Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sick sick and triple sick

This is one sick fucker. Don't really click on the link. I wish I hadn't. The photo is from the Herald Sun newspaper and the sicko called John Delahaye lives in Traralgon. How could he? I grew up on a farm too, and yes, animals were killed, including dogs, but they were killed with a single shot and died instantly.

Why he was not sentenced to fifteen years gaol, I don't know. Why is our court sentencing so out of tune with what the public think? Suspended sentence? Why for gods sake?

Five nails shot with a nail gun into a dog's head did not kill it. Stabbing it in the throat did not kill it. Bashing it with a sledgehammer finally did.

Please, find me someone who thinks his only punishment, three years without being able to own a pet for three years, is a just punishment for his cruel crime.

Our new ticket system has not even started yet, but it is not uncommon to see a ticket scanning machine out of order. Bit of a worry when they go out of order without ever being used.

I phoned the friendly team at Myki yesterday to enquire about the logistics of 40 people scanning off a tram and 50 scanning on at the same stop. The question must have been asked already as the response was well rehearsed. Multiple doorways, multiple scanners, takes no time at all lalalala.

We shall see.

The Front Approaches

We were warned of a strong front arriving yesterday. It was not the most spectacular one I have seen, but it is the only one I have taken photos of. Inside the highrise, I would not have known about it without looking out the window but the air con knew and went from warming for a minute or so and shutting off to running constantly, such was the temperature drop. I noticed a few plastic bags shooting high into the sky too. A neighbour later mentioned he was in a South Melbourne street and was nearly blown over. Tony, camera in hand, was chasing rubbish bins around. Sometimes a strong wind change is noticeable in the highrise, but this one wasn't.

A spot of sunshine on the bay ahead of the squally wind change.

Just arriving. Wind has picked up.

Large whitecaps on the waves.

Very gloomy and wet now.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Well Done Little Jo

Our brother friends can be a bit precious at times. We had double booked for this evening. Visiting the brother friends where the tax man cometh, that is the accountant visits and does their and our tax returns. I have learnt about capital gains tax. Ouch, but won't have to pay until March 2010. Might be dead by then.

So as well as visiting the outer burbs, we had said we would look after Little Jo as the Bone Doctor will busy with a buzz saw and drill at work and Sister had a ticket to go with a friend to the Hawthorn Football Club dinner. While she is a member of the club, the ticket was not cheap. I am trying to think of sexy Hawthorn football player who might be there. Alas, I can think of none. Dermie is it? He will be there, but he is too old. Platin? The dude with the long hair? He will be there. I am sure his hair is now short, assuming he still has some.

Sister and her friend arrived and after a quick drink, I drove Sister's car to the Anderson Street Bridge where they could easily walk to the MCG and we continued on around the river to eventually get to Box Hill, after stopping off at Hungry Jacks along the way, just to give Little Jo chips and a thick shake to horrify her mother when we tell her.

When we first moved to the high rise, we hired a large van to cart a mattress to our brother friends and then bring one home. That was the last time I drove a manual vehicle, 2002.

Sister's car is a manual. We took her car to save changing the baby seat over. Before we had pulled out of the parking space, waiting for passing traffic, already I complained my left foot was aching from holding down the clutch. Hmm, never noticed this but turns from St Kilda Road city bound to the south bound service road near us have been blocked. No prob. Continue on. I went the wrong way and drove up Governor de Krester's driveway, well road. Eventually dropped Sister at the bottom of Anderson Street. Sister told her friend that the walk would be good for her and that she could smoke along the way.

After the back streets of Toorak, of course I had to start on a steep uphill at Tooronga and Toorak Roads. I did not roll back into the car behind, even though I did not use the handbrake. I find handbrake starts harder than a quick move off. Along Toorak Road, I thought maybe there is another gear, and sure enough, gear number five.

At Hungry Jacks, I had to reverse out of the parking spot. I didn't know where reverse was. I put the iterior light and my spectacles on, but the gear pattern had worn off the stick. Stupid, it is downhill, roll backwards.

Oh joy, oh bliss, Little Jo put her sticky fingers on the brother friend's glass side table. They won't notice until they see in daylight.

Of course once home, I had to find reverse to reverse park into a space. It was opposite gear number 5, I think. What botheration these gear thingie sticks are.

Little Jo and R are in bed watching a dvd. Actually, Little Jo is watching a dvd, R has dozed off.

