Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Sunny leaves

This photo can be purchased from RedBubble here.


I've not taken many photos lately. Life's been somewhat busy, and then I haven't loaded stuff from my cameras from months ago onto my computer yet. But I finally did something about the stuff on the DSLR and found things from October. Oops.

I have thought about making a resolution, New Years or otherwise, to do more about art. But then I did the same thing last year and look how that turned out... I still haven't finished that painting I started of the NZ alps.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ominous clouds

^ Had a moment of boredom and was mucking around with effects and stuff in iPhoto. Prior to this, it was a photo from Catherine Hill Bay yesterday *lol*

This photo can be purchased from RedBubble here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The passionfruit flower

This photo can be purchased from RedBubble here.

Hosier Lane, Melbourne

Photos can be purchased from RedBubble here.

I don't usually feel like I can talk about Melbourne. From friends who live down there, it results in, "MOVE BACK DOWN NOOOOOW!" and from friends and family up here, it's sort of like, "Well if it's so great down there, why don't you move back!" Which is somewhat awkward both ways, mainly because I don't have a job down there. Otherwise, I'd be ecstatic to be back down there. But I need a job for it. An income is useful for things like rent, food, transport, etc.

Visiting Melbourne recently w/ Clare and catching up with loads of friends, seeing the galleries, knowing my way around, going to Vegie Hut in Box Hill, exploring the BrandSmart DFO at Nunawading again (oh Oroton, I could not resist you, and your 50% off sale was brilliant! Plus the new design for the store is really nice), etc just made me miss it more. The little laneways and cafes and tasty, tasty things. Oh so good. And the way it feels so much more easily accessible than either Sydney or Newcastle.

Plus I don't mind the hipsters. It's like the emo thing a few years ago down there. It's just fashion, it's kind of amusing in a way and the moustaches make me laugh (especially on the girls... No, I jest there). That's one of the biggest differences between Sydney and Melbourne, really. Melbourne = hipsters. Sydney = people the colour of Cheezles in minimal clothing. People in Melbourne stared at me on the train when I wore knee-length shorts like it was all escandaloso! (it was also about 18 degrees that day and some people were wearing jackets and scarves, so maybe that's part of it). Sydney gets none of that when other people are wearing what looks like denim underwear, so that's kinda handy. The less escandaloso! stares the better, unless I find that t-shirt I got from Supre years ago that says "Hold my drink while I snog your boyfriend."

Admittedly, there was an element of it being rather "the past is another country," at least early on. But the past isn't really another country. You can go back to other countries, and even if it's different it's still the same. It's more like something that becomes eternally locked away and trying to make it happen again for the things you enjoyed about it fails. And when that fails, it makes the other memories of the past less pleasant somehow, less magical, more, "Was this how it actually was all along?"

Yet in the end, that worked itself out to be a positive because the friend that related to led to me being able to spend more time catching up with another friend. That was fantastic! Plus more exploration of Melbourne, a really great restaurant for dinner and the tastiest pasta dish I've had in years. I love pasta! Plus brunch the next day and miscellaneous other adventures with friends. It was so good.

Plus there was the afternoon spent in the NGV when the rain was absolutely hammering down outside. I saw Jon Cattapan's The Melbourne Panels, which is an artwork I really adore. It's like fragments and the whole, the part and its entirety, pieces and completeness. The unity of the individual elements is so well executed, plus there's the bold colours, streams of light, the freeness of it all. It's what I'd like to achieve with painting, but I feel like I get too hung up on the details, working on making it look absolutely like the original rather than the idea of it.

The Lace in Fashion exhibit was small but vastly satisfying, too. The photography thing about cities was slightly underwhelming. Although seeing the one single Gursky on display made up for it (it was his photo of LA at night). Still, it was all soul-refreshing to see.

Well, apart from one point when I was sitting in a quiet gallery admiring some paintings and a group came in led by a lady who talked so loudly you could hear her on the other side of Dartmoor (and her group of loudly-speaking oldies were pretty deafening too). She spent a while banging on about how if it were New York, all the paintings would be roped off, you'd have to queue in enormous lines and you'd hardly get to see the artworks. So we're lucky, aren't we.

The Sunday brought about Schmitchy's birthday, and it was fun to see him and Kez. And then I caught up with Tal and Joel, which was LOADS of fun. It was strange being out in Warburton again. Not much has changed, but it's got some different bits. Still fantastic. The Gladysdale Bakery for piiiiiiiiiie. I missed all of that sort of thing. We didn't have much time to spare, so couldn't really explore the main street or anything later, which was a bit disappointing. Still, can always go back. Or something. I felt a tad guilty for not taking time to catch up with any other ex-work people, but then who knows whether it would be awkward or not.

Still, there are some things you can go back to.

On the water at night

Photos can be purchased from RedBubble here.

Thursday, October 21, 2010





It's just like communist China.

If you read The Age's Minister threatens to use law to force people on NBN if states revolt (cue jokes along the lines of, "The states are revolting!" "Tell me something I don't know..."), those are some things you'll notice come up regularly in the comments. I always thought readers of The Age and SMH were relatively logical lefties, but apparently not.

