Monday, July 31, 2006

This city is different

It was pretty amazing taking off from Avalon Airport at six yesterday morning, and seeing my home from so high up in the air that the CBD just looked tiny.

The sunrise was amazing. For ages, while the land was still pretty dark, I was trying to work out whether I was looking at clouds or trees covering the land. Was sure we should've been way, way to high up to see trees, but didn't think we'd be anywhere near that high above the clouds. They seemed to just sit on top of the land in patches.

We landed in Sydney at about 7:15.
When my train to Central Station arrived I got a big surprise, because the windows were right down at the same level as the plantform, as though the whole train had been rammed into the ground, or the platform had been built way to high. Then I had a proper look at the train and realised that it was actually a double-decker train, and I'd been looking at the windows of the bottom deck. When you get on you can either go upstairs or downstairs. All very nice, but someone had spewed on the floor.
When I arrived in the CBD I found my way to the backpackers where I'm staying, which is in Chinatown. There were a lot of noisy drunk people around the city, and there was a lot of garbage, and it smelled yuck. Reminded me a bit of Melbourne, but perhaps a nightmare version of Melbourne. After I'd locked my big backpack and my computer in my cupboard at the backpackers I went out to explore. Ended up walking around Cockle Bay and being overwhelmed by the amount and size of the hotels there. It looked unAustralian - whatever that means. Was also overwhelmed by how big, tall and crammed together the buildings of Sydney's CBD are compared to Melbourne's. It's like the buildings just form one great big solid block of city. The fact that the roads just go all over the place (the roads in Melbourne are in a grid) was really annoying and disorienting as well, and it's really weird how there's so many bridges going all over the place. There's road and railway bridges going right over outdoor shopping centres! It all feels pretty chaotic. Apparently when D.H. Lawrence visited Australia in the '20s, he wrote,

'There was the vast town of Sydney. And it didn't seem to be real, it seemed to be sprinkled on the surface of a darkness into which it never penetrated.' (Kangaroo)
I think I understand something of what he meant now. The city seems kind of fake, like it can't really be serious. It doesn't really seem like it's meant for people to live in.
I decided to try and find the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House by following the coast. A lot of the rock that Sydney's built on seems to have been cut into terraces, which remind me a lot of the big concrete walls in Shaun Tan's The Lost Thing.

I ended up finding the Bridge and then finding my way back to Chinatown.
After I had lunch I decided to try and find Glebe, because I was wanting to visit Cafe Church in the evening. By this time I was starting to get used to the city, and know my way around a bit better. I eventually found my way to Glebe, and I actually really liked it there. One of the first things I saw in Glebe was this big park where people play soccer, which has a lot of fig trees around the edge and a really old bridge going through the middle, for trams to go over. There was some familiar-looking street art on the bridge.

When I'd found where Cafe Church was I caught the tram back into town. I was surprised to find that there wasn't a ticket machine like we have in Melbourne, but a tram conductor selling and validating tickets. I can hardly remember when we had tram conductors in Melbourne, but it seems like it would be a more enjoyable job being a tram conductor, and giving people their tickets, rather than only having the unpleasant task of checking whether people have tickets and fining them if they don't. It would be a lot easier to not seem nasty.
Hung around Cockle Bay until it was time to go to Cafe Church. There are a lot of water features around the city, particularly around Cockle Bay. I suppose water's a pretty important part of this place, seeing as the harbour goes right through the city.

At Cafe Church we had a look at some of Henri Nouwen's ideas about silence as a spiritual discipline. Had already been thinking about the fact that I'd hardly spoken to anybody all day, until I'd come to church, and I thought about how much that contrasts with the big, noisy, chaotic city I'm currently in the heart of. So while I'm here, I think that one thing I'll try to to do is keep enjoying being quiet.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

In Sydney

Am currently in a park in Sydney, close to Cockle Bay, using unsecure wireless Interweb.
When I first got here I really really really didn't like it for a while, but I think I'm getting used to it now. My annoyance at the nature of Sydney may have also been enhanced by the fact that I only had about one hour of sleep last night, and about five hours the night before.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Photography at Southgate

