Farewell and New Start

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At the train station of Brisbane International Airport heading to Singapore (09.04.2013).

As annunciated yesterday this blog has reached its limits. I also liked to have a content-related cut from the time on I left Australia. Thanks to the constant delays of my posts this did not work as smooth as I wished so you could already read some stories about my adventures in Asia. Finally this is a positive aspect because I intend to keep both blogs as closely related as possible. Why? They are dealing with exactly the same thing: my travel experiences! I hope you will subscribe to my sequel blog, too! The web address is not very different from this site :

http://www.sperlingdownunder2.wordpress.com

I already hear the naggers complain: “Lame, this is the most uncreative name you could come up with. The title is not appropriate anymore: Singapore and Thailand are not Down Under”, etc., etc. For me it has highest priority that I can guide my followers seamless from this blog to my new one. I don`t want them to be annoyed with a name less catchy and  harder to remember. In consequence I just added the number “2” – simple but effective! ;-) Even very mentally deficient guys might imagine that the new blog is a continuation of an older one missing the “2”. If not – nobody gets harmed, anyway.

Thanks guys for reading  and maybe liking my stories so far. I hope you join me on my new blog where I will try to entertain you with real life reports again. ;-)

Take care and don`t hesitate to go an a journey with unknown end if you are given the possibility for it. “Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer”.

Chris

AFL Game (06.04.2013)

I could have known that this happens…again another week is over before I update this blog. My delays in posting are very reliable, aren`t they? ;-) More important: I am back with new stuff from the past and hopefully within the next 24 hours also with some recent stories from the present!

With this entry I have passed the 99% of the data I am able to upload for free – about 3GB. What this means will be revealed next time. No worries, this is not the end but the beginning of something new!

AFL Game at The Gabba: Brisbane Lions vs. Adelaide Crows (06.04.2013) It was raining when I cycled through the city to „The Gabba“, a cricket stadium for an audience of more than 40.000. The stadium is also used for AFL (Australian Football League) events. That afternoon the local football club, the Brisbane Lions, were battling the Adelaide crows in front of 21.305 witnesses if you like to believe the counting of the presenter. I met up with Leigh-Chantelle, the women I got to know at the Earth Hour Party (see some posts before) and some of her friends at 2:30pm. Not only it was a premier to watch an AFL game for me but also a challenge to understand the rules in this sports.

Around the stadium it looked like a fair. Dozen of boosts were assembled offering food, drinks, painting faces and applying temporary tattoos. As further attractions you could annoy fenced animals in a petting zoo, test your skills at soccer template kick, etc., etc. . Compared to German soccer events I noticed some major differences. AFL is something for the whole family including small children. The atmosphere is very relaxed and although many fans had put on their club scarfs, hats, waving banners, I could not spot a single group of fanatics or hooligans. Also during the game I wondered how laid back people reacted when their club missed to make a goal or was even about to lose the match. Of course they were gutted about the miss but they kept up their good mood and whenever their team succeeded or just accomplished a good move, they enthusiastically cheered again as if nothing happened before. I found this mentality very inspiring. I was delighted about the ban of alcohol in most of the stadium areas and the smoking prohibition. It really irritates me if I am forced to inhale smoke and smell beer when I am at sports events.

What can I report about that particular game? The Brisbane Lions in bordeaux, blue and yellow faced the Adelaide Crows, playing in dark purple, red and yellow which looked for me like the German flag. That nearly lured me into switching my sympathy in favour of the Crows but I withstood and applauded only for the Lions. Leigh-Chantelle gave me a extractable banner with a goal slogan on it which I happily used when appropriate.

How is Australian Football played? You can read it on Wikipedia or elsewhere online but I found this compressed introduction very helpful as an overview: http://www.upfromaustralia.com/ausrulfoot.html

I was surprised how fast this sport is and how fair it is executed. Australian Football is a full body contact activity so I expected some rough action up to a brawl. Nothing like this happened. Even if a player was tackled against the rules he showed sober-mindedness and continued without going for a skirmish. Only two times players seemed to be really upset, started grouping and approached the other team with an attitude of infuriation. The umpires (I counted at least nine on and around the elliptical-shaped field) did a good job and were always in control of the situation. A curiosity of Australian Football (at least for me) is that a ball off the field is not brought back into play by one of the teams but by one of the umpires. They stand behind the outline, turn their back in direction to the field and threw the ball high over their head . This assures that the umpire can`t see where the players stand so he can`t be accused to give intentionally advantage to one team. During the halftime break kids teams were taking over. Children between maybe between four and twelve years old played on smaller fields using small poles to subdivide the big field. Under the surveillance of proud parents they had a big moment to play Football in a huge stadium, watched by 20.000 people. Later on teams from all over Queensland (maybe even from other Australien states) were marching around the field parade-style, waving their team flags and trophies they had won.

After the third quarter it looked quite good for the Lions and I was hoping for a close, suspense-packed game. But Australian Football isn`t soccer where it is unlikely that a team leading with two or three goals loses the match clearly in the last twenty minutes. This is what happened to the Lions. Like all the other fans I was slightly disappointed since I already had sympathized with Brisbane’s local team. I can`t say they had played poorly. It was a mixture of bad luck and a lack of final determination.

Anyway, I enjoyed my first Australian Football League experience and would like to attend at any day again, preferably watching a game of big relevance in a full stadium with 50.000+ spectators. On my way home I had to pass under the William Jolly Bridge which was illuminated by some projected art drawings. I was able to take some nice shots which outweighed for the lost Football game.

PS: Nobody complained that I haven`t posted yet the photos with multiple mes and Teagans which I announced in the Sunrise Shooting post. Nevertheless I liked to keep my promise and photoshopped them today… here they are! Location is the top of the cliffs at Kangaroo Point.

Roma Street Parklands & Mt.Gravatt/Loving Hut (05.04.2013) + Chiang Mai Update

Chiang Mai update: Today is already my 6th day in Chiang Mai, a city with roughly 160.000 inhabitants located about 700 km north of Bangkok. I am on a good way to sort all the things out to feel comfortable in this city. The old town is a 1.6km x 1.6km square encircled by ruins of an ancient brick wall and a canal. The traffic around the old town is as bad as in Bangkok – a constant flow of cars which don`t care about zebra crossings. Surprisingly the people drive rather careful which makes sense due to thousands of scooter drivers without helmets and lots of dogs on the streets.

