Saturday, December 11, 2010
Life is blossoming at St Johns Park! St Johns Park, New Town. December 2010
Is anyone up to the challenge to identify this flower?
The Jew, by Isaac Rosenberg
Moses, from whose loins I sprung,
Lit by a lamp in his blood
Ten immutable rules, a moon
For mutable lampless men.
The blonde, the bronze, the ruddy,
With the same heaving blood,
Keep tide to the moon of Moses.
Then why do they sneer at me?
Friday, December 10, 2010
Magic lurks within this ball. Home, Geilston Bay, December 2010.
I managed to finish three books this week, with middling satisfaction.
First up is an interesting collection of Heinrich Böll’s early short stories Children are Civilians too.
Written in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, Böll’s remit is to capture the perspective of the peoples of a defeated country who have to reconcile that defeat, the misery of post-war deprivation with the notion of national culpability. Excellent writer that he is, Böll effectively manages it.
As such, it is a very good read. As you would expect, it’s incredibly sombre in tone, and evokes a period that we don’t often hear about. Well worth a look.
The second book was one that came highly recommended – Misadventures, by Sylvia Smith.
The story behind Smith's first book is like something out of a book. Smith, born at the close of the Second World War in the East End of London. She has gone through life as an unmarried, career secretary who has chosen to write her memoirs. Despite the fact that really nothing of note has actually happened to Smith to encourage the belief that her reminiscences might be of interest to the general reader, a publisher chose to publish it.
Essentially a series of short, deadpan, chronologically arranged chapters, Smith records a series of vignettes that each encapsulate the mostly lows and sometimes highs her life. As with any life, it has not been without incident. The thing for me though, is that it the ‘incidents’ of her life are not particularly interesting.
I do understand that these moments are indeed worth recording because they are moments that we all share. Most of us life exceptionally ordinary lives and Smith's biography is no better or worse than might be expected. Some people have described this as “glorious in its saturating bathos”, but I just don’t see it myself.
For me the central problem is with Smith herself, I am not offended or affronted by the dull, but in her monotony of her life, it is not apparent that she has ever learnt or reflected on that life. If the point of this autobiography is that there is no point, I guess that I have the point.
It did have a pleasant cover though. Recommendation to avoid.
Speaking of avoiding… Let Me Go by Helga Schneider is probably the most frustrating book I’ve read in a while. It is another autobiographical text, one that probes the (non-) relationship between absent concentration camp guard and convicted (and unrepentant) war criminal mother, and angry, resentful and self-absorbed daughter.
Again, I understand that the concept of an autobiography is essentially a narcissistic one, when the two central figures in the piece are so loathsome – for very different reasons – it can be hard going making it all the way through.
I am sure that reconciling your own life with the knowledge that your mother was not only unrepentant – but proud – about her past (including stints in the most notorious extermination camps) must be difficult, and it is clear that the author had a difficult and isolated childhood marked by rejection. Yet the clear perception given by this book is that she is seemingly sorrier for herself than the more obvious victims of her mother’s beliefs and actions.
It is one of those occasions when you wouldn’t mind stepping into the text for a moment and give the two a slap around the chops.
Give it a miss.
Thursday, December 09, 2010
Climb at your own risk. New Town Road, New Town, December 2010.
If you are a fan of lines in photographs, you could do worse than stand under one of these snapping away for a few minutes. In fact, after staring at this photograph for ninety seconds, I think that I have spotted a Desargues configuration.
Have a close look…
If A.a, B.b, C.c are concurrent, then (A.B) ∩ (a.b), (A.C) ∩ (a.c), (B.C) ∩ (b.c) are collinear!
Ain’t geometry grand?
Wednesday, December 08, 2010
I made up my mind long ago that life was too short to do anything for myself that I could pay others to do for me.
It might not be made of yellow brick, but adventure will surely follow! Howrah cycle track, November 2010.
I wrote a poem yesterday. Let’s just say that it was inspired by real events.
Very Important Meeting
[Almost] the biggest of BIGWIGS
I-Pads I-Phones I-Want I-Want I-WANT
I-Can’t I-Won’t I-Don’t
Put it on the agenda for next time.
