Friday, January 12, 2007

New phone

After over a month out of contract I have finally bought a new mobile phone. Since I have always had (Sony)Ericsson phones and each newer phone is improved, I saw no reason to change brands.

I presently pay $30 per month with $20 of credits and free three minute calls to a speicfied number, obviously R's mobile.

We were at Victoria Gardens in Richmond and there were some phone places there. One had an Indian man who could barely speak English and we had to walk away. It just was not working. In the next place, I was not happy either.

We came back to town and I went to the Telstra shop in Bourke Street. Really I wanted a K800i but it was going to cost $60 a month. I settled for a K610i on the same $30 plan. Sorry Sir, we only have it in red, not in grey. I did not want a red phone, so I declined.

We were about to leave town when R suggested Crazy Johns on the corner of Bourke and Swanston. We went in and straight away were attended to by a very handsome young man who spoke English well. Same phone, $20 plan, $15 worth of calls, $5 net access plus 50 sms a month. Does it have a usb cord? I know they are expensive to buy. No, he said and explained bluetooth to me. I did actually know about it anyway. I wanted the cord to transfer phone photos to the pc. At the moment I have to send them over the air at 50 cents a pop. Then I thought, $5 net allowance, I can send ten photos a month anyway. I would not use the net allowance otherwise.

Sotto voice I said to R, that is odd as the Telstra shop showed us the box and there was a usb cord in there.

Anyway, I bought it and so had a new toy to play with this afternoon. The menu is very similar to my old one but with some extra features and the camera seems much better. And to my surprise there was a usb cord and a cd for a program to download photos to your pc. I haven't done anything about that yet as the phone is still charging and it can wait.

What I did do was send my old phone's wallpaper and a couple of ring tones to my pc and hopefully they will transfer to the new phone. I love my animated jumping spider.

You know I was a bit stupid. Had they have had the phone in grey in the Telstra shop, I would have bought it. I assumed all Telstra outlets had the same plans. It really does pay to shop around and don't believe what salespeople tell you. There was a usb cord. When R bought his last new phone he was told two blatent lies by the Telstra shop retailer. One could have been a lack of product knowledge but put another one with it, and he way just lying.

I bought my first and second phone from Crazy Johns. I still get an occasional sms from them. But their computer system had lost me from back then.

Now I have to wait two whole years before I can get a new phone. God knows what they will be like then.

Later addition tram driver score: Generally all very good. Public transport was a pleasure to use today.

The Mazda returns

I am $1000 poorer after paying for a service and tune, having a split radiator tank repaired, a thermostat switch and some burnt out wiring repaired. The car is now running well and positively charged up St Kilda hill from my garage in Inkerman Street.

Since the car has not had any attention since I think April last year, I should not complain too much. Averaging out all repair and servicing costs over the seven odd years that I have had the car, it really hasn't cost me much at all. While a trouble free new car might be nice, it would have cost me an awful lot more.

Some people would not be seen dead in an older car. I just don't care. My home is much more important to me. Btw, talk of a new car on the home front has gone quiet.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Tidy the wardrobe

Since we moved here four years ago the wardrobe in the spare bedroom has been a dumping ground for whatever. In the wardrobe corner in the picture were cardboard boxes, plastic bags with all sorts of things in them and piles of unused cushions. I was getting fed up with trying to find stuff when I needed to as well as it being very messy. I should have taken a before picture.

I went through all the stuff today and threw out some things, mainly co-ax cables and cable net extention cable and speaker cables along with an old telephone and a speaker swithing box and other bits and pieces. R stuffed all the cushions into a suitcase that sits above. We went out and bought four of these storage boxes for eight dollars each.

They are labled as follows:

Bookends, glues and screws (nails, string, wire, all sorts of screws, masking tape, picture hanging wire etc)

Audio/Video and electrical (including a stud finder that works well on the material but yet to be tested on the human)

Painting and wood (roller, brushes, sandpapers etc, wood offcuts, timber is expensive)

Garden (ceramic pots, sand and potting mix)

R wanted to throw out the chair, but it does not take up much space, so I insisted it stayed. You never know when you may need.........

To think, over the last fifteen years, a double garage and a shed, both full of 'things I may need in the future' have been reduced to four boxes.

