Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Life Drawing Exhibition

Time for another Life Drawing update. My teacher had a small exhibition of the class’ best works put up in a local gallery – quite odd to see my works up on the wall.

24 exhibition

Mine are the two in the bottom left.

Here’s a few of the other drawings I’ve done recently

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Sunday, 25 July 2010

Day Out of Time

Today is the “Day out of Time” for adherents to the Cult of Dreamspell (AKA the Mayan Calendar). Being that I tend to move in alternative hippie circles, there seems to be a lot of folk around me who follow this cult. I don’t have a problem with it, but the sheer numbers of people around, especially in Rainbow Gatherings, who are partying today, in preparation for the “end of the world” in 18 months’ time, is somewhat irritating.

Let’s be honest: The Dreamspell has noting directly to do with Mayan people – it was made up by a guy called José Argüelles in the mid-80s. Real Mayan people have their own calendar – several of them in fact, which is very different from the Dreamspell. When I was in Guatemala and Mexico, there were a whole lot of real Mayan people who were decidedly angry about the advent of this Cult, which uses their name and bastardises their symbols, and even use their name for the calendar, Tzolkin.

I admit, as cults go, the Dreamspell is a nice one. It’s all about peace and getting in synch with nature, and the calendar certainly has pretty pictures.

I just wish people would follow the cult with a little more information, rather than blindly believing in nonsense, and I wish people would stop evangelising about it.

The vast majority of people I know who are followers don’t even realise it is a cult. Most of them have no idea that the Dreamspell was made up by Argüelles in 1986; I keep hearing people insist that the calendar is an ancient time-keeping system developed by Mayan people 5000 years ago. Though if you go to the thirteen moon website page on the origins of the Dreamspell, it says “Awaiting galactic transmission… Page coming soon…”

Capturemayan calendar

The calendar itself isn’t even mathematically correct. It runs on the idea of a 28-day lunar month, though there is no such thing as a 28-day lunar month. The length of a moon cycle is 29.53059 days, whereas the orbital period is 27.32166 days. According to the thirteen moon website, they arrive at a “28 day month” by averaging these two numbers, even though doing so makes no sense regarding moon cycles, and even still, that comes out to 28.426125 days, not 28 days.

If you take a 28.426125 day cycle (or 28.3 according to the thirteen moon website) and call it a 28-day cycle, what you get is .4 of a day left over every “month”. No biggie, right? But over the course of a 13-month year, you’ll be five days out of whack from the actual moon. Which means roughly every five years, you lose a whole moon cycle (talking about cycles of the actual moon and not “moon cycles” according to the Dreamspell).

Of course, then you have 13 months of 28 days, which adds up to 364 days, so the Day out of Time comes in – it is a celebration day that doesn’t belong to any month. Nice; I can get behind that. But there’s still a problem: There aren’t 365 days in a year.

It takes 365.242199 days for the Earth to make a circuit around the Sun. That’s why we have Leap Years in the Gregorian calendar. The Dreamspell has no leap years, which means every time the Gregorian calendar marks the 29th of February, the Dreamspell calendar just sits on its hands and whistles innocently.

Truly! They just pretend that day isn’t happening – some adherents take the “Kin” or day of the 28th of February and make it last for 48 hours, some divide the 29th of February into two parts – before noon being a part of the day before, and after noon being part of the 1st of March.

There is also the “Planet Holon”, a geographically-incorrect projection of the 20 “solar seals” on the Earth. No one seems to mind that the Earth is a sphere, and therefore this cute diagram is laughable.


Here’s what the Dreamspell folk have to say about the Planet Holon:

The base holon unit is the 'perfect fifth:' a tetrahedron (four-sided pyramid) and its invisible center point, the g-force core. G-force is the 'mysterious' fifth force; its core is always in the now. The holon-tetrahedron forms the underlying structure of the 13-tone wavespell. The 13-tone wavespell is the living cosmology of the fourth-dimension.

So how does this cult suck people in? Well, it does have very pretty pictures – each day has a “galactic signature, which has it’s own little pictogram and they have catchy names like “yellow self-existing seed” or “white crystal mirror”.

mayan forest (2)

The Dreamspell propaganda is written in a kind of dreamy, hypnotic language, with phrases like “The 13 Moon 28-day synchronometer is a harmonic timespace matrix”:

The Planetary Service Wavespell utilizes the 13-unit architecture of the adventure wavespell to create its annual program. The adventure wavespell has two gates, two towers and three sets of chambers. The adventure wavespell can be used to plot action over any cycle of time operating by the wavespell: 13 days, 13 moons, 13 years, etc.”

“The Law of Time states that: Energy factored by time equals art. In this equation, (E) refers to all phenomena in their processes of unfoldment; (T) is the present moment functioning according to the ratio constant 13:20. Everything shaped by time is art"

There is a lot of emphasis on the “Time equals Art” mantra, even though this doesn’t really mean anything. Apparently, the Gregorian calendar runs on a 12:60 timing frequency, which is “ruled by the clock and mind”, whereas the Dreamspell runs on a 13:20 frequency, in which “people are ruled by their heart, nature and art and guided by dreams and synchronicity”.

No one seems to mind that the 12:60 thing refers to 12 months in a year and 60 minutes in an hour, whereas 13:20 refers to 13 months of 20 days in a 260-day Tzolkin. These two units of reference aren’t even corresponding and as far as I can tell, followers of the Dreamspell still use the standard clock with 24 hours of 60 minutes of 60 seconds. Yes, the Gregorian calendar system is artificial and arbitrary, but so is this one.

Honestly, I don’t mind if people want to follow this cult. It is very pretty, but when they want to re-arrange dates for Rainbow Gatherings based on the appropriate Dreamspell Tzolkin kin, I get very irritated. International rainbow gatherings have traditionally been held according to the phase of the moon – something that can be plainly seen by anyone, regardless of their cult or religious tendencies, no matter which calendrical system they use. I do wish people actually knew what beliefs it is they are espousing before they go on evangelising.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, Littletree’s kin is Self-Raising White Flower.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Faerie Shoes

I got myself some new shoes yesterday – I’m not much of a shoe-wearer, I generally don’t wear any, and I did go seven years without even owning a pair of shoes. Lately I decided that it’s healthier for me in cities to wear something on my feet – I felt sensitive to all the toxic stuff on the ground, as well as the shock of the hard concrete on my joints. Also, I’m getting more sensitive to cold with my old age.

So I wear sandals, or fake crocs when the need arises (oh, and my lovely gumboots when it’s muddy).

Then I got a free trial voucher to do some kind of dance class at the local gym. I’ve never been to a gym before, but the class sounded fun, and why not take a free trial. I could surely use a bit of extra fitness!

A woman from the gym called me to say I’d gotten a free trial, and I asked what I need to bring. She said “oh, just wear comfortable clothes and sneakers”

Sneakers? Like, Running shoes?” I asked, dubiously, “Can’t I go barefoot?”

No, you can’t be barefoot, but just wear your regular sneakers”

but I don’t have any”

well, you can wear any closed-in shoe with a flexible sole”

ummm… okay”

The only enclosed shoes I have are my gumboots. Somehow, as stylish as they are, I can’t see myself doing a workout in them. I was ready to let the whole thing go and forget about it, but Purple encouraged me to at least try to get appropriate shoes.

Since we were in town anyway, Purple sent me into the local mini department store to see if there was anything I could get that would suit… nothing at all in the ladies’ shoe section; barely anything in my size, let alone anything I’d want to wear. And nothing green.

But then I spotted a nice shoe in the men’s section; not green, but a slightly greenish kind of beige leather. On sale! I figured I could dye them or something, so I picked up a nice pair of leather shoes for $25.

