April Fools Day

Only spotted one post so far, which is a lot less than usual

Wonder how many will appear from the northern hemisphere later today and tomorrow.

Like the closed playground below, playfulness is vanishing from public -- even without the restrictions that have been placed on movement.

Playground closed

The playground at the end of my street was closed this week

It's an image I wouldn't have imagined, maybe even a week ago.

I can understand that Council's duty of care to maintain safe equipment poses an impossible burden, since they have dozens of playgrounds that would need to be cleaned regularly.

However, I realised that I needed to take a photo to document the impact of Covid-19.

Dreams are weird

Woke from a dream in which Prince had written a book about sexuality for teens

It was written in that conversational style of his ‘Raspberry Beret’ lyrics and had scenes about people dealing with relationship issues.

One scene recounted his father as a younger man taking two girlfriends to the swimming pool.

They differed in a funny way, with one having large breasts and the other having a pronounced arse.

The young man overheard them fighting in the pool and realised he could avoid having to deal with their jealousy by staying in the change room.

Later in the dream I was sitting down to watch a TV adaptation of Prince’s book with my kids.

I was confronted to find that the lessons about recognising sexual energy were being told by characters in ’80s-style leather outfits with headbands, who walked around with their hands on their erect (but clothed) body parts.

Then, in a plot twist, I realised the Prince character was a young woman.

Dreams are weird.

Dream are eternal

My friend Nick posted an interesting observation about dreams:

Another reality filter.
We're all eternal beings, and our dreams are the experience of that eternity.
Eternity is living a life where everything is possible, as in a dream.
Being 'awake' is when a tiny subset of those possibilities are acted out in cooperation with other eternal beings - it takes effort.
Death returns us to eternal dreaming, to 'resting in peace'.
Pictures like this are so misleading, you don't dream 'in your head'.
Dreams are a full reality, they're eternity.
In our 'waking lives' little parcels of eternity still appear - our memories, colours etc., what some philosophers call 'eternal objects'.


I'm taking a further step toward merging kimchi and sauerkraut by substituting Chinese cabbage with ordinary cabbage

Since wombok are currently $19 each, I'm hoping the result will be tasty and will use fennel and horseradish again.

Cabbage requires weight as well as salt to squeeze the water out of the leaves, so I'm using myself and possibly contributing microflora in the process.

Oboe Cop

Tortilla toasties

After being impressed by pressing my own tortillas, it was only a matter of time before I attempted a tortilla toasted sandwich

The result is tasty and easy to prepare.

I expect I'll make a video in coming weeks, but currently I need to make a song for the soundtrack.

I feel strange

Aviatrix Remove Borders

The Disquiet Junto recently offered an opportunity to revisit a track from 2016

Remove Borders was a response to a Naviar Haiku prompt and I'd consciously develop a section of the song that sped-up and had in mind that it was a plane taking flight.

So when the Junto asked for "a short piece of music that is intended to blend in with the industrial drone of modern air flight," I'd remembered the earlier track and thought it could be reworked in an ambient style.

Gained in translation

I was admiring Julian Mithra's poetry in The Lifted Brow, particularly the one using a recipe format, when I noticed this "translator's note":
I've made English-to-English translations... 
In these experiments, I isolated nouns, verbs, adjectives, and some adverbs, and used a couple of wide-reaching thesauruses and online dictionaries to replace each word with a distant synonym. 
In selecting words, I was primarily attracted to sound, with some compensation toward theme and consistency of symbols. 
The process owes a debt to Dada's advice about incorporating chance...

It's a cool idea and a technique I can see myself using sometime.

I really appreciate it when an artist shares their process, as it allows the viewer to understand the work beyond whatever thought process it triggers for them.

Dark chocolates with roasted almonds

The supermarkets have been super recently

In the last week I've scored a small pile of discounted chocolate.

I thought it would be interesting to compare the dark varieties that contain roasted almonds.

The Lindt also has sea salt, which doesn't diminish the sweet flavour and silky mouth-feel.

In comparison, the Green & Blacks has an almost powdery mouth-feel and rich cocoa flavour.

Looking at the ingredients I see the latter is around 65% cocoa, while the Lindt is a minimum of 47%.

This might explain the difference in their energy labelling.

Mystery solved

A self-seeded vine started spreading across the yard recently

I thought it was pumpkin but was told the flowers were the wrong colour

Cucumber was my partner's first guess, but there didn't seem to be any seeds.

