Saturday, January 03, 2009

Mystery Object

Since Jayne seems to have run out of rusty old bits of junk at her place, here is a mystery object from me for you to have a guess at what it does.

Jayne is too kind and gives hints. I don't.

Apart from this object and some curious oddities to be found in my bedside cupboard, I don't have any other mystery objects, so give this one time your all.

S'pose I better tell you the size. It is about 8 inches or 20 centimetres long. The reverse side is just a screw head and and the rest of an address, Hue, Viet Nam.

Answer Tuesday morning if no one has guessed by then.

Japanese Hug

Our friend from Japan who is staying with us has bashed off to someone else's place to stay for a couple of nights. While Dame M used to say, 'fish and visitors go off after two days', Vik is a very easy house guest. She has now realised that she may well become this little old Aussie lady hobbling around the streets of a northern Japanese town. She clearly likes living there and has fitted into local society well. But she has family and friends here, and seems to be falling into a pattern of returning for a visit every second year.

I asked her to write a guest post for my blog. While she is free to suggest subjects to me, I have something in mind, that is, how Australia has changed in her five year absence and what she likes about Australia and what she likes about Japan, and how they compare.

She never includes the original text in an email reply, and me being such a shallow queen, I often forget what I asked. The email conversation I recall started with some talk about her teenage niece at school who has a girlfriend and there was some bother. I can't recall how we got to talking about Japanese hugs, but we did, and I think you would agree that she writes well enough.

Japanese couples don't usually hug in public. These days you do see some, especially young ones, holding hands but that's about it - definitely no kissing in public either. A friend explained that even in their own home, a couple won't kiss or hug in front of a visitor. However, school age people are often physically demonstrative with same-sex friends. Even highschool boys will walk with an arm across their male friend's shoulders. I've even seen junior highschool boys giving each other massages in the classroom. There's very little touching between the sexes though, even non-sexual contact is avoided. Among adults, even in families there's not much touching. I once had an adult student explain to me that even when their mother was in hospital to have a serious operation, her brother came to see her the night before and simply shook her hand. I explained that in Australia we would think that was too formal and that parents and adult children do hug each other but she said it was very unusual in Japan. Once kids become teenagers, parents usually stop hugging their children. It's interesting how different cultures work, hey?

Friday, January 02, 2009

Changing suburbs

These two houses will be demolished. Up until perhaps the 1980s, two storey houses in Australia were mostly found in the very inner areas of capital cities and were the preserve of the rich. These two below are in Glenferrie Road, Malvern and the area certainly fits the bill so far as rich people go, although it is a bit further from town than inner burbs are considered to be. They will probably be replaced by a number of very expensive two storey apartment buildings.

As an aside, this is prime area for Jewish people to move to, and they have. While Jews started very modestly when they arrived post World War 2 from Europe by settling in St Kilda, they spread directly east to Balaclava, now their traditional Jewish shopping area, further east to Caulfield and south to Elsternwick, and more recently even further east into Murrumbeena, having skipped Carnegie, and the very well to do extended north from Caulfield into Malvern. Less than ten years ago, a new synagogue was built and also a child care centre nearby.

Along the footpaths of the shopping area of Malvern, well spoken but very Australian voices of the older multiple generation Australians are giving way to folk saying, Shalom Miriam. Matters not to me. I hate the area as how it used to be and hate the new version too. It stands for so many things I dislike. I am forced to be in the area for work purposes.

Ok, focus. These houses are side by side and a very lesser house in even worse condition next to one side has already been demolished. Never let ivy get out of your control is a saying in Australia, a pun on the the female name of Ivy. Ivy is certainly taking over this house. No one could call it an attractive house, with or without ivy, but it would have been the house of someone who had money. Perhaps it was a predecessor of brutalist architecture.

