Posts by TracyMac

  • Hard News: Protecting privilege in Epsom, in reply to mpledger,

    And what gets me about the "I worked hard" line is the amazing arrogance that goes with it.

    So apparently those people who work 2 or 3 minimum wage "part time" jobs (since rosters are carefully constructed to avoid creating full-time workers) in factories, cleaning, fast food etc etc etc, don't "work hard".

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 689 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Protecting privilege in Epsom, in reply to simon g,

    Well played. :-)

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 689 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Protecting privilege in Epsom,

    I grew up in times when state housing was in almost all suburbs - "pepper-potting". It was tough being a poor kid at a prosperous school, but if you weren't the only one, it wasn't too bad.

    Importantly, those schools were well-resourced and you got to see some of how "the other half lived". And learn some of the cultural stuff around being middle-class - the language they use, the customs. Even, at a young age, networking. In short, going to a middle-class school was one way to boost upward mobility. Although without middle-class parents or income, it's merely a start - but better than nothing.

    When we got shunted out to housing in Glen Innes, it was a real shock to the system. No, the mean streets weren't actually that mean, and many of the teachers at the schools were very good and cared about their students. But nearly everyone having very little money made a huge difference on education beyond the basics, teachers did not have time to help everyone who needed it, extra-cirricular activities were under a lot of constraint. There were very few people who could help you crawl up the scale - they were crawling themselves. Figuring out how to "get on" when you don't know how things operate was tough - there're reasons that so many kids from low income backgrounds don't make it through university, and back then, it wasn't so much to do with the money. Being the first in your extended family was hard - I didn't make it through. And of course it was/is that much tougher if you were brown.

    (Least you think I'm putting down my compatriots in GI, I am not - I'm incredibly proud of our lives and what most of us have managed to achieve despite the uphill battle.)

    As for those NIMBY wankers in Epsom, the only time I was seriously bullied at school for being "different" was at Epsom Normal Intermediate School. So my school uniform was hand-sewn and my mum cut my hair (not the hairdresser), but I was as bright as the brightest of them - and some little b*tches didn't like that combination.

    BUT, I made good friends there eventually, the bullying died away, the teachers were great, and the other kids learned that diversity wasn't just about skin colour. And I got to go to a kid's birthday party where the house had a swimming pool AND sauna.

    So I can't express how passionately I feel about integrating social housing in all neighbourhoods. Yes, put the families/people who don't trash their places and have riotous parties (they are by far the majority) into the more central locations. But put them there. In little communities so they're not isolated, but increasing diversity in a larger neighborhood is good for all sides.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 689 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: The Shopping News, in reply to dcnbwz,

    Nope, I'm with you on CDs or non-lossy digital. Vinyl is a PITA. You need space and a stable environment to keep records halfway decent and expensive gear to play them on - nice if you're well-off.

    Analogue does sound better if the vinyl is in pristine condition (how often is that the case) and is played back on nice kit.

    However, CDs sound fine for the average quality of recorded sound, particularly electronica, which is generally created in a digital format.

    It's certainly easy enough now to record analogue sound using high sample rates and encoding methods. Most CD players have relatively crappy DACs for playback, but there are players with high quality DACs and it's not a problem for high quality unlossy digital formats. I personally can't hear any difference in high quality lossy formats either, if the original was sampled at a high enough rate.

    I spent many hours in my youth literally lying between the speakers of my uncle's very high-end stereo system to get the best sound - top of the line amp, turntable, speakers, the works. It sounded amazing with well-produced vinyl (there was a lot of shit vinyl, remember - there were some very ropey pressings from iconic kiwi labels). But I don't have much opportunity to do that now, and I truly doubt I'd hear any difference if the production values were of similar quality.

    These discussions remind me a bit of the difference between people who love books and people who love reading. They're not exactly the same (although obviously the overlap is massive). I love ebooks because I literally have scores of them wherever I go. Other people can't bear not having the physical object. I won't buy art or architecture books in digital format, and there are a few hardcover novels I own that are genuinely beautiful objects I love having. For 99% of my reading, though, digital is great.

