Monday, July 29, 2013

A companion for the guinea pig

from w

Izzie (real name Isireli after the Hawaiin singer) was continually waiting at the door to the house looking for Ozzie, our pet rabbit who died last week, so we decided to find a new companion for him, buying Fuzzy, another male, this one one year old, from nearby Moolap. At first Izzie was delirious with joy, whistling and carrying on as if all his Christmases had come at once. He thought Fuzzy was a girl and chased him all over the verandah. At last they settled down and ate together, and now hide together behind the couch or in a litle cubby in a cupboard.

At Geelong Botanical Gardens

from w
Because we are fortunate to live in East Geelong area we are only ten minutes walk to the Geelong Botanical Gardens, a beautiful place of quiet retreat and beauty. Occasionally I go there to take photos or make sketches. These are variations of a small painting I made in the first section of the gardens.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Seaweed a new industry

from w
Seaweed could be a surprising but new industry for Geelong and the coastline. They say it is nutritious but is it tasty?  I know that in Fiji there are two types that are eaten, one is like little green berries and the other is lumi and is made into jelly like squares and tastes good.  Anyway in today's Geelong Advertiser, there's a story about seaweed down the coast in Warrnambool.  I don't know what the recipe is for the seaweek described in the story.  Anyone know?

Push to harvest our seaweed

LOCAL waters could become a world food bowl as scientists look to harvest nutritionally rich seaweed.
Deakin University marine biologist Alecia Bellgrove said tasting trials of locally harvested seaweed were set to start in Warnambool on August 9.
The seaweed would be compared in blind trials with Asian-grown seaweed, Dr Bellgrove said.
If the taste, texture and nutritional value of the seaweed compared favourably with its competitors, southwest Victoria was well-placed to become a leading seaweed producer, as traditional growing areas in Japan had been affected by natural and nuclear disasters, she said.
Our pristine waters had the greatest diversity of seaweed species in the world and were a veritable Garden of Eden for sea vegetables, Dr Bellgrove said.
Seaweed was a nutritional powerhouse, packed full of vitamins, minerals, protein and omega-three long-chain fatty acids, making it an important food source.

Related Coverage

It was also linked with reduced cardiovascular stress and heart disease, lower incidence of diabetes and obesity, and better brain development, she said.
"Much of the Australian population is iodine and zinc deficient and that comes back to the fact that our soils are poor in those two elements and therefore our ground vegetable sources are also low in them," Dr Bellgrove said.
"However, our oceans are rich in minerals and therefore seaweed, which is basically a sea vegetable, is high in a whole range of important trace minerals and vitamins. Another environmental benefit is that they are plants and, like trees drawing down carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, there's a lot of evidence suggesting farming seaweeds in the ocean can be really important for decreasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels as part of a climate change solution."
It was important the seaweed was farmed for consumption on a commercial scale rather than removed from the wild, she stressed.
Besides being used in the production of sushi rolls and in Asian salads and cooking, it was possible seaweed could be included in Western dishes such as pasta and biscuits to deliver health benefits to those who did not routinely eat Asian food, Dr Bellgrove said.
Australian seaweed was already being harvested commercially albeit on a small scale in Tasmania and sold to Japanese restaurants, she said.
Dr Bellgrove said her interest in harvesting local seaweed was a result of years spent living in Japan and a desire to make sure the food being eaten by Australian families was as healthy and free from toxins as possible.
While she now lived in Warrnambool with her husband and children, the family still ate a lot of seaweed, she said.
"As a parent, I want to know that the food which my children are eating is clean and healthy and free from pollutants," Dr Bellgrove said.
"I also want to know that it's rich in the vitamins and minerals that they need."
High in vitamins and minerals.
High in protein and omega three long-chain fatty acids.
Low in kilojoules.
Lowers heart disease, diabetes and obesity risks.
Boosts brain development in children.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Painting of a pentecost banner

from w
Here's a picture I made of a banner I made and a favourite coffee cup. Alas both have now seen better days, one faded, and one broken. That's life. So I suppose making pictures keeps the memory of a one-time busy life.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A day of sharing - but Rudd chooses his moments

from w
Tomorrow is a special day for the Uniting Church, a day to celebrate diversity, multiculturalism, being host and guest in our country to new people, but certainly our politicians have chosen otherwise with a decision yesterday, a bold one, an inhumane one, to try and stop the leaky boats with asylum seekers. Okay, some are potentially economic migrants, or adventurers but so were many of our ancestors who came to Australia from Europe.

