Saturday, January 31, 2009

Friday, January 30, 2009

I've been messing about in Flickr groups quite a lot recently. Through a local contacts group I've come across a few interesting people. There's also plenty of ones that I would never bother meeting, but that's the same in the wider world as well, I guess.

Anyway, one of the better local contacts invited me to join another group. It's sadly addictive - a group where a theme or technique is decided by anyone, and then three photos need to be submitted to match that theme. After that, the members vote on the submitted photos. To me it's a great way to review other works and learn more about what I like. Also I've submitted a few and been surprised by some of the results. You only need to get five votes to win a round, but that's five votes that I had no idea were out there for the things I see and take pictures of.

Most of the challenges are decided by the first person to post a photo in that round. Usually somebody pops up and chooses "sunset" or "rocks" or "rusty" and really doesn't put too much thought into setting a real challenge. Everybody has sunset photos. We all think they're brilliant. Probably most are pretty good, but come on. It's not difficult to get a good sunset shot. The sky is doing the work for you there. That said, though... I still love a good sunset and I'll shoot them as much as I can.

I jumped in first on one of the challenges in order to be the person who decides what it's going to be. Here was my challenge:


Full Circle: Grass Eats Cow

The moderators removed it, and changed the theme of the challenge.


What the fuck???

So it's not your happy clappy shot. So? It's a fucking skeleton. There's no maggots (though if there were some around I would have shot them, too). To me it's a visually interesting combination of hide, skull and grass. If you wanted to be completely trite about describing it you could say a celebration of the continual cycle of life in nature or something similarly profound.

Close-minded arseholes, I say.

At least I didn't post this one:

Water Bird

The whole thing amuses me more than pisses me off. But it gets me to thinking...

If we approach photography, as well as any other art form, as a means of historical documentation why the hell are we always obsessed with recording the happy bits? Do we seriously want a historical record that says everything was peachy for us? What the hell will the next generation learn from that?

I would much rather see photos of destruction and things that are not readily available to my eyes than pictures of your gappy-toothed grinning sprogs with ice-cream smeared on their faces. A picture of a screaming child is more emotive, and more informative about that child than a posed-up PixiFoto Santa session. Do your kids seriously spend all year grinning hopelessly? I fucking hope not. They'll end up more shallow than Paris Hilton.

When I introduce music composition to students the first thing I discuss with them is intent. If you want to write a piece that inspires your audience to visualise every nightmare they ever had, go for it. If that's your intent. If you want to write a piece that makes people get up and leave the performance in disgust, go ahead. If that's your intent. If you want to write a piece that makes your audience visualise skipping down streets lined with picket fences, bursting blooms of flowers and bright sun, go ahead and do just that. You're most likely to find though, that the pieces that have more depth of emotion have more impact.

So why expect any different in photography? Give me reality any day.

Bones and all.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Quote of the Day

via text message from KelSuperStarSinger:

How are things in the land of vic? You haven't blogged forever!
I miss your wit charm and crap.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Be not estranged from your booty,
lest you need to shake it."

- Kaz Cooke, The Little Book of Crap

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bring It On

I love a good comments fight. I've never been truly harassed but honestly sometimes I'd welcome the opportunity to get in and get sharp with my words. Last year I had a person calling themselves "Devil's Advocate" who challenged me on a few things in my comments. Those were brilliant days. I was filled with fire, checking my email constantly, waiting for the next move in a war of words with an unknown enemy. It was an exciting dance of debate and sticking up for what I believe.


Recently I posted this photo in my Flickr photostream. One person commented, which is nice considering I don't often get many comments. Until you look at it. Here we are:

only a BONEHEAD would leave that old junk there .. please clean that up or tell somebody to recycle it .. in canada you get paid cash for bringing in scrap metal like that to the metal recycler

Oh yeah. Game on, buddy.

I checked this person's photostream just to see what they were interested in. It must be set to private, because access is denied. That just makes this person another "anonymous". Somebody who feels happy to leave comment on somebody else, but not expose anything of who they are.

Game on.

Because I left it there, you are implying that I am a bonehead.

It would be better that you know the situation before you attack somebody in the way that you have. True, the person who had the trouble with the tyre should have taken it with them, but you are saying also that a bushwalker who finds it should lug it all the way home with them.

Ask yourself where the line is between rubbish and relics. If you found a shack going to ruin out in the bush would you jump up and down about it being recyclable? Or would you view it as a relic? As a photographer, I would rather observe, take a picture and leave. That is my perogative.

