Buenos Aires, Argentina – Video

In July I travelled to Buenos Aires for 3.5 weeks with some friends to soak up the Argentine culture, to experience the city where tango originates from and still resonates around the world.

I’ve been learning tango for 2.5 years now with Ross and Sandra, my teachers from Friends of Tango Each year  they return to Buenos Aires to learn from their teachers and share with those interested, the feel and culture that is this European city in South America. I thought this year I would take the chance to see what all the fuss was about.

I’ve already created quite a bit more information with some interesting observations from both my fellow travellers and locals over at my other podcast site Your Story. There is even a podcast you can freely subscribe to.

Additional to the audio that I produced I’ve spent the last couple of months off and on editing this video. I’ve attempted to make it as interesting as possible for everyone, knowing that we all get bored with the home video/slide shows or friends travels. It’s up to others to decide if I’ve achieved that goal.

I’d appreciate any feedback either here or over on the viddler site where this video is embedded from. Hope you enjoy 🙂

Film Industry Work Challanges

I’ve just recently finished working on another film at the Warner Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast. This time it’s the third in the series of Narnia movies and again I had the pleasure to work with some of the people that I’ve worked with before on previous films such as Fools Gold, Star Wars Ep3 and Stealth.

Initially there were many false starts as they were getting underway on the preproduction with the continual “you’ll start in about 2 weeks” statements that went on for three months. The whole time I was hoping that I may have had the chance to earn some income prior to my eventual trip away.  Before I managed to get a start I went off to Buenos Aires for nearly four weeks, so all up the work that I could be involved in had been happening for four months before I managed to get a start. It is no ones particular fault that it started like this, it just happens to be the nature of the work that there are no promises and it’s always somewhat up in the air. These type of events create an attitude within those who work in the film industry and that’s what I want to bring up in this post.

Again I was working in props manufacture where we build all the items if they are not able to be purchased that are used either for the actors to interact with or to dress the sets.

Workshop Overview

Workshop Overview

You would be amazed at the different things that have to be made. In the case of this film items from swords to light fittings, decorative panels to dioramas all have to be manufactured to the needs of the set requirements and the action of the film, all to the whim of the art directors.

It’s work I’ve realised that I enjoy and I’m very good at, mind you after 30 years of this and similar work you can’t help build up a large resource of skills that means that not too much fazes me when it comes to manufacturing. It’s simply what I’ve been trained to do and experience.

After Fools Gold I dreamt up a new idea, so for the last two years I’ve been concentrating on developing my podcast Your Story. After spending time using up $40k in having the lifestyle to learn how to podcast and develop an online presence and only working part time, the money that I had set aside to move into a new lifestyle was finally used up. That necessitated me having to get some income after returning from Buenos Aires, a date with destiny that I knew awaited me on my return.

Fortunately on my return I managed to get the chance to work as part of the team on this film. It was a huge relief to have some income and I could relax, at least for the moment. Unfortunately I quickly discovered that things had changed within me and there were new hidden dangers with the industry that I hadn’t been aware of previously.

Continue reading

3 Giggling Girls and Ian. Swidwin Trip Version 2

In a previous post for my family I edited a version of a trip from Berlin, Germany to Swidwin in Poland that I travelled with three lovely friends of mine in July 2008. That version I edited for the family taking some care to make it so as not to bore the family with my own personal indulgences. After all we have all had to deal with the interminably boring slide show or film night of someones latest holiday. So I endeavoured to keep the personal fun things out of it and just show the trip, town and countryside that may interest the family.

Well this video is a re-cut of the Swidwin trip and is that very indulgence. I make no apologies for it and it’s here for all to see but is intended primarily for the four of us.

We had a wonderful day out not exactly having any idea what we would find, intending to stay the night and eventually deciding to travel back to Berlin. This is a recap of a fun day for the four of us.

Thanks ladies for being my companions on this trip. You make it a gazillion times more fun having you there.

  • Thank you Eve for driving and the use of your car.
  • Thank you Romy for the navigation and photography.
  • Thank you Claudie for being my pillow and well… being the lovely Claudie 😉

There are more videos of my time in Europia to come. That’s the great thing about having a blog. 🙂

125 Year Family Celebration.

A little of my personal family history.

The 27 April 2009 was the 125 anniversary of Eduard(57) and Antonia (51) Kath Gravemigrating in 1884 from Swidwin in what is now Poland to Australia with their four children Herman(22) Wilhelm(18) Heinrich(14) Auguste(11). After initally arriving in North Queensland they settled at rural Glenco in South East Queensland just west of Toowoomba.

At the time they were among the founding congregation of the local Lutherian church and last week end on the 2 May 2009, 125 years since their migration to Australia, my family, the descendants of Eduard and Antonia gathered to celebrate on those same church grounds, our family history.

