Friday, September 30, 2005

Party

Dame M officially turns eighty in a couple of days. Saturday night will be her party with around sixty guests at her home. I have been to two 'official' parties at her home and they go off.

I have done some cooking for the party, made an effort with what I will wear and I will act as a waiter and music person quite a bit.........and I am working the next day, so it will be quite a sober affair for me.

In a way it is lucky that I am working Sunday, as previously we returned the next day to assist with clean up and ended up moving heavy antique furniture and monstrous rugs. But it was fun using a plug the hose in the wall vacuum cleaner. Very quiet. Ok, R will have to do some work perhaps.

Dame M lives in Charnwood Road, St Kilda in what was a Jewish Rabbi's house. He had five ugly daughters, Dame M tells us, and he divided his land for them to build their houses, hence the Charnwood Grove and Charnwood Crescent.

The lead up has been hard work, but I am sure it will be a party to remember.........and sadly, it will probably the last big one at her place. But maybe not. Perhaps the alcohol and nicotine will preserve her for a few years to come.

My application to the NSW Travel Bureau

As you may have guessed, I love going to Sydney, but as we Melburnians say, great place for a holiday, but I would not want to live there.

But what is to see in Sydney? I should get paid for this.

Hilly streets and big leg muscles
Totally illogical street layouts
Friendlier people than in Melbourne, although perhaps less sincere
Single lane motor car tunnels with no emergency lanes
Double decker trains
The knowledge that in the heyday of trams, 2000 of them were running around
Thousands of buses belching out diesel fumes
Bondi Beach
The bachanalia of the Mardi Gras party and Sleaze Ball
Commuting on ferries to work
Manly Corso
The 'Wall'
Green Park Diner (the original)
Oxford Street
Seventies green bans
Remembering the murder of Junita Neilson and Sally Anne Huckstep
The truly appalling Kings Cross
The Chinese Gardens at Darling Harbour
The monorail going through a building
The spectacular Opera House
That bridgy thingy
The Rocks (especially that cute triangular pub that overlooks it)
A suburb with the ridulous name of Woolloomooloo
The experience lousy and expensive coffee (they have improved a bit)
Ferry to Manly
The unlovely housing commision tower on prime real estate overlooking The Rocks and Sydney
The mega busy Town Hall Railway Station
Mrs McQuarie's Chair
The Gap
The very desriptive roads, Eastern Distibutor and Western Distributor
A major road through a major airport
Central Railway Station that is anything but central
Redfern, where if you buy a electrical good, you get an escort to your car or train
The Three Sisters
The blue haze of the blue mountains
The Blue Mountains gondalier
The scary 80 degree downhill trip in an old rail transport contrapion
The Balmain counterweight dummy tram
Huge soul-less Homebush Staduim
Cudgee baths
Supreme Court in Oxford Street where a tram used to pull into the court and transfer a prisoner to Long Bay Jail

I could go on. It is a great place for an interesting holiday.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

My Fetish

I have dropped hints about a fetish of mine and the outcry for me to write it has been underwhelming, in fact non-existant.

But I will anyway.

I find Sydney's transports systems very interesting. I have an unhealthy fascination with it. In the very early eighties and I first visited Sydney, Premier Wran had just bought lots of new buses. Back in Melbourne, a bus with a driver in a seperate cabin and with a conductor on board was still stuggling it's way up Punt Rd Hill. What wonderful modern buses Sydney had. Many are still running and I am not so keen now as they don't have aircon.

I think the Eastern suburbs railway had just been completed. Modern tiled stations, very flash compared to our then only city suburban station, Flinders Street. Again new trains, double deckers, and again no aircon. Although the newer ones now have but still look the same.

I loved the way the Sydney bus drivers drove. Get the passengers on board, make sure they have paid, full acceleration out into the traffic. One of the bus drivers took a wrong turn on the circuitous route to Bondi Beach and regular passengers called out to him that he gone the wrong way and told him where to go to get back on route. Last time I was in Sydney on the same route, there were discrete arrows on light posts to assist the driver.

I drove over the harbour bridge and somewhere along the way (The Spit?) I had to wait while a bridge had to rise to let a ship underneath.

Now along with the Harbour Tunnel, they have the Cross City Tunnel.

Here is a little dream of what was and I would like to experience again. A ride on the 389 tram to Bondi Beach. Imagine it is a warm evening, before the sun has set. The tram is open and there is a breeze in your face. You are looking forward to a swim at Bondi Beach.

From Circular Quay the tram turns off Elizabeth St into Park St which continues as William St and then turned right into Yurong Street.

