Tuesday, 9 November 2010

3 dings and your a dummy!

Oh the tiniest of objects are often the ones of most value to us sometimes, it is funny how a $5 (AUD) bell can make life just that much more pleasing.
I have to say, I love riding my bike, it is so much better than walking.. besides the increased speed, and reduced effort to go long distances, the fact that you can use the bell on your bike as a discreet, universally understood message to those idiot, self centred pedestrians is just joyous.
When I am walking around, people just stop in the middle of the foot path/ road, anywhere they happen to be, with absolutely no warning, and gee it pisses me off to no end.... but on a bike, you simple give them a "ding"
1 ding = I am coming past
2 dings = Pay attention, I can't get past you if you don't move (or grab your kid so they don't jump in front of a me)
3 dings = You are a bloody ignoramus, you should not be allowed out of your house until you learn to pay attention to the fact that you live in a world with other people in it.
> 3 dings = Back to the womb, you need to start again, this time maybe look around you occasionally, look, all these other people going about their business everyday, trying to get places, amazing isn't it.

I wish I could ding when I was walking, it would make life so much more enjoyable, nothing worse than getting caught behind someone that is out for a Sunday stroll on Monday Morning at 9am, especially when you have a meeting right around the corner, and some lump decides to block the way... ooooo I could throttle them.

But alas one can't do that, so we breathe deeply, resign ourselves that some people simply have no idea, and eventually find our way around them, and whacky doo, you are there and meeting is being had, life's little stresses are gone.
I think it is funny sometimes, as I often will get annoyed at people, yet I preach to be calm and relaxed... one day I will listen to myself and stop ranting.
Enjoy your day!

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Dog S#!t! How much is a DNA test these days?

So I was just walking around a lovely park, in the lovely sunshine, enjoying the fact that summer is coming, and is just around the corner, when I luckily noticed, and avoided a pile of dog s#!t, which is never a fun site to see.

Now, if I was in the bush, and it was possum poo, it really wouldn't bother me, but the domestic pet mess is just not so acceptable.

Basically people should really understand that there are "other" people around them... yes you are not the centre of the world... so if your dog does its business while on a walk, or exercise, it is your responsibility to clean up after it.  As someone else, especially in our every expanding world where higher density living is becoming the norm, will no doubt be wanting to use that particular space in the not to distant future, and you have ruined it by not cleaning up after your pet.

This got me to thinking, the best way to stop people essentially being lazy, is to charge them for it, and of course a fine should be a % of income, or net worth, not an arbitrary amount set by the council (this of course ensures the fine "hurts" everyone)
Then there comes to the problem of finding the perpetrator, of which of course can be difficult, as we don't and don't want to live in a 1984 world of CCTV and big brother.
However this lead me to the thought that it would be simple enough to identify the said dog via a DNA test on the said doo-do, of which could be linked back to the DNA test performed on the pet when it is registered.

Seems like a good idea? What do you think? How much is a DNA test these days anyway?

Monday, 18 October 2010

New York, New York - Part 1 - Coffee

Ok, so it has been almost a month since I got back from one of the greatest cities in the world, and I wrote this a while back, but finally I am posting it! Yaah!

New York, New York

So, as a true Melbournian, I am definetely a coffee snob, and OMG finding good coffee is hard in America... One would of thought that in New York there would be plenty of great little coffee shops... I mean come on there is a coffee shop in every single block of Manhattan.  But no, this is no where near the case.
In fact, there is about 6 decent coffee shops in the whole of New York State, 3 of them in Brooklyn, so I thought I would write a little something about the journey to find decent coffee in New York.

Doing a search for "Melbourne coffee in New York" came up with a article from The Age/SMH in Australia that discussed the poor performance of New York coffee, and how a Melbournian had come here to make good coffee and teach other New Yorkers about it, and apparently there is quite a following now.
I also came across this blog in the hunt... coffeehunters.blo....com

The Findings:
Culture Espresso
Manhattan, Midtown
The exciting part of this place was they actually had "flat white" on the chalk board, so we had some hope.  And it "okay" but mediocre in Melbourne standards, so the search continued.  It was going to be enough if nothing else showed up, but doing some more research of course we landed some more recommendations, and well, they had to be tried.

Manhattan, Lower East Side
Suprisingly this chain store served reasonably good coffee.  It wasn't a great coffee, but for a chain, and for a mini "starbucks" style coffee place it was pretty good.  The only reason for going here was the fact it was the closest decent coffee shop near the conference location, so it was going to have to do in the 20 mins we had for lunch.

