bowling ball

I’ve just spent a week on the trains. Vline changed the Geelong to Melbourne line two weeks ago. There are more services now but they go a different way. Instead of going through Werribee and Newport they now go through Sunshine and a bunch of other strange new places. It takes about the same time but it _feels_ longer.

Last week I was travelling during peak-times which is very different (i.e. unenjoyable) to when I’m heading to Footscray to study as I have been this last year. More services but going a different way is kind of like a friend giving you a bowling ball for you birthday, which is good because you needed one but then the person says Now I’m coming with you every time you go bowling.

Also I’m pretty open minded when it comes to ‘the ‘burbs’, at least compared to some of my terminally trendy friends but these places like Tarneit and Deer Park are morbid. Terrible little houses — designed badly, stacked together, no trees — what hell! Wyndham Vale, the furtherest out new station doesn’t even have that yet – it’s just paddocks ready to be turned into the cancerous growth that is new, car-dependent (apart from this already overloaded train service) suburbia.

So anyway I needed a new podcast to fill the time. <a href=”http://www.wnyc.org/shows/heresthething/”>Here’s The Thing</a> with Alec Baldwin has a lot of episodes so you can pick ‘n choose the kind of interviews that are more your thing.

FedEx is a guardroom check the wind

A few months back I mentioned how there was a city-wide taxi strike and how no one was the worse off for it.

Tomorrow there’s going to be a nation-wide omnibus strike and I am fully expecting transiting the CBD to be a nightmare. I guess if you’ve ever wondered what the subway would like like if all the omnibus people were also crammed into it, then tomorrow’s your big day.

It’s about how the gummnt is proposing to reclassify taxis as public transport, which will apparently cost a whole lot, which will, apparently make omnibus ticket prices higher. I don’t know all the figures but it sounds stupid. Taxis are private industry. Not making enough money as a taxi driver? Get a different job. The other thing that sounds really stupid is that taxis will be able to use the omnibuslanes, which will I’m sure cause omnishambles.

*Update: 22/11/12, Title: OMG j/k*

The bus drivers were out for one hour then went back to work. The government admitted their idea was a stupid bunch of balls and deleted the bill proposing taxis be reclassified. Everything’s back to normal. Case closed.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/8207511270/” title=”Gangs-terr by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8199/8207511270_6dfb8849a9.jpg” width=”500″ height=”500″ alt=”Gangs-terr”></a>

PS. this is a new filter/lens pak called Gangster Squad, which is a promo tie-in for the upcoming film of the same name. The circular film looks okay when it’s copied onto a white background but any other colour doesn’t really work. The lens doesn’t do much in the way of affect.

let’s go shopping

Since that last post I’ve been noticing how taxis are in all the wrong places. Blocking up laneway entrances, loitering in bus zones. Taxi driving here is one of those jobs you do when you’re not qualified (or not motivated to become qualified) to do anything else. But of course, it’s always the government’s fault because they hand out taxi-licenses by the fistfull. They’re required to run LPG fuel tanks, so they don’t contribute too much to the air pollution, but they really are like globules of bad stuff blocking up the arteries and capillaries of the city.

And I never thought I’d say this but even some of the buses are a pain. Specifically, the five different route that traverse down outside my window. Three blue and two green buses. Don’t get me wrong, I <3 public transport but this city and this country are the sole examples of PT being in oversupply, that I’ve seen at least. It’s rare that I see buses full. If they’re weren’t creating all that extra engine-grinding noise coming thru my summer window I wouldn’t care, I guess. It’s just weird when compared to every other country that a) never bothered with PT at all or b) is always looking for more excuses to slash more funding to PT. Last wednesday I took the intercity bus down to my work. It’s about a 25km journey. It costs less than $2AUD. There’s first stop where I get on, then it goes express for three quarters of the way, then it gets into the neighbourhood where I work. Last Wed. I was the only one on the bus the whole way. The bus comes every 12 minutes.

<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/7452043996/” title=”Empty bus by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8159/7452043996_ca50737838_n.jpg” width=”320″ height=”320″ alt=”Empty bus”></a>

Amber Lamps

_(written last sat. nite)_

I’ve been thinking a lot about amber lamps today. I wish that instead of having to do one monolithic thesis for the master’s’ that I could do smaller, loosely connected nodes on things that are current and interesting. I got tired of the idea of a grunge thesis about a year ago.

I’d like to unpack the amber lamps meme. I must admit that the first time I watched ‘fatnigger’s’ utoob clip I was mainly paying attention but did note in passing the girl on the seat in the background and that she did not react or move away from the fight. Perhaps it’s the case that fights on buses are so common in the USA that this was for the most part, the unremarkable part of the video. However, by-standers who are not easily phased, I take it, are rare.

I can identify with amber lamps. I too am non-interventionist, even to a fault some would say. “how can you just stand there and say nothing yakky?” they say. But everything will work out the way it’s meant to. Was that what amber lamps was thinking?

I want to get an amber lamps t-shirt if there is one. I’m sure there is.

PS. They played the rock and roll animal version of sweet Jane at starbucks. I haven’t heard that album in years. I’m at starbucks because cafe Benny was full.

Anger. Rage in america is another issue. Epic beard guy was feelin it. This seems fairly typical of many Americans I’ve seen. It’d be easy to interpret it negatively. As if it’s epic beard guy’s weakness. But I’ve learnt that it’s a positive sign to be able to express anger. Even when it seems to be conveyed poorly it is still moving in right direction. And that’s the main point. It’s on the way to somewhere. Somewhere better.