Saturday, April 07, 2007

Easter boring

I am not displeased to be working until Monday. Easter can be pretty boring. Shops shut indeed. Even work is a bit boring but I make the best of it.

Today I saw an elderly woman being taught how to drive an electric wheelchair. She was doing ok until she had to mount a small gutter. She did that ok, but when she had to reverse back over the gutter, she went too fast, did not look behind her and banged into the gutter on the opposite side and almost tipped over. God help anyone who was walking along the path behind her. She had the same expression and concentration that you see on a young motot car learner driver, albeit a bit saggier. Roll on the future. I just want a muscly young dude to carry me around.

I saw a woman tip over in an electric wheelchair once. It was a three wheeler, probably not a good idea, and she was travelling way to fast. She must have hit her forehead on the road and was bleeding. A nice man stopped his car next to her to assist. Another passer by rushed up screaming at him and telling him how evil he was for knocking the poor old lady over with his car. It is not often I feel sorry for a 4wd driver, but I did for this one.

This morning I saw an old Greek woman trying to get a very heavy looking shopping jeep onto a tram. I think it must have been full of potatoes, it looked to weigh that much. The tram driver would not assist, bad back he said. A nearby passenger also had a bad back and would not help. Eventually a passer by helped her on with it. It clearly weighed a ton. I think of my late, widowed grandmother, without decent public transport, no one to lift anything for her..... I really don't know how she managed. She obviously could not overfill a shopping jeep with Saturday morning cheap produce and expect other people to do the work.

Last weeks flowers


I held off posting the pic of the yellow gerberas hoping I could get a pic of them when they drooped and thereby incite endless comments. They were just amazing though. For a whole week they did not droop and although sometimes gerberas are wired upright, these ones just did not sag at all.

Bloody maid removed them today as it was flower removal day.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Portarlington finale

While we spent a brief time at Portarlington for my mother's birthday, I just had to play the smart ass. Every time a human or mechanical noise intruded, I would remark, 'ah, the sounds of serenity'.

As soon as we arrived I noted gum branches hanging on top of their accommodation. I thought if there is a wind, they will scrape on the roof.

It was not the most memorable birthday for Mum. She is not particularly well and a nice break away may be pleasant, but it does not cure ills.

I spoke to her this week and of course asked her how the couple of days went and it was not great. First night, tree branches brushing on roof, possums thumping around on roof, possums dropping stuff on roof, ditto second night.

The first morning, mother and step father testy from lack of sleep, fought. Second morning packed and ready to leave at 9.30.

My sister paid quite a lot of money for their accommodation and she understood it was to be right on the beach. It wasn't. Everyone was a bit disappointed I think.

She did get it right for Mum's seventieth birthday three years ago when it was quite similar, but the accommodation was the Sea Change cottage at Barwon Heads. That was a pretty special time.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Second day off




































Although I started much earlier than yesterday, like 6.30, I was not out until noon (vacuum and clean up ink on carpet that had spilled from old printer). Just as I left home with the old printer under my arm, down came the rain. Our windows were halfway through being cleaned too.

The 219/216 bus was late as usual and it was a slow trip. Should have taken the car I thought for a while. The female driver had her young daughter with her on the bus. I suppose not everyone can take school holiday time off work.

I was going to unfamiliar territory, West Melbourne, but I had looked at the street directory beforehand. Third set of lights past my carwash in Spencer Street. Dryburgh Street actually. What I should have realised is that it is just before the Dynon Road Bridge which is pretty hard to miss, although the next stop would have been a long way away, across the bridge.

I walked up Dryburgh Street to Victoria Street. Ah, there is Mulchay's Hotel, now derelict but it used to host gay bootscooting and we went there a few times in the early nineties I suppose, strictly for a drink and observe, not to participate.

In Victoria Street was Computerbank and they took my old printer for a fee of $5.50, which I happily paid, and in return the woman gave a couple of Linux cds. After Computerbank fix up a donated computer, they scrub Windows and put on Linux operating system. While I first heard of Linux over a decade ago, like Wordpress, I know something already and I don't want to learn something new. There are two cds though, one to install the system and one to try it from the cd reader. Of course once home, I had to try it from the cd reader. Reboot pc, it said, and Linux will load automatically. It didn't. I may give it another try later.

I walked out of shop and it occurred to me while I had studied how to get there, I did not work out how to get back to the city. I had no intention of going back to Spencer Street and maybe waiting half an hour for a bus, so hey, this can't be hard. I am in Victoria Street. I just need to walk, and a pleasant walk it was too.

I passed some interesting houses. High Street Windsor is not the only place where frangipani grow. There were four houses in a row with frangipani growing in their front yards. The common factor being High St and Victoria Street face north and the houses are solid brick. Keeps the winter frost off them by radiated heat from the bricks and gives them plenty of heat in the summer. I don't think they need a lot of water. Absolutely beautiful scent in the street.

