Saturday, March 01, 2008

Black Boy

No no dear reader, I am not going down that path again.

These plants are known as black boys. They have a more proper, but non botanical name. Sometimes they are called, ever so boringly, native grass trees.

For them to grow to this size takes many many years. I suppose they are flowers that they have sent up. I have never seen them like that before. I would hazard a guess and say they are worth hundreds if not thousands of dollars at this size.

Normally their trunks are black but these very mature models are a bit different. They are perfectly adapted to bush fire prone Australia. A fire will only burn off the green leaves and they will grow again.

It is a rather nice highish rise apartment building in Albert Road, South Melbourne with good views of Albert Park and the lake, except at the moment the views are of Grand Prix infrastructure.

New Sandbar?

I thought a new sand bar had formed over night. No, can not, not right in the middle of a shipping channel. Ah, what funny looking boat.

Not a new sand bar but the Queen of the Netherlands dredge is busy at work off Middle Park Beach. The water has turned a delightful colour. Read about a toxic dump coming to a beach near you soon here. I am off for a swim now, in our own pool full of toxic chemicals but at least I know what they are.


Daisy Jo has discovered UK tv. She wrote a fab post on the English expressions she has learnt. We Australian types know them pretty well, even if we don't use them.

But what about your American lingo. Back in the old days when I used to chat to people around the world via the net, 'Sup' used to puzzle me. How do I respond to that? I knew literally what it meant, What is up, abbreviated to Wassup, and then 'Sup. A message window would pop up with just the word 'sup'.

It never quite sounded like 'hi there' , 'g'day' or 'howsitgoin'. There were times when I felt like replying, 'nothing is up, all is fine with me thanks'. But that was clearly a wrong response.

For us there is a natural response to gday, or howsitgoin(g). But to me 'What is up' makes me think that there is something wrong and I need to explain.

One pair of words that never gained currency here, thank god, and seems to be favoured by older gay men in the US, is 'hell yeah'. Is that ugly or what? Hard to believe that a civilised gay male in the United States would use such an expression. For us, there is nothing wrong with bloody 'ell, or if you want to be a bit nice, bloody 'eck.

This global village thingy still needs some work.

Friday, February 29, 2008


Hands up who in Melbourne knows where Travancore is? Some of you will. Most people would not but they will know where Essendon is. Travancore is a housing estate in the Essendon area and it has, recently I think, become a recognised place in our Melways street directory. (Actually, it was marked as such in my 1993 directory but not my 1978.

In its midst is a tram depot, surrounded by streets such as Bengal Street, Madura Street, Lucknow Street, Delhi Court and Delhi Reserve, Mooltan Street and Mangalore Street.

So where does Travancore fit into the Indian place named streets? It was a Raj time name for the area or state known as Kerala in India. (not geographically precisely correct)

I have seen other spellings of Travancore. Perhaps Travencore, or Travancor, or Travencor. Can't remember now.

There are so many of these estate names being used now in Melbourne, much to glee of real estate agents who point out their exclusiveness and use them to their advantage.

We have lived in two of them although we never used the names. Bennettswood (Burwood) and Summer Hill Estate (Glen Iris).

Just as trivia, our Glen Iris house had a covenant on the title to the effect that we weren't allowed to make bricks on the property. We really had no intention of doing so and sandy loam does not a good brick make.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Housing Crisis

How disturbing is the property problem in Melbourne, and Australia generally and I won't even mention the US. Oh, I am. One of the worst areas in US is Ohio. Thankfully my beloved blogger in the Ohio, US is a sensible young lass and knew how to set herself up for the future

Year, 1982.

I was living with R in his recently bought one bedroom Elwood flat and paying the expenses and then some. He paid $17,000 for his flat. He had no money after a relationship break up and a friend helped him and he paid her back quickly.

I managed to save $8,000 in a couple of years by never spending any money and we found a house to buy in East Malvern for $42,000. I only knew eastern suburbs back then. No where else existed. I was 23 I think. My bank was un-cooperative so I went to Hotham Permanent Building Society. The maximum I could borrow from them was $30,000, so with my deposit, $38,000 but well short if you include buying costs. There were also condition about things that had to be done to the house, such as water pipes renewed, a new hot water service.

My mother signed some paper work that she gifted me the difference, but she didn't, even though I asked and she had it.

We borrowed the rest with some subterfuge at a credit union and this was in the days of a maximum $500 Bank Card.

