Door Photography project

It’s been several weeks now since I started to take photography seriously. While film has, is, and always will be my first love, there’s something hauntingly beautiful about the silent passage of life as captured in a snapshot. By no means do I profess to be an expert in photography, at the most I’m an amateur with a high quality camera, but I feel that branching out into other fields is crucial for my own personal development.

I know I’ve talked before about taking seemingly mundane things – a leaf on the pavement, a ladder against a brick wall – and transforming them into works of art. As in my ambitions for my documentaries, I want to show the raw and powerful nature of the forces around us that we see passively but largely fall below our collective consciousness.

In a part of what I hope will be my industrialist series, I found a house with the most incredible doors. By that, I mean these doors are completely dilapidated, but for my purposes, it is absolutely perfect. With chipped paint and warped joints, they are in desperate need of an aluminium door replacement. Melbourne homes from the turn of the century are massive. Old doors are so authentic, such a pure reflection of life and so full of unspoken meaning. It’s incredible that a building can capture such a strong sense of abandonment and isolation.

I feel that, if I do it correctly, I can get people to resonate as strongly with these seemingly ordinary objects and sights the way I do. That, through the lens of the camera, I can make others see the wonder and complexity in the world that I see. It’s such power and such a privilege.

I have a problem, though. I have a sneaking suspicion that the house has been sold, meaning that in all likelihood, the new owners will opt for replacement windows. Melbourne could really benefit from preserving relics from the past, like my abandoned house.

Posted in replacement doors

Post-Natal Help

My cousin, Fleur, recently told me that she’s been receiving counselling from a psychologist, as treatment for depressive episodes that she experienced following the birth of her daughter a couple on months ago. She told me that, even after only a couple of sessions, it’s been massively helpful.

I was quite surprised to hear all this, as I’d had no idea that Fleur was struggling. She told me that she’d spent some time ignoring the issue before Jake, her partner, had talked into consulting someone about it. Apparently, she’d assumed that her symptoms weren’t sufficiently severe to be taken seriously in a clinical setting, but she’d been wrong about that.

At first, Fleur said, she wasn’t sure how to go about finding a psychologist on the Mornington Peninsula, having never been to one before. She said it was pretty straightforward, and she was able to refer herself rather than going through a GP (although, from the sounds of it, it’s possible to receive Medicare rebates if you have a medical referral).

The psychologist had explained to Fleur that post-natal depression is not that uncommon, and that there are treatments available, including counselling. Fleur has only had a couple of sessions of this so far, but she said it had helped her to come to terms with her daughter’s sleeping problems not being down to her parental fitness. This, she said, was an idea she’d been secretly harbouring, but when it came to light, she was able to acknowledge that it’s a fairly unreasonable one.  

When I was a kid, as I recall, my uncle Morris underwent a period of visiting a psychiatrist. Services in Mornington at that the time were not as diverse as they are now, and he had to go in to the Melbourne CBD for his appointments. I’m not sure what that was all about, but in any case, it’s handy that Fleur can have her psychology sessions close to home. No doubt, having a baby is hard enough without added logistical gymnastics around accessing mental health support.

Posted in mental health

Trivia cost us big time

It’s safe to say that the majority of us regulars at Trivia night on Wednesday have come home with food for thought. If you’d told me I’d be leaving the pub that night with a far better understanding about everything from LED lights to commercial solar energy, I’d ashamedly admit I might have pulled a sickie. But I’m glad I didn’t.

We’re used to turning up to an evening of relatively non-mind-blowing questions, but the last Trivia session was something else. The hotel manager was new, and apparently had big visions for our local. This guy is from another planet basically, he keeps about seven jobs so he can fund his charity, an organisation in the Philippines, that rescues families in need. Pretty much everything he does, on some level is about making the world a better place. After five minutes of chatting to him- and there are people basically lining up for a few minutes with him, you can’t help but feel a little more optimistic that there are people like him in the world. Apparently managing our bar is his ‘time out’. Everything he does, has a few levels of meaning attached to it. Which is why he chose to use trivia night as an opportunity to school us on clean energy.

