Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Post Of The Day

Today's joint winners are Dances With God with Pastor's Mirror and Heartbeats Of Faith with She Called On Jesus, Mary AND Joseph ..... The other top contenders were Dishing With Debbie with Squeezed; Southern Drawl with Days Of Wine And Roses; Hilary with Along The Way; Pheromone Girl with Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction; Sandi McBride with Where I've Been And What I've Been Doing; Call Bells Make me Nervous with Don't Mess With The Choos and James with Polish Rainbows In Newtown. 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

Back in the days when he trained as a swimmer
Cornelius Jones could not have been slimmer
Now he’s hampered by the size of his belly
He says it’s because he watches too much telly

Ageless Art

A City's Tribute To Unsung Artisans

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Last week I was walking towards Bourke Street when I decided to walk under the portico of the Melbourne Town Hall - always a visual treat by itself.

There are two of these huge arches with their distinctive colonial-era wrought iron work on either end. Because I was walking towards the business district, one of the high archways gave me a view of the upper facade of the Town Hall, while the other (the one I've photographed here) looked skywards.

As I shot the image, I wondered about the craftsman or the team of craftsmen who created this beautifully symmetrical piece of art. Did they first sketch the pattern on paper and then modify it until it had met everyone's approval, before starting what would have been a painstaking, laborious process to recreate it in metal?

It would be difficult enough to create something this ornate on paper, let alone to try and forge each individual element in metal and then weld each segment together. It is almost heresy for someone in the twenty-first century to walk past and capture it with a single press of a camera shutter.

But it's also a way of honouring their art - and sharing it with a wider audience.

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

Time And Tide Bait For No Man

Hook, Line And Sinker

A Chinese farmer dug a 50-foot hole inside his house to go fishing. The man hired 30 villagers, who took six months to dig the hole- because he wanted to reach an underground river which he suspected was full of fish.

FOOTNOTE: Gone fishing.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Post Of The Day

Today's joint winners are Fat, Frumpy And Fifty with Only Yesterday; Woman In A Window with One Day Tomorrow Will Come and Problems With Pirates with Memories, Vol.1. The other top contenders were Madame de Farge With Fingers Ain't Washed - They Used To Be; Eddie Bluelights with Happy Father's Day; Moannie With Lest We Forget; In The Gutter with Just When I'm Berating Myself; San Merideth with Recovering From Vacation; A Woman Of No Importance with Love Looks Something Like You; Kym with Ode To A Five-Year-Old; Dreams Of Quill And Ink with Wrong Side Of The Stars; Mushy with Sisters, Brothers, Ribs And Catfish; Willow with Pier To Pier. 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 ever happen to meet
Mister Control-Alt-Delete
Just tell him your computer
Comes with an online tutor

Mellow Yellow

The Adventures Of Peter Pansy

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Yes, it’s winter here in Melbourne, Yes, there have been mornings when I’ve had thick ice on my car. Yes, there have been heavy frosts. Yes, my rose bushes needed to be pruned.

But despite the visible signs of winter everywhere, there are still pockets of colour all round the city. We have terracotta planting boxes of all shapes and sizes that are blooming in a very healthy fashion. How so, you might ask? Because they are cunningly placed under a verandah, so they are shielded from the frost.

And we’re not the only ones who enjoy a splash of colour – these pansies were a riot of colour a few days ago on the Crown promenade beside the river. Victoria used to be known as The Garden State a couple of decades ago – for good reason.

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

While You Were Sleeping

Was I Dreaming, Or Is This Caravan Moving?

Thieves fled empty handed after stealing a caravan in Sweden - while the owner was fast asleep inside. The holidaymaker woke up to find himself being towed away in his mobile home, but began screaming so loudly that the thieves abandoned their car and fled on foot.

FOOTNOTE: Full dozer.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

I went to school with Molly Cule
She tinkered around with rocket fuel
She wanted to command a mission through the heavens
Lightyears before Apollo Eleven’s

Dog Tired

Thereby Hangs A Tail

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Some weeks ago we were at a friend's place when their two dogs took a break, away from the noise and hubbub of a large gathering. They were indoors, but I had to get the camera out to shoot a scene of utter togetherness and tranquillity.

