The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

Strip clubs and sinners and stock markets, oh my!

Sunday 19 August 2007 at 10:11 pm

I’m holed up in bed with a cold (which seems to have come from either Webjam or Jam for Sudan, both of which were immensely awesome!). Tis a mystery how I ever lived without WiFi.

  • I would care if Kevin Rudd had ever spoken to the military leadership of Burma, or had an audience with Robert Mugabe. But a strip club in New York City? Bah, next there’ll be reports that he visited a casino in Las Vegas. Problem is, I fear this will dent his popularity — but then maybe the coming week’s polls will agree with Peter Beattie, since no one trusts MPs to be upstanding citizens anyway. Also, isn’t it just a little suspicious that it was a News Corporation editor who led Rudd and Snowden into the club, followed by the News Limited papers plastering it over their front pages today?
  • Speaking of Robert Mugabe, am I the only one left with a bitter taste at the Foreign Minister’s decision to cancel the Australian student visas of his leadership’s children? Even aside from the “sins of their parents” question, exactly how will this help towards getting Zimbabwe out of its current situation?
  • Earlier this week, we had the Treasurer issuing warnings and saying there was no need to panic-sell shares, and today he’s expressing “concern” at the state of the mortgage market. Now I’m just as miffed as every other investor that the market has dropped, but I have trouble seeing what the Federal Treasurer’s action or inaction has to do with the poor decisions of American home lenders. Oh wait, my mistake: this is the responsible economic management we keep being told about.
  • Two things that caught my attention yesterday: a fluff-piece in the West Australian about the construction projects planned or underway around town, and a (rather expensive-looking) State Government brochure outlining the new infrastructure being paid for by taxpayers. But both of them miss what I think is the more important discussion — the subtler changes needed, if you will, to our city’s ‘software’. Things like giving priority to pedestrians in the city, engaging more closely with the arts (e.g. using white walls around town as canvases), and actually promoting the small bars that the liquor licensing changes were supposed to deliver …

Still can’t shake that small-town thinking

Wednesday 4 April 2007 at 7:37 pm

Brisbane's Northbank; Creative Commons licence does not apply to this image

  • This is a picture of Brisbane’s new Northbank waterfront development, announced by Peter Beattie to much fanfare two months ago. It’s kinda like Northbridge Link, except smaller, but also cooler because it’s by the river. And just like Northbridge Link, there’s a cop-out: building over a freeway is apparently too expensive, so they’ll reclaim part of the river and build next to it. Anyway, this is interesting because of the comments I’ve read in response to the proposal. Aside from critics of Multiplex (whom Beattie has swindled into paying for the whole shebang), it amazes me that the project’s opponents sound basically identical to the critics of big projects in Perth. Ours is not the only city with people who’ve failed to realise that this ain’t no country town anymores …!
  • Speaking of Brisbane, the Fairfax company recently launched a new news site for that town, in what seems to be a move away from their newsprint roots. I wonder if they’re hoping to use the Web to counter their lack of influence outside Sydney and Melbourne?
  • And speaking of Northbridge Link, I’ve sent off my opinion on the draft plan.
  • Finally, I’d like to take a moment to discuss GO3, the games expo last weekend that disappointed because it had only one new game on show and not many east coast developers. Everywhere I look, it’s being used as an excuse to launch into wholesale Perth-bashing (even by locals!). Apparently being in a medium-sized and isolated city makes it impossible to hold a decent conference. Have these people never heard of SXSW, or of CeBIT? Austin is the same size as Perth, Hanover is smaller, and neither is all that easy to get to from Silicon Valley. No, the real problem was that the conference is new, isn’t well-known, and has too few sponsors to be able to throw down the megabucks needed to draw top-tier exhibitors. If the organisers have any competence, they’ll work at addressing this in future.