Saturday, November 28, 2009


Help me. Life is too busy. It is happening faster than I can write about it. Lucky I have this post I prepared earlier. Change date from 5/11 to 28/11

This is our intercom for visitors to announce their arrival, for us to see and hear who it is and for us to open the front door to let them in. Our building is now ten years old and it is hard to believe we have lived here for seven years.

If it was a building built in the last couple of years, instead of having bulky black and white CRT monitor, it would be a colour LCD and sit very flat against the wall. Still, it does the job. We can see and hear whoever calls up, just not which shade of fuchsia they are wearing.

The bottom button is to open the front door to the building. I emailed the English maker of the intercom a few years ago to find out what the other two buttons do. They don't do anything and I forget what they said that they could do.

The flexible cord is discoloured compared to the rest of the unit. Not even bleach will get it the same as the intercom.

Note the phone plug below. When we moved in it had one of those big ugly old Telecom plugs. God knows why they used them. Same in my bedroom. I did not worry about the one in my bedroom as it can't be seen, but I very quickly changed this one to something a little more attractive and discreet.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Tramming it

Tramming is good. I did a good bit today. Four lasses boarded one tram to check the operation of Myki scanners. They marked the check sheet. Fail, fail and fail. I am just guessing really. One scanner worked after a 3 second scan. The other did not until the third try.

I have seen these scanners work in Singapore and London. They take about 1/3 of a second. People scan without stopping in their stride.

I was waiting for an air con tram to get home. A Z1 class pulled up followed by Z3 class. Neither had air con. The Z3 had smoke coming out from between its wheels.

I picked up my fifty bags of shopping and bolted to the front tram. I am not getting on a tram about to explode into flames, or get stuck behind the smoking tram, no matter how cool a subsequent air con tram may be.

I watched out the back window of the tram I was on to see if the tram behind burst into flames. It did not and when I got off the tram I was on, the smoking tram was behind with no sign of smoke. Weird.

While not long ago I had a decent whinge about rough tram drivers, but of the seven or so trams I caught today, I noticed nothing about the tram ride, so it follows that all drivers were good.

Street Walking in Fitzroy

I have given you colour and movement from various inner Melbourne places. Here are places I have visited that I can remember.

North Melbourne
North Melbourne
Clifton Hill
South Yarra
St Kilda
South Melbourne
Middle Park
Albert Park
Port Melbourne/Beacon Cove/Garden City

There are probably more places and a few yet to visit. Don't ask me to do Camberwell. I hate the place. I don't mind Hawthorn though.

Maybe you are wondering where I like the best? Oh, you aren't. Never mind. I will tell you anyway.

Has to be Fitzroy. Not saying I want to live there. Balaclava was 'interesting' enough for me.

We recently took an early Saturday morning outing to Fitzroy because R needed an emergency haircut. You know how it happens. You let it go a bit and then suddenly realise it has to be done yesterday. Normally we would not dream of driving to Fitzroy, but it was early Saturday morning and I was not at the wheel, just navigating. Toorak Road, left into Punt which changes to Hoddle, along Johnston and into Brunswick Street. Plenty of pay street parking.

R had his hair cut while I took a walk. I know the streets west of Brunswick Street reasonably well so this time I walked east. Mein gott. Napier Street and the majestic Fitzroy Town Hall. Along the way there were some old signs and a not so great park with a wonderful muriel.

Plenty of old houses, mixed in with new apartments and some good use of old buildings converted to apartments. The bottles littering the streets perhaps dumped by people sitting in cars drinking is a good enough reason why it is not a place for me to live. But no matter, Fitzroy is just a wonderfully interesting place to explore.

I just happened across the Fitzroy Town Hall by accident. What a majestic building. It really needs some land around it to set it off properly, but land is in short supply in Fitzroy.

The rear of the the town hall seems to have been tampered with or restored.

The Napier Hotel on the opposite corner to the town hall is not flash on the outside, but even fairly early in the morning customers were sitting outside taking in an ale. The old highly glazed tile work looks to be original and the pub has beautiful stained glass windows.

The Rainbow Hotel seems to be an original name, so gay peoples, don't get excited. The hotel is ever so small and seems to have live bands playing in the evenings.

You just cannot turn a corner in Fitzroy without seeing a mural. The graffiti writers seem to leave them pretty well alone. I think Fitzroyites should be very proud of their murals. Here are just a few.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Invincible Metcard

I snapped this with the thought that there wasn't much point repainting this sandwich board as Metcard will soon become redundant, to be replaced by our ever so expensive and much delayed Myki system.

