As a photographer… ok… a wannabe photographer… I enjoy perusing many different forums and groups on Facebook and around the webs for my chosen niche just to see what people are doing and to give advice or feedback. As I said, I am a wannabe photographer – I know just enough to be dangerous and I like to believe I can give a fair critique of an image based on my knowledge and also what I like to see in photographs.
In doing so, however, I’ve come to recognise certain phrases that keep popping up, particularly when someone posts a very average-looking picture.
“Does it look right to you?”
Translation: “The image is completely naff. Focus is off. Composition is all wrong. Lighting is totally fucked up. Why in hell did you post this rubbish?”
“Did you achieve what you wanted to achieve?”
Translation: “I could do this so much better than you.”
“I’m sure your client loved it.”
Translation: “It’s a questionable, ill-conceived pose – probably suggested by the client and you didn’t know how to suggest any better. Or it was your idea and you have no clue what you’re doing.”
“I like the tonality.”
Translation: “You slapped an Instagram filter on that, didn’t you?”
Translation: “THIS IS SO BLAND I WANT TO STAB MYSELF IN THE EYE WITH A FORK.”
“I think that the most important thing is that you and the client ends up loving them and wanting to buy them.”
Translation: “Now use the money you’ve made and get some photography lessons.”
Translation: Actually, I am still trying to figure this one out.
I have had my heart broken many times. By friends, by family and by awesome hairdressers who decide to move to Queensland (Renata, I still have not forgiven you)… but I don’t think I will ever truly be able to recover from the news that I have been refusing to acknowledge for a couple of months now.
When I was little, I was obsessed with dinosaurs. I wanted to be a palaeontologist when I grew up. I knew countless names and species of dinosaurs. I had watched every dinosaur movie I could get my hands on. Even in my late teens when Walking With Dinosaurs aired on our TV screens in 1999, I thrilled to the scenes of big lizards stomping around the place. They looked so real!
“Hey Ren, what was your favourite dinosaur?” I hear you ask.
Well that’s a good question… because I’ve since discovered that my favourite dinosaur which developed from a love of the character called “Babypuss” in the 1979 classic, Daikyoryu No Jidai, or Age of the Great Dinosaurs in English (enjoy the random theme song from the movie there) NEVER EVEN EXISTED as I grew up knowing it.
Triceratops or … what? (Image from BoingBoing)
The Triceratops was my favourite dinosaur… and much like the Brontosaurus which was discovered to be a younger version of the Apatosaurus, it’s been ripped from the annals of science and time and people who apparently know this stuff are now saying that the Triceratops simply didn’t exist as we all knew it. It was a juvenile Torosaurus.
A FECKING WHAT?!
Oh science, why do you mess with my mind? It hurts me so.
There is small comfort out of this, however. Triceratops was discovered and named first and therefore whether or not it was a juvenile Torosaurus is moot.
From the paper itself:
“It was already known that triceratops skulls changed throughout their development, but not that the final result was a torosaurus. Torosaurus will now be abolished as a species and specimens reassigned to Triceratops, says Horner.”
So… Torosaurus is the lie… but so is the Triceratops… kinda.
Frankly, ever since Pluto was downgraded to a dwarf planet and not a real planet, I don’t what what to believe.
But here is a video that a friend and I made this morning. An Ode to the Triceratops.
Actually, what I got for Christmas was the following:
1. A speeding fine.
2. A weird cold/infection/plague thing that’s settled in my chest.
3. 5kg gained over three weeks.
4. No job prospects.
5. An abnormal pap smear result.
6. One of my aunts passed away from cancer. (For any of my friends reading this, no, I am not talking about my aunt Nessa who was diagnosed with melanoma in her eye. She’s still very much alive and kicking.)
Yeah… this Christmas has sort of sucked.
Ah well. Thanks to Peter Jackson, the Boxing Day Movie tradition has been reinstated with the manbeast with a viewing of the much-awaited release of The Hobbit. That was the one thing that I was actually looking forward to this Christmas.
What did I think of the movie?
I will say this… I am a fan of the Lord of the Rings series. The Hobbit was a great film and I enjoyed it a lot but I didn’t walk out of the theatre nearly crying because there was 12 months to wait for the next one. Unfortunately I feel that the Powers That Be are milking it for every penny that it’s worth (and it’s kind of worth a lot) and as a result, what is only one short book is going to be stretched out over three movies. Not terribly impressed with that. The pace of the film was extremely slow as a result.
Now, here’s what I did not like about the film…
It had a very Pixar-ish feel about it. I think it had a lot to do with the 48fps frame rate (which, granted, is sped up slightly for the 2D showings of the film) but it was just too crisp and clean and sharp. Yes, Middle Earth isn’t real, I get that, but the grittiness of the original films gave them realism and the audience the impression that it could very well have been a real environment.
