Friday, September 25, 2009

Goodbye To Blogging

That’s All, Folks

Yes, blogging has been a great adventure. Yes, it was a thrill to get almost nine thousand page views in a single day. Yes, it was a great honour to be chosen as one of Google's Blogs Of Note.

Most of all, it was wonderful to be part of a vibrant, talented community.

But I’m going to be concentrating on my novels for a while. I'll still have a strong online presence and if you would like to keep an eye on my photographic essays, you can get twice-daily updates at my Red Bubble site.

Goodbye, good luck and God bless you all.

Standing Tall

High And Mighty, In The Last Hour Of Daylight

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

It was just one of those days when you never know what the light is going to do next. It had started out as a fairly cold morning, no more than a chilly four degrees before sunrise. Then daylight took the sting out of the wind and by the time I got to the river’s edge late that evening, it was positively balmy.

There was only about half an hour between the time I shot the first image in this series and the last. Strangely enough (no, it wasn’t planned) the very first and last shots were taken within a few metres of each other.

To start with, I noticed that the sun, about forty-five minutes away from the horizon, had thrown some interesting light over the Rialto, the second-tallest building in Melbourne. That’s when I shot the first of these images. Then I meandered around the area of Flinders Street and Federation Square for about half an hour, before making my way back towards where my car was parked.

The sun was long gone, but the mottled sky had a few flashes of silvery-gold. I could not resist the chance to switch the camera back on and take one last image for the day.

For other participants in Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch HQ.

If Music Be The Food Of Love .....

The Legend Of Zorro

Authorities at the Sea Life London Aquarium, which piped the music of Barry White into a tank to encourage two sharks to breed, say the tactic has paid off. Formerly shy shark Zorro has become a marine love machine, with staff warning guests about his frisky behaviour.

FOOTNOTE: Frisky business.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

Algernon Peters
Bought odor-eaters
He put them in his boots
And the pockets of his suits

Pomp And Splendour

A Taste Of History (Right Here On Our Streets)

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

It’s not often I get to photograph a door that is actually in rapid motion!

I was walking across Princes Bridge, looking across the river, just to ensure I wasn’t missing any great sights, when I heard the familiar rumble of an approaching tram. Normally I wouldn’t have given any form of public transport a second glance, but the unusually dark colour caught my eye.

I immediately realised it was a tram that was specially painted to advertise the Pompeii exhibition that has been extremely popular here in Melbourne for the past few months.

Taking a shot, you might think, was no big deal. But there was traffic on both sides, there were cyclists, there were skateboarders, there were pedestrians. And it seemed as if they had all descended on the scene at precisely the time I wanted to photograph the tram for The Doors meme.

For earlier posts in this series, check out The Doors Archive.

When In Rome .....

Some Charges Are Very Hard To Digest

The deputy mayor of Rome has offered an official apology to a Japanese man who was charged $1,200 (including a $200 service charge) for a meal at the famous Il Passetto restaurant in the Italian capital. The couple later turned down the offer of an all-expenses paid return trip to Rome from the Italian government.

FOOTNOTE: Check the check.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

Can an emu
Can an aardvark

J Is For Jerra Jerra

Don't Blink Or You'll Miss It, Mate

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

One of the joys of long interstate drives is having enough time on your hands to stop and shoot some images every times you see a sight that takes your fancy. Which, in my case, is fairly often. Oh, okay, make that VERY often.

In June this year I was driving through the lush Riverina, the picturesque farming area in New South Wales. Every time I cross the border from my home state, Victoria, I am surprised by how green it is in NSW, and this time was no exception. Even though it was early in the Australian winter, there had not been a lot of rain in Victoria, but across the state line, things were emerald green.

The first image was shot at the tiny Jerra Jerra Creek just outside the town of Culcairn, while I navigated my way to Wagga Wagga and then on to Temora. It was a good road, although there were some sweeping bends, so I had to make sure every time I stopped to take some shots that I was in clear view of traffic coming from either direction.

This abandoned building caught my attention, but because it was on a fairly straight stretch of road, I was able to pull over easily and shoot a couple of frames to emphasise its desolation and the sense of abandonment amid the green paddocks just off the highway.

For the home of ABC Wednesday, go to
Mrs Nesbitt's Place.

