Festival season in Townsville

Winter in Townsville is the season of festivals and outdoor events, since the weather is (pretty reliably) clear and sunny.

In the next few weeks there are at least three festivals which will attract a particular demographic, one which I must be part of since it is one I have identified from the inside. It can be characterised as arty-greenie-leftie-alternative and its members turn up in various combinations at Landcare working bees, as Reef HQ Aquarium volunteers, as members or audience members of Aquapella (listen to them on YouTube), at the photography club or pottery classes, at yoga and tai chi open days, at the book club, handing out how-to-vote cards for the Greens, chatting with wine-glass in hand at gallery openings, and so on. It’s a big enough demographic that they/we don’t really know each other but small enough that they/we often recognise one another by sight. I am confident that these three events will to be of interest to them/us.

EcoFiesta, 2 & 3 June 2012, 11am – 4pm

This free community event in Queens Gardens, North Ward, includes the Townsville Environmental Awards, a Welcoming Babies Ceremony, live entertainment and environmentally sustainable workshops filled with ideas to assist the community in becoming more environmentally conscious and sustainable. The event itself is carbon neutral. As I said a while ago, EcoFiesta was hippie-alternative in its first years but has drifted slightly towards commercialisation even as the mainstream has begun to embrace the whole greenie thing, and the festival is now almost mainstream.

Performers on the One Degree stage include Tim Griffin, Laughin Gear, Ranger Dan, Carinda Christie, Lonesome Trio and the headline artists for this exciting event are FourPlay and The Rosie Burgess Trio. Website

Townsville Literary Festival, 4 – 10 June

Workshops for teachers and writers, with local and out-of-town presenters, and other events for the broader public. Programme (pdf)

Palm Creek Folk Festival, 8 – 11 June

The Palm Creek Folk Festival is an annual event, held in June each year in the grounds of the Mountain View Lake Eco Park, 40km south of Townsville. The event takes place over four days and three nights, involving more than 100 performers and events with music concerts, dances, workshops, acoustic jams, youth festival, art and craft workshops, and special events. The Festival features the cream of local performers and selected national special guests. Website

All these events and many more were listed in the Townsville Arts e-bulletin, a free monthly listing sponsored by the city council and compiled by Sandra James and Teneale Grigg of the Community Information Centre Townsville, Inc. Visit their site to sign up for the newsletter if you want to be kept informed.

Happy Birthday, Green Path

Today is the first anniversary of launch of my blog in April, 2011. I am quite pleased that I have been able to maintain it at the level of two or three posts per week (the average is actually just over three) and to keep a reasonable variety of themes ticking over.

Changes? My working title during development was ‘Bugblog’ and that made it onto the finished site, in a few not-too-important places, but I can’t see that it is useful: ‘Green Path’ is better, so dropping ‘Bugblog’ (however cute it is) will save any confusion over the blog’s title. Also, the Search Engine Optimisation plug-in which I installed at the end of January is quietly increasing readership but more could be done and I will try to find time to add buttons for social media to make it easier for my readers to recommend an article to their friends.

Regrets? I had hoped to get more of a sense of community through a stream of comments. That may have failed because the blog format is not particularly congenial to conversations – bulletin boards are better and Facebook, while not better, is more popular – but still, it would be nice.

Another personal online milestone slipped past recently before I noticed it: I posted my one thousandth photo to my Flickr photostream a month ago. There is some sort of poetic justice in the fact that it was a picture of an ant, a creature known for its quietly persistent industriousness.

I joined Flickr in April 2010, so my average there is ten photos per week. Nearly all of them are insects and spiders of North Queensland, and two thirds of them – representing perhaps 300 species – have been taken in my own garden, an indication of just how much usually-unnoticed life goes on around us.

Just for fun: Wordles

Wordle is a free online java applet for generating ‘word clouds’ from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text, by making them larger, and the wordle is therefore a sort of visual summary of the text. I was introduced to it by an example on RealClimate, where someone had used it to summarise the IPCC Extreme Weather Event report I talked about here.

climate wordle

Wordle is fun and is an easy way for the artistically challenged to produce interesting graphics. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and colour schemes, and you can ‘rig’ the results by deleting words from it or by pre-loading the text with multiple repetitions of the words you want featured.

More text makes your wordle a more representative overview of the subject, while less will usually give you a more dramatic-looking result.

Update, December 2020: The original wordle creation site has succumbed to the tyranny of time but spawned imitators before it did so. Look them up…

Launching Bugblog

Green Path, aka Bugblog while in development, has been more than a year in gestation, from the first vague idea that it would be good for me to keep some sort of visual diary of my insect photography and observations, through to installing WordPress and setting up the site.

Part of my process was to write posts for the blog-to-be. It seemed a shame to waste them all so I have copied some of them across to the new blog. For the same reason I have added relevant items I have shared with friends and relations during the development phase. Bugblog therefore has entries going back several months although today is its official launch.

As I crack an imaginary bottle of champagne across its metaphorical bows I wish us all the best of luck on our voyage into the future.