I've had my HTC Mozart Windows phone for just over a year now. It serves my purposes well enough, but I must admit that my usage remains fairly basic. Calls, texts, email, Twitter, a bit of web browsing. I've not explored the world of "apps" much; mainly because I figure there are maybe 17 or 18 that have been made for the Windows Phone.
One feature I do use is the inbuilt camera. It's not particularly great quality, as the shutter button is external, not on the screen, so it's harder to fire off those super-quick shots people with iPhones seem in the habit of doing. However, it's often the only camera I have on me, as my other camera is a big Nikon DSLR.
I thought it might be fun to have a look back at the year that was 2011, through the prism of my mobile phone camera. So often our mobile phone pictures are disposable. I thought collating a few might help me look back on the year, and the shape it was. I took hundreds of pictures, but displaying them all would be foolishly boring, or boringly foolish. So I settled on the round number of 20 to show to you. Some I've used in posts or tweets throughout the year; some are blurry; some are just plain silly.
But, here they all are anyway. 20 Pics of 2011 - via my mobile phone.
My year started as 2010 had ended - busy busy busy, work work work. The state had flooded, and my new boss used his very first day on January 3 to send me to Bundaberg. It was a great opportunity to get into the field, even though the immediate danger in Bundy had passed. The building pictured is the hotel I stayed at, and one of the first things I saw on arrival was this yacht, washed up about six metres from the river.
I returned from Bundaberg, had a few days to recover, and was hoping things would calm down a touch. I returned to work on Monday 10 January, to be immediately greeted with reports of something going down in Toowoomba. It turned out to be water. Lots of it. Lots of it everywhere. I happened to be on the night shift roster that week, which turned into overnights as we realised Brisbane would flood. The above photo was taken just after the peak, on the morning of Thursday 13 January. I had finished up work around 3:30am, and gone to the Howard Smith Wharves near the Story Bridge to see the swollen river. It was a terrible week for so many, and as a journo covering it, but with no personal damage, I felt both in the middle of it and strangely removed from it at the same time.
We all thought it was over. But it wasn't. Cyclone Yasi came in early February. I was stationed for several days at the Emergency Services HQ at Kedron to cover regular briefings from the Premier and various EMQ officials. Their new facilities hadn't even been properly finished; the whole media was working in a makeshift fashion. You can see the Auslan translator in the blurry pic above. One day I was lunching in the canteen with the mighty Bob Rastas, when I overheard two women, one of them hearing-impaired, tell the Premier they were grateful she'd included signing.
Barely a month after Yasi, Campbell Newman threw a spanner in Anna Bligh's resurgent popularity by resigning as Lord Mayor of Brisbane and becoming the leader of the Queensland opposition, the LNP - from outside the parliament. It was a spinout, to say the least. The above photo was taken a few days before Newman was officially endorsed as the candidate for Ashgrove, as he met federal Liberal leader Tony Abbott for an early morning coffee and chat.
Impro comedy again played a large part in my life in 2011. I had to take over much of the running of ImproMafia's fourth season of Prognosis: Death! after The Wah went to Biloela to teach for a term. I still adore playing Nurse Lottie Buble, but I never want to have to make fake blood and jelly organs again. No matter how I tried, I always stuffed up the recipe. The Wah has the magic - and bloody - touch.
I went horseriding in early May for the first time in years. It was fantastic; great to be out in nature for a while. The only problem was the saddle; it left me with honking great bruises on my inner thighs. The photo above gives some sense of scale. Certainly nothing compared to the breadth of knowledge and charm demonstrated regularly by Melvin Bragg, but you get the idea.
I visited The Wah in Biloela during the height of the Great Planking Craze of 2011. I tried to invent my own foolhardy internet craze. "Gripping" was simply having a photo of yourself taken while holding fast to something with both hands. Sadly, despite my awesome grip of the yellow bull that gave Banana Shire its name, Gripping failed to take off.
The Wah spent much of his time in Biloela getting out and about and exploring. When I was there, he took me up to a viewing platform to see the huge draglines of the Callide mine. We were on our way back down again when he remembered the space shuttle Endeavour, docked with the ISS, would be visible for a short time speeding overhead. We went back up, saw it, and waved it goodbye. No one hears you yelling at dusk at the Callide mine. This picture doesn't feature the Endeavour, but is the general area in which it was travelling. And the clouds are quite pretty.
