Saturday, February 28, 2009

Bad Highriser

Oh how I miss Sydney trams. Ok, they had stopped running in 1961 before I was aware of anything. Well, I feel a nostalgic pang about them. It was such an extensive system, and a fast system too, why would you want a car? Like everywhere, people did want cars. The system was shut down and now buses have replaced them and the buses sit stuck among the many motor cars.

Sydney has a pretty great tram museum though. Unlike Melbourne, there is only one. Unlike Melbourne, it is easy to get to on public transport. Unlike Melbourne, it has plenty of space and is in a nice environment.

There was a special event last weekend, and I saw something that concerned me muchly. Not because it was particularly dangerous, but it looked dangerous and museums, especially big ones and mobile ones like this operate under close scrutiny by government safety orgs. They have to be seen to be safe.

What I saw was a Youtube video. I publicly suggested in a forum about the safety matter that was quite clear in the video. In retrospect I should have done it privately.

But overnight the video was pulled from Youtube and a new one uploaded and surprise surprise the new one did not breach any area of safety. I don't want to cause trouble for museums, and so I just humbly apologized for my bad hearing and clearly I had made a mistake. Ok, I knew I had not, but no matter. Subsequently I have received two emails from people who were there and they tell me the original video was correct. The second one was doctored.

By putting it here with a couple of salient words contained in the text, this may well be found by a dilligent searcher.

It is something I doing because I don't like to look foolish in the eyes of a couple of people whos' respect I would hope for.

To do it publicly was a poor choice on my part. To point it out to the relevant people would have been better. I was wrong to do it publicly, but I know what I saw and heard.

At this point, shake your head and say what was that all about and find something more interesting to read.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Apartment

I am working on a mega post that I want to be historically accurate and interesting, but I have been diverted by finding an association with a Lady and a W B Griffin designed housing estate and they are all connected. What was to be a simple book review exploded. It will take time.

Fortunately I have a couple of photos up my sleeve. This building is at the corner of Alma and St Kilda Roads in St Kilda. It just has to be a case of VCAT strikes again. Surely my City of Port Phillip would not approve of it? It dwarfs every building around it, even the church spire.

Utter disgrace and nasty blot on the area. In England, they seem to mangage higher density living with a bit of style and blending into surrounds. Not so here. We put humungous warts on interesting and electic artwork.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Reccommended Reading #71

Local people will have heard of Murrindindi now after the fires. I had not really before the fires. LiD had a professional photographer with her when she took a look see at the area.

Actually, they were taken over a period, very noticeable by green grass. Take a look. Pretty spesh.

Reading and the Holocaust

I finished quite a good read recently. It was not a book I would have chosen to buy, but a christmas present from Mother, although Sister chose it.

It was a fairly complex book and it jumped from present time to history at various ages as it told the story. What I did pick up, and I think it is historically pretty well on the money, is that there has been a very long history of persecution of Jewish people by Catholics. All history now though isn't it?

Not quite, not quite yet when you have a jerk like Bishop Richard Williamson deny the number of victims who died during WW2 at the hands of the Nazis. He does not even think that the gas chambers existed. What does he think the buildings were for? Basketball?

To the Church of Rome's credit, he was excommunicated for his views. We would think that would be the end of the matter, him no longer having any official status. But no, the present pope has reinstated him. I take that as the pope having some sympathy with his views or at least considering the matter is no big deal. The wedge has just slipped slightly into the crack.

He would be prosecuted for his views in Germany and Argentina has just kicked him out of their country.

Come to Australia buddy. Our governments could do with something to distract the moaning masses.

The book was called People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Last Tear

Just when I think I have absolutely no more emotion to express about the bush fire victims and survivors, I find I have more.

Just two little things set me off, one was a letter in the newspaper from some young people at an indigenous school in West Australia. They expressed their empathy deeply for the victims and survivors of our fires, both human and animal and wrote the letter to our Victorian newspaper to tell us. What sweet kids.

Papua New Guinea is a small island to our north, which has been controlled by Germany, England, almost Japan and us and is now supposedly independent, even though we prop it up with our dollars. It is a corrupt and very poor country. Yet the locals in a highland tribal village (obviously one with electric and tv) managed to raise a whole $6,000 to contribute to bush fire survivors. I heard some of the money was raised by car washing. What? They have cars there? I reckon each of these dollars is worth about one thousand dollars of our money.

