Return of City Daily Photo

In 2012-01-01 to Today–double-posted I mentioned the apparent demise of http://www.citydailyphoto.com/.

Such a shame. I joined quite late: 2009 in fact.  I had been drawn to the site by Sydney by Sally, Australia. Once there I found so many other great photo blogs, quite a few of them far better than my own – indeed as good as you could possibly get.

Well it’s now back.

… We were unfortunately hit by a hacker two weeks ago who deleted all our files and locked us out of the site. After much time, we were able to regain control of the site and restore our backups, but unfortunately not in time for the theme day. As all passwords are encrypted and we do not store (or ask for) any personal information about our users, you are not at risk….

— Demosthenes, Igor, and Eric

Sydney’s Julie brilliantly hosted April Theme Day: Cobblestones while the main site was down. See Cobblestones – CDPB Theme for April. 85 posts are linked there.

Julie is also a Taphophile. You know what that is?

Here are a few recent items from City Daily Photo.  There are so many great things there you should visit regularly. And of course you should visit my photo blog!

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Each one is linked to its source, so after guessing where each is from you can go to the particular City Daily Photo to see if you were right!

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Davoh and I–and morning in West Gong

I only know Davoh through his blog, which I have been following for years now. But we do have a few things in common. And a few things not. But I can relate to this.

… My life, these days, is relatively dull uneventful – mostly due to lack of finance. While yes, am fortunate with regards to rent and landlord – in that the former is extremely low, and the latter leaves me alone (and there is no "intervening agent" to pester me "on his behalf" and take their cut, percentage,  of any negotiation or financial transaction between him an me) …. the location is very isolated, with little interaction with other human beings ( to ‘tempt’ me into spending more than the budget allows).

While yes, there is plenty to DO; which doesn’t involve financial transaction – quite a lot of what i want to do, does.  There was, once upon a time, when i had ‘work’ to do and sufficient income from that to achieve some sort of sublimation of boredom -  those days are long past, These days, "living within a small budget" requires a great deal of patience (a quality that i seem to lack -  though am learning to negotiate outcomes where "money" is not an issue)…

Though I have to say I am rarely bored.

That entry of Davoh’s is well worth reading. And while Davoh explores the forest and clears his path – literally – I am content in the Yum Yum Cafe this morning.

Yes, I know you have seen it before – but it’s never the same, you know, not if you look. And I thought this morning quite special: but that’s just me. Perhaps, as everyone from Margaret Whitlam to Ian Turpie shuffles off the mortal coil, I am just weighing each day against the fact of mortality…

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On ebooks and The Straits

Ironic after my post about preferring actual books, but the last couple of days I have been happily downloading free ebooks – around sixty in all! I blame Denis Wright: My top 25 free eBooks released Jan 2012. He refers us to the joys of Gutenberg.  Indeed there are joys to be had there, and the quality of the product has improved too since the days when it was very basic text files.

Another good source is the University of Adelaide.

I don’t have one of those neat little reader things or an iPad, but I have found that using Calibre on Baby Toshiba offers quite a good alternative.

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Last night I watched The Straits. It is no doubt very well made but I am adjusting to it…

Set among the turquoise waters and lethal wildlife of Australia’s Far North Queensland and the Torres Strait, The Straits is an exotic, darkly humorous crime drama.
The Montebello’s family business is transporting drugs into Australia and guns and exotic wildlife out – using ties of blood and loyalty in the Torres Strait Islands.
When Harry (Brian Cox) starts to plan his succession a power struggle is sparked between brothers Noel (Aaron Fa’Aoso), Marou (Jimi Bani), and Gary (Firass Dirani), and wife Kitty (Rena Owen) and daughter Sissi (Suzannah Bayes-Morton).

A part of the world better known to some of my relatives in Queensland, and testimony to the diversity of this country – and the considerable overlap between us and Papua New Guinea.  I thought very much of Lord Malcolm who would have watched it for sure had he still been with us. His opinion would have been well worth hearing.

