Saturday, May 26, 2012

Welfare opportunities.

 ‘Yeah well they’re living off the pig’s back aren’t they, about time they got a real job, just bringing up kids and don’t even know who their dads are or where they are?’  Single parents on the DPB are a soft target and the arrows have landed on them once again.
There is a much more expensive group of beneficiaries who are living off the taxpayer and these ones also get generous travel and housing allowances.  They get subsidised food at the staff canteen.  They get generous superannuation and there seems to be no requirement for them to rejoin the real world of work after 5 years to refresh their understanding of what it can be like looking for a job.  Some of them get these benefits even after they have left their jobs.  Their salaries always go up without them needing to negotiate or strike or beg.  Are you getting it yet?

The murmurs are getting louder, the gulf is widening between those who have and those who don’t, those who have a sense of entitlement and those who are entitled to nothing.  There are those who have a job and those who want one and can’t get one because, like the emperor’s new clothes, the jobs don’t exist. 

Welfare opportunities, the ones you never hear. (Please hum or whistle to the tune ‘Career Opportunities’ by the Clash).

While out and about mulling over the state of the nation I found these messages and like them a lot.  Sure they won’t change the world but let’s amp up the discontent until everyone starts to give a damn and dial down the apathy to what is happening around us.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Don't come and see our new ensuite, we don't have one.

I went through a phase of visiting open homes recently and was staggered by the large number of bathrooms  and ensuites which renovated and new houses have.  Where does this obsession with plumbing and cleanliness come from?  Is it the new modern to show friends your ensuite or kid’s bathrooms?

How about only having one bathroom in your house, or should that be in realestatespeak ‘your home’?  Instead consider a return to the one family bathroom and the luxury app of a separate toilet.  If you have hordes of kids then put in another toilet which is accessible from your backyard/garden/deck.

This isn’t nostalgia talking, there is likely to be an environmental cost for each additional bathroom or ensuite. At the very least these bathrooms require more plumbing, more drains, more whiteware, more cleaning, and more maintenance and add thousands to construction or renovation costs.  Why not use the space in a different way, to create a separate study ,music room, homework centre, small factory for child labour making crafts to be sold on the wayside in these straitened times or anything else you can think of?  Maybe it is all about the matching towel sets required to furnish these spaces?

As I write this I realise that any family will not shit or wash more if they have more than one bathroom but that  family members could do it all simultaneously.  Is that enough of a reason to add another bathroom?  You don’t need another bathroom – you just don’t!
Don't come and see our new ensuite, we don't have one.
Note:  Own snap of real bathroom

Friday, May 11, 2012

Goodbye Graham Viskovic

A few weeks ago a friend of mine died.  Happens all the time right?  Except I didn't know until yesterday when I thought I would post something on his wall as I hadn’t seen anything from him for a while. When I got there it was clear from the messages that he had died about a fortnight ago.   

I worked with him about 10 years ago. He was very bright, very funny, about 12 feet tall, a rascal who wrote the book on Commercial Law in New Zealand and had a varied and wonderful career in the law profession.  He was a wonderful storyteller and regaled me often with many stories of wild nights and even wilder parties.  He talked about law firms and how they worked and had been an important figure in the Law Society.
When our paths crossed he tutored individual students in Commercial Law in a tertiary institution.  I was his manager which really only meant that I organised his time so that the trip in from Huia was worth his while.  He had moved out to Huia and renamed himself the Huia Hermit around the time he developed diabetes which for a while made absolutely no difference to the way he lived. A bit further on he stopped drinking.   I used to keep bananas around on his days to keep up his blood sugar so that he didn’t turn into a complete shouting raver.  Even when he did he was fun and kind and lovely. 
So far, so good. 

I left that place of employment and ran into him once at Lynmall when he ventured in to town and I went down the road.  I moved to the North Shore, worked on the North Shore and he was my friend on Facebook.  He asked me out for a visit to see the Spring but I didn’t go, not because I didn’t want to, I just didn’t get around to it.
This started me wondering once again about the nature of virtual friendship, we think we are connected but we are not.  I take snaps and share them online but is it because I want to share the experience or is it because I want to have my experience, possibly my competence validated?  If I go to Cuba and don’t put up any snaps, does that mean it didn’t happen?  If I don’t post, does it mean I am not doing anything virtually worthwhile?

What's the take home message?

Love your friends  and hang out enough with them so that you know when they die.

See you round Graham.