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23 October 2014 @ 11:44 am
Red Panda
22 October 2014 @ 12:38 pm
My Grandpa died a few years ago & while helping clean out his flat, I 'inherited' his collection of matchboxes. Before smoking got banned from everywhere, promotional matchboxes were a thing, & my Grandpa had a thing for matchboxes, besides other nick-knacks.
Charles & Di

Exploring my grandpa's collection meant my curiosity was peaked when last month I saw advertised an exhibition of matchboxes & labels in Adelaide. I attended & gained some good inisghts into what collectors value, it's the printing, sometimes on the boxes themselves, sometimes on labels that can be steamed off. How intact the cardboard & match contents are is irrelevant. & I'm sure what's in Grandpa's collection is not particularly rare or valuable, so I can eventually say goodbye to the collection as I scan & upload them in this blog topic project. However, the exhibition also had a lot of matchboxes for sale, two wading pools full of them in fact & going for five cents each or twenty five for a dollar. So grandpa's collection in my posession, has probably increased by a dollar's worth. & The above pictured commemorative Redheads label is the first from that twenty five.

Future King!
by Joel Catchlove

We’ve seeded our last 150 tubes in preparation for planting in a few months time. When the rains come, we’ll have over 1000 plants ready to go. Most are destined for the regeneration areas we’ve fenced around the waterways, but a few others are non-indigenous livestock fodder plants, timber trees and food plants we’ve raised from seed and cuttings to begin developing other zones around the farm.

It’s a Pink Gum Woodland, it just doesn’t know it yet.

Late in 2013, along with a posy of other plant nerds, we attended a workshop with botanist Ann Prescott (author of It’s Blue with Five Petals) to explore ideas behind revegetation for habitat. We walked through remnant woodland in the hills above Yankalilla, and tried to imagine how our farm might have looked 180 years ago. Prescott can be a bit of a provocative figure, and her observations challenged many of our ideas for revegetation. As we walked through pastures that were once head high phalaris and are now native grasses sprinkled with self-sown eucalypts, she urged allowing regeneration at the pace of the ecosystem, rather than expending significant energy in growing and planting vast quantities trees that can often fail in the face of denuded soils, weeds or rampaging marsupials. Indeed, she suggested that planting one tree every 10 years could be enough to regenerate a landscape. Interestingly, Prescott also suggested that in the Southern Fleurieu region, optimum conditions for natural germination are achieved about every 2-5 years. Patience, with weed-control and managed grazing, can bring regeneration.

Allocasuarina muelleriana (Slaty Sheoak) seedlings

Humans tend to like trees. They’re easily visible. They give us shade and timber and fruit. An urge when regenerating a landscape then can be to plant as many different trees of as many different species as possible. But as we walked through the remnant woodland, we realised a few things. The species diversity of a woodland such as this can be imagined as a triangle. At the narrow top of the triangle are the trees. Perhaps five species in the hundred that the woodland might have are trees. Likewise, as the triangle thickens, perhaps five or so species in the total diversity of the woodland are shrubs. The real action happens at the wide base of the triangle, with the most substantial diversity of species amongst the forbs (flowering bulbs, lilies, etc.) and the grasses. The grasses grow in tussocks in the open space between trees, and the forbs emerge seasonally in the ‘inter-tussock space’, the space that also experiences the most intense colonisation by weeds.

When we paced them out, the trees in this woodland averaged about 20-25 metres apart, that is, they had about a 10 metre canopy, with about 10 metres of open ground between them. If looked at from the perspective of a black cockatoo, about half of the woodland is open ground, and consequently those species which compose the greatest diversity of the woodland, the forbs and grasses, thrive on sunlight. Density of trees produces forests and the growth form of trees changes to reflect that. In forests and woodlots, trees grow tall and narrow with minimal low branches as they compete for sunlight. In contrast, the growth form of trees in a woodland is low and broad. This allows for low and long lateral branching, essential for the creatures of the woodland to rest, nest and hunt from. Witness the behaviour of a woodland bird like the Scarlet Robin, which perches on low branches, dives to pick off insects, then returns to its observation post. Structurally, said Prescott, woodlands such as these are generally composed of broadly spaced eucalypts, interspersed with groves of sheoaks and wattles. Acacia pycnantha is particularly valued because of its propensity to keel over after a few years, providing more low, lateral habitat. In a woodland, said Prescott, you should be able to see through the trees for 100 metres in any direction.

