Heavy Plant

Walk past a "Heavy Plant" warning and wonder vaguely if the trees thought it was for them; if whoever put it up had enough imag...


Backwards busriders

Next time you're on the bus watch for the people that choose to sit facing in the opposite direction to travel. Not those who do so because all the other seats are taken but people that actively choose to do so, they're a bit different (rare too).

Going backwards makes most people a little queasy, these people are tougher than that. They are so accustomed to public transport that motion sickness long ago ceased to be a problem for them.

A lot of people don't always know where they're going or at least like to be able to see their stop to make sure they get off in time. The backwards people aren't worried by this, they have their routine and they know the route so well, they know it backwards.

The backwards seats are the only seats on the bus that force you to look your fellow passengers in the eye, all at once. Other seats grant the comfort of staring at a seat-back but not these. These seats reveal the bizarre theatre of people on the bus, in public but in a confined, unnatural state of locomotion. Sitting backwards on a Saturday night-bus is an operetta.

These people spend their journey looking from their point of departure watching the world go past them with their back to their destination, meeting it only when they choose to get off. In the mornings this means facing back toward home, watching it disappear into the distance. In the evenings watching work fade into the past.

Next time you're on the bus watch for the people that choose to sit facing backwards, they're a bit different.


Kevin 07

Labor took the election early last night. I can't say I noticed as we were out and about and horribly sunburnt having been out all day.

It's about time I stopped with this politics tripe and got on with some real blogging...


Election day

My coverage of the federal election here hasn't been what I'd hoped but buying a flat and changing job roles seem to have got in the way of it a bit. However, it is election day in Oz and so I shall be going to go surfing all day and then to a party in the evening as I am not elligible to vote.

Australia's electoral practices are far more progressive than a lot of other westernised nations. All citizens have to vote, even if overseas a plane ticket actually has to be produced to avoid a substantial fine. Australia also uses a proportional representation system in which voters order the candidates to match their preference (a 1 for the first choice, 2 for the second etc.).

For some arcane reason that I don't really understand some seats in the senate are also being decided and for these you can either order the candidates or just put a 1 in a box for your party of choice. You can actually practice voting at the Australian Electoral COmmission's website.

Polls suggest that Australia is in for a change of government but it could be a nailbiter. There's been some great last minute wrangling including questioning the validity of 12 candidates applications with the promise of legal action andhanding out fake pamphlets supposedly saying that Labor support Islamic terrorists.

Honestly, I have no real idea what's going to happen.




We've been at a charity event at the Hilton in Sydney tonight. We have come away with a teddy bear, the flowers from the table and some bloons.


Election 07: So where was I?

If you're worried about the lack of sanity evidenced by writing about politics at 3 in the morning don't worry. I was woken by a bizarre noise from next door that sounded like an entire skelton being dropped on a hard surface from a great height. Worry about that instead.

I was covering the Australian election from an TV/internet and ex-pat perspective when all of a sudden having a life got in the way. Oh yes, and the whole thing became really tedious.

We've had more of the same from both sides. Liberals first:

And now Labor:

We've also seen some genuine thinking by the two main parties. Liberals first, again playing to their economic record versus that of the oposition and doing so against the background of an interest rate rise (the first ever during a general election campaign in Australia):

Labor's latest plays to the uncertainty of electing a Prime Minister who will be stepping down soon (Howard said yesterday that he would probably be in office for at least 18 months):

To give you a taste of what it's actually like here if you're reading from outside Australia all of these video embeds are on television here. You can't get through an ad break without seeing at least two of them.

Street canvassers have been at a minimum and I am grateful that an English accent can give you the instant get-out of not being able to vote. I can't help feeling that with 10 days to go something a bit more dramatic ought to be happening. The fact that it isn't is probably because both of the parties set out their stalls pretty early on and have stuck to their guns pretty doggedly.

Some spending plans were announced on Monday from the Liberals but Labor doesn't seem to have done quite the same thing and in the interest of research and reasonable comparison I'll go through those later in the week.


Why not?!

This sticker is under the driver's side window of all Sydney busses.



Live moblogging an award for slidecasting about moblogging - it doesn't get much more information age than that! Or does it...I also twittered the tinyurl to the organisers. I wonder if anyone will notice in time for tomorrow's session....