Saturday, July 29, 2006

Stephenson's Falls in the Otways

A painting based on sketches at Stephenson's Falls in the Otways is presented here. I did it some time ago and found a photo I had taken of the painting. The colours were not the best and I've played around (anything to put off doing housework) with the pic using photo edit - negative, edge, and cutting a section.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Our little protest against Westfields' greed

The story made page 5 in the Geelong Advertiser with a pic. I'm hiding behind the 'No' poster. The Premier however rushed past and didn't stop for a discussion, intent upon meeting faithful Labour Party members inside, then going to a $150 a head fundraising dinner. Now I'm not a leftie feral and rarely protest but we really don't want this flyover bridge. Quote: 'Both Geelong's early and current planners who contributed and protected wide north-south streets in Geelong city with a frontage of Corio Bay, and a stunning viewe of ships at anchor and of the You Yangs (mountains) will be kept faith with if Yarra St is not built across.'
At least I had a good discussion with the Premier's personal driver so I hope he told Bracks about why we were there! I think the organisers of the protest should have informed the Premier's office about our little protest so that he would realize we are not a rabble lot.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Westfield - the love of money or a view of the sea?

The love of money or a view of the sea?

Not satisfied with the huge profits they are already making, Westfield want to build a bridge over Yarra Street, Geelong, blocking out our view of the sea, so that they can build more and more shops and make even huger profits!

Tomorrow evening there is a protest at 6.30 p.m. when the Victorian Premier visits Geelong. Not that he is not a nice bloke, but the final say may rest with people outside Geelong.

How much money does Westfield make?

quoted from their website:
The Westfield Group has interests in an investment portfolio of 120 shopping centres valued in excess of A$52.1 billion (US$38.2 billion) located in Australia, the United States, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. These shopping centre portfolios have strong positions in their local markets with geographic, retail and economic diversity providing a strong and consistent income stream. The centres are located in prime trade areas, anchored by long term tenancies with major retailers and incorporate a wide cross section of high quality specialty retailers and national chain store operators.

Westfield Shopping Centre Portfolio1
Australia United States New Zealand United Kingdom Total
No. of centres 43 59 11 7 120
Total gross leasable area million sqm (million sqft) 3.4
(36.6) 6.0
(64.6) 0.3
(3.2) 0.3
(3.2) 10.0
Retail Outlets 10,900 8,700 1,400 800 21,800
Asset Values
(billion)2 A$20.4 US$16.3 NZ$2.2 £3.0 A$52.1

No smoking in the hospital or grounds so

As there is no smoking allowed within the Geelong Hospital or their grounds, both staff and patients who cannot wait, just stand in the street. Okay, it ain't a pretty sight, especially those two pregnant gals.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Sculptures in Geelong along waterfront

There are numerous sculptures located around Geelong city, including 'North' by Mark Stoner, at the waterfront. It's shaped like fins. Another sculpture is like curling grass-like spikes on the walking trail around Western Beach, designed by Tanya Virgona and Mark Trinham. The most photographed sculptures are the hundred and more wooden bollard carvings of historical and humorous characters in Geelong's history. These have been made from the wood in old piers by a local artist, Jan Mitchell.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Two favourite poems - by Yeats and Auden

from Wendy
Two favourite poems
I don’t have the blues, but these two poems seem to sum up some experiences we have in life or observe in the world today. No pics with these because words are enough. The Funeral Blues was used in the film ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’.

Funeral Blues

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message "He is Dead",
Put crêpe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policeman wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come of any good.

The second poem is by W H Auden

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of "Spiritus Mundi"
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Harmony Day in Geelong and Diversitat

from Wendy
I received a postcard in the mail today from Diversitat with the pic of Harmony Day in Geelong. This is a great city for multiculturalism and our Geelong Ethnic Communities Council (now with the tradename Diversitat) has been active for about 26 years. Peceli and I go to the Council meetings to represent the local Fiji migrant community and friends. The main event each year is of course Pako Festa.

