Saturday, September 08, 2007

Sucking mummy

My sister used to be a prude. She used to get embarrassed about sex. She used to get embarrassed about her gay brother and his boyfriend. She was a locked in the closet dyke.

She and her new girlfriend, the bone doctor, came to a barbecue we put on for friends. We used to have many barbecues for friends when we lived in a house. It is perhaps one thing I miss a bit since we moved to an apartment. R does too, but then as I mentioned to him, we had pretty well stopped having barbies anyway in the couple of years before we moved here. We were running out of friends.

Computers were a bit new then and I had put myself in an 'interesting' outfit up as a wallpaper. Everyone had something to say about it, except sister. Eventually, after a few glasses of Yalumba Classic Dry Red, I mentioned it to her. 'Yes, I saw it', and she rolled her eyes.

Later I had a 'deep and meaningful' with the bone doctor and she suggested I just give my sister more time to get used to being open about her sexuality. She had already improved, said the bone doctor. She is not as hung up as she used to be.

I better get to the point. I thought this banning of pictures of mothers breastfeeding on Facebook was pretty bad form. Ah well, I am sure it is US based company and we all know what the religious right in the US is like and how powerful they are.

Well, the problem was not with my sister who readily lobbed out her tits and fed little Joannna. The problem was with me. I had to talk to my sister and concentrate on looking at her face and not little Joanna sucking away.

There are still vestiges of discrimination against women breastfeeding in public and I expect it comes more from men who feel uncomfortable that their objects of desire are out there and exposed rather than hidden away.

Little Joanna fed for forty five minutes and I started to feel a bit more relaxed about it as time went on.

In my defence, I have seen my sis in law breast feed once. The time before that would have been seeing my sister being breast fed by my mother. Apart from that, I have not seen any public breastfeeding.

So girls, the more you do it, the less of a big deal it will be. Lob them out and feed the sucker. We blokes will get used to it.

Turn back the PT clock

It is so bleeding obvious, it smacks you in the face.

Public Transport Users Association Secretary Anthony Morton had an excellent letter published in today's Age. I agree with his view in spite of the danger of retrospective rose coloured glasses. Our trains could carry over two hundred million passengers a year in 1951 but can't cope with one hundred and eighty million now.

The only qualification I would make is that I remember the frequent and long waits in the railyards for a Flinders Street platform became available. The opening of the City Loop reduced the waiting, but then my memory of our trains doesn't go back further than the seventies, so I would guess it was a lot better in the fifties.

Here is the text.

AS THE annual patronage on Melbourne's trains climbs through 180 million, it may only be a year or two before we reach the record of 201 million set in 1951. And yet our Government seems to be approaching this milestone not so much with delight as with fear and trepidation (The Age, 7/9). How can it be that our train system carried so many people into the city 50 years ago, with red rattlers, no City Loop and only six platforms at Richmond instead of 10, and yet struggles so much now? Sure, there were more people travelling off-peak then, but this can be only part of the answer.

In fact, there are two crucial things our public transport system had in the first half of the 20th century that are missing today. One is the planning and management know-how to sustain reliable operations with high and growing passenger volumes. The other is an overriding concern for passenger service, as opposed to bureaucratic convenience or cost-cutting. These qualities do still exist today, but only in cities beyond Melbourne that have not offloaded their planning responsibilities to private operators. It is time we invited some of these planners to sort out our public transport mess, as it is clear neither Connex nor our defeatist bureaucracy have a clue.
Tony Morton, Secretary, Public Transport Users Association, Melbourne

The Net Bank

I embraced internet banking of about a five years ago. I transfer money between my accounts. I pay all bills. I pay R money that I owe. I just paid a friend for tickets for a show. Against my better judgement, I even used net banking in a public library when we away recently. It was pretty well unavoidable. Tenants can can waylay the best laid plans. Internet banking is marvellous and so easy.

Do I feel comfortable doing it? Not really. I am sure one day that I am going to put an extra zero into a figure or pay the wrong person or use the wrong account. I obsessively check and recheck figures, confirmation details and final figures. I write figures down or cut and paste them on records.

I am not at all worried about fraud or security issues, but I do worry about my own fallibility.

Friday, September 07, 2007

New Link

For some time I have checked the Beauty and the Bum blog. It is primarily aimed at gay men, but that won't stop JahTeh.

