Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Home & Away - Lesbian Kiss!!!


FFS who really cares... this seems to be more of media frenzy than anything else and part of what really amuses me. There was a public kiss in at Federation Square last night.

Although hundreds were expected, about 20 people - gay and straight - gathered and locked lips as the soap went to air.

And further,

She said she was disappointed that some gay people did not go to the the "big communal pash'' at Federation Square because they were concerned for their jobs.

"A lot of my friends didn't show up to tonight's event, or didn't want to show up ... because they were afraid to be photographed,'' she said.

"And they work in the public sector, or with children, or as teachers, and were very afraid of their faces being shown in that regard.''

I can in part understand this aspect... but did she maybe consider that either a) people really really don't care - I mean it is Home & Away after all... who still watches that? or b) people had better things to do on a Tuesday night.

It's a strange world at times isn't it?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Government gets tough on executive salaries

I'm going to cut & paste from a forum post (sorry but I'm being lazy!)

I don't get this government - I really don't...

Welcome to Ruddonomics...

Originally Posted by theaustralian
WAYNE Swan has dramatically moved to curb executive salaries by moving to cap the level of "golden handshakes" available to departing company directors.
Treasurer Wayne Swan

Speaking this afternoon, the Treasurer announced that shareholder approval would now be required where a golden handshake to a departing executive exceeded one year's base salary.

The current law had allowed termination payments to reach up to seven times a director's total annual remuneration package before shareholder approval was required.

Mr Swan issued a blunt warning to executives to match company performance with remuneration.

“The Government does expect you to do the right thing by the community or the country,” Mr Swan said.


Now I can't say I'm a fan personally of the big payments to executives but this seems to be yet another populist move by the government. Oh quick we have to be seen to do something!!!! Let's see what the ACA/TT polls are saying... LET'S GET THE COMPANY EXECUTIVES!!!!


I really don't understand how this is going to help solve the economic crisis but thanks Mr Swan & Mr Rudd - I understand you are at least doing something!

I have to agree with this op-ed though
Originally Posted by theaustralian
HONESTLY, how is this going to support the Australian economy in its time of need? How will giving shareholders the right to block excessive payouts to departing executives save the country from recession now, or at any time in the future?

Doesn't Wayne Swan have bigger issues to deal with than a few fat cats milking an otherwise workable system?

Executive salaries are an area where politicians are perfectly entitled to have a view. Bashing Pacific Brands' Sue Morphet undoubtedly appeals to Labor's working families. But it's not an area that needs their heavy-handed legislative intervention.

The onus should be on the corporate sector -- if it wants the support and goodwill of the community -- to weed out the carpet-baggers and prove it does not need such intervention.

There are, unfortunately, examples of egregious payouts to executives who failed abysmally, sometimes leaving behind the smoking ruins of once-great companies. They are high profile but they are the exception. Where is Swan's evidence that abuse of the system is widespread? (Presumably, that's what the inquiry will uncover.)

The Treasurer's proposed new law -- under which any termination payout worth more than one year's base salary would be subject to a binding shareholder vote -- would not, for example, capture Sol Trujillo's coming $3 million golden goodbye.

The fact is, the current system of giving shareholders a non-binding vote on executive salaries (which boards are free to ignore) generally works. Some companies still thumb their nose at the will of shareholders. In 2007, Telstra, for example, ignored the votes of two thirds of its investors when it pressed ahead with a generous executive remuneration scheme. The $10.7 million payout to OZ Minerals' Owen Hegarty was particularly galling.

But many companies have been shamed into winding back termination payouts to their executives -- so-called golden parachutes -- fearful of an embarrassing protest vote. And besides, it's easier to ignore the will of shareholders when your stock and profits are going up. Expect a significantly louder round of shareholder protests when remuneration comes up during this year's annual general meeting season. The system and boards haven't yet been truly tested in a bear market.

In publicly listed companies, shareholders get a binding vote on the selection of their directors. They entrust those directors to appoint executives to run the company for the good of shareholders. That includes setting appropriate salaries. If the board fails, shareholders can get rid of them. It's not perfect -- and it does make it difficult to punish failed executives who've long left companies -- but it works.

At least shareholders get to vote every year. Where's the annual vote for taxpayers who have been forced to fund significant “termination” payments -- guaranteed super at 75 per cent of salary -- to failed politicians?

An inquiry into executive remuneration probably isn't a bad thing. Any system that better ties pay to the long-term performance of companies -- rather than unsustainable short-term financial or stock price gain -- should be encouraged.

But will a binding vote on termination payouts actual lead to better corporate behaviour or lower salaries for executives? Sure, a bigger part of their pay might be made up of shares and options, which better reflect the performance of their company. An alternative, however, is for boards to simply shift a chunk of remuneration from the binding component of the package (termination payments) to the non-binding component (everything else).

That just means paying useless executives more for longer. And it's often difficult to tell exactly how bad an executive's been until long after they've left the building.


We can all rest assured that the Government is out there tackling the really big issues!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Melbourne's Docklands

There's been a bit of press coverage lately about Melbourne's Docklands - firstly via Melbourne City's new Lord Mayor saying the planning of Docklands should be handed over to the City of Melbourne away from the developers (probably not a bad idea...). Then the age ran a rather comprehensive feature on Docklands...

I hate the age...

Apart from some rather daft and amusing comments my favourites being...

"And just as we should tolerate people of different ethnicities, of different religious beliefs and sporting beliefs, for God's sake, why can't we tolerate, embrace and celebrate people who want to live that sort of inner-city apartment, Friends, and Seinfeld-type lifestyle.

"It's Friends and Seinfeld versus Neighbours."

Nevermind that Docklands is NOTHING like Manhattan... but we can work with this for now. The other thing is that inner-city living has been around for ages.

And then this corker:

Kirner says a couple of fantastic restaurants and proximity to the CBD, as well as potentially great views from the wheel, are the Docklands key assets.
Nevermind the wheel doesn't work and has become a rather large white elephant. It was late to completion and then worked for 40 days before "cracking in the heat". And then the restaurant remark. I can't think of anywhere in Docklands I would actually want to eat. But that's dependent on finding somewhere that's open first.

Docklands unfortunately is a failure... it may change as more businesses move into the area but so far not so good. And some of the first buildings that went up (along the Westgate Highway) are really starting to show their age.

A development that was meant to be affordable has become a soulless and overpriced enclave for empty-nesters.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chillout Photography Prize 2009

Ok to start with I decided to not enter this competition this year.

Namely as Chillout is meant to be Daylesford based and having a photo exhibition in Creswick seemed a bit odd... and its a fair distance from Daylesford to be honest (I'd be curious to know what the attendance figures were like).

So anyways this year the theme was diversity...

I was considering entering 2 photos
But decided against it because I thought I was being a bit flippant in regards to theme. I should have entered. It seems that most of the entries - including the one that won seem to have very little to do with "diversity" - I'm not saying they are bad photos - I just question the relevance to the theme.

Ahh well!
Congratulations to the winners :)
Maybe I will enter again next year... I'll just find my best photo and submit that!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

a thought on twitter vs journalism

So I was having a quick scan through the age (my most hated of online newspapers - namely due to the video ads that keep crashing my firefox - not to mention the redunancy of video ads on an online newspaper...)

And there was this blog post

Which wasn't really anything exciting I guess - hell I knew about the earthquake through twitter as well and I also follow 774Melbourne for my real news. There's a certain comfort in the ABC for us Aussies I think...

But the bit that got me was this particular quote:
Twitter was useful on Friday night, but I'm not one of those people who says Twitter and other user-generated channels are a substitute for the mainstream media. Few people would go to see a Citizen Doctor, or get on a plane with a Citizen Pilot, yet some seem to think a Citizen Journalist is just as good as a trained journalist. Even if I didn't have the conflict of interest of being a trained journalist, I still wouldn't trust Twitter or Facebook as my primary sources of information.
Well of course he wouldn't - he's employed by fairfax media (duh!). It never ceases to amaze me how negative the traditional media can be towards new media, especially when the people making the comments try to come across as being objective.

I'm a massive fan of twitter namely as its largely an anarchy. There's no editorial control - which can be a good thing or a bad thing - and yes largely its verbal diarrhoea but its entertaining, probably more so than what an online newspaper article is.

And speaking of newspaper articles - had this forwarded to me today. For those of you who know me a little better know the relevance to this:

Does it matter where babies come from?

Australia has had its first baby via an Indian surrogate come home. A very touching and quite a sweet article.

(it's peace in hindi)

Monday, March 9, 2009

not much really

Nothing really to say...
Had an ok weekend - I think we needed more downtime than what we got - just ended up so busy! Ah well c'est la vie.

One thing though and I think this may be related to my laptop - post-processing HDRs takes far too long. I still have about 10 shots from the motorshow to go... and I also have to process a couple of hundred photos from a commitment ceremony we went to on the weekend.

I learnt a very big lesson there. Right before the ceremony put in a new memory card - as chances are your memory will run out when you don't want it to (which happened >.< )

Look pretty car...

Thursday, March 5, 2009

the motorshow

Kind of weird really...
it's apparently an "international" motorshow. I was in & out in less than an hour. Really disappointed with the lack of exhibitors. There was maybe 20 or so? (please feel free to correct me).

The stuff that was there was pretty though :)
and I did find a good use for HDR... HDR is pretty much perfect for cars/motorshows! I think I got some interesting photos.

Still have a mountain of processing to do though - only got about 25 photos done last night. HDR merge takes longer than I would have thought. Was really blown away by the M1 Homage Concept. Such a beautiful car!

The flickr set is here

Have a good weekend :)
I'll be back on Tuesday!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

so another blog

I'm back with another blog...

I think this is probably about 5th or 6th blog - I still have blogs over on livejournal & bigpond that I don't use.

I think I'm basing on this on a piece of advice I got in a forum I frequent quite a bit.

But, write the book :-) A good purge.

And there I think is one of the reasons why I am writing this blog... it's a good purge or maybe just another form of verbal diahorrea. There is some stuff going on in my life that's bound to be quite exciting so I thought I would document it all.

Anyways I'm off to the Melbourne International Motorshow tonight so I will hopefully be back tomorrow with some photos of cars. Particularly keen to try to grab a HDR of the BMW M1 Homage.