Saturday, February 05, 2011

4WD and SUV

I am sure there are some perfectly decent people out there who own 4wds and SUVs. I know one or two. I forgive them for their sin. Some even use them as they are meant to be used. I discount SUVs here because I did not observe any, but some 4wd drivers are fucking prick arseholes. They just delight in speeding through floodwaters, creating a wash that floods any vehicle around them and shops, businesses and houses along the street.

'It is all about me and what my machine can do to your poor chumps who cannot afford what I drive. I hope as you wallow in my wash, I have proved to you that I am superior even though I am so terribly underendowed and worse, 'it' does not perform nearly as well as my 4wd.'

I think I swore. I make up for it with some humour.

An old bloke was patiently waiting to reverse into a car space as a young bloke in a small sporty car slipped into the space. 'Hey grandpa, you need to be a bit quicker', called out the young bloke. The old bloke put his car in reverse, swung the wheel and slammed back into the young guy's sports car. The old bloke muttered to himself, 'It is nice to be old and rich'.

PS Sis in Law asked me for a $35,000 loan. Haha, I can pass on my credit card debt to you hon. I just add that in case you think I am old and rich. In my head I would like to be. I am not but I will concede to owning some very expensive bricks. They are not very digestible though.

The Aftermath

It seems the heavy shower of rain was a bit more dramatic than I thought. There are lots of flood pics out on the net and some personal accounts. But what about this tale of such dedication to work and duty? The lass fought floods and traffic to get to her work place. What a valuable employee. She should be paid more.

At nearly the same time tonight as I tookthe flood pics last night, all is dry and calm, the only evidence being sand in gutters and a tide mark of leaves on the irregular rectangle of grass.

To Paris

I wish. I must have stayed up too late one night at christmas time and saw one of those awful black and white English movies. The well known female actor, so well known I have forgotten her name, was in a rush to catch the boat train to Paris.

I would like to catch a boat train to Paris. We had to make do with the Eurostar.

What is this boat train thingie anyway? I think I know what it is. Let us research.

Well, I am getting disappointed. So far as I can tell, it is only a train that meets a ferry or ship and passengers transfer from the train to the boat.

Wait, The Independent has something interesting. Ok, this is what I was hoping. The train left from Victoria Station, drove onto a ferry at Dover and off again at Dunkirk and raced its way to Paris.

How terribly civilised the overnight trip of nine hours must have been. A fine meal in a dining car and then the gentle rocking to sleep by the North Sea in your warm and cozy compartment. Not so the day time trip though. The engine was disconnected and carriages shunted onto the boat. I don't think being on a shunted carriage would be so restful.

Perhaps the Eurostar is not a bad mode of transport.

Here is a train ready to leave Victoria Station and it is heading south, so it could well be a proper boat train.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Bit of a shower

In the nine years we have lived here, I have not seen the likes of this. Taken about 20 minutes ago.




The taxi hit the water at a fair pelt, but alas he did not stall. Damn.

Hookahs on Melbourne's Streets

There! I got the double entendre done in the title, so there won't be any more of that!

The first time I saw hookahs being smoked in public was in Edgware Road , London. The road has a middle eastern feel to it, probably because of all the Middle Eastern businesses, Middle Eastern eateries and Middle Eastern men in the street.

Then I saw some men with hookahs in their mouths in Sydney Road, Brunswick a year or so ago.

She couldn't have gotten her hair any blonder or her lips any redder. She was enjoying her hookah in Lygon Street, East Brunswick a week or so ago.

All very well for those north of the river types and their whacky baccy, but lo, R pointed out some hookahs in Mojitos in South Yarra. I've not seen them used yet.

Errr, I don't want to be a fusspot but do they have disposable mouth pieces? I am thinking I wouldn't be wanting a used hookah in my mouth unless it was thoroughly cleansed. Btw, does anyone know if hookah in French has a le or a la?

Thursday, February 03, 2011

A Windsor Wander

I am not a young trendy person, but I do like to know what young trendy peoples are doing. I had reason to go to High Street Windsor other than to look at young trendy shops, but I thought we may as well take the time to check them out. East of Chapel Street in High Street is undergoing a renaissance. We entered a gallery that has some nice works. We went upstairs! to look at more works. We visited several other shops.

Hmm, a stylised and numbered print of a St Kilda view, bought at a fund raiser to stop the Triangle development. Nice bit of history, we liked the picture, but it was the wrong shape for the wall.

It was a bit warmish and I was trying to stay on the shady side of the street but R kept dragging me onto the hot sunny side to look at shops. I need a cold drink, I protested.

The interesting Chapel Street cafes were chockers with the young and the beautiful, as they would be on a Saturday afternoon. What is this place? A bottle shop with tables outside?

We occasionally go for a daytime drink to somewhere that charges outrageous prices just for a large beer or glass of wine. I always justify it because we never go out to bars at night drinking nowadays.

I am not sure if we sat at a barrel or a fifties laminex table at the bottle shop, there were both, but sat we did and I had an Asahi and R had an interesting imported cola, straight out of the bottle shop fridge. I conceal my shock when I pay $8 for an Asahi in some bars. This cost $7.50 for the Asahi and the cola. It would be a $1 extra if we wanted a glass. We slugged it down from the bottles like the common working class types that we are. The bottle shop does coffee too. I was most impressed. Our neighbouring drinkers were of Japanese origin. Only young Japanese can do style that puts westerners to shame and no young lady can pout better than a trendy Japanese lass.

No doubt the plans for these stairs in a gallery were brought over from Britain. They are treacherously steep.


Ah, it was laminex table we sat at for our refreshing drink.



Look V. You can come home and find gainful employment.


Might this be a night safe deposit facility at the Windsor ANZ Bank? Might the bank be closed? Might it be a backpackers place now? Might ANZ bank's name be sullied by such an historical attachment? Might that be Castlemaine slate?


A Jolly Roger, taken from the Queensway tramstop. Is it at half mast? Did a pirate die?

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Shocking wind

Are we all holding our breath? The shocking wind won't be fixed by Dewitts Powder. Those to our far north are as prepared as they can be thanks to up to the date technology and forecasts by our weather bureau.

Our ABC is the nation's emergency broadcaster. I don't know what sort of hole in their budgets these tasks cause the ABC, but what a sterling job they have done through the Queensland and Victorian floods and now with the approaching Cyclone Yasi.

Across Queensland eleven local radio stations are broadcasting cyclone information via both AM and FM frequencies. Radio National is also broadcasting cyclone news as is News Radio, ABC Classic, and Radio Australia via shortwave. As was for the Qld floods, a special digital radio service has been set up to broadcast ABC Queensland across the nation, keeping all of us updated. ABC TV News 24 is playing its part too.

When the government next allocates money to our ABC, I hope they remember these times.

Later edit: BBC Asia Pacific is also giving the cyclone extensive coverage.

Fire

That's a bad. Off Little Bourke Street, Chun Wah's Cafe went up like the proverbial Hindu widow. It was a few months ago and was reported on the radio news.

Animal Kingdom

I was a bit annoyed that we missed Animal Kingdom when it was on at the picture theatres. However, we did hire the dvd to watch after christmas. I went to Blockbuster in Chapel Street because I had a membership card for them. I just knew it would go wrong as the lass swiped the card. How long since you have been here, she asked. About 2005 I replied. That was when R's sister and bro in law were here and they hired quite a few movies. We have not hired one since. I panicked as she said I would need to rejoin, and I hesitated and checked with R and he nodded. Fortunately it was only a few keystrokes by the lass and I was an up to date member.

I was looking forward to seeing it as I felt a personal connection. The personal connection was I went past in a tram the day after the Walsh Street police murders and the street was blocked off. We often walk along Walsh Street and I noted which block of flats the police were called to. And of course we look down on Walsh Street from the highrise. Plus I find tales of both Melbourne and Sydney's underworld a bit fascinating.

If the movie was about the Walsh Street murders, I missed that. If the movie was about a sulky morose teenager, I got that. If it was some fine writing for Jackie Weaver to deliver well, I got that. If it was about history of a matter I was interested in, I missed that. I found the movie very disappointing, but not due to the standard of acting.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Yasi

Oh, a band of rain approaching Queensland. I am inclined to say don't panic Captain Mainwarring, but then I recall ex Premier Brumby telling us tomorrow, a day in early February a couple of years ago, would be a bad day. We thinking people thought, ho hum.

Authorities are now prone to over exaggerating risk from unfriendly weather. I hope they are this time. What a pity there weren't warnings to Toowoomba and the Lockyer Valley.

A Big Gay Party

The 6th of September in 1969 was significant date for Melbourne's gays, so I learnt during the history walk. It probably was in many western cities that had significant numbers of gay men. One party organised to celebrate the date in a flat in Darling Street South Yarra was overwhelmed when Masies closed at the correct hour, with people unable to fit inside the flat, they spilled out into Darling Street.

But it was probably not a significant date for gays in the US where a different date format is used.

Quayleisms

There once was a US politician who rivalled George Dubbya but perhaps not in the way he wanted.

While following up mango(e)s and avocado(e)s I came across something I remember very well, Dan Quayle wrongly arguing with a student about the ending of the word potato. Quayle insisted it was potatoe.

I am sure it has been done for George Dubbya and a list of Quayleisms has also been compiled.

I am not part of the problem. I am a Republican.

I have made good judgements in the Past. I have made good judgements in the Future.

People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history.

Republicans understand the importance of bondage between a mother and child.


The future will be better tomorrow.


We don't want to go back to tomorrow, we want to go forward.


We have a firm commitment to NATO, we are a *part* of NATO. We have a firm commitment to Europe. We are a *part* of Europe.


We're all capable of mistakes, but I do not care to enlighten you on the mistakes we may or may not have made.


Welcome to President Bush, Mrs. Bush, and my fellow astronauts.


What a waste it is to lose one's mind. Or not to have a mind is being very wasteful. How true that is.

When I have been asked during these last weeks who caused the riots and the killing in L.A., my answer has been direct and simple: Who is to blame for the riots? The rioters are to blame. Who is to blame for the killings? The killers are to blame.


[It's] time for the human race to enter the solar system.
Verbosity leads to unclear, inarticulate things.

One word sums up probably the responsibility of any vice president, and that one word is 'to be prepared'.

Illegitimacy is something we should talk about in terms of not having it.

I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy - but that could change.

Mars is essentially in the same orbit... Mars is somewhat the same distance from the Sun, which is very important. We have seen pictures where there are canals, we believe, and water. If there is water, that means there is oxygen. If oxygen, that means we can breathe.

The Holocaust was an obscene period in our nation's history. I mean in this century's history. But we all lived in this century. I didn't live in this century.

Quite frankly, teachers are the only profession that teach our children.
We're going to have the best-educated American people in the world.

We are ready for any unforeseen event that may or may not occur.


For NASA, space is still a high priority.


We approach the end where he becomes introspective perhaps.

Public speaking is very easy.

I stand by all the misstatements that I've made.


Murphy Brown is doing better than I am. At least she knows she still has a job next year.

Monday, January 31, 2011

More on the spam

Spam nuts, how gross.

After a petition was gathered protesting about me turning on word verification for comments, well one person had issues, I decided to see just how good Blogspot's auto spam protection is. Comments on all older posts is allowed and word verification is off. I haven't had one spam of any sort in three days, but nothing in the spam folder either, meaning there hasn't even been an attempt.

Weird. I guess my actions have confused the spam bots.

A South Yarra gay outing

'R, it is the Midsumma gay history walk next Sunday. You don't want to go do you?'
'Where is it this time?'
'South Yarra.'
'Wouldn't mind.'
'It is forecast to be 34 degrees.'
'Bit warm, but we should do it.'
'I'll book then shall I?'
'Yep.'

In the meantime the forecast changed to 40 degrees for the day.

We met at eleven at what is called the Pink Palace in Claremont Street, South Yarra. It is the home of ALSO who have given space to the Australian Lesbian and Gay Archives organisation, who run the walks. Cost for the walk $17.50 pp including booking fee by whichever ticket agency does Midsumma bookings.

Next Sunday is Pride March day in St Kilda. We went last year and had a great time. This year I am working.

I had heard that Midsumma Carnival was to be at Birrarung Marr this year. At some point a week or so ago I wondered when it was. I was surprised to hear that it had been and gone. We normally attend, but again, I think I was working that day. As I thought, there was not enough shade and it was very dusty. I am not sorry to have missed it. It was also a thoroughfare for those going to the cricket at the MCG. The last couple of years Canival has been at Treasury Gardens, which was good, but City of Melb were concerned about the impact on the Gardens. It used to be at Alexandra Gardens and I am not sure why it isn't now, possibly the same reason. Rather irks me when Yarra Park gets handed over for carparking for sporting events. You just know his name is Justin Madden.

We have done a St Kilda gay walk tour, and a Carlton one. There have been many we haven't.

The walk intro was done in the foyer of the afore mentioned building. First stop was within view of Melbourne Boys High. We were hailed with oral history anecdotes of those who attended and what the student lads got up to in a general sense.

Stop two was at South Yarra Station, a place where men could loiter without raising suspicion.

Stop three was at number 9 Darling Street, now a reception centre. What is was before I missed, but the late and great Jan Hillier used to host parties and dances there before she and Doug Lucas established Pokeys at the Prince of Wales in St Kilda. Poor Jan died while trying to rescue her dog when her house caught fire.

As we walked to the next point, I overheard a chappie talking about Ava Gardner and the Regent Theatre????

Stop four was Masies, Her Majesty's Hotel. Masies is not a corruption of Her Maj, but the camp name of the licensee.

Stop five, Kevin O'Neill's florist, the flower arranger for the rich and famous.

Stop six was opposite what was a gay cafe in perhaps the sixties. There were quite a few sprinkled along Toorak Road. In the programme one mentioned is Flowers. It was an error in an oral history and the place was Brummels. I have written about Brummels.

Stop seven was a fairly general chat about Chapel Street. A constant running thread was the social development of South Yarra.

The last stops eight and nine were combined because of the heat. I had no idea the Imperial Hotel was the first dyke bar in Melbourne. Chaps in the front bar, girls to the back. It was a rough place, the kind of place where a girl might just break a pool cue over her girlfriend's head. Mention was also made of the Daughters of Bilitis book shop which went on to become Skorus Books.

The official tour ended, but most went back to the ALSO building where tea, coffee, cold drinks and nibbles were served. A few of us who were interested viewed the actual archive areas, upstairs and downstairs.

In spite of the heat, it was a good event.

But:

The speaker amp failed and I missed quite a lot of what was said.

I know in the past they have done two walks of the same. I don't think they did this year and the number of participants was too high.

Oh yes, the bit about Ava Gardner. When she was here filming On the Beach, one evening she and a companion quietly slipped into Australia's first night club Embers in Toorak Road. She was spotted and the spotlight went on her. I forget the exact circumstances but she was pestered by to say a few words and eventually she relented and stood and said 'f*** off'. Amusingly Embers nightclub later burnt down.

There was one particularly interesting building I knew nothing about, The Regent Theatre, in Toorak Road. Here is a photo of it here.

This is its most attractive replacement.


View Larger Map

I didn't take any snaps except for this one of Michelin Man in the Window of Duttons in Yarra Street as we returned to the car.




Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cover up Teddy

Little Jo does not like a naked bear. His loins were wrapped and the fabric secured with bulldog clips.


Yes, the weight is correct. Sister presented us with this from her garden. R used about an eighth of it tonight in a zucchini slice. It was ok but clearly we can't eat all of it. It is almost three and a half kilos or seven and a half pounds.

The 925 to the shops

'I've lived here for 35 years and now when I am too old to use it, I get a bus service', lamented Mother. She is quite bemused by the empty bus rolling past the front of her house in both directions.

It is a brand new route, 925. When I am on the phone speaking to her and the bus passes by, she always comments that she can never see anyone on it. I explain that new bus routes aren't always immediately successful and take time to register in people's consciousness. And just because there is no one on the bus as it passes her house, it doesn't mean another part of route couldn't be quite busy.

Now you would think it would be a simple thing for me to take a look at the new route, where it goes and what it services. Not simple at all. I took me half an hour to work it out.

Of course I started with Metlink. I narrowed it down to a couple of route numbers and checked them on Metlink's stylised map, but although Mother's street was shown, none of the bus routes travelled along it.

Eventually working backwards from a press release I decided it was route 925. Does the Metlink map show it running along Mother's street? No. After much puzzlement and confusion, I looked at the detailed stop list and there it is running along Mother's street. It is a totally new route, so the problem can't be an out of date map. The map is just wrong.

Part way through the 07/07 inquest

The 7th of July London bombing coronial inquest has almost finished the survivor questioning and statements. Lady Justice Hallett has praised the bravery of many, even the fire fighter who subsequently swapped careers to become a coke dealer and is now banged up in Wandsworth Prison (it could be any prison really, but I like the sound of Wandsworth).

The authorities now come under her gaze. I think they are in for a tough time.

A writer for The Guardian says,

Survivors staggering from the Aldgate train told how they shouted at paramedics who were waiting on the platform for instructions while people were dying just a few hundred yards away in the tunnel.

Fire crews did not arrive at the platform at Edgware Road until 9.44am, almost an hour after the explosion, where they waited instead of proceeding to the carriage. Paramedics quickly ran out of equipment and were reliant on what they could find in a nearby branch of Marks & Spencer. Ambulances from the two closest stations to the bomb site were not dispatched.

The driver of the train, Ray Whitehurst, with none of his communication equipment working, rang repeatedly for help from a fixed-line phone inside the tunnel, but was ignored. "I got the impression that no one really knew what they were doing," he said. A junior London Underground worker who had rushed, covered in soot and very distressed from the carriage to the station control room to get more first aid supplies, told the inquest his supervisor, Ken Leach, had told him to "piss off". Leach said he couldn't recall using those words.

Though the Tavistock Square bus blew up in broad daylight in a busy central London street, it took 52 minutes before ambulances were even dispatched. British Transport police officers who witnessed the explosion and ran to their nearby headquarters to raise help were instead prevented from leaving the HQ after being told it was in "lockdown".

And so, depressingly, on. However challenging the circumstances, there is no question that the capital's emergency services fell short in their response; how seriously they failed will be Lady Justice Hallett's duty to decide.