Saturday, May 08, 2010

Around Town

I had a few bits and pieces to do in town. I don't recall ever being to Hosier Lane, which is supposed to have great murals painted by street artists. I took myself there via Little Collins Street. I don't think I have ever walked along this section of Little Collins Street. I turned right into Hosier Lane and it is a very open lane, leading from Little Collins to Flinders. I saw a couple of large murals I liked, but there was a lot of tagging too. I would sum the lane up as ugly. Amusingly a small work by the UK street artist Banksy was accidentally removed by council contractors a week or so ago. This outrage even made the BBC news.

Halfway along the lane is a smaller lane at right angles. Within there a group of unsavoury types were hanging around. Another couple walked past me, headed into the side lane. I am just not going to linger here. I kept my wallet, camera and phone out of sight. Down at the bottom of the lane a group of Chinese mainland tourists were getting a guided tour of the lane. I suspect they weren't going to be taken up past the side lane.

Great effort Victorian Planning Minister Justin Madden. You are responsible for the destruction of Lonsdale House, a substantial art deco building in our fair city, and goodness knows, we don't have many examples of art deco.

Pots, pans and lids and other cookware ware hanging from the roof at Fed Square. Why? Is it but art?

One of my and R's favouristist shop in Melbourne, not that we can afford to buy anything there. The coloured glass sculptures are just beautiful.

Plenty of Camerafaces here at Fed Square, including yours truly. I decided the aspect ration for the screen is wrong and I wasn't quite as fat as I looked on the screen.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Hydraulic Water

If you are follower of Jayne's Our Great Southern Land, you will have noticed she has been popping into her posts, pictures of plumbing access cover found on public footpaths. (Today she has some great shots of beautiful birds. There's a a lot of extra hits for Jayne today, but the searcher may be disappointed) These plates are quite interesting as they mostly have the name of the plumber on them and the area or town where he was based. I can't ever recall noticing one although MMBW, Melbourne and Metropolitan Board of Works plates are common. I think new plates have Melbourne Water on them. I more often to be seen looking up at buildings rather than studying the ground.

I came across these a while ago in the administration foyer of Melbourne Town Hall. I went in today to take a photo of them. I was waiting for someone to pounce on me for taking a photo, but no one did. I should have asked, but if they said no, I would miss the photo. If I just took the photo, they surely would only warn me off and not make me delete the photo.

Boxes in the way prevented me capturing the second plate properly. The clear plate photo says Hydraulic (Service) Power Co. The less clear one says Hydraulic (Service) Power Dpt. I would guess they less clear plate is newer, used after Melbourne City Council took over the Hydraulic Power company (detail not verified).

I wrote about the hydraulic high pressure water system last year. The sign with the two plates contradicts my source by stating there was 11 kilometres of pipes, rather than the seven I suggested.

Do you find old pipes interesting? Let Julie tell you about some even older pipes in Sydeny.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Pass me a mop. Someone spilt oil

I could not understand what the British Petroleum spokesperson said. It is our oil, our responsibility and we were not drilling and then he said it was a contractor who was responsible. Firstly I think it may be America's oil, not BPs. But is this an example of issue confusing?

So what happens to a company when it is responsible for an appalling environmental disaster? Often nothing. But let us take a look at one very bad disaster for the environment, also involving large quantities of oil being spilt. Who could could forget the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989? I understand the some effects of the spill from the ship are still present.

A jury awarded $287 million for actual damages and $5 billion in punitive damages. The company appealed, appealed and appealed again and the figure was reduced to around $500 million, below the amount that had already been paid out and so effectively, $5 billion in punitive damages was reduced to $0. That is my reading of it anyway.

Wildlife toll stats?

Up to 250,000 seabirds
2,800 sea otters
12 river otters
300 seals
247 bald eagles
22 orcas.
billions of salmon and herring eggs

Widespread reductions in many animal populations due to the ingestion of contaminated soil.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Social Highriser and the failed appliance

It may well be social Highriser, but failed appliances are intruding. How many things have failed around the Highrise this year? The list is long and you will have already read about them. But it hasn't stopped.

Seems my balcony door bolt failed. Because I had to pack it out so that the lock cleared a lip, the friction pad had no pressure to keep the bolt in and out it dropped out. I fixed it by getting the jigsaw out and cutting a piece of timber to wedge in behind the friction pad. It worked. I tested it, rocking the door against the lock back and forth. R came home and took a look and he barely touched it and the timber wedge fell out. I installed two larger packing washers and they are now holding the friction pad in, so far.

At the weekend I turned on the range hood lights and zap, there was a bang, the lights did not come on a circuit was tripped. I reset the circuit but the lights are fused in some way. The fans are still working.

Today I switched the dishwasher on and away it went. Gee, it finished quickly. Too quickly. The panel lights were out and it had not finished. It is electrically dead.

It is so hard when both people work, well, I suppose it is if you are single too, to get tradespeople in. I am lucky that I often have weekday off to arrange such things.

But the thing is, on my day off next week, I am committed to meeting some friends at a prestigious Southern Cross restaurant. Dishwasher repair is important, but so is the lunch that I have committed to

Dishwasher repair person coming tomorrow, Thursday. Damn, can't use that excuse to get out of it.

That Deveny Woman Again

Shock horror. An offensive, shocking, provocative and thought provoking comedian has been sacked as a personal column writer for The Age.

Now why would The Age ever have employed Catherine Deveny in the first place? She has always been offensive, shocking, provocative and thought provoking, and at times funny. I thought that was her job? Like, why she was hired?

As I only pay for The Age when R is on holidays, and then only once a week, it futile for me to threaten to not buy The Age, but by golly, it has gone down in my estimation.

Worse, The Age did this when the are publishing extracts from a biography of a former editor, the late Graham Perkin, who shook the newspaper to its very bootstraps and shocked its readers by challenging orthodoxy.

I rarely use such overused phrases as nanny state and political correctness gone mad, but truly, does The Age think so little of its readers that it thinks we can't cope with some tacky and bad taste humour? The Age has taken a large chip out of my goodwill towards it.

Now, just watch Deveny go on to greater fame and perhaps fortune on the back of this.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Brighton Wars

The Brighton Antique Dealer is at war and has been for about four years. She is warring with her neighbour. She has fought him against his mega upward extension to his home tooth and nail through the council, VCAT and solicitors letters. While she had some victories and stopped him taking liberties, ultimately he built his very new Brighton three story house.

I noticed on Sunday that a house had been demolished in St Kilda Street, Brighton and immediately wondered if the very low height limit was still in force. With Melbourne 2030 in force and VCAT at the beck and call of developers, I guess not.

We were at BAD's place for another barbe to celebrate the birthday of Dame M's Boarder's Hair Dresser Friend. I think I can now call her our Hair Dresser Friend. How quickly the weather has changed. Just a few weeks ago for R's birthday BAD's Toy Boy had erected shading for us. Now the shading was to protect us from showers that never eventuated. BAD bought an outdoor overhead gas heater