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Friday, January 2, 2015

Diligence

I have not been very diligent with my posts of late so now in 2015 I'm going to try and bring myself into the 21st-century with my blogging and actually get around to vlogging or video blogging. 

I've been exceptionally busy over the last few weeks, actually make that months as I try to create a means of generating an income for myself while still taking care of my Bonnie Ronnie. I came up with this idea to make a timelapse or rather a video incorporating timelapse of the Morton Bay Rail link project. I'm going to combine photography with video and timelapse on this project, at present it is just a case of gathering data.

The biggest challenge of course is finding the time to record a video and photographs. While I do have time on my hands it does mean that I have to leave my Bonnie Ronnie on her own for hours at a time and I'm not comfortable with this while she's not well. In the beginning she would come with me and would enjoy contributing to the project or she would simply take photographs of the local flora and fauna which she loves. I look forward to and love the editing at home and of course I am a lot more comfortable knowing that I can keep my eye on my Bonnie Ronnie.

On the subject of editing, this is a massive learning curve as it doesn't take long to lose touch with modern technology. I am fortunate enough to have the Adobe Creative Suite version 6 so I have the tools but learning each of the modules, photoshop, audition, prelude, media encoder, premiere pro, after effects and encore along with lightroom is challenging to say the least. In order to give myself a little practice I decided to complete a home movie project and have taken all of my old standard 8  and super 8 film, converted to digital and included it with video footage shot by my son and daughter when they were children along with my video footage to create a Blu-ray disk for each of them (My children).

The next task is to put together a promo package, sort of like a trailer of the end product to demonstrate our ability. My Bonnie Ronnie and I have created a new entity called P V Media Productions which we are currently in the process of promoting via social network, web-page, print and signage. It is our hope to have this promo package complete by the end of February.

I'm keen to test the quality of clips that I include in these posts so I shall add a very short MR (Moreton Bay Rail Link) clip of some night work, without sound.

video

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Youth, Bath Salts & Terrorism

I watched a documentary on designer drugs using the name or term 'Bath Salts' and at first I was a little concerned that people were swallowing, smoking, snorting or injecting actual 'Bath Salts' and to be frank I'm still not sure but I had a look in Wikipedia for a little more information.

Now there are a ton of designer drugs, none of which are good I might add and there is ample evidence of this readily available to anyone who cares to check before consuming these party drugs but this documentary was focused on the families of 'Bath Salts' addicts.

What struck me was the anger by the families of these drug addicts directed at authorities. The anger was focused on two key points;
  1. Authorities have been far too slow to act in banning 'Bath Salts' causing the acquisition of these drugs to be far too easy. (The primary issue that authorities have is defining the drug. No sooner is the pharmacology (chemical makeup) identified and listed and the pharmacology is altered by some enterprising low life chemist.)
  2. Authorities are too tough on soft drugs. The thinking here is that if soft drugs were readily available there would be no market for the harder drugs. (This is as delusional as a drug abuser believing that they are in control of their addiction. This says "Let us make it easier for more youth to become drug addicts" and is plain stupid.)
At no point during the documentary did anyone take responsibility for the situation that they found their family in, nor did they lay any portion of blame on the addicted drug user. One father actively supported his daughter by driving her to drug buys because he believed that he could control her and minimise the addiction. The mother on the other hand preferred the tough love approach and would pay for rehabilitation through an approved centre. This divide had of course caused the family to break up with the mother retaining custody of the younger children.

At the same time we have a number of youth, not just here in Australia but worldwide who are off for a little adventure and are making their way to the Middle East to join ISIL. Listening to the multitude of talk shows with their interviewing of experts on this type of youthful behaviour. The number of excuses, primarily directed at low socio-economic members of society are quite astounding. 

There is no excuse (in my opinion) for anyone to get into a situation where they are taking these drugs. There is a plethora of information available through existing educational systems, the internet, social (and in fact all) media to warn of the risks involved. The bulk of responsibility lies squarely with the drug abuser!

As for any 17 year old with the romantic idea of heading off to join a group of desert dwellers and become a leader and martyr of world liberation. This is not a game, a fantasy or a dime store novel. This is life and death, there is no glory in war and certainly not in terrorism. One thing is certain and a fundamental lesson - it matters not the age of the finger on the trigger. Or the age of the hand holding the bomb, grenade or whatever. The devastation delivered by a younger hand will not be less catostrophic, nor will it be easier to bear.