My first guest house was okay but too hot at daytime. The fan was not able to cool down the air in my huge room under the roof. I changed my accommodation after 3 days to a cheap, run down hotel outside of the town but not far from the Night Bazaar and the Tha Pae Gate (one of the four gates on each side of the city). Living as a vegan in Thailand may be possible but I still struggle especially with the breakfast which typically consists of a fruit, an energy bar and sometimes soy milk with oat rolls which I bought overpriced in Singapore. I miss real bread and a proper muesli. When ordering a menu it is annoying to point out every time that I like „no egg, no cheese, no milk“ in my dishes. That takes up to a couple of minutes and requires some skills in body language. My English seems too sophisticated for the Thai people so I step back to basic language and rape the grammar. “I no egg” sounds ridiculous but seems to work. :-p  Three of four soy milks available at the 7/11 shops (mini-supermarkets) contain whole (cow) milk powder. Does that make any sense? I will probably import some products from Australia as soon as I have a permanent address.

Chiang Mai is full of tourists but it seems that many young people are attracted to the city compared to Bangkok where fat white guys with a Thai lady walking close by dominate the scenery. Chiang Mai has a red light district, too, and in most of the massage parlours you will be asked if you like some extra services but in general the atmosphere feels less raunchy than Bangkok.

The Sunday Walking Street Market is a blast. The complete east-west main road, some side streets as well as many temple courtyards are full of boosts. The natives sell food, clothes, jewellery, paintings and other hand-made articles. Buskers play traditional music or cover western chart songs, masseurs/masseuses put chairs on the pavement and advertise mainly food massages which are much more popular here than in Europe.

The prices for a massage in Thailand are more than affordable even for locals. The price level of Chiang Mai is in general on a lower level than in Bangkok. A foot massage is about 130-200 Baht, a Thai massage 180-250 Baht and an oil massage 250-300 Baht. (200 Baht = about € 5,50 or AUS $6,90)

I have already made some friends who help me to understand the Thai culture, to learn the language and to organize my daily life. When I ordered a fruit smoothie at a bar and noticed that it was made with cow milk I politely let him know that I prefer it without and the barkeeper was immediately willing to prepare a new one. He told the restaurant owner Souriah about my special demands and she cooked a vegan dish for me. We talked for quite a while and the next day she taught me the numbers from 0 – 99.999 and how to maintain a simple market conversation. Since then I return to that place nearly every day to have a fruit smoothie and a friendly chat. I am very welcome there and I like their company. Yesterday I got into contact with Art, a chinese guy speaking Thai fluently. He helped me to buy a Thai SIM card for my mobile phone and gave me a lift to the Tha Pae Gate on his scooter. Whenever I have the opportunity to make connection with people I go for it. Often easy things like a smile in combination with saying “hello”, “thank you” or “good-bye” in Thai breaks the ice.

I managed to book my first Thai massage lessons online. They will take place on May 2nd to May 6th with the option to schedule further dates with the teacher directly. It makes me happy to recognize that with every change of my location I become more confident  and self-assured to organise myself within a short period of time. I dare to book a new accommodation less than 20 hours before I have to leave the old one. In former times I had to make sure everything is sorted out at least two weeks in advance.

This morning I left the New Mitrapap Hotel (stayed there for 3 days) and relocated to an apartment in the south-west of the city. Souriah had shown me that beautiful spot close to her restaurant. It has two rooms, air-conditioning, a bathtub, TV, new flooring, a little balcony and at least internet access via cable (which is terribly unreliable so I have to go to an internet café down the street if I want to upload pictures and watch pages with data intensive content). In spite of the world wide web connectivity trouble I will probably settle down here and rent the apartment for 6000 Baht per month (about Euro 155 / AUS $ 190) plus expenses for water and electricity (around 750 Baht, maybe more with extensive use of the AC). It feels good to have a place (sadly lacking in a kitchen) for myself again although the Wink Hostel in Singapore was great and my Australian share house experience positively exceeded my expectations by far. Hope to write a new post soon again because it is a pleasure for me – in particular traveling single – to share personal impressions with people who appreciate what I do on this blog.

Roma Street Parklands & Mt.Gravatt/Loving Hut: After I had returned home from the Queensland University I had already exposed my skin to more sun on than the whole week before. I doubted to get the same good light conditions again so I just had a stop over at Isaac Street, prevented myself from dehydration and rode on my bike to Roma Street Parklands. This area is truly beautiful as mentioned earlier but this day I was a bit disappointed, not inspired enough or simply stressed by time pressure because I had to be back home again in less than 90 minutes for the surprise trip with my housemates. I walked through the park but the motives to photo shoot did not come to me naturally. I really had to work to find something which might look good on camera. I never noticed before that in the Parklands live a lot of Water Dragons, too. They sit on stones and on the pathway enjoying the reflected heat. The more time went by the more I rushed through the park like a paparazzi on the run, hunting for the exclusive shot which could be done around the next corner or over there or here or maybe behind the hill over there? The sun burnt relentless and motivated me to speed up things. After one hour I cycled home, took a shower and waited with Teagan and James for Daniel who had miscalculated time…once again. ;-) The idea of my housemates was to let me capture the sunset with my camera and with every minute Daniel did not show up the chances became smaller and smaller that we would make it before the sun had gone down. As expected we were going to Mt.Gravatt, a hill in the South of Brisbane with a great view on the city skyline. When we arrived I quickly mounted James’ tripod on a pedestal and tried to find a good camera setting since a good amount of sunlight was still lighting up the horizon. Unfortunately the sky was hazy and even with my circumpolar filter the pictures looked grainy and pale. I was a bit frustrated to have such a great motive but not the abilities to take a pretty picture of it.

