Kylie in my ears

Kylie Minogue's Golden

Today’s music is brought to my ears by Kylie Minogue.

“Golden” Kylie’s latest album has taken some getting used to. The twangy sounds of acoustic instruments has taken some getting used to.

But I like that over the years Kylie has played with different sounds. Her album “Kylie Minogue” and followup album “Impossible Princess” were delightful forays into different sounds than those that Stock, Aitken, and Waterman brought to her early sounds.

So we’ll start with “Golden”, then we’ll hit the shuffle and work away while we go through Kylie’s discography, during which, we’ll hear a few big personal favourites, like “Put Yourself in my Place” (I LOVED that video clip), “Jump”, “Your Disco Needs You”, and see many others…

Sammi’s Gold Lamé Gown

Sammi is mum’s spoodle who came to live with us when mum went to live in New Zealand. So far this winter she has been using a coat that is is almost 20 years old and has been handed down through our other doggins to Sammi. So I thought it was time she had something new.

I found a pattern online for a Small Dog Coat, resized and adapted it for Sammi and was deciding on which material to use when David piped up and suggested I used the gold material that has been floating around the house forever, so I did.

Small dog coat pattern
Small dog coat pattern

I cut out the piece and then decided on a thicker white backing, I probably should have gone for a brown or something that wouldn’t show up the dirt of a dog’s life.

For the inside I don’t have any wadding, so I unpicked an old wool quilt and was grateful to find that inside the quilt was a large piece of intertwined wool that I could cut to shape and fit inside the coat. A little thicker than I may have wanted but it will be sure to keep Sammi warm on the cold winter nights.

Innards of a quilt
Innards of a quilt

I had a few re-sew parts I had to do, particularly at the joining part at the base of the coat, where I left it open to put the innards in.

I’ll likely resew the full edge of this piece and also quilt-sew it for a better look, maybe even add some piping.

We’ll have to wait though, I have no Velcro so at the moment the coat is temporarily using 3M wall hangers. 🤭 When I get the Velcro of it I’ll do the rest of the sewing on the edges and the quilting and see how it goes.

All up though, I’m pretty happy with it so far. I’ve never really sewed beyond straight lines so throwing some curves in has been fun.

Sammi in her Gold Lamé Gown
Sammi in her Gold Lamé Gown
Sammi in her Gold Lamé Gown
Sammi in her Gold Lamé Gown
Sammi in her Gold Lamé Gown
Sammi in her Gold Lamé Gown

Metricon Mayhem

Metricon are currently working at our neighbour’s old house they had to buy it back from them, with compensation, due to slab heave caused by them cutting too deep into the property and then using the wrong slab.

Slab heave is when your concrete slab actually cracks causing the house to become malformed. The plumbing cracked throughout the house, loosening the steel flange, causing sewerage and other waste water to seep into the foundation.

The outcome of their litigation was the settlement, and the recommendation from an independent body that the only remediation with regard to the house was to tear it down.

That’s not what they are doing, we can hear them carving concrete all around the house, they’ll likely reline the pipes under the house (because that was something they offered to do for the old owner) and then sell the place off.

All this work they are doing now is in addition to the work they have conintuously done over the last seven years the first owner had it, including two times we know of where the owner had to move into temporary accommodation while they worked on the house, one time was to remove all of the interior Gyprock work, including the ceilings, and replace it.

We’re strongly considering contacting any agent who is put to selling it to ensure they know about the problems the house has. In the event they don’t let the new owners know and it becomes a problem for the new owners they’ll have recourse with the agent who chose not to disclose during the sales process. I’d hate to think someone bought a house, spending over $400,000 and they get a lemon with no warranties. And of course, we don’t want the poop smell that comes with a neighbour who has cracked pipes and a lake of wastewater under their home.

BillTheDoggin, Work, Photos, and Friends

BillTheDoggin
BillTheDoggin taken with a prism.

