I’ve had a series of discussions with mostly american folks in a forum over the last few days.
it started with this one.
i think i must be kinda thick or something, because there's this thing that i just don't understand. here in australia we had what was at the time, one of the worst mass shootings in the world in port arthur, tasmania in 1996. 35 people were killed at the hand of one man, many more injured. after that, gun laws were introduced with and guns became a lot harder for the average homebody psychopath to get hold of. nothing like this has happened since.
this is absolutely a simplistic view. but surely you can start with gun laws and work on mental health, video games, parental responsibilities and whatever else will undoubtedly get blamed for this tragedy. what the heck are people thinking they are defending themselves from, that they NEED a semi-automatic anything? it's never the hardened criminals you need to defend yourselves against, it's the average joe blow whose mind breaks down, for whatever reason, and in this case his mum has guns in the house, because she's allowed to. i'm with the boys here, i just don't understand. I'm a mother of children this age.
that went well, so i tried this.
I can't believe or understand how anyone, the day after one of the most horrific shootings in your history, can defend a perceived need or right to own and use semi automatic weapons. You want to defend yourself and your home go buy yourself a pistol or something and be prepared for the far reaching consequence of using it. But how bad a shot are you that you would need 30 round magazines and how many people do you anticipate invading your home?
Reinstate that legislation Bush allowed to run out on semi automatics.just start with that for your future children's sakes.
and then i went here in respose to a uk comment
There was Dunblane in 96. I remember because i was living in Kinsale, co. Cork at the time. And then tighter gun controls were introduced and nothing of that magnitude ha happened since. Same in Australia after Port Arthur. I do like me a country where lessons are learned and acted upon in the first instance.
and then back to those us friends, and if you read between the lines, you’ll see i had some back up. not american though.
Maybe, BECAUSE we're foreign, we can see the wood for the trees. We can see the blindingly obvious, where you are blinded by obfuscation, the second amendment and the overwhelming nature of the task.
You know what, i'm not concerned about your civil liberties, your right to bear arms, your right to protect your 'castle' the gun culture in which you grew up or your belief that you wouldn't make it home from work alive unless you carried a gun. (This isn't directed just at you personally, by the way, I'm summing up a number of arguments here). Yes, there will always be a black market and criminals will always have guns, because they're criminals and they have no regard for the law. No, you're not some random small country. And while you throw your weight around telling the rest of the world what to do, your people are shooting your children.
Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/06, female (age 6)
Daniel Barden, 9/25/05, male (age 7)
Olivia Engel, 7/18/06, female (age 6)
Josephine Gay, 12/11/05, female (age 7)
Ana M. Marquez-Greene, 04/04/06, female (age 6)
Dylan Hockley, 03/08/06, male (age 6)
Madeleine F. Hsu, 07/10/06, female (age 6)
Catherine V. Hubbard, 06/08/06, female (age 6)
Chase Kowalski, 10/31/05, male (age 7)
Jesse Lewis, 06/30/06, male (age 6)
James Mattioli, 03/22/06, male (age 6)
Grace McDonnell, 11/04/05, female (age 7)
Emilie Parker, 05/12/06, female (age 6)
Jack Pinto, 05/06/06, male (age 6)
Noah Pozner, 11/20/06, male (age 6)
Caroline Previdi, 09/07/06, female (age 6)
Jessica Rekos, 05/10/06, female (age 6)
Avielle Richman, 10/17/06, female (age 6)
Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/06, male (age 6)
Allison N. Wyatt, 07/03/06, female (age 6)
Patronise me all you like, I just don't get how you can defend this man's, or his mothers, 'right' to own the weapons that did this.
and then there was a question put to me: but why should we let the actions of one man dictate the actions and choices of so many others? It's not rational to do so.
No, quite right. You should make no personal sacrifices for the good of the whole. Your personal sacrifice being that of giving up the right to own a weapon that can kill a dozen people at the pull of a trigger. It's not rational to ask that.
In Australia, if you have a legitimate need to own a gun, if you are a hobbyist, even if you just want one, you can apply and be granted a licence. Not a semi automatic, but something you can go hunting wabbits with, or roos, if that's what floats your boat. Like you need a licence for a car. Because they're weapons too, and you have to have lessons in how to use one of them before you're allowed in charge of it. In this random small country and in yours.
