I received my first ever snake bite yesterday. Completely harmless and entirely my own fault.
Molasses the python got a a little too eager when I opened his enclosure with my hand in front of his head. I freely admit that it got my heart going though.
A week of very long days has left little energy for making in the evenings.
In an exciting development I now have fish in the classroom. A small school of Jade Perch to be precise.
The aquaponics system is still some way off functional but we have transferred the fish into a pair of the system’s tanks and plugged in some air-stones to keep them happy.
A number of interesting things have caught my eye this week but i’ll limit myself to only a couple.
The animator behind this fantastic little gorgon battle has recently finished a four year odyssey to single-handedly animate a feature length hand drawn film. Very impressive and pretty cool looking to boot.
Deep in the disturbing underweb evil masterminds find perfect matches between pop rap hits and nightmarish children’s television.
As ready as I’m going to get anyway. Cleaning and laminating at school consumed much of the day. All the important stuff is done and the room is now clean and tidy, awaiting a tornado of students. Tomorrow I become one of the new most import people in 28 children’s lives for the next 11 months.
Tonight I have been playing with this auto colouring tool. Which produces spectacularly weird results. Note that in the image below I only gave it eye colour to work with for the Vodyanoi on the right.
Lots of typography work over the last couple of days making word wall headers, name labels and drawer labels to suit my needs. As well as some general teaching aides for the smooth functioning of my room:
Last thing to share today is this Bonobo clip that I have revisited twice now. It really is just supurb.
HighLife – Full disclosure my oldest friend is guitarist in this band. Fortunately I can honestly say they raised the roof with some tight as afro groove.
Jimmy Davis – Didn’t get the attention his singing deserved from me as I was too busy socialising.
Half Moon Run – Heard the buzz about town that this was the group to see. We were not disappointed they’ve a great big sound that will fill stadiums in the not too distant future.
Dave Callan – Who is a very funny man gave a dance performance like no other. Clearly a lot of work had gone into the choreography but the image of this man in a leotard twerking will not soon leave me.
Blue King Brown – Have always been good and watching them mature on the stages of Woodfordia has been a pleasure.
We finished the evening with the East End Cabaret – Who are a hilarious, sexy and very very rude pair of performers. In this show they were complimented by an AusLan sign language translator who nearly stole the show.
All of this complimented by tasty treats and plenty of delightful, peculiar and engaging street performers, puppeters and cosplaying ‘Game’ players. The game deserves more discussion, perhaps tomorrow.
I survived bullying. I was called gay from late year five until I left high school and went to Tafe in the city at the end of grade 10.
It didn’t matter that I wasn’t gay, not even slightly. It didn’t matter that family members and family friends were gay and I didn’t have issue with it. The label stuck, provoked a reaction and haunted me for years. The staff mostly didn’t get involved. Close friends wouldn’t hang out with me within sight of school peers. School was a pretty unrelenting misery, I have but a handful of good memories or lasting friendships from that time, barely any which were from within my actual year level. It was a dark and depressing period and it marked me for decades to come. Distrust of authority, body image issues, loneliness and trust issues as well as an overwhelmingly negative view of academia are among the lasting effects I have dealt with and I believe largely overcome.
I have been thinking about posting on the topic for some time. My high school cohort is going to celebrate a twenty year anniversary of a year twelve I didn’t attend this year. I didn’t attend the ten year and I have no compulsion to attend this one. I have mentally forgiven my antagonists but I have no desire or need to see what has become of them.
The announcement that thirteen year old Tyrone Unsworth committed suicide after a campaign of bullying based on his supposed sexuality touched a nerve. It is deeply sad and disappointing that people are still dying for who they love in supposedly progressive societies the world over. I believe his death could have been averted if people had stood up for him, challenged his antagonists and demanded better from them. The school will doubtless have to audit its monitoring and management procedures. I hope that among their responses is the introduction of the Safe Schools Program
There will be a lot of baying for blood from “concerned citizens” targeting the alleged bullies families and the alleged oblivious staff of the school. This is deeply unhelpful. Believe me when I say that there was a time when I wanted to see violence visited upon my antagonists. I and the thousands of other bullying victims around the world understood, to our shame, a little of what drove the Columbine boys to their awful end. Every authoritarian punishment based response to bullying I have observed has backfired, often badly. I have seen restorative justice both succeed and fail to deal with victimisation of students peers. In fact the only actually successful anti bullying technique I have ever encountered is the ‘Method of Shared Concern‘. Blaming and hating on the perpetrators doesn’t help the victims, it just makes the perps better at hiding their crimes.
Programs which normalise acceptance, compassion and community are the strongest weapons we have against bullying and the bigotry and medieval morality of an outspoken group of religious fundamentalists should not be permitted to get in the way of their implementation.
Homework and preparation for the big drive.
Tomorrow morning we embark on a four day expedition to visit Candlebark and explore the surrounding suburbs.
Thanks to a last minute call in at ten to eight, I spent my first ever day as a Music teacher today. I do not, it should be noted, play an instrument. But I can follow a lesson plan and manage a rotating selection of classes effectively. Today we learned about how music has changed through history. Listened to parts of Haydn’s Surprise Symphony and Beethovens 5th. Played musical statues and beat detective.
We had fun and I found and used this rendition of ‘Tikki Tikki Tembo’ repeatedly with the younger grades, as a good example of musical storytelling.
I have not made anything creative since coming home other than gigantic bubbles in the back yard for the entertainment of my children and to test the latest batch of my big bubble juice. I neglected to have N photograph me, but I’ll remember next time.
We have watched and listened to many things since I last reported in. Just now we are watching week to week on ‘Westworld’. I am loading up on docos to side watch while painting and I’m just now queuing up the new ‘Black Mirror’s’ which I have been looking forward to. N may take some convincing to begin ‘Black Mirror’ as both seasons so far have had some pretty traumatic episodes. ‘White Christmas’ (no link lest it spoil you) the Christmas special from season two gave me some very special nightmares.
The best thing I watched on the plane home was ‘Zootopia‘ which is an absolute gem. Very clever, very funny and very mature at handling racism and stereotyping at a level appropriate to children. Nothing remains memorable from the flights out in way back in May but that is hardly surprising.
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.