When the scene was entirely dark and I had experimented enough (not too successfully how to overcome the difficulties of mistiness we left the top of the hill and dined at the legendary vegan Loving Hut restaurant at the bottom of the hill. During my six months Australia I had heard a lot about that place but had never made it there. The best thing was that I was invited to eat what ever I would like. After a while my housemates handed me an envelope over with a sweet elephant card made in Thailand, created by Italian designers. ;-) It felt like my birthday and Christmas together. It was a touching moment to read the warm words (plus finding a voucher for an ebook) and to realize that these guys had become much more for me than just persons to share a house with. I can honestly say that I regard them as my friends who I miss already although I am flooded every day with new impressions which distract from reflection about the past.  When we arrived at home I was switching between being tired and psyched. Hands down this was one of my best days I had for a long time and I`d like to say THANK YOU to James, Daniel and Teagan not only for that particular evening but for the constant support whenever I needed help or advice, for all the funny chats, for spending time with me and first and foremost accepting me with all my flaws. Okay….enough sentiments – I have booked a massage and will proofread this text therefore tomorrow. Good night!

Photoshooting @ University of QLD Campus + Bangkok Flash News

Sawadee kap, dear blog followers!

This is my 3rd day in Bangkok and after I have overcome severe trouble with a water damaged camera two times, things look better now and my initial, rather negative view on this crazy city changed a bit in its favour. The extensive Singapore and Bangkok reviews will take a while. I just booked a cheap accommodation in Chiang Mai (Tara Guesthouse) and changed my mind about attending a massage class because I found a website of private Thai massage teachers who offer one on one courses for reasonable prices. This seems to be more effective and a quicker way to develop skills. I will leave Bangkok tomorrow evening and return about six weeks later for another couple of days before the next chapter of my journey will begin: New Zeeland!

Photoshoot @ University of QLD Campus (05.04.2013): This day was a true photography day with three different locations and hours of picture taking. The following report covers the first location on which I arrived noon-ish (the addition of “ish” especially behind estimated time specifications was often used by Daniel, my former housemate, who announced to be back from work or the climbing hall around seven-ish or eight-ish or nine-ish.). Brisbane has a botanical garden and a zoo, too. But if you want to save time and money you could just visit the University of Queensland campus in St.Lucia. Okay, this might be slightly exaggerated but seriously, this campus is so beautiful that I considered to start studying again. The students read books on sloping greens and stroll over wooden bridges with the view on idyllic lakes containing small turtles, big eels and other huge fishes. The whole area is a designed park with lots of old trees, sheltering masses of cockatoos and other birds. Furthermore the park is home for tons of insects like dragonflies and butterflies as well as many exotic animals like Eastern Water Dragons…they all live unfenced in harmony with the students and don`t seemed to be too shy. More than that, the animals sometimes only move to avoid a collision with a human who is not willing to give way or walk detour. The best motive that day were definitely the Eastern Water Dragons. They sat exactly at the same spot where I had seen them at my last visit when my camera battery power was exhausted. I observed their behaviour and interaction with students for a while, took normal close-ups and went on for a real challenge: I mounted my macro lens and approached slowly. The male with the red spot on his neck escaped when I scratched the 30 cm distance mark but the smaller female held still and I managed to reach the necessary 12 cm distance to take one of my best photos in 2013 – the eye of a Water Dragon! These creatures are not aggressive but you should be careful because their claws are sharp like razor blades and can cause life-long memories on your skin. For that reason I only stretched my arms in front of my body to keep bigger range between my and her torso. To keep an eye on the camera screen and watch at the same time if the dragon would show any evidence of discomfort was not an easy task. To maintain a stable position required for an unshaky picture was the second problem. However – it worked out great and the macro photo of the dragon`s eye made my day.

Short In-between Update

Aloha guys, I am so sorry that I could not keep you informed but I decided to explore Singapore extensively instead of staying inside for days to edit photos and writing on this blog. It does not mean that you don`t get  my new photos and stories at all. There is just an unknown delay to expect. Tomorrow I leave Singapore in direction to Bangkok, three days later I fly to Chiang Mai where I will try to attend a massage course.

To give you a slight idea how exciting Singapore feels have a look at the pictures which are just a tiny split of what I have photographed so far. For an architect with a fable for photography this city is a treasury.

I will love to tell you and share everything I experience with you (right after the stories about my last days in Australia) as soon as possible! Maybe I have to find a gap in the space-time continuum and work there on my blog posts so I don`t lose a second  in real-time. :D

Happy greetings from hot and humid Singapore

Chris

Good Bye Australia, Hello Singapore!

This will be my last post before I leave Australia. I had a nice last evening with my house mates plus Max and Leigh-Chantelle. I cooked Lasagne for all of us (definitely not the best one but at least it was edible ;-) ) and presented a few photos to Teagan, Daniel and James. wall collageI had printed them at Kmart earlier that day. I blu-tacked some of the pictures at the collage wall I had started months ago on one of our living room walls. My further contribution to a more individual, cosy living room was a 75cm x 50cm poster of the Brisbane Skyline at daylight, viewed from the top of the Kangaroo Point cliffs. Yesterday I did my last DIY project by building a frame for the panorama picture Daniel had payed for and which hang already “naked” on the wall for weeks. Because the hardware store a stone throw away wasn`t open on Sunday I had to improvise a lot but it turned out satisfactory. The frame is features a 5mm gap to allow a glass to sit in front of the picture. For the moment we just mounted it without glass but it already looks heaps better.

P1090932All my belongings are wrapped or packed, my room is vacuum cleaned. I will leave two boxes with personal stuff behind as well as my bike to fetch it when I return to Brisbane in July 2013. I will miss my housemates who were the cause that I felt comfortable in the house which I considered to call my  home although its many shortcomings. I never thought that I would be able to harmonically live with a bunch of other guys in a share house lacking in the level of privacy I reckoned to need. I expected more discussion and trouble. Instead they all became my friends, did a lot of social activities with them. I liked to have them around me and found each of them inspiring in his/her own way. My tourist visa requires that I leave the country at the latest after a maximum stay of six months so farewell is a necessity. I still want to provide you with some stories and photos of my last day in Brisbane. Singapore will probably not leave much time for photo editing and blog writing but I promise to try hard to keep you informed.

I am ready for new adventures and full of pleasant anticipation…Singapore here I come!

A successful day for all of you -

Chris

Sunrise Photoshooting (31.03.2013)

It is 2:00am and I am working night shift for you, preselecting and editing photos.

