Sunday, August 19, 2018

I am American!

Remember a little while ago I discovered there were some Germans in my family tree but alas not blood relatives. Now I have another email from a genealogy site with some detail from my maternal grandmother's side, a Dickson. She was born in 1892 and died in 1984. So, she was in her 90s when she died. I must ask Mother about her. She is some kind of 3rd aunt to me.

But what is interesting to me is where she was born. It is a place called Advance, which is little more than a meeting of two major roads, in the county of Shawano in Wisconsin, USA. There is a church and a sprinkling of neat enough houses. It just twenty five minutes to the western shore of Lake Michigan in the north of the US. Isn't that exciting. Now I will have to concentrate to see if she is a blood relative or not.

When I was looking around Advance using the electric street camera website, this house rather appealed to me. It must have been halloween.


I just entered Dicksons of Advance into search and there seems to be quite a lot of them still in the area and they have their own cemetery. Can someone from the US tell me what it means to have your own cemetery in the American context? It sounds to me like they were not poor people. There are around 42 people in the cemetery and those not named Dickson I assume were married to or children of Dicksons.


Ok, there are two Dicksons with the same first name who are mother and daughter and the time frame fits for my relative be the daughter of the younger one in the cemetery, who has a slight variation on the same name. Why did my relative come to Australia, probably in the quite early 20th century. I'd love to get stuck in and do some research, but I know how it just eats in your time. I'll save it for retirement.

I couldn't resist checking a bit more. I have it right. Grandmother and mother of my relative are buried in the cemetery and her father is buried there too. I have forgotten how the Dicksons fit into my family. I am looking at my less than accurate family tree, and of course, it was Mother's maternal grandmother's maiden name. From what I can see,  she was the niece of my mother's grandmother. The Australian Dickson's have been in Australia back to the early 1800s but it looks like some of them were of US origin...........enough. Or maybe the family split when leaving England. One lot went to the US, which of course wasn't the US back then, and another lot went to Australia. All speculation. Anyway, I don't see why I should have to family research when I fairly sure it has been done by other people already. It is hard to share though with these genealogy companies.

Later: Mother knows nothing about any American connection. I opened the conversation with Mother, did you grandmother Rose speak with an American accent. She did give me two female names her grandmother Rose talked about as relatives, but neither have the name of or even close to the relative from the US. If professional genealogists charge by the hour, it would be a very expensive process. And, I just know the work has already been done by other people, but who?

Saturday, August 18, 2018

The weather

BAD is in Charleston.

We had a day of 20 (68F) degrees last week. It was a bit windy though and did not feel like 20. Not bad for winter, all the same. But how exciting. Tomorrow it will only reach 11 (52F) degrees and there will be snow down to 500 metres. See the hills in the background of my header photo? They are known as the Dandenong Ranges, or just The Dandenongs and the forecast is the highest parts will get a 5cm snow covering, the best fall for ten years.

I bet when you think of Australia and kangaroos, this image from ABC would not be the first picture that pops into your head.




Grumble grumble

How long should a tablet computer last? Four years, apparently. Not even that if I date it to when it first began to give trouble.

It was taking a long time to recharge the battery and was going flat quite quickly. I had the screen brightness turned down to about 1/3 and within about 3 hours of use, it would be flat. Use it plugged in to the power, it was better, perhaps 5 hours. It should last about 10. Sometimes it would take all day to charge, and other times reasonably quickly.

Replace the battery, you might think. I did and so did the man at the phone repair shop. I paid a deposit of $30 as the battery had to be ordered, and the new battery installed was going to be about $65. Given the tablet cost me over $600 when new, that is quite reasonable.

A call from the phone repair man told me that there was something else going on and even the new battery wasn't taking charge like it should. He said he would investigate further and came to the conclusion that it was a problem with the motherboard (why are mothers so troublesome) and it was not worth repairing. I could pick it up and there would no charge. I did not ask about the deposit.

But before taking it there, I watched a Youtube clip demonstrating how to replace the battery. The hard part is not replacing the battery but separating the front from the back. It is a matter of having the right tool to lever them apart and patiently working you way around the screen a couple of times.  The battery if bought in the US comes with the tool.

