April 2007

loved this film. if you’ve ever been exposed to junkies, been a junkie, or even just know someone who’s close to one, you’ll understand the tense undertones this film cultivates.

the story centres on tracey, who’s a recovering junkie somewhere in melting-pot sydney. (more…)


I’d been there for two years before she came to me for help. I was standing in the laundry, my space, when she put herself between me and the door. I could tell it was her by the perfume, lilting, sweet, that masculine musk some women avoid sitting scarcely concealed beneath a layer of tumescent flowers. I kept folding the tea-towels. Half, half again, stack. Half, half again, stack.

These towels were my haven. This small laundry a mild, relatively dry hiding place from the chaos, debauchery, clamour of the kitchen below. I’d climb up the stairs at the end of the night and hide in here from those bastards, drag a pile of dried towels out of the machine and fold them, then sit on a drum of washing powder and be alone with my thoughts. I prided myself on this room. The stacks of towels raised near to the ceiling, each one a boon that kept an angry or psychotic chef that one step further from riding my arse for no reason. It had been empty before I came, forcing chefs to jealously guard one damp, slightly smelly towel for hours on end, eying each other warily, lest another steal their towel while it dried on the oven doors. Crazy people chefs. Like cave men with sharp knives, more hair, fewer women to fight over.

My heart almost stopped when she said it, “I need you”. I kept my head down, but could see she leaned against the doorframe, her arms folded.

“What are you doing in my laundry Nina, everybody knows this is my space. I bring the towels to you, capiche?” She hated Italian. She hated Italians. Her pretensions swung to French, the patronising dramatists of the food world. God only knows why she chose to work here.

“It’s not the towels” she stated, “I need your help mon ami… there’s no one else I can ask.”

I turned to face her, my frame towering above her by at least a foot, I put down my towel, and sat on the drum of powder. Taking off my baseball cap I brushed the hair out of my eyes and looked her over. Her hair was brushed forward. It framed her face and accentuated the blue eyes, her lips a deep red this evening, slightly opened in anticipation, I could see she needed something, real bad. She wore the black shirt all these waiters wore, unbuttoned just enough to flash that tip-inducing décolletage, a broach the perfect excuse provided the leering gentleman caught admiring her high-set breast. The shirt only slightly masked her feminine hips, hid her midriff, and sat atop her black slacks. Sensible shoes, as always.

“Why would you need a pig like me?”

The words had stung deeply when she spoke them, I, the eye of the storm trying to save her bacon on a breakfast shift when she snapped, giving me the broadside meant for the barista.

“I… I…” these words were never easy for a haughty bitch, one used to twisting men like oh so many napkins, trapping knife and fork in a lovers embrace, trying to spoon a flat surface with the cold back of a stabbing tool. The fork, that’s what she had always been, the cold shoulder to a straight-up-and-down man.

“I’m sorry.” She said meekly, “It’s just Micky you know, he’s… he’s… in out of his depth.”

“In what exactly?” I asked, knowing this was always going to be about Micky, her neurotic boyfriend, too stressed to drink coffee, tied to an expresso machine day and night, pouring hate into the cups of unwitting patrons. If projecting bad karma gave cancer, this place was an epidemic waiting to happen. I breathed deeply, exhaling cool air into the slightly dusty room.

She composed herself. Stood up and away from the doorframe. She lifted her arm and checked her hair. She glanced back down the staircase that descending next to the door to the laundry. She came forward, and crouched in front of me, placing her hands on my knees. Her perfume wafted through the slightly moist air, cutting through my own fug of dishwater, filthy boots, soiled uniform.

“It’s Grant,” she whispered, rose petal lips leaning close to my ear, “I think he’s going to snap.”

seriously people… the only person in the entire world who cares about your vehicle is you.

know one else cares. noone. nada. zilch.

zero people care about your car.

you could harness some flash new tech that makes the alarm sound like a human voice screaming for help, and the second, the very second, rescuers realise it’s some shitty japanese import with alloys, rescue efforts will be called off. end of story.


there can be a dozen suspicious-looking somali refugees hitting your precious auto with teaspoons, and no one is going to come running.

a white trash bogan from the hutt can have that bit of blue packing tape in the door of your vehicle, his mad missus repeatedly stage-diving off the bonnet, a joint hanging out of his mouth, and a chroming bag sticking out his pocket, and NO ONE, ABSOLUTELY NO-ONE is going to stop him.

unless…. that person is a police. in which case, WHY THE FUCK DID YOU NEED THE ALARM?

seriously. the only person who will ever, ever, in a million years, come to check on your auto is you.

to every other living human being your precious car is little more than a piece of crap with a siren, pissing them off night an day.


so please switch them off when you come into the city.

half the time all that sets them off is trucks tumbling past anyhow…

Have been doing some thinking about how government relates to ‘the people’ via the internet recently, and thought I might put them up here and see if it generates any discussion. Now, when I say, “the government” I’m referring to the whole of government and especially the bureaucracy, not just the elected representatives in parliament.

What I’ve noticed by looking at various websites and the like put up by government agencies is that the web is usually little more than an extension of old styles of service delivery. Usually in the interests of savings, which is good for you and I the taxpayer, agencies will move services across to the web. The rationale is probably something like less overheads, 24hr access to services, easily available information, etc. But from what I’ve seen it’s unusual for an agency to try to really transform their services via the use of the internet.


Part of the problem could be people with little to no web awareness seeing ‘da internet’ as a portal to grow services and penetration without thinking through the possibilities the medium provides. This is of course completely normal, busy people with stressful jobs shouldn’t be expected to think outside the box too far. The good news is I know for a fact that there are also a number of people who are thinking outside the square and seeing the internet as a very important resource waiting to be tapped.


There’s a catch with the internet and government though, and that’s the need to maintain a degree of control over information and ideas. The internet is founded on the principle of freedom of information and the dissemination of that information whether you want it to be shared or not. But, unsurprisingly, this is not the case with government. What you have then is a fundamental conflict between this anarchic, open space, and the controlled, closed space of government. I should mention that this isn’t a criticism of government, it needs to be closed and controlled to maintain order. If it wasn’t controlled then running a capitalist liberal democratic nation of 4 million (or more) would be extremely difficult.


What you have then is a potential conflict between the needs of the government and the expectation of the internet. But I see this conflict as entirely artificial. Although good government requires order to function, this order does not need to be extended to all parts and sectors of the nation-state, and shouldn’t be driven outwards. Governments accept compromises about order all the time, and this acceptance makes governments more effective and efficient. The old idea of control economies are long dead, and “order with limits” is the way to go.


So how does this relate to the internet? What I’ve been thinking is that although a degree of order is necessary, there is a marked interface between the structure of government, and the absence of structure that is the online sphere. While many functions of government can be moved onto ‘dumb’ formats for simple tasks like information provision, form-completion and the like, ‘smart’ tasks like networking, socialisation and the other activities that occur normally in the public space can be managed by government if the right mode of thinking is adopted.


And that’s where I’ve been applying myself. I’ve thought up an analogy for ‘smart’ government-public-spaces, and wondered how it would fly being laid out here. ‘Dumb’ services are basically bulletin boards. Information is posted, citizen brings down and uses information. ‘Smart’ services are however very different. People are calling them web2.0, which kind of annoys me, but you know what I mean, social networking, online participation and organisation, etc.


Compared to the bulletin board web2.0 for the average person is analogous to going to a park, sitting down, and waiting for someone to walk up and talk. Sometimes a group will gather, sometimes not. Simple. But for government it is very different. You can’t have public servants or representatives taking info out into the public space and just airing it or discussing it. Too risky. And governments don’t like risk.


But, you could characterise web2.0 for governments as being like an arcade, or promenade.


An arcade is a big private space that has the appearance of being public. The bit where people walk about is ostensibly public, as are the shops in the arcade, but in point of fact they’re actually operating in a private space. The shop is owned by someone, but gives the shop the appearance of a public space to make it welcoming. It is actually a pseudo-public space.


My opinion is that web2.0 for government is a pseudo-public space, or at least should be to make it work effectively. Why? Because tapping the power of web2.0 is all about establishing communities, and especially communities of interest. If you have extreme control exercised by government over what is a social medium, then community will be stifled, or not appear at all. A limited amount of rules are OK (who goes into a shop and makes themselves at home? No one. You know you’re welcome, you chat, check out the goods, maybe buy something, and leave. It’s a structured public space). But too many rules are unhelpful and counterproductive.


By keeping in mind that pseudo-public spaces are the objective to make web2.0 work for government, agencies are more likely to experience successful evolution of beneficial and vibrant communities of interest. And communities of interest will allow nifty things like wikis and blogs to be used and applied by agencies.

here in wellington there were protesters at anzac day?!

what the hell is there to protest?

if you’re anti-war, then that’s what anzac day is all about? (in oztralyia it’s jingoistic, so i stopped going, but here?!)

one word. DICKS.

Well, I’m beginning to think that all I do is read books and go to films!

A beautiful film. Sumptuous is the word. The sets are rich and coloured in a modern way, but the film only has pretenses to being a historical drama. But it is in fact a Mandarin-Shakespearean tragedy.


In a word? Dull. Or in two words, ‘extremely dull’ or ‘deliberately obfuscatory’.

Only made it about 40 pages in before I put this pretentious nonsense down.

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