Saturday, September 03, 2005

Jam roll

I saw a nice looking Asian dude on the escalators from Safeway in QV yesterday. He was obviously an overseas student.

Tomorrow is Father's Day. My Dad is dead, but I do have a step father. We are hosting around 13 of my family tomorrow for afternoon tea. Among other things (like $100 worth of snacky stuff and drinks) , we have bought some jam roll and lamingtons.

I wonder what the Asian student was going to do with the jam roll and lamingtons that he bought? Perhaps he and his fellow students were going to have an Aussie party.

Saturday laugh

Terrible stuff has happened in New Orleans and nearby. We know about it because it is a western country. Terrible stuff is happening elsewhere too. Cheer yourself with the terrible news from Austria.

The 104 inhabitants of F---ing, Austria are tired of pesky tourists - and they're fighting back, writes Toby Harnden.
For those travelling to it across the border from Germany, it is a long way further on from Petting - where some people prefer to stop for a while rather than going all the way. It might appropriately be twinned with the Amish town of Intercourse, Pennsylvania. Or perhaps with Condom, France. Or Climax, Colorado.
In the world of crosswords, cryptically the name of the village, which begins with F, has seven letters and is not for those under 16, could be: "Monarch follows soccer team, you hear."
A quick crossword clue might ask you, po-faced, for the gerund form of the English profanity that refers to the principal act leading to procreation.
An etymologist would know that its verb was derived from the Latin futuere and the Old German ficken, meaning "to strike or penetrate". The lexicographer can trace its first recorded use to John Florio's A World of Words, a 1598 dictionary.
D. H. Lawrence used it in Lady Chatterley's Lover in 1928, but it was 32 years before it could be published legally. The playwright Kenneth Tynan was the first one to utter it on television four decades ago.
But for the conservative inhabitants of a settlement called F---ing in rural Upper Austria near Salzburg that comprises just 32 houses (population: 104), the English meaning of their village's name is just one giant headache.
One night, tourists stole all four road signs on its approaches. Since records began, there has been no crime there - apart from the perennial theft of what officials call "street furniture".
Now the authorities are fighting back. The signs have been set in concrete bases and Kommandant Schmidtberger, the local police chief, hints at clandestine operations to combat what he calls "foreign criminals" disturbing the alpine order.
Around the village, corn grows in neat rows, stacks of wood seem almost geometrically arranged and every lawn is clipped each week. "God bless our work" is painted over the threshold of one rustic dairy farm.
"Let's just say there are plans in place to deal with this," the Kommandant warned darkly. "What they are, I am not at liberty to disclose, but we will not stand for the F---ing signs being removed. It may be very amusing for you British, but F---ing is simply F---ing to us. What is this big F---ing joke? It is puerile."
Local guide Andreas Behmuller said that each nationality had its own priorities when visiting the area. "The Germans all want to see the Mozart house in Salzburg. Italians and Russians always celebrate New Year here. Every American seems to care only about The Sound of Music (filmed around Salzburg in 1965). The occasional Japanese wants to see Hitler's birthplace in Braunau. But for the British, it's all about F---ing."
The village is believed to have been founded in the sixth century by a Bavarian noble called Focko. The Germanic ending "ing" means "family of". Its existence was first documented in 1070 and records show that 20 years later its lord was Adalpertus de Fucingin. By 1303, it was known as Fukching and in 1532 the official designation was Fugkhing. It was not until 1760 that the village took its modern name, which is pronounced in German with a guttural "oo" sound.
After World War II, British and American soldiers stationed near Salzburg noticed the name and, to the bemusement of villagers, began to visit the place and be photographed beside its signs while striking jocular poses.
The number of tourists who take a quick detour has been increasing ever since. Now there is even the occasional tour bus.
"Here we have tranquillity, clean air, lakes, acres of forests and some of the most breathtaking vistas one could imagine," says Augustina Lindlbauer, who runs a guesthouse in a medieval pile just outside the village.
"Yet still there is this obsession with F---ing. Just this morning I had to tell an English lady who stopped by that there were no F---ing postcards."
The one local who tried to cash in on the village's growing fame was threatened and shouted at in the street. Josef Winkler set up an internet site selling T-shirts featuring the village sign and carrying the message: "I like F---ing in Austria." They were selling well and there were even discussions with the men's magazine Maxim about a possible promotion.
"It was a bit of fun that didn't hurt anyone, but I found out that in this region you just can't do something like that," says a chastened Mr Winkler. "The whole thing became a real trial for me and I had to stop. People are very traditional here."
Newly elected mayor Franz Meindl refuses to discuss the issue, on the basis that any publicity would simply lead to more signs being stolen. "Leave me in peace with this F---ing," he says angrily, before slamming down the telephone.
His predecessor, Siegfried Hauppl, was equally dismissive when he was interrupted playing a game of Skat. "I am no longer the mayor so this F---ing problem is nothing to do with me," he growled, turning his back and studying his cards.
At the area council offices in adjoining Tarsdorf, a young planning official called Gabriele, who asked for her surname to be kept secret for fear of provoking reprisals, revealed that each sign cost at least EUR300 ($A490) to replace and this was reflected in local taxes.
"There was even some discussion about changing the name because it has become such a serious issue," she says.
"But everyone decided that F---ing had been here for so long that it would be a shame to consign it to the past.
"The older people don't like being laughed at by some of the younger ones from other villages, but we are proud of our beautiful F---ing."

