Friday, April 04, 2008

US Toilets


We have all been overseas haven't we. We know about the different toilets/bathrooms/lavs. What? You haven't? While all of us around the world are doing the same thing, we seem to use different appliances to do it. Can I rename what we call in Australia a toilet, to an appliance?

I shan't dwell on Asian squat toilets. Most are awful and disgusting, but in classier places they are ceramic and have a hose for washing. The upmarket ones are not so bad but I really don't like standing or squatting on perhaps clean wet floors, but who would know. The areas are invariably wet. You haven't had experience of a shower in Asia, or an Asian person use your shower? Believe me, the whole area will be very wet. Stereotype I know, but I am yet to be proved wrong.

I haven't been to the Middle East, but I would guess that there is much water splashed around there too.

The French have their bidets. Given that I once read that a bar of soap lasts a French person for three years, it is just as well.

Of course the English keep coal in their baths. They just pop another anorak on to contain and dissemble.

Not having been to the UK or to Europe, I am only guessing here, but I think they have the same types of toilets as we do in Oz. The water sits in the low neck of toilet, you flush and everything disappears down either the S or P shaped bend and hopefully cleans the sides. In these water saving times in Oz, the amount of toilet flushing water is much reduced and the appliance may require more than one pushing of the flush button to clear the flotsam and jetsam, thereby defeating the water conservation measures. Who thought that one up?

Asian countries seemed to have sided with the US on the matter of flushing toilets. The water sits very high in the appliance and while I was not alert the first time I used one, I was very very alarmed. Upon activating the flush system, the appliance quickly filled up nearly to the brim. OMG, as young peoples say and I stepped back to avoid the imminent overflow. Then suddenly with a very audible slurp, it all disappeared and the water level returned to normal.

I should have done some research on this before writing. There are many assumptions, especially about American 'bathrooms'. I have no idea of the mechanics of these toilets that fill to the brim. Are they typically US? Perhaps there is a release flap when the weight of the water gets to a certain point and the flap opens. This sounds like it could go so so wrong. Our toilets only fail by water continuing to run into the appliance which is usually short term fixed by tapping on or repressing the button.


Over to you Daisy Jo, educate the Aussies, but don't shoot me with your own branded gun.

The Third Room


When we first moved to the highrise, we had no idea what we would do with a spare bedroom. R took it as his bedroom, but it was too close to the living area and soon moved to the next room along the way. So our spare room is the one nearest the living area. It is for guests to sleep in (advise, never have a spare room, guests will come) and a place to dry clothes and the spare room wardrobe is for storing stuffs. The Highrise could be renamed the inner city motel.

Arriving here from a place with a courtyard with a pull out clothes line, how we would dry clothes was a bit discussed before we moved here. I said no problem, we will get a clothes rack and dry them on that. I couldn't see us drying everything in the clothes dryer.

Once we moved in, R and a friend were discussing moi and how long I would last hanging clothes on a clothes rack. Shirl will be over it very quickly, was the summation. As you can see, I am still doing it. Jocks, socks and frilly knickers go in the dryer. Hang on, no frilly knickers in this household. I am not pissing about with umpteen small things, but pretty well everything else goes on the clothes rack for a couple of days to dry. My luxury is my work shirts go in the dryer, coz then I don't have to iron them.

As you can see, the wardrobe it is full of junk. It is our storage place, well one of them. But over time, we have organised it quite a bit. On the other side is a chair with potting mix under it, and a large box of washing powder sitting on the chair. The shopping jeep is next to that and then large plastic cartons of stuffs such as paints, screws, electric stuffs, audio and visuals stuffs, plumbing stuffs. Cartons are neatly packed and labelled.

Hanging in the wardrobe are cords for various computer related devices etc, and shirts drying. Cords can be pushed to one side. When drying shirts are not there, there is hanging space for visitors and the clothes rack, if I am not organised well enough to have nothing on it when visitors arrive, goes to my bedroom. It gets in my way though, when it is my bedroom.

As for the visitors who occupy the spare room, I recall Dame M saying fish and visitors go off after two days.

The Falling Highriser


Or if you like, a nearly old person taking a fall.

I had an appointment in Malvern, near the corner of Malvern and Tooronga Roads. I could of driven, or caught a tram to town and then the train, or the tram direct. But no. Me being the person who always looks for the hardest way to do something, caught the tram to Toorak terminus and then walked down the hill to level crossing and along the railway line to Malvern.

I like cobblestone lanes. They are great for your feet when you walk on them, are often interesting and are good for your general health, so sayeth the Chinese on the last point. But this one was not good for the health, nor did it have cobblestones and it had a dog leg in it. While it wasn't really a shortcut, I took it anyway. Around the dogleg was a tree fallen over the lane and it had taken a bit of fence with it. No problem. There is a bit of a gap where the fence came down. I can slide down the tin a bit. Error.

I did not see the bit of wire at the bottom. It cut my ankle and headfirst forward, I went down, with my hands outstretched to save myself. The first thing I was worried about was who saw me. No one thankfully.

Cut ankle, bruised knee and minor damage to the left hand, but what looked like a large blister on my right hand. I went onto my appointment but during it, I noticed blood running down my hand. I successfully hid the problem and when I left I sopped up the blood with some A4 paper I had with me. Any pubic toilets around here? Nah, and the ones at the train station were locked.

I got to Flinders Street Station, bought a packet of tissues and cleaned up my hand as best I could in the toilet. I had been looking to enjoy the train trip, one that we used to take many times when we lived in East Malvern, but I was too distracted by my injury.

I did what I had to in the city, trying to hide my nasty hand wound when I paid for things, and came straight home on the tram.

I suppose the embedded gravel in the wound will work its way out. Or maybe I will need a week off work to recover.

Am I angry with myself for being careless? You betcha. While I fell over like this as a kid, it takes a lot longer to heal at my age. Anyway, I walked past some gorgeous houses today, too many to photograph. But here is one of them.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Sir Rod Eddington

I wonder how much he was paid for telling us the bleeding obvious. Did he come up with something new and radical? Something that has not already been suggested?

Here are my thoughts. There is an decent dose of self interest in them.

Link up all freeways. Eastern Freeway through to Ring Road with city exits. People want the city exit. Given it seems so few seem to want to got from the east to the west in the north, why would you build something that didn't do what the people wanted. Ring Road to Eastern Freeway, or is it Eastlink. Whatever, complete the circle. Bypass Geelong properly and add to it by giving a freeway option in Queenscliff direction. Link the Frankston Freeway to the Mornington Peninsular Freeway and bypass Frankston.

But that is it. No more freeways for Melbourne. They don't work. They are built, fill with traffic quickly and then there is a demand for more. Motorist, you have got what you wanted. Freeways are linked. See how long they work well for you.

Now future money can be devoted to public transport. I recognise that outer suburban roads need to be improved over time, as the need arises, well actually before the need arises. As the need arises.

I think it was City of Melbourne that suggested the underground train from North Melbourne Station to Melb Uni, then a couple of stops in the City and on to the Domain tram Interchange and on further. I like the refinement of the proposal, Footscray to Caulfied. Very useful for me. I dislike the very slow tram travel we are forced to endure and they are just too busy now.

Presently if you live in the Doncaster area, you public transport option is only bus travel. Eddington comes up with a brilliant new plan. Buses!

For crying out loud. Why can't we build a railway line to Doncaster, and to Rowville and Monash Uni. I expect I will go to my grave hearing about a vaguely proposed train to Doncaster.

The cost benefit may not be great, but extend tram lines the short distance that many of them need so that they finish at a logical destination.

The largest shopping centre in the Southern Hemisphere, aka Chadstone, needs a rail line of some sort. I hear horror tales of people trying to find a parking space there.

No new suburb is allowed to built until the present ones have access to a fast rail system. Then, no new suburb to be built until a fast rail system is built. This was learnt in 19th and 20th centuries. Build the railway and the people will come.

