Category Archives: writing

The room without books

   They say a house without books is like a room without windows, and a room without books like a body without a soul; they being Horace Mann and Marcus Tullius Cicero respectively, or conversely Marcus Tullius Cicero and Horace Mann temporally speaking, neither of whose books I ever got around to reading by the way, nor is it likely I ever will, since a room without books–call me soulless–can’t be a room with a window and a house with books at the same time. So next time you can’t put a book down spare a thought for those of us who can’t tear ourselves away from the window.
 

Room without books

Room without books


Same spider

This spider has been my deskside companion for three summers in a row. I believe it has been the same spider since it has for three summers appeared on the same door.
 
Same spider, three summers, same door.
 
One summer I saw a spider on the door beside my desk. That was three summers ago. It couldn’t have been the same spider as this one if I had not seen it before.
 
Same spider twice, three summers, same door.
 
This summer the spider is on the door beside my desk. It couldn’t have been here three summers ago if this summer isn’t a summer ago.
 
Same spider twice, two summers, same door.
 
One summer ago I saw the same spider
that wasn’t the same one two summers ago.
This is the spider that’s been my companion
for three summers now, in a row.
 


First meditation on object-oriented philosophy

      There are two tables in this spare room at the back of my home. One is a large computer desk repurposed from what was a dining table. Along with my tower, printer, monitor, and various other peripheral objects it occupies fully the length of one wall. The other table has a smaller working area, is a couple of inches closer to the ground, and is also a repurposed dining table. It is in the centre of the room, and it serves as my indoor writing desk. When I am at my indoor writing desk the sliding glass door to the lounge room is closed in front of me and the large computer desk is at my left. I can see my coffee table through the sliding glass, and the bulk of my books and records on shelves along the wall beyond that. Half a dozen books are on the coffee table at any given time. At the end of the computer desk that isn’t in the corner is another door. This door leads to my outdoor desk when weather permits and from it when weather does not. Currently, weather permits.
 
      I saw my brother working at my indoor writing desk in the hours leading to daylight. I noticed a spider had woven a wide, thick blanket extending between my computer desk in the corner and the centre of the room at the ceiling. Before I could point the spider web problem out to my brother he’d vanished, then a large wasp with a stinger the size of my thumb flew in from outside and went for the spider. The spider dropped to the table below, ran around the edge, and went into hiding beneath it. The wasp turned on me. I had a can of Mortein at hand so I sprayed it, and sprayed it again and again until it had dropped to the floor. I started to lower the base of the can over the wasp to contain it but then its back split open like a cicada shell does when the cicada inside is emerging, and from it a glorious pair of glistening lorikeet wings unfolded. As I reached out to touch it my brother emerged from under the table holding the spider, and as he was gently returning the spider back to its blanket he told me it just goes to show you—not every thing is connected.
 


The Third Table: An open-and-shut case

Whatever we capture,
whatever table we sit at or destroy,
is not the real table.
 Graham Harman, The Third Table
 
tables-tables-tables


Unwinding with a good flower

29 March 2016

29 March 2016

1. Power mimics nature: power is a technology, and technology imitates nature. This is why the presenter on the left is the senior of the two.

2. Sensation is the unshakable self-assurance of matter; or a whatchamacallit is the permanent possibility of a thingamabob.

2.1. I know what it is but for the life of me I can’t recall it. A? No. B? No. C? No. d… e… f…
grevillea!

30 March 2016

30 March 2016

 

3. Certain kinds of caterpillars leave a thread of silk behind for others of their kind to follow.

4. Slow shutter bokeh shows sapphire skyglow subtly streaming through leaves.

5. The little hummingbird-like bird that fed here yesterday hasn’t returned since, and won’t return today: little birds don’t venture outdoors at this hour.

6. It’s too late to wait for the world to change now. There’s not been a hint of a breeze for three days. Let’s have a looksee at what can be done here to change it.

31 March 2016

31 March 2016


On the Murray-Darling

“Fuelled by redgum logs the Emmylou exudes old-world charm…” Murray River Paddlesteamers, Echuca

This time next week I expect to have reached the official starting point of the Darling river in northern NSW. The plan is to follow it through the outback to Wentworth, where it meets up with the Murray. From there I will follow the Murray down to its mouth at the Southern Ocean, then back to the source of the Murray in the Australian Alps. A few side trips will also be in order: Lightning Ridge, Broken Hill, and the Mundi Mundi Plains among them. I trust Vincent will be up to the task: much of the outback section will be through gravel and dirt and, provided rain doesn’t leave us bogged, searing heat and dust.

My awareness of the threats posed to the health and bio-diversity of the Murray-Darling river system has been steadily increasing since I first encountered the Murray River at Berri during the flood of 2011. At the time it was nothing more than a natural event to my mind, but simply having been there and fallen in love with the place opened my ears up to the various discussions and controversies around regulation of the system for irrigation. My levels of understanding regarding how the Murray-Darling ‘is operated’ are still pretty trivial: I intend to remedy that with the few weeks I have available to see it first hand, and pay full attention.

And so to the snippet I opened this post with, regarding the redgum fuelled paddlesteamer Emmylou. I discovered her while looking for a ride to pass me through one of the 13 navigation locks on the Murray: it would be useful to see how that works first-hand. The obvious pun in that snippet didn’t escape my attention, and drew something of a wry smile. Then I took a look at the promo video and was thoroughly taken aback. Surely this must be a parody!


Children’s drawing

As a child, my pencil and crayon drawings were very formulaic. I would typically start with a mountain range and then build a house at the base of it. The house would consist of a square and a rectangle beside each other, a triangle on top of the square, and a parallelogram on the rectangle. The square was where the door went, and two windows went in the rectangle. Around the house I would draw some trees, grass tufts and flowers. Then I would put some birds in the sky and finish it off with a ball of sun in the top right corner with nice straight rays of light pointing at the house.
 
With this memory in mind, and with my 47th birthday approaching next week, I have reconstructed one of my children’s drawings from a few items I found at hand. The result is a bit puzzling to mind, which insists on decoding the whole process and psychoanalyzing myself.
 
I figure I have either lost my childhood innocence, or I have regained my sense of youthful playfulness. Can both of those things exist together?
 

Children's Drawing

Children’s Drawing