From Yurong St things become really interesting. The tram winds its way along the narrow streets of East Sydney, that is Stanley, Bourke and Burton Sts, then across a little bridge into Paddington. We are in Macdonald St, we turn right into Brown St, left into Glenmore Rd, right into Gurner St, a bit of an angle right into Hargrave St, another bit of a right angle into Moncur St, left into Queen St and I think this is where the tram route and the present bus route diverge, with the bus turning into Ocean St to travel to Oxford St and Bondi Junction.

The tram continued further along Queen St and turned right into Edgecliff Rd, left into Old South Head Rd which curves right, but the tram went straight ahead into Victoria Rd, then right into Birraga Rd and took a right curve into Curlewis St and straight down to Campell Pde, Bondi then left to North Bondi.

What a trip through suburbs of what were then socio-economic extremes. Astonishingly, this romantic trip took less than forty minutes. But some dreams can never come true.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Good work


Twenty five years of collecting recipes has become out of control. The book is has fallen apart, sticky tape has yellowed, hardened and failed. Time to do something, so I did. I salvaged the existing book and made a new cover, restuck recipes that had become detached and filled two and a half more scrap books with what was stuffed inside the old one. It was only a few hours out of my life, spread over a couple of days. I quickly went through a glue stick and so bought some Clag. What double entendres we used to make about Clag at school. It no longer comes in a glass jar with a wooden stick with the brush fibres. It is all plastic and nor does it smell like it used to. If fact it is not as good, but it sufficed.

I rarely cook, but even so, only about twenty per cent of the recipes would have been made. But you criticize the cook at your peril. I would not dare lest I starve to death.

Good kids and people

I probably spent over one and half hours today on public transport. Seven different trams actually. School holidays are not a great time to be out and about. Trams were crowded no matter where I went.

I saw a grandmother pull her grand children off a seat and squeeze them onto her lap so that an elderly woman could sit. She apologized for bumping me a bit.

I saw three different teens offer their seats to older people, along with a couple of adults who did the same.

I saw other people helping strangers in various ways.

Perhaps the lovely warm day put folk in good moods or perhaps the human race is basically good.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Securatis scarest

Our building's security has been upgraded. While in theory the body corp managing company could tell who came and went, their system was out of date and neglected. With a bit of an upgrade, it is all now in the control of our buildiing manager. We have had to register our remote controls and if we didn't do it, in a week or so time, the remote would no longer work. That is you would be unable to get into the building or move around it.

The building managers are at the foyer desk, asking people to identify themselves and recording their remote actions against a database of the number of their remote, their name and their apartment number.

There was an audience for a public performance, so I took advatage of it and all were amused. As I walked into the building after a walk and a latte I said, Andrew enters building, front door, apartment XXX 17.40. Much mirth. Building manager asked why did I go to the recycling room twice within ten minutes.

I did actually and the building manager was with me the first time. The second time, I wanted to ask him something and thought he might have still been there.

Big brother is watching and it is a bit scary.

Lowering the tone of the street


I spent many of my childhood years in the country and so I do know about cars and mud and how the two are linked. Breaking lumps of dried mud off the underside of the wheel arches was a bit of fun. But I cannot recall seeing a car as all over dirty as this one. Where has it been?

I can understand the need to clean around the door handles, but why make such big patches? It was the same the other side and obviously back seat passengers weren't welcome.

Is this what M!key's bike looks like after a dirt trail ride?
Click the pic for a proper view.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Nowt as queer as folk

At nine twenty two this evening I remembered that a new series of Queer as Folk was starting on SBS. If you don't know about it, it is about gays, made for gays. I called a friend to tell him a new series was about to start, but he knew already. Bitch should have called me and reminded me. I should not be so harsh. He was taping it as there was promise of sex and nudity, so I could have asked him for the tape.

There may have been a time when I watched shite on tv just because it had gay content, but I no longer do that. Now I only watch gay stuff on tv if it is good. By golly, QAF was good, very good. I think you can actually pick it up if you have never watched it before, so remember, next Monday night, 10pm, SBS.

Gimme a head with hair. Long shining hair.

I called my sister in law today but she was not home. Instead my nephew answered the phone. He is a nice kid, bit naughty at times, but a basically decent young man and he plays a mean game of football. Although it was only noon, he had finished work for the day and was off to the hairdresser for a five hour appointment.

My mind raced. What takes five hours to do to your hair? Perhaps you are quicker than I am and have guessed already that he is getting dreadlocks. I feigned approval, I am only disapproving because I don't think they will suit him, and then after he told me that it was costing $300, I implored him not to tell the cost to his father, my younger brother.

