Sunday, April 23, 2006

Yann Arthus-Bertrand's photographs

Available here

Friday, April 21, 2006

Side of a barn

Bilpin Post Office

Misty Mountain Highway

Near Mt. Victoria in the Blue Mountains.

I wish I had written that dept......

From Tim Kreider at The Pain. Not only does the guy pen some of the most ferocious cartoons I've ever seen, the guy can write. And I mean really write.

I experienced yet another one of those increasingly frequent moments of surreal and terrible lucidity, when I realize how terrifyingly far we’ve come from anything I recognize as the America I grew up in, when it occurred to me that we’ve started thinking of the hawkish and anti-choice John McCain as a reasonable moderate because he’s opposed to torture.

A few years ago "anti-torture" wasn’t even a political position; it was like being "anti-rape" or "anti-genocide"--it pretty much went without saying, unless you were an out-and-out monster.

A national politician being referred to as "anti-torture" is one of those clever background details that a science-fiction novelist would drop to clue us in to the fact that we’re in some brutal fascist dystopia of the future or a nightmarish parallel history where the Nazis won the war.

I can no longer pinpoint the moment when supposedly respectable people were no longer ashamed to debate the merits of "torture" in public, when we became an unapologetically evil nation; it’s like trying to identify exactly when you ceased to be a decent person and drifted over some unnoticed line into corruption and depravity. The scenario routinely invoked to justify torture—a nuclear device about to be detonated in Times Square, only an hour until it goes off, and we have one terrorist in custody who knows where it is!--is such a ludicrously unrealistic James Bond fantasy I can’t believe anyone takes it seriously.

If 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina have shown us anything, it’s that the first time the Bush administration will hear about a nuclear weapon being detonated in America will be when some reporter tells them about it. Bush will be obliviously joshing around with billionaire donors at a campaign fundraiser while the rest of us are weeping in horror at footage of children’s skin peeling off in East Orange. Anyway, didn’t we manage to beat Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan while observing the Geneva conventions?

This delusion that torturing people is going to make us tougher in the War on Terror is a fantasy that has more to do with fear and hatred than with real security--like the fearful adolescent fantasy that owning a gun will keep you safe from all those gangstas and serial killers and child molesters you hear about on Fox News and in the New York Post.

A few days ago my colleague and old comrade-at-arms from the war-protest days, Megan, sent me a MoveOn "action alert," urging me to write me representatives and the President and ask them not to nuke Iran. " was the url." Again, I can’t believe the phrase "don’t nuke Iran" is even necessary.

It seems to me like we really ought not to have to be in the position of begging our government not to nuke anyone, just as in the ordinary course of events I don’t have to talk my friends out of raping anyone. But, as Batman once said, "It’s isn’t exactly a normal world, is it?"

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Sometimes dragged kicking and screaming.

Geoffrey Moore writes in his book"Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers", that there is a bell curve that describes how a new technology is adapted by a market.

At the front of the curve is a small section of Innovators and next to it a slightly larger Early Adapter section. After that there are two large sections at the middle of the curve, the Early Majority and then the Late Majority. Finally, there is a Laggards section.

Here are a couple of forays into things technological over the years.

(aka Johnno the trailblazer)

  • Internet business...... 1996 (you should have tried getting permission to take cash over the internet in '96 from the Australian banks.....horrific)

  • Firefox.......2002 (have never looked back)

  • ICQ.....user number 30 thousand and something, last used circa 98.

  • Early Adapters
    (aka Johnno as a trendsetter)

    There are things I was relatively early with.

  • Home PC..... Around 1983 (a VIC-20)

  • CD player....... 1985 (Cd's were something like $24 a pop at the time compared to a $12 cassette)

  • DVD player......2000 (introduced in 1999 downunder, it's a really well made Pioneer DV-525 unit. If you were lucky Blockbuster would have TWO copies of a DVD. Still going strong)

  • Mobile/cell phone..........around '92 although I got rid of the thing after awhile getting another in 2001.

  • Yahoo account circa 96

  • Digital camera...... 2000. An old Sony thing with a 3 1/2" FLOPPY drive. Held 5 photos at high(1.2 mp res) YEEHAW!

  • Early Majority/Late Majority
    (aka Johnno joins the stampeding herd)

    There are a few things I have been slow on the uptake.

