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Showing posts from May, 2007

The Big Picture and other Art.

Road Trip Day 6: 28th May 2007

Rose has so much on her must see list that we decided to stay another two nights in Broken Hill. Unfortunately our motel couldn't extend our booking so our first job was to pack everything back in the car. The town has plenty of choice for motels so we left finding a new motel room for the end of the day.

Today and tomorrow is all about galleries. Broken Hill is famous for it's art scene and this was actually the main reason for our trip here. Some of Australia's leading artists are based in this region, Pro Hart and Jack Absalom to name two (though we'll be visiting their galleries tomorrow).

First up was a trip to 'The Art Directory'. A good first stop on any art tour in this town. The Art Directory is a gallery that exhibits samples of work from a good percentage of artists in the region. Each artwork is given a number that links it to a map of how to get to that artists gallery or studio. Just pick the artists that catch your eye…

Mad Max Four and Silverton.

Road Trip Day 5: 27th May 2007 (Afternoon)

The town of Silverton, just north of Broken Hill, is one of the most filmed towns in Australia. Most known for Mad Max 2 (just on the outskirts of town was the location of the film's fortress) other films shot here include, Dirty Deeds, Razorback, A Town Like Alice, The Craic and more.

In particular, the Silverton Hotel has not only been featured in many films but also appeared in many TV commercials. It's name has been changed so many times it must be hard for locals to keep track of when visitors arrive; "Can you tell me where the Mundi Mundi Hotel is?". If you ever visit the Silverton Hotel, there is a list on the wall telling you all the names and for which film or commercial the name was used for.

It's not just the exterior of the hotel that has been filmed either. The interior is 'classic' Aussie Pub too. Perhaps that's why it's been used in a number of beer commercials?

If you want to know exactly wha…

White's Mine and Doll & Bear Display.

Road Trip Day 5: 27th May 2007 (Morning)

Kevin White's Mineral Art and Living Mining Museum and Betty White's Handmade Doll & Bear display is an unlikely pairing of themes and subject matter but makes for an interesting experience for the whole family.

Located in Broken Hill, a slight detour off the road to Silverton, visitors are greeted and then directed to view a short video that covers the history of mining in the region (up to 1983... leaving you to wonder if some of the future projections made in the video have come to pass). The video gives a good over view of the Broken Hill story to a trip to the town could easily begin at White's Mine.

Betty was our guide for Kevin's replica mine museum. She did an excellent job pointing out the contrast between early mining and the mostly machine driven, push button technology used today. She made the point that when people talk about the 'good old days' of mining, the only thing 'good' about them is that th…

Day Dream Mine and the Titanic Monument.

Road Trip Day 4: 26th May 2007

The plan today was to head out to the outback Ghost Town of Silverton (NSW), the site of more than 140 Films and commercials, including 'Mad Max II'. On the way we decided a side trip tour of Day Dream Mine would easily fit into our day.

Unfortunately we got off to a late start and never factored in the 12 kilometres of unsealed loose dirt, winding road that you need to negotiate in order to get to the mine from the main road. By the time we got to the mine it was 12:25pm. Rose and I then had to wait about thirty minutes for ten minutes to go by until the next tour of the mine (i.e. Gary, our guide, said the next tour would be in ten minutes. Thirty minutes later... In all fairness Gary was waiting for the previous tour group to finish).

Not that we were standing around. There was plenty to look at around the cafe/gift shop, as well as in the cafe its self. We even had time for a cup of tea. Whilst waiting Rose and I took the opportunity to take man…

Gunning for Broken Hill.

Road Trip Day 3: 25th May 2007

Today is the day that we would be arriving in Broken Hill. No more distractions. Well, almost. First Rose and I did a quick walk around the Burra town centre, visiting the Gas Light Coffee and Second hand bookshop (where Rose added to her book collection).

Next we stopped in at the Burra Visitor Information Centre. The man behind the counter told us it would take five and a half hours to drive to the town of Broken Hill. A final stop in the local IGA supermarket to buy camera batteries and other supplies then we were on our way. 11:20am.

The drive to Broken Hill, along the Barrier Highway, is long. After about an hour and using about half of our remaining half a tank of petrol I decided we probably needed to fill the tank. Thus our first stop was at Oodla Wirra, BP Service Station.

Just up the road, coming the other way, is the Quarentine Station where everyone intending to drive any further into South Australia are relieved of any fruit or vegetables they…

Miranda's Bedroom and Searching for C. J. Dennis.

Road Trip Day 2: 24th May 2007

Rose and I didn't make it to Broken Hill today as planned due to the elusive nature of author, C. J. Dennis or, more correctly, a statue dedicated to the famous Australian Author.

