Thursday, November 30, 2006

Let the game go on

from w
In Fiji the army and police play rugby this afternoon as if nothing is amiss, so this picture reminds me of that - just play, forget about the world out there.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Playing with pictures - a distraction from more serious topics

from w.
Using Photoedit I played around with two pictures I did - one at Point Lonsdale which I posted about a week ago, and the second from a one minute sketch I did a few days ago outside Deakin University waterfront campus, overlooking a pier with a weird scalloped roof.

the nostalgia of shearing sheds

from W
I received an invitation today to go to the opening of an exhibition of photographs about shearing sheds. Isa lei. The nostalgia of the topic. My father managed two shearing sheds in Swan Hill - both on the edge of town, south and north. As children my four brothers and I played in the yards, in the sheds, and joined in with the sheepdogs droving sheep. In Geelong where we now live, there were large woolstores as this city was a port to send bales of wool away. These days, the Deakin University campus is located in one of these buildings and the National Wool Museum in another. I swear that when I walk around either building I can smell the lanolin and dags and hear the murmur of sheep!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Damien Leith with a voice like an angel

from W
We watched Australian Idol final - now they carry on a bit with it - but it was a pleasure to watch two great young people sing - a lass from Darwon with a cheerful smile - Dad from Indonesia, Grandma Aboriginal, and then Damien Leith the guy from Ireland who will become an Australian citizen early next year. He can sing songs that range from Nessun Dorma to Cohen's Alleluia and has a very sweet falsetto.

Damien Leith wins Idol By Erin Mcwhirter
November 27, 2006 01:36am
Article from: AAP

DAMIEN Leith may not be an Australian citizen, but the nation has adopted the Irishman as its own, crowning him this year's Australian Idol.

In one of the closest competitions in the history of the Network Ten program, the chemist and father of one beat Northern Territory schoolgirl Jessica Mauboy in tonight's finale held at the Sydney Opera House.

Scooping victory in the fourth series, an overwhelmed Leith said winning was going to take "a long time to sink in".

"Definitely the night of my life; it has been absolutely incredible," said the emotional 30-year-old at a press conference following his victory. "I am humbled to have had this to have happened to me."

Leith hails from Newtown in Sydney and is originally from Ireland's County Kildare, south-west of Dublin.

"I have found the last 10 to 15 minutes hard to take in ... very emotional."

Leith's spine-tingling version of Nessun Dorma, from the opera Turandot, was tonight met with a standing ovation from the 3000 guests inside the Sydney Opera House hall, including his parents, brother Darren and wife Eileen.

"Tonight, win or lose, that was definitely the moment for me," he said.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A favourite song - from St Saens

from W
It's from St Saens actually and revamped in the 70s. I guess it's a wish we have for humankind, not just for an individual.

If I had words to make a day for you
I'd sing you a morning, golden and new
I would make this day last for all time
Give you a light deep in moonshine.

Friday, November 24, 2006

For Moody and Tooners - eleven weird things...

For Moody and Tooners – eleven weird things….
from W.

I..Though I’m a woman and my place is ‘in the kitchen’ or so I’ve been told, I have never baked a fruit cake, a christmas pudding or made a pavlova.
2. I never buy dresses, skirts, tops and jackets because people give them to me.
3. My handbag is filled with things like stones, feathers, a sharp vegetable knife one time, and actually isn't a handbag but a tapa designed cloth shoulder bag.
4. I take off my spectacles to read.
5. For ever I have collected pictures, stories, cut up newspapers and magazines, and made scrapbooks and won a prize of $600 in the Women's Weekly once time for telling them I chop up their pages.
6. I walk barefoot in the house and garden and have feet like a Beqa firewalker. (An island in Fiji where they can walk on hot stones.)
7. I think I’m a Pacific Islander but when I look in the mirror and see my beige skin I know I am not.
8.I can sing or hum a long piece of classical music but can’t remember what I promised to do this afternoon.
9.I dream of an Irish castle, horses, wind and storm, and people singing around a fire.
10. I went to Fiji when I was 23 instead of going to Paris.
11. I make up stories about real people I meet, then don’t know what is truth and what is fiction.
PS I will NOT be told what to do. If some-one says to do ten things, then I do eleven!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

photos from the archives of Fiji club in Geelong

Yesterday the local Fiji community was given an award for participation in Diversitat, formerly Geelong Ethnic Communities Council.
Two photos used in the local Ethnic Community Council's website:
I. Labasa choir in Geelong about twenty years ago
2. Footscray friends performing at Pako Festa this year

