Monday, August 31, 2015

August 31. Day 243. Calm - on the surface

Oh what a lovely picture of serenity. All calm and placid. How very like me (not). I'm trying to do the water fowl thing and be serene on the surface while padding like crazy under the surface but even that's not working so well. The massive black panda-like circles of sleep deprivation are a dead give away. Still, a little escape from the mountain of assessment (both mine and the one engulfing Drama Teen) for an afternoon walk to the duck pond does a bit to clear the head at least for a bit. And after that it's back to the frantic padding seemingly upstream without a paddle.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

August 30. Day 142. Walking on Sunshine

I have, perhaps not unfairly, been accused of a small problem with over-packing. I mean, really, who knows when you will need a kitchen sink? Still even I don't feel the need to take a clothes line with all the washing on it AND a washing machine out for a walk. Generally speaking I also tend to leave the superhero get up at home when taking a stroll. Not strictly needed. But let's be honest, NEED has nothing to do with it when it comes to a fun charity event.
The annual Bridge to Brisbane 10 kilometre walk is the city's biggest charity walk with tens of thousands pounding the pavement for charity and fitness. Some people take it deadly seriously and worry about such things as person bests but many see it as a great excuse for a day out with the family or colleagues or a chance to dress up.
I've done the full walk and the shorter five kilometre version many a time but I'm embarrassed to say this year I missed the entry deadline because of one thing or another (actually probably the same thing over and over again but the less said about that the better). Still that didn't mean missing out entirely. Out we went to the course this morning to cheer the competitors on. Showing a huge amount of restraint I left the dirty washing at home. It was still there when I returned, more's the pity.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

August 29. Day 241. Don't rain on my parade

The great August festival of birthdays wound up today with a mega celebration. The month start's with my niece Amelia's birthday and winds up my nephew Benjamen, my niece Scarlett and my mum celebrating on three consecutive days. So I had this cunning plan to fit in the birthday bash with the huge load of assessment and my need to walk 14.285 steps to reach my daily goal. I would walk to the birthday party. This would also help justify the cake I knew was coming and would be a big ice cream dream. Perfect except for one small detail It started bucketing with rain at the time I should have been walking. Now a sensible person would have read the weather forecast and seen it coming but the sensible person was either reading an assignment or deciding whether Christmas paper or photocopy paper were more acceptable for wrapping birthday gifts. You get that. I might not have ticked ALL the boxes but I did get to spend a crazy night with a crazy bunch I love to bits - and then I rushed home to the papers.

Friday, August 28, 2015

August 28. Day 240. Let them eat cake

Never let the truth get in the way of a good story. Did you hear that, party poopers? Was it so bad when we were allowed to believe that Marie Antoinette once said the solution for peasants starving because there was no bread was to "let them eat cake". She's been dead since 1793 so it's not like she's going to be subjected to a social media hate campaign for her hideous insensitivity any time soon. Advising people to eat cake is, in fact, quite a sage thing to do, provided of course they are not living in dire poverty. Cake does make things better. Today was my mum's birthday and that has to mean cake. A crazy busy week meant that the celebration may have been delayed until tomorrow until I learned that my vet friend Megan had baked cupcakes as an RSPCA cupcake day fundraiser. The stars had aligned and were telling me just one thing - eat cake. And as the photos show there's another great saying that must be considered here - you can choose your friends but not your family. Clearly we are all crazy - about cake at least

Thursday, August 27, 2015

August 27. Day 239. Birds of a feather

Cyclists, motorists pedestrians. It's a big issue around where I live with high numbers of all three competing for a sadly inadequate amount of road space. Each faction feels that their voice isn't being heard by the authorities. Well, I'm here to tell you there is one interest group certainly without a voice in the debate or at least without the ability to put its concern into words. What about the animals? We love our furry and feathered friends around here. The poultry is decidedly free range. Why did the chicken cross the road? Why the hell, not?" The roosters roost wherever they please, the cats go about their secret cat business unimpeded and the dogs, well, let's just say I am not the only crazy dog person around these parts. At least Rumple walks when we go for a walk (well, most of the time. Some times he likes to be carried on my shoulder like a parrot). Where's the cat lane, council? What about the dedicated dog owners with pram parking? Exactly. How human focused you are. It's pretty fowl, that's what I say.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

