Sunday, May 29, 2011

What to do when your spine says "NO!"

Obviously, you should yell 'no' back at it and throw painkillers until it submits.

It works in theory.

Um, last Monday I had back pain, and then ignored it until Wednesday, when it got to about a seven on the one-to-ten scale. It's Monday again, and I'm waiting for the painkillers to kick in. But aside from that, it's left me kinda useless. The most non-painful state of existence is the 'plank' position, which kinda makes doing anything at all a little difficult.

So for now, I've resigned to browsing Youtube because I'm slightly useless for anything else, and I've run out of Soul Eater (the newest manga I've started reading online. The art style is significantly different from anything I've looked at before but the storyline is a bit out there).

Flavour of the Youtube is Ocarina this time around:

It's nice. And the performing artist here is pretty good.

Anyway, so we're marching into the early arvo and I'm like, 'what could I be doing now?'


This is a state of existence that I'm not used to - sitting, being fully conscious and unable to do just about everything. It's driving me nuts.

Not to mention that today was going to be the 'strut about the old part of Newcastle and look at the English architecture' for Printmaking. Was gonna get the top hat out and everything.
But I might just write some blog posts instead, surf the internet like an attention-deficit squirrel on PCP and get frustrated. Consume more painkillers and write useless blog posts. Like this one!

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Hey everyone.

Uni has been slightly very busy, and although I'm working on a new post at the moment, it just isn't finished yet. I'll tell you all about Jigokucho soon, I promise.

For now, I've been missing the blog. Missing thinking about how to muse on the tendencies and funnies of the mundane and make them interesting and/or amusing enough to talk about.

I don't have a particular theme for this post, so I'll just tell you about a whole lot of things.

Like this album.

In my final year of school, I wrote this story about Nephilim and redemption and determinism versus determination. It was great fun and I made a mix of music to write to that was basically my entire collection of Anberlin, plus (then) Boyfriend's three albums of Linkin Park. I had heavy themes going on. Writing to rock and yelling and metal just seemed to work. Especially when the cave fell in. But hey.

My friend Tiarne and I hung out all the time. I listened to some of her music, and she listened to bits of mine. Tiarne loved Underoath. Pretty sure she still does.

There's a song on this album called 'Too Bright To See, To Loud To Hear' and one of the key lines from it goes something along the lines of

'Good God, can you still get us home?'

The phrase stuck with me as I wrote about the Nephilim, and any time I was nearby Tiarne's ipod and felt that it was alright to pick a track, I'd pick this one. She seemed to tolerate it graciously.

This relates to now because the phrase listed above popped back into my head this afternoon. I had the album on my list of 'music I will buy someday' and on a whim, popped onto iTunes to see how much it was.

Nine bucks later I was revelling in the roaring.

Metal/screamo music is...interesting. I giggle at it sometimes. Once I get a handle for the lyrics I think we'll be mates though. Nothing wrong with trying to expand the musical palette.

Except for Beiber and Rebecca Black. I don't think I'll ever be reconciled to them.

Next topic.

Uni is approaching the big crunch. I've got two weeks left of semester, plus a couple exam weeks that I don't have anything in. It's a bit scary actually - to think that a whole semester is down and...crup. A whole semester is down.

So, crunch looks like 'hey, I've got three practical subjects and I've gotta make it look like I've been getting my arty on (which I have, BTW. It's just not the easiest thing to quantify. I could give them a list of the manga I've read. That could be cool.) and like all I live and breathe for is this subject.'

I'm writing an essay at the moment on viewpoints and white European middle-class men. Fun.

Need sources that I'll pick up from the library either tomorrow or Monday.

There's other bits and pieces too; I'll probably spend the next forty minutes doing something cool like making layout patterns for the Transit project or something. Or maybe I'll just lay flat out on the floor instead and let my guts win the battle against all the MSG I've ingested.

I love Chinese food so much.

In closing, I just want to offer you some old photos from my phone. I'm sure at least one of them would make good story fodder.