Japan Recycling

Our friend from Japan explained to us the rubbish collection in her small town. She receives a calendar from the local authority with the days marked on it. Even she could not remember all the categories. Here is what I can recall that she told me. Each category is collected seperately and on different days. If it is not correctly put out on the designated day, a large yellow sticker goes on the rubbish and it stays there.

Brown bottles
Green bottles
Clear bottles
Miscellaneous glass
Tin cans
Aluminium cans and foil
Other metals
Flatened corrugated cardboard
Other cardboard
Miscellaneous paper
General rubbish

Each one on a day, maybe weeks apart. It causes a bit of a storage problem in small Japanese living quarters. Perhaps if she corrects this with her calendar in front of her, I will repost it accurately as I know the list is longer.

Mobile phone lurk

After finishing work at 12.30 last night and being in bed by 2, I was up at 6 to take our visitor to the airport for her return journed to Japan. Thankfully traffic was light on the freeways but the usual bunfight on our return between Bolte Bridge and Kingsway on the Westgate. I am not tired on this non working day yet, but I expect it will catch up with me at some point.

I had lent our visitor my old mobile phone and she bought a card for it while she was here. I did this last year for the o/s rels too. When they left, there was still a $25 credit left. I thought I was on a good thing here, but alas, this time there is zero credit left. Using up the earlier $25 was a bit confusing for people as it was a different phone number to my normal one, so this time, if it was only a few dollars left, I was not going to worry about it.

So keep in mind kiddies, generously offer your old mobile to visiting o/s guests and hope they leave some credit in the phone when they leave.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Lunch at Soul Mama

I prefer going out for a long lunch instead of dinner really. We were treated, shouted, to lunch today by our visiting guest in appreciation of using our place as a flop house.

OK, it was my suggestion where to go, as I was curious about Soul Mama at the St Kilda Sea Baths. It is vegetarian and our guest is vegetarian, but I like my meat. Alas, there was not a large juicy steak or even a bit of roast pork to be found on the menu.

That said, the food was fantastic and very reasonably priced, the service and the staff excellent and the general ambience very good. I did not imbibe as I had to work later, but the drinks were a bit on the high side. I made do with very nice juices and excellent coffee.

We positioned ourselves so we could have a good perve on the guys walking past and sunbaking view of the beach and spent a couple of hours enlarging our already adequate gutses.

Lunch was preceeded by a walk on St Kilda Pier to show our visitor the 'everything old is new again' rebuilt kiosk. We climbed onto the observation deck, but it is smoky again and the views were not great.

A very nice man showed us the back of a penguin nestled in the breakwater rocks. Our visitor has a quite superior camera, so there may be a pic of a penguin back later.

On our way out to the kiosk, we saw nature at it's cruelest when a mother seagull was teaching her young how to eat a squid. There were plenty of squid lying on the sea floor and the seagull would just pick one up and pluck a tentacle off it and then drop it and encourage her young to do the same. They weren't good at it. So the mother would go to another squid and show them again. It was quite gruesome. Perhaps the lack of a tentacle or two does not hurt a squid. One can only hope so.

Yeah, I could get quite accustomed to long lazy lunches.

And a new addition to any post involving tram travel, Tram driver score to St Kilda, 6/10, from St Kilda, 6/10.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Longest Book

I have finally finished reading Frank Hardy: Politics, Literature, Life, by Jenny Hocking. It must have taken me months. It was very educational. Faint praise that isn't it? I don't read many books now, thanks to this bloody machine. I did not know that Hardy had 'an affair' with Nana Mouskouri. It was quite a good book really, and there was a chapter called Mary, My Mary about his sister Mary Hardy. I have written about this terrific but mentally frail lady in the past, but I will just pass on this anecdote that amused me and rather sums her up.

In her early days on stage, she had a romantic role playing opposite Fred Parslow. She was supposed to close her eyes and receive a passionate kiss from him. On one eyelid she had written 'get' and the other 'f****d'. Whether it broke him up as he bent towards her or not, the book did not say.

(I would have liked to post a nice picture of Mary to conclude, but alas even the internet fails me)

Monday, January 08, 2007

Highriser dumb and very self critical

Going to work. Press remote to unlock car. It fails to open. Manually insert key in broken door lock and door opens but no interior light. Call R to come down to carpark with spare remote/key. Car is certainly failing to proceed.

