Friday, June 02, 2006

Blaming the victim again

I am getting a bit public transported obsessed, sorry.

Since traffic lights were installed at the corner of Toorak Road and Park Street South Yarra, it has become a dangerous intersection for passengers alighting from the tram. Anywhere where there are two lanes of traffic plus the tram in another lane and without separation, is dangerous. There are a few of these around Melbourne. It was bad enough when it was two lanes and the tram was in one of them.

The rot started with 'safety zones', where probably with approval from all concerned, the onus was switched from motorists to stop to let passengers get on and off the tram, to the passengers who now had to take care. Yes, they are safely off the tram in a refuge. If they get hit crossing the road, it is their problem. Of course passengers being stupid, as are motorists, that is what happens. But no longer anything to do with the tram.

At the above mentioned location a solution was needed to the problem. At least it has finally been realised that it is a problem. As usual, it was perfectly predictable in the design stage. So what to do? Install a safety zone? A superstop for a very high usage stop? Nope, we'll just move the stop around the corner into the much quieter Park Street.

Most passengers alight from the tram and either head into Fawkner Park or walk west down Toorak Road. Most will now just cross Toorak Road at random from the new stop, or use the lights legally and cross Park Street (there isn't a walk signal on the western side) and then Toorak Road. Maybe it will take one and a half minutes.

There are road laws about departure and approach distances for parked cars near tram stops, so it will also mean a loss of car parking spaces in a street where parking is at a premium. However, this is not always enforced, there are instances where there are marked spaces past a tram stop. It will be interesting to see whether this happens and what the reaction of Park Street residents will be if parking spaces are removed.

I am reminded of a few other instances. Remove the tram stop from outside Glenferrie Railway Station to the nearest intersestion where traffic lightswere being installed. It was even tried before without traffic lights, but had to revert. Remove the stop in Carlisle Street at the corner of St Kilda Road going towards St Kilda Beach or the city. After some serious aggression by hopeful passengers, this one had to revert too. One I did approve of, was the removal of the Gratten Street stop going towards the city in Carlton. It is so close to the University terminus, it is ridiculous, but public pressure had it reinstated.

So, as happens in life generally, the victim, the tram passenger, has been penalised, and the law breaker, the motorist, is given a free run.

I doubt I will bother contacting any authority about this one, but I can guess their response. 'In the interests of our passengers safety.............'

Stud Craig Wing

This week's hot bloke is NRL player Craig Wing.

Long term readers will know I not a supporter of this ridiculous game nor generally physiques of those who play it, but Wing came to my attention quite some time ago when he was younger and cuter and he still does look quite sweet.

PS, Added an underwear pic to last weeks celeb James Lance.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Spencer Street Station

Ok, ok. Southern Cross Station. I took a squiz today. It is far from being finished but the train platforms, both suburban and country seemed reasonably functional.

I have never taken that much notice of country trains, so I quickly educated myself on the various types that were around the platforms. I hope, actually I know, they are much better inside than out. Don't country trains get washed?

I watched a couple depart and one arrive. Bit exciting, like being at an airport. Well, they were only trains to Melton, but still.

Now, from history, train stations had very high roofs (is that rooves?) to disperse smoke from steam trains. The tradition followed with the re-development of Spencer Street, except it is now to disperse diesel fumes. Let me tell you, it does not work. The fumes were almost overpowering. Horrendous.

I was quite fascinated by the crash retarders (I dunno what they are called) at the end of the tracks. Great big rubber things that I expect if hit at say 20kph, would bounce the train back at the same speed. It is terrible to want things to go wrong to see things in action. At the same time it is a worry. What if there was another runaway Broadmeadows train? If it came into the station at speed, it would smash through these and into an area where people walk.

Where everything is new, they used old and used and uncleaned signals for the trains above the tracks. They stood out like the proverbials.

There is a nice area above with seating where trainspotters can sit and watch arrivals and departures.

It has the grand feel of old railway stations, but with modern features. It seemed quite passenger friendly. But still, something wasn't quite right. Can't put my finger on it, yet.

R was probably right when he said he will wait until it is all finished before having a look.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Buses are worse

While I moan on about trams often, our local bus service is even worse if you compare the timetable times to when the bus arrives.

