The Midday Meal

A repository for the various things i consume in the course of daily existence

Friday, January 30, 2004

Downloadable music

So apparently we are gearing up for the online music wars. For all the use I make of music files, i'm not sure I like the implication that the market is leading towards the downloading on single trackes of the internet as its next major step.

There's a number of reasons for this, firstly my personal love of packaging is a big one... I'd much rather own a copy of the original cd with the sleeve notes and associated stuff than a burnt copy (finances permitting). The second reason is a bit of a worry that if the market becomes all about single tracks then the artists are less likely to be producing whole albums, instead concentrating on making singles songs which will sell rather than pursuing any larger artisitic vision. A huge part of the joy of a new cd for me is hearing the other tracks other than the couple of singles that led you to buying it in the first place and if you're only buying a track at a time thats less likely to happen as often.

Although maybe my reticence may simply be as a result of not having a high speed internet connection and enough hard drive space to fully take advantage of this new marketplace. After all I was quite keen when I found out about trax2burn but that's because the nature of techno/house music is such that the tracks are put out there as single entities, as tools or blocks, to be used in the creation of a larger more complex musical creation, and the market for these tracks is essentially in the purchasing of one-offs anyway.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Bitchy, but still kind of funny

A new blog I discovered, My Annoying Coworkers petty, childish, but funny and interesting, which is more than can be said for this one...

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Free Trade

For the past 18 months or so there have been discussions of a free trade agreement between Australia and the US. The current government seem hell bent on getting us signed on to this thing at almost any cost. This being is spite of the unlikelihood of the agreement extending to agriculture, the area of greatest benefit to Australia, and could cost us a functional pharmaceutical benefits scheme (see also here).

Other than the fact that a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) is anything but free, agreement members can trade "freely" with other members but as there are additional costs involved in trading with non members trading outside of the agreement is less beneficial limiting the freedom of trade, there are a number of issues about whether this is really the right path for us.

Further, changes to the way the law works in regulation and the resolving of disputes between corporations and the government are also demanded by the US. This is a serious relinquishing of our governed to the US congress and multinational corporations. As well our current quarantine laws and food labeling regimes are also threatened

It seems however that our government is still intent on getting the deal, with the deadline of this Christmas given to getting it done. We can only hope that there is a significant change in the thinking (or nature) of our government before then.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

State Schools...

Apparently John Howard reckons that state schools are too politically correct so thats why parents aren't sending their kids to them anymore. Apparently parent's want schools which will tech their kids values. I find it a little funny that Mr Howard can criticise, as it is the federal government which controls the pursestrings of education, and his government is responsible from the shift in government funding away from education, particularly public school education...

Maybe parents are sending their kids to private schools because they'll get a better education there... as the private schools get the govt funding AND whatever the parents pay to fill their budgets. The government appears hellbent on building a two teired system in education as well as in health. If the money spent on the medicare rebate and the additonal funding to private schools were put back in the public health and education budgets the situation wouldn't be so bad. If the $4 a week ($10 billion over 4 years) paycut from the last budget was spent on education it would pay for the recent higher education package four times over.

It always makes me angry when politicians are allowed to get away with statements like this which allow them to publicly pass the buck without the media reporting the facts with the spin.

Monday, January 19, 2004

And I thought I was bored...

Apparently we reached the end of history sometime in the last hundred to two hundred years, and ever since we have been witnessing the success of economic liberalism. Its probably old hat, Fukuyama wrote it in 1989 after all (it has references to Gorbachev being in power), but i fear he may have a point. I also understand his closing statements about how boring the world without history has become.

If history, in the sense of the evolution of ideas and the development of a overwhelming world view, is pretty much over the that explains the lack of choice available to the electors in western democracies... with no ideal to battle over, there is no real contest of ideas, no outcome of an electoral process that will have an effect, but instead having two proponents of the same moral and political philosophy to choose from.

How else do you explain the excitement in the change in leader of the federal opposition if not because it was a relief from the inherent boredom of having to make a decision. Its not as if Mark Latham's government will be significantly differrent from one that would have been headed by Simon Crean, or for that matter Peter Costello. The decision on the framework has been made, and as such the theory applied to any problem will be the same. Sure they may decide to take slightly different paths and spend their money in slightly different ways, but there is no chance at all of anyone involved in this years election coming up with anything that is going to significantly change our society for the better... the last time this happened was 1972 and history hadn't ended then, the socialist/communist challenge to liberalism hadn't failed then.

Fukuyama reckons we are in for quite a boring time of it until something comes up to unsettle liberalism, i think i'm inclined to agree. I'm not the widest read individual out there I will admit but of the big ideas people I've come into contact with (J.R.S and Peter Singer) the thinking still occurs in the liberal framework, they aren't providing a new way or idea, but simply put forward alternative means of achieiving a liberal ideal.

So the real appeal of Latham isn't any new idea or philosophy he will bring... but the fact that he'll get up and say stuff which can be invigorating and entertaining. The same can be said of Howard Dean in the US, different rhetoric but the outcome for the average American or Australian will be roughly the same no matter who is in charge.

So i guess we should be thankful for Mark for saving us from the overt boredom of a political non decision between Howard and Crean. So I can get excited a little about the prospect of a few interesting stories and some funny situations, but in the end I can't see life in Australia becoming anymore interesting as a result...

Friday, January 16, 2004

Hope?

So I wake up this morning and head into work, I stopped at Gus' to put of coming to work as long as possible. Here begins tangent number one, why is it that I get out of bed and 7 quickly shower and leave the house to go to work, then try to take as long as possible on the journey to work because I really don't want to go there?

Back to the story, I'm currently reading Catch 22 and I've got past the amusing and slightly wierd introductions of all the characters and the set up where it reminds you that it is a book about a war and people die in wars, and so its getting a little depressing.

This got me thinking about hope and depression, and how important it is to have things to look forward to, whatever they may be. I think depression arises out of the lack of things to hope for, or the objects of desire appear unattainable therefore detering hope.

Its one of the things that have been eating at me lately, the plethora of, often mutually exclusive, desires, and my perceived inability to achieve any of them...

On a lighter note... maybe there is hope after all... James Brown is playing Byron Bay

Thursday, January 15, 2004

John Howard = Dodgy

I it was a night before christmas and all through the house we were sitting and watching the bond film which was the only escape from the shithouse summer/christmas eve tv programming when on to my screen appears the little round spectacled face of our all powerful leader (it was obviously an importantannouncement as he had trimmed his eyebrows).

Jackboot spent a minute or two informing us on his government's great record in dealing with those foreign types who used to keep rocking up here in leaky boats and how his boy Phil had done this great thing excising all these islands from our migration zone.  He then went on to say that because labour kept blocking this they were showing how weak they are on border protection.

Johnny's little message smacked of political campaigning... and he'sobviously using government money and tv time to market the liberal's "we're tougher" line.  I would have expected this piece to be followed by the written & authorised spiel that has to follow political advertising... but this didn't.

Looks like mad mark is making jackboot nervous... next year will be interesting indeed

particularly as it seems our internet lodged visas are open to allowing terrorists in the front door, the way they mostly travel, rather than the back (or northern) door as our government would like us to believe.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

How funny is this

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

The important things in life...

I like food (its fairly obvious if you've ever seen me) and because of this I think that its great that I live in a society where a conversation such as this is considered important enough to be reported in one of the major metropolitan daily papers.

Next time I am in sydney I think i'll be heading to Mosaic to check out a "real" carbonara sauce...

HTML

I think i'd like to apologise, because I had meant to learn a bit of html over the course of the summer break to make this blog look a little better and so as not to be using one of the base blogger templates... maybe a bit of a vanity... hopefully I'll get on to this soon... even if its just changing the colours i use... orange is not so attractive...

Contact

I'm developing a habit of checking all my good friends blogs of a morning when I start work. The first port of call used to be the papers, but know I rock up to the capn's and 'zilla's to see what my friends in distant places are up to. I think its almost a cop out… as a means of communication its functional to the point of letting everyone know what's going on or to maintain an idea of the stuff they are dealing with day to day. But its clearly no way to maintain a relationship with people. To do that will require a little more effort on my part that putting their pages into my favourites.

You may notice by a perusal of the previous posts this has been on my mind a great deal of late.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Surviving another year...

So, yesterday was my 28th birthday...
Doesn't make me feel a whole lot different... although I got to work this morning and couldn't quite focus on my monitor... i figured it was just age... but apparently everyone else finds it fuzzy too so maybe its just buggered.

no mention of my birthday at work today... maybe i've gotten away with it...

I must be getting old however... out til 4 on saturday and i'm still tired today... it wasn't that long ago i'd make it through weekends with about 3 hours sleep...

what can i say... its not like it used to be

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Slackers

So here's the deal, which I just worked out while reading the captain's blog...

Christmas cards... In the past 18 months, a great number of my good friends have left the city in which i currently (and have always) live. This Christmas I, for the first time ever, brought christmas cards to send to them. The reason for this was that i know feel as if the majority of my closest friends now live in places I can't easily visit them at Christmas to offer the best wishes myself. When I came to writing these cards I found it difficult to know what to say, I wanted to express to them exactly how much i was feeling the distance at that time, but (possibily due to lack of practice in my early years) couldn't come up with much more to fit on a card than the usual, impersonal, best wishes of the season type cliches. As a result of this not one card got send... and for that I now feel even worse. I guess that even the impersonal merry christmas happy new years drivel is better than nothing, right?

stupid me...


Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Thought for the Day

I've decided to stop caring about things. If you care you just get disappointed all the time. If you don't care, nothing matters, so you're never upset. (Calvin & Hobbes 1993)

So that was Christmas...

and what have i done...

not a great deal I must admit... but I did read some books, which was a nice change, one or two were even fiction!!!

Indeed Zadie Smith's White Teeth was the first, and probably the best of the books i got through, closely followed by Douglas Coupland's Hey, Nostradamus. White Teeth is another of those examinations of the asian immigrant experience in the UK, as well as being an examination of the post colonial relationship which has led to that immigration. Looking at the effect of the modern, rational, western, wholly secular society where ones actions are based on the economic assumptions that we all act in our own interests (sort of a self fulfilling prophecy that one) . Particularly considering these immigrants mostly from societies where ones actions usually follow societal/religious/cultural norms (which it is often in one's best interest to follow, but the link to individual maximisation isn't as explicitly stated).

The struggle for relevance for the old, holding onto the beliefs that their previous lives were built on is shown in parallel to the search for an identity within this new society by their offspring. You may have read it, if you haven't do so, its really well written and quite funny… it was a really good book, reminded me exactly how much I enjoy reading (and its always good to be reminded of enjoyable things).

Back at work again now, so once the brain starts working again there should be more of this dribble coming forth out here… hopefully I'll be able to get my hands on some new and interesting stuff…

Reminds me why I miss my friends… they were usually always good for a new thing to read particularly the captain and gonzo.

Anyway… more tomorrow… probably…