Saturday, April 17, 2010

Why I stopped teaching people basic computer usage

I would have just said that, 'there is other stuff there', but first I would have suggested and changed the computer to single clicking where possible. What is just an automatic action for most of us, double clicking for an older person who has never used a mouse can be very quite difficult.

Once you are an experienced computer user, it can be difficult to unlearn things you do automatically, so that you are on the same level as a novice.

Another reason is that no two computers are set up in the same way, so you have to learn where things are as you are teaching. And never mind different operating systems. And, and, next lesson, they will have been fiddling!!! and altered things.

All too hard.

One tough chickie babe

A while ago Jayne helped me with some information. Mother had asked me if I knew who Agnes Falls in South Gippsland was named after. I found myself on a road to a red herring. Jayne put me right by diverting me from Agnes Buntine, who was my prime suspect. Your Aggie B did spend some time in the area, but the waterfall was not named after her.

I must have mentioned Aggie B in a post recently and a blogmate suggested she would like to know more about her. Today I hit googlie to refresh my memory and what pops up? Jayne had already written about Aggie B. I had forgotten. So, here you go. This would have to be one of the easiest historical posts I have done. Jayne's Lost and Found has all sorts of weird and wonderful information. Do check it out.

Sandy Train to Hampton

I was blessed with a day off this week, and then I became ill with the worst disease know to mankind. Yep, another mancold. Such are the joys of working with the public. Fortunately the symptoms did not appear until the night of my day off.

Tantalised by our car trip to Hampton Street, Hampton over Easter, I decided to revisit by train. Tram to Prahran and then train to Hampton on the Sandringham line. The train stopped at Balaclava and I checked and concluded that the platform is wide enough to store travellers intending, so there must be too few trains. Between certain hours, a five to seven minute service is necessary. Boom gates along this line are quickly responsive and the delay to traffic would be minimal.

Hampton is the old Australia. It is a very middle class and well educated bastion of times past, yet it will go on. Not too many of your foreign types in Hampton. Being only twenty five minutes by train from the city on a decent train line makes it a very desirable place to live. While there must be those in between, I saw young women with prams containing, surprise, babies, while their husbands were probably working somewhere in town probably having driven to there workplace in their Audi. There were also the remnants of the old Hampton, very old women, some well dressed, some badly dressed, but all very comfortable in Hampton. I don't think I saw one young man walking oddly because he was wearing ever so tight jeans where the waist band sat half way down the cheeks of his arse and the crotch of the jean around his mid thigh.

The caring middle class ladies of Hampton stepped up to the crease though when one of their own collapsed in the street. They surrounded her with their caring presence until the ambulance arrived.

I just wandered the streets for a bit. While I am getting better at feeling comfortable in the alien territory of Melbourne's north or west side, I felt very relaxed in Hampton. Not a beggar to bother me at all.

I then caught the train to town and the tram to Brunswick Street to get my hair cut. While standing at the tramstop to go back to town, I could not help but consider the different worlds of Hampton and Fitzroy. It has always been thus but now they are much more financially matched than they have ever been.

What is this thing called, love? I have no idea what its purpose is. Let's just say it is a folly. It clearly was not originally,but we can now consider it to be a folly. Just don't let planning minister Madden know about it.

This flatblock would be vintage Elwood. Nice symmetry. Along the beach front from St Kilda to Mordialloc there are very few original houses left. They are nearly all modern and trying to get the best view of the bay.

What is this flowering grass? I am suddenly seeing it everywhere. Doesn't it have seeds that will spread all over the country and become a noxious weed?

This is a very un Australian house. How has it survived on the beachfront? I don't think it will survive for much longer. While it is an ugly bugger, let it last a few more years. See the red brickwork along a bit. The holy grail.

A train that runs along the coast with the sea to gaze upon out the train window.

It is taking time to repair the fire damage at Gardenvale Station. It was burnt at the end of last year. The alleged fire lighters were nicked.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pots and Locks

The door bolt to keep Little Jo off the balcony has been installed. I had to pack it out a little with washers otherwise the bolt would not have cleared the lip in the frame. I drilled one bolt hole to keep it locked but I will drill another so that the door can be open about ten centimetres.

