Recolour Tool

I found a new tool in Illustrator today.

Now I don’t know if it has been there all along, or if it is a brand new feature. It could certainly have saved time in the past and it is always funny finding a new feature in a tool you use near daily. I am reminded again how little of the total available functionality I actually use regularly, but also by how cumbersome and broken some of the seemingly basic features are.

Anyway this tool is rocking my world right now; The Adobe Illustrator recolour tool:

Found in the top bar when a coloured object is selected.

When clicked this little beauty will bring up the following window in which a complete list of every colour used in the object is displayed and is directly editable within.

In addition to that I have finally got my head around live symmetry in Illustrator. Which I have wanted for ages it is irresistibly entertaining. A bunch of face doodles and some luridly coloured mandalas later, I am ready to focus on some real work.



There has also been a gate hung which makes… Fence complete!

Scones made and naps had, last day in Cobar for a few weeks tomorrow.

A good day.

Habit Forming

Today I finally got to mess around with the local public school’s 3D printer. I am really looking forward to putting it through its paces. I’ve received the keys for my classroom and begun scheming the decorations. I’m also getting my head around the finer points of the NSW Syllabus and my practical planning requirements.

I am have adopted a new app Loop. I have no particular attachment to this one app, just the function it performs and I will likely experiment with a few to find my ideal over coming weeks. The app I was recommended isn’t available in my ecosystem, but the principle is worth a shot. I do respond well to gamification as a general rule.

So for now my daily habit prompts are:

Drink 5+ glasses of water – my glasses are large ‘Loop’ doesn’t allow for repeated reminders throughout the day without making extra habits anyway.

Get 7+ hours of sleep – reminder at 11PM.

Eat Clean – We are aiming for less than 3 meat meals a week and I eat way too much sugar, hummingbird style.

Meditate – 6:10 AM daily.

Gratitude and visualise – Count my blessings and picture goals.

Make or Play – With all the things.

Blog – Everyday.

Move your body – Everyday some way.

Now I am not off to an altogether flying start, but it is working.

Today the boys woke early and the orphan lambs we are minding for a day or two were desperately hungry so no meditation for me. We ate free range chicken meat for tea and I’ve had plenty of sugar. I didn’t drink water from after breakfast until I got home, though I’ve since made up the difference. I haven’t run, danced or worked out. I have counted my blessings and visualised my future class room. Making is listed as separate to blogging because although some posts do tend towards works in and of themselves the purpose of this blog is accountability about art and creative endeavours and on that note I’ve art to make.


Finally can put a name to the debating technique that stopped me watching Q&A pretty religiously a few years ago. when an IPA rep spouts ten spurious statements in as many sentences entirely confident that their opponents cannot hope to rebut even a fraction of them it is a Gish Gallop. A debating technique taking full advantage of Brandolinis Law; The amount of energy required to refute bullshit is an order of magnitude greater than that required to produce it. 

Sometimes it is nice just to be able to put a name to things.



A Couple of Days

Having lost my voice teaching four days in a row I crashed hard Thursday night. Friday night N and I attended a staff Christmas party both still quite unwell. I found out that I will likely have a 4, 5, 6 composite for 2017. Which is exciting and daunting. Saturday was spent in recovery, not so much from the party at which we took it very easy but just from the general malaise of the foul lurgie that neither N or I have completely kicked yet.


I have put a few hours into a now very nearly complete T-shirt design. Which is not one of my main projects, has mostly just been a warm up activity but has been hovering about, nearly complete for weeks. I have been feeling very frustrated about how many unfinished projects I have on the go.

Finished building the new fence which will allow us to get our hens back when we return from our trip away for Christmas. Need to lay out an irrigation system over coming days so that watering is as easy as setting the timer every couple of days for my brother in law.

Collected the family sewing machine and now ready for the next stage of foam costume making. The next build video is edited but awaiting a a clip or two more to be shot for completion of those particular elements.

Art, Media & News

Still listening to ‘30 Days of Genius‘. Each talk has at multiple times had me conducting self analysis on goals, priorities and risks and relationships. Definitely a positive experience so far. In keeping with this I have been continuing the Headspace meditation program though I haven’t achieved daily commitment to that yet.

