Archive for the ‘Boring’ Category

2012 in review

Posted: January 29, 2013 in Boring, Meme

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Friendships

Posted: December 9, 2012 in Boring, Memories, Rant

Over the years, I have formed many friendships. Some have been long-lasting friendships, whilst some have faded away over time.

Some have been formed as a result of meeting someone through an existing friend at a party or something similar, where others have been around for so long, that no one can remember where it all started, or even why it has continued, other than the fact that it has just always been that way.

The whole concept of friendships can be viewed as either one of life’s necessities, or as a strange, almost alien concept, depending on your outlook.

Personally, I consider friendships as a major part of life.
Without friendships, a person cannot grow. A person cannot develop. A Person cannot build networks, learn new things or operate as a part of the greater community.

I see a friendship as a sort of relationship. When you think about it, to build a good friendship you both have things in common, you both have a similar sense of humour, and both of you develop a close bond, that is usually unbreakable, and will only grow stronger over time.

Some friendships are more like a stable relationship, in which they do not need constant attention and maintenance, picking up where they left off after months or even years apart. Others are more like an insecure, clingy and needy relationship; needing constant work, attention, phone-calls, or frequent catch-ups to keep them current and visible. Of course, there are also the workplace friendship, where you see certain people every day for eight hours, and before you know it, you have become friends.

In the past few weeks, a few of my work friends have left the office. Some have left for some well-earned rest & relaxation, with the intention of returning in the new year. Others have left for a sea-change; a change in scenery and even industries.

It can seem rather insignificant when someone from a workplace goes away on a holiday for a few weeks, however when the person or persons who are leaving the workplace are simply so vibrant, cheerful and entertaining, it is almost like the workplace has lost a part of it. The workplace definitely seems quieter, and a little emptier without them, however knowing that this is only a temporary situation is a comfort.

Other friendships can sometimes end in less-friendly terms, and also more abruptly. When these friendships end, it can sometimes feel like a relationship ending. One is left with questions like “why did it end?” or “I wish that things were back to the way they were”.

Over time, friendships are forgotten, whilst others remain in happy memories; a reminder of experiences shared and times gone by. These times will never change, as they have already happened, and have been shared with the ones we cared about at the time. The only thing that can change is the relationships with the people in the memories. People can come and go in one’s lifetime, but the memories remain.

The lost friendships are never without purpose, as from these, we learn life-lessons. We learn of tolerance, communication and even emotional maturity; simply by feeling the pain of rejection; which help with future friendships and their successes.

Knowing how something has failed is the first step to repairing it, and not allowing it to fail again. Without this knowledge, one could be completely clueless of the best way to address the situation, and therefore, the same mistakes could plague all future friendships. Knowing how things work, and indeed, how they have failed, is the only way to understand how to better ones self, and improve on other future friendships and relationships.

Friendships can be strong like rock, or fragile like glass, but all need the same level of care and devotion, or else they will all crumble and fail. Treating a friendship or a relationship with respect is the only way to nurture it, let it grow, and eventually, blossom into a life-long example of what two people can achieve between themselves.

 

Feb Photo 28 – Money

Posted: February 28, 2012 in Boring, Feb Photo, Meme, Rant
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Feb Photo 28 – Money

Money is a great thing. If you have it.

For some people, living from paycheck to paycheck is a way of life. Many of these people don’t even care; they are just happy to be living in the moment. However some are struggling. Some people go without, simply because they cannot afford something that many people take for granted. Perhaps they go without a meal, or a night out with a loved one. Perhaps they go without a bed for the night, choosing to sleep on the streets, just so that they can have a meal for themselves, or perhaps a child.

There are people out there who, for one reason or another, enjoy flashing their money around, acting like they are bigger than they really are. These people, often do not have very high self-confidence, although they act as if they do. Often, these people will be seen at bars and clubs, buying drinks for many beautiful women, trying to see which ones will perhaps bother to speak with him, or perhaps even sleep with him. It is a sign of insecurity; trying to buy affection, approval and love, in exchange for money or gifts.

Money in itself has lost all value that it once carried. For example, money used to be made from precious metals, usually stamped with the likeness of the Leader of the City or Country, or the royal coat of arms. This is because only the royal family of the area would have money, often gifted to the noblemen of the areas for deeds done. Earlier still, currency would consist of precious stones; gems and other shiny objects.

Later, money became pieces of paper. They would consist of either words, stating that the bearer of this piece of paper was owed $100.00 worth of gold for example, and the holder could trade this paper with someone (usually a bank) for gold. After a while, specifically in the USA, the gold reserves were full, yet the people claimed they needed more money. The government decided to do away with “paper Vs. gold reserves” and simply printed more paper money, effectively devaluing all currency of America. The American money is now simply a piece of paper, stating its worth of X dollars. All of their paper currency is the same size, same colour and to a blind person, has no obvious differences from each other. Completely worthless, in my opinion, and literally, not worth the paper it is printed on!

Australian money, however, holds value. Although I still have no idea how a small piece of plastic can be worth $100, at least our gold reserves match with the physical money printed.

Out money is different sizes for different denominations, brightly coloured, has many security features, from micro-printing, clear windows, watermarks, magnetic strips and a few others. It is amongst the hardest in the world to counterfeit, The level or printing on these notes are amazing… looking under a macro lens, it is fairly easy to see how hard these would be to counterfeit, and have them still look legitimate. One more thing about our money, and I feel that this is best of all; its waterproof! I can go swimming or snorkelling with cash in my pocket, and still spend it when I get out of the water. I wouldn’t want to do that with a bank card, and certainly not with paper money.

As Australia is a country surrounded by water, full of people who love the ocean, swimming at the local pool, creek, river, or any other body of clean water that is located inland, I find it fitting that we have waterproof money.

Earlier in Australia’s history, around the early 1966, Australia first switched to decimal currency. This was a huge step for us, moving away from Pounds, Shillings, Pence and all of that, and into an age that was divisible by 10. One of the first changes to be made after the conversion however, was to our 50 cent coin. Originally it was round, as you can see in the picture below, and also made of 80% silver and 20% copper. The Mint decided firstly, to change the metal composition, as the value of Silver had changed dramatically, causing the coin to be more valuable in melted form than on its face value. It was changed to a tin/lead composite and value for money was restored, as well as a change of shape to a 12-sided dodecagon design, due to some vision impaired people complaining that it was too hard to differentiate between a 20 cent and a 50 cent piece.

The photos I have attached to this post are as follows:

Above is a photo, showing an example of the microprinting on a $20 note. The words “TWENTY DOLLARS” are repeated in the background, and are almost illegible by the naked eye.
A closeup of a ‘ONE CROWN’ coin from 1937, a semi-rare coin to commemorate the assention of King George VIII, worth 5 shillings, and made from 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper.
A cluster of round 1966 50 cent coins that I have in my possession.

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Feb Photo 26 – Night


To some people, night-time is a time best experienced inside, rugged up in front of the heater or open fire, and definitely not to venture outside for photos. However, I see night-time as an amazing time to go and get photos, or simply to be outside and observing. Once night has fallen, it can be a completely different world out there. Lights, atmosphere, the lack of office workers. Amazing things happen after nightfall.

I see a few people out each evening, watching the sunset at the beach or from another good vantage point, only to leave as soon as the sun has gone below the horizon; night-time has almost set in, so they feel they need to be indoors. So many beautiful natural experiences are missed even in the first hour of the evening.

People go about their daily business, working for “the man”, and doing all of the things that people do during the day. Pay the bills, dress in a suit for work, crunching numbers, pushing papers, shopping, banking etc. At night, however, these things take a back seat, and people tend to let their hair down and relax a bit. People enjoy the evenings more, as its generally when they can see their loved ones, their friends and simply be themselves.

As some people enjoy simply being at home on the couch, staying warm, or in the case of Summer, eating ice-cream like a crazy ice-cream-eating person, others enjoy getting out, socialising, going to a bar, a restaurant, or even simply a walk with a friend.

To some, night-time is a cold, boring time, consisting of fog, cold toes and silence, to others it means lights, people, excitement, action and even glamour.

Some cities tend not to quiet down or even sleep until the small hours of the morning, only to start-up again a mere three hours later for the next days business. Melbourne only has a few hours of sleep in the CBD core, and even then, there are some restless corners that operate throughout the night, however NYC is renowned as “The City That Never Sleeps”. I can vouch for this, from my time there.

In New York, we could have a hot meal cooked in a restaurant at 1am, McDonald’s at 4am, One night I couldn’t sleep, I left the hotel on my own, walked to Times Square (only one block away) and bought a Slurpee at 7-11, and watched a live concert. at 3am. with other people all around me. I really liked that aspect of New York; the ability to do whatever, whenever, and not seem ‘weird’. If I wanted to walk the streets at 3am, I was not considered ‘strange’ or ‘threatening’, and not only that, the city would put on a concert for people just like myself.

