Friday, October 21, 2005

The frail human

I am terribly good at presenting a good face. Highriser stress??? Never seen it. Highriser trouble???? Never seen it. Highriser worried???? Never seen it. Highriser depressed???? Never seen it. Highriser thinking the world and Australia in particular is fucked???? Never seen it.

I don't understand people like Howard who are nasty to the poor and blue collar workers. I don't understand how a kid can starve to death in Africa. I don't understand how some people can be so cruel to animals. Age should give some understanding of life and life matters, but it does not. You must just die wondering.

I have had a crap week, mostly work related. Don't worry, I am far too selfish to open a vein. I will be ok tomorrow.........well maybe the next day. You would think that after 27 years of doing the same job, that you would be past the stesses of it and arrived at a comfortable relationship with it. It would seem not.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


We lead a very selfish life. We do what we want when we want with only consideration for each other. Fortunately we mostly agree on what we want to do. The most anyone impacts on this is when a rel or friend may stay a couple of nights. That is fine. We enjoy their company and it is no hardship.

My late father when in town for treatment for his cancer stayed with us four nights once. That was hard going. R's late parents from stayed a few weeks in the eighties and that was bloody hard. Dinner at five pm is odd, as is supper to us. We agreed to disagree and ate meals separately.

In a month or so, R's sister and bro in law arrrive from the UK to stay with us for five weeks, including over the christmas period. We are both, to say the least, apprehensive, as it will have a huge impact on our lives. I am sure they are really nice and we will get along fine, but..........

As the wise Dame M says, fish and visitors go off after four days. I better try to think some positive thoughts. At least they drink.

Fat Kids

When I was young................I have resisted saying that for so long........... kids were skinny. I was skinny, my school mates were skinny with 'The Prof' (professor) being the exception. He suicided recently I have learnt. Clever, but short and fat. I suppose there was a couple of big blokes, not fat, just big. But for most of us if we were asked in science how many ribs does a human have, we could readily come with an answer.

I am a bit of a people observer and I have observed that many school kids now are not exactly slim. The school kids I see are mostly of the private variety, so from social statistics, they should have a reasonable diet, but no, they are either fat or potentially fat. There are very few skinny kids. Even the skinny Asian kid is disappearing.

Something has gone awry. Generally you should only get fat as you age. Is it diet related? Perhaps to a point, but our school canteen did a good trade in sausage rolls, jam donuts, lollies and sweetened flavoured milk.

There was a phrase often heard, 'he's got hollow legs', meaning that there was not an obvious sign of the huge quantities of food consumed. He must store the food in his hollow legs.

The conclusion must be that insufficient energy is being expended compared to the energy being consumed. I don't think deliberate excercise is the answer. That sounds boring to kids. It sounds boring to me. No, kids have to do what kids used to do, play, walk, cycle, climb trees, wrestle, build stuff, wreck stuff, chase each other. It can't be easy being a parent now.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Not the Westgate

The bridge in the picture where the family played boulle is over the Barwon River in Geelong. The pic was taken from Queen's Park and the road is Queen' Park Drive. Save it Andy. It is a cute single lane bridge and on Sunday the traffic was quite busy but orderly. People queued patiently for their turn.

If you get a chance, drive down Aberdeen Street, where there used to be trams, and it turns into Deviation Road, a winding cliff face road which gives a great view of the park and the river.

Cross City Tunnel

This is a good idea. Let's build an east west tunnel under Sydney and we will have much less traffic congestion. Let's imaginatively call it the Cross City Tunnel or XCT.

And they did, except motorists seem disinclined to use it.

In Melbourne we experienced the shonky dealing that went on with the construction of our City Link. such as roads closed and narrowed and the removal of clearways in Toorak Road. The clearway removal never happened. I suspect some powerful people had a word in Jeff's ear. If you have some local knowledge why are Malvern Road and High Street cleaways also tow away zones and Toorak Road is not? Is it a sop by City of Stonnington to City Link or to it's wealthiest ratepayers? Probably both. These road alterations were undeniably made to force people to use City Link and pay a private company for the privilege. Melbournians made a bit of a fuss, but after a while, they just rolled over and accepted it.

Not so your Sydneysider. They are just refusing to use the new road and that has brought some action by the company that owns the road and the state government.

It is about $3.60 to use the tunnel and I don't think there is a daily cap. For the short distance, it is quite expensive. However, it can save a lot of time for some people.

The real outrage is what they have done to the local roads to force people to use the tunnel. That a Labor government has done this shocking deal with private enterprise is astonishing. It is ever so much worse than what happened in Melbourne.

For the few weeks since it opened, there has pretty well daily been an article in the Sydney Morning Herald and the Sydney Daily Telegraph. The letters pages are chockers. I imagine those dreadful radio morning talk show hosts have been thundering.

The projected target of 90,000 cars daily was very optimistic and only 20,000 are using it.

There was an acceptable method of east west travel across Sydney. It was very busy, but it did get you there. The deal meant narrowing the principle road from four lanes to two, making a city street bus only, and making it very difficult to travel from the eastern suburbs to the northern burbs via the Harbour Tunnel or Harbour Bridge, hence forcing people to use a short stretch of the tunnel.

Interestingly, the city street that is now a two way bus only street was a normal one way street. It seems there have been some pedestrian incidents as people were only used to looking one way. I believe some cars are continuing to use the street and some motorists are driving over a road barrier to get on to the Harbour Tunnel and Bridge roads.

There has been a little action. The company has made the tunnel free for three weeks and the government has finally relented and agreeded to release all documentation of the details and the deals. Included, as in Melbourne, was a penalty to the taxpayer if public transport was improved in the area the tunnel services. WHAT SORT OF CRAP IS THAT?

