Saturday, January 26, 2008

Old blog, new thoughts

What is mail merge? I don't really know but I suppose if I think about it I do. The following is blog post merge of three recently written but unpublished posts.

I have just spent twenty minutes reading my blog posts from 2004. Masturbation comes in many forms. I was generally pleased with what I had written. As I mentioned in a post recently, there were so few comments, I am not sure why I continued. But I did and I am pleased that I have good interaction with many peoples, peoples who I think might be quite nice in real life.

Sadly, I can't say I have ever connected well with any gay bloggers, that is regular interaction via the blog. It would not surprise me to learn that it was my fault, but if it is, I am really not sure why. If any gay blogger is reading this and can instantly think of a reason, do tell, except, calling me a full of it old queen is not a good reason, although maybe true.

So Chris, who made comments on my blog back in 2004, are you still around and reading?

I consider it an honour to be listed on someone's blog roll, that is to have my blog in a list on their blog. Of course I straight away feel a responsibility to list them on mine, but I don't do it automatically. If you have me listed on your blog roll and I have not reciprocated, perhaps I have just missed it as I cannot think of anyone who has listed me and I haven't responded in kind.

I tried to keep my blog list short and salient, alas I have come across so many interesting and nice people, my list is longer than I would ideally like. But if you are on there, it is because I care (d0es that sound gooey and sincere?).

Something that trips me out a bit is when people have very short blog rolls, not many blogs on their list, and mine is one of them. Oh, what a responsibility. I am sure one of my posts or comments is going to pee them off and they will delete me. It hasn't happened yet, I don't think, but if it does, I will wear it without protest, as they will have acted for a good reason, as they did when they added me.

I will suggest to anyone considering adding me to their blog list, that they read my blog for about three weeks before doing so. While you might like Melbourne history, my next post might be vaginal hygiene and the one after a political matter, and then a Sydney tram post. All over the place like a mad woman's breakfast.

To all on my blog roll, even though I may not comment often, I read your posts with devotion and in a moment of wine induced weakness, sorry Robert, come back, but you are hard work too you know.

Happy Australia Day and Indian Republic Day to all

Today is Australia Day, the day some blokes landed somewhere or t'other and declared this is the place for village containing convicts, then got drunk on rum and went out and killed an aborigine or two and perhaps a kangaroo. Some things about Australia never change. It is also Indian Republic Day. So happy Australia Day and happy Indian Republic Day.

We have had over two hundred years to screw our country up, India only fifty eight years.

Strangely, I think, to celebrate our Australia Day, we are being urged to a lamb (thanks Andy). I would have thought kangaroo would be more appropriate. But I am glad it is not as I don't like the taste of kangaroo.

As a regular supplier of visual aids, here is a photographic representation of what we are to eat. Two, four, six, eight. Bog in, don't wait. Selected your portion yet? Don't save any for me, I am having beef tonight.

It took 24 hours for life to go crazy

Someone tell me yesterday was Friday the thirteenth?

11.30am Friday. Car air con is not working well. Indicators are going slowly. I know it can't be the battery coz I changed that in traumatic circumstances last year. Looks like I am going to find out why all the dash warning lights have been going on and off over the last couple of weeks.

11.45 Friday. I think I should drive straight to the garage. I just want to get home, eat, rest, cool off. Home wins. I try to restart car but dead. Wrong decision.

12.00 Friday Call RACV . Call garage to warn them of my impending arrival with non functioning auto. The nicest thing anyone said to me all day, 'of course darls, bring the car in and we will see what we can do'. RACV man calls to say he is nearby. I go down to carpark door to let him in. No sign of him. Wait a few minutes and call RACV back. He will call you direct in a moment, the operator tells me. He did and he is now stuck just 50 metres away behind a van that has blocked Queens Lane and is unloading some building construction products.

12.15 Friday. Car is running. RACV man suggests it is the alternator. I kinda worked that out myself. RACV has an alternator home service, which I would have used, except I had already called garage.

Anyway, I am sure I had a new alternator put in twelve years ago. What is wrong with stuff nowadays.

12.30 Arrive at garage. The ever charming Sam, who charges by the smile and the quantity of friendly service, tells me he can do it this afternoon, maybe, but they are closed until Tuesday coz of long weekend. Since the car also needs a service, and R would have to collect it for me later, and I don't need it over weekend, I say, keep it till Tuesday.

