Opinion Australia

One man’s view of how the world might be.

Archive for June 2007


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Was sitting in bed this morning and for some unknown reason I started thinking about the street in Caerffili where my grandmother used to live. I recalled that in her street alone there were several shops. A general grocer, a butcher and a fruit shop (as I recall). Then I started spreading my mind out more and remembered that nearly every street had at least one small shop along it somewhere.

Over the years more and more have closed and more and more supermarkets etc have opened. Yet the shop fronts remain.

I’m sure this wasn’t by any means a local phenomenon, but maybe it feels more ‘personal’ because I obviously knew a lot of the people who used to run them. One of the sad things is that I really don’t remember any of them closing… one day they were there… and then they were gone and I never even noticed.

With them went an entire way of life based around ‘neighbourhood’ and the close feelings of friendliness and safety you’d get knowing everyone and their dog. Got to be honest, I really do quite miss those old days now. For a small boy at least it was a time of innocence and play… endless summers, frog spawn and fun.

Maybe in part it was because nobody seemed to have more than anyone else, and we all mucked in together. Having said that my father was remarkable well paid for the times and we were far better off financially than most of the people around us.

We have some good times back then and of course they’re gone forever. Yet… it’s the corner shops I miss most. Maybe they have become a symbol of the soulless ‘post-industrial’ society we’ve developed and I have to wonder if it really was a change for the better?

Written by welshdog

June 30, 2007 at 1:20 pm

Posted in Reminiscence

Spice Girls reunion.

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I only have one question about the Spice Girls reunion… why?

I mean it isn’t as if they have anything remotely interesting to offer. They had nothing to begin with other than some skill in hype.Γ‚ The world is a better place without them. It’s not as if we never see them after all, Posh Spice and her brain dead husband are popping up all over the world as if they’re important or something.

Spice Girls

Well it makes me shudder.

Who else will they dig up out of the 1980’s to delight our senses?? TLC maybe??

Written by welshdog

June 29, 2007 at 9:18 pm

Posted in General Ramblings

Moving on up.

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Me move? Nah… too old and fat.

The wife on the other hand managed to wangle a lunch with Julia Gillard who is the Deputy Leader of the Labor Party. She spent lunch sitting next to her discussing amongst other things, her Welsh origins! No idea what else they talked about… something trivial like the party’s stance on Industrial Relations or some-such…

Julia Gillard Seems she was born in Barry, South Wales about 3 years or so before the wife. However she moved here with the family in 1966 so with the best will in the world I doubt she’d remember much about her old home πŸ™‚

It’d be nice to think Julia would remember her in a few days… weeks… months etc… but realistically without some ongoing reinforcement that might be asking a bit much. Still, it’s something to talk about πŸ™‚

Now I come to think about it… she bears a surprising facial similarity to Reba McEntire… or not.

Written by welshdog

June 29, 2007 at 8:58 pm

Posted in Government

More on Australian Opinion

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I’ve now given the Australian Opinion forum a *real* workover! πŸ™‚

Apart from reducing the number of boards, which I did a few days ago, I’ve now added a new series of mods which are providing (amongst other things), new user selectable themes and extra functionality!!

It’s looking and feeling special again. All we need now is more people to *post* in the damn place and we’d be motoring πŸ™‚

Written by welshdog

June 29, 2007 at 7:57 pm

Posted in I.T and similar

Going Potty!

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First thing this morning I was online to the iMax in Darling harbour ordering tickets to see Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. We’ll be there on July 11th, 6:45 p.m. waiting in line ready to rush through to the ‘good seats’ πŸ™‚

With a massive sound system, a huge screen and the final 20 minutes in glorious (if artificial) 3D it ought to be an evening to remember.

I’m asking the wife if she can maybe get out of work a little earlier than usual… or even have the afternoon off… so we can get together early, maybe go for a meal etc. and make it more of an occasion… she is busy though so it might not be practical for her to to do it, but with the kids off on their winter break it might be nice.

Written by welshdog

June 28, 2007 at 8:40 am

Posted in Entertainment

What to do?

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I was sitting quietly in the car waiting to pick the kids up from school, and thought I’d do some ‘surfing’ while I could.

Oddly though, I found I’d run out of places I really *wanted * to visit!

Something must be wrong πŸ™‚

Written by welshdog

June 26, 2007 at 3:21 pm

Posted in General Ramblings

Summer in the UK

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Ah the joys of summer in the UK… those traditional activities like bailing out the house, building sandbag walls to keep out the floods… such fun.

