Monday, March 26, 2018

Australia "Big Australia" projections of population rise

The weather has turned to high winds, low clouds, some rain, and grey-grey-with a little more grey.  This is not completely true, yesterday dawned this way-but by late afternoon, the day was bright, and I was fortunately in the Botanical Gardens enjoying the turn of weather.  This morning however, is a repeat of yesterday, the air in my room was nippy- the morning seemed quiet, and so I hit snooze on my alarm.  Then messages started coming in from Stockholm- our friends gathered around Zok - I was being remembered and missed and missing everyone in turn.  This happens...the feeling of fragmentation within my emotions created by living in and leaving so many places.  And always the strangeness that I don't have any close peers here in Tasmania...people are now friendly to me...we have lovely neighbours...sometimes I run into a person I know - well enough to stop and chat. 
But- I don't have any relationships that compare in closeness to friends elsewhere.  
Meanwhile while I am left alone...I tend to pay to much attention to the news cycle, and to find ways to feel guilty and find ways to connect everything back to myself.  When I moved here fourteen years ago...the population was under 21 million, the population clock is now at almost 25 million.
I am obviously, one of those that caused the increase and my partner was also born elsewhere.  While on my recent volunteering trip- most of the group was discussing this issue.  The issue was under discussion because of a news program called '4 Corners' which I have just finished watching.  I was concerned with the amount of fear I heard within peoples opinions.  I was let down in myself that I couldn't combat the fear well enough to have any impact.
Even when I first moved here...I did realize that we had settled in a state that felt like a retirement state, and as pointed out in the report 1 in 5 Tasmanians are over the age of 65. I feel confused that the conversation seems to only be happening now, and I am confused that Hobart and Launceston do not embrace the challenge of growth through innovation- public transportation, staggering work times so the roads are able to handle more, creating green spaces and walkable cities.  
At times like these I miss the environment of University where I felt I had so much access to educated opinions.  My logic is often flawed...and opinions can become entrenched when they are not challenged.
Less than two weeks until my better half returns - this is not too much time to spend on the ledge.


Saturday, March 10, 2018

Politics are plain depressing

The election came and went...and not much changed...the Green Party lost some ground...the Labor Party seemed to pick up that ground which was not enough ground to make a difference...which puts me back to the idea of 'splitting the vote'- there always seem to be factions within the 'progressive' side and nothing but entrenched cement on the other side.  Because of the way the Hare-Clark system- we don't know who has gotten the last seat in our electorate, the candidate I was helping is up for that seat.

I did have a nice reprise when friends came to visit and we went to MONA.  Every place in Tasmania feels more crowded- the tourists numbers seem to be climbing by 10% each year steadily and that doesn't include cruise ships.
Our home which seemed so quiet has a steady stream of cars that go by.  I can remember sitting on my porch in Seattle, with Jada, watching the cars constantly going by at our 4-way stop-and that did not phase me at all.  Neither did the size of my lot, I knew plenty of rich folk who had land size so large that traffic wouldn't be an issue- now I think about a bush block with a tiny pre-fab house that needs no work...but perhaps this is all circumstantial.  I am not good at recognizing that-I tend to feel the 'immediate' is the 'always'.

My 'Honey, would you please' list is almost complete, the sanding and refinishing of some window frames and doors were not as satisfying as I thought they would be.  Neither was the painting downstairs.  But now that I have cleaned up I at least feel that calm of...sort of the fear of tearing something apart and relief of putting it back together- and finding that it wasn't ruined in the attempt. 

Next week I am going to be on Maria Island volunteering. From what I can tell looking at photos my first time on the island was Jan. of 2014, which seems incorrect, I feel like I have been going longer but- probably not.  I do think this is my twelfth trip which is a lot, in four years. There is a lot of construction going on, as there is a new ferry service, bringing many more visitors to the island.  So although I will be getting away...I am little fearful there will be construction noise on the island as well!  I am going to do the hard hike if I have the time - the Bishop and Clerk hike.  There is a weeding location that is nearby so if we are 30 minutes along the correct route this is what I will do.  By camping- I will be away from the group already so I won't feel too anti-social heading out alone.  The island makes me wish I could navigate a boat...which is what many locals do- they just pop round the island by boat.  As if this is the most normal thing in the world to do.