A matter that will come to fore in the not too distant future is the saucepan lid handles. Our four stainless steel saucepans with enclosed copper bases would be around thirty years old. I think we paid $200 for them, a lot of money thirty years ago and there is only one area where they are not standing the test of time, the lid handles. What a pity they weren't fixed instead of being rotatable to allow steam venting. They are warped and cracked although none have fallen off yet. Blame the dishwasher again.

I thought I will ring the company and order replacements. I have a little care leaflet that says they are Krona, made by Crown Corning. It even gives a NSW address, Bourke Street in Waterloo. A net search brought up nothing. Googlie street view tells me that it is now a self storage warehouse opposite a Taylors private college.

Is Dow Corning a remnant of Crown Corning, or rather took Crown Corning over? There is a Down Corning at Homebush but there website does not seem to indicate that they sell pots and pans. This is going to take some serious lateral thinking when they eventually give way. Btw, this lid is not so bad, the more frequently used smaller lids are worse, but I couldn't take a photo as they being washed in the you know what. The pan larger than this one is still ok.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I rarely remember dreams but there is the odd occasion when I do, usually when I have had strange food or eaten a lot in the daytime. Sunday night, after R's birthday barbe was one such occasion. I woke the next morning and clearly remembered the dream.

Much later edit: I should have finished writing this post at the time, because I have totally forgotten what the dream was and I can't remember any since. I should just delete this post, but what the heck.

TV Watching

I have learnt that it is not a good idea to view old tv programs that I used to like. I doubt Topper would have ever entered my head again had not Pants mentioned the show. Another I forgotten about but was reminded about by TVAU, was Hector Heathcote. I can almost remember the tune. Were the lyrics something like Hector Heathcote, He's the One...?

Tv was tv to me back then. I never distinguished where the program was made. Now I rarely watch US tv, with perhaps only half tuning in to Brother Sister each week. The last US tv show I seriously watched was United States of Tara.

But thank god for tv from the mother country. No sooner had the most excellent Griff Rhys Jones rivers show finish, then we are on to Britain from Above, just as wonderful. Friday night crime on our ABC comes from the UK. I like most of them. We have watched The Bill since it started and by the end of the year it will be gone. It will be just a memory, but a good one.

I was surprised that our locally made Hungry Beast finished last night. After a very slow and confusing start in the first series, the second has been much better. At the beginning of each year, I don't look forward to Spicks and Specks starting again. I feel it is tired. But as the year progresses, I find myself sucked into it. Surely it can't run for ever.

Can't mention tv without heaping praise on Beautiful People, another one from ole Blighty. I think we laugh more during this show than any other at the moment.

Now to the serious. What a coup! Kerry O'Brien has recorded an interview with the President of the United States, to be shown on tonight's 7.30 Report. Last night I watched the Premier of NSW interviewed on Lateline for a decent amount of time. It is the first time I have seen her other than in short grabs. She is impressive enough as a tv performer. But what a curious accent? A mash up of American and Australian but there seems to be another accent in there too.

And The Doctor is back on Sunday night with a new doctor. Yes naughty Fen, I know you have seen it already.

Wrap up by putting up a picture to remind those of you of a certain age about Topper. I can't recall if I liked the show or not. I have stolen the picture from Pants who probably stole it from someone else.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Stolen Photos

These are just two brilliant photos. I don't who. I don't know when. I will credit or remove them if they are yours and you ask.

I suppose Melbourne's tram drivers know which way to go when they are about to travel over Princes Bridge but it all looks very confusing to me.

I think these ladies who look to be out for a night at the opera are of the kind who wear sensible shoes, but I suspect one of them is not wearing sensible shoes. I don't know how the photo will look like on my blog, but looking at the photo on my screen is a bit creepy and slightly surreal. I just adore this photo.

Nippon excitement building

It is only about two months now before we go to Japan. Many details are still to be sorted out, but we have booked our flights with Jetstar, and we have booked our accommodation in Tokyo, a Junior Suite in the Ueno area, and our accommodation in the north of Japan where our friend lives. We are somewhat troubled that we did not have to pay in advance, a deposit even, for our accommodation. I fully expected to have to pay the whole amount. If I was confident in forecasting the exchange rate, I might have preferred to pay in advance. Our friend in Japan has assured us that this is the norm.

We will buy a seven day Japan Rail Pass, but we are there for ten days, so we have worked out how when to start using it. In advance we will book a bus trip to Mount Fuji, with a lake cruise and a cable car ride.

We will travel to the north of Japan by Shinkansen and then change to a local express train. Our friend in Japan has indicated a good train to catch, but we are yet to look at the timetables.

The toys had to be investigated as to whether they will work on 100v rather than 240v. Laptop charger tick, phone chargers tick, camera charger tick, electric toothbrush charger, fail. I have lived the vast majority of my life without an electric toothbrush, so I guess I can manage. My phone uses 3G, so it will work. Seems R's does not.

The exchange rate is quite favourable at the moment. I wonder if we should buy some yen. I probably won't as who knows what will happen in two months.

Back to the laptop, it is heavy to lug around in a backpack, but I found it invaluable for entertainment and information when we took our last holiday in Sydney. The hotels have free plug in broadband in the rooms. I just have work out what the right cable is and do we have one.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Supply and Demand

Given our Brother friends both have Thai boyfriends, we do tend to take notice of Thai matters. I picked this up from the net, and I have mentioned it often, sometimes in jest and sometimes seriously.

After the Bangkok international airport was shut down a couple of years ago, with our Brother friends trapped in a luxurious hotel in Bangkok, tourism to Thailand fell by a great degree. Every tourist related business realised that they were not making the profits that they were, so in an attempt to improve their profits, they increased their prices, which rather goes against the usual supply and demand rules of if customers are scarce, drop the prices to attract customers and increase business.

It seems our own Australia Post is learning from Thailand. Letter mail has dropped, although from my experience, not from from the ANZ Bank, and so Australia Post wants to increase the cost of sending a letter from 55 cents to 60 cents. In years past there used to be an outcry if the price of stamps went up, but I don't expect there will be this time and I don't expect the number of letters sent will be reduced because of the extra five cents.

This supply and demand and capitalizy thingo only works when there is competition. Increasing the prices in Bangkok did not work and did not attract more tourists. They just went elsewhere. But Australia Post increasing the cost of a stamp by five cents will work because there isn't competition.

But hey, neither you nor I are silly enough to think that Australia Post ever produced their rivers of gold by selling basic letter stamps. I think we are high end users of stamps, averaging perhaps one a week. I doubt most people would be in our league.

Clearing the phone of random photos

What size are these drums of grease? Precisely 18.9 litres. You see it is not just plasma tvs arriving at our ports by their thousands but all manner of things including 5 gallon drums of grease. Odd that this American grease is going to be used in German made plant. Nah, it's not really. 'Tis the global village.

It's a Willeys four wheel drive and often parked across the road from us. Some of the writing says Mirboo East and what looks like RTA. Also 1963-1987. No idea what the RTA would have been.

This was our cutlery when we ate at Cafe Vue, EPNS and bone handles suffering badly from diswasheritis I suspect. I liked it but the box it came in was a bit crappy.

Seeing a helicopter landing on the Alfred hospital helipad does not excite me, but seeing one land in a park does.

The good, old, bloke designed kitchen. Corner cupboards that you have to get on your hands and knees to get to the back of and opening doors right next to the oven which gets very hot and so the doors on both sides have warped.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The evil coach

Me talking footy? I don't care to know about half back flanks and punt kicks, but I don't mind the goss.

With our Ben leading the charge to the bar, Richmond footy club is in trouble for riotous behaviour at a Sydney Hotel. Wouldn't happen to have been the Coogee Bay Hotel would it? Just a guess. It does have a reputation. The team has been so sick of waiting for a win (pokes out tongue at Tony) and the chance for a celebration, they decided to celebrate another loss instead.

When I was young, if I was questioned, I would say I barrack for Collingwood. Now I say St Kilda, since I am something of a local and have been for a long time. Changing footy teams is an unforgivable sin for those who take the game seriously. All my male relatives and Sister and the Bone Doctor take football so seriously. At some point when I was a kid, I realised that wrestling on tv was fake. Regardless, my late step father used to take it seriously. I think I am coming to the realisation that football is now fake. It is art performance by professional actors.

