Where Wool Comes From, a Blonde Joke

Video Description: A little blonde (and brunette) humor. A commercial for the L.A. County Fair.

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I came across this video on Google video and thought it was just so convincingly acted and a clever idea. These ladies almost make you believe that there are people in the world that are really this clueless. (I mean I could accept one person being this dumb but what are the odds of four people in the same room, with one being a parent?).

I wonder if People in LA watch this thinking "as if we're that stupid...wool comes from the store...like everything else."

Blank Canvas II

'Blank Canvas II', was featured on my web site last month. It continues on from an earlier video I created, Blank Canvas, which is a humorous look at a specific type of minimalist art that is little more than the title describes.

Blank Canvas II continues on as a commentary with an actual example of an artwork, Courier II by Robert Ryman. Ryman is an American Artist who has made an entire career out of... well... painting surfaces white. Is his work art? My opinion on the specific example of his work I comment upon is ‘no’.

Speed Bandits - only in Denmark.




Thanks to Mobuzz TV I came across this news story which I had to blog for ... um ... well no good reason except that this kind of innovative, out of left field, traffic policy thinking surely needs to catch on ... preferably in my home town. Topless speed controllers.

If you've watched the video then I shouldn't need to explain any further however Mobuzz Host, Karina, pointed out the glaringly obvious... "Where are the buff male speed controllers?"

She went on to speculate that the lack of males may mean that 1. The policy makers are sexist pigs, or 2. Research showed that it was only male drivers that were speeding (oh right, because all the female drivers need to drive slower in order to check their hair and lippy in the mirror!).

I feel that this kind of policy is actually rewarding speeders for their bad driving. No one would have thought of this if people didn't speed, right? I didn't see any driver in the clip getting upset about slowing down, before speeding on their way again after getting a good look at the err... speed limit. Though a few drivers stuck in grid lock did seem impatient - probably frustrated at not being close enough to find out what speed they should be doing.

Now Danish drivers are in a quandary. If the program works there eventually won't be a need for it and they'll lose the view. However if it doesn't work the program will be scrapped. Seems like they need to keep speeding, but not too much. Just enough to keep the program going indefinitely.

Your Outlook on Life.

My partner and I went to a local pub for a nice lunch time meal. As we were finalising our order an elderly lady, just preparing to leave with her husband, suddenly became overcome with some ailment causing her temperature to soar. She appeared to be in pain. The thought that she may even be having a heart attack crossed my mind.

Her husband was quick to act, flagging down restaurant staff for some assistance with cold cloths and things. Several people on nearby tables offered their assistance but he didn't seem overly concerned saying this was something that had happened before and that she would 'come right again' in a little while.

The staff were great in offering assistance, keeping the ladies arms and neck cool with their cloths, trying to determine exactly what was wrong and whether the lady required an ambulance (she did seem to be in a lot of pain from what I observed). She initially refused an ambulance as she was of the same opinion as her partner about 'coming right' eventually. But the staff decided an ambulance was probably a good idea because she didn't seem to be getting better.

The women really did appear to be struggling. I'm not sure if she tried to get up or whether it was just that someone suggested lying down might help, as staff helped her to lie down on the floor next to the table (it was carpeted so not too hard).

By the time the ambulance arrived she was actually coming good again, sitting up and even joking a little with concerned onlookers. All in all a good outcome.

My partner joked that it wasn't a good look for the restaurant, a customer leaving in an ambulance. I thought perhaps they should give her a sign saying 'It wasn't the food' just to ease the mind of passers by.

After lunch my partner and I went over to a local park to take photos of flowers with her digital camera. We'd only just arrived when we were approached by a women and a girl (possibly mother and daughter). They greeted us friendly enough by explaining that they wanted to give us an invitation to a function they were attending.

In that second, what little open personality I display, was violently sucked into the metaphorical bomb shelter of my inner being as the realisation hit - we were under attack by messengers from God. Well, more precisely, messengers of The Revival Fellowship. From the moment their first sentence hit I limited my responses to 'uh-huh' and not much else.

This did not seem to deter them any. My partner, who knew of my previous experience with the fear of God, wouldn't look at me because I knew she was ready to burst out laughing if she did.
I'm not going to detail this conversation either because, just as before, I was only half listening. The rest of my thoughts were preoccupied with with the hope that the two of them would stop talking soon and move on.

What struck me though, was that these two were trying to convince me that the world is a terrible place, with everyone out for themselves, not thinking of others and with little hope. The usual doomsday kind of thing that many pro-active campaigners for religion preach in order to convince you of the need to follow Jesus or to accept God into your life.

It's an argument that pales when you consider the experience of the elderly lady in the pub earlier that day. Many people around her were very concerned, despite not knowing her at all. Many of them offered assistance, as did many additional restaurant staff, even though the situation was well under control with the two staff that were assisting her.

The world is not on the decline. It's always been this way. It all depends on which events you choose to focus on and what kind of out look you have on life. In this day and age more things are possible than ever before.

Perhaps I would be more open to religion if they didn't preach that the world needs saving from all the bad things. Why don't they preach about all the good things and encourage you to join in and help to make them better?

Relationship on a Train

"I signed up to those sites just so I wouldn't get anymore emails asking me to join."

My partner and I were riding a train into the city to see a movie and were among many people to overhear a mobile phone conversation from a young man, behind us, to his girlfriend, 'Claire'. Claire was very suspicious.

I don't know the man's name so I'll choose one... 'Gareth'.

Gareth initially denied accusations of having joined some web sites but then he changed his story to this article's opening line - "I signed up to those sites just so I wouldn't get anymore emails asking me to join." Which is shady justification at best, as Claire queried why he didn't just block the emails? I'm sure everyone listening in thought that too. Both my partner and I did.

Gareth also denied that he knew any of the people asking him to join the sites and that he hadn't contacted anyone. All the suspect emails had been sent to him. He encouraged Claire to not only look in his spam folder at the emails but to also delete and block them. For some reason she conveyed that she wouldn't delete or block the emails and one has to wonder what she was doing looking at his email account in the first place (unless perhaps they share an account - which would make Gareth none too smart indeed).

One interesting excuse given for not joining a site was that "you have to be 13 or over and be born after 1982." That would make Gareth at least 24-25 years of age. I've never heard of that kind of restriction on a site before? He went on to say something along the lines of why would he be trying to pick up 17 year olds?

He said that he'd never lied to her, he loved her and that he wouldn't want to hurt her. Especially after all the trouble they'd had before...

Uh oh...there's a 'Dr. Phil' moment, "The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior." Well that crossed my mind at the time.

There's not a lot more to the conversation. Gareth cut the discussion short saying something along the lines of they would talk when he got home.

I don't know Gareth, I never even got a glimpse of what he looked like. He's just a voice in my memory. I don't even know what kind of web sites were under discussion. I made a joke to my partner that "he'd done nothing wrong by subscribing to the 'Toys-r-us' web site" (well you never know!).

What I found interesting about this conversation was that it was all technology based. Suspicious emails, suspect web site subscriptions, trying to pick up people over the internet. Even having such a discussion on a mobile phone whilst riding public transport.

It's all so now. No need to wait until your other half gets home before making accusations just ring their mobile.

I wonder if any one else wrote about it in their blog?

"The Fear of God"

Let me preface this article by unequivocally stating that if you are a religious person, devoted to any faith, I'm more than happy for you. I'm not anti religion nor am I anti god. I just walk a different path in my ideas about god and don't feel any need to find a religion that closely matches my beliefs. With that said, I'd like to relate to you the following experience that happened to me today...

I was just in the last throws of making myself some toasted cheese and ham for lunch. The kettle was on the boil for a cuppa and I thought, I'll just dash outside to check the mail while I waited. Upon opening the front door you could literally hear the thud of my heart, not so much sinking to the floor but making a mad dash to be elsewhere because the view from my eyes was that of two well dressed young men, carrying nicely bound black books, coming up our garden path. Mormons.

Mormons are very nice and very polite people. They speak well and work really hard to spread their message. Sometimes to the point of being just a little bit creepy (but in a nice way). Their goal is to befriend you and, if possible come into your home for a nice chat about 'the true nature of God', 'family values' and fulfilling some kind of destiny to be 'more like God'.

