Saturday, April 28, 2007

"Steer" Missy Higgins

Captured nine of the eleven tracks from "On a Clear Night" this week and grabed the album today!! The saturation media will surely have alerted punters to Missy's new disc produced by the skilled Mitchell Froom!!

"Steer" the new single is still my favourite upbeat track of the CD where this character realises its OK to be 'happy' with still yet more work to be done discovering who they are!!

Feel it falling off like clothing
Taste it rolling on your tongue
See the lights above you glowing
Oh and breathe them deep into your lungs

It was always simple
Not hidden hard
You've been pulling at the strings
Playing puppeteer for kings
And you've
Had enough

But the search ends here
Where the night is totally clear
And your heart is fierce
So now you finally know
That you control where you go
You can steer

So hold this feeling like a newborn
Oh with freedom surging through your veins
You have opened up a new door
So bring on the wind, fire and the rain

It was always simple
Not hidden hard
You've been played at a game
Called remembering your name
And you
Stuffed it up

But the search ends here
Where the night is totally clear
And your heart is fierce
So now you finally know
That you control where you go
You can steer, oh

And now you finally know
That you control where you go
You can steer

'Cause you've been listening for answers
Oh but the city screams and all your dreams go unheard

But the search ends here
Where the night is totally clear
And your heart is fierce
So now you finally know
That you control where you go
You can steer, oh

You get out of the box
You step into the clear, oh
'Cause now you finally know you can

The video clip as a crash test car driver is an understated beauty...

And its hanging in there as part of a new talk I'm working on around the theme "Pursuit of Happyness" which obviously includes some reflections on the Will Smith movie and the story of Chris Gardner who inspired it.

The age old question of 'the meaning of life' and maybe the birth scene from Python could get a start in whole worships around this theme...

What is life about.... are we supposed to be, allowed to be, meant to be.... HAPPY!!
Fulfilled? busy, employed, partnered, rich, good looking, blessed... indeed?

For the first time I reckon I'll find a use for the 'Good News' translation of 'The Beautitudes' or Sermon on the Plain ....

"Happy are the poor in spirit... those who mourn...
the meek... those who hunger... the merciful...
pure in heart... peacemakers... those persecuted for righteousness...

That's a heck of a definition of happiness.

So what its all about... who and what are we called to be... not we ourselves but
us as 'community.

its a work in progress and may be on the backburner as my next opportunity
to share in worship is 'Pentecost.'
BREAK OUT the red images and an audio-visual somewhere there in a stack of old tv's...

Back in the Pool

What a week... back in the pool this week after about 5 weeks break!! I got a virus which effected my breathing for weeks and I suspect I've just crept back in time to ensure I won't baulk at further cold weather! The plan is to swim until end of May at the local heated pool and the Cook Phillip in Sydney and then transfer to the University Pool until August!!

Of course while out of the water I had a shocker at the end of my holidays and got lazy so as to regain all my losses and now I can scarcely lift my arms after 20 laps... should be back to the 30 lap minimum within a week!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Spinal Tap Reunite to Fight Global Warming

In great news for the planet, heavy rockers Spinal Tap will reunite for the Live Earth Concerts and join the bill in London. This after a short documentary from original movie Director Rob Reiner debuts at next months Tribeca Film Festival.

Read below courtesy of SMH

The spoof heavy-metal band immortalized by the mock documentary This is Spinal Tap has reunited to join a campaign to save the world from global warming.

Director Rob Reiner, whose 1984 film set the bar for the "mockumentary" genre, has made a new short film called Spinal Tap as part of a campaign dubbed SOS/Live Earth. The band will also play in London at one of 7 Live Earth concerts on July 7.

"I'm here today to talk about something even more important than me or extremely loud music," Reiner - in character as film-maker Marti DeBergi - says in the new film which is to help open New York's Tribeca Film Festival today.

Spinal Tap and eight other short films - the first of 60 that have been commissioned for the campaign - will be posted on the website from tomorrow.

In Reiner's original film, he plays documentary maker DeBergi who accompanies the fictitious English band Spinal Tap on a US tour. The film became a cult favorite as a satirical send-up of the music business.

In the new film, Reiner, reprising his role, takes credit for coining the term "global warming." The band members discuss their long history of charity work, such as campaigns to help ferrets - by raising money to feed them Caesar salad - and to help people with high insteps.

Spinal Tap will be a highlight of the Tribeca Film Festival, which was created after the September 11 attacks as a way to revitalize downtown Manhattan after the destruction of the World Trade Center.