On Sunday, 31st of March, Teagan and I got up at 4:00am in the morning, packed our camera equipment and left home at 4:30am. Teagan, lacking in a bicycle used James’ which was a bit too big for her. After 30 minutes riding through the dark night along the Bicentennial Bikeway we arrived at the chosen destination for sunrise spotting – Wilson Outlook Reserve in New Farm eastern of the Story Bridge. It was a chilly morning but i felt warm due to the extensive cycling before. We mounted the tripod and began our routine with night photography instead of holding out for the sun. The sunrise started already at about 5:30am . I am used to go out for photography sessions by my own and normally prefer to work in my special procedures and rhythm but in this case I enjoyed to have company and to be able to share this extraordinary morning experience. The city felt so different in the early hours of the day when only a few jogger were up on the streets and everything was so quiet that I suddenly heard noises I normally don`t pay attention to. The sunrise wasn`t spectacular: No burning sky, no colourful  cloud patterns. Nevertheless it was great to start a Sunday with such a productive and rewarding activity like taking photos.

After a while we left our spot, crossed the Story Bridge and cycled on the other side of the river to Kangaroo Point, one of the best locations for taking city skyline photos. We parked our bikes, took some pictures and climbed up the narrow, serpentine stairs to reach the top of the cliffs. It was already past 8:00am when we decided that it was time for some fun action. I set up my camera on the tripod and via remote control we took multiple photos of us in different positions on big stairs in a park nearby with the goal to create a trick shot consisting of many Chris’ and Teagans. The same thing we repeated on a playground – eager readers of my blog will recognize that it is the one I visited already at my last night shooting.

The photo on the stairs will be handed in belated with the next post. It is too time consuming to edit the footage right now at 3:00am. Thanks for your sympathy!

The photos  named “DSC+number” are taken  by Teagan with her Sony Alpha 57.  She was mainly trying out various functions of her rather new camera. Therefore the colours and exposure most of her pictures were messed up but in summary she did very well for a DSLR-camera noob and especially the shots with the camera built-in creative effects look awesome!

Hope you are able to sense the atmosphere of this unique, memorable morning and enjoy the photos as much as I do.

Good night!

Cookiepalooza (24.03.2013)

Today was great but also exhausting. A day with lots of biking, landscape and animal photography action involved plus the surprise trip my housemates had organized for me. I absolutely appreciated that. The full story including the photos will be revealed in a few days.

For now I present you the Cookiepalooza photos. Cookie-whaaat? – Don`t worry, this word actuallz does not exist officially. It basically means: you pay $10 for a vegan charity event brought to you by the Eating for Animals crew a.k.a. Susan and Arly (who felt sick and therefore did not attend) and in exchange you are provided with over 350 cookies in more than 15 different tastes. The donation of $10 was fiducial collected by Susan for Gold Coast Guinea Pig Rescue Inc.  AUS $260 were funded in total! The location was again Orleigh Park in West End but this time we did not get the shaded BBQ area spot but it did not matter because some people had picnic blankets, camping chairs and a foldable plastic table. The big trees along the promenade offered sufficient sun protection.  Altogether I have to say it was “business as usual” – nice talks, relaxed atmosphere and hot weather (approx. 30°C  before a heavy thunderstorm ranted over Brisbane in the evening). I was mainly busy with my camera equipment, experimenting with filters, my macro lens and different white balance settings – less chatting, more “working”. :-) And that`s already the end of the story – short and sweet like the cookies we had. CU around in 1-2 days with photos of my first sunrise photoshooting ever!

Earth Hour Party (23.03.2013) + Preview

You missed my posts? Good, because I am back to deliver tons of new stuff in the upcoming days! The picture gallery below the text features some impressions from our Earth Hour Party organized by my housemate Daniel and one of his friends, Samantha.  Leigh-Chantelle, another friend of Daniel’ s and founder of the Green Earth Group, a non-profit organisation with the goal to inform and support about eco-friendly products and events – like the Earth Hour, shared the event amongst the group members. Our house had never seen so many guest at the same time before, about 15-18. Many of them brought a vegan dish as a kind of potluck contribution. The idea behind Earth Hour is to switch off all electricity consuming devices for a certain hour on a certain day every year. Instead you may replace the artificial light by candle light (or have fun in complete darkness). Apart from our fridge/freezer and the stand-by support for our hifi sound system and TV we deactivated all energy sucking devices. We lit up candles on the veranda, in the bathroom, on the staircase and of course in the living room. The atmosphere felt comfy and the food delicious but I have to point out that the smell of Daniel’s split peas soup nearly killed me. For this particular time I had agreed to substitute this fetidness by stinky Biscuit farts. Our dog Biscuit is famous for changing a well vented house into an olfactory sewerage within seconds. Apart that awkward circumstance we enjoyed a pleasant evening. I annoyed some guests with my camera action especially because they had to hold still for a few seconds when I tried to take a shot in that extreme low light situation. However, I am sure they become appeased with the pictures. Corinne, the girl sitting on the staircase was a very patient model and willing to pose for several minutes. Thanks for that!

My last week in Australia started yesterday. There is still so much I like to accomplish before leaving. I met already some guys from the Roma Street Parklands potluck event again, booked my flight from Bangkok to Auckland and did a sunrise photoshooting with Teagan. My housemates announced a surprise excursion for tomorrow afternoon and I am so far only provided with the advice to take my camera with me. I have no idea where we will go. On Saturday I will get a true Aussie culture experience by watching an AFL (Australian Football League) game of the Brisbane Lions at “The Gabba”, a 42.000 seats cricket stadium. At any time before next Tuesday I like to go out for another 2-3 photoshootings depending on the weather. What does this add up to you? – Lots of photos and stories! I try to post at least every second day until Tuesday. Alternatively you get 2 posts on one day so check  if there is another new entry below the latest one you might miss otherwise.

9/11 Special & >10.000 Blog Views

Hello everyone,

my blog has smashed the 10.000 views mark! YEAH! Thank you for being interested in my posts, photos and videos. Views doesn’t mean visitors so the number of people who watched my blog is much lower. 10.000 views is an amount which is easily outperformed by thousands of other pages in a single day! In spite of that I am happy with that number and to celebrate it I decided to go for something really different.

A 9/11 Special? More than 11,5 years after the event happened? WHY? Three days ago James asked me: Did you know that more than 1.500 accredited architects and engineers think the twin towers collapse was not caused by the airplanes which crashed into the buildings? I replied: “Yes, I don`t believe it, too.” I had heard a lot of theories in the past and knew that the official version is very suspicious even to someone with no diploma in architecture and zero knowledge of structural engineering. The next evening we watched the documentary which James had found coincidentally online when searching for the superb movie “In Bruges” which we watched the same evening. I had not been interested in the 9/11 catastrophe for years. After the documentary which I will link as well as other insightful Youtube videos at the end of this post I was astonished how overwhelming the evidence for a different course of action is compared to the official version and how impudent and amateurish the US government tried to make the world believe in a gigantic falsehood. I write this post to inspire you to watch the linked videos and do some research by your own.

Truth is an extremely precious good for me and I hate dishonesty even more if thousands of people are killed and the responsible persons/organisations in charge try to get away with a huge cover up. More over they blamed other people and used the events as a stalking horse to go to war. The official report of 9/11 is full of flaws, denies facts and testimonies of uncountable witnesses and ignores pictures and video footage which might prove the opposite. I have read and watched a lot about 9/11 in the last three days but I think it takes not longer than one or two hours to convince every person with common sense that the whole operation was precisely planned (although poorly executed). At this moment you may shake your head and guess: “He is fooled by these conspiracy guys who want to brainwash you to believe that aliens have already taken over the world and do some secret experiments with us when we sleep at night.” I guarantee you that I am not judging you quickly about a big thing like 9/11 but for me it looks like it was apparently an inside job. I will write down a random list of facts and questions which cross my mind. It will be just a fraction of things to point out but hopefully enough to make you curious. I am more than willing to discuss questions or counter arguments in the comments.

- What happened exactly to WTC 7, the third building which collapsed on 9/11  with FREE FALL SPEED like a perfect controlled demolition although it wasn`t even hit by an airplane? Such a collapse – according to officials caused by the small fires within the building is absolutely incredible. Normal fire and also fuel can`t melt steel and the falling speed is defying the laws of physics unless the structure was taken out in advance for examples by explosives. WTC 3,4,5 and 6 were hit much harder by twin tower parts and still had not such a complete structural failure as WTC 7 which was the only building containing offices of the FBI, CIA and some other intelligence service agencies. The lease holder Larry Silverstein (who had a 5 billion insurance for that building!) talks in an interview about a “pull”, a technical term for a controlled demolition. When WTC7 wasn`t rigged in advance how could a perfect demolition managed in  about seven hours which normally takes weeks of preparation?

- Building WTC 7 isn’t even mentioned in the official report. The official investigation had a budget of $600.000 (compared to $40.000.000 to find out that Clinton got a blowjob from Mrs. Lewinsky), ignoring hundreds of statements from witnesses, stating that no evidence of explosives were found although they did not even search for them, etc., etc..

- The twin towers could not fall the way they did just hit by an airplane. The speed, the symmetry, the continuous destruction down to the lowest floor, the way the steel structure collapsed… none of these points can’t be explained with the official version in a proper, scientific way. It is a fact, witnessed by hundreds and captured in many videos, that explosions occured in the basement and the lobby of the towers, long before the tower came down. The lift shafts were especially designed to avoid a chimney effect with seals and other protective systems. Most of the fuel blew up in the first seconds after the impact and can`t have such a devastating influence like weakening 47 structural columns throughout the complete building.

- The appearance of the smoke before and during the collapse was typical for chemical reactions of exteme heat like at vulcano eruptions. Airplane fuel can`t create such a heat and is not capable to melt steel. Molten steel beams were found in high numbers, even in the former lowest floors. In some videos liquid steel flowing out of the building is clearly visible. Traces of thermite which is used by military to weaken and destroy steel structures were found. The fire on ground zero was still burning eight weeks after 9/11 producing so much heat that shoes would melt when working in that area! . The concrete of the buildings was evaporized to dust instead of only breaking into bigger pieces. 

- The second airplane which hit the tower had a no labels or logos of a civil airline painted on its shell. Due to eye witnesses and experts it is more likely a military aircraft. . The burnt out Boeing engine presented by the officials does not belong to the type of airplane which officially is announced to have hit the towers. 

- How could four aircrafts be highjacked and fly around for hours without being stopped by military fighter interceptors especially when approaching a highly secured area like the Pentagon? How could a terrorist not even able to fly a Cessna properly manage difficult maneuvers like a tight 270° loop at 550mph and hit precisely a building only five floors high? Why isn’t there any footage of the airplane hitting the Pentagon which has hundreds of cameras. How could the airplane completely vanish inside the building not leaving any parts outside behind. Why does the facade not display any traces of damage where the wings of the airplane or one of the >4 tons engines collided with the reinforced walls of the Pentagon? Why was the lawn in front of the building not a big mess, a battle field of airplane parts? Why was the lawn renewed already a couple of days later instead of securing the area and trying to pick up the debris for reconstruction analysis? Isn`t it interesting that terabites of sensitive data are claimed to be deleted by the crash  which could explain what happened to some trillion dollars Donald Rumsfeld recorded missing on September 10th?

I stop here because I could go on and on which maybe deters people from reading this post to the end. The occurrences of 9/11 are like a puzzle which can be put together piece by piece to get the whole image. In times like these I am not surprised that it is de facto impossible to cover up every evidence of truth of a catastrophe like 9/11. In some years it will hopefully well known that 9/11 was one of the biggest crimes not planned by a bunch of muslim terrorists but the US government or at least the shadow government as well as by the CIA, FBI and the weapon lobby. In my opinion the true purpose was to distract from internal  problems in the country and to start a war which pushes the US economy. – I recommend to start with the very good “AE911Truth Experts Speak Out” documentary and then to go on with one of the other links.  If you like to get a compressed, non-scientific five minutes overview presented in a humorous provocative way, start with the second link.

AE911Truth Experts Speak Out                                                      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YW6mJOqRDI4 

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About The 9/11 Conspiracy Theory https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVDig3Fu8WU

HOW DID WORLD TRADE CENTER 7 FALL?                                              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8T2_nedORjw

2013 WTC Drone/Military Plane Attack Proof (MUST SEE) New Witnesses       https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsmc_rS2jOo

(2012) Original – The Demolition of the WTC Towers – what was used?    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6eMq5Rit1w

9/11 – Truth: Hollywood speaks out                                                        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rw397VbRyM

Investigative greetings – Chris

PS: The Earth Hour Party photos from last Saturday are already edited but I have to ask some guys on the pictures for permission to publish them here. I respect their privacy and won’t upload footage without their knowledge.

Bicentennial Bikeway Nightshooting (19.03.2013) & Movie Blitz-Review

Bicentennial Bikeway Nightshooting: Last post I wrote already a short introduction about the changes I had made compared to former nightshootings: Mainly the use of a circumpolar filter and a lens hood! The difference for me was not remarkable if visible at all! I still had some nasty lens flare effects here and there. I have researched for an upper-class DSLR camera since many weeks and watched uncountable videos and reviews with test pictures. I can tell you guys that it really sucks to know that there are cameras out there which have such a fantastic low level of noise, brilliant clarity and a high dynamic range while I have to cope with a model which is miles away from the results of the top products no matter which settings I use. My bridge camera is already one of the best in its class. – I should be more than happy. Nevertheless, the more I watch these high-end test pictures, the more I see what my own pictures are lacking in. – There is only one way to cover all these flaws up: downsampling! Actually it doesn`t increase the absolute quality but at 100% view it looks better because the picture is smaller.  That’ s what I did for my second try to apply at istockphoto.com. They had rejected all three of my pictures, two of them due to visible artifacts viewed at original size which was simply too big. I am excited to see if my new modified photos will pass the test.

Some details about the shooting: I started at 9:30pm and came back home at 0:50am. The “multiple me 2″ shot with many Chris’s in it was taken around 0:10am to 0:30am on a completely empty playground (everything else after midnight had been suspicious anyways) at the Kangaroo Point cliffs. Every shot had an exposure time of 15 seconds, triggered by a radio remote control. I look overexposed in this photo and I shouldnt have taken 15 seconds shots but what is the alternative if it is night and you are yearning to try out a bit of trick shot photography? The rather new tower with the sophisticated architectural structure stands about 100 metres distant from the playground. The St. Mary Anglican Church is located less than 50 metres in the opposite direction. The strange illuminated ball is one of about 10, installed at the market place on Queens Street. Only 5 metres next to that piece of art were the café tables stacked up. Nearby that awesome old building going by the name “Treasury Casino and Hotel” dominates the scene. The pool with the very blueish water is a big public bath at South Bank. The illuminated trees can be found at South Bank, too. Finally, the long horizontal light strip in the first gallery shot is a train rushing over a maybe nameless bridge in front of the Go Between Bridge, which is free to use for pedestrians and bicyclists but charges cars because of its function as shortcut to the other side of the river.

Movie Blitz-Review of “OZ – the Great and Powerful”: Today I went to the South Bank cinemas to watch OZ – the great and powerful on my own (12 other people attended the movie starting at 12:50am, too, woohooo!). The movie was rather disappointing except from the soundtrack composed by Danny Elfman. For kids maybe it might be a good one but I had higher expectation for the 3D effects. The visual appearance was often over-saturated for my taste – too much eye candy!^^  I liked the little china doll (a doll made of china, not made IN China :-p ) character and the transition from a 4:3 format and sepia tones to the classical 1:2,35 ratio in bright colours after the first 10 minutes. The story is hideous though. I rate the movie 5,5 stars out of 10 possible. Graphics and music were an 8 so you can calculate that the story was pretty awful. ;-)

Meet you maybe already tomorrow again with Earth Hour Party pictures!

Serene dreams - Chris

Potluck @ Roma Street Parklands & Summary Week 22

Vegan Potluck @ Roma Street Parklands: Last Saturday my housemates and me attended another vegan potluck event. Although living vegan for already more than five years I never was socially connected with groups or even single persons who share my view of a healthy, climate-friendly and cruelty free way of life. To live together with three other vegans definitely a benefit regarding connectivity to all kinds of vegan events. Daniel is befriended on Facebook with hundreds of other vegans and becomes informed about everything what`s going on for vegans in Queensland and James sometimes shares links to interesting pages, meet-ups, etc. with me, too. Under normal circumstances I am absolutely not the outgoing guy but since there is nothing wrong having for example a picnic in a park with mind-liked people, I have attended more events here in Australia than in the three previous years in Berlin. The potluck picnic was held at the Roma Street Parklands, a beautifully cultivated park on a hillside, adjacent to the big Roma Street train station at the edge of the Central Business District. James’ and my contribution were sandwiches. He prepared triangles with grey bread and cucumber plus sour cream while I had decided to go for square canapés made of white toast with tomato, cucumber, mushroom, cheese, salad, pumpkin spread/sour cream. (Yes, all these ingredients are also available without any animal products) Obviously we had hit the bull`s eye because our sandwiches were completely gone after 20 minutes. But before we could present our party food to the other 30-40 attendents we first we had to find the location in that huge park. It was a sunny day and temperature scratched the 30° C. Tediously we cycled up the hill, just to recognize that the spot for the potluck was at the very bottom of the park. :D

The first half hour consisted of taking food pictures and testing all the delicious stuff. I was not in the mood to take the initiative and to start chatting to somebody but I didn’t have to because people approached me and began to ask questions. After a while Daniel showed up as well as Max (former housemate and my travel companion for Singapore in April). He had brought his slackline and some juggling balls with him. I hadn’t practised both for many months. Max and me tried to set up a juggling performance together with limited success as you can see in the video. The atmosphere was excellent. I had a couple of nice conversations, became introduced to more and more people and enjoyed lots of chitchat which ended in exchanging emails and phone numbers to send photos and to keep in touch. Summary: Awesome weather, lovely people, outrageous tasty food! For some guys vegans are pale skinned, hemp-clothes wearing, crazy animal activist but this event proved at least for me that they are just normal guys, having ordinary jobs, interests and exactly the same problems as “carnivorish” people, only with a different attitude when it comes to food, animals and environmental issues.

Earth Hour Evening & Cookiepalooza: Tomorrow, about 8 people are about to come around celebrating “Earth Hour Evening” in our house. For one hour all lights and electrical devices will be switched off to think about the use of energy. We will light up a bunch of candles and munch the food provided by our guests. On Sunday we go again to Orleigh Park in West End for another Eating for Animals happening, this time called “Cookiepalooza”. $10 donation per person will be donated to 100% for the Gold Coast Guinea Pig Rescue. The hosts Arly and Susan will bake tons of cookies, considering all kinds of special needs like gluten-free, nut-free, raw, no soy,… . Furthermore they have announced to guarantee entertainment by playing games with prizes to win.

