Lazy Luddite Log

25.7.06

Blogging Wish List

There are things I want to do at some time with this blog but they may still be sometime off. I find "getting around to it" always takes time. More specifically if it is something new or different or fiddly then it will take ages for me to get the whatever-it-takes together to do it.

One thing that I need is photos. This may be simplicity itself or it may take a bit of looking into. One challenge is that a lot of my best photos are film camera photos so then there is the whole process of scanning. I would never want to have more space dedicated to photos than to text but sometimes images can help tell a story. To start with I need a mug shot. A nice one. Possibly one that is black-and-white so that it will fit better with my special purpose blogs as well. Then there are other things like my best-ever Lego spaceship. Or before-and-after shots of the construction of the Monash Synchrotron. Or some of my recent humans-as-landscapes drawings.

Another thing I want to do is interview my parents and provide transcriptions of those interviews on-line. Why? There is nothing particularly exceptional in the life history of my parents. And yet every life has things that make it interesting even if only to illustrate life in general. My parents are war-era children (older than the 'baby-boomer' parents of most of my peers) and have experienced and observed a lot since their childhood in the 1940s. I have some past experience in recording oral history so it will be an interesting thing to do and may help me understand them better. The thing I need most to get this done is a tape recorder with mircophone (something very few modern stereos have) so I will have to look into finding and borrowing one.

I am sure there are other things I could do with this blog in future as life becomes more and more 'multimedia' (on-screen scratch-and-sniff recipes anyone?). I also need to be writing lists of things to do in my life beyond the Internet but I think winter is inhibiting my motivation. Off now to prepare a list of correspondents that need my recent change-of-address.

Update

Hey - I am now using Flickr to put photos on the Internet so that I can then link to them from here. As of writing this on 14 November I have a mugshot in my profile.

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17.7.06

Change of Electorates

One of the things I have to do as a result of moving is inform both the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) and Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) of my change of address. This I can do with one form that I collected from a Post Office. Once I am re-enrolled these will be my electorates:

- Victoria (Federal Senate)
- Chisholm (Federal House of Representatives)
- South Eastern (Victorian Legislative Council)
- Clayton (Victorian Legislative Assembly)

Chisholm is a more marginal electorate than my old one of Bruce which makes my vote just that bit more worthwhile at the next Federal Election. However I get to stay in the same Australian Democrats (ADs) branch of 'Bruce-Chisholm' (as a minor party we have always had branches covering one or more electorates rather than the separate suburb branches of the major parties - the branch name sounds like a personal name and once while I was Branch Convenor I received correspondence addressed to a "Mr B Chisholm").

Of more interest at present is the coming Victorian State Election which is only four months away. It will be an interesting election because of a number of changes to the way the election is conducted and the Parliament that it will elect. To start with it is the inagural election of fixed date state elections which from here on will always be held exactly four years apart for both upper (Legislative Council) and lower (Legislative Assembly) houses. The other key change is the way in which the Legislative Council will be elected.

Till now both chambers were elected by pretty much the same method of one member per electorate per election. To get elected one had to get 50%+1 of the vote (including distribution of preferences) in any given electorate. Now however for the Legislative Council the state has been divided into eight massive electorates which will elect five members each. The electoral method will be quota proportional. To get elected in one of these five-member electorates one needs to get approximately 16% of the vote (including distribution of excess votes from more successful candidates and distribution of preferences from less successful candidates). Getting that many votes across an area the size of the entire south-eastern suburbs of metropolitan Melbourne is a big ask but it will make for a different Legislative Council in two ways:

- It will be much less likely over time for one major party to have a majority (rather the numbers of the two major parties will be much closer assuming similar voting support)

- It will be somewhat more likely to have some minor party representation (I stress 'somewhat' as I think it will still be a major party dominated chamber but there is a chance of having a handful of 'cross-benchers')

On a personal note...

Once I am re-enrolled I will be all set as a voter. But what if I want to do more as a citizen? At an absolute minimum I will stand at a polling place all day if necessary (like any self-resepecting ADs hack) but I have to decide if I want to do more. In the past I have been a Polling Booth Coordinator and Campaign Manager and can still do it as well as any party member. But I must admit to having developed an accute case of 'activist fatigue'. It will become a case of how important do I think this election is versus how much I value my own shy-and-retiring way-of-life.

