Friday, November 20, 2009

The Family

The teen niece: She is back from her sabbatical with Step Mother in the north of Victoria. She stayed one night with us. She barely ever stops talking. She is mentally very fragile and has strong mood swings. Fortunately she does not mood swing with us. I am not sure how I would react if she did. She is snapping at everyone. She sends her father nasty abusive texts one day and loving ones the next. She is rude to her father's girlfriend who has never said a bad word against her. I think she will be going to see a counsellor in the near future. Her older sister picked her up from our place the next morning to go to the airport to collect Sis in Law. R helped teen niece make a decorated welcome home Mum sign.

The dreaded nephew: Much to everyone's surprise, except us who paid his airfare, the dreaded nephew returned from England with Sis in Law. It was a joyous reunion at the airport between firstly Sis in Law and her two girls and then shortly the later, the dreaded nephew and his two sisters. There were tears aplenty. He gets on well with both girls and may help the younger to stabilise at little. He intervened already when teen niece snapped at older niece in the car on the way from the airport. Hey, ease off Sis, he said.

Sis in Law: She had a great holiday and adored England, Scotland and Ireland. R's family in the north east of England made them very welcome for a few days. Sis in Law's travelling companion and friend was staying on longer to visit Paris. Sis in Law knew nothing of the troubles with her daughter back home. Sis in Law spent a night in a posh hotel in the outskirts of Seoul on her way over to UK. She and her friend discovered a newly built and empty underground city, complete with huge railway station, two shopping centres and a university. (Get that Premier Brumby and Minister Madden? Build the facilities with the development before the people move in.)

Mother: Sis in Law called in to see Mother on the way home from the airport. Mother was over excited to see her grandson return. Mother and late Step Father used to take the children out a lot on Sunday drives. The children have grown up, Step Father died and life has changed a lot for Mother. A scrap metal man had been to Mother's and taken away two fridges and an old parts car and gave her $100 for the lot. Better than paying. A mega garage sale has been arranged to happen at Mother's in a a couple of weeks. Damnation, I am not working that day. It will be all family hands on deck.

The Dreaded Nephew: We have not chatted to him yet, but no doubt will soon when he rings to arrange repayment of his air fare.....oh, I make myself laugh at times. While he is certainly not posh, I would call him ocker, he remarked to Mother that how ocker everyone sounded at the airport when he arrived home. He must be used to the refined accents of Eastern European English that are to be found widely in England and Scotland.

Older niece: She has turned into a very capable young lady. She now occupies the bungalow with her boyfriend that used to be the abode of the dreaded nephew. Of course, totally forgetting what I was up to at sixteen, I am not sure I approve of 21 year old young ladies living in sin with their boyfriends.

Little Jo: We looked after Little Jo one night this week and tonight when the Bone Doctor arrived home after a hard day sawing and drilling bones, Little Jo said, 'we go to pub for dinner'. So, Sister called us and we all went to the pub for dinner. Very pleasant. What a shame I am working on Sunday and R will have to look after Little Jo on his own while Sister does a swimming instructor course and Bone Doctor plays cricket. Such a shame, such a damn shame.

ABI Brother: He turns fifty next month and has arranged a bash for himself at a venue near his home. I am just not looking forward to this.

Tradie Brother: He and his girlfriend are gung ho about Mother's garage sale. Good, they can do the work. We would rather call for a dumpster and give her a couple of hundred dollars.

Sister: Psst, shhhh. Sister and Bone Doctor and donor have been busy with the turkey baster with some success. Nothing official until the first trimester just before new year. Uncle R and Auntie Andrew are very very happy and have their fingers crossed. Sister is 42, so it is touch and go. Andrew is such a nice boy's name, don't you think?

The Loony Report

Back in the dark ages, like 1979, when I first started my present employment, Murray Lonie was beavering away on a report to be given to State Transport Minister Robert Maclellan. He was assisted by Robin Underwood.

The report was published In 1980 and titled the Lonie Report. It made recommendations for transport in the the state of Victoria. The great unwashed protested and the public transport unions were outraged.

Now, what you need to know is that Murray Lonie had been an executive at the monster Aussie mining company BHP. Yes the one that bolted to the Netherlands to allegedly attempt to avoid paying compensation to asbestos victims. He was also an executive at General Motors. The other chap, Robin Underwood, was head of the Country Roads Board, the quango responsible for country roads and freeways.

So we have an ex BHP and GM executive and another in charge of roads. What sort of report did they bring down? Can you guess that it perhaps was not going to be in favour of expansion of public transport?

Here were some of their recommendations. Public protest stopped many of them being implemented. Can you imagine how much worse off Melbourne would now be if they had?

All country passenger trains should be replaced with buses with the exception of the Geelong line. Many were closed. A couple have since re-opened.

Buses should replace Sandringham, Port Melbourne, St Kilda, Alamein, Altona and Williamstown train lines, and replace the Hurstbridge train between there and Eltham with buses. With the exception of St Kilda and Port Melbourne trains being replaced by light rail, none of this was implemented. In my view getting rid of the St Kilda train was a mistake. The loading on St Kilda trams is now so heavy, the light rail should be converted back to a train.

All night time and weekend trains should be replaced by buses or taxis. The Upfield line was curtailed at night, but later reinstated.

Footscray/Moonee Ponds, Camberwell, Kew/St Kilda, West Marybynong, South Melbourne Beach, South Melbourne and St Kilda Beach and Chapel Street trams should be replaced by buses. Laughable from today's view and thank god it did not happen.

Public transport fares should be significantly increased to eventually cover running costs.
The first sign of turning public service authorities into businesses perhaps.

Premier at the time, the now late Sir Rupert Hamer, may now be seen as kindly figure who did wonderful things for the arts. But there is no forgetting he was a Tory and he and his henchman Transport Minister MacClelland would have gone right ahead with the plans.

I wrote this with the assistance of Wikipedia to aid my failing memory.

Flash Mob

You will need your sound on to enjoy this properly. It is a promotion for next years Mardi Gras in the style of the Belgian Railway Station video. It is filmed on Bondi Beach with Joyce Maynge leading. Thanks Gus from VolaciousNet for pointing it out.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Great Railway Journeys, an occasional series

Ok, it is not perhaps one of the great railway journeys, but it is one of many I would like to take. The train travels from the main city of Christchurch on New Zealand's south island to the northern town of Picton, where you can then travel by ferry across to Wellington, New Zealand's capital city.

Like most western countries, New Zealand had an extensive network of trains, but many have closed. Sadly you cannot travel by train further south than Christchurch as of 2002 I think. Some might suggest why would you want to travel further south than Christchurch, but Dunedin is a very nice town well south.

The train is called the Tranz Coastal and goes through heaps of tunnels and over bridges, one of which is shared with cars and trucks. I know who would be giving way to whom. But what really appeals to me about the trip is that it travels along the coast with lots of views of the Pacific Ocean.

If you are more an inland person, what about the Tranz Alpine from Christchurch to Greymouth via Arthurs Pass. The train travels through an eight kilometre tunnel up a very steep gradient. Maybe I would like that too, although the Eurostar tunnel under the Channel is pretty boring.

Here are a couple of photos found on NZ tourist promoter sites.


Dissin the Scios

I have not formed a full opinion of Senator Nick Xenophon yet, but go Nick on using parliamentary privilege to get stuck into the Church of Scientology. While it probably lacks logic, I don't mind so much traditional Australian religions getting privileges (well, yes I do really), but how on earth did the Church of Scientology get privileges? Ok, yes High Court decision. Bah humbug.

If Church of Scientology can get such privileges, why not give to the other new cranks, Falun Gong.

Of course sensible people have no truck with the Scios. But what about the Baptists? What about Hillsong?

May god save us. Clearly our politicians will not.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The world's a changin'

A new High Commissioner from London has been appointed to Canberra. This is a very important post for we convict types, so I am pleased to hear that Lillibet has approved a Baroness to be appointed to the position. Take that Canada and New Zealand.

