Friday, December 31, 2004

Two movies

I taped some ads on tv a few weeks ago, and slotted in between them was the movie Iris. Nice little story of English author Iris Murdoch's slide in senile dementia (can't spell that althem word). Fisrt class acting by Dame Judy Dench and her co star, playing her husband, was excellent too.

Today we went to the cinema and saw Motor Cycle Diaries. I read a lot about Che Guevara years ago, and I am afraid what I read and can remember did not gell with the character on the screen. But it is a movie, not a biography, and was entertaining enough.

Oh yeah, and the interior of the Cinema Como has had a major make over. Very nice indeed.

And we caught a tram in Chapel St, and unlike the usual electronic whine, this tram went ding ding, clunk, shhhhhhh and we were off.

Highriser wastes mental energy

If you are a reader of my blog, you may by now know that I am gay. It is not a big deal really, unless you want it to be. But of course it defines me and sticks a label on me. But I love labels on people, so no problem.

Sometimes you can be overly sensitive about the biz though. That is looking for hurt where it might not be.

Here is an example where I could have saved me self some angst.

I recently made a comment to a blog I regularly read. It was a sympathetic comment that perhaps would not have come from a straight 40 odd year old male. And of course, when you post, it links back to your blog where in my description of myself it readily mentions that I am gay.

The next comment to the blog was brief (I must learn how to make brief comments to blogs) and concluded, ‘At least you are not homo mate’.

Ouch, this blog is usually quite gay tolerant and the blogger certainly is.

This was this morning. As the day wore on, I thought about it more and more. Effing homophobic c.

Now some history. Early in my net useage, I was in a gay chat room and some guy messaged me and seemed nice enough, but then started getting nasty. Obviously he was a latent homosexual with some issue about it, but no need to lambast me with homophobic comments. I might have a least admired him if he sounded clever, but he sounded very red neck and unoriginal. This was back in the days when all we had to chat with was MIRC. (something Internet Relay Chat, if you are wondering). But MIRC used to tell you an awful lot about chatters, and with the help of a friend, I worked out that he was at an Albury Tertiary College. I contacted them with his details and they investigated and later told me that because of his abuse of his internet facility, his account was suspended for three months.

So I do take homophobia seriously, if it suits me. I was new to net chat, and I did not need that.

So what do I do about this homophobic prick that made the comment today. Well, I trust the blogger guy, and he will make a soothing comment or erase the original comment. If he doesn’t, then I won’t read his blog anymore. It is not true revenge, but self-satisfying.

But although yours truly is often dumb, sometimes he is not and always believes in arming himself with facts and both sides before action or protest. I went back and had another look, hoping that this homophobic guy had his own blog. I could get some savvy internet friends to ‘do something’. I clicked on the link, and hmmm, pic, cute enough looks………………oops. It says he is gay. Owww.

Hating is a wasted emotion, more so when you are wrong.
Can I just add, not sure why he made the comment. Being gay is good. I am pleased to be gay. I will read his blog a bit and see where he is coming from……..tomorrow.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Politics

Listen kiddies, this example shows you how it works.

New Year’s Eve 2003/4. Public transport shambles. PTUA gets great mileage with videos of packed trams and trains, and many left stranded. Outrage on radio talkback. State Government defensive.

Pre NYE 2004/5.

Government announces all night train service and extended tram service. Train company bribes train drivers with promise of a day in lieu and double time and a half, and still not many biting. It remains to be seen.

Tram company can play with the roster and extend the service. Much complaining from staff and mentions of sickies.

But this is what was told to me, so I am not putting my name to it nor saying it is true. Tram staff were complaining about only receiving normal pay for working on christmas day so the tram union and the tram management got together and decided the tram staff would be paid public holiday rate for working christmas day, the quid pro quo being that trams would run all night NYE. 24 extra shifts were allocated to at least one depot and at this stage, three of them are covered. Everywhere in the depot mentioned, there are notices calling for staff to work overtime NYE. I doubt there are many takers.

I might be wrong, and I think it is a gamble on the government’s part, but I think practically it won’t be much better than last year.

But credit to the government, they made all night NYE transport happen. Credit to the tram/train companies, they made all night NYE transport happen. Credit to PTUA, they agitated and made all night NYE transport happen (sorry DB, not having a go).

But Blanche, it just ain’t gonna happen.


Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Big wave

It starts slowly and gently. Like the Bali bomb, you hear of it first in a low key way. Maybe just a quick mention on the late night news before you go to bed. It slips from your mind until morning.

Over the next few days the horror of it becomes apparent. The rich and famous have been affected, along with many many more poor. The media personalizes it as we in Australia are directly affected.

It is pointless to mention how many are dead as the figure rises so quickly.

I believe that basic charity is a role for the government in western countries. That is one reason why we pay taxes. I rarely give to what I see as the empire building private charities. But this time I will make an exception. Red Cross I guess.

Monday, December 27, 2004

To NYE or not

Last New Year's Eve

  • Food and drinks at a friends house, 6 to 8.30
  • Barbecue at another friend's house, 9 to 11
  • Visit a friend who lives at Beacon Cove and he took us up onto the roof of the apartment building and we watched the city fireworks, 11.30 to 12.30
  • Home to where siblings and hangers on had arrived after being in city. Bodies all over floor but yours truly and some others kept going, 1 to 8
  • Swim in pool with remainder of guests, 8 to 9
  • Sleep, 10 to 2
  • Vow never again, 2

This year's New Year plan

  • Nought
  • Zero
  • Zilch
  • Nowt
  • Nothing
  • Watch fireworks on tv
  • Wish b/f a happy NY
  • Go to bed

Friday, December 24, 2004

Corruption in Australia

There are a few workmates who are I am quite close to, and although we are worlds apart in some ways, oddly we are friends and I imagine that if I left work, I remain in touch with them. One is Buddhist Chinese Thai, one Christian Chinese Cambodian, one Muslim Indonesian. All are around fifty or close. They have all been workmates for a long time and we know each other pretty well. They know I have a male partner. The Thai has met him several times and given his wife makes costumes for drag queens, it is not a problem. The Cambodian is one of the most clever people I have met, quite masculine and assertive. The Indonesian is fiery, emotional but thoroughly decent.

At various times we have talked about corruption in their countries of birth. It is truly part of life in their countries, from the rich to the poor. Of course, the poorest are the real losers as they seldom have money to pay.

If you weren't brave, with some knowledge of the ways of corruption in such countries, you would surely stay at home, lest your plane crashes, the building falls down around you, or the wheels fall off your bus.

When talking of such matters, in the back of my head is how horrible it must be to try and live in blatently corrupt countries, and probably, I was thinking Australia is not corrupt.

But kiddies, we know that is not true. The company police force, ASIC, was formed in 1991 and it's efforts since have resulted in the jailing of 256 people since then, with more pending.

Check out http://www.crikey.com.au/business/2003/01/21-asicjailed.html for the list.

I consider I am quite law abiding and I like rules and sometimes I think Australia is becoming a place of do what you want when you want. It is not enforcement of laws by the police that keeps our society together; it is just the basic decency and itelligence of most people.

There is some law breaking I like. The type of protester that results in the advancement of society, those who try to preserve nature, the anti war folk, those who fight against cruelty of animals and indefensible young humans and the sort of person who would throw an egg at the Prime Minister because he is what he is.

But when a government funded authority can jail 256 rich, high and mighty, then I do feel a lot better...............or are those the ones who did not cultivate the right people or paid the right people?

Merry christmas to all.


Pick up on the 72

I boarded the tram and sat down on a side seat adjacent to a young guy in the homey uniform of the young. I did not take much notice of him and started reading my paper. I don’t mind sitting facing the rear or forward but I dislike sitting sideways, so I was sitting on a bit of an angle but not quite facing the guy.

Out of the corner of my eye I noticed he was ‘rearranging the furniture’. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed his furniture must have been a mess as it was taking a long time to rearrange.

Ok, I couldn’t help but stare now as the furniture was obviously getting excited. There were plenty of other passengers, but as usual, they remain oblivious to such things and he was guarding himself a bit with his hooded jacket.

After three or four minutes, and I knew this was coming, he made a motion with his thumb and fingers that you would if your were checking that you didn’t have more than one note of money stuck together. Then the open hand, $50, I guess.

Saved by the bell, kind of it. I smiled at him and rang the bell for the next stop, even though I was one stop short. It was the only graceful way I could get out of the situation. He went back to reading his book. In case you think I am completely resistant to such offers, I am not. He just wasn’t my type and although hard to tell under all those clothes, he did not look terribly clean. If I were tempted to pay for it, I would choose someone who was my physical ideal, besides, far too much to do to have time for all that nonsense plus, $50 would keep me in wine for a week or so.

Still, it was a bit of fun for a couple of minutes.


Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Transport Bar

OR, why I don't go to bars anymore.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. Learnt that Transport Bar has a gay theme on Wednesday nights. The advertising said 8 till late. I happened to mention this to my partner and he suggested we should go for a look see. I checked their website and found that they do a nice pie, chips and salad for a reasonable price. I am not so stupid. I knew not much would be happening if we arrived at 8, but as Thursday is a working day for us, it could not be otherwise.

I will just add here that I love the Transport Bar during the day. It is stylish, airy, light, lots of areas and very relaxing.

But as soon as we stepped off the tram, I thought, I don't think we will be eating here tonight. We pushed our way in, peoples were very drunk and loud, the floor very sticky, the openish area to Swanston St was closed for a private function, the music was loud..........it was just too full on. We had one drink and left. To ease the slight disappointment, I suggested we go to Lygon St for a meal, but partner suggested KFC. Perfect, and I refuse to feel guilty for having KFC twice in one year.

We then had a look at the christmas tree in the city square and I had not seen the water wall in Collins St close up at night, so that was interesting.

We came home to find there was an informal body corp committee meeting in progress, so we joined in and after half an hour of chatting and merry christmas wishes, we are home. I am quite happy at home. Just as well, as it costs us a lot of money, but money well spent. A brief visit to a bar just confirms that I like being home. This from someone who ten years ago would have had a tantrum if he had to stay home on a Friday or Saturday night. I kinda like being a bit older; it is a lot easier.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Yuk

At the last body corp committee meeting, one of the atendees who we think is a bit odd anyway, insisted on leaning back in his chair with his hands behind his head. I suppose there was some body language that we were supposed to read from his manner, but it was hard to concentrate on anything because of his white tennis tee that had very badly stained, yellow underarms. Absolutely disgusting. Lest you think all the body corp committee are like that, I can assure you they are not.

Monday, December 20, 2004


Our building's christmas tree. Bought, assembled and decorated by the body corp committee. Posted by Hello

Our own christmas tree. We have decided we need a new one next year. Posted by Hello

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Permanent newspaper

This idea really amuses me and credit must go to Jane Clifton, comedian, singer, sometimes guest and sometimes presenter on ABC Melbourne radio. I wish someone would do it.

It would be a newspaper of headlines that you can always expect. Here are few examples and I will try to keep it topical.

Boxing day I expect we will rise to a head line, Police say christmas day was quieter than usual.

Charity group has ensured the disadvantaged did not go without for christmas.

Record spending binge on christmas.

New Year's Day, Public transport chaos for new year's eve revellers.

In the little weather square, it will say, Strong wind warnings east of Wilson's Prom (I can't spell the full version of prom).

In business it will say, Despite a 50% fall in real estate prices, agents say there is no slump in the market.

Overseas news.

An English paper might say, Government minister caught with pants down.

A USA paper, In these difficult times, this great country will put it's trust in god.

Olympic facilities unlikely to be ready.

That's enough to get you thinking. Add a few of your own.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

My motor

This post is inspired by a fellow blogger who complained about the cost of repairs to his car.

My car is oldish, not as old as my Humber Super Snipe that I used to have, but almost 20 years old. It has great air-con, electric windows/mirrors, cruise control, heaps of courtesy lamps, heaps of storage pockets, multitude adjustable very comfortable seating, split rear seat for luggage carriage, an excellent radio/cassette, body and interior is in good condition, tinted windows that have been maintained, and the engine goes ok. I mainly use if to travel to and from work, otherwise it is public transport or my partners more modern car. For a long trip it is a hard choice, as his does not have cruise. But it is pre coffee cup holder. (Mazda 626 if you are wondering)

But why do I feel that I am such a loser for driving such an old car?

I visited a work mates place for lunch recently. He lives in Clayton and has a stunningly luxurious big 4WD, (SUV for you folk across the Pacific), but oh, what a squalid tasteless house. But no matter, he is a nice bloke and I think nothing less of him for where he lives or what he lives in, but I do think his priorities are odd. Why would he want spend so much money on a car, when his own house is so modest? (Grammar checker has just told me I have used a ‘reflexive pronoun’, sorry about that. Revision considered and denied, thank you Bill)

Oh, a collision outside just happened, cnr Kingsway and St Kilda Rd, but not doing the biffo though, boring.

Well, that ties in, hey. How paranoid would you be driving a smart new car, only to have someone slam the door into it in a carpark.

I know I am wrong as nearly everyone has a car newer than mine, but (partner inserts a drawn out moan) that is me. I just don’t care about a new car. Power steering is good, electric windows for windows other that the driver is good, cruise control is ok, but I don’t care much about them. I do care about air-con though, at home, at work and in the car. An essential. Don’t quote me, but I think the first cars with air-con appeared in India in the late 1930s, in cars owned by the Raj but they only had punkah wallahs at home.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Modern youth wireless

The cleverness of young people amazes me at times. On Joy I hear very talented young broadcasters, and now, thanks to my luddite technology radio cassette tape recorder, I am up to speed with Internationl Affair, a SYN FM radion show presented by Agent Fare Evader .

The Agent is very talented and presents his program well. His speech is clear, if very rapid fire, but I think that is the way of youth radio broadcasting. He drops his g's in the right places, just like a professional. I like the music, (modern Indian dance music for the want of the correct term), but after an hour of it, it has a certain sameness to it that becomes wearing. Of course some is better than others and I could easily find a few tracks that I would like to hear again. One was familiar to me as I hear it sometimes at an Indian friend's house and another I had already downloaded coz I liked it.

Well done AFE, keep it up.

Sometimes there are advantages to being up early. Posted by Hello

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Great night

Last Saturday we attended the annual carol night put on by the Melbourne Gay and Lesbian Chorus , accompanied by the Melbourne Rainbow Band. The venue was the courtyard at the Prahran Market and it is a fantastic night.

There were some straight folk, a few kiddies, but the majority of the estimated 600 strong audience were g and l. The performers were sex, age and ethnically diverse. Always good to see.

Our table of 22 shrank to about 18 as a few did not turn up, but we had a prime viewing and listening possie once again, thanks to Irene (Irene Chapman Antiques, 126 Bay St, Brighton).

Lesson learned, rather than have Hungry Jacks first and spend heaps on too much wine, eat a meal from Fresky's and take you own wine.

Pencil it your 2005 diaries, early December, you won't be sorry.

Crims, kero and big brother

Criminals have to be quite smart nowdays. I heard on the radio today something about something or someone getting torched. The person who did it bought five or seven bottles of kerosene from a Bunnings Hardware store. The police know that this particular kerosene can only be bought at Bunnings and yet they cannot find out who is the guilty person.

Am I overestimating technology? A sale of five or seven bottles sale of kerosene should not be hard to find via the cash register/stock control database. Check the date, time, and location of the sale and then view the cctv footage of that store at that particular time. Perhaps the person was hooded and covered up and there isn’t clear footage, or maybe the camera was defective.

Cameras surround us, our movements tracked via our cards of various types or our public transport tickets and the future will only bring more of the same. We are prepared to accept this for its advantages to us, the benefits of convenience and wanting to keep up with technology.

Btw, highriser had a sickie yesterday. I actually wasn’t feeling too good, but not totally incapacitated.

Big database in sky, that work fortunately cannot access, noticed that highriser came and went from his building five times, three times via the main entrance and twice via the car park (recording of activity of his remote control). Tram cam to record motorists passing a stationary tram recorded him crossing once in the direction of 711. One of his car park exists was in his car (city link etag). He was observed by road cameras travelling down St Kilda Rd and the crossing Commercial Rd and Punt Rd. He bought a parking ticket in the Coles/Safeway carpark. He used his credit card to pay for cake board at Essential Ingredient in Prahran Market. Seen on cctv in Prahran car park and various other cameras in the area. His Medicare card was used at Prahran Market Clinic (not true actually). He caught the 220 bus at such and such time and the 72 tram at such and such time in the later in the day. He boarded here and alighted at these locations. Cctv on the bus tells he read the paper on the bus. Cctv on the tram tells he looked out the window and glanced around at his fellow passengers. Cameras in Prahran area also again saw him. He paid for a AA battery charger at Tandys in Chapel St, but had previously been seen in Safeway examining something similar. He had picked up some almond icing in the store and left it at the battery charger area, thinking he would have to come back. Staff challenged him as he exited store to show what was in his bag, but he pretended he didn’t hear and kept walking. Observed by cctv buying a piece of tandoori chicken by Pran Central cameras. Observed by street cctv having coffee outdoors in Commercial Rd at Eugenis cake shop. He went back to Safeway and bought almond icing, after retrieving it from where he left it. Mobile phone record shows the calls he made and received and he did not venture outside his home area and Prahran. But mobile phone went into a dead area for four hours within his building (committee meeting room). He spent this many hours on the internet at these times. Here is a list of all sites he has visited and has visited in the past year. He received these emails and sent these ones. (Note email to suspected steroid abuser in Sydney, case pending) He made these calls from his home phone. His utility usage dropped off at 10.40 pm, so we would assume he went to bed.

I am sure there is stuff I have missed, and if we did not live in a civilized society I would be worried. Perhaps I should be anyway.

But why the **** can’t police catch criminals?








Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Nastiness on public transport

I guess it is sort of expected that old people will mutter and moan about young people and what they get up to. And young people will whinge about stupid and slow old people.

While I am mainly familiar with the more expensive areas of Melbourne, and the kids mostly go to private schools, I expect this goes for the whole of Melbourne, in fact most places.

On public transport I have never seen such nastiness and vindictiveness from a young person towards an old person as I have from an old person towards a young person. Yes, teenagers can be noisy, unthinking, careless and inconsiderate. But the sheer venom in their voices that I have heard old people use towards young people really makes me wonder how they got to old age and have no memory of being young.

To contrast, I have seen so many courteous acts by young people towards older people, mostly graciously received, but not always. Overseas students seem to be a shining example but even on a day to day basis, Aussie brought up kids seem to treat old people with concern and respect, although they could never be called obsequious.

