Eye of Newt

The rope swing  with big red rubber buoy up the back got plenty of use today. We also visited the horse and tut (ram), these two bachelors occupy the field opposite the house and both are ever eager for attention much to the boys delight.  A spot of fishing for tadpoles in the pond nearby. Caught the first newt I’ve ever handled, a feature of practically every British children’s book. Salamanders and the like are exotic to me. They look remarkably like miniature crocodiles hanging in the sunlit water just below the surface.

Primary care and odd jobs precluded creative work until it was to late to want to start.

Been doing plenty of readings from this hilarious translation in my admittedly dreadful accent:

See yon snake! Is he daft or no? There’s nae such thing as a gruffal … Oh!

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#millipede found cleaning and put outside. #macro #arthropod

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This list, well lets just say it isn’t getting any better. The opposition could do worse than just replacing their entire campaign materials with a link to it.

Interesting parallels in Kings Cross’s history with current developments. Hopefully no murders this time around though.


Back in public


It’s good to be back in the public system, the difference in staff dynamics is subtle but significant. Today was a pupil free day and a great opportunity to get to know the local staff while completing cumbersome mandatory online training modules. I have another day in the state school tomorrow, likely with some time on class and a couple of days lined up at the Catholic next week. Tutoring was back in full swing today as well and kept me out of the house from 8 until 6:30. A long day by local standards.


The first episode of GoT season 6 was quite the little ripper. Very nice to see them wrapping up loose ends from the books and forging wholly new story lines for others. There is really no telling how the story will play out now that the TV versions is freed from the books.

Started listening to ‘The Long Utopia‘ last night because ‘Religion for Atheists‘ error’d, hopefully repairably for me. I suspect this last Long Earth book is Pratchett only in name and is in fact wholly Baxter’s work but for preparatory conversations between the authors. But it is nice to have at least one more ‘Pratchett’ to listen to all the same. I have thus far greatly enjoyed and been frustrated by the long earth series. The concept has been well developed though I find the well realised consequences of humanities spread across the breadth of the parallel earths discovered on ‘step day’ quite sad. The very believable spread of the extractavist capitalist mindset into the infinite earths is quite upsetting. As exciting as the world they have written is, I’m glad it is just fantasy.


I have accepted that Sanders has lost his bid for the democratic candidacy. I don’t think that means he should just bow out though and articles like this make a very strong case for him staying in until the convention in June.


As expected nothing much completed last night. Starting late but aiming for a sketched evolution card this evening.

Do doo d d doo d d doo


ANZAC march this morning. F was particularly impressed by the horses.

We went to the local ANZAC march and service this morning. In recent years I have been a bit disturbed at the subtle (or maybe not so subtle) shift towards ANZAC day as a celebration, rather than a commemoration, but there was none of that this morning. For me it has always been a pretty solemn occasion and I usually tear up for at least part of the time. I feel a great sadness that so many men and women sacrificed and were sacrificed, I feel for the families of those who served and never returned, and for those, like my great grandfather, who did return but were never again whole in mind or body, I feel sadness at the horror they witnessed, the horror they were required to commit and that which was committed against them. I am reminded right to my core that war is neither glorious or noble and above all else I think lest we forget.

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We had to leave the service as F became well at truly out of sorts. I think N has above expressed pretty succinctly our feelings on the ANZAC tradition.

Big day tomorrow, first day at the local public, mostly doing mandatory trainings I believe. Two client afternoon as well.

Finished listening to ‘What If‘ By Randall Munroe which was great fun but unfortunately read by Will Wheaton. As an actor and celebrity sometimes I really like him, as an audio book narrator he drives me bananas, not the first book I’ve listened to read by him, hopefully the last. Started listening to  ‘Religion for Atheists‘ By De Botton. I read and enjoyed about half of this as a library hire early last year, returned it unfished and overdue and am already glad to have picked it up again.


I disassembled and cleaned one of the circular saws I bought for $2.50 each at auction. Began preparing pieces of ply and timber with which to fashion myself a temporary saw table.  In order to use the Skilsaw for this purpose I had to remove its blade guard, a benefit of having done this is that it will likely allow the 7 1/4″ saw to take a slightly larger blade.  At some point I plan to invest in a new saw and a Triton or similar saw table.

Speaking of Triton tools, I’m pretty happy to have scored an older model of this for $5

Last night I completed a terrain card sketch and retired early, as for tonight well, there is this thing I want to watch…




An awesome thing.



Vale Monstrum


I am pleased to announce that the Half-Monster Games project I have been illustrating for has transitioned from its working title ‘Though I Walk Through The Valley’ to its new name ‘Vale Monstrum’. Rough mockups of possible logo layouts completed last night and today below. The text at top left is a slightly cleaned up (kerning and fill) version of the same font chosen for titles throughout the game. Let me know which you like.vale-monstrum-logo-mockups1-

‘Great Apes’ my new movement activity game for L has undergone first round mini prototyping. Much more to follow.



After wading through yet more layers of bureaucracy today with two children in tow our car is still not registered in NSW. Green slip and blue slip and tare weight are all sorted but as the car was in N’s maiden name transferring to NSW as well as changing name is apparently to much for the system to deal with in one go. We will try again tomorrow.