The opening night gala will be hosted by former Vice President Al Gore, whose environmental film An Inconvenient Truth won an Oscar for best documentary earlier this year.

Describing himself as a "recovering politician" rather than a filmmaker despite his Oscar success, Gore said the SOS/Live Earth campaign and the short films aimed to show people how they can make a difference and help the environment.

"Solving this crisis means first of all getting the attention of people all over the world for the fact that we do have a planetary emergency," Gore told a news conference at which Reiner unveiled a clip of his film.

Tribeca Festival co-founder Jane Rosenthal said the environmental theme was a natural choice for a festival born out of "an act of war" and which has consistently shown films aimed at provoking debate.

"The festival's initial goal was to help bring people back to the streets of lower Manhattan," Rosenthal said. "Now our goal is to help bring people back to their senses."

The 157 feature films and 88 short films include plenty on weighty issues such as genocide in Darfur (The Devil Came on Horseback), a homosexual love affair between an Israeli and a Palestinian (The Bubble) and U.S. soldiers' treatment of detainees in Afghanistan (Taxi to the Dark Side).

On the lighter side, Spider-Man 3 will have its US premiere at Tribeca.

"Who Am I?" Katie Altham

Interesting topic and engaging author/therapist!! Make what you will of Myers-Briggs and Eneagram stuff but its all about having tools to relate to others in ways that work... Katie Altham is doing the media rounds and a Workshop 'somewhere' in Sydney this week promoting her Jungian based therapy tool called "Who Am I?" The book also has a How To guide and CD.
Essentially the book describes personality archetypes of which anyone could have between 5-15 as dominant parts of our very make up. How we are raised and nurtured is seen as effecting what develops from this.
It was a fascinating conversation on 9am with David and What's Her Name [Kim] on Aussie Tv Channel 10 this morning.

It seemed a very informative and handy descriptor as she pegged both hosts in a number of ways and even out did David Reyne's ironic humour and dismissive curiosity.

Will have to read the book before I know what to make of it but it seemed a significant resource for building better relationships and communication. Altham is a holistic focused therapist and so builds the basic info into a system for decisionmaking, self improvement etc etc... but based on knowing yourself better!!

She talked about it only working when people are honest and suggested that when doing this stuff we mostly are and that we "know" our dark stuff and our way of looking down on ourselves as much as our positive and creative side... I couldn't agree more... we might not offer that to others but we know ourselves, how we sabotage ourselves, when we self fulfil etc... I'll check it out some more...

Like "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey I reckon there's stuff worth taking hold of and stuff to leave to the professionals!!

The ONION strikes again...

Don't you hate it when 'The Onion' pens a satirical article and it comes within a whisker of describing you or your obsession!! I'm sad to say as a cap collector that I have more than 100 caps [some have been sold at the markets and others will be again] BUT its my hobby and consumeristic weakness to purchase these. But only 2 are on display, the rest get worn in rotation.... I'll leave it at that... its a whole new blog on its own really!!

Gaze Upon My Baseball Cap Collection And Try To Remain Unmoved

By Mike Vallano Ball Cap Connoisseur April 25, 2007 | Issue 43•17

Gaze Upon

The Onion

Allow me, with your kind permission, to present to you my pièce de résistance. I must warn you, as one of the select few to have ever witnessed it, you may find it difficult to maintain your composure. A sight such as this is not to be viewed lightly. Steel yourself, for it will be overwhelming. Behold my baseball cap collection in all its glory!

Amazing, is it not? I can see that you are both confused and astonished. Take it all in before I continue. When you have quite gathered yourself, I will proceed.

What you see before you are 11 caps, hanging from left to right in the order in which they were last worn, magnificently displayed on metallic hooks pinned to a corkboard. Each hook has nine-and-a-half inches between its counterpart which gives each piece the proper amount of space to be admired for both its individuality and its place in a grander scheme.

Ah, I see your eyes are drawn to my newest piece. Not surprising. I happened upon this 2006 Oakland Athletics New Era fitted cap at a Champs Sporting Goods store in the mall near my house. An important find, yes, but I would never have purchased it if it didn't complement the collection as a whole. Its new, youthful, hunter-green wool body, embellished by its yellow bill and traditional white A and apostrophe S, serves as a stark counterpoint to the visibly worn yet resilient Buffalo Bills cap that hangs beside it. I saved that Bills cap from an ignoble fate in a bargain bin in Mobile, AL, many moons ago, during a time when I, too, needed saving. Stand before the Bills cap, and all the caps for that matter, and realize that you, too, are merely mortal.

