I finally got around to watching On the Beach (as I promised in March). It was a lot better than I expected it to be, the characters were compelling but I knew the story already and the conclusion of the film is depressing. I thought they over used the tune Waltzing Matilda. I was concerned about this back in March when I heard them use the tune in the NPR broadcast about radiation as a bogeyman throughout the history of film. I've always had a morbid interest in post-apocalyptic fiction, The Last Sunset computer game series that I wrote in high school was itself a post-apocalyptic story. I think such stories tell us more about how we see ourselves that it does about what the end of the world would actually look like. The US TV series Jericho and the UK series Survivors portray groups of people after their respective apocalypses hanging firmly on to their pre-apocalyptic values in a world where ethics and morals have been set aside by virtually everyone else. This conceit dispelled the suspension of disbelieve for me personally, but I still enjoyed aspects of both shows. The novel The Road (never saw the film) seemed more plausible to me, but it is still very much about maintaining morals. I don't think people would want to read a book or watch a film in which post-apocalyptic was treated more rigorously. On the Beach is different because everyone dies in the end, everyone in the world, and the story is more about how individuals and society deals with this inevitable fact. The radiation is coming from the north, and it hits Melbourne last. People do not run for the south and become refugees. They are stoic. I think this reflects the novel's author Nevil Shute's personal world view, more than reality.
They were doing a pop culture piece on NPR this evening on radiation as a bogeyman throughout the history of film. Presumably this was prompted by the perceived nuclear danger in Japan which has been dwarfed in terms of injuries and death by the earthquake and tsunami which precipitated it. I missed the beginning, so I may have missed my guess. The giant nuclear ants from Them! got a mention, a film I watched with my dad when I was little. The piece ended with On the Beach, a post-nuclear war disaster film starring Gregory Peck with a depressing ending based on the book by the same name by British-Australian author Nevil Shute. I feel like by now I should have seen this film, if not read the book, but I haven't. Anyway, they ended the piece with a mournful rendition of Waltzing Matilda that sounded like it must have come from the film, which annoyed me because I don't think our national song belongs in that film. I am going to add it to my netflix queue to confirm.
- 5 February 2009 12:11pm: Quarterly update means free lunch after. Always nice food too.
- 5 February 2009 04:21pm: Allison is whining because we don't have any spare hard drives to give her. It's getting annoying.
- 5 February 2009 05:01pm: I was just thinking Allison's behaviour would be age appropriate for my little sister... seven years ago when she was six that is.
- 5 February 2009 10:21pm: It will be good to spend a few days at The Point and not have to commute all the way to/from Wyoming every day.
- 6 February 2009 08:37am: Standing room only on the train. Nose to stinky arm pit.
- 6 February 2009 10:18am: I started saying ko again. It's weird.
- 6 February 2009 03:54pm: Mail server migration went off pretty much without a hitch but the connection to muse dropped out and now I can't update the DNS! *sigh*
- 6 February 2009 04:12pm: Got to muse. nullslice is now nullray. Your local DNS server may take a while to update.
- 6 February 2009 10:38pm: of course I spoke too soon because there was stuff I forgot... :/
- Yesterday at 06:43pm: I am going to start saying "after now" again. It's like I pick up a camera and I turn into myself three years ago.
- Today at 05:56pm: 65 dead in Victoria. How much longer before they stop saying "..since Ash Wednesday" and just say "deadliest fires in Australian history" :(
- 30 January 2009 01:36pm: so hot omg.
- 30 January 2009 06:54pm: Things always seems better after nice Australian lamb chops for tea.
- 1 February 2009 03:00pm: Preparing our attack plan for tonight's twilight parade.
- 2 February 2009 08:10am: It's February: meaning hot and humid like every year. Least. Favourite. Month. Ever.
- 3 February 2009 05:38pm: I forgot to wish Kathy a happy Groundhog Day.
- Today at 11:22am: Andrew is asking if I know any HTML monkeys. Apparently Kim has been a no show for a while, maybe we never have to see her sorry face again.
- 22 January 2009 07:31am: There exists a person named Kevin Howard. This amuses me.
- 22 January 2009 07:42am: Ira Glass is sounding increasingly desperate for donations :( hope they don't axe the podcast.
- 22 January 2009 11:58am: The universe still works... even when you forget to notice. And other trite observations by yours truly.
- 22 January 2009 09:05pm: Wonderful. RAW files from a Nikon D700 are unsupported under CS2.
- Yesterday at 08:53am: My Australian hosting provider proves yet again that they suck. If there were alternatives.
