Posts tagged: australia
Some more from today. The top one is the most chilling… people just walked past this guy. He clearly needed help. It’s messed up when a kid with a camera captures people liek this man walking past people in need.
I do hope he’s ok.
I’m in the running to win a competition with Qantas. Voting closes soon, so vote for me.
I’ve decided the person who contributes the most I will take with me. So, friend of stranger, lets see what you guys can do.
Here are some more photos… Check out the fly.
For those of you who were unaware (which i’ll assume was… well all of you probably), I recently spent the Christmas holidays over in the United States.
Now, this here is a place that I’d wanted to visit ever since ever. I mean growing up in Australia you’re basically told that the USA is the shining beacon of everything that is great about everything in the world. For those of you who actually want to read what I had to say (albeit very limited) in my blog, you can see it here
However, for the rest of you, and indeed the few of you who will actually listen, I’m about to tell you the exact reasons why I never ever have any - even SLIGHT intentions on going back to the “home of the brave and free”
1. Land of the free? My arse.
The first second I got to the USA, after a long 15 hour plane flight (and mind you, I HATE flying with a passion) I stepped out into Los Angeles Airport (And don’t worry, this isn’t the last time I’ll mention this place) to find a huge queue for actually getting into the country (you know past the customs guys etc). Not only was this something I brushed off, but i figured it was early in the morning, and there were a lot of people probably flying in to see their loved ones at the festive time of year.
However, my what the moment came, when I was asked to be fingerprinted AND have my photograph taken by the TSA. What for? I’m a visitor? “Well sir,” replied the TSA agent “It’s in case you commit a crime in the country. We have to be safe you know.”
I love the fact that in the “Beacon of freedom” that the USA proports to be, a visitor to the country has to be fingerprinted to actually gain access to the country in case they do something wrong. I love the whole assumption of guilt there, like they’re assuming i’m going to come into the country and kill someone and then fly out.
But this was pale by comparison to other places and other things I witnessed in my time abroad. The entire country is so security focused, they’ve managed to convince their citizens that they are indeed free. You have to get to an airport 3 hours early for a domestic flight, because the TSA have a nasty habit of holding up the lines to the tune of 2 hours or more. This happened on my flight from L.A. to New York. Got to my plane by only about 20 minutes, despite being there nearly 3 hours ahead of schedule.
New York - you can’t even go to the trade center site without first taking off your clothes, going through a metal detector, being patted down, and all whilst being in the middle of the cold that New York has to bring. You can’t go to the Statue of Liberty anymore - thanks there to the hurricane AND the 9/11 events. You’re not allowed to take photos of government buildings - such as the post office. No word of a lie - not allowed to take photos of the place you go to sent a letter.
And then, there’s Washington DC. I have NEVER in my life been more frightened of a city. Police literally everywhere.Security cameras, government buildings everywhere that you can’t possibly take a photograph of (remember, Post Office) and then there’s that feeling. You know the one you get when someone’s watching you? That feeling. ALL THE TIME.
Even getting food was a problem. I went to the Reagan Center - which is akin to our own MLC Center for lunch. To get in I had to show a Passport, Be frisked, take off jacket and shoes, walk through a metal detector, and in the mean time get called an “Alien”. This is “Freedom” is it guys?
And then you have the outright stupidity of the government in this vein. In Washington DC, you can catch a train to the Pentagon. A Literal TRAIN, where you get off at the stop “Pentagon” and you can go right up to the front gate. Hell, if you get background checks you can even go inside for a tour. But remember no photos. Have you ever seen the size of the Pentagon? It’s HUGE. It’s not exactly a well-guarded secret or anything. It’s a big building in the middle of a big plot of land, next to a highway. But no photos.
I don’t care what government says that it’s a good thing, it’s bloody not. Any person who thinks that the government should keep constant tabs on what their citizens are doing is mentally deficient It’s alarmingly apparent to me that the people of the USA, all 314 Million of them have managed to sacrifice freedom for comfort.
2. The Health System… Or lack of it.
Whilst I was over there, I managed to pick up the New York Flu. I believe it hit the headlines here in Australia as well, but it was a pretty nasty one this year. Fever of nearly 40 degrees (Celsius, not that Fahrenheit crap you Yankees speak in). So, whilst I was in DC, I opted out of seeing a doctor. Now, despite having scripts with me which couldn’t be filled (Because they weren’t made in the USA) I’m glad I didn’t go and see a doctor over there.
In Australia we have a government subsidised healthcare system. Even if you have Private Health insurance you can still reap the benefits of subsidised medication, cheap doctor’s visits etc. I knew in the USA it would be expensive, so i decided to opt out and see how i went.
Thankfully it cleared up in a week or so. However, when I was in LA and about to get on the plane to go back home, I got talking to another Aussie who had also gotten sick in the States but had opted to go and see a doctor. It cost him: $400 for the doctors visit. $100 for the script. $100 for the medication. All up: $600 to go to the doctor for the bloody flu.
If I had done that HERE in Australia, It would have been TOPS $50. All up. Finished. Your system is SHIT. And BROKEN. All because you let moronic capitalist ideals run it. Take a leaf out of our book and do things our way for a change.
3. The Cities: Nothing special, Nothing Great.
I was really looking forward to getting to San Francisco, and New York. San Fran was OK. New York was one of the dirtiest, crappiest, crowded and altogether horrible cities I have ever been to in my life. I Mean what kind of a city allows sewer steam to billow into the streets? Central park was huge, but nothing really to write home about, and the shopping? What a load of bullshit.
Unless you went to one of five stores, and got there on boxing day, you missed out. That’s the plain and simple fact of it.
The good thing about NY at least was the food. It was much better than anywhere else in the USA. Mostly because it didn’t taste like salt, chlorine and fat.
Now, I’m aware I went in the winter. And yes, i’m also aware it gets cold there in the Winter time. However, If you really want to see how good a city is, go in the most miserable time of the year. For NY, it’d be winter. And all it is, is Cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey with a lot of people running around like chickens with their heads cut off. Trust me you aren’t missing out on much.
4. The Movie things aren’t all that movie-esque.
Quick question. How big is the White House? If you answer anything other than “No bigger than two normal sized houses put together” then you’re wrong. It is seriously, tiny. To it’s immediate right there is a massive building that literally dwarfs it. But you never see that. All you see is the tiny white residence at 1600 Penn. IT’s two floors. Don’t get excited people.
The Brooklyn Bridge? Golden Gate? Sure. HUGE structures. Nothing super special. Along with the Empire State - which is completely packed with people all the time, every day of the year. I’ve already mentioned the Pentagon. Vegas is a tacky, crappy town.
And Memphis? Elvis Presley’s “Mansion”? Get. Stuffed. It’s the equivalent of an old house you’d see anywhere in Sydney that was built in the 70’s. Get over it.
But by far the most disappointing - Hollywood. You know that place you see every year at the Academy Awards? The Kodak Theater? The special little red carpet and the hourglass staircase? That’s a Shopping Center. It’s called the Highland Mall. It puts the red curtains and such up every year, just for this one event. IT’s not anything purpose built - it’s just a tarted up shopping district. And Hollywood itself? Tinsel town is probably right - that’s all the place is worth.
5. Stupid, Stupid people.
I knew that the average US person is stupid. But I was unprepared for the question of “What language do you speak in Australia. German?” And no, i didn’t miss-hear the girl - she said AustraLIA. Not Austria. Not to mention, that the majority of them look at you with some kind of blank look when you ask them where something is in their own city, let alone ask them what direction something else is.
And then there are the usual southerners (yes I ventured into the deep south - the place where you can hear the banjos before you hit town) where you have people spewing hatred for Obama because he was “Born in Kenya”. My brain hurts at the a) stupidity of the statement, and b) the fact that this redneck didn’t even vote.
