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Five things I love about Australia

Flag of Australia
Image via Wikipedia

This prompt, List five things you love about your culture, is provided by Plinky.

I love Australia, and there is no-where else on earth that I would rather live. Sure, there are places I would love to visit, but as the song says:

no matter how far or how wide I roam, I still call Australia home

So here are five things about Australian culture that I think makes Australia great.

  1. Sporting. Australia loves their sport, and for a long time we have been successful in that sport. Around the turn of the century, Australia was experiencing a golden age in sport, being successful in Cricket, Rugby Union, Netball, swimming and more. While we are in a bit of a dip in cricket and rugby at the moment, we are still strong in Netball, and have added cycling (thanks to Cadel Evans), Soccer (well, the most successful that we’ve ever been) and golf (thanks to guys like Adam Scott and Jason Day). What I love particularly is that Australians are generally good sports, and while we will give the loser a bit of a ribbing, we have never seen scenes like is sometimes seen in English or European football, or like the Vancouver riots after they lost the Stanley Cup.
  2. Relaxed. Personally, I could never see anything like what is happening in England happening in Australia, because we’re so relaxed. I’m not going to say that it will never happen, particularly because it has happened in the past (I’m thinking the Cronulla Race Riots), however, for the most part Australians are relaxed and would rather click “Like” on Facebook or write a letter than actually step out the door to go and Protest.
  3. Peaceful. Australia is one of the few countries in the world that can say we have never had a civil war. And apart from a few attacks on northern cities (Broome and Darwin) during World War 2, we have never experienced War on our land. While that does make us incredibly lucky, it is something that is reflected in our nation and our culture.
  4. Prosperous. Sometimes it may not seem like it, but Australia is relatively rich. Sure, it’s not up there with the likes of the US, or with the “old money” of Europe, but Australians by and large are better off than many other people. While that does come with trappings, as more people are earning more money, it does mean there is more money around to help those less fortunate, and the “luxuries” are often cheaper as well.
  5. Forward Thinking. Australia is an inventive nation, and generally forward thinking in many area. For example, great Australian inventions include WiFi – such a vital part of laptops, Tablets, and now even phones – and the Refrigerator. In 1838 an Australian came up with the first Pre-Paid postal system. In 1902 an Australian invented the notepad, and in 1906 saw Australia produce the world’s first Feature Film, Ned Kelly. Staying on the film idea, it was also an Australian who invented the “Clapperboard” in 1930. Australian’s also invented the Black Box flight recorder, the Ultrasound, Race Cam (for motor sports broadcasting), Bionic Ear, and more. Because we’ve had this history of innovation, it means that as a nation we are constantly looking forward (with a respect for our history) to find better ways to do things.

So there you go, five things I love about Australia. What are do you love about your culture? Stay tuned for tomorrow when I write about the things I don’t like about Australia.

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The power station that was

East Perth Power Station - 90s
Image by Wyrmworld via Flickr

This prompt, Old, abandoned buildings: cool or creepy?, is provided by Plinky.

On of my favourite old abandoned buildings around Perth is the old East Perth Power Station. Located on the river, just north of the Graham Farmer Freeway, for a while it has sat there abandoned, not doing anything.

There was a plan to redevelop the area, and create an arts precinct of sorts there. However, that plan has been dropped as the government (who is in the middle of a resources boom) tries to save money (but is willing to spend $700 million plus transport infrastructure upgrades on a new football stadium just the other side of the river). It’s a real shame, as if done correctly, the power station could become a really unique performance venue, and with quality development around the building, such as coffee shops, art galleries, boutique shops and more, it could be a great place to be.

But instead, the power station just sits there, having had some restorative work done to it, and then nothing more. I hope that one day something gets done to make use of this fantastic place, but I’m not holding my breath.

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My favourite road trip

Middleton Beach at sunset
Middleton Beach at Sunset (Image via Wikipedia)

This prompt, Describe the longest road trip you’ve taken, is provided by Plinky. I’ve also been inspired by The Daily Post prompt, Planes, trains or automobiles? What is your favorite way to travel 500 miles?

My favourite road trip is to the Southern City of Albany. Albany is a wonderful town that my family have gone to a number of times. We love it down there for a number of reasons.

