Being avid concert goers, and wanting to support acts that support our local stadium, we have for months, looked forward to this concert. I was 13 when Pump was released in 1989 and have super fond memories of Aerosmith through the 90's. Older Aerosmith classics like Dream On are amongst my all time favourite rock anthems. So it is with a somewhat heavy heart that I have to say, that tonights concert is the worst concert I have ever attended, (and I've attended a bunch of concerts in a lot of places).
The first issue I have is that I bought tickets in the Mitre10 stand for a reason, they directly face the stage, and with the Mitre 10 stand full the echo off the west wall shouldn't be noticable. (at least it was't at Elton John). So, when we arrived at our designated gate and were handed replacement tickets and told we were being "upgraded" as they had closed the stand, I wasn't overly impressed, but I sucked it up and tried to look on the bright side, I was getting more expensive tickets at no extra cost.
Now, I don't know what to blame, it seems to me the bands were playing well, but the opening acts were so loud and the top end so piercing, it almost hurt listening to them, and there was no distinction between instruments and vocals, with everything melding into (almost) white noise. Then Aerosmith came on, and I thought the sound engineers would jump on things pretty quick, but, no! It seems they adjusted the levels by pumping up the bottom end, washing out the top end and creating a rumbling reverb throughout the stadium. I thought it may have been the area we were in so we moved from one end of the Speights stand to the other, trying pretty much every aisle along the way, with little noticeable difference, other than the echo off the west wall being much less pronounced as we got closer to the stage. The echo at the far (west) end of the Speights stand would have to be about a quarter second delay after hearing the original sound and is annoying and off putting.
I guess there are a bunch of things that could be to blame...
1. Equipment: Was the equipment Aerosmiths or some local contrator's? Perhaps, if it's a local contractor's then it may not be up to task?
2. Sound engineers: Were they drunk, deaf, incompetent, lost is Dunedin somewhere, so unfamiliar with the contractors equipment that they just couldn't get things right?
3. Environment: Perhaps we could blame the stadium for poor acoustics? (I don't believe it's the stadium, I've got audio on my iPhone recorded in the stadium that proves the sound quality can be great)
I thought about all of these things as we endured the openening songs and reached the drum solo. The drum solo actually sonded OK, and I thought 'Yeah! they've finally got it under control!' Then Joe Perry was introduced and greeted the audience. His initial greeting was perfect and again I was hopeful they had sorted the levels out. Then we continued to speak and they cranked up his volume and washed out every syllable, making him as unintelligible as the rest of the concert. Surely this points to the engineers? Lets give them another couple of songs, surely they can get on top of this disaster! Surely..., right? Nah! Epic failz! First time I've ever walked out on a concert!
I've enjoyed seeing bands play in numerous indoor stadiums. AC/DC at Wembley Arena London, Guns n Roses Westpac Arena Christchurch, Black Eyed Peas at Westpac CHCH, various others in CHCH, Auckland's Vector arena, Sydney's Olympic Park and Elton John at Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium and all sounded pretty great. The B52's and The Proclaimers were fabulous and played in a basketball stadium, it usually takes a song or two to settle things down, but I've never experienced poor sound for long. Other concerts such as Bon Jovi, Joe cocker and Meatloaf which were in open stadiums were also great, (sound wise at least, Meatloaf himself, was dreadful live).
I just hope this concert is not a sign of things to come, if pay $300 to go to Fleetwood Mac and have the same experience it will be the last concert I attend at Forsyth Barr Stadium.
I know it's been a long time since my last entry and yes I know that's as slack as, however after the events of today I feel the need to share a couple of things..
Firstly, my thoughts and prayers go to everyone affected by today's 6.3 magnitude earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand. I'm happy to say that all my family seem to be accounted for. If you have family in ChCh I sincerely hope you're just as lucky. It's a truly terrible thing, and it must seem to those living in ChCh that the shakes just will not cease since the 7.1 magnitude quake that hit the same area on Sept. 4 2010.
Now, I know I could easily fill this entry with facts, figures and the like, all pertaining to the quake, I would however prefer to discuss the amazing journalism I have been witnessing by the New Zealand Television media. <---- this is of course sarcasm.
