Saturday, June 06, 2009

Death at the Highrise

Yours truly is nearly dead. Odd that a bloke can almost die from the common cold. It is a bloke thing. Given that I took a sick day last Saturday when I could not face working until 2.30 Sunday morning, I really felt unwell, this is my punishment. I have soldiered on with work, in a almost dead state. I will blame all of youse for more condition and write a post that is so all over the place. Suffer. (Even I don't understand what I wrote there)

Sister made a two day visit during the week to Melbourne and R was able to see Little Jo and take her out. Not me though. R is number three in Little Jo's life, after Sister and the Bone Doctor. I am a distant fourth I suppose. Little Jo is seeing more of the hard working Bone Doctor now, a good thing. R was in danger of becoming number two in Little Jo's life.

Without doubt, the Bone Doctor loves Little Jo and always cares for her well, but the Bone Doctor just does not have maternal instincts. Perhaps paternal is a better description of the way she and Little Jo get along.

Nice to see Inspector Foyle's driver Sam, in The Bill.

Speaking of children, I ain't saying nothing about The Chaser skit except for that I think it is extraordinary that the show has pulled off the air for two weeks. This must be without precedent and smacks of interference in managerial matters from on high. If I were the Chaser guys, I might be taking another look at commercial offers. Chaser guys? Why aren't there any Chaser girls?

Way back in the dark ages of blogging, I wrote a post about a neighbour on our floor getting a visit from a rent boy. The day after we moved in and had a bit of a party, another rent boy of our neighbour busted up some of the walls on our floor, resulting in the guard removing rent boy and a day or so later, the plasterers visiting to patch the walls.

When the building behind us was extended upwards, the neighbour lost his views. He applied for a rent reduction but was denied. He found another place to rent, higher up with good views, with air con, and a second car space for the same rent. Eventually the overseas Asian owners returned to Australia and took over the place they owned. They put down new carpet and had the place repainted.......including the outside of their door to the landing, white. We battled against them through the body corporate and eventually the door was reinstated to the same colour as the other one hundred and fifty odd doors in the building, a tasteful shade of nothing.

I was already again them when I first saw them but she, the mother seemed and still does seem very nice, chatty and friendly. They have two young daughters. We have tried to be friendly with the father but as yet cannot get a two syllables from him. A faint grunt is only one syllable hey?

One of the daughters has started school, no doubt a posh private school. She was immaculately dressed for school when I saw her in the lift, complete with hat and heavy back pack. Clearly her father was taking her to school. They were like two strangers in the lift. Gosh I felt sorry for the kid. He is so stern. I bet he would never utter the words, 'I love you little one'. He reminds me of charactiture stern English father who might summon his children to his study for a five minute audience once a day. You will never go wrong if you openly love your kids, hug them, make them feel special. My sister in law is the lousiest house keeper you can imagine, but she has brought her kids up with such love. My poor not so demonstrative tradie brother did not stand a chance with them against their mother. Nephew in Glasgow, niece who's 21st we will miss because we will be in Sydney, and the younger neice, all love their mother to the point of it being almost unhealthy.

The younger niece, 16, called today, spoke to R. Can I come and stay for a night Uncle R? Of course she can. She is marvellous. But what to do with a 16 year old niece for a day and an evening? She is horrified at the suggestion, but she has a hippie persona. She just loves Jimmie Hendrix and Bob Marley. I said to her, do you know they are dead. Yeah Uncle Andrew, but I still like them. She had a boyfriend for a while. He came and we paid when it was R's significant birthday celebration earlier in the year. He broke it up. She was distraught, poor love. He liked heavy metal music, a most unsutible match.

