Saturday, May 31, 2008

Friday, May 30, 2008

Random Facts

I'm still doing inductions to different mine sites. Mostly the inductions tell you the samething over and over again, with slight variations depending upon the mining company.

I was sitting through another the other day and up came a random fact. It hasn't been mentioned anywhere else I have been. In amongst the usual "the mine has a million ways to kill you" there was new piece of information for me to process.

Watch out for brown snakes.

Snakes feel vibration through the ground and tend to go away from humans when they feel approaching footsteps. The snakes at this mine have apparently become oblivious to the vibration factor, because so much blasting occurs - there's vibrations in the ground all the time.

Brilliant. They dig a massive hole in the ground to tear out all the coal that has been formed billions of years ago. They carry on about minimising the environmental impact and dust suppression when in the neighbouring towns one in three children has athsma. And now they producing a supersnake.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Choosing a band name is a pisser of a task.

You sit around, you think about it. You spit out something half decent, and everyone sits around and thinks about it. Nobody commits. Especially when it is a new band where the members aren't completely comfortable with each other yet. I don't want to be seen as the veto stamp for every new suggestion, so I sit back and appear to think seriously even if my first reaction is I will never appear on stage with that name, get yourself a midi backing track, because you don't have a bass player any more.

I'm picky. I don't want to be in a band that starts with The. It's overdone - successful, but overdone. I don't want to work under a name that screams we should playing at some spoilt little turd's birthday party somewhere between the rent-a-clown and the jumping castle. Nor do I want to work under any name that ends with z. Leave that sort of thing to the tryhard metal wannabes who think that tone is a Boss Metalzone pedal with all the knobs turned to flat out and that your status as a guitarist is directly in proportion to the size of your Marshall stack. I also wish to be spared from the cheap lounge hell of being "Somebody" and "the Someones". Exceptions will of course be made, if it is in the name of taking the piss.

I once played in Slippery Kitty... misprinted on the promo material as Slippery Titties. My favourite name so far was one chosen from a headline in a trashy women's magazine in the final half hour before our first gig together. It narrowly saved us from being Vinyl Revival or the guitarist's favourite suggestion of Professor Whittaker's Chunderbucket. He's been wanting to use the band name for years but it has never eventuated. I wonder why.

In an effort to avoid the truly terrible fate of working under a name that I don't like, I'm throwing the doors open for suggestions. What the hell would be a good name for a band that plays covers for the dancing pub-goers? Does it really matter when the majority of your audience is going to either be monumentally stupid or plastered or a combination of the both?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Take Five

Apologies to Dave Brubeck. This post isn't about his music at all.

I've started another job, for an industrial cleaning company that mainly contracts to coal mines in the area, to clean the big machines while they are being serviced. The work is shitty, grimy, dusty, greasy, and any other adjective you please that can translate to filthy.

Before you are allowed to set foot on these sites you have to complete an induction regarding mine safety and procedures. It's three hundred and fifty dollars worth of open book test, truly shitty sandwiches and having to give a urine sample. Luckily I didn't have any of the coffee provided prior to giving the sample - it would have registered as a toxic substance. The mines have a million different ways to kill you and the coffee is the first example of that.

After a morning of shitty powerpoint presentations I became a Restricted Isolator. What does that mean? I have the power to use a red padlock. Not a black one - they're for Isolation Officers. Not a yellow one - they come in their own special box, which in turn is locked with a blue padlock. Colour confused yet? I'm allowed to place my red lock in one of two specific places and that's it. The placing of the red lock is so embedded in procedure that I'm surprised you don't have to wave incense in the air while you're placing it, back away three steps and pause while praying to gods of mine safety.

The rest of the day was devoted to paperwork procedures. Somebody somewhere has decided that humans think better in acronyms. Every fucking procedure has an acronym or a "catchy" (ahem) little saying and a multi-step procedure to go with it. That's great once or twice, but for every fucking piece of paper and every fucking footstep you make it becomes a bit much. I have to "adopt appropriate Line Of Fire behaviour" upon entering a mine site. What does that mean? Watch where you are going. Bugger me. Intead of explaining the definition of Line Of Fire, it would be a lot easier to just say "This place has a shitload of ways to kill you. Watch your step."

