Friday, June 30, 2006

Bla... Bla...

Last day of the month post.....

Nothing much to report. Great weather for riding.

Oh except it's Territory Day tomorrow and everyone in Darwin is armed to the teeth with fireworks! The official legal timeframe for fireworks is 6:00 - 11:00 pm on Saturday night but of course no one can wait that long and so they've been letting them off all over the place for the past week!
The other night someone let off crackers right outside our daughter's window at about 9:45 pm! She's been sick and had just gone to sleep when the thing went off. It scared us all half to death and Sam went out with the dog looking to rip some kids heart out. Thankfully for them they'd taken off when she first screamed out the window.
So tomorrow night will be spent at home with the dog in the house, she freaks out so bad that she could do anything, I'm sure she would leap through a closed window!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


Due to the ever-changing world of computer software our 6-year-old Compaq computer, running MS Windows 98, has fallen drastically behind the competition and is unable to use many of the modern software upgrades. We’d been having trouble with the hard drive and were worried that it would crash and we’d loose all the files and photos we’d accumulated since 2000. So we went out and splurged on a new computer.
The new one was the cheapest desktop computer we could find; we got an Acer. It’s no good with games but is all we need for schoolwork, Internet and managing our photos.
So this has left us with one spare old computer with a tired HD running an obsolete version of Windows. I have left the old computer standing next to the new one and connected it to the keyboard, mouse and monitor using a KVM switch. The computers are not networked but I can use them both from the same workstation.
After many brief conversations with various Linux fans I have decided to install a new operating system on my old computer. I have chosen Ubuntu (Linux for human beings).
I know nothing about communicating with computers outside of the basic functions of a Windows interface and am quite dependant the background intuitive programming in Windows that allows me to stick stuff in the CD drive and hit install or play etc… So I am a little worried that I will have some difficulty getting used to this new system. However I am determined to have a go at this because it appears to be a way of escaping the clutches of yet another Giant corporate monopoly.
Linux and open-source software offer their users the qualities of autonomy, creativity and freedom. The philosophy that appears to be guiding the open-source movement is one that values access to information and the right of individuals to contribute meaningfully to the development and innovation of technology. It opens the door to full user participation. Or so I am told.
re- Eben Moglen and Cory Doctorow (Red Had Summit keynote speakers)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

How will I use my Blog?

Well I have been blogging for just two months now and am beginning to wonder what is the purpose of my blog. I think it is a means of self-expression that enables me to project my thoughts, feelings and experience out into the world via the Internet.
However it does not replace real experiences nor is it an alternative to facing the daily challenges of life. I think good blogs are a way of extrapolating from simple experiences an essence of creativity that has the power to inspire and encourage (or something like that).
Therefore I have decided to apply a practical purpose to my blog (sometimes).
My wife recently complained that I am always talking about things I want to do. There is so much out there to captures my imagination, I rarely get a chance to begin a new project and my life is already crammed full as it is. So she suggested that I make a list. What a great idea! So I thought about it and realized that I can use this blog as inspiration to try new things and document or at least report on my experience while attempting various projects! The Rosella Jam was a good one to start with. I got a great feeling from doing that and it gave me something to write about.
The parameters will be simple there will be no deadlines or quota for things done. I will simply be having a go at various things that interest me and keeping a rough record of these things on this blog, when I feel like it.

Repair the Chair

Old Chair

To begin with I would like to repair this old wooden chair that I found at the dump shop. It is much worse than it looks. It seems like every joint is split and the upholstory framework is pretty rough.

Disclaimer: I do not promise to complete any of these projects in order or infact to finish them at all.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Personality test

While browsing through other people's blogs this morning I found this Worldview quiz that kept my mind off the terrible throat infection that's been driving me crazy for the past week. Check the link at the bottom if you're interested to see what they make of you. I found the questions either ambiguous or biased towards particular belief systems so I don't know how perceptive their colation methods are. Furthermore there were no questions regarding the philosophy of the Jedi Order which would have provided the same results with far fewer questions... (ha ha ha)
Here are my results such as they are....
(And to think some people would have called me a cynic....Ha!)

You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative
















What is Your World View? (updated)
created with

Friday, June 23, 2006

Ugg Boots

The weather has been remarkably cool lately. We have had over night lows of around 17 degrees and top temperatures of just 29 degrees! For Darwinite's this is a welcome change from an average daytime temperature of over 30 degrees.
This has led to all kinds of peculiar behaviour. Like people complaining about the cold or wearing those clothes that are usually reserved for visiting friends and family 'Down South' (definition: any other metropolitan centre in Australia).
It is not supprising that people might feel a little chill and want to wear an extra layer of clothing considdering that most of the year we wear as little as possible and on some occasions nothing at all. However I on my way to work yesterday I was still amazed to see a woman wearing a warm jumper long pants and UGG BOOTS!
Was this an attempt to gain peoples attention? How long had it been since she last wore her Ugg boots? How much closet space does she have that there is room to keep Ugg boots? The questions go on and on...
I know there must be far more important issues that could be discussed on this blog and It has been wanting of some significant entries for a while but I like to muse to myself and this I found very amusing!
Yesterday I skimmed through the Indonesian and Malaysian Newspapers at work full of images of children scrounging through garbage heaps and West Papuans struggling for survival women fighting for the right to earn money and in my own neighbourhood Aborigninal communities torn apart by violence, abuse, and the effects of drugs alcohol and apathy. The whole Ugg boot thing did remind me of how ridiculously abstract our lives can become when all our needs are met. When we have such free access to everything we need that we can afford to indulge our eccentricities to the point where people are walking around in the tropics and others (I) have the time and resources to be commenting on this and publishing it to the world. The boots started to take on more of a metaphorical significance to me. What are we doing here while people are in real need? How ludicrous it is to live a life so self indulgent amidst so much struggle and strife.
Is there anything as unnecessary as Ugg Boots in Darwin?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Rosella Jam

Rosella Jam
Originally uploaded by davidfntau.
The jam! Since Judith, from work, brought in a jar of delicious Rosella jam I have been obsessing about self-sufficient food production, gleaning, preserving and harvesting from wild stock! This sent me on a quest to find the wild fruit for jam.
Unfortunately I don't have time to go into what Rosellas (Hibiscus sabdariffa) are and can't offer any pictures because I didn't take my camera but they are a wild (introduced) bush that produces a mass of fruits for a short period during the dry season each year. I managed to get a shopping bag full but was a bit late in the season so missed the really good fruit.
So last night I set out to make the jam and with Sam's help we had 3 decent jars of the most delightful red tarty fruit spread within an hour. Samantha calculated the amount of water needed to boil the fruit and I followed her instructions (more or less....well less actualy). Of course this jam is by no means a self sufficient product we did have to use quite a bit of (evil) sugar but it was cheep and creative and I got to re-use some jars that would otherwise have gone straight to the recycle bin (the recycle bit is doubtful).
Mission accomplished!

An article of note

Buy now pay later!
I recently read a great article in the Good Weekend magazine 10/11 June 2006. (It is a supplementary liftout from the Weekend Sydney Morning Herrald and the Age newspapers). It was titled 'Buy now pay later' written by Fenella Souter.
This article makes a very critical comment on the nature of western society at the moment and how consumerism has taken over our lives in such a way that we are complient to it's demands regardless of the cost to our future existance. It speaks of the outragous waste of food and over production of unnecisary goods that we take for granted while others starve. Most importantly it points out the huge strain that our consumerism is puting on the earths resources and the environmental crisis that is looming as a result of our indulgence.
There is strong criticism of the economists viewpoint that the earth will never run out of resources so long as the market is healthy and the author likens us to the brainwashed characters in the 1962 film The Manchurian Candidate.
This story won't make you smile or help you find ways to improve the financial returns on your shares but it may help you if you wish to wake from your Orwellian slumber!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Originally uploaded by davidfntau.
Waiting for a pat!

Couple of mates fishing

Couple of mates fishing
Originally uploaded by davidfntau.
The billabong was quiet but it was a nice place to sit and contemplate fishing.

morning ride

morning ride
Originally uploaded by davidfntau.
Saturday morning 6:30 start.

The Bike
I've had this bike for about 5 years. It's a bottom line Raleigh mountain bike that I bought for $100 from a church lawn sale. I've gradually been improving it with extra bits and pieces that I've scrounged from the tip shop. It's a great bike and I was so happy to make it all the way around the harbour that I've promised it a new (second hand) front tyre and a new set of peddles. I have already replaced the rear wheel and front breaking system but all up it has only cost me $50 in parts in 5 years and I ride it to work every day!
A long weekend well spent

Well I have to say thanks Mum for the new set of panniers you brought up with you from Melbourne! They're great. I did want to make my own and now I'm determined to have a go at it. They are so handy!

