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Tuesday, June 4, 2024

The Fabled Gated Kangaroos of Morisset

Morisset (33 ° 7' S 151 ° 30' E) has a rather curious reputation. While local Australians might associate it negatively with the mental institute which opened here in 1909, more recently it became famous with foreign visitors attracted by the wild kangaroos that can be encountered in huge mobs on its grounds. Nanny State had the last say, unfortunately, and the hospital was sealed off with gated bridges to stop the punters from getting in. More fool Nan. As I previously mentioned, for close to 10 years I was held under virtual house arrest at my parents' property south at Lake Haven, on Budgewoi Lake. Even though Morisset was only 20km or so distant, I found it almost impossible to visit. In 2013 I had bravely caught the train which connects Wyong and Newcastle, and disembarked at Morisset. I sloshed around in the rain and mud, looking for a Buddhist temple which was supposedly existed around here. I was hoping it would be something like Nan Tien Temple, in the Illawarra, but it was actually fairly basic in comparison.

Cham Shan Temple, in Morisset (Australia, 2014)

It took almost a decade for my agoraphobia to recover sufficiently enough to allow me to return to Morisset, but this time I had my heart set on locating the kangaroos which had gone viral at the Psychiatric Hospital. As it turned out, this was a rather futile gesture, as the authorities had discretely put a stop to this unauthorized caper by sealing off all access roads to the facility. It is a pity because the hospital sounds fascinating in its own right. There is also reputed to a haunted ruins in the vicinity, with the rather ominous name of "Hospital for the Criminally Insane", and a cemetery containing many unmarked graves. It made me wonder: Wouldn't it be better to capitalize on your assets when it comes to tourism, rather than shutting the whole game down??? (For the full report of my defeat searching for the now gated kangaroos of Morisset, click here.)


Sunday, May 28, 2023

Stumble on Baby Step #2

For every six hotels I stay at going forward, one will be like Hotel Gosford, and one will be comparable to the Bayview Hotel at Woy Woy, which I have just checked out of. Yet another will be like the Ocean Beach Hotel (Nightcap at Umina), my next step on the road, where I will still be staying in a pub, but at least I will have my own toilet. The Nightcap will be grade 3, while the Metro Mirage in Newport will be one step above, at level four. Hotel Gosford has been the grungiest of my hotels thus far, partly due to its location, as well as facilities and clientele. Bayview Hotel is just as cheap as Hotel Gosford, but has a friendlier vibe, and a sunnier outlook. That might be due to its location, and the demographics of the city. 

In Woy Woy the population is more gentrified, genteel, and geriatric. Local motorists stop for you when you are crossing the road, rather than beep their horn as in Gosford. There are a lot of zebra crossings... too many, in fact! I feel guilty holding up the traffic. My room was facing north, and directly opposite the Central Coast Ferries wharf on Brisbane Water, which is critical for my attempts to knock off the first two six baby steps out of the Central Coast. All things considered, it was quite cozy, though a little dated.


Afternoon sun in the standard Queen room at the Bayview Hotel (Australia, 2023)

The only problem was that there was no table nor chair, so I was forced to sit on the floor with my laptop resting on the side of the bed for my lessons for iTalki. And while sitting on the floor might be comfortable in Japan, where homes and hotels are often built around this discipline, Australian accommodation is not as accommodating. Carpets can be dusty and unhygienic, with none of the spring of your typical tatami mat. After a couple of hours of sitting crosslegged I would get sore legs, numb extremities, even muscular spasms. I assumed that I would get used to it eventually.

That said, I ticked off the first of the my baby steps easily enough. To be fair, I was suffering mild derealization upon arriving at Davistown, after talking to the boy with the toy brontosaurus on the boat, and the Elvis impersonator at the bus stop on Paringa Avenue, near the shops. In retrospect, my anxiety level seemed to be about 1.7 Distress Units (DU). After that early success, I was confident and complacent (which is always a dangerous combination). Unfortunately, the second baby step to Empire Bay on the other side of Cockle Channel didn't go so smoothly. It was a stormy day, and I had foolishly left my raincoat in the hotel, thinking that it wouldnt rain until evening. As soon as I arrived at the wharf, it started pelting down... (For the full report of my setback on the catamaran to Empire Bay, click here.)

Sunday, January 1, 2023

If Google Were Teal

How many Internet searches do you do in a typical day? During a busy session of teaching English online, I can rack up 100 queries, related to topics which my students have raised. One week I clocked in a whopping 360 searches, with terms ranging from "kiszona kapusta" to "Doctor Who time loops". They were all conducted on a single search engine (can you guess which one?)

