Saturday, July 02, 2005

Sourmash

I can't remember if it is Sour Mash or Sourmash.

The Brighton antique dealer’s toyboy is a muso, a drummer and Dame M’s delicious but alas straight great nephew is a lead guitarist and vocalist and along with harmonica player, a base guitarist and another front guitarist, make up the blues band Sourmash. They had a two hour gig at Muse Bar in St Kilda East last Friday and we went with a few friends and had an absolutely fantastic time. I kept getting a mental image of Bourbon St, New Orleans and I would never have said that I was a fan of blues music. We did not think we would stay long, but we were there for the whole two hours and stayed a bit longer to see The Showbags, drag performers who were on after them.

It is a great little venue with lots of street cred. I tend to avoid mixed venues, as I don’t want to be surrounded by giggling girls. I suppose the crowd was about ¼ gay and the rest straight. The straight guys were all friendly as were the girls, and lordy, lordy, not a blonde to be seen.

I did make a fatal fashion error. Pale shirt and jeans. No, no, I hear you yell, you didn’t, did you? Black and only black is the only possible colour. I just did not think about it until we were there. There was the usual issue of who was nominated driver. R drew the short straw. As we were leaving, I realised the bus that goes past our place also goes past the venue. Didn’t think about that either in advance. I will keep it in mind for the future.

I reluctantly made the acquaintance of transgender Terri. From experience tgs tend to be a little bit too earnest for me when I am out for a good night and she was no different. She was nice enough though and she had brought her young friend, also a tg, out for her first time.

So 10 points to Muse Bar, 10 points to Sourmash and 10 points to inner city live music at intimate venues.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Wind farms

Well, 'they' were not great at spinning to call them windfarms were they? Visually, I quite like them. Some surreal thing on a natural landscape. I don't believe that they really chop up birds in flight. Birds normally don't fly into things, solid or moving.

I have not seen nor heard one for real. I imagine the sound to be a gentle whoosh, whoosh, repeating or perhaps it is a low drone.

One does not have much effect on our power supply. A few of them do.

Perhaps we are being sold a turkey, I don't know.

I worry more about our water than our electricity. Desalination plants sound good. That it how they do it in the Middle East. But they take a lot of energy to produce the clean water. Now I have heard that you can have a wave powered desalination plant. That sounds very good.

While 100,000 peasants may revolt over work place changes, just wait and see how they revolt over water shortages and electricity shortages. The money is there. Governments, spend it on our futures.

Building disaster

It was a bad day for our building today.

Last night the remote operated front doors failed in the open position. Also the emergency button for opening them was broken. Not sure if they are related. Also an interior door would not open with the remote. Our building manager and cleaner are a husband and wife team. She rugged herself up in as many clothes as she could and spent the night guarding the building. I am not sure why they didn't call in a security guard. Staying up all night is above and beyond the call of duty. They also stayed up New Year's Eve all night, but that was his fault as he suggested that we did not need security on NYE.

Making it worse, a back door was propped open, and the breeze going straight through was freezing. There is supplemental heating for the foyer, but it is never normally used. It was on today though, but having little impact.

The back door was propped open as someone was having new carpet laid in their apartment. So one lift was isolated. A long wait for the other lift at times. The lift is making some terrible scraping noises.

(Post to walkingmelbourne.com A lift in our residential building stopped between floors. One person inside. He called on the emergency intercom but it would not work as our body corp managing company had paid the phone bill late and the phone company had disconnected the line. Fortunately his phone still worked in the lift).

A corroded fire system pipe in the carpark was being replaced.

The pool man was here. He should have fixed the vertical blowers in the spa but did not.

The pool heating had broken down last night and the pool heating contractors were here. It did not get fixed.

Essential services were in the building replacing some emergency lighting. They left grease foot prints on the carpet on our level. I called H and also mentioned that a wall light had gone out on our floor.

Their was a pool of water in the carpark from the pool heater problem and another pool where the fire pipe was replaced.

A water circulation pump has broken down. We can manage with one, but it it has to work hard and there is no back up.

Today was the only day I have really wondered about the wisdom of high rise living.

Cooking

When on hols, I feel a bit obliged to cook. I don't have may recipies up my sleeve and again I have made pea and ham soup.

But later in the week, I will make Blanche's special fried rice. It is enough for a meal. Here is how it goes.