I'm not saying ban all guns. You can shoot each other one bullet at time if you want. I'm saying, ban THOSE guns. Because until you do it will keep happening. I wonder how many of those parents will continue, if they ever did, to argue in favour of that second amendment of yours.
And then a few more details about the Australian experience, seeing as they asked
Well i think mostly they were just, you know, asked to get a licence.
Here's another bit of a statistic, because i'm sure you're all loving my Australian gun history lesson, yes?
Since Port Arthur there has been not one mass shooting incident (apparently this is sadly distinguished by four or more deaths) in Australia.
In the nine years preceding Port Arthur, there were 10 such incidents such as Strathfield, Hoddle and Queen streets, with 66 deaths, the majority caused by citizens with no prior criminal record but clearly with access to weapons. So the trajectory was clearly rising. And now it's not.
Culturally, we are pretty similar to our American and British cousins, and have our own fair share of media sensationalism, video game violence, mental health issues, etc.
And then i ended on this, just because you need to know when you’re hitting your head against a brick wall, and the only thing you’re going to affect is your head. And i wanted them to know that i was, you know, balanced. And because my heart breaks for this mother, and i think it’s compelling reading.
I just read this and wanted to share it.. everywhere.. really. Guns are a part and i'll continue to argue that, but my heart breaks for this mother and others like her and mental health should clearly be in the discussion as well.
I can’t help wondering if what i’ve learned over the last few days, is that those who are anti-gun-proliferation are against it for the good of the earth they live on and the lives – all the lives – it contains. those who are pro-gun are pro-gun for themselves, for those they love, for their rights. none of that pro-gun group can provide an argument in how it’s for the good of the country. except to perhaps, you know, assert their second amendment right to overthrow a government that now has i dunno, things like surface to air missiles and nuclear bombs to protect itself with rather than muskets.
I wasn’t going to do anything like a December Daily this year.
I’ll admit, that sometimes I’m not the brightest tool in the shed. Or the sharpest. Or whatever the heck that expression is.
I upgraded all our computers to Windows8. I’m looking forward to checking out a Windows8 phone next year and I like the idea of all our stuff being in sync. Like Apple but with choices. Windows8 appears more of a service pack than a major upgrade, underneath the fancy new start screen and rather missed start button it’s still pretty much Windows7 but with some cool bits. I especially like the curfew/parental controls. I don’t think the kids do.
But anyway, between that and an unfortunate series of circumstances, involving changing from shooting jpegs to shooting raw, and where those files go, a dell repairman and some too-breezy hard drive reformatting, i managed to lose about 8 weeks of photos from last November to January. All of Christmas is gone from both my (raid1 mirror) hard drives and my external hard drive. Except for those photos which i printed and scrapped here here. (yay!)
But with the Windows8 thing i set up a new desktop background and now in seasonal spirit it flicks through my December Daily from 2010. And reliving each photo as it flashes up on the desktop is really precious and i’ve been loving all the moments i’ve nearly forgotten and now never will, and still it’s taken me until the 14th of December to realise i should be doing it again this year. AND EVERY YEAR!. And fourteen days for me to click that if I’d done it last year I would have at least 25 memories of last christmas instead of a single (double) page. The last year on my blog is the most notoriously unrecorded of all since i started seven? years ago, and those photos are now lost. This could be my backup’s backup if only i learned my lesson.
So without further ado (or fancy digital templates) welcome to the first fourteen days of Christmas 2012.
I don’t know what it is with me but whenever I’ve got two or three family members lined up on laptops I feel an urge to take a photo. We only own one television in the house, but now, unintentionally, we have more laptops than we do family members, and for some reason it amuses me.
Frank got Christmas down from the roof on the 1st of December. I probably should have taken a shot of his grumpy bum up the ladder, but it didn’t occur to me. Opening the boxes and seeing the happy inside makes me forget all that bit. That, and maybe vodka.
It’s still the 1st of December. I’m not very good at these one-photo-a-day rules. It was some impromptu game of catch where you had to fling the ball over the hedgerows in the fields opposite. I took this shot from inside the front screen door.