Last year at the annual family picnic that my family have been having at Somerset Dam since 1964 my cousins announced that this year would be the 125 anniversary of the migration and asked if we should have a celebration. To an resounding Yes! Judy and Robyn set about over the last year preparing, familychurchcontacting and communicating to all the family that the celebrations were on. As you can see from the video we had an outstanding time with family picking over the information and photos of our heritage.

The huge amount of work that went into preparing for this I can’t comprehend but only imagine. I can’t express how much I admire Judy, Robyn and June for the amount of work that went into preparing for this celebration, pulling it all together and the wonderful time that we all had.

This is my family. Good people one and all and it was wonderful to see everyone come together for this once in a lifetime celebration of our heritage.

If your a family member visiting to see this video and images thanks for dropping by to have a look, thanks for coming to the reunion and thanks for being part of my family.

A video of my trip to Swidwin last year is in the previous post

Family

150 members of the family

Swidwin Trip 2008.

Although a few may see this post who may be only superficially interested there might be a few others who have more of an interest, namely my family. So to my family members, 🙂 Welcome.

Ian in Swidwin

Ian in Swidwin

This year is the 125 anniversary of my ancestors Eduard and Antonia Kath travelling to Australia from what is now known as Swidwin. Originally known as Schivelbein in German in their time, Swidwin is the now the Polish name that it’s know by.

In 1884 this part of Europe was part of the Prussian empire however it is questionable as to whether Eduard & family would have identified as Prussian as they may have still thought of themselves as Pomeranian.

castleLast year I travelled to Europe to visit friends and record some Episodes of my Online Chat Show Your Story, that I’ve been doing since 2007. While I was in Berlin I decided that as it was only 3.5 hours drive, I may as well travel to Swidwin and see what this town is like. I was also on a mission to meet as many interesting people as I could and was lead to have a few drinks with a couple of delightful women who publish a travel magazine, Hidden Europe. This is my post of that meeting.

In telling Nicky and Susanne of my reason to visit Europe I mentioned that I was also intending on a trip to Swidwin to see where Eduard and Antonia came from. To my delight a couple of days later Nicky sent me an email to which I’ve added some images which you can download as a PDF. It explains some of the history of the area and general information of the times that may have impacted on our ancestor and reading between the lines, some of the reasons for wanting to leave Europe.

A few days later I travelled with three friends to Swidwin to have a look around and see if there is anything of interest. Here is the video of that trip which I’ve put together, I hope you enjoy. Although the trip was on a beautiful sunny summer day and I had great company I found that there wasn’t a lot to see in the town. Maybe if it was any other day than a Sunday it may have been more interesting but in many parts I found it a little sad. Granted we had limited time so we didn’t break into the culture of Swidwin and there may be a lot going on that we didn’t find but I remember thinking that if this is summer and the town is like this, what must it be like in winter?

In walking around Swidwin and thinking this could possibly still be my home I considered how hard life would have been with the living standards of the time, the recent wars and possible religious persecution that drove Eduard and Antonia’s decision to migrate to Australia, giving us the opportunities that we have here. Although it’s now 125 years later I’m so appreciative of the fact that I live in Australia and in their small genetic way I have them to thank for that.

If you want to check out some images of my trip to Swidwin please go to this Swidwin Flickr link and I have included some historical family images on this Family Flickr link.pommern

Feel free to copy, share, print or repost any content that you see here and please feel free to share it with the family. Hopefully it’s of interest to you.

As I write this I’m in preparation of travelling to a very large family reunion tomorrow at Glenco west of Toowoomba where we are gathering to celebrate the 125 years that our family have been in Australia. I’m intending on collecting some additional information that I’ll post in the near future.

Below is a place to post comments. Please mention that you’ve been here, it would mean a great deal to those who read and myself.

Tango

Up until 2001 I had been doing some Latin dancing at Rio Rhythmics in West End, very much along the styles of Salsa, Bolero and Lambada which you’ve probably seen them around occasionally. Then I decided to do a little Tango. Wow!

argentine-tango-couplesI still remember and to this day, the two most impressive dances that I’ve had were in 2001 when I danced with Madeline and with Wolfgang. There was a grace I felt in dancing with Madeline that I have yet to feel again and with Wolfgang I felt for the only time the strength and passion that can be expressed through the lead from the man.

I did a few months of Tango and stressed out a great deal over it along with some major personal crisis at the time including the death of my sister in a horse riding accident. The personal issues led me to reassess my life, move to Sydney to work on Matrix 2 & 3 ultimately dropping out of Tango.