We give an awful lot of personal data away just for the privilege of using their platforms. Don't get me wrong, I love Google -- they are generous with content creators. As a basic consumer the benefits are rather scant, however. Bing will reward you with points for choosing their machine, but they must be redeemed by shopping at the Microsoft Store. If you want to be paid in cold hard cash (well, in cryptocash at least!), Presearch is the only program out there. You can earn 0.1PRE per search, with a cap of 25 searches per day.

As of December 2022, that was worth US$0.81.


Of course, it is chump change but does add up, and it is better than earning nothing at all. More importantly, your PRE gives you voting and ownership rights and the ability to build a search engine that is for the people, by the people. A Teal organization, to be precise... (For more on the Presearch search engine and Ethereum token, click here.) 

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Money Talks, Bullshit Walks

Money is the signifier that annihilates every signification. It is the first commodity to escape use value, and become a sign. Everything gets measured in money, even Bitcoin (which is the latest step in its evolution). The medium is now the message. Or, in cruder terms: "Money talks, bullshit walks."

Once upon a time, according to Jean Baudrillard, money had a referent, the gold standard. That ended in 1971, and since then money has become purely speculative, ballooning into the stratosphere. Bitcoin is the first attempt to retether money to the actual economy, drag it back to earth, giving it concrete value.

The rise of Bitcoin will (as Lyn Alden explains) release the American dollar from the clutches of Triffin's Dilemma. It will enable the greatest debt jubilee of all time. And that jubilee is just about to start...  (For more on the coming debt deflation and reinflation of money, click here.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

How to Escape the Central Coast (in Six Baby Steps)

If the Lake Haven epoch was ruled by the car, and my fragmented Gosford ages built upon the bus, the coming Woy Woy microlife will focus on ferries. During the two months that I hope to spend there, acclimatizing for the hop across the Hawkesbury, I must:

1 -- Cruise to Saratoga or Davistown on Central Coast Ferries (if I am too anxious for whatever reason, I can try to bail out at the first available wharf!)

2 -- Catch another catamaran to Empire Bay, the last stop on this service some 30 minutes from Woy Woy. I could then hike back to my hotel via Daleys Point and St Huberts Island, with their multimillion dollar views. 

3.-- Catch a Fantasea ferry from Ettalong to Wagstaffe Wharf, en route to Palm Beach, and explore the nearby national park.

4.-- Take the same ferry once more, this time directly to Palm Beach, before returning to Woy Woy. This will be a one-hour round trip over deep water, and my first landfall on Sydney territory in nine years.

5.-- Return to Palm Beach, and then get the bus to Newport, some 10km south, where there is a hotel that I can (barely) afford.
6 -- Stay at said Newport hotel one night, to see if I can handle it..

 

The Saratoga docking at the Central Wharf in Davistown, on Cockle Channel (Australia, 2022)

Each cruise will be a baby step in the escape from the Central Coast, and the migration to Sydney's Northern Beaches. I have a lot of mucking about in boats to do!

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Rebellious Qi

I have read that in Traditional Chinese Medicine, panic attacks are blamed upon rebellious Qi, an uprising of that fundamental lifeforce also called "Chi" (or 氣) . This theory resonates with me as several occasions before my first attack, I suffered freak spells of dizziness and unsteadiness on my feet. One evening I was walking towards the Monolith in Shinjuku (新宿) when a sudden whoosh! of energy surged from my legs to my crown. A week or so later I had my first (official) attack, at the aforementioned tower. Whenever I moved my arm or turned my head, a powerful force would shudder through my body, with a reverberating din similar to the bionic sound effects in The Six Million Dollar Man. Time had slowed down, it felt, and every event was full of dread significance. As the attack progressed, I was startled to notice luminous sparks spraying up from the bottom of my visual field, like manic laser beams fired in an old arcade game... (For more on Qi rebellions and the herbs that can remedy them, click here,)

 

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Gossy Good Times

Gosford grabs you as a city on the go. All around town, construction work is carrying on. There is a wealth of heritage sandstone to be sure, and a history dating back to the convict era. Nonetheless, Gosford's eyes are framed forwards, towards a glorious future.


Looking south from Gosford Station (Australia, 2021)

It is true that many buildings have fallen to the wrecking ball, including the Public School where I was stationed in the very late 1970s. Many, however, still remain. Henry Kendall Cottage was cobbled together with convict labour between 1836 and 1840 in present day West Gosford, and is now a museum open to the public. At Frederick Point you can find the graves of the pioneers hidden among the million dollar properties... (For more on Gosford and its dynamic destiny, click here.)



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