Acacia pycnantha (Golden Wattle) seedlings catch the sun

Ann Prescott’s insight has been invaluable in shaping our thinking about how to proceed with our habitat zones. While restoring habitat is one of our key intentions for the property, we’re also committed to the role of trees in designed interventions in the landscape, such as erosion control, windbreaks, shelter, timber and food production. I’m also interested in considering how microclimates may need to be altered to support regeneration. In theory, we won’t be doing large-scale revegetation for too many more years. Rather, once a certain level of shelter and soil stability is returned, the habitat zones will become largely self-maintaining and we can, finally, enjoy a little shade and watch the robins hunt.

This article is based on my notes, and any factual errors are probably mine, not Ann Prescott’s!

Follow Joel & Sophie's restorative farming story heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere.
15 October 2014 @ 10:08 am
My Grandpa died a few years ago & while helping clean out his flat, I 'inherited' his collection of matchboxes. Before smoking got banned from everywhere, promotional matchboxes were a thing, & my Grandpa had a thing for matchboxes, besides other nick-knacks.


14 October 2014 @ 11:48 am
Malayan Tapir
Title: Mary Freer
02 October 2014 @ 11:18 am

Found these plant boxes above a big basement in Brisbane that calls itself a community space. The boxes were on the sharehouse back patio, on the way to the community space toilet. They were different to the previous type of plant boxes I'd seen out of milkcrates, & I like the addition of hooks to hang them over the railings.
25 July 2014 @ 11:10 am
by Samantha Prendergast

When I was little I use to love the Enya song ‘Orinoco flow’. Mum would play it in the car and we’d both sing along. After I got sick and lost most of my hearing, I’d sit in the car saying ‘put ‘sail away, sail away’ on!’, but no matter how high the volume was, I just couldn’t hear it. I was only four at the time and I didn’t really understand what hearing loss meant, so I’d keep asking Mum to put it on and she would burst into tears.

I lost my hearing very quickly. One day I felt a bit sick and then all of a sudden I developed this 40 degree fever that left me unconscious on our living room floor. I was rushed to the hospital and they pumped me with antibiotics. Looking back, that must have been awful. Mum was the same age I am now and she had this sick little girl dropping in and out of consciousness. Eventually they told her I had a very dangerous strain of meningitis. I stayed in intensive care for three weeks and the whole time my Mum stayed with me while my dad looked after my two younger sisters at our home in the Blue Mountains.

Obviously I survived, but the fever was so high in the first 48 hours that my inner ear was essentially fried. It meant I went from having fairly typical hearing to being someone with severe hearing loss. I guess that’s a big change, but because I was only four, I don’t remember much of what happened. I just know that the doctors gave me ten months to recover from the whole ordeal of having meningitis and then brought me back into hospital to give me something called a cochlear implant.

Physically, a cochlear implant is made up of a small metal receiver inserted a few centimetres under my scalp, a silicone carrier that’s inserted into the cochlea, and a speech processor, which I wear like a hearing aid. It’s a fairly technical structure and I could go on forever explaining the electrodes and magnetic coils, but essentially it’s a bionic ear. All of the metal and silicone that sits inside my head does the job that my ear would do if it wasn’t damaged. The cochlear implant allows me to hear most things, but I don’t hear them in quite the same way as people with typical hearing. That said, it’s hard to explain what’s “different” about it when I don’t remember what it’s like to hear “normally”. The best way I can think to describe it is if you imagine holding a plastic funnel to your mouth and talking through it. It’s like that, but ‘tinnier’.

In some ways, having a cochlear implant means I’m always adapting to the things around me. If someone’s mumbling or speaking quite softly I can try to lip read, or understand what they’re saying in another way. Conversations with multiple people or in noisy places like pubs can be particularly difficult to navigate. At the very least, those situations require me to concentrate quite a lot and I often make a choice between saying “sorry, could you repeat that?” or just nodding and pretending that I heard. Sometimes I might misunderstand a question someone’s asked me, but feel too awkward to acknowledge it so I just nod and stare at the person’s face trying to detect from their expression whether they’re satisfied, amused, or bewildered with my answer. If their face registers the latter, I go into damage control with ‘Wait… come again?’!

