Saturday, 28 August 2010

Editors and Ambos; plus two good movies

Hi. Just got in from the past three days away from home, mostly in Adelaide. Thursday night was kicked off with a nice chunk of barramundi - it's a fish, guys - at Amalfi Restaurant in Frome Street, in company with some fellow members of our State branch of the Society of Editors. Then we nipped up Rundle Street to the rooms where the Society's AGM was held and a new 10-strong committee voted in for the next year. As a country member I was able face-savingly to yet again - note the split infinitive - avoid with agility being dobbed in for committee jobs.

I treated myself to a couple of movies on Friday, at the Palace/Nova Eastend cinema. Where else? They're the Art House venue of choice. The first was the excellent, low-budget, odd and funny-serious New Zealand film Boy, set in a small coastal North Island community in 1984: events are viewed by a Maori boy left in charge, for a week, of the home and a few other kids - siblings and cousins - when his guardian grandmother must leave them to attend a funeral in distant Wellington. The tale turns interesting when unpredictable ex-con cheerful rogue dad (played by writer-director Taika Waititi) rolls up with two no-hoper mates. This film got huge brownie-point reviews in print, on screen and on radio, prompting my choice of flick, and the same for the second film of my day, Australian made Matching Jack, a movie set entirely in Melbourne and its bay port Williamstown, directed by Nadia Tass.

Much bigger budget than the previously mentioned NZ film; brilliant cast, especially Irish actor James Nesbitt with female Aussie ex-pat lead Jacinda Barrrett. I'd recommend this to anyone, but be warned that it's a modern tear-jerker. Potential lovers meet because their respective kids are in the same cancer ward of Melbourne Children's Hospital. And yes, at least one dies. Oops! That's called a spoiler. Sorr-ee. The title is in reference to the search for a matching bone-marrow donor, and the possibility that a match could lead to a leukemia cure.

I hope that the medical theme didn't in any way precipitate events later that Friday evening when my host was taken ill at the dinner table and we needed to summon an ambulance. Jeez, mate, I thought ya were a goner this time. Later I collected his wife who had gone with the ambos and their patient to Ashford Hospital, and the news was by then good. It was blooming impressive how fast, competent, and courteous, the two ambulance paramedics were, male and female. Hope I get them in the event of needing the same services!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Barry the Karaoke Alligator

Busy weekend with various goings-on in relation to our performing group's little concert this Wednesday. Yesterday was the full dress rehearsal; usual glitches for such things. Musically it sounded OK (or so I thought).

I did reckon that Barry the glove-puppet alligator sang quite well. However, on the DVD I noticed him whispering to me, and what he shared was that Denis was the ventiloquist-voice and that he, Barry, is just miming. Now I am really confused. (No change there, then, says Gwenda.)

The sun's come out after earlier rain. Fortunately, though, it's too windy, so I can't even consider doing some much-needed weedspraying. Sigh of relief.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Rain and rhubarb

Well, off in the morning to Adelaide and lunch with the Queensland cousins whom I have not seen for a couple of years. They are travelling but the itinerary doesn't take in our end of the Yorke Peninsula which is off the beaten track. Both a curse and one of its pleasure.

This has been another wet week, but at least not the devastating floods, mud slides, and mayhem being experienced around the globe from huge rainfalls: Pakistan, China - and in tonight's news Thailand too. Forest fires in Russia. Makes us look tame. Long may it be so.

I began this week building a portfolio of my own photographs uploaded to the website
That's where users go (individuals, businesses, agencies, magazines etc) and pay a small fee to have royalty-free one-off use of images for their own purposes. You and I can do so as well. And suppliers of the images - I am now one of the suppliers, a tiny tiny minnow among big fish - receive a modest fraction of fees paid to when a user chooses a photo created by that photographer, who of course must have full authorship and rights to the image. Any image is also likely to be available for outright sale.

Other art, and video, can  also be viewed and accessed at the website, which has many international versions but not yet an Australian one. I "digitally signed" an exclusive agreement to say that I will sell or supply only to Fotolia. Of course, it is up to me which images I submit to them. I'd like to upload, say, 360 over the next 12 months. That's around the number of my own work currently in digital format. Another thousand in older formats, 35mm slide and neg, if and when I ever get around to digitising 'em.
 My little Nikon Coolpix camera seems to be borderline for its digital adequacy, pixelwise, and roughly one submission in four gets knocked back on technical grounds. Or maybe it's just me. The one above got the chop. I took the pic of fruit, veg (that's the rhubarb on the right) nuts and mushroom on the kitchen table two weeks ago and have now consumed everything edible, not the table or the bottles. I planted the top of the pineapple in the garden where the poor thing is shivering in our winter. But it was that or the compost bin.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Zubrin, Mars and Music

Sunny one day, wet and cold the next. This is good. The weather is always with us as a topic of conversation. Spring is just around the corner. So is next week's concert which has obsessed our little performing troupe for - it seems - months, to be played and sung to the mass audience of ... dozens, in that famous venue, the Warooka Uniting Church Hall. And you supposed that it was the Sydney Opera House at the very least.

