Monday, January 12, 2009

An update after way too long...starting with holidays

So, yes, life has gotten the better of us, and it's been waaayyy too long since our last update. So here I am writing just a short piece to prove that we are still alive (and that we have been enjoying ourselves).

I think the best place to start is always with a holiday. We had fun and took pictures...always easier to write about and illustrate...

In October Cam and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary with a trip to Byron Bay (who would have thought we were at 5 years already?). We had a great week that involved diving and sight-seeing, and also a surfing lesson, and the extra-special treat of a balloon flight (something we have always wanted to do).

Unfortunately we didn't have our underwater camera, so couldn't take any photos on the dives. We did however see some amazing stuff and hear whales while 10m down on a dive (anyone interested in diving should really check out Julian Rocks at Byron Bay). We were, however, able to capture the joy post-surfing lesson (see below).

This was before the aching arms caught up with us the next day. Big thanks to Lyn and Stan for lending us the boards and teaching us the basics! We both managed to stand up, and Cam even caught his own wave.

The day after our surfing lesson, we had to get up extra early in order to meet our balloon pilot. We drove out pre-dawn and were ferried out to the site we would be taking off from. It was a beautiful clear and still morning, and the only company we had (apart from the other passengers) were the curious cows, in whose paddock we had temporarily taken over.

After standing back and watching the professionals set up our transportation, a couple of people were asked to help - and warm up as an added extra. Cam was happy to help, despite the sore surfing arms from the previous day.

Before long our balloon was ready and we all climbed in and took off. It's such an amazing experience - not scary at all. You could barely even feel the take off, it was like we literally just floated away. Landing was also fine, although I'm not sure how the person felt whose paddock it was we landed in. Surely nothing that a bottle of bubbles couldn't fix. Anyway, below are just a few of the pics we took for your viewing pleasure...

Monday, May 5, 2008


Ok so we've been slack, we haven't really posted anything in a long while. Apologies. Jane assures me that there are some posts that she just hasn't quite finished yet but I just think that she (like most!) loves facebook more than blogland these days.

Anyway I'm posting with Jane's full approval to tell you folks to all go and see the new film Sharkwater. It is being released in Australia on the 15th of May and is simply and awesome film. It is a visually stunning documentary which focuses on the plight of the worlds declining Shark population, is encompasses many things you may not know about the illegal fishing that goes on around the world every day, it also dispels some of the most common misconceptions about Sharks and their interactions with humans.

Jane and myself and some of my family recently attended the Australian premier of the film and were simply awestruck. Even as a someone who has studied marine science I found myself moved almost to tears in some parts of the film, other parts are equal parts beautiful, funny and inspiring, you must see it.

At the premier the filmmaker Rob Stewart spoke frankly passionately and eloquently and was inspiring to hear, he is also (just quietly) perhaps one of the hottest men you'll have seen on the big screen in a long long time. So even if your motivations aren't entirely environmental and are somewhat "eyecandy" based please make sure you go and see this film, it is beautiful, shocking and will change the way you look at the worlds oldest predator, sharks. They have been around since before there were trees and we stand ready to see them wiped out within our lifetimes, watch this film and let it motivate you and outrage you so that you getup about this issue.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

21 World Leaders...1 caged city

So, how could anyone not living under a rock have missed APEC? Coming from Sydney it was reasonably noticeable - we're talking a big fence around the Opera House, major disruptions in traffic and general work and life for any of the thousands of people working in the middle of the city, snipers on the rooftops...pretty extreme. Especially seeing as all reports about APEC in other countries represent it as being a small-fuss-out-of-the-way type of event.

Anyway, after much hassle and general ridiculousness a protest was organised in Sydney on the APEC long weekend (yep, we even got an extra day off for it!). Of course it couldn't go anywhere near where the conference itself was being held, but that didn't stop an unbelievable police presence!!! We had never seen anything like it!

Cam and I, his sisters, and a couple of friends attended this most peaceful of protests and marched through the city, dancing past police buses and many intimidating police. Not that we were blaming the individual officers et al, but whoever organised their presence was not only trying to be intimidating, but also provocative. It was absolutely bizarre.

