No Marking

Bedtime battles, work and tutoring taking their toll today.

I Finished ‘The consolations of Philosophy’ this afternoon.  What a fantastic book, I wish I’d read it fifteen years ago. Though in truth I may not have stuck with it then. Not being then, as I am now thoroughly addicted to audiobooks and thereby able to read while doing things with my hands.

I am going to have to summon some enthusiasm and paint tonight. Painting is whole lot better than my usual alternative though. One thing I am very grateful about at the moment is that as supply I don’t have any take home marking piling up in every file and folder. The bane of my profession existence and I have absolutely none at all.

The innundation of markable assessment a class generates and requires positive feedback on has been constant source of hellish amazement to me. I don’t look forward to the resumption of the flood.



Paths a Paving

Covered a significant portion of the yard in bricks today.

Once begun there was no stopping until paths were connected, lest there will be furious infant traffic jams. I ran a path parallel to the first. Circled a garden bed tank and curved to join the other path. A couple of other tangents dug and prepped but not completed today.

Fortunately I kicked the cold, N was not so lucky.


Found all sorts of interesting creatures among the now diminishing brick piles.

More of the uncooperative 5 legged #beetle. #coleoptera #macro #insect

A photo posted by @liatach on

More #gecko. Forgot to mention approx 75mm. #lizard #macro #reptile #reptiles

A photo posted by @liatach on

Watched this while looking for good animal videos to entertain F momentarily. The Blue whale is always a very impressive creature, the animated rendition of the previous extinction events is excellent and worth watching too.



Work preparations to complete and then time for some painting.

Very excited to receive a ‘secret series’ of downloadable tutorials today just for being an existing customer of

Crappy Wrappy Snacky

Fighting a cold today and I’m blaming snack packaging.

After a few years teaching I have become a fastidious hand washer but there are situations in which it is impossible to keep hands decontaminated. One of the worst is lunch duty, particularly so for the junior school. The problem is that the majority of lunchbox snack packaging is difficult for children to open. If my hands are wet or in any way greasy they can be difficult even for me. The quality and nutritional value of such snacks is not at issue here. I for one know full well the daunting horror of a pantry without good lunch materials and therefore maintain a constant stock of a variety of fillers including the now illicit tree nut varieties as well as backup corn kernels and ancient crispbreads.

The real issue is packaging. It is simply bad design to wrap a single serving of chocolate biscuits in a wrapper which requires pliers and a blowtorch to open and then market the product to the parents of school children. I contemplated all this as a line of infectious little darlings approached me for aide in freeing their rations of sugar and salt from their plastic confinement, each having quite clearly tried everything up to and including their teeth prior to approaching me.

Let’s not even get started on the fact that this whole town much less the school has no recycling whatsoever, let alone for the soft plastics that make up the bulk of wrappers. Let’s not even discuss the ability of children to pick up easily wind blown rubbish after themselves without prompting. But do let’s dwell for a moment on poor design, poppers (small tetra pack juice boxes) straws in a design unchanged in thirty years still come either blunt or deadly sharp wrapped in a useless cellophane sleeve ubiquitous to playgrounds right across the country. Tetra packs themselves are an abomination, layers of plastic, paper and foil irreversibly bonded for eternity. Yogurt and fruit squeezy packs many of which still come with the small rasp like and easily swallowed cap, which thanks to the ratchet seal is impossible for little fingers to open. Crisp and biscuit pillow packs with heat sealed seams of greater than an inch. Single serve biscuits and dips with impossible to separate foil and blister packs, let’s not dwell on the grossly inadequate proportions of sickly ‘cheese’ to biscuit. Fruit leathers that come in a pillow pack and in hot weather chemically bonded to a nearly indistinguishable cellophane sheet. Biscuits and lollies that come in not only a pillow pack but also a completely unnecessary plastic tray. Boxed snacks with pillow packs inside. Wrappings which require fingernails, wrappings which require great strength and dexterity, wrappings which to be perfectly honest should not even exist. All will be brought before me and I will indeed open all for how can I turn children away to starve.

I blame the packaging industry for many things, but most of all today for feeling like crap. I’ll beat this cold and be ready for exposure to new and interesting infections on Monday.


Not a lick of creative work accomplished aside from some daydreaming about projects I would like to start but cannot until the present horde of projects are dealt with. Taking the evening off and retiring early.


