Weekly Wrap 210: A rainy Monday sets the pace

Rushcutters Bay, Sydney: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 9 to Sunday 15 June 2014 went moderately well, starting off with a pleasant walk around Sydney on Monday, the Queen’s Birthday.

Productivity was a bit lower than I’d have hoped, but I did plenty of thinking about the future. The rapidly approaching end of the financial year tends to encourage that.


Media Appearances


A short week due to the holiday on Monday. Why don’t you subscribe to 5at5?

Corporate Largesse


The Week Ahead

Monday is a day of planning, focusing mainly on the next steps for my podcasts, The 9pm Edict and Corrupted Nerds. I’m likely to produce an episode of The 9pm Edict in the days following.

Wednesday and Thursday are writing days, including something for ZDNet Australia and something for someone else.

On Friday I’m heading to Sydney to do some more consulting work on a certain television drama series. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before, because the first series hasn’t aired yet. But it’s looking like there’ll be a second series, so my input has been requested.

Saturday is the Winter Solstice, happening at 2051 AEST for me, so I’ll celebrate that in some way. I haven’t figured out exactly how yet.

[Photo: Rushcutters Bay, Sydney, photographed just after a rain shower on Monday 9 June 2014.]

Weekly Wrap 159: Solstice, silence and sound

http://www.flickr.com/photos/stilgherrian/9112287422/My week Monday 17 to Sunday 23 June 2013 was marked by the Winter Solstice, as (almost) illustrated above, a certain amount of radio silence, and much sound.

The Winter Solstice was something that, in the past, I’d celebrate regularly in a private ceremony similar to Sunreturn. I’d sometimes write reflective pieces about that, as I did in 2005, 2008 and 2009. And yet nothing along those lines has appeared for four years. I think that’s significant, and that will now change — although I won’t elaborate on that.

Nor will I elaborate on the fact that I haven’t uttered a word on Twitter in more than a week, and generally left messages pile up unless they really were urgent, except to note that sometimes a little quiet is beneficial. Most of the world could handle a bit of STFU now and then, actually. Maybe I’ll elaborate on that little observation at some point. Or not.

Actually, I’ve written previously about how (faux) urgency in poisonous — and in looking up the link to that post just then, I discovered this observation about Kevin Rudd’s management style. It’s not just Rudd who needs to think about that stuff.

And the sound? You’ll find out at 2132 AEST tonight. There is a clue: “CN”.


Media Appearances


Corporate Largesse

  • On Wednesday I attended a media roundtable hosted by Websense at Establishment in Sydney. A rather elaborate morning tea was served.
  • Also on Wednesday I attended the launch of IBM’s Truth Behind the Trends whitepaper at Arras Restaurant in Sydney, which doesn’t seem to have its own website. Still, I photographed the menu, the butter and my entrée, but not the main course. You’ll cope.
  • Since Saturday 8 June I’ve been using Vodafone’s new 4G network while in Sydney, and their existing 3G network while in the Blue Mountains, with a Samsung Galaxy S4 handset that they’ve loaned me. I’ll be writing about my experiences some time this coming week.

The Week Ahead

I’ll simply note that there’s plenty to write, and plenty to do in this last week of the financial year. And then there’s a new financial year, which brings possibilities…

There will be tweets and suchlike starting again from 1100 AEST today.

[Photo: Pas de Deux, a cloud and a crane photographed shortly after the moment of Winter Solstice in Sydney, Australia on Friday afternoon. Sadly the contrast is pretty bad, ‘cos it was just a quick snapshot and I didn’t have time to play with the exposure.]

Winter Solstice Meditation 2009

Photograph of poplar trees at Newington College, Stanmore, Sydney, through the morning mist

Once more around the cycle. As I did last year, and almost every year, I paused a moment yesterday to mark the Winter Solstice. It is the same, but different. Once more around the cycle…

Rather than a fragile tealight flame, this year I have a robust church candle. Another cold, damp day, but the Solstice is at 3.45pm instead of 9.59am. This time it’s actually raining. A gentle raindrop pattering just manages to drown out the distant noises of city traffic.

Sitting in almost the same spot as a year before — not exactly the same, because the ground is wet and foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds — my awareness is heightened about what’s changed, what’s the same.

Last year, we’d only just emerged from a long drought. This year, everything is greener, more healthy. The poinsettia is still in flower, a bright, deep red, rather than dying petals on the ground. This year, the heavy jets are taking off, not landing. Just as bright, just a shiny, just as loud, but taking off for — literally — new horizons. New possibilities.

As of course am I, and soon.

After another year in the same home, I’ve gotten to know the daily sounds and rhythms. Without turning, I know the roar behind me is not merely a heavy jet taking off, but specifically a Boeing 747. The engines have a distinctive higher-pitched whine mixed with their roar.

And they’re the loudest thing in the sky. Usually.

Some 300 metres away, a rainbow lorikeet darts and skims home. Even though it’s just visible as a silhouette in the distance, and silent, I know it’s a lorikeet from the way its wings move in flight. Similarly, a sulphur-crested cockatoo gliding through the mist to land on the nearby school sportsground is distinguishable from its close cousin the corella, simply by its gestures in flight.

A child’s balloon — electric blue and oh so shiny and bright! — appears from nowhere and scuds over the house just as another 747 — white and oh so shiny and bright! — roars overhead, just as the rain eases off. I’ve always loved watching these heavy craft taking off into the west, especially at dusk. Even in the 21st Century there’s still a sense of wonder about starting a new journey, is there not?

Just as this particular jet banks and turns to choose its outbound path, seemingly at random but in fact chosen according to a pattern which shares the noise of takeoffs amongst everyone living below the flightpath, a bright patch appears in the sky. A little break opens up in the otherwise even grey cloud bank precisely between me and the Sun. And the 747 chooses to break through the clouds precisely in that very spot — spearing the emerging possibilities as accurately as a hunter’s spear.

I check the time.

It is precisely 3.45pm.

Precisely the Solstice.

And then the rain starts again. The break in the cloud closes gently. Another lorikeet, much closer, squawks. Just once. And he’s gone.

Another time around the cycle…

Fine posts for 2008

Given that mere popularity doesn’t reflect quality, here’s my personal selection of my best, timeless posts for 2008. Happy reading!

Winter Solstice Meditation

The exact moment of Winter Solstice was 9.59am Sydney time. The week was far too hectic to organise a proper ritual of Sunreturn before dusk last night. Instead, in an impromptu meditation, this crisp Saturday morning sees my tiny pearl of tealight flame battling an irregular, gentle breeze.

I protect it with my cupped hands, and smile. I can always re-light it if it blows out. No-one will notice the ceremonial faux pas but me.

Breathe. Listen…

Continue reading “Winter Solstice Meditation”