Sunday, June 29, 2008

Reflecting on Greatness and in some cases Sheer Awesomeness

To do what I do best, is to do nothing. I must face the fact that of all the things I do, I will never be so efficient at any of them as I am at doing nothing. I can do nothing now without having to expend any energy at all.
Writing believe it or not beleive it , is what I do second best. And lets face it writing is as close to doing nothing as doing something ever gets.
One could contemplate the plight of my man at MIT facing a life of 'publish or perish' and whilst he still seems deadset about becoming one of the new manchurians the amount of filters his writings will have to traverse before his idea takes the world by storm is daunting.
I am less likely to ever be published than him. If it wasn't for the fact that I can publish myself anytime on this blog.
But I don't mean blog writing when I say I'm back to writing. I mean to say I am writing 'something' hopefully by tomorrow, I will be writing 'somethings' better known as 'some things' as in the plural non specific quantity of things.
And maybe you haven't guessed but for some reason I am trawling and thus my blogs have been fed by quotes from dead white men for the past couple of days. Rest assured I have others for my little project from females too but the one catching my eye right now is one from the repository of wit and wisdom that is Mark Twain:

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.

I was at a party last night with an old palski who I hold in high esteem, and at around 3am I had decided it was time for me to go home. And in parting he said (disclaimer, I get wasted REALLY easily and unfortunately for me this party marked the occasion of which I broke an effective 9.5 month dryspell on alcohol both hightening my emotion and dulling my recall) 'man send me those scripts again and I occasionally check out your blog, your a great writer keep it up [or something to that effect] its so great you are doing what you are doing...' which was more than the necessary 'bye' the situation called for.
Not that he was wrong to say that stuff, he was in fact singling himself out as great. It's precicely these minds I crave to have around me, almost need around me right now to stop me from compromising myself.
So I just want it on the record for this persons personal benefit that by Mark Twain's definition of really great, you are one of the really great people out there.

Then let's go back to another anecdote way back. It was my third year at RMIT. I had failed two subjects in my first semester of 2nd year, as such my first 6 months had been spent not doing a co-op placement as I should have done normally but by taking a full time load of subjects. And somewhere in those 6 months I forgot to really do anything about lining up a job for myself for the next year.
I am one of those wonderful planners who plans everything so that no effort is ever required on my part and I always know what to do when things go wrong. See I'm not the 'classic organised' who plans how to make things go right. I hope things go right, and plan for every other outcome.
And I thought I had a plan, I had infact 2 plans. I didn't really want an exemption from the Co-op year, but I figured at the time I had a job with a marketing company doing market research calls, so I went to see the co-op coordinator who we shall call Maureen to tell her I hadn't lined up a job yet and time was running out and dissolving my other options.
I was trying to avoid a worst outcome where I wasted 6 months of my life trying to find a job doing nothing in the meantime.
Maureen said 'no' and not much else to me. When I suggested we just write off my part time casual work as my Co-op placement (I assumed this wouldn't be a problem because I had heard worse co-op storied from my friends out in the field already) she said 'no' to that too.
Eventually I had to prompt dear old Maureen onto my plan c by saying 'are there any alternative programs I could complete?'
Maureen said 'no' to that too, informing me the cut off for the alternative PSP had closed for the semester already (Professional Skills Program). But then she doubted herself and maybe that day learnt the old idiom 'if you don't ask you don't get' because she got on the phone to someone who actually had the word 'yes' in their vocabulary.
She sent me a hefty 10 meters over to the PSP offices, where I met Terry, who I had met with once before about my prospects of completing co-op in Japan. Terry had no 'no' in his vocab. The mood was overwhelming for me immeadiately in one of the best moves I ever made in my life. The atmosphere of Terry's office was that of 'yes' it was all 'how can we make things happen' instead of all 'you must follow the protocol' and Terry was just the kind of guy that seems to bounce off the walls trying to make things happen for you. The guy still interrupts me to offer me jobs periodically.
For this Terry is also one of those people whom are amongst Mark Twain's really great.

Then their are the Stalwarts Bryce and Shona, Shona probably more than Bryce is explicitely enthusiastic. A quality I profess I don't exude much of myself. But with Shona in the corner its just that much easier to go rounds with the guy who chewed a bit of your ear off just before. Specific examples are numerous and redundant, I'm sure most people who know Shona would testify that this is how she is.
Bryce is different, for me anyway, he often testifies to my greatness, often discourages me from travelling the beaten depressing path of life, and more often differs in opinion from me in conversations that degenerate into obscenity shouting competitions.
That said, I look to my long lasting friendship with bryce as proxy evidence that he keeps me around for a reason, and it can't be so I can piss in his pockets or blow smoke up his arse. That for me is enough to believe that somehow I am great.

There are others too, but these are a good cross section, the recent, the distant and the contants.
Someday I aspire to be someone who makes others feel they can be great.
Thanks guys.

Its easy to criticise Nietzche

Almost all villains if they are to adopt some twisted megalomaniac's philosophy tend to borrow from Nietzsche. But the man was a smart guy, and said some good stuff.
Some highlights:

What does your conscience say? — "You shalt become the person you are."

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.

The mother of excess is not joy but joylessness.

The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments.

What is the seal of liberation? — No longer being ashamed in front of oneself.

When power becomes gracious and descends into the visible — such descent I call beauty. And there is nobody from whom I want beauty as much as from you who are powerful: let your kindness be your final self-conquest.

He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

Madness is the exception in individuals but the rule in groups.

No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself.

The man should have been some kind of motivational speaker for football clubs.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Drucker on Education

One great thing about having a blog is that when you see something that grabs your attention you can share it instantly and do something with your excitement. That's the case with this quote I just stumbled on.

Thirty years from now the big university campuses will be relics. Universities won't survive. It's as large a change as when we first got the printed book. Do you realize that the cost of higher education has risen as fast as the cost of health care? And for the middle-class family, college education for their children is as much of a necessity as is medical care—without it the kids have no future. Such totally uncontrollable expenditures, without any visible improvement in either the content or the quality of education, means that the system is rapidly becoming untenable. Higher education is in deep crisis.” Seeing things as they really are, Forbes (March 10, 1997)

Peter F Drucker check him out.

