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Archive for the ‘links’ Category

SNOTBOY 1

SNOTBOY 2

The NSW RTA (Roads and Traffic Authority)’s newest ad campaign to tackle speeding, “Speeding. No-one Thinks Big of You“, has been reported by both the BBC (here) and Jezebel (here), my newest favourite source of trashy news. [As an aside, Jezebel’s ‘Snap Judgment’ posts are gold.] I was surprised to learn that the little finger wagging it features was not an international sign of male inadequacy, with both outlets feeling the need to explain it. I guess it is a rather Australian way to tackle issues of speeding, something we’ve been doing for a long time. (If anyone can get proud about being the world leader in traffic ads, it’d be us…)

(American) Jezebel was pretty openly surprised:

“apparently, insulting an Aussie’s manhood is a more effective way to shame him into slowing down than images of death and dismemberment.”

Getting people to slow down is about as hard as getting them to drive less – though perhaps cheaper and easier . The RTA has said elsewhere that shock tactics aren’t working, so hopefully a fresh approach will have some impact.

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Paris IV

Regular readers of this blog will remember that Beck and I went to the LSE Open earlier in the year, with something of a mixed bag of results. We did well at the tournament, and made some good friends, but the whole experience fell a little short of our Australian-made expectations of the tournament. To be fair, we were perhaps a little ill-prepared for the less than welcoming approach taken by lots of people on the British circuit. (I know, why wouldn’t they love two Aussies with lots of Pom-bashing material? Odd.)

So I’m pleased to report that the Paris IV was a magical weekend – am now looking forward to both the Durham Open later this month (faith in debating tournaments restored) and my next trip to Paris this weekend (for a Cat Empire gig, and just because I am seriously getting the hang of the three day weekend.)

The weekend started with another very late Air France flight on Friday, and a late night taxi to find Anna’s place where Beck & I stayed. Fellow corporate travellers will be pleased to learn that I explained (in bad French) why the 2 plus hour delay was an inconvenience, as was the mooted change of arrival airport, so we managed to wangle a taxi reimbursement, some frequent flyer miles and two whopping £3.50 vouchers to spend at London City Airport. Sure, £3.50 only really buys a Czech beer, but still.

Our arrival at Anna’s led to excited gossiping and the first of several rounds of the house brioche (dubbed “chocolaty boozy bread” by me because it was choc-chipped and tasted a little alcoholic) with Nutella until the wee hours. We dragged ourselves out of bed and onto a local bus with every intention of making the 9am briefing, only to find an odd protest/march blocking our arrondissements from the rest of Paris. We were a little late (not a drama, the organisation was superb) but I felt the blend of Catholic priests, youth involved in the Scouting movement, crucifixes, Sea Scout types in pom-pommed berets, large banner bearers, etc was something to behold. With cries of “Onward Christian Bushwalkers”, the bus broke through the hundreds, if not thousands, of people to deliver us safely. Hoorah.

The tournament itself was great – as a judge, all the teams I saw were enthusiastic, keen to learn, competed in the spirit of the competition and all had a good day. So many of the speakers improved, all the debates I saw were entertaining, etc – basically a lot of love in the room. A very functional, beneficial day all around, and in Paris too!

The motions were:
1. TH would nationalise prostitution
2. TH believes that states where abortion is illegal Have the Right to Prevent their Citizens from Travelling Abroad to Have One
3. TH would pay legal immigrants to return to their country of origin
4. TH would provide extra welfare payments to impoverished men and women if they agree to be sterilised
GF. TH believes that terrorist organisations are legitimate democratic partners

After the rather swish GF, we kicked on to Mandala Ray, (aka Man Ray, or so I’m informed) a club owned by Johnny ‘Dreamboat’ Depp, Sean Penn & John Malkovich, which was very Parisienne (so I’m told) and rather cool. There, on the dance floor, I was able to get a dose of bad tournament dancing, gossip etc, to complement the functional day. Swoon.

Beck and I spent much of the rest of the weekend catching up on sleep, like true corporate cats, but am looking forward to returning to Paris again rather soon – and plan to do the Paris IV in 2008 too.

(I’ve been travelling lots lately, been a little homesick and rather busy at work. Throw in some (minor) personal dramas and computer problems (at work) and you get complete inactivity. My apologies. On the upside, I have now got a back catalogue of material ready to report.)

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On my way in to work in the mornings (depending on how far I walk… have had a few lazy mornings on the bus) I’ve recently changed my route to cover quite a distance on ‘Highwalks’ – meaning I’ve been experiencing less traffic, less noise and a new perspective on the the buzzing morning scene in EC2. It’s meant that I’m having some blog-worthy revelations, so I hope this will improve my blogging rate!