I collected the tablet today. The repair man seemed to avoid me. I tried to switch it on. It wouldn't turn on. Well, it has been sitting here for a couple of days and not charged. The battery would be flat. I was refunded the deposit and I brought it home.

I noticed it was not sitting quite correctly in the frame. I pressed down around the edges and almost had it right, but then I realised that there were marks where a tool had slightly bent the frame. Oh well, barely noticeable. I plugged it in. Nothing. Maybe the battery was so flat it could not indicate it was even charging. I left if for half an hour and still nothing. The charging plug on the wall was cold when it should have warmed a little. It is........buggered.

That is not very good. It was working when I took it in and now it is not. I could have managed for a while with how it was, but I had decided to buy a new one before we travel in October once I knew the new battery would not fix the problem.

Now a new tablet is a priority. I love to lounge on the bed early morning and late afternoon while R naps, playing with my tablet, and it brilliant to have when travelling. It was a Samsung Galaxy Tab S 10.1" (screen size), and as I said, cost over $600. The same one is not available now and the equivalent seemed to cost even more. Isn't technology supposed to get cheaper over time? Samsung is now in the position to able to put a premium price on their products.

I have pretty well chosen a replacement for $300. After checking the stock supply at the store, I will pick it up tomorrow. It won't be quite as flash, but should do what I expect of it and it has received generally good reviews. Then will come the task of customising it to how I like things, connecting up wifi, download apps, arranging the screen. I hope my old case will fit it, or I will have to buy a new case too. The new one is Lenovo Tab 4, 10" Plus, 16GB, Full HD Tablet in White (which no one will see as it will be in a black case, not that anyone else really sees it anyway) I use it in private mostly, but it is great to have it for travelling with. I can transfer and back up photos. I have a big enough screen to see maps. It browses the internet well. It works just like my smartphone and has apps. It is better in some areas as phone and not as good in others.

https://www.officeworks.com.au/shop/officeworks/p/lenovo-tab-4-10-plus-16gb-full-hd-tablet-white-sl10tab4pw

Friday, August 17, 2018

A song spoilt

Lordy, BAD is still in New York. She has a habit of picking up gay men to kiss and rich men to marry. Will she become BAD Rockefeller?

Back in I suppose the 80s, ABC local radio ruined a song for me, a song I didn't rave about but quite liked. We may only hear one song an hour on ABC local radio most of the time and for some reason this song went on very high rotation. Another I really liked and it did not matter how often I heard it, I didn't mind and that one was Nina Simone's My Baby Just Cares for Me. Yet another is one that I had a Modegreen experience with and I can't now remember what it was called. Ah, I have found an authoritative source by searching, me! http://highriser.blogspot.com/2014/02/mondegreen.html


The song that I came to dislike because it was overplayed on radio was Otis Redding's Dock of the Bay. (stealing EC's effective writing style) It was played every day. More than once a day. For weeks. For months.

Ah, I didn't know he was black. Oh, sad. He died at the age of 26 in 1967 in a plane crash. 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Family stuffs

Some comfort was given to Hippie Niece when one of the hospital staff told her, you have one of the worst cases of postnatal depression we have ever seen. Hey Uncle Andrew and Uncle R, at least I achieve at something. Her mother and step father had to pick up the pieces and become carers for her twin babies. So many of the family helped, included R a few times.

She separated from her partner, who none of us really liked but we were always perfectly nice to him, and moved back to her mother's home. A cold medication interfered with her psychiatric drugs and she had a terrible meltdown,  a psychotic episode, and ended up back in hospital.

It was rather impromptu, just a mention by R that the babies (at 17 months old, not the girls as everyone refers to them as) are growing so quickly and we had not seen them for a while. I arranged it and we journeyed down to the Mornington Peninsula last Sunday and arrived just as her former partner was dropping the babies off after a couple of nights of custody visits. He had bought them brand new really nice shoes and flannies*.  But when he dropped them off at midday, they were sound asleep in his car as they had missed their morning nap, and so they were initially a bit grumpy. We had a little time with Hippie Niece and the babies before her mother (Ex Sis in Law) and step father arrived home. The babies were excited to see them. Then Tradie Brother (Ex Sis in Law's former husband) arrived after surveying tree damage at Mother's and Sister who had been up for sport, a social engagement and a visit to Mother arrived as well.

