Category Archives: Business

I must be (Dough)nuts

Krispy Kreme aka KK has been an American institution for many, many years. I remember it being featured on an episode of The Simpsons, way back when. I even remember having a KK doughnut and coffee at Heathrow airport in the UK.

In Australia, there are dozens of KK outlets in the Eastern States. KK doughnuts can be purchased at petrol stations and at 7-Eleven convenience stores, where the doughnuts are delivered there fresh every day. It’s part of a normal way of life over there.

It’s a different story here in Western Australia. But before I go into details, here’s a potted history of KK in Australia.

The first Australian KK opened up in Penrith near Sydney in the early noughties, followed swiftly by a staggering 53 other outlets on the eastern seaboard (and NONE in Western Australia). However, the company may have misjudged its niche as it became a matter of too much, too soon. In 2010 KK Australia went into voluntary administration and pared its number of outlets right down. Luckily for us sugar addicts, KK managed to return triumphantly from the brink. Most Australians are used to buying 1 or 2 doughnuts at a time, not by the dozen…and that fact may have needed time to digest, literally.

Here is an interesting blog about why KK Australia failed in 2010.
http://startupblog.wordpress.com/2010/11/03/why-krispy-kreme-failed-in-australia/

Western Australia, often regarded as the “poor brother” of the Eastern States, has until very recently relied on an informal and quirky system to get its supplies of KK. Many families in WA have FIFO (Fly-In-Fly-Out) workers in the burgeoning mining services industry. These men and women often use airports in the Eastern States that have KK outlets, Brisbane airport being one example. Yours truly has a husband that used to FIFO to and from Brisbane airport, and that is how I was getting my sugar fix until recently. For years it has been a very common sight to see workers in their yellow/orange high visibility jackets emerging from Perth’s domestic terminal lugging boxes of KK doughnuts along with their luggage.

In my last place of employment in Perth we could place special orders for KK doughnuts twice a year. Yes, really. Someone in Melbourne would place the order at the airport’s KK outlet, then make sure all the boxes were loaded onto the right flight, and then someone else at our side would drive over to Perth airport with a van, to collect the doughnuts. No, as silly as this may sound, this was actually a way of life here.

For years West Australians had been clamouring for KK to go west. But for some reason (I haven’t been able to find out what) KK outlets have never made it to these shores. Until 26th November 2014, when Perth got its very first KK outlet at Whitford City shopping centre.

I heard there were queues forming outside the store already days before it opened its doors. The store operates a 24/7 drive-thru, with a limit of 2 dozen doughnuts per vehicle. During the first few days the drive-thru often had queues of up to 100 cars at any time. There were so many people queuing up outside that the KK management had to employ crowd control people and set up a separate marquee to contain the outside queues. Once inside, there was yet another queue that snaked around to where you could watch the doughnuts being made, as entertainment while you waited.

Yesterday the Kid and I decided to go and see what all this fuss was all about. And so here are some photos of our “WA KK Experience:

image
The queue in the marquee before the queue in the KK store.

image
First step into Perth KK.

image
Look at that conveyor belt with all those doughnuts!

image
Trays of goodies mmmmm!

image
The Loop. The queue takes you to a big glass window through which you can watch doughnuts in production.

image
Cleaning the equipment, getting ready to switch to making a different doughnut. These had glazed doughnuts before, so the worker is washing off any traces of sugar glazing.

image
Busy hands behind the counter. All hands on deck!

image
So we got 2 dozen doughnuts (a dozen glazed and a dozen assorted). And a choc milkshake + 2 doughnuts each, as our “lunch”. I know, I know, I’m a terrible mother! ;)

image
The reason our doughnuts were packed in 4 boxes of 6 instead of 2 boxes of 12 – so they could fit in my bike’s basket!