People make their choices and must accept the consequences of those choices, the drug abuser is responsible for their addiction and the impact of this on their family as is the terrorist. If they are old enough to make the choice, they are old enough to accept responsibility for the consequence of that choice. No excuses!!
     

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Self

I awoke this morning thinking about my circumstances, feeling a little sorry for myself. I have a touch of flu and nothing is going my way, blah! blah! blah! Oh poor little old ME! ME! ME! Oh man I wanted to have a mega pity party and invite the world - Wow seriously! I didn't even notice that the beast was gathering momentum,,, at first. It starts with an unhealthy inward look, unhealthy because one is not looking for positives but rather the negatives and so begins the journey to deep depression - for me anyway.

Self pity gradually becomes self doubt and moves steadily toward self loathing but the common denominator is always, self! self! self! Sometimes this journey can take days and at other times it can take only minutes but one thing is certain, if I don't grab those reigns and pull this beast in quick smart it could be a long hard journey back, assuming that I can gain control of the beast in the first place. If the beast is not gathered it will take me to it's lair and that is where hope is devoured and once this happens, I know that there is no way back. The light at the end of the tunnel is 'hope' and once extinguished there is no escaping the dark.

Even writing about this is putting a lot of focus on self and this is always a dangerous move. Yes you may question my sanity, why not? I do! We often joke about the voices in our head's but this is not too far from the truth as we do justify ourselves which requires reasoning and what is reasoning if not opposites to a notion or 'an argument', often referred to as the 'voice of reason'. How do we get into this predicament in the first place? I can only speak for myself and I know that for me it begins with desire - "I want" and here too is positive and negative desire. Examples would be. 1) Positive; love, good relationships, happiness. 2) Negative; covet (why use many words when one will do) 'lifestyle'.

Fortunately as I sat at my computer catching up on social media almost every story I looked at not only handed me the reigns, but lent strength to pull the beast up short.  The first, a 10 year old girl with her little brother, hungry and scavenging for food scraps in the dirt of a worn torn country wishing blessings of gratitude to those who 'have'... like me! Reality check - it's not all about ME! for a start and secondly I should be grateful for the many blessings I do have. Time to give thanks for all the positives and there are an abundance of these, blatantly obvious when reality is actually 'In focus'.

There were many other examples today but the second story which captured my attention was that of a beautiful young lady who was robbed of her tablet by a couple of criminals, what made this story special was that the young lady felt sorry for the criminals whom she had forgiven and said had "bigger problems than me" - the problem she was referring to was the fact that she is wheelchair bound by Cerebral Palsy. Her primary concern is for the rest of us because they (the criminals) may target us.

I thank my friends and family on social media who have taken an interest in these stories because it is they who have empowered me through their empathy. The beast is well and truly under control, back in it's cage where it belongs.

Till next time - take care and stay safe!

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Friendship

I awoke this morning with this topic in the forefront of my mind and I feel compelled to put my thoughts to paper (e-paper in this case). 

Friendships - we all form them, some good, long term bonds as strong if not stronger than family bonds between brothers and sisters or even child and parent. Some are short, fleeting but life changing in a positive way while others are negative, draining and can leave one feeling robbed, exhausted, as though the life has been sucked from one's marrow.

My youngest brother once said to me of his friend "Dave" (whom I never met). "Dave was a better father to me than my own father!" Dave was an older man, but I couldn't help wondering if my brother was a better son to Dave than he was to our father? He also said, "I don't know you, you were always in the army - then you left for Australia when I was 18!" This is true and whilst I "know" him being 8 years his senior, he would have very little memory of me as our development was almost a decade apart. So yes he had a much stronger relationship with his friend than with me.

The best friends and strongest friendships are those that just bring people together without any expectation, in my opinion. True friends don't need to be in each others space all the time but can communicate without words, some may even intuitively know the other person's needs. Above all the strongest friendships are those that feel super comfortable, a bit like a well used favourite coat on a cold and windy day - one really appreciates the warmth, smell and comfort offered.