Today I found myself in the wilds of East St Kilda. I was intending to walk down Alma Road to Chapel Street and catch a tram to Prahran for some basic supermarket shopping. Wait, here is Hotham Street, there is a bus that will take me directly there. I will wait for and catch the bus. Especially so as I heard a tram announcement earlier about a broken down car in Chapel Street delaying trams.

I arrived at the stop at 2.22. There was vandalised timetable box without a timetable, so I have checked the times at Melbourne Bus Link's website. 216 bus due at 2.27. Nothing. 219 bus due at 2.39. Nothing. Bus, not sure which route, arrived at 2.46, a full twenty four minutes after I arrived at the stop.

I suppose the 216 was very early and the 219 was late. Not good enough Melbourne Bus Link.

Memory Stick

The poor old memory stick got a good whack at some time while the o/s rels were here. It sat vulnerably at the side of the pc case and somehow, it got bent backwards a bit. Subsequently it started to become unreliable and often required unplugging and replugging in to be recognised.

Last week it failed entirely. We had to visit that large office supply company for an unrelated matter and thought we would look at a replacement. Our failed beast was a 256mb device. Far too big for our requirements. I asked about a 128mb model, but they are pretty well unavailable now.

So, we ended up buying a new one for $40, a bit cheaper than the last. We won't leave it plugged in and it is much nicer looking little thing and it comes with it's own protective cap and a bright light to see when it is plugged in and when there is activity. We only use it once a week to back up our financial stuffs. It is somwhat more friendly than zip disks or floppys.

But there is a moral dilema here. The old one is less than one year old and still under warranty. Should I try to straighten it out and return it? Normally I would not entertain the idea when it was us that caused the failure. But I am not so sure that we did. Yes, it got bent back a bit, but I really don't think that it is the reason it failed.

There is the business part of it, that would then connect to the contacts where it plugs in. When it became unreliable, moving it while it was in position had no effect. You could jiggle it all you liked, no effect. Cleanly unplug it and replug it, and it would work.

Btw, it was a Techworks product that now seem absent from the shelves of the large office supply company. Techworks in the US have no connection to the Aussie company, which I think is or was just a branding name for the large office supply company.

I think I will try for a refund or credit.

The building's new management structure

So far, it has failed. The first building manager/caretaker was dismissed. His replacement maybe ok. The first concierge was dismissed, an attactive female, and has been replaced by an older gay guy. The cleaning company is on notice, but is taking things seriously and may perform well in the future. Not sure how good a company can be that is run from a Glen Iris flat.

Things are a bit crook at the Highrise.

Wonder if it is time to look at the Ringwood, Indented Heads, Daylesford, Hobart, Cairns, Pattaya, Bangalore, Saigon options? Not quite. I want to be within walking distance of The Alfred when I have my work stress related heart attack.

The timetables

I can see that I am not going to get far on this one. Here is a bit of nonsense from Metlink. It is not out of context. I didn't ask anything about colour coded signage and no idea what information in 30% of cases means.

With respect to the new timetables appearing with the colour coded signage Metlink has been commissioned to provide information in 30% of the cases as per Government requirements.

I have forwarded your enquiry regarding tram timetable information to Yarra Trams for reply.

Yarra Trams have been a bit more helpful.

Following a determination of the issue you have raised, the matter has been referred to the appropriate area for review.

A detailed response will be provided to you upon completion of our investigations.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The apartment above

For the first time since we have lived here, we are having an impact from neighbours. It is the apartment above. Around seven pm, there is some noise that comes through. It is hard to describe. Here is a try. Imagine some irregular Russian Cossak dancing above through a thick roof. It is not daily and not so worrying. I am just really curious as to what they are doing.

They are new tenants. They have not had their first electric bill yet. They have had their air con pumped well up to heat their apartment in these very cold Melbourne days. While our air con is a single unit that the heating and cooling drifts well enough into the bedrooms, (absolutely shocking sentence) their's is an integrated unit that heats the whole apartment beautifully, but it comes at some cost and I bet it will be turned down once they receive their first electric bill.

But what was the occasional drip from the air con above with previous occupiers, has turned into a torrent of water that has made half our balcony unusable. I have emailed the body corp manager and she has gotten straight onto to it, but it will take some time to get a tradesperson and co-ordinate with the occupiers.

Meanwhile, we are avoiding the balcony........well, we tend to anyway when the weather is cold like it is now.