Rose had seen a picture of the statue in one of our travel brochures and wanted to find it for a photo opportunity (having previously snapped a picture of herself with a statue of Australian author, Colin Thiele, on a trip to Eudunda). You would think Auburn, being the birthplace of C. J. Dennis, would be the location of the statue but no.

Auburn has a replica statue of the former Auburn Hotel (since demolished) where C. J. was born but not the statue we were looking for. We did enquire at the local internet cafe/tourist info centre and bike hire shop but the owner there couldn't tell us where the statue we were looking for was.

The brochures we had said that C. J. had spent much of his youth in the township of Mintaro, just north of Auburn. Perhaps the statue was there?

Mi…

Wrong Way Already!

Road Trip Day 1: 23rd May 2007

Taking a wrong turn before you've even left your home town is probably not the way you want to start a road trip between Gawler, South Australia and Perth, Western Australia but that's what I did. Can you tell I don't actually drive much around Gawler?

Perhaps it was because Blonde Rose and I had so much to do in the two days prior to leaving. Maybe my brain was a little bit fried? I simply thought a road went somewhere that it didn't thus, Rose got to see a bit more of Gawler that she hadn't yet seen.

For regular visitors to this site who haven't made the connection in previous posts, Blonde Rose is my sister. She's been on holiday in Gawler South Australia for the past 3 months. Hence all the sight seeing blog entries. Now we are both heading back to Perth by car, sight seeing as we go. If you drive straight from Gawler to Perth you can do it in about four days. Sight seeing included, we'll be on the road about two weeks.

We…

Girl Problems.

My partner's daughter sometimes has sick days from school for, what is described to me as, 'girl problems'.

Now all you blokes out there will know that we sometimes have 'girl problems' too but somehow haven't managed to wrangle a way to make them a justified excuse to take a 'sickie' from work.

Oh, wait, our 'girl problems' are not the same kind of 'girl problems' that girls have? Ahhh...now I see... oops.. probably didn't need quite that much information... ewwww!

Do boys have 'boy problems' and can we use them as a generic excuse to take a 'sickie'?

No wait, boys have 'man problems' surely? (he says beating chest and growling in a very masculine way... ouch that hurt my chest!)

Man Problems. Tell your work mates you're having 'Man Problems' and can't come in today. If nothing else it's sure to spread some rumors around the water cooler...

"I didn't know he played for the home team?&qu…

Painting "Socks" the Cat

Behind every painting there is a story however, with my latest artwork "Socks" (the cat) there really is only something of a rant. In creating "Socks" I wanted to demonstrate that any half decent artist can stand in front of a blank canvas and paint 'something'.

In painting 'something' I mean painting an image with no pre-planning, deep thought or preliminary sketching what-so-ever. In simple terms, the artist just starts painting and sees what emerges from the marks made as the painting develops. So many artists seem to be creating work like this now.

I suspect this has come about with the pressure on professional artists to earn a living from what they do. Working in this format allows for a high turn out of art thus creating a larger inventory for sales. However in doing so, I feel that the artist compromises their talent by producing largely, forgettable art.

The most thinking I did for "Socks" was that I planned to paint something based…

I want my MP3.

Remember the Dire Straits song, "Money for Nothing"? It started with the phrase "I want my MTV" referring to (depending on where you live in the world), the TV show "MTV" or the TV channel of the same name. MTV stood for 'Music Television'. These days it's not Music Television but Music Players (or MP3 players) that people want. Hence the title of this article "I want my MP3".

One wonders if you have to explain a pop culture reference is it then really a part of popular culture? A rhetorical question... let's get on with this article.

I finally have my very own MP3 player (see the picture right). At last I can join the 21st century where people wander the streets encased in their own extensive music play-lists. Listening to entire libraries of MP3 songs completely oblivious to their surroundings and any real need to interact with other people.

My player's even cooler because it can play videos too. Sure they're the size of a…

Eudunda. Birth place of author, Colin Thiele.

South Australian author, Colin Thiele's three most well known books are 'Storm Boy', 'Blue Fin' and 'Sun on the Stubble'. Well at least those three are the ones I know.

A visit to the town of Eudunda, South Australia, is pretty much a celebration of the man and his life (Colin passed away in 2006) with the local site seeing trail highlighting important locations from the author's past.

One could be forgiven for thinking that Eudunda has little else to offer in the way of historic displays but the town's Family Heritage Museum puts a rest to that. There is much more to the town's past than the famous author.

The museum reveals a wealth of personal histories of many of the town's families and the lives they lead. It's possibly one of the biggest historical artifact collections within the region. Some of the life size, figures are clearly, lovingly home made by not so skilled artists however they give the display something of a more personal …

Crucifix anyone?