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

The Sunday Roast

Espousing The Cause Of The "Heard" Mentality

This week's interview is with Mojo,
who writes the blog Why? What Have You Heard?.

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

Well I originally started this blog to meet chicks, but then it got all serious. No, I'm kidding of course. I suppose I have the same reasons as anyone. Blogging offers a platform that's uniquely mine. No editors, no publishers, no advertisers, no board of directors or shareholders to satisfy, just me. More to the point, I never get rejection notices from myself (I'm good that way).

What's the story behind your blog name?

"I Could Tell You But Then I'd Have To Kill You" wouldn't fit on a t-shirt, so I opted for my second favorite all-purpose response to any question: "Why? What Have You Heard?". There really isn't a story behind it, it's just something I say. Not very exciting I suppose, but you'd be amazed at the number of people who leave comments saying they love it. Well, I'm amazed anyway.

What is the best thing about being a blogger?

I'm almost tempted to copy and paste my answer to #1, but that would be cheating wouldn't it? And while it would be true, it wouldn't be the whole truth. This platform gives a voice to people who might not otherwise have one. When you write for a publication, you're always going to have to compromise.

There will always be the disclaimer that "the opinions expressed here may or may not reflect the views of management, etc". When you're writing for your own blog though, all of that is stripped away. You're the management, you're the editor, you're the publisher and the opinions expressed damned well do reflect those of the "bosses". At the end of the day, the only person who has to be satisfied with my content is me. Of course, it's helpful if my readers enjoy it too, otherwise I'm talking to myself in the biggest empty room in the known universe.

What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?

Lesson the First: I can sum up my best advice in two words: "Be. Genuine." Because if you're not, it will show and you'll find yourself talking to yourself in the biggest empty room in the known universe. (See how I tied that together? Neat, huh?) Find a direction that's important to you. If you do that successfully, you won't care if you're read by 10 or 10,000. And in the beginning don't be surprised if you look at your Sitemeter reports and find out that both of the people who read your post today were you at work and you at home. Chances are -- unless you're an ace at self promotion -- you're going to start out that way.

Lesson the Second: Find other bloggers who share your interest and focus. Visit them, read them, leave comments for them. Visit their regular readers -- chances are you have the same things in common. Find your segment of the blogging community and make yourself at home. Even if you're in a niche that's made up solely of left-handed, vegan practitioners of Santeria there are others out here that share your interests. There are roughly 70 million blogs online, with new ones being launched every day. Believe me, in that number there are at least a few left-handed, vegan Santeros to share your stories with.

Lesson the Third: Resist the temptation to pen a Great Epic in every post. First of all because you'll find yourself not posting because it's just too much like work. But more important, you'll find you're not getting read because... well because people don't read Great Epics. If you really have that much to say, break it up into blog-sized chunks and publish it as a series. Five hundred words is good, 700 is pushing it. Three hundred is probably better still.

Remember, the people who are reading you are also visiting 10, 20, 50 others today and if you put a 3000 word article in front of them, they'll say "I'll come back when I have the time to read this". Which will probably be "never". Because tomorrow will bring another 10-, 20-, 50-visit tour of Blogaritaville. (Of course, that rule goes out the window when you're answering questions in an interview. *wink*)

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

This is a tough one, because I've read some very powerful posts. In fact, I read at least two significant posts every single week at the blog Violence UnSilenced. Because there's not one single post on that blog that isn't significant. I'd nominate that whole blog for "Most Significant" and I'd be in good company. But since you asked for a post, not a blog, I'll have to go with the first time I heard the title of it on Maggie's (the author's) other blog, Okay Fine Dammit. Because it was that post that cemented my own commitment to support her efforts. But I can't do it the justice it deserves, so I'll ask you (and you, and you too) to see for yourself. That's not to say I haven't read significant posts on blogs that weren't related to either of these. I have. But this one affected me enough to get me moving, to do something. Pretty significant hai na?

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

This should be a slam dunk, because I don't write all that much, and even less that would be called "significant" by most. Especially when the authors I mentioned in #5 have set the bar so high. But out of the nine hundred and change that I've either published or scheduled to date, I can think of two posts that had a direct, measurable and positive impact on some person or group.