The overuse CGI in the new film was also a huge problem. In the LotR series, the antagonists were guys in prosthetics. The awesome Lawrence Makoare played three of the main ones; Lurtz the big Uruk’hai, Gothmog the big boss of the super orcs, and he donned the Witch King’s robes for the final film) and it gave the characters that same sense of realism which I found the most appealing. Sure, the big critters like the massive elephants and the cave trolls were CGI but that was kind of necessary – it’s kinda hard to get a real elephant to play dress-ups and Andre the Giant died about 20 years ago.
The Hobbit’s main bad guy was 100% CGI. And I was bummed because he looked CGI. I don’t know what the difference is this time between the graphics from the LotR films to The Hobbit but it was too crisp and clean – too much colour and to be honest, he did not look nearly evil enough. Ugly, yes, but ugly in the sense that he had a few artistically placed body/battle scars and a missing limb. Gothmog’s abhorrent facial growths and the fact that he was played by a real person made him infinitely scarier.
Even Gollum looked like a cheesy cartoon caricature of himself and even though he was voiced by the marvelous Barry Humphries, the Goblin King was probably the worst bit of CGI in the entire film. I did not like him at all. He looked too comically gross to be taken at all seriously.
Though I will admit, I did rather enjoy the superfluous stone giants scene. It was pretty awesome. And at least it was actually in the book.
As we begin Summer down here in Aussieland, I was checking out some photos I took at the beginning of the year and realised there was a bunch that I loved which I never put up.
I really don’t know why I kept forgetting about them but I loved the day I took them.
It was the end of March, still really warm though the heat of the real summer had worn off. March really is my favourite month. Sunny days and balmy nights at the best. I was wandering around in jeans and a t-shirt taking snaps around Melbourne, mostly along Swanston Street / St Kilda Road and the Southbank precinct.
So here they are now…
I don’t know who this guy was but he was so cool and trendy-looking and he just seemed to pose naturally in front of me. Might have had something to do with the big camera bag I was lugging around and not so inconspicuously swapping lenses in and out of.
But maybe not. Either way, he stood there reading the gig guide for a couple of minutes, unwitting letting me practice rim-lighting.
Mr Trendy, again, and who I think was his other half. Still perusing the gig guide. Mrs Trendy also looked quite cool. I love this picture. It’s just so… Melbourne.
Princess Bridge from the Botanical Gardens side.
Dropping back to my voyeuristic tendendies again… Love the guys on their balconies.
An artful shot of a seagull.
Obligatory shot of Eureka Tower. Biggest blight on the Melbourne cityscape.
Very pleased I made it look short in this photograph.
I’m vindictive like that.
We have giant gold bees in Melbourne. Tourists be warned! Fortunately they only like Eureka Tower.
Another giant bee.
I don’t know who thought of the bees but as much as I hate Eureka Tower, I kinda like the bees.
This guy is/was very talented but he was also a real asshat and started giving me grief about giving him money for photos.
Sorry mate, this ain’t India. I snapped this and walked off.
Two ladies. Park bench. Sunshine. Perfect.
And where else but in Melbourne can you find a penguin on a bridge playing bagpipes?
Much of the fantastic graffiti which I photographed some months ago has been covered by taggers and rubbishy vandalism. There hasn’t been much of an update for a while, it seems. Having said that, there’s a section of wall that shows a lot of little scribbles from people passing through. Some of them are funny, some of them are heartbreaking, some are poignant, and most are just rude.
Don’t count the days. Make the days count.
Yep. And some days I feel it too.
Hey I just met you… and this is crazy…
But here’s my number…
This made me stop. Normally my eyes would start bleeding at the rampant abuse of the written word but…
“You know sometimes, more often than not, I think about dying.”
Translation: “Fight off your demons. Write songs in your sleep. We love you. We miss you. I love you so much that it hurts my head.”
If you’re an Instagram user and love Melbourne… (And don’t think I missed the juxtaposition of the “Fuck off” with my watermark.)
Just a pre-warning to my more sensitive viewers… There is content here that involves swearing.
And perhaps some inappropriate jokes and pictures.
I don’t do politics. I don’t do religion. I hate both with a passion… so much so that I avoid overtly faithful blogs – even though they might have KILLER recipes for stuff like ginger cookies and lemon meringue pies. (Damn you, Pinterest!)
But I am so disturbed by what’s happening in the world at the moment with those of the Islamic faith that remaining silent on the issue is killing me. It’s particularly worrisome when you’ve got a mate who works for the American Embassy as a consulate official. No, not in those areas of the Middle East where people have recently been murdered but all the same, she’s at an American consulate and therefore a target of much hatred depending on who’s looking. And she’ll be staying with me for two weeks come Sunday morning. Yay!
