Magnetic Island

Polar expedition

Last weekend Hilton and Justina (Robyn’s sister and her husband) came up to visit. It was a surprise (for Robyn).

We went to Magnetic Island for a day.

Stopping at the region’s best restaurant – the Barefoot Art Food Wine, and getting all tropical with a coconut… Here are some photos – and here is a photo summary of the day.

How to eat a coconut

Step 1. Find a coconut

Step 2. Find a big stick and whack the coconut to remove the outer shell

Step 3. Remove the husk – this is a three person job

Step 4. Retrieve your big stick and split the coconut. 

Step 5. Eat the coconut

Protect us from ourselves

I got this email today, from a colleague.

“Joe Smith started the day early having set his alarm clock ( MADE IN JAPAN ) for 6am . While his coffeepot ( MADE IN CHINA ) was perking, he shaved with his electric razor (MADE IN HONG KONG ). He put on a dress shirt ( MADE IN SRI LANKA ), designer jeans ( MADE IN SINGAPORE ) and tennis shoes ( MADE IN KOREA ). After cooking his breakfast in his new electric skillet ( MADE IN INDIA ) he sat down with his calculator ( MADE IN MEXICO ) to see how much he could spend today. After setting his watch ( MADE IN TAIWAN ) to the radio (MADE IN INDIA ) he got in his car ( MADE IN GERMANY ) filled it with Petrol from Saudi Arabiaand continued his search for a good paying Australian JOB At the end of yet another discouraging and fruitless day checking his Computer (MADE In MALAYSIA ), Joe decide to relax for a while.. He put on his sandals ( MADE IN BRAZIL ) poured himself a glass of wine (MADE IN FRANCE.! ) and turned on his TV ( MADE IN INDONESIA ), and then wondered why he can’t find a good paying job in … Australia….. “

Is it just me or is protectionism so hot right now? “Buy local” campaigns are the new economic black. I think A Current Affair is running a story (or they have already run it) encouraging their legion’s of viewers to buy Australian made. It’s odd. And pretty stupid. In fact I think it’s just clever marketing and a nice, easy PR campaign to boot. Who’s not going to cover a story about keeping locals in jobs. It seems the first thing advertisers do in a recession is call for protectionism – buy local campaigns etc…

Magnetic Island is in the midst of a protectionism row at the moment after a local operator missed out on a tender to a Sydney based comments. This operator’s comments to the local paper that these fly by night Sydney operators would “be crucified” if they tried setting up on the island no doubt does our region a world of good as we try to attract investment and tourists. Here’s a message to you new businesses from the businesses on Magnetic Island… “die or we’ll kill you”. Nice.

The campaign to reverse the Townsville City Council’s incredibly above board tender decision took on new legs over the weekend with a protest group carting around signs that said “Beach Hire is un-Australian” and “local jobs for locals”… Apparently coming from Sydney is un-Australian now. Basically this guy thought the job was his by right – and barely even scraped together a tender (and submitted it after the closing date). He lost. That’s life. Move on.

I like to preface these pretty broad posts by saying “I’m no economist but” so here’s the standard disclaimer. I’m no economist but in the face of a global financial crisis it doesn’t make sense to be acting in the national not global interest – because to me, the bigger problem for Australian jobs is the rapidly collapsing resource sector. A collapse fuelled by slowing demand from overseas. That’s right. We export this stuff. So we need other countries to be in a financial position to buy our stuff.

This is why I think the fact most of the stimulus package being spent on things produced overseas is a good thing. Sure, buying local is good. But buying foreign made is ok. And why should we value employment in our prosperous country with better than adequate social security over jobs in other countries with non-existant unemployment payments?

I’ve had a few conversations with a few people who “don’t want the money from K-Rudd” on principle. That’s fine. Give it to me. I’ll spend it wisely.

These conversations go along these lines:

1. We should be helping big business that’s how to fix the economy
2. We should be investing in infrastructure that’s how to help the economy – we need to be ready for the next resources boom…
3. This money is only going to keep retail employees in jobs – and most of it will go overseas to China.
4. It’s a big debt that we can’t afford to pay now – and it will be a burden on future generations.

From my very, very laymans meta-analysis of the current economic situation the downturn in Chinese production fueled by the lack of demand for their products seems to me to be a pretty prime factor in our resource prices tanking.

Pouring money into Chinese manufacturers is a good thing because not only will it give us access to technology as they develop it to suit demand, it will also stimulate demand for our resources – there won’t be another resource boom if other countries don’t want to grow and develop.

Sure, we could have a locally driven resource boom. But then the Greens would get angry that we’re chopping down trees to pave paradise for multi-storey car parking.

The debt thing is an issue – but once we’ve decided to spend money saving the economy rather than letting it tank completely and picking up the pieces the solution is going to require spending money, and governments are really the only entities in a position to borrow.

So here’s the response I sent to my colleague… some of the points are a stretch – but I wish sometimes people would think a little bit past the obvious “that money’s going to support a Chinese person not an Australian person” bias.

“Joe Smith started the day early having set his alarm clock ( MADE IN JAPAN – using Nickel from Townsville) for 6am . While his coffeepot ( MADE IN CHINA (using aluminium mined in Australia) – (with coffee grown on the Atherton Tablelands ) was perking, he shaved with his electric razor (MADE IN HONG KONG ) (using technology developed in Australian universities). He put on a dress shirt ( MADE IN SRI LANKA – using cotton grown in Australia ), designer jeans ( MADE IN SINGAPORE – also using Australian cotton) and tennis shoes ( MADE IN KOREA using Australian leather ). After cooking his breakfast in his new electric skillet ( MADE IN INDIA from Australian steel ) he sat down with his calculator ( MADE IN MEXICO using components made from Australian resources ) to see how much he could spend today (based on Australian research). After setting his watch ( MADE IN TAIWAN using Australian components and sold to him by an Australian salesman ) to the radio (MADE IN INDIA and installed, repaired and serviced by Australian technicians ) he got in his car ( MADE IN GERMANY – sold in Australia by a local dealer who employs local mechanics – unless the locals are so lazy that he has to bring in workers from overseas ) filled it with Petrol from Saudi Arabia (shipped to Australia by an Australian company, transported by Australian truck drivers) and continued his search for a good paying Australian JOB (he wasn’t looking hard enough) At the end of yet another discouraging and fruitless day checking his Computer (MADE In MALAYSIA ), Joe decide to relax for a while.. He put on his sandals ( MADE IN BRAZIL – That is unAustralian – he should have been wearing pluggers) poured himself a glass of wine (MADE IN FRANCE.! – again, there’s plenty of good Australian wine) and turned on his TV ( MADE IN INDONESIA filled with Australian content), and then wondered why he can’t find a good paying job in … Australia….. probably because nobody wants to buy our resources anymore because we’ve stopped buying stuff, or he’s too lazy to do anything he considers “menial” or beneath him…”

Long time no blog…

I apologise for my lack of blogging lately. I would suggest attributing it to a complete lack of blogworthy content. Any other suspicions would no doubt be completely unfounded.

I was a Hair’s breadth away from posting some form of comment on the Pakistan cricket fiasco… but then decided not to. If Darrell Hair really does believe ball tampering was going on then good on him for taking a stand. Lucky Dean Jones wasn’t commentating at the time the Pakistani decision not to return to the field was clearly an act of sporting terrorism.

There’s a state election happening in Queensland soon. It must be the least exciting election ever. When you have to choose between an incumbent idiot and two challenging idiots who do you choose? Actually, Springborg strikes me as a really genuine kind of guy, it’s a shame he genuinely has no policy solutions for the health and water crises… neither of which are of his making. It seems unfair that he should have to clean up Beattie’s mess, and be punished for not knowing where to begin. That would be like me having to tidy my housemate’s room – or vice versa.

There were also some interesting word things that I thought I might blog about – but you can look up anally retentive on wikipedia for yourselves.

I went to Magnetic Island again yesterday with a journo from the SMH. It’s the first time I’ve hosted a journalist there in sunshine. We conducted site (and sight (i’ll never tire of that pun)) inspections of some very nice new developments over there that I’d buy if I had the money.

Ego tripping at the gates of (goog)hell

Once again, the uncultured should go here to find out what on earth that title is talking about. Actually, that title was pretty much for the benefit of Dan Saunders who knows who the Flaming Lips are.

Ego Surfing is the act of typing one’s own name into an Internet Search Engine such as Google just to see how often you appear online. There are apparently lots of athletic Nathan Campbells out there – including a triathlete in Queensland who I guarantee is not me. However, my Internet recognisability index is on the increase. If you type “Nathan Campbell” into google and hit pages from Australia – I’m now number 2. I’ve lost my shoes. I knew being an illustration in one of dad’s sermons was going to be my downfall. Although I’m glad it’s not the bath tub story. I tried to find a link to the bath tub story but thankfully the keywords “Nathan” and “bath tub” don’t bring up the sermon on the MPC website. I’m happy to be the guy who lost his shoes. Anyway, the point of this story is that I was once number 16 in the results for the above search. Due to a concerted effort on my part I’ve moved up the ladder. If you search for Nathan Townsville blog I’m like number one. I’m so excited. Almost famous. Or not – given that you’d have to be looking for me specifically to actually find me. But I guess that’s the point of Ego surfing.

The Ego Surfing phenomona fascinates me – there are companies you can pay to protect your google image. Here is a site that makes the egosurfing process a whole lot easier.

So for those of you who want to actually read stuff about my life in Townsville rather than all this very interesting other stuff…

We had the first night of Focus the other night – Focus is the young adult ministry here at Willows that I’m now coordinating. I pretty much imported the latechurch bible study model – it’s hard to be enthuisiastic about something that just seems like common sense to me – I’ve never done anything different, but it’s all new for people here which is kind of nice. Somehow I managed to volunteer to write the studies as well so if anyone out there has hints on 1 Peter I’m all ears. Luckilly we’re past the bit about preaching to the spirits of those people killed in Noah’s day.

