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…


What does that have to do with the price of milk? by underground

The upcoming election is of course about the economy. That is to be expected. But how bad is the economy really? Are people struggling as much as we are led to believe? The National Party promises a “brighter future”, although only the most naive would believe this package is extended to the greater population. Key will, with the help of Act, take New Zealand back down the path of the eighties and nineties, seeing the rich get richer and the poor poorer. Labour have already improved the finances for most people over the last nine years, repairing the damage of the National party’s anti-worker, anti-family policies of the nineties. Examples of this can be seen in the improvement to employment figures, accessibility to education and the increase of the minimum wage and worker’s rights. Even despite all the economic doom and gloom people have seen more money in their back pocket over the last six months. So is Key being completely honest? Considering he doesn’t know the price of milk, I wouldn’t expect the rich-list National leader to be able to empathise with financial struggle of “middle New Zealand”. I wouldn’t trust him to run down to the dairy for some milk, let alone run the country. Continue reading

One man poll finds one too many idiots by underground

Although I initially though the Herald’s “One Man Poll” sounded like a massive vox pop (which I can’t stand) in the capable hands of Simon Collins the series was likely to be a success. And he does find some interesting people with interesting views on interesting issues. Collins finds people who do sum up what others are thinking and finds out the thought behind their opinions. Fascinating stuff at times. However, either Collins is drawn to some absolute morons, or New Zealand is a country with a disproportionate number of idiot residents.

Here’s a couple from the last few days. There are many more! Continue reading

Robert Fisk Interview Hyatt Auckland 9/9/08 by underground

A couple of years back I finished my BA in History and Sociology and had no idea what I was going to do with my life. Disillusioned, I spent two years working full time in a book store. I flirted with the idea of secondary school teaching until I read Robert Fisk’s Great War for Civilisation. People had suggested I look into journalism as a career before, but it was not until I read Fisk’s book on the history of the Middle East that I felt compelled to get into journalism. I loved the passion with which he writes with, the attention to detail, the sympathy he has for those who suffer in the troubled region. His knowledge on the area is unparalleled. I found his reporting inspiring. I feel I owe Fisk a lot, so imagine my delight when I was given the chance to interview my hero for Te Waha Nui.

This is the transcript from my 45 minute interview with the Independent’s Robert Fisk. Please forgive any grammatical errors – it took me eight hours to transcribe! Enjoy. Continue reading

Atheism – The Musical by underground

Every week I like to post quotes I have come across that I find thought provoking or sum up my opinion on something succinctly, and with wit. Instead, for a change, I’m going to occasionally select half a dozen songs that reflect my views on some particular issue. I’m going to start with my favourite band, on a topic of interest to me.

Here is Bad Religion on faith, God and atheism.

Bad Religion, as the name might suggest, are fairly critical of religion in their songs. That is perhaps an understatement! But instead of the mindless anti-religious abuse some bands have popularised, Bad Religion’s objections are considered and reasoned. This may have something to do with the bands front man Greg Graffin having a doctorate in evolutionary biology, but even before he obtained his degree the band has made intelligent philosophical statements in their music. Song writing duties are split between vocalist Graffin and guitarist Brett Gurewitz, and both musicians are equally capable of writing thought provoking intelligent lyrics.

So perhaps in the way the religious people reaffirm their beliefs through song, Bad Religion has written the perfect hymns for non-believers. However, Greg says in the song “No direction”, “no Bad Religion song can make your life complete”. They can make you stop and think though.

I’ve decided to be quite selective and only choose half a dozen Bad Religion songs, although there are of course many more to choose from. I’ve chosen no more than one from any one album, and added my interpretation of what I feel the song conveys. Enjoy. Continue reading

George Orwell quotes by underground

Having had many respectful discussions with all sorts of people about religion and politics, I feel as though George Orwell was right when he said:

As with the Christian religion, the worst advertisement for Socialism is its adherents”.

The same of course could be said for any other political opinion or religious faith.

And in order to be balanced:

He was an embittered atheist, the sort of atheist who does not so much disbelieve in God as personally dislike Him”.

I must admit though, I have not ever met one of the atheists Orwell describes, as this person would not even be an atheist! I would have expected someone with the interest in language that Orwell had to have understood the definition of atheism. Perhaps he would appreciate even a fan such as myself challenging him on an error such as that!

Quotes on freedom by underground

With the news that Al Jazeera cameraman, Sami Al-Hajj has finally been released without charge or trial from Guantanamo Bay, I think perhaps it is important to reflect on what freedom really means. The current political climate has led to curtailing of civil rights and liberties in many countries, at a time when politicians are claiming to be fighting for those same freedoms. Perhaps what has angered people most in the last few years, is the blatant lying and hypocrisy from many world leaders. I think some intelligent thinkers have posed on this same idea throughout history.

Abraham Lincoln:

Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves” Continue reading