Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Quote of the Day

We have a work ritual of sorts.

Every morning we get to the yard early, pack all the necessary crap (and more just in case) into the trucks, and then leave for our assigned mine sites for the day. They're all about an hour away on the same highway, but instead we leave about an hour and a half early.

Are we out to beat the traffic?
Hell no.

We're heading out for breakfast.

We all stop at the same pie shop, regardless of which pit we're heading to. This is the chance to be truly sociable. We've done the hard yards already in packing all the gear and now we can relax in getting there. Time to kick back, have a pie and a smoke and catch up with the other workers you haven't seen for a while.

This morning Tallboy sits silently, pie propped up prominently in his fingers, unbitten as yet, and regards his meal with almost a look of wonder. After a while he looked at us and said

"This...
is what made me go to bed last night.

I knew if I slept, this pie would come around quicker.
That it was only on the other end of a sleep."


And with that he bit into it.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Name the Big Machine...

I'm not going to tell you the name of this one. Drop a guess in the comments and you can have a prize if you're right. In fact, if your answer makes me laugh enough you can have a prize, too.



Doesn't look that big, does it?
Let's put some perspective into the picture.



That's me, down the bottom of it, standing next to the tracks.
The guy up the top is walking into the operator's cab, where all the driving gets done in air-conditioned comfort.

Here's a view from the balcony next to the cab. This shot was done on a different day, when the thing was being taken apart for major repairs. There were a whole series of planned blasts happening in the area at the time, hence the dust cloud to the left. More of that another day!



Here's another view from the fanhouse area at the back of the thing. It's a perfect place to take a break, go have smoke and watch the goings on.



Here's a view of the thing without the dipper handles and bucket attached, with some welding repair work about to be done by the guys in the basket.




And now we have RatBoy, kindly showing off the size the bucket. It takes two buckets from this particular machine to fully load a dump truck. That's more than two hundred tonnes of dirt in two digs. The thing drops the dirt into a waiting dump truck by releasing the door at the back of the bucket.





So. Any guesses as to what it might be called?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Advice?

In a search for reasons not to suicide I came across an article that stated it's number one reason as this:

1. There Is Substantial Evidence For the Existence of God
[...]
You therefore owe it to yourself to do everything you can to communicate with God.


And then I came across another gem, on a completely different page, spouting scientific reasoning for not committing the deed. My personal favourite:

3. Many, many creatures are depending on you
You are literally never alone. While there are roughly 6.7 billion people on Earth, you may not feel that many of them at all care very much about your existence. But within your colon alone are living at least 1012 billion organisms, or roughly a thousand times the number of people on the planet. Stop your metabolic processes, and you stop theirs.


Truly, truly helpful, peoples.
You owe it to God and the organisms in your colon to stay alive.
Brilliant.

Album Review: James Morisson's Songs For You, Truths For Me

James Morrison - Songs for You, Truths for Me
Lately I have been picking up anything I can and giving it a listen. This is an exercise to sharpen my ears, broaden my musical experience and hone my ability to communicate about what I hear. Not all the music I listen to I am going to enjoy or respect.

When I looked this guy up on Wikipedia, I got a few choices to pick from. Interestingly, James Morrison the trumpet player from Australia was labelled as musician whereas the James Morrison responsible for this album was labelled as singer. I love the implication there.

The overall impression is that this guy should give up and let somebody else do it. I actually heard him on the radio a few weeks ago, and not knowing who I was listening to I thought Holy Shit is Simply Red still kicking along?. James Morrison appears to be Simply Red attempting to be Joe Cocker at times. His vocal huskiness he attributes to a bout of whooping cough when he was a baby. It would have impressed me far more to conjure up a tale of drinking addiction recovery, or stick a cigar in the guy's teeth for every photo shoot to explain it. I can see this album appealing to the cliched mid-fourties housewife who needs something to listen to while doing their digital scrapbooking - escaping from the teenage nightmares they have spawned and wish to have no more responsibility for.

Tracks of note on this album:
Track 1 - The Only Night
Firstly, the piano is far too defined in the mix. We have Late Show sound from bar one. The track tries to smack you in the face with full on brass/rhythm entry first off and almost succeeds. Funnily the vocal ad-libbing reminds me of a cross between Hanson and Joss Stone.
The chorus here is a disappointment after a nice brassy prechorus section. It builds through the prechorus section then all drops out to what seems like a completely different style - very straight in the rhythm with heavy and predictable vocal harmony. A fitting opening track for the album, showing potential laced with cliche and ultimately disappointment.

Track 6 - Nothing Ever Hurt Like you
The accompaniment has the potential here to be a nice down and dirty groove in the style of The Letter and some of the Tom Jones covers. It builds nicely but then leads straight to disappointment with an immediate lowering of volume in the bass as soon as the vocals enter. What does that do? It makes it feel like the balls have dropped out of the track.
The chorus features more driving rhythm in the drums - snare hits on every beat pushing it along, a direct juxtaposition to the laid back feel of the verse. Vocally, there is some backup harmonising happening. It's at a tasteful level, but still the choice of harmony is not fitting to this style at all.
Overall this track would fantastic live, with pumping bass, a kick-arse session band... and with Joe Cocker performing it instead.

Track 9 - If You Don't Wanna Love Me
Vocally, this is a pretty solid track. The melody is still pretty damn predictable. It's the rest that is letting it down.
The track starts out as a duet between electric guitar vocals - the guitar with a slightly dirty tone, heavy on the mids. Oh, potential! But there's not much imagination in the accompaniment. It's more powerful in the first chorus than the verse to match the step-up in the vocals, however there could be a lot more use of space overall to highlight the occasional fill.
Second verse - drums enter after a brief and extremely pitiful taste of strings (a warning of things to come...). The drums seem to be mixed too clean - they stand out as seperate from the rest of the band enough to bring on the impression of being a midi track.
Then some truly trite and unimaginative string arrangement for the second chorus onwards and it's game over. Forever relegate this track to ballroom dance shows trying keep up with the times by playing the music of somebody who isn't dead yet.

Track 10 - Fix the World Up For You
Ahhh, MERIT!!! Everything seems to fit well in this track. The instruments are well mixed, the vocal harmonies suit the style of the song. There's some wavering in the brass entries during the introduction, however rather than showing up as unprofessional it gives a human quality to the performance.
It's a classic pop soul piece, and well done for what it is.

Track 12 - Love is Hard
This track is one that would be far better live and acoustic. It has fallen victim a little to the temptation of multilayering in the studio. Just because you can have a shitload of layers doesn't mean that you should. A friend once said to me that if you can play a song with just acoustic and vocals, and still have it hold it's own, then it is truly a good song. This track can quite easily do that.
It starts off with a simple high-pitched guitar accompaniment that allows James' rough vocal quality to shine through. He has room to let loose in the chorus a little without his vocals being muddied by anything else that is going on.
It's sad that this track is relegated to last position on the album. It's of quality that I would like to see more of from this singer. Acoustic and vocal is much more suited to this man than a bad arrangement with a few brass instruments thrown in.