Here in [Your] Car

I have been taking the opportunity to cycle around at all hours of the day. My most consistent ride into town is following the Yarra Trail from Studley park which reduces the number of traffic lights I have to stop for to 3.
My favorite is riding from Melbourne city at night. It really does look much better lit up. I know earth-hour or whatever made a point of what a tremendous waste of energy this is, particularly when our electricity comes from dirty dirty coal.
But what I also notice is, of all the cars on the road 99% of them at any given time of day have a soul occupant.
What a waste of space, my bike does a good job of transporting me and it weighs less than me. Of course my bike is not so practical if I want to do a weekly grocery shop. Fortunately I used to just live betwixt two supermarkets and could do this on foot for one person with a set of green bags.
But it isn't a very efficient system is it, for the rare occassions your car actually needs to seat 5 people, you have to lug around 5 seats the rest of the time. And then for the few occasions you actually need to transport more than a briefcase or backpack worth of stuff, you need two extra wheels to provide that base that prevents luggage from tipping a bicycle over on its side.
But overall as it stands a car is not a very flexible package, and it could be worthy of redesign.
But the inefficiencies of cars have clearly never been much of an issue, hence SUV sales shot up early this decade despite their literally being no rational reason for them to do so. And what I mean by that was that it was quite well known that they handle like a donkey, are ugly, heavy, dangerous and have real fuel consumption problems.
They existed before that because they were a highly specialized piece of equipment, like a fine Swiss Army knife that when stuck in the bush can come in real handy. But what we have been witness to in our lifetimes is the equivalent of watching people slice up bangers and mash with a swiss army knife, rather than using said knife to amputate their hand when it is stuck between two boulders and nobody is around.
But not just that, I was confused by a suggestion from colleagues that when they are stressed out or upset they like to get in their car and drive around, drive around aimlessly.
I don't drive much but when I do, it stresses me out. This is probably because my inexperience makes me acutely conscious of the lethal momentum I have at my command, and that is in my parents Volkswagen golf (the European indicator reversal doesn't help none either).
So clearly the general design, use and attachment to cars goes beyond rational and is quite emotional.
Speaking of emotion how does this make you feel:

Because don't worry the driver was completely unharmed.
You know when people get annoyed at cyclists getting holier than thou, getting all whiney, and just generally sick of taking shit from people who ride bikes all the time. Guess what cyclists get sick of? People attempting to kill them all the time.
Nobodies trying to kill them, you say. But if getting into a leathel weapon and taking it out into space occupied by vulnerable people isn't trying to kill them, what is? I mean yes its a by-product, the closest I come to being killed by a driver on regular occassions is someone trying to save 3 minutes by running a light, or racing the yellow to turn left in an intersection, right through the path I am riding. So I can calculate just how valuable my life is to these people, however much they earn in three minutes (presuming they are even on the clock).

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


One must at times of unemployment 'leverage ones network' which simply means look for opportunities with people who know and like you already as opposed to either people you don't know or people you know don't like you.
But surprisingly rather than feel a real desire to go straight to my friends on the big end of town, the ones I most want to emulate are my friends that are dirt poor trying to get their dreams off the ground.
And it occured to me that whilst sitting in an office I may have looked upon some dirtbag like Morley freezing his balls off in Toronto with no money to buy essentials such as food and shite with envy as he devoted all his energy to becoming a comedian. And I bet myself that people like Morley have never envied me, well he may have envied me in my ability to afford food all the time and shit, but that is just the general envy of a poor man for anyone with money, I bet more specifically that he never envied what I was doing with my life, which was working a more or less inconsequential job for steady income.
Same with Bryce who never exactly struggled with money, but I bet never sat back and went 'gee i really wish I had a white collar job in an office like tohm somewhere' nowhere near to the degree that I wished I could wear what i liked to work and work with interesting and diverse people with a passion (however fleeting) for what they do.
Its a one way street of envy. And to be honest, I really feel relaxed right now, even though as the days tick by I am no further really to having any idea how I am going to pull off the provincial pit stop truckie of a dream of mine. But I honestly have no desire to pull the plug, get a job and money and try and buy myself happiness through consumer durables.
Mein got! I just realised writing that last sentance that at the end of the day, that is literally all there is to that lifestyle. Earn money, spend money. Again I am less attracted to plan B.
I must be careful for plan B is rapidly being replaced by plan C 'shoot myself' I don't think I am so noble yet though as to choose death over compromise.

Reality Crashes Down on All of us

When I got home today, my mother, Janice, asked me if I was concerned about my hair. Janice is concerned about something she often refers to as 'reality' that is she is concerned that I won't get a job because of my hair.
My hair is a buzz cut at 3mm elstwise known I think as the no.2 however I am confused as to whether no.1 or no.0 is 0mm. Except in an almost straight wedge down the middle of my head is a patch of hair that has not been shaved, this haircut becomes what is commonly known as a mohawk.
One would be hardpressed to throw this one in with the punk crowd though as it is a) still fairly short and b) devoid of any or all product.
But I'm not here to defend my hair before a court of law, or classify my hair.
Its more because I need to add one irksome tactic of concerned parents to my lexicon of anxiety.


What the fuck is it? Example, when travelling keep your hands in your pockets, fingers touching your wallet, ipod, camera or mobile phone at all times.
Ridiculous, people don't travel that way. However the reality is that people do get robbed.
You can't argue with that people do get robbed. But even in the most dangerous place on earth the percentage of people that get robbed can only go so high as to still allow most people to secure their posessions that allow them to live. Like people in a foreign country all use a wallet, so most of them aren't having it pickpocketed.
No the real reality is a rich looking western tourist looks like they are likely to be disoriented and confused and easily distracted enough to take their wallet which probably has a large amount of cash in it.
Hence you can reduce your chances of being robbed dramitically while travelling by simply knowing your destination, knowing your way around and maybe even knowing the language.

A more concerning example is the reality of haircuts, you should have a 'normal' haircut because the reality is that employers judge you by your haircut. This is true, I wouldn't contest it. But really? really?
This is what reality has come to, that business naturally and efficiently is conducted by homogenised haircuts.
I admit, there is some truth to it, in sales for example clearly the first impression is going to be based on the image you present, the first image you need is confidence, the second is an absence of anything offensive like bad breath, body odor, tattoos of naked chicks, stupid haircuts.
It is true, but really, is it as simple as that. Imagine if you turned down Bill Gates as an employee at your IT firm because of his haircut. Imagine if you voted based on haircuts. Similarly I saw on a BBC documentary about the mind (a follow up to the series on the body) that people judge trustworthiness by simitry. People don't trust someone with a broken nose.
So if you have broken your nose and it is offline, you are fucked.
Which isn't fair at all, its just that getting here if you believe in evolution was just a slow painful process, and now we move pretty fast. So whereas say 10,000 years ago it may be that a broken nose and scars on the face indicated that this stranger got in a fuckload of fights, the same warning may not be as practical today.
But I have no idea where haircuts or anything else came from.
Hence I am skeptical now about reality.
It is enough to make one a buddhist monk.
Infact I think what bums me out most is that every time my parents give me the 'reality is' speech it is usually about encouraging me to accept a bleak and boring lifestyle.
Hence, really? really? the reality is if you own a home you are more secure? when just about every superannuation fund is about to collapse due to overinvestment in bricks and mortar? the reality is that cars are convenient and you need them to get around? just as I read articles that Melbournes shitty metro train system is just about at capacity due to a 33% rise in patronage. And here in melbourne I can be annoyed by the shitty dorky fixed gear trend. the reality is that employers decide on image? this right when I am embarking on my journey to not become an employee, but an employer. Precicely because I can't fucking see the sense in being concerned about this shit.

I first came across this sentiment of mine in about year 9 or 10. It was observing the school captain elections. I noticed that people didn't vote for who they wanted to be school captain. (because this inevitably would probably be someone cool, down to earth who had their shit together) Overwhelmingly when discussing the upcoming votes it was about who would win. And students discussed the 'known' criteria. example school captain was usually in the bording house, usually a rower, helped if they were a cricketer and had parents on the PTA board.
Now one is kidding oneself if one doesn't think that when the principle sees the votes doesn't immeadiately pick a kid of the PTA board member anyway, what amazed me though was that people actually complied to this reality thing.
Testing reality was deemed by most people not even necessary.

