Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Dodgy Digitals or Operator Error

R had worn out the skip forward button of his bedroom pvr, a digital tv recorder. The length of  time the skip forward button jumps the tv forward can be adjusted. I think it is set on about 20 seconds and makes very short work of commercial tv ads.

I began looking online. We once had to buy a new remote for the lounge room pvr and it was about $60. I found one for R's machine on eBay for $58, plus postage. Too much. I then discovered that Australian Topporo, importer of the Topfield units, went into receivership although its Korean parent company is alive and well.

I came across a couple of sites selling the appropriate remote control, the control having been superseded by a new model. One was in Ireland which wanted $27 plus postage and one in China, selling them for $20 plus postage, the total cost $29. We decided to take a chance and ordered the one from China. I then forgot I could track the delivery progress and after it not arriving for two weeks, I thought we might have lost the $29. Not much you can do when the company is in China.

I decided at the weekend that I would follow it up on Monday, but that day the unit turned up. It turned the pvr on and works fine, just as it should. But there is one problem and both R and myself cannot work it out.

We can't make the unit stop playing a recording without turning the unit off, and nor can we make it instantly record. The button to stop play and to instantly record are in a second column on the chart below with the heading shift. I think that must mean there is something like a keyboard shift key, but it is not on this list and we simply can't work it out. Google is not being helpful either. The alternative to switching it off and on again is keeping the old remote control too and use that for those two functions. I don't mind not knowing what I don't need to know, but I do mind not being able to work out something that is operationally important.

Later edit: It is always helpful to read your own posts. I just clicked on the photo of the remote to make sure it is a clear photo, and there at the top left, in blue is the 'Shift' button. Any brighter and it would have slapped me in the face. R is napping so I can't check but I bet by pushing that and then the stop button, the playing recording will stop.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch

We had a lovely Indian meal out with friends tonight, Saturday night. Golly, it is long time since we have been the last to leave a venue, but we were, at 9.20pm.

Tomorrow we are taking Mother out for lunch. It is about eight weeks since I have seen her, although we have spoken on the phone. R takes her out once a week, as usual. I thought I might selfishly make our outing work for me too. Gembrook is not too far from Mother's and it is the outer terminus of the Puffing Billy steam train. There is a pub right opposite the train station. We will lunch there. In winter there is only one Puffing Billy train to Gembrook, with the rest terminating at an earlier station. It arrives at 1pm and departs at 2.45. We may see it arrive but I hope we are on our way home by 2.45. Pity. Watching a steam train depart is such fun with clouds of smoke and steam, rather a lot of steam I should think with our very cold temperatures in the daytime of the low teens.

I looked at an electric map and aside from the direct main road, there are other slightly longer routes. Oh, Mount Burnett Observatory. Might be interesting and a good place to take some snaps. We shall see.

On the way home from dinner, I asked R if Mother had mentioned a time to arrive. I have to clean her air con filters, so I want to get there a few minutes early. R says she will have a list of jobs for us, which we won't do, but her air con filters will need cleaning. R then said, she will have called and left a message tonight, and sure enough, she had. "I am not well. I will sleep late in the morning. I have my jobs to do. Don't come before 11.30." Well Mother, I have my jobs to do too and we won't be there before 11.50. That time may sound silly, but we will leave at 11.00 and it is a 50 minute drive, traffic permitting.

Every Thursday R arrives home ranting about Mother. She said after her house rewiring, which I remind you, we, her children paid for, that the lights weren't bright enough, so R was putting in some brighter lights and she said, no, not in my bedroom. A previous electrician told me it should not be stronger than a 40 watt bulb as a larger bulb would not be safe. Stupid woman. Her house has been rewired and modern bulbs don't use 40 watts to give the equivalent light anyway. If this happened once, ok, but she told this to R twice. Rather like she will only put about three things in her washing machine, as it will 'make funny noises' if any more is put in. That could be true. When our clothes dryer fails, as it must do at some point, (we have replaced the belt to turn the drum and replaced the latch mechanism and it is nearly 20 years old), we will buy a new washing machine too and give Mother our old one.

Later edit: We had a lovely lunch. Photos and possibly a steam train video or two to come.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Musical Monday

River always puts up a Musical Monday clip of artists with different styles, clips of different genres and of different times. While I doubt anyone will think much of this clip, it represents to me a different time in my life. Francophile Grace might like it because it is French, but probably not. I loved it and I won the cd single in some kind of competition from our local gay radio station, Joy when it was released here.

Sash, with Encore Une Fois.

Later: This from Wikipedia about Sash is interesting and Sash is rather impressive.

