Thursday, November 15, 2012

Egads I've Slacked off again...

Yeah sorry about that, life and work rushing about and my dear blog sits gathering dust.
I think two of my favorite topics this year have been the bursting of the Conservative bubble and Pin Hole cameras and both have been relevant in the recent weeks.
First the not so serious, I was glad to see many people on the Facebork getting the pin hole cameras out for the partial eclipse we had in Melbourne. If any of you read my articles I hope they helped :)
I managed to watch it on the train on the way to work, using my Ipad to reflect the disk of the sun onto the train wall.

I promised myself that there would be no schadenfreude here over the drubbing Romney and the GOP took at the polls last week. But combined with the heir apparent to the Prime Minister-ship of Australia, Mr Tony "Budgie" Abbott likewise loosing his grip on defeating Julia at the polls... It's really hard not to just post lol 333 times on a blog post and be done with it. The insanity of the American right was being noticed even at these Antipodean shores, and their defeat so soundly in the 2012 election resonates here as well. The Coalition has happily imported talking points and tactics from their like minded colleagues in the GOP, from Hockey's moronic "magic pudding" supply side rhetoric to the attempts to raise "peoples movements" akin to the Tea party by pundits. Now that those tactics have been visibly rebuked by the American Public, the Australian right is noticeably taking cover. The mirroring of Rush Limbar's misogynist issues earlier in the year  has been repeated here via Alan Jones and the Prime Minister's now legendary tirade against Abbott in Parliament. With luck we can turn to comprehensive immigration reform like the US is doing now, pushed by the obvious shift in demographics. (Although our immigrant communities are a little more fractured, we lack very large blocks to play the same role as Hispanic Americans do over there, so I suspect it will take longer to manifest) Climate change is on the table as well, we have had a Carbon Tax put in and my suburb has yet to become a post apocalyptic wasteland as the Lib-Nats suggested. Outside of WA the newly elected conservative state governments are finding themselves less and less popular as well. (Though I put that down to WA having both different political demographics and a different conservative movement)
Still a long way to go, but it is all feeling better than it was at start of 2012...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How to make your ideological children and eat them too

Oh my, that's pretty much all I can say as I watch the American conservative candidate for president crash and burn before his nation and the world. When Newspapers in Australia are reporting on how bad a candidate Mittens Romney is, well... It's as if the fragile structure that the far right in the US has built since the 1970s; the newspeak, the fake history, the fake academia, the fraudulent economics and alternate media, could not stand the light of day.
To my endless amusement, the cracks in the American right wing have started affecting things here at home. I have often argued that since the Howard years the Right in Australia have obediently followed the dog whistle of their US counterparts; from the merging with the Christian right, to science denial and supply side economics. Joe Hocky oft speaks of "growing the pie" as code for, letting the wealthy have more so it trickles down to the less fortunate. Classic as George H W Bush said "Voodoo economics". But in reality Joe's Magic pudding is just another version of the old canard "a rising tide lifts all boats".
It is also funny that the recent brain hemorrhages of the Liberal/Nat party have shown Australia as socially more progressive nation than the US at it's heart. The Cory Bernardi affair has put on hold the career of one of the party's rising stars over comments comparing Same sex marriage to bestiality, basically the same statements that caused Rick Santorum to have his "google problem". The difference is that the American right have lost their shit so totally that Santorum was pretty much runner up for the Republican nomination. I think a man like Bernardi can be used to measure how bat shit insane the Lib-Nats have become, the higher he rises in that party the crazier it has become... (But really Abbott is still looking secure in his spot at the party's helm, so long as they don't let him near a microphone too often)
The sad part of this is that as the opposition falls of the cliff of it's own construction, it shifts the political window to the Right with them. With no effective opponent both Australian Labor and the Democrats in the US have been able to move their positions to the center right parties they have both become. Remember that same sex marriage rights are now part of the Labor platform, but not without a huge amount of opposition on the right of the party. The so called "conscience vote" that the PM called was doomed to fail without a likewise commitment from the opposition, had Gillard enforced the party platform on her members she would have had the numbers to pass the same sex marriage bill. (or maybe fail by a single vote depending on the cross bench support) But no, to maintain the support of the Right wing of the party (we can assume based on other statements on the subject by our unmarried atheist prime minister) the bill was scuttled and harmony within the ALP retained. Gillard is a politician and a Labor faction player above all, had the political discussion in this country been shifted to where it was in lets say the early 1990s we may have seen a different result. But the crazy Right of the Lib/Nats drag us all towards their cliff with them by infecting the public discourse.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