This one is a bit better, although only single storey. Melbourne in Australia during the summer can be very hot, hence the wide return verandah. I have only just noticed how abrupt the verandah looks since I uploaded the photo here. You could take away the verandah and perhaps have a better proportioned house. Maybe the verandah was added later. I recall seeing similar housing near Blackpool in England from a tram. The houses were sans verandahs though.

There are many houses like this in inner to mid Melbourne suburbs and just because they are very expensive to buy, it does not make them nice.

Hot Pics of Ben

No, stop being so paranoid Ben. I didn't save the web cam pictures.

I am talking about Ben Cousins again. I think he worthy of a gig in Highriser Celebs, so I collected some photos of him and gave him his own folder. See him here or go to link via my blog sidebar and check out some other hot guys.

(ok, I am doing a bit of back clearing of posts)


As we who were around in the 1980s sat helplessly around the tv watching the outrages of South Africa apartheid system, one white woman in South African stood out like a beacon. She was probably the sole politician who was against apartheid at one time and she later used any opportunity to get her message across, from within Parliament to later the world media.

She was often called upon by the Australian media for her views. She came across as both pragmatic and idealistic, a rare combination. She was certainly courageous, even going so far as called the appalling Pik Botha a vicious little cat. It is a wonder she survived.

I just found this quote in The Age, An apartheid minister once told her in parliament: "You put these questions just to embarrass South Africa overseas", to which she replied: "It is not my questions that embarrass South Africa, it is your answers."

Recently she was quoted as saying that she is not terribly pleased with what replaced apartheid. Who could disagree, but then it is at least not Zimbabwe. She would be high on my very short list of public figures who I admire.

Helen Suzman died yesterday, aged 91.

Pic courtesy BBC.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Little Jo on NYE and a fire in a very outer eastern suburb

Little Jo did not make it to midnight NYE. Even so, her grandmother reported to me that Little Jo's mother (hurricane) had descended upon her and that Little Jo looked tired and was grizzly. Last night she was the life of the party. Here she is offering offering Uncle R some semi consumed food.

Mother was not looking forward to NYE on her own, but would not go out. She was entertained by the house across the road from her place catching fire at 2am, many fire engines and police and this morning, detectives.

Now, who might have done something like that? What criminal type do I know who may have been in the area?

R's Old Motor

What I am now driving. No street cred, true, but I have better things to spend money on.

NYE 2009

The morning of the New Year of 2009. Wishing you all a happy one.

We had a party last night. We don't normally have parties any more and I don't like parties either, so I will just call it a gathering.

R and myself, Sis, the Bone Doctor and Little Jo, the Brother Friends, the ex NT Politician, Dame M's Boarder and the straight Hairdresser chick, our visitor from Japan, and two dyke friends, one with her two Tassie nieces. That is 15, enough.

We trammed/walked to see the early fire works on the south bank of the Yarra River, back home, heaps to eat and drink and then watched the Albert Park Lake fireworks. Who puts these on? Anyone know? I used to think it was The Point restaurant, but I am not so sure.

Little Jo was not frightened by the bangs from the fireworks, just curious and she certainly took notice of the pretty colours in the sky.

By one o'clock, I was in bed and minimal hangover this morning.

But a nice and slightly trippy (is that word passe now?) thing happened to me at work yesterday.

I was not keen on this Anglo Indian guy who started at my workplace a few years ago. There was an arrogant air about him and a 'I am hot' swagger to him. He spoke perfect Australian I learnt later. Having never spoken to him, out of the blue when I was presented an award for my years of service, he came up to me and congratulated me warmly and we talked. I have not talked to him since except to greet him when passing.

Yesterday he had his back to me as I approached and as I passed, I just patted him on the shoulder and he called out hi as I continued on.

Now if you have been diligently reading my blog for a while, you will have worked a couple of things out already. Yes, I fancy him. I am totally in lust with him and also, he is one of those straight guys who I have suspicions about.

Just a few minutes after I patted his back, I was in a walkway alone and he came up and wished my happy New Year. His hand came out, I grasped it to shake and he pulled me to a hug. I felt his cheek on mine and if I continued, it would be along the lines of a draft copy for a Mills and Boon novel. I kind of broke away from him. We were in a public place and anyone could have opened a door. I don't care for myself, but he is a straight married guy with a wife and children, and more impotantly, some very conservative workmates.

As is the way, next time we see each other, we will pretend nothing happened and be nice and friendly to each other. But I won't forget how a pretty average year for me finished on a high note, well my ego certainly won't.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Our Brand New Car

While it may very well be our new car, R gets the use of it for work. It has a centre rear armrest, not seen in any of our cars since the Humber Super Snipe. I am old fashioned in that I believe new cars need to be run in, so I haven't floored it yet, but I can already tell Mazda 3 two litres is superior to older Hyundai two litres and superior again to Mazda 626 2 litres, superior to Humber Super Snipe three litres, but none superior 3.5 litre VF Valiant.

The colour is an iridescent Stormy Blue.

To the Crusher

My poor ole Mazda 626 will probably go to the crusher. What a waste. Some of the my new car and the new car later.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Little Bits

Our friend in Japan arrives this evening to stay with us for a couple of weeks. We are looking forward to seeing her. How many times will I able to slip into conversations that she is going to end up the little old gaijin woman on a walking stick in the Japanese village?

Don't give up your vices.

Dame M smoked and drank all her life. She never suffered ill health until the last couple of months before she died. Age 83

Sis in Law's father gave up smoking and heavy drinking at the age of 55 and before he died, he suffered bad health for many years. It was a miracle that he lasted to the age he did. Age 81.

Step Father never smoked and very rarely drank with only illness in the last couple of months of his life . Age 81.

From this scientific examination, I can only conclude, if you are bad, stay bad, if you are good, stay good. But don't give up your vices for the sake of your health.

I made sure Step Father dying was kept quiet at work. I did not want it to go up on the whiteboard that 'Andrew has (carelessly) lost his step father'. Office staff who needed to know were very nice. While I appreciate their kindness, I really wished that they would behave normally. Bowed heads and sotto voice was not necessary. Did they think I was about to burst into tears?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sad for you str8 blokes

While we had been into town in the morning and done plenty around the highrise over the rest of the day, we thought we needed another outing and so set off for St Kilda Beach in the new motor. Normally we would have caught a tram and saved ourselves the parking hassle, but we didn't. Mistake.

We drove along the beach front and the low fuel warning light came on. Divert to petrol station. Tank must be bit on the small side.

Just as we left the the car after pay parking, a cool change arrived and people started leaving the beach, but there were still plenty of people around.

We strolled along checking out every guy under thirty and many over and I lamented that Speedos seem to have become unfashionable. But still, I was getting very very 'hot and bothered', quite over cum I was, by all the bare topped guys. Bare chests, hairy, smooth, clippered, shaved or waxed, sexy nipples ready to suck and tease, ripped abs, flat stomachs, stomachs with cute bulges, lean backs, tanned or perfect white skin.

It occured to me how sad it is for straight blokes to not be able to see topless women walking around in such an uncouncious fashion as men do.

Best to keep your shirts on around me guys coz I will be thinking about you, what you would be thinking about a constant passing parade of topless girls.

We Won

Right from the beginning when I looked at the competitors, I thought we should win and we did. I know Tony put a lot of work into the site and I certainly put a lot of time into it also. It is an ongoing work and always will be.

We won the Australian Google My Map competition, where users create and add to a themed Google Map. You can see us at the top of the list here and here is a link to Melbourne's History in Old Signs.

Well done us and thanks to all who assisted with locations and their own photos.

Modern Music

Did I hear right? Shirley Bassey has made a cover of Pink's Get the Party Started? It was an original by Pink? I know little about Pink, except she has nice hair. I have just listened to both but Pink's version is not allowed to be embedded into a blog, so you only get to hear Shirley's. Shirley's is superior anyway.