I'm very familiar with their tactics. They'll ask your name, find out if you have family, ask what you do for a living. They'll also ask about key values that we all want for our families like love, honesty, and respect. Phrasing questions in such a way that if you answer anything other than in the affirmative it will reveal you to be potentially the spawn of Satan.

I happened to reveal that I'm an artist and one of the polite young men asked if I had any art around that I'd like to show them. Interesting tactic. I could just imagine the conversation had I invited them to look at work in my studio...every sentence veering towards how learning more about God will improve my life. I declined this offer, mostly because by this stage my toast was cold and my cuppa, which I'd interrupted them to switch off the kettle and pour, was also heading the same way. Did God really want me to eat a cold lunch or did he just make it cold because he knew I'd never let his sheep in? I am that evil.

I'm not going to go into details of what these two, smartly dressed friends of God raised because, quite frankly, I was only half listening but one thing stuck in my head that really turned me off anything they had to say.

Somehow we got onto the topic of families and children and one of them said he thought that not enough children were being introduced to strong, family values and being taught 'the fear of God'. What the? Did he say 'the fear of God'? Slipped that one right in.

This is where myself and the young man on my door step don't see eye to eye. Why would anyone want to introduce fear of any kind into their home and especially to their kids? If there is a God (and I like to think there probably is) I don't think he would want people to be afraid of him. To do things for him because they're afraid of the consequences if they ignore him. God would want us to follow him because we genuinely want to follow him for no other reason than we believe in him and his message. At least that's what I believe.

If you follow someone because you fear what they might do if you don't are you really a follower or are you being held against your will? I'll leave that question open as something to think about.

Anyhow, I'm not one to debate anomalies of religion on my doorstep. People are welcome to their own beliefs. Whilst I'd prefer it if people didn't come to my door, spreading their message, they're welcome to do so if they leave with my message..."I'm not really interested in discussing my beliefs and moral values with you." and "Organised religions don't really hold any interest for me."

If we really do have a higher purpose to be more like God, then I'm willing to take my chances that the path I'm on is the one that's right for me. Either way, even if I had let them in, my toast still would have been cold and my cuppa would've been even colder. At least on the path I followed my cuppa was still at a reasonable temperature to enjoy.

The Last Meeting of the Gawler Town Council (2003-2006).

NB: apologies for the length of this entry however sumarising three and a half years with a short article just wouldn't seem right. I hope you'll persevere and learn from my experience.

Last Meeting: Out going Councillors, David Arandle (TET) and Ian Skewes.
Photo by Deputy Mayor, Brian Thom taken at the end of the final meeting of Council.


I remember the last meeting of the previous Gawler Town Council. I was in the Public Gallery having already been elected to the incoming council unopposed. This last meeting was a fairly moving experience as several councillors were given the opportunity to say a few final, outgoing words and at least one councillor was moving on after a personal loss.

In comparison, my last meeting of council was, well...lacking whatever it is that makes such a meeting special. The Mayor wasn't present (being on leave). There was no one in the public gallery (with the exception of one councillor's partner). Even the usual local press reporter arrived late. Perhaps the only thing to make this meeting memorable was that it is the first and only time the Deputy Mayor ever got to be Chairperson of a full council meeting in three and a half years.

One councillor made a last ditch effort to stir up a bit of controversy but chose the wrong time and issue to make any sort of impact beyond wasting everyone else's time with debate that should have been raised at committee level.

Only two councillors present hadn't renominated for the new council - one of them being myself. The other councillor made a request at some time (I don't know when) to say a few out going words - which were genuine and heart felt. I had thought about saying something too but in the end I felt it more appropriate to say nothing about the farce that I'd allowed my time on council to become.

Which may sound like harsh, self-criticism but really it is what it is. In three and a half years I contributed very little to debate and almost certainly in the last two I said virtually nothing at any meeting I attended.

I remember, before being elected, a story that was related to me that once there had been a councillor who was elected and never said anything. The question was asked, "Why would you bother?" I'm sure, if people even remember my time on council at all, it will be as 'the councillor who never anything'.

It wouldn't be a true representation of my time, as I did try to contribute to discussion in the early days. Something I said at a meeting was even quoted by the press (to do with road side Tourism entry/marketing statements). I helped shape one of councils sporting grants so it could also be applied as an arts grant. I even spoke once or twice at a very intimidating public meeting to establish a business zone where it wasn't entirely welcome by residents and schools in the area. However these are brief moments of a spark that died after about the first year and a half of my term.

Prior to my election I did know what I was in for. I took the time to attend meetings and read agendas etc. I knew there would be many issues that wouldn't always be of interest to me in a personal sense but I would be expected to take an interest in.

Having been elected unopposed, I never really got a feel for who it was that I was representing. Although there are no 'wards' within Gawler and each councillor represents the entire area, councillors do have their own supporters. Usually you would get a sense of this from running an election campaign - which I never had to do. Consequently I never felt I was representing anyone other than myself.

My strength in being actively involved in my community is derived from what skills I can bring to an organisation. Talking isn't one of my strong skills. I'm not good at thinking quickly or voicing an opinion on things I haven't had time to really consider. I'm especially not good at talking on issues that I'm struggling to even take an interest in because it is expected of me. It is for this reason that I never really felt like part of a team or never really found a niche to fill. Most of contributing to council is talking.

I'm proud to say that I read every agenda, cover-to-cover, for every meeting I attended however, in doing so I found very little opportunity to contribute in any way. I would find myself reading reports, trying to come up with questions I could ask just so it would appear that I was involved not because I actually had questions or wanted to know the answers.

Having attended virtually every meeting (I think I may have missed only one meeting in my whole term) I had a lot of time to observe what other councillors did. I wondered if I should take one or two other councillors lead by asking questions that were clearly answered in the reports but still they'd ask anyway? Or perhaps I should, like one councillor, launch into a monologue about what I would like to see happen five minutes after the meeting has clearly formulated a motion to do exactly that?

In the end I found that no matter what questions I could come up with, if I let the other councillors go first, they would invariably ask my questions for me. So I stopped trying to come up with questions.

Of those occasions where I did actually speak up, I had a brief run of seemingly speaking at the wrong opportunity. This occurred in two meetings relating to a now abandoned plan to completely rework and extend councils civic centre. The plan was supposed to include space to display community art. However when I tried to question details I was told the plan was an overview and we would talk about details later. Even when we got to a computer-generated model of the design it still wasn't the right time to talk detail. This frustrated me and did nothing for my confidence in expressing ideas. We never did get to talk detail.

There were probably a lot of things I could have done to be more successful as a councillor. I could have gone out and talked to people in the community more. Visited any number of community groups of which Gawler has many. Even talked more with my fellow councillors and council staff (I remember one time, where I was standing with two other councillors near council's customer service desk. The person attending the desk, not knowing who I was, despite me having been a councillor for more than a year and a half, asked if I needed any help. One of the councillors actually introduced me to them upon witnessing their mistake).

However it's very hard to be a councillor when other aspects of your life are busy and/or failing. Apart from my well-documented struggle with depression (in this blog), my business has never really been very successful, thus causing me to spend many years on unemployment benefit - which demands far more of your time attending job programs and the dreaded 'Work for the Dole'. At the same time you're trying to take an interest in the various community groups that you've signed up to as a representative of council. Participate in some aspect of their group. Finally for me, there was my continued commitment to the arts community to establish a community gallery in Gawler.

I don't want to bitch about these things - well I'd love to bitch about unemployment programs just a little bit because they contributed the most to my lack of interest in improving my position on council. February 2005 saw me and unemployment benefits part company. You only need to read my biography page to get a feel for how many job programs I've participated in. I've lost count. They're supposed to develop your skills and increase your employment potential. For me it got to the point where I was attending simply to keep everyone's paperwork in order. I wasn't getting any benefit so I refused to attend. Naturally they refused to pay me any benefit so we parted company.

