I Hate it When I Agree With Tony Abbott

It annoys me that so many on the Left in this country have put so little thought into their philosophy. Twitter is a great example. Especially today.

Overnight, the Irish voted to allow gay marriage. Okay, good for them. It seems to be what most of them want. And I think it’s a positive outcome for them.

gay_marriage_624-05

This morning, Australia’s media have asked our PM whether such a plebiscite would happen here, and he said no. Unsurprisingly, the left have leapt on his refusal and criticised him for it.

It’s moments like that I hate sharing the same place on the political spectrum with such morons.

Even if you support marriage equality (and I do), I don’t support the abdication of responsibility that a plebiscite represents. In this country, we elect our political representatives to make laws and to govern. Spending a few million dollars to essentially give them the green light to make a law is a stupid waste of money.

Such a popular vote would only happen in Australia if the majority of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate approved the holding of the vote. And they’d be sanctioning that vote in the knowledge there’s a high probability of it receiving popular approval. In other words, we’d only get a popular vote if support for marriage equality has the support of the majority of politicians.

And if it’s got the support of the majority of politicians, why don’t they just amend the law anyway? Why waste millions of dollars getting the public to approve it first?

The truth is they’re scared. They’re scared of the attack they’d face from the social conservatives and the religious faction for voting for marriage equality. The popular vote would give them cover. They’d be able to vote for it with the excuse that ‘the people have spoken’.

It’s cowardly, it’s pathetic, and it’s tantamount to admitting they do not deserve to hold their position to govern, when they are obviously scared to do so.

(I also think it’s a mistake for governments to be even making laws about marriage, but that can wait for another day)

Reading Update

Another one of my non-resolutions was to read more, especially in light of this contribution by Nick Earls.

For the last few years, my books have been following me around, packed in 32L plastic containers. They were packed up by Lana in 2011, spent some time in Crystal’s garage, then my mother’s, then a storage unit in Maitland, then another one in Adamstown. And as of about four months ago, they’ve been in my front room. And they’ve been slowly finding their way out of those plastic bins, and into bookshelves.

eurekaThe current goal is to work my way through the Peter Fitzsimmons books I own. Eureka is on my side table now. I took Batavia with me to Eccles’ place last week, and left it there (so I’ll read that whenever I am visiting). Kokoda is in the queue, and I have an agreement with a friend who has Gallipoli that we’ll swap Fitzsimmons books later and I’ll get to read that one.

Ongoing Projects

I have a few things I am undertaking at the moment.

I am trying to build a new computer. My computer – especially its hard drive – died last Spring, and I’ve been planning a rebuild for a while now. The hard drive at the heart of my current PC was meant to be one that Eccles wiped, but it’s still got a bunch of his stuff on it. I can’t tell what’s spyware/malware and what’s useful utilities. He also has some idiosyncratic ways of running Windows, frequently making it an adventure to use. A fresh build will wipe the slate clean, and be the first time since Lana and I built a PC in 2010 that I’ll have a truly new system.

I will admit, another motivator for a rebuild is because I found this lovely, almost totally silent case. I am therefore looking forward to building something around it.

aerocool


Although I don’t make New Years resolutions, What I do at Christmas time is house-sit Eccles’ place, which (since I don’t do Christmas) involves lots of solitude to reflect on where I am, and the direction I’m going. What I come away with is a small list which looks very much like New Year resolutions, even though their timing is coincidental.

tricolour bannertricolour bannerLast Christmas, I thought it would be good to spend a year learning as much of a language as I could in that time, and then move onto a new one. That was how the idea began, but then I spent a while trying to decide which language should be first off the rank. I’d studied Russian at university, and in a few night classes back in my 20s (and I’ve forgotten 80% of whatever I knew back then). The two big european languages – French and German – were obvious contenders. But the idea of studying something closer to home – Thai or Bahasa – appealed. I faffed around for a while, but last month, after attending a French Friday evening, I took the Gallic option. For the last 4 weeks now, I’ve been having weekly sessions with my French tutor, Charlene. I set out thinking I should study it for a year. Now, I am beginning to feel that studying a language for four years before switching languages might be a good idea. Let’s see?

I Believe in Starts

“It’s a start. I believe in starts” – Joey ‘The Lips’ Fagan

Joey 'The Lips' Fagan, trumpeter for The Commitments

Joey Fagan, trumpeter for The Commitments

It’s taken a few weeks, delayed as it was by storms, invoicing, industrial disputes, trips away, technical incompetence (mine!) and then more invoicing. But my new Linode-hosted website is alive at last. Along the way, I dabbled with Linux for the first time and, I have to say, I don’t like it. Never have, not even when I was with Lana. I am sure, like all new languages, once one gets familiar enough with it that it becomes second nature, it’d be okay. But I’ll never get to that. Until this adventure, my objection to Linux had been purely philosophical. But now, it has a practical dimension to it. That feels appropriate, feels complete.

This new hosting arrangement was pursued as a kind of defence. Someone didn’t like something I wrote about six months ago, and since they couldn’t argue the logic, they contacted my web hosting provider and claimed a photo I posted was protected by copyright. The provider took it down, and advised me I could appeal their decision. Although the simplest way to restore the photo would be to add a “Photo from blah.com” to provide credit, the alternative was to set up new hosting with a virtual private server, where this issue could never recur. Noone but me can control what’s posted.

I have several other sites, hosted under different arrangements with different companies. At least two of those companies I am not particularly happy with. This was therefore a chance to fix those, and consolidate several projects in the same place. And it’d be cheaper than the earlier mess.

Ironically*, by trying to upset me, my nemesis in this matter prompted me to act on something I’ve wanted to for a while, and saved me about half my hosting costs. Who says online stoushes are a bad thing? :)


* Thanks to Alanis Morrissette, I’m never sure what irony means, and whether it’s used correctly or not. Anyone who’d like to correct me, that’s what the ‘Comments’ section is for