Then at homeschool group, I sat with a green permanent marker, making the shoes more my style


They look awesome now :)



and the best part: they’re super comfy! :D

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Nestlé – Voiding Your Right to Water

I’ve talked about boycotting Nestlé before, and you might have noticed the links I have on this page. I’ve been refusing Nestlé products for more than a decade now.

I knew Nestlé was a deplorable company, but I stumbled across an interview clip with the CEO of Nestlé, Peter Brabeck, and I have to say, I had no idea just how terrible these guys are.

Brabeck starts off by saying that organic food is stupid.

“Today people believe that everything that comes from nature is good… A good example is the organic movement… but organic is not best. After 15 years of eating GM products in the USA, not one single illness has occurred from eating them to date.”

Which is a bold statement to make, considering the mountains of evidence contradicting him.

But then he goes right off into saying that the concept of access to clean drinking water as a basic human right is a radical, extreme notion held by NGOs. I had no idea the UN was a radical, extreme NGO.

“Water is, of course, the most important raw material we have today in the world… there are two different opinions on the matter; the one opinion I think is extreme, is represented by the NGOs, who bang on about declaring water a public right. That means that as a human being you should have a right to water. That’s an extreme solution. And the other view says that water is a foodstuff like any other, and like any other foodstuff it should have a market value.”

What a coup! Not only should everyone feed their babies with Nestlé formula, but they should pay for Nestlé bottled water to mix it with too. Unless you listen to radical, extreme NGOs like the United Nations, and chose to BREASTFEED, which is safer, healthier, and free.

Anyway, the interview is so outrageously shocking it’s almost comical. Unbridled Capitalism at its best! You can see the tape here: 

I don’t believe that my boycotting will really make a difference to the company’s policy, but I personally can’t support Nestlé. I won’t go into it all now, but you can read HERE to get more information if you’re interested.

I’m off now to drink some water while it’s still free, and perhaps enjoy a little air before the price rise hits.

Beautiful Blogger Award

Thank you to NYCitymomx3 from the cityschooling blog for giving me the Beautiful Blogger award :)

There are 3 rules associated with the Blogger award.
1.  Add a link and note of thanks to the person giving the award.
2.  Pass the award on to the bloggers whose blogs you love (15 tops)
3.  Share 7 things about yourself.

bblogger %281%29[1]

I generally don’t bother with these awards, but today I’m feeling kinda sick with a cold, and the picture on this award cheered me up somewhat.

I so pass this award on to Ariad at Rainbow Love Farm because I love her madly. And that will be all, because I’m feeling too sick and lazy to find links for all the blogs I would love to give the award to.

Seven things about myself:

  1. I like chopping firewood
  2. I loathe and detest washing dishes
  3. I love making decadent food (as long as there’s someone else to wash up afterwards :P )
  4. I’m afraid of riding on motorbikes
  5. I regularly crack my spine
  6. I like going on the swings at the playground
  7. I chose to start drinking coffee for the first time ever a few months ago, so now I’m a coffee-drinker. Rockin out on 1-2 cups a week! LOL

Okay, that’s it for me. I’m gonna make myself a ginger tea and go back to bed.

Monday, 19 July 2010

The Cool Side of the Moon

We finally had a night with clear skies and slightly less cold than usual to take Littletree out to test her telescope. It’s also lucky that we live in the middle of nowhere with very little light pollution.


Without the viewfinder it was pretty hard to find things, but we did manage in the end to have a look at a couple of stars (which still really look like stars with this telescope) and we got a great view of the moon.


I helped Littletree get focussed on the moon, and we were able to see clearly craters and zoom in on stuff – it was great :)


Naturally, we didn’t manage to work out how to extend the legs of the tripod, so it meant crouching on the cold ground – I’m gonna remember to bring out a blanket next time!

With my little camera not having a manual focus, I didn’t really manage to get a nice demo shot, but I did get this image through the telescope, which really doesn’t do the view justice, but you get the idea


Littletree was ecstatic – she spent about an hour (in the freezing cold) watching the moon. She was really excited to watch the moon moving – it took about a minute for it to move right out of the lens. We talked about how far away the moon is and how big the craters are.