We, Sister, Oldest Niece, the babies and Ex Sis in Law went for lunch to the local sports club and had a really nice meal in nice surroundings. It was a couple of hours driving for the day, but a really nice day. Oldest Niece was back to her old self, bright, bubbly, gabbling away, talking too loudly, being embarrassingly frank.

Ok, I found this so amusing. Before she went to Europe a couple of years ago, Hippie Niece met up with a guy via a dating app. She told him that as he had custody of his two young children, separated from his partner, he came with too much baggage. They have connected again via a dating app and now who has the more baggage? But then came the clincher. I met him firstly when we were teens and he was so nice and considerate and reluctant to have sex on a first meeting, but all I wanted to do was jump his bones, so we did have sex when we were teens.

What could Uncle Andrew say to that? Ever so not tactfully I said, so he is a known product then. He had just stood her up for a date, with the inexcusable reason that his mother was dying in hospital, or something like that. It is hard to think of Hippie Niece having sex when she was a teen, about 16 I think. People of my age and my generation are caught between two worlds at times. By the age of 16 I was hunting for sex and ready to go off like a cracker and I do understand and remember what the drive is like. But my teenage niece? No no. Maybe by the age of 20 when you are in love with someone. I am a stupid old man but at least I don't say, once you are married. I am sexism personified in a way. It is all very well for young straight and gay male teens to hunt for sex, but not for young teenage females.

Having said that, I mentally collapsed once home as I read the latest email from Mother's neighbour about fences and falling trees. Tired as I was, I could not get to sleep and once I did, I was awake by 4am, not having to get up for work until 6am.

*Flannies, flannelette shirts such as a bogan/chav/redneck might wear. Or a tree cutter or lumberjack, or my Tradie Brother.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Meet you under the clocks

BAD is in New York City.

I may well have written a similar post in the past about the clocks, but hey, indulge me.

I've mentioned Flinders Street Station a few times of late. I am fond of it. It is the major train station for our suburban trains and externally, it is a wonderful beast. Not so historic nor nice inside, unfortunately.

These clocks above the steps up to the station indicate the train departure time on various train lines, helpful to those who see their train will soon depart and dash across Flinders Street in great haste. There were once altered by a man with a stick and there were also some drop down displays that he would change, giving a little more informations, such as Express to Caulfield. I don't remember them showing the platform as they now do.

The state government wanted to save on the labour costs of having a dedicated person changing them constantly, and so decided digital display would replace them. That was such an outcry that the government backed down and decided to electrify the existing clocks instead. It was and perhaps still is a meeting place for people. Meet you under the digital display doesn't quite have the ring to it like, meet you under the clocks. A while ago the clocks failed. Perhaps they were switched off while the station was repainted and relit. It appears in the photo that workers are attending to them.

But our at times rather stupid government keeps changing the names of terminating suburban stations, so if you don't know which old line your train is on, bad luck. As I have argued before, the lines should be named not by a station but a line name, as is the case in London or by a letter, such as New York. One sign has been updated though, with the addition of Cranbourne to the Pakenham line, with the Pakenham line once being the Dandenong line. Now even I can't remember what all of these lines now are. Let me check.

The Broadmeadows line is now the Craigieburn line.

St Albans was changed to Watergardens but is now the Sunbury line.

Ok, only two on this bank of clocks.


To the left around round the corner are some more, but none of these have changed names.


But where are the clocks for the Epping and Hurstbridge lines? Epping changed to South Morang and is about to change again to Mernda. I was scratching my head for a minute as I realised they have never been there, well not in my memory. Ah ha. Those two lines departed from another station with its own entrance, now demolished, just across the road called Princes Bridge Station. The two stations were kind of connected by platforms below the road and once had platforms 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16. As far as I know, only 12 and 13 are still used, usually by the Sandringham train, and how I hate being dumped there or having to catch a train from there. I must check if there are any other platforms there still. 

With most people used to a precise minute digital display, the clocks are probably rather redundant now, but I am so glad they have been kept. There used to be some at Princes Bridge Station, Spencer Street Station and South Yarra Station, all long removed now.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Irony

I am never quite sure or the meaning of irony.

