Saturday, March 28, 2009

Bikies

I will concede that we may have needed some new laws to deal with terrorism. I would have thought there would be laws to address plotting against the state already in place though. Perhaps they just needed a tidy up.........a bit of a trim and shape. Speaking of, I must get some new blades for the razor used for the personal bits.

This killing of a bikie at Sydney Airport interests me muchly. I would call it a total failure on the part of NSW and Federal Police. A failure of Sydney Airport security systems. A failure of governments to protect people in a public area which should have the best security in the country.

Perhaps the authorities were just unlucky that the victim was not stabbed to death with a two inch nail file attached to nail clippers. They would have caught the alleged offenders well before the event.

I don't like motor bikes. They are dangerous machines. I am not keen on bikies either. They always look like they smell. I am sure there are perfectly nice and clean bikies, but as I don't know any, I am strongly influenced by the media.

I recall the days when the cops would pull over noisy cars, usually those with rusted out pong boxes (mufflers) and put them off the road. Often it might just have been a young bloke with a hotted up car with a loud exhaust. There wasn't any checking of decibel levels. If it sounded too loud, it was too loud and a canary (yellow slip of paper attached to windscreen putting the car off the road) would be slapped on the windscreen.

Car noise does not really penetrate the highrise. Loud cars but more so loud motorbikes certainly do. Why are they allowed to drive around on bikes with deafening exhaust systems?

Because the police won't expend resources policing them. The result is a lack of respect for some very basic motor vehicle laws. Attitudes are set. A general lack of respect for the laws that somehow glue us together as a society follows.

We don't need anti bikie laws. Unchalleneged, bikies constantly break laws every day and they are allowed to do it, almost with approval at times it seems.

I would suggest police use the laws they have already and if they are found to be lacking, only then perhaps some new laws should be considered.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Hungarian Virgin

Oh, that will bring the readers.

Here is the let down. I am a virgin to Hungarian food. Well I thought I was. I was only partly a virgin.

We had some take away Hungarian food with our dyke friend this week from a little discreet shop in Carlisle Street that I have passed many times and never noticed. Dyke friend mentioned it so we decided to give it a shot. I have wanted to try goulash for ages. I did not think I had ever had it. I had never had anything I knew to be goulash.

However, as soon as I tasted it, I knew I had eaten it before, no idea when or where. Quite nice really.

I am sure I am a virgin to Russian food, so I should try some borscht soon. Wait, I have had a blintz or whatever it is at Pancake Parlour. Does that count? Before I know it i will be eating frogs legs, crickets, witchety grubs and kangaroo.

Well, better go and see if Little Jo is bored with watching Tro Tro. I am quite getting into watching Tro Tro, the naughty scamp he is. Sister has gone to the footy and the Bone Doctor is returning to Melbourne for the weekend and will pick up Little Jo.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Surrounded by Queens

On my way to work, I turn into Queens Lane from the car park. I drive along Queens Road, and then along Queens Way. Roads fit for a queen.

They would be named after the present queen, not the common garden variety Victoria.

But there seems to be a new queenie Road, according to Grand Prix Corp or Vic Roads. An electronic sign alerts me that Queens Road Drive is closed. This is just before Lakeside Drive, which is closed. I thought it might apply to the very short section between Queens Road and where the road joins Lakeside Drive, and it may well. But it not on Vic Roads map. It is not on the electronic or paper Melways. It is not on Google Maps. It is not on any map I can find. Google search does not help. City of Port Phillip knows nothing.

So, if you can help, is there another queen in my life? Not sure I really want one.

Australian Grand Prix

Australian Grand Prix Melbourne Grand Prix Grand Prix Albert Park Lake Formula One

Well, they snuck that one in didn't they. The Grand Pricks started racing Wednesday, a day earlier than usual. I don't recall that being mentioned anywhere.

Before you say, well it was around before you moved here, yes, I am well aware of that. Does not stop me disliking it more each year. And, silly me, I thought that since the ALP was against staging the GP at Albert Park Lake, they would stop it when they came to power. Oh the naivety.

It will cost something around $50 million plus to we Victorian taxpayers and who would believe the figures of returns to the city via money spent. I hear you can easily get accommodation in Melbourne via the last minute holiday booking sites for this forthcoming weekend when the main events are run.

The event creates traffic chaos for weeks before when the setting up starts. There are four days of public transport disruption, although each year the PT resources are reduced as the demand for services reduces.

The swans on the lake seem to be reasonably untroubled by the event, but I would think other wildlife is strongly affected. I don't really know because it is impossible for me to visit the park, short of taking a pair of wire or bolt cutters.

For years local residents have lobbied our local council to improve access from the eastern side of Queens Road to Albert Park, by way of an overhead footbridge. Hasn't happened yet, but the GP organizers can have a temporary one erected overnight.

Reliable attendance figures are not available. Unlike any other major event, electronically coded tickets are not used. The Save Albert Park group do head counts at gates and their figures are always much lower than the official ones released, and that does not take into account thousands of free tickets given out. Second hand, I understand thousands of tickets have been offered to CFA volunteer fire fighters.

The Who, a group who should have stayed dissolved, are performing there on Sunday. They are desperate to get people to the GP. Fifteen minutes searching and I cannot find anywhere what time they are performing. They are not listed in the GP program. I am guessing after the main race on Sunday, which means fuss and bother until 10.00 pm and it is no longer all wrapped up at 5.00 pm.

The only reason high speed car racing could possibly of any interest to watch up close, is if there are crashes. I don't recall any spectacular ones in recent years at the event. Poor safety measures ensured one bloke on the sidelines was killed by a flying wheel though. Of course he did not die at the GP, because they would not declare him dead there, although it was obvious to all.

Funny, Parks Victoria is supposed to look after our parks. Bit of a joke in the case of Albert Park.

Even funnier, Sunday night is Earth Hour, when we are supposed to demonstrate our concern for our energy consumption and the health of the planet by turning off lights.

Bugger orf Bernie Ecclestone and take your tax payer ripping off event with you.

Its time has come to abruptly die.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Winner of the ugliest railway station in Melbourne

It received two nominations and it could be described as a minimalist railway station, that is, there is eff all there. I speak of Rockbank Railway Station.

Admittedly it is not part of our suburban system, but on the outskirts. Due to growth in the population of that area in the west, it has become a very busy station and certainly is ripe for a decent station befitting its passenger numbers.

From an interesting comment from Daniel, I spent a little time investigating Balaclava Railway Station. It was badly damaged by fire on the 9th of April, 1929 and repaired. It was again rebuilt in 1981 but without any reason that I can discover.

As you can see int the photo, Rockbank Station consists of shed on one platform and a old style bus shelter on the other. From Google Street View, it looks barren and desolate without decent paths to it.

I am used to decent railway stations, ok some a bit old and shabby or nasty newer ones. There is another that I laughed at when I saw it, somewhere between the city and Footscray I think. Not much more than a bus shelter.

Pic courtesy Wikipedia.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

QBH

QBH sounds like a drug, such as GBH. The club known as QBH has built a history of violence. Just how it is. No blame to club attributed. Right place at right time. Large dance venue near a casino sounds like a bad recipe.

Authorities bang on about alcohol fueled violence and distract us from drugs. I have seen what drugs do to folks. It sometimes is not pretty. But authorities find it much easier to worry about too much beer and alcohol. I know alcohol. Excessive consumption of it does not allow you stay up all night, flirting with chicks, chatting to mates, getting nasty, getting paranoid, fighting with intent. It may do some of the above at some point, but the more you have, the quicker you will pass out. Not so with drugs. You will do all of the above and then go onto another venue.

I have been to QBH at least once. I recall very little for no other reason than it was a long time ago, shortly after it opened. I think it was a quite good and stylish venue, with a raised area to look down on dancers. Always the spectator is me.

QBH wasn't always QBH. It used to be the Queen's Bridge Hotel. R worked in the area at the time, in the International Mail Centre in the now disappeared Maffra Street. Not sure what he did, but it was a bludge and he often got bored. I recall Australian Customs was involved in his work.

There was a gate between the Mail Centre and the Queens Bridge Hotel. It was used often in working time by many of the staff. They did not go there to buy some pills, just to have a drink or five. I think quite a few staff celebratory dinners were held there too.

Melbourne is full of little bars, secreted off narrow laneways, some on top of buildings, some don't even have security guards, yet the same ones with umpteen guards keep having trouble. The large ones.

I will educate my younger readers by telling them to search for Croxton Park, Matthew Flinders, Burvale, South Side Six. You older folk will know these places.

These large venue inner city places are the mid burb venues of old. The difference now being drugs, and a mix of ethnic heritage and that they are located in areas where people have political or money influence. I am astonished how little trouble happens at these new venues, and when it does, it is filmed in bright technicolour.

Comment out of the blue #92

An interesting comment has appeared on my post regarding Snowden Gardens.

The Party

Food was good, service was good and a good time was had by all going by the thank you calls, sms and emails we have received.

The guests were the Brother Friends, Ex NT Policeman and his Fijian Indian b/f and his b/f, the Mountain Women, the Dyke Friends, Dame M's Boarder, Sister, Mother, Little Jo, Sis in Law, younger niece and her b/f, Tradie Brother, one of R's workmates and her husband, ABI Brother, Brighton Antique Dealer and her Gay Boyfriend........missed someone I supposed, 26 in total. Two late cancellations, the Ambo Dyke friend and a friend who goes way back and we haven't seen for many years but talk on the phone occasionally. Older niece and her b/f could not come either.

No expense spared with the gifts, except perhaps for Sister's. I bought R a new watch. Not a great big rock to try to sit on his wrist, but a smallish and quite stylish one in black and silver. I can tell he likes it.

