Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cleve Plaza

The project went overtime but the end result is quite good with much improved tram stops for travellers and traffic slowed right down. Alongside the tram stops is a car and pedestrian 'shared' precinct. I don't imagine this has any legal status. Bit of a wank really. But the roadway is raised, so cars must slow down.

Traffic can no longer proceed straight ahead to Jacka Boulevarde, aka Lower Esplanade, but must follow the Upper Esplanade. Traffic wishing to travel along Jacka Boulevarde must turn right into the short section of Beaconsfield Parade and then left. This has all been remodelled too.

I don't normally like palms, inverted mops, as street trees, but these ones are a bit different and are not symmetrically planted, so they don't look too bad at all.

City of Port Phillip even held an opening of Cleve Plaza Fiesta.

Photos of the other new tram stop at Park Street to come and the next project on track by City of Port Phillip, Vic Roads and Yarra Trams is sorting out the mess at the junction of Upper Esplanade, Acland Street and Carlisle Streets. For passengers it will mean no more guessing about which tram, 16 or 96, will come first or hopping off a 16 to run for a 96. City of Port Phillip has the plans on their website, or did. I think the design is ok, but I can see some issues. No mention of a tourist information booth staffed by a Yarra Trams person. He is probably the busiest spot in Melbourne where tourists congregate to catch a tram and many are unsure of routes or even direction of travel.

Friday, October 09, 2009

Dirty Blind

No, not dirty blonde. Dirty venetian blinds. Ours. Filthy. Not been touched for ten years. Look ok yes, until you actually look at them. Disgusting.

Contacted our building management company and asked who they use. A company in South Oakleigh.

$20 per blind sounds reasonable plus $60 same day pick up and delivery and it probably is. But multiply $20 by 9 plus $60 is $230. Still, much cheaper than new blinds. I hated these cheap blinds when we moved here. They don't close tightly like those we installed in the various places we lived, and the slats are incredibly thin. I have grown used to them and they are in good condition apart from being dirty.

Arranged for them to be cleaned next Wednesday, then realised it is my birthday. Nice present.

Planning Minister Madden

Look Jussy, here is another old building. Bring on the dozers and let them have their way with Linden, in Acland Street St Kilda.

Melbourne is being absolutely ruined by demolition of old buildings and thereby spoiling streetscapes. Old building can be reused you know Justin. Lonsdale House is large enough to give a good return to a developer should such a company wish to turn it into apartments or nice human sized shops.

More freeways and pay roads are being built with millions of dollars being spent yet housing development is allowed to proceed on the outskirts of Melbourne with not a cent being spent on providing a rail service. Huge areas of developed Melbourne are now without a rail service. Show me a freeway that does not end up congested soon after it is built?

Our existing tram and train services are groaning under the weight of numbers, and all I hear is gab gab gab, with very little being done.

People people everywhere. Four million people in Melbourne, in a city designed for perhaps two million.

Green wedges in Melbourne to keep a little bit of wilderness, or grassland at least. A nip here, a tuck there, a road here, a housing estate there. A bit of trading.

Yarra Park, next to our mega sporting venue, the MCG, about to be turned into a carpark when we were promised it would not be.

Not enough water to maintain our parks and sporting ovals, let alone fountains, yet heaps of waste water flows out to sea while in the meantime we steal some from the water starved north and west or desalinate with huge energy costs.

Movement of freight by rail collapses. Don't invest in a better rail freight system, move the freight by trucks, bigger trucks, nearly thirty metres long. One either side and one behind is alarming when you are driving, and that is the existing sized trucks. Restricted to certain roads? Heard that before and look at where the B Double trucks travel now.

Carbon trading scheme. How marvellous. Don't reduce our carbon emissions. Just buy and sell carbon emissions and charge consumers more. Heard the expression 'sold a pup'.

Electric cars, proven technology, and yet we are so dumb we cannot make them and few of us drive them.

Australia, a rich and blessed land. Plenty of sunshine, a long coastline with lots of waves, plenty of wind, plenty of water but perhaps not where it is needed, and how do we generate power? By burning coal dug up from the ground which sends smoke high into the sky, day in, day out. How do we get water? Not by recycling but by an energy intensive desalination plant.

Stupid retiring politician says have two babies plus one for the country. Yeah, right, more people we do not need.

I have depressed myself and you too perhaps. Here is another photo to cheer you up again.