It was great to see so many people there, as well as why they were there. Not many people were protesting against APEC per say, but rather about the issues that we felt weren't being addressed by the world leaders - mainly Climate Change and the Iraq War. There were also people there just because they had been told they weren't allowed - protesting for general civil rights and liberties.

Anyway, we were all happy that we went, and that we made our cool t-shirts with the Climate Change messages "Even Putin signed Kyoto - how embarrasing!" and "Howard targeting citizens, not climate change". Despite the scare tactics to try and prevent people from peacefully demonstrating how they feel, there was a fairly good turn out from all walks of life. Let's hope people don't forget how important the freedom to peacefully protest is!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Some Days in Darwin

Last week I (Jane) went on a work trip to Darwin. I've never been on a work trip before (I consider my time in PNG to be a bit more than a work trip), and I found the experience quite novel.

Basically last week was National Science Week all around Australia. Dan and I were asked to go up to Darwin for the week to run a whole lot of 20 minute workshops with primary school kids on how to make solar cells. Out of raspberries. I'm not quite sure which part of this seemed the most challenging, but it all seemed like fun; and combined with the fact that I had never been to Darwin, and that we were to be paid for the trip, it all sounded pretty good.

So Dan and I found ourselves at the airport with boxes of brochures and a bit of luggage on a Monday night. After approximately 5 hours we arrived in a lovely 27 degree Darwin, and caught a cab to Vanessa's house (a friend of a friend who had kindly offered us the use of her spare rooms). We had been left with instructions that went something like this: "Go through the back gate where you'll meet two dogs (Gus and Neil) - they are quite friendly and like to jump and lick a lot. Go in through the back door which will be left open for you, and the rooms you'll be staying in should be quite obvious". This more than anything else made me realise how different Darwin is to Sydney...

Anyway, we were bowled over by two very friendly and excited dogs - anyone with ill intentions would be licked into submission - and found our way into the house. Gus is the one pictured here.

Dan and I spent the next few days running over 30 raspberry solar cell making workshops for the primary school kids of Darwin. The workshops were only 20 minutes each - but there was plenty to fit in to that time - you can see our tables, set up, some piccies of Dan teaching the kids, and the actual 'solar cells' themselves as made by the students.

They seemed to like it, mostly because they got their hands dirty. My favourite quote from one of the students was when we were prompting them to tell us what different types of energy were. Someone mentioned fire (which quite obviously has light and heat energy), and this inspired one boy to wave his hand energetically in the air while exclaiming "Miss, miss. I burnt me house down!". I quickly explained that this type of energy is usually not encouraged.

While we did spend a lot of time at the science fair, we did get to get out and about. Dan, Jasmine and I managed to fit in a dinner together - a catch up that hasn't happened for a long time!

We also sat in on a couple of night time events - Women in Science, and Astronomy. Both of which were very interesting. The week was a huge learning experience for me, as well as any students at the science fair! One of the other highlights was getting to the night time markets on the beach. We got there just before sunset and it was truly spectacular...also managed to buy a few gifts for those at home...

The last day in Darwin was spent in a shopping centre. Yep, we had one of those demonstration tables which you always seem to see at large suburban shopping malls. We had lots of fun handing out balloons, and watching Dan do solar cell demonstrations for the kids and adults alike. Jasmine and I also liked posing for the camera.

Overall we had a fantastic time! Thanks to Vanessa for putting us up, and to Jasmine for organising the whole thing. It was a great experience. And thanks to my science partner Dan for making the whole thing fun, as well as educational. I like to think that I'm a little bit of a scientist now...and maybe a bit of a poser...

Friday, August 24, 2007

Just testing to see if we can do this...

Cam here getting technical with the blog whilst Jane is away (that's always the way isn't it?). Now I'm sure that some of you may well have been doing this with your blogs and youtube for quite a while now, but remeber we've had a year in the bush and have only just discovered youtube... so with that as the case sit back and enjoy this one. It is a pretty good summary of one of Cam's favorite topics at the moment and it is put togther in such a way that you don't really need the video feed. The humour (and very likely the truth) are in the words alone, nevertheless some of the images (you be able to pick em) are at once funny and scary.