So where might we take a 16 year old hippy like niece on a Sunday. We had planned to go and have a look at the reinvented upmarket Doncaster shopping centre. Niece is from the swamps of Langwarrin. She would be very used to big shopping centres. I think we shall take her for brunch or lunch in Brunswick Street. I think she will like that. We quite like slumming it in Brunswick Street, well is used to be slumming it, not really anymore. God forbid, I think we might drag her accross to Smith Street. I haven't been there for ages and it will be a chance to have another whinge about the absurd Safeway car park facade. I will just point Aboriginal beggers and hasslers to niece. She charms the socks off everyone. When she was in Fiji at Easter, she seemed to attract people with dark coloured skin. I think she likes a bit of the exotic.

Now, I must not make her cry like the last time when she vistited. I will ask R to smack me in the mouth if I start on her mother and her father problems.

Anyway, talking about family, I am so shocked. I have lost my name and my antecedents. Dearest Ann O'Dyne has been snooping looking at my family tree. I have done a good bit of work on it myself too. I have found out things from my mother that I half knew and got them down on, well not paper, but an online family tree.

My father had a double surname, no hyphen. It does not appear my or my siblings' birth certificates, but has subsequently on my Tradie Brother's children's birth certificates. It caused no end of trouble when niece the younger needed a passport for Fiji, but was eventually sorted out.

The troubling thing is that my surname is only a married name of my great (maybe great great) grand mother. My blood antecedant had a different name, the second of my father's surname, which was dropped. The dropped name should have been retained and the used one dropped. My great great grand father must have died and my great great grandmother remarried to a bloke who's name I now have. I no longer have a crooked nose, a definition of my name, and I am not at war with the Campbells. My family tartan scarf that Sister brought back from Scotland for me is wrong.

I have lost my identity and I feel somewhat weird about it.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Music of my Yoof #31

Back here I posted a clip of the seventies group Supernaut performing I Like it Both Ways. The lyrics were pretty out there for the time. I think they had another track called Lick my Lolly. I can only vaguely remember it.

I recently heard that they were quite respected as musicians. I wouldn't know.

Here is another track of theirs, quite a popular one at the time. The lead singer, Gary Twinn, is just so so hot. Too hot to touch, which happens to be the name of the track.

The Democratic Socialist Republic of the United States

Whatever happened to the free market? What happened to unfettered capitalism? What happened to the trickle down effect? What happened to big business being deregulated to create employment for the masses?

Let me see, a quick list.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac banks, the largest home load lenders in the US, now government owned.

One of the largest motor car manufacturers in the world, General Motors, now government owned.

Chrysler, now partly government owned.

The largest insurance company in the US, American International Group, now government owned.

These are off the top of my head. I bit of research would reveal many more I am sure.

While I know my readers are intelligent and informed, I just want to make sure that you are aware of a rather curious thing. No promises about the accuracy. Check the details yourself.

In Australia, when you take on a mortgage to buy a house, it is a debt you become responsible for, no matter what. If you can't repay your mortgage, the bank may sell your house from under you and if the selling price does not repay the debt, then you will be responsible for the remainder. This catches many people, especially in times when property prices are falling or people have borrowed near one hundred per cent of the value of the house, but it does give people a strong incentive to fight on and try to repay the debt.

The US allows mortgage defaulters to walk away from their house with no penalty apart from losing what they have paid and any improvements. Ok, perhaps they end up with a bad credit rating, but many of them had no money to repay the loans and were only lent the money by avaricious banks and their agents anyway. With any objective observations, they should not have been lent the money in the first place. So that is it, hand the key to the bank and that is the end of trouble people found themselves in. Very odd practice for a country that espouses personal responsibility.

And mate, you there in Detroit who has been just sacked from GM and may lose your house, I do really feel for you. You were a victim of things none of us really understand. But what is clear, is that it all happened under Bush and his government. You are fortunate to have someone like Obama to pick up the pieces. You would have never voted for Bush anyway...would you?

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Catterns

Dina probably calls it research when she examines an Australian in detail. When I take to the task, it is more like stalking.

This Catterns woman is interesting. Yeah, Angela who hooks up with comedian, writer, radio broadcaster and tele host Wendy Harmer, to present the ABC podcast, Is It Just Me.

