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It's been a long time!

Hi there, readers! It's been ages since I last wrote here due to a number of reasons of which I shall fill you in on now and then some things you can see from me this year.

Brisbane Twestival Local, September 2009

Oh, Christ! How this was a busy time for me. I wish I'd written about this earlier. But it pretty much went off with a bang and I'm still proud of how everyone worked well on it. My first major event as king pin and I think I did a pretty good job, despite my more natural outlook of criticising my hard work to the dickens.

March 2010 will see Twestival Global again, but due to the many activities I have planned for this year, I won't be on board the committee other than to hand over the reigns.

Regarding BTUB and Brisbane Twitter social events, I am not likely to be organising any events or managing the calendar. 2009 was my year to volunteer and now I'm likely to not have any time for it. It's been swell, tweeps, but I can't do it any more.

University

In September I applied for a Bachelor of Business (Events) at Griffith University. In December I was accepted and so in March I shall start back at study after a year out of the lecture hall. Nice, nice! Rather excited actually and looking forward to it. My completed Diploma of Events Management means a year is taken off the BBusiness, so I'm only looking at a two-year outfit.

Employment!

Get this; I have a job! A job! Employment! And it is the best job I've ever had. (They know this already, so I'm not just talking it up here for brownie points) I'm the administration officer for Women in Technology, a winner industry organisation for women in the IT, biotech, engineering... any technology career path, actually. They do some pretty awesome things (for stacks of fantastic members who pay practically nothing for the networking opportunites), and I'm rather looking forward to organising the events and programs for this year. They even let me set up Twitter and facebook for them!

Moving house

After two years in St Lucia, I've now relocated to Stones Corner on Brisbane's south-side. It means at least 50 minutes to work, uni and the boyfriend's place; but at least it's affordable and in a pretty cool area. Many thanks again to the miracle of my Twitter friends who spent one Saturday in December helping me move. That was EPIC and I will never forget the kindness of these people.

Internet Censorship

Here's my political contention of recent months (even a year). The Australian Federal Government wants in your Internet on the premise of doing Australian families' parenting for them. National mandatory Internet censorship (just think about each of those words: National. Mandatory. Censorship.) They plan to block websites which not only host illegal content but also "refused classification" content. This pretty much means content that is legal to view but is stuff that the government (or their stakeholders) don't like. Not only is it a very scary thing for future governments and citizens to adhere to and control, but it's going to be quite expensive, ineffective and... well, do you really want the government stopping your kids from getting useful information on how the world works?

I won't blog all about this today, but for more information you can check out the amazing websites of Somebody Think of the Children, Electronic Frontiers Australia and the Brisbane filter opposition.

The LoveBuckles / Drumming

This is my boyfriend's kicking band. They've had stacks of gigs lately, the most recent for my dear high school friend's 21st in Coffs Harbour, NSW. It went OFF and I feel lucky that I was there to enable it. And go on road trip. And surround the sleeping drummer with a fort of milk crates. What a bunch of lads!

As for my own musical pursuits, I'm very happy to have my drums all out and shiny for practice. For someone who started in primary school, I should really be much better and I can't wait to see improvements. You should come by for a jam one day!

And that's it!

Phew. That's the essentials for a NJ.com update. As for this website in 2010, it will be updated and mainly used for video blogs and reflections of events/business stuff learned at uni and WiT.

Internet Censorship is Totally Unsexy

After waking up today to blog posts flying backwards and forwards about Internet censorship movements by the federal government, I must venture into political territory. Just check out the Twitter stream! Sources tell us that the Australian government is blacklisting websites for the most mundane content ever. A QLD dentist? Poker? It blows my mind that the leaders of our country believe they can get away with blocking even somewhat boring content under the banner of protecting the vulnerable of the nation. And you can kiss goodbye various GMBill websites. The popular Victorian-run soft-core pornography company already warns parents to protect children on their ACMA-blacklisted adult sites AbbyWinters.com and Ishotmyself.com. I'm fairly sure that seems responsible, Mister Prime Minister.

from www.somebodythinkofthechildren.com

Having also more recent evidence that a seemingly scary sex life isn't so at all, I doubt that anyone could subscribe to the backward idea* that a vanilla sex life is the only moral one to take. It's just not cricket anymore to accept this ideology. Given this, what basis does the government have to block these "not damaged or dangerous" adults from being happy? Not a whole lot. The SMH continues:

In fact, men who take part may be happier, with results showing they score significantly lower on a scale of psychological distress than other men. The researchers did not study why this was, but suspect it might simply be that they're more in harmony with themselves because they're into something unusual and are comfortable with that.

I do not understand that when Australia spends so much money on phyciatric treatment and care for the anxious, stressed and depressed they are up in arms removing our ability to access resources which very often keep married couples together and single people satisfied. And I'm just talking about sexuality.

What can you do? A comment left here sums up a suggestion for more localised action:

Queensland Voters: You have a say coming up to voice your displeasure against Conroy's Censorship regime. Please use your vote wisely. I understand it is a "State Election", but ask yourself, who your local Labor member really represent? Do your Labor MP represent yourself, your interest and your electorate? Or do your local Labor MP just simply represent Labor Party itself? How many Labor MPs have you know to publicly oppose or discuss the actual Pros and Cons of this Censorship? (Joe of Camberwell)

Readers, please pay attention to the world that is happening around you. Your personal and private leisure time online is apparently a threat to the very fabric of society and the government doesn't like that one bit.

*and don't get me started on Pope Benedict XVI!

Brisbane No Clean Feed Rally

On Saturday I trekked over to Brisbane Square for the No Clean Feed protest. Extremely hot as usual for Queensland, I'm fairly sure that many were distracted by their quests for shade, but this wasn't too much of a feat thanks to the many signs and banners brought by attendees.

Pros

  • No rain! Yay! I was petrified it was going to bucket down. Phew.
  • Plenty of amusing signage and very relevant speakers.
  • Enthusiastic crowd of about 250. I'm sure the number estimates vary but thank God for the enthusiasm! Nothing worse than guests who don't want to be there.
  • Pamphlets given out were informative and helpful for those passing by.
  • Lots of online coverage (see below).
  • Lolitas. A key Internet subculture was represented and everybody loves a girl in black lace with a gorgeous parasol! 
  • Location was the best possible one for the time and nature of the event. Maybe the event could have been taken halfway down Queen Street Mall outside Hungry Jacks, Boost Juice and the busy newsagency stand around lunchtime. This would have attracted a lot of lunch-goers between the Myer centre and the train station, gamers at EB Games, plus travellers at bus stops along Adelaide Street. However, moving the hundreds of people at the protest might have lost a few and I am not even sure if protest legislation would have allowed for the move. (Surely it would have. Might look that one up!)

Cons

  • Guest speakers could not be heard by majority of crowd. Megaphones should have been tested at least an hour before attendees arrived. Many left after nothing could be heard.
  • A rock cover band was playing for around an hour at the top of Queen Street over the road. This meant also that little could be heard and that some people left to see what was going on elsewhere. This could have been avoided if it was possible to know if Queen Street was having any entertainment during the morning, but I am not sure this was.
  • Reports of misspellings on pamphlets. ARGH, so unprofessional. A good ol' proofread never hurt anyone!
  • Multiple unrelated lefty groups showed up and pitched tables at the protest, pushing away those who might have come but chose not to in fear of having a tree-hugger or Amnesty nerd pushing their agenda. I think it would have been only fair to ask gatecrasher groups to go elsewhere. There's enough Brisbane for all its activists!
  • Not a lot of coverage in traditional media outside two or three quick news stories and one or two small newspaper articles. Or maybe this is good, I'm not sure what organisers were expecting.

Just a note on the geek in-jokes on t-shirts and signage. They were funny of course to most people there, but there is no point to this if it isolates your target audience. I'd say a lot of people walking by (the very people the protest was aimed at getting onside) were quite confused about what was going on and hence walked as quickly as possible past the geekery as if it was a disease. The news only reports after the fact; no one else will drag the event through the crowds quite like positive marketing of course. 

For other viewpoints and coverage of the protest, David Jackmanson has done a great job of collating them, included is Ashley Kyd's post which I quite like.