Friday, April 24, 2009

Brown praying mantis

Yesterday afternoon when I came home my brother was in the front yard holding a praying mantis, and with his camera gear. I went to get my camera and took these. It was quite a challenge to get a focussed image since the light conditions were overcast and the critter was moving all the time. It even climbed onto my camera at one point!

Brown Praying Mantis
digital photograph, hand held, ISO 200, 1/250, f3.5

Portrait of a Brown Praying Mantis
digital photograph, hand held, ISO 200, 1/250, f3.5

In case you're wondering, my brother had green texta on his finger. The insect had just caught a bee and ate it. It was the catching part and the ensuing buzzing that alerted my brother to its presence.

The praying mantis is a really useful garden bug to have since they act as a natural pest control. They move with a backwards and forwards motion as if swaying with the breeze, a bit like a chameleon and for the same reason - to maintain their camouflage. Our father always told us they are good to have around, so we have a childhood instilled respect for them.

Long time readers of this blog may recall I photograph I took a 3 years ago of a green praying mantis eating a blow fly. Fascinating critters :)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tineh bunneh garden

Here's a potted garden I created a few months ago. It's virtually recovered from the trauma of its creation now! That big brown thing in the middle is a ceramic mini bridge. I think it might be an aquarium ornament. I'll take another photo a few months from now after one of the succulent's pups, and the ground cover has grown a bit more.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Cat Bus on my window sill

Here's my CatBus* plant pot sharing space on my window sill with a sunflower gogo crazy bone **. The planter originally came with potting mix and seeds but I couldn't bring that into the country. After a bit of trial and error I finally found the perfect plant to grow in him.

*Bought in Mitaka, Tokyo from the Studio Ghibli Museum gift shop.
**Freebie from the Toy Fair last month.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Google Reader is tops! Try it and see.

I highly recommend Google Reader for anyone who reads anything with a blog format regularly. Checking my Google Reader is a part of my daily internet routine. It makes it so much easier to read lots of blogs without bookmarks and checking on infrequent posters. It keeps track of what I haven't read so I don't have to read it all at once. If I want to keep something for future reference I can mark it with a star and it will be there whenever I want to go back to it. It's also really easy to use and add feeds/blogs to. It was recommended to me by a former BF and it's the best thing he ever did for me, it's that good.

What is Google Reader and why should you try it?
Your answer is here.

Friday, April 17, 2009


'An exhibition of outdoor and indoor Ephemeral Sculptural Installations will take place at the Walter Burley Griffin-designed Incinerator Arts Complex in May 2009.'

From 60 artworks by 45 artists, 27 pieces were selected.
I have an indoor sculpture in this show.
Check it out, it should be fun!

13-24 May 2009
Twilight OPENING : Thursday 14 May 2009, 6-8pm
Open Hours: Wed-Sun 11am-4pm
Incinerator Arts Complex
180 Holmes Road, Moonee Ponds

Slice, detail
mixed media

About the competition:
'aRtECYCLE is inspired by the extraordinary architectural, philosophical and spiritual influences of Walter Burley Griffin and his collaborator Marion Mahony plus the significance of the venue's history as an incinerator using the reverberatory system of waste disposal.

Works must engage with the principle themes that inspired Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony :

~ Anthroposophy
~ Transcendentalism
~ Environmentalism
~ Recycling

Works may be pre-existing, but must be made of, or inspired by, waste, wreckage, recycled materials .. '

Incinerator Arts Complex
180 Holmes Road, Moonee Ponds 3039
p: 8325 1750

Kate McPhee
p: 8325 1750

More of my art here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Changes through vintage coloured postcards

Amsterdam, Munttoren (Mint Tower) c 1915 - 1920s

Judging by the contemporary photographs of Munttoren, one could recreate this scene in a photograph today. The surrounding buildings are still there, the sky line unchanged - though some tweaking in Photoshop would be necessary to get this level of colour! They have altered the adjoining guard house building (note windows and roof details).

Munttoren today.


Furkastrasse und Rhonegletscher (by J. Gaberell), c. 1925

German postcard of Furka Pass in the Swiss Alps near the Rhone Glacier.
Sadly one can not recreate this photo. The glacier is significantly smaller due to global warming accelerating its natural post ice age melt.