In The Slow Lane

He's Coming Out Of His Shell Now

A tortoise survived crossing five lanes of London's busy M25 motorway - and has been christened "Freeway". Driver John Formby spotted him and pulled over to rescue him. He said: "I thought it was a bit of debris. I went to swerve it but noticed it was moving - then saw it had a head."

FOOTNOTE: Head start.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

When his horse grew leaner
The judge named it "Subpoena"
Then he christened his porpoise
That's right, "Habeas corpus"

The Gift Of A Voice

That’s Not A Disability, That’s A Real Ability

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

I shot this about a week ago, on one of those interesting Melbourne days when you’re not quite sure what the weather is going to do next. Spring was not yet a week old, but the sky was patchy, blue in one area and moody grey in others.

When the sun shone unimpeded, the caress of its rays was balmy. But when the sun slid behind cloud cover, it seemed as if the temperature dived substantially. I was shooting some images across the river when I heard someone singing Simon and Garfunkel tunes.

I looked around, wondering where the sound was coming from. It took me a few seconds to work it out. Then I spotted them - there were two blokes positioned in a corner of the pedestrian footbridge that spans the Yarra River.

The guitarist was able-bodied. The vocalist accompanying him was in a wheelchair. Were they related? I don’t know. But they sure knew how to harmonise.

Visit the creative team behind That's My World Tuesday.

Starring Role

Will His New Name Fit On His Passport?

A movie-mad Norwegian bus driver has changed his name to Julius Andreas Gimli Arn MacGyver Chewbacca Highlander Elessar-Jankov. The Oslo man, formerly known as just Andreas Jankov, says it was the best way he could think of to pay tribute to his favourite screen heroes.

FOOTNOTE: Chew backer.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Post Of The Day

Today's winner is Aims with Floundering - Or Is That Foundering. The other top contenders were Terri Terri Quite Contrary with Church; Hilary with September Days; Quarter Life Crisis with Juggling Act; Mountain Mama with Gray Skies And Purple Flowers; Crystal Jigsaw with Alien Planet; Sandy Carlson with two posts: Fog and My Wild Friends; More Than An Electrician with Thanks Again, Ernie; In The Gutter with All This Post Needs Is Some Popcorn. Do pay them a visit and leave a comment if you have time.

You can nominate a post too. Just leave a comment here with the URL or link - and tell us the name of the blogger you are nominating. Righty-o, then, it's over to you ....

See my photography at Images Sans Frontiers and Red Bubble.

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

If you live near Wonthaggi
Your jeans won’t be baggy
But near Castlemaine
High heels are a pain

Say It With Flowers

Creativity Gets A Springtime Boost

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

So spring is well and truly here and three weeks after the end of winter, we've already had those warmer, longer days that inspire us to spend more time outdoors. The roses at Casa Authorblog will soon be in full bloom, although there have been isolated buds and blooms here and there.

But these images were shot with the permission of a Melbourne florist, just outside the shop, about ten days ago. Somehow, it seems just about everybody feels more creative as the bite of winter recedes. The displays seem bigger, more inventive and the colours seem more welcoming.

Maybe it's just my imagination. Or maybe there really is some truth to the theory that inspiration comes when surrounded by colour ....

Visit Luiz Santilli Jr for the home of Today's Flowers.

Weigh To Go

Your (Big) Bun Is In The Oven

The world's biggest burger has been unveiled in the US - weighing in at more than 13 stone (82 kilograms or 185 pounds). The owner of Mallie's Sports Grill and Bar in Michigan, Steve Mallie, said it took eight hours to bake the bun big enough to hold the burger.

FOOTNOTE: Burger meister.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

A cowboy by the name of William Scooter
Accidentally sat on the sheriff’s six-shooter
But had he sat on a cactus (like Kevin)
He too might have ascended into heaven

Shark-Infested Waters

It's The Fin Edge Of The Wedge

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Some "wildlife" shots are tame in comparison with others! So I have to admit that I did not go swimming with the sharks to take this shot. It's just part of a mural here in Melbourne. The nature of the artwork is marine life, as you can see below ....

And while it's the sort of artwork that evokes images of "Finding Nemo", I have to tell you quite categorically that there is nothing fishy about the quality of the images.

Lucky it's all decent quality, although I could not spot a signature on the huge mural. You're going to ask me what size it is, right? I'm thinking about three metres tall by five metres wide. And no, there were no damp squibs, although there were a few damp squids!

Check out the rules at Camera Critters or go to Misty Dawn.

