Friday, September 14, 2007

Childhood memory #22

I was in the lift today and their was an odour. No, not that sort of odour. It straight away brought back childhood memories of my father's step mother. She was always kind to us kiddies, even though my mother prevented us seeing 'that drunken slut' too often.

She would buy us endless raspberry drinks at the pub she frequented, I think it was the Boundary Hotel or East Boundary Hotel, probably in the Boundary Road Bentleigh or East Bentleigh. I forget the details. Fill in the blanks if you wish and know Daniel. She would get us some chips or nuts and then duck out of the hotel for a bit and return with some small toy. We thought our Nana Tess was great, even if she was sometimes unwell and we could not understand what she was saying or she fell down a lot.

She had a distinctive smell of old ladies perfume, powder make up, cigarettes and beer. Turf brand cigarettes come to mind. She even had a smoker's side table in her house, complete with matches in the match holder, which was a great attraction to us firebug kiddies.

Today in the lift I smelt almost the same smell, old lady perfume and stale cigarettes. I can guess who it was. She is an older theatrical type women who lives here and came from a well to do family who had retail businesses in the city. She is quite poor, but you would never know to look at her. Perhaps she is not so poor, but her place is modest with a nice view of the building behind us, the wall of it that is. She certainly cries poor.

We are cautious with her as she has asked us down for drinks and asked us for help in some maintenance matter. We have been caught like that before and so say, yes we will come for drinks some time. Sorry, we are not very practical guys with home stuff.

The Rubbish Room

Since we have lived in this building, the attention to recycling has increased markedly. We originally had four bins for bottles, cans etc, the blue paper one pictured and the green one for general rubbish. In behind the doors is another large green general bin that collects the rubbish that comes down the rubbish chute.

The area is cleaned regularly to prevent smells and there are auto scent dispensers.

The area where the rubbish chute empties was upgraded about a year ago as the fire protection mechanism was never properly set up. If there is a fire in a bin it will melt some wax and a strong metal flap will drop to prevent fire going up the rubbish chute.

A fan on the roof sucks any foul air up the rubbish chute to the exterior, but unfortunately also sucks up empty plastic bags that may be thrown in the chute. They foul the fan and it stops until it is cleared.

The general waste bin from the chute is emptied daily. Of course we pay in our rates for a rubbish collection but we have to have a private collection as the council won't collect this type of bin. The alternative is to put out 65 normal bins twice a week. Totally impractical.

I suppose the area is not hosed out as it used to be. Because it is below ground level, there is a sump pump beneath the floor. Spare bins are stored in another room outside this one.

We are pretty good with recycling, the only thing we really do wrong is throw a pizza box down the chute when it is getting late. I can't be bothered taking it down late at night but I don't want it hanging around either as they smell and bits fall out of them.

I think there are eleven bins now for bottles, cans, aluminium etc. At least eight go out per week.

These charity bins are relatively new and they certainly get filled and are emptied on demand, maybe once a fortnight but it is irregular as people have a big throw out and can often fill them in one hit.

These are the latest additions. From left to right, mobile phones, printer cartridges, cards for Planet Ark, and batteries. The cardboard box on the far right is for corks.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Pandora is an archive of all sorts of things online. It is funded by the Federal Government via the Australian National Library. It is an archive all sorts of things found online, but with an Australian bias. The name comes from not a box full of nasty surprises, although that could be apt, but is a corruption of the acronym PANDAS, Preserving and Accessing Networked Documentary Resources of Australia.

I know two of my linked bloggers have their blogs archived there, even though one no longer is an active blogger.

Pandora has asked if they could add my blog to the archive.

I have just done a crash course in Pandora.

While I guess it is somewhat of honour, I immediately worry about what I have said about people and how identifiable are some people, especially family and friends.

What about copywrite? I try to credit things that I use off the net where I can, but I don't always.

I am happy to for anyone to filch any photo I may have taken for their own purposes, but I don't want anyone using my pics for their commercial advantage.

Will I post less because I spend more time polishing posts, improving sentence construction and grammar?

Can I still slag orf the hand who funds the archive?

But the major thought is, will it make what I write a little more circumscribed. Maybe you think it ought to.

Clearly it is quantity of posts over quality. What you reckon? Should I accept?