N and I just completed ‘The Left Hand of Darkness‘ by LeGuin and ‘The Annihilation Score‘ by Stross in audio. We are now alternating between ‘Religion for Atheists‘ and ‘The Long Earth‘ both rereads for me.

This long form investigative piece from Buzzfeed just further demonstrates how far they have come as a media organisation. As well as showing how morally depraved the American healthcare system is.

Finally got N to agree to watch some more of the new Black Mirror‘s. Now only have one episode left.

I’m still not ready to talk about all that bugged me about Westworld.

One of my most long anticipated games looks to be fundamentally broken.

I am in love with these boxes but I honestly have no idea what I would do with one.


Drawstring timber box by Paolo Del Toro




30 Days

I am unwell and I need to paint so I’m keeping this brief.

Extra sleep paid off. I was able to meditate, chat with a relative, make lunch and listen to the other half of yesterdays 30 days talk.

For the last two weeks N has had her headphones in and been nodding along to the ‘30 Days of Genius‘ course from Creative Live. It has started a number of interesting conversations. I finally bit the bullet and signed up two days ago.

Today’s talk is by Seth Godin and it is going to need revisited, lots of very interesting ideas. The talks are interesting enough that I encourage you to sign up solely on the basis of the two I’ve listened to so far alone.

To share

Data from the OECD study of technical skills show the distribution among skill levels across countries as well as the average for all OECD countries.

I read this earlier and well, it explains a lot.




Morning Routines

A common feature of almost every productivity text I’ve ever read is the creation of a good morning routine.

Mine is a bit ah, haphazard.

On a good day I rise, shave, shower, make coffee and food and have time alone for about twenty minutes to read, meditate or workout prior to our Gro Clock announcing to the boys that it is time for them to rise at 7AM. On a bad day the boys wake up and bang on the shower door. There is no peace, no serenity, only Zorg. Or at least two little boys ravenous for banana toast and attention.

Today was good day.

For a blessing I had 45 minutes of sweet peace.

But… I accomplished nothing with it. Partially because I went to bed at midnight and particularly whilst unwell 6 hours is simply not enough, but also because the inexorable time suck of the internet drew me in. Nearly an hours unproductive browsing later and I still wasn’t feeling awake, I hadn’t worked out and hadn’t prepared lunch.

Sleep is the first key factor to address. As of now I have an alarm set for ten to eleven. To be in bed by. Meditation, language tapes and workouts are all very difficult to engage in when it is a battle to be awake. Here’s hoping this can help.

Making lunches vies for pole position as my least favourite part of work. Typically with work guaranteed the following day we make a dinner with leftovers suitable and container them up the night before, failing that I’ll make sandwiches prior too. With the day to day uncertainty of relief that hasn’t always been possible and there have been a lot of long uninspiring looks in the cupboards at 7AM.


My season breakdown and debrief of Westworld to follow in a day or three.


Forms to fill in and art to make.

Super Lame

Accomplished a lot of tiresome little admin jobs today. Shuffled my Super around, and stopped multiple accounts from charging for insurance. I have managed to reduce my super portfolio to four companies now. The eventual aim is to get it all into Australian Ethical, but it seems like every employer I have dealt with in the last few years has had a prearranged relationship with their own industry or other Super fund.

Yes it is dodgy, no it is not illegal, I’ve checked. So I have one fund for each school system I have been working in as well as the AusEthical account I periodically roll everything into.

What should be illegal is each fund automatically adding life insurance and deducting insurance premiums. The fund the local Catholic school is affiliated with, which as I only do occasional casual work with the school has only a small deposit, prompted the whole process today as I recently discovered that they had halved my deposit in fees alone during over the course of the year. They will also likely charge some bullshit exit fee when I close the account and roll the deposit over to ethical after my last pay from that school.

Also sorted health insurance again which has been pending since we got back.

Fencing, like the construction of a fence, a swim and good bit of Lego construction consumed the rest of the day.


While there is some good news from Standing Rock.

Unbelievably despite very vocal and clear opposition prior to the past state election and election commitments to the contrary. both the Queensland and Federal Governments appear to be rolling over and digging deep into the public purse to build the Carmichael mine.