Never mind. It just reminds me that I must spend some time this morning learning some of the evasive lines so that  my  nose isn't constantly buried in the songbook (thank goodness we are allowed that) and the audience sees mainly my bald  patch. So does the camcorder, which has an uncanny knack for using its automatic focus to zero in on such highlights.

Here's a link to an amusing but instructive talk by Dr Robert Zubrin. Who? Bob Zubrin is one of my heroes, engineer and scientist and maverick who knows more about missions to the planet Mars than most earthlings.
Below is the link to his presentation to the Mars Society advocating a cheaper solution to Getting There, noting that government funding is only likely to endure for a maximum of ten years, since politicians expect to be out of office by then. A "30 year plan" is pollie-speak for "We're not serious."

It might be even more amusing if you turn on the beta-test   (= experimental) software which activates a speech recognition program to produce scrolling text. To do that, click the red icon at lower right (looks like the letters CC but I think it's meant to represent a cassette tape image), then click Transcribe Audio on the pop-up which appears, then click OK. Because the system is imperfect, and because Zubrin's fast talking New York speech is mysterious at the best of times, the effect is enigmatic or hilarious. When the speaker says "Saturn Five rocket" the screen wording reads "Saturn died market", and when Dr Bob calls to his helper "Next chart", we see it as "Nick Charles"!

Actually I am impressed by how far advanced the voice recognition technology has come, although in this instance still short of useability. Go here for the talk. I joined the Mars Society when it began an Australian branch in 2001. Then, what with the general muddle of moving house twice in twelve months in 2002, I let membership lapse. Couple of months ago they contacted me and I rejoined. The Oz membership is 'bout 70, of whom maybe half are science professionals. And the rest of us along for the ride, possibly literally if they sell tickets soon. Or let me work my passage as dishwasher or resident entertainer. Could be just a one way trip. I can imagine: "Don't worry. We'll be back for you." Ha!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

A 'Footnote' Heading to Yesterday's Post: Pewsey White Horse

The vanishing Crop Circles at Pewsey White Horse Farm. Below is a link to the pic of croppies watching the farm manager cut out the large formation which I linked to yesterday as "Wiltshire 2", one of several formations that appeared last weekend. Apparently the farm manager is well-known as hostile to crop circles and everyone associated with them, presumably believing that they are deliberate acts of trespass and vandalism. I am not unsympathetic to his position.

However, I am among those who think that any hoax or vandal-type crop-laying these days is a small fraction of the events we celebrate as some kind of message (or artwork?) caused by means unknown to us. That could still mightily annoy a farmer!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Latest crop formations in England

At least five formations appeared during the weekend, one each in Lincolnshire (home county of Matthew Flinders who figures in our local history in South Australia), Somerset, and the rest in Wiltshire.
In one, the first visitor reported that his camera refused to work within the formation, but had no problem taking the image from a nearby vantage point.
Another is described as "very delicate and cute", having great precision. At least one crop was harvested within hours by the farmer, which of course removes the formation.

These pages from CC Connector - which you are invited to visit and join - will tell  you more, regardless of what you believe about this phenomenon:
Wiltshire 1
Wiltshire 2

Monday, 9 August 2010

Edit and credit . . . Wordy murky malarkey

Hi. This week we start to notice the promised spring ... the changes in the garden, the earlier light in the mornings, the Council rates notice etc.

Yeah, money stuff. On-line, like a squillion others, I am still exploring the amazing world of stepping into the flow of those potential income streams we keep hearing about. But when we say "still exploring", that really means we never stop, just  like learning about life in general.

So, OK, I earn a modest trickle in professional editing jobs from clients who go looking and find my entry on the freelance register of the Society of Editors (S.A.). You can go there and on the left, click to expand their label "Find an editor". There's me with all the other hopefuls ... I may catch up with 'em at our AGM in two weeks' time.

Other bits and pieces of euro-payment emerge from the brokerage site started six months ago by the hard-working Copenhagen-based Anders Schepelern at   You can check them out, especially if  you have a document for editing. Or just call me!

Trouble with Anders' mob is that the work is coming in very patchily ... I've done minor assignments for clients in Russia, America, England and France. Also one extremely strange document of stats about last year's new stamp issues by Post Offices worldwide, which I think emanated from a Japanese source. And this week for a Moroccan engineer in Denmark.

Blooming heck. About half of the non-English speaking sources are really looking for something between translation and re-writing (which ain't the traditional editing role); plus some of the jobs intended for on-line marketing web pages are from guys who are expecting new advertising copy writing ... and say so! Mr Schepelern (you might win a prize if you can pronounce his name) reckons he'll introduce new categories of job for fair dinkum translation and re-writing. Watch this space.

Meanwhile I'll share this more frank - blatant even - link to my recent acquaintance Steve James who will blast your ear with his audio promo called Multiple Streams of Daily Income Online  Tell me if YOU think it is for really real. I am learning much from Steve and others about the murky underbelly of monetizing - great word - web pages. This might work for you!

Friday, 6 August 2010

Astronomy buffs - the sky this week

David Cooper, President of Mars Society Australia Inc, sent me this information which is from Astronomy WA.

