Sunday, 31 August 2014

Day 243: Busy bees...

Day 243: ...and neighbourly neighbourhood neighbours

I have the best neighbours. And I'm not just saying that because my neighbour joined twitter recently and now reads this blog. They were best neighbours even before twitter was around...

They've had a big weekend and so it was while chatting over the fence this morning that this fellow appeared looking, it has to be said, just a little more fearsome than usual. 

Sunday morning gruffness

I kept up the busybody approach from yesterday. I spotted the rich red of this geranium and then got a bit carried away following the progress of the insect which might be a bee but seemed much smaller than any I have seen recently. It was the size of a flying ant.

Rich red...

Busy bee-ish


As neighbours, we share a fascination with the flora and fauna in our backyards, from the loris and the Baza, to the ways in which various plants seem to thrive (or not) in our not-terribly-plant friendly soil clay. The loris seem to keep raising the stakes with regular comparisons of the seed we have on offer. We currently have a minor difference of opinion over the possum(s) however, the ones that inhabit my yard couldn't possibly be the ones quite enjoying all the flowers and veges over the fence. 

Job done
Would they...would they? Hehe.

Another enjoyable concert today, at a retirement complex on the other side of town, one of the opportunities I really enjoy playing in the band. 

And a last gasp win by my football team...seriously team, that was hard to take at this end of the season. 

[Camera : Canon EOS 60D, 75-300mm, 28-80mm, 10.47am, 10.48am; 11.01am, 11.05am]

Day 242: A shy Baza

Day 242: ...and 'bougains' on the tiles

A day jumping in and out of the house with rehearsals, busking at the cafe and a visit as well. This was after a concert last night. 

The Baza was back, mostly next door this morning and, given I was in a bit of a hurry, I didn't have as much time as I would have liked. 

But given all the pics yesterday, I didn't mind this one of the 'shy Baza' in the tree next door. 

Shy baza today

I also spotted this slightly different angle on the bougainvillea...backed by the roof tiles of the house down the back. Bit of a busybody day I guess, taking pics across the fences. 

Bougainvillea on the tiles
Today's rehearsal was for tomorrow's concert, the clarinet choir this time. It's a good fun group, I'm looking forward to it. 

[Camera : Canon EOS 60D, 75-300mm, 9.10am, 9.11am]

Friday, 29 August 2014

Day 241: The dawn noises mean...

Day 241: ...the Baza was back, out the back

You will know, dear reader, that I like to rise early; for a long time because of early starts for work but presently merely out of habit. Even last night's tough tai chi session didn't keep me down. 

When the noisy miners start up, it is usually a sign there is a visiting bird, be it a kookaburra or crow. Once, we found it was a koala. Today was another visit from our friendly Pacific Baza...looking a little more harassed one has to say. 

From a distance, it appeared to be doing some level of gymnastics in the tree as it sought to grasp a branch...

Grasping for the branch
Stretch...(like last night's tai chi moves)
One moment, it just sat, at the light and shade gave it an almost statue-like appearance...
Like a different bird...

Ruffled its feathers...and then...

Shake that booty spent a while swooping through the trees avoiding those miners...

I'll escape you wascally miners...
Or I'll come and get you...

Good action pics practice. But still much room for improvement.

Later this evening my orchestra was off to the other side of town for a concert, part of a fundraising effort for the Wavell Heights community. Quite a nice way to end the week and...

...yes! Long service leave has officially started. Now I can take Baza pics out the back without feeling like I should be doing something else. Roll on rest.

[Camera : EOS 60D, 75-300mm, 8.37pm-9.41pm]

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Day 240: Back to the Ekka...

Day 240: ...sort of...

A day working at home, organising much; various chores to perform, appointments to be had etc and so forth. There is still a radio program to finalise for next is coming together nicely. 

After a busy morning, it was off to the showground, time to collect my photos, including the 'exhibited one'. Of course, the streets around the showground still have a lovely old feel about them which really demand something more than the fruit phone; in fact, I really think the scenes deserve some old black and white film, and one day I will. 