File Songs For You, Truths For Me to the left of Michael Buble and Harry Connick Jnr, and to the right of your Michael Bolton and Simply Red. Play when your mother comes to visit, and accompany with a mug of budget-label tea with too much milk in order to match the lack of complexity and predictability of this album.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Stolen Inspiration

They're out there, at the counter of every bookstore. Little cluster infestations of fake books. Tiny wannabe books. The inevitable impulse-buy oh-that's-so-cute mini book that defies the system of organisation of any bookshelf known to man.

You know the ones. In fact, you probably got one this christmas because that is when the infestation is most likely to spread into plague proportions. There's a few out there that toe the line of acceptability. They still don't pass as books, but they have some pearlers in them none the less.

Reasons to Smoke was instantly accepted into my life and my bookshelf when I opened it up to a page that contained two words. When used singularly these words are representative of grand holidays, however when paired together in this order they represent an object of hilarity and ridicule. Two words. "Paris Hilton". Yes, definately a reason to smoke.

In reaching for my copy of Fast Track To Failure this morning I was assaulted by another little gem of mini book proliferation. Fast Track... lives in the inevitably disorganised section of self-help books and miscellaneous manuals. Nestling The Dictionary of Modern Thought right next to Anger-Free (a book that, by the way, shits me to tears) is one of those little things that happens via necessity of space, but plays to my wry little sense of humour anyway. Then the little mini-[fake]-book tends to get stuck on top of the rarely used inhabitants of the self-help section, out of sight somewhere, waiting for the day that it can leap out, smack you on the head, and then be forgotten about for another year.

Today's assaultee was a long-tolerated pal. The Little Book of Crap. Sold with a disclaimer on the back - "it's about as useful as all those other tiny books - but it will make you LAUGH!" - the thing at least knows it's place. And so, dear citizens of blogville, this mini-[fake]-book is going to spend some time on my desk. There's nothing like stealing someone else's inspiration to blog with.

People are like sausages.
It's what's under the skin that's important.

So poke them with a fork periodically.

Friday, December 26, 2008

For future reference:

When attempting to photograph the slow mutilation of a butterfly caught in a spiderweb by the spider inhabiting said spiderweb, a few simple guidelines will avoid disaster, embarrassment, and realisations of grand dickheadedness.

Guideline #1 - If you are unsure of the make and model of the spider, and therefore it's capacity to be scary, it is best not to approach it while alone in a remote location.
... too late.

Guideline #2 - Thoroughly suss out all web attach points. These things are in essence a suspended snare. They have to be tied down somewhere, and severing one of the ties is likely to bring the whole intricately woven contraption (containing spider with possibly unidentified levels of scariness) into a state of being sprung and wrapped around the unwary photographer's entire body, with variable and unpredictable placement of the occupying spider.
... close. Accompany a brush with an attach point with a loud FUCK! Oh thank FUCK! Sneaky little FUCKER! and you have an accurate representation of events.

Guideline #3 - Use a long lens to get in close rather than put yourself in the firing line.
... too late.

Guideline #4 - Make sure it's not windy. Either this or bring some marvellously fat friend with you to conveniently provide a wind break. Otherwise, two disastrous things could occur... One, ninety percent of your shots could be a waving blur of unrecognisability. Or two, you could be in as close as you possibly can with your short lens and end up wearing half the intricately woven snare. In this case you will resort to dancing around in bodily jerks, slapping and grabbing at every available surface with your hands in an attempt to remove the sticky web and the occupying spider (possessing unidentified levels of scariness) from any possible resting positions.

... too late.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Love is all I have

Merry Christmas to everybody.

Today several things of note happened to me.

I tried unsuccessfully to contact my mother who didn't answer the phone. This is unusual and somewhat hard to deal with considering the effort it took to bring myself to make the call.

After the once-a-year text message I found out that my mate Jesus is in town. How very appropriate for Christmas. He has a kick-arse voice maybe I will be able to work my way into the music industry here with somebody I can trust instead of the idiot types I got burned by at the start of the year.

A friend told me that she has been in hospital for two months because she is bipolar and stopped taking her medication. The woman I love and would do anything for flirts with this mental minefield daily and I am consequently scared to death about it, for her sake.

I realise with great clarity that I am shithouse at being a friend to those who are grieving. A mate's wife is in hospital dying and all I could say is Oh shit. Hell. My heart goes out to you. Vic, you idiot. That kind of talk doesn't equate to being there for your friends. It shows them that you have absolutely no idea what to do to help.

I have so much love to give that some days I think my heart is going to burst out of my chest and explode like fireworks - but the fuse is a dud and nobody appreciates a dud firework. All that magic is just locked inside and lacking the fuse, the eloquence, the spark that sets it on fire and lets it out free to explode and be there for the world to enjoy.

All I can say is Merry Christmas. Hope you have a good day.

And I love you.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Disaster

Its coming round again
The slowly creeping hand
Of time and its command
Soon enough it comes
And settles in its place
Its shadow in my face
Puts pressure in my day

This life well its slipping right through my hands...


- These Days, Powderfinger

A woman at work decided to notice and announce gleefully in front of everyone that YOU HAVE GREY HAIRS!!!

Now what the fuck do I do? I'm happy aiming to look like a well-dressed teenage boy. That ideal is now well out the window.

Fuck it. I'm not going to grow old gracefully. I'm going to hate every fucking greyhaired minute of it. What really pisses me off is that inside I'm really disappointed that this has happened and there is nothing I can do about it.

I will never look for grey hairs on a person again, or tease them about it. This has been a disheartening cunt of a day.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Capping off yet another week

I've just been to the psych yet again. This has been a constant fight to "get back the old Vic" that I had. Actually, really, to build a new Vic that respects and retains elements of the old one... but is a hell of a lot stronger.

She wants to see what positive work I've been doing toward my goals. Fair enough, that's what I need to do and she has to follow up on it. But when it comes to music she doesn't see that the things I have been doing are absolute milestones for me with respect toward my attitude changes. To a non-musician it seems that getting back into music means that you should go out and gig next week. HORSESHIT. Maybe somebody who has no respect for skills and reputation would. Not me.

Why the hell am I posting album reviews here? Because I'm listening to anything I can get my hands onto. That doesn't impress a non-musician either. Yay, you listened to something. It doesn't seem impressive at all. But what she doesn't get, and that I have to fight to explain in a recognisable manner to her, is that when I listen to something I am critical about it. I don't kick back and let it flow. I analyse, I constantly try to find what could be improved or what the strong points of a piece are. This sort of exposure and analysis is so integral to moving forward as a musician, but so overlooked.