Malcolm had a lot of good stories to tell. What I didn’t know at the time, though I learned of it later, was that he had already been very ill, almost losing the use of his legs. He had also had a torrid time following the death of his partner a short time before I met him. He was gregarious but also in many ways a private person. For years I had no idea he lived just a short distance from where I live. He was in many respects, politically for example, quite conservative; in other respects he was not averse to taking risks. He had been, after all, a pilot, often in very remote parts of Australia. He knew the Top End and the Aboriginal communities well. I can remember a night at The Shakespeare when he told many stories about that; we were in the company of my Aboriginal friend Kristina Nehm, who knew the places of which he spoke and had also known Malcolm’s partner.

Back to my post “Tony Abbott was right: we really should move on”

I leave you to make up your mind about what I said then: Tony Abbott was right: we really should move on. I still commend the material I referred you to there, but should make clear that I very much support proper recognition of Indigenous Australians in the constitution.

But a few follow-ups on that great Oz Day fracas.

First Jim Belshaw today: “Talking to a work colleague who was at the Embassy at the time, she wanted to know (as I had) just what bleeding idiot organised an official Australia Day function in an insecure venue metres from such a significant Aboriginal location. At the least, it displays remarkable insensitivity.”

Second, John Quiggin: “Looking at the latest TV news I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I’m sick of the confected outrage surrounding the Australia Day incident. On the other hand, if this is what it takes to make the Labor Party realise they have to go back to Kevin Rudd, and sooner rather than later, then I suppose I can live with it.”

Third, Matt da Silva:

Along with the commentariat, Liberal Party politicians have been pushing hard to keep the issue in the news. The saga goes on and on like a bad and boozy lunch from the bad old days of the fat-jack expense account and the Beemer at the curb on Queen Street. It’s time, folks, to fold up our napkins, visit the necessary one last time, and "move on", in Tony Abbot’s parlance, to other, more productive debates.

Let’s put the thing in perspective.

First, the protesters. Aboriginal activists are not like the anodyne-sounding Institute of Public Affairs, which is actually a highly-active conservative think-tank that ruthlessly campaigns on issues that it deems important. Aboriginal activist groups do not have dozens of well-paid text monkeys researching issues and writing the opinion pieces that the IPA is famous for. They have their Tent Embassy, they have their voices, and they have their passion. At the IPA it’s all a bit more civilised, but it’s no less raw, the protesting and campaigning. Instead of voices and bodies, scribes at the IPA deploy nouns and verbs. But the upshot is the same: publicity. So let’s give credit to the folks at the Tent Embassy. If what they wanted was publicity, they eminently achieved their goal…

So a few noisy protesters made a fuss outside the restaurant. That didn’t justify the response of Julia Gillard’s security detail in treating the event like an assassination attempt. Dragging a puzzled PM off toward the waiting car was bad enough. Making her lose her shoe? It’s truly novelistic. Treating the Tent Embassy protesters like an organised posse of axe-wielding maniacs was the first crime. Treating the event like a major story of national interest was the second. Can we please just turn off the music, put away the cask wine, and clean our damn teeth? At some point we need to start thinking about the serious stuff.

Fourth, Patrick Dodson:

AMY BAINBRIDGE, REPORTER: The political fallout over the Australia Day protests has lasted days, with the Opposition continuing to demand to know who knew what and when.
But at the inaugural Gandhi Oration, hosted by the University of New South Wales, Professor Patrick Dodson implored the public to look at what caused the ugly scenes.
PATRICK DODSON, INDIGENOUS LEADER: It would be simplistic however to condemn outright the behaviour of protestors associated with the tent embassy last week without considering the sense of oppression that some of our people still feel towards our governments on a whole range of matters.
I will always condemn bad manners and unnecessarily aggressive behaviour by whomever. But I will also defend people’s rights to assert their political position and try to look at the heart of why people feel so oppressed that they feel violent confrontation is the only recourse to the resolution of their position.
AMY BAINBRIDGE: Professor Dodson says the events in Canberra won’t derail the bid to recognise the nation’s first peoples in the Constitution. He’s part of a panel that has handed a report to the Prime Minister recommending changes to the Constitution to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
PATRICK DODSON: But even now, in the second decade of the 21st Century, full and proper recognition of the status of the Indigenous peoples as first peoples, with rights and responsibilities that go with that status, is regarded with alarm by some within our country.
This is despite the fact that countries like Canada, New Zealand, Norway, demonstrating that it is possible to agree and give substantive recognition to Indigenous peoples.
AMY BAINBRIDGE: And he says the world is watching Australia.
PATRICK DODSON: The world must think we’re crazy that we – if we do not go to a referendum on this, just contemplate for a minute: the nation of Australia does not support in its constitution non-discrimination against people on the basis of colour, ethnic origin or nationality. Just contemplate that when you go to New York or you go to Bangladesh or you go to China or India.
AMY BAINBRIDGE: For now, it’s only the politicians continuing the attack over Thursday’s events. Professor Dodson wants to move on.

