Tuesday, November 30, 2010

auraltered state #6

it seems fitting that the night i went to auraltered state #6 at carriageworks, not only was i wowed by the dreamy eclectic assault delivered up by defektro...

which sadly i only caught the last of immensely talented hirofumi uchino & his noise army outfit's set [but will stalk into the deepest darkest depth of next year in pursuit of a possible collaborative project]. here's a slice of absolute noise love from another gig:

...BUT he was followed up by free alcohol & then an experimental tribal set by half a dozen peeps [6majik9], smoking, sitting, at times standing awkwardly, hunched & playing an array of instruments ranging from the indescribable to a wireless receiver and a harpsicord [i think] to produce an avant garde psychedelic noise in theoretic repsonse to video stimulus although perhaps that was primarily destined as eye candy for the select masses which dotted the performance space clubhouse in morsel grabs.

i didn't have time to stay for garbage & the flowers sadly but here's a bite sized sample of what went down at the end before i fled the free bar back to my slave chamber [sad but true]. for a noise blog there just needs to be, well, some noise. even if it's just a hint.

thanks to liam for introducing me to this night and re-establishing my carriageworks fervour. and to the incredible featured bands. auraltered state events are FREE. there is so much happening in this city - there's no excuse not to be sampling it.

btw. here's something else by 6majik9 live which i thought was quite fun.

Friday, November 26, 2010

an almost before...after

i took this photo in july 2010 after finishing phase one of the no-dig mandala beds. clare and alex had come down on a few weekends and lent their combined energy as we happily toiled together in the dirt. this was the weekend that clare & i integrated wool from our lovely organic neighbours into the mix. as seen the pond at this stage is a hand-carved hole in the clay [for future ponds a machine will probably be employed].

these three beds which sit in a semi-circle around the pond are closely based on linda woodrow's permaculture system. they still need to go a lot higher and are built like a terrine with newspaper, sheep's wool, water, pea straw, lucerne, mushroom compost, compost and NASAA certified organic soil mix. 

soon the chook tractor will be activated, but first the hens need to be built a secure straw bale/mud brick home in what will be an adjacent anti-aviary filled with berries & currants suitable for growing in this rugged technically cool temperate climate [it freezes in winter & dry boils in winter].  i'm so excited about hens. and bees which will come late summer after my refresher bee-keeping course].
all material was brought in from outside, except for rocks. expensive and tediously slow process weekend by weekend weighing down my little suzuki vitara. although long term purchase will be a mulcher to utilise all the wonderful surrounding eucalypts.

before then however, the next project is a grey water reed bed which will be built up closer to the cabin where it will work in sync with a mechanical filtration system where all grey water including kitchen will be twice processed & filtered before being used to irrigate the garden. although it's been really hard to find a system which integrates solar. we are completely off the grid so rely on unpowered alternatives. 

a lot of systems divert kitchen waste in with black water [stuff from your toilet] but because this is a vegetarian and sometimes seafood cabin with mostly organic waste i figure the oil breakdown shouldn't be as heavy as most kitchens. 

obviously any cleaning products or agents have to be seriously vetted before being used within the system and anything containing sulfates is being phased out. white vinegar, lemon juice and baking soda can actually take car eof most cleaning needs. lots of cleaning products are loaded with phosphates which can be positively converted to fertiliser for the soil. health soil is a healthy garden.

when i manage to collate my disparate photo collection i will post some very before images from when i first bought the property.  they provide an excellent illustration of how very far we have come.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

fired-up story telling

it's august in condo. sydney is a distant eastern imprint on now dust sullied tyres.

the locals here hate the slight suggestion of cold. people panic attack if the needle slides down below 30. indoors air con is pumped to almost 40 degrees celcius, outside fires burn. sometimes on street corners which attract a huddled few. it's practically spring but i'm sweating like a pig in a bikini with the abattoir in sight. condobolin does not do winter.

bank, my student/town guide has taken me to the local pub [the impy] after our first day of filmmaking class. she insists that this is the rough one and looks a little dubious i'm not up for the task. her protective instinct is adorable but her concern is misplaced. despite being the outsider, i'm worried for them. i take off the bikini & straighten my swine mask.

most people don't know, but i was spawned from the asshole of the universe in a tiny town [invercargill] at the bottom of new zealand. at least that's where i grew up. way back then in the era of right wing conservative rednecks & skinheads it wasn't particularly smooth. especially for misfits. the flavours might be slightly different but our infant feet have been dipped in the same unfiltered bath water.

