Thursday 25 May 2023

Taking a break from painting

In January I had friends staying over and was busy doing things so took a break from painting. I still stored up words I wanted to use in new collages and I had two more Japanese sayings to employ but stopped trying to put them to use.

At that point it was about nine weeks since I started making watercolours and adding collage to them but I felt as though progress had been made, the works I made at the end of that interval were much more complex and considered than what I made at the beginning. 

Nine weeks doesn’t seem like a long time but in our age of abundance a day is forever, we’re given such a wide range of activities to embrace or reject.

In May, five months after that first break I was going back to sonnets not having worked on any for a long time. Having a range of creative activities to rely on in order to feel engaged with the world, and through which to celebrate agency is something that I aspired to many times in my life.

The clock is still ticking however.

I read a poem this morning.

In addition to sonnets I’ve been writing free-form poems.

I don’t know what you think of this post it seems quite random when I read back over its length, even though it’s not very long. I guess I’ll never know a lot of things, but that’s ok. In the end you’re only worth the memories you make in other people’s minds. In the end we all die, the secret is knowing what’s worth living for, perhaps I know. Perhaps you know. 

This day will never end.

The echoes of air traffic fill the morning, I can hear the jets and their whine, their roar, a sort of whoar crumbling the edges off 6.23am.

Friday 19 May 2023

Media literacy revisited

I was surprised to learn yesterday that media literacy will be taught in NSW secondary schools, something that I asked for ten years ago. The proliferation of social media and websites makes this essential if we’re to preserve the integrity of our political system, under siege in many countries. 

Our media landscape in this country is a bit better than in many others because of the trusted position of the ABC but of course there’s nothing that forces people to use it, although it serves to some degree as an information clearing house, setting the tone for the day’s reporting. Because the ABC news program comes last in the evening it tends to have the last word on many issues although there are late bulletins on other major channels throughout the evening.

Today’s blogpost is however a reminder that stray thoughts can have long-lasting repercussions, little did I imagine in 2013 that the state government would take my casual words so much to heart, but inspired by fear perhaps they were impressed more by the rise of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin than by me.

Saturday 13 May 2023

Colour as a plot device

It feels like eternity has passed but since I did the ‘Death by cop’ series only two months has gone by. For the past couple of weeks I’ve been thinking about the show in July so haven’t been painting much, but a few days ago I went back to what I did last year.

And reinvented it.

Last year I was making colour watercolours with collage but I hadn’t turned the paintings into series yet. A month ago I did so and therefore had something to think about when it came to doing ‘Colour as a plot device’ (which will also be the title of the show). I specifically wanted to use nine panels and made nine watercolours but then at the last minute broke up another series and used one panel from that in this new work.

I think about how artists are portrayed in popular culture, they’re usually denigrated on account of their enthusiasms, rendered in a way that makes them unpalatable. They don’t fit in. They’re deliberately different and use that as a weapon to attack the status quo. But ‘Colour as a plot device’ uses tropes from that same place to turn the mirror around, you see familiar elements of cultural iconography but the gorgeous background makes them look like they’re seen in front of a splendid sunset. We all seek to escape and when we’re caught up in a net we struggle all the harder.

I think about popular culture and what it means. That policeman, that joker, that criminal, that reigning monarch, all fit into destiny’s tableau like parts of a puzzle. You belong to an organisation you fit into its matrix, you belong to a community you conform. You settle in for the ride. You mix and mingle. 

And smile.

Thursday 11 May 2023

Unwanted domains refund

I did get a result though it wasn’t precisely what I wanted, the company (Melbourne IT) refunded half of the cost of the domains which meant about $180 going back into my credit card account yesterday evening late. 

I had an email from the company two days ago in which they outlined their reasoning for the decision to keep half of the money. This being because they’d already paid to have the domains registered. 

When I spoke with the frontline staffer on Saturday she was understanding and actually got up from her desk and went to the accounts department to state my case, so I guess I should be grateful. I think that the damage to my relationship with the company has been tarnished but it’s not critical, I think that if the company had refused to pass on a refund it might’ve sparked me to move to find a different ISP.

This whole saga outlined in the previous blogpost just goes to the big issue in that technology is HARD because even if we have specialised companies whose only job is to look after intellectual assets there will be mistakes and misjudgement. There’s no reason why this problem had to occur other than the cause which was a difficult-to-use interface provided by the company. If you need a university degree to get such an easy thing right then there’s a lack of consideration that leads to unnecessary financial loss. Money is spent on things that are worthless if the communication mechanism is not adequate for the skillsets represented. The technology is at fault.

I guess that I need to be more careful in future. I’ve got more unwanted URLs in my list and will have to make sure, when they come up for renewal, to phone the company and get their representative to walk me through the process or for their help desk to make the necessary change themselves. I’m not going to rely on my own capabilities again it costs too much, I spent the weekend and most of this week worrying about this situation and it’s left an indelible mark on my memory.

Saturday 6 May 2023

Unwanted domains renewed

Trying here to be philosophical about this but it’s a struggle. Today Melbourne IT my ISP reregistered two domains I never wanted in the first place. Years ago they thought I might like to have them and registered them so they’d been in my domain list. A couple of weeks ago they told me they’d be reregistered so I went into the user interface and unticked the relevant boxes but it seems like it didn’t make any difference because this morning I got a charge on my credit card on account of the stupid domains.

I called the company and spoke with a guy who listened but he said the call would have to be escalated to someone else to investigate so I’m going to have to think about this painful situation for a day or two while they make up their minds.

Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal and I have enough money in most months to absorb this kind of cost but my daughter is about to have her first child so I’m watching every dollar right now. Because of who I am my mind is going to be looping back to Melbourne IT and whether I should ditch them in favour of another provider because of their idiotic policy of suggesting related domains to new customers.

I guess this is the mental tax you pay in the internet age.

A tax in my case anyway because I am naturally a worrier, and when it comes to domains we have something important to worry about. I do not know how many services I have linked to my main email address but I do know that if I lost it I’d be in all kinds of strife. In fact if I lost it today’s discomfort would seem like a dream. At least you can wake up from a dream.

Probably in a year I will still remember my present irritation because it relates to internet domains, which are things that have nowadays such a critical place in our lives. There are not many books I’ve read that feature the internet, let alone the specific complex feelings that personal domains possess in our pantheon of things. I wonder if anyone’s written a police procedural with a domain as a major plot device. I think that probably someone out there has done this but it’s not something I’ve personally come across.