Recently there's been a ban on photography at Southgate (read about it here), so this morning a large group of photographers gathered at Southgate to take photos, demonstrating that it's a completely normal and harmless thing to do.
Here are some pictures I took:
Plant boxes Quay West Eureka Tower

The crapness of public transport in the Outer East

Just gotten home from work. I actually finshed at 11:30pm, but because of the crapness of public transport in the Outer Eastern Suburbs, I couldn't get a train home (I missed the last one by a few minutes), and thus had to catch a bus to Burwood, where I caught a tram to Camberwell. From Camberwell I had to walk all the rest of the way home, through Hawthorn, Burnley, Richmond and East Melbourne. My feet are very sore, and I'm very tired, having been busy since 9am.
I normally work Saturdays, but I can't this weekend because I'm going to a wedding tomorrow, and I've also got to pack stuff for Sydney.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Sunday night at church Ben asked me if I liked skating, and I said I didn't know because I'd not done it much, and then he asked if I wanted some skates, and I said, 'Okay.'
So Tuesday night when he was over he brought this pair of rollerblades that he'd bought on Ebay. He'd thought they'd fit him, but they were from somewhere in Europe where the shoe sizes are different to the sizes here. They fit me okay, so tonight me and Ray went over to this carpark where they've been skating, and we skated around on the seventh floor. Managed to fall over fall times, mostly while trying to turn, but the concrete is really smooth and I didn't fall badly. Lots of fun.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Mazen Kerbaj

Over the last week or so I've been visiting Mazen Kerbaj's blog a fair bit. He lives in Beirut, and while the city is being bombed he is been uploading comics and ambient music that he's been creating.
Tonight for staff prayers I showed a slideshow of some of his comics, while playing 'Starry Night', a track that he recorded live while bombs were hitting the city. Afterwards we prayed about the conflict in the Middle East, and about the conflict in our own city, and our own building, and considered how we might ourselves be contributing to these conflicts.
Was also thinking that creating music while people fire bombs at you is a way of refusing to retaliate with violence. Can't remember where I read or heard this, but it seems like the idea that the oppoiste of war isn't peace, but is creation. Was wondering if we can find our own equivalents of playing music for when we feel like we're under fire.

Was talking to Nomes before, while we were making tea, about how I don't understand what's actually going on with this war, or why, even when I try to read the newspaper articles.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


The week after next I'm going to Sydney. Bought plane tickets last night. Don't know yet what I'm going to do when I get there, because I don't know much about what there is to do in Sydney. Haven't been there before, except in 1998 when we were on our way back to Melbourne, and we drove straight through because the weather was awful.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Lingham Lane lights

Was going down Flinders Lane just before and noticed a ring of these weird flashing lights set into the pavement of Lingham Lane. There were also some weird lights hanging from the ceiling. This guys who was having a smoke in the laneway said that if you stood in the middle of the lights they said stuff too you, so I stood in the middle, and these stupid radio ad sort of voices started saying stuff like, 'What do you think people are thinking when they look at you?'

(Photo #3 coutesy of the smoking guy.)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Oh dear

At about midnight last night some people came into the laneway making a lot of noise, and I heard them saying something about smashing a windscreen. Got up out of bed and climbed up on my windowsill to look out the window, because Ray had her car parked down there. They weren't near Ray's car, so I got down and went out onto the fire escape to try and see what was going on, because they were still making a lot of noise. Megsy was out on the fire escape (she was staying over with Ray) and the two guys who were down in the laneway seemed to have gotten ripped off on a deal, and were yelling at each other, and then they were hugging each other, so I decided to go back to bed and just keep an ear out for anything else.
At about 1:30 I woke up again and heard a big noise, and thought it sounded like when the people broke into Ray's car by ramming the door. So I jumped up on the windowsill again, and saw that there were two people near Ray's car, and one of them was looking in through the driver's window. So I shouted out really loudly, 'WHAT THE [expletive]'S GOING ON DOWN THERE?!' and one of them ran off. The other one just looked up at me, so I shouted, 'WELL?!' and then he went away as well.
Didn't really want to go down right then and see if any damage had been done, because everyone else seemed to have slept through it. Turned out in the morning that the driver's window had been smashed though.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Portents in the heavens

Portents in the heavens
Was down in Centreway this afternoon taking some photos, which I'm thinking I might use for a drawing or painting or installation piece.