Among the cast of a good performance there must be a baddie and it seems Mick Malthouse, coach of team Collingwood, is the man.

The latest tale of his horridness is only a confirmation of what I have thought for a long time. A nastier piece of sneering and supercilious work you could not find.

Hep C

If you don't know what I am on about below, click here to see the news story. It seems it all began in 2008. It is now 2010.

Dr: Ms Jones, I am afraid that you have returned a positive result for Hepatitis C.

Ms J: How can that be Doctor? I am not a junkie. I've never taken drugs in my life, let alone with a syringe.

Dr: Ms Jones, it can be transmitted by any blood to blood contact.

Ms J: But Doctor, I have been coming to you for years. You know me. You know my family. You know my lifestyle. I haven't exchanged blood with anyone.


HD: Health Department, how can we help you?

Dr: I have a patient who has contracted Hep C. While I know people often deny a reason why they may contract such a disease, I am troubled by this case. I have known her a long time and she is just not the type. The only way that I can imagine is that if she has undergone surgery.

HD: Thank you Doctor. We will look into it in due course.

And time passes, a long time passes and then!!!

Never mind that Hep C is a notifiable disease and all cases should be investigated and I would assume on the form the question is asked as to how the disease was contracted. Had the patient undergone any surgery? If so, where and what procedure?

The above is of course something I just made up but what use are all the rules, regulations, procedures, notifications, publicly and privately funded organisations that have allowed this situation to arise? There is just no other word for it. Someone, or more than one, has fucked up big time. Now just watch while everyone rushes into self protection mode.

Sunday, April 11, 2010


It was a pretty enough sunrise, viewed from home. While in the photo it looks quite dark still, it was not that dark. The camera lies. I often forget to pay attention to sunrises. There is an odd occasion when I find it hard to get up early, but generally I am happy enough to spring out of bed when the alarm shrieks. I am often already awake in anticipation of the day ahead. Just call me Pollyanna. All will be good.

But sometimes a sunrise can look harsh. In summer when at home, the light increases and suddenly a tiny piece of sun appears. And then it gets bright and nasty and I rush to close the blinds. While I wasn't at home, this was one of those harsh sunrises and it spoke of evil things later in the day, unless you were the owner of a panel beating business and the day's weather events secured your future for months ahead.

Just another Sunday, an easter one

After our visits for coffee, where service was less than satisfactory, we decided to again try Cafe Vue across the road for breakfast. It was Easter Sunday and quietish for a change. The food and service were good and while we paid a little more for breakfast out than we usually do, it was not expensive. The Cafe Vue promotional card is amusing.

We were thinking art galleries to amuse us in the afternoon. We still have a blank wall for that very special piece. Eltham? Car or train? R decided a drive along the beach front would be better. I suggested Hampton Street might be a place to look for art.

While I have strong family connections to Brighton, it and Sandringham, Beaumauris, Black Rock and Hampton are such nothing areas to me, their only merit being bayside.

We turned off into Hampton Street and behold, miles and miles of shops, being easter Sunday, most of which were shut. We walked up and back down and boy are there some shops there. They stretch from the beach to South Road. We peered into windows and we did get some inspiration that may or may not be followed up. There were the usual easter Sunday hopefuls, arriving, parking and looking into Woolworths, wondering why it was shut. I saw things to go back there for when it was a more normal shopping day. Here are a few photos.

We are here, somewhere on this old map, in a shop window. No recognisable family names.

You don't see many of these lights anymore. They always gave out a warm glow, unlike harsh fluorescents.

The shop door may have looked ok if it did not have another door showing underneath. It was one of those places that smell of incense and sell third world goods for grossly inflated prices.

I suppose we had walked up a bit of an upgrade. A hill is stretching it. The boy who drew the seagull, to the back of the class.

I'd reckon religion would be strong in Hampton. I never get how religion and otherwise clever and educated people go together. This is your low church worship building.

This is a nice building frontage. Maybe it was a theatre.

I tried to take a photo of an interesting interior wall of an eatery and failed and ended up with a very messy picture, but the picture kind of works.