Saturday, May 13, 2006

Bought a dvd online

I did have to check with my friend in Sydney first as to whether it would play ok in our dvd player. I asked the question on my blog in the past and no one was helpful.

I had to sign up to Paypal to pay for it. I was a member of Paypal in the past and in spite of my efforts to find out what email address I used, I had to rejoin.

I committed to buy the dvd from a seller in the US, but then cancelled the transaction when the postage inflated from US$5 to US$11. I think I am going to get a 'please explain' from at some point.

I found another vendor and his postage was a little higher but when it came to completing the trasnaction, his postage fee stayed the same so I went ahead.

I really don't like buying stuff from the US over the net. But no Australian vendor had the poduct and UK vendors were charging a lot more.

It is a movie I want to see again. It starred the marvellous but now late Dame Peggy Ashcroft. If you are wondering, it is called Caught on a Train. As she unwrapped her snack on the train, she said, 'Chicken legs. I never travel without chicken legs'.

Like Lost in Space, it may be something better in the memory than re-visited, but I don't think so.

Delfin Homes, the roo killing property developer

Aren't we humans going a bit far with our lust for land? From the Sydney Daily Telegraph. Shame on Delfin.

Roo kill

April 21, 2006

AUTHORITIES are investigating the death of a kangaroo found shot with a tranquilliser dart on a major Sydney housing development.

About 100 kangaroos have died at the former ADI site at St Marys since a population control program was implemented by the developer.

On Tuesday a female kangaroo was found in a pond at the site, where work is under way on 5000 new homes, its face bloodied from running into trees as it fled in a panic. A tranquilliser dart was hanging from its leg.

The animal is one of about 3000 kangaroos on the 1535ha site, known as Sydney's "Secret Garden". It escaped from a mob being rounded up for injection with a contraceptive implant by specialists working for developer Delfin Lend Lease.

Since buying the site in May 2004, Lend Lease has been responsible for reducing kangaroo numbers through contraception and sterilisation under a government-approved plan.

Tranquilliser darts are used to sedate the kangaroos for implantation.

A Delfin Lend Lease spokesman confirmed yesterday about 5 per cent – 100 – of the 2000 kangaroos treated under the program had died.

The deaths resulted from shock, old age and illness, the spokesman said, but the 95 per cent survival rate which was considered to be "good".

ADI Residents' Action Group spokesman Geoff Brown said he was concerned about animals on the site.

"This kangaroo appears to have suffered a horrific death and in any other situation this would be an act of animal cruelty," Mr Brown said.

"But because Delfin Lend Lease have licences from (the Department of Environment and Conservation) and overall support from the Government they think they are above the law."

"How many other animals met a similar, silent fate out of view from the public?" he said.

Lend Lease project manager Arthur Ilias said, under the process, kangaroos are herded towards holding yards, shot with a tranquilliser dart, implanted and then released into large, fenced paddocks in the centre of the ADI site.

Mr Ilias said the dead kangaroo had jumped a containment fence.

A Department of Environment and Conservation spokeswoman said information was being sought from Delfin.

Wow, that costs a lot

In 1987 Australia's inflation rate was around twelve per cent and falling. I am not sure why the writer of below thought things would be so expensive in years to come, but here are his forecasts made in May, 1987. We are now just short of twenty years. It is a pity that I did not record the prices in 1987.

In 10 years, In 20 years, In 30 years

2 tickets to the movies $33, $69, $145

2 weeks in Fiji for 2 $4170, $8697, $18,141

A good bottle of Scotch $39, $82, $172

A loaf of bread $2, $4, $10

Car inurance for medium priced sedan $1215, $2609, $5442

A tweed sports jacket $521, $1087, $2267

Friday, May 12, 2006

Cat 5 or cat 6 line

At mentioned body corporate AGM, an owner brought up the subject of internal tv lines. Or was that internal internet lines. He suggested that the committee might be interested to hear more about this and he was prepared to educate the committee in his own time. Now, he works for a computer company so I guess it fairly obvious where he was coming from. He gave a brief explanation that I did not understand. Our building already is wired for Foxtel and Telstra cable internet and for some satellite overseas Chinese tv thingy.

Unfortunately this salesperson who lives here is young, blond, cute and possibly gay. R's perfect type. So I need some background knowledge of this cat 5 or cat 6 line, lest R sign everyone up in the building for some unwanted communication line. Anyone help? What is this cat 5 or cat 6 line thing?

Linked Celeb for the week, Scott Baio

He played Chachi in the American comedy show Happy Days. I used to think he was quite cute. In the first pic, you can see he hasn't aged badly either.


