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Eurovision 2016: Jury Final

Hello, this is Sweden calling!

Our girl Dami Im made it to the final and there was no way I was going to miss this after travelling thousands of miles and using all of my goddamn vacation days.

The ticket was not cheap, but in the end, worth every penny. I saw my favourites perform again, was interviewed for Austrian TV, watched Måns Zelmerlöw performing ‘Heroes’ (I will never tire of that song), laughed at Petra’s banter. All of that and Justin Timberlake. I know, right?!?! I mean, I never would have seen JT live if not for this. If you told me last year that all this was possible, I would have laughed at you.

So now, it’s late. And I have to be up in a handful of hours to meet my Austrian mate M for a touristy cruise around the islands of Stockholm. So lets’ get this wrap-up of the Eurovision 2016: Jury Final underway!

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Here are my thoughts on the Eurovision 2016 final, in broadcast order:

01 Belgium: Laura Tesoro – What’s the pressure

A perfect song to open the final! Laura has plenty of energy but seemed a little unsteady with her vocals tonight. Nevertheless, she’s perky, has great choreography, and I’m certain she’ll rise to the occasion tomorrow. She knows how to get the party started and I think she’s in with a sporting chance.

02 Czech Republic: Gabriela Gunčíková – I stand

I think this is my least favourite of all the songs tonight. I mean, it’s a nice song. But aside from pulling her hair out of the ponytail, there’s little that makes it endearing. I think she suffers from a lack of theatre — she is trying to win Eurovision, after all. Tonight, her vocals took a little time to warm up, but she came good by the end.

03 Netherlands: Douwe Bob – Slow down

As I mentioned the other day,the Dutch really seem to like American pop-country. And this guyis hilarious. Maybe he’s the second coming of Elvis?

‘Tis the year of men sending sultry looks down the camera. After seeing  Douwe Bob [pronouced ‘Dour Bob’] in the first semi and harrumphing at his cheesy winking at the camera, he went overboard this time around. He actually stopped in the middle of the song (granted, where there was a slight pause) and mouthed the words “I love you and blew a kiss to the camera. UGH! The fifteen-year-old in me faux-vomited. I just don’t don’t think he’s what Europe needs right now when you have so many other good entrants with more catchy songs.

04 Azerbaijan: Samra – Miracle

Now, I like this song. And it worked well on stage the other day, but she was very wobbly vocally tonight. I cringed multiple times. Whilst it was no Jemini, you never want anyone to sing off key. But the presentation works. Just not feeling it as a top contender.

05 Hungary: Freddie – Pioneer

Another of the male sultry lookers. But the more I’ve heard him sing this song, the more I like it. He sings really well live. As for his styling, he’s gone for the bad boy look who has a half-tucked-in shirt because, you know, he’s being beamed around the world.

06 Italy: Francesca Michielin – No degree of separation

Tell me she doesn’t look like a sparkly farmer! I am not a fan. Italy and I — you know, we just don’t click. Except for Pizza. I rarely like their entrants, and I’m afraid I cannot sing her praises. But I appreciate her trying and perhaps you might find it lovely…

07 Israel: Hovi Star – Made of stars

Still don’t love this one, but again, I value his effort. He gives this song everything he has, and I like the sentiment: we are all made of stars. I do enjoy watching the acrobats he has performing behind him. They’re mesmerising. But they are very firmly relegated to background behind Hovi. Bless!

08 Bulgaria: Poli Genova – If love was a crime

I LOVE POLI! It’s a super catchy song, with very Eurovision lyrics (“If love was a crime/then we would be criminals”), and she just looks like she’s having a blast up there. But beware: it’s a real ear-worm.

The crowd really enjoyed her performance tonight and I think she’s in with a real chance. I love her styling and the glow patch thingies. Two thumbs up from me.

09 Sweden: Frans – If I were sorry

Now, this song didn’t do anything for on the album. It sounds a little Bieber-y. But I like Frans, and I had an opportunity to meet his parents and little brother the other day before the first semi. So now, there’s a little more of a connection.