In conclusion, a tram goes past my door to a three minute walk to my workplace. Even if that tram fails, there is another which will deliver me just a couple of minutes later. Why do I continue with the expense of my own car and driving to work? It is all about the math. I have never been late to my workplace by relying on my car since I have lived here. I allow between twenty and thirty minutes and I am usually quite early to work. If I caught a tram, I would have to allow nearly an hour. Most times 40 mins would be adequate, but that does not allow for the frequent delays.

When I lived in Balaclava, I used to catch the tram to work and then the tram company did something called through routing as a cost saving measure, and the service became unreliable. The 69 tram disappeared in favour of 16. I stopped catching the tram then and drove to work. I have never recovered from that.

I have read some really well informed posts by educated people about Melbourne's transport woes and Sir Eddington's report. You can find them if you want. This post ought to be filed as a draft for a complete rewrite at a later period , but I am over it.

The Big Wind

Yesterday Melbourne had a big wind event. I think I can recall stronger wind, but not for a long time and maybe not in Melbourne. It caused absolute chaos. The trains pretty well failed and nothing could be done. The trams still ran, but slower with lots of delays. Some stupid old people were still out buying their daily pint of milk, but they were suffering. God save me please from being a stupid old person. We were warned about yesterday's bad weather as far back as a week ago. The warnings became stronger and stronger. Just change our name from Melbourne to New Orleans.

I just spoke to ex NT politician's Fijian Indian boyfriend on the phone. Ex pollie is delivering an evening meal and thermoses of hot water to his very old father and senile mother who have no power and have had none since yesterday. To their credit, their power company has flown in techies from Brisbane to assist in power restoration, but still, some have been without the electric for a very long time.

The worst wind I can recall would have been when I was a kid in the sixties and lived on a farm. The power used to go off quite often, but only for a matter of hours, which seems odd given the isolated location we lived in. To be without power for so long in a Melbourne suburb seems extraordinary to me. Bring back the State Electricity Commission I say. Worker padded it may have been, but it worked. The difference now is that they just throw money at the workers to make the system work, rather like my work place.

One power worker, in perhaps haste or pressure from on high, possibly made a simple mistake today and was electrocuted. I hope his family is not expecting a posthumous service to community award. Your basic worker never gets any award like that. A building worker totally squished by a falling slab of concrete. An elderly woman walking past a post office, battered to death by falling bricks.

T'was a bad day, but I don't care. Much to my surprise, I finished work on time. That is all I care about and my drive home was not so bad. Even R did not too much longer to get home from work.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Hard to not laugh

I look at Youtube for something specific. It would be very easy to spend hours looking at clips. I don't have hours of spare time. I am extremely jealous of people who can blog in work hours. My job does not involve contact with internet. Actually, I think I like it that way.

So, I heard this clip played on the radio and had a look for it and found it immediately. I have listened to it a few times, and each time I laugh even more. R found it very funny too. Her very pwoper accent and exceedingly good diction makes it.

It reminds of when Andrew Denton had a show called Blah, Blah, Blah and had the very proper female ABC tv national newsreader do a very upbeat mime number. I can't think of her name now. I did notice she had flabby arms though. I never noticed that when she was reading the news. Who am I to talk anyway.

The not so worldly

My mother is not great at world geography or world current affairs. She could probably point out France, Egypt and China on a map but I doubt she would be struggling to find Iran, Fiji or Venezuela. I very much doubt she reads anything on the Herald Sun's world news page. I think she may have crossed the Murray River once, but only just across. Her sole plane trip was from Mildura to Melbourne and she had to have oxygen during the one hour flight. Her geography learning would have stopped as soon as she left school.

Americans are well known for not being very up to speed in knowing about the rest of the world. While they seem to excel in some areas of education, such as speaking and eloquency, there is clearly an educational deficit in the area of world knowledge.

I am fairly confident that you could go to the most socio, educational and economically deprived suburb in Australia and do a darn sight better than these people in the clip do answering the questions.

There are just some things in this clip that I cannot understand how the interviewees could not know, but clearly they don't.