See also:

AUSTRALIAN governments present a different face on the international stage from the one they show when dealing with indigenous people, the ”father of reconciliation” Patrick Dodson said in Sydney last night.

Speaking five days after a fracas embroiling the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, he said: ”I struggle with this hypocrisy, particularly when they seem happy to intervene in the affairs of other countries but become very defensive when criticised for their treatment of the first peoples of this land.”

Mr Dodson was delivering the inaugural Gandhi Oration at the University of NSW.

Mr Dodson defended the expert panel he co-chairs against criticism that it had gone too far in recommending changes to the race powers contained in the constitution to allow positive discrimination for indigenous people. He said there should be no referendum on it if politicians did not agree.

”If there is no cross-party support for the proposition, it will more than likely fail,” he said.

Fifth, Pat Corowa on Facebook.

Before I left the tent embassy late on Saturday night, there were 3 Buddhist monks from Sri Lanka who had flown into Canberra a couple of hours earlier.. they came straight to the ATE, after they saw the news about us on TV.. They performed with Brothers from Stradbroke Island (Denis B Walker’s sons and grandsons) and then with a brother on the Didge from the Yuin Nation on the South Coast of NSW…

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Linked to an album recommended by Pat Corowa

All this to balance my earlier post, but I stand by the view that there is a very real debate to be had about what matters most – as I think Bob Carr is saying. I very much share that concern.

Reflective of the 80s and 90s–others and myself

I was simply checking the internet for Dr Cassy’s current number – it isn’t there – when I came upon this: “Don’t Leave Me This Way” (from String Quartet).

lylechan.com is a radical experiment in truth-telling. Every week over the next 28 months, I will write approximately 6 minutes of music per fortnight and give it away for free. I will accompany the music with blogposts which say what was on my mind and was occurring in my life during the composition of this music.

I am a composer. My music is like a diary. At least, it’s the part that cannot be said in words, whereas the part that can be will be.

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I found the music beautiful, and then I read on encountering things I had been on the edges of myself, Dr Cassy having been my doctor on and off for about 25 years.

I began the sketches for this section of my String Quartet back sometime in the mid-1990s.

On May 29, 1995 I delivered the eulogy below for the artist David McDiarmid. David was a magical and gifted artist, completely of his time in the best sense of that phrase – the time being the late 70’s to the mid 90’s, against the growing backdrop of the AIDS epidemic…

We were all AIDS activists back then. I was a member of ACT UP, the media-savvy direct-action group destined for perpetual infamy on account of its confronting protests. (Think Greenpeace, but for AIDS.) Within a couple of months of arriving in Australia in Christmas 1990, I was running a ‘buyers club’ importing AIDS drugs unavailable here. It was a stop-gap measure while the activists lobbied hard to get regulatory authorities and pharmaceutical companies to cut the red tape preventing the drugs from being accessible readily and affordably….

David and I became much closer after I started collaborating with a doctor named Cassy Workman. Cassy and I together with Lois Johnson from ACT UP formed a radical AIDS treatment center masquerading as an ordinary doctor’s office. We ran our own clinical trials, recorded and analyzed our own data, and devised treatment regimes using drug combinations obtained by lying to the hospitals about what drugs our patients were really on – to circumvent a thinking-inside-the-box limit about how many experimental therapies a person could be on simultaneously. Our patients were clearly healthier than most. Some of it was due to the stealth combination therapy. Most of it was because we treated AIDS patients like normal people…

I’ll cut to the eulogy here, because much of the rest of David’s story is told in it, and resume my story about the music afterwards…

That was 1995.

During those heady days of life-and-death activism, I sketched a lot of music without fully composing much of it. I used to joke that I specialized in unfinished works. I’ve since realized that sketching was my way of keeping a diary. A diary of feelings, rather than events. This piece is realized from sketches I made from that time.