12.50 Just miss two trams home.

23.00 Retire for the night and apart from car, all is well with the world.

Saturday 07.00 Arise from slumber. Aircon was left on but balcony door is open, and windows. Try to turn air con off but remote unresponsive. Turn off at unit. Look at remote. Screen is blank. Change batteries. Still blank screen. Glare at unit. Try pushing on button on unit and unit starts throwing out heat. No, no. I want cool.

07.15 Decide to leave it till R gets up. He must have opened door and windows. Walk to computer, move mouse, computer wakes up and is stuck on start up with message 'keyboard not connected'. Replace batteries in keyboard and mouse. Nothing. Dig out old but never used cord keyboard, kept for just such occasions, and computer starts up. Cannot get cordless keyboard and mouse to work. Now I am wondering if Friday was the thirteenth on not. At some point trying to get keyboard and mouse to connect, I unplug the sender unit USB, and forget it is unplugged.

08.00 R arises. States he turned aircon off when he went to bed. Arose later to turn it on as he was too hot and it was already on but nothing blowing out, in spite of him switching it off when he went to bed. He switched it off and opened window and door and went back to bed.

9.00 Tire of playing with awful man made objects. R turns air con off and on at external unit and it starts cooling, thank god. Still remote doesn't work and call to technician is no help. Friends with the same air con unit are away for weekend, so can't borrow their remote. Well, it is cooling. I will just leave it be until Tuesday as already established service is not available over holiday weekend.

9.05 Decide to tackle computer again. Decide to unplug sender unit USB. Oops, it is unplugged. Plug in and the bloody thing works. I despair. Never ever ever be tempted to buy a cordless keyboard and mouse, unless you enjoy masochism.

Now, is something going on here? Aircon was normal when we went to bed and off. PC was left running, as it always is, and yet both had gone weird over night? Are you thinking some sort of electrical spike or loss? Why did the pc decide to restart? No clocks flashing to indicate power loss overnight, but then pc is the most sensitive to a flash loss of power.

Dunno, and how could a power problem affect a remote control?

PS Cordless phone just rang. Tried to answer but it wouldn't work. Person rang back. It worked second time.

PPS Just spoke to step father. His car has electrical problem that self cured, but his water pump has now failed.

PPS Our problems pale into insignificance compared to almost burning a house down. Read a ripper post from Rosanna here.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Bad girl, bad Sydney

Of political disappointments, I could name a few

Too many, now where's my frou frou

They've come and gone, at different times

I just shake my head, and give my opine

But now here is one

That takes the cake, bar none

Nah, even with Frank's help, a songwriter I ain't, but I was thinking about ex New South Wales Premiers, Mr Bob Carr in particular, although there has been many interesting ones, from the uber corrupt Bob Askin, to Nifty Neville Wran who I cannot say is corrupt because he is still alive. I shan't even hint at it. The laughing stock Barry Unsworth to that greasy Greiner and fairy floss Fahey.

State government is about being seen to be doing stuffs as much as anything. By listening to all the talk, perhaps you think they are doing stuffs. There is the odd occasion when they do do stuffs, but they are not often and you hear about them ad nauseum from self promoting mouths.

The State of Victoria can hardly crown itself in glory with forward thinking, but New South Wales beats us hands down, especially when it was under the rule of Premier Bob Carr. Mr Carr managed to successfully pull off the Sydney Olympics, but what else?

All the tourist dollars that just automatically flow into Sydney, are the envy of other states. The wealth in Sydney is just extraordinary.

Yet they cannot even come close to an acceptable level of public transport service or health care. I haven't looked at education. Perhaps that is where all the money went. Somehow I don't think Sydney teachers would agree.

Last time I was in Sydney, I caught a train on a Saturday afternoon. In Melbourne, on Saturday afternoons, trains run to time, unless something really serious happens. Not so Sydney. Fifteen minutes late, no explanation. Always running late, a local told me, they come from such a long way out and get held up at Redfern.

The new whiz bang ticket system was supposed to be ready for 2000. It is still not and has just been dumped by the state government. Why not dump it in 2000 when it wasn't ready. Talk about prolong the misery. Here is the latest.

Maybe they have been spending too much on hospitals and medical services. Not by this current story and a blogger's moving woes over the extraordinary death of her partner while in hospital care.

