Saturday, December 30, 2006

Mega Cherry Picker

What's up here? I am guessing that today they were taking photos of views, views that will not be seen from a yet to built apartment buidling. Close enough for the brochure promoting the yet to built building. From where they were, there will be photos of the city and the Shrine, which won't be seen from the building. Someone known as Highriser lives in a building that ensures they cannot see the city. Bit scary up so high in one those things though.

Smoke haze hanging around again.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Eyes, Lies and Illusions

No, I am not talking about our Federal or State governments, although I could well do.

I am referring to the exibition at ACMI at Federation Square, Eyes, Lies and Illusions. (the site seems to be perpetually slow)

There was quite a collection of old magic lanterns, steroscopes and many similar devices that used to amaze and entertain along with static exhibits. It was about an hour and a little more of viewing and perhaps a little highly priced at $12.

The highlights for me were the spinning light animated dancers and the eyes. You will see the eyes easily, they are watching you. Sit back on the seat at the base of the up escalator and watch them watching. Very clever.

Like most government funded exhibitions, it is well currated. So if it is your thing, catch it but I cannot recommend it highly.

The Westgate

Quiet time of the year. Not many cars on the roads. Good time to do roadworks.


Yesterday we drove to Altona using the Westgate Freeway and Westgate Bridge. Some road lanes are being resurfaced on the bridge, so two lanes were closed. The traffic was banked back to the Kingsway on ramp and stop start until we cleared the bridge. The trip to Altona that normally takes us fifteen minutes took an hour.

We were not in a rush but I was getting quite annoyed. VicRoads could do the work at night time, but I expect they don't want to pay the extra cost. Instead the extra cost is shifted to the road users.

Trucks, cars, vans, caravans all sitting idling burning through their fuel.
Putting the air con on as there is no air flow at that speed uses extra fuel.
We saw two minor accidents, one requiring a tow truck.
We saw a bit of road rage against those trying to get ahead a bit and some deliberate blocking.
Missed appointments, missed delivery times, missed work starting times.
From the City, the Westgate is more or less the only way to get to Avalon Airport. How many people missed flights?

Checking this morning, by eight a.m. the VicRoads website was indicating 'heavy', which means it is already stop start and won't clear until the evening peak I would guess. This work is to continue until the eighth of January. How much extra fuel will be burnt over that period? How many extra accidents? How many missed flights? How many missed appointments?

Yes, the cost has well and truly been shifted from VicRoads budget to the user and society generally.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

The Queen

Great and entertaining movie. Mostly excellent casting, superb acting and well written. No-one could have played the Queen better than Helen Mirren. However, while I conceed the archival footage is accurate and some of the public scenes, I doubt very much else is.

Our Queen is a confident and decisive woman and quite surely ready to recognise if she has made an error of judgement and will readily correct such an error. She is not a doubtful woman who sits around and ponders in a melancholic manner.

A few things that distracted me during the movie:

Watch how many black hunting dogs bound into the Land Rover and how many leap out.

The royal she, did not need to remind a lackey on her Balmoral estate that she knew how motor cars work. He would have full well known that. We all know she knows how pre 1945 motors work and how to drive them.

Still dial phones at Balmoral when Princess Diana died? Maybe. Perhaps because she only ever picked up the receiver and never actually dialled out.

Tony Blair talking to Her Maj from his own home on a nineties cordless phone. Bit of a security risk I would have thought.

But don't let me spoil it. It was enjoyable and at times a moving movie.

Best role goes to the bolshie Cherie Blair character, but Prince Philip was good too.

Did I beat you to see it Jah Teh?

Pat on the back Sydney

Congrats to you Sydneysiders who have sent the Cross City Tunnel into receivership. Building a private toll road under the city may or may not have been a good idea. Even though the predicted traffic numbers were wildly overestimated, you have refused to use the road in significant numbers.

You did not put up with the road alterations designed to funnel traffic into the tunnel and forced the government to re-open streets and undo changes. You did not pay $3.50 for a journey of a couple of minutes. A couple of corporate heads have rolled, along with the head government department head and a government minister was 'moved on'. The owners of the company may lose between half and one billion dollars.

The banks who financed the project have taken it over and appointed receivers.

Well done Sydney.

There is plenty of reading in today's online edition of the Sydney Morning Herald.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

James Brown is dead

American soul rock singer James Brown has died. Great that he was out doing good works not long before he died.

Back in party days at Shed 14 or Shed 9 at where is now Docklands, I heard a track a liked. I went out and bought it (I cannot remember the name of the medium), a long playing single vinyl dance track called James Brown is Dead.

It was a good track and I recall dancing around our Glen Iris house to it in private moments, but it would seem the announcment of him being dead was premature. It is not now. Perhaps it was his style of music. The track I believe was by a group called L. A. Style.

The Gift

I made five of these mini cmas cakes this year and handed them out to people as gifts. You can see them sitting near the cmas tree. They turned out well and some have layer of almond icing and then a layer of normal. The others just some almonds on top.

Those who did not receive one are jealous, so next year it is double the mixture.

The annual ritual of hating our tree is proceeding as expected. We vow to chuck it out and buy a new one every year and every year we don't. It must be nearly ten years old now.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The grump says...

Went to Boxing Day sales today. What madness. Bought next year cmas cards in Myer but nowt else to buy. Did ok at Big W with some heavily discounted cmas lighting for the balcony next year.