Where am I?

It is in Melbourne on the edge of the city and a tram passes by the visible windows.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Come on

I am fond of saying when people rush to judgment about court case results and sentencing, well, did you hear all that was presented at court? I didn't, so I am not sure I am in a position to judge. Of course privately I probably agree with them. But we have to have some respect for our society and laws and our judicial system.

But gosh it is hard at times.

I'll start with the minor one first. I suppose it is minor. A bloke severely clubs a dog to the point where it had to put down because of the horrific injuries. The dog belonged to the the bloke's girlfriend's son, although I see that as irrelevant. He received a gaol term, but upon appeal, he is now free. Is there anything really to say?

Animals are one thing, human life is perhaps slightly more important.

An Indian national, a student here in Melbourne, mows down two innocent guys, killing one and severely injuring the other. The driver was travelling at 150kph in a 60kph zone and had a blood alcohol reading of more than three times the limit. He pleaded and guilty and was awaiting sentencing. It would seem his friend gave him his passport and the guilty one has bolted back to India. Do we have an extradition treaty with India? I don't think so. He is safe, meanwhile his passport lending friend has been locked up and has not applied for bail. Fool he is too.

I was puzzling a bit about this when I first heard that the Indian lad had bolted, especially about our passport control. It took R to give me clarity of thought.

Given the driver pleaded guilty of killing someone and was only awaiting sentencing, which clearly would be a gaol term, why was he out on bail?

I hope a magistrate is sleeping uneasily tonight.

George Swinburne and his pipes

I bet the pipes are still there. No need to remove them unless they are in the way. Like Sydney tram tracks keep popping up out of various roads or appear when workers start digging, so might the pipes of Melbourne's high pressure water system.

What high pressure water system? Glad you asked. Eek, I am sounding like Brian.

George Swinburne, who later set up Swinburne Technical College in Hawthorn, along with his uncle, engineered a system of pipes and a water pump, possibly near Spencer Street, to circulate water under high pressure underground around the city, and the industrial areas of South Melbourne and North Melbourne.

The water pressure could be used to operate cranes on the wharves, wool presses, for firefighting and most importantly for lifts in buildings. Before the high water pressure was available to operate lifts, building heights were limited to how many stairs people were prepared to climb. The water pressure was even used in theatres to lift sets into place.

While other cities had similar systems, Melbourne's was said to one of, if not the, world's finest.

George's company, Hydraulic Service Power Company, under a sunset clause, was later transferred to Melbourne City Council and was renamed Hydraulic Service Power Department.

I would love to add a photo of a metal plate embedded in a city street bearing the initials HSPD, but I have never noticed any, although I believe there are still some around. Do let me know if you have noticed any and can recall where.

I believe there are still water powered lifts in Melbourne, but only powered by mains pressure, so they would not travel many floors.

Here is some info I have come across while looking for more information. I cannot vouch for its accuracy.

There was another pumping station below Dights Falls.

Originally the piston had to go to the depth into the ground of the building's height, so enormous holes had to be dug. A later system used gears and pulleys in conjunction with hydraulics, so such a deep hole did not need to be dug. The remains of some of the equipment can still be found in basements of many city buildings.

The digging of deep holes into the basalt was very difficult and expensive.

The system did not close until 1967.

Mains pressure lifts still operate in the Church of Christ Scientist building in St Kilda Road, that little church building next to the Army Barracks.

There was a total of seven miles of piping. (doesn't sound a lot to me)

A warehouse on the Victorian Heritage Register in A'Beckett Street has an operational mains pressure goods lift.

Somerset Place was a centre for Sci Fi fans in the 1960s. The McGills warehouse where Sci Fi fans met had an operational high water pressure lift. To operate, close the doors and just pull the rope set into a recess in the lift. To call the lift if it wasn't there, sing out loudly and hopefully someone will send it up or down. (This tells me it was a goods lift)

Just to wrap, our George Swinburne certainly was a high achiever. He had directorships of various companies around Australia, he went into state politics under the leadership of Tommy Bent and resigned soon after because of Bent's behaviour. He was involved in many areas of public service, including being a foundation member of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria. I could go on but it is easy to find out about him on the net. Suffice to say, George sounds absolutely marvellous.

