Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Adventures in Newcastle. Part Three - Another Funky Friday

This was another marvelous friday - full of...interesting things. I'm not sure.

I am pretty certain, though, that it's really important to blog about what you saw or did as soon as possible in relation to the event.

For example, Bec and I saw a Meteor Shower on our way to Uni this morning. I don't have any good photos of it because we were driving at the time. But it was rather cool. Really cool. Uber cool, even.

Anyway. This friday was um..not last friday but the one before. It started with the simple mission that went something like 'We are going to a gallery for our friday lecture. Get there at 10am'

We set off at the usual time, still keen to avoid traffic. We turned off en route to pick up a classmate in need of a lift and proceeded to make our way down to the foreshore in the hopes of locating this gallery.

I was mega keen to park somewhere, so we found a parking lot and placed the car quite lovingly into its care. Then we went in search of the gallery. In completely the wrong direction.

There is no feeling quite like finding a map after climbing and descending the steepest hill in Newcastle and going over hill and dale and realising that the car was parked approximately 800 metres from the gallery. We'd travelled probably at least twice that distance, maybe even three times.

It was okay in the end - we got exercised and still arrived on time. The gallery was partly interesting, partly listening to the woman tell us about how these paintings are technically part of Modernism, even though we'd done nothing on them so far. Here or there, the time passed quickly.

I took a photo as we left the gallery, and we were back on the road.

One quick stop at Uni, and we headed home, mildly curioused as to what we'd do.

Enter Glendale.

Glendale Stockland is this massive horseshoe of stores; retail and food and JB-HI FI. No joke, I walked in to that shop a couple days before the last trip home and was like; I think I'm in love. Whooooah.

There was like, CD's everywhere and they were better priced than Sanity at home and there was variety and DVDs and an entire shelf of Anime. Not just one little section. Not just a couple of Naruto DVDs and a Macross Box set that's been there since Macross came out. A whole frikkin shelf!!!

Me and JB HI-FI? We're gonna be good mates. Once I have a reliable source of income. In the meantime, it's nice to wander the aisles, looking at the five million CDs. Have not even ventured into the other side of the store yet - that side sells entertainment systems and stereos. It's exciting.

How about I stop ranting about JB HI-FI and find something else to talk about?

Bec and I were in need of some time to wind down. Things had been hectic and the day had had a couple of disappointments. Either way, I was craving caffeine, so when Bec suggested that we go to Gloria Jeans, she didn't have to twist my arm too far.

From there, we sat down with beverage in hand; Bec had a smoothie of some description, I had my almost-manga coffee. (If Manga Coffee sounds a little otaku-ish odd, I'd suggest going here for the normalspeak version)

From there stemmed a wonderful period of chill. I can't remember too much of the activities, since it was two weeks ago, but there was this gem we uncovered in between me picking up excess sugar packets for later and us watching some kind in a red T-shirt macking it past the shopfront.

This gem?

It's a game.

I remember us talking about parkour and the mood lighting in the shop, but that was about it.

I really enjoyed that coffee.

P.S. Dear Bec, I don't care how much you want to mess up my photos by bombing them. Because I'll post them anyway.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


I've got two posts mulling over at the moment. I'd write up the other one too if I had not left the crucial piece of paper I needed for it to make sense at home. Maybe tonight sometime I'll tell you all about the new game that Bec and I invented Friday week ago.

Anyhoo. I'd been so keen to get started on this concept and now half of the material is at home and I know that unless we get started now I'll be as helpless as I was in mid-semester for print this morning as I will be for photomedia.

Self-musings aside, I thought I'd tell you about what the phrase 'Transit' means. Because blogging assessments is a good way of sorting out ideas and reasoning in a way that is engaging and readable. Are we ready to chomp into the concept?

At the start of semester I picked up the big assessment for Photomedia, henceforth referred to as 'The Transit Project'. We are to create a ten-image portfolio conveying 'Transit'. The method of image-capture for me is digital, since I am doing Digital Photography.

So, when I started to look at the...thing...there was the usual brainfart.

What is this? How am I supposed to capture that? Where will I even start?

This escalated to maybe taking photos on trips to and from Sydney on the train. I've caught the train to old Siddles a few times before. It's do-able when it only costs $7.40 for a return ticket from Broadmeadow for a student. (So good!), and I liked the idea.

Until I realised that it would be done by heaps of people.