See going out against reality is potentially depressing, but I take inspiration from those who without any particular genius or talent, simply went to the minimal effort, tested it out and won.
Take any board meeting in the world of a fortune 500 company and just pause things, isolate the participants and say 'look, do you really care what you wear to this meeting? really?' I would virtually gauruntee the answer would be no.
Because the most common trait of people who put stock in how people dress is idiocy, or deluded fantasy.
Like having a formal 21st party, where everyone has to put on suits and ties and it is considered bad form to wear jeans. This is to foster the illusion that the person who's birthday it is is important and respected. When in reality they are no more important than anyone else at the party. They are important on this occasion, but fuck it doesn't really justify them being able to dictate what is good enough for them.
As in if you are inviting someone to your party that you really valu as a friend, are you really telling me you will be pissed off that they wear jeans?

Just like if you have a mind blowing resume and secure an interview immediately with a company, do you get rejected based on the fact that your face is ugly? well yes, but if that was what determined success in business money would grow on trees.

Let me put it this way, would I be justified as an employer in expecting my recruiters to dig really deep in all their interviews to find out whether a person had the goods or not?
Would the Chicago bulls have been justified in rejecting Dennis Rodman as a power forward based on his appearance and offcourt conduct and thus possibly forfeited not only the greatest season ever but 3 more championships?

Are you sitting at your office amongst a pack of douchebags who got their image right but otherwise cant really do their jobs? I thought so.

Monday, June 23, 2008

For Harvard

I wish I could be a cute petite asian girl so Harvard would be into me, instead of his somewhat cruel friend. Harvard IS helping me out with my business, and I don't show him enough love, I will never show him cute petite asian girl love though. No Harvard* you had your chance at that and you blew it.
Instead this, for you buddy:
now this is advertising

*seriously click this link

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Death of Facebook?

I sat in a meeting on friday, where I learnt that apparently facebook is on the way out. You didn't know that? me neither we must be as cool as eachother.
I remember Morley urging his loser Australian friends to catch up and get on facebook, whilst bitching (justifyably) about Myspace and how shit it was. Myspace was this decades answer to Geocities webpages, them possessing the same degree of aesthetic design. Busy backgrounds, unreadable fluro text and mindless fucking posts entitled 'hey' and the fact that with over a million billion users of myspace the whole mythos of it producing 'the next big things' I can think of only one example of that actually happening and that is in the meteoric rise of Tyla Tequila who has finally fulfilled her lifelong ambition of getting her own bachelorettesque show with a twist.
But to here that soon facebook will be made obsolete by the spam, which I am a little vague about in nature and will come back to, soon to be replaced by bebo, something called whirlpool? and some Chinese version of facebook.
Which is of course bullshit, it won't be replaced by three things but one.
And at that point I must admit I will not be jumping on the next bandwagon because well fuck it.
Facebook was an investment, uploading photos, tracking down people. Its there now, its done. My social network has more friends on it now than is practicable to maintain in a traditional social context, ie meeting with regularly face to face.
And overall rather than feeling dissapointed to hear these grave predictions of the death of facebook, I am filled merely with skepticism.
Now by no means was the analysis of what is wrong with facebook, myspace and predecessors official or academic but let's go through the warning signs of its impending drop off the internet radar:
1. Spam, I have a hotmail account still that remains my primary hotmail account. I never encountered the spam problem that everyone was complaining about and drove people off it towards gmail and other competitors. But my understanding of spam was that it was those annoying viagra adds, 'investment opportunities' and fake job offers from people you don't know.
Spam as it was described on facebook was all those fucking applications - 'which power ranger are you?' or 'which subway sandwich are you?' quizzes that are forwarded to you constantly by your friends. This 'spam' works on the principle of chainmail, except instead of implying some curse is going to be put on you or that your crush would ask you out if you forwarded it on, instead they merely made it interactive and compulsory to onforward.
But that is as far as the resemblance to 'spam' goes, what the prevelence of this type of application sugests instead (no offence to everyone I know) is that generally speaking people are stupid. People are fucking morons who really are curious and wish to spend their time finding out which power ranger they are rather than going over that marketing proposal or talking to someone in the lunchroom during their lunchbreak.
Furthermore it was compounded by the harbingers of facebook doom I was listening to, that they were overwhelmed with event invitations?? like my mysterious hotmail account I don't really have this problem. The most spammy event invites I get are from the organisation whose marketing meeting I was sitting in, but this is worthy of a second point so lets conclude the spam issue by saying that since the spam in this case is generated and propagated not by dodgy little companies but by the facebook community itself then the real problem with facebook isn't the spam that is pissing of the users but the users that are pissing off the users.
2. Event overwhelmed - I presume that this means that if you are in the right age bracket or no the right people, you are getting sent invites everywhich way for things that aren't actually your friends parties, but more like 'Come down to my KFC store and support me' or 'Socialist Alternative Rally' or 'Garfield Hates Mondays: Live at the Miller's Arms Ballafornia' fucking gigs you never attend.
I recently hosted an event myself with 99 invitees or something which was attended moderately by my former housemates or 5 people. On that scale it seems like the event was a complete social disaster (and for the first hour it was) but seeing as it was an invite to sit around a table at the retreat during what I found out was a sunday before university exams one could not reasonably accuse me of expecting 99 people to turn up.
My invite criteria was 'do I know they are not in the country?' and 'does this person know me well enough that I might hurt their feelings if I didn't invite them?' I would have been stocked with 12-18 people turning up and where the fuck is this going Tohm?
Well the point is that if people are getting overcrowded with invites it is because of the general laziness facebook affords one. Gone are the days where your mother said 'You can only invite 12 people now Tohmmy' and the attendance of those people was practically guarunteed. Also gone are the days were you actually had to post invites to people that you had written the name in yourself because there was no such thing as a mail merge, and you had to pay 45c a stamp.
Yes it costs nothing to invite everyone you "know" to your shitty bands gig or my shitty parties and then hope for a 3% turnout.
There is a term for this new way of inviting people 'social networking' of which websites like facebook and myspace were developed for.
So to conclude again events being categorized into a spam like annoyance that clutters up your facebook profile with shit you don't have time to deal with again is not spam but infact 'social networking'

