Book three: Passionate

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Today I received my latest book, Passionate. Created by me, printed by Liz as my birthday present. 240 pages of photos of Australia, USA, Mexico and Europe, depicting the last 5 years of my – and our – life. I’m very happy with it. The book can be downloaded as PDF file here. Mind you: it is over 200MB. I am happy to send it with wesendit or so. If you do read/view it with the Acrobat PDF reader I suggest to use two special settings under the tab ‘page display’: use the ‘two page view’ and tick the box ‘show cover page in two page view’. If you do this, then you will see it as it is printed in the book.
Thank you Liz, I love this book. A great birthday present.

Book launch

img_6504-customWe enjoyed the launch of Green island in the Sky today, at the Heritage Winery. A great number of people showed up, including the Mayor, the local Member of Parliament, several Councillors, the business community and artists. Nice endorsements of the book, good sales and and a very pleasant atmosphere.

The Mayor, Cr. Greg Christensen, promotes Green Island in the Sky

The Mayor, Cr. Greg Christensen, promotes Green Island in the Sky

Talking to the crowd

Talking to the crowd

Loved it. From tomorrow: sale starts! Let’s hope for a good result.

Books arrived

img_6497a-customAfter a journey of 5 weeks from China, the 2,000 books have arrived. Just in time for the launch on Sunday.
The front page is different, because in this final version the letters are embossed in gold. It looks great. I’m designing a t-shirt….. next project.
For now we are busy with the preparation of the launch.
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Really busy

3d cover (Custom)We’ve already got well, well over 100 people who will attend the launch of Green Island in the Sky on 9 October 2016. It will be a very colourful, pleasant event with interesting people, and good drinks and nibbles.
img_7367a-final-customThe preparations take a lot of time and effort, and being ‘self-publishers’ we have to do everything ourselves, from arranging the venue, to sending out the invites, organising the programm and in between making sure the books will arrive. We’re also running an online photo competition to raise the awareness of the upcoming launch, and of course we are arranging enough points of sales to get the book on the market. No time for much else, let alone to update this blog.
We are going well, though, and so is Boris. He still claims his daily long walk!
Regarding our online presence, we focus on Green Island in the Sky website (www.greenislandinthesky.com.au with the photo competition) and on the facebook pages about the book https://www.facebook.com/greenislandinthesky/. The visits to the site already exceed 600 a day, and posts on facebook have a reach of over one thousand. It’s a steep learning curve about modern media! We also picked up a big pull up banner, we are preparing market stalls (plus insurance, this is Australia) and we recorded last week the ‘author interview’. Forget what the book was about? Click the trailer below!

Celebrating life

IMG_d1423cropped (Custom)Once a year we celebrate the simple fact that we were born. The other 364 days we really should celebrate the simple fact that we live, and are alive. But we don’t, or at least: I don’t. Eight years ago I decided that I will do that, one day per year; I chose the 25th of August for that.
cap250816 (Custom)Isn’t it incredible that all the molecules that make up ‘me’, all ended up on one tiny planet, with no other place to accommodate life in zillions of kilometers around us? Not only that: all these molecules even came together to created ‘my life’; all of’em in the right place. It’s worth acknowledging that! So I went with Boris to the beach for long walk in the sun and the breeze; and a little dip in the Pacific. With afterwards a lovely cappuccino in Burleigh. An extra large one, for the occasion.

Quantum satellite

China SatelliteInstead of worrying about the commercial ‘threat’ of China because they like to buy part of our power grid, we should focus on their real strength: scientific progress. China is now significantly ahead of other world powers in the field of quantum research. While Morrison is explaining the first, the Chinese just launched the first quantum communication satellite ever, which doesn’t use radio waves, but crystals that produce pairs of entangled protons, whose properties can be manipulated resulting in the creation of messages. The Chinese are rapidly become the major world power, based on science, not on weapons or fear mongering. More details at http://www.nature.com/…/chinese-satellite-is-one-giant-step…

Land clearing never ends

A quick calculation: In Australia annually 680,000 ha of land* are legally cleared, mainly by farmers. With an average of 400 trees/ha that are 240 million trees per year, or 960 million in 4 years.
Last month the federal government committed to pay $ 42 million to Landcare, to plant 20 Million Trees in the next 4 years.
Have we lost the plot?
Another way of calculating: the above mentioned land clearing equals the creation of 280m tonnes of Carbon. The government ‘buys’ carbon emissions to meet the standards of the Paris agreement for currently $ 12/tonne. Just to make up for the land clearing in the next four years will cost the budget $ 3.5 billion!
Have we lost the plot?
* in 10 years, land the size of Tasmania is being cleared.

Trump supporters… special?

Untitled-1I feel strongly attached to the Lock the Gate movement, saving our planet. Does that make me any better than a Trump supporter, I wonder, who feels to be saving America?
I share with Trump supporters that I feel that MY movement is very important; and that it represents probably the silent majority. I don’t really understand how people could not participate in my movement. I like that the movement is strong, with good and clear leadership. It makes me feel good to be in the movement, and I like to show that. I know the essentials of the goals of my movement but not really the details; I trust that our leadership knows that. The goals are very clear, translated in plain one liners. I also like the methods used by my movement and I feel strong ties with other members; it’s good to be in their company. I am, almost in advance, suspicious of critics of my movement.
Am I really so different from any Trump supporter?

Life is good

IMG_7063a (Custom)The ‘safe’ Census website is in shambles, the water in the pool turns green, refugee children suffer on remote islands under our watch and a presidential candidate suggests to kill his rival.
But the sun is shining on the mountain, and I like the springtime flowers… even the tiny ones. This one is 3 mm across.

Munchausen

13873201_10209007866147663_6587995364378777737_nBack on my feet after a week of jet legs, irregular sleeping patterns and tiredness from an overseas trip. How? Using the Baron Munchausen method: getting myself out of a mire by pulling my own hair. Willpower. Life is on the move again….
Happily working towards the launch of our new book ‘Green Island in the Sky’, a wildlife photo competition and my participation in the Council’s Arts Reference Group.

Non-victorianism struck me most in Holland…

Free charge point for electric bikes

Free charge point for electric bikes

Holland is still very busy, crowded and buzzing. Traffic and people everywhere; the center of Amsterdam is so touristy, it is hardly Dutch anymore. The green lands between the built up areas are still very pretty, green, wet and sometimes covered in trees. The water management with its dikes, locks and mills is impressive as ever. My friends and relatives were warm, welcoming and eager to talk and catch up. The food is good and is probably the main reason, together with the extensive use of push bikes, that Dutch are still the tallest people in the world…. and much slimmer than Yanks, Aussies and most other Europeans. The broad introduction of electric cars and bikes and solar panels is very different from Australia. As is the general attitude towards renewable energy.
But after 13 years Down Under it is the freedom of expression, the diversity of the press, the complete acceptance of gays and lesbians, the sensible approach of issues like drugs, prostitution, refugees and terrorism that struck me most. Those values are still completely embedded in the society.
Liberalism in its pure, philosophical, sense exists widely in the Dutch society, and is very rare in Australia.
media_xl_1365369Six printed national daily newspapers provide a diversity of news accommodating the entire social fabric of the nation. Compare that to Australia with only one national newspaper, the rightwing Australian. 15 parties in the lower house… leading to necessary coalition negotiations after every election to form government; governments which necessarily are humble and prepared to negotiate. In Australia the two main parties do everything to keep others out of parliament: the greens got 9% of the votes, not even 1% of the seats in parliament. In Australia parliamentarians are simply against ‘the other side’; in Holland you have to negotiate about everything ‘with the other side’.
The Dutch parliament, residing in The Hague, is still called 'Staten Generaal', states general. It was established by the United East Indian Company to work together in trade, to compete with other nations.

The Dutch parliament, residing in The Hague, is still called ‘Staten Generaal’, states general. It was established by the United East Indian Company to work together in trade, to compete with other nations.

Holland negotiates, always seeks to find consensus, a system called the ‘polder model’. That attitude has its roots in the history. The political system in Holland is not based on structures set up by nobility and ‘the wealthy’, as is the case almost everywhere else, but by tradespeople working together (United East India Company) and the population fighting together against the water. The Amsterdam ‘Beurs van Berlage’ was the first stock exchange in the world, and established to allow ordinary people and governments to buy shares in the country’s trading companies!
I am happy to be back home, back in Australia. I have found a new ‘motherland’ here, because of its many lovely features, one of those being so very insignificant, almost non-existing to the rest of the world. Or at least very far away. And I like the space, the people and the nature.
But more than before will I miss the feeling of freedom, of sensibility and relative tolerance. I’m back in a country without free press, with a political system that is among the worst in any parliamentary democracy and based on very right wing concepts: the labour party here is more conservative than most conservative parties in Europe.
I’m back in a Victorian country and have to accept that. I do.
But I deeply miss the freedom of The Netherlands.

From Holland with Love, day 29: Pancakes

Packing, packing and pancakes. The last day in Holland. We visit the famous Pannenkoekenhuis (Pancake house) Rhynauwen, allong the river ‘Kromme Rijn’, near Utrecht. Fully in Dutch tradition we soak the pancakes in a substance called ‘stroop’: sweet and specifically used on Dutch pancakes.

One waits for the pancakes to be served.....

One waits for the pancakes to be served…..

.... while enjoying the view....

…. while enjoying the view….

....when served one adds the stroop....

….when served one adds the stroop….

.... and starts the meal.

…. and starts the meal.

From Holland with Love, day 28: Fun Holland

Each country has its own little things. In the past four weeks I’ve shown many typical Dutch, funny things. Let me add a few ones here and now. (click the first picture to start the video)

Jong geleers is oud gedaan (What is learned in the cradle is carried to the tomb). In Holland that most certainly applies to the skill of bike riding.

Jong geleerd is oud gedaan (What is learned in the cradle is carried to the tomb). In Holland that most certainly applies to the skill of bike riding.

'Boat launching allowed', the sign reads. Good on them, because most visitors arrive with their own boat and some take them out of the water while having a drink.

‘Boat launching allowed’, the sign reads. Good on them, because most visitors arrive with their own boat and some take the vessel out of the water while having a drink.

A family tour through the canals of Utrecht... towing a spare boat (just in case....)

A family tour through the canals of Utrecht, towing a spare boat (just in case….)

A typical 'bruine kroeg' (pub), with a wide variety of beers.

A typical ‘bruine kroeg’ (pub), with a wide variety of beers.

The house was for sale and was, given the red sticker in between 'sold'. But the sticker doesn't read the boring word 'sold', but 'gefeliciteerd' (congratulations). Cute, isn't it?

The house was for sale and was, given the red sticker in between ‘sold’. But the sticker doesn’t read the boring word ‘sold’, but ‘gefeliciteerd’ (congratulations). Cute, isn’t it?

Display the nation's history with pride in your front window

Some proudly display the nation’s history in the front window (with curtains never closed)

Wedding of women

Wedding of women

Oma fiets ('granny bike') used for ornamental purposes

Oma fiets (‘granny bike’) used for ornamental purposes

From Holland with Love, day 27: Dom Under

The city of Utrecht was established in four era’s. 2,000 years ago it formed the northern boundary of the Roman empire; the Romans established a ‘castellum’ here. 700 years later the first catholic priest arrived and set up a monastery on top of the castellum; they were chased away by the Normans. Around 950 the famous priest Bonifacius arrived and established a new church, on top of the former one. And 500 years later the current gothic Dom Church was built on top of that, which survived the iconoclasm, but part of it was destroyed by a tornado in 1647. Recently the foundations of all four successive buildings were rediscovered and laid bare. They can be visited in an underground excursion called ‘Dom Under’. As we do.
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All four foundations on top of each other

All four foundations on top of each other

This steam art work marks the boundaries of the Roman Castellum

This steam art work marks the boundaries of the former Roman Castellum

The Dom Church is still the flag ship of the city of utrecht

The Dom Church is still the flag ship of the city of utrecht

A cartoon untranslatable into English (believe me, it is naughty and funny)

A cartoon about Dom Under untranslatable into English (believe me, it is naughty and funny)

After so much information one needs a drink

After so much information one needs a drink

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