urban creature


Sunday, March 13, 2005
Blog move
The move is complete... and our new blog can be found at www.urbancreature.id.au/blog. Please updated your bookmarks, blogrolls, etc.


  Scribbled by urban creature @ 1:31 am - [Permanent Link] 2 comments

Saturday, March 12, 2005
Pedestrian Liberation Army
As you can tell from previous posts I'm not a big fan of cars. These contraptions are responsible for the poor design of cities, huge eye-sore freeways, pollution and road fatalities. They are also loosely responsible for obesity and heart disease.

This said, there are few people in the world willing to stand up against cars, and against the very powerful "roads lobby" in their misguided agenda of creating more and more roads.

Roll on the Pedestrian Liberation Army (PLA) I say! They could (under the cover of darkness) close roads and paint cross-walks. They could change speed signs to speeds more amenable for pedestrians - let's say 8km/hr. They could hack into the central traffic management system and change all the lights to red. They could leave a calling card too...



Something like this stencilled near the site of their thoughtful, chaos-creating endeavours. They could use this yellow stencil (PDF - 129KB) as the first layer and this black stencil (PDF - 127KB) as the second. They could also stencil these signs anywhere... just so pedestrians feel they are being looked after.

They could be a secret, underground organisation where everyone is referred to by a nickname or a number and where their leader's face is never seen by anyone. It could, of course, already exist and could be plotting its activities right now on a huge map of Melbourne.

---
Disclaimer:

I am in no way endorsing or encouraging any illegal activities like those listed above. I do not take any responsibility for the actions of others, regardless whether their actions resemble in whole or part to those discussed on this blog. The stencils and images provided may be used, modified or reproduced in any way seen fit. However, I do not take any responsibility for the use, modification or reproduction of these images in any way such as being stencilled on roads, footpaths, laneways, walls, fences, grass, trees, cars, people, animals, t-shirts, bags, hats, or private or government buildings such as those owned or leased by VicRoads, RACV or car retailers. Any similarity to real or fictional people, organisations or images displayed in this post is purely coincidental. No animals were harmed in the making of this post.


  Scribbled by urban creature @ 3:20 pm - [Permanent Link] 3 comments

Thursday, March 10, 2005
New Domain
I finally got around to registering my own domain name - www.urbancreature.id.au. You'll notice that urbancreature.id.au/blog actually forwards to this blog. Feel free to update your links if you wish, although for the timebeing this is a little unnecessary.


  Scribbled by urban creature @ 9:48 pm - [Permanent Link] 0 comments

Sunday, March 06, 2005
Queer Eye for the South Park Guy
BEFORE...

AFTER...


This might be a case of small things amusing small minds but it's still loads of fun!


  Scribbled by urban creature @ 1:59 pm - [Permanent Link] 0 comments

Friday, March 04, 2005
More WA election stuff
Following on from my WA election wrap-up, I thought I'd get Hootz (remember him?) to predict the likely make-up of the new upper house.

It's been 6 days since the WA election and most of the counting has finished. Perfect timing to predict the results for the upper house before the WA Electoral Commission releases them.

The Legislative Council is made up of 34 seats divided between 6 regions. Two of these regions have 7 members and the other four have 5 members. Labor and the Greens managed to gain control after the 2001 election with a slight majority - although the slightness of this majority caused a few problems for the Labor Government with its attempts at reforming the electoral system.

Below is the make-up of the upper house immediately prior to the 2005 election:

Australian Labor Party - 13
Greens WA - 5
Liberal Party - 11
National Party - 1
New Country Party - 2 (formerly One Nation)
Independents - 2 (1 formerly One Nation, 1 formerly Liberal)

It would be fair to say that there were 18 members on the 'left' and therefore 16 on the 'right'.

The likely make-up of the new upper house is possibly a little more boring:

Australian Labor Party: 16
Greens WA: 2
Liberal Party: 15
National Party: 1

This means that once again there will be 18 members on the 'left' and 16 on the 'right' - unless, of course, Labor or the Greens manage to gain the 5th seat in the Agricultural Region instead of the Liberal Party. The race for the 5th spot is between the ALP, Liberal Party, Greens, National Party, Family First, New Country Party and the Christian Democratic Party (according to Poll Bludger). While the Liberals are the most likely to win it, the CDP (with 1.81%) might be able to pull off what Family First did at the Federal election.