P1080456Thailand Visa & Bookings: What about my private activities? – I have cycled to the consulate of Thailand on Tuesday and received my visa! I only had to wait for an hour which I used to bike to the University of Queensland in St.Lucia on the other side of the Brisbane River. Unfortunately my camera battery ran out of power and I had no replacement. AAAARGH! What a scenic campus! With the lakes, lush vegetation and diverse fauna it looked more like a botanical garden than a recreation area for students. IMG0013AA saurian rested on the footpath, unimpressed by all the students passing by. Dozen of lorikeets were sitting on branches of a picturesque looking tree and at the water’s edge of the lake I spotted heavy eels and some small turtles. I never use my mobile phone for taking photos but a hideous picture is better than none…so here we go. Have to come back for an extensive photo session with my Lumix FZ150!

Not only I am a proud owner of a Thailand visa but also I have booked my accommodation in Singapore and the flight to Bangkok on April 13th! This means I will stay for four days in Singapore. Long enough to acclimatize a bit and to do some touristy sightseeing. :-)

P1080688BTeaser – Nightshooting from March 19th: I did another nightshooting along the Bicentennial Bikeway three days (or nights) ago. This time I put on a circumpolar filter which was supposed to increase the contrast, colour and rto educe reflections. Additionally I mounted a lens hood to avoid lens flare effects. – The results will be published in my next blog post.

istock Photography: Last but not least I have heeded James’ advice and applied at istockphoto.com, a website where photographers can upload their photos and earn money every time somebody buys that photo, respectively pays for a license to use the picture. This site is probably the most choosy one amongst all istock photography sites concerning the pictures they accept. I had to pass a test first, then to upload three of my best shots. In a couple of days I will be notified if they are approved and I am “in” or if they are refused. At the moment I don’t feel like a “real” photographer but to sign in for free at different istock corporations can’t be harmful, more likely helpful. If you can earn some extra bucks for just uploading pictures you like to share anyway – why not!?

Have a great day, give away a smile to somebody on the street you don’t know and enjoy his/her reaction.

Chris :-)

Note to myself: Make sure your next post is significantly shorter!

My Housemates in Detail & Fit for Asia

Today I like to introduce you to my housemates in detail. Of course I have already mentioned especially James and Daniel in many of my former posts but this time I try to characterize them from my point of view as well as Teagan who moved in about one month ago.

James (44): He is without a doubt the best organized person in our house. He cares about all the financial things, keeps track of everything and informes us when something needs to be done. He is extremely tidy, likes high quality tools and is an Apple-maniac. If you have trouble with your Iphone, Ipad or any other product of that fruity company, he’s the man to consult. He sacrificely looks after his 9-year-old dog Biscuit who has cancer and some tumors and needs therefore lots of medication and special treatment. Biscuit howls like a wolf if someone who is familiar to her enters the house or if she gets excited for example in anticipation of a carrot – her favourite snack. James swears by cleaning vinegar as panacea.  Religion is for him “believing in f*cking fairytales” for people who are not brave enough to face the truth, which lays in science and facts.

In many points James and me share some character traits but there are some major differences which often lead to discussions. Being the master of nitpicking I question his assumptions, calculations and don’t follow his advices before rechecking his “facts” online which sometimes appear not to be as rock solid as he tried to make me believe. We argue mainly about the food/nutrition, religion, music and how to do things efficiently / ecologically. He’s off the opinion that what I am eating and how I garnish my food is very weird. I think the same about his loveless prepared dishes which are uninspirational and furthermore always the same. :D  Anyway, all these discussions are normally respectful and often spiced with humor and irony. Together we have furnished the house, recently cut branches from trees in front of our house and helped each other at innumerable occasions, so I would describe our relation as friendly rivalry. Although I dislike that he has no trouble to kill mosquitoes and cockroaches, in general we go along very well and appreciate each other’s talents and abilities. He is the guy I had the most chats with so far since I am in Australia.

Daniel (37): He is the complete opposite to James. He is rather messy, unorganized and even more forgetful than me, which is barely imaginable. Daniel is very generous, easy-going, helpful and a vegan junk-food lover. He is the only one of us with a regular job. He spends a lot of money on expensive, vegan delicacies and for his 3-4 year old child Ieva who stays 1-2 nights per week at our house. If there is something to buy or to construct, Daniel prefers to let James and me do the research if necessary, to cook the products he has bought and to work things out. Therefore he pays for stuff we normally would not afford or gives us a lift in his car. Like James he loves climbing. Additionally he is a passionated bicyclist, riding a good racing bike. His laugh sounds similar to a hyaena and his sense of humor is really refreshing. It is hard not to like him…as long as you don’t have to share the chaotic room/bathroom with him. ;-) Due to his work and spare time activities out of the house I see him around mostly in the evenings during the week.

Teagan (18): She may just have turned 18 three days ago but she behaves astonishingly mature for her age. She has started to study art, is very outgoing and eager to learn from us.  Only when it comes to general knowledge and cooking, it becomes obvious that she is rather young. She seriously asked if (closed) tins with vegetables had to be stored in the fridge and thought that 45 min at 160°C would be an appropriate setting for oven-baked French fries.^^  She was a vegetarian before she moved into our house but now she goes for the vegan lifestyle wholeheartedly. Teagan isn’t as messy as Daniel but her room, stuffed with thousands of things is surely no example of tidiness. From time to time her boyfriend or her best friend stay over night or friends come around to pick her up for shopping/party/whatever. She has a bias for clothes with lace and the colours white,black, red and pink. She is really polite and sociable. I enjoy chit-chatting with her as well as having a real good talk. I love to explain and teach her about architecture, artists, photography and cooking. Although it may appear a bit strange that a young girl decides to stay in a house with three guys which have in average two times her age, in reality it works pretty well and I am glad to have her on board.  Last Wednesday was Teagan’s 18th birthday. I had baked a cake early in the morning, created a birthday card, a star wars themed framed photo collage and printed out some photos of her/us I had taken with her new Sony SLT- A57 camera. I knew that she is a Star Wars fan, so I took one of my Brisbane nightshots as basis, photoshopped here and there and mixed some Star Wars characters and objects in. Later on James asked about princess Leia which was missing. Considering his question legit, I updated my little project which was fun but also more time consuming than it might look. The candle light photo session two weeks ago took place in our living room in the evening, the portrait shooting in Daniels room (the walls their offer the most neutral background in the house) in the afternoon. When I noticed that Teagan and me were wearing both black I had the idea of a “post-funeral” shooting, challenging the good low light abilities of her camera. It was a lot of fun and I like the warm skin colour tones caused by the candle light.

