Friday, July 29, 2005

Pig Iron Bob

Pig Iron Bob Posted by Picasa

Many moons ago I was working with an older white haired gent Allan (aka Big Al) in a production planning department located in a large factory. Allan had worked for Digital corporation (or Burroughs as it was then known) as a "hacker" in the old days, when a hacker meant you were a programmer, hacking your way through code. He ws eventually bundled out of Digital as part of a new broom clearout. He loved his beer, his pies and the South Sydney Swans which he later followed in mid 80s an early 90's as the Sydney Swans. We used to sometimes go to games when there were 2000 people at the Sydney Cricket Ground, having a whole Berwongle grandstand on the Eastern side to ourselves.

We started work at 3am at a rather large bakery and finished at around 11am. It was a strange environment, darkness, strong coffee, cigarette smoke, classical music in the background..... working on what at the time was state of the art production planning tools where we got talking a lot.

He could be described as a "cranky old bastard" with a wit and wordplay I haven't seen that often. Opinions on everything and contempt for most, he nicknamed one woman, Louise "anagram" for example. If you get the above nickname without asking he'd probably like you.

He questioned everyone and exposed weaknesses mercilessly. And yet we got on rather well, perhaps because even when he was berating me I was usually laughing. There was no vanity around this guy, he deflated it like an expert flourishing an epee much in the way of the old guys as Socrates, delighting in pricking one's pride, arguing mercilessly and having one question one's raison detre. The people he regarded well could have been counted on one hand.

We were either talking footy (AFL) or politics and such and one day we were talking about prime ministers. I mentioned Bob Menzies. "PIG IRON BOB!" came back the reply "HRRRMMMPPHHHHH" and that was almost it. After some gentle cajouling, he went on to explain how Menzies had something to do with all the scrap iron that went to Japan to build ships and planes that almost saw Australia invaded in WW2. I never really chased up the full story until now. Looking at it now, drawing a long bow, it is similar to all that iron ore going to China from Oz, being sold back as cheap Chinese products.

I found an old song written in 1964 to do with "Pig Iron Bob" on a MUA centenary album written by a guy called Clem Parkinson. As an aside, there aren't many people named Clem these days, it's one of those "old fashioned" names that seems to have died out. The MUA are the old "Painters and Dockers Union" now known as the Maritime Union of Australia. They have a rather colourful history which I may go into later.

Anyway..... here's the song. With fond memories and thoughts to old Al.

The Pig-Iron Song

a song by Clem Parkinson ©1964 Clem Parkinson

Did you ever stop to wonder why the fellows on the job
Refer to Robert Menzies by the nickname Pig-Iron Bob?
It's a fascinating tale though it happened long ago
It's a part of our tradition evey worker ought to know

We wouldn't load pig-iron for the fascists of Japan
Despite intimidation we refused to lift the ban
With democracy at state the struggle must be won
We had to beat the menace of the fascist Rising Sun

It was 1937 and aggressive Japanese
Attacked the Chinese people tried to bring them to their knees
Poorly armed and ill equiped the peasants bravely fought
While Australian water siders rallied round to lend support

Attorney General Menzies said the ship would have to sail
"If the men refuse to load it we will throw them into jail"
But our unity was strong - we were solid to a man
And we wouldn't load pig-iron for the fascists of Japan

For the Judas politicians we would pay a heavy price
The jungles of New Guinea saw a costly sacrifice
There's a lesson to be learned that we've got to understand
Peace can only be secured when the people lend a hand

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Kookaburra Posted by Picasa

The parrots are on holidays. This morning it was a family of three Kookaburras.You can hear what a group of these sounds like here.

Microsoft may have to alter Vista

Vista Posted by Picasa

Company of the same name cries foul following Redmond's renaming of Longhorn

Microsoft may be in trouble for naming its forthcoming operating system Vista after it transpired that the name has been registered by an American company for nearly six years.

Vista, which operates a small business internet interchange, is actually based in Microsoft's home town of Redmond. It was started in May 2000 by John Wall, the founder of Wall Data and an erstwhile investor in SCO.

"We are going to consider our options and talk to Microsoft," Wall told The Seattle Times. Vista has not yet filed suit against the software giant.

Microsoft announced the new name for its operating system on Friday and said that the first beta code would be available on 3 August.