This nightlife activity does not only exist in the human species, of course. There are many nocturnal animals that live most of their waking lives under the cover of night. Australia has its Possums, friendly to anyone bearing food, but will potentially eat your finger if you tease them… I prefer the insect world. 90% of the small critters in our neck of the woods are nocturnal. So much happens at night, and most people do not even realise it.

Recently, we had a Garden Orb-Weaving Spider (Eriophora biapicata) that set up home near our front door. It wasn’t hurting anyone, it’s web didn’t block the way, so I allowed it to stay there; observing and photographing it on a few separate occasions. During the day, she was usually found curled up, sleeping, but seeming almost dead. Nothing would move her from her little nook in the eaves of the house. At night, however, she would be hard at work, repairing the web from the day’s assault, caused by small insects, moths, mosquitos, and even the occasional bee. Every night, hard at work, working the night-shift of the arachnid world. This is when I would photograph her, getting incredibly close, as you can see in the photos. I was perhaps only 1-2cm from her, and yet she remained still, allowing me to photograph her underbody.

I tend to get more work done during the evening, and well into the night. My design work is often completed post-midnight, as are my sketches, paintings, writing, photography, web design and music recordings. It is the hour when there are no disturbances. My phone is usually silent, no one is knocking on my door to sell me cheap electricity, there is nothing on TV, and there is no outside disturbances from traffic, people, or even birds. The world sleeps, so a few people stand guard, and usually get things done.

Night time is my productive time.

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We need to talk about Kevin

Posted: February 25, 2012 in Boring, Rant

We need to talk about Kevin.

I recommend anyone who isn’t completely sick of this whole battle to read this article, written by one of Rudd’s former advisors.

I think it puts many things into perspective.

Feb Photo 25 – Green

We are very lucky in Australia. We have cities, houses, low unemployment, a dollar that is trading very well, we don’t have any wars, widespread famine, dictatorships, or much of what we see each night on the news.

What we do have are wide open plains, bushland, forests, rainforests, deserts, beaches and many species of flora, fauna and animals that cannot be found anywhere else in the entire world. Australia is unique in this respect, as it discovered later in the grand scheme of things, and therefore it was able to preserve much of what many other countries took for granted for food, or simply to clear land for vegetation. Of course, we have done our fair share of land clearing, and we have caused devastation to many areas of our land, however compared to other countries, we are rather sensible.

I was reading today that an Amazonian tribe are being forced to move from their land; land where they have lived and their ancestors have lived for thousands of years. They are being moved to make way for a controversial dam, that will cause flooding to large areas of the Amazon, and completely destroy the way of life for many tribes, and of course the silent victims; the animals.

Read Article Here and Video Here

To do something like this on the same scale in Australia would be virtually unheard of these days, although in the past, the Snowy River Hydroelectric Project did ruin a lot of vegetation and who knows what else.

I am glad that in today’s day and age, in Australia at least, we have learnt from our mistakes, and tend not to do anything like this anymore. Our unique flora and fauna remain for future generations to enjoy, our animals remain in the wild, where they belong, and we can possibly learn from them all.

Recently I was reading that the venom of a Funnel Web Spider (I think?) was being extracted and used to fight certain forms of heart disease, and potentially Alzheimer’s. The venom, when administered in a diluted form, was able to kill of the sick cells, and leave the healthy cells virtually unharmed. Nature holds many secrets, most of which we still have not even began to imagine. Many can benefit the human race in one form or another, and I don’t mean solely in the medical field.

A bullet-proof vest, for example, is made of Kevlar. Kevlar is made from spider silk; spun from a spider, and collected for manufacturing. Spider’s webs can withstand a beating, when the size and scale of objects that are trapped by it, versus the size of the individual strand of silk are considered. Scientists have said that if scaled up, a spider’s web could stop a jetliner in mid-flight, and support its entire weight. The faster an object is travelling, the better it can stop the object. After much thinking, someone decided to test this theory, and constructed a vest out of silk, and fired a gun. It stopped the bullet, and we now have bullet-proof vests that save the lives of police and army personnel on a daily basis. However, these vests cannot prevent a knife, as the blade is travelling much slower than a bullet.

