Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I will always be a pointer and shooter

This is Monika Rupert Jerilderie (mother of Sissi).

When Monika arrived in June she was a skinny, nervous wreck (she had been abandoned when pregnant with 5 kittens). It took me months to settle her down – and even get her to come near me. I could only do this by lying on the floor near her and coaxing her to come over.

She is now very fat, and remarkably happy. She often comes and snuggles up to me when I am watching TV or reading, or indeed using my PC - and she just loves to sit on the keyboard and make words with her bottom.

She is a truly gorgeous, gentle cat and I love her to bits.

I bought my new camera (Replacement for Thieving Russian Bastard (TRB) camera). It is a Canon 500D.

I bought another Canon because I still have some lenses that the TRB did not get. It comes with 4 manuals – in German, French, Dutch and Italian. Hmmm……something missing. I could download one from the Internet but it will be too cumbersome to carry around so I have ordered one online.

I bought an 18-200 mm lens which will probably do most of what I want to do. I have a 300 mm for Duck close ups but don’t usually carry that about with me. However, as instructed by a number of people (Merisi, Cate et al) I will no longer carry my camera in a backpack - so as not to be pillaged by T (name your country) Bs.

Today Gwenyth and I went to the KHM to look at art. I am a member there so go quite often as I just love some of the paintings – and indeed the artifacts the Austrians stole from the Egyptians – who must really be unhappy about being stolen from by almost every country in the world before they realised that all those bits and pieces lying around in the sand were really quite valuable.

I saw a documentary about how the Egyptians built the pyramids. It was not so hard – well not if you have 100,000 slaves and a fair bit of time on your hands. They built gigantic ramps around the pyramids as they rose into the sky and trundled the stones up these to put them into place. They had very sophisticated methods of moving large lumps of stone around.

Some people believe that the pyramids were built by aliens. I suppose it’s possible. I mean – I can’t actually prove that aliens don’t exist or that they did not build the pyramids. I must say however that if this is the best aliens could do I would not want to travel too far on one of their space ships unless I had a significant amount of travel insurance.

I have been thinking of sending a copy of the documentary to the NSW Government so they can see that it would indeed be possible to build a decent road from Sydney to Brisbane in less time than it took to build the pyramids.

Gwenyth does not linger in museums so I did not see my favourite picture "The feast of the bean king." by Jacob Jordaens. It is a beautiful picture with fabulous characters and – an essential ingredient to any top ranked painting – a cat.

After that we went to the Albertina which currently has an exhibition of Impressionist Art. I don’t understand Impressionism – but I like it. There is also a fabulous collection of art given to the Albertina as a permanent loan by Rita and Herbert Batliner. It includes major works by Monet, Renoir, Cézanne, Chagall, Picasso, Modigliani, Matisse, Kandinsky, Sam Francis, Mark Rothko, Roy Lichtenstein and Francis Bacon.


And finally on to the American Bar for a coffee.

American Bar

Tomorrow I am going to show Gwenyth the ‘Friedhof der Namenlosen’ which will look fabulous with the snow still lying around - and I will take some photos with the new camera. I expect no improvements with my photography notwithstanding the acquisition of new technology.

I have accepted that I am a ‘point and shoot’ user and that no amount of farnarkling will ever make me a better photographer than I am. Having accepted that – I must say that some of my Duck photos are not too shabby and in the unlikely event that is ever an exhibition of Duck photography in Wien – I will be up for it.


  1. I'm looking forward to your new duck pictures Badger. Maybe you should come to the Tate Modern in London, that will give you something to think about.

  2. Are there Duck pictures there? I remember half a cow in a jar, a lizard carcase in aspic and some other bizarre things but can't picture the ducks.

  3. Everybody points and shoots, some aim better, thanks to skill acquired with practice. I love your Russian pictures!

    Regarding the Egyptian pyramides, recent discoveries are chipping away at the myth that they were built by slaves. Recently discovered tombs near Giza support the view that they were built by free workers.

  4. I tend to repeat myself after a certain hour. Sorry!

  5. Your description of Monika is an Nth reminder that I really must find myself a cat one of these days.

    Over the last few months, I've been reading and watching videos concerning the construction of the great pyramid of Cheops. The book in question is The Secret of the Great Pyramid: How One Man's Obsession Led to the Solution of Ancient Egypt's Greatest Mystery by Bob Brier and Jean-Pierre Houdin (which I have in French). The 3D video (in French) is packaged under the title Khéops révélé (Cheops revealed).

    Are you and I talking in fact of the same theory... developed recently by the French architect Jean-Pierre Houdin? You've got me wondering, because you refer to ramps going around the pyramid that's being built, whereas Houdin's extraordinary explanation is based upon the idea of ramps inside the emerging pyramid.

  6. The remarkable theory of Jean-Pierre Houdin concerning the construction of the pyramid of Cheops is evoked in my Antipodes article of 27 November 2008 entitled How did they do it? [display]

  7. The documentary I saw as about ramps going around - which makes sense - but the ramps inside would seem to be a more elegant and efficient way of doing it - so that is probably what the Egyptians did - because they were astonishingly good builders and engineers. I will get hold of a copy of the Brier & Houdin book.

  8. You evoke the dream of a decent road between Sydney and Brisbane... which would pass ideally alongside Grafton (my birthplace). You might add the dream of a decent railroad. I don't think the fulfillment of such dreams has much to do with modern civil engineering, let alone the marvels of Antiquity. The problem is strictly "political"... where the inverted commas highlight the fact that most conceptions of political philosophy Down Under have always been more or less surrounded by inverted commas. In NSW, people get involved in "politics" for multifarious reasons. Look at the American straw lady who has just got the key job. Aussie politicians could receive private lessons on the construction of the pyramids until the sacred cows come home... but this wouldn't improve the state's lousy infrastructure one iota. A political career, in NSW, is no more than a shallow modus vivendi designed to help you pick up perks for you and your mates.

  9. A common-sense observation makes it difficult to accept time-honored theories of construction ramps going around an emerging pyramid. The material presence of a ramp would prevent the architect/engineer from verifying visually the linearity of the edges of the structure. OK, you can imagine that the ramp is supported by platforms that emerge from the pyramid (like some of our Vercors roads), and that it skirts the four edges in such a way that the architect/engineer can in fact perform a linear sighting through a kind of tunnel. But that supposes a lot of trouble to solve a simple problem. And there's no such trouble, of course, if the ramp is located inside the pyramid.

  10. i think you need a copy of
    Impressionist cats
    by sue herbert. it
    combines two of your favourite things

  11. Badger, have replied to your question, qv.