And, a dance group from the Altona Meadows Fijian congregation who are practicing to perform in next year's Pako Festa.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Narana Indigenous Garden

from Wendy
Last week I was at Narana and walked through the peaceful Curragundi (waterhole) indigenous garden and drew two of the emus there (behind a fence actually).

It is very dry at present and the waterhole half empty. The garden was reclaimed from 2 hectares of farmland in 1996 and is a testament to the recovering strength of nature. It includes a wide range of food source and medicinal plants, whilst surrounded by the aroma of native eucalypts. Kangaroo grass were collected by the women to be crushed into flour for making damper, which is a bush style bread cooked in hot coals. The Bottle Brush is a beautiful flowering trees. In the early morning the flowers were collected and soaked in water to make a sweetened drink; but you had to beat the birds to them. The River Red Gum was used in many ways. Canoes, shields, boomerangs and spears were made from the trunk and branches. A Hop Goodenia bush with leaves that were used as a pacifier for babies on long distance travelling. The leaves helped keep them calm whilst their mothers were collecting food, etc.

Image left to right: exterior Narana Creations; ceiling of the Yingally Worark Gathering Place; rock paintings along the Yingally Wor-ark Tracks. Mural and Tracks created by Brian McKinnon, Cindy Alsop, Donna Goonan and Pat Tolputt.

School children at Sacred Heart College in Geelong have developed an indigenous garden. Cindy Alsop, an artist fron Narana, has painted a Reconciliation Rock which is used to show the coming together of many different cultures both in Sacred Heart College and also in the wider community. The eagle on the Rock depicts the Great Spirit Bunjil, the Creator Ancestor of the Kulin Nation peoples of central Victoria, which includes our local Wathaurong area. The circle represents a campsite or meeting place and the "U" shape represents people.

Monday, November 20, 2006

surprise in a quiet corner of the garden

from w
Near the telephone line box in a quiet corner of the garden there was a surprise for us this morning. Four of them actually. The ugly ginger cat that roams between three or four houses is the cats' mother I expect as she's often in our back yard. A couple of times today I noticed she was on guard before running for a gap in the fence. The kittens look about three weeks old and must have been very quiet because they are actually under our lounge room floor. I'm waiting now to confront the neighbour! I dislike cats at any time. Now if it were puppies, that's a different matter.

The six children two doors down want their kittens back! The Mum had been looking everywhere for them the past four weeks! So Mum and daughter came and had a look but the kittens went deeper into their home under the house. Maybe tomorrow morning we'll coax them out.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Coconut trees - three versions

from Peceli

Stand of banana trees in Geelong Botanical

from w
No fruit but several banana trees are located within the Geelong Botanical Gardens. I did a feltpen sketch of a section of them a while back, the day I went to the lecture on botanical drawing (something which I just cannot do) but it was a messy picture and today I added paint. It's still a bit out of control.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Pine Trees Eastern Park Geelong

from W
There's a stand of pine trees near the entrance to the Geelong East Golf Course in Eastern Park, ten minutes walk from here. The picture was A3 in size so here it's divided into two - made with pen and crayon. I had to divide it because my scanner is only A4.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Age cartoon regarding G20 meet in Melbourne

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Home sweet home before the drought

The garden was flourishing then but now the grass is almost dead and the flowers unhappy. We did have light rain for a day and it snowed in Ballarat and on the outskirts of Melbourne - Crazy weather as it is near to summer.
It's an ordinary house, weatherboard underneath some kind of fake brick. Some former owner put up a name-plate 'The Manor' - so I don't know what he or she was thinking!

G20 in Melbourne - should we protest?

