Saturday, December 22, 2007


Over the next few months R and I plan to check out some of Melbourne's rooftop bars. I particularly like the sound of Cho Gao and Rooftop Bar, both in Swanston Street. We need to keep in touch with modern trends and what young people do.

Of course we will go at very quiet times and possibly not see any hip young people or suffer loud music, but no matter.

This bar is not roof top but just a bit of vacant land off a lane, but I like Section 8 a lot. It does 'go off' at times but we won't be there then.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

U Turn

There is much that can be done to speed up Melbourne's trams but I can never work out a solution to severely congested shopping areas such as Sydney Road, Camberwell Junction, Chapel Street, Glenferrie Road in both Malvern and Hawthorn, Hawksburn, High Street Armadale, Commercial Road South Yarra and Prahran and increasingly Balaclava.

A newspaper reported that police had blitzed Glenhuntly Road in Elsternwick. Among the many offences detected, one prominent one was motorists flouting the no U turn rule.

It may be pie in the sky to wish that no U turn can be made across tram tracks at all, ever, but certainly banning U turns in all shopping areas would speed up both cars and trams.

Motorists are becoming increasingly forceful when attempting to make U turns. They quite happily attempt their U turn but then find out that they can't complete it and so it has to be a three point turn. They have no qualms about forcing cars, vans and even trams to stop while they finish their turn. It is starting to become the norm. You just make your turn and force everyone to stop. Of course it would be very rare for police to be in these areas and even if they are, they ignore such behaviour.

So, no U turns in shopping centres, and able to be enforced by both police and council bylaw officers.

Fire and Flood

Bit wet today hey fellow Melburnians. It is not the first time I have seen the road below flood. Last time some teens tried swimming, but too much traffic today.

I had never heard of these devices before we moved here. They are known as spitters and a cheap way of doing plumbing. They could not handle the volume of water and so water just poured everywhere. In case you think someone could get very wet if standing below the spitters, by the time the water reaches the ground, it has broken up into large droplets. However, a gust of wind nearly blew the stream in our open balcony door.
No sooner had the rain stopped and something caught fire. I am guessing it is somewhere in Windsor.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

That shrill Deveny woman again

I bet she googles herself, in fact I think I heard her say she does so. At times I think she is deliberately provocative. I don't like and I never do that.

I always read her newspaper columns and mentioned one of them back here.

She was on the wireless for a couple of weeks and I enjoyed listening to this self described citizen of the the Peoples' Republic of Moreland.

Loud, forthright and colourful.

She is good at oral but just as good at written and this is an excellent opinion piece by her in The Age.

Religious Conversion

I asked a workmate if he was a religious person. He has been very helpful to me over many years in getting an understanding of the 'American' war in South East Asia from a Cambodian perspective. It is to be expected, and he is fiercely anti communist, so I refrain from calling him Comrade. I am sensitive at times. I never ask a Cambodian about their parents and where are they after the first time I did. Oh no!

I assumed he was a Buddhist and a bit religious in the ever so tolerant way of Buddhists.

No, he is a Catholic as is his wife. (in times past I may have added here that being a Catholic is almost worse than being a Muslim, but in my new phase of acceptance and tolerance, I shan't say that. In fact I don't even think it and I will not recite childhood insults about religions, maggots and frogs, no matter how much it is ingrained into me)

Why are you Catholic? His reply was that he and his wife converted from being a Buddhist so that their children could go to a local Catholic school where discipline was of a high order.

This conversation happened perhaps twenty years ago but even so I was surprised to hear that the school girl's dresses were still checked for length by them kneeling on the ground and a measurement taken with a ruler.

We spoke again of his daughter some years later and she was then an on call doctor and if she was called out from home in the middle of the night, he always drove her himself and waited if she was not going to be too long.

Now she is a surgeon with her own family and precious little time for dear old Dad who moved heaven and earth to come to Australia for his children's sake, who denied his own religion for his children, who worked a humble job to bring up his children when he was meant for better things, who went without sleep to ensure his grown child's safety on the road. This came from a close third party who knows the family.

When he was younger, my workmate had a good sense of humour and I could always have a laugh with him. Now he is a tired and sad old man. We still exchange greetings when we see each other but it is clear that he is not interested in much conversation. I cannot recall the last time I saw him smile or laugh.

Love your children, do lots for them, but don't go overboard and don't expect a lot of gratitude, or you may be disappointed.

Matters of Morality

Doing the right thing.

One of R's workmates gave out christmas cards at work. R and one of his workmates, K, have had issues with this person over the past year. But the christmas card giver was kind enough to give them a card, except, while everyone else's had their name on their card, neither R's nor K's did. I suppose it is showing displeasure without being too challenging.

A friend is having a party soon. She has put a strict limit on the number of guests. I am not sure how she prioritized the guest list as a couple of people we know quite well and who have given her hospitality over the last year are not invited.

But I iz not without blame, maybe. I was in the supermarket and I was paying for a substantial number of groceries when the woman behind me asked if I had a Flybuy Card and if not could she use her card to collect my unwanted points. I was taken a bit aback and looked to the checkout chap for guidance as I was sure that it would not be allowed by the supermarket, but he looked away. If in doubt say no is my motto, so I did say no.

While I think it is an incredibly cheeky thing for her to do, do you think I was being mean by not allowing her to collect my points since I did not want them?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Residents' get together

Post effort 5/10

Last week one evening the residents of our apartment building met for a christmas drink and nibbles on the podium level. I became extremely unwell and left after an hour. But otherwise it was a successful evening. There was an over representation of older white people and an under representation of Asian residents. This was predicable but it was good that some came along at least.

There were two other gay residents in attendance, so that was good too. Two others that I know of did not attend.

Last year nothing was held because the get together the year before when the body corp paid for the food, and then one prick who has since left the building, complained.

This time people brought along food and it was all very good with plenty to eat.

Most hilarious person who attended was the woman who owns the opal tourist shops in the city. I assumed she was Jewish, because she behaves in such an old rich Jewish woman way, but she mentioned that she thinks she will go home to The Lebanon. I am a bit confused about her now, plus she drive a Mercedes and not a Volvo.

The body corp continues to try to build a sense of community. But it like pushing the proverbial uphill. But I think it is a lot more than what happens in most highrise apartment buildings.

Famous bearded media person, famous non bearded media person and yet to be famous young female Neighbours type actors did not attend, although I did find out that famous bearded media person is not agin socialising with fellow residents.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Letter from a friend #33

Post effort 8/10

My Sydney friend, aka Mr Plastic/Silicon/Steroid/Muscles embarrasses me now with his quick writing. So I apologize for him. He was well ejacated at a private international school in Hong Kong and so he does know how to write correct.

I spent an hour or so with books and the net to give him an answer to his question. Do you think I gave him too much information? My love of the late Sydney tram system goes on, so after such a question, I could not help myself and sent him a couple of pictures asking him to identify the location. (I changed the file names)

got a question.
there is a tram that runs from roselle, glebe, to the key and i'm wondering it runs on this old track.
is it possible that they put the tram on an old train track or is the size of rail different so trams can't use train tracks?

That's interesting. I didn't know that.

What I do know is that the Lilyfield tram doesn't go near the Quay (yet!). It sort of ends at Central Station in a loop, using the old Pitt Street and Castlereagh Street tram reservations in Belmore Park.

In Melbourne, trams were of a different wheel gauge to the trains, that is the gap across between the wheels, or tracks if you like. Let me see, are you old enough to remember the train to St Kilda and Port Melbourne? For safety's sake, best I say no. Anyway when they were converted to light rail, they had to move one track. Not sure if it was closer or further apart.

But in Sydney they were the same and so Sydney trams could and did use the railway lines. They used to use a steam tram, the original Sydney trams, and tow the newer electric trams via a long way around on a railway line to get them to the north shore before the bridge was built. At one point they used to also have a barge to carry the trams across the harbour. When the tram line to Ryde was completed, the tram line was joined to the railway line at Ryde Station and so it was a much shorter journey to get a tram onto the railway line to go wherever.

That much I knew.

But what I didn't know was that the Lilyfield tram does travel on an old railway line. It was only a goods line (Balmain Goods Line?) and joined the Liverpool train line at Hurlstone Park (Hurlstone Park may only be a station now, not a suburb, so Dulwich Hill will do)

At the other end, the tram only seems to depart the old railway line when it turns and runs past Paddy's Market. The old railway line continued on to the southern end of Central Station. A bit of the train line looks to be still there and runs into Powerhouse Museum.

As for Lilyfield, from what I can see, the tram line still joins the railway line at the Lilyfield terminus and so with something to tow it, a tram could still run on the railway line. This assumes that the present tram is still of the same gauge as the railway lines and the tracks did not have to be shifted, but from what I recall, they didn't.
Was interesting to work all that out.

(And I attached a couple of pics I found on the net, thanks Ben, of the Lilyfield tram emerging from what was a railway tunnel and the Lilyfield tram travelling on the train viaduct.)

i think u are right.
i think the tram line doens't go all the way to the quay i thought it did, i've never taken it. i'll check it out though.
baby boomer generation is to blame for that, wankers removing trams and replacing them with slow, ugly, polluting buses which nobody wants to get and doesn't.
clover is fighting to bring trams back.

Where is this? Hint, eastern suburbs.

could be near edgecliff there heading toward what is now edgecliff station?
the northern end of paddington thru darlo past st vinnies hospital perhaps?
it's the only area i can think of that's raised.


friend of mine is just here and looked at this pic.
he was saying it's a road not what i thought that is now the train line.
it's the back road that goes from darlinghurst near the wall past st vincents hospital up to paddington.
it's now a crappy rough old bridge that's awful on you tyres as u drive over it sort of concretey.

The 'friend' would be his seventy year old sugar daddy who would know full well where the tram viaduct was and probably rode on a tram across it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Dogbox

Our Balaclava house was in the street on the far side of this most attractive development. Friends christened this pictured place the Dogbox when we were looking to buy nearby our house and considered this place, well one of us did.

We looked at one apartment and it was awful and so terribly hot inside, maybe the top one. The balcony with a view up Chapel Street was nice, but then I did not really know what a good view was until we moved here.

The site used to an SEC electric substation with a house on the site, presumably lived in by the keeper of the lights.

Would you agree that it is a downright butt ugly building and a cheap looking construction? A retiring Port Phillip mayor, perhaps Dick Gross, admitted that the decision to approve its construction was not the council's finest moment. It is just way to big and bulky for the location. Somehow I think our old house may still be standing after this building has been demolished.