Friday, July 31, 2009

Santa Monica, California

It was hard to get good shots when in a bus, but check out beautiful Santa Monica. Not exactly the dirty rugged Venice Beach! See the famous Santa Monica pier in the distance....stunning.

Enjoy a bit of Australian Dialogue....

Keep reading things about all things debatable at:

The Punch


Just For A Bit of Fun....

I thought I would stir up a bit of intellectual trouble and fire up debate on Kyle Sandilands on Facebook. Here are some of the responses....

Oh cmon. The mother is much more to blame than Kyle and Jackie O. Yes I agree that Kyle's comments on air about "was this your only experience?" were... insensitive and ill thought out. But people dont always response appropriately under pressure like that. And youre right, he has made a name as a shock jock. But I dont believe he was being ... malicious. You make one f*ck up at work, noone notices. He f*cks up at work and half of sydney is listening.

As regards to the relevant legislation - you know my feelings on that. I still think we should lower the age of consent, and have a system much like Spain's. But this is not the issue.

Given that counselling has only recently been included on Medicare, it is quite possible that the girl had not sought help due to the cost of counselling. If that IS the case, could you not argue that if TodayFM pay for it, then SOMETHING good has been salvaged from this horrible situation? Even more so, obviously the mother knew about the rape... (continued) but for some stupid reason had decided her daughter didnt need counselling?! Honestly! At least this brought it to her attention.

"Irrespective of what transpired during the interview, that young woman should not have been strapped to a lie detector test and asked questions about sexual activity in a public forum."... well if the mother and daughter didnt want to go on air, they shouldnt have applied. They went through the relevant screening. No red flags appeared. cmon ppl apply for jerry springer!!!

As for this being a "clear act of exploitation for adult entertainment purposes", i would first argue that TodayFm is not really adult entertainment - just like Big Brother is not aimed at adults. The teenage market are the biggest consumers of this service...i really think if the 14yr old didnt want to be on radio, she wouldnt have consented to being driven to the station and put on a lie detector and shoved in front of a mike. She's not 6.Parents cant make teenagers do what they dont want to. hence the friction and problems with parenting teenagers.

Thanks L. We also have R, who responded with:

I'm with you Kate. these 3 adults should have prevented this poor child from being exploited this way. She has not reached the age of consent and that is even more important in this forum than in her own private sex life. Excuses that her parent gave consent do not cannot give consent for your child to be is illegal! Someone should have flicked the switch and taken this off air the minute this girl started to disclose.

Then we have Dawg, who chimes in:

This all boils down to three stupid adults and one very unwise little girl who only wanted free tickets to a PINK concert or something like it.

Then we have my dear sis:

The blame's sitting squarely with the mother in my opinion. And yes, I use the term "mother" loosely ...

Then we have T:

Well written Kathryn but Kyle & Jackie O are paid to entertain/be listened to and that is exactly what they are doing well.

The hosts of any radio show rarely have creative control over their program, here the blame should lie directly at the shows producers and the legal team at Austereo.

You can criticize Kyle for his reactions, but it was not him who put this girl on air. I don't like the guy (I like her even less), yet here I feel he has copped a lot of flak over one stupid reaction. ... Read More

Leah summed it up perfectly with her first paragraph.

Firstly, I really love having debate on issues such as this. If anything, I am more pleased that people have actually got involved in discussing this issue with me than I am actually getting comments that it was well written. If there is any gift I wish to bring to this world, its to open people's minds up to different views and ways of thinking. So, I applaud anyone that is willing to get into the boxing circle with me and want to go nine rounds with me on an issue like this.

One thing I have noticed with many of the respondents is that, while their responses were valid, they have missed the critical point here. I did not fail to lay blame on the mother's shoulders. Rather, I just avoided it. I did not focus my article on the mother. There are clearly issues there and it is clear than any mother that puts her child through this says to me that there is more to the story.

Instead, my article chose to take the angle that this kind of dialogue (whether it was with these two particular people, or another two) should never have occurred in the first place. Jackie O and Kyle Sandilands have been pushing the boundaries for a long time and as far as I am concerned, it was an accident waiting to happen. I think that Jackie O and Kyle Sandilands have been allowed to continue to push the boundaries so far that even they have lost sight of what those boundaries are. So, in many respects, I think "T" (one of the respondents) was correct in saying that the producers (not so much the legal team) should bear some responsibility for this issue. The producers should have stepped in with these two radio announcers a long time ago. Either that, or the producers have their own issues as to what is right and wrong. I do not agree that Kyle and Jackie O have no creative control over that programme. They are not puppets. They are controlling the creative content just as much as the producers are.

All I am saying is that if you play with fire, you are going to get burnt.

In this case, when it comes to Kyle Sandilands, who has behaved so poorly AFTER the fact, we should let him burn.

Just saying!


Get This Fool Off Our Radio!

I tend to keep this board light hearted but every now and then I get passionate about a topic and....well, look out cyber-world, K wants to state her opinion!

This time, I am making a statement about a man called Kyle Sandilands.

2DayFM, as one of Australia's premier national radio stations, you must do the right thing and remove this man from your radio station.

No "ifs", no "buts", this man is a fool and he has well and truly outstayed his welcome as part of Australia's mainstream media. Yes, it is time for Kyle Sandilands to join the unemployment queue. Maybe then, Kyle Sandilands can rejoin the rest of us mere mortals (after his sojourn into D List Celebrity existence) and develop some decency. Maybe then he can look back at his sensationalist, indecent antics, step down off the arrogant, self-righteous pedestal with which he has somehow annointed himself and realise that society does not need what it is that he thinks he is giving to it.

What has made me so angry?

This week, Kyle and his cohort, Jackie O decided to allow a mother to bring her FOURTEEN year old daughter into the radio station. Why? The mother had suspected that her FOURTEEN year old daugher was involved in drug use and sexual promiscuity. Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O took it upon themselves to offer to strap this young lady, a FOURTEEN year old girl, to a lie detector and ask her a series of questions about her sex life. This was done live to air, with millions of breakfast radio listeners tuning in, and it was done for the purposes of entertainment. What was "fun" (?) at first turned sour when the FOURTEEN year old girl, in response to a question about whether she had had sex, informed those present in the radio station (oh, and the entire broadcast audience) that she had in fact been raped at the age of twelve - and that her mother already knew about this. In true "Kyle Sandilands" form, his reaction is nothing short of vile - his response was "is that the only sexual experience you have had?"

His reaction since then has been just as foul.

However, lets start from the very beginning as I analyze this instance of disgusting media trash.

These two fools on 2DayFM thought that it would be funny to bring a fourteen year old girl on public radio and discuss matters of a sexual nature with her.

Firstly, children should not be used as entertainment. The one thing that the United Nations did actually get right was their Convention on the Rights of the Child. This Convention, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989 was ratified by a number of countries, including Australia. Nations that ratify this international convention are bound to it by international law. Australia, and its law abiding citizens, are required to adhere to the Convention on the Rights of the Child which clearly states that, irrespective of any other interest, a child's rights are paramount. The Convention also acknowledges that children have the right to express their opinions and to have those opinions heard and acted upon when appropriate, to be protected from abuse or exploitation, to have their privacy protected and requires that their lives not be subject to excessive interference. The obvious issues of under-aged sex aside at this point, placing this child on national radio and strapping her to a lie detector machine to ask her questions about her drug use and extracurricular activities is a breach of her privacy, and a clear act of exploitation for adult-entertainment purposes.

Under Secion 66C of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW), it is an offence to engage in sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 16. Further, Section 73 of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW) states that it is an offence to engage in sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 18 if that person is under the care of the offender. The very fact that our age of consent in New South Wales (and much of Australia) is 16 means to say that sexual activity with any person under the age of 16 years of age is not up for discussion - its actually evidence to be used for a potential prosecution. Irrespective of what transpired during the interview, that young woman should not have been strapped to a lie detector test and asked questions about sexual activity in a public forum. It is not only discussing matters which are against the law, it is bad taste. The child came online and immediately stated that she was scared and that what her mother was doing was unfair. Jackie O makes a (stupid) comment that the child wasn't happy and that "any child would be scared at this point". They confirm with the lie detector technician that the machine showed that she was scared. What part of those dim-witted fools' brains did not alert them to the fact that (a) this was inappropriate and (b) the child did not want to go ahead with it?. Hang on, Jackie O actually DID acknowledge that "any child would be scared" yet the interview continued!!!

The interview fell apart when the child informed them that she was raped at the age of twelve and that her mother knew full well that it had happened. The child was clearly distressed and it was only at that point that the interview ceased, but not before Kyle Sandilands responds stupidly by asking if it was her "only experience". Note to Kyle - last time I checked, rape isn't categorised as an "experience".