A website says:
Bring your creative ideas to the Carnival Beyond Capitalism
Sat 18th november, Meet 12 noon, State Library (Swanston St)
Parade to Carnival Site! |

Cabaret / Bands / Roving Performers / Puppets / DJ’s / Really Really Free Market / Dance Troupes / Speakers / Theatre / Guerilla Gardening / Mobile Sound Systems / and YOU!

Colour, costumes, street theatre, art, puppets ... the Carnival Beyond Capitalism needs your creativity to help Melbourne innoculate itself against capitalist-led globalisation, quarantine the G20 virus, and build infection control through celebrating alternatives such as the Really Really Free Market.

This will be a safe community space. All welcome. Brings flags, costumes, banners and respect. etc. etc.
from w.

But I wonder how safe that space will be. They will probably not stay at the grounds outside the State Library but move on towards the Hyatt where the G20 meeting will be held. And going by past similar events, there will be clashes. Some of my friends went to the S11 a few years ago, also in Melbourne. Already several blocks in Melbourne city are almost in lock-down in anticipation of the meeting.

Why is the G20 regarded as so bad? A gathering of the top bankers, capitalist organisations of the world will meet at the Hyatt Will the agenda be to keep their nest-eggs, even make them bigger, or to share a little bit with the real needy people of the world?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Two couples at Point Lonsdale

The day I made this sketch I wrote a story. Two couples in the picture. Three couples in the story. Fictional of course!
from w.

Paradise Point

The sea music pulses with my heart beat, but as we reach out for bliss we find that the grasp is foolish because we are flawed; then the hollowness comes again, inside us, like the threatening of nausea never resolved.

A damaged pine tree grows beside Beach Road at Paradise Point, ugly from the repeated loping, branches cut off square and awkward like flat plates. In front of the tree sit the elderly couple, and not far away a boy and girl curve into each other on the grass.

You and I sit up to a table, facing different directions. You look at the dreadful tree, try to draw the ugliness, and I stare at cloud shadows on the flawed grass before changing my focus to look seaward. I think of my widowed friend and the anguish when her husband went missing.

‘That’s where Mick leapt into the sea,’ you suddenly say, not unkindly, and you are reading my thoughts as you often do.

I watch the young couple in jeans and sports tops who seem to be oblivious to holiday families wandering below them on the narrow strip of sand. They are a self-absorbed couple just as we were once, not knowing that the knife-edge of experience will eventually change them. We once sang in the sunshine too.

The girl’s blonde hair touches his dark head and their sunglasses clink. His arm curls around her buttocks, massaging ownership. Because of the cool day, they wear warm clothes, but her sport stop is short exposing her freckled back. When the wind changes, a newspaper flutters on the grass then lifts in the air before falling again. The young man suddenly stands up and leaps towards a car. I hear her utter an angry obscenity as she runs after him.

I watch the elderly couple who face one another glumly as they sit up ramrod at a green pine table. A hat is clamped over her primped curly hair. She brushes crumbs from her pleated Fletcher Jones skirt and her feet are restless in her strappy white sandals. Her large white handbag is placed primly next to the woven plastic picnic basket. He wears a cap, giving him a jaunty Irish look but his mouth looks sour as he doodles on the table. When the wind changes, they pack up in a hurry and though she struggles with her walking stick, he does not lend a hand.

You and I do not talk at all after you say, ‘Go away. Go somewhere else. You are disturbing me.' Your gesture of irritation knocks a plastic bag of mandarins onto the grass. Two mandarins are eaten, their peel left drying. Seagulls swoop down then change their minds.

When I wander off and sit near two bent ti-trees in a hollow of darkness, I notice a tree split by a gale and when the branch is shorn from the trunk there is a dull red wound shaped like a human heart. I think of Mike’s widow and the three children, now adult, who are still confused. He had leapt when the police were closing in on him – after the scouts had spoken up.

The rains starts and we run for the car. Soon it will be teeming down, loud as a rapturous ovation after a performance.

It is not that Paradise is an illusion but that it is so transitory. Bliss can never be contained, captured, enclosed and held. As we look, Bliss moves like a bird across the water, gliding in an arc of beauty then it flies away beyond the Point.

