Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mark in HDR

Mark and I were talking about various photo effects, and trying to work out how many bracketed photos my camera takes. This was the same afternoon we were talking about the Orton effect, which led to this photo.

This was a test, which I later realised I could test out the HDR function in potatoshop. Not great, but worthwhile.

The answer was three, by the way.

Ice Cream Duck

Ice Cream Duck
Originally uploaded by Hopkinsii
We were having dinner with mum and dad and Alex helped himself to ice cream. When I saw him trying to make a snowman, I laughed and made a remark. He turned his back on me, and after several minutes of work, revealed The Ice Cream Duck...

Monday, November 24, 2008


Derek Guille was on the radio this evening talking to some cabaret artists.

One was talking about the importance of having a message, a point or at least some pain to convey with cabaret, and remembered an experience watching a cabaret in New York.

The singer introduced a song with a lament.
"The last few months have been very hard for me. I've been looking after my mother who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease, and watching her lose all her... *bursts into song* "Memories.... Light the... ""

Orton artichokes

I need a pretty flower today.

After the rush and flash of Saturday morning and the disappointment of Saturday afternoon, the rest of the weekend was more relaxing.

I caught up with Mark at Lygon Street on Saturday afternoon, and we came back to Collingwood discussing the Orton effect (hence the photos). Saturday night the kidlets and I had dinner at mum and dad's, and Sunday (23 Nov) we had yum cha (dim sum) at Doncaster, followed by afternoon tea with mum and dad, Anita, Roger and their small ones.

Today, on the other hand, has been less relaxing, albeit more productive. I'm feeling pretty productive, dealing decisively with issues from difficult feedback to staff (with great technical skills; crap relationship skills) to the economics of the divisional Christmas party (OFFS, FAD!*). Now off to dessert at Chez Thorn. I will then come home to (well deserved) flower therapy.

*Oh for Fuck's Sake; Fuck a Duck!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Orton Effect

I had coffee with Mark today at Lygon St and he dropped back to the house on his way home. We were talking about photoshop and the Orton effect, and I thought I'd have another go. I've tried it in the past, but you really need the right sort of photo. This time, I think I might have it...

The photo is a few years old, and is of a white helebore flower growing in the garden at Chez Thorn. It has the correct dreamy glow without an overall blur - pale colours on dark backgrounds seem to do well.

I'm pretty happy with this. A bit too romantic and cliched to want to use too often, but for the right photo it looks pretty damn fine.

An awful way to spend Saturday morning

The real estate agent wanted to let a few people through the house this morning. Scheduled to arrive at 10.00, while mum and dad were to pick the kids up and get them out of the house just before. Of course, people started arriving ten minutes early in droves. The agent let them in (which was understandable - the rain was belting down) and with the kids stuck in the middle about 40 -50 crammed into my tiny, tiny house. Not pleasant.

After a morning of chaos and rushing (dropping Lily off; collecting her etc), I've just discovered I've missed the registration deadline for the corporate games this afternoon. Texted team-mate to say "whoops, sorry...". Not happy....

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

That's why it's called "Exhibition Street"

I went to a seminar/roundtable/workshop/thing this afternoon to try and answer the question, "how do we embed climate change consideration into our decision making". Putting aside the fact that the word "mainstreaming" was used by speakers without any apparent irony, the answer was "governance". Which was a bit odd, because I thought governance was the question. So now we have a Rumpelstiltskin problem - we don't know how to solve it but it least it has a name.

Walking back from the workshop, I passed a middle-aged man standing on the corner of Little Collins and Exhibition. He, and I had to look twice to confirm this, was scratching the underside of his chin with a wooden duck.

And that's why I live in Melbourne.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A convex self portrait taken at Chez Thorn. The mirror, unadulterated by self, can also been seen here.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tim's Farewell

I've worked with Tim on and off for a few years now. First as competing forces when I was (or least considered myself) a public transport lobbyist, and recently, for the last four months or so, he's been the head of my active transport group.