And hence my skepticism, becuase if the chief design flaws of facebook are users, and social networking applications. Then fuck. A new social networking tool attracting more users daily is not the answer.
Maybe the answer instead is to reduce the functionality, of said websites.
What we are stuck in is a prisoners dilemma that is the size of an economy, maybe not as big as say the carbon emissions vs lifestyle prisoner dilemma, but nevertheless it is one. Because we all like these applications when they are used as intended, just like we all like mobile phones until we get text messages about value bundles from our phone company. But the moment one of us goes 'you know what, I should use my facebook profile to promote this new flavor of gravy I developed' or more likely it becomes an expanded version of LA with desperate hopefuls putting up their photographic portfolios, shitty demo tapes & homemade youtube films they become the hight of annoyance and lower ones expectations of humanity.
Yes I think this is what I remain skeptical about.
So I am going to do something, for all my friends, business associates and mortal enemies. I recommend you pick up this book. Pick it up and fucking read it. Then sit down and think about what it means. What it means is to calm the fuck down and stop printing your resume on purple paper.
Because this book is over 20 years old and we are still committing the same dire errors that they pointed out 20 years ago. AL gore is frustrated about climate change not taking root. I am frustrated that so many people can be embracing 'marketing' without knowing what the fuck its about.
You see you can point out to me the success stories of viral videos on youtube, bands that got big through myspace, parties that were well attended through facebook.
But I can point out to youu bands that made it big by standing on a corner and handing out flyers to their shows (korn) or bands that got a record deal from posting a demo tape to a record producer (regurgitator and probably every other band preceding it) or actors that made it big by being a street performer (Robin Williams).
The success though is very darwinian, of the one or two (billy connelly) street performers that have become millionaire celebrities we all know their are milliones who never make it at all. Of all the bands one can see tonight live in melbourne we seem to be okay with the fact that 2% of them are signed onto record deals.
Yet like the new definition of a child genius (2% of the population + my child) people have adopted the same glassy eye mentality when it comes to viral marketing and social networking sights that I am fucking sick of getting the 'are you fucking crazy' look when I suggest not to bother using these 'marketing channels' and devote our energy to just targeting someone face to face or writing letters or something.
Because we all think 'facebook success stories 0.0000000002% of the jackasses out their + my brilliant idea'
So here is my promise to you. With my shitty/brilliant to be determined projects I intend to get up and running, I am going to go old school with them, these old channels should be markedly uncluttered now anyway (deathproof made the point in the scene where they are discussing a director making a girl an actual mixtape on a cassette tape) rather than lazily, virally 'marketing' by just emailing you all on facebook. It's going to be all opt in, no opt out.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Congratulations to P-Double, The Truth, Paul Pierce

I gotta say, I always liked Paul Pierce, and to go from being stabbed like 11 times at a nightclub for hitting on some dudes sister (someone has to hit on the sisters man) to holding Finals MVP aloft in the first Championship Celtics team in 17 years or something must be pretty special indeed. I confess the marathon runner in me was rooting for Kobe and Co, and Phil Jackson you have to love like 10 x more than Doc Rivers who strikes me as the coach who's manager bought him a championship team more than the team got a championship coach.
Not to detract from anything or anyone, I just see Kobe as having a tilt at a personal dynasty, someone who can wash the bland taste of Tim Duncan out of our mouths for many years to come. I bet that boys semen doesn't even stink, or stick for that matter. So I kind of wanted to see Kobe start a tilt at four this year, but once Celtic got 3 up it became too cruel to want Kobe to take it away from them after putting the taste in their mouths.
So congratulations to Paul Pierce, Garnett, and even Ray Allen, Rajon Rondo and the center that didn't get to play because of injury. At least NBA doesn't do something as fucked up as not give medals to players that didn't play on the day like in AFL.

Some days one must miss Grunge

My brother has the same 5 Mettellica tracks on repeat for the past three days and today I actually broached the subject with him as to why the fuck he has decided to listen to some Metallica 'best of' tracks here and now in his lifetime.
I forget the reason, but various things did crop up, like how Metallica generaly produce their worst music when they go back to their thrash-esque garage days roots. Which is a shame because in my mind Metallica should be remembered for ever for adding metals more listenable styles like the use of harmonies, hitting notes and the acoustic guitars, even showing restraint on how often they employ ye-olde-double-kick. My brother remarked that at the time Metallica were welcome competition to the then dominant Guns'n'Roses.
Is guns'n'roses a metaphor for 'Stupid and faggy' because then it all makes more sense. But anyway I then commented on what I found most disturbing were those pitiful people that nodded along to the alternative rock and grunge movements of the early ninetees, until rebelliously, a bunch of generation x's said 'We should have an 80's revival' and threw away all the hard won liberation from 'the man' that artists such as Tool, Faith No More, Rage Against the Machine, Metallica, Jane's Addiction, Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Sound Garden, Pearl Jam etc. had won.
Yes saddest of all were those people who simply pretended to like all the hard edged alternative scenes of the early 90's secretely yearning for a return to nice safe Aerosmith, Bon Jovi and of course Guns'n'Roses.
Then my brother remarked 'oh yeah, there are people that hated the 90's, hated grunge. particularly the fashion industry because fashion went out the window'
Which is an isn't true. I am sure people looked to Kurt Cobain and co as fashion icons like rockstars of any other period. The problem with it was that it cut out so much fat from the process.
There were for examples no designers, no fashion parades. There were brands yes/no/maybe like wearing Doc Martins and such, but other brands were flannel shirts. And not just that but flannel shirts from an op-shop. That's right used flannel shirts. In a day where paying $3 for a shirt was getting ripped off, compared to simply stealing one from a box in the attic.
Yes as I have said before grunge had to die. Nu metal saw Iggy pop branded Vans. And infact with the array of 'punk' band brand array of sneakers one can purchase to blatently affiliate oneself with punk, ironically punk is one of the most commercial forms of music these days, as demonstrated by the titular character of Juno's love of Iggy and the Stooges vs clapped out Michael from arrested developments clear obsession with the lost Seattle music scene.
But going back to the Sex Pistols (Johnny Rotten also becoming another MTV serf) the whole safety pin look was cool for them because it was cheap. Surely hairgel was an uneccessary expense but if you saw the conditions the Sex pistols lived in when compared to the conditions Blink 182 and Greenday lived in there is no comparison.
So does this raise the greater question? Can we only listen to music if it makes money not just for itself but also the parasite industries of fashion and television. I mean sure I can accept that music as an artform at some point has to make money if they want the dollars necessary to sink into its production (which by the way has shrunk rather than grown with the advent of apple and the internet) but the scrotum the industry still has a firm grip on is the attention filter.
Radio and television can provide a useful function of preselecting a limited amount of new music to digest, vs any individual going out and trawling myspace pages for something they like, because lets face it I've almost never seen a band on myspace with a track I've liked and I'm guessing neither have you.
So to some extent big industry still retains the ability to decide what we listen to and watch.
But the thing about grunge and alternate rock was that I dressed like a dork in those years because absent from the music was instructions on what I should buy, except for the music itself. And even then that message only came through when I actually liked the song itself.
Quick comparison - count the product placements in this clip:

vs this grunge era

maybe not the most scientific test yes, but the answer is that the first clip arguably has 1: vasoline. The second clip takes the opportunity to promote a new consumer product to children, another artist ludakris, grills, mobile phones maybe that hoodie, she mentions nike shoes as well in the lyrics and after that I lost interest.
But do your own comparison it may be I'm barking up the wrong bush and the true disparity is between black and white socioeconomic backgrounds in the United States market and the relative susceptability of one to be marketed shite vs the other just needing Vasoline to help lubricate their old boy club business networking circle jerks.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Miki shaped hole

