Friday, May 27, 2005

Rosebud, Hunch and Wog Boy

Ok Daniel. I am provoked.

Three years ago, I befriended an overseas student from Singapore. Just a friend understand. He returned to Singapore but before he left, he gave some bits and pieces he no longer had a use for and did not want to have them shipped.

One such item was a video tape of The Wog Boy. It has sat around for three years and this week I decided to watch it. I watched about half and then decided it was good enough for R to see, so I have not finished yet.

Derryn Hinch features extensively in the movie and co-incidently he was in the lift as I was going out yesterday. He complained that he was only paid for three hours of filming, but it was edited so that he was in throughout. Good one wog boys!!!

Now I don't actually know whether Kennedy had HIV but it would certainly seem not. But had I known Mr Hinch was going to do that before the Kennedy's blood was even cold, I would not have had such an amiable conversation with him.

But I also try to remember that this is his home too. I have never been attacked in my home over my job, nor should he be here in his home.

He is always polite when I see him, as are we when we see him. But we will probably not converse with him for a while.

Off to Rosebud to stay at our own at a friends house for the weekend. Everyone enjoy yours.

Brighton Beach

Day trip Brighton, Brighton Beach actually. A picture of the station posted by Daniel on his blog inspired the trip. It really is a lovely station and good to see some bicycle storage on the platform.

We walked to South Yarra station and did not have to wait long for a nicely renovated Comeng train and I think we caught the same train back.

As you leave Brighton Beach station, there are a few run down shops along the railway line and around the corner, a couple of cafes. We bought a take away coffee, very silky froth William, and sat on the beach wall and drank our coffee. The sea was calm, the sun shone, a slight breeze blew, people walked with dogs along the beach. Very nice indeed.

I did not do better than Daniel's photo, so here is one of the sea.

The council

What a saga.

Twelve months ago our building committee requested action on our nature strip. It was in very poor condition. Council came back with an offer that they would subsidise renovation of it and our contribution, from our building, would be $600. Ok, we said. Go ahead. Something changed and they came back with an offer that they would do it in consultation with us and there would be no cost to our building and we would be a test case for the rest of St Kilda Rd. The time was targeted to be Spring last year. This would give the area a chance to establish before the hot weather arrived. For various reasons, it did not happen until a couple of weeks ago, Autumn.

The plans had been sent to us and much discussion had happened. Wide asphalt areas for pedestrian crossing, gravel under trees in a squared off area with agapantha plantings and the rest a tough grass. We added in the issue of watering and marking parking bays so the crossings matched the asphalt crossing areas.

Now in May, I can report that it has been done. The tree cut outs have a thin layer of gravel over the dirt with tiny minature aggies some of which have been trampled already. Our building manager constantly repairs the tape that prevents walking on grass until it is established. The council does not do this.

While our building has a good manager to look after the new work, the other buildings do not. The building next door grass is yellow and the next one along is brown and dead looking. I will add that a council contract plumber has now fixed their sprinkler systems and theirs will probably come back to life. But we pressed and pushed before the work was done about the watering systems and it would seem our efforts were ignored.

Also ignored was the business about marking the parking bays so that the walkways match a gap in parked cars. Now there are two walkways with a car and a half space between them and if the spaces are marked, it will mean a loss of parking spaces. But it is unlikely the spaces will be remarked.

The guys who I met who were from City of Port Phillip were very nice and very pleasant and seemed competent and in control.

How hard we all tried, how much effort we put in, how did it go so wrong?

Note to self, revisit this in a couple of years and see what it looks like.

CC to Peter Logan, South Mebourne ward councillor, City of Port Phillip.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Dinner at the Espy, almost

I am a virgin Espy goer. A friend called today with an invitation to go there for dinner. He especially wanted to have the lamb shanks, as he had had them there before and thought they were excellent. Well, our friend picked us up and took us there and we planned to get the tram home. I felt obliged to feed the parking meter. I tried one, lost my $4 which R retrieved with some healthy bashes on the face of the machine. I went to try another and I could see a gold coin stuck in it's slot. I tried another and it did work. In the mean time the friend had gone to the second one and retrieved some other peoples coins from it. He usually does well at the pokies too.

At least I got to see inside the Espy. But no food was available and we ended up at La Porchetta in Fitzroy Street. Always good value but to start out with a plan to eat at the Espy and end up at La Porchetta was a bit of a let down.

Our friend was a non drinker, otherwise we could have at least had a drink there. Even the table at the front window was vacant and there was a lovely roaring fire and the lighting was good. Bugger!

Reminder to self, complain to City of Port Phillip re parking meters.

Dame M Door

Dame M thinks her family is growing. She managed to have twenty guests at last Saturday night's meal at the Balaclava Hotel. Her 80 year old hair looked fantasic, as did she. Her back door is not really pink. It is a phone camera problem, but for the first time I noticed the gum tree leaves etching on her back door. She added that she had the kitchen tiles to match, but has never got around to having them put up and is very over workmen in her house.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

The Dead Kennedy

Clever pun hey? Pop group Dead Kennedys, Graham Kennedy dead? Oh well, I tried.

I am sad that Graham Kennedy has died. I remember some of his work, more the Blankety Blank time and Australia All Over was it? The phrase 'stick it in the JVC' sticks in my mind from when he hosted some video replay program. Our friends and us still use that phrase, adapted, 'I'll just pop these crumpets into the JVC shall I?'

I was very young, just born I think really, but I remember my grandfather taking us for a Sunday drive down the Mornington Penisular. As we travelled up Oliver's Hill? he pointed to a large house and said that that was where Graham Kennedy lives. Children being children, we were not overly impressed, although we knew who Graham Kennedy was.

What I remember strongly of his early times is my conservative, proper, not blessed with a great sense of humour, grandmother shrieking with laughter when Graham Kennedy was on tv, just as she did some years later when Mary Hardy was on tv.

Mr Kennedy was publically a closeted gay but I am sure everyone who knew him knew that he was gay. I do recall that he did have a long term relationship, but I forget what source that is from. No mention of that today.

ABC radio Melbourne has overloaded me with stuff about him today. I will just say that I thought Graham Kennedy was very funny when I saw him on tv. He was a terrific tv perfomer. I can recall shrieking at his humour, just as I did at Dame Edna on tv on last Saturday night.

Vale Graham.

Pea and ham soup

I only cook about five things. Fried rice, pea and ham soup, pizza, christmas cake and samosas. R is a good cook, thankfully. Here is how I make pea and ham soup.

You need to be around the house for a few hours to stir and watch and start two nights before you want to eat it.

Ham bones, around a kilo
Several peppercorns
Two large onions
500 grams of yellow split peas
A few bay leaves
You could put in a bit of curry powder or more peppercorns

Depending on the size of the ham bones, you will need a large pot or get your butcher to cut them in half. I guess you could halve the ingredients if you only have a smallish pot.

Put the ham bones as they are in the saucepan and cover with water.
Throw in the peppercorns and bay leaves
Roughly chop the onions and in they go. I never use salt and I guess plenty comes from the ham anyway, but you may want to add some.
Bring the pot to the boil and then cover and simmer for three hours. Stir about every half hour. Don’t let the bottom burn if your heat won’t go low enough. Use a mat under the pot.

Remove the ham bones, and remove the skin from them. If cooked well enough, it should almost fall off. Remove the meat from the bones and dispose of the bones and the skin. Roughly chop the meat into bite sized pieces, (not critical) and put the meat on a plate, cool, cover and put in the fridge.

Overnight allow the liquid to cool and place the split peas in a bowl and add water so that they are covered by around 3cm of water, or just over an inch. Remember, they swell somewhat.

Next morning, with a large spoon, skim the solidified fat off the top of the liquid. No problem if you miss some, but try to get most of it. Start reheating the liquid and drain and rinse the split peas. Add them to the liquid, along with the meat and cook another couple of hours. I like it cooked until the structure of the peas breaks down. But as long as they are soft, that is ok.

This is the most important step. No matter how good it smells and how hungry you are, allow the soup to cool and store overnight in the fridge for reheating next day. It will be twice as good the next day.

Tree Dalhia

A friend turned a bare lawn into an exotic jungle in just three years. He is not afraid to rip something out and replace it with something else or move plants around. This plant has just flowered.

Gay stereotypes

I am a member of a public transport online yahoo group. Those of you who actually know me, will know why, but that is beside the point. I believe in public transport and it is a good group. One evening, late at night, after too many glasses of cheap cardonnay(sic), I erroneously posted a message to the public transport group that was meant to go to a queer Melbourne yahoo group, not the public transport group. I quickly realised my error and deleted the post and made a sorry, mea culpa, statement.

What was amazing was the next day I had all these emails from guys in the public transport group who were gay! The tone was generally ‘well, I am gay but we don’t talk about it and are not very out’.

I thought that I had already outed myself in the group previously, but it would seem not.

What you straight blokes need to realise is that just because we are gay, we are not automatically connected. We are as different as you and any other straight bloke. Gay people only have one thing in common, nothing more.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Slap hell

Sorry, got that wrong, Shapelle. It would seem she is no longer in danger of being shot, but is alive and well.

From the over the top media coverage in Australia that is mixed, confused, supported and denied, you really can't have an opinion based on fact or logic.

But here are some facts and standards.

Smoking a joint of mary jane is hardly a heinous crime. While the person who supplies it is more cutlet perhaps, well, it has to be bought from someone, they can't be too guilty either. Just small time, bit of money on the side, pays for their own usage. Our courts won't judge you too harshly.

Dope if it is dried is pretty light. 4.1 kilos of the stuff is an awful lot. 4.1 kilos is not light.