How to make a better Pinhole Part 2

Well it was one of my most popular posts, so I'm back with more advise for you crazy pinholers out there. Either to create images or view Solar events :)
In the last post talked about making a better pinhole and some basic ideas on how to make the box better. This time I'm going to go a little more into the mechanics of the camera. For simplicity's sake I'm pretty much going to focus on Pinholes using Black and white media, you can do it with Colour but it's much trickier to do and the result will vary much more.

The Pinhole: As noted last time you will get the best results the rounder the pinhole is, this means using a thicker material to create the lens plate. (see my last post) To stop refraction it is good to paint the plate black but if the interior of the box is light tight and painted black as well this is not always necessary. The plate should be slightly larger than the hole cut in the camera body (box or whatever) and afixed to the inside to prevent light leak. I have found black gaffer tape to be a pinhole camera builders best friend in this regard, it's black and will block most light.
The Pinhole should also be as small as is practicable, a smaller hole will extend exposure but give you a sharper image and greater depth of field. 

The Camera Body: This can be anything you want but it is best that the focal plane (the back of the box where the image projects) and the lens plate are on a flat surface parallel to one another. (You can do things with curved focal plains etc but I'm dealing with making the best image possible from the pinhole camera) As mentioned in my previous post; almost anything can be the Camera body so long as it's light proof. I Built a Pinhole Camera once that mounted the paper in a 4"x5" darkslide which I could take in and out of the back of the box, the entry way was suitably padded with gaffer tape to keep light out. This allowed me to effectively reload the camera in the field without using a dark bag or anything like that. (Each darkslide also held two plates so two shots per slide) I have also seen people make panoramic pinholes with multiple holes that they open at the same time...

The Shutter: The other important part of a Pinhole camera is the shutter. Traditionally this is just a light blocking piece of paper that is moved in front of the pinhole when it is not exposing. Depending on the exposures you are working with; Camera movement when opening and closing the shutter may or may not be an issue. I have found this is often more to do with the weight of the Camera body, lighter cameras tend to move more when you flip open the shutter. The most important thing is that your shutter needs to be securely closed when the Camera is loaded and not in use, even small amounts of light over time will fog paper or film and lead to a poor image.

The Light Sensitive Medium: You have a number of options here; Photographic paper is the most common as it is easy and quick to develop making it good for trial and error. It also is not very light sensitive so it is more forgiving with exposure length and fogging. It has some issues, long exposures are usually necessary for example. The biggest is conversion to a final image, remember that the image you will get on your Photographic paper will be a negative so you will need to "print" it to get a positive image. The only real way to do this with a paper negative gives quite low resolution images as you have to expose the print through another piece of paper. Film gives better results but requires you to be a little more careful handling and loading/unloading the camera. Film will give you a negative that can be enlarged and printed like any analogue image and it is also available in a variety of ISO speeds and generally will be more light sensitive than paper. (ie shorter exposures) By far the best results come from the larger film formats, 4"x5" or 8"x10" film can create glorious pin hole images with very high resolutions.

Next couple of times in this infrequent series will deal with Focal length and Pinhole cameras and calculating exposure. (Yes you can do it without trial and error!)
Oh and here is a great page about building a Pinhole, very easy and quite a good one
http://www.matchboxpinhole.com/index.html


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Intellectual Rigor of the Right