One of the things that has always annoyed me about Jo-average journalist, is their apparent lack of intelligent questions. Are these people not taught how to think? Do their producers not guide them? For example, tonight on one of the new broadcasts I saw 3 women walking away from rubble, one of them obviously injured and the rocket scientist reporter asked... wait for it... "Are you alright?" ZOMFG! Are You Serious!? Lets try another approach here, lets ask questions like... "How can we help you?" "Are there others that need help?" sigh.
After watching hours upon hours of television coverage today I am sick of reporters asking survivors.. Q1 "so, how did you feel when the quake hit?" Q2 "What were you thinking?" Q3 "How did you survive" Q4 "what are you gonna do now?" Really!? Are these the best questions you can come up with? I swear, if I'm ever unfortunate enough to be interviewed after such an event, if the reporter asks a stupid question like that, then they better brace themselves.
Anybody who is not completely brain-dead would probably be able to answer the lame-o questions above... A1 "I felt shit scared and thought it was time to kiss my butt goodbye." A2 "I was thinking CRAP I'm gonna die!" A3 "I didn't do anything special, when I thought I was going to die I very quickly regained my faith in God, in fact any god and prayed to all of them and made up a few just in case. I then fell to the ground in the fetal position a cried like a little girl while I kissed my bum sayonara." A4 "Now I'm gonna stop wasting my time talking to your dumb-ass and I'm gonna go find my family and do whatever I need to do to make sure together we're safe and as comfortable as possible. Then we'll do whatever we need to do to get our lives back to normal" At least that's how I imagine most people would be thinking. Sadly these true feelings never seem to make it to the news.
Now, it's not just the questions they fire at the survivors and general public, oh no no no. The questions they fire at the officials are even more offensive. "how many people are dead?" "Do you have an update on the death toll?" "How many people are trapped?" "how many people are gonna die?" "how many people have the hospital treated?" "what kind of injuries are they treating?"
Bloody hell! the earthquake only struck 8 hours earlier, the hospital is too busy to be counting patients and filling out statistical surveys at this time. Anyway, common sense is gonna tell you that most of the injuries will be cut, abrasions, crush injuries, burns etc. You don't need to have medical qualifications to figure that shit out grrrrrr.
They have already been told what the current death toll is. Once again, there are more important things to do at present than count the dead. Let us put our energies and resources into saving those who can be saved, and looking after those who are injured and homeless and at risk. And what's with the crystal ball questions like "how many people are trapped" and "what's the death toll likely to rise to?" Perhaps, just perhaps if we possessed the clairvoyance to answer these questions, we'd have the clairvoyance to know the earthquake was coming.
Ask some useful questions like... "What can the general public do to help? Are volunteer workers needed? Can we donate... water, blankets, food, time, money, tents for temporary shelter, blood, and where can we deliver these things?" These types of questions help the public to help. Which, is far more useful than filling peoples heads full of useless unverified facts and figures.
Come on TVNZ and TV3 get it together and do an intelligent job. Serve the public, be constructive and help!
Sincerely, my heart goes out to everyone affected by todays disaster.
John Campbell interviewed (I use this term very loosely) Mr. Ken Ring about his theory that there is a correlation between lunar and astrological events and the Earths tectonic activity. You can see the fiasco here. The image here is a screen cap of the comment I felt compelled to make on the TV3 website.
I recently received an email from David aka The Threat...
Hey Mos, like the site, about time you consolidated your musings, and while you are musing, here are some salient points for your consideration: 1- Why do people keep trying to sell me gold on wow when thier name is Wedjkklemmz or similar, like thats a name! 2- If I wasent born as me, would I be born as someone else? 3- How long till CERN announces a breakthrough from thier 25 billion dollar develoment under the franco swiss border, and what will it be? 4- Does Schrödinger still leave food out for his cat? and why is it that your haste is inversly proportional to the speed of the people in front of you? Cheers The Threat (the Stigs brother)
Wow! Thanks Mr. Threat I'll try and chew my way through these, luckily I'm an expert on all of the topics above.