Finished Mr. Robot last night. full review forthcoming, highly recommended with minor caveats. ‘Consolations of Philosophy‘ continues to impress. Discovered Michel de Montaigne through De Botton today, feeling particularly taken with his views on education. This view happens to align quite well with the latest in major toy company funded research incidentally.

A couple of metres of paving and a whole lot of digging in the soft damp soil of the orchard. New paths are coming and the brick piles are finally dwindling. Scheming even more tank garden beds and a couple of additions to the orchard to utilise the bare earth remaining.



Windy Day


Kindergarten today. Nothing makes children go completely bananas like windy weather and we had wind and rain in abundance today.


Continuing from yesterday’s topic. The ludicrous behavior in the senate reached new heights overnight with federal Labor staging a 30+ hour filibuster in attempt to block senate voting reform which has in the end passed anyway. I am a fan of this particular change and I approve it on the basis of expert advice. Preference deals are just one of the shady elements in our Federal politic and removing them for good benefit our democracy even if the consequence in the short term is a LNP majority in both houses. I can’t believe I just wrote that. Nothing good will ever come of the LNP getting a double majority ever again. The very idea is terrifying. The forthcoming election, likely to occur while we are in Scotland, if the PM uses his DD triggers, will be hard fought but presently still looks likely to be won by the buffoons in power at the moment despite their glaring ineptitude and malignance. For now I’m praying that the ALP have hired some competent PR this time around. Their behaviour this week doesn’t lend credence to the idea unfortunately.


Only managed a sketch an half last night and I’ll be lucky to get that half done tonight. It has been a long and exhausting week.


Bad politics

Finding myself infuriated by the actions of the Federal ALP today. Following their pattern over the last couple of months, ever since it was revealed a number of wet Labor strongholds are now under direct threat from the Greens the ALP have been on the attack and spreading deliberate and disingenuous misinformation about the Greens. Culminating this week in an attempt to derail senate voting reform by suggesting the senate talk, not vote, about gay marriage. Then accusing the Greens of voting against marriage equality all over social media when they sided with government to continue working on the sorely needed senate voting reform. Only today to chicken out of actually voting for marriage equality when given the opportunity.

Such pathetic pollies this batch.

In the US Sanders took a beating on Tuesday and it is now hard to remain hopeful. There remains a chance and given I think it is either him or Trump as the next president I’m going to cling to that hope. I genuinely believe Hillary has no chance against Trump. He will wipe the floor with her like Reagan did to carter in 1980.

Apart from the fact that she may be about to be indicted, apart from the fact that her campaign has again been characterised by blatant lying, amnesia and manipulation. Apart from the fact that she characterised the Iraq war as a business opportunity. She hasn’t got what both Sanders and Trump have, outsider status and unfortunate and scary as it is some Sanders supporters are apparently considering Trump preferable to Clinton if Sanders is eliminated.


Only just now sitting down to create some more sketch print drafts of evolution cards. With a helping of Mr.Robot on the other monitor.



NSW Registration



I am now permitted to work in NSW public schools. I still have to undergo a suitability interview but interim approval has been granted for a period of six months.

It has been a long wait. I have a lot of work lined up at the local Catholic school over the next three weeks but I am hoping to begin picking up more in the public primary and high schools as time goes on.

An altogether exhausting day. Started at five thirty this morning meeting a butcher delivery truck on his pass through town to collect some lamb the in laws had butchered. A long day in class with double wet lunches and an intense tutoring session have left me wrecked. Lunch is packed ironing done for the morning, I am not long for bed with no meaningful creative output completed today.


More of that lovely #moth from last night. #lepidoptera #macro #insect

A photo posted by @liatach on

Tuesday 15th


Started watching ‘Dirty Wars‘ while painting during nap time today. Infuriating stuff.

Finally got around to starting ‘Mr.Robot‘ last night. Widely recommended to us months ago. Two episodes in and loving on Christian Slater channeling Tyler Durden. Made easier no doubt, by the fact that there was a time when I thought he was one of the coolest men on earth. Looking forward to slamming another few episodes this evening.

I’ve been listening to ‘The Consolations of Philosophy‘ for a couple of hours now. Loving it and find excuses to snatch minutes here and there.


A pair of sketch drafts completed during nap time, though one was a redo of previously completed sketch. At fourteen of fourty-four as of now. Sharing the two cards I made a couple of weeks ago as I can now be sure they are safely with their recipients. Both are single layer papercut and ink on card.




More insects…

Small #moth on my keyboard. Approx 10mm. #macro #insect #lepidoptera

A photo posted by @liatach on


And an Amazing gallery of work by Sergey Kolesov. Includes a number of pieces of his I have not seen before.