- Yesterday at 10:21am: Layoffs at The Company once again makes me nervous for my friends, and glad I'm not there any more.
- Yesterday at 10:57am: While looking at the graveyard through my viewfinder and waiting for my tea to cool, a coworker told me a ghost story.
- Today at 11:13am: Camera running low on battery juice. This wouldn't happen on a mechanical camera.
- Today at 02:28pm: High is only thirtynine today. Happily I am in an air con restaurant.
- 12 December 2008 05:37pm: Listening to Paul Simon's kodachrome on the way to the camera repair shop.
- 17 December 2008 04:56pm: DJabberd is a high-performance, scalable, Jabber/XMPP server framework where everything is a plugin... and nothing WORKS! Way to go guys.
- 18 December 2008 09:22am: This year "going home for Christmas" doesn't involve any plains trains or automobiles.
- 19 December 2008 01:15pm: Typical aussie party divided on gender lines.
- 19 December 2008 01:58pm: Steal your co-workers chrissy presents day.
- 20 December 2008 03:44pm: New WWI aerial combat exhibit at the war memorial was pretty good and reminded me of playing Red Baron in high school.
- 21 December 2008 10:16pm: Happy Chanukah :)
- 24 December 2008 08:45am: Today I am the dev team.
- 26 December 2008 09:35am: Chrissy at the beach was awesome. Now I'm going to try and find some 120 film for my Rolleiflex so I can take some square pictures.
- 14 October 2008 11:13am: Briefly returned to New Haven. The Dinosaur bones are still there. Trying to teach L dinosaur names as she teaches me Russian.
- 16 October 2008 10:33pm: Has anyone noticed that with the economy in the toilet the SPAM has changed from "get V1AgRa" to "Job Offer!"?
- 18 October 2008 01:35pm: Din dins with tehresa and lenviol was delicious.
- 20 October 2008 08:31am: Back in Australia with Rusian goodies. Flight was uneventfull but woke up for sunrise over the Pacific. Pretty moments.
Grandpa's slides from grandma, grandpa and mum's visit to the Breadknife, Lighting Ridge and the Warren Bungles. Taken in the mid 1960s in country New South Wales
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Of course grandpa isn't in any of these because he took them. Enjoying working with slides again. It's not quite as nice as a black and white dark room, but there is some enjoyment to be had at spotting old photographs and bringing them back to life. Didn't do too much work on these though, I don't feel okay about doing colour correction on grandpa's slides (do it all the time on mine), but removing dust from the scans seems legitimate.
What makes something “Historic”?
Australia saying sorry to the stolen generations: historic.
Important events happen all the time that miss the label “historic”. I think we don’t always realise how these thing affect our society on the long term.
I hope Kevin Rudd makes good on the promise of a more united Australia. I hope we all make good on the promise of a more united Australia. I don’t think a broken promise is terribly historic.
I was watching CNN for the first time in years yesterday and they vaguely covered the apology by saying Kevin Rudd was trying to improve relations with Aboriginals. It seemed to miss most of the important points, and all of the details. I suppose it is only historic to Australians.
I have to say CNN here is disappointing. We get this strange hybrid “international” euro-centric version of CNN. If I am going to watch CNN I want the blindly American-centric version! That is the whole point of watching American owned media.
Watched Oyster Farmer (imdb). I love this style of Australian filmmaking (Hollywood seems so tired to me sometimes). Had a similar feel in some respects to Lantana and Jindabyne. Oyster Farmer was set on the Hawskebury River, and featured local background colour including bell birds and trains of the Newcastle line which takes me up to Gosford.
On the commentary tracks of The Chaser, they are always talking about how people in Melbourne love it when they go to film there because they get to see places around where they live on TV. I think they must be right, because one of the things I like about the group is that they are almost always pulling stunts around Sydney in places that I recognize. At least part of the appeal to Australian films, for me, is seeing home through another person’s lens.
Wednesday I decided to come down to Canberra. I went to Dick Smith’s to get iPods for Tristan and Lara. I pointed at the merchandise and said “I will have a blue one and a green one” and the salesman responded “is that for different moods or different people?”
Thursday I did the rest of my Christmas shopping, including getting a gift for Secret Santa ritual at work. Usually stuff in Australia closes at 5 or 5:30pm, but Thursday before Christmas everything is open till midnight practically, if not in actuality. It was a mad rush! Friday we had Christmas lunch at work. The food was really nice and we had Christmas crackers and everything. Then everyone drew numbers and picked gifts and/or stole gifts from others. I never want to steal other people’s gifts because it seems rude somehow (I realize it is just a game meant for fun of course), but it is always entertaining to watch other people steal gifts. My gift was the last one to get unwrapped. Can I just mention here how awesome my new coworkers are and my new work environment is?