1 cup of rice.
3 eggs
3 stems of sping onions
a quarter of a red and/or green capsicum
1 cup of peas. I just use frozen.
some chinese pork sasauge. you don't have to go to the Asian grocer. It is available in supermarket now. You need six sausages, that is one small packet. You could use a few rashers of bacon instead.
Ginger, garlic and chilli. You can buy fresh or use if from a jar as I do. 1 heaped teaspoon of ginger, 2 of garlic, 3 of chilli. If you don't like it hot, reduce the chilli and perhaps the ginger.
Oil for frying, I use peanut oil.
Sesame oil. Optional.
Fish sauce, also optional.

You can use a frypan, but it is better in a wok over a wok burner.

Cook your rice, whatever way you like. It is supposed to be better if you have chilled it, but from experience, that is not important.

Stir the eggs up, no need to mix them through and tip them into your hot oiled wok. Chop them up with the edge of a spoon or similar, and break them up into small pieces. Turn them out onto a plate.

Add more oil and put your capsicum into the wok and tip in the garlic, ginger and chilli. Capsicum should be about 30mm long, just over an inch, and under 10mm wide. Cook it for about a minute in a hot wok. Tip it out onto a plate.

Add more oil and fry your sliced pork sausage and cook until the fat is clear. The slices would be less than 10mm thick. Tip it out onto a plate that has kitchen paper towel on it to absorb some of the fat.

Microwave you peas in a bowl until they are just cooked. 1 and 1/2 mins for a cup of frozen.

Peel and cut up your spring onions. 10mm is fine.

By now your wok will be pretty dirty. Give it a clean out. Under hot water with a brush is the way I do it.

Pour yourself a glass of plonk, sit down and think about the compliments you will receive.

Ok, you need to be organised now. Have your table set. The pre warmed plates ready. You can do that in the microwave too. 1 minute is adequate for two plates in a modern microwave. Don't use the plates with the silver/gold bands though.

Add oil to the wok, maybe two tablespoon full, or a good glug. Add some sesame oil, a few drops. Get your wok hot. Smoking hot.

Tip in the rice. If it is nice and fluffy and separate, great. If it is not, break it up before hand.

Chuck everything else in and mix it through.

Add some fish sauce about halfway through cooking. Block your nose and a half a glug will probably do.

Total cooking time of rice with ingredients, maybe four minutes. Longer if you are on a stove and using a frypan.

Serves two easily as a meal.

Next time you make it, you will know to perhaps add more chilli or ginger or garlic or fish sauce.

Waste of time

Today I marched against the workplace changes proposed by our uncaring Prime Minister's government. I did not attach myself to my union group, but just mingled in the crowd. Strangely I seemed to be always near a very butch builder or tradie. I felt quite girlie among them.

I don't know what the effect of Howard's changes will be, but if he and big business are pushing for them, then they are not going to be good for low paid to average workers.

Why doesn't this goverment want it's people rewarded in a similar way to sophisticated European countries? Why does it try to screw Medicare, subsidise the rich, stop it's contribution to dental health? Doesn't it want a healthy population? Why does it cut education opportunities for young Australians? Doesn't it want an educated population? Why does it alwasy support big business and never the worker?

I know that marching was futile. The last time I marched was shortly after Jeff Kennett was elected. It was a march of a similar size and made not one bit of difference.

How can you people vote for Howard and all he stands for?

Ta A and H.

I could have emailed it, but instead I wanted to type it on some nice paper and put it in their mail box. After I spent some time looking in a large office supply place and realising that I cannot buy a single sheet of paper, R knocked off from his work a sheet of parchment.



******** St Kilda Rd
Melbourne 3004


29th June, 2005





********
Building Managers
*********




Dear A*** and H****,

I would like to thank you both for your co-operative and pleasant manner during my time as the body corporate committee liaison person.

It was a pleasure to work with you for the benefit of ********.




Yours faithfully,
Andrew ********.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Letter to Mr Yarra Tram

I have just checked Mr Yarra Tram and I cannot hear your track repairing jack hammer in my bedroom, but I can certainly hear it from where I am sitting at the hour of midnight. It won't worry me for sleeping, but I expect it will worry some people. Still, I suppose it will mean an end to the noise of the trams travelling over broken track.

Haircut, loons and bills

I used to get my hair cut at GI Joes in Commercial Rd, Prahran, but there is also a branch in Brunswick St, Fitzroy and I prefer the staff there. I had a haircut today. It was my bonus hair cut. I had filled my card and the haircut cost $12. I travelled by tram and there were the usual loons on the trams.