The poster, who is in Sydney, puts up photos daily of hot and not so hot guys and bits of gossip and more. I don't recall that he has ever put up a full frontal. It is all very tasteful and quite a stylish site. He clearly puts a lot of work into his blog, so I think it well worthy of getting a gig on my sidebar. Be sure to check out the Japanese drag queens on the catwalk at a fashion show, posted Wednesday.

Beauty and the Bum

PT Lateral Thinking

Our state government and its bureaucrats have had their whiteboards out and done some serious public transport planning. Not before time you may think.

Our trains have become overcrowded to the point where no more passengers can get on board. Our trams are starting to slow down from the sheer numbers of people they are carrying, never mind the motor car traffic.

The Age headline says 'Move to Ease the Rail Squeeze'.

The big wigs have been thinking laterally, but how I wish they would think forward.

What are their ideas?

Tax concessions for using a bicycle to travel to work. Well that will ensure some extra money in your pocket if the cost of running a bicycle can be salary sacrificed. A can of chain oil over one year would be ??? If they do nothing, people will be forced to cycle to work anyway.

Running bus services from inner suburban stations to the city. I rather take my chances with the overcrowded train than sit in a bus in peak hour traffic.

Boosting inner city tram services. That sounds good but have they heard of tram congestion? Too many trams on the tracks trying to go to the same place? Add more trams, have more tram congestion. It already seems to worsen by the day.

Reduced fares for off peak travel. The installers of the new Myki system now have the perfect out for not fulfilling their contract on time. The specifications have been altered. Seriously, why was cheaper off peak travel ever stopped? Cheaper off peak travel may very well help and is one of the more viable ideas.

Express buses from stations such as Caulfield and Essendon. They will magically float through the air and avoid the kilometres long bank up of traffic on our freeways and major roads.

But I have a favourite one and it is the most lateral of all the ideas. Take the seats out of the trains so more people can fit on. Aren't we fortunate to live in a first world country? How about some ladders on the sides of the trains so they some people can fit on the roof?

Two hour ticket please- will that be off peak Sir? with or without a seat? interior or exterior? a further discount if you please Sir, if you are not in a hurry and would like to spend an hour or so on a bus.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Bums for Bush

Dudes with long greasy hair and lasses without makeup and wearing noserings don't like the APEC meetings underway in Sydney. Sydney has a big fence to keep them away from the world leaders. But still there will be protests.

These are thinking young and not so young people (unlike moi) acting for the most part with ideal motives, not like the self serving lot on the inside of the fence. I trust the rabbles judgement, so here is my tiny effort to support them.

Roll up to Sydney's Hyde Park at 3pm on September 7th and flash it in Bush's direction. Bums for Bush
Events like this should be faithfully recorded, so,do take some pictures for your blog.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Bali Memorial Fountain Update

Last year the Bali Memorial Fountain in Carlton was switched off as a water conserving measure. Late July or early August, workmen came and tastefully boarded it over. Mid August City of Melbourne decided to reinstate the fountain. I mentioned at the time what a waste of money. Board it over a couple of weeks before it was to be reinstated.

Today I noticed the timber has been removed and the concrete walls are stained from the timber. City of Melbourne has so many hands jerking so many things that they can't keep track.

I feel it in my waters

Funny. I worry less about the water than the plastic bottles that are made for the water. If you younguns keep buying these bottles of water and then just chucking the empties away, you are having as serious impact on our environment.

The Age newspaper recently ran a piece on the real cost of bottled water.

Plastic bottles are made from oil products. You are paying a ridiculous amount every time you buy a bottle of water. You are essentially paying for the plastic bottle, not the water.

The company who fills your water bottles is making a huge amount of money too.

Man and woman has survived for two thousand or umpteen thousand years, depending on how you view religion, by just drinking water from whatever source was nearby.

At some point, they learned to add things to it, or to add water to things. Where would life be without booze or coffee?

Melbourne has very good water with a bit fluoride chucked in which is great for your teeth, especially if you are a kiddie.

I admire our ex Victorian State Premier Joan Kirner, even more so now that I know she does exactly what I do. She is an honourable woman, for a politician. Ok, she had retired now. She has a water bottle and fills it from a tap, just like I do.

Eventually R notices that my water bottle looks quite unhygienic and insists I change it and I do. I hate buying that replacement bottle of water. I am not really keen on the taste of the bottled water, but then I can't waste it. I needs me water with chlorine, fluoride and animal crap in it from our protected water catchments for it to taste proper.