  • Blogging....2005

  • First Wi_fi connection......last week 2006.

  • Myspace.......last couple of weeks 2006.

  • Broadband......2004

  • Laggards
    (aka Shit I don't need/want/understand at this point in time
    accompanied by lame Luddite excuses)

  • I-pod.... I just don't NEED one. Music is in the car or at home and I have mp3/cd players there.

  • Podcasting, I have difficulties enough putting pen to paper let alone making noises about it.

  • DVD burner- I jusy wait for the DVD bargain bins and the artists get the royalties. Call me a prude.

  • Anything labelled with a 2.0 after it. Although technically this blog comes under the auspices of 2.0, I just don't know it!

  • Bluetooth...... cables and physical flash drives are fine, usually quicker

  • Linux....... flaky, scary and unsuitable for my apps, I've seen experts having difficulty doing basic chores that usually just click open with XP.

  • Big flat screen TV....mine is plenty big enough.

  • Monday, April 17, 2006

    King Parrots

    It's been awhile since I've thrown a parrot up on the blog. These ones were taken yesterday in some bad light so the colours aren't as vibrant as normal. The top one is a female and the bottom is a male.

    I haven't seen this couple around for awhile, so it was good to catch up with them again.

    Sunday, April 16, 2006


    Yeah I know this book quiz is really old, I actually did it a couple of months ago but..........I'm actually reading this at the moment.

    You're 1984!

    by George Orwell

    You have this uncanny feeling that you're always being watched. Thus life has become a bit of a show as you try to portray yourself as much more reputable than you actually are. All around you, people seem to accept an unending stream of lies and propaganda without flinching. Your only hope may be a star-crossed love affair, but pain seems stonger than love. If you have any older brothers, be very wary of them.

    Take the Book Quiz
    at the Blue Pyramid.

    The weekly Kreider

    I'm going to make this a weekly thing. They are so good.

    Buy Tim Kreider's books here

    Saturday, April 15, 2006

    Urban art


    A Queenslander can either be

    1) A person born in the Australian state of Queensland
    2) A timber house particular to Queenland
    3) A class of travel aboard a Queensland train

    Plus a whole other host of definitions.

    I'm going to concentrate on number 2. These wonderful old timber houses are EVERYWHERE in Brisbane and is one of my highlights of visiting Brisbane. I'd thought I'd get a few shots of some in an almost demolished state to lovely restored versions.

    I found a great website to do with Queenslander houses at The Queensland Museum (The website design is appalling, you'll have to click the sidebar to get information), anyway.....they state:

    The Characteristics of a Queenslander

    As most people envisage it, the Queensland house includes most of the following elements:

    • construction of timber with a corrugated-iron roof;
    • highset on timber stumps;
    • single-skin cladding for partitions and sometimes external walls;
    • verandahs front and back, and perhaps at the sides;
    • decorative features which screen the sun or ventilate the interior; and
    • a garden setting with a picket fence, palm trees and tropical fruit trees.

      Some Queenslanders have fallen into disrepair, some have had the bottom level walled up- not allowing the ventilation to flow underneath, others have had the timber replaced by bricks and corrugated iron roofs have been replaced by tiles. I even saw some more recent Queenslanders which retain much of the spirit of the old houses with some modern touches.

      So without any further ado, I've included a few photos of Queenslanders around the West End area backstreets. Many with the above features.

      This one is fairly typical, it's raised, made from timber, verandah and some small pressed metal shades for the side windows. The details on various side shades were amazing! It's well preserved with many of the original features.

      Spooky looking Queenslander. A LOT of work to renovate this one.

      This one below had been renovated and had the lower level filled in by more rooms..... therefore NOT A TRUE QUEENSLANDER!
      Gorgeous nevertheless.

      This old girl had the verandah boarded and glassed in creating a "Queensland Sunroom"

      This was a newer construction based on an old theme, you can tell by the newer flashing, aluminium winows, plainer fretwork and downpipes. Very in character with the older houses around it.

      A Queenslander under major renovations, could even be bricked up along the walls using the original frame which would be a shame.

      A herd/gaggle/pride/mob/flock/XXXX of Queenslanders

      XXXX it's Queenslander-(ese?) for BEER

      There's a running joke in the southern Australian states that XXXX (Four X) beer is such named because Queenslanders don't know how to spell BEER. The joke still stands.

      Queenslanders take their beer seriously. Probably because it's so bloody hot and humid in this state, any liquid intake seems to be immediatly perspired. In nfact, they take their beer so seriously, that when the Castlemaine Perkins brewery was bought out by a Western Australian upstart...... who dumbly put his Western Australian address on the XXXX labels, Queenslanders rebelled by buying the independently run Queensland Powers beer instead.

      Bond brewing lost a fortune.

      The Western Australian upstart eventually went broke and the brewery is owned by some New Zealanders via Lion Nathan. Smart cookies, the Queensland address remains. Powers was eventually swallowed up by Carlton United Breweries in Victoria and from what I can tell the brand no longer exists.

      It's actually rather difficult to know who owns what these days in Australia. The big boys seem to trade breweries, dairies, and wineries like trading cards. Foster's has sold it's European rights to a Scottish company.....go figure.

      Anyway, the brewery is still there, despite the various owners over the years. Viewed from most high places around Brisbanes western suburbs, pumping out rivers of gold.

      There's some great big X's painted on the sides of the grain silos and some neon signs letting Queenslanders know what it does.

      The oldest building in Brisbane

      I was travelling along Wickham St in Brisbane near the University of Queensland, when I came across this odd looking building. I was unsure what it was with its copper ball on the top assuming it to be some sort of university buidling gone wrong. It looked as if it was some sort of lookout but it was miles away from the river. Then I saw the sign nearby. It was an old windmill that had it's function altered over time.

      The Windmill on Wickham Terrace was constructed by convicts in 1828 and is today the oldest building still standing in Queensland.Because of a fundamental design flaw it never worked as a windmill, and 25 convicts at a time were put to work turning a treadmill which became known as the "tower of torture". For special punishments, 16 convicts were kept on it for 14 hours straight.

      Over a long period the building has been subjected to various uses including a treadmill, a signal station, a time ball, fire brigade and as a building for radio and television research.

      I'm still no closer to finding out what the copper ball was for.... perhaps some sort of Tesla device?

      Brisbane by night

      Looking from The Point Hotel towards Story Bridge.

      Tuesday, April 11, 2006

      Vulture Street

      One of the places I did know about Brisbane was Vulture Street. If you a listener to the cricket when Australia play you'll often hear the commentators saying something along the lines of, "Warne is coming from the Vulture Street end.". If you don't know about cricket, bowlers bowl 6 deliveries from alternate ends.

      A strange name considering there are no vultures residing here in Brisbane.

      There was also an album from Queenslanders, Powderfinger called "Vulture Street".They once resided there, one guesses in West End- amongst record shops, bohemian cafes, cheap Indian and Asian restaraunts, interesting bookstores, organic fruit and veg shops and the like.

      Below photo is a photo from the Vulture Street corner in West End to give you an idea.

      Sunday, April 09, 2006


      Well I'm up here in sultry Brisbane. Home of Powderfinger, Paul's Ice Cream, Larvatus Prodeo, Senator Andrew Bartlett and close to the Big Pineapple.

      I took this photo from a mate's balconey. This is typically Brisbane. An old 1920's weatherboard aka a "Queenslander" in the foreground, a gauche bright blue block of 80's apartments middle and some sleek 00's apartment towers in the rear. I'll be getting some photos of these wonderful old "Queenslander" weatherboards later in the week with some of the small architectural details.

      And of course the obligatory palm trees.

      Friday, April 07, 2006

      Golby goes a skateboarding......

      Finding Oneself

      This stuff is Spiritual, my Brothers and Sisters. I was born to skate. And after all these years, the drugs, the rehabs, the broken careers, the failed relationships, the therapists, the prisons, the trial medications, the ECT... whatever, I have truly found myself.

      I'll agree..... an older, wiser(?)....South African(!) version of the Z Boys. Nice style dude!!!!

      Wednesday, April 05, 2006

      Tim Kreider's Latest

      You'll have to click the above to read it. I really enjoy Tim's cartoons. Sometimes disturbing, sometimes strange and usually right on the money.

      Buy his books here.

      Tuesday, April 04, 2006

      The Lost Patrol

      These guys are good

      Give the site time to download the "Goth Twang from Metroburbia...." I bought their entire back catalogue on the spot.