Oh, and I should say that one of the main reasons we could afford what we could was that I had savings, due to never having had a student loan (I just worked part time... and lived with my parents until I was 25). I'm pretty sure that makes me the exception these days.
My partner and I move into our new house on the weekend. It's not exactly what we wanted, but it's pretty damn close, and it's had some work done (new kitchen and bathroom), so a big chunk of renovating has already been done for us. It's also (more or less) in the area we wanted - we could have got something cheaper if we'd been willing to suffer more of a commute, a sacrifice that other house-hunters I know are now taking for granted.
Between the two of us, the mortgage is affordable - my worry is that we're not going to be able to afford to have kids (losing her income would be too much of a strain), which is a bit shit when you think about it.
I've lost count of the number of times I've been told over the last 3 or 4 years that "the bubble is going to burst" - this could mean that it's never going to happen, or that we're about due...
Would you break into someone's house if you thought they may well be armed? Probably not.
But if you did, the first thing you'd do is kill the occupants before they could get to their guns. I'd be interested to see how many home invasions result in deaths over there compared to over here.
An extra layer of pointlessness is added by all the hypotheticals being thrown around:
"If everyone was allowed to have guns with them, someone would have been able to shoot the guy before too many people died."
"Or maybe a campus full of armed panicking people who've been told that there's a crazy gunman on the loose would start shooting at anyone they saw carrying a gun, causing even more deaths."
Which one's right? Well, neither, because they're both totally imaginary situations.
I'm surprised I haven't heard any fundie christians use the rainbow argument. "God promised he'd never again wipe out the earth with a flood."
Our Garth is way ahead of you...
Speaking of irrelevant bollocks -- as well as keeping things civil, there's something to be said for keeping things relevant. That's possibly even harder, because it keeps a nice mood if people are free to digress or have a bit of fun, but too much and the discussion's just as damaged as it would be by trolls.
I used to hang out at a local goth forum (I'm not a goth, you understand, but some of my best friends...) An overseas author once posted, doing a bit of research on what the NZ scene was like. The thread was almost immediately side tracked by a couple of wits who started trading irrelevant meaningless banter that would have been better kept to personal messages. Perfectly nice, perfectly friendly, but the rest of the board was cringing as an outside observer asked for an indication of what we were all about and was presented with this display...
What's the longest comment you've ever written and then thought better of and deleted?
No more than a few paragraphs. I find the ones I write then delete don't get overly long, because I'm imagining what the response to them will be as I'm writing them, and fairly quickly I reach that point where I realise nothing good/useful will come of it.
Or the other times when I realise that most of what I've written is irrelevant bollocks that no-one is really interested in. There's probably more of those.
I flew in to London less than a week after the bomb plot scare that started all the "no liquids" fuss. It was surprisingly fine -- we just sort of wandered through the airport and out, expecting any minute to have someone shout "hang on" and drag us back for hours of security searches. Never happened.
Coming into Auckland on the way home though, we had a couple of customs guys wander up to us at the baggage claim and start making pointed conversation about what we'd been up to in London. (We assumed we were singled out because the friend I was with had tattoos up each arm. Moral: wear long-sleeved shirts.) At one point my friend was asked "did you take any drugs in London?" He replied (not entirely truthfully) "hell, at the price you pay for a pint of beer over there, I wasn't even going to ask about drugs..." to which the customs guy mentioned that drugs were often cheaper than beer over there. What do you say to that? "Thanks for the tip?"
At any rate, they made a few cryptic notes on our arrival slips, which saw us shunted through to the customs area, where a polite and apologetic lady went through our bags, verified the absence of drugs and bombs, and sent us on our way. Time wasted: at least half an hour. Could have been worse, I guess.
See, I'm not convinced at all by the "the police will be required to investigate every smack" line, since, as people have pointed out, the bill will make the law regarding assault for kids the same (more or less) as it already is for adults. Are the police currently required to investigate every instance of physical contact that legally constitutes abuse (the rugby tackle example has been used a bit)? Maybe, but they sure as hell don't.
"Do you have any curmudgeon in you? Want some?"
Doesn't really work as well...