Although I meet some wonderful people in 2001 I lost contact with most of them as happens, however I decided in 2007 after some more changes in my life to re-enter the fray and have another crack at learning Tango. So I contacted Wolfgang and he directed me to Ross and Sandra who run Friends of Tango and I started lessons as a beginner again.

Six years later I had forgotten everything and had to start from the basics again. however this time it felt different. It was actually harder. Now that I have more experience I realise that Ross and Sandra are teaching me at a much higher standard than I was being taught before, understanding the subtleties of a dozen things at once making it was much, much more difficult. Now we were moving towards excellence instead of just dancing. Good Tango like the very best of things in life are challenging and can only be appreciated when done with an attitude of excellence.

I’ll go into more later but suffice to say this is one of the half dozen of the most difficult things that I’ve done in my life and it’s required dogged determination all the way. Only now that I’ve move through a transition do I feel that I can write about it.

SocietyFast 1.2 Illusions

Seven days I’ve been doing what I can not to buy into the societal expectations that are out there that sometimes cause me to beat myself up.

You know, things like, by this time in my life I should have X amount of property and Y sort of career with specific goals and pathways towards the future… All that sort of stuff. Well as I said I’ve been doing what I can to just stay present and make my daily life as much of a meditation as I can. I admit, I don’t feel that I’m very good at keeping the noise quiet but as Eckart Tolle infers “just doing any of it and every moment that is present is more and better than doing the usual mind chatter”.

So, I feel good. Life hasn’t changed in any huge ways but I’m more settled than I was lastillusions week and despite the fact that financially things haven’t changed I’m not stressed about it. In this moment all is pretty damn okay.

So I’m just going to continue doing what I’m doing. Not buying into what is expected and staying as calm an meditative as I can. Practice, practice, practice.

During the week I was talking to a good friend, Brett, who reminded me about our  favourite book and the opening passage from it which I’m going to retype here as an exercise in reminding myself of the importance of these words and consider that ultimately this is the only valid way that I can live my life. With thanks to Richard Bach from Illusions, The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah.

  1. There was a Master come unto the earth, born in the holy land of Indiana, rased in the mystical hills east of Fort Wayne.
  2. The Master learned of this world in the public schools of Indiana, and as he grew, in his trade as a mechanic of automobiles.
  3. But the Master had learnings from other lands and other schools, from other lives that he had lived. He Remembered these, and remembering became wise and strong, so that others saw his strength and came to him for counsel. Continue reading

SocietyFast 1.1

It’s now been 48 hours since I started this idea. I still don’t really know what the idea is other than to do my best to stay present, accept things as they evolve and grab any opportunities or inspirations that come along.

However in the last few hours a couple of things have happened that I find interesting.

  • I’ve put out another podcast and the previous post here with some excellent reactions from the tweeps out there.
  • I’ve had 2 hours of a screaming chainsaw next door no more than 5 m away and been unconcerned by the deafening noise.
  • Chris who I do two days work a week with phoned me to say that he couldn’t afford to have me work for him this week. To which I simply accepted the situation without reaction.
  • Then I get a call from the Red Cross Blood Service, so tomorrow I’m going in to donate platelets for the first time.
  • I’ve just been for an invigorating run around the city feeling strong and vital.

the-perfect-momentNothing much really.

I’m concentrating on being very much in the moment and as I practice I notice that I’m gaining strength at it, constantly being more aware of my body and the events around me including what I’m feeling, seeing  and hearing as I type this.

If I was to think about stuff,  I’m very much in freefall, but right now I’m fine and that’s all I’m concentrating on this week. So as I write this I’m immensely content and happy.

Things seem to be going okay so far…

Emergent Mind of the Financially Deficient.

I was listening today to an episode of Radio Lab about Emergence and it seemed to reflect and meld a few things that I’ve been wondering about lately.

Emergence is the concept that a group has an intelligence that an individual doesn’t have.

Take an ant colony. An individual ant will stupidly wandering around aimlessly doing what individual ants do and will perish in a short while without the help of others but when the ant is involved with a larger group the chances of one tripping across something that is of value to the nest increases. Then the group has the ability in their innate organisation and beneficial behaviours to create the patterns that will maximise situations. This emergent group behaviour allows the development of the nest.

The same is said for the way herds, swarms, cities and brains operate.

In the programme they say the the individual neuron in our brains is much like the single ant but when combined with the gazillions of neurons in our brain they work in harmony much like a nest or hive, to create something much greater than the sum of the individuals.

This got me thinking of a few things about human behavior and how for some of us we can grasp some concepts as self evident while other ideas, no matter how much we attempt to understand, we just can’t comprehend.

