Tag Archives: unemployment

the good old days

I recently caught up with a former student (Hi Floyd) and I was ranting about how cool the technologies are today – no more wrecking backs and knees lugging heavy video cameras and such around. I can get almost the same quality video from my little point-and-shoot Fuji still camera as I ever did from a 3-tube, and in terms of editing, Quicktime and Movie Maker can give me pinpoint accurate editing and still have $20k in my pocket compared with the old edit suites. I could just about be drawn back into teaching again. Just about…

The difference, though, that really makes a difference these days is the ability to communicate – around the room, around the corner, around the world. And even though that’s what my Masters is in, it still makes me shake my head in amazement and delight – I love it when it works, especially when connections work through a fusion of traditional and contemporary ways.

Here’s an example:

A few weeks ago I was wondering what it would be like to have a pet hyena.

image from http://www.pieterhugo.com/ Well, you do, don’t you. Except I don’t have Conan-sized biceps and I decided that a beast that size would probably knock stuff off the coffee table and shed everywhere and generally be – well – beastly. Cool, yes, beastly, undoubtedly. Damn useful, though, if I ever went back teaching. You need a good laugh when you work with people who find themselves unemployed.

The photo, by the way, by Pieter Hugo – the story behind the photos is great, and has given rise to ‘My baboon is feeling nervous’.

I digress. I decided a different kind of animal might be the order of the day, and after clicking around blog rolls and the net, I ended up falling in love with My Pal Walter. Who wouldn’t want a giant tortoise for a pal?

I thought Walter, and his pal, David Palumbo, were just the best thing, and I was moved to discover a little more by reading David’s profile. Turns out he’s an illustrator from Philadelphia, USA. And he (of course) presents some of his ideas, paintings, and sketches in an online portfolio. Using technology to communicate that’s called.

image by David Palumbo - davepalumbo.blogspot.comIn addition to the science fiction-y / fantasy type illustrations – book covers and the like, David does a fine line of erotic postcards. I’m not 100% sure if they’re erotic – they’re certainly beautifully illustrated with young women at various states of undress, however if you look at my drawings of nekkid chicks they’re anything but erotic. Perhaps it’s because I don’t draw as well as David.

An aside: horrors, I note I haven’t drawn since 2007, and some of the works from then are pretty odd and awful. I firmly believe it takes 10,000 hours to learn how to do something – I’d guess about another 9,995 hours are needed urgently.

As a warm-up exercise before working on his commissioned work, David began creating small postcard-sized paintings. What started out as a fun daily practice has turned into a new passion, and before you knew it, a book was born and a new web site, Quickie, was launched.

As part of the promo for the book David posted on his blog that he would give away prints of the postcards as – wait for it – postcards. If you sent him an address he’d send you a card. I figured there’d be none left or any other excuse I could come up with to explain why I wouldn’t get a card, however, to my complete delight a card duly arrived – signed by the artist himself – what a joy! The image is the one above – some chick removing purloined y-fronts. Hmmm, now there’s an interesting story…

MYOBBack to loving how connections work through a fusion of traditional and contemporary ways … way, way back when I designed and ran a Government funded business course for the YMCA (well, someone needed to get the profits and, as a not-for-profit, the Y was second to none in terms of taking profit).

There was no money to promote the course (of course) so I created a series of posters shamelessly re-appropriated from appropriated art and when no one was around fired them off through the Y’s copier, and posted them across town. Most were not coloured (this was in the days before cheap colour copiers), however I sat down with my coloured pencils and did a few for fun.

My friend Floyd rocked up to do the course – “I saw the posters and figured you’d probably have something to do this kind of carry on.” We got on with the course – Floyd pursued other fields, I went on to work with another oppressed minority group, the terminally rich.

The core image (with Gordon and Cynthia) was, I believe, created by Boris Vallejo – part of his Conan portfolio. The vulture (not by Boris) on the left says, “Oh well, I spose we better clean up Jenny.” The vulture on the right replies, “Yeah, else she’ll stain the carpets and stink up the place.” Jenny? Jenny Shipley, then minister of social welfare, and definitely not someone you’d want to take home to meet your parents, unless they were rabid National voters. Despite Gordan’s sovereign efforts, Jenny received her knighthood today. So much for the carpet.

