The Opinionated Traveler: San Francisco day #1

The first night in San Francisco in what, just about five years. It’s good to be here, it is a reminder of what it’s like to actually travel. San Fran is one of those cities – like New York, Baltimore or Minneapolis even – that feels like a world city, as opposed to my two mainstays, Chicago and L.A. both of which I love, but both of which are more like glorified suburbs to the eyes of folks who have spent any time out of the country (Britain especially – the British ‘flavour’ is strong in cities like San Fran and New York. These cities are literal melting pots and they feel that way).

The Value of Nature – Mallacoota

The southeastern most tip of Australia provides a wealth of history, knowledge and enjoyment. Gippsland is the area and if you check good’ol Google maps you’ll find the Mallacoota Inlet (map). Situated just south of the New South Wales and Victorian border, the Mallacoota Inlet displays stunning sights and boasts numerous fun activities but it’s importance lies in the function it serves to the environment.

Fuel for Thought: LPG

LPG v Petrol

Why can Australia effective use LPG for public consumption and the US not? (image courtesy of drive.com.au)

A right-handed turn from the left lane. Around the roundabout to turn around. Yielding to electric trams as they stop to pick up passengers. Yep, just a few of the challenges a driver will face in Melbourne, Vic. Not to mention paying on average AUS$1.37 per liter which equates to nearly US$5.20 per gallon at the current exchange rate. yikes.

But the right-sided steering column is not the only thing different between Australian and United States automobiles. How about cars that supplement their fuel usage with Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)? We have school buses, heavy machinery and public worker fleets that run on it in the States, why not cars?

Is there really a choice?

I’ve spent the past year and four months (with a one month lapse in New Zealand) under the Victorian and Australian parliamentary system. I’ve had to brush up on my Sophomore year political knowledge for sure. In that year of high school in Chicago, at least if you are on the “university” track, one studies European history which would include a few lessons on England’s current system of government. Australia is not that far off in their structure of houses, organization of parties and selection of ministers. Well, except for one small detail…voting is compulsory down under.

No one trick Pony

One of the beauties of the Melbourne has to be the music scene.

When I first arrived in town over a year ago I saw bloke by the name of Matt Joe Gow and his band The Dead Leaves at the Odd Bar on a Sunday residency and it blew me away. He and his band covered a few The Band songs to captivate the room: two guitars, four part harmony, the whole bit. Ended up shootin’ the shit with him at the bar with a beer after and turns out he was originally from Duniden, NZ. So I asked him about the punk scene there in the late 70’s early 80’s that really started take off with Flying Nun Records. He laughed at me and asked how I know that…thanks Jim for making me look cool. More on Matt Joe Gow another time I promise.

Hello…it’s good to be back

I knew he would do it. I just knew he would be the first one to formulate an idea and run with it as he has always done in his writing, music and any other endeavors he chooses to take on. Sure there are times when he has more pressing issues like work or family but he has always found time to devote especially when it sparks his interest. His name is Shawn C. Baker but I like to call him Bakes.

Las Vegas: Vampire?

Pre(r)amble: Ah, Las Vegas, to call the monster by the name we’ve given it. I don’t really gamble, and the spectacle of this city wore off after about my third visit, consequently I have come to the conclusion that this city is boring as hell without something to help me ‘plumb the depths’ so to speak. Maybe that’s my Hunter S. Thompson complex I wear from time to time. Anyone who reads this who is familiar with his work will no doubt see that in some respects I am ‘channeling’ or perhaps more harshly yet maybe accurately stated, ‘trying to be like him’ here. That’s fine. I believe Thompson was akin to a William S. Burroughs, a Timothy Leary or a Douglas Rushkoff – an important cultural archeologist. What’s more I truly believe there is something to his courage in taking hallucinogenic drugs and waddling full bore into the middle of the most insane city in America on a quest for the phantom of the american dream. This article will be about one of the things I have found while communing with Psilocybin in that city, and trying to later make sense of what exactly that discovery – if it is indeed a discovery – means in the context of understanding ourselves, our planet and where exactly we fit in the food chain within this strange, unpredictable Universe.

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