Category Archives: Posts

Welcome to the Gutenberg Editor

Of Mountains & Printing Presses

The goal of this new editor is to make adding rich content to WordPress simple and enjoyable. This whole post is composed of pieces of content—somewhat similar to LEGO bricks—that you can move around and interact with. Move your cursor around and you’ll notice the different blocks light up with outlines and arrows. Press the arrows to reposition blocks quickly, without fearing about losing things in the process of copying and pasting.

What you are reading now is a text block the most basic block of all. The text block has its own controls to be moved freely around the post…

… like this one, which is right aligned.

Headings are separate blocks as well, which helps with the outline and organization of your content.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Handling images and media with the utmost care is a primary focus of the new editor. Hopefully, you’ll find aspects of adding captions or going full-width with your pictures much easier and robust than before.

Beautiful landscape
If your theme supports it, you’ll see the “wide” button on the image toolbar. Give it a try.

Try selecting and removing or editing the caption, now you don’t have to be careful about selecting the image or other text by mistake and ruining the presentation.

The Inserter Tool

Imagine everything that WordPress can do is available to you quickly and in the same place on the interface. No need to figure out HTML tags, classes, or remember complicated shortcode syntax. That’s the spirit behind the inserter—the (+) button you’ll see around the editor—which allows you to browse all available content blocks and add them into your post. Plugins and themes are able to register their own, opening up all sort of possibilities for rich editing and publishing.

Go give it a try, you may discover things WordPress can already add into your posts that you didn’t know about. Here’s a short list of what you can currently find there:

  • Text & Headings
  • Images & Videos
  • Galleries
  • Embeds, like YouTube, Tweets, or other WordPress posts.
  • Layout blocks, like Buttons, Hero Images, Separators, etc.
  • And Lists like this one of course 🙂


Visual Editing

A huge benefit of blocks is that you can edit them in place and manipulate your content directly. Instead of having fields for editing things like the source of a quote, or the text of a button, you can directly change the content. Try editing the following quote:

The editor will endeavor to create a new page and post building experience that makes writing rich posts effortless, and has “blocks” to make it easy what today might take shortcodes, custom HTML, or “mystery meat” embed discovery.

Matt Mullenweg, 2017

The information corresponding to the source of the quote is a separate text field, similar to captions under images, so the structure of the quote is protected even if you select, modify, or remove the source. It’s always easy to add it back.

Blocks can be anything you need. For instance, you may want to add a subdued quote as part of the composition of your text, or you may prefer to display a giant stylized one. All of these options are available in the inserter.

You can change the amount of columns in your galleries by dragging a slider in the block inspector in the sidebar.

Media Rich

If you combine the new wide and full-wide alignments with galleries, you can create a very media rich layout, very quickly:

Accessibility is important — don’t forget image alt attribute

Sure, the full-wide image can be pretty big. But sometimes the image is worth it.

The above is a gallery with just two images. It’s an easier way to create visually appealing layouts, without having to deal with floats. You can also easily convert the gallery back to individual images again, by using the block switcher.

Any block can opt into these alignments. The embed block has them also, and is responsive out of the box:


You can build any block you like, static or dynamic, decorative or plain. Here’s a pullquote block:

Code is Poetry

The WordPress community


If you want to learn more about how to build additional blocks, or if you are interested in helping with the project, head over to the GitHub repository.


Thanks for testing Gutenberg!

👋

2018 Skullcandy Oz Grom Surfing Open

Held annually at Lennox Head in the July school holidays, this major junior surfing competition draws around 300 competitors, not only from NSW, but around Australia and even from around the world.

Many parents take advantage of the pilgrimage to combine travelling to the comp and make for a family surfing holiday.

I went out behind the scenes with a backdrop of perfect winter weather… to capture a different perspective of the general ‘cool’ vibe of the aged variety of spectators taking in the ‘Groms At Play: IN and OUT of the WATER’ …

MY FIRST AUTHORED BOOK

Well, co-authored to be correct.

For over a year, with limited resources, I was part of the dedicated volunteer ‘Surfing Lennox Crew’ applying our best efforts to assist the Lennox Head Heritage Committee produce a 104 page book Surfing Lennox: From Then to Now.

The  book chronicles 70 years surfing around the town of Lennox Head and takes you on a wild ride following the evolution of the town from a once sleepy fishing hamlet, to when the first lone surfers tentatively entered the water, to the seemingly unstoppable crowds attracted today to the iconic world renowned surf location.

The book covers the breaks of the Lennox National Surfing Reserve (LNSR) stretching from the south between Flat Rock to the Lennox Head-Alstonville Surf Club in the north. It is ten years since the dedication of the LNSR and the book explores all the themes that define National Surfing Reserves: ‘sites of environmental, cultural and historical significance to the Australian surfing culture.’