The cross pictured at the right is the main feature of the Eden Valley lookout at Eden Valley, South Australia. A plaque at the site indicates that the lookout is still under development so there could be more to come however there is no explanation anywhere as to the significance of this rather ominous looking cross? Crucifix anyone?

It's a very sturdy looking structure surrounded by a few strategically placed picnic tables. One can only wonder as to what it means. Likely it has some religious significance but I don't know what... could be some secular minority practicing some long forgotten Pagan rituals perhaps?

If you happen to live at Eden Valley and know what this cross is all about...please show me some enlightenment with a comment.

The Lego Man - He's got all that!

Who would have thought that owning one of the worlds largest, private Lego collections could take you so far. Tom Lucieer of Angaston, South Australia, not only has met the Queen (of England) but is a frequent guest of her majesty and family when they are in Australia. He's also met Prince Charles, Lady Diana and Camila Parker-Bowles. Not only that, he grew up with TV Vet, Dr Harry, and is a friend of the Irwin family (yes, that's Steve Irwin's family).

Tom will happily tell you all this as part of the guided tour of his collection, which, aside from Lego, includes much railway memorabilia and colourful anecdotes about days gone by, his achievements and more. Frequently he will finish each particular monologue with the phrase, "Have you got that?", just to check that he hasn't confused you because, as he points out, his display and the stories behind it are a lot to take in at once.

In the photo you can see Tom holding a special award, which I think is for bein…

That's a BIG Rocking Horse.

I don't have much to say about the big rocking horse at the Toy Factory in Gumeracha, South Australia. It's big. You can climb up to the top of the head. Great view.

I took the photo on the right whilst seated, waiting for lunch to arrive in the Toy Factories cafe. Nothing like the view of a horses as... behind to go with your lunch. Actually I chose this photo to show you because you can get the other photos I took on just about every postcard featuring the toy horse available. Thought you might like a different view.

The Toy Factory is a good place to stop for lunch. The cafe and grounds are pleasant and afterwards, wander around the 'free entry' wildlife park where you can feed the animals if you wish. The Toy shop its self is worth a look too with some fairly unique wooden toys not seen much in the age of electronic gadgets for kids.

Me and the Lawnmower.

I've written about our families lawnmower before in The Lawnmower and I. This time I haven't let a little thing like grammar get in the way of putting me first in the article title!

The last three or four times I've used our lawnmower everything has been fine, aside from a little cleaning of the spark plug just to get the thing started. Today, however, I was rushing to get the lawn cut before rain settled in for the rest of the week. The sky looked liked the showers would begin soon so I skipped breakfast to get started earlier.

I cleaned the spark plug, filled the fuel tank and tried to start it. The lawnmower kind of fired but not enough to start. Few more tries... rip cord breaks, right at the handle end. How unoriginal.

Fortunately the cord didn't disappear into the housing. Some remained sticking out. I was able to pull the cord out, retie it to the handle. A few more pulls of the cord later and it starts. Front lawn gets cut, no worries.

Cutting the back lawn requi…

Discussion Retrospective.

One of the oddities of internet forums is that discussions can be preserved long after the interest of the participants is over.

My partner and I met up with some online forum friends recently at a local restaurant. Most of them we've known for years but hadn't met in person until now. At this event I was reminded by two people about a forum discussion that I remember having but couldn't for the life of me remember the actual details of what I'd said.

However, it must have been profound and informative because three people recalled it and at least one had thought it interesting enough to copy the discussion and show it to people not involved with the forum. I still couldn't remember the exact details despite the subject being a pet topic of mine.

Afterwards I went home and looked up this discussion on the forum. It took a little bit of finding because it was buried in the archives. Turns out this was a discussion that took place nearly two years ago. No wonder I coul…

Emo Spider-man what a loser.

This isn't a movie review, it's more of a movie reflection. My thoughts after seeing Spider-man 3 on the cinema screen. I'm assuming, if you're reading this then you have seen the movie. I'm not going to do any kind of story outline or worry about giving away plot details. If you haven't seen it then don't read further.

Before I get on to the movie... WTF is with the movie's official site? Trying to find a cast and crew list is next to impossible, none of the photo galleries have captions and there's precious little text to read outside of the film's blogs. It's a sad day when you have to visit sites not directly related to a film in order to get information about cast and crew. Thanks to Premiere for your great article.

I think it's time director, Sam Raimi, turned his attention else where. Spider-man, the first movie was excellent. Spider-man 2, not too bad. Spider-man 3, it's all gone back to being a cartoon. It reminds me of Joel S…

Gorge Wildlife Park: Cuddle a Koala!

Yes you can cuddle a koala at Gorge Wildlife Park located at Cudlee Creek, South Australia. In fact here is a picture of myself, Blonde Rose, and a fairly nonplussed koala who is just happy to eat leaves whilst being passed around by his keeper. Cute huh?