I don’t go out of my way to tell people that I have a hearing impairment because it’s not something I constantly think about. And especially when I was a teenager and at that stage where you start to think about boys, I was often too embarrassed or shy to let on that I couldn’t hear. But that’s an awkward time for everyone. Nowadays I’m actually more than happy to talk about it with curious friends and strangers, but I’m also conscious of past situations in which people have decided that because I’m hearing impaired I need to be spoken to LOUDLY and s l o w l y, as if I’m stupid. The irony is that it’s more often them than me who ends up looking like an idiot.

Another thing that really gets my goat is when television programmes and films don’t come with English captions. Having access to captions is something many people don’t think twice about, but it’s a real privilege for hearing impaired people. Movies especially tend to have a lot of ambient noise and that can be particularly frustrating at the cinema, where they very rarely have captions. It would be nice to always have the aid of subtitles at the movies, instead of having to wait for special screenings or for the DVD.

When I was little my dad use to record nature documentaries from TV onto VHS, and me and my sisters would watch them over and over and over again. We were especially keen on David Attenborough – so much so that we sort of thought of him as another Grandpa. Early nineties TV recordings didn’t come with captions, but Attenborough’s voice is so clear that it doesn’t really matter. Last year me and my sister saw him in Adelaide and when he started to speak, we both burst out crying from the nostalgia of it all. Something about hearing his voice and seeing how he’d aged – it just set us off.

Visual images have always been a big part of my life. As a kid I was quite the night owl and I would sit in bed surrounded by my parents’ atlases and geography books. I was particularly taken by National Geographic, and that probably contributed to a very romantic notion of myself as an adventurer. At some point during that time I must have heard the term “photo-journalist” and connected it with adventure, because by the time I was ten I had decided that I would become one. I took great pride in telling adults that that is what I’d grow up to be. It actually so happens that my passion never really dulled. I started to dabble in photography, then I studied it, and I ultimately did grow up to be a photographer.

At the moment I shoot a lot of events – exhibitions, live shows, also portraits and an increasing number of weddings. I like the feeling of being in control, having the freedom to glide around, briefly interacting with people before moving on. What I really enjoy, though, is the photography I do while I’m travelling. Recently I went to New Zealand and it was overwhelmingly pristine. There’s just this feeling of appreciation you get when you’re in a really beautiful environment and your chest feels like it will explode and you just want to capture that feeling with your camera.

It might sound strange, but my hearing loss definitely happened at the best possible time.  Four year olds have already developed enough language skills to speak without much trouble and they’re also fairly resistant and adaptable. I got used to the implant, and then I learned to live with it, and now it’s just part of who I am. In some ways, my relationship with photography’s pretty similar. Regardless of whether I was ten and just getting used to the camera or 27 and shooting a wedding, I’ve always taken photos without much thought. It feels natural. Eventually I’d like to reach the point where I’m using that love of photography to document important things that are happening in the world, especially when they concern nature. I’m really disappointed with the decisions that have been made about the future of Australian environment, especially in the Tasmanian forests and the Great Barrier Reef. And I do think photography can play a role in changing how we think about those environments – maybe even go some way in protecting them. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then I’d like to think we can learn something by hearing them.

Read more stuff by Prendergast heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere.

24 July 2014 @ 10:39 am
My Grandpa died a few years ago & while helping clean out his flat, I 'inherited' his collection of matchboxes. Before smoking got banned from everywhere, promotional matchboxes were a thing, & my Grandpa had a thing for matchboxes, besides other nick-knacks.
Nudie Interior

Here's one from a NSW Auto Wreckers, I couldn't find the business on Google street view & most of the business directory sites only gave a PO box. But if you find it, by all means picket outside protesting the advertising from ages ago that used pornography & objectified women.

Grandpa & Car

I guess it's a lonely life, the auto dismantling life, this matchbook may have been their only female-resembling comfort.
Here's a preview of my work on Charles & The Eggman! Currently inking part 4 & pencilling part 5.
Charles & The Eggman #2 02
Charles & The Eggman #2 05
Charles & The Eggman #2 09
Charles & The Eggman #2 13
Charles & The Eggman #2 17
Charles & The Eggman #2 20
Charles & The Eggman #3 05
Charles & The Eggman #3 06
Charles & The Eggman #3 10
Charles & The Eggman #3 11

Charles & The Eggman #2 is currently available to buy at:
Pulp Fiction Comics & Co-West's zine shop in The Co-Op Coffee Shop, in Adelaide.
Sticky zine shop in Melbourne.
The Etsy store I made, in digital form.
18 July 2014 @ 11:03 am
by Daniel Townsend

None of us saw it coming.

