Thursday, July 31, 2008

Reflecting on all sides....
Mysterious and hauntingly beautiful, this porcelain bust with its shadowry blue yingquing glaze is from the outstanding China series by Chinese-Australian artist Ah Xian.
Made in Jingdezhen, the centre of Chinese porcelain production since the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) each bust is differently decorated using traditional designs and glazes.
Bust 39 which was cast from a local girl whom Ah Xian met while developing the series, is decorated with a phoenix and peony design in low relief. Description by the Powerhouse Museum.
Donated by Doctor Gene and Brian Sherman through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
From the Powerhouse Museum Sydney 2008

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Romancing the tribal.........Roma.....Romani.......the Roma people (Gypsy, Gitano, Romnichals) are world wide and number fifteen million as an estimate. In the latest census, even twelve persons claimed Roma ancestory in the Newcastle district.
According to Wikipedia, it is accepted that these people were originally from India and a genetic and linguistic relationship has been traced between the Romani and the Hindustani people.
Their exodus began in the 11th Century and in several hundred years they were found in Europe and have reached the Americas, Eurasia and the Middle East.
As a minority they have experienced difficulties with the imposition of restrictions and worse. Hindu caste beliefs are reflected in their society but they adopt local languages and religions.
Roma music has given us a wealth of tunes to enjoy and many a composer has drawn on their music. The pace and rhythms can be heard in Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody as a popular example. Gypsy Jazz is another fun expression of the tradition.

The painter is Huang Zhou.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Many Ethnic groups are found in China, and is this charming image romancing their appeal.......romance........romanisation........ Chinese Mandarin is an ancient living language with pictographic writing and it once underwent Romanisation.
About fifty years ago the Chinese government established a standard official version (called Putonghua or Hanyu - language of the Han people - the majority people.
The amazing written characters were simplified and made easier to write (really!) and Romanisation saw the Pinyin system adopted to express the sounds of the language, for example via vowels etc. Another trick is that tones are used to express the differences in meaning of the same sound.
As well as the simplified characters those seen in newspapers, in books or in headings use slightly different fonts.
Traditional characters are more complex and unsimplified and might be seen used in Taiwan or in Hong Kong and in the global communities - probably used in the printed menu at the local Chinese Cafe. The characters are also seen in Japanese and in some Korean texts and in other instances of which I am unaware.
Each Chinese character is pronounced as a single syllable and has its own meaning. They are combined.
The other decorative cursive styles found in calligraphy make a beautiful art form.
Incredible examples of fine characters carved into stone slabs or steles are found preserved in collections - the Stele Forest is one that can be seen.
It seems that maps and place names underwent modernisation as well and dual versions can exist to test the wits, locations become quite unintelligible on certain maps.

Most of this information is from the book Ni Hao by Fredlein and Fredlein, published by China Soft, Brisbane, 2001. The little symbols for accents etc in above words have been omitted. More complex discussion as to the key to learning Mandarin is on this link.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

TAFE College, Tighes Hill: Dog House challenge.
Kennel for sale, suit gypsy hound.

Beating the high fuel prices? Unlike many places, solo bike riders are the norm here.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Lookout in Newcastle. Sea views are also found there.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Horse racing. Racecourse buildings come in all shapes and sizes. This funny old building is surely unique hereabouts.The stairway to heaven?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Icons and 'tude!
Scene at a pre-World Youth Day festival in Newcastle.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Strike! The city changes, yet stays the same, business come and go but Super Strike has hung in there for years and years. I think Newcastle has two bowling alleys.

It is disapppointing that we all have to pay for the subprime mortgage debarcle. Can't anyone manage the financial world with any degree of success? Refuse to turn a blind eye to the extremes of exploitation?
The multitude of investment funds are, first and foremost, a commodity for a multitude of fund managers to reap off their benefits, no matter what. And these were my ideas before the downturn. But I'm not complaining!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Light-emitting diode or LED lights.
These small glowlights use only a tiny amount of power.
Bulbs are newer items and are for sale in this display.
LEDs first came on the scene to illuminate readouts and dials or to show that an appliance was on. Diodes abound in electronics and these products exploit their lighting properties and white light has been an advancement.
Technical data exists about developments but, for example, the lights are of some use for interior lighting for a camper van that is dependent on solar or a genny when travelling away on remote adventures. LEDs are used in traffic lights.
Saw the light at Cetnaj P/L Mayfield West.

Monday, July 07, 2008

A flock of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos were 'grazing' in a park. The upswept crest is folded and the yellow feathers are hidden away. Pink crested cockatoos are another variation. Voice: raucous screeches and squawks.

My book is getting old and tattered. Not so much from overuse. First written in 1970, Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe is influential and considers vegetarianism, perhaps grain feed beef and sustainability and especially food combinations in a lot of detail.
It takes a degree of bravery to be vegetarian and my interest has waxed and waned even when it is a delicious healthy option.
In the book, one of the recipes has a simple tasty combination of rice, cashews, raisins, sliced apple, carraway seeds and curry in no less than the Song of India Rice.
Otherwise, the aim is to serve some semblance of balanced nutrition. This means more than the exclusion of meat.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Plastic milk crates are put to all sorts of use and one is fitted inbetween the sandstone blocks made for the renovations to St Andrews Presbyterian Church in Newcastle.

A heritage restoration project on the 1890's Menkins Building is underway. The architect is Suters and E.H. Stonemasonry is on the project.
Financial help is welcom.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Here is an ordinary hedge that is transformed at this time of the year. The new shoots make a big difference to its appearance beside a busy road at Mayfield West.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Yes but no but....The advertisment for blue tongue beer carries another contradictory sign! Seen at the football stadium.
CDPhoto bloggers have reworked the 'no' theme and are seen on the following link - if there is not too much web traffic.

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants