Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dating and Intimacy via the Internet

The Internet has had a profound impact on society’s dating and intimacy traditions. As the Internet has become effortlessly accessible, it is no longer solely incorporated into our lives, yet it is built-in, as the services and resources it offers have become intertwined in our every day life. In this essay I will describe and explain how life is experienced now through Internet-mediated activities of information and communication with reference to dating; with the use of the internet we experience freedom of access and a greater access to information and are able to delve into levels of intimacy reinforcing our relationships.

The Internet is no longer a highway of information; it is now a lifestyle enhancement. With the amalgamation of social media sites into our everyday lives we have the right to use it for our personal benefit, by interlacing social media sites such as Facebook as a system to maintain contact with people whom a person already knows and to also form a relationship with someone whom we have just met assisting it become key ways in which we encourage relationships to form and also enhance intimacy (Stephure, Boon, MacKinnon & Deveau, 2009). The Internet persistently encourages us to take advantage of these conveniences simply because of the ease of access to networking sites and therefore dating via the Internet is now a socially acceptable behaviour. With these merits alone our dating choices and habits are no longer what they have been in the past. Prior to the integration of the Internet into our everyday lives, meeting new people required plenty of hit and misses, effort and possible public humiliation because “…finding a romantic partner typically required that individuals meet face to face before they could get to know one another and determine their compatibility as a couple.” (Stephure et al, 2009) But in recent years, our lifestyles have changed. We take more on board and we rely significantly on technology to take some of that burden which is then only natural for culture to alter in regards to dating and maintain a dating relationship. With the use of emails and status posts we can let those whom we love or are simply interested in know how we feel. The trust on technology would interfere in the natural transfer of emotions if the interactions were done only via the Internet: it is not healthy to rely exclusively on technology for interaction. Just as we use a telephone, a card, email or a Facebook wall post to maintain contact, we must continue to provide ourselves with the avid exchange that face-to-face provide. “Some recent studies have found Internet use to be associated with increased local and distant social circles and face-to-face interactions with friends and family” (Boneva, B., Kraut, R., Frohlich, D. 2001) So it must be said that Internet-mediated interactions will only improve those already established relationships and help form those that are no yet formed. Broadbent (2009) suggests that social media [blogs, Facebook, and Twitter] promote greater intimacy between individuals, rather than absorbing time away from social involvement, as it brings another element within inter-personal relationships that coincides with the level of technology that members of society experience, thus attracting new ideas and pushing technology to be within everyday behaviour and matters.

The Internet offers access to information and diversity of Internet dating sites. These facilitate users to be selective and permitting awareness of choices and to take advantage by offering niche dating. For example, if you are interested in dating only someone who is environmentally conscious Green-Passions provides a social network for those looking to socialize with environmentally conscious, eco-friendly singles. (Green-Passions, 2010) If you are interested in meeting someone close to you, you have the option of searching for those who are geographically nearby, as is someone of the same religion or within a particular age group by selecting sites which single out those requisites. There is greater access to particulars when using the Internet and it tolerates cliques which in a face to face environment may be seen as antisocial behaviour. The enormous amount of knowledge and data than one can obtain from using the Internet increases the chances to come across that which we are after, which can seem like a capricious desire, but from infancy we are lead to want to believe that we need another someone to become whole. Friedrich Halm wrote “Two souls with but a single thought, two hearts that beat as one” (n.d), which, personally, leads me to think that I need to find someone with whom to think as one, and if I use the Internet as a way to do banking, check movie times and buy inconsequential items, I would not overlook it to find my companion, which is, by my understanding nothing but fundamental.

Internet dating is no longer a new craze. “Its easy, it’s convenient. It’s not as intimidating as the real world” (Kingston, 2009). With the ease of availability, the Internet in homes, workplaces and included into our mobile devices, users benefit from the freedom of information that may lead to a lasting and true relationship. However, one must not believe that this method alone will establish a lasting true relationship. One must assume that during this process unwanted results may and will arise due, but it does expose you to people you might not otherwise run into (Kingston, 2009) so just like any other task performed offline, the online equivalent will have the same repercussions. What happen online does not stay online anymore, seeing as the Internet and our lives are a cluster of sequences which have become so intertwined, that online is no longer constrained to have specific meaning in regards to computer technology and telecommunications mainly due to the access we control, aided by devices such as the Smartphones which are more than telephones, as Steinberg (2009) points out “It’s a cellular phone that does more than just make calls to the point that it can actually serve as a functional laptop or desktop replacement” and as a result the Internet becomes more recognisable as a lifestyle feature which is interlaced within our interpersonal relationships.

Anonymity is something that the Internet offers without restraint. When engaging in conversation, in this particular case by using tools such as instant messengers, the user is secured from society by being in the comfort of their own home or workplace. This anonymity allows for a lack of inhibitions within a society that puts so much pressure on physical appearance, appropriate behaviour and political correctness. One could be habitually sitting at a desk in their pyjamas actively contributing to an insightful conversation, allowing the other party to be consumed by their input without feeling the need to address issues of attire, sitting positions or personal space. The movie Sleepless in Seattle (Foster & Ephron, 1993) portrays this situation, where the heroine of the movie, Annie Reed, logs into her computer to check her emails in her pyjamas, subsequently we see her tucked in bed chatting and sharing moments of intimacy with a member of the opposite sex without guard, as the anonymity facilitates the ability to share her feelings.

As with any relationship, be it amorous or platonic, one must take on the responsibility to nourish it, to bring constructive behaviours and to be able to make it grow; Internet imparts another level with which to do this. Popular instant messaging software Skype incorporates video calls and markets this by saying “Share a smile, blow a kiss, explain an idea or just gaze longingly – free video calls with Skype are the next best thing to being there” (2010) and with slogans such as these, you cannot help but want to be able to share emotions when those you care for are not at arms length. With technology’s advance, web cameras capture more than the blurry movement and we are kept amused with the ability to produce intimate moments. The levels of intimacy are heightened with the use of Web 2.0 as I can post status, tweets and send links that remind me about him, for whom my heart beats.

At some stage we will find ourselves far from loved ones and when a phone call isn’t enough we can take part in the multitude of ways in which the Internet deepens these connections. Not only does it does it encourage intimacy within a romantic connection, but in fact, enriches intimacy of all the relationships a person can have. By ways of social media our sharing experience becomes alive even though the medium is somewhat virtual, since the relationships are real and that is what transcends the invisible barriers between online and offline. Stephure et al (2009) suggests these barriers may be overlooked by younger people as they have grown up within this cyber-culture However, with the younger population utilizing virtual methods to communicate with those that who have been socializing without the use on internet-mediated activities or devices it is possible to create an involvement across ages, making it possible that intimacy and those early bonds formed with using new media be turned into something extraordinary.

The use of computer-mediated communication have increased “friendly, dominant, and relaxed communication styles” (Birnie & Horvath, 2002) which is only a natural evolution of culture. Alexander Graham Bell (n.d) said “Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds.” He, who invented the telephone, invites normal everyday people to subject themselves to participate in this move towards the use of Internet-media, by using history as an example, and to take advantage of the richness of information which is evoked when one participates. If we become active users of said technology not only are we signing up as members but we are also satisfying the need for more intimate situations. However, this is only a way to balance our personal interactions and by no means is this to evade and bypass face-to-face interaction. When the two are utilized synchronously it is when we become part of an ethos, which makes use of technology and the echo of our feelings an analogous experience.

With the freedom to obtain information via the Internet and the availability of this information, the Internet is integrated into our lives not only for work and recreation purposes but for the more important aspects of our lives which is our personal relationships with those for whom we care. This adds substance to the relationships we choose to form and maintain. Because of the effortlessness in which we can now communicate, the Internet is readily available and it surpasses gender and age to fulfil the inquisitive nature of a human being and to interlace ones emotions with technology.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Net 102 - Assignment 1 TASK PORTFOLIO