Before doing my work I have to fill out a Take 5 booklet, a personal safety record that identifies all the hazards I may come across and the steps I will take to reduce or eliminate those hazards. Stop, Think, Identify, Plan, Proceed. Five steps to safety. Easy, until I get on site for the first time after all this training. I stop, I look about and I think this place has a million ways to kill me. Where do I start? I might slip on some grease, go arse over and fall off a four storey machine. I could be on the ground and get struck by somebody else who is in the process of going arse over and falling off a four storey machine. The hydraulic lines could suddenly decide to develop a pinhole when I am near them and inject fluid into my body. The fucking sun could fall out of the sky. I could stop and decide to have a coffee.

Procedure, acronyms, catchphrases, paperwork... and all we needed to be told was this:
Open your eyes, be safe... and don't drink the coffee.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

If you go out in the woods today...

The weekends are becoming a hobby project of looking up old railways. This has the potential to become a socially threatening addiction, however it's in the embryonic curiosity stage and can be easily contained. If it spreads beyond weekends and starts to include some serious library time I think some action will need to be taken. A night of good music venues, good friends and plenty of dancing should bring me back in line.

It came about that I wanted to see one today. I was shown a portion of the track from a 4WD. Now, I've not done very much time in one of these vehicles. I'm more used to dragging my arse along the ground in a Subaru than anything else. The realm of the 4WD enters something new into my passenger experience... height. Firstly, how the fuck do you get into it when there's no steps? Trucks have ladders on the sides. This courtesy should be extended to the smaller vehicles that still escape my normal height range. Once I get into it there's another world. Things that loom scarily in front of the bullbar suddenly disappear under the wheels. Inclines that I would be pissed off to attempt on foot flash by easily. All the while, though, my inner short person is screaming. I'm in a box, hanging on for dear life because nothing is on my level any more. It's now in the world of below. More than that, you get to view below from a variety of angles depending upon the track.

There was a portion that was better done on foot, so I went back. It was a nice, easy stroll. A one way stroll on a set of railway tracks through a pocket of bushland. To get back to my car I was looking at covering the same ground. BORING! thinks Vic. Let's make this interesting.

So I wandered away from my rails and onto one of the many bike tracks through the bush. To me, the Australian bush is a wonderland of life. The squiggly tracks left on the gum trees, the way the bark lifts from their surfaces and curls before falling in a litter around their bases, the way the light plays through the sparse cover their leaves offer... it's all beautiful to me.



Look a little closer in that litter and there's another world of beauty and colour... fungi. I don't know enough to identify these things and don't currently have enough inclination to look them up. I'm looking for two kinds when I go hunting: interesting and pretty. All other details are unnecessary.



Meanwhile, the sun has slowly been plotting a course to come up behind me again. The path I have chosen to wander starts to go full circle. Even worse, it develops a tendency to wend it's way back and forth across a water course involving some steep gradients. Bastard, thinks Vic, and Vic starts to wish for it to either meet the railway track again or meet a road. The sun was getting lower, threatening to take my directional reference with it, and my track had more bends and convolutions than a bowl of spaghetti. Bastard.

When I got to the road, finally, I discovered I was a mere six hundred metres from the point where I had turned around to return in the direction I'd come from. In all the time I'd been wandering this spaghetti trail that was the outcome. Fuck this, I thought. I sat down and called for a lift back to my car. Selfish, yes. Lazy, yes. Lucky it hadn't got dark? Fucking oath.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Evolutionary dead ends

I read this morning that there has been a new jellyfish discovered. It's been described as an "evolutionary dead end" - no ability to sting and no ability to swim. It moves by gliding along the seagrass. What captured my interest about it? The thing has its mouth on the underside and its anus wrapped around its brain.

Bingo!