Anyone who has run a business knows it is a full time job. When you run a business that barely breaks even and doesn't earn enough to feed you for a month you look to other income sources to supplement what you do earn. Not receiving unemployment benefit meant that my councillor allowance was my only other source of regular income.

During my time on council two of my colleagues resigned, thus triggering a by-election about two years into our term. In hindsight I've often thought I should have also resigned at this time. However I wanted to complete what I signed up for and I often thought about the joke you often hear as a councillor "...you wouldn't do this job for the money." Unfortunately that's pretty much all that kept me there until the end.

The by-election turned out to be another kick to my confidence. Having never really connected with my colleagues I thought some new people, who may also have difficulty settling in, might have helped in some way. I don't really know how. Perhaps I thought I'd be able to relate more to people who were also trying to find their niche in the group. Unfortunately (for me anyway) the two new councillors not only settled in quickly but also somehow connected with the rest of the council in a way I never had. That was very hard to come to terms with.

In a council meeting there are many standard motions that need to be passed as a matter of procedure. They're still quite important but it is rare that anyone ever votes against them, for example, 'acceptance of the previous minutes', or 'move the recommendations in items x to y subject to withdrawal'. To either move or second a motion you indicate this by raising your hand. Sometimes, just for a kind of in house joke, the Mayor or chairperson would name someone as mover or seconder to one of these motions who hadn't raised their hand to do so in a while. Quite often that would be me. I used to raise my hand for these but quite often wasn't picked so I just stopped doing it.

At my last committee meeting (not the final council meeting) I was getting picked to second almost every motion and being encouraged to second actual recommendation motions as well. The minute secretary pointed out that by the end of the night I had seconded more motions than I had in her entire time as minute secretary (possibly about a year). Although I was happy to go along with the joke, later, reflecting upon that night, I felt I had been treated something like a four year old being encouraged to do something funny for the 'grown ups' entertainment. I was dreading that this joke might spill over into my final meeting but fortunately it only occurred once towards the end of the night.

As the final meeting came to a close the Deputy Mayor made a few statements of thanks and wished everyone luck with their election campaigns. Then, as per usual after full council meetings, light supper was bought in along with a bottle or two of the CEO's home made wine. It is at this point of every meeting that I get the biggest feeling of being an outsider in this group. Everyone gravitates towards whoever it is they enjoy talking to the most, forming little circles of conversation.

I stayed long enough for one final photo with my fellow outgoing councillor, wished the deputy mayor (who took the photo) luck with his campaign, before taking one final look at the groups of people talking. Then I walked out into the night so I could spend time walking around Gawler - just me with my thoughts late in the evening. The end of three and a half years of being an Elected Member.

It's odd to me that a number of my colleagues were surprised at my decision not to renominate. However my decision can best be summed up by the idea that if I wouldn't vote for me, why should I expect anyone else to?

The hard truth is that I really don't care enough to take an active interest in everything that goes on in the town. I don't have the people skills to be a politician. Very few people do. Being a politician, even at local government level, is a tough job. Not because it is hard but because it is so varied. There is so much information coming at you that you need to make decisions about. It's a lot of stuff that you may have no personal interest in but you are expected to care about.

The deputy mayor quipped, just before I left, that he hoped "I'd learnt something from my time on council" and then followed that with saying that he "was sure I had" as if I didn't know much about how council's and politicians worked prior to my term.

I don't feel I learnt a whole lot. It's not unlike being a committee member of any Incorporated Community Group. It's just a bigger organisation with a bigger book of rules. If you know how things work you can encourage almost any decision to go your way. All you have to do is make the effort to formulate a convincing argument. I never had to make the effort because, of the decisions that were important to me, I was always aware that the majority of my colleagues would support them - no need to argue the case.

I guess at this point, I'm starting to ramble...or maybe I've been rambling all along. I should finish up by pointing out that my fellow councillors and council staff did make efforts to include me. They're all great people and I have few complaints of substance (which is my way of saying they're not perfect but who is?). The way things worked out were the results of my actions (or lack of them). If I were to do this crazy thing over again I would do almost everything different. At least I would like to think so. Habits of a lifetime are hard to break. Believing that people may actually value my opinion and having the confidence to express it is hard to put into practice.

I've always thought I'd get into politics at some point. I just think I got into it too early in my life.

Understanding Postmodernist Art.


I've heard a lot about Postmodernist Art but never really knew what it was since, at art school, you don't learn a lot about art after the so called period known as 'Modern Art'.

In an attempt to remedy the situation I set about doing some research armed only with the most vaguest knowledge of my most favorite Post Modern artwork, which is of a modified road sign located in the United Kingdom that reads 'No God for the next 500m'. (I don't know what it means either. Some how it sounds plausible but is it?). I'm afraid I don't know the artist responsible for this gem of street sign 'tom foolery'.

It seems like this is the point of Post Modern Art. To take something familiar, change it into something that seems the same but isn't and then defy any kind of explanation.

In my research I came across Post Modernist essay generators and Post Modernist cartoon dialogue generators (that created captions for the same set of comic panels taken from several different news feeds). What both of these had in common was that their out put seemed to make sense and sounded plausible but when you really looked into them they made no real sense at all and were, in fact, meaningless nonsense. The essay generator in particular created very knowledgeable sounding essays - even citing notations and sources - but came with the disclaimer that the entire thing was meaningless and was essentially randomly generated.

So far as Post Modernist Art goes, my research reveals that it is often heavily influenced by the media and the repetitive nature of images. It is particularly influenced by Pop Art and Dadaism, sharing the fascination of the popular image in the former and the randomness of fate in the latter.

I haven't bothered to direct you towards examples of Post Modern Art. A simple Google search will point you in the right direction. Suffice to say, if Post Modern Art defies explanation then you can be comfortable in the knowledge that you're not meant to understand it either.

Music Video: Hallelujah (cover by maijapop)


If there is such a thing as the perfect, melancholy ballad then Leonard Cohen's classic 'Hallelujah' must come close.

I first heard this song as part of the sound track to the movie 'Basquiat' in which it is performed by John Cale. Many artists have covered it, most notable versions are by Jeff Buckley and Rufus Wainwright (who's versions are inspired by Cale's arrangement).

The girl in this video is from YouTube, she's 16, lives in Finland and goes by the nickname maijapop. I think she does a great version of the song. I hope you do to.

Minimalism in Art

Minimalism in Art is all about breaking down any subject into its most basic elements, leaving just enough information to express whatever idea the artist is trying to convey.

The career path of artists working in this style often begins from a place where the artist is producing impressively complex creations. Then, as they 'mature' in their development their work becomes progressively simpler and...well...minimal.

To para phrase British actor/comedian Kenneth Williams, who once said about specialists, "It's more and more people getting better and better at less and less. Pretty soon someone is going to be absolutely superb at nothing!". Minimalism is a little like that...or seems like it.

More and more artists painting less and less. Pretty soon an artist will come along who is superb at painting nothing! Perhaps they already have if my previous blog entry Blank Canvas is to be believed.

Minimalism is a legitimate art form. I have no problem with it as a concept. It can be clever, thought provoking, sublime and more. I do, however wonder about artists who create nothing but minimalist works and their motivation for doing so.

It seems all to easy to put a single brush stroke on a canvas and call it minimalism.

Blank Canvas

In my time as a professional artist I have seen more than a few artworks hanging in respected galleries or entered into art competitions that are little more than either blank canvases or canvases painted entirely one colour.

Although I don't know if it is still there, the State Gallery of South Australia had an all yellow canvas, while the State Gallery of Western Australia once exhibited three canvases painted three different shades of car 'duco' paint. Whilst I'm not sure of the concept behind the yellow canvas the other three came with some spiel about "exploring the unique surface created by that type of paint".

I also have seen a virtually white canvas win first prize in a local art competition with the judges describing the work as "bold and confronting". No argument from me there. Many people criticised it and couldn't understand how it could even be called 'art'.

The point of this article is not to say that these canvases are not art but to ask the question why? Why would any artist want to produce such an artwork? At the end of the day, no matter what conceptual spin you put on the artwork, it still is just a canvas either not painted or painted entirely in one colour.

