Monday, February 28, 2011

McDonalds aka Maccas

There are a few differences between the Maccas back home and the Maccas in the United States.  The food on the menu is basically similar but the difference is in the advertisement of the famous McDonalds sign, the advertisement of the menu and also the sizing of the meals. 

Upon investigation of the US website, there is a massive Angus burger and wrap in the middle of the screen being advertised with words “seize the bold” next to it. This type of advertising is trying to encourage the viewer to become hungry and to entice them to buy one of their massive meat based burgers. The advertising to me has negative effect, the picture looks very dull and I believe the picture is emphasizing that Maccas has burgers full of meat and fat.  

The Australia website goes straight into the menu and has a large picture of a healthier looking chicken wrap. This type of advertising is trying to illustrate that Maccas isn’t that unhealthy and makes it look healthier with clear picture of tomato, lettuce and grilled chicken. I find this advertising more encouraging as it illustrates more that McDonalds is a bit healthier and is not only meat and fat (unfortunately i am unable to get a pic of it). 

There are a few differences between the Maccas in Australia and the Maccas in the United States, firstly the most obvious is that the menu has not small size. On my first experience to Maccas near Nashville, I was in the drive-thru trying to acquire a small meal, unfortunately 5 minutes later and being required to drive face to face with the worker to order, I was able to find out that regular is the smallest size. After ordering a regular it is clear the cup size of the soft drink was a fair bit larger than the regular cup back home. Not only was this the case but when eating inside, the maccas in the states offers free refills where back home it is very hard to find any type of fast food which offers that type of luxury.

Another difference is the advertising of the famous Maccas logo ‘the big M’. In the states many of the maccas have massive high and bright Maccas logo’s that can be seen from many distances away. Back home due to height restriction and such, this is not the case.  Another difference in the states is that Political correctness of America, in that it is by far the most politically correct. The political correctness is so extreme that McDonald’s restaurants don’t sell "white coffee" or "black coffee." They sell "coffee with cream" and "coffee without cream."

Overall the advertising and cultural differences of Maccas between the two countries are much vaster than what I thought before travel here to the states. The major difference I believe is that the advertising Is very different, In the states the advertisement is emphasising on the amount of meat you get in the burger for such a little price, whereas in Australia the advertising is always on tick approved meals that are lower in calories and fat than the regular ‘big mac’ or other similar burgers.

Cultural Litereracies - Nietzsche’s typewriter

Ink and paper ->    Typewriter ->     Computer ->    Internet -> ………….

Media has progressed over the years and although the basic ink and paper is still used, Computers and internet are used by most people largely due to it being the easiest and quickest way of obtaining and documenting information. 

Nietzsche once explained that “our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts.” I absolutely agree that different media’s will alter the outcome of the final product. An example of this would be when writing information, it would take longer with pen and paper in comparison to a computer. This is due to the computer being faster in typing than writing, also with mistakes, the backspace of the computer is far more effortless and neater that an eraser. But when it comes to studying or writing notes in class, I always use pen and paper as it helps remember the info that I am writing, this is due to the fact that it takes longer to write, therefore your brain thinks about the information for a longer time (thus helping in remembering the info) rather than quickly typing and forgetting information on a computer. 

As I am majoring in Urban and regional Planning (city planning) some of the essential knowledge needed for the profession, is to map out city’s on a GIS computer program. The program is used to quickly and accurately get model maps of cities in many different angles. If these maps are drawn out using a pen and paper, the quality would be far less and the map would also be inaccurate, also many different maps would be required to be drawn in order to account for different map angles. Therefor the final product of using a computer program to a pen and paper in relation to map modeling would be far different.

‘Is the improvement of media making us more stupid?’ I am sure that the introduction of spellcheck, thesaurus and grammar check, are making us less observant of our own mistakes and not helping in regard to self-improvement of grammar and spelling, thus making us unable to identify mistakes on our own to fix. But then again the introduction to the internet has made vast amounts of the world’s knowledge just a few clicks away. This ease of access to information would help many people quickly learn larger amounts of information in shorter time, thus helping the human race to gain knowledge.

Overall I think the evolution of media is helping many businesses and persons improve in relation to organization and quality. The internet is helping the human race to become more knowledgeable as a whole and help in making everyday jobs a lot easier and quicker. I believe the human race will become incoherent in regards to spelling and grammar in the future, due to the introduction of spellcheck/ grammar check and hope that pen and paper is always going to be used in order to help these aspects of a human brain.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Exchange Down Under

We all know the stereotypical aussie’s with tanned body wearing a corked hat to get rid of flies and also short on words but long on ability to sink the stubbies (i.e. get drunk) with his mates whilst cooking up a BBQ and unhurried form of lifestyle. But if exchange students where to study in australia, how much of the sterotypical culture would be true and would I need to explain other cultural differences. 

The name Australia comes from the latin word ‘Terra Australis’ or ‘Southern Land’, It is a continent surrounded by water and is located in the southern hemisphere, thus all seasons are changed in comparison to the United States, with summer being in December, January and February. This Is where I would start if I was hosting an exchange student whom had never been to Australia. I would then go on and discuss some of the main cultural differences of Australia to the rest of the world. I would start by saying that the living expenses in Australia are very expensive partly due to our high taxes and higher income average.  Mateship would be a big cultural difference in Australia, mateship stresses equality and mateship over all else and the glorification of Australia's early soldiers in the Boer War and World War I reinforces these values.