Many of us who pay attention to such things already know this, but for over two decades the mainstream right wing of politics as an international movement has been cruising along whilst being intellectually bankrupt. The old culture warrior meme from the 90s and early 00s is oft exposed as rank hypocrisy at best, and knowing deceit of a low information voter base at worst. The Todd Akin drama in the US has started to make headlines all over the world and is (with luck) exposing this to the light of day.
As of this writing Akin is being encouraged to not run in the Missouri senate race he won a primary to participate in; why? He has not exposed any new or shocking idea that wasn't already floating around the echo chamber already, denial of Rape as a serious crime, demotion of women to baby incubators with little to no say as to their fate or health, and a total cluelessness as to the realities face by most people in his electorate. He has come out and said out and aloud what the right to lifers have said for years in between the lines of their rantings; everytime someone refers to the fate of a Raped woman as "God's will" they are saying the same thing as Akin.
We all know this, what makes this a demonstration of the Intellectual wasteland that these people operate is how fast those who would normally parrot this position when it is stated in other terms run from it when it becomes politically toxic. If they had the courage of their ridiculous convictions they would back him all the way but flee because he has been less articulate in telling women they deserve no control over their bodies than they.
Oh did I mention that this guy talked about taking free school lunches away from poor kids last week? Or that Paul Ryan (the current R Vice presidential nominee) has agreed with Aiken in the house and even co-sponsored anti choice legislation with him?
A Straw house built on shit falls over...
I'll finish with the Great Sam Seder's brillant takedown of Akin,

Monday, August 13, 2012

It's a Headache, It's not a Tumor

Well that is what many are still saying as the Olympics fades from view; the world's banking systems are dealing with a headache. It's not systemic, it's not "a tumor" within the capitalist system. More critical writers use the words "Liquidity crisis" or "Solvency crisis" while the idiot Media and Political spin tell us that it is a "Debt Crisis" This is the world we are in, England will come off it's sporting high to a double dip recession, the US's economy is slow and Europe isn't much better. Despite having the strongest western economy, we are told constantly in Australia about how our economy is going down the toilet.

But it's not any of these things, not really... All evidence this reporter (note to all, I'm not a reporter) can source seems to indicate that the financial ho-haw of the last four years are a fraud crisis, nothing more nothing less. You see, it now seems to be ok to commit fraud if you are the right person in the right position; in fact it seems to be encouraged. I'll leave you all with a short timeline of the fraud we are all now paying for...

Rating Agencies Fraud

Mortgage Securitisation Fraud

Enforcement Fraud

Fraud in the Greek crisis

LIBOR

So the nexttime you get told it's all about debt or the US reserve or gold or the Illuminati... It's really all about one of the oldest human instincts; lying to gain advantage over another.

Till next we meet...


Monday, August 6, 2012

New Edition (Kind of a review for Prometheus)


Steven Spielberg is a director I have some degree of respect for; I dislike many of his films but I have respect for his accomplishments. One thing that earned a little more respect from me was last month when he said he was going to give fans the Theatrical release of ET on Blu-Ray rather than the edited 20th anniversary edition. The reception to the 20th Anniversary edit of ET, mostly negative, seems to have made Spielberg reassess the seeming obsession with directors revisiting old works. Spielberg has revisited old work before, most notably 1977's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" which to date has had three cuts released. Due to studio issues rushing the film into release the theatrical cut was not to the director's liking, as it was success he was able to re-release the film in 1980 as a "special edition" which included several sequences that were not finished in time to make the 1977 cut. I'll get back to Spielberg and "Close encounters" in a moment.
The Internet has already been abuzz about Ridley Scott's "Prometheus", his return to Science fiction and his revisit to 1979's Alien. His talk about a sequel to "Blade Runner" as well as the reissue of Star Wars on Blu-Ray and the assorted manglings by its creator have gotten me thinking a lot about the idea of the auteur director and their classic works...

Prometheus is a mess of a film frankly, and a very distinct example of a movie not being equal to the sum of it's parts. One thing many of us forget when watching a film is that they are in reality an assemblage of multiple components; Direction, Sound, Cinematography, Script etc. Prometheus is an example of a film where these elements fail to mesh in a consistant way; the design and visual appeal of the film is stunning for example, but the script in many places sucks balls... big alien balls. Red Letter Media point out very well in their latest comentary track to Star Wars how the opening is so effective as it shows rather than tells. Alien is also very much like that, at no point do we see the intrepid crew of the Nostromo exclame how big or weird or like flesh the Space Jocky's ship is. No we get matter of fact statements about not about the bleeding obvious but what our characters are thinking about. Alien almost appears unscripted in parts as the interactions between the characters seem so natural. This was one of the two most jarring elements in Prometheus; the script is quite bad for the most part with the majority of characters seeming unformed and flat. Now why is that? Characters actually speak more dialogue in Prometheus than in Alien, in fact we know more about our Heroine's background than we do about Elen Ripley's. It's not an acting issue, as the majority of the performances are fine, Noomy Rapace is an excellent actress, Fasbender is Awesome as the Android David, even Guy Pierce is good under a stupid amount of very silly looking age makeup. The one answer is the script. Genre Scriptwriters these days seem to need to pack more clumsy exposition into thier scripts than the average episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. In Star Trek the exposition was almost always about things not apparent to the Audience (the audience not being trained Star Fleet Engineers for the most part) , in most Sci Fi movies these days character exposit about the visually obvious. This is why Prometheus has a script problem. Characters shouldn't have to vocally explain their feelings constantly, the character's actions and the actor should allows us to connect and feel with them. (In a good movie anyway)

