Saturday, August 08, 2009

Sneaking Out

What a week we have had. Busy, stressful, busy, and did I mention stressful? Normally on a Saturday night we would go out with friends for dinner and be home early enough to relax before we have to do what we have to do the next day.

Often before we go out we say to each other, wish we were staying home. This time I put my foot down with a firm hand and said no. Actually I kinda begged to ask could we not just stay home this Saturday night? R readily agreed. He is weary too.

But R has cooked something like 7 evening meals in a row and I am feeling guilty. Not to the point where we need pizza though. We rejected overtures from friends about catching up for a meal on Saturday night. I said to R, we could be just wicked and go out for a meal on our own, and so we did. We et at our often frequented Lemon Bistro in Little Bourke Street and it was a good bit of nosh. It is also a good place for people watching.

Arrive home and felt the need to call Mother as she is afraid at home on Saturday night, and ABI Brother is not at home, just five minutes away in Pakenham, but in Leeds. Reports have come that he has been tv spotted in the cricket audience at Headingley. Dutiful son deed done. Learnt that Little Jo is still not well.

We don't travel on trams very often at night. I am sure I wrote about one time when Step Mother visited, we took her out to town and we had to step over a lad who was smacked out and resting on the tram door step.

Tonight it was an extremely ugly young man who was out for trouble. What makes young lads like this? I don't know.

He with friends boarded the tram with us, but then ticket checkers got on too. The lads all got off the tram. I heard from the outside them saying, hey, we have tickets. They got back on.

He started banging on a window of the tram and challenged one of the ticket inspectors. Look, he said, it is not in the rules and pointed to the rules of tram travelling. See, no rule against banging on a window. Public property mate, the checker said to him. Ticket checker was trying to bridge the gap of being seen to do something about the obnoxious lad and not getting too involved.

He then snapped a top off one of the alchoholic drinks he was carrying in a bag, and threw the top into the tram stairwell. He held the drink up high and said, fuck you, you can't touch me, I am not drinking it. He came close to us and I very loudly started telling R about UK ASBOs. Anti Social Behaviour Orders. The lad was oblivious to what I was saying.

The lad stepped off the tram calling the ticket checker a cock sucking cunt. The checkers followed the lad off the tram and one had his mobile phone out calling someone. I said, go for him as the checker passed us.

Not for all the tea in China would I do their job.

But I just so do not understand why someone would want to behave this way in public. Eyes were watching him and condemming him. At least he was an ugly and hideously dressed looking fucker. It is worse when they are nicely dressed and nice looking but behave in the same way.

Tram travel is always interesting, but not always nice.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Don't Panic Captain Mainwaring

Much bother over a few suspected terrorists arrested in Melbourne, the greater. They have been accused of preparations to bomb an army base in NSW.

So, would you reckon the said army base would be on high alert after the threat? Well, their private security guards anyway. This is really odd to me, that army bases are secured by private security companies, whose staff are often foreign born.

Army boss man sends an email to all army bases. Be on alert for Chaser Team or journalists trying to penetrate.

You would think this is what an army boss man might do. But it seems not. After the accused bombers were charged, two Sydney journos went for a sorte at the army base. They showed their driving licences to the guards and entered and snapped away with their cameras. They were caught after a good bit of time and many many photos later.

I am sure the Army lads on the ground are down to earth, sensible and smart. Not so sure about their bosses.

Catching an Anglo Cab

I have a lot of sympathy for the Indian students and I may make a post about them and our squalid overseas student education system later. But I had to laugh when one was complaining about trying to catch a cab and being called an effing Indian by the cab driver. Poor bloke. He must have struck the only non Indian sub continent cab driver in Australia.


Yeah, no problem.

We should have thought a bit more carefully about the invitation. ABI brother left for his overseas holiday last night, first stop Headingley in the UK. Before he went, someone suggested we should have dinner on Tuesday night at his local hotel and to also celebrate Sister's birthday.

R picked me up after work at 6pm and it took us over twenty minutes to travel from Malvern to Murrumbeena. God, we will not be in Pakenham until 8pm. We quickly loaded into the Bone Doctor's truck, a 4WD not for decoration, and with Sister at the wheel intimidating all and sundry who happen to get her way, we made Pakenham by 7.05, only a little late.

ABI Brother had left to ring and check where we were. As usual he and Mother mixed up times. He returned shortly after. Tradie Brother was there along with his girlfriend. We had a pretty ordinary meal that was not very cheap. Of course nice to see family, but we have decided it is all too much on a weeknight.

We left about 8.30, tired and grumpy and so sad for Little Jo who was quite unwell and probably should have stayed at home. We managed to get her to crack two smiles for the night. All she wanted was to be held by her mummy. The Bone Doctor had diagnosed an upper respiratory infection and pooh poohed Mother's suggestion that they should take her to a proper doctor! This is not the first time Mother has questioned a diagnosis by the Bone Doctor, well Mother questions all doctor's diagnosis if they don't fit in with what she thinks.