I appreciate his downtempo song and the way he performs it, most notably his lack of pyrotechnics. Many solo performers tend to rely upon fancy lights and what not. But not Frans. He just has a few words flash up on the screen behind him. The kid is 17, but everyone is really getting behind him. Has real hometown support. 🇸🇪

10 Germany: Jamie-Lee – Ghost

I like this song, and Jamie-Lee can sing! She doesn’t struggle at all with the higher notes and tonight’s performance was better than when I saw her the other day. It actually looks pretty effortless really. For styling, she’s gone for the Harajuku-inspired look and I think it works.

11 France: Amir – J’ai cherché

France keeps it real, with little more than effortless French style, a smile, and that je nais se quoi. Even though it’s just him onstage, he really brings a lot of energy and you don’t wonder when the tricks will happen. He’s a crowd favourite, and with good reason. I predict he’ll place well and maybe even win?

12 Poland: Michał Szpak – Color of your life

Few people seem to like this one in the crowd — he didn’t get a good reaction, but I’m all about it. It doesn’t really sound familiar. He didn’t sing as well tonight as he could have, and his voice was suffering by the end of the song and he had to really force it. But I see him as a bit of a dark horse again. Maybe Europe will be all about it. And I want know where he bought that jacket!

13 Australia: Dami Im – Sound of silence

DAMIIIIII! There needs not to be a disclaimer by this time because we’re all aboard the #DamiArmy bandwagon. And she’s amazing. Vocally, she was on tonight, and it sounded wonderful. And she’s wearing white. She’s a massive hit with the crowd, and I’ve had so many people tell me that they love Dami. Us too! Even the set of lights across from the Eurovision Village plays an instrumental version of her song while you wait to cross.

I appreciated her sitting on that sparkly box for the first part of the song because I found myself perfectly positioned behind the camera man 👎🏻

14 Cyprus: Minus One – Alter ego

Don’t be fooled by their tough exteriors, these guys sound remarkably like the Killers. The cages are simply there to scare. The Cypriots rely on plenty of lighting tricks and camera effects, but I think they stand out because they follow the ballad or pop song formula.  I like them but I don’t think that’s what Europe has in mind to win Eurovision 2016.

15 Serbia: ZAA Sanja Vučić – Goodbye (Shelter)

Once again, a Balkan country has sent something dark. Personally, I think she’s talking about domestic violence. It’s important to talk about it and the Eurovision stage is as good as any. In terms of her performance, she has been very consistent the numerous times I’ve seen her. She can certainly sing!

I was watching her tonight in the Green Room and I saw just how into Eurovision she is, how well she knew the words to the other contestant’s songs (and danced her arse off!). I liked her a lot more. She’s my kinda girl. But I don’t she has the right combination to win this year.

16 Lithuania: Donny Montell – I’ve been waiting for this night

All the gay men and the straight women in the crowd sighed simultaneously when he emerged tonight. He has a jazzy, energetic performance, but I don’t think it’s enough to make up for a song that’s only… okay. Notable mention for the removal of the jacket and the addition of the trampoline. I don’t think Donny will be in the running for long. 

17 Croatia: Nina Kraljić – Lighthouse

Okay, when you think of Eurovision, this is the type of entry that would win: 1) she’s in white, 2) there’s a costume change,and 3) there’s a key change. Her voice is interesting and memorable, her haircut adorable. She was a little shaky vocally tonight, but was able to compose herself and get back on track. I really hope she does well!

18 Russia: Sergey Lazarev – You are the only one

Before the contest started, France was the favourite. But after seeing him perform this the other day (and the entire crowd gasped), Russia has now taken the mantle as evens favourite.

Tonight, Sergey was as exacting as ever, if a little uninspiring. But simply put, I just don’t want Russia to win for reasons other than a song contest. The focus of the performance is in the second verse so keep your eyes peeled when he starts climbing.

19 Spain: Barei – Say yay!

This was my favourite song on the album by far and Barei’s performance makes it even more impressive. She brings bucketloads of energy and her vocals have been spot on. I love that she has her own style (a very similar one to me!) and I think her own style of dancing makes her endearing. The crowd loved her, and I thik she’s well placed to win. She in my top three.

20 Latvia: Justs – Heartbeat

I don’t love this one. He sings fine, he performs okay, the song is a little bland. But he tries, and he doesn’t sound bad, so there’s that. It’s doubtful that we’re heading to Riga next year.