The second bugbear for Prometheus is tone. From sound track to themes dealt with, Prometheus's tone is a mess. It has the same "new discovery" sound track for landing on a new planet as it does for exploring the very disturbing Gieger designed alien pyramid. Sound is important as a cypher for the audience, and Prometheus's score saps any horror from what could be a very effective body horror films. I have heard and read a lot of people talk about how the various plot hole and unexplained elements are so the viewer can "add their own interpretation" to the plot. I honestly despise this Post Modernist Canard used as an excuse for poor film making. While the interpretation of a film should be up the the audience , and it's fine when the audience needs to do some work to get there; the film has to function as a film as well. A film cannot just be a cypher for the audience to throw meaning at, it needs to do some work of its own as well. Prometheus is not "trying to leave it up to the Audience" in the way a film like "Eraserhead" do as it has a clear narrative structure which you can't really get around. The ambiguity is just the result of poorly expressed themes.

Now I'm bookending my thoughts on this film due to the ending, it is a prequel or reimagining of Alien. Now if that was Scott's idea or the studio's that is irrelevant as its in the cut of the film and we can't really ignore it. So it sits in well with the idea of directors revisiting old ideas. What works in Prometheus works very well, the "Space Jockey" from Alien really being a space suit for humanoid giants is a great swerve. HR Gieger's designs have never looked better on screen imho; his style of work really gains alot from HD filmmaking as it is all about the visual intricacies of darkness and surrealist double images. (One thing that appears and two things) The theme of "daddy issues" is also strong (can you be surprised as the writer is from LOST?) but it's the combination of these elements that is weak.

The 1980 cut of Close encounters added a bunch of new scenes and drastically shortened several others, it added a couple of new effects sequences including the controversial Mothership interior scene while shortening or removing some of the more mundane scenes of Roy's life. Both versions feel a little disjointed emotionally and narrativly; factors that prevented the film from really becoming one of Spielberg's classics. In 1998 it was re cut again as the "collector's edition" which combined elements of both versions, omitting the added mothership interior. I am actually a big fan of Close Encounters, it was a film I saw in childhood and even today I think it is one of Spielberg's most articulate. It features some very dynamic camera work, music and effects that mostly stand up today. It makes amazing use of nighttime and artificial lighting as well as found sounds to create mood and is able to be hopeful and full of wonder without getting too schmaltzy. The 1998 cut made me interested in the film once again after I saw it last year on TV, it is a much more complete work reassembled by a more experienced filmmaker. The editing is better, the narrative flows much better and the stories of the secondary characters seem fuller. (The re-adding of the scene with Gillian and the media for example stops her going from loosing her son to drawing pics of the Devil's Tower and makes her pain feel a little more real.)
It feels like remakes, re-editions and revisits are all part of cinema's extended middle age; and not always a bad thing. Prometheus and Alien are two separate films, and the former is an unsuccessful attempt to revisit the mood of the later. Scott can still ride high has having two legendary genre films under his belt, but I feel unlike Spielberg he has not become a more mature film maker just a more ambitious one. Unfortunately in Prometheus his ambition seems to outstrip his skill as a storyteller.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Nice Opening Ceremony; Where were the Goodies?


