MavEtJu's Distorted View of the World - 2006-01

Rollerblading in Cronulla, first attempt
I'm watching no more commercial television from now on
William Shatner - Has Been
Feedback, going to try it again
Babies and silver disks

Back to index

Rollerblading in Cronulla, first attempt

Posted on 2006-01-20 21:00:25, modified on 2006-01-20 21:39:12
Tags: Rollerblading, Sports, Australia

Oh boy... and you thought that the Australian roads were unsafe for cyclists...

Short background: All my life (until I moved to Australia that is), I have been a fanatic ice-skater and rollerblader. In the winter on the frozen water, in the spring, summer and autumn on the road and bicycle tracks. And life was good :-)

Then I moved to Australia, where there is no frozen water nor bicycle tracks... In the first years, I used my bicycle to go everywhere (within reason). And got a lot of abuse from it from the car drivers. So much, that when my bike got stolen, I didn't bother to replace it, and walked everywhere. Yes, it took three times as long, but it was a million times less stressful.

Recently I found my backpack with my rollerblades in it. This weekend my wife and baby went to Canberra for a bridge contents (she, not the baby) and I thought "let's rooooooooolllllll.". Oh dear.

In the summer in the Netherlands, it is easily light till say 21:00 - 21:30. In the summer in Australia, it is barely light after 19:30 during the longest day. In the Netherlands, on the roads you have on constant distances street lights. In Australia, you have street lights on corners. Now the problem with rollerblading is that you go fast (unintentionally) and then a little bump in, or rock on, or gravel on, or whatever on the road has to be anticipated. Not seeing them is the same as asking to fall flat on your face.

In the Netherlands, in general, outside suburbs, the cars are not parked on the side of the road but in parking bays which are not part of the piece of the road where car drive. In Australia, roads are two-and-half-times as wide as a car and these cars are parked on the outsides of the cars. With the result that on the left hand side you have parked cars and on your right hand side you have cars driving. And since the favourite car of the Australian citizen seems to be a four-wheel-over-two-meters-high-landrover-tank, you have absolutely no idea what is happening on the at the car ports.

Last but not least, the Netherlands is flat and thus the roads are flat. Rollerblading there means: if you put effort in it, you go faster. If you don't put effort in it, you will go slower and slower until you're standing still. This might take some time, but it will happen. In Australia, even if you find a long stretch of road which looks flat, it's not. It's never flat, it's always sloping. So even if you don't put effort in it, you will go forward. And faster. So if you see something which might take some caution, you will go faster and faster to it, and faster and faster. Even a little stretch of say 30 meters will give you a nice speed when you're at the end (and not able to see what is going on on that road due to the stupidly high four wheel tanks).

So... first attempt to rollerblade again in Australia has turned out to be a huge disappointment. Tomorrow I'll try the road to Kurnell and see if I can figure out the four kilometer track in Miranda...

No comments | Share on Facebook | Share on Twitter

I'm watching no more commercial television from now on

Posted on 2006-01-17 08:54:40, modified on 2006-01-17 10:40:33
Tags: Rant, Mass Media

As the saying goes, the content on commercial television station is to fill up the time between commercials. And I've seen some sad examples of this here in Australia.

Australian Television

On free-to-air television in Australia you have seven channels:

  • The ABC is the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, government owned but not government ran, is like the BBC and is commercial-free. Lot of programs and series from the BBC show up on this channel.
  • The Special Broadcasting Services is the channel with forwarding of overseas non-English-spoken news broadcasts, non-English-spoken series, non-English-spoken films and overseas sports, together with groundbreaking-but-controversial-shows like South Park and manga-movies. Commercials are in-between shows!
  • Channel 9, the sports channel. For cricket in the summer and football in the winter, this is where you should be! Commercials every 10 minutes, if you're that lucky.
  • Channel 7. I must admit, I have no idea what they broadcast except for the Channel 7 news. Commercials every 10 minutes.
  • Channel 10, the happy-family Fox station. Lots of repeats of the Simpsons (everyday at 18:00, with special one-hour repeats at least twice a week and even one night in the week where they show an all new episode), with soaps like Neighbours and Everybody loves Raymond and no more than seventy flavours of police series, including but not limited to all flavours of Law and Order, CSI and NCIS. Pulp, with commercials every 10 minutes and sometimes a short "one-minute-break" in between.

With the rise of digital television, the ABC and SBS have taken the opportunity to improve the variaty of their content by taken a second, digital only, channel. The other channels are just re-broadcasting their normal channel.

And now the rant

The source for my decision, and this rant, lies in a single movie I tried to watch: The Battle of Britain. It's a historical movie, an old movie, slow in acting and in progress of the storyline, But it's a movie I wanted to watch because of the change in my cultural environment. Like I said, it's a slow movie, taking 45 minutes what these days gets pushed in 10 minutes of lousy acting and bad camera work. But these 45 minutes get interrupted by at least four commercials, taking you out of the careful orchestrated mood of looming battles and the upcoming darkness to a happy world of home loans, end-of-year sales and dieting products. At that moment the mood is totally scattered. After the first commercial you try to get into the magic of the movie again, but something is missing. The darkness doesn't come back so black, the upcoming battles don't seem to be so serious. Next commercial, and you wonder how many of them will be there before the end of the movie, and more importantly, how much more damage they will do to the movie. Next commercial, and the TV was turned off...

How can the commercial television stations ruin movies like this without getting serious problems with their conscience?

Show comment | Share on Facebook | Share on Twitter

William Shatner - Has Been

Posted on 2006-01-16 14:57:20, modified on 2006-01-16 15:24:56
Tags: Music

Remember William Shatner? Starring as Captain James T. Kirk in the original Star Trek series, atttempting to become a singer with his "If I had a Hammer", "Mr Tamborine Man" and "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"... "Enough!" most people would say now, "We admire him for his Star Trek, not for his music."

He has made a new record, called "Has Been". This time not songs from others, but from himself. As a man who is with 73 years old at the end of his life, and wants to come to term with what happened to him: The memories, the losses, the coming end, his view on life, Very different styles, very different topics, very different people. And as you expect from his (in)famous James T. Kirk style of acting, he's not singing but talking.

If you're interested in a record with challenging songs, or wondering how a 73 year old can make interesting music, or just are interested in what William Shatner has made this time, you should download this record. And when you're in the record shop next time and see this record, you might be tempted to buy it.

Show comment | Share on Facebook | Share on Twitter

Feedback, going to try it again

Posted on 2006-01-09 16:36:04, modified on 2006-01-09 16:37:05
Tags: Rant, Spam

A new year, a new attempt for feedback!

To see how spammy the weblogging world is these days, I've enabled comments again.

Show comment | Share on Facebook | Share on Twitter

Babies and silver disks

Posted on 2006-01-09 16:30:01, modified on 2006-01-09 16:37:54
Tags: Happiness, Baby

Fun is: finding dual layer DVD disks in the shop.
Not fun is: find out that they cost AU$ 8.50 each.

Fun is: burning your first DVD disk on the computer.
Not fun is: when the test run actually writes something (

Fun is: seeing your baby playing with the expensive coaster.
Not fun is: your baby smacking the expensive coaster in your face.

Oh well, it's fun too :-)

No comments | Share on Facebook | Share on Twitter