After two nights of tossing and turning and not sleeping well as I decided what to write to Mother's property investor neighbour next door, it has suddenly occurred to me that R and myself, among other reasons, moved to The Highrise so that we did not have to deal with such things as old fences and falling trees.

We don't have to worry about external matters here. We just pay the body corporate/owners' corporation payment and it is not our problem.

While I am not sure if I am correct, oh the irony of bad sleeps worrying about Mother's fence and tree. I thought I had such personal things nailed.

Who gets paid too much?

It strikes me that the people who write computer code and design and maintain technology systems are well paid.  Yet the person who has to answer the telephone in a call centre who has a script to follow and deal with irate or technology illiterate people, that is pick up the pieces that well paid tech people have failed to get right, gets quite poorly paid. Humans are an unknown thing, so it takes quite some skill when dealing with humans at the end of a telephone line. It is skill some of us have and some of us don't. We could all learn computer programming and other tech stuffs.

Perhaps I am little unfair on the techies. What about those who move huge amounts of money around the world and make obscene amounts of money, or heads of corporations that get paid seven or eight figure sums annually.

Bone Doctor is now a GP, a general doctor. If she has become rich in her profession, she is not telling us and is not showing any signs of great wealth. She and Sister are comfortable and very mean with themselves in some ways.

People who work in childcare and early development are paid a pittance. Surely those who are part time bringing up our children should be very well paid. Aged care workers and nurses? We will probably all need them at some point in our life and decently rewarded worker will generally be much happier in their job. Even school teachers are not well paid and for the responsibility they carry and the skills they need, school principals are very underpaid.

You could probably add more to list of those who are underpaid in society. I wonder how this huge disparity came about. It wasn't always as extreme as it now is. Something has gone really wrong somewhere.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Charlatans

BAD is in Halifax.

Not much time, so here is a quickie.

This coincides with my opinion.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

A remarkable coincidence about the fence and the tree

In a remarkable coincidence a huge limb from the tree the woman who owns next door wants removed has fallen and damaged the fence. I hope Mother has been paying her home insurance. ABI Brother has already checked for saw cuts. I hope to meet Tradie Brother tomorrow on site to have a look.

A South Melbourne Stroll

Oops. This was supposed to be Sunday's post, so you can save it until tomorrow to read.

BAD is in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.

I had to visit the big blue office supply shed in Kingsway, so I took a walk.

This is an old photo of the Boer War Memorial, often now referred to as the South African War Memorial. It has been dismantled and restored while construction of Melbourne's Metro Tunnel occupies the site.


Side view of the First Church of Christ, Scientist on the corner of St Kilda Road and Dorcas Street. Construction was completed in 1922, being much delayed by war. One notable feature is that within the three storeys, including the basement, is what is believed to be Melbourne's only working timber lined hydraulic lift dating from the building's construction. Many buildings of the period had water powered lifts, with the water at pressure pumped around the city to power them.


In memory of South Melbourne Tram Depot, which was moved from here to Montague in 1997 and high rise apartments now occupy the large site.



On the other side of street, what do we have here? A footballer.


I see, it is home to the Murdoch owned Fox Sports. I can't see a low rise building staying here for much longer.


Could a concrete seat be comfortable? I think not.


Council rubbish collection, I suppose. What a wasteful society we have become.


Looking up Wells Street towards the city.


Different spelling to yours, I think River.


I somehow don't think it is where you buy your Pandora jewellery. Perhaps it is a head office.


A soccer ball on the roof the Caltex service station? Ah, it was the time of the world cup.


The BP service station closed. We immediately thought highrise, but no. From the ashes a smart new BP service station has been built. It wasn't open when I took the photo, but is now.


Preservation of the old can become ludicrous at times.


From Google Maps, The Palmerston Hotel, once winner of the best parmigiana in Melbourne. It was our local pub and was a short staggering distance away. When R's sister and her friend visited and stayed with us, they went there one night on their own and came home with an umpteen number of phone numbers of men who were out on the make.


Satellite image. What was a carpark was turned into out beer garden. You can see the large black umbrellas.


Hey Ma, they stole our pub. Where shall we dine now when the Highrise Chef is sick of thinking of what to cook for dinner?


The hotel was opened in 1876 and the licencensee was Margaret St Lawrence from the suburb of Prahran. In the 1950s it was run by the formidable Ma Munro. I have seen her photo on the wall of the pub. It was firmly a supporter of the South Melbourne Football Club, now Sydney Swans, with the walls adorned with old photos of South Melbourne football players.  

A family investor company bought the hotel in the 1980s. The closure of the Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works Depot, the South Melbourne Tram Depot, BP House and the reduction in personal at Victoria Army Barracks saw a reduction in trade. The hotel had a public bar adjacent to the dining area. Over time we learnt to not sit near the lavatory door, or where there were loose floorboards, where you would be bumped as staff passed by. The public bar was always full of tradies, tradesmen. The dining area was so polyglot, if that is the word. There was a mix of local people who, like the Chef at the The Highrise, wanted a night off from duty, with local office workers from every corner of the globe socialised with their Anglo Aussie work mates. We got to know Shazza, Sharon, the older staff person there. She was a local person. In his volunteer job, R used to take her mother out to appointments. 

I really need to remember that we have lived in The Highrise for 16 years, and of course things change. 

Mother's Fence

BAD is in Quebec.

Mother's side fence was replaced about fifteen years ago. The adjoining double gates between her place and the neighbour were also replaced. Step Father and Mother still had dreams of touring Australia in their caravan stored in the back yard, with the only way to get it out of the back yard was through the double gates in the side fence then up the neighbours driveway. The dreams were unrealised. The caravan was towed away to the tip and that was the last time the gates were used.

Nearly forty years ago Mother moved into the house. The next door neighbours, Des and Joan became great friends of our family. Des and Joan separated. Des stayed on and remarried, a lovely Filipina woman, Remy. Des died. Remy lived on quite happily, working at a major, with an adult daughter and was great to my mother. Oddly a few years ago, Remy suicided. Mother was heartbroken. No one could understand why she did. She was lovely.

The house was sold by her daughter to a workmate of my ABI Brother, an avaricious woman it would seem. Mother has a nuisance tree near her back door, a large lilly pilly tree.  It is about fifty years old. Tradie Brother feels a sentimental attachment to the tree.

The neighbour wants the tree removed as it is causing problems to her house and is prepared to pay half for its removal. She also wants the 15 year old fence replaced with the usual cost sharing between properties of fence replacement. Nothing really unreasonable yet.

She tried calling Mother at home, but of course Mother is still living with great care at ABI Brother's place. She intends going home, but may not. She intends selling her home, but she is not sure when.

So, via work, she had ABI Brother's phone number and called him, except Mother answered and the woman could talk directly to Mother. The whole family were quite happy to hand the matter over to me. ABI Brother gave her my phone number and she called. That is funny. ABI said she was some sort of Pacific Islander, but she sounded Indian to me.

I consulted individually with my siblings. Tradie Brother was firm that the fence was reasonably ok and the tree was staying. Sister was ambivalent and pretty well said 'whatever, if we have to pay, then we have to pay'. ABI Brother was eager to please.......family and the woman.

The phone call began, Hi. I am your mum's neighbour. Well, I will stop right here. She has never lived in the house and has not been a neighbour to Mother of any description. Her tenants, two absolutely lovely dog loving dykes really got the charm offensive from Mother, and they responded and were so kind to Mother, even after they moved out and subsequently separated. They came with dogs, which Mother loved, and there was always an extra dog there, as they rehabilitate dogs with behavioural issues.

She went on, your mother cries poor but we really need to fix the fence. I replied, my mother is poor and it will be up to we children to pay.

 The next tenant was a bearded hipster who came with an Asian born partner and a bearded hipster mate and two dogs. Their house warming party was beyond belief, but they settled down in time and it did not take long for Mother to set them up to be caring towards their elderly female neighbour. They were so kind to her too, but the dykes still keep in touch with Mother. One sent Mother a $50 voucher for Christmas after they moved out. Another time they left a hamper of food and other stuff for her. I've only seen them, not met them. They seem very down to earth and butch dykes, quite unlike Sister and Bone Doctor. I may have said this before, but my mother is awfully good at getting sympathy and kindness from people, rather as a spider draws a fly into its trap.

Mother after her wasted three week care and comfort hospital stay where she lounged around in bed and mostly refused to participate in physiotherapy got a fright once she was discharged to ABI Brother's place. She realised she had become very weak and to her credit, has been walking a good bit and has recovered her somewhat weak strength.

