Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Important Stuff

I mentioned Madonna to my Sydney friend once. He called a skanky old whore and he said he could not stand her. Sydney friend is young and stylish, so that must be the opinion of young gay men. Regardless, I like Madonna and much of her music and she has now developed excellent taste in men. Madonna's newest beau, Jesus Luz.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Bud

I was thinking I might write something about Bud Tingwell dying. Not much point now when everyone else has, so here are links to various blogmates' tributes. 'One of nature's gentlemen' is a term often bandied around, but it would seem like Bud was a person who really fitted the bill.

I will remember him best for his reading of various things, not particularly about his on screen work.

http://blog.televisionau.com/2009/05/charles-bud-tingwell.html

http://ourgreatsouthernland.blogspot.com/2009/05/vale-charles-bud-tingwell.html

http://blog.andyblume.com/?p=3000 Andy has a really nice photo.

http://some14me.blogspot.com/2009/05/charles-bud-tingwell-1917-2009.html

Funiculee Funicular

We don't have to send food parcels this time, but England needs our help. Don't send money but do join the Facebook support site.

I suspect this is a bit of a ploy to get some government funding to keep this contraption running and what a marvellous contraption it is too.

Just one English politician's expenses rort repaid would be nearly enough money to keep it functioning.

Facebook site is http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=75455827256

I give you the the marvellous water powered Leas Funicular Lift in Folkstone.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

The phone box lad

I was in Kew this evening. I spied a young Indian bloke, probably a student in a phone box. I could see the phone hand set in place. It was fairly dark by this time. He appeared to having a rest in the phone box.

Now this is the same sort of all purpose Telstra phone box, complete with a touch of graffiti, the lad was in. Is there not a better place to rest? I looked at his hands in case he had confused the purpose of a phone box, that is they are not for using your mobile phone in but there wasn't a mobile phone to his ear. Could be handsfree?


He looked to be a bit slumped in the phone box. Is he asleep? Is he dead? Will I go about my business and ignore the matter? Would it hurt to give him a nudge and say Orright mate? Maybe he will lash out at me for disturbing him? Maybe he has a knife?

Good citizen Andrew prevailed and as the chap slowly turned to see who was doing the bothering, the fumes of whisky washed over me. 'Ok mate', he slurred. I asked if he wanted me to call anyone for him and he said no and that he was just tired.

I wanted to ask him how he ended up sleeping standing up in a phone box and how he got so drunk, but I left him at that point.

It is not the first time I have come across one of these Indian student blokes very very drunk. Invariably they are harmless and not aggressive, but it does raise many whys?

Up a tree

Better try to move the youtube clip down the page with a picture. Now why did that happen? I guess because he is high quality.

There was something in the tree that I was trying to take a snap of, but missed due to a lack of spectacles. Quite like the photo, all the same.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Top of the Pops

I just keep on tellin' ya, if you want to know about Australia, read an American's blog. I was informed by Dina in one of her posts that a musical track from Slumdog Millionaire is at the top of Australia's Aria Charts. Indian pop music and western dance music seem to blend so well. Does it matter if you can't understand the lyrics?

Only once have I heard Indian pop music blaring from boom boxes in a motor car, and where else but in Chapel Street. It rather beats rap coming from cars. Only music to my taste should be loud.

R saw the movie Slumdog Millionare, I haven't. R hated it. He does not like depressing movies.

I really quite like Jai Ho by the Pussy Cat Dolls. Here 'tis.



Fires

The Royal Commission into this year's terrible bush fires is well underway. Already some are squirming under questioning.

There has been mention of fire sirens in affected towns. The siren used to be used to call the voluntary fire brigade to the station. Its role was largely taken over by a pager system. Of course when the siren used to blast, everyone in town knew that the brigade were being called to a fire.

I understand that generally on day of the worst fires, sirens were not used.

Now, if there is a large fire approaching a town, wouldn't it be a good idea to turn the siren on to a permanent wail? Will it cause panic? Probably. Will it saves some lives though? Probably, in my opinion. Should a siren be broadcast over electronic media? Why not? Should an alert go out via land line and mobile phones? Of course.

Why can't a siren be used to alert people to an emergency situation?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Ponds

R's workplace told him to stay home. Unlike me who takes sick leave if I can find any reason, R normally soldiers on. Not this time. Luckily it co-incided with the new lappie, so between sleeping and tv in bed, he plays on his lappie and improves his pad skills.

It was my day off and I felt guilty going out and leaving him alone, but my head was so full of computer stuff, I needed to get out.

Tram and train to Moonee Ponds was uneventful. Of course the train went the wrong way around the City Loop, as it always does. There are some stunning houses along the railway line and the trip was interesting enough.

I walked down Puckle Street noting that that hideous block of flats on the south side is looking shabbier than ever. Ah, Hungry Jacks. Last resort if I don't fancy anywhere else to eat. Lookie, a new shopping centre. Investigate on the way back. I did not need to cross the road to the route 59 tram stop, but I did, just for a look around the bus area and a road that seemed to have no cars and only the tram. Yeah, I remember, you can't turn right to get into this road, you must go straight ahead and turn right later.

I reckon it took something like between three and four minutes of waiting time to cross one two lane road. Had I wanted to cross the other side, it would probably be the same, so Lord Sedgwick of Strathmore was pretty well on the money. Absurd. 'Tis a very busy intersection though, with cars.

I worked out what I needed to about the tram. I think the single track is for when Footscray to Moonee Ponds trams are returning to Essendon depot. They cross the junction, shunt down the way a bit and then go back to the depot via the route 59. Correct me here if you know better.

A very attractive young man was eyeing me off (what a quaint expression). He came towards me. He had a heavy Western Euro accent, but no I don't have a spare dollar. You want money from me boyo, you have to get down on your knees and earn it.

I watched the tram arrive from Footscray and the driver pulled in the mirror and changed the destination to Footscray, so clearly the tram was not going to use the single track accross the junction. She then disappeared to do her woman's business or get coffee or whatever.

I walked back along Puckle Street. I wished R was with me. We would stop at one of the thousand cafes and have a nice bite to eat. Ah, bike shop. I remember going in there the last time we were here, just before I begged my Tradie Brother for my Sister's bike. Sadly the bike is seldom used.

Ok, this new shopping centre in behind the shops. All it really was was Target or something like that. I was terribly friendly to lass at the entrance, knowing full well I would be nasty to her when I left and she asked to check the bag I was carrying. It came to pass, but I said nothing, only glared and I have given in to the point that I don't just keep walking and ignoring such people. Shopping centre, boring and souless. To be fair, most of the new shops had not opened yet. The centre will probably ensure the survival of Puckle Street, although it seemed to be doing pretty well under its existing circumstances. One cafe in particular was very busy. The outdoor diners looked to be cast members of the tv show Underbelly.

A tiny cheese burger in Hungry Jacks. Only $2 something. Filled a hole. I was not intersted in a dining experience.

Back to town on the train. I used to pick carriages by closeness to platform exits. Now I choose them by who likely it will be to not be too crowded.

The train came in from an area that you would not call particularly priveledged?, but it was the two men who boarded along with me who caused the heads to turn around. I have noticed in the past that men who get on a train and walk the length of the carriages and then come back to where they boarded are trouble and that was what happened. He wasn't trouble in that he did not interfere with anyone but his behaviour made people feel uncomfortable. A mock fight with a mate and throwing newspapers around is bound to make heads turn.

An older very Australian women complimented a member of a family of four on her beautifully white teeth. Duh, all black people have lovely white teeth don't they? Older very Australian woman had been telling the person sitting opposite her about her neighbour being stabbed. While older Australian woman liked black people with very white teeth, she wasn't so keen on a letter box woman, suggesting that she had no peripheral vision. I was moved to raise my head from my paper, and it wasn't a letter box, it was just a tiny gap and the woman had to keep fiddling with the gap to read her mobile phone screen.

I alighted from the train at Southern Cross Station. Now where does the train to Sydney depart from? No indication obvious to me. I will check later.

Caught tram to Myer, looked in vain for new shirt for niece's deb ball, had coffee at The Wedge and home to groggy patient in bed. R has had a remarkable recovery and is playing on his new lappie nearby as I type.

The family that surfs together, stays together.

Back to Raelene. It does amuse me greatly that both Raelene and Tony sat on their new decking together while they communicated with the world via their respective laptops. Pretty close to what R and I are doing now.

Success with the lappie and the dongle

Raelene can sleep easily tonight. We are very impressed with Three. Good call girlfriend. It is lightning fast internet and seems stable. Amazing, the signal just comes through the air. It may well be a viable option for this machine and I will ditch Telstra. I will investigate.

The almost dead with a cold R picked up the laptop last night. It works fine, although we novices to laptops are really struggle with the pad thingie. Could anyone ever use a pad as quickly as a mouse, especially with one hand. I am sure our pad skills will improve, well perhaps not mine so much because I won't be using it much. But for a person with less than a steady hand like me, oh, it is hard.

I should have asked Computer Man to install Windows XP if possible. Instead we have Vista. Mr Gates, if it ain't broke, why reinvent it and make everything new and harder. Windows Mail??? Where is Windows Explorer? Everything is there, but just not where it used to be. As yet, it hasn't done anything that impresses me, just confused and slowed me.

Familiarity with a machine is quite helpful when you are talking to tech support in Bangalore.

And I did a good bit of talking to Bangalore today. I perspire very heavily when I have to talk to tech support.

The problem was Windows Mail, Outlook Express to you unmodern luddites. On the form from when we signed up, R's email address started with a capital R, the rest lower case. I have never seen a capital letter in an email address. Tech person said he had neither but insisted we used the name as on the form. The short version is that it makes no difference. Correct me here if you know better. I just wish one of the three tech support people had told me this.

We started off entering the Windows Mail details using a small r. It would not work and kept on bringing up a box repeated asking for user name and password. We tried using the capital R. Same. We deleted the mail account and did it again. No good. Rang tech support. Re-entered all the info again and then again. No good. Transferred to a higher department, same thing. Tried webmail. No good. Higher person said there was a problem. Yeah, I kind of knew this at the beginning. He suggested waiting a few hours and trying again. Of course a few hours later made no difference.

Call tech support again. Sympathetic Bangalorian bloke tranferred me to a higher person straight away and gave me a direct number for them in case I needed to call them again. Higher person told me to delete the mail account again, asked for error message number and once again we just re-entered what we had done about ten times by now. He was unfazed by the capital R business and said whichever you prefer, and then said no, use the capital R.

A miracle happened and it worked. Compliments to Three's help staff. They were very patient as I struggled with an unfamiliar machine and without a mouse. Of course it should have worked the first time, but hey, it is a computer and the internet.

I then emailed R using the capital R from the big kahuna and it worked. It also worked using the lower case r. I conclude it makes no difference.

The only problem now might be that 1gb is not enough. We have hardly done anything and it seems to be chewing through the allowance. There is a scrolling news headline thingie installed. Maybe I should shut that off for a start.

In conclusion, all good.

Btw, Computer Man put the evil Word on the machine but I think not the rest of the bloated Office.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Blackpool Sex

There is a chappie in the UK who's name is Chris Geary. His website is his name, like chrisgeary.co.uk His b/f is a Filipino who's name is Erick de Chavez. (Do take care with the Spanish Filipinos, they are not your usual subserviant Asian) They make a hot enough couple. We saw them once when we sitting in a pub in Sydney and they walked past. It was Mardi Gras time. I think it was pre blog time, but I did mention them here. Both Chris and Erick now hide their bits, but they did not always and they can be found on the net. In fact, I have them saved. Erick is a spray over his face sort of guy.

I sometimes have a look at what is the latest at Mr Geary's site and I came across a stripping video for free. It was filmed in Blackpool at the Flamingo bar.

We tried to go into Flamingo when we were in Blackpool there last year. Well, we did not know what sort of place it was, except it was a gay venue we came across. It seemed unfriendly. I have now looked at Flamingo website and it does not open until 11pm. Way too late for old geezers who were hanging around at 8pm and looking very lost. We had a nice Hilton room to relax in.

Lucky the The Flying Handbag was open where we had a pleasant drink and observed.

While it seems like a lifetime ago, it was less than a year since we were in England. It was the most fabulous holiday, but at times it was hard, very hard. Y'know, being dependant on other people at times. At one point I was on the verge of screaming out, Can someone just sort this out. I am in a foreign country, at the mercy of secondary relatives. I am powerless, so I want someone to work things out. At the end of the day, it did all work out.

Of regrets, I have a few, but not too many to mention. One is not asking Brian if he would like to meet us. I had sussed his email address already from someone, just in case. Ha, like I had access to computers when I was in England? But he knew we were coming. He didn't ask. Well, actually he did not know we were coming to Blackpool. We didn't either. It was a last minute decision. We stayed for one night in Blackpool, and then we got bored and went back to our Hexham caravan where we felt very comfortable.

The point I am probably trying to make is that it is not always all about me. I have to take R in to consideration. If I have to inflict some stranger to him onto him, I really need to prepare him in advance.

Preparing for Sydney holiday and meeting people as I speak.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sounds like a plan

It started with a photo, just a simple photo of Moonee Ponds Junction and two hours later, I was almost late for work.

I used to often get lost when looking at something on the web. Now I am inclined to bookmark a link that looks interesting, and go there later.......weeks later sometimes, usually when I am cleaning up the bookmarks.

But this morning I went way out of control and went from the Moonee Ponds Junction photo to the history of trains to Sydney and Adelaide, to deb balls, to bloggers, to a morning out. Some questions arose. Answer them if you can. Of course I never do proper research and rely very much on my knowledgeable readers.

The Moonee Ponds Junction photo showed a tram and a single tram track through the junction. I can recall driving through there myself a while ago and being very puzzled about the single track and where the Moonee Ponds tram terminated. I remember thinking how does this all work, but of course no time to look when you are in a motor. Thankfully it is less complicated than it would have otherwise been if the Puckle Street tram was still runnning.

I pressed the Google and Street Directory street camera services into action. Ok, I am getting the idea now, but I need to go there and have a proper look. I like Puckle Street, so no doubt I will have a cup of coffee in the street too when I am there.

But wait, I need to buy a new shirt for niece's deb ball (Tradie's brother's daughter) on my day off this week. Poor niece, she has just been dumped by her boyfriend and her she has put on weight since her deb dress was first measured and it won't fit now. I digress. Might there be a place in MP that sells modern shirts for young people cheaply? I found a very nice and appropriate shirt last week elsewhere. I tried on the M size and it was too small. What? I tried on the L size and it was boderline, but I know if it is boderline in the shop, it won't be right. I examined the shirt. It had darts up the back, which pulled its width in where my width went out. Surely the XL will fit. Well it did, but it sat very badly and the sleeves were too long. Ok, give up. I am past wearing fitted shirts. I must drape.

Righto, I am going to Moonee Ponds Junction on my day off for coffee, to see how the trams work at the Junction and look for a shirt and I will have my camera in case any old signs or other photographic opportunities abound.

How do I get there? Tram? Tram? No, far to slow. I have other stuff to do on that day. I will get the train to Moonee Ponds. Now what line is that on? Broadmeadows, correctly now Cragieburn I think. I am scared already. Twenty minute service, fifteen minute trip. Fine.

Ah, while looking at a map. There is the Upfield line and later, past its terminus, it continues on to join the Cragieburn line. I like flexibility within the train system. But question one arises. Why does the Upfield line continue on and rejoin the main line north? Critically, is it a double track and could it be used as alternative for a north bound country train.

Actually, thinking about that line, is that the one the train to Sydney uses? The Cragieburn line? Better check. Yes. Why is there nothing on a Victorian website that tells me about the train to Sydney? Question two arises and please confirm what I found out. The train to Sydney is named the XPT and it is run by New South Wales Country Link service? While the train could perform to the specified standards of a Fast Train, the track does not permit the such speeds. The absurdity of not have a Very Fast Train from Melbourne Sydney goes on and on.

Hmmm, what about the train to Adelaide. Which way does that go? I didn't know. I can now tell you now it goes via Geelong and Ararat and onto Adelaide. It is a run by a private company. I did not know this! Great Southern Railway. Ah, this is the very smart modern railway that we see when we drive to see our friend in the Western District. It in fact goes through his town but does not stop. Nothing else stops there either. But I do recall seeing a bit of railway station there.

Now I am remembering some names. Southern Aurora to Sydney. Vinelander to Mildura. But what was the Adelaide train called? Ah yeah, The Overland. The romantic names have all gone and we are left with XPT for the train to Sydney, there isn't a passenger service to Mildura and Great Southern Railway rather overates the trip. Well, some states have good names for trains, but not Victoria.

Question three arises. Why does the train to Adelaide head south west to Geelong when it needs to head north west to Ballarat to go in the direction of Adelaide? Am I stupid? Have I misread something? Are my map skills so bad? But wait. I am seeing the train go nor north east at one point. No wonder everyone drives or flies to Adelaide.

Now, I best be on the wary of any bearded blokes hanging around Moonee Ponds, especially if they have a sketch pad and a pencil.