Saturday, June 04, 2011

The coin machine on the fridge

It was a box attached to a rental tv. You rented the tv and paid for it with coins. It had electrical wires coming out of it to the tv. Tradie Brother told me that there wasn't a direct relationship between the money you put in to watch tv and how much the tv rental cost, so therefore, when the box was emptied, you received some money back, an incentive of some sort I think.

When I told R this, he remembers them in England, along with the coin in the slot gas meters.

What is it?

Tradie Brother is rather fond of creating curiosities. He had a post painted like barbers pole only in blue and white and it was stuck into the lawn. If you looked at it, you could see many names written upon it with a carpenter's pencil. My name was added when I asked what it was for.

He also once grew the tallest rose on the Mornington Peninsula, maybe the world. He trained a single leader of a rose up a pole, up to over thirty metres in the sky. It showed on the various aerial mapping sites.

No one can enter his kitchen for the first time without exclaiming, 'What happened to your fridge?' It used to be a beer fridge and sat outside and must have become wet at times.

What about the black box attached to it? I have learnt not to ask, but eventually he had to tell me. In the close up photo, you can see a slide that coins were inserted into, the slide was pushed across and the money dropped into the box. But what was it for?


Friday, June 03, 2011

Miaow

Most people in the world I would not take on physically. I am a whimp. Intellectually, there are many superior to me. Mentally, I can probably hold my own against most people. One person I would not take on physically, intellectually or mentally is Senator Penny Wong.

No one could refute that it is hard for women in politics. They are scrutinised so much more than men and held to higher standards. Women only really succeed in politics by their brains.

Senator Wong has the lot I reckon. Physical, mental and intellectual. Be afraid boys be very afraid. Upset her, and you will not come out of it looking good.

In spite of me being disappointed in her for towing the party line over many matters, including gay marriage, which I don't care two hoots about personally, but many of my ilk do, I think she is future PM material.

I have no reason to doubt that she is also quite charming. Politicians need the charming ability too. But riled, she can turn like a mangy dog. Is she representative of Adelaide women? Should I be afraid to visit Adelaide? Take a look if you haven't seen it all ready. It is so passe to say so, but go girl.


Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Mother Day

Which Mother story would you like? The mysterious door bell ringing at 2am which sometimes happens and did last night. I had a look at it today. It is wired in with a transformer in the meter box. It could be shorting out somewhere. Long story which I will save you from......for now.

What is that yellow thing Andrew? There was no yellow thing, only a smart electric meter with tamper areas tied off with yellow ties. Mother was most upset that it had been installed without her knowledge. I can refuse, she proclaimed. I don't know much about smart meters, but I think she can refuse. I ran my finger over the top of the meter. It had hardened dust upon it. It has been there a long time, before consumers were able to refuse. Maybe just as well Mother, as now they have to carefully check your wiring to make sure your electric wiring is all safe before installing one. Yours may not come up to scratch. Suddenly we are in a quandary. Thinking about it later, no quandary. Mother's house going up like a Hindu widow would not be a bad thing. Just save Mother and the photos.

What else won't I tell you about? Ah yeah, golf balls mysteriously appearing in her backyard. She thought cats were bringing them in. When a heavy golf club appeared on the back lawn, that seemed doubtful. Another one added to the mysteries at Mother's place.

Chainsaw niece called her 'that foreign woman next door', Mother's long time neighbour who may or may not have been a Filipina bride, now widow, had been the perfect neighbour. Always there to help but never intrusive. The neighbour's daughter is a high achiever in life, but has been struck down with Lupus. Our dyke heart transplant friend used to have Lupus and it was probably responsible for the failure of her heart. This is not good news. Mother has known the daughter since she was born and she would now be mid twenties.

Another story from Mother that is too long tell, speaking of Chainsaw niece, is that she slept in her car after a party until the morn. Did she lock her car? Did she wind up the windows? Evidently not as her purse and phone were gone the next morning. That's her story, and she is sticking to it.

I actually had a nice time with Mother today. I took her to a nursery for her to buy seedlings, to the shops and the supermarket for shopping that ABI normally takes her for on Friday evenings. We wrapped up with coffee and an apple slice each at the Great Australian Bakery. The weather was quite pleasant.

Mother is girding her loins for an overnight stay by Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo on Saturday night. 'Andrew, why can't they just come in the daytime? Little Jo wakes so early and I want to sleep.' What is the woman on. Little Jo coming into your bed at 6.30 in the morning for a cuddle is one of the nicest things in the world.

Mother did buy some jelly crystals and Smarties to make jelly with smarties in it for Little Jo's visit at least.

(all positive thoughts and comments about Mother were inspired by the fact that she did not bang on about her health issues, just for once)

Martini

Dean Martin always had one didn't he? A good stiff martini. Although I knew how to make a martini when I was eighteen and I worked in a pub, I was never asked for one and nor had I ever made one for myself to drink. I was strictly a beer or sweet drink person then. How times have changed. Of the former I rarely partake and of the latter I do not enjoy the partake.

I cannot remember when I had my first martini. It was a long time ago, maybe when I was around 30. My alcohol tastes had changed from sickly sweet and I enjoyed my dry martini immensely. For a while R and I used to make them at home or occasionally have them when we were out. Like the cry goes 'don't touch the bottom' as the birthday person cuts their cake, so too did the cry go out, 'don't bruise the gin'.

There are so many cocktails available now, but I prefer the simple ones, such as a martini or a margarita. Not that I have had one for years, but I could quite easily.

There is one cocktail I have not had and always want to try and that is a Long Island Tea. I believe one is enough to knock you sideways. I think I'll have two. Ten years ago one cost about $20. Goodness knows what they might be now.

While it is not a cocktail,I would like to try absinthe too. Rumour had it that it was banned because of its hallucinogenic properties due to the woodworm in it. Apparently it was nothing to do with woodworm, but the simple fact that it was around 80% proof. Did I read that France recently allowed the drink to once again be called absinthe?

Can I have my dose of the green fairy among the bacchanalia found in Montmartre? Look R, there is Montmartre, I exclaimed from the Eiffel Tower.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Not so exciting day off

I am excited. I have a day off tomorrow. They seem rare and far apart. I wish I had time to go out somewhere and see something interesting. Instead in the morning I must iron chothes, clean my shower, and clean the stove top. Mostly eating at home means our kitchen gets used, big time, and needs cleaning often. Oh yes, the dishwasher needs cleaning too. Only those who have one understand that. Arggh, so does the washing machine. How does a machine that cleans your clothes get so dirty?

In the afternoon I will visit Mother, fifty minute trip there, probably sixty minute trip home. I'd rather be home and go out for a walk when R gets home. We could have coffee in Park Street South Yarra after a walk along the gorgeous Park Street. We could go to Albert Park Lake. We could wander the streets of South Melbourne. Our printer ink is new, so no need to go to Officeworks in Kingsway.

Nah, Mother has hurt her neck winding the clothes line up and down. It is ABI Brother's fault. He had not visited the Singer sewing machine shop to get oil for the clothes line mechanism. 'Andrew, I try not to use the clothes dryer. The clothes must be wound high for them to dry. The cats play with the washing if they can reach it.'

Wish me luck.

Macca Coffee

An extract from a post about my McDonalds experience.

Now I am not a coffee snob, I just like a nice cup of coffee. I usually have a double shot latte, sometimes a long black, sometimes a short black, sometimes a macchiatto. If I am ever doubtful about the quality of the cup of coffee I am ordering, long black is the safest, and so I thus ordered.

I clearly stated that I wanted to 'eat in' and not 'take away', yet would you believe, it came in a paper cup!!! I gazed around and there was no evidence of any china cups or glasses. I haven't been so surprised since my first and only visit to Gloria Jeans and my coffee was served in a paper cup. For a change it was me moaning to Mother. Perhaps they have run out of clean cups, she said. Look around Mother. No one has a china cup. And what I thought was a proper coffee machine was apparently some sort of automatic device. The coffee was just dreadful. The automatic machine at work makes better coffee. And you know what I paid for dreadful coffee in a paper cup? $3.50!!! I can go to the cafe across the road from the Highrise and get an excellent cup of hand made coffee for $2.70 and in a china cup, and served to my table. For $3.50 I can go to the upmarket Cafe Vue next door, sit at a table and have waiter bring me a cup of coffee and a glass of water. He or she will take my money and return with the change.

Apparently very few like McDonalds coffee and the company is are well aware of it. They are now going to employ specialist baristas to make coffee. Ah, is my leg being pulled? What proper barista would work in McDonalds. Maybe they can get a common garden variety barista but specialist barsita. They really are shooting for the stars. I would be most grateful if someone could leave some detail in comments about the difference between a barista and specialist barista. Here is the bit from the Sydney Daily Telegraph. I thank you.


----------------------------

MCDONALD'S is planning to appoint specialist baristas following a huge customer backlash over the quality of its coffee.

Realising it is not “the most loved coffee chain”, McDonald’s is set to appoint professional baristas for its more than 650 restaurants in Australia in a bid to woo back unhappy coffee-drinkers, The Australian reports.

From Sunday, the restaurant chain launch a multi-million dollar advertising campaign apologising for its coffee and urging customers to speak up if it continues to fail to meet their expectations.

McDonald’s chief operating officer Helen Nash told The Australian the apology was “up there in terms of a bit of a first” for the company but said feedback from customers had been overwhelming.

“Australians have a very sophisticated palate and we are not delivering a strong cup of coffee,” she said.

“Customers have told us we can do better and we are saying ‘we have heard you and now we hope you notice the difference.”

Bricks

I was given to thinking about bricks after Timespanner posted about a now defunct brick factory in Auckland. Where are our Melbourne bricks made now? I haven't really investigated properly, probably because it is pretty boring information to know.

But when recently at Tradie Brother's house, he proudly showed me his 1957 Glen Iris brick. It has an emu on one side of the face and a kangaroo on the other side. Nice brick. Hey bros. That is a good brick. That was made in the year I was............ummm. Yeah well.

At the rear of his house is a self contained flat where his in laws used to live. His father in law used to use a brick as a door stop. It was a 1956 (Olympics in Melbourne) brick with Olympic rings on it. When Tradie Brother returned to the earlier matrimonial home, he found the brick, broken in half. He was much disappointed. He was shattered when I told one had recently sold on Ebay for $5.50. Well, not really. He likes them for what they are.

I did take a little time to investigate old bricks on the net. Great, there is an Australian brick collector group. Oh, twelve members.

Anyway, here is brother's brick. The old esky cooling blocks are a pretty good keep too. I recalled a tartan Willow brick but it was a red tartan. Yes, he said, they came in red too.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Oh dear. Scroll to the bottom

  • The Brain Posted at 10:44 AM Today

    First it was Egypt now it is Indonesia. You can judge a society by the way it treats its animals. What an indication of how barbaric, uneducated and cruel some Indonesians are. I felt sick watching this disgusting slaughter on TV last night. It is about time some of the educated and more progressive muslims spoke out about some of these ancient, barbaric and senseless acts, carried out in the name of Alah, were banned. No god would approve of one of his creatures being tortured like this. Absolutely disgusting! Ban live exports immediately!

  • get rid of our government Posted at 10:43 AM Today

    GET RID OF OUR GOVERNMENT. How are we called 'humans' there is nothing 'humane' about us. This should NOT be happening in this day and age. SEA SHEPHERDS, we need you to stop this happening. We are the taxpayers - we have the rights to say what happens in this country; it's time we sued for our rights, and those of the animals we are RESPONSIBLE for.

  • k.sweep of Melbourne Posted at 10:39 AM Today

    I just cant believe that that is Hallal

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Live Corp, excusing animal cruelty


I am not particularly happy at being a meat eater. I do enjoy meat and I try not think about how it got to my plate. Having grown up on a farm, I have a pretty good idea of what happens to animals before they hit your plate. I am right ostrich, am I.

Almost without exception I think, in Australia cattle is slaughtered humanely. Yet the dice for our cattle rolls, and they may get sent to Indonesia, where they are not slaughtered humanely. Worse, they apparently are severely mistreated before they are slaughtered in a cruel manner.

I am sure there is a transcript from the 4 Corners programme about the slaughter of our cattle in Indonesia. You can watch on Iview if you are here in Australia. I am not going to watch. I have heard enough and I am not putting myself through the visuals.

Saturday evening we dined with someone who used to be a person of influence within the Meat and Livestock Corporation. I mentioned to him that the proverbial would hit the fan this Monday when 4 Corners was aired. It has already, he replied. Then he mentioned that 4 Corners were always having a go at the live meat export trade. Thank goodness someone does.

The spinning had started well before the show went to air and continues post the programme.

The figures are vague, but we have been live cattle exporting to Indonesia for between twenty and thirty years. If we have been involved, then that is twenty to thirty years of extreme animal cruelty and still it goes on. As late as January this year Live Corp released a report with the preposterous statement that in Indonesia, generally animal welfare is good.

I can't find it at their website, but I suppose you would call it a mission statement that pops up when you google LiveCorp.

"World leader livecorp provides live exports of livestock including sheep and cattle, focused on animal welfare."

And who really believes LiveCorp that this was an isolated incident? They are now going to audit all Indonesian abattoirs where our cattle are sent over the next two months. Big deal. Like they will find anything with such advance notice.

This is all an absolute joke. Animal cruelty is disgusting and a disgrace. I don't want to be part of Australia if it is to be involved and ultimately responsible for such cruelty. Sadly I am. It is my responsibility and yours if you are Australian.

APPLY THE PRESSURE. STOP LIVE ANIMAL EXPORTS FROM AUSTRALIA NOW.

Later Edit: Winsome has pointed out that Get Up have a petition to present to our Prime Minister. I hadn't checked my email when I wrote this, and sure enough, there was an email from Get Up. Here is a link to sign the petition. The site is slow as obviously many are signing.

Preston, for once only

We have taken various Sunday trips at different time using public transport. We have explored Kensington, Clifton Hill, Hurstbridge, Belgrave, Thornbury and other places. The PT has always been pretty good, but not so yesterday, what a fail.

'R, Preston Market is supposed to be quite good. Care to visit?' I checked on the net and it is not open Sunday. Still, there appears to be a shopping centre there. We will go anyway.

We caught the 86 tram and I knew it was quite a long trip, so afterwards I planned that we would get the much quicker train home. There was the usual array of 'interesting' north side fellow travellers on the tram. It was a pleasant enough trip. I noticed the traffic looked extremely heavy in High Street coming into the city. Ouch, I just saw a bus pass with Train Replacement on its destination. This is not looking good.

We alighted at Gower Street and wandered along the street of generally awful houses to the main shopping. If you have heard of fake brick cladding but never seen it, try Gower Street Preston. The whole area was depressing and I felt my usual sense of unease when I am out of my areas that I know, especially northside.

We took a lap of the shops and there wasn't a shopping centre to be found. In fact we could not even find a place we liked the look of enough for coffee, let alone something to eat. I thought the area would very Greek and Italian, but no, not now. Very Asian.

We walked towards the city along High Street and the landscape become bleaker and more industrial. We were surrounded by heavy traffic. Long lines of cars in all directions, mixed with normal service buses and train replacement buses. We arrived at Bell Street, ah Bell railway station. Not only was the station closed, so was the road to it. A kindly young roadworks guard lass directed us to the train replacement bus stop. Bit of a walk to the tram (closer than I thought by the map I just looked at, as the road tapers) but I think we will regret getting the train bus. We did.

Of course as soon as we reached the bus stop, all the buses we had been surrounded by had disappeared. After a ten minute wait a bus arrived and we took almost the last available seats. It was full of Collingwood football supporters on their way to the match. I had some news for them. You will probably miss kick off the first bounce at the MCG.

The bus continued down High Street and although because of the earlier heavy traffic I had thought it would be very slow, we seemed to be doing well enough. And then the bus turned right and the proverbial hit the fan. I think we turned off to service Northcote Station. The traffic was banked back for miles. We turn left into St Georges Road and the traffic was banked back for miles. There were road works everywhere, blocked lanes, witches hats galore, aggressive and frustrated motorists pushing in front of the bus. People we getting stressed, the bus driver was clearly getting stressed.

Another turn around a tight corner where the bus pretty well travelled across the grass in a park, several speed humps, roundabouts far to tight for a bus so that the bus kept going over the top of the roundabouts and then over the far kerb. The bus driver did a superb job.

We were dropped at Clifton Hill Station. There were lots of helpful uniformed staff and we were directed to the nearest platform, 2. But this is the outbound platform. Today it was also the inbound. There was a city bound train at platform 1 and we could have caught that but no, wait for the train here. It arrived after a few minutes bu then sat there for five minutes. We left the station on what I consider is the wrong track in the wrong direction. At speed we hit the crossing point onto the correct track and R nearly fell out of his seat, such was the lurch. I guess the train on platform 1 went express to Jolimont. Ours stopped all stations. It was now an hour after we left Preston and we still weren't in the city. It would have been a 23 minute trip if the train was running.

We still hadn't eaten. R, how about a bowl of wedges and coffee at Riverland at Federation Wharf. He was happy with that, but then the train went via the City Loop. F F F. Ok, Melbourne Central and we will go to QV and that is what we did. The city was crowded, but at least familiar.

Now railways do need to be maintained and works have to be done, but that was an utter disgrace. Public transport, the train replacement buses need to have a clear run and not get mixed up in traffic jams and not have to navigate obstacle courses. For a start, why was there road works everywhere when the train system was being worked on? It was annoying to us, who did not have to be somewhere at a certain time, but imagine if you were going to work? Or just had to be somewhere at a particular time? I'd call that a serious fail Metro Trains.

Reminds me of what I heard when the new tram track was laid in Swanston Street a week or so ago. It was taking buses an hour to get to the Melbourne Uni from the Arts Centre because of the traffic in Victoria Street, normally a fifteen minute trip. One bus driver asked if he could use the much quieter Queensberry Street and was told no. I would call that a Yarra Trams fail.

Ok, I am a right whiner, but justified I think.

Just an afterthought, curiously, the train replacement bus did not go to every station between Bell and Clifton Hill. What if we wanted one of the stations that it did not go to?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Cars aspiring to be posh

Making a posh version of a basic car is curious marketing non master stroke mostly by British car manufacturers. They took their basic car and made it grander and hoped to sell them at a premium price. I don't think it was very successful and the designers produced some very odd cars.

The first example looks kind of familiar. It is a Wolseley Hornet made in about 1961 and yes, if you focus on the front of it, you can see it is a Mini. It was originally propelled along by a tiny 850cc motor. I used the word propel advisedly. I doubt it could pull your hat off.


Next up is the Panther Rio, essentially a Triumph Dolomite. It was very expensive car, costing something like three times as much as the car it was based on. The target market was Rolls Royce buyers who wanted something a fraction more modest. Although it was recognised as a good car, no one wanted to buy it. Fail.


A Morris 1100 with an MG badge stuck on it. There may well have been some mods, but it was still a Morris 1100.


A Mayflower. Not much street cred in the name but I doubt street cred suited its target market. I don't mind its styling, from the front at least. It was to appeal to Rolls and Bentley buyers but failed to do so. A Top Gear presenter suggested that it was the ugliest car of all time.


For mine, if you want an ugly car, you can't go past this Austin Allegro Vanden Plas. It makes the top 100 ugliest car list. Here's what I think happened. The first car was under construction.
'Hey boss, the grill wasn't delivered.'
'It's ok lad. There is one from something else over in the corner. Whack that on.'
Hence the car that grew around the grill.
I suppose there is a photo on the net of the rear of the car, but I have just had my breakfast.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Slut Walk

I have very mixed thoughts about Slut Walk and what its endeavours are. I would use the word slut in a joking way among close friends, female or gay male. But my head thinks it is not a word to use casually with people you don't know well. I don't feel comfortable with an attempt to claim the word.

Women should be able to wear ever they want where they want. If they want to appear on the street or out dressed as a 'slut', then good for them.

A slut's manner of dressing does not mean she is available to be raped. She has dressed to excite men, and perhaps women, as women have done for a long time. As in nature among critters, often the female creature works to excite the male, and then the female creature picks and chooses. Hmm, actually it is often the reverse really. I won't let that get in my way though.

Is it not so different for humans? I really don't get rape. To me it is an assault and no human should physically assault another. It is said that it is an exercise of power. That complicates something fairly simple.

I hear all the soothing words from magistrates, you have committed a heinous crime and degraded the victim and caused her a life time of suffering and you are sentenced to a three month good behaviour bond.

No, you physically assault someone, be it rape or any other sort of personal assault, you will be locked up for a very long time. No tolerance, no mitigating circumstances. You just do not physically attack anyone.

But as tolerant as I am, if I had a daughter and she was going out dressed as a slut, I would tell her to get changed.

WTF?

I reckon I know a few people who could shatter glass with the voices. They have an ability to be able to talk in a nightclub and be heard over pumping music. I am not one of them, or I didn't think so.

R was sitting watching telly and I was sitting at the puter where I now am. I was saying something, a little loudly to be heard over the tv and this vase full of water and flowers sitting behind my back on the bench exploded for no obvious reason. About five hours earlier R had changed the water in the vase but apart from that, it hadn't been touched. It was cold water into a room temperature vase with the heating on and sitting on a cold granite bench top. If it almost immediately broke, I could perhaps understand, but hours later???

I am not a habitual swearer. I save naughty words for special occasions. This was one such occasion. 'What the fuck happened then?' I asked R. And this morning when I rose and saw the lack of flowers, again I wondered how the fuck did that happen? R is not happy as he liked the vase and it was a gift from a workmate for his last special birthday.

We cleaned the mess up and to steady our shattered nerves, we knocked off the rest of the Scotch.

Here is the vase seen in better days.