30 March 2006

Back in Manly

Walk in Manly today, perpetually on beta, building sites from one end to the other. Off to North Head, 'Lady Fair-f-axe' walk. The entire path was butchered with a chainsaw. The coastal heath cut at the ground to 'improve' the view. Raw open stumps left to 'frame' the sandstone cliff. Generous amounts of garbage deposited all around for the wildlife.
In town (Pittwater Rd.) the paperbarks have been squared and chopped in a straight line, not higher than 2.5 m, all side branches removed for aesthetic appeal of course. In some other place (market) the paperbarks are peeled to the core and are left to languish.The tree butchery committed recently contradicts all policies.

From Manly Point to Shelley Beach a very small penguin (Eudyptula minor) swam along the shores, tiny flippers paddling, but then shooting like a rocket under water to hunt small fish. 4 Crested Terns and a Little Pied Cormorant watched as well. As the world's smallest penguin chased swarms of fish out of the water at Shelley a woman (photos available) confidently walked her bulldog up and down the beach illegally. Had the little endangered bird walked out on the beach, it would have been minced. Back on the walkway her 'little darling' was put back on the leash. Seconds later a Manly constable appeared, but the official was so busy servicing tourists that nothing could be done to protect the last penguins or enforce the law on dogs.

On the back-garden front, the good news is that our nightly "tok, tok" has finally revealed itself as the Striped Marshfrog. A small pond has been improvised and now let's wait for the froth.

Sport time

The time in Australia has been changed to suit a sport event in Melbourne. Is sport the only important industry in Australia? Who was told about this change and how many people and organisations found out about it the hard way?
Those who get the time from international clocks on computers were not advised that summer time had not changed to standard time at the normal date but that "sport time" had been introduced.
This arbitrary time must have had negative consequences for:

  • the IT industry where computers did not adjust to "sport time"
  • users of PDAs whose world clocks did not know about it
  • those who do not watch TV
  • internet users
  • those who work via the internet
  • those who don't subscribe to newspapers
  • printed calendar users
The consequences for residents included:
  • late for work
  • late for appointments
  • surprise about early occurances such as mail deliveries, garbage
  • missing out on shopping
  • failure to make crucial deals when markets are open
  • communication failure in business and among friends
This confusion may have lasted for several days depending on the degree to which people are oriented to virtual rather than face-to-face realities. Checking at Greenwich Mean Time provided the "wrong" time in Australia with a note below it about the "late introduction of Standard Time this year". Unfortunately the computers of the world did not read the note.
Could it be that the decision makers about basic parameters such as time do not take computers into account? Couldn't the sporting timetable have been moved forward by one hour to avoid disrupting the whole country and its international links?

image extract from Salvador Dali

17 March 2006

Port hopping

From Brisbane up the Great Barrier Reef is Pacific Dreaming. Once one touches the mainland or islands, one arrives back in the nightmare as usual. Building sites as far the eyes can see. Walls of cement-cubes and diesel filled roads herd all visitors away from the remaining 'bit of green or blue' behind. Hamilton Isld., Magnetic Island and now Darwin, the earth is erased and large holes of building rubble are on the edge of these places. It seemed that there were more 'for sale' signs on Hamilton, than trees.
The rainforest on Magnetic, once one penetrated behind the wall of commerce, was very nice. Snake galore around the feet or in the vines across the face. The famous death adder did not dare come out in the middle of the day. Magic granit boulders, covered in bright pink and yellow and offset by the few remaining Kaurie pines (Auracacias) echo the colours on their bark. The Pandanus clad tropical ocean is a no-no due to the box yellyfish.
Cairns - endless fields of sugarcane and on the slopes the wet tropical rainforests. The giants have long been 'harvested', the gold-diggers fixed up the rest. The task now seems to convert the fields of monoculture into tourist venues. A trip into the hinterland enlightens one about the glorious 'white history'. Shops are richly stocked with products fabricated in Asia.
It is sad to see the rich specificity erased for a few $ and replaced by boring monotenous 'W. Disney'-parks. In Darwin all seem to live and drive in air-conditioned capsules and aim for troughs of seafood. I am happy to get back on the boat and view the mainland form a distance...

06 March 2006

Gone island hopping...

And I guess Manly is everywhere in Australia. Thanks to mono-culture, the same 'hot food', same extractive industries etc. for the next 4,000 km. It really doesn't matter if one writes about the micro-cosm or the macro-cosm.Or does it?

I will "Jump and the net will appear" (Julia Cameron). Lightweight with Palm and Treo in hand one could report back on the state of the Reef and the wonderful Pacific.