Since Cassy uncompromisingly gave her everything to every patient in front of her in every moment, it meant unpredictably long periods of waiting in the doctor’s office. A big part of my friendship with David came from talking to him while he waited his turn to see Cassy. He’d come with hilarious gifts for me, such as a compilation video tape of cartoons (eg. Son of Stimpy) and 1950s bodybuilding and soft porn footage. He also gave me a compilation cassette tape of campy songs, which I eventually understood was either a prototype or an offshoot of his “Toxic Queen presents …” and “Funeral Hits of the 90s” projects.

Humor – actually, sarcasm and bitchiness – was a key ingredient in David’s art. His works had titles like “Lifetimes are not what they used to be”, “Darling, you make me sick”, “AIDS victim dies alone – family profits” and “It’s my party and I’ll die if I want to, sugar.”…

My music here is nothing like David’s art. None of David’s humor has shown up. So that’s how I know this piece is not a tribute to him, though he’s in it. It’s more a record of the times we both inhabited, and about the stars we visited in our minds while we were all coping with the times. Instead there’s a debonairness to the music, a sophistication that’s shown up as, interestingly, jazz. I don’t know if David liked jazz, but this piece has great chunks of it. David lived a lush life. I think that’s where the jazz comes from, from Billy Strayhorn and the lush life….

The music that post refers to is here.

See also:

And do note:

Solo Piano: new 2012 project

In 2012, I am sending out free music from my gigantic, autobiographical work-in-progress called Solo Piano.

I guarantee it will be one of the most unusual musical projects you’ve ever come across. More information will be posted on this website over the next few days, but meanwhile: free free to join the mailing list for Solo Piano here.

Now The Iron Lady again

Yes, I am still ruminating, especially after seeing Meryl Streep last night on ABC. Interesting contrast made between what the USA thinks is “conservative” and the actual beliefs and actions of Maggie T.

Then I see I was not alone when I thought: " whatever I may have thought about Margaret Thatcher was kind of beside the point. Think King Lear, perhaps, with Maggie as Lear rather than as Goneril and Dennis perhaps The Fool…" Or maybe Kent?  Hmmm. But Poor Tom? Hmmm.

Anyway, see Elizabeth Farrelly in today’s Sydney Morning Herald.

The film has been accused of disrespect, hagiography, clumsiness, obtuseness, ”horrifying” sexism and – by America’s National Public Radio, no less – ”sheer awfulness”. Some are charmed, others disgusted – largely along tired ideological lines.

Yet to me it seems at once a clear-eyed feminist treatise, a sympathetic study of ageing and dementia and a thoughtful analysis of mother-daughter complexities. On a canvas of riotous democracy, it cartoons the contemporary human condition, and in particular the contemporary female condition…

It is King Lear recast in a context of feminism, democracy, television and dementia. Innocent beginning, glorious climax, fatal flaw, dreadful end.

The Iron Lady is not told linearly, partly because we are assumed to know the narrative arc, and partly because fragmentation is the theme, common to democracy, post-modernism and Alzheimer’s disease.

Yet it is a Lear. Carol of course is Cordelia, faithfully serving the parental monarch even as she is unwittingly lashed. Mark is the perfidious Goneril, calling from South Africa only to turn the knife. Dennis is Poor Tom – equal parts priest, shrink, joker and crutch – and Airey Neave is Gloucester, car-bombed, rather than eye-gouged, for his loyalty.

Enthroned at the centre of it all is Thatcher herself; grand, as well as grandly flawed. (The film pointedly ends with her self-sketched fate, not dead but – worse – softened by disease, washing said teacup). She stands on principle, and on principle she falls.

Wikis and weblogs and trolls, oh my!

Such a good title! A student of secondary teaching at Melbourne University has just started an edublog with that name.

No matter how fancy or whizz-bang our teaching presentations or animations of enzymes are, if we can’t get the kids listening and engaged we may as well try can-can dancing up and down the classroom with sparklers in our hair.

I am currently teaching two rather rowdy classes in Year 8 and Year 9, and have been learning the fundamental lesson that no matter what wonderful things you have planned to teach, you can’t actually teach them if you can’t effectively manage classroom dynamics. As my Year 7s and Year 11s last semester were much more manageable, this is my first real test of my behaviour management techniques, and it’s a bit of a learning curve.