I’m also leading a grade 12 boys bible study group – I had my first official meeting with the 2 guys in my group tonight. They seem nice enough.

I have to go to Magnetic Island again tomorrow – which would be nice if I wasn’t going on the samne tour I’ve already been on twice and if it wasn’t raining so much outside. But I do have the work digital camera this time so there may be photos on my blog next week.

Tim and I are home alone this week – Dave, our conscience, has gone on a week’s jaunt to the Sunshine Coast. We’ve decided to have the house freakishly clean by the time he gets back just to freak him out. We’re hoping he’ll start to question whether he is in fact the messy one.

In other news – I bought the new Gomez album – this post is therefore brought to you by Gomez – How we operate. I think it’s my favourite Gomez album.

While I’m on the subject of CD’s – DVD’s are kind of CD like – I’m trying to track down my Godfather box set (last seen with either Chris Lindsay or Sam Jagoe), My Shaun of the dead DVD – last seen with Garnet and the first DVD of the Office Box set (I know you’ve got it Jo)

If people continue to comment as anonymous I’m going to have to make this a subscription only site – I want to know who you are or I don’t get that warm feeling inside. Bob on the other hand is trying a little too hard to create that warm feeling.

l’esprit d’escalier [the perfect witty response]

I was reading the Sydney Morning Herald online today for my fix of culture and intellectual stimulation (not that those things are in short supply up here but News Limited Papers in general are pretty horrible) and I came across an interesting interview with Tim Freedman the singer from the Whitlams. Tim Freedman is one of my favourite Australian songwriters. He’s responsible for some of the greatest song lyrics ever written, eg “she was one in a million, so there’s five more just in New South Wales” from Up Against the Wall. He’s also one of the worst anti-drug spokesmen in the history of the “say no to drugs” campaign. I remember seeing a TV special where he basically told people the only way they were going to learn about the effects of drugs was to take them. Thanks Tim. Anyway, having firmly established his credibility as a role model I’m now going to direct you to the article here. He makes an interesting point about conversation – and missed conversational opportunities – particularly l’esprit d’escalier. To sum it up for people too lazy to click a link – he is haunted by missed opportunities. He’ll even call a journalist who interviews him two weeks later to amend his answers. I’m wondering if this is just a luxury for the rich and famous. Can we all buy an opportunity to add to past conversations? As someone who often misses great opportunities for witty (or even non-witty but effective) responses – only to think of them at some later date – I think it would be of some benefit to bring in a system where amendments to a conversation can be made in another time and another place. I propose to make this the time and the place for such comments. If you feel like you could have, or should have responded to me, or anyone else, in a more witty or appropriate manner then post a comment.

In other, less Whitlam related news…

I spent Friday night on Magnetic Island with a Sunday Mail freelance writer and her husband. If you’re ever on Magnetic Island I can now highly recommend the barefoot: food, art, wine restaurant. They did the best steak I’ve eaten in a long, long time.

I now have internet at home – if you desperately want to see how I’m going and are too cheap to call me and don’t like reading through the random stuff on my blog you can now find me on MSN at you need to put the @ symbol in there – that’s to ward off the evil spam harvesters.

The day I became an Iconoclast

Monday mornings are bad. Today I woke myself up stupidly early to get into the office before a corporate breakfast. This was my first bad Monday morning as a full time professional worker. I turned up bushy eyed and bright tailed. Well actually I had no tail. But my early morning coffee did the trick. Breakfast was a selection of traditional hot breakfast foodstuffs eaten at a local animal sanctuary – surrounded by the animal inhabitants of said sanctuary and several interstate visitors looking at hosting corporate functions in Townsville.

Those of you familiar with my artistic opus (I’m not sure it was a magnum opus and it certainly wasn’t a magnum [of either the pistol variety or the ice cream]) Progress In Art may be sad to learn of its untimely demise over the weekend. Due to an absence of picture hanging capabilities in my bedroom (and uncertainty as to whether it would be appropriate to hammer nails into the wall for that purpose) I had placed the rather fragile masterpiece rather precariously on the fluro light on my wall. It looked pretty good there. The lighting was just right. For those of you who haven’t seen it it was basically the insides of a broken discman attached by sticky tape to a framed pane of glass. I was playing some music with a bass line (you know the notes played by the left hand, often below middle C – not the fishing line you’d use to catch bass – English is a fun language to play with) and the subwoofer in my room shook the wall causing the frame to fall to a rather crushing, crashing and smashing halt on the floor below. This made me sad. Mostly because I had to clean up the broken glass. But that was my second most brilliant creation ever. A triumph over the inherent stupidity of postmodern art. Clever on many, many levels. And now it’s gone.

It’s sad when the biggest bit of news you have to report is a broken piece of homemade artwork.

I went to my first Willows working bee on Saturday. Then I went for a cruise around the bay between the mainland and Magnetic Island. It had free food, drink and a band. Yesterday I went to church. Tonight I’m having dinner with the youth minister at Willows to discuss what I’ll be doing with the church this year. It looks like I’ll be co-ordinating the young adults stuff. Consider yourselves updated.

Until next time.


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