"There is no more Longhorn; it is now officially Windows Vista," said Kevin Johnson, group vice president of Microsoft's worldwide sales, marketing and services.

Stronger........... more secure

My tax dollars at work Posted by Picasa

Today I picked up a suburban newspaper and saw this full page advertisement put out by the current conservative Howard government. It is a piece of spin put out, selling their version of their upcoming Industrial relations reform. You can zoom in and actually read it if you click it then click again.

I'd send you directly to their pdf file here but it just doesn't seem to want to load.

I note the use of the words "STRONG" and "SECURE" words used in their re-election campaign and also in the use of their border protection policy. For example from Brian Loughnane in his post election analysis in an interview at the Nine network.

BRIAN LOUGHNANE: Well in his speech last night the Prime Minister was clearly focussed on the future. He indicated that he's got a very clear plan of action, that he's going to begin immediately. I spoke to him on the telephone a couple of times last night and he was very, very focussed on hitting the desk running. So you know our job, the job of the Government, the job of John Howard as Prime Minister is to honour the commitments that he gave to the Australian people to make sure that the economy does remain strong, that families are able to plan for their future with confidence, and that Australia remains strong and secure.

From the National Party/Liberal Party (Coalition) manifesto. The opening statement reads and the BOLD comments are theirs..... not mine.

At the federal election on 9 October, the Australian people will decide who is best able to shoulder the huge responsibility of keeping Australia prosperous, strong and secure in the years ahead.

Now lets look at the recent industrial relations ad. The header reads.


And the closing quote:


By working together, we will create more jobs, with higher wages in a stronger economy and secure the future for Australian workers and their families.

Seems their milking this "strong and secure" thing for all it's worth. I did a google search using "strong and secure" and terrorism and the hits were mainly Liberal Party spin.

So what am I getting at? Well I suppose this "stong and secure" meme seems to be thrown at those things that would "weaken" Australia's position in the current Howard governments worldview. Illegal immigrants, a poor economy and I suppose workers involved in the union movement.

Again, I point to policies of the HR Nicholls Institute, established by a young lawyer called Peter Costello in the 80's who currently serves as the Australian treasurer. Young Costello took the side of an company Dollar Sweets whose workers were on strike and sued the arse of the union. hence his nickname at Crikey "Dollar Sweetie".

I wrote a post going into a few more details about that here.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Solution to the Greenhouse Effect

The cat blogs Posted by Picasa

I haven't posted a pic of my partner in crime for awhile and here he is..... supervising blogging and whatnot........ from now on referred to as "The Heatsink'.

It is winter down here and The Heatsink will invariably find the warmest part of the house to absorb any infra red rays bouncing around in and around the townhouse. Car bonnets/hoods, recently turned off laptops, rays of sun in strange places, laundries with clothes driers going etc etc. A 1500Watt heater going at full blast will heat this townhouse no problems...... but with The Heatsink directly in front, things remain a little chilly.

A few moments I got out of my chair to get a book from the bookshelf and The Heatsink, ninja style was there, taking advantage of a warmed up chair. No idea how he did it so quickly and silently, he moves V-E-R-Y slowly most of the time but given a bit of warmth he hones in lightning fast.

Anyway, I had a thought on how I might save the world from the Greenhouse effect. Perhaps if I cloned The Heatsink and issued his millions of clones to the world at large, all that infra red energy currently bouncing back within the earth's atmosphere would be absorbed by millions of sleeping Heatsinks. Big governments could exchange Heatsink credits. It could be the dawn of a new economy.

The global temperature would drop..... the planet would be saved..........people would have food..........we'd have some very happy cats......terrorism would stop......... and I'd get a Nobel prize and get to meet Bob Geldorf or something.

This is just one of my many brilliant ideas....... there's plenty more where that comes from.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Parrot on a stick Posted by Picasa

50 miles from the big smoke at dawn. Posted by Picasa

A witch....... burn her.

A couple of days I wrote the fallacy regarding the "biometric passports reducing terrorism meme" in which the powers that be are in some weird way, equating a clampdown on identity somehow with some sort of blanket safety barrier. Much in the same vein as Monty Python's "If she weighs the same as a duck, then she's a witch" form of logical reasoning.

Here's what I wrote reagrding the theft and switching of advanced identification. I couldn't recall the source.

I can't recall the source but there was a piece about how the more technological advanced identification such as holograms and biometrics would actually be highly prized rather than be a deterrent by those with less than honourable intentions. And yes these can be forged.

I tracked down the source. It was Phil Gomes Citystate which is a blog improving daily IMHO.

Phil writes:

"For some serious background, many of the answers to Beattie’s assertions can be found at Privacy International. I particularly liked the market value argument as a good reason not to pursue this course of action."

One unintended repercussion of ID card systems is that they can entrench widescale criminal false identity. By providing a one stop form of identity, criminals can easily use cards in several identities. Even the highest integrity bank cards are available as blanks in such countries as Singapore for several pounds. Within two months of the new Commonwealth Bank high security hologram cards being issued in Australia, near perfect forgeries were already in circulation. This conundrum has been debated in Australia, the UK and the Netherlands. It relies on the simple logic that the higher an ID cards value, the more it will be used. The more an ID card is used, the greater the value placed on it, and consequently, the higher is its value to criminal elements.

Mullah Nasruddin

Woman in burqa in London Posted by Picasa

I saw this photo in the Murdoch owned Daily Telegraph today and it is one of those creepy views of the world that frankly I'm not at all comfortable with. There's a paramilitary guy with a dog looking suspiciously at a woman with a baby. Happens to be she is muslim in her burqa garb. If she had of been a western woman I'm not sure if the photo would have made the daily Murdochs around the world.

How persecuted do these people feel I wonder? This photo says so much. What if the person with the baby was a Hasaidic Jew and the authority figure was an SS soldier? Why was this woman living in London? What had she escaped or optimistically hoped for, to enjoy the "freedoms of western society"?

I sense the muslims are slowly becoming the new Jews of pre-WWII Germany. Typhus and lice has been replaced by "terrorism".

For some reason the media and powers that be require an "enemy" to keep the population in a general state of fear. Not a new phenonema and one revealed by Chomsky in his essaty "Manipulation of Fear" and Mike Moore's Farenheit 9/11. This from David Williamson's scripted Gallipoli.

Camel Driver: Where you headed?

Archy: Perth

Camel Driver: You lookin’ for work?

Archy: No, I’m off to the war.

Camel Driver: What war?

Archy: The war against Germany.

Camel Driver: I knew a German once. How did it start?

Archy: Don’t know exactly, but it was the Germans’ fault.

Camel Driver: The Australians fightin’ already?

Archy: In Turkey.

Camel Driver: Turkey? Why’s that?

Archy: Because Turkey’s a German ally.

Camel Driver: Can’t see what it’s got to do with us.

Archy: We can’t stop them there, they could end up here.

Camel Driver: (After surveying the desolate landscape) And they’re welcome to it.

So in some sort of compromise I'm going to put up a tale of Mullah Nasruddin which shows, they're human, they have a sense of humour and beneath the burqa is someone just like you and I who really just wants a better place for our children to live in.

I'm no match for the power of the mass media but a small voice pointing out some of the similarites may make a little bit of difference in the grand scheme of things.

This is one of the many Mullah Nasruddin tales. There's a slew more of them here.

A neighbor who Nasruddin didn't like very much came over to his compound one day. The neighbor asked Nasruddin if he could borrow his donkey. Nasruddin not wanting to lend his donkey to the neighbor he didn't like told him, "I would love to loan you my donkey but only yesterday my brother came from the next town to use it to carry his wheat to the mill to be grounded. The donkey sadly is not here."

The neighbor was disappointed. But he thanked Nasruddin and began to walk away.

Just as he got a few steps away, Mullah Nasruddin's donkey, which was in the back of his compound all the time, let out a big bray.

The neighbor turned to Nasruddin and said, "Mullah Sahib, I thought you told me that your donkey was not here.

Mullah Nasruddin turned to the neighbor and said, "My friend, who are you going to believe? Me or the donkey?

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Ladybird Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

New and old toys

I've finally got a camera which has a decent zoom AND can take half decent pictures in the half light and a heap of other tricks. The parrot and clock pictures are my firsts.

Plus ye olde version of Fottoshoppe versione foure pointe naught is back in action after removing a 128meg memory stick, preventing the wheezing, old piece of arcania from going into endless loops when presented with circa '94 impossible memory capabilities.......

It can deal with 516 but not 744!!!!! Says there is not enough RAM. I tried everything (and I mean everything) to fix this. Ended being a matter of pulling one stick out.

Yeah the systems a wee bit slower but it is sort of like me and the old cat. And I'd rather have Photoshop back with a slower system, than a faster system and no Photoshop.

I also had a fiddle with another piece of aging software. Organic Art which results you can see below.

Identifying the Coalition of the willing.

I was asked an obvious question a couple of days ago which went like this.

"How does biometric identification reduce terrorism?"

It's a good question and one that opens up a can of worms.

Christian Kerr has an article at Crikey as the Real ID and biometric aspects hit the third country involved in the "coalition of the willing" for our own good.

Apparently, just like the US and the UK who we followed down the garden path in the search of WMD's we suddenly find ourselves in the position of having the prospect of having our biological details on a database, which matches a card which somehow should stop the terrorists slipping through the net.

I fail to see the logic of this argument.

Christian Kerr at Crikey has this to say.

The national ID card debate

By Christian Kerr

Would you trust these people with an ID card?

Disgraced Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone told Laurie Oakes yesterday a new minister would not necessarily get better results in the portfolio. “I don't know that a new minister would do better, frankly,” she said. How much more contemptuous can you get?

The Palmer Report showed disgraceful lapses of public administration in Vanstone's department – and in Queensland, too. Yet Peter Beattie restarted the debate over a national ID card last week (here). Vanstone backed it on Sunday.

They want us to trust them with such a scheme?

The prime minister – a leading opponent of the Hawke Government's Australia Card concept in the eighties – kept his options open over the weekend: “It's a balance any democratic society requires – a constant readjustment of that balance,” he said. “If you look at it just as a civil liberties issue you would never change anything. If you just looked at it as a protection against terrorism issue, you would authorise many changes that people would regard as unacceptable.”

He's in Washington today. ID cards will become an even bigger issue when he visits Britain later in the week, where such a scheme has been a hot issue since 9/11.

Michelle Grattan observed yesterday that a London School of Economics report found Blair's actual proposals were not feasible: they were too complex, technically unsafe, overly prescriptive and lacked a foundation of public trust and confidence. What she didn't say is that it will be a user pays card. British residents will pay for one – and the costs keep rising. The LSE estimates the project will cost 19 billion pounds – $700 per person.

Chris Puplick, a member of the parliamentary committee that examined the Australia Card concept, writes in The Australian today: “The benefits of national ID cards are grossly overstated and their potential negative impacts on our freedom and way of life remain unacceptable.”

He leaves out one compelling argument. What were the London terrorists carrying along with bombs? ID.

Exactly. Which goes back to the original question asked "How does biometric ID reduce terrorism?"

I can't recall the source but there was a piece about how the more technological advanced identification such as holograms and biometrics would actually be highly prized rather than be a deterrent by those with less than honourable intentions. And yes these can be forged.

Adam Shostack goes into other matter biometric and privacy vs safety matters rather well. He mentions and points to articles. How these things can be forged. He descibes databases that are hacked into, lost or missing. he points us in places where ID has been sold by those working in government.

A google search using "real ID" "doesn't work" also shows a large anmount of material on the matter such as this. from alternet.

" It doesn't really matter how well an ID card works when used by the
hundreds of millions of honest people that would carry it. What matters is
how the system might fail when used by someone intent on subverting that
system: how it fails naturally, how it can be made to fail, and how failures
might be exploited.

The first problem is the card itself. No matter how unforgeable we make it,
it will be forged. And even worse, people will get legitimate cards in
fraudulent names.

Two of the 9/11 terrorists had valid Virginia driver's licenses in fake
names. And even if we could guarantee that everyone who issued national ID
cards couldn't be bribed, initial cardholder identity would be determined by
other identity documents ... all of which would be easier to forge.

Not that there would ever be such thing as a single ID card. Currently about
20 percent of all identity documents are lost per year. An entirely separate
security system would have to be developed for people who lost their card, a
system that itself is capable of abuse.

Additionally, any ID system involves people ... people who regularly make
mistakes. We all have stories of bartenders falling for obviously fake IDs,
or sloppy ID checks at airports and government buildings. It's not simply a
matter of training; checking IDs is a mind-numbingly boring task, one that
is guaranteed to have failures. Biometrics such as thumbprints show some
promise here, but bring with them their own set of exploitable failure

But the main problem with any ID system is that it requires the existence of
a database. In this case it would have to be an immense database of private
and sensitive information on every American -- one widely and
instantaneously accessible from airline check-in stations, police cars,
schools, and so on."

