National Geographic Photo Contest 2012

The 2012 winners of the National Geographic Photo Contest have been announced.

When you need a dose of beauty or awe head here to see the winning images. They have a database of all the photos entered too, boy am I glad I didn’t have to judge that competition.

In keeping with the theme that appears to be forming this week, you can download the pictures too, maybe a new desktop background?

by Micheal Eastman

With his exceptional hearing a red fox has targeted a mouse hidden under 2 feet of crusted snow. Springing high in the air he breaks through the crusted spring snow with his nose and his body is completely vertical as he grabs the mouse under the snow.

It’s a bit sketchy

My brain thinks that I can draw, but then when I put my hand on to the paper it appears that I actually cannot. I can see it exactly how I would like it to look, can imagine most details in my head but these ideas don’t travel from there onto the canvas. My mum is a fantastic artist and so I gues thats why I’ve always just assumed that I could.

Anyway,  I’m kicking off throwing myself and my career towards urban design/landscape architecture and a big part of that is being able to get the ideas out of my head and onto paper. I quickly realised that the ideas part isn’t my problem, which is what I was warned about when I first discussed the course with lecturers – apparently many planners like me struggle with this. Well the good news is that that is not a problem! I can be tought! I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll probably never be one of those natually talented artists (not really talented at anything naturally..) but who knows, maybe you wont notice.

In January I’m going to enroll in Sketching and Drawing class and the TAFE near me. Then after that I’ll start learning the Adobe programs I’ll need – InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop and then on to AutoCAD, after which I’ll know if its worth me starting masters :) I know I’m serious because I just cracked open a brand new Macbookpro capable of running all these fantastic peices of programming.

What fanastic new thing are you going to learn in 2013? Come drawing with me?

Brave ft. Mumford and Sons

We watched Brave last night, good gosh I love that film.

So the final credits came on and whilst I was feeling all emotional there was a sense of familiarity for the song. Turns out (you probably all already knew this), “Learn Me Right” was written and produced by Mumford and Sons and performed by Birdy. The song is also on their album Babel with the name “Not With Haste” (slightly extended).

Anywhoo.. I just thought it was widly inspiring :)

Perfect Friday listening.

 

“We will run and scream
You will dance with me
Fulfill our dreams and we’ll be free

We will be who we are
And they’ll heal our scars
Sadness will be far away

Do not let my fickle flesh go to waste
As it keeps my heart and soul in its place
And I will love with urgency but not with haste”

Not with Haste – Mumford and Sons

Diwali 2012: Festival of Lights. Photos from The Big Picture

Many of your know that I am very much longing to go to India, in particular I’d love to go during a festival. In late October/early November Hindus, Sikhs and Jains celebrate Diwali – Festival of lights. It is a beautiful celebration, one of the more significant ones of the year in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji. Today The Big Picture released their photos of 2012 Diwali and they sent my spirit soring. Please have a look at them here.

How Diwali is celebrated varies region to region but generally includes beautiful festive fireworks, worship, sharing of lollies and sweet things, and of course lights and candles over the entire month (in stages).

No matter where it is celebrated the central idea of rejoicing our inner light (Atman) and the underlying grounded reality of all living things remains the same (Brahman).

Hindu philosophy shares that all humans have a pure, infinitie inner light which goes beyond our physical form. This light of higher knowledge can be harnessd to dispell dillusion or ignorance to reveal our true nature and grounded reality in a sort of victory of good over evil. Once the cloud have been removed what it left is compassion and awareness of the connection between all things.

I’m no expert on Diwali and I’m sure this just touches the surface of such an significant event, please comment and add your thoughts, experiences and any major elements that I’ve missed!

Review: Roaming Cow Yogurt

I’m a sucker for gorgeous packaging. So when I spotted the new Roaming Cow yogurts at Woolworths yesterday I couldn’t resist trying it out.

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Roaming Cow Yogurt

I was very impressed. I tried the vanilla this morning and it had such a lovely real vanilla flavour. I’m getting a bit sick of watery, fake, meh vanilla yogurt so I was very happy to see real vanilla beans throughout the Roaming Cow one. It had a great texture, not watery at all. Not as thick as Greek of course, it’s lower in fat.