Cool Day

The first overcast and genuinely cool day so far this year.

Still went swimming for L’s lesson, had F with me too so no laps, but lots of fun. Accomplished a bit of wiring and preparation for welding in the yard. An interesting two hours tutoring.

A local authority called hoping to hire me, then gave the State education office’s application department a bollocking on my behalf. Hopefully my NSW registration will be forthcoming soon.

Working on sketches and I may even be ready to have another pass at the castle card while binging TV with N on the other monitor this evening.

Lovely find this morning. I think being Arts teacher for a whole school would be heaven.

Also this fun thing:



#coloring continued. #colouring #shauntan

A photo posted by @liatach on



On the basis of a challenge by my extraordinary cook book, I bought and butchered a whole hen on Friday.

The free range chooks were on special for $10 each at our local rather expensive supermarket. Butchering is interesting from a biological perspective but also to see the assembly of the parts we so often buy separately. I was so surprised by how much meat we got for that price that today I bought and butchered an additional two. All my adult life I have been paying $10+ for a pair of chicken breasts or a punnet of six thighs. Getting two of everything plus an amazing homemade stock for the same price is a bit of a revelation. Of course we have bought roasting hens pretty often but actually cutting into sections by hand I had never even considered before.  If like me you are not squeamish it is well worth a try.  Just be very conscious of hygiene and keep your blades sharp.

Tonight we used the thighs from today’s hens and the stock from Friday’s to make a yummy dinner porridge.


We got to meet our newest nephew by N’s little brother. Fresh home from Dubbo hospital yesterday. He’s a cute squishy thing.

A trip to the tip this morning yielded maybe $300 worth of timber and if I can borrow a ute in the next day or two I am going back for some very nice sheets of marine ply. They are too large for my car. Material for three projects secured.


Another two sketch evolution cards completed. I plan to do a gallery post once all the sketches are completed. Only another 33 to go. A bit of clerical work to complete tonight, possibly another sketch card as well.



Sex Ed

This was in the feed this morning and I watched it with coffee. I think he makes some really good points…

but he doesn’t go so far as to offer up idioms that can replace the demonstrably outdated baseball language.


Relevant XKCD

Alt Text: I once got to second base with a basketball player. She was so confused.


I think the way we do sex education in Australia needs a fundamental overhaul

For starters it is done too late. It is not uncommon for students to not have covered this area at school prior to high school biology. Which is long after most children will have begun forming completely erroneous connections about sex, particularly so in the age of internet porn. Ideally a number of fundamentals should have been covered well and truly prior to the embarrassment of puberty setting in. Girls should not be being shocked and frightened by their first periods. Boys need some lessons in hygiene and safety. Safety, both personal and public is the fundamental basis of this idea.

All children need to be explicitly taught what consent means, how it can be offered, when it can be taken away and what the responsibilities of each party is at every step of the way.

All children need to be made aware that ‘normal’ encompasses a huge and divergent variety of body types, relationships, attractions and desires.

All children need to be taught something of the nature of what is taboo in our culture and why. They should not be learning that bestiality is wrong from South Park first. See also ‘Consent’, again.

I am very grateful that I underwent puberty prior to ubiquitous smartphone ownership. The trauma and embarrassment was quite sufficient without preserving it forever in digital archives. Sex ed for me was high school biology and a little health. It was dull, embarrassing and pretty forgettable. I have seen only a few examples of any human biology and reproduction taught in my time as a teacher and I have explicitly delivered no such content. It has not been in my curriculum, I have argued for its inclusion a number of times, particularly when working with older grades but I have not won those arguments. I have read parts of the forthcoming ACARA health curriculum and I am pleased to see sex ed included from middle primary onwards. But I do seriously question how many schools will implement that particular curriculum, let alone allocate class time and teach it in the memorable and interesting way it deserves.

I think that many teachers are afraid that the public is more puritanical than they actually are, or that there are a few particularly vocal and zealous parents who will make trouble for them and the faculty if this content is introduced in primary schools.

Arming our children with the knowledge to experiment safety when they are old enough is to my mind far better than sending our children into puberty unarmored. If done well in time organisations like Safe Schools wouldn’t even be necessary and we might even put a dint in the frighteningly high rate of teen suicide in this country.

An example of Sex Ed done right. This is delivered for 8 year olds.





Swimming, painting, eating Ice Cream talking to friends on the phone. A good day with yet more painting to do.