So the phone call came from Mother's neighbour about the fence and the tree. I agreed to nothing and just asked her to give quotes for whatever. Then she made a terrible mistake by asking for my email address, the one that has my real name and I only use for work. I am not a person of the spoken word. I am a person of the written word. That is why you are reading this and I am not talking to you on the phone. It was a gotcha moment.

I did work out by her name that she is of Indian descent. I asked our Indian Fijian friend. Yes there are sikhs in Fiji.

Before reading our to and fros, you need to know that this person has her property on the market and under contract, meaning that there is a sale, subject to conditions. Maybe they are tree removal or the new fence.

Mother has finally confessed to R that she won't be returning to her home of nearly forty years. In spite of her trying to always work things out well, for herself, it is rather sad. I still don't know if ABI Brother is happy to have her living with him for an extended period. I can't have a private conversation with him on the phone as Mother is always there. I said to him once hoping Mother was out of earshot, is Mother in the room? And he replied, yes, I'll hand you over. Bye.

This has taken a few days to write. She has decided to sell her house using some kind of broker who advertises on commercial old people's radio. That would be 3AW. She has sent me the brochure. I haven't read it yet. (I have now and I am reasonably impressed.)

I did work out by her name that she is of Indian descent. I asked our Indian Fijian friend. Yes there are Sikhs in Fiji.

When the house next door is sold, the house will no doubt be demolished and units built. When Mother's house is sold, exactly the same will happen. Developers will make a killing when they build multiple units on the sites. Here is the conversation so far via email between me and Mother's non neighbour B.

Hi,
please find your attached quote for the paling fence 
sent by **** fencing...
thanks,

No quote was attached. A second email arrived with the quote attached.

I replied and realised that the fence quote was for a capped fence and two metres high rather than the standard 1.7 metres.

Thanks B. We are looking at the quote.

Andrew.

B sent an email with the quote for the tree removal.

Hi andrew i have got a quote for the tress and stumps remove from your property  near the fence most big ones so the fence can be done i am waiting for the gay send me the qote it s about $2020.00 and he will take all rubbish or chips as soon he sends me the paperwork i will send to youthanks

I replied and not heard from her since.

Hello B.

Regarding the tree, we have sought advice and while you are free to remove any branches and foliage on your side of the fence, we are not under any obligation to do anything else with the tree. However, we may be open to a reduction in the height of the 50 year old tree and this would be at your expense.

As for  the fencing quote, we are a little concerned about the professionalism of the company who submitted the quote when the quotation form had the most basic words, height and metre, misspelt. If we do agree to a replacement fence, we will pay for like for like, that is an uncapped fence at the current fence height, which I believe is 1.2 metres at the front for 3 metres back, rising to 1.7 metres for the rest of its length. Perhaps you would be able to get amended quotes? As you may or may not know, one of my brothers is a builder and he is going to check the soundness of the fence and we will decide from there. We certainly agree the gates need to be removed and replaced with new fencing.

Thanks,

Andrew.

However, I am sure it is not over. But honestly, what is the point of all this. She is selling her investment property, Mother is selling her home. Who cares about the fence when we know both houses are about to be knocked down. Tradie Brother told me his previous employers' practice when a multi unit development goes ahead, that the developer pays for a new fence as some compensation for the noise and inconvenience of the demolition and building. He added that this was pretty well standard practice.

I have never lived in the house as I was older on away from home then, but my siblings did and I expect the sale of the house where they grew up will be somewhat emotional for them, and of course even more so for Mother. Mother could have had a good few years since Step Father died instead of years of worry about money and her circumstances. Instead of changing her situation, she clung to the past. I get that, but it was not a wise choice to make.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Friday Funnies

Maybe not funny, just a bit amusing.

This crazy piece of art is the Stravinsky Fountain and can be found at Stravinsky Place next to the Pompidou Centre in Paris. It was unveiled in 1983 and is made up by the black metal parts designed by Jean Tinguely and the coloured works are by artist  Niki de Saint Phalle.