Super lame behaviour.






Today I calculated a rough estimate of my lifetime carbon footprint.

I based my figure on the results generated by a variety of online carbon footprint calculators all of which are a bit cumbersome and I had to make a lot of assumptions. Generally I have erred on the side of more rather than less carbon. I have accounted for every piece of airplane travel I have ever undertaken as either SYD to LON flights or BNE to MEL flights. I have averaged half the electricity usage in my house over two billing periods and multiplied that by my thirty eight years. I have claimed responsibility for the entirety of the pollution produced by my family car, a 2011 Hyundai diesel wagon over a 15000km distance year again multiplied by my entire life. In similar fashion I have accounted for food, public transport, entertainment, electronics, furniture and waste disposal, generous estimates all and with no shortcutting for good behaviour like the limited meat consumption we are striving for or the lifelong composting of food waste.

I have to this point in my life been responsible for something on the order of five hundred and seventy seven tons of carbon emissions.

Using the 25 story ‘Gotham City Building‘ from the Brisbane skyline for scale. 577 tons as 8.2m cubes stacked in an array would approximate something like this:


It seems to me that a significant problem among climate denialism is a lack of imagination. I don’t suffer that problem, quite the opposite in fact.

My average output appears to fall somewhere between nine and sixteen tons per annum. The significant amounts of plane travel this year have pushed me upwards of twenty tons.

Damn right I live in the first world.

If I continue to err on the generous and I give myself a generous lifespan of say ninety six years my lifetime output will be one thousand four hundred and forty seven tons.

But I have decided that I want a Carbon Positive life.

I want to make sure I take more carbon out of the atmosphere in my life than I put into it. Leave it better than I found it as it were. To that end I am going to actively reduce my own emissions but I am also researching meaningful carbon offsetting techniques with which to meet this goal.

One of the concrete things I took away from ‘This Changes Everything‘ (Which you really ought to read) is that most carbon offsetting is total bullshit. Lots of dodgy operators and Howard era economics like ‘not cutting down this forest is a carbon offset’. Even so if I were to take the easy option and use, for instance one of the tree planting services listed here, as they are at least actively removing carbon from the atmosphere, I would be looking at a cost between eighteen and twenty five thousand dollars. Which needless to say I don’t have to spend. The how to accomplish this goal will is a work in progress.

Lots of ideas floating around, more are welcome.

Doubtless lots of work to do.








So hot here today.

Spent the day sweating in the shade. I did make good progress on the foam armour project and a got a tiny bit of fencing work completed when the mercury finally dropped after seven.

Almost all core foam pieces are now cut and only detailing and strapping remains prior to painting. Parts of the sword shield and scabard are waiting for a trip to clark rubber. Still waiting on the return of the family sewing machine to begin the cloak and tabard. Next progress video is in for editing.

Giving myself the evening off.


Transcendental Pessimism

We spent the evening discussing the implications of this alarming but not easily dismissable prediction.


Urlembed didn’t actually work btw.

There is a follow up to the video in that article here.

No 3D printing today, the staff member I was to do handover with was off unwell.

Caught up on correspondence with a number of people. Going to bed early and looking forward to a productive weekend. We have a fence to build, costumes to work on and we have been scheming an obstacle course for the boys. Starting simpler than this spectacular example though.








Candlebark is an extraordinary school.

But I knew that. I read the principal John Marsden’s books as a teenager and young adult and have I have been reading articles and following their development as a school since before I became a teacher. Candlebark and Brightworks are two of the most interesting experiments in education I know of and only Candlebark is accessible to us.


Hanging Rock is quite close to the school

One of my overarching impressions is of trust. This school trusts its students. They do not expect them to always do the right thing, or recognise all risks or behave with ‘adult’ maturity.

But they do trust them.

They trust them to move around the school independently, they trust them to feed themselves at the communal meals, they trust them to clean up after themselves.