Ah, the nostalgia.

I've just had the best idea.

I'll post a stack of random photos from time to time, and if someone asks about one of them, I'll make it the subject of my next post. Sound good?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Transit #3 - Race the Dawn

So. Time to write the post-reflection-thing for the transit project.

Those who watch release dates may have noticed that this post is notoriously close to the previous one. This is because I took the photos for technical research and didn't write about it until later. Much later.

Moving along.

The trip itself actually underwent a lot more than what I thought it would in terms of logistics and last-minute changes; we had a deadline to meet on the day we got home - this suddenly changed from 4pm to 12:30pm and things quickly got interesting, considering that the trip was going to take roughly 12 hours no matter what.

It was decided on our last day that we would bend spacetime and Try Something Different.

Leave at midnight. Drive through the night and the early morning and race the dawn to get home in time to meet the requirements set by the deadline-setter. And not stop.

Things happened accordingly. That night my siblings, my aunt and I spent half an hour in the drive-thru at Dirtybird (KFC) waiting on 'Krusher' milkshake things, watched RED and went back to sleep for a couple of hours before heading out at 12:30am.

Things became rather blurry from there. I remember being particularly cranky at the deadline-setter and trying to take photos in the dark that weren't working. There were blurry blurry photographs, and I watched through the haze of 3am as we pounded through the kilometres methodically.

We passed the Pine Plantation Somewhere North Of Brisbane, the Brisbane Interstatey Bit, the Caboolture Stop and various other spots as I faded in and out of consciousness. I remember also being rather cranky because of the severe decrease in optimal photo-taking-time.

There were brief stops every now and then as Mum and Dad changed drivers, usually on the side of the massive roads we were so used to going down.

The overall feeling was actually quite odd - as though I had gone back to being a very small child, disorientated but not making a whole lot of noise because the car was moving and we were going places. The car changed in vibe from the compressed hive of activity it is in the daylight into the sleeper cabin Tiarne and I walked into on the midnight train last year - slightly creepy in its silentness.

Either way, we were going places.

We stopped in at Ballina to refuel; I was awake again and mildly confused by the bright lights of the fuel station. Confined to the backseat, I took photos where I could.

I didn't like many of them.

The sky was becoming light; it was about the hour of five-ish and we pulled into a Macdonalds for 'Breakfast'. My siblings shuffled out, swaying like zombies as we surveyed the fluorescent glow of the fast-food giant and for some reason, all ordered the same meal.

I wandered outside again to make the most of the one stop; taking photos where I could, trying to come up with inspiration in the carpark of Chew and Spew. It was Interesting, to say the least. We got some good shots in.

We followed rule #1 of the Traveller and clambered back into the car as the first real rays of sunlight began to hit the clouds above us. I grabbed a couple more snaps and we were off again.

It was on our way out of Ballina that the sun began to rise properly over the cane fields I am so used to seeing on this trip; the camera had the ISO turned down a notch or two and I started shooting the sunrise in between cursing the sudden clumps of tree that photobombed the fiery sky.

A while after this, it began to rain. Heavily. The car slowed in pace and the wipers went up to level three. The music on Mum's ipod had looped through the car stereo for about the third time and I remember trying to block the sound with my pillow, thinking, "But I don't wanna listen to Mac Powell,"

Either way, by this time the sibs were still doing the sleep thing. Try taking photos that tell a story of transit in the car with your family when they're mostly asleep.

Or just start experimenting with whatever happens to be in your laptop bag. Even if it is the laptop.




The last of the journey back consisted of listening to a Doctor Who audiobook and the taking of motion-type photos. You know, the ones where just one object is in focus and the rest of it is blurred? I started tracking trees as we passed through the ghost road, and as we neared our street, finally, Prue seemed to be in the mood for taking photos. We got about three with the llama and then landed, wearily, at our house.

The car was unpacked, and six bodies in various states of beings shuffled indoors. It felt to be somewhere between 4 and 6pm.