The first was my contribution to Mimi Lenox's BlogBlast for Peace last November. No, if it had brought about world peace I'd think we'd have heard. That kind of thing usually makes it into the news somewhere between the winning lottery numbers and the latest Wall Street scandal. (At least unless Sarah Jessica Parker has a wardrobe malfunction at the MTV Movie Awards or something.) But it did have a big impact on some people very close to me as a side effect. Wasn't a bad piece in its own right either.

The second one I didn't actually "write", although I did "storyboard" it. Just as Violence UnSilenced launched, I was working on a promotional YouTube video for it. The day after VU went live, I published it with an apology to my readers whose comments had been largely ignored with the explanation I'm Not Ignoring You, Really I'm Not... But I've been busy working on this. The video took off and has apparently been turning up on blogs and FaceSpace pages all over cyberspace. Who knew?

And now, since I'm already at better than double the recommended word count from my newbie lessons, I think it's a good time to practice what I like to call "The Art of Shutting Up".

Today's Sunday Roast with Mojo is the 73rd in a weekly series of interviews with bloggers from around the world.

Quick March

What About Army Intelligence?

An illegal immigrant from Afghanistan was found inside Britain’s prestigious Sandhurst military academy - after stowing away on an army coach. The coach was carrying a number of officers and other personnel but was driven by a civilian contractor.

FOOTNOTE: Changing of the guard.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

Said Tinkerbell to Captain Hook
"I think your pirate ship needs a cook,
Your roast is vile, your chicken’s like leather
You’ knock MasterChef down with a feather."

Flag Day

Fancy A Flutter, Mate?

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

There’s nothing like a crisp blue winter sky if you want to shoot flags fluttering in a strong breeze. Actually, we are a few days past the winter solstice here in Melbourne and the days are (imperceptibly) getting longer, with an extra minute of daylight every evening – but this shot was taken about four weeks ago, in late May, the last week of autumn.

I was walking up Bourke Street when I noticed this cluster of flags near a visitor information booth. I was about to shoot them front-on against the façade of a building when I realised there was a better shot if I kept walking and turned round in the other direction.

That way, I was facing a clear blue sky, the perfect foil for these long rectangular flags. Also, by shooting from this angle, the actual lettering on the flags is the wrong way around – so it’s kind of irresistible to try and sit there for a couple of extra moments and work out what the message is.

Just for the record, the flags were advertising last month's "Melbourne Italian Festival".

Visit TNChick's Photo Hunt. Today's theme: "Flags''.

Bubble, Bubble, Toil And Trouble

Trick Or Street

Members of a witches' coven in Britain are claiming religious persecution after they were banned from using a social centre for a Halloween gathering later this year. The Crystal Cauldron group had booked a club for their annual Witches Ball, but were later told it had been blocked by the Roman Catholic church.

FOOTNOTE: Impossible to spell.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Empty Vessels Make The Least Sound

Only The Lapping Of The Early-Morning Tide

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

This shot was taken early in the morning in Langkawi, the tropical Malaysian island, during our holiday there last July. One of the Authorbloglets and I went exploring this settlement, about a fifteen-minute walk from the Sheraton. There was not much traffic on the road and the dew was still heavy on the grass, yet the temperature was already very sultry and the humidity was high as well.

We spent a few minutes photographing the brightly coloured local homes and then wandered down this waterway, a little canal that was just off the main road. I was about half an hour too late for true, soft dawn light, but also about half an hour too early for strong daylight.

Nevertheless, it was still an experience to get some shots of these fishing boats and then to stand there and watch as the first fishermen refuelled their vessels, started up and then expertly navigated their way down the canal, past the other moored boats and out towards the open sea.

Visit MamaGeek and Cecily, creators of Photo Story Friday.

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

George, George, George of the jungle
Never heard Simon and Garfunkel
But the tune he whistled in the humid air
Was "Are You Going To Scarborough Fair"

Making The Sign Of The Cross

Don’t Be Fooled By The Blue Sky – It’s Winter

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

It’s funny how light renders familiar objects in different guises. I’ve walked (and driven) past St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral here in the city hundreds of times, and I’ve shot its façade and spires at night, at dusk, at dawn, in twilight and in bright sun. But sometimes even the most common sights are cloaked in something special – and you just have to stop and admire them.