Give it a try kiddies. Refill your water bottle from a tap.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Highriser effed up

Clearly I was upset when I wrote this post a few weeks ago. At least I was smart enough to save it as a draft and not publish it without reflection. I am not sure what happened and how things went wrong, but they did. I should edit it and tone it down and make it more palatable. I shan't. It is how I felt at the time, although I did not finish the post.

I cannot even recall now but somewhere along the way Highriser effed up badly and is getting a decent punishment from R. Ah yeah, something to do with the sister and little Joanna and web cam broadcast. R hates my sister with a passion. He has known her from when she was a young teen, so he has a right to his opinion. For me, well she is my sister. What can I do?

He had gone back to watching tv when sister waved little Joanna's hand to Uncle R.

No matter what I did today, it was wrong. That is how R is. He is very critical and intolerant.

You may think I am very fortunate to a have a partner, a soul mate, and a f*** buddy, a lover, a boyfriend, and someone you have known for nearly three decades.

No, in some ways it like we just met yesterday. Certainly he keeps my on my toes.

Big wheel

I am not sure what Melbourne is to call this oversized ferris wheel being constructed at Docklands. The Eye is not very original. I understand that it will be three metres smaller than the London Eye, but still, it will be very large. I will wait a good time before going for a ride. I let them sort the bugs out first. I don't want to crash to earth in a capsule.

This was the only photo I took at Docklands last Sunday. It is looking between one of the original Docklands residential buildings and one completed only last year.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Don't Fence Me In

I was going to write something about Sydney and APEC and the security measures, but so many have mentioned it already, so I shan't bother with anything expressing outrage in a democracy or how we Melbournians are so smugly laughing at the flashy tart to the north of us.

What I did find very interesting was to learn some of the security measures for the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Army battalions permanently stabled in secret areas under the stands in Homebush Stadium, hairs taped across fire exits of city hotels, checked daily. There was more but I forget now.

I'll just post a few salient links from blogging mates. Somehow I don't think APEC in Sydney will be of political advantage to Mr Malcolm Turnbull in his posh eastern suburbs electorate of Wentworth. Fortunately our electoral commission operates very independently and balances electorates quite well.

I suppose I am pleased that they have locked all those foreign types and Howard behind a fence. I don't think even Sydney people would want those types among them.

Governor General
Jo and Steph are only just recovering from their boozy weekends and haven't noticed anything yet.
Keshi said in an unrelated post
btw City roads are blocked today cos of the APEC summit usual route to work has been blocked with barricades and there are loads of Police guys walking around, loud choppers trying to make us deaf, massive Police boats in the harbour etc. Never seen the city like this before! Anyways, Mr.George Bush is going to be in town soon and I hope I get to wave at him cos he's going to be staying very close to where I work! :) O the mess he creates just by one visit to Sydney!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Mater at Docklands

There was a message on our answering machine. Edited version. Hi Andrew and R. Just wondering if you are working on Sunday Andrew. It is Fathers Day, and none of L's, your stepfather, eight children have made any effort. Just wondering if you Andrew are working on Sunday. If not, I would like to see Docklands before I die.

Ok Mum. See what we can work out.

Sunday time line.

9.30am, travel to new South Melbourne Coles Supermarket in car. Park one hour for free in underground carpark. Buy lots of food to put on an afternoon spread. Already troubled by the cost of a visit from Ma.

10.10am Buy three Sunday Saver tickets from newsagent in Clarendon Street.

11.00am Home and groceries unpacked. Place tidied.

1.30 Mother, step father and brain damaged brother arrive. Brother some how missed out on lunch and so R made him a nice sandwich. Board city bound old Z tram. Bad tram driver. Very rough. Seats comfortable. Validate Sunday Saver tickets by four and realise my transport travel ticket has expired. Must fix that up in the next week. Although hard work, mother managed to haul herself onto and off the steps of the tram.

2.30 Arrive Docklands via W class City Circle tram. Very busy, but not too crowded. Note silly old German tourist woman who did not hang on and fell up the minor tram step. Many hands reached out to drag her upwards when I think she would have happily got up in her own time. Point out places of interest along the way to Mother and step father.

"That is an ugly building", commented Ma. I said it is quite a nice building. It has some environmental award and our old building manager's wife worked there for a time and there is a totally hot guy who lives there who grew up where you live Ma.

Walk along past Shed 9 and Shed 14 where there used to be the most wonderful dance parties. I told Ma that we used to go to huge 6,000 people dance parties here. I did not add that we consumed huge amounts of alcohol, dabbled with drugs and fornicated shamelessly in the boat shed at the end of the wharf.

Eventually after walking past almost all the Docklands buildings, the almost 80 year old step father suggested we stop for a sit down and coffee. I took no note of the name of the place, but we all had coffee and chips and wedges. Food places at Docklands go broke on a weekly basis, so no point in bothering about names. Note, old crippled men have been dragged to Docklands for Father's Day.

Caught Bourke Street B Class tram back to city. Pointed out significant places along the way to Ma. Ma strung off all the shops that used be along Bourke Street. The last time she went to the city, about ten years ago, and she used to go often, she was stalked from the Pakenham station when she was walking home. She lost confidence and has never been on public transport or out alone since. It was a big deal at the time and police were involved.

After such a long time, she was very interested to see the changes in Melbourne City. Step Father doesn't say much, but I think he enjoyed himself.

We were home at the St Kilda Road smart apartment by four thirty and then sister, the bone doctor and little Joanna arrived. R had set up a fine spread of food. Dips, biscuits, party pies, sausage rolls, nibbles, cheese, cabana, cakes, biscuits, endless cups of teas and coffee.

'Ma, if you need to smoke, go out onto the balcony or in my en suit bathroom and switch the lights on so the exhaust fan is on. No smoking around Little Joanna, Joanna, little Jo, Joey, Skippy, Goanna.

The bone doctor bashed orf back to Wangaratta, sis back to Geelong, Ma, Step Father and brain damaged brother back to Pakenham and suddenly all was peaceful and back to normal at the highrise.

Most of my mother's friends are probably dead now, but I think that there must be one or two left who she can tell about her visit to Docklands. Like her son, she does like the bragging rights.

Small town US property investor looking at Australia to increase her wealth

Blogging mate in the US, Daisy Jo, requested a a larger picture of the house where the white magnolia tree is located. As you can see, the blooms of a magnolia do not last long, especially if we get some warm weather and wind, as we have had. This morning though was one of those perfect Melbourne mornings with a few wispy clouds and a clear blue sky with a gentle breeze blowing.

These houses are very unusual in Melbourne as they are three storey with the lowest level partly below street level. I know of some others in Dalgety Street, St Kilda and I have a feeling I have seen some in Footscray.

Park Street is a short street between between Toorak Road and Domain Roads. You can see its location on a map here. We live in St Kilda Road near where it it meets Toorak Road West. It is about a twenty five minute walk along Toorak Road, Park Street and back along Domain Road.

Note there are two quite old cars in front of the houses. These are not representative of the normal type of car to be found in South Yarra which are more likely to be a 4WD, an SUV or BMW or Mercedes. I am unsure of this specific house, but certainly many of its neighbours used to be boarding houses. Small and cheap accommodation for the poorer types, pay by the week. I think one house is still a boarding house and you can bet that these cars belong to residents of the boarding house. When travelling on the number 8 tram that travels to Toorak and runs along Park Street, if some rough types boarded the tram and they were still aboard the tram when it turned into Domain Road, you could fairly confidently say, ah yes, Park Street, boarding house.

I think you could say that any of these houses in Park Street would be worth over a million dollars. It is quite a unique street. Maybe Dalgety Street in St Kilda is as nice but I don't think so. It is a long time since I have been there. Perhaps there are streets in Parkville similar. St Vincents Place in South Melbourne is certainly superior but much more open, unlike the cheek by jowl Park Street. The style of architecture is of course Victorian, the properties having being built in the time of the reign of Queen Victoria, and Melbourne is one of the best cities in the world to see preserved and restored Victorian architecture.

Francis Clapp, the founder of our tramway system and mentioned in the post where I published a picture of the plaque on the fence of the the house where he lived, wanted a tram near to his house, but not going past, hence the tram which normally if following the patterns of other routes, would just travel down Toorak Road to St Kilda Road where it would turn right and head into the city. Instead it diverts into Park Street and along Domain Road. A four minute walk from his house, but not going past his house. This may or may not be true.

As gorgeous as Park Street is, it is dreadful for parking. Local residents often have to park streets away, and that is with one side of street being for residents only and a permit required.

I had hoped to photograph all the building in Park Street soon, but the other day I noticed someone who spent three hours with his posh looking camera taking photos. Perhaps I am better to search on the net.