"It's all happening in the evening sky this August.  All five of the naked-eye planets will be visible, four in the west and one in the east. Mercury makes an appearance in the evening sky during the first half of August and is the lowest of the planets in the west.

Above it Venus, Mars and Saturn will gradually change places over several weeks.  Venus may appear to move up past Mars and Saturn, but it's more Venus maintaining its position while Mars and Saturn sink a little lower each night.  Venus is the most brilliant of the three, you may notice a subtle orange colour with Mars and Saturn is yellow.  The moon joins them the 13th.

Jupiter is alone on the eastern side of the sky, rising as Saturn sets.  It has moved out of Aquarius into Pisces - you may spot the 'Circlet' of Pisces to the north of the bright gas giant that marks one of the fishes of this constellation.  It starts August rising around 9.30pm but by the end of the month it is rising around 7pm.

The Perseid meteor shower is active this month and you may hear about it in the news, but for most of us in southern Australia it's just not visible, only people in the far north of Australia, the top end, really have a chance to enjoy it.  If you would like to learn more about this shower and how to see it from Australia go to"

So, tell your friends or any visiting Martians whom you may have as guests.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Rainy days. Music pleases, Maestro. Poached Egg and Striped PJs.

Lots of rain last two nights - and my larger outside water tank (not counting the in-ground stone-lined cistern) has finally lived up the fact that it passed its use-by date some while ago.Over 60 years old, I'd guess, of the traditional round type, six-foot base, corrugated tin. It sprung a major leak and drained four fifths of the contents most of which I was able to channel away to soak the roots of the plum tree and two of the almond trees. The remainder I have piped to the below-ground cistern. Am looking at quotes for a new tank. The guy in the shop said optimistically,"You can install it yourself."  Yes, and the proverbial pigs can fly. Wot, me? A handyman?

Hard to remember we were in drought conditions only a few months back.

Today was a convivial morning rehearsal then afternoon performance by the singing group. Yesterday's rehearsing of the coming 25th August concert I video-ed in full, and this  morning delivered it on two DVDs to our pianist-cum-musical director Isobel. Which is more inspiring? The singing or the catching up on gossip over lunch? No contest really. It's the gossip. Hey, the music's nice too. Stand-out was Lois and Maureen chirruping the song 'Vilia' from Franz Lehar's The Merry Widow. And the costume appearances in several different numbers by the girls, to wit, Gwenda, Angie, Joan and Elsie. A veil is drawn over yesterday's spectacular unrehearsed event involving a certain group member who sings and also plays a brass instrument, although not simultaneously. That narrows the field, but the actual identity of the individual remains our little secret. To hear the name, send me a substantial sum via Western Union, or just the cash in a plain brown envelope.

I have, to date, put up eleven websites which are in the nature of a minor marketing presence - not counting other affiliate links. My plan is to promote from other, dedicated, blog sites on domains which I own. THIS blog (WillsWarble) is hosted on which itself is owned by the mighty monster Google. So in effect I don't own my blog.

If you want to view a sample web-page which will soon be accessed from my new 'commercial' blog - this one offers a product which consists of five cookery e-books - here is the link. The site is being submitted by a proprietory software to over a hundred and fifty search engines (and you thought there was only Google and Yahoo and a handful more: my favourites used to be Lycos and AltaVista, but it seems that they are relative minnows these days).

And yes, I AM getting more interested in cooking, as an upgrade from my repertoire hitherto of fruit juice plus boiled egg or poached egg, toast and mulberry jam, bananas in pyjamas and pot of tea. The bananas don't wear the PJs, I do. And, OK, they're actually trackie pants. The last time I wore the classical striped pyjamas was about 1949. As for the foodie connection, I have also contributed a short book on good nutrition which will shortly be available in hard copy through another mighty monster,

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Marathon in Barcelona

I just watched Austar's live transmission from Barcelona on the Eurosport Channel, seeing the finish of the European Games marathon. It was won convincingly by Swiss runner Roethlin for his country's gold medal (actually Switzerland's first ever medal in the Games) in just over two hours fifteen minutes, far ahead of the second placegetter Jose Martinez of the home country, Spain. The winner had been the silver medalist at the last European Games four years ago in Gothenburg, which is a nice progression. Russian Safronov came third, thus taking bronze.

I can't say that I routinely follow international athletics, but the mystique and marvel of distance running is a phenomenon in its own class. Two classy marathoners "back in the day" were among my acquaintances, on different continents, but that connection over the years gave me a small insight into that arcane world. Those athletes, indeed all elite performers and all dedicated sportsfolk, are amazing and deserve our admiration.

The extra frisson for me as the cameras followed the race through the Catalan capital Barcelona, was seeing the featured famous Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) Church. You've seen its distincive image many times. This is the most striking piece of architecture by that eccentric genius Antonio Gaudi, and I saw it "in the flesh" as a fifteen year old, as a half-built and apparently never-to-be-completed structure. I was bemused rather than overmuch impressed and I didn't go on to become either an architect or an artist. Not that I was likely to.

It has been a strange week. Severe challenges have come the way of several people I know. Let's hope things settle down.