Saturday, January 02, 2010

What a Guts

Now I remember why I liked Rod Stewart. Do I think you are sexy? Oh yes, you were. And we all know what they say about Scots, something to do with the result of hanging free under their kilts for centuries. Amazingly I could not find this picture online to steal, so instead this is a scan of what was in The Age. If your searching skills are better than mine, do send me a proper picture, for personal purposes only of course.

Friday, January 01, 2010

The Papers

I regularly peruse The Age, the Herald Sun, the Daily Telegraph and the Sydney Morning Herald online. The hard copy Age come free when R is at work, and when he is not, I buy it on Thursday for the Green Guide.

Be it online or hard copy, I am getting mega pissed orf. The Age newspaper comes with awful inserts, catalougues for some retailer which I have no interest in. Then it also comes some times with an ugly yellow wrap sheet that is not quite full size. I have to rip it out to get to the proper newspaper. I have no idea who what it advertises, so I can't boycott the company. The only seen once by me, an opaque wrap over the whole newspaper, was only amusing to me the first time, because it was the first time I had seen it.

But what about the extra intrusive online ads over our newspapers. You are fast clicking through news stories and an ad protrudes across the site. I can cope with that, but when I click the back button, it shows again. Dear newspapers, keep you ads to the left and static. I will click on them if they interest me. But don't take over what I am looking at.

I have a seriously big bandwith (by Australian standards) which I pay dearly for, so it is not any cost for a newspaper to load an unwanted video of a news story that I object too. What I object to is that I want to read, not watch a video of a news report. The tv does that job perfectly well. Some do want to see vids I suppose, and the online papers can provide a link, but not load it unnecessarily.

Tony has mentioned similar issues with online papers a few times in the past. I cannot agree with him that they might die, but then I come from a older person perspective. Daily, I am never far away from a hard copy newspaper to read.

2000 Revisted.

A couple of people have posted a personal review of the last decade. Pretty hard for me to do so without a lot of work and searching. Fen posted a superb review of her life over the last decade. Isn't she just magic.

A Sydney gay man of a similar age to myself who's blog I read recently mentioned that he did not want his blog to be a review of his life. He wanted to make sure it looked to the present and the future. This troubled me for a second. My blog is often a revisit to things in the past, both personal and non personal. Note, troubled me for a second. I like my blog and I read it often.

Going off course but I also read, as I was about to repost something from my blog that I had written a long time ago, that reposting is the first sign of a dying blog. That did stop me in my tracks.

If you take issue with this being the end of the decade, remember that the Jesus bloke was born in the year 1 and not the year zero. Apparently zero has not been around for more than a few centuries.

Ok, I will just revisit 2000, the end of the last decade, and what I was doing. Don't worry, it will be short because I can't recall much.

My father died in 1999 and the funeral was early in January 2000. It was a long and lingering home death. I only recently learnt that my step mother called my sister in law in distress because she was not coping with a home death. My step mother is a very strong woman mentally. Therefore, before you demand that you be allowed to die at home, think about the effect on your loved one. Leave it to the professionals.

R also bought a new car in January 2000, the car I am now mostly driving. It had been an excellent car until I took possession of it at he beginning of this year and the head gasket and an electric window cable failed.

Absolutely no idea what we did NYE. R can't recall either. I am guessing a bar, maybe the Peel or Greyhound.

Ex NT politician and his Fijian Indian b/f were in Fiji and saw in 2000 very early. They, among others, gathered at a high point to watch the sun rise, the dawn of the new millenium.

R laid the law down that my licentious behaviour had to stop. I promised and I tried and pretty well succeeded. I view the preceding time dispassionately. Your children and animals were safe and possibly your mother.

Of course, because R bought a new car, I took on his old one. So modern, with airconditioning and a heater that did not fill the car with engine fumes when stationary, unlike the Humber Super Snipe. I sold it to some sucker for $800. He was a Jewish lad walking on the wild side and living in North Melbourne. The parking fines that subsequently arrived were forwarded on to his home address. He was ever so nice looking and what a voice.

I think 2000 was the year I started using spectacles to read. I could not believe how almost overnight my reading sight went.

I cannot recall anything else of my family......well, nothing else really. Bit of a non post.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy bloody 2010

Random thoughts. I worked today. It was hot. I work tomorrow, not so hot. Just at home on NYE and I will be ready for bed at 10.30. I think I will use earplugs tonight. Sonic booms can penetrate our very thick glass. I wish I could be up at midnight to wish R a happy NY, but I shan't be.

Called Sister, Brother Friends, Mother and ex NT politician to wish them happy NY. I remember one year I did a mass sms just before midnight. I might do that tonight before I sleep.

The sky is turning black and instead of lightning preventing the midnight grown up fireworks happening, it looks like it might rain on the kiddies fire works. Wrap them up quickly parents, they will die if they get wet. Wow, 8.59 and a sharp clap of thunder.

I often think if I could afford it when I am old, I could have a flat in Hobart to spend a month or two in at the height of Melbourne's summer. But then it was 38 deg in Hobart today, hotter than here. Extradordinary.

Just been out on the balcony having a drink with R and watching the lightning and the rain fall.

I am sure 2010 will be good. Happy New Year to youse all.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Spam

After a very long period of not getting any spam, my blog has been targeted of late. I had comments allowed for two weeks and after that, I have to approve comments. While there is the odd real comment, most are spam.

One post in particular, Tech Wreck, was spammed daily by a comment written in Japanese. After weeks of daily non approval, I switched off new comments for that post. Wasn't a mate of yours was it Vik? If it was a Japanese bloke suggested we could do naughty things things together, translate please.

I have now switched comments having to be approved back to one week after the post. While I know a couple of spam comments have slipped through the net and you may have seen them before I deleted them, on balance, I would rather have that happen than switch on word verification.

Word verification is quite easy now and I don't mind doing it to make a comment on a blog, but at the same time, subconsciously I think, don't you know who I am? Don't you trust me? Even worse is the message 'comment awaiting approval'. This really makes me feel alienated. I know, I know. There are good reasons why people do this, and really I don't take it personally, but there may well be a need for a 'trusted list' for blog comments. For all the gimicky things Blogspot keeps telling me about, the trust list for comments would be a good thing.

Bad Uncle

This was planned a while ago, before we knew it was going to be 35 degrees today (nearly 100F). Luckily Sister decided it would be a morning event. She dropped Little Jo at our place and went off and did her own thing. What she had forgotten was that is a week day and so limited time parking and it has to be paid for. She should have caught the train and we could have met at Flinders Street Station and we take Little Jo from there.

Sister paid for an hour at our place and then found space near the Botanic Gardens for $1.30 for two hours. She had intended going for a look around Docklands but ended up just going to the National Gallery.

I had no part in organising it, but her driving here was a mistake.

R had asked Sister to bring the pram for Little Jo. She did not. Another mistake.

Little Jo wanted to be carried and I cannot carry her. She is too heavy and the last time I did, I pulled a chest muscle. She does not like me carrying her either, so R did.

We were heading to the Aquarium to show Little Jo the fish and the penguins. We had a two for one voucher, just as well at $32 odd per person. Little Jo was not charged for.

The penguins were wonderful and very playful. Attendants were in the enclosure making snow or ice with long hoses and spreading it around. I saw a penguin make yellow snow. The rest was much as it had been the last time we were there. Really, it is very good, but I am not keen on the vertical layout of three levels.

We went through at break neck speed as Little Jo ran from one tank to the next. She got a temporary tattoo on her arm and a she drew on a small piece of cardboard that was turned into a badge.

Right at the beginning R ducked down into a low tunnel to see penguins from a different angle and due to the effects of carrying Little Jo, he could not straighten up again. He is lying on floor at home now at odd angles trying to get his back to come right.

We left and I attempted to carry Little Jo but she was just as uncomfortable as I was. I would be happy to carry her if she is really tired, but she was not.

Back home and it was pretty warm by this time. The toy box came out and ham sandwiches made and consumed and Sister called to say meet her downstairs as she did not want to pay for parking again. Fine.

Although I had protected Little Jo up and down stairs, ramps, escalators, on and off trams and across roads, it is the little things to watch for. We left the lift and R went through the opening flanked by glass panels. I was going through the opening and I turned back to Little Jo to tell her to be careful of the glass panels, as she had nearly run into them before, only to see her run full pelt into one of them with a loud thud, her face squashed against the glass. It was the most horrible sight.

R alternated between comforting her and criticising me. I wear that. No one was kicking themselves more than I was. After a couple of minutes Sister arrived and Little Jo had stopped crying. As we sat in the car for a minute, it was clear that there was going to be large egg on Little Jo's forehead. Don't ever trust me with your kiddies.

All in all, the day did not work out as I thought it would.

No flash allowed. I thought the penguins might slide down the slope but they did not. They did walk up though.


Clumsy as they may seem when walking, the are very graceful and fast in the water.


I suppose to call this critter swimming behind glass an Irwin killer could be conceived as bad taste. It is a stingray. It was a big mother.

