Elizabeth is an Australian blogger and photographer, living in Melbourne after a lifetime in Queensland. She is undertaking a challenge to complete 101 Things in 1001 Days, and documents her progress here.  Scarlet Words is also home to stories about life in her newly adopted city, and news about all the cool stuff she discovers on the web. She’s in love with a boy called Tim, she’s owned by a little dog named Harry, and has an embarrassing habit of introducing herself in the third person. If you like, you can read even more about her here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The art of unplugging

by Elizabeth on August 20, 2014 · 3 comments

in 101 in 1001, Life

techfreeweekend

I have a handful of tasks on my list of 101 Things in 1001 Days which have been kind of hard to get excited about.  Some of them are gym-related (no surprise there!) while others have challenged me to give up something I love.  That month without coffee was rough.

So it’s probably not surprising that I’ve waited until Day 965 to embark on Task 67: Have a technology-free weekend.

This Friday afternoon I’ll switch off my phone, lock it in my desk drawer at work and walk away.  I’ll put away my iPad and laptop too, as well as any other gadgets that would normally make an appearance in the course of a weekend.  There will be no TV, and when the sun sets the lights will mostly stay off – at least in the rooms that I’ll be in.

I’m going to spend a bit of time over the next two days working out exactly what “technology-free” will mean, and set a few rules for myself ahead of time.

Here’s the plan so far.


Banned:

  • devices such as my phone, iPad, computers, digital cameras
  • social media and texts (obviously!)
  • dishwasher and microwave
  • lights, unless I’m working on something for my 101 Things list and candlelight won’t cut it
  • hairdryer & straightener (oh no!)


Allowed:

  • I can drive, but only if I really really need something that can’t be reached on foot
  • washing machine and heater
  • oven and stovetop
  • film cameras

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Questions nobody has asked me yet:

But like, why?
This task isn’t really about the environment, or appreciation for how technology has made life easier.  I added it to my list because my phone has practically become part of my anatomy and it’s a major cause of distraction and procrastination.  I have a pavlovian reaction to the buzz of my phone and that bothers me.

Will you die?
I fully expect that my hand will reach for my phone constantly for the first day, and I’ll be slightly annoyed when I want to google something to get a quick answer.  But it’s just one weekend!

Mostly, I’m expecting the weekend to feel longer, for the pace to slow.  I’m anticipating that Tim and I will have more time to talk, and maybe I’ll finally have the brain space necessary to sit down and do a bunch of my drawing tasks too.

Will you cheat?
Yup!  There are a couple of allowances I have given myself.  For example, I’ve found an ancient, feature-free iPod full of who-knows-what music and I’m going to check it out over the weekend.  It will be a big step back from Shazamming a song and purchasing it in under 60 seconds.

However, I won’t ask Tim to look something up for me or help me break any other rules.

We haven’t really discussed this part yet, but I’ve already decided to not drag Tim into my device-free hell.  Instead, if there’s something he wants to watch on TV I’ll just take myself off to another room and do something else.  Who knows, maybe he’ll decide to power down too!

I secretly can’t wait for the peaceful, productive weekend ahead of me without the lure of all those screens.  If you miss me this weekend, just picture me wandering down to the corner shop to buy an actual newspaper (whaaaat?) with my frightening naturally-dried hair.  You can be sure that my phone will be buzzing loudly in my hand again by 8am Monday morning when I plug it back in!

If you have any other ideas for making this lo-fi weekend even better I would love to hear them!  Leave me a comment before Friday afternoon, or maybe you could leave me a tweet to look forward to on Monday?

See you on the other side!

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#55 – Build a snowman

by Elizabeth on August 17, 2014 · 2 comments

in 101 in 1001, Life, Melbourne

I can’t quite believe that I haven’t posted anything here for more than 2 months!  It’s the usual story – the less action you see here, the more is (probably) going on in my offline life.  When I grow up I want to be one of those people who can manage both and still have time to brush their teeth.

It’s crunch time now with my list of 101 Things in 1001 Days - only 41 days left to finish the remaining 28 tasks on my list.  It sounds bad (right?), but more than half of those items are already well underway and the others are probably manageable as long as I don’t lose my momentum.  The main thing I have to do is sit my butt down and draw stuff!

I want to try and write about some of the more interesting items on my list that I’ve completed during my absence, so hopefully you’ll be seeing a little more action here over the next few weeks (but not if it gets in the way of actually finishing my list by 28 September!)

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Task #55 on my list of 101 Things in 1001 DaysBuild a Snowman.