It is (slightly) tempting to defend Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O in this instance on the basis that the mother did not disclose the information and allow her child on radio. I have my own opinions about the mother's responsibility but this is not what this article is about. My defense of Kyle and Jackie O ceases quickly due to the very fact that they did not blink any eye when placing a child on the radio. Irrespective of what transpired, their idea of entertainment on this occasion was disgusting. This is not the first time that Kyle Sandliands in particular has been in trouble for this kind of thing. Kyle Sandilands has made himself a career out of being a "shock-jock" by pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not. His distasteful "humour" (if you can call it that) has on a number of occasions yielded unsavoury results and yet time and time again, Austereo and his supporting television channel, Channel 10 pay this neanderthal loads of money.

Hoping all of this was a bad memory, I then go online tonight to find that Mr. Sandilands has taken it upon himself to put pen to paper. In his overwhelmingly sensitive form, he has written an article defending himself against the public outcry. Rather than draft a well-versed, carefully thought out response to a very serious matter, he writes such things as:

I didn’t realise I had said “Have you had any other experiences?”

At the same time I was speaking I was signalling to Jackie that we had to terminate the segment. I went into a slight panic as how to get the thing off the air and I was more focused on making that happen than on what I said.

Kyle should have kept his mouth shut on this and acknowledged that what he had said was inappropriate. Instead, he indicated that the comment was a result of him going into a "slight panic"? Mr. Sandilands, I disagree. Instead of your first reaction being that of needing to shut down the segment immediately, you looked to divert the discussion back to the original question. It wasn't her answer that was inappropriate, it was the question to begin with.

The only good part to take out of this is that the family has now got some help. I’ve spoken to the mother this afternoon – and they are going to get some counselling. We have done everything that we can possibly do to help them. But the truth is that the mother’s more concerned that it has turned into a bigger media story.

Again, he should have kept his mouth shut on this and indicated that they were working with the necessary authorities to deal with the matter in the most professional and sensitive way possible. It makes me sick to the stomach that he is actually thinking he has done the family (and society) a favour by fixing a problem. He then throws in a vile comment about the mother.

I know a few people that have been raped. My first experience of it was when I was a teenager – I knew a girl who had been raped by a family member.

This is the most condescending, appalling part of his letter. Mr. Sandilands, please do not even begin to try and empathise with what it must have felt like for that fourteen year old to have faced what she faced, both with being dragged onto public radio and the rape itself.

As for what I said, it wasn’t intended to hurt. If people have found it appalling or offensive I’m sorry for them that feel that way, but I would ask people to put themselves into the situation where someone says to you during a live radio show that they have been raped.

Kyle Sandilands should not have written this "apology" (if you can even call it that) as it is not only insulting to the young woman but to the general public. Mr. Sandilands, you do not need to ask me to put myself in the situation where someone says to me during a live radio show that they have been raped. You are missing the critical point. The point is that you should not have even put yourself into the situation whereby you had the opportunity to have someone inform you that they have been raped. She was a fourteen year old girl. She clearly was distressed prior to the interview. She was even more distressed afterward.

As I said before, it is not only what Kyle Sandilands did during the interview that has made me angry, but its the comments that he has made post-incident. It was like sitting a naughty child down in the principals office and allowing him to immaturely explain his way out of stealing someone else's lunch. The problem here is that Kyle Sandilands is treating this matter in a similar way as he would if he got into trouble for stealing that lunch.

"Deny. Lift blame. Lift guilt. Yay for me being a good citizen. Sorry but its still not my fault."

Frankly, it makes me sick to the stomach and it is time for Kyle Sandilands to be sacked.


You can listen to the actual interview here.

You can read Kyle Sandiland's poor excuse of an apology/defence here.

You can read a good article which goes the very heart of the matter - her privacy - here.

You can read about the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child on Wikipedia here.

Venice Beach, Los Angeles

With only one day in Los Angeles, Ruth and I took one of those half-day LA tours which took us to the famous places! First stop? Venice Beach, the home of tattoos, piercings and a whole lot of craziness!

Strolling down the main walk!

$10 will get you a look into your future.
(ie. "i see you, two hours from now, regretting that 'i love you mom' tattoo you are about to get on your backside...")

Crazy, crazy street art!

A Harley Davidson...bicycle.

Its a hot summer in the City of Angels.

The sand was too hot to go any closer to the beach.

Even the public toilets were funky.

More crazy, creepy street art.

Selling Tattoos? or Breast Implants?

What we call "thongs" in Australia. Flip flops to ya'll in America!

Great weather = busy beach.

Just like in the movies....

Self portrait...

Tattoo, anyone?

Funky (loud) drummers.

One of the best street art works in town - look closely and figure out what it real and what isn't!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I Am Still Alive....

I left New York, excited about heading home - via Sydney. The plan was that I was to arrive in Sydney after flying via LA and then head to Melbourne for a brief three days. I was then to spend one day in Sydney and then fly out to Singapore and finally settle back into a routine I've desperately craved since leaving there in mid June.

Lets put all of this into context, shall we?

- In late May, I fell ill with shingles, having trained a little too enthusiastically for the Bintan Triathlon. A week off work ill.

- In mid June, I fell off a horse in Malaysia and fractured my back in three places. A week and a half in a Malaysian hospital, repatriation to Singapore and a week at home, flat on my back in a heck of a lot of pain.

- In late June, I leave for Sydney with my mother (who flew over to get me) and I spend another two weeks on my back recovering from the accident.

- In early July, I travel from Sydney to LA to New York for a holiday that was planned eight months prior. I travel down to the Bahamas and back to New York.

- In late July, I travel from New York, to LA, to Sydney in the space of 36 hours. I then meet my parents at the airport, where I swap luggage. They drive me from the Sydney International terminal to the Sydney Domestic Terminal, where I catch a flight from Sydney to Melbourne.

- I spend three days in Melbourne, working two of the days from my company's Melbourne offices. I am to fly out to Singapore on the day after i arrive back in Sydney from Melbourne.

- On the final day of Melbourne, I notice that my skin is beginning to hurt, muscles ache and a sore throat was beginning to take shape. I push ahead, knowing that it would not be too long before I would be back in Singapore.

- I arrive back in Sydney late at night, and my flight to Singapore is to leave the following afternoon. By 10am of the day I am to leave, I am running a terrible fever and I know its time to see a doctor.

- By 1pm that day, my flight has been cancelled, I've been put to bed, I have been diagnosed with influenza, two ear infections and a throat infection. The airline obviously won't allow me to fly because of risk of swine flu (though i was never tested for it) and the doctor wasn't going to allow me to fly with the ear infections anyway.

So, in total, I have had about 23 sick days, 14 annual leave days, 50 or so days away from home, 13 illnesses, 18 flights... okay, those figures aren't accurate but it feels as though it has been that way.

What all of this has told me is that I am not invincible. It is not possible that I live my life this way, jet setting continually, pushing my body to the extremes in order to accomplish whatever goal it is I have set in my mind at the time. As this has all shown, my body simply cannot sustain this kind of pressure for long periods of time.

Now, its time that I also reflect on what has transpired over the past two months. In amongst all of this confusion and unsettled existence, a tiny bit of "something" has happened. For those who are in my immediate family, you will know what I am talking about. For those who are not, all I will say is that the Boy and I are in the process of reconciling. It will take time. It has created another large set of challenges. It won't be easy. Enough said. The issue has never been up for discussion on these boards. And it will remain the case.

However, I want to quickly reflect on all of what has happened in light of this "something" that has taken place. Having been forced into a situation where I had to slow down and allow my weaknesses to take over, I found strength in the one person that I thought I'd never need to find strength from again. Over the last month or so, the Boy has been my solid foundation, given me a safe place to hide, provided me a feeling of being "home" at times when I've felt so lost and at the same time, in order to provide this to me, faced his own fears. I have not come to this through over-analysis, constant asking of reassurance, or incessant communication. It has just formed. As I said in any earlier post, for once in my life, something "is what it is".

And as that, it shall remain. : )

Friday, July 24, 2009

The Cage of the Toothless Tiger

...okay, its the UN Building in New York, but my political opinion on the effectiveness of the UN could not help but get in the way of my naming of this post!

As we drove past, the tour guide informed us that when the UN is in session, all flags are up on the flagpoles. On that day, the flags were down.

I guess the United Nations must have been off "saving the world" or something....

(sorry, another political jab)

Urban Oasis

Bryant Park, right in the heart of Midtown Manhattan.

My Favourite Avenue and My Favourite Designer

Everyone knows this place!

Enough Said.