Sign (detail) at Bowen Park

Ye olde industrial pavilion
I caught the bus there and back because parking is usually quite difficult. Today of course, when I finally got there, parking spaces aplenty! Oh well.

New amongst the old
My 'exhibited photo' (first one) has a nice little card on the back...'accepted for exhibition'. Hehe. I was also pleased to learn (I think) that the points tally on the back of the photos suggested that two more came very very close to getting in too; even nicer I suppose, is that one or two from last year were also quite close, as it happened. Lovely learnings.

Home again and off to tai chi. I'm sitting here feeling every last move this evening. Every. last. move. 

Certainly no exhibition standard tai chi here tonight. I'll stick to the pics. 

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 2.03pm, 2.29pm, 2.20pm]

Day 239: Down came the rain...

Day 239: ...and flushed the ibis out

Actually, less excitingly, it was a day at work for one of those meetings you'd rather not have. Head-to-head with management and we don't always see eye-to-eye. Technically, it should be my last week at work for a little while: two months of long-service leave ahead, and it is full-steam ahead, writing and publishing. Outputs, outputs, outputs...

Feeling like a machine.

There was the promise of rain today. While I'm not a fan of all the driving in the rain for 200km round trip, I am also conscious that some places nearby really need it. There was a touch of thunder too and after a day of rather fine weather, the afternoon turned dark and stormy and then...started to clear in time for the drive home.

Clearing ahead...
The resident flock had the right idea. Let's go. 

Fly, away, over yonder... I departed the campus for what should be some time...

But, dear reader, we've been here before. 

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 4.29pm]

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Day 238: Tai chi Tuesday...

Day 238: ...not for the gull-ible

Tuesday and, as has been my custom for the past few weeks, that meant a trip down the Gold Coast (again) to accompany my mum to her tai chi class. We're getting there. 

Of course, we had to go by the beach and today we decided to have lunch at the kiosk. The view of the beach was great, of course; the surf a little choppy but that didn't stop a few brave souls taking their boards out there. 

The beach, again. Burleigh Heads

Lunch at the beach means chips; chips at the beach mean...:

Me and my shadow...
Yep, along came Jonathan Livingston's distant relative. 

It was a lovely part of the day before I returned home to attend my regular class. On the way back to the car, I looked north to Surfers only to spot a giant seagull on the fence...

Super gull...

Good thing my dear reader is not gull-ible.

Afternoon bells
And on the way home, I noticed the light through these flowers in mum's garden. Interesting. Pretty, in their own way.

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 1.41pm, 1.43pm, 1.47pm, 2.17pm]

Monday, 25 August 2014

Day 237: Fast Monday...

Day 237: ...well, considerably faster than Sunday

...but let's face it, that wouldn't take much after yesterday. In fact, it was just one of those days where I didn't seem to really slow down, until about now. After some administrative chores early on, I went to the city to catch up with a colleague from Japan; back home to finalise papers for an AGM this evening and then onto rehearsal...such was the plan. 

The AGM was a group I've been a member of for some 15 years or so now. It is the Australasian Study of Parliaments Group, a part of an Australia-wide network of people interested in the workings of parliament, it brings together parliamentarians, academics, journalists, public servants, students and others who want to engage in the discussion of political institutions. 

The meetings afford me the opportunity to under the freeway in the city. Photographically it offers the ultimate in gritty urban landscape--freeways. 

Under the freeway...

And another (distant) view of 'the wheel'. 

Brisbane night from the 'North Bank'

The focus of tonight's work was a national radio program we are contributing to next week on the matter of improving civics education. We anticipate it will kick off a year of events and activities where we who appreciate these institutions will seek to encourage others to take up the interest all who have a passion they wish to share with others. Yes, it is politics; the task is ahead of us. 

Then it was off to rehearsal. That was the plan. I arrived to find no-one there...I've just learnt there was a change in plan and the band was rehearsing in the venue where we will play on Friday, over at Wavell Heights...they just forgot to tell the rest of us! Oh well, nothing like a dive right into a program....good thing today was a fast enough day. I'll be ready. 