Please Allah, should I make it too old age, don't make me one of those crabby old people who hates young people.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Telstra and the bomb

Will a mention of bomb in the subject line have ASIO reading my blog? Not for long I think as I miss spelled it. It should be Telstra and the bom. Bureaux of Meterology (highriser is not a good spelr). Not good enough Zeigfield. For a week in Melbourne we have had tropical weather, humidity, storms, heavy rains.

For two days I could not view the rain radar at the weather bureau's site. I depend on the rain radar to plan my day and how to dress. Yesterday I rang them and they asked if I was a Telstra internet user. I am and they told me the fault was with Telstra and I needed to contact them.

Call the most dialled number ever from my phone, tech support on 133 933. A recorded message about a problem with webmail and then the phone hung up. Called twice more and no doubt added to Ziggy's retirement payout, same result. Tried in the afternoon, different recorded message, but it still hung up on me. Called the general enquiry number and she managed to get me into the queue. Gave up after 20 mins. I always utilize the time spent when on hold. I emptied the dishwasher, read a page of the newspaper and wrote out a christmas card for my step father.

But this morning the rain radar is working again, and I am a more relaxed and confident person. This bloody www is insidious. While you can sling out a phrase like, the net is great but wouldn't care really if I didn't have it, I think I would.

The wireless

Back in the early eighties we were travelling in the country somewhere north of the city. It was quite early in the morning and our usual radio station (can't remember what it was, 3XY maybe?) started to fade in and out. With a bit of dial twiddling we found a nice strong signal which happened to be 3LO, now known as ABC Melbourne.

I could not believe what I was hearing. This grumpy old bloke was moaning on about something and then he would stop talking and there would be several seconds of dead silence. We were aurally mesmerised, if I can get away with that. The old bloke, was of course, Peter Evans. And ever since then, I have been a devoted 3LO listener.

In the eighties broadcasts were often interrupted by the broadcast of federal parliament and cricket. Parliament was later shifted to 3AR (Radio National) and then News Radio. We still put up with cricket.

But at such times, I learnt to appreciate Radio National and classical music on ABC FM radio. On the odd occasion I listened to 3CR , 3JJ (?), RRR and PBS In the nineties I sometimes listened to JJJ and then came along a gay radio station JOY Melbourne.

Joy can be very entertaining for anyone, especially at weekends when there is more talk and much of the retro music appeals to me. I am a member of the station and have been for many years. The work that volunteers do astonishes me and, while office politics shall I call it, sometimes get vicious, what comes through the speakers is of a very high standard.

Before obtaining a local community license, Joy used to frequency share with a Muslim radio station. It used to bug me Monday mornings when I would switch the radio on and instead of Joy, I would hear foreign tongues. But wonder how they fared on Thursday morning when they switched their radios on and heard, Joy Melbourne, Australia's first and only gay and lesbian radio station, as the promo went.

I owe a lot to ABC Melbourne. It is very important to me. Weekends, depending what I am doing, after most of Tonya Roberts has finished, I switch over to Joy for the rest of the weekend. Fave program at moment is Gillian and Clare with the G Spot, but Frank and Benny are very funny with Two Fat Lattes.

But one must stay up to date and I keep forgetting and next Tuesday I have a body corp meeting where I am going to biff someone, so I won't be able to listen then either. To what? Agent Fare Evader on Tuesday evenings on SYN FM Melbourne. I believe he plays some modern Indian music, which from the little I have heard elsewhere, I quite like. I just hope he keeps rap at a minium and doesn't play headbanging stuff at all. He certainly has a good voice for radio. We shall see.........eventually. Just noticed that they use the old Joy frequency, 90.7. Good, it is still preset on my car radio and bedside clock.

Can I just add an honourable mention for Nova. The laconic Dave Hughes is very funny and for commercial radio, it is not too bad.

Online newspapers

It is best that I no longer link a mention of a newspaper to their web site, as you have to sign up and join to read an article. I don't think I have had to sign up for the Herald Sun yet, but it will happen. I have already signed up for the New York Times and the Straits Times. Why can't you just sign up for one Murdoch paper and have access to them all?

Friday, December 10, 2004

Heavy rains

A short time ago, heavy rain fell here in Melbourne. St Kilda Rd flooded immediately, as it does. The slip lane from St Kilda Rd to Toorak Rd had very deep water and two teenagers stripped off to their shorts and had a great fun time in the water.

They stood next to the car lane and water washed and sprayed right over them. Some lightly dressed other teens joined in and a big water fight started. Nice to see the kiddies having fun.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Soap for fuel

I only half caught the news this morning. Maybe I got it a bit wrong, but did I hear that I won't be able to buy petrol unless I wash my face first? I am not overly keen on the guy where I buy my petrol and I sure don't want him checking my face to see if it is clean.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Highriser and media

I dunno if you need to know this or that you would be interested. But a blog surely is an excercise in self indulgence.

Ok, I buy the big paper twice a week. Tuesday for the IT supplement. This has become increasingly irrelevant to the home pc user, but there is the odd thing that interests me. Thursday for the Green Guide. By thoroughly reading the GG, I keep up on technology, movies, and of course tv. When someone mentions some show that I have never seen on commercial tv, I probably know a bit about it.

If I come across the little paper, I might flick through it, read the letters page and get angry how people are published under a nom de plume, often those with the most red neck views.

MX is fun for two minutes. And I wouldn't expect their letter writers to sign their names.

TV, mostly ABC, occasionly SBS and sometimes commercial tv. Mostly commercial tv coz partner is watching something.

You can find all my never miss shows on ABC at their website. Catalyst, Australian Story, Media Watch, Dynasties, The Glasshouse, Kath and Kim, Gardening Australia, Stateline, and sadly, The Bill.

Take them all away from me Buddha, I don't care, but don't take away my wireless. (oh, I feel a long post coming on). Save it for another time.




Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Site Attack

A site I check every so often has been cyber attacked. Well, it looks like it to me. I recently was driven to defend the quality of the building in which I live at one of the forums. I would love to say check out http://www.walkingmelbourne.com/ but you can't. You will probably see this message on a blank page. Cyb3r Attack

Hope they get it working again soon.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Like to do it proper

At my age I ought to know when to change the sheets on my bed. My mother used to change both weekly. My step mother used to wash the top sheet weekly and move the bottom one to the top. I just do it at random. Minium time would be one week, maxium, I am not game to confess.....well, can't remember anyway. Seems not to matter too much when you sleep alone mostly and the sheets are black (not satin) anyway.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Ho, ho, ho.

While walking to the shops yesterday, halfway through Fawkner Park we came across a group of people standing in a circle and laughing. Partner immediately commented that it was one those sad assed laughing groups. Ok, Mr Smarty Pants, I said, you walk past them without getting a smile on your face, and of course he couldn't and I certainly couldn't. I checked other people walking and nor could they. Without a doubt, laughter is infectious.

While it is not my thing, I admire them and good luck to them. I keep my sense of humour operating most of the time, although I do confess sometimes it completely shuts down at work.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Battle with the blog

On the left of the main page of my blog is a bit of text about me and a mention of the blogs I read. I have changed it for various reasons. But it won't stay changed. I edited it, saved it, republished the blog and it was fine, until the next time I went to my blog. It had reverted to what it used to be.

I attempted this several times and it would always revert. I am pretty patient with this sort of stuff and it was not life threatening. At this stage I could see it was going to be a bit of a battle so I decided to put the text into a word doc and just paste it in as required. I then deleted the text and put just the word 'test'. After one reversion, test stayed there. Good. Try the proper text again a couple of times but it just reverted to test. Ok, try having nothing there at all. That worked very well. It was very happy with that setting.

So now I paste in the text, check the blog and all is well. Check an hour later and text is still there. Check next day and it is back to blank.

Possibilities. Over 500 characters? I can't be bothered counting them or doing a line average. It can't possibly be 500 characters. No html allowed, well web addresses are not html are they? Besides, there was always a web address there. Caching problem? No, blogs don't seem to cache. Would rather defeat the purpose of them wouldn't it. Most likely it is just one of those things that happens and one day Mr or Mrs or Miss Blog will decide it will allow my text to stay there. I will just keep changing it until it accepts it.

Otherwise, this blogging site is pretty good, especially as it is free. I would like to change to another template that has more features, but I think I would lose everything already written. Besides, the template is the most attractive one I have come across. That is my opinion of course, but I have noticed a lot of others use this one too.

At the moment every couple of weeks I save what I have written into a word doc and file them in a folder for that month. I can see over a long period, that is not going to work well if I want to check back on something, so soon I will need to set up a better filing system. General subject headings seem to be the way to go. But I can see myself scratching my head when a post doesn't logically match a heading. That is why I will need a folder called misc. I have a few misc folders scattered around the hard drive and on cds.


Friday, December 03, 2004

Typical public transport

Noticed that the ferry was late setting off tonight. The Spirit of Tasmania is it? Normally see it about 9.15, but tonight it was around quarter to ten. Maybe it was extra busy and took time to load. It's blazing lights are well out of sight now at a quarter to eleven. Just a couple of buoys flashing and the lights of what I think is Portarlington.

Palais is lit up tonight...........ummm, Tina Arena.............no Danni Minougue Ithink.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Late night email

I say late night email because it is and I am tired after a big day and I am now half asleep, but I feel compelled to write. Modern young people flit from job to job and good luck to them, go for the change, the more money, the more job satisfaction, the step up the ladder, the experience.

