Saturday, January 19, 2008

81 to 08

Year specific, the only thing I recall about 1981 is sitting with two dyke friends, who we have long moved on from, watching Michael Parkinson interview some guests on the tele. I recall one saying, should we put Parky on? And we did.

Like the dyke friends moved on, so now is Parky. I am now watching his last show on television. At times Parky could be boring, it did rather depend on his guests. Often the guests who were unknown to me were more interesting than celebs. But of course on his last show, he has brought out the best. The ever clever R guessed that the bad language warning meant Billy Connolly would be a guest.

I will miss the constancy of Parky. And yes, I did see the Meg Ryan interview.

Beating the Council #39

This pub is on the corner of High Street and Chapel Street in Windsor. It is a very old building. The owner wanted to get rid of the hideous seventies brown bricks at street level, but council said no because of some heritage listing or something like that. So the owner got busy with his paint brush, which was allowed, and
'brightened' it up a bit. Score: Pub owner 1, City of Stonnington 0.

Oh, and it is more a nightclub now than a pub.

Jo Calls

Sister, the bone doctor and the bone doctor's mother wanted to go the tennis to see dykon (phonetic) Maresmo. They were sad that she lost to an Australian. Bah!

So we looked after little Jo. But also, the niece from the swamps of Langwarrin and her friend decided they wanted to stay last night. The travelled by train and tram from Frankston, for the first time on their own. They totally ignored my advice to catch anything except a 1 or 8 and waited for the one they knew would go past the highrise, the 16 (St Kilda Beach). I avoid the 16 as it is always so busy, so my niece's complaint of how packed the tram was, fell on deaf ears.

Little Jo had not had a poo for four days, not unusual for babies we were told. This news left us somewhat apprehensive and I thought we may revise our plan of taking her down to the pool for a swim. But there are such things as babies swimmers, designed for the purpose and sister had a pair. Now I cannot stand and breathe in our pool. The water comes up to about my nose. But R held Jo up, mostly above water level and she kicked and carried on and enjoyed herself a treat. Then we moved to the spa and she was fascinated with the bubbles. She did not quite cotton on that if she slapped the water, it could result in water splashing into her face.

A quick rinse off and we took her in her pram for a walk and of course it started to rain. We were headed to the IGA in Park Street for some nibbles for the girls and the bone doctor likes Scotch, so a bottle of that and some vino for sister. Sister never has a drink until after Jo is fed. I only went half way and then stayed under shelter with Jo while R and the girls continued on.

I am quite proud of myself. I warmed some expressed milk and fed Jo all on my own. I then handed her over to R and the niece to care for the rest of the night. I had done my bit. I did take her onto the balcony later where she promptly ripped the sole flower head off a geranium.

Sister arrived back at midnight and after a quick drink, went off home. Niece stayed up watching tennis while I called it a night. Jo, aka she who still barely sleeps, is gorgeous, but I was quite happy with just six hours of her company. Always good to hand them back.

Every so often someone would say, tick, tick, tick, waiting for the explosion from Jo. Did not happen, but the bone doctor sent a text this morning, 'Explosion at 10am'.

R took niece and friend to aquarium today and then delivered them home to the swamps of Langwarrin. We are both feeling very weary this evening. I am sure we will sleep well.

Friday, January 18, 2008

LED v Halogen

We tried to be environmentally responsible by used LED lights in our downlights. But they gave off insufficient light and bathed the area in a cold blue light. We took them back and got a refund. LED lighting is improving all the time, but it is not quite there yet for everything.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ace 2

Layton (sic) Hewitt is not my favourite person, although he does have some talents. He is a big part of the rot in tennis nowadays.

Many Australians don't like him so in the unlikely event he should end up playing the popular Roger Federer or Marcos Baghdadis in the tennis final, will be be supporting our Layton? I won't be. Arrogant little upstart.

Anger in the highrise

We are quite insulated from public goings on in the highrise. Five days may pass from when I travel from our apartment to the foyer. Usually I just travel to the level of our carpark. On Sunday I travelled the building though, and what a mess it was. There were dried clumps of christmas tree pine needles out the front of the building. There were pine needles spread all over the foyer. There was a lift carpeted in pine needles. Disgrace. This is my home. I don't want it to look so bad.

I investigated and quickly found where the culprit was and no, surprise, a tenant(s) who had already been issued breach orders. I, and a committee member, insisted to the building manager that it be reported. So, this is their third breach. Will they be chucked out? Of course not. But they bloody well ought to be for making such a mess of my home.

Never have multiple young born Aussie men around the age of twenty plus as tenants or neighbours. After five plus years of living in the highrise and some experiences elsewhere in the past, I know this. Nothing but trouble. Give me the overseas students every time.

How to win friends #42

This is not going to win me any friends but like all things in my life, if it doesn't work for me, then it is pointless and if I can't do something with good grace, better not to do it.

I was asked to view something recently. I enjoyed seeing the effort the guys had made in making something that is now on youtube and may well go on to be very successful. I doubt they want me to be more specific than that. I replied in my email when my opinion was asked, 'Sorry I can't give a better criticism. Note, I never dissect movies on my blog as I am lousy at it.'

And like being a film critic, another thing I am lousy at is memes. Not sure why. They are just so damned hard. They take me hours and hours to do, even simple ones. Nope, sorry folks, I am humbly flattered that you ask, but they are just too hard for me.

And note, this is certainly not directed at anyone, it is a general comment.

Ace 1

I am as interested in tennis as much as I am interested in other sports. However, I like it when the big tennis match comes to Melbourne. What is it? One of four grand slam matches in the world? Wimbledon, Paris and in the US is it the weirdly named Flushing Meadow?

I doubt I will ever be sitting at Wimbledon eating strawberries and cream but it would be quite nice.

Unlike when other large events in Melbourne are on, such as Grand Prix and football final, there is a little bit of wefinement about tennis appreciaters. People generally dress sensibly and behave in a polite and respectful manner.

Well, they used to. Now the tennis player behaviour, the crowd behaviour and then general tone has deteriorated markedly in such a short time.

Tennis players grunting, challenging umpires, swearing and behaving in a non sporting manner.

As for the crowd, well, read about it here if you don't know already. Atrocious. Are we going to have soccer style riots at a tennis match? How did this come about? Why? Should the match go back to Kooyong and be played on grass?

Venturing to East Brunswick

I had reason to go to East Brunswick yesterday. Taking pics from a moving tram is not a great idea but I love this sculpture at Melbourne Uni's Ian Potter Museum. One is a bit rude. I tried to get a snap of of the old inner circle railway line where it crosses Lygon Street, but I was a fraction too late. A friend used to ride with the guard on the old train when he was a kid. The guard had his own little solid fuel heater in the van and it used to be nice and cozy and he would make tea for my friend. Not much of the line remains now.
This one was too good too miss, so I had to get off the tram and take some photos. Alas just next door is a place with golden arches and I was hungry. The burger was so disgusting, I could not finish it, but the icy coke was refreshing and the chips not bad. I suppose this was once a milk bar with a residence attached. How it stays empty and unused, I don't know.
This would have been the entrance to the residence I suppose.
It would be a big job to bring this building back to scratch, but I would start by polishing the tessellated tiles.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Where is Corey?

No names, no pack drill. No idea what that means. Corey, aka Party Boy, was not on the tv news tonight. However, a youth, who because of his age, his name cannot be mentioned, was arrested today for child pornography. If it goes to court, of course it will be dismissed. I am starting to feel sorry for him. He is too clever for his own good.

Stupid in the Highrise

As you may recall, we are going to old Blighty in June. I think it costs money to go there and stay. The fine details in that area are yet to be worked out. My bank balance is bit less than zero. But that is normal and it has never stopped me doing anything before.

We have booked holidays in the past on the net and all went well. But this trip, perhaps because of us wanting to do so many things, it became a bit overwhelming, so we treaded off to our local travel agent, Tearaway Travel in Prahran. Alas, Jonathon has deserted us and left us to our own devices.

I will add that there were some relationship difficulties at the time, so in a moment of all too much, we went to our local Flight Centre shop. We had many avenues up our sleeve. An agent in Burwood who could get us to an fro from London for $3000 business class. Oh so tempting.

Flight Centre lass was quite agreeable but came back with a very high price for air travel compared to what we could find on the net. We pointed this out, and her price dropped to near what we get but still dearer.

After a second visit today, and two phone calls R has dealt with, we have realised we can do it all online. Because of all the work the lass has done, I think we will go with her airfare, only $100 more than we could do online, but the rest, like Singapore and London accommodation, she is not even close.

For god's sake, we have booked holidays online before, both local and overseas. Why did this seem so hard?

We will wear the slightly more expensive airfare, but the rest we will do ourselves and pay upfront and hope they invest our money in between wisely.

We needed to sit down and work it all out, but tensions were high. Say la vee.

401 Gone

I miss 401 St Kilda Road with its useful local shops for local people. A new convenience store has opened a little further down the road in the Kingstoun building. It is a ten minute walk there and back, so we are not so badly off. Another will open soon in the front room of the Albert Park Manor, the red brick building seen in the right of the photos. No one could say 401 was a nice bit of architecture, but the tree shaded central courtyard was very pleasant. Ravens loved it and often emptied out the rubbish bins. It took about eight weeks to demolish with only one or two workers. I was pleased to see a lot of metal was sent for recycling, but a lot of stuff wasn't.


A bit demolished to give access from the street at the rear.

Not much left now.

A clean slate. Workers huts have now been delivered and I expect some significant digging soon.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Timber Bridges

Jayne writes a mean blog called Our Great Southern Land. If you are at all interested in Australian history or specifically Victoria's, then it surely ought to be on your must read list. I hasten to add that there is plenty of humour in it too.

Try this post out for a sample and click at the bottom to have a squiz at an old timber trestle bridge built to carry trains across some swampy land.

Daniel recently travelled over a very famous one in the Dandenong Ranges.

There is one at Kilcunda in South Gippsland too. The road used to go under this trestle, but I have a feeling it no longer does. (The question must be surely, how does the road get from one side to the other?)

There is even one on one of our suburban rail lines.

We had our own trestle bridge, right in our back yard. Well not quite. It was deep in the bush behind our farm at the foot of the Baw Baw mountain range. We did not know about it, but a school friend who was a neighbour told me about it and I asked him to show me where it was. It was a decent ramble in the bush to get to it, but sure enough, there it was, intact, but only just. I would guess that it would have completely collapsed into the creek below by now. It looked so rickety, I was too afraid to climb onto it.

Now, we did not live on the old express line to Sydney via the mountains. It was a timber tram bridge. I think cut timber was loaded onto a rail carriage of sorts and transported along timber tracks to a point for collection, possibly collected by bullocks. I don't know how the tram was powered. Perhaps it was pulled by bullocks too.

We also found some areas levelled into the side of hills where tracks would have run around a hill. Obviously it would never go up or down a steep hill, but always by the contours. These were not to be confused with water races cut into the side of the hills for use by goldminers. They were plentiful in the bush and more of a ditch with a small side embankment cut into the side of the hills. I ought to do some proper research about these timber trestle bridges in the bush. For the moment I will just lament the lack of digital cameras in the nineteen sixties.

Monday, January 14, 2008

And what a party it was

R is smitten with a much younger man. I hope this young man is over sixteen. I suppose he is. This lad has seemingly respectable parents and lives in a decent, although pimple on a pumpkin, house and the lad decided to hold a party.

The young man is nice looking with a great body for sure. Bleach has worked its magic on his hair and if he is not gay, he either has a gay friend advising him, or he has lass who is happy to help him with his sense of fashion because she is just a friend and would never see him as boyfriend material. Whatever, the end result is he looks fabulous in an adventurous straight boy way.

Others must find something very attractive about him, because when he held a party at home while his parents were away on holiday, he ended up with 500 guests.

So many young people at one party at one house caused the neighbours and hence the constabulary a bit of bother, to the point of a police car being damaged and the police airwing and dog squad being called in.

The lad is unrepentant and would do it all again tomorrow, although I am sure I heard him add that he didn't want trouble (did I?). Admittedly Hilary Obama has done nothing interesting today, and nor has Kevin Nelson, but the amount of media coverage this lad has created is astonishing. And this is before he hires a agent. What a natural talent he has. How instinctive is his publicity houndness. Don't all teen girls and ageing old gay men love a bad boy?

So finally R has caught on the I am boring and don't give him interesting experiences, like a party for 500, whereas this young man would.

Guile or gaul, the lad at his young age knows how to play the media. Good on him. It is kind of like turning the media back on themselves.

Later Edit: If you don't know what I am talking about, you must live overseas, so here is a link to the bad boy.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Tram to Wynyard

I have never been to Sydney's Wynyard Railway Station, so I am not sure of the layout etc. But I love the idea of travelling underground on a tram and that is what Sydney's trams did , once they crossed the Sydney Harbour Bridge from the North Shore.

They travelled over the bridge in their dedicated lanes, now bus lanes I think and next to the walkway, and once off the bridge via a now demolished bridge, they dropped down into underground tunnels at Argyle Street and terminated on platforms at the underground Wynyard Station. The tunnels and platforms were built for trains that never eventuated.

The tunnels are still there but boarded up from Wynyard Station. I believe some of the Argyle Street tunnel entrances are used for carparking.

I think my facts are facts. How about some colour and movement?

Initially there was no indication of what position or platform people's trams would leave from, so there was much running up and down of platforms by passenger trying to find their tram. Many complaints and a bit of agitation by a newspaper led to the instillation of the indicator board seen in the picture.

Back in the first half of the twentieth century when everyone wore hats, they knew to hold them tightly as they crossed the bridge. But in the tunnels there were regular gaps in the walls where trains ran on the other side of the wall. As a train approached pushing its mass of air, unexpected gusts of wind would attack the tram on the other side of the gaps. Hats would blow off and disappear into the darkness to be later mashed by tram and train undercarriages and newspapers would be ripped from hands. Eventually the authorities were forced to act when the lost hat count became an alarming figure. They installed some type of air blocking barriers at the openings.

Can't help but think of some schoolboy arriving at Fort Street High from the North Shore uttering, 'sorry Sir, my cap blew off in the Wynyard tunnel'.

The loss of Sydney's huge tram system is surely one of Australia's greatest and most permanent losses. There is no going back.

Pictures courtesy The North Sydney Lines of the Sydney Tramway System.