No matter what, the nights should be quiet and dark.
I am looking forward to that.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Compulsary Voting, Having more than 2 political parties (sort of) and other quandries

Today I got an email from Landcare Tasmania which organizes volunteer groups around Tasmania.  The email contained their position on their (lack of) funding, what they need, what has been and not been promised from the political parties.
The email included a plea for people to vote, and some links to help people attain the information needed to vote.  This is the first of its kind that I have received.  Apparently there is a sort of unspoken etiquette towards not talking about politics, and specifically not trying to 'sway' people.  This, however, seems to stymie the education of people on the issues.  
While chatting with the limited number of people that I did (say around 50 odd), I was surprised by how few looked into how their representatives voted.  
There was also the straight up hostility towards the party they did not favor, coupled with a mistrust for politicians in general unless they personally knew the candidate (this being a place with a low population was actually almost common). 
Today on a.m. radio there were comments towards people voting for the 'candidates' they preferred not the 'party', which speaks to how I want to vote, and my trying to figure out if by doing this between two parties (neither are in the majority) am I splitting the vote?
If you click the link above you can see that I am perhaps not the only person unable to just do the math of our system. 
I have been here for over a decade but only now do I feel like I have a grasp on the politics.  The state has changed - a lot of changes together with new people moving to state, more people using social media and the internet, more people with 'better than dial up' connections.
There are almost too many 'move to Tasmania' webpages, apps, FB campaigns- it has been about five years that Tasmania seems to have seeped into the wider world, and about three years since I have stopped promoting the area myself.  
When I think of my first five years bewildered that searching on the internet did not find me information, that all government information seemed to be links to large pdf files...that may or my not contain the answer I was looking for. At least my partner is paying a bit more attention to politics perhaps because we are entering our fifth decade as humans, maybe because he is thinking of us being in this home more than our other home.
I get too many pleas for donations from the second largest party...and truly anyone can see that the party in power at the moment (Liberal) has more money, as expressed in advertisements.  But I can't quite see how this improves plaster the city with ads.  I could only see my way to donating my time.  I have heard people express how irritated they are to get calls from the wrong voting electorate...I was not 'phone banked' but I have gotten multiple emails that seem as if the campaigns are not coordinated - but this makes sense when there seems to be a sort of 'throw as many items at the target as possible' strategy all around.
I have also heard that without the Hare-Clark system people are faced with large numbers of choices for the fives spots- so ridiculously large that the numbering of them gets so complicated it puts people off voting.
I have also continued to have conversations about how strange the ideas of 'voting on a weekday' - or the idea of voting being a 'privilege'  -
I am saddened by the idea that the people, the electorate can not make a difference.  I think voting on a weekend is a bit of an insult- I am used to voting being an event- with small rewards, like a break from the work day, and stickers.



Monday, February 5, 2018

...just a Yank...trying to be a Mate...

I have been alone, I have been among strangers- volunteering time to go door-to-door in neighbourhoods near where I live with a candidate that is standing for office in the next election.  
In part I chose to do this because I am learning about the political system and in part because so many people have lived here their whole lives that I feel I will gain insight by listening to them.
Also, the state elections here use a method called 'Tasmania's Hare-Clark Electoral System' which is apparently different from other states (which I of course, do not know about firsthand). 
We list candidates in order of preference.  I have had differing explanations of this, but finally I have found an explanation on the Internet here:

I thought I might be too fearful, but my curiosity seems to get the better of me.  I thought I would be a bit offended when people couldn't be bothered, or are irritated that someone is disturbing them...but mostly that has been okay.
I realize that really, I am the type of person that isn't always very gracious when I am interrupted and I now, vow to do better.
Self-servingly I like to have a legitimate reason to walk up peoples drives, especially to houses I have always walked by and thought 'Gee that looks like a really happy home.'

I am a bit deflated that 'compulsory' voting seems to partially make people feel like they are forced to do something unpleasant like go to the dentist.  There is no fanfare, no stickers that say smugly "I voted!".  People seem un-engaged by the process or worse, completely believe that the whole system is a waste of time.
I want to shout "Sure things are pretty good now, but they could turn badly if you do not pay attention!"
I fear, that I am looking for positive affirmation in these conversations for what I already believe, even though truly, I am trying to listen and learn.