Gorge Wildlife Park is much more than koalas. There is so much to see that you could easily make a day of it. We were only there for an afternoon and I managed to take 137 photos.

The whole park is very much a hands on experience. You can buy a bag of peanuts or a packet of biscuits to feed all manner of different animals ranging from Australian native animals such as kangaroos and wallabys to more exotic species like the various different types of monkeys. Beware of the Peacocks though as they are the 'seagull' of Gorge Wildlife Park, persistently following you for peanuts.

I would love to post all my photos but I'll stick with just a couple that I thought might be of interest.

The park has a surprising number of albino ani…

It's oh so quiet...

Many people describe themselves as being 'quiet' in real life social situations but as it turns out 'quiet' is a relative term.

I describe myself as quiet in real life. However, when I tell my internet friends that I'm quiet many of them will say 'oh really, me too' thinking that they're just like me in social situations.

No you're not like me. I've never met anyone who is quiet like me. I'm so quiet it's deafening. People notice that I'm quiet within a few seconds of meeting me (apparently).

In some situations my 'quietness' even makes people feel a bit uncomfortable (I think) as the urge to talk can be quite strong - even if you'd rather not speak first. I'm quite comfortable not speaking. I'm used to my own company. I'm an artist.

I'm not good at social gatherings because I think I have a moral obligation to wait until someone has finished speaking before I talk. No doubt you probably agree. However when s…

Celtic Festival, Kapunda 2007

My first visit to Kapunda, Australia's oldest mining town, was to experience one day of a three day event, the 32nd Annual Kapunda Celtic Festival. Blonde Rose and I attended the second day which was a Saturday.

As far as Celtic Festivals go, this one had a Celtic flavor but my impression overall was that this could have easily have been a Town Festival. Largely because many of the market stalls and some of the performing artists weren't specifically 'Celtic' themed. That said, I didn't get to see all of the Celtic performing artists such as dancers, singers and more. Perhaps if I had I would've been left with more of a Celtic experience.

Don't get me wrong, I was not disappointed with the festival at all. Kapunda is an exceptional town with a lot to see. Which is why I didn't see all the entertainment. Too busy looking in local art galleries and exploring the excellent basement Kapunda history display at the Visitor Centre, as well as the basement museum…

Hazel Dooney: Inspiration for Independence.

I don't care much for Hazel Dooney's Art - at least not her recent artistic style of lead pencil, ink and watercolour that she's presented since 2006. I think it's important that I mention this as a preface for this article.

It's not the dark themes or graphic, sexual content of some of these works that turns me off. I really have no problem with this kind of subject matter. What bugs me is that, as one artist looking at another's work, her current style just looks too easy.

Which is not to suggest it is easy at all. It just looks that way. It looks like experimental works ripped out of her visual diary and called 'finished art'. They look like paintings still in the planning stages.

Ordinarily I'd go for her more expressive style in other lesser known artists. Usually this style is a break from the monotony of landscapes and rural settings I see in the various regional community galleries. Someone who isn't inspired by yet another tree with sheep …

Drawing a Mustache on Brett Whiteley.

Forgive me if I blow my own trumpet in this post (especially since not only can't I play the trumpet but I don't actually own a trumpet) but I need you to visit my web site Gallery and Shop.

Why? I'm glad you asked... well I could see you were going to ask. Okay, so technically I asked for you but if I had been standing right there saying "I need you to visit my Gallery and Shop," you would've said "Why?"

Writing isn't the only thing I do. Yes, I know, I was surprised too. Being male usually affords the luxury of only being able to do one thing but fortunately that only means 'one thing at a time' not 'one thing for all time'. I digress.

Art, yes art is something else I do. In fact I was (and still am) an artist, before I ramped up this writing gig. My art is said to be uniquely my own - though it's me saying that so maybe you should take a look - I could be lying.

I may have just copied everything Brett Whiteley ever created an…

Now that's an Awesome Ringtone!

I saw this phone (pictured right) and thought to myself that must have the most awesome ringtone. Then I thought a bit more... kind of gives a new meaning to the concept of putting someone on 'speaker phone'.

My imagination ran wild, quickly moving on to the idea that this must be the kind of phone those car nuts with the pimped up stereo systems and the 'doof, doof' music would love in their house. A 'doof, doof' phone!

Turns out none of these things even come close to what this phone is. In actual fact it is one of six similar phones that make up an art installation called O Telephone by artist, Don Ritter.

It's an interactive work featuring six modified 1960’s telephones within a darkened room which randomly ring with a distinctive sound. After a ringing phone is answered by a viewer, “om” is heard through the handset and through the speaker in the body of the phone. When viewers answer other ringing phones, the resulting “om” sounds will pan through all th…