Sunday, December 20, 2009

The End

Well, there it is. I'm shifting to a shiny new blog called Upside Down Under, and found at

Upside Down Under

I've been contemplating starting a new blog--this one feels like it's gotten a bit oldish. I've changed a lot since I started it. Plus I've just moved to a new city on a new continent, so it feels like an excellent time to start a new blog.

After a couple days of contemplation, I thought Upside Down Under might be a night name for the blog. Unfortunately, someone already used that name for a blogspot blog, on which they posted one post back in 2005 and were never heard from nor seen again. What to do, what to do?

Learn how to use a whole new blogging service? Grumble grumble.

Put a dash in the name? So inelegant.

Actually buy the domain name, and then *pay* for blog hosting service, or do a bunch of research to figure out how to do it for free. More grumble.

Things I've noticed:

I no longer have a sense for the where the sun should set. Nor the proper locations of any constellations. I realized I had a very layered map of Seattle and Western Washington and all of Washington in my head, and I have this relatively bald two dimensional one layer missing-big-chunks map of Melbourne in my head. But it's growing. I'm constantly noticing things I simply don't know, which I used to know.

I'm *pretty* sure the sun is setting south of west. That makes a certain sense, since the sun sets north of west in the summer time in Seattle, so .... it being summertime here .... hmmmmmm.

Christmas at summer solstice is simply wrong on multiple axes. Don't get me started. It's silly on it's face. Christmas is meant to be the winter solstice celebration borrowed/appropriated by the Christian church. Hence lots of lights (because it's dark) etc. etc. etc. The Europeans who first came here should have figured this out and celebrated Christmas in July, at the winter solstice, like sensible people.

I'm barely beginning to get a sense of where the traffic at intersections might be coming or going when I'm walking. Certainly nothing like enough confidence to jaywalk.

There is this *enormous* section of car sitting out there on my left when I'm driving, for which I have very little sense. There's not *enough* car sitting to my right, which leads to me hugging the left side of my lane. I mean *hugging*. The person in the passenger seat is left with a sense of being way too close to the left edge.

There is this little formula where the direction of the inequality sign is now reversed. In Meadowbrook, Seattle, Washington, USA, it went (number of people picking up litter)*(average amount of litter picked up per person) > (number of people littering)*(average amount of litter dropped per person). In Broadmeadows, (Melbourne) Victoria, Australia, the inequality sign is reversed. What this means is that in Meadowbrook, if I see litter, I pick it up, whereas in Broadmeadows, I generally don't bother--it seems to big a job to begin. Alas. I wonder if the direction of the inequality sign and the magnitude of the inequality is generally correlated with average income in the neighborhood? I hypothesize that it is. I also strongly suspect that my hypothesis would turn out to be incorrect, if we researched it.

It's very nice that people here speak English. I suspect this would be far harder if they didn't. Nevertheless, it feels pretty difficult. I have no sense of AFL or cricket, although I'm beginning to gain one. It's harder, somehow, to eschew professional sports from the outside than it is from the inside.

It's kilometers and liters and degrees Centigrade here. These are far more elegant and sensible than the silly American systems. In spite of that, I have little sense of them. No one can tell me what the equivalent of the American term "mileage" is here. "Kilometerage" doesn't seem to work at all. I did see an add for a car that boasted X kilometers per 100 liters. What does that *mean*? I have to work it out, which is the work of a moment, thank the FSM, but I didn't have to work it out before.

Apartments and houses are rented by the *week* here. I have to work that out too.

Stage 4 water restrictions are in place. The reservoirs are 38% full. People are aware of this, and the washing machine has a hose attached to it for the grey water to run outside to the garden. I keep catching myself with water running in the sink as I clean, directly into the sink rather than into the basin which sits in the sink to catch the water so it can then be carried out to the garden. This is going to take some getting used to.

Okay, 'nuff for now. If you have any ideas on the new blog thing, let me know =)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I can think of at least ... well ... 2 people in Seattle I could call up and they would gladly join me for a beer later this evening.

2/1000000 beats the pants off 0/4000000.


Maybe I'll go eat some worms.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

White American Thanksgiving

For my international readers, today, November 26th, is a national holiday here in the U.S. called Thanksgiving. It's a day during which we do what we can to further our national epidemic of obesity. We're also meant to think about what we're thankful for. I wrote down some of my thoughts about what I'm thankful for on this holiday.