The house was pretty well a slum and we lived in the slum conditions for quite some time, but gradually we got the place together and sold it some seven years later for $186,000. We then bought for the same price a bit grander place in Glen Iris when there was a bit of a property slump.

One thing we did get right in East Malvern was buying the worst house in the best street and surrounded by good houses but that was just luck.

Were we under extreme financial stress at times? Yes! Did we argue about finances? Yes! Did we go without? Yes! Did we wonder what in the hell we were doing? Yes!

Was it easy? No!

While I have a lot of sympathy for young people starting out and wanting their own home, don't think you are the first to suffer. It was never easy to start on the own home road and you do have to go without.

And why do you want the grand palace in the outer burbs? Consider something a bit closer in and considerably more modest, your kids might actually thank you in the future.

I am watching kids grow up in the highrise, and gee, contrary to my expectations, they seem to have a pretty well rounded upbringing.

The Baragwanath

I admired Ches Baragwanath when he was Auditor General in the State of Victoria. He bravely stood up to Premier Kennett many times. While Ches spoke perfect Australian, it is an unusual name. I vaguely assumed a Sri Lankan heritage.

I still don't know the origins of the name, but while I was waiting for a tram in Clarendon St, South Melbourne earlier this week, I took a look at a pretty boring and ugly statue. It was of some sports person, who matters not here.

What grabbed me was that the statue was unveiled in 1913 by South Melbourne Mayor, Councillor J. Baragwanath. Hmmm, the Baragwanaths must have been in Oz a long time.

A bit of searching indicates it could well be a Cornish name. .

Ah well, it interested me for five minutes.

Spicks and Specks Time Warp

It does rather lose something on youtube and the element of surprise has gone if you have seen it already, but anyway, here it is. You may have to wait some time before the clip works.

Lock 'er up

Six thousand dollars in parking fines. Wow! This is not a person who came back one minute late to a meter. She is not a person who forgot the time when having a nice lunch. She is not someone who could not decipher the parking restriction sign.

Someone who accumulates this much in parking fines is clearly flagrantly disregarding the laws. She is not thinking of her fellow motorists. It indicates extreme selfishness and an arrogance bordering on mental illness. It is not like Carey couldn't afford to pay her fines but I think she ought to have been able to pay them herself anyway. I bet most of the offences were committed in my local council area. Pay up!

Lock her up for six months and see if she comes out a bit more thoughtful and a bit of basic respect for our laws.

From The Age.

THE woman at the heart of Wayne Carey's wild world — his girlfriend Kate Neilson — now faces her own court case in Melbourne.

As criminal charges loom against the disgraced former AFL superstar, Neilson is listed to appear later this week as a defendant.

The 26-year-old model, who was filmed last week drinking champagne with Carey in Thailand, has been charged with breaching a court order. She was ordered last year to do 100 hours of unpaid community work to clear unpaid fines of almost $6000.

Last April a magistrate heard 75 charges against her in an infringement court for the outstanding fines — mostly for parking infringements — totalling $5794.

Barrister Robert McCloskey appeared for her in the Melbourne Magistrates Court in July when Deputy Chief Magistrate Dan Muling converted the fines into unpaid community work.

Neilson, of Port Melbourne, was ordered to do 100 hours of work in default of paying the amount under a community-based disposition.

But she has now been charged by Corrections Victoria with one count of breaching Mr Muling's order.

The charge is listed this Friday for a mention hearing at the Melbourne Magistrates Court. If Neilson is found guilty, the fines may be reinstated with a possible jail term in default of payment.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Visitor not welcome

Occasionally some very brave flies get up high enough to enter our home. My Buddhist sympathies go out the window as I despatch them with one of Samuel Taylor's finest products.

Spiders, I live and let live, unless I see a nasty looking one but I never have here. I have never seen a daddy long legs here. Remarkable. They clearly suffer from vertigo.

We had one attack of ants. They got into my depilatory wax, but they disappeared of their own accord and never returned.

Bogong moths make an annual visit. R hates them. I don't worry about them unless they land on my face when I am in bed.

Some very little flying critters kamikaze around light and lamp fittings.

Never had a mosquito here.

But we have a new type of visitor. My Sydney friend is in constant war with them and rants to me regularly about them. Sydney is like that. Daniel has been bothered by them quite a bit.