While I am not going to win any friends in the US by posting this, note in the opening piece, 'asking US locals about the very world they run'. Not quite true, but it is the most influential and powerful country in the world.

PS I am getting a sense of deja vu here. Have I done this same post once before?

A Couple of Stray Blogs

I always try so hard to never look for new blogs. Even I have my computer usage limits. I only collect new blogs from comments.

A nice one first. If you are Australian and of a certain age and watch tv, or did in the seventies especially, you WILL like this blog. Wallowing in nostalgia is marvellous. Talking Television AU. Yesterday's post was about an April Fool's joke broadcast on Adelaide tv and word of this must have come across the border because I have a vague memory of it. Perhaps it was made in Adelaide but broadcast Australia wide. (Jayne, I wrote most of this on 31/03. I am not copying, promise)

On to the next. I have been reading this one for a while now. If it is completely true, and I have little doubt that it is an accurate recollection, it is a disgusting tale of incompetence by by the hospital and staff at perhaps the best known hospital in Australia, the Sydney Royal North Shore Hospital.

I have a bit of faith in our medical system and those who work in it. But this blogger's account of her husband's death is disturbing, to say the least. You can get the bare essence of it here, and for a more detailed version see here.

I doubt it is what she wants, that is some accountability, but I suspect what she will get is a very large cheque.

I Am A Damn April Fool

I was caught quite twice today by the radio. One matter I cared little for, that all female competitors in Beijing's Olympic Games will compete at the end of the games, not throughout the games. I just thought, there will be protests and left it at that. Delete. (misogynistic pig that I am)

The other, a supposed leak from the Eddington Report, to make the centre lanes of St Kilda Road into a bike and tram lane only and ban cars, limiting them to only to the service road. As the morning went on, I was thinking of the impact of this. There were some pretty outraged motorists making their points. An alert person called the story into question, game over. I would really like to see St Kilda Road reinvented, but someone will lose. As I walk it, drive it, and tram and bus it, I don't want to lose anything. It would have to have a very good bike lane before I would bike it. I did a bike count recently. Average of twelve bicycles per set of lights at the corner of Toorak and St Kilda Roads. Impressive. They deserve better.

How about you? Did you caught by anything? Did you pick up on mine? You are quite entitled to use some very nasty adjectives about me. It seems only one person did. Perhaps the ones that said nothing did too.

I like the one I wrote last year better. I did not let on for a few days. Daniel got me big time in 2004. Three years later, I got him. Revenge is a dish best served cold. No one took that much notice anyway last year. I thought the incest bit would give it away, not that there is anything wrong with incest. (please lord, let no one misinterpret this. Surely everyone knows it is an attempt at mild humour)

Last year's was much less personal. This year's was just too cruel, but thank you for your tea and sympathy (of course St Kilda has broadband, you think I am stupid? ADSL, Telstra cable, Optus cable, although Optus won't do flat cable, unless that has changed) (and duh, haven't you been reading? I know Balaclava and St Kilda like the back of my hand and could write a thesis on them) . Well done this year Walker, and Ben's comment just came through. For you in the US, it was a bit unfair on you because of the date thing. Sorry Daisy Jo. Can I make it up with a big pash from afar. Now everyone, no going in and deleting your comments. I will want to remember your niceness. Besides, I have the comments emailed to me.

And just to make sure, let me assure you, I would go without the cost of internet to live here and perhaps food too.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

C'mon Herald Sun

The caption read "Revealing...Singer Kylie Minogue makes an appearance on NBC's Toda

Not much of a revelation really. I saved the picture and it was full size. It showed as this picture in both Firefox and IE.

I would put my money on one of those nasty active advertising intrusions.

Sloppy work.

The Mitford Lasses, again

I thought for a moment that this newspaper article might be about that Ecclestone toad who is attempting to blackmail Victoria into running a night time Formula One Grand Prix. I am pleased it isn't as people might start thinking he is at all interesting. I just had to click on the article and check.

