Weekly Photo Challenge: Self Portrait

Maybe I should have saved this one in case there is a photo challenge for ‘scary’ but it’ll have to do for the ‘self-portrait’ photo challenge…as seen in the date in to top corner, this dates back to 1999…when I had started out on the series of exercises in Betty Edwards most excellent Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain (ISBN 0006381146)…one of these days, I must get around to finishing the entire series…

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Between

...between the rail and the river...

I really struggled with this photo challenge…until while Picasa-ing through the photo library, I came across  this shot of one of the last one-way bridges on State Highway 1, between Kaikoura and Blenheim – kinda strange to think that, in 2005, there were still one-way bridges on the national ‘one end t’other’ highway…it’s now been replaced by a new dual carriage-way bridge but I think that the railway (running on the level above the road) still uses this bridge…

We were driving back from my sister’s wedding in Dunedin – you can see the Otago Property Press reflected in the windscreen – we’d picked up one of these as it our wont when travelling and stumbled across the little whaling cottage I mentioned in the Paths photo challenge and that we bought spur of the moment…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Celebration

Every year, the true celebration, as per the weekly photo challenge from a few weeks back, of spring is when the punga explode into life…around the time that this challenge was posted the punga all around the house were all straggly and brown, looking pretty much like they were all dying….every year we go through the same angst, wondering if they are all dying and then, almost overnight, they explode into life with glorious fascinators for green reaching for the skies…

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Winter

Although, here, it is (apparently!!) summer, Winter is the theme of this week’s WordPress photo challenge…our winter this year was more wet than anything – we’re just below the Central Plateau snow line but even then we only got snow twice last winter…it was as cold as it looks here – the driveway is a big heat soak (we only heard about heat exchanger heating systems the week after we laid it down) and a sure sign that it is really cold outside is when the snow settles on it with out melting as it did soon after this pic was taken.

…but the next day was beautiful: great contrats of blue skies and white ground…

…and not everyone was upset by the cold…of course, the flip side of this is that it kinda sux to be a big black dog in summer…

More photo challenge catch-up in bound…

It’ll all be over soon…

…well, the working year anyway…and two other big ‘over’ milestones this week…the War in Iraq is ‘over’ (uh-huh) as is the reign of North Korean tyrant, Kim Jong-il, whose main claim to fame was a rather wooden cameo in Team America – World Police

At least he'll be remembered for something...

Certainly I’m looking for a bit of slower time between Christmas and New Year to recharge batteries and consider how to do things smarter in 2012 – I don’t think that current tempo is sustainable – although spending two months of the year overseas sounds all very nice and exotic it is actually a real grinder that generates its own burden of work on getting home…I think I’ll be mandating periods of down time from January onwards to chase that elusive work/life balance – apart from reading and stash acquisition, hobbies have definitely take a back seat in 20112 and that’s neither healthy nor satisfying – I have enjoyed meeting the challenge of the WordPress weekly photo and expect see see this last couple of challenges caught up before the end of the year…I hope WordPress keep this up into 2012 as it is a great way of trying to maintain a steady pulse of posts…

Also expect a surge of more professionally-based posts too as I wade through the morass of draft posts sitting here and in MS Live Writer and select those which still may have a little life left in them…

Right then, that’s that surge of creativity suppressed…back to shifting offices…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Waiting

Waiting…this week’s WordPress photo challenge theme

Waiting…something soldiers do a lot  of…above the the iconic painting by Graham Braddock of a soldier shivering at the Waiouru train station in the company of those who have gone before…it is not the most hospitable of places especially in the middle of winter, and less so when the duty driver forgets to meet the train…have walked down the tracks into the camp a few times…

Waiting for something to happen, waiting for something to stop…waiting to march on to a battalion parade after having already been at work for two hours (theme variation: hurry up and wait!), waiting for a reviewing officer whose driver got lost, waiting to see if the boss gets his words right this time…huddling on an icy hill in Pureora, waiting for the damn sun to come up so we can find out where we are…waiting for the chopper home only to find it’s been cancelled…waiting for the camp duties to call the RP Section to close the Baggies bar coz it’s a bit rowdy…

More waiting below…all cleaned up with our good gears on waiting for the Herc to take us back to Burnham…the two Scorpions are not back to back in al-round defence: one is towing the other – bloody tankies abusing the Jag engine and gear box again, most likely!