World of Coffee
86 st
Manhattan, Upper West Side
Ok, so we got recommend to come to this place by someone from Melbourne, so we trudged across town to get there.  Unfortunately due to a stupid oversight by yours truly, we got off the subway on the East side of Central park, instead of the West side, so we had to walk from Lexington Ave to 7th, which is across Central Park, about 1.5km's I guess, which in Manhattan is a LONG way.  And to be honest, it was just not that good.  The served the coffee in "take out" cups, that is "take away" for the Aussies of the world, when we where sitting in.  The burnt the milk on my first go, so I returned it, and the second one was "okay" but not really right at all...nothing in comparision to the great coffee that could be found elsewhere in NY....

Joes Art of COffee
West Village, Manhattan
Not too bad, but could really be better
JP discovered the Cortado.
What is a Cortado you ask?
It essentially is a small Melbourne Latte, usually a double shot of coffee with a little bit of Milk.

East village
Corner A Ave and 12th
Professional Barrista here, with a passion for coffee, makes it just how he suggests
Tried a Soy Cortado here, based on JPs recommendation, and really a "latte" should be in a glass, not in a bloody big bowl size cup like they serve it here... I guess, that is just a cultural difference (for now)

Carlton Ave
The owner Escoball was a lovely guy, ex photographer come cafe owner..... he had a funny story about how poor the service and the coffee was in Brooklyn, and he sort of fell into the space and was a great barrista in hiding.
Coffee here was GREAT, JP had his flat white, and I a Soy Latte, this was the first Melbourne tasting latte I had had since leaving Melbourne... It was like being back in Fitzroy on a Saturday morning at one of the great little holes in the wall.
Escoball made a film, hopefully it will be featuring in a film festival or two, and I can see it, sounded great... the story of two guys that travel across America asking people about there perspective on Obama and "change"

Milk Bar
Prospect Pl
This little gem is the coffee shop mentioned in The Age / SMH article, and boy does it live up to the praise in the article.  I made us get up and hour and a half earlier in order to make a quick stop here on the way to the airport, and it took just shy of 1.5 hours from Harlem (where we stayed) to this coffee shop in Brooklyn, but boy was it worth it.  Soy Latte in a "proper" latte glass, with coffee done perfectly and milk treated with the respect a Great Barrista can only pay and a proper Melbourne Coffee Snob can enjoy.
This place really does make standard New York Coffee look like suridge.

Another post on New York - The Shows to come soon.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Ride to Work Day 2010 - Ride to Work MONTH, not day!!

I have an idea.  Based on my experience, and also some other friends of mine, making the change to get out of your car (and off your fat arse in some cases) and onto a bicycle requires more than just a day or two to make it happen.  In fact if you change your habits it takes an average of 3 weeks to really change your core behaviour.
Ride to Work MONTH
Tags: cycling, bicycle, Transport, campaign, behaviour change, obesity
Twitter: #RideMonthMelb

The Idea/Campaign:
Have volunteers from the inner suburbs of Melbourne opt to ride to work for a month.
As there is nothing like riding a new bicycle, with panniers and knowledge of a good rain jacket, overalls, gloves and shoe covers to ensure a pleasurable experience is had.  Also the ability to carry goods is useful for most people.
The will also get free use of a Flexicar for the Month with 5-10 hours of driving time available in case they need the car.  They then have to give up their car keys for the month of October.
October being the month the Ride to Work day happens, so BV might support this idea, and also the Amy Gillet Foundation does courses on riding and safety around this time, which would work in well with the idea.

Issues people have with Cycling
It is dangerous
- This is due to vehicles not being aware of cyclists, the ways to avoid this are numerous, including having more cyclist on the roads to ensure people see them, and also wearing lots of bright colours and lights helps too.  Another way to feel safer on the road is to do a course in Rider Safety offered by the Amy Gillet Foundation and local bicycle stores, ask your local one.
I don't have a bike
- The idea behind this campaign is to provide you with a bike of which you can purchase at the end of the month if you decide to continue riding, or give back at the end.
I want a buddy to ride with
As part of the campaign I would be asking local bicycle shops to put up signs to get some local cycling commuters to register and provide a buddy system, almost like car sharing, we can help our fellow new cyclists to become more confident on the roads.
There is no safe way to work
Part of the campaign will be to sit down with each volunteer and a map, and show them the easiest way to get to all their regular places, work, friends, grocery shopping, hang outs etc by bicycle.
- Not ever heard of a cyclist getting done for Drink Cycling...
There is no end of ride Facilities (Shower/Locker)
As part of the campaign I plan to find a local facility (within walking distance to your workplace) that will allow you to use their shower/lockers at the end of your ride for the month.  For example the local gym, or pool, or other work place that does have facilities.  Eventually we could get something like this green pod installed near your office http://www.abc.net.au/tv/newinventors/txt/s2865944.htm
And of course if you are in the CBD you would use BikePark for your end of ride.

Please post your issues in the comments so I can address then in this list.

Sponsors needed!
In order to make this idea happen we need some sponsorship.  Someone to supply the equipment for example would be great.

Equipment required
- Bicycle
Pacific Stratus Men's Mountain Bike (26-Inch Wheels)
- Helmet
Schwinn Thrasher Adult Micro Bicycle Helmet (Adult)
- Lights and Bell
Planet Bike Beamer 1 LightsetMirrycle Incredibell Original Bicycle Bell
- Pannier Rack and Bags
Sunlite Grocery Getter Bike Pannier Bag (1,186 c.i.)
- Rain protective gear like
Pearl iZUMi Zephrr Cycling Jacket
Serfas Zen Full Finger Men's Cycling GloveRainshield Waterproof Breathable Rain Pants - YellowLouis Garneau X-Warmer Shoe Covers 2007


Monday, 10 May 2010

What type of World do we live in?

Tags: Transport, Environment, Living, Society, Art, Life, bicycle, cycling

What type of world do you live in when you can leave work at 6pm, catch an Open air art exhibition on the way home, and then grab a shower and be on a flight to Perth at 810pm? Mine!

Given I ride a bicycle it only takes me 10-15 mins to get to/from work, which makes life really easy and simple... I can even grab a coffee on the way to work at a good coffee shop instead of the less nice coffee shops closer to the office, riding up Swan St Richmond, coffee in hand (in sustainable/ reusable mug) to arrive with still hot coffee and no stress at all.  In fact I barely see another sole on the way to work.  A quick spin down King St and I am on the River, riding along unaffected by traffic, issues with trains or anything really.  Just a nice peaceful ride along the river, where I get to see the day start, measure the weather and just enjoy the crisp air to wake me up, arriving fully ready and awake at work, nothing better.
Oh and at the end of the day, I have of course done my pre-requisite 30 minutes exercise for the day easy peasy, no need to go to the Gym or take time out of my day to do exercise, it is done without even thinking, incidentally.

So I am off to Perth this weekend, followed by Brisbane next week.  I was at a Environemnt talk recently where they basically said "don't fly" which I just can't come to terms with.  I am a pretty hard core environmentalist, and I get that flying causes Climate Change, but I can't give it up!  If anyone had a vice, mine is visiting people.  I have no interest in the actual activity, that I could easily do away with... the airport queues, the cramped conditions, the checked baggage rules (oh... eurostar why not in Australia).
And I really would catch the train to Perth, Brisbane, anywhere in Australia if they only went fast enough!
I have to say not having invested in Fast Rail in Australia 20 years ago was the worst decision made by the Hawke Government (not suggesting they decided to or not, I don't know I was a kid, but I know they where in power)
But giving up the trips to Europe; that would be really hard.  And to be honest I don't think it is really justified.  The cost might be high, but it could easily be allieviated with the appropriate Offsets, at maybe twice the rate or something (now there is a story).
I think bringing the world closer together via cheap travel is the best opportunity we have to educate and ensure we all get along.  I would suggest that now that more people have seen the world, they can look beyond their front doorsteps (or front lips) to see the more global perspective.  I even read an article today where people where having the potential to have their house's bought up by the Government to build a rail line, they said "We don't mind more trains" but look at all the options, instead of saying the usual "not in my backyard" which I felt was great.

Mind in a lot of community meetings I often hear "I understand the need for x, but...." usually pertaining to "not in my backyard".  I think this is where the cause for a proper representation of the public would be useful.  A forum where everyone at all levels can "mingle" and really get to know the goals of the upper echolon of government.  This of couse is working in Corporate divisions where companies like IBM and Google are leading the way by encouraging discussion and forums to ensure everyone is on the same level, and working towards the same goals.

Enabling the public to understand the reason behind policy would ensure they can be "happy" with it, and also that the Policians actually are representing our views.  It is a far cry to fight for a more than 2 party system, or even 3, but really this system of towing the party line, it is really unconstitutional and riduclous, I do agree that the strategy of a party should be to show a united front, but I would like to see more crossing the floor, and that this behaviour be more accepted.  If your constituents believe in something then that belief should get a public representation in parliament.  I think the usual politics that goes down in question time is appalling, it would be great if they could sort that out.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Melbourne's roads... wider = more cars = congestion = wider = more cars = congestion

Photo source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/photos/2007/06/28/1964151.htm
Tags: Politics, Controversy, Transport

Yet another study in Victoria to prove that building more roads does not solve congestion problems....http://www.theage.com.au/travel/travel-news/airport-road-wont-cope-with-demand-study-shows-20100228-pb7g.html... add to that the State Government still refuses to build a rail link to the Airport.  Do they know, or suspect that with Peak Oil people will have to stop flying, so why build the rail link to an Airport that has a limited lifespan..... who knows what they are thinking sometimes... which is a real point, but I will discuss that another time!

I recently decided to drive around Melbourne to visit a few potential clients.  I don't usually drive around, as I live and work, by choice, within a couple of kilometres.  So I was driving around all day from the inner city to the Outer Eastern Suburbs, and let me tell you, I have never come to understand more how bad the roads of Melbourne are.  Congestion is so bad in some places I saw people waiting in lines, to get through an intersection, up to 2 kms long.  I luckily was driving in the other direction.
Then you see the lovely East Link Tollway.... which I am sure everyone agrees is a great road for the East... it is wide, large and can handle huge amounts of traffic... however this road was almost empty when I went on it... why? Well people don't like "Paying" for a road directly, they much prefer to be lulled into a sense of security that they "don't pay" for the roads they drive on everyday.
No.... all the fuel levies and taxes you pay don't contribute to the Billions of dollars spent on the roads!! Not a cent.
I totally and completely advocate for a User Pays system like the Dutch are introducing using GPS - http://www.euractiv.com/en/transport/dutch-plan-charge-car-drivers-kilometre/article-187394

Why shouldn't it be a user pay's system? It will encourage people to live and work more sustainably.... living in the outskirts of the city and running a car should be calculated into the cost of living, and decision making of moving out to the sticks!! Simple. Pay more rent, pay less Road tax.... have more time for yourself and family... why can't people see that.  http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/making-our-cities-better-by-design/?referrer=email
Well planned cities are just the beginning to this, and although Melbourne is a great city, it could easily become a terrible place to live if the future is not planned well, with Cars the LAST thing considered.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

First Post

Tags: Intro, politics, transportation, sustainability, alternative energy, electronics, tech, gadgets, projects, life

So I started writing my business blog last week, and thought it was time I got to writing some Raving's already.
The issue is I guess what on earth I should focus on out of the many interests I have from Politics itself to the things it focus on, Transportation, Sustainability, Climate Change, Environment, Alternative Energy, Electronics, Tech and Gadgets, Projects and well Life in general!

So I decided that I would not choose, but post the relevant Tags for each article, and make it easier to choose which posts you might like to read, rather than reading them all.
In fact I might post the Tags at the top of the Article as well.

I have to say I am writing my Business Blog in WordPress, and so far I am liking it much more, just an aside.

For those that don't know me, I am a highly opinionated, argumentative type that thinks everything could be done better, and is quite happy to tell people most of the time, in fact it is my job to do so, and it unfortunately carries across to my personal/ social life sometimes, even if I do try to keep it at bay.

Ok, so the idea for this Blog is to just write/ comment/ publish ideas of which I would like comments on, or just want someone to do, or I just want to write down my opinion at the time.
At no time shall this opinion be deemed my opinion other than at the time I wrote it, as per my mood and current knowledge at the time.
I am open to information, in fact suck it up like a vacuum, and can therefore change my opinion on different issues as more information comes to light.
For example I would happily take on board information from reputable sources on both sides of the Climate Debate, and regularly read the opponents opinions.
Mind the funniest thing is that the climate "denier" camp so often cite unworthy sources, or none at all it is hard to take them seriously at all, let alone the fact that they seemingly are happy to keep killing of millions of the world's poorest people by continuing on with business as usual... but let me leave that for a post on that particular topic.

So with the imminent release of Apples Content Delivery system, the Ipad, I choose to jump into the world of blogging on a personal level, and here it is.  Btw I am totally not an Apple person, but see some value in their products.... the usability factor I guess, maybe more people will jump on the gadget wagon... so all good Apple, just don't ruin it for us Geeks.