Thursday, November 30, 2006

Weed inspector guy.....

Some weed inspector guy from the Blue Mountains City Council has peered over my back fence and found Crofton Weed (Ageratina adenophora) in my back yard. I have two months to get rid of the blighters. They were always there, I just had no idea how offensive the council rearded them. Poor unloved things.

They sent a most informative guide with the pictures of the offending plant. These things have reproductive systems underground and require the removal of the woody roots, should be a couple of days hard work. I've done this once before with a similar weedy plant with woody roots everywhere.

I might plant some roses once they are out.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Darren Hanlon

This young guy Darren Hanlon (is his myspace) is getting a lot of Airplay on JJJ this week. A poet who writes songs. Young and upcoming Aussie music is in good shape.

The Unmade Bed

(Little Chills - Track 5)
I've chosen to remember you exactly as you are
If looks could be pickled and stored in a jar
1997 trapped inside a conversation
That party was so loud I felt like an abbreviation of myself

Finally got around to vacating the nest
But my knowledge of survival was pedestrian at best
Now I'm holding down a job penning poems by the kilo
Our guest is dressed by hand-me-down, hair designed by pillow

Tie shoes in bows
Walk tall in those

Don't start counting your pennies, the night is but a pup
There's things happening above you, you must remember to look up
And you will marvel at how it's so easy to forget
A moon that hung so bright you could've lit your cigarette

The light that it throws
Smash through windows

We're singing words, the meaning's long forgotten
Corroded over time
The air's so thick you'd swear you're breathing cotton
Assuming your own nom de plume
Invite someone back to your room

The light that it throws
Smash through windows

We're singing words, the meaning's long forgotten
Corroded over time
The air's so thick you'd swear you're breathing cotton
You're falling down on mine

We're all singing words, the meaning's long forgotten
So every person and their spouse
Lay entwined throughout the house

While meanwhile on another couch
I've the pleasure of finding out
The difference between north and south
The mechanical moving mouth

He said "These are my principles
If you don't like them I got others
This is my opinion
If you don't agree I've got big brothers

Blue Mountains bushfires

I grabbed my trusty Fujifilm camera yesterday and drove up the mountain to get some pics to share of the damage done in the recent bushfires.

The photo above is fairly typical of the scenes you'd see. One would expect to see a blackened landscape with nothing left, typical scorched earth scenes with blackened tree stumps in profusion. But it isn't the case. What is left during a typical bushfire is these patches of gold where the leaves have been slightly burned. The gold turns to a dull tan as it recedes into the background as can be seen above.

The bushfires actually are part of the natural cycle, many plants require the fire to propogate and the fires provide ash which then naturally fertilises the soil. I got a photo of a couple of these.

The fires have also added and extra tinge of blue to the views which I have also tried to capture.

Apologies for a seperate post for each picture but it is heaps quicker that way and the photos tend to not match the text with the blogger layouts if I post all the photos at once.

Bushfire triple trunk

Tree trunk

A branch had been cut away from a burnt tree for fire fighting truck access. It was a nice effect!

Woody seed pods

This photo is more about function than form, it was difficult to get a "nice" photo of the above. It's some woody seed pods that have split open in the fire revealling the most gorgeous fluffy white flowers. The seeds are flung out in the fire to rest on the newly alkalined ashen soil. The flowers were so white they appear to be out of fiocus in this picture.

Termite Mound

This is a termite mound which termites build above ground (don't ask me why???!). It's almost whiteness stands out amongst the charred surrounds

Melted sign

Heat damage to a road sign near the Mt Irvine turnoff on the Bells Line of Road. The letters had peeled off and the background film had shrunk.


Here a twig has caught fire on a tree burning down to the trunk which survived.

Bushfire scenes

Banksia pod

A burnt Banksia seed pod. This is another example where the fire splits the seed pod open and the seeds lie in the alkaline ashen soil.


A burnt out spinifex plant in some ochre (pronounced oak-er) soil.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Bushfire Telegraph Pole

A contrast of blackened earth and blue sky.

More smoke haze at Katoomba looking from Echo Point.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Purple Haze

Purple haze all in my eyes, uhh
Dont know if its day or night
You got me blowin, blowin my mind
Is it tomorrow, or just the end of time?

Shot of some of the smoke around the Blue Mountains.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Fox Memo War on Terror MUST go on.

This is a week old, I just picked up on it this morning so maybe some of you haven't seen it either. It's via the Huffington Post.