21 Ukraine: Jamala – 1944

Europe always throws a curve ball, and trying to anticpate which curveball it will be is half the fun. I was cheering for the FYR Macedonia but it was to be the Ukraine. It’s a good song, if exceedingly dark, but I wonder abou the political voting (and thus, how much adding the Ukraine to the mix was a big FU to Russia).

Anyhoo, Jamala wails. Apparently the song captures the pain of real life and I would say that’s an accurate summation of it. Unless it gets political (and it does every year!) , I can’t see her winning.

22 Malta: Ira Losco – Walk on water

I enjoyed Malta’s performance the other night but she lacked onstage tonight, being a little rusty vocally and a little off her game with her performance. I don’t love the backup dancer, but what can you do? Catchy tune, though. I found out yesterday that she’s pregnant, so props go to her for managing an insane schedule and not letting it stop her.

23 Georgia: Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz – Midnight gold

I am totally in the minority, but I LOVE these guys. They sound like a mash-up between Oasis and Underworld, and I think it works really, really well. The visuals play a big part in this performance, and they work. An outside chance, but I’d back it.

24 Austria: ZOË – Loin d’ici

A perfectly crafted pop song and image. She’s cute, but enough with the swishing of the dress! She was very wobbly tonight and it wasn’t a good performance. But she did glow, and it is in French. So there’s that. I think, though, that most people have already made up their mind which one they like by now. She’s definitely a contender.

25 United Kingdom: Joe & Jake – You’re not alone

Why does it always feel like the UK are overrepresented in the audience? It’s always an enjoyable experience, nevertheless. They came across well, but I think their placement in the list will actually hinder them, rather than help. But they pretty good vocally and entertaining to watch. Europe rarely votes for the UK, however.

26 Armenia: Iveta Mukuchyan – LoveWave

She blew me away earlier in the week but she was missing the same intensity tonight. The crowd still loved her, though. I love the pyrotechnics with this performance as she builds to the first chorus. Drama! It’s sexy and bold and just so strong. I really like her and she’s well placed to win.

Worth a mention:

Fans of Justin Timberlake will want to tune in (this means you, Jo!), the great man himself performs whilst the votes are being tallied. I have never seen him in concert (and I’m not a big fan of his music) but I have to admit it was pretty special.

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Rebecca’s picks for the final:

Obviously, I want Dami to win (can you imagine that storyline?!), so I am going to say AUSTRALIA FOR THE WIN!

But here’s my top six:

  1. Australia
  2. Spain
  3. Bulgaria
  4. Armenia
  5. Belgium
  6. France

I’ll be watching the event down in Eurovision Village at the Kungsträdgården with the other Aussies I have met over the course of a week here in Stockholm. It’s shaping up to be a big night!

GO DAMI!! 🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺

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Eurovision 2016: Semi-final 2

Hello, this is Sweden calling!

I spent last night at Semi-final 2 Jury Show. When I purchased my tickets, I did so for the opposite side of the stadium to get a rounded view (pardon the pun). I have to admit I was a little bummed — I’d had a much better experience on Monday on the long side (even though it felt like the short side?). Oh well. I wasn’t to know.

By attending both jury shows, I had a chance to see all of the contestants perform, even the Big 5 and Sweden. So that was a plus.

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So here’s my thoughts on Semi-final 2, in broadcast order:

01 Latvia: Justs – Heartbeat

To be honest, it was a little anti-climactic to kick off with this guy. He just doesn’t do it for me, and the song leaves a lot to be desired. It’s just one of those ones I constantly skip. He didn’t bring anything to the performance that made me change my mind. Sorry, Latvia!

02 Poland: Michał Szpak – Color of your life

I dig his style. And the song’s a little strange, so a good combination. He missed a few notes early on in his performance last night, but he found his way back at the chorus. I think he’s a dark horse for the final.

03 Switzerland: Rykka – The last of our kind

I thought she was okay, and just scraped into my top ten. I dig the lavender curls she has going (I haven’t tried that shade before!), but each chorus looked to me like she needed to use the bathroom. The song is a little catchy, though.

04 Israel: Hovi Star – Made of stars

Nice sentiment, Hovi, but I am just not feeling you. Israel’s entries can be really hit-or-miss, and for me, this is definitely a miss.

