Monday, April 28, 2014

Sights from New South Wales

The grasslands (Downs)
Birds at Bondi, Sydney

Bondi Beach, Sydney

Duckies in Canberra

A solitary kangaroo in Hunter Valley

Roos in conference at Hunter Valley

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The origin of 'fair dinkum'

"The debate is still going on about the origin of the expression 'fair dinkum'. One opinion is that 'dinkum' is a Cantonese word meaning 'true gold'. Apparently, the Chinese would call out 'dinkum' when they struck gold. Another opinion is that it is really an English word originating at Lincolnshire and meant 'a day's allocation of work'. Whatever its origin, today 'fair dinkum' is well and truly part of Aussie slang and means something or someone to be genuine or true."

- John Morris in The Fair Dinkum Queensland Exposed!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Waltzing Matilda and how it all started

I have been a fan of Waltzing Matilda since I first heard it in school. I was 10 and loved the new words - billabong, Coolibah, billy, etc - that you would never ever hear anyone speak in India. In Australia, the song, originally written by Banjo Patterson in the 1890s, is an identity. "It's the unofficial National Anthem," one Aussie notes. In his book, The Fair Dinkum Queensland Exposed! John Morris writes that the swagman (something like a tramp) who stole a sheep (jumbuck) was in reality a trade unionist who shot himself by the waterhole (billabong) during the Great Shearers' strikes in the 1890s. It could have been one Samuel Hoffmeister, who is believed to have done more than steal a sheep – he burned a woolshed to the ground! 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Things you can do in Brisbane for free

1. Get a library membership - It's your gateway to all kinds of books, comics, dvds, newspapers and a chance to meet people. You can borrow the items from one library and return them in another when you're finished. Also, the wifi is free!

2. Attend Council events - The city council organises everything from talk shows to English language classes to gardening tips to ballroom dancing (for over 50s) to aboriginal dance and culture programmes to human chess games to cycling to short film screenings. Check out events and venues on 

3. Watch short animation films: If you're a film buff who likes different kinds of cinema, then head for the Queensland Library which screens short films on weekends and short animated films on weekdays

4. Catch a neighbourhood rugby match: You could watch cricket or soccer as well but there's nothing quite like rugby, with the players' Haka (war cries, originally of the Maori tribe of New Zealand) and their intensity 

5. Head for the beach: Well, the Gold Coast is there, but if you're tight on the budget, the South Bank should suffice. And it's right next to the Brisbane River!

6. Take a hike: A city with two pedestrian-and-cyclists-only bridges across the river is a walkers' paradise. The Kurilpa (the aboriginal name for South Brisbane translates into "a place for water rats") bridge was also judged the World Transport Building of the Year in 2011. Great design and great views!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Doodles on canvas

 My impressions of Brisbane


Alternate Energy
 The Pope


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

On writing...

"Writing sentences felt like construction, and, also, simultaneously, a steady, slow excavation. You put each word in place, brick upon brick, with a shimmery sense of what the whole edifice would look like, the shape of the final thing. But each phrase was also digging inward, an uncovering. You tunnelled, dug, dug. On good days, you emerged from your labours tired but happy. On bad days you were left quivery, stupefied. There was risk and danger involved in this work. You always got strung out, ground down, strained thin. Ended up a little sad, maybe a little mad. Not a way to spend a life."

- Geek Sublime: Writing Fiction, Coding Software by Vikram Chandra