Music tagged

I suppose I know what this tagging thing is. I have now been tagged by Daniel to write a list of my five favourite music tracks at the moment. Thankfully it is not five fave tracks of all time.

At this time of my life music is pretty accidental to me. I heard a track at a friend's place and demanded that I have a copy of it. So it is track 9 on his cd compiled from the net and it is a Hindi dance number, in Hindi, so I have no idea what it is called. I played it a couple of times over the last week. The rest of the Hindi music on the cd is pretty ordinary. Maybe I need to know what the lyrics are.

I am now checking my music folder. There is stuff there that I have 'bought' over the net and not yet burnt to cd. (After looking at the list, I probably won't, on the whole)

I Try, by Macy Gray. I had a recent discussion with R about mondegreens and I had to give an example. This one I know as Goodbye My Chook. I knew the artist was Macy Gray, and that was enough to find it. In spite of knowing the correct lyrics, I will continue to sing Goodbye My Chook. My ears don't deceive me.

We were out at a venue recently and one drag queen performed River Deep, Mountain High. I quite like that and recall it was always Lucy Loosebox's closing number at The Exchange. I downloaded it for filing in '70's pop' folder.

Lighthouse by The Waifs. I have no idea who they are and there are three tracks of the same song. I was looking for the live version, but I couldn't find it. Over it now.

The last is Esamba by Junior Jack. Just love it.

Honourable mention as it the only one left that I have downloaded recently. Punjabi MC's Mundian To Bach Ke.

Btw, two Hindi tracks does not a curry queen make. I bet AFE is now shaking his head in disappointment at my very common taste in Hindi music.

PS To complete the post, I just spoke to my friend and he told me the Hindi number he gave me is called Bin Tere Sanam and the mix I like is by DJ Harry Anand

Friday, September 02, 2005

Weber barbeque

R has nagged for yonks that that we need a barbeque. Before we moved here to this apartment, we used to always cook meat outside on the barbe. I was the one who had to clean up the splattered fat on the window and wall, apart from cleaning the barbeque itself.

There is one thing I do not like about our apartment and that is the modest size of our balcony. We have our air con unit on it and a small glass table and two chairs, along with a couple of potted plants. That is quite enough. There is no room for a free standing barbe. It will crowd the area and block the views and I am not going to clean up spattered fat over the windows and walls.

We have a public barbeque on our recreational level, but the idea of barbequeing on it in the middle of winter, and then carting your chops up in the lift is not attractive.

I put my foot down with a heavy hand. I don't do it often. But NO BARBEQUE for the balcony.

But I kept an open mind really and now you can get these small gas barbeques. This one will sit on our air con unit and for best cooking practice, the lid needs to be down. So minimal slpattering of fat.

While we won't be returning to our fabulous summer barbeques that we used to have in our house, it will do R and I ok.

New Orleans

The devastation in the United States is truly terrible. At a guess, I think New Orleans was a place where Australians would feel very relaxed. To me it sounded so interesting and vibrant. I am not sure why the French thought settling an area below sea level was a good idea. And, naturally the poor, the weak, the old and the infirm are suffering the most.

It would be good for Australia to offer some crisis mangement experts who would probably do a fine job in a calm, relaxed and efficient manner, unlike the melodramatic slightly hysterical way that US folk seem to go about such matters.

In our minds when we hear of a natural disaster our fingers are inclined to hover near our wallets. But this is different. This is the richest and most powerful country in the world. Why would we need to give financial aid? The degree of poverty in the US is a disgrace. How can the richest country in the world have so many poor? How can they turn a blind eye to all the illegal workers who earn a pittance? It is a very uneven society and it might just be time for the many rich people in the US to put there hands in their pockets, or better still, via tax, for the goverment to put their hand into people's pockets.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Indian and Prince

Confused subject line there. I was in St Kilda today and decided that I needed a cool drink. Where better than sitting in the sun at the Prince of Wales Hotel street seating. I could have said, a schooner of your cheapest beer. Instead I asked for a schooner of Carlton. Same thing really. It was lovely. The sun was streaming in through the bare trees warming me and making me sleepy. But I was quite aware I had my camera, wallet and phone sitting on the table and it would not be a good idea to doze off.

India man sat at the next table, without buying anything. He was watching me. And I was watching him but he did not know as I had dark sunglasses on. He was quite handsome, but had a very full moustache that newly arrived Indians in Australia take a couple of years to shave off. I fiddled with my camera and phone.

He smiled, I pretended I did not notice. He stood and came and sat at my table and started talking. No, sorry I don't want another drink, I have stuff to do. He talked on and asked if he could visit me. Sorry, I live with my partner.

I had been watching the trams and calculating when the next one would arrive and I heard a screech on The Esplanade. Sorry, my tram is coming, nice to meet you, must go.

Saved by the tram. It was good for the ego though.

Spooks house

This building was in St Kilda Rd it is believed. It is also believed to have been the national headquarters of ASI O. I can't remember it. The house next to it seems familiar though. There looks to be some palm trees at the far end of the photo but I can't remember a time when cars parked nose to kerb in St Kilda Rd.

Years ago we had a couple of female friends and one of the them worked in the navy for the Defen ce Sign als Directorate. It was very hush, hush and she would not talk about her work at all. I know she worked somewhere in St Kilda Rd as I saw her there one day. Somewhere just north of Commercial Rd.

It is quite feasible that Defen ce Sign als Directorate and ASI O were in the same building.

Anything familiar in the picture to anyone? Btw, the text gaps are deliberate. If you think I am being paranoid, too bloody right.

Folk are odd and I locked myself out

There is woman who lives in our building. She owns a quite modest flat at the back of the building with a very nice view of the black glass building behind and our recreational facilities. At a guess she is around fifty, always well groomed and has a slightly theatrical appearance. I always thought she was interesting as once I spied a bottle of whisky and a carton of ciggies in her shopping bag. She always attends the building's AGM and one time I even thought of inviting her to nominate for the body corp committee. I am pleased I did not. Read on.

A few weeks ago she locked herself out of her flat. I did that once and no phone or wallet in my hand. What I should have done was caught a taxi to R's workplace, $40, driven his car home, opened up, gone back and picked him up, petrol and citylink toll another $10. Total $50. This is what you would do if you were thinking logically and not a state of panic. Instead I bothered a neighbour, looked in their phone book, called a locksmith who could not pick the very superior lock and had to drill the lock out, replace the barrel and return the next day and key the lock and change the face back to chrome. Cost $110.