1.                  How is the Internet part of your everyday life?
The internet plays a huge part in my life since my mid teens, but in recent years it has had a far greater impact with the use of WiFi and 3G enabled devices such as laptops, iPhone and gaming consoles. I can sit on the couch while watching tv and be on my laptop. I can post a status on Facebook as well as transfer money while I’m in the supermarket queue. If I have a query I can verify the answer by Google-ing and often while at the cinemas I use, a popular movie database website to search the actor whom I am certain I have seen in another movie.
Every morning when I wake up, after I turn off my alarm, I check my tweets as I am absolutely involved in Twitter and use it as my main source of random information. I use Foursquare to ‘check-in’ to places and therefore also can see my ‘friends’ check-ins. If I find myself without the use of internet its almost as if I become non-existent and a few times I have received phone calls asking me where I am since I have no posted anything. I have a blog and an account on Flickr and countless accounts on popular sites such as YouTube, DailyBooth, eBay and StumbleUpon. With all certainty, I can say that the internet and my life go hand in hand.
2.                  How is the Internet part of the everyday life of other people in society?
In my society most of the people with whom I actively associate have integrated the Internet as part of their every day life. This has to do mainly because of the age group I am in and also because of the lifestyles of people and their interests. Some of my peers use the internet just for work; others might be equally involved as I am. My own society dictates that the internet be an integral part of daily life. We use it for the mundane, essential and vital.
As a general outlook on society, in a country like Australia, we can safely say that to keep in contact, promote business and to have a part in culture one must be open to incorporate the internet into their lives by: using it, participating in it and building it.
3.                  How is your experience of the Internet different from the people around you?
As stated prior, most of the people that I connect with are equally involved in using the internet and all that it offers. In recent years I have seen tremendous growth in the integration of what Web 2.0 can provide, with businesses and corporations building around the new services and allowing their customers to use these features by integrating them through social networks and hand held devices.
Those around me, just as I am, are taking advantage of the new technology. Even though some might not take as much advantage as I do, they certainly do experience the new tools such as internet banking and online shopping. My experience is more involved; I rely completely in getting my information from the internet.

TASK 1.1 - Topic 1.1: Music: I Want My MP3

What role does music play in your life and does it mesh with any of the practices and meanings described in the readings?

Music plays a huge part in my life. Every significant event in my life has a link to a song or a tune. When I hear the tune of a favorite children’s TV show, for instance, feelings of comfort and fun build up in my chest. When I hear a song that reminds me of a sad occasion I am known to shed a tear. Also in the day to day, the mundane tasks are always accompanied by a few Latin tracks which help keep up the pace. I created a special playlist for when I go for a walk; something strong but not too fast so that I can strut to the beat. The songs have meaning and they make me want to walk to the next block.
That I can take my music with me instills a sense of ease, comfort and reassurance; no matter the situation I might find myself, be it uncomfortable or stressful for instance, I know that by plugging myself to my iPod can infuse me with my own world even though I am surrounded with that which isn’t my first choice.

Are your tastes shared with other people or groups that you are in contact with?

When I was a teenager my music tastes dictated who my friends where. I could pick out the people that listened to the same music as I did by the clothes they wear. In high school this was near impossible at first sight since a uniform would often hide the clues, but as soon as I had a good look at a person, small details would give it away. We would exchange $40 CD’s and record them onto cassette tapes. We would wait for an album to hit the store and hope that there were enough copies left. So definitely, when in high school my peers where those that shared my tastes in music, primarily because of the limited availability of music. By the time I was in tertiary school mp3 files were becoming more and more available; however I was still connecting my audio card to the auxiliary input on my stereo so that I could record the music that I had downloaded. Not only my tastes in music were shared but also the way I acquired my music. Now that any genre of music is readily available for download my tastes have shifted. I now consider myself an eclectic. My ‘core genre’ is still the same as it was when I was a teenager, but as I have easy and quick access to obscure bands or different varieties of music I am happy to listen to them all. My most played songs on iTunes can range from late 70’s Latin ballads to Top 40 hits of the last week. The ease availability has made my music collection a vast one and severely varied, which often mirrors that of those who I am generally in contact with.
How do you usually 'pick up' a musician/band or song?

