Friday, November 25, 2005

Truly Horrible

While quickly flicking through the Sydney Morning Herald today, I read about a cop who committed sucicide, the fourth this year in NSW. Whether it is realted or not, he worked in the child protection area.

I saw something so terrible today, my mind had already blanked it, until I read the above story. Actually, I am not sure what I saw. What I think I saw was a modern silver car, I think a Mercedes, pull over to the side of the road. An agitated male reached into the back of the car and started punching something, three hard punches and whatever he punched crumpled. Then I noticed a child in the back of the car. I did not look away, I stared, he stared back at me through his dark glasses and contined to obviously speak very loudly. I refocused on the back seat and the kid is looking at me, looking at his father. The kid did not seem unduly distressed.

That is my interpretation of what I saw, but I am not sure at all. I suppose I should have taken the number of the car and the location and thought about it. It is one thing to see some scrubber or smack head hit a kid. You know what has to be done and I have done it in the past, but this was different. If only the kid looked distressed, I would have been convinced and acted.

Christmas and barbeque

Last year through the efforts of the body corp committee, we had a c'mas tree in our foyer. It was the first time and some of us worked hard to make it happen. It looked very nice and was very much approved of. It will be errected again this year and the corny carols will be playing too.

A recent experiment failed miserably. Fake flowers in the foyer, changed monthly by a company. Building managers said bad idea, they will be stolen. Sure enough, they lasted five days and disappeared by someone with a hooded top (on video) and did not use a dudad to get out of the building. There is good knowledge of who it is, but no proof.

The task of community building continues. This year's effort is a building c'mas barbeque. We are able to go and we think it is a good idea. We will see how it goes Sunday week. I have already being pressing people I know in the lift. If it does not bring out extra people, just the usual anglo residents, then I would judge it as a failure. But it is worth a shot.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Assumptions, be careful

As I mentioned in a previous post, we ran into a workmate at K Mart plant nursery in Chadstone. He was Scottish born and his wife Chinese born.

R jumped to conclusions and said later to me that she hit paydirt as this workmate is not poor and still has a farm in Scotland. Many of us would have made a similar conclusion with limited knowledge. Even someone who knew better, made a crack about the general matter in a specific way and lost his job as a a parliamentary opposition leader.

She was not a mail order bride. The both owned flats in the same apartment block. She is a nurse. The met as neighbours, fell in love, married, sold their respective flats and bought a house together and they seem very happy.

Take some care kiddies. We live in changing times and the old standards have changed. Make your assumptions, but don't base your response or re-action on your assumptions.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Good deed and an offer

I discovered a bird trapped in our car park upper level. It was an Indian Mynah bird, a horrid bird that is agressive towards our native birds. But I thought it very unlikely that it would find it's way down upteen ramps back to the car park door and then wait until someone came along in their car and opened it. I don't like critters to suffer, no matter how much I dislike them, so ten minutes of sheperding the bird and a couple of fall backs, it flew out the door. Good karma for me.

Good karma reward already. I have just been offered a part time job in the United States. The pay is $4,000 per month and the offer arrived via an old email address. They don't actually specify what the job is, but it is not door to door sales. I will email them back and ask about relocation expenses. It must be a big company as I noticed it was sent to many people at once. They must need a lot of staff.

Learning my job

I wasn't looking forward to it. Spending a day in an air conditioning office building usually ends up with me having very sore eyes. Spending the day refreshing my job role after doing the job for two and half decades is inclined to get up my goat, or is it get on my nose?

The only good things that I could see, was that it would be conducted at just a pleasant walk from home and it would be a short day.

The first part was conducted by my immediate superior who I also consider a good workmate and we have known each other for a long time. I will offer my opinion to him privately.

The next part was conducted by someone/people in my job I normally have little contact with or knowledge of and it was VERY interesting and I learnt a lot of what I should have known years ago. For those in the know, it was Carlton, which is soon moving to EROC. The day was worth it for what I learnt.