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 7.00pm]

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Day 236: Slow Sunday...

Day 236: ...time to sit back

It's been a busy few days and a rainy start to the morning suggested a nice slow day. It fined up a little later, in time to look around the rain-freshened backyard. 

The lorikeets have found the new gum blossoms...

Feeding time

The leaves in the birdbath suggested a tranquil pond...

A little tranquility

With a busy week ahead, it seemed like a nice way to run the day. 

[Camera : EOS 60D 75-300mm, 3.01pm, 3.09pm]

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Day 235: The beat...

Day 235: ...of the taiko

There are things in life one must do, or having done them once, try again (yes, dear reader, there are also many things having done them once you wouldn't do them climb Mt Fuji for example...but that is not what we are talking about here, though related...).* 

*[Shocking use of parentheses...among other syntactical crimes.]

Ready to play...

You will know, dear reader, of my interest in things Asian--my recent tai chi explorations, a long time personal and professional interest in Japan etc and so forth. Many years ago, during one of my early visits, I learnt about the wadaiko, the Japanese drum, more commonly rendered in English as 'taiko'; even had a brief public playing experience in Hokkaido once (and only once...). I've been wanting to get back to it ever since. 

TaikOz, a marvellous Australian-Japanese group has been around for a while now. I've been a fan of their work for many years and have tried to justify all sorts of desperate  reasons for going interstate to participate in their beginner workshops... 

Magnificent sound

But today, TaikOz came back to Brisbane for a one-day workshop. (They also have regular classes but they clash with my orchestra rehearsals...)

A wet wet day, best time to learn to beat the bachi (the sticks) on the taiko...

It all


Ninety minutes, exactly what I had hoped for and the sound of the taiko is absolutely marvellous--even with a bunch of beginners like us there today. I'll be back. 

It is a further step forward in running to the beat of my own drum taiko (one day).

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 4.40pm, 4.41pm]

Friday, 22 August 2014

Day 234: There be beauty...

Day 234: the lack of focus.

It's been rather damp today. That's good. A bit of soaking rain with a few days still to come. It's good for me, and the blog too, because the loris always come and shelter on the veranda. And where there are loris...there's always a camera...and where there's a camera, you'll find psephyspix...

On a technical point, the low light means a slow shutter speed and that means I should also get out the tripod. But sometimes I don't. So the pics can look 'arty' or 'unfocussed', depending on your preferences. I think this one is actually the best of the morning's efforts...I'm going all abstract impressionism here...

(1/15. f5.6, ISO200, 11.34am; no editing)

A little later, when they continued on with their antics, I attached the tripod. It does make a difference.
(1/15, f5.6, ISO200, 11.32; no tripod, no editing)

Sharp feathers there chaps
(1/50, f5.6, ISO200, 12.20pm, with tripod)
The bub lori, who has made an appearance before, performed a perfect head roll for the audience...

Ah, there...
(1/25, f5.6, ISO200, 12.22pm)

...and there...
(1/25, f5.6, ISO200, 12.22pm)
...aaannnd, there...
(1/25, f5.6, ISO200, 12.22pm)
Thanks Ma!
(1/25, f5.6, ISO200, 12.22pm)

A ten out of ten for that one I think. Perfect execution over 30 seconds. 

The lesson for today though is that, even when a day at work can fuzz your brain, or painful reminders of medical conditions abound, there's always something to be found through the haze, when you find the focus. 

End of lesson. Bring on the weekend.

[Camera : Canon EOS 60D, 75-300mm, 11.32-12.22pm]

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Day 233: A pondering place...

Day 233: ...needed.

Work. Pond.



Work. Place. 
Nothing else to relate really, except to wonder why. It was just that kind of day. 

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 3.29pm, 3.40pm]

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Day 232: Powering on...

Day 232: the Powerhouse, oh yeah!

After a most interesting early morning exchange on twitter with the Hannah Arendt Center in New York (as you do), today I had to juggle two priorities: an engagement in the city and a concert with one of my groups at Brisbane's Powerhouse--a bit of an iconic performance venue. If yesterday's tai chi was about relaxation and calmness, today was quite the opposite I suppose. 