I flirted with a waiter. I so rarely do this nowadays. His hair should have been black but it was red. Suited him. He was wearing a low cut tee and had a very nice smooth chest. I told him after climbing up and down the stairs all afternoon, he would have very strong leg muscles. I added that since he clearly worked out, they were probably quite strong already. He was useful for catching babies later.

Mother brought her sandwiches and ate them unabashed.

Cake by R's workmate was fantastic, a mousse cake, made with expensive chocolate.

ABI Brother paid far more than he needed to for parking by trying to be cheap. He should have just paid for an all day ticket. He caused us much botheration.

Air con was on, as it was warm, but also an open window and a nice view of Acland Street below.

In spite of me firmly stating that people could pay for their own drinks if they weren't happy with the supplied champers, I relented and individually indicated to people who needed something else to just put it on the tab. The breaking point was coffee at something like three dollars a cup. Multiply that by the numbers of guests.

It ended up costing $800, which included a decent tip for the five waiters, who were very good.

But of course nothing ever goes smoothly. Who would have the last hurrah? The youngest or the oldest. Both.

Mother detained Sister with her usual chatter at the top of the stairs while Little Jo was on the stair below Sister. Little Jo lost her balance and tumbling down the stairs she went, caught halfway by hot waiter. I just knew he would be kind to kiddies and animals. Little Jo cried, but not for long. Sister blamed Mother for detaining her. Sister with glowering looks bolted off to be with the Bone Doctor in mid Victoria. Bone Doctor called R later to wish him a happy birthday and reported only a couple of bruises on Little Jo's back and a very minor cut on her lip.

Sister gets so exasperated with Mother. The rest of us pretty well let it wash over us. Sister is a controller type person, but then so am I. But I know there is no point with Mother. Both of them are upset by the event, but they will be fine in a few days.

Tip, reverse into car park when collecting helium balloons to transport, coz you won't be able to see over your shoulder to reverse out.

Below are a couple of the 3d features within the restaurant. Ownership is changing and the place will probably be renovated, so the features may well disappear. The lower photo is a metal silhouette of Kuala Lumpa's skyline.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Squaring off a round wheel

The new car has an absurd gear pattern that I just cannot get used to. Admittedly I don't drive it a lot. A friend who also owns a Mazda 3 tells me that nearly all new cars are similar.

Talk about re-inventing the wheel. What was wrong with gears all in a line. How simple. And really, if you want to change gears all time, then buy a manual.

Park, reverse and neutral are fairly standard, but I would rather just a button to press to move the stick than moving in a gate. Normal drive is straight on from neutral, but then it gets really weird. Move it across to manual drive and the car won't change up a gear unless you pull the stick towards you and it will change to the next gear up. To change down, you push the stick forward..........or is it the other way around. It did not seem very instinctive to me and did the opposite of what I thought it should.

I got into all sorts of bother with it when we were driving in the Dandenongs recently. I did not want it to use overdrive, so I kept it in 3rd, but on a tight corner it changed down to 2nd and then of course I had to change it back to third. R firmly suggested with some bad words that I just leave it alone and use normal auto, but I don't like these things to get the better of me.

Our car parking spaces are up about five ramps and I like to keep it in 1st so the wretched thing is not changing up and down, and when leaving, I don't have to brake as I descend, just let the engine hold the car back. That is not so difficult, I suppose. But I am also in the habit of putting my seatbelt on or taking it off while waiting for the car park gate to open. You soon get out of that habit as a loud squawk starts happening if you try to drive without the belt on.

Another thing it does that took me by surprise and is quite usefeul, is that it changed down to 3rd when I was braking while descending a long hill, Burnley Tunnel actually, thereby giving some engine braking. The first time I thought I imagined it, but it has happened more than once. I don't know if it is angle of the car, or brake pressure, or the length of time the brake is applied.

The old Hyundai has a neat little electric button on the shift to turn off the overdrive and give some engine braking. I prefer that really.

Mutant, how about unravelling the mysteries of the modern motor car for me?

Viewing London

From two different people's blogs in the last twenty four hours I have learnt that Google Maps finally has filmed and put up London. What fun looking around areas where we hung out. A street we were often in, Praed Street in Paddington is a major bus route and there are some photos to grab of articulated London buses before they disappear. In fact there are rather a lot of big red buses blocking rather a lot of the view.

Newcastle in the north has been done. Oh look, there is For Sale sign in front of one of R's sister's place. We did know it was up for sale, but it would be interesting news if we hadn't.

Alas Blackpool and Fleetwood has not yet been done so we cannot stalk Brian, so to speak.

From one blog mate, some images have had to be removed, such as man throwing up outside an East End pub, a man leaving a Soho sex shop and someone being arrested by the boys in blue. The face blurring system is not 100% reliable. Naturally there are many complaints rolling in.