I'm both amused and puzzled by people flinging around the words Communist and socialist again like they're Glenn Beck and using those words somehow makes their argument against policies, infrastructure and so on watertight. Because all of those filthy Commies are evil and are out to destroy the world as we know it and... yeah... the Cold War ended some time ago, there aren't Reds under every bed and crying, "Socialist! Communist!" about things that are aimed at benefiting the community seems bizarre at best. For a start, this isn't America. I thought we were somewhat more sensible than that. But judging by the comments on various news website, apparently not.

When the moral and political distinctions between Communists and liberals (and by that, I mean small-l liberals, not the political party) aren't made, reality risks being distorted severely and in a damaging fashion for individuals and society generally. Spending money on infrastructure - whether it's a hospital, some schools, railway lines, or a broadband network - does not a Communist make. Supporting things like welfare and health care systems don't make you a socialist (if anything, community-centred ethical perspectives on such matters seem to indicate that you're just a decent human being who has concern for other human beings).

This was something that struck me when Obama was working on health care reforms in the US. When people weren't clutching handkerchiefs over the possibility of government-subsidised abortion, there were people calling the plans "socialism," saying it was part of a "socialist agenda," etc. All the way back in November 1961, President Kennedy spoke out against "discordant voices of extremism" that "equate the Democratic Party with the welfare state, the welfare state with socialism, and socialism with Communism.”

And yet somehow in recent times and in the minds of some, doing things that benefit society as a whole have somehow become things only Communists/socialists would do. I'm not sure whether it's a severe case of right-wing resurgence or rabid individualism or a people being seriously NIMBY about basically everything. But it disappoints me because it seems sad to turn back to what Kennedy described 50 years ago as "counsels of fear and suspicion" from the far right.

I've still to work out what people fear about the NBN.

But it seems like the a lot of the newspapers (and commenters on their sites) in Australia see it as something to be feared, judging by their coverage of it all. I suppose at least the media's demands for a cost benefits analysis for the NBN seem to have disappeared for the time being (however, if you want to go back in time and read some interesting commentary on that whole issue, Cost benefit delusions of the NBN from Pollytics is good) (additionally, apparently Malcolm Turnbull introduced a private member's bill yesterday to try to make the government do a CBA on the NBN, which is interesting...).

Perhaps the fear of it stems from a lack of understanding, not just of the technologies involved, but also of what the NBN is about as a whole. I don't think news coverage of it has been the best (perfect example for the day: The Australian's Stephen Conroy having 'hissy fit' over The Australian's NBN coverage: Chris Mitchell - it comes across as wanting to be the news rather than report it, not least because that article is actually longer than their one about the NBN not raising the cost of landlines).

Considering how long the NBN stuff has been around - the Senate site itself says, "On 25 June 2008, the Senate established the Select Committee on the National Broadband Network (NBN) to inquire into and report on the government's proposal to partner with the private sector to upgrade parts of the existing network to fibre to provide minimum broadband speeds of 12 megabits per second to 98 per cent of Australian homes and businesses on an open access basis" - the hysteria about it now seems strange.

Yet the NBN is something that has the potential to benefit everyone. Yes, it will cost money. But infrastructure does actually cost money. The wiring currently serving as our phone system cost money to put in. Railways cost money to lay down. Roads cost money. The sewerage system your house is connected to cost money. From what I recall of Telstra trying to woo me over to broadband years ago when I was on dial-up, that cost money too (for the modem in particular).

While I think of it, dial-up is a great example of "My intermawebz are perfect as they are, thankyouverymuch, I do not wish to change anything!" As if people would want to go back to dial-up now days when they've got fast intermawebz and quick access to amusing time-wasting videos of cats on YouTube.

But back to the point of cost. Last night on Lateline, Senator Stephen Conroy (yes, he annoys me as much as he annoys others) explained that there is no cost whatsoever to having the NBN connected to ones home. Although he added, "If we then roll through your suburb and roll on a few more suburbs and you suddenly change your mind, the NBN Co haven't made a final decision on this, but there's been some suggestions there could be a cost if we've gotta come back and re-do your home. But no final decision has been made on that issue."

To me, it makes sense for there to be some cost if people have to come back and do work on a place when they could have knocked it all off in one go while they were there the first time around. This is not forcing people to join up to the NBN. If you do get it connected, you don't have to use it. People can also choose to just keep what they have now - it just means that if they change their mind in the future because they had refused connection to the rollout earlier, they might have to pay for it. And to me, that seems to be their own fault. Conroy also speaks about the "furphy" relating to fixed lines and phone calls.

The stupidity about "Communists" and "tyrants" forcing everyone to have the NBN whether they want it or not makes my brain ache. Especially when people say that it's just a way for the government to go all 1984 on people (also, just a random thought, but I do wonder how many people who bring out the Communist/Marxist/socialist/1984/Brave New World/etc stuff have actually read the manifestos/philosophies/novels or just comment with it because they've heard others do so before?). Conspiracy theories, general wilful ignorance and apparent desire to not move with the times are just sad.