I certainly didn’t think he had it in him, neither did Adam T or Chris. No one in the school believed he did it, even when they ran, pressed their collective nose to the classroom window gaped, gasped and pointed as one. The mess was everywhere.

It was very clear that somebody had done something very terrible in that room. It was all over the walls.

But Adam D? Inconceivable.

Where had he been, though, that final lunchtime when the three of us were preparing for our show in the Hall? What had he been doing when we were plugging in lights, adjusting our borrowed guitar straps and decoding the manual for the VHS camcorder? Where had he been?

We found him outside the principal’s office. Wide eyes averted to the linoleum, manicured hands folded between the ironed seams of his shorts and his t-shirt covered in… In something. What was that?

Chris broke the silence.

“What’s all that mess on ya top, dude?”

Adam D looked up at us. Whatever the substance was, we could now see it was in his hair too, specks of it on his cheek. The rest of the school was pointing out smatterings of the same stuff on the posters and student projects in our room. Mostly up high.

“You know the ceiling fan in our room?” Adam whispered. We nodded, slow and synchronised. His face broke into a smirk. “I threw bananas up into it.”

We stood before him muted, our mouths wide as sideshow alley clowns. I just remember his eyes, like sunny blue lakes beneath a windy sky. All the diamonds in those tiny pools.

“I threw heaps of ‘em,” he smiled, eyes dancing. “Heaps and heaps of ‘em.”

Somehow my father managed to get him out on bail, perhaps in exchange for grade five completed in detention, and we finally got to rock that Hall.

We might not have known how to play those instruments, but we knew why we wanted to play them. It was written all over Adam D’s face. And in his hair. So we borrowed a wig for the show.

Read the rest of the band saga & other writings by Dan at his blog heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere.
18 July 2014 @ 09:43 am
25.4 Pencil Scan
Check out the albums of these in progress images on the Charles & The Eggman Facebook page.
15 July 2014 @ 02:12 pm
11 July 2014 @ 12:06 pm
by Sarah Jansen

In the house I lived in from the time I was two‑and‑a‑third until I was twenty, there are fourteen steps leading from the ground floor to the first floor.

When they were building the house, my dad and my uncles fitted the flat part of the stairs, the part you step on, into places measured twice and cut once, and their places clearly marked with the flat carpenter’s pencils I loved to play with once my fine motor control came in. With the sharp smell of Liquid Nails and a few squeals of a power drill each piece of wood became a step.

When you’ve just learned to use your feet, stairs are irresistible. At first our stairs had no railing and no backs to them and my mother was worried I would slip between them to the bald slab beneath. I was only allowed to climb up to a certain step. (I think it was about the fifth, but this was before I learned that there were numbers so I’m not sure.)

Soon there was a balustrade, but it seemed like the steps were backless for a long time. Maybe they were or it could be because the danger of slipping through them was impressed on me repeatedly by all of the five or six adults I lived with at the time.

The house was finished when I was two years, three months and twenty-seven days old and we moved into it from the Little House, the four-room cottage twenty or thirty metres away. Four days later my sister Melanie was born.

Sometime in next few months, when I was still two, I woke up in the middle of the night—that mysterious time when you’re not supposed to be awake and everything is dark and quiet and your parents are asleep. Frightened by a nightmare, I toddled down the hall to my parents’ bedroom and turned to climb up on their bed.

The ground disappeared beneath my feet and the next thing we know my parents heard thumping and bumping and they raced out to find me crumpled at the bottom of the stairs, screaming.

Nothing was broken or even seriously hurt. Kids are pretty bouncy until they’re about eight. I guess I slept the rest of the night in the parents’ bed. It took a long time for that habit to get broken.

Read more of my buddy Jansen's stuff heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere.