Although they live in an area that might be considered homophobic and it is certainly scarily mono cultural, the nieces and nephew are quite ok about their gay uncle. At some point in the last few years, nephew became a bit curious about his gay uncle and R and a family conference was convened. I am usure if my homophobic brother was involved, but my lousy house keeper wonderfully loving mother sister in law explained it all to them. My about to turn 13 niece was the one who asked all the questions, but as her maternal grandmother says, she has been here before.

I am sure my nephew indulges in poofta jokes/comments along with his mates, but I am also sure that he does not personlise it.

Anyway, we have amunition. R used to change his shitty nappy when he was a baby. How will that go down at his 21st? Moi does not do babies or kids at all. I suppose they are necessary and while R goes goo goo gah gah over them, I am not that keen. Of course sister is trying to have one, but has not suceeded with the turkey baster method as yet.

Train

A couple of things that I have learnt about trains recently suprised me.

My sister visited and was catching the train back to Geelong. I casually asked how much the fare was. About $10 she said. Hmm, seemed a lot, but I did not think much about it until later. I have checked and the return trip is over $20 and takes around 55 minutes each way.

Yet, if you travel in the other direction, that is to Pakenham, a trip that is over one hour, it can in theory only cost $7.10 for a return ticket.

I doubt that the suburban system is privately run and the Geelong service is government run has much to do with it. It is probably more historical.

If I was a Geelong resident, I would be protesting.

A workmate was rushing for a train on the Pakenham line. He told me if he missed it, it would be an hours wait for the next one. It was not even 8.30 on a weeknight. Can't be right. But I just checked Connex timetables and sure enough. If you live beyone Dandenong, the service interval is sixty minutes after the 8pm trains departs Flinders Street Station. It will take a passenger 1 hour 15 mins to get home to Pakenham whereas the Geelong trip will only take an hour.

Maybe that is why it costs so much more.

PS The above info makes no allowance for discounted tickets or express trains.

Party

My white tee shirt has been whisked away by friends for decorating. Some temporary hair dye is sitting on the bench along with spray on hair glitter. I can feel a party coming on.

One year

It is the anniversary of my first blog post. That is, I have blogged for one year. I do not like the word blog and I like participants being referred to as bloggers even less. Ugly harsh words. But that is what we are and what we do.

I was not there at the beginning and came across blogging at at a mid point before everyone started doing it.

Just a little piece in The Age got me interested in blogs. It was a reference to Toxic Custard and the name appealed to me a lot. There were some things in this bloke's blog that I connected with. I read it and there was such a lot of his life and his day to day stuff that sounded interesting.

We have all had frustrating moments with technology and Mr Toxic Custard destroying his useless broken down vcr with his kiddies, including pictures (and videos?), really caught my attention and I have read it ever since.

I have come across some other people who have blogs via Mr Toxic Custard and of course other other sources. Thanks guys for letting me know a bit about you.

I have stressed a bit over archiving. Yes, it is all here in the blog, but will it be forever? Unlikely. I asked myself whether it is important to save it. Mixed feelings here. It is not great writing and is probably not of much interest to others in the future, but then if I randomly click on an earlier post, there is much that has slipped from memory and it is nice to be reminded of what occupied my mind six months ago or whenever. Jury is still out on whether it will be saved. I am only a month or so behind with it but the longer I procrastinate, the harder it will be.

Like my mother, I find writing stuff down quite therapeutic. It clears things from my head or sometimes clarifies questions in my mind. A letter from my mother will be never less than six pages of closely written script and I have saved them all.

As I approach an age where one loves wallowing in nostalgia, it is a bit sad that more people my age don't blog. Most of my personal friends have a computer and use the net to greater or lesser degrees. Only one that I know of reads my blog and I am not sure if she still does. None blog.

I look at some blogs and a fairly minimal post can generate twenty comments. Why doesn't mine? Well, I don't go out of my way to promote it. People my age did not grow up with computers and have a different attitude to them. As you age, the number of friends and contacts drop off. Most bloggers are mid thirties down. What I write possibly doesn't interest them. Perhaps it is that I come across as too cynical and unfriendly or smart arse know it all. And, if you want people to read your blog and comment, you are obliged to read theirs and comment. Oddly the more work I put into a post, the less the response generally. Excuses and reasons aside, it could just be that my blog is boring and uninteresting.

A friend who did read my blog early in piece said that she was surprised to learn so much about me and the way I think. I pointed out that in a way blogs are art. It is a public performance. While of course you let bits of yourself out in blog posts, you do have total editorial control. You only tell what you want people to know. An auto biography is invariably very different to a biography written by someone else. So, I would never judge anyone by their blog, no matter how well I though I knew them from their blog.

No matter, I will persist with blogging for some time yet. No praise, sympathy or advice required. (See what I mean? I write that, but of course anyone would want praise, sympathy or advice)