Tim and I drove up to Lake Mountain yesterday to complete one of my favourite tasks on my list: build a snowman!  We waited a little too long to tackle this one, and since there’s not a lot of snow around this weekend we paid the $53 entrance fee to Lake Mountain Alpine Resort to make sure that we could get it done.  There was a great little cafe at the top of the mountain, and once we’d warmed up we found a little off-road spot beside the cross-country ski trail and got to work.

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Sidenote: Earlier today I found a photo of myself wearing this same pair of Docs when I was SIXTEEN.  Way to age more gracefully than me, shoes.  Thanks a lot.

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Probably the best part of making these snowpeople was the reactions of the people passing by.  Some people called out to us as they scooted by on their skis, while others actually stopped and asked to be photographed with them.  Me and my snowmen feature in a bunch of strangers’ photos, including one incredibly enthusiastic group of “bros” who insisted that I be in their shots and make peace signs with them.

(By the way, Tim, that was a greeeeat time to wander off for 10 minutes…)

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We waved goodbye to our little friends, warmed up with a hot chocolate and started to head home to Melbourne.

The drive back down the mountain was spectacular at the end of the day, as usual.  It’s amazing to see the difference between these shots and the ones I took last time we were at Lake Mountain which was about 18 months after the Black Saturday bushfires.  Everything looks so much healthier now and the new growth seems well established.

(There’s a bigger version of the panorama below if you click on it.)

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See?  Magic.

I’ll be back again soon with some photos from our QLD adventure last week, and hopefully a little more progress on my remaining tasks.  I’m starting to wish that I had crossed off that pesky Swim in the ocean task before it got so freaking cold…

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All by myself from Richard Dunn on Vimeo.

I’m still laughing at this video even as I type up this quick post.  Richard Dunn found himself stranded at an airport after his flight was cancelled last week, so using his iPhone (and a wheelchair and a roll of packing tape) he set out to make a music video.

It starts strong and then it gets better.  Three thumbs up.

(Related: SOUR GRAPES.)

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Marina Abramovic and Ulay

by Elizabeth on May 24, 2014 · 1 comment

in Art, Cool stuff

Marina Abramovic and Ulay started an intense love story in the 70s, performing art out of the van they lived in.  When they felt the relationship had run its course, they decided to walk the Great Wall of China, each from one end, meeting for one last big hug in the middle and never seeing each other again.

At her 2010 MoMA retrospective Marina performed ‘The Artist Is Present’ as part of the show, a minute of silence with each stranger who sat in front of her.  Ulay arrived without her knowing it, and after 22 years of separation this is what happened.

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These gifs are from Tumblr so the original source is probably lost forever, but you can read a more detailed account of the story here.

Here’s the full video:

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heavylifting

Source: The Australia Institute

 

Last week’s federal budget announcement is pretty big news right now.  Australia had some idea of what was coming, and after months of rhetoric from Abbott and Hockey about Australia’s so-called ‘budget emergency’ we all understood that the announcement would be tough.  We had been warned that we must all share in the ‘heavy lifting’ of a budget characterised by widespread cuts.

However I don’t think many of us expected to be handed a budget in which those who are already most disadvantaged would shoulder a disproportionate percentage of the load.

I want to have a real conversation about this.  After a few days of reflection I have put some of my thoughts down and I really hope to hear from others – especially if you disagree with me.  I am not an economist; I can’t pretend to give an expert analysis of this budget.  I don’t think that this limitation excludes me from commenting on the consequences of widespread cuts to our welfare system and essential services.

And there will be consequences.

 

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My disappointment with this budget has nothing to do with my own situation or personal needs.  Tim and I are both fortunate enough to have as much work as we need, at a salary that allows us to live comfortably and to pay our bills – including the HECS debt that I still carry.  We have both studied hard, we are hard workers and we contribute our fair share as Australian taxpayers.  My family is concerned about our financial situation because we’re long-term renters but I can’t deny that our lives are pretty good.  Tim and I understand how lucky we are.

According to Hockey we’ll be working until we are 70 years old and we’ll pay more for our petrol than we used to.  We’re finding it utterly impossible to buy a house, but we will be okay.  There are so many others who can’t say the same.

 

winnersandlosers

Source: http://greens.org.au/

 

There are many Australians, other people who work just as hard as us and pay their taxes, who will be significantly worse off under Hockey’s changes.  If you’re having trouble understanding what all the noise is about perhaps you could try to imagine life from the perspective of these people:

    • Senior citizens:  Commonwealth Seniors Health Card holders will lose the Seniors supplement, which currently sits at $876.20 per year for singles and $1,320.80 for couples.  That doesn’t sound like a lot of money when you’re a young salaried person, but to a pensioner this could easily affect the quality of their diet, affordability of medications and their willingness to see a GP when needed.  At this vulnerable time in their lives (and after a lifetime of paying into the Australian welfare system) they find themselves on the chopping block.  And the cost of living continues to rise.
    • Young people:  The government will provide cash incentives to businesses to hire people over the age of 50, placing a further obstacle in the path of young jobseekers.  There is an assumption that there are plenty of jobs to go around, but take a look at the unemployment rate in regional towns to understand how bad the odds are for jobseekers already.  Furthermore, people under 30 who are unemployed will have to wait six months to be eligible for welfare assistance.  Once eligible they can only claim for six months before it is cut off and the cycle begins again.  Anyone who thinks that this won’t lead to an increase in homelessness, crime and abuse is ignoring reality.  This is serious stuff.
    • Students:  In addition to the above, a university education just became less accessible for those from a lower socio-economic background.  And if they graduate at 22 they face the six-monthly cycle of welfare ineligibility if they can’t be placed in a job immediately.
    • Sick people: I have a fundamental issue with sick people being taxed more than healthy people for the purpose of raising money for medical research.  It is my firm belief that the sort of person who can casually say, “it’s only $7!” does not understand what it’s like to not have $7.  Add to that the increased cost of PBS medications, co-payments for blood tests and other procedures, and you’d better hope that your other children don’t get sick at the same time.  Put simply: this co-payment will mean that fewer sick people visit their GP.  It will mean that fewer children are immunised for killers like whooping cough.  And I don’t mean to tell the Treasurer how to do his job here, but perhaps he’d like to consider how the cost of treating preventable illness in our community will affect health spending.
    • Indigenous people:  Hockey has told a particularly cruel joke here, raising the Australian pension age to 70 while the average life expectancy of an indigenous male is just 69 years (and 74 for females).  Our government has responded to this gross inequity by cutting $534 million from Indigenous programs, many of which are health care services.  Have you seen the stats on preventable blindness in our very own backyard?  Are we proud of that?
    • Asylum seekers:  Let’s be clear about this – asylum seekers are permitted by law to seek refuge in another country.  This isn’t even up for debate – if you believe otherwise you have been taught a terrible lie.  You have a responsibility to stop that lie from spreading any further.  In the Age of Information, ignorance is a choice.

The fact remains that, however unpleasant the Australian government tries to be, it cannot match the terror from which those who are genuine refugees are fleeing. That remains the fundamental flaw in the policy of deterrence.
- Malcolm Fraser

Source (plus a bunch more info): http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-13/budget-winners-and-losers/5433178

 

australian government dictionary 2014

There seems to be a pervasive attitude amongst Australians that conservative parties care about the economy, while the left-leaning parties just spend money and jump up and down about trendy welfare issues.  As long as we subscribe to this attitude we can never have adult conversations about the shape of our nation.  Political discourse will continue to be driven by catchy, fear-mongering headlines and insults.

I am a left-leaning voter.  It’s a source of amusement to some people in my life, and I’ve been called a ‘hippie’ by more than one for the concern I have shown about asylum seeker issues and the environment.  My beliefs don’t stem from some childish need to be different or because I enjoy jumping up on my soapbox – I actually find political discussions with conservative voters really stressful, particularly when they’re people I care about.  I am a left-leaning voter because human beings are more important to me than Gina Rinehart’s power and comfort.

  • I don’t support my tax dollars being used for subsidies for big business at the expense of struggling families.
  • I don’t want families to pay more for fuel while the mining industry pays less for theirs – especially if we continue to ignore investment in renewable energy (the Australian Renewable Energy Agency has been axed too).
  • I believe in protecting our Medicare system, and I believe that senior citizens who have paid into that system over the course of their lifetime should be the last to lose it.
  • I believe in on-the-ground, practical support for our indigenous communities and refugees.  I also believe that any ‘solutions’ created and sold to the nation from Canberra will fail.
  • I believe that a tertiary education should be accessible to all, and that the resulting debt should not be equivalent to a mortgage.  I believe that disadvantaged people will be less likely than their financially-stable neighbours to take up a university place because of the eventual debt and that this will widen the gap between rich and poor.
  • I believe in the work of the CSIRO and independent media such as the ABC and SBS.
  • I believe that some school chaplains do good work and that much depends greatly on the individual and the power/scope granted to them by their school board.    I do not support the federal government’s commitment to provide $250 billion dollars to the school chaplains program over the next four years at the expense of the vulnerable groups above.  Instead, I support the provision of qualified counsellors to schools, especially if the government insists on slashing the income of Australians who are already struggling to make ends meet.  Sadly this is not on the table.

I could go on, and on, but you get the idea.