Am I playing, even at home? A little. My instrument doesn't scare the hell out of me any more. Yet, I pick it up and it's a fight to build up the old skills I had. They fall into disrepair so quickly once you stop playing. There is no way I can handle a regimented practise routine yet - the failures I would measure against myself in this would create more frustration than positivity. The fact that I play when I want to shows that I building back the skills without the pressure. Does anyone hear me playing? No. I live in a granny flat seperate to the lives of others and really who gives a toss whether or not I decided to have a bash at my own acoustic version of whatever I've been listening to?. Forward progress? For me. It means that I am inspired, thinking. The fact that I'm playing is building the old skills up without the pressure of practise. The fact that I'm not inflicting this on anybody else is circumstance mixed with respect. Nobody should have shitty playing inflicted upon them without their consent.

When am I going to gig again? Not tomorrow. When am I going to look for others to gig with? Also not tomorrow. There is nothing respectable about somebody who goes for an audition and says, Oh, I used to play but I haven't picked it up in a while. Fuck off, you are not a musician and you have no dedication. I will never turn up unprepared. It's unproffessional. It shows no respect for the other musicians. So the hard yards have to be done at home, alone.

I bought a drum kit today, which I know will be intrepeted by most as a departure from guitar toward another instrument. Again, it's a fight to explain what this truly does for me. Playing a variety of instruments builds your musical knowledge but still has the same core activities involved. It doesn't mean you are giving up one for another, it actually helps your playing across the board. Like hell a non-musician is going to understand that one.

Apart from the music, I've been working and sleeping. Sometimes I take photographs. Sometimes I go on the internet and read about whatever takes my fancy. At work I have been spending hours occupying my mind and hands with drumming patterns and thoughts on what I've been listening to.

Photography has been a way for me to look creatively at what is around me. Kat and I have been playing tag for the last couple of weeks on different themes, and it is my turn to pick one again. I haven't posted many from the last theme, but lets blame that on a time thing. Like the music, just because you don't see it, doesn't mean I haven't been doing it.

It's my turn to pick a new theme.

Lockdown


The new theme is trees.

Remember: Just like the tree falling in the woods with nobody around, if you don't see the it... Doesn't mean that I'm not doing it.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Album Review: Snow Patrol's A Hundred Million Suns

Snow Patrol don't seem to do space. Silence. It's always a wall of some sort of sound. Though I guess this structural complexity is their signature, sometimes your ears would be glad for a break, just some sort of break. It would be a far more effective method of creating contrast to introduce some gaps, some of moments of far less clutter.

In listening to their latest album A Hundred Million Suns, I have mixed feelings. Initially I diagnosed it a s same old, same old. There was nothing that stood out as immediately brilliant to me. But then, I think about my exposure to the last album, Eyes Open. There were only two songs on that one that stood out to me, however I ended up loving the entire thing through constantly exposing myself to it. The hook seems to be in the poetry of the lyrics more than the song construction. Once you're familiar with the words, the other nuances seem to come out, too.

Track 3 - Take Back the City
Ah, the single. The guitar introduction to this is quite nice and spacey, which I complained about a lack of overall. The vocals, especially within the verses, are less whiney than normal. This, I think, is because singer Gary Lightbody ventures into the lower range a little more often. This is something I would like to hear more often throughout. Swapping the registers also gives more contrast to the verse.
Both verses and chorus have a relentless quaver strumming in the guitar part, bordering upon the boring, but relieved extremely well by the use of a completely different rhythm for a prechorus. The prechorus is long enough to serve as a break from the relentless strumming -rive of the verse and chorus.

Track 5 - The Golden Floor
How blatantly annoying. This song starts off with a nice little fingerpicked chordal motif on an steel-string guitar. We hear it once, for four bars, before it is overlayed with a percussion motif that would be more appropriate to some pop trash that Shakira would pump out. It stays there, unchanged, throughout choruses and verses until the final eight bars of sound, where we are once again teased with the gorgeous guitar part that could have been.

Track 7 - Set Down Your Glass
A nice, slow, potentially beautiful song. This is where I am having difficulty with the constant background sound that this band insists on. I wonder does the keyboardist, Tom Simpson, feel he needs to justify his presence within the band by providing some sort of humming wash in the background of absolutely everything? This gorgeous song would have been much better presented as purely vocals and steel-string guitar.
I think this is something that bands have to learn from orchestral composers - especially this run of emo/indie bands that proliferate at the moment. Just because you have a wide breadth of musical sounds and effects at your fingertips it does not mean you have to use them all at once. A sensitivity and interplay between instruments - a conversation/contrast approach - is far more effective that having all voices speak over each other at once.

Track 11 - The Lightning Strike: (i)What If This Storm Ends? / (ii) The Sunlight Through The Flags / (iii) Daybreak
What an epic! I love the emphasis on the piano within this piece as a whole.
In the first section (i) What If This Storm Ends, the building of rhythms over the initial piano part is brilliant. Vocally, the same melodic idea is used throughout to great effect. It's a captivating melodic motif, mesmerising just like the intent of the lyrics. There's some great lines here. In particular - Be the lightning in me/That strikes relentless
On to the next section: (ii) The Sunlight Through The Flags
The introduction to this reminds me of the piano pieces of composer John Adams, and also the compositions of Steve Reich. It's layered, cross-rhythmic, mesmerising stuff. More and more gets added to it , changing the rhythmic direction and emphasis. When it comes to the chorus, the introduction of a straight rhythm on distorted electric guitar is frankly disappointing. It detracts from the complexity of the rest of this section of the piece.
Finally, for the third section: (iii) Daylight
This a disappointing conclusion to an otherwise brilliant piece. The verses are boring slow and uninspired, but redemption comes from the chorus with a lot more movement and far less bleeding heart sappiness. Overall it's okay, but would be better as a standalone song rather than being bundled in with it's outstanding predecessors.

On the whole it's quite a complex album. There's some brilliant moments, offset with some downright emo whinginess. Best listened to on a cold cloudy day with at least two glasses of red wine in hand.

Project Texture: Catching up on the week that passed too quickly

Night shift, day shift. Combinations of both resulting in approximately ten hours sleep over four days. Despite being tired and having stuff all time for myself, I've had a brilliant week. Playing with water cannons... Spending nine and a half hours on overtime rate doing absolutely stuff all... Who can ask for more?

Actually I can. More blog time would be fantastic. More time for music would be mind-boggling.

In the mean time, I have a photographic challenge to catch up on. Here's some of my thoughts for Project Texture:

Part of the landscape

Run through my fingers...

Lounge

Curve/Relief


That will be all. I'm off to have a life for a day.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Project Texture

Kat has come up with the challenge this time - to photograph texture. It seems like such a broad context, but to take it out of the realm of the obvious is proving quite a challenge to think about.

My starting point is at the local wetland centre - just around the corner from home. Bush, and plenty of interest in it. I've always liked the texture of barks from different trees. At the moment the scarring within the bark textures is captivating. Little bits of scars from the story of the life of that particular tree. A history in a sense. A little inner glimpse.

I guess this one could be like one of those psychologist dot pictures...

Wound/Scar


See in it what you will!