I appreciate your care for the environment and think that it is admirable. Your decision to sling around names such as bonehead, in caps no less, is less than appreciated. Constructive criticism of my work is more than welcome. Names are not.


I'm somewhat disappointed with my reply. Hindsight says that it could have been far better constructed. I'm out of practice.

The funny thing is that apart from this one all you seem to get for comments is Beautiful shot. I'd much rather being called a bonehead. At least there's some thought behind it (misguided though it may be). Plus it means Word War. But what happened to constructive criticism? What about qualifying why you thought it was a beautiful shot?

Anyway. Somewhere out there is a person who called me BONEHEAD. Indeed, my brain is protected from harm by a skull made of bone, but that is beside the point. I hope and wish for this person to take up their sword and join the match.

Bring It On.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

What Is It Called? Revisited

Just over a week ago I posted a challenge of sorts. Guess the name of the machine correctly, or make me laugh enough with your guess, and you can have a prize. As a recap of sorts, this is the bucket that it lifts and loads dirt into waiting dump trucks with.

There were a few answers. All are worthy of mention, so here goes...

Ms. Avarice thought it was a giant dump truck. This thing loads into the rear dump trucks, and is pretty stationary comparatively. A rear dumper will drive off with a load somewhere, back up and dump it off an edge before driving away for the next load. This machine is the step before that happens. Nice try, though.

Jude says It must be called "the big fuckin dipper" or maybe "the big fuckin bucket" or how about just "the big fucker". The dipper is the reference more for the bucket pictured above, and the two "sticks" that it operates upon. It is an immense machine for the type it is - I've been told it's the largest in the world that does what it does. There are, however, plenty bigger different machines out there.

missjoestar deserves a highly commended for calling it a digger. Some do, so you're right in a way. But digger refers to excavators, loaders and other similar machines, too.

Now onto the prize-winners.

The person(s) masquerading as alannah actually incorporates two winning answers from two people who've featured long term on this blog.

kelsuperstarsinger with Im the big fuck-off truck... Honey, you're miles off by calling it a truck but since you've given it it's own theme song and matching dance I can't resist. For you I'll bring a guitar along when we meet up for Ani Difranco and I'll play whatever you want me to.

Zac, better known to long-term readers here as IcePick answered the question with Zac's DICK. Impressive, honey. Still doesn't do anything for me except inspire a little jealousy, though. For your impressive... answer I will honour you with a prize of Jaegermeister and Red Bull, because obviously you need to keep your circulation rate pretty high.

And finally, the answer that had me laughing for days.

Dive says That's gotta be called Miffy.
What do you want, Dive? Let me know.

As for what this thing is really called: It's an electric face shovel but most commonly referred to as just a shovel. Shovels work with a completely different action to excavators, and take a lot more in the bucket - meaning far less time to load a dump truck, but far more stresses on the machine. The one I posted pictures of, I've been told, is the largest electric face shovel in the world. The thing is about twenty years old and nearing the end of it's life. It's machine number at that particular mine is 331. No longer. Thanks to Dive, it will always be known to me as Miffy.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

More evil than ever before

This site is certified 44% EVIL by the Gematriculator

"The Gematriculator is a service that uses the infallible methods of Gematria developed by Mr. Ivan Panin to determine how good or evil a web site or a text passage is.

Basically, Gematria is searching for different patterns through the text, such as the amount of words beginning with a vowel. If the amount of these matches is divisible by a certain number, such as 7 (which is said to be God's number), there is an incontestable argument that the Spirit of God is ever present in the text. Another important aspect in gematria are the numerical values of letters: A=1, B=2 ... I=9, J=10, K=20 and so on. The Gematriculator uses Finnish alphabet, in which Y is a vowel.

Experts consider the mathematical patterns in the text of the Holy Bible as God's watermark of authenticity. Thus, the Gematriculator provides only results that are absolutely correct."

The results I got are based on the posts I've made this year. Last year's posts got me a rating of 33% evil, whereas the year before got me a 34% evil rating. My conclusion from that is that last year was pretty under the weather for me, and I've bounced back in more than fine form this year.

Monday, January 5, 2009


Things that make me smile. Just a few among many:

1. Hugs
2. A mischievous look in the eyes
3. Fresh sheets
4. Fresh towels
5. Chicken
6. Playing music, listening to music. A good bass riff. A nice guitar tone. An interesting drum fill. The sound of a brass band. Playing guitar in the dark.