from today's Age: No asylum seeker who comes by boat will ever be resettled in Australia, under Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's dramatic and ''hardline'' rewrite of refugee laws.
They will instead be sent to Papua New Guinea for processing and, if found to be refugees, will be resettled in the island nation.
In the strongest line a modern Labor prime minister has yet taken against asylum seekers, Mr Rudd said: ''As of today, asylum seekers who come here by boat without a visa will never be settled in Australia.''

Read more:

from today's Age:

And from the Uniting church.
One Great Sunday of Sharing is held each year on the 3rd Sunday in July, or another date best suited to the local setting.  
One Great Sunday of Sharing provides an opportunity for Uniting Church congregations, Faith Communities and Fellowship Groups to share time together as both guest and host and to reflect on and to celebrate hospitality and God. Be a host - but not all the time - by spending time together with people whose culture and background is different from your own. Remember that for all of us , all the time God is host.
  • Be a guest and let others embrace you into their world, experiences, stories of journey and faith. Remember too that powerful image of Jesus  in revelation standing at the door of all ofour hearts knocking and awaiting our invitation for him to be our guest.
  • As both host and guest - worship together and share fellowship with neighbours from cultures and languages different from our own.
  • As both guest and host  - discover what it means to live together as people from different cultures and languagesin our worship, witness and service.
  • As both host and guest - celebrate the richness of our diversity as God's people and the wondrous hospitality of God.
  • As both guest and host - share faith and fellowshipwith language, image, songs, dance and artefactsthat speak across our cultures.
One Great Sunday of Sharing is also an opportunity for us to recommit to the vision of actually being a multicultural church where we are, and to celebrate what might be life giving and reassuring about that for Australian society..

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ordinary trees

from w
From a sketch of two trees in a garden in Airey's Inlet I made during a holidiay there a couple of months ago,  I changed the colour and texture a bit to make variations of the original ordinary picture of trees. This changes the mood of the scene somewhat. The original has a clean look, some others scruffy. I used gimp and picasa. They were rather ordinary trees but I liked the way the branches almost made a circle.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The edge of the sea at Barwon Heads

from w
I've made a few pictures in my time of the edge of the sea as rock-pools, shells, driftwood, sand, seaweed and the lap of the water allows for interesting patterns. Here are a few variations. The original picture was of rock pools at Barwon Heads.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Putting the Good Samaritan story into practice

from w
Putting the Good Samaritan story into practice. This afternoon we stopped the car near Winchelsea for a ten minute rest, and then the engine wouldn't kick over again. Cars did stop to help but they didn't have jump leads. Phoned a son, phoned RACV and waited and waited. A busy country road - we were returning to Geelong from Colac. We knew it was a battery problem. Our mobile phone was going flat by then after a few calls. Then a Good Sam arrived. A family returning from a holiday at Port Fairy. Offered to use their mobile to hurry up the RACV who just hadn't turned up after nearly an hour. Then said they would wait with us until RACV arrived. Nice family indeed. RACV man came and it took two minutes to get the car going again! Today's lectionary text was the Good Samaritan and Peceli led the Uniting Church service at Colac this morning. The following was in their church newsletter.

Who is my neighbor?

The story Jesus told in response to the question, ‘Who is my neighbour’ was set in the context of life in Palestine in the days of Jesus when the recognized leaders were often fussed about their own rules but uncaring about people’s needs. That a Samaritan man would be the one who helped would have shocked the listeners.

In Australia today we still have care for the stranger as a way of life and this ethic has been handed down through the Christian Church. The stories differ from the parable told by Jesus and often the ‘care of the stranger’ is done by government, by professionals, by volunteer organizations.

What are some of the organizations who put into practice the idea of being a good neighbour to others?

Here are some of them: Jirrahlinga, Wombat’s Wish – for bereaved children, DoCare, Meals on Wheels, Lifeline, Bethany, Red Cross, Glastonbury, Hand on Learning, tutoring new migrants, Bravehearts, Anam Cara, Legacy, Diversitat, and of course volunteers in fire-fighting like the CFA and other Emergency services.

