Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Baristas behind bars

Gloria Jeans is taking part in a scheme "aimed to get prisoners back into the community". Fair enough, that's mighty nice of them. They plan to do this by operating a Gloria Jeans store behind bars, in the Dillwynia Correctional Centre in Sydney, with female inmates selling coffee to visitors. Gloria Jeans won't be paying the inmates a cent for their labour.

Qutoed from the article in news.com.au:

Gloria Jean's Coffees managing director Peter Irvine said the initiative was not about profit.

"We want to make a difference and this is one of the most innovative programs that we have been involved with," he said.

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You bet your fuckin' arse it's innovative! Not paying your workers has been the basis of many a successful empire, and Gloria Jeans is nothing short of one with over 200 stores Australia wide, 3500 (paid) employees and a nod from God.

Of course, I have to wonder if the Gloria Jeans
scheme "aimed to get prisoners back into the community" will extend to hiring the (former) inmates when they get out of prison? Or will, as I expect, some poor independent cafe owner have to untrain the former inmates of their newfound skill of making woefully shit tasting coffee?

Here's what the Gloria Jeans store will look like.


Can I take your order?


"I asked for a Caramelatte. You gave me a White Chocolate Mochalatte Very Vanilla Truffle Irish Nut Crème!

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

What have we done?

Some time ago, we decided it was best to settle in one place and live closer together. The village was born.



And it worked.



It worked so well, it was repeated.



Again.



And again.



And again.




The villages grew.



And grew.



Streets were the lifeblood of the town. We worked, talked, traded, faught, watched and laughed on them. The streets were for the people. They were scaled for people.



As were the buildings.



As were the towns.



You lived cheek by jowl in the village and worked on the nearby farm.



Or in the nearby forest.



Some towns were walled for protection.



Some spilled over the sides and grew organically.



Some grew according to the topography of the land.



Some were quite ordered.



And it all worked.

It all worked because it was built for people. It all worked because it was scaled for people. It all worked because the early Mesopotamians imparted their experience and knowledge of town planning to their children, who passed it on to theirs, and thiers to theirs, and so on, until the body of knowledge was so refined you could build a burgeoning village anywhere in no time. And that's exactly what we did. Over and over again, the world over.

Because we could.

Because we knew how.

But it won't be long now before those that hold thousands of years of this built up knowledge - the knowledge of building cities for people - die off. A whole philosophy, a whole art, a whole science will snuff out like the lost manuscripts of the Ancient Library of Alexandria.

And we will be the poorer for it.

When they do die off, the loss of their knowledge will go unnoticed. We haven't been listening to them for quite a while, anyway. Three or four generations, it has been. That's when we stopped building cities for people. That's when we started ruining existing cities that were built for people and turned them into cities that were built for machines.

And we are the poorer for it. Look at obsesity levels. Look at the growing rate of mental illnesses, like depression. We now build places that are inhospitable. So much so, that we spend more time indoors than ever before. So much so, we try and get away from these inhospitable places by holidaying in the very places you see photos of above, and used to be able to live in before we destroyed it all.

And yet, that was our choice. We continue to choose to live in these inhospitable places, over the types of places you see in the photos above.

We rejected this:



For this:



I have to ask.

What have we done?

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Photo credits have been posted in the comments.

Click on any photo for a larger version.

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Friday, February 11, 2005

Family friends

Every alternate weekend, my parents would pile my brother and I in the car and drive over to visit one of their friends, way back when I was a young'n. They had a healthy number of friends, so it could have been months before I saw the same people again. Invariably, their friends would have kids around my age, so we'd go off and get dirty and cut up and make cubby houses and talk endlessly. Up until I was about 10, I actually thought that the kids of my parents friends would, by default, become my set of friends that I would visit when I was married and had kids. I'm sure it does work that way for a lot of people.

Not for me.

