Saturday, December 06, 2008

Brother's computer

I saw my brother last weekend. I asked how his computer was going with the dangly internet broadbandy connection thingy was going. He said it was slow, but ok. Given he had dial up, perhaps not so different. I checked the map of his area for coverage of wireless broadband and he is on the very edge of coverage.

He seems happy enough with it. He only does email really. I gently suggested that for a desktop, adsl might have been better. You can still use your phone and will be much much faster.

Wiser older brother was put back in his place. I quote, "I don't need it, and this costs me $10 per month, whereas adsl would cost me $40 a month". He has matched his need to what he sees as the best deal.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Loop not looping

Am I ignorant or have things changed?

I caught the tram to Balaclava and picked up a couple of things and ordered a shiny new machine, no not a bicycle. I caught the train to Richmond and stepped off to change to a train to Parliament Station. Hmmm, indicator board is not showing any trains going direct to Parliament. Odd!

Check for next train to Flinders Street and change platforms. Is it just a Flinders Street train or will it go all the way around the loop? I checked the display board at Flinders Street and it indicated that it was. I needed to go to Brunswick Street, and so could have gotten off and walked to the Collins Street tram, but it was a warm day. Better to stay on the nice cool train. The rest of the outing was uneventful.

Now I recall when we used to live in East Malvern and caught the train from Darling Station, the Glen Waverley trains used to change directions in the Loop. Maybe they still do. Whether they still do or not is not really the point, but is my memory defective? Didn't some trains run one way on the loop and some the other, so that you could change trains at Richmond and go either way around the loop? Now in the afternoons onwards, all trains through Richmond go clockwise? I am sure there is a reason, but it is not very helpful to me.

I will just take this opportunity to forecast that Yarra Trams will retain the franchise to run Melbourne's trams, but the train company Connex is a publicly poison name to the state government. Maybe Connex hasn't done a great job, but most of the blame must surely be sheeted home to the state government. Connex can operate with what they are given.

Interesting to hear on the news that Connex are reluctant to pay an end of year bonus to their staff. Well, why would they if they won't be around. Matters little really, a new company will arrive with razzamatazz, but your train will still either be cancelled or late and certainly overcrowded. It will take a long time before the trains can be sorted out and a lot of political will. Perhaps a glance at what Nifty Nev did in NSW in the early eighties might be helpful.

iiNet

iiNet is a smallish and quite innovative company, I am led to believe. This story of outrageousness should have been in the news section of the newspaper, rather than tucked away in business.

iiNet has taken on the task of testing the government's ridiculous internet filter, to prove that it won't work well and will slow the internet. Big tech companies like Telstra and Optus won't take the task on.

Now you naughty people downloading movies and tv shows illegally, have caused a specifically set up organisation called Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft to take you on. Who is your isp? Telstra? Optus? Netspace? A big one? You can sleep soundly. This organisation is taking on the smaller iiNet, alleging that they are not taking any action to enforce their own policies about illegal downloads.

No messing about with the barristers that Telstra and Singtel have at their fingertips. Take on a minnow.

Poor Ben

This is a very local post. But poor Ben, Ben Cousins that is. Dearest blogger of the past, the lovely Rosanna said about him the last time I mentioned him, that he is so gorgeous, that she could just eat him up. Nice way of expressing it really. I could make a meal of him for sure. He is a hot guy.

For one moment, I will stick my old cynical persona on the shelf and believe.

The lad, footy player Ben, used to like to indulge in some mood altering substances. Who am I to criticise?

No football team will pick him up to play.......well, he is 30, and not exactly at his prime.

He has gone through drug rehab and has come out now as a clean and yet commercial interests dominate. Advertisers think he is risky. Not prepared to support a footy team who takes him on.

This is a massive rejection for someone who has worked hard to kick his vices. If he goes back to drug use, or even worse is not inconceivable, point the finger firmly at the AFL and the football teams' management.

But what may keep him going is he has been making a a doco for tv on his rehab that will rate its socks off.

Late rumour. He may be signed up by Richmond.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Mayor Doyle

As you can see below I did start to write about our new City of Melbourne Mayor soon after the result was clear. Now I just conclude that because he wants to re-open Swanston Street and cannot because it is not the wish of his fellow councillors, and get rid of the marvellous new tram super stops, that actually improve traffic flow, he is simply a tosser.

Melbourne's new Lord Mayor, Robert Doyle wants to ban untalented buskers in the city. There are a couple, but they are like a bit needy types. Let it be Robert, let it be. I think they are already heavily controlled anyway and have to audition at least to get a permit.

He also wants to open Swanston Street to motor cars. This is very contentious and the knee jerk reaction is no, no, no.

But let us have a close look at Melbourne's premium street, Swanston Street.

At the moment, it probably works well for pedestrians, for aggressive taxi drivers, delivery vans and horses and carts.

It certainly does not work well for cyclists and our very important form of public transport, trams. Theoretically, cars should not be in Swanston Street until 7pm, but that is not policed. After 7pm, cars cause havoc to tram schedules, especially towards the end of the week.

As a through passage for traffic, I cannot see a sound argument. Traffic when reaching Flinders Street either turns left or right, and they don't seem to re-enter Swanston Street when they are allowed to.

And the winner is.......


Andy wins the prize for a new logo for the merged BA and Qantas. Not only was his the best entry, it was the only one. So much for cartoonists who read my blog. Must admit, Andy's logo is pretty funny. The new airline Bantas will need to contact Andy if they wish to use it.

Now the prize.......ah, not much around the highrise to give away. Perhaps I can do for Andy what he is always nagging his girlfriend for. Give it a good scrub first pls.

Tim Holding

I watch Timmy with interest as he seems to be the only snoggable member of our state parliament, if you look at the members from a gay perspective. At least he has a vague idea of how to do something with his hair. Googling him brought up precious little, except that he is very devoted to politics. Do I hear the word subjugate? Is my fetish for Timmy recent?

A search won't bring up my first picture post of him, but I see one I wrote one early this year. Ah, just came across, Raelene, Where the Wild Thoughts Are, back in 2004? I can't remember what you wrote, but I sounded complimentary.

Back to Timmy. In my search, I came across this story from the papers, back in 2005. To save you the tedious read, here is a snip.

In interviews, Holding seems every bit the professional politician: intense, polished, articulate, guarded. Ask him about his working life, and his answers are sharp, peppered with references to Labor Party values and the passion he holds for his job. Personal questions are met with a stiff awkwardness.

"I take the view that in public life, people aren't interested in your private life. I've tried to avoid getting out there and telling the Tim Holding story because I don't think people are really that interested. I think they're interested in the substance: what are you going to do and why," he says.

Actually Tim, I am interested but you hold your cards very close to your chest.

I have heard no rumours, not a whisper, so I reckon Tim is not gay, just married to the job. Believe me?




Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Qantas and BA to merge?


I have a vision of the Union Jack tied to the tail of the flying kangaroo, but any combination of the UJ and FK would be amusing to me, if anyone feels so inclined.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Another One Down

Today's politicians are quite different to yesteryears. In most ways they were the same, but in some ways they were quite different. So I lament the passing of a neighbour, Frank Crean.

I used to see him on a tram in St Kilda Road often and exchanged greetings with him once or twice. Gentleman is a word not favoured in today's times, but he truly was.

Pig in the Trough

I have seen it all before. A married guy decides he is gay at a late age and comes out with a vengeance and turns into a drug taking, sex pig, party animal. It shouldn't be a great revelation to him that he is gay, as he has been playing around with guys behind his wife's back for years.

Ok, our ABC's Peter Lloyd may not fit into this category, but on the face of it............

He was treated quite leniently by Singapore's justice system. He knew not to make a fuss and made sure no one else did either. He played the game well once he was caught. Lucky and perhaps smart man.

Am I being too harsh? I do concede that post traumatic stress could have led to some silly decisions.

As he is unavailable to work, our ABC has terminated his employment. This was way too premature. Obviously ABC thought it was a good corporate decision (I hate it when government institutions make good corporate decisions).

You, ABC, are disgraceful for publicly terminating him in such a way. If there was a request for a statement, you could have just said, we will consider our options when he is released.

Of course this is all complicated by whether he is staff or contract. I would guess staff, but we never know nowadays who is staff, stringer or contract at our ABC.

Target 155

Our state government has suggested that we limit ourselves to 155 litres of water per day per person. We come in under that, just, but then we don't have a garden to water. I felt guilty when I read Daniel's post, but then it is not really apples and oranges. We are two people here all the time.

Our consumption is around 295 litres per day, so that is 148 litres per day each.

The dishwasher is used almost daily but it uses very little water, far less than any other model we have had. It is nearly always full, but if not, I will put in perhaps some glasses from the auto trolley that are getting dusty or bits of the range hood.

Our washing machine is a top loading model, three years old, so not good to change for water saving reasons if other environmental matters are taken into account. Perhaps six loads of washing a week.

R showers twice a day, I would average 1.5 times a day over a week. They are rarely long showers, usually less than three minutes. We have tried water saving shower heads of many varieties and hate them. We have tried flow restrictors and hate them also.

Where we really go wrong is no fault of ours. Ten litres of run off before hot water arrives at the tap.

We don't use hot water for handwashing. It is such a waste of water and time waiting.

But say four showers, twice hot water at the sink is sixty litres, or thirty each. Make it forty as we might once a day each want hot water at the bathroom basin. Subtract that from 147 litres and we are down to 107. With water saving showerheads, we could perhaps knock it down to one hundred, but I ain't doing that.