Anyway, after some seriously mind-blowing facts were delivered to our tiny mental thresholds, (did you know it would take less that 0.3% of the earth’s surface, covered in solar panels to meet the planet’s energy needs completely?) most of us were able to see for ourselves that there is no way around finding a better alternative to what we’re doing. We’ve decided to look into solar and we’ll definitely be having commercial LED lights installed. We’ll also be looking into the viability of commercial energy storage using those solar batteries.  And we’ll probably never miss trivia again either, as long as this guy is running the show.

Posted in Energy

Anchor Winches Are Actually Very Attractive

I always knew I’d fall for a guy with a boat.

People seem to think that cars are big business, and if you have a flash car then you’re ‘all that’. I guess it means you have a lot of money, which is fine. I mean, it’s okay, but what if you do something totally alternative and choose a boat? Now THAT’S setting yourself up for a life of adventure, with a guy who knows how to have a good time.

I never had anyone to talk to about boats when I was little. Most of the other kids just liked dinosaurs or dolls, and here’s me, trying to cobble together my own anchor winch. Melbourne is a bit more friendly to sea-faring now, I guess. And you’d think people would want to know the way to get some quality, well-rated outboard motor servicing when so much of Australia is based on the coast. We all go on about how our country’s beaches are great, people flock to them in the summer, but they don’t go that extra mile and sail around their beautiful bays. It’s really not as expensive as people make it out to be, and definitely not as elitist. Boating folks are friendly folks. Anyone can see that.

And now this guy just shows up at uni on the first day and he’s got his own boat, and he knows all the lingo. Haven’t plucked up the courage to talk to him yet, but I overheard him saying that he ditched his plans to get a car and went with the boat instead.

What a guy. And we have class in the same building, so at some point I’ll have to confess that I, too, am one of the boating folk. I know where to find the best outboard motor servicing in Melbourne, or even where the best bays are to have a quiet Saturday cruise. At least I know I have a friend. We boating folk are just friendly by nature.

-Ciele

Posted in Boating

I Must Become the Sport-Master

So far, the new year’s resolution is going…

Yep, that’s it. Definitely going. It is making progress in a linear fashion, and that’s all that needs to be said on the matter. But for real, becoming a multi-disciplinarian is hard. I’ve always thought I was pretty well-rounded in sports, so I thought…why not play them all? All the most famous athletes specialise, and good for them taking one thing and being good at it, but no one has ever been famous for being pretty good at every sport. It’s always one person being really good at one sport.

So that’s it. Sport 6 days a week, a different one every time. I think it’ starting to mess with my brain a little. I showed up to football practice and briefly wondered where the cricket nets were, as well as wondering why no one was using a bat. Wrong sport; that’s Tuesday night. Still, I don’t think I was really on form that evening either. All my techniques started to blur a bit, and I found myself stepping into kicks in the same way that I step into bat in cricket.

So that’s unhelpful enough, but no I have to replace the indoor cricket netting at my local club because I leapt into it trying to make a diving catch. Nope…that’s baseball. Anyway, I tore it out of the restraints on the ceiling, and it was mortifying. I just totally mixed them up for a moment. And it hurt, too. Both the act of shoving myself into the netting and it collapsing on top of me.

So now that I’ve bought the leisure centre some brand new indoor cricket nets,  It’s time to reevaluate. I’m not giving up on my dream to become the ultimate omni-sportsman. But I do need a way to stop them from leaking into each other and ruining my chances of success. Ideally.

-Vince

Posted in Sport

Shocking Secrets from Within the Chamber

That is, the chemical symbol for oxygen, because this Week of Our Lives was all about oxygen therapy. Of course, it was both respectful to the oxygen therapy services in Melbourne and skillfully written, with a touch of the usual subtlety. It’s usually such a prime example of subtle storytelling, albeit with more than enough twists and turns to keep the forums ablaze every week.