I use sites like Last.Fm to suggest songs to me depending on my tastes, iTunes also does a very good job in linking me to new bands and it offers free downloads during a set time so that I can get a taste of a new band. I enjoy looking at the #nowplaying hash tags on Twitter which lists tweets where users share what they are currently listening to. As well as Blip.Fm tweets.
Soundtracks sometimes lead me to a great band. A good example of this is the movie Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging. In a particular scene they play a beautiful song which immediately captivated me. I pause the movie and started Shazam, an iPhone and iPod Touch application that uses the microphone to record a clip of a song: It listens to it, analyzes it and almost always comes back with the name of the song, album and name of artist/band. It also allows you to share this via social media so that others can benefit from your find. I have discovered many bands and artists this way.

Do you download music, watch videos with music, and reveal your tastes in online profiles and applications?

The same way that I find songs, I too share my finds. As previously stated, I use Shazam, an iPhone application and share on Twitter and/or Facebook. I have a Blip.Fm account which is linked to my Twitter account. By using certain Facebook applications, such as LivingSocial, I am able to list my “5 favorite songs of all times” or “5 Bands/Artists I cannot stop listening to at the moment”. Friends comment, like and we communicate about a particular song or concert. Social media has become a way for me to share specific things such as music without having to rub it in people’s face or by having they ask me.

TASK 1.2 - Topic 1.2: Games: At Work, No One Knows I am a Wizard
What are the implications of the rise of casual and social games for online gaming and everyday life?
Casual and social gaming has become increasingly integrated with online gaming. And gaming in general has become part of the everyday life.
Communities have come adapt to all sorts of users, and not just the token nerds which these here known to host. Now everyone belongs to a gaming community. For instance, my mother plays Bejewelled Blitz on popular social networking site Facebook. She is in a league and has battles and plays tournaments against her friends. At times the frustration gets the better of her that she yells to the virtual jewels. Against the vast gaming community, a group of people playing a virtual puzzle game on Facebook may seem as if it does not have an impact on online gaming yet if we take a step back and look at most online users, we all participate in some sort of gaming.
In recent years game consoles have become equipped to connect to the internet wirelessly. The download of games onto the consoles is part of the gaming experience. Interacting with other users and playing against them by using the internet creates a community and collaborates to the use of online gaming. People can interact while playing a single game of Tetris or become a tribe and battle in Tetris arenas. Racing against an opponent in a different country is as normal as playing tag with a neighbour. Online gaming has become part of everyday life with devices like the iPhone and the Nintendo DS, users are those who engage in casual games or are strict game players. The line between these two has become almost non-existent.
TASK 1.3 - Topic 1.3: Dating, Intimacy and Sexuality
How far would a partner/spouse have to go online before it is considered cheating?

Relationships are a personal matter. The dynamics are completely determined by the subculture that both parties in the relationship have brought together. And this subculture is therefore determined by own culture and the surroundings that they’ve been brought up in.
In saying this, there is a socially acceptable behavioural law that relationships must abide by. Personally, I feel uncomfortable then my partner looks at another girl so to me the online equivalent would be subtle conversation that could be interpreted as to have sexual undertones. While cheating face to face, for me would start with holding deep and meaningful looks, online this would be on par to registering with a dating site; by marketing yourself as single and available.
Online things happen far faster than face to face. Emails are exchanged. Statuses are posted on social networking sites, photographs are taken and sent. Small things like this can equate to a real relationship in person. One email could be dinner. A poke could be the same as grabbing coffee. A DM might be a suggestive text message.

Up to what point is flirting online acceptable?

There are two sides to online communication even if one is not communicating in real-time. The persons involved in the communication choose how much he/she will accept. Online involvement is voluntary and one should not be made to feel uncomfortable during these moments of interaction. If a person is naturally flirty face to face why would this not be acceptable while interacting online? It is all in the context and those involved in the content of the transfer of ideas. As an active member of an online community, which falls into a state of ‘virtual’ and be taken to mean non-existent, I am adamant to make to as real an experience as possible. However, as presented to me by a close friend, Marco Gonzalez
anonymity gives you some sort of advantages versus real life flirting and rejection is easier to get over on the net than face to face”. So, in my perspective, it’s acceptable to the point where you are comfortable. After that you are in the right to block, delete and tag as spam.
How 'real' is cybersex?
If those involved in it are a couple who have been together for 12 years, their online experience only mimics their interpersonal relationship. Their online rendezvous will add to that which they have when they are face to face in a familiar and private environment. In contrast, if two people who have never met decide to engage in any sort of cyber-sexual activity the experience is limited to only a fantasy. Their time spent ‘together’ is only a figment of their imagination; there is no depth to their encounter, it’s purely for entertainment purposes and as soon as the time is up it becomes another act of online participation. These two examples can then be broken up again into how the parties decide to remember the experience. Cybersex is as real as those involved make it.

TASK 1.4 - Topic 1.4: Health: What My Doctor Didn't Tell Me
Researching a health enquiry and using Internet applications.
I have chosen to research ‘Lice’ as in recent days there has been a notice sent to households about a lice outbreak in the area and children attending day-care, kinder and schools would be most at risk. Instinctively I look up the word Lice on Google. The first entry is a sponsored link which will surely take me to a store. Then there are several images of lice and their eggs which I do not need to see. A few entries later and I have found that Better Health has a page dedicated to this topic.
I want to know how to treat head lice if my child becomes in contact with them and how to prevent it. I found that the site informed me the exact amount I needed to know without being graphic or overly scientific. It provides ways in which I can check for louse and their eggs and how I can treat it.
Choosing to just Google the word Lice was always going to provide me with the most information but possibly not the right one. I didn't click on the first few; however, I did look for the sites that were relevant to my region, and those that would suggest products that I could find in my local chemist.
I have used this website before and I find that it is easy to navigate, its simple and doesn't use overly scientific explanations. It informs users on a variety of health topics that can range from very simple everyday health such as diet and sleep to more serious and uncommon diseases such as Malaria. On the home page there is a slide show which links to certain health topics which would be relevant to the time of the year.
This site is the Victorian Department of Health site. It also links to This website will also inform users of the current health issues that involve the Victorian health department and its current plans, new hospital and health community infrastructure as well as offering information to people’s concerns with health questions
Wikipedia offers a more scientific approach to my Lice problem. It shows me its biology and their classification; which is something that at first I don't need to know, although it appeals to me after I have decided how to treat the lice matter I may be involved in. I thoroughly value the links and the never-ending ability to jump from one topic to another via the links.

TASK 1.5 - Topic 1.5: Faith and Spirituality Online
Analyse and discuss the interrelation between faith, spirituality, daily life and the Internet.
Every human being believes in something, some one and in themselves. If we use the internet to research recipes then why not use it to involve your religion.
Each person applies their religion differently. If you live by your religion and you use the internet regularly then there is a higher chance that you will be part of a community of users that are involved in online discussions of that particular religion, or that you will be an active watcher of a YouTube channel that promotes messages via videos.
The interrelation between faith, spirituality, daily life and the Internet depends on how involved one is in their chosen faith. How much conviction they have and also how involved one’s chosen faith is on the Internet. The Internet will offer countless ways to find knowledge, to share it and to promote it. It is up to the individual to use this power given thru the use of the internet and to apply it.
By believing and following a particular faith’s convictions, certain sites may be out of bounds, may not be an allowed practice or may quite simply be non-essential to living by ones principles. Other faiths will vigorously take advantage of the power the internet gives by using it as a means to target specific principles and to maintain communication with its members by having several sited dedicated to their values and present their beliefs in ways that can be accessed thru several media outlets.
When the printing press was invented, it allowed information to be passes on. With the industrial revolution, churches and institutions used the availability to print by printing bibles and booklets advising people, informing and giving power to the people with written knowledge. With the addition of audio media these resources were also used, as well slides and as moving image. Not one of us who has an email address has become immune to receiving forwarded messages which try to instil a sense of spirituality via a few rhyming lines and Photoshoped landscapes with angel pictures. Often with the clause that one must pass it on within one hour or else the Titans will be let lose.
By using the internet to encourage member participation of a particular faith and help endorse the message all that this is doing is advancing in the use of the current technology. If printing Bibles was revolutionary in the 1800’s then Churches and Religious Institutions should take advantage of what the internet has to offer.
With the vast media that Web 2.0 uses, the integration of faith and the internet becomes almost impossible to distinguish. It pushes us to incorporate it in our daily lives as we do with our banking, shopping, movie watching and music listening.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Twitter... I too overshare!

Ok, so these last few weeks I became more and more involved with Twitter.
And, for those that dont know what Twitter is, its a mini-blogging site where you declare issues, feelings, views etc to the Twitterverse. You can join and have followers and follow ppl or you can just stalk!
But, enough with the explanation. What I want to talk about is how I seriously think I will need some sort of help with my Twiddiction! Yes, thats right! Anything remotely associated with Twitter will start with 'TWI'.
The whole idea is to shoot random, or not so much, messages into Twittervers and hope for a reply or someone who has the same idea as you, however, I have found myself Tweeting in my head wishing I could share every single second of my existence. For instance, I was bringing in the mail and I thought -I am bringing in the Mail. Wonder if these bills will be as bad as last month...- Something undeniably haphazardous yet so incessantly important... not!
With popular sites like Facebook, MySpace and DailyBooth we have become a society where we vent everything. We post all our doings, share our pictures with people we dont know and let total strangers know of our next move.
And if airing out our dirty laundry wasnt enough, we stalk people that also do it. We follow celebrities and kids from YouTube. I say we, but I really mean me!
All this compulsive sharing has made me believe that rater than becoming more a society who doesnt interact, the primary social status is that of a society without privacy. -I just arrived at Glenferry Station. Headed to the doctor- Thank you for letting me know, I so wanted to know when your next appointment was.
Perhaps its not a bad thing. I work with touching up photos and so when I post on DailyBooth there is absolutely no retouching. NONE. And it can be a little scary but it does make me more honest. Also, I find that I can be totally honest with people I dont know, since they have no expectations of me.
So I'd like to say -Hi! This is me at 8:30am. Yes, this is what I look like when I've had only 3 hours of sleep and I wanted to tell you that I dont think I will get this project finished in time and that I have run out of butter.
I know that this information isnt important to you, nor to me in the grand scheme of things, but it makes me feel noteworthy, if only for the seconds it took me to type it. And maybe, just maybe that is the cornerstone of this overly-sharing society which I am trying so hard to stay part of. We share because we like others knowing about us. We've become shameless sharers not caring if our pic ends up on someones site. We dont care if so and so knows when I missed the bus. What we do care is someone, anyone listening to us. With so many gadgets and introvertive tasks we take upon oursleves, it was bound to make us find an escape route. And here it its: Twitter!
So for all of you a litte reserved and shy post something totally random that has no real impact on your privacy, and for those wanting to contribute something with more substance share your thoughts on real issues. Whichever they may be, real in the world or just to you.
Become part of the Twitterati*, Live in Twitterville and meet other Tweeple!

vdehejia to for introducing me to this word!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Consequences and the downpour of reactions

Some of you may, at some point, done something or said something that carried with it not too good consequences. You may have spoken about someone to someone else who was best friends with the first someone. Eaten bad curry. Worn unwashed jeans, and realized the stain is much more visible at noon... the list is endless. But have you ever caused so much damage that you do not know what to do with yourself?

Simple actions can have such immense reactions when you do not measure the risks. And the severity of the consequences is so great that it is unmeasurable.
I have just learnt of the outcome of horrific tragedy.
A father teaching his son to drive.
A normal action. One that many of us have been through.
An everyday task, but a high risk. The teenage boy was un-licenced and underage. It was a sunday afternoon, and lots of families were out.

Taking all these risks into consideration where not a priority for the boy's father. As he was the adult the decision making was in his hands.

11 days later mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters are suffering.
One decision has caused such grievous loss. Complete pain. Uttermost anguish. The echo of this pain has reached even those that were not close to the immediately affected.

