Lazy Luddite Log

31.7.13

Blocked Writer

I have been wanting to write a new short story this month. I have done nothing creative (other than commentary on the creativity of others) here since I finished the Gumshoe Telepath story (which apparently is seventy-odd words too short to even be considered a science fiction novelette). The problem is that imagining concepts (including characters and settings) complete with Technicolor motion imagery is so much simpler than having to put all that into written words in whole sentences and paragraphs.

I also have the somewhat obsessively been sticking with a personal policy of blogging twice a month and today is the last day of the month so I have to post something here. But what? Well if you cannot write something you can always write about that experience. So here I will put into print a few of the concepts that I hope to turn into short fiction in the coming months...

Logan's Week

In the short story Visiting Logan I made use of a character called Logan Mallee. I want to revisit this elderly fellow and this time examine his life from his perspective. How does an elderly retiree living alone (except for his trusty dog) pass the time and give some definition and interest to his week? This will be what I hope to explore in Logan's Week.

The Five Civilizations

The futuristic Terran student Jasmin was encountered in both Field Trippers and History Project. She lives as part of a universe in which Five Civilizations co-exist and together dominate the Milky Way galaxy. I want to produce background notes describing these five - Aldebaranese, Polarans, Chichilans, Centauri and Terrans - and how they came into contact with one another. I also want to produce some sort of short story conveyed via the personal journal of Jasmin in which she describes how she has become the member of an exploratory space mission involving members of all five species. As of this moment it has the working title of 'Mission Globular Cluster'. In it I hope to surpass other fictional starship crews for inclusiveness while also poking some fun at the desire to do just that.

The Titans

This last concept draws on none of my past writings but rather is inspired by other works of fiction and so will be a bit like fan fiction. It will be a story within a story. The external story will focus on the young new ruler of the Duchy Of Grand Fenwick in the 1980s who becomes obsessed with Transformers and decides to devise his own catalogue of converting toys. The entire micro-nation is mobilized to work on this project. Part of that project is a promotional television show combining live action and stop-motion model animation. That show will be the internal story of a race of alien robots discovered in the ice of the Saturnian moon Titan. Because of this origin they will be given nick-names by humans drawn from the Titans of ancient Greek religion. The leader of the villains will be called Kronos while the heroic leader will be known as Prometheus. In developing character and toy descriptions I will be somewhat informed by this old post.

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I have a lot to go on with. Getting all these done could take me a few years. I only sometimes get the inspiration and motivation to put concepts into full written form. Still having this to refer back to may help me in that.

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22.7.13

Party Party Party

I developed my Political Objectives Test to provide advice to test-takers on the political ideology they may wish to explore. To the extent that ideology is a factor in voting intentions it may also be useful as a tool to help voters decided party preferences and we Australians have a Federal election looming. I will discuss that here but I need to also stress a few things.

One thing to be aware of is that ideology is only one of many factors that go into the decisions of voters. Inherited and entrenched party attachment is one factor. The reputation of particular party personnel (from the local candidate to the national leader) is another. Performance of parliamentary parties on particular issues is yet another. I personally attribute more importance to ideology than most voters.

Another thing to consider is that the ideological labels I use in my model transcend party. Likewise pretty much every party draws on more than one ideology in developing a policy framework. Even if you do decide to identify with a particular ideology you will still have a choice on your hands.

Finally to manage the size of this post I have decided to set some limits on what I can discuss.

There are over twenty labels my test can allocate to takers but I will only provide advice for the more popular results. Rest assured that everyone who takes the test will find that the result it gives them will be listed here or will link to a similar result that is listed here.

If you think my test describes lots of positions then that is small compared to the number of registered political parties in Australia. Currently there are over fifty as you can see here. I will limit my comments only to those that presently have Federal parliamentary representation. If you feel this is overly restrictive then feel free to examine the alternatives for yourself – the Internet has plenty of information from the politicians themselves on who they are and what they stand for. And there is another thing to consider…

In Australia we have preferential voting and this gives you a kind of flexibility. In a sense you get to vote for more than one candidate – the one you give your primary vote to and whichever gets your preferences. You will still preference someone from a party I discuss here. Furthermore you will be voting for both the House of Representatives and the Senate and some voters deliberately vote differently on the white and green ballot papers.

