All posts for the month November, 2010

This business problem at Woodside Pluto LNG in Western Australia caught my eye. A major cause of the delay is inadequate flare towers needing to be replaced by contractor Foster-Wheeler / Worley-Parsons. Takes me back to my first ever project in this business BP Sullom Voe Shetland Oil Terminal back in 1978/79 – where there was  major project delay and dispute – due to inadequately designed flare towers where coincidentally Foster-Wheeler were the contractor. Ironically too, their inadequate design only came to light because of a dockside offloading accident that damaged the flare tower, and the analysis of the repair work showed they were under-designed to begin with.

Posted on MD by John Carl, after Barbara Kingsolver.

I believe in trees and that heaven has something to do with how dead trees gentle themselves into long, mossy columns of bright-smelling, crumbling earth, lively inside with sprouting seeds and black beetles.  I can not make myself believe in a loud-voiced, bearded God on his throne in the clouds, but I am moved to tears by the compost pile.

Said it beforeabout brew dog, but I only came to this site thanks to a hit on yellow-line-painting-over-road-kill being not only a meme, but in general a hoax too. I can believe that.

Talking of which, ludicrously strong beer, but without the marketing, some of the most interesting stuff I’ve come across in the past year is from Nøgne Ø in Grimstad, Norway. Their Red Horizon, Sweet Horizon and Dark Horizon; very strong, very sweet and very different. Think of it less as beer more as dessert wine, … or dessert even, as their marketing says.

In the last week of four here in Brisbane, and I think I’ve blogged only once about the music.

In the three bars on/off Brunswick and Ann in “the valley”, that is Step Inn, Ric’s and Zoo, I must have seen 35 bands. Apart from Friday before last at Step Inn which had three separate stages until 2am, the standard seems to be 2 or 3 acts per night, but short sets, all over by 10:30 / 11:00 pm. Mixed genres, and mixed quality, naturally, but refreshingly young, live and original on the whole.

The best had to be experienced and from outta town; The Toot Toot Toots, from Melbourne last Wednesday supported by The Sulphur Lights. The latter three-piece had a guitarist I’d seen with another band the previous week (?). Twangy reverb guitar a la Shadows meets thrash punk a la Ramones, fun even if the earnest vocals were lost in the mix. Fun and a little not-taking-ourselves-too-seriously experience was the name of the Toot Toot Toots game. Understated but important guitar a la Chilli Peppers in a 6 piece featuring additional percussion, trombone and melodica, and a manic front man. They were the only band that I saw get an encore out of the crowd / management. Worth seeing for the guitar / trombone duets alone, but a lot of fun besides.

[Post Note – last Sunday in town I saw Floating Bridges at Ric’s Bar – funky fun 6 piece, back in 2011.]

Disappointed listening to Melvyn Bragg’s recent In Our Time on Metaphor. Makes the introduction referring to metaphor being as old as story telling – earliest writings in Gilgamesh we hear – as well as being a topic of interest to modern “thinkers”, promising.

The contributors give us the benefit of their literary knowledge, though fail to make any distinction between simile (explicitly signalled as “like”), metaphor (metaphorically implicit), allegory (extended metaphor across a whole narrative), and meta-metaphor (counter-metaphor for dramatic effect within the extended allegory) … though they stumble across all of these in the process. And continuing the literary angle, take us into metaphorical treatise which enable politically incorrect (or unthinkable) narrative to be disguised for publication – Spenser, Swift etc … and later metaphysical and romantic poets, up to say, Blake.

But. Science as real truth, rejecting the metaphors of the romantics ! Pot and kettle. Dickens non-self-conscious reinvention (improvisation) of metaphor (eg in Bleak House). Reality as cliche, but no mention of memes ? Mythology as a “disease” of language – forgotten metaphor. In fact metaphor is fundamental to the relation between language and the world, not an embellishment of language. Only get to close the point in their closing remarks … the silo-ed literary view looking out at the rest of the thinking world.

Another massive opportunity missed to join up some dots Melvyn. Reality and truth the victims again.

I remembered noting this before driving through south Texas, the irony of seeing large wind-farms in the centre of the world of oil. (In memory only those around Bakersfield California seemed bigger.)

I mentioned the irony here, seeing the huge wind farm at Sinton when I visited Port Aransas on Mustang Island, near Corpus Christi, TX. (Oh and there’s a meme, I mentioned the nodding donkeys in my diary blog, and the BBC piece includes an image of one.)