Look, here is an ABC publicity shot. Quite flattering, I have seen some harsher pictures of her. She is on your right in the top picture.


Now in women of a certain age, I like certain things. Good hair and good makeup (come on, I am gay, what else would you expect?). So far by the photos above, she gets a tick.

A nice voice always attracts me, and that is one of her fortes. Clever, funny, opinionated, well that almost ticks every box. Clothes, well I can't tell from the photos above, but you can't go wrong with impressing a Melburnian by wearing black. She has made a good start there.

Hmmm, she has her own website. Nothing there really. Can sign up to a mailing list. What kind of mail might I receive? I will give it a miss. Here is her photo below of her from her website. I'd better use nice words about her, or she might sue me for copyright breach. Some freckles, how cute.


Dina always names her sources of information. I shan't because I am just lazy.

My personal knowledge of her before I heard her on Is It Just Me, is that she broadcast nationally when ABC local radio went national at night time. She presented a music program, and along with excellent voice, she was knowledgeable about music, or perhaps just a good album cover reader. I may have heard her at other times, perhaps over summer holidays when ABC local switches to ABC local from another state.

What I have learnt since, with some reading between the lines, is that she came from a very middle class family, went to the same private girls school for all of her school years and likes to be near the coast. She had a drop out as a hippie period in her life. She has never married but did have a long term relationship, which she is no longer in, and has a teenage daughter who causes Angela much angst, as teen daughters do, it would seem. Her mother is still alive.

Righto, time for the internet looking.

Angela started her radio career in Lismore, NSW, and then went on to work in television in Orange. She worked as a sound recordist in Papua New Guinea and then worked on the kids tv show, Simon Townsend's Wonder World. By the mid eighties, the far from now youthful Angela became the breakfast presenter on the ABC youth high cred radio station, JJJ.

It is not all good. At some point she worked for 2SM, a commercial radio station. Oh dear. From there she did a bit of work at SBS, and then surprise, surprise, turned up for a decent period on air at WYKS radio, Washington DC.

Ah, is this when I remember her on radio. She presented a national ABC evening show from the radio studios in Lismore around 1990.

Wow, I told you she had a good voice. She made all public announcements at the Sydney 200o Olympics, plus was venue announcer for the gymnastics. No doubt her talents in this area led her to be the voice of Qantas Airlines to make the pre flight safety announcements.

I have no idea what Big Fat Radio is, but she worked there but by 2004, she was back at ABC Sydney local radio, 2BL for you old folk, and became the number one Sydney radio presenter.

2005 she left the ABC and worked at a newish radio station, Vega. She lasted there until 2007 and now is an occasional fill in presenter back at ABC Sydney, local radio.

Oh look, here she is when she was younger. I think I like her better older. How many lasses of the same time struck the same pose.


Are you impressed? I am. Need to bring her down a peg and find some goss. Back to the net.

Hmm, she was snapped with David Bowie. Perhaps not her best angle. Not really his either.




Does she like cricket? Snapped in the commentary box at Sydney Cricket Ground.


She does not mind putting her arm around a lass who wears sensible shoes, the marvellous Julie McCrossin, and seems to have no problem with Julie holding the phallic object in her face. Oh, I think I like the first picture I posted best.


I think she really does know about music. If the guitar was the right size, I expect she could strum a bit. No idea who the bloke is and I don't care to find out.

Here she is when she eclipsed in radio ratings the creepy tawdry populist horrible broadcaster and London cottager Alan Jones.


Insert here that I have checked some back of the envelope calculations and she has made a lot of money with her work and must be very comfortable. I guess she lives in inner city Sydney in quite a nice house. With a not so poor mother, she won't have to worry about money too much. Her daughter certainly won't.

Here she is with the rest of the Vega breakfast team, back in 2007. Must have been taken the same day as the second picture.


Gosh, she seems to be a paragon of virtue. I cannot find anything salacious. Wendy Harmer had a go at guessing the weight of Angela's breasts, between 1.5 and 2 kilos.

Oh yeah, on the speaker circuit.

She interviewed Spike Milligan. He always behaved terribly when visiting Australia. You can download the interview here. Really, I wouldn't bother, Spike was a bit past it.

She also made an You Tube clip for Pay Pal, explaining how Pay Pal works.

Well, that is it folks. Anglea seems to be a high achiever and has not blotted her copy book.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

The Indian Lads visiting

What to make of this whole business of Indian students in Australia being physically assaulted, suffering racial discrimination, dodgy educational institutions clearly there to make money and nothing else, breaching of working hours by the students, Indian students driving taxis when they ought not be in charge of a billy cart, staffing our supermarkets, convenience stores, petrol stations, crowding up our public transport......I could go on and on.

I have given the matter some thought over the last few days. I was terribly annoyed with the protesting students when they broke some very old stained glass windows at Flinders Street Station. Just not cricket chaps. Break some more modern glass if you must.

My opinions and thoughts have run riot, as they often do over a very contentious matter. But I have come to a couple of Motherhood type conclusions. Leave all the above out it for a moment, not to say that these matters don't need addressing.

No human should suffer an assault on their person and it matters not at all where the person comes from. The people who perpetrate such acts have had a bad upbringing, or are mentally ill, or just bad and they think that they are above the law and our social standards and certainly will go on to be misfits in our society, in they aren't already.

Much as we would like it not to be, we will always have these types within, or on the edge of our society.

It follows that it is up to society as a whole to have no tolerance for such people and their illegal deeds, which brings me to the point that it is up to law enforcement officers to uphold the law by preventing such assaults and if they do happen, prosecute to the full extent that they can. The courts should then sentence the guilty appropriately, with the mind set that physical assault is intolerable.

Victorian police prevention, clearly FAIL. Prosecution and investigation, well it takes time but going by past assaults that we should be hearing about from our courts and are not, FAIL. Courts, well I can go by other cases of assaults that have come before them, FAIL. And overseeeing all the above, the Victorian State Government who has allowed such a mess to develop, FAIL.

(I probably should read what I wrote and make some corrections, but I am not in the mood for such finesse)

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Rental

Are we rich types because we have a modest flat that we rent out? Nope. It costs us money and we have been in possession for ten years . It is a negative cash flow. Its value has gone up quite nicely and will be quite helpful at some point when we cash it in.

Why did we buy it? At some point when we lived in Balaclava and after we had done a modest renovation of our house (it should have been knocked down and only the facade left), we strangely thought that we had a bit of excess money and we should buy an investment flat. I was bit unsure about the place we bought, it was quirky, but it hasn't done so badly. I think we could have done better if I insisted on the one in the leafy area of Charnwood Road rather than Hotham Street.

I have to confess here. We bought the flat to make money. It hasn't yet. We have to prop it up all the time. Poor dude pays a thousand a month and it still negative for us. I could not expect him to understand I am only a poor working class person.

I must be the evil landlord. Actually, we are pretty good landlords. If it breaks, we fix it. We have had some bad behaviour by tenants too. When the present tenant came along, he requested a few repairs, and we authorised them. We baulked at a repaint though. We didn't have the money and he should have checked before he signed up. What ever happened to landlords paying for the paint and the tenant doing the work?

While I know some landlords are bad and some rental companies are bad, this is not the case with us and much as I hate to say it, nor is our rental company, Shocking Stupid or some company that sounds like that.

But at the end of the day, we have this flat to make money, not to be a social security service. Are we exploiting the poor who can't afford to buy or offering a service for an average market price?

Written 17/04/09

Monday, June 01, 2009

Master of Self Publicity

Amazing. He has totally disappeared from the Herald Sun website, only to be found by searching. I suppose there must be some other Richmond football club news happening.

Pictures by Herald Sun and Channel 7.