While I had the house to myself for a week I did some repairs that took more time than I thought they would, I was waylaid by a really hot day-
I watched some sappy movies, I did my best to catch friends by phone long distance.
I have this feeling of being behind but I couldn't articulate why.
This tangle of politics will be taking up my month.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

...2018...Forgive yourself for being blind to those who would break your heart...

Hej, Hello, 2018

I never thought I'd get to see you in person, and I surely did not for all my sci-fi book reading anticipate technology or its applications.  Thanks for bringing us 'Black Mirror', I needed a good adult version of 'The Twilight Zone' to keep me wary.

Summer continues and I am happy in the sun, in the yard or on the beach.  I am adjusting to the growth that is happening all around us...and growth feels inevitable, and at least here, a bit slower than in Stockholm.
I am continuing to educate myself on local (and national) politics.
I listen to AM news radio in the morning on my vintage tube radio.
 I try not to scream out loud when party members (aka politicians) say CONSTANTLY "Well the opposition won't make this or that better-" there is this constant rhetoric of "It's not me! It's them!" like children.

I am also trying to get over what I dislike about Twitter, because here, I do find that it is useful for quick updates- 'Why is the Southern Outlet (one of the two ways into town from our home) backed up?' or There is smoke! Is that a legal burn off or is there a fire that might spread?  or better still - the list of which sellers will be at our local farmers market.

One of us gets to stay home and one of us is going on tour.
Both of us will catch up on books and movies/TV that the other doesn't like.

Hopefully between the two of us the conversion of the garage will be finished and I will have that to post about.


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Just a girl out of her element

I am typing to you all...from a HOT, windy day- less than a week from Xmas, only I have no feeling for Xmas at all this year.  I am listening to the new Curtis Harding via Spotify on my noise canceling headphones because there is loud construction noise emanating from below.  The office in the garage is almost least the main parts.  Not the windows, or the stairwell into the house seem to me, quite large undertakings.

Meanwhile, I do not know where the time goes...although I am at the gym 4-5 (sometimes 6!) - I would say I have been going 5 days a week but sometimes I think that the sessions just make me too tired to do much else.  I will do a bit of yoga - maybe a 20 minute 're-set', but I rarely go for a hike, swim, or bike ride like I would do when I was going to the gym closer to 3 days a week.

I have also tried going up in weight to the point of 'failure' aka leg giving out- weights dropping to the floor. Basically the gym shapes an otherwise free-form day while my better half is busy in his own world.
Here, at the bottom of the planet...hours ahead of most people I know...I find that I can untether from social media- which in turn- makes it easy for months to slip by.  I am still phoning people which is fun when I can actually get someone to pick up a call.   

 But I do feel strange when I think of the gym as being my 'constant'.  I feel my natural state is in a park reading a book.  I know that people at the gym find me odd, and I find them the same...I admire all the instructors that they have put the work in that they have to be "Fit"- but I do not really understand it.  I look at myself and all I think is maybe this is as good as it this I mean I am motivated by fear really...that IF I did not go to the gym so often, I would blow up like Violet Beauregarde in 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'.  I don't expect to suddenly cast a glance over my shoulder and see a toned arm- let alone muscles in my legs so then the futile nature of my actions seem -absurd and my thoughts go a bit tangled.  Where are my people? 


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Half-right - Violets in November, and a post before the end of that same month

I have just returned from the mainland.  A perk was that there was forced television and radio watching/listening so that I did get to see the voting results from the Australian "Marriage-Equality" postal survey come in.  This also meant I got a short lesson in why 61.6% was an "overwhelming" majority. Eighty percent of the population sent back the survey even though it was not mandatory as voting here, is.   Obviously, I am heartened that the vote was viewed this way- and that Tasmania was not dead last in percentages, our state had 63.6%, or fourth-highest of seven.  However, legislation still has to be written, and passed through Parliament, and so far that body does not seem to be echoing the will of the people.

Even though I have tried to center all my attention on learning about Australian politics, the U.S. still spills over and soaks up some of my attention.  After a particularly funny 'Broad City' episode, I can see that much of this year has been sadly dominated by Chump and all the darkness that seems to stem from that event.  When I sit down to write I can't find anything that I want to talk about.  The day-to-day seems too unfeeling in a world so full of well...strong emotions.  

Another aspect is that I have been talking to friends on the phone.  The phone not unlike cassettes seem to be making a come back.
 So if you find the current posts lacking - why not give me a ring?