Firstly, my parents – my Dad particularly – are attracted because it was where Dad lived for a few years. His dad was the minister at the Albany Church of Christ, and he completed his High School there. So he knows the place really well, and there is part of that memory that draws them back.

Secondly, there are wineries around, and my parents love their wine. In earlier years, when I was still an alcohol drinker, we would take a day to go and visit all the different wineries that we liked. We especially liked wineries where we got to meet the wine maker, and form a relationship with them. For a while, my parents had a rule that they would only drink wine from wineries where they knew who made the wine. It’s not a bad rule, I think.

Albany is also a great place for relaxing. We enjoy finding a house that looks out over Princess Harbour, or even better Middleton Beach, as we’ll just sit where there’s a nice view, and read, sew, write, or whatever. It’s a wonderful place to do that, and even better when there’s a view.

Then there’s our usual haunts. We’ll go shopping up and down Duke St. We’ll visit St John’s Anglican where we’re tourist members (got a name badge and everything), and the Middleton Beach Cafe (which was disappointing the last time I was there, but I’ll throw that down to being a bad day). We’ll go visit the Valley of the Giants and walk around Denmark. If we’re feeling adventurous we might even walk from the bottom of Duke Street around the board walk to Middleton Beach. And we’ll probably visit the Whaling Station (for coffee only, don’t look around anymore) and definitely visit the Wind Farm.

So that’s my favourite road trip – the five-hour car ride to Albany. What’s your favourite road trip, and why?

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My run in with the police

Old Vancouver Police Car during the 2009 Chine...
I wish I had ridden in a car like this! (Image by sillygwailo via Flickr)

This prompt, What did you do to land yourself in the back of a police car?!, is provided by Plinky.

Most people would be surprised to know that I’ve driven in the back of a police car. I’m normally quite a good person, and would never break the law. But one New Year’s eve, I did in fact find myself travelling in the back of a police car.

I was delivering pizzas that night. Great way to spend a New Year’s night, but I needed the money. Parents were away down in Albany, and I didn’t really have much else to do that night. I was driving a 1980 Corolla at the time.

I’d just delivered a pizza, and my car died. I couldn’t get it started at all. Knocked on the place I delivered the pizza to and asked if they could give me a push. Thankfully, I was at the top of a hill. Got the car rolling, and the engine started, but it wouldn’t stay running. Every time I put the clutch in, the car died. No big problem I thought, so long as I can keep moving, I’ll be fine. I had run out of credit on my phone, so couldn’t call for help. I thought if I could make it back to the pizza shop, I could at least get some help to try to figure out what was wrong, or call for help if needed.

Unfortunately, some traffic lights on the way back to the pizza place had other ideas. They changed on me, and I had to stop. While I was pushing my car off the side, and preparing myself for the longish walk back to the shop, A police car pulled up and asked if I wanted some help pushing my car off the road. I graciously accepted, and when he saw that I was working for the pizza shop, offered me a lift back to the shop.

You should have seen the look on my manager’s face when I jumped out the back of the police car. Classic.

Anyway, called up RAC roadside assist, and had to join up to get them to come out. The joining fee came to exactly what I had earned so far in deliveries and tips that night. Got the second driver to drop me off at my car and waited. Ended up being a dead alternator. Was able to get the car going again, but wasn’t able to do the rest of my shift, it was too unreliable. Replaced the alternator the next day and the car kept going right up until I needed to get rid of it.

Have you ever ridden in the back of a police car? What for (if you don’t mind me asking)?

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Money and Happiness

This prompt, Do you think money can buy happiness?, is provided by Plinky.

My wife and I have been listening to a Casting Crowns album recently while we’ve been driving in the car. One song that’s got me thinking just recently is this song, American Dream.

It could just as well be titled “Australian Dream” as the things that are mentioned in here are more and more becoming things that Australians long for. A large house with a big back yard, the biggest TV, all the latest gadgets, the boat, the holidays.

My church is located in a fairly affluent area. We often are challenged on how we respond to the call to look after “the lost, the last and the least” in our community, when it seemingly looks like on the outside of all these massive houses with gates protecting expensive cars that none of the people in our community have any issues.

