Birds & Bees but not the fun kind

So yesterdays post got a whole lot of views, I’m really not sure where from.
Today I have a few things to share. First some sad news:

Yesterday we took a school excursion to see some genuinely peculiar pantomime. 12th Night Theatre hosted a performance of three one act adaptations of Roald Dahl stories. In order they were ‘The Twits’ which our classes studied earlier in the year, ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ & Georges Marvellous Medicine. It was an altogether singular experience. The students were very engaged, so that was a plus. The acting was camp and way overdone. The scripts were cheap abbreviations and the whole show finished with a surprise christian song, I tried and failed to find the song to include. Fortunately they skirted around the word ‘God’ except a final ‘god bless’.  The secular nature of Australian education has been repeatedly subverted by Christian groups in my time as a teacher, this is a pretty mild example and even had I known they were going to include it I would have been all for the excursion. I just find it kind of funny. At the bus stop to leave there was a wild honey bee hive, fortunately not aggressive as we were in very close proximity with 130 children before it was detected and stuck on a narrow footpath next to a very busy road next to it until the buses came.      

Report cards continue.


Impressed L with this video. He does tightrope at circus on Saturday mornings. N comments she has never seen snow filmed in this iconic landscape before.

ACROSS THE SKY – a world record slackline in the utah desert from Camp 4 Collective on Vimeo.

Sharing another old piece today.


Dated 07 1 layer self immolation monk stencil. Cut from floor vinyl. Stencil and print lost to May 2015 flood.


Damp tiaras

Before the big plans for next year crystallised Nadine was considering getting me a jewelry/silver smithing workshop as a present so that I could realise some of the designs I’ve had floating around for years. Also I would have perhaps been able to make the rings we ended up buying from a Canadian Etsy seller.  That plan has had to be shelved until a later date.

This pair of Tiara designs were among the many creations and possessions destroyed by the flood in our street in may this year. As there was no practical way to save everything I discarded a significant portion of old art saving only the most important pieces and photographing the rest. These designs had marked overlaps for a woven knot-work effect. I believe them to be about 7 years old.



I’ve done a page of calligraphy practice with nothing worthy to show for it.


Giggled at this:

Watched this:

and this, not for the first time:

While watching this I had the thought, “What if Daesh targeted Paris because they want the inescapable publicity that will come with the Paris Climate conference?”

I guess even if it wasn’t deliberate their actions will colour the news coverage of the event. Daesh is not the global threat they would like to believe themselves, global warming is.


Rhino plastic

My firstborn graduated high school yesterday. Pretty bloody impressed with him really.

It was a rather nice event as things go.


He’s the younger one.

I got home quite late sat down at the comp and went,

“The only post I can write right now is one that says: No post tonight!

Back on track today, in keeping with reporting week I’m sharing a piece I finished over a year ago but have not previously shared images of.

A Northern White Rhino. I started this one sometime around the time the species was declared extinct in the wild back in 2011. I’ve dated it as 2013 on the back but I’m pretty sure it sat unfired for about a year after that.






Super Sculpey and Super Sculpey firm (bake-able polymer clay) over wire and foil on an MDF mount. It is clear that the WordPress post editor is not up tot he job of resizing and cropping of images so in future I’ll revert to Ps. I finally stocked up on Sculpey again a few months ago but the urge hasn’t struck at a convenient time since.

Still stewing on a topical political post, yet another very long day.

Watched this delightfully profane clip. 


Shelving a simmering rant

I’m stewing on a proper post about western responses to terrorism but I don’t have it in me tonight.

Something to do with violence begetting violence, the unreasonableness of people without imagination and literalism taken to absurd extremes.
Coupled with my own unreasonable anger at people using #pray tags, but I really don’t want to indulge hostile atheism. Here are a few links I’ve followed today

Russell brand & Waleed Aly (warning link) both have good points to make.
First Dog hits pretty close to home with the ‘hipsterisation of grief‘ dig.
I finished this piece in the September holidays last year. It solves a number of small around the desk storage issues and lifts things out of reach of infants. Looks cool too. It is holding up well for a foam core prototype held together with pins and glue. Every space in it is now in use. I would like to have it cut from perspex, timber or metal. As there are a number of angled cuts it will need to be CNC milled rather than laser cut. Unless there are laser cutters with a rotating head I have not heard of anyway. This was a fun piece to build, I’d like to make more pieces in a similar style.






