Saturday, March 27, 2010

Droppin' like flies

It has been a week of deaths. One workmate died suddenly, an Egyptian, around my age. He was a shifty Egyptian b*m f**cker. I used to call him that. He called me a lazy white pooftah and often requested some oral satisfaction. I never obliged. I knew he was ill, but I was almost shocked to tears when I saw a note at work that he died. I knew him for nearly thirty years. Cheers Mamoud.

Leah, also a workmate, was from Indonesia. How she made us laugh. She was short and not slim, nice looking and always made her face up perfectly. She took no prisoners and yet her days ended in such an inglorious way. I am not sure if her god is christian or moslem, but I'll bet Leah is making her laugh.

And then a blogmate's mother died, just to ever so nicely ice the cake. What is the best way for a mother to leave her children? I don't think it is too bad for her to slowly fade away.

Renaming Kingsway to Sukhumvit


It was mid morning when I took this snap of Kingsway, a road near us and one I use often. It is supposed to be a quiet time for traffic, when people are at work, children have been delivered by car to school and there are a few people just going about their business. By the gaps between the cars, you can tell it is a quiet time.

Further along to the left is what I probably think of as our local pub, the Palmerston. To get to it, we have to cross Kingsway. I refer to it as Sukhumvit. If you are familiar with Bangkok, you will get that.

While St Kilda Road carries a huge number of cars too, along with trams, it is much more peaceful than Kingsway and Queens Road. Traffic sewer is a good description of Kingsway and Queens Road.

I recall a year or so ago when the Domain Tunnel was closed for a couple of weeks after a horrendous accident in the tunnel, a VicRoads spokesperson saying that that yes, the closure would cause problems, but Kingsway and Queens Road have a huge capacity to move traffic. Indeed they do, but over the past year I have noticed, and experienced that these roads have passed their ability to move the traffic along them efficiently. They are no longer free flowing major roads, but stationary bumper to bumper roads. They are not unusual. This is happening all over greater Melbourne.

What to do? Start by having a train that takes ten minutes to get from Flinders Street, to So Cross Station and then to the airport. I think the planned underground railway from Footscray to Caulfield is a great plan. Just get on and build it. Train line from the City to Doncaster, train line from Huntingdale to Rowville via Monash Uni, hands down misere.

Apart from the airport train line, none of those will help Kingsway and Queens Road. Go west young man, go west. Many have and many young women too. It is not unreasonable to suggest that a train trip to Geelong should not take longer than twenty minutes. Some people in the west have good access to a train to the city. Why don't they use it? Well, they do to the point where no more people can fit on the trains. Why aren't we building new train lines to the west and north west where the population is growing at an extraordinary rate? As the houses are built, so should be the infrastructure, including train lines.

When that is all done, I might just have a nice local road to drive on that is not bumper to bumper traffic. Selfish? Yep, but you all know something has to be done.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Insulation

PM Krudd's attention to detail is often noted and his lack of delegating also often mentioned. It seems he did delegate the very subsidised home insulation scheme to Minister Garrett. Minister Garrett seems to have not attended to detail at all and absolutely disgraced himself, his ministry and the government.

Would not Minister Garrett have an army of public servants at his beck and call? What were they doing while insulation installers were electrifying houses and killing people, cutting batts in half, not covering where they were supposed to, installing lower rating batts, using imported batts that don't meet our standards and generally ripping everyone off? Ah, capitalism, don't you just love when it is allowed to be free and unfettered by any rules and regulations.

I took this photo the day after the cancellation of the subsidised insulation scheme came into force. I reckon they are going to a warehouse somewhere for storage. Like tulips in the seventeenth century, insulation batts are now worthless.

Just a personal note. Mother's house has double roof insulation. It was installed nearly forty years ago. I expect it needs replacing. I have only recently learnt that she was eligible for the scheme. We will see what comes up in the next scheme.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Angry Highriser

C'mon, enough is enough. This is all happening under Planning Minister Justin Madden's watch and a Labor state government. How can this all be happening? Development at all costs? Profit before community good? Isn't there an organisation called Heritage Victoria, in charge of protecting our heritage? Under this state Labor government, Premier Brumby and Minister Madden, we appear to be losing buildings at a rate unparalleled since the sixties and seventies.

The Art Deco Lonsdale House, now gone.

The last remaining old Foy and Gibson building in Smith Street Fitzroy. It is only a fa├žade, but still developers want to demolish it. Photo from Walking Melbourne.


