Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Traffic in Melbourne

from w
On Tuesday Peceli and I had a task to do in Camberwell, Melbourne, which would normally involve a trip of a bit over one hour by car. But this was peak hour in the morning and it was raining heavily. Then from Laverton to the West Gate Bridge all vehicles crawled, started, stopped, for about forty minutes. The return trip was bad also with very heavy rain and a continuing flow of traffic.

So the following article in today's Age is rather incorrect, in my opinion. I think that driving in Melbourne can be extremely frustrating. To say that Melbourne is second best for motorists is crazy!

I wonder how far down the list Suva comes as driving there is pretty bad because the drivers are disrespectful of others, to put it mildly. I remember one taxi driver, after being cut off suddenly when a car veered ahead of him, yelling out in a falsetto and then chasing the car up to the next lights, still yelling, until we told him to calm down and get us up the next hill or so safely to Namadi Heights.

Commuting pain more of a niggle
July 1, 2010
MELBOURNE is second only to Sweden's capital Stockholm for a stress-free drive into work, a survey of 8200 motorists in 20 cities around the world has found.
IBM, which sells automated tolling, traffic prediction and congestion charging systems, has released its third ''commuter pain'' survey. Drivers in five continents were asked how stressful their drive to work was, and its impact on their health and lifestyle.

The survey ranked each city based on the economic and emotional toll of being stuck in traffic. Stockholm had the least painful drive of the cities studied, followed by Melbourne and Houston (ranked equal second), then New York City. Twenty-six per cent of Melbourne drivers said there was nothing frustrating about their trips. And the longest that drivers in Melbourne said they had been stuck in traffic, over the past three years, was 30 minutes - the shortest of any world city. The morning gridlock on Melbourne's worst bottlenecks such as the West Gate or Bolte bridges or the Eastern Freeway, paled in comparison with Moscow, where drivers said they had been stopped in traffic for up to 2½ hours.

In Beijing, 248,000 new cars were registered in the first four months of this year. In that city, 69 per cent of drivers have encountered traffic so bad in the past three years that they turned around and went home.

Drivers across the globe were asked what they would do with their time if free-flowing traffic reduced their travel time: 16 per cent said they would spend more time at work.

IBM's John Hawkins said that while Melbourne had well-managed roads, a booming population would mean the challenge of keeping the city's roads working would get tougher. ''You can't build your way out of congestion, you build a new road or a tunnel and it gets filled,'' Mr Hawkins said.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures released yesterday showed Melbourne's population was growing more rapidly than any city in the country. Melbourne's population may be between 6.5 million and 7.5 million in 2051, the ABS predicted.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Drawing of rocks, reeds, water

from w
Yesterday there were a few hours of sunshine and Peceli got out into the garden and potted and planted about twenty large leafy plants. Then he suggested we go out sketching and have lunch somewhere - Balyang Sanctuary, Ocean Grove, Buckleys Falls (probably no water) and I said, well there are rocks and water at Barwon Edge, a newly discovered eating place/receptions. So we walked around the pond, sketched, and then had huge scones, jam and cream with cappucino. Here are some results.
I am constantly surprised by the different shapes, colours, patterns in nature, and also surprised by the way technology can change a simple drawing A3 in size made with an ordinary blue biro, and later with a black biro. How technology even adds colour when I use Photo-edit reverse colours and so on. Okay, all this messing about keeps me away from housework. With Peceli now home, it has been a lovely but busy week including some meetings - Rotary, Diversitat and church tasks.

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

For those who are not soccer fans

from w
The household here have been watching some of the soccer matches e.g. Australia or New Zealand even though it seems to be a game of scaredy cats compared with Aussie rules or rugby. However for those more interested in tennis, here is a match to behold and deserves a few cartoons!
from the Age this morning:
Longest ever match suspended at 59-all June 24, 2010 - 6:34AM

Play has been suspended in the longest tennis match ever played as France's Nicolas Mahut and John Isner of the United States came off court at 59-59 in the final set at Wimbledon.

"Nothing like this will ever happen again, ever," said an exhausted Isner.

"I don't know what to say."

Isner had match point at 59-58, but Mahut fired down an ace to take it back to deuce, before going on to win the game.

At 59-59 and 9:10pm (0610 AEST) with the light fading fast, match officials tried to suspend play, though Isner wanted to carry on.

Spectators yelled "We want more" on Court 18.

"Ladies and gentlemen, due to darkness, play is suspended," the umpire announced.

A drained Mahut said: "We played for too long, I don't know how many hours we played."

© 2010 AFP
and from The Guardian...Over nine hours in length, with more than six hours of it the absurdly epic final set, it remains unclear which player will crack first, both holding serve continuously in the final set, but it was Mahut who implored the officials to take the players off shortly after 9pm as he could no longer clearly see the ball.

Even before the players began warming up shortly after lunch they had already played out something of an epic, which ended on Tuesday evening tied at two sets each following, even then, 45 games of thunderous tennis.

Even then, no one expected what was to follow. Isner and Mahut proceeded to play out the longest single set, and match, ever seen, the hulking 6ft 9in Isner also taking the Wimbledon record for the most aces in a single match for good measure, slamming more than 90 past his comparatively diminutive 6ft 3in opponent.