With no one to discuss the fires with much, ok I did not seek them out, and R and I weren't exactly bosom buddies for the week after the fires for unrelated reasons (put it down to me who worked in 46 deg heat and may have been a bit snappy), I have very much struggled to accept how this disaster happened. People sitting in their houses, watching tv and trying to stay cool with the blinds all drawn caught unaware with no warning. People who had meticulously and expensively prepared their property for a bushfire event, totally failed and died.

There, I think I have ridded myself of some pain.

Oops a daisy

Several weeks I was absentmindedly looking out a window of the highrise. 'What is that?' I asked R. Next to Pran Central, I prefer its old name Moore's, something large and red had appeared. We worked out it was probably the new monstrosity being built in Commercial Road.

God, if ever the wrong building went into the wrong location, it is this one. It turns a street with a nice open feel into a canyon. The street is dominating by Pran Central, a beautiful old building, surround by and leading along the street by mostly two storey Victorian buidlings, with a few aberations along the way. Not quite opposite the historic Prahran Market sits this building under construction that absolutely dominates the street and a very unattractive manner. Should I blame City of Stonnington or the widely despised VCAT?

The red that we noticed was a plastic or fabric wrapping around it. On the outside of the wrapping was scaffolding. Yesterday the scaffolding fell down, taking a few workers down with it. It seems none were injured badly. The scaffolding brought down power lines, tramway overhead wires, landed on several cars and generally caused mayhem.

A cctv camera caught the fall and a cyclist had a narrow escape having ridden past only a couple of seconds before. The incident caused Commercial Road to be closed for over twenty four hours, meaning traffic and tram and bus chaos, in others streets too where traffic was forced to by the closure. No doubt businesses lost revenue too.

I will suggest that this is the first of a lot of bad luck for the very inappropriate building at 160-162 Commercial Road, Prahran.

Pic courtesy Herald Sun.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Future

I believe in climate change caused by we humans. I make my fair contribution to the problem. It has not rained in Melbourne for so long.

The simplest reason that I have heard is from our weather bureau who tell us that low pressure systems are slipping very much to the south of us in Victoria, Australia, and so we are not getting rain. Why they are slipping southward seems to be climate change.

I am not willing to go without my creature comforts to remedy the problem, but I am prepared to pay to remedy the problem so long as it is done on a fair basis.

From my observations, it has already become a case of the haves getting water because they can afford it and the poor going without.

The playing grounds of the religious Methodist school, Wesley College in St Kilda Road, are gorgeously green while your average government school playing field is a dry dust bowl. Where does Wesley's water come from? A recyling plant? A bore in the country? Thereby further lowering the water table. It matters not where their water comes from. They have taken it from somewhere. They haven't made new water and they can afford to buy in water.

While I just love gorgeous gardens in posh areas, the people of these houses just buy in water, either recycled or bore water to maintain them. Your poor pensioner cannot afford this for their poxy pseudo cottage garden consisting of a single daisy plant and some horrid perennials. Both gardens are very valid.

Depressing as it may be, the future will be the haves having water and electricity to burn and the have nots having little of either because they cannot afford it.

And this is happening under Labour governments, the party of the working people.

Pass me a knife. Do I cut vertically or horizontally?

A Secret Some Aren't Sharing

I reckon I am not the only one with this problem. While I have not devoted my full attention to the matter, I have tried a bit.

How do you post an active hyperlink in blogger/blogspot comments?

SOME people seem to be able to do it, but I cannot see how.

I think Cazzie is also puzzled by this, along with Mutant.

Anyone care to share? Not just for my benefit, but for others too. Or do you want to keep this your own little secret?

Monday, February 23, 2009

The search for a new phone

I want a slide phone but no one will give me one for free and allow me to stay on my mingy $20 a month phone plan. I can get an almost respectable one by switching to a $40 plan with a $35 call allowance. Would mean I could not use the excuse of cost of call to abruptly terminate calls.

Sod 'em all. I will buy my own.

$500 from phone companies? I don't think so.

Look online. Can buy one I like for $360. Wonder if it comes with an Australian warranty? The seller is in Australia, but who knows? Never needed to claim on a phone warranty anyway. Seems to good to be true. I credit someone's bank account with that amount and they will send me a phone. If it goes wrong, who to I contact?

Look at Ebay. Now what if I bid on the same phone from a reputable Ebay seller up to the amount of what I could buy it online for? Sounds like a plan? I am looking at buying Sony Ericsson W495 I think.

Nothing wrong with my old phone of course, but given I am an inner city chardonnay drinking latte sipping queen, I should have a new phone.

Life really is such a battle.

Truck and childhood memory #12

I suppose I was sixteen years old. My father was in the business of building spec (ulation) houses, that is building a house, and then selling it. One sucker bought early and specified in floor heating, that is concrete slab heating. He lived to regret it.

Father and Step Mother went to see Step Mother's mother near Griffith, New South Wales. Sixteen year old son was left at home to manage the business. Nothing to do really except transport some timber to a building site so that workers would have meaningful occupation. As it turned out, workers busily occupied themselves in the local pub while Father was away and got no work done.

But I did my bit. I guessed that there would be no police around at 5am to nab an underage unlicensed driver and the night before I had loaded the timber onto the truck.

Now the truck was old. Eventually it was left in a street, kind of dumped and the council towed it away and fined Father. Like any parking fine he received, he never paid it and got away with it.

To get the truck started required some some petrol being poured into the throat of the carburettor. I removed the air cleaner and used motor mower two stoke fuel. It chugged into life, and literally, it did chug. I did not look at neighbours windows to see if I had woken them from their slumbers.

I was slightly mechanically minded back then and I knew the truck would not look so bad on the road because I had made sure all the lights were working. Twisting a few wires together and wrapping them in insulation tape is not hard.

I can't recall why, but a chick of my age called Julie was in the truck one day and said, hey, the gear stick is like a mixmaster, as she rotated it in various directions. It was never the same since and just seemed to loose its connection with the gear box often, which required some skillful manipulation to get it back into place.

I was dreading a bit that the steering would lock up, as it was prone to do, usually when half way around a corner. My father normally did not swear, as I don't, but I recall an expletive coming from him once when the steering locked up while rounding a curved bridge.

I double de-clutched when I changed gears beautifully and not one gnashing of gear teeth was heard.

There is something about driving a truck that makes you feel quite invincible and you feel that your vehicle is very strong and reliable.

The steering did not lock and the gear stick did not come out. It must have been the gentle boy touch. Timber delivered and unloaded. Job done. Well done me.

The weekend that was

Skip this one if you like. It is just a recount of my weekend. Nothing exciting, but it was quite a nice weekend.

7.00 Regain consciousness.

10.00 Depart for Brunswick Street coz R needs a haircut. Plan to do some shopping at QV and other places on the way home.

10.30 Have breakfast at Madame Sousas in Brunswick Street. I look for cheap on the menu. A nice $9 filled croissant sound ok. At the last minute I chicken out and go for the same as R, baked eggs. I missed that they were baked in a tomato based sauce, but the weren't too bad, $17 plus coffee equals $20 plus. Normally spend half that on a Saturday breakfast. In shock.



10.50 So many bargains at Thomas Gannet. Buy a red and green glass sculpture, a mat for coffee table and a fake plant for my bathroom.

11.00 Back to city by tram and go to Dick Smith to buy a gift for his work to give him for his significant forthcoming birthday. Snooty gay guy kind of helped us. Limit was $50. Found mp3 for $49, but it scanned at $28. Realise mistake while waiting for tram home.

11.30 Realise we are too loaded to buy and carry shopping home and that SOMEONE forgot the shopping list anyway.

12.30 Off in car to South Melbourne Safeway. Qucikly buy the week's shopping and hey look, grog shop nearby. Buy Saturday night whisky. Whisky is good but the after affects the next day are not. I got the measure right (Graeme Greene reference) and felt fresh the next morning.

13.30 R naps and I do stuffs on computer.

15.00 Set off to Brighton in the motor. Will we come back as gays if we go to Brighton? (The Royales reference) Traffic very heavy and slow. Should have taken the train (Wilderness Society reference by bloke in koala suit). Find free park place in side street. See Milk at Brighton Bay. Milk is a great film, a great history, if you are interested in US politics and/or gay rights. Doco on him on SBS this week, a repeat I think.

18.00 Head home via fish and chip shop in South Melbourne.

22.00 Whisky was bad idea. It was fun but I am so tired. I must sleep.

Sunday 7.00 Regain consciousness. Actually don't feel too bad. Good night's sleep. Use computer.

9.00 Washing and drying and hanging to dry under way. Added Spybot and Adaware to new computer, cleared temp files, defragged and sorted stuff out. Iron shirts. R arises.