Besides, I didn't notice a massive outcry about switching over to digital television, even though that costs money (either to get a set-top box or upgrade your telly). If there was media coverage, I've missed it, along with all of the outraged comments from anonymous people from all over redneck Australia saying how they're perfectly happy with the television they've got only giving them five channels and how dare the government be so socialist/Communist/whateverist as to force them to have an option to look at more channels, more content and more choice. It's outrageous!

But really, much more of this sort of stuff and we will be confirming the survey that ranked Australia as "the world's dumb blonde."

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Oi! You're nicked!

"Well, there goes my Saturday night entertainment.
Guess I'm going to have to go out more now..."

Tonight I watched the final episode of The Bill.

And I had a bit of a cry at the end of it.

Okay, I know, I know. It's a TV show. It's just television, just acting, just 45 minutes a week, just a show that's been in my regular viewing schedule for as long as I can remember - in fact, almost as long as I've been alive. Woodentop, the precursor to The Bill, was on days after I'd been born.

When I was a kid, my family and I would watch The Bill every Saturday night and would occasionally watch the repeats ABC used to run on Tuesday nights if it was a particularly good couple of episodes or we'd missed it for some reason. It was always the double half-hour episodes that started out with the crime, it got investigated and solved and was done and dusted within 30 minutes. Unless it was an extra-special one and then both of the episodes would be dedicated to it.

Somehow you sort of became attached to the characters - PC Reg Hollis was one of my favourite characters, probably due to the underdog status. I can still remember one episode where he gets a date with someone and one of the other PCs disbelievingly asked what Reg had that he didn't, to which Reg replied, "Well, a working deodorant for a start."

I also really liked PC Tony Stamp, Sgt June Ackland, Sgt Bob Cryer and Superintendent Jack Meadows. But my favourite character was probably Inspector Dale 'Smithy' Smith. And no, not just because the guy who played him is hot. I liked how the character was sort of like a strong moral compass for the show or something like that. I think some amazing storylines tied in around his character, particularly the Carly Samuels one.

The worst thing for The Bill was when it went all soap-opera-esque in the early 00's. Unfortunately, it seemed like it didn't recover its viewership when they tried to fix that mistake. And it was unfortunate that the soapie-style plots were allowed to run for so long, dragging it away from the policing that had made it such an enjoyable show.

I actually stopped watching it when that happened.

Then when I was living in Victoria, I turned it on one night randomly, thinking it would be interesting to see what had happened with the show I used to love. And amazingly, it was back to policing more or less. And from there on, I'd end up watching The Bill every Saturday night. I know it's said the latest revamp was a flop, but honestly, I thought it wasn't too bad. There were some really interesting story arcs. That said, at least the ABC was consistent with its broadcast schedule and didn't knob around with the show like ITV apparently did.

Of course my love of The Bill is mostly because I grew up with it.

But I think it was a fantastic show at its best. And I wouldn't swap the time I've spent watching it for any other police show out there. Well... Maybe Midsomer Murders. But they don't have quite so many hot British guys in police uniform to drool over.

So thank you to everyone who made The Bill so enjoyable for so many years.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Light through paint

The photo at the top of the set can be purchased from RedBubble here.

While the family was away, I worked on doing some painting. There's something about painting that I really can't do if people are around. I need absolutely no distractions, other than the ones I provide myself with (music mostly), or I'll give up and not do any work on it. Or won't even make a start.

That said, there are a lot of arty kind of things I do that I'm not all that keen on having people around while doing them - photography's one. Which means I'll never be a portrait photographer. Tragedy. But no, I jest - it's hardly a tragedy when I have no interest in photographing people.

Painting is both relaxing and irritating. I like the feeling of being absorbed in the effort and losing hours in making something. But at the same time, if it doesn't look great, then I'm irritated. Or if it takes a long time it can become frustrating. I'm mainly working on a painting based around a photograph I took when leaving New Zealand earlier this year. It's fiddly, there's lots of blending work, all of these little detailed bits, I worry that when it comes to adding in the clouds I'll muck it up and have lost hours on end of work.

But so far, it's something I'm really proud of. It's the toughest painting task I've ever set myself and it's taken about 15 hours so far, although it looks like it shouldn't have for what's actually on the canvas. I'd thought before I started working on it that it'd be another matter of slapping the paint on and it'd be done in about eight hours (my usual time to paint something on that size of canvas). Instead, tiny sections of mountains have been painstaking two-hours-at-a-time processes. The photo below is some of what's been done so far. And yes, those scribbly lines on it are more mountains to paint. Oh joy!

Pansies after rain

This photo can be purchased from RedBubble here.


Thursday, October 07, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

Busy bee in a golden flower

Bushland exploration

Poking around in bushland near here, I found some things to take photos of. Other than photos, the main thing I got out of the bushland exploration was scratched legs. And the theatre of walking into a spider's web exactly at face-height, which I didn't notice because I was keeping my eyes on the ground on the look-out for snakes. Cue involuntary noises and flailing for that part.