One result of the prevalence of the 'mateship' culture is that Australian society is stringently anti-hierarchical. Australians are expected to behave with humility and not think of themselves as better than their peers. Any disloyalty to their 'mates' is treated harshly, and is known as the tall poppy syndrome, where people who grow greater than their peers are harshly criticized as being narcissistic, or 'up themselves'. Even the most successful and beautiful Australians are eager to proclaim how ordinary they are. This egalitarian social system makes Australian society appear 'laid-back', or relaxed to visitors. Most forms of address are by first name or nickname, and only children regularly use titles such as 'Mister' or 'Sir' for authority figures. Australian tends to love the ‘aussie battler’ the person who works hard and just earns enough to feed the family. In history Australian settlers experienced great hardship and had to support each other in order to survive, The battle against the elements led to the nickname of a member of Australia's working class being the 'Aussie battler'.

In relation to sporting culture many Australians are passionate about sport, and it forms a major part of the country's culture, particularly in terms of spectating, but also in terms of participation.
Cricket, Aussie rules football, rugby, tennis, netball and soccer are all major sports that many people participate and spectate in. Different states of Australia follow different sports, such as rugby is big in Sydney whereas AFL (Aussie rules football) is big in Melbourne and Adelaide. 

Australia has no official designated national dress, but iconic local styles include bush wear and surf wear. Bush wears including brands such as R.M.Williams, which are mostly worn by country men and farmers. In relation to surf wear, many people wear boardies (board shorts or swim suits as people in the United States say) as everyday shorts even when not going near any water. 

In relation to the stereotype, The stereotype exists, of course, but few Australians can be quite so easily categorized these days as the majority of Australia has surpassed these stereotypes but there are still many cultural differences to other countries in which I would explain to exchange student before arriving in Australia in order to avoid problems or disrespect to the Australian culture.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cultural Literacy - AUS to US

I never really thought about being literate in the US culture prior to traveling here. This is because I was very confident that the cultural differences would be very minor and the US would be like Australia but bigger (more population, bigger building etc.). I do believe that every country has their differences in culture with the Australian culture, in comparison to other countries, being very dissimilar. Within Australia the culture is fairly similar between the states with minor differences in slang being used in different states. I believe the typical Australian stereotype is depicted as all of Australia, whereas the US stereotype varies to different parts of America (e.g. south and north have different stereotypes). 

My original thoughts of culture differences of the United States in comparison to Australia would be more fast food outlets and driving cars on the other side of road and having the driving seat on the other side of the car (that’s right, we drive cars completely opposite to the United States).
The culture differences I have discovered upon living in the United States for 6 weeks has grown massively. I could write a few pages on Culture differences of the US and Australia. I will touch on the main differences now, including language barrier, fast food and other differences.

Firstly the language barrier is surprisingly larger than first thought. I initially assumed our languages would be very similar as both countries speak English. Unfortunately this is not the case (especially in the South), I have found many residents in Clemson struggle to understand my accent and I sometimes struggle to understand some strong southern US accents. I am forced to repeat my sentences regularly trying to keep the slang to a minimum, some example of this was the other day when ordering for tomato on my sandwich, the lady poured mayonnaise on it.

Another major culture shock is the amount of diverse fast food outlets there are around the place. They are everywhere and the food is very cheap. 

As you can see, White Castle is a major deal in Australia, as we do not have it back home and the outlet is very popular due to the movie Harold and Kumar go to White Castle. Some of the other differences of which I have never experienced include drive thru banks, no water restrictions and squirrels EVERYWHERE.

The gaps of which I will need to overcome in the near future in the US would be to adapt to the different cultures of the different states whilst traveling in the US. Overall I believe it is very hard to fully understand the cultural difference of other countries, no matter how much you read or hear. I believe the best way to learn and increase your literate of other cultures would definitely be to live in another culture and experience the culture first hand. The best way to adapt and learn the culture of other countries would be to be open to change and be able to accept the different culture and to adapt to the different culture whilst trying to not insult anybody whom the culture is their everyday life.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Photo resizing

This is my original image of memorial stadium, i took this picture the first week i was here at Clemson. I couldn't believe how big the stadium is, as in Australia this would be top 3 biggest stadiums. Unfortunalty i will not get to see the stadium full of people as i am only at Clemson for one semester and it is football off season.

I have resized and compressed this image below. I found it very difficult to re size and compress this image, as i have never tried to alter images before.

As you can see the image has been re sized and compressed, making it easier to view over the internet, as it is less kb than the original image. I have found this process very helpful and this technique will ensure i will keep my blog simple and easily accessible, especially when uploading multiple images.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Online Communities

When it comes to online communities for me, I have always been involved in the social programs whilst growing up, from msn messenger from middle school, to Facebook in high school,, and finally to Skype whilst being overseas.

These communities where always used to work out what party’s where happening on the weekend and to catch up with the latest Goss. I never really enjoyed the online communities as I have always believed it is better to interact with somebody in person (face to face). Unfortunately whilst being overseas this cannot be the case in order to contact people from home (Australia) I must use the online communities including Facebook and Skype. I have been in the United States for 4 weeks thus far and I have found I have been using these online communities’ a lot more than usual, weather talking to friends back home or to the family.  

Are Online Communities Good or Bad? That is the question I am asking myself. Obviously there are many good aspects about the online communities weather it being easy conversations with people back home or keeping up with the goss, but unfortunately there is also the aspect of seeing photos of beers, beaches, BBQ’s and hot 36 degree Celsius weather (approx. 100 degree Fahrenheit) back home, all the aspects of Australia I already miss.

Overall I think online communities are great value and make overseas living a hell of a lot easier. I think if you have Skype and Facebook, homesickness will never be an issue and any issues or problems you have with companies or persons back home can be so much more easily resolved (especially with the time difference). I recommend everybody whom are travelling overseas to become more familiarised with these online community’s before travelling as it makes your life a lot easier.