Sadly, I have not done that. Today I was recognized for my 25 years of service to one company basically doing the one job. Management did their stuff, hand shakes and photo oportunities, real mates at work tried to ignore it, but the nicest thing happened. So many co workers were so nice to me today, it really tripped me out.

Let me rephrase this, my 200 odd workmates are ace.........ah, that was an expression from the mid nineties...........wicked is it now? No, that was 2000. Settle for nice blokes or kewl guys.

From yesterday's news

Onionmania, excessive or binge shopping. Wish I could afford to do that.........or have I missed the point?

Fox hunting outlawed in England. What???? The upper classes to be deprived of the pleasure of dogs ripping foxes apart? Outrageous!

Photo copy machine repair men are very busy in December, especially replacing broken scanning glass. Often there is paper jammed inside too. What's that about then? I guess people work extra hard in December and do lots of photocopying. Hmmm.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Bit more on pets

Animals can do some funny things at times. I can't remember half or most of what our pets did, but one thing comes to mind.

We were painting. We have done a lot of that in the past. I will just slip in here a word of advice for someone who might be painting in the near future. Work out how long it will take, then tripple it. Back to the dog. He liked us and liked to be with us, be it in the evenings at home, while house work was being done, or in the garden. He liked to be with us when we were painting too, and many times he brushed across a freshly painted wall, which had us picking his black hairs out of the paint.

But one day he truly surpassed himself by standing in the paint tray, and not on the top bit, but the bottom bit, full of paint. A rational human being would have contained the situation carefully, but we were not. We yelled, 'Toby' and he must have had an idea he had done wrong and bolted. Then we realised the importance of containing the situation, so we were off after him. Foot prints across the lounge room, through the dining room, across the kitchen floor and out onto the paved area outside.

Were we amused, no. Did we beat him, no. Did we clean it all up, yes. Do we laugh about it now, yes. He was clever, but not clever enough to know about paint trays and the repercussions.

Advent calendar

While I have heard of them, I don't know anything about them. I believe it is something you obtain before christmas and open a flap(s) each day leading to christmas. Under the flap is something religious, no idea what.

But we have received an advent calendar from overseas, a non christian country and it looks like a tourism promotion calendar. It shows castles, hot springs, temples, statues etc etc.

I look forward to tomorrow, the 1st and see what is under the first flap.


Monday, November 29, 2004

New phones

New mobile phones have arrived in the highriser household. Mine is an Ericsson K500i and partners is an Ericsson T630. It is a couple of years at least since we bought new mobiles. Well, not exactly bought. This time they did not cost us anything and I must pay $30 a month for two years with $30 calls, far in excess of what I use now and he must pay $20 a month for two years, with $15 calls, in excess of what he uses. Plus we can call each other for free for three mins anytime. Good reasons to change from Optus to Telstra plus Telstra has better coverage and my phone will now have a signal in the lift.

It was a nasty hot day and the Telstra shop had no aircon, must have broken down, and the ‘porting’ took much longer that expected and I had so much to do. They won’t let you take the phone until the porting has happened, so I just had to hang around in the heat. I ended up walking out in a foul mood, ready to return the next day, but as it always happens, I was no sooner home, than the porting went through, so I went back and collected the phone as I had time later that night to play with it.

I thought the menu would be easy as I have always had Ericsson phones (this is my fifth), but actually it was so different to my old phone and more like my partner’s old Samsung. My criticisms of my new phone so far are the ring is not loud enough, nor long enough before it diverts and I don’t like any of the ring tones. I will have to either compose my own or download one. We have been having fun with the inbuilt cameras though and generally we are both pleased with them.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Voice recognition

Automated voice recognition has come a long way since the last time I was forced to use it. In fact it worked flawlessly except when I wasn't expecting voice recognition in the beginning and when asked for my phone number, I said, Um, ahh and gave the number and she repeated my um and ahh back to me.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Nice evening

Warm evening, gentle breeze blowing, sitting at tables under huge oak trees drinking a Hoegaarden or two (Hogey to those in the know I believe), eating chicken and chips and surrounded by office workers knocking off and a sports team.

Where are we?

Yep, belgian beer cafe bluestone . It is not so cheap though, three beers each, chicken and chips to share equals $48 for two of us. Don't live in the past my partner constantly reminds me.

I love the way Melbourne has institution type places and activities and keeps inventing new ones.


I am dumbass

Ran into W today in Chapel St.
He said he has just seen R, someone I know to say hi to and that is all, having lunch at Red Orange.
I said I thought he moved to Sydney, are your sure it is him?
Given R only has one leg, that was a pretty dumb thing for me to say.

Small world

Tram coming, make a dash, caught it. Tram starts with a jerk. I fall a bit. Land on lap of next door neighbour who I had no idea was on the tram. Tis a small world.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Acne

Not something I have suffered from badly and any that might 'arise' had completely dissapeared by the age of 35 without scars. As in a previous post about noses, you seldom see bad acne in, or is than on, young Australians.

But boy do some of the overseas, especially Asian, students have it. I feel like going up to them and telling them that there is now good medical treatment for it. Please, no matter the expense, avail yourselves of it while you are here in Oz. You will be thankful later if life for the lack of scarring, if not now.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

May as well finish the book/grandmother tale

I don't know much about her origins except she came from Tasmania where her family had extensive land and she had an Italian family name. A house in the developing suburb of South Oakleigh where my grandfather lived was not to her taste so my grandfather rented a house just off Prospect Hill Road complete with croquet lawn for many years. Lorne Grove comes to mind.

She was an accomplished musician and taught music at a uni, and although I don't know which one, it was probably Melbourne Uni. Many of her students found her good company and she was invited to very 'bohemian' parties. The lifesyle must have appealed as she subsequently ran away with a seventeen year old student, leaving her husband and four sons, the eldest being my father, to fend for themselves. She married the student and they lived together in Balmain overlooking the docks until she died at a reasonably old age.

As each of her sons turned 21, she wrote to them, half explaining her life, half asking for forgiveness and understanding and leaving any future contact up to them. They all did, to a greater or lesser degree and my father, through my mother, as the oldest probably had the most to do with her. One Uncle used to refer to her as the Donelly St (Balmain) woman.They did visit us at our farm in Gippsland a couple of times. Not sure how they got baby Fiat over the mountains, but they managed. It was good to meet her at least. After being impressed by the tv show Love in Cold Climate, and later the book, we kids have for a long time referred to her as 'the bolter'.

My grandfather subsequently shied away from educated women, and married, a woman who used to always have the smell of beer on her breath and a Craven A in the corner of her mouth. They too visited us at our farm and it was always interesting for us kids to get up in the morning to see if nanna had made it to bed or passed out on the kitchen floor. No matter, she and my grandfather got on very well for the rest of their lives. Can't say the same for her and my mother who used to fight terribly. She thought my mother was uppity because she came from a church going wowser family who lots of land in the Clayton/Oakleigh/Bentleigh/Springvale area. My mother detested the way she smoked and drank so brazenly. My mother both drank and smoked too, but not openly.

The connection to my cleaning up the book shelves? Well, I came across, as mentioned a post or so ago, Wind in the Willows and Sydney nanna had always sent us kids a book for our birthdays. One was Wind in Willows, another, The Magic Pudding, another Piccaniny Walkabout, another Our Sunburnt Country. With the exception of Wind in the Willows, I think they were always books by significant Australian authors. I now appreciate what she was trying to do and if that was an appreciation for Australian literature, then it probably worked.

The bookcases

I spent some time tyding our bookcases today. You know, the retentive way of doing it. Descending height order, paperbacks together, reference books together. Visually it looks a lot better and cleaner. I chucked some stuff out too. All those Chinese cookery books for a start and the several salad preparation books. Partner makes wonderful stir fried Asian food and so do many restaraunts, why bother cooking Chinese at home? Will still keep the PWMU cookbook though. It has no cover and is obviously well used but it was my grandmothers. Holiday brochures for a villa in Spain went. It was a bright idea of partner's bro in law that came to nothing. Interestingly, in these www days, I thought it would be so easy to get recipies off the net for anything. But it does not quite seem the case. This week is christmas cake baking week and I can't find a recipie I used to use, so I looked on the net. There were plenty of recipies, but many with imperial measurements, which I can't remember now. One that had chocolate in it as well. I did find one that was close to what I wanted and it should be ok.

A few books I no doubt bought cheap are going. The Road Coad booklet from 1979 is off, and quite a few other irrelevancies. The 2002 Green Guide feature on digital cameras is way out of date, but still useful, so I kept that along with the 2003 Idea catalougue. I have a collection of Ikea cataglogues and I am sure they will provide a laugh at some future point.

There were some serious treasures I found too. My Humber (it's a car) owner's manual is going to go on ebay as will William Yang's Sydney Diaries. Both should be worth a bit. Noticed that I also have Joan Lindsay's post death publication solution supplement to Picnic at Hanging Rock. There are hundreds, if not more, gay novels published each year, but when there was maybe one a year, I bought them all and kept many. I found my beautifully illustrated copy of Wind in the Willows too.

This one is really all over the place, sorry.

Next time I post about books it will be about my almost unknown grandmother.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Eagles

Yes, I am that old to remember them and go to their concerts, but really their music was a bit dirge like. My sis and bros are going to see them Friday night. Hope they have fun.