It was night time and she knocked on the building managers door. He said he could not do anything apart from giving her a locksmith phone number. She had no money she said. After some time, he offered her $100 which she took and a locksmith came and opened her door. You probably have worked out where this is going. Yep, she has not repaid the money and has been avoiding the building manager.

If someone was so generous to me, and I would have to be very, very desperate to ask, I would go without food to repay them. Am I out of step with the world or is she?

The Bala

We first moved to Balaclava in 1992 I think. Carlisle Street was very different to what it is today. It had a hardware store in the main street even. There was not a resaurant nor any place to get a decent cup of coffee. We were there for the early to mid part of the transformation to what it is now. It was very interesting but we moved on.

Maybe once every six weeks, we would go to the Balaclava Hotel for a meal. They were typical pub meals and it was pretty typical pub. It was not flash, but we usually happy with the food there. I think over the nine? years we lived there, we had one bad meal. Sometimes we would go with our close friends, but mostly just on our own when R did not feel like cooking, it was two minutes walk away and we just wanted it 'easy'. It did not have gambling machines in the early nineties.

Once we moved away, there was no reason to return to the area apart from buying fresh coffee from the coffee shop.

Then along came Dame M. While she does not sleep around, she does smoke, drink and gamble and enjoys doing all three. She loves talking and she is a very social person. At eighty and with poor eyesight, we have noticed how she is uncomfortable when we go to a strange restaurant. She knows where the steps are at the Bala. She always organises the booking. 'George, can you set up a table for twelve in the smoking area?' 'Certainly Mrs M'. 'Can I get you a drink Mrs M?' 'Thanks George', and he returns with a drink and her change. 'I am not very hungry George. Could the kitchen make me a toasted sandwich?' 'Certainly Mrs M.' She knows how to work the auto teller there to extract money to feed to the machines. We sometimes ask her how much she just deposited into the auto teller and get a grunt in return. Her money, her business how she spends it. Apart from her senior citizen benefits, she has never received any welfare benefit of any kind, still pays heaps of tax and the council rates on her property run into thousands.

She amuses and entertains us. We have met many interesting people through her and done some quite interesting things. She does not just talk about herself but keeps herself informed about our life and what we may be doing. She keeps herself informed with world events and is a walking history book, especially of the St Kilda area but also of 'the arts'. She is generous, loyal and tolerant.

So if she feels relaxed and comfortable in her familiar surrounds of the Balaclava Hotel, it is not much of a price for us to pay for her friendship. Fast forward twenty years and I will be sitting with R saying, 'Remember the fun we used to have with Dame M at the Balaclava Hotel. God wasn't she a character?' 'Yeah', R might reply. 'She didn't wind down did she. She skidded full flight into a wall.'

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Idle Sunday

Non working Sunday for me, so what to do? I need a mop and some magic cloth to clean the venetian blinds. Our nearest big hardware store is in Altona. Brave the West Gate Bridge but before we start shopping, fortify ourselves with what is normally a very nice sausage in a roll from outside the hardware store. This one was lousy. But it won't stop me from having another in the future.

This old high tech mop has been replaced by this low tech model. I found some magic electrostatic dusting cloth and we add a couple of new buckets. The big hardware store did not have the mop but I had seen it in Safeway in the city. However, there was no way I was going to carry a mop home on the tram. We called into a nearby Safeway and grabbed the last one on the shelf. It works better and it is much easier to use. With the car loaded like a cleaner's car, we decided we would go to Puckle Street, Moonee Ponds for lunch.

I did not feel the need to look at the Melways. I knew to head north and I would come to a familiar road. Well, I did find a familiar tram route, so we followed the tracks to Moonee Ponds.

Puckle Street is a wonderful lively street. In spite of the brisk breeze, we sat outside and had a modest lunch and coffee. Unfortunately the street is somewhat overshadowed by what I feel are a couple of inappropriate buildings. Especially bad is the block of high rise flats that does not look very old, but it very shabby and untidy looking. The day our building allows stuff on the balconies that I saw there, I will sell. An old couch was in view, a boxing punching ball, washing on clothes racks. Yuk.

