Saturday, May 23, 2009

Kanakas in a knot

Ok, I spelled it wrong. It is Kanakas. Blame my poor edjication, and I take it from comments that Kanakas weren't in the Australian history classes that those of us of a certain age attended. If we know about Kanakas, that is because we have come across the information along the way.

Hmmm, were there Australian history classes? I think so. Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson? No, that info was on a cereal packet. Rum Rebellion? Nope, that was in a book bought from a cereal company with a discount for something collected. Tres kewl, all my Australian history knowledge was supplied by a foreign owned multi national company.

There were Aussie history classes, years 11 and 12. I never elected. History bored me rotten and all I can remember from general history classes is something about Tigris and Euphrates, some striped feline critters from Eygpt I seem to recall, who met up, did the biz and gave birth to an offspring called Mesopotamia. My memory is a bit hazy on the fine detail.

For a quick overview of Kanakas, check Vik's comment in the previous post. For a more detailed, but not overly detailed and reasonably quick read, check Jayne's posted link. It is a very shameful part of Australia's history, perhaps even worse than the way our forebears generally treated the indigenous population.

If you are really keen, while there isn't a lot of info on the net about Kanakers, there is a lot about Kanakas.

Kanaker Survey

I'll flesh this out later, but I would like to know if the word 'Kanaker' is known by most Australians? Do you know what a Kanaker is? Do most Australians know what a Kanaker is and I am off track? Perhaps it is a pejorative name and its use is discouraged.

Friday, May 22, 2009

New local building

This is Balencea, yes, not Balencia as we think it ought to be spelt. It would seem a Mr Kekovitch is a resident, noticed by dog walking activity. It is a building with a good setback and I like the forecourt arty construction. As for the building...well, it is very dark.

Competitive Telstra

What?, I hear you say. Not even Telstra's most ardent supporter would be game to say how competitive Telstra is. (I must stop ended sentences with 'is'. I try sometimes)

Telstra is competitive in so far as they will crush their competitors with their full force, relying on their dominance in the area of infrastructure, most of which was built with taxpayer money.

They wired our building with their cables to supply broadband and cable tv and made it quite difficult to use other companies. Subsequently satellite has been installed, but even so.

I am always looking for viable alternatives to Telstra, but not just on cost alone. An alternative must work as well as Telstra mostly does. I have not found a viable one yet, but I will keep looking.

For $60 per month for cable, we get the very modest allowance of 12GB of data. Telstra is one of the few companies that charge for upload as well as download. We have been 'shaped' once, that is we exceeded the allowance and the net slowed right down to an almost unusable speed. Every month we almost get to the allowance. It is spoiling the pleasure of the internet.

I don't want to have to worry all the time about how much I am downloading. I don't want to have to check every few days that we are going along ok, so I have increased our plan to a 25GB model for another $20 per month. It pains me to do so, but not as much as the pain of worrying about how much we are downloading.

Now, how long do you think it will be before I start complaining about our 25GB limit? Two years? Less, maybe?

An Apparition

Is apparition the word? I don't really know what it means, so if I saw one, or do you have one, I wouldn't know. Here is my version of an apparition, a tall veiled woman suspended in a tree. Beats a religious shape in a slice of toast hands down.

Actually, it is a towel that has blown off someone's balcony and ended up in the tree. Assuming it is from this building, you are not allowed to dry washing on the balcony, so it serves you right that it blew away.

However, charitable soul that I am, I am just letting you know what happened to your missing towel. Just in front of the bank. Get a long stick or something to retrieve it.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The money or the box?

Today I received some post from a post box at the Tsuen Wan Post Office in Hong Kong.

While I immediately get the letter opener to work on known mail that arrives at the highrise, I like to savour unknown mail. I like to look at the address from where it comes. Feel it's thickness. Turn it over. Although it is certainly my mail by the surname, it might have a different first name, thereby giving me a clue as to where it comes from. I can see R getting irritated with me, as he wants to know what it is straight away.

A hand written addressing that I don't know is even better and I will delay longer.

This one was printed and my theory was wrong. My Sydney friend who grew up in Hong Kong had not signed me up to some vile and filthy boi on boi ponography catalogue.

No, the mail related to back here when the wedding planners were busy. The hotel we stayed at was a member of a points reward group called Priority Club. The twelve thousand points I earned from the Potts Point Holiday Inn stay was not even enough to pay for a single night for our forthcoming visit. Barley Charlie. What a waste. No wait. Look, I can get a $50 gift voucher for Coles Myer for 10,000 points. May as well grab it and so that was what arrived from Hong Kong in today's post.

R wants it to pay for household shopping at Coles and we pocket the cash. I want to spend it elsewhere and buy something I would not normally think of spending hard earned money on. What you reckon customers? The money or the box? The practical and sensible or the naughty and extravagant?

You better bloody well answer correctly.

The Mighty Diamantina, Take Two

I was all excited when the usually dry Diamantina River in inland Australia was flowing toward Lake Eyre. Back here in 2007 I expected it was a really significant event and if not filling Lake Eyre, at least have a decent impact. Seems I was a bit premature.....hmm, been a long time since that happened.