I grew up in the country where we often lacked water and bathed in a couple of inches of muddy water and you would have a complimentary tadpole in your glass of water. I didn't expect to almost live in the city proper of Melbourne in 2008 but if I had imagined it, I am sure I would have expected plentiful water.

Interest Rates

The bank housing loan interest rate has dropped again. We have had nine mortgages in our time and we were in there up to our necks when the rate reached over 17% (it wasn't quite as bad as it sounds, different times).

Never once have we ever fixed the rate. From what have observed, each time, we would have lost as against the variable rate. Occasionally I have been asked my thoughts on the matter, and I always opine either no, or no longer than one year. While economics might be a bit like astrology, the banks employ some pretty smart people and the banks are there to make money. If they are offering a cheaper fixed rate term, then they have some good knowledge of where things are headed. This of course takes no account of the security of mind that a fixed rate offers.

But, we are about to be paying the lowest interest rate that we have ever paid and that is a good feeling. And, for once in my life, I don't have credit card debt, although with a new car pending and murmurs in the highrise about new furniture, that won't last long. Fortunately, mentions of overseas holidays have not been heard for a bit over a week.

Our computer is now five years old and I will say it has been excellent, but it does feel tired at times While I back everything up all the time, at five years old, it could just fail and we would be sure to lose some stuff, so our christmas present to each other will be a new one. Cost about $800.

Monday, December 01, 2008

What's in a name

As mentioned once or twice before, sometimes at work non first language English speakers ask me questions about English. I always try to help and explain as best I can, but often I am forced to just tell them, that is how it is. There is no reason why it is like that.

One recently asked me why Warragul and Warrigal are differently spelt. Here are a few more that come to my mind.

Warragul and Warrigal

Armadale and Armidale

Surry Hills and Surrey Hills

Waverly and Waverley

Any more to add?

A responsive local council

Sometimes you have little wins. So don't just whinge, complain directly and point out solutions. I don't have any answers to the big picture things perhaps, but I do sometimes have answers to smaller matters.

Most of my complaints about City of Port Phillip are directed at the council. I have had quite a few dealings with staff and I would go so far as to say that they bend over backwards to oblige within the limitations of what is imposed upon them.

I was seeking a similar treatment to Bowen Crescent as has been done by City of Melbourne at Dorcas and Coventry Streets in South Melbourne at St Kilda Road. The treatment does not hinder cars but defines where they should be on the road and gives pedestrians a refuge in the middle.

At the other end of Bowen Crescent, it is just a matter of putting in better line marking. This should have been done the last time the intersection was attended to.

Bowen Crescent, Melbourne. Traffic Management

Bowen Crescent, Melbourne. Traffic Management

Thank you for your email of 30 August 2008 expressing your concerns on the crossing of Bowen Crescent by pedestrians and vehicular access into Bowen Crescent from Kings Way. I would like to apologise for the delay in responding to your concerns. Please be advised that these matters have been investigated.

The City of Port Phillip has a strong focus on the safety for the more vulnerable road users within our municipality such as pedestrians and cyclists. Council has funded several projects to improve the safety in these areas. Please be advised that your proposal to narrow Bowen Crescent at St Kilda Road will be added to a list of pedestrian safety projects which will be considered for funding in future minor capital works programs.

The concern you have raised about the intersection of Bowen Crescent and Kings Way will be addressed by the provision of line marking and painted chevron road marking to provide improved delineation for those vehicles both entering and leaving the intersection. Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.

If you require any further information and clarification please contact myself, on


You have voted

Well, a new Lord Mayor for Melbourne by the name of Robert Doyle. More on him in following days.

I can't believe what has happened in my town, City of Port Phillip. The results are not official yet, however, it seems that there is only two sitting councillors left, ex mayor Janet Bolitho in the ward of Sandridge, that is the Port Melbourne area and Judith Kleppner in the uncontested ward of Albert Park.

Unchain St Kilda got a member up in the St Kilda area ward of Catani and another in Ormond who clobbered Mayor Janet Cribbes.

Junction ward got a Greens Party member up and defeated the way too high profile Dick Gross. Well done Mr John Middleton.

Btw, there was an error in a previous post. I am not in the new Junction ward. For some odd reason, most of St Kilda Road was put in the new ward, except for a small section which was kept in Emerald Hill. Also, remember one of the candidates I featured, Anna Griffiths. I have since found out that she is actor Rachel Griffith's mother. I like Rachel's politics.

In my own ward of Emerald Hill, my duplicitous member Peter Logan was knocked off by an ex City of South Melbourne mayor Frank O'Connor, who I don't know a lot about, although the owners corporation of the building has had some contact with him and he made some positive noises, but then don't they all. I suspect he might be a bit of a Tory and very pro business.

We live in interesting times.