Rhone Glacier today
It's just peeking through in that valley. The rest is bare rock where the glacier used to be. It doesn't grow back. It shouldn't happen that quickly. Yes this really is the same part: check out that mountain in the background, it's the same one.

I started this post as a diverting vintage clippings thing. I liked the colours, architecture and slight surrealism of the blue ice which reminds me of the planet Krypton. Instead I ended up standing on a soap box! I don't apologise for that.

The Matrix is ten.

The Matrix movie is ten years old!

Here's a couple of cool things I found on You Tube.

It's The Matrix XP, a parody style trailer. They also have an associated website explaining what went on behind the scenes plus downloads. It seems to be a German production.

Matrix Ping Pong is a spoof of bullet time using puppetry.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Sunday Inspiration

Easter Duck
digital photograph
I had some washed egg shells on a saucer and a small plastic duck sitting on my desk as possible art materials for my next sculpture. After finding that the duck could fit inside a chicken egg, I thought 'Why not take a photograph?'.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

William Gibson's Neuromancer

While reading it: Really geeky and obviously written by a man. I didn't really get into it at all until halfway through. I found the pace to be a bit slow and at times staccato. In particular the sentences describing cyberspace are jumbled and completely lacking in grammar. It sounds as if he's trying to be profound when it's just confusing. A lot of the time it is too vague as to what the characters are actually doing. They are unsympathetic, I don't care what happens to them. I'm not even sure what they are supposed to be doing to be honest. It's just not clear enough.

This style of writing doesn't do it for me. It feels like a chore to read it but I'm going to finish it. I can't imagine what it would have been like to read this book before The Matrix* existed as a movie but it must have been even more disjointed.Somewhat interesting in terms of the hypothetical technology from a historical viewpoint. Frankly that isn't enough to make me recommend it as a novel. Déjà vu dear readers?**

Finished: I want the time it took me to read this muddle back! It is overly elaborate in descriptions without any clarity or explanation. In the last three or four chapters I decided to skim it I was that fed up and figured it wouldn't make it any less clear. In the end it felt a little pointless.

The emperor has no clothes nor does he hack the Gibson. My opinion remains unchanged see above. I just checked on Amazon and I'm not the only one who feels this way about this book. Apparently Gibson has done better according to reviews there.

*very loosely based on the ideas in this book.
**Choose the Jules Verne instead, the plot is clearer!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Favourite Muppet Show skits

I was chatting with a younger staff member today (actually all of my staff are younger than me except one!) about my favourite Muppet Show skits. These are classic, as entertaining and funny today as they were when they were first screened in the 1970s, and still funny even when you've seen them a few times before.

The Snowths and Mahna Mahna. Snowths puppeteered by Frank Oz, Mahna Mahna voiced by Jim Henson.

Java aka the dancing slinkies skit

Swedish Chef and spaghetti . Chef's head and voice puppeteered by Jim Henson, his hands by Frank Oz). Also check out the doughnut skit.

Marvin Suggs (puppeteered by Frank Oz) and his Muppaphones

Saturday, April 04, 2009

I <3 H.G. Wells

Listening to: Anarchy by KMFDM from Symbols.

Recently I have been endeavouring to devour the classics of sci-fi since it is a genre which interests me particularly as a dabbler in steam punk. So far H.G. Wells is my favourite. His writing style is clear and accessible without spoon feeding it to the reader. I like the way he makes the reader think about the moral, philosophical and scientific possibilities evoked within his stories.

The Island of Dr Moreau

From the first page I found it to be page turner. That teamed with being a novella makes it an extra quick read. It's quite visceral, horrific and violent at times. Wells questions what it is to be human or beast, and the merits of each. Nature versus nurture is explored as well as scientists playing God.

The Time Machine
A very thought provoking hypothetical on the eventual state of humanity, the progress of civilisation and industry, and what that could mean for our evolution. The inspiration from Darwin's The Origin of the Species is very strong in this novella - more so than The Island of Dr Moreau. I found my thoughts wandering a few times in a good way because it got me thinking 'What if?'