10.30 Head to town to return mp3 player to DSE. Will sort out later. R gets narky when served out of turn. Vitsit Harvey Norman and Big W and no joy on mp3 player. Checked out hand held vacuum machines. Ours is defective. Buy bulk dishwasher powder at Big W.

12.30 Lunch is packed. We are ready to bash off to Lysterfield Lake to meet up with Mother and various rels when Mother cancels. Too hot. Sister frantically rearranges day to her place being the venue. Worked quite well. Mother was very apologetic for spoiling everyones's day.

13.30 Little Jo wakes up from sleep and is not not being very nice. The Bone Doctor takes her off to bed to relax and refocus. Little Jo reappears later, somewhat refreshed.

Cast is now me and R, Sister and Little Jo and the Bone Doctor, Mother, ABI brother, Tradie Bros and his g/f, Sis in Law and her daughter and her daughters b/f, Sis in Law's friend and her two teen daughters.

14.30 Panic for Sis in Law as person looking after her mother has her mother's hoist stuck with the battery flat and Sis in Law's mother is stuck swinging mid air. Call to other niece at work to go home and sort out. Person looking after Sis in Law's mother calls back to say she got the hoist going. Panic over and working niece is called to cancel need to go home.

15.00 Although in a grump like I have never seen her before, nude Little Jo amuses all by dropping some solid matter while standing and playing with a toy. No one is game to get camera out to record the event for republishing at her 21st birthday. She must learn soon to say 'poo' before the event and not after.

With all her toys she had to amuse her, Little Jo spent most of the afternoon trying to wear adult thongs.

16.00 Sis in Law group leave. Sister tells all to go home as they want to go to the beach. I say to Sister, go, I will tidy up and lock up and see everyone off. R goes with Sister, the Bone Doctor and Little Jo to beach.

16.20 See ABI Brother and Mother off. Tradie Brother makes a sculpture with Sister's garden furniture. See Tradie Brother and his g/f off. Noted Sis in Law and Tradie Brother's g/f did not speak. Not surprising. Last lot of dishes carried to kitchen with sunglasses on. Error. Crash through child proof gate to kitchen and sprawl onto kitchen floor. Only damage, cut and bruised finger.

17.00 Drive to Half Moon Bay where R, Sis in Law, Bone Doctor and Little Jo are frollicking in the sea and on the beach. My first visit to Half Moon Bay. Very nice. Note sunken HMAS Cerebus wreck. Roll up jeans and have paddle. Very refreshing. Little Jo amuses beach neighbours and embarrasses R by standing and calling out 'wee' and expels some bodily fluid. Discuss merits of letting toddlers run around naked.

19.00 Set off for home. Discuss merits of niece's newish and quite hot b/f. I thought he was early twenties. Turns out he is sixteen. Oh dear. Now I understand why he sat like a stunned mullet all afternoon with all this same sex attracted stuff and pooing babies happening around him. Not sure that offer to niece if she and him would like to stay overnight in our spare room if they were attending a concert or similar in town was appropriate. I did preface it with, if it is ok with your mother. Perhaps they can remain clothed and top and tail in the bed. I am sure that as they are both only sixteen, there will be no nonsense. Dismiss my own memories of myself at sixteen. They won't last anyway. He likes ACDC and Metallica, while she likes John Butler, whoever he is, and Bob Marley.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A long comment

Worth a blog post on its own merits. I suppose Anon did strike a defensive nerve.

A comment on a post was

Yes your just mean. Typical of a whole demographic of privledged selfish inner city types.

You have been lucky in life. I hope for your sake you never fall on hard times.

My reply

Mean I may be Anon, but it does not negate the point that Australia is a rich country and our taxes should pay for assistance for all social problems. Not that I have any spare cash, I do live in a property worth a considerable sum. When I am gone, half will go to young rels probably and the other to an animal charity. Animals don't whine and whinge and if they possibly can, will seek out their own shelter and food.

Yes, I am lucky, if you can call doing the same shit job for three decades to pay for the little I have.

I am lucky because I sacrificed to the max in the early eighties to buy a run down hovel in East Malvern. Doing the same job now, I could never afford a house in East Malvern, begging, borrowing and lying to get the money together, a whole $42,000, without knowing I could really repay the monies. This troubles me, as does the whole buying property thing for young people now.

To conclude, the government and our taxes should look after people and they ought not have to depend on charity. Charity for the poor is a terribly old fashioned view. Donations should be for the little extras in life, such as sports, opera and arty theatre.