And.. we’re onto 2 December. Every year we go to the same christmas tree farm and I try my damndest to keep the pylons out of my shots, but this year i decided to let them in because it’s part of our reality. Our christmas tree farm is right next to the pylon path. Shit happens. Miss Flowerhead Junior scores the funny expression shot of the day and then Frank lets the kids believe they just chopped down the christmas tree, because the last saw-stroke is the one that counts, right?
Check out my hedge trimming efforts? It was a fast grower but if i had my time over i probably would have gone with something that didn’t totally dwarf the house.
Kids got new bikes for Christmas this year as their main expensive present, and they got given them early because .. well because Frank was here to pay for them and you can’t hide two bikes in our house. There’s barely room to store them let alone hide them.
Kitty. He may look like he’s posing, but anyone with a cat knows they’re never that co-operative. He’s plotting. Probably the downfall of that bauble. Or me. Or the dog.
Talk about awkward family photos. This gorgeous sofa (i miss it already) was a hand-me-down twelve years ago. I booked in a hard waste collection, but we put it out on my birthday and it was too good an opportunity to not get a family shot in. I had my camera on the other side of the road on a stool and used the remote shutter thingy. This shot was the best of a dozen and i challenge you not to bend your head slightly when you look at it.
As a side note, under the tab of random things that amuse me, is that we went to the new TGI Fridays for dinner that night for my birthday, with my mum and buns. And when we got back, the sofa was still there but the little $10 wooden ikea stool across the road had been swiped. (obviously of course, i had taken my camera with me and never used it to record the long island iced teas, the mammoth meals, the teachers from the kids school on the table next door…)
Of the things that make this Christmas stand out, this year it might just be the whole Tolkein thing. I’ve recently finished reading The Hobbit to the kids and of course we’ll be lining up on Boxing Day with the rest of the country to go see the first movie instalment. I’m amazed it’s not ‘There and Back Again’ but actually “Just a Bit of on The Way There’ and they’re turning this into three instalments.
I’m resisting moving on to reading the Lord of the Rings to the kids, because I’m not sure the book will capture their imagination just yet. It can get a bit tedious – all those ‘begats’ and backstories (like the bible). I remember I scanned and skimmed quite a lot in my first read of Lord of the Rings, and i was 12 or 13 at the time. And it’s harder to get away with scanning and skimming when you’re reading aloud. The movies, however, have been going down a treat. Complete with popcorn. I could totally see an argument for dividing the trilogy into more than three movies because there’s so much missed out them, and already Phoebe in particular is totally caught up in the fantasy and wants to know more detail. I may, actually, end up reading them aloud. I’m such a soft touch.
And it’s possible I’m a little obsessed with shooting my christmas tree.
This is one of those shots where I don’t want to crop out a single, busy detail (i think you can click on it to see it bigger). From the tomato sauce and drink bottle on the bench, to the Christmas to do list on the fridge, the washing on the chair and the beautiful flowers sent by my brother for my birthday, and you can just see the tops of the advent calendars on the coffee table. Don’t crop it all out i say – these are the things you will want to see and remember in years to come.
A christmas layout i’ve done for this years art wall. Christmas tree shots are such a farce in this house, and any shots past about the third click of the shutter either come with a great deal of bribery, begging or threatening. It’s nice to remember back in the day when they just did it because they wanted to make their mum happy. Bless.
So there’s more. I think this takes up up to the 10th. Santa christmas lists, mothers of the three musketeers, experimental bokeh shots and more to come!
I’ve made a series of mixed media pieces for the Aussie Scrap Source blog.
It’s not my normal style, and it’s not how i generally like to scrapbook - i prefer to stick to photos and stories, so that the focus of our albums are about the subjects rather than about me. But in doing so, i’ve missed being all ‘arty’, so i really enjoyed getting my hands dirty making these ones. They’re separate entities, but all three contain favourite quotes (though from very different sources) and i’ve also purposely linked them by using the same Prima canvas alphas in each one.