I shot this on Wednesday, during my lunch break. Despite the fact that it is winter here in Australia, it was not one of those freezing cold days where the wind forces you to button your jacket and hunch your shoulders against the elements. No, nothing like that.

The clear sky meant it was not an unfriendly temperature. There was a fair bit of cloud cover, but the outdoor cafes were doing a roaring trade in the sunlight. There were even isolated patches of brilliant blue sky. As I walked towards Flinders Street, I looked up and noticed this wonderful contrast of colours.

This cross is atop the high steeple of the cathedral but luckily I had my long lens with me, so I was able to stand back on the footpath and compose a really tight shot.

One of the interesting things about the cathedral is that it was constructed from sandstone brought in from neighbouring New South Wales. The soft colours of the stone and the clarity of the brickwork gave me a beautiful contrast to capture against the striking blue.

Remember, this cross is at the very pinnacle of the spire, so I had to lean back a long, long way to get this angle. Which explains why I’ve been walking around like Quasimodo for the past few days. But I’ve got a hunch it won’t last long!

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

Higher, Faster, Stronger

Could He Be The Next Sprints Of Wales?

A young sprinter could be on the verge of Britain's Olympic team - after he was spotted running for a bus. Jeffrey Lawal Balogun, 23, was noticed by a coach from a local track and field club who happened to be walking by. Balogun said: "I never thought running after a bus would lead to all this. And the funny thing is, I missed it."

FOOTNOTE: Running late.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

You won’t see Farmer Quist
In thunder, rain or mist
And when his sheep are mustered
He never gets too flustered

Station Airy

Get On The Straight And Arrow

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

You simply have to have your camera with you at all time, right? And sometimes the most ordinary sights can compel you to lift your camera and shoot, right? And there’s no such thing as a boring image, right?

The first shot was taken at Flinders Street Station in May this year. And as I hit the shutter it reminded me of a similar sight I had shot during a very rushed afternoon at an MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) station in Singapore in mid-December 2007.

Life isn’t all about following the arrows, you know. It’s also about finding some breathing space, which in turn spawns creativity. These creative impulses are everywhere. But it’s up to us to pause and recognise them.

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

Full-Blown Crisis

Shepherd’s Baaaaad Karma

An accident-prone shepherd in Croatia had to be rescued after he followed his flock into a live minefield in Croatia. Hapless Philimon Zandamela said: "I was walking along and I saw lots of strange bumps in the ground and suddenly realised where I was. Luckily I had a mobile phone with me and could call the emergency services for help."

FOOTNOTE: Explosive revelation.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Post Of The Day

Today's joint winners are Katherine with Fathers and Fireblossom with Letter To Myself. The other top contenders were iMac with I Was There; Pinkerbell with In An Anthology; Rune with Bench Of The Week; Wiggers World with Buttercups And Holly; Mrs Nesbitt with Odd Shot Or What; Merisi with Against The Dearth Of Monday Poems. 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

A team of boffins from Mudgee
Are trying to sell a cloned budgie
They each want a million to keep
Since the bird (they say) isn’t "cheep"

W Is For Warbirds

My Encounter With A World War II Spitfire

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Okay, time for a 100 per cent honesty test here. Ready? It’s a simple test, comprising only one question .... Would you drive 1200 kilometres (that’s about 750 miles) to photograph an inanimate object?

I did, about a fortnight ago. I drove all the way to Temora, an Outback town in New South Wales, to photograph something I’d never seen before. If the photograph above has you completely foxed, let me explain. I drove all the way up there to photograph two World War II-era Spitfires at the Temora Aviation Museum.

I discovered the museum quite by chance, and couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that it housed the only two airworthy Spitfires in the country. Spitfires, if you haven’t heard of them, are probably the most iconic fighter aircraft of any era. And this was especially significant for me, because the Spitfire is an integral part of my third novel, "The Jadu Master".

When I rang the museum, the manager, Lisa Love, was generous with her time. More importantly, she was equally generous with her permission. When I explained that driving all that way would be the equivalent of a pilgrimage for me, she didn’t laugh. She understood.

The original reflector gunsight above the instrument panel

Yes, she said, they had two Spitfires, a Mark VIII and a Mark XVI. Yes, they both flew. Yes, I could drive down and take photographs whenever I wanted.