HEREKINO SAFARI was was of the best exercises I ever did…a full Ready Reaction Force deployment to Northland to clear the dreaded Musorians out again…HMAS Tobruk wasn’t available so to replicate an across-the-beach landing all the vehicles bar a couple of Rovers and Scorps that were flown in, were assembled on Ninety Mile Beach just as if they had been marshalled off the landing craft.  It really demonstrated the utility of the Scorp as a light fire support vehicle – one would trundle just behind the lead section as it advanced on foot – action on contact was to break off to the sides of the road and let the Scorp barrel up and start thumping away.

And on the topic of waiting, our section was tasked to conduct an OP over the enemy main position for a couple of days, returning back to the company lines just before the battalion moved out on a night march to the form-up point for the ever-popular dawn attack. The OC stood us down to secure the company’s kit that had been left behind but he may have omitted to run this by our platoon commander (some guy Keating who may have subsequently gone on to bigger and better things!!) – when informed that we’d been excused dawn attacks for the day, he had a fit of junior officer bravery and went storming off to  “…see about this...” No doubt he did but we still got the night off, harboured up by the local community hall where they just happened to be having a shindig of some sort…the lovely local ladies probably slipped more kai out the kitchen window to us than went into the hall itself as we waited for sun-up and Aunty Huia…

Waiting to see Wigram as we descended through cloud on the way home –  just a flash of concrete and a thud as the main gear hit the runway – waiting to see if anyone up the pointy end could actually see where we are going in those pre-GPS days…the good old days…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Wonder

You've got to be kidding me!

I gazed in wonder (this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge) at the might of the Thon Brussels City Centre hotel ironing room…there are no irons or ironing boards in the rooms (less a dodgy trouser press) however “…guests may make use of the hotel ironing room…”…for a 29 story hotel with hundreds of rooms, what you see if what you get…and it’s not even a particularly good iron nor is it very clean – lots of brown gunge on the underside…

It’s a shame really as the rooms are really nice and a decent size although catching a lift is a bit problematic though: there are four of them but each is tiny and will only take three adults before the weight alarm goes off…waiting ten minutes for a lift is not unusual…

Nice big windows but the curtains leave a bit to be desired as they don’t block out the city night lights and one colleague staying on a lower floor gave the office girls in an adjacent office block a thrill when he climbed out of bed one morning!

Not sure if this is a place I’d recommend or not yet…

...great views from the 28th floor though...

Weekly Photo Challenge: Possibility

I can, I can, of course, I can…a steam engine climbs the Raurimu Spiral…

This week’s photo challenge leads off…

“As far back as I can remember, I have loved taking and looking at photographs of doorways, paths, windows, and roads – these kinds of images have always invited me in and encouraged my mind to wander. What’s beyond that ornate door? Whose window is that? Where would I end up if I continued on that road? These are what I call ‘pictures of possibility.’

I often do this…look at a side road or a farm track and wonder where it goes, what it might be like to explore one day , or maybe live along somewhere; or look at a window and wonder about the people who might live or work behind it…in this case, a steam engine on the Raurimu Spiral – commercial rail traffic here is all diesel-electric but occasionally a restored steam train will come along on a special outing – the steam plume is great for tracking the path of the Spiral which from here climbs through two tunnels and a complete 360 to emerge some one hundred and forty metres higher on the Central Plateau….in addition to the whole days gone by thing, I remember taking this picture and wondering about the people on the train…who were…where were they going…what little back stories filled each carriage…

Sometimes we come inside when we’ve left the TV on and there will be Kirk, perched in front of the screen attentively following every movement…He’s quite picky about what he watches, his favourites being ‘It’s Me Or The Dog!‘, ‘Country Calendar‘ and ‘The Dog Show‘ and only when there’s sheep or other dogs on the screen…he doesn’t get excited, just sits and watches…I often wonder what he’s thinking…what’s a Kirk’s-eye view of the world…?