A Box of Art

An extremely hot and quite busy couple of days here on the surface of the sun western New South Wales. I have accomplished a spot of wood chip shovelling and garden maintenance, A little video editing, the results of which are embedded below as well as some digital painting and I’ve finally gotten a long running paper-craft project near to completion.

The second episode of my going story reading project. 

Today a box arrived from my mother. A box of art, mostly my art, mostly from ’82-’84. So 35 year old pictures by me the child. The boys and I had a lot of fun going through the box admiring and laughing at the pictures, comparing hand and foot prints to the boy’s and mine now and of course we were then inspired to make some fresh art of our own, which I’ll photograph and share sometime soon. For today here are a couple of the prize pieces:

Bravo indeed.

This particular Sith lord made many appearances.


One of the many bulldozer paintings had a treat on the back.

A Brandon Cavallari sketch!

Days, Pages and Books


The deep exhaustion of an eleven week term conquered all for the past week or so. The two weeks I have to recover before the next onslaught are a very welcome prospect. We will be spending almost a week of the break in Canberra with my mother and step father doing who knows what yet.

For the first time since entering the profession of teaching I have found myself wondering if all the attendant crap of education, the meetings, the record keeping, marking and behaviour management are worthwhile. I remain committed to my class and to the profession for some years to come but if, in a few years time I announce that I am starting a business, or pursuing a project instead that year, don’t be surprised. Another factor in all of this is that a masters is likely to become necessary at some point not too far down the line and the very idea fills me with dread. I love learning but my every experience of higher education so far has been disappointing if not down right infuriating and the idea of writing a thesis or completing coursework while keeping up with the day to day requirements of the classroom is deeply unappealing.

Anyway apart from a small pile of marking and a big pile of planning. My goals for the break are to finally get a photo shoot done of L in his costume, and to try and knock out F’s costume to match. The helm of F’s is already done and the other pieces should all come together with relative ease.  I would also like to begin playing with modelling software in earnest and gets some drawing done.

Perhaps I need to add a more active diarising art activity to my routine. 

The cover and 'The Passiona of Chris' comic from Arielle Gamble's zine.

From ‘A Year in a (shit) country town

The Baroque Cycle

Yesterday I finally finished ‘The Baroque Cycle‘ by Stephenson. A seven book long odyssey that has taken me almost a year of listening. I shared the first book with N in Scotland but she was not as hooked as I so I have listened to the rest myself and it’s a good thing too, else N and I would still have months to go. I myself had plenty of interruptions and have listened to and read many other things along the way. But it has been an amazing journey through the Europe of the 17th and 18th centuries that I have enjoyed being able to jump in and out of for months.

These books managed to treat the origins of currency and the markets as lively and dramatic sequences of events. Although plenty of artistic licence has been taken it is clear that meticulous research was required and drawn upon regularly by Stephenson. The origins of science in natural philosophy and the political battles between the fiercest minds of the age are the central and recurring elements and are fascinating in and of themselves. All is weaved together into a compelling narrative with destitute princesses, vagabond scoundrels, pirates, alchemists and geniuses battling over the fundamental nature of reality and creating the world anew. It has been a wild ride.


N and I are a few episodes into ‘Legion‘, which is so far pretty compelling and disturbing viewing. There is a lot of quite Kubrikian elements of style and an aesthetic that pays homage to British sci-fi from the 60s and 70s.  I am impressed by the accuracy and discomfort with which the filmmakers are able to capture the uncertainty of mental illness, the slippery transience of dream and memory and the disturbing nightmarish intensity of childhood fear.

More as we progress.

The Fold

The Fold

This is a bad book, spoilers ahead. I grabbed it as it was in a bunch of peoples favourite SF of recent years book lists. N and I listened to it together and both were felt kind of embarrassed by how easily we guessed the nature of the problem from very early on. Both hoping that it could not really be that simple, like seriously he cannot really be expecting his entire audience to not have seen ‘The Prestige’, can he? Anyway by then it was too late we were committed and had to see it through and my oh my it just got worse, and worse, and worse.

It really was embarrassingly bad. From the grievous stupidity of the protagonist with the ever more preposterously good memory functions to the hilariously awful enemies from the ‘other side’ by the end we were groaning and offering exasperated counter commentary on every action.


Dr. Seuss’s Birthday

Not pictured, the white cotton gloves I was given at work to complete the look.