I can’t stress enough that trusting students is a really radical idea in modern Australian education. I spend an inordinate amount of time, particularly as a relief teacher, setting expectations for and making students, often by repetition, walk in quiet neat lines for movement about the school. It is completely pointless, an activity that they will never repeat outside of the military in adulthood. It serves no useful purpose whatsoever. Children after all really only have two speeds; run or sleep, this school indulges that. Teachers say; meet me at such and such a place in five minutes and they leave the how up to the children, many of whom have bikes and scooters on campus for just such purpose.

They trust students to finish tasks and they expect them to do so. They do not set weekly busywork homework but they do expect incomplete work to be done in a student’s own time and returned. Students do take on tasks and projects that will only reach completion in the students own time.

They trust students to play safely within a large area of wilderness and to take first aid kits and walkie talkies if they are going out of what I gather are mostly visual limits. Pre-prep spend half days in the bush with sandwiches playing and learning how to move safely in that environment.

I asked a lot of questions but not enough and for my inattentiveness, N didn’t get to ask enough of her own at all. They had good answers for most. I didn’t ask enough questions about how a typical school day ran for students. How it is they incorporate National and Victorian curriculums into their format. I saw within different classrooms evidence of work on homophones, multi modal science units, the only pleasant sounding recorder lesson I have ever heard and a great variety of visual art. I saw students using blades and hot glue, riding bikes, playing chess and reading.

I saw not one single piece of Crafp.


The Crafp Cycle (Illustration due an update to comply with my ‘No stick figures’ class rules)

They have a Stephanie Alexander model school garden and they are actively using it. They have chooks and a pig, horses and a school dog. Students are able to spend time with the animals and be involved in their care. Food is prepared by cooks and the whole school eats together informally but off china with utensils. Food as with all excursions, camps and materials are included in the moderate but far from extreme fees. Only the instrumental music program costs extra.

They actively teach and have lessons devoted to chess, performance, public speaking, self reliance, bush craft, animal husbandry and problem solving. They do week long single topic focus study. They have an exciting curiosity driven pedagogy.

They only have one computer lab and students are only allowed in it accompanied by an adult. The justification here being that they believe “Students spend enough time device focused at home”. The limits of trust found here with screen time are interesting. Although each room has a projector and teachers use them widely, students are not permitted devices at school except on buses, where music is allowed. I am sure some people will think this is all very well and it is clearly working for the school. I think that there is perhaps a kernel of neo-ludditism to the protocol. But the children and screen time debate is a rant for another evening altogether.

It appeared visibly less multicultural than even the local public school here in Cobar. Unfortunately I think that this is a common feature of alternative education in Australia. I am not going to speculate on the why, only say that it is disappointing. The cultural melting pot of an inner city school doesn’t work everywhere but it does have real value in breaking down cultural barriers and stereotypes.

Candlebark is much better suited than most schools to prepare children for the challenges of the coming decades.

In particular this school better than any other I have so far been to is set up to give students the skills to survive mass automation and runaway climate change. Unfortunately it is also poorly geographically situated. Bush fires are an ever present risk and climate change will only exacerbate this.

The school takes fire safety very seriously. They have a fire bunker building (The library) capable of sheltering for the whole school, but they plan on never needing it. The school has its own buses and will evacuate well in advance of a fire front if it ever came to that. Also as red alert days are usually announced at least a day in advance they simply close the school on such days. At the moment they typically lose three to six days of school this way each year. That number is destined to rise. The Macedon ranges are pretty but very, very vulnerable to fire and the school and the new high school they have purchased are both in fairly thickly forested areas.

I would love to work there, it is clear that teaching is valued and rewarding and fun in that school. I would be happy to send my children there and we will be lodging an application pack even though we are not yet sure that we actually want to live close enough to do so. It isn’t perfect but it is a bloody good school and we can’t rule it out.


We had planned to drive direct from our Candlebark interview home to Cobar, but as we didn’t get on the road until three thirty the eight and a half hour drive had to be broken up for safety. We spent the night in a dive motel in Griffith after nine. Ate Mc dissapointment for breakfast and were home for lunch yesterday. All with a touch of sun and a feeling of serotonin debt that hasn’t quite passed yet. F has gotten sick and I’m fighting a sore throat. I got to see the local dance troupes annual performance on relief with year ones today. Which was… lets say an experience. Learning to use the public school’s 3D printer tomorrow.