Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Failed State, i don't think so

The solomons is officially listed in the UNHCR dispatches as a fail state, which I thought meant that law and order had broken done... the government being unable to govern... These days you don't have to look far to see plenty of examples of place like that. And why do some western leaders hold such places up as new democratic successes...?

Yet Honiara or any of the towns and villages in this island archipelago, are quite peaceful places. Sure once, not so long ago, guys with guns came and just took stuff, but not too many people were shot because the culture here is to share what you have anyway. Thankfully those times seem to have passed.

In honiara there are taxis everywhere, they might be a little older in style and small... they are very reliable and cheap. The stores are becoming well enough stocked. People don't seem to be to frightened. The police station is not barricaded. The bureaucracy might not be very speedy but things eventually get done, and without any gifts of friendship and understanding...

So what has failed. Well the phones and power give you a big hint. They aren't so reliable, because the government is really struggling to pay for the fuel and international currency to foreign governments and companies. The bills for the UN observers and advisors have
probably gone unpaid as well... so they have stopped recommending aid and assistance... the solomon's main cash crop, foreign aid, has failed... that is my theory why the poor old solomons is still listed as a failed state.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

yesterday was that one day in september

forget the olympics, yesterday was a seriously important day for australian sport...it was the AFL grand final and the ARl semi finals

big TV screens were set up in several bars... much passion was displayed and beer consumed.. all in all it must have been a fun day, everyone is hoarse.. but i guess it made me home sick.. missing the girls and my beach house.

suppose i'd better phone home & think about blogging.

Friday, September 24, 2004

kick ball all same

i bought up an australian rules football and two volleyballs.. by the
way if you plan to carry balls internationally on a aeroplane make
sure you deflate them first.. apparently security is not amused by
inflate balls.. and carry a couple of the needles needed to pump them
up at the other end...

well i did get then pumped up and gave them to the local village
kids.. patiently showing then how to kick the football.. as opposed to
hitting the volley ball with open wrist or spiking it hard over a make
shift net..

ok that was the theory.. every day now i see a growing crowd down on
the beach playing a complex or hybrid game they all "kick ball all
same".. it's hard to describe it. its a kind of composite rules
football. you can kick the ball and run with it, and be tackled when
you have it. you can even play with all three balls at once and sides
can have any number of players.. doesn't even seem to matter is the
sides aren't balanced in number of players.

I've studied the strategy a bit and tried my hand at it.. there are
two main modes

1) there is a soccer mode.. which means you can only kick the ball and
can not be tackled.

2) then there is a rugby mode.. where you can pick the ball up and run
with it and throw it, but, and its a big but, you can and will be

the demarcation line seems to be if the ball is above or below your knees.

so little kids quickly drop the ball and soccer it along. Big boys on
the other hand pick up the ball and run with it... generally in the
direction of any girls watching,.all the other big boys give chase and
jump on him

I haven't worked out the scoring system yet. but it is hours of fun
for the village kids and me, when they let me play.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Coming home to a storm

I must admit I felt like I was coming home as I landed back in Honiara. Despite having been told how lovely the weather was in the UK, it was only 15 C maximum there.. ok I admit it was sunnier than usual. Even though it was late afternoon the temperature was 27 C as
we landed, much more civilized. The storm clouds were brewing and it was soon raining with thunder and lightening.. prefect to sit on the veranda and have a beer while watching the downpour… very refreshing for the spirit.

There was a bigger storm to tackle, while I was away the boys back here stuffed up badly.. I won't go into the details but lady friends were involved and clear think was not... I read the riot act.. they threatened to resign.. I said grow up and have another beer.. they
did.. both things I trust.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Lament from Notting Hill

London is the last place I expected to be today, but here I am in
notting hill looking for my favourite coffee shop and internet cafe..
Its gone, replaced by yet another try hard bookshop! That movie has a
lot to answer for..

I'm here for yet another funeral, there aren't so many of the old and
bold left now, but didn't stop us last night, we drank serious
quantities of ale , listening to dire strait's brother in arms
punctuated by thin lizzy's the boys were back in town, and telling
ever embellished stories. Heros in our own dreams. Yet no one was
arrested, perhaps we are slowing down.

back to reality, I've had to settle for bloody startbucks, at least
they have the internet, & even if there coffee is flavoured, the short
blacks are ok…

back to paradise and the other side of the world tomorrow.

Friday, September 10, 2004

bye for a little while...

Sorry another assignment has come up.. one that means no net
activity.... hopefully i'll be back blogging in a month or so.

Il n'y a absolument aucun honneur dans la mort arbitraire d'un enfant
irréprochable. là est seulement honte. ayez honte très si vous saviez
et faisiez rien.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

a nice cuppa

i went into china town yesterday, the place where you can get
everything, except Chinese food, to look for some more chinese ink and
perhaps a proper ink stone.. the stores have everything pilled in upon
everything else.. and in the searching I found some tins of loose
tea..(a few of us oldies may even remember the anti-deluvian days
before tea bags).. Earl Grey.. and I also found a handsome silver
(plate) tea pot to go with it.. the amazing thing is that no one here
knew how to make tea..

the secret to brewing good tea, and this even applies to tea bags, is
to use boiling water... not something that boiled 2 minutes ago.. that
is why the english warm up the pot first with a little boiling water…
left the water returned to the boil while you add the tea to the pot…
one spoon for each person and one for the pot… then pour in the
BOILING water into the pot… simplie really..