Remember the old hippy catch-cry - 'Think global - act local'? Well, it's still relevant. I'm joining a women's interfaith group in Geelong and tomorrow morning a Muslim woman will speak about her life.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

/Fish oil pills or fatty fish?

From Wendy
There’s a lot of advertising and discussion on our TVs about fish-oil pills or fatty fish. Well it seems to me that we ought to eat fish rather than go down the track of visiting pharmacies and health-food shops!

I buy lots of cans of sardines at $1 each from the cheap no-frills remainder shop called ‘Not Quite Right’ which is only a few blocks away. Okay, the name sounds dodgy but we just check the date etc. Also tuna by the can every week. I’ve hardly ever taken pills in my life and I don’t want to start now.

Anyway I checked out some internet sites and some are really about selling products, but others give medical and nutritional information. We apparently do need certain substances such as Omega-3 Fatty Acids to maintain health – that is found is fatty fish. There are references to Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, heart disease, etc. The chart is from
Of course the good things given to us from the fatty fish are probably counteracted by the kind of oils we sometimes cook fish in!

Table - Food Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Food Serving Size Omega-3 Fat
Atlantic Salmon or Herring 3 ounces cooked 1.9 grams
Blue Fin Tuna 3 ounces cooked 1.5 grams
Sardines, canned 3 oz. in tomato sauce 1.5 grams
Anchovies, canned 2 ounces drained 1.2 grams
Atlantic Mackerel 3 ounces cooked 1.15 grams
Salmon, canned 3 ounces drained 1.0 gram
Swordfish 3 ounces cooked 0.9 gram
Sea Bass (mixed species) 3 ounces cooked 0.65 gram
Tuna, white meat canned 3 ounces drained 0.5 gram
Sole, Flounder, Mussels 3 ounces cooked 0.4 gram
Wild Catfish, crabmeat, clams 3 ounces cooked/steamed 0.3 gram
Prawns 6 pieces 0.15 gram
Altantic Cod, Lobster 3 ounces cooked/steamed 0.15 gram
Trout, Orange roughy 3 ounces cooked <0.1 gram

Saturday, July 15, 2006

The wattles are blooming

from Wendy
In July-August each year the wattles are in bloom, adding patches of yellow and gold to the land. The other day we drove to Ocean Grove to visit friends - before Peceli took off for a long holiday in Fiji - and noticed hundreds of wattles already out.
Here's a sample of types of wattles - but not from my camera but from google and flickr. I guess, wattle is our national flower.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Classical music in the Mall and skinny palm trees

from Wendy
The compulsive obsessive councillors of Geelong love to lay down bricks and pavers in fancy patterns, pull them up again, plant rows of trees, pull them up again, disrupt traffic for six months, create dust in the shops. Ah, but now they try to calm the nerves of shoppers, especially what they term as Mall rats, the lovely unemployed teenagers, by playing classical music in the Mall! I was delighted (?) to hear a piano tinkling above the intermittent rush of water from the gushing fountains that thrust water at our feet every five minutes. It was Mozart! A girl at the counter of the Reject shop said, 'I have to put up with it all day long! It's awful!'

Now, I do like fan palm trees (called iri masei in Fiji and the leaves are used for making dance fans) and they look okay down at the Geelong waterfront, young trees, but someone has planted some lanky lean giant ones in front of the Flight Centre in Moorabool Street. These are skinny with a tiny little topknots of leafage. Will they survive in our modern streets? They certainly look bizarre to me.

Monday, July 10, 2006

TV program 'What's good for you"

There's a very good TV program on every Monday night here in Oz. It's called 'What's good for you' and it examines common beliefs about health, nutrition, illnesses.