The next flying weekend at the museum was scheduled for 6-7 June, which as you’d know, was the weekend of the 65th anniversary of the 1944 D-Day landings in Normandy.

I drove to Temora on the Friday and Lisa greeted me warmly before handing me over to Andy Bishop, who took me into the display hangar where the Mark VIII was housed. What sort of images did I want to shoot, he asked.

I explained, tentatively, lest he question my sanity, that I wanted to capture the rarest view of a Spitfire. I wanted to shoot the classic aircraft as a combatant would have seen it - head on, at the closest possible quarters.

But Spitifres, unlike modern fighters, are configured with small tail wheels so that the huge propellers on the nose cone sit majestically high above the ground. The topmost tip of a Spitfire’s propeller sits more than four metres (twelve feet) off the ground. In order to achieve my photo, I wondered if the museum would provide a high ladder for me to stand on, so I could literally train my lens down the long, streamlined engine cowling.

Taken while standing up in the cockpit, looking down

No problem, said Andy. A ladder appeared. Praying that I would not slip, stumble or drop my camera, I climbed the metal rungs and found myself staring down the slender shape of Reginald Mitchell’s legacy to aviation design. Those are the two photographs you see at the very top of this post.

For the next hour, Andy and I spoke, exchanged nuggets of information, and absorbed each other’s passion for aviation history.

So how exactly did I find out about Temora? It's an interesting story. I had never heard of the town until a couple of months ago. Thinking it was a place in New Zealand, I decided to Google it and was surprised when it came up as being in New South Wales. One of the top search results brought up the words Temora Aviation Museum and, curious as to why a little bush town would have an aviation museum, I clicked on the link immediately.

A couple of minutes later I was sitting there, rubbing my eyes in disbelief. I picked up the phone and that was the start of my first conversation with museum manager, Lisa Love, who could not have been more helpful or more welcoming.

At one stage she even asked if the lighting in the hangar would be sufficient and I replied, not entirely in jest, that even if the plane were lit by a couple of church candles, that would be sufficient for someone like me, who had never actually set eyes on a Spitfire before.

For me, finding not one but two Spitfires, both in flying condition, was akin to striking gold in my back yard. As I said, the aircraft plays a prominent part in my third novel, "The Jadu Master", which I will soon be editing and submitting to my publishers. Yes, I have done painstaking research on the fighter, often spending months in a frustrating search to unearth, check and reliably confirm the smallest detail of information that is necessary to build an accurate description of how the plane flew and how it behaved in combat.

A rare shot taken inside the cockpit with the canopy closed.

Invariably, I had to delve into the writings of World War II airmen who flew the plane, or the technical descriptions of teams that have recently rebuilt or repaired some versions. I had to rely on old black-and-white photographs to calculate measurements and describe certain parts.

Now, for the first time, I actually had access to a real Spitfire - a bonus I had never expected. By driving to Temora I would be able to ascertain whether my own descriptions were accurate.

Let me put it this way. If I asked you to describe in detailed prose exactly how you get into your car each day and the precise steps you take before you drive off in it, you would be able to do it fairly easily. But if I asked you to describe how you would do the same thing in a rare 60-year-old vehicle, you simply wouldn't know where to start.

Experience, as always, is the key to description.

After I had taken the first few images in the hangar with a reverence that is hard to imagine, Andy Bishop asked me if I wanted to step up onto the plane's wing. This, too, was a process I had written about in the novel - but now I was able to actually do it myself. Now I knew I would be able to corroborate every single facet of the plane that I had written about.

The original instrument panel, with spade-style grip and gun button.

Casually, he asked me if I wanted to get into the cockpit. After I made sure I wasn't dreaming, I grinned when he told me how to lower myself into the leather seat. Why? Because, thanks to my earlier research, I knew about the angles and measurements and had constructed a mental procedure of exactly how pilots found their way from the wing, through the hatch and into the cockpit.

So yes, I found my own way into the original leather seat and I breathed deeply of the wonderful aroma. As I had conjured up in my head while writing the book, it was a meld of leather, metal and fuel - and that's exactly what I encountered.