i told her previously of my obsession for stories & the ongoing search of perfect characters. she gets it and this is her hood. we're documentary whores. the magical textured fabric of the truth always stranger & much more compelling than fiction. we find who we're looking for outside. introductions are made & within a few rounds boundaries are blurred and i'm practically one of them. i channel harmony kormine meets douglas coupland. this is the shit.

no OH&S here... a fire fueled on petrochemicals blazes in the back courtyard of the pub as a handful of peeps who appear to have been drinking what goes on the fire engage in typical bush swaggering drunken tall tale telling. occasionally in the breaks more rocket fuel is thrown into the re-purposed tractor shovel which serves as the incendiary base. noone bats an eyelid, even those with third degree burn scars. the flames burn hard and high as the stories rise in a simultaneous and unbelievable crescendo as everyone around me sips back on midis.  

i realise my mistake as i gaze down at my oversized schooner, when questioned what my next drink will be in a disapproving manner. they drinks midis out here? the logic is simple really. urban legend has it that the beer is dosed with extra preservatives to get to the bush which increases the alcohol percentage. so they drink smaller glasses.... my witty observations are received like a lead balloon and i gracefully err to the status quo, and start drinking midis. wow that exercise to the bar twice as frequently really burns the alcohol off...

the moral temporarily escapes me. but flawed logic does not. face glowing, i settle in next to the searing flames, footloose & fancy free to uncover the essence, the soul of this town. 

the best stories are always shared around a fire.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

a pond in 24 hours [the ongoing technical saga]

why won't you let me put the rest of the pictures up blogger you piece of shit?
[fine -- i like the above in that crappy font. don't let me change it. see if i care. fuck you google]

[please hold on while our technicians deal with some technical difficulties]





found this awesome trouble shooting tip by "cooking in mexico" via google in spite of google. how confusing. i suffeered serial server rejection issues eventually after much successful uploading of images. i have often found blogger... temperamental.

this is a shit fix & requires going old school but it works. albeit temporarily.

1. Go to "Dashboard"
2. Click "Settings"
3. Under "Basic", scroll all the way the page to "Select Post Editor"
4. Select "Old Editor"
5. Click "Save Settings"
6. Click "View Blog"
7. Select "New Post"
8. This allows me to upload a photo using the window ("Choose file", etc.)

and that's how i got part ii up. end of storytime.

a pond in 24 hours - the serialization

and then...

[dan took this photo -- i was too busy having a mini orgasm after planting the reeds with clare]

and yes, the water is murky because the clay doesn't ever properly separate from the water molecules but the tadpoles like it. this is a frog habitat designed to operate as part of a permaculture system -- we're in zone 1. watch out crickets and bugs, hello micro-climate. the dam looks like this too. i'm not sure it will ever settle. and that's ok. orange is my favourite colour.

then everyone [well almost everyone] magically disappeared into the falling sunday night while clare, jay and i stayed on to wrestle with siphoning water [#FAIL], we just don't have dan's lungs, then to brave another morning of heavy rock lifting in the desperate hope to complete the vision... i am obsessive that way. some would say a slave driver.

besides we had lots of left over food and beer to consume. well, food anyway.

the morning after.

see the rocks? what broken back... this is what clare & i did on monday. her back is screwed too. and yes, it was hot. the stones became white stars of light. physical meets heat exhaustion is... exhausting. but look at the results!

another feather in the cap for KINO filmmakers. films & ponds in 24 hours. NB. film is definitely easier.

after trawling rocks from just after sunrise, we then waited till jay woke up & we *cough* gave him the opportunity to express his manliness and allowed him to roll the last couple of rocks into place. diagnosis: exceptional masculinity evidenced -- there's more than meets the eye with these arty muso types.

if anyone's interested there's some rocks that clare & i managed to get to the car but not into it waiting down at the creek for next time... it's all about sharing the love.

and the tadpoles survived. talk about happy endings even if i did have to revert to old editor format on blogger to share the pix. thanks for fixing the unbroken system google. lucky we're on such a pond high, i'm virtually untouchable. next comes solar pump & filtration. and water chestnuts... and some more bamboo.

