Thursday, November 13, 2008

Off the air

Last night the internet died. Again. As it is wont to do.

A harbinger of doom, reminding me of the reality of the next few weeks - no daily blogging. That's right, dear RSS feed reader: no more daily blogs for November.

We're going away to a remote island where once only Britain's finest we sent: the wee isle of Tassie.

I wish I had the discipline of Tim Challies to trek high-and-low looking for mobile internet reception, but I don't. I'm going on holidays and I'm going to enjoy it.

And attempt to live without my daily fix.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A nerdish act of adulation

If you think of politicians as being more than two-dimensional, you'll appreciate this.

Not sure what practical use this image will have (perhaps the US Army will microdot every weapon with it?).

But it's cool and it's clever anyway. Don't hold your breath waiting for their version of Dubya!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Hook, line and sinker

A friend and I were out fishing this evening, and talking about what makes a good fisherman.

It's definitely not those who just read books and fishing magazines. And it's more than someone who occasionally seems to luck into fish.

It seem to be a combination of right time, right place, right place, right tide, ability to think like a fish ... and intuition.

Good fishermen seem to possess a 'X' factor that you can't invent or buy. Can it be learned? I don't know. Maybe.

Evidently, based on this evening's catch (for me, a big fat nothing), it's not a gift I possess.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Pieces of paradise

Where's your little piece of paradise?
Where's your shelter from the storm?
Where's your sunshine on a cloudy day?
Where's your acre of calm?

What is it that calls you there?
What is it that drives you there?
What is it that keeps you there?
What is it that drags you from there?

How did you find this oasis in the desert?
Why did your eyes and your heart rejoice?
When did you tell another of this secret?
Who do you love to take there with you?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Will Stelvin put a cork in it?

For quite a while now debate has raged around the controversy that is Stelvin caps.

I believe that once and for all this test (and its outcome) settles the question.

Wine that is sealed with a Stelvin cap (now commonly called the 'screwcap') is now deemed worthy of consumption by the masses.

It will be fascinating to see where this whole debate sits in ten to twenty years' time. I was stunned even the other day walking through Dan Murphy's looking at the bottle tops, and could almost hear the sighs of relief from the ancient cork trees of Portugal.

I gotta admit it though: I still miss the 'thwuck' of pulling of the cork on a Coonawarra Cab Shiraz, and doubt that it will ever be surpassed by the sound of unscrewing a Stelvin cap (which is audibly more like a pixie cracking all his knuckles).

Friday, November 7, 2008

Grabbing a bargain

Garage sales.

Yes, we're in the process of pulling together the wider resources of the wider family for a garage sale.

Why do we get pulled in by garage sales? Is it in the hope of finding that hidden gem for next to nothing?

Everyone loves the idea of bagging a bargain. And I guess garage sales are the home of the bargain. They can also be the haunt of those vendors who can't pick the difference between priceless and worthless.

Many moons ago we used to love getting up early on a Saturday morning and going for a drive around the local suburbs to check out the garage sales - always in the hope of jagging a bargain. It never seemed to hurt too much to part with a few dollars here, a few dollars there, all in the name of a bargain.

Let's hope the bargain-hunting spirit is alive-and-well tomorrow morning as people rummage through and banter and barter. Somehow, I don't think the garage sale will ever go out of fashion.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

It's all relative

I was out with a client today looking at what he and his company have sought to achieve to remediate their site.

They have made consistent efforts to revegetate the area over the last few years. But as I toured the site with him, my sense of disappointment was very real: the revegetation work appeared to have moved so slowly with patchy growth and most of it fairly slow.

But it's all relative. As the client described to me what the site was like before their work, and even what the surrounding bushland was like (even though it was undisturbed like their site), it was obvious that this was a solid advance.

Advancements are all relative. If they'd been working in a lush paradise the results would have been very disappointing. But given they're working in a veritable wasteland with no topsoil, rough-as-guts subsoils, high exposure and little rainfall, it's actually a pretty good step ahead.

Sometimes we forget this, don't we, as we quest for advancements that meet our own expectations? Sometimes we forget that achievement has to be measured in relation to what was there to start with.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The stories in the scars

I wonder what stories this fig has to tell - the scars indicate that it's had its fair share of scrapes with storms, competitor plants, pests and arborists.

It all adds character.

It's no different with people: so often, the stories are found in the scars.

And yet in the healing of the scars comes strength, character and beauty.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Arrr, me hearties!

Boats seem to hold a certain fascination for human beings.

Maybe it's the thrill of riding something as untamed as the ocean. Perhaps it's the feel of wind and saltspray on your face.

Maybe it's marvelling at the way technology has been employed in boat design (who could forget innovations like that infamous Lexcen winged keel?). Or alternatively, how the basics of boating have remained constant for thousands of years.

We're off to Tassie late next week, and it's always one of the nice things about going to the Apple Isle: the boats. Especially the traditional wooden boats - they really grab your attention with their simple beauty and skilled craftsmanship.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Wine spider

A nice, visual way to represent what you think about the wine you're drinking. Clever. (And certain to be underutilised by independent Baptists.)

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Rolling out the ideas

Thought this was just an awesome project by a really switched-on teenager.

What an incredible feat!

Note as well that the origin of the idea was birthed in the hardship of war.

Dunno how keen I'd be to go offroad with it ...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Will a fake saw fit the bill?

No boy can resist the pull of having tools just like daddy's.

Today I was out in the yard working on a new garden bed and doing a little sawing.

This was enough to trigger the longing for a saw, and for me to promise Caelan that he would have a new saw tomorrow.

In so many ways they look to us and seek to imitate us - it's scary sometimes. And yet, it is a life truth: that we learn as we watch, and our interest is piqued and we want to get in on the action - even if it's a little before our time.

That means we need to adapt our response to honour the longing without putting a super sharp handsaw into a 2 1/2 year old's hands.

It seems to be a pattern that we embrace over and over again in life as we champ at the bit to do what someone else is doing. And sometimes they have the wisdom to celebrate our enthusiasm and help us express it as is appropriate for our maturity and skills, and sometimes they have the wisdom to just let us 'have at it'.

Will a fake saw fit the bill? Maybe for a year or two, but the longing for metal-to-wood contact with become insatiable soon enough.