New Farm Park, traditional

Logistics meant getting to the Powerhouse early afternoon (in the hope of getting a car park), then catching the CityCat around to the city and then back, for the gig. It all worked out in the end with time at both ends for a little photography around New Farm Park. 

Protest in the city
The city event was to hear people speaking out about the proposed cuts to education in the budget. Education is something very important to me and I reflected today that I first stepped out in support of fair and equitable education for all back in 1987...sometimes the road is long...

Back to New Farm Park with about an hour before the gig, I had a bit of a wander around New Farm Park. It's a magnificent park, well-utilised and well-known for its gardens. A few roses were in bloom, but nothing says 'New Farm Park' to me like the magnificent trees and the bandstand (and since we had a gig next door, quite apt). 

Clarinettist's selfie, looking towards the stage...
The gig was good, incidental music for a community function and we finished about 8pm. I had a briefly awkward moment in the car park when I wanted to say *something* to someone who took the car park I planned to take...grr, thought I, and was about to argue the toss when I realised it was Carol about fan girl moment. 

Powerhouse: we've 'arrived'
We sorted the car park spot quick smart and I was honoured to have spoken with one of my favourite singers and band leaders of the 1970s (Railroad Gin). My brush with fame in the shadow of a famous building, after an early morning exchange with New York...all I need to power on for the rest of the week. 

[Camera : Canon EOS 60D, 28-80mm, 4.45pm (park); iPhone 4S, 12.56pm, 2.38pm, 5.20pm]

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Day 231: Azalea...

Day 231: the sea*

WIth the weather a little more comfortable today, it was off to the Gold Coast to accompany my mum to her next tai chi lesson which, of course, means the obligatory beach shot because we are just that close. So, a day after the rains and wind, the beach near Burleigh looked like this: 

Morning cloud with jogger
(auto-enhance on, just to test it)

...just in case you were wondering, dear reader. I consider it a community duty.

Mum also has the most glorious azalea bush in the front yard too, and every year around this time the green bursts forth to show mostly white flowers except for one small section which has a streak of pink. They are quite beautiful to look at. And really, does the day really need anything else?

Afternoon azalea
Morning azalea

So, I won't tell you about the work I continued to do, the reading, writing, seeking further publications and so on and so forth. All very ho hum really.  

*(I'm trying a kind of rhyme there: a-za'le-ah, by the see-ah; nah, I'll leave it to the experts.) 

Tomorrow is the gig, at the Powerhouse...have I mentioned that yet, dear reader...

Hehehehehe (in lieu of stage nerves). 

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 11.16am, 3.23pm, 10.26am]

Monday, 18 August 2014

Day 230: Solving the world's problems...

Day 230: seminar at a time

Politics is my day job. Actually, given the nature of it, it also tends to be my night-time job, weekend job, holiday's a pretty full-time occupation really. I watch it, read it, teach it, research it, think it, speak it, write it. More recently, I've been known to tweet it and blog it. 

(*For those who didn't realise, my twitter handle 'psephy' is short for psephologist, one who analyses elections, and has come to mean politics more broadly. It was my students who named me on the day my twitter account was created before their very eyes.)

Tonight, unusually, I gave up a rehearsal night to attend a symposium on gender and international relations in town, hosted by one of my professional affiliations, the Australian Institute of International Affairs. The symposium was conceived and run by the current group of interns. I also think it is important to support their endeavours.

I opted to work at home for the day, continue the writing and thinking. I also got in touch with a couple of publishers, with some promising outcomes (stay tuned, dear reader). Things are starting to come together. 

The symposium was due for 5.30 to start at 6.00pm. That meant a trip to the city late in the day, on the bus (more of which shortly). A trip to the city also means pics that aren't from the backyard, you'll be relieved no doubt, dear reader. If I had been a little earlier, I might have spent a little more time but this evening's pics were spontaneous and under time pressure. I was struck by this structure coming out of the building on the corner of Mary and George Street and I also liked the way it captured the mood of the weather--a cold and very windy evening. 