But it is the real thing this time kiddies. Lake Eyre in central Australia is filling rapidly this year from the flooding rains in Queensland a couple of months ago. I don't know if the flow is enough to fill both lakes. We shall see.

So where do all the fish come from that appear in a lake bed that might have been dry for three decades? Where does all the greenery come from in an area that might of just be dust and salt pans for decades? How do birds know it is going to flood and make their way there in there hundreds of thousands to feast and breed?

I know the answers. You can go off and do your own character building research. I am suffering too much from our drought to be bothered.

But the filling of Lake Eyre is truly a wonder of nature.

Ok, I will just incite your interest with a couple of facts.

Lake Eyre is ten metres below sea level and is dropping down into the earth, that is getting lower.

It covers an area the size of France, Germany and Italy combined.


Now if I wrote them down, I would have a lot more.

GP drills into a boy's brain with a country hospital maintenance department drill. No, not torture. Saved his life.

Why did the US put up with the bumbling idiot Bush for so long? What a statesmen like speaker is Obama. Who cares if he does nothing. He looks and sounds good.

The seldom used showgrounds train line extended to service a new estate. Just so damn sensible, it won't happen.

You may have missed it in comment, but how cute is this Wallarobba Railway Station . Best not to arrive in a wheelchair though. Actually, don't arrive in a chair to Macdonaldtown Railway Station in Sydney either.

Mr Kempy has another letter published containing unassailable logic. Some journalist did not buy a train ticket and got caught and cops a fine. Serves her right. Surprising to her no doubt, this happens all over the world.

I was chatting the other night to a woman who arranges bollards at night for works on the Monash Freeway. I never realised what a high stress job it could be and what bollard arrangers have to put up with. Blow one a kiss the next time you pass them by.

Just curious? Would them be something really satisfying about biting someone's ear off? Is it a sexual kink? Hope the victim was not carrying any blood born diseases.

My late grandfather was a market gardener. He used to carry large amounts of cash on his person, even when he no longer worked. It was habit. But at the age of eighty eight in modern times, it is just not a great idea.

Are we counting down to a reappearance by Susan Boyle yet?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Million Paws Walk

We again participated in the RSPCA's annual Million Paws Walk. As we did in 2006 and 2008. I wrote about them at the time, but they are such uninteresting posts that I won't even bother linking back to them. Not that this post is any better. We met up with the dyke friends and this year they have two dogs rather than one.

So after catching a tram to Power House, we walked two thirds around the lake and stopped at the finish for coffee, the dyke friends left and R and finished the lap and caught a tram home. Had we have not caught the tram, it would have turned a seven kilometre walk into nearly a fourteen kilometre walk.

One interesting thing was running into old neighbours of ours from Balaclava. They gave us a bit of street gossip. The neighbour next to us is now over 100 and is slowing down. He now uses a zimmer frame to go up the street and no longer climbs up onto his roof. Sadly his wife died shortly after we left.

I am a bit furious. I just found out the camera R bought for me for my significant birthday eighteen months ago cost $700. That and the balloon flight was an absurd amount to spend. But the camera is good. I could hardly see because I was pretty well pointing the camera into the sun and the reflection from the water when I took this shot over the lake. It didn't do a bad job.

We have another mouse

The highrise now has mice. We bought a cheap $15 mouse for the laptop. It is very pretty and flashes all sorts of colours. It has made the new laptop so much easier to use and I have stopped muttering 'bloody Vista' all the time.

Doing the deb

The younger niece's deb ball was last Saturday night. She looked gorgeous of course, as did all the participants. It isn't called a deb ball anymore, but a presentation evening, but the rituals are the same.

Unlike when the other niece had hers, this one was dry, that is no alchol. It made for a quiet and subdued night. The food was ordinary and at $80 for the privilege of attending, almost might fall into the rip off category. However, it was a school fundraiser.

R and I collected Sister from Murrumbeena on the way to Dandenong where it was held. We had a chat to the Bone Doctor and a play with Little Jo. Mother said she wasn't well enough to go. ABI Brother baulked at the cost. Tradie Brother's g/f was no invited, which caused some ruckas in the family. Sister slipped into snob mode, comparing the government school deb ball to the ones she had attended as a teacher at a private school.

So that is the end of deb balls for us. I will probably be dead by the time Little Jo gets to that age, and while they can be a great occasion for the kiddies, they are an awful anachronism. School Formals would be better. Little Jo may not have to decide whether she 'does her deb'.

We cut from the ball as early as we could, but it was still 11.30 before we got home. Stone cold sober on Saturday night. We weren't by 1am Sunday though.

R at Work

'What are doing R?'
'Improving my pad skills.'
I supposed he is really.
Btw, is there another name for the pad thingie?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Childhood memory #56

I can always rely on fellow bloggers to inspire a post by triggering a memory, Brian to thank this time.

Along with doing this horrible act against the animal world, my ABI brother and myself also committed another crime against nature. We diverted the course of a creek.

I think our tools were only sticks, so hopefully it wasn't permanent change. Beavers have been known to divert waterways, but we don't have beavers here. We were just copying them. Perhaps we killed some fish and platypusses/platypi/platy/pii/platypus/platypoid, ok, I don't know.

I suppose you would call it weaving. We wove a wall of sticks and branches and patched it with mud. Hey, we were water engineers. We built a dam.

The path of the creek was altered and followed a non natural(delete non natural, of course a gold mining water course is non natural) gold mining water course. Hmmm, I guess we weren't the first ones to alter this creek flow.

In both cases, nature would have at some point sent a good flow of water down and our creek diversion would have succumbed to nature. And platypoid would once again do what they do.

May as well get it all my deliberate enviromental damage off my chest now. I was bored watching Father driving the tractor, so I chopped down quite a tall native local fern tree. How pretty was the cut trunk, marvellous patterns and rings. Even my very non conservationist type father thought what I did was bad form. Plenty of trees Dad, they grow again you know.

To my credit though, I did do plenty of blackberry, tussock and thistle destruction, all invasive foreign plants.

Environmental Rant

I am pig sick of hearing about the destruction of our environment. Please, I am nearly old. We were concerned about the environment in Social Studies in Form 4a at school in the 1970s. It has caused me sleepness nights at times. For my whole life I have had to worry about the environment. Neither Labor nor Liberal parties do anything else but pay lip service. It is in my blood to direct my voting preferences to Labor, but I vote for the Greens whenever I get the opportunity to vote. Makes no effing difference.

All this nonsense about lower power consumption light bulbs that take such a high energy input to construct, the decentralisation of water supply with home water tanks that remain empty when it doesn't rain and short of water, never mind putting too many people into cities where there is insufficient water, let alone any other services.

We are lectured that we must act as individuals to reduce our (I hate these two words) carbon footprint.

This is not up to me and it is not up to you and nor is it up to business. It is up to governments to control, to regulate, to innovate and to fix the blasted environment where we live.

In the big picture, we twenty odd million people in Australia have little effect on the world's environment. Of course we, through our governments must act, if only to set an example, but we can't even do that!

Where I have lived

Daniel made a post on where he has lived in the past. I will do the same.

Born and lived in Riley Street, South Oakleigh until four years old and then Father wanted a farm.

Lived Main Road, Hill End, more precisely Fumina South, at the foot of the Baw Baw ranges from four to about fifteen. I forget, fifteen or sixteen.

Lived Keith Avenue, Moe for one year with Father and Step Mother in ex housing commission house. Explains why I am so common.

Lived Monash Road, Newborough for a few months with Step Mother's brother while a new house was being built by Father.

Lived Cato Court, Moe for one year in house Father built. Pretty nice house for its time.

Lived North Road, South Oakleigh with Grandmother for one year. I hated the country and smog valley Gippsland towns. The noise of big container trucks down North Road was preferable.

Lived Commercial Road, Yarram in South Gippsland for one or so years. I half owned a business there. Snob is not a word easily bandied about, but generally the people of Yarram were snobs and very insular.

Only weeks, but lived in East St Kilda in King Street with new b/f. Better than being in the next street, Queen Street.

Lived Manchester Grover, Glen Huntly for about nine months.

Lived Elwood for a bit over a year with R in his flat in Milton Street while I saved for a deposit for a house.

Lived Waverley Road, East Malvern in my first house. $42,000 went a long way then. Very nice house. Why did we ever leave? We'd be rich today.

Lived Prosper Parade in what is now Glen Iris, but back then was Burwood, right on the Alamein train line. Too big and too much work. Loss of income for a month or so while extensive renovations were happening and the Berlin Wall came down . Relationship problems. Friend problems. The house was very nice though. A area was a bit too middle class for a common type like moi.

Lived Station Street, Burwood in a unit for 18 months, but if you were posh, you would call it Bennnettswood. You need to be among your own kind, was the advice of a neighbour when we were looking at properties in Prahran.

Lived Rosamond Street, Balaclava for nearly ten years. More bang for your buck in Balaclava than Prahran. Removalist said why did you leave such a nice place (Burwood) to live in such a dump. We made the dump nice enough.

Lived and still do in high rise apartment in St Kilda Road, Melbourne since about 2002. I hated any high rise R had pointed me towards until I saw this one with its spaciousness, the light and the views.

Fifteen places, I think.

What strikes me when re-reading, is that seven of these places have been on main roads. The trucks on North Road were annoying at times, the train used to wake me sometime early in the morning in Glen Iris, but it was kind of reassuring to wake knowing that the world would go on for another day. R slept at the front of the unit in Burwood, and the swish of car tyres on a wet night used to bother him. St Kilda Road? Well, the rumble of trams is nice enough but I hate loud cars and noisy motorbikes.

Gee, so many places. Doe's it make me look unstable? R is a bit wanderlust. I never wanted to leave East Malvern, but the experiences along the way have always been interesting.