In a word: real.

I served it with slightly thawed blueberries, bran flakes and quinoa puffs. Could have passed it of as a dessert to any friends not previously introduced to chocolate mousse.

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serving suggestion.

Open House Perth

Something highly wildly inspiring happened in Perth last weekend (3rd and 4th of November 2012). Open House Perth!

We has an incredible time running around the city checking out our beautiful buildings from all sorts of angles we’ve never seen before.

We were one of the very luck few to get to the top of the Central Park tower (St George) which offered incredible views over the city from Fremantle to Joondalup, and equally incredible winds. Batman makes it look so easy perching on skyscrapers… its all an illusion, that cape would make quite the wind sock I’d imagine. It’s just not practical.

I have a newly re-inspired appreciation for Perth’s architecture and have spent the week spending a lot of time looking up. We don’t have much compared to the “big” cities, but what we do have is rich in history and beauty, you just have to investigate. Like most good things in Perth, you have to dig to find it.

I love that Open House Perth not only included landmarks but also the design studios behind them. As a urban planner /soon to be designer (ok ok its a few years away), I was constantly letting out little sqeals of excitment over seeing the beautiful working spaces our city offers for the industry. Hassell in particular was very exciting to see because I one day hope to call that space my own.

Have a squiz at the photos I took over the weekend here and let me know what you think.

Cannot wait for next year.

Follow up posts to come, perhaps one on my work space at 140william Gordon Stepherson House.

The Angry Almond – Home Made Cereal

The Angry Almond, nestled in the very back of the Subiaco Markets, is the go-to place for well priced by-weight beans, nuts, herbs, spices, grains, teas, dried fruit, berries, snacks.. I don’t know what it is about these shops with all the barrels of things and scoops, its just nice. Similar to Kakulas brothers/sisters in Fremantle and Northbridge but a bit simpler and without the drool inducing cheese display.

Since discovering this place (guided by my wonderful friend Vik) I have revolutionized my breakfast ritual and at the same time significantly decreased the amount of plastic/packaging I bring into the house (probably saved some $ too!)

Recipe: DIY Cereal/Muesli

1. Start with your grain/fibre base. My favourites are bran flakes, puffed quinoa and corn flakes. The quinoa is really nice as its much better for you than puffed rice and has a great flavour. Never tried quinoa before? Well you definitely should, either like this or cooked up (buy the non puffed version) with a bit of chicken stock. A bit of background sourced from the ever reliable Wikipedia;  “Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, secondary only to the potato, and was followed in importance by maize. In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (14% by mass), yet not as high as most beans and legumes. Nutritional evaluations of quinoa indicate that it is a source of complete protein.[14][15] Furthermore, it is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is also a source of calcium, and thus is useful for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant.[16][17] Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA’s Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration human occupied spaceflights.[18]” 

2. Add dried fruits of your choice. I try to go easy on the ratio of fruit to grains because of the sugar content but its nice to have a mix. I pick from dried cranberries, apricots, sultanas, banana, pineapple, paw paw etc. Favourite combo so far is cranberries, apricots (turkish, chopped up) and sultanas.

3. Cook up some crunchy granola. Melt two table spoons of either butter, coconut oil or olive oil (or combination of those), add a good glug of golden syrup, a bit of vanilla extract and some cinnamon (good for boosting your metabolism). Pour in about half a kilo of flat oats (not instant) and mix until its all coated. Put it in the oven at about 180 degrees C until they are slightly brown. They won’t be hard when you take them out of the oven, its the sugar crystallising as it cools that causes that. Once cool break them up into chunks and pop into the cereal mix.

4. Mix it around as much as you can and then store it in a sealed container. I have mine with Greek or natural yoghurt and a dab of honey if it needs it. You can have it with milk but it gets soggy quick, just like corn flakes ordinarily do, so eat fast!

Needless to say, I love it. First time I remember being excited about my weekday breakfast. I don’t add any nuts or seeds because I really just don’t like them. Any add-ins you think would make it even better?