Boring and sleepy

We are going to Canberra on Friday via train and bus and staying there until Tuesday morning. I considered driving but I would rather use the travel time to do readings ("do readings" sounds weird but it doesn't sound as bad as "read readings") on the for my intensive subject starting July 21. I only just realised this is the first holiday I've taken since April 2012, not counting Golden Plains in 2013, so the idea of going anywhere is kind of scary (after I booked the V/Line tickets I had one of those "good lord what have I done..." moments). At the very least it will be good blog fodder.

Just before I started typing this I saw flashing lights through the venetian blinds so I went out onto the balcony to find 3 firemen pouring water on the mulch of a fig tree on the nature strip. One of them approached me and thanked me for calling them (I didn't, though) and explained that somebody had flicked a cigarette which had landed on the mulch and caused it to smoulder and eventually set alight. There was a police car too which left soon after. It was very weird and I am pretty sure the guy next door is at fault, because there's a 5m radius of discarded and stubbed-out cigarettes around his balcony. Not that I'm accusing him, of course. I just feel bad for the poor tree and surrounding grass. And I guess I'm also surprised something could catch alight in the middle of winter.

Old flour mill in Albion
Frozen cake at Sunshine Woolworths. Someone also left some cream in the freezer and it became a solid block


Let's talk about quarries again

While I'm in Canberra I plan on visiting the Yarralumla brickworks, in part motivated by the similarity of the site to my Sunshine North quarries (but also because Walter Burley Griffin designed some great chimneys and I want to see one in real life). Site operations ceased in 1976 and the place has been left unused since aside from what I gather to be some ghost-motivated urban exploration by particularly wild Canberrites, based solely on these Google search suggestions:
Searches related to Yarralumla brickworks
yarralumla brickworks haunted
yarralumla brickworks ghost
why is brickworks yarralumla a.c.t haunted 

This aspect is not even mildly intriguing, sorry potential ghost hunters and sleuths, if I could be bothered I would make a clever reference to Derrida's ghost idea and Marcucci's ghost landscapes etc. but I won't and you can just pretend I did.  

I just think this is really neat - source
Anyway, there's a quarry there too, which is going to turn into a park one day. This thing has some renders of the proposal and it looks OK (but only OK), in my expert opinion as a quarry enthusiast. A quick critique of the proposed park details, as per document linked above: 
  • All quarries that become parks, or part of a larger housing estate, look the same
  • There's always some reference to the quarry walls being dramatic and geologically significant, or being used for storm water purposes (a return to productivity?). This quarry has both
  • Something about pathways and "wetland edges" reminds me of Kaplan & Kaplan (1989 I think). They had a lot of good ideas about space and human preferences/perceptions which are interesting when applied to quarries (i.e. industrial landscapes are no good; humans inherently like salubrious [there's that word again] scenes with water, nature and mystery, but also need environments to be ordered and simple enough to understand/not get lost in). I feel like a lot of quarry parks try to play up the nature aspect and simplify the space by creating controlled or defined spaces in which to do something (in that sense, welcoming/formalising some uses and discouraging others). 
  • I read a Wolfe & Rivlin (1987) thing a while back about neat edges and imposed order on environments which I also think is relevant to the quarry-park remediation thing. The image below makes the quarry look like a curated space
  • I also find it funny that the document uses the term 'informal' in reference to sporting uses, which I can imagine means that it isn't formal or organised competition. I only bring this up because it does a great job of showing the difference between informal and "informal" (that makes sense to me right now but I bet you I'll read this again in 3 weeks and wonder what on earth I meant by that) 
  • Can I just say "a crust of housing" is a really unpleasant way of saying there are going to be houses surrounding the quarry? I just think of stale bread 
A render from the document - this is eerily tidy and green

Critiquing that quarry-park makes me feel really mean so I'm going to stop now. In order to balance out the vibes of this blog I give you a sunset, happy coffee foam, and a cool textile 

It was originally an apple, I added the face


VicRail magazine things

I forgot I had a whole heap of old VicRail magazines lying around. They were called "Rail Ways" and seemed to function as a kind of newsletter/semi-annual report thing. The issues mainly focus on small-scale projects being started/undertaken/completed, with some letters from the public and human interest stories, and a huge page of retirements. You can tell the magazine was published in an era where the railways were still something to be proud of, it's very quaint. I would scan the entire things but alas I do not own a scanner, so have some bad photos of some things that I found interesting.

I first thought the caption said "Auction day crowds think about their birds"

This is so sweet, I can only dream of the day I feel pleased to pay money for a ticket too

Love the old orange motif of the railways, apparently (before my time) trains had burgundy carpet too

Foam block

Last night around 2 am there was a really strange noise outside, very violent and metal-y. I looked through the window and right on the corner of our street, there were two teens destroying some foam foundation material from the housing-estate-under-construction nearby using Y-shaped metal stakes. There was styrofoam everywhere and it looked like fresh snow. The teens chose to do this right in the middle of the road (which I imagine would've been a very confusing sight for the average motorist) so eventually the council sent a truck to remedy the situation, but they didn't do a great job and now there's little pieces of foam in trees, puddles, plants, etc. all the way down the street. I am only mentioning it because you don't see this kind of thing every day. 


Friend chicken

My appointment today was productive, and I got my marks back for a field paper I submitted a few weeks ago (which I was really worried about because I thought it was terrible) and turns out I did well - not bad for a Monday. Apart from that, nothing new



Nothing to say apart from the fact that I'm done and that's all that matters

Great sunset tonight
Someone abandoned this in the doctors waiting room?


Almost time for a break

I think I am done with my thesis proposal - going to let it rest now, then time for a final proof-read. I never realised how awkward my writing is and I wonder if it's because English isn't my first language. I seem to rely a lot on a set of phrases and wordings and I really need to stop doing that. Anyway, I will be on holidays as of tomorrow and I am very excited. Of course, thesis never really ends, and I want to get some things (i.e. interviews, site observations) mostly out of the way before next semester starts, but it will be good to have a break. The past semester has been exceptionally difficult because of migraines and various medical problems but I am optimistic about the next few months, pending my rheumatologist appointment Monday. 

Have three photos to celebrate:

Cabbage and stake


Nearly there

There is a light at the end of the thesis tunnel which I feel pretty OK about. I am worried about some very small things but for the most part, I am confident. The important thing is that I think I know what I'm doing. I am ironing out the veritable creases in my literature review and then I should be done aside from aesthetic things like layouts and figures and tables and whatnot

The past week has been noisy. People in my building complained about the random VicTrack car park across the road, since two driveways within 50 meters of each other becomes traffic hell on this tiny street between 4 pm and 6:30 pm. I don't mind but obviously it's a big issue for some, and VicTrack has consequently spent a week digging up concrete and bitumen and moving giant boulders and whatever else they do, in the process connecting the tiny car park with the much larger one adjacent to the station. This is bad for sleep and therefore gives me a headache every morning but I guess that's the sacrifice I have to make for traffic to be quelled in the long-term... (this reveals how boring my life is, as this is probably the most significant recent event I can recall, I promise I will become more interesting soon)

All that noise and fussing about for this. They better put some nice plants there or else
She is a terror who loves towels and killing moths
Shoe provided for scale
Nice reflection

4 pedestrian crossings to cross the road, no thanks 
Mysterious limo at Footscray Station, visiting politician or Franco Cozzo's ride?

This tunnel near home is finally lit (at least partially) hooray etc.