Friday I flew down to Canberra. The airport was surprisingly uncrowded for this time of year. The aeroplane was mostly empty. When I got to Canberra, Tristan had his earphones on listening to music, and I thoughts to myself, I definitely got him the right gift. Lara was excited about her iPod too, although I think she was more excited about the games and the possibility of putting music on it. Dad already has the DVD I got him, which was unfortunate.
I know it shouldn’t be shocking, but it turns out that Sydney Uni is a hotbed of left wing sentiment. With the upcoming election and a few recent tea times thick with political gossip have cemented this cliché in my mind.
Unrelated: a little research on the interwebs and I’ve finally figured out how I’m going to vote in my first Australian federal election.
Many people hate having their photographs taken. They don’t like how they are going to come up and as a result, they tense up insuring that they look uncomfortable, thus making the photograph of them look even worse than the real thing. Being a good portrait photographer is as much about making people feel comfortable as it as about knowing f-stops and shutter speeds. I am not particularly good at it, my solution to this used to be to concentrate on (semi-)candid photography, not giving people time to make themselves feel uncomfortable.
I don’t like having my picture taken, because I hate how they come out, but I’ve realized the above and so I just sort of let photographs happen and as a result they come out a little less bad. Ironically, this meant that when I took that lighting class at Dutchess, everyone thought that I loved having my picture taken (we generally used each other for models in that class). I explained this approach to a friend of mine also taking the class, but (unsurprisingly I suppose) it made it even worse for her.
Today I went to Sydney Uni to take pictures of staff and equipment for the website that I am putting together for the Structural Biology Group (MMB). Obviously I had the usual cross section of ease-in-front-of-the-camera-ish-ness. The most photogenic people were, naturally enough, the ones that didn’t really care that their picture was being taken. Every once and a while I would get someone who hated having their picture to feel natural for just long enough (a second or two) to take a nice picture of them.
- Someone asked why Таня pronounced something in a certain way today and she said “I don’t pronounce it that way; it just sounds like I do.” (Russians often spell things one way, but then pronounce them another, to the bemusement of Australians who pronounce them the way they are spelled regardless of what language they came from: witness news anchors saying “junta”).
- The young bloke in the front row with a Guns and Roses T-Shirt didn’t know who Юрий Гагарин was.
- I was watching the Colbert Report today and I got the munchies for Doritos. I know I am a couple of weeks late.
- There was an article in the Sydney mX today about Stephen Colbert’s (Стефан Колбер) run for the White House. mX is brought to you by the same corporate overlords that bring you Faux News. It did mention it was a joke, but it didn’t mention that he was only running in South Carolina.
- I wonder if Sydneysiders even know where South Carolina is. Then again, I know Americans have no idea where New South Wales is.
- My Internet is for shit tonight speed wise :(
I was driving in the car, and listening to the radio today when I was reminded of just how suck radio is in America. Because this radio was actually entertaining. Because I am in Australia. Which is not America. They were talking funny shit about Rudd and Howard. I wish they would just call the election already. It’s too bad they don’t have Halloween in Australia, we could estimate the winner based on sales of Halloween masks of Rudd and Howard like you can with US Presidential candidates.
Most of the time lately I wish that I didn’t quite have both feet so firmly planted in two totally different countries. How did I wind up yearning for a life at the same time in each?
I watched 4 episodes of Doctor Who today, and one yesterday. Four were recorded from when I was in the states and one was aired on TV tonight. Two of them were really good: 42 and Blink. The other three were kind of blah. 42 was obviously a reference to Douglas Adams, who was a writer for the original series, but I think it was also a sly reference to 24, even though there was no torture involved. Blink was cool because it was one of those episodes which didn’t focus on the primary characters at all, and instead you get to see the weird havoc wrecked by the Doctor. They’ve done this once before and I think it has worked well in both cases.
Went to Aunty Joyce’s for afternoon tea today. My mum is still intimidated by her, which is kind of amusing. It’s nice to see her; I feel like seeing once somewhat estranged family fills in holes that are worth filling in. It also gives me hope. Tonight Don picked up this manual thingy and read the title: “A Practical Guide to SAX” only it sounded like “sex” to me so I asked “how practical is it?” SAX is the name of some hardware thingy that mum has at work.