About renting

Besides all the other chaos that lined up in my life this year I will also have to move house soon. Now, while that is a do-able task in principle, the way it is organised here in Australia (or at least in Sydney) is simply a joke, only designed to pull you over the table basically at any given point in time during the entire process of inspecting and applying.

house-for-rent

None of the ads tell you what the place is really about. They don’t give you square meters, they don’t give you proper photos, and the copy supplied is most of the time shockingly incorrect, not to say an outright lie. So you have no other choice than to inspect every single rat hole, even though things could be shortened so easily but simply supplying enough and proper information in the first place.

So, you rock up at the place, and then there is this bunch of others, in the same mood like you, not wanting to be there, but having to. Then the real estater appears – mostly annoying, snake-oil selling car-sales(wo)men, overly cheery and overdressed, and either completely ignorant or incompetent, or arrogant and just as clueless. (Adrian and Walter: this does not include you! You were beautifully different ;)

And then: there they are, your glorious 8 1/2 minutes, where you can rush through a place, trying to determine whether you could spend some time of your life in there, and make the biggest investment of the year on it.

them other inspectees And then they’re gone, your 8 and a half minutes. You walk out, and can’t remember a thing you’ve just seen. Too many other people, everybody asking questions, no time to suck in the atmosphere of the place, or any other particulars and details or features or else.

So, with the little information your brain still holds you then try to make sense of the place. Try to recall what was important. Yes you did bring a list to tick off, but atmosphere or charisma just aren’t something that can be ticked off. Only felt, experienced.

When you are lucky enough you will have a break after an inspection, where you might be able to recall some of the most important features that would make your life bearable in this place that you’ve just seen. But the truth is, you don’t even get these 5 crucial minutes of reflection, because you have to stress off to the next place, as you need to see as many as possible because they don’t give you enough information in the first place…

So, after a few weekends of doing this, throw in a few additional inspections during the week, your mind gets completely clogged up with too many places and too many particularities, all of which make no sense anymore when trying to remember a place.

So, at some point after all this inspecting you decide: this is it, I will hand in an application now, just get this over and done with. So you get in touch with the next real estater – well, and then the actual process of snake oil selling only begins. While you say to the realo you would like to have another look before you make a decision, he says you need to make a deposit. So it will be a $500 look. But even then you are given only a few minutes, during another inspection the realo is holding at ‘your’ place that you have already applied and paid a deposit for. So there they are again, all these people asking all these question, and there are you again, overloaded, confused, trying to make sense of it all, and 8.5 minutes later you’re back out again, and still have no clue what this place is about – but have already paid for it.

And because real estaters are eager beavers, by this stage they will have already up-tangled you in the full-Monty of the scrutinising application process (while you still have not had a proper second look at the place). They will have checked you out, your history and everything else about each second of your life they want you to put in their ‘tenancy forms’, only to then call you with the “good news” – You Have Been Approved! (while you still have not had a proper second look at the place) Fuck mate, OF COURSE have we been approved, we will send you $25,000 every year while being completely fuzz-free people, who would not want us?? But the realo makes it sound as if they’re doing us a favour. And then they want more money, bonds and 6 weeks rent upfront and whatnot. But they few things that he and you agreed on need repairing at the new place, these will not get mentioned anymore the moment you sign and pay the first monies.

From then on anything YOU might want becomes completely irrelevant. Form now on everything will only about what deal the real estater is going to make, on your costs.

And there you are – you have just rented a place you have never really seen, without any chance of steering the process any differently that how it just happened.

Renting in Australia just completely sucks! :(

Howdy

Hi there
I’m back. I’ve been away, and things went haywire a bit, but now I’m back. But in case you never knew, never mind. And that was it already for today. Just wanted to say Hi.
Soon more, ciao for now i. :)

How to social media

The only social media platform I use is Twitter. I like to talk to people, and that is why I like Twitter: wordy tweeps come together, to meet and have a chat with each other. Even follow each other.

But hey sometimes this just doesn’t work out, and you end up completely misunderstood, even considered a creep. Last night the cookie monster -of all things- managed to totally misunderstand me. When I mentioned that to my [#IRL] friends today they burst out laughing, knowing me as the founder and president of the planetary no-evil federation.

So nothing is easy, no even the easy things.