SASH! is a German DJ/production team, fronted by Sascha Lappessen (born 10 June 1970) who works in the recording studio with Ralf Kappmeier and Thomas "Alisson" L├╝dke.[1] They have sold over 22 million albums worldwide and earned more than 65 Gold and Platinum awards.[citation needed] In the UK, their first four hit singles incorporated vocals in different languages (FrenchSpanishEnglish and Italian).[1]

Sunday, August 20, 2017

World badness

On Saturday night, 19/08, when I brought up at dinner the subject of the missing Australian boy in Barcelona, our Ex Policeman/Politician friend said he is dead, and this person is normally right about such things and so it has come to pass.

You fucking Moslem religion fanatics, why oh why would you want to kill an innocent seven year old boy, never mind anyone else.

One tries to be tolerant of differences in the world but to make the most massive understatement, I am not really so enthralled by the Moslem religion. What had this lad done to you? And you failed. People are still strolling Las Ramblas and all you have done is added to the hate towards your religion, well at least the extremes of it, but it does fall generally to Moslems. 

Bland, Dull and Boring

Yep, that is me in three words, mostly. They are also names of towns or areas and the triumvirate recently received some media publicity. Bland is the newcomer to the paired towns of Dull in Scotland and Boring in Oregon. Apparently a local Scottish woman was a on a cycling holiday and passed through Boring in 2012 and set the ball rolling to pair the two towns for their mutual benefit. Bland has just jumped on board.

The first, Bland, in Australia. Well let me see. Shire of Blan is a local government area. It's kind of a bit south of the middle of New South Wales. Nice modern shire building.

Plenty of things to do in Bland's 'capital city' of West Wyalong. But also one and a half hour away from West Wyalong, you can see Iandra Castle. One and a half hours country driving is nothing for local folk, and I think it would be worth making the effort. It looks ever so European, French, dare I say.

Dull is in Scotland, a little to north in Scotland and rather to the middle. It has a population of about 80 people. I had a look around using Streetview and frankly (you knew this was coming) Dull looks rather....dull. It has a couple of nice churches but not a pub to be seen. How very un-Scottish.

The village housing appears to be well maintained and solid, probably like the good burghers of Dull themselves. It is starting out point for an organised Highland Safari, and it's only a 45 minute drive to Blair Castle, ancestral home of former British PM, Tony Blair*.

Maybe Boring will be more interesting. It is southeast of Portland in Oregon. It does have a pub, if that is what the Not So Boring Bar and Grill is, and you can buy a Boring Beer, which if anything like other American beers, you won't. It also has, for your convenience, a Clackamas County Bank. Clackamas sounds interesting and a little bit vulgar or naughty, so I did a little more research.  It is a town to the west of Boring. You may want directions to Clackamas from Boring. I can tell you, and I am ever so proud of my own wit, you take the Road to Damascus. Check on a map if you doubt me (subsequently I find out I am not the first to suggest that route to Clackamas. I am really getting to like saying that name, Clackamas).

Speaking of which, while researching this piece, I was looking at an electric map and discovered there is a river just above Portland, Oregon. It is called the Columbia River. Just above the river is Vancouver. My head was a little confused with electrons buzzing around to make sense and I thought, ah yes, Portland is closer to Canada than I thought, and the marvellous cat rescuer/fixer/carer Strayer has a kind and generous cat supporter friend there. Cogs meshed, belts whizzed, gears turned and I realised it is a different Vancouver. Just on the other side of the Columbia River in Oregon is the US Vancouver.  Dearest Strayer, for we ignorant, you need to mention if it is not the Vancouver we all think of when we hear the name.

Better get back to looking at Boring. Dull, while dull is a very civilised place to live. How about Boring?

While Dull seems a bit huddled together, perhaps against the cold, Boring is widely spread out and looks quite pretty with lots of trees.

It does have a prosperous look to it. There are about 8,000 people in Boring and served by the incredible number of 14 churches or more! This is more a venue for a wedding than a church, but it is more interesting than the other modern and boring churches in Boring.

In the town itself, there is not too much to attract tourists, but there does seem to be many nearby forest parks.

Well, that was all a bit interesting and some fun.

*I made up the bit about Blair Castle being the ancestral home of Tony Blair.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Too close to home

I think it was the 6th of May this year when R, his sister, his brother in law and myself strolled along Las Ramblas in Barcelona. I may have remarked in my subsequent holiday posts that it seemed a street where people stroll and look at people strolling. Nothing wrong with that really. We have such streets here. I loved Barcelona. It is a wonderful city.

We are all old and no great loss, well an advantage to some, if we had been mown down by a terrorist in a van and killed. But what if we just were terribly injured. My current back issues might pale into insignificance. Never mind that young kiddies have been killed in the attack, kids who had their lives before them, full of mystery and hope and uncertainty.

What sort of human animal would set out to kill and maim such people?

Barcelona has become so popular with tourists that the locals have issues with the sheer numbers of tourists. I get that, and tourism needs to be controlled. The person who scribed on a Barcelona wall with spray can paint, saying, 'If it is tourist season in Barcelona, does that mean it is open season and we can shoot them?', kind of had his or her wish come true.

Still the spam comments come

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Ripponlea Pt 2": 

I quite like looking through a post that will make men and women think.
Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!

Sorry darls, I am not allowing you to comment.

99 Luft Balloons

Not everyone enjoyed the clip of Tracy Ullman playing German Chancellor Merkel. No matter, I think this one, while quite long, and I haven't watched it to the end, but I may do so by the time this is published, is pretty good (note to self, nasty sentence construction, correct later) .

I read in an electric newspaper that Chancellor Merkel has come up from behind and it now looks like she will be Chancellor for another term in government. For a young teenage German, she is the only Chancellor they have ever known. Mind boggling. The story was accompanied by a photo, and Mein Gott, how good is Tracey Ullman's made up impersonation.

I just love how in this clip Frau Merkel passes by Westminster on a London bus tour and yells with her fists thrown up, come out Theresa and I will fight you.  6:07

Thursday, August 17, 2017

A pot calling a kettle chartreuse

Oh, the irony. Senator Hinch was once known as the Human Headline, a person who sought out and received media publicity throughout his very public life, yet he is so critical of Senator Hanson who appeared in parliament wearing full female Muslim attire as a publicity stunt.

Sorry, I am unable to confirm this is Senator Hanson but that does look like our parliament by the dude wearing a purple shirt with a white tie in the background. It may well be Hanson...but could actually be anybody, really. Research tells me the clerk or someone checked before she entered. I saw a tall really skinny Asian born guy today. He was wearing jeans ripped at the knees, and his knees were knobbly and unattractive. People do make odd fashion choices at times.

ABC whinge

Nothing written for today, so here I go clearing the decks again of unfinished posts that go nowhere and don't reach a conclusion. 

I was going to write a whinging email about the amount of music played on local ABC radio stations. Hello? I listen to a talk station for talk?  You may have noticed I like to whinge. It is my English genes. Instead I will write more locally, about my ABC, that is ABC Radio Melbourne.

The programme grid begins for me often hearing a little of overnight national radio before 5:30. I expect the broadcaster is not at his or her peak at the point and it is pretty boring.

Then on comes Red Symons, a brilliant broadcaster who makes the trivial so interesting. The news and AM are compulsory when I am home to listen to them.

AM is followed by the leading Australian morning presenter, Jon Faine. Now, his programme runs from 8:30 until noon. Three and half hours daily is a long time on air. The final hour is called the Conversation Hour. As far as I know, he is only broadcast in Victoria, and his counterpart in Sydney, Richard Fidler,  is broadcast all over Australia except for Victoria. To ease Faine's workload, knocking off the last hour and keeping him on air for many more years, I would be ok with Feidler being broadcast to Victoria, as long as the programme is truly national and not Sydney focused. I have heard Fidler on air but I've not listened enough to the content of his hour to know how national his programme is.

Then after The World Today comes Clare Bowditch. She is an adequate broadcaster and no doubt a perfectly nice person but frankly I find her a bit boring, and she is so focused on music and musicians to the point I just switch the radio off at 1pm. Rubbish music that will never stand the test of time. Former broadcaster in the same time slot, Richard Stubbs, was quite good, but even he played too much music.

Now here is serious suggestion to ABC Melbourne management. Extend the 1pm presenter on air time to 4pm from 3pm, and make Drive presenter Raphael Epstein's reduced 4pm to 6pm programme tightly focused on the happenings of the day and more political. Cut out the frippery and the music and the vomit making Tracks of Your Life.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Political correctness gone mad

Bah humbug to political correctness. That's what I say (and so does former PM Tony Abbott, oddly linking it to gay marriage plebiscite).

Bring back the good old days, when you could call people Wogs, Poofs, Yids and Slant Eyes.

Bring back the good old days, when women sought illegal abortions and died or were rendered unable to bear children in the future.

Bring back the good old days, when workers were frequently injured or killed at work and nothing was ever done to improve workplace safety.