I'm not going to speculate on the possible thinking behind these works, nor am I going to justify their existence as a legitimate work of art. I'm simply going to leave the question open. Why would any artist want to produce such an artwork?

Unfortunately I'm still an emerging artist. My work has years to go before it becomes minimal enough to fully capture everything I have to express with a large blue canvas.

Men's Deodorant

I don't wear deodorant because I can't stand the smell of the stuff. Before you think, well I must stink...I shower daily and I don't do a heck of a lot to raise a sweat most days (an hour, daily work out is the most I do). Back to the point I want to make.

I swear male deodorant must be made by men hating "you're never getting lucky" women or geeky "I can't get laid so why should anyone else" lab coated wearing science guys. Is it just me or does all men's deodorant smell like airfreshner made from rotting fruit, stale eggs and corroded battery acid?

Seriously I can't believe guys that spray toxic, gaseous clouds of the stuff all over themselves before a night on tiles expecting to pick up. Emanating that foul odour the only thing they're likely to pick up is lung cancer. How do they even breathe in their own presence?

The only logic I can see is that women out on the town are wearing so much stifling perfume that their nose cavity has caved in preventing any other smells from getting through. Men's deodorant is not sexy. It doesn't smell nice and I haven't come across one yet that I can wear for even short periods without being worried about getting a nose bleed.

If male deodorant is supposed to be a 'manly' smell then you may as well save your money by not showering and breaking wind in a confined space for a half hour or so. That's probably closer to 'real man' smell than anything out of a can. Finish it off with beer breath and you're ready for the same results.

As for me...a shower will do nicely thank you.

Loose Change SE - Documentary on 9/11 and events of that day.

Thoughts on 9/11 five years on - September 2006

I made the above video for a 9/11 project on YouTube, mentioning the two other planes that also crashed on September 11, 2001. Thanks to Loose Change SE I now have my doubts whether these planes actually crashed.

If you haven't seen the 9/11 documentary Loose Change SE about the unanswered questions of September 11, 2001 then you owe it to yourself to watch it. 9/11 changed the world forever and there is a growing movement of people who question if it really was an 'act of terrorism' or something much worse?

The documentary does have a view for where the truth lies but encourages you to follow up the questions for yourself. It is not a 'conspiracy' film. It merely presents information that is available if you are prepared to look around for it.

Worth your time if only so you can say "What a load of rubbish!" I bet you can't by the time you've seen it. There's so much info that you can make links between items presented and realise, at the very least, we haven't been told the full story.

Visit the web site:
http://www.loosechange911.com/

Interview with an Artist's Model

Woody is a professional, nude artist's model who works exclusively in my studio. With finely, chiselled features and a natural talent for not speaking and remaining motionless I thought it was time to ask the tough questions...

TET: So how did you get the name 'Woody'?
Woody: In a spontaneous lack of creativity, you gave me that name knowing full well that the opportunities for inuendo would make this interview so much easier to write.

TET: Hmmm...well it seemed like a good idea at the time but now I'm not so sure. How is life as a eunuch?
Woody: Would you get your head out from between my legs and ask some real questions!

TET: Okay...What's it like being an artist's model?
Woody: It's actually quite demanding. I have my limbs twisted every which way and then I have to hold a pose sometimes for hours, even days.

TET: Would you compare it to a kind of performance?
Woody: I guess, in a way. You do have to 'feel' the pose in order to bring life to it.
TET: Have you ever given a wooden performance?
Woody: ...!
TET: Sorry - couldn't resist.

TET: Obviously most of your work is nude work, are you comfortable exposing your body?
Woody: I'm made of wood with ambiguous sexuallity what is there to cover up? Actually I'd feel a little weird if you started putting clothes on me...next thing we'd be having tea parties with your collection of stuffed toys and GI Joes...
TET: *coughing* um...well I don't think we'd be having tea parties...

TET: What do you do when you're not modelling?
Woody: Mostly I just sit around doing not much of anything.
TET: Deadwood?
Woody: Twit!

TET: Talk about wood turning!

....okay, so obviously this is a one joke idea dragged out into some really corny humour but at least I had fun creating the photos and I got to tell my joke. Normal, high quality blog writing will resume as soon as possible....do not adjust your connection!

Broadband, YouTube, a New Laptop and Film Making.

Prior to getting broadband internet access I, like many of you, only had dialup internet and for the most part was happy with it. I never experienced the speed of broadband until the day our house switched to it. I could never have imagined just how much more the internet had to offer and the possibilities that would arise from that simple change.

I thought that because I didn't download a lot of video that I didn't really need broadband. I now realise that I didn't download a lot of video because I didn't have broadband.

Discovering YouTube has been like having someone finally stop choking you so you can really enjoy a breath of fresh air. Just browsing the video clips is better than watching real free to air television.

Many of the clips are made by average, everyday people who's best chance of ever getting on TV would be as part of a studio audience. Some people star in their own films while others just upload snippets of their lives. Maybe it was something stupid they happened to catch on a mobile phone camera or maybe it was something serious like a missile attack in Lebanon.

Ages span the generations with young and old alike uploading videos. I know of one senior citizen who is retelling his life experiences from world war II. His channel on YouTube is one of the most subscribed with comments and feedback from all ages who are eager to hear what he has to say. He is overwhelmed and emotional knowing that so many people feel that his story is important.

For me, finally getting a new laptop with enough power to record video has been a real boost for my creativity. If 'convergence' is the technology buzzword of the moment then convergence has finally happened for me. I've never been just one kind of artist, because of that, film making has always been something I'd like to do. I've been involved in at least two film making courses but never could take them further because I couldn't really afford the equipment. Now I can because I have broadband, YouTube, a New Laptop, a web cam, a digital camera, a microphone and, most importantly, editing software that can bring everything together into a movie.

I can be a writer, director, producer and even star of my own films. Catching up with technology has opened up a new channel of my creativity that has been stifled for so long. Whilst my early films will probably be mostly about me I will eventually stop navel gazing and make films that have a story or something like that.

I look forward to creating films that I hope you will enjoy.

I can paint cats...

This new video will no doubt be a bit controversial so let me say from the outset, I do like good abstract expressionist art. In fact I am in awe of artists who can create work in this genre that holds my attention.

Also, if you're not familiar with my art, you need to know that I have painted more pictures of stylised cats than any other animal.

What frustrates me to no end is abstract expressionist artists who
compare my art to that of a skilled crafts person and imply that I am not a real artist. What they mean is that I have learnt how to draw and paint much like a craft person learns how to turn wood or knit a jumper. My work lacks true expression and does not reveal my inner being in the way abstract expressionist, non-representational artwork does.

In doing so they imply that their art is a higher art than mine. Total rubbish.

Abstract Expressionism is like every other art form. It can be learned. The more you practice the better you get. The more you learn to tap into your emotional self the more you'll be able to express yourself through non representational art. My point being, abstract expressionist artists are no different from me and no different from wood turners and knitters.

Great crafts people put a lot of emotion into their work. As do I put a lot of emotion into my work. I'm not trying to impress people by saying (in my case) look how well I can paint cats. In my case, just like the expressionist, I'm hoping my work might provoke an emotional response such as a smile, empathy, sadness or any number of emotions depending on the juxta position of my characters and subject matter.

That said, the next time an abstract expressionist stares down their nose at what I do I'd just like to remind them that children, before they learn how to represent their world through art, are natural abstract expressionists. They paint using colours and marks based on what they feel like doing in the moment - and they didn't spend any time learning how to do that. They don't naturally paint cats that look anything like my cats and they can't knit jumpers or turn wood either!

Ebooks, battery life, and the humble stack of paper.

The ebook, or electronic book, has not quite caught on as a cool, mass consumer product largely because of the medium used to deliver it. Namely the computer. Even the smallest of laptop computers don't quite have the convenience of that humble stack of paper, glued or stitched down one side, more commonly referred to as a regular 'book'.