Really I would rather lie back on a couch and listen to the brilliance of some trance music or the latest Indian DJ's mix of one of their own compostions. Does that mean I am hip, gay or in denial? I know little about Indian modern dj stuff, but what I have heard, I like a lot. Is it Panjab DJ or Punjab DJ?

Intense tv

In Melbourne town it is just after 11pm and I am having a week off work. On 'my' ABC is now a repeat of a show called Wildside. It used to be on at a prime viewing time, early Friday night, and I would sit glued to it, totally immersed. There is little in my life that does not let my mind wander and think about other things when I should be paying attention. But that was one tv show that required total concentration and immersing. Some British cop murder/mystery type shows almost get me there too. Looking at the show as I type, it probably is quite contrived, the camera swings all over the place, scenes jump, many talk at once, colours are not strong, lighting soft. Yeah, I understand that, but still a damn good show. I cannot watch it a second time though. It is just on in the background.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Australian Idol

Not watched it but you can't help being aware of it and know who the finalists are.

I did at some point catch Casey Donovan singing and she certainly had a good strong voice. In tune too. And you must certainly agree that big girls can look good.

Anthony Calea is vaguely cute and I suppose he can sing ok. But for all you lusting gays, remember what happens to cute young Italian boys by the time they are thirty (sorry about the racial stereotyping).

They both seem like nice people and Anthony can put on a nice natural smile, while Casey is not a natural smiler.

I hoped Casey would win and she did. Not heard what that sang for the final yet, but it sure was a lavish event at the Sydney Opera House

She was very tearful in victory and he generous and charming in losing. Well done kiddies. Now go and make lots of money from it. Think you've earnt it.

Mobiles

Or as our friends across the pacific call them, cell phones. I have once, years ago, been guilty of using a mobile while in the control of a vehicle. I have since realised that I cannot drive properly and talk on a mobile. I recognise that possibly some people can, but most cannot and if you people out there persist so brazenly and so carelessly, I will be forced to make a visit to my local arms dealer and purchace a kalashnikov and shoot you. You are warned.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The electric push button banking machine

I don't use it a lot as I often get cash via eftpos at the supermarket. But today I needed some cash from a nearby machine and it wasn't working, so I went inside the bank and was served by a real person. It was fun, and she asked how hot it was outside.

It was a totally positive experience and the money seems just as good as the money that comes from the electric push button banking machine. Well, it worked alright today anyway, maybe tomorrow it will be rejected. No, forgot, I've spent it already..........as you do.

There was no wait in the bank, unlike you often have to at the electic push button banking machine. I held out a long time against using the electric push button banking machine, although I used the facility often when the bank was closed. But if the bank was open, I would queue along with the pensioners. Mostly it was so that I could get the denominations of notes that I needed. And for a short time before it became too expensive for them, they offered $5 if you had to wait more than 5? minutes. That was a bit profitable for me.

Now, with internet banking and eftpos, you don't need to go to the bank at all, except to ask them to switch your credit card debit to the mortgage. Life is good and no nonsense about chickens on perches at nightfall or whatever please.


Monday, November 15, 2004

Gotta vote

My politics are clear in my head. It is not troublesome for me to vote in Federal and State elections.

But local council elections are a bit harder. One person who hopes to represent our ward, Emerald Hill, in the City of Port Phillip, is totally unkown to me. I don't even know if he is the slightly famous Andrew Demetriou or a lesser known Andrew Demetriou. He has done nothing to get his policies out to his prospective constituents that I have noticed. Unfortuanately it costs personal money to get in touch with electors and maybe he is disadvantaged by this. Good on him for having a go.

Next up is sitting councillor, Peter Logan. I am somewhat a council botherer and he has always responded to any email I have sent him and assisted in some minor matters in our area. I think he is an honourable and hard working councillor, decent bloke and knows how things in local government work. I have no idea of his politics and it does not seem relevant anyway.

Now we peoples in St Kilda Rd consider we are neglected peoples by council and don't get our fair share of the rate pie. Our building, occupying maybe two large house blocks, must generate rates of more than $100,000 and precious little is spent in our street. I feel we got a much better deal when we lived in a private house in Balaclava. Councillor Logan has made no mention of St Kilda Rd residents, except I do know he has been working for a pedestrian bridge across Queens Road for local residents to access Albert Park.

Then we have someone who it would seem is targeting St Kilda Rd residents for their vote. He is Donovan Jacka and those who know about football probably know he was an AFL footballer. I am more interested in his name and wonder if he is connected to the St Kilda foreshore road, Jacka Boulevard. But as said, he is paying particular attention to St K Rd and nearby residents. Pop his name into google and there is quite a list for him. He aknowledges his connection to the Labor Party. He has made the right noises in email exchanges, without promising anything. He is young, fresh and energetic. He went through the right channels to get his promotional material into our letter boxes (maybe Councillor Logan did too). So this bloke really strokes our pussy, so to speak.

I am also entitled to vote in Alma Ward, but sitting incumbent, gay, does good works, ex mayor, Labour Party member, Darren Ray will be re-elected so even if I did vote against him, he will win. Not that I would.

It is rare, but my pencil will be quivering come the time to put a cross the box.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Pet story

We used to have pets and I would love to have a dog again. We walk in Fawkner Park and see the dogs running and being very dog like and it gives me a lot of pleasure.

No matter how posh the owners are, and how well bred and groomed they are, they still sniff each others asses.

First was Toby, the pup from some animal home in Kilsyth and he was nearly the last too. He was black, ugly (dogs always look like their owners), not big or small and was easily distracted. I am sure he liked us as he was devoted to us, unless something more interesting came along. He destroyed our newly plated native garden in East Malvern. We can thank him for that. He was hard work, but we loved him deeply.

Next was Thomas from a friend, a large black and white cat and so affectionate he used to dribble when you patted and stroked him. We were very fond of him too and he got on very well with Toby.

Tuffy, the next cat had been treated badly, and behaved as such. We looked after him well, and occasionally repaid with some affection, but he was quite distant. Another reject from a friend.

Last was Jessie, the west hightland white terrier. We had one before they were even fashionabable. She had medical problems throughout her life and we ended up giving her to a friend in the country. She was pure bred with papers and cost us $350, cheap nowdays, but it was quite a lot at the time. She was sickenly affectionate.

Um, and as a companion for Toby for a couple of days, we had a Staffordshire bull terrier from the north melbourne lost dogs home. As a single pet, she would have been fine, but she busted up the dog enclosure, attatcked Toby through jealousy, so we had to take her back. She was a nice but inappropriate dog. I cried when I returned her.

What they all had in common was that they would release their body excretas, sometimes inappropriately and not where water would wash them away like us humans. Piss, vomit, shit, snot, drool, bile, phlegm and saliva. If you are not a pet owner and are tempted, then take note.

We lived in Burwood for only 18 months or so, but both cats went then. Tuffy was obviously very unwell and quite old. When he stopped eating, we took him to the vet and the deed was done.

Thomas went to a neighbours place for a few days and lay under a bush when he felt unwell and we were very fretfull over his dissapearance. The neighbour returned him and another very sad trip to the vet.

Jessie was a wondeful dog to take for a walk. Everyone spoke to you about her. But as said, she had medical problems through her life and died at the hand of a vet in the country through some cancer. How many $$$ did you cost us Jess?

We took Toby for a last walk to Alma Park. He staggered around, blind and arthritic and shaky. We lifted him back into the car and took him to the vet to do what had to be done and we cried and we cried and we cried. And I am crying now at the memory.

I was gonna write something humorous about pets. I shall leave it for another time.


Saturday, November 13, 2004

Telstra Big Pong

Lately I have been deliriously happy with Telstra Big Pond cable service. But there have been times when it has truly pissed me off. Mainly around two years to eighteen months ago when it was just not working. How many calls I made to the tech desk, knowing in my heart that the fault was not at my end. But even tech support is better now. It only takes two minutes of listening and pressing buttons to hear that, 'Victorian bigpond cable customers may be experiencing connection difficulties, slow web browsing and email, or not working at all'.

Actually I think the problem started last night when I went to publish my latest blog entry and it timed out and was completely lost. Of course it is never as good the second time you write it, but I gave it shot.

We had no knowledge of computers when we bought our first one in 1996. It was fairly obvious that the big button turned it on. It came with 12 months free net access to Compushare or something like that. You could only ever connect offpeak, it was always engaged peak time. It was unbelievably slow, although after connecting friends to Primus dial up this year, maybe things have not progressed much.

The next company was rainbow.net.au. It was a subsidary of a large company who's name I have forgotten, but it was ok until I left pc connected to the net over a whole weekend and incurred an extra charge. Next was something like one.net.au, that was ok too, up to a point. There was always trouble with dial up with any company. Then came eisa with a great deal and while they lasted just before they went broke, they had great service. But just before they went broke, a friend alerted me to a Telstra cable deal. $100 connection fee, then monthly charge of less than the second phone line and call in charges cost us for dial up. We jumped at it.

Two men came and dug up the street, laid a cable, two more came back and filled in and re-asphalted, another two dug up beside the house and put in a conduit and cable inside it and a box on the outside of the house ( I was horrified to think that neighbours thought we might have been getting cable tv), another man came and installed the indoor point and cable across the room and placed the modem and another came and set it all up on the pc. Real cost must have been near $1000.

Then we moved here, where it is 'backbone wired' for Telstra cable, even though today on Telstras website it still indicates that Telstra cable is not available here.

