The Rod Blog

28 September 2005

More Rain

No sermon today, just a couple of night-rain shots I snapped a moment ago.

The girls are on the go this week: all in Melbourne. Anne is at a conference, Claire is meeting a recorder teacher about her post-school studies, and Katie is talking to a couple of people about publicity events for her book launch in February.

26 September 2005

Fortress Town

Today after work, I took a picture containing this image. Can you guess what it is? A Celtic pattern hidden within what was intended to be a clip of ugliness, to be included in another ramble upon what seems to be a recurring blog theme.

I was going to compare the modern town centre to a fortress. Bunkered within our cities are these places where we do commerce. You go there to do trade, to shop, to collect your bundles of goods then leave. If you’re not buying or selling, then what are you doing there?

Perhaps it’s just a Rod-weirdness, but I find the interior of these places sterile and depressing. Chrome and glass and unfriendly. I am, of course, talking about the mall. But others don’t seem to mind. Maybe I’m just getting behind on my therapy.

Now have a look at the exterior, and this is where I see the fortress. Stark, impenetrable blocks, surrounded by a moat of traffic. If you didn’t arrive by vehicle you’re in real danger. Now I am young enough and my feet are still fleet, but I’d hate to be old and doddery trying to skip my aged bones across the path of speeding cars.

But seriously, I don’t think I’m entirely off the wall here; consider what it means to a community to have such unfriendly town centres. It breaks down the opportunities for chance meetings; it brings a cold, impersonal feeling to a place. It builds upon the sense of alienation that many people feel towards society.

Up the creek

At last, lots of rain, and our creek is full of water again.

After a fearsome drought, it looks like our dams are starting to fill.

What happens to a city when it runs out of water? It's a worrying thought. And it makes me wonder about those who think that never-ending population growth is desirable as an endless way of priming the economy.

21 September 2005

On the many insults

And as the mileposts wizz by on my slide towards decrepitude, I suffer the pangs and pains of mounting years. Perhaps you know the feeling: parts of you want to get bigger shrink while the bits you want to shrink grow. The places you want hair lose it, mocked by the odd new places it finds to grow.

Now standby to receive a new word of the modern variety. Not long ago I had to upstrength my reading glasses. In only a matter of weeks I found I could no longer easily read text of almost any size. So off we go to the optical people, and soon enough, with the vacuum cleaner applied to my wallet, I now have a brand new pair. Strong enough to spot distant quasars, the frames are constructed of a special metal called unobtanium.

Did you spot my new word? That’s fully sick, apparently (so totally). In the language of the new generation, I’m told this means good.

Soon it will be time to downscale my day’s activities, and head off to bed. I hope your eyes are good enough to read this without glasses.

17 September 2005

Dad in hot water

I used to think my dad was completely bonkers when he would say just how remarkable it is that we can turn on a tap and get hot water out. Well what on earth was he going on about? Everyone just knows that that is where hot water comes from.

I’ve heard it said that to forgive your parents you must have children yourself. I think there’s an element of truth to that, but there’s also the joy of inflicting your personal neuroses and annoying habits on the new generation.

So now, as I enjoy my slide into the role of grumpy old man, it is my duty to ponder the significance of hot water from a tap. And why each basin in the gent’s is required to supply such, for the soft, office-coddled hands of those who can’t bear the strain of unheated water. This, at a time when the poor planet is creaking and groaning under the weight of so many souls.

Congratulations! Having read this far, you are now the proud owner of a Rod-induced neurosis. Perhaps you will now go forth and unleash one of your own upon a victim of your choice.

13 September 2005

Brain Drained

Q) What does an engineer call a creek?
A) A drain.

Today’s photo shows what happens when you convert the disorderly, meandering line of a creek into a straight-edged concrete jacket. All neat and tidy, this is the love-child of someone who hangs their tools on a shadow-board. Not the haphazard toolbox you’d find in my garage.

The drain has done its job. Water is efficiently whisked away, out of sight, and the hydro-rationalist can park his bulldozer at night, satisfied that all is well.

Similar thinking grips the minds of some the name of economics. Society is a collection of individuals who are units of consumption. The more they consume, the more money flows through the economy, and the more workers we need to provide for them. So round, and round we go in a bloody great perpetual motion machine.

In physics, we know we can’t have perpetual motion. But luckily for us economics is different, and there’s no chance our little planet will end up squeezed dry like an old lemon.

PS: my apologies to any engineers. I’m sure the modern engineer probably really is environmentally aware.

09 September 2005

Happy Birthday

How’s this to top your list of useless birthday gifts? Can’t eat it, can’t drive it, can’t fend off burglars with it. But it does add to the karma of our house.

Lab Rat with a Camera

Last Sunday I went into the lab with Anne. This allowed me to see her project in progress, and twiddle the caps on many little vials. It also gave me the opportunity for countless attempts at arty lab pictures.

Some results attached.

Book Tour Day 1

Last Thursday was an exciting in one in family history. But before I tell you about it, a short diversion into an aging memory.

I would have been about 8 years old and, walking along a beach encountered a poodle with a litter of puppies. Very cute, we thought, so I did what kids want to do, and tried to pat one. Well, I was shocked when the mother (dog, that is) rushed at me growling and sharp teeth a-snapping. I was nonplussed –only wanted to pat it. Mum (human, that is) explained that it was only trying to protect its babies. The quickest cut to vulnerability or pride is via our children.

Roll on to 2005, and I’m sitting in a classroom of year-7’s, and grinning like a fool. Katie has been invited to talk about writing, and her new book which will be on the shelves in Feb 2006. This is the first of many such events she’ll need to do in marketing her work.

Amazingly, the kids actually seem quite interested. Or at least this is my conclusion, having not noticed any paper aeroplanes, spitballs, or other airborne objects.

We’re looking forward to seeing the actual book. I’ll post an image of the cover soon.