I could watch it for hours. Some Youtube videos of the fountain have music added in the background, but I like to hear the splash of water, the action of the machinery and the French voices in the background. Oh, is that water spurting from the female form's ...... Heck, it is.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

MoMA and the camera

It seems a lifetime ago, but three years ago we were in New York, and on a particular day, fighting heat and humidity, we walked part of the old elevated railroad line, The Highline, ate the Canadian speciality poutine for the first time (I hated it. R loved it) and then visited the New York Museum of Modern Art.  As I was writing this post, I revisited our day

Some of the artwork from MoMA has come to our National Gallery of Victoria while MoMA is undergoing some renovation, so we went and took a look. Well, it cost about $25 each. It was quite interesting. There were hoards of school children in the gallery, but that is a good thing and they were well behaved. I will just say it was busy.

My camera behaved very badly and clearly it is not up to taking pictures in low light situations. I really liked this work.


And I liked this one. Even on the tiny camera screen, both photos I took of the picture did not look very clear.


So I tried to take a photo with my phone. Just brilliant. I either give over to my phone for indoor photos or buy a new camera. I think I will choose the former.


This work impressed me. Can you US people see your state? I know where you live.


Already I have forgotten the theme for this area, but clearly it is about travel. I loved all the accommodation signs.





Do you remember these boards at airports? Just as you managed to find your flight, the flippers would go into action and everything would change. The present electronic screens are so much better. Just as we turned away from the exhibit, we were startled by the noise of the board changing. It is a live exhibit.





After we left we sat outside on a seat to bend our backs. What are these terrible Muslim women doing fishing in the moat around the national gallery? Send them back to where they came from, if only for their stupidity of fishing in the moat and thinking they would catch fish. Perhaps they have magnets on the end of their fishing lines to pick up coins that are thrown into the moat. Well, that won't work. Turned out to be a photo shoot.



Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Home Tech

BAD is in Corner Brook, Canada. That's on the island of Newfoundland.

Somehow this old mobile phone of mine missed going into some sort of phone recycling system. It is a tiny phone compared to my current phone. I can barely remember it, but I am sure it was terribly modern and fashionable when I bought it. As R said, it is all about the screen size now, not the size of phone that was just a phone in the days of old when a small phone was a desirable thing to have.

Wikipedia tells me that it was released in 2006. I thought it may have been a bit older than that. It was 3G and had a camera and was able to browse the www.


Oh dear, the little fold down foot on the base of  the keyboard snapped off. There is nothing wrong with keyboard otherwise and I did not feel inclined to buy a new one. I stacked all these sticky squares together until I reached the height of the remaining foot.


But after a while they started to slide a bit. I have to come with a better solution.


Monday, August 06, 2018

Cuts to Our ABC

I am not listening so much to radio now. I listen to Jon Faine on ABC Melbourne if I am home in the morning, but honestly, ABC local radio which I have listened to for 3 plus decades is not interesting me or entertaining me much as I become older. Of course I still listen when I can to ABC radio news, AM, the cut in half World Today and the cut in half PM. There is always much to see on ABC TV's various channels. I don't understand the need to pay for Foxtel, Stan or whatever.

As usual with any government, this government has reduced ABC funding, and Marcellous went to a protest meeting against the funding cuts.

I don't like cuts to our ABC. It is taxpayer funded media organisation at arm's length from the government, aside from the government appointing the board to run it. In theory, it is above pure rating numbers and exists and serves the Australian population without bias or commercial influence. It offends governments in power with is critical and unbiased reporting, so of course governments want to cut its budget.

But much to media mogul Rupert Murdoch's distaste, our ABC is doing terrifically well in multi media. I gorge on ABC podcasts, that educate, amuse and entertain me as I drive to and from work twice a day.

I came across this on Twitter, this unadjusted for inflation rather damning graphic. Thanks to James for retweeting it.


Every cut to the ABC means more commercially produced rubbish and a right wing politically influenced media, such as the fake news, Sky News. Sky News has huge funding by Murdoch and will do what it does. Don't watch it. I just saw today a huge plagiarism by the disreptual English Daily Telegraph. I am really liking The (Manchester) Guardian ( Australian edition online) and I am thinking I might throw it another few quid.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

Bathroom finis

BAD is on her way from Greenland to Canada.

R's bathroom. The old screen, which had a brace across to the tiles.


The new screen, fixed, although I am not sure why it stays in place. While the difference in the photos may not look huge, it does make a big difference.  It is not really seen until the door is closed.


My old shower screen, noisy to open and close and the handle kept falling off.


Oh, the hot Middle Eastern slim lad tradesman has left the room. What will be return with?


With this. It makes a dramatic difference in my ensuite. The shower and the whole room look larger. The door opens in or out. I open it out. It has a little channel at the bottom of the glass that runs the dripping water back into the shower so that it doesn't drip on the floor when opened.


It was fairly painless. We had to dispose of the old screens, so we folded down the back seats in the car, once we worked out how to do it. Duh, there are two knobs to pull in the boot to release the seat backs at the same time as pushing the seat backs forward. How can I do that short of getting into the boot? I poked the seat back forward with a conveniently located umbrella.  Mine wasn't too heavy as it was in three pieces, plus the framing. R's was with the swinging part and gosh that was heavy. I had no idea of the weight of glass used in these old shower screens. It was four trips up and down in the lift. We took them to the waste transfer station, along with some e waste. The separate metal parts went to be recycled and I guess the old screens will go into landfill. Pity.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

S'Cuse I

Andrew Highriser is unwell today. Normal posting will resume tomorrow.

This is about the third time I have posted such. Does anyone get it? No need for get well soon comments. I will be ok by 10am..........well maybe 11.  By 7pm, I will be looking fabulous* and going out for dinner with friends.

*Oldest niec posted a photo on FB taken by a professional photographer when we were at her engagement/housewarming party, of myself R and Tradie Brother. I replied, What a handsome trio. R's sister agreed, so there!

Friday, August 03, 2018

Farewell to Lee Lin

So, it is farewell to Lee Lin Chin who has read the news at SBS for 20 years and worked at the station for 30 years. Along with other great SBS news readers such as George Donikian, Mary Kostakidis and Anton Enus (he is coming back after an illness), Lee Lin is moving on. Anton gets a bit a bit wordy in his tribute, so you may want to skip on to 2:40 after the introduction. Do note what happens at 5:20.

A snip from her entry in WikipediaIn July 2018, Chin announced her resignation stating that "...working two days a week didn't give me enough time to devote to the pub and re-reading the complete works of Shakespeare. So now that I work zero days that issue has been addressed".

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Recycling

What an absolute mess is recycling in this country and the blame is not on the individuals but with with the way our rubbish recycling is set up.

Our first visit to England in 2008 one day involved, before a lovely Sunday pub lunch, was a stop off to leave bottles at a bottle deposit depot. Green glass in one bin, brown glass in another, clear glass in another.

Our Friend in Japan has to micro sort her recyclables before putting them out for collection.

What do we do in Australia? We chuck anything that is recyclable into one big bin and much of it was exported to China for sorting. China paid us for the recyclables with the money going to whichever company sent them, who in turn paid a modest amount to our local councils who are responsible for the collection of recyclables.

Pollution of recyclables is when there is something in the recycling that should not be there; say used disposable baby nappies, or plastic bags. I can't vouch for these figures but off the top of my head, I think China likes the incoming recyclables with a pollution rate of no more than 8%. What was arriving from Australia had a pollution rate of around 13%. Is it any surprise that China said, no more! We will no longer pay you money to take your polluted rubbish.

Why is this so? Most people here take recycling seriously. We certainly do, but not everyone does. These photos in our building's basement were taken a few years ago and used in a previous post.





Later more signs were added saying 'no plastic bags' and the number of plastic bags did drop. Each time I take the walk of shame down to the basement with the contents of the plastic bag clinking away, I remove any plastic bags from the general recycling bins. I don't go through all the bins, about 14 are filled each week, just if I happen to notice any bags. I tip out the contents, which is normally appropriate for the bin, and put the plastic bag in the plastic bag bin. Why do people do this? It would be better if they just dumped the bag down the rubbish chute on their level.


I believe the US State of California with its high standards and tough laws does recycling pretty well, but not so in most other states, which is rather a shame. If found this rather interesting Youtube video explaining the workings in the Carbonlite plastic bottle recycling plant in California, where they turn plastic bottles into....plastic bottles. I don't know how common this is in the world, but it is a very impressive set up. You can watch the video here.