One event which has as much upside as it does downside for travelling was that of the cessation of my relationship with Misaki, which happened months on months ago before I left for Japan and formally ended when I left Japan.
Before the hiccup in space that was my visit to Takematsu the break-up consisted of a gradual morning cumulative comprehension that we weren't dating anymore, but since we didn't live in the same countries this didn't really matter because the net change of lifestyle for both of us was less than 1%. Then in Japan it was like old times, she was working though and I had all the free time, but otherwise we caught up when we could, talked shit, ate together, had breakfast together and so fourth.
And then I left and 4 months passed before I realised I never really dealt with the loss of Misaki from my life at all.
I was in Venice. Until then the experience of travel had provided me with ample distraction and furthermore constituted a lifestyle where one simply doesn't fucking concieve of making a relationship part of it. Not when most mental energy is occupied by figuring out where you are, how much money you have, what you are going to eat, where you are going to sleep, what you will go and see and where you are going next.
But in Venice I saw something and thought 'Miki would love that' and then I thought 'No fuck that' and bought a gift instead for my next girlfriend. And I can tell you I ought to be getting laid that night. I just don't know who my next girlfriend will be or how far away that is.
The other problem though is that when enough time passes and there is no real painful memories, one becomes easily reconciled to the memeroy of an ex, but when the pain is there thats when to concentrate on getting over her/him/it.
And I just missed out on that completely.
Compounding that, I have to say that Misaki makes an impression like burning magnezium does on your retina. She is just fucking bright and out there. Oft have I lamented that she isn't higher profile because I can remember (like early episodes of the simpsons) everything she ever said and imitate her verbatum to a degree that would at least land me a role on SNL's cast.
My point is that she seems to be hardwired into my memory like no other girlfriend ever was, my ex's have all possessed a degree of character about them from scary through to psychotic, and I have definitely been more involved in the past, but think of Misaki I find myself laughing in elevators or bookstores at her unique take on the english language, expressiveness and irrepressibiliyt. That it is actually a high bar for prospective future partners to leap over and catch my eye. We are talking a fuckload of character.
Anyway just thought I would share that...

Monday, June 16, 2008

For Bryce & Shonsey

thanks for the support, now lets stop this love in before we alienate the other guy that reads this blog.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Mein Kampf

So blah blah blah a lot of shit happened and equally true a lot of shit didn't happen while a travelled.
What now, now that I am here, back again in Australia? What to do with my life, this this is my struggle because honestly, more so than when I was travelling I have never been more uncomfortably confronted with myself.
What I mean to say is, I no longer have a comfort zone to cling to at all, I can't pretend I'm idling by waiting for a gradual buildup to happiness. I have to make all that shit right here right now.
Which means for maybe the next three years I will be painfully kicked in the balls again and again as I claw my way from miserable failure to miserable failure, every day I head down to the beach to make sandcastles musculer guys in speedos kick sand in my face. My possessions and lesser extremities are collected by repo men, gangsters take to me with shotguns and I lose my humanity in a new conglomerates attempt to privatise law enforcement.
All of that, or my surefire addmission of defeat is to actually use my decent resume to go get a respectable salaried job and then go back to being a shining example of professionalism and career management and try to claw up the ranks of a corporate ladder.
So in view of that I am 'hanging in there kitty' by living with my folks in my sisters vibrantly unmanly bedroom single and in a suburb I hate in Melbourne after 8 months of sheer dependence on hard currency disguised thinly as 8 months of 'dependence' and whats worse is that my parents really highlight that I have no idea how to articulate my struggle for freedom.
Yes freedom, I want to throw off the chains of oppression, and cast on the chains of social responsibility.
Donald Trump said 'If you are going to think, you may as well think big'
Well let me say, I am thinking now so big that it is a size that can only be called 'inarticulate' which is worse than being labelled incomprehensible because it is implied that the failure is on my part.
And this certainly got no easier as I attempted to 'sketch it out' this morning in a first draft business plan, so I thought 'where do all my inarticulate ideas go' exactly... here.
See my parents being anxious, worry now that I am just completely fucking insane urging them to guide me back to 'reality' with statements such as 'well the reality is tohm that society needs rules' and 'the reality is tohm that you need to be paid what you are worth' and 'the reality is tohm that you need a womb to gestate a feotus' and so fourth.
I unfortunately for me can totally sympathise with their anxiety because I appear to have simply been willing to latch on and espouse any contrarian viewpoint on anything in the world, and can quite quickly escalate to a defensive arguement that could be described as hostile.
I espouse unpleasent words in an effluvium of mole pueblanaesque chocolately richness.
Let me attempt to share some of these dirty words with you in my lexicon of inarticulate business plan. But first perhaps my goal a bizarre starting point of my self imposed struggle to damnation or paradise:

I want to be the best employer in OZ.

Let me make that larger because that is what it is:

I want to be the best employer in OZ.

Which beautifully highlights my first inarticularity* and that is when people go 'So what does your company do?' and here I say 'I don't know' and then try to qualify that statement sometimes throwing out the old 'it doesn't matter' and truth be told there was nothing to stop me from putting into practice most of the measures I would take to become the best employer, ensuring strategic dominance, growth personal and financial, happiness and intellectual stimulation along with a genuine sense of accomplishment and self determination in any company...except that no company in their right mind and more importantly showing legal due dilligence would let me do the strip down and overhaul type of management needed for me to become the best employer in Oz...
No, it seems there's all these pesky things getting in my way to create the kind of business environment for myself that would allow me to reciprocate it for other people, I mean a big corporation it takes a long time to get to the top and a lot of care and caution and smart moves too (something so sadly and oftentatiously ignored by so many people) and sadder still by the time you get there your hands are completely tied and you spend most of your time reporting to A) Head Office or B) Banks representing funds that represent shareholders.
So scratch that, in the first case need to get the rest of the pyramid off my back, in the second I need to keep a vote from those pesky shareholders from diluting the vision. So I determined that I need to start my own company and sadly for me, actually maintain control.
I need to start fascist over my own sad little empire.
Leaving me currently devoid of a context in which case to build from. So I can't honestly answer the question of 'what does your company do?' the answer is 'I honestly don't know yet but I do know how I will do it.' and that is an inarticularity if ever I saw one but it kind of makes sense to me.
Enter the late great Peter Drucker.

You see an important point about an organisation, particularly when you are thinking of starting one is that the owner and the business are treated as seperate enteties.
So here is where I am thus far, I know exactly or at least 90% how I want to run an organisation and have determined I need to start my own. So I reach up into the air and I pluck an organisation out of the air. It has no capital, no employees, no core business yet. But alas it is my organisation. I have created it. It reminds me of a crappy poem:

'Your organisation is not your organisation,
it comes through you but it is not you...'

blah blah, the point being that now on a lonely windswept hill overlooking the city at dusk there is now me, the effervescent tohm, and my organisation hand in hand, but not a union.
This is important, Drucker would know why this is important, it is important because it allows me to pose myself the question 'what does the organisation need of me?' or 'What is the most effective thing I can do for the organisation?'
To look at my organisation it at the moment looks roughly like a dandylion, a mental dandylion, it is a dandylion meme. Touch and it'll all be like 'poof' and shit.
It needs to be fleshed out, and what I need for my organisation is substantiation. This is how I serve it, I must feed it, grow it so that through gravity alone, my organisation can attract new people to it of its own sheer supermassiveness.