Changes at the highrise

Guess who's partner is back on our building's body corporate committee? Yep, R was talked into doing another stint. Better that he does it and not me. He is better at such things and probably more agreeable to deal with. I can just snipe in the background.

There are some big changes starting next week. After the departure of the live in building manager and his cleaner wife, our building has basically been run by a sole cleaner between 8am and 4pm, with a couple of hours Saturday and Sunday to do the basics, and as time goes on, it is really starting to show. There are areas being neglected and some residents are really taking liberties, knowing that there is no one around to stop them.

Although most of the trouble comes from tenants, they are much easier to discipline through their renting agents. Owner occupiers are more stubborn and not a lot can be done to correct their behaviour.

The biggest issue is 'illegal moves'. Before moving in or out of the building, the manager must be contacted and a time arranged. No move ins or outs Saturday afternoon or Sunday or peak lift usage times. The manager puts up the protection canvas in one lift, shows the new residents around the building and explains a few basics to them and make sure they understand the building rules and overseas the move. Some people take it upon themselves not to notify the manager and just move whenever they like. It is the manager's task to stop this. Well, with only a cleaner here during the day and barely at all on weekends, there isn't anyone to stop them, although one member of the committee has tried.

So, from Monday, we will have a cleaner from 7 to 11, a caretaker/handyperson from 10 to 6 and a concierge from 5 to midnight. Note the overlap times. A gardener attends once a fortnight. A guard will be on call but not at the building. For only a little more money, the building will have much more service than with a live in manager. It will be interesting to see how well it works.

The building is about to undergo a security upgrade worth $38,000. This is mostly comprised of converting the cctv to digital and tripling the number of cameras. Already all entry, exit and movement within the building is also recorded by logging the use of remote controls and which door they have operated. It is very Big Brother for sure, but it should mean that the building will be much more secure and less prone to vandalism and anti social behaviour.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Cute little bilby survived from Easter to May the eleventh. Not a bad effort in self restraint.

Today's Geography Lesson, Tristan da Cunha

I may have heard the name of island during the Commonwealth Games. I am not sure. There were a couple of countries I had never heard of. Tristan da Cunha.

It is located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean between South America and Africa. It is one of the last remaining English colonies. It is governed from St Helena, although that is a long way. It has been settled by the British for five hundred years and it has a population of about 270. More stock was added to the gene pool when some Italians settled there. The stock was futher added to by buying some brides from elewhere in exchange for a sack of potatoes, each. Even so, I would still have concerns with a population of 270.

It looks pretty, although also wild. The main settlement is called Edinburgh.

Find out all you need to know and more at the island's website. Quite interesting.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I am excited

My two sets of old pillow cases are either thread bare or faded. My doona cover, part of the set, is ok though. I just thought today I might call in to Futons on Chapel (yes, FoC, you are obliged to send me a cheque) and see if they had any pillow slips that might vaguely match. I did not even get to ask until later. On full display was a very very nice doona cover, or quilt cover if you like.

I have never actually had to pay for bedding. I have either had R's left overs or something given to me as a gift. I do conceed that mine is a bit dated. It must be ten years old now. It probably is time I bought a new set. It too came from the same store. I just loved the one I saw. $90 for a bit of cotton fabric is a bit rich. Outrageous really. It does come with a couple of pillow sets too though. But to be realistic, you ain't gonna get much nice for less. After buying it, there was a price sticker on the back marked $149. It must be a second and when ironing it today, I did find a minor fault, but nothing I can't live with.

It is rare that I make such a decision on my own and given the good result, I am a bit chuffed with myself. In case you think that I am obssessed with having Asian writing on my bedding, I am not, it is co-incidence, but my bedroom does have an Asian theme (read my bedroom got the leftover antique bits we could not bear to part with). And, um, if you don't like it, I don't care, coz I do. The old is the very black with red (were red) pillow slips.

The Budget

Although I am quite a bit interested in politics, I am always underwhelmed by the Federal Budget. Luckily tonight was our buildings body corporate AGM so I was otherwise engaged. More on that one later.

I have just checked a few points on various news outlets websites and there are a few things that please me. With all the money that the government has to play with, they can even please me a bit, if not in my hip pocket.

Huge trucks carrying freight between Melbourne and Sydney may become a thing of the past. But the rail freight travel time is still too long.

The money will buy and install 1.63 million concrete sleepers for the mainly timber-sleepered track between Melbourne and Macarthur, on Sydney's south-west outskirts, and Newcastle and the Queensland border.

Mr Truss said the improvements would cut freight train times between Melbourne and Sydney from 13 hours 10 minutes to 10 hours 40 minutes.