Later edit: The church in St Kilda Road is a bit south of the Army Barracks.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Robson Green

R's sister back in the north of UK went to the wedding of her husband's niece. I have no idea why, but the actor Robson Green also attended the reception with his parents. I do know he was born in the nearby village of Hexham, a place we liked very much and spent much time there. While R's sister is known for her glamour and slightly tarty style, she is not known for her temperance.

She decided it was a great idea to serenade Robson with Lady in Red. No idea why that song either. The staff of the venue told her that her behaviour was inappropriate and that she must desist, which I suppose she did.

Meanwhile, another sister of R's is marrying the bloke who when were visiting, keyed her car and slashed a tyre or two. R says it was something I said that aggravated him on our first night when a party was held to welcome us. I have little memory of it except getting sunburnt again, as I did in London. Flashback. I didn't say something to him about her strong feelings for her ex did I? Oh dear. Best forgotten.

Meanwhile yet another sister continues to feed her grandchildren all manner of terrible food, chips, biscuits, lollies. It never stops. Wonder if the kiddies have ever sat down to three vegetables and meat and been made to eat it?

Families are a wonderous thing.

Delicate Matter and the Indian Students

Is it delicate? Some would say I am being racist so I suppose it is a delicate matter. I would call it spelling out the bleeding obvious. Have you noticed the preponderance of overseas born immigrants committing violent crimes in Melbourne?

I would like to see zero population growth for Australia. There are enough people here already enacting extreme destruction to our country. We don't need any more. Of course the population won't replace itself, so some immigration and refugees are necessary, but it is all about numbers.

The government allows too many people, especially refugees from one country to arrive in a short period. Because of the sheer numbers, they are not given the services and support that they ought to receive and it all gets very messy. This is especially important when you are talking about people who may have spent many years in refugee camps. A camp may be all some of the youngers have known. Yet, they are dumped here and naturally congregate together and without having grown up in our culture, do not adjust well and they will not adjust well while they only live among and associate with their own.

If we take refugees, we have a responsibility to them, one that cannot be fulfilled when there are such overwhelming numbers. We are doing neither them nor us any favours.

As for skilled immigration, what a joke that has become. Can you buy a skilled immigrant visa now? I reckon so. It is the usual government and large business ploy of keeping the working class in their place by ensuring there is cheap labour available.

I suppose it was in the nineteen nineties or late eighties that I really noticed the number of overseas students in Melbourne, mostly from Asian countries. I felt a little pride in our country educating the foreign born. This is good. We have a reasonable education system, prestigious universities that the overseas students will be proud to have attended and will impress their prospective employers back in the own country.

By 2000, there seemed to be an awful lot overseas Asian students. They seemed to fit into Australian society well enough and they certainly livened up our city and some suburbs.

But then came the Indian students, in overwhelming numbers. Take a look around your train or tram tomorrow and visually remove every suspected overseas student, and you would perhaps remove a quarter to a third of the passengers. The overseas students have certainly contributed to overcrowding of public transport. Did anyone sit down and think about how all these students might get around the larger city?

It has been become increasingly clear that it is not about education per se, but about more immigration. Another residency rort, a backdoor way of staying in the country. The worst aspect is that it was obvious to all an sundry and yet our government allows it to continue with private colleges springing up in any broom cupboard that could be found. Pay enough and it comes with a guaranteed residency.

Our prestigious universities have become money hungry. No free education for Australian citizens. You just buy yourself a place, Australian or foreigner.

I recall a comment on a post a long time ago by a student, in reference to some fellow Chinese students. The comment was along the lines of 'how can they possibly be getting any education when they don't even come close to speaking or understanding English'. Simple, they are buying their degrees by passing by whatever means. The universities have a financial interest in making sure they pass. This is not the education we should be giving overseas students.

Cut immigration and cut the number of foreign students and turn both back into something to be appreciated. I am not arguing against immigration or educating foreign students, just about numbers and the numbers of both are way too high.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

College Square

Carlton residents, especially members of the Carlton Residents Association, are horrified at the expansion of College Square. It appears to be now extending right through to Rathdowne Street. Not entirely sure about that.

However, this part on the corner of Lygon and Princes Street is not exactly what you would call classy. In fact the workmanship seems pretty poor. It really is very ugly. See the cracking near the top window.

No doubt the evil Madden and equally evil VCAT will approve whatever the developer wants, minus a storey or two.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Rattling Trams

Trams rattling past seems to be how it is said. Perhaps it is a bit of a hangover from W class tram which were quite noisy and did rattle. Nowadays, trams still make a racket, but a different noise, sometimes a screech as they round corners.