05 Belarus: IVAN – Help you fly

OK. As expected, all the talk of Ivan performing naked on stage with wolves proved false, but there was a hologram of him with wolves, so…
I thought the performance was pretty impressive, though the vocal performance needs a little work. He was a little wobbly tonight and . I think the boy just needs to believe in himself! If he is a little more confident and nails the interacting with the holograms as well as his vocals, he will pose a real challenge to Russia.

06 Serbia: ZAA Sanja Vučić – Goodbye (Shelter)

Her performance was okay, and she can certainly sing! But I am not loving the song choice. As usual for those in the Balkans, it was dark and dramatic. That’s one of the things I love about this competition — getting to know the national characters of the countries based on the songs. I think people will like her, though. Just not me.

07 Ireland: Nicky Byrne – Sunlight

Nicky was sunny, but… eh. Was he in Westlife?
The Irish entrants in recent years have left a lot to be desired. But Nicky tries hard. I just don’t buy it. It’s not memorable in the slightest.

08 FYR Macedonia: Kaliopi – Dona

Hello, Kaliopi! She is all woman as she belts out her dark (Balkan) tale that sounds totally unlike any of the other contestants. I have no idea what she is saying (and I love when countries sing in their native language), but she sings with total conviction. Sold!

09 Lithuania: Donny Montell – I’ve been waiting for this night

It was about this moment in the program when I thought, “we’re halfway through, and there’s perhaps one song I’d vote for, so far”. He sang and had lots of choreographed moves with special effects the crowd couldn’t always see, but I just don’t think the song is strong enough. But he tries hard, so I give him that.

10 Australia: Dami Im – Sound of silence

Full disclosure: I’m Australian and Dami was always going to be my choice for the final. However, she was a little wobbly last night, but she soldiered on and rose to the occasion. Quite literally. HA!

But she’s a crowd favourite and I’ve heard this song ALL OVER Stockholm. They pipe the music from the competition (via their partner Spotify) into locations all over the city. So you’ll turn a corner and hear, “Now my heart awakes to the sound of silence!”. She has a great voice, but I kinda just want her to stick to the tune-ish and not go all over. But I’m a contrarian like that.

11 Slovenia: ManuEllaBlue and red

ManuElla performed well, and even though I already liked the song, the performance added to it. That acrobat is amazing! She’s in my final.

12 Bulgaria: Poli Genova – If love was a crime

“If love was a crime/then we would be criminals” is another of my favourite Eurovision lyrics, and Poli didn’t disappoint last night. She brought a tonne of energy and really belted out the tune. It’s a super catchy song, and she’s a very strong contender.

13 Denmark: Lighthouse X – Soldiers of love

Bless! The Danes sent a boy band. But after such three strong female performances in a row, I fear they may be a little underwhelming. They’re pretty good, have a few tricks up their sleeves, and I’m still going to add them to my list of finalists for their efforts.

14 Ukraine: Jamala – 1944

Wow. What can you say? Jamala performs alone and wails in Ukranian (I think) — and does she wail! I imagine, judging by the title of the song, that it’s probably about death and war. But she received plenty of applause, and who knows? Maybe this is what Europe likes. Not on my list, however.

15 Norway: Agnete – Icebreaker

This song is … whoa! None of the pieces seem to fit together. I like the verses, and they have so much promise for the chorus, but alas. She goes in a completely different tangent to where I wanted her to take it. She was a little wobbly last night, but eventually found her feet towards the end of the song. The dancer on the raised podium is an interesting choice and I enjoy the graphics. But I don’t think it’s enough to get her through.

16 Georgia: Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian LolitazMidnight gold

No one seemed to like Georgia, a fact that was doubly obvious when due to a technical glitch, the EBU allowed them to perform again once all the contestants had finished. But I loved them! They sound like the love children of Oasis and Underworld. And the performance is pretty good, particularly in terms of the visuals.

17 Albania: Eneda Tarifa – Fairytale

It’s almost impossible for her to go anywhere in this dress, but it looks good, and that’s what counts in Eurovision. She sang well, but I just don’t think it’ll be enough to get her through.

18 Belgium: Laura Tesoro – What’s the pressure

After a slow and dramatic last few songs, the crowd really responded to Laura’s energy and enthusiasm with “What’s the Pressure”. She emerged in a sequinned outfit and ready to dance! It’s an energetic and super catchy song from Belgium and she really works the live crowd well. Big things are happening for Belgium this year!