The Sunday Roast

Many Things Blossom In This Word Garden

This week's interview is with Shay,
who writes the blog Word Garden.

Here's the first of the standard questions. Why do you blog?

I started the Word Garden simply as a place to post my poems in an attractive manner. I compose longhand, in notebooks, and the blog gave me a way to organize my work by using the labels. I never really expected to have many readers, and I don't, but the ones I have mean a great deal to me.

I started my second blog, Objets, D'Art, to give myself an outlet that is less formal than the poetry blog. I invented an alter-ego, Barbara, who is a materialistic, conniving, social-climbing, shallow nutcase. I adore her, and have great fun writing in character. Also, she can spout off about things that I never would.

What's the story behind your blog name?

Word Garden is pretty self-explanatory, I think, especially when taken with my screen name Fireblossom. Objets D'art denotes small treasures, and is also sort of pretentious sounding. On purpose.

What is the best thing about being a blogger?

The best thing is the friends I have made through my blogs. I never dreamt that I would make such significant connections with people because of blogging.

What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?

Blog for yourself. If you try to please everybody, you'll just drive yourself insane. It's YOUR blog. But having said that, I would add this: don't worry that no one will care about what you have to say. If it matters to you enough to write it down, chances are that there are plenty of people to whom your posts will be meaningful, too.

What is the most significant blog post you've ever read?

A November 2008 post by Kristin on her blog Jilli Java and the Garden of Eden, called Old Realities By The Minute. As a recovering alcoholic, sober 23 years as of this writing, I still need to remember how it was, and I often think of Kristin's post, because my story - and many people's stories - are so similar, and Kristin's post paints it so well.

What is the most significant blog post you've ever written?

I would have to say it is my poem Valentina, which is my favorite from among my own poems. I had recently watched a movie called "Hable Con Ella" or "Talk To Her", which got me thinking (more than usual, I mean!) about the nature of love and its transformative power. And how it is often messy and hard to define, especially to anyone outside looking in. I also wanted to write about a woman finding her power through an erotic connection.

Today's Sunday Roast with Shay is the 84th in a weekly series of interviews with bloggers from around the world.

Smooth Criminals

Testing Time For Mob Underlings

Gangsters in Japan are being sent back to school by their godfathers. Under new laws, mob bosses can be sued for the misdeeds of their underlings – who must now pass a 12-page test paper which questions them on a range of banned activities, from bootlegging fuel to dumping industrial waste.

FOOTNOTE: Crime and punishment.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

An electrician named Errol
Put the whole town in peril
When he lost a lot of money on the colts
And stopped concentrating on the volts

Is It Up, Or Is It Down?

Do Not Adjust Your Screen

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

This week’s theme really got me thinking, because there aren’t really a lot of shots I’ve taken that would meet the criterion. I was starting to wonder how best to depict this – and then I remembered a couple of shots I took about eight weeks ago.

I just happened to be coming down the stairs from Southbank to the Langham Hotel here in Melbourne, when I noticed a Mercedes-Benz parked in just the right spot. Not only was it in great light and in a position where I could shoot it from above, but its hood also had a clearly discernible reflection of one of Melbourne’s most recent and most recognisable landmarks – the mammoth Eureka Building, which opened in 2006.

I took the first shot exactly where I stood and then I realised that if I moved slightly to my left, I would be able to shoot a segmented image. By this I mean the reflection of Eureka would occupy the left-hand side of the car’s hood, while the right-hand side would be absolutely clear of anything at all.

Now I can also explain why I was so lucky that the car was a Merc. The distinctive three-pointed star is a perfect point of reference. Not only does it divide the image into two clear segments, but it is one of the easiest corporate symbols to identify.

Visit TNChick's Photo Hunt. Today's theme: "Upside down''.

They Really Value Their Neighbours

Gotta Make It Worth Their While

The residents of Grand Avenue, Surrey, have earned the reputation as England's nosiest neighbours. Property price comparison site found that home-owners on the street were more likely than anyone else to check out the value of their neighbours' homes.

FOOTNOTE: Hot property.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

Professor Turner
Lit the bunsen burner
But the angle of his pose
Meant that he singed his nose

Standing Tall

The Grace Of Architectural Contrasts

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

These two minarets stand proud and tall atop the old Forum Theatre. I shot this on Wednesday evening, as the clouds started to build up at dusk.

I had my long lens on, so I could have framed a tighter shot, but I wanted to include a contrast in styles and shapes. The spire in the distance is part of St Paul’s Cathedral.

St Paul's had a recent facelift, but the Forum, which is such a part of Melbourne's heritage and history, is suddenly starting (from the outside, at least) to look its age. Maybe there is a refurbishment plan around the corner ....

Visit MamaGeek and Cecily, creators of Photo Story Friday.

Tower Power

Just Keep Working Those Angles

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

I shot these images early two weeks ago, in the city. There was a smattering of light cloud across a clear blue sky and even though it was only the fourth day of the Australian spring, the caress of the morning sun brought unaccustomed warmth.

I just happened to look up to gauge the cloud cover and this view just stopped me in my tracks. It might not have been the most arresting skyscape in terms of colour, but as far as perspective went, it was pretty special.

The silhouettes worked in my favour and the unmistakable lines of a couple of cranes on building site nearby just gave me a bit of extra reference. And just in case you were wondering, these are two separate buildings, on opposite sides of a street!

For other participants in Dot’s concept, go to Sky Watch HQ.

Big Bucks

At Least He's Got A Woof Over His Head

A Tibetan mastiff with the catchy name of Yangtze River Number Two has reportedly been sold in Shaanxi, China, for around £350,000, making it the most expensive dog ever. The previous record of £90,000 was paid in Florida for - a cloned version of a much-loved but deceased labrador.

FOOTNOTE: Collared.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

You should never feed gumbo
To a ruminating jumbo
And you mustn't serve tzatziki
To a horse that's looking peaky

Streets Ahead

A Mud Hut In The Middle Of A City Thoroughfare

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

This was shot in Calcutta, India, in October 2006. It might look like a mud hut in the middle of a city street, but allow me to explain.

This was shot during the Pujas, the period of Hindu festivities that is a long celebration of colour and light. This is actually a re-creation of an Adivasi village hut and was merely erected as a temporary attraction in south Calcutta.

By shooting from this vantage point, I was able to shoot through the hut, proving a view of the street on the other side. The two figures in the first image are clay renderings - but if you look through the open doorway on the far side of the second image (below) you actually see real people in the distance.

For earlier posts in this series, check out The Doors Archive.

Officer, Look At This Dead Fish

Maybe It Was A Red Herring

Darwin police officers say a Northern Territory man they caught drink-driving tried to give officers a dead fish. The duty superintendent said: "I'm told it was a saratoga, not a very good one either, only about 30 centimetres long apparently".

FOOTNOTE: Hook, line and blinker.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Post Of The Day

Today's winner is Gaston Studio with From Within: The Book. The other top contenders were Jan with Yes, It’s Personal; Following His Lead with The Visitor; Laurie’s Spot with Minimum Use 25 Cents; Shrinky with In Search Of Silence; Les Becker with The Burglar Song; Techno Babe with The Day The Ducks Were All In A Row; Leslie with Exploring The Sunshine Coast and Lori with Sleepless In Minnesota. Do pay them a visit and leave a comment if you have time.

You can nominate a post too. Just leave a comment here with the URL or link - and tell us the name of the blogger you are nominating. Righty-o, then, it's over to you ....

See my photography at Images Sans Frontiers and Red Bubble.

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

If Wee Willie Winkie
Is running through the town
And you’re not tired or blinky
You’ll really make him frown

I Is For Idiom

Mend Your Fences Before You Go To Woop Woop

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

My parents grew up in a generation that learnt Latin and French, which in turn had tremendous benefits for my older brothers and for me. Why? Because we imbibed an understanding of the subtle nuances of the English language and how strongly influenced it is by European borrowings.

I think I inherited my love of language from my mother, who used to read to me long before I learnt how to form words in my own mind. I soaked up language and the way it was used and as I grew, I came to understand and appreciate the history behind common idioms.

But I was a callow youth in my early twenties when I travelled to Australia for the first time, covering a cricket tour in a land that I would one day choose to live in as a young newly-married migrant.

On that first visit to the country I would one day call home, I was already conversant with many of typically Australian phrases, simply because I had read o much Australian literature as a child, in particular the wonderful novels by the English-born Nevil Shute, who came to live in Melbourne and who wrote of this country in such simple yet evocative terms.

I knew that "dunny" was a toilet. I knew that a "ute" was a utility vehicle. I knew that "bastard" was almost regarded as a term of endearment among blokes.