I want to express my gratitude, on this day, that I was born White--that I am part of the powerful majority rather than an oppressed minority, and thus that I can enjoy all the benefits of that status, such as never having gotten arrested, or having learned to speak and read and write in such a way that I can get high paying jobs and can propogate this power structure on to my children and my children's children. I'm thankful for my White Pilgrim Fathers, who celebrated the First Thanksgiving with their Pokanoket friends back in 1621--Pokanoket friends who sought them out for military alliance because they needed some help after so many of them had died from the smallpox which my White Pilgrim Fathers had brought to North America. I'm thankful that my White Pilgrim fathers won so decisively, a mere 55 years later, when they went to war with their Pokanoket former friends over the lands which these savages claimed my White Pilgrim Fathers were stealing. I'm thankful that there were 4 times as many deaths among the Pokanoket savages (whose fathers had been there to help make the first Thanksgiving possible) than there were among my White Pilgrim Fathers, a war proportionality which would only grow in our favor in the 350 years to come. I'm thankful for the way in which this war and other early wars against the merciless Indian Savages* helped form our identity as a nation where White People like me hold and exercise the power. I'm thankful that the end result is that now we white Americans are able to spend more than the rest of the world combined, some $650 billion annually, on armaments and military, and that following from this I am in the top 10% of wage earners in the world, and have never experienced hunger or homelessness or much of anything really unpleasant at all for a single day of my entire life. I'm thankful to be white, to be male, and to be at the top of the pack in a world where 1 billion (mostly non-White) people have no access to fresh water and 2 billion (mostly non-White) people live on $2 a day or less. I feel like shouting with joy and gratitude! Wooooooohooooooooot!

*Note: "merciless Indian savages" is a phrase which I have borrowed from that brilliant document my White Pilgrim Fathers authored--the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Veterans Day/Remembrance Day/Armistice Day tomorrow--Sigh--and a question

I went to hear my seven year old daughter sing with the rest of her class at the school assembly today. She, and they, sang "Brothers and sisters all patriots, ready to answer the call, in service of our country, of our country. Honor and courage and sacrifice" The principle spoke about honoring the veterans who die to keep us free and bring peace.


Apparently is costs us (the human race, that is) some 1.2 trillion dollars per year to purchase weapons to keep us free and bring peace. Not to mention the cost in trauma to human beings.

Here's my question. Is Veterans Day to the arms industry as Christmas is to the retail industry?

"Do you think they will thank you for teaching them that war is glorious?" --Dr. Who

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Not to the strong is the battle

Did you know that the U.S. accounts for ~5 percent of the world's population, and ~21 percent of the world's GDP, but we account for ~57 percent of the world's arm's expenditures?

A metaphor for that:  If you imagine the world is a village of 100 people, then 5 of them are Americans, and those 5 own 20% of the village's wealth, and they manufacture more bullets, tanks, warheads, bombs, fighter jets, bombers, etc. than the other 95 people in the village put together.

Duel pursuit

Someone please tell me that Janet Hook and her editor allowed this "misspelling" in her very first sentence on purpose, as some sort of super lame play on words. The Chicago Tribune is the 6th largest newspaper in the U.S.

With the struggle over healthcare entering an even tougher phase, President Obama has hit both a milestone and a speed bump in his duel pursuit of a major overhaul of the nation's medical system and a rebirth of progressivism in America. 

Thursday, November 05, 2009

There are reasons

why the president described today's shooting rampage as "a horrific outburst of violence", but he doesn't ongoingly describe this in similar terms.

(Think "How to boil a frog")
(Methinks perhaps we're boiled.)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

My birthday wish list

Stuff I want for my birthday, which is on the 6th:

1. A space fountain (I don't want to own it, necessarily--just to be able to watch it in operation).
2. An easy/quick way to suddenly always be kind and gracious to my wife and children (and other people).
3. Better listening skills.
4. A deferred (or at least deferrable) acceptance to the Son-Rise child facilitator training program in Massachusetts.
5. For all these companies to quite suddenly go bankrupt (or correlationally, for the percent of the world's GDP spent on arms to drop quite suddenly from ~2% to ~0%). (Note: there are only ~4000 google results for "corellationally".  Can you think of a word that only returns ~4000 google results?)
6. For these folks to get what they want.
7. This one is a secret.
8. A copy of my brother in law's new novel, preferably electronic (not only so I can read it, but also so someday I can say I was among the very first to ever read or even see it, back in the day).
9. My dad to miraculously get much healthier.
10. For people with whom I converse around here to stop mispronouncing "Melbourne" "Mel boorrrrn" and start pronouncing it "MEL bin" as it's meant to be pronounced.

If I have to choose just one, I'm going with 3.

I'm still working on pi in Roman numerals.