The top photo is The Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts. Below is a photo of the property when it was a house. Looks better in sepia hey.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

The Cheese Head

Or is it Cloghopper? The tulip muncher? There used to be racist terms around in Australia for people from the Netherlands. Dangerous area after the frurore from last night's Hey Hey, it's Saturday. See Cazzie's post for my opinion in the comments.

But Dutch is on my mind. The ex NT politician and policeman's Fijian Indian partner is entertaining a visitor from the Netherlands. The partner and Dutch guy met when the above named were on a Canadian cruise last year. He is here in Australia for a couple of months. We have met him twice already. He is dark haired and quite nice looking, sociable, good sense of humour, good English.

As the stereotype goes, Dutch people are scrupulous about cleanliness of their abode and it did not take long before the visitor expressed his view over how filthy his hosts' kitchen was. Yes, it is, but just not on their priority list. Dutch man cleaned the kitchen top to bottom and perhaps cleaned the front room too and opened the blinds and turned the lights on to show how clean and tidy the house is. Except in a quiet Australian street in South Oakleigh, no-one walks past to notice.

NT ex Pollie friend suggested we catch up tonight. Dinner for us all at the Palmerston Hotel and coffee and cake back at our place. He failed to check with them first. They were no shows and there was just us and him.

But given this visitor from Netherlands fitted the picture of being gay and very clean and tidy, we made sure we had the place looking spic and span. Painting stuffs pushed into a corner in the spare room. A picture hung where a cupboard may go in the future. Stove top, sink and kitchen benches sparkling. All blinds perfectly angled to admire views. Fresh flowers arranged. Cakes and decent fresh coffee bought.

Relayed from NT ex Pollie, the Dutch guy said, we will see them (us) Sunday, which is quite true, why see them tonight?

Really the blame lies with NT ex Pollie for not actually asking his partner and the Dutch visitor first as to whether they would like to come and visit, instead presenting it to them after he had told us, matters little to me.

I am feeling mega pissed orf for the effort we have put in and the dollars spent. Hello, we are are redecorating you know. The place is not so great at the moment.

I satisfy myself with the knowledge that the Dutch visitor has found our casino to be a very attractive place, so hopefully Victoria is getting some guilders, sorry, euros out of him to moderate my and your taxes.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

St Kilda 1

Looks like The George Hotel in Fitzroy Street, St Kilda is getting a coat of paint. While I quite liked the peeling paint, shabby chic will no longer do for Fitzroy Street.

In behind the shops is a nice old looking building.....well behind the tram that inconveniently arrived as my shutter opened. Anyone know what the building is? It has a walkway through to Fitzroy Street.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

St Kilda Teaser

This could well be answered by the first person who sees it, or answered by no one, but never mind.

I have been out taking some pics of some of the changes in Fitzroy Street, St Kilda. I had Ann and Ian in mind when I did so, but also a rant about something. They know the area but live a long way away, well one a very long way away, so they might like to see the changes. I might get to putting the photos up tomorrow. But for now, where is this photo taken?

Monday, October 05, 2009

Pandorad again and my blogaversary

Oh, I missed my fifth blogaversary. I meant to publish this a while ago. Here goes.

Wow, I did get updated again at Pandora archive by the State Library October last year. I consider this such an honour and while I would like to write marvellous posts full of well expressed, grammatically correct writing on fascinating and newsworthy subjects and become worthy of an honour, that was not why I was chosen, obviously.

(Highriser now puffs himself up, full of self importance)

I like to think my blog captures some time, a period in the history, of the rise and rise of highrise living (the good and the bad. Note to self, must write a bit about the bad), about St Kilda Road and some of the inner burbs, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia and the world. As in life where I know a little bit about a lot, so is my blog.

How long will I continue to post? Maybe one day I will run out of steam. But stuffs just keep on happening, personal and public, and history is being made daily. Things that both I and you write about today, may well be examined in minute detail in the future.

I considered very carefully when agreeing to have my blog archived, only because of less than flattering references to some family members and I know that no matter how much I might clean up my past blog posts, the original is archived. I had no intention of any of them reading such things, they were rants. Probably the ones I was most critical of were the ones I feel closest to. I am more circumspect now.

I take much joy from people I have come to know through my blog. I am sad when some drift off for various reasons. If you are listed on my side bar, believe me, I read all you write, even if I don't comment, and what a disparate collection of blog mates I have gathered.

So Little Jo, if Sister is now telling you what is in my will and there is a url there too, do click on the Family tag and have a look. I don't know how you will turn out, as lovely as you are now, but no one has ever received more love than you.