Social Secretary

It is our dyke friend's birthday this weekend and we will celebrate with a drink at Dame M's and then have a meal at the Dick Whittington in Chapel Street. Everyone quite liked the place last time, except for Dame M who refused to come. She can refuse again but we will see her at least.

Also, there is some preliminary work happening for my birthday in October.

I have made about six phone calls, sent several emails and maybe a dozen sms. The dyke friend's birthday is finally organised, except I wasn't the one organising it. Her girlfriend was. How did that happen?

Sister rang last night and asked if the bone doctor and little Jo could stay at our place for a few hours while my sister went to the football. Is Hawthorn playing? After a few minutes thought and consultation with R, I rang them back as suggested the bone doctor and little Jo may like to come for dinner with us to the dyke friend's bash. She jumped at it. I guess the bone doctor will have some expressed milk with her.

Should be a good night.

Music of me yoof #69

The group Supernaut meant rather a lot to me as a gay teenager. I liked their music but I was very well tuned to the lyrics. How did they get away with a song title Lick My Lolly? They, or some of them performed at the recent Countdown Spectacular 2.

The lead singer Gary Twinn has held up pretty well. He was so hot.

Supernaut with I Like it Both Ways.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


When the street is blocked off for privileged parking and da 'gog' is alight, you just know it is an important day. Happy Jewish New Year to some of my readers.


I am a little late for marking the anniversary of New York's 9/11 but it is still 9/11 there I think.

A poll by researchers at the University of Ohio of a not insignificant number of 1010 Americans found that over a third thought that the US government promoted the attacks or intentionally did nothing to stop them. Sixteen per cent thought that explosives were used to bring down the WTC. Twelve per cent believed a cruise missile hit the Pentagon.

There are plenty of Americans who believe in a conspiracy. I do not, but no matter. Provoked perhaps.

I know there are some very intelligent people in Ohio and it pleases me to learn that there are plenty of people cynical enough to disbelieve what their government tells them.

Our media fed image of Americans is perhaps that they are all god loving, Bush voting, gun toting, overweight, anti Muslims. It is good for an example that they are clearly not all like this to be in our newspapers.

A healthy cynicism about those who govern you and those who report it has become one of the most important parts of your personal armour and an understanding of the way the world works.

Help blind person

No, should be a comma there, Help, blind person. No, still wrong. Help please blind person. If you are reading this blind person, (Andrew hesitates over his choice of words) can you help with an answer.

I have in front of my a sheet of stiff paper with the Braille alphabet on it. It also has punctuation and numbers on it.

For you who don't know, Braille is all a matter of raised dots that are a possible combination of six dots, arranged vertically two across, three up and down.

There is a 'try your skill' sentence or two, and I quickly learnt that you guess the word after getting the first two letters or so. Usually correctly as you have a context.

This bit I don't understand and probably I am missing something and I might understand by the time I finish writing this.

When an arrangement of dots is placed before a to j, the letters become numbers from one to nine. So say for 10, we have the number symbol, then the 'a' symbol denoting one and then the 'j' symbol denoting zero. Clear. But what if you want say 98. Number symbol 'i' and 'h'.

How do you know that the 'h' is still part of the number and not the first letter of the next word.

And yes, I have worked it out. There will be a space between the end of the number and the next word I guess. Just as there are in sentences show below on the example given.

I should just delete this post to cover my lack of cleverness, but it may be interesting to some who don't know anything about Braille.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Mutter, mutter

Today I attended a work training course. They come up every couple of years. It was the most boring and unprofessionally course I have ever attended. I would have preferred to sit in an airport waiting lounge for the same period of time. What a waste of day out of my life.

I don't feel like posting much this evening. Tonight is a body corporate committee meeting which R must attend, so I must make fried rice.

I posted my recipe back in June 2005.

Nothing has changed except I use basmati rice now.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Sunday Outing

While I work often on Sundays, I have not for the last few weeks and we have done many things. We visited the mega hardware store in Menton, not our closest which is in Altona, for some bits and pieces.

We bought a screw and a dimmer switch for our lounge/dining room area. The dimmer switch rating was 300 and the fine print said the total wattage must not exceed this. Two by 100 in one light and two by 40 in the other comes in under. Perfect. I have fitted many dimmer switches in our various homes but this one has me beat. I used to confidence in sticking a wire in a hole and hoping for the best. I have put it on the back burner. R steered me to the energy saving light bulbs, but none are really appropriate for any reason.