1. The main thing to bear in mind when discussing WOW gold spammers is that they are generally based in China, India or Pakistan. The spammers you keep encountering must be from India or Pakistan, I know this because it's quite normal for names in these countries to contain all 26 letters of the alphabet and pose serious difficulties in regards to pronunciation for those of us of European decent. So this is why they keep approaching you, "wedjkklemmz" is Derek in Pakistan. Just do what I do, right click "report spam" then impolitely tell them to bugger off. For further info about dealing with WOW gold spammers I could put you on to my friend "chouha" (in game name) who is the only person I know who managed to get put on an ignore list by a gold spammer :-)
2. Holy meaning of life batman! Luckily Mr. Threat I am a member on MENSA and therefore have multiple opinions on everything. This question is in essence exceptionally simple, but one word answers don't lead to good reading so I'll take this opportunity to educate...
Jewish mysticism speaks of a place in heaven called the "the chamber of the guf". This is a hall of souls where the human soul hangs out until it's time to take physical form. It is taught that the "Messiah" will not come until the guf is empty of souls. Important to mention here that this "hall of souls" is not mentioned in either Jewish or Christian <a href="http://www.fishpond.co.nz/product_info.php?ref=2309&id=9780553409024&affiliate_banner_id=1" target="_blank">The Celestine Prophecy</a>.
The teaching of the major religions is quite vague in regards to the soul prior to birth. The common concept of reincarnation was formulated in India around 900 BC when the Brahmana writings were composed, they were later clearly defined by the Upanishads around 700-500 BC and was adopted by the other important religions in India, Buddhism and Jainism. When Buddhism spread through Eastern Asia this theory of reincarnation was adopted by Taoism. The theory is basically "Groundhog Day". It's believed (due to the Karma belief system) that good gets good and bad gets bad. The "self" is force back to a new material existance until all "karmic debt" is paid...
"By means of thought, touch, sight and passions and by the abundance of food and drink there are birth and development of the (embodied) self. According to his deeds, the embodied self assumes successively various forms in various conditions" (Shvetashvatara Upanishad 5,11).
Ancient Mediterranean religions had a somewhat different view on reincarnation. Greek Platonism for instance believed the soul existed in a celestial realm and was sent to this physical realm because of sin. To return to it's pure form the soul needed to be purified through reincarnation.
The Egyptians used to embalm their dead so that the body could accompany the soul. This practice would suggest a belief more akin to resurrection than reincarnation but still suggests that the soul lives on.
In the book "The Celestine Prophecy" it's suggested that we are energy and through actions, interactions, observations, insights and development we slowly become more and more pure and eventually have no need for the physical body. Incidentally albert Einstein held a similar belief and hypothesized almost the exact same outcome for humanity as we developed (or for my gamer friends, leveled up or dinged). Einstein believed we'd become pure energy.
The second book to The Celestine Prophecy called "The Tenth Insight" suggests that we have soul groups that we hang out with when we're between physical bodies, and that we choose our parents based on their traits. Both these books are fantastic reads and I highly recommend them.
I guess what I'm getting at is, that assuming our true essence is our soul or energy then there's a lot of support for the argument that no you would not be someone else since you are your essence and not the physical vessel we see here on Earth.
To sum up...
No you would still be you.
3. Gee thanks for asking such a simple question. Short answer. Who knows?! I think there are probably some bigger questions that need to be asked here though. The potential of this facility is truly immense, it's could in theory open several new branches of physics depending on what the find. It could on the other hand create a catastrophic event that may annihilate the planet (or worse).
I'm utterly torn between excitement about what they're trying to achieve, trepidation about what they might actually end up achieving (probably brought about by watching too many sci-fi movies) and concern about what they're actually doing 100m under the Swiss Franco border playing with a machine that is nearly 27kms long and deals with liquid nitrogen and liquid helium to bring the temperature of the magnets down to -273.1 degrees celsius (1.9 K) or almost absolute zero and collisions that generate temperatures 100,000 times hotter than the core of the sun. They're firing protons around a 27km circuit and a velocity 99.99% of the speed of light enabling these hadrons to complete 11,245 laps per second, all this done within a vacuum more or less equivalent to space. They record 600 million collisions every second and are generating experimental data at a rate of 700MB/s which equates to 15,000,000GB annually or 15PB (Petabytes). Huh?! what the hell does that mean. Ok, if you were to put all this information onto dual layer DVD discs (the same as the ones you get movies on) and stacked them on top of each other the stack would be 20km high (100,000 discs). This concern comes mainly from too many conspiracy websites and a mis-trust of global world leaders.