It was a condition of me moving that we could have cable net access, so in spite of my protestations, my partner insisted it was connected the day we moved in. Moving, combined with simultaneous property settlements is stressful enough, but add to that, the Telstra techie could not get a connection. We had to contact the building manager to get access to the service room on our level. We ended having to buy a new modem. A month or so later I protested to Telstra and they did rebate a significant amount of money. I concluded that our modem was very old and probably things had moved on, but still...............it should have worked. I moved the pc and bits myself in the car.

Apart from today, I am pretty happy with Telstra cable.

Happy Divali

Or as Bert Newton and Don Lane used to argue, is it Hawaii or Havaii? Divali or Diwali?

We went to a friends place last night to celebrate the occasion and what fun. Lots of small lights, candles burning everywhere (must have been a job lot of tea candles from Ikea), scattered flower petals, chalk drawings, wonderful food of course and cheap Fijian rum that even Coke could not dilute well.

Present were and older Aussie guy we know and his Fijian Indian b/f, a very cute Indian guy who always has us in fits of laughter at his gay scene experiences, a very girly anglo/indian/aussie catholic who was as much a virgin to divali as we were, and a very straight looking and acting handsome Aussie/Fijian/Indian with his Vietnamese b/f who has just done his HSC exams. The Viet guy was very cute and to look at, a teen and his b/f was in his forties.

Sadly I was very tired and also the nominated driver, so we left earlyish, but I am sure the party went on for a long time.....after all the traditional Indian male clothing had not yet come off for the dancing around in saris.

PS, nice steak and salad at home tonight, but b/f is over greek salad, so made a salad in a bowl with yoghurt. I managed to flick a bit of capsicum with said yoghurt upon it, into the air and then onto my shirt. Looks like someone cu..........nah, best left unsaid.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Jaywalking

Now I am not having a go at jaywalkers. I do it myself, althoughly carefully and considerately. But a curious thing happens in the mornings at the corner of Latrobe and Swanston Streets.

During the day/evening, people cross Latrobe on the eastern side of Swanston and mostly wait for the walk signal before crossing to the tram safety zone to catch a tram travelling south in Swanston Street. Cars travelling south do not have green light to continue straight ahead, only right and left turn arrows at the next signal phase. So, in practice people could walk straight across Latrobe at an angle to the safety zone, but they don't. It is jaywalking but no one seems to even consider doing this. Except, they do in the morning peak when they stream across at angle straight to the tram safety zone. At about 9.15, everyone suddenly becomes obediant pedestrians and cross correctly.

Human beings sure are odd critters.


I do love a full set of lips on a guys and this guys lips are perfect. The rest of him is pretty ok too. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The electrics and dictators

Or as Zha Zha Gabor used to say in Green Acres, the electicical.

Now, earth leakage switches, power surge guards and residual electrical devices I am sure are saving lives and preventing injuries. But they come at a price. That is that they are very sensitive and the slightest upset can trip them.

Our iron is not very old but if left on for a long time, like a couple of hours, often it will trip a circuit. Aside from having to check if the vcr is set to record anything, resetting clocks, listening the guy inside the phone drone, 'Press and hold OGM button for out going message....' etc., the computer goes off.

No big deal, turn it on again, you think, but the mouse is upset and goes into pretend dead mode. Remedy is to shut down pc, unplug mouse receiver, start pc and plug mouse receiver back in. The keyboard is now dead, so press reset button on keyboard. Back in biz.

After putting up with this for some time, we decided to buy a new iron. Now normally I would not go near Harvey Norman as they tend to be on the expensive side, but as we were in QV in Melbourne, we thought we would have a look. They were too expensive and so big and as we were leaving, we spied a 'get rid of this at a special price, it is not selling' table.

And there sat an iron made by the well known electric iron manufacturer, Shark. It was a good price and had lots of features that we will never use, so we simply had to have it. It has a nice big tank, so not constantly refilling like the oldie, it glides beautifully over clothes and gets very hot, which you sometimes need. Plus a timer cut out, great for my partner who irons a shirt then sits down for half an hour, and a long cord.

We did not discover until we got home that it talks too. As we were taking it out of the elaborate packaging, it started to tell us of it's merits and features. Actually it was a disk with some moving pictures and a battery operated disk. Press the red button to hear about this product. Wow, 15 years ago the disk alone would have cost what the iron cost.

Now this is one mother of an iron but I wondered where it was made? After an extensive search, I found in tiny print, Made in PRC. Ah, maybe People's Republic of Checkoslavakia, but I was doubtful as I kinda recall, it was no more. Idiot said partner, China of course. Duh.

So, we hope our Shark gives us many years of ironing.

It started me thinking about the word republic. I must have been quite young, but I knew (the power of the press on a young mind) that republics were bad and bad things happened in them and they were ruled by despostic dictators and the people very repressed.

Hmmm, well with the exception of Ireland, perhaps my idea was not so wrong. I hope Australia becomes a republic sooner rather than later, but I hope we are not called The Republic of Australia. I like Commonwealth of Australia. It sounds very egalitarian.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Stern look

A stern look was what I wanted to give these three teenage girls in a car with loud music blaring from their opened windows. Driving is not a lark and requires concentration. But honestly I could not help but grin as they were all belting out in unison with the track Sisters are Doing for Themsleves.

A nice moment after coming out of the casino with full of those sad, serious faced people.

Friday, November 05, 2004

US v UK

I cannot compehend someone of the stature of Prunella Scales and her husband, Timothy West is it?, being famous American actors and using public transport.

But as famous UK actors, they mostly get around by public transport, making frequent use of their bus passes.

There are some truly admirable qualities to the English.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

I is a romantic

I recall in a book I read that some chaps climbed to a high hill and from there they could see five counties.

Dunno how that equates to Australia, but I can see five town halls and so five municipalities of the old order. Eyes left and there is Hawthorn Town Hall, there is Malvern Town Hall, and next to it is Prahran Town Hall and a bit further right is Caulfield Town Hall. What I can't see is Kew Town Hall (does Kew have a town hall?) A hill blocks our view of St Kilda Town hall, fucking high rise office building blocks our view of South Melbourne Town Hall and Port Melbourne Town Hall.

But still, views of a few town halls in one swing of the eyes is good.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Sinner

Yesterday's balance sheet.

Mine
TAB out $18, in $12.
Sweep, out $5, in $10(last horse prize, haha).
Total loss $1

His
TAB out $18, in $16
Sweep, out $5, in $40
Total profit $33.

And it was a lot of fun.


Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Beloved ABC

Tuesday is not a good night normally to stay up late, unlike Saturday night when you can trip out on Rage . But for us over 30's Studio 22 is well worth catching if you want to see some older type folks doing live music. Kinda nice to see pop stars from the 80s and 90s having to sing live.

Streets of danger

Very pleased to report that we did not take the car out today, but caught public transport. Roads were way too scary. While waiting for the tram, an accident happened in front of us, someone went through a red light, then once on the tram, we noticed emergency vehicles in Alma Rd attending to the injured in another accident, and this was before it rained. Spoilt their cup day I think.

Drive cautiously folks and concentrate on the serious task at hand.

Much excitement

I love Melbourne Cup Day. There is a fantastic atmosphere with some beautifully dressed race goers with a very happy demeanor. It is my day for gambling on the gee gees and I have put $1 each way on 9 races. I was too late for the first race and I would have lost anyway, but got a win in the second, covered half my days outgoings.

I have almost finished Coronation Talkies. Enjoyable read but not exactly taxing. Some of the local Indians phrases are very amusing. Mrs Banajee's brand new car, this is in the 1930s, is always fully referred to as the 'fully luxury ultra modern Chrysler Air Flow Imperial' although the driver abbreviates it behind her back to the FLUMCAFI and does a nice trade renting the back seat out by the hour when the owner does not want it to use.

While not wanting to send anyone up, it amuses me at work when an Indian co-worker's relative dies and it is noted on a black board so that you can offer condolences. The last one went like this. 'Sadly Premil has lost his father in Perth.' I can't help but think it careless of someone to lose his father.

My personal experiences with many Indians has not been good. I must try harder. Trouble is they speak English so well, they disarm you into thinking they are just like you, so you don't make allowances for a different culture.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Busy busy

Dinner in Lygon St Friday night at University Hotel, great value. As mentioned, it is years since I have been to Lygon St and what a different world it is. So many restaraunts, so close together and an interesting mix of people, without the backpacker element that inhabits Fitzroy and Ackland streets. To sum up, a great atmosphere.

Immigration Museum on Saturday, absolutely fascinating and I will go back and devote more time. It was quite moving at times. The interactive migrant interview was fun, with you playing the role of the immigration officer. It is worth going just to get a good look at the interior of the Customs House

Docklands for fish and chips. I think this may become a bit of a Melbourne institution. Unfortunately our order was mixed up and after waiting some time, the waitress noticed us sitting unfed and investigated the problem. We were very hungry but we could not get annoyed as her efforts to fix the problem and compensate were perfect. Coffee and Turkish Delight a bit later.

It is or was Navy week and there was a patrol boat and a larger ship docked, both open to the public. The navy band's music drifted pleasantly around docklands.

Of course we saw the open for inspection sign and like moths to a flame we were drawn in. A two bedroom , half the size of our present place, 1 car space, claustrophobic low ceilings, poor finishes for $500K!!!!! Must be mad. Good points were quite a nice view as it was 14 floor, but not a wide view, and very nice lifts.