God knows, something needs to be done. If you could have seen the trees along the banks of the Murray a couple of years ago like I did, you would agree.

As reported in the Herald, infrastructure spending will include a $500 million addition to protecting the resources of the Murray-Darling basin and enhancing its environmental flows.

Where the road has been duplicated, it is a very fine road and if there are not so many huge trucks travelling on it, I can see an argument to increase the speed limit to maybe 130 from 11o.

On roads, the budget provides an extra $800 million this year to NSW for the Hume Highway duplication, and promises an extra $34 million next year and the year after.

About 108 kilometres of the highway in NSW remain two-lane. By the end of 2009, said Mr Truss, more than 80 per cent of those sections will be duplicated, leaving two lanes only through the towns of Holbrook, Tarcutta and Woomargama.

AusLink promises already included a $518-million upgrade through Albury Wodonga, a $145-million bypass of Coolac, a $43-million duplication of Sheahan Bridge, at Gundagai, a Gundagai interchange and a truck-and-trailer interchange at Tarcutta.

Our ABC has been chosen to lead the push to digital broadcasting and they are getting extra money to do this. I hope ABC can siphon off some of this money and put it into basic stuff that they can no longer afford to do.

Communications Minister Helen Coonan said the ABC's move to digital would cost the government about $600 million, while SBS would receive $400 million over the decade.

The ABC is to receive $1.6 billion over three years in base funding - which maintains it in real terms - with the budget providing an extra $88 million over three years for new initiatives.

These include $30 million to produce new Australian drama and documentaries, $45 million to improve and upgrade equipment and $13 million for regional and local programming.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Yarra Trams did it again

I did warn R that transport over the weekend would not be great as the tram company were replacing tracks in St Kilda Road. Sure enough, it took him half an hour by tram to get to where he did not really want to be in the city. He attempted to catch a tram in Bourke Street but that was overloaded by people getting off the diverted trams. He did not sight a promised shuttle tram in Swanston Street.

He thought he would be clever and catch the bus to Prahran from the city after he had finished in town. Forty five minutes it took he said. Flinders Street was closed for roadworks. The bus was stuck in motor traffic and made a very circuitous route through South Bank.

Tram home, well two trams as the usual route 72 was only travelling to St Kilda Road.

The air was blue with his verbalised thoughts on public transport.

It must be terribly difficult to arrange alternative transport when track repairs are required. A hundred years of repairing tracks and they cannot get it right.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Car Rego

Just paid the car registration, $546. Given how little I drive, that is take up a minimal amount of road infrastructure, how I don't go around banging into to people and maiming them and cause a large cost to hospitals etc, given my car is worth about $1,000, should I be paying so much?

I am a little out of touch with the matter, but how much does a $50,000 4WD owner have to pay? I don't think it is much different.

Whack it on the petrol price I say. It is more of an incentive to not use a car. Large fuel guzzling and polluting vehicles pay more, trucks that damage the roadway pay more. If you drive one of those awful little hybrid cars, you won't pay much at all. If you drive a small economical car, you will pay less. If you minimize your car travel, you will save. It is just too easy.

Oh, I forgot about the marginal electorates. Two cars, one a Commodore or Falcon or increasingly a 4WD. Travel lots. No public transport option. Our aspirational voter.

It just won't happen will it.

The Overseas Student

When you visit our fair city central area of Melbourne, you may be somwhat overwhelmed by the numbers of Asians, especially from the mid to the north of the CBD. Too many Asians in Australia, some would cry. But no, not this lot anyway. They are mostly overseas students studying here in Melbourne.

They pay lots of dollars for the priviledge and if you keep up with the news a bit, both you and I and they know they are being ripped off. They get a second rate education by educators who generally could not give a stuff about them, by educational institutions who are just in it for the money, by businesses who welcome their custom, by developers who build sweaty shoe boxes for them to live in, by governments who like the foreign money coming in.

It has taken some time, by they are finally starting to rebel a bit, and of course the bolshie Indian students were the first. Indians do know how to protest much better than than the Asian students. They have a long history of it. (If you are overseas, in Oz, we only call people Asian if they are from the Asian continent and east of India)

Imagine if you will, at seventeen, leaving your family based society and being on your own in a foreign country. Almost everything is alien to you. Your family back home is just a phone call away, but they don't understand. You do have some of your own people around and they are your saviour. It is terribly hard to cope with these physically large and aggressive Australians. 'Why is not the teacher not teaching me? I have to find it all out myself.' 'Why do Australians question authority? The teacher knows best. Why do they question him/her?'