Saturday, July 08, 2006


We ended up getting a cabin out near Marysville.
A marshmellow floated in a bowl of Coke...

... I bought twenty-eight souvienir teaspoons at a garage sale...

... Ali kissed an alpaca ...

... a donkey tried to kiss Ray because she had grass in her mouth ...

... and the forest whizzed past, just like this:

Friday, July 07, 2006

Resi road trip

When Nathan gets back, the five of us are driving off somewhere to stay the night. I don't know yet where we're going. I think we're just going to choose a direction and then drive until we find somewhere we want to stay.


Last night Ali told me that I should go to the McDonalds in Collins Street and have a look inside, because I would like it. Went there this morning and I didn't like it at all.

They have all these leaves hanging from their roof, like I do in my room, except that theirs are all big and fake and plastic!

Winter Park

Last night we were planning to go and see Winter Park. Before we left, Ben was impersonating a little-known Bond villain known as Bottlefingers:

When we got to the venue, Shake Some Action (?!) in Prahran, and were quite taken aback when the bouncer asked us if we were on the guest list, particularly seeing as Tomsy knows Matt, the guitarist from Winter Park, and had been invited by him, but hadn't been told anything about a guest list. We had a feeling that perhaps it was more that the bouncer didn't like how we were dressed. So we spent a lot of time waiting outside while Tomsy tried to contact Matt.

Nathan considered saying to the bouncer, 'Hey, I know Derek Zoolander. Step aside bro,' but then Matt came and told the bouncer to let us in.
When we got in it became fairly evident that it was probably the way we were dressed.
We watched the band that played before Winter Park, a new wave band called Near Your House, who were okay, except that they have a myspace.

Winter Park played and they were very good. You should listen to their music.

They are playing again on the 15th, and Ding-Dong, with Treetops, so we're probably going to go and see them there too.
Once Winter Park had finsihed we left pretty quickly, as you do when people try and stop you getting into a place. We headed for the Comfy Chair, in Brunswick, but they wouldn't let us in either, because we got there five minutes after closing time. Tomsy was rolling around on the groud because he always goes there, and was quite offenced.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Making dreams come true

We have a number of spare matresses propped up against our wall for when people stay over, and yesterday morning Luke asked us if he could live out one of his dreams through us by watching us run and jump into the matresses:

Monday, July 03, 2006

Long exposure experiments

Just been going through the manual of my camera, and discovered that it can do 15 second exposures. So I walked around the block and tried it out a bit, and got some fairly weird pictures:

Also took a few from the roof:

Sexual assault on Big Brother

So, Big Brother - Adults Only was recently axed because Channel 10 were told it was ruining their chance at getting the media reforms they want. Now it looks like the whole Big Brother franchise will be axed, because two male contestants sexually assaulted a female contestant at 4 o'clock this morning. (It wasn't broadcast on television, but everything that happens in the house is constantly being streamed from the Big Brother website.)
I have a big bother about this.
A lot of young Australian men believe that women are obliged to give them sex. They reckon that if a man takes a woman out for a nice meal and pays the bill, then she is obliged to have sex with him afterwards. Big Brother has brought to attention the fact that it's not unusual for young men to think that sexual assault is okay. I'm concerned that we as a society will think that we've dealt with the problem if the show is axed.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Melbourne Central code

See any resemblance? Nathan reckons they don't resemble each other because there's less disciples in the Melbourne Central version. I don't reckon that matters because the composition is pretty much the same and everything. Now I just have to work out how the Illuminati or Freemasons or whoever fit in...


Has anyone else noticed the unusually large amount of Mexican Navy officers in Melbourne CBD over the last week? Apparently they're from the Mexican Navy Sailing Ship Cuauhtémoc, which has been in Melbourne, and is now heading for Perth.