Caveat emptor or something like that. by underground

I bought a TV the other day. I had no idea what I was looking at when I bought it, I just wanted the cheapest one with a screen large enough to be seen from the beanbag positioned one and a half metres away. I’m pleased with the one I got, despite the poor reception we have to put up with and will continue to put up with until I get up on the roof to wiggle the aerial or pay to get the satellite operating as more than a roof ornament.

Dubbed the “4x4s of the living room” plasma screens have just been banned in Britain. Turns out they are “energy guzzlers”, and hardly the acquisition of a responsible world citizen. And with global warming an accepted reality for everyone that can comprehend that pollution must obviously have an adverse effect on our environment, banning the sale of these living room equivalents to a coal-power station makes sense, doesn’t it?

Apparently not. Continue reading


What I want from 2009 by underground
January 2, 2009, 12:01 pm
Filed under: Life, Philosophy | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Happy New Year! Another year has been completed and a fresh year is upon us. 2008 was a bad year for most people, particularly with the economic recession. I had a good one, obtaining a graduate diploma in journalism, making great new friends and moving to a small New Zealand town with my incredible girlfriend to work at a community paper. Life couldn’t be better. So what would make 2009 perfect?

I’m not a fan of New Year resolutions. You tend to forget about them by February 1. And I don’t think I need to change anything major. I might want to eat healthier or do more exercise, but I can take it or leave it. Maybe I could swear less. I think I expect from others than myself this year.

I want to see more people smile in the street. I want more people to say hi to strangers. I want to hear less racist insults. I want all religions to either cease to hate, or cease to exist. I want sweat shops to close. I want rainforest logging to stop. I want cluster bombs banned. I want secret detention prisons closed. I want the death penalty banned. I want children to stop being sexualised or turned on to violence. I want intelligence valued more than ignorance. I want battery chickens banned. I want SUVs off the road. I want whaling stopped. I want people to stop abusing children. I want people to stop treating other people like shit. I want people to stop treating themselves like shit.

I want Barack Obama to prove me wrong. I want him to come down hard on Israel, to stop arming the illegitimate state to the hilt and blocking every international attempt to stop them bombing and massacring Palestinians imprisoned in an impoverished land like shooting fish in a barrel.

I want John Key and the National Party to prove me wrong, to take global warming, workers rights, minority rights seriously and put the well-being of all New Zealanders above the wealth accumulation of a fortunate few. National’s pre-Christmas undemocratic rush indicate where there intentions lie.

I’m sure I’ve left a few things out.

I think 2009 may be disappointing…

The true meaning of Christmas by underground
December 28, 2008, 2:09 pm
Filed under: Life, Philosophy, religion | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

As an atheist, I am fortunate enough to get to see Christmas for what it truly is, or rather what it ought to be. It is not just a repackaged pagan festival, or an over commercialised advertiser’s dream. Christmas is more than lying to Children about Santa and Jesus, more than losing years of your life due to the stress of malls and more than satisfying the greed of spoilt Westerners. It has been said before and it is as simple as it sounds, but if Christmas is to have any redeeming qualities it is as a reason for people to get together, putting aside any animosity or rivalries, stresses or difficulties and enjoy a good meal. Maybe seeing each other for the first time in the year, some having perhaps traveled to get together and share their experiences of the year, Christmas is a good time to put your feet up and relax from another hard year of work or whatever.

To me, this is far more important and meaningful in today’s hectic and troubled world than turkey and carols. What I have described above is universal, unless you know no one. Most of the existing Christmas traditions are either outdated or counterintuitive. Christmas should either be de-Christmasised or another day should be set aside for unsullied getting together. Who the hell really likes Christmas carols anyway? Most are absolutely terrible songs, so why put ourselves through hearing them almost nonstop for over a month intensively each year? And must we stuff ourselves sick? The cost is considerable, the stress of preparation no doubt insurmountable and the waste unimaginable. When a modest meal would suffice, why suffer through a dry turkey? Let us share a good meal (don’t get rid of trifle just yet!), but is glutony mandatory? And yes, I appreciate all the incredible presents I got, but I hate to think what stressful episodes my family had striving through malls buying these things. I know I didn’t enjoy shopping!

I’m not really one for traditions that cannot be justified. Of course the magic of Christmas is great for the kids, we need not take that away, but perhaps Santa could stress the importance of time spent with good friends and family as opposed to stuffing down chocolate and demanding the flashest new gaming console.

I’m not even going to start on the religious aspect as I need not to, as fewer are celebrating their own brainwashing with every passing Christmas.

Christmas should be about family and friends. There is far more to be gained by valuing them than any outdated Christmas tradition.

The tranquility of disconnecting by underground
December 10, 2008, 5:54 pm
Filed under: Life, Philosophy, Quotes | Tags: , , , , , , ,

It’s hard to run a blog when you haven’t got internet at home. In fact I haven’t got a lot of things at my new house. Ever since moving to Thames, a small Coromandel town with a population in the tens of thousands, from Auckland, which has over a million residents, I have had to live without a few things.

Some things you only appreciate when you have to go without it. Standing in the shower with my clothes on, I imagine how convenient a washing machine would be. Still, washing my boxers in the shower was marginally better than standing under the house in my flat’s outdoor laundry, washing my clothes with dishwashing liquid like I did the night before. You can’t get grass off cricket pants with dishwashing liquid no matter how hard you try. Still I’d go without a washing machine rather than a fridge. A week of buying ice every day to go into a chilly bin has me yearning for the luxury of a fridge freezer.

The lack of some luxuries allows you to experience life not plugged into the electronic grid. When you don’t have a tv you have so much more time to read. Without internet you find time to enjoy nature, or good company.

Perhaps being deprived of household luxuries is exactly what this 24-year-old needed. Having lived at home with my parents all my short life, I have become accustomed to the luxuries of wireless internet on my laptop and Sky TV on a plasma screen. Leaving the home finally and living outside of Auckland for the first time in my life, I am loving the change of scenery in Thames. Despite its lack of some electronic necessities, my house is a nice wee little set up.

There is a lot to learn and I’m learning it. I made the mistake of leaping into the shower immediately after the power got turned on. I’m learning about bills and the price of milk. I’m learning about how people in small towns are so much nicer than in Auckland. I’ve never said “hi” to so many strangers.

Eventually I’ve caught up with the 21st century. The fridge is running smoothly – no more food poisoning. And the TV I’ve borrowed off my brother works well, apart from the fact we are only getting one channel. Still, the Playstation One plays okay. And I’ve finally got the internet at home. Dial up though!

Still got to get myself a washing machine though…