I thought it was worth noting some reflection from this morning – three ways I think I’m becoming Anglicised (perhaps a bit dramatic – at least a bit different):

  1. My Accent – despite the best efforts of the girls while in Switzerland, my vocab and accent are running away. I’ve stopped saying really Australian things (partly because no one understands them) and started to adopt some Pommy ones. I’m trying really hard to fight this and am listening to Aussie accents at every opportunity, but hopefully the Australian accent is deeply ingrained and readily recovered upon return. [Funnily enough, my technical vocab is lagging behind my slang. People still can’t understand me on site sometimes, but all my Aussie mates think I’m a posh git.]
  2. Commuting Professional – I remember my sense of wonder when I first read FridayCities’ Ten Commandments of Tube travel, but I notice how quickly all the English sulking, pouting and pointed looks has modified my behaviour.  I always have my Oyster card ready, and am so irked by people who break the rules (big bags! standing on the left!) that I usually avoid the tube altogether if I can. I hate people with suitcases so much I’m not sure how I’ll go away (or home) for any period of time. Of course, I love it despite not really enjoying my time there, and think all the Poms who complain about it have no idea.
  3. London Pride – I recently waited a few days to take site photos for posting here… because I wanted a blue day. Already I’m exaggerating the weather (which has been really good) as the grey days aren’t so bad (compared to say Jan/Feb) but have no idea why. London weather is crap, but for some reason I feel loyal enough to try to counter all the negative press – could just be a Melbourne thing?

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Big Stories

London is a city that is gripped by stories, unlike anything I ever experienced in Australia. I suppose this is in part because there is just so much media – free papers, WiFi everywhere, TV screens in stations, a population density that supports gossip – and generally part of living in the birthplace of sensationalism. When a story hits, it is everywhere and everyone talks about it, often for days.

I got a real sense of just how different it is while talking last night with my English flatmates about Richard Hammond (a TV personality on Top Gear, a show about cars) who spent time in a coma in 2006 following a serious accident – it seems the media coverage here was so all consuming, it seemed hard for them to understand that it hadn’t been a BBQ stopper in Australia. The scale of the coverage was so great that it seemed International in it’s significance to them. (Generally, this is where people talk about the Princess Di effect.)

So currently London is consumed by two stories – the disappearance of Maddie McCann and the Cutty Sark fire. Let me know if they’re further proof I am firmly ensconced in the London bubble.

Update (23 May 2007): Maddie McCann has made the news on the European homepage of my company’s intranet, with a request that everyone circulate her image and a close-up of her unusual right eye.

Maddy 2

Maddy 1

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Site with a view

To finish off my binge of blogging, here are some photos of my site, showing our proximity to the Guildhall itself, the number of cranes nearby due to all the work in EC, and the view over the rooftops to nearby St Paul’s Cathedral, one of my favourite buildings in London.

Site 1

 

 Site 2

 

Site 3

The actual job itself has very little to show – we’re just a shell at the moment. But rest assured you’ll be seeing some structural glazing before too long.

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Name this country . . .

  • Richest in the World
  • Largest Military
  • Centre of world business and finance
  • Strongest education system
  • World centre of innovation and invention
  • Currency the world standard of value
  • Highest standard of living

Yep, it’s England – in 1900.

[From an interesting slide presentation “Shift Happens” by Jeff Brenman & Karl Fisch, winner of Slideshare‘s World’s Best Presentation Contest. (World in a very American way, in that it’s not really a global contest, but the winning presentations are all good insight into good presentation styles.)]

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I like to…

Gah! Guilty of blog neglect. Despite some feedback from the silver surfer end of the readership spectrum that my blog is overloaded with jargon, I couldn’t resist this one (techy-blog-filler alert!)

Inspired by Beano’s facebook note, I have used Google to run a search with the phrase (using the quotation marks) “Vanessa likes to” – the top 10 hits were:

  1. In her spare time Vanessa likes to buy new shoes (she has a very unhealthy fetish for shoes), juggle, and see how long she can hold her breath.
  2. But Vanessa likes to watch the women coming out, to look at the dresses, the furs, the jewels, the shoes. “I’m getting inspired,” she mutters.
  3. In her spare time, Vanessa likes to read books about sociology, religion, spirituality, and current affairs.
  4. It seems Vanessa likes to keep sturdy walls between the different parts of her life.
  5. Austin Powers wants to know how Vanessa likes to “do it”.
  6. Vanessa likes to be needed, as well as to cherish and protect her loved ones, of whom she is somewhat possessive. Vanessa is attracted to foreigners.
  7. Vanessa likes to suffer.”
  8. She had to be a little bit more composed and more conservative last year and that’s not how Vanessa likes to play.
  9. Vanessa likes to consider herself a citizen of the world and goes by the motto ‘today is all you truly have’, or ‘Hoy es todo lo que verdaderamente tienes’.
  10. Vanessa likes to make up. stories. She has a very vivid. imagination.

A little random, due to there being a more diverse range of Vanessas on the web (than say, Beanos.) Not just fictional characters such as Ms Vanessa Kensington, but also musicians, bloggers and athletes. None of the top ten hits were me!
But given the random assortment, they’re a bit like astrological predictions in that they’re mostly true – except for the show buying (although I do love them… there just ain’t many in my size here), juggling, holding breath, the suffering, the playing conservative and possibly the spirituality books – and would be for most women named also Vanessa (who are often born late 70s/early 80s.)

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