Saturday, January 29, 2005

Against the order of nature

“Maaaate. You are pulling my leg? You put your food in this large metal box and light a kerosene burner under it and it keeps your food cold?”

"Yeah mate, modern technolgy is amazing".

They were talking about a fridge of days of old. No electricity required, just light the kerosene burner underneath.

Our house in Glen Iris had one when we moved there, but the previous owner took it with her and presumably sold it. We were left with the gas pipe sticking up through the floor.

Even more years ago when I was a kid in the country, a neighbour had one. It kept the food cold enough, but it wasn’t up to making ice.

Take air conditioners, (don’t take mine, I need it). I will never truly understand how the generation of heat results in us having a nice cool apartment. It is against the order of nature.

The best explanation that I have heard can be found at this great little site.

Dementia approaches

I did a very Australian thing on Australia Day. I did not shave. However, it was not intentional. I just forgot. At about 11 in the morning, we went for a short walk in the awful wind and heat. We met a couple of people in the street, one of whom my partner used to work with, so we went for coffee with them to a nice place, open all hours, in St Kilda Rd near the Shrine.

At some point I ran my hand across my face and realised I had not shaved that morning. I was surprised at myself, but it is not a big deal as I am fair and I can get away with it without anyone noticing, for a day at least.

But I noticed and thought I would do it later before work. But I forgot all about it. Partner did not even notice. I went unshaven to work but it was a very nice shave the next day.

How can you forget to do something you do everyday? You know guys, there is a bathroom ritual. I completely missed a step.

Then today, I was using a public convenience that had worn and stiff taps at the basin. At some point, I forgot which way to turn the taps to get the water temperature correct. Apart from your first couple of years, it is something you do every day, many times, throughout your life. Then suddenly I forgot.

Which will it be? A stroke? A heart attack? Cancer? Or a slow slide into dementia?

Partner says he won't look after me if I am in a wheelchair with one half of my face sagging and my mouth dribbling, so I better not have a stroke.

A quick clean heart attack would be best I suppose. But dementia means you don't actually know much and everyone has to look after you. So you are still alive, just a little confused. I like that.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Whacking the balls

Hey folks. It is the Australian Open. The middle classes sporting event. It does seem to be a very fair and balanced competition and it is great for Melbourne. As I write, there is this woman making squealing noises ever time she hits the tennis ball. What is that about? I have heard something about grunts.

A building committe member is a volunteer driver at the tennis and she said what it is said in the car, stays in the car. And then she proceeded to tell us all the goss. As I am in a good mood, I will tell you that Lindsay Davenport is a very nice person.

But excepting us, the rest of the body corp committee are middle class wankers, so one of the first things they were conversing about was Leighton Hewitt. The did not like him at all. Well, I don't either. He is an ugly person I think. But I am not sure why the middle classes don't like him. Maybe it is the same reason I don't. Something about the fist punch to the air. Is that how our English heritage tennis is supposed to be played?

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Thai island drug bacchanalia

The news from Thailand is sad. It always is when people are killed. Just people out for a good time at an open air dance party, and it went very very wrong. Imprudent as it may have been to travel on an overcrowded boat, you do place an amount of trust in the operators of these crafts. You think they do it all the time, they are experienced, they know the country and know what the repercussions will be if it goes wrong.

A few years ago, I used to chat to a guy in Bangkok who was a regular at the Full Moon Parties at Koh Samui. In fact he set up a website to feature it with a picture bias towards him, his sister........ well, the family resemblance was so strong, it must have been his sister, and their friends. And he had friends from all over the world, predominately Western Europe.

What I liked about his description, was that how local Thai people, obviously the better off ones and farang would mix in and it was a truly multi cultural party. Maybe it has changed, but back then it was one mother of a drug fest too. Now I am not being a wowser. I know how good some recreational drugs can be. But if the parties continued in the form they used to, then I wonder why Thai authorities allowed it. You can be sure the parties will undergo significant change now.

Not real Aussies maybe

On the day after our self congratulatory day, also known as Australia Day there are a couple of people who can't be really considered Australians. These people were kidnapped by a foreign power.

If this happened to you or I my reader, then I would hope that our Federal Government would move heaven and earth to help us. Even if we murdered someone and were jailed in a foreign country, there is some basic Government assistance that we would expect for ourselves and our society would expect to be performed for us. If you commit a crime on foreign soil, then that country has a right to detain, try and punish you according to the laws of that country. Even so, if the conviction seems dubious or the punishment extreme, Australia will make loud noises and diplomacy will work in it's secret little way.

But the two above mentioned people were detained for a long time by the USA. Very little assistance was given by Australia. One was never charged with a crime and the other charged after a long term of detention. One is now to be deported without charge from a leasehold of the USA.

Australia should have demanded that our supposed world friend, the mighty USA, should hand over our citizens, and if it is thought they committed a crime, then we will deal with it.

I don't care about these two, at best described as idiots, worst trainee or active terrorists. They should have been left for local authorities to deal with or deported back to Australia for us to try and convict. One was in Egypt. I believe they have ways of dealing with such matters expeditiously. It was clearly not a case of not being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

But I do care about the principle and the precedent. I don't have a piece of paper to say that I am Australian as I am not required to have it, but my partner does. We are equally Australian and this comes with responsibilities and benefits. We are entitled to consular assistance when we are overseas travelling and should we get into strife, of our own doing or not, the government will attempt to ensure we are treated justly and fairly.

I guess these two just weren't quite really Australian enough or something. I hope it is not the thin edge of the wedge.

My browser list

Daniel recently published his browser list. Here is mine from a couple of days ago when I meant to publish it. It is suprisingly boring.
Checking something, can't remember
There was an underground rail accident in Bangkok, just as my Thai friend said there would be and he would never travel on it.
Looking at high rise property details before I fire bomb them
Forthcoming holiday
Selling something
I used to like Marc Bolan of T Rex. Thought I would see why I liked him.
I wasn't cruising chat, promise
AFE's blog
More Darwin holiday stuff
That was J. Oddly the only porno site that came up. Deleted coz you are all too sensitive and easily shocked to look at it.
More on the Bangkok railway
Research for a blog post on number plates
Checking the date of Mardi Gras
More Darwin holiday
Just rechecked this one and I am still unsure. Very odd picture
Palace cinemas, such as Como, Dendy etc
More Darwin
Looking for details of Yarra ferry. Not sure why in railways
Checking water restrictions as we are having our nature strip replaced
More Marc Bolan stuff
More Darwin stuff
We are not buying a bar stool or a pool table. No idea on this one
More number plate research
Currency converter. Probably trying to convert Australian dollars to Darwin dollars
Email and yahoo groups
More Darwin stuff

Lastly a tip. If you value your privacy, turn the browser history off.

Happy Australia Day to you all.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

This is the drinking fountain in the seaside park. Across the top is written 'Keep the pavement dry'. It must have sat at some time on an unpaved area without drainage. Posted by Hello

Monday, January 24, 2005

Willie or bust

Folks, I chickened out of the bus trip to Caroline Springs. I looked at the map, the timetable and what I had to do and it became just too hard.

But I did the Williamstown train trip. En route I learned that it is like the Alamein line, a shuttle train, change at Newport.

Williamstown is very close as the crow flies, but it is a bit of a circle to go there by train, literally, as the train semi circles the city. The Westgate Bridge was nearly always in view.

While sitting enjoying the scenery and looking for camera opportunities, why did that person, no sex as I did not look until I was getting off, have to sit next to me. I thought she/he had a shopping jeep, but it turned out to be an oxygen bottle and every 20 seconds, there would be sharp phwhhhhhh as she received a blast from the bottle. I imagined her to be some old, badly dressed crone with a very wrinkled smokers face. But no, instead she was nicely dressed, made up, nice hair and quite Camberwell (middle class, bible belt suburb). Nothing of interest about any of the other passengers. I travelled on a renovated Comeng train and transferred to a renovated Comeng train. Nice and cool.

I changed at Newport. There seemed to be a very nice village there and if it is cheap real estate and you have some investment money, I suggest buying there. Must be the next Yarraville.

I walked in a very undirect line from the station towards the tourist part of Willie and kept a careful lookout for Mrs Kirner in a a polka dot dress (did you know she had never owned nor wore one). There are some truly beautiful houses there and I took plenty of pics and was advised by local person on crutches as to where I should walk to find more.

Much to my annoyance, I forgot that I was in a semi rural town and that you need to to say hello to people when you walk past them in a quiet street. Sorry to that lady and the man a bit later who said hello and I ignored them until it was too late. I was mentally unprepared.

I ended up in the main shopping street, which I had driven down in the past, but I had never noticed the side streets also full of shops. There seemed to be so many mothers with a pusher, a walking child and a dog on a leash. The housing commission flats loomed above me, and their occupants loomed in front of me.

I walked along the seafront and tried to get a glimpse of our apartment block, but the view was obscured by the many yacht masts. The pier was not busy like it is on weekends, just a couple of unsuccessful fishers at the end. While I had seen it before, there is an amazing drinking fountain in the park. I will post a pic later.

My caffeine nerve receptors were calling for some nourishment, so I went to a nondescript cafe where my fellow diners were three uniformed cops. I could not hear exactly what it was, but their two way radio summoned them to an emergency and they took off, leaving their half eaten meals behind.

I had plenty to do in the afternoon and I check of the time said it was 11.45, and there was a train at 12.02. I wasn't sure if I would make it but I did easily. While waiting on the platform, I noticed the complete silence of the type you never find in the city.

Back to the shuttle train, change at Newport into what was now a fairly crowded train. Three rough looking boys were drinking 'soft drink' from a large bottle and were very jovial. They started singing 'Tainted Love' and seemed to know all the words. How old is that number? I was surprised. But not as surprised as when they started singing 'Keep your sunnyside up'. I soon realised it was a football team song and they sang a few others too.

A young girl was begging in the train and my newly adopted anti beggar expression must have worked. Actually, she only targeted other young girls, successfully I might add.

Gee, a lot of people smoke in the Western Subs. I really has become a bit of a class divide. And there was not an Age reader to be seen. Sadly, the Herald Sun was their preferred reading.

As the train left Newport, I saw a burnt out Comeng train carriage and then what I thought initially, old Harris train sets. The ones full of asbestos that I thought were all pushed into the Clayton tip and buried. These ones were grey and shabby, then I noticed, hang on, there are airconditioning units on their roofs. They must be undelivered brand new trains. What a waste.

I have noticed it before, but there is a station, maybe the next along from North Melbourne, that consists of a long platform with a bus shelter and the usual communication systems. Back in the city by 12.30. A nice outing.

Media lies

I am probably to the point now that I distrust the media in an unhealthy way. Take the resignation of Mr Mark Latham, as leader of Her Majestie's Opposition and Member for Werriwa.

He appeared on tv bemoaning the media disturbing his privacy at home before he resigned. He mentioned that they were even hounding the neighbours in his street and the police had to be called. Bit much, I thought. You can't help who you live near. Mr Derryn Hinch lives in our apartment block and someone has mentioned that one day he might upset someone and they will find out where he lives and firebomb the building.

But it is quite true about Mr Latham. One neighbour called the police. The rest were fine with the media. One neighbour even asked them in for a swim in their pool.

The one neighbour who called the police, happened to be Mr Latham's sister who lives next door to him.

Did you hear that in the general media? But then what I just wrote also came from the media, so who can you trust. No one really. Just let it wash over you.

Sick boys

In young people's parlance, sick can be good. But the boys who tortured a kitten on a Sydney railway station are sick fuckers in the old fashioned way and they will probably go on to be murderers. Same goes for the boys in country Victoria who copy cat tortured a kitten and the same for more Sydney boys who doused a kitten in flammable liquid and set it alight. One in the first case has been sentenced to youth counselling. A week long diet for him of cat shit might be more appropriate and hopefully it will do some serious internal damage to him. For information of those who don't read Aussie media, all are recovering well, except the burnt kitten which is touch and go.

This week's flowers are gladdys. They are an old type with mottled white patches on each flower. Posted by Hello

Glad I didn't say that

People were being vox popped at an Arts Centre exhibition of Kylie Minogue's costumes, dating back many years. One interviewee said that he wondered why they were displayed on black manequins and not flesh coloured ones.

Ok, I understand the point he was making, but I think the time might have passed when we can say flesh is a particular colour.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Couple of days off

I finished work, today Sunday at 8.30pm and I don't start back until Wednesday, 2pm. I am determined to not just do shopping, lunch, house cleaning, body corp meetings (there is one Monday night and one Tuesday night) but something nice and pleasurable for myself.

Being a tourist in your own city is rewarding, so I have a plan. Well two, but I am usure as to which to choose until I look at timetables. Option one is a trip on the train to Williamstown. I have been there plenty of times by motor, but never by train. Agent Fare Evader has promised a report on the trip but has not done so yet.

The other option is a trip on a bus that goes past our place, the 216 to Caroline Springs. Will I be able to get a strong latte at the terminus before the return trip? Perhaps I will end up on the shore of large grass surrounded lake? Are there security guards to prevent the entry of non local people without a visitor pass?

