Author Archives: Richard Leonard

About Richard Leonard

Writer, photographer. Creator of stories using words and pictures.

A Slight Change in Direction

Hello.

Regular readers may or may not have noticed my absence in the last few months and even a slow-down of blog posts preceding that. In the past I’ve made moderately loud noises about the novels I have been working on and how I intend to publish these some time soon. I know it’s taking a while but I’m still on it.

The thing is, it all started with my intention to design my own book cover, including shooting the photo and touching it up to book cover quality. A family friend did a modelling course a couple of years ago and agreed to pose for the cover. So we did that back in February (I must write a post about that one day), after I loaded my brain up with as much photography knowledge as I could fit. I also took every opportunity to take photos in various environments. Mostly for practice.

I’ve set up a Facebook page, Instagram and posted what I thought were some of my better shots. To my amazement I started getting requests from people with whom I’m connected to varying degrees, to shoot for them. You know, things like, award ceremonies, milestone birthday parties, weddings, stuff like that.

Weddings! After I got back up off the floor when reading that one, I began questioning my plan. I had an idea to fix this WordPress blog of mine to resemble a website rather than a blog by sticking a front page on it, describe photography services I might provide, explicitly excluding weddings. I wasn’t that confident yet and I didn’t have all the required gear. And besides, a wedding is something you don’t want to stuff up when you’re first starting out receiving payment for what’s essentially just a serious hobby.

DSC_0361-400WThen the next surprise came from my daughter’s netball club president who asked me, rather than just photographing her game, could I come down for a whole day and shoot every game of every team in the whole club. Fifteen teams, fifteen games. Yeah, no worries but I’ll have to stagger it across several weeks because, you know, battery, SD cards, other things to do besides shooting netball.

So, long story short (Oops! Too late!) This blog/website has changed “from Richard’s Ramblings” to “Richard Leonard – Words & Pictures” to reflect the writing and photography that are my two main hobbies. At the moment. This site will gradually change to support the new focus and brand.  The old blog is still there under the Richard’s Ramblings menu but I might remove some irrelevant posts when I get the time.

But to anyone who is interested, the writing continues, the novel is on its way to being finished, including the cover. I just want to take some time to improve my photography and provide services to people if I can.

Onwards…

Unlock the Myki gates!

“We wish to advise that currently it is a requirement to touch on in order to validate a ticket; this is so that when touching off the system can calculate the lowest possible fare.”
This is an extract of a reply to an email I sent Public Transport Victoria (PTV) regarding touching off at Myki gates. There are few things wrong with it. Firstly, this statement only applies to certain uses of Myki Money. It does not apply when using a Pass.
The Myki System has two ways of paying fares. For random travel you can top up your Myki card with “Myki Money” which is deducted whenever you travel in certain zones for certain periods of time. The lowest fare is calculated when you touch off so this is where their statement is correct. However, the Myki Pass lets you buy a number of consecutive days of travel and the statement above does not apply.
Contrary to what the PTV wants you to believe, touching on a Myki does different things depending on what’s loaded on your card.
If you have no pass or no money the myki reader says no.
If you have Myki Money and no Pass it will let you touch on and when you next touch off, it will calculate the fare based on time and zones travelled through. This is why it’s important to touch off at the end of every journey otherwise the default fare applies which may not be the cheapest fare.
Now, here’s the interesting part. If you touch on with an unused pass on your card, the machine will validate your card by activating the Pass for the specified zones and number of days on the pass starting with today. But the system still insists that you touch on and off every time you travel, even if this is only to open the gates where they are present in the inner city and the occasional major suburban station. There is really no need for this. If the card reader detects a valid pass for the current zone the gate should be opened regardless of the touch-on status.
The same actually applies to Myki Money once the default fare or daily cap is reached.

So why do we need this restriction? Why can’t the system recognise a valid pass and open the  gates, even if the card isn’t touched on for this trip? It would help passenger throughput, decrease congestion when people try to get out of the station with a perfectly valid Myki Pass, and generally help reduce people’s bad percentions of the Myki system.

This is the question I posed to PTV who said they have passed the query on to the relevant department. Hopefully, we shall see some common sense and an improvement to Melbourne’s transport system.

What on Earth am I Doing Now?

Hey all! I know it’s been a while. I’ve been guilty of hobby-hopping again and even within each hobby I’ve been jumping between projects. Madness.

Possible Logo

Possible Logo. Think of the blue as transparent.

I’ve been tossing up for a while now about creating a Facebook page. I know, I’m always late to the party. I wasn’t sure whether to make a photography page or a writing page. So I combined the ideas and created Richard Leonard – Words and Pictures. Not much on there yet but I hope to keep posting regular updates. Feel free to go over and “Like” it. The narcissist and book and photo salesperson in me would appreciate that.🙂 Here’s a logo I’ve been working on for the FB page, photo watermarks and possible a revamp of this blog. What do you think?

Contrary to what I’ve always believed, I’ve discovered that the Aurora Australis is actually visible from Victoria when it’s strong enough and you’re away from city lights, and you have a decent camera and clear skies. I’ve been feverishly chasing the thing but seem to lack the sufficiently dark skies of the deep country side or southern coastlines to get a any decent shots. One day soon, hopefully.

I’ve been polishing up the Novel, Rochelle’s Briefcase. I’ve reviewed the whole plot and made some changes in that department. No deadline yet. not even an ETA. I have a model lined up for the cover shoot! She should have more time available so there might be some movement in that area soon.

Earlier this year I posted about an idea of mine for a new tax system. That was way out of left-field and not within my normal interests but is slightly inspired by my software development profession and a vision for an implementation which grew into a relatively easy to grasp concept. Considering making a separate page to host that topic…

I’ve started writing a screenplay for the Mind Keeper. I think it is a story that will do well as a video adaptation.

I’ve started writing a sequel to Rochelle’s Briefcase for this year’s NaNoWriMo, got 1300 words down and realised I’m not interested in writing a sequel just yet with all the other things I need (want) to do first. Ideas are still churning. So I might focus on the plot in the mean time while I finish off the first book.

Onwards…

A Monster Quiz for Halloween

Literary Monster Quiz

Take the Literary Monster Quiz to find out who your Literary monster is!

Happy Halloween, everyone!

I must admit Halloween isn’t as big in Australia as in the USA. It takes a bit of coaxing to get people into the spirit of it all. Unless you’re a kid who watches a lot of American TV. Or follows American celebrities on social media. Inevitably it is slowly taking hold.

To celebrate the special spooky day, I have a quiz from Grammarly for you to find out who your literary monster is. I got Dr. Frankenstein’s Monster!

Who is yours? Take the quiz here.

What is a Grammar Nerd?

G’day all!

It’s been a long time between posts and I might be a little late to this party, but I’ve been given a tip-off regarding a study done by Grammarly of their fans to find out what constitutes a Grammar Nerd.

The following info-graphic describes what they found and makes interesting reading. I had hoped there were more grammar nerds in Australia but, alas, no. Continue reading

My Repair Frenzy

I’ve always told myself I’m no good with physical work. I seem better at and enjoy working more with “soft” things, theoretical things. I write software for a living and fiction as a hobby, play with digital photography and graphics a lot, and just discovered Blender for 3D modelling. All of this involves using a computer. Give me something real and physical to do and that’s when I also become very proficient at procrastinating because it usually ends in failure. Continue reading

A New Tax System: Summary

If you’re still with me you might be familiar with my last few posts describing my idea of a simplified tax system. Basically, we tax transactions of money in exchange for goods and services, between two tax paying entities . The tax consists of two components: Continue reading