What are we doing here, Australia?  How is it that in the year 2014 we have become such a mean, self-satisfying nation with the government we deserve?  Why is it that we, with our AAA credit rating and our capacity to dodge the full weight of the GFC, can justify such appalling injustice for the sake of achieving a surplus?

becausefuckyou

 

 

I was fortunate to attend a speech and Q&A session with former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser last night.  He spoke about his new book Dangerous Allies and the need for Australia to stop cuddling up to the USA and Britain for protection.  He had some other pretty big ideas too: increase the population to 40 million, triple our spending on defence and start acting as though we belong at the grown-up’s table on our own merits.

You’d probably expect this sort of leader to be big on border protection and preserving our national identity too – you know, the sorts of excuses that people give for rejecting immigration and refugees lest they change our ‘way of life’.  Instead, he condemned the two major parties for the inhumane way in which we have treated these vulnerable people and for neglecting our duties in the region.

When one member of the audience asked Mr Fraser which of his achievements in office he was most proud of he referred to the bipartisan efforts of Whitlam and Fraser to take in large numbers of refugees following the Vietnam War and to crush the White Australia Policy.  In 1980 he gave a speech saying that the age of bigotry and racism in Australia had come to an end.  “Had I been right about that,” he said last night, “that would have been my greatest achievement”.

I wonder, had both major parties decided not to spike election issues with racist fear-mongering language, what sort of government would we have today?  And what sort of budget would have been handed down if bigotry had not been such an effective election strategy?

 

Can Kevin Andrews tell me how many chaplains it will take to make up for the damage that has been done to disadvantaged people in his care?  I just want to make sure that we’ve allocated enough cash.

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An & Ria’s first flight

by Elizabeth on May 4, 2014 · 3 comments

in Cool stuff, Videos

Two elderly Dutch ladies fly for the very first time.

Watch the whole thing – it will make you smile like a crazy person!

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Ameristraliano

by Elizabeth on April 14, 2014 · 6 comments

in Australia, Family, Life

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Last week was a huuuuge one at our house.  With just 10 days notice Tim was invited to attend a ceremony to finalise his Australian citizenship, and so ended 6.5 years of his status as a Permanent Resident.  He’s been working towards this day for about 8 years!

His ceremony was a small catch-up event which was designed to ease pressure on the city councils who had huge waiting lists.  This meant that he could only take 2 guests and there were no gifts handed out.  But it was still a beautiful venue to take the pledge and become an Australian.

Tim’s family was too far away to join us, but luckily my Mum was able to come down from Brisbane.  It was a beautiful rainy day and very exciting to be reaching this milestone with Tim.

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Once the ceremony ended Tim (sadly) had to hurry back to work.  Mum and I made a quick stop to buy him a very important piece of national attire and then we raced home to set up a little Tuesday night party in his honour.  Pretty much everything went wrong that afternoon (including me burning my hand with boiling sugar, and heavy rain that threatened to push the party inside) but by the time my extended family arrived we had pulled it all together and the rain hadn’t washed everything away.  We ended up  having such a great time together, and Tim passed the ultimate Aussie test by barbequeing for everyone in the rain.  One of us!

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Oh, and see that little tree up there in the middle of the table?  When I found out that Tim’s ceremony wouldn’t have any gifts I was a little bit sad, since I’ve always pictured him receiving a little native tree with his certificate.  So Mum and I went out and bought one instead.

I love that someday that little tree will be planted in the garden of a house that we own, and we will remember the night that we sat around it and celebrated Tim’s big day.  It’s been really special for me to see how my immediate and extended family have fully embraced Tim over the years, especially since his own family is literally on the other side of the planet.  He misses his people a lot, but at least he is surrounded by people here who really love him to pieces.

So a big congratulations to my Ameristraliano.  Still every bit American as when he arrived*, but now a fully-fledged Aussie too!

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* except for all those times when he said, “thanks mate” to shop assistants and waiters when we last visited the USA!

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startchute

Image: electricrunaus.com.au

Task #23 of my 101 Things in 1001 Days project: Run a 5K fun run

The last time I put on my running shoes was sometime in 2012.  I’ve been itching to get back into running for a while now, but whenever the urge strikes I’ve always managed to blame my asthma or my dodgy knee for putting it off until ‘next week’.  A couple of weeks ago I went to the physio about my knee and she laughed when I said I was signed up for last night’s fun run.  “Well, that’s not going to happen is it?”, she said.

The thing is, I was determined to run this 5K whether or not my knee was busted, even if I hadn’t done any training.  When I put on those shoes for the first time yesterday I didn’t know whether I was even capable of running around the block, but I decided that I was going to give it my best shot and if it was all too hard I’d walk the rest of the way.