So anyway, Viva was trying to establish her business selling herbal supplements to capybara owners, and she got a call from her long-dead Uncle who turned out to be alive, living in Aruba and actually a local celebrity with his majorly successful self-help book: 1001 Ways to Communicate with the Ocean and Other Large Bodies of Water.

Anyway, he heard about the oxygen therapy in Melbourne and sweeping the nation and came back in disguise to experience its services. For you see, Viva’s uncle had developed a severe case of Aruban Bronchitis, for which he had no time, and he thought hyperbaric chambers could help with his breathing issues. Of course, while all this was going on, Lance was feverishly researching the hyperbaric chamber creation process to confirm his theory that his father didn’t actually disappear at sea, but instead time-traveled into the future to save mankind from a great banana shortage. As it turned out, the word he was looking for was ‘hyperbolic’, so the hyperbaric chamber treatments in Melbourne were innocent. AND they helped Uncle Spartacus with his bronchitis, although the episode ended on a cliffhanger as he tried to explain to Viva why he faked his own death, but he was inside the oxygen chamber so she couldn’t hear him properly.

And that’s why, if you’re stepping inside a hyperbaric chamber, you should explain your life secrets to shocked family members beforehand. This show is SO educational, seriously.

-Leticia

Posted in Health

Tree Activist Group Refuse to Back Down

Repeated tree removal in Melbourne has lead to vehement protest from a previously unknown activist group known as ‘Disciples of the Tree’, who have expressed outrage at the removal of local greenery.

Much of the work of felling trees is to prevent the danger of collapse branches. Pleas from local council to end the protests have fallen on deaf ears. Attempts to explain the cities motives for tree felling have nonetheless been met with opposition. Tree trimming across Melbourne suburbs

Is currently on account of the protests.

Arborists have reported spontaneous protests right across the inner suburbs, including the CBD.

Leigh Cross, who claims to be the spiritual leader of the sect, has stated in an interview that his group formed online and only recently decided to get active.

“As you can see, there are more of us than you’d think,” said Cross last week at a large protest outside town hall. “We realised after a few months that our group was growing more and more each day. We care about nature and we know that it takes physical effort to stop it from being destroyed,”

Cross also went on to describe the newly founded group.

“Disciples of the Trees is a peaceful group,” he says. “We’re here to serve the trees. We’ve been given stewardship of them and it’s our job to preserve their precious life.”

The Disciples of the Tree have an estimated number of adherents in the hundreds, though exact numbers are still unknown. Planning supervisor city council member Jeremy Wiles has released a statement asking the group to cease their activities.

“You are hindering effort to keep this city safe from falling branches,” said Mr Wiles in a live speech yesterday night. “These trees are a danger to the people around them, and need to be removed. We have already allocated taxpayer funds to pay for the arborists, Melbourne residents are more important than a couple of trees.”

Protests have, thus far, been largely peaceful, though there have a been a number of arrests due to physical harassment of removal workers.

Posted in tree cutting

A history of tulips

Most people give each other flowers in significant occasions. It may be an anniversary or a death, flowers can serve so many symbolic purposes. What most people don’t realise is that each of the most popularly cultivated flowers has a deep history from which its contemporary meaning derives. I want this to be the focus of my next documentary.

For this one, I’m thinking of tracing the history of of the tulip, from tulip bulbs to mature plant. I’m going to use the growth of the flower from its budding stages to its flowering and maturity as a metaphor.

I was mistaken by thinking that the tulip was a western European plant. I guess they seemed hardy to me and they seem popular in England and Australia so I thought they derived from the anglophone speaking world. However, they actually originated in the Levant, particularly Turkey where they were harvested many thousands of years ago. You can see tulips in ancient Turkish art and motifs, it’s really fascinated. I’m already getting ideas for my next short documentary on the hyacinth. Bulbs slowly sprouting and turning into flowers. I think it could even be a series.

