Hi, all. Thanks for your patience. I’ll keep this short. This will be my final post on The Goat that Wrote. I’ve spent the last few months working long days, seven of ’em a week, preparing the new site, which is quite a lot more than “just” a blog — hence all that work. As well as that, I just finished my first paying job as a photographer — well, really as an editor — assisting a photographer at the Indigenous Games, a four-day sports event for indigenous youth from over 30 campuses nationwide. It was hard work but satisfying, and Paul and I worked well together. The vibe was great, but at the end of each day I could barely focus on anything further than a few metres away, such was the eye strain from staring intently at my laptop screen all day. And I’m sure the experience of sprucing up images of outdoor touch football and volleyball, plus indoor basketball and netball, will prove useful…perhaps. Anyway, I still have to look into the process …
Hey, folks, Just checking in with some exciting news. I’ve spent most of my waking hours over the last month, and even many of the sleeping ones, building my new website, which I’m hoping to unleash on an undeserving world within a couple of days. Mind you, I’ve been telling friends the “couple of days” line for a couple of weeks now. There are not many areas in my life where you’d call me a perfectionist, but this is one. I had a couple of weeks of anguish getting the basic framework set up, but lately I’ve been mostly fine-tuning the actual content. I’m enjoying myself with it now, but still want it all to end. And by end I mean begin. It still works via WordPress but is hosted externally and required a new domain name, and though supposedly easy to customise and generally tinker with, it’s been an exercise in controlled madness getting this far. Anyway, I wanted a platform to display my pictures more attractively, and move the emphasis from the word to the …
I sometimes tell people I “grew up on and around boats,” and it’s true — but I always hasten to add that they should not infer from that any competence or affinity with things nautical. Nope, sadly, though I like the idea of boats, enjoy looking at them, photographing them and (in ideal conditions) travelling on them, I’m a dyed-in-the-nylon landlubber at heart and could no more sail a boat with any competence than I could pilot an aircraft. This despite a childhood in which at least five increasingly impressive vessels took shape under our house or in the backyard and were launched a few paces away into Moreton Bay, or down the road a few minutes into the local creek. I don’t know what sparked my father’s interest in boats — he grew up in rural Victoria and northern Queensland — but he always had a talent for constructing things (our house, for example — even our caravan!) and he worked as a boilermaker constructing big steel ferries, trawlers and working boats. At home, as …
Something a little lighter this time, folks, in both mood and word count, than the tale of The Shadow* — also a rather more pleasant view of the Boondall Wetlands than I presented last time. This little group of shots was taken on the return leg of a photo-run to the Wetlands a few days before Christmas. I’d had some muddy fun wading off-trail (well, there really isn’t much trail where I go apart from this) and finally made it back to the bike/walking path for the hour’s walk home. Yes, this is the same lonesome path I had to walk in the dark a few nights ago — in some ways it was a safer walk last time as there was no danger of becoming roadkill under the wheels of a speeding cyclist! All of these effects were done “in camera”, just playing with camera movement and shutter speed — well, except for the last one, in which the camera was stationary and so was I: I had to hold that pose for 20 seconds! Oh: the casuarina (cass-uh-REE-nuh). I’ve …
I just had a couple of days helping my friend Frank paint his house and generally bum around his charming inner-city Brisbane suburb. It was delightful to walk some different terrain, and take pictures of things that hadn’t washed in on the previous night’s tide. Also, it finally rained, which made the hills and coffee shops and leg-waxing salons (it’s a very well-waxed suburb) all the more refreshing — it’s been hot of late. Yesterday, back here on the edge of the Bay, we got our long-rumoured storm: 70ml of sweet clear glory sloshed around in our backyard gauge after a mere hour; wind-whipped water poured in over the tops of my sliding windows even though they were closed. It was fantastic, and the local park resembled the Serengeti afterwards, ibis, egrets and other waders by the hundreds combing the lake-like puddles when I trotted up with my camera to investigate. More on all that stuff coming up. So, listen: I’ve made a pact with myself (and my girlfriend, who is one hell of a tough …
Hey all, Before this post kicks off, I just wanted to proudly point out that it’s number… ..for me on TGTW! Thanks to all my readers for sticking with me on this highly erratic journey, and especially to Kate, my original and greatest fan, who’s kept me hitting “PUBLISH” even when I’ve been perilously close to throwing in the towel and doing something useful with my time. Cheers, and here’s to the next 300… * * * * * I flopped out of the car onto the grass and lay there with my head cradled in my arm and my eyes closed, opening them only to raise my head a few inches and greet Graham, part-owner of the property and its magnificently soothing grass. I listened as Alex embraced his brother and filled him in on my ailment — “A touch of car sickness, I’m afraid” — while I lay there luxuriating in the shady coolness and the levelness and especially the motionlessness. It seemed …
How many cobblers do you know? Not as in the dessert, but as in the shoemaker. I’m fortunate to know two. I met Jackie at university, back when dinosaurs ruled the Earth and university education in Australia was free — must be about 30 years now. Adrian, her shoe-business partner, a few years less than that. Together they run — are — Pendragon, a two-person cottage industry that’s been going almost as long.