Now I am not so sure. The guessed Myki start date by many, mid November, has passed by. The new system must be very complicated as they have had to employ 'Myki Mates' to assist the public. Rumour has it that Myki Mates have been temporarily laid off, indicating there won't be a Myki start soon.

Btw, cigarette buts are bad enough, but at least they wash or blow away. How disgusting is chewing gum badly disposed of. City of Stonnington is obviously too busy with clearway parking to be bothering about chewing gum removal, or cleaning public rubbish bins for that matter. They are disgusting too. City of Melbourne can take a bow on clean rubbish bins.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

City of Stonnington Clearways

What is City of Stonnington up to? Cities of Yarra and Boroondara too I believe. Stonnington, led my Mayor Claude Ullin is alternating between playing dumb and then defiance over installing new clearway signs. We no understand. There has been no consultation. We won't do it.

With the well organised protests by shop traders, Stonnington and Yarra have already wrung out a concession from the state government. The afternoon clearway times have been modified and so won't be quite as effective in clearing the roads for trams to run smoothly.

For as long as I can remember City of Malvern, now the enlarged Stonnington has been anti public transport. But the laws have been gazetted and there is nothing to stop them being enforced, regardless of what signage there may be on the street, so take care in Stonnington.

These are roads controlled by VicRoads and the council has no say, so the quicker they put up the signs, the better for all.

Otherwise I think they would be due for punishment from the government by increasing the number of clearways to include the length of Glenferrie Road, Burke Road from Dandenong Road to Doncaster Road and Chapel Street from Dandenong Road to Victoria Street.

There are absolutely no votes of any numbers for our Labor state government in these areas. Go for it Pallas and Brumby.

The Tracker

This might sound all a bit colonial and a case of 'yes sahib' and 'no sahib', but read on.

Our ex NT policeman friend was often the sole policeman covering a large area of the Northern Territory. He was supplied with, as you would expect a 4wd, radio equipment and lodgings of a very modest nature. Sometimes he had to also operate the postal service and in one case, the telephone exchange for two hours a day. If he was called to connect a caller out of hours, there was a decent surcharge and some extra pocket money for him.

But he was never really alone. A few steps behind him, well sometimes in front of him, was his tracker. The tracker was an Aborigine and naturally an expert in tracking. The tracker lived in a hut near whichever police station the policeman happened to be working at. Later the tracker acquired a wife who lived with him. I suppose he went on to have children.

Just last year our friend ran into his old tracker when in the NT for other matters. There wasn't an outpouring of emotion. Just a friendly greeting and smiles by two vastly different people who thought of each other with mutual respect.

While he would never admit it, I expect our friend was very attached to his tracker.

Ageing Disgracefully

No, not me. I am just ageing, neither nicely nor disgracefully.

Radio broadcaster, music expert, writer, columnist and funny girl Myf Warhurst recently went to an opening of an art exhibition with works by a female artist who is in her eighties. Myf said she does not normally go to such places, but there was free champagne and she wanted to meet the artist and meet her she did.

The artist pulled Myf's top down and examined her breasts and then pulled her top back up and they then had a nice chat.

After the formalities the artist took a bottle of champers and poured some of it over her own head and skulled the rest. She then pulled her dress up and dried her face off. Myf said that the artist was not wearing old lady underwear. The mind boggles.

Who on earth can this outrageous old duck be?

Surely not this kindly looking old lady who I saw briefly interviewed on tv where she lamented the closing of the el cheapo Dimmeys Department Store?

Photo is by blogger Jenny Luca who wrote a couple of rather interesting posts about her daughter meeting the woman. Pt 1 here and pt 2 here. The person who I refer to earlier may or may not be the person below, but I know where my money would be.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Urban Myth

This may well be an urban myth but I not going to search to find out because the idea appeals to me greatly.

You know that particle accelerator thingie called the Hadron Collider that cost umpteen billion Euros? Well, like our much slower human particle accelerator, the Southern Observation Wheel, it broke.

We are told the Hadron Collider may come up with the beginning of the universe. What? It will spit out a photo of god?

It would seem our much cheaper and slower wheel broke because of poor construction.

But it was just one of those little freaks of nature that brought the multi billion euro Hadron Collider to a grinding halt. An overflying bird dropped a baguette upon the Collider and it went kaput. So, we can blame the French.