Yeah it's the obligatory Olympics post, and no it's not about how the modern Olympics basically creates enormous publicly funded white elephant projects. I did that already.
No, it's about the opening cermony hitting us in the face with Mr Bean and James Bond. Ok I can accept we had no Doctor Who, or Middle Earth or Shirlock Holmes or Python referances. But where were the Goodies? I mean seriously, the most patriotically British comedy powerhouse (and the other two) didn't even rate a mention? There has been a theory that the BBC has basically been slowly scrubbing history of the sometimes slightly less than PC comedy antics of the Late 1970s; trying to rewrite the history of british comedy to be: The Goons>Monty Python>Dad's Army>Mr Bean>Two Pints of Lager.. and removing everything in between.
But seriously, those three guys did more to keep the colonies british than the most Tory politician. In fact I blaim the ABC not showing "The Goodies" regularily in the later 1990s on Australia's slide into US social policy.  


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

How to make a better pin-hole camera


Sleepy me wakes up today to see the web abuzz about the transit of Venus today. The one thing that alot of places talk about is how to view the transit, and one of the cheapest and easiest ways is using a pin-hole camera. The problem I have seen is that many people only have basic knowledge of pin-hole construction. Honestly if you have binoculars or a telescope there are many techniques that are easier than a pin hole camera so I would suggest using those. But a few simple tips for making pin hole cameras...(Finally a sciency topic which I am more qualied than most to talk about)
-Paint the inside of the box you are using black; help stops light leakage through thinner card and stops light bouncing around inside.
-Foil is not a great substance for making a pin hole out of, it's thin and when you stick the pin through it actually rips the foil rather than making a clean round hole. The objective is to make it as round a hole as possible to get the best image. The best results I have seen involve a thin piece of sheet metal, rather than poke a hole you hit it with a round metal stamp or punch that doesn't punch through but makes a small round bump in the metal. You then sand the bump with fine sandpaper to get a very round hole.
- Without a lens the light coming through the pin hole is very weak, so it needs to project into a dark or shaded area, the darker the better. Best result come from a traditional Camera Obscura; a darkened room with the pinhole letting light in. This is utterly impractical with something like the transit but we managed to turn a Photography darkroom into a massive Camera Obscura when I was in TAFE using the noticeboard pinhole in the door. (We also did it with a classroom and I have seen someone make a pinhole camera out of a PeakingDuck)
Just some tips, maybe too late but you never know...

Friday, May 18, 2012

The future , the environment and decentralisation of production...

 (author's note. This one kinda became stream of consciousness; so bare with it...)

I am an odd sort of person when it comes to environmental topics; I think it's the fact that I tend to not seperate humanity and the environment along the lines that have been popular since the 19th centuary. Personally I see humans as a species like any other, just a very dominant and beligerant one. An interesting example I often use of species that act like us are Carp; Carp are animals that are environmental engineers. So much so that Carp are considered a nuisance by humans as they often destroy lakes and streams. Carp are very simalier to us in the way they often use their environment; the Common Carp is a bottom feeder that sifts through mud and sediment for food and is able to survive in extreamly muddy and turbid waters. So what does the Common Carp do? They mess up their environment to make it more difficult for other fish who would compete for food, this is especially a problem in places where they have been introduced as the local fish populations may have much less of a capacity to deal with extremly turbid waters.
Sounds a little familar...
So it is in my opinion the natural path of a dominant spieces to dominate their environment if possible, it's not something particular to humans. If Lions developed to a point where they could import food from elseware you would find their numbers increasing as the normal relationship between predator and prey changes. So basically humans act with their environment they way that any animal would, it's just that we have greater means to exploit said environment.
So for me environmentalism isn't about civilsation's encrochment on the natutral, it is something more practical and pragmatic than that.
It is honestly more about us as a species taking that next step, in some cases for the preservation of us and our civilisation. While our base desire is to expand and pass our genes on, we must recognise the fact that by doing so beyond a certain point will at the very least alter the way we operate on this planet, and at worst lead to extinction. The environment will live on in our ruins, just as after other major extinction events.
So that's that out of the way.
So the one thing that deniers of anthroprogenic climate change can't tell me is why making our civilisation more efficent is a bad thing? Isn't that the point? Don't we want to make the leap from an Industrial economy to whatever comes next. (and before anybody calls us a post Industrial economy, we arn't as we just outsource our industry now. We still dig stuff/grow stuff and get it made into other stuff; and we still get the poor people to do it. Those poor people just live in China or India now)
I think that the resistance to the decentralisation that the Internet represents is a good example of the same phenomin that says that any future economy has to be based around big company A digging stuff out of the ground, while Big company B (and oft C D and E) fabricates it into good that big company F can sell you. The amount of infomation that the Intertubes can fling about endangers not only the Hollywood/record company model of entertainment but the Govenment's hold on infomation as well. By revolutionising the way we communicate, the internet changed the way that ideas and infomation is used, moved and abused. It decentralised it, and I do feel that is the logical way to move the rest of society in future...
Energy is a great example, why do we have electricity produced by massive powerstations often very far away? Well because noone wants to live near a coalfire powerplant, so it became more practical to make them very big and very far away. (Economy of scale also plays a part here) But... We now have the technology to put solar panels on every roof, heck we could even coat roofing tiles with a cheap photo voltaic material to produce power. Thats a fair bit of surface area for power collection. For areas where solar is impractical, Hitachi and a few other companies produce small scale inert isotope reactor for medical research that could theoretically be used to power buildings and houses in a decentralised manner. (But that tech is still a little way off.) The same goes with ideas for urban Agroculture and the move (for environmental reasons) towards locally supplied food.