The Best Coffee and Muffins In Town

Back in my teen years, I remember watching "Felicity", the TV show. It was my favourite show for many years, as it was about a group of university students living and learning in New York. Well, Felicity and Ben used to work at Dean & DeLuca and of course, Javier, who used to be the coffee house's manager. I always dreamt that I would have coffee at Dean & DeLuca one day, and well, I did it. Twice in fact. I strongly recommend the largest cappucino there is, and of course their Blueberry Crumble muffins!

I am such a coffee addict!

Wandering around New York

A rainy morning walk by the Hudson River.

The Streets of New York

I found photographing New York to be very difficult. In fact, I feel as though I was not able to take even half the quality of photos that I usually take. I think about why this is, and I realise that (and I will write a blog about it) New York is a hard, gritty city. While in some places (mostly tourist-populated) are beautiful, much of New York is tough, crammed, dirty and complicated. As my blog later will expand more on this issue, I will leave it at that, but it certainly made my photographing experience very difficult! I wanted to capture "the real New York", one that did not revolve around the flashing lights of Times Square or the scaling heights of the tall buildings. I wanted to exhibit the parts of New York than many people will look past on their way to Ground Zero, or as they take their hop-on-hop-off bus to the Statute of Liberty. So, some of these photos may be of random things, but it will be these images that will remind me of the true New York, and not the touristy one.

The thing i always associate with New York - the fire escapes!

Signs everywhere!

Food stalls are everywhere....

Random artwork from the backstreets of Broadway.

The confusing street system of New York!

A local contractor, just trying to make a living in New York....

Early morning Broadway and Times Square, before the crazy rush....

A tribute to the King....

The New York Subway

Newspaper box

The Goo-Goo-Heim Museum

Okay, its not called that. Its the Guggenheim Museum, which is of course one of the most famous modern art museums in the world. It is a strange building, one that sits in amongst the old buildings of New York. I would say that it looks completely out of character there, however I suspect that it the whole point of it. Modern art is all about challenging one's views of what "fits" and what doesn't, and the Goo-Goo-Heim does exactly that!

Outside shot!

Side shot!

Inside the Goo!

A Little Bit of Funny!

This is a great video which goes very well with the topic of my blog!

Thanks for sending it, Ruth!

So, so, so, so funny.

More Celebrity Spotting! CNN's Black in America 2 in Times Square!

My last night in Times Square enabled me to get right into the thick of American Prime Time TV, where Soledad O'Brien (CNN Reporter) and a raft of African American personalities, were introducing the new CNN special, Black in America 2. You can read about it on the following pages:



Here is a very interesting shot - my Australian friends will not know who these people are, but importantly, the man with his back to the shot in the darker suit is infact Henry Gates, the Harvard Professor who is in the centre of a storm in the US right now because of his arrest in his own home by white policeman. It has raised the very sensitive issue of "racial profiling" during arrests and Obama has landed himself in a bit of hot water by acknowledging that the Cambridge police had acted "stupidly". See LA Times, just one of the stories about it (its on the front page of every US newspaper at the moment).

Its all over the papers right now and I was there to say hello! (er, well not quite, and i wasnt about to ask him if he needed a lawyer... ha ha). I should have at least said "Who is up for a bit of McDonalds?!".

Above, is Tom Joyner (left) and Robert Gates (right), middle man unknown.

Soledad O'Brien, "testing testing, one two three."

"Roger that, little buddie. I'm good to go", Soledad O'Brien from CNN.

Holey Moley, who from CNN hired Ozzy Osbourne to run the show?!!?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I See You Watching Me Watching You

So it appears that my photos have been lifted from my blog and placed on a Russell Brand blog at:

Hi everyone that is visiting my blog, thanks to the reference that the poster used when using my photos.

I am grateful that the poster did reference them back to me (thank you) and perhaps this is because she noticed she was lifting material from a lawyer!

I am not too peeved at this so I don't want any Russell Brand lovers sending me death threats via my comments page. I guess I am more freaked out that it is so easy to have your intellectual property taken on the internet. While this poster has the decency to reference where it came from, I expect these photos will be lifted again and again (and who knows, perhaps by a magazine?) where people will financially benefit from their use.

I suppose I should have put a watermark across each of the photos so that they could not be easily copied.

Oh well, ho hum.

I hope all these Russell Brand visitors enjoy my blog page! Feel free to come on back any time and say hi! Oh, and please don't steal my photos and if you do, continue to make reference to the fact that they are mine :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Battttter Up!

Beautiful Pier in New York


Playing In Central Park, New York

The New York Bagel