Monday, 18 September 2017

Get Yourself a Job

The latest episode of Strange Man in a Strange Land discusses the joys of finding a job in Australia. It's not going to be easy, whether you've newly arrived or whether you've been around, but there are some additional hurdles in the way of the foreigner.
You can listen to the podcast at its home at this link, on iTunes over at this link, or at this very page using the player below:

Again, we ask if you could rate the podcast at your platform of choice (and then do it on iTunes, too). Especially if you like it!

Monday, 11 September 2017

Australia's Health System

A new episode of the Strange Man in a Strange Land podcast is up, discussing Australia's health system.
So if you want to hear someone analyse Australia's health system's pros and cons, have a listen. Especially if you seek to understand the intricacies of Australia's private health system.
I will note Ike has asked me to ask that, if you like the podcast, you rate it or review it at wherever it is you listen to podcasts (and then go to iTunes and do the same).
For now, you can listen to the episode on iTunes, at this link, or - thanks to the magic of the internet - here:

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Pigs Can Fly

I will start from the end: this post is here to tell you I have decided to stop eating pig / pork.
The rest of this post is about how I got there.

Obviously, the big elephant in the room needs to be cleared first: this is not due to religious reasons. If anything, it's the opposite.
Yes, I know Judaism calls for the banning of pigs, and one could easily think that since I am the product of Jewish heritage then this means I have become a true believer all of a sudden. But no, that is not the case.
To prove by example, another big ticket Kosher food item is to do with the mixing of milk and meat, something I never had a problem with. That is, other than my relatively new aspiration to cut my meat consumption out of concern for animal welfare.
Which is exactly the reason why I've decided to cut the pig. Pork. Whatever.
All the animals we breed for meat consumption suffer, one way or another. Amongst the biggest offended are chickens, cows and pigs, all of which live a life of utter misery as they make their way to our dining plates.
The reason why I have decided to pick on pigs, in particular, is to do with their intelligence. Having read about the topic, it has become clear to me that pigs are quite smart as well as quite emotional. That is to say, the impact of the horrible way in which us humans treat them is much more severe on a pig than it is on, say, a chicken. Not that I'm implying in any way that we should continue treating chicken the way we do; it's just that I am saying I intend to start making this world a better place with the bigger casualty.

So, what does this personal ban on pork mean for me?
It means I am making a notable personal sacrifice given my well documented affection to bacon, especially of the crispy type. Clearly, this is nothing in comparison to the personal sacrifice made by the pig supplying the bacon.
More to the point, it means I will simply avoid consciously buying pork products or ordering meals containing pork products. I used the term "consciously" because this is not always a clear cut affair; I already found myself consuming pork products since going on my personal pork ban simply by virtue of the fact restaurants don't always disclose the fact a meal contains pork. I also noticed some restaurants don't leave their guests with much of a choice, with everything pretty much containing pork.
So I'm not going to be religious about it. My intention is simply to make a personal donation towards the suffering of pigs. I hope others follow suit, to help in the impact department, but frankly I cannot see this taking off. Sadly.
On my part, I hope that this is just the start of my personal quest at reducing animal suffering. My main problem is not the misery about to inflict my tastebuds, because there are lots of fine alternatives to meat out there (hummus, anyone?).
The problem is our bodies need meat consumption in order to remain healthy, and I am not satisfied the vegetarian alternatives are good enough there. The world I am therefore striving for, at least at this stage, is not a world where humans stop consuming animals; rather, it is a world where humans treat their fellow animals humanely.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Finding a place to call home in Australia

This week's episode of Ike Aramba's Strange Man in a Strange Land is a particularly long one, and that's because it deals with a very dear subject: finding a place to call home in Australia.
Have a listen as Ike describes the woes of renting and buying a home in Australia (also: the boredom of hearing others talk about their investment properties).

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Strange Survey

For this week's episode of his podcast Strange Man in a Strange Land, Ike Aramba chose to deviate from his original plan and devote some words to the subject of marriage. It's the right thing to do, given the postal survey on the matter of gay marriage Australia will be going through shortly.
Ike is essentially drawing on his experience with religion running the marriage show in Israel in order to wonder aloud whether Australia is heading in the right way (spoiler alert: Australia is going the wrong way).
You can listen to the episode on iTunes, over here if you're not an Apple person, or just through this player here:

Friday, 25 August 2017

Peter Curry Interview

I recently got to interview Peter Curry, one of the makers of Mini Metro, for Digitally Downloaded. You can read the interview here.
I would like to use this opportunity to mention I consider Mini Metro one of the more brilliant game designs ever (and also one of my favourite game ever, but that is not the point). True, it is an exercise in minimalism; but there is more to it. I used to program simulations for complicated computer networks and factory floors myself; however, the thought of turning those into a game never occurred to me. I guess that is the difference between genius and average.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Announcing a Strange Podcast

You may recall I mentioned here a long time ago how a friend of mine is looking into publishing a podcast. Well, finally that podcast is up!

It's called Strange Man in a Strange Land, and it features my friend looking at Australia through the eyes of an Israeli immigrant. It acts as a guide to would be Australians, people who consider moving here and need to know what they are facing. More importantly, it examines Australian culture through foreign eyes; eyes that have seen how things get done elsewhere before they got to learn how they are done over here.
The new podcast is now on iTunes. You can also find its feed here.
Hope you like it!

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Celebrating 11 years of reviewing

My yearly summary of reviews, where I name (and not shame) my favorite film / book / music / TV and video games is now up over at my reviews blog. Have a look at it here!
I did wonder whether I should also nominate my favourite podcast of the year, but eventually decided not to do so. I find that podcasts' viable lifetimes tends to be far too short for a yearly nomination. That is to say, it is hard to maintain brilliance over a long period of time; not everyone is like me, capable of achieving it for 11 years of reviews and still keep it going :-)