Here are my predictions extrapolated for each region (net change in brackets):

Agricultural

Australian Labor Party: 1
Greens WA: 0 (-1)
Liberal Party: 3 (+2)
National Party: 1
New Country Party: 0 (-1)

East Metropolitan

Australian Labor Party: 3
Liberal Party: 2

Mining & Pastoral

Australian Labor Party: 3 (+1)
Greens WA: 0 (-1)
Liberal Party: 2 (+1)
New Country Party: 0 (-1)

North Metropolitan

Australian Labor Party: 3
Greens WA: 1
Liberal Party: 3 (+1)
Independent: 0 (-1)

South Metropolitan

Australian Labor Party: 3 (+1)
Greens WA: 0 (-1)
Liberal Party: 2

South West

Australian Labor Party: 3 (+1)
Greens WA: 1
Liberal Party: 3
Independent: 0 (-1)

--

The big losers at this election were certainly the minor parties and independents - particularly the Greens who are likely to lose 3 of their seats. At the previous election they had picked up 2 extra seats (Mining & Pastoral and Agricultural) pretty much by accident. The potential loss of South Metro, though (a seat they've held since 1993) would be a little more devastating.

Overall, however, there appears to be is very little change in the left-right balance of the upper house. Gallop will still need to rely on the Greens to get things through the upper house and electoral reform is still out of his reach.


  Scribbled by urban creature @ 11:48 pm - [Permanent Link] 0 comments

Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Royals
After watching Denton's interview with Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary I can't help but think that, if Australia doesn't become a republic soon, could we at least enter into a royal family exchange program? Surely Australians wouldn't mind becoming part of the Danish empire? And the British wouldn't mind either, providing they were offered Greenland.


  Scribbled by urban creature @ 12:08 am - [Permanent Link] 1 comments

Monday, February 28, 2005
Jumping on the bandwagon
Ring Ring



Hello.



I am your father.



Like derr... you told me this on Friday.



Oh... isn't this Robert Mills?



No. This is Billy.



Nevermind. Bye son.



*grumbles*

Ring Ring

Hello...



Hi there Billy. This is Andrew Denton. Would you like to be on my show?



Sure. But I'm hardly famous. Aaron's blog doesn't exactly have that big an audience...



True, but your dad is Tony Abbott.



Oh yeah... I have a few words I'd like to say about daddy. Do you guys censor out bad language?



Nah. We're on at 9.30pm.



Good.



We need you at the Sydney studio next Tuesday at 5pm.



Ok.



We can't fly you here though. Cut backs.



I'll ask dad for some money and I'll see you up there. Looking forward to it - you're a great interviewer.



Thanks Billy. See you then. Bye.



Bye.

Ring Ring

Hello.



What can I help you with today?



What do you want? You rang me.



Sorry, I don't understand what you're trying to say. Which IKEA product do you want to know about?



Fuck off!



Sorry, I don't understa...



*hangs up*

Ring Ring



Listen, I don't want to know about any IKEA products...



No Billy, it's me Colin Barnett.



Oh. Crappy result for you on Saturday wasn't it?



Indeed. You wanna become leader of the WA Libs?



Ugh... aren't there any sitting Libs who can become leader?



Nope. They're more incompetent than I am. We need someone with a high profile like you. You can take us out of the wilderness...



*shrugs*

Sure. I guess. Can I make up my own policies?



They'll be happy to have you and they'll let you do anything.



*evil grin*

Cool. Count me in. I'm free after next Tuesday.



We'll be in touch then. Bye.



Bye.

*hangs up*

This will be cool.

Ring Ring

Hello...



IKEA has a huge range of affordable products for your home and office...



Argh! Go eat shit.



Directing you to dining tables now...



Argh!

*hangs up*


  Scribbled by urban creature @ 12:19 am - [Permanent Link] 3 comments

Sunday, February 27, 2005
Labor gallops to victory in WA
With a name like Gallop, you're bound to get shit load of puns out of journalists this week regarding the ALP's WA election win.

This election is possibly the greatest example of an incumbent winning essentially by default due to the incompetency and sheer silliness of the only viable opposition. The next task for the Coalition is to find someone with a brain between their ears to fill the role of Leader of the Opposition (and let's face it, there isn't much Liberal Party talent left on the opposition benches). It is worth remembering that the WA National Party actually have more in common with the ALP (and the Greens) when it comes to social and environmental issues compared with their supposed coalition partner. I won't be surprised if they (again) break away from the Libs while in opposition.