Tonight I’m going to attempt to clean up my Chrome bookmarks which are frankly a complete mess of nestled folders and dead links.



As widely anticipated Clinton and Trump won New York. I am disappointed, another climate shrugging*, neoliberal, war monger is not the worst thing that can happen in the US but it is a long way from the radical progressive option that Sanders is pushing. I hope the movement can maintain steam and continue to pull the Clinton camp to the left. But I fear the wave of disillusionment washing through millions of young Americans this evening is going to seriously stymie the chance of meaningful climate action during Clinton or Trumps first term in this, Decade Zero. I say ‘or Trump’s’ for a reason. I don’t think Hillary has this in the bag, in fact when it comes to debates and this elections critical ‘establishment vs outsider’ status she is at a serious disadvantage. It is going to be long months before either nightmare plays out.

Widespread allegations of voter suppression and fraud in parts of New York state are particularly disappointing because it makes this an unclean win and therefore bound to be revisited in the courts.

I finished ‘This Changes Everything‘ today. A must read. I’ll review it at a later date. I am waiting on N to listen to it as well in order to formulate a response that suits us both. For now I am beginning to put my text and graphical skills to work on infographics in preparation for the Double dissolution Australian Federal election now confirmed for July 2nd. Register!


“Stop calling me resilient. I’m not resilient.
Because every time you say, ‘Oh, they’re resilient,’
you can do something else to me.”

-Tracie Washington, New Orleans-based civil rights attorney

This Changes everything. Naomi Klein 2014 p361.


Change in the Air

‘This changes everything’ is an astonishing book. Clearly a book I have been needing to read for some time. I’m at about 7 of 20 hours in and I am just blown away. No other document I have ever read about climate change has ever spoken so clearly about the hard realities of facing climate change, nor has any other document at the same time offered such reasonable hopes.

I don’t yet know what my response will be, it is very clear to me that I have become too complacent, too apathetic, too comforatable looking away. I will not ignore it any more, what I will do remains to be seen.

I write this five weeks before my family and I fly to the other side of the world, around Europe and back like the comfortable twenty percenters we are.

I am increasingly aware that global warming is not presently the headline issue it needs to be in both Australia’s and Americas elections this year. America at least has one potential candidate who is treating the issue with seriousness here in Australia neither of our majors want to talk about it and The Greens present marketing isn’t I’m sad to say, going to rock the status quo.


I just love rockstar statistician Hans Rosling have some more if you liked that one. Start with my favourite and the close second.

Build Complete

Finished my saw horses which involved almost a complete rebuild of the first. My joinery leaves a little to be desired, but they are solid, square and built to fit me. Nice and tall at almost 800mm high so I don’t have to bend over to much but also not so high that it is uncomfortable to brace a piece with a foot. I was keeping a build log but I abandoned it in a fit of pique at my carpentry ineptitude, I’ll persevere with the next project regardless. Thinking of trying to film it in fact. There is room in the design for a cross brace between the legs but it doesn’t appear necessary at the moment.


All timber scavenged from the tip, screws from my now dwindling collection.  Looking forward to using them in the next project.


No painting last night making up for it this evening, pressing on with the castle.




Blue Oysters


Lots of driving, a tip run which yielded a much more limited supply of timber than hoped and some more unsatisfactory carpentry. I didn’t finish the second sawhorse today. Borrowed an old saw and wood plane from the farm today hoping to achieve cleaner cuts. Instead although finer the saw cannot cut straight and the wood plane needs new handles, disassembly and sharpening before it can be used, reverted to my own tools and am facing the same assembly stability issues as on the first, at least I am not having to do it squatting on concrete though.

We are eyeing up the creation of a fence dividing the front from the back yard so we can allow our hens to free range more and stop our youngest F from bolting straight out the front to rattle the gate whenever he has his boots on. The hen house needs a better handle for moving it because at present the mover has to be very close to its wall which is awkward. The dump has again furnished me with the timber required for this modification. I find the tip a terribly depressing place it is all so wasteful, the wall of green waste which could be enriching the local parched soils, the mountain of mixed metals and the disgusting fly blown scree of plastic is disgusting and filthy in more ways than one.

Finished ‘Career of Evil‘ while taking a crowbar to palettes and crates at the tip. It stumped me in the end as with the others. I was about half way though by the time I got around to googling Blue Oyster Cult lyrics from which are used in every chapter heading and elsewhere throughout the book. I was half convinced they were fictional as if I have heard before I have no recollection of it.


Immediately began a book which has been on my need to listen list for months now ‘This Changes Everything‘ Naomi Klein. It is of course infuriating but very, very good. I downloaded it after reading this excerpt last year and have postponed or as she says ‘looked away’ since then.  I am self assessing my own political complacency in recent years already so we are of to a worthy start only an hour or two in.

Noticed that one of my former teachers and generally cool person Dr. Kristen Lyons has recently announced as The Greens federal candidate for Moreton. An area I have lived in repeatedly, getting the candidacy seems unlikely at this point but not impossible. As always I will be encouraging everyone I can in both left and right politics give their first preference to the greens or minor parties as I don’t believe either of the majors deserve the $2.50 in campaign finance a first preference is worth to them.


