Wednesday, June 28, 2006

What's in a name?

I have often said my name doesn't suit me, but when I look at the meaning of the names, I guess they kind of do in some obscure way. Maryssa meaning: Of the sea. Variant of Marie and Mary.Maryssa origin: LatinMaryssa gender: Female (Since my folks all love the water, barges, yachts etc., i fell in love with sailing in a force 9 gale!) GUDRUN Gender: Feminine Usage: Norse Mythology, Scandinavian, German From the Old Norse name Guðrún meaning "god's secret lore", derived from the elements guð "god" and rún "secret lore". In Norse legend Gudrun was the wife of Sigurd. After his death she married Atli, but when he murdered her brothers, she killed her sons by him, fed him their hearts, and then slew him. (erm a temper? yes, I have one of those too) AILSA Gender: Feminine Usage: Scottish From the name of an island off Scotland, which was originally spelled in Old Norse Alfsigesey, meaning "island of ALFSIGR". Ailsa female Hebrew concecrated to god (Okidoki) Mann (origin: Ger.) Gentleman or master, the same as Herr. Man, in the Welsh, signifies freckled or spotted; also, a spot, a place. (I used to have many freckles) How about Craig? Craig male Celtic from near the crag The boy's name Craig is pronounced krayg. It is of Scottish and Gaelic origin, and its meaning is "rock, rocky." Comes from the word "crag." Also originally a Scottish surname. The name is now popular in the English-speaking world. Craig has 3 variant forms: Craigie, Craik and Kraig. Anthony: Worthy of praise. male Latin, Greek priceless, flourishing, flower How sweet!!!!! SCOTT Gender: Masculine Usage: English, Scottish Pronounced: SKAHT [key] From a surname which meant "Scotsman" in Old English. The original meaning of the word Scot is debated, but it may mean "tattoo", so given because Scotsmen often had tattoos. Craig's name definitely suits him, don't you think?! And what of Brutus? BRUTUS Gender: Masculine Usage: Ancient Roman Roman cognomen meaning "heavy" in Latin. Famous bearers include Lucius Junius Brutus, the traditional founder of the Roman Republic, and Marcus Junius Brutus, the statesman who conspired to assassinated Julius Caesar.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A drawing or two

This is my second anual review cover, not as unique as the first. I wasn't really in tune with this one. This was my first anual review, still talked about today, how I dared putting our Dean in a test tube. My Third, but not final cover is out and about, I shall try and scan one in so you can see that too. I think my abstract booklet cover is quite different from the normal style, but I like it more

Abstract art for abstract science

In September the post graduates in my faculty are having a research presentation day for which we have to prepare a poster and a speech. All research documents are preceded by an abstract and the abstracts are collated in a booklet for the audience members (other post grads and members of staff). I volunteered to design the cover for the booklet and this time, instead of my usual corel creations I decided to use paint to create what i hope is a piece of abstract art, kind of a pun in picture form. As this booklet will be going out to my peers, please can you take a look and critically evaluate it. If you think it is fine, you are welcome to say that too. Mama I hope you enjoy Brussels, Jodie and Barry stay out of the Kitchen! P.S The meaning of the hands is creativity, the fire is symbolic of the elements but the two combined make the shape of an autumn tree symbolic of nature and its role in our work. The quill and ink pot are symbols for research and a thesis.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Energy at different levels.

Imagine if you did not have to eat, imagine you could just grow your own food just by walking around in the sun. Imagine if we could take some plant matter and graph it onto ourselves. If we take a look at a cross section of a leaf. In the chloroplast's photosynthesis takes place. In order for photosynthesis to take place the chloroplast's needs Carbon Dioxide, Water and Sunlight. Once the Carbon Dioxide and Water have been processed it creates the by product of glucose(Sugar) and Oxygen. As we all know we need Oxygen to live and glucose(Sugar) for energy. Imagine if we could take out a section of a leaf and graph it onto a piece of skin. You would connect the artery and vein onto the Xylem and phloem portion of the leaf. This will enable a steady supply of carbon dioxide and water to the "Green skin" which will convert it via photosynthesis in oxygen and glucose. Note: This is a rough idea. There is alot of science that needs to be researched.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


dawn and dusk

and again

pray pray pray

Pics try # 3

Please send up little prayers, this is the third time I'm trying to get these photos up

Monday, June 19, 2006


After an hour on the net uploading photo's explorer decided to debug. I don't have any patience left today to redo the post so look out for the pics later in the week

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Phepelani sesame

Date: 11 June 2006 Town: Prieska Province: Northern Cape The Journey from Norvalspont to Prieska was tough with long roads and no change in scenery. It was eerie how the flat the landscape was. The roads all throughout have been surprisingly good, with minor potholes being the only flaw. We arrived at the train exactly on time, even after getting lost in colesberg and adding an extra 100 odd km’s to the journey. Hopefully we did Rhodes proud by being the only people to reach the train on time. The town is small but neat; most of the residential roads are dirt with the main road being tarred. There are three banks, one church, a Pep store, a Jet store and a Chinese shop. The staff are all very friendly, especially the security and the hotel students who have been here for 6 months already. The organization and running of the train is done by a select few people; Dr. Lillian Cinca being quite a hands on person does most of the management of the train and is surprisingly famous too! We met Lizzy our Pharmacist who gave us the “low-down” on how to counsel patients and where everything was in the pharmacy. Supper was good, with wholesome meat and veggies. Ant sampled the dessert and said it was “sweeeeeeet!” We were approached by the University of Pretoria’s Dentistry students who set about interrogating us about what Pharmacy was all about and how Rhodes life is. We were pronounced academics and told that we were destined to become lecturers…nah!! Date: 12 June 2006 We woke up before dawn, not an easy thing for me. It was made easier by the fact that I hadn’t really gone to sleep. The top bunk is very narrow and I was sure I would fall off. Wake up call was at 06h30 and was beautifully done with music and a good morning in just about every language imaginable. Breakfast was amazing, the eggs and bacon were even prepared in olive oil! I filled myself up with muesli thinking things would get busy and I’d be very hungry by lunch. Things picked up in the pharmacy at around 10h00 with the scripts coming in at a manageable pace. The pharmacist in charge dispensed the first 5 and let us take over after we had a good grasp on how it was to be done. The patients were friendly and grateful to us for coming; they mainly speak Afrikaans with the occasional Xhosa speaking person in between. At lunch time we were surprised with yet another cooked meal, I think by the time I leave I am going to be a few sizes bigger. We finished for the day at 16h30 after capturing all the data on the computer. I learned how to use unisolv software, how to counsel in Afrikaans, and just how impractical most drug regimens are – many important “rules” could not be advocated as the patient’s literacy levels were just too low and we had to make things as simple as possible. We even risk disulfiram reactions with metronidazole and alcohol containing cough mixtures because one cannot expect the patient to understand how to space the drug ingestion. Supper was again wonderful; we had veggies and roast beef. Ant said the pudding was great – this time it was a strawberry pudding with custard. Today was hard because of the knowledge that these people only get this kind of service every two years. I saw a child with the worst case of shingles I have ever seen, all over the side of her face. I couldn’t believe it had been allowed to get so bad. Today was fun because I knew we could help many of the people. It was also great interacting with the other students. The dentists are the most sociable with the nurses coming in a close second. Still I have had no interaction with any psychology students and the optometrists are a little snooty. We ended up talking shop for most of the evening, discussing all the different dental diseases, surgery, anesthetics, muscle relaxant etc. Exams came up and we were glad to report that ours were mostly over, with only the SAPC exam to write. I expect a busy day tomorrow with many new challenges. Date: 13 June 2006 This morning wake up call was just music this time, which meant, of course, that I slept right through it. Ant and I managed to get the air con working so our cabin was snug and warm the whole night making for peaceful sleep. I went to breakfast around seven and ate some honey muesli, yum! The pharmacist, Lizzy expected a busy day but still the people only came in dribs and drabs. Dr Cinca came to tell us that this was new for Phelophepa to have so few patients and she was going to go out and find the gogo’s and the oupa’s and bring them to the train. We saw many patients with UTI’s, STI’s and gogo’s with PID. Lunch was fish and chips which everyone seemed to enjoy. The only thing is the lunch hour is the only part of the day that goes quickly The afternoon went on as the morning had, very slowly. We counted pills, captured data on the computer and saw to the few patients that came. We finished at around 16h00 and made our way back to the student’s coach for some socializing. Supper was great as usual; I’m going to get fat on this train. Today was hard because we were bored and in a confined space with six people who had not a whole lot to do except get in each other’s way. Today was easy because there wasn’t much work and the patients that we saw were relatively healthy. Today was fun because I got to see some of the kiddies with their new glasses; they are so adorable with the huge frames looking comical on such little faces. It’s good