Tuesday, December 07, 2010
It can be nice to experiment with the camera every now and then. Angle of shot, depth of field, mixing up temperatures, depth of focus, exposure times, f-stop fiddling, shutter speeds, perspective distortion, messing with the metering mode and so on.
Yet when one’s two key subjects are a little on the energetic side, shutter speed is about the best we can hope for.
That’s where marshmallows come in.
It appears that the humble blend of sugar, water and gelatine is the prospective solution to impatient models.
When does a bus stop stop being a bus stop? St Johns Park, New Town. December 2010.
What's your favourite piece of technology, and how has it improved your life?
Broad-scale public sanitation/plumbing. I am never one to over-estimate the importance of running water. It has improved my life in too many ways to count.
When was the last time you used it, and what for?
[At time of writing] I had a shower after Touch Football. Much needed, as we didn’t have any substitutes and I was on all game.
What additional features would you add if you could?
It seems pretty good as is. I’m a fan of water pressure, so we can always amp that up a bit!
Do you think it will be obsolete in 10 years' time?
Let’s just ensure that every bugger has an equal chance at having it before we render it obsolete first!
What always frustrates you about technology in general?
The rapidity with which we become dependent on it, and it ceases to be liberating and becomes a constraint.
If you had one tip about getting the best out of new technology, what would it be?
Give things a try. Don’t quit at the first sign of trouble.
Do you consider yourself to be a luddite or a nerd?
None of the above. I welcome new things, but do apply the general rule of “if it ain’t broke…”
What's the most expensive piece of technology you've ever owned?
Probably one of the new computers I’ve had over the years.
Mac or PC, and why?
As I said earlier, I use both. I am a PC man at heart though. I enjoy the versatility and DIY potential more than the pseudo-fascist mentality of the Mac.
Do you still buy CDs and DVDs, or do you download music and films? What was your last purchase?
I have bought CDs and DVDs for the kids or Jen of late, but it has been quite some time since I bought anything for myself. I do download a bit. I won't mention the most recent buy, because it is a present for someone.
Robot butlers – a good idea or not?
What piece of technology would you most like to own?
Something that could quieten two boisterous children down without harshening their buzz.
Note: The original questions were pilferd from here...
Monday, December 06, 2010
Taken just last weekend as we departed Howrah Beach, Henry looks as if the prospect of the karē pan from the new Japanese bakery down in Bellerive is somewhat more daunting than the rest of us will have it.
Don’t worry Henry, they’re delicious!
Hobart: On The Go! The view from the eastern end of Liverpool Street. December 2010.
We might not quite be rivalling Shanghai when it comes to cranes, but whenever you see three cranes on the go in Hobart, you know that something is going on. This one is part of a development that will comprise a supermarket, shops, an additional 544 parking spaces for the Argyle Street car park (just what Hobart CBD needs, more cars) and new “A-grade” office space.
Whether or not there will also be a slippery dip, wholesale ball bearing emporium, underwater aquarium, Turkish baths, Finnish sauna and Liechtenstienian superstore, I am unsure.
Sunday, December 05, 2010
Lindisfarne Primrary School fair. Snags. Jumping castles. Ice creams. Fire trucks.
What on Earth could be finer?
One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes a revolution in order to establish a dictatorship.
I suspect that there was once a door here. Theatre Royal, Hobart. December 2010.
As promised, here is Today's Sunday Top
- Eucalyptus oil also has anti-inflammatory and analgesic qualities as a topically applied liniment ingredient!
- Eucalyptus oil is also used in personal hygiene products for antimicrobial properties in dental care and soaps!
- Eucalyptus oil can be applied to wounds to prevent infection!
- Eucalyptus oil can also be as an insect repellent and biopesticide!
- Eucalyptus oil has been used as an effective way of killing dust mites!
- Eucalyptus oil is used in flavouring lollies, sweeties, candies and soft drink!
- Eucalyptus oil is also used as a fragrance component to impart a fresh and clean aroma in soaps, detergents, lotions and perfumes!
- Eucalyptus oil prevents the separation problem with ethanol and petrol fuel blends!
- Eucalyptus oil has a respectable octane rating and can be used as a fuel in its own right!