Over All Reporting

Today I completed what is for me the most drawn out process in creating report cards, the writing of personalised overall comments.

Most report card comments these days are entered by using codes where 42HEA\ Gives you:

[Name] completed health assessments to a very high standard this semester. [She,He] refrained from picking [her,his] nose with commendable fortitude.

Where fields in [square parenthesis] are automatically populated with the relevant gender and name. Overall comments on the other hand require a fine balance between friendly fluff and brutal honesty. Very little of that brutal honesty will make it through to the final printed report card after rigorous self and peer editing, but if there is not an element of it present then the whole document will be cheapened. My mentor described the best comments as being ‘Designed for the student themselves to read in 30 years time.’. My comments have in truth gotten tamer and tamer having over the last few years repeatedly butted heads over what it is and is not acceptable to put in the one little box where I am given authority to share opinions about my students development as learners.  Anyway today was typical of reporting in that it took me about 8 hours to write 27 such comments and I will need to revisit each before I hand them on up the line.

Since I have not an ounce of energy to spare creatively this evening I will share one of my completed projects which I shared on r/papercraft about a year ago. I maybe linked it on Fbook at the time, I’m not sure though and I definitely haven’t posted it elsewhere online until now. I created this from scratch using Autodesk Maya, Photoshop and Pepakura. I’ve had another piece of similar type unfinished for six months now of the sword from Transistor.




Cogs are a common thematic element throughout the game. This cog is worn on the player character “The Kid’s” back throughout his beautifully narrated adventure.      2014-05-30_00001

Bastion is a superb little game by Supergiant Games which if you haven’t tried, and you have a controller, you really aught to.

The game is an isometric hack and slash, RPG, bullet hell hybrid. The gimmick of event triggered ever present narration by Logan Cunningham is simply extraordinary, at times dry and hilarious at others quite sad and moving.

I may continue in this vein, sharing completed works I have not posted on my sites for the next couple of days, at least until reporting is under control and A’s high school graduation is out of the way.

One more thing; While writing this afternoon I was struck with a memory of a story I had read in a bedroom at Crystal Waters that would place me at maybe 14 so 23 years ago. This story featured a prison which was a giant wheel of stone within a mountain and the wheel turned by the labour of the cells occupants realease only being available when the wheel returned completed a rotation. It was an extraordinary story and the images returned vivid in my mind so I immediately googled: “story about a prison that is a wheel within a mountain”

and found on the first hit somebody else searching for the same thing.

The book is Helliconia Book 3: Winter .

Has anybody else read this story?


Saturday 14th


Image by Jean Julien.

Making progress on children’s board book projects today. I have a set of three plus envisioned. All using a swap the shoes, hat or outfit from one thing to another by turning part of the pages gimmick. The first of which is roughed out but not completely scripted. A fourth book based on food has entered the mix today. Progress today in finding some more rhymes, going shopping and getting a haircut. I have not yet done any work on my reports.

While folding laundry this morning I finally got around to watching this sad and frustrating tale:

Read this:

Read this: 

I found point four in particular interesting. Amigdila involvement would in my understanding suggest reactions and process happening before and beyond control of higher brain function.


No post written today could forgo mention of the events in Paris.

What a preposterous, toxic and hostile belief system that brings people to a world view where they think murdering strangers will in any way aid their cause.

13/11 Aujourd’hui nous sommes tous français




Readings, I mean Listenings or possibly Rantings

Two years ago, on the recommendation of my mother I grabbed a couple of audiobooks for the long drive south to Cobar. They transformed the drive and I have been hooked ever since. Prior to that I don’t think I had listened to a recorded story since the A. A Milne ‘Winnie the Poo’ books while driving around the Northern Territory with dad aged 11 and maybe some early ‘Discworlds‘ with a friend in rural Queensland as a teenager.  On long journeys I find I can descend into a vague fugue state, driving on automatic, lost in thought or singing along to music. Not so with an audioboook, the more gripping the narrative the better. The story seems to, for me at least occupy the social hindbrain and allow me to keep a more alert focus on the driving at hand.  Since that trip, during which N and I listened to the full cast production of the fantastic “World War Z” by Max Brooks we have had a book on the go non-stop pretty much anytime we are in the car together and frequently outside of it as well.  I have usually had at least a book going for myself alone as well and although I do try to mix in a bit of fiction I have mostly been listening to non-fiction this year.

Better angels cover

In particular I have listened to three books by Steven Pinker on my way to and from work, whilst doing the dishes and so on.  I began with “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined”. Anybody who knows me well has at some point in the last two years had a Pinker conversation with me on the basis of this extraordinary read. The argument he puts forward is to my mind pretty unassailable. Violence has declined and we are without doubt living in the most peaceful period in human history. The book is compelling, though I failed to make much more than 200 pages progress in hard copy, it collected dust on my bedside for more than a year. In audio form it flew by and was gripping for the entire length.

There are three topics that I am still musing on months later and even after devouring another two of his books “The Black Slate” & “How the Mind Works“.

One. I had never before understood the rationale of M.A.D. From my naive perspective the very idea that Mutually Assured Destruction could stop wars was, frankly mad. Pinker illustrated the reasoning in a way that I had never considered previously. My inelegant simplification doesn’t do it justice, but it fit in with a detailed discussion of the very clear logic for making preemptive attacks. The policy gave powerful people a way to stand down and forego potential strategic advantage without losing face. I cannot think of a time previous where I have found myself feeling as sympathetic to military and government decision makers as when listening to this description of how the great powers, by extraordinary diplomacy avoided nuclear war.

Two. The treatment of criminals. It seems to me that Australia is not being very honest with itself about what purpose prisons serve. Pinker spends an extensive section on the nature of revenge and retributive justice and the widely acknowledged cathartic value of such justice. As well as a brief study of the historical transition away from capital punishment to the modern lip service rehabilitative justice system. Either our prisons are places of rehabilitation or they are places for punishment, they cannot in truth be both. If they are places for punishment then there are costs associated that we do not wish to acknowledge. Like the damage to the psyche of the guards and the toxicity that they can then bring into the community. If they are places for rehabilitation, where are the support services for ex cons, where are the jobs? Why is prison rape funny? Why does violent crime get such seemingly lenient sentences when drug crimes can receive incredibly harsh sentences? How on earth can we trust private corporations, with a clear profit motive to manage prisons and detention centers in anything remotely resembling a ‘just’ fashion? And lastly what then of the real monsters, serial killers, violent serial rapists (>50% recidivism see the next link) and extra-familial child abductors, some of whom have 15 year recidivism rates of greater than 42% effectively meaning more than one third of all such cases who are released will re-offend in some way within X years.

Three. Why the hell are people so afraid? I know why children don’t play outside any more, because they are not allowed to. At least part of the fear must be about the miss directed outrage, we victim blame. How could we forgive ourselves if something happened to them. Why did they let their child walk unattended. Why has my generation, who were given freedoms I cannot even imagine allowing my own children, become so disconnected from the factual reality that the world is a safer place now than it was when we were children. There were arguments about how much freedom I allowed my eldest and at what ages they were appropriate though he first rode his bike to school alone almost 5 year later than I was allowed to. I walked and/or rode my bike to school in grade 2 alone in Balmain, inner city Sydney, in the early eighties, that was normal, I don’t think it was even a cause for real worry. My school is extraordinary in the sheer quantity of students who travel actively to school. My class won the “Golden Boot” for the third time this year last week because every student had traveled actively to school on Wednesdays this month. Travelling actively includes “Park and Stride” which is being dropped 500m from school and walking the rest. This takes pressure off the drop off zones as well but the 500m is a generous measurement for most.  Many schools I have been to have twice daily traffic jams.  This map from a British Murdoch rag illustrates the staggering decline in childhood autonomy over the last few decades in the UK.


I think the expectation should be that children can move safely in the world.

People who limit their children’s freedom based on irrational fears are weird, and should be called out on their weirdness.

If that expectation of safety is jeopardised the fury should be immense and rapid and the consequences for risking that trust severe.
This should be said loudly and often until it sinks in. Children are and must be safe to independently navigate and explore the world.

This post has gotten way out of hand, the other two Pinker’s will have to wait for another day.

I have practiced calligraphy this evening. Produced nothing share able.



Of Pen boxes and baby birds

Started reporting in earnest today.


Doing a Word of the Day (#WOTD) from a while back as there isn’t a fresh one up on r/calligraffiti today.

A photo posted by @liatach on

I have an unfinished vector template for this pen box I prototyped at… I think probably Christmas last year.


Intention was to have it laser cut in two versions. One with moorish or celtic calligraphic etched knotwork, one plain. Just one of the many creations I would like to see through to completion. I’ve really let calligraphy practice slide so I’m going to focus on that and I’m pretty sure the pen box will work its way through to the front of the queue in short order.


The currawongs nesting high in the branches outside my classroom window have a big fat fluffy chick in their nest. Bloody impossible to get a decent photo of but rather cute and pretty exciting for the kids.  I’m really hoping I get to see its first flights. It’s in this photo but mostly as a smudge on the left edge of the nest.

A Wednesday in Brisbane 2015

Personal Archaeology Project 1

5:50AM start.
75 swing kettle-bell workout.
Boiled eggs on toast and protein milk.
Banana toast for L.
Coffee for me, the thermos and the wife.
Made lunch, chicken, lettuce and mayo, cake, a boiled egg and two pieces of fruit.
L fell back asleep, unusual.
F not awake, also unusual.

Late out the door at 7:30
The good Bus driver -stopped and waited for me running one day- who plays his little personal radio and announces every stop.
Exchange at South Birsbane.
Missed connect, ten minute wait standing next to, by chance, the same man as I had on the way outbound the previous afternoon. Shifty looking, short, sweaty, buck toothed bloke, gave me a bad feeling.
Bus to School in the door after 8, very late for me.

N texts to say L has vomited.
Sympathies conveyed.
Reading Rotations.
Mini reading assessment for the first three of four groups.
Students begin analysis of their key event in “Rowan of Rin” By Emily Rodda.
Behavior still an issue after the departure of my former prac student and intern.
Standards have slipped due to my reticence to jump in and do all behavior management for her.
Have to use the voice, consequences and multiple repeats to achieve 100% compliance more than once in the session and multiple times throughout the day.

Reflection: Need to use more forceful positivity and enthusiasm from the moment they walk in the door tomorrow.

Reading cont.
Environment student team meeting in my room at lunch.
Ongoing poster and sticker design projects.
Class rotations completing and marking Geography posters.
Afternoon session on Wednesdays has religious education rotations.
Fortunately this year my colleague and I have non religion and hence its a half hour of silent reading for about 60 3’s & 4’s in our rooms.
Finished a label for the scraps buckets after roll marking, forgot to photograph it.
Had my class clean up some.
Practiced speeches helped with printing for sustainability posters.

Got to do some marking and data entry as we met the scheduled meeting requirements yesterday so today’s was cancelled.
Emailed colleagues.
Emptied school compost buckets.
Spoke to a student and his parent on the way past tennis training.
Was whisked away home in our white chariot by lovely wife, L & F all in better spirits now.

Drank tea.
Began this post.
Ate dinner; penne bolognaise.
Listening to a few minutes of ‘Cryptonomicon’ By Stephenson.
N and I started it during our September honeymoon in Tasmania (The book is a 40 hour epic that I will discuss it in a a books post sometime soon.)
Bathed infants, played with Schleich sea creatures.
Cleaned the living room floors, put toys away and vacuumed.
Read Where is the Green Sheep listened to Greetings from Sandy beech.
Sat with the boys until F fell asleep.

Ironed shirts.

Watched these while ironing:



and  1, 2, 3 and some of 4.

Saw the lady in link 3 in the Brickumentry over the weekend. Found myself some Mouse Guard to try on the basis of this build.

Completed my first r/Calligraffiti  WOTD in more than 6 months.

A photo posted by @liatach on

I’ve gotten sloppy on my calligraphy practice.

Dishwasher still has an hour running.
9:13 PM Posting this.
Going to read Tim Ferris books and canoodle with N.

Something different tomorrow.


18 Billion freebooted views

Just one of the many reasons I’m sour on FBook.


OzzieMan, who it must be said I find both very annoying and at times hilarious has this to say in response: