Tuesday, December 15, 2020


"A change is as good as a holiday"1.

On that: I've now had a holiday. It was to have been a week, but unexpectedly extended to over two. House sitting, well, more garden sitting. Normal stuff. Water the plants. Try not to kill anything. Easy enough. I mostly succeeded. Some over 40C days and snails did in a few seedlings. Acceptable losses.

Meanwhile, I walked a lot. Checking out the sights:

I like the pictures. They are easy to relate to. Tags 2 are harder to appreciate. They are in the same group as Pollock paintings3; some people love them, but to everyone else, it is just unintelligible scribble. I'd rate tags higher than Pollock paintings. Tags I can see mean something. There are letters there to be found like a Magic Eye4 puzzle. It's a code, a language, it means something. Pollock paintings just look like scribble. Something a toddler did.

Why is one is called "art" and put on display to sell for millions, while the other is called "graffiti" and costs millions to clean off or paint over? Listen to Malcolm Gladwell's Revisionist History podcast Season 5, Episode 1 Dragon Psychology 101 for some ideas.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

A Sleep Out

Mostly I don't think about YouTube's recommendation algorithm. Depending on mood, I gleefully or mindlessly scroll and click on it's suggestions. Sometimes it's fustrating for the unwanted options. I curiously watch one video, didn't like it, but now it continually recommends more of the same. Days of my life have passed down rabbit holes. Discovering useful, fascinating, interesting, irrelevant knowledge and trivia. Occasionly it suggestions really hits a spot.

The toolbox fallacy1 was one such video.

It hit me with a hard truth. I think of myself as a traveller. But, glancing at the past posts archive, the last time I was really travelling was 2015. I can kid myself with some trips after that, but...

A write writes. A traveller travels. I am no longer a traveller.

I tell myself that I have had good reason; medical issues (true), bushfires (true), COVID (mostly true). But, I've also settled into a routine. I've gotten comfortable.

Sounding like excuses, I do need to stay about Sydney for longer. Summer is coming - heat & bushfires, COVID continues, and I have some things plodding along requiring me to remain.

I want to do more travelling. I'm not certain when or if I'll leave.

One thing I can do now, is to use my time better. Get organised. So everything is ready. In that spirit, late one afternoon, I decided to just go for an overnight. Gather my gear together, and go test it. Specially the new stuff that has never been used. With some reluctance, (a storm rolled in), I packed and was out the door into a light shower.

View from the floor

I was very out of practice. A long list of items forgotten. Most hilarious: I had a mug, water, coffee powder, stove, fuel, but no lighter. After I'd returned, the backup fire starter was discovered at the bottom of my wallet.

I've had a few more trips since then. Refining the gear list. Testing, discarding and replacing items. There is still more work to do yet.

  1. Opens in a new window. Video is 7 minutes long. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2020


I think of Halloween as a distinctly American tradition. Over sold, and over consumed. I'm not a fan. I pull my old persons hat down, mumble about the Americanization of Australia, and try to ignore it.

I also ponder the silence on the mountains of plastic ornaments consumed each year. Once they would have been hand made, or kept and treasured for years. But now, each celebration event has its own plastic merchandise that is manufactored, shipped, purchased, displayed, and then junked after the day is over. All in the space of a few days or weeks. Landfill or the ocean its out of sight, out of mind.

Usually the first hint of Halloween is in the shops. Stocks of fake pumpkins, spider webs, witches, ghouls, bats, cats, and treats trickle in, and then explode into end of aisle displays as the final days count down. The plastic migrates via shopping carts and motor vehicles to the yards and footpaths of suburbia. As the day approachs the amount increases. Fake plastic cobwebs multiply, hanging in the shrubs, and spilling across the ground.

On the day, groups of children herd from house to house crying "trick or treat" over and over. I wonder if anyone chooses 'trick'? And what the trick is these days. They soon grab their allocation of sweets and scamper off to mob the next house.

Over the next few weeks, the decorations slowly decay and are blown about the street by the wind. Actually, the responsible clean up their display. I only notice the few that don't. But they rest longer on my mind as I see them time and time again getting more tatty and weathered.

Regardless of my feelings on Halloween, I had to stop and admire the effort put into this one:

Well done.

I was equally pleased to note the next time I passed that it had all been cleaned away. The graves, feeding the lawn.

Sunday, October 25, 2020


Time has flown. A lot has changed, and then not much at all really. I had planned to leave Sydney last summer and head south when the bush fires up north where easing up. But delayed and delayed. Then lucked out, as the fires flared, and then raged down south. If I would have of left, I'd have been one of the evacuees so publicly rescued from the beach. So I counted myself lucky that I stayed.

And then, COVID started.  So I waited again for the situation to settle. And waited, and waited. And I'm still in Sydney waiting. 

I've restarted walking again. During 2020, I injured over and over, and at one point decided to abandon walking and return to cycling. But I'm a reluctant bicycle rider these days. Traffic volumes are up, perhaps more so now with everyone avoiding public transport.  But it's not the cars I'm afraid of. It's the drivers that terrify me. Too many can't resist the lure of the mobile phone screen, when they should be paying attention to driving. How much attention will they pay on country roads when there is less traffic? 

So, no plans as yet for leaving. The pandemic situation is going to continue for some time. This is the new normal. So we all have to adjust to the changes. I'm staying in a friends house, and have settled into a daily routine I'm comfortable with. 

All up, I'm taking each day as it comes.