Thursday, November 30, 2006

A century of "change"

A quote I saw at the Immigration Museum really jumped out at me, prompting me to think that our current Government's immigration policy and fear of "others" is really no different to that espoused by our first Prime Minister, Edmund Barton over a century ago:
"The doctrine of the equality of man was never intended to apply to the equality of the Englishman and the Chinaman. There is a deep-set difference, and we see no prospect and no promise of its ever being effaced. Nothing in their world can put these two races upon a equality."
Of course today's prejudice is less bluntly stated. Earlier Australian governments attempted to hide the racism of the White Australia policy behind the Dictation Test which draws an easy parallel with the proposed "Values" test proposed by current "leaders" (including the Labour opposition).

There are plenty of people who would easily pass such a test who I don't consider to be "Australian" in the positive sense of the word at all, our current Prime Minister for example, who has never been about the "fair go" that he bandies about so smugly.

Instead of establishing meaningful demographic policies (e.g. in the search for a sustainable, balanced population), we get ridiculous initiatives like the "baby bonus". Maybe I'm naive, but there seem to be an awful lot of people clamouring to move here already, who either have necessary skills or are willing to develop them. Unfortunately for potential immigrants, our education system overall is constantly being downgraded as a priority, and the avenues for developing skills such as spoken English are insufficient. Chances of gaining citizenship under such an arbitrarily focused test are minimal, except for those whose background most closely mirrors the current economic and political power players. While we're at it, we might as well use the IQ test instead, for all its validity as a measure of Australian-ness, or of a person's innate value.

Destination: Adventure! (Part 1)

(aka visiting Melbourne for a week)

T minus 2 days
If I had to choose the worst time for a return of my nausea, 36 hours before a flight to Melbourne would be right up there. And so it was destined to be! Prescription for self: Rice cakes and baby food, hot water bottle and peppermint tea, and many Newsradio episodes to keep me distracted.

T minus 1 day
More of the same, with a few teaspoons of plain mashed potato for variety.

I usually enjoy flying, but almost no food and sleep in the past 2 days meant I was feeling terrible by the time I finally made it to Melbourne. Luckily I had Jen there to meet me, and her cheer (and long history of driving a pale me home from work) took the edge off my nausea long enough to make it to the Hotel Enterprize and lie down. Thanks Jen!

Em came to visit after finishing work for the day, and was treated to my alternating green/grey hue and nibbling of rice cake morsels. I'm a super host! But by the time Em left I was feeling almost human again, and much more positive about my recovery chances. Thanks Em!

(note the extent of my bedside snacks - baby food, water and lemonade)

Day 2

Visited the Crown Complex for some much-needed food - a basic salad sandwich - and then spent the rest of the day in bed watching cricket and concentrating on keeping my food down. How jealous are you of my trip so far?

Luckily my planning consisted entirely of getting to see Em and Jen, which I already achieved yesterday, so even 5 more days of bedridden-ness would count as a success. Gotta concentrate on the positives :)

What will Day 3 bring? To be continued...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Return

I made it back home, somewhat relieved, after a week in Melbourne. Getting to spend plenty of time with Em was fantastic, while my poor health made the overall journey much harder work than it might have been. I'm now in recovering-ready-for-work-next-week-mode, having at least given my brain a break from such prosaic concerns. I didn't even suffer from internet withdrawal!

Proper stories to follow, some of which may integrate my latest photos, but if you want to get a visual taste of my trip right now, just head to Melbourne 2006.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Watching the live Blur concert on jtv XL last night, I noticed for the first time a strong Bowie flavour to Damon Albarn's vocals. Having just re-listened to Parklife (the only Blur album I own), I'm reassured that it doesn't come through as forcefully, so maybe I'm not as oblivious as I first thought.

What I did realise is that I definitely need to grab some more Blur. I've always been firmly on the Blur side of "Blur vs Oasis", and love both Gorillaz albums, so this is another in my series of musical no-brainers.

Monday, November 13, 2006

[CD] Broke - (hed) p.e.

The third album from (hed) p.e., released in 2000, is a great, head-banging listen.

More at the Korn end of "rap/metal" than the Limp Bizkit end. Touches such as guest vocals on Feel Good by Serj Tankian (System Of A Down), help avoid the sameness that many albums in this genre suffer from, including when the intensity lets up slightly to inject a little funk into the mix.

Not really for the Gotye lovers, but enjoyable stress-release music for a try-hard metal fan.

[CD] When Your Heart Stops Beating - (+44)

The debut album of (+44), the child of Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker (two-thirds of blink-182) is an interesting (but not too dramatic) shift in direction.

Lyrically, it heads further along the path of the final blink album (more serious, less jokey), and musically adds a significant electronic undercurrent which wasn't present in blink's work. Mark's duet with female vocalist Carol Heller on Make You Smile makes it clear you're not just listening to retreads of old material.

If you love blink-182's entire back catalogue, as I do, this should push all the right buttons. Otherwise, I don't think this'll convert you.

[DVD] Grey's Anatomy - Season 1

I rarely bow to peer pressure, but the insistence of Jo, kuka and Em that I give this medi-drama a try was too much. And, as is sometimes the case, my friends were right to nag me :)

It's funnier than I'd been led to believe, which was crucial to my enjoyment. The relationship stuff was involving, rather than painful and nauseating. It makes me glad not to be a surgeon, while being relieved that some people are. And every episode was personally affecting, in a "how would I handle that?" way. Only 9 episodes in S1, so I've yet to see whether a full stretch of shows in Season 2 will maintain the quality (and my interest).

Friday, November 10, 2006

Yay for music!

I've spent the past week trying to do some CD shopping and finally managed to squeeze out some time at lunch today so, thanks completely to Kam and Liv, here are my latest musical additions:

Political Prisoners (EP) - Insurge
Untouchables - Korn
Greatest Hits - Eurythmics
Timeless - De La Soul
Silent Alarm - Bloc Party
Broke - (hed) p.e.
No Touch Red - Bodyjar
Freibentos - Pangaea
Elva - Unwritten Law
The Downward Spiral - Nine Inch Nails
What Are Rock Stars Doing Today - Magic Dirt
Beautifulgarbage - Garbage

For anyone counting, that's 155 new tracks of rock, punk and a dash of hip-hop to keep me company on my travels. I did try to buy more Avril Lavigne or Lindsay Lohan, purely for the look of disgust on K's face, but no such luck...

Monday, November 06, 2006


This is a just a little bleary-eyed post to vent my frustration at not being able to sleep. I've managed 12 hours sleep since Thu 7am (which was more than 90 hours ago for anyone counting), never more than 2 hours at a time.

I got to sleep at midnight, after an awesome day out with friends (to celebrate the triple threat birthday of K, Shak and I) then woke up at 2am and, after no more sleep was forthcoming, decided to get up and do something, rather then stew in my own sleepless juices.

Thanks to kuka and Em for blogging and thus giving me something to read :)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

A plethora of graphs

Given the way-out-of-proportion positive reaction to my last set, here's a whole bunch more blog-padding charts.

Firstly, graphic proof of my dominating October walking performance:

Next, look how much action I got last month! (Thanks to kuka and her tempting Pure Blonde ways for making the 31st negative ;) Nonetheless, an ADAC of 2.19

And, finally, my return to weights is progressing nicely: