Echoes in a Dreamscape


In the darkness, in the bush night sounds symphony, so  softly fills the air. Small chirping and crickets along with the trickling sound of the creek down in the sudden slots of the sandstone. Sandstone carved through with centuries of floods and rains in the days and the nights. There is the dark cool air sound sounds smoothly from rock to rock through the twisted moonlit trees and land animals and forms spring into the imagination.  For the real animals are not wild here.  The slugs and snails and invertebrates and mosses and lichens and the flying silent moths.   Through that dark scariness the silent silent swish of the frogmouth flying past.  So still on a branch as to become the branch until that branch starts to make that hypnotic frogmouth………. houm… houm…houm…houm…houm…Houm…houm…houm………like an overlay. Like a meditative trance echo impossible to locate from the bird sitting so still the air moves more the he does. Then silently down to capture the little snail or slug iridescent in the moonlight.  And then on like the quiet bird of prey in the not so quiet still of the night.




Tawny Frogmouth Call 

photo: christolograph/flickr – copyright

Excuse me Sir – You have to Imagine it

On entering the room, there it was, a submarine so it seemed, all big round and rusty as I recall, and really filling the space, standing tall close to the ceiling, and wall to wall, almost corner to corner.  It looked more like a massive piece of war junk, a bomb perhaps, long not exploded after being left behind.  A modern day artist had found it and installed it in this rather white room of the art gallery.  How long had it been there ? How did they get it in ? Not sure – it looked familiar, yet impossible to really comprehend as something of any use whatsoever. How heavy was it ? It kind of looked solid, but I should have been too heavy if it was solid all the way though maybe.

The room seemed too small for the object and you could not the whole thing from where I stood near the entry. I started over to the left side, and tried to crab my way down the side wall – trying to see behind the thing, to see if there was a nameplate or something.

“Excuse me Sir”, came the command of the supervisor.

-mm.. but there was no line on the floor indicating the viewing limits — I thought..

I tried a bit further in, just a peek behind it is all I wanted..

“Excuse me Sir” !!

I backed out, oh well – I would just have to imagine it, since I could not see behind it.

How will the egg remember it’s me

(who backed out with care in the gallery)

when it has to remember

a rusty old chicken

It’s laid there to be

Later I ventured into another small room, an alcove hidden from view and the only thing in it was a square hole in the wall. The hole in the wall was pitch dark.  I poked my head in. There was nothing in there.  Gradually my eyes became accustomed to the dark inside the hole in the wall.  I still could not see much. I closed my useless eyes.

It smelled rusty !

“Excuse me sir !” I yelled into the void.  A dark metallic echo came back !

Now I remember what I imagined.

A short recollection – written in response to a experiencing the sculpture MEMORY of  Anish Kapoor.

Innovation 23 – Fire Rubber Cup Scissors Water

It’s Sydney summer, and a beautiful day, the day after new year.  When people catch a train, or go to the beach or otherwise take some time out from work and social gatherings.  For myself, I had been wondering for some time about an advanced game of Rock Paper Scissors, based on the same choice principle, but extending that choice to more than the usual, I should say tradtional three articles.  i.e  [Rock or Paper or Scissors].

To do this I had to go back to game theory and look at the possibility of increasing the number of possible choices, and still make it an apparently evenly matched game, regardless of the choice, in the face of probability.

The beauty of rock paper scissors is that you only have to remember what beats what, and each choice only has to beat one other choice.  So that makes it easy to remember.  Only 3 things to remember, you can play a fast game.

The trouble with extending this is that you have to remember that each choice has to beat only 2 things, and therefore must be beaten by only 2 other things.  This means that the set of things has to be 5.  It cannot be 4.  It took me quite some time to get over the fact that it could not be 4 and therefore had to be 5 things to pick from.

So just for fun, this morning after lines on a page and some trial and error, I came up with 5 things that could form the basis of an extended rock paper scissors choice game.

My first 5 top of the head things are:-

  1. Fire – which can burn Cup, and melt Scissors
  2. Rubber – which can smother Fire, and Hold Water
  3. Cup – which can contain Rubber and hold Water
  4. Scissors – which can cut the Cup and Rubber
  5. Water – which can corrode Scissors and extinguish Fire

As you can see each choice can be beaten by only two other choices and can beat the remaining two choices.

This gives two players an even chance at winning, but also makes it might be a better game for three players.

For instance if there are 2 players.

  • Each player has a 40% [2/5] chance to beat the other player.
  • Each player has a 20% chance that the other player will make the same choice.

For example if there are 3 players.

  • Each player has a 16% [4/25] chance to beat both other players.
  • Each player has a 48% [12/25] chance to beat only one player.
  • Each player has a 4% chance that the other players will make the same choice.

I am sure this game could be a lot tougher to play, and score, and there would be much more debate about cheating and who jumped in first and other possibilities.  Which is why it probably won’t evolve and further than this simple blog post.  But if you get bored for example, on the New Year Holidays…

This is #23 in the Innovation Series.

If you would like to comment on this, try it out, or suggest improvements to the choice items, feel free to do so.. Comments are moderated, but if what you say helps extend the concept, lets see !..

In the heart of the night of travel

Bubbles of small pain like the bends rising from the depth of sleep, make me wake. I messed with my neck on a chair the other day ow ! Through the dark wet window are the gumtrees scribbly lines and smudge against the dark misty sky and below the sill line, way below, a shellowing creek rushes along down the rocks and through the fallen trees, grass, bark and creek paraphenalia.