When I hit 14, my parents would let me stay at home when they went to visit friends. Growing up in a household where my mum was always at home, ALWAYS, I relished the privacy. In that precious time alone, I'd call up other friends, pig out on junk food, don a long blonde wig made out of cotton wool, turn up Guns n' Roses and Motley Crue really loud on the 'HiFi', play air guitar, sing into an empty toilet roll microphone and stage dive from the coffee table onto the couch. The other 80% of the time I'd be busy jackin' the beanstalk.

Whilst still donning the wig.

I wouldn't always take the stay at home option, but mostly I did. I grew apart from those family friends, I guess, because my interests differed to theirs. I was from the Sutherland Shire. They were from Western or Southern Sydney. I listened to Faith No More. They listened to MC Hammer. I surfed. They fantisized about driving hotted-up cars. I was from the Sutherland Shire. They pissed themselves laughing at me because I was from the Sutherland Shire.

And so they damn well should. That cultureless shithole should be disherited from Sydney.

Not all were as I've described. About as many as those from whom I moved away, moved away from me. I didn't fit their bill. Probably for good reason, too. Hello? Faith No More?! Dorkfest 1.0! If I knew then what I know, not even I would've talked to me, let alone slap boxing the one-eyed champ. But it's these, the ones that moved away from me that I miss the most. Not terribly deeply, mind you, but enough to occasionally wonder what they're doing in life. I hear snippets from my parents sometimes, but I never get a complete picture.

Until you see their picture.



In the Sydney Morning Herald.

And read their story. And get to soon see their story at Tropfest.

Tania Yuki, I'm talkin' 'bout YOU.

YOU, TANIA YUKI, hiding behind John Polson and a pseudonym. At least I think that's a pseudonym. I'm not sure now.

Yes, this is a shameless attempt to write Tania Yuki in my blog entry as many times as possible in the hope that Tania Yuki decides to google 'Tania Yuki' and find that I've come up on top of the Tania Yuki search listings because I've typed Tania Yuki more times than anyone else ever has.

Typed.

Tania Yuki.

The movie is about, and I quote
"a love story that Yuki based on her Japanese mother and Croatian father's cross-cultural relationship".
Her mother
"was less than happy to discover her daughter's film would be screened as a finalist at Tropfest this month".
"She was mortified that she was going to be on screen in front of that many people".
I recently saw Tania's parents (and her gay dog!) at the funeral I wrote about earlier in my blog history. Her parents are about the nicest and warmest people you could ever hope to meet. I can't wait to see them on screen (27th February), which will be weird enough for me, let alone them.

Good luck in the contest, Tania.

And in life too, I suppose.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

I just realised...

I just realised I've had this blog for over a month and haven't even made a single scatological reference.

Here goes:

Click image for larger version

2000 -3000 dog poos in Germany have apparently been 'claimed' by anti-Bush poo protesters. Extra police have been sent out on patrol to find out who is responsible, but have yet to catch a whiff of the culprits.

Should you feel inclined to follow suit, go to http://www.madeyouthink.org/, where you'll find poo flags for downloading. Then, find some doggy deposits, or whack down yer pants and do your own brownloading.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Carla Werner

I lost Jesus a long time ago. Rather, I left him out on a Wednesday night with the recycling because I wasn't getting much use out of him. I was doing my part (the praying and the kneeling and the getting fondled by the priest), but he wasn't doing his (delivering into my 11 year old arms my primary school crush). So he was gone.

Instead, I found Iva Davies, from Icehouse. Now, you may think I'm crazy, but he was the object of my obsession way, way back in 1987. Nothing too serious, mind you, but enough to bend the first of the Ten Commandments to the point of no return.

You'll be happy to know that Iva Davies didn't last long in my Jesus spot. I was a man of colours. Many, many colours, and some time in 1988 I went from being a bright shade of electric blue to silver and gold.

Bono.

By God, did that man not only fill my Iva Davies and Jesus shaped hole (oh, puh-lease!), he nestled right in there and ballooned it beyond all believable bounds. And he damn well kept the spot for over 7 years. The first commandment was well and truly shattered, now. There were minor transgressions against his rule, most noticeably Laetitia Casta, but nobody came even close to knocking off Bono.