Life is funny, eh? I’ve been reviewing and (groan) re-editing some of my photos from my two years in Korea. And inevitably recalling my time there: the odd adventure, spells of solace among flowers and insects or half-starved dogs, but mostly the grinding monotony of much of each workday, the unspeakable (though I do speak about it a lot) horror of the Korean middle-school classroom, the tired-out or just-plain-wrung-dry landscapes, domino rows of identical apartment blocks, the mess and trash and tormented waterways — and my two birthdays there.
A few weeks ago I got up early one morning, turned on my GPS, stuck it in my pocket, and went about my business. When I slumped back indoors sometime after dusk, barely able to stand upright, I had done exactly seven miles of business — all of them in the yard here.
Somewhere over the mid-Pacific I swapped my camo hunting cap (found dangling on a tree in Pennsylvania while hiking the A.T.) for a beanie, arranged my flimsy, handkerchief-sized blankie and folded myself into an approximation of sleep. I always book a window seat when I can to avoid contact with fellow passengers, and refrain from bathroom trips if possible, a challenge that passes the time while building self-control and Olympic-standard bladder endurance. I managed 12 hours on this trip, I’m proud to say. Just limit your free drinks to a single gin and tonic and try not to look at the ocean.
Doctor is coming, the nurse thinks sweetly Turning on the machines that neatly pump air The body lies bare Shaved and hairless, what once was screaming Now lies silent and almost sleeping The brain must have gone away ~ Velvet Underground, ‘Lady Godiva’s Operation’ — covered by our first band in the mid-80s Here’s to Lou Reed!
Time is a jet plane, it moves too fast Oh, but what a shame if all we’ve shared can’t last ~ Bob Dylan, “You’re a Big Girl Now” Time passes slowly up here in the mountains We sit beside bridges and walk beside fountains ~ Bob Dylan, “Time Passes Slowly” Well, which is it, Bob? That first lyric came to me right away as I was starting this; the second followed soon after. There’s a line from Bob for most of the interesting stages, stops and detours on life’s ever-winding highway — more than a few for the inevitable breakdowns and collisions as well.
Tokyo was a trip. I’m still recovering: my calves are sore, I’m rundown and cranky — and waking from a dream adventure to find yours is the only discernible pulse in a classroom full of dead-eyed rag dolls is the cruelest of reality crashes. What I really need, though, is a post-holiday holiday to grab some sleep. I spent one night in a wet sleeping bag on a 1,364m mountaintop harassed by God’s searchlight, a Chuseok full moon (just as I was a year ago on the third-highest peak in Korea). The following night, my last in Tokyo, was likewise far from restful. Bedding down in the bushes in a buzzing megalopolitan park seldom is.
This afternoon I collapse onto another plane to begin my Chuseok holiday; a mercifully brief two hours later I’ll be landing at Narita for three days and four nights in Tokyo. I can’t wait.
Last weekend, reaching the top of a local hill — the one I nicknamed Dead Man’s Peak — I was startled to discover that some renaming might be in order.
Hours fly, Flowers die, New days, New ways pass by, Love stays ~ Inscription on the Yaddo sundial by poet Henry Van Dyke, a friend of the Trasks I love gardens, and if I had a won for every hour I’ve spent crawling around in the verges and weedy embankments of Korea trying to shoot flowers (and the critters that choose to hunt, feed or fornicate upon them), I’d be — well, not too well off, ’cause a won is pretty much worthless. In fact I sometimes throw handfuls of them in the trash ’cause what’s the point of ’em? Useless wallet ballast is all. But that’s another blog post.
I went through the wrong gate at Beijing Airport on my way back from the States, and instead of being released into the toxin bath of the Beijing night, and somehow locating my $50 hotel, was funnelled into the hermetically sealed wasteland of the cavernous departure lounge.
Hey, people. I’m taking a break from blogging for a while. It might be a short while, it might be a long while, it might be a permanent while. I’ve got a lot of stuff chewing up my attention these days, a respectable number of worries and woes, and the ongoing preparations for a caper or two that demand focus. If all that ain’t enough, my laptop seems to have died its final death, and the WordPress app for iPad is truly woeful — I’d rather blog by pointy rock and coconut. Not worth doing the thing if I can’t do it well, or at least tolerably well.
Well I came across a child of God, he was walking along the road And I asked him, tell where are you going, this he told me: Well, I’m going down to Yasgur’s farm, going to join in a rock and roll band. Got to get back to the land, set my soul free ~ Joni Mitchell (performed by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young), ‘Woodstock’ I’m not goin’ back to Woodstock for a while, Though I long to hear that lonesome hippie smile. I’m a million miles away from that helicopter day No, I don’t believe I’ll be goin’ back that way. ~ Neil Young, ‘Roll Another Number (For the Road)’ Hippies are squares with long hair And they don’t wear no underwear Country rock is on the wane I don’t want music, I want pain! ~ Dictators, ‘Master Race Rock’
Bow down to her on Sunday Salute her when her birthday comes ~ Bob Dylan It’s my gal Kate’s birthday, and we’re a few thousand miles apart, which is damned inconvenient, but on tonight’s birthday Skype (it’s the evening of the 13th here; in New York she’d just gotten up but looked a lot hotter than I do at 6:30am, if you can believe that) I promised her a birthday treat, and here it is: her very own tribute post on TGTW!