Tim and I signed up for the Electric Run months ago and it looked like so much fun that there was no way I was pulling out!

 

Tim and I started the race together, but after the first kilometre I told him to go on without me so that I could set my own pace.  My knee was in good shape most of the way so I was able to enjoy the light shows on the course and all the amazing costumes.  There were stacks of volunteers along the side of the track yelling encouragement and giving high-fives, so it was pretty much impossible to be sad!  Besides, I had light-up shoelaces.

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It wasn’t all that long ago that I was running 5K three days per week, but for some reason this particular task totally psyched me out and I wondered if I’d be able to make it past the halfway point.  According to RunKeeper I actually ran a fair bit further than 5K last night (perhaps it was from weaving in and around all the walkers?) and only walked for 60 seconds of the whole course when I reached the top of a huge hill.  I lost count of the number of people I overtook so I’m pretty happy with how I went.

So basically I am a dummy for not starting my training months ago, and a dummy for letting this race worry me in the lead-up to last night.  I finished 10 minutes behind Tim but I still finished!  Maybe I’ll put the Colour Run on my next 101/1001 list?

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48 Things in 180 Days

by Elizabeth on April 1, 2014 · 1 comment

in 101 in 1001

collageSo… here’s the thing.

If you’ve been reading here for a while you will know that my 101 Things in 1001 Days project is a big part of my life and this blog.  I created my list in the spirit of enhancing my life, so I was careful to never add tasks that made my project feel like a chore.

The truth is, in 2013 I made very little progress because everything in my life felt like chore.  That wasn’t really the fault of my list, it was just the product of a really tough year spent keeping my head above water.

I’ve been working on this current list for 2 years now and at the start of 2014 I only had 50 completed items to show for it.  I’ve realised 2 things:

  • I need to seriously haul ass to meet my 28 September deadline; and
  • I may need to lower my standards and expectations to make it across the finish line.

 

Here’s where I stand right now:

101chart

Completed: 53 / In Progress: 19 / Not started: 29
I have 179 days 5 hours and 58 minutes left.  The remaining 49 items need to be completed at an average rate of one every 3 days.

 

I totally intend to finish this thing because I still really, really care about my original goals.  My list is still full of the stuff that will enrich my life and make me happier, and I’ve worked too hard on it to quit now.  So I have a solution: three new strategies to put a big dent in my to-do list, and start reining the beast back in.

 

 

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Image: free printable from iheartnaptime.net

1.  Finished is better than perfect
Now that time is my master, my challenge to myself is to stop overachieving and just get on with it.  Perhaps this will mean that some of the art I make won’t be worth framing.  Maybe I won’t be valedictorian of my yoga class.  All that matters at this point is getting it done, and then moving on to the next task.

2.  Do three things well, not ten things badly
I’ve been multi-tasking since the beginning of this project, and if anything I’ll be dialling that up a notch or two.  However, there is a trick to maintaining balance and I am conscious of not biting off too much at once.  One thing I’ve done to maximise my time is listen to unabridged audiobooks of classic novels while I drive and work on my art projects, and then whenever my hands aren’t busy I just pick up my book again.  It doesn’t feel like cheating, and it saves me a lot of time.

3.  Break it down
I’m a really visual person, and for somebody like me the best reward for hard work is to SHOW me my progress as it grows.  There are a bunch of tasks on my list that are made up of many smaller parts, and I found it frustrating that finishing one component didn’t really translate to a result on my chart.

So I’ve made myself a brand new chart with all of the remaining tasks broken down into their parts.  Every drawing of a hand, figure, tree or still life has its own square, so whenever I work on my art there’s incentive to finish it and cross it off!  It means I can cross off stuff more frequently and keep up the momentum.

My new list lives on the inside of my pantry door, which means I will look at it at least once per day.  The really hard, time-consuming or expensive tasks are red, the easy-peasy ones are blue, and the yellow ones fall somewhere in between and probably require some planning.

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I guess you could say that my new approach is to actually stop thinking of this as a 1001-day project, and instead worry about the remaining 180 days.  There is nothing stopping me from punching this thing right in the face as long as I just keep going.

So please, wish me luck… be my cheerleader if I get whiny.  And if you see me mindlessly dicking around on social media remind me that I could be working on one of those little squares instead.  I promise to do the same for you someday if you need to tackle a goal of your own.

179 sleeps… here we go!

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I’m the latest fan of this kickass bedroom looper, Kawehi.

She recently created a $3000 Kickstarter project to fund her Robot Heart series – a collection of songs created from a robot girl’s perspective – and exceeded her goal by a further $25,000.  People seem to be really, really into this artist and it’s not hard to understand why when you see her perform.