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Great Ocean Road - built as a memorial

from Wendy
We are fortunate to live where the Great Ocean Road starts - and goes all the way to Warrnambool. Fabulous scenery, a winding road, forests meet the shoreline. It was actually built by returning Diggers from World War 1 - 3000 of them, cutting out the rock with pick and shovel. last Saturday was Remembrance Day, November 11th.

Jenny Brown wrote a fine article entitled 'The Greatest Ocean Road' for the November Royalauto magazine. I've 'borrowed' two of her photos and I hope I got them up the right way! The Great Ocean Road was opened in 1932 and the most famous part of the road is the Twelve Apostles - which is now down to about eight at last count. More info here.

The little town of Anglesea is part of the Ocean Road and I'm posting two sketches in the Anglesea area and also a photo I took after a bushfire in the vicinity.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Why do some people love fancy gates?

Drumcondra is a suburb in Geelong, nicely situated overlooking Corio Bay from the western side. Houses are mostly well-cared for and larger than those in meeker locations like us in Newcomb. Price-range would be $600,000 to $1 million perhaps. Some have fancy fences and gateways. Why have statues of lions at the gatepost I wonder?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Manipulating a painting: some techniques work, others do not

Using my small painting of mangoes I tried out different effects using Photoedit to see if other mediums work better. I tried - stamp, negative colour, and chalk and charcoal.
Perhaps the original painting is best because of the truer colours of the mango, although I liked the colours of one which turns the fruit to red with a purple background. Looks more like persimmons then. The stamp and chalk/charcoal pictures seem too heavy-handed.

What would Monet think about the technology today that can turn a pic into something different in ten seconds?

Monday, November 06, 2006

When Kingston Rule won

from w.
Melbourne Cup Day is on today and punters are putting their bets down, some will win, most will lose.
Back in 1990 Kingston Rule won. Our lads were teenagers then and though I'd never been brought up to go to races or to bet, well they had a go. One put down $250, one $50 and one $20 - all on Kingston Rule. What a day to remember when an hour after the race they each went down to the TAB or whatever it was called and collected - $350, $1500, and $4500!

The pic is of Kingston Rule winning at Moonee Valley prior to his Melbourne Cup win that year.

And where is he now?
Kingston Rule, who scored the fastest metric Cup time, is 20 years old but still standing as a stallion to a select few mares at Ealing Park Stud, in Euroa. The stud became his new home following retiring from the track where he is said to be still in great nick. Although lazing about most of the day, he still covers a handful of mares for connections in the hope one day he can produce a star.

Do elephants belong in zoos?

from W.
A few days ago a consignment of elephants arrived at Avalon Airport, 20 minutes away from Geelong, on their way to Melbourne zoo. Usually the only jumbos at Avalon are the kind the fly!

There has been much controversy about moving the elephants from Thailand. The pictures showing how they were transported from quarantine and of three of the new elephants at Sydney zoo. I really don't like animals in enclosures at all, but on the other hand our children and grandchildren delight in seeing the animals face to face. What do you think about elephants in zoos?

An article about the story repeated in several newspapers.

Thai elephants touch down
November 05, 2006

FOUR more elephants have arrived in Australia today, bound for local zoos after a controversial journey from Thailand.

The elephants touched down this morning in Sydney, where one will be transferred to the city's Taronga Zoo, before their chartered Russian plane heads to Avalon Airport near Melbourne, to drop off another three this afternoon for Melbourne Zoo.
The male elephant being taken to Taronga Zoo is called Gung – meaning "prawn" and will rejoin four females from his herd who arrived on Thursday.

The elephants are part of a group of eight that finally left Thailand in June, after court battles from animal rights protesters in Australia and overseas caused their journey to be delayed.

They have been held in quarantine on the Cocos Islands, about 2,800km north-west of Perth, for the past three months and are coming to Australia for a breeding program.
Zoos Victoria chief Laura Mumaw said in a statement that the three elephants going to Melbourne would help ensure the species' survival.

"We are very excited to be welcoming the three new members of our elephant family as part of the Australasian zoos' conservation breeding program," she said.