09 July 2014 @ 02:42 pm
My Grandpa died a few years ago & while helping clean out his flat, I 'inherited' his collection of matchboxes. Before smoking got banned from everywhere, promotional matchboxes were a thing, & my Grandpa had a thing for matchboxes, besides other nick-knacks.
Ali Baba

Big Dinner
Title: Bec Sheedy
04 July 2014 @ 04:56 pm
by Andy Paine

I love the Christmas story. Despite Santa Claus and his mountains of tinsel and useless junk, I still love the Christmas story.

I love it partly because I think it’s important to remember the stories that define us as a culture. White Western society doesn’t really have ancient mythology going back tens of thousands of years to give us a sense of belonging to the world and to our own culture, but our obsession with progress and the process of secularisation are helping us to forget what culture we do have.

Or maybe we always forgot it. Because while a historical trait of European society has been the colonisation and exploitation of the rest of the word and the building of empires, the Christmas story is one of a very different kind of king.

You probably know the story well enough that I don’t have to go over it in detail. It’s the story of God appearing on Earth, but there’s a few twists in the tail. In the outskirts of the Roman empire, a baby is conceived out of wedlock to a Jewish couple.  Due to an order from the Roman rulers, the parents are forced to have the baby away from home. Forced to give birth in a stable rather than in a room, the unglamorous birth is attended by lowly shepherds while the social and religious elite are completely unaware. No Woman’s Day exclusive photoshoot, and no grand divine act to announce to the world that God had become incarnate. No, the Christmas story is about a couple being shunted this way and that by people with more power than them, ignored and outcast. It’s the ultimate statement of what the glory of God really looks like.

And then there’s the “Magi from the East” (aka “wise men”), which brings me to why I’m writing this. It’s mostly forgotten now that Santa Claus and Westfield have bought Christmas, but for a long time in christian tradition, the story of Herod and the Magi (you know, between where Mary and Joseph brave the Christmas shopping rush and where they get a bargain at the boxing day sales) was remembered on the 28th of December as the Feast of the Holy Innocents.

This is one of my favourite parts of the Christmas story. Even Yoda wrote a Christmas carol about it (if you didn’t get that, don’t worry). While all the rich and powerful of Jerusalem and Rome are ignoring the birth of Jesus, three men in the East see a star that tells them something significant has happened. If you’re paying attention you find out these things. They travel West to see who has been born, bringing gifts. But when the get to Judea and ask the king Herod if he knows about it, he says no. He’d sure like to though.

The magi keep going, eventually finding the baby Jesus. In a dream they are told not to go back to Herod, so they return a different way. Herod responds with tyrannical rage, ordering the death of every child in Bethlehem under two years of age. Jesus survives because in another dream, his father is told to flee to Egypt. Like I heard a friend of mine say the other day, lucky they didn’t try to come to Australia.

This is an interesting part of the story because this is where a line gets drawn. While the manger birth shows Jesus being ignored and forgotten, the story of Herod is the first of many instances of Jesus being considered a direct threat by those in power. One that needs to be wiped out by any means necessary.

Jesus is rarely a neutral figure. He might have been called the Prince of Peace, but he also said “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law — a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.’” (Matthew 10:34-36, quoting Micah 7.) The kingdom of God – of love, service and justice, is in direct opposition to the kingdoms of humanity – of money, power and violence.

This is what the magi learn in this story. While the Feast of the Holy Innocents traditionally remembers the slaughtered children as the first martyrs of christianity, it should also remember the three magi as the first christians to commit civil disobedience in standing up for what’s right. And also King Herod as neither the first nor the last person who succumbed to the temptations of power, and the slippery slope it leads to.

So tomorrow, on the Feast of the Holy Innocents, I hope we can remember all those innocent people around the world whose lives have been lost. In war, from Afghanistan and Iraq to Syria and Southern Sudan. In poverty, that so often the greediness and exploitation of the (Christian) Western world has helped to create. In oppressive regimes, from West Papua to Palestine to North Korea and all over the world, where the role of Herod is played out again and again.

I hope we also remember the magi and their courageous actions. It’s the duty of all of us to stand up against injustice wherever we see it, from our neighbourhoods to the corridors of power. Every act of love and resistance is a step towards creating a better world, but can also act as an inspiration to others – an invitation to join the glorious struggle that is pursuing true justice in our own lives and in our world.