Slowly they will come to understand how Australia works, so far as education goes. Will they understand the bigger Australia? Some will I guess, but most not. Some will qualify, perhaps have rels here, and be able to stay. Good for you, you are most welcome. Just don't think you are going to bring your ageing grandparents who will never attemtp to learn English.

But the bulk will go home without a quintessential knowledge of Australia. They will know a little of Australia, but not the essence of it, even perhaps after four years. I really don't know that will have a favourable impression of Australia. They will return home, knowing they have been milked as a cash cow, but that was a price to pay for the certificate in their hand.

Australia has the ability to excell in a learning experience for overseas students. We can do better than the UK and the US, and we really ought to do better. We will reap rewards in the future.

Like sometimes we feel overwhelmed by immigrants because the number from one area is too high, maybe it is the same for students. In the sixties and seventies, many were educated here, but not in the numbers that they are now. Perhaps less is more?

Sad old person wallowing in memories

In a quiet moment at work, for some reason the theme song from Gilligan's Island came into my head. I tried to recall them and got right through to the last two lines. I just did a net search and found them, along with the closing theme. I had forgotten all about the closing. I expect an announcer talked over them anyway.

Then I came across a site that has the lyrics for many tv shows of the 50s, 60s and 70s. What fun. I forget the tune for some of them, but many I can remember. This one though has me beat. I can clearly remember the theme song and I know the first verse, but I just cannot remember the show. It was called It's About Time.

The first verse was

It's about time,
It's about space,
About strange people in the strangest place.
It's about time,
It's about flight,
Travelin' faster than the speed of light.

Anyone know? Btw, the site with the lyrics is

Another stinker on a tram

This incontinent old crone stank to high heaven. Why does she want to cart around a jeep full of her worldy possessions for? It is so heavy the wheel is busted. Live in a normal house and have a bath, for goodness sakes. And stop dripping on the tram seats. Decent people have to sit on them you know.

I can only be socially aware and concerned and tolerant of others for so many years, and I am getting very close to the end of said years. I am about to turn into rabid right wing reactionary and take Andrew Bolt and Tony Abbott as my mentors.

Vale Carlton

It is many years since I have been forced to endure Sixty Minutes. It is a tv show that I detest, probably without a really good reason. But my knowledge of the now late Richard Carlton goes back a good bit further.

"Do you have blood on your hands today Mr Hawke?" That must have been in 1983, but he was around as a jounalist well before then. He was on his own show with his co-host Max Walsh when he asked the question of Labor Party leader Bob Hawke after Hawke had overthrown previous Labor leader Bill Hayden. I think the show was called the Carlton Walsh Report. It was generally abbreviated to the Carwash Report.

Carlton could be terribly smarmy and you could not accuse him of being subtle. I was with friends last night and a tv was on. Sixty Minutes had been brought forward an hour for whatever reason. The first story was presented by Carlton and it was about the mining disaster in Tasmania. Bar myself only, no-one else of five people knew that the mine collapse was caused by the mine and not natural geological underground movements. They do now. He asked challenging and legitimate questions of union spokesperson Bill Shorten. As informed as I am about the mine disaster, I did not know about one worker defying instructions and the law. He went to where the dead miner lay and heard the voices of the surviving miners screaming out to stop blasting with explosives. The operation then turned into a rescue rather than a body retrieval. Carlton and his staff had certainly done some good investigative journalism.

At a press conference he asked a salient question, then collapsed and died soon after. But the story that ran just a few hours later was in the can, so to speak, and it was a fine piece of television and a fitting tribute to Richard Carlton.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

The husband

I spent some time with Dame M toninght. I asked her where her departed husband Karl was buried. Springvale? Surely he did not have a plot in St Kilda cemetary? No, said Dame M, he is buried in the back yard. It was his wish. Is it legal to do that? I don't know. I challanged her on it and she insisted, her dead husband was buried in her back yard. I have seen her back yard briefly, and I dinna see a shrine to him. Scarily, I think Dame M is telling the truth.

Complex life

I always knew I had a boring life. How does this guy's life hold up against yours?

I have known him for a while but only to have the briefest chat with. Last night I found out a bit more about him.

He is Indian born, although not very dark and about thirty five I suppose. He grew up in Calcutta and moved to Italy. He was in a theatre group in Rome which travelled to Australia to perform. The couple who ran the group separated and the group disbanded. He stayed in Australia and married an Australian lass. Then he met a guy and somehow turned gay. They are in a solid relationship and live together here in Melbourne but as well as having a wife who he still sees, he has an Australian girlfriend in Sydney who has born four kids to him and they are aged between a few months and five years old. He sees the children every few weeks.

Phew! All I can say is that he would have to be very careful who's name he calls out in moments of orgasmic glory.