Nobody until Jeff Buckley, that is. Even he took years before he became my new Jesus, such was the potency of Bono.

But blah, blah, blah, I'll skip the transition from Jeff Buckley to Radiohead (The Bends, oh my God, The Bends!) to Augie March and just concentrate on the latest member filling up my Augie March, Radiohead, Jeff Buckley, Bono, Iva Davies and Jesus shaped hole.

That person is Carla Werner. She's a New Zealand born and Sydney based singer songwriter that played around in the late 90's outside the cafes at Manly, before doing a few shows at The Hopetoun in 1999, which I was lucky enough to see on a few occasions. She had realeased a self titled EP and if you bought it at Fish Records at Bondi Junction, you could have asked her to sign it for you as you handed her the money. In 2000, some time after The Limpics, she left for Krankiland (her last performance before she left for the USA that I saw was a freebie at Martin Place during the Limpics, and even Kim Beazley, who inadvertently ambled through, went weak at the knees and had to sit down and gape at her and her voice), to get a better record deal. She was promptly signed to Columbia after an impromptu performance for its president.

After releasing her first album, 'Departure', touring the US with the Jayhawks, and doing some vocals for Paul Oakenfold's 'Southern Sun' single, she settled back in Sydney in late 2003, released 'Departure' in Australia played a few sporadic performances at The Hopetoun, The Sando, The Vanguard, The Annandale and where she kicked it all off all those years ago, Hotel Bondi.

Here are a few articles about her, so you can get to know what her singing is like. I can't come close to describing it other than to say she's got a very earthy, husky, woody voice and has been described as the female Jeff Buckley. I also just found a blog entry on Carla from Boudist, too. And a photo with her, the bastard.

She's playing at The Vanguard on Thursday 24th of Feb at 9pm. Tix at Moshtix. If you knew what you were missing out on by not being there, you'd crucify yourself.

I've been saved. Praise be to Carla and her Piccolo Song.

But there isn't a day I don't pray for forgiveness for the whole Iva Davies schemozzle.

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EDIT: Oooooh, since I wrote this last night, her site has been taken down and is due for reconstruction. I hope this is the start of her being marketed well, for a change.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Jump up, jump up, and get down

You may have seen an ad for Nike that features a man being chaced around an urban setting by an angry chicken. Please don't go, it gets interesting. For those who haven't seen it, or need their memories jogged, the man in question was walking up walls, doing incredible rooftop and balcony leaps and other assorted death-defying aerobatic acrobatics. Still don't recall? Ok, well here's the bloomin' link to the ad. If you're anti Nike, just close your eyes and think of Blackpot Sneakers. Actually, scratch the 'close your eyes' bit, you'll need them to boggle out of their sockets as you see the video. You can also see two other ads from the same series on this site, the 'Scary Cat' and 'Young Love'. Well worth watching.

And here's a few photos for the people who are on dial up and can't wait for 2 megabytes to load.





WHAT. THE. FUCK.

What is this?

Are they insane?

The answer to the second question is yes. Clearly. The answer to the first is a little more long winded. So here goes.

What it isn't, as I was thinking when I first saw this a little while back, is just a bunch of stunt people undertaking random acts of insanity.

What it is, on the other hand, is a sport.

A sport called Parkour.

A sport called Parkour that was invented some 16 years ago by two bored Parisian teenagers, Sebastien Foucan and David Belle, who would issue challenges to each other to manuouvre themselves through an obsticle course consisting of objects found in the average urban environment. You name it; stairs, rooftops, windows, railings, ledges or balconies, and it's there to be jumped over, slipped under, vaulted off, balanced on, ambled up, scrambled down, spun around and slipped through.

But it isn't simply jumping around for jumping around's sake. There is a philosophy behind Parkour. Participants, or traceurs as they are called within the sport, find new ways of moving through the urban environment, as fluidly as possible, utilising the objects within them, and redefining them as they go. Handrails are the new floors, walls are the new horizontal. The ultimate aim is to reach a state of freeflow, whereby the limtations of the body melt away as near impossible feats of strength, flexiblitity, acrobatics and endurance see to it that even the most difficult obstacles are overcome when moving from one defined point to another during a blind run.

In Europe, it's HOT. It's making headway in the USA. Which means you'll be witnessing it in Australia very soon, if not already.

From what I've heard, read, and seen of it, there's little doubt that Parkour will add a new layer of richness to the urban environment, just as skateboarding and rollerblading did before it, or graffiti and busking for that matter.

Want more? Check out the links below.

Videos: ( you must see to believe)


http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcone/ident_ram/rushhour.ram

http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/walking.php

http://www.nmm-trailerpark-hst.com/jumplondon_snif.html


Websites:

Urban Freeflow

Screw Gravity

UK Parkour Association

Parkour.com

Le Parkour

Trace (Australian)


Monday, January 24, 2005

The Bella Vista and Stanhope Gardens Real Estate Guide

Today we take a look at an area of Sydney that is sprouting noxious suburbs full of John Howard voting conservative God-fearing folk, living in environmentally destroying, offensively oversized double story fake plastic cookie-cutter project-home McMansions. More specifically, the suburbs of Bella Vista and Stanhope Gardens, the worst of a bad bunch. We hope you enjoy this guide and find it informative.


Bella Vista $1,349,000

We'll let you in on a little secret. Here, in Bella Vista, we're right in the middle of Sydney's bible belt. And when we mean "Master built home", we mean "MASTER built home". That's right, crafted by the hands of God Himself. This home, which will be ready to occupy in early 2006, has just left Heaven and is photographed here making its way past the Andromeda Galaxy on its way to Bella Vista. For closer inspection, please cast your telescopes to Right Ascention = 6hours 15 minutes, and Declination = 54 degrees, this Saturday at 10pm.

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Bella Vista $1,200,000

Dude, where's my car? Ahahaha. You'll spend hours amusing the family with games like "Which door is the Toyota Landcruiser behind?" and "Which door will open when I press this B&D Remote Control Button?" Whether you want to always park your car behind the same door, or plan a rotating roster - it's your choice! But you better hurry, at this price, this house will be the choice of many!

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Bella Vista $1,095,000

Forget negotiating the crazy cul-de-sacs, horrendous highways and terrible traffic you'll inevitably encounter on your way to the beach. WE'RE bringing the beach to YOUR DOOR! Pack the esky, beach towels and the family in the Tarago and make the very short drive to your driveway and enjoy basking in the sun and listening to the waves of traffic rolling by. As a special offer, we're throwing in two wooden rafts. Just remember to stay between the flags! Would also suit homesick Perth expats.

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Bella Vista $1,380,000

This contemporary home is rather contemporary. We know this because it doesn't have a tiled roof and most of the roof is flat, just like contemporary homes elsewhere. It's also contemporary because it is painted grey like all the contemporary houses in the contemporary eastern suburbs and it also has a bright yellow contemporary thing that says "look at moi, Kimmy, look at moi". It even has contemporary plants, not including the tree right out the front. I just wish I could speak French so I could think of something really contemporary to add to this sales pitch. No doubt the materials and quality of construction of this house will prove to be very temporary.

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Bella Vista $1,190,000

With gays, immigrants and left wing liberal heathens destroying the fabric of society and forcing developers to convert old unused churches into houses and loft apartments, it's important for todays religious folk to combat this plague and start converting their houses into churches. This house is as fine an example as there is of that. With 6 apexes pointing to the heavens above in its intelligent design (that's just the front!) and a front entrance that would have St Peter fuming in jealousy, this heavenly house is an unexpirable automatic ticket past the pearly gates for the family who are willing to outbid the rest of the flock.

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Bella Vista $950,000 - $1,050,000

Yearning for yesteryear? Can't go past the decorative timber verandah and handrails or the motifed gables? Well, now YOU can live in the 'olden days' in this brand new Federation era mansion. Live like they did over 100 years ago with air conditioning, ducted heating, jetmaster fireplace, electric kitchen and garage parking for the family sedan, family people mover, and family 4WD. We know you voted for John Howard (it's Bella Vista, after all!) so we know you'll love living in the past.

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Bella Vista $1,350,000.

This house is designed for the discerning 7 ft gentleman who likes to keep two ladies in the house, as you can see in the photo above. And you'll need two, considering how big this house is. One for the cooking and the other one for dusting? One in the sack and one doing both the dusting and the cooking? Or perhaps both putting a fine black polish on the road in front of your house? It's your choice! With parking for his and her and her cars. A bargain at this price!
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Stanhope Gardens $399,950

Want a Stanhope Gardens address but can't afford the price? Buy a garage and letterbox instead! You can boost your image to your clients by having all your mail redirected to this prestige suburb. It's also a handy location to "park and ride". You can forget the hassles of inner city traffic by parking here, walking 35 minutes to the nearest bus stop, catching a bus to the nearest train station, and the city is then only a 25 minute ride away!! This garage also comes with numerous bedrooms, bathrooms, and lounge rooms, so you can freshen up after arriving here from work, before driving off home.

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Stanhope Gardens $610,000

With all the illegal immigrants in every nook and cranny of your home these days, we've designed a house, with your safety in mind, which features the very latest in state of the art security systems. Not one, but TWO de"fence" shields and a highly visible terrorism alert sign, so you'll be the first to know when the Government has upgraded its terror alert level from yellow to orange. This house is so inpenetrable, you might not even be able to get in! But in this day and age, are you willing to make these kinds of sacrifices to know you're doing everything you possibly can to keep your family safe? If you love your children, you'll say yes. Buy this home. You do love your children, right?

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Stanhope Gardens $475,000

By the time we photographed this house for our Real Estate Sales Guide, somebody had already moved in. The colour scheme did all the selling! No offers will be considered.

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Stanhope Gardens $529,000

The bricklayers were so blown away by this house when they were building it, they didn't know when to stop! Fortunately though, after only overshooting by a metre or so, they ran out of bricks. Which then meant they had to steal from the batch next door to build the letterbox. Inspect this house and we guarentee you'll be blown away too.

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All photos taken from realestate.com.au.

Friday, January 21, 2005

All this for just $450 a week?

Browsing domain.com.au for rental apartments, I stumbled on one which offered far more than your average two-bedder does. Located in Darlinghurst, the apartment is offered at the rock bottom price of $450 a week and I guarentee you'll never find one as solid and well built as this. Click on the photo below for an inspection.

If you're interested in the apartment, here's the direct link.

Mind you, it's not quite what I'm looking for in an apartment, but it's heartening to know someone will soon be enjoying the ins and outs of the place.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Slapdash Sydney Snaps: Volume 1

Occasionally, I might be inclined to post a caboodle of photos I've taken in the weeks prior. Luckily for you, today is just such an occasion. And a momentous one at that, seeing as it's the very first time said caboodle is being posted on BBOB. Slapdash Sydney Snaps: Volume 1 has a decidedly suburban bent despite the fact that most of the photos depict scenes located in the inner suburbs of Sydney. It must have been the heat. I promise inner city grit for Volume 2.

Click on the photos for a larger version.

Just a wall somewhere in Mosman. Seemed a good idea to upload at the time.

Wha' chu talkin' 'bout, Willis? Rainbow Lorikeet in a Mosman garden.

Sandstone, Palm Beach.

Palm Beach, on the 'Bob Ellis lives here' side. For you, Ms Fits.

Palm Beach Wharf, still on the 'Bob Ellis lives here' side.

Mosman Wharf.

View from Cremorne Point Wharf.

An old tradition of mine is to face the right at about this point and give our Prime Miniature the finger. Turding fuckface.

Willoughby Bay, Cammeray.


This house is two sets of lights and 5 minutes from the CBD. Waterfront too. Cammeray.

Rare stencil graffiti in Cremorne.

Moments before sunrise from my balcony. Cremorne.