31 March 2007

If you voted Liberal

I just found this image on an old school friend's blog. I remember seeing this in the street the day after one of the - many - John Howard elections. Resonated because it captured my exact feelings.

Glad someone got a pic of it and that I can let it live again. It actually looks like the exact spot where I shot some of Live To Give.

Let us all hope we never have to see graffiti like this again after the next election.

Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?

It's our engagement party in two weeks time.

Must write speech. Include wit; humorous / embarrassing anecdotes; feelings from the heart. Remember to thank the hosts. Audience tears desirable. Get a haircut. Don't drink too much champagne. Circulate. Introduce people. Take photographs. Do not dance. Encourage some guests to loosen up by filling their glasses. Discourage others from drinking too much. Work out how to achieve this. If unsuccessful hope they are from the other side of the family. Have a night not to forget.

25 March 2007

Most Boring People In The World?

Gen and I are getting closer and closer to this title every week. All we do is work. We both work from home we rarely go outside. I have barely seen a friend in weeks. Celia claims to now know what I look like anymore.

Is it fun? Are we rich? No and no.

In that case, why are we doing it and why haven't we stopped?

Is the answer 'Its the nature of the freelancer'? You never say no to work because you never know if a dry spell is around the corner. So you end up doubling and tripling up work, and the deadlines all seem to be at the same time.

You're working from home, so when there's nothing on TV you drift into the office and 4 hours later its midnight on a Sunday and your eyes are square and you realise you're about to get up and do the same thing in a few hours time.

It's beyond your control, the work guides you, you have to take what's there, its the sacrifice you make for being your own boss and not having to pay a cut to anyone.

Bullshit. I don't think we work smart. Or for me at least (I've got a growing conviction that I'm far from smart in general).

I have freelance friends who don't live like this. Their home offices are neat, they can't be reached on weekends because they're off doing something. They enjoy what they do. They don't whinge and moan like I do all the time. What are they doing right that I am not?

There are a few things that I want to change in the not too distant future which I think will make a world of difference.

Firstly, I have to be patient and wait for the film festival work to be over. It deserves alot attention but is not very well paid. A normal week's work is done around the 8-20 hours that go into the festival. I get stressed that the festival is getting behind, (especially this year with so many more stakeholders to keep track of) and reduced available hours means my other work suffers - I'm rarely satisfied with the work I submit.

Next there's software and hardware shit. My external hard drive died this week (fingers crossed the data can be retrieved, but it will be expensive), but more stressful and inhibiting on ability to work fluidly, has been problems some of with my software.

I don't think I've ever paid for software; if I did pay for everything I used on this computer I would have a much lighter wallet. My sort of design does require a wide range of programs, all of them expensive - word processing, film, sound and photo editing, 3D modelling and rendering. But it's just got harder lately and after many many wasted hours trying workarounds, I will be shelling out a substantial wad of dough to purchase a couple of programs. But at least I won't be stressing about finding a solution and losing time. This will help me a great deal. Who knows, I may even feel like shelling out for the new Creative Suite when it comes out soon.

Since returning from Qatar its been pretty hand-t0-mouth without much strategy behind the clients I want. As a result I take everything. In a few months I hope to have the time to update my showreel, folio and website, and actually go out there and hit the places I actually want work from. I'd like to think that if the job didn't interest me, or I was too busy, I would say no.

Lastly, soon Gen and I will move over to a more 'business' way to run our businesses. This should help us both have a greater overview of work, hours, bills, pay. Seems crazy that it has taken us so long to get to this point, but there you are. Perhaps as a sole trader it doesn't feel so much like a business.

So here's hoping that within a few months all these thing will be lined up and I will find myself with the time to do normal stuff like hanging out with friends, going away to see Dad or Zander for a weekend, going to bed at normal times.

19 March 2007

Blogging from the great outdoor

I've returned from a day at the Vibewire office and found that I've left my keys either at work or here at home.

How can I be blogging if I can't get into the house? The wonders of wireless and a laptop! I'm sitting in from of my house on a comfy chair, connected to my wireless router. Gives you something to pass the time until Gen comes home and lets us in.

After weeks and weeks of hectic freelance, it looks like the load might lighten soon. Michael is back at Design team, so I probably won't be spending a couple of days a week there as I have been of late. I should be relieved, but of course I'm already stressing about losing the cash that goes with this.

I'm sure it won't last long, and I can use the time to create a new showreel and update my portfolio. I also have those thousands of photos I took in Qatar that need sorting. So some spare time will be good - for a short while.

But I bet that that time disappears into the Vibewire black hole, where all spare hours disappear. After a weekend watching our submissions, I made the 'final' selection this afternoon and started calling the lucky film makers.

One of the films was made in a youth drop-in centre, and is about the trials and tribs of trying to make a film in a place like that. A note at the end of the films states that many of the actors ended up in jail before the film could be completed, and that the camera was stolen.

True! When I called the film maker, she told me she may not be able to submit the film on Mini-DV, cos that probably disappeared with the camera.


12 March 2007

More evidence


In a news item this morning titled Home loan costs pressure families more evidence of the unaffordability of housing in Sydney.

"Families in Sydney, where the median-priced home is $520,000, require a combined income of $145,000 to keep up with their mortgage payments."

We get nowhere near this, but this the price of house we have been looking at!