I once had a girlfriend like that. She was a starfish in bed. And she's this jellyfish in every other way.

What is it with dykes and sea creatures?

Adventures with Gayman



What does Gayman do when he comes to visit me in my new home of Planet Newy? Brings a big fuckoff list of art galleries and accompanying Google maps to find them with. He was a man with a plan, and a camera. We've spent days trouping around this awesome and diverse place looking at angles and reflections. Hell, we even spent time looking at light fittings.



Typically I climb things when we are on excursions. I look for new perspectives and am quite happy to clamber all over stuff in search of them. Maybe that's because I'm short, I have to climb to see what the hell everyone else sees. But there's an element of child that comes out in me when I'm on an excursion with friends, too. If there's kid's play equipment I'll be on it or in it. If there's a stash of beer kegs I might be hiding somewhere in the middle of them. Somehow I am more happy to behave like a complete idiot when I have an audience.



The things that hold us together are the things we share in common. Despite holding often vastly differing opinions, three people can spend an afternoon in pursuit of a common interest and have a brilliant time.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Strange things



Gayman has appeared in Planet Newy.

Apologies for the lack of posting. I have been otherwise occupied with art gallery excursions and the pursuit of things rainbow.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Fake Cow Subterfuge

Some fake cows choose to hide their identity in order to avoid detection.


Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Fake Cow Escape Methods

The town of Shepparton, VIC, has recently been rated by a current affairs program as one of the worst places to live in this country. I only spent an hour or so there, and given the small hick fruit picking town I'd dragged myself away from to go visit this one... it was damn near a city. Fuck! It had an Art Gallery! And coffee shops!

Apart from being home to the SPC cannery (where all the fruit I was working to pick at the time was being sent), Shepparton is littered with fake cows. And they're proud of it. The fake cows are allowed to roam freely in the public areas, in fact they're a main attraction. This appears to be how they got there:

Monday, May 5, 2008

Mailbox Monday

And now for the budget version:

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The one that didn't get away


Dive posted recently about sighting a rogue fake cow dressed in the robes of a member of the House of Lords, in the middle of London.

I came across a bunch of these escapees a while in Shepparton, VIC, which I'll post later in the week. But even more recently a day trip to the Hunter Valley (home of wine, gorgeous cheese and addictive ice-cream) revealed that the threat of fake cow escapism has been identified as very real, and that measures have been taken to insure against further rogue expeditions.

This fake cow has been punished for the rogue adventures of it's kind and has been condemned to a life of chains and slavery as a doorkeeper at a tacky gift shop.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

PhotoHunt: Time

For today's PhotoHunt I thought I would freeze time.



Time was purchased in discount warehouse shop. Time stopped working approximately five minutes after leaving the store, therefore the freezing process had no determinable effect upon time itself.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Back on the Wagon

Meet the King of Lounge Slumber.

This shot mirrors how I feel I have been treating blogging. I look back at what I've written over the past couple of months and it's... nothing. I seem to have lost my words and my ability to spit them out coherently. It's not that there's nothing to say, it's that the ability to flesh it out into a full-blown post from a thought has up and walked away from me. Even the prospect of posting a half-naked picture seems to be uninspiring lately.

Thinking back to where I started blogging it was much the same. I wanted to be part of this community, but really had nothing that I felt was important to say. I started posting daily anyway, and it became such an important part of my life. Fuck, it's through blogging I've met my girlfriend. It's been a fucking HUGE part of my life. So why have I lost the drive?

Possibly I'm wrapped up in my new surrounds. Possibly I'm a little more captivated by the prospect of stealing a kiss from somebody I love. Possibly there's so much going on in my surrounds that is unfamiliar to me that I haven't find a zone to concentrate in yet. But I think the solution is far more simple than these excuses. Life has gotten in the way? No. Pure and simple, I'm out of practise.

So the self-imposed challenge to post daily is back. There might be pictures. There might be blurts and rants. There will be drivel and plenty of it.

Hell, one day I might even be funny.

For now, back on the wagon.