So, why did I queue up for 45 minutes just for some doughnuts? I can see parallels between this queue and the one I saw for the iPhone 6 just a few months ago. Yes, it’s all completely bonkers and utterly unneccessary. I could never justify blowing $1000 on 1 iGadget. But $50 for 2 dozen doughnuts, 2 yummy chocolate milkshakes and 4 extra doughnuts, a sit-down in the KK store, plus a good friendly natter with some total strangers in the queue, and the look of bliss on my kid’s face as he nibbled his choc doughnut? And also giving away 2 glazed doughnuts to a friendly pregnant woman and her boyfriend that we chatted with at the bus stop? Priceless.

Was it worth a 7 hour round trip, and a bike ride + train + bus, and the same for the return journey? Hell yeah, and I’m (dough)nuts. 😆

A Dystopian Tale of the Disposessed

As the saying goes, you never really appreciate anything until it’s taken away from you. There I was, on a Friday morning, having taken myself off to the cinema to watch The Hunger Games : Mockingjay Part 1 while the Kid was at school. Jolly good film, that, no matter what detractors may say. Okay, it’s an “in-between” filler show, to link to the grand finale next year. But performances were solid all round, and it was good to see the late Philip Seymour Hoffman in his final acting role. Jennifer Lawrence was even more  beautiful, if that is possible. (Okay, I will admit it was my second viewing of the film, the first time was with the Kid 2 weekends ago, he was talking too much and I missed a few bits. That’s my excuse, anyway LOL).

Anyhow, upon exiting the cinema at around noon, I had to walk through the shopping mall right opposite the cinema, to get to where my bicycle was parked. The mall was surprisingly packed full of people, and as I walked in through the doors, I found out why. There had been a power cut not 5 minutes ago, and the stores had all turfed out their customers for health and safety reasons, and also because none of the cashier tills or self-checkout points would work. Indeed, the entire mall had ground to a halt, all because there was no electricity.

I had my handy new Samsung Galaxy Note 4 with me, so I took a few photos of this unusual phenomenon. The disposessed milling around the mall with nothing to do but wait for the power supply to return, so they can go back to their Christmas shopping.

So no, the crowds you see in the following images are Not of an Australian Black Friday. Although it would qualify as a literal Black Friday, as most of the shops were in pitch darkness!

image

image

image

image

image

image

image
(About the only thing you can do when there’s a power cut in a mall – EAT!!)
 

All this reminded me of just how reliant we are on technology today.  I hurried home after this because I had a box full of baby quail chicks that were about a week old and that relied on constant heat, which was supplied by a small table lamp over their box. If the chicks didn’t get enough heat, they would get cold and die. So I had to go home to check that they were okay, and if not, I would have to take desperate measures…which, in a home that is 90% reliant on electricity, is a bit difficult. The best I could think of, in a situation like this, would be to pour hot water from the bathroom taps into drinks bottles, wrap them in towels, and place them in the box with the chicks, until the power came back on.

Luckily for me and the residents of Rockingham, the power cut was limited only to the mall. Phew!

I remember many years ago, when I was working for the Office of Fair Trading in London, United Kingdom. We’d just moved offices from an old building 3 streets away, to a swanky, newly refurbished building. The 2nd day there, we hit teething problems. The power went out. As an office that was completely computer-based, we could do little but sit at our desks twiddling our thumbs. Absolutely no work could be done that day.  After waiting a couple of hours for the power to be restored, we were told to just go home and come back tomorrow.

I guess the lesson here is that we should not take what we have for granted. The same goes for Money…those that have always had money, will find it extremely hard to cope with everyday life if that is taken away from them suddenly. However, on the flip side, those who have gone through periods of having little or no money would have learnt to survive, and so when poverty or a financial crisis strikes again, they will be better equipped to deal with it. Let us all be thankful for what we have, instead of wanting more. If we always want more, we will never be satisfied.

 

My favourite artist Lenormand deck

I just received in the post what has to be my favourite Lenormand deck. This one’s by Lauren Forestell and it’s aptly called the “Destroyed Dondorf”. The Dondorf design is perhaps the most recognisable design of all traditional Lenormand cards. It is readily available online through the usual suspects, and there are many variants of it as well.