Case one. I sat sort of opposite a young bloke with slightly foreign looks. I was facing the rear of the tram. St Kilda Road is very familiar to me and I had no desire to look out the window, so I read my newspaper. The bloke sitting opposite me was wearing grey track suit pants, and from the corner of my eye, I saw his hands move towards his crotch. One hand sat one side of his crotch, the other hand the other side. He kinka pushed his hands together and it was an impressive bulge. He never looked at me at all. I dunno what it was about. If he was a working boi, then an improvement in his appearance would help. Really, I pretty well ignored it.

Case two. I boarded a B class tram that had many seats removed and leaning rests instead. I would have prefferred to have a seat instead. Two guys sitting nearby. They alighted from the tram. Another person picked up a half full can of bourban and coke that they had left sitting on the floor, leant out the tram and threw the can at them and said that they should 'take thier f***ing can with them'. Liquid from the can went over one of them. I liked that.


Case three. "Man I gotta a gig. Playing with ????. Meet you at the Espy? ?????? are playing. (This went along in this vein for ten minutes) "Ah, f*** no, you there? F***, my battery has gone flat" He then criticised himself for five minutes because he had forgotten to charge his phone and he needed it all day. He was sitting behind me. As I rose to get off the tram, I checked out what he looked like. About 50, with long dyed red hair.

Andrew, tolerance, respect for difference, social empathy. Keep trying Andrew.

PS I am in a grumpy mood.

I just paid

Body Corp fees, $798, 3 months

Gas hot water $71, 2 months

Internet $54, 1 month

Phone, $101, 1 month, 2 mobiles and home phone

House contents insurance, $192, 1 year

Visa, $50, pay what I can monthly or if, rarely, I have an excess of cash

R, home mortgage, $475

R, flat mortgage/expenses, $90

Food kitty, $100, fortnight

If I was a business I would be bankrupt I think. Don't think though that you can work anything out from the above..........I can't really. Money comes in, money goes out.

I am so excited

The Nylex clock is back on. I can see it out the window. I need binoculars to read it, but still, it looks great. Thanks plastic man.

Sex addict

He is so not my type, that is Mr Shane Warne, but what a horny bloke! While I haven't heard any reference to his 'size' it does sound like he is a great performer. It seems he just cannot help himself. Perhaps he should meet that woman locked up in a Victorian jail for underage sex with a school student of hers and is still in touch with the now older teen. Salacious gossip, I love it.

Surf's up

I looked out the window, as I do every morning and, as it mostly is in the morning, the sea was flat and calm. A few minutes later I logged on to a webcam at the Rocks in Sydney to check the weather there and then to a Melbourne cam site to see how foggy it is in St Kilda. They have added another camera, the newest being at Chelsea. I had a look and two guys are surfing. How can there be waves big enough to surf on at Chelsea when the bay is so calm at St Kilda?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

More on car parking

I can recall parking issues in downtown Belynda town in Gippsland when I was a teen. It does not matter where I have lived, there have always been carparking issues. Even now we have our own issues, although mobile phones have made it much easier. Now if I am leaving after R in the morning, I call R on my way home, he does not answer but calls back so I know he has received my call. I do not answer. By the time I am at our car space, he is waiting and has moved his car out and ready to drive in behind me. Tnadem parking is good, much better than one space, but not as good as side by side.

Last week's parking was hideous, even in our smart apartment building. I'll go backwards. Friday lunchtime, a delivery truck was parked across our car park entrance. There was no choice but to just wait until the driver returned. Five minutes maybe. I noted down the truck details but have yet to call the company to complain.

Wednesday, return to work after lunch. A truck in the lane blocking me from going the way I wanted to. I had to go the long way. Annoying.

Monday, I arrive home for lunch and there is a car in my space. Someone arrives in a car and in poor English says it is his friend. Then he says for me not to blame and get angry with him. Yes, I may have been a bit wrong about that, but I did think he was closely connected and maybe he was.

The last time someone parked in our car park, I sort of blocked them in, but not well enough, as they managed to get their car out without having to call me to move my car.

I will do it properly this time. I was so angry.

Turn back the clock to when we first arrived and a couple parked in our car space. They were close by and I was very annoyed and curt with them. They have not done it since and we have since learned that it was the body corp boss who I have issues with. They were loading their car for their journey to their other property at Ocean Grove.

This time, no holding back. I was very angry. Refer to a previous post about shaking. I blocked the offending car in properly. Normally the first thing I do when I arrive home for lunch is have a cup of coffee. I almost managed to hold it still, but my stomach was so churned, I could not finish it. While I knew I was taking years off my life and I may have a heart attack within the next couple of days, I did not care.

I was waiting for the intercom to call for me to remove my car so the person could get out. Instead, it was a timid knock at the door.