So, thinking it was zucchini, I added it to a couple of sauces and it seemed kinda sweet with pasta and tortillas.

Then I realised yesterday, it's a watermelon.

Seems so obvious now it's grown bigger.

Thinking I might try pickling it, since it's too late in the season for the fruit to mature.

Learning about Penny

It's been fascinating to learn about Leeton Art Society Inc's former President, Penny Paniz

The art prize named after her continues Penny's work in setting new deadlines for local artists and encouraging them to exhibit.

Some of her story will be told in the video I'm producing to accompany the exhibition next Easter in Leeton.

Shown is Glenn, her nephew and initiator of this CASP project with support from Create NSW and Western Riverina Arts.

Notes From Last Night

Shown is one of the illustrations in a zine I'm taking to the Halfway Print Fest in Wagga next weekend

Notes From Last Night is a collection of prose written in collaboration with a machine learning service.

Then I developed illustrations that aimed to represent the style of feeding images into a computer -- which was basically the process for developing the first draft of the poetry.

Hers before sirs

My partner Jo has developed this impressive list of phrases that promote female relationships over male ones


Initially I was surprised to see Sandor Katz lumped kimchi with sauerkraut in his book

It made sense when I read it though.

Today I decided to run with the idea and add fennel and horseradish to my latest batch of kimchi.

I've also made a paste of fermented green chilis, which is another recipe Katz has in The Art of Fermentation.

You can see these have been blended and I've added smoked paprika and ginger.

Friend Advice

Click on the image on the left to download a small zine!

(Or go to this link!)

It's less than 1mb and in PDF format.

I've made this for a zine fest I'm going to next month, where I'll offer it with copies of my book Earthwords.



The Disquiet Junto number 424 shared a project by Jonathon Keats, who instructed participants to perform outside "employing nature as your conductor."

I recorded my guitar by the water channel, changing pace based on the wind on my face.

Before I'd begun I'd an idea to layer the takes, using a technique shared by Brian Crabtree in Disquiet Junto project 223.

Then, after reflecting on the missed opportunity to incorporate a palindrome, I revisited the recording and reversed one guitar part then added my attempt at a solo on top.

It was this last version that I thought might be likely to interest Leeton locals, so I posted in on a Facebook page.

There I was delighted to prompt the following response from Dale Richey:

[That's] "Across from my parents home lot's of history on that bridge. I seen you over there first time a guitar has been played there.

"That was where nearly every kid in leeton swam mudfights fist fights laughter tears and many good times were had there ask any local aged between 55 and 65 and you will get a smile out of them as they remember the good times at the canal."

The end of television

It seems strange to think that I lived at a time when there was nothing to watch

Before video, television used to run out of programs to broadcast.

At the end of the day, through until the morning when it resumed again, they'd broadcast a test pattern.

The thing that most vividly comes to mind is the sound of it, a whining 1kHz tone.

If you fell asleep watching a show, that unceasing note would sometimes wake you up.

There were only two TV stations in those days, a local commercial broadcaster and the national ABC.

Insomniacs would either read books or listen to the radio, which would often include a talk-back host who'd try to engage listeners in conversation.

In my email today

Found myself pondering these messages

Funding Success for Leeton Arts Projects

The Leeton Art Society Inc has been successful in obtaining two Community Art Support Program (CASP) grants from the NSW Government for projects in 2020

“We’re delighted that our members have developed these two projects to assist in promoting and providing opportunities for local artists in Leeton,” said Leeton Art Society President Jacqui Herrmann.

The first project is a video production called “The Penny Effect”, which was developed by artist and nephew of Penny Paniz, Mr Glenn Saddler, highlighting the influence that accomplished artist and former Art Society member, Penny Paniz, had on the development of visual arts in Leeton.

This video will premiere at the annual Penny Paniz Acquisitive Arts Competition and Exhibition (PPAA) at Easter, an event named in honour of Penny that showcases local artists’ works.

“Penny had a remarkable effect on artists in Leeton Shire, as well as being an inaugural member of the Art Society, and founding Chairperson for Western Riverina Arts.

“It’s been nearly a decade since her passing however, while her influence remains, many of our newer members, entrants, and visitors to the annual Penny Paniz Exhibition, are unaware of Penny’s important contribution to the Shire’s cultural community.

“The short video is a collection of Penny’s artworks, Prize winners of the PPAA over the past 7 years, and a record of the memories of those who worked and created alongside Penny, and be an important resource for the Leeton Art Society Inc and its members for years to come”, Ms Herrmann said.