Despite dismal polling in recent times the ADs will still be having some role in the state election and I agree with that. For starters we had a hand in the consultative process which developed this new Legislative Council so it seems only right we participate in its inagural election. Whether I want to bust a gut for it is another matter. Seems to me that I have put in a lifetime of civic work to date and that I now deserve to sit back and observe for a while. There are always plenty of others to compensate for my absense (within the wider political process rather than in my party specifically). We shall see (since writing this I did indeed stand as is discussed here and here).

For info on the coming state election visit the VEC website.

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10.7.06

A Moving Experience

I wonder if the corniness of my post titles is in any way affected by a lack of sleep? Anyway I have moved just this past weekend. It has been 3 to 4 years since I last did that so it came as a bit of a shock to do so once more. Some background may be useful. I was renting from Olav & Polly who owned the house we lived in but now have sold it. We three have moved to accomodation which we will all rent.

The moving of stuff went pretty well (thanks to helping family and friends both on the day of moving big stuff and on other days of ferrying smaller stuff) but now comes the more challenging phase of sorting stuff. The fixed location of things like windows and wardrobes and power points suddenly becomes the most frustrating and powerful thing in your life as you try to decide on the best arrangement of furniture. I think I have got my room as good as it will get but may change my mind.

I am experiencing some culture shock (nothing compared to what the cats Elric and Calisto are suffering mind you). But I find that familiar contents makes a new setting somewhat familiar and helps with the settling in.
What does disorient me is stepping outside the front door into a new neighbourhood. Never mind that it is an area with which I am very familiar. The fact is that it is different from what I have seen every day for over a thousand days of stepping out the front door.

There are pros and cons to any change in life and this is one of them. I think that many of the pros and cons can be exactly matched helping one to better understand the change. Consider this: One 'con' is a smaller bedroom but this results in the impetus to get rid of stuff I never truly needed or wanted anyway which translates into a 'pro' once the work is done.

In the same way I think most pros and cons can be resolved in such a way as to suggest a net improvement in living circumstances. And there are many things that are definite improvements. Transport is better. I now need just one bus rather than two to get to work. I am within walking distance of both Huntingdale and Clayton Stations and also the Monash Uni Busloop. I can walk to and from things I do at Monash like swimming and choral rehearsals. I am further from shopping centres and cinemas than I was but can still get to such things with small effort. And I am within walking distance of the homes of a few friends. In other words more excuses to have late nights. Further corny post titles seem likely...

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6.7.06

Elevators and Evictions

I got a letter published in the Herald-Sun yesterday. It has been several months since I got anything into the papers so I am rather chuffed. They did edit it more than usual so I will reproduce here both the published and the submitted forms of the letter.

Letter as published

People seem to have confused priorities.

Take your worrying report on falling safety standards in elevator function since compulsory inspections ended a decade ago ('Aging office lifts at risk' 3 July) as an example.

Nobody seems to have a thing to say about this disgrace, but everyone is writing about the latest Big Brother controversy.

In the case of Big Brother, we have the power to self-regulate by changing channels at will, and yet we want Channel 10 or the Government to do our work for us.

On the other hand, nobody seems to mind that we are at risk in lifts. Our fragile morality seems to be more important to us than our own life and limb.


Letter as submitted

We seem to have very confused priorities if the 'Your Say' pages are anything to go by. Yesterday (03/07/06) the Herald-Sun cover story was on the very concerning issue of the degrading safety standards in elevator function since compulsory government inspections ceased a decade ago. Today however everyone is writing about the latest Big Brother controversy and nobody has a thing to say about the disgrace of letting lift owners neglect their duty-of-care.

In the case of Big Brother, we as viewers, or as the parents of viewers, have the power to 'self-regulate' by changing channels at will, and yet we want Channel 10 or the government to do our work for us. On the other hand, nobody seems to mind that we are at risk in elevators, and our fragile morality seems to be more important to us than our own life and limb.


Did the changes made improve the letter in terms of brevity or clarity or relevance? I think the intent was preserved so if editing is the price to pay for publication then I am happy with that.

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4.7.06

Very Big <-----> Very Small

More stuff from saved messages...

There is all sorts of novel and crazy stuff on the Internet and the best person I know for finding that stuff has to be Damien. Of all the many links he has forwarded onto friends I reckon this one is still the most impressive.

I cannot truly comprehend the very big nor the very small but that demonstration brings me just a tiny bit closer to some kind of appreciation. And it blows my mind. We (I anyway) cannot conceive of these things let alone anything like infinity. And likewise with eternity we are hopelessly stumped. I cannot imagine something continuing forever. And yet nor can I imagine something just stopping. What I can imagine is "something here then a bit more further on then a bit more further on..." but never the whole thing or the whole nothing.

Share and enjoy.

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