Her cover of Nirvana’s Heart Shaped Box (above) is the first time I’ve seen another artist attempt this song and do it justice.  Yeah, I’m pretty protective of the original.

Despite her success Kawehi doesn’t take herself so seriously that she won’t hang out in her bedroom with her dogs while she records.  It’s refreshingly “real” for an industry so obsessed with presenting an image, and I love that.  And her dogs, who get progressively funnier during the video above.

And hey, are you into pretty girls who do kickass stuff while singing bad words?

I can’t wait to see what she does next so I’m basically stalking her on social media now.  If you want to do the same here’s where you can find her stuff:

Website: http://kawehi.com/
Facebook:  http://facebook.com/iamkawehi
YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/VideoHalls
Vimeo:  http://vimeo.com/iamkawehi
Twitter: http://twitter.com/iamkawehi
Instagram:  http://instagram.com/iamkawehi

Happy Friday everyone!

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4seasons

Task #80 of my 101 Things in 1001 Days project: photograph a street scene or landscape in all 4 seasons.

I was really excited to finally finish this particular task. When I first added it to my 101 list I think I envisioned setting up a tripod in the Botanic Gardens, or even photographing my own pretty street throughout the seasons. But then I heard about Macedon and it’s beautiful Honour Avenue and decided that it would be the perfect scene for my 4 Seasons photo project (despite the long travel time!).

The idea is simple: Each season take a photograph from the same position, for one year. I chose to shoot a few angles of the same street.

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In response to the tragedy of World War One most Australian districts erected memorials to commemorate the lives of the soldiers and nurses of their district. One special form of memorial was the Avenue of Honour, and many of them have become important cultural landscapes that are unique to Australia. By 1918 the casualty rate of Australian soldiers was so high that every Australian was closely associated with somebody who had been killed, so lots of people became invested in the creation of these war memorials.

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Macedon’s Honour Avenue honours the 154 men and women of Macedon and Mount Macedon who enlisted for service during the Great War of 1914-1918. Each oak tree was planted for an individual and the order was determined by ballot, not rank. It was a real community effort, certainly more hands-on for the community than a creation of a monument which was often manufactured far from home.  A real labour of love.

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There are definite flaws in each series of photographs. In a perfect world, and with bottomless supplies of time and patience, I’d have taken a tripod and measured the height of the camera. I’d have replicated the aperture settings and focal point, and taken lots of notes about my EXIF data.

I didn’t do any of this and I don’t have any regrets. I set out to complete my 101 list (and this task) in the spirit of done is better than perfect, and I think this series captured that spirit completely. I even packed the wrong lens for my Spring shots!

I did adopt a few strategies to make sure that the final product was as good as possible, without stripping all the fun out of it by measuring everything. I used a few roadside landmarks to remember the position of each shot (mostly speed limit signs) and took along reference photos of previous shots to help me eyeball my next one in the viewfinder. I did my best to replicate the number of fence posts down one side of the shot, while copying the gap between two trees on the other side. Of course, all this went out the window on the day that I turned up with the wrong lens in September, but even that was kind of a liberating mistake. It taught me how to use what I had to approximate the work of another lens and focal length.

It’s funny how forgetting that lens wasn’t a dealbreaker in Spring, but when I noticed that my Summer photos were too similar to the Spring photos I actually went back and re-shot them two weeks later.  Fortunately the very first few autumn leaves were changing by then and it created just enough contrast with the previous season.  I put my most recent photos at the top of each series just to create a little more distance between Spring and Summer.

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I shot four different scenes hoping that one year later at least one of them would work out.   It turned out that all four were worth keeping, and they make quite a nice series together.

This was such a satisfying project and I recommend trying it yourself – even if it’s just on your camera phone!

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A boy and his dog

by Elizabeth on March 23, 2014 · 1 comment

in Cool stuff, Stuff, Videos

A  little film about a brave little boy named Owen and his  three-legged dog.

(I know, you’re not crying.  You just have something in your eye.)

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by Elizabeth on March 21, 2014 · 0 comments

in Family, Life, Stuff

I feel like I’ve been limping towards this Friday since about Tuesday morning. It’s been the kind of week where we’ve done way too much, but it’s all been good stuff so I don’t get to complain about the exhaustion.  The very definition of a first-world problem.

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  • We ate at Rosetta, a Neil Perry restaurant at the Crown Casino.  It’s his first stand-alone Italian restaurant, and the food and service was nothing short of perfection.  We were happy that we chose to be there on a Sunday night because the restaurant wasn’t totally packed and we were able to take our time.  This place has earned a special place in my heart alongside Taxi and Nobu.  They make their pasta and ricotta fresh every day.
  • I had my very first cello lesson.  God, I can’t wait until I can zoom all over that fingerboard effortlessly!  It makes the prettiest sound in the world and I am really convinced that this is an instrument I want to pursue seriously.

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  • Tim bought me a ukelele!  (Can you tell that I’ve been trying to put an end to my muso drought?)  It’s a concert grade instrument with a pickup, and maybe one of these days I might record my progress so that you can laugh at my expense.  My neighbours must count their lucky stars that we moved in next door.
  • It’s been a pretty big week for presents: pretty flowers delivered to my office, a classy bouquet of Caramello Koalas (!), a necklace and… a pony!  I don’t have to remember to feed it and it even came with a matching plastic stable that stands about 20cm tall.

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Meanwhile, while I’ve been living it up for my birthday there’s been a lot of worry for my family in Brisbane.  Last night my grandmother spent her first night in a nursing home, and it’s been a pretty big decision for all involved.  It’s the first time she’s really needed help to get by – she was happily doing her thing until a couple of weeks ago when she fell and broke her collarbone.  She already knows most of the staff from years of visiting her sister, and she was lucky to be given a room just nearby.  Mum & Dad found her a beautiful antique desk/dresser for her new room and put up lots of her photos and paintings to make it feel like home.

She (thankfully) sounds really happy about the decision and we’re all happy that she can hand over some of the boring chores to the staff there.  She was recently diagnosed as being 103, and the treatment is not having to clean your own bathroom anymore.

 

Happy weekend, everyone.  I’m looking forward to putting in some serious hours for the stuff on my list - more updates on that soon!

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Taking stock.

by Elizabeth on March 2, 2014 · 1 comment

in Home, Life

I’m pinching this list from Pip Lincolne again, with a couple of little adjustments.  Here’s what I’ve been up to lately.

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  • Making :: lunch at work every day instead of buying it.  My new office holds more cans of chickpeas and tuna than I care to admit.
  • Cooking :: my favourite soups as soon as the temperatures drop a little further.  Get over here Winter, let me love you!
  • Drinking :: coffee!  Water.  And an entire bottle of Tuck’s Ridge Vino Dolce on Friday night.
  • Reading :: A Clockwork Orange.  Yikes.
  • Wanting :: some motivation to sit and draw the way I used to.  I think maybe I’ve forgotten how to do it?
  • Looking :: around my house, which needs a quick power-clean this afternoon.

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  • Playing :: my newest instrument!  I have a gorgeous cello on loan from work while I figure out if it’s something I want to pursue seriously.  I haven’t had any lessons yet but I am already obsessed.  I bet you wish you lived next door.
  • Deciding :: what to draw next.  Hand, face, still life or tree?
  • Wasting :: my weekends on recovering from my work week, instead of doing productive stuff.  Perhaps we shouldn’t have bought such a comfortable new mattress last year.
  • Sewing :: nothing right now, but I’m about to dive into my huge pile of yarn and finally figure out how to crochet.  I’ll apologise in advance for all the swearing you will probably hear from your house in the northern hemisphere.
  • Wishing :: that I could dig up the courage to go for a run.  I’m signed up for a fun run next month and haven’t trained in, oh, about 18 months.  Is that bad?
  • Enjoying :: My paid Pandora subscription.  I’ve had it for more than a year now and rarely have to skip a track these days because it knows me so well.
  • Waiting :: for the clouds to clear so that I can take the final photo for task #80 in my 101 Things in 1001 Days project!
  • Liking :: the cool evenings we’ve had lately, and the more restful sleep that comes with it.

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  • Wondering :: how soon I’ll begin my next 101/1001 project after finishing this one in September.  Last time I took a big break, but I have so many ideas stored up for my next one…
  • Loving :: my new office at work.  It’s all mine, and since I spend so much of my waking hours there I’ve put a lot of effort into decorating it so that it’s a nice place to be.
  • Pondering :: which parts of my list to tackle this month.
  • Considering :: whether to study again later this year, or concentrate on the stuff I’m doing outside of work.
  • Watching :: a bunch of Martin Scorsese films this month.  This weekend we’ve seen The Wolf of Wall Street and The Aviator.  Both films were amazing and my admiration for Leonardo diCaprio keeps growing.
  • Hoping :: that this is the year we can buy our own house.
  • Marvelling :: that anybody can afford to do that in this city.
  • Needing :: some sort of sign about the future.
  • Smelling :: rain in the air.  Maybe I can’t take that photo today after all.
  • Wearing :: pajamas after midday.  #sorrynotsorry
  • Following :: some of the commentary on GOMI with interest.  I wish more bloggers paid attention to the conversations over there without throwing tantrums, because there’s so much good advice there if you are able put your ego aside.