The second project is a landscape-themed exhibition to be held in the region later in 2020. Local culture-maker and curator, Jason Richardson, will work with the Society’s members to collect representations of the Riverina’s environment for an innovative show combining visual and audible art.

“After curating exhibitions in Narrandera and Griffith in recent years, I’m excited by the opportunity to develop a multi-media show with local artists in Leeton Shire,” said Jason Richardson.

“I appreciate the support of the Leeton Art Society in developing this proposal and look forward to working with them to prepare a stimulating exhibition that will bring together a variety of media,” he said.

The exhibition, titled “Our Riverina”, will be shown in Leeton during October this year and Griffith during early 2021, with dates in Narrandera to be confirmed.

The Leeton Art Society Inc’s projects are supported by Create NSW’s Country Arts Support Program, a devolved funding program administered by Regional Arts NSW and Western Riverina Arts on behalf of the NSW Government.

Photo of Penny Paniz from the LASI archives, photographer unknown.

Ember Island Players

This morning we watched one of my favourite episodes of Avatar: The Ember Island Players

Love the Shakespearian-style show-within-the-show that turns out to be propaganda for the Fire Nation.

It's been fun revisiting Avatar and the show stands up well.

Super soup resource

Compare and contrast

I can't resist buying chocolate when it's heavily discounted

It was especially pleasing to see two varieties of sea salt caramel flavoured dark chocolate on special recently.

I love comparing and contrasting products.

The line "compare and contrast" first came to my attention in essay questions at school.

In more recent years I've learned the value of having two bottles of wine open, as it lets one evaluate their flavours against each other.

When I drank I'd start with a small glass of a cheap wine and it'd help me appreciate the following glass more fully.

When I eased up on wine and began drinking coffee again, I bought every brand of bean available and evaluated their merits before settling on a combination of two contrasting flavours.

A similar thing happened when I ate these dark chocolates.

First I had the Frey branded chocolate, noting the bitter and salt flavours -- particularly the lingering molasses-like liquorice taste.

Then I had the Lindt, enjoying the smooth mouth-feel and sweetness, as well as the burnt sugar toffee.

And, finally, I ate them both together and marvelled at how well they complemented each other.

Early bird gets the earworm

Dying in the arts

Summer means every major Australian gallery is advertising an imported 'blockbuster' exhibition

They're invariably dead males from another country and we're told they're important.

But these backward-looking shows are one symptom of an illness that sees art isn't recognised for having a role everyone's daily lives.

Art is dying up its own arse, seemingly happy to be the domain of practitioners with letters after their names and increasingly hiding in academic clothing.

I'd hope most people would agree that creativity, like exercise, is an important activity.

Yet we see very few role models.

Just like sport, art's cultural sibling, it ought to be promoted as needing 30 minutes a day.

But, also like sport, people are mostly offered to buy a passive relationship with the thing they claim to love.

Inherent Vice

Recently watched Inherent Vice a second time and thoroughly enjoyed it

Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's novel sits between Chinatown and The Big Lebowski, with many of the familiar Chandler-style LA detective plot points.

While there's some ambiguity about the femme fatale, it's got the mess of threads that reveal themselves to be deeply entangled and a sinister (former) psychiatric facility.

The post-'60s setting thrives on paranoia, and I mentioned previously how the film triggered an unsettling moment for me.

Anderson's movies are often grand and, while some of them have felt a bit sluggish for me, I think Inherent Vice should be regarded as a classic.

There are many amazing scenes and incredible performances, as well as revitalising the American Noir genre in a way I haven't seen since The Last Seduction.

New side project

Dream within a dream

Yesterday I awoke from a dream in which I awoke at a friend's house and discussed the dream I'd been having -- a dream within a dream

That nested dream had been about learning to fly on an eagle, which was a beaut image and I wrote a haiku to remind myself of it.

However, the conversation with the friend also included pointing at a newspaper written in Sanskrit and identifying a swastika on the page.

The friend had replied that it had another meaning.

I'd shared this detail with my partner yesterday morning, then it unsettled me when we watched the film Inherent Vice last night:

I'm not sure but I think the response in the film is word-for-word what was said in my dream.

Dreams are weird.

Pleased to Nietzsche

These are the social media influencers we need

Mere mail

Surprised to get mail today

At first I was disappointed that it only contained a handful of religious pamphlets.

Then I realised it shows someone is concerned about my spirit.