Bring back the good old days, when people could drive cars when they were drunk or drugged and kill people.

Surely the world has gone mad with political correctness. We need to turn the clocks back to when we could say nasty things about people, behave very badly and put lives at risks with stupid laws or a lack of laws. (I did look at a few clips from Love Thy Neighbour, but they really do go too far).

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Cop Shop

Time does fly past. It must be a couple of years since the various police branches moved out of the St Kilda Road Police Station to Police Headquarters. It housed the drug squad, the homicide squad, anti corruption squad, and a room containing a lot of telephone books to minimise bruising when the police used 'alternative means' to extract confessions. The building was going to be turned into apartments. The developer wanted a car parking exemption, as there is an insufficient number of car spaces under the building. The developer wanted retail on the ground floor but no loading bay for stock delivery or rubbish removal. The developer wanted extend the first floor right out over the footpath. I assume our local council denied the development and I don't think it went to the Victorian Civil Administration Tribunal for judgement.  Photo from 2005.

Tradespeople have working inside the building for some time and it seems it will remain as offices. Quite a while ago, workers began putting framework up for what I assume will be cladding, to give the building a more modern appearance. All work stopped immediately after the Grenfell Tower fire in London. I think I can safely assume that the fire rating of the chosen cladding was checked and found to be insufficient, shall we say. Work restarted last week and I think some of the already placed framing has been removed.

Monday, August 14, 2017

I did not inhale

Old unposted post, but it is not so bad. I am determined to reduce my number of draft posts.

Well, I did inhale, of what my father used to call Mary Jane, a pseudonym for marijuana.  We even grew some in the very middle class area of Glen Iris. We produced a good crop, very good heads and it was far more than we needed for personal use so we sold it to a friend. That makes me a dealer! I quickly fell foul of Mary Jane. Do you know how long it seemed to take to mow the lawns under the influence of Mary Jane. It felt like hours. I was not liking Mary Jane. Nevertheless, we had some good times with Mary Jane.

I may have popped a pill or two in my youth, at warehouse parties. The drug of choice then was ecstasy, the love drug, and you did really feel love for people.

The thing about drugs is that they give you very good feelings. That is why people take them. Politicians and everybody needs to understand  that drugs can make you feel good and keep that in mind when legislating. They won't stop it.

As a callow youth (almost) I just trusted friends that what they gave to me would not kill me. Quite an enormous trust really. GBH (horse tranquiliser?) was around then, but I did not indulge. I have a vague recollection that speed was very helpful for house cleaning the next morning, manic house cleaning.

At a dance party in Melbourne a day or so ago, many ended up needing medical care after some bad drugs were sold. Perhaps the drug was too strong, who knows?

Some dance parties somewhere in the world set up drug stations where the drugs you are about to take can be tested. Isn't that a good idea? The Victorian government says no. It would rather see dance party kiddies hospitalised because of bad drugs or overdosing.

I am now a increasingly conservative grumpy old man, but I have my memories. I trusted friends that I would not get bad drugs. Clearly some people did too at the recent dance party, to their disadvantage. Let them test their drugs before they take them.

Of course you could do as the late First Lady of the US Nancy Reagan proclaimed, just say no. That has worked really well, hey.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A tour of Federation Square

I have posted photos of Melbourne's Federation Square before and you can see them back here.

A couple of months ago R and myself took a free tour of Federation Square. Our guide was a volunteer from the Melbourne Visitor Centre and she was terrific. I thought I knew quite a bit about Fed Square, but there was a whole lot I did not know.

She took us to a viewpoint. On the right of the photo is the eastern shard. Dominating the photo is St Pauls Cathedral. The squat building is the western shard and to the distress of the architects, it was much cut down to size when it was realised that it would block the view of St Pauls from nearby Princes Bridge and from other angles. Our guide asked our opinion as to whether it should have been built as planned. No one thought it should be any larger that it is and I gave my opinion that Fed Square would be better without it altogether. It does house the Melbourne Visitor Centre, but that is below ground level. It is just an open space at ground level, that is a large entrance to go downstairs. Very difficult to take a photo facing into the low winter sun.

Contrary to my belief, these are not sticks to pull and make a rattling noise, well they are, but the noise is the sound of a fire rushing through the dry bushland. They do sound like that when you pull and release them and they clatter together.

The beautiful Kimberly sandstone was formed when the area was underwater eons ago. Unlike the sandstone used in Sydney, its parliament house will dissolve one day, this is hard. It has been used extensively at Federation Square. This wall is nearly art work in itself.

You'll have a better idea if you look at the photos via the link to see a bigger view of Fed Square, but it has been criticised for being unfriendly to people with mobility problems. This is quite so, although everywhere is accessible by lifts. This blue symbol indicated the easiest path to take up the slope of Fed Square. Complainers should visit Europe and they would really know about cobblestones.

These tell an interesting story, and some of them refer to the culture of the local Aboriginal tribe. They are rather difficult to read and take some time to do so.

Lacy knickers for the trees?

The white things are not the trees' flowers.

Atop steps looking across Flinders Street.

Tryptic panels, she called them. Shapes within shapes. SBS offices and studio. It is our second government broadcaster and has a multi cultural focus. Unfortunately it has been forced to become commercial and while not as bad as commercial media, the ads are annoying.

The square can hold 10,000 people, and has done, especially when there is major sporting event on the large screen.

Dear Copperwitch's favourite and very expensive glass shop is somewhere on the left in the atrium. On Sundays an expensive second hand book market fills the space.

This is something I had no idea about. Fed Square is built over railway lines and between the railway lines and the floor is what is called The Labyrinth, tunnels riddling the whole structure. At night in the summer, cool air is drawn into The Labyrinth and the air cools the surrounding concrete and also the cool air is blown out into the building for cool air the next day. The area requires no air conditioning in the summer and excess cool air can be diverted to other areas of Fed Square. The principle is reversed in winter, but some supplementary heating is needed.  There are a few of these timber slatted areas and they are where the air is blown in. As you can see, some thought it was a nice warm spot to sit, and it was.

The tour finished at the river side of Fed Square, an area where few people linger. But lingering is worth it. Have a look up high at the reflections. It was a terrific tour, about 45 minutes I think. Our guide's knowledge was immense and not just about Federation Square.

I chatted to the guide a little after the conclusion of the tour and I mentioned other tours we had taken, such as the Block Arcade and Melbourne Town Hall. Of course she recommended the tour of the branch of the National Gallery of Victoria within Fed Square. But, she said, the tour of the State Library is excellent. Don't miss it, so we won't, one day soon.

You thought I had finished? Not quite. Ingratiatingly I asked our guide if she knew our neighbour HH, who is similarly aged and also works as a volunteer at the Visitor Information Centre. She smiled warmly and said, yes, of course yes,  I know HH........yet there was something in her smile that told me they were not best mates. Don't ask R about HH. I don't mind her though. Down the status ladder of volunteers, some stand on city street corners helping tourists and are identifiable by their red jackets, hence we call them Red Coats. Being a volunteer behind a counter or giving tours are sought after positions, with no pay of course. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017


Yes, still being spammed badly enough to keep comment approval on, which is such a nuisance. This one amused me. What a cheek!

obviously like your website but you need to test the spelling on several of your posts.
Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very bothersome to tell the truth 
however I'll surely come back again. 

An anniversary

Just to note, fifteen years ago on the tenth of August 2002 we moved to The Highrise. We had sold our Balaclava house and bought The Highrise for a little more than we sold our house. Somehow we ended up with a much larger mortgage than we expected.

I was 45 when we moved here, still ever so energetic and nothing physical was ever a problem. Fifteen years later, I look back at the time with a moment of wistfulness.

I was never keen on a high rise apartment, and any R took me to did not impress me until I saw this one, flooded with light, spacious, three bedrooms, two car spaces and fantastic views.  The ceilings are not 7'3" 2.2m as in most apartments of this vintage, but 9'2" 2.8m. I put conditions on us buying it. You will not ever mention moving again. That has failed. It must have fast internet. We soon found it out was backbone wired by Telstra for Foxtel and cable internet. I did not insist on it, but the day we moved a very attractive blonde Scandinavian born chap was here to connect our computer to the cable internet. Thank you R. Fifteen years later, now with a high speed fibre optic connection, the NBN, our internet speed is not much faster than it was when we moved here.

We did realise after a time that we did not need to worry about debt, as we had an investment property, that was always a negative drain on our finances, along with the mortgage here. We sold the flat and that paid off all debts. We paid a bomb in tax ($25,000?), but it was due and while it could have been reduced by being dishonest, I sleep easily at night. For the first time in my life, enough money for decent holidays, a newish car and not quibbling about a couple of dollars. Well, I do still quibble about a couple of dollars.

It would be a massive understatement to say that life has not changed since we moved here and in some ways not for the better, but I still love our apartment as much as the day we first saw it. It is now worth a lot of money but I think we could have done just as well on the stock market with the equal to its purchase price. Its value is not important to me, until we try to spend the value of it. Live a life of luxury and nothing for the family. But guessing when you will die is so problematic.

This is the layout. The balcony faces east, rising sun and all that. I am in bedroom 1, R is in 2 with his wall mounted tv and the drying washing is in 3.

Bedroom 3 is the more interesting because many people have slept there. Little Jo more than most. Sister and Bone Doctor, Our Friend in Japan, our friend from Larrikins End, Hippie Niece and her partner and another time with her friend, Firefighting Nephew and his mate, Tradie Brother, ABI Brother, Mother, one of our Brother Friends, Prince Harry, Jon Bon Jovi, Ben Cousins, Step Mother, R's sister and her husband, R's other sister and her girlfriend,  me when my bedroom was flooded. I've probably missed someone who has slept in our spare room. We tell them we change the sheets after each visitor, haha. They are the same sheets unchanged on the bed that we put on the bed in 2002. Probably due a session in the Fisher and Paykel top loader. Extra soap powder required but I won't waste fabric softener for visitors' bedding.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Love your work Tim

The guns are drawn and loaded. May the best plebiscite organisers win. No surprise about where the fabulous Tim Minchin sits, and it is not on a fence. Strong language warning. What would a Minchin clip be without strong language.

Funny Friday

We ignorant Australians don't know much about European politics. Here is what I think I know about Chancellor Merkel of Germany. Correct my errors at your will. She was born and lived in the old East Germany. She has a husband but that does not mean she is not a wearer of sensible shoes. She was a scientist. Her spoken English language skills are poor or heavily accented so she does not speak English in public. She is seen as extremely dull and boring by other western countries. She let in a lot of Arab immigrants and many Germans were not so happy about this, but perhaps through their prosperity, they will wear that.

The Chancellor remains a bit of an enigma to many of us.

In the 1990s we used to see Tracy Ullman and Ruby Wax on our tv. That was before our ABC tv was dumped by Britain's BBC in favour of a commercial television here. It seems Tracy Ullman goes on and on. Here is she recently playing Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel when visiting Britain for Brexit talks. This is not hilarious, just clever and a little biting. 2:00

Thursday, August 10, 2017


There is a chap I know. I see him from time to time. He is about 60 and his wife of a similar age and they have three grown up sons. He may well have been gay in his early life, back when he was a London and then a Sydney bus driver. He and his new wife rented a nice old Tudor style flat in Balaclava. They then mortgaged themselves to the hilt and bought a house in the suburb of McKinnon. He worked hard, often doing a lot of work overtime and outside of work did gardening and lawn mowing. She too worked hard and they prospered. If you know anything about property prices in McKinnon, they were once quite reasonable, like when they bought their house. They are anything but reasonable now.

As a bonus, her mother also bought a house in the same street, a few doors along. She died and they inherited quite a bit of money from the house. He has also had some smart financial advice along the way. Neither are at all pretentious, she with a very nasally strong Australian accent. He can be a little bit gushing and a bit too gay at times.

We did socialise with them a couple of times but our lives were very different and we did not become great friends. They were just pleasant people, and they did buy an old piece of furniture from us once. We have been to their home a couple of times as they steadily renovated and once attended quite a good party they held.

They have travelled quite a bit and that was their plan for retirement. As he said, we have plans and we have the money.

A couple of months ago she found difficulty in moving and had to give up work. Doctors suggested it was a pinched nerve or, because he speech had changed, perhaps a minor stroke. Tests were done. He was vague about it when I asked him the results.

How many muscles are in the face? Many! When I asked him yesterday, as I write, how she was, every muscle in his face twitched. It was amazing and disturbing to watch, as his mind raced through whether he should tell me or or not. He did and I guess I am quite honoured that he trusted me enough to tell me, whereas he won't be telling many others as he does not want pity.

She has Motor Neurone Disease, also called ALS and Lou Gehrig's Disease. I knew nothing of these aside from the names. I took a crash course with Doctor Google and her outlook is not good and it seems to be one of the most cruel diseases anyone can have.

As we spoke about it, he came close to cracking up, and because of that, so did I. All our plans have gone, our lives are finished. No, I said, your plans are no longer appropriate, but you still have your lives to live and to make the best of. That was before I knew anything about the disease. They will still have a life, but it is not going to much of a life and not for very long.

Things like this happen all over the world all the time to people, but it is just a bit different when it someone who you know.

Random ramblings

This is in danger of disappearing into the black hole known as unfinished posts, so as there is nothing else prepared for today.....

In Barcelona, R yelled at me for something. It was so unimportant, I cannot remember what it was. Ah, yes, something I wrote on Facebook. R's Sister pulled him into line and while R and myself rarely kiss nowadays, he gave me a goodnight kiss, as good as an apology. I get nervous about things. R gets stressed and his stress explodes in a most unreasonable manner.

Just before Little Jo arrived, R was once again stressed, and he yelled at me over a trivial matter. I put up with it and went and collected Sister and Little Jo from the train after he refused to come.  He was fine once Little Jo arrived.

My back problem had not gone away. R was right to criticise me for not doing anything about it, but it kind of felt like it was getting better, then became bad again. After a couple of large glasses of Scotch, I complained to him. All I wanted was a little tea and sympathy, not a tirade about what I haven't done. I am scared and frightened about what has never happened to me before. I can barely walk for two minutes but I so like walking. On whose blog or comment did I say sometime people just need a bit of help by a kind word or two? But if you don't speak up, how is the other person supposed to know? Wow, another kiss before bedtime.

Don't worry. I am not a powerless abused partner. I can stand up for myself if I have to but mostly that makes it worse. There is much to be said about letting sleeping dogs lie and not disturbing them while they have bad dreams.

I greeted our Indian Fijian friend after a more than a month of his long holiday in Fiji, with the greeting, 'well, you've put on a tan'. He is quite dark skinned and looked very black tonight. I was almost eating my words as I said them, but no regrets. He has been invited to work at the medical practice where I attend. One would assume he will be able to see my medical records. Oh dear.

Thinking that through, there is no reason why medical reception staff would have access to patient medical records, although no doubt they could if they really wanted to.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Wong and the kiddies

Our federal conservative governing party has decided that if it cannot get legislation for a plebiscite (kind of an opinion poll and non binding on the parliament) through the parliament for  a vote on same sex marriage, it will conduct a postal plebiscite for which no legislation is required. This is instead of just having an open vote in parliament on the matter. It seems the extreme conservatives within the party wield a lot of power.

Little Jo lives in a very civilised middle class area with high education levels and that she has two mothers and no father has not really being a problem, with more curiosity than anything nasty being said. Not all children of same sex couples have it so easy.

Senator Wong is a parent and in a similar situation with her female partner. I can't say much more than have a listen to Penny Wong in the Senate and hope that you will have nothing to do with legitimising this appalling postal plebiscite that the Liberal Party has come up with. Let it tear itself apart. Clip from The Guardian. 2:17

Coming to suburb near you

In my opinion, overpopulation is the biggest problem in the world. As a wealthy country, why are we overpopulating Australia and ruining our lifestyle? It is all about big business and rich people and companies making huge profits.

I hate crowded public transport and as an alternative to our frequent but crowded tram service, R and I both used the buses that pass by. But, we have lost our nearby bus stops with the recent road and tram works and then anyway, the routes are to be altered and would not suit us mostly anyway. But we do have nice new tram stop opposite The Highrise. I quite happily don't get on the first tram and then get on one soon behind that is not so crowded.

I think I would get a taxi cab or an Uber before I would try to get on a train in such an overpopulated city, such as Dhaka in Bangladesh.

It is one thing to see crowds on train roofs, but quite another to see close ups of people actually getting up there, including women and children. We'll begin with crowded roof photos and then see what really happens personally.

Family nearly aboard here.

Child on.

Wife/Mother on. Not sure if he managed to get on. 

Coming to an Australian city near you soon. 

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

A Lonely VIP in Paris

This is just so wonderful that I have to share it, from Bloomberg Politics. Thanks for sending it to me, you know who. Just in case you don't know, Macron is the newish President of France and Prime Minister Jussy Trudeau of  Canada is the longest senior politician among the trio. I don't have to tell you who Trump is.

“Macron appeared to form a special bond with Trudeau, with television cameras lingering on the two Generation Xers strolling down the hill conversing in French while Trump, at 70 the oldest G-7 leader, stayed behind to wait for a golf cart to give him a lift through the narrow cobbled streets.”

I left the book on the cooker and a bag lady took it

Bag man seems to be internationally known and not just an Australian expression. From Wikpedia, A bagman is a person designated to collect or distribute illicitly gained money.

Yet how is a bag lady not the same thing? A bag lady is a destitute old woman who sleeps on the streets and carries her belongings around in bags. Nothing like a bag man. So queer.

Also queer to me is the odd pronunciation by some British people of words like book and cooker, the latter being what we call a stove or oven or hotplates. I am trying to think of something that rhymes with the way some British people pronounce the words, but I cannot. I can't even do it in writing.  It is an alien vowel sound to Australians and probably to many English people too. It is not quite right but try bewk or cewker. Weird!

Years ago when I used to go on to gay chat lines I came across someone who I enjoyed chatting with and in a moment of indiscretion I divulged to him where I worked. Ah, he said, you would know A****. A is a tall Spanish looking Filipino who seemed to be gay to me. I asked the guy who I was chatting to, is A gay? Oh yes, he said. A is definitely gay. He said then with such confidence that I know A....well, no need to go there. I should have gone on to ask him how A being gay sits with his strong Catholic beliefs. A used to send us Christmas cards, always with a God Bless at the end.

A is now married with two young daughters. He still looks quite good as he enters his forties, but he does not change his fabulous hair weekly as he used to and now it is of a 'sensible' style. Not long after it was confirmed to me that A was gay, A's  photo popped up in the gay press out at a venue.

To more recent times, at work A was asking advice from a non first language English speaker about a word. Andrew Big Ears immediately tuned in. The advice A received was kind of wrong without being wrong.

I wish I could remember what the word was now, but I cannot and later I corrected A. I said something like, while it is not wrong, this is the better, shorter and more concise word to use.

I went on to tell A about my pet hate of people saying orientated. Orientated is quite correct, but why not just say oriented. For mine, they are the same and I don't know why you would use a longer word when a shorter one will do. While I know I am right, perhaps you can explain to me why orientated might be a better word to use than oriented?

God help those who are not English native speakers and weren't brought up with the language. Even I don't understand my own language, and one can only resort at times to saying, no rules, that is just how it is.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Mystery Bill

It has been very cold in Melbourne this winter. We expected a horror electric bill, but we were pleasantly surprised. Electricity prices vary from company to company and state to state but I don't think our service charge and charge per kilowatt is bad, no matter how some parts of government and media try to frighten us into thinking the price of electricity has skyrocketed. I remember us having electric bills of $600 for the winter quarter here.

Last year we used 29.41 kw of electric each day for the same billing period. For this very cold winter, we have used 18.91 kw each day. How can that be? The aircon heating has been working hard to warm us and everything else has been normal. Well, not quite. This year we were away for two weeks of the billing period, so that would account for what? 92 days as against 78 days. I don't know. One of you smart people can do the sums but I don't think that would account for that much of the difference.

The other difference is, remember how the element in our aircon drip tray broke down and I disconnected the wire. It is like an old fashioned kettle element and at times I often thought it was working when it did not need to.

I have been bailing out the tray. This is so dependant on humidity. Two weeks went by and the tray dried out. Then I had to bail out about five litres of water. It dried up again and then we had some decent rain last week, and shock horror, the tray filled with water nearly to overflowing. I took out close to twenty litres of water, about five gallons. Yet it rained today a little but the tray is pretty well dry.

I think the element in the tray is 2400 watts and it not working has saved us quite a bit of electricity consumption. The element must have cracked and it has now completely broken through. The tray and element is nearly fifteen years old and so did serve us well, but perhaps rather expensively. I would like a system that I could turn on or off with a switch to steam away the water. But at this stage, I will just bail water as required but I am not sure how it will go in summer. I think the aircon generates quite a bit of water when it is humid, but then it does evaporate away much more quickly too.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Little Jo visits Pt 2

After visiting the synagogue for Melbourne's Open House and lunch at Riverland at Federation Wharf, we took Little Jo to see the Wallace and Gromit exhibition at ACMI, Federation Square. I wished I had more knowledge about the makers Aardman. They have made some terrific movies using clay animation. Here are a few of their sets.

I reckon this bloke, who may or may not have been a missing person, looks like the former mayor of Geelong, Daryl Lions.

As rare as hen's teeth.

He is an unapologetic meat eater.

She wants to live in a warm tropical country, not cold old England.

Err, yeah, didn't The Beatles do that?

Shaun the Sheep.

Working tools.

You may know what movies these sets are from. I don't.

Some of the photos are not so good, but look ok when very small.

Bolton le Sands (England), where sometimes it does not rain for days, haha.

Note the mittens on the forklift.

After seeing all the exhibits, Little Jo and R made their own clay (plasticine) models and with the something like ten Ipads set up with scene sets, they made their own animations. R only used ten frames of photos to make his movie, so not so good. Little Jo used her full quota of 25 frames to make hers, and we used the email facility to send them to our eddresses. Here is Little Jo's.

Sister spent some time watching some rough and foreign, well interstate, football match at Docklands and arrived here an hour before Bone Doctor and the three of them then headed home. It was a very nice time spent with Little Jo.