Boxing Day sales madness in Sydney – animal instincts at their best

Bondi Junction Mall

Yesterday was Boxing Day. In Australia and New Zealand that is code for sales. New Zealand malls can get pretty crazy during Boxing Day sales, for instance, it is not unusual for the Albany Mega-centre carpark to be full before 9am. However, in Sydney the craziness went to a whole ‘nother level.

The two big department stores – Myer and David Jones opened their flagship stores at 5am. I am not so desperate to get up that early so instead I headed to Bondi Junction at 8am. Bondi Junction was surprising not as busy as I expected I manage to even get into the fitting rooms at Myer and bought some clothes relatively pain free.

However, heading back into the city to face the chaos at Pitt Street Mall was probably not the best move. At the best of times Pitt Street is busy but this was like trying to exit a rock concert. Police, and security was trying to keep the crowds flowing but ultimately it was just a giant scrum to get into Myer.

Inside Sydney City Myer was a crowd that made The Warehouse on a busy day look empty. Getting between levels of the store required you to stand in a queue as security opened and closed escalators to control the crowd. Once on the level you wanted it was just shoulder to shoulder people where you didn’t have a chance to browse over clothes instead you just had to glance at the mess of piles of abandoned clothes hunting for the right size and then hanging onto it for dear life as you decide if you actually want to buy it or not.

Shopping and especially sales brings out the most interesting primordial behaviour in people. It is quite literally every man, woman and child for themselves. Also it is consumerism at its worst. I saw families with shopping trolleys overflowing with clothes. Sure the sales are a good way of getting good stuff at a good price, however, seeing the behaviour of some people reminded me of just how animal we are. Continue reading

Things that matter to Tweeple on Christmas

I think the current trending topics list on Twitter is quite apt for how Christmas Eve/Day is celebrated around the world.

We have English, French, Spanish, Portuguese all trending Christmas greetings.  And then the American’s are shopping at their holy temple of commercialism: Wal-Mart.

Merry Christmas Everyone.

UN Joint Statement On Wikileaks

The United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression yesterday released a joint statement on Wikileaks.

The full text is at the link above, however, of particular note is points 4 and 5 (emphasis added):

4. Direct or indirect government interference in or pressure exerted upon any expression or information transmitted through any means of oral, written, artistic, visual or electronic communication must be prohibited by law when it is aimed at influencing content. Such illegitimate interference includes politically motivated legal cases brought against journalists and independent media, and blocking of websites and web domains on political grounds. Calls by public officials for illegitimate retributive action are not acceptable.

5. Filtering systems which are not end-user controlled – whether imposed by a government or commercial service provider – are a form of prior censorship and cannot be justified. Corporations that provide Internet services should make an effort to ensure that they respect the rights of their clients to use the Internet without arbitrary interference.

These two statements are important well beyond the realm of Wikileaks. Essentially the New Zealand DIA DNS-based porn filter and the Australian Government’s proposed filter both violate international law. This news is not new, but it is nice to see it reinforced by the UN.

NSW Labor’s Public Transport Solution – Paint All Buses Blue

The SMH today reports that the state government wants to paint all private buses blue and white, the same livery used on STA buses. The government will pay for the repainting of the buses arguing that it will make buses easier to identify.

Metrobus in sydney

Labor Red Metrobus

Sydney Buses, PMC bodied Mercedes-Benz O405 (Mark 5)

Liberal Blue STA Bus

Buses being different colours depending on location actually makes sense and is used in many different cities around the world. If you see a yellow bus you will know it is most likely going to Castle Hill for instance. Painting them all one colour means you have to stare at the small location display of every bus going by. This isn’t easier, it is in fact a lot harder to identify a bus.

There are some days I wish that NSW Labor was just a comedy group like The Chaser and real governance happened somewhere else. However, these clowns are actually in government and are extremely good at wasting money on silly ideas.

Painting all the buses the same colour will do nothing to improve public transport. Spending money on more buses, bus-lanes, and integrated ticketing will.

The cynic in me wonders if NSW Labor is working with a genius marketer to paint all the buses blue and white to subliminally represent the opposition Liberal Coalition. While the new, flash, and fast state-run Metrobus network has bright Labor red buses.

Commercials in the Domain

Last night was the annual Carols in the Domain in Sydney. I was going to go in person but ended up watching the TV broadcast from home because this weekend I seem to have become a nigel-no-mates as everyone has gone out of town for the holiday.

The carols, the show, the broadcast, etc was really well done and ran without a glitch. However, the one comment that everyone was making on twitter, and driving me nuts, was the over the top product placement.

These days you expect ads and sponsorship at events. However, what I don’t expect is Jack Black singing an altered version of Little Drummer Boy with lyrics advertising his latest movie flop, or a group of children emailing Santa via a Samsung Galaxy Tab through Telstra which the kids informing us Telstra gives us a little more giftness.

These two examples were probably the worst of it, but every time one of the MCs spoke they name dropped a sponsor be it Woolworths, MLC, NSW Government, etc.

Maybe my blogging and moaning about it the following day shows that the advertising worked, I remember the names and I have been no so subliminally informed about them. But once upon a time Christmas wasn’t just all about commercialism, especially carols!

Then again the modern revival of Santa Claus was sparked by Coca Cola so maybe advertising really is the reason for the season.

On a lighter note the start of the show right on sunset shows the size of the crowd and parts of the beautiful city I live in:

Australian Water Dragon and Skink at North Head, Manly, Sydney

Gallery

This gallery contains 19 photos.

I spent most of today walking around the North Head of Sydney Harbour. As I was walking back towards Shelly Beach I almost walked straight into an Australian Water Dragons and what I believe to be some sort of skink. They are seriously some of the coolest creatures I have ever seen.

Continue reading