However, we are reminded that so many people in order to get to that “ideal” situation have worked multiple jobs, or worked late into the night and lost time with their family. There are stories in yesterdays newspaper of how families on a $90,000+ income will struggle with a $400/year increase thanks to Australia’s new Carbon Tax. These families live so close to the edge that anything unexpected – such as Reserve Bank interest rises that mean increased mortgage payments, or a new tax such as the carbon tax – puts them from surviving to struggling.

We often tell ourselves that we need the largest and the newest of everything. However, when you can learn to live on what you have, and not outspend your income, you are less stressed, and can fully enjoy what you do have.

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My favourite way to start my day

A photo of a cup of coffee.
I prefer my coffee with milk. (Image via Wikipedia)

This prompt, What’s your favourite way to start your day, is provided by Plinky.

I’m an early riser, getting up at 6am each morning. Part of this is because I’ve always been an early riser, part because I like to have time in the morning to properly wake up. I describe myself as an early riser, late starter.

In the morning, I like to have my breakfast and coffee. Breakfast consists of two crushed wheet-bix, with muesli. The coffee I have at the moment is a Harris Columbia blend that’s UTZ certified. It’s a bit stronger than the coffee my parents generally buy, but I like it strong.
I’ll generally watch tv while I’m having breakfast, usually Sunrise so I can stay in the loop of the main news stories, or sometimes a show that I’ve recorded, such as media watch.
After breakfast, if there’s time, I’ll check Facebook or my blogs, then iron my shirt have a shower then head to work. On the way to work (I catch public transport), I write a blog post of some kind, nothing fancy, as I’ll use my lunch break to clean it up and look good. When I get to work, the first thing I do is turn the computer on, then make myself a hot drink to start the day with.

That’s how I start my day, how do you start yours?

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My Favourite Blogging Tools

WordPress Logo
Image via Wikipedia

There are a plethora of blogging tools available. Some are good, some are bad. These are the tools that I used for my blog. Continue reading My Favourite Blogging Tools

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What I do when I can’t think of what to write

Writer's Block... Why bother...
Image by Arnett Gill via Flickr

Writing a post every day can be pretty tough. When I can’t think of what to write on my blog, there’s a number of places that I go to get inspiration.

  1. Daily Post. The Daily Post issued the challenge to write a blog post every day of 2011. They support this by posting a prompt every day. I’ve written a few of these, and always link back to the original post. But sometimes they just aren’t something that inspires me to write.
  2. Plinky. Plinky does a similar thing (in fact, Daily Post takes a number of their prompts from Plinky). But because they’ve been doing it for longer, there’s a great backup of prompts for me to choose from. But again, they won’t always provide me the inspiration to put together a decent post – that is, I could answer the question, but it’s not always going to be a post that reads well.
  3. Other blogs. I have a number of other blogs that I keep track of in my Google Reader. I have sometimes found that through reading these posts, it will spark an idea as to what I might be able to write about either expanding on a blog, or in response to that blog post.
  4. News. Keeping track of current affairs will often give me an idea of something to write about. Whether it’s a response to an issue in the media or politics, or my thoughts on a particular news story, it’s all a potential blog post.
  5. Write a “What do I do when I can’t think of what to write” post. When all else fails, you get todays post. Hope you enjoyed!
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In Memoriam: Who I miss and who I’ll miss

Image of Alan Alda taken at the World Science ...
I think I will miss this actor the most. (Image via Wikipedia)

I’m dispensing with today’s two Daily Post Prompts because the first one is similar to one I’ve already written on in this Challenge, and I’m not particularly interested in the second. So I popped into Plinky to take a look at some of their prompts, and one caught my eye: Which pop culture icon’s unexpected death affected you the most? Now, not many stars deaths have affected me badly, however, I expect to have some more affect me in the next few years.

See, up until now, most star deaths have been people who I didn’t know. I hadn’t seen their movies, or haven’t listened to their music. However, stars such as Alan Alda, whom I love from Hawkeye in M*A*S*H, is getting older. Now I know that I cried when I watched episodes in M*A*S*H when Radar left, or when Henry left. How will I be when they leave for good?

Stars from Star Trek I’m sure will bring similar reactions. And more. So while in this past year we have lost many great actors, such as Leslie Nielsen, and pop culture icon Gary Coleman, I know that one day, we will lose the actors that mean so much to my generation, and on that day we shall remember them.

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