April in Melbourne – part one

I have just flown back to Sydney, having been in Melbourne for only two days – it felt like a lot longer though thanks to interesting people, a vibrant city, and catching up with family and friends.
I tweeted a lot of the trip because I was excited to be back in Melbourne and feeling a connection with it.  So I thought I would share those tweets…

I flew out of Sydney eventually, but only after Jetstar cancelled my flight and moved me to a qantas flight instead.  More aggravation than I needed and it left me lucky that my Monday afternoon booking had cancelled! Continue reading

A little art

There are some neat pieces of software out there on the Internet.  There are image processing versions of Google’s Deep Dream engine (Google created it for machine anaysis of images).  Also a site called Linify that reproduces images using coloured lines.

I picked a photo that I took a while ago and ran it through both systems and I thought I would share it here.


My feathered friends


How Deep Dream sees them after three iterations of the engine


How Linify sees them


The Sydney Skinny – 2015

Well, the Sydney Skinny has been and gone for another year!
I swam in the fifth wave (I think) this year, which (totally accidentally) turned out to be the Body Image group.  It somehow seems appropriate given “me”.  Anyway, it was, as with last year, a fun group of people who all stripped off on the beach and swam either 900, or 300 meters.
Sydney Skinny 2015

I found the swim a lot easier than last year, but it was still a lot harder than I expected.  There was a reasonable amount of chop and some bigger waves (of perhaps 50cms) from ferries or other boats.  My main problem was that I actually started to feel sea sick about one third of the way through!  I was trying to move with the waves, rather than bashing through them and it turned out to be a pretty sickening rythm.

So, next year I am thinking that I need to do more open water swimming in preparation.

Anyway, it was a fun experience yet again and great to see so many people getting out and enjoying the sunshine, the water, and the freedom of being nude!



There is another Sydney…

We think that we know the places that we live.  They are familiar to us by site, sound, smell, and feel.  But (if you are lucky) every now and then you come across a side of your home town that you have never seen before, and your eyes are opened…

I was lucky enough to be taken to visit a very unusual building.  It is almost in the CBD of Sydney, but the owners (whoever they are!) don’t seem to care about it.  It is home to a mix of people, but it is as far from your average apartment building as you could imagine, half squat, half artists commune, half… something else (yes, that’s three halves, but it seems strangely appropriate for this place).

The roof of the building has become an amazing art space for graffiti.  Uncontrolled, no rules, yet civilised in a manner that society at large may be uncomfortable with.  Don’t forget to click on each image to see them full size and enjoy the photos.

graffiti 1

graffit 2 John.

A bit of hard work…

Ok, it’s an excuse to post a photo with no top on, but what they heck, I’ll do it anyway.

I am working on a project to build a large cupboard at the moment and it was pretty hot last week, so no shirt!  Ripping a 2.4 meter long sheet of 18mm thick ply wood into two pieces was really hard work by hand, but prefer to use hand tools.  Reliable, simple, and a skill that I think is worth having.  By contrast, cutting these shelves was easy going.

cutting woodJohn.

Tuning the Beale …

My partner’s piano has (ever since she can remember) had one key (the A6) that was out of tune.  Inevitably it’s a key that many pieces of music require.

Recently (while watching the remake of the movie Total Recall) I heard a piece from Beethovan’s Tempest (Sonata No. 17) and suggested to S that she should learn to play it.  If you don’t know the piece you can see a rendition of the Total Recall version (played much slower than the original) here on Youtube:

Of course Tempest requires A6, so yesterday – in the face of stern warnings to the contrary on a label inside the piano – we set about attempting to tune that key.

The piano is an upright, a Beale Vader semi grand.  It is over 100 years old based on the serial number, and despite not having been tuned in at least 50 years (if ever) it is still surprisingly in good tune (mind you this was the Beale’s claim to fame that it would hold its tune come hell or high water, which seems to be true!).  Apart from one key.

Thanks to modern technology tuning things is much easier than it once was.  For instance, to get the note right, I simply downloaded a tuning app (called G-String) to my phone.



The g-string app works a treat. No need for an expensive dedicated tuner.