August 26. Day 238. Gull-ible

 It's not that I'm fixating about the prospect of going to the beach, it's just that I really, really like seagulls - and if you believe that ...
It's now less than a month until my next beach holiday. This excites me greatly. I would put a countdown calendar on the fridge except I'd probably melt down when I saw how little time I had to achieve an awful lot. It's a double-edge sword. Knowing the holiday is approaching is awesome but...
Anyway, for now as close as I'm going to get to the beach is the artificial beach at South Bank where the seagulls know me and my camera quite well.
Strangely enough it might not be a long stretch of Sunshine Coast sand but watching the gulls provides a moment of relaxation just the same.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

August 25. Day 237. While you were sleeping

It has been suggested to me, by my mother of all people, that I might like to enter politics. Seriously? I don't hate my family that much. But there's more before we even get to the small matter of policy and my inability to not to call out hypocrisy when I see it. Funnily enough, a really good reason not to enter politics is my deep and emotional attachment to sleep.Politicians seem to wear their ability to survive on 1.7 hours sleep a night like a badge of honour. I see no honour in that at all. I celebrate the nap like a lottery win. But of late, sleep has been hard to come by and I feel like I am operating in a deep fog. The outline of how things are meant to be is clear but the details are very, very fuzzy generally worse in the morning and clearing as the day progresses, a bit like Brisbane today. Thing is, the fog engulfs you like a big wet blanket and when that happens I'm just as likely to say or do all sorts of weird stuff. So a career in politics? Let me sleep on that .....

Monday, August 24, 2015

August 24. Day 236. Watch the birdie

Twitter. Twitter. Anyone who knows present me, knows I am a bit of a fan. Anyone who knows present me will also know that birds are a bit of a thing too in that I just love pointing my lens at them and going click. I'm frequently dead impressed at what I come up with (and then I go to Google images, see what proper bird photographers come up with and give myself a bit of a reality check). The thing is, it really is no surprise that I took to the Twitter thing like a duck to water. Most journalists love it because journalists love to tell stories and it doesn't really matter if that's in 140 characters or something we know call long-form journalism. But the bird thing, that's a surprise even to me. Especially to me. There's nothing in my past that would scream twitcher. Nothing at all. But when you do take time to actually watch birds, it's hard not to be fascinated by their antics. They seriously have so much personality. And frankly, I'm pretty sure while I'm watching them, they are watching me not because I seem like prey or predator but because they are curious. I reckon some are even posing, especially at places like Roma Street Parklands where bird photographers are a dime a dozen. Posing or not, I'll take it. Now watch the birdie ....

Sunday, August 23, 2015

August 23. Day 235. Scarecrow

One of the most important lessons I try to impart on journalism students is that you have to learn to talk to random people and get their stories. There is, of course, an inherent risk in that because some people are nut jobs.
So it was for one poor University of Queensland journalism student putting together a visual communication exercise on the Parks Alive event which today moved to South Bank.
The young man saw a woman with a dog dressed in a pair of distressed jeans (the dog not the woman, obviously) politely introduced himself as a journalism student and asked if he could take a photo.
"What university?" the woman asked.
"UQ," the young man replied. "Well then, no," she said and when he went to walk away she said "I'm only messing with you. Sure you can take a photo. I teach journalism at QUT."
So the photo session happened and the very professional young man asked all the right questions and collected all the contact details. As he was about to go, Crazy Lady asked if he could send her a link when the visual project was complete. He explained that he was not planning on putting it anywhere online just to submit it for marking. Wrong answer, Crazy Lady told him before ordering him to sit down next to her and delivering a lecture. "You've got to market yourself. You've got to build your brand and that means building a online profile. Potential employers will search you and they will want to see what you have published and what you can do. You've taken photos, put them on a blog for the world to see. Waste no opportunity." The polite young man said he had been thinking of starting a blog but didn't really know what sort of writing he wanted to do in the future. "Here's a perfect opportunity to experiment and find out," Crazy Lady said before she and the dog in the jeans took their leave. For the record, Parks Alive should have made an excellent visual journalism project. There was so much going on, all of it free. A person who wasn't lecturing random strangers may have tried her hand at making a scarecrow or a kite or finding out how to grow ginger.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