All of these things, and more.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Bass Porn

Who needs girls when you've got guitars and drums? says guitarist Dive from Small Glass Planet, after having a therapeutic jam session with drummer brother Full.

Well, guys. You do need girls.
A girl.
With a bass.

Now I haven't picked up my bass in a while. Not working with a band made it seem pretty pointless bringing the old beauty out. But oh how do I miss it! I only truly realised when I cranked it up, pumped out a few favourite riffs and started moving around the room like the old funky idiot I used to be.

Living in the vicinity of a brilliant photographer helps for getting some truly gorgeous shots of what it looks like when you thunk out an open E. Many thanks go to Kate for the use of the pictures she took today.

Meanwhile I was more occupied with grooving away, getting reacquainted with Big Daddy, my long lost ballsy friend who only really gets cranked up beyond a quarter when I have a gig. Shame.

No, I wasn't going to let it go to have a smoke. I can do two things at once, thankyou. Actually, I worked pretty hard on drinking beer and playing also while I was gigging pretty regularly.

Kate's suggestion was to send me over to Dive and Full via the post, in a cardboard box.

So what's the verdict, guys?
Would you adopt the female bass player if the mailman brought you one?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Dialectual Text Messaging/Quote of the Day

I have one friend who is absolutely brilliant at conveying their tone and manner of speaking in a text message. Their own personal dialect, presented almost phonetically in a text message.

Now normally I detest poorly spelt and punctuated text messages. But this person is brilliant. If you've ever read and respected Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting for the written imitation of the Scottish dialect of the characters, you might know what I mean. This message describes the way that this person speaks so much that you can hear it in your head as you read.

Here is a prime example:

U bitch and tell bill i said get fukd. I nearly believed u ay that was a good 1 u had me goin ay

Brilliant is all I can say.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Spider and the Spiderettes

There was a spider in my kitchen sink today. Now, I don't know what everyone else does in this situation, but what I do is approach the spider's inability to scale the sides of the stainless steel as a perfect opportunity to study the little beastie.

This one has a lumpy, ugly, hairy back. Why the hell do you have lumps? I say aloud to the hopelessly trapped arachnid. On that I leaned a little closer and squinted at it. The lumps all over my captive's back were not lumps at all. They were baby spiders. Spiderettes. Hitching a lift! Lazy little fuckers.

I reached toward the trapped traveller with the ride-scabbing spiderettes and immediately two or three bailed out. Ah-ha! They know when they've been busted skiving a free ride and they try to do a runner to get away from the hand of Vic.

The interesting thing is that the ones that bailed were easily able to scale the sides of the sink. If all of them left the shelter of the back of their host, and went out on their own they would find freedom is just at the top of the stainless steel. Yet these spiderettes insist on hanging on the idea of somebody else giving them a ride out of there, effectively weighing the ride down and with their laziness, destroying any chance of their own salvation.

There's so many parallels to human life that can be drawn from this.

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Last night I intended to see the New Year in alone, camping somewhere picturesque. The idea behind it was to set the tone for the year. That is: Fuck everyone. The focus is on me." That is:- what I want to do, what I want to see. Want to come along? You're welcome. Anybody can come along. If you don't want to? Fuck off. I don't care about your reasons because they're not mine to deal with.

Anyway, the bosses that be decided I should fulfill my obligation to be at work early on New Year's eve, and be back early on Friday also. A lovely picturesque camping trip with a deadline just isn't the same, so I stayed at home for the big night. Tired, but relaxed knowing that there was a day off to be had today.

I contemplated getting dressed up, walking down to the train station and kicking back to watch the fireworks in the city, but tiredness was a major factor. No way am I going to get there, not be able to deal with people because I'm tired and cranky and make it all the way back home again. It just wasn't a sensible option. I kicked back and raised a few vodkas to myself, and before I knew it the sleepiness had kicked in and it was only ten. I set the alarm on my phone for eleven thirty, lay my head on the lounge and "rested my eyes".

The alarm woke me up to hear the revelry of the street. I said a quiet Happy New Year to myself and had another doze on the lounge again.

Around six this morning I woke up feeling alive and empowered. Why? This is my year. Mine. I will see the things I want to see and wait for nobody. It feels as though there are waves of energy coursing from my fingertips. That I have the Midas touch. Will there be obstacles for me? Of course. But in the spirit of parkour the obstacle will become part of the landscape and could represent a launching point to a better line of movement.

Fuck everyone. This is my year.