It was a hot day for it but there were some truly splendid costumes from the students for Theodor Seuss Geisel’s (Dr.Seuss’s) 113th birthday. In my class I had a couple of Green Eggs and Ham, 5 Things (3 ones, 1 two and a three), a One fish, and a Blue fish (Two fish and Red fish were in other classes), A fox in socks and a couple of cats in hats, including yours truly.


Other than the costumes and a special canteen lunch it was a pretty ordinary school day, but outlandish outfits certainly add colour and humour to even ordinary procedures.


Now to settle on what to dress up as for Simultaneous Story Time in May.


Yesterday was one of those days where everyone got up on the wrong side of the bed. Things went from bad to worse at the breakfast table where even the bananas were not of acceptable standards. Things improved by the time we finished the day with a family barbecue and sun headaches. It was a hard day compounded by relentless heat and irritability.

Today a heavenly break in the weather allowed a very productive day. Knocked out a few little jobs in the garden that have been waiting for soft ground and cool conditions to be completed. Also made a lot of progress on the Sir Vader costume, which is now almost ready for painting.


Finished Stephenson’s ‘Quicksilver‘ this morning which has taken a while to get though, having first attempted it in Scotland. Already almost finished book two of eight ‘The King of The Vagabonds’ (technically published in the one volume with the first). It isn’t often that I hear nine plus hours of an audio book in one day though.


Persian Fire

Safely in Sydney and enjoying the hospitality of dear friends.

Almost finished listening to ‘Persian Fire‘ by Tom Holland. This is the second book of his I’ve read and again I am amazed by the way he can string disparate threads of history together into a cohesive narrative. I am also amazed by how much of ‘The 300‘ is actually historically accurate. The book and film are far from without fault and there is a fair bit of artistic licence at play but the actual blow by blow account is surprisingly close to the mark. As recounted from the record by Holland and as compared by me to my own fallible memories of both book and film from years past.

As with the previous Holland book I have had a number of misconceptions corrected and learned a great deal about civilistations who’s innovations in government and diplomacy are still in effect today and I still have maybe 3 hours to go.


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




Mon 14th


Completed L’s helmet Sir Vader knight helmet, began the chestplate and gorget. Build video to come.

Printing out a to do list of projects itemised for display above my computer.

Potato quality pics grabbed from footage, just for this.




At work today I these lovely illustrated and encyclopaedicly annotated editions of classic works. They are hard to search for thanks to the generic nature of the edition ‘The Whole Story’ but so far I have found:

Treasure Island, White Fang, Huckleberry Finn, Around the world in 80 Days, Call of the Wild & Jungle book.

They are really very well put together. My father read Treasure Island to me as a child but a lot went straight over my head. With these pictures, diagrams, lithographs and paintings it would have made more sense. I’m thinking I will grab them second hand for my class bookshelf and to read to the boys when they get older.


The Whole Story: "Treasure Island" (Classics in Context): Stevenson, Robert Louis The Whole Story: "Jungle Book" (Classics in Context): Kipling, Rudyard



The aftermath continues. I read this piece on surviving autocracies and this funny collection of ObamaBiden memes.

A choice few:


These memes are saving my sanity #obamabiden #saveme

A photo posted by Whit (@konbanwhit) on

Enough it is Westworld night.



Sweat and tears


A massive day in the garden left everyone hangry and fraught with a touch of sun. Most of a long new path complete and construction of the frame and walls for a new raised garden bed from recycled materials completed. I began filming the build process for this bed but due to lack of foresight lost battery. Tomorrow I plan to finish the path early and get some creative work in, time allowing I’ll begin filling the new bed as well.

This evening we went to the park to participate in the Festival of the Miners Ghost a local event with fireworks, market stalls and music in the main community park. We brought out my big bubble kit to enthusiastic acclaim from the target demographic.



L'Image et le Pouvoir - Buste cuirassé de Marc Aurèle agé - 3.jpg

Image from Wikipedia

Yesterday I began listening to ‘Meditations‘ by Marcus Aurelius which is already pretty incredible. It is hardly an original comment, but it really is extraordinary how, apart from a few points of lifestyle like slave keeping, the day to day life and worries haven’t changed much even over two millennia.