So, Sydneysiders, as I wrote in a letter to your SMH, continue to not use the tunnel. Gird your loins and be prepared to sit in traffic. You will win, eventually, and you may prevent such outrageous private/public deals in the future.

If you are tempted, remember where your money is going, that is a German bank and a Hong Kong billionaire.


P is for paid membership


National Trust of Victoria P
Friends of the ABC P
Humber Car Club of Victoria P
Watchamacallit Club (who remembers the Sunday Observer)
Club 80
Precinct 3182
Fly Buys
Ansett FF
Qantas FF P
Thais 4 Life (an assistance fund for Thai bar boys and ex bar boys with medical problems) P

Greens P
Joy Melbourne (radio station) P
City Library (Melbourne)
City of Port Phillip Library
Oakleigh Library
GI Joes (hairdresser, loyalty)
St Kilda Historical Society P
Balaclava Hotel (loyalty)

Some charitable organization that does stuff that the government should not be involved in
RSPCA or maybe an o/s animal aid org
A walking club

Monday, October 17, 2005

Birthday part 2

My sister lives an hours drive away and she invited us and our folks for a barbeque lunch. My mother who lives on the other side of the city cried poor and said they could only afford the petrol to our place and could they journey with us? It was a bit squishy, but we managed.

We had a nice lunch at my sister's place. Her girlfriend, yes, my mother got two out of four right, was absent attending to some old person's bone injuries. I need to learn how to spell orthapedic.

My mother gave me a boulle set so we motored down a winding road and just before a single lane bridge, we turned off into a park area and had a few games. It was good fun.

Anyone know the location?

Birthday part 1

It is not often that I have a whole weekend off work, but this weekend off co-incided with the day I turned 40, 17, 27, 30 and a bit, 50. None of those years are correct but it is between the highest figure and the lowest. On Saturday night I celebrated it with friends at the Duke of Devonshire Hotel..........ok, it was named that for a time. The original licensee was in 1866 and by 1888 he had gone broke. It remained a hotel for a while and then became a boarding house. Banks tended to take over old pubs, so then it was an ANZ Bank for a while. Then in the early eighties, it was one of Melbourne's first Thai restaurants. (I am told the first Thai restaurant, but I can't be bothered researching this). For the last twenty one years it has been the Xanghai chinese restaurant run by Jane.

It is Dame M's local. She has been patronizing it for the whole 21 years, eat in and take away. Jane is very kind to her. For Dame M's eightieth birthday, Jane sent her some food and flowers. Jane even asked her to come to a party at her place, a two storey monstrous mansion somewhere in the middle burbs. Dame M, a person of style was unimpressed with usual Asian gaudiness, but she did say the swimming pool area looked very nice.

So to celebrate my birthday, the gang trooped off to Jane's restaurant, after drinkies at Dame M's first.

The restaurant is on the corner of St Kilda Road and Octavia Street, just around the corner from Dame M's. We have been quite a few times. Enough for Jane to give me a packet of three hankies and a bird of paradise flower from her own garden. Not in return, but I gave a printed copy of the above pic and she was very pleased and offered to pay me for it. Jane cannot really read English, but Dame M said someone will translate for her later.

It was a great night, with good friends and they all made me feel quite special for the night. No doubt next time I see them, they will be back to being bitchy queens, faghags, imperious dames and lickers.

Picture courtesy of Pots, Punks and Punters, a St Kilda Historical Society publication.

Sunday, October 16, 2005


Some of you won't have ever had one and maybe you will have one soon. Maybe you have one now and have problems with it. I have had six different ones over twenty odd years and have used them pretty well daily, so I feel well qualified to offer some advice.

I can't find bullet points so I will just list as individual points as best I can.

Your dishwasher is not a miracle machine. If you have burnt something onto a pot, your d/w will not clean it.

Cheap detergent and rinse aid is a waste of your money. They don't give good results. If you remember the 'F' word, you won't go wrong. You really do get what you pay for.

Some things need rinsing off before they go in the dishwasher. Strarch and cereal. Rinse off the pot that you have cooked and mashed potato in and whatever you cooked rice in. Rinse off your cereal bowl.

Orange juice can be troublesome. Rinse those bits of fruit matter off.

Cooked on subtances need to be scrubbed off first, but if something is very greasy, don't worry, shove it in.

Otherwise, dirty plates, cups, glasses, vases, ceramic products, glass products, range hood metal parts, toothbrush holder, dog bowls and all cutlery and cooking tools..........if it is glass or ceramic and it will fit in, stick it in. If it is not dishwasher proof, get rid of it. If it is metal or plastic, think about it first. Plastic exhaust fan covers, no, no no.

When loading it, remember the direction from where the water sprays, that is the centre out, so at the back, stuff needs to face to the front and at the front, stuff needs to face towards the back.
Spooning is something you may do in bed with your partner, but it does not work in a dishwasher. Two spoons resting against each other facing the same way will not come clean.

Clean your filters often and dishwashers do get surprisingly dirty around the seals, so clean them too.

Your dishwasher will present your crockery and and glassware far better than you do by hand. Embrace it and love it.

(Just for you Danny)

Granny Mail

I think we know it as snail mail, but I heard written letters referred to as granny mail. Bit unkind, but perhaps true. But ignore the hand written or typed/printed letter and delivered by our postal system at your peril.

If you sit down and write a letter, or type and print one off, put it in an envelope, pop on a stamp and post it at the post box addressed to your local politician/councillor, business who you have dealings with, whomever, you will be immediately taken very seriously. You will be seen already as a determined person who is prepared to put time and effort into a matter.

While you can dash off an email and send it in a a few seconds, it can be read and deleted just as fast.

A Highriser prediction for the future is that many will fear the arrival of a personal letter about business, issues etc.