This telescope was such a great find – so glad we managed to get a good enough one from a thrift store. Which means now Littletree is busy in her saving enterprises for the next big thing – apparently a trip to India! LOL Now she’s started making and selling organic brownies, though I think it will be a while before she gets on a plane ;)

I love that my child has such a fascinated love of learning; yay unschooling!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Beautiful Birthing

I’ve been busy lately with mamas birthing. It’s been a fantastic journey around trusting birth.

One birth I was at, the mama was so graceful and focussed. Every time I had thoughts about what might go wrong, or the technical things I should be doing or checking, I looked up and saw the picture she had on her wall



It was so perfect. Just reminded me to trust. Because it was all flowing exactly as it needed to; no complications, no difficulties, and the mama’s and baby’s bodies knew what to do, just as they were designed to.

At some point in her birthing process, the mama said “no more photos”, so I put my newly-acquired life drawing skills to use and drew a picture to capture the beauty of the scene – one powerful, graceful mama, deep in her process, focussed inwardly, in the bathtub with the shower running on her back.

01 steph birth

Last night I was at another birth – a second baby boy for Earth Mama and Autumn. We’d discussed making a birth plan during pre-natal visits, but I started thinking a birth plan is somewhat pointless. Earth Mama wasn’t going to hospital, and the staff rarely take birth plans seriously anyway.

This is the birth plan Earth Mama came up with in the end – I LOVE it! And we totally stuck to her plan 100% :D

19 birth plan

Stay home – stay safe!

Monday, 12 July 2010

the funniest game in the world

Littletree made up a game for us to play. she took 5 sheets of paper, and cut them into little squares. Then she got Purple to write on each square “I’m turning…” and then a number. Eventually, the squares were all numbered 1-100.

Littletree said that’s because 5x20=100 and I cut 20 squares from 5 sheets. But we were surprised because she never measured anything, and it seemed totally random that she managed to get the same number of squares from every page – some of the squares are double the size of others.

So Littletree got me to shuffle the squares – very difficult since they’re all different sizes, and deal out six to each of us. we weren’t allowed to look at our cards. Everyone also chose an age that he is turning to - “no cheating!”,


Littletree played first. She asked ‘Is anyone turning 70?” We both said no. Then it was Purple’s turn. he asked “is anyone turning 32?” Littletree and I both said no. then it was my turn. and on it went.

After a few rounds like this, I asked, “so what are the cards for?” Littletree said “oh, well, if you ask a number, and everyone says no, then everyone has to show the person one card, but you can’t look at your own card and you can’t choose which card you show.”

So Littletree asked if anyone was turning 65, and we both said no. and then we had to show Littletree one of our cards, being careful not to look at the card ourselves. We went around a few turns like this, only being that we couldn’t look at our cards, we ended up always showing the same one. Littletree said we’re not allowed to always show the same one. This was getting pretty funny and Purple and I started laughing.

After several more rounds, Purple and I were laughing so much, and Littletree said “see how fun this game is!”

Then  Littletree asked if anyone is turning 30, and Purple said “yes, that’s my number”. Littletree said “Dad you win the game!” we both fell on the floor laughing. Then Littletree said “okay, you didn’t really win, first we have to show you all our cards.” so Littletree and I showed our cards to Purple, and Littletree announced “okay, now you won! Dad, you won!”  and that was the end of the game.

By this point, Purple and I were rolling on the ground laughing hysterically. It was absolutely hilarious!


Afterwards, Littletree said she wanted to make a video of the instructions. Somehow, it’s much less funny the second time around.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Home Birth – Risk Safety and Responsibility

It seems the media is all aflutter with the recent birthing of Dannii Minogue’s baby boy – you can read a standard example of the mainstream media coverage HERE

Honestly, it’s not such a big deal – a baby was born: congratulations to the family! It was a celebrity family: well, yeah, that’s interesting to fans, and would usually get a line in the gossip pages or something, so why all the fuss?