Oh dear, what can the matter be

Poor old R got locked in the lavatory, well bathroom actually.

A couple of weeks ago I was woken by a banging noise. R could not get his bathroom door open. I slid a knife under the door and he manipulated the bolt and was freed.

I removed the bolt and left it until I had time to fix it. The mechanism is complicated with both a lock and an emergency release. The lock has never really worked, so I decided to replace the bolt with a non locking and non emergency release one. I will do the same for the toilet door which also has the same system.

I have used a locksmith in Malvern Road before, but both times I went there before christmas, he was out on the road and closed. I knew of one in Clarendon Street which we have also used. Damn, it has closed down. I used the business search facility on my phone and showed a locksmith in nearby Coventry Street. It turned out to be a hardware store, but a rather good one. The lads were very helpful and the bolts only cost $16 for two.

It turned out to be a pretty cheap and simple job.

For a change, we did not have anything planned for the rest of the day, so we headed into Fed Square and ACMI and saw the excellent free exhibition Screen Worlds. We didn't, but you could spend hours in there playing. Good for kids too.

A bite to eat and a couple of Asahis at Riverland, and wow, it is two o'clock already. Time for home and a rest. The weather was perfect for sitting under a tree on the river bank and watching the world go by on the walkways and the river traffic. The beer had made me sleepy and I fell asleep on the tram on the way home.

Fed Square looked great too. The paving was spotlessly clean, cricket was playing on the big screen, people were sitting around watching, some on mats, some even in timber deck chairs.

Hard to find a photo of Riverland or a decent wide view of Fed Square. This is the best I can find. Damn, forgot where I found it.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Myki Maladies

Myki is our new public transport ticket system and it was switched on today, well partly. It was switched on for trains, well actually, it was already on. But it is not to be used for trams and buses yet. There are still some glitches on trams and buses, we are told.

A little more than glitches methinks. I have used trams more than usual of late and I have been observing. Passengers can see the drivers screen on certain trams. I have seen a couple of different messages on the driver's screens. One is along the lines Uploading, please wait. Well I waited and waited and nothing happened. It must have been a huge upload. I have also seen Downloading updates, please wait. Again, the screen does not alter. Not connected to primary console, is another.

So what about where you scan your tickets, or touch on and touch off, as we are told? I have seen trams with none of the machines working. I have not seen a tram with all of them working. I have seen many variations in between full working and none working.

I asked a staff person if they had been trained in the new system and he told me no one has but they would be.

From what I can see, there is something seriously wrong with the Myki ticket system, at least so far as trams go.

Myki, coming to you on a tram in about, oh, let's see, 2011.

Crying into Mortar

Long before Panning Minister Justin Madden rampaged around our city knocking down fine old historic buildings, he had many predecessors equally up to the task of obliterating our history.

I have mentioned a book given to me by a friend and I have been sadly going through it. I know that a good many of the Melbourne buildings featured in the book have gone and they should not be gone. They were attractive, well built and well designed buildings and ok, their use may have changed in the future but why can that not be?

The book is mostly reproduced photos and called Early Melbourne Architecture, eighteen forty to eighteen eighty-eight. It was published in 1953 by Oxford University Press.

Just an aside, as the sun was setting on the British Empire, OUP still had offices in Glasgow, New York, Toronto, Melbourne, Wellington, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras and Cape Town.

I'll just sneak this photo in from the book. Its address WAS 64 Latrobe Street. Beautiful.

The Flying what?

A mysterious text message arrived to my phone from our dyke friends while I was at work yesterday. See you at the Flying Duck at 6. Scratching my head. Had I made some arrangement and forgotten about it? Flying Duck rings a bell. Ah yeah, we used to walk past it when going swimming at the Prahran Pool.

I forwarded the sms to R and yes, he was organising something. He was going to see the movie Avatar with the dyke friends, but the Gold Class was sold out and they needed to use some tickets up. It was dogs night at The Flying Duck. Dogs were welcome and catered for. We are going there for dinner with them and they will have their two dogs.

We were about to get on a tram when they called. It is closed. I was disappointed. I was in the mood for some pub food. We boarded the tram and they decided to take their dogs home and would return and meet us at the corner of Chapel and Commercial. R called them back and suggested rather than them coming back, is there somewhere else where we could go. The Grosvenor in Brighton Road was suggested. Fine, except we just missed a tram in Chapel Street, and the traffic was very heavy, and so would take a while. Revert to plan that they pick us up.

We did not wait long and they arrived. As we were leaving, one person noticed the new Terrace bar and bistro at the Cullen . We decided to give it a try. Food was good and prices not bad. Wine, expensive but also good. Service, excellent. Feel/mood, good.

I was set to dislike this place because of the bulk of the building, and I still think it is too dominating, but it quite a nice place really. If you recall, there was a scaffolding collapse during construction earlier this year, which led to the closure of Commercial Road for a time.

Back to the friends place in East St Kilda for brandy and coffee and timed it well for a tram home afterwards.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

C-Day, Bocksing Day and the whole damn thing

Stole the C-Day word from Pants. It rather expresses feelings I have about the whole thing.

I will try to be nice.

Christmas Eve, get drunk with R who was de-stressing at the end of his working year and the start of his holidays. Stay up too late.

Christmas Day, up at 7 and on the road to Sister's in Murrumbeena by just after 8. Sister made us croissants with ham and cheese and scrambled eggs on sourdough toast with champers and orange juice with strawberries, cherries straight from a farm and lousy decaf coffee. I had to work later so only had a thimbleful of champers. Just five of us.

Off to work before noon where it was surprisingly busy. Sister hosted christmas lunch for family, R included. Family decided to visit me at my workplace. I needed that like a hole in the head. Fortunately they only hung around for twenty minutes and I got rid of them. Just as well because I became very busy. ABI brother managed to puncture his tyre along the way, adding more stress. Just six visitors.

9pm, meet R at my work and set off to Brother Friends for some nosh. Ex NT pollie is there, with his Fijian Indian b/f, the b/f's non English speaking mother, two teen nephews and a slightly older nephew from NZ. The older one from NZ just screamed Westerner by his dress and manner, in comparison to the local Fiji lads. Drank little and et a lot. Oh, did I mention that R made me a sumptuous lunch of ham, chicken, turkey, green salad and potato salad for lunch at work? That is three full meals in one day, when normally I eat one full meal. It was a pleasant evening. Just ten of us.

Stay up too late with R having a very fine single malt Scotch whiskey from an obscure Scottish village.

Bocksing Day, what? Not working? Bliss. No, not bliss. Up early enough and at Sister's by 11. The Bone Doctor drives us in her truck, a 4wd, to the swamps of Langwarrin to attend Sis in Law's family gathering christmas lunch/barbecue. Fine food, more presents exchanged.

Lordy, does the food never stop coming? Noted that Sis in Law's wheel chair bound and slightly demented mother is rather fond of king prawns, like six of them. I took pity on her when I saw her struggling to get the bowl of prawns and asked her if she would like another. She was quite with it this day and the amount of food she et!!! Just thirty of us.

Come home and chat and finish product of obscure Scottish village. Very early to bed as earlyish start today. Mentally and physically exhausted and sleep the sleep of the innocent.

Today, Sunday, off to work while R looks after Little Jo while Sis and the Bone Doctor go to test cricket.

The best thing to look forward to is NYE. I have to start work at 7am and so family and friends, youse can all get (^&*$#. I will be in bed. But something tells me I may be at early fire works event. It depends on how kind Little Jo is to me on Wednesday when R and I take her to the Aquarium.

Gosh, this is getting a bit long. I was going to just talk about pressies. Little Jo got heaps, like she needs them.

Both R and I received some nice gifts too. But we always buy ourselves a gift too. Our joint ones were these battery powered salt and pepper shakers. I was heartily sick of our old ones, one a proper pepper grinder and the other a spice jar rock salt grinder. From accommodation points I obtained over the last couple of years, I cashed them in for a $50 Coles Myer voucher. It had hung around in my wallet for months. R said that I should spend it on groceries and just get the cash. No, I did not want it going into consolidated revenue. It is for something special. Myer had what we wanted. I would have liked lights on them like the ones our dyke friends have, but oh well, can't have everything. Oddly the marked price of $45 turned into $27 when scanned. I did not ask why. I just exited stage left with haste. Very pleased with them.

And for totally myself, although R offered to pay half once it arrived, I bought myself a calendar from the Art Deco and Modernism Society. It is gorgeous. Good cause. If you want one, you can find it on their website. A couple of weeks ago, R and I were having a bite of Indian food in Elizabeth Street and I was looking around and my eyes struck Mitchell House. It looked fantastic. I took a snap with my phone with the idea to make a blog post, but the calendar overtook me and Mitchell House is on the cover.

Sorry, I can't help myself. Calendars of old building must really get up Jussy Madden's nose. Damn, he thinks. That bloody calendar will make it all the more harder to get rid of these old building.

I am exhausted after writing all that. Forgice the typos, grammar and spelling errors.