Then there's this from Sir Keith Murdoch (Rupert's father's) bio at The Australian Dictionary of Biography!

These guys from the Australian 30's must have been wearing time machine goggles.

From the 1930s the 'Murdoch press' was widely criticized, especially in Labor quarters. Smith's Weekly condemned 'the would-be press and radio dictator' and the dangers of a chain of newspapers with identical policies. One enemy, Sir Frederic Eggleston, named Murdoch with R. A. G. Henderson and Frank Packer as 'vindictive populists', 'the major cause of the deterioration of Australian politics' in his lifetime. Murdoch had kept the 'loathsome Dunstan' in power in Victoria and had driven Eggleston and other 'intelligent liberals' out of State parliament.

Bushfires in the Blue Mountains

Downloaded from the New South Wales Rural Fire Service website.

Well I'm writing this and meanwhile 20 minutes up the road it's burning like the photo above. There's a bushfire burning away in the Grose Valley, near Blackheath which has burnt out around 20,000 acres. I live a lot further down the mountain ranges so there's mainly a lot of haze and smoke around.

I had a friend of mine help me at a book stall I was running at the Mind Body Spirit festival (more about that later) and he stayed for a couple of extra days so I could show him around where I lived.

The Blue Mountains is a wonderful place to take visitors.

So we headed to one of my favourite haunts, the Victory Cafe at Blackheath, situated in the old Victory Theatre. During the trip up the mountain I pointed out a couple of long gone places with only the stone walls remaining, the rest consumed by fires long past and long forgotten. Life goes on. The place that always stands out for me it the concrete fence with Iron bars with the Rotunda still standing, the concrete stucco flaked off and the barest skeleton of rocks, leaving an almost ancient pagan religous-like edifice standing.

Another place with the walls only standing, was just off the highway..... Stratford Girl's School at Lawson burnt away in 1980. Again just the walls are all that were remaining. We didn't stop to see it but I knew it was there.

So there were these little reminders as we headed altitude-ward up the highway winding across the mountain ridge, meanwhile the plume of smoke was getting larger, giving us a reminder a bit closer to the present.

The sunlight turned that eery orange red colour as the almost purple coloured smoke stripped out the blues from the sunrays passing through. There was a nervy calmness from the locals by the time we reached Blackheath. I order a coffee and Nachos, my friend ordered some pancakes a juice and some beet and fetta cheese bruschetta. Life was still going on a little warily, the food was good, the epicures satisfied and the ambience was disturbed as another water bombing helicopter passed by overhead.

We then checked out a bookshop and the owner was blissfully reading a book amongst some rare old titles. Brahms played in the background and I asked to take a look at the early Ian Fleming titles on offer. Life goes on.

Then it was off to Govett's Leap. I forgot my camera, so sorry no picture of the haze. However it was beatiful, like a fog. With choppers cutting through the smoky mist like mosquitoes with a belly full of water, the submersible pump and hose dangling below ready to suck up the next payload. They were buzzing excitedly around the fire jockeying for position.

So that was yesterday. Today I took him to the airport and headed back home with the radio going. Seems there will be a strong wind coming through later in the night which may make things a little difficult. Blackheath and a couple of other towns nearby may have some problems with fires near houses. Towns further down the mountain in the path of the wind may get some embers and sparks starting new spot fires....time will tell. One of the towns mentioned isn't far from here so I'm semi-ready to take action should the need arise. Flood the gutters, shower the roof, work out what to take if I have to, close the windows that sort of thing. It's a rare chance but it's a chance.

People wonder why people live up here. There's a small sadness present amongst the positives and the energy which somehow draws and keeps people here like magic. I've heard it described as "serpent energy" which can be best described as terrible and wonderous at the same time. I like it, it suits me.

At the moment the lady lyre bird is chirping away her senses may be in tune with the inferno 30kms away, perhaps she'll make it, perhaps she won't. Life goes on.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Morning visitor

First picture of one of the reclusive wallabies around my place. There's an unusual amont of wildlife lately. Yesterday a couple of eagles were doing their round and last week a couple of lyre birds were warbling away in one of the most wonderful displays I've ever heard.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

GOP get its butt kicked stateside.

They got SMASHED

News is rolling in on the wires as America sleeps. It seems to be a Democrat landslide.

News from the small group of folks stateside I read.

Scruggs reports a new Democratic governor for Colorado, the first since the JFK years, and suggests squirrel involvemnet and YES he has the video to prove it.