Asbestos is marvellous stuff for kiddies. Get some today for your children to play with. They will love it.

You can get bits of hot water pipe lagging that you can squeeze and it just crumbles.

You can use a formed piece to use on your hotplates to slow simmer.

You can get a piece in the shape of the base of an iron to sit your iron on so that it doesn't burn the ironing board cover.

But for the kiddies, nothing beats breaking up old sheets of asbestos cladding, only surpassed perhaps by breaking up old 78 rpm records.

Myself and my nearest brother (cough) learnt about fulcrums from (cough) asbestos. That is put some over a fulcrum to break it. But if it was a big sheet (cough), the joy of jumping on it could not be surpassed. As a cheap frisbee, asbestos failed really (cough), but we tried.

I would not call myself artistic, but I made some asbestos shapes and planted them in garden bed. I was ever so (cough) proud.

Finally my own home and my own asbestos garage in 1981. It was complete with a hole in one sheet. I ripped it off, broke it into small pieces to go in the rubbish and I replaced it with cement sheet. That is what the label said, and now yet (cough) I find out cement sheet in 1981 had asbestos in it.

What is this Mr James Hardy, subsumed by BHP Billiton? You knew before I was (cough) born that asbestos was dangerous to health?

(cough) Sorry about the coughing. I must have gotten a bit of chilli from last night's dinner (cough) stuck in my throat. Can (cough) someone slap my back?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Cafe 434

R usually gets home from work about 4pm. If I am at home we usually go out for a walk and often have coffee while we are out, thereby undoing the good work the walk is doing.

We started to go to Cafe 434, oddly located at 434 St Kilda Road. They have a very nice outdoor seating area and the coffee and service is good. All well.

Yet, a couple of visits ago when we arrived for coffee at 4.30, we were told the coffee machine had just been turned off. Ok, must be closing. We had a beer each instead.

The next time, same thing again. We were told we could have drinks but the coffee machine was off. We went elsewhere.

And again last week, same story. We can only conclude the owner has decided selling drinks is more profitable than coffee. It is his business and he can do what he likes, but he has lost us as customers. We have had the odd lunch there too. We won't again. I would like to go back one more time to hand the loyalty card back and tell him why.

The trouble living here is that everything starts to shut down when offices close, so there is not a lot of choice for a good cup of coffee nearby. I automatically discount Gloria Jean as it has lousy coffee and in a paper cup.

There is the new Cafe Vue opposite but we already had issues with just two visits.

A friend recently asked to we ever go to the steak restaurant at No 1 Queens Road. We haven't, although a person in the murky past thought it was good. She also asked if we go to the Royce Hotel. We have not been there either.

To be honest, I thought The Royce looked too posh for us. I feel intimidated in such places. However, we wanted coffee and we wanted it now and drizzle had started so we needed somewhere outdoors with umbrellas and The Royce had just that. The coffee was great, the staff friendly and we will be back there many times in the future I think.

The odd thing about Cafe 434 turning their coffee machine off is that you can buy coffee in almost every decent hotel now, yet not in the cafe. Ah well, his loss.

Anyone in charge in NSW?

There must be a good number of Sir Humphrey Appleby's beavering away in NSW to keep the state going, because the incumbent Labor government does not seem to be functioning.

Dysfunctional is possibly an overused word, but not in the case of NSW government. However, I witnessed myself in July that Sydney is still functioning perfectly well, in spite of the government. Bureaucracy has stepped in to fill the breach.

It is clear that, short of a miracle, a Labor government will not be elected at the next NSW state election. Ipso facto, it will be a conservative Liberal government and while I hope it does not indulge in the excesses of Victoria's last Liberal government, I really don't think it will be such a bad thing. So much for me being rusted on Labor.

Like Victoria, there are some shocking gaps in train services. There are whole not even really new very populated areas without a train line. The cost of car commuting with so many toll roads in Sydney make our rapacious Citylink look like a charity.

If ever a state needed a person with charisma and vision to lead it, NSW is it.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

What a galah

I have posted a phone photo of him/her before, but these are much better. Galah can be found at the top end of Bourke Street. I did not put my finger near his beak. You just can't trust birds. The shop appears to be selling errrr, glass vases.

Note the sparrow helping the galah eat his seed. We had a cockatoo once who would squawk first thing in the morning for seed and then as he spilt seed and the sparrows arrived, he would squawk at them.