Began colouring the castle last night a little preemptively as the ink layer needs another pass. But it was cathardic to see such progress on a card that has taken such a long time already. Update picture soon.


This lovely thing

Ma’agalim – Jane Bordeaux from Uri Lotan on Vimeo.

Thanks to this for reminding me that I haven’t touched my colouring project in a week or more.


Go home Hut. You are drunk.

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Wed 6th


Straight into ‘Career of Evil‘ and hooked. Disappointed that the supporting female Robin is being put in jeopardy but it was bound to happen again eventually.

Also tried two episodes of season one of ‘Agents of Shield‘ as N was feeling out of the loop on L’s present obsession. Now I had heard that season one was a bit dodgy prior to the big Hydra reveal in ‘Captain America 2‘ but oh my goodness that was bad. I felt embarrassed for everyone involved in its production watching that poorly scripted, terribly choreographed, cliched mess unfold. We being suckers for punishment are going to try jumping ahead and giving it another chance before giving up on the idea completely.


Another leg for the sawhorses cut this evening and another sketch card close to completed last night. I realise I haven’t been sharing progress her very much, I just not happy enough with sketch level work to put it on public display without finished work accompanying.


This set of photos from Thatcherite Glasgow slums has shown up all over my feed and has a couple of striking pictures.







Robert Galbraith

N and I were discussing the Galbraith pseudonym over dinner yesterday. I have just devoured the second in the fictional authors Cormoran Strike series ‘The Silkworm‘ in 17 hour audio book form in a matter of days. I think it is a bit of a shame that the game was up on the real authorship a little to early on, I suspect Rowling may have intended to keep the character at work for quite a bit longer had the secret have been kept.

Would I so gladly have dived into the first if I hadn’t known it was Rowling? Certainly not.

Would I have enjoyed it in ignorance? Absolutely yes.

I am not going to speculate on the significance or lack thereof of a male pseudonym but I do take at face value the idea that Rowling would like to have received genuine criticism of her work and would no doubt have enjoyed watching the work develop an audience all of its own. So sod whichever cad gave the game away too early.

They are very enjoyable whodunits. Each of which has kept me guessing until the end, particularly so in the second book. I have always detested authors tricks in mystery novels where by some fleeting brilliance the protagonist is able to divine the true killer using a clue or piece of evidence that was never or not clearly provided to the reader. There is none of that here Fair Play Whodunits both. Keep your wits about you though, there are a few MacGuffins and more than a few red herrings in each.


I intend to dive into the third book this evening while painting, to which I am about to devote my energies having failed altogether to create anything yesterday.

Tuesday is a bugger of a day in my current schedule. Good earnings but at a cost; Two clients in the afternoon and early evening on top of a full day in the classroom leaves not much left for loved ones and home work.


Tue 29th

One of those days where every thing is stretched thin. Fighting infection in the cut on my left pointer knuckle. Kindergarten takes such enormous focus of attention. One client canceled due to illness at the last minute. Nine thirty at night and only just now beginning a post after which I can either go to bed, play or create.

I have managed to get a sketch card done most evening lately and so I am plodding away at the 44 evolutions deck. The Castle terrain card is taking enormous effort to make even small progress on but by little steps it progresses still. Haven’t touched my story book in more than a fortnight. Planning another path and some sawhorses outside, next big build will be a cubby to attatch our slide to. Likely also build on a quad bike crate. That project will take a while to come together though.

New tutoring clients lined up for later in the week which is good news. Two weeks of holidays approaching most understandably want a break, which combined with the lack of school work is will putting pressure on the finances. More costs cropping up at every turn too. We have to transfer registration of our car to NSW prior to departure an expensive and tiresome process including fresh blue and green slips as well as fresh and more expensive insurance.

Started listening to ‘The Art of Travel‘ which is quite lovely but not, at about the half way point, as entertaining as ‘Consolations‘. Caught up to episodes of Sense8 I’ve seen before and have slowed down on them, as extraordinary as remembered and a pleasure to see what I had missed. Looking forward to finding time to read the ‘Fight Club 2’ comics.

Keeping up on my professional readings on data which WESS crew will know I just love. This report is involved in a bit of the fuss in Australian education at the moment.

Adding a couple more photos to yesterdays epic, showing design details.


The chook tractor’s roost is complete, the pen and wheels still require some finishing touches. Wheel mounts require a few more welds and although I had a crack at one, I’ve decided to wait til tomorrow for assistance finishing them. For now we have four hens occupying the roost, all Isa Browns rescued from destruction at one year of age from an egg farm. They are looking pretty motley but I think they will fatten up and get some more healthy feathering on in short order.

Photos galore on completion.

Discovered care of this post that there are another two Comoran Strike books. which is great news to me. Love a good whodunit.

Finished the second and third series of ‘The Museum of Curiosity‘. Still loaded with fantastic guests and ideas but simply not as good without Bill Bailey. Not a fan of the third seasons programs variations on submission protocol either.

Nursing a sunburn headache. So heading to bed in very short order.