So I've been back from holidays for exactly two weeks now and this morning, I happened to look at the base of my computer a little more clearly than I normally do. And I realised that the tiny lump of blu-tak that's been sitting there for ages has, at some time, been fashioned into a miniature dinosaur. A very very cute dinosaur.
Metaphor I went to the Masters talk at AIM last night to hear Natasha Dwyer do her practise run for her MA examination. (I'd link to the synopsis of her project but what she spoke about was entirely different to what is mentioned on the site. This is interesting in itself, and heartening to anyone who has experienced the slippage between what you set out with at the start of a research project and what you end up with. I wonder why there isn't more discussion of this when people present their MA findings? I find it interesting to hear why people abandoned early ideas and went a different way.)
Natasha spoke about the use of metaphor in Internet design, particularly in relation to art-oriented sites where there is less emphasis on retrieving information and more on the experience of travelling through (around?) a space. She has created a site using the metaphor of the flaneur (wandering around a site without a specific purpose other than to take in the surroundings) and the metaphor of rubbish (quicktime videos which blow aross the screen, getting in the way and bringing snapshots of other information, other people, to the walker, but which fade away with time.) I'm not sure if the site is openly accessible, but if it is, I'll link to it.
On the tram home I thought about how I use metaphor, particularly in relation to my MA. Initially I wanted to make an interactive "diary" that mimicked diaries of the real world, especially in its appearance. But I realised early on that this was something of a pointless activity when the weblog was much more suited to gathering information on the web. So I abandoned the metaphor. I'd also, up until quite recently, thought about the weblog as being like a journal or "scrapbook" but last night I realised that I have pretty much abandoned this metaphor too. I'm too conscious of the weblog as occupying public space to ever be too informal or scrappy with it, and I take too much care with constructing my sentences to really claim that it is a journal. I have kept journals, paper journals, and they are nothing like my weblog.
None of this is to say that I think the use of metaphor doesn't work in design. I find that I generally need to think of a metaphor in the early stages so that it becomes clear in my mind how it is to function, regardless of how explicitly I choose to use it in the final product. And even if I end up rejecting the metaphor with time, this still helps me to define what the project is by determining what it isn't.
Will blog later.
Woke when the alarm went off at 6- was dreaming about waitressing. My task was to collect up the grey water from the dishes and water the pot plants with it. This is clearly because I watered the vegie patch at the Grampians. It's obviously had a profound effect.
Thieu and I took advantage of the long weekend and also escaped the horrors of Melbourne on Grand Prix weekend by taking off to the Grampians on Friday night. La Spin and S. came down on Saturday too and we went for a walk around the farm. Saw a few echidnas, surely everyone's favourite monotreme. What would an echidna perform, if dragged up onto the stage by its friends at a karaoke night? We pondered this for some time and finally S suggested "Ant Music." Yes, perfect.
On Sunday Thieu and I walked up Mt Rosea. Last time we were at The Grampians we climbed Mt Difficult, which it was. The names of Australian mountains are very pessimistic, on the whole.
"Why is there no Mt Debonaire?" wondered La S.
A good question.
Or Mt Insouciant, I thought later.
I have complained before about the lack of a "Mt Comfortable Stroll From the Carpark" or "Mt Let's Just Work Off Our Lunch and Make Room for Afternoon Tea." But Mt Rosea was very pleasant walk, with beautiful views. We were nearly at the top and feeling the glowing, slightly proud feeling you get when you walk up a mountain, but were slightly deflated when we were passed by a family walking the other way- including a grandmother hiking in an ankle-length skirt and two very small children. "People like that shouldn't be allowed to hike" I mutter to Thieu.
Drowned Town We also went to Lake Bellfield, which is virtually dry at the moment. As a consequence, the ruins of an old township (Silver Springs?) that was sacrificed for the sake of water reserves, has re-emerged. There's not much there- a few stumps, some concrete floors but it's fascinating. Thieu pointed out how you could still see the white lines in the middle of the main road- it's odd to think of this road being at the bottom of a lake. The swimming pool is the most complete artefact. We discover the point where the old diving board must have been and stand there by the rotting wood, imagining kids waiting in line for the turn to dive into the (almost definitely freezing) water. It must have been an amazing place to swim, as it's almost completely surrounded by mountains.
Sitting and Thinking On Monday, Thieu and I divided along gender lines and while he toiled away constructing an outside dunny I sat in the shearing shed and worked on the laptop and read "We've got Blog." I actually got quite a lot done as there was very little to distract me. On the way home we stopped at Arrarat for take away Chinese, which we ate in the park. We were instantly surrounded by 22 fat magpies, singing at us in a very pointed way.
I've always liked the sound of magpies; but I must say it took on a very different feel when there were so many of them. It was rather like being surrounded by 22 flute-players. Flute players with very sharp beaks who are looking at you out of one bright black eye.