(Though the bitch’s plane gets in at SPARROWS BUTTCRACK OF DAWN O’CLOCK! Not happy, Allison.)
Anyhoo… a riot happened in Sydney’s CBD on Saturday… a mob of Angry Muslims(TM) took to the street, declaring a jihad on anyone who didn’t support the Islamic faith and death to the person who created some ridiculous video on Youtube.
Look, I have never really had a problem with anyone wanting to live in this country. You can be from whatever race and creed and I’ll happily support you.
I’ve only ever had a few requirements for newbie citizens…
This finding a new job stuff is tough. The hours you put into writing resumes and cover letters may as well be a full-time job all on it’s own.
I’ve been unemployed for a touch over two months now and I will confess it worries me. The money I got from my redundancy will not last forever and there’s been a few rather costly situations come up which has resulted in the money lasting even less time than expected. I had plans for much of it. I had hoped to be employed again by now so I could take advantage of those plans but unfortunately it’s not happening for me. I simply cannot find anything I would like to do or when I do find something I invariably end up being not the right candidate for the job – for whatever lame reason the prospective employer can think up.
I want to change careers but it’s difficult to do so when you’re boxed in by previous experience. My first job was an accident that evolved into something that I just settled into for seven years – that being dealing with lawyers and their passive aggressive PAs on the phone, assisting them with obtaining the necessary documents for property conveyancing …or realty, as it might be called in the states, if I have that right… please correct me if not.
When I was made redundant from that job, I had the good fortune of having a contact who put me in touch with a recruitment lady who had dealt with a lot of folk from the office and she placed with me with my next job, as an administration officer working for a superannuation company. I got that because they were willing to let a newbie have a go. Of course that role grew and evolved with the years and I managed a pretty sweet deal for myself in terms of pay – but not experience. I could say that I was a senior administrator in the end but really, I was just the lackey of the team leaders. I wasn’t allowed to be a senior because they wouldn’t let go enough to let me do what the job entailed. I missed out on a lot of promised training that never eventuated as well and only barely managed to get the standard qualification that’s necessary to work in finance these days in time before my end date came along.
In the time that I was with that company, I had also done a graphic design course which was, frankly, abysmal and I still feel like I don’t have the skills to do anything with it.
This is where I am lost at the moment. I know just enough of a lot to be knowledgeable but not actually useful in any particular profession.
I don’t know where to go from here. I really don’t. I’d love to get out of the bloody awful, dry office environment. If I could do admin stuff from home I most happily would because then I’d have the company of my cats and dog and not a bunch of people I have to resign myself to putting up with. I’d love to do something new. Childcare was and still is an interest of mine. But then so is being a make-up artist.
I was told by a nice lady that I was only 33, “still a baby trying to figure out what you’re going to be when you grow up” and yes, while I do indeed feel that way… I know that I am a 33 year-old who still needs to get a job.
Am I ok?
Yes. For the moment. It gets me down but it’s not soul destroying. My husband and family are there for me. There is nothing that can happen to us that we can’t build ourselves back up from.
But some people have it tougher than I…
So now maybe it might be time to ask someone you know going through some trouble…
On the 27th of July (I believe), a very talented man ended his life. I don’t know why, I don’t think anyone but his family (particularly his father) might have had an inkling as to why he might have done so.
The above video was posted two weeks ago.
I will never understand why people believe that a permanent solution to a temporary problem is the answer. It used to make me angry. I used to rant and rave about how much I detested people who killed themselves. It’s not fair to the people who find them, it’s not fair to the people who are left behind to wonder why. In this case, Nathan has not only left his family behind, but also many thousands of fans who appreciated his ironically positive outlook on life and his extraordinary talent for making music. I was one of them and was luck to have exchanged a few messages with him. He was a kind soul.
I find I can’t be angry about this particular situation. I am, however, extremely sad.
Knowing that he’s gone now makes that video extremely telling. Extremely telling.
All I can say, to anyone reading this, that if you are feeling like this… solution… is the one for you, think again. Think again and then go get help. Things are never so bad that you need to end your life.
If you are in Australia and you need to talk to someone, contact a professional through Beyond Blue or for immediate assistance, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
What on earth happened to the rest of the week? I posted on Monday night and it’s now Friday. ACK!
Anyhoo… Tuesday, if you recall, was the day of the Twinings High Tea event that was arranged via Nuffnang. I left in good spirits, bright and early and full of pep, and got to the city in good time (only an hour on the train – sigh) but that’s where things went a little pear-shaped.
I hate the Crown complex. Hate it with a passion unsurpassed. HATE. However every semi-important event, meet-greet, whatever, is always held somewhere in the belly of that beast. I lose my bearings in there very quickly and find it extremely hard to get around. So when I found out that the otherwise delightful venue, JJ’s Bar & Grill was somewhere in the depths of Crown Towers, I was like… “Noooooooooooooooooo!”