Hopefully Barnett can take his foot out of his mouth long enough to sign his resignation letter and announce a suitable successor for the seat of Cottesloe - which I hope, despite being in the wealthy western suburbs, is picked up by Labor or the Greens. It is interesting to note that Richard Court's seat of Nedlands was nearly won by the Greens at the 2001 by-election.

Let's also hope that the Libs see that the policies announced at this election - including the canal from the Kimberleys idea and the rolling back gay rights - as not endorsed by the electorate and hopefully never see the light of day again.

It will be interesting to see the new make-up of the upper house. The Greens are bound to lose Agricultural and Mining & Pastoral - which means that Dee Margetts will be out of the job again (she lost her Senate seat in 1998 to Brian Greig from the Democrats - who, by the way, lost his seat to the Green's Rachel Siewert at the 2004 election) and Robin Chapple will possibly go back to working in Giz Watson's office. At this early stage it is impossible to tell for sure who will control the upper house but it is likely the Coalition will once again control the upper house. It is a shame Labor and the Greens didn't manage to get an absolute majority last time around (and could have reformed the, heavily gerrymandered, house).

There was also a referendum held about the extention of trading hours. Technically it is a 'plebiscite' since it simply asks an opinion of the electorate rather than endorses existing legislation. Looking at the figures, there is an overwhelming NO vote to both proposals (first - to extend trading to 9pm on weekdays and second - to extend trading to Sundays). The Liberals seemed to have backed a winner here, although going against their own traditional allies, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (which, you will know also pointed out Barnett's huge black hole in his election promises). While technically backing a loser here, the ALP successfully played wedge politics on this issue and have come out stronger.

The Democrats (remember them?) only ran candidates for the upper house this time around. They didn't hand out how-to-vote cards either. The result, as expected, is possibly one of their worst in the party's history with less than 1% of the vote (although counting is still in progress). It's a shame that a party that once had 2 members in the WA parliament is now getting a worse vote than the Christian Democratic Party who have never held a seat in this parliament. It's also worth noting that Damian Meyer, who was at one stage the President of the WA Division of the Democrats, stood for the Greens at this election for the seat of Perth. My old division appears to be crumbling, although support for the Dems in the rest of the country isn't that great either.


  Scribbled by urban creature @ 5:02 pm - [Permanent Link] 0 comments

Friday, February 25, 2005
Under the mask


Billy discovers that his real father is Tony Abbott, and not Darth Vader as he was lead to believe.


  Scribbled by urban creature @ 11:51 pm - [Permanent Link] 1 comments

Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Street Art
Street art is cool.

It is an attempt at sorts of reclaiming public space, dressing it up a little and reminding people that they are in an urban setting. Personally I dislike most tagging - it's obnoxious and crass, and unthoughtful - except when the artist is given a little more time and colours to create something worthwhile.

I adore stencil art though. Stencil art on the other hand is tagging's shy little sister. Hardly noticeable, except when you're up close. Stencil art is usually quite thoughtful - sometimes political, sometimes rude but always entertaining. As with tagging, if the artist is given a little more time to add more layers - they look even better - but unlike tagging it is possible to look good after one quick spray.

Unlike most public art, which requires commissions or grants - stencil art is open to everyone (well everyone who doesn't mind taking the risk of getting caught). It's possibly one of the more democratic forms of art - much like blogging is to writing and journalism.

Sometimes it is the stencil art alone that makes a laneway interesting, although most of the time these clever images actually simply add more to the character of a laneway. Side note... three more lanes have been added to my lanes blog. Lately I've taken to doing a number of lanes in the same block all at once - saving time and energy.

Anyways... back to stencil art - I'm planning on attending some of the Melbourne Stencil Festival which starts on Friday. I will no doubt be the uncoolest person there but I hope I can make up for it with my enthusiasm. See this flyer for more info.


  Scribbled by urban creature @ 5:13 pm - [Permanent Link] 1 comments

Sunday, February 20, 2005
Billy the Rebel


Upon being accused of being boring and unspontaneous, Billy decides to risk it all and have his picture taken next to a sign banning photography in the area.

Side note... as with the removal of bins in the Sydney CBD, banning photography in the Melbourne underground loop is paranoia gone insane. Although it would be funny to see hundreds of Federal Police storm Parliament Station arresting a tourist for taking some happy snaps. Possibly not so funny if they spoke German and had a mental illness.