With all of the above extremes then it's feasible that if someone gets something wrong the result could potentially be catastrophic. Making "little bangs" to study what happened to matter, antimatter and various numerous other things is one thing but what happens if there's a component failure or some chump cocks it up? Black hole portals to other universes and alternate realities? A Raymond E. Fiest-esque influx of aliens through "rifts" in time and space? Another "Big Bang"?
I guess all we can do is pray they've got it covered.
4. Of course Schrödinger leaves food out for his cat. He puts this food in a box where he cannot observe it. This food is thus simultaneously eaten and uneaten, the cat is simultaneously satiated and insatiated and my brain is simultaneously melting trying to fathom this paradox and amused as it ponders other forms of this paradox like, are the numbers on my lotto ticket the winning numbers until I look at them?
5. Your haste is inversely proportional to those people in front of you due to negative karma, failing to read "The Secret", of course that irish prankster good ole Murphy and quantum physics. If you took the approach that the only reason that we see things is we expect to see things then you need to expect to not see slow people in front of you.
I hope this was useful Mr. Threat.
Thanks heaps for your email. I have you second email now too and will address those questions at a later date.
Stop and Think!
Adolf and chums during their working bee. Hard to believe what these guys are responsible for!
I was told by my mechanic to send him a text today if I hadn't heard from him. So I did...
Me: "you told me to text you if I hadn't heard from you"
Reply: "yes have found a whole car to get bits off will call him again now please text again in two"
4 hours later...
Reply: "yes you're a couple of days early but you got the right idea"
Me: "Ambiguous... Wasn't sure if you meant 2 min, 2 hours, 2 days or 2 weeks. So I chose some middle ground :-)"
Reply: "Awesome you should do a blog on ambiguity"
Me: "great idea!"
And here we are!
It's really important that we are clear with the instructions we give to one another. The English language is a complete bitch and most statements are subjective rather than objective purely because of the plethora of multiple meanings english words have.
Simple misunderstanding like the example above have little serious impact on this earth (unless you subscribe the the butterfly effect.)
However there are examples of ambiguous statements that have had severe global consequences.
Picture if you will...
Austria, August 26th 1939.
Adolf Hitler is having a working bee at his Austrian holiday house. There's beer, BBQ and numerous german sausages (take that as you will) The day had been hugely productive, they'd got the landscaping done, planted the gardens and got the deck up. All that was left to do was the love seat for Adolf and Eva and the lovely white pergola they had planned for the back of the section. Never mind, these jobs will have to wait until next weekend.
Anyway, old Hitler was chillaxing with a cold brew talking shite with his buddies (General Franz Halder, chief of the general staff & General Walther von Brauchitsch, the commander in chief). Hitler simply mentioned that he needed to get those "poles" by next weekend. Referring of course to the poles he needed for the pergola, his half cut chums thought he meant "Poles" and set forth to make it happen. The following Friday, September 1st 1939 the two Generals invaded Poland, and the rest is history.
Now, if only Hitler had made himself clear, then millions of lives could've been saved and he may have become famous for his landscaping prowess rather than for being an ego manical, xenophobic arsehole hell bent on world domination.
Picture if you will, Hawaii, December 7th, 1941.
The U.S. Navy are all chilling out on shore leave, not just some of them but the entire Pacific Fleet! Anywhose, the rest of the world is at war and there are certain precautions the Americans have taken to ensure their little corner of the world stays the hell out of it, so they can sit back and profit from the sale of food, weapons, munitions and vehicles. These precautions include numerous lookouts strategically positioned around the Hawaiian islands. During the morning of December 7th it was business as usual, Commander Tosspot was radioing the lookouts as per his daily routine and thought nothing of it when Private Tardo replied to his request for an update by stating "there's a Nip in the air".