Now what am I ranting about, this was going to be a brief idea but kinda got out of hand hm.. Well all inspired by an alternet article about 3D printing, I've been on that bandwagon awhile now seeing it as a way to remove several steps in the supply chain. The possibility of being able to buy plans off the internet and fabricate your own Ipad or other item using a 3D printer would be one that would change the way we live as much as the internet itself. Sure we'd still have to fabricate the raw materials, but even that could be focused more on recycling existing materials. (Star Trek style replicators would be the Utopian ideal)
But really, wouldn't it be better if we used all that Petrolium we suck up and instead of burning it turned it into plastics? Plastics that can be reycled on and on? That will be the great shame of our culture, how much we wasted...

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Midnight Bath Blog...


Not 100% sure when I became a Bath person, but it was recently and the more paranoid part of me fears it's my subconscious slowly succumbing to age. The feeling of age creeping into my brain cavity happened just over a year ago I think when I busted my ankle up in a pot hole. I am a person often prone to stumbling and falling over, my hand eye coordination has always been a suspect and not being a serviceable component of the whole brain thing I am kinda stuck with it. But any way, being clumsy on my feet meant that I am used to minor sprains and bumps so it came as a shock when I rolled my ankle in a pot hole on Mason st that it stayed injured. Any idea of youthful invulnerability was wiped out in the weeks that followed, ankle bound and on occasion using a cane I hobbled around my goings and comings. This drove the entropy of age home to me, especially as the ankle is still tender to this day and a good dip in hot water with my Ipad streaming radio helps me relax and take my mind off my aging joints. So it's 1:30am and I have just climbed out of a hot bath, relaxed and youthful again much like Elizabeth Bathery emerged from her bath of virgin's blood. It'll last an hour or so until the cold of life creeps back in and I feel less capable than I was yesterday again...
Time, warm water and musing.. oh and a rubber duck...

Friday, April 20, 2012

Catz4: Alice aka Munchie






Notoriously hard to photograph, "Muchie" is the newest member of our Feline Colony. She was part of a litter found by a friend of my Uncle, all the kittens found good homes but Munchie was the last one left. I agreed to look after her until we could find a home, but the little girls personality was just too much for us to bare so she had to stay.
Currently round about six months old, she is a tortiseshelled , bouncing, biting and playing machine. She is unafraid of any of the other cats, maybe a bit of Emma, but she plays with the boys like she is one of them. In fact poor Cloud is oft at the recieving end of a Munchie attack, though he gives as good as he gets much of the time...
Alice has a very special relationship with Apollo, who has very much become her big brother. They often sleep togeather, and even if Apollo isn't in the mood she will sleep nearby and awake when he does. Apollo is also uber patient with her, being a 6 and a half kilo cat compared to just over a kilo of Munchie he could knock her around like a boss... But he often sits there while she attacks his tail or chews on his ears and dosn't bat an eyelid.
The little dear is starting to get big as well, loosing a tiny bit of her kitten energy but she is indeed still mightily inbued with "Tortitude".