Dinner at a friends house in Footscray West, nay, West Footscray according to the Melways, but Footscray West for the Post Office et al. Stunning house, good company, ordered in Italian. Sydney property sales can buy you a lot in Melbourne.


Thursday, October 28, 2004

Food and a big mouth

What have I done? For what reason I cannot remember, but my partner and I were talking about Lygon St, yes, the Carlton, Melbourne, Australia one. I can only recall going there once on a very riotous night and going to the upstairs of a restaurant and eating whatever. Must have been more than ten years ago.

I think Lygon St was the first street to use outdoor heating, and the first touts I had heard about in Melbourne. Don't forget the first pizzas and first proper coffee (doubtful).

Some big mouthed idiot said it might be interesting to go there for a meal, so guess where we are going for dinner tonight?!!

My memories of Lygon St are quite a few years old but I expecting a pretty ordinary meal for too much money, but balanced by a nice tram trip and seeing some Italian guys in tight jeans (shows you how old my memories of Lygon St really are).

Better stop off on the way home at qv for some shopping and a de-stressing bottle of Bombay Gin (yeah, I did mention I was reading a book about the Raj).

Yours, no, it's mine

A man came and said I want some land. The owner said, no, it is mine. The man said, well, it used to be mine, I will go to the wise ones and ask. He asked the wise ones and was given some of the land as he had no where else to live. The owner accepted this grudgingly and boundaries were drawn.

But then the new owner let his people spread into the what was left of the previous owners land. This caused much botheration, fighting and unhappiness.

But now the wise ones weren't the only wise ones and the wiser ones from all over the world said, stop, desist, but the newcomer would not listen and he still had the favour of wise ones.

The man started doing some horrible things to the new people, remember the new people were the original people, so the newcomer started to build a wall. But the wall went into part of the man's land and he was even unhappier. He continued to do terrible things for which he earnt a reputation for doing in other places in the world that he lives.

The wise ones from the world said don't put the wall into the man's land. But the newcomer would not listen and the wise ones just laughed.

Now everyone is unhappy and no one knows what to do about the newcomers and the man and it has stirred trouble in other peoples lands too.

Lest this is a bit oblique, here is a hint. What a laugh we used to have at the name Arrafat. I can't remember if it was at school, or later in life with friends, but the name Yassar Crack A Fat used to have us in hoots of laughter.



Moths

When we moved into this high rise building, we foolishly imagined that we would never see any critters this high. No flies, mozzies, ants, moths, little insects that fill your light shades, spiders and birds. The birds love checking the balcony for spiders. Anyway, wrong again. We have had the lot.

But at the moment it is moths. I did hear something about a Melbourne invasion by Bogong Moths, should that be bogan moths? I am not sure what sort of moth they are but boy are there a lot of them. I brought a plant in from the balcony to water it, and once inside, out flew five of them. Being the kind person I am, I captured them using a glass and a promotional card from the nightclub seven and released them.

My kindness does not run to flies though. I am responsible for the death of some spiders unfortunately. I thought surface spray around the balcony would just deter spiders from spinning their webs on our balcony and they would move on to someone elses. But the spray killed several spiders and I felt bad and now I just keep the spiders who want to live here busy spinning new webs as I get rid of their old ones.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Squeeze, scrape, upend

Yep, I am one of those who scrape away at the margarine container until I get as much as practicable out.

I squeeze the toothpaste tube until it hurts my fingers.

I retrieve my partner's supposedly empty shampoo bottle from the recycling bin, add some water, shake and use it for a couple of weeks.

But I would never dream of adding water to the tomato sauce bottle.

I wonder if shampoo bottles should go in the recyling bin anyway?

I take papers down to the recyling room and come back with more than I take.

If it was entirely up to me, I wood probably print on both sides of paper and use the backs of envelopes for note paper.

Oh, and a storm damage report, St Kilda Rd looks like a battlefield, but no real damage except to Melbourne Grammar's picket fence where a branch fell on it.

Damage to personal property, zilch..........so different to living in a house where you apprehensively wait for the less than perfect tin roof fly away, or the chimney collapse (yep, that one did happen) or the garden much the worse for wear. Now just waiting for the promised hail this afternoon.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Family barbie

Well, not quite the full family, one brother thought he had something better to do, but wasn't sure what it was. Sister was not feeling so well, Sis-in-law had her food van to operate at Frankston market. Nieces and nephew busy with their own stuff. So just us, Mum, step father and brother.

But it was good fun at One Tree Hill in the Dandenongs. It was quite warm in the car and I was looking forward to the cool of the hills. However, it was a little cooler than we would have liked. It fact by the time we left, our noses were dripping from the cold.

Sometimes I forget what amusing company my mother can be. She had us laughing until tears were running down our cheeks. Her speciality is silliness. Somehow she managed to get her glasses entangled in the cord of her sunhat.

Somehow, wrapped in a blanket to warm up, she did not notice she had dragged the corner of it everywhere and it was filthy.

Somehow, she started a frantic search by all for her handbag, only to find it on her arm.

She and my step father had the use of someone's car while they were overseas and boy, did they clock up some kilometres with their weekend drives. My step father found the sticker on the back window, that advertised where the car was bought, quite distracting when viewed in the rear view mirror. But they thought they may damage the screen demister wires if they removed it. My mother just thought it was plain ugly, so she came up with the bright idea of sticking a post card over the top of it. Certainly more distracting than the original sticker. She kindly cleaned the car before returning it and removed the card, and only kept 10 of the 20 pens she found spread through the car.

Subtely is not her strong suit. She gave me a second genealogy book, having forgotten that she had already given me one a year or so ago. Ok, I can take the hint. It is on the to do list.






Friday, October 22, 2004

What sort of crap writing is this

The fire blazed weakly on the hearth.

I am nearly finished the slightly wine stained book, see earlier post, and I came across this sentence. Maybe my understanding of the words is wrong, but I would have thought a fire is weak or it blazes, but not both at the same time.

Totally broke my concentration, just like a badly placed ad on tv, and aren't they nearly all badly placed.

Well, time to turn off the dim bright lights and go to bed.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Quick trip to the shops

Although I drive and have a car, if going to the local shops, Prahran, I prefer to take the tram or bus. A couple of days ago I boarded the bus and there was only one passenger, acting oddly and confronting the driver. Passenger said to driver that he would kill him. Driver said get off the bus. Passenger got off the bus.

If you are doing an office job, this sort of situation is probably not something you ever have to deal with. But do spare a thought for those people who do. Cops, nurses, of course public transport workers, taxi drivers, even supermarket workers. I was in Safeway in Balaclava once when because of difficult customers, it went into 'lock down'. The very smarmy gay guy working there was being very humble when confronted by scum.

New heart beats well

Our dear friend in St Vincents Hospital, Sydney, (no, there is not a hospital theme happening) has received a new heart and is doing well. I asked her if she felt a bit strange with someone else's heart, but she said no, and she is very focused on becoming mobile again. It is truly a remarkable thing.

But what a co-incidence. Her boss rang her from Europe where he is holidaying and one of his guests on his boat was Finona Coote, who was the first person in Australia to receive a heart transplant.

It must be a good omen.
As you may or may not know, I live in a high rise apartment block with a view down St Kilda Rd. The Alfred Hospital is obscured by some big buildings but we do see helicopters, should I be more modern and hip, choppers?, arrive and depart. Sitting watching tv, there is a chopper arriving and/or departing once a night at least.

Sorta vaguely interesting, but you get very blase about it. But it does strike me, every time a chopper arrives or departs, there is a human tradegy happening.

Usually goes like this, see chopper, radio news tells of terrible car accident.

Has anyone of us never been touched by a road accident involving someone near to us?

But the patient arriving in the helicopter is in the best possbible care. I have great faith in The Alfred and there is not anywhere I would rather be than there if I was injured.


Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Funny sorta day

Being a retentive type person, I had my day off planned down to the letter. But the best laid plans of mice and men............

Friends with computer distress. I am no great expert, but I do know a wee bit about pcs and they were obviously in need of help and given they are using our old computer and the tech support person told them that it was inadequate for the task, that is email and web browsing, I felt very obliged to help. To quote our esteemed Johnny, Hello Hello. It worked ok for dial up internet and later cable for us, OK!!! Hello Hello!

It was no more difficult that a wrong setting in outlook express but it took a while to find. And god, how slow is dial up? After 5 years of broadband, I could not bear to go back to it. Rather do without altogether.

I am privileged elite, I have lcd screen, windows xp pro, big hard drive, fast computer. But I actually loved the experience of being online in the early to mid nineties. No-one else I knew was, well accept for smart friend in Sydney who was actually in Melbourne then, but then he only used RMIT computers. Windows 95 (remember the huge ad over the top of Bourke and Swanston St) , free internet for one year (yes well, if you could actually get a dial in line), 2 gigabite hard drive, impossible to fill said the salesman.

My beloved partner put up with all my changing from one isp to another. He trusted me to get it right and I pretty well did. I will save the rest of the story about isps for another time.


Monday, October 18, 2004

Vale Cafe 151

For perhaps more than 10 years my partner and I have been going to the now closed Cafe 151 in Commercial Rd, South Yarra. We have taken friends there. I have been on my own and with my own friends. It was a very relaxed place and with reasonable prices. We have had conversations with strangers, overheard juicy gossip and leered leacherously at some cute staff.

Of the many staff we saw come and go, most were very nice. I only got to know the original owners. There were a few times when we walked out when service was very slow, but we never held a grudge. At least once my bacon shattered into a million pieces (I am not American). I have had some coffee to die for and some lukewarm muck at different times.

