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Monday Melbourne: XXXIV, June 2004
Russell Degnan

The Royal Arcade, useful shelter from the wind and cold.

Melbourne 24th June, 2004 01:38:13   [#] [2 comments] 

The Trivia night that was.

Wow, am I brain tired. Credit to Russell and Ben for amazing questions. I have never been in a trivia night with such broad and interesting questions. PS. For those who asked, the Recipes are below. Also, if I have missed anything, my apologies.

Total amount going the ACF from the night: 25%. And that amount, yet to be calculated.

Raffle winner: Brendan Cousins won the toolbox, hilarious. And Jess, Amy or Anth won the Le Salon (Box Hill) $40 hair voucher. How funny could a night be that we have plenty of visitor’s and new guests, and two of our inner fold win the raffle.

Door prizes: Mr Anderson, Tom that is, won a mystery DVD. Mrs Anderson, Tom’s sister (Mum) won a mystery CD, and can anyone remind me, who won the other CD and DVD? It was Jon (of Deport Merlin) and Adam (of Cate's first year table)

The lollipop prizes: The brains of each table.

Winning Team: Russell’s ring-ins, named “Deport Merlin”. 10 ultra practised trivia brains, that could have done with a handicapped starting block, (what do you think Russ?)

Wooden Spoon team: Ben’s fantastic preforming drag/dress up team. You could not have met a nicer bunch of happy lovely, and well dressed trivia team. Well done Ben and your team. Lovely.

We should thank (in no order):

The TRIO that met you at the door, three new smurfs ‘happy, funny and sunny’. Otherwise know as Anth, Jess and Amy. I’ll take $10, here have a stamp, and don’t forget the lucky door prize ticket.

Russell, he had a dream, he turned it into an idea, he wanted to make it happen, last night it happened. The Inaugural Trivia night. Russ, it worked, people learned and laughed, and got tipsy, it was a success. Great venue, well organised, and those questions, oh my god, those questions. To say they were challenging would describe them brilliantly.

Ben, fantastic comparing skills, and great smile technique, well done. As for the drag, well what a surprise, Ben wanting to wear a dress, make-up and be in the spotlight, you would never guess that! Great venue set up too.

Anthony for his total management and co-ordination of the night. Go Mr Vice-President, or President Elect you could say. The prizes and food would not have been so successful had it not been for Anthony’s management skills and event co-ordination natural talents. Also, great new shirt, very ‘noice’. Anthony’s smile and energy lifted everyone on the night. Also great venue set up too.

Jess, the lady who wore a fantastic skirt (did anyone notice how nice the material was & how lovely she looked, I forgot to compliment her) and without her, the meet and greet at the front door, the food on your table, the raffle tickets in your hand, and the sparkling kitchen would not have been possible. Major credit for being artist and skilful in the creation and presentation of the fairy bread. No Jess, No fairy bread.

Amy, great support, and fantastic meet and greet’er. Also could carry a mean platter or plate or two.

Polly, the smile you need on a night like tonight. Polly breezed in with not one but two new jobs, and a great smile to sooth the nerves. Also, her fantastic hospitality skills, boy can that girl hand out platters and plates of sausage roll with ease. Polly was the Environment tables secret weapon, well done Polly.

Tom, the bearer of music equipment, door prize entrepreneur, meeting house holder, and good around communicator and feedback giver. Tom and Paige thanks for your set-up help. Tom’s adventurous nature, and ‘fun for all’ energy was great and rubbed off on everyone last night. Russell says 'Actually, the trivia night was Len and Tom's idea'.Good idea Tom and Len!

Steph & housemate, thanks for after party kitchen stuff.

Cool Things


Questions + Answers

General 18th June, 2004 13:24:56   [#] [3 comments] 

Monday Melbourne: XXXIII, June 2004
Russell Degnan

Perhaps my favourite picture ever, Collins St. from the old stock exchange in the rain. Taken September 2002.

Melbourne 16th June, 2004 23:12:33   [#] [0 comments] 

The Music of Architecture
Russell Degnan

Found floating around the planning blogs. Wired magazine had an article on Christopher Alexander's The Nature of Order: An Essay on the Art of Building and the Nature of the Universe. Although they obviously can't do his 2000+ page work justice they have condensed the key points down for examination.

Alexander has attempted to explain why how architecture could be better, using the natural world as his guide. But, underlying the natural world is a poorly understood, but complex mathematical relationship that we are only beginning to understand. So, Alexander's book is merely a stepping stone in the examination of the structures of life, and the models we can build by imitating its procedures - as opposed to its eventual form.

But this is not the first field to undergo mathematical examination for complex patterns. Probably the first field to do that was music, by Pythagoras and its somewhat mystical followers. Culminating in the works of Herman Helmholtz. it is interesting then, to examine Alexander's different elements and consider them in the context of the four elements of music: melody, harmony, rythym, and dynamics.

Rythym first, is the basis of the song: the beat. For a building it is the constant changes in the building and streetscape, the repetition of arches, columns, decoation, houses, street lamps, and roads. Alexander recognises these as Gradients, Repetition, Contrast and Echoes. A long undecorated blank wall is bad because first and foremost, "it 'aint got no rythym".