Regular books come in all shapes and sizes, the most convenient of which is known as the 'paperback'. Paperbacks are just the right size to read without straining the eyes and are just small enough to take up hardly any room in a bag, briefcase or maybe even a large coat pocket. Not with standing their use as 'brain food' their durability knows no bounds. They are still readable even after being used to prop up a wobbly table or having been thrown at an annoying colleagues head (not that this happens often but it happens).

Laptops have the annoying habit of being bulky and not very hard wearing at all. Even if your laptop computer is easy to get out on the bus there is still the issues of battery life and finding room to read standing because there are no seats left at rush hour. For those without laptops well, need I mention how unportable the humble desktop computer is. Has power cord, doesn't travel more than a few feet.

Rumor has it that Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, is banking that people will want to read ebooks on their next generation video ipods. This could make ebooks cool but seriously, even on an ipod with a larger screen size they're missing the point. You can't go too far away from a power source for too long with an ipod. Even with the one or two dedicated ebook readers that do exist you can bet your life the battery will be flat as you struggle to prioritise charging your mobile phone, laptop, ipod, psp or ebook reader.

An ebook can't emulate the satisfaction of completing a lengthy tome like 'War and Peace'. You know that book is heavy going - literally. You can see how much you've read and that you're making real progress if you're still reading a third of the way into it. There is no better feeling than the visual satisfaction of knowing you've read a book that thick from first to last page.

The problem with ebooks is, unlike music and film, words on paper is the one medium that isn't improved by being reproduced in digital format. Granted you can enhance the text with hyperlinks and search functions and even make parts interactive but once you do that...well...it's no longer a book really. It's more like a web site.

The book is the one form of communication that doesn't require any additional hardware to enjoy. You don't need to be shown how to make a book work and you don't need to remember a password to open it. A book isn't limited to one operating system. You can read a book any way you want, at any speed. You can skip words, pages or even start at the end. You can just look at the pictures or flip through the pages to get a general feel for what's inside.

Most importantly...books are affordable. Even if you don't buy new books there are hundreds of interesting books in second hand stores, garage sales and flee markets. Even the homeless can afford to read books. No power points required. No reader device needed.

It's simple and easy to understand how a book works and the content can be as simple or as complex as your tastes desire. Nothing is nearly quite so impressive as a collection of books in your own personal library. Books do not get more impressive when you can fit 50,000 of them onto a machine the size of a matchbox. Books hold fond memories for people. Many people describe their perfect day as settling down with a good book.

Perhaps I'm beginning to ramble but there is a reason why people don't read long tracts of text on a web site. Reading on a screen is not fun or easy on the eye. Screens require movement and colour to hold our attention. That's what we're accustomed to. Ebooks require you to look at a static screen for extended periods. Much longer than it takes to read a web site.

Clearly ebooks have quite a way to go before they catch on.

Mental Poison

I am a passive control freak. Which means that I organize my life just the way I like it and I get really annoyed when someone else comes along with their way of how things should be done. Yet I won't do anything about it. Instead I'll let these little annoyances fester in my head, building up with successive annoyances until my thoughts are circling around the culprits imagining everything I'd like to do to them for bringing chaos to my world. Mental poison.

A recent example of the kind of annoyance I'm talking about was highlighted in an argument I watched on an episode of 'Australian Big Brother 6' between contestants Camilla and Darren. Camilla had cut herself some pieces of bread and Darren was incensed that she'd cut slices from the new loaf instead of cutting them from an already started, existing loaf.

Now, obviously, I fall on Darren's side of the argument. Who in their right mind starts a new loaf of bread when a previous loaf is still to be finished? However Camilla's answer to all of Darren's assertations on the evils of starting the new loaf was "It's bread!". She was right, end of discussion. "It's bread!"

Darren stewed on this for hours...possibly even days...I'm not sure but if he's anything like me - it was days.

In a way they were both right. A loaf of bread will stay fresher on the inside if you don't cut it. Therefore it will store for a little longer whilst you finish the previous loaf - which is drying up at a speeder rate due to having been cut (see I understand Darren completely). However, at the end of the day, it's bread. The universe will not cave in on its self if per chance somebody should start the new loaf early. Annoying to some? Yes. Worth stewing over for hours? No. Mental Poison.

This kind of thing happens to me all the time except I don't confront the person, I go straight to the quietly annoyed stage. I won't stew over it for hours but I do make a mental note that so-and-so hasn't stacked their dirty dish on the sink, yet again. They've just placed it anywhere and, look there's still at least a mouthful of food on it. They could've at least scraped that off into the bin.

I think this way about dishes because I wash dishes a lot in our house. Stacking dishes neatly in an ordered way makes it seem like there is less dishes to be done and thus not such a big job. As opposed to other people's houses where they just place dirty dishes on the sink one on top of the other, wherever they can find a place that the thing will balance without crashing to the floor. I know, that if you stacked these dishes neatly, they'd take up at least one third of the space they currently take up.

Food is one of the main things that annoys me. Just like the bread issue, in my house we have a lot of food items that people will start off the new bottle, packet, jar or container of when there is still, clearly, enough left in the previous bottle, packet, jar or container for at least another full serving. Once the new item has been started they won't touch the old one. It just goes to waste and gets thrown out. Why do they do that? Don't they know there are starving people in developing countries that wouldn't dream of wasting food like that? Just finish off the old one first would you! Mental poison.

When I go grocery shopping, I'm the kind of person that likes to organize how things are placed in the trolley. Cold stuff together. Boxes together. Cans together. Drink bottles and other heavy items together. Fresh vegetables together. Cleaning fluid and laundry items together. I do this because firstly more things will fit in the trolley and secondly because when I transfer stuff through the checkout the operator will pack things roughly how I have them ordered - without me needing to say anything. Other people don't do this, including my partner. It doesn't annoy me as much but if people only knew what I know about organizing their shopping trolley how much better their lives could be. Mental Poison.

When you think about it...people who don't stack dishes still get their dishes washed. None of that food going to waste will ever feed some starving child in a developing nation and people who don't organize their groceries in their shopping trolley still get through the check out in about the same amount of time. The difference is all these people have done less thinking and been less concerned about things that don't really matter in the big scheme of things that is their life.

Being a passive control freak is bad for your mental health (in case you hadn't understood the term 'mental poison'). I could complain about every little thing and impose my way of doing things on everyone else but how much fun would I be to live with? Plus that would make me an aggressive control freak...which I'm not (I did mention the 'passive' bit right?).

No matter how much you want things to be done your way, you can't control every other person. You have to let go of the little annoyances for the sake of your own health or they start to consume you (see my blog article - The Black Dog with Fire Eyes). Free up your mind from mental poison and use your time to think about stuff that really matters.

In life some things are 'just bread'.

- TET
August 6, 2006

My first Vlog entry is so interesting!

In the spirit of my past blog entires such as 'My first blog entry is more interesting than yours' and 'The infamous second blog entry' I felt it only fitting that my first video blog entry should be equally lame.

That way things can almost certainly get better from here on in. Enjoy (or not) - you'll be back I'm sure!

Just press the 'play' button to view the video. Not sure what it's like on dialup but works good on broadband.

Forget TV - Baby you're an internet star!

There is a new kind of celebrity emerging and that is the Internet Star. Forget mass media TV now anyone can become a celebrity via the internet. I'm not talking about those adult web cam performers either or even errr...what's their names at www.nakednews.com I'm talking about real media stars that deliver interesting content with all the production values of real TV shows and nothing gimmicky just to grab you're attention.

My personal favourite internet star is Karina Stenquist at www.mobuzztv.com. Karina and her team deliver a daily three minute show with humour and interesting content all whilst keeping their clothes on. The script writing on this show is tight and Karina's delivery is as good as any TV presenter - if not better. She has great timing for punchlines too. Amazing that she has no previous experience in the entertainment industry.

Not with standing the great job the Mobuzz TV team do creating such a vehicle for yourself is well within reach. The web doesn't require (and no one really expects) high quality video. Setting up a studio can be as simple as purchasing a few web cams and maybe a digital video camera for location work. (Oh and don't forget lighting - lighting is key to getting the best quality video from any camera).

All you need then is someone who knows a bit about script writing and someone who knows a bit about filming and video editing and you're in business.