Rebecca’s picks for the final (in no particular order):

  1. AUSTRALIA (aber natuerlich!)
  2. Poland
  3. Belarus
  4. FYR Macedonia
  5. Slovenia
  6. Bulgaria
  7. Denmark
  8. Georgia
  9. Belgium
  10. Switzerland

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I’m heading to visit the Eurovision Village again to watch the televised semi-final 2 with my Aussie friends. Go Dami!

Tack!

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Eurovision 2016: Semi-final 1

Hello, this is Sweden calling!

Yesterday I arrived in Stockholm in time for Semi-final 1 of Eurovision 2016. It was the Jury Show, where the judges score each of the contestants ahead of the live show tonight.

I have a lot to say about this, however, one must be sensitive to the time. I am typing this up from a park bench in Eurovision Village just before I watch the televised semi-final, so douze points to me for effort!

So here’s the lowdown about the contestants you will see on the live broadcast tonight of Semi-final 1, in order:

01 Finland: Sandhja – Sing it away
I thought she did a great job kicking off the event. And it’s a different vibe for Finland, who usually send us songs that rock a little harder. Great styling, and I hope she gets through.

02 Greece: Argo – Utopian Land
I really appreciate that Greece will always send a Greek sounding entrant. For me, that’s what Eurovision is all about. And this year, they do not disappoint with the Greek vibe (opa!). Watch for the shirt off!

03 Moldova: Lidia Isac – Falling Stars
Now, I always seem to live whatever Moldova sends, and it holds true this year. She’s got a good voice, and it’s a good song. But the performance was a little bland.

04 Hungary: Freddie – Pioneer
He impressed me more in the performance than just with the song. Still has the sombre, mournful vibe we come to expect from Hungary, though this year with added beat.

05 Croatia: Nina Kraljić – Lighthouse
This song didn’t grab me on the album, but in the flesh, it’s another story. Her costume is pure Eurovision, and she had to have two minders helping her walk back to the Green Room. I liked her.

06 The Netherlands: Douwe Bob – Slow down
I like this song, but it sounds like something you’d hear on American radio. The Dutch Johnny Cash. They seem to have a real affinity for American Pop-Country, especially after the Common Linnets came second in 2014 behind the marvellous Conchita Wurst. I think this is a shoo-in for a place in the final. The crowd loved them.

07 Armenia: Iveta Mukuchyan – LoveWave
Hello Beyonce! But she can sing, so…
Last night, she sang well and gave a commanding performance, enough to overlook the fact that she’d purchased one of Bey’s costumes. It’s a catchy song with wonderful (and very Eurovision) lyrics:
“You (oh like a lovewave)
Spread a lovewave ´n my heart goes ba-ba-da-bu-who-oh-oh.”

08 San Marino: Serhat – I didn’t know
Bless — I was sitting right near the three San Marino fans who were going crazy for Serhat (and someone made a comment that’s 20% of the country right there) so it was hard to get a reading on it. Felt a little 70s funk with sparkly backup dancers. That voice was something different, though. I hope little ol’ San Marino gets through. Love cheering for the little guys.

09 Russia: Sergey Lazarev – You are the only one
Ok. Russia always sends great and memorable entrants, though I have a very hard time voting for them in much the same way the Europeans refuse to vote for the UK. Nevertheless, Sergey blew my mind away last night! This is a stellar performance and he sounded in command of his voice, too. From what I’ve seen, he’s by far and away the favourite.

10 Czech Republic: Gabriela Gunčíková – I Stand
I don’t hugely like this song, and I don’t think the staging of it is enough to get her through into the final. But she sang okay.

11 Cyprus: Minus One – Alter ego
These hard rockers performed quite well last night, and they seem to be well received. The best of the hard rock entrants. I hope they make it through.

12 Austria: ZOË – Loin d’ici
She’s totally cute and has a cute song. IN FRENCH. I’m sold. It’s that marvellous saccharine pop that Eurovision is famous for, but she leaves the fancy stuff to the staging. I hope she gets through.

13 Estonia: Jüri Pootsmann – Play
He’s gone for the Rat Pack vibe with snazzy graphics, but poor ol’ Jüri just feels… a little insecure? He was a little wobbly to start last night, but I still like it.

14 Azerbaijan: Samra – Miracle
She was probably the weakest performer last night, but she wasn’t bad. It just doesn’t work for me. “Mira-, Mira-, Miracle” is super catchy. She does, however, get ten points from me for adding the real Swedish-looking backup dancer. Playing to the local crowd.

15 Montenegro: Highway – The real thing
The weaker of the two heavier acts in this semi-final. I didn’t hugely like it, and spent most of it erasing images on my phone so I could keep filming!

16 Iceland: Greta Salóme –Hear them callingI loved her performance of this song last night. After hearing it on the album, I was not sold on it, but she performs well and she’s in my final for sure. Really brings that dark Nordic feel to life.

17 Bosnia & Herzegovina: Dalal & Deen feat. Ana Rucner & Jala – Ljubav je
I don’t love this song, and the performance left a lot to be desired. But it’s notable for a rather innovative cello performance in it. The rap, we could have done without. It’s as though they have thrown everything at it and hope that someone likes at least one part of it.

18 Malta: Ira Losco – Walk on water
I was sad because this was the final song, but it wasn’t my favourite. But she sang well enough. It’s in a similar vein to Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Rebecca’s picks for the final (in no particular order):

  1. Finland
  2. Hungary
  3. The Netherlands
  4. Croatia
  5. Armenia
  6. Russia
  7. Cyprus
  8. Austria
  9. Azerbaijan
  10. Iceland

I hope I’m right! Now off to find my new Aussie mates I met last night.
Tack!

 

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Collection 366 – Week 16

What I’ve loved this week:

  • I finished Richard Fidler’s Saga Land podcasts. There are 4 episodes about his recent exploration to Iceland with his mate, Kari Gislason. Kari retells the human stories of Icelandic sagas, and also pursues a personal journey of genealogy.
  • I purchased tubes of watercolour paint and I like them a lot better. Still lacking vibrancy, though.
  • I brought my artwork into work to put on display. It reminds me that I am there to fund my art habit, and also is an opportunity to show people my passion projects.
  • I purchased all my train trips and local flights this week for my trip to Scandinavia in May. I am quietly excited.

 

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11.04.2016: Blues, blues as far as the eye can see. When I’m mixing my paints, I’m very particular about the shade of blues I use. I treat it with more reverence than any other colour because it’s the most expressive, nourishing and interesting of all the colours that exist. And this diversity of blue can be seen in the environment — The indigo of the open water, aquamarine of the Great Barrier Reef, the crispness of Tahoe blue. 

And I think boathouses should always be a shade of blue.

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12.04.2016: Sometimes you catch yourself staring at strangers as they pass, their lives exactly as you concoct in your imagination. And they’re not you. But would you want to be them?

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13.04.2016: It’s lighter later, after the time change. And getting off the bus early so I can walk the rest of the way home is something that I love to do this time of the year. The warm evening sun makes everything look ethereal.

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14.04.2016: A new building has emerged from a field of knee-high grasses and jack rabbits. You can’t stop progress, but at least they took the time to make it pretty.

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15.04.2016: Lost in a good podcast, listening to Amanda Palmer talk about being an artist and human. Taking for granted the beauty of my surroundings, because there’s only so much you can really admire before its goes unseen.

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16.04.2016: It’s spring and I’m delighting in all of the wildflowers blooming right now. The colours are so vibrant, it’s life affirming. I need to use these colours in my art.

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17.04.2016: I’ve really been inspired by the sea of late. Lighthouses, in particular. After going to Point Reyes last year, I’ve been fascinated by the resolve of the men and women who worked in such harsh and isolated conditions to keep these old beacons lit. It seems like an incredibly difficult and lonely life. Many lighthouse watchmen went AWOL or drowned, and riding into town could take three days for the return journey. 

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Collection 366 – Week 15

It’s incredible to think that April is almost over. Where has the time gone?

What I loved this week:

  • New tea: organic rose, lavender & chamomile
  • Got the green light on a project I did at work
  • On to series two of my new favourite show, Rita
  • Finalising plans for my upcoming trip to Scandinavia: so excited!

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04.04.2016: We’re experiencing some of the most wonderful days in the Bay Area right now. Like this one. Shade from an old tree, colour from green grasses and wild flowers, blue from the Bay and the sky. More, please!

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05.04.2016: Today is my Mum’s birthday. I felt as though I should have probably carved out a little more time with her, but with the time changes and both of us working, it was difficult. But I spoke to her twice over the weekend when the birthday festivities were happening, so. 

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06.04.2016: Found this little guy hanging around Jack London Square. Gnome idea what he’s doing down there all by himself.

** edit: My friend Carolyn told me more about these Gnomes. They’re all over Oakland!

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07.04.2016: Some beautiful contrails but today I was thinking about an award. It wasn’t for me, but I was the one who wrote and compiled the submission for the recipient. And today, I heard the good news that the application was successful.

Now, I can’t claim to be the trailblazer who actually did all the work I wrote about. I have the recipient to thank for that. But, I wrote about it. And knowing how much time and effort I put into it, I feel vindicated. It all paid off.

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08.04.2016: The lake was so moody today. I declined lunch with a friend in favor of walking the lake, listening to Richard Fidler’s ABC podcasts called ‘Saga Land’. And the moodiness of the lake matched the dark saga of Gudrun. The series retells some of the Icelandic sagas in their natural habitat and is also a journey of personal discovery for his mate Kari Gislason. 

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09.04.2016: I used to have a reverse commute (and it was marvelous!), and the seat I liked to occupy for the ride home often had these little messages tucked in under the seats. So the other day (and years after I used to catch this train), I was so jazzed to ride the train into town the other day, sit in my favourite spot, and find this little note. Just like old times. 

I am not interested in the Christian message, but I appreciate the sentiment on a secular level. 

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10.04.2016: More fort building after the storms washed up more flotsam and jetsam. It may not be Fort Awesome, but no doubt it was fun.

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Collection 366 – Week 14

I entered a competition to go to Sweden for Eurovision as SBS’s Eurovision Insider, but alas — it was not to be. But the better news is that I get to spend time at Eurovision anyway, so it’s a win-win situation for me.

Finding that I can’t squeeze in all of the time in Norway that I was hoping, but maybe I’ll just have to do the Northern Lights another time.

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28.03.2016: Brushing up on my Eurovision history because the countdown is on! 41 days until I’m sitting in the Ericsson Globe waiting for the first contestants in the Jury Show, semi-final 1. AND I CANNOT WAIT! 

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29.03.2016: I’ve never been a morning person. And every day, I have to be up early and ready for the world. It runs contrary to what every fiber of my being wants. And this is exhibit 1 in evidence. 

I started this drawing of a house in Melbourne at 10:49pm, and I felt compelled to continue as long as I could before I had to sleep. I threw caution to the wind as I let my hand and mind wander, but suddenly, it was well after midnight and I had to extinguish my own motivation. 

And motivation and forward motion can be hard to summon at times, so squashing that is difficult to stomach. 

Somehow, getting the government to understand I want to work 12-8 is proving a little difficult… 

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30.03.2016: The definition of infinity.

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31.03.2016: Spent the evening in the city with one of my best local friends (and fellow Australian). I had not seen her for a few months, and aside from the outpouring of love and support, there was plenty to catch up on. I love going into the city. And I love making space in my life for friends. When you pick ones that really ‘get’ you, there’s no filter and plenty of ease. So there really needs to be more trips to the city and more time spent with friends. Noted.

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01.04.2016: One of the reasons I love Oakland is that people share their art. There’s so many people making things that other people will walk by and notice, and I think that’s the best way to enjoy art. Unexpected and unassuming. Along the lakeside, a tree was cut down recently. Some creative Oaklander decided to fashion the stump into the head of a bear. And seeing this bear put such a big smile on my face. 

If I wasn’t paying attention, I would have passed it by and never known that it was here. It’s like a reward for living in the moment. 

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02.04.2016: Out walking, mulling over life’s big decisions. I put it out into the great blue sea, and the answer would return a few hours later: my little bro asked his girlfriend to marry him. And she said yes. It’s a very happy time, but there is the element of distance throws a blanket on feeling and sharing everyone’s elation. Feeling a little left out, you know? But it’ll pass.

It’s a very happy time, but there is the element of distance throws a blanket on feeling and sharing everyone’s elation. Feeling a little left out, you know? But it’ll pass.

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03.04.2016: Spring has sprung in the Bay Area. I was out riding my bike when I spotted these, so I came back on foot to snap a photo. This colour is everything, and they even match my new Nike kicks. 👌