Having taught myself the layout of the cockpit in the early days of writing the novel, I now found myself actually staring at the same reflective gunsight, the same instrument panel, the same sweep of contoured canopy, the same slab of bullet-proof glass in front of my head, the rounded rear-view mirror above me, the spade-style grip. It was all so hauntingly familiar - yet, in a strange, inexplicable way, it was a first-time experience.

Andy asked me if I was claustrophobic and I said I wasn't. He announced that he was going to pull the bubble-shaped canopy closed over my head and I could scarcely believe my luck. Just before he did so, he asked if I wanted him to take some shots of me in the cockpit. Gladly, I handed my camera over. It's not every day a 21st century novelist gets a photo opportunity like this.

Will I now have to re-write parts of my novel, based on my encounter with the Temora Spitfires? No, I won't have to re-write anything. But I can now add a little detail and perspective, based on a very rare experience. And I can now submit the manuscript to Penguin, my publishers, knowing I can also tick off the one remaining box in my checklist. It's the one that says ''integrity of description".

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

Man Of Steel

Maybe He’s The Welding Planner

Police who solved a spate of mystery burglaries in China were shocked to find the culprit was biting his way through steel window bars. The man who confessed to the break-ins told police could chew open any steel bars up to 1cm in thickness, by prising open welding spots with his teeth.

FOOTNOTE: Chew-chew training.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Today's joint winners are Sandy Carlson with One Single Impression - Assimilation; The Smitten Image with Cottage Days And Nights; and Jennifer Harvey with Picture Imperfect. The other top contenders were Blooming Writer with Inside Memory; TechnoBabe's Adventures with Alzheimer's Coffee Pot; Louise with Prince Charming; Fat, Frumpy and Fifty with Time Off For Bad Behaviour; Katherine with Getting Clear and Muthering Heights with I Can No Longer Be Mistaken ….. 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

My former neighbour Marley
Fell off his brand-new Harley
He ain't been doin' much cruisin'
Because of all his bruisin'

I Haven't The Foggiest

Where Are You Pointing Your Camera?

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Sometimes it pays to point your camera in the opposite direction to the main attraction. This was shot about three weeks ago, during a heavy fog. I shot some images of the grey blanket that covered our wintry city.

Then, as I began walking across the pedestrian footbridge between Southbank and Flinders Street Station, I noticed that the sun was starting to break through. I looked down and had to stop immediately, to shoot this reflection of a nearby building, reflected on the surface of the Yarra River below me.

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

Bananarama Drama

Peels, Sir, Can I Have Some More?

A British primary school has been branded "over the top" after banning bananas because a teacher is allergic to them. Plymouth City Council will ask officers to investigate the ban at Stoke Damerel Primary School. Council officials advised the school in 2007 to ask pupils not to bring bananas in because the allergy was potentially life-threatening.

FOOTNOTE: Fruitless.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Post Of The Day

Today's joint winners are Maggie May with Young Love and The Girly Ranch with From The Beginning. The other top contenders were Suldog with Juneteenth; The Surly Writer with A Question And A Story; Digital Flower Pictures with Corona Cherry Magic China Pinks; Cheshire Wife with Life's Trials; Boylerpf with The Thrill Of It All and Quilly with Last-Minute Details. 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

The workers in the foundries
Are well aware of bound'ries
They do not spit, they do not swear
They start each shift in fervent prayer

Where Am I? Blooming Dales?

No, This Is Just A Street-Level View

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

More often than not, I try and get my lens as close to a bloom as possible, simply because I want to capture form or colour or shape. But on this occasion, I was further away from my subject than normal.

I was walking down a street in Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon, when the beautiful colour of a streetside display caught my eye. Yes, I needed to shoot the bloom, but I also wanted the beautiful hues in the background as well.

Yes, a close-up is always a good shot, but sometimes you need some extra colour to emphasise the shades of a flower. And some judicious depth of field in a photograph never goes astray.

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

Coast Guarded

Will They Move The Dungeons Too, Squire?

Castles on Britain’s coast could be moved inland, brick by brick, to save the coastal heritage from climate change. The government is considering ways to protect a number of historic properties threatened by rising sea levels and historic monuments could be moved in exceptional circumstances to a "more sustainable location".