The last one shown here is the first one i did, running up to the top one, which was my latest. I think I may push myself to do some more when i have time. And i'm going to blog more, dammit.
he’s just one of the coolest people i know. and he happens to be my son.
he’s learning the drumming for american idiot at the moment, just because it’s a bit hard, and super fast. i thought that the drums in our small house might drive me crazy, instead i really enjoy hearing him play. not so sure the neighbours do though.
they’re doing topic on heroes this term at school. they have to choose one and do a presentation/biography on them.
he’s finding this hard, particularly because he’s my son. because this isn’t just a project. in his head this homework project will define him, probably for the rest of his life. his classmates (and probably the rest of the school) will judge him by it. not for it’s comprehensiveness or informativeness, but for its coolness.
recent candidates, considered and rejected, include sergio aragones – mad (as in magazine) cartoonist. mc escher. neil peart – arguably best drummer in the world (but definitely biggest drum kit), ringo starr, the one-armed drummer from def leopard (only it turns out the loss of his arm wasn’t through especially noble causes) john morrison (wrestler dude), george lucas, tony hawk, terry denton, steve jobs, mark zuckerberg – art, skating, wrestling, drumming, technology. right now slash from guns’n roses is front runner though i’ve yet to find much heroic in his life story.
seriously though, i’m wondering who are good rolemodels and heroes for a 10 year old boy. who should i be exposing him to. this a great assignment for kids to look critically at celebrities and famous people and see if they’re actually worthy of the name ‘hero’.
at the last minute i decided to take my girl to see taylor swift. it was her first concert and really, as far as singing idols go, there aren’t many you’d be happy to take your nine year old to. lady gaga, katy perry, kesha… not so much.
We had to have a whole new outfit apparently, so we went shopping last week whilst alex was away on camp. There were new jeans but yesterday was so warm she decided on shorts.
the night she found out i’d got tickets, she made this sign. then she decided she didn’t want to take it with her so we left it in the car but i asked her for a shot with it first.
a photo op inside the rod laver arena. how cute are they?!
The concert was awesome and worth every one of the many cents it cost. Taylor changed nine times and phoebe counted each one with delight. We were lucky with our tickets, seven rows from the front centred directly in front of the stage, which sounds close but of course there was the mosh pit between us.
I only took my 50mm lens for fear of having the zoom confiscated as a professional grade camera. I wish I’d taken it because bags weren’t even checked, but you just never know!
And then she moved to the second stage, which was directly in front of our seven rows. These two photos are barely cropped, that’s just how close she was.
Anyway the sets were divine, phoebe wants every one of her nine dresses, plus a few that the dancers and band wore. Even her guitars were amazing. I’m so glad we went.
and er. happy new year
truly lucky i didn’t make any resolutions this year, particular any regular blogging type resolutions.
the biggest impediment to my blogging this year has been a photographic one. whilst everyone loves their iphones and camera phones, i really didn’t save up a heap of money a few years back for my dslr and beautiful lenses to go forsaking them now for the lightweightedness and convenience of a point and shoot, no matter how niftily it’s wrapped up in a smartphone. i’ve got a good galaxy s2 with an awesome camera, but there are only two situations i’ll use it – when i’ve forgotten/left my camera because i didn’t plan on taking photos, or when there’s something i want to send directly to facebook/social media.
so i haven’t been taking less photos. but i changed the format of those photos. i’ve started shooting in raw and i think i’ll continue to unless or until i really nail white balance. it’s one of the few photography things i’m super-sensitive to – i’m more than happy to overexpose a shot (in fact it might be a trademark of mine!), focus might be off, composition mightn’t be perfect, but if the colour’s wrong it just sends my eyes spinning. and it’s way easier to fix bad colour in raw than in jpeg so that’s what i’ve been doing since around november last year.
this has affected my blogging because (i’m starting to feel like i’m writing an essay here!) though the original plan was to edit my raw images as i went, convert to jpg and perhaps even delete the raw, that kinda doesn’t happen a whole lot.
any time in the past i wanted a pic for the blog i’d mostly just drag it over unedited (because i’m lazy like that) and now i can’t. in fact i have to plan what pics i might use, edit if necessary, convert to jpg and then drag over. which is a world of too-hard for someone who just liked to shoot off quick blog posts with a couple of pretty pictures.
so this year christmas came and went went un-posted, (but not unscrapped!)