Lauren’s story on how the”Destroyed Dondorf”, or, more precisely “Le Fanu’s Destroyed Dondorf” came to be is intriguing. Basically, a tatty old deck of Dondorf Lenormand cards fell into the hands of a chap called Le Fanu, who then showed it to Lauren, who then proceeded to restore the cards digitally. Read about it on Le Fanu’s blog My Curious Cabinet.

I have taken some photos of my newest acquisition, for posterity. They really are the most intriguing, meaningful and enchanting deck of Lenormand cards I own. I’m inspired to create my own tattered well-worn deck, which should be fun, as I’m a big afficionado of grunge and texture in my own artistic endeavours.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Materialism & I

Not too long ago, I blogged about my observations on the release of Apple’s iPhone 6 in Perth, Western Australia. The queue to purchase the iPhone 6 snaked round the block starting outside the Perth Apple store. I reported that I was rather embarrassed by what I saw; it wasn’t so much the fact that there were so many in the queue, but the fact that 95% of those in the queue were Orientals.

For those of you who don’t know already, AlyZen Moonshadow is a pseudonym and my professional artist name. It is also the name I use in order to protect myself and my son from my abusive ex-partner in England.

The other thing you may not already know about me us that I was born in Malaysia, and my ancestry is predominantly Chinese (with a bit of stray Caucasian thrown in. There is a branch of my ancestral family tree with redheads and freckles).

So when I say I felt embarrassed at the sight of all my “fellow Orientals” desperately queuing up to buy that shiny new must-have gadget, the iPhone 6, I meant it. I felt ashamed to bear a physical resemblance to those in the queue. Because I know exactly the type of blood that runs in the veins of those people, from first hand experience. It’s type M. Meaning “Materialism“.

In Malaysia and Singapore, where I spent my formative years, we were brought up to aspire for professions that paid the most. Doctors, dentists, engineers, scientists, IT specialists, programmers – these were the jobs to aim for. Anything lower than that was looked down upon. God forbid if you ended up a supermarket checkout girl! Or even worse, behind the counter at McDonald’s. Honest, hard work was frowned upon. Instead, the emphasis was on prestige, name and buying power.

The first 3 things a typical Malaysian or Singaporean will ask you when first introduced, are these:

1) Where are you from?
2) What’s your occupation?
3) How much do you earn in a year?

No, I’m not kidding, unfortunately.

The 3 “C”s of South East Asia are not Colour, Cut and Clarity, but rather Car, Cash and Condominium. It was back then, and it is even more so now.

I’m a real maverick alright. I fly in the face of tradition. Needless to say, I’m the black sheep of my family. Even my own cousins from my generation think less of me because I don’t have a swanky job like them. Or, perhaps they feel uneasy that I should be happy the way I am, rather than swimming with the other fishes.

In all my years living abroad, and having struck rock bottom before, my life philosophy has changed. It does not resonate with that of my “fellow Orientals” anymore than Kermit is a toad. In this world where Materialism can easily equate to Self-Worth, I am a non-player.

And that is why my dear old Dad likes to remind me that I am a “Constant disappointment” to him. (That is also why I like to keep communication with him few and far between). Unlike my older brother, who fit nicely into the mold my Dad created for him, and became a doctor, I’m the one who “Never amounted to much”, the one whose artistic skills get laughed and booed at because “You’re not making money out of it, so it doesn’t count”. I’m told time and again to “Get a real job, one that pays well”.

Maybe I should. But then again, I’ve seen both sides of the coin. I’ve been that hardnosed, ambitious, materialistic bitch. I’ve played the part of single mother stranded with an infant in a foreign country with no way to pay a mortgage. I’ve worked in places where bullying is rife and favouritism the word of the day, and I left because of that and the bureaucracy behind corporate doors. Now I’m a stay-at-home Mum who creates digital art and tries to find niches to sell them online, and I’m reliant on my husband who thankfully earns enough to support the family. We’ve bills to pay, and some weeks are tougher than others, but we have enough.