So I need revenues, and I need to sure up this organisation, of which really all that exists is how I'm going to organise it and the answer to that is 'not much' but more on that later.
Which means I now have to become a consultant. And this means I have to basically try and earn money by improving other employers employment of employees. Which involves me sneaking them my philosophies of management in manageble doses.
Which means I have to teach my organisations memes to other organisations in slwo gradual implementable memeoplexes.
I am confident with enough artistry this will yeild results, I am not confident I have enough artistry at this stage to do that. It is a good testing ground, and existing companies have money which I don't (well I do, I have enough money to employ someone else for half a month, so in the meantime I am resigned to hit the pavement to dig up more capital) but again I come full circle because I have this dirty vulgar word in my mouth that is the basis of my organisation which sadly my particular brain has been sucked into and fallen down and thought 'this has to be the most effecient period' and it is called, this dirty dirty word 'anarchism'
and this opens up a world of inarticularities, just fucking me up all over the place.
See in my mind I can refer to the cybernetic principle that whichever element in the system has the most choice inevitably controls the system, and then in my mind point to game theory of which one key dimension is scope, and whilst anarchy and organisation seem to be somewhat at conceptual odds, in a larger marketplace the anarchistic organisation that by definition must have more choice will control the market(s) but that's just on a purely theoretical novel...not even...just fucken principle, everything I suppose would have to react to the anarchistic organisation.
On a simpler level it is about autonomy, and I turn once again to Abe Lincoln who said 'Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power.' which I take as a challenge, and the easy way to face the challange, just like the easy way to resist peer pressure is to just say 'no' (unless your peers are trying to pressure you out of something) to power one assumes and then immediately delegates.
Because as much as I have learnt that I hate people in general, a real misanthrope if you will, I just cannot be convinced that on the whole the best thinking can ever be done for someone else on their behalf. Sure if they are a retard or something, but frame the game right so people can think with confidence, and they will find a better outcome for themselves than I could any time.
Hence hencely, my goal is to be the best employer, not employee. I just want to set up this anarchanistic organisation to remove the toil of working under direction, to actually pick an intelligent person up off the street, treat them like an intelligent person and pay them like an intelligent person, and there isn't an employer I know that scores 3 out of 3 on those fronts.
And people who fail the power test of basic self determination, well then they will fail bad.
But I am fully prepared for my organisation to turn around and bite me. We are not the same, and you know what, that is what I want, I want an organisation to become a thing of its own, to take on life and make me 'mother' poor neglected mother that never gets visited by its progeny.
But anarchism is alas a dirty word, delegation, development and coaching are all inform buzzwords though and this is how I have to frame my organisation, even though it springs forth from anarchism, like one may say democracy does (albeit a compromised form of checks and balances, and I still haven't gone down the wikipedia article far enough to truly classify my organisation as anarchonistic).
And then fuck, the most efficient and anarchistic system of all, natural selection. Casting my eye forward, what is goal 2? When I have sensible money do I build up and train a bunch of suits to become the best consultancy employer in Oz? Yes and no. I want a large desperate gene pool. I wan't artists. Creative types.

Did you feel that? We just stumbled over another inarticularity.

Here you have to feel low to understand, think back to the last time you were brought low, when you caught your girl or guy on top of your best friend. When your weight problem got out of hand over the summer holidays right when you had to change school. When you crashed your bike into a ditch at nightfall in the middle of creepy former soviet contryside and broke your arm.
Low, really low. This was about how low I was when I went and got counselling a couple of years back. And part of it was that I realised my life was more or less all about me, and it was the most depressing revelation I had ever had.
And fortunately I don't trust myself when mentally unhinged and sought professional help at company expense.
And I found a good and pricey psychologist based right near where I live and went to see him. And I mean, I was struggling through each day at this point. From the exterior it may have looked like I made a big deal out of nothing, but my control, my power had been lost and my hollow shell of a soul just imploded.
But I stepped into the Brunswick Business Incubator and saw in every room there was an idea. The place was a dream factory.
Buying some sustainable $3000 business as income and a chance to try my hand at my own dream is not enough, you see. It was there in those halls, that I knew I needed to invest in dreams. Other peoples. The chance at fulfilling a dream and not a 'I want Jenna Jameson to blow me' sort of dreams, but real 'I want to blow up the moon with a laser beam I developed in my dream' sort of dreams.
Big dreams. I want to employ people to fucking have a tilt at stuff they otherwise would be talked out of. And more than that, it is the place to apply my dream, and make these people, big, business badasses.
I want my organisations people poached from me, I want big companies coming and busting down the door to offer my best people far more than I could ever pay them to take them off my hands.
I want them to say no because here in the organisation they have a remote chance to achieve the dream. I want them to say no because they have grown to comfortable with a flexible and free workplace.
I want them to say no because they are in love, that they go to sleep dreaming of naught but tomorrow.
That is the employer I want to be.
And if I just piss people off and become annoying, I want them to take my money, fire my arse and dump me on the street.
For again as Abe says 'In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free —honorable alike in what we give, and what we preserve. We shall nobly save, or meanly lose, the last best, hope of earth.'

but there's more spanners to throw in my works, if going into business as a consultant on management with no management experience under my belt and a professed belief in the ideal of anarchy isn't enough of a handicap in my struggle, and then wanting to invest all that money in pie in the sky dreams of artists doesn't seem financially suicidal enough, then you have to appluad my desire to put my money where my mouth is for consistencies sake.
I also don't want prices. I believe in transparency. I believe in the market. I believe more specifically both in self set pay, and merit based payment.
What is that to the lay person? I want to extend to my employees the power to say 'This is what I'm worth' and for me to trust them and say 'Okay, that's what we'll pay then, now let's see it' and simultaneously extend to my customers the power to say 'This is how much we value what you do' and me to say 'Then I will gladly take what you think we are worth'
Now one could immediately speculate that there is a gaping hole there somewhere between 'letting employees set their own salaries' and 'letting customers choose how much they pay' that just seems like I am bending over, pulling down my pants, grabbing my ankles and saying 'insert pinecone!' but to me, there is also something beautiful about being samwiched betwixt two glowing pillars of trust. And furthermore, there is a big set of spreadsheets that employees can go and read to see how much money the company can really afford to pay them, and how much money they by default would be taking right out of their colleagues pockets.
And as for customers paying what they value the product at, well there's a device called the market that has been doing that for years.
Unfortunately I have no idea about the legality of this position.

But to summarize, what are my plans? what am I confronted with?
I am at a crossroads, where in one direction lies a job, a suit, a tie, good salary and I am confident I can do well at it. In the other direction is an opportunity to create something completely fucking insane, and draw moths of insanity to the sheer insane glow of the bulb of it, a chance to be burnt up, out and destroyed, to lose what little I have left on a gamble that I make harder along the way.
But if you could see what I see, what stands to be gained down that path, vs the path I could just easily mosey down, and what stands to be lost in a life of comfort and dependability.
What I am confronted with, is more than anything else, just one question: Who will come with me?

*inarticularity - a completely collapsed explanation whereupon the 'event horizon' or the point where the explanation ceases to be informative all further energy devoted to explaning and clarifying also collapses into the infinitely small and infanitely dense inarticularity. They can evaporate through hawkien radiation however the physics is complicated and I don't have space here.

Reflecting on Travel: Food & Shelter

I am disorganised. Thus one way I could really challange myself was to decide to travel Europe by bicycle. Ensuring mechanicals, getting lost & weather made it impractical to book ahead. And thats how I discovered something.
Janice told me while I was packing to go traveling that I would discover how little I actually needed. It turns out I need as little as shelter, and then maybe some food in that order.
You see the sun was a funny thing while cycling, when it was rising I was care free, eager to jump on my bicycle and soak up some countryside. I don't know really now in hindsight what made me desire so to ride on one particular surface of the earth when I had never really considered riding distance on the surface of the earth right outside my door for most of my life. Sure I was a commuter but I never said things like 'I'm going to ride to sheparton' in Australia.
Then around midday, I would stop the idling to take photos and start checking my map more regularly conscious of my need to get 'there' in time to have plenty of time to sort out accomodation. Sometimes even to decide where 'there' was going to be that night.
As it got darker and darker I stopped wondering whether the shelter I sought would have net connections, breakfast included and so fourth, I simply wondered whether it would be available.
Then if it got really dark or really rainy or so fourth. Then it is amazing how quickly your concept of 'luxurious' shifts. For me I started just dreaming of having some kind of noisy cabin with a rusty squeky camping cot in one corner and a door I could bolt shut to prevent the wind from repeatedly slamming it shut as the snow piled down on the thatched roof.
And sometimes, just sometimes I ended up getting to a sleepy little town and the hostel was booked out or non existent. The hotel receptions shut and the guests locked in for the night, nobody to answer the doorbell. And then I sat in a park under a streetlight, waiting for dawn to come so I could ride on somewhere or book myself into a room where I could just lay down and sleep awhile. Because eventually you need sleep.
Food too, but that can wait at least a day, skipping meals sometimes became practical, or just not even a priority compared to the need to find shelter. Thus I reached a point where you would not believe how joyous I was just to walk into some shitty hostel and find they had a bed available. How luxurious it was to lie on some plastic mattress under a musty old blanket whilst drunken guests walked in and switched the light on at 2am. That to me felt like luxury.
The low point was in Breda Netherlands, where I sensed a storm coming and cut short my plan to cross into Belgium, I pulled into the tourist office to be told they had been searching for vacant accomodation for tourists all day and there was none (on a wednesday) and that if I had a tent I could go to a camping ground.
This I opted for out of necessity. It cost me 6 euros the cheapest accomodation I actually paid for but lacking a sleeping bag, sleeping in a tent in a thunderstorm worked out to be only marginally better than just standing in the rain, and in hindsight probably worse than sleeping in the trainstation under a solid roof wearing every article of clothing I had.
But this I have learned, a roof, a bed of any kind is a luxury straight out.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Why Jpod is the worst book I have ever read

I picked up Jpod in Mexico city as the only second hand book on the hostels shelf that was published more recently than 1954. It is an easy read, but a thoroughly shite one. I imagine it would impress people of Alan Greenspans age and higher in its observations of modern society.
Let me sum it up for you:
The Novel written by a 16 year old after they got all excited about fightclub.
In Canada aparantly McDonalds and Simpsons are still the most culturally relevent pieces of pop culture of our times.
The back cover says 'Deals with the developments of the modern era, including the rise of China and Marijuana Grow Ops' turns out this is more or less all it deals with.
Every character is a comedian.
There are lots of filler pages, eg, reprints of spam, warning labels and 200,000 decimal places of pi, which whilst having artistic merit make the book chunkier than it needs to be.
It just scrapes at mildly amusing.
It alludes to Kurt Vonnegut's work 'Cat's Cradle' at one point, however Vonnegut advocated giving the reader one character to root for in his writing rules. A character you actually want to succeed is notably absent from this book.
I wouldn't wipe my arse with these pages.

Reflecting on Travel: What I learnt on My Holiday

Have I changed, has this seeing the world provided any mind blowing insights. Its hard to say, most of my mindblowjobs are given by Chomsky these days, and that is through a book you can pick up almost anywhere anywhen. However travelling through the world I think has changed or at least amalgamated existing prejudices into coherant ideas. Here's what has changed in me I think maybe...

I know me better

Am I an intravert? confirmed, nothing new there, but I have learnt how I think. Largely from a new way to depress myself I found which is reading the 1 star reviews of books I like on . Namely books by Dawkins, books by "liberals", and books that mention Isreal in any way shape or form. Thankfully whilst it is depressing to read the same shit over and over again ´this is a posioness attack filled with misinformation´ and ´beware leftist propaganda´ and 'his credetials aren't very reliable' and so fourth I thought 'I'm scared to write anything and face the prospect of having to defend myself for the rest of my life to these people' especially since I unlike Chomsky or Dawkins almost never go to any effort to support what I think with evidence.
And it wasn't until I picked up a copy of 'The China Fantasy' with what should be a nobel peace prize winning chapter called 'The Lexicon of Dismissal' that this realization that I was no more than a lazy speculator who reads books that interest me and never check the notes and references to qualify how factual they are.
I think from the gut, like George W Bush. Well I don't rely on meticulous fact checking to be more precise, nor do I have any interest in doing so. The way I think I have come to appreciate is in modelling, in game theory. So when Chomsky proposes something that in mainstream media would be sensational such as 'The US is one of the biggest impediments to democracy spreading' I see if in a model, or game that makes sense. And thus I don't really care about how closely, how neutrally or how responsibly an argument is put forward, I give the dismissers no mind. I accept or reject myself simply if it makes sense that something would work that way.

Capitalism is way way overrated

Lets walk through it, you are a player in a big game called Capitalism. Good so far. You have choices you can make. I'm pro choice this appeals to me. The choices you make will effect your value to society. fair enough. Make the right choices and society will give you greater command of resources. Make the wrong choices and society gives you lesser command of resources. Perfect system. You can preserve your resources beyond your value to society. that sounds a bit distortative. Furthermore you can preserve your resources for your offspring even if they never contribute any value to society. Oh well there's a lot of resources out there right, it will take a million years before that wealth preservation thing creates societal upset right?
No you really see it travelling. Here is my news, Capitalism as it is practiced is a centraliser, systems are more flexible and robust if they are decentralised. I think China and India have adopted capitalism well because the inequity in their societies (with a huge distortion post Mao China) can probably be traced back to their adherance to Capitalism in the past. Practicing it with the luxuries of Karma and so fourth which means the priveledged elite deserve their priveledge.
As such what has changed in my perspective is that I used to believe that it was better to be rich in any country than average in a good one. This was my anti-american arguement against rednecks claiming they were in the greatest country on earth. However I now acknowledge that what makes a country really pleasant is the commons. The social programs. So capitalism ostensibly works, but is overrated because the scope is not large enough, particularly in regards to time, as the rich can get richer (and fewer in relative number to the general population) thanks to private property and the ability of all our born-useless progeny to inherit. Thus buffering them from ever being weighed on their true merit to society and this problem will grow greater over time.