Commander Tosspot obviously thought the young private was referring to the ambient air temperature, alas he was not. If young Private Tardo had been clearer with his report then 3124 navy and marine personnel may still be alive, 8 battleships, 3 light cruisers, 3 destroyers and 161 planes would not have been destroyed, not to mention the 4 damaged naval vessels and the 102 planes that were damaged but not destroyed. I guess there is a flip side to that, had the Americans not joined the war then how many millions of others would've been killed in Europe, Africa and Asia, oh but because they did join an estimated 300,000 people have died in Nagasaki and Hiroshima.
AAARRRRGGGGHHHHHHH! Schrodingers cat meets the butterfly effect! there's a mind &%# for ya!
I think I've made my point here. Let's work towards clarity!
If you can think of other examples, (positive or negative) please email them to me or post them as a comment.
Stop and Think!
I was reading an article online today about a British survey which showed that email gaffes saw 1 in 20 people being reprimanded or even fired from their jobs. I wish it went on to elaborate a little about the kind of dumb things that were leading to disciplinary action, but it didn't, it did mention the fact that men are more likely to make these faux pas than women, 28% vs. 17%.
What kind of things do you need to send and to who to get yourself fired?
I'm guessing that the 95% of these people suffer from some form of frontal lobe damage or disease, 4% are careless and 1% the victims of evil co-workers. Let's look at these 3 types a little closer...
Type 1 or the 95%ers have little or no ability to reason or to weigh up actions vs. consequences. This is a common complaint when someone has suffered damage to the frontal lobe due to accident, disease or the fact that their parents were a little too closely related. These people have more than likely received porn or similar NSFW attachment and deemed it a good idea to share. This is a great example of when "sharing is caring" does not apply, and forwarding this kind of attachment to you GM/CEO/Regional Manager or HR Dept. is not the brightest thing to do.
The other most common scenario these people fall victim to is the "You're an idiot and I'm gonna tell ya..." scenario. This happens when type 1 employee has to deal with someone they don't agree with, angry customer/client, uppity co-worker, corporate directive or perhaps they weren't happy with the quality of the viagra they bought from that very legitimate looking email marketing company. Once again the frontal lobe fails and a rather heart felt and honest email gets sent, sometime to the correct people sometimes not, sometimes these people get caught by sys-admins when the mail client flags it due to the enormous collection of expletives. These people should be flipping burgers... On second thought, I don't think I want these people handling my food.
Type 2 or the 4%ers are a completely different kettle of fish. Generally quite intelligent and quite capable of playing the actions vs. consequences game, these people fall foul of superiors when they hit reply instead of forward or compose a nasty email as a cathartic release never intending to actually send it, but as a force of habit they address it and, "click" jobless!
Type 3 or the 1%ers are the ones I truly feel sorry for. These people are the victims of office terrorism, 1 of 2 things happen to these people, They either compose a cathartic email and then go for a walk to cool down, which leave these terminal open and unguarded, terrorist enters cubicle and addresses the therapy email, "click" fired! The second scenario is when they leave their terminal open and unguarded and the terrorist composes, addresses and send email from victims account.
I must admit that I have been known to be a type 2. I have replied when I should've forwarded (to my GM no less) however I'm very careful not to write crap in black and white. I have also composed those cathartic emails and left them unsent while I cool down. This activity will cease immediately. I think I'll take up tennis or start writing a blog instead.
Let me know if you've done any of the above or if you have stories of people who have.
Stop and Think
Sometimes I wonder if I should be left alone to think unsupervised. I was hanging out on the balcony having a coffee thinking about nothing at all when gardening popped into my head. Now most people would shrug it off or wonder where it came from, but not I, oh no! My brain then goes into overdrive and decides that we can save the world with the cunning implementation of gardening...
See, I thought, 'If I had a garden I could grow my own veges' Yeah I know, no duh! But, growing my own veges would be good right, because I could save some money. Great idea! I'm obviously a genius, call MENSA. This is the point that 99% of people who had the "gardening" thought would leave it....
...I on the other hand decided to delve into this gardening thing a little more. "What other positive effects could gardening have?" I would reduce landfill because I could compost food waste. Excellent! Surely theres more to it than that though. Mmmmm? Well I guess the natural progression in this train of thought would be, if I had access to cheaper fruit and veges then I probably would consume more fruit and veges and consume less processed crap from the supermarket, meaning I would be healthier.