Then I passed this old place in the picture, Candelles. Very draggy name. (more info anyone?)It had been grand but was now very shabby and unused.

Ah, tram tracks, North Melbourne. Verve cafe looked pretty kewl.

City, very busy because of school holidays. I had a thought of seeing Old Melbourne Gaol after being inspired by Cazzie's post, but it could have been too busy with kids and it was getting a bit late.

Some shopping at QV and note a Dan Murphys is opening there soon.

On the way into town on the bus I read The Age food supplement, Epicure. There was a review of hot cross buns from around Melbourne. Bakers' Brumbys and Bakers Delight received approval, and the price was $1 a bun. Well for the last day before easter, the price had risen to $6.50 for half a dozen. I bought eight Safeway hot cross buns for $4.50 instead. Not quite as nice, but at least I won't feel cheated.

I waited for an empty tram and travelled home in comfort.

R arrived home and we walked to the now almost deGrand Prixed Albert Park Lake. Although we tried once recently and could not get there because of barricades, it had been quite a while. The boat landings that my nephew helped build have lost the redness from their timbers and look very nice and sound.

But I could not believe the low level of the lake. It was drought in 2002 when we moved here and the lake level never dropped as low as it now is. I happily blame the Grand Prix for taking water to irrigate their race track 'verges'.

While I thought we would go home, R was in a chipper mood as he has five days off and offered to buy me a beer. How about the Palmerston Hotel, I suggested. It looks like a dive but it is so close to home and the slogan 'Have a parma at the Palmer' appeals to me, even though I am not keen on veal parmigiana?

Well, I am surprised that pubs like this still exist. It was full of tradies, you could have cut the smoky air with a knife and the sound level of joy de vivre was high. The menu and prices looked ok in the separate dining area, so we will go back for a meal, if it can remain open once the new laws banning smoking start mid year. We sat outside with one ear tuned to the bird noises to the west and the other to the semi trailers and B doubles in Kingsway to the east, like a few metres away in either direction. But it was very pleasant.

It feels like it should be Friday night and crime night on our ABC, but no, only Thursday and tv is dull. Not an early start tomorrow and a shortish time at work and extra money, so that is good.

I feel like I should wish you a happy easter or passover or the moslem equivalent, but that would be odd coming from a heathen communist. Enjoy the next few days, whether working or not and savour the chocolate slowly, don't gulp it.

Photos, Candles in Victoria Street (note the name Loco and the train atop the building), a couple of boats on the lake, an inaccessible powerpoint and a blackboard at the Palmerston Hotel, the blimp passing between two buildings and a disgusting and awful block of flats that should be demolished in Kingsway.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Out of breath

I am lacking something to write about so I will just tell you about my day. Day off, so as usual I stayed up too late chatting to cute bois online and had one too many glasses of wine, so it was a late and fuzzy start when I was awoken by a text message at 8.40.

Coffee, need coffee.

By 10.30 I had managed to shower, talk to ex NT policeman on the phone enquiring about his partners missing brother in Fiji, put on a load of washing and put the dishwasher on. Also dealt with emails, blogs and the latest hottest Euroboy porn.

Then cereal and toast and managed to finish last Friday's newspaper. With recylables under arm for dumping in the recyling facilities, I went across the road for a decent cup of coffee.

Noted building manager at desk talking on phone and I want to thank him for a small task he did. Have coffee and forgot to bring Monday's paper to read. Instead read cafe provided Herald Sun. Fill blood pressure medication script at chemist next door.

Return home and speak to building manager and he tells me tomorrow is his last day. I am alarmed. Send text to R.

Sort some washing and drying. About 1pm email arrives from influential body corp committee person mentioned building manager's departure. Forward to R and sms him to tell him I have sent him an email.

Count emails to do with the building today and get to 10.

Non electronically transfer whiteboard shopping list to thin sheet of wood product.

Walk out building door to see appropriate tram to local shops just departing. Peer down road and see bus has just gone past too. Should have walked, but allergic reaction skin problem has broken out on my heel so I am not up to walking. (What did I eat to cause this? Only thing I can geuss that is unusual is expensive posh cheese we took to Portarlington).

Last tram must have been late. Another soon arrives. Alight at Commercial Road Officeworks to check out labels for bookcrossing.com but so expensive. I will just stick some glue on printed cut out labels.

Walk on with sore heel and just miss Chapel St tram. Walk on to Post Office for latest first day cover and they don't have it yet. Buy pork and salad roll for lunch. Buy a couple of bottles of wine from Dan Murphs, buy easter egg for R, shop in Coles. Home on a horrible old bus that has air con but it it is not switched on. Sweat breaks out.