But I learnt one great Australianism in Sydney, during the first week of that trip.

On the way to visit someone, I was told by a local resident who was driving me there that the person lived in "Woop Woop". I digested that information solemnly.

Much later (after I had returned from the visit) my aunt, who lived in Sydney, asked me how my day had panned out. I told her it had been a busy one and as I sat down to a great home-cooked meal, I began to enumerate all the tasks I had carried out, including a two-hour round trip to visit the person earlier that day.

"Where does he live?" inquired my aunt.

"Some suburb called Woop Woop," I answered.

I thought my aunt was going to suffer an asthma attack, because she was laughing so hard. When she had recovered her composure, she explained the reality to me.

Woop Woop isn’t a suburb. It’s just a fictional reference to any place that is far away or hard to reach.

For the home of ABC Wednesday, go to
Mrs Nesbitt's Place.

Olfactory Worker

A Nose By Any Other Name

A master cheese-grader in Britain has insured his nose for £5 million with Lloyds of London. Nigel Pooley, 63, selects more than 12,000 tonnes of cheddar every year with his expert sense of smell. He said: "I'm like a piece of machinery, I'm included as an individual piece."

FOOTNOTE: Grade expectations.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

Said Samson to Delilah
"I think you need a styler"
So while he slumbered, his days were numbered
With his shaven head, he was encumbered

Frosty, Is That Really You?

You've Grown Into Such A Well-Rounded Character

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

About ten days ago, I was walking down Elizabeth Street in the city, when I thought I saw a snowman. So I stopped. Blinked. Rubbed my eyes. Looked again. It was still there. And yes, it was most definitely a snowman.

But of course it wasn't real. It wasn't made out of genuine snow. I thought about crossing the street to get a closer look, and then I figured I'd be able to depict it more accurately from where I stood, several metres away on the opposite pavement.

So I shot a couple of frames from where I stood, with the late-afternoon sunlight angled across the board near Frosty's arms. With my zoom lens, I could pick out the words "Snow Report" on the whiteboard, along with the date, Friday 4 September.

And yes, it was more fun taking photographs than being on the ski slopes.

Visit the creative team behind That's My World Tuesday.

I Think I’m Falling For You

Just Don’t Drop The Ring, Honey

A US woman fell off a cliff after her boyfriend proposed to her while hiking along Maryland’s rugged Billy Goat Trail. After she was rescued by helicopter, an official of the Montgomery County fire department quipped that it must have been "a heck of a proposal".

FOOTNOTE: Cliff hanger.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Post Of The Day

Today's winner is Moments From Suburbia with The Phone Call, Part 3. The other top contenders were Mud In The City with Wedding Capers; Joanna Jenkins with The Pool Is Closed; Dr Galubrious And Daughters with Pin Hole; Millennium Housewife with Things I Have Said Today; Nappy Valley Girl with Dodge-y Dealings; Monkey Girl with Why I'm On My Twelfth Remote Control; Quarter Life Crisis with What It Feels Like To Keep A Blog. Do pay them a visit and leave a comment if you have time.

You can nominate a post too. Just leave a comment here with the URL or link - and tell us the name of the blogger you are nominating. Righty-o, then, it's over to you ....

See my photography at Images Sans Frontiers and Red Bubble.

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

He coveted a tux
Without paying big bucks
So he bought Hugo Boss
And claimed a tax loss

Say It With Flowers

A Mix Of Styles Says So Much About Life Itself

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

It’s always interesting to see how professional florists put together an arrangement. This beautiful bouquet, placed in a square display for a table, has an interesting variety of colours and textures that complement each other.

The square box is light pastel pink, which is perfectly echoed by the silken wax paper that encases it, separating it from the actual blooms. At the bottom of he box and concealed from sight, is a small bowl holding water and some magical long-life mixture.

The roses were photographed on the third day and they have slowly emerged from bud form into tightly furled blooms, with their colour a great match for the rest of the pink hues below.

The mix of white-based blossoms at the base of the decoration are an interesting mix of shapes and sizes, including what appear to be azaleas or something related to the rhododendron family, with dark transverse stripes across their light, curved petals.

There is a combination of leaves as well, in terms of shape and reflectivity. The larger leaves are from the rose stems, while the tapering, darker leaves are from a camellia.

It’s an interesting metaphor for life, don’t you think? Not every aspect must be strictly complementary - and sometimes unexpected variety can actually create a harmonious overall effect.

