All the dumb things

A cautionary tale in development

This blog has moved

Posted by razzbuffnik on May 13, 2007

I’ve moved this blog to my own domain


Posted in All the Dumb Things, Animals, Art, Carnival, Carpentry, Climbing, Dams, Food, Gardening, Kites, Masks, Music, People, Photography, Planes, Recipes, Theatre, Travel, Uncategorized, Worthy things, Writing | Leave a Comment »

Brisbane Medieval Fayre, QLD, Australia 1987

Posted by razzbuffnik on May 12, 2007

Each year the “Society for Creative Anachronism” of Riverhaven (Brisbane) holds a Medieval Fayre in a Brisbane park.


 It’s a great day out to see a bunch of colourful characters in medieval dress. There is much mead, combat and merryment.

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Elephants know right from wrong. Pak Lay, Laos. 1974

Posted by razzbuffnik on May 12, 2007

Not very many foreigners were visiting Pay Lay back in 1974 and why would they? The nearby Plain of Jars was inaccessible due to the civil war, so there was almost nothing worth seeing; it was and probably still is a sleepy postcolonial backwater.  Pak Lay is the sort of place travellers sometimes find themselves in, that provokes one of the great questions that one faces at some stage in their lives; that of “what the f#%k am I doing here?” Also the Pathet Lao with various rag tag elements of the government’s forces had been taking turns, holding at gunpoint, robbing or kidnapping likely targets that’d come down the Mekong from Luang Prabang on the local riverboats.

 So there I was walking down the street of dusty old and forgotten Pak Lay when I saw a guy on an elephant coming towards me.


 The mahout steered his behemoth the side of the road and parked it in front of a shop. He then dismounted and went inside to do some shopping.  On the sidewalk in front of the shop were woven palm frond mats with what looked like some kind of root similar in shape to ginger that had been laid out in the sun to dry. I watched as the elephant waited for the mahout to go out of eyesight and then with a quick look around the elephant started to move it’s truck slowly sideways, left and right near the drying roots in a very nonchalant way. The body language seemed to be saying, I’m just swinging my truck; I’m not doing anything bad; I’m not touching anything. After about a minute or so it quickly snatched up a root and ate it, then it returned to the; I’m not doing anything-wrong ruse.

The elephant went through the fake and snatch routine about five times until the storeowner noticed what was going on and started yelling at the elephant, which brought out the mahout with his stick. The elephant instantly flinched at the hullabaloo and stopped moving, bracing itself for a confrontation with the mahout. The mahout walked straight up to the elephant and gave it one sharp rap with his goad, right between the eyes and then barked some words at it.  The elephant just took its reprimand meekly and stood quietly in mute compliance. The mahout and storeowner went back into the store to finish their business.  After a few minutes the elephant did a quick look around and went through the same the fake and snatch routine again.

The Elephant knew that it shouldn’t be taking the roots but it did, when it knew it could, without getting into trouble. The pilfering stopped when the mahout came back out with the storeowner in tow, carrying his purchases in a rough basket. The mahout mounted the automatically keeling elephant, the elephant then stood up and reached for the basket of goods that the storeowner had in his arms, gently picked them up, raised them over its head and passed them to the mahout who then put the goods in the large basket behind him. The elephant knew the drill.


 I can remember thinking to myself at the time how cool it was to go shopping with an elephant.

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Apple and grape festival parade. Stanthorpe, QLD, Australia 1990

Posted by razzbuffnik on May 11, 2007


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Collared lizard (Crotaphytus collaris). Hovenweep, Utah, USA 2005

Posted by razzbuffnik on May 11, 2007


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Japanese housing design, preconception versus reality. Kyoto, Japan

Posted by razzbuffnik on May 11, 2007

Japan is often portrayed as a rich country that is obsessed with design.  Some people would even have us believe that many Japanese live in beautifully designed houses set in Zen gardens. 


 Sure there is the very small minority who can afford to do so, but for vast majority in Japan, economic expediency causes them to live in very different surrounds.


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Edward Arteaga, composer. Vancouver, BC, Cananda

Posted by razzbuffnik on May 11, 2007

I’ve known Edward Arteaga from the early eighties when we both used to work in the theater, Ed as a lighting technician and I as a set builder.


 Ed composes modern music for orchestra and he regularly collaborates with choreographer Paula Ross.


On a visit to Vancouver last year I got a chance to catch up with Ed and his family.



Ed has always walked a different path to most other people and his house reflects that.


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Black Iguana (Ctenosaura similis). Kabah, Yucatan, Mexico

Posted by razzbuffnik on May 10, 2007

These metre (about 3ft) long monsters can be seen basking in the sun, amongst the rubble, at many of the old Mayan ruins of the Yucatan.



You can approach quite close to them and they will keep very still.  Get too close and they burst into life with surprising speed as they make their escape. When they panic the iguanas will crash through anything in their way and you can hear them as they smash through the undergrowth long after you’ve lost sight of them.

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On the road from Tallong. NSW, Australia

Posted by razzbuffnik on May 10, 2007


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Joseph Cindric the Sydney “Trolleyman”. Sydney Austalia 1973

Posted by razzbuffnik on May 10, 2007

Joseph Cindric (1906-1994) pushed his trolley around Hyde Park in Sydney for over twenty years. Rumor had it that Joseph not only carried all his worldly goods in his trolley but also letters from his long lost son.

I was looking through my old negatives when I can across this image. His humble smile started me thinking about what kind of person was he. So I thought I’d look for more information about him on the net and I noticed that there weren’t any images of him in cyberspace or that much information for that matter. So I thought that I should put his picture up so the world can put a face to one of Sydney’s better-known characters from the end of the last century.


I’ve been noticing lately that the Internet is full of articles about the very famous from the last one and a half decades. The occasional scholarly historical article, usually dealing with very famous dead people, can also be found. What the Internet seems to lack is articles about local histories. I’m convinced that in our headlong rush into the future many interesting people and events are being left undocumented and our daily lives are being made all the poorer for it.

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