Suspect dirty battery terminals. Push car out of the way and take R's much posher car to work.

Next morning clean one battery terminal. Start to clean unbolt the other and realise 'highriser, aka, old shaky', must have at least once shorted out the terminal against metal and there hasn't been a spark. Deliberately test for spark. Dead. Passing neighbour warns of hydrogen explosion when shorting out a battery. Do not inform neighbour that I am an almost qualified motor mechanic.

Call RACV. Very nice blond ethnic Eastern Euro RACV man comes and jump starts car with not jumper leads but some sort of portable pack. Most impressed.

Turn off car and radiator cooling fan starts running.

(I now have enough information to diagnose, but I am a little stressed and not thinking clearly.)

RACV man tests battery. His conclusion was vague. Probably best to get a new battery but I now know why he did not press the point. Ok, I say, send the battery van. Appearance is everything and my battery looked bad with a build up of salts or whatever it is called on one terminal.

Three batteries to choose from when battery man arrives. El cheapo at $93, 1 year warranty, better at $104 and 2 year warranty. I went for the posh one at $117, with 3 year warranty. Hey, who wants a cheap battery? Not me. I need a good battery.

New battery in, cooling fan comes on and continues to run. Drive car to South Melbourne Market for a dim sim or two and some fruit and veg, hoping the fan problem will sort itself out.

Disconnect and reconnect battery earth cable as required to stop fan running and flattening battery. Problem has remained.

Take R's car to work again this evening, leaving mine at home with the battery disconnected.

The new battery was a waste of money as the old one was fine. What is wrong is that overnight something with the cooling system fan went wrong and the cooling fan came on because of an electrical problem. It totally flattened the battery to the point where not even a light globe would glow. Both RACV peoples assured me that 3 years is the average life for a battery and mine would be that old I suppose, but I know there was nothing wrong with it.

Although I had the timing belt replaced and the hot water shut off and an air con service to the car a year ago, after looking at receipts, it must be about two years since the car had an oil change and tune up, so off to the garage tomorrow to have the cooling fan fixed and and a service. And I now have a very nice clean no water top up battery.........even if I did not need it.

R says I am stupid for getting a 3 year warranty battery as the car won't last that long. It kinda depends on him buying a new car and me buying his old one. Whack it on the mortgage. Isn't that what we are supposed to do?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

In the Park

Last week we and our visiting friend from Japan went out in the evening to Fawkner Park with some cut up apples. She used to live in the Kiaora flats that back onto the park and every Friday evening when she was a kid, they would walk to Prahran and buy fish and chips for themselves and apples for the possums. She said they only had to step into the park and the possums would appear.

The possums are a little shyer now and it would seem unused to being fed often. You just choose a likely looking tree and stand there with your arm stretched out with some apple in your hand and after a few minutes they will appear.

I believe they are all brush tail possums in the park, as we saw. Ring tails stay away from the larger, stronger and more aggressive brush tails. They took apple from my hand but unlike the the ring tails, I think it is pretty unlikely you would get them up onto your knee. One kind of came sideways towards some apple and I twisted my hand quickly before the teeth sank into my finger.

Barry Humphries show Back with a Vengeance

The seats in the State Theatre at the Arts Centre are awful. I fidgeted, the guy next to me fidgeted, R on the other side of me fidgeted and the three lasses we were with fidgeted. However, the uncomfortable seats did not stop me from dropping off for a quick snooze during Sandy Stone's appearance. I did pretty well not dropping off during Sir Les's appearance.

It was not that they were boring really, I have just seen it all before many times. Those in the know tell me the nursing home stuff was quite insightful.

Of course I have seen Dame Edna before too, many times, but the latter half where she was on stage for the whole time was very good and very entertaining. For a seventy three year old to be onstage for an hour and a half performing is amazing. There was lots of audience interaction, as is usually the case.

A woman in her seventies was 'dna' matched compatible with a young man and after a mock wedding, the lad's mother was rung at the Lake Tyers' camping park and informed of the marriage. A strung out "puhlease" was her first reaction. Rather brought the house down.

A very sharp remark was made about 'Daylesford women' passing the position of director of the Melbourne festival onto each other.

I am sure it will be the last time I will see Barry Humphries on stage and I am pleased I went.