Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Sunday Drive

Another among the very many fantastic photos from shorpy.com

Click on the link and then the photo to see it in full size. The cog railway still runs. And what does this have to do with you in bed at night? Click here to find a connection between the cog railway and your mattress.

Switching the electric

'Andrew, I am not sure what I have done is right, but he was so sweet and charming and really had the gift of the gab'.

'Wouldn't happen to be Irish would he Mother?'

'Yes, he was I guess, or English, or Scottish. I am not sure'.

Mother, charmed by the blarney or crack, had switched over her electric company on the advice of a door to door salesman.

'17 cents a kilowatt hour as against the 20 cents I am now paying'

'And a two year contract Mother?'

'I think so. But there is a ten day cooling off period and I am thinking I might cancel it'.

'I shall investigate Mother and call you back'.

Ring ring.

'Mother, when you add the gst to the tariff, it is over 19 cents. The service charge is just slightly higher and you won't be able to pay half on the due date, ring up and tell them you will pay the rest in a fortnight's time. You will have to pay the full amount by the due date to receive the so called discount'.

'I will cancel it Andrew. I am too upset and shaky to do it today. I will do it Monday'.

'Good idea Mother. Bye'.

The last time I looked at one of the sites that indicates which is the cheapest electric company for you, I worked out we could save $80 a year by changing. Given there are often hassles when changing electric companies and the saving per quarterly bill each would be $10, I didn't think it was worth the bother, but I should have another look to see if anything has changed.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Do the the crime, pay the price

It seems is is never a good idea to intervene in a fight among strangers. One tourist from the Netherlands nearly lost his life and another local male did die when they intervened in an assault of a woman by a man. Paul de Waard took a long time to recover from his injuries and Brendan Keilar did not recover. They were both very brave and justice was done with the male responsible being sentenced to life in prison.

In another case Luke Mitchell intervened in a fight and he was bashed and stabbed to death allegedly by three Thai nationals, who immediately fled the country. A team from Australia is in Thailand to represent Luke's and our interest in having them extradited to Australia to face a trial. We can assume they will appear before our courts and convicted and sentenced harshly. Of course it will be up to the courts to decided their guilt and if found guilty, impose an appropriate sentence.

Sometimes though I really think our system of justice is screwed when what I will describe below occurs.

Ryhs Marshall may or not have been an angel. He had been drinking too. Nevertheless he intervened when a man who was very drunk was bashing his own head against a pole. For his pains he was punched very hard by the drunk, fell to the ground, hit his head and died. The assailant then went home and then out again to party some more.

The perpetrator was charged with manslaughter and astonishingly found not guilt by a Supreme Court Jury.

How could this possibly be? The family of the victim have no criticism of the police or the prosecutors. You physically assault someone and they die because of your actions, and you walk out of court a free man. I can only shake my head in disbelief.

I would hesitate to do this if I felt in any way that justice was done but I do not. Whatever mitigating circumstances there may have been, the essence of what happened is above and is not denied.

So Mr Digby Gram, you have been extremely fortunate but these days a prospective employer or partner does not have to check court records to see what you may have done in the past. It is all out here on the internet for everyone to come across. Your grandchildren will be so proud of their grandad. Photos of Digby Gram from the Fairfax press.

Sleeping Beauty

The apartment below and to the front of us has always been rented out. Tenants seem to change once a year, as they do in many apartments within our building. Curiously though, there are some long term renters. I can't believe what they pay in rent. We could never afford to pay rent to live here.

The latest tenants in the aforementioned apartment moved in a month or so ago. We can sit or stand on our balcony and see a little bit into the 2nd and 3rd bedrooms. For some odd reason, both lads in bedrooms two and three placed there bed heads under the windows and length wise. I know the layout of these apartments as they are all the same and it is an odd thing that they have their bedheads under the window.

A few weeks ago R stepped onto the balcony and bolted back inside in embarrassment. The guy, you can see his face and he is sleeping with the blind open. And so they both do in their respective bedrooms. The guy in the 3rd bedroom is only about three metres away from our balcony. I went onto the balcony, casually glancing in the distance, sat down, and then cast my gaze below. Sure enough, sound asleep and he must be hot blooded as the cover was below his nipples. He looked so at peace, like a baby sleeping. We have kind of gotten used to seeing him asleep. Now it is cold, he pulls the covers up to his chin.

He is a little solid for my liking but has a nice face and good but wild hair. Neither of us have seen him around the building, only asleep. They do hang washing on their balcony, which is a serious breach of building rules, but at this height, no body seems to notice.

One Sunday morning at about 6am I had risen to go to work. I stepped out onto the balcony to check the feel of the weather and his bed was empty. What a good young man, I thought. Such a strong work ethic, off doing some casual job, perhaps waiting on tables and serving breakfasts to earn some money to put himself through uni. Nah, an hour later he was in bed, probably having just gotten home from clubbing.