Little Jo was much better the next day and I expect she will be fighting fit this evening when we look after her. Sis and the Bone Doctor are going to the movies to see a Potty Harry movie for Sis's birthday and R will collect Little Jo and drive Sister's car home to here, saving the need to change the baby seat over and then Sis will drive R's car here later to collect Little Jo.

The Bone Doctor has started work in a large South Eastern suburbs hospital and must study hard for the next month for some exam or something. I expect we will see a lot of Little Jo over the forthcoming weeks.

I will finish this post tomorrow after Little Jo has stayed tonight.

In other news, our dyke friend who's girlfriend celebrated her Barbie fiftieth birthday, came down with a chest infection a couple of days after the party, and as she has a transplanted heart, ended up in hospital with pneumonia. After a few days, she was released and is on the mend.

The next day.

Little Jo was in high spirits but with a running nose. She some sausages and broccoli and carrots but seems she does not like mashed spuds. Odd.

Instead of doing her usual nudie run to the bath, she did a nudie ride on her Thomas the Tank Engine cycle from the toy library. Later she and R were lying on the bed, watching tv and eating popcorn when she had a terrible coughing fit. Between R calling out to me to get a bucket and me arriving with said bucket, she had projectile vomited over the bed. She was quite unfazed and was fine. I was quite fazed and got the washing machine happening.

She was almost asleep when Sister rang to say she was five minutes away. After a quick half, they went off home.

They are staying at Mother's tonight. Mother will be stressed. The conversations later will be something like, She is so lovely, but oh, she is hard work.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The Digi Box

Our ABC and commercial radio stations launched digital radio today with outside broadcasts at Federation Square. The launch of digital radio has been an absolute failure. No one cares. No one wants it.

Our radio reception in the highrise is marginal but acceptable. It would be so much better if it was a clear digital signal. But I believe where we live, three kilometres from the centre of town, the signal is not good.

What would be nice is if the ABC sent their radio services over the digital tv signal, like they already do with the ever so boring Dig Radio and Jazz Radio. We would have crystal clear radio without the need to buy a stupid new wireless machine. Go on ABC, ditch the Dig and Jazz Radio and broadcast local radio and Radio National. Broadcast them all if you can afford it.

What is digital penetration? (oops, not intended) Something like 1/3 or more of television sets? ABC Radio, do your listeners a favour. Broadcast the digital radio signal over the digital tv signal.

Lovers' Walk

Argh, life is too busy. Lucky I have a post I prepared earlier.

While it is not quite secluded enough for a bit of slap and tickle and it is not what I would call a place for a romantic walk, this walkway in South Yarra is not an unpleasant way to get to Chapel Street from South Yarra Railway Station in Toorak Road. We have often walked it when going to see a movie at the Jam Factory. It just follows the edge of the railway cutting and with a childish excitement, I enjoy it when a train rushes past.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Roadside Vegetation

Perhaps nothing tears me in two directions more than the debate about clearing roadside vegetation for fire control.

Of course some people want it cleared to reduce the fire hazard it may pose. On the other side, people want it retained as part of a natural system and perhaps a wildlife corridor. What is a bit of dead wood lying on the ground, could be an important part of a whole ecosystem.

So, we have the natural environment pitted against possibly people's lives, although clearing road side vegetation may not help at all in some specific cases.

I think I can only judge it from and angle I use if I am unsure about a similar matter. If we don't get the environment right, nothing else will be right.

How about a compromise? Some slow and cool burning of roadside vegetation to reduce fuel loads, but in very select areas where it can be shown to benefit.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


I have no idea what is but I do know that MMTB stands for something glorious from days of old, in a time before accountants starting running public transport.

Melbourne and Metropolitan Tramways Board. Instills confidence doesn't it.

Come to Victoria

I know I will be found out, so I will say this post inspired by ABC Melbourne breakfast radio.

Victoria and its capital Melbourne are fantastic places to live in and to visit.

We have the big wheel, just like in London and Singapore. A giant ferris wheel where you travel in a pod and have great views over our city. Some people have even done the biz in the pods. Umm, sorry, the wheel is broken at the moment.

The Mornington Peninsular is wonderful. Calm beaches, surf beaches, wineries, fine food and at Arthur's Seat, you can travel down a mountain on a chair lift where you can see the city and its surrounds. Umm, sorry, chairlift is broken at the moment.

There is a marvellous fountain in the shape of a C near our parliamentary buildings. On a hot day, kiddies can run through it. Ummm, sorry, not enough water to run it.

Our casino has great seagull barbecuing gas flame jets that go off on the hour at night. From where the flame emits, water flows down the side. Ummm, sorry, not enough water to run them.

When you visit Melbourne, you want your kids to have fun. What better fun than water jets popping up unexpectedly from paving, also at the Casino. Kids would love that, be the weather hot or cold. Ummm, sorry, not enough water to run them.

Do check out the Nylex Clock in Richmond. It sits atop tall silos and shows the time and the temperature and is a landmark in Melbourne. Ummm, sorry, it is broke too.