FOOTNOTE: Castle keep.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Verse And Worse

Random Wit, Errant Rhyme. Not A Literary Crime

Remember, remember, the fifth of November
Boil the potatoes and shred the cucember
Both sides of politics (the doves and the hawks)
Sit down to dine with their knives and their Fawkes

The Bridle Be Late

It's Not The Annual Free-For-All Street Derby

Photographs copyright: DAVID McMAHON

Both aspects of this image portray familiar Melbourne sights – a tramcar (trolley, to some of my readers) and a horse and carriage. This is one of the older trams and the interesting thing about this shot is that there is very little to suggest it was shot in Melbourne – apart from the corporate logo on the side of the tram.

And while this was shot several weeks ago, on a warm autumn day, it’s now winter here and business is probably a bit slower for the horse-and-carriage operators. They ply their trade in the city, where it is perfectly legal for them to share the broad thoroughfares with all other vehicles.

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

The Sunday Roast

Happy To Be Saddled With The Responsibility

This week's interview is with Janie and Steve,
who write the blog Janie & Steve's Utah Trails.

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

Blogging is a creative outlet. I enjoy putting words and pictures together to bring our Utah mountain and desert adventures to life. Steve and I work as a team. He maps out the routes for our many excursions, keeps us from getting lost, and tells me where we’ve been. (I have absolutely no sense of direction.)

Steve also takes his share of the photos. Plus, he’s the slightly maniacal driving force behind getting us out and moving, even when I might feel more like resting that day. On my end, I’m maniacal about putting a post together when we return home. This works out fairly well, so far. Our 30-something-year marriage is hanging in, and we’re doing a lot of adventuring. We have fun with the posts, too.

What's the story behind your blog name?

We went with simple: our names, and where we go. Of course, we occasionally venture onto non-Utah trails, but readers don’t seem to mind the lapse. We seek out of the way places that most people don’t know about, "exploring paths less traveled," as the subtitle says.

What is the best thing about being a blogger?

We create a permanent record of our travels for our own satisfaction, and, over time, we’re gaining friends in cyberspace. I never would guessed I’d make contact with so many people from all over the world through blogging. I look forward to seeing what my blog friends are up to each day, and I take photos and gather stories with my day’s post in mind.

What key advice would you give to a newbie blogger?

I’ve only been blogging a year myself. Does that make me an oldie? When I began, I barely knew what a blog was. My grown children, so much smarter than I am, encouraged my venture. My Daughter, already in with the online crowd, gave me tips on getting started. For the first six months, I had no readers outside my kids and occasional visits from friends.

Then, I discovered photo memes, such as Skywatch Friday, My World Tuesday, and Camera Critters which opened a door to a vast network. I expanded my blog reading and posted more often. I trimmed text and added more photos, which I think made my entries more interesting. Making comments on the blogs of others and receiving comments increased my motivation to post.

So, what is my advice to the newest newbies? Blog what you know, as is the standard advice in writing for fun or profit. Choose a hobby or subject that you want as a focus. (Of course, we all branch out at times when we feel the need, but that’s one of the great things about a blog. What you say is entirely up to you.) Find a blog network that fits your interests, post often, respond to comments made on your posts, and comment on the posts of others in your network. Then relax and take pleasure in the followers and friendships that will come your way.

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

I can’t single out "the most", but there are many that I’ve found exceedingly interesting. I like to read posts that tell of the average person’s real-life experience of current events, such as David’s D Is For Desolation post. I also enjoy learning about new places. Occasionally J teaches me about life in China. Geogypsy has fascinating tales about working as a national park ranger all over the United States.

And there are so many others that have taught me interesting things. In other words, I’m an eclectic reader and have a difficult time making decisions. Call me Ab (or Abbie) Normal.

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

This is a tough question for the decision-challenged. In fact, using "significant" and our blog in sequence might be an oxymoron. I attempt to present our horseback rides and other adventures in a way that gives readers an appreciation for the land, flora and fauna. Wild Burro Trails is a representative sample. Whenever possible, I inject humor.

I also enjoy posting to Denise Nesbitt’s ABC Wednesday meme because word play is so much fun. Try my posts Fashion Faux Pas or A Hound's Habit. I hope they will make you laugh.

Thanks for interviewing me, David! I always enjoy visiting your blog, and I’m honored to be included.

Today's Sunday Roast with Janie and Steve is the 72nd in a weekly series of interviews with bloggers from around the world.