Still at least it’s warm… 15ΒΊC currently… sad I call it. Still, let’s hope nobody suffers too much in the gales etc. 😦

Written by welshdog

June 26, 2007 at 8:57 am

Oh we love chaos.

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So I’ve been getting odd messages on my PDA telling me my home phone account is suspended because our account is overdue. Oops you might say… except the account *wasn’t* suspended…!! Eventually (i.e. today) I thought I ought to ring and find out what was up, not having been there for some time but when I did ring I got a small surprise.

Seems this was a side-effect of cancelling the old credit card when I lost it and the ‘bill’ was from a company called Dodo. This bunch used to be my ‘backup’ Internet access at one time because my normal access point was so unreliable. Anyway, it appears that a year ago or more I agreed with them (they said) to upgrade my line to ADSL… and I would channel International calls from the home phone through them. Now I don’t recall this, but as you’ll know this is nothing unusual either.

Anyway, after a little argy-bargy I told them I wasn’t happy because not only had they taken ‘International’, they’d also appropriated STD and mobile calls as well… and I’m sure I never agreed to that!

It didn’t help of course that they seem to be using a call centre somewhere in India and to make it even worse… using it on VOIP. The result was a very bad line that sounded as if they were shouting all the way without benefit of an amplifier and using an accent that made my welsh jabber sound like BBC received pronunciation!

As you’ll gather, I eventually I decided to cancel the service. How much it’ll cost to cancel is still unknown because they weren’t able to tell me… nor could they give me a proper address to send a bill to… hmmm… a dodgy bunch by the sound of it. Still… with luck they’ll be gone soon.

Next step was to contact the national carrier (Telstra) with whom all the other accounts happily reside and ask them to make sure the bits that had been purloined were returned. While I did that… I made some enquiries about my broadband account.

Whoopee… seems I’ve been paying $100 a month on an old plan that would now cost $69 and have a greater download limit. Excuse me while I groan 😦 Anyway… after looking at the plans I changed it to ADSL+2 (I think – needs checking at the exchange before we’re certain) which will still be $10 or so a month cheaper *and* still have a greater download limit. What’s more they gave me a $180 rebate to cover the time spent paying the ‘excess charges’ since Xmas! Nice I thought πŸ˜€
I think I mentioned moving a week or three back… this would be one of the reasons for doing it… to find out what the hell we’re paying who and for what. Currently things financial here are chaotic. A week with a spreadsheet and a pile of bills wouldn’t go amiss to see what is going where. Maybe the wife could set one up for me to just sit and enter data into?

Written by welshdog

June 25, 2007 at 1:18 pm

Posted in I.T and similar

Buh-bye free-to-air?

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I’ve been wondering how long free-to-air TV can persist in the face of the Internet and the increasing availability of other forms of media.

We have 4 large TVs here each with surround sound and most with digital pictures either native or thru set top boxes. We also have for computers with tv access… two of which now have large LCD screens and HDTV capability. Yet we rarely watch them as TV’s!

We have satellite TV with Foxtel… yet rarely watch anything on there either. We all watch DVD’s from time to time, but much of our ‘free time’ is spent reading old fashioned books… or surfing… or playing games (in the case of the wife and kids anyway).

In the UK we used to watch a lot of TV… evenings and weekends especially… but it can’t be we watch less because the weather is so much better here. We are ‘indoors’ as much as in the UK in the winter but still don’t turn the box only I can think is that the other forms of media have made watching mind numbing middle of the road dross so much harder to bear and so we just don’t tune in.

Since the free-to-air is financed by advertising revenue… you have to ask what their future will be if (when??) digital media becomes so prevalent that advertisers stop paying! I suppose revenue some will still be paid to niche producers who create programming for the pay-TV channels… but for the rest? I think they’ll be going down the chutes in the next decade or so.

The BBC in the UK might be an exception… it is government funded… but for the rest?? Methinks destiny is calling.

Written by welshdog

June 24, 2007 at 5:39 pm

Australian Opinion – another revamp.

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Not a major change this time to the Australian Opinion forum… just a cosmetic one. A friend has been busy merging forums and similar to try to streamline it… it seems to have been a bit top heavy lately and this is intended to make it easier to navigate.

A lot of the old boards have gone and their posts merged with others. A couple of categories have been lost too to make it – we hope- more accessible.

Let’s hope it stimulates it a bit. Been very quiet in there lately.

Written by welshdog

June 24, 2007 at 5:24 pm

Posted in General Ramblings