I am assuming this "using biometric to catch terrorists" is just a front. As John D. Woodward, Jr. "Lawyer, Senior Policy Analyst, RAND and former CIA Operations Officer" (guess what his angle is going to be?) say in his paper "FACIAL RECOGNITION, RETINAL IRIS SCANS, DNA, FINGERPRINTING, BRAIN PRINTING, EAR MATCHING, SMART CARDS . . . WHAT'S NEXT?".

Even if September 11 never had happened, law enforcement uses were just around the corner. Support for these systems was starting to grow before the terrorists struck. There were already biometric programs up and running throughout the United States' criminal justice and correctional systems. The only difference now is that the public is beginning to embrace biometric uses on a much greater scale. The horrors of September 11 appear to cause the public to be willing to sacrifice a little of its precious privacy for the sake of feeling greater personal security.

I would change "a little of its precious pricacy" to a LOT.

Sin City

I remember many moons ago an interview on the television with a young guy called Robert Rodriguez, who took part in a drugs company experiment, locked away for a month in a controlled lab situation. With the money he earned, he raised a small amount to release his first film El Mariachi which he wrote whilst under observation in the drug companies lab.

I saw the bigger budget film of his Desperado, which was OK and was impressed and at the same time disappointed in parts with his film 'Once upon a time in Mexico". What did impress me about "OUATIM" were the DVD extras where we got to see around Rodriguez' studio which is near his house. He gave an example of how he scored as well as some digital special effects, he even included a recipe for Puerco Pibil which were one of the items available from the menu in his kitchen .....what can't this guy do?

So we've been on delayed release on Sin City downunder which was released stateside in April, I saw the shorts on the web and could not wait for it's release. Words escape me, it's a comic book with a pulse, the noirest of film-noir and I can't remember Mickey Rourke EVER acting as well as this.

I'll let Moriarty from aintitcool do the talkin' for me.

That quiet digital revolution I was talking about last week just got a whole hell of a lot louder and crazier. Just wait till you get steamrolled by this big nasty hypernoir on April 1st. If you’re anything like me, you’ll stagger away from the encounter with two blacked eyes and a broken bloody smile that will last for days. [MORE]

Brilliant just brilliant.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

News from the weird desk........

Bear with me as I follow a thread......... it gets a little strange towards the end.

Found this really neat website where you plonk down your hard earned shekels and perhaps even see it grow by 5 times.

Welcome to an investor and industry news portal for the homeland defense and security sector. The HDS website does not make recommendations, but offers a unique free information portal to research news, exclusive articles, interviews, investor conferences and a growing list of participating public companies in the sector.
Global market is expected to grow from $28B in 2003 to over $170B in 2015. Source: HSRC Corp

One of the companies it promotes due to some advertising space is The Harrington Group reportedly based in Sydney (well the share registry is) although the head office is said to be in Perth.

Harrington Group Ltd. (HGR) (OTC.PK: HGRLF) (Corporate Profile, News and Info) is a less-lethal weapons development and commercialization company publicly listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) under the symbol "HGR". HGR is developing ShockRounds™, revolutionary electrified projectiles that are intended to decrease the use of lethal force and potentially minimize casualties. HGR is headquartered in Sydney, Australia and operates out of Santa Clara, California.

Interesting news on Harrington(currently trading at 10 cents) here:

Homeland Security, Defense and Human Effects Experts Appointed to Harrington Advisory Board

Distribution Source : Market Wire

Date : Tuesday, March 22, 2005

SANTA CLARA, CA -- (Market Wire - Mar 22, 2005) -- MDM Group, Inc. (OTC: MDDM) advises that MDM Group subsidiary, Harrington Group Limited (HGR.AX) earlier today advised the Australian Stock Exchange of the appointment of an additional three world-renowned homeland security experts as founding members of the Harrington Group Advisory Board.

Joining Colonel John Alexander, a global authority on non-lethal weapons and defense, will be Dr. Christopher Green, a forensic medicine and electrophysiology specialist, Dr. Edward Stephen, a specialist in pharmacology and bioterrorism defense, and Dr. Allen Bain, a leading pharmacologist focused on specialised drug development including new treatments for disorders of electrically active tissue.