We've just had a long weekend and went camping with family friends out at Tumbling Waters Van Park. The little Festiva was full up with 4 people and a heap of camping gear so I had a great opportunity to suggest that I ride my bike! Sam didn't like the idea of me riding on the Stewart Hwy but eventually gave in.

What a great trip. I left home at 6:30 on Saturday morning and arrived at 10:30 am before anyone else in our group. I have to say that I was physically not prepared for such a long ride (only about 65km) and was quite tired by the time I arrived.

It was an enjoyable camp, a great place for the kids to run around and there were plenty of other families with young kids so the atmosphere was very friendly. The managers of the park do their absolute best to make sure everyone enjoys their stay and really know how to be hospitable.

While I was lazing arround camp at some time over the weekend It dawned on me that We are about half way between Darwin and Mandorah! So on Monday morning when all of the chores had been done and the camp packed neatly away I headed off for Mandorah. There are no ammenities between Tumbling Waters and Mandorah but being a long weekend there was plenty of trafic on the road and I could always hitch a ride if everything broke down.

The ride was great. I had a tail wind most of the way and the road was in much better condition than I'd expected. Traffic wasn't a problem because most people were headed in the oposite direction on their way back to Darwin.

There were a few other cyclists on the road and I met up with a few of them at the Mandorah Beachfront Hotel, while we waited for the ferry to Darwin. What a great feeling it was to have ridden around Darwin Harbour! The view of the city from Mandorah is awesome and I felt as though I was visiting some exotic destination.

Sam, Mum, Dana and Glen greeted me when I arrived in Cullen Bay and took the panniers off me so I could ride the last 10km or so home, free of any luggage. I now feel invigerated and inspired enough to make it through the rest of this short working week, inspired and hoping to make plans for the next small adventure.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Unfortunately my digital camera has had a bit of a nervous breakdown and won't take photos when I want it to!
So there will be no photographs of the 100's of micro-bats (not sure what species) I saw while riding through the water gardens on Thursday, no photos of the black cockatoos that have been ambling slowly across the blustery dry season skies and no shots of the huge green tree frogs that came out to enjoy the sprinkler while we were dining at a friends place last night.
These early dry season days are fantastic. There's so much energy in the air and the cooler weather and blue skies are inspiring me to get on with some projects I'd been procrastinating over the past few months.
Yesterday we managed to get the coupling for the Alleycat attached to a bike so hopefuly that will see some use over the next few months.
I finally decided to buy some panniers for my bike but as always after about 3 years worth of hesitation to spend the money I found that the $70 panniers I had my eyes on had sold out and the only other panniers available where $140! So this has set me up for a new mission! I have hatched a plan to construct my own panniers! It may be a bit ambitious but at this point I am determined to do it and won't be discouraged by my lack of experience working with textiles or sewing machines or anything else that will accomplish my plan.
If I can come up with a workable template and materials I may end up outsourcing the work to my mum, who has had some experience with these matters. Besides I reckon she ows me for sending me to school in girls jeans artfully adorned with hand made patches! (just kidding mum)
This plan has given me all the excuse I needed to get back into surfing obscure cycling websites ande scrounging the tip and op-shops for useful ideas and material.
I really get a buzz out of salvaging stuff from the scrap heap! It is infinitely more satisfying to me than the market driven macro economic conspiracy of mainstream retail therapy but in a funny way fills that same niche for me.

Our friends Steve and Lisa have recently returned from Singapore and brought back some great photos of rickshaws. I haven't mentioned the interest I have in rickshaws in my blog but if I am able to get it together enough to write something I would like to use this blog to discuss what I think are the significant vurtues of rickshaws as a functional mode of transport, artform, vehicle for social interaction, environmentaly friendly alternative to the automobile (in city environments) and healthy means of liveleyhood for unskilled workers, bohemian dreamers and others hoping to escape the race of the rats.
This may be all I ever write about rickshaws but not all I'd like to say, so be warned I have some really disjointed ranting to add to this subject. My views may not be practical, popular or relevant to contemporary values but it makes me feel good to contemplate a life that is guided by the Bohemian ideals of Truth, Beauty, Freedom and Love (as quoted in the film Moulin Rouge). This utopian perspective may not seem very practical but I suppose it all depends on what results you expect from your efforts. I'd like to see more peddals and less fuel burning. (: