Thursday, January 04, 2007

Old casino man in a royale frock

Ah, I am getting old and confused.

We saw the Barry Humphries exhibition at the Arts Centre today. There was some memorabilia, some recreations Mrs Edna Everage's Moonee Ponds home with original fittings, fixtures, furniture and appliances. It could have been better, but well worth every cent of the free admission.

I did like the mock up cover of Mrs Everage in a cooking mag. Something like 'Cooking seafood and dealing with crabs'.

Not everyone likes the Dame Edna, eh DB, but we like Barry Humphries enough to go and see his show at the Arts Centre on Friday night. It was booked for us a long time ago by a friend who gets cheapish tickets. He is 73 and cannot perform forever. I expect this will be the last time we will see him on stage.

Then onto Hoyts at Melbourne Central to see Casino Royale, my first James Bond film. It was quite good and certainly held your attention. Fantastic that Dame Judi Dench has been introduced to a younger audience. She was wonderful as always. Why are women in love with the actor who played James Bond? If I want an old man, I can just stay at home. I never really got the Bryan Brown thing either.

But oh, the noise. I had stuffed a tissue in my pocket intending to clean my sunglasses and specs on the tram on the way in. I ripped it up in the theatre and stuffed it in my ears. The first part was especially loud and put me in a bad frame of mind for the rest of the movie. Maybe it is the type of movies I usually see, but I haven't encountered excessive volume for a few years.

I am surprised how clear the water in Venice was when the house sank. Did you go there Rosanna? Can you confirm Venice canal water is crystal clear?

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Very Hot Babe

That will win the most tasteless headline for the year before many are written.

It is interesting to compare tonight's tv news coverage of the tragic story of a baby dying from heat in a car.

It seems it was just a horrible accident without anyone to blame. Children cannot be watched 24 hours a day, especially if there are six of them. I would have thought that not seeing a two year for a time would promote an early investigation as to it's whereabouts, but I don't know the circumstances or what those large McMansions are like inside.

Channel Seven clearly made the point that they were Moslem by showing all the female rels arriving at the house in their robes.

The ABC chose not to identify the family's race or religion by not showing any of this.

While their race and religion is pretty well irrelevant to the story, is it not normal to show grieving relatives arriving at the family home when a loved one has died? Is it racism by ommision?

I don't think it was a good call by our ABC. It is often under fire for political correctness and this gives ammunition to it's critics. I tire of the implications of race without actually mentioning it. For goodness sake, just say it and forget the games.

(post stimulated by the ever interesting Living in Canberra on the Griffith murder)

Merry Cmas from Japan

One of our friend's co workers visited Tokyo last year from the regional area where they live and work and was surprised when he went to buy some cmas cards to see a model of Santa crucified on a cross. Seems the all Nippon festival manufacturers have not quite got the spirit of cmas right yet and a little knowledge of easter is a dangerous thing.

I read in the paper of an Australian receiving a cmas card from someone in China, wishing him a Very Happy Christmas Tree.

Any others out there?

Brother one

There is a brother two, but I had less to do with him as he grew up. Brother two was a difficult child, and in spite of him now being seperated from his wife, at least he gave us a nephew and two nieces. He struggles with the demon drink and mostly succeeds.

Brother one has an aquired brain injury, but he works a normal job and has his own house and car, and functions fairly well. He managed to put on this years cmas dinner for the family and did an ok job.

We just have to watch his spending at times. He is prone to spend money to make easy money. He also needs lists for himself and has to have a highly organised life with plenty of time allowances for some slowness. He put new heating in his house and has never used it and likewise airconditioning. His washing machine water is used to flush his toilet. We had to turn the toilet tap on for cmas day.

Before his accident, he used to visit the local pub every night, come home to my mother's house where he lived, swayed a bit, spoke a few slow sentences and et his dinner and went to bed. He was usually ok the next day to particpate in sporting events or to umpire them.

Then suddenly, without any obvious reason, he gave up drinking and smoking.

A few months later, he rode his bike (his car license was suspended for a drink driving incident before he gave up drinking) from a side street directly onto a highway and was smashed up very badly. He nearly died. We had prepared ourselves for it. But thanks to the dedicated staff at Dandenong Hospital and what was then I think RTA rehabilitation, he survived and went on to being a self sufficient and working taxpaying member of society.

We lived in Balaclava then and we made endless trips to Dandenong hospital and subsequently the rehab place in Mulgrave. We trusted the system to work for him and it did. When he awoke from the coma, he spoke with a clipped English accent. It was well after the he left the hospital that my mother told me that his primary nurse in hospital was of English South African heritage and she used to talk constantly to him when he was in a coma for umpteen weeks.

Sometimes I think about her and wonder about what a difference she made to his life.

Although there have been family discussions, no one really knows why my brother deliberately rode his bike straight out onto the highway and of course got cleaned up by a car a very distressed driver with a damaged car.

Brother has no memory of the event or the time leading up to it.

The Views and a view

I love our views. We can see Richmond, South Yarra, Prahran, St Kilda, Albert Park and suburbs beyond along with Port Phillip Bay. But sometimes it is very nice to close the blinds, to close it all off, to lock it all out. I am insulated. I am not participating. Street lights and sunlight can go to hell.