And the connection? Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell turn out to be David Palumbo’s parents. I love how blogging allows us to make connections, to weave old stories in with the new – our world is hundreds of times richer and with far greater potential than it was 20 years ago. The real changes are not new minerals or whatever, rather something not only sustainable, but something increasingly available – human intercommunication and sharing of ideas.

school sux, work sox

The flight home last night from the Auckland was awash with aging suits who’d been at the employment summit. I talked to one of the suits – one of the 200 grey knights invited in to come up with ideas that will rescue our nation from doom and gloom. I was gauche enough to ask if he’d been at the unemployment conference. ‘No, we prefer to concentrate on employment – it was the employment salad.’

Eh? My ears, still dealing with post-flight clickiness, heard ’employment salad’ and that got everything off to a terrific start. I’m just *naturally* impressive. I did my best to not engage as he launched into this amazing swirl of spin – if you’d believed this guy we’ll be at 110% employment by tomorrow. Or, somewhere over the rainbow. In the big rock candy mountain.

Which is kind of useful, because one of the big, big breakthroughs at the summit was a recycled idea about building a mountain bike trail from North Cape to Bluff. I think this is a great idea, it’ll make good use of the redundant rail tracks that currently infest the country. With much of our manufacturing industry now off shore the rail system is just a drain on the economy. We can sell the steel rails for scrap to the Chinese to convert into bicycles (yay the mighty wu tang) that they can sell back to us via the Warehouse and the profusion of $2 shops scattered across the country. The sleepers we can tear out and sell them to do landscaping in Remuera. And the carefully graded track lines will make mountain biking a really pleasant, but not too challenging, experience. An *added bonus* – minimal Resource Management Act requirements. Very good idea. And perhaps people will be able to make a pilgrimage by cycle, from the unemployment ghettos in the deep south up to Cape Reinga and cast themselves into the sea to launch their migration to Australia, our previously preferred (and time-honoured) method of solving unemployment.

I mentioned the migration method to my suit, and to my complete amazement, he thought I was younger than I am. He said, ‘When someone goes from here to there it doubles the average IQ on both sides the Tasman.’ I was stunned at the idea that he would voice that as being his own idea, and felt moved to mention that, ‘Yes, that’s what Muldoon said, and see where that got us.’

Apparently the suit (an ex-aussie himself) was of the opinion that in almost no time at all swarms ex-pats and their whanau will be back here to the land of the long flat white and honey. Mossies no more, we’ll be re-united, brothers in arms, red men … oh good grief, just no. I could see on the faces of the people around listening to the conversation that they were convinced they were in some sort of Tui ad, and that any minute now they were going the collectively shout, ‘YEAH, RIGHT!’

You know, thing I can never understand is how kids who are perfectly normal, fun, goofy, bumbling in a good way, vibrant and generally worthy people (i.e. real) at high school grow into conniving, word spinning, inhumane and at times, just downright stupid (i.e. unreal) in their adulthood. Does work – having a job do that to you?

I try to not buy into the illuminarti/new world order/masonic conspiracy but I cannot see what the payoff is. I’m unconvinced. Perhaps it’s greed. Perhaps it’s peer pressure. A desire for status. Craving credibility with the in-crowd. A media construct. Subliminal messages in the media. If enough people buy in to the Emperor’s new clothes group think takes over.

Pulling at an errant thread then, as much as I like the idea of being able to bike the length of the country – I am quite tempted by that idea I have to say – without the fear of being hammered by road traffic going through the bottleneck that is Auckland, and the other big cities – that I don’t really see New Zealand’s unemployment woes on the horizon being solved in this way. It’d be great, but let’s not pretend this’ll really do much provide widespread employment. Unlike if every Government business unit simply went to full staffing. Many business units are short staffed, and have been so for years. I don’t understand how a country can go from bleating about a shortage of skilled staff to increasingly strident bleats that companies are over-staffed in just a few months. I don’t understand why the Government doesn’t stop using foreign-owned banks instead of KiwiBank. Despite the seeming paucity of ideas (200 people, one day, 21 points – hey I wasn’t there perhaps it was fantastic and the points are incredible), the NZ Herald patriotically report: Mr Key said everybody who attended the summit had taken a risk, “but you put the interests of your country ahead of yourself or your organisation”.

Yeah, right.