And I hope we remember Herod, the despot king, who at another time (recorded in history but not in the bible), killed his own wife and two sons. We all are constantly faced with with temptations or compromises that will give us that little bit of extra power, wealth or recognition. Most of us like to think we would never order the mass killing of children, but I think history shows us that by the time you do get that kind of power, there’s no turning back. Part of the Christmas story that shouldn’t be forgotten is the warning for us to be less like Herod, and more like Jesus, who said:

“The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.” (Luke 22:24-27)

Read more Andy Paine heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere.

30 June 2014 @ 04:00 pm

I finally got around to reading Teri Louise Kelly's 'American Blow Job'. Teri was a great help while working on the recording we did while producing the Format podcasts. It was an enjoyable book & I enjoy Teri's prose despite her many works of poetry I'd known her previously for.
Paroxysm Press did a print run of this book a while ago & there may be a copy or two left to buy in the bookshelf at Co-West's zeen shop, downstairs inside the Co-Op coffee shop.
But it was originally an e-book & you can get it heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere.
12 June 2014 @ 10:42 am
The above image originally appeared with a series of toilet reviews on my pal Steve's toilet reviewing blog check it out heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere.
Title: Eastick
05 June 2014 @ 09:47 am
04 June 2014 @ 12:35 pm

The above link is a how to article on making a milk crate bed base, which we haven't had on the blog so far due to lack of photos. I've had the same bedside table in this picture too until I got rid of my bed all together.
03 June 2014 @ 09:59 pm



Like 'Quickdraw' by John Weeks, the work by someone called Shags is something I came across while discovering Australian indie comics & zeens in the nineties. A nifty resurgence in zeen culture in Canberra maybe brought Shags back to the photocopier to produce this volume. While I recall her earlier work in a more narrative comic form, 'The Rejects' collects cartoons deemed not worthy enough for a cafe exhibition from 2011. Shags has less to say these days, I guess. These are more idiosyncratic musings, it's a more lightweight read than a narrative comic. I don't like that as much as a juicier reads. But something I do like are people who don't give up on their creative impulses & continue to produce content well beyond a decade of their life, people like that, apparently, include Shags. 'The Rejects' is a nice suprise & I hope to one day see another collection of Shags' work, albeit lightweight cartoons or otherwise. A6 Portrait format, B&W skin & guts, staple bound. Contact: PO Box 876 Jamison Centre ACT, 2614.

& With that, it's time to announce this is my last review for at least eighteen months. The spare time part of my life that had room for review writing is consumed moreso with my comic book project & that's fulfilling enough for me to cleanse my creative palate from writing little articles. This would be appropriate time to thank any blog readers I may have or zeen fans who have read these reviews for as long as they possibly could. I'd also like to thank Format, Sticky, Aunty Mabel, Heckler, Excitement Machine & even the Thousands for facilitating my reviews & other articles getting inside the distracted minds of the consenting public. It feels a little weird as this is the oldest regular topic on my blog, but I feel the blog likewise the review topic is suffering these past few years in contrast to the enjoyable comic book project, except when I'm blogging about the comic that is. By no means should this suggest an end to the blog as I've learned for the seven years or so I've been uploading stuff here that it's a great ally in times of 'creative gap'. But you'll probably all be relieved you'll no longer have to put up with the phonetical spelling of zeen, for at least eighteen months. Woe unto those who mispronounce the format's name in thy format's fairs & workshops across the land.

Tags: ,
29 May 2014 @ 09:41 am

I've uploaded a similar image before, but every time I go to Port Adelaide I wanna take her photo, & when the visit includes me bringing a better camera, I have to.
Title: Josie Long
16 May 2014 @ 10:40 am

by Samantha Prendergast

Right in the middle of Australia’s Great Summer Heat Wave, when hot wind burned your eye balls and everything outside turned yellow, my boyfriend and I decided to plant some veges. It was possibly the worst ever time to make things grow, but heat waves breed boredom and we were sick of paying $5 for basil, so we stocked up on seeds and ventured into the garden.

I always associated growing your own vegetables with being a proper adult – like consistently paying your rent on time or flossing after meals. It’s something my parents always did, and when they’d come inside with dirty hands they’d look all smug and satisfied. When my boyfriend and I grew our own vegetables, we assumed things would be the same, i.e. that we’d reap the benefits of wholesome outdoor activity and then the plants would gift us with food, just like on Better Homes and Gardens. As it turns out, baby vegetable plants are very needy, and “wholesome outdoor activity” can extend to running around at 5 in the morning trying to protect pak choy from the wind.