My favorite piece—and I say this knowing that it may surprise you—is the plain navy blue cap. I paid a hefty sum for it at that gift shop off the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and when I finally had it in my hands, I let out a sigh that seemed to echo the full weight of humanity. Its simplicity is stunning.

When I began this collection, I was 10, a mere boy, ignorant of my destiny as curator of the greatest collection of sportswear ever assembled. I realized long ago that I am not so much its owner as its steward, maintaining it so it may be passed on to future generations.

My first hat is the one three in from the right, its headband stained with the sweat of hope and sorrow. Notice the netted body adorned with an "R" (for "Reds") and the adjustable notches in the back. It is from my first Little League team. Remember your youth? Your innocence? Could it be we were ever so naïve, regarding our baseball caps as nothing more than objects to be worn on our heads? Do not fear to touch it, for to touch it is to feel its beauty. Go on, allow yourself to be humbled in its presence.

Look further. The uneven curvature of the otherwise exquisitely brimmed Dallas Cowboys hat proves that, no matter what, true perfection is unattainable.

That unmistakably curious cap on the far left, with the stitched jackrabbit, was a free gift I received when I purchased my old Volkswagen Golf. That was one of the most complex times in my life, just as witnessing this is probably one of the most complex times in yours.

And the Phoenix Coyotes hat was a present from my parents, because I am a pretty big Coyotes fan.

I sense that you are starting to understand the enormity of what hangs before you. What you are experiencing right now is an onslaught of universal truths words cannot describe. I know that profound and inexplicable sensation well. Indeed, I feel it every day. The soul quakes a little at the sight of the sublime. We are, after all, only human.

Oh, but how I ramble on. The collection is best appreciated in silent contemplation. I am going to leave you alone now. Don't be afraid. This is a safe place. If it all becomes too much, draw strength from the collection's anchor: the New York Mets hat. A constant companion on the rockiest of life's winding roads, it has guided me through many a tough time, and no doubt it will again.

Yes, no doubt it will again.

"Blossom and Blood" Midnight Oil

And then there's...

"Blossom and Blood"
You the mothers who sent your sons
Wipe away your tears
For those who fought and those who fell
Become our sons as well
You the warriors with your words
Throw away your spears
You talk of times of peace for all
And then prepare for war
All people with dreams, all mothers with sons
All people with dreams ever woken at night by the sound of guns
Like a child that's born on a moonless night
Like a child that's born, we parachute down to an unknown fight
This city of blossom and blood
This city suffered more than it should
These sidewalk silhouettes not washed away, not washed away
Whatever you've done, whatever you think you've done, whatever you've done
There's a hope in the heart that says never again
Never again, whatever you say, whatever you say
It's the price of peace to remember that day


The track in question is a patchwork of thoughts about 'war' taking the famous and oft quoted words of Kemal Ataturk in relation to those who lost their lives fighting the Turks at or near Gallipoli and brings the imagery forward to the sidewalk silhouettes painted about the atom bomb in Hiroshima and the commeroration of Hiroshima Day in a sign of Hope that people might see it as never too late to step back from war as a solution to conflict!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007


As we nationally seem to increase our respect for and embrace of all things ANZAC DAY I find myself similarly moved to reflect on what war and its inherent loss of life means for us as a nation and as individuals here in this country.

Being used by the British and US commands
The many stories of stoicism and what of that is true and fair
'Simpson and his donkey' BUT how a slightly less syrupy embrace of this story than Mal Garvin's spin on it might genuinely provide a theological avenue for people to enter into the Anzac story and discover God at its heart!!

Being shaped by adversity
The laconic Australian sense of humour
That there may be NO winners
That I could not/would not sign up

Where in all this are the echoes of faith and the presence of God calling us to see the futility of it all and reminding us of our shared humanity and value in God's eyes!!

Whose are the voices we are not hearing and who is God standing with in the world. In the Sudan? in the Middle East? Russia?

Who are we called to stand with?

What do we make of the backpacker trek to Gallipoli but also the rubbish, partying, footprints and behaviour left behind [anyone else look back over their shoulder at the football or cricket as they leave and recognise its no different to a crowd anywhere in the western world!! Although perhaps anyone who chooses a Bee Gees playlist for the pre Dawn entertainment does deserve to be 'shot'.

BUT seriously, others are far more eloquent than me in their storytelling and rememberance... here I turn to the modern poets, the protest rock experts and pulse takers of Oz's 1980/90s identity...

"Forgotten Years" Midnight Oil
A song I wish had been written when my turn came to address the Scholl Assembly Anzac day service in Year 11 in 1978.