Getting your content online couldn't be easier with many free sites around that will not only host your video but provide you with HTML code so you can integrate your video right into your web site. www.YouTube.com is one example of an entire video hosting community where you can not only host video but get it seen too.

So if you'd like to be almost famous like Karina at MoBuzz TV and want to be a studio mogual as well - start your own Internet TV show. Finally you can make TV like it should be - with you in a staring role.

Studio Time.

Studio Time is the time I spend in my studio actually creating an artwork...or so it has come to be defined. It seems to suggest that the actual execution is more important than the collection of ideas or time to just absorb and reflect. Perhaps I should explain.

In order to get more art done myself and some fellow artists have come up with the concept of recording 'studio time'. Essentially clocking on when you start to paint and clocking off when you're done for the day. You then set yourself a weekly quota of hours and try to reach that in studio time. The final piece of explanation is that you partner with another artist and compete to reach not just your quota but more if possible with the winner being the artist who records the most studio time over a given period.

It's a great idea in theory and works really well when you're on a role with lots of ideas pouring out of you one after the other. However when you're in a lull it becomes a lot of pressure just to produce anything.

Today I've been pottering around my studio for almost four hours. I've looked through old sketchbooks and past notes. I've played my favorite music. I've taken photos of the interior of my studio from many different angles. I saw a pink fairy out on the road which almost inspired an idea (no really I did see that. I think there was a children's party happening and I caught a glimpes of an adult women dressed as a pink fairy - complete with pink wings). I've done maybe half a sketch for an idea that faded into 'I can't really get behind that concept'.

So, having produced nothing but a bit of a sketch and 44 digital photos of various aspects of my studio, I'm now writing this. Should any of this be counted as 'studio time'?

I could've done some more work on 'The Shortest Story' which is sitting on my easel once again. Somehow it just seems wrong to finish it. Maybe it's because in the end the baby dies? Or maybe it's because over a year and a half later I've moved on.

My last painting, 'The Lord Sings from my Window Sill', looks great but was so forced to create that starting a new work seems, well... like work. The whole point of doing what I do is because I enjoy it...right?

Sometimes I look through my back catalogue of work and think that maybe my best work has already been done. Back when I really looked forward to painting, drawing and creating. I can still produce good work now but do I really want to?

Maybe I'm just doing time...Studio Time.

Kids today are smarter than their parents?

How often have you heard it said that kids today are smarter than their parents? I’ve heard it quite frequently in the media – even Dr Phil has said it. I say speak for your self. It’s not true and don’t let the media fool you.

Today’s kids may have access to more information that may give them more choices but in my experience, they only take in what they want to hear and still make stupid, uninformed decisions. Just like we used to at their age.

Like any cross section of people there will be exceptions. There are kids that are genuinely smarter, more mature and responsible for their age. However the vast majority know everything they need to know by the time they turn fourteen. They’re ‘adult’ enough to be responsible for all their own decision making so parents should just let them do what they please…right? Just like we thought at fourteen.

Don’t be fooled. Just because your son knows how to download MP3’s onto an ipod, or your daughter can chat to five friends at the same time on her mobile phone, this does not make them smarter. They just know about different stuff to you. Chances are they have no idea about wash cycles, settings for different fabrics on an iron or that vacuum cleaners have different heads for different surfaces. Many would not have a clue about fixing a leaky tap, unclogging a toilet or cleaning up a beetroot stain.

This generation is no smarter than any generation that came before. Having access to more information does not mean that your kids are accessing more information. They’re still just as self absorbed and worried about ‘being cool’ as you probably were at their age. Our kids are not smarter than their parents. Don’t let anyone tell you different – not even Dr Phil!

Superman Verses the Super Computer.

Watching ‘Superman III’ on the television the other night, two things stood out during the course of the film.

One was the superb effort of its star, Christopher Reeve, to maintain Superman’s credibility despite an appallingly constructed script that played more for laughs than action adventure. (It’s not hard to see why the franchise died soon after this).

The other was how dated the computer technology in the film is.

Superman III was released in 1982, at a time when computers were still gaining momentum. People knew about them but really didn’t know how they worked. Computer networks in the workplace took up whole rooms. Computers in the home were limited mostly to gaming consoles, and perhaps your classic early consumer computers like the VIC 20.

The Star Villain of Superman III is a Super Computer that can do ‘anything you tell it to do’. Having just been built, this machine first appears in the final half hour. It is huge. Several stories high, completely filling an entire subterranean cavern with wires, buttons, lights, power cables and all manner of electronic gadgets.

In today’s world, I couldn’t help but think, “if they built that now you could probably wear it on your wrist.”

Does it make bread?

I can’t pretend to know what six weeks of hand washing is like but I can imagine it must be pretty bad since my partner, finally able to buy a new washing machine, proceeded to wash everything in the house – even stuff that had already been washed.

The new washing machine is an odd looking thing. It’s not your typical top-loading machine with the controls on a raised panel at the back. It’s more ‘chest’ shaped, kind of rounded on top, with the controls on a panel at the front. It looks rather a lot like an oversized bread making machine and, with the number of lights I’m sure there must be one that tells you when the bread is done.

Not even our video recorder has that many lights. It has a myriad of settings. One setting lets you set the machine to start washing even before you get out of bed in the morning…no cup of tea...but at least your clothes are done.

The machine also makes a number of beeping noises. I don’t know what any of them mean but the one I heard sounded like it was probably reversing. It is an amazing little washing machine. It’s been washing almost non-stop for two days and still going strong. Happily cleaning everything.

I’m just wondering when we can try out the bread making cycle?

Terror is for Stupid People.

This is an idea for a song that began forming in my head one morning. I found myself desperately trying to finish taking a shower so I could write something down before I forgot everything. You know how it is...you think of one line, then another, then another and before you know it you've forgotten how it started.

Anyway this is as far as I got before my day took over. I may finish it sometime in the future.

Terror is for Stupid People.

Terror is for Stupid People,
The weak, the undeserved.
You only read what you want to see,
You miss out many words.

Too many people dying.
Only the dead are really free.
The rest of us, left behind,
Thank God we've got TV.

This modern world is crying.
Look what you have done.
Fear and a 'War on Terror'.
This is what we've become.

- TET, May 30th, 2006

The Da'Vinci Code - TET's Movie Review

It seems that to review this movie you have to say if you've read the book. I have and I'm a fan of the book (fact, fiction or somewhere in between).

I went into the movie with low expectations as a movie reviewer that I usually have a lot of time for had described this movie as 'a missed opportunity' and 'a bucket of sh..'. She hadn't read the book and thought the first half hour was too wordy and boring. She did concede that she could see how this film would make a great book though.

With that in mind I went along to see the film. If you don't know what the film is about, haven't seen it, or at least read the book then this isn't the review for you. I'm assuming you at least have some idea of characters etc.

First up, much comment has been made about Tom Hanks hair (having been straightened). You'd think with all the talk he must've dyed it orange and put a pink bow in it. To me it looked appropriate for the character (Robert Langdon) and looked fine on Tom...it's hair...didn't think anymore about it and probably wouldn't have commented here if others hadn't made such a fuss.

Onto the film...I certainly didn't find it boring though it is unnecessarily wordy in places...such as when Robert is brought to the scene of the first murder and he says out loud the room in the gallery he is entering (who does that?). It's meant to give the impression that Hanks knows the room the murder took place in even before he visits the scene - thus adding to the impression that he in fact committed the murder (I'm not spoiling anything here - you see right from the start he didn't).

Like the book the film never really slows down. Although the book benefits from the ability to be more detailed in the action and chapter breaks. I seem to remember too that Sophie (female lead - sorry can't remember the actresses name) doing a lot more to assist Robert in deciphering some of the clues (after all she is a trained cryptologist working for some police department). I found that some of the codes came across as being too easy to solve and therefore one wonders how the films secret could be kept for so many centuries.

A few times I found it hard to follow Langdon's logic in his thinking. Perhaps it needed to be more wordy at these points.