So the story of the Good Samaritan has far-reaching consequences in our world today even though many people do not realize that the message came from a parable told by Jesus Christ to a group of people two thousand years ago..

However there are still times when the personal decision to notice a person in distress and to take time to help is a priority.

For us the main issue is one to one relationships, take notice, pay attention to other people, discern when it is the right time and place to talk with them, be silent at times and listen attentively. Like our Saviour Jesus Christ, take notice of people who are alone, on the edge of society, different, not welcomed by others, and like Jesus. speak to them, give them comfort whether in words or in action. That’s the message from the parable of the Good Samaritan.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Old Paper Mill Fyansford

from w
Here are some variations of a pastel on black paper picture I made of the old Paper Mill at Fyansford near Geelong.  One of these is close to the original.  The others are variants using edge, line, reverse colour, lightening tone, etc.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Flowers at a funeral

from w
Yesterday Peceli and I attended a funeral in Melbourne of an eighteen year old boy, Aminiasi Qalo Junior, a lad who'd struggled all his life with MS and used a wheelchair, yet was a boy who smiled and laughed, was good at art, and was much loved by family, carers, schoolmates and friends. Here are some photos of flowers from yesterday.

Monday, July 08, 2013

Voting for the Senate may require magnifying glasses

from w
This is like an April 1 joke but it seems the writer of this article in the Herald Sun newspaper is serious. It's gonna take some time if you want to number all of them!

Senate circus list blows out ballot

VOTERS will be given 40,000 magnifying glasses to help them read a record metre-long ballot paper for the Senate.
An explosion of candidate numbers - as many as 57 parties, plus independents, are to stand in Victoria for the federal Upper House - has forced a lengthening of the already large ballot paper and a shrinking of the type size.
Among a proliferation of parties are the Pirate Party Australia, the Help End Marijuana Prohibition Party and the Bullet Train for Australia Party.
They could soon be joined by the Coke In The Bubblers Party, which is pushing to be registered for the federal election that Prime Minister Kevin Rudd must call before the end of November.
The 1.02-metre ballot paper is the maximum length at which printers can produce it, but there are expected to be so many candidates the Australian Electoral Commission has ordered 40,000 magnifying glasses for polling booths nationwide to help voters read the fine print.
The AEC said 10,000 devices would be used in Victoria.
Since the 2010 election, the number of registered parties has exploded from 25 to 46, with another 11 applications before the AEC.

AEC Victorian state manager Steve Kennedy said the growth in parties was unprecedented. "This is likely to be the longest ballot paper in Victorian history," he said. etc etc 

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Paintings in Union Street Geelong

from w
This morning I was in the city and noticed the wonderful paintings high on the walls in Union Street. Graffiti over the years can been indifferent in quality but this time they are very good pictures. Not long ago the space below had a kind of 'bucket list' for young people to sign on. I didn't take my camera this morning but I did find some pictures on the web.

Union Street aerosol art mural
Monday, 15 April 2013 8:38 AM Media Releases
As part of the City of Greater Geelong’s award winning graffiti strategy Rapid Removal, Policing and Prevention, the City Aerosol Network is recreating the Union Street art mural.

Community Safety, Education & Youth Portfolio Councillor Jan Farrell expects the mural to be as striking as the previous work of art.

“We have some very talented artists in the City Aerosol Network and it’s great that we can give them such a large, high profile canvas as Union Street to work with”, said Cr Farrell.

“Two lead artists Cam and Paul have been working with a trainee lead artist and a group of 25 young people to create their interpretation of a tongue in cheek look at time and space”.

“Visual thoughts about time and space are being created in caves under a giant Tyrannosaurus Rex who is racing through the four elements of fire, wind, earth and water”, said Cr Farrell.

“The City Aerosol Network has long been part of our Graffiti Strategy.”

 It’s a very worthwhile program that provides young local artists with workshops, training and support – as well as the opportunity to contribute to permanent murals around the city such as Union Street.”

“One of the great benefits of the program is it reduces Geelong’s illegal graffiti’ said Cr Farrell.