The Sydney Ferries organisation seems to stagger from disaster to disaster, as often as they change its big boss.

We really ought to expect better in Australia's premier city.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

My Dog cafe

What a charming little place is My Dog cafe at Beacon Cove. As I said later to a dyke friend, it seems very popular with sensibly dressed ladies of a certain persuasion.

As we are dogless at the moment, and we were already caffeine sated, we did not enter, but may very well in the future.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Cheering highriser

I was out and about yesterday. But I wasn't in such a good mood. My fave place for el cheapo bacon and eggs, opposite the town hall, was not serving such until the 14 Feb. I took a takeaway coffee and sat by lonely self in Bourke Street Mall. I gazed around the Mall and I think this is its best version yet, and I have seen plenty of versions.

I had to buy something in Myer Lonsdale Street, so I walked through the Bourke Street store. I asked the helper person where such item I wanted was in the store. I already thought Lonsdale Street, 4th floor, but she said she thought it was 3rd floor. I was right of course. I always am.

While dwelling on my personal problems, and no matter how deeply I bury my head in the sand, they won't go away, I noticed all the sunglasses had gone from the rear of the Bourke Street store.

I stepped out into Little Bourke Street to cross over to the Lonsdale Street store, and music boomed out of some loudspeakers. Perhaps the music is to deter young people from hanging around.

When you're smiling, when you're smiling,
The whole world smiles with you.

When you're laughing, when you're laughing,
The sun comes shining through.

I listened for maybe a minute, then squared my shoulders, forced a half smile and set forth on my errand.

What confidence can you have in people and things if you don't have confidence in yourself? It just took a bit of crappy but happy, idiotic old music for me to remember this.

Highriser on old phones

My blog is turning into a history book instead of a personal diary. Well, if I don't do anything much, I can't write about it.

I am not old enough to remember Melbourne's alpha numeric telephone numbers, such as this one in an old ad in my very old street directory, BJ4211. I certainly remember the letters being on the dials of telephones though. What was the purpose of these letters? They don't seem to correspond to an area or telephone exchange. Why not just use the numbers?

To use one of the old dial telephones was a joy. They had a beautiful smooth mechanism to dial with which made a lovely sound and then came along the el cheapo plastic telephones, with nasty cheap dials. They were still quite heavy though compared to modern phones. I pulled one apart one day to see how it worked. It looked complicated.

As a country lad, dial phones were a luxury. We had to turn a handle to call the local general store, come post office, come telephone exchange and be manually connected to the world. If we wanted to call our grandmother, turn the handle and ask for the number. We would be then connected to the Moe telephone exchange and then Melbourne and then my grandmother's. This was an improvement on the original when we first moved to the country and had to go through another exchange, almost next door to us. So, next door, then the general store, then Moe, then Melbourne, then the number. Earlier it went through Warragul instead of Moe. Making a telephone call was a big deal back then and not something to be taken lightly. I think it cost quite a lot to make a trunk call, later an STD (snigger) call.

My mother used to call my grandmother, her mother, every three or four days. At some point when the bank manager was in a bad mood and making a fuss, my father said economies must prevail and killed a fattened calf for meat and complained about the telephone bill. I have never been fond of veal since. He was ignored, as the telephone bill no doubt came under the heading of 'give my daughter whatever she wants', in return for my grandfather financing the farm.

Our phone back then was on a party line, with five others. Two big batteries, roughly the size of soft drink cans, sat in a box on the floor. I don't think they were ever changed. Perhaps they were for emergency or something. Our ring was a short ring, followed by two long rings. If you wanted to call someone on the party line, you had to know their ring. I remember short short short was one neighbour's. You could pick the phone up when others were engaged in a call and listen, but they would know someone was listening as there was a click as they picked up the receiver. The local operator with her smooth switches and quiet breathing listened in to all. The polite thing to do before making a call was to pick up the phone and say 'using', to check if anyone else was on the party line, without actually listening to a conversation.

Our telephone number was 41W, no doubt prefaced by a telephone exchange name.

My grandmother's phone number was 57 5612. South Oakleigh phone numbers are still similar 9579 xxxx.

When I first met R and he lived in St Kilda, his prefix was 34. ie 34xxxx, later a 5 was added, 534, then the ubiquitous 9, 9534. Somehow I think the need to keep adding more land line phone number prefixes has passed.

(I just checked with R to confirm some of this and he produced an address book from when he first left the UK. Who was that, I kept asking when I saw an unfamiliar name. Mostly he knew but sometimes the reply was, no idea)

So what inspired this post? I looked up Myer's website today and I saw the phone number,
9661 1111. When the rest of Melbourne had six digit phone numbers, some Melbourne city businesses had five digits, and I am sure Myer's was 6 1111 or 61 111, same I know but I can't recall how it was written.

One last thought. Some country telephones did not even have a handle to turn. You just picked up the handset and were connected to an operator. Old American movies where a caller would press the rest or buttons over and over again to try to get the operator made no difference here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Local Art

This sculpture is at the corner of Market Street and Cecil Street, South Melbourne, near the new Safeway/Spotlight building. I don't know its title and I am not sure that I like it. Waddaya reckon?

The new Safeway is the nicest and largest supermarket I have even been in. You could almost drive a bus down the aisles. The Spotlight in the pic is the old one.

Market Street has reverted to being a two street now, but Google Maps has yet to catch on. Nor has the online Melways.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Childhood Confession #44

Post inspired by this one. My grandfather had a couple of painting trestles, so we set them up in his backyard and draped an old canvas over them. Voila, we had a house we could stand up in.

I am not sure what I expected to happen when I held a match to the oily greasy old canvas, but you can guess. Mother and grandparents came out and put the fire out. There was not much left anyway. It went up like Hindu's widow.

Children can be fascinated with fire. I was. My parents fault for making me burn up rubbish.

Next childhood adult confession, when I set the lawnmower machine on fire.

Moron published

The ever reputable Hun, aka Herald Sun publishes moronic articles at times, that is when it is not content with confusing Greenpeace with Sea Shepherd, two very different organisations with different approaches.

Shock, horror, a train travelled with the doors open. You can read the full article here, but here is a clip.

PASSENGERS suffered through a harrowing 80km/h rail ride as a train with a door completely open roared along the Sandringham line.

Video footage taken by a passanger yesterday morning showed the open door as the train travelled from Windsor to Balaclava. He really ought to have been hanging tightly on to something instead of filming.

"It was wide open for nearly 90 seconds and there was no way I was going to try and close it and risk my life," the passenger who took the video, Mr Karun Sachdeva, said. Very wise not to go near the open door and perhaps get sucked out.

"It must have been going about 80 to 90 km/h and there were four other passengers on the carriage who were just as concerned as I was," he said. I may be wrong, but it my experience the Sandringham train never gets to anywhere near 90 km/h between Windsor and Balaclava. I would guess at 70 km/h, but correct me if you will. Anyway, if you fall out at 40 or 90, you will probably get a nasty bruise or two.

"It was a very frightening experience for all of us."

He must be younger than myself. The frightened man ought to been around when tram and train doors were only closed when it was cold. Miraculously there were very few people falling out. By his name, I would hazard a guess that he comes from a country where people regularly travel on the roof of a train. Good that he has embraced the Australian safety standards.

While it is not preferable to have a train door open while it is moving, the story was clearly for use on a slow news day.

Sand and surf

I find it a bit odd when I hear of people drowning in Port Phillip Bay. It is usually quite calm, but not always. The other day we took a beach stroll, had coffee and marvelled at the surf beach like conditions.

Kerferd Road Beach is our local, a bit more than a kilometre away and it is a very pleasant family beach. It also has a pier where the odd fisher will try their luck. The pier was damaged a year or so ago in a storm, but it has been repaired. We took a stroll on the pier and the metal grating in the picture is a lower level landing. As a wave came in under it, it worked like a fountain as the grating caught the top of the wave. To see the wave travel the length of the grate was a great effect. At one point the water shot up towards yours truly and I jumped sideways out of the way, only to be hit by water shooting up between planks on the pier. It cooled my ardour and other things, I can tell you.

The (bronze?) sculpture sitting on the wall is pretty cool and very realistic. It looks better in real life than in my picture. The brick to weigh the 'clothing' down is a nice touch.

On the corner of Kerferd Road is what was the Victoria Hotel. Ain't it just grand! A state Premier or federal Prime Minister (Jayne or anyone?) used to live in the house next door in Kerferd Road and the house was recently saved from rapacious developers.

The last picture, left to right, an old convent, private apartments, public housing (government supplied) and the white building is, I think, the Danish Club.