But it is public holiday. Shops should be shut and workers home relaxing or bored with their loved ones. In the city, it seemed only the jewellry shops were shut.

We had coffee at ACMI at Fed Square and listened to the cricket from the big screen for a while (there was no choice in listening to the cricket, it was loud) Might have been fun to be there when Warne bowled his seven hundreth person out. Fed Square felt drab, but it could be that I am unwell with a cold. I slept in bed for two hours this afternoon. R made a special drink that involves water, honey, lemon and whisky and I really felt a bit better after having it.

Highlights of the day were watching the Cock of the Bay yachts go past in the drizzle, on their way from Station Pier to Blairgowrie before heading off to Tasmania and seeing the handsome AFE on a tram in Swanston Street, but since he has not approved my last comment, I felt disinclined to say hello. I don't blame him for not approving my comment really.

Sydney to Hobart

I care not two hoots for yacht racing and I expect you don't either, but this grabbed my attention. A pretty little nine metre yacht called Maluka is competing. It was built in 1936 and has been fully restored. I will watch the progress of the race online. Obviously it is an underdog, but I hope it does well.

The Sydney to Hobart yacht race is the wimpy one though. The real men and diesel dykes go via the Tasmanian western and southern coasts in the Melbourne to Hobart.

But even the easier route is not so easy as this graphic account tells when six competitors died during the race in 1998.

Cmas day

Mother survived the announcement but it will take her time to think it all through. Sister is radiant, blooming and showing. Family cmas lunch, great, our oldest friends' cmas dinner, good too. Too much to eat, too little to drink, too much money to Citylink for the four times we used their motorway today. Bloody exhausted and too full of food. Something must give next year. We cannot do both anymore.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Dead Mother

I expect by about 2.30pm cmas day my mother will be dead of shock when my sister announces she is pregnant to the family cmas gathering.

I advised her to talk to her mother before hand, as she is a dyke and the chances of her becoming pregnant would normally be remote.

But she has been working at it for over a year now with a turkey baster and a mutual male hippie friend of hers and her bone surgeon girlfriend.

We know about it all, but tomorrow in front of mum, we will have to petend that we have 'no knowledge of this incident'. (Like that Andy and Rob?)

I did not say to her that it was unfair to put us in this position. In spite of her bravado, I think she is probably a bit fragile, as you would be.

All will be fine about it once family has time to digest it. But is cmas day really the day to digest such information? I advised her that it was unwise to announce it between pork and pudding, but no matter, I am sure it will be the longer run.

It really will be an interesting cmas day. Off to load the car now with ham, a trestle table and folding chairs and then battle with other road users but with some cmas spirit tolerance.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Cmas Eve

Food left over from barbe last night, so we were summoned to Dame M's this cmas eve for more food and drinks. It was a nice low key couple of hours and a much more sober affair. I read the recipe for last night's punch. 60% spirits, 20% liqueur, 10% juice, 10% soda. No wonder R had to steer me in the direction of my bed last night.

For a change tonight R partook of a quantity of wine and is now on the phone to the UK rels.........bad phone bill on the horizon.

Nominated driver, moi, managed to have a good converstation with a sparkie (electrician), a drag queen, Dame M, a Fijian Indian friend, the ex pollie from NT, and a middle aged woman on holidays from NZ.

Home earlyish to watch last night's tv.

Christmas dinner at brother's tomorrow

Not being a believer, I am not sure why I get dragged into this christian celebration every year. Perhaps it is now an Australian tradition. And we do have our own slant on it. It is a nice time.

So happy christmas everyone.

Foreign computers

We don't want any of that foreign muck here. We want our own Aussie computers, built by Chinese in China for Australia. Keep your foreign computers out.

I laugh inwardly every time I think of this. Our friend in Japan is about to return to Oz for a break. I do admire how she adjusted to life in Japan. While there weren't lines to read between really, I am sure it has at times been difficult for her.

Ah yeah, the laugh. Her computer is on the fritz. (Where did the phrase on the fritz come from? Doesn't sound very Aussie). Take two. Her computer is pretty well buggered. She can't buy a new one in the smallish town where she lives. She can buy one in Tokyo though. Why? Well in her town they only sell Japanese computers. They don't sell 'English speaking' computers. This concept, well more than a concept, a reality, of English speaking computers has amused me no end.

I suppose I thought all computers were the same, just different keyboards and software, but thinking about it, I understand. Imagine typing your blog right to left? Well, that would be software too I guess, but there seems to more to it.

Is anyone reading my blog on a non 'English speaking' computer?

Cmas eve eve

I have been to some parties in the past and been bored stiff. If I don't know many people at the party already, I really can't get into it. I can make small talk with strangers but it is hard work.

I knew most of the people at last night's party and so it was great fun. Aside from that it was well organised. Drinks and nibbles first, then a barbecue, great music and a diverse mix of people. We also had a couple pass the parcel games and another game where three lines of people formed and you had to pass an orange from between your neck and chin to the next person's neck and chin and introduce yourself. Hi again Josh. Nice to meet you. Can I steal your hot boyfriend for half an hour?

And the absolutely lethal punch ensured the guests did not stay too late., or at least this one didn't. Pics are Jasmine and Dame M's head dress Now go away, I have a headache and heaps to do today.