The Pencil Guy: Hourann's illogical blog

Elections! Photos! Trains! and other stuff

Thursday 3 April 2008 at 4:20 pm

Not dead! Just, y’know, busy scheming the next phase in this blog’s evolution. The first change you’ll see for now is a few more photo posts, taken from my newly pro-ified Flickr account … and other new stuff is in the works (no, honestly!).

In the time since I last posted here …

  • Taiwan got a new president! And he seems less interested in aggravating China’s government than the previous president was. This is a good thing for world peace, although it remains to be seen whether his party has really changed from the era of one-party rule.
  • Zimbabwe came close to getting a new president! Well, maybe, possibly, assuming Robert Mugabe is kind enough to actually acquiesce to the people’s vote — not exactly a certain outcome.
  • Brendan Nelson and his ragtag Federal Opposition decided they should just copy Kevin Rudd! Specifically, he’s gone on a “listening tour” all his own, ’cept it’s even more pointless than the Ruddster’s.
  • The NSW Government announced plans for the first real subway/metro in Australia! But then, in doing so they blithely dumped long-standing plans for a CityRail line in that area of town. That plus the far-off completion timetable has me doubting whether this will go ahead or be yet another expensive bright idea that gets shelved.
  • Kerry Stokes used his ownership stake to try to get some changes at The West Australian! The staff at that paper have such intransigence that again I doubt anything will happen, but if he succeeds and makes the paper stop sucking, he’ll be quite the unlikely hero.
1 comment »

Plodding onwards with APEC

Thursday 6 September 2007 at 11:41 pm

Condoleezza Rice and Robert McCallum at the APEC Ministerial Meeting 2007, Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre. Image courtesy of APEC 2007 Taskforce; Creative Commons licence does not apply

It’s really very annoying that reports about APEC in the local media are primarily focussing on John Howard, George Bush, and (to a lesser extent) Hu Jintao. Do our journalists need reminding that Sydney is also hosting the prime ministers of Japan and Canada, the presidents of South Korea and the Philippines, the chief executive of Hong Kong, and many more?

With the main leaders’ summit not happening until tomorrow, it’s too early for me to make any sweeping comments, nor will I not jump on board with critics of the cost (running any kind of conference is expensive!). And while the police panic about a few protesters is way over the top (WA police didn’t need to invent new crimes for Hu Jintao’s visit!), it’s also the case that APEC has the heaviest security requirements of just about any major international meeting.

But the meat in the sandwich, if you will, of APEC gatherings has always been the meetings held informally on the side. And so far they’ve been far from stellar: a treaty giving Australia access to American military technology, slightly more funding for APEC’s secretariat, a new security meeting between Australia and China, mutterings about missile defence, and rehashes of supposed commitments to the Doha negotiations.

Really, the most impressive announcement has been the arrest of the Chaser boys.

1 comment »

Just when you thought Perth was safe …

Saturday 7 January 2006 at 1:11 am

I am back in town! (and miffed that the anti-heatwave only just stopped)

Sydney from the Tower My last day o’er east included a walk across the Harbour Bridge, and before that a trip up the Sydney Tower. Although the view from there is cool, it’s more expensive than the Rialto in Melbourne and not as good (longer queues, dirtier windows, slower lifts, meh). But they do have one of those movie theatres with pneumatic moving seats that’s almost as cool as a rollercoaster.

Going up the tower was not helped by the cloudy weather in Sydney — walking through Darling Harbour most of the city offices disappeared into the mist as you looked upwards. So only a few of the photos I took are any good.

Me in a UWA jumper in Sydney! However, the clouds did give me an excuse to put on a UWA jumper and walk through the middle of Sydney wearing it. (dorky? oh yessir!) Alas, unlike the comments I was able to draw in Melbourne, I only got a few weird looks and some office workers staring at me trying to make sense of the word “Perth”. (No, kids, it’s not in Azerbaijan.)

Oh, and reading the paper on the flight home today, I discovered the source of a mysterious missed call that appeared on my phone on December 1. You know you’re reading a quality paper when it takes them more than a month to report on something (and then, the headline they use — “spam mail” — is just plain wrong).

no comments »

Hitting the “family attractions”

Wednesday 4 January 2006 at 8:38 pm

Here in Sydney, the Museum of Contemporary Art is cool. It features lots of crazy photographs, interactive art (woo!), and a sculpture of a funky fat Porsche.

Meanwhile, Taronga Zoo is also cool, has cute snow leopards and red pandas, and even puts on a seal show to rival Sea World.


1 comment »

Missing photographs …

Wednesday 4 January 2006 at 8:33 pm

Those photos I promised to post earlier. First, of the Blue Mountains …


… and of Sydney’s NYE fireworks.

no comments »