Missed an episode of What's Good For You? Find all the stories featured on the show in our archive.
• Does mixing drinks cause a worse hangover?
• Can a chill really cause a cold?
• Does an apple a day keep the doctor away?
• Does reading in dim light ruin your eyes?
• Can watermelon seeds germinate inside your stomach?
• Is a glass of red wine a day good for you?
• Are cockroaches as dirty as we all believe?
• Does a siesta improve work performance?
• Do our bodies need eight glasses of water a day?
• Can you start using your brain to stop losing it?
• Are eggs bad for your heart?
• Does stretching before exercise prevent injury?
• Does hypnotherapy work or is it all in the mind?
• Does eating crusts make your hair go curly?
• Can spinach make you strong like Popeye?
• Is it better to use an electric or manual toothbrush?
• How much exercise do you need before you start burning fat?
• Can humans can only hold their breath for three minutes?
• What's on next week's show?
• Can eating carrots help you to see in the dark?
• What's the best way to drink water?
• Which technique is best for treating insomnia?
• Should you wait an hour after eating before swimming?
• Michael Slater
• Leila McKinnon
• Dr Andrew Rochford
• Does chocolate really give you pimples?
• Can you cut mould off food and still eat it?
• How much sleep do our bodies need?
• Why do certain people attract mosquitoes?
• What's the best way to treat a bluebottle sting?
• In search of the perfect hangover cure...?
• What's the best surface to jog on?
• Does sugar make children go 'hyper'?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

million dollar view of Geelong

from Wendy
Well, the Geelong Gallery guys are excited as they think the three million dollars needed to purchase the painting is almost there. The English composer Webber will be an even richer man!

Peceli and I went for a drive to Montpellier Park, the highest point to overlook most of Geelong city and some suburbs to do some sketching. I wanted to get a similar view to that of von Guerard in the 1850s - but as Geelong is today. Well, it wasn't easy as there are thousands of houses and the Barwon River is mostly hidden by the rise and fall of the land. I don't think I'll bother to do a $3 million dollar new painting after all!

Here are some pics - I. the von Guerard painting
2. my view of Geelong a. 3. my view of Geelong b. Put them together and they are views from a similar place that von Guerard painted from, though he was a few miles further away from the sea.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

John Smith an old biker from God's Squad

from Wendy
John Smith an old biker from the God's Squad

Yesterday I joined an elective with guest speaker John Smith, famous as the founder of the God's Squad Christian bikies in the 70s. The son of a preacher man, John distanced himself from the formal Methodist church of his youth and reached out into the community of hippies, bikies, dissidents in the 70s. Today he is still on speaking tours, even to businessmen, and his position has shifted a bit to endorse core values in Australian life. So when he said 'Multiculturalism has a dark side' one of the women near me really got excited and demanded an explanation! What did he mean? His answer was that though he is a cultural relativist (after studying for his doctorate in Lexington, Kentucky) he says that we need to retain core values in Australia rather than be compromised by every kind of religious/cultural idea that comes our way. (We in Geelong, a few years ago, had loudly protested when the ultra conservative gang of Pauline Hanson wanted to set up a branch in Geelong. She was the red-haired fish and chip shop lady from Queensland who had railed against migrants and even Aboriginal people! And then her ideas were taken up by many of the Liberals!)

One of the things John talked about was suicide - of both young and old people, mainly because of a lack of meaning in their life or a broken relationship. He emphasised that we all need to find a meaning for our lives.

He now reckons the 'cult' of self-esteem which focuses on self-improvement, is not the way to go.

He still criticizes the church that wants a safe place rather than a sacred space and he reckons the church is mission.

The topic given for his talk was 'Australian Spirituality' but did he actually get to it? He wandered here and there with anecdotes, one-liners, anthropology quotes; and sometimes said something about Australia as perhaps a barren landscape where seeds of hope need to be planted. He emphasised that people want hope - and that the song All you need is love, ought to be All you need is Hope.

In Kentucky someone asked him 'Are you a Christian, or do you love people?' - as if they were opposite!

