A Trip to the Powerhouse

One of my favourite parts of Sydney is the Powerhouse Museum. Sydney has many interesting museums and galleries but there’s just something special about the Powerhouse. It’s existed in several forms for over 130 years (once even sharing a room with a hospital morgue) and it’s full of history. I could lose myself for hours just wandering around if I had enough time.

Recently there have been a couple of new exhibitions at the Powerhouse I’ve wanted to see, including one from the Star Wars films. With my health I hadn’t felt up to going earlier but I finally managed to go a few weeks ago with MQ, just before the Star Wars exhibit closed. It was interesting seeing the costumes; they’re actually very detailed, much more than you can see on-screen. And seeing Darth Vader was fun.

The other exhibit was the Inspired! Design Across Time exhibit, which was excellent and free. It looks at the history of art and design through different eras and has some wonderful displays. I enjoy studying design; some people may remember I designed my library units, so I found it fascinating.

I took some photos of both exhibits to share. Some came out better than others; I’m still learning how to use my camera and the damn flash keeps getting in the way. But they’re not too bad overall. Hope you enjoy them.


Wooden Bench & Fabric DisplayHandcrafted Table & ChairArtwork MosaicClassic Pottery & VasesEdwardian Table & SilverwareEdwardian Armoire

Edwardian SideboardSilver Table CentrepieceEpergne PlaqueVintage Dress & CorsetEgyptian Renaissance DaybedLiberty Catologue (1920s)

These are all from the Inspired! Design Across Time exhibit. The photo of the bench is my favourite; it’s from the crafts revival and there’s just something very rustic and Australian about the display, blending with the background.

I also like the mosaic. It was made by Pierre Cavalan from recycled materials and each panel is embossed with a stylised face in a different expression. It’s very beautiful and must have been painstaking to create.

What was particularly interesting about the exhibit was following the evolution in design, particularly the rapid advances toward contemporary art. Art and design have changed so much over the years but what was obvious was how the same influences keep reappearing, just in different forms.

Princess Leia, C-3PO & R2-D2

Millennium FalconHan Solo & ChewbaccaWampaSnowtrooperAnakin Skywalker & Obi-Wan KenobiMaster Yoda & Mace Windu

Wookiee CostumesTusken RaidersYoung AnakinJawaLandspeederPadmé

Darth VaderVader's HelmetStormtrooperNaked C-3POTorture DroidPrincess Leia, C-3PO & R2-D2

These are from the Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibit. It had a mix of costumes and props from the Star Wars films, as well as displays of real world technology similar to the science from the films.

Seeing the costumes and props was interesting; you get an appreciation for the detail that goes into creating them that you can’t really see on-screen. But it was a little disappointing overall. The exhibit was quite poorly lit (which also made the photos darker) and the idea didn’t feel that plausible. Star Wars isn’t really about science.

Probably my favourite costumes were of Princess Leia and the droids, which were still in good condition. And Vader’s but that seemed to have aged more.

Pavlova (before)

Pizza (sauce)Pizza (veg)Pizza (ingredients)Pizza (after)Pizza (plate)Pavlova (before)Pavlova (after)

And what’s a day out without a nice meal to go with it? These photos were actually from a few weeks earlier as I didn’t get to photograph it in time but it was the same meal, except with more veggies on the pizza – I’d run out here.

And yes, I made it myself. I can cook quite well, believe it or not. The meringue was lovely too. 😉

Quotes About Writing

fountain pen

Image: Vintage Fountain Pen ~ Kriss Szkurlatowski

Before I get into this post, I mentioned in my last post that I’d write a review of the new Star Trek film after I saw it. I posted it earlier at  my other blog if anyone wants to check it out. If you haven’t seen the film yet it contains spoilers, though, so you’ve been warned.

I’m still thinking about what to do with that blog at the moment. I started it to collect my book reviews in one place but I’m finding it hard to read at the moment, so it has stagnated in the interim. For now I’ve decided to turn it into a more general review blog so I can post reviews of music and films… but I’m tempted to close it and just focus on this blog again, including the occasional review here as they’re some of my more well-written posts. I’ll just see how it goes for a while.

Anyway, I have some news as well. I received an award recently from Jonathan Crossfield over at his Copy Write blog. While I took a break from blogging, Jonathan put together a list of the top 50 Australian blogs on writing; I made the list at #14. He used a combination of Technorati and Alexa rankings and page rank to calculate it fairly and it’s a good list. Frankly I’m surprised I made it at all, particularly as I’ve been posting sporadically for the last 12 months. But it made my day and Jonathan was even kind enough to send me a tweet to let me know about it.

It’s actually been good inspiration as I’ve been getting back into my writing again. So far I’m happy with what I’ve written and reading Jonathan’s post, one of the things both he and I agree on is that for writers blogging is a great way to promote and give a better understanding of our work, while also forming part of a larger community. I know I’ve had more people read and comment on my work since I’ve had my blog than in the years before that, including all of my publications. So I guess I’m doing something right!

I thought I’d post some of my favourite quotes about writing to go with the award. Let me know if you have a favourite or have one to share.

* * * * * *

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say.
~ Anaïs Nin

Deliver me from writers who say the way they live doesn’t matter. I’m not sure a bad person can write a good book. If art doesn’t make us better, then what on earth is it for.
~ Alice Walker

Literature was not born the day when a boy crying “wolf, wolf!” came running out of the Neanderthal valley with a big gray wolf at his heels; literature was born on the day when a boy came crying “wolf, wolf!” and there was no wolf behind him.
~ Vladimir Nabokov

After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.
~ Philip Pullman

What I like in a good author is not what he says, but what he whispers.
~ Logan Pearsall Smith

I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library.
~ Jorge Luis Borges

To subvert is not the aim of literature. Its value lies in discovering and revealing what is rarely known, little known, thought to be known but in fact not very well known of the truth of the human world. It would seem that truth is the unassailable and most basic quality of literature.
~ Gao Xingjian

The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in, shockproof shit detector. This is the writer’s radar and all great writers have had it.
~ Ernest Hemingway

To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music the words make.
~ Truman Capote

I keep little notepads all over the place to write down ideas as soon as they strike, but the ones that fill up the quickest are always the ones at my nightstand.
~ Emily Logan Decens

Everywhere I go I’m asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher.
~ Flannery O’Connor

I’m all in favour of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let’s start with typewriters.
~ Frank Lloyd Wright

If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn’t brood. I’d type a little faster.
~ Isaac Asimov

Tomorrow may be hell, but today was a good writing day, and on the good writing days nothing else matters.
~ Neil Gaiman

Lock up your libraries if you like, but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind.
~ Virginia Woolf


These Are the Voyages…


Click here to take the “Which Star Trek character am I?” quiz

This is just a quick update as it’s been a while since my last post. To be honest I didn’t realise it had been so long; I’ve had a lot on my mind these last few months and haven’t felt up to blogging until now.

I haven’t been feeling well for several months; my health has been very poor and I haven’t been sleeping well again. While I am coping, this last year has been exhausting as it’s just been one thing after another… I’ve had to cut back on the amount of time I spend online to adjust.

We also recently learnt of the death of an old friend. Belinda was like an aunt to me when I was younger and was a dear friend of my mother; it’s brought back a lot of memories and we’re all feeling her loss.

But I’m trying not to dwell too much. I’m feeling a little better now and tomorrow I’m seeing the new Star Trek film with MQ, which is something I’ve been looking forward to for a long time. I grew up with the more recent Star Trek series but it’s always been the relationships between the original characters that made me a fan and have defined Star Trek; to see Kirk, Spock and McCoy again after all these years should be a lot of fun.

Star Trek has needed refreshing for a while now and it looks like they’ve found the right dynamic with a young cast and a new approach. This Trek can have a wide appeal and it reminds me a little of Batman Begins; build word of mouth for a sequel and hopefully that will do even better once people realise that this isn’t the same kind of Trek.

The thing about Star Trek, which a lot of people don’t get if they think it’s geeky and boring, is that what it’s actually about isn’t science but humanity. Star Trek at its best gives us an optimistic view of humanity; it was born out of the 1960s as a counterpoint to issues like racism, sexism, communism, and war, showing us that whatever our differences, we can overcome them and unite in peace, a view that was well ahead of its time.

That’s the message which has always made me a fan; that the future can be better, if we want it to be. It looks different but as long as the new film keeps that message in some way, then I’ll be happy. And I think it will. That message of hope is just as relevant now, in a post-September 11 world, as it was in 1966.

This is one of the few films I’ll probably be able to see this year, but hopefully it will be the beginning of a new era for Trek. So I thought I’d post a fun quiz as well to celebrate the release of the film.

I wonder which character you are? Apparently I’m most like Spock. I guess that makes sense; I do tend to be quite logical. Not sure about the ears, though. I don’t think they’d suit me. 😉

Update: Just found a fun website that can change your photo into a Star Trek character. Mine is here. As I said, the Vulcan ears definitely don’t suit me!

Update #2: Just got back from seeing it a few hours ago. It was excellent. Even better than the hype, actually, which was a surprise. I’ll post a review on my other blog tomorrow but it’s very different and probably the best Star Trek film so far. Highly recommended.