Kristy’s first post led me to Teaching the iGeneration by Larry Rosen.

Studying generational similarities and differences can be tricky; no individual completely fits the profile of a particular generation. But research suggests that the majority of people born between a rough set of dates actually do share many characteristics (see Strauss & Howe, 1991).

Those born between about 1925 and 1946 are often called the Traditional or Silent generation. Growing up through the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War, they are characterized by a belief in common goals and respect for authority. The Baby Boomer generation, born between 1946 and 1964, tends to be optimistic, idealistic, and communicative and to value education and consumer goods. The next generation, born between 1965 and 1979, were defined by Douglas Coupland (1991) as Generation X in his book of the same name; the label X signifies that, compared with the Baby Boomers, Gen Xers are not as easily categorized.

With the 1980s and the birth of the World Wide Web, the power of cyberspace came to the masses and a new generation of web surfers, very different from their predecessors, was born. The most common label for this generation is Generation Y, simply meaning the generation after X. Some people stretch this generation past 1999 and refer to its members as Millennials. To me, these names are an insult to our first true cybergeneration. This generation should not be defined by the next letter in the alphabet or by the turn of the century. I believe that Don Tapscott’s (1999) term—the Net Generation—better reflects the impact of the Internet on the lives of its members.

On the basis of our research with thousands of teenagers and their parents, my colleagues and I have identified a separate generation, born in the 1990s and beyond, which we label the iGeneration. The irepresents both the types of digital technologies popular with children and adolescents (iPhone, iPod, Wii, iTunes, and so on) and the highly individualized activities that these technologies make possible. Children and youth in this new generation are defined by their technology and media use, their love of electronic communication, and their need to multitask.

Parenthetically, we are just starting to examine a separate minigeneration of kids like Mikey and Brittani, who not only are facile with individualized mobile technologies, but also have the expectation that if they conceive of something, they should be able to make it happen. If an app doesn’t exist for something they want to do on a smartphone, they just assume that nobody has created it yet and that it should be a piece of cake to do so. All in all, a fascinating minigeneration.

Good stuff, but one can’t help wondering at the odd parochialism in such things. All I have to do to see that is talk to M who was born in Shanghai in 1962!

In yesterday’s Sydney Morning Herald was an article about Birrong Girls High.

Students using blogs to express their creativity are coming out of their shells, writes Melissa Lahoud.

Speaking out in class can be daunting for some but high among the benefits of blogging in schools is the platform it provides for shy students to come out of their shells and express their thoughts more freely.

Birrong Girls High School in south-western Sydney is one school taking to blogging in a big way and Victor Davidson, a teacher and librarian, has developed hundreds of online learning spaces for his students.

”Some of our brightest and most articulate students, who often shy away from face-to-face conversations, have developed an active and dynamic presence online,” Davidson says.

Student Kristine King, 13, uses the blog to channel her creativity when writing stories and her confidence has surged since reading the positive responses…

Good work there! I did wonder how it meshes with what Thomas is doing – see Edublogging and I–with an aside on classroom management‘.

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Gratuitous view from my window yesterday afternoon

Top reads here in August 2011

  1. Home page 1,557 views
  2. Australia’s Got Talent 2011 Grand Final 466
  3. Jack Vidgen–Australia’s Got Talent last night 448
  4. Being Australian 16: inclusive multiculturalism Aussie style 9 – my tribes 152
  5. Nostalgia and the globalising world — from Thomas Hardy to 2010 121
  6. The Rainbow Warrior 81
  7. A very personal Australia Day 26 January – my family 76
  8. Australia’s Got Talent 2011 Grand Final — my top 5 74
  9. Who to vote for on last night’s Australia’s Got Talent 64
  10. I’m feeling justified in the matter of David Hicks 63
  11. Leaky Boat: the documentary 48
  12. 1968 47
  13. In the matter of David Hicks 38
  14. Watch this, folks! James Delingpole is hilarious! 37
  15. Being Australian 20: poem and song, images, dreams, nostalgia, England 36
  16. Former fish restaurant transformed. 34
  17. Documentaries to make you think, cringe, cry, or wonder.. 1 34
  18. Australia not earthquake free 31
  19. Best documentary on climate change so far… 30
  20. About 30