I then remember reading an article about gardening reducing stress. Great! I'd be less stressed out! So advantages so far. Mentally more healthy, physically more healthy & financially more healthy. This is going well so far. What else...?
Digging gardens, hoeing, planting, harvesting etc. can be quite physical work, therefore I would become fitter and stronger physically. Awesome! Mentally more healthy, physically more healthy x 2 & financially more healthy. So this is why Grandad is still going strong at 85 years of age. He's always had an amazing vege garden. What else...?
The whole family could lend a hand, me, wife & kids. Good quality family time, working together building something positive. Teaching work ethic, gardening skills, team work, pride in work. Creating a sense of achievement and everyone in the family gets the benefits of having the garden, Mentally more healthy, physically more healthy x 2, financially more healthy and now the family is stronger and socially more healthy. Brilliance! Nobel prize coming my way for sure :-)
Now, if we applied this gardening thing globally imagine how much better off the world would be. Less famine, less stress, less obesity, less cancer, fewer heart attacks, fewer strokes, less land fill, happier people, happier families, better people due to the practical skills, social skills and ethics learned, smaller carbon foot print since there'd be less need to transport large quantities of produce to supermarkets leading to a healthier planet, reduced need for mental health services, less need to pump medications into people since they'd be healthier and therefore keeping them healthier, reduced need for gym memberships (yay no more sweaty weight machines), financially healthier people.
So as you can see there are 2 very important points...
Point 1: We can save ourselves, our families, our communities, our planet and our wallets simply by growing our own fruit and veges in our yards.
Point 2: I'm frickin' amazingly awesome.
Stop and think!
While strolling through a local supermarket today I had a rude retail awakening. It is an awakening I've experienced before but I must've fallen asleep again. Why the hell do we pay so much more for so much less? Seriously! And we seem to just accept it!
According to www.woolworths.co.nz a 2.25l bottle of Coke is $2.79. A 750ml bottle of "pump" water is $2.35. That's 12.4c/100ml for the coke & 31.3c/100ml for the water. Now correct me if I'm wrong, but water has the following ingredients... water. Coke has water, sucrose, caramel colour, phosphoric acid, natural flavours, caffeine and of course bubbles.
My next assumption would be that sucrose, caramel colour, phosphoric acid, natural flavours, caffeine and of course bubbles would cost more than water, and I would also assume that the process of combining these ingredients would cost more than filling a bottle with plain water.
Conclusion: Why the hell is coke cheap and water expensive!
Sports water and supplement water is much the same if not worse. Same scenario, take water and add, sugar, vitamins, minerals, something hip and trendy like taurine or guarana and is often cheaper than the plain varieties.
Organic fruit and vegetables vs conventional mass farming (CF), CF = plant, cover in expensive chemical fertilizer allow to grow, cover in expensive chemical pesticide then harvest. Organic farming = plant, let cows crap on them, let birds eat bugs then harvest. I'm not understanding here. Is it just me or is this just plain ridiculous?
It's not limited to drinks, oh no. Canned fruit, in juice vs. in syrup. Or canned asparagus in water vs. brine. I believe there is a formula here.
(product x) - (ingredient y) = product z or (x-y)=z
Step 2: Cost of x ($x) - cost of y ($y) = cost of product z ($z) or ($x-$y)=$z or at least it would in any normal universe. The correct and amended manufacturers formula looks like.
Step 3: (Also know as the "pull a random number out of your arse to multiply the initial price by")
The next thing that irks me about this problem is the fact that we tolerate it. I would even suggest that we expect it. When I mentioned this to my wife she nonchalantly said. "Well all healthy foods are more expensive..." and continued doing what she was doing without giving it another thought.
This just doesn't seem right to me, we're being had by these companies which will possibly lead me to write a conspiracy theory blog. It's no wonder that obesity and it's related illnesses are at epidemic levels in the western world when it's so cheap and easy to fill up on sugar and chemicals and so expensive to eat the whole foods our bodies were designed to use.
What can we do about this?
Stop and think
I was thinking today, as I sat relaxing, enjoying a coffee in an inner city café & some quiet me time. As I was blankly staring out the window at the world as it passed by I noticed a group of teens hanging out doing nothing. Fairly unremarkable I know but, this got me to thinking, "What would I have been doing at a similar age on a similar day."