Alhthough we have not been so often of late as there are so many other places to choose from, (and I expect others haven't either, hence its closure) I really miss Cafe 151.

There was a time I was known by Robin in 151, Chris in CJs hair salon, Rowland and Crusader at Hares and Heyenas, all the staff at Body Bronze, Warren at Outlook, Steve in CMs and Peter in the Beat Bookshop (at least he still remembers me). But life changes, your priorities change, you move on, they move on. What was once new and exciting, is now very blase.

With some very important exceptions, the same goes for friends........but leave that for another day.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Fluffy dog story

The busker was in his usual place with his usual instrument and usual rug at his feet with usual fluffy toy dog lying asleep. That is a stuffed toy doy, not a live one, but the passing dog on a leash did not realise this.

He barked, charged at it and stopped half a metre short, ran back, barked agian, charged and stopped short again.

A quick glance at the owner gave him not a clue what to do, so when in doubt, just bark repeatedly.

The owner decided to move on and the dog happily went with her, satisfied that he silenced and stilled that potentially agressive ball of fluff.

Blogs I read

I have looked at many blogs and most.........well, there is something about many that just does not grab me. I do like them to be personal, rather that about a specific issue.
One I have read since about 1999 I think, is http://www.toxiccustard.com/diary/ There is just something about the way Daniel writes and what he observes that I like. The name was the first thing that grabbed me. Reminded me of Tim and Debbie in Australia You're Standing In It and their running sketch with chunky custard.

More recently I discovered http://www.hechoenmexico.blogspot.com/ Agent Fare Evader is very clever and knowledgeable and his accounts of suburban train trips are quite fascinating.

And the most recent, like in the last couple of weeks, I have started reading is Rae's, Where the Wild Thoughts Are It is a nice human sort of blog and I have added it too my list.

Three blogs are enough to keep up with. When I some time, I will have a look around blogger and see where to put them on the main page.

Sister and friend are staying with us tonight when they return from seeing The Producers. It will be interesting to hear a first hand report. Then brunch with them tomorrow at Red Orange. Yum.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Problem for older people

Well the real problem for older people is that you never actually feel older. You certainly don't have more confidence in your beliefs, you don't feel you are wiser, although you do feel very experienced.

I see a narrow strip of raised concrete, or a wall, and I want to walk along it. I see a fence in my way, I want to leap over it (I don't coz I may do myself an injury).

But having said all that nonsense, I was walking along a bluestone cobbled lane near work and coming toward me was an older fellow employee of Greek extraction, perhaps 55 years old.

The lane had a middle spoon drain and it was raining and water was running down the drain. I saw him several metres away and I stepped to the opposite side of the drain. But he did the same at the same time. We are on a collision path. I stepped across again, as did he.

Then like a schoolgirl, he skipped from side to the other several times. It was like he was back as a ten year old.

I could only laugh and said as he passed, you can't take the young person out of some people.

It was a very nice moment.

Grumble grumble, bah, humbug

October 14th comes once a year and much I try and ignore it, no one allows me too. I sure they take delight in noticing me add another year. Mr R Symons on ABC Radio Melbourne informed me that I am in company with Cliff Richard. Well, I could look as young as him if I had as much plastic surgery.

Interesting pressie though. A book called Coronation Talkies by Susan Kurosawa. Set in India in the times of the raj, it looks to be about a hill station called Chalaili. I always enjoy a good raj story, right back from when Tales of the Raj was published.

And an amazing card from our friend in Japan. Sort of a parachute with a parent monkey hanging from it and hanging from parent is a baby monkey. Very cute and beautifully made as are many things like that in Japan.

Front page of The Age today has a story of a feasibility study to run a tram from St Kilda to Port Melbourne along the beach. What a great tourist trip that would make and quite useful for locals I think too.

Monday, October 11, 2004

Neighbours

Over 25 odd years, we have had some interesting neighbours and some famous ones. The famous ones first. In Elwood, Sam Lipski, newspaper columnist and tv political commentor's mother lived in our block of flats. A grand old Russian dame was she and Sam used to visit her often.

In East Malvern the other half of our semi detatched lived Ida Sutcliffe. Means nothing? She was the painter Albert Tucker's sister and we met him once when he visited. She filled us in on wonderful detail of the Heidi painters, John and Sunday Reid who brought up her nephew, before he unfortunately suicided. Mrs Sutcliffe's father was a parliamentarian in the state's first parliament.

In Balaclava we lived next door to Nicholas Bell, an actor, who you may not have heard of but I am sure you will have seen him on tv.

Across the road lived Nick Cave briefly.

And have you ever been pulled up in Balaclava by an old woman with long grey hair to sign an animal rights petition. Yep, Gloria lived across the street. On the other side of us lived an old Latvian couple, but their grandson is doing well in multimedia and has been on tv.

Now Mr D Hinch lives in our block of apartments, and sad to say, Mr S Newman has bought a place here for a 'friend' to live in.

Interesting? Well the old Latvian couple were way kewl. So old, he 90 plus and she in her eighties. He made our mail box for us. At 92 he fell off his roof while doing roof repairs and hurt his arm.

Gloria was a pain in the ass, always wanting something. Funny to see a woman in her seventies with a tatt on her hand.

Mrs Sutcliff was a wonderful neighbour. She was very proper but so interesting. Seen the ad on tv of the old woman welcoming her new gay neighbours with scones? Well that was exactly how it was and the scones kept coming over the years. She was so full of middle class preducices but had no problem with us and her children appreciated us looking out for her. Her famous brother was in a world of his own. She did have some of his pictures hanging on her walls. Idiot thiefs never chose her place to rob though.

Mr Hinch can be interesting, but only after he is 'cheered up'.




Sunday, October 10, 2004

Election

My strongest emotion is surprise. Sad to say, but burn this indelibly into your brains future politicians. Hip pocket nerve.

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Seemed like a good idea

Idea, take a glass of red wine to bed and read for an hour before sleeping.

Practice, enter almost darkened room with hands full, place wine on spine of book, wine tips over, covers table, clock radio, phone, wall, carpet.

Result, allotted reading time spent cleaning.

Damage, (I am a first class cleaner), one old book with a couple of wine stained pages.

Friday, October 08, 2004

Body coporate committee work can be hard

We had some painting in the pool and some security updating done and the scaffold broke tiles on the floor of the pool. Names have been deleted to protect the guilty.

Dear M.

In case you think that H is the sole person who is concerned about the pool, she is not. She has the full support of all committee members and we are thankful for her efforts.

Another week or so and the pool will have been out of action for two months. In my wildest dreams I did not imagine that it would take this long to be sorted out. While there is some compensation to owners in the building in that we save a bit on heating the pool etc, there is none for tenants and this devalues our building and the rental figure owners can charge tenants. As was suggested to me, if I were a tenant, I would be asking for a rental reduction.

While I appreciate it is a difficult situation, further complicated by you just taking on the body corp manager role, I feel MICM has been deficient in their handling of the matter and not devoting sufficient resources to a speedy resolution.

The committee is somewhat powerless as all negotiations are through your office.

The matter needs to pursued with vigour. The responsible party needs to be defined and their insurance company pressured. It is not good enough to wait for them to get back tomorrow, which may be the day after and you get back to them the day after etc etc etc. The next day has now turned into many weeks.

While our original request was for the whole pool to be done, if a reputable company is offering a ten year warranty on a lesser option, then of course we would consider this. We do not need official body corp committee meetings to consider any details. We all check our emails daily and meet informally as required.

Personally, I would just like a refreshing swim followed by a relaxing spa. As a committee member I understand the issues. If I was just an owner, I would be furious with the body corp management company and the committee.

I hope that MICM can fulfil the role we pay it for and look after our building in a prompt and professional manner. The lack of resolution of the pool issue is indicating otherwise.


Andrew

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Guilty and heart transplant

My partner has this week off work, a holiday. Unfortunately I am working around 1pm till 10pm. I could have swapped my shift if I was caring and sharing person so that I was home in the evenings, but I didn't. I needed the Sunday off to see Pirates, see previous post. He would not be happy if I did not go. I also missed seeing a friend from the country off overseas and us dining with him at Crown Casino on Tuesday night and I will also miss a friend's birthday celebration on Friday night at the Balacalava Hotel.

Well, he should have reminded me about when his week off was. I might have been able to do something shift wise.

I am a bit tripped out tonight as our dear dyke friend in Sydney has had a heart transplant today, successful so far, and it is just so hard to believe how normal she was when we saw her a couple of months ago and now her life has been turned upside down.

Equinox

The spring equinox has passed now and a few things happen at our apartment at this time of the year.

Bugs and critters start coming in the open door and windows. There aren't fly screens which I don't like anyway. I figure they fly in the fly out again, not always true.

At this time of the year I start to concentrate more on tv as I am not distracted by the cars and trams travelling up and down St Kilda. It is very nice to be warm in the winter and sit and watch the traffic outside in the cold and wet. But now the trees have their leaves and they block the view of traffic and I can only see more static stuff, such as buildings, houses and trees. They don't quite hold your attention in the same way.

Lastly, the cold water storage on the roof warms a bit and instead of turning the hot on and adding cold, you can often just turn both on and the temperature will be correct. In a couple of weeks it will be turn the cold on and add the hot. I might add our hot water is not very hot as it is a regulation set safe temperature I believe.