In which I visit RVE again

Just a quick update but I distributed the letters inviting people to participate in my research/be interviewed, and it was good fun. I actually really like the RVE area and would probably live there if I had a lot of money. The view is unlike anything else. I finished distributing the letters just after sunset and it was eerie walking back to my car via the undeveloped part of RVE. A huge section of the land has no houses, just broken glass all over the streets and rabbits everywhere and CCTV cameras pointing at nothing in particular. It was also windier than I expected for the bottom of a valley. The final few raucous calls of a cockatoo flock settling in some nearby gums only further contributed to the weird vibe (and let's not get started on the distant sounds of Western Ring Road and freight trains). 

Josh walked with me and was really tired by this point so I left him at the dead-end roundabout thing while I walked to the car which was parked at the top of the hill (I actually did ask him whether he was concerned by this and he said he wasn't worried and that most likely nothing would happen - foreshadowing...) and by the time I got there and began to drive back down, he had already walked 3/4 of the way up the hill because he was spooked by a bunch of people with flashlights walking around and then a small blue car being driven down by the quarry lake. Even worse, a car drove past me as I was walking back to my car, and I asked if Josh had seen it and he said no (but it would've had to drive past him...? Spooky). 

Also, I spoke with some residents (Sunday afternoon is good for hanging out letters because everyone's garage doors are open) and they are enthusiastic about being interviewed (one guy wanted to be interviewed right then and there, and said it was unfortunate that I had just missed a huge group of motorcyclists leaving the quarry). 

I can see why many of the empty blocks of land here remain undeveloped and unsold... seems like levelling the block would be a hassle 
Spot the cat
Gotta love these giant chunks of basalt hanging out on the footpath 
There were cameras EVERYWHERE. It was so strange. They weren't there last time
You can barely see the cockatoo family. How good is that giant bunch of trees 

Imagine having to dig through that basalt to make the block suitable for a house



I meant to update this from Canberra but 3 days of no real internet meant I fell out of the habit. I am back now (obviously) with not much to say. I have a bad cough that is evidently going around because most people I know are also suffering; teaching is good; kitten is bad (in a good way) and is also now officially named Egg; and thesis is going well (I think). I went to the VU library today because they have a lot of old municipal reports/documentation concerning the Maribyrnong Valley, quarries, and industry in general, which aren't available at the ERC for some reason. I only intended to ask if intra-library loans were a thing and the woman there made me sign up for some bizarre card and told me that half the things I wanted are only "available by appointment", meaning I now have to go in at 3:30 pm on Friday to talk to a specific person who is permitted to fetch it and supervise me while I photocopy relevant pages. But that's OK I guess.

Egg makes a new enemy 
Bowling ball cat with a terrifying face

Egg in a box



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?