The scum on the street

I wouldn't have been troubled by it much at all if was a young and troubled youth. I would have still ignored it. I would have been a little less surprised if it was in St Kilda. No, neither, it was in down town Malvern bordering on Toorak and he must have been at least mid thirties, if not older.

I was sitting waiting for a tram, buds in ears, reading the paper. For once, it was actually today's paper. I was vaguely aware of some loon running across the road and then sitting on the seat where I was. I heard a prolonged hiss. Oh yeah, I know what this is about. The first time I heard it, I though it someone with a lung disease giving himself some oxygen.

He knew full well that I knew what he was doing and that I was pretending not to notice. Don't care. That is my way of dealing. If I noticed, I would have to do something or at least recognise what he was doing. No, no, no. I am happy with my strong latte, radio and newspaper. Don't spoil it for me.

And he didn't. He boarded my tram, sat down the back, chromed away and caused no problem. Stupid lad, at his age he should know better, but far preferrable to tanked up school boys or drunken women on a hen's night.

For you who don't know about chroming, from my limited experience, it is only themselves they harm and it does not make them a threat to anyone. That is unless spray cans are put on some sort of restriction so that they have to commit criminal acts to obtain them.

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Snowy

Dear Mr Pollie, Federal, State and local as well. The mountain men who graze their cattle on the Victorian high country mounted a very good and a very emotional campaign against the outlawing of mountain cattle grazing. It failed because it went totally against common sense.

Not so the sale of the Snowy Hydro. Let me make it clear to you Mr Pollie at this early point. There are no votes in selling the Snowy, but there may be some in the warcry, 'Save the Snowy for Oz'. The opposers to the sale have all the emotional arguments on their side and they have common sense on their side.

Premier Iemma of Sincity and it's environs may want a nice fat warchest to fund his pointless re-election campaign, but in spite of their 65% share, it is a very national thing. It even combines long long time Australians with newer Australians.

You force this through Mr Pollie, don't expect any respect in the future. You will not be remembered well.

Rough Stuff

Is there any sporting game rougher than Aussie Rules football? Groins, hammys, tendons, ankles, elbows.......week after week there is a long list of injuries to football players. Try as I do to ignore football, I cannot. They do themselves injuries that have a profound effect when they are older and retired. There are enough footy injuries in my family.

How in a a civilised society can this be tolerated? Even that dreadful other game rugby does not seem to have the injury rate that Aussie Rules has.

Boxing is good too, hey. Punch each other until one of your knocks the other out. Tres kewl. To give it some sort of respectability, they have rules. Boogger the rules. I wouldn't mind watching 'no holds barred' stuff. At least the pretence has gone. 'Your job is to hurt the other person to the best of your ability'. Very civilised, so sophisticated. At least the chants of 'kill, kill, kill' will have some meaning. Yeah, wouldn't mind that.

I saw a footballer on tv, repeated ad nauseum, force his elbow in a very forceful manner into an opponent's face. He was suspended for a number of matches. What? It was assault. He should be charged with criminal assualt.

If one believes the reaction, even that other football, the more graceful version, (the one with the lithe, slim, handsome players) has problems if you judge the reaction of the players. Ok, it is a bit of a laugh but it does the game no service in the credibility area. I could not believe it when a couple of years ago, I actually watched a football match. Actresses. At least in Aussie Rules, they really do hurt each other.

Sport should be fun, recreational, a game. Violence in sport flows through to society. It must stop.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Older Bloggers

I feel I am on the cusp of something. Hopefully a sea change is not happening at home, but things are tense at the moment. Aside from that, I think I about to discover a significant number of new bloggers. Of course, I will remain faithfull to those who are now blogging mates, but I have discovered that there are older bloggers out there.

They know about stuff that I know about from many years ago. I am sure they remember riding on freezing, draughty, noisy red rattlers. Maybe as kids they played 'games' with the night soil collector. We did not call them that, but I can't remember what we did call them. Maybe dunnycan man, but my grandparents would never have referred to them as such. Perhaps they never mentioned the unmentionable man and his unmentionable job.

Times when a traffic jam meant being stuck behind a truck on the single lane road up Pretty Sally Hill.

Times when a bank manager was a respected and feared person. You were respected as a good customer and there weren't fees. Their profit came from the difference charged in interest for lending and borrowing not from mysterious bank fees..

They were not necessarily better times, but they were different.