Harmony is the relationship between elements, the notes. They are harmonic in relation to simultaneous and successive notes according to a fixed, and relatively simple mathematical ratio based on their frequency. For a building it is Positive Space, Shape, Local Symmetries and Simplicity. They are such that all the different elements go together without jarring the senses. Classical architecture is obsessed with harmony and rythym - the size and shape of columns, and capitals and their proper spacing. But while it is servicable, a truly great building - or public space needs the other two elements as well.

The melody is the overall structure of the song. For a building it is its shape, and functional elements arranged in a way that each is in harmony with the other. For Alexander it is Scale, Strong Centers, Boundaries, and Not-Separateness. It is the meeting of the building, space or even an organism with its surroundings and the use of what is available. Each living part of nature has its own melody, seperate from the ubiquitous rythyms and harmony common to everyone.

To quote from the page earlier: "Once a song is organized by melody, harmony, and rhythm, it is technically presentable". This is also true of any building, but it is damning it with faint praise. The dynamics, the emotion, or in nature, the mere random chaotic side is the final important thing. You could easily criticise architects for paying too much attention to this element and not those previously mentioned, which is no doubt the reason Alexander has spent thirty years on these books. But they are still important. For him they are the Deep Interlock and Ambiguity, and Roughness. Also to note, dynamics are not necessarily chaotic - in nature they are a reaction against the natural environment and merely appear so, a point I'll return to at another time - there are hidden harmonic structures in organic forms that still react some part of the brain. But, I'd have to read Alexander's book to see how he thinks to bring them forth.

For planners, finding a way to accomodate knowledge of natural - rather than fixed - order, so as to achieve better planning ends is somethign that would be great to see. How it can be done is another matter.

Urban Design 13th June, 2004 02:47:23   [#] [0 comments] 

Spam, spam, spam, spam
Russell Degnan

Man: You sit here, dear.

Wife: All right.

Man: Morning!

Fed. Govt.: Morning!

Man: Well, what've you got?

Fed. Govt.: Well, there's ports and freight rail; ports rural railways and freight rail; ports and roads; ports freight rail and roads; ports freight rail rural railways and roads; roads freight rail rural railways and roads; roads ports roads roads freight rail and roads; roads rural railways roads roads freight rail roads fast trains and roads;

RACV: roads roads roads roads...

Fed. Govt.: ...roads roads roads ports and roads; roads roads roads roads roads roads urban railways roads roads roads...

RACV: roads! Lovely roads! Lovely roads!

Fed. Govt.: ...or an integrated management of urban and rural transport infrastructure backed with a user-pays market system to avoid inappropriate distortions and with a port on top and roads.

Wife: Have you got anything without roads?

Fed. Govt.: Well, there's roads ports rural railways and roads, that's not got much roads in it.

Wife: I don't want ANY roads!

Man: Why can't she have ports freight rail roads and rural railways?

Wife: THAT'S got roads in it!

Man: Hasn't got as much roads in it as roads ports rural railways and roads, has it?

RACV: roads roads roads roads... (Crescendo through next few lines...)

Wife: Could you do the ports freight rail roads and rural railways without the roads then?

Fed. Govt.: Urgghh!

Wife: What do you mean 'Urgghh'? I don't like roads!

RACV: Lovely roads! Wonderful roads!

Fed. Govt.: Shut up!

RACV: Lovely roads! Wonderful roads!

Fed. Govt.: Shut up! (RACV stop) Bloody RACV! You can't have ports freight rail roads and rural railways without the roads.

Wife: I don't like roads!

Man: Sshh, dear, don't cause a fuss. I'll have your roads. I love it. I'm having roads roads roads roads roads roads roads urban railways roads roads roads and roads!

RACV: roads roads roads roads. Lovely roads! Wonderful roads!

Fed. Govt.: Shut up!! urban railways are off.

Man: Well could I have her roads instead of the urban railways then?

Fed. Govt.: You mean roads roads roads roads roads roads... (but it is too late and the RACV drown her words)

RACV: (Singing elaborately...) roads roads roads roads. Lovely roads! Wonderful roads! roads roa-a-a-a-a-ads roads roa-a-a-a-a-ads roads. Lovely roads! Lovely roads! Lovely roads! Lovely roads! Lovely roads! roads roads roads roads!

With apologies to Monty Python

Planning 9th June, 2004 13:44:40   [#] [2 comments] 

Monday Melbourne: XXXII, June 2004
Russell Degnan

The breakwater at Sandridge Beach. Taken June 2003.

Melbourne 7th June, 2004 16:57:40   [#] [0 comments] 

Critiques on M2030
Citizen #381277

Two papers have just been released assessing M2030. You can read about it here

Planning 3rd June, 2004 10:17:23   [#] [0 comments] 

Monday Melbourne: XXXI, May 2004
Russell Degnan

The light is perfect for photography at this time of year. This is the west-end of Flinders Lane, last year.

Melbourne 1st June, 2004 01:35:21   [#] [0 comments] 


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