Tuesday, August 29, 2006

View of Ben Bulbin from Rosses Point, Sligo

My apologies to everyone who has worked hard this summer, as all I seem to be doing at the moment is blogging my holiday snaps. This latest one was taken during a short visit to Sligo in Ireland.

I can't help looking at this picture afresh and thinking that it is a little too blue. Most of the time I was over in Sligo it was grey and overcast. Ben Bulbin (the mountain in the background - intimately associated with the poet, WB Yeats) spent most of the visit doing the dance of the seven veils with low level cloud. Still it was nice the day that this picture was taken. It was particularly pleasent to get on to the beach and swim in the rolling waves. I guess that is a legitimate memory too!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Festival Calendar 2.0?

I have just spent a wet weekend near Kettlewell, in the Yorkshire Dales. However, despite the weather I had a good time. There were a number of fascinating festivals going on locally in Wharfedale which made it quite a jolly location despite the drizzle. I particularly enjoyed the Kettlewell Scarecrow Festival (you can click on the image accompanying this post and see the photographs I took of the festival in my photostream on flickr). I also enjoyed the Burnsall Feast (complete with Burnsall Classic Fell Race).

If I am being completely honest, I would have to admit that prior to arriving in the region last Thursday I had no idea that any of this was going on. Yes folks, I did not google ‘Wharfedale + Good Time” prior to my visit, relying instead on two trusty old analogue friends of old, serendipity and opportunism.

However, on returning to my desk in the south of England I looked up a number of links in preparation for this post. I stumbled upon a number of calendars of events such as fell races. Similarly, I lucked upon a number of ‘static’ maps of tourist attractions in the region. However, this temporal hotspot of festivals made me wonder whether there was not a web application out there that links together the various community e-calendars with a mapping service so that one can predict where is likely to be fun to visit at a particular point in the year. To date, I have not come across this application of my dreams…however, I would like to know if anyone stumbles across this application or the necessary access to databases to put such an app together!

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Big Green Gathering Group on Flickr

Ivan Inversion
Originally uploaded by edmittance.
Having posted my pictures of the Big Green Gathering on Flickr earlier this week, I have now been invited into the BGG group. The gesalt of grouping is a great feature of these kinds of web apps as they network together like-minded contributions into something more social. I particularly enjoyed the fact that one of my fellow bgg-ers captured Ivan Inversion hanging from the road sign. I have lots of pictures of him starting, finishing or being asked to stop ( being Ivan the not quite inverted) but this image by Ed Mitchell really captures the madness of the man's mission.

Tap in BGG in the http://www.flickr.com search engine if you want to see more images like this one!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Record Store Cats from b3ta

Record Store Cats
There are all sorts of funny things that drop in my inbox. One of my favorite purveyors of e-mail funny stuff is b3ta. Their ideas are visually quirky and they deliver their comic punch without a mass of downloading or head-scratching.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Big Green Gathering

I have just spent a family weekend at the Big Green Gathering. This was an immersive, full-on festival experience. There were lectures on energy policy, speakers, bands, workshops and healing massages. I enjoyed drifting through the festival spaces taking in the informal happenings and the stunning art works dotted across the fields. There were carnival costumes, naked bikers and a guy hanging upside down from a tree playing the guitar. I was particularly struck by the green woman sculpture featured in this image (and would love to know who the artist is).

Away from the more frenetic parts of the festival I enjoyed the calm consideration of the healing zone (along with a vigorous indian massage). I also enjoyed the wealth of activities for children. The child-friendly spirit of the festival adds an extra dimension for adults, mainly because I felt relaxed about letting my daughter run around in a car-free space. However, like any festival the toilets were a trial and the tents were packed in so tightly that it was not the 'alone with nature experience' that some people expect when they go camping.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Homecoming is up

It has just been brought to my attention that I never write much about any of my own work on this blog. For the most part this is not due to modesty but because I write about it at length on my website. However this approach seems to be too old skool for my blog-orientated friends (heaven forbid that they have to use a search engine or read a website or round-robin e-mail) . I hope this mention will be enough to get them to take note of 'homecoming' as this post can provide it with an RSS feed.

'Homecoming' is up at www.gavinstewart.net/homecoming/homehome.html. This computer-mediated collection of meditations draws on the work of Mikhail Bakhtin to explore the relationship between his work on addressivity and computer-mediated text.

Swings and roundabouts

Three years ago I had barely heard of a blog. Now I find myself with at least four different routes to post an entry into my blog. Firstly, there is the traditional route (can one use such a term in blogging?) of logging-on to the blog providers website. This is a good route as it has spell-check and edit. However, it requires that one has already pre-loaded images or other non-text files somewhere on the web (and that one knows and remembers their URLs). Secondly, the flock browser also provides a route into the blogosphere. This is good ...but is currently not working for some reason that I can not fathom. Thirdly, the blogosphere accepts e-mails. This is good for preparing entries when one is off-line. Finally, there is the link provided by one web service to another. For example, I have taken to blogging using flickr. This might seem odd but it seems to be the route that works quickest for me...especially if I want to include an image with the post. It is a one-stop shop approach that I think will appeal to new bloggers who want to get things together with the minimum of fuss. I have been amazed at the speed with which I construct a blog entry complete with images. These blog entries are also being hosted for free at present as none of the web services that I use charge for these kind of services. There are, of course, down sides. The image from flickr are coming out with a nasty black border on my browser. Still the flickr post also come with a link to the flickr site and a link to a slide show. This allows people to go deeper and deeper (to look at other images that I have posted on flickr or to download larger format versions of the image files) while also still being able to download the post at speed.

Happy Holidays - Part Three

The third part of my life as a lotus-eater took me ( and my daughter) to the WOMAD festival at Reading, UK. WOMAD is a great festival which I have really enjoyed over the years. This, however, was my first time as a father. I have to say that taking a young child really changed my perception of the festival. In the past I have meticuously planned with the programme which artists I would see on which stages and moved from A to B in a happy but purposeul fashion. However, with a small child I was much more open to serendipity and moving slowly.

In fact, over the course of the time I was at the festival I didn't really take in more than a few minutes of the programmed music. I did, however, enjoy the informal drumming, the stalls, the workshops, the fair and the general sense of being in a brightly coloured place where people were having good natured fun!

Happy Holidays - Part Two

Ladram Bay
Originally uploaded by gavinandrewstewart.
The second part of my holiday took me to the Devon coast line, firstly to Thurlstone and then to Ladram Bay. After the heat and dust of walking Wiltshire it was nice to go swimming in the sea each day.

Happy Holidays - Part One

Avebury Stone Circle
Originally uploaded by gavinandrewstewart.
I feel that I should issue the standard 'blog' apology for not posting much this month. However, this would be a rather false apology of my part because I don't feel much remorse about not blogging as I have been out and about enjoying a series of holidays away from the screen. Yes folks it is Joyous July. Time to take the soul (and the camera) into the wide, wide world!

The first part of my marathon month-long fun-a-thon was a week of walking along the Wessex Ridgeway through Wiltshire and Dorset. The weather was extremely hot for England and I have to say that I sweated like a horse all week. However, despite lumbering along like a tortoise I enjoyed some classic English scenery including the Neolithic stone circle at Avebury, Wardour Castle and the well-hung giant at Cerne Abbas.