What’s the next best thing to going on a canoe trip? Watching Song of the Paddle by Bill Mason. Another one of his films that like Paddle to the Sea, had a powerful impact on me as a youngster, giving me a taste of how fantastic canoeing might be. And I’m happy to report it was borne out by my subsequent real life experiences.

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Don’t know when this poster dates from, but it’s still an important  message today.

I’ve watched this a few times in the last few years and I come away envious each time. Always love seeing craftspeople who really know how to use their tools, and seeing these two gentlemen wield various axes, (as well as a crosscut felling saw, a froe, and a drawknife), they are clearly masters. I’ve felled trees with an axe quite a few times, but hewing a log with a broad axe and an adze is something I’ve never done. These two, Bill Boyd and Mark Garner make it look easy. Plus, Mr. Garner wears a great looking hat while he does it.

Filmed in 1984, this short film shows efforts to restore Coolamine Homestead in the Kosciuszko National Park. I appreciate not only that they made an effort to rebuild these structures, (drop slab alpine ash timber huts to be precise – examples of a building technique in sync with the surrounding environment, but also that they used the tools and techniques that would have been used at the time of its construction, circa the 1880’s.

I have to wonder though, 30 years after this film was made, whether anyone is left in Australia who could do this work. I suspect that misters Boyd and Garner were a rare breed even then.

Short and sweet animated piece about geometric principles in nature. Appropriately accompanied by Wim Mertens’ Often A Bird. This artist is also responsible for something I posted before, the gorgeous Isfahan, about geometry in Islamic architecture. By Cristóbal Vila of Etereae Studios.

I’ve played a little bit of chess, but seeing these, if they were available commercially, I might be inspired to get serious about it. Very impressed by the work of Brandon Griffiths. Just plain impressed by imaginative custom chess sets of any sort, but Lego and Star Wars makes these extra cool.

More photos here: Star Wars: A New Hope Lego Chess Set


More photos here: Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back Lego Chess Set

More photos here: Star Wars: Return Of The Jedi Lego Chess Set

I burst into laughter about this one, since this man, bladesmith John Hounslow-Robinson is essentially a 20 years older, Australian version of my pal Jarkko. Dreads, beard and all.

I reckon I would get on very well with this guy. I’m sure people with a pickle up their ass undoubtedly see him as a dirty hippy who lives in a ramshackle, cobbled together compound. But I see someone living a more genuine and fulfilling existence than they undoubtedly lead. And he seems to be doing a pretty good job of inspiring and teaching two young men some worthwhile skills. And Linden – that kid is fantastic.

And I’ve always been intrigued by Tasmania, and this video only stokes my interest in living there. I know it’s not so easy to move to Australia, but if there was a chance…. Not that I mind in the slightest where I live now, but the idea of living in a place that remote, with so much of it unsullied by roads and development, is really appealing. I loved my time in Australia, but the hinterland out past Slobart piques my interest.

I played no part in this phase of it, but I wanted to show the finished results.

Originally the idea was to paint this with cans and brushes, but lines on the road, and markings in parking lots are all done with spray paint. Much faster, easier application, quicker drying time, and it will last just as long.

The most compelling television here in Hamilton is not the pouty lipped blonde who tries to read the news….but a closed circuit camera on the Peregrine Falcon nest atop the Sheridan hotel. It can be watched in Crackson Square and I have seen as many as two dozens people gathered around it on their lunch hour watching.

One of the eggs they’ve been sitting atop of has just hatched. I’m glad they’re making a comeback. I hope efforts like this will make even more people appreciate them, and appreciate how we almost managed to wipe them out.