But I never thought I would see a cockroach in the highrise. Lo and behold, R found one in a kitchen cupboard. It scuttled away. Perhaps the oiled cast iron fry pan attracted it or the oiled wok.

Now I should check to make sure by R's description that it is a pest cockroach and not a native one, but really, what would a native one be doing here?

Cocky baits coming to a highrise soon.

PS Post interrupted by laughing until I cried at the end of Spicks and Specks.

Look what they done to my park Ma

When we moved here I was quite happy to tolerate the Albert Park Grand Prix circus.

Now I am no longer. I am fed up with not being able to use Albert Park. I am fed up with the traffic disruption of having roads closed for weeks before hand and weeks after. I am fed up with the feeling of siege for four days. I am fed up with the bogan race attendees.

I have the week of the Grand Prix off work and the latter part of the week is going to marred by the creature. You can be sure that after four days of it, I will be very fed up with the screaming racket of the cars, if you can call them that.

Melbourne may very lose the event that costs an absolute bomb, in 2010. Hip bloody hooray.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Help required

I may have broached this before, but can someone give me a conclusive answer? It would take me a while to work it out via the net. I will print out and pin the most salient answer to my lavatory door, read it daily and remember it.

What is Great Britain?
What is United Kingdom?
Is England equal status to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland?
Is Ireland anywhere in the mix and at all connected?
What status does Gibraltar and those other funny outlying bits have? Do they belong to England, UK or GB?
What about the Isle of Mann and Isle of Wright? How do they fit in?

Brian or Pants, I am relying on you.

Cummin at ya. A XXX post

Different races. Different types, blond, red haired or dark. Different builds. There are no rules about the way a bloke ejaculates.

As a gay person who very occasionally frequents pornographic sites and as a person who has been around just a little, I know about this stuff. There just aren't any rules. Sometimes I feel for young straight guys. They hear so much about performance and wonder how they can possibly measure up. To them I say don't worry. To young gay men, well you know it all already.

So, don't worry about the velocity or amount of ejaculation. While some guys will spatter the wall behind their partner's head if they whip it out of an orifice, others will just dribble it out. It matters not, although the former is clearly better for porno sites (and perhaps for impregnation?). A dribbler gets just as much pleasure from the process as a spurter.

Of course if you are looking to take your vitamin E internally rather than by skin ingestion, it is probably better to have it all in one place and not all over your body and wherever.

I wonder if bukkake bottoms suffer from an excess of Vitamin E? (credit for the last line to Jiminy. He was the first blogger I know to mention Bukkake)

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Motorists

It is a while since I have given you a harangue about car drivers in our fair city. Melbourne is going to sink under the weight of cars on the road soon. By the beginning of February this year, traffic was already worse than at the end of last year. Streets and roads I used to drive on and were free flowing are now quite congested.

In the areas I drive in often, I have been trying to observe traffic congestion and what causes it. You have to be careful here as what may seem like one area congested for a reason, could be just delaying what I call a filter point further along the way. At some point along a major road, there will be a point where the traffic will congest.

But in busy areas, the three point turner who just pulls out and blocks traffic in both directions is despicable. I am not sure what right they think they have. Their arrogance is beyond belief.

But I have less of a problem with them than I do with sheerly stupid person. The one who intends going straight ahead but pulls up behind a right turning vehicle at the traffic lights. Other drivers who don't want to seem too aggressive to go to left of both vehicles and possibly have a merging matter immediately after the intersection where there are parked cars, assume this car has pulled up behind the car going straight ahead because the right turning car is going straight ahead. Is that clear? Probably not.

Well, if you want to go straight ahead, why would you stop behind a car turning right? Why not just pull to the left and go around it?

Just as odd is people who at the last minute make a dramatic swing to the left to go around when they had plenty of time to make a smooth diverge to the left. Two seconds before coming up behind the vehicle turning right, they have realised it is stationary with its right indicator on. It had its indicator on all the time and there was plenty of time to smoothly diverge left.

These idiots really don't have much idea about driving. Perhaps they have dreams of driving in their local village, but that is not how the real world works.

Their numbers are growing as is the number of people in cars doing everything except concentrate on driving.

Bad accidents on country roads, minor collisions in the city, the car in front of you not starting off when the traffic light turns green, it is all about concentration. Driving is a serious business. You need to concentrate hard. It is not thinking or dreaming time and certainly not a time to make phone calls or text. Your full attention needs to be on driving and absorbing what is happening around you and reacting appropriately.

I will now stop bashing my head on a brick wall, because I know as our population increases at an extraordinary rate, it is only going to get worse.

Of course, the person on pubic transport is free to daydream on and be as vacant as they wish.

Blogging on Blogs

This is post that I probably should not write, but the matter is still troubling me after a week or so.

A couple of bloggers have removed me from their blog lists. That is fine. One was quite expected. Blogville is not the real world.

What troubles me is that one blogger removed me from her list after making a critical comment about a post I made. She is a very busy blogger and writes in a very amusing manner and I quite like her forthrightness. Her blog list is long and while she has commented on my blog many times, it became clear to me that either she had not really gotten a handle on me at all, or that she really hasn't read my blog properly, or probably both. Perhaps she quickly visits, skims over a post and makes a quick comment.

While I can see that the offending post could be offensive to an immature person who had never read my blog, I can't understand why this person would find it offensive if she had read my blog over time properly.

I confess it was a late night post and I usually save them for review the next day before publishing. This time I didn't, but I reread it the next day and I let it stand. It did actually say something, rather a lot really, and not necessarily the obvious, and it is on the record. A moment of history was captured and the comments just added to it.

Ah, I have just realised that the matter above is not what has been troubling me, it was whether to write about it. I have done so and I am now cleansed.

I can only urge anyone thinking of adding me to their blog roll , to read me for a while before adding me or do some backreading.

Missing Metcard Man

I heard of a case last week where a retailer in Glenferrie Road Malvern wanted to stock Metcards for sale as an agent but was refused by those who manage Metcard retail outlets. In my opinion, it was arguable that there were an adequate number of outlets in the area already. However, his business is so close to a major tram intersection, I think that his location should have overridden any other decision. He does stock Metcards bought at retail price and sold for the same.

Since our 711 closed, our nearest out of office hours outlet is about 1km away. A couple of times we started our journey on foot towards the city, intending to buy a Metcard along the way and then catch a tram but ended up walking all the way into the city.

A convenience store has now opened across the road in the Albert Park Manor, a boutique hotel. It is very useful to us, but it does not stock Metcards, well officially. So after hours there is still nowhere to buy a Metcard. He wants to stock them but again, the authorities say NO.

I told him I will contact the authority and suggest that he would be a very useful Metcard outlet. I will do so.

Melbourne's ticket system has been described as very user un-friendly. Why are they choosing to make it even more so? I believe some countries have tram and bus tickets available at every little shop you can find.

And yes, we should be better organised with our tickets and buy them in advance, but sometimes it just slips your mind and then there are the times when visitors turn up and we want to go somewhere on a Sunday and we don't have enough Sunday tickets.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

My Lord, the hair, sieve your plate

Dear Lord,

Is it Sunday that you do favours? I asked someone today if they were going to church, half tongue in cheek, but the answer did not surprise me. I am going to Chapel at Cabrini Hospital he replied.

So Lord, on this day of favours, can you please stop putting the nourishment I put into my body with productive hair growth in my nose, in my ears, on my face, on my chest, on my stomach, the brows, the rear and the accoutrements. It is a bit pointless as I shave/cut/wax/pluck it off. That single one that grows from my shoulder and the other that grows from bicep (used advisedly) are downright silly. As soon as they appear, I get rid of them.

I don't mind if you put you put some extra hair on my head but better still, make the food energy intake into brain power and then I will only write sensible blog posts about current affairs, politics, living in a highrise building and history.

Ta in advance Boss.

Rumours from across the Pacific

He denies it, don't they always, but the US Republican star candidate has been accused of having an affair with a female lobbyist. Shock horror. If true, he may be unelectable.

Rumours have been around for a long time about another presidential candidate who has been known to wear sensible shoes and a rainbow coloured beret.

But the seemingly most popular presidential hopeful may well have been the recipient of a bit of boi on boi oral in the back of a car. Just a rumour of course. I heard it on the internet so it can't be true. However, a dude is undergoing extensive lie detector tests. To my knowledge the rumours haven't been reported here and I wonder if they have in the mainstream media in the US?

But gee, if you wanted a child producing wife as a foil, wouldn't you choose one a bit less dykey looking that the presidential hopefuls wife when she was a teen? This chick could have an alligator clutching at its gonads as it backed off.