The three elephants heading to Melbourne – Dokkoon, Kulab and Num-Oi – are all females, who will form a social group with two other elephants already at the zoo.
The RSPCA has opposed the decision to bring the elephants to Australia because of concerns for their welfare.

RSPCA Victoria president Dr Hugh Wirth has said the weight of scientific evidence goes against the decision by Environment Minister Ian Campbell to allow their importation. "In allowing this importation to proceed, Minister Ian Campbell and the zoos involved have condemned these elephants to a life of suffering in captivity," Dr Wirth said recently.

Despite more than 100 years of keeping elephants captive, Australian zoos have never bred an Asian elephant."The elephant is a precious and endangered animal, not a tourist attraction," Dr Wirth said. "Taking elephants away from their home and family groups in Thailand, and sticking them in a zoo in Melbourne, is no way to contribute to elephant conservation."

But Mark Williams from Taronga Zoo scorned such suggestions. "That is absolute nonsense. They have been cared for the whole way. They have been looked after to world's best practice," Mr Williams said.

Another article:

THE arrival of four Asian elephants from Thailand has not been a walk in the park, but the animals took to the stage like pros in their first public appearance at Taronga Zoo yesterday. A few excited children and a large media throng gathered at the new enclosure, where the four female elephants celebrated their long-awaited arrival with a roll in the dirt.

The animals are among eight elephants that began the journey from Thailand in June and have been held in quarantine on the Cocos Islands. Two years of court battles, animal rights protests and long periods in quarantine delayed their arrival, but the elephants showed no signs of worry as they explored their new surroundings.

The new enclosure, part of a $25 million project to bring the elephants from Thailand, consists of several paddocks, an elephant barn and two wading pools, one with its own waterfall.

Ben Britton, then elephant manager, said their arrival could not have gone better. "They're doing extremely well," he said "It's very emotional seeing them all here for the first time. it's a really special moment after all this time."
A male elephant will arrive this weekend as part of Australia's first Asian elephants breeding program.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Rock, scissors, paper - a favourite game in disputes

from W
A game our adults kids used to play actually comes from Japan. It was a way to end a dispute over which TV program to watch, or who will buy the fish and chips at the shop across the road etc.

Actually, wouldn't you just like to see the Fiji Commish playing this game with Frank? Or Lai and Frank? When they have their one-on-one meetings it would be excellent, in my opinion.

Rock, scissors, paper from Wikipedia

Rock, Paper, Scissors, also known as Rochambeau, Ching Chong Cha in South Africa and in Japan as Janken, is a hand game most often played by children. It was designed in Japan at the end of the nineteenth century and it was transmitted from Japan all over the world in the twentieth century. It is often used as a selection method in a similar way to coin flipping, Odd or Even, throwing dice or drawing straws...

Game play
The players count together to 3 counts, most commonly either using the name of the game (e.g. Rock! Paper! Scissors! or Ro! Sham! Bo!) or simply numbers. At the end of the third count, the players simultaneously change their fists into any of three "objects", which they then "throw" by extending it towards their opponent:
Rock: represented by a closed fist with the thumb resting at least at the same height as the topmost finger of the hand. The thumb must not be concealed by the fingers. Note: To accommodate different throwing styles, it is considered legal for the first knuckle of the thumb to point downward.
Scissors : is delivered in the same manner as rock with the exception that the index and middle fingers are fully extended toward the opposing player. It is considered good form to angle the topmost finger upwards and the lower finger downwards in order to create a roughly 30–45 degree angle between the two digits and thus mimic a pair of scissors.
Paper: is also delivered in the same manner as rock with the exception that all fingers including the thumb are fully extended and horizontal with the points of the fingers facing the opposing player. Use of the "vertical paper" (sometimes referred to as "the handshake") is considered exceptionally bad form.
The objective is to defeat the opponent by selecting a weapon which defeats their choice under the following rules:
1. Rock smashes (or breaks or blunts) Scissors (rock wins)
2. Scissors cut Paper (scissors win)
3. Paper covers Rock (paper wins)
If both players choose the same weapon, the game is a tie and is played again.

Typically, the game is played in a "best 2 out of 3" match.

One of the first tricks learned by a Rock-Paper-Scissors novice is to hold back a throw of paper until the last possible moment to dupe an opponent into believing that one may actually be throwing a rock.

Anyone seen the movie No. 2?

One of the Fijian women in our little cultural group recommended the new Kiwi film No. 2 and said, 'Hey Wendy you would love it!' About a Fijian grandmother in Auckland though the actress wasn't a Fijian woman. She is a bit slender for a bubu (grandma) I think! So I hope to go later today or sometime tomorrow - perhaps avoid the big horse race in the afternoon!!!

Found two bits about it.

No. 2
Starring: Mia Blake, Ruby Dee, Taungaroa Emile
Local Distributors: Buena Vista International (Australia)
The story of a mischievous matriarch and her dynamic mixed race Fijian-New Zealand family. One hot summer night, Nanna Maria dreams of her childhood in Fiji. She summons her grandchildren home and demands they prepare a feast at which she will name her successor. Set in the vibrant, unpredictable and physically expressive world where duty and celebration are the purest expressions of love, "Number 2" is a universal story about the unique Pacific culture.

From New York Times
No. 2 2005-New Zealand-Drama, Comedy

A spirited older woman decides to bring her quarrelsome family together for a party in this comedy drama from New Zealand playwright-turned-filmmaker Toa Fraser. Eightysomething Nana Maria (Ruby Dee) was born in Fiji, but has spent most of her life in New Zealand, where she lives in a run-down but beautiful house on Mount Raskil with her fully grown granddaughter Charlene (Mia Blake, Charlene's young daughter, and Erasmus (Rene Naufahu), another adult grandchild who has a drinking problem. One morning, Nama Maria wakes up early and decides the family shall gather for a celebratory feast, complete with a roast pig. However, Charlene and Erasmus understand just how tall an order this is -- Nana has two sons, Percy (Pio Terei) and John (Nathaniel Lees), who can't stand one another and barely tolerate their other relations, while grandson Tyson (Xavier Horan) has made a name for himself in business and would rather spend time with his girlfriend from Holland than see his uncles. But somehow Nana Maria's children, grandchildren, and even some great-grandchildren are rounded up for the occasion, some lured by her promise that she will announce who will inherit her estate after she's gone. No. 2 received its North American premiere at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

edited Wednesday Nov 8th

Well, we saw the horse race then went to the movies at Readings. It was a delightful family kind of film, funny, sad, occasionally dramatic. The main actor, though not a Fijian woman, was credible as the bubu(grandmother). Of course the various family members didn't look too Fijian to me - Maori, Samoan, and others, but the story of a Part-European family originally from Levuka had all the elements of the migrant situation, the loss of language and customs, and the homesickness of the old woman. There was a pig to be slaughtered and roasted on a spit - but not a lovo. Sai Levuka Ga - the song, came in and out of the story-line. A nice touch. We sang along quietly - we were the only ones in the theatre (after all it was Melbourne Cup afternoon!).

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Three soft toys for a grandchild

When my granddaughter came for a visit recently I pulled out these old soft toys - a puppy, Mr Squiggle and - I think - a gay Humpty Dumpty. She only really liked the puppy which went in the car with seatbelt in the back seat every trip we made to the playgrounds. They did NOT go back to Fiji on the plane with her - and together with helium balloons in the lounge room, they are reminders of a lovely visit.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Three mangoes from Footscray Market

from Wendy
When I arrived home from our writing group, I noticed that Peceli had bought three mangoes with the vegies, fish and pork from a trip to Footscray market. (Then he went off to golf!) Well, I would have to be quick before they're eaten so I hastily made a watercolour picture. The strange green mug without a handle is of course used for cleaning my brushes! The sulu on the table is actually blue and white but I couldn't find a tube of blue paint!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

watercolour of forest recovery Brisbane Ranges

from W
I tried to make a watercolour picture based on the sketch made on the roadside last Saturday when we drove through the Brisbane Ranges. Found the grass trees difficult to paint. Needed a dry brush I think.

Playing with pics

from W.