to know the children may now find learning easier and will not be mistaken for stupid just because they can’t see. Date: 14 June 2006 The morning was great; we were again motivated by Dr. Cinca in more languages than I can count. We had a morning workshop with the local home-care givers and herbalists. They were genuinely eager to learn and I really felt we were able to give some of our knowledge for the first time. The workshop was only meant to be about and hour, but we stayed for two and a half and enjoyed it thoroughly. When we returned to the pharmacy patients were starting to form queues which promised some work for us. We spent the rest of the day counseling and data capturing. I learned that my Afrikaans is not as bad as I thought, and I felt quite proud of myself because the people seemed to understand. I spoke slowly to the gogo’s and oupa’s and made them repeat everything back to me. It was very rewarding and I really pray they take their antibiotics properly. After a long day we still had stock to unpack and the pharmacy to clean, but it went quite quickly and Lizzy remarked that Ant and I would be excellent in a clearance department, wasting no time in packing away so that we could go off for the night. I am pleased that the pharmacy is so clean. Many retail pharmacies are so dusty and dirty, especially the cupboards, but this train is sparkling. There are many things I have come across that are not ideal, such as counseling from behind iron bars; having huge families gather round to hear about gogo’s medication or meneer’s erectile dysfunction; the overuse of antibiotics and seemingly reckless abandon with which some drugs are prescribed. But overall I see the good far outweighing the bad. I feel a better computer programme could be utilized, and training of pharmacists in its use is essential. Date: 15 June 2006 This morning I awoke earlier than yesterday as I wanted to take photographs of the sunrise. Breakfast was swallowed quickly and I was out onto the platform trying to take the best photo’s I could. It was bitterly cold and the dew that settled in the dustbin black bags was steaming as shafts of the morning sun hit them. I didn’t think many people would brave this cold, and I was right, for a couple of hours nobody came. Many people remarked that the Northern Cape health services were very good and could cater for the small number of people in the area that was why they were not as eager as some people in the rest of the country to come to the train. They also seemed not to want to come unless the bus would transport them, a far cry from some areas where people apparently wake up at 04h00 to walk to the train and queue for medicine. I felt that this was a good thing; it means that at least in some parts of South Africa, people have good care, albeit modest. After lunch, when the sun was out, people appeared from the woodwork and we found a backlog of prescriptions when we re-entered the pharmacy. We ploughed through them at a rate of knots and worked like a well-oiled machine. The interpreters were almost pharmacists themselves by days end, having had to interpret the standard treatment regimen to just about everyone that came along. “Ouma moet die kursus voltooi”, “Oupa moet die sjokolade pilletjies in die oggend sluk”, “Mevrouw moet die room in die aand gebruik”. I was impressed by the interpreter’s eagerness to learn, and the accuracy of her interpretation. In previous experiences I have hated having interpreters, but this particular lady is excellent. She is a local from Prieska, as they all are, interviewed and chosen for just this week. I feel people like her should be given the chance to go further in life, perhaps this experience will initiate a great change in her life, but sadly I think it will just become a fond memory of the time she helped her community and spent some time on a medicine train. Date: 16 June 2006 Morning broke an hour after I had awoken. I was already packed and had the road ahead in my mind. This is the longest I have ever driven single handedly, roughly 1600 km. We had to work the morning and skip lunch in order to leave early enough for it to be safe. As luck would have it (thank you Murphy!) Patients were packing the platform before our breakfast was even served. The dentists were full by 07h15 and had to turn people away. I found myself getting angry, why had these people not come the first few days? Now they were not going to get treated at all and it was purely their fault. We managed to work at a fast pace and dispense, counsel and capture everything before 14h00. There were people left on the platform that couldn’t be served, but one has to pack up and leave some time. The train had to move on. It was over I drove at a steady pace through the lunar landscape, the car warmed with the afternoon sun. A cool drink was needed half way and it afforded a couple of photo-ops. The afternoon faded into evening and one of the most beautiful sunsets I have ever seen. My camera was full so I couldn’t even take photo’s…typical. We arrived at Norvalspont early in the evening and got some supper before bed. It was good to be sleeping on more than a plank and we awoke quite late. The sun was shining and it presented a good opportunity to view the !Gariep Dam and meet the local Gnu. In this case the saying “no gnu’s is good gnus” is correct as this fellow is quite aggressive, locals warn of his “wheep! wheep!” and deep grunting as a sign of anger. Of course the animal lover in me thinks he’s just lonely and his vocalizations are merely to attract attention. Poor old Gnu We finally made our way back to G-town, to civilization, and to work…oh boy!