Anyone who knows me know that it is very rare that I swear. But to this quite attractive, maybe Asian, petite woman, I said, and I will quote, "If you effing well ever park in my car space again, I will effing well kick every panel in your effing car in. We have effing well paid $60,ooo for our car spaces and when I come home form effing work, I expect to be able to effing well park in our space." She of course was very apologetic. She almost got me unhinged when she looked goo googed eyed at me and said "please don't be angry, I was only unpacking some heavy stuff from my car".

Stupid bitch, she should have called on the intercom and then she would not have had to travel down to car park in the lift with me.

I stormed out of the lift, and a lot more of me was shaking than just my hands. I flung the door to the carpark open in her face. I moved my car and she parked in her car space. I noted the apartment number her bright red Audi was in, but funny, it has not been seen since. She was obviously not even a resident.

Next time, I will pay to park in the street and knife every tyer. My home, including car park, is my castle and you will not infringe.



Tram question

Following on from my previous post about the body corp AGM, R asked me why the tram stop number in Queensbridge St was numbered in the hundreds. Usually I can answer such questions about trams, and often have to apologise on behalf of my employer. This time I could not. It is an isolated route, not connected to any other route, so it was just as puzzling to me.

The truly gorgeous, sex, Indian dance music and other music, tradie, public transport expert co-incidentally answered the question. Below is an edited version. I still don't understand why really though. There may be some format problems with the copy below.

> Hi All,> > At lunchtime today I noticed that the tramstop on the northwest corner > of the Park Street and St Kilda Road intersection was Stop 119 on > route 55 I think. This seems a very high number for a tram stop! I > know that there has been some tram stop renumbering in Melbourne.> > Is this the highest numbered tram stop in Melbourne? If not, which one > is?

-----------------

Tram stop numbering on 'through' routes (IE those that don't terminatein the CBD, or that share track with other routes but continue to theother side of the city and suburbs) normally follow a pattern ofadding 110 units to the stop numbering to prevent confusion (and giveyou the impression that the network is a lot larger in the process.)For example, trams travelling north in swanston street will pass stop1 - Melbourne University - Routes 1 and 8 will continue around thecorner into elgin street, and the first stop is 111, lygon street is112, etc. For route 55 (william street routes) Flinders and Marketstreets are taken to be stop 1, where casino east (Queensberry StreetSouthbank) is stop 111, running right up to stop 119 just before thetrack meets the domain interchange (Stop 20). In addition, to prevent the pain of renumbering routes like the 70 andall the docklands routes, there has been the recent prevalence of aletter suffix to stops in new track to save having to renumber anentire route. EG the reserve track alongside the tennis centre hasstops 7A, 7B, 7C, 7D and 7E before the numbers resume their normalsequence at Punt Road.Spencer street, with it's multitudes of routes coming on and off thestreet has a quaint, and convolutedly simple way of dealing with this- it has a number sequence that is in the 120 range - and the firststops in Flinders, Bourke and collins streets have lower primary numbers.And finally, Docklands stop numbering is a D followed by a numberdesignating that it is in Docklands.But by far the higer numbers are found out on the farthest reaches ofthe 1/8 and the St Kilda Light rail (both in the 130's).

Feet 10, tram 5, car 0

It was the AGM for out body corporate. The body corp managers are located in Queensbridge St, near the money palace. We intended to catch the 55 tram which would drop us off at the front door, but we had enough time so decided to walk.

On our way out of the building we said hi to some other residents who were also on their way to the meeting. It was about a thirty minute walk. We had arrived and were seated before the people in the car arrived.

We learnt later that another resident also saw them on their way to their car. She caught the tram. She beat us by five minutes and the car drivers by ten minutes.

So today feet scored 10, it was a beneficial exercise and a pleasant walk. Tram beat the car easily but tram travel can be unpleasant at times, so tram scored 5. The car was a foolish idea.

What is wrong with my blog?

A curious thing has happened to my blog. I expect you readers can see that there is a huge gap between the title and the text of a post. This normally only happens when a pic is a bit too wide for the page, but I just resize it then. I have not altered any blog settings. Very odd.

Monday, June 27, 2005

The night the moon fell from the sky


It is in my genes. My grandfather used to shake, my mothers shakes and so do I. So switching the camera to night mode with a prolonged exposure was probably not a good idea.

Parking in Balaclava

When we first moved to Balaclava in the early nineties, we parked in front of our house, well one of us did, the other parked in front of out carless neighbours house. We quickly got to know the parking rules for the street. You respect the neighbours front of their house as their parking space. I suppose the rot started with us, arriving with two cars and one single front house.