Behind this backdrop are the people, groups, the characters who were born here, visited, stayed or have come and gone. It is not only the location and environment, but this diverse bunch that together in some way, shape or form, makes Lennox such a special and unique ‘buzzing’ town.

As co-authors’ our contributions combine with materials delivered via donations from the public to make for irreplaceable recollections the local community can now keep as an archival document.  The volume of information and images received was overwhelming and we faced some difficult challenges; many decisions about inclusion were very tough to make.

To include everything and everyone was impossible and there is no claim as definitive, but in turning the history pages of our towns surfing journey the modest size book still covers a great measure of authentic ground. Who knows, perhaps, with more resources the next generation could produce a definitive history and fill a large 300 page hard-cover book.

But right now we do finally have an interesting, stylishly presented book. And all entirely locally produced, edited, designed and printed!

Monies from the sale of the book will go to the not-for-profit Lennox Head Heritage Committee and Lennox National Surfing Reserve Inc.

Surfing Lennox From Then to Now is currently selling at Lennox Post Office,  and local shops, Anchor Chief, The Book Room, Lennox Head Surf and ABC Bookstore Ballina for $49.00 RRP.

HIPPY’S IMAGE

When ‘Hippy’ Craig Richards became the new licenced  trader at Lennox Head Motors he asked me: “can you design a new Ad, as the old Ad with the Volvo HAS TO GO (sorry Volvo drivers) but it just doesn’t fit our image, here in Lennox right across from the beach.”

AD BEFORE:

AD AFTER:

I came up with this based on the look of the old N.S.W. Rego stickers. The old Holden wagon cruising down the road over the waves with the old timber Malibu surf board strapped onto the roof-racks.

A few months later I designed a new and different Business Card.

 

I saw ‘THE’ Light???

Last Friday night I witnessed ‘something like a phenomenon’.

THE PHOTO IS NOT REAL. I felt compelled to try and define the experience (similar to Richard Dreyfus obsessive character Roy in the movie ‘Close Encounters of a 3rd Kind’.) My interpretation is still off the mark, as the light orb was not as bright, more opaque and translucent.

At approximately 8pm Friday 16/06/2017 driving south, about half way along the Broadwater – Evans Head Road passing through the Broadwater National Park NSW Australia:

Travelling at about 80 km/h I suddenly noticed out of nowhere in my rear view mirror that a car’s headlight was some 3 car spaces behind. My initial reflex response was “WOW, how fast is this car travelling to make such ground on me?”

This road is unlit and dark, reasonably straight, the terrain fairly flat, rather than dense and forested the vegetation is scrub and heath. Thus you can notice approaching vehicles from hundreds of meters.

I then thought the car must have problems with its headlights, as only one light was visible, and while quite present, it was not strong and seemed dim. The best I can describe is: I once owned a 1967 V.W. Beatle and the old 6 volt power source headlights in those older models were not very strong, both in low or high beam.  The shape of the light was kind of similar as well (about 30 to 60 cm max. in diameter.)

I was also figuring maybe it was a motorbike as the light didn’t favour one side and was directly behind and centered.  And if anything, a motorbike possibly could have the ability to sneak up so quickly and unsuspectingly.

I transitioned to about 60 km/h the light now came closer to following say 1 car space distance.

Within the increments of a few seconds I was looking at all the logical explanations, while at a deeper level I was yet to accept something illogical had occurred.

Under these circumstances, with a non-blinding headlight, there should be a possibility of making out some shape, volume or ‘presence’ of a vehicle. Perhaps even an engine or road sound, a glimpse of a red tail light.

But no, it just seemed to be that one single light.

However, within 10 seconds I was thinking what is going on here? This orb of light followed me for what was (I think) say a minute, maybe two.

But just like that, the light vanished. Gone.

This was no motor vehicle. It didn’t pull over or turn (there was nowhere possible for that). Nor if a vehicle did it show any sign of an accident, as I would have noticed any erratic movements of direction of the light itself. I was really having a battle in my mind with the logic.

Looking back in the mirror there was now nothing, no light, no shape, (no sound), no ‘presence’ of a vehicle car / bike or otherwise. !!!NOTHING!!!

The realist in me, now having run every general logical (motoring) scenario through my brain had to face a fact: what just happened was beyond normal.

This was extraordinary. This light had just appeared from nowhere (it didn’t ‘COME FROM’ anywhere) and it disappeared the same way (it ‘DIDN’T GO’ anywhere) … as suddenly it just instantly appeared, it had instantly vanished.

Reflex now took over and it was petal to the metal. I made my way into Evans Head continually questioning and repeating to myself, literally out aloud loud “W.T.F. was that!!!???!!!”

