Saturday, November 24, 2012


November the 22nd was Thanksgiving in the US and for those of us who live in other parts of the world the celebration is not a custom for us unless heavily influenced by US ex-pats. However the emerging and booming social media has brought it into the lives of most english speaking westerners.

Of course having never celebrated "Thanksgiving" and as an African Australian (Would 'Afro-Australian' be a more politically correct term? I wonder.) I knew very little of the celebration and surmised that it was introduced by early Western Christian settlers in the America's as some sort of 'Harvest Celebration' whereby a feast was shared with the indigenous population to honour God and give thanks for the bounty.

I have family now who have planted their roots in America and Canada... and other parts of the world of course but since this is a celebration that my US and Canadian family have embraced I felt compelled to actually find out what it is all about. At first it seemed that my assumptions had been incorrect as my initial searches only revealed copious quantities of recipes, food, consumption and turkeys. In fact I found quite a few references to "Turkey Day" and couldn't help wondering if "Thanksgiving" was actually about giving thanks as the name suggests.

After digging a little deeper however I did find that my initial assumption had been fairly correct and of course it (Thanksgiving) is no longer considered to be a "Christian" festival in honour of God as the supplier of the bountiful harvest. It seems that there is no clear distinction as to who the thanks is to be given to - hence the introduction of the term "Turkey Day"and any reference to Christianity and or God seems to invoke hot debate amongst non-Christian's.

Of course I am in favour of giving thanks for our bounty to our creator and so embrace the notion and concept of a "Thanksgiving" celebration. I, being a Christian give my thanks to God for the bountiful blessings that he bestows on me everyday. What you do and who you wish to thank is entirely up to you, be it the turkey, sun or whatever, thats your right as my belief is mine.

The reason I titled this blog post "Gratitude" is twofold, one - to express my view and support of "Thanksgiving" and two - to express my amazement at the ignorance, (or as the poets would say) nay... stupidity of some members of the Queensland populace.

Queensland is notorious for severe storms at this time of year and in recent years has seen many cyclones, hail, dust, deluge, lightning strikes and flooding to up to 75% of the state on occasion. Two years ago I, along with a whole lot of people were surprised by Queensland weather when Toowoomba a city on top of the mountain, flooded and entire towns were washed away. So to be surprised by the weather after this defies logic. In fact I would go so far as to say that there are only two weather conditions in Queensland, Perfect or Severe and the adage "Queensland - beautiful one day and perfect the next" rings true for the most part but at this time of the year, dark clouds that look heavily pregnant and especially with a green tinge are about to give birth to a severe storm - without doubt!

So last week we had a bunch of Queenslanders (a minority fortunately) that went about their business under heavily pregnant skies, totally oblivious to the howling wind, vivid green sheen on black cloud, rolling thunder from the horizon following a light display to die for. These cute little morons were caught totally unawares when the storm struck and were unprepared for its severity - they immediately pointed the finger at the bureau of meteorology and blamed them for their woes as the Bureau had supposedly been slow in putting out a severe weather warning. 

I saw and heard the Weather Bureau's severe storm warning and it was about 45 minutes before the storm's severity struck us but I knew 3-4 hours earlier that there was a storm on the way, would it be severe?, no idea at first but there was a fairly good chance it would be, a strong westerly on a fairly clear sky usually means something big is coming over the Darling (love that name) mountain range.

Sorry but I can't help thinking, what an ungrateful bunch of retards as I give thanks to God that we were not adversely effected by the storm.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Wonderful world

Yesterday I clocked up another year but more importantly another heart strong day (number 768 since my 15th heart attack) I am truly blessed. Life! Of course the majority of us who have it want to hang on to it for as long as possible but believe me, when someone tells you that you have exceeded your quota.... it becomes more precious than anything!

As a result, my Bonnie Ronnie and I planned and went on a holiday around this wonderful planet of ours from July 2011 to February 2012 for a number of reasons, the primary being a quest to connect with as many family members as possible whom we had not seen for 30 years and in some cases over 40 years. We decided that since I was on 'borrowed time' we would fill our bucket at the same time, well as much as possible. We kept a blog and there is a link to 'Ridgeback Ramblings' on the right of this blog for those who may be interested.

As you know, life throws all sorts at us and it's quite easy to lose track of the big picture and focus just a little too closely on ourselves and our own importance becomes.... shall we say, a little bit more than a tad distorted. I started getting a little bent out of shape with a web hosting company earlier in the week slipping back into my old less appreciative ways till I remembered exactly who I am.... I thought of the eclipse which had grabbed the headlines and I stood and looked at the stars, the majority of which dwarf our earth by astronomical proportions (pun intended) and I am but a microscopic speck on this earth. Bang... what a reality check!!

Anyway a few months ago I applied for a scholarship or two with some learning institutions so that I could increase my knowledge on the subject of design and perhaps even obtain some sort of formal qualification (which I must admit at my age isn't really important - but the challenge is!). I also applied to a few institutions in the hope of getting some sort of government funded assistance and acceptance. This paid off with Grenadi School of Design in Melbourne accepting me and the government allowed me to take advantage of a learn now pay later system. The course has been going great guns, I started a bit behind and am still a bit behind but its early days yet.

Well a couple of days ago I received an email advising me that I had won a two year Gold Scholarship with Treehouse, an international online learning facility. Now you are probably thinking well you've already got a course but you will probably give that away for the scholarship, right? .... Wrong! The Grenadi course is a broad design course for advertising and multimedia (the only one of it's kind in Australia.) and the Treehouse design course is for web and apps which includes learning coding (I did learn a bit of this 20 years ago but things have changed a bit.... ya think!) So I'm going to have a crack at both, whats the worst that can happen?

There is so much beauty on this wonderful world of ours, not all as accessible as we would like mainly because of the cost involved but you don't have to travel to the other side of the planet to discover it's true beauty - people! Yes there are very many beautiful places to visit if you can afford to and my advise would be ... go to it and don't spare the horses for you don't know what is around the corner, what life .... or death ... may have in store for you. But while you are at it, staying local or travelling, take a long hard look at the people whose paths you will cross and I guarantee you will be amazed!

Yes I know that there is a lot of anger, hurt and sadness in this world but if that is all you are going to look for .... don't be surprised when that is all you find. Look for the good, the courageous and the beautiful and I guarantee you will find beauty. The most wonderful person that God breathed life into is my little wife, my Bonnie Ronnie, she is my rock. (Sure we have our moments too, none of us is perfect after all but that doesn't alter the facts.) Today Ronnie posted a clip of an Anre RIEU concert a marvellous violinist and entertainer. This man's orchestra is wonderful, the entertainment is perhaps a little old school but there is no denying the fun that entertainers and audience alike share. The language is that of love and music - international. We have never been to any of his shows but we are planning to attend (God willing) when next he comes to Australia. This is a reminder of the beauty in this world, have a look.

Till next time - God Bless.

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Camera Raw First

Our daughter Candice ('Noisie' is my nickname for her) celebrated her birthday on Saturday so my Bonnie Ronnie and I decided to visit her and husband Brett in Nanango for a couple of day's. We thought this would be a good opportunity to familiarise ourselves a little more with the camera's and lenses in the country.

In the meantime our son Jason ('Jay') has had to lay off an employee and this has added pressure to his workload so he and his wife Natalie ('Nat') needed a much deserved break and planned for the grandparents to take the children for the weekend. Since Noisie loves her little nephew Lachlan ('Locky') we all decided that it would be a nice treat to take Locky to Nanango for the weekend. Unfortunately or fortunately depending on ones perspective, Caydence ('Cades') would be with her biological mother for the weekend thus giving Locky free reign over the household.

Brett and Noisie have recently relocated to a new rental property, again out of town but on the opposite side. The previous house was riddled with wood borer discovered when Brett fell through the flooring in Caydence's bedroom. Whilst these old Queenslander houses are quite attractive, they do require significant ongoing maintenance and it seems that the owner couldn't be bothered. The new house is brick under iron, not as attractive and lacks the character and charm of the old Queenslander but warmer, more secure and less maintenance. They still have 5 acres and once again have a dam.

Noisie reckons that this was the best birthday ever since she had Locky for a couple of days, she really enjoys his company as he is 'less complicated than the girl's'. I think Locky enjoyed himself more than anyone since he was the centre of attention.

We were given the royal tour and took a lot of photographs, some of which we have included, others will be posted to our Facebook page. We have tried to keep them interesting as we practice our post production technique using Adobe's Bridge and the Camera Raw format. This is a first for us, using  the new Apple platform and Adobe software so please feel free to critique our work ....any and all feedback will be appreciated. :)