These are the words of a Mr Marcus Brigstocke a british comedian who has proved that you can make the rant (and a social conscience) into good comedy. The images have been cobbled together by some clever chap (or chapette) for the you tube generation... big ups to you whoever you may be. I hope that you get something from it and have a good think about what is at the core of what he is saying. If you want some more rational arguments and interesting stuff go to the sidebar and chase down the Dawkins link. If you want more of Marcus being funny go and bloody find it yourself (he does a good one on the climate change "Swindle" film).

So like I said I wonder if we can do this... no, not embed a video (any syphlitic gibbon with a blackberry could do that these days), but rather stand up like Marcus and Dawkins and ask some serious questions about religion and the harm it brings to society and about the dangers of faith prevailing over reason and science. Keep reasoning.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


So we're home. Some of you may know where that is, some of you may not. So this entry is dedicated to just that.

We currently live with Cam's family in Farnham House. It's a beautiful old house that is also occupied by the rest of his family. So there are 12 of us all living in one house - it needs to be a bit on the big side!

We've been catching up with all Cam's family even the ones we last saw in Italy are back now.

And of course Janes folks too, we've been hard at work in any spare time helping them renovate their house for an upcoming sale...

so if anybody wants a beautiful two bedder with a massive garden in a lovely street in Ashfield... anyway enough of THAT! we have managed to notice that pretty much anyone in Sydney is capable of talking about is real estate, it is both riveting and it really puts into perspective what are friends in the developing world are missing out on

Other residents of the house include various animals. Several fish. A dog called Guinness

and a cat called Tybalt who has rather taken to his new role as luggage security.

Jane has already thrown herself into the arts scene again with professional stage managment work for the Australian Bradenburgs recent concernt season as well as some ametuer highjinks helping mentor younger stagemanagers on the show "Cabaret".

We've both got jobs (Jane's new one starts soon updates to follow!) and Cam is working close to home in the local book shop (a job that he has secretly wanted for about 15 years!) while he looks for science and conservation work.

This little catchup is just to let you know that we are still alive and (despite the cold) managing well enough in Sydney... well Cam is anyway Jane is off on a little excursion in Darwin so her fabulous additions to the blog will return shortly and focus on that little adventure.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

What's Been Happening...

Ok. So it's been a while since we've updated this. Mostly we've been busy settling back into Sydney, looking for jobs etc. It doesn't seem like all that much has happened in the month and a half since we've been back, but thought it was time to write anyway.

Firstly, it's been cold. Especially when compared to PNG or Vietnam. Despite how cold it has been, Cam has still managed to go diving (Jane was happily warm and sleeping at the time). He even managed to uncurl his cold-cramped fingers for long enough to take some photos!

Otherwise he has been working at the local bookshop while writing applications for work in the marine biology field. So, he's fairly happy surrounded by books until he can get into the water again.

Jane has been working with the Australian Brandenburg Orchestra on their latest concert series. Mostly she helped out the Orchestra Manager and performers while listening to beautiful music. Anyone who's interested in listening to beautiful music too should look up Philippe Jaroussky on Youtube - he's just amazing! She's also had a couple of job interviews for more work so she Sydney is a bit more expensive than PNG was (although thankfully not as expensive as Europe or the UK).

Otherwise we have been catching up with family and friends. Events worth special mention:

*PNG at Home - Cam volunteered at a Biodiversity Extinction Crisis Conference and met many Papua New Guineans, and people working in PNG. So he decided to invite them all over to dinner. It was a great night, and he even tried to cook some local PNG cuisine including claypot-style starch vegetables in coconut milk, and of course bulli and noodles. Unfortunately their were no Milne Bayans there, but it was nice to be surrounded by tok pisin again, and to meet new people - especially those working to preserve and protect the unique and amazing wildlife in PNG.

*Life Force Poetry and Prose afternoon - a lovely afternoon held by Lifeforce (a cancer support group) where actors and celebrities are asked to read their favourite poems and/or prose. It is held as a fundraiser so as to keep the group and their wonderful service going. It was great to share the poetry and prose and get an added insight into those who chose and read the pieces. It was all quite inspiring for a variety of reasons.

*Random going to the pub night - highlight was definately Cam and Jeff drinking whisky out of jam jars. Enough said.

Anyway, that's it for now. But we will definately endeavour to make this a regular thing again. Now that we're getting back into the swing of things it shouldn't be too hard : )