A rough draft of the Black order set

Teaching myself Tinkercad so as to be of use as a teacher of it for my students, who will be learning the program so that the 3D printer can be put to work. It is a basic and quite powerful modelling program. The controls are a little bit idiosyncratic and it has a tendency to dump the user back the main menu when doing hard operations, though it has so far not lost progress doing so. My first self set challenge is an Order vs Chaos chess set.

I splashed out and bought a couple of rolls of printing filament from these guys mid week so that I can get some personal printing done at work guilt free.

On Saturday N and I made the Dubbo run leaving the children with grandparents. A shockingly expensive shopping and very long drive later we made it home safe and have cupboards chock full with food and a shed full of timber and paints for projects.

I’ve been commissioned to build a set of portrait photography boxes and among the supplies purchased were two sheets of 12mm ply cut down to fit in the car. This project provided me with the first opportunity to put my mitre saw to use and my what a pleasure that machine is. All pieces are cut and ready for building and I even ripped down some off cuts to make parts for a nesting box. Assembly to happen later in the week.

Tuesdays are staff and year level meetings each week, meaning that I am usually not home until near six. I have found out that there is a Judo class on from Seven in the school hall on Tuesday evenings. I would like to attend but the mental hurdle of returning to work is a big obstacle. Wish me luck.


A few links to share from the last few days:

A beautiful representation of the causes of Global Warming.

Finalists of the Smithsonian Photo Competition

Do Want: Colour 3D Printed scale models of astronomical bodies.

I periodically return to the works of Simon Stålenhag (Sale site) Disturbing, fantastical and somehow totally believable they conjure a deeply uncomfortable alternative world. Someday I’ll commit and buy a print. I just haven’t settled on which yet.







800m of Childish Freedom

Somewhere in a photo album there is a photo of a a 6 or 7 year old me dressed in stonewash and a loud 80’s shirt standing proud as punch with a bright red and orange BMX in front of my mothers house in Balmain. This house:

Photo snapped by my good friend Steven Kiernan on the way back from dinner a few nights ago.

That bike granted me freedom. A great deal of freedom. Much as the cop in ‘Stranger Things’ describes it; ‘A bike Like that is a Cadillac to these kids’. With it I had freedom of the neighborhood and I used it. The most common journey for me was of course the seemingly epic ride to my school of the time. This weekend I decided to see just how far that really was. As it turns out it was only 800m and often done in company but often as not alone or on foot. The route I most often took is plotted below.

800m of freedom. Also of note at the time Mort Bay park was a derelict and forbidden wonderland that I was furiously lectured for exploring more than once. 

That journey is illegal now. Until the age of ten NSW children are apparently unable to even cross the road without assistance and police have been known to threaten DOCS involvement for independent children even when crossing a road is not required.

I was lucky then and lucky as a teacher at West End, my year four class of two years ago repeatedly won the ‘Golden Boot’ award for active travel with 100% of students walking, riding, Public transporting or Park and Striding (Driven but dropped off 500m distant). That is a rare thing and a credit to the West End public community. But only a handful traveled truly independently. I have also lived on the main access street for one of Brisbane’s most prestigious private boys schools and the twice daily traffic jam of furious, stressed and ultimately dangerously driven luxury vehicles is memorable by comparison. Self reliance is not a skill that gets magically switched on at eighteen, it takes years and experience to develop. Only by giving children the trust to find their own limits and learn their confidence in their own abilities can it blossom. I believe walking to and from school independently is one of the safest and best ways for children to develop resilience and self reliance.

We are looking to live in a town/ village or community where children still play outside and where trusting children is normal. Such places do still exists but they are rare.

I would really like to see some more examples of others childhood walking journeys.

Not for competition mind,


but because I think it would be nice to have a raft of good digital reference to use as a reality check for the more extreme variety of hysterical parents.  It is easy enough to do.

Start at google maps.

Search for the school or other feature you travelled to independently.

Select the directions button





Change the start location to where you began your trips and select the method of travel. You can drag the line of travel to match your preferred route.







Screen shot the result. In windows the built in screen cap utility ‘Sniping tool’ can be found by beginning typing its name in the start menu. On Mac, buy a PC.

I kid, I kid. Command + Shift + 4 will give you a custom area screen cap.

Upload to an image host of your choice, or email them to me to edit in here.

Thanks for participating.

Also check out free range kids if you like the idea.


Edit: First responder, my brother in law Ken Wilson provides this map of his walk from about grade 3 (probably 8 or 9 years of age) onwards with his sibling. Sandgate is a major road but the crossings are clear.

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.


A morning in the sun, finished the wicking/ self watering garden bed. I filmed the process but struggled with poor battery life in my main camera throughout. The new garden bed will need to settle for a week or two before we plant a fresh crop of seedlings.