As news of the epic spread around Wimbledon, ever greater crowds packed around the stands, while BBC2 abandoned games involving Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic to focus on what would otherwise have been a relatively minor encounter between a little known duo. Mahut, 28, is more of a journeyman, ranked 148 in the world, against his 23rd seed opponent, one of the biggest – and hardest-hitting – players on the tour.

The atmosphere around the court changed slowly from excitement to wonder and finally a slightly hysterical disbelief.

As the players dragged themselves across the court with increasingly leaden feet following a day that reached temperatures of 28 degrees, the TV commentators began to sound worried. "Something surely has to give?" Boris Becker asked in seeming desperation.

The winner is due on court for his second round match later tomorrow, presuming a conclusion is eventually reached. The loser will have to be consoled with a cheque for £11,250, and maybe immortality as a future Trivial Pursuit question.
And another match, this time played out in Canberra, Australia may be a short game, love-forty. Ms Gillard may be the next Prime Minister!
And by 9.30 a.m. even without a vote, we now have Prime Minister Julia. Interesting times ahead.
(posted Friday morning) The tennis match is over now. At the 2010 Wimbledon Championships John Isner defeated Nicolas Mahut 6-4, 3-6, 6-7(7), 7-6(3), 70-68 in the longest ever tennis match. The match lasted 11 hours 5 minutes.

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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Three poets in Geelong

from w
Yesterday the Geelong Writers hosted a visit of three women who write very exciting and thoughful poetry; Patricia Sykes, Diane Fahey and Jordie Albiston, all quite different with the focus on healing, family connection or disconnect, the environment, myths, legends, identity and the land, strange true tales. They read from their work then later answered questions from the audience. The Geelong Writers group meets in various locations and yesterday we were at the Shearer's Arms Art Gallery studio so the room was backgrounded with paintings, easels and tables covered in paint!

A sam;ple of their writing: Diane Fahey wrote about Narcissus in her poem 'But First...' and here is one verse.
Support me in those healing waters,
plummet me one depth more than I can bear,
give me aspiration, give me tranquillity;
give me the nerve to fail, the curiosity
to go on nd on and on.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

No longer a Zen Garden

from w,
Again and again there are images in the papers of the Bay of Mexico and the terrible enviromental damage which does seem to be a metaphor for our times. Perhaps I am a soft sookie greenie/leftie after all, despite my Dad being asked, at one time, to stand for the Mallee seat of the Liberal/Country Party.

When reading the Age A2 section of the newspaper today, two writers seem to be connecting – one is Robert Drew who writes 9referring to a book by Wells(:…the ethical questions raised by Wells strike a familiar chord: power and technology outstripping moral control, with disastrous consequences…

Then Michael Leunig writes, when thinking about Gaza : A prolonged darkening injustice that is massive and obvious reaches a stage where the collective psyche begins to buckle –as if natural forces beyond human reckoning are coming into play… It becomes a type of environmental catastrophe… a moral fault line that has to slip. In the meantime, morbidity, cynicism and mistrust seep insidiously into the ecosystem of normal human affairs and the words of US president John E. Kennedy are recalled,’…the fruits of victory will be like ashes in our mouths’

If only God’s rumoured justice and mercy would come and sort it all out peacefully –and perhaps label things more clearly.

Not satisfied, ever, I'm moved away from the simplicity of Zen to a fantastic garden,a fantasy, maybe I need to put in some fairies at the bottom of this garden. Just made in a few seconds by overlapping quite different digital images. Click on a picture to see it larger if you wish.

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The kind of garden I would like

from w
Instead of the rampant jungle of a garden that we have, I would really like a kind of Zen garden with the emphasis on plants like bamboo, water trickling, interesting pots. There's a lovely Leaf and Stone garden shop behind the Wintergarden cafe and I took some photos there yesterday. Here are some of the results - not as quiet as the original photos though. We have an opportunity to do something different in the garden after a kind friend gave us a pile of cuttings and some Asian kind of plants. Now we want a few sunny days to get out into the potting shed.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Interfaith art exhibition

from w
The sun came out about midday so I went into town to the Wintergarden to viewe the Iranian and Chinese art exhibition which was lovely and more interesting than 'gum trees'. Exquisite little pictures and calligraphy, jewelry, large paintings. I met Mr Pakzamir who came to Geelong from Iran and he showed me some of his calligraphy. Several works in the exhibition had references to the Bahai faith. On Saturday there will be a special time for visitors and artists to meet.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Local father and son the Hendersons

from w. Last night we watched the final of 'Australia's got talent' because this year some of the acts are really good and the winning dance group, Justice Crew, deserved to win. However second and third places went to Geelong father and son singers/songwriters/ Cameron and Taylor Henderson. They come from a tiny village on the outskirts of Geelong, Ceres, and the 17 year old lad goes to International College. Dad has a building firm. Pictures show Cameron with his workmates and Taylor with his school mates. Both are fine singers, and not show-offs at all. Country style.

