Sunday, June 27, 2010

Rollright Stones

The village green


Bishop's Waltham Palace

Clematis, peony, foxgloves

Canterbury Cathedral

Late evening

Hampton Court Palace


Thursday, June 24, 2010

A random update

So, I'm back.

There will be photos of England posted soon, but in the mean time, some random thoughts:

> I am bizarrely and obsessively in love with this bag in black from Oroton. The price is somewhat prohibitive.

> Rediscovering the Dropkick Murphys thanks to iTunes doing its shuffle thing. Hadn't listened to them for years and it made me happy. This particularly. It's weird how you can forget about things you used to listen to and love. Really should go back over old tapes and see what's on them.

> Julia Gillard is Prime Minister!

While I'm excited that she is (because it's great that Australia has its first female PM), I'm disappointed with the way it's come about (I'm also pretty peeved about all the sexist jokes and comments people are coming out about it all). To my mind, it seems stupid to have a leadership spill after a couple months of polls where the margin between you and the opposition party isn't actually that great (and when Rudd still had the numbers as preferred PM according to said polls). Out of 24 polls since the start of May, only three have indicated that the ALP's behind. You can read a more comprehensive commentary on the polls issue here (it has graphs!).

So who knows, but factional stuff with political parties has never seemed to function on a logical level to me. Besides, Kevin Rudd ended up being a PM who's stepped down while actually having a lead (in the polls) that would have won an election. Other PMs have gotten through similar polls without their party freaking out and having some sort of panic attack where they should have just shut up and breathed deeply through a paper bag. Why did this end up being different? Is the Labor party that worried by the Mad Monk?

There seems to have been a lack of proper promotion of the positives for the Labor party, which perhaps is a failure on the behalf of the former PM's media office. I quite liked Rudd and it annoys me how there are people who accused him of arrogance, stupidity and not listening to his party. And yet they don't see the exact same things in Tony Abbott, either through wilful ignorance or because they like to believe everything News Limited newspapers say. Which brings me to another point...

> I'm really tired of opinion-piece journalism, or opinions masquerading as journalism. To me, it seems sloppy and unprofessional to have personal opinions injected into news stories. It's something you expect with the actual opinion items in newspapers, but I'm getting sick of the way it's crept into news articles. In many ways, it does seem to stem from some sort of desire to be part of the news rather than just reporting on it. There are a lot of people, too, who still accept news as "pure" news and don't critically examine it to see how it matches up to facts and figures. There's too much of an attempt to inject substance into nothingness and it's tiresome. Still, there are people who buy into it, so it must work.

> Call me old-fashioned, but I also don't get overly excited by comments on articles. I don't think they really add anything to the news or opinion pieces, and a lot of the time it's lowest common denominator rubbish. If Robbo from Turkey Fart, North Frankston, wanted to communicate his dissatisfaction about immigration with a newspaper in the past, he'd write to the editor. It may or may not get published, but if it did it'd probably end up being presented in a somewhat better format than, "They took our jobs!" Also, why have the Fairfax news sites started doing the comment thing? Ack.

> In a totally different and random thing, my new shiny Canon IXUS130's had to be sent off to Canon for who knows what. I'd say repairs, but based on Canon's last performance, we'll see. I'm not holding my breath on it. The camera is only a couple months old and has started to do this neat trick where it simply refuses to focus on anything. You have to turn it off, take the battery out, put it back in and then turn it on again to get it to work. And that's happened more and more in recent weeks, as well as it randomly doing this thing where you turn the camera on and the lense doesn't come out at all. Very useful (other than that, I have really liked the camera). But I'm betting that like last time, Canon will decide that it's not at all their fault, warranty doesn't cover it and that the customer will have to pay for them just having looked at it. In future, I will not be buying Canon cameras.

> Oh, plus Lindsay Tanner announces he won't contest the next election! What a day :-/