Monday, July 28, 2008

Sydney Body Art Ride: Effective Speed

I was just reading this story on The Sydney Body Art Ride Blog and thought it was worth posting a link.

Sydney Body Art Ride: Effective Speed

Due to the fact that I've never really been committed to a career or too concerned about status, I am one of those people who works simply to bring in the money needed to sustain a reasonably comfortable life. My thinking has always been that if I reduce my needs then I can life happily on less.
I've spent some time adding up the associated costs of running a car because I've occasionally been short on funds and I hate spending money unnecessarily. Eliminating cars from my life can give me the freedom of less financial commitments. (Having said this we have just committed to a new/secondhand family car...) The true cost of which I have not calculated but having just read the article above I am feeling the pinch!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Surviving Peak Oil and thriving

On Wednesday night the Darwin Food Care Group hosted a film night at The Grove. We watched a film called 'The Power of Community'
The topic was Peak Oil and the steps taken by the Cuban people to adapt to an energy crisis that we shall all soon face.

Below is a review of the evening. I hope some the interest shown on the night will translate into more people actually growing their own food locally. Maybe even come down to The Patch in Leanyer and consider starting their own garden plots.


Unaffordable oil . . . .

A hundred and fifty people packed into The Groove Café in Nightlciff on Wednesday night to watch the film-

“The Power of Community -

How Cuba Survived Peak Oil’

Afterwards the audience engaged in open discussion about the rising costs of fuel and food in Darwin and considered ways in which we may have to adapt our lifestyles to cope.

Amongst the group there was a feeling of urgency, a feeling that we needed to start preparing ourselves for the repercussions of unaffordable oil.

As one person from the audience mentioned, “food security has nothing to do with carrots running around with guns”.

Leigh Spicer, the coordinator of the nonprofit group FoodCare NT added, “The issue of food security in our rapidly changing world is a serious one, why isn’t everybody talking about this?”

Saturday, July 26, 2008

All the fun of the carnival

Yesterday was Show day in Darwin, so what better place to be than the Royal Darwin Agricultural Show? Well I could think of plenty of places actually but we went just the same.

whip fighting Darwin Show
Whip Fighting

My Show day experience was kind of... well... Odd. Kind of an assault on the senses. Bizarre!
We drove in and found a car park about a kilometer away from the gate, then stood in the slowest line in the sun for about 20 minutes. As we stood in line, thirsty and cranky, the Red dust rose like a putrid fog from the over trodden ground. It mingled with fowl smelling cigarette smoke and caused the muscles in back of my throat to seize and refuse the fetid air to pass! My nostrils clamped involuntarily and I had to force myself to breath. (The kids seemed fine)

Inside the gate the scene felt hostile, but I knew it must just be me. I'm not used to being amongst so many people for such little reason. Mothers with prams laden to overflowing with show bags, stuffed with sugar and plastic. They are unfazed by the hustle and bustle. Accustomed to the angst, the hype and the constant demand to buy more, delighted by the spectacle. Turn the music up! Louder! "It's great mate, so much fun! It is clear. You can see them attempt to satisfied the insatiable desires of their overstimulated and excited kids. Is it possible? (So many bags so little worth carrying.)

The show is a special place. So many people flock together to blow their money on nothing. High on the carnival atmosphere. The corruption and the decadence, the freedom and the madness.

We enjoyed watching the horses and visiting the baby animal display. I have to admit the whip fighting was pretty cool! It's nice sitting out near the main arena but generally the Show is kind of weird to me... It is freaky actually and it's intoxicating.

What did I notice most of all?
  • This year it was the carnival atmosphere! I saw some of the same faces running stalls as last year. There were a few travelers in the mix but also a bunch of long time show people. The bloke at The Jolly Giant blew me away! he didn't miss a beat! Watching all the goings on, spotting every potential player, providing commentary of everything that caught his eye on his patch and singing karaoke style to Johny Cash songs (without missing a beat). The man was an artist!
Jolly Giant
Jolly Giant
  • Parents blowing smoke directly into the faces of their children
  • Toy Guns - Imitations of weapons designed solely for the killing and maiming of people. Replica's of AK47s, the kind of gun that are actually used by kids, no older than the ones these toys are being sold to, to kill their neighbors.
The most common of the toys
Assault weapon fun

Early training
Checking sights... It's OK they're suitable for kids 3 and above
  • The volume of the sound system at the dancing hall will always be to loud
  • You can always expect to find an uninstalled phone booth whenever you're in desperate need
Where's the phone?
  • Portable toilets always have more piss on the floor than in the tray
  • Once you step through the gates no matter how much money you take in you can usually guarantee there'll be none on the way out
  • Within one week of having been there you won't have a clue what you spent your money on at the show
  • People are actually still allowed to breed pigeons... And let them loose in the wild (they don't all come home!)
  • Mutant birds are not cool! Playing god with animal genetics is more than weird... It's kind of obscene.
I had quite a few intense feelings while at the show but by the time we got home I couldn't remember much at all. My nose and lungs slowly became accustomed to the smoke and dust, the smell of popcorn and burned sugar started to feel a bit more natural to me. Luckily for me we left when we did... My Wowserdom has been long fought for and defended... I would hate to have given it all away for the lure and charm of one traveling carnival.

Whip it!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sustainable development... ?

This past week I've been driving back to Darwin from Melbourne with my Parents and Brother. We've seen some amazing country, felt the cool desert air and I have had time to contemplate many things.

There were some lovely sights. As always I noticed a lot of bird life including many Wedge-tailed eagles feeding by the roadside. I stopped half a dozen times to remove kangaroo corpses from the road in the hope that I might save an eagle from becoming the next fatality.

Crested pigeon
Crested Pigeon NT

Major Mitchel Cocatoos
Major Mitchel Cockatoo NT

Wedge-tailed eagle
Wedge-tailed Eagle NT

While away I read a book called The Road by Cormack McCarthy. It moved me deeply and left me feeling quite raw and busted open... cracked like a nut.
Possibly one of the best books I've read. I don't know why, there were so few words. It was bleak. It was like eating a dirt sandwich with nothing but ash to wash it down with and the bleak miserableness of a wet cold bed for comfort! READ IT YOU WILL KNOW!

It is impossible to deny the truth in this book and it evokes a grief that is as unfathomable as the nature of God itself or the stark possibility oblivion instead.

The Pope is in Sydney today addressing the World Youth Day pilgrims. We listened to his speech with some interest and I had a bit of a moment of clarity when I heard the familiar slogan 'Sustainable development' mentioned. The concept of sustainable development has been sinking in with me lately and I have decided to turn my back on the whole concept as an oxymoron! It is an illusion devised to deceive the population of industrialized countries into feeling better about our continued efforts to plunder the earths resources. For Jargon like this I must be a skeptic.
It seems to me that in the minds of human beings, in commerce and in political spheres, the word development is linked directly to construction and expansion. With the world in such a state of environmental degradation and when food production is so obviously suffering from the effects of exhausted natural systems we must accept that our current concept of development is in direct contrast to any notion of sustainability.
Will we ever learn to nurture a realistic social and environmental habitat in which we can thrive? Or will we continue to subscribe to the sustainable development mantra and remain committed to the destruction of our only beloved Earth?

Discussing these issues with my wife she came forth with an alternative slogan that offers some real hope for a future.


The reduction of human pressure on the Earths precious resources for the future welfare of all life on Earth.

harvest times
Some of the recent harvest from "Our little Patch of paradise"