Now Playing:

I've finally got the shits with mainstream radio. It serves it's function at work - something that most people will put up with listening to, and a bonding factor because eventually all the people will know all the songs and sing along.

But why we know all the songs to sing along to them is the problem. We hear the same four new songs all day interspersed with pub rock classics. Even after a day of listening to this you've got a fair chance of knowing the choruses to anything they play.

I've swapped back to my old favourite station, where they play non-mainstream pieces and with a heavy emphasis on the Australian local content. The announcers tend to get into the backgrounds of the songs and bands, so there's more talk but it's informative rather than advertising bullshit.

So why am I talking about this? Swapping stations has brought me back into the mood for appreciation of new music. I've got hold of a bunch of albums that are out now and I've been systematically listening to them. What a breath of fresh air! It doesn't matter if I don't like them or not - doesn't matter much at all really. The fact that I am listening critically to what is going on in them has given my ears and my brain a new lease on life.

Now playing on the familiarisation list:

Sara Barielles - Little Voice
To me this is pop-oriented jazz. Joss Stone without so much in the ballsy voice department. However I love it. There's a big emphasis on piano in most of the songs, mainly as chordal rhythmic accompaniment. I like this style of piano accompaniment - punchy, heavy in the bass. I'm not much of a fan of flowing, arpeggiated piano accompaniments - and anyway that would not be fitting for this style.

The hit list for me on this album:
Track 1. Vegas
Despite there being too much emphasis on the single chord hits on the piano within the first verse (this could have been mixed with more importance given to the vocal lines) this song is a winner. The chorus and bridge more than make up for it. At times Sara Barielles lets loose, whereas for most of the songs on this album you can tell she's holding back, reigning it in. It's nice to hear the chains being let go on occasion.

Track 9. Many the Miles
Oh so soul. Vocal harmonies in the chorus, slow groove, a capella section. It's all there. In a way the song is commercial, but it's easy to identify with and I'm loving it. The last line should be an echo for my life at the moment:
There's too many things I haven't done yet/There's too may sunsets I haven't seen. This is the kind of song I would listen to twice in a row because it doesn't seem to last long enough for how much I like it.

Coming soon in the album review list:
Pink - Funhouse. - From first listening it will probably be a quite scathing review.
The Screaming Jets - Do Ya. - Classic Aussie rock returns. Similar enough to their old albums from way back when to still be The Screaming Jets, but different enough not to be accused of releasing the same old songs with different titles.
The Presets - Apocalypso. - I'm undecided on this ablum. Very mood-oriented, there's elements that impress... but are they aiming too low?
The Living End - White Noise. - The Aussie boys are back with a mixed-feelings album that has some absolutely brilliant moments.

All this keeps bringing to mind a line from a song by Aussie intelligent pisstake electronica group TISM (standing for This Is Serious Mum). The name of the song is Lose Your Delusion II. The song itself is taking a dig at switching away from the ideals of non-mainstream and returning to mainstream bum-fodder "like some inner technical hitch".

Don't change your life - Change your channel

So true, whichever way you go.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Whinge, Whine, Fricken Whinge.

It's a cloudy, windy day. Bugger.

This kind of day just seems to take the life out of me. I can't go to the beach, because it will be cold and the sand will be blowing around enough to remove a few layers from any exposed skin areas. Exfoliation, yes. Painful and annoying, more so. If I ditch the plans of spending the weekend exploring outdoors and instead attend to the indoor challenge of conquering Mount Washing, I will end up being bashed about the head by sheets and towels as I hang them on a wildly swing Hills Hoist clothesline. Since I have a tenuous relationship with the clothesline at the best of times, it's better to avoid that idea too.

It seems that sunshine and fresh air are a requirement for my happiness. I like my job because a large portion of it is outside work, and in a very changing environment. In my current state of mind [ie. muddled, medicated, working on getting better] I couldn't imagine being inside in a little box all day, the same little box all day, to earn a living. Honestly I would not cope.

I'll add to that - sunshine, fresh air, new experiences. I feel happy when my eyes are opened to new things. Often on days like this I will spend a fair amount of time on the internet. At the end of the day it might look like I've accomplished nothing, but I will have been on a linkfest that takes me through hundreds of different perspectives, reading about whatever may fleetingly take my interest. I will have given myself brain fodder at least.

Speaking of brain fodder I need a new challenge. Kat and I have kind of run out of steam on the stripes photography challenge, so I have thrown the ball to her for the next choice. Who knows what it will be!

Even the doga are going nuts in this weather. They're whinging, all of them. Joey the turdlet will not stop barking until he is let inside. The other two join in just because they hear him barking and whining, and they're probably sick of it too. I have no idea how to shut them up and it's frustrating to say the least. Thank god I don't have children - it would be worse.

Anyway, I'm off to find something somewhat positive to spend my day on.

This has been a public service does of whinge.
Tell me to shut up and get over it anytime.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Stripe Project: Backlog

I went on a stripe-hunt the other day. My plan was to get a backlog of images that I could post one of per day when I got busy during the week. Well, that was one of the plans anyway.

The other plan was to get serious with my little Fuji camera and start shooting in RAW mode.

Brilliant. The files that come out of the thing are HUGE in comparison, take a hundred percent more time to download and presumably have a shitload more data trapped in them. That is, if I can open them.

The programs provided by Fuji with the camera are shithouse to say the least. They seem to be aimed at first-time users who just want to see the pretty things they snapped in a window only slightly larger than the LCD display, and then print them to palm off on to all their admiring friends. I installed them, I tried them, I deleted them.

Photoshop... My dear pirate copy of CS3 that runs in some european language other than my own wouldn't go near my raw images. The english version of Photoshop 7 wouldn't touch them either. I tried, just in case the europeans were fucking it up for me.

So... delete.

I'm now running GIMP. It's free. It seems to work. In fact it seems just like Photoshop without the price tag or piracy. Getting my raw images to open is still a bitchy little hassle, but eventually I'll get a workflow again.

So here's three shots I took the other day, that I've finally got through veiwing and editing.







Methinks I could avoid all the hassle by upgrading the camera rather than the software...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Stripe Project: Day 5



No standing? I came to a full-on halt yesterday.

What do I do when I find out I've been shafted by somebody? Usually, I drink it all out and forget it in the aftermath of the hangover. The drinking lets it become not much of a problem. And the hangover... Well, let's see? ... That reminds me that health is far more important than getting annoyed at some idiot.

Oh, the joys of working with a hangover. Luckily, we had to get off the machine we were working for about an hour today, so that some other crew could work on it. Ideal time for a hung over sleep session. On the rocky, dusty ground I lay underneath the work truck, stretched out like a starfish, with a bag of rags under my head for a pillow. At the time not even a fluffy doona on a king size bed with a mountain of pillows could have matched the relief of the sleep I had today under that truck.

Hung over? Yes. It's not the drink that makes you get over something. It's the hangover that reminds you that life can be far better.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Stripe Project: Day 3

We live just around the corner from a Wetland Centre. I've been there a couple of times but have not actually paid the couple of dollars required to get through the turnstiles and into the main attraction. Instead I've spent time in the lobby area, looking at the displays and cruising the information pamphlets about the local naturist activities.

That's where I met this guy.
Let's call him Big Daddy, though for all I know currently, he could be female.



In the tank with [him] were two others, Medium Size and Little Dude. They were swimming around, active as all hell and very uncooperative. They resisted my attempts to lure them over to the other side of the tank into more favourable light. They would not show me their cool little stripey undersides for long enough to focus on them.

I will return for them later, on another lobby adventure.

So I concentrated on Big Daddy, who was content to be motionless and high and dry. [He] blinked once, but that was about the extent of it. An ideal subject. Stationery, and no complaints. Beautiful.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Stripe Project: Day 2

Our driveway is a nightmare. It is lined either side by our house and the one next door in a hell-run that ends at a gate that is a prick to open. I'm not much of a fan of gates, anyway. Maybe this is because I do not have little kidlets to send out of the comfort of the vehicle to go open them for me. Maybe I have lived in the non-dog non-gated world for far too long. Anyhoo.

Guarding the very start of this gauntlet run is a mailbox on one side and some sort of pole on the other. They're both annoyingly close to the nightmare driveway, so some sort of hazard control measures had to be put into place.



Out comes the reflective tape.

So really, to get in and out of the driveway you're still running the gauntlet, but at least now you can see the enemy.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Stripe Project: Day 1

I decided I needed a new challenge. The colour projects I did a while ago were great for opening my eyes to different perspectives. Thinking about that this morning, I've decided to challenge myself away from the idea of colour and into a favourite land for me: geometry. In particular within this category this time it is stripes.

I don't know if this one will last a week, ten days, or a fortnight. Who knows? So far, (on day one), it's been pretty exciting to see things in a new analytical light again. To tear things apart visually in search of a useable pattern. You'll see if I get bored because I'll go off and do some thing else.

I've managed to con my sister Kat into joining in. If anybody else is game for it, drop me a line in the comments.

Anyway, here goes.
The Stripe Project #1:



Let's be clear on the terminology here.
No, they are not sandals.
They are not to be referred to in their onomatopoeiac form as flip flops.
These beauties of Australian culture are known as THONGS.

A thong is not some flimsy piece of material you wedge into your arse and call underwear. That is a G-string. Consider that the epitome of the range of thongs is the highly regarded double plugger. The statement "I just bought another pair of double pluggers because my old ones gave up the ghost" becomes a little too suggestive when it's confused with flimsy material bits.

So get it right, yanks.

The thong is footwear, the double plugger is king, and the G-string goes up your arse.

Mailbox Monday

Friday, October 31, 2008

Bend over and take it

"You're on night shift."
Translation: drop your pants, you're about to get screwed.

"Change of plans - there's a breakdown at another site and you're running the crew."
Lube? What's lube? Nothing like a painful rough job is there?

"Come see us in the office when you get back."
This one's an interesting one - basically they want the story of how you got fucked. Not only that, though. This is the time of after-fuck tickling that has the potential to make you really exhausted because you only have three hours left to sleep.

Do I fight this? No. Like a good little worker whore I bend over and say bring it on.

Then you get feedback saying that in one night your crew got through the same amount of work it would have taken the opposition an entire week to complete. It's like being told you give good head. You might not like doing it that much but a compliment, knowing that at least you do a good job, makes you more likely to want to do it all over again.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Quote of the Day

Out on a mine site where everybody brings a cooler bag for lunch, Mister SexyAwesome pulls out a handful of candy canes instead.

I wasn't allowed to have them as a kid, he explains. 'Cause I used to suck them into a point and stab people with them.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Three apparent impossibilities in food production

1. Post-mix orange juice concentrate that does not produce a drink reminiscent of gastro medicine.

2. Appealing airline food.

3. Picture-board menus that actually represent the finished, oversauced sloppy mess that is served up as a burger, rather than the stylised neatly stacked fluffy-lettuced vision of the unattainable.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Time for online quizzes

I decided to waste a miserable cloudy boring morning playing with online quizzes. According to one, I am 40% interesting. That implies that I am about 60% boring, which is probably pretty near true. Then I happened across this beauty. The Personality Defect Test. Have a go, I dare you.

Your result for The Personality Defect Test...

Spiteful Loner


You are the Spiteful Loner, the personality type that is most likely to go on a shooting rampage. In high school, you were probably that kid who wore all black and who sat alone in a corner of the lunch room, drawing pictures of dead babies. You are a rational person and tend to hold emotions in very low-esteem; not only that, but you are also rather introverted, meaning you probably bury any emotions you feel deep inside yourself, like all of the bodies in your backyard. Combine these traits with your dislike of others and your brutality, and it seems that you would be quite likely to shoot innocent people in a rampage. Most likely, you also have low self-esteem. Hell, I get low self-esteem just looking at you. This is only yet one more incentive to go on a shooting rampage, because you wouldn't care if you died as a result. Granted, you probably haven't gone on a shooting rampage and probably never will, but all the motivations are there. All you need is for someone to push you over the edge, calling you names and belittling you. Like me. But don't shoot me. I have a 101 mile-long knife, you know. In conclusion, your personality is defective because you are too introverted, brutal, insecure, and rather unemotional. No wonder no one hangs around you, you morbid, cold-hearted freak!



To put it less negatively:

1. You are more RATIONAL than intuitive.

2. You are more INTROVERTED than extroverted.

3. You are more BRUTAL than gentle.

4. You are more HUMBLE than arrogant.


Compatibility:


Your exact opposite is the Televangelist.


Other personalities you would probably get along with are the Capitalist Pig, the Smartass, and the Sociopath.


If you scored near fifty percent for a certain trait (42%-58%), you could very well go either way. For example, someone with 42% Extroversion is slightly leaning towards being an introvert, but is close enough to being an extrovert to be classified that way as well. Below is a list of the other personality types so that you can determine which other possible categories you may fill if you scored near fifty percent for certain traits.


Take The Personality Defect Test at HelloQuizzy

Monday, October 20, 2008

Communication

Meet the self-proclaimed Mister SexyAwesome. According to him he can even take my ten dollar headlamp - covered in a watermark pattern of grease and grey dust - and make it look sexy. This picture depicts him exhibiting his form of greeting. It does not portray anger or frustration. This is a happy greeting. You are priveledged if you recieve one of these because it means he likes you. Otherwise you'd get ignored completely. I have another picture from a hundred metres above SexyAwesome and he still manages to greet me in this way from a distance. You can only just make his finger out in that shot, so I think it would be perfect to send to the boss as a potential aerial shot for advertising purposes. Or at least as a suggested desktop background for the company computers.

He leaves messages for me, too. We can spend all morning carving solid grease off a surface and yet he still finds a space to think of me.



I love these guys. Maybe that's because they truly don't give a shit.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I don't need to hear about your day because I read it all online.

I'm twenty-eight and I have wrinkles. I have only just realised this. It disappoints me more than scares me. Yet another failure in life. I haven't looked after my skin by lathering it in girly products that I have avoided due to lack of knowledge and pure fright at how much you have to do to "stay pretty". I'm not pretty, never have been. So no hope there.

I work in a bloke's world, but I still have to get driven to a toilet if I am in a remote location, because no matter how blokey I may come across at work, I still have to squat to piss.

I won't have children. I don't really like the idea of me raising a child in a gay relationship. Round of applause for those who do, but it isn't for me. So knock out being a mother. Besides, I'm happily in a situation where that will never be an option.

I make friends with a woman and the assumption is that I'm after that woman. I make friends with a man and the assumption is that he must want to turn me. It seems that my desire to spend the rest of my life with a partner of the same gender has intruded upon my ability to make friends. When did life become all about sex? I don't want a fuck. I want tenderness. Seperate from work, seperate from a social life, but privately intertwined into my being and everything I do.

The woman I love has just told me that I will never be able to make her feel safe. Only a man can do that.

So I'm stuck in limbo. I'm not a man. I'm not feminine. I'm neither and I'm nobody. Because I don't grandstand my past or present actions it looks like I've got nothing to offer except a few photographs and experiences that yes, you can read about online. I'm pixels arranged on a screen. A genome sequence of zeros and ones. The Binary Being.

Perhaps you can take those dots, that arrangement of zeros and ones, and arrange them so that they represent somebody who lives, breathes, sometimes laughs with happiness flowing through her entire body, and today.... hurts like all hell.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Why women make good cleaners.

I was supervising today. There is stuff all to do in this a lot of the time. Delegate the work, check it's done, do the mountain of required paperwork and cop the blame if anything fucks up. I took advantage of having little to do and squirreled away to read the newspaper for an extra fifteen minutes at morning tea. I was cosy. There was free crappy coffee (but still free). There was a space away from the sounds of welding, grinding, generators and reversing alarms on the mobile equipment. Relative peace.

It had to end prematurely. One of the workers hunted me down.

I asked him how it was all going in the machine.

Well. He says. It was all going great until the backpack vacuum stopped working. I've checked with the electricians and they say there's power definately getting to it. But it still won't work.

I looked at him, an older man who has the air of being looked after by a wife for many years. The kind of man who wouldn't have a clue how to drive a washing machine let alone an oven. The job he's been doing for the past hour is chipping about a centimetre of dust/mud off the machine flooring in one of the back areas. He's got to cover about five square metres worth of tight edges and dodgey bits with hoses running through it all. I'd figured it would take him the rest of the day to properly, because all our company sent with us was a dodgey little backpack vacuum. Normally our vacuum units take up a whole trailer.

Have you emptied it yet?

Silence.
And a look that said you have to do What?

Seriously.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Big machines: Drill part II

In theory it takes five hours for two workers to pressure clean a drill. The reality is that the time spent depends entirely upon what it has been digging into, and how long since it had it's last bath. If the thing has been drilling clay, and hasn't had a bath for a month, it'll take more like ten hours of blasting to get all the shit off it. If it's a coal drill it will all blast away really easily, even though it looks filthy. You're guaranteed to wear it from head to toe. Ears, nostrils, cleavage. Even my arse crack copped a bit last time I did a coal drill.



The ones I clean usually get parked on a washpad for us at night so they can have a bath before getting serviced at 7am the next day. This means all the chunky crap that could potentially fall on somebody, or impede them from reaching something has to blasted to smithereens. Any grease that could be a hazard to the work has to be removed, also by blasting and coating in degreaser. When we've finished climbing all over the mast - that big bit hanging off the end with the number on it - we get the thing raised up so that we can get into all the crap in underneath it. By that time it's usually somewhere near dawn. Then it looks like this:



Then we climb all over the motors and blast the crap off them. We try not to hit the little red wires snaking around the motor that will, if hit with a pressure blast, set off ten grand worth of fire system. We hose out all the crap from the radiators with low pressure hoses. We make the operator's cab (the bit with the windows) look pretty and if I have time I'll even blast out the crap from the boot brush so the operator can keep his boots clean. It's the creature comforts that count, after all.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Making Music

Dear Dive,

I first started reading you back around the time when I had a solo date with my laptop and anything alcoholic I could lay my hands on for National Drunk Blogging Day. That's coming close to two years ago now.

What really sold me was almost wetting myself while reading a post you wrote on playing New Year's Eve gigs. In the ranty viciously humourous fashion I love to see from you, that piece hit all the right points. While trying to avoid urinal disaster and gasping for air, I just had to keeping saying
Bugger it, you're so right! I was sold.

You're amazingly supportive. You comment all the time even if I seem to never answer. It was you who gave me the name Groover. From such a distance you would not believe how much of a positive impact that contact with you has made in my life.

It's important to step back occasionally and think of the positive. You have people who have never met you who love you to pieces - how cool is that?!

I've been meaning to join in your
Let's Make a Racket Thursday series since you started it. Yes, it's been an embarrassingly long time, but I'm here now. Just like a drummer I've turned up for the gig eventually.

This is one of my pieces - not a racket as such, but it's here. It's a classical guitar trio written in my first year of Uni (there'll be a few of the Uni days posts coming up - brace yourself). Citrus Twist, performed by myself, Stephen Tafra and Stephen Thorneycroft
[aka EphenStephen] in a loungeroom. For performance identification we were usually known as Totally Plucked.

Glad to see you couldn't keep away from Blogville for too long!

Cheers,
Vic

p.s. Eat plenty of curry. If life ever tries to bite you on the arse again at least you can fart back.


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Slow and Steady

Believe it or not, this little guy* was moving too fast for me to get the shots that I wanted. I had to pick him up, move him back into the sunlight, and hope the hell he went the right direction when he took off again. At least the little sucker behaved enough for this one.

[* Actually, most species of snails are hermaphrodites and when they shag, each snail with fertilise the other and they both will reproduce, so both pay the price for shagging. I think that's brilliant. Also they can mate themselves, so one snail alone in a pond can still reproduce.]



What I like about wildlife photography is that it's bloody difficult to get your subjects to pose up. There's so much chance involved, you're always going to get a different shot. I don't have a nice big fuck-off lens for my camera, so getting close is an issue. Wildlife, unless it's a variety of wildlife that's incredibly dopey or incredibly slow, tends to elude me quite often.

It's become a bit of a personal challenge to capture the wildlife at the local wetlands. Frankly I suck at it. Part of me says give up until you get better equipment. Then there's this other part, the inner teacher in me, that says for years I have urged students to get past these very sorts of obstacles. Don't give up. Be patient and persistent. Your improvements may be slow and steady, but consistent effort and thought about direction will always bring improvement. You wanna be a superstar overnight? Ain't gonna happen, buddy.

Patience, and you'll get there. Slow and steady.