Ok, I am off to mop our very tidy balcony now. I was going to finish my post about my fetish, but out of time now.

F***ing politicians

Self serving, selfish assholes I reckon. They will do anything for sympathy and publicity. Having said that, this is terrible. Life as a politician can't be easy. The mistakes you and I make daily are not up for public scrutiny.


One day you may have grandchildren. You may want to relate some history to them. They may even ask. 'Pop, these old wooden trams are still running, but what came after them?' You can tell them that they were Z 1 trams. They were more comfortable than the Euro trams that came after them. They were quite sophisticated in their time. You could call them a work horse tram. They moved many people for many years. Bloody hot in summer though.

Readers, these tram are about to disappear, well within a year or two. They are the older modern trams that have pointy ends and round headlights. There are not so many left now. Do take a ride on one and be observant. Your experience will be tomorrow's history.

What a weird collection

The gang caught up Sunday night at the Balaclava Hotel. What a weird collection of folk. Our oldest friends were there, that is the Box Hill bitches, our dyke friend and her newest (we are used to her newest, whoever they are) friend, along with her 17 year old nephew from Lonnie in Tassie. Dame M and her boarder were there. The Brighton antique dealer was there with her toy boy.

The boarder had been conducting interviews that day and referred to some as just rooters. Rooters, rooting, roots became the words of the night and were slipped into conversations at every opportunity. Vulgar lot we are.

The Brighton antique dealer has been busy with her ink, quill and abacus and has compared her outgoings on her shop/house to how much money she would have if she sold up and has calculated that she can live in the Grand Hyatt until she is 92. Her little yappers won't last forever I guess.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Look Both Ways

Good company and a well made and absorbing movie. Thanks for the tip M!key.

Later in the day I took a quick trip to Chapel Street for some essential ingredient for this evenening's meal and it was nice to see AFE out and about. I would have said hi, be he was in deep conversation with some ex workmates.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Breaking news

I really needed to spend some time at home today, and so I did. I had washing and cleaning to do. But in between, there were many interesting things happening that I followed via the internet.

There was the opening of the Cross City Tunnel in Sydney. As in Melbourne, they close roads to force people to use the tunnel.

There was the resignation of the NSW opposition leader after pinching female journalists' bums and worse, calling the ex Premier's wife a mail order bride. Carr made a fine defensive speech and praised his wife and her contribution to Australia.

And then there was the approching Hurricane Katrina towards New Orleans.

Odd fetish

Deepest darkest confession time. I have this rather odd personal fetish. It started in the early eighties and I never really gotten over it and it has been re-stimulated by finding via the internet that I am not the only one.

Ah, I am too tired. I will finish this later.


Tomorrow I am off to Como Cinema with H, the building manager's wife. We are going to see Look Both Ways which has been highly recommended. I feel a bit nervous. It is almost like a date.

Non working day

I had a non working day last week. After returning my library book and renewing my work pass, I took myself off on the train to Brighton Beach. I saw an historic tunnel than linked the defunct Brighton Beach pier to the Brighton Beach railway station. I walked along a bit and thought this very old but now renovated hotel, Milanos, looked nice. I went in and ordered a schooner of Stella and also I asked for some salted peanuts. I shoud have said, in the bag, as they come. Instead, they needed to go into a martini glass. But the glass was dirty. Staff went off to find a clean glass. She found another martini glass to serve my nuts in, but it was not very clean either. No matter, I took myself out to the beer garden, or whatever these outdoor hotel areas are called now, and drank my stella and et my nuts.

It was mid afternoon and R usually gets home at four. He sms home in 30 mins. I sms back, home in 60 mins. Spoilt my arvo out a bit. I just finished my drink and nuts and caught the train to Prahran, did a little shopping in the supermarket and via a bus, I was home in less than sixty minutes.

Beach, history, modern venue in an old building, shopping. All done in a couple of hours and was very nice.

