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     Friday, June 24, 2005

    Slow night at work - might as well write!

    Wow. It really is a quiet night at work!

    I figured I may as well blog a bit and give the world a clue what I've been up to since I practically dropped off the face of the world as soon as I'd handed up my assignment (nearly two weeks ago!). Maybe it's because I haven't been sitting in front of a computer procrastinating. :)

    I've spent a lot of the past two weeks reading. It's been fantastic. Love it. I got two books from imprints (possibly the best bookshop in the world - well, okay there's Mary Martin too).

    The first one I read was "The Intellectual", which is basically (exactly as it says) four theses on intellectuals. A study in what constitutes and intellectual, how an intellectual views the world, lots of references to famous and mis-interpreted intellectuals through the ages, theoretical discussions between philosophers and intellectuals and tips on how to deal with being an intellectual. Okay, might not be everyone's cup of tea - but I thought it was fantastic.

    The second book is called "Affluenza" and is a neat little study into why Australians buy and consume far too much. The basic gist is that marketers make us and our kids feel inadequate, underpriveleged, guilty and/or scared in order to get us to buy stuff we don't need. We work our asses off in jobs we hate in order to afford all the crap we feel we need to buy. Then we either continue ad nauseum or decide to downshift out of the rat race. Obviously, most people realise this is the case. What's interesting is that the book studies exactly what the general perceptions of this are and compares with what is really the case. Most people think that other people are more wasteful than they themselves are. Most people think advertising doesn't work on them. Most people think that they are struggling when they have plenty. Then it gets into such pleasantries as middle-class welfare (baby bonus anyone?) and why Australians vote with their hip pocket. I felt all the way through like it wasn't telling me anything new, yet the statistics are nauseating and I was compelled to keep reading in order to re-inforce the beliefs I already had. The book ends by inviting you to participate in a wellbeing manifesto ( to re-start your life in a less materialistic way. I think one of the writers is taking some of the sessions for the Adelaide Festival of  Ideas. The idea for the concept of "Affluenza" came from a national festival/think tank.

    What else have I been up to? Um, watching a lot of the new Dr Who. :) Actually spending time with Alasdair. Working a *lot* more hours (will be nice to have more money!). Doing stuff for IV (6 months left!). Went shopping/drinking with Tanya (12/6). Went out with Daniel Hardy too (17/6). Can you believe it? I saw real life friends I don't live with, sleep with or sing with.. That's a rare occurence!

    I also watched "End of Suburbia" with Oscar, Clare and Alasdair at an Adelaide Uni Screening (16/6). Some of that was fairly depressing (like how much crap developed countries produce and how many highways there are in America). Generally, I feel better now because I'm looking forward to a world when bikes and trains are the main forms of transport. Bring on that ride to Melbourne!

    All these documentary books and movies I've indulged in lately have done my head in a bit. I re-watched The Corporation as well. Maybe I should round it off with re-reading/watching all of the Michael Moore stuff, Fast Food Nation and Super Size Me. Then I'll be feeling very militant-lefty-anti-globalisation-wannabe-vegetarian-hippy. No real change then :)

    Do you want to know something really gross? Alasdair needs new clothes (no really he does - It's winter and he has no trousers other than his suit pants!) so last night we went to Marion Shopping Centre, since it was late night shopping. It was *so* bland and sterile. It was horrible. I really don't want to go back there again. Worse still, have you seen how much of Oaklands Park (the suburb) is now car park?!?! Walking in from the train station we realised that there isn't even really a viable pedestrian entry from that side of the shopping centre. You sort of end up walking right across the roundabout. It's pretty sick though. That place is just a sea of cars and cement. Then you get inside and it's a sea of people eating crap and buying junk. All the shops look the same. And it was LOUD and BRIGHT. Like people really *want* to feel like they are walking through a giant Coles refrigerator aisle.

    "Apathetic bloody planet. I've no sympathy at all."

    Posted at 12:02 PM #

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