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Sunday, 18 October 2009

cd sleeves & bookleaves for October eves

This month Martin is going to the Southern Downs of Queensland for deliveries to another pipeline project.
I have been working a bit of late in that State, that i am quite tempted to move up there. But i have to consider my situation, so i will stay put in the northern rivers of NSW. For now.

But to keep me company for a couple of weeks, i sought out some items. I probably will not bring the lot but at least 2 or 3 books and 2 or 3 cds should be ok.

I hear it’s getting warmer up there – the banana benders’ way, so i won’t need too much warm and bulky clothing.


There ain’t much in the way of musical entertainment, but a bit of bluegrass is okay.
There’s Gillian Welch, Tim O’brien, Nickel Creek, Alison krauss and even Dolly Parton on the bluegrass cd.

Pearl Jam can rock as hard as anyone but i’ll settle for the less noisy Sarah Blasko.

It's October so it's brrr in some parts of the world, and grrr in the derrier end as the weather heats up and  ##%%(* is unfurled.

Mark Twain would have seen and experienced such in his time passing through down under. He recounts this as 'The Wayward Tourist'.

A more recent arrival (a first generation asian-aussie and Oxford man Tim Soutphommasane) attempts -albeit with a slant - to show how patriotism may be reclaimed: as former NSW Premier Bob Carr says: "...we need books like this to remind us that Australian citizenship belongs to us all."

Phil Dowe's Galileo, Darwin, and Hawking: is a welcome attempt at modern arguments, so that we might take part in contemporary debates with a more balanced view in coping with these issues. Dowe, a lecturer at the University of Queensland  begins by applying the criteria (naturalism and religious science) to various philosophical issues raised by religious and scientific explanations, including knowledge and power, the anthrophic principle, and the effects of chance on a religious understanding of the world.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

roads less travelled - highways and byways

Once i had restless feet as i usually do, but this time the itch was just unbearable. I had to get out of the rat race or i’ll go crazy. So i drove around for a way out of this jungle of tar and machines and their toxic exhaust, realising quite guiltily that I’m actually contributing to the pollution. But i’m driving as part of my work delivering, so justifiable or not to the environment, that’s my excuse and i’m sticking to it.

From the Ipswich motorway i turned off to the Warrego highway towards Esk and Toowoomba. Some of the places along this old road remind me of the North Expressway from Novaliches going northwards to the homeland.
Farther along i espied what seemed like a patch of greenery beside a river. The signs looked good - green grass and landscaped features. But just a little ways on these ugly buildings suddenly confront me. It hit me that i came past here before. This place in Yeerongpilly used to be bursting with farms and grazing pastures with cattle and rolling paddocks. Now they’ve built these monstrous apartments and a sprawling tennis centre and blocked off all access to the riverbanks and its green meadows where i used to laze along. This is eerily similar to the feeling of loss during my childhood when all those areas around the bell church at the baguio city limit with la Trinidad, were built up and forever displaced a favourite swimming spot.
see 'metal firecracker' video below.

It seems like an endless highway but eventually i found what seemed to be a little used country road in Swanbank and just followed it along to see where it will lead me. There’s sinister looking electrical towers and transmission lines but i know that as long as i don’t go near them i’ll be fine - am just passing through. I eventually negotiated a series of rolling hills and found myself at the end of the road and a big sign that said ‘no trespassing’.

video: tomorrow is a long time

Feeling despondent i turned back to the highway and followed a road going up to a new settlement in the distant hills. The road is called Settlement Road but it actually just joins up one suburbia in Keperra to another sprawl on the other side in The Gap. I drive along anyway to see where it goes. Parts of the hilly range look like Quezon hill in baguio but still thick with trees. And although the ridges are accessible by car, the views are blocked off by thick eucalypt forests, which remain protected as nature reserves.

I retraced my tracks to the highway, drove along for a bit and found another dirt track at some foothills in Belmont. I drove up this gravel track which looked very disused and lonesome, but was quite appealing to my eyes. This track is reminiscent of the road to Mt Sto Tomas before the residential dwellings took over. I found out later that this is Mt Petrie and that there is a rifle shooting range just behind the tree lines on the northern slopes. I rushed out of there post-haste before some stray bullets found me. I did manage to sneak in some views of the urban sprawl extending in all directions to the hills and the bays.

video: the pilgrim in mt petrie

I continued my pilgrimage and found myself in a forest park on the edge of a mountain. Gap Creek Road links 'the Gap' with Kenmore Hills on the western edge of Mt Coot-tha. If you went on the hill road through Tam-awan out to Wangal from baguio to Trinidad, and imagined that that road was in its untouched pristine state, that’s pretty much like Gap Creek Road.

I did go through to escape the rat race, but I came out the other end to join another one. Oh well i’ll keep trying. So don’t wait up leave the light on, I’ll be home soon...

video: leave the light on

back to the rat race then.
video: metal firecracker

Driving around and seeing the purple jacarandas in bloom this early in spring was therapeutic. It was a balm that soothed the simmering anger that i'm feeling right now.

who killed the little people?

In the past two weeks we have been bombarded (almost on the hour) with news of the havoc wreaked on the homeland by successive typhoons ondoy (ketsana) and pepeng (parma), resulting in devastation death and destruction. The images of trajedy and helplessness tell so much.
And i am angry!
I want to know a few things and i want some answers. And so do the little people: the victms, the dead, the dispossessed, the sufferers. They are our family our neighbours our friends. They are not people of a lesser God.
We demand answers.
Where are the advance warnings?
Tides can be predicted years in advance
And if huge typhoons are imminent.
Even two hours would suffice to get to higher ground.
Or to seek shelter under more stable buildings.
5-7 day weather forecasts are now possible.
So where are the precautionary warnings?

Who killed the very poor,
Why an' what's the reason for?
"Not I," says la presidente,
"Don't point your finger at me.
I could not stop the typhoon’s fury
Who says i did not lift a finger to aid
I even opened the palace gate
It's too bad they had to die,
No, you can't blame me at all."

Who drownded the very poor,
Why an' what's the reason for?
"Not us," say the newspapers,
editorialising on their high chairs.
and calling for a national commission
To undertake the reconstruction
proposing candidates to the commission
It wasn't us that made them fall.
No, you can't blame us at all."

Who killed the very poor,
Why an' what's the reason for?
"Not us," says the Pagasa,
weather forecasting is an imperfect science you know,
it’s human nature to find someone to blame
our brand new radar was in the testing stage
and we got no support from government
It wasn't us to make the call.
No, you can't find hope with us at all."

Who buried the poor alive
Why an' what's the reason for?
"Not us," say the congress,
We’re worried about the budget
The legislators need their campaigns met
And we should allow for inflation
(or corruption as one reporter wrote),
the ruling coalition has borne the brunt of the disasters,
and has been found terribly wanting
so it’s our turn at the till
It was mother nature, it was God's will.

Who killed the very poor,
Why an' what's the reason for?

(apologies to Bob Dylan and Davey Moore)