He's off to manage a team of geo-spatial researchers in another government organisation, so we had a lunch of Tiffins at work (Tim was reluctant to go out for lunch). A long table was set up, sitar music was played and curry and fizz were internalized.

Jenny talked about meeting Tim when she was doing her PhD in the early 1970's and produced a somewhat faded copy of his monograph on accessibility and urban density. I spoke briefly about the last few years, my admiration for him as a great policy brain and gentleman (not a term to use lightly) and, having spoken to his future Exec Director, assured everyone that I thought her intentions were honourable.

Tim, rather typically, then spent 20 minutes thanking pretty much everyone in the room.

Tim's the one standing in the middle left. Cameraphone photo heavily tweaked with photoshop...

Monday, November 10, 2008

How many people is a driver?

I read a draft document today which contained the beautiful sentence:
"There is approximately 1.08 people per vehicle - the driver."
...and his hamster, presumably. Or maybe he's put on weight.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Jumping on eggs

This was posted in boingboing a few months ago, and for some reason it popped into my head today.

The highlight is the expression on the final presenters face. "And that's it, is it?"

Rage Against the Horn Section

I've just discovered the Apples.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Today's warning and ABC Science

Catalyst, ABC TV's current science show, offered the following warning to viewers:
"The following program contains scenes of fish harvesting that may distress some viewers."
Thanks for that.

But all is not totally stupid at Aunty's science department. Listening to RN on Monday night (I started this filthy habbit when the Olympics were on my normal station and haven't been able to give it up), Robyn Williams of the Science Show introduced Ben Goldacre, whose column in the Guardian, Bad Science, has been favorite reading of mine for a few years. The interview was mostly about the conspiracy theory coverage of the MMR vaccine and the damage that poor journalism has done to science and public health, but started with a declaration of interest. Ben Goldacre turns out to be William's nephew.

I know, it's not much, but as fans of both it made me smile. Bertie Wooster would have assumed eating fish must run in the family.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tomorrow is a big day

Tomorrow I announce a new organisational structure at work. A part of me has been dreading this for a few months, but our structure doesn't meet our needs and it's not helping people. Not enough clarity of purpose, not enough clarity of responsibility. This feels like the most grown up part of the job so far, but I have too many people in the team to not feel a huge sense of responsibility. I've spoken to everyone who's going to be effected and I think it should be ok, but until it's over I'm going to keep worrying.

That's enough moaning. I have a job I love and it's a complete package.

I paid no attention to the Melbourne Cup yesterday. A horse won.

On the other hand, we paid a lot of attention to the US election today, dedicating a room to ongoing coverage. Adrian and Malcolm did their best Antony Green impersonations, flicking between CNN and the web. And lo, there was much rejoicing. A horse did not win.

Congratulations instead go to my flickr contact who is now the President elect.

Unfortunately, all day I've been imagining Barak Obama surveying the global credit meltdown with Bob the Builder, who asks, "can we fix it?" "Yes we can."

Good luck, for what it's worth. And if you need any assistance from a pathologically upbeat claymation builder who explains environmentalism to his anthropomorphic earth moving equipment, Bob's your man. "Can we fix it?" Errrr... I hope so.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A few dot points

Short of organising my thoughts into coherent paragraphs, I offer a series of bullet points:
  • Friday was spent at an organisational planning day at Fenix, on Bridge Road. It was productive, but the thing that stick most in my head was the frank discussion a few of us had at the end about the toll the last few months is taking. Personal relationships are being tested, as is sobriety and patience. A uniform pressure is becoming a series of individual reactions, none of them constructive.
  • Saturday (yesterday) was spent at the races for Derby Day. I know nothing about horse racing, and while I will cheerfully admit to many vices, gambling isn't one of them. Fun, laughter, horses and crowds, bookended by a tram ride. Bernie (mon host) and I spent oooh, almost five minutes talking about work, so in that regard we were very disciplined.
  • Today Emily and I were supposed to go to the Whittlesea Show, but the traffic was banked up 10 km from Whittlesea so we gave up. Instead we dropped in to visit mum and dad, freshly back from South America; then marinara at Thornbury and now tapping away.