Winter brought dinosaurs - specifically, the massive animatronic ones of the Walking With Dinosaurs live show. I was able to abuse some connections to get our group backstage before the show to see the giant creatures pre-preformance. The Wah and Dan were able to grab an interview for their Smart Enough to Know Better podcast. The above pic was the only one I snapped off on my phone, before The Wah told me to put it away and just enjoy the show. Wise words. It was honestly a buzz; even better than when I first saw Jurassic Park aged 12. One of the most magical experiences of 2011.
A picture perfect July day in South-East Queensland. I jumped aboard a media barge for North Stradbroke Island for the declaration of the Quandamooka people's native title claim. It think it was the only time this year I've been in a boat. A terrible admission, given the six generations of seamen that come before me, and my childhood on the water. Given the calm and warm day, I found it incredibly soothing.
I fell down the f***ing stairs at State Parliament. It left me stunned, and despite physio, my poor neck has never been quite the same. I still use those stairs regularly. I just make sure to always hold the bannister.
Bob Katter had launched his Australian Party earlier in the year, but in August announced it would willingly absorb Aidan McLindon's Queensland Party. The media conference discussing their marriage was suitably animated, with Bob declaring the party wouldn't just win a few seats, but could take government.
I pulled up outside a stationery shop at Cannon Hill one day, only to climb out of the car and be confronted by four boxers staring forlornly at me. They looked like they were going on a boxer dog family holiday, but were none-too-pleased about it. It was hysterically surreal, as I told their owner when she came out of the shop. Turns out the pups just love a ride in the car, and like to spread out.
For the first time in my professional life, I received a nomination for an actual award, not just one I made up in my own head. My work on the LNP's change of leadership received a nod for Best Radio News Report at the Clarions (Qld Media Awards). I lost the award to the ABC, but took the gloriously bearded Disco Stu as my date, so I think I ended the night as the real winner. Oh yes, and I had a fringe cut for the first time since my early teens.
ImproMafia staged the Off the Cuff Festival from 29 September to 1 October, which sold out two of its three nights at the Powerhouse Visy Theatre. It was a huge logistical challenge, and its success a credit to our company. To promote it, our amazing musician Kris Anderson went on ABC 612 breakfast to provide a musical backing track for announcer Spencer Howson.
The fulfilment of childhood fantasies - buying a She-Ra costume. For the honour of Greyskull, naturally.
I snatched up front-row Eddie Izzard tickets a mere milliseconds after they went onsale. His November show at the Convention Centre was a delight. Most charming of all was seeing the little toys placed carefully in front of one of the feedback speakers, to act as a visual prompt for his material, over the course of the two hour show. Clever, and so sweet.
The second-to-last day of parliament was a long one, covering the conscience vote on civil partnerships. Before the debate kicked off, supporters rallied outside parliament, and both Premier Anna Bligh and deputy Andrew Fraser (who introduced the bill) spoke in favour of it. When it passed, just after 11pm, the public gallery exploded into cheers and applause, only to be remonstrated by the Speaker. I remained at my tiny cubicle until 2am filing, before backing up for the final sitting seven hours later.
The Wah bought himself a telescope, a mammoth thing the size of a small cannon. My doubts about its worth were overcome on December 10 when he set it up around midnight to watch the lunar eclipse. It was breath-taking to see it through the "light bucket", as The Wah calls it. I snapped the above shot by holding my phone to the view-finder. Not bad.
There are so many wonderful pictures of How To Be A Man floating around cyberland. The above is one of the few I took on my mobile, and I'm glad I did, because not including something from HTBAM would be a terrible omission. It was a project full of joy. The shot was taken on the very final performance, during the party scene, in which we'd regularly bring in ringers to be cameo guests. I think this captures the sense of debauchery of not only that scene, but of the experience of the production as a whole.
So there is one visual representation of 2011 for me. If you're inspired, I'd love to see your own version (whether it's 20 pictures, or 10, or 50!).