Photo Storage

Flickr, Webshots, Photobucket and Picasa. I use them all. When online photo storage first started, there were very limited options and some had one feature I liked and another had another feature I liked. Now, I could just use one, with different folders and privacy settings.

I would put the time in and get all my online photos at one site, perhaps Flickr and even pay for it, but the work that is required is unimaginable as links where I have posted my photos on the net would all get broken and I would have to repair them, although some photo posters don't seem to care about that.

I like my photos but I don't think I am a very good snapper. Even my dirty camera lens had to pointed out to me. Thanks Reuben.

Speaking of good photos, and I thank Jayne for alerting me to this site, have you ever taken a look at Shorpy's Photos? It is site of mostly historic black and white photos from the US. The quality of the some of the photos are extraordinary and yet they can date back to the early twentieth century. There are often railway and tram photos posted. Make sure you see the high resolution full sized photos.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Day 1,820 and Grooving in Glen Eira Road

This is about the 1820th Sunday I have missed church in a row. Mother made sure I made it for my baptism. Today I can blame the start of daylight saving. I was well aware it started today. I arose at just before seven, made coffee, turned the radio on and sat at the computer. This is what I always do if I don't have to go to work.

At 7.01 I glanced around at the wall clock and wondered why the news was not on the radio. Maybe the clock is a minute fast. Bloody Macca droning on and on. I looked around again. Why is there no news? I looked at the bottom of the screen and the clock said 8.02. I was enlightened. No news because the upsized super mega news starts at a quarter to eight and finishes at eight. The start of daylight saving of course.

Over the course of the day clocks have been reset. We screwed up R's pvr because we set it hurriedly as we were going out and managed to forget it was a twenty four hour clock, so he has no trash to watch in his bedroom as preset recording failed to proceed.

Phone handset and answer machine (why can't they speak to each other). Air con remote. Two tvs. Two pvrs. Three bedside alarm clocks. Microwave. Vcr. Dvd recorder. Two car clocks. Mantle clock. Wall clock. Two mobile phones.

What we no longer have to adjust are personal organisers, oven, lighting timers

The day in brief, returned the tv wall bracket and bought some opals for R's sisters in England for my Sis In Law to take at the end of this month. We bought from an opal shop in Swanston Street our crazy neighbour downstairs owns. She started the business in 1963 at the now demolished Southern Cross Hotel. Friends said she was crazy to set up a shop to sell Australiana to tourists. She is from The Lebanon and an expert in gems and fossils. To me she seems to be a stereotypically Jewish trader. She spied us looking in the front window of the shop and 'My darling boys, come in. I show you my fossilised coral. Opals? Yes, of course I give my neighbours a special price, but first see how amethyst in its raw state'. Meanwhile she had her Asian staff running hither and thither and then despatched one to So Cross Station with a jacket a customer had left behind. I would say she could talk the leg off an iron pot but R said she could talk a glass eye to sleep. She is great though and very smart. Recommend Abbess Opal Mine.

Ok, I said brief.

R bought my birthday present in advance from Dick Smiff Electronics. Don't worry, I will give you good notice of my birthday and where to send expensive gifts. Harvey Norman only had brand names. While I might have been a bit of a label queen in the past, I am not longer and quite content with my excellent Thomson Mp3 player, rather than an Ipod. Btw, I have bought a new mobile phone on Ebay. More later.

On to the Southbank market. No painted gnomes, cartoons or bearded Lords to be seen. Bought a picture for home to hang where the tv was supposed to sit on the wall.

Out for dinner to an Indian restaurant in Glen Eira Road, Ripponlea. The old one had an open tandoor oven and the building went up like a Hindu widow a while ago. The new much smaller version is almost across the road. The full on religious odd bods in black coats and large furry hats were parading the local streets, and they were just the pre teen lads. No Jewish women to be seen on the street on a Sunday night. Why? I expect these people in that location. I did not expect a nightclub and doof doof next door to the restaurant or young people in clubbing clobber hanging around the street. A night club in Glen Eira Road Ripponlea. Who would have thunk that would happen.

Our food was excellent as was the service. There were about ten of us. We were ostensibly celebrating the late Dame M's birthday and it is just around the corner from where her Boarder now lives. I was the only one who mentioned her birthday, raise your glass to Dame M.

For good reasons we have been going to Bala Da Dhaba in Ripponlea for Indian tucker for many years. Recommend it.

The day was going well until....