You may think I am now going off topic, but bear with me.

I downloaded a app to my new phone called Grindr. It is a hook up site for gay men. It gives you a photo of a person, how far away they are using GPS and their likes and dislikes. If you like what you see, you can send them a message. There is a new staff member at work who has moved to Melbourne from Sydney. While I did assume, I switched on the Grindr app at work today, and there he was, dressed in work clothes in his photo and showing that he was ten metres away. Nothing like being obvious.

I have no intention of meeting anyone via Grindr, being the faithfull type (shut your gob. It is nothing to do with me now being too lazy). Would you care to guess who popped up when I switched Grindr on at home. Yep, the afore mentioned sleeping beauty. I know his face well enough and the app told me he was four metres away.

That is why I downloaded Grindr. Just for curiosity purposes, or you could perhaps call it stalking. Another person we know in the building has an Asian b/f with the same name as his son. The b/f is on Grindr too. I think I have had my fun with Grindr, now that I know how it works. I will switch it off as it flattens the battery quickly and uses bandwidth.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The birds of Albert Park #2

The teal again. They seem very fond of this position and stand on one leg, or..... nah.


As is often the case in the bird world, Mrs teal is a little duller, but still quite attractive.


One of those swamp hens again. Might a swamp he be male?


This'd he your cormorant I should think. I suppose they come in many varieties, so shan't even try to identify which it is.


Back to the duck.


Here's looking at you kid.

Barak Abroad

Men can wear suits and are rarely judged on their appearance when they are in a suit, as long as the suit is good quality and fits properly. Not so women. Every detail of what a woman is wearing is noted and open to compliment or criticism. The difference between men' and women's clothing will remain a divide forever more. I can't help but think women's dress is a device of oppression.

Nevertheless, I like a pretty dress. What was Michelle Obama thinking. While I don't like her dress much, that stupid pink fly thing is absurd. Contrast her outfit to the beautiful dress Kate is wearing. Surely if you are meeting royalty in a foreign country, you would dress appropriately and not as for a teen girl's party. Barak and William, being men who can afford good suits, look just dandy. What is William telling Barak? I caught a fish this big? Or I gave Kate this much and I still a bit left that wasn't in. I can well imagine William's need to brag when there is a black man around.


There is a further issue with Michelle's dress. It is an awfully similar pattern and colour to Betty's. Wasn't there any prior liaison? And how about a bit of respect Barak and Michelle. A bow and curtsey if you please. Our Betty is not an elected person and so therefore deserves some some bowing and scraping. She probably has a cattle prod in her hand bag to deal with disrespectful types like yourselves.

One can't help but notice Betty's scalp showing through the tease of her hair. I always thought she had a good head of hair. Perhaps she needs to wear one of her many hats indoors. At least Barak will be a bit more civilised than other black people she has entertained, such as Idi Amin.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

DIY Insulation

Daniel is wondering whether to install his own insulation batts in his ceiling. I did it once. I was young and fit. Now I am not young and fit, but regardless, I wouldn't do it again for other reasons.

I can't recall the weather at the time but I doubt I would have installed batts on a hot day. Nevertheless, the ceiling space was boiling hot. I had tried to seal my skin with clothing to prevent the 'itchys', when the glass fibres that float off the batts and get on your skin and irritate it. I also wore a handkerchief over my mouth to prevent inhalation of fibres.

R pushed the packs of batts up to me in the ceiling and I cut the packs open and the batts sprang out. It was easy enough to fit the batts where the ceiling space was large, but it was very difficult to get the batts into position around the edges of where the roof came down to ceiling level. Crawling in a roof with glass fibre batts is damn hard. Then there is always the risk of missing your footing and plunging a leg through the ceiling. Although I had a lead lamp suspended, there were lots of dark areas and if I was between the light and where I was going, my body blocked the light. Professionals would have removed roof tiles to get the batts in and provide light.

So, it was damn hard work but the worst was yet to come. My clothing did not prevent glass fibres finding their way to my skin and I believe they cause tiny but invisible cuts in your skin. I can't remember how long the itching took to stop, but it was not pleasant at all.

The insulation made a big difference to the interior of our house and the heating and cooling needed but I would not recommend an inexperienced amateur to install their own home fibre batt insulation.

The birds of Albert Park #1

I took many photos of birds at Albert Park last week. Lucky you will only see one dozen. The best will be in the second part. I expect Red Nomad will correct any naming errors.

Please god let this one be right at least. Purple swamp hens.


Crested pigeons. I have never seen these in Melbourne before. I first saw them at my step mother's in the north of the state. They have a strange chirp. They are removing the seeds from the seeded grass bed where the Melbourne Grand Pricks organisation killed the grass during our annual 'burn petrol needlessly' event.


I was naughty. I attracted the birds with Salada cracker crumbs, but hey they were the Lite ones, so no harm done.


Just from my observations on the day, when two swans meet and they already know each other, they have a ritual to observe which also involves some sounds as well as the obvious physical.


If this is the same breed of duck as I saw last time, it is a Pacific Black Duck.


I think I have the name right but at this point I will just say it is a teal duck.


Ah, me ole mate P01. I have known him/her for a long time. She/he harassed our friend in Japan when she visited. He/she scared Little Jo. P01 if fine. I have her measure, and I am sure it is a she. You dun scare me you ho bitch. Speaking of family, err, reference to Little Jo, not ho bitch, Dreaded Nephew built the timber deck.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Flowers and a bag

We got a bit arty with this week's flowers. I tried to combine two posts in one. We are down to our last brown paper bag. It is a pack of fifty bags and it is Farmland brand, a Coles supermarket label. I guess we don't use many paper bags as Farmland disappeared a long time ago, didn't it?

Going, going, last bid, gone

Brighton Antique Dealer sold her abode by auction at the weekend. It is a shop/house but quite different to the Asian version of a shop/house. It has a shop at the front, living area behind and bedrooms and bathroom upstairs and a decent sized courtyard at the rear with a free standing tv projection room. The stairs have a travelling seat, I have forgotten the name of the stair seat system, but it is a bit of fun to use, although slow and no speed control. Dame M rode on it once, she appeared around the stair return waving regally as she descended.

BAD is moving up the street a bit to a place full of rich widows and retired but helpless supreme court judges. Her requirements are modest, so it will be a very affordable one bedroom place. Her toyboy who is actually older than her can kip on the couch if he wants to stay over. BAD is pushing 80, so she needs to make her life a bit easier.

A few of our friends came along for the auction. Our dyke friend came. Our Ex NT policeman/politician friend was on air broadcasting on some old persons radio station, but his partner and his partner's boyfriend came along. Lo and behold, a neighbour of ours in our building was there. Finding out how she knew BAD was interesting. Friend of a neighbour apparently. The woman I am referring to was the one who had all the trouble with our Famous Bearded Media Person Resident (ailing) when he used to light his chimminier and burn papers and the ash and smoke flowed into her next door apartment.

I thought the suggested sale price by the agent was low. It seemed it was as BAD received considerably more than what the agent suggested, although only a bit more than what she thought.

BAD has such an interesting past, well she is still interesting. Her first husband, the father of her two children, one a dyke, was Iranian. He had the biggest biggest, well she did say it was the biggest she had ever seen. Her second husband was a rich yachtie who died and she loved him dearly. Well so she should as he set her up very well financially. Now her toyboy is presumably straight, but knows the gay scene too well for my liking. He has painted the interior of the Exchange Hotel too often for my liking. Otherwise, BAD surrounds herself with rich older Brighton women and gay men of fame and some like us, pretty plain and ordinary. Between husbands, BAD went through a bohemian artistic phase too.

Just as BAD sold her home and moved into the shop/house, a developer bought the place next door, demolished and built a smart new abode. BAD fought him tooth and nail over infringements involving solicitors, council and VCAT. The developer saw her as an old woman next door and took liberties and she took as set against him. At the auction he tried to have revenge by blurting out about how her property was in a flood zone, had been flooded twice, and had a large tree in the backyar that could not be removed. The auctioneer handled the interruption well and smoothed things over and given BAD received more for the place than she expected, he had no impact, but it did make for an interesting auction. The truth is yes, there is a large gum tree in the back yard cannot be removed. It is quite a nice tree really. Not sure why you would want to cut it down. BAD's place has flooded once, earlier this year when many places flooded. The water came in her back door and flowed out her front door. Not much damage but perhaps was the push that made her put her place on the market. She said she should move before she got to the stage of when she could no longer cope with such events.

She asked us earlier if we would like to stay for celebratory glass of champers and we hung around for a good while but the signing was taking too long. We had a party in the swamps of Langwarrin to attend. Of course as soon as we left she called us and asked us to come back. Sorry BAD, catch you up soon.

Hah, caring bitch dyke cow daughter didn't even attend her mother's auction. BAD, Andrew Highriser will find me when you write your will.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Just another Saturday night

It is Tradie Brother's birthday this week coming. He has moved back into the family house in Langwarrin after Sis in Law moved out to her new house in Tooradin with her new beau. Dreaded nephew alternates between both places and his room in Carlton. Oldest niece stays with her boyfriend in Tradie Brother's bungalow at Langwarrin and Chainsaw niece is with her mother at Tooradin, but there is a lot of mixing and matching. Oldest niece has bought her own house, but is waiting for the tenants to move out.

As I have said before, Sis in Law has been a wonderful mother to her children. She brought them up with love in the house. They adore her and she adores them. She nursed her parents until they both died within the last couple of years. But, all the love that she spread around meant there was little time for household cleaning, tidying and home maintenance.

Now Tradie Brother is back in possession of the family home he is making a huge effort. While the weather was fine, he concentrated on the outside, which meant he cut every plant back to ground level. Now the weather has turned, he is focusing more on the inside. I can't say the place was spotless, but by golly it was pretty good. For the first time since they bought the place some twenty years ago, I was unafraid to go to the toilet. It was clean. Apart from a few things at the end of the long kitchen bench top, it was clear. There weren't piles of dishes lying around, nor mounds of clothes. The place was simply organised and tidy and I have never seen it like that.

For his birthday bash he invited Step Mother, who came down by train from the north of Victoria, and her daughter and son in law from Gippsland. ABI Brother was supposed to come and stay over the night, but he was unwell with a cold. Mother invited herself and then declined.

I had to work on the Sunday morning so I suggested to R we attend for a couple of hours in the late afternoon. Oh, the best laid plans of mice and men.

We arrived at 6. Step Mother was there, already well started on the cider. Dreaded Nephew was there, already well started on his father's beer supply. Tradie Brother was there, well started on his own supply. Less than an hour later Step Sister turned up with her husband. The neighbour from across the road turned up. We had a drink and a barbecue meal. 'Let's play cards', proclaimed Step Mother right in the middle of a nice chat I was having with step sister's husband about when he caught a huge eel at Rawson and the neighbour telling us how he and a mate managed to kill six stray cats with one round of a shotgun. Seriously though, they were both nice to talk to. Did you know the number on your boat license is the same as your driving license number? If you lose your boat license, you lose your car license. Step Mother killed the conversation with her game of euchre, or was it 500. I didn't play. Like my father and Tradie Brother, we hate cards. R played.

At about 8.30 I asked R if he wanted to stay. He indicated he did. 9.30 Chainsaw Niece appeared to change her clothing to go to a party. I kind of hovered. Chatted to Tradie Brother. Examined things inside the house. Saw the separate part of the house where Tradie Brother's inlaws used to inhabit. Put some potatoes in foil for their supper and threw them into the embers of the fire that was burning in the backyard. We also had a gas fired patio heater to keep us warm. After ten I was getting mega bored. I indicated to R that we should go, but he was partnered in cards and was reluctant to leave. Dreaded Nephew was playing too. He asked if he could get a lift back to town with us. Of course.

At some point a neighbour called out something. I thought it was to tell everyone to keep the noise down. "What's that Joycey?" She repeated, ring the bell, ring the bell and a suspended water meter cover was struck several times to celebrate Richmond's football win.

R was enjoying himself with the game of cards but as the time reached 10.30, I asked him if we could leave. Just one more hand please. Bah, it was eleven before we left and I looked bad because I was insisting we left. Then we had to drop Dreaded Nephew at the Lucky Coq in Windsor, so we were not home until midnight and can you believe I was stone cold sober at midnight on a Saturday night. Bed by one and a Sunday rise at 6.45.

A walk to the park

I went 'bird watching' at Albert Park last week. Bird photos later. When R arrived home I called him to come and meet me and we would walk home together. There was little warmth in the late afternoon sun but it gave nice light.

An avenue of what I believe to be rubber trees.


The avenue turns and there is a sight block of trees.


A pair of trees, perhaps ash trees of some kind.


A solitary rubber tree. I like them at this size. I hope they don't get much larger.


The sun had nearly set. Only the top of the trees on the mound were now catching any direct light.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

From the mouths of babes

Little Jo does not see news on tv, nor hear it on radio, but she clearly picked something up about Queensland or Victorian floods earlier this year and spoke when Sister was driving in heavy rain.

'Mummy, are we going to drown?'

No surprise at this one given how much Mother bangs on about her medical problems.

'Nanny, will you die soon?' I'm saying nothing.

R was looking after Little Jo when Bone Doctor called up on the intercom to collect her.

'R, can you tell her to go away please'.

We were playing Wind in the Willows birthday party. Children's imaginations are very experimental.

'Mole, here is your present.' Just why oh why was I chosen to be Mole. Who are you calling a moll kid? FYI, R was Badger.

Little Jo gave a talk at her pre school about her mother for Mother's Day. 'My mummy has curly hair, is sixty and does lots of boring jobs.' Sister is early forties.

Sometimes she says nothing. Sister and I was sitting in the dining room of her house reading. Sister had told Little Jo she could watch one five minute episode of a tv programme and then we were going out. At about four minutes thirty, the door to lounge room quietly closed. We could no longer hear the end of the episode and the beginning of the next one.