In my case I find the process of design, as in the assembly of the components to achieve a design in a proportional elegant way quite simple. I have the ability to take complex shapes and rotate, invert and rearrange it within my mind while balancing the engineering and end purpose all the time with cost and manufacturing technologies. Quite simple really. Some of this I’m sure is from my training but I’m equally sure that it’s one of my talents, the way I am, the way my neurons are wired up.

But ask me to do my tax and I’ll book out a day to get frustrated and even then procrastinate until the last moment. Try to have a discussion about share trading with me (and I have looked into it) and my mind starts to shut down no matter how important I want to make it. I just don’t care nor do I understand the importance of, and this is my main point, “MONEY”

We’re all told that we have to have money, and that we have to play the game or get out of the way. But no one says you have to make your own furniture, or our own clothes. If you can’t do these things your not told to get out of the game. However we’re all told that we have to know how to play the money game so we can get others to do the things that we can’t do. So why can’t we get someone to make us the money like we get someone to fix our car. Because the system is designed to screw us if we do. The only way to offset getting shafted is know how to play the money game or bad luck, you’re to blame for not taking care. Just consider everyone who are getting right royally shafted at present after taking the advice of consultants for the last couple of decades. As in the case of cheap home loans and Bernie Madoff.

Because of the importance that has been placed on playing the money game the few who have a natural harmony for it are held up as demigods for all of us to aspire to and emulate, while those that have equal skills as a mechanic, scientist or farmer are respectfully demeaned as not as valuable as an Investor.

We come into this world with our genetic heritage(nature) and life experiences(nurture) which when combined create the only possible way that an individual can be. Together these create our individual Emergent Mind that behaves in the only way that it can.

So if the outcome of who we are is controlled by the nature and nurture components that are involved in the life experience and we miss out on the, Money Stuff as outlined above, or for that matter the Parenting, Partnering or Making Stuff, how can we possibly get it?. Mmmmmm

Well the way things are now we have two choices.

1. We can’t do anything, so just deal with it.

2. Go get the education(experience) and learn how to do it.

We live in a money focused obsessed society. If you can’t do money your a dysfunctional and irrelevant member of society. After all look at all the ads in the papers and on the web of normal everyday folk making a fortune so why can’t you?????

Well maybe it’s not about knowledge, but about the particular way in which individual brains are wired(through genetics and experience) to see how money is created.

I’ve meet individuals as I’m sure you have who just say making money is easy and they have all the things that money can bring them. I’ve often looked at them and wondered what can you see that I can’t? What is the elusive obvious?

I did a week-end seminar a few years back, then for three days afterwards I could see opportunities all around me to make money, I could SEE(figuratively) money. For a brief time I had the vision as if someone had given me magic spectacles, to see what others could see but until then I couldn’t. I think the seminar rewired my neurons for a time.

Then it faded… It sounds bizarre I know, but it made me realise that there are physiological ways to perceive the world in different ways.

I know some things well and I see them easily. I know parenting and personal health without thinking. I can treat a partner well and I’m a good employer as well as a conversationalist. I’m empathetic and I have manual dexterity to make things along with the ability to laugh at the fact that I don’t know interior decoration and I can build a great matrimonial bed.

In our modern world it is said that many of these things are important but the ability to make money is number one and if you can do that all the others, as deficiencies, they are tolerable. We all know wealthy people who can’t do (insert deficiency here) but they are still respected because they are wealthy.

So my frustration is simply that I know that there is a emergent dynamic in our brains that enables us to see the world intuitively, to generate wealth like I know how to make a table. I know it’s simply not about knowledge but about having the components within the wiring of the brain to enable it to see the opportunities that are around us at all times.

I feel like my mind is like an ants nest that doesn’t have any idea how to collect bread crumbs. I know that they are there to be collected but I can’t sense them and when I trip over one it’s enough for just the moment. Meanwhile the bankers and corporations are strip mining the picnic table.

SocietyFast

Over the last few weeks I’ve been listening to quite a bit of some Eckhart Tolle lectures and mountain_streaminterviews and it’s yet again got me thinking about the stuff that I struggle with in my life. For those who don’t know, Eckhart wrote the Power of Now which I read just after I went and did a Vipassana meditation retreat back in 2000.

The things that are outlined with both the Power of Now and Vipassana is that with our constant mind chatter we miss out on living in the moment. Therefore if we could live not thinking about the future or past but stayed present in the moment we would have a much more real experience.

So… I’ve decided to have an experiment. Just for one week, (after all how much damage can I do in one week and I currently have a lifestyle suited to it) I’m going to do all that I feel inspired to do in the moment. I will eat, sleep, drink and work as the moment takes me and I’ll see where I am at the end of the week. I’ll have a SocietyFast. No big deal. I’ll still do the things that I have planned if they are appropriate or I will respectfully contact others if affected to inform them of the changes.

Let’s see what happens… Maybe nothing… Maybe something…