Insignificant actions. Common everyday tasks will at some point produce tortuous reactions. One step in the wrong direction could in fact dissemble upon a whole community.

Lets measure the risks in our actions so that the reaction is that of a favorable outcome. Measure the importance of the action against the value within a bigger perspective.

Our lives aren't forever. But they are precious.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Water. A luxury.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Over the weekend I read an article that explained how far we have gone with luxury items. Water, apparently, has become one.
When I was in high school my luxury items were things like a can of Dr. Pepper and Crinkle Cut Salt and Vinegar chips. At Uni it was the extra CD or the rave tickets I could afford. A few years later I would splurge on a $40 MAC eyeshadow. Or a L'occitane soap or Lavender Water for my sheets.
Now with a small child and me only working sporadically (not for lack of work but lack of time) the list has of course gotten longer, items more pricey and perhaps, for lack of a better word, necessary. Things like Homer Hudson ice cream, wrinkle cream. Egyptian Sheets.Cocoa Butter, Salmon. More perfumes. Designer bags and Matrix hair products all make an appearance. I also like my daughter to have Innoxa toiletries which aren't expensive, but there is a cheaper alternative; most likely with the same result.
So in one sentence, I am a person that likes to indulge in the little things. You may consider my list to be quite normal or maybe outrageous. But its my list.
I was, however, horrified. No, dumbfounded. Surprised even, to learn that water is a luxury item. And I am not talking about the drought, global warming or over use. No. I am talking about 750mls bottles of water costing as much as $91.

I had the same reaction as you did.

Most of us live according to our paycheck. The cars we drive reflect our lifestyle most of the time. What we eat, where we live. Even what we drink. But water?
Johnny Davis writer in the Weekend, Herald Sun Saturday April 26, 2008 wrote -"In the last 20 years our bottled water consumption has grown 1000-fold. Last year we spent $385 million on 252 million litres of water. Americans go through more bottled water than coffee, milk or beer."
He goes on to tell us the variety of waters you can buy. Did you know that some LA five star hotels are employing water sommeliers to advise on the best water to accompany your braised pork or fillet or trouffled leek. People need other people to tell them what water will make their food go down.
I drink water to keep me hydrated, to quench my thirst and to keep me alive. I would assume that Bling H20, Elsenham water, 10 Thousand BC, or any of these designer waters do anything but that. Tap water does exactly what I want it to do and at $1 and $1.20 a tonne I would be deluded not to drink my own water and with the added bonus that its home delivered.
I would be a hypocrite to say that I have never bought water. I have even splurged $10 at a club for what seemed to be a miniature sample of Perrier, which I thought was one of the most expensive up until last weekend. But this is too far.
So who will we blame for this scandal? Is it Duncan McFie who started bottling King Island water, in Tasmania called Cloud Juice and sells it for $21 for 750mls. Or Michael Johnstone, who found, under his Jam factory, a "pure confined aquifer" which is apparently the best water you can find. That is if you can afford $68 for 750mls. Volcanic water from New Zealand will set you back $48.
The $91 bottle is Bling H20, wich comes in a frosted-glass bottle with Swarovsky crystals applied by hand. Launched by Kevin G. Boyd, a Hollywood producer. Apparently its for the luxury consumer.
Should we point the finger at the consumer then? They guy who orders a $300 bottle of champagne and it stupid enough to buy water for almost a third of that. Considering that Bling H20 came in at a pitiful 22nd place in a blind taste test run by Decanter, the wine connoisseur's magazine its the most ridiculous way to spend almost $100, no matter how many of them you have! Tap water came in at number 3.
Do we blame the overindulgent nature that we have acquired? The instant gratification society we live in and the constant urge to have something better than the next person. More, better. Overpriced.
In retrospect, its just water. What do we say to our ancestors who would walk for days trying to find water? Who do we answer to when we have proof that this is our sole survival tool and we have bottled it and sold it to the highest bidder?
How do we accept this behavior and call it luxury? The most basic item to our survival and we have reduced its magnificence to the most lowest of those items: a commodity.

I will opt out and spend on a pretty bottle and fill it with tap water!