Today is the day of "Hangover"

It was my birthday yesterday. I chose, in a lack of wisdom that appears to plague me annually, to end up plastered. That very special Oh shit I can't remember getting to bed kind of plastered.

Dammit. Another one down.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008

This Is Not Art

There is a festival on in town - This Is Not Art. They had a Sunday afternoon fair that I decided to go along to, somewhat for inspiration for my brain and somewhat just to sit back and peoplewatch.

There was a uniform for all the contemporary artist types in attendance.

If you're female, you must:
1. Wear stripey socks pulled up to uneven heights on the legs.
2. Wear outrageously bright leggings, with a definite favour toward flouro pink.
3. Have access to your own sewing machine and manufacture some kind of sack to wear that you obviously flaunt as expressive and arty, but in reality - it's just a sack made from your old curtains.
4. Shave off the hair on one side of your head and not bother with brushing the other side. Bonus credo for cultivating dreadlocks.
5. Sport a satchel of hand-sewn nature consisting of a patchwork of bits of other hand-sewing failures.

If you're male, you must:
1. Cultivate facial fluff. Do not shave, do not trim, do not wash.
2. Wear some sort military jacket, but avoid camouflage print at all costs.
3. Have some sort of metal bits hanging off your face.
4. Blue denim is not your freind. Wear black, black, and more black when it comes to pants.

I wandered past rows and rows of zines, wondering at how these people can happily charge five bucks for ten poorly photocopied pages of bad poetry and stick figure drawings. I wandered past jewelery stores that all seemed to make use of shirt buttons. Fancy an earring with a shirt button on it? Why thanks, that might come in handy some day. I wandered past racks of sewing machine "retro" [=sack] atrocities and hand-made political buttons.

This Is Not Art. Damn right. What could be a really inspiring festival exploring the personally defined lines between art and atrocity left me feeling like I had seen to much atrocity. As for expressing individuality, how can you do that when you all look the same?

Saturday, October 4, 2008

PhotoHunt: Sad



Juno - aka Misskin, Snothead, Furrous, Little One.
I miss my little girl so much.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Looking after "self"



This afternoon the light was good for taking some shots I've wanted to take a road trip and chase for a while. It was pretty hot, so I could also have been out swimming. There was plenty to do outside.

But I chose not to. I stuck my head under my wing and looked after myself a little. The room that had really begun to resemble that of a teenager got tidied and rearranged. I closed the blinds and cranked the music while I was doing this and danced and sang in only a pair of jeans. I organised my CDs into genre and cross-genre.

The new feeling of organisation and tidiness is calming. I unwind a lot knowing that things are easy to find and not lying all over the floor, or even hidden in cupboards and not sorted. I also unwind completely to music. Dancing and singing while listening to anything that mildly took my interest was far better than spending an afternoon outside.

Time to look after myself (in all aspects) for a while, methinks.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Not a Half-Nekkid Racket

It's Thursday. I should be joining Dive in posting my own tragic attempts at music-making. I should also be firing up the old thursday tradition of posting arty Half-Nekkid Thursday shots.

But dammit, I'm too stuffed.

Eleven hours of dragging an industrial vacuum hose around a big-arse machine in the heat of a coal pit and I'm absolutely knackered. I'm covered in grease, dust, and layers of filthy sweat. If it's this hot now, how the hell am I going to handle the summer?

Mine regulations say that we have to wear long sleeved shirts and pants of a specific design. We also have to wear steel capped lace-up work boots, a hard hat and safety glasses. Over the top of this is the usual cleaner's uniform is the disposable chemical suit. Sperm suits. Those things are like little zip-up sauna body bags. You could sell them to quite a few women as a weight loss program and probably make a mint out of it.

My clothes were wet from head to toe with sweat. It was dripping from my lip and forehead which is so unattractive I get the shits with myself for being a sweaty pig. The mandatory safety glasses fog up every ten minutes, and by the end of the day it was so hard to lift my feet with the weight of the steel caps on them that I felt like just shuffling them along instead.

Is this so hard simply because I'm unfit? Do I sweat more because I'm fatter than I should be, and unfit?

Do I have to spend hours at the gym and lose all this weight? Become a little fitness junkie in bike pants and a sports top? Do I drink less water? How do I stop from sweating so much?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sleepytime

In order to prepare for bed one must:

1. Block out weird demolition noises from unidentified source in new suburb.

2. Endeavour to fall asleep immediately due to the nagging suspicion that there may be bitey things cohabiting the bed.

3. Block out the fact that one's surrounds are in such a state of messiness that they resemble the bedroom of an adolescent, except that the papers on the floor are bills rather than maths notes.

4. Focus on the bunch of flowers recieved as a surprise left on my bed today as a warming point of happiness and content.

Goodnight.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Big machines: Drill

If somebody asks what my job is it doesn't sound all that interesting. I'm a cleaner.

What sort of image does that immediately bring to mind? A backpack vacuum with miles of orange power cord following behind like a lifeline? A trolley with half a dozen different spay bottles filled with various colours of merrily swinging off the side as I push it along? Me lazily pushing one of those scissor brooms with the fluffy shag pile rug pads on them across a big polished floor?

Well, none of the above.

I clean machines in coal mines. Here's a little one.



It's a drill. One of the easiest jobs in the list of things I've done so far in this work. What the hell does a drill do anyway? Here's one at work.



They make the holes for the blasting I posted pictures of recently. They track along, leaving little anthills where they've been and big shafts in the ground in a big pattern. An explosives truck comes along filling each shaft with fertiliser and at some point they blow the entire lot sky high. It's a dodgey quality snapshot, I know, but to the left a little and up you can just make out the trucks following this one around filling up the holes.

So where do the cleaners come into all this? Usually about 2am we set up a truck with high pressure water cleaning guns on it and two workers spend the next six hours blasting all the mud, coal dust, oil and grease out of existence with hot water and pulsing rotary nozzles. We climb all over the thing trying to work our way through a mess of hoses that are set solid in mud, clearing all the crap as we go and usually wearing a fair portion of it all in the process. Even though we wear two disposable chemical suits over the top of each other the water from the blasting will inevitably soak through them leaving us saturated.

Pressure guns are great for me. I get frustrated easily with grot that won't budge, so it's particularly satisfying to stand there with a few thousand pounds of pressure in my hands, take aim and fire, while thinking DIE FUCKER!!!

The work is grotty, the pay is crap, and the bosses are idiots. But hell am I seeing some things I would never have dreamed!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mailbox Monday

The main highway in the state snakes along the coast, where most of the population choose to reside. Over the years it's been upgraded in order to bypass every possible place of interest to stop at. Not only that, it's been split apart into two seperate roads for each direction of traffic. That's a brilliant idea for avoiding being ploughed into by the bastard travelling in the other direction who's fallen asleep from the boredom because without landmarks to keep you interested it all looks the same. However, when you have an avid mailbox hunter such as myself hurtling along at possibly more than a touch over the speed limit the dual carriageway is the most impractical invention ever devised.



