Friday, February 03, 2006

Communciation Problem

The o/s rels were not too hard to understand, given they come from the north of England and their accent is almost Scottish. Where we did have problems, was imperial and metric. There eyes glazed a bit as they did mental calculations about the speed of cars, the temperature, distances and weights.

I thought that the UK was a bit further along the road to metrication than it obviously is. They know they are supposed to be thinking metric and seem to have a vague understanding, but we could tell that it just did not work for them. 'Yes it is hot, it is 100 degrees', meant much more to them than whatever our equivalent is.

Sadly I confess, I grew up with imperial and it is intersting as to what has stuck and what hasn't.

Day to day stuff is easy. I know how much a litre is along with how far a kilometre is. I know what it feels like to drive at 60kph or is that kmh? I also recall when I stupidly as a teen wound the Valiant up to 97mph, that was it's limit. It just would not crack the 100 mph. At least it did not valve bounce like Holdens did at that speed. Scares me to even recall that.

Height is not too bad. I know 183cm is 6' ('means feet kiddies) and I add and substract from there. But I instantly know how tall some is if they are 5'6" ("=inches kiddies).

2.5cm = 1 inch, easy to convert, but I still have to think a bit, not always. I do know what a piece of timber 4x2 is. The desirable but usually untrue 8 inches = 20cm.

I have totally forgotten about stones, pounds and ounces. It is either metric or meaningless. I can recall that over 12 stone is a bit on the heavy side as I used to be 9 stone for years. If people still used stones, I might understand, but people seem to have taken to the American style pounds only. Plus I think US pounds are different to what our pounds were. Not sure on that.

Kilojoules or calories, I am sure I have too much of both.

Pounds per square inch against kilopascals. I do the height thing here. 29 pounds per square inch in your tyre is about 200 kilopascals........... I think or is that hectopascals?

Do you kiddies know how difficult it was to add pounds, shillings and pence? I recall a school teacher saying that it was a waste of time teaching us this as we would not need it. He was correct. It was a bit like adding hours and minutes but with an extra thrown in as well.

Speaking of, what would be terribly sensible would be a metric clock. Why don't we have metric time?

The good old days weren't always so good. I am very thankful for metrication.

Now kiddies, get over this 6 foot, eight inches thing. Let it die. We are a metric country. 183/75/20uncut is quite acceptable, and even at my age, I understand.

Third world corruption

A little while ago I had a long detailed discussion with an Indonesian born Australian about corruption in Indonesia. I have had a similar discussion with a friend from Thailand and with others from various countries.

Corruption is one of the most insidious things that affect people day to day in these countries and I assume the same goes for Iraq. It is always the poorest people who suffer the most as they just cannot afford to bribe to receive what is a basic entitlement.

China has executed government officials and party members for corruption, although I doubt it has made much difference.

But when countries don't or can't pay their government officials a comparatively good wage, then it is expected that they will top the wage with gratuities, or as Ruddock called bribery, 'facilitation fees'. The low relative pay of government officials in third world countries needs to be addressed.

Having said that, corruption comes from the top down. A climate or culture is established and it works it way through the whole system.

Obviously an Australian company has been involved in significant corruption in Iraq. We ought not profit by such means. If we cannot sell our wheat by legitmate means, then we better do some hard thinking on the issue.

So, Aussies use corrupt practices while doing business overseas, why can't we here in Iraq? All so called Western countries should immedietely stop corrupt practices when dealing with the third world, and second world for that matter. Singapore is not a saintly place. I am a firm believer in setting an example (well not me personally) and if Australia sets an example of not participating in corrupt practices overseas and encourages other Western countries to do the same, the world will be a better place.

St Kilda Road buildings

This has been a long time in the making, but it is pretty well finished. Maybe this winter when the trees are leafless, I will do Domain Road to Southbank boulevard. There are photos of every building, mostly more than one photo. It is slightly disorganized as an amateur would do and the pics vary a lot in quality and usefulness. I think it is noted on the photo titles, but already two buildings have been demolished and another is about to undergo a significant upgrade and I will take photos of these too.

The last few days have been hard work trying to find a site to host so many pics. So many tries but finally worked it out. I hope there are not severe restrictions on how many people can look at the photos before a limit is imposed. Photo storage sites' help/info areas are very deficient in informing you about limitations.

Do I have favourites? Illoura at 426. The old one of course. It is criminal that it was demolished and replaces with crap that I can look out my window onto. A modern favourite? I like the Metropolis at 480 rather a lot but also the starkness of the Becton building at 470. 490 is the only privately owned house in St Kilda Road. I have exchanged a couple of emails with the owner over matters related. He must be seriously rich.

Here are the URLs. If you have a look and have problems, let me know, and correct me where I have made an error.

Eastern Side
Western Side

Thursday, February 02, 2006

It can never be too big

As smugly as the computer salesperson told me in the early ninties that we could not possibly need any more than a two gigbyte hard drive, I thought that I could never get close to my monthly download limit of my present plan, 10gb. Even then I am only throttled, not cut off.

Guess what folks? Yep, went very close last month. I used to struggle to stay under 3gb when that was the limit of my plan, but I never dreamed I would go near 10gb. Must have been R downloading questionable videos.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Small World

Him: Hi, busy?
Me: Not really. Hiya
Him: How was your weekend
Me: Fine thanks
Him: What r u looking for?
Me: Just cruising, maybe more
Him: You are in South Yarra? Not far from me.
Me: Ok, you live in South Yarra?
Him: No, work there
Me: Shop girl? hehe
Him: No, but it is retail
Him: You?
Me: Nothing terribly interesting. But shift work, so often have free time during the day
Him: ic
Me: Nice pic btw. You have a face pic?
Him: Yap.
Me: send it to me and I will reply with my pics
Him: Hang on
Me: I know you. You work at my local Post Office
Him: Hah, yap
Him: You sent yours?
Him: How old are you
Me: Sent. Stats are in my profile
Him: Sorry yes. Pics not arrived yet
Me: Sent them
Him: I know you too. You come in and buy first day covers
Me: Oh dear. Nerd huh?
Him: No, you are nice
Me: You know I really like the way you deal with customers. You are always so friendly to everyone.
Him: Thanx
Me: Sure you sometimes feel like not being nice
Me: I am Andrew btw
Him: lol, so am I
Me: Really, wow
Him: You there?
Me: Sorry, two phones rang at once
Me: You are not at work now?
Him: No
Me: Gee, amazing co-incidence. You are really nice looking btw.
Him: Thanx. What sort of stuff do you like doing?
Me: Corny I know, but mild to wild, versatile
Me: How long is your lunch break?
Him: You do text?
Me: Yep, 041.......

He really is such a nice guy. You think butter would not melt in his mouth

Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Our venerable Prime Minister is seriously in need of some education that comes under a very wanky term, 'clear expression'. I have a vague memory of clear thinking and clear expression from school.........ever so many years ago.

PM Howard thinks that the present teaching of history is not good. I would not know as I have only the slightest connection with anyone in the education system, teacher or student.

Our PM is excellent at communication with the common masses like me, so I am not really sure why he used such double speak. Perhaps it sounds good to prospective voters.

I heard him on the news the other night. He was being critical of the teaching of history in Australian schools. He knows how to do sound bites for the media, so what was it all really about? 'A fragmented stew of themes and issues' and 'structured narrative'.

What is the creep up to?

Monday, January 30, 2006

Post Script to Brokeback Mountain

It is very odd, but even at now, the second night after seeing Brokeback Mountain, I can't seem to stop thinking about it. Perhaps there was a bit more to it than I first thought. I suppose it was quite emotionally intense. Any well acted movie with intense emotion tends to get me. Probably makes up for my normal devoid of emotion state honed almost to perfection over many years.

The DVD Player

As I suspected, we don't have a great use for the dvd player. The o/s rels hired some dvds to watch while they were here. I tried watching them, but they were a load of the proverbial. We have looked at some photos but apart from that, it has sat unused. Lucky that they are incredibly cheap now.

I was going to hold out for bit longer and get one that can record dvds and especially, has it's own hard drive. Then it can be used instead of the vcr for program shifting etc and I can copy old tapes onto dvds. I think I can do this? Can I?

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Bare...........Brokeback Mountain

Luckily I had booked as the huge movie theatre at the Rivoli cinema was pretty well full. Five of us went to see it and I thought there may have been more gay people in the audience. But it was mostly your usual Saturday night Rivoli crowd, that is straight middle class couples.

I enjoyed the movie but it was not the sort of movie you would watch a second time. Two of us thought it was a bit long and too slow. They are used to more action type movies. I don't think you can have a fast love story. Maybe it could have done with a trim here and there. First class acting, film work, atmosphere and scenery. Heath Ledger is an odd fish. He seems flighty and nervous in real life but his acting skills are superb. What a restrained perfomance.

A couple of kiddie gays decided to re-enact a wrestling scene in the foyer as they left after the movie. Quite amusing.

But what I was thinking as we walked along Camberwell with the crowd after exiting, was that there would be some very nervous husbands that night who would possibly want to avoid a chat with their curious wives before bed that night. It's ok fellas, we understand.

So, I can recommend the movie if you are not just an action movie person.