Scott stayed in a city hotel and mentioned that the noise from the trams below disturbed his sleep. He has my sympathy but I live on a very busy tram line and they don't worry me at all. I find them comforting. When I wake in the morning and faintly hear the trams passing, (no double glazing, but thick glass and well sealed windows) I know that Melbourne has not been blown up, we have not been nuked by the Russians, the Palestinian/Jewish problem has not escalated to the point where Muslims have blown up the synagogue opposite, our part foreign owned utility companies have given a return to their shareholders so our city still has electricity. Best of all, I know I have not died in my sleep. Yes, quite comforting. Another day begins.

When Z class trams were introduced to Melbourne in the 1970s, politicians complained about the noise they made as the rounded the corners from Bourke Street into Spring Street. So ameliorative work was done to the tracks.

When D class were introduced to Melbourne, the residents of the apartment complex at the corner of Canterbury Road and Fitzroy Street, St Kilda complained about the noise the Combino trams made as they rounded the corner into the light rail reservation. Some ameliorative work was done.

The works were probably un-necessary. Eventually new tram wheels and old tram tracks agree to get along and the excessive noise dissipates. Must have been someone very influential in the apartments in St Kilda to get the government to spend at least tens of thousands of dollars on track work.

Mother lives near Princes Highway and she used to complain about the noise of traffic at night and then Pakenham was bypassed by a freeway and she complained she missed the sound of the traffic.

We humans are a moaning old lot aren't we. Just what you get used to I suppose, although I never quite got used to the noise of the first Alamein train when we lived near the railway line. Imagine if you lived near a zoo and were woken by lions roaring. I would sit bolt upright I think.


Costco has done very well hyping everyone up about their new store, inconveniently located at Docklands. First we had bathroom tissue for toilet paper and now perhaps our Herald Sun is being a bit lazy and pasting slabs of press release into their newspaper. Our cars travel on tyres, not tires. Cultural sensitivity chaps and chapesses.

Costco boasts 3600 product lines of all descriptions for all parts of the home, inside and out. You can change your tires, buy a beer, slip into some Calvin Klein jeans, enjoy a coffee and a hotdog or purchase a prepared meal to take home.

Due to a lack of success, we have given up on changing the world, so it is the little things in life that get up the noses of grumpy old men and women.

Now I am so looking forward to this evening's tv news. The exercise is to match the amount of tv advertising to the coverage of the opening in the news.

Later Edit: Herald Sun has now changed tires to tyres.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Hey Justin, look here

Planning Minister Madden, look, a city block with minimal glass and low buildings. While we might miss and be upset about the demolition of the five storey Lonsdale House, no one would notice if you got stuck into these low rise buildings. Streetscapes, bah.

Imagine the employment opportunities that could be created. Revitalising an area of the city. Modern, clean and nice. There is a raw concrete building opposite to diagonally connect to. I am thinking a marvellous new Bunnings Warehouse. Go Justin.

Real Estate Agents again

The late Dame M's house sold today. I expect the bulldozers will arrive quite promptly. The house is of no great merit, just very large and comfortable. Dame M said it was previously owned by a rabbi and his seven ugly daughters before she and her husband brought it up to scratch in the seventies.

The early advertising suggested upwards of 1.2 mill, subsequently changed to 1.3 upward. Would you believe it sold for 1.91 million!

Oh, look who the agents are, Hocking Stuart again. They are either incompetent at judging prices, so I would not employ them, or they are liars, and so I would not employ them.

Real estate agents, law unto themselves.

Geocities Closing

I have a Geocities website. It is about to be shut down along with all Geocities websites. I just grabbed some photos of me from my website. I am old man now and Vik will confirm there is little connection between the photos and me now. The photos are from the early nineties. So long ago. Life was so different then.

Given that I don't look like these photos anymore, I suppose there is no harm in showing you what I used to look like before I became a fat old man.

Bad hangover at Turtle Cove (changed my mind. Photo deleted)

In Sydney. Really bad bushfires happening. Note Harry Highpants.

Bugger orf R. Don't bother me with camera.

I think this was for a website. I suppose the original with face is around somewhere.

Mardi Gras outfit. Really bad hair bleach job. Why were my knees orange? Ah, yeah, remember now. (changed my mind. Photo deleted)

At home in Balaclava.