Fit for Asia: On April 9th, I will leave Brisbane and fly to Singapore, accompanied by Max, my former housemate who is living close by in Paddington, visiting us now and then for a boardgame, a chat or to pick up/ drop stuff. He managed to get the same flight as me but will do some couch surfing while I plan to stay at a stylish hostel. After three to five days I will travel further to Thailand and Max will go to India.

I have decided not to do more unpaid voluntary work in Brisbane right now but to enjoy my last months in a productive way. This will include as many photo sessions as possible, at least one at about 5 am at the Story Bridge to capture the sunrise. To feel prepared for Asia, I will apply for a two months visa for Thailand and hopefully learn a couple of hundred vocables. Being able to communicate on a basic level in the national language will definitely lead to a lot of advantages. I also want to investigate which massage schools offer courses which suit my needs and financial expectations.

Yesterday I started to workout again including some rope skipping in front of our garage. I have set up the challenge to do some sport nearly every day until I leave Brissie. Spending too much time on my netbook has caused some unnecessary backache and neck-ache by sitting in an atrocious posture. I know that I can overcome the pain with special exercises on my yoga mat but already on day two I was lazy enough to procrastinate the workout until deep in the night. Now I am writing this post and clearly won’t do sports anymore at 1 am. Tomorrow in the morning I will make up for it – promised! ;-) (edit: Yes, I did! Viva self-discipline!)

Good night, folks! 

Plasma TV Fail & Work Reference

Plasma TV fail: It happened already about two weeks ago but I thought it was a funny story worth to be shared. Our Sony Plasma TV, kindly donated by Daniel’s parents,  had always issues regarding picture quality. We tried to fix this by waggling the cables or giving the TV a slap on its “head” or side (maybe this worked with old CRT-TVs but unfortunately not with modern models). However, successively it became much worse. The screen displayed the regular movie with an overlay of “war of the ants”, “Snowstorm X-treme” and some intense dust&dirt/grain filter effects I had only known from Photoshop before. Finally it just operated for about twenty minutes before it seemed to undergo a slowly process of dying. In a way it was a relief because from time to time I was annoyed listening to catchy intros of kids TV episodes like Peppa Pig, one of little Ievas (Daniel’s child) favourite shows. James, who had successfully fixed our washing machine grabbed from the curbside a couple of months ago, was off the opinion that we had nothing to lose so we started to dismount the TV and put it on the couch like a patient awaiting a surgery. I was concerned about the risk of an electric shock of the big capacitors on the motherboard and warned to touch them but nobody took me serious. I am glad not to be proven right in my assumption. None of us is a technician and finding the reason for the malfunction of our TV seemed to me like an assignment for building a moon rocket. Our first guess was a fan fail leading to an overheat. That could explain why the TV functioned properly for 15-20 minutes before it literally blacked out. This huge thing contained four fans and obviously none of them was working. James and Daniel tried to follow the cables and switched some pins but of course it was shooting in the dark. To gain at least something from this operation I took some photos to document our efforts. After we had reassembled the TV, the only thing still running was the on/off LED. Lol Miraculously it recovered the next day to its old behaviour: 20 minutes mediocre picture quality before sudden death. Daniel agreed to buy a new TV which will be slightly smaller but heaps advanced compared to our current model. In fact he even ordered two TVs – unintended! When he checked his credit card bill he must have been quite alarmed to notice that he was charged two times a couple of hundred dollars. :D Estimated delivery is March, 18th and I am not sure if I am excited about it or agitated since that means some noisy evenings in my room lie ahead. It is accoustically separated from the living room only by louvre doors which decrease the sound by astonishing 1-2 decibel, maybe less. :-(

The cartoon picture shown in the gallery was created by James with the help of one of his beloved Apple Ipad Apps.

Work Reference: Last week I visited the architecture office I worked at for three weeks to fetch my work reference. I enjoyed to see Will and his employees again and had some good chats. I could convince them to pose for a photo which you find attached to the gallery. The reference is – as hoped and expected – very positive (otherwise it makes no sense to add it to prospective applications). My favourite sentence is: “Chris also displays the hallmarks of German diligence, ingenuity and accuracy.” :-)

I wish you a lovely sunny or rainy day…whatever you prefer!

Flash news: Gunman in standoff in Brisbane mall

This is probably the most ultimate recent blitz news I have ever written. My house mate Teagan got a call several minutes ago from a friend who is in the city reporting that a guy with a gun is walking around in the Myers  Shopping Centre and that a swat team has arrived, shops are shut down and people are evacuated. I found a live news site to follow what happens:

http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/queen-street-mall-evacuated-amid-reports-of-gunman-20130308-2fpw2.html

In America this may be all day life but for Brisbane this is very shocking. They are evacuating the whole Queen Street which is several hundred meters long as well as Adelaide Street (a big street parallel to Queen Street) and blocked the entry points. It feels a bit like a Hollywood movie with the scary difference that this is real. I just hear the horn of a police car and exactly know where they are heading to. – Hopefully nobody gets harmed and they get this psychopath alive. He had ripped of his shirt when he was confronted by 3 police man and showed a handgun.

I was about to write a regular blog post  about a damaged plasma TV and my work reference but it feels very inappropriate right now so maybe I will publish it this evening.

This is flash news reporter Chris Sperling, Brisbane, for sperlingdownunder.wordpress.com  – stay tuned.

Update: The gunman was pinned down by the police and after two bangs – still unclear if they were shots or stun grenades – he was injured, ABC news says “covered in blood” and taken out of the scene by an ambulance. It seems the situation is safe again and people are allowed to leave the shops in which they were locked in. 

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