A few kilometres down the road to an emergency vehicle only turning bay. A few more kilometres back in the opposite direction, beyond my target and to the next illegal turning bay. All for a shot of a surfboard turned mailbox.

Was it worth it? Fuck yeah!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

PhotoHunt: View



The views I like the best are the ones without platforms. Without man-made zones and protections so that tour buses can pull up and dump hundreds of camera-clad tourists and have their arses protected from possible lawsuits when some fat middle-aged lard stumbles on a rock and holy shit! has an encounter with nature.

I like to feel like an explorer. I like to feel that I own the experience I have with nature, not that I'm sharing it with hundreds of lardassed pretenders who are really only waiting for the next McDonalds atrocity to roll on by. I like to stand on the edge, with no platform as a barrier between me and the experience, and feel part of the danger, the raw, the wildness of it all.

The person in this picture is EspressoHead, who is shortly going to abdicate to the mossier pastures offered in Ireland. Remember these places, dude. They're all part of who you are.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Hell yeah!

I'm back, finally.

Before we moved I had a crappy internet connection, not much space, mental health issues and neighbours who would drive even the most tolerant of people toward thoughts of chainsaw massacre.

Now, I have a seperate flat of my own with space enough for a studio. Here I can practise without the fear of putting anybody off classical guitar forever. I have access to a wetland reserve virtually outside the back gate and the only neighbour I've had a chat with so far has cows and has lived here all his life. I moved to Planet Newy to enjoy the benefits of a city, but struggled with immersing myself in it considering I've come from a town that has two traffic lights and four escalators. Where we are now living feels like a compromise between city and country life, and I'm so much happier this way.

So where the hell do I start? Mailboxes? Some of the bizarre conversation I have at work? How about home science experiments? Half-Nekkid Thursday really needs to come back also.

I'm back and it feels good.

If I do not blog daily the entire world has permission to kick my arse.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

What it looks like when you blow up the earth





Witnessed recently at Bulga open cut coal mine.

If there is a blast nearby to where you are working at the time, you are evacuated to a safe position, where you can sometimes witness the shot being fired. Sentries are placed at the perimeter of the safe distance so that nobody can enter the shot zone. Radio silence is called, so that all two-way communications are ceased except for the shot firers. You can tune in and listen to it all being called and counted down while you sit back and watch.

The best thing here for me is that not only am I being paid while I have been evacuated from my workplace, I get to see some truly awesome sights (not to mention pass them on as best I can)!

Once the sentries are in place - which are just guys in four-wheel drives at every entry point to the shot zone - an all clear is given and the shot is counted down from ten. Depending upon your proximity to the shot and how deep it is into the cut you will hear it go off as a boom and a rumble. The higher up it is (this one is on the top of the cut) the better the sound seems to travel. The ground will shake for a period. Then it's called as all clear and off we all go back to work.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

At work



Meet Shooter. He's one of the guys I work with in my cleaning job at the mines. Shooter is dressed in what we typically have to wear to scrape grease and shit from places it has accumulated in massive machines - a disposable overall suit. He is doing what we spend a lot of time doing: sitting around waiting to work.

Shooter makes my day. He's a motor-mouth. He says things before thinking and is as funny as hell. He's refreshing because you can't take things seriously around him. Young, full of himself... you can't help but love the guy.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Coping mechanisms

For the last week or so I've been unusually happy. Something snapped in me on the way home from a shit day at work one evening, and I where I would normally go home and be reclusive or ideally drink it off while being reclusive, I laughed out loud instead. I laughed all the way home. I came home and danced. While standing in the kitchen eating, I danced alone. Then I danced with the dog, because he was nearby and an inoccent victim I could rope into my happiness without noticeable complaint.

Work saw a different side of me. I'll write more about what I currently do for money at another point in the week, but suffice it to say the work is shit and the pay isn't great. But I've got renewed enthusiasm and have showed more of my old self to my relatively new workmates. My old self - the one who is not afraid to be seen as a bit of a dickhead, who isn't afraid to jerk around, but also who gets in and gets the dirty work done.

In short, I had my groove back.

My first in-depth appointment with my psych was on Saturday. We talked about the ex from over two years ago, mainly. Her task for me: write a letter to the ex describing all the ways she hurt me. Not a letter to be sent, I guess, but one that lets it all come escaping out of me and forces me to put it into form. Since this suggestion I've been fighting for my good mood. I have flat points - moments where I cannot comprehend anything that is going around me, even the smallest things. It's like time slows for me into dreamlike unreality, and then I wake up from the dream bleary eyed and unable to remember exactly what it was about.

These are things I need to confront. They are going to be painful but ultimately for my own benefit. The pain is scary beyond belief. How do people going into life threatening operations cope? I cannot comprehend it. This shit is not physical, it's only my thoughts! Somehow I'm afraid to face what I know I have to in order to get on with living.

I feel between a rock and a hard place when it comes to coping. Where I would normally shut myself away and blare some weird music on my stereo, I find myself only with my laptop speakers and a tenth of my music collection. The rest - the kickarse stereo and the collection of CDs that I have accumulated over so many changes in my life - are in storage at my parents' house about ten hours drive away. I cannot go there to retrieve them, because my dealings with them are a large part of the reason I've sought therapy in the first place.

So what do I do about this letter? How do I cope with writing it? How do I bust down all the mental barriers I've put up over the two years to block the bitch out of my head? And what do I do to save those surrounding me from having to see my pain?

Monday, August 11, 2008

Mailbox Monday

It's been a while. Not that I've stopped the hunt for mailboxes - I just keep forgetting that it's Monday until Monday is over.



So this one appears to have it's own crash barrier. Did it get run into too many times? Or is the owner a go-cart driver?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday adventures

I got new toys today - a couple of filters for my camera. Naturally all I wanted to do straight away was go out and play with them. I decided to stop on the way home from the store and reef them out of the packet right there in a carpark at the nature reserve.

What did I find? Kids. Plenty of the little buggers everywhere. In prams, running around kicking footballs, throwing bread to the already fat ducks in the pond. So I wandered off in search of seclusion and nature, only to find that nature has kids too.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Air Guitar: Aussie Style



Coming to you from the Stroud International Brick and Rolling Pin throwing contest.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Preparing for battle with Boring the Great

It dons the full body sperm suit, elbow length gloves and safety glasses.

It removes the crusty acid drum from the pallet of other crusty acid drums.

It dips the crusty acid drum in the corrosive detergent goop.

It takes the high pressure water gun and sprays the crusty off the drum, usually wearing the blasted crusty bits from head to toe.

It places the clean drum on a new pallet.

It rinses and repeats for seven hours and three extended smoko breaks.

It leaves the site of the battle and heads for home.

It puts the lotion on it's skin.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

PhotoHunt: Hanging



What do you do when you take off just one of your football socks?

Leave just that one on the fence and walk away, of course.