And I’m happy. No matter what my family may say, well-meant or not, about my lack of “class” or “style”, the fact that I’d rather use a bicycle and public transport than a car to get around, no matter how much they try to convince me that “Our only concern is how much money we’re going to make from this venture”, the bottom line is this:

Materialism and I parted company a while ago, and I’m in no hurry for us to get back together.

image

Black Friday – Don’t Do It!

For years I laboured under the assumption that the retail shopping frenzy the day after Thanksgiving was an American thing. Thanksgiving is an American thing after all. The very thought of competitive shopping, with the added bonus of getting hurt or even killed, chilled me to my bone marrow.

Now I’ve found out that this piece of consumerism tosh has not just become ever more popular than ever, it’s spread to other countries across the globe. Countries that don’t even celebrate Thanksgiving! Black Friday never had much to do with being thankful, anyway, it was just the timing of it, to usher in the Christmas shopping season.

But even that is becoming a moot point. No one shops for Christmas presents in December anymore. Our local supermarket here in Australia lays out its Christmas offerings as early as September. Christmas items are on the shelves even before Halloween stuff.

There’s talk of extending retail hours in the run-up to Christmas, the excuse being given as “providing shopping opportunities for the time-poor who work and otherwise would not have the time to shop for their loved ones”. Well, I’m going to be scathing and say this: Bollocks. These “time-poor” folks have had all year to buy their Christmas presents. Extending the hours is just a ploy to get more people into the shops to buy more stuff that they don’t need. Shopping has become the newest pastime for workers who don’t know what to do with themselves when they’re not at work.

Black Friday is like The Hunger Games. The winner kills, maims or otherwise incapacitates his/her opponents, and in return gets a microwave oven. Sometimes, that same microwave oven is the weapon of choice. Yes, you may laugh, but unfortunately that is Exactly what happens.

Read this interesting article by Michael Roose, which explains very clearly how Black Friday and similar blow-out sales are a behavioural economist’s nightmare.

There is NO good reason for anyone in their right minds to indulge in Black Friday activities. It’s meant to be Thanksgiving, so how about being thankful for what you already have? Stay home with your family, make it an extended weekend, or go away camping somewhere far from the maddening crowd.

image

image

image

And guess what comes after the weekend? Cyber Monday, that’s what. Yet another consumerist ploy. Because this is geared towards online shopping, it’s a safer bet than Black Friday. You definitely won’t get trampled to death shopping on Cyber Monday.

But do you Really need more stuff?

Just don’t do it!

More or Less

More and Less directions.  Opposite traffic sign.

Just some more food for thought, now that the holiday season is nearly here and the madness is in full swing at the malls. The months of October-January are when I try to stay away from shopping centres, as I dislike the sight of people walking around stuffing their trolleys with things that they don’t need and will never use, but which may seem like a good idea at the time. I cringe because that was me not too long ago, and even now I have a few secret Wants of a consumerist nature.  But at least I’m not like my ex-friend Sheila, who spends all year buying things for her grandchildren, so much so that she had to get a garden shed especially just for the storage of Christmas paraphernalia and presents. As soon as Christmas is over, and her shed devoid of presents, she’d be out at the shops snapping up “January Sales Bargains”, and the cycle would begin again. When we were friends, she used to pick me up from home to go shopping with her. I’d only need a couple of things, but her “consumeritis” was very contagious, and I’d always end up spending far too much and regret it later.

Luckily, all that is in the past now for me. I understand now why some people say they can never save money – it’s because they’re out spending it as soon as they get it. Now that I’m no longer “gainfully employed” in the eyes of society, my list of Wants and Needs has changed drastically.

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

image

This last image drives home the point.

image

One born every second…

My 12-year-old son and I have a thing going about TV adverts at the moment. I got tired of hearing him saying he wanted this and that toy, so I challenged him to question every ad with “Want or Need?”.  He’s coming round to my way of thinking now, after all this is his Mum who can go into a thrift shop and come out with 2 bags full of Lego pieces for just $10.  We’ve even taken to couponning … well, not quite. We do play McDonald’s current game “Drop Into Macca’s” on our mobile phones, though – but only to win free food prizes. We do the same for Hungry Jack’s (that’s Burger King to the rest of the world). Sometimes, there really is a free meal.