Energy, energy everywhere but not a person to use it.

Energy. The final frontier. Energy is the life blood of everything and everyone. It is said all energy comes from the big fire ball in space called the sun. The interesting thing about energy is that it can't be created or lost, however it can be transformed from one type of energy to another. For example A fire has many types of energy that is constantly changing from one type of energy to another. The wood in a fire has potential energy in it. This means that when you light it up it will release this energy in the form of heat, light and even sound energy. There are six types of energy that I know off. Kinetic energy. The movement of an object. Potentail energy. The energy that is stored. Heat energy. The energy that raises the temperature of an object. Light energy. Energy that is visible. Sound energy. Energy that is audioable. Electrical energy. Energy that has a charge. All these known energy forms are able to transfrom from one to another. Energy source. I understand an energy source as; A substance that provides energy. For example petrol, gasoline or paraffin. There are two main energy sources. 1. Fossil fuels, non-renewable. Examples; Oil, petrol, paraffin and gasoline 2. Natural energy sources, renewable. Examples; Wind, goethermal (the heat from the earthscorecore.),solar rays and wave action. There is probarly more, however i can't think of them. Manipulation of energy. If we look at any mechanical or electronic system, we will find that three things must be in place for the system to function. 1. Input. This is energy you will put into the system. 2. Process. This is where the energy is manipulated or changed or transformed. 3. Output. This is the end result of the manipulated energy. For example a bicycle. The pedal is were you input your enrgy, the chain and sprocket processes this energy (or changes the energy by the configuration of the sprockets.) and the output will either be more accelaration or you can climb a steep hill with more power. My dream. My dream is to build a train that use's natural energy sources in order to move. A diagram will give you an idea of my thinking. Please note I am not a scientist, however I am a dreamer. I have broken down the green steam process down into subsystems. Subsystem 1 is the boiler and condensor system. Subsystem 2 is the electical system. Subsystem 3 is the mechanical system. Subsystem 1. The boiler, piston and condensor are connect in a close circuit. Thus water/steam can not escape. The boiler will have an element. Which will boil the water, so that it can create steam. This steam will pass throught the piston. The piston will be pushed using the steam. Then the steam will leave the piston and go into a condensor were it will be transformed back into water. The water is pumped into the boiler, were the cycle starts again. Subsystem 2. The electrical system. Initally a solar panels will provide energy so that the element may start the green steam system. A chemical battery will give power to the element in the boiler. When the train starts to move. There will be linkages to onboard generators which will route the electrical power to a secondary chemical battery. The secondary chemical battery will be used to start, and run the train. Will the primary battery is charged from the generators. Subsystem 3. Mechanical system. Basically it is the piston moving the flywheels on the train track. The configuration of the pistons is still to be decided.

