31 March 2008

A candle

It was Earth Hour last weekend. I don't want to say that I single-handedly solved the environmental challenges facing Mother Earth, but that is just because I am humble. After lights out, I lit thirty candles on the coffee table and most of the available oxygen in the room was soon depleted. There in the preternatural glow, we all watched the movie State and Main. It is such a smart movie and definitely worth appreciating. One of my all time favourites.

This led me to watch The Spanish Prisoner the next day, because it is also written by David Mamet. He made this film first and a lot of actors appear in both flicks, but The Spanish Prisoner just managed to annoy me. It has a hugely clever plot, but I found the pace too slow, so the effort to create tension rankled. Maybe I just couldn't summon any sympathy for the lead character. I also think you have to be really disciplined when shooting dialogue driven work.

Earth Hour got me thinking about a future where electricity was rationed and society would have to turn off the lights regularly. It wasn't so long ago that people had no choice, we had to watch TV of an evening by candle light. Of course, it is not all doom and gloom, hot rocks really excite me, and perhaps the next person who makes it into The White House will even put the solar panels back on the roof which Carter installed so that Reagan could pull them right back down.

I have been reading a lot lately, mainly about politics and related topics. There is no one reason for this, but I come from a political family so perhaps it is congenital, although it has taken a while to manifest itself.

by Andrew Charlton. An excellent introduction to economics and the Australian economy. What Hawke & Keating did and Howard & Costello failed to do. How the Reserve Bank uses interest rates to manage the inflation rate.

What Goes Up by Nicholas Stuart. What happened during the 2007 election and how it will influence Australia's political landscape. Left wing but psephologically sound.

Poll Dancing by Mungo MacCallum. What happened during the 2007 election - but brilliantly, scathingly funny. Very left wing, but I got the impression Mungo wouldn't hold back if the Labor Party deserved it. Mungo has a unique place in Australian political writing.

Dear Mr Rudd
edited by Robert Manne. Australia's Left wing intellectuals write a series of open letters to the Prime Minister about their vision of the key challenges facing the new government. I cherry picked a few of these essays. I was particularly impressed with those on the need for an Australian Republic and the public service.

Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins. Does globalisation mean that developed countries (i.e. America) use the World Bank to saddle less developed countries with astronomical debts for massive infrastructure projects that are designed entirely to reward the developed country by providing them with unfettered access to natural resources and an increased military capacity? It looks like it - the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. I am going to read some Joseph Stiglitz to get another angle on where globalisation can go, because people need hope for the future now; but Confessions is interesting for illustrating how a corporate culture that generated obscene quantities of wealth became lionised and wealth became the raison d'etre of American foreign policy...or something like that.

GETTING TO KNOW THE GENERAL : The Story of an Involvement
by Graham Greene. This is a warm and honest tale of the famous author's relationship to General Omar Torrijos. An insight into the motivation of a great leader and life in South America. The General's relationship to America was very much a David vs Goliath story. I wanted to read this because the preceding book talks about Panama and mentions the work.

I am totally getting into 30 Rock at the moment. So funny.

20 March 2008

Uncle Bob and The Rock

It is no simple task to describe Uluru. It is truly unique.

It may have an unfathomable countenance in the predominately flat landscape, but like creation itself, its sheer existence is undeniable.

What sweet mystery you have given me...

I spent an action packed day at The Rock with the World Harmony Run team on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 18-19.

We were there as guests of Bob Randall, a traditional owner of Uluru and a highly respected local elder. He is a man with a big heart and he took us straight into his community.

Listen to his story in song, My Brown Skin Baby They Take Him Away. This is one of two songs he performed for the team. I challenge you not to cry.

In 2008, starting in April, the World Harmony Run will circumnavigate Australia. Our early visit to Uluru placed at us at the geographic centre of the continent where we also found the ancient spiritual heart of Australia. Over breakfast, Bob told his dreaming of the dawn of creation, when there was just a simple vibration that recognised it was alone, and sweetly called everything to it like a magnet.

He also performed Daddy, Where Did I Come From? in a voice so sweet.

That such sorrow and joy can co-exist in a person is the life of harmony.

Read the World Harmony Run Live From The Road report.

Check out Kanyini - the film.

Thanks Bob!

Faces of Jindabyne

I spent last weekend in Jindabyne for the Sri Chinmoy Multi-Sport Classic. I didn't get much of a chance to shoot the athletes, as I was distracted manning aid stations in the grueling heat, but I took a few photos of the nature.

09 March 2008

Womadelaide 2008

I flew over to Adelaide to catch up with Tejaswi. Also, Aaron from New Zealand is running a t-shirt stall at Womadelaide which meant free tickets.

First things first, I had to help Tejaswi choose a shirt and tie to go with the new suit he bought for his sister's wedding. It was hard work. Nice suit though. You can't go wrong with a quality brand. Giorgio Giorgini I think it is.

Here is Aaron at Womad conducting his business.

Saturday was obscenely hot. 40 degrees Celsius which is 104 Fahrenheit.

There is a great atmosphere at Womad. I played hacky sack a few times with the youngsters. It's a great game. A lot of people just set up a blanket and chill in the shade all day. I was surprised by how few dreadlocks I spied this year, but the scent of Patchouli was very evident. Here is the chief and someone making smoothies with pedal power. As befits such an occasion.

I enjoyed Beirut, they played the beguiling Postcards from Italy twice. The John Butler Trio (below) have great live energy. They were a big crowd pleaser.

This is Lopsang. There is nothing like a good monk to practice your smile on. Those guys know what simplicity really is. Adelaide has a link with the Tibetan Buddhists. We have kind of sanctuary for them, as they are endangered in their home land. They are making a sand mandala all weekend and they tuck it in each night.

Finally, the early morning flight from Canberra, the heat and the massive amount of grass dust in the air drove me home a little early. As I wandered through the university grounds, I couldn't help but wander what large amounts of families were doing hanging out in there so late at night. When I turned around I saw the laser light show they were all watching.