I am sure she has a good diplomatic style and knows which fork to stick into the horse's doovers, so the bleeding obvious is irrelevant and just something to be noted. Welcome your lord highness Baroness Amos. Sorry about some of us. We are a bit common at times. Now don't you be telling me you admire Maggie Thatcher.

PS If you have some influence, sling a few quid to the Blackpool to Fleetwood tram system will ya. Brian is not getting any younger and he needs a smooth ride and easily accessible vehicles.

PPS Her makeup is good. What else matters.

Rubbish Collection

Daniel reckons that since he makes an effort to recycle his rubbish and only puts out a tiny amount of general rubbish, that it is unfair he pays the same as someone who recycles nothing and puts out huge amounts of general waste out for collection. I am inclined to agree.

From my observations people in our building are quite good with recycling. Our building has an excellent setup to make it easy for people. The two residential building next door perhaps aren't quite as good as us as their owners corporation committees are not as active or pushy, but still, they put out plenty of recycling bins.

Council collect the usual recyclables and private organisations collect the rest at no charge to the building. City of Port Phillip will not collect our rubbish in a practical manner. They will not empty our large dumpster style bins and insist the rubbish goes out in normal wheelie bins. If the three building here did this, there would be about 150 bins lines up on the street for the council to empty. If it was up to me, I would call what I think is their bluff. So there we go. We pay for private rubbish collection. Per apartment, it is not very much and consequently no one presses the issue now.

But the residents of the ever so posh Finger Wharf in Sydney's Woolloomooloo (what is the use of a rhyme to remember spelling if you forget the rhyme. Sheep toilet, cow toilet was it?) along with residents at The Tower in the city, are in a similar situation and are acting up about it with a solicitors letter to council. I will follow this with interest. Victor, please keep an eye on the Wentworth Courier for me.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Flashing my Equipment

I really have no idea what flashing is and as you will read, it does not matter because I am not doing it.

There does not seem to be an Australian Samsung forum for discussion of my new phone. It is sold in Europe under another name, not Ultra Touch, so I use that forum, although I have not posted on it as yet. I am slowly working out the features of my phone. Like all mobiles now, it does amazing things, most of which I will never use.

As yet I have not found out how to add words to the dictionary. Please, a gay man with a phone that won't even T9 'cock'. I know it has the ability to add words and eventually I will find where the feature is. It is a particularly poor lacking in detail manual that came with it.

Bu then I came across the Whirlpool forum that had many posts about my phone. I became terribly excited with news of firmware updates and 'flashing' your phone. I must have these updates and flash my phone. My fingers were on the trigger.

Stop. Is it broke? Is there a problem? Is something annoying me that a firmware upgrade will fix? No, no and no. Why ask for trouble? I will let well enough alone.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lezzet

No, it is not a baby lesbian. Lezzet is Turkish restaurant in Brighton Road Elwood that is rather good. Dame M's Boarder had his birthday dinner there on Saturday night. Nine of us joined him to celebrate. It wasn't cheap, but the food was excellent, as was the service. We sat next to a huge open window to the footpath and ate too much, drank too much and talked too much. It was a lovely night.

I learned some stuffs too. Brighton Antique Dealer has a friend who is assisting her with interior decoration. She has only referred to him by his first name in the past but I learnt that he is the very well known Grandpa Acid. Google finds him if you don't know who he is. To hard to link. The people BAD knows...

One of our dyke friends in heavily involved in bush fire reconstruction standards.

Dame M's nieces have not given up contesting her will, but they have now been forced to mediation with both The Boarder and Dame M's step sons.

A while ago we notice The Boarder's hair dresser friend had put on some weight. She wraps and layers, so it wasn't really that obvious. She has lost an incredible 17kgs, yet she did not lose it in her face, that is she is not looking gaunt or haggard.

I went to the restaurant straight from work, hence having the car rather than getting the tram there. I was not nominated driver to get home. Suffer R. I had parked a bit away and while walking from the car, I tried to work out where the Stardust Cafe was that we used to frequent in the group of shops a mere three decades ago.

Sometimes nights out are ok, but this one really worked well.