Friday, June 09, 2006

The who? THE WHO!

Sorry, had to mention this... I have noted, by my cunning powers of observation that some people i am closely related to, are, to put it mildly, Who-aholics ( Hey say that fast, sounds like a rude word starting with a "b") I digress, what was i saying, oh yes... So on Wednesday afternoon i had the need for a cup of coffee. Unbeknownst to me, who-aholics have branches the world over and i happened to walk in on one of their clandestine meetings. It so happens that most of the senior staff in the Pharmacy Faculty are covert who-operatives. I know this will delight those who i shall not name (In order to preserve the underground movement of course) . Funnily enough the one particular chap has an uncanny partiality to photography too Well all I can say is... the who? "she runs away being pelted by tomato's and rotten eggs, the sound of boo's echoing in the dark and smoky passage. The crowd could not believe one so young would make such an inflammatory statement"


This week has been one of those weeks where you just want to crawl into a bomb shelter and let the rest of the world be nuked! On Friday night my poor car (splat) was totally violated. The wretched putrid stinking pieces of pooh that crawl the streets broke in and when they couldn't find anything to steal, decided to break every movable part they could find. They tried unsuccesfully to get the radio, but the pea brained idiots didn't realise you can't steal a fitted radio. So they broke that too. On saturday night, you can imagine my livid state, when I discovered two more cretinous devils trying to get in. This time I at least got the satisfaction of swearing at them and chasing them down the road, but honestly, why can't they just leave me alone! This is now the third time it has happened in about a month! On top of that I have my usual pain in the proverbial - but at least i did get my meds, thanks everyone! (tea room topic " Mo's pain in the butt" Woe is me! Anyhoo, sorry bout the ranting, but a girl's got to get it off her chest (yes and that does mean to every new person she comes across - it's therapeutic!) Ok, on to more exciting things... yes i am off to the groot gat! well close by anyway, thought I'd take mine to see something that is even more famous. Surf Africans will know I am talking about the Kimberly Hole where they mined diamonds a while back. I'm to work on the Phelophepa health train for one week. It will be good to get a taste of pharmacy again, take a break from all the carcinogens and toxins. I'm sure if you google it, there is info on the net, but i will be sure to take pics and post them on my return. Trouble is they anally retentive slugs that broke into my car did manage to steal my memory stick so i have to revert to some old school disks in order to bring you the picture highlights of Mo and Cas. Till next time....

Friday, June 02, 2006

hee hee

My friend Drowned in a bowl of muesli... a strong currant pulled him in Tommy Cooper

Who would have thought...

Who would have thought seaweed could be so interesting. Not I, and I suppose not many out there either. But now that I am part of this Marine Biotechnology Research group (sounds posh hey!) , well I see it in a very new light.

I guess it's a double bonus that i get to go to the beach a lot whilst all the other research students in my department are stuck in rooms with barely even a window surrounded by buzzing equipment.Forgive me for gloating... but who wouldn't hee hee

Ok, so I also get stuck in at the lab but I can always imagine the seaweed swishing about in the waves and furiously producing chemical defenses against the beastly sea hares who want to eat them all up. Well, sea hares aren't so bad, they are actually fascinating too. many compounds used as a plant's chemical defence are isolated from sea hares because once they've eaten the alga they sequester the compounds and use them against other bigger beastlier things that want to eat them. Clever hey!

Ecology is actually an amazingly interesting topic,for me anyway. For those of you who don't know, my masters research project is to find an environmentally friendly anti-fouling agent that will discourage little beasties like barnacles from settling on ship hulls, oil rigs, underwater pipelines etc.

So far I have been working on a seaweed that is so jam packed with compounds, it's like the pentagon in terms of defence, but then again, has about as much intelligence (oops did I write that)