It was 10:30. AM.

I had some good photos. The questions remaining were, are there enough? and are they up to scratch?

I figured that leaving them for a while and coming back when I wasn't so full of angst and overtiredness would be helpful. When my brain wasn't being overly critical or something.

Guess I'll wait just a little longer.

In closing, I guess that one of the coolest things about the end of the trip was taking this photo before we unpacked the car. Because it really did look like a tetris screen/this sketch I drew of Dad's carpacking skills.

P.S. If this sounds like one long negative rant, that's probably because I have issues. In reality, there were a few things that threw exactly what I had initially expected out of whack. As mentioned in Transit #2, I rolled with the punches and drew amusement from whinging about it later. One of my endearing characteristics I guess.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Transit #2 - logistics are fun.

So, now that we've cleared the essential concept-making-ness, I guess that the next thing to do is figure out how to keep up with my mouth. Or at least, make sure that it's possible to box the idea I just sold everyone.

The first thing I started doing in this regard was to go back over photos I'd already taken, and take some more that all happened in the car. Checking things like available shots, focal lengths, lighting availability; stuff like that.

Things got interesting with the initial experiments - I didn't have the car we travel in on hand - (a van to accommodate our cats, rats and elephants. And family members too I guess.) so instead I spent a couple of mornings and an afternoon fiddling inside the small car I drive instead.

This car is a small car. Small and blue and noisy and old and I love it to bits.

In terms of lighting, I discovered the obvious. The sunlight available at and given time will not be direct, and it won't be coming directly from above. Unless the van suddenly turns into a convertible. And that would be bad.

So, the greater portion of light streams in through whatever windows are closest to it. This I think will make achieving a workable white balance interesting - I am expecting quite a few images to either have an underexposed interior or overexposed windows. I don't want to use the flash unless it's absolutely necessary. Small spaces + bright flash = blown out, flat, flooded images. And blindness. I could add extra artificial lighting if need be that isn't a flash - or at least isn't as hard and white.

The windows of the car will probably either serve as a framing device, extra background, or a big black nuisance. Considering that the whole concept of the project revolves around the travel in the car, I think that it would be pointless trying to pretend that the steel structure of the car shouldn't be there.

Take photos anyway. Embrace the framing. Do what has always been done and rock the spandex. So to speak.

What else can I address?

ah. kay.

I think I can do some depth-of-field work - photos with a foreground item in focus and nothing else. These can assist in picking up the small intricacies of travel; the texture of an item or simply to reflect the nature of human memory (this is what I mean by that). I recently figured out how to use the macro button on the camera. So I can do this with minimal effort.

In terms of problems I think I'll encounter, there will probably be a few.

Lighting. Too little, too much, in the wrong spot...I'll fiddle a bit with the shutter speed, and ISO to achieve what I'm after. I haven't found the settings to change the aperture on the camera yet.


'Nuff said.

Simple travel logistics - where and when we stop; things I can take photos of in these places. Then again, I can usually improvise things to get where I'm going. Plans have been changed recently, so I won't be travelling the whole way north with the folks - they leave before I finish uni classes, so I'll fly to Brisbane and have the Brisbane-Hervey Bay (Northbound) leg to take photos on and the southbound trip will be the full length.
The time we leave will also influence the photos taken. We usually leave early morning - like about 0700 or 0800.

I'm also rather heavily relying on something I started calling the 'gambit factor' until I looked up 'gambit' to double check the meaning and realised that it's not a gambit at all.
Basically, I know that there is a certain amount of things that you cannot predict that can happen in a short period of time - things that often are out of control and can be crazy-good or crazy-bad. I tend to just roll with the punches and keep snapping. Sometimes I catch pictures that won't ever be repeated in the history of whatever we are measuring. It's like, the perfect mix of random elements to produce the maximum awesome.

Come to think of it, I think that's called Life.

Anyhoo. I'll write up a reflection on the snaps and travels shortly. Enjoy.