Luke Skywalker has nothing on my personal brand of drama llama, people.
So anyway, I walked… from Southern Cross Station all the way down to Southbank. Not a far walk but then I got confused as to which end Crown Towers was (again)… That didn’t last long as I eventually remembered the entrance was around the back in Whiteman Street. Ok, so I had enough time, thought I, for a stroll around the front of Promenade… but they’d closed off one of the access routes for getting through to the back of the complex. Stupid renovations and construction. Grr.
So I walked right around to Whiteman Street and found the door to the hotel.
“But,” thought I, “that’s the entrance to the Hotel, JJ’s is further down and in a bit. I’ll find another door.”
I walked. And I walked. And I walked. And I checked my watch to discover I had 15 minutes to find the place and I still hadn’t even managed to get inside the building yet.
And I kept walking. Not. One. Door.
I ended up right back on King Street. I’d pretty much gone full circle.
I found the door to the cinemas and went through there, hoping I could just walk in the general direction from whence I’d come but alas, I hit a wall. Literally. There was now a wall in the corridor I needed to go down.
I gave in and sidled shyly up to a security type person who was dutifully guarding the entrance to the casino and doing a fabulous job of looking more like one of those CIA-presidential-body-guard types than a door thug.
“Yes, darlink!” He exclaimed after I moaned my frustrations at him. Oh god, he was Russian. “You go out deer door to deer right and follow all deer way down to deer Rockpool, understandink? Goodt, then you take deer right again and you see stairs. You can use deer lifts but deer stairs is faster, ‘kay? You be seeink signs for JJ’s. It will be on deer left past Conservatory.”
So I found deer door on deer right and eventually located deer Rockpool and eventually deer stairs (which, I hate to admit was the main entrance to fecking Crown Towers which I’d passed 20 minutes prior) and low and behold, I found JJ’s.
And I had time to spare in the end so I took off my jacket, wiped the sweat from under my eyes and peered at all the other bloggery-type people who were already there. They seemed an interesting bunch, not that I could do much dropping of eaves to really find out. I was sort of standing away from them all probably looking completely unsociable. Hmm.
So we were eventaully let in after being allocated tables. (“Tables? What tables? I thought this was just a marketing thing?”)
The first thing I saw was a plate of macarons and I knew I was going to have a good morning, regardless of the tea.
Those on my table introduced themselves around the place (shout outs to Scoop Nutrition and My Poppet and Fleur who was a baby blogger – can’t wait to see hers) and then we got to the business of investigating the food…
Macarons and fruit tarts and little pies and OMGYUM!
Seriously yummy looking stuff…
I did mean to focus on the box of tea… really…
Mr Stephen Twining, judging the prettiest tea cup! (He looks a bit like Prince Charles, eh?)
But we were there for the tea and before too long there was the clinking of a glass and Stephen Twining, 10th generation Twining to be precise, came out and introduced himself before letting us pour ourselves a cuppa from the various selections on the table and pick at the scrumptious offerings before he gave us a lovely run-down of the new tea range being brought out by Twinings. Assam Bold; serious shit-kicking strong tea, Blueberry, Apple & Rosehip; a lovely flavourful infusion, and what turned out to be my personal favourite, Blackcurrant, Ginseng & Vanilla.
Mr Twining also did explain the ins and outs of a perfect cuppa which included:
Always refilling the kettle to boil new water for each cup as it’s the dissolved oxygen in the water that draws out the flavour of the tea.
Make black tea with just boiled water (100 degrees celcius) in a warmed teapot for steeped perfection.
Green tea should always be made boiled water that’s been left to cool for three minutes (to approximately 90-odd degrees), otherwise it can make the tea bitter.
And he was good enough to add that historically milk came before tea but due to the way we do tea these days, it’s impractical. Good. I didn’t need to take umbrage with him as I suspected I might.
You can hear it from him directly in this video:
Lastly was the highlight of the morning for me. We got to have a sniff and blend our own individual variety of tea! Much enthused, I tried a bit of everything and following Mr Twining’s advice about things like complimentary notes/flavours of tea and leaf size (tetchnikal stuff, this tea-making lark), I made a blend of Lady Grey, Russian Caravan and cinnamon. And it smells like Christmas.
It was a great time! And I have enough tea to last me ages now.
Little factoid: The cornflowers in Twinings Lady Grey are not there for any flavour enhancing properties. They were actually an accident that happened when a tea-maker accidentally knocked a pot of cornflowers into the tea! They’ve kept it in there for tradition’s sake. I think that’s lovely.
Quotes of the Days
"Can't freeze people properly as water expands and breaks cell walls. Same with lettuce" -- J. Bryson