    I certainly get why people love vinyl - the production values now are awesome because it's expensive and relatively rare now, it's fun fiddling with the gear (the amount of hours I've spent balancing tone arms and getting those red lights on the turntable synched perfectly), and the sleeves and inserts can be amazing art objects.

    But there is a lot of exaggerated hype that a lot of older recordings don't really merit (unless it's something out of print that hasn't been digitised). I'm a philistine who often prefers the remastered version (assuming it's done with a delicate touch) of things like Stones or Beatles recordings. I've tossed up getting a turntable to play my 6 remaining vinyl records (one being a 1969 pressing of The White Album, in its original sleeve). But I can't quite justify it - even if I go out and buy more albums that merit it, it'd only be a tiny percentage of the music I own. Hardcover books don't require additional gear to be enjoyed.

    But if you already have the gear and a ton of vinyl, all the new stuff coming out must be great.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 689 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The Unitec project: Something…,

    I'm all in favour of housing densification, but I also hope plenty of green space and recreation areas are in the plans.

    One thing that makes a city so dense as London fairly liveable is the amount of parks. And no, an adventure playground and basketball court jammed into a tight space won't cut it either.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 689 posts Report Reply

  • Feed: Melting pot: A cuisine of immigrants, in reply to Soon Lee,

    Very belatedly, thank you for the rec! I'll check it out next time I'm in the burg.

    And Bart, yes, cultural cringe and embedded racism does account for a lot - good point. I'd hoped we'd be doing better by now.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 689 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Bikelash, paralysis – and progress,

    Regarding Nature Baby and their view of their clientele, obviously I'm not welcome there. I go almost every time I'm in Auckland for various gifts (often into the 100s of dollars range), and guess what, I take the bus from wherever I'm staying to get there. So I won't be doing that again.

    Do they seriously think that their patrons always occupied the three (?) spaces out front with their Remuera tractors? Even the preponderance of the time, given how busy the parking areas around the Richmond Rd shops (sorry, I detest the term "West Lynn") have been for the last couple of decades?

    I'm afraid I'm still hunting for my eyeballs from when they rolled out of my head. I understand retailers' concerns about losing street frontage and foot traffic if there are extended road/building works nearby - however, acquiring a captive audience of dozens for your shop window each time a bus pulls up in front doesn't evoke much sympathy from me.

    Some retailers are trying to pull the same routine in Mt Eden where I also lived in years gone by, and the same applies with consistent parking pressure for years, and the obvious fact that the majority of anyone's patrons would not be parking directly outside the front door in shopping areas like that.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 689 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The next four years,

    Given "private security firms" and their "close links" to certain figures in the US govt (not to mention the winking and nodding relationship with US security and intelligence forces), I start to feel the slightest glimmerings of sympathy for the insistence of certain sectors of US society on their 2nd Amendment "rights" (in which, let us not forget, the militia bit was freely interpreted by Scalia et al to pretty much comprise a militia of one person).

    Not that any normal civilian would have any hope of firing back at a team of Blackwater operatives contracted to do roundups on behalf of ICE, as a fanciful example, but I can start to see why they'd want the illusion of being able to do so.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 689 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: The fractions…,

    Maybe I'll check out Deezer - at least they pay relatively decently. What none of these figures make clear is what exactly is a "stream" - is it an entire track or, say, at least 30% of one?

    As for Spotify, it's also not clear whether they pay differently per stream depending on whether it was played by a paid subscriber or not. I was under the impression there were different rates at one stage, although the murkiness around it made me stop paying (hate the ads, though - what is it about Aussie advertising and their use of people with the most strident Strine accents ever? The only people I personally know who talk like that are bogan Queenslanders (I use "bogan" with due affection, btw)).

    As for publishing fees, I really don't get any justification why it'd be a significantly different percentage to radio play, given the "discount" applied to streaming, full stop.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 689 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Unknown Places: Queens of K…,

    Great piece. Paints a picture, captures her voice, doesn't patronise.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 689 posts Report Reply

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