Friday, April 13, 2012

Catz 3-Emma


And next is Daddy's little girl, my princess Emma. She was hastily named in the waiting room of the Lort Smith after Mrs Peel from The Avengers; the name stuck. She was found by two friends of mine starved and very unhappy; I opted to adopt her and we have been inseperable since.
Emma is the cat I point to when people say cats aren't loyal, or that they are too aloof or Independent. She is by my side most of the day when I am at home, either on my lap or within sight. She dosn't not like other people, she in fact can be very friendly to people she dosn't find threatening, but she is definiativly my cat. For example; one day she got outside and ran into the trumpet flowers down the side of the house. Nobody could get her out, she wouldn't come out for food or anything. I get home, walk out the back, call "Emma" and she trots out without hesitating. That is my relationship with Emma in a nutshell.
She is very good at hiding, so good that she can render herself almost impossible to find when she wants to. She dislikes, but tolerates, the other cats. Being the oldest by some degree I imagine that she looks at them with a mixture of distain and amusement, she often watches them play but excludes herself with a quick hiss if approached by the others. As long as they don't bother he, she does not mind them.
She also smart, very smart. She is patient, if there is a door she cannot open she will work at it for hours until it budges, she spent over a week digging under a door at my old place and KEPT IT SECRET by covering the entrance in gravel. Several times when her litter was full, she would poop into the scoop as she knew that was where it was going anyway... Never try to outthink her as one would often be defeated...

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What not to wear

As most peeps who know me are aware, I do like ot follow politics both here and in the US. Why in the US? Well because for the past twenty years that this where our political class takes it's lead from, unfortunatly we seem determined to take all the worst of the US and bring it on home. I mean the US has many wonderful things and ideas; Philly cheese-steak, good mexican food, bottomless beverages in restruants... and on the non food front engrained rights for citizens and the seperation of powers.. :P
Out of these wonderful things the Americans have given us we decided to take; Tax hate, economic illiteracy, fear of regulation, resource magnates dictating public policy and a hatred of science.
Huh? For some reason many of our elite have looked at the US at the start of dubya's reign and said "yup that is where we want to be." forgetting what happens at the end of that dance... (It involves a gutter, a bottle of passion pop and a vomit stained dinner suit)
Don't believe me..? Just take a stroll through the opinion areas of the ABC, News.com.au or The Age and read the comments... Or if you don't have time for that just go over to a site like Pure Poison or The failed estate for an umpires view of out media one ring circus. (Our media isn't large enough for a three ring yet...)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Catz Part 2- Apollo


Yes I could not do another episode on my Cats without Apollo coming next. The Alpha cat of our house, Mr Polly, Polly, Bigface or the Polinator as he is known, is a furry bundle or meows and muscle. He was adopted along with his brother Hermes by my partner, they were street kittens and were in despirate need for a home. Hermes was very ill, and sadly passed away (although he lasted a full Year, much better than the Vets gave him thanks to Morrigan's love and care) and eventually he and his mom came to live with me and add to the expanding colony.
It is not unusual at our house to come under Polly's watchful glare, in the lounge, the Kitchen, the bathroom...Yes the Bathroom, earning his extra name pervy bathroom cat.
But Polly is the leader, all the other cats (even Emma sometimes) take his lead, like a Lion he watches his pride and bops them when they do wrong. He is also a food vacum, which did lead to that controversal experiemental switch to the lite cat food. There was much protesting.
He is a vocal boy, talking to his mom and the other humans in trills and chirps. He is also a cat that likes other cats, usually being the first to adapt to the presence of another and taking young ones under his wing. (Most notibly Minsk and Alice, who I will talk about later..)
His sworn enemy is the Orange cat that sleeps in our backyard sometimes. Polly usually glares at him via the back window, in one of the few cases of a face to face meeting Apollo jumped on poor Orange cat's head...
So hail to the King, Apollo of Johnston st...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Catz-Part 1; Cloud






Blogs in general are about one's life and interests, and seeing as my life revolves around a small hoard of Animal friends it kinda didn't feel right not to write about them. So here is the first part in a series on the animals that make my life that bit more plesent.