The combined expertise of the Advisory Board will provide Harrington with outstanding guidance in strategic product development and commercialisation, and grow the Company's profile in the law enforcement, defense and homeland security sectors.

Harrington Group CEO Marshall Couper said: "All four Advisory Board members have extensive knowledge of Harrington's ShockRounds(TM) electric ammunition technology, as well as outstanding expertise in less-than-lethal weapons, Homeland Security issues and human effects.

"Harrington is focused on accelerating its product development, formalising strategic and commercial relationships and securing the expertise of leaders in the field. The formation of a world class Advisory Board is an important step forward in this strategy."

Joining Colonel Alexander are:

Christopher C. Green, MD, PhD, FAAFS

Dr. Green is in the practice of forensic medicine (American Academy of Forensic Sciences) and neuroimaging (Detroit Medical Center/Harper University Hospital/Wayne School of Medicine). His work clinically relates to his expertise as a neurophysiologist with a specialty in electrophysiology. A special research interest involves the way cognition in "making decisions under stress" are modulated by brain systems and neuromuscular control. He is both a faculty member at the Medical School and Fellow in Diagnostic Radiology, and Executive Director for Emergent Technologies.

Dr. Green serves on numerous Department of Defense, Intelligence and National Academy of Sciences Commissions. He Chairs the Science Board for the Undersecretary of the Army for Operations Research and has served as Chair of the Board on Army Science and Technology. He holds the National Intelligence Medal for investigations in forensic intelligence and served as an Officer and continues as a consultant with the Central Intelligence Agency.

John Alexander (guess how he tied that bolt into a knot) is HEAVILY involved in remote viewing community as well as chasing UFO's in Nevada. Those in the UFO community would know him as "The Penguin".

John and others in an International Remote Viewing Association founders pic.

Christopher "Kit" Green who has been described as a "Chairman of a Homeland Security Committee" was one of those strange guys involved with remote viewing(RV) research. Here's a photo of Kit with Hal Puthoff and Pat Price during some SRI research for the CIA and the Navy.

Oh, and Hal Puthoff in this photo is the same Hal Puthoff in the photo of Alexander above, and the same Hal Puthoff in the IRVA founders picture (naturally enough). And if you want to go one stage stranger do a look around on the Scientology ties to the original RV research.

Green has also been described as in charge of the CIA "weird desk" in the 70's.

And for more on ties between Alexander, Puthoff and Green see Armen Victorian's article which was printed in Lobster magazine in 93.

I find it interesting that a subject such as remote viewing that was funded for something like 20 years by the CIA and the Navy would be pooh-poohed by the Skeptics. It eventually was shelved but oddly enough the portfolio ( for a better word) was taken over by SAIC in 1994 they are said to have pulled the plug in '95.

It's also interesting that a few of these guys that were involved in the "psychic spying" game are now in Dept of Homeland Security positions.

And I'm going nowhere near the UFO thing that Green and Alexander are involved in, but if you could see though time and space wouldn't it be cool to look onboard a spaceship?

Good Morning Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Still Life Posted by Picasa

New and Improved

New and Improved Posted by Picasa

I made this some time ago, forgot about it and am now putting it up. Click for a highr rez shot.

The rise of the fluoro collar worker.

They are everywhere.

Walk into a Western Sydney pub on a Friday night and what was once a sea of dark blue and greens has transformed into a colourful almost garish display of workers in Day-Glo gren and orange. The green is used on clothes that were once dark green, dark green still being used in places as contrast. These are usually worn by landscapers, lawn cutters, groundsmen and the like. Orange seems to be used on clothes that were once blue, again the blue being retained in places as a contrast. These are mainly worn by factory workers, truck drivers, road side workers and the like.

Managers, engineers and the like are spared the indignity of wearing the colours full time opting for the take it off and put it on fluro waistcoat (or vest).

However the blue collar woker hasn't become the "fluoro collar worker" the collar remains the same.

Above is a pic of my jacket with it's collar still blue. I refuse to wear it outside of work. It's main purpose being that of a passive safety device, standing out to guys driving 6 tonne forklifts which tend to squash human beings in any type of encounter.

Paradoxically there's an article at the Guardian where the fluoro worker has been turned invisible. There's a history regarding the invention of fluoro paint and its adoption by the army and then to the working class. A mention of a holdup and private investiagtors in big cities using fluoro jackets and vests.

Stephen Gill likes to photograph things so insignificant they barely exist - the backs of billboards, cashpoint machines, and so on. Now he calls me and says he's been photographing invisibility. He shows me some of the pictures. They are of rail and street repair workers wearing bright, fluorescent "High Visibility" jackets. Stephen says he got the idea for the series because he wears a fluorescent jacket when he's taking photographs and doesn't want to draw attention to himself - when he wears his fluorescent jacket, he says, nobody gives him a second glance. ::more::

So to turn invisible I have to throw on my "cloak of invisibility" jacket!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Drivin' up the mountain

Driving down the mountain Posted by Picasa

One of the cool things about blogging is that you get a slice of life from people living a long way away from you. It's sort of like armchair travelling seeing the world through other people's eyes.
So thought I'd return the favour, sharing some pictures I made yesterday on a trip up to Katoomba, which is a bohemian sort of town at the top of the mountains.

Katoomba is one of those weekend getaway places that the European Sydneysiders used to go to in the 1800's to escape the semi-tropical heat. It also had "health spas" and a winter with the English bite behind it, it even gets snow sometimes..... which is a novelty down here.

Sydneysider's still make the pilgrimage up there visiting The Three Sisters, cafes, bookshops, antique stores, admiring views in all directions and the like. The canyon at Katoomba apparently is the second largest in the world after the Grand Canyon and has some wonderful views. The local council here describes itself as "A City within a World Heritage Park" so wildlife is in abundance.

There's a lot to do.

I went to do my groceries at the largish supermarket and get a few pics of things I find odd and interesting along the Great Western Highway which runs from Sydney to Katoomba.

I threw on my thick denim shirt and tweed coat as it was a very blustery day with a wind chill factor getting down to minus 10 degrees. Once I was there, most people seemed pretty well rugged up with a lot of kids and Mums & Dads in wooly hats. There was snow in the air but it never dumped. The familar "sharpness" about mountain air that chills the lungs was there, I've been in other places at close to zero and the bite doesn't seem as great.

Anyway here's a few photos........

View from Woodford station pedestrain walkway. Posted by Picasa

Probably the best view from any railway station downunder. Miles and mile of National Park.

A jewel of a railway station.

Woodford train station. Posted by Picasa

If you're paying attention driving down the mountain you'll spot this railway station sitting high on a slope facing out towards the north. It is a very pretty station with the stationmaster taking particular care of his gardens.

I've always wanted to get a photo of it .... now I have.

Bus shelter sitting in a carved out sandstone niche Posted by Picasa

Lawson Taxi radio building Posted by Picasa

When you drive through the village of Lawson, there's this strange little fibro building with a stranger sort of fountain next to it. Smack bang in the middle of town. It's the Lawson taxi radio centre. I've stopped by to take a look a couple of times.

Stone rotunda Posted by Picasa

This is just sitting outside of Lawson. I am under the impression it may have been part of a larger estate that may have been hit by a bushfire, burning down the main house. The solid , well built and expensive-in-its-day fence surrounding the block of land plus some well paved areas indicate this may have been the case.

I wonder how many tea parties and cucumber sandwiches have ben enjoyed in this long forgotten building. It now sits with weeds growing on top. The construction is remarkable, being made from layer upon layer of local flat stones. At one stage it may have had a stucco surface that has fallen off with age. So this may be the skeleton.

View of Katoomba Posted by Picasa

Here's a view taken from a higher part of Katoomba looking down into the township in the lower areas and the canyon in the background.

Apologies for the darkness, my camera isn't that good in poor light.

Ian Swift Gallery Posted by Picasa

Sticking out like dogs balls (as we say downunder) on the Leura to Katoomba road, is Ian Swift's gallery. He takes discarded items such as packing crates, old foundry wooden casting moulds, washing machines in fact anything he can get his hands on and transforms them into something else.

Three sisters Posted by Picasa

Ian Swifts sculptures of the Three Sisters at Katoomba made from some old weatherboards taken from a demolished house.

Wooden horse Posted by Picasa

A horse Ian Swift modelled from old wooden drink crates, signs and the like. Magnificent.