Then the yuppies moved in and all parking rules went by the wayside. By the time we left, we were lucky if we could get a parking space in the street at all.

It sounds like
Daniel's street is now going through this adjustment period.

Illegal stuff

I recall lamenting to a friend in Singapore how much I missed Napster since it was closed down. Understand I never used it. It just sat on my pc and I admired it. Now I have Kazaa and WinMX and I have learnt to admire both, especially Kazaa.

With some free time today, I could have expanded my music collection a lot. Lest you think I am a caught in the eighties, I had a list of stuff I wanted from the period.

I could have downloaded

Ace of base - beautiful life
Animals - house of the rising sun
Beegees - Tragedy
Bingo boys - how to dance
Blondie - Bette Davis eyes
Blondie - Call me
Blondie - Heart of glass
Blondie - Ring my bell
Dead or alive - You spin me round
Deelite - Groove is in the heart
Doors - Light my fire
Doors - Riders on the storm
D Ream - Things can only get better
Guru Josh - Infinity
Kaoma - Lambada
KLF - 3AM eternal
KLF - Last train to transcentral
Led Zepplin - Stairway to heaven
Outlaws - Ghost riders in the sky
REM - Losing my religion
Snap - Rythm is a Dancer
Time Lords - Doctorin' the Tardis

Boredom and advice

A week off work and it stretches long in front of me. I never admit to boredom and I am sure I will find plenty to occupy me for the week.

When I picked up our travel itinerary from our
travel agent a few weeks ago, Jonathan asked if I was getting excited about our trip that starts next week. I replied, please, Jonathan, it is Darwin. What is there to get excited about? But it is close now and I am looking forward to it.

Back to this week. Due to various reasons, one being no work for a whole week, I had way too much glasses of wine last night and really blotted my copybook.

Hard to believe after reading The Age last week where there was an article about people being drunk and writing inappropriate emails, sms and phone calls, that I did exactly that.

But I did do one of the above last night. This morning I sent a humble apologetic email and the guy graciously convered for me. I think it was in his interests too.

I have seen many people do this in various forms and I thought I was above that, but it would seem not.

Take note, almost every phone, email program etc has a faciltiy to save. Do that and review what you have written the next day before sending. Most humble apologies to the person concerned.

Excuse me while I top up my evening cup of Chinese green tea.

Toys for bois


It is about two years since I have been to a suburban shopping centre. I am a bit of a strip shopping type person. But I did enjoy our visit to Forest Hills shopping centre yesterday with friends. It has ‘all the majors’, Big W, Dimmeys, K Mart etc. We were there for about three hours, which included lunch. The only waiting for food was at the KFC outlet. All the others were fairly quiet. KFC was being eaten by many people who should have been having a salad. We decided to buy some donuts and go back to our friends’ house for coffee. Now there is a chain of donut shops that has something to do with royalty as well. I could not believe the price of the donuts. R said, as usual, I am living in the past. Perhaps so. But at these prices I would have thought they would be very nice donuts. $2.60 for a jam donut. Hmmm, I thought the price was for half a dozen. Ah, this does not look bad. A kiddies pack. And it has a toy. I wonder which toy I will get? Well, the jaguar is great. I love it. The donuts were dreadful and I would never buy a donut there again. Why would people pay so much money for stale donuts, I do not know.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Pen friend

I don't have one, but a close friend has a pen friend. I suppose in these days of the internet, pen friends are a nice bit of history, but not relavent to today.

We met our friend's pen friend last night. He looked to be about 50, and I was astonished to hear that he is 73 years old. He lives in 'Frisco, California and is of a musical arty bent. Full head of dark hair, well I did notice it was dyed, maybe even a piece, but smooth face, ok stature, truly impressive.


I did not get the chance to talk to him much, as it was a party and I got busy, but R had a good chat to him and he sounds like a great guy.

He has been a penfriend of our friend for thirty years, and this was the first time they had met. Our friend is a wonderful host for vistitors, but this guy was so unlike our friend, it is hard to imagine their connection. But to write to someone for thirty years, latterly email, is truly an amazing thing.

My mother had an older penfriend who she wrote to for many years. I think it was about 1964 when my mother received a letter from Mrs Foster that was full of pain over the death of Winston Churchill. I asked my mother about her one day, and she said the letters just stopped and Mum just assumed she died.

In these shallow internet days, the thought of having a life long person to communicate with, is a very nice thought. While I love and embrace the internet, I am not so sure it is really to the benefit of womankind.