10 November 2010

Washington post: why acting on climate change is conservative

Good article, from Washington Post, which gets to its point about halfway down.

In fact, far from being conservative, the Republican stance on global warming shows a stunning appetite for risk. When faced with uncertainty and the possibility of costly outcomes, smart businessmen buy insurance, reduce their downside exposure and protect their assets. When confronted with a disease outbreak of unknown proportions, front-line public health workers get busy producing vaccines, pre-positioning supplies and tracking pathogens. And when military planners assess an enemy, they get ready for a worst-case encounter.

When it comes to climate change, conservatives are doing none of this. Instead, they are recklessly betting the farm on a single, best-case scenario: That the scientific consensus about global warming will turn out to be wrong. This is bad risk management and an irresponsible way to run anything, whether a business, an economy or a planet.

The great irony is that, should their high-stakes bet prove wrong, adapting to a destabilized climate would mean a far bigger, more intrusive government than would most of the "big government" solutions to our energy problems that have been discussed so far.

9 November 2010

I'm done with 2010

Really, it's been a year with no point. I mean, I guess there was an election and all wasn't there. We did get our first lady PM, but it was like a giant grudge match to get any kind of government at all. Now she's there hanging on by her lovely manicured nails, it seems a bit like old' Julia's been dished some instant karma of the "you like consultation so much, here, consult on everything with everyone just to get the basics of your job done" variety.

Oh, and that climate change thing that I've been working on for nearly a decade? Apperently not so much of an issue now. Its a big conspiracy cooked up by the same people that made tonnes of money out of Y2K or something. Not sure how that happened, the IPCC being discredited, and all, but oh well, guess I can move on and do something different.

Anyway this wasn't going to be about national or global politics. Just I'm fed up with 2010 and would like to put in application for 2011 to start now thanks. I think maybe there's nicer times waiting in that year. It looks better in print too (post code for Surry Hills by the way, which is a nice part of town).

6 November 2010

Spring Clean

Well, even though spring this year seems to be made up of torrential rain, wind and thunderstorms, there must be something in the circadian rythyms that says its time for a freshen up. I want to write and blog more, you see and this space seems a bit daggy. I like the wood background because it reminds me of hand-made things. This mustard colour template is still a bit drab, so more changes may be underway.

Note the delicious link list on the left, also need to update this a bit, but its quite a neat little bit of rss there I thought. I think there might be some posts coming up on the internet itself, social media, isolation and connection. Also grass rootsy marketing stuff, or possibilty just a list of links to cool facebook pages I like. Or maybe just random blather. Anway, how are you ladies? Anyone there is blog land? I'm working in parallel to update my work website and link up my other social media presence there, so perhaps a whole new professional blog will be born soon. I guess there's more than one type of conception, too.

27 September 2010


Last night I copied a downloaded version of the new Grinderman album (Grinderman 2) from a friend. Now, I've been to about 5, maybe 6 Bad Seeds concerts since 1993 when I first went to a Big Day Out and snogged a stranger when Deanna played live. I've paid cash money for about a dozen Nick Cave CDs including spoken word and a live and rare triple CD. I've been to the exhibition at the National Library (paid) and I've bought the lyrics book. Heck, I even bought tickets to the ballet Underworld which should have generated some royalties. I've probably played my part in keeping Australia's National Treasure in black hair-dye. I haven't listened to the new album yet, only because its not very housemate friendly, and *still* have a little pang of guilt that I've obtained it without rewarding the man's Muse. I think that might be the lamest example of oldest-child-over-adherence-to-authority-and-moralism that I know of.

25 September 2010

I think I kinda hate bars

Well, no doubt I'll be in one again inside of 72 hours. But I just had a realisation that even while fetishising the best kind of bar, my long love affair might be souring. Sydney is supposed to be undergoing a much-vaunted 'renaissance' of its drinking culture. Clover Moore has made it easier to get a licence, and entrepreneurial groovers have responded by setting up these Melbourne style "small bars" - complete with hard-to-find unmarked entrances. Apparently, the grown up approach to sharing a bevvy with friends is supposed to make us more responsible drinkers too. That, or the prices. So I've been to Pocket Bar, Shady Pines Saloon, the recently re-furbed Flinders Hotel, LL bar in the Cross, Libertines, Grasshopper Bar where they serve cocktails in jars which is frankly GROSS and reminds me of a disfunctional student sharehouse, The Falconer, Madame Fling Flongs and probably some others.