Twenty lift rules

1/ You may pick your nose and burp if you are alone in the lift.

2/ You will not break wind in the lift. You never know if it going to stop somewhere to let someone on. You alone in the lift with a bad smell does not need any explanation to your fellow passenger.

3/ If there is a bad smell in the lift when you enter, either send it on it's way empty and call up the other or be prepared to say to a fellow traveller 'I don't know what that awful smell is'.

4/ Do not squeeze pimples onto the mirrors.

5/ Do not touch any part of the lift as you may leave prints. Touch only the lift buttons. Use a tissue if you are fussy.

6/ Smile and be prepared to greet your fellow lift travellers. Note rule 7

7/ If someone does not meet your eyes when you or they enter the lift, do not greet them or smile at them. They obviously want to be left alone. This particularly applies when it is a female between the ages of 12 and 18.

8/Leave only imprints in the carpet, not footprints.

9/ When visiting someone who lives in a building that has lifts, and you are unused to them, do not push the up and down buttons at the same time. It won't bring a lift to go in your direction any quicker.

10/ Once the call up button has been pushed, pushing it again is pointless. Multiple pushes may even confuse the system and delay the lift.

11/ When in a stranger's company in the lift, by all means fiddle with your mobile phone, study your fingernails, take great interest in the flashing lights, stare at you shoes, stare at the ceiling or admire the buttocks of the person in front of you. Note, remember there are mirrors, don't get caught.

12/ Do not stand if front of the lift buttons when someone else gets in. There is a possibility they want to go elsewhere to you.

13/ Do not stand at the back of the lift and stare into the corner. It un-nerves other passengers.

14/ Lifts are unfair. You may have been in the lift first, but the last on first off rule applies.

15/ Be vigilant during school holidays when Dad has custody for the week. Note strange children in the building and which apartment they may be staying. This will be useful when you get into the lift and find every floor button has been pushed.

16/ If the lift gives a bad jolt, it is permissable to grab hold of the person next to you. (Only happened once and he did and he was cute)

17/ Sighing, pulling faces, moaning and grumbling will not make the lift arrive any quicker.

18/ Do you really need to use the lift when only travelling one or two floors?

19/ Adding up the seconds you have spent in the lift, multiplied by the number of times per day, multiplied by weeks, months and years can be depressing. Use the time wisely to think up sensible and interesting blog posts.

20/ It all sounds too hard? Benefit your physical well being and use the stairs.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

You gotta luv it

Qualified by the fact that I did not get up at quite the same time on Saturday as I have this morning, but yesterday when I arose, it was 2.6 degrees outside. This morning it is 16 degrees. I may be easily bored, but never by Melbourne's weather.

Wrong way train

I was living in a southern suburb and I wanted to go to another southern suburb. I was sixteen or seventeen, I can't remember, but St Kilda was a bad place, I had heard. You could find deviants in St Kilda. What sort of licentiousness happened in this area, I could only imagine. Perhaps there might be a homosexual in St Kilda. I put on my tightest jeans and my best green zip up windcheather and headed off to St Kilda with the thought that someting magical was going to happen that night.

I walked down Fitzroy Street and then back, and while there were some interesting people around, it wasn't until I was back at the corner of Grey and Fitzroy St (I know the street names now, I did not then) before a guy, mid twenties, nice looking, said 'hi, how you going. Would you like to come for a walk'. I shook in anticipation. But my reply was, 'Sorry, got to catch the train'. What a whimp.

The trouble was, I was so puzzled as to how I could come from a southern suburb on the Dandenong line and go to a southern suburb, St Kilda, and yet the train at Flinders St Station went the wrong direction. I came in from the south, and I wanted to go south, so how come the train went the opposite way to what I came in on.

It took many years to work that out. What about the guy in Fitzroy St. Maybe I missed a great time, but I was truly young and did not know about such stuff. Just interested.

On the off chance one of your kiddies is gay, be grateful that they don't havet to put themselves in such dangerous positions as I did was a young gay boi.