Solving the homeless problem

homelessTHE differences between Sydney and Melbourne are many, but one of the most prominent features I noticed on my recent trip south was the sheer abundance of charity cases trying to stop people on street corners, buskers (both good and truly appalling) everywhere and homeless people.

The first two didn’t really surprise me – in many ways Melbourne is what I imagine Sydney would be like if  people from Newtown were in charge. Cultural? Maybe – but at what cost? How many dreadlocks does a city really need?

What I didn’t expect, though, were the homeless people. Maybe up here they’re all residing in their tented communities in the middle of parks, but the number in Melbourne at any given time were astounding. They sit there, inert, often asleep, with those poorly written signs on damp cardboard that they know we’re not reading beyond the first line.

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Pokemon Go and get stuffed

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‘That’s the last time I take acid before using Google maps’

On my walk home from the train station the other day I passed through a nearby park, as I do every evening. It’s normally dark at the time I’m making this journey, and the park is so poorly lit that it’s practically pitch black, even just after 6pm.

Previously, I’ve seen a person urinating, I’ve seen a guy presumably passed out (but possibly dead) against a fence, and I’ve also seen teens making out on the play equipment. What these people have in common is the preference for darkness and the anonymity it creates, and I’m always fine to leave them to their activities, marching on and listening to music as I think about what’s for dinner, and why it’s not always tacos.

So you can imagine my surprise when I happened across what looked like the disembodied head of an Asian girl about 14 years old standing in the middle of the darkness. What the fuck was she doing other than being terrifying? Why was she unsupervised in an unlit park at night? Was she a ghost? Was she doing a Peter Dutton impersonation?

No. It turns out her face was lit up by her phone screen, as nearly all kids faces are these days, and she was wandering around, completely oblivious to me, looking for something. I let her be. Continue reading

Assholes On A Train III – Taking A Seat

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Where common courtesy comes to die

You might think that I’ve been using my public transport posts solely as a means of ranting about the types of people I don’t like.

Don’t get me wrong, that’s a large part of it, but occasionally I like to think I can also do a public service and examine the unspoken rules that exist within this unique social subset of a couple of hundred people crammed together for an hour or so.

As well as identifying the assholes that we all have to endure, sometimes I’ll try my best to provide you with helpful information so that you don’t end up as one of those assholes yourself.

TODAY’S LESSON: Relinquishing your seat

It’s early morning and you’ve got a seat! YAY!  Even better than that, you find yourself surrounded by decent human beings who aren’t displaying the traits I’ve previously mentioned. What a beautiful world! Suddenly the doors open (hopefully when the train has stopped) and you’re confronted with the issue of whether or not to give up your seat. OMFG WHAT DO YOU DO?

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Assholes on a Train Part II: Assholier Than Thou

pennoI honestly didn’t expect the first instalment of my contempt for pricks on public transport to receive much attention, but it got more than anything else I’ve written for about a year. It helps to know that I’m not alone in my unabashed hatred for these public transport pricks.

Did you honestly think that there were only two types? Ha! I present to you now the long-awaited (2 days) sequel, featuring even more of those fuckwits we all love to hate.

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Lessons in Stereochemisty

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Hands up if you’re on pingers! (Photo: Rukes.com)

In the wake of last weekend’s Sydney leg of the Stereosonic festival, the family of 25-year-old Sylvia Choi must now come to terms with her death after an overdose of what the media are calling ‘ecstasy and MDMA’. It was the fifth death by overdose at an NSW music festival in the past year.

Once again the rest of us will hear the lament of police about how not enough is being done and how stupid festival-goers are, the reports about what a bright and normal person Sylvia was, commentary on the problems of recreational drugs in society and the social media posts from people who’ve never taken drugs asking why people feel the need to do so at music festivals.

Sylvia’s death, just like all the others, is a tragedy. A life cut short is never a good thing.

What confuses me is the invisible line between idiocy and misfortune, where someone who is apprehended by police can be called an idiot, but if they get in, take the drugs and die, they’re a victim and a tragic loss.

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Addicted To Speed

Internet-Junkie-e1381337897247I’ve been noticing an increasing amount of posts about internet speed in recent months – mainly in the form of complaints.

“Oh my internet isn’t fast enough, I’m downloading at megabytes per second but it’s just not acceptable!” –no one ever said those exact words, but that’s my hyperbolic take on the gist of it. Continue reading

Get Over Yourselfie

ImageI just want to be clear from the start – cancer is a horrible disease that is now a permanent part of the human landscape. Many of us have lost loved ones to the horrid illness. The subject itself deserves to be taken seriously, and raising awareness and funds for treatment is hard to object to.

With that in mind I turn my attention to the amount of ‘no makeup selfies’ on my Facebook news feed of late. The idea of this campaign is for women to post photos of themselves without makeup, in an attempt to raise awareness of the plight of breast cancer sufferers.

My problem here is not with the desire to raise awareness, although let’s just have a quick look at breast cancer. No other cancer is as widely exposed in modern media as that of the breast. Despite advances in modern treatment the horrible disease still kills over 2,000 people per year in this country. It gets a lot of publicity, and it’s worthy of it.

Breast cancer is the only one that has practically trademarked a colour – pink (it’s much more flattering than the wonderful shade of ‘brown’ that comes with Movember prostate cancer awareness). This colour is used by business, sport and entertainment industries to show their support of raising awareness and money. The Sydney test has an entire ‘Jane McGrath’ day where everything turns pink and donations are made. The NRL has a similarly themed round in its regular season. Sports, seen as a wonderful representation of active patriarchy, have helped even the thickest males understand the issue. Continue reading