26 November 2008

Chooks right to choose

"We need to ensure each bird has access to an open range, but it's a chicken's freedom of choice"
That goes into the nacsent collection as a gorgeous quotes from a seasoned (natch) PR person. From James Kellaway of Australian Egg Corporation, it was in response to the Shonky Awards by Australia's Choice magazine, reported in the SMH, which asserted:
most consumers were probably unaware that the scheme allowed up to 14 free-range birds to be packed into each square metre of barn - four birds fewer per square metre than that permitted for their caged hen cousins.
But James disagreed, saying:
the free-range scheme's 30 kilogram per square metre rule translated into about 12 slaughter-weight birds, not 14.

As for access to the open range, the corporation was not about to start strong-arming chickens out the barn door each morning.

Sorry Choice, but you were out-spun on that one. Chickens freedom of choice, heheh.

25 November 2008

Tips for living

Extracts from a speech by writer David Foster Wallace, printed in the Guardian in Sept.

..most days, if you're aware enough to give yourself a choice, you can choose to look differently at this fat, dead-eyed, over-made-up lady who just screamed at her little child in the checkout line - maybe she's not usually like this; maybe she's been up three straight nights holding the hand of her husband who's dying of bone cancer, or maybe this very lady is the low-wage clerk at the Motor Vehicles Dept who just yesterday helped your spouse resolve a nightmarish red-tape problem through some small act of bureaucratic kindness.


In the day-to-day trenches of adult life, there is no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And an outstanding reason for choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship - be it JC or Allah, be it Yahweh or the Wiccan mother-goddess or the Four Noble Truths or some infrangible set of ethical principles - is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things - if they are where you tap real meaning in life - then you will never have enough. Never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your own body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly, and when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally plant you.

24 November 2008

Gratuitous winter kitsch

There's really nothing that makes me feel like an excited little kid, quite like snow falling. And an outdoor ice-rink.

20 November 2008

New stereotypes to teach your kids

This site is probably really old, but the format and the pictures are so cute. Hard to pick a favourite - but I like "middle eastern men are compelled to bury every pine cone they see - Of course after WWIII, when they become our new money, the rest of us will regret just letting 'em all go to waste"

Colombian rainforest disappearing up noses

From today's Guardian online, it seems that the yuppie habit might be as immoral a big mac, when it come to remaining South American rainforest.

Four square metres of rainforest are destroyed for every gram of cocaine snorted in the UK, a conference of senior police officers as told yesterday.

Francisco Santos Calderón, the vice-president of Colombia, appealed to British users of the class A drug to consider the impact on the environment. He said that while the green agenda would not persuade addicts to give up, the middle-class social user who drove a hybrid car and was concerned about the environment might not take the drug if they knew its impact.

Santos said 300,000 hectares of rainforest were destroyed each year in Colombia to clear land for coca plant cultivation, predominantly controlled by illegal groups, including the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as Farc.

16 November 2008

Light of my life

I took this on Thurdsay night at the Max Euweplein, behind Wagamamma's. It's a pretty ugly semi-circular space between buildings but it has a highly convenient bike patth right through the middle. Along with the casino, Hard Rock cafe and Irish bar that I think attract approximately no locals, there is also one of those over-sized out-door chess sets that is in constant use.

The lighting display here is giant pawns! Over the entrances they've hung kings and queens. And this photo just captures a little section of the curtain of lights hung over the top. It makes the space really pretty and sparkly.

I've probably mentioned before, but I forgot from last year how the city seems to make themed light displays on different streets, and they are all different. Mostly repeating shapes hung up on the lamp posts. But some similar horizontal blankets of fairy lights like this. Its nice, like a compensation for the darkness gathering at 4.3o pm. The whole Christmas lights thing makes a lot more sense over in this season. I think the Indian festival of Diwali just passed, also a festival of light at a time when the days get much shorter.

6 November 2008


As mentioned below, last Satuday night I had an awesome time, biking round Amsterdam, in low-digit temperatures, with some crazy cultcha-huntin' cats from a large-international-ngo-that will remain nameless.

First, we congregated at the Leidseplein, the big, tourist infested square, with a dozen bars, street performers, and now an ice-rink in the centre. Although not so salubrious, this is an established point of reference for people from all over Amsterdam and especially visitors to congregate when they are not confident they can find that little out-of-the-way bar on the Van Harleem Voorboorgswaalstraat, let alone pronounce it.

We had a bit of a group consultation about which museums and events to attend. The way it works is you buy a single ticket for 17 euro, and then you get entry to everything that is open, about 40 venues all up. The Rijks Museum had the star centre piece, Damien Hirst's For the love of God, the most expensive piece of work ever sold by a living artist.

We however, avoided the big show-stoppers because of the queues. Our schedule involved one or several beerjes at each of the following:

9:30 pm Mediamatrix exhibition xxboys - a multimedia and photo exhibition on transgender, specficially female to male, by the look of it. We didn't see the photo room (which was contructed entirely out of black crates inside a bigger room) because the queue was too long. But we did see a performance of a girl with multiple temporary medical piercings right along each arm, on her knees while a man dressed as doctor lifted her arms and moved her torso using two over-sized 'puppeter' contraptions connected to strings that were connected to all the piercings. Some people in the queue for the photos were a bit sqeamish and were turned away from the performance while we were trying to see it live.

11:00 pm Something to do with animiation at some kind of art school facility near the Dam square. They has a night-clubby room with a dj apparently mixing images in some way along with the dj mixing music. But they had two much cooler things .. a guy with a dj rig in the foyer areas, who was mixing aromas to go with the music he was playing, he had a burner and a cooking pot and a bench. At one point he was doing a fragrant meat stew with his balkan gypsy music. Earlier he made an overwhelming and delicious mix of something indian and fragrant - also using a stick blender to good effect. You can't get that on the internet. At that venue our wee group was lubricated enough to take part in interactive art, where someone had rigged up a stop motion camera over a big white carbdboard canvas on the floor. We acheived a none-too-bad hippy canvas, complete with rainbows a host of little stick figures marching over the page. Then we got to watch its creation compressed into about 10 seconds. neat.

12:00 am Replica dutch merchant vessel that is moored in the Ij river. Chillout room on the maindeck, with sailors hammocks strung along, plus caught the end of some African drumming in the hold.

1:00am Nemo interactive science museum. A very strong rival to Questacon, this place was jam PACKED with toys. Fun fun fun for well oiled 30 somethings, but it was impossible to keep the group together as everyone just wandered away to the shiniest spinning thing that they were drawn to. Reminds me now of Johnny Depp saying that having toddlers is like living with drunks. Or hanging with drunks is like marshalling toddlers.

2:00 Ushered out in an orderly (Dutch) fashion, as per the advertised finish time. Cycled home with mr B in the icy chill, wrapped in jackets, scarf, wooly hat (thanks Ali) and gloves, to a lovely cosy bed and a lie -in on Sunday morning.

Go Amsterdam, city of funky wholesome fun.

4 November 2008

Inbetween Days

Currently working on: Energy efficiency and international Aids responses

Reading: Ludmilla's broken English (by DBC Pierre)
Just finished: A Passage to India (EM Forster) - surprised by how it critiqued English colonialism

Watching: nothing - our TV is busted. Saw "Burn after reading" the Coen brothers film last week

Taking part in: Museumnacht, and awesome one-night affair when 40 or so city museums were open until 2 am with activities, music, dancing and bars

Listening; Dig, Lazarus Dig (Nick Cave) bought on the weekend

Feeling: freezing outside, cozy inside.

Looking forwards to: coming home for 5 weeks.. yaaay.