With our lack of water, our crumbling infrastructure, our knocking down old and historic building willy nilly, presided over by Minister Justin Madden, to be replaced by glass and concrete, is Victoria really the place to be?

Monday, August 03, 2009

I'm on a Road to Nowhere

I have posted a photo of this before, a long time ago, but too bad. Here is another. Photo was taken in Brunswick and Jayne explains here what it is. I am pleased a little bit is left to excite curiosity (Mummy, why is there a piece of train line here? Not sure darling, have a look at Highriser to find out....on second thoughts don't. You are too young).

This one I will have to explain myself. This is one end of the tram track and it curves around the corner. It turns from Brunswick Road into Lygon Street, heading south towards the city.

So here it is at the other end after the curve and you can see it has been disconnected from the main tram track. It really is a track to nowhere from nowhere.

Before the track was disconnected from the main track, it was used as a siding for perhaps trams that were broken down, or just to temporarily store trams.

What remains was part of a cross suburb line that originally connected the Essendon and Brunswick part of the tram system to the Preston part of the system, where the large tramway maintenance workshop was and is. Its original purpose was to carry Preston passengers to the city via Lygon Street on an electric tram rather than have to change to a cable tram at the cable tram terminus at the corner of St Georges Road and Holden Street.

So the trams would travel along Brunswick Road, which changes its name to Holden Street but rather than continuing on to the St Georges Road corner, it turned left into Pilkington Street then right into Barkly Street and then left into St Georges Road.

You may be wondering why the tram did not just continue along Holden Street and turn left into St Georges Road, rather than divert for a short trip through back streets. I understand it was to avoid conflict with the cable tram terminus in St Georges Road.

During WWII when steel was almost impossible to obtain and the electric tram had replaced the cable tram in St Georges Road, the double track was converted to a single track and the dug up rail used for construction of new tram track elsewhere, although the double overhead wiring remained in place. I should think it was no longer used as a passenger service from this point, but continued to be used for freight and tram movements until 1976 when it was decommissioned and all removed apart the short section that can be seen in my photos.

The observant among you who reside in the area may or may not have noticed that many of the street poles are steel, which is always a good clue to a street being an old tram route. Also note the wide sweeping turn into Pilkington Street, appropriate for trams to turn.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Some Sunday 'omour

If Andy can post a weekly joke, usually a piss weak one at that, maybe I should too. I will select the best of what arrives from friends during the week. Let me see how long I stick at this. I have re-written this one to make it shorter.

Fanny Greene was well known about town. Even the Vicar had heard of her and her significant reputation. One Sunday she decided to attend the Vicar's church service. She was known to dress as her name, that is in green.

She swanned into church and wriggled her hips all the way down the aisle and sat with a very provocative pose in the front pew. She was resplendent in a revealing green dress and a matching handbag and shoes.

The Vicar nudged the altar boy and said to him, "Is that Fanny Greene?"

"No", the altar boy replied, "I think it is just a reflection from her shoes".

Cory Aquino

I just want to briefly acknowledge the death from natural causes of former president of the Philippines, Corazon Aquino.

I recall the circumstances of her coming to power quite vividly and she gave hope and courage to her people. The Philippines is a crazy country, yet she did achieve in quite a few areas. Not only hope either, she brought back some respect to the country after the farce of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos. Not bad for a former non political housewife.

I don't know if she was a good person, but she seemed to be the right person for the time.

What are these things called, love?

Remember back when Mayor of London Boris Johnston said he was going to reduce the walking time at pedestrian lights for people to cross the road? I mentioned it back here. Well, I think there is a solution to his problem.

Now I don't know what these camera looking things are called that are appearing on pedestrian crossings, but I know what they do, they zap anyone who is too slow crossing the road. Kidding.

No, from my observations they are motion detectors. As soon as there is no movement detected on the crossing while the red do not walk figure is flashing, the lights will change to green for motor cars to proceed. If there is continuing motion, the lights will operate as normally.

I was waiting for a tram where these were installed and I had some time to observe them and they work rather well.

Up Yours Pompeii

People sure are interested in history. We attempted to see the exhibition A Day in Pompeii at the Melbourne Museum this morning. We were there early enough, before eleven but the queue was a hundred metres long, if not more. You can buy your tickets online but I had some deal to use, so I did not want to pay full price on the net. We don't queue if we can help it now, and we weren't going to start there.

Back to the Nicholson Street tram and the City Circle swung in behind it. We changed to the CC tram, thinking we were being clever and we would get to Flinders Street more quickly. Nope, it sat for five minutes in Spring Street.

Since we could not learn about Pompeii, we decided to take in John Brack exhibition at the Ian Potter Gallery at Federation Square.

I am familiar with a couple of his paintings, I especially like The Bar, but in his early work he used very dull colours. As he became older, his works changed very much to high vibrant and brilliant colours. I was very impressed with his later art. And what fun all the flexible wooden men are, along with the coloured pencils and an occasional dip in pen. Very pleased we saw it. It finishes next weekend.

This is 'The Bar' from The Age website.

And this is 'Confrontation' from