From Geelong Advertiser today:
Justice prevailed in more ways than one on Australia's Got Talent last night, with a Victorian father-son duo placing second and third despite being forced apart by the judging panel. Runner up Cameron Henderson, 44, originally entered the contest with his singer-guitarist son Taylor, 17, as a double act but was ordered to separate by Channel Seven judges Kyle Sandilands, Dannii Minogue and Brian McFadden.

Despite the split, Taylor last night placed third behind his dad and the series winners, dance troupe Justice Crew. Henderson Snr described the situation as "very emotional". "First of all with my son being voted off the show ... it was something that was very hard to deal with and then being asked to sing and sing a song about my kids was another emotional thing," Henderson told his hometown newspaper The Geelong Advertiser. "There is a small bit of disappointment but I can honestly say we were just so amazed that we got to the stage we did. He [Taylor] has just handled himself so well. He was 16 when he started this competition and every time I see him on TV and say that's my boy." Taylor was also overcome with emotion.

Taylor said he was "over the moon" for his father, who will sing the national anthem at the AFL Grand Final as part of his prize.

"I get terrified just singing here ... so that's going to be way too scary. I hope I can do an acoustic version, that's all I can say. I'm very uncomfortable without my guitar," Cameron Henderson said.

Winners Justice Crew last night walked away $250,000 richer for their efforts.


Monday, June 14, 2010

A bunch of flowers for a birthday

Happy birthday Sue.
from w
At a birthday party Saturday night I took a few photos of the birthday girl and her cake but also a lovely bunch of flowers. This was a 65th birthday up at the local church. Tonight I didn't want to watch a program demolishing the magic of magicians so I had an hour to make some new pictures from that one photo. And it's almost time for the Mentalist on TV. Here are some of the pictures.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Musicians and fireworks

a cartoon by Hoffnung.
from w
Just occasionally I'm asked to play a magnificent pipe organ for a church service at St Andrews, but dare not give it full blast for the small group of elderly men and women as it surely would raise their blood pressure. However this morning on the radio (hymns then organ and choral music every Sunday morning 3MBS) I was woken up with a smile by the very loud playing of the Vidor (Widor?) toccato from his 5th Organ Symphony (though not really a symphony as it was solo.) It was the music that had cheered us up as the recessional after the marriage ceremony of a good friend Jan/John at St Andrews, played by a very competent Geelong organist, not me! So the music was by Charles-Marie Vidor. So I checked out youtube and found lots of versions, even one played by the composer, Vidor, at his church of St Sulpice in Paris, April 1932. He was aged 88 so it was a bit slower and less rumbunctuous than other performances I listened to on youtube etc. I was able to download the sheet music but I think the music is beyond me. My fingers aren't as nimble as they used to be.

Anyway, a couple of years ago I had written a short story about an organist and used a reference to this music (though I called it as by Claude-Marie Frank by mistake). If you are interested, go to June 22 2008 'In a Minor Key' on this blog. It's a cheeky kind of story but it was published in magazine for seniors.

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Friday, June 11, 2010

An ordinary day

from w
I didn't get to do any image-making till nearly dark as the morning was taken up with a prayer group, typing in the church office, shopping, some TV on SBS about soccer then classical music, and just mooching about. Peceli is still in Fiji and his phone calls are often missed as he bumps his mobile or something! Anyway I took a photo of an ordinary plant on the front verandah, then tried to flatten the shapes so that it resembled art nouveau or even leadlight.

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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

More images with transparencies

from w
It is extremely cold and yesterday I barely left the house, only went across the road to buy milk and the paper. I just mooched about tidying up old boxes of files, etc. and occasionally finding something lost such as a complete photocopy of an important research book on Fiji as my copy had been lent out a year ago and lost. Here are some more images using the cut paper scanned pics. No titles. I think Paul Klee would have found some joy in modern technology in manipulating shapes.

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Tuesday, June 08, 2010

A sad day in Afghanistan

from w. Two young Australian men and the sniffer dog as well as eight other soldiers died yesterday when on patrol in Afghanistan. It's very sad for families who are shocked by the sudden deaths. Surely people must be asking
'Why are Australian soldiers over there?' Some will say it's not our place, while others say the security and safety of other people (e.g. USA) is the concern. War and guns are horrible, yet you can't be soft on bullies, but, are the ordinary people of Afghanistan bullies? Anyway, it's a sad day, probably every day, for many people in Afghanistan. And the irony is that our government is putting on hold the processing of asylum seekers from Afghanistan as it is 'getting safer'. Those that come by leaky boat that is. Others can still process their papers as 'refugees' through other channels.

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Chopping up magazines

from w. Since I was about five I have been chopping up magazines for their images, colours, and rearranging them. Today while watching 'Australia's got talent' and hoping the Justice Crew will win, I cut up a glossy magazine that came with the Age last week, not for faces etc. just colours. So the pictures here are just scrambled shapes of colour placed on the scanner. I made three variations then messed about with Picasa and Photo-edit from there. Titles can come later - Pelicans and Chicks, Three Friends, a Hug, Duchamp's nude descending a staircase revisited, or whatever you like for titles!

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