The above photo was taken in the Cape Otway National Park, in Victoria, Australia. Pay attention to the Eucalypt trees growing in harmony with the rainforest ferns in the foreground. This particular area is only about a 15 minute walk to the beach, where the Pacific Ocean laps at the sand. A 20 minute drive will find you in a bustling little country town called Lorne, and another 30 minutes, a fairly major city called Geelong. Australia has many of these forests, national parks and bushlands right on our doorstep, and I think the best part is, not many people bother to visit and appreciate them.

The less people who bother to visit, the longer they will remain untouched, and available for future generations.

 

Feb Photo 24 – Inside My Bathroom Cabinet

For a number of years now, I have suffered from Psoriasis. I have posted about it many times here and here. At times, it can be under control, but other times, it becomes almost an embarrassment to leave the house. I tend to get it on my face, scalp and occasionally my feet. Having Psoriasis on the face is simply horrible; it is the first impression someone gets of you when meeting you, it’s the one part of you that strangers will see if you are buying a coffee or a meal at a cafe, and its the part of you that best shows people what you are thinking and feeling. Having Psoriasis on the face causes self-confidence issues to come in, meaning I might not smile as much as I would normally (the Psoriasis can come and go, so it’s not something that is permanent, and I end up ‘getting used to it’ like a scar or something.) This might give off the signals that I am unimpressed, or even in a bitchy mood.

Some of the worst experiences of my facial psoriasis have been when either sitting through an interview, or temping at a new site. I can see the person opposite me staring at it, which makes me nervous and insecure, yet I won’t mention it, as it’s not the time or place. Of course, if it is mentioned, I am happy to explain it all to them. A few people have openly asked me either “How were you burnt?” or “What happened to your face?” which, although slightly rude, addresses the elephant in the room, so to speak.

Another classic comment I get a lot is “Oh, I had dandruff once, I used ‘Product-X’ and it cleared right up”. Let me explain something on the record. Psoriasis is NOT dandruff. Dandruff is a dry scalp, usually caused by increased oil production, oily skin, increased skin secretions, and increased numbers of normal skin yeasts. Occasionally it can also be caused by poor hygiene and infrequent shampooing and washing.

Psoriasis is caused by the over-production of skin cells by my body. Basically my body creates skin quicker than ‘normal’ people, meaning that it cannot shed it quickly enough, so it flakes off, or in some cases, peels off. The Psoriasis actually gets worse and flares up after I wash it with fresh water. Salt water is great for it though, so it can be a great excuse to go to the beach… This can be good if I cut myself on something, as it heals rather quickly, however that seems to be the only perk I know of.

For those of you who don’t know, Psoriasis is a dermatological (skin) condition that would usually fall under the eczema tag. If left for a few days to air out (honestly, one of the best treatments to do is often to do nothing) it can resemble a burn. I usually get it on my forehead, chin and around my nose. It can be very prominent, and at times, it flares up rather quickly, sometimes only giving me 20-30 minutes notice, before my skin starts peeling. (gross, I know!)

My bathroom cabinet shows almost everything I use to battle my psoriasis.

Coal Tar Soap (Black) – although this doesn’t prevent psoriasis, it is better than the standard perfumed soaps on offer at most supermarkets, and so I use it simply so it doesn’t inflame any existing outbreaks.

Olive Oil Soap (Large square block) – given to me by a friend who runs a soap store, this is claimed to clean the skin up completely naturally and leave it baby smooth. This particular range comes from the Middle East, handmade by a gentleman whose family have been making the soap in the same manner for 3,500 years. I figure he knows what he is doing!

Tea Tree Oil Shampoo (Green) – I switched to this after I had a serious run-in with the Coal Tar shampoo from the same company (which doesn’t actually contain coal-tar!!). I was told that Tea Tree Oil was actually really good for my skin and the psoriasis, so I gave it a go. This clears my scalp psoriasis, which is rather hard to treat, due to my hair.

Not pictured, there is also a product called “Moo Goo” which I have posted about in the second link above.

A guy’s bathroom cabinet is usually a lot less cluttered than this. But for the sake of self-confidence, and smoother skin, I am willing to take a few snide comments, funny looks and even slightly rude questioning of my skin condition.

So that you can see what I am talking about, regarding the ups and downs of Psoriasis, here are two bonus photos, showing you a ‘before’ treatment, and an ‘after’ treatment.

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