The quite hot guy who I used to work with, is now in a position of considerable controlling power, but he does his job well and hasn't fogotten his skill at how to play up to the fags. He too was interesting, although I have heard it all before at different location (GH).

The final part was Customer Service and Conflict Resolution.

I had a really bad experience at one of these lectures maybe five years ago. I was offended for myself and offending for my lifestlye, offended for my my black and yellow work collegues, and some very good staff who I worked with many years ago who happened to be punks or tranvestites or whatever. The quality of the staff had nothing to do with whatever they were or looked like and I am getting angry now remembering.

If you know me, you will know that I rarely swear. I probably swear more when writing than in real life. I save swearing for serious times. My maternal grandparents never swore, although we shrieked with laughter once when Pop said bum, and nor did/do my parents swear. I got a terrible telling off once from my mother for saying 'shit' when I was 16 years old.

Back to the point. I did have advance warning from an Asian workmate, already somoene who was offended by what was coming

'This is absolute shit', I said as I stormed out of refresher class and caught the tram home. I went to the next day, work place based, refresher and nothing was said.

Have I got you interested at all to know what was said?

I have not heard of the woman since. I think she may have moved out. Perhaps I was totally wrong about how I heard what I thought was rascism, homophobia, ageism, sexism and more.

Here is what she said and feel free to challenge me if you think I was wrong to take offence. As well as seeming offensive to me, it was also obviously seeming offensive to others, or I would not have heard about it in advance.

'We want our customers to have a good image of our staff.' (No problem with that). 'We want them to have an image of our staff as being married, living in a nice house with a white picket fence, in a quiet street in a nice suburb. Our staff will have 1.3 children who go to a nice school. We just want you to be Mr and Mrs Average, someone who seems just like a passenger. Someone they can relate to.'

My translation: Straight, married, male, kids, white, part time working wife, mid to outer burbs, Commodore. I think I did have one workmate who fitted that bill, but he was the oddball out.

It was terribly offensive to me and to most of my workmates who did not fit the bill.

The only good thing about these days is these days is that it is usually an early finish, and it was. But whether it was worth the boredom, the sore eyes and the headache I ended up with, I am not so sure.

So good fucking riddance to that previous employer by whom she was employed. They were the rats who deserted the ship that will never sink.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

St Kilda Rd Joint Neighbourhood Forum

Last night we attended the above forum, conducted jointly by City of Melbourne who look after the eastern side of St Kilda Road, and City of Port Phillip who look after the western side of St Kilda Road. A year or more ago, it was decided that rather than each council go it's own way, there would be joint policies for the boulevarde. By the way, technically it is a real boulevarde. There is a world accepted definition.

It was held in the Hoopla Room at Malthouse Theatre. Although cool outside and it has a tin roof, it was very very hot inside. The sandwhiches and cakes were very good and we did not need to eat before we went, but we had.

While both councils have put considerable resources into plans, there won't be much decided before next year. It really was just a public relations exercise and while the room was full, half the people there were paid staff from various groups who have an interest. Interestingly Yarra Trams had two representatives there, but responded unsatisfactorily when a complaint was made about track repairs late at night affecting residents' sleeping. They did not know anything about track repairs the previous night.

It was a dissappointing turn up, although the room was full. COPP conduct there forums often, so they would know what sort of numbers that they get.

What struck me was the number of conflicting aims. Take this one which is perhaps relevant or of interest to some of my readers. Limit speed to 50kph, speed tram travel up, give more time for pedestrians to cross the road, widen and increase the length of safety zones (tram stops), widen the bike paths, maintain existing car parking spaces..............and yet, recognize that it is an important street for car travel so traffic flows need to be maintained. Some quite radical ideas are being thought about by the two councils and those with interests in the road.

The meeting concluded with a mini quiz on the history of the road and I could have answered every question bar one. I received a chocolate frog as a prize for one question I answered. The one question that I did not know, was that Prime Minister Bruce lived in St Kilda Road in the early part of the twentieth century. I wasn't sure if the right answer to the question how many tram routes run down St Kilda Road would include route 1 trams. The answer didn't.