Finish dealing with washing, read local paper, more computer stuff, empty dish washer, pick nose, perve on window cleaners.

R arrives home. Chat, go down and have a swim and a spa. R has his nana nap while I catch up on the 2/3rds of last nights Foreign Correspondent that I did not see.

Shower and shave and an sms arrives. Will look later. Should have looked immediately.

Set off at seven in motor car to badly named Chinese restaurant in Chapel Street, via electric bank next door. Phone rings, did you get my text? We meet at 7, not 7.30. Should have checked sms. Met dyke friends for dinner at badly named Chinese restaurant and as last time, the food and service were superb.

Writing it all down seems like I did a bit today. But really I felt I did nothing except have a really nice meal out with good company.

I was a bit reactive today to not having a day off for eight days. But I have another day off tomorrow and I will get out and do something above the normal.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Dear John

Dear John Thwaites. I wrote a letter to you. It was troublesome because apart from carefully constructing the letter, our printer was not working and I had to email the letter to my partner at work for him to print out and then print out the envelope and bring it home for me to mail to you.

I expect you did not really want to know my opinion on Melbourne's and Victoria's water storage problems because when I say it up to you, our government, to supply us with water, it gets a bit challenging. I expect the extra I added as an afterthought about huge new suburbs stringing out without rail transport is not what you wanted to hear either. Not a problem for me me in St Kilda Road or you in Middle Park though. No worries matie, I understand.

But in these days of a quick email, I would have thought you would have had the courtesy to reply to a written letter. No matter, I am sure my letter when on the pile 'anti'.

But do remember, a 'gay icon' local member should not take everyone for granted. Maybe my next voting preference will go to an unelectable.

Emos

In another of his normal, moderate and thoughtful posts, Andy eloquently offered his carefully considered opinion about emos.

If you have been around for as long as some of us, you will have seen it all before. I had to work with a guy wearing full makeup who was straight back in the early eighties, no, more than one of them. Wild times. He and his mates and chicks did good graffiti at St Kilda Junction though. At least it was political although I thought anarchy was going a bit far and a bit anarchistic.

I say had to work with like it was a chore, but it wasn't. He was interesting to talk to and not overly loud and did not spit in the street. Quite polite really. Gosh, he was only a couple of years younger than me. While I was the new house proud housewife serving tea in fine china, he was out there doing stuff.

Protesting against authority while collecting his weekly pay from authority struck me as a little contradictory, but then he did not collect his pay for too long before his employer saw the error of their ways when the employed him. Through work, I knew quite a few interesting people, alas there are no longer interesting people in my workplace. Plenty of nice people, but not 'interesting' people. Some of the interesting people have now become boringly conservative. (Andy, ask Andrew at SB what he used to be like, staggering around in semi drag with make up drugged out of his brain at a dance party. Bet he is different now and what was it with a certain Kooyong Road house? I don't really know, but there were work people, Kooyong Road and Club X in Ackland Street)

Now I would not really clasify emos as goths, although there are similarities. I would more describe them as ' 80s new romantics with suicidal tendencies'.

Whatever, they make a pleasant change from drunken bleach blond boys wearing metrosexual pink tees who gob around the place like Lebanese soccer player. Give me a bit of emotional insecurity any day.

Media Watch on Knut

Yes, you can be too cynical, but there are many reasons to justify your cynicism. I have tried to instill in R more of cynical nature about the media and the governments who control us, but not with much success I think.

Like David Oldfield, but in a different way, I am not a lover of Pauline Hanson or her ilk, but I did have chuckle yesterday when she expressed an opinion that 'larger forces' brought her and her party down. Had she have watched ABC TV's Spooks last Friday night, she would have seen a text book example of how a government can bring down a political party that threatens the status quo. Yes, only a tv show, but you think it doesn't or can't happen?

If you saw last night's Media Watch, you may as well go on and read another blog now as what follows is just a reiteration of the polar bear cub story.

MW covered the world media coverage of the very cute baby polar bear Knut in Germany. I paid little attention to the story at the time, although of course I think baby polar bears are gorgeous. I thought at the time that there must be more to this story but did not worry about following it.

Here is the story briefly. Papers around the world printed stories that animal liberationists wanted to put this orphan polar bear cub down because it had no mother. Outrage around the world at the wanker animal liberationists naturally.

It would seem only one other German magazine tried to tell the truth after the German magazine Bild first published the story. Now even I know and have known for years that Bild is not a reliable source of news. Media organisation after organisation around the world did not check facts and Australia, including both our publicly funded broadcasters, were among the worst.

The animal activist in question who supposedly called for the killing of the cub took another zoo to court when they put down an orphan sloth baby. The court found that humans raising the baby was against the laws of nature and hence the baby was put down.

Using this argument, the activist made the point that for consistency, the polar bear cub should also be put down. Of course an ugly little sloth baby is a whole different kettle of fish to beautiful white baby polar bear in the public eyes. He made a good point.