Frank has a lovely pic of a school set up for voting.

Winston..... I concur, most comments ARE made by those from offshore wondering how the hell it became possible to let these creeps set the controls for the sun.

Mary B was out voting.

Steve The young idealist in Chicago w00ts it up

Oh and comment of the day goes to this Whitehouse spokesman prick known as Tony Snow.

“It would be up to the Democrats to help find solutions to problems instead of complaining about them, he said.”

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Melbourne Cup Day

Big piece of Steak for BBQ........check.

Bottle of good red wine............check.

Once-a-year-bets placed at the T.A.B.......Check.

Money for sweepstakes............ check

Mate's place to roll up to watch TV........check

We don't do Halloween in Australia, "Don't the kids get dressed up?"........"Nope".

However Australia has the Melbourne Cup where the whole nation seems to come to a standstill to watch a horse race. Instead of kids getting dressed up in silly costumes, women seem to get dressed up in silly hats.

I've pretty well got all the pre-requisites in order.

I went to the T.A.B (Totalizator Agency Board) which acts like a big betting pool with the government skimming a percentage off the top. Once again I at first did not know how to fill out the bloody betting slip...however I worked it out and have backed Mandela .....coz it has a pretty name. I witnessed a few other once-a-year punters doing the same deal.

Most businesses pretty well stop for the race for 15 mintutes and fire up again once the race is over. Apparently power companies get a big drop and then a spike every first Tuesday of November on Melbourne Cup Day due to factories powering down and then back up all at once. It's a little bit hard to deal with....or so I hear.

Anyway I'm off to enjoy a steak and a bottle of plonk at a mates house.....should be fun.

GO Mandela!

UPDATE: I lost ten bucks, Mandela came ninth!

Cool utility

CCleaner - Freeware Windows Optimization

C-Cleaner, I think the C is short for crap. I used to use another cleaner Spider but it doesn't work on XP, looking around I found the C-Cleaner utility which seems pretty nifty.

I mainly use it to get rid of the index.dat files in history,cookies and visited URL's. The .dat file gets progressively longer recording EVERY bloody website you've visited....even if you clear the cache. Microsoft seem to be keeping Mum on what this file does and the reason for it keeping tabs on your history, cookies and browsing.

It's also good for cleaning out old and decrepid registry entries, temporary files, clipboards, memory dumps etc etc.

Last pass for three days of surfing deleted 34 meg of junk.

And about the developers of C-Cleaner....or so they say......

Our team is made from a combination of late-working, highly-skilled staff and a heavy dose of caffeine! Together we design, create and maintain the software.
We also have legions of dedicated volunteers who help test, support and translate our software into over 30 different languages!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Why I'll never make a Theatre critic.

I went to a rather good revue on a soggy, very wet Sunday night at the Riverside Theatre in Parramatta, Westen Sydney.

And that's about where the review of the revue ends. I don't know..... I have difficulty actually remembering and describing what I see when I go to theatre and film, how some of these guys do it, I don't know.

The revue was The Wharf Revue team of Jonathan Biggins, Phil Scott and Drew Forsythe in their latest "Revue sans Frontieres"...... and was bloody funny biting satire.

Ok what can I remember? Most of it was directed at Australian politics, various jibs and jybes at the "established version" of things. Ex Prime Misister Paul Keating early on informing us he was the "Patron Saint of world's best practice parody to people who don't even know they haven't got it."

A quote comparing U.S. exit strategy in Iraq to a "corspe in a casket."

A guy dressed up in a stingray costume apologising profusely for what happened to Steve Irwin.

The Australian Democrats were still around in their socks and sandals with Bermuda shorts pulled up w-a-y too high.

And in probably the highlight Jonathan Biggins playing the role of a psychotic American officer in a very complicated monologue. I wish I could explain it....but I can't. It was superb writing delievered flawlessly.

See.... bloody hopeless.

One thing I did notice was I was one of the younger crowd, I'm not sure if kids these days know what satire is or not.

I enjoyed it a lot, I'll be there for their next installment.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

The beautiful side of Global Warming

So I'm here on this November morning with the Jacarandas outside in full "Jacaranda purple" bloom. Jacaranda are a useful barometer of the previous winter, a fully blooming tree indicating a particularly dry winter. They're been blooming pretty well in the past couple of years with what some may describe as the advent of global warming.

There's a femme fatale underneath that beauty.

I get an urge to photograph the below scene every November. A search reveals I missed 2004.

November 2006

November 2005

November 2003