in australia the bush tradition for tea is over an open fire boiling
the water in a billy, pretty much the same size and shape as a gallon
paint tin… as the water boiled you add the tea leaves… boild for a
further minute of so… then carefully grab the handle of the billy and
swing it along at arms length.. and swing it with your arm fully
extended in big arcs.. the controversy among australians is how many
times… I am among the majority… I just do it three times… this
elaborate whirling just settles the tea leaves so the stay on the
bottom of the billy and don't all pour out into your cup.

so we had a bit of a camp fie down on the beach last night and had
billy tea as the sunset.. life can be so hard in paradise.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

he found a great many things to see

this, or in very similar words, is how norman lindsay describes the
enthusiastic yet naive bunyip bluegum… as he borrowed his uncle
wattleberry's best walking-stick, and with an assuming air of
pleasure.. set off to see the world.. it is the beginning of a
wonderful children's story written and illustrated by lindsay.. the
magic pudding.. quiet a favorite of many past and present australian

somewhat amazingly I can vividly recall myself telling kat that she
must read this marvelous story.. months ago.. months before I'd seen a
lindsay water colour in the flesh, and become spell bound by his wash
brilliance.. is this just another déjà vu cycle within a cycle?

that simple little phrase also explains why I like travel and just
wondering about.. i suffer from wanderlust, in back-packer lingo

whilst it was great to get my great beach house project substantially
underway, at last…!! its been almost 18 months since I decided to
build.. the new friends, the multiple residencies, the depressing
visits to the eye & ear hospital.. hospitals are always full of sick
people, you should realize.. the inevitable shopping trips & social
commitments were becoming a real chore. it is quiet a relief to be
back in paradise again.. not that there isn't a lot to do here.. in
fact precious little was done while I was away.. its just that it
really is different here & there is a lot to experience and see.. I
feel the time is right for me to purchase a silver handled umbrella..
to keep off both sun and rain.. and swagger about with my sketch pad
recording the most esoteric of things and events.. pretending to
engage in the type of eccentric behavior that only the retired british
military or antisocial french artists can do.. or more precisely get
away with.

enough of the dreams.. the reality is i must stop mucking about on the
computer and get the new radio installed, more fuel ordered.. in fact
get onto everything that was left undone when I left.. reality is a
harsh mistress sometimes

running short of time

this trip was pretty sudden and I simply ran out of time to get my
last lot of sketching scanned and uploaded, please be patient kat,
care and cinny.. that amazing, all c's..!! (even though kat spells it
with a k)

well I made it.. despite the trip being bought forward.. only given 14
hours notice… being told the wrong flight number and time.. having a
new passport, with a big red urgent sticker but not the special visas
required.. using pencil on the immigration form & picking the wrong
officer to hand it to.. picking up the wrong passport and boarding
pass after x-ray and security.. otherwise it was a pretty boring trip.

Actually having a pen when you travel internationally, is the one
universal truth I do know about travel. there are always forms to fill
in.. BUT make it a black or blue pen.. & not a very cheap biro, they
often leak in the depressurized cabin.AND if you don't fill out the
forms well, you will either be unable to get on or off the plane… when
entering the USA any mistake on your immigration form means instant
deportation, with the possibility of a full body search.. elsewhere
you will at least receive a stern taking to & have to go to the back
of the queue

Nice 4B sketching pencils, even though they have a nice heavy black
line, are not always considered suitable.. and when this is pointed
out by the person behind the desk.. I might suggested you don't get
out a red fine line felt tip and outline the pencil letters... no
matter how pretty it looks.. some people may not be amused.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

sketch of the month

clearly lotta's pencil sketch drew the most commenst... all admiring her beauty rather than my pencil work... such is life

screen wallpaper of lotta's sketches Posted by Hello

I decided to try and make a screen wallpaper from the sketches... if you click onto the image above you will get a larger resolution version displayed... then to get this saved as your own screen wallpaper click on the image but this time right click your mouse... a little sub menu of items should show up... i have internet explorer and it has an item called set as background, select and click on it... voila... you will have lotta as your screen wallpaper... other browser probably have similar functions.

congratulations and lets raise a toast (preferrably champers) to lotta

bots, bootings and bohemians

I must admit that yahoo! is really getting to me know... it get booted (disconnected from Yahoo meaanger) at the slightest thing... I can't work out why... all I know is, it is now pretty pointless using it... seems I'm not the only one wishing i had not upgraded to version 6... (warning folks version 6.0 is a downgrade, wait for version 6.1)

the problems that frustrate me aren't just the booting... for all I know they may be self inflicted... its now so difficult to get into my favourite chat rooms... such as big bellied ladies & their admirers or freak fat chicks... they seem to always report room full, even though there mughtonly be 30 people showing as in the room when you use the join room menu... perhaps its the bots that are taking up all the space... they certainly test my patience when I'm sketching with there pop up windows, lengthy links and limited vocabulary and ... " nakid now", "i'm hot"... etc ...etc there are so many of them the ignore button is as pointless are the "block email address they are a spammer feature" in hotmail... i'm half convinced that it is the bots and pop up IMers that cause my webcam to freeze and crash... if and when I finally get into a chat and actually begining a sketch

am I to old, & getting crabby or is there a magic fix out there?

well I've been busy in the real world visiting some new arty friends and genrally hanging out with the more bohemian end of melbourne... and its good... went and saw a series of norman lindsay etching that are about to go on sale... they are small but totally amazing... the same delicacy of tone he achieves in his water colours... they are jumps black and white but they positively glow... i can see i have a lot to learn
kat watching me sketch (pencil) Posted by Hello