Sunday, October 14, 2018

Lost World walk

Michael was keen to go for a walk on the mountain today. I suggested a short walk so I could keep him company and not take too big a chunk out of my Sunday. The Lost World track looked like a good one on the map - steep but interesting.

We can see the Lost World area from our house. The small peak is Mt Arthur
(I think I have told people in the past that it's Collins Cap but that is quite a bit further away)
I imagined a track of hundreds of steps, in fact there was not one. Instead, think of large boulders, with arrows scratched on them to keep you going in the right direction.

My guide, the nimble-footed Michael, at the top of the descent.
The Big Bend, Pinnacle Road - we parked the car near the white car in the centre.
The first 10 metres of the track was a peat bog, and after that is a dry rock scramble.
We descended for about 20 minutes. The Lost World Track meets the Old Hobartians track down below, but that is closed still since the August storms. I was happy just to get that far and turn around. In fact it was such a steep and laborious descent that a picked a spot with a good view and told Michael I would wait there for him. He went down to explore.

The 'Organ Pipes' on the eastern face of Mt Wellington/kunanyi are huge dolerite columns.
Here further north there are smaller ones – I always think of these as the Little Organ Pipes.
Michael is at the very centre of this pic. You can see where at some stage of geological time
a lot of the columns fell and smashed. They are distinctly hexagonal in section.

The climb back up begins
I am probably haunted a bit by my near-miss when I got lost walking in India. I just did a search of the blog and I realise now I haven't written about it here, except for this tiny snippet. Anyway it has made me uber-cautious about getting lost or injured walking out in the bush. But now I know the lay of the land here, I'll be happy to come back and push on further.

The amazing part was how fast it was to get back up to the top. The process of choosing foot- and hand-holds on the way down is so slow, that it actually is way quicker going up.

A day in Melbs with the boys

Marcus goes in every maths competition that crosses his path. A month ago he received an invitation to an award ceremony in Melbourne for one of them. He had Achieved Outstanding-ly, without winning the lucrative first or second prize. He was keen to just fly over and back in a day on his own to get his certificate, but we were not ready to give him quite that much freedom.

Michael and I accompanied him and made a (long) day of it.

 I let the boys have the iPad on the plane ( I was sitting separately) and they went selfie-mad.
As an experiment, on the way into the city in the morning we caught a local bus (901 to Frankston) as far as Broadmeadows Station, and trained in from there. On Saturday that costs $6 ea and that is your public transport paid for for the day. [On the way back to the airport (when I am more nervous about being late) we just caught a cab.]

The train station is really just an annexe to the Kebab House.

Our first stop in the city was the National Gallery of Victoria and the first thing we did the was - eat chips. Elf wanted me to take the boys. After an hour of art I was keen take them through the CBD but they both enjoyed the gallery and wanted to keep looking at things.

Marcus loves the collection of 1960s moderne furniture.

This is at the venue at Melb Uni where Marcus was getting his maths prize.
The carpet is patterned with numbers
Marcus is in the background - prize recipients sat in the middle and family at the sides.

Various profs shake his hand. He was one of 18 getting $50 for 'outstanding achievement' - first prize was about $600.
Next door we explored the School of Medical Science, which is where they have preserved these carved desks or benches, which are mounted on a wall. There are also richly decorated pharmacists' jars like the one below.

Celebratory dumplings and chilli prawns at Shanghai Village in Chinatown [112 Little Bourke for future reference]
We walked down a lot of alleys and lanes working our way down to Flinders St.

 … and arcades. We were lucky to be here just when Gog and Magog donged their bells.
Gog's went 'clang' and Magog's went 'clunk'.
We were too late for; and will return to [notes to self] ; Wunderkammer at 439 Lonsdale St, The Watch Gallery at 337 Little Collins St, the old High Court where Elf's grandad presided at 455 Little Bourke St, and the Immigration Museum at 400 Flinders St.

At Flinders St Station we passed under the clocks, hopped in a cab (spending our savings from earlier) and got to the airport to find our flight was delayed and we had over-abundant time to flop around.

A good day, everyone had fun and Marcus is better off by a $50 voucher.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Woodsdale footy ground

I took Michael up to Buckland, about an hour north, to go horse-riding. he went off on a trail ride so I went looking for the fabled Woodsdale football ground nearby. It was well worth it. Now grazed by sheep, the club is in recess but has not folded. Hopefully the sheep will be shooed away soon and the lines marked for a return to competition.

The view from Woodsdale Rd

The long steep driveway down. Its behind an unlocked gate.

Sheep graze around the 40 metres out from goal.
They have no chance of sinking one from there – they're sheep.

The clubroom, scoreboard and mini-playground.

Practice cricket pitch - they would erect nets around it in season I guess.

The view from the scoreboard. My real reason for coming was to
file a report for Scroreboard Pressure, the blog of record for Australian scoreboard lovers.

I am not a selfie-take but this is a a special for Chonk in Winterthur. Thanks for the beanie and scarf!

This is the final score from Woodsdales last grand final win, over Mount Pleasant in 2012.

I call the typographic style untutored but confident.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

2018 World Cup

I am excited for the World Cup. Really excited. Everywhere you look there are epic possibilities and echoes of past glory, past ignominy.

Tunisia! Playing England in their first game! They were there in my first time cup in 1978. The prospect of them getting a result against England is quite tantalising, quite naughty.

 Speaking of which - Iceland! Less people than Tasmania! Playing Messi's Argentina first if you don't mind! And managed by a part time dentist!

 I pulled out Senegal in the work sweep. Remember the opening game of 2002 when their journeymen from the French 2nd division beat the champions France on opening night of the Cup? Football, bloody hell.

 My hopes for the beauty and drama of the football are boundless. Australia are quite likely to come home without a goal or a point. But ... what if on Saturday night they stun France, Senegal-style? And go top of the group? Nick a 1-1 with Denmark and then it's a 0-0 staring contest with Peru to WIN the group? Which would send them to a knockout game against 2nd rate Croatia, 3rd rate Nigeria or Actual Minnow Iceland?

 Yes, I dream big. See I've already got us into the Quarters (where we are going to meet at worst Uruguay) but enough of the football.

 My hopes for Russia, for FIFA, for racism, corruption, hooliganism .. are zero. This World Cup won't change a thing. They never do. And that's depressing.

 England's Danny Rose has insisted his family do not come to Russia for the Cup - their skin colour puts them at risk. German sports journalist Hajo Seppelt, who uncovered the story of systematic Russian doping, is not covering the Cup ... German security agencies have advised him he would be at risk if he travelled there.

 It's a collision of sports and politics, mad nationalism, individual brilliance and dogged team-first discipline, lurid despicable cheating, grace and generosity and rusted-on certainties and surprises. I hate it, I love it. Go Australia, go Iceland, go Tunisia, go football.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Opening up old photos

I have been training a documentary film-maker over the last few weeks, showing her ways to make good use of stills in her film. She is getting these amazing pics from the State Library of Victoria archives. It's her project, not mine, so I don't want to say too much about it at this stage. And just for my own clip I have protected the identity of these fellows (pointless really as it's not recorded who they are).

Anyway – this is one of 3 examples I have made for her to use in her film trailer.

  • In Photoshop I separated the foreground layers from each other and the background
  • faked up all the important parts that were hidden in the original (this is the hard part)
  • used AfterEffects to move the layers apart in 3D space so it's like a wafer
  • then rotated that wafer so that the 3D space is visible, with layers moving across each other
It's the most fun I have had at work in ages.

Twitter break

I am on a Twitter break. Day 6 of a planned 7 days. I might extend it, I think its doing me good. Look, I'm back here for one thing.

But, although Twitter is a bit addictive and a bit of an echo chamber, its a great place for the little one-line observation you just want to put out into the world. I have no place for those now – apart from sharing with family, co-workers and the occasional friend that I bump into.

Anyway here is what I would have  tweeted (that I can think of now) over the last week.


Loris Karius - that's two of the worst mistakes I have seen a keeper make, and they came in one game, which happened to be the world's most important club game of the year. I tipped he would be playing for Port Vale* next season but Rimini in Italy's Serie C have offered him a job. *Port Vale's home ground is owned by a man named Norman Smurthwaite.


I was designing a sign for Woolworths Ascot (QLD) today, with Ascot up top. I wanted to design it so it was reusable for other Woolies with longer names. In checking a list of all Woolies locations I was delighted to find that in WA is Woolworths Dog Swamp.


Does all nail polish come from Nail Poland?


OK that is honestly all the microblog content I can think of right now.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Teletubbies theory

Theory: The Teletubbies is an elaborate treatise on advanced chemistry. Po is obviously Potassium, La-La is Lanthanum [and the rare earths generally], and I think Tinky-Winky is a new alloy of Titanium and Tungsten.

 This alloy combines the lightness of titanium with the, er, heaviness of tungsten. We don't yet know what for.