I thought I really liked them at the time. I did. The warm glow of the candles/bordello lamps/ironic chandelier, the retro-funky stuffed animals, the background chatter, paying the best part of $20 for a martini and sucking up the meaninglessness of existence while talking about how great it is that they have all these small bars in Sydney. It just hit me like a brick, that they are all just rooms with tables, stools, glasses, some form of paint on the walls (or wallpaper if you are in the so-groovy-it-hurts ones), women with their best makeup and shiny frocks, and guys who are spending more on drinks that than they can afford. A limited number of permutations to the above. But I guess we keep going because these dens are usually central, the ritual of getting a bottle and some glasses is known, and you can generally catch your friends for a couple of hours and get back on a major public transport route.

Maybe I'm inspired to write this post by seeing a minor trend amongst women with small children, who may feel a bit like they are missing frocking up and going out. I think perhaps I have been racking up the hours in these places on your behalf. I've hit the limit. I'm experiencing low-level rage at the people in these bars. I can't really hear the person I'm talking to so I tend to tell stories and monologue too much. I spend money I'd rather go on holiday with. Mums: you can have some hours back - I'll take a couple of shifts with the ankle-biters. (Especially if we can go see Despicable Me, or the Dinosaur Gallery. Yeh).

As the well known poets regurgitator put it - right now, I'd rather dance in daggy pants to the funky music playing on your stereo. Oh. Oh. oh-oh.

In the meantime, see you at the next awesome new place. You know, the one with the wood panelling taken from a vintage Holden Station Wagon. The one with the stencils and the egg cartons on the walls, the one with the rooftop sculpture. The cactuses. Yeah, that one.

22 June 2010

Fitting in

From this week's astrobarry

Do you really give a rat's-ass how 'other people' (in quotes because, at its base, it's an abstraction) are apt to judge you? Seriously, Pisces, this whole notion of fitting in—or, its identical twin, purposely not fitting in (so you'll, of course, fit into a different sort of reactionary niche)—is terribly junior-high. And yet, at the same time, I want you to acknowledge how profoundly your psyche has been impacted by past experiences of rejection or incompatibility… if only so that you may understand why your adult self may still censor its distinctive individuality at certain moments, in order to gain supposed favor from that same cool older-sibling or trendy schoolyard clique reimagined with today's cast of characters. We've all hit up against our protrusive oddness through such exclusions. The difference in your case? You're so sensitive, they might've felt like mortal wounds. Before you automatically assume the role of outsider, pause to consider whether you have now become the preemptive judger (of yourself, of others, of others' judgments of you)… instead of leaving open the possibility you actually do belong somewhere, based on who you really are.

Wow he's really convinced Pisces are the true outsiders.

I got a little golden oldie tip for living from a date, of all the things, the other night (no laughing in the back). Ascribed to the Dalai Lama, but probably off the back of a conflake packet: "Happiness comes when what we think, what we do, and what we say are the same".

Yeah baby, missy b# is on an integrity jag.

2 June 2010

Rat rat ratty

I appear to be playing chicken with a rat in the kitchen.

Unbeknownst to me, I appear to have a primal fear of the little fucker. He ran out when I went in, then when I went out he ran back into the kitchen and under the fridge. I am absolutely goddam starving because I just got home at 9pm and am trying to heat up some curry I cooked last night, but the thought of mr ratty underfoot while reheating is making my stomach turn.

But I live on the 2nd floor, so I don't know how to encourage him out. Too late go and buy rat traps and the thought of emptying one tomorrow is disgusting too.

This is a moment when I could really do with a goddam husband. And I don't say that too often.

26 May 2010

Emerald City

I have a hate-love relationship with Sydney sometimes. On a rainy windy day last week I exited Central station via the tunnel on the Devonshire street side. I'll be the first to admit I have a habit of checking out the general populace probably more than I should. It's not a sexy thing it's just that I like to visually register interesting things, tall people with their trousers too short, neat little asian couples looking like they just stepped of the plane from Harijuku district Tokyo, buskers doing steel-string guitar. So on this morning I glanced at a really obese lady in a bright floral smock probably for about half a second too long - she swerved diagonally across the steps to specifically say "SHIIT!" right in my ear, then carried on walking behind me. Sigh, whoops, making the unstable feel threatened.

Cross the street, unfold the massive golf umbrealla I got last time we had a week of non-stop rain in Sydney. Arrived in the cafe for one of my regular "what can we do next" meeting with friend and fellow entrepreneurial colleague, shaking out the brolly and the rain out of my hair and coat. After our meeting I went to leave the cafe and yep, my special, giant, keep the monson rains off brolly was missing. Bastard inner city yuppies.