He was critical of the American style of mega churches where millions of dollars are spent on lavish buildings and he doesn't like most of the pop music they use. He said that cancer has taught him that fast cellular growth is not healthy. His preferred model is John Wesley, Francis of Assissi, Paul and Jesus with bands of lovers of people telling stories and art to the people. Often one to one talking.

He talked about New Age religions and the way spirituality is a buzz word these days with so many TV programs on seances, etc. Even the BBC guys interviewed, in all seriousness, an 'expert' on angels. The woman said that if you worship the Goddess you will have your bills paid! Fringe ideas are now mainstream, so where does that leave the Christians? He says 'religion' is not a bad thing because the real meaning of it to make sense of life's experiences, and to live with a purpose.

John just used his passion and voice. There was no Powerpoint presentation loaded with words and diagrams, no whiteboard, but we got the drift of an aging hippy, still with a concern for ordinary people, particularly those in the underbelly of society. He still wants to tell the story of Jesus as the Christ. Many people in Australia are searching or facing death so ask penetrating questions. That's where we Christians ought to be. Talking to them.

Monday, July 03, 2006


from Wendy
I'll try and do some drawings today of hands - in some spare moments during an Ecumenical Conference on Mission at Wesley Church. Meanwhile here are some interesting photos I found about hands; the first one is of the hand of the Dalai Lama.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Too much golf - no time to blog!

Some parties in Geelong

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Fathers nurturing role and March of the Penguins

from Wendy
This morning our interim minister was telling us about his enthusiasm for the National Geographic film ‘March of the Penguins’. He made a parallel between the care by the fathers in keeping the eggs warm as the females go away for two months searching for food. The male emperor penguins huddle and take turns in the centre, slowly moving to give everyone the chance to be really warm. Taking responsibility. Sharing responsibility. Working as a group.

An hour later when he had gone on to lead in worship elsewhere and we were drinking coffee and eating cakes (left over after the dance for people with a disability) a stranger came to the church crying. A young man with a toddler in a pusher. His partner had just left him and he had no food and no-where to live and wanted to go to his mother in Queensland. Two of our men consoled him, gave him money, and we gave him a tray of rich cakes – that’s all we had!These days, it seems to be the guys having a hard time in breakups and some end up nurturing the young rather than the mothers!

The movie:
After laying a single egg, the females make their perilous return to the fish-filled seas. The males are left behind to guard and hatch the eggs, which they cradle at all times on top of their feet, even during blinding blizzards. After two months, during which the males eat nothing, the eggs begin to hatch. But if the mothers are late returning from the ocean with food, the newly hatched chicks will die. French director Luc Jacquet followed the extraordinary journey of the penguins. Here is part of an interview with him.

How would you describe the overall theme of the movie?

I wanted to tell things more as I felt them, rather than try to describe them as a scientist. It's about the struggle between life and death. It explores the outer limits of what is possible for a creature to experience. The penguins live where no other creature can. This is what struck me the most. How do they do it? How do they manage?

Watching the movie, I was particularly struck by the fragility of the mating ritual and the lives of the penguins.

Obviously life is threatened by the slightest things, like a hole in the ice. The penguins make this incredible journey, and then everything can fall to pieces in an instant. Many don't make it. In one second, everything can be lost, and then you have to start over the following year. I wanted that [sense] to be central throughout the story—that there's never really a safe moment for the penguins.
Why do they return to the same place every year for their mating ritual?
There are four sites around Antarctica where the penguins go to mate, and they share the same characteristics. They have stable ice for the whole breeding sequence, and they are also sheltered by icebergs that can break the wind and make for somewhat easier conditions. These are like small oases.

Climate change is a major concern facing Antarctica. Why did you choose not to include any reference to the impact global warming has on the continent?

In my opinion, the best way to protect the planet is to get people to like it. One protects what one loves. It's obvious that global warming has an impact on the reproduction of the penguins. But much of public opinion appears insensitive to the dangers of global warming. We have to find other ways to communicate to people about it, not just lecture them.