"If Everyone Cared" Nickelback

Jo here at the Youth Unit was asking about dowloading Youtube videos and used this Nickelback clip as an example of a new song worth getting hold of and using... I had seen the clip on RAGE recently but only caught half of it and had made a note to chase it up... serendipity!!

It strikes me as a clip to use similarly to "World on Fire" Sarah McLachlan

e.g. as a backdrop to Prayers for Others, as an opening clip for a suitable theme...

Another of those "bands with Christians in it" producing interesting music in the mainstream. Of course this balanced by the fact that most Nickelback songs sound b\very alike so if you don't like them then by now you really don't like them!!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Jack Johnson over excited about Live Earth

Jack Johnson confirms he's in for the Sydney version of the Al Gore inspired Live Earth rock concerts around the world on July 7th 2007!!

Only trouble is Jack jumped in ahead of a May 8 press conference expected to announce the inclusion on the bill of: Wolfmother, Crowded House, Silverchair and Midnight Oil!!
Read About It ... pardon the Oils pun....,22049,21578330-5001026,00.html

Mmmm, stay tuned!!

We already had the Red Hot Chilli Peppers to look forward to....

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

"Political Animal" The Ghostwriters

A secretive side project of Midnight Oil drummer Rob Hirst in the 1990's are back with a few new songs and some remastered old rock numbers. Feeling a mixture of inspiration from Al Gore's interview on 'Enough Rope' and some guilt after his ARIA rant about political songs... Hirst has worked with Rick Grossman [Hoodoo Gurus and others], Martin Rotsey [Oils]Lee Moloney on drums [Diesel, Lost Gospel] and Producer/guitarist DC...

"Featuring the single 'Start The Day', the songs are tough, melodic, and retain the excitement and energy that comes from recording live in the studio." says one promo

TRACKS include:
Start The Day
Political Animal
Follow The Leader
Empire Building
Impossible Shame
Second Skin
All Is Well With The World
Not My Time
The Wolves Close In
Sleep Of The Just
Someone's Singing New York New York

Its very 'Ghostwriters' rock and despite the seemingly obvious link "Political Animal" is not a shot at Peter Garrett [of whom Rob Hirst is very proud] but rather a spin off from Al Gore's assessment that he found politics to be a very toxic business.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Andrew Johns Was Close to the Best I've Seen

When you're viewing includes the Ella brothers and the golden era of the South Sydney Rabbitohs through the 1960s its hard to compare but in my few trips to the ISC and many hours watching the Knights on TV I'd have to say 'Joey' Johns was close to the best...

An extra forward in defense and when not trying to do it all, the kind of player who always found a way to turn a game... including prodigious banana kicks, a magical long passing game and of late in his career, deadly goal kicking!!

Flying home from Cairns yesterday via Brisbane, when I read in the paper that he had a decision to make regarding a training mishap and a neck injury I expected to see news footage and a press conference announcing his retirement... what a sad day...

OK, people in the world starved to death yesterday, 9 people died in car accidents in NSW on the weekend BUT so too did the playing career of a gifted and talented athlete come to an end...

In my own small way I could relate to the notion of not finishing on your own terms... its a hollow numb feeling that despite all the evidence you'd still like to run out once more!! To have a bag at the ready when the team is short or enjoy one last dash in the Over 35's Golden Oldies when it comes back to Oz... not to be!!

I include a video from by an obvious NRL and Johns fan...footyNRLfreak2007

A lad, a skirt chaser, a coal miners son and just about the best rugby league footballer you'd see... goodness knows what he could have done at this years Rugby World Cup had he grasped that opportunity!!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Converting FLV Files

I am having a great time since surfing for, downloading and paying for a reasonably flexible tool that captures video from sources such as YouTube and then can convert those into swf or windows media files of various quality levels!!

Its found at
You open the program and press record, then start your flv video and its captured. You then transfer it to program 2 which can convert to various formats....
I then change all the coded file names so I know what I'm saving by name and da dah!! Video coming out my ears!!

e.g. I searched for various live concert songs, ARIA performances, movie scenes and trailers, some Easter themed material etc. I have even downloaded a few peoples tribute clips where they have sumarised a movie to a fav. music track.

I grabbed the 'deepest fear' response from Coach Carter, the eulogy in 'Four Weddings and Funeral' etc...

Its just great...

I also managed to capture Missy Higgins new single from MySpace via this program...
There are no more copyright issues than already exist with YouTube and my subversion allows a number of people to see and be inspired by the stories of others. many will go to see whole films based on seeing a snippet!!