The Last Post of 2004

31 December 2004
And what an awful end to the year it's been with the Tsunami.

Tonight we're going to King Edward Park, so it will be good to catch up with a lot of the people who post-Xmas couldn't afford to go last night (actually neither could I, but that's another story).

So. Looking ahead. I don't use the dreaded "R" word, but there are some things I would like to achieve in 2005. Here they are:

Most of all, to get my career back on track. When I was younger, I was so focused and driven, but I ran off the rails a few years ago. But my peter pan days have to end. I'm rapidly heading for thirty and it's time to get back on track. I do have a definite plan, and things will be happening soon. Not many people know about it yet, but watch this space, big changes to come.

I want to become more civically active. I've become more so lately (the tsunami appeal, handing out how-to-vote cards) but there's so much more I could do. I will join Labor properly, campaign my MPs, write more letters, get things done, do all I can to drag this country kicking and screaming away from the Right.

I'm going to start painting and writing poetry again. I did lose all heart to do those things for awhile, but I enjoy them so much and got so much comfort, it seems absurd that I ever stopped. It's a daunting idea, but I can do it.

I'm going to make more of an effort to be patient, actually listen when other people talk, etc. I know sometimes I'm not a very good friend.

Cut out drinking, and hopefully gain some weight.

There you are. I know it won't be easy, but the longest journey begins with the smallest step; a step I think that I am finally ready to take.

Thanks for reading and I'll see you in 2005!

15 Year Anniversary of the Newcastle Earthquake

28 December 2004

What a strange thought. It was the scariest thing you can imagine, I think more so now looking back. We had only lived in Newcastle for a few months at the time, so it didn't quite have the impact it might have if we'd been more familiar with the city. Thinking about it now...the whole of the CBD was cordoned off, for days; there was hardly a building that wasn't badly damaged. It's very hard for me now to look at photos or video footage from the time; although Newcastle has changed alot since then, you can still see so many familiar landmarks, in shreds.

As for our personal experience...we had no idea it was an earthquake. I mean, you don't expect an earthquake in Australia, do you? My sister and I were playing in our bedroom, when it was as if a giant hand grabbed our house and wrenched it from side to side. Our toys fell off the shelves. My sister and I were screaming, and ran to our mother. The power and phone were off, so we found out what happened by listening to the car radio. But for awhile no one knew what was going on.

Well that's my earthquake story, anyone want to share theirs?

Where I Read Mark Latham's Books

14 December 2004
I decided to read one of Mark Latham's books. Look, the guy was almost Prime Minister, so I figure someone outside of his immediate family should read one of them.

I started with From the Suburbs, because it happened to be at Charlestown Library. But really, who colud fail to be intrigued by a book with chapter titles like "Reinventing Collectivism"?

Anyway, reading the book, I was at first slightly engaged but then, well...utterly bewildered. I just could not figure out what the guy was on about. To put it crudely, he seemed to use big words for the sake of using big words. I felt he should have ended every paragraph by writing "SEE WHAT A GREAT INTELLECT I AM?!"

Some quotes:

"(an) abstract lifestyle has prduced an abstract style of politics. Symbolic and ideological campaings are given top priority. This involves a particular methodology: adopting a predetermined position on issues then looking for evidence that supports that position."

"(Labor party reform) is now happening under Simon Crean's leadership. His theme of modernism is music to my ears."
Which is why Latham continually undermined Crean's leadership.

"This approach is set out in my book What Did You Learn Today? (2001). It is a Third Way program for Australia's transition to a learning society."
Yes he plugged his own book in his own book.

And my favourite:
"The Prime Minister's best mate is Donald McDonald, so Howard made him Chairman of the ABC. Peter Costello's best mate is Michael Kroger, so he put him on the Board. If Tony Abbott had any mates they'd be on the Board of the ABC as well."

Well, you've been warned. If you read any of Mark Latham's books, don't come crying to me!

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