Around midnight I had to drive back over the same stretch of road. After a pretty nerve racking and uneventful return trip, I made it home safely. I then took to the driver’s seat of the Google search engine and burned the midnight oil into the early hours of Saturday morning looking for answers.

While not totally ruling anything out, I was not thinking U.F.O. as it seemed not at all mechanical, material or of any real solid matter. My encounter happened near an area of local Aboriginal significance, so this led me to research about what I had already heard about before in the Australian outback, and what Aboriginals call:

‘Min Min lights’;

A University of Queensland neuroscientist Professor Jack Pettigrew in his research of 2003 mentioned how “these mysterious lights seem to follow travelers for long distances. The Min Min light seems to have magical qualities, sometimes following observers, even as they speed away in vehicles, while at other times seeming to retreat shyly.”

His research explains “The Min Min light occurs when light, from a natural or man-made source, is refracted to an observer who is tens, or even hundreds, of kilometres away, by an inverted mirage, or Fata Morgana.

A cold, dense layer of air next to the ground (or sea, or sea ice) carries light far over the horizon to a distant observer without the usual dissipation and radiation, to produce a vivid mirage that baffles and enchants because of its unfamiliar optical properties.

Fata Morgana can be terrifying at night when a single light source gives no hint that it is actually part of a mirage emanating from a great distance. Even hardened Outback observers can break down (that includes me shitting myself) when they are unable to interpret the unusual optical properties of the light in terms of their own, very different, past experiences.”

Here is a link to Professor Jack Pettigrew’s very interesting scientific explanations 

https://www.uq.edu.au/news/article/2003/03/uq-scientist-unlocks-secret-of-min-min-lights

I later contacted the Professors for a discussion but he stood by that his research satisfactory explained my own encounter …But to some extent I am still not sure…

I do understand and accept that Professor Pettigrew’s research and scientific explanation, can and does happen in certain circumstances. However, it would be more feasible if the object was a static where the viewer was focused on one projection point.  And in my case the orb was not far in the distance but only a few meters behind me. So unless it was a ‘Mitsubishi Mirage’… how can a mirage from hundreds of kilometers away follow the exact same path and movements of my car for over a minute?

I also accept there are other feasible scientific explanations which I also researched, such as trapped underground gases rising up to the surface as a bubble, spontaneously combusting and igniting for a period of time. Perhaps, even caught in my van’s slipstream and thus giving an impression of ‘following me’.

In fact I can buy both scientific explanations in certain given circumstances. But I still have my doubts about just those two explanations each being definitive.  By there being two possible explanations, don’t they each cancel out the other as definitive? Don’t they both have to prove that there still can’t be any other possibilities???

As a final note: the Min Min lights in Australian Aboriginal people’s folklore are said to be the spirits of the ancestors. Just a bit of a coincidence I guess that should my dad still had been alive, the very date of my encounter occurred on what would have been my parents wedding anniversary… ??? hmmmmm…???

Paul’s Fishing Rods

Here is another 9 x 6 cm Ad I created for Paul Woolford to go in the Lennox Wave magazine’s Trades And Service section .  This time Paul can also now use this as his own business card as well…

Paul started fishing as a kid on the North Yorkshire Moors of England. He adds, “I still remember as a 12 year old testing (from the very wharf at Whitby where Captain Cook departed on the Endeavour) the first fishing rod I built for myself.”

Sixty years later from the garage of his Lennox Head home Paul’s custom hand crafted fishing rods are finding their way, similar to Cook on the Endeavour, all around the world.

From word of mouth, Paul now fills custom orders, not just for locals and around Australia but also trout fishing lodges in New Zealand and the Test River in England.

He has even made rods for a salmon fishing tour guide in Alaska!

Shark Mitigation

PART ONE: RESPECT

Whatever your thoughts on shark mitigation, before you make any social media comments,  there is one Golden Rule: RESPECT everyone’s opinions. Above all show compassion for the human element and some empathy for victims.

Statistics of what seem like tiny percentage of shark bites, passed off as trivial and insignificant, all still come down to a human cost. The implications reach way further than the rare deaths of victims or a few ‘lucky’ ones that survive.

The trauma related anxiety can flow on to victims’ families, friends, rescuers, witnesses, bystanders and not just those directly impacted.  The trauma can penetrate into the psyche of close-knit coastal communities where without the right trauma education and support, sadly can lead to many developing P.T.S.D. (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Opposing opinions on shark mitigation has created a great divide and the debate has turned into a raging argument of hostile combating, nasty fighting words and even some serious BULLYING to threats of physical violence.