If life gives you crumbs, just suck em up.

monster
PS: Cookie Monster, I made cinnamon rolls as per your flickr post, I also have high regards for Leonard Nimoy and his work, and I truly hope you don’t only have another 10 years to hang around.
PSPS: smokes suck anyway.

Scents

I have been hiking in Tassie last week, and camping in the bush.
There was the scent of fire everywhere we went, during the day from controlled CFS area burnings, and at night from our (permitted) camp fire where we had our meals and baked our bread.
Tasman NP CFS
Today, back in my urban grind, I just got a whiff of fire coming through the window. Not sure where it came from, either from some backyard green-waste dump close by, or from some CFS intervention in farther surroundings, carried here by the wind. I instantly had a strong sentimental feeling going through me. Which is really odd, as once upon a time I would have associated the scent of fire with nothing else but danger, alertness, and the opposite of good basically.

Australian scents do create rather strange associations and emotions.

Please go change the world

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim recently gave a speech during a University lecture, titled: ‘What is to be done, and what will I do?’

He wrapped up his talk one this fabulous note:

My great hope is that some of you answer it by working to end poverty, boost shared prosperity, and battle climate change. But whatever you do, please remember that the time is now for all of us to work together to bend the arc of history toward justice.

The great anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Be those citizens.Take it on. And please go change the world.

Thank you very much.

Remarks by World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, Ogden Lecture at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, United States, March 7, 2014.

Climate Change & the parallel of slavery

In “Climate change as a cultural and behavioral issue: Addressing barriers and implementing solutionsAndrew J. Hoffman draws a very timely analogy -
Looking at Climate Change through the parallel of slavery:

“Climate change today still resides in the ‘pre’ social fact phase, awaiting public acceptance. But just how big a shift will this be? To that point, I turn to the abolition of slavery.

In short, the magnitude of the cultural and moral shift around climate change is as large as that which accompanied the abolition of slavery. Adam Hochschild, in his book Bury the Chains, makes the startling point that in the 18th century more than 75% of the world’s population was in slavery or serfdom. Humans were a primary source of energy and wealth, particularly for the dominant world power, Great Britain. Hochschild points out that “if you stood on a London street corner and insisted that slavery was morally wrong and should be stopped, nine out of 10 listeners would have laughed you off as a crackpot.” Abolition would lead to a collapse of the economy and their way of life. Abolitionism was a challenge to the underlying beliefs upon which the Empire was built. At the time, few people saw a moral problem with this critical institution. People simply did not believe, as we do today, that all people have a right to freedom and equality. Slavery was seen as the natural order of things, unquestioned and even supported by many through the words of the Bible. It took roughly 100 years to abolish slavery in the British Empire, and Hochschild points out that, by the end of the 19th century, slavery was, at least on paper, outlawed almost everywhere.

Now, flash forward to today. We live in a fossil fuel-based economy. Fossil fuels are our primary source of energy and support our entire way of life. As scientific evidence mounts that this critical institution is causing changes to the global climate, we are faced with a technological and social dilemma. Calls to end our dependence on fossil fuels are being met with the same kind of response as did calls to end our dependence on slavery: such a move would wreck the economy and the way of life that is built upon it. If you stood on a New York City street corner and insisted that burning fossil fuels was morally wrong and should be stopped, listeners would laugh you off as a crackpot. There is a vast physical infrastructure that depends on oil, and it cannot be simply replaced without great disruption. Abolition of the primary source of energy in the world is out of the question, both socially and technologically.

Just as few people saw a moral problem with slavery in the 18th century, few people in the 21st century see a moral problem with the burning of fossil fuels. Will people in 100 years look at us with the same incomprehension we feel toward 18th-century defenders of slavery? If we are to address the problem adequately, the answer to that question must be yes; our common atmosphere will no longer be seen as a free dumping ground for greenhouse gases and other pollutants. But this value shift will require humankind to come to terms with a new cultural reality.

The first piece of this reality is that humankind has grown to such numbers and our technologies have grown to such a capacity that we can, and do, alter the Earth’s ecological systems on a planetary scale. It is a fundamental shift in the physical order – one never before seen, and one that alters the ethics and morals by which we judge our behavior as it relates to the environment around us and to the rest of humanity that depends on that environment.

The second piece of that reality is that we share a collective responsibility and require global cooperation to solve it. The coal burned in Ann Arbor, Shanghai or Moscow has an equal impact on the environment we all share. The kind of cooperation necessary to solve this problem is far beyond anything we, as a species, have ever accomplished before. International treaties to ban land mines or eliminate ozone-depleting substances pale in comparison. Looking at climate change through the parallel of slavery helps us to see the magnitude of the issue before us.”