Indonesian grown dope is crap and I know why. It grows too quickly in the tropical climate. It doesn't develop strength of THC is it? It is like overwatering a tree when it is young. It might grow quickly, but it won't have strength to resist the wind. A slower growth will make it a strong tree.

90% of Channel 9 viewers think she is innocent. Channel 9's demographic is an older conservative viewer and Shappelle presents well. She is lucky her skin is not brown and she doesn't have slanty eyes and a bad Aussie/foreigner accent. The figure might be 35% then.

This one is hard and I have not thought it through and I don't really have the knowledge to do so, but the Indonesian judges of court are smart people, or they would not be judges. I doubt that they are concerned with the Aussie public opinion. If the general public of Australia chucks a wobbly after the verdict, they won't care. Indonesia has been around a long time and will survive with or without Australia.

Fact # 57 and racist statement. Indonesia will benefit from and take from Australia what they want. They will take our money, but they don't like us. Indonesia is quite different from most other Asian countries to whom who we feel close to. They have attititude bigtime.

Sum up. Whatever the decision, it will be in the interests of Indonesia and they will see justice served.

Wrap. Well I always thought Lindy was guilty.

Beach side vegetation or Nylex clock

It is an important thing I suppose. A f ew years ago the City of St Kilda planted some trees on their foreshore and they grew and City of St Kilda, South Melbourne, Port Melbourne became City of Port Phillip. The trees grew and blocked some resident's views, so the residents chopped them down. Good, take away someone's sea views on the St Kilda foreshore and you have stolen $100,000 from them. It really is a bit of a hard one and my Green credentials are teetering on the edge.

But this one is not. I think about 30 years ago, some person in South Yarra planted a Norfolk Island Pine in their garden, and I am going to come in the dead of night and chop it down. My jigsaw has cut through a six inch red gum piece of timber. I think it will do the job. But where will I plug it in?

Why? You ask? When we moved here we could quite clearly see the Nylex clock in Richmond. It has been a saga, but it now being mended and should be alight soon. But this bloody tree has grown in the time the clock was off and we won't be able to see it fully, I think. Hard to tell until it is alight.

Search, locate, destroy.

Path to walk

Designers? Council contractors? Who is responsible? You exit a railway station and want to cross the road, you will walk in a direct route, not where the asphalt has been laid. That is, straight between the trees, just as I did.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

The beat still goes on

While almost totally uninterested in Aussie Rules football, I cannot help but be a bit informed about it.

The same goes for modern music. There is an occasional piece that grabs you but really, I care little for most of it. Pop music, like you might see on Channel 10 on Sunday morning, now leaves me cold. Rap, hip hop, hey dudes, it's music, meant to be sung not spoken and blasted out car windows. I do quite like dance/club music, and especially this recent adding of an Indian flavour to it.

Electronic trance music of the fast variety is great to listen to. How many beats can you fit to a minute? It is almost like classical orchestral music where intruments come in and go out. To plug in the buds and sit back truly sends me somewhere that is extremely relaxing.

But I do make an effort to keep up with young people, so, as I said, some pop music grabs me, and I happened across the Scissors Sisters performing on tv. They were rather good. The track was called Mama, or something like that. I don't know really about their musical ability, but they were good entertainers and the lead male and female voclaists are attractive in an 'interesting' way. Kinda like the B52s used to be.

I have kept up with The Whitlams thought, probably only coz Tim Friedman is cute. Knowing about the band The Whitlams probably already marks me as over 30 and someone under 20 may have no idea who they are. Oh well, I do try.

Holiday dreaming

It is fun at times to think of possible holiday destinations, especially to exotic locations. Then the god above, Mr Visa, frowns down upon you and says no.

Rio? I think so. Laos? Yeah. Constantinople, or whatever it is now called, and all those men baths? Oh yeah. Latest thought was Egypt. Next thought was must ask an Egyptian at work about how to get there. I then corrected myself.

Almost anywhere off the beaten Quaintarse track we Aussies want to go to, especially in an western direction, we go via Bangkok or Singapore. Such a hardship.

E waste

E waste is a new term that I have just come across. What to do with your old computer or mobile phone or anything asssociated with them. One sentence that grabbed me in the newspaper article that I read was that, "people are reluctant to throw out something that they have paid so much money for".


I haven't thrown anything away yet. Our old computer went to an organization in North Melbourne. It wasn't a charity but similar. They were very grateful.

My first mobile phone I sold to a friend for $100. I feel guilty about this now, but they wern't cheap then. The next phone I gave to a friend for someone overseas. The next, just gave to a friend and the last one, I still have, just in case.

What I have contributed to the ewaste pile is ink cartridges. I just chucked them in the bin. We don't print much so it would only be few. But not a good thing to do and I won't do it again. Planet Ark recyles them I believe.

What I did do wrong, was dump our old tv in a bin. He was a big heavy monster. Into the bin, into the dump truck, to the tip, crushed with other waste probably and now it is part of land fill. If our present one broke down irrepairably, I don't know how I would get rid of it.