Now, I'm in my mid 30's so I'm talking about traveling back in time to the early 90's, not a million years ago. I really would appreciate your feedback and input in regards to this as I'm writing from the point of view of a boy who grew up in the outer suburbs, and I'm comparing my life to my daughter's which is a city upbringing. We're only 10 mins from where I was raised but the differences seem huge. I am also an only child so have no experience of what a similarly aged female sibling got up to in the early 90's.
Let's kick this off...
Me: I'd finish school, go home, raid the fridge, dump my stuff in my room, hang my uniform on the floor, then grab something else to eat as I left home hollering something like "I'm off to [insert friends or other place that wouldn't arouse suspicion here], I'll be back for tea." I'd return when hungry and disappear shortly after feeding time to resume whatever it was we were up to, generally returning around 8 or 9pmish.
Daughter: Comes home from school, raids fridge, dumps stuff in her bedroom, hangs uniform on floor. OK so far much the same, then it's out with her cellphone (pffft, who am I kidding, it was never out of her hand), on to my Mac or out with her laptop, MP3 player on, then the daily ritual of multitasking communications, MSN, Facebook, Bebo, Yahoo, texting etc. etc. The furious clicking of cellphone buttons as a seemingly endless steam of vowelless words go whizzing through the atmosphere is almost enough to drive a reasonably sane person right up the wall.
Me: My friends and I all had jobs over summer but as soon as we were off the clock it was business as usual. If we had a day off we would grab our mountain bikes and ride the 10km to the river where we would spend the day jumping off rock, checking out hot chicks, acting like idiots, swimming and sunning ourselves. This would be followed by a quick trip to the nearest shop for an ice cream and then the return bike ride home arriving home in time for tea. This could happen 2 or 3 times a week over summer. Occasionally we'd catch a bus into the city where we'd usually walk the malls, catch a flick, grab some McDonalds and boys being boys visit the video arcades to pump Afterburner and Golden Axe full of coins.
Daughter: Has no job so bludges off of Mum & Dad and Grandparents. Mopes around the house with MP3 player, cellphone and laptop continuing her advanced degree in multitasking communications. She does occasionally go into the city centre with friends, which usually involves sushi bars, malls (no duh!), a movie and the video arcade, although the video arcades sole purpose seems to be to provide them with sticky photos of her and her friends making stupid faces and trying to be "gangsta". I really struggle with the constant chorus of "I'm bored Dad..." which invariably starts a conversation which goes something like... "Well why don't you go around to [insert friends name here?]". "Meh! Can't be biffed." "Then, why don't you call .... and ask the to come over here?" "Meh! They can't be biffed." At which point I turn in to my parents and start the obligatory "When I was your age..." lecture. ZOMG you really do turn into your parents. *sigh*
Mum does her best to keep the girls amused and out of the house during holidays, visits to museums, free/cheap shows, walks, parks etc.
Why did our parents almost have to beg to get us to stay home and today we have to beg to get our kids to leave?
Another point I find interesting is the comparison between "necessities"...
When I was a teen we needed a bike, a couple of cool t-shirts (generally with rips in them so we could be cool like the dudes in Poison), a pair of Levis, some board shorts, a pair of Reebok, Nike, Puma or Converse basketball shoes and any 1 of the 3 available deodorants.
Today. MP3 player, cellphone (with MP3 player, video, facebook, and huge text plan), 3000 t-shirts, 47 varieties of deodorant, which incidentally must be applied like the TV ads show, a 15 second continuous spray which causes respiratory failure for everyone in the house including the cat and turtles and tears the ozone layer to pieces. So much for the environmentally aware generation! There must also be a computer of some description (preferably laptop) with high speed interwebs, an iTunes account complete with allowance a second cellphone so she can take advantage of another carriers awesome text deal when the first allocation runs out. Dad must be an ATM, and life will simply end if she can't send approximately 1.6 million text messages before the end of the month.