Poor Ben has fallen on hard times and has a hole in his jeans. I am pleased to note it is bare flesh underneath and not boxers.

The Sunday Drive

Mother is always one for a Sunday drive. I used to quite like them. We participated in the early days of my and R's relationship. Life became too busy and we could no longer go on Mother's Sunday drives. Fortunately, late Stepfather was quite happy to take Mother on Sunday drives and often matched them to his desire to gold detect.

Mother is missing her Sunday drives big time. If we gave her a choice, she would have had us to Woodend or lost the Strzleckie Ranges. The ever wise R has always suggested lunch at a pub for many years. I used to baulk at the cost, because we always had to pay for all.

But after the last disastrous Sunday outing to the overcrowded Lysterfield Lake, I decided we will control the situation so that it not only works for Mother, but us too.

For various reasons, Mother had a very lonely week with no one visiting or taking her out for appointments. Only ABI brother called in daily to do her shopping. Sister is remaining in the country for getting on for two weeks. Given it was going to be six months and the time is nearly over, she has done well with Mother. Poor Little Jo almost died last night with illness, but miraculously survived to attend a morning brunch and later a live Wiggles performance which had been booked a long time ago.

I am a bit caught up on things, so I offered to take Mother out for lunch today. Now we could go to nearby hotel for lunch, but lunch doesn't take too long. Can we go further afield? I must keep in mind that R hates long trips. I will put me foot down with a firm hand and decide.

R, we will take Mother to a hotel in Drouin for lunch. Ok? Yes, was the reply.

Mother, Drouin Hotel for lunch.

ABI Brother, we are taking Mother for lunch to a Drouin hotel. Which one he asked. I told him and he said it was ok and where he had been to footy club meetings. This is getting better.

It was working for me too, of course. I haven't been that way since my step brother's funeral. I like Gippsland.

I drove the back roads from Mother's abode to Drouin. It was a lovely trip. So green was the grass. I remembered a few bits of Drouin, the town we went through so many times when we were young and lived in Gippsland. Drouin is a big town now, and the entry is very long. There are new bits. As per picture, there was something on at the chosen hotel, so Mother suggested the Darnum Hotel, except it none of us could recall where Darnum was exactly. A quick check of the maps and it was where I thought, the far side of Warragul. Fourteen kilometres as I looked up at R? He said fine. So we went on.

The roast pork was ok, Mother et a huge schnitzel but it was a pretty dull and dingy hotel, family owned and barely making a profit I think.

The Darnum Hotel has a proud history, but none of that was evident. It was a sad hotel in a sad town, bypassed by a freeway noisily forcing its presence.

Drove the back roads to Warragul and had a drive around the town. I remembered some parts from my childhood, especially the park near the railway station where we used to eat ham and mustard sandwiches. The very cheap but great food cafe is long gone, the dumb waiter along with it. How fascinating was a rope and pulley dumb waiter to me? Muchly.

From home, we can see the Alfred Hospital boiler chimneys. I knew Warragul Hospital had high chimneys too. It took a while but eventually I saw them from a vantage point. (Jayne, what happened to you chimney fetish?)

Enough Mother time, back home via the freeway, but wait I stopped, I remember this from when I was a kid. See the photos for an explanation.

Mother did mention her friend who has antique shop in Banana Goon, as I called it when when I was very young. Correctly named as Nar Nar Goon. I again checked with R if he was ok to turn off and look at Nar Nar Goon. Fine, he said. Glad he did, because there is a couple of pics for you to look at from Nar Nar Goon, the mural town. We couldn't find Mother's friend's antique shop, but found a really big one to rumage through. If you are hunting for old stuffs, you will find it in Nar Nar Goon.

Back to Mother's, do odd jobs for her and then bolt home and missed the start of the six pm tv news by only two minutes.

Getting on for six months after StepFather died, Mother is becoming quite chipper, a bit like her old self, that is boring the pants off everyone with her medical complaints, but bright and interested in the outside world. She is now watching tv and listening to the radio, Macca no less this morning.

So it was a pleasant Sunday afternoon drive. The only annoyance being the amount of traffic in small country towns. The noise of the traffic really annoyed me like it never does in the city.

This is one serious motorbike. There was a meeting of what looked like older bikies and their partners at the Drouin hotel.

The Darnum Hotel. A good plain feed at a hotel that needs some good patronage. Behind me, on the other side of a wire fence, cars and trucks roared past at 110 kph.

For years we passed by the memorial, never knowing what it was. We stopped and took a look see.

Can you read the plaque? Not sure if you will be able to. It says, Erected in grateful recognition by services rendered by W(M?) Calder, first chairman of the Country Roads Board by the people of Gippsland, 1930. I would guess the Calder Highway/Freeway is named after him too.

The Milk Train, a mural at Nar Nar Goon.

Nar Nar Goon street mural.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

$100 or 5c.

Five cent pieces look to be on the way out. Not a bad thing to get rid of pesky little echidna, although I think the silver echidna is one of the nicest of our coins.

But what about $100 notes? I only ever pay my dealer with fifties. For good or bad, my dealer now has a shop front with the word Pharmacy over the door.

I never use $100 notes. I won't accept them as currency.......yet. There was a time when I felt the same about $50 notes but I have become used to them. I guess once a bottle of Scotch cost more than twenty dollars, I accepted fifties. By that measure, it might be a while before I accept a $100 note.

Seriously, while I am seldom in a position to be offered a one hundred dollar note, I have a couple of times and refused them.

What about you?

And wow, how good was seeing a Routemaster hovering over the streets of London!!!

Passwords

Let me count how many passwords I have, one for stuff that will die with me, one solely for banking, one solely for ISP that R knows, one for a shared project and one for all sorts of things and one that R can find that I use for all sorts of things, including my blog.

If I suffer a slow malingering death, such as from cancer, I will make you all suffer along with me and then one day there will be no more posts. You can assume I am no longer capable of typing or dead. Whatever, I am gone.

But if I suddenly die in an horrific accident or from a sudden heart attack, I will make sure R has the information to publicly announce my demise.

Mostly you know when bloggers stop writing that it is a personal choice, but in the past I have sent enquiring emails to people who seemed to abruptly stopped posting. Not really because I thought there was some terrible accident happened, but more just to let them know I had noticed their absence and I cared enough about them to wonder.

Fortunately many of my blog mates have close blog mates, family or friends, so I would find out if something happened to them. In fact most people would find out if I suddenly died from a kind of network that is around me. This one would tell this one who would mention it in a post, and then this one would learn and all the others would know too. Thinking about it further, I reckon everyone will know within minutes of my theoretical sudden demise.

I must say though, and I feel you should learn from this, I do feel a bit closer to blog mates who I have sent or received a personal email from. It is just that one step closer to a real friendship. Ain't I getting soppy now.

I went way off track. So how many passwords do you have? So many you have to write them down?

'Tis the fashion


This guy sagging looks quite hot, but generally the whole sagger thing leaves me cold. Watching lads hitch up their baggy trousers all the time before they drop to their ankles is tedious. They walk, they need to hitch them up consantly. They run, they have to hold them up. Last week when we took Little Jo to Albert Park Lake, you should have seen the contortions one dude had to go through to pull up his strides while both hands were full carrying a small sail boat. I was just willing them to drop.

These stupid straight bois should observe how young gay bois do it. That is a tight belt just at the right place under the hip bone. Just as in hair and makeup, get it right before you go out, and then leave it alone.

While I would love to turn the clock back to crotch revealling tight jeans as can be seen in the second picture, the other current fashion for tight low rise stove pope leg jeans isn't too bad.

Must bash orf, I have to iron a verticle crease into the legs of my high waisted jeans. Oh, and Lief Garrett doesn't like quite so cute now.