Saturday, September 17, 2005

Swanston Street

What an effing mess this street is. I know how Sydneysiders felt when their town was under public works seige before the Olympics.

There is work going on at Bourke Street, going on and on and on. They now seem to pulling up the work that they did a month ago.

Hoardings and scaffolds surroud St Pauls still after how many years? Was that a PTUA spokesperson being filmed nearby?

Flinders St Station seems to have been undergoing perpetual works, but it sure could do with either a clean or exterior coat of paint.

Hoardings around McDonalds have been removed. They should have boarded the place up.

My emailed complaint to the City Council regarding traffic and parking has gone unanswered, time to move to stage two, the telephone. It is like there are not any traffic rules or parking rules.

One could hope for a massive accident involving a horse carraige, a couple of taxis, a couple of Asian students in their cars, a large tram, two delivery vehicles, a tourist coach and several pedestrians who's minds are not tuned to what they are doing, crossing a street. Add in one of those little street cleaning machines that have to weave and duck around illegally parked vehicles. Now this massive pile up should occur right outside the town hall. Even then Mayor So would say, 'the street works well'.

Friday, September 16, 2005

The enlightened opines

It was the lesbians wot done it.

Is George Bush's negligence at all to blame for the Hurricane Katrina debacle? Not if you ask one of Bush's richest religious conservative backers, the Rev Pat Robertson.

According to Robertson, it's all the fault of... lesbians. "This is the second time in a row that God has invoked a disaster shortly before lesbian Ellen Degeneres hosted the Emmy Awards," said Pat. "Is it any surprise that the Almighty chose to strike at Miss Degeneres' hometown?

... God already allows one awards show to promote the homosexual agenda. But clearly he will not tolerate such sinful behavior to spread beyond the Tonys."

The bicycle saga goes on

When recently in Moonee Ponds, I dragged R into a Puckle Street bicycle store for a bit of self education. I learnt some stuff. Last evening I dragged R off to a Kingsway bike shop for a look. I bribed him with the promise of soy decaf latte (just kidding, but I do have a friend who drinks that) at the Royal Domain.

I looked at several bikes, including a couple of second hand ones. M!key is somewhat of an expert in this area and has provided invaluable advice.

The young salesperson was very helpful and not unattractive and as he was blonde, R was smitten. He was smart too. He picked his customers well. Did that bike really need lifting off it's ceiling hook and being given a cursory glance then hung back up? Of course it did, otherwise he could not have his short tee rise up to expose his smooth, hard, tanned abs with just a trace of the bush above his shorts that sat much higher than the very low waist band of his jeans.

Yeah honey, I am impressed but seen it all before. It is not going to make a sale.

He asked what use I had in mind for a bike. Now this is where it gets hard. While I want one, I want many things. I may just be over it in a couple of weeks and own a bike I never use. So the first words to him were, so that there was really no misunderstanding, 'something cheap'. I then responded to him that it may get a couple of hours use a week, on the flat local area. He said the old year's model was about to 'run out' so there were some with twenty per cent off.

I can't recall the type of bike he suggested, but it sounded appropriate for me. It was not a mountain nor a racing variety. I will call it a town bike, some of you may call it a wuss bike. It was a nice colour. It had brakes and gears and stuff. My only question was where is the pump? Other extras will be the helmet and lock. R offered to buy the extras for my approaching birthday.

Still thinking about it but I will decide soon. I haven't ridden a bike since 1974 so look out for me wobbling around Albert Park Lake or possibly mixing it with the swans in Albert Park Lake once I stop prevaricating.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


I have a favourite place to buy a salad roll. N Tran bakery in Chapel St, just near the town hall. I suspect the ethnically Asian guy who works there is gay. He is tall, nicely built and handsome, but also a really friendly fellah. His English is excellent, unlike the rest of the staff. Due to a language misunderstanding once, my salad roll got sauced with some disgusting muck that was stewing away in a cauldron. I couldn't eat it.

Yesterday my no sauce request was heard as 'fish sauce please'. It was a frozen moment in time. She picked up the bottle and before I could say anything, my pork and salad roll was being doused in fish sauce. While I detest the smell of nuoc mam I quite like the taste and it worked quite well on the salad roll. Not quite to the point where I will ask for it, but it was ok.

N Tran charges $4.50 for a meat and salad roll. My work local charges $3. But the extra $1.50 is well spent.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


You in your modest house will only get one or two, but those of us who live in a large apartment complex get three. If you live somewhere like Eureka, you will get ten. Fairly irrelevant, until you receive the bill from the fire brigade. $1000 per truck for attending.

They had cause to attend our building on Sunday night. I missed the end of a tv show. It was so important that I can't even remember what I missed the end of.

I heard the sirens, then I heard them stop dead. Oh. Look over balcony and sure enough, there they are. The task now is to prevent the body corporate being charged, and hence all residents. Blame must be allocated.

I opened the door and I could hear the fire alarm ringing in a down direction. I walk down the stairs to the ninth level where it was loudest. The brigade is in someone's apartment and I can smell burning plastic. I catch the lift to the ground floor. No-one is there. Where are the committee members? The building manager? I step outside and stroll along a bit. Hmmm, that fireman looks ok. Pornographic 'man in uniform' setting kicks in. I stare up and the building and count floors. There are no lights on in any committe members apartments. I go to buzz the apartment of one member who's apartment I cannot see, then I spy the building manager in the foyer. A committee member arrives.

It was a faulty microwave in self destruct mode. No big deal, until the idiot dweller opened his door to the landing to clear the smoke and smell and so set off the the alarm. He is luckier than the chap who knocked off a sprinkler head with a surf board. There will be no charge as it was a faulty appliance.

In the documentation that every resident receives when they move into the building, is the warning about opening your apartment door to clear smoke. Pity some don't read it.

Target Melbourne

Just thinking aloud.

Risk one: Now what is iconic about Melbourne? What passes all the buildings and places a visitor to Melbourne might want to see? Who might be in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Risk two: Who lives in a tall building? While it is an unexceptional building, if it was turned into a pile of rubble, it would have quite an impact.

Risk three: Who lives opposite a synagogue, a worshipping place for those they hate?

My advice is don't insure me.

Well done Johnny. Climate of fear created and I have stopped thinking about Telstra, and yes, we need tighter security. Bring on heaps of laws and lock up or deport those feral demonstrators. Done. I can now go and arrange all my pairs of socks into neat rows and continue with my meaningful life.

Como Hotel

Part Como Hotel, part television station Channel Ten. It seemed to be receiving a message of some kind. (Andrew tries to think of something really clever to say here, but fails)

Monday, September 12, 2005

Stupid fwit

I excelled myself with screwing up a general house hold tasks Saturday morning. It seemed so simple.

I am really not sure if it the most stupid thing I have done.

The time at our house in Glen Iris when I was shortening a power cord on a just installed airconditioner and with pliers cut through the cord while it was plugged in would be the most dangerous.

For sheer incompetence the award would go to when I installed a peep hole in our door. I measured, checked, measured again, looked at with my eye and drilled. Off centre. How did I get it so wrong?

Our sound system FM radio reception was not perfect. I noticed in Dick Smith an external antenna for just five dollars. Worth a chance, it looked to be heavy duty. I cut off the little clips, bared the wires to plug them in directly, unplugged what I thought was the antenna, plugged in the bared wires, switched on. Great reception, but why is a speaker not working? Yep, I had plugged the antenna into a speaker outlet. Evenetually I sorted it and reception is much improved. Next will be the AM reception.

Suppose I shouldn't be too hard on myself. I have have done lots around the house over the years.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Car Club

As a previous Humber owner, I like to keep vaugely in touch with the Humbering world, so I am a member of an online forum. I don't know who set it up, but I have been astonished to learn of the spread of Humbers all over the world. I had no idea there were so many in the United States.

I remember seeing one in Bangkok around the time I was about to remove an electric cooling fan from mine and revert to the conventional engine driven fan. The engine would get very near to overheating in stop start traffic on a hot day. I was surprised to see such a cold weather car driving around in hot and sticky Bangkok streets.