Today is Bill’s birthday! Happy birthday BillTheDoggin, today he turned 8… where does the time go, seriously.

My day started out with work, I have a deadline looming for a new site and I am a little behind after some server issues we had at the end of last week and into this week, so I’m in high gear getting that done… more about that when it launches next week. But in short, I’ll be chained to my desk all day Sunday and into Monday… fun times.

I did get away from my desk for a time today. I recently purchased the best travel desk that I can carry around with me. A few weeks back I ran a promoted post on Instagram looking for local folks who wanted to model for us. I got a few responses, one hasn’t gotten back to me after initial contact, another cancelled on the morning of our shoot, but today one came through for us.

Today we met with Zach and his Dad at Carlton Gardens in Melbourne for a shoot. The day was threatening rain early in the morning, the winds were up and it was freezing, I was feeling sorry to be the one to drag Zach out into the cold for a shoot. But thankfully, the sun came out and we ended up with a pleasant 20°C and a mixture of sunshine and shadow throughout our shoot.

Zach is a 16 year old from Williamstown who has been getting into fitness over the last couple of years. His initial inspiration he says came from a comedy podcast he was listening to, something the comedians had to say sparked an interest and sent him on his journey. After a short while he says it became a passion.

His parents are supportive of his interests and it shows as his Dad came along today, at our request, to be around for the shoot. At 16 it was just preferable to have a parent along for the ride.

We made some great photos and I’ll be diving into the edits for those over the coming days but for now, a rushed edit from the day.

Portrait of Zach
Portrait of Zach taken at Carlton Gardens Melbourne.

Following the shoot we stopped in with Sue and Lana for a quick visit. Lana threw together some viennese hotdogs with onion, bacon, and cheese. I certainly left their place full to the gullet.

It was quite the busy day and a fun-filled day for sure, well after I stopped working, oh who am I kidding, I actually like what I’m working on at the moment. 

What a Mess

While I’ve posted recently about my quirks and quotes, another one comes from the old 1980’s ad for Stainmaster carpets feature Australian artist Pro Hart.

Mr Hart makes quite the mess of a beautiful piece of carpet… of course the “mess” is actually an ephemeral work of art by the master artist.

The kicker for the ad is the cleaning lady who comes in at the end and proclaims “Oh Mr Hart, what a mess!”, and it’s this kicker that is firmly in the lexicon of most Australians I imagine. It is definitely in mine.

Just now, when making a coffee I spilt some and as I reached for the cloth to clean it up, heard myself utter: “Oh Mr Hart, what a mess!”

Darkness Falls

Candle

Sitting in the dark at home… it went out at 5:30pm before it was too dark, but now it’s totally pitch black. ☹️

The power was due to come back on at 7;30pm, but we just got an update saying it would now be 9:30pm.

We’ve already been to Melton, grabbed some dinner and kills some time walking around the shops not spending money, but just looking… and now we’re home again.

It’s funny how much of our lives depend on power… I had to be the ‘automatic’ garage door opener tonight when we went out, and when we came home.

I am, of course, writing this on my Laptop at the moment, tethered to my iPhone, using the Internet, so I guess I’m doing OK… just no Netflix. 🤪 Though I do have enough data left on my plan to watch a couple of hours of Netflix if I felt the need.

Remember the old days when the power used to go out and you’d have to remember which drawer in the kitchen the candles were kept in… and that it used to go out so often that we used to have to have candles in a particular drawer so we could find them in the dark, or with the help of the good old Dolphin torch!

As of now we have the light from our little Hue Go (we call him Hugo) which will maintain full-power light output for 3 hours. We also have our phones with flashlights on them and if need be we have a Godox LeadPower LP800X Inverter that we use for our studio lights that we could use to power devices for a time, not sure how long because we’ve only really used it for powering our studio lights so far.

I think I’ll put my laptop away now and maybe grab a book and the Hugo and read for a time before calling it a night.

Feature image from iStockPhoto

Official Spy’s Handbook

You want a tell about my life, well here you go… I’m, on occasion, paranoid.

