Walking gum

This River Red Gum outside Bingara looks like it could walk around

The roots appear raised, presumably from the riverbank being washed away.

Unfortunately the scale of the tree isn't apparent in the photograph, but I could've climbed through the space underneath this amazing tree.

Cool reports

The end of semester means reading reports about the education of my children

Usually I only pay attention to the comments and look to get a sense of how much effort their putting into subjects.

Then I'll ask my kids how they feel about the report and usually they agree.

This year mathematics are offering additional metrics and I guess it's linked to the delivery of classes via modules with the software providing a bunch of data.

It raises some questions, since one section details how they're learning more than a year's worth of math but acknowledges the measurement isn't indicative because the difficulty of modules varies.

I pity the kids with reports saying they're learning less than a year because who knows what discipline might be delivered in the privacy of households.

However, my partner and I were fascinated to see that for two kids, their performance dipped markedly at the start of May.

Winter sucks, right?

Anyway, I like the new reports but wonder if other subjects can do something similar.

If math can provide numerical detail, maybe English can start spicing up their comments with exotic superlatives and hyperbolic verbosity?

Art in the age of mechanical reproduction

My grandfather had a collection of paintings on his walls

When I was a child I was curious about the art produced by my uncle, but otherwise I never thought about the rest until after he died.

Then the paintings were divided among his children and my father started having paintings on his walls.

I thought it was cool that one was by Pro Hart, since I'd heard of him.

Anyway, one day I looked closely at this painting of a woman riding a bicycle.

(I'm not sure who it's by, sorry I know that I should have an acknowledgment.)

So it might've been because I like riding bikes, but I hadn't really liked the painting.

I think I might've thought that the wavy lines seemed to ruin the image.

The result seemed a bit vague and indistinct, but now that's one of the things I like about it.

It's kinda dreamy and dynamic.

However, one day I looked closely at this painting and could see the wavy lines cut through layers of paint.

That was one of those lightbulb moments, when I realised how the process of painting contributed to the resulting image.

It reminded me of how colour photography works with layers to produce a representation.

Yet, rather than a chemical process, I could see how the brushstrokes built up the image.

Since then I've learned about blocking, the colour undercoat that sets a tone for a painting.

Now, when I see the painting of the cyclist, I surprise myself with new details that I admire.

The wavy lines capture movement, both in their representation and in their physical process.

Lately I've been appreciating the colour palette, particularly the light blue and lime green and brown.

Platinum jacket

Last week the high school called to say my son was getting an award

The only bad thing about this news was keeping it secret for a few days.

On Friday my partner and I went to see the presentation during the school assembly.

We checked in at the front office, received our visitor passes and were led to the auditorium.

I scanned around to see if I could spot my sons and found my youngest sitting at the front of the room.

They began reeling off details of my oldest son's contributions to the school.

It was interesting to hear them describe him as an "all-rounder" since his interest in sport is limited.

There were performances with the choir and school musicals, representing students on the SRC as well as debating and chess competitions.

They noted his subjects included extension English, advanced maths, chemistry and music.

Then his name was called and there was a rapturous applause.

Afterwards the teacher asked if it had been a surprise.

Oscar said his friend had spotted Jo and I, asking him why his parents were here, which had led him to assume that he was getting the award.

The platinum jacket will appeal to him, since he's been wearing the shirt given in Year 10 almost everyday.

It's good to see Oscar's efforts recognised.

Photo from the LHS Facebook page.

Dreams are weird

Woke from a dream in which I'd written a profile of Russell Crowe for Rolling Stone

There was a formatting issue and they needed me to resend the piece and I couldn't find it.

I was living with Taika Waititi and came home to go through my laptop, only to find he had friends over.

They were watching TV loudly and I needed quiet to look through my files in a panic.

Embarrassingly I started yelling at everyone.

Taika kept his cool, but his friends began chastising me.

I think my subconscious is telling me not to apply for the feature-writing mentorship that I saw yesterday. 

Naviarhaiku 441

Naviar Records have chosen one of my senryu for their musical prompt this week

I'm looking forward to interpreting it in a composition, as well as hearing how other producers approach it from their corners of the world.

It's been a good week for senryu, with news that another poem has been selected for a journal. 

Fivebough in Coonabarabran

Got to see (and hear) my contributions to the Inhalare exhibition developed by Kim V. Goldsmith

A diverse group of regional artists brought together different perspectives on the landscape.

At the event last weekend we discussed how to progress the exhibition. 

Mortar see

This brick wall in Jerilderie caught my interest

You can see how high the flooding has been by looking at the washed-out mortar.

The building overlooked the Billabong Creek, which runs through town.

I mentioned it to a local, who explained their husband had memories of walking along planks to reach the nearby primary school.