"... calculations were based on a household paying 30 per cent of income to service mortgage repayments.

Monthly mortgage repayments were calculated on the basis of a 25-year loan equal to 90 per cent of the median house price."

11 March 2007

Get a mortgage, lose a life?

It can't just be me. It seems almost impossible to be able to afford to buy a house, even with 2 incomes, and some help from the parents, if you're both designers.

An article on the weekend reminded me of a recent survey which found that the most unhappy people in Sydney live in the Inner West, where we are now. The theory this author put forward was that people in this area have the same middle class aspirations as everyone else, its just that the work in relatively low-paid areas of academia and the arts. This seems spot-on, for us at least.

We're working all the time, 7 days a week, often late into the night. But we never seem to get ahead. Today I had a go at the online mortgage calculators some lenders provide. Apparently we'd have to pay a mortgage of about $800 per week on a loan the size that you need to get anything in Sydney these days.

How the hell can we possibly pay that much?? That's double what we pay now. We can't work any harder in our design fields, already I feel like I have no life other than my office.

Is the only alternative to throw in the independence and return to an office job? Yawn. What, go back to the thing I left 3 years ago because I didn't enjoy it, and stay there for 25 until the mortgage is paid off? Seems depressing.

I gotta be honest with myself and say that the (close to) free work I do every week on the Film Festival is a big drain on my time when I could otherwise be working for coin. Of course my interest remains strongly in film - but as an administrator of other people's films, in a disorganised and underpaid youth organisation? Doesn't sound like it's progressing my ambitions anywhere fast does it? If I took the unpaid hours I have put into this festival in the last 18 month I probably could have written a feature film!

I will have to return to this topic after the festival has happened - maybe I will have had an amazing experience and my opportunities will have opened up as a result. Right now I feel I just don't have the time or desire to give away so many of my hours to these guys...

08 March 2007


I finished a 15 day detox and I was feeling great. Then I ate some lamb and barely slept a wink.

It's been 2 weeks with no alcohol, no caffeine, dairy, meat, white grains. Lots of brown rice, green tea, brightly coloured movements. Some herby pills to take around mealtimes. Filtered water, tofu and raw nuts.

Unlike the first time I did it two years ago I didn't get flu-like symptoms and end up in bed for days. And it wasn't nearly as difficult to stop the booze and coffee either. I just felt great.

Then last night, my first day free, Gen cooked lamb chops. I could feel them sitting in my gut all night long - I don't think my digestive system knew what the hell to do with it after fortnight of the most easily digestible foods.

I think I will continue on the vego and fish thing for a while longer and get more sleep.

05 March 2007

MySpace vs Iran Maiden

Oh dear. Someone just posted this MySpace page, which has a strangely good 'Arabic' cover of a Kylie song.

It's so wrong. But it's no worse than the real Kylie music played at the parade on the weekend

04 March 2007

Laser graf!

Seb's blog had a link to this page, which shows graf artists in Rotterdam painting a building with a laser beam.

Fucking wild, I want one.

More pics here.

2007 Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

I watched the parade last night from Rully's place on the second floor above Oxford Street, near Taylor's Square. It's the first time I've seen it from above, and of course you lose alot of the feeling.

I got a couple of good photos, but I really do need to shell out and buy a good zoom. These are all shot on my fixed 50mm.

I hit the streets after the parade hoping to get more good shots, but it wasn't the best time. If I was really dedicated to it I would have gone back to the same spot at dawn. Then there would be some images...

There has been some discussion in the media about whether the parade is still relevant. I wouldn't say its relevant in terms of a protest march any more as the community has mostly been incorporated into the mainstream now (2Day FM float with a Parramatta Eels jersey on display says alot), but rather it's a time to celebrate.

Every sector of the community has a special time to celebrate and come together (Christians>Christmas, Muslims>Ramadan etc) so this is the gay community's day to do the same.

But surely the music directors of the floats can let go of 1970s disco by now?

Cyclic Defrost issue 16 about to go to print

I'm almost finished the new issue of Cyclic Defrost Magazine. This is my 4th issue as art director but the first that uses my own design rather than the existing template.

The previous issue was an ordeal to create in every sense - I was overseas in Qatar, my new laptop had software problems for months, patchy internet signal, working 6 days-a-week on the Ceremonies, isolated from the proofing process, and of course, the joy of working on a little screen.

Amazingly, we did get there, and the result wasn't too bad considering.

This time around I've had the luxury of a few weeks to re-imagine the format, including take full advantage of the colour printing throughout. A proper 250gsm varnished cover will add that final touch in bringing the mag from 'street rag' to 'art mag'. Incredibly, they are still free, you just have to be real quick if you want to find one!

One of the key elements I have introduced (other than a new grid and fonts etc) is a 8mm border
The guest cover designer this issue is Build, ex-Designers Republic, old school graphic design heroes. I struggled to make my new design format work with the articles until I did his - I used some of his EPS files (which of course you can blow up in scale indefinitely) in the borders. These files were mostly white with patches of black, so the border edges were implied rather than defined.

With this I was released from the constraint I had set myself. All the other articles flowed easily after this - just because I had created a border I don't need work it strictly, just referring to it in some fashion is enough to create the look. And it won't get boring with every article looking similar.

I look forward to anyone's thoughts on the success of the re-design.