I am locked in my apartment with no outside contact other than my choosing. I have tv, radio, pc, phone and books. Everything else can be delivered. Why would I want to go out into that nasty, racist, homophobic, sexist, cheating, selfish, dog eat dog and blow up your neighbour world.

I will continue to participate in outside things, but gosh it is getting harder and harder.

Someone at work remarked to me the other day that I am quieter than I used to be. In actual fact I recognised this person's shifty character and so I am quite reserved with him. But it is a valid comment. I am quieter. It is easy to talk to my workmates who I have known a long time, but I don't make an effort to get to know new people at work. I used to join in more work related things. Now it is an effort just to go work, and there is nothing pleasurable about it.

I don't make any effort to extend my circle of friends. It is hard enough keeping up with the present ones.

Is this just how it is as you age? Oh, and don't feel sorry for me. I am quite happy thanks. I just worry a little that I am happy as I seem to head towards isolationism.

The House Guest

I don't think I have mentioned it yet. Mainly because I am not sure that it is very interesting for my blog, but that never normally stops me does it?

Our ex Melbourne friend who is teaching in Northern Japan has returned to Australia for a couple of weeks been staying with us off and on since cmas. I was quite ill the day she arrived at our place and dared not even hug her, lest I transmit my lurgy.

She is an easy house guest. She comes and goes and has so many people to catch up with and we probably won't see her much over the last week before she departs. But we have done plenty of stuff together already.

Since she reads my blog, I can't say too much, but of course that immediately says something. What am I hiding? Nothing at all. It is great to see her and we have enjoyed having her stay. It has been interesting to learn of her local Melbourne friends, most of whom we have met at some point. Tales of living in Japan are fascinating of course, especially so as it is only a small town where she lives and works.

So with another bottle of Choya under her arm, she can stay any time she likes.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Starting the year

It would be nice to start the year on a positive note, but I don't want to give you false hopes.

Media reported that police said that there wasn't any trouble in the city during last night's NY celebrations, then came the arrest figures.

No alchohol in public areas. If that was enforced, thousands would have been charged. The city was in quite a state today. Minimal cleaning had been done and rubbish littered the streets all day. Fine, leave it and give the cleaners their NY day off. It will all wash into the river eventually anyway.

The big long tram I was on today must have seen a long, long night. Bottles and cans rolled from one side of the tram to the other as it rounded curves, only occasionally dulled by paper rubbish.

I am being unrealistic aren't I? Of course people will drink and of course it will be ignored by authorities and of course there is not always easy access to a rubbish bin, that is if people are compos enough to even think of such things.

I just hate the whole culture of NYE, thus betraying my Scottish blood. It has always been a chore to be endured for me. People used to entertain themselves or go to venues or parties. Possibly it meant more work for police then. A few hundred used to turn up at the GPO in the city to hear the clock strike and then it moved on to the City Square. Why do half a million people need to go to the City? I heard of some severe verbal abuse of public transport workers last night, for no reason that I could ascertain, apart from frustration with the system. One worker I know was, I would say, a bit traumatised when I spoke to him a few hours after his experience.

Steph has a pretty good slant on it too. I feel much the same. At least cmas has a family orientation, love or hate them, as we do.

The En Why

I think this may be the way of the future for Highriser. No partying till the mid New Year morning, no party at a friend’s house, no standing bored in bars waiting for the clock to strike midnight and we can go home. No sitting around pretending we are having fun at a barbecue, but wondering why we came early and not at 11pm.

No-one was doing anything about organising NYE, so I took on the task. It was military timing, as I did not get home from work until 18.30.

Shower, change and leave home at 18.50 with R and six friends. Wait nearly ten minutes for a tram. Should be one every couple of minutes. Get kicked off tram at Art’s Centre as they could proceed no further due to the crowds. Walk with the crowds to Little Bourke Street and bang on the booked time of 19.30 arrive at Little Lemon Bistro.

Service is usually fast, but tonight the place was packed and we did have to wait a while for our food. There was no compromise on the food though. Tres excellent.

Depart restaurant at 20.50. Walk down Russell Street and down some car park stairs to Birrarung Marr.

Find viewing position midway between the two firework barges and at 21.17 the kiddies fireworks started.

Highriser is very used to seeing fireworks from his windows, but there is nothing like being there and seeing them close up, hearing the noise, hearing the cheers, ohs and ahs and smelling the burning gunpowder.

21.25 start a shuffle along with hundreds of others along the Yarra Riverbank to Princes Bridge and elbow babies and old people out of the way to board a tram. I am grateful to the nice looking young man who took off his jumper and his tee shirt lifted up to reveal his tight brown torso a mere centimetre or two away. Bah to his moll who accidentally slipped her fingers inside my shirt and touched my stomach as she slipped her protective arm around him.

Arrive home at 22.00, a little earlier than planned but as you can see in the pics (it was worse that it looks in the photos), we managed to pass the time until the tele went on at 23.45 to see the midnight fireworks.

Glasses raised at 00.00.

Then our own personal fireworks show started that we had no idea was going to happen. They were just as good as the early city fireworks. Thanks The Point and Carousel at Albert Park Lake.

Guests seen off and in bed by 01.00. Pity about the mess this morning, but I am off to work. I will leave it for R to deal with.

Happy New Year all.