TEAM POND [in alphabetical order]:

alex pappasavvas
andrew berman
clare devlin-mahoney
dan rossi
dan simmonds
francois chemillier
jay dalgleish
vanessa findley
yours truly

a pond in 24 hours [give or take 5 years]

this is the story of sustainable love meets long-term vision. a 24 hour photo essay of my mountain pond which has become a group collaboration over what seems, and is, aeons. the results of the working bee this wknd past are in. neither the first nor last of hopefully many.

originally all of this space was one big barren clay hill with all the top soil shaved off from prior excavation from trigger happy men expressing their testosterone through beer, machines and masturbation. the transformation has been a massive labour of love.  and still a work in progress. human lives are so short, the magpies said.

i started digging into the rock in 2005. i was handier with a mattock then than i am now but my efforts barely put a dent in what is primarily rock & compressed clay. it is extremely hard work. which warrants copious beer drinking. still there was a sizeable hole. and there it sat for a long time. waiting.
reiteration: it is hot work. see how dan pants like a little dog?

previously he'd bucketed out by hand over 300 litres of water [aided and abetted by ruby's innovative oxygenation programme] which the rain had inadvertently provided & the natural clay seal partially managed to retain in the pond. the frogs had moved in [YAY] a little prematurely. cue massive tadpole rescue mission. saint dan. we saved some mosquito larvae as well. we're so buddhist.
after digging a trench to bury the pond liner edges flush with the earth, we put recycled carpet underlay sourced from surry hills back streets, on top of the dug out clay to provide protection for the pond liner from the jutting internal rocks and hard edges. pond developers recommend sand but perhaps i'm retarded -- i just couldn't visualise side stickability. how does it adher to the walls? carpet is OK too. but a little stiff. we have both just in case.

did i mention that it's hot? hello pond liner posing as a three headed bondage ghost.

clare models the very latest in pondwear. available from any good pond accessory store.

pond liner is adjusted, decreased & edges buried into the trench. well, as decreased as you can get with a square sheet and a round[ish] hole...

ruby & i survey the scene as the others drink another well-deserved beer under the hot sun which strangely enough was only officially 23 degrees celcius but felt like 38. we're so buggered we can barely stand/speak.

that's right mofos... WATER! ruby does the honours. she is a water goddess after all. 

TBC... [only because blogger won't let me load any more images]. how very annoying for all of us.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

secret indulgences

on days like these, i remind myself of the wonderful people who surround me. people i call best friends. i owe them my survival. i can't imagine them musing over which funeral song to choose [the jackson five "ABC" please]. 

and so, i continue to work in a steadfast way occasionally flitting like a butterfly entertaining egg-laying on a large juicy kale leaf [if only there were some uneaten ones left]. 

the demons squashed beneath the weight of the list of incredible things to do, stories to experience & share.

squids on bikes

it was a beautiful spring morning. although a shade on the early side for a sunday. raen, davey and i set out with our bicycles around 0600 one weekend morning to participate in mass madness.

this all started when raen got a bike. albeit fifteen years too late. her childlike enthusiasm however had not waned with age. so a compulsory 50 kilometre group bike ride it was. davey was in disbelief. so was i, i'd practically slid out of it until a bicycle had miraculously turned up in the back garden the day before. raen had bought it at an auction so i wouldn't miss out. how sweet.

our train finally pulled into north sydney station. we were running late. surprise. outside there was a serious frenzy of hardened individuals who weren't kitted out in the same lazy day picnic mentality we were. suddenly it looked scary. even our alleged friends looked like seasoned pros. what had this fiendish girl & her evil squid squadron leader accomplice dan got us into?

as the harsh reality rose up to kick us in the face, even they looked scared.

davey however was creaming his pants thinking of all the awesome photos he was going to harvest from the day's inevitable sideways adventures. no muesli bar or cupcakes were going to save us from certain public humiliation. thank god i had my camera also for... REVENGE. or a strategic pre-meditated strike as ronald reagan would say.

dan didn't mind too much, maintaining a relaxed disposition with his green dragon wings floating in the gentle breeze. he looks good from all angles. and so it began...

weirdly enough it suddenly became fun, even if the gears on my bike were a bit tough to negotiate. i'm not sure whether that was before or after the defibulator on my bike decided to impersonate a famous contortionist & get stuck in the wheel. no more bike race for yours truly. one squid overboard.

this is the view of the tail-end of the racegoers from my lowly train seat going over the harbour bridge [with broken bike in tow]. zero unflattering sweaty cephalopod personal photographs pasted all over the interwebs. shame.