Eastern Arcade, gone, replaced by a very ordinary looking modern building.


The lovely old Princess Mary Club, if not gone yet, soon will be.


These are generally smallish sites, but they go to make up the character of the streets where that have sat for many decades.

This one is not so small. The Argus (old Melbourne newspaper) building under threat. How could such an historic building not have any heritage protection. It could disappear without anyone being able to do anything about it. Photo from Melbourne Heritage.


But the biggest outrage of all, and the impact will be severe and pretty well permanent, is the Windsor Hotel and surrounds, half demolished and visually destroyed by a tower behind it and surrounded by assorted ugly modern buildings. Saviour of our heritage, Heritage Victoria is quite happy and satisfied with the plans, as is the government, the opposition, and the City of Melbourne and its Lord Mayor Doyle. I have yet to speak or hear or read of anyone else who approves. Photos from Save the Windsor. Sign up to the Face Book site or fill in the petition. Details at the website.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Clocking

This is the bedside clock in the spare bedroom. It looks cheap and it was. Visitors get a comfortable bed, clean bedding and an overhead fan. Do they really expect a decent clock radio? I have no idea what the alarm sounds like.


This is R's bedside clock. I bought it for him a year or more ago. It was on special, but I still paid a good bit for it. It is very stylish and the alarm is soft and melodic. Sadly it won't show a 12 hour dispaly, only 24 hour. The photo does not do it justice.


My bedside clock is old, very old. It is covered with a couple of decades of dust and grime. Its predecessor was one of those digital flap models which started audibly grinding as the flaps dropped down and had to go. I think R bought this one for me. I would very much like a smart new one, but this one is so good, I just can't replace it. It does have a horrible high pitched alarm. A loud and high pitched alarm is appropriate when you are a young person and sleep the sleep of the dead, but not for me now.

Its good points far outweigh its bad. Its AM reception is excellent. It must have a long internal antenna. Its FM reception is also good via a long piece of trailing wire. It has stereo speakers and the quality of the sound is very good, compared to any other clock radio I have heard, and I do listen to radio in bed, as older people do. It has electronic tuning with preset station buttons and perhaps its best feature, a soft touch snooze button on top. All I have to do is just touch the top of the clock to shut the blasted thing up when it shrieks at me.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Buy Australian, or else

We have consciously been focusing on buying more Australian food products, except for rice which I don't believe should be grown in Australia. OK, maybe tropical Darwin environs might be ok, but they tried and the magpie geese ate all the rice.

R uses cans of tomatoes often enough when cooking. We were buying cheapish ones and upon reading the label, we realised that they were imported from Italy. We are now buying Australian canned tomatoes and pay maybe 70 cents more. I can't understand the economics of growing tomatoes in Italy, canning them and sending them by ship to Australia and they are seventy cents cheaper on our shelves than ones we grow and can ourselves.

I make an exception for NZ and buy their cheaper powered skim milk. They are almost us. I am Closer Economic Relating. Even so, the cheaper price still doesn't make much sense.

We try to only buy Australian oils for cooking with. Malaysian oil is cheaper, but are we are buying Australian oil. We use peanut oil, olive oil and canola oil and a little sesame oil. You can't get Aussie sesame oil.

Olive oil is an interesting one. A huge amount of imported olive oil is muck and not virgin as it is labelled. There are efforts to clean the industry up, with a certification scheme possibly operating by now, but we will only buy Australian olive oil now. Australia is the ideal country to grow olives.

The argument over no brand name against brand name was lost for us a couple of decades ago when one of those tabloid current affair shows counted the number of baked beans in a brand name tin, as against a no name tin. There were many beans less in the no name. Every so often we give something a try, and it is not as good and often imported. I was buying no brand name sugar, still Australian though, until one lot had black bits in it and we have reverted to CSR sugar.

We have only bought free range eggs for a long time now. We now only buy free range pork and we are looking to only buy free range chicken soon.

I do get importing luxury food items. Aussie caviar is never going to take the world by storm, let alone us, but why do we need to import basic foodstuffs that grow well here in Australia? You whistle and I will point to Woolworths, Coles and latterly Aldi and Costco.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Matters of the Blog

When making a comment on a blog or when signing up to a site, you are often asked to read and type a jumble of letters. This jumble of letters has a name, but I forget what it is. Some are easy to read, some are not and some are impossible.

Now wouldn't you think if you type the letters wrongly, the next lot would be easier. You know, the program thinks, 'ah yeah, old person, bad eyesight, I will make it easier for them'. Nope, quite often the next lot is even harder to read.

I am often given to wondering why some people write blogs and some don't, even though they use a computer. If I think about myself, I use the computer and net for everything imaginable. When R's Sister and Bro in Law were visiting, they were quite amused when they were wondering about something and me jumping up and getting an immediate answer from the net. R's sister does email and can browse the web, but only when she has too. R is somewhere in between her and me. His main use is for email, banking, looking at property for sale and then whatever he needs to look up. Of course he would never be looking at cute dudes on the net.

I started reading blogs about 2000 I think. There was only one actually. I shan't link him, but he and many of you know who I am talking about. Eventually I started making comments, at first brief, but then I found the comments getting longer and longer and more detailed. I thought, maybe I have some things to say that will interest people. With a wee bit of direction by the original blogger, I started this one. Oh dear, this is sounding like an blog anniversary post. Never mind, as I say, it is my blog, I write what I want.

One post I once wrote questioned why couldn't I find older blog writers, people around my age and poof!, Lord Sedgwick appeared with a raggle taggle baggage of friends, rels and acquaintances and I came to know some people who I absolutely adore. Many others have come too, and some gone. Never mind, it was nice to know you briefly.

Pretty well without exception every commenter has always been nice. Some at times challenged me, and good on them, but they always did so in a nice way. It does come as a surprise to me, but I am not always right.

Just to conclude, and this is directed at one person who comments at times but does not have a blog, all I ask of any commenter is that they not insult me and more importantly not insult or abuse people who make comments on my blog. You would not think that was too hard, but someone seems to find it to be quite a challenge.

The last para is probably a mistake. You shouldn't give attention to those who indulge in attention seeking behaviour.

Happy birthday to R

It is R's birthday. With great use of my imagination, I bought him a bottle of single malt scotch and a couple of gold class movie tickets. What does he need?

We celebrated his birthday yesterday at the Brighton Antique Dealers. Her barbecue had blown up so she had bought a shiny new model, plumbed in. The dyke friends, the brother friend's BAD's toyboy, the ex NT Politician friend, the Mountain Women, Dame M's ex boarder and his female hairdresser friend and assorted dogs all helped him to celebrate. Birthdays seem to stretch out now. We will have another dinner out with Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo this week and then next weekend another joint birthday celebration with Mother for her day and R again.

I can't think of the name of the birthday cake, but is is a soft chocolate mixture, not cake at all, and light. The two pavs were great, as was all the food for the afternoon. Before we knew, five hours had passed and we left.

Oh yes, I asked BAD if she had a cake stand and she ducked to the front of the shop and grabbed one, price tag still on, a steal at $175. BAD has had some of her gay artistic friends in and has redecorated and a fine job they have done too. They certainly decluttered and made a small lounge room very much more spacious. I am not a great one for chandeliers but they added a huge one to her lounge room and it just works so well. Sixteen clear incandescent candle globes burning merrily away.


The far pav had a topping containing Frangellico?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Hungry Mile

Sydney's Hungry Mile was officially called Millers Point. It had its own tram line, but being such a short route, along George Street to Dawes Point through The Rocks area and then back along Lower Fort Street to Argyle Place, the trip was often tucked on to the end of trips in from suburbs or alternated with the Pyrmont service. The name Hungry Mile arose because the area was a wharf where casual dock workers would hang around hoping for a chance of a day's labour loading or unloading ships. Container transportation of goods on ships saw the end of the Hungry Mile and I imagine the area is now an unattractive no go place.

But land so close to city sitting unused? A state government struggling with its finances? Yep, a massive development is proposed. I mentioned the location once in the past. Here is a satellite image of the site from googlie.


View Larger Map

This first proposal came from the state government I believe. I see stepping stones down to Walsh Bay with a linear park along the edge of Darling Harbour. I suppose there must be tall buildings. Does the park run to a dead end at Walsh Bay? Not sure if that is a good idea.


Here is a developer's proposal. It is quite different to the original government plan. Not content with the massive are the have to work with, they want to build out into Darling Harbour. What a mish mash of tall skinny buildings and the area cut in two by what I guess will be a boat marina. Is it not enough that they get what was public land? Now developers want to take over the water as well. Why not just fill Darling Habour in and build tall buildings all over it. I blame VCAT and Justin Madden.