I think if you haven't read the book you lose some of the enjoyment of comparison with the film. As anyone who's read the book will tell you (for any film based on a book) you look for differences in the detail of the storyline. For example, in the book Langdon visits a Library in London to use it's massive electronic data base (which has since been proven, not to exist). In the film, they never make it to the library but instead use the internet from a fellow bus commuter's mobile phone to solve the next clue.

There are some nice special effects that overlay the past with the present which I thought worked quite well. Perhaps more could have been done with these to help explain things.

My only real disappointment with this film is that it was a great opportunity to see some of the films artworks and locations in the context of the story (rather than as part of a documentary debunking the 'facts'). I think this is where the film lets fans down quite a bit. Particularly in the artworks - which get more consideration in the book. Even the one artwork that is explored closely (DaVinci's 'Last Supper' isn't looked at too closely with visuals).

Over all it's a movie that you need to watch and listen to carefully. It's not light entertainment. All the actors gave a credible performance...with no one seeming to be out of place or remarkably different from their character in the book (perhaps with the exception of Tom Hanks but even he makes the character his own).

The film ends some what different to the book (though basically the same) and one is left wondering if the implications of this secret would really be quite so earth shattering in today's world. (Jesus had a family...let's go shopping!)

I doubt people would lose their faith over it...perhaps the church might just evolve a little bit, after all...we didn't know it was all a lie until now...right?

It's all over hyped really - especially by the church.

I found the film enjoyable. I might just see it again on DVD so I can look more closely at the logic. It certainly wasn't a bad film by any means. I would encourage you to read the book first (if you intend to see the film) as this will add something to your experience.

It is worth seeing...but you'll leave thinking...'I've seen it now'. It's not going to change your life or encourage you to question your faith... the real debate began and ended with the book and the numerous documentaries and additional books to debunk its 'facts'.

I'll Pencil You in...

Many of you in this day and age will relate to the 'both partner's are very busy' type of relationship where you literally have to compare diaries and make time for each other. The common phrase is "I'll pencil you in for..." etc. My partner and I are almost like that however just the other Saturday it finally got to the state of being absurd.

You'll have to bare with me for the next few paragraphs as they sound like one big diary entry but stick with it and you'll see that knowing all this information was necessary.

Our day started with my partner getting up early to spend the entire day with her two teenage kids at their various sporting commitments, Basket Ball and Netball. It was state championships for the basket ball so my partner would be at some stadium, at the other side of the city, all day and most of the evening too. She kissed a barely awake me goodbye and headed out.

Readers of this blog will know that I work from home. I got up not long after everyone had gone (I'm not one for sleeping in beyond 8:30am). My day started with breakfast and reading a book on e-commerce that I'd picked up for ideas on improving this site. Next I did the shower and get dressed kind of thing followed by washing yesterday's dishes from the evening meal. After that I sat down to some sketching in an attempt to come up with something to paint onto a new canvas I bought yesterday.

Three sketches later and I'd settled on a composition. Went out to my studio and got to work. By about 3pm I was about halfway through to completing my latest work and decided I should leave it for another day and fresh eyes.

Following that I spent about an hour online catching up with various forums and then I installed an updated version of the web design software I use (also bought just yesterday). Spent some time looking through the new features and importing my site from the previous edition to this new version.

Around 5pm I put everything away and spent the next hour on my daily stretching and weight lifting exercises (I'm still determined to get my body back from Brad Pitt!). From there I went back into the house and cooked and ate my tea. Since there was only a few dishes I then decided to wash those so there wouldn't be anything left over for the next day.

I started to watch TV but I've gone off TV lately so I went back onto the internet for a while and wrote the previous entry in this blog, "Get a Job...".

10pm and I decided I'd head for bed with my book from breakfast, which I read until 11pm then sleep was starting to get the better of me. I just got my self comfortable when my mobile phone pipes up with a text message "Games just finished we're on our way home."

About an hour later my partner kisses a barely awake me goodnight, turns the light out and we both settle down to where ever dreams take you.

Okay. So it occurred to me that, over the course of my whole day, my partner never saw me get out of bed (or even fully awake for that matter). I'm sure, when she arrived home, she must have got the impression I spent the whole day in bed.

I didn't think it was possible that two people could live in the same house and yet still be so busy that there wouldn't be any time at all to spend together. Evidently it's possible.

Get a job...

One of my biggest frustrations in life is people telling me I need to get a job. What they mean is something that has regular hours and a guarenteed pay cheque at the end of the week. Usually this suggestion comes from people that earn their living this way.

I'm the first to admit that working for yourself is a hard way to make a living - especially in the beginning. However I think if you believe in yourself and back yourself 100% the payoff in the long run will be better than any regular job.

With all the skills I've acquired over the years people are often surprised that I haven't been able to find a regular job (especially those job search co-ordinator people who circle like a vulture when they think I'm an easy prospect for job placement).

It is precisely because of all these skills that I find regular work...well...depressing. I'm not just saying that either. I've had regular jobs and followed the gradual spiral down into monotony and boredom. It's just not me.

Working for ones self is challenging. Working for ones self as an artist is doubly, even triply (is that even a word?) challenging. It is very hard and I'm always struggling just to make ends meet. I can say that it isn't boring or monotonous but it can be depressing.

What would be useful is, if all those people who've suggested I need a real job, offered words of encouragement instead. Or better yet, offered to refer their friends to my site just for a look...and maybe hinted that they can buy gifts of my art too.

That would be far more beneficial than telling me I need to get a job.

"You are the Generation that bought more shoes..."

"You are the generation that bought more shoes, you get what you deserve." This quote is a song lyric that I heard on the radio (my apologies to the writer and artist that it belongs too because I don't know who either of you are). It's a great line and I can only assume it refers to the apparent lack of interest today's eighteen to twenty somethings appear to have in more serious and deeper issues.

Not that I'm trying to hold myself up as someone who campaigns strongly for the greater good of human kind or that I spend significant amounts of time raising awareness of important issues. I'm certainly not a poster boy for changing the attitudes of people with too many shoes but lyrics like that do make you think.

It's at this point that I really don't know where to go with this article. Should I focus on the material nature of modern society and its obsession with having more stuff? Or should I mention a few important issues, like Human Rights Abuses, the Iraq war and Globalisation to make it sound like I'm a little less interested in myself and how I look in a great pair of jeans?

With so many big issues and hard questions who really knows what to think? Perhaps it's just easier to go shopping? Buy more stuff so that you can be a better person. It's all about status and what brands are popular this week in order to be hip and with it. People are defined by what they wear and what they own right?

Buy more shoes.

The Black Dog with Fire eyes...

Winston Churchill described his depression as 'The Black Dog' a constant but unwelcome companion.

My Black Dog has fire eyes these days. Suppressed rage. It's hard when you're smart enough to know that letting this black dog loose on the world would be a destructive thing.

This dog you can only exercise on your own. Shouting at inanimate objects when no one's around because they frustrate you beyond all proportion. Spitting the most foul of obscenities at them through clenched teeth.

It doesn't make you feel better. If anything you feel worse. Wishing you could really unload on the real object of your anger but knowing that you wouldn't achieve anything if you did.

Managing a black dog is a difficult thing. Managing an angry black dog is harder still. The Black Dog with fire eyes.

Moving Closer to God...

The last three weeks of March my family and I went throught the process of moving house. Our new home is much closer to the kids school - which is a private, religous school. Hence the title of this entry, we've moved closer to God.

That's about as religous as this article is going to get because it's really about moving house and not a lot to do with God.

Anyone who has ever rented a property will understand how moving house becomes an inconvenient but necessary process that is the equivelent of picking up everything you own and moving it three feet to the left. Invariably you never move very far from your last home because staying within the same community is paramount. It's bad enough changing houses without having to change all your friends and local hangouts too.

In order to help fund our move we held a garage sale over two weekends. We managed to raise a quarter of the money we needed. What we didn't sell we donated to a local charity. Probably got rid of at least 20% of our stuff that way. At least it was less stuff to move.

Whilst it was sad to leave our previous home of two years, a lovely heritage house on a large property now scheduled to be bulldozed, the new house comes with some nice benefits. For instance, for the first time in seven years I have a real workshop/studio space with plenty of room, electricity and lighting.