Cloud is the only one of my cats that is technically was not a stray or rescue cat, I say technically as I took him off the hands of a lovley lady who couldn't keep him anymore. He is a handsome flame point Ragdoll who honestly has the oddest personality.
You see, he is the most social of all my pets; when we have company he lounges around accepting pets and scratches from everybody. He often sits on a chair as part of the conversation, either sleeping or just chilling.
But he is very picky that it is HE who chooses when to be social and when not to be, he hate hugs and dosn't sit on peoples laps. He often will cry when picked up, and grumble when someone pets him at a time not of his choosing. But when relaxed he love belly scratches more than any cat that i have seen...
He is a very pretty cat, with bright blue eyes and creamy to ginger fur. He is also a total grot, often nuzzling through dust piles and wanting to roll around in the garden. ( a point of contention as we don't let our cats out)
He also loves wearing things, like bits of lace on his head or wrapping himeslf in my goats wool scarf (sometimes with assistance, but it suits him).

Cloud also loves to watch TV, big fan of Doctor who (classic) it seems, as well as the Simpsons as he always seems to be on the arm of the couch when i watch those...

A gentle cat of contradictions, as lovable as he is a loud moaner. We have had our doubts but I really couldn't see myself living without this bundle of white fluff. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Oops, someone spilt my leadership

Rudd vs Gillard hey?
All I can say is, isn't it funny when the whole nations media talks about something for weeks on end and it happens? It's like if you keep repeating something, it becomes true.
Far better political commentators than I are speaking about this outside of our Traditional media spheres.
Such as http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3845564.html
But really this won't change much in Australian Politics, it may change the Govenment but it'll still be Centre Left/Right Labor duking it out with a Lib/Nat party that is quickly disappearing down the same abyss the Republicans in the US are...
New Zealand maybe?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Re: Facebook; Why Joss Whedon is not a Feminist Part 1

I'll put my virtual Asbestos suit on for this one, I need something flame resistant...

Prompted by a Facebook thread by a friend of mine; I'm writing today about my thoughts of Joss Whedon as a Feminist writer.
In short he isn't one, or at least not as much of one as he thinks he is.
There are a few reasons for this, some simple some quite complex. I'll try my best to be consise with my explaination but a lot of it is bogged down in theory...


Reason the first; the 19th centuary Natualistic falicy.

It's actually hard to say when this one started in history but my brain often associates it with 19th Centuary spiritualism so thats how I nickname it. (It's much older than that I am sure.) The basic idea is so engrained in our culture most people still havn't gotten over it today.
It can be simply explain as :

Nature=Chaos=Female
and
Civilisation=Control=Male

Now originally this wonderful boiling down of all things was used as a reason for female=bad=original sin; the very root of what became known as the Madonna/Whore dicotomy. With the wave of interest in Paganism in the late 19th centuary, the idea quickly became switched around. Female=Nature=good or the way the world was supposed to be before Men corrupted it with Civilisation. We still see it repeated today by psudo intellectuals and people purvaying alt medicines; if something is natural it must be good. (Hense the "Naturalistic Falicy" Arsenic is Natural for example, I wouldn't be taking it for my health though)
Now while good writing is few and far between in this world today, most of us have moved passed this simple dicotomy. Women can be more than either untaimed temptresses or obediant wives, they are people who have human wants, fears and desires.
Many of Whedon's female characters, and charcters in general can be broken down along these lines. (a few are a tiny bit more complex, but fall pray to reason the second..) Willow in Buffy is a sterling example of this,simply put the "good" Willow is a shy intellegent girl, while the "evil" Willow from an Alternate universe is a Vampire (or a Witch) who's desires sexual and otherwise are unbound. The "Slayer" spirit basically spells out the Naturalistic Falicy in the last season of Buffy; the reason all potentials cannot become Slayers is because the watchers wanted to control the Slayer spirit. The Watchers are men, and they seek to prevent the Slayer (a female spirit) from reaching it's full potential.
In Firefly Whedon has matured a little as a writer, so River is a more complicated example of this. She does not become totally unbound when released from Male control , she retains loyalty to her crewmates. But she is still an example of some sort of natural force being bottled up, and it's not suprising that she becomes a Buffy like killing machine when she realises her potential. (It's a whole other tract of argument that can be taken as well, that the female (River or Buffy) become empowered when they do what men "do" in our Culture- Kill.)

Part 2 coming soon...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I'm number three! I'm number three!


First; yeah I know I've been slow posting.
Wisdom tooth infection from hell + writing the Chaosium Masters at Arc kinda sapped my will to live and write...
But One vanity serach and i have discovered that I'm no.3 when you search for "Tommorrow's sound' in teh googles.
Take that Dwight Yoakam!