8 September 2011

Negative Space

There's a lot to be said for paring things down to essentials.

I wakened to some long miserable moan on radio about how the Internet is too cluttered and that "we" are becoming pancake people because "we" are so bombarded with information.

Over the past few years I have learned how to duck.
Lago di Garda, Charcoal Drawing Effect

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It is possible that when the gene for "team spirit" was being doled out it passed me by. That may account for my puzzlement at gaming and how hordes of enthusiasts gather in one place to spur on groups with various implements in the name of sport.
It was therefore a great relief to find that I am not alone. There was once a lot of muttering from Noam Chomsky about why he should support the college hockey team since he did not know anybody on the hockey team.

"I hate all sports as rabidly as a person who likes sports hates common sense" by H.L. Menchen does seem to go a bit too far however.

Tennis I could once manage, as when the going got rough one could always use the net as protection from assault. Athletics is mostly OK, as really one is competing against oneself. Running to represent a country is so extraordinary in my eyes that I was exhausted by a trip to the World Athletics and had to refuse to go back for more excitement, even though this was considered to be a remarkable treat, not to be missed.

Horse racing is is a totally different league and I don't even know if there are teams involved.
Must go look it up...

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7 September 2011

Generation Gaps Come in Many Guises

What the mini skirt was to my generation (as it shattered received wisdom and alienated the older folk) gaming seems to be to the the younger generations sending them into a space where many older fogies fear to tread.

While the design elements are interesting and the influences are now everywhere in the world outside my own home, I have never got the hang of gaming culture. I think this may be because competition seems far too demanding and the intrusion of paint ball expeditions into the workplace made it a relief to get as far away from "the workplace" as was possible. Paint balling and gaming seem to have arrived together to scare many of us off.

I don't see either life or work as a game. Television programmes where people denigrate one another and cause long weeping sessions with much flouncing out of the room seem to be somehow linked with the gamesmanship that so many social encounters seem to encourage. I get teased about things being not as they were "in your day" which I take in good part, having been raised by people who thought afternoon tea the height of sophistication.

But I do find gaming interesting and sometimes ask friends about why they play one game rather than another. Some of the more violent ones seem to have replaced a night out at the theatre to see "Hamlet" or "King Lear" as a cathartic experience. In fact, I dislike most of Shakespeare quite as much as I back away from many of the adrenelin drenched games.
There was a great little game in French for children called "La Main" which taught me how to control my mouse years ago and many retired teachers used make simple games where placing the countries of Europe or the Departements of France in place passed a merry moment. These days, there are so many good sites for anybody wishing to teach themselves design. It is worth mentioning teachingdesign.blogspot which I came across today.


6 September 2011

Marvelous Melbourne

Melbourne is a surprising city.

While it is certainly very Australian in its flora and everyday culture, visually it seems that a fragment of Europe had somehow fallen into place on the other side of the World.

The cast iron decorations on so many houses were brought over as ballast for the many ships that traded back and forth and the influence of a large Italian population ensures that there are many houses that have pleasing proportions and classical interior details.

The architectural ugliness and clashing colours that causes the visitor to Europe to jump with alarm is not a feature of the Australian cities I have seen so far.

There is much to be learned...

Melbourne Interior

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4 September 2011


from distraction... by distraction.

A nice feature of increasing age is that one is increasingly less distracted by trivia. Somebody (was it Jane Austen) said that a woman's life was one of perpetual interruption. It is assumed that some genetic gift comes with the feminine condition that allows for every problem from acne to washing machine usage to be delivered daily to one's door.

We have a house that is in perpetual need of repair. This is not the spur to galvanized action and vast expenditure. It simply reminds me of the inconvenience of living in a climate where houses are the norm.

I begin to wonder if moving to a tent in a warm climate might not be a good move.

The mass evacuation of Irish people from the island, which happens periodically and with increasingly dull analysis by those left behind is one of the trivial aspects of daily information that form a sort of static sounds, crackling in from a distance.

The warm-up to the presidential election is set to be as nasty as any that have gone before. There are some who find the Establishment at play a form of entertainment. Many have made an industry of the antics involved, with publicity firms happy to keep the show on the road. As in the case of Belgium, which may or may not have a government at the moment (I gave up following the ongoing to-ings and fro-ings there), the question of whether it is worth having groups of people gather to yell at and pour bile over one another does give one pause for thought.

Last week we hied away out into the country to attend a concert at Castletown House. It is a melancholic old pile, Palladian, and with the spirit of a family who wished for better things to come still lingering in the warren like kitchen areas. If you get a chance, there will be more free concerts there in the next few weeks and the acoustic in the main entrance hall, with its sublime plaster ceiling and wall panels is not to be missed.

The arts are thriving here at the moment.
We may as well all sing along...

And as for warmth, this reminds me of a particularly comfortable day spent looking at the vast blue Lake Garda. It would be a joy to be there just now. Olive Trees at Lake Garda

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