Dannii had a *gasp* home birth. Which is hugely confronting, because we all thought Dannii was a pretty intelligent woman who is likely to be well-informed and make sound choices about such matters. So it challenges our sensibilities – surely only crazed hippie fringe freaks have home births!

And it gets worse – Dannii, under the skilled eye of a trained midwife, transported to birth in hospital when the birthing process became complicated. Well, we can all heave a sigh of relief. See: she needed the hospital.

Except that this proves the safety of home birth with a skilled midwife – it is possible to transfer to hospital if needed, of course, the majority of cases don’t need it, and birth safely and happily at home.

When a woman plans her birth in a hospital, and complications develop leading to a transfer to a larger tertiary-care facility, or a caesarean section, no one is blazing trumpets and newspaper articles saying hospital birth is unsafe (well, I am :P )

The reality is that for the vast majority of women, home birth is a safe option, and a hospital transfer is a viable resource when back-up is needed.

Dr Ted Weaver, the president of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists is reported to have said

“Up to half of all first-time mothers attempting a home birth had to be transferred to hospital due to complications”

Great. He’s a doctor with a fancy title, so we can all ignore the fact that he’s just making up statistics as he goes along, and, in the words of Gloria Lemay: hallucinating his own reality.

Really? Up to half of all first-time mothers attempting home birth transfer? Based on what study? I’m willing to bet it’s based on the “study” of his own personal experience.

Dr Weaver went on to say,

“It is better if first-time mothers don't attempt a home birth or, if they do, they should be counselled about their risks and needs for transfer."

Oh the hypocrisy! When are women ever counselled as to the risks of hospital birth?

I have a real study published in the British Medical Journal showing that outcomes were the same in planned home and hospital births, but interventions were much lower at home and the mothers reported more satisfaction with their births. BMJ 1996 313 1313-8

In European countries where midwifery care is the standard, mortality rates are much lower under the care of midwives than under the care of obstetricians at all levels of predicted risk. Even when unplanned transfers to hospital are taken into account, home birth is still safer than hospital birth. Tew, M (1990) Safer Childbirth, Midwifery, 7(2):55-63

The true issue of home birth is control and responsibility. If you birth in hospital, the risks of complications, interventions, morbidity and mortality are higher than at home with a skilled midwife, but you have no responsibility. If something goes wrong, the doctor says “I’m very sorry, we did all we could”, and that’s the end of it. Taking that much smaller risk that something might go wrong means that the responsibility is taken on by the birthing mother.

If something goes wrong at home, everyone says “you should have been in hospital”. If something goes wrong in the hospital (even though this is more likely), it’s “just one of those things that happen”.

Ultimately, Dannii made a reasonable, responsible choice regarding her own birthing experience. It makes me so angry that the medical establishment is using the media to spin hype and misinformation, which is actually increasing risk for women and babies.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

My New Acer TimelineX 4820TG

I mentioned last week that I got a new computer. It’s an Acer TimelineX 4820TG. So far I love it – 14” very thin and light. It’s replacing my old computer, which I got almost three years ago.

I spent the last six months regularly tearing my hair out over the dying-ness of my old computer, and feeling like I couldn’t replace it when it’s still technically working, because I hate the consumerism and waste.

But after I totally lost it when I was trying to send off an article for EOL past my deadline and the computer was crashing, Purple took me out to look at computers… and we came home with this!

Here it is in it’s packing box

69 new computer timelinex 4820

and the box-in-a-box

70 new computer timelinex 4820

I love the way it looks – it’s not overly shiny like my old one was, and not as much of a finger-print magnet. The brushed metal finish is really stylish.