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  • Noticing :: that my little old dog is slowing down.  He turned 12 last week which means he’s officially a senior citizen.  We love that great big dummy so much.
  • Knowing :: that compared to so many people, I am a lucky girl.
  • Thinking :: about the two little birds I rescued at work last week.  One was trapped in a drain and you wouldn’t believe the DIY contraption I came up with to save that little guy.
  • Feeling :: like 2014 is already kicking 2013′s butt.  The things that were eating me alive last year have died right down, and everything just feels calmer and more under control this year.
  • Admiring :: Lilli, for being the strongest lady out there.
  • Sorting :: my cool weather wardrobe, and putting away some of my summer clothes.
  • Buying :: very little.  I don’t feel like I need much right now.
  • Getting :: excited about winter clothes and coming home from work to a crockpot full of stew.
  • Bookmarking :: the best little timewaster on the internet, Neybers.  It’s a simulator for interior design/decorating and it’s seriously addictive.  You can see a bunch of my designs here.
  • Disliking :: basically everything that comes out of Scott Morrison’s mouth.  I bet he has trouble sleeping at night.

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  • Opening :: birthday presents in a few weeks.  I hope I finally get that pony I’ve been asking for!
  • Feeling :: pretty content with life right now.
  • Snacking :: on chocolate macadamias because you’re not the boss of me!
  • Coveting :: a night at a luxurious hotel and a spa treatment.  That would be heaven.
  • Wishing :: that last weekend’s White Night festival wasn’t so overcrowded because it could have been such an amazing event.  Did you go?
  • Helping :: somebody at work with their CV last week was really rewarding.  This guy had paid an agency hundreds of dollars to design their resume and it was terrible!  I am one box of chocolates richer than I was last week.
  • Hearing :: that cello calling my name, so I’ll end this post here.

So how about you? I’d love to read your answers in the comments below!

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Item #36 in my 101 Things in 1001 Days project: Hike a trail in a national park

Last November, instead of watching a bunch of terrified horses run around a track, Tim and I put our walking shoes on.  I had just finished re-reading that iconic Australian novel Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsey (is there an Aussie kid alive who didn’t study it at school?) and was so engrossed when I finished it that I followed it quickly with a viewing of the Peter Weir film.

If you don’t know (or don’t remember) the story, this trailer beautifully illustrates how deliciously creepy and cheesy it is.

Picnic at Hanging Rock is a 1975 Australian mystery film directed by Peter Weir, adapted from the novel of the same name.

It premiered at the Hindley Cinema Complex in Adelaide, South Australia on 8 August 1975. It became one of the first Australian films to reach an international audience, receiving international acclaim and commercial popularity, and thus has an important place in both cinematic and Australian history.

The film stars Helen Morse, Rachel Roberts and Vivean Gray.

St. Valentine’s Day, 1900. On a beautiful summer’s day a party of virginal Australian schoolgirls from an exclusive finishing school giddily prepare for an excursion to Hanging Rock, a magnificent natural monument drenched in a mysterious atmosphere.

The girls gain permission to explore the upper slopes of the rock. Edith takes a nap and wakes to discover that the other three girls have removed their shoes and stockings and have resumed their trek as if in a dream, disappearing into a passageway in the rock itself. What eerie events took place that day, and will those involved ever rid themselves of the demons that the ill fated picnic unearthed?

Based on the classic novel by Joan Lindsay, ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’ is both sublimely spooky and majestically beautiful, boasting visually hypnotic photography by Oscar winner Russell Boyd, a haunting score by Bruce Smeaton and the timeless ethereal beauty of Anne Louise Lambert as Miranda, this classic helped revive the Australian film industry and established Director Peter Weir as a major international talent.

Despite our best pan-flute imitations we never found Miranda.  However, we did find a wild rabbit to pat and that was just as cool.

I was the happiest little photographer on earth exploring Hanging Rock.  The rock formations fascinated me, and every time we turned a corner we discovered a new breathtaking view or life growing happily in a crevice against all the odds.  I had to keep reminding myself to turn around because a single stack of rocks could look vastly different from the other side, so I guess that explains why the descent was every bit as good as the uphill walk.

We spent hours up there, and went off-road a lot of the time to get away from the crowds and spot wildlife.  We became pros at one-handed rock navigation and knowing when it was time to pass the camera back and forth.

I started this post with far too many photos, so believe it or not this is the edited list!  It’s still very photo heavy but I hope you guys will forgive me for that since I try not to do that too often.

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