While the ocean going community here  in the Northern New South Wales region of Australia has always laughed off the mass-media shark demonising, hysteria and hype of the ‘Jaws’ (and recently ‘The Shallows’) movies, the fear of another shark attack in this region has become quite real and valid.

And just like Jaws the authorities find themselves hapless. But it’s another movie quote that’s more pertinent: from Stars Wars: Yoda; “I’ve got a bad feeling about this… Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”

Here is a great example of the Golden Rule. It’s a powerful message in a video account from Dale Carr, a shark survivor and victim support group member of Bite Club :

RESPECT! Got it! Let’s move on…

PART TWO – What ‘IF’ solution?

The entire debate around sharks and mitigation options is way more a complex issue to deal with and explain than ‘throw-away’ one-liners or quick hit comments on social media.

I have tried to find the middle ground between ‘cull or cuddle’ of sharks. My efforts into bulk research and interviewing people on both sides has led to this possible crazy solution to consider (at least as a trial) which could be the compromise between killing more sea-life and protecting human life…

MODELS OF ORCA’S… EITHER, POSITIONED OR TRAWLED ALONG POPULAR OCEAN USER LOCATIONS… SLOWLY RELEASING  A CHEMICAL SCENT OF? …  !DEAD SHARK!

orca-nzsmall

The smell of dead sharks repelling other sharks rumour comes from fisherman who would trawl a dead shark to keep others away from interfering with their fishing. And also other ‘customary ways’ of some Polynesian cultures, when sharks can become problematic, the odd  individual threat is given a bit of ‘a bashing’ thus sending a message out to other sharks, time to move on.

However, forget the rumours and myths, scientists (and not just TV’s MythBusters CONFIRMED) have documented evidence of the dead shark scent repellents effectiveness.

Why Orcas? Because Orcas are the true Apex Predator of the ocean and scientists have confirmed that even the Great White Shark is no match. In the G.W’s ‘wisdom’ after an Orca has killed one of their own, they are GONE! All G.W.’s in the vicinity move on! Disappear immediately! At times great distances, like for example non-stop one-way ‘flights’ from California to Hawaii.

Moving ‘the problem’ to somewhere else, comes down to a practising ‘nature’s method’ at coastal stretches prioritised by human population and popularity. Yes the more isolated areas along the coast (or better still further out to sea) may become more shark infested and a bigger risk for those minimal few humans who enter the water in isolated locations.

But there is a massive amount of isolated Australian coastline and one mighty bigger ocean out there for sharks to inhabit and still allow humans to share. These more isolated locations would then have to be known (and regarded) as non-patrolled / non-protected true wildernesses.

(Here is one reference of the Orca V Great White ‘fight or flight’. In what is a very good and interesting National Geographic documentary, if wanting to find the very relevant watch point go to the 33 min to 45 min period.)

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/a-night-of-exploration/videos/killer-whale-vs-jaws/

Also watch this from MythBusters as to general shark repellent:

(And another different Shark repellent experiment – Oceans – BBC -Philippe Cousteau Jr and Tooni Mahto dive into shark-infested waters off the coast of the Bahamas to test a repellent made from dead shark tissue.)

 

(Here is also a link to some of the work by Bec Wellard a young researcher from Curtin University at the forefront of Orca sounds and opening another possibility to audio repellents.)

https://orcatalkoz.wordpress.com/

N.Z. Methven Heliski 2006

August 2016 signifies ten years since I last went Heli-Boarding.

Join me in the back seat for a behind the scenes look, with the experts at Methven Heli-Ski operations, as we head west following the Rakaia River to Heli-base farm and take off from there…

Click into photos to enlarge…

Within an hour the beautiful scenic drive lands you at the Heli-base for a welcome cuppa, safety briefs and to start ‘gearing-up’.

Groups are organised to place snow riders with similar abilities together and make sure everyone is set to hit the terrain they are most comfortable with.

While waiting for my groups departure I took the opportunity to ‘shoot a few of the birds’ as groups were shuttled up the mountain range.

Finally my turn arrived and the adventure begins!!!

After a run you can look back down on your tracks and the temporary signature you carved onto the mountain.

There is the stop for lunch with one of the best views any restaurant in the world could offer…

A few more runs later, as you are about to ride ‘the bird’ back to base, you have that one last look back over your tracks.

Its back to the farm base for a wind down cuppa, then later back to your accommodation. And finally, sadly, sooner or later back home. But your soaring soul still taking  quite a few weeks to arrive back down to earth!

The Stairway to Heaven

Here is a nice slice from ‘hanging out’ on The Stairway to Heaven on the a weekend 14 – 15th May. The weather is as good as it gets. Cool nights with perfect warm sunny blue sky days equalled with water temps in the mid 20’s degree C. Topped with excellent water clarity of magnificent colour, light off-shore winds and some nice little waves.