August 22. Day 234. Going parking

So it's not actually Spring for another couple of weeks.
Try telling that to anyone who ventured outside today. Spring has sprung no matter what the date on the calendar says.
Such discussions generally make me think of that authoritative source Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and the rather epic quote “Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so.”
Think about that too long and your head will explode.
Anyway, at a time I would consider appropriate for lunch on a day in winter that felt like Spring, I decided today's outing would be to Roma Street Parklands for the Parks Alive celebrations.
Good call Susan, no matter what time or season it was.
The park was abuzz with families enjoying the free entertainment, workshops, tours, roving performers and of course the free games and activities for the kids.
It is such a beautiful setting only a very, very short stroll from City Hall and the CBD. Even if there is nothing official going on there's never a shortage of things to do and people to see.
I made a pact with myself today - return more often. Don't wait for Spring ....

Friday, August 21, 2015

August 21. Day 233. Head above water

 Wonderful creatures, humans. Except when they are not. Today I witnessed both. After a week when keeping afloat has been a trifle difficult, today was panning out to be a "going down for the third time" sort of day. But it didn't happen and it didn't happen because friends rescued me. Two work colleagues volunteered to cover tutes to allow me to deal with "stuff".  The space, time and I confess a nap made all the difference. I love them for it. And then rested, it was off for an afternoon walk to South Bank. Here I saw the other side. A group decided to feed a whole loaf of bread to the critters (despite all the warnings of how human food is not in the best interest of wildlife). When the birdlife didn't seem that interested they thought it would be really fun to just see if they could hit the ducks with the bread. First roll up the bread in a small hard ball then hurl it directly at a duck. That is just the lesson they should be teaching the cute little girl in the group. If you are bored, just go throw things at small defenseless creatures. And we think we are a higher order species.

August 20. Day 232. A fine crop

I wish to Photoshop my life. By this I do not mean airbrush to increase the ability of a better class of selfie. I am not talking about Photoshopping my images but my lifer in general. How good would it be to have a crop function to just cut out all the nasty bit. I would apply the auto tone function to my email in box to "enhance" or correct some of those snarky or bitchy or too informal or too formal emails and translate them to a tone more fitting for my liking. So I need an extra set of arms or to be in two places at once? There's a clone key for that. Eyes in the back of the head? Simply copy and paste. Yes, I have given this matter far too much thought actually. Why? Well on seriously shitty days like today I just think there should be a Photoshop for Life allowing a quick delete of the unpleasant bits to allow focus on the good bits. And what does all this have to do with the fact that for about the 4000th day in a row there are bird pics? When there is no time, no energy and no imagination left, birds are a safe bet. And if you apply Photoshop at least you can crop them in an interesting fashion.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

August 19. Day 231. Good morning

The results of a sleep apnea study this week revealed a lot, a whole lot, mostly why I find it near impossible to get out of bed in the morning and almost always feel exhaustipated (too tired to give a sh*t). Not only am I sleeping about five hours a night, my breathing is stopping 54 times in that period. That's the easy bit. Now I just have to work out what to do with that info. I do know, however, that this exhaustion has prevented my long-established pattern of a nice solid workout in the morning. But when I do force myself, like on Wednesdays when I have a 6.30am call at the ABC, I always feel so much better for it (until I hit the wall about 10.30am). It is a special time of day and at South Bank there's always something to get exited about (or at least to point a camera at). This is today's selection.