It is the dark heart of the bush out there, and on the roof, slight soft raindrops fall, in the house, the only sounds are the clocks, tick in bathroom, tock in loungeroom, clunk in den.  Clocks, its 3.30am on the quiet bedside digital, the radio alarm has a few hours to wait. I’m awake and the dark heart of the night is time to think over what just happened out there, time to pray for the kids.

A lone bird whoops down the creek and the frogs croak, then go back to sleep.  There are no peepers here, where I live, but I know they used to be there when I woke in New England, no Sydney frogs are a bit different, like the people I suppose.

So here in the heart of the night, with the clocks and the creek, the occasional frog, and bird, and the sounds.  I get a chance to reflect on the things that happened in the last rush of a crazy trip where the minarets cry Allah, and the sands fill your pockets, and the trains go fast, and the limo drivers smile, and the tourists are stressed.

Sand, hot wind and sand, i felt it, brought in from the Kingdom’s Al Khobar’s hot streets and Brighton’s sunny beach, I didn’t declare the grains in my clothes. But what happened to the chalk smooth pebble I found on the beach in Worthing ?

The sounds of the people in Brighton, where the new pier is brightly lit, alongside the old one, burnt out,  with traces of the past still clinging to it.  In England the South Downs looked familiar with green hills and narrow roads, and nice places to get lost, and traffic jams to get stuck in.

But don’t forget Paris, didn’t you go there for the weekend ? Didn’t you meet so many people, etrangere, passer’s by ?

Yes the Eurostar, got on at St. Pancras International, and was fine headed for Paris, under the channel separating Albion from Gaul and not providing the fine view of the chalky cliffs of dover, but then speeding out from ground at Calais and over to Lille, where turning sharp south it travels fast down map into Paris.  At the Gare du Nord, the train pulled in.  Paris, ah, so full of people from all over the map, and so Parisien. I stepped outside the Gare, to use  my phone, and others also were there on their blackberrys.  Salesmen in suits with an earpiece, talking to themselves in the sunshine, talking of gas fields in Algeria, and Turbines, and such. Inside getting Metro tickets in a queue, since the machines don’t like my Australian bank. For this trip I tried the cheapest hotel I could find in Paris, and at 39E + tax for the night it was a good one.  The hotel, out near the Universite Rene Descartes, was a Formule1.  Excellent value really.  So alone for the evening I walked by and by down the rue ‘Porte de Chatillon’ from Metro Porte D’Orlean and checked into my little automated room. Clean, quiet, and a place to call home for the evening.

It was in the evening around 7pm I went walking and got a crepe on the street down to Alesia, and then decided to take it easy that evening and go back to the hotel.  Walking back, on the way to the hotel, I was stopped by a lady, who might have been from somewhere in North Africa.  Initial thoughts on someone stopping you, is they want money, which is generally the case, so I generally prepare a phrase in my mind, that goes, ‘Non !, Merci !’ or somesuch probably quite rude thing to say when you think about it, but you don’t have time to think normally.  Anyway In this case, the woman asked ‘as tu un plan pour la route ver a Porte de Chatillon?’ So I said ‘Non ! Merci !’ and left walking back, and then thought about what she said.  It took a while for me to figure oh okay, she wanted a map or wanted to find her way to the Porte de Chatillon.  I guess I could have helped out really.  I should have quickly pulled out my blackberry, and called up google maps and then showed her how to get there on the blackberry.  Still it was just up the road, so she probably would have made it ok.

The next morning came, and it was my dear son’s birthday, he lives in Paris now, works at the Polytechnique in Palaiseau, so glad to have been there that weekend.  We ate at the restaurants at the top of the rue ‘de la Butte aux Cailles’, in the southern 13th Arr. part of Paris, where the food is great, and the people are Parisien, but not too crowded. The Fete de la commune was having a singing dancing affair that day in the square that saturday, complete with stage, minstrels, hurdy gurdy player, singer and lutes and dancing caroles. 

He has a black mantlepeice in his small apartment in Paris, not far from Glaciere Metro.  Thats where the chalk pebble is now,. I remember I put the round white grey thing down carefully arranged.  It looks good there now, along with Gabrielles bit of polished gumtree wood beside.

On my return to the UK, and at the Gare du Nord, an american tourist from San Francisco was out of breath, panicky, and lost at the Eurostar terminal.  A french lady was trying to help her in english and figure out where she should go.  I joined the conversation and the french lady spoke to me in french on behalf of the american, I replied in my best French and this was then translated to English for the American.  I said ‘hello’, the french lady said ‘merci bien, tu parle en anglais ?, ‘oui madame, je suis Australien’.  The french lady didn’t mind but smiling back, left me to the help out the American, who badly needed a smoke, in a non smoking Gare.

Flying is so convenient of course, but my Saudi visa said in small arabic writing, that I could only enter the Kingdom by land.  I guess my booking clerk didn’t do the figuring right, and couldn’t read the visa, so I got stranded, had to be driven over instead.. lovely Bahrain..Al Khobar,..mysterious kingdom of oil under the sands, where in the streets the women wear dark, and the men wear bright.

So here in the heart of the night, in the dark, and in the morning, it is evening in Brighton where the lights are still burning with laughter on the pier, and it is later in Paris, but the bars are still full, and it is even later in the Kingdom, where the oil still bubbles up like nitrogen into the pipes to power the planes that get me around the place, and the Gare du Nord is still busy with tourists lost and stressed no doubt about it… en francais, en anglais and other lingua.

Still the heart of the night here in Sydney is restful, and dangerous, because the creeks can flood, the gums can burn, and the wind can blow.  So I am thankful that it is still tonight, and I am home again. A kookaburra starts the dawn.