I spent the afternoon fighting with software. What I had intended to be a simple hour or two’s editing was derailed by Premier inexplicably deciding not to recognise the audio from an odd assortment of the clips I was using, all shot with the same camera, on the same day. Having gone deep down the rabbit hole of settings alterations, refreshes, restarts, system file alterations and many other possible fixes besides, the trick that finally solved it was as simple as renaming the files from .mp4 to .mov. Hours later I have not finished editing that brief vlog together as I was quickly derailed again by the obtuse interface of that unfamiliar adobe app. I have a working project file to return to now at least.

This evening was spent at a family barbecue and following up on loose ends and odd jobs around the house and online.  Some things taken care of, other tasks thwarted by lack of knowledge and time. A big week at blue school ahead.


A Run

Spent the afternoon completing online mind numbing mandatory trainings all built around some descendant of Adobe Shockwave player. All using a chuck by chunk page reveal that assumes a pretty mediocre reading speed. All of which could have been done by jumping straight to the assessment were it allowed. I am now certified for the NSW education departments own brands of WHS, Emergency first aid theory and Anaphylaxis management.

In part in inspired by the brilliant transformation N’s very old friend KT has undergone in recent years I finally got off my arse and went for my very first run in many years this morning. Oh my aching calves.

4 weeks to go…a good point to reflect ?!

A photo posted by KT Ridge (@ktmems) on


Very productive Skype business meeting with the games creator ate into painting time last night. Back to it this evening.


Quite touched by this remembrance of T Pratchett:


I’ve said it before and I will say it again, the destruction of Australia’s National Broadband Network is corruption and incompetence on an unbelievable scale. One hundred Billion dollars over the next fifty years to pay for a degraded copper network twenty years overdue for retirement is a travesty. Combined with the bill for building the substandard and already obsolete MTM network. The whole project has been a monumental failure for all but the few who were lucky enough to get fiber from a skilled contractor while the roll out continued. If the next non coalition government don’t commission an inquiry to bring the people responsible to face the consequences of their decisions I’ll be very disappointed. Not that this should in any way be confused for me having genuine hope for this outcome being met. Why, just today I was linked evidence of our government’s interminable maleficence on climate action and even the concrete expectation of charges of criminal negligence for pollies who willfully obstructed climate action over the next few decades won’t make that feel any better.

Bandwidth is going to be like the weather within a few years and Australia’s virtual weather is going to be dismal, glitchy and shit. Today I found a perfect example of exactly why I make this comparison. Also an excellent demo of why I believe AR is going to out compete if not completely absorb VR as it becomes consumer viable. Test phase demonstrations of consumer grade virtual telepresence:

Going to have to move to NZ or South Korea if you actually want to use it. The Australian network even in metropolitan areas can simply not cope. In rural areas even with the better than average speeds I’m getting it is still like going back in time.


Managed another sketch draft last night trying for more this evening.




Paint fumes and stupid injuries

We will finally be able to buy some hens this weekend so the pressure is on to get the bloody chook tractor done and dusted. Cut my finger with a hand saw. Being stupid because I was hungry. I’m perfectly fine and the wood got cut too. I just felt a right idiot and stopped for lunch a good hour too late.  Affixing the final bits and pieces, painting a few parts with ghastly and fragrant ancient orange enamel found in the shed. 

A bloody software update from Wacom lost me an hour+ of progress on the castle card which was infuriating and compounded by needing to spend the next hour finding and fixing the issue. Wacom make what are hands down the best computer drawing tablets but they are not without their issues. My previous Intuous survived an ant colony deciding it would be a lovely place to live but died when not one but two of the micro USB cable connections snapped off the internal circuit board. This kills the tablet. So far the current one has been excellent, better constructed and apparently less desirable as ant accommodation but… the software has been crap, the multitouch functionality is of very limited use. Worse still the applet has continually forgotten custom settings, randomly decided it can no longer detect the still functioning tablet and last night they shipped a driver update that caused insufferable cursor lag and BSOD’d me for the first time in ages. Not happy, particularly as the castle card is going to be included as a print draft for play testing at an upcoming event in Brisbane. I had rendered out all the forest and blocked in the rocks at the castles base. Haven’t had time to redo that work and the submission deadline is up.


More painting to do. Took what I think is one of my best macro shots so far today.


Love that the facets of the eye are visible. Curious that a significant portion of what it can see would be it’s own antennae.

Unknown #beetle 13mm. #macro #coleoptera #insect

A photo posted by @liatach on

I’m starting to develop some serious lens envy of the people I follow on Insta.

This guy in particular is rocking some incredible gear. I’m not ready to invest in this hobby to this extent yet, but be warned it may happen.

