Tasmania ’82

After cleaning up their dust specks and scratches in Photoshop, I’ve now added a gallery of my earliest black-and-white photos to Detail. Camping trips on the coast, day walks in the bush, ferries out to islands, and our quiet country town: this was my world at age fourteen.

Read More · 24 June 2014 · Memory

Brothers Gonna Work It Out

“A massive space battle is a thing of beauty and I will require many more of them in the future”: 19-year-old watches classic blockbusters for the first time (via MeFi).

Stop banking on a carbon future. Written by the former federal leader of the party Tony Abbott now heads in government.

Reuse Everything turn discarded PET bottles into thatch roofing.

The Archimedes wind turbine slashes noise pollution and offers better efficiency with smaller blades. I want one for my next PET-thatched home.

Making sense of chemical stories.

Philosophy is a bunch of empty ideas, says philosopher.

Rubber bands make one inventor ONE MILLION DOLLARS. Several hundred of them from our son’s primary school, no doubt.

Dancing in the Street, the musicless video.

Reading: The Struggle.

Al Gore’s hope for the climate.

22 June 2014 · Weblog

The Worst Little Pub on the Coast

After years of meaning to, I’ve finally bought a scanner that can handle slides and film, and have started scanning my 35mm negatives. The earliest are from 1982, when Dad gave me his father’s old Yashica for my fourteenth birthday. Those first rolls were black and white, and developed in his darkroom. We only printed a few frames from each, if that; the rest have gone unseen, except as contact prints of the negatives, since I took them. Seeing them now is an uncanny experience; they’re older than most of the prints in my photo albums, but the images are effectively new to me, not worn down by over-familiarity. There’s my brother at age 11, looking as early-’80s as a Radiators video. There’s my mother the same age my wife is now.

Most of the photos were from camping trips and weekends away, with some of the same sorts of landscape shots I still take a lifetime later. But the clothes, the cars, and all the other aspects of the built environment turn them into time travel. Here’s one that’s particularly Tasmanian, and particularly 1982. Nowadays these signs would be a few laser-printed pages, and not nearly as good.

The Worst Little Pub on the Coast

Blow Fly Sponge $1.50, Leeches & Cream 5¢. Hold the Kangaroo Tits.

10 June 2014 · Journal

Death, You Utter, Utter, Utter Bastard

The news last night of Rik Mayall’s death hit J. and me harder than most celebrity deaths; we couldn’t stop saying “oh no!” to each other when it came over the radio. I was 15 when The Young Ones first aired in Australia, and it dominated Grade 10 culture like nothing else on TV at the time. Mayall has been comedy royalty to me ever since.

Somewhere up there, he’ll be whacking a gas man over the head with a frying pan again and again for eternity.

10 June 2014 · People

Ren and Jemp All Day

Hey kids, it’s Hector, the Lump of Coal!

“Only one in ten Americans (12%) know that 90% or more scientists have concluded human-caused global warming is happening.”

3D tattoos.

Australian government surprises returning graduate expats with the precious gift of debt.

Will British voters surprise British expats with the gift of forced repatriation?

UKIP voted no to rules against human trafficking in the last EU Parliament. Expect more of the less as UK influence wanes.

You’re probably using the wrong dictionary.

The Internet with a human face.

The oldest living things in the world. Huon Pine represent.

Child showing mother a picture on a laptop. Greek, circa 110 BC.

Honour crimes and infanticide in Ireland.

The Internet in a box, locked up with locks: You Are a Pirate! (and the original version, courtesy of Icelandic kids’ TV).

The Which English? test pegged my dialect as 1. English (England), 2. New Zealand, 3. Australian. (Ahem.)

Haruki Murakami walks to Kobe: “In a sense our lives are nothing more than a series of stages to help us get used to loneliness.”

7 June 2014 · Weblog

1998 is the end of a rich few years of Popular number ones for yours truly, and the beginning of a far less familiar time: for some years that lie ahead I know maybe a dozen of the UK number ones, for others four or five, and for a few of them only one. And that’s just whether I’ve heard them, not whether I like them. I’ll have to find some creative ways to preface every comment there with “I’ve never heard this before”. Here are some on the songs leading up to the edge of that veil of ignorance.

Read More · 4 June 2014 · Music


Edinburgh Botanic Gardens, 21 May 2014

A macro from the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens in May. Mouseover for another.

4 June 2014 · Journal

May 2014