George and Mary
The other, on the way (home, I thought) to the bus stop, the lights of the casino on George and Elizabeth...a shot any way, any time really. 

George and Elizabeth
Along the way, I was privileged to hear, among others, Brisbane feminist leaders, Prof Carole Ferrier and Zoe Rathus, amongst others. They have been inspirational to my feminist understandings over, well more than, two decades now. 

Carole Ferrier (first on left) and Zoe Rathus (second from left)
On the way home...the bus...was late. It was worthy of a micro-novel (while conducting a twitter convo on herbal teas...). You've gotta love Twitter's quirkiness.

[Camera : iPhone 4S, 5.34pm, 8.38pm, 6.26pm] 

I might do a few of these commuter micro-twitnovels, as I heretofore name them. Here's your first in the tweeted from 9.00pm until I got home. 

Lost in bus--a commuter micro-twitnovel

It started with a simple tweet at 9.03pm

#1 'Takes a special bus service to have buses running over 15mins late at this time of night. Here's looking at you Brisbane.'
#2 'Perhaps the driver is lost in the underground labyrinth that is the Myer Centre. #newdriver ('^_^')'
#3 'Buses keep going past, round and around, not able to stop. Lines of passengers snake around the confined platform space... #waiting'
#4 'I'm going to compose the twitter micro novel 'lost in bus' while waiting... #staytuned
#5 'Tensions begin to rise amongst frustrated passengers who didn't expect to be out in the cold for quite so long.'
#6 'Meanwhile, I could have been at rehearsal but the pursuit of right, justice, gender and International Relations took precedence.'
#7 'One moment please; I am going to join the queue otherwise I may have to stand ALL THE WAY HOME!'
#8 'Oh, the bus!'
#9 'So yes, the bus arrived. I believe we have missed two expected buses. By my estimates anyway.  There were no apologies, no concerns...
#10 'I imagine there are two buses looping around the Myer Centre looking for Platform C. It is the most perplexing platform for buses and...
#11 '...passengers alike. The stairs only take you to the platform. You can't go anywhere else. Lost people often come down the stairs, looking >>
#12 '>>for the way out. One day, a few of us waiting diligently for our bus, when asked by an unsuspecting visitor to our world, 'how do I get >
#13 'out of here?', the collective answered 'we don't know, we've been stuck here ourselves for three weeks... (^o^) ...
#14 '...well, that was probably a bit rude, he looked...frightened but returned to the real world. But now, this bus seems to be on track so...
#15 '...I shall end our story here. Thanking you for following.
One question: would *you* have done something if our bus never came? (^o^)/

#16 (as epilogue) 'Quelle almost empty bus just went past...on time. <end of story, I think>

And finished at 9.58pm.

So, it might become a thing...

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Day 229: More music...

Day 229: ...sweet music...and South Bank

Sunday. Plenty of overnight rain to clear the place of dustiness and dryness. Not enough for our country cousins but refreshing to wake up to nonetheless. 

Work aplenty to do of course so what better thing to do than go into the city to hear a concert that was to go live to air on ABC Classic FM. A Cuban pianist, Marialy Pacheco played some jazz standards, some of her own compositions and all with that Cuban vibe. She lived in Brisbane for a while some years ago and composed a piece dedicated to Brisbane. How nice. A fabulous way to spend part of the afternoon; and any excuse to spend time in ABC Brisbane's lovely Studio 420 at South Bank. 

On air, in Studio 420
Spent a little extra time walking around South Bank as well, took some time out to do some reading riverside because it was such a nice day and tried some gourmet fried bananas* because you just never know when a tourist is going to ask your opinion on local foods (*contained traces of fruit).

The reflected wheel
(inspired by photography tutor,  Paul Farris)

Arbor and wheel

Jonathon Livingston's distant relative

Free bus trip home because the machines were down, some more work to be done and a relaxed way to get into the week...two weeks before long service leave. 

Not that I'm counting down the days...of course. 

[Camera : Canon EOS 60D, 28-80mm; iPhone 4S, 12.42pm-3.17pm]