We had no internet, no cell phones, no MP3 players (we had tape walkmans), almost nobody had a computer and if they did they were Commodore 64's or Amiga 500's, oooh the nostalgia starts to flow. We had bikes & balls (stop it! I'm referring to tennis and rugby and the like, why do you have to make everything dodgy?!) and we had immense amounts of fun. If we were unable to visit someone, we'd use the phone. It had a cord and just reached into my bedroom, we'd lay for hours on our beds and talk at length about nothing, while listening to Poison and Aerosmith. Granted the quality of conversation probably hasn't improved but at least we actually verbally spoke to each other.
One last thing before I sign off...
With all of these communication technologies at their fingertips, it seems the ancient practice of actual physical, face to face communication and interaction is dying. I am truly curious to find out if this virtual world they surround themselves in will lead to a future generation of social retards. I can picture social gatherings and events where everyone sits in a room with music playing while the guests all IM and text each other via their iPads and phones.
Please let me know know what you think, and put me straight if I'm wrong.
Stop and Think
PhillyD must be reading my mind. Check out this clip supporting my theory. (<--- clicking here should skip to the right part 3min 8secs in)
What is going on with our education system?! I’m certain that as the years go by the quality of education is steadily decreasing. A few years ago we allowed (not that we had any input or choice) our esteemed politicians to change the way secondary education was executed and assessed. At the time I could see that it was a dumbing down of an already inadequate system, that had been slowly deteriorating over the years. Our proud country once had one of the flag ship systems built on foundations of reading, writing and arithmetic. We produced a good number of well educated people.
Today we seem to be happy to settle for a system that dumbs down an already below par system. It seems to me that we’ve moved away from a “can do” or “must do” or even “will do” attitude to a “that’ll do” one.
Scaling marks is nothing new. It happened when I was at high school, but it seems, as our youth have begun to fail and the system was consistently failing to get enough over the benchmark that a very lazy and detrimental decision was made. “Let us lower the bar.” What a fantastic idea! NOT!
What the hell is this world going to achieve when our youth are being told... “If it’s too hard, don’t stress! Don’t try harder! Don’t try to better yourself! No! No! No! If it’s too hard then we’ll make it easier for you. Is that better? Do you need a hug and your teddy bear now? can I get you some milk?” And that is exactly what we are doing. We’re producing poor teacher, teaching in a poorly designed system, and teaching bad habits and mediocrity. Please, don’t be offended if you’re a teacher. I don’t have a personal vendetta against teachers, it’s the system that’s failing all around. In fact 4 members of my family are teachers (from early childhood to high school) and I have a lot of respect for them. It’s is not a job I would want to do.
It’s not just this country either. Don’t be fooled by that. Education systems are failing all around the world. Some are winning but most are failing.
Here’s an example of dumbing down our children. Now, in fairness I do have to verify these claims as they come from my teenage offspring (and stories from teenage offspring aren’t always that accurate) But she did come home from school a few weeks back and said... “Dad I think I know now what you mean by dumbing down...” This intrigued me. My ears were pricked and I was listening intently. My 15 year old continued to tell me. “I’ve got an assessment for I.C.T. (computers) next week where I’ll be able to get 3 excellence credits if I can perform all the tasks.” “Great!” I said, expecting good results here from a reasonably tech savvy teen. “what is it you need to do?” I need to turn on my computer, open my documents, modify a file and save it then turn my computer off.” We both agreed this seemed ridiculous. Bearing in mind that she only needs to achieve 80 credits (in total) throughout the school year across 6 subjects to pass. 3 excellence credits means that this simple task is worth around 4% of her total years achievement.
I think that you’ll agree when I say that the above tasks are hardly a challenge to the average (or even below average) 15 year old in any western society. In fact I would wager that most could perform this task whilst texting with one hand, listening to their iPod, Watching television and chatting on Facebook or MSN. I greatly doubt there’s a lot of conscious thought required, it’s all pretty much second nature.
What else do they have to do to get credits? Remember to breathe? Tie their shoelaces? Spell their name? Do you get excellence credits for washing your hands before you start cooking in home economics (food technology) or whatever vogue word they’re using at your local school.
Deep breath! Deep breath! Phew, Sorry starting to get carried away. I have to leave this here in the meantime, but I will be coming back to this very soon. There’s some interesting history behind our education systems that I’d like to discuss. But I need a coffee before this becomes a 300 page rant and my blood pressure gets too high ;-).
Stop and think!