Thursday, 29 December 2011

God I love religion

Its absurd to consider a scene were priests fight against other priests over who's turf it is

its almost like a scene from Monty Python's life of brian

while on the subject I liked the other news of the Croc snagging a lawnmower of the Gardner

seems to have cost the croc a tooth too ... oh well, hopefully they have a dentist

Friday, 23 December 2011

Merry Christmas

well that time of the year has come around, and as I'm likely to be absorbed by family and friends at this time I'd like to make the last blog post of the year a Christmas wish of goodwill to all.

In Finland the Finnish for Merry Christmas is Hyvää Joulua.

The above image was taken by me one winter in Finland with the most amazing ice crystal growth (frost) formations leaving little spikes of ice all over the place.

Of course I'm in Australia again these days so the White Christmas is just a thing of days gone by for now.

Anyway, I'd like to wish you all the best for this period, stay safe and may the new year bring you health and prosperity.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

My local little bit of bush

One of the things about living in the same house for 40 years is that you get to see changes in the local area. Some for the worse others for the better.

At the bottom of my hill is a small creek and a bit of bushland. This bank of the creek was actually used by the railway that once connected Southport to Brisbane (till it was closed, but that's another story of political corruption, not today).

When I was a kid this little strip of bush was just that. Naturally it also looked a bit scraggly too. It was none the less fun to play in.

About 10 years ago (while I was living in asia) some locals got together and tried to clean it up by clearing out dumped rubbish, ripping out some of the feral weeds. Now the place is looking almost like a park. The old railway line forms a natural path through the strip of bush and there are markers to aid in learning a bit about what species is what.

Its so nice to see this all being done in what is essentially the commons, not someone's back yard

Hats off to my community members

(posted from my mobile while doing some walking around)

Thursday, 15 December 2011

on ya bike

its almost ironic that one of the great Australian slang statments pivots around a bicycle culture. Certainly in Australian history we were very much a nation who used bicycles to get around for work as well as pleasure. There are many stories of shearers getting from town to town on their bikes all over Australia.

Sadly Australia is now about one of the most negative nations on earth with respect to bicycles. This issue was recently raised by Tour rider Cadel Evans and (predictably) received significant and heated debate.

I have to ask, is Canberra the only cycling safe city in Australia?

Its a relatively rapid, interesting and sad twist to Australian bicycling.

Sadly it has become cemented into modern Australian culture that roads are for cars and bicycles are toys.

I started thinking about this again a few months ago when I saw this photo in the Finnish Press. It shows an excellent example of lateral thinking and application of pedal power to get around town, do some shopping AND take your kids with you.

Its almost tragic that a country such as Australia which regards itself as being an outdoor country is rapidly becoming an indoor and inside cars only country.

I lived in Finland for some years, and no matter what the weather, people would be outside walking, pushing kids in prams and riding bicycles. Unsurprisingly those people looked much healthier than the couch and car bound ones.

Recently one of the Bloggers I like to read did an interesting piece on the economics of bike lanes. While Cameron is a keen bicycle rider too (a real life one, not just morning lycra cafe set) his analysis seemed to show that having a healthier population did not actually give a net health cost benefit. Strangely because people seemed to be living longer lives. So this "James Dean" economic outcome (live hard, die young, leave a good looking corpse) demonstrates to me some of the shortfalls in using Economics to attempt to justify human activity.

Avoiding getting into issues like externalities and choice of metrics I'll steer back onto the course of bicycles and say that in Australia we are now facing greater and greater commuting times, more congested roads and many other negatives which I strongly feel are associated with our addiction to cars. Without doubt cars are great tools for a purpose ... but would you cut up your steak with a chainsaw?

I almost feel that we are missing out on some sort of innovation with our focus on cars too. As when last in Sweden I noticed this bicycle courier ...


I thought when I saw it "what a cunning and interesting design" ... don't see stuff like that in Australia. Heck even getting mudguards on a bike is hard now.

So while Holden has introduced an new electric car called the "Volt" that is expected to cost something like $50,000 one would have to ask why more people don't just spend $500 buy a decent bicycle and ride to work?

I know when I did (back in the 90's) I actually saved something like $6000 a year in vehicle costs (fuel, tyres, services) and got fitter to boot!

If enough of you get on yer bikes I reckon that it'll start to turn the social attitudes around and take bicycle riding in Australia from a "funny fad" back to real transport again.

Here's to that

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

taste varies

Perhaps I'm too conservative.

This morning on the way back from my blood tests I spotted this outfit in a shop window (heaps of reflection on the glass, so quick n dirty photoshop work to make the suit stand out better)

and the shoes ....

Oh Lord, one has to either be the fashion equivalent of tone deaf for this one. Either that or have never ever seen those photographs of relatives wearing funny stuff and said "oh my god uncle bill, what were you thinking...

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Back yard Sunday

Hanging around the back yard after a early morning at the beach. While I didn't go swimming this time twas nice to watch the crabs and get my legs in the surf.

Its good to be feeling better.