But I digress. We’ve found so far that only a minute proportion of Australian TV advertisements actually sell anything that you would really need. The rest is just plain consumerist marketing tosh. First they feed you the Want, then when your finances are shot to hell, they feed you the Solution by way of cash loans at exorbitant rates, or 0% credit cards for 9 months, after which the exorbitant rates will hit you anyhow, because you’d have been lulled into a false sense of security just by moving your debts to that other card, and you’d have forgotten the original purpose of doing so, which was to get rid of your debt in the first place.

Today I was surfing the internet for misleading or false advertisements, and I’ve come to the conclusion that it really is funny as in haha funny, how gullible consumers can be. And then there are the real dozy bloopers, whether intentional or not. There really is a sucker born every second, and that’s a fact!  Go on, laugh!

(Source: Google Images)

false advertising

Supermarket staff are clearly not tested on their Math skills these days. I wonder if consumers are any the wiser.  I’ve personally seen toys at a local toy store marked “Was $14.99, save $10, now $24.99″. Or, how about this “Massive discount! Was $34.99, now $34.98″. Here in Australia, where there are no 1 or 2 cent coins, you better make sure you pay for that great bargain by card, where at least they charge you the actual price, otherwise if you pay by cash, no one’s gonna have any change to give you, matey!

6681352361_c06b02b339_b

Uh huh, that old forced perspective trick. Yup, the burgers really are nothing like their mugshots. They’re marginally better at Hungry Jack’s, though. Now, Hungry Jack’s advertises that their burgers are better…and they really are better tasting, and better value for money. Their fries are crap, though.

6a01761762a570970c019b01a74479970d

I wonder if the blurb actually said  the 2 Snickers bars would be the same size as the normal one?  I’d like to see what the small print says on the wrapper. I used to work in the UK regulating the control of misleading advertisements, so this Could technically be a pass, if all Snickers is saying is that there are 2 Snickers bars in that wrapper, and Not 2 normal sized Snickers bars.

a.baa-False-Advertising-Strawberri

Blackest strawberries I’ve ever seen!

horrifying_false_advertising

Wow.  Just wow. I never knew Tropicana made bacon. Oink!

4130993-blatant-false-advertising-0

I wonder how this store makes a living, or how it’s even still open?

a.aaa

Hmmm…reminds me of a certain hi-tech mobile phone purportedly “Made in America”…Here in our local supermarket, they have bread “Baked fresh in-store. Comes from Ireland”. Fastest delivery times, ever?!

FalseAdvertising-01

I don’t know about other countries, but here in Western Australia, they jack up the prices of everything to three times their usual RRP, keep it there for a couple of months, and then proclaim a Mid-Season Half Price sale. Do the math.

o-FALSE-ADVERTISING-570

I wonder how many people fell for this. Not too many, I hope! Maybe not false advertising, but rather “Marketing for the Mathematically Challenged”?

o-FALSE-ADVERTISING-570 eggs

I have 30 “boneless chickens” incubating right now. Is this evolution or devolution for poultry?  Which came first, the chicken or the boneless chicken?

Courting Controversy Part II: Elizabeth Durack/Eddie Burrup

We’ve seen what happens when an artist passes off another’s work as his/her own. In my previous post, I wrote about the controversy surrounding Walter Keane and Margaret Keane.

What happens then, when a white woman in her 80s paints in the style of Australian Aboriginal Art, and claims to be an Aboriginal Artist by the name of Eddie Burrup? That is exactly what happened in the 1990s, with Elizabeth Durack (1915-2000).