Visit Luiz Santilli Jr for the home of Today's Flowers.

Jurassic Hark

Yes, You Can Take Home A Dinosaur

The skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus Rex is expected to sell for a staggering £4.8 million when it is auctioned next month. The 66-million-year-old female dinosaur, nicknamed Samson, is 15 feet tall, 40 feet long and is one of the largest ever discovered.

FOOTNOTE: The bone collector.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

The mayor’s daughter Betty
Went to the Serengeti
There she dined on wildebeeste
Cooked in butter with a spoon of yeast

Eye Eye, Sir

This Was The Mane Event

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

I've shot elephants at close quarters before, during a 1998 trip to Bali, Indonesia - but I've never used a camera in close proximity to horses until recently.

A couple of weeks ago, I was shooting images of a couple of horses in a Melbourne paddock near Churchill National Park, gradually working my way closer since they were not familiar with me.

The thing I was really worried about was that, if I got too close, the sound of the camera might scare them. But it’s hard work trying to shoot close-ups of horses, especially as these two were restless because of the presence of a stranger.

Most of the images I shot were side-on, but this horse suddenly gave me a full-frontal view for a couple of seconds. Grateful for the unusual viewpoint, I composed the shot as quickly as I could, looking down onto the bulge of both eyeballs.

Check out the rules at Camera Critters or go to Misty Dawn.

The Sunday Roast

Over The Hill? Never Say That About Sylvia ...

This week's interview is with Sylvia K,
who writes the blog Sylvia From Over the Hill.

Here's the first of the standard questions. Why do you blog?

Two years ago my son in Seattle decided I needed a keeper -- well, not really, but he travels a great deal, has a dog, is not married and the economy was headed downhill and he felt we could both benefit from my moving to Seattle and into his house. He provided a lovely space for me, but it was a difficult change for someone who had always been outrageously independent.

That first year was very difficult for me and when I visited a friend in Portland, Oregon, she gave me an article about blogging and suggested it would be a way for me to, not only occupy me, but would give me a reason to go back to writing -- something I had done for much of my life.

I played with it at first, but very quickly got deeply involved in not only writing again, but taking up photography -- something I'd never done before. Blogging has brought so much pleasure into my life, so many wonderful people and opportunities, that I can no longer imagine not doing it.

What's the story behind your blog name?

One of the first things that people seem to refer to as they complain about aging is that you're "over the hill" and it always had a negative conotation. But it seemed to me that the further over the hill I got, the more things seemed to make sense to me, the more beauty I was able to see, the more joy I discovered.

My original blog was "The View from Over the Hill", but between computer and Google problems, I lost access to the blog and had to start over. I didn't want to change the original message so I just rearranged the words to, "Sylvia From Over the Hill".

What is the best thing about being a blogger?

The best thing about being a blogger is the many wonderful people you meet, make contact with, the chance to exchange ideas. It also gives you the opportunity to join with others in the various memes and those have been one of the most fun things of all for me. It is those memes that got me to experimenting with photography and while I still have soooo much to learn, it has given me an opportunity to express myself in ways other than just writing.

And the friends I have made, the feelings of love and friendship with and for people that I would never have met without blogging has made it one of the best things I have ever done.

What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?

Don't be afraid to try new things. Don't be afraid to express yourself. Look for those memes that tweak your interest and get involved. Visit other people's blogs, read what they have to say, leave comments. These things lead people to your blog and the interchange begins and once it does, the fun never stops -- nor does the learning and the wonderful experiences that come with the interaction.

What is the most significant blog post you've ever read?

Now, that is a difficult one because I have read so many that spoke to me, that offered me a new way to look at something, that informed me about other countries, cultures, people. Some just offer incredible beauty through photography. But I guess one of the first blogs that I read early on that made a deep impression on me was Octogenarian. His blog is still one of my favorites, he always has something meaningful, educational, wise and historical to say. I can't give the name of just one post because they have all been so significant to me.

What is the most significant blog post you've ever written?

Another hard question! But I think perhaps when I began posting a series of mine called, "Looking Back", just as a way looking at my own life over the years, the one post that I feel was most significant was entitled "Looking Back - A Personal Look at Color", which told the story of my marriage to an African American, in the 1960s, in Texas -- where inter-racial marriage was still against the law.

Today's Sunday Roast with Sylvia is the 83rd in a weekly series of interviews with bloggers from around the world.