Oh, and we did meet some other residents of the road. That was nice. There was one famous actor who lives in the Domain building, so famous I cannot remember his name.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Simple Life

While I have great memories of times past when we would hit 'the scene', clubbing. venues, night life, it is not for us now. Although I felt slightly dazed today because I worked very late last night, it was a very nice simple Sunday. R had a good night's sleep and was rareing to go at 10, nah I said, I need some more time. So he watched something about Parsley, Rosemary and Tyme that he had taped. I am thinking of composing a song along the lines of those words.

I chilled and got my act together slowly. We bashed off to wash R's car in downtown Ashwood, and then went on to Megamart, only to find it closed, but with lots of Harvey Norman signage. We et a sausage with onions and sauce in a roll. We bought a nice coulorful plant for the balcony and some potting mix at the K Mart Nursery and had a cup of very ordinary coffee. We bought some nice sheets of paper for our annual christmas newsletter from a large office supply company. We ran into one of my workmates and had a nice chat.

We potted some plants, I rode off on the Apollo to Clarendon Street Coles, which I detest, but it is easy to get to on a bike. While I have no idea why, some 10 year old kid on a bike, without a helmet, stalked me through the back streets of South Melbourne. Go away kid. I don't even want to think about what you think you are up to.

Not that anyone would want to steal the Apollo, I thought I securely locked it up outside Coles. I go in and had to dodge another kid on a bike who just rode into the supermarket. sans helmet too. I bought the one required ingredient and came out to find that I had not looped the cable through anything, except the bike. I was so sure I had locked it to the trolley rack, but it would seem not.

R was astonished how quickly I was home. Bikes are pretty good hey. Most of the time was spent waiting to get across Kingsway.

Sms arrives, great that you can join us at the Dick Wittington (insert hyperlink) for dinner. I never sent an sms that we were going there.Via a convoluted way, our acceptance to a casual mention had been noted.

The Dick was ok, but it will probably be a while before we return.

Oh dear, did I write that

There are some bloggers who are very careful about what they write and what they publish. There are others who are perhaps a bit more emotional in their posts.

I expect we all have posts that we think could have been done better, or not done at all. I stand by all of mine I think, bar one. Comments to other peoples blogs are another matter and perhaps I regret a few of those.

I will readily confess to the one of mine, perhaps the only one, I really regret. I did not pull it as it is a good reminder to me of how public a blog really is. While you have your select readers, search engines need to be taken into account too. The post was about Paul Hester, a local muscian who suicided. What I wrote was tasteless, tactless and ignorant. I have since learned quite a bit about said Paul Hester and it seems he was an admirable bloke. In fact he is to be publically honoured by having a lane/street? named after him.

While I am very unsure about this tagging thing, can I ask my bloggers that I link to on my site to on my blog to mention if they have one that they regret? Spatula exempted, as you pulled one of yours and Random Concoction as he on notice from blogger, but mention one if you like fellas. So Toxic Custard, Hecho En Mexico and Semaphore Junction, do you have any?

Unhappy Snap

Those of you who know me reasonably well, if not personally, will probably know why I may spent quite a lot of time at the corner of Orrong and Dandenong Roads tonight.

It was a joyous time to see so so much revenue raised for the State of Victoria that will be spent on the general good.

Flash, flash went the camera and in poured the money.

Speed cameras on the West Gate Bridge have raised far more money than the tolls ever did and this combined speed/red light camera at Orrong Road in Dandenong Road isn't do a bad job of fundraising.

The best was three snaps in one set of green lights. Two speed and one red light. If I had to estimate speed, then the majority would have not been going very much over the limit, in fact I would have guessed they were not. The camera did snap three that I saw that were going really fast and fully deserved their fine and perhaps more. The red light snaps were very tolerant. If you see the light turn red, then don't go through the intersection.

I am still open to arguments about speed cameras, but from what I observed tonight, I am not about red light cameras.

Anyway, thanks to you who tonight who contributed a few thousand dollars to the state coffers at one location.