Identity issues through, I started on a different tangent, looking at maybe doing a stack of random images that each conveyed little facets of transit: the pathway trodden by five million pairs of shoes. The foreign coin sitting on the bus floor. The hundreds of leaflets from different attractions you saw on holiday. Or maybe that one is just me.

So, things were looking...mediocre.

And then there was an idea, so plain and simple and it was as cool and smarting as a face full of snowball.

Sort of.

It's only really been since I moved out that I really began to appreciate time with the folks. I mean, it started to be stronger in 2010, what with the 'you're not continuously in my grill because I'm not at school anymore'. Time with family is grand, and I'm really looking forward to the holidays because I'll see them again.

But this? This brainchild revolves around the fact that everytime I think of 'Transit', I think 'road trip'.

Every time I think 'road trip', I think 'Hervey Bay'

Hervey Bay is this city a bit bigger than Port Macquarie. It is where my paternal Grandmother and more of Dad's family lives, and we've been making this trip at least once a year for the past thirteen-fourteen years.

It might seem easy to belittle that distance, but the blue squiggly line represents over 800 kilometres of...transit. When we first started this trek, I was about 6. I think. Memories get a bit reshuffled, but I'm pretty sure that was the beginning. We used to take a couple of days; stay a night or two in Brisbane with some family friends - my younger sibling's godparents. Their daughter, Jasmine, used to braid my hair and braided it would stay for the three weeks of Christmas holidays we'd spend up there.

When the folks first moved up there, they lived on this big farm in Torbanlea, on the outskirts of Hervey Bay. They had a pool and Zelda on the '64, and that was just about the best thing in the world. My Aunts were still in High School, and my Pop owned an ice-creamery on the Esplanade.

I'm not sure what age I was when we started making the trip in one shot, but I remember those days being long. Really long. Over time, we whittled and honed this voyage down to a fine art - leaving in the early morning; it took us twelve hours all up. We had three stops; Coffs, Ballina and Caboolture. I had a gameboy, so that was all good with me.

Over time, it wasn't just the anticipation of Hervey Bay that I came to value.

It was the trip in itself.

Our family is well-acquainted with the inside of the car, and many of you say - bonding experiences - surfaced from long days in the car together.

It was inevitable. There is no escaping the fact that we were going to spend this amount of time in a small space with a lot of people and at some point, someone is going to fart or spill their drink.

There were things we worked through; methods we forged and stuck to and now, while it's still very exciting to go to Hervey Bay, the trip is not a giant to fear.

Dad has ALWAYS packed the car. As myself and my brother have grown older, we have attempted to assist in some way in the packing of the car, but inevitably Dad will pull it all out and repack it at some stage before we leave. Dad packing means that we are right at the end of getting ready to leave and the rest of the family will be packed in also; it becomes on big game of tetris, really.

Now that every reader knows how we travel, I'd like to take the opportunity to justify this herculean trip with the design brief.

I want to take photos in the car.

Nice photos in the car.

I enjoy telling stories. This has probably become somewhat relevant over the last 2000 words or so. I love to share things that I find funny or interesting. I'm always keen for a good story, and enjoy the ones that affect your perception afterwards enough to change your perception on certain things in life.
How do you look at wardrobes?

Are they a potential gate to another world? Or simply a place to hang your coats?
Tell me a story. Make it a good one. Good enough that when I see a clock tower, I think of keyblades and fairy dust. Good enough to draw any individual in and change the way they think about something just enough to make them stop and smile.
Unless that is not your goal. If your goal is to make people afraid of things that go 'bump' in the night, at least make sure that the thing doing the bumping is big and has teeth. None of this tentacle business.

Where was I?

Roadies. Right.

So, I want to take photos that tell you the story of the bonds in my family. Tell you a story of the slightly dysfunctional family with tendancies to laugh at silly things and do group dances and travel over 800km in 12 hours.

I want to experiement enough to make things slightly less blurry and slightly more interesting without being...arty?
I'm putting the question mark there because arty is too often attributed to little skill and lots of flair. I'm interested in honest storytelling that isn't gaudy or gimmicky.
In my opinion, it doesn't need to be gimmicky. Because most people I know will have, at some stage, gone on that road trip with their family. It's a fairly solid storyline because it's so relateable.
I think that might have been one of the reasons why I loved Little Miss Sunshine so much.