… new year.. summer holiday.. phoebe’s birthday and party.. back to school.. and somehow we’re even facing the end of first term this month and ne’er a photo (and barely a post) to be found.
i’m giving thought to solutions. one of which might be that i’ll just post my layouts, which will be the more popular solution in the scrappy camp. because they will have already been cropped and converted.
the other is that i become more disciplined with my raw images. heh.
another is that i do that planning and converting thing. meh.
and the final one is that i (god forbid!) resort to posting the camera photos!
and if anyone has another option, i’m all too happy to hear it.
phoebe got a little digi camera for christmas this year and i uploaded her pics this morning. i am proud to say that i did keep my resolution and my own, smiling-with-love mug appeared in her photos several times.
anyway, because this post is more about thinking aloud than announcing a conclusion, i’ll end with alternative 1. above. a few of my recent pages. because if you’ve actually read this far, and are still interested, you deserve a thank you of sorts.
has the minecraft obsession hit your house? it has ours. alex saved and did extra jobs for pocket money to buy the damn program. phoebe fights him for laptop time – it’s the first electronic game of any sort to really hook her in lock stock and barrel. this page is almost as arty as i get these days – a little crafters workshop chevron template with the glimmer mist.
the girl in her new purple bedroom. i remember when we painted it pink here and there’s a page i scrapped about it here. so i think i should document the change which happened around two months ago!) as well.
anyway, perhaps i’ll find some kind of system and blog more. i’d like to as this is such a lovely way of recording the moments that don’t, as well as the moments that do, make it into albums.
so i was like the new-year-grinch last night and declared on facebook, somewhat stridently, that this year…
“just for the record.. i'm not doing resolutions, i'm not doing a project life, a 365 photos or 52 weeks of organising, simplifying or instagramming my life. i am toying with the one little word concept that i may or may not remember in february.”
but actually, i’m taking that back, already. i was looking through my christmas day photos and found this one today. i looked at it and then i looked at it again, and something dawned on me. this is my beautiful mum, who continues to work tirelessly for local and international charities, won $50,000 on Millionaire Hot Seat and danced with Elvis on her 80th birthday. she’s pretty damned awesome for her age, actually, for any age.
but what i realised is that photos are a gift. this photo is a gift. i don’t know how much longer i’ll have mum in my life, i hope for a few more decades, but how do you know. what i do know is that behind that little smile as she faces me and my camera head on in this shot, is love.
if it were me, i’d be turning away, ducking behind the sofa, grabbing a cushion, a dog or a child to hide all the bits of my body i’m not happy with, that i don’t want recorded for posterity. instead of recognising that those photos are part of my legacy, a gift to my children, with that unconditional love of theirs. so this year, i resolve to face the camera head on and try to show in my photos the same love and generosity of spirit that my mum radiates.
but i’m still not tweeting gratituding, or flyladying daily.
new years eve couldn’t be a nicer time to take a little drift down the memory lane of the last twelve months. above is a collection of events, birthdays and ordinary moments from the year, though i’m kicking myself because these are all from my dslr and i’ve left out a few key times where there only camera i had with me was my phone. (click on them to see them bigger)
all in all it hasn’t been a bad year, in fact it’s had a lot going for it.. splashes of contentment and harmony and clarity and i’m at peace with the choices i’ve made. i’m looking forward to more change next year. it’s a process, yes?
happy new year, from us, and thanks for popping by to read, comment or care. xx
it’s funny the things you remember by the time your tenth christmas with children rolls around. it’s 3.27am christmas morning, so clearly time management isn’t one of them. but things like leaving the camera right near the stockings, on the right setting. and opening the blinds now, that will let in the good light first thing in the morning. and clocking, in the nick of time, that the present that was going to be from santa for one child totally can’t be, because you might have mentioned to the other child that you had bought it.
and deciding that a christmas tooth fairy visit pays more than a normal one, yes?
but time management… i wonder how many more christmases that will take me to sort out. i have heaps of photos and stuff to share, but it’s not going to happen at 3.31am. instead i’ll leave you with 10 years worth of santa shots, (minus 2 i can’t find!) which fascinate me endlessly.
happy christmas to my few but lovely readers and family.