If I do the train to Willie, my report won't compare to AFEs train trip reports, but I am a bit inclined to visit this mysterious Caroline Springs that has appeared on the local bus destinations.


Sorry about spelling of dilemma, I am not well educated.

Readers, I have a dillemma (one of them must be correct).

Today out of the corner of my eye, I saw a kerfuffle in the street. A dark guy jumped out of a tram and ran. He spilled meat pies over Swanston St. He was then tackled by three or four other dark guys who chased after him from the tram. They reached into his pockets and turned them inside out. Then they were out of sight.

What was going on? The guys who detained the person seemed to be acting professionally, so my first guess was they were police. But would they all be dark if they were police? I really don't know what was going on.

I am thinking I should call the police and ask if they know anything about it. But I know how they will respond. Your name Sir? Your address? Home phone, work phone, mobile?

If it was a crime happening, I have some information for them. Ok, tomorrow I will see if I can lodge stuff over the net at crimestoppers. If not, I may even use the hated device, the telephone.

One big mother of a city

Quite a long time ago, but in my memory, Melbourne was a delightful place on a Sunday. The only traffic of any significance was on the Mount Dandenong Tourist Rd, the beach road to Mornington Peninsular and the Geelong Rd to the Bellarine Peninsular.

The city was dead, although you could get a nice cup of tea or instant coffee in a couple of places. There was little traffic and the trams just rolled along without any sense of urgency. Their only passengers were old ladies going to church. No nonsense about doors being closed before the tram could move. Just a simple timber barrier on the off side was enough and there weren't any doors on the on side.

But Melbourne is now a very big city. Businesses operate 24 hours a day. You can get pissed any time of the day in a bar. You can go out at 7am to a night club. You can gamble almost any time. There are traffic jams at 2am on Friday and Saturday nights in Chapel St.

I kinda liked the old Melbourne, but I quickly take and use the benefits of the new Melbourne. With five million people, even though spread out a bit, it is one big city now and while many things about it drive me crazy and fustrate me, I love Melbourne.

The beat goes on

Are we seeing a resurgance of breakdancing? I haven't seen any for ages and then suddenly it is all over the net. Gosh, they are clever.

Poof christmas

Poof christmas was first used to refer to Sydney's Mardi Gras by gays. However, Melbourne seems to have taken it on board now use it to refer to our Midsumma Festival.

Friday night we decided to attend the opening at Fed Square. We hadn't arranged to meet anyone there. We just thought we would come across some people we knew. Fed Square can be deceptive. From Swanston St there did not look to many there, but once we walked up the slope a bit, there were thousands and it was a wonderful atmosphere. It was impossible to get a drink, so we went without. The shows on stage were great. The tickets for the after party were selling like hotcakes. Had it been held on a flat site, like the old city square, it just would not have worked.

After procrastinating over my opinion of Fed Square for a long time, I have finally decided it is a great place and an inspired, brave piece of architecture (unless you are physically disabled).

Because we read the gay press, shop in Chapel St, lunch in Commercial Rd and occasionally listen to our gay radio station, I feel we are part of the so called 'gay community'. Does it not follow that we might have known a couple of people in the crowd at the opening? Does it not follow that we would have at least known a couple of people by sight? Well my reader, I saw one person who I could say a passing hi to and that's all. Ok, most of the crowd were under 35 and we certainly aren't. But there were some older people too, but not a familiar face among them. Out of the thousands there, we did not come across one person to stop and chat to.

We stayed a whole half hour and came home. In case you think I am particularly troubled by this, I am not. I am just being observational. Half an hour was long enough to be able to say, 'oh yes, we went to the opening of Midsumma at Fed Square'. But I did start to think later where are the people we know? Well, some were at home with a shawl over their knees watching tv. But he bulk of the people we know have 'moved on'. They are scattered around the world or the country, dead, or just don't go out to these sorts of things.

Oddly, in a 20 second tv grab of the opening, I knew everyone. I saw Carol Wilkinson, president of Joy, drag queens Candi Stratton and Lucy Loosebox and someone else I know.

I used to pick up the gay press and be able to name many people who had their pics in the paper that were taken at gay venues, but not now. How easy and seamless it was to slip from knowing lots of people to knowing few. What does trouble me a little, is that I don't care. Developing and maintaining friendships is hard work and we have put in the hard yards over the years, mostly without a long term reward, but that could be as much our fault. I don't lay blame. I am very happy with our few close friends and it is a privilege to have known them for so long and of course, if they are our friends, it must follow that they are very nice people.

Now, control A, control C, publish.