71 new computer timelinex 4820

opened for the first time

72 new computer timelinex 4820

You can see it side by side with the old computer – it’s roughly the same footprint, but the new one is MUCH thinner and lighter

73 new computer timelinex 4820

74 new computer timelinex 4820

75 new computer timelinex 4820

I love the keyboard on it – it feels great: I can type faster on it, and it didn’t take any getting used to, which is funny, since I had my old computer for almost 3 years, so you’d think I’d be used to that one by now. I love the touch pad – very smooth and responsive and I appreciate the multi-gesture functions.

The screen is significantly brighter than my old one – I didn’t take a photo of them both with the screen on (and I can’t be bothered now to boot up the old one for a demo), but the new one at 70% is as bright as the old one at 100% which is great.

76 new computer timelinex 4820

The specs are great – Intel i5 Core 430M processor 2.26 GHz, 4GB RAM, 500GB HDD, and 1GB graphics card which is switchable to the cpu graphics to save power and battery.

Best of all, the battery lasts (with the right settings) around 8 hours. Right out of the box it came up 8 hours 18 mins on 97%, then I realised it was 4:20 and wondered why I was messing with my computer!


After I changed some settings it gave me close to 10 hours :) Of course, that drops a lot if I’m running lots of stuff, but I did get about 6.5 hours at the cafe the other day, on 100% screen brighness, running firefox, Word and the optical drive to rip DVDs all at the same time, which is pretty damn good. The sound system is also better – the volume goes way louder than the old one.

It does miss a few things that my old computer had – media buttons being the main one – there’s no dedicated buttons for play/pause, etc, even the volume control and mute keys are functions of other keys, which is irritating, but a minor one. My old computer had a remote control that was really nice for watching movies (which we do a lot, since we don’t have a TV).

The arrow keys are squished for no good reason. The screen and hinges do feel a little flimsy, but I think it will be fine as long as I don’t pick it up by the screen. It doesn’t have bluetooth either, which is only very slightly annoying, since I hardly ever use that anyway (only bt thing I have is my cell phone, and it has a USB cable anyways) and the same model with bluetooth was $400 more at another store. Anyway, they’re all cosmetic things really.

Overall, I’m very happy with this computer so far :) I can see, in hindsight, I was never really happy with the old one, right from the start.

The main thing the new TimelineX does that my old computer doesn’t is: WORK!!!

Monday, 5 July 2010


Last week’s home school group went to the Artscape Exhibition in Byron Bay – the kids loved seeing all the funky sculptures

81 artscape exhibition

Being caught by a scorpion

78 artscape exhibition

Giant crystal spiders web

80 artscape exhibition

Ladder to nowhere

82 artscape exhibition

The artistic woodpile – I saw this one and all I could think was “what a waste of good firewood” LOL shows how cold it’s been this winter.

84 artscape exhibition

Giant golden eggs

86 artscape exhibition

Funky mirrors

93 artscape exhibition

Cool car

87 artscape exhibition

Fun lace sphere

91 artscape exhibition          

Most of the sculptures had “Please do not touch” signs, but this one was different

79 artscape exhibition

The kids had a great time, then we went down onto the beach for fish and chips :)

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Look to the Stars

Littletree has been selling muffins in the market lately to make extra pocket money – her current passion is to get a telescope; she’s been obsessed with astronomy for a couple of years now.

We had expected that a telescope would be a long way off, but the other day in the city, we stopped to browse in an op-shop (charity thrift store), and Lo! there happened to be a telescope for sale – for only $15!

It’s an old Tasco, from the mid-90s I think. Just a simple model, with 30-90x zoom, and the viewfinder is missing, but it still works well, and Purple managed to get it assembled despite not coming with any instructions.


Littletree is over the moon. Well, she’s trying to look at the moon at least.


This morning we took it outside to try it out – Littletree could see little bugs eating leaves on the top of a tree, and cows were clearly visible on the mountain on the other side of the valley.


So far it’s been cloudy overnight, but we’re looking forward to trying it out at night when the moon comes out next :)