Early in 1997, 82-year-old painter Elizabeth Durack (now deceased) was reported to have produced a number of paintings under the persona ‘Eddie Burrup’. Under this pseudonym, Durack produced images of some Kimberley country in an Aboriginal style. Many Indigenous artists attach to their paintings a text that talks about their life experiences, their world-view and their relationship to the land. The Burrup works attached similar biographical information to the paintings. Durack had spent decades associating with Aboriginal people in the Kimberley region, as had her family since their arrival in the 1880s, and she believed this ‘gave her the right to paint as one’ (Debelle, 2000).
In response, Wayne Bergmann, acting head of the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Cultural Centre, said: ‘…in Aboriginal law, no-one can take another’s work or another’s identity. Miss Durack has failed to respect the very law and culture in which she claims empathy and understanding’ (McCullock, 1997). Another critic of Durack was Doreen Mellor, who was the curator of the 1996 Aboriginal Art Centre Exhibition in Adelaide at the time when the true identity of Eddie Burrup came to light. ‘I was terribly angry,’ Mellor said. ‘At that point she was definitely representing the work as being by an Aboriginal artist’ (Debelle, 2000).
However, other responses were not so condemnatory of Durack’s paintings. There were some senior Nyungar men who backed her, saying she had been possessed by the spirit of an Aboriginal artist. Also in her favour was the fact that she had been painting pictures depicting Aboriginal themes long before the Aboriginal art boom of the 1970s. It could also be said that the Eddie Burrup pictures represented a huge leap in her creativity in the twilight of her career. (Earlier in her career Durack’s paintings used Aboriginal people as subjects in the Western tradition.) That she chose to reveal the truth voluntarily shows that perhaps there was no evil design at work.
Durack claimed that Eddie Burrup was a compilation of several Aboriginal men she had known. In the furore that followed her disclosure of being Burrup, she asserted that she was astonished that it had hurt or offended. Whatever Durack’s intentions were, the consequences served to fuel a debate on the issue of the authenticity of Aboriginal artworks including the question of non-Indigenous artists painting under Aboriginal pseudonyms.

(Source: http://ab-ed.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/go/aboriginal-art/protecting-australian-indigenous-art/background-information/protection-the-issues/case-study-eddie-burrup)

Here’s a website with further information about the Elizabeth Durack/Eddie Burrup impersonation: http://www.elizabethdurack.com/burrup_6_storm.php 

Whatever one’s opinions are, the fact that remains is this: for many years Elizabeth Durack made money selling her Eddie Burrup paintings to unsuspecting members of the public. Collectors parted with their hard-earned money to acquire what they assumed in good faith was the work of a prominent Australian Aboriginal Artist. Despite what Elizabeth Durack’s estate may say to refute this, monetary gain was had as a result of this deception, and no amount of apologising or throwing up of hands can ever change what happened.

Untitled

eb_4a_top

feature_burrup

Elizabeth Durack’s daughter, Perpetua Durack Clancy, herself courted controversy this year, when, as judge of an Indigenous Art competition in Broome, Western Australia, she refused to award the prize to ANY of the participating artists. This created a furore amongst the Aboriginal community, many of whom felt that salt was being rubbed into old wounds when they realised Perpetua was the daughter of none other than Elizabeth Durack.  In the 1990s Perpetua ran the Durack Fine Art Gallery in Broome, that promoted and sold the art of Eddie Burrup.

Read here for the full article: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-09-09/outrage-as-judge-refuses-to-award-indigenous-artists/5730274/?site=indigenous

Courting Controversy Part I: Walter Keane/Margaret Keane

When is it a good idea to pass off someone else’s work as your own? The answer is: Never. The Truth will always come out in the wash. And sometimes that laundry bill comes to millions of dollars.