Excerpt from: Hoffman, A. (2010) “Climate change as a cultural and behavioral issue: Addressing barriers and implementing solutions,” Organizational Dynamics, 39 (4): 295-305.
read the full pdf here

Evan Beaver on Earth Hour

Earth Hour Sux : Evan Beaver at TEDxCanberra

Just came across this rather awesome energy nerd, Evan Beaver, and his TEDx talk in Canberra last year. His take on Earth Hour is that they need to evolve away from their over-simplistic message of ‘1 hour per year of energy saving is enough’ – and right he is, could not agree more.

Watch his talk here…

As an energy nerd, Evan Beaver spends a lot of time researching the best ways to reduce our energy use and save the planet. He argues that it is time for Earth Hour to die, and shares his real-world experiences in reducing energy consumption at both the city-wide and household level.

Find Evan at https://twitter.com/evcricket for more info on energy efficiency.

Global CO2 emissions traced 1854-2010

Tracing anthropogenic carbon dioxide and methane emissions to fossil fuel and cement producers, 1854–2010

This paper presents a quantitative analysis of the historic fossil fuel and cement production records of the 50 leading investor-owned, 31 state-owned, and 9 nation-state producers of oil, natural gas, coal, and cement from as early as 1854 to 2010. This analysis traces emissions totaling 914 GtCO2e  – 63 % of cumulative worldwide emissions of industrial CO2 and methane between 1751 and 2010 –  to the top 90 global TNCs “carbon major” entities based on the carbon content of marketed hydrocarbon fuels (subtracting for non-energy uses), process CO2 from cement manufacture, CO2 from flaring, venting, and own fuel use, and fugitive or vented methane. Cumulatively, emissions of 315 GtCO2e have been traced to investor-owned entities, 288 GtCO2e to state-owned enterprises, and 312 GtCO2e to nation-states. Of these emissions, half has been emitted since 1986. The carbon major entities possess fossil fuel reserves that will, if produced and emitted, intensify anthropogenic climate change. The purpose of the analysis is to understand the historic emissions as a factual matter, and to invite consideration of their possible relevance to public policy.

download the paper as pdf

read the original article here

On the Phenomenon of Bullshit Jobs

It is imperative that you read this!

Ever had the feeling that your job might be made up? That the world would keep on turning if you weren’t doing that thing you do 9-5? David Graeber, Professor of Anthropology at the London School of Economics, explored the phenomenon of bullshit jobs – everyone who’s employed should read carefully…

“… a corporate lawyer working in a prominent New York firm [sic] was the first to admit that his job was utterly meaningless, contributed nothing to the world, and, in his own estimation, should not really exist.
There’s a lot of questions one could ask here, starting with, what does it say about our society that it seems to generate an extremely limited demand for talented poet-musicians, but an apparently infinite demand for specialists in corporate law? (Answer: if 1% of the population controls most of the disposable wealth, what we call “the market” reflects what they think is useful or important, not anybody else.) But even more, it shows that most people in these jobs are ultimately aware of it. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever met a corporate lawyer who didn’t think their job was bullshit. The same goes for almost all the new industries…”

read the entire article here strikemag.org/bullshit-jobs

code is poetry

just stuffed up a database… hate when I do that… hate it.
have to ask my work mate whether he thinks it can be fixed… or he might just hear me swearing from the office next door and come over… he then -more often than not- knows how to fix it, but never without giving me an earful about how not to never do whatever it was that I did… I’m never looking forward to that…

imagine you just decorated an entire palace with precious ornament and pleasure and gold… took you forever…
on the way out you stumble over one cable and the entire hall falls over, leaving only rubble.

I would have to start from scratch and stick the rubble back together.

he, my work mate, he knows how to shuffle the cable back to where it was, and thereby pumps the entire room back up to its previous glory.

not keen on the earful…
but very ambivalent situation simply because I learn so much every single time it happens…

love it…
hate it…

code is poetry WP says…
life is too ,)

Individualism

Art is individualism, and individualism is a disturbing and disintegrating force. There lies its immense value. For what it seeks is to disturb monotony of type, slavery of custom, tyranny of habit, and the reduction of man to the level of a machine.

Oscar Wilde “The Soul of Man under Socialism”