Formula One Boss in Nazi Prostitute Ring

The article would be just another one that I would glance at, except Max Mosley is the son of the late Sir Oswald Mosley, a one time leader of British Union of Fascists. But what really interested me, and I just had to check that I am correct, Max Mosley is also the son of Diana Mitford. She married Oswald Mosley in Joseph Goebbels drawing room in Berlin in 1936 and was interred during part of the war in London's Holloway prison. Her first husband was Bryan Guiness, of the beer brewing company.

Lady Mosley died in Paris in 2003. Ah, those Mitford sisters. While only one survives, the Duchess of Devonshire, these fascinating sisters will be remembered for a long long time.

End of Highrise

Do not fret dear readers, it is not the end of the Highriser blog, just that enough is enough. For dire financial reasons, such as us living beyond our means, the highrise has been sold. We got an ok price. We are sick of going without to pay for this place. We are now seriously cashed up. Today is moving day and for once I can afford to buy a full tank of petrol.

We are moving to our one bedroom flat in East St Kilda and I will have to replace the view pic on my blog header for our view out the windows of our flat, a timber paling fence sitting on a concrete wall with some nice cream fifties flat bricks above the fence. 18 squares down to 5. Some culling of possessions will be required and perhaps the culling of a partner too. It is only one bedroom.

Looks like I will end my days in a squalid little flat.

Worse still, we seem to be able to only have dial up internet at our flat/new home. I am not sure how I will be able to blog as I am used to. Waiting for stuffs to load for ages. I am not sure I can cope. While I assured you readers that the blog will stay, it may become a brief text only blog.

I should try to be positive about how sad our situation has become. We will meet some new people at the flat block I suppose. Some nice and happy and friendly smiling Russian Jewish peoples.

Blogging will resume once phone is connected and that funny old box makes all those weird sounds and connects me to you all via a telephone line. So quaint. I would laugh if I wasn't crying.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Good Friday @ RBG

So, so busy. I am barely keeping up with my favourite bloggers. I put reading them before posting my own stuffs. If I haven't commented on your blog, it is because I could not think of anything in .05 seconds. I must be spreading myself to thinly, but there is not really anything I can cull.

Good Friday is a boring day in Australia. Shops are shut. No one organises much. I thought I was working and so had nothing planned. We ended up visiting the brother friends in the afternoon and helping them with their pornography machine computer. In the morning, we took a walk in Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens.

I feel this first picture that I took as we left home gives me full justification to smack anyone in the mouth who says, don't worry about the grass in our water starved times, it will come back. Captions are above. Click the pics for a bigger picture.

This is the Royal Botanic Gardens Lily Pond. We sat on a donated bench seat and watched the birds for a while. I could have just stayed there as it was so beautiful.
A flower bed. I thought everywhere had got ridden of them all. I could not believe how beautiful it would be to see lush green grass. I should have gone to the Grand Prix where they watered grass from the very depleted Albert Park Lake. Note Eureka Tower in background.
Someone's partner nearest the camera. RBG have watering exemptions and have replaced cool season grasses with warm climate grasses. Duh! About this point, Highriser sunglasses fell out of pocket, unnoticed. Note Eureka tower between the trees.
I always thought Pampas Grass was a pest. But here it is in its splendid glory. Note how low the water level in the lake is. The lake is part of the old course of the Yarra River. Gubbas liked to engineer some straight lines.
The birds seem quite happy with a depleted lake. Not sure that the eels feel the same.
We exited at the Observatory Gate and walked not too far from the Shrine of Remembrance. I can't help but think of all those cute boy soldiers and all their wasted seed that should have procreated. We really ought to be a smarter than go to war with anyone. City of Melbourne has installed some drip irrigation lines for trees in this area of parkland. What we saw was lines of green grass on the high side of trees. At least they are doing something more than City of Port Phillip. Note Eureka Tower in pic. I love Eureka Tower. It can be seen from here, from the west, from the north, south and east. It is a bit like the Sydney Harbour Bridge or the Opera House. You get glimpses of them in inner Sydney, and a view of the Eureka is never far away in inner Melbourne.