So cool:

An adult Maratus volans feeding on a fly. Central Coast, NSW, Australia

A photo posted by Michael (project Maratus) (@michael_doe_project_maratus) on

Hey Big Spender


A couple of big purchases today. Having searched far and wide over the past week, comparing many, many systems I have chosen this computer with the memory bumped up to 24gig. While I was at it I found a decent looking multiport usb charging and connection hub. For sanity and self preservation I must now avoid looking at computer advertisements or sales for a period not less than six months, preferably a year. I have absolutely gotten the best I could afford, in the end it came down to a choice between the MSI and a custom build from this company. Both were of very similar specs, ultimately I opted for the established brand over the custom architecture.

Now begins the tense anticipatory wait for delivery.

I also bit the bullet and purchased this legal contract for the formalisation of my agreement with Half Monster Games. The agreement is likely to be useful for multiple projects so it is an investment in future income.

And to cap off the ludicrous spending spree I ebay’d some swimming goggles after swimming 550m breaststroke today. In addition to my standard 75 kettlebell swing workout.


Small progress on the castle card today. I’m feeling a bit anxious to finish some projects, chicken tractor, paving and a few partial cards are all weighing me down being so close yet so far from done.

This evening I have delved into the legalise, enough to know I won’t finish that tonight. I’m now trying to get some more painting done. To help give you a picture of what I am working towards Jack has been doing some play testing in tabletop simulator and has produced an example layout of the terrain cards using the limited number I have so far completed. The terrain deck will, with shuffling create a new playing surface each game. The evolution or ability deck will add spice to the gameplay.



More bugs


Pill #millipede #macro #arthropod approx 15mm

A photo posted by @liatach on

More Pill #millipede #arthropod #macro

A photo posted by @liatach on

Unknown #moth #lepidoptera #insect #macro approx 40mm

A photo posted by @liatach on


My laptop, which has now performed quite a few Lazarus impersonations has it seems finally kicked the bucket with a irreparable hard disc failure.

I have back ups, all is not lost.

I have Backblaze (affiliate link).

I even have the capacity to plug the drives themselves in elsewhere with handy cords. I can access the primary drive for an inconsistent twenty seconds or so before it resets and windows helpfully asks if I want to format the drive in order to use it. I have grabbed a few important things off the drive that way just to tide me over until I download the rest from Backblaze.

Still I’m pretty crushed and demoralised by it all. Struggling to see a way in which I can purchase a worthwhile laptop pre-Europe. Loans are unlikely due to the instability of my income, hire is for chumps. I am going to have to sell something big to achieve this and I’m going to have to do so without my primary creative tool.

In the mean time N and I will share her desktop which is her primary photography processing tool. For reasons still unclear her desktop restarts between 2 and 12 times a day at random intervals and with no clear trigger, so this is not an ideal solution. Event logging has yielded no explanation for the restarts so far and we have tried a huge variety of fixes to no discernible effect.

Adding to my frustration NSW Ed got back to me today and, in direct contradiction to the first enrollment officer I spoke to, asked for scans of certified copies of my ID and university documents. The first enrollments officer said that scanned originals were clearly superior and the second ‘jobsworth’ grudgingly acknowledged that a scan of a certified photocopy is an uncertified digital document and therefore worthless but that’s what the system needs. Fortunately I have a fairly large collection of certified copies and was able to scan and send them today. But it means it is likely to be at least another week before I get any progress on permission to teach in NSW. Another week without earnings beyond the meager supplemental income my tutoring is bringing in.

Thanks to the computer troubles and playing primary carer while trying to polish off the final rough edges of the unpack as well as clean up some of the grime our two darlings spread everywhere they go I’ve had limited creative success today. I have managed to recover the progress I made on a perspective reference model for the castle card in Sketchup, which is a relief. But I haven’t even begun installing Sketchup, tablet drivers and Manga Studio on this comp.

Some good news arrived in the form of my key ring showing up in West End so we will soon have a second car key again.




Scrivener & Classcraft

First adult tutoring client meeting today as well as the first confirmed days locked in at the local Catholic school… Late next month.

Still I’m happy to have confirmed work on the horizon.

Experimenting with Scrivener on the basis of a favoured authors recommendation. So far I’m in love with the corkboard and tab systems it uses. Great for layout and tracking ideas through drafts.

Planning on a a little gaming time with N tonight so keeping this very brief.

Speaking of gaming a bigger more exciting rival to Class Dojo has just arrived. I have used various elements of its design with a number of classes and I have a list of in class achievements and rewards suitable for a program like this somewhere. Kind of wishing I had my own class to test this on.

Here is a referral link:

Using that gets you 2 months of premium. Which otherwise costs nearly US$100 a year (ouch) I will also get a month, currently useless to me. It seems to have a pretty well featured free mode, but they are definitely going to push you to purchase.