Some of us may remember seeing these images of big-eyed children, in our own childhood days. I have a vague recollection of seeing some of them on some kitschy wall ornaments when I was around 8. But I never made the connection between them and the huge controversy surrounding Walter Keane and Margaret Keane, until now.

margaret-and-walter-keane-true-story-behind-tim-burton-big-eyes-movie

KEANE

3114093185_55c4908955_z

imgp45891

Walter_Stanley_Keane                                                 Walter Keane

a4cc5c46ce35a28062d61f353bc6468e17                       Margaret Keane

Wikipedia describes Walter Keane as a plagiarist. And that is exactly what he was. He was a clever narcissist with delusions of grandeur, who in the 1950s and 60s passed off his wife Margaret’s work as his own. The only contribution Walter Keane ever made with regards the big-eyed children paintings was to add his signature to the finished works. Margaret Keane was kept in the house as a virtual slave, told to just concentrate on painting. Walter emotionally blackmailed Margaret to stay silent about this fraud for many years, whilst reaping the financial rewards all in his own name. (I have a name for people like him, but I won’t use it here, as we are in polite company).  My heart goes out to Margaret Keane, who suffered under Walter’s abusive tyranny for 10 years, until she decided enough was enough, divorced him in 1965 and took him to court in 1970…Walter had claimed that she only said she was the real artist because she believed he was dead…so Margaret sued him for slander.

A “paint-off” between Walter and Margaret was ordered by the judge in Court, to decide once and for all who the artist of the big-eyed children images was. Margaret painted hers in 53 minutes. Walter claimed he had a sore shoulder and declined the order to paint. The Court found in Margaret’s favour and awarded her $4 million in damages, but Walter never paid up and in fact contested the judgement until the day he died on 27th December 2000.

Margaret, I’m happy to say, moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, where she remarried, became a Jehovah’s Witness and continued to paint. She now resides in Napa Valley, California, where she is still active.

Tim Burton (Nightmare Before Christmas, Corpse Bride, Alice in Wonderland etc) will release his newest film to movie buffs this December 2014, entitled “Big Eyes“. And it’s about the life and times of Walter and Margaret Keane. One of my favourite actresses, Amy Adams, plays Margaret Keane. Walter will be portrayed by Christoph Waltz. I can’t wait!

poster-for-tim-burtons-big-eyes

 

It’s a bird, it’s a plane…

…it’s a plane. On Saturday 25th October 2014, as I was out in the garden watering my plants, I heard the drone of a plane overhead. Where we are it’s not uncommon to see biplanes and vintage planes flying over, and on celebration days like Anzac Day, the jets that fly past Perth often go over Rockingham first. Nearby Garden Island houses Australia’s largest naval fleet, and sometimes we hear their jet engines.

But this day was rather different. As I looked up, expecting to see one of the usual suspects, what I saw instead was something quite different, and something I’d never encountered before. My son’s best friend, Cooper, was over for a playdate that afternoon, so I called both boys out to witness the strange plane in the sky. Cooper is quite an aviation buff, but this had even him scratching his head.

This is what we saw (yes, I had to Google it until I found it, as I didn’t have my camera or mobile phone on me when it happened):

1174834

CASA_C-212-CC50,_Gargaard_Aviation_AN0165830

1306716

Weird, huh? Like a kite.

I’m sure you’ll agree it’s not something you see every day. After finding the image on Google, I still had no idea what this plane was. I couldn’t make out it if had 2 or 4 engines, it was too far away, and I only managed to find some images on Google after searching under several possible keywords (some of them being such as “plane with diamond-shaped struts, plane with cables, kite-like plane”).  But at least I was in the right area. I decided to search under the name on the tail – Fugro, for more information.

Turns out it’s a “Geophysical survey aircraft, undertaking magnetic and electromagnetic surveys for mineral exploration companies” (Source: http://www.airliners.net) This particular model is the CASA C-212-CC40 (or possibly CC50). Not much information is forthcoming from the internet, but judging by the look of the cables suspended in a diamond-shaped configuration between the head, wings and tail of the aircraft, one would assume perhaps they are to aid in the collection of data or geological mapping of the ground.

Sounds about right. Western Australia’s most important industry is the mining industry.  I Google “Fugro” and found the company’s website. I found some information about aerial mapping from this link.

Well, there you go.  You learn something new every day!