During our time away I have listened to and read a number of books worth discussing. So I will endeavor to work my way through this list in time:

‘A wizard of Earthsea’ Ursula K LeGuin

‘The Fatal Shore’ Robert Hughes

‘Reamde’ Neil Stephenson

‘Quicksilver’ Neil Stephenson

‘Religion for Athiests’ Alain De Botton

‘To Hell and Back’ Ian Kershaw (Unfinshed)

‘Pyramids’ Terry Pratchett (Unfinished reread)

‘A Time Traveler’s Guide to Medieval England’ Ian Mortimer (Unfinished)

“Three Men in a Boat’ Jerome K Jerome and read by Hugh Lorrie (I think I may have talked about this one many months ago in one of the few posts I did while away.)

Sailing to Sarantium & God of Emporers by Guy Gavriel Kay (reread for me at least)

Tonight however, I am leaving it at that.


Travel Pics


Watched the singularly disappointing film ‘The Imitation Game‘ last night. Honestly, what an inaccurate, trite and disappointing film it is. Every major character is misrepresented to greater or lessor degrees. Seemingly every achievement is mis-credited and in many cases poorly explained. How lame the storytelling, so much is told rather than shown. So much is invented rather than telling the true and more thrilling history. Avoid.

Started a new shared audiobook with N today. ‘Three Men in a Boat‘ by Jerome K. Jerome as read by Hugh Laurie. A book so funny it proved hazardous to listen to while driving. It is difficult to see the road through tears of hilarity or hold the wheel whilst struggling to breathe.

Travel Pics

Image upload widget appears to be playing nice again so here are some of our recent explorations.


Sunset over Loch Lomond driving North. Passenger photographer.


“Where are all the knights?”

I was disappointed there was no way to get onto the battlements. Well I found a way, having seen a head poking out above I investigated and was politely told I didn’t belong by the adolescent staff member Fbooking on the roof during his lunch break. No pics unfortunately.



Doune Castle is famously the castle whose interior was used for much of ‘Monty Python & The Holy Grail‘ and more recently for the Game of Thrones Pilot and more recently still for much of ‘Outlander‘.

Extraordinary place, rich with history. It really puts into perspective what a cramped and dismal place a castle would have been to live in, particularly during winter.



The Three Sisters in Glen Coe are quite breathtaking.


View across Loch Creran from a property we visited recently.





In Review


One child gets well and the other comes down with it. Nursing a feverish L as I write this post.


Made the daily visits to the neighbour’s beautiful horse ‘Ossian’ with F and Boris. Caught a Toad.

A spot of computer troubleshooting and a wee bit of art during the day. I have bit the bullet and allowed iTunes back on my machine as there is simply no other way to convince the computer that there is an iPhone connected without it. I really wanted to get my photos off my phone.

I’ve installed the Opera browser on most devices as Chrome is functioning very poorly on such low bandwidth. It cannot load Calendar at all and even IE/Edge is performing better. Opera Turbo is lovely.

I am yet hopeful of getting some painting in once the bairns are full asleep.

NB. Not going to happen 11:30PM and publishing.

In Review

On the flight over I read the ‘Hyperbole & A Half’ book. Many parts of which I have of course read before. I was surprised and delighted by many of the previously unseen entries and as usual was reduced to hysterical tears by posts both old and new.

Allie Brosh is a treasure. It has been a long time between posts but I live in hope.

fight club 2

I also ploughed through the complete set of ‘Fight Club 2’ the comic form sequel to the far superior original book by Palahniuk.

Honestly it was just disappointing. Old characters felt forced in and rather than taking the story to new and interesting places it all felt rather like a bad joke at the expense of the originals fans.


Novel the blind assassin cover.jpg

Yesterday N and I finished ‘The Blind Assassin’ by Atwood which has been our together car book for almost two months now. It has a sedate pacing that took some time to hook us. I honestly did not expect to fall in love with Iris the narrator but both N and I were a bit teary at the end. The language throughout is just wonderful, subtle and severe, wicked and sharp. The character Reenie with her homespun idioms is particularly enigmatic. The version we listened to was voiced by Margot Dionne to great effect.


Burnt Poster Updated.jpg 

I only watched two films on the flights over, flying with children is challenging that way. ‘Burnt’ and ‘A Perfect Day’.

‘A Perfect Day’ is lovely but depressing and ‘Burnt’ was fun but predictable and more than a little melodramatic.