So this online group is world wide but the members keep forgetting this and assume everyone is just down the road. There have been some quite amusing misunderstandings, made worse by Australia using many UK names for our towns and cities. Every so often a member pleads for members to identify their location, and all is well for a while, but then people forget and a new misunderstanding will arise.

The internet truly is an amazing thing. It just takes some of us a while to adjust.

Bush Bashing

There are two scary aspects to this story, both relating to the date it was published. The date was the fourth of September, right in the middle of the disaster. The other is that if a newspaper can publish in the middle of a disaster area, why have so many people died? I am pleased not to be an American, as I would feel such shame. I console myself with the knowledge that a small percentage of the population actually voted for him. I truly feel sorry for those of you who didn't but have to wear the burden of world opinion.

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- The Times-Picayune of New Orleans printed this editorial in its Sunday edition, criticizing the federal government's response to Hurricane Katrina and calling on every FEMA official to be fired:
An open letter to the President

Dear Mr. President:
We heard you loud and clear Friday when you visited our devastated city and the Gulf Coast and said, "What is not working, we're going to make it right."
Please forgive us if we wait to see proof of your promise before believing you. But we have good reason for our skepticism.
Bienville built New Orleans where he built it for one main reason: It's accessible. The city between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain was easy to reach in 1718.
How much easier it is to access in 2005 now that there are interstates and bridges, airports and helipads, cruise ships, barges, buses and diesel-powered trucks.
Despite the city's multiple points of entry, our nation's bureaucrats spent days after last week's hurricane wringing their hands, lamenting the fact that they could neither rescue the city's stranded victims nor bring them food, water and medical supplies.
Meanwhile there were journalists, including some who work for The Times-Picayune, going in and out of the city via the Crescent City Connection. On Thursday morning, that crew saw a caravan of 13 Wal-Mart tractor trailers headed into town to bring food, water and supplies to a dying city.
Television reporters were doing live reports from downtown New Orleans streets. Harry Connick Jr. brought in some aid Thursday, and his efforts were the focus of a "Today" show story Friday morning.
Yet, the people trained to protect our nation, the people whose job it is to quickly bring in aid were absent. Those who should have been deploying troops were singing a sad song about how our city was impossible to reach.
We're angry, Mr. President, and we'll be angry long after our beloved city and surrounding parishes have been pumped dry. Our people deserved rescuing. Many who could have been were not. That's to the government's shame.
Mayor Ray Nagin did the right thing Sunday when he allowed those with no other alternative to seek shelter from the storm inside the Louisiana Superdome. We still don't know what the death toll is, but one thing is certain: Had the Superdome not been opened, the city's death toll would have been higher. The toll may even have been exponentially higher.
It was clear to us by late morning Monday that many people inside the Superdome would not be returning home. It should have been clear to our government, Mr. President. So why weren't they evacuated out of the city immediately? We learned seven years ago, when Hurricane Georges threatened, that the Dome isn't suitable as a long-term shelter. So what did state and national officials think would happen to tens of thousands of people trapped inside with no air conditioning, overflowing toilets and dwindling amounts of food, water and other essentials?
State Rep. Karen Carter was right Friday when she said the city didn't have but two urgent needs: "Buses! And gas!" Every official at the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be fired, Director Michael Brown especially.
In a nationally televised interview Thursday night, he said his agency hadn't known until that day that thousands of storm victims were stranded at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. He gave another nationally televised interview the next morning and said, "We've provided food to the people at the Convention Center so that they've gotten at least one, if not two meals, every single day."
Lies don't get more bald-faced than that, Mr. President.
Yet, when you met with Mr. Brown Friday morning, you told him, "You're doing a heck of a job."
That's unbelievable.
There were thousands of people at the Convention Center because the riverfront is high ground. The fact that so many people had reached there on foot is proof that rescue vehicles could have gotten there, too.
We, who are from New Orleans, are no less American than those who live on the Great Plains or along the Atlantic Seaboard. We're no less important than those from the Pacific Northwest or Appalachia. Our people deserved to be rescued.
No expense should have been spared. No excuses should have been voiced. Especially not one as preposterous as the claim that New Orleans couldn't be reached.
Mr. President, we sincerely hope you fulfill your promise to make our beloved communities work right once again.
When you do, we will be the first to applaud.