I’ve admitted to very few limited people, and may have mentioned on these very pages, that I have a few weird proclivities, particularly when it comes to entering strange or enclosed places.

  1. I check for exits. I need to know if I want/need to get out of the location fast where the best exit is likely to be.
  2. I build scenarios in my head… what might happen while I’m here and how would I counter it if the happening is negative.
  3. Who looks like they may be a combatant and how would I handle them.
  4. What can I use as weapon. As an example in a movie theatre this could be everything from “how hard would it be to remove the arm from a chair”, to “how quickly can I fold a popcorn box into a hardened stick”.

Yes, I’m weird like that. A therapist might say it has to do with never feeling safe, of having social anxiety or something in that vein. But it goes beyond that because if I’m with others they are definitely included in the plans in my head… and it’s never, what can they do to help, it’s what do I have to do to protect them. So maybe I have a bit of a hero complex thrown in for good measure.

Well, I often wondered where it comes from, and the armchair therapists out there may have a point, but I prefer to believe it has to do with my obsession with a book when I was a kid.

The Usborne Official Spy's Handbook
The Usborne Official Spy’s Handbook

I first found out about an Official Spy’s Handbook when I was in primary school, I’m not certain it is the Usborne version but I imagine it was, how many could there be? Anyway, this book I obsessed over, it talked about how to see if someone was following you, doubling back, altering your routes to not have. a routine, checking in mirrors and windows for tails, how to lose a tail, how to mark a drop site, etc I had that book down. If it still existed in the Shalvey Primary School Library with the original borrowing card I’m pretty sure my name would be all over it, I had that book out all the time.

Carrying Secret Messages from The Official Usborne Spy's Handbook
Carrying Secret Messages from The Official Usborne Spy’s Handbook

Recently it came up, I’m not sure how or why, but I saw something that reminded me of it, so I went looking and have found a new imprint of it, and well, I’ve bought a copy, I’m waiting for it to arrive. Nostalgia is a crazy thing.

I look forward to reading it again, it’s a kid’s book so I’m not sure if it will stand the test of time. Maybe when I’m finished with it I’ll send it onto my nieces in New Zealand so they too can learn the art of the spy.

Feature image is from iStockphoto.com

Instagram sucks, but is a necessary evil in modern times

My Instagram

There’s a thing on Instagram where people follow others, purely with the hope that those they just followed will follow them back… then the buggers unfollow.

Usually when I get a new follow, I’ll jump onto their Instagram feed and check them out. I’ll usually give them a few likes if I like their content and if they are matched followers for following, or have more follows than followers, and I like their content I’ll follow.

If, however, they have tens of thousands of followers and are following few it is rare I’ll follow back; unless they have exceptional content.

It’s an annoying model to work by, the idea that they follow thousands and thousands only to unfollow them, they become “influencers” and declare themselves such in their profiles, in the hope of getting wares from brands, and that has largely worked in the past, but hopefully that time is coming to an end.

For me, on Instagram, at time of posting, I have 760 followers, I’m following 2,436 with just 42 posts. I’ve never been one to care too much about my follower numbers, but I’m hoping to get some more models interested in shooting with us so I need to reach a wider audience to do so.

Cultivating a social media following is hard work. You need to follow, comment and like other people’s work, you need to continually produce material and you need to push it hard. Or you need to do what the others mentioned above do, follow a bunch of people purely so they follow you back, so you can then unfollow them to appear more popular than you are. Ultimately though, it’s a constant battle with the algorithms that manage the social media sites. How to get seen more often when the site is no longer showing content in date order, rather determining by their own rules, how you will appear to others. The only way to beat that is to have more followers and to have more interactions… and the only way to do that is to do the same back. Follow more, interact more, appear more… and that’s just what the sites want, more engagement, more information, and more they can sell on to advertisers for targeting. It’s becoming quite the sorry excuse for a “social” interaction.