Globalisation is just pure shit

In Glasgow I met a girl from Texas who was studying the bagpipes in the same course as my friend from Ballarat. Whata wonderful diverse opportunity for people to pursue obscure and brilliant dreams.
However the majority of similar arrangements are people from dismal economies studying accounting to undercut a local population of whichever country they are trying to emigrate to. This smacks to me of both avoidance and boredom.
Furthermore globalisation is generally boring. Since travelling from Japan, of which at the time I railed against heavily for obstinately shutting itself off from the bigger game out their, I gradually found myself gaining respect.
Here's the change. Counterintuitively I now believe that diversity is born of isolation and protectionism. Really this should have been intuitive, but living in Melbourne it seems to be the opposite. Sure Australia is a good example of mixing together different peoples from around the United Kingdom and Ireland and coming up with something new, but this was by cutting itself off by use of several oceans and continents.
Take Japan as one of the most diverse and rich and deep cultures in the world most of which emerged from the fuedal tokugawa rule were for 200 hundred years Japan wasn't just cut off from the world, but most Japanese were cut off from domestic travel period. Hence for all the homogeniety on the surface of Japan, you can go to Kyushu province were the different villages have trouble comprehending eachothers dialects just from town to town.
Or Italy, every italian town has its own cultural heritage (and as an aside I don't know why Europe is worried about americanization of its culture when it hasn't even adopted norms on a national level yet) born of their internal warring states period that also generated the renaissance. Each city state is distinctive.
But basically I have learnt that isolation breads diversity, and to enjoy such diversity you have to occasionally cash in. However globalisation as a total and permanent movement is ridiculous. Some degree of small standardisation is good, say McDonalds I can advocate being in every country because its core benefit is precisely standardisation, it is fast food. But that is about it. Otherwise it is boring, perhaps worst across Asia were due to the prevelance of high context cultures, they are consumer lambs to the marketing slaughter, buying all kinds of crap without question that takes careful expensive orchestrated marketing campaigns in the west. I'm talking Louis Vuitton, Channel, Gucci and all the other stores you find at the foot of all 5 star hotels in asia. Then ofcourse there is the prevelance of Nike and so fourth. Just boring, and also for a western observer brings out the worst, because you tend to only accept these western marketing impositions as reflecting the 'quaint' and 'primative' nature of Japanese, Chinese etc.

Labor = Demand

China and India are jokes, tragic, tragic jokes. Like George Bush again I was going on a gut feeling while I was there that something didn't add up, it just didn't work. I had a handy article from the Economist or Newsweek that talked about how the market creates these bubbles like Japan, Taiwan and China in succession by trying to convince itself that a change (such as the internet) is so huge it changes the market forever. That's clearly not the case. And the excesses being indulged in by China in particular are quite scary.
It wasn't till several months later in Nernberg it clicked that China and India haven't actually contributed anything to the world market. That is there are no new resources, inventions or practices that have come out of China or India.
To be fair aparantly they are registering new patents more frequently than America due to a strong science and mathematics bent in the education system, but you know what I'm talking about, nothing groundbreaking like i-tunes, the sony walkman or transister radio. Inovations like the ipod and the Nintendo Wii remain the province of US and Japan.
Nor TV or entertainment, nothing new. Just bucketloads, villageloads of cheap labour.
But how much cheap labour do we need. We had cheap labour even before China opened up its economy.
It doesn't explain the China Fantasy, no the only thing that explains it is that give a man a wage, he can become a consumer.
The key benefit of China and India is that allows the biggest companies in the world to be lazy, they can sell the same old shit relatively easy to a market that is relatively unaffluent. Imagine marketers racking their brains trying to figure out how to sell $50,000 watches to consumers heavily in debt, or something as simple as a microwave to a person in China.
Like stealing Candy from a baby. China and India haven't provided anything that will really profoundly improve the lives of everyone in the world, they have just provided billions of new customers to keep redundant companies in business and not having to face the realities of a market moving towards a sustainable meaningful lifestyle.

Misanthrope or Philanthrope

I was surprised to learn that on the whole (and this sounds worse than I ever intend it to be) I don't like people. That said I still have a strong overriding reaction of indignation, anger and sympathy to the injustices of the world to people subverting the democratic ideal, the exploitation of the poor and ignorant etc.
I want to help these people, I just don't want to have to hang around them. Which is perhaps better explained by another big question I have been forced to ask myself:

Is the function of the earth to try and sustain as many people as possible?

Asians are human beings, believe it or not, and I imagine the victims of the Burmese/Myanmanese hurricanes and governments obstructive relief efforts are going through lots of pain, and then shortly afterwards, the grief of the parants in China who lost their only child to shoddy public school construction and 7.9 ricter scale earthquakes and subsequent aftershocks.
But at the same time, to sound like Lincoln when he said I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races. I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will ever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality. ... And inasmuch as they cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race.
A part of me also sympathised finally after seeing at ground level what my controversial friend Felix once remarked 'what the world needs is for 100 million Chinese people to die' anyway enough moral buffer, what I simultaneously thought was 'that's a start' but of course earthquakes and other natural disasters aren't going to systematically cull back the human plague that infests the world regardless of race, colour, creed etc.
The alternative and only moral way to 'solve' the problem of overpopulation seems to be Starvation. That is to let market forces correct the new found desire of the Big Emerging Markets to live the good life. One that inevitably will result in crippling debt and inflation that may be worse than Mao the Genius' flawed 'Great Leap Forward'

Large families are a luxary of the poor

Of course one way you can have a large population and enjoy 10-14 siblings is to be phenomonally poor. That way the earth can sustain as large a population as it can muster. Whilst I agree, Americans, Australians and Europeans could well serve themselves by simply eating less, their low birthrates are actual achievements, and rationally to my mode of thinking make sense.
In the old days, if you weren't dead by 30 you were considered touched by god, there was so much to wipe you out of life in the interim years it made sense to have 10 kids in the hope that 4 might make it. Not knowing when every ten years mauraders or disease would reduce your entire culture by 80% that said population growth is such that half the people that have ever lived are still alive today.
The people in the developing world I think naivelly possess the belief (and with no effort by our business interests to disparage that belief) that they too can have the lifestyles of the great white westerners.
For example, I got the distinct impression that people in China looked forward to being rich like Americans and thus able to eat a meal at home for mere pocket change, not counting on inflation to mean that the moment they are rich like Americans there will be almost nowhere in the world where I Chinese person can actually eat for cheap, unless their growth throws the US and Europe into crippling poverty.
But the most powerful instance for me was my reaction to an Indian boy hefting some hessian sack like device and followed me for 4 blocks palm out and occasionally gesturing to eat. And there I was struck not by a sense of personal guilt (which came as a surprise to me) but the shear irresponsibility of the parents in having a child they presumably could not feed.
I thought, whilst refusing to give any money (which if you did for every begger in India you would last about 5 minutes before declaring bankruptcy) I thought 'kid if it was up to me you wouldn't have been born at all' that's right, I actually thought of mercy killing this kid, except I know he probably isn't that miserable, whilst hungry probably gets lots of satisfaction out of life, and is also blameless relatively for his predicament since the Hindu cast system and so fourth leaves one of the most limpdicked administrations to ever face the challange of poverty and education and contraception and so fourth in the entire world.

Isreal just scares me