involved in this war with Iraq. And I don't just think we shouldn't be involved, but I don't think America should be involved either.

It is one thing to go to war against a country when they've done something perceptibly wrong (for example invade another country), but to go to war against a country when they haven't done anything (yet) is insanity. All that does is confirm to the world that America is a big bully, and it will do nothing but incense more hatred/violence/terrorism against America (and potentially Australia also)

On the way home, Triple-M had put together a montage of quotes from Bush's latest speech and set them to music, and it was all rather upsetting. One of the lines that stood out to me was: (quoted from SMH)

"The terrorist threat to America and the world will be diminished the moment that Saddam Hussein is disarmed."

ARE YOU INSANE???? It will only make things worse!! That has to be amongst the most stupid things he has ever said.

I pray that God will bring about a peaceful resolution to the current situation, cause it certainly won't be peaceful if left up to the likes of George Bush :(

Jareth

Exactly thirteen years ago tonight, on the 17th March 1990, I saw Labyrinth for the first time. This began an obsession which lasted very strongly for a year and a half, and extends even til now.

The first time I saw it I fell totally in love with David Bowie. I still believe he looked in best in the mid eighties. This also became an obsession :)

After seeing the movie for the first time, I hired it from the local video store and watched it a couple more times. After this I knew I had to purchase my own copy so that I could watch it whenever I wanted. I watched it pretty much every Friday afternoon for the next year or so. I learnt the entire script off by heart (I can still recite it all while watching it). I taped the movie to audio tape so I could listen to it, and used this to write the entire script out in hard copy (14 double sided lined A4 pages of my handwriting). One time I wrote out "Dance Magic" after an exam in high school when I was waiting for the exam to finish.

I found a photo-storybook version of the book and borrowed it for a couple of months straight, drooling over all of the beautiful pictures of Jareth in it. I even did a couple of drawings of them using lead, and also colour pencils (see the scans below). I'd love to find that book again and buy it, but I haven't seen it since 1990 and don't even know who it was by or what it was called.

I also found the soundtrack CD and bought it - even before I had a CD player. I had to get a friend to tape it for me so I could listen to it! I then proceeded to collect most of David Bowie's CDs as they were released by EMI through 1990 and 1991.

So here I am watching it again. I now make a point of watching the movie every year around the 17th of March just for fun and to drool all over Mr Bowie all over again :)~ It's just finishing now.. and for the life of me I could never understand why she didn't say "yes" when he said "Just fear me, love me, do as I say, and I will be your *slave*" - I would have LOL ;)

Below are scans of the pencil drawings I did during the height of my Bowie obsession. The first one obviously is not Jareth, it was in another biography book I borrowed from Sutherland Library at the same time as the Labyrinth book. The original scans are on conspiracy.

David Bowie Jareth Jareth Jareth

Commentary

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The Sound of Music

Watching my first ever Director's Commentary - of "The Sound of Music". It's quite interesting; a very cool movie too - one of those classics you just watch every time it's on TV - or I do anyway ;) I've actually been surprised how many details and little things and stuff happening in the background that you don't notice with all the sound/speech going. You can look at the other cast members that aren't normally in the spotlight or doing the talking and see what they're doing when the camera isn't directly on them. I should watch more movies without the sound more often!

Today was significantly better than yesterday. Helped along by finally getting a working DLT drive. Looks like it really was a terminator problem with the replacement drive *sigh* Plus it was Friday, which is always nice :)

Going to the exchange tonight to replace the faulty disk in gamera. It should either all go quite quickly and the array should rebuild itself, or the whole raid setup will crash and burn and I'll be reinstalling windows and recovering from backups late into the night. Next post you'll know one way or the other :)

MacGyver

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Macgyver

The question was asked "what should I blog about today?" and the response was "MacGyver". So here I am, sitting at Striker's place, watching Octopussy (we just watched Roadkill hired on DVD), on the couch with Jim's old laptop, typing away. This is the life :)

Someone said someone should really get the entire MacGyver collection on DVD and we could watch that at video nights for some time into the future. Totally cool idea :) I *love* MacGyver :) I don't think I've ever seen it on DVD though - it's a bit old. I remember seeing it for the first time in 1988 (or was it 1989?) in high school thinking it was the coolest show in the world, and Richard Dean Anderson was utterly gorgeous, even with the mullet :)

For what it's worth, I also got some new fish today - a dozen neon tetras. They're very cute, although the angels have taken up chasing them instead of my betta (who I've named "Karma"). I was also going to call the two white angels Cherabim and Seraphim, and the two black ones Diablo and Lucifer, but haven't fully decided yet. Any suggestions anyone?

Sexy Bald Men

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The Mummy Returns

I'm just watching the Mummy Returns. It's a bit of a silly movie but still fun, and it has such a sad ending - Imhotep's girl doesn't come to rescue him and he realises she doesn't love him after all - awwww.

Of course half the reason I enjoy it is cause Arnold Vosloo (Imhotep) is so yummy. I dunno I have this thing about bald guys - Yul Brynner, Patrick Stewart, Arnold Vosloo.. yummm :)

Kazza's "Boring Life Of a Geek" aka BLOG

IT geek, originally from Sydney, moved to Canberra in 2007. Married to "the sweetie", aka Stu. Prolific photographer, Lego junkie and tropical fish keeper.

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