Got in a cab and scooted up to the big end of town, where I slipped into a silent lift where the doors snicked shut. Slid up to the top of a tower of steel and glass to talk about a genuinely interesting attempt by a wealthy company to do something that takes a step forward in making lots of people use less resources, every day, without even knowing it. Nice. Inspiring.

28 April 2010

Sometimes my work is dissonant

So I've been exchanging emails with a marketing coordinator for the United Nations High Comission for Refugees (UNHCR). Looks like I got the gig of doing some newsletter writing for them.

When you work for yourself, project to project, this kind of news is very good news indeed. Something that comes in once a month, reliably, and with a client that seems very systematic and clear about what she wants. Based in Europe, too, so she just sends a package of material, I work with it and send it back. Excellent regular incomce, and for a highly reputable and worthy organisation.

It's like "yay, I got the job". Then, the realisation, oh I'm writing about really terrible stuff. The first line of their last newsletter reads:

Thousands of people have fled across the Oubangui River to escape intertribal violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo's Equateur province.

Nasty, meaningless violence is the reason this organisation exists. Well that and floods, earthquake, poltical turmoil, etc. But mostly the kind of crap I've never even seen, let alone had any experience of. And because I can (mostly) string a sentence together, I can do something for them for some of the folding stuff. Sigh.

Oh well, the rest of my clients are trying to stop the world turning into Mars in about the same time as since the Doomsday book was written. I can suck it up and deal with the reports coming in from Sudan.

I often wish Lord Monckton and Ayn Rand were right you know. Charity is evil, no global warming. Then I could just work in advertising. I'd enjoy doing ads.

12 April 2010

Things I see in the city

Today, when entering the Devonshire tunnel from Railway square, I saw a guy who was about 21 with a Guns and Roses tee-shirt where Axl Rose was mid-high-note and looked like a baby-faced angel with wax-like skin and an an ecstatic expression.

A few weeks ago on a sultry day, I saw a middle-aged woman stop on the main concourse of Town Hall station and put her face right up to the big industrial fan they had parked there. She shut her eyes, and was lost in a moment's relief from the overheated an suffocating underground air.

Then, I went out to George Street, where I watched a fancy car rev up to the lights. A bogan party girl was in the passenger seat and the driver was a middle-eastern beauty in a hijab, smoking a cigarette and playing the radio loud.

Later, I watched a young sk8tr girl zoom towards me on a down-hill section of Cleveland Street, crouching low on her board, doing slalem-moves while wearing a bowler hat and letting her fingers skim the ashphalt - apparently out of the sheer joy of a body in motion.

11 April 2010

I wish I'd..

... strutted on the Central Park Runway at 1 am
... gone to Oslo that time
... worried less about getting travel sick on those trips
... asked that guy in that cab out for a drink
... been less apologetic in that meeting
... done more Karaoke before everyone had kids
... been a bit more demanding sometimes

Was reminded of a film quote the other day "When opportunity knocks - you don't wanna say Who is it?"

20 March 2010

oh look , testing again

Seems i just use this blogger stuff as a generic platform tester for various embeds and codes and stuff. Sorry readers, will try to get back some actual content soon.

6 March 2010

Passive agressive ? Me?

Following on from the teeth-grindingly annoying habit of some of my "friends" of having "greener than thou" rants on my facebook page....

Buzz and Words bring you selections from "Modern Hippie Lexicon".. thank you House of Broken Saints, whoever you are.. love, peace and mungbeans...

Bad Vibes - Someone called you on your bullshit or didn’t give you what you wanted.

Burning Man - A huge art installation in the desert that many hippies have mistaken for a model of Utopian society which they attempt to recreate in their hometowns for the next 51 weeks. Ignoring the fact that everything about it is completely unsustainable.

Ecstatic Dance - Flailing around arhythmically.

Gifting - The act of dumping your useless crap on other people.

Higher Purpose - Unemployment.

Massage Therapy - The best option for income without a higher education.

Universal Love - What you feel when you’re always high.

Universal Truths - The narrow set of beliefs held by your circle of friends.

Visionary - Drug-induced.

5 February 2010

streams of loving kindness

I haven't looked at Astrobarry in over a year, but now, in need of some guidance, he tells me..

(2) If given the choice between 'fitting in' via behaviors that may not genuinely represent who you are or 'standing out' by doing what comes naturally… well, do I even need to finish this statement? Screw 'fitting in'.

(4) Tap into Venus's conjunction with Neptune and Chiron in your 12th, and shoot streams of loving-kindness out your psychic transmitters when no one's watching. Like draws like.

Yeah, baby, that's more like it for 2010. I like the "when no-one's looking" e.g. acts of random beauty...

24 January 2010

2009 reflections

Found one of these over on What's new pussyat and ok it's a little late , but now time like the present, right?

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before?
Moved out from living with a partner, attempted to live totally on freelance income, did a screen writing course, went to the States.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next this year?
I resolved to get a cleaner, and yes, I got a cleaner. But the aim of the resolution was to help repair my flailing relationship and it didn't acheive that.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Everyone! Meri Risa had lovely number 2, Angel had a little boy right at the start of 2009. A cousin had a second one, I think, or was that 2008? Big shout out to the lovely mummies.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No. Thankfully.

5. What countries did you visit?
USA (New York!!), UK, France, Belgium (not as impressive as it sounds when you are based in Holland). Wished I visited Norway and gone to Spain again.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?
A sense of security and joy de vivre.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Oh I'm very bad at actual dates. But the one where I walked through the passport control to leave Amsterdam wih a very sore and sad heart. July 13, I think. And on a happier note, rocking up in New York YMCA where the lovely Miss J was waiting, after my flight was delayed by an hour and I nearly got the the subway to New Jersey by accident. June sometime?

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting back to freelancing in Australia and being booked solid for 3 months.

9. What was your biggest failure?
A broken relationship, that I didn't know how to fix. Oh I sense a theme here.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Not really.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My Blackberry, I think.

12. Where did most of your money go?
Airfares, rent, new laptop and phone bills.

13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Very little. But going to New York was a welcome adventure.

14. What song will always remind you of 2009?
Mika "Happy Endings" and Nick Cave "Dig Lazarus Dig" from listening while riding through Vondel Park.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?

Happier, mostly, I don't feel trapped any more.
b) thinner or fatter?
A little bit thinner, yaay, getting rid of those beer and cheese love handles.
c) richer or poorer?
About the same. Replenshing the savings account, but feeling the lack of those nice Euros.

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Visited other European countries. Asking people for a bit of a hand when it was needed.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Clamming up and acting tough.

18. How will you spend Christmas?
Oops, did this already - with family in Radelaide.

19. Did you fall in love in 2009?
Nup. Oh unless you count rekindling the love with Nick Cave via his new novel and exhibition. What *is* it about that man ?

20. What was your favorite TV program?
Hands down, The Wire, even though we watched on dvd.

21. What was the best book you read?
Um.. can't remember them all or what year I read them. Sure there was a few. Looking at the bookshelf, really enjoyed Stephen Fry's autobiography.

22. What was your favorite film of this year?
Probably "Julie and Julia". Also really liked "Where the Wild Things are". Saw "Cheri" when it was just the right type of escapism, but it was a fairly average film.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Went out to dinner at Bazaar on AlbertCuypMarkt then dancing to live Brazilian music at de Badcuyp. Cycled to the red light district with Jess two in the morning when it was probably about 2 degrees. It was fun. I was 33.

24. What kept you sane?
Skype. And the ocean back in Sydney.

25. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I don't think I have to answer that for you regulars.. see #19. Apart from the obvious, Mika and Cate Blanchett (if you substitute fancy for admire).

26. Who did you miss?
Everyone who I don't seem to have in my "crew" any more. Formerly my little sister, Miss J, Amberguity and the Meri crew, plus the whole of Australia. And now Kristin, Kirsten, and Jess, Biz and others in the greenie/Europe contigent. And my Auntie Ruth. Life is crap like that isn't it?

27. Who was the best new person you met?
Um, possibly, my new client, Jenn who is a total live wire and funny. 2009 was less about meeting new people and more about re-connecting with old ones.

21 January 2010

Nukes: a bit slow and pricey, too....

A follow up to a discussion I was having with Merry Risa the other day. Regards nuclear power, John Quiggin speculates initial costs to generate nuclear power would be higher than coal, wind or gas, and when it "settles down" then it would be about the same as wind. "Settled down" meaning 5 nuclear power plants operating in Aus, at a guess, 2025. The IPCC says the world needs to reach peak emissions at 2015. That kind of economics challenges some of the popular chat going around that nukes are cheap and large scale solutions.