Today, tulips still represent perfect love. I guess that’s why they’re so popular on Valentines Day. Is there such a thing as perfect love? Who knows. One things for sure, there is a perfect tulip.

One of the more interesting things I learnt during my research on the tulip is that there are some discrepancies between the symbolism of the colours nowadays, compared to back them. For instance, yellow today is symbolic of friendship and cheerfulness, and all-purpose amiable colour. But back then it represented love, the kind of love that makes you feel helpless, wild and jealous. However, some people send yellow tulips to someone they love when they know that the other person doesn’t reciprocate those feelings. So that’s something to keep in mind if you ever experienced unrequited love.

Posted in flowers

Real Grandmas of Melbourne: Anti Wrinkles

I have always had an interest in creating a documentary about people who undergo cosmetic procedures to rejuvenate themselves. It’s been done before numerous times and there is a classic angle to take when filming it, but I really want to get to know the people who opt for these procedures and understand their perceived benefits. Is it really about looking younger? or is it just about feeling younger? My mum actually has a few friends who have had anti wrinkle injections in Melbourne and as research I decided to crash one of her ladies lunches and try and get on to the topic. To be fair they did all look pretty good for ladies approaching sixty. I could barely see one wrinkle around the table and my face was certainly the most natural there. I didn’t even have to try very hard to get onto the topic of cosmetic procedures before Judith mentioned her latest penchant for chemical peels.

Apparently it is a strong variety of chemical peel and leaves your face feeling brand new! I’m not sure I’d like a brand new face but Judith did look resplendent. If I didn’t know how old she was I would have guessed she was in her early 50’s. When the conversation naturally turned to anti ageing treatments, my ears perked up, they were discussing how it has become so popular they can actually notice when people haven’t had it done now rather than when they have. It seems for this group of ladies, who are 60 going on 25, the change in their physical appearance has led to some kind of mental reset. They are all thriving, engaged women, many of whom say they are finally getting the most out of life. I asked them if they thought that cosmetic treatments was cheating. I was promptly shown a photo of young man that one of the ladies was dating, point taken. 

Posted in Uncategorized

Christmas Binge-Watching is Essential

Oh, the weather outside is frightful. But the fire! It’s so delightful!

Delightful for burning our old television aerial, that is. It seems to have properly warmed up, and the weather might just stay that way, but the damage has been done. All those foolish hailstorms have done a number on the house, but worst of all, they’ve smashed the old aerial that we’ve had since the eighties. Sure…it’s not the BEST ever made, but it did the job. With all the Christmas specials coming up, this is crisis time for our family. One of our favourite pastimes is sitting by the fire…I mean, the air con, and watching trashy Christmas television.

So…need to get that sorted. The Christmas special of Week of Our Lives is fast approaching, and Darla will go nuts if she misses it and gets it spoiled by her friends. I need to find an antenna installater in Melbourne with good reviews, and they have to understand the joys of Christmas binge watching. You don’t understand: this is a family institution in danger of being ruined. Every Christmas for us is the same. Get up, open some presents, go to church, come back, open ALL the presents, have Christmas dinner/lunch, and then turn into passive potatoes for the rest of the day. There was that one year where we took a break from all th Christmas specials to play a game of scattergories, but…meh.

We’ve just never had this kind of antenna-killing weather before, especially around Christmas. Or if we have, old faithful has weathered the storm. Now we need a need a NEW antenna. Preferably one made in this millennium, weatherproof. Easy channel surfing. Surely Melbourne’s best antenna installation specialists are kept busy during this Christmas period. Still, we have time…right?? The Space Conflicts: Holiday Special II is coming up, and they’re promised that it’s going to be even better than the last one. Don’t know how that’s possible, but I HAVE to see it. Catching up online is not an option.

-Caleb

 

Posted in TV