So what has brought this compelling need to write about this? Well... friendships are not only about comfort, laughter and good times, especially where those friendships have spanned decades. These friendships will involve not only the person whom the bond has been formed with but also other members of the friends family. In many cases this may include multiple spouses, children, grand children and even great grand children. Such is the case with my Bonnie Ronnie's closest Australian friend "Lynn" of almost 30 years and whilst this friendship has had it's tumultuous moments it has had tremendous laughter and good times. However, sadly Ronnie's friend has that terrible insidious disease 'Cancer' and her time in this life draws to a close.

My Bonnie Ronnie is no stranger to tragedy. There is no tragedy greater than the loss of a child and there is no greater feeling of impotence and grief than watching your own child carry the small white casket of their child, your grandchild, from the chapel. 

This now is a different kind of tragedy, this is not sudden or distant but immediate, excruciatingly painful and slow. Ronnie and I have been helping the family for quite a number of months with hospital/doctor/treatment trips and the like. Ronnie has spent many hours at her friends bedside nursing her and attending to her personal needs as she loses weight, strength and control. The family are struggling, they have jobs, homes, family, children and grandchildren. This has been compounded by Lynn's compassion as she brought a stranger (who has this insidious disease and is in the same condition) home with her from hospital, when it was determined that nothing further could be done for either of them, other than to make them as comfortable as possible.

Ronnie too needed a break and we were preparing for our weekly shopping yesterday when we received a call saying that the doctor didn't think Lynn would last the night. This saw Ronnie back at her friends side immediately. A family who themselves are ill as a result of the stress no doubt, welcome the help, love and support that Ronnie offers and all of them are very grateful.

I've watched my Bonnie Ronnie of late as she quietly goes through many of the old photographs from the good times and there were many. Occasionally Ronnie would bring a photo to me and relate a story of some mischief that the two of them had experienced. One evening recently I heard a song playing repeatedly and on investigation found that Ronnie was listening to her friend Lynn singing whilst accompanied by a piano. The recording was on an old 4 track tape that had seen better days and some parts were rather badly distorted. Ronnie said how she wished she could copy it to a CD for Lynn to listen to. I thought that this was a lovely idea and offered to see if I could do something with it.

I am no audio engineer but I have the software and so it's just a case of learning to use it quickly. A couple of years ago I found a bunch of Super 8, Standard 8 and old Video cassettes of home movies that I had saved and decided to have them converted to digital and placed on DVD in open source format (in case I wanted to use bits). Amongst the resulting clips was one of Lynn's 50th birthday party which we had taken 20 years ago so I though it might be nice to see if I could put Lynn's singing onto this clip as background music. Well there was a lot more audio than movie so I though I had better get a little creative. I added a number of beautiful sunset's and sunrises with a little animation and some nice soft transitions. I was able to clean up and repair the audio to a degree (not a professional job by any stretch of the imagination) once I had figured out how to digitise it.

We presented the completed DVD with menu's titles, photo's and audio clips to Lynn and the spark in her eye causing Ronnie to beam like a Cheshire cat made the two week project well worthwhile.

Back to the present. Ronnie called a few minutes ago and it has been a really, really bad night with Lynn's pain rating a constant 10. However the call was to inform me that Ronnie had forgotten her charger so her phone battery is flat, no I'm not required (I'm on call) yet, but I should call Lynn's mobile if I should need to speak to her. I've decided that I'll go up there if nothing is heard by 12:00 because Ronnie needs to get some rest too.

Friendship - where would we be without it?

Till next time, take care and stay safe.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Motorcycle Gangs

Of late there has been much hullabaloo over new laws that the State of Queensland here in Australia are trying to introduce to curb the criminal activity of "Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs".

There is a huge amount of speculation over the introduction of laws that will give Police the power to stop and question groups of riders where there are three or more in the group and this seems to be the main cause for a call to all motorcyclists to rally against the introduction of these new law's. The argument that is being used is that politicians and Police intend to harass and victimise anyone who rides a motorcycle.

I've no intention of listing and or debating any of these new laws here but rather to declare my astonishment at the lack of intelligence and common sense displayed by the general public and particularly the motorcycling enthusiasts sector. I really find it hard to believe that this sector is as ignorant as it professes.

Lets put things in perspective first, the new law's are being introduced with a specific purpose, target and objective;

PURPOSE: 
Reduce blatant criminal activity by organised crime and take back control of the community.

TARGET: 
Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs who are taking their feuding over criminal territorial rights into the public with zero regard for 'collateral damage' as a result of drive by shootings and the like. Not to mention their normal criminal activity.