Then we did the shops. We did Freedom at Victoria Gardens recently, but near the Moorabbin Freedom, there is an enclave of furniture shops. We did the lot and then headed to Harvey Norman in South Road and bought a new cordless keyboard and mouse, our third. Our old mouse was held together with sticky tape, so I could not argue too much. Finally Logitech has it right. The new one was just plugged in and it worked. Both of the previous ones were so troublesome to get going.

My feet were hot and I was tiring. I must have a nice coffee reward. Drive on to Brighton Beach Station and have good coffee at a place called Bisket. Warm sun, cool breeze, ocean to look at, people coming and going and a wide open view.

Home and put up a shadow box in my bedroom to display my Broken Hill mineral collection. A screw was needed. Install cordless keyboard and mouse painlessly. Painfully try to install light dimmer.

Walk up Toorak Road and meet brother friends for dinner at an Italian or is it French restaurant. La Pig or something like that. Very posh, not.

Brother friends drive us home so we have to ask them in for coffee. Nice chat and pumped them for some information on what they are going to do with the money from the sale of their East Melbourne apartment. I don't know but I don't think they have done anything with it yet.

The Brunswick Street Haircut

I get my hair cut at an elcheapo place in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. It is quite quick to get to and from by tram. Brunswick Street is very trendy, trendy to the point that your Bayswater types (I can only apologise again if you live in Bayswater) visit it on Sundays. There are some interesting shops. Someone's partner is somewhat obsessed with coffee mugs, just like one of my blog mates. No names Jo. I should take pictures of our coffee mugs.

I filled in the time I had to wait for my haircut by checking out a couple of shops. One had quite a nice selection of coffee mugs. I turned one over that I thought R would particularly like to check the price and it was $42. Set of six? You do the arith. Perhaps too grand to serve a cup of Pablo Caterers Blend.

But there is always someone interesting on the Brunswick Street tram. One day I sat opposite tv personality Paul McDermott. Another time two lads who skateboard at St Patrick's Church and we all know how that ended in tears. Today was Asian day. Going to Brunswick Street, I was surrounded by senior school students from Adelaide. I listened carefully to their voices but I could not detect any difference to Melbourne voices. I know they use some different words though. Your Zone 1 in Adelaide may be huge, but ours in bigger. I wondered if I should offer them some public transport help with tickets or where they were, but I wasn't in the mood (read none of the guys were attractive).

Returning home, I sat opposite a young Asian man. He was very nice looking in a drug dealer sort of manner and had rips all over his jeans. He had some very tiny mp3 player and was intent on his music. I had my perving, cannot see my eyes, sun glasses on and I could see right up a rip to his thigh.

I did not stalk him, I promise. But we both alighted at Swanston Street, both caught the same tram up Swanston Street and both went down the escalator into Big W in QV. Did I mention that there was rip in his jeans at the rear too!

He disappeared from my life in QV. I bought a couple of things at Safeway. Had a good cup of coffee and then trammed it home. A drunken Aboriginal woman boarded the tram at Flinders Street, swearing away in a very loud voice and with an unlit ciggie in her hand. The whole attention of the tram turned to her, but she settled down after a bit. Although I was three metres away, I could smell the booze from her.

As I was ready to get off the tram I noticed a handsome young Asian man standing next to me. In a split second, I realised he is my neighbour on our floor, the rich HK family with a Mercedes. He acknowledged me cautiously when I said hello.

He unnaturally went one way when I left the tram and I went in a direct line across the road to home. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him bounding across the road in my direction. Hi, he said. Sorry, you are my neighbour aren't you. I didn't reply, yeah well we all look the same but you ought to know me by sight by now.

We walked into the foyer together and I started to ask his opinion of the foyer renovations but as soon as we entered I was assailed by a resident who has had his car 'keyed'. Long term neighbour war in the building. I wanted to travel up in the lift with the neighbour lad and sus out whether he is a effeminate straight or a gay. I wanted to ask him about the West Highland Terrier pup that they have just bought. R saw his mother later and had a chat about the pup.

I spent far far too long on this machine today and it really is good to get out and about and interact with people, or just observe them.

Tomorrow I am going to some place called Eroc to learn how to do the job that I have been doing for nearly three decades. If I plead glare problem from the fluoro lighting, I can put my sunglasses on and have a doze, but not to the point where my head drops and I dribble. I am quite good at the wide awake doze, so long as you can't see that my eyes are closed.

APEC Spouses 2

You have to feel a little sorry for The Herald Sun headline writers. The husband (he is not gay) of Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark (she is not gay), totally wrecked their 'The First Wives Club' headline.

I was taught as a child to never comment negatively about a persons appearance, advice which I have ignored throughout my life. So let us have a go at the spouses of the world's leaders.

On the left we have Mrs Hong Kong. Red and black always work well. Clearly not a cheap outfit and very tasteful. Her hair could be a bit better although the dye is good. I would have thought something a bit flashier from HK.

Next in is Mrs Mexico. We can't see much of her. Her hair is rather flat and boring. She looks like she could be quite attractive and she looks to be the youngest.

I'll lump these two together. Mrs South Korea next in and next to the bloke who is not gay is Mrs Indonesia. Older big haired Asian women scare me. It gives them a certain harshness and makes it clear to the peasants that they are far superior to them. Mrs Indonesia seems to be wearing a gold coloured outfit. Careful to not upstage our Jeanette.

Next to Mrs Indonesia and to the front coz she is really short, is the sensibly dressed Mrs Vietnam. Leaders of communist countries can't be too flashy, hence her Exacto wind cheater jacket and the knock off Louis Vuitton hand bag she grabbed at the market on the way to the airport. Only cost fifty thousand dong comrade, a bargain.

Now what is going on here with Mrs Taiwan, to the far right. My dear, you have really let the team down with your hand knitted cardy. China is communist, Taiwan is capitalist, not the other way around. You must create a glamorous image so that the people across the water envy you and want to become capitalist too. No make up, no effort with hair and your hand bag looks like the one my grandmother used to take to church. Is that a chicken foot pinned to your cardy in case you feel like a snack?

I am guessing Mrs Canada looked quite good, as our Jeanette stood in front of her and blocked her out. Lest you make no mistake, our Prime Minister's wife is the one in the pale blue pants suit. She certainly wasn't going to be upstaged by anyone. I suppose at least her clod hoppers (shoes Daisy Jo) match her suit well. A primary school teacher can rise to be anything.

Left one out have I? Yes, second in from the right, Mrs Japan. Simple and elegant and a flattering hair style. She looks a knock out. Congrats to you Mrs Japan. You outdid the lot of them.

APEC Women 1

You cow Mrs Bush. Our Prime Minster's wife Jeanette 'Hyacinth' Howard had her Royal Doulton china with the hand painted periwinkles washed and polished and you let her down. Can you imagine how disappointed she was to not be taking tea with you? By you not coming to Australia, your opinion of our PM's wife is clear. It matters little that I agree with you.

Hope Dubbya brought you back a nice gift from a Sydney brothel.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


Or OPEC is it? George is a little confused. Australia, koala. Austria, peasant skirt dancing. OPEC is obviously on your mind George?

APEC has concluded. What do we recall? Post a comment on an agreement remembered from the news.

We are victims of the media. We hear what they say and go no further. It is presented on a platter in the newspapers, on line and on radio and tv.

All I recall about APEC is the Sydney security measures and The Chaser.

It has been suggested that if the APEC meetings went well, it could be to PM Howards political advantage.

Apart from The Chaser, who too any notice?

Nah, it has ended up being about ABC TV, The Chaser, fences, over zealous security yet incompetent security who let them in.

I read widely. Tell me where anything productive came from the APEC meetings.

Wait for the completed project

More details and before and after pictures are to come for my blog readers, but oh, this is a bit rude. Given it is only half finished, people need to give it a chance. They have a right to their view. They can nominate to be on the committee and have a say in such matters. I wonder if they knew how many hours three committee members put into this project, R being one and myself by association. Taste is a very personal thing, but it will certainly not be bad by the time it is finished. Maybe not to some peoples taste, but not bad.

Is being on a body corporate committee of a large building one of the most thankless tasks in the world?

It really does hurt.

I think I know who put the note up on the public notice board. They will be on camera footage and that will be checked so long as it can be framed into the rules of camera footage viewing.