 My theory is hampered or possibly helped by the fact I don't know the name of the other Tellytubby. But I am applying for funding to find out.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018


This is a memento of a happy moment. I sat here with Winston looking over the brewery while a flock of homing pigeons circled, flying over us every 20 seconds or so. It was very quiet, apart from the periodic flapfest.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Is it OK to be angry about more than one thing?

Yesterday Australia exploded in uproar and disappointment at the news our Test cricket captain had confessed to pre-meditated cheating in the 3rd test in South Africa. Later in the day a backlash developed as human rights advocates contrasted our national response to ball tampering with our national response to our mandatory detention of asylum seekers – which has resulted in untold misery, many deaths and life-changing injury and mental illness.

I am gutted about the gap between expectations and reality with the cricket team. Pre-meditated cheating, pushing young Bancroft out to do it, the shitty attempt at cover up after. The first I or most Australians knew about this was Steve Smith fronting a press conference, admitting the offence.

On the other hand, our government is carrying out an established policy (with tacit ALP support) that is grinding asylum seekers into the dirt every day. Every fucking day. And like millions of other Australians I have tried to hold our government to account.

I have written to ministers, to newspapers, signed petitions, attended vigils. I have volunteered for many many hours on an Amnesty International stall at the market where we try to convey the importance of these issues to people passing by. I was even pressed into taking part in a bit of street theatre in Refugee Week once [if you know me you will know this is waaay outside my comfort zone].  There are people like Ian Rintoul and Kon Karapanagiotidis who make fighting this fight their life's work. I have given time and money to help them but I cannot do what they do.

Occasionally particular events leap out of the continuum of officially sanctioned human rights abuse. The deaths of Reza Bharati, Omid Masoumali, and Hamid Khazaei and many more. And now the attempt by the government to stop a suicidal ten-year-old coming here for treatment. These are the headline events, when every fair-minded Australian agrees - hang on, this is not right. But then it slips from the front page but those innocent people are still in mandatory detention.

Yes, there are Australians who are blind to the injustice, and in fact say they support offshore detention, tow-backs and even more punitive action against asylum seekers who have committed no crime. But 45% of Australians want asylum seekers on Manus and Nauru brought here. Undoubtedly there are cricket-lovers and proud Australians on both sides.

Freeing people from offshore detention is an every-day fight. Concern about cricket or the environment or corruption or the possums getting into your carrots; none of this means you have stopped caring about and acting on behalf of asylum seekers.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Letter to the Mercury

Charles Woolley's column about Barnaby Joyce amounts to a whitewash. Most of the media focus has been on his private life and Woolley says, fairly, they need to get over it. 

But to say "He not a mass murderer, a terrorist … or even a crooked politician” is quite a stretch and amounts to a Joyce public relations manoeuvre. 

So, we can construe Woolley is OK with two taxpayer-funded jobs created out of thin air for Vicki Campion? 

Woolley is OK with the taxpayers millions spent on a ‘security upgrade’ of Joyce’s mate’s place in Armidale that he was staying in rent free? 

Woolley is OK with Joyce’s water buybacks at twice the market rate as Agriculture Minister? 

I agree, it’s time to lay off his private life and time to take a good hard look at his conduct as minister, and hold him accountable.

Sunday, February 04, 2018


I’ve just finished Longitude by Dava Sobell. Great story with some amazing characters like Admiral Sir Cloudisely Shovell

Admiral of the Fleet Sir Cloudisely Shovell died along with 2000 sailors in the mass shipwreck of 1707 in the Scilly Isles. 7 years later Parliament passed the Longitude Act offering £20,000 to anyone who could develop a method for ships to accurately calculate their longitude. 

Sobell says one sailor on Shovell’s flagship, who was a native of the Isles, spoke up to warn him they were off course. Shovell had him hanged for insubordination. Shortly after the ship HMS Association foundered on rocks, and three other ships followed; Eagle, Romney and Firebrand.

Shovell’s body washed ashore in Porthellick Cove. Sobell says 30 years later a woman confessed on her deathbed that she had found him on the beach alive, and finished him off so she could take his emerald ring.

North Hobart's tiny house district

I have worked out that in hour I can walk from Red Jelly up here to North Hobart and back. Or I can catch the bus up that way then walk around and have a really good look THEN walk back. I have found a big blackberry bush that I'd quite like to revisit, in a little thru-way between houses.

This is around Smith, George and Wellington Streets, between Argyle St and Letitia St. Some tiny tiny houses around here. (Photos from Google Streetview)