OBJECTIVE:
Provide a safer community for all.

I can't put it any simpler than this and if people can't see the need to achieve the objective by the means being introduced then something is seriously wrong with our society. Yes there may be some inconvenience to the motorcycling public but I don't see this as any more inconvenient than our RBT's and I can assure you that every moron who believes that it is their right to drink and drive would love to have those law's revoked.

If we the public got behind our politicians and Police offering our support with as much enthusiasm as we give unwittingly or otherwise to the "Criminal Motorcycle Gangs" there would be a lot less crime and our communities would be significantly safer.

You want to stir up the public, hold a rally etc. by all means and you will have my 100% support as long as it is for the right reasons - to provide a safer community for my children and grandchildren.  How about a rally to support the Police in their push to stamp out organised crime...... no takers?

Till next time - God Bless.

PS. I am an avid Motorcyclist!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Homophobia

I can't help but draw parallels between the "Marriage Equality" push and the Hans Christian Andersen's story The Emperor's New Clothes

Not sure what I'm getting at? Well lets just look at the terminology that is used today and start with the word "Gay". When I was a child this meant jolly, happy, joyful etc. and had nothing at all to do with homosexuality. Now initially the term "Gay" was used by homosexuals to avoid the use of the word's homosexual and lesbian ("Lesbian" - another term for homosexual but gender specific to females). One can't help but wonder at the discrimination of the genders and the use of these labels.

Now I understand that homosexuals don't wish to be discriminated against and it is my view that their sexual preferences are a matter for themselves just as mine are for myself but by expressing this view I will be labelled "Homophobic". I have no problem with this as it is simply a label applied like any other label (The thought process is sort of - not sure which box it belongs in but it differs from me so I'll put it in the "Homophobic" box and colour it red or black - why "red" or "black" more labels but these are colours associated with anger, meanness, evil, unpleasant etc.)

Now the Pollies are looking for votes and neither the Labor nor Liberal parties are in favour of homosexuals marrying for no other reason than they want to please the majority of voters. A recent reported statistic that quotes the majority of constituents are in favour of "Same sex marriage" has Labor promising to introduce a bill in parliament within days of being elected.

This then is where the 'Marriage Equality Group' are my parallel to the fable;

Time passed merrily in the large town which was his capital; strangers arrived every day at the court. One day, two rogues, calling themselves weavers, made their appearance. They gave out that they knew how to weave stuffs of the most beautiful colours and elaborate patterns, the clothes manufactured from which should have the wonderful property of remaining invisible to everyone who was unfit for the office he held, or who was extraordinarily simple in character.

    "These must, indeed, be splendid clothes!" thought the Emperor. "Had I such a suit, I might at once find out what men in my realms are unfit for their office, and also be able to distinguish the wise from the foolish! This stuff must be woven for me immediately." And he caused large sums of money to be given to both the weavers in order that they might begin their work directly.

I realise that this view will upset the weavers but lets face it, what is "Marriage" and it's purpose?

Isn't it interesting that regardless of the culture, religion or geographic location that the institution of "Marriage" has always been to cleave two opposites to be become one with the purpose of propagating the species. Now I know that propagation is possible without the formality of Marriage be it "Holy" or otherwise but there is still the requirement for opposites to cleave and become one - this therefore is the natural order.

Now my view is in my opinion, completely unbiased for the simple fact that I will support "Same sex marriage" when the participants can cleave to become one and propagate our species thereby fulfilling the actual purpose. 

I guess that all I expect as a "Homophobic" is the same tolerance as that of a "Gay". As for the Emperor, I wish him well with his new clothing and hope he doesn't catch a chill.

Till next time, God Bless.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Blog/Web Pages Update

I am in the process of updating a number of our web pages once again. Having a little fun as I learn and try a few new things.

All of our photography and other artistic interests will now be blogged on Art Journal only. Today I posted a little blog about my own post processing technique for obtaining Clarity in a picture if you are interested.

We will continue to post almost all of our work in a web friendly format on our FB page.

Our Lombard Design web page is going to take a back seat for a while as we continue to have a little fun with our photography in between my study.

The web page that I'm going to play with the most is my own.

I'm a little behind on posting work which is for sale so I'll probably bring this up to speed tomorrow - car is in for repair so I may as well get caught up on some tasks.

Till next time - God Bless.