I'm looking forward to really throwing myself into my art, now that we've finally settled in. As I write this I'm part way through my first artwork since setting up this studio space. It's coming along nicely and I'm looking forward to showing it to you on this site.

This post has been a bit of a waffle but then so is moving house. You kind of doddle around doing little bits here and there. Then the day of the big move and your life is all loaded in the car or on the moving truck. Before you know it you're back to tidying up all the loose ends.

I guess this is something of a loose end too...

Did I wake you?

When answering the phone the most common thing that anybody says to me (after 'Hello') is 'Oh, did I wake you?'

Now I know there are some people who do sleep at 4 o'clock in the afternoon but not me. Sometimes I get 'Did I wake you?' from down the end of a phone line earlier in the day but the afternoon ones are the most disconcerting.

I know I don't have the chirpiest (is that even a word?) of voices but 'Did I wake you?' at 4pm is too much.

No you didn't wake me, I'm just tired of your interuption. Get to the point of your call.

The Shortest Story...an epic in the making.

'The Shortest Story: 20 days' is a painting I've been 'working' on for over a year. It's based upon the Harry Chapin song of the same name which tells the story of a child born into extreme poverty.It is a very sad story and probably my least favourite Harry Chapin song.

However, my partner likes the song and thought I should create an artwork based upon it. So, towards the end of January 2005 I began work on, what was intended to be a Valentine's Day gift (Feb 14, 2005).

Two Valentine's Days and over a year later, this is where it is at - just over half finished. It's a difficult artwork to get excited about even though I'm happy with how it looks so far. Obviously I haven't actually been working on it every day. For the most part it's sat in my studio, neglected for the larger part of 2005. Early February 2006 I managed to progress it to this stage after about a days work but haven't touched it since.

Maybe the song is just too depressing or maybe the image contains too much fine detail that I'm reluctant to tackle? If I really set my mind to it I could finish it in a couple of days.

Whatever happens I thought I'd show it to you. Maybe a few words of encouragement might be in order...

Symbol of the People

Recent reports in the Australian media of university students creating flag burning kits to sell as a way of protesting government policy have sparked the debate about whether flag burning should be a criminal offense and highlighted people's misguided understanding of what the Australian Flag represents.

First and foremost our flag is not a symbol of a specific government. It represents us. No matter how far we travel an Aussie flag helps connect us to other Aussies abroad and it reminds us of home. It is a symbol of the people.

Some say that our flag represents freedom. Quite often people who say this will attempt to deny you of your freedom to burn the flag.

Australia prides its self on being a tolerant society. It is our ability to tolerate criticism without resorting to violent retaliation that helps makes us strong. It's one of the things that hold us together as a community. I don't want to be represented by violent individuals that can't handle criticism. i can't support violence even when I agree with the perpetrators point of view.

I certainly don't encourage flag burning - especially not as a way of protesting government policy. It's misguided and divides people who are proud of their country. At the same time I can't support making flag burning a criminal offense. If our flag does represent freedom then not being able to burn it is as 'un-Australian' as you can get.

I saw on the news that the university students were banned from selling their kits by the university administration. I also saw images of so called 'patriots', right in the faces of the students, verbally bashing them about how many people died under our flag so they could have the 'freedom' they enjoy. Two totally disappointing responses.

Impressive though, was the response of some Liberal party student representatives, who took it upon themselves to sell water to people who may need it to extinguish potentially dangerous burning flags. Nice to see a sense of humour. How very Australian is that.

The Danger of Meeting Monotany Part III

The meeting of the School Governing Council threatened to continue into the early hours of the following morning.

Fortunately proceedings were interrupted by the Tactical Response Group, whom had been deployed with much urgency, after an anonymous tip off that several upstanding community members were being held against their will within the grounds of the local high school.

Whilst a meeting of the Governing Council was not what the Captain of the TRG was expecting to find, never-the-less, he understood the seriousness of the situation.

Immediately the chairperson was taken into custody along with several committee members who would later be charged with 'stealing time'. A number of others were cautioned about 'taking too long to get to the point'.

The rest of the committee were released from the ordeal, thankful that their fate of 'being bored to death' had been narrowly averted.

More than 'Nothing'...

To understand my previous article ''Nothing' on a grand scale' you need to understand that I'm not trying to convince you my exhibition, 'Unstarted', is 'Art'. It's not a case of 'The Emperor's New Clothes'. I'm not trying to con you into thinking there is 'Art' in a space where there is nothing on display to look at.

In fact my exhibition is entirely about there being no art on display and that I did not even think about creating any art at all. It is an honest exhibition that is not trying to deceive you. It is what says it is.

No doubt some Art Critic could give it more credibility by describing it as 'Conceptual minimalism to the extreme' but the average Joe or Jane public would word it better with the simple statement 'That's not art!'

Whilst I'm not against Conceptual art as such, my criticism is aimed at artists who appear to rely on Galleries, Art Curators and Professional Art Critics to give their work an air of credibility that really isn't deserved.

I believe artists should be putting more thought into what they exhibit and refrain from exhibiting half baked concepts in high profile galleries simply because they know the right people who will give them the space.

I'd like to see artists playing a significant role in the development of their art, beyond the concept stage, and especially, not just 'finding something' and calling it 'Art'.

Artists should be making the most of highly sought after gallery space with their ideas (or even their skills). Reaching out and connecting with their audience rather than leaving them empty and perplexed.

Consider taking the time to make simple ideas extremely interesting and complex ideas both interesting and accessible.

All Artists should be aware that competition for gallery space is fierce. Particularly in the large, public galleries that can afford to exhibit more experimental, conceptual work.

If you're one of those artists that has access to such a space, please don't waste that opportunity by farting.

'Nothing' on a Grand Scale...

As an artist I would like to leave the world with the legacy of my greatest exhibition of conceptual artwork (or lack of it as this article will reveal). My vision is on such a grand scale that only one of the world's great art museums could house it.

In essence I would like to empty all the art from the walls and rooms of one of the great art museums. I would then like to hang my exhibition entitled 'Unstarted'.

Every room in every gallery will be filled with artworks that I have spent no time at all creating. Not so much as a single empty canvas, just a museum filled with nothing. Unstarted.

Naturally each individual artwork not appearing in the exhibition would be 'Untitled'.

I imagine the souvenier catalogue of artworks to be filled with blank pages. Unprinted.

What a bold statement. Shifting aside all that important art for nothing (literally). Minimalism to the extreme. An artist who has got so good at creating less and less he's finally worked out how to make doing nothing into an artform. For nothing must be done on a grand scale for people to take any notice, otherwise why would they care?

This exhibition has nothing to do with the space other than my desire not to fill it with anything of substance (until some art wanker decides that 'nothing' has substance and aplauds my genius).

You should not marvel at the space, having never seen it this empty before. You should look closely at the art and decide for yourself if this really is 'conceptual' or is it just another drop out artist 'yanking your chain'.

Of course, you will never see this exhibition in its purest form because already the conceptual integrity has been compromised. The mere act of conceptualising such an exhibition means that it has been 'started' and therefore 'Unstarted' no longer represents the concept. For 'Unstarted' to work the idea must never have been thought of in the first place. Only then will it truely be 'unstarted'.

Perhaps the world will be spared my legacy after all.

Laugh and think...this is Australia...

The title of this post is a line from a song. I can't remember who sings it but the full verse goes something like this:

Out on the patio we sit,
And the humidity we breathe,
We watch the lightening,
Out on the cane fields,
And laugh and think,
This is Australia.


Not that I've ever seen lightening out on the cane fields but the sentiment resonates with me with regards to the weather.

In this country, in Summer, it gets hot - think hot to the point where it doesn't matter if you wander round buck naked you still won't feel cool. What bugs me about this is not the heat but the people who have lived here all their lives yet, still complain about it.

There's not a lot you can do about the weather except endure it. Stay indoors, crank up your air conditioner and get on with your life. Don't complain to me that your hot because, if you haven't noticed, I'm experiencing the same heat you are and I'm not complaining.

This is the country you live in...laugh it off and think...this is Australia.
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