Then there was the zoo keeper who, no doubt arguing from a professional point of view, said the cub probably should have been put down when his mother rejected him. He was also quoted, but there was a bit left out of the quote, 'it is too late now'.

Both of the men who care for animals have been on the receiving end of death threats and hate mail. I think they have learned a valuable lesson about media. You should too.

I did not see a follow up story in any of the papers correcting any of this either, but I may have missed them.

Watch the story online at Media Watch and there are transcripts of the show there too.

April Fool

Referring back to my post on April 1st. There is no such place as Maltby off the Geelong Freeway. Maltby was a politician and the bypass was named after him. The post is total fiction.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Childhood #61

At primary school there was complicated switching system for bells, loudspeakers and radio. But young children should only be allowed to listen to what I think was 3AR, Radio 2 and now ABC's Radio National, or RN. There was no alternative.

I think it was around ten in the morning that they broadcast folk dancing music and lessons and yes, we participated. We did have trouble with the pronunciation of 'folk' in relation to dancing, of course, as would all kids.

We also listened to a broadcast Q & A session. Kids asked stupid questions and they were answered. Similar stuff happens even now.

At the age of nine or so, my schoolmate suggested we should write in and ask why our dicks go stiff? A few minutes later he showed me how he could move his stiffie under his trousers. I just dispassionately observed and I was a year younger and perhaps I could not control my stiffie as well has he could.

I asked my Uncle not long after how cows have calves. The bull and the cow mix their weasies together he answered. I misinterpreted this to mean that they mix their urine together.

I have no idea when I learnt the truth of the business but I must have seen a bull mounting a cow. Perhaps I thought they were just playing.

Of course I has seen a calf being born, so my answer when I cleverly answered the question in secondary school about what rags were for, I confidently replied to 'to mop up afterbirth', but I forget the exact way I put it. The girls, unsurprisingly, laughed.

It has only just occurred to me that I did not receive any sex education from my parents or from school.

Hopefully you parents now don't make the same mistake. Kids are so advanced now. They probably need to know the basics much younger than when I learned of my own accord.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Missing friend's brother

Our Fijian Indian friend's brother has gone missing. He and his wife left the same place at the same time in separate cars. She arrived home, he did not. I add that he was quite a womaniser.

Sorry about not being in touch about last night but things here are a bit tense
There is still no word on R*** brother apart from the fact that the Fiji Police Crime unit has taken on the case. His brothers have been to see the Police and also been in touch and seen Ratu E***; a senior Minister in the Interim Government; ex chief ****; from their home island and personally known to the family.
Will keep you advised

Poor choice of words in flower post

While putting the fox off the scent by pretending I am interested in flowers and posting weekly flower pics which takes about one minute of my time, I have totally diverted you from knowing how many hours I spend looking at porna in its many artistic forms.

But sad readers, you seem to be able to even read something into my most innocent flower picture posts. I make an innocent remark about handsomly erect flowers and it is taken the wrong way.

However, be they tiny native violets or montrous sunflowers, I don't care for limp flowers. If you bend them down and they spring back to upright, this is a clear indicator of a good healthy and fresh flower.

Nothing less comes into Highriser's apartment no matter how difficult they are price wise to swallow.

Maltby

After years of occasional travel on the Geelong Freeway, we had some spare time and thought we would solve our own curiousity. We have often wondered about Maltby when we travelled along the Maltby Bypass part of the Geelong Freeway.

I am more familiar with eastern side of town, the Berwick Bypass and the other earlier ones in the area, along with the soon to be opened Pakenham Bypass.

Anyway, as part of the ongoing 'tourist in your town' series, we swung off the freeway towards Maltby and what a delightful little town it is. Gracious European trees line the broad main street and it is quite unspoilt by car traffic as there are only two streets where cars are able to cross the main street and cars are not allowed in the main street apart from these points.

We passed by a large shed with some plant in it on the way in. We learned later that it recycles most of the town's water, hence the green grass and healthy plants everywhere.

The shops in the main street are all old and wonderfully preserved. Their verandahs overhang the main street, giving plenty of shade from the sun. But look at the roofs and you will see many of them are covered by solar panels for hot water and electricity generation.

There are seats everwhere and people take full advantage of them. People of Asian, African and Middle Eastern heritage mix it with the long time locals.

There are plenty of young people too, although they are watched carefully by the very active bylaws officers. No graffiti here at all and it was all so clean, without being sterile.

I was almost ready to buy a place then and there.

But later when home and checking a few details about the town, I found an alarming health department statistic. Although the study is incomplete, the raw figures show that the area has the highest level of incest in all Australia. Very odd! Puts a bit of slant on the town's advertising, 'A wonderful place for you and your family.'