  Scribbled by urban creature @ 1:01 am - [Permanent Link] 0 comments

Saturday, February 19, 2005
Unsolicited faxes #2
They're coming in thick and fast and, frankly, I don't have enough spare time at work right now to list all these parasites on here. However, on Friday I received one notable fax from:

Pender Communications Ltd
5-B Wyndham Crescent
N19 5QI LONDON UK

Personally I don't know about the general intelligence of admin staff these days but I gather we're not completely stupid. The fax says:

"We want to send you our promotional faxes but only if you want to receive them... mark the NO box for instant removal of your fax number from our database... mark the YES box and add any additional fax numbers on which you wish to receive our promotions and special offers."

And here is the clincher... "Please fax back to: 1902 266 028... [small text] the cost of sending this fax is $5.45/min"

Only an idiot would tick the NO box and run up their boss's phone bill at $5.45 a minute!

These parasites are already wallowing around the bottom of the barrel of human decency by sending out unsolicited faxes like these in the first place but now they've hit a new low... they're the maggots feeding on the faeces of the parasites (no offence to maggots).

To their credit, however, is in small text down the bottom "To be removed from the fax distribution list please fax your number to 1300 558 851." Still, the cost of a local call is frankly too higher price to pay to be removed from a distribution list that I DIDN'T SIGN UP TO IN THE FIRST PLACE.

As with before, I look forward to hearing from those who have googled the company's name and come across my blog.


  Scribbled by urban creature @ 10:46 am - [Permanent Link] 3 comments

Tuesday, February 15, 2005
No jobs on a dead planet
The Kyoto Protocol comes into force tomorrow. It is deeply shameful that my own country hasn't ratified this agreement - especially considering the concessions that were made just for us.

So in the spirit of Kyoto, I thought I'd float some eco-ideas out there in cyberspace. These are just ideas - debateable, questionable and even possibly quite silly... but float them I will...

IDEA 1: Capping Car Registrations

It seems a little silly to have an ever increasing amount of cars on the road. Surely if we set a limit to just how many can be registered, then people will most likely share cars or find alternative (and more sustainable means of travel). Obviously cars that use miniscule amounts of fuel or are completely fuel-free would be given priority or possibly be exempt from this cap. Priority for registration should also be given to those facing the most hardship too (e.g. those living far from (decent) public transport services, those who work out of normal business hours, those who are caring for others, etc.

Less cars on the road also equals less road trauma (providing driver training and safetly initiatives remain at the same level), less congestion and may actually lead to better economic outcomes. Fuel would be cheaper since demand would be down and, if eco-friendly cars are given priority or are exempt from the cap, then demand for these vehicles would obviously increase.

IDEA 2: Public Transport Tax Concessions

I've always thought it silly that businesses that give their employees cars and parking spaces as part of their employment packages actually get some sort of benefit from it. Obviously there is incentive for them far beyond enticing more talented people into their company. I may be wrong, however.

Regardless of this, why can't businesses get tax concessions for giving their employees public transport tickets as part of their employment packages? Add to this the employee's opportunity to claim public transport use (even outside of working hours) as a tax deduction if they personally had bought the tickets.

IDEA 3: Provide Better Public Transport

Simple. If all public transport modes run frequent enough, throughout the entire city up to at least midnight, then people will more likely use it. Twenty-four hour public transport is viable in large cities like Melbourne and Sydney.

IDEA 4: Free Grey Water Re-use Systems for Concession Card Holders

These machines basically make grey water (i.e. from your washing machine, kitchen sink, shower, basin, etc) back into drinkable water. While providing these free for concession card holders, it would be beneficial to increase the cost of water in order to encourage others to re-use grey water too.

IDEA 5: Tax Environmentally Harmful Goods More

We have a consumption-based tax which can be used more effectively to encourage people to buy products that are more environmentally responsible. Meat should at least have GST attached to it - plus a green tax of an additional 10% (possibly more if you buy that meat in a burger from McDonalds). I might be biased here as a vegetarian but surely there are better ways of using our remaining arable land than by using it for cattle grazing.


  Scribbled by urban creature @ 10:41 pm - [Permanent Link] 4 comments

Sunday, February 13, 2005
Billy does Wonder Woman


Billy dusts off his Wonder Woman outfit for the Midsumma Carnival... and discovers a few other people wearing the same outfit.

--

This post is dedicated to Kitten Kaboodle who passed away on Monday.


  Scribbled by urban creature @ 12:26 pm - [Permanent Link] 0 comments



About Me
Name: Aaron Hewett
Location: Melbourne, Australia

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aaron [at] myrealbox.com

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Labor gallops to victory in WA
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