And this is also reflected in their design of things like shopping centers, where you have ONE toilet for an entire building. It’s mindbogglingly stupid.
Instead of giving all these things a separate heading, I had to put them all under one category. Honestly, there was so much that was wrong with the USA, that i’m going to forget most of it.
The Food. Is complete and utter crap. It is not cheap, either, it’s about the same sort of money as we pay here for a meal. The difference is that it’s bland, and if it’s not bland it’s full of crap that you didn’t want anyway. I couldn’t wait to get home to a decent steak.
The Wine. Californian wine has to be the most insulting wine I’ve ever drank. To give you an idea, a $4 cleanskin here, will easily outstrip a $60 bottle of Californian wine, any day of the week. The wine there, white or red, is just like grape juice. Seriously, buy a ribena and compare them.
The Taxes. This one REALLY pissed me off. Everything over there is Plus Tax. So, if you see something that is $100, it’s $100 PLUS tax. Oh, but that’s not the best bit. The taxes are all different. So, you have 11% in one state, 14% in another, 9% in another… It’s a complete and utter joke.
The mobile networks. You want 3g? Too bad. You can’t get it unless you go on a plan. That’s just how it works. Yay for Capitalism.
Arrogant People. I mentioned Stupid people. Well people were also arrogant, and rude. “Haha, He said Toilet! What the HELL is a toilet?” It’s a restroom you uneducated, overgrown moron.
The Homeless. Go to New Orleans. It’s a shithole of a city to begin with, and no this is nothing to do with the hurricane. But you’ve got streets that are worth millions, and then you have streets with houses that have no roofs. Literally, two streets over. Something here is broken.
These are just a FEW reasons why the USA isn’t the greatest country in the world anymore. Would I go back? Yes. I’d go back to Nashville. But that is literally the only place i’d go back to. New York, New Orleans, DC, San Fran, LA, Diego, they can all go jump. They are all places that have a name with nothing to show for it. Nashville - at least the people there are nice enough.
We don’t have it all together here, in Aus. But by god we’ve got it more together than those up-them-selves so-and-so’s in the USA.
In case you haven’t heard the latest news, here is what happened today in the land of Oz.
Now, I know i’ve said in the past that i’m actually against movie and TV show piracy, however this little win today in the High Court could not have been better.
Yes yes, it seems that the High Court of Australia has basically ruled that the ISPs are not responsible nor should be held accountable for the actions of their users. Furthermore, the boss of iiNet Michael Malone said, in a nutshell, that the movie industry should be focussing on making things available in a timely and cost-effective matter. Which is, funnily enough, one of the big arguments for piracy. Cost.
Now, I do want to make a very interesting point here, and it is that they SMH article makes the point that downloading, or pirating movies etc is illegal. WRONG.
It’s so annoying when people get this wrong, it makes my blood boil with the rage of thinking about it. It’s not illegal to download something from the internet. Not at all, not in the slightest. It’s illegal to UPLOAD copyrighted material from the interwebs, but not to just straight download the material. Yes, it’s also illegal to host said material, but you’re doing neither. You’re just taking what’s freely available.
Let me put it this way. Someone comes to you with a free pen. you take the free pen. What have you done wrong? Nothing at all. You took a pen that was offered to you, for free, by someone else. As it turns out, the pen belongs to Sony Music, and they come knocking wanting payment for their pen, which has the engraving ‘I Disappear’ on the side.
But legally, they aren’t entitled to it. You were given the pen by someone else. You have the contract with them, not with Sony. THAT person has the contract with Sony, and has therefore stolen the pen. See where i’m coming from guys?
Anywho. The point is, that this landmark case in the High Court is one that should be celebrated for it’s potential application as precedent for music as well. Remember guys, it’s not illegal to download music, only to share it! And as always, if you really like the artist, then do the right thing and support them the correct way - buy merch, go to gigs, try and buy their albums or their DVDs or whatever direct from them. Perhaps if the Hollywood giants did this it’d feel more correct too?