Thanks for reading!

Some samples but too expensive to share

The bottle is pretty tho!

Deep Sea water... Salty water?

NZ's 420 Volcanic @$48

Made here in Australia @$21

From a small town in England behind landfill @$68

Retrieved from melted ice in British Columbia's coastal glacial range. @$34

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

How close is too close?

Recently, on a trip up the road to the beach (i exaggerate, I did drive) I was sitting inside my sun shelter enjoying a mate (no, not a friend... a Mah-Teh) with mum and suddenly out pops another sun shelter... RIGHT NEXT TO OURS... HUH??
View from my shelter... ROOMY!

So, I asked myself: How close is too close? I stood up to see whether I had missed the millions of people packing the beach that morning since there obviously was no more room left on the sand than the timidly small tight space between my tent and the other party's. Which was about 10 feet away. And to my disbelief, and sudden revelation I saw that there was about 100+ meters of beach left to the other side...
You can see eternity from here

We are a family of Three and we take to the beach a car full including shelter, chairs, bags, food, water, inflatable toys (of the "beach" kind) boogie boards... list is endless. This was a family of five, so you can imagine the amount of things they had.
I believe the whole family was mute and blind, given that they could not see the miles of empty beach left in front of them or hear me make a comment in regards to the endless amount of sand left.

Not only did they plonk their belongings in front of our tent, but also managed to be touching with the other shelter, who where two families with young children (who we all know need all the room that can get)
They're disregard for public places was incredibly incredible... and even tho you are thinking I am making a huge deal out of this, I tell you, I am not. They put all their belongings into possition and went for a swim. Then we had to put of with a 7 yo brat who wouldnt stop crying about not getting her way with the waves. I know all the details, they were so close it was like having them inside out shelter... I have proof!
We are the shelter on the right... The intruders are the middle tent

So, I ask you again: How close is too close?
Is it ok to set up camp in the neigbouring site when there is 97% of the beach left?
Is it ok to scatter your beach gear around your tent where there is no room? No
Should you be allowed to go to the beach if you cannot discern between full and empty, too little too much?
Enough said.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Despite the glorious days we've been having, I am certain that todays weather is just a representation on how thousands of people are feeling today. I think of the mothers, wives and children. Husbands, friends and relatives who today are remembered once more. Those who have subsequently ached in pain in attacks in other parts of the globe. I think of those individuals that cannot find reassurance that tomorrow is another day; and who will continue to mourn. As we remember those who lost their lives and those who are without loved ones I have a feeling that we have misplaced the impact that it has had on modern society. It has been 6 years since that horrible morning and it all seems a little surreal.
I know we have not forgotten those that committed such horrid acts, yet the notion of payback is so limited, due to the unsubstantial effects revenge has had. We, as a society, have achieved nothing more than adding to the death toll and inflicting more pain onto families of countries that have already suffered enough. I believe that if people or countries do not take up the offer of help even though they are drastically in need of it, we should surrender to their stubborn and masochistic lives and let them exist just they way they want. This of course can only be possible if avaricious nations and their politics are put aside and we start to think of the greater good rather than what is best for ourselves.

There are those who continue to believe that more lives must perish to serve a purpose which most of us have failed to comprehend. Some whose sole purpose is to obliterate the beliefs of christian society; our lifestyles and ways of thinking. Trained men and women who have been persuaded to trust that this is their exclusive purpose. However outrageous or contradicting to our ways of thinking, we should not regard mediocre their determination and tenacity to achieve these acts. If we as a people, we as a "western society" were as driven and motivated and were also as united as our social and moral enemy we would have the power to stand together and have more than enough valour to defeat their constant threats and attacks and to counteract the social hell they promote.

I have not forgotten the suffered, but I have forgotten the suffering and I have forgotten the power you and I have to be the bigger man. To stand down from violence and say -Enough!- To stand by what we know to be true which is that we all deserve to live and that we are here to do just that.
Nothing is guaranteed except death but we can try to be a guarantor for peace and humanity.

The clean up continues at Ground Zero in New York City, Thanksgiving Day, 2001.