Smart phones mess with your head

from w
This article comes from Fiji, written by a padre who's been studying in South Korea where the author is warning people about the over-use of smart phones, ipads, laptops, tablets,  and the isolation as each person is in his or her own world.
It's relevant to our young people in Geelong certainly.

Our digital dilemmas

Off The Wall With Padre James Bhagwan
Wednesday, July 03, 2013
MONDAY'S The Fiji Times carried a story which made for very serious discussions between my wife, our children and I. Titled, "Digital Dementia," the story by Timoci Vula highlighted a South Korean study that found increased use of digital devices such as smart phones and tablets can contribute to the deterioration in cognitive abilities in children.
If you missed the article, the study conducted by the Balance Brain Centre in Seoul noted the following:
o Teenagers, who had become so reliant on digital technology, were no longer able to remember everyday details, even simple things such as their phone numbers;
o Overuse of smart phones and game devices hampers the balanced development of the brain, with heavy users likely to develop the left side of their brains, leaving the right side untapped or underdeveloped;
o The right side of the brain was linked with concentration and, when it was underdeveloped, could affect attention and memory span; and
o In 15 per cent of cases, this can lead to the early onset of dementia. In addition to messing with memory, digital overuse is also connected with emotional underdevelopment, with children more at risk than adults as their brains are still growing.
Having just returned from two years of living and studying in South Korea and with my family undertaking a whirlwind tour of Seoul prior to my return, the social impact of new technology was obvious the first time one travels on the subway/metropolitan railway. Virtual silence as row upon row of bowed heads, with earphones blocking everything out, peered into the world offered to them by their smart phones or tablets — watching movies or television shows, playing games or chatting on social media or surfing the internet.
Hardly anyone communicated to anyone else.
I assumed that this was part of the culture of silence and respect for the other person's space and while this may be partly true, an older member of my congregation told me that chatting with your neighbour on the bus or subway was common, until the advent of the smart phone. Now people are becoming more self-absorbed or perhaps absorbed with the virtual reality that the physical world and physical relationships are being ignored.
Sitting at a coffee-shop, I would notice couples on dates, sitting opposite or next to each other and ignoring each other while they chatted online with friends (or maybe each other) or played games. I heard that neck strain from the constantly bowed head when using smart devices was becoming a common problem and that there were numerous accidents caused by either drivers using their smart devices or pedestrians so focused on theirs that they weren't watching where they were walking.
As a communicator by profession, I am very interested in the tools that enhance communication and information gathering. As someone living away from his family, the cheap communication opportunities afforded by the internet and social media were important in maintaining relationships. However one cannot really maintain a relationship or be a virtual parent for too long.
When I returned to Fiji for my first visit with a smart phone, I found that the children got addicted quite quickly to the games and applications on the phone. Tears and tantrums followed withdrawal of the gadget from their small hands.
The fact that our children sometimes are more technologically savvy than the grown-ups does not mean that they are fully aware of the implications and effect of using these devices.
Just over a week ago as my family walked along the banks of the river Han in Seoul, on our way to a picnic (see last Wednesday's column), we noticed many people enjoying being outdoors in the South Korean summer. People were, playing, riding bicycles, having their own picnics. There were also many people out enjoying the fresh air. Some however, were simply physically there, their attention — their minds were focused on the gadget in front of them. Perhaps they were looking for the picnic "app".
There is a false sense of reality that comes with the digital virtual world that we need to be cautious of. There is no personal time unless these gadgets are switched off and one disconnects. An attitude of instant gratification is connected to a loss of patience. Sometimes our children cannot differentiate from the virtual or imaginary world and the real one.
I see the use of smart devices as tools of communication. But like all tools, sometimes, they just have to be put in the shed until they are needed.
My children, on reflection of the issue of smart devices by our family, have agreed to not use any smart devices and to use the family computers only with parental supervision for the month of July.
I am packing away my smart phone for the month and trying to convince myself that after two years of instant communications and near lighting speed internet, I can disconnect from the grid and just enjoy our wonderful environment and face-to-face, heart-to-heart and tanoa-to-bilo communication.
"Simplicity, serenity, spontaneity."
* Reverend James Bhagwan is an ordained minister of the Methodist Church in Fiji and has won awards in print, television and radio. The views expressed are his and not of the The Fiji Times.