Tuning a piano if you have the right tools is not really a difficult task.  It’s like tuning a guitar, only you can’t sit it on your lap.  Each key has three strings behind its hammer and all of the strings have to be tuned to the desired note to create that wonderful, crisp, unique piano sound.

I made up some wedges to mute the two strings that weren’t being tuned and we set to work.  The result was good, not perfect, as one string was fractionally higher than the other two, but definitely a serious improvement over its tone before tuning.

And as to the question: do you always tune pianos in the nude?  Well, maybe ;-)


Work in the nude day (Australia)

What can I say … this one was made for me!

It is officially Australian, Work In The Nude Day.  At least that’s what the Sydney Morning Herald is reporting – and I am not about to argue.


Frankly though it’s just business as usual for me!  I have worked for myself – usually from home – for almost all of my working life – and being able to strip off on a hot day is one of the great advantages of working for yourself.

So, here’s a photo to prove that I am well and truly getting into the spirit of Work In The Nude Day!

Continue reading

New header images

Just a quick post to mention that I have just uploaded a number of new header images to this site.  If you view another page then a new image will be displayed at random.

Storm clouds over Sydney Opera house and Harbor Bridge

I take all of the header images that I use with the camera in my Samsung Galaxy SII mobile phone.  And it continues to astound me with what it can do.

I am really starting to develop quite a neat little collection of photos of Sydney and its surrounding areas.

For a bit of fun: the first person to tell me the name of the harbor with the sea wall and the light house that features in one of the new headers gets a $100 discount on their booking!


Update: well, it only took about six hours for two people to let me know that this is Wollongong Harbour!  Well done V and J :-) that is some fine Googling on display …


Sexpo – 1

I only made a short visit in to Sexpo on Saturday as the day was compressed by a delayed flight from Sydney and having a big evening planned, so I went back again on Sunday.

If you have never been to Sexpo, here’s a short run down …

Mostly Sexpo is a chance for anyone who does “stuff” in the “adult industry” to show off to the public over four days.  On top of that, there is an ongoing stage show of adult oriented acts (like the Tokio Shock Boys, male and female strippers, audience participation and more) and curiously this time they had a motorcycle stunt show … not quite sure how that fits, but I guess that it appeals to the main audience demographic!  Granted they did some pretty impressive stuff, but it’s not exactly about sex.

Some of the stands on display included:

  • More sex toy vendors than you could poke a (erm …) stick at, ranging in quality from the really cheap to the really expensive.  There were a lot of good deals on offer though, so it makes for a fun way to buy a vibrator as just about everything on the market was there and available at prices as good as you would get online (or better sometimes)
  • Show bags – $60 for a bag full of goodies for wome, or men, or couples.  They contained things like vibrators, lube, ligerie, male masturbators (of which there are now lots more on the market), various sex toys, and more
  • Fetish wear – from the mild (riding crops and suspenders) to the serious (body restrains, ball gags, nipple clamps), to the seriously bizar (gimp costumes, speculums, and more).  Interestingly, the people who run these businesses are often the easiest to talk to, very open minded, and lots of fun
  • Lingerie – definitely sexy
  • Personal grooming – I saw hair crimping tools and intimate shavers
  • Photography – glamour and intimate, there were at least four different businesses with stands there
  • ClubX – one of the largest chains of adult stores had a very big stand with a large range of products from their catalogue.  ClubX has gone a long way up-market from their early days and put together a very nice stand with lots of staff and lots of interesting products
  • Charities – there were a couple of organisations there drumming up support for their adult related causes, which was good to see
  • Pole dancing equipment – just one stand, but they can set up with everything you need!

I am sure to have missed out on some stuff, but that gives you a good overview. One thing that seemed quite abscent though were retailers of DVDs.  I may have just overlooked them, but I don’t think so.  I expect that the Internet is busy destroying the DVD delivery business model, so perhaps that is the reason.

Both Saturday and Sunday when I visited were absolutely packed.  Heaps of people, in equal numbers for male and female.  Average age was probably around thirty.

I will wrap this post up now.  I have a bunch of toys and products to review and give away, so I will get on with that next and give you more details and photos!