We learned these lessons the hard way. The eggplant seeds never turned into food. The coriander grew sullen and brown. The internet’s full of plant-growing advice and for a while that gave us comfort. But the advice is all very general. The more I read about companion planting and soil nutrition, the more convinced I became that our plants were different. Internet strangers, invariably named Mitch or Shona, would offer small advice and then brag about their seedlings in a way that reminded me of parents, huddled outside classrooms waiting for their kids to finish school.

I’d always known plants are “alive”, but it wasn’t until we became small time hobby-gardeners that I noticed that (a) they’re all individuals and (b) you can end up with favorites. Seeing as it was a billion degrees outside, there were just some seedlings that were never going to thrive. The tomatoes seemed drawn to the heat and quickly outgrew their baby pots, but the broccoli plants were scraggly and pale. If they could make human sounds then I’d expect them mostly to whine. It made me resentful. We’d given them premium potting mix and in return they sagged. When my boyfriend reminded me that broccoli really wasn’t meant for growing in 40 degree weather, the resentment turned to guilt.

As the vegetables grew, they developed their own characteristics – strengths and weaknesses that we lived through vicariously. He wouldn’t admit it but I could tell my boyfriend saw himself in the pak choy – the dark green plants growing slowly in an insolated tray. Meanwhile, I developed a strange relationship with three pots of basil, which I’ve secretly been racing against each other since the day we brought them home.

I think there’s something strange about the feelings people develop towards replaceable, inanimate objects, but that hasn’t stopped me talking to the seed sprouts in a baby voice or building a tinsel scare crow I called their “scare daddy”. When a seedling was eaten by a magpie I felt genuine emotions. A few nights ago I found myself standing in the back yard, throwing fists of slug bait at the garden and muttering, “I’ll get you”, into the darkness. It was a crazed scene and ultimately futile, because I woke the next day to find two of our best plants destroyed by intruder snails.

So far, only a few of the plants have produced anything edible – not because they’re incompetent but because they’re still pretty young. My hope is that, in adulthood, they’ll need a bit less care and will be a less droopy. But as a first-time plant parent, everything’s still quite new. While we can all hope that the hours spent spraying fish gut fertiliser at soil are worth it, I’ve learned that there’s only so much control you can have over the plants, at least in your own home garden. Just quietly though, I guess that’s half the fun.

Check out more of Sam's writing heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeere.

15 May 2014 @ 10:10 am
Easter Bunny

On Easter Sunday, after an eight hour slow boil, we ate our Easter bunny.
13 May 2014 @ 11:22 pm


QUICKDRAW #6 by John Weeks

Just under twenty years ago, when I was first discovering what zeens were via indie comics, I learned about John Weeks. He appeared in an episode of my VHS copy of Q-Ray's community TV series, 'Comic Book Virus'. He featured a bit in the 'Milkbar' journals. He came across as an inspiring guy in the video & in the journals he straddled the comics vs. zeens divide perfectly. Weeks' comic-zeens were not concerned with the artistic ideals of a lot of indie comics, not concerned with getting the drawings just so, they were much more DIY-ethic focussed, just communicating with pen & paper like a Pictionary game & sharing it with the people. A spirit that zeen folk have been in touch with for generations. I did not see work by Weeks outside of this time period until just under five years ago when he signed up for former 'Milkbar' editor Amber Carvan's web-comic project, 'Comic Artist Rehab'. This edition of Quickdraw I procured appears to be from this period , as it references that project. I picked it up at Melbourne's zeen fair in February to bring myself closer to all of the aforementioned – the legend that is John Weeks. It still features hastily drawn Pictionary looking sketches about Weeks' life living in South East Asia, which is in keeping with what I'd understood 'Quickdraw' to be like. But this is not the Quickdraw comic-zeen of just under twenty years ago, this is a full-colour, professionally-printed volume in American-paper sized portrait format, it has an ISBN & a barcode. Why isn't it a photocopied chapbook complying with copy-paper standards? This is disappointing.

05 May 2014 @ 07:31 pm
Title: J-Wah