Now onto my advice…

Ideology – progressive

As someone with progressive values it is worth you considering both the Australian Labor Party and the Australian Greens. Your decision may depend on just how pragmatic or idealistic you prefer a party to be (Labor for the former and Greens for the latter). Voting Greens while preferencing Labor is an effective way for you to utilize your vote (supporting the more progressive minor party then preferencing the somewhat progressive major party in hope of preserving its governing position).

Ideology – liberal

As a liberal you may be tempted to vote for the Liberal Party Of Australia. Beware party names however. They do seem to have a classical liberal take on economics but it tends to be defined more by the demands of business interests than by an understanding of the free market. Furthermore the traditional family values of the Liberal Party will likely be at odds with your own ethics.

You may wish to consider the Australian Labor Party which accommodates an ideological mix including that of small-l liberalism. They are centrist and populist so you will only get some of what you want but then that is the challenge for everyone in a complex society.

Finally you may even wish to consider the Australian Greens which is maturing as a party. In particular if you feel that the Government and Opposition have been neglecting human rights issues then you may well be attracted to the Greens.

Lucky for you that liberals like freedom of choice!

Ideology – establishmentarian

The entrepreneurial interests you identify with are most consistently represented by the Liberal-National Coalition. As such you will likely want to vote for the Liberal Party of Australia. Or if you live in a regional area you will likely want to vote National Party of Australia (which includes the Nationals WA and the Country-Liberal Party for purposes of this discussion).

Ideology – conservative

As a conservative it makes sense for you to support the Liberal-National Coalition. Except sometimes you have a nagging feeling that they focus on market economics too much and only pay lip-service to traditional family values.

The National Party of Australia (which includes the Nationals WA and the Country-Liberal Party for purposes of this discussion) is better in that regard than the Liberal Party of Australia so if you live in a regional electorate that may work well for you. However regional electorates may also give you alternatives to consider such as the former National Bob Katter and his recently formed Australian Party.

Ideology – communitarian

It can be difficult to find anyone (let alone a political party) that shares in your concerns regarding both free market economics and the permissive society. However you will want to take a look at the policy platform and record of the both the Democratic Labour Party (they recently returned to the original British spelling of the word “labour”) and the Australian Party formed by former National Bob Katter.

Ideology – socialist

As a socialist (and you come in more ideological shades than just those Marxists bugging passers-by in the city) your concern with the withdrawal of government responsibility from public and welfare services is growing. The Australian Labor Party has a socialist origin and in government has reversed (or at any rate held at bay) the free market driven erosion of collectivism. Consider voting for them but also consider some alternatives.

If your own values are progressive and include a concern for the environment then examine the Australian Greens. However if you prefer traditional family values and the defence of old-fashioned manufacturing jobs then take a look at the Democratic Labour Party (who recently returned to the original British spelling of the word “labour”).

Ideology – moderate

As a moderate elections can be difficult for you. You need to do what ultimately all voters should do and consider all the options. This can extend to minor parties and even independents such as Nick Xenophon. Of the major parties you will likely prefer the one which more fully accommodates a mix of opinions in Australia and currently the populist and centrist Australian Labor Party in government do just that.

Ideology – libertarian or anarchist

A small but surprising number of test-takers get these results and I present them here together. An anarchist is an extremist form of liberal while a libertarian is a moderate with an extreme interest in liberty. Or is it the other way round? Whatever the distinction those with these results may be tempted to vote informal. Consider the old anarchist saying “don’t vote, it only encourages them”. If you oppose the state or feel that democracy is a sham then this may make sense for you.

On the other hand the process exists and you may as well make the most of it. There will still be issues that matter to you such that you wish to see one policy implemented more than another. Take a close look at the registered party list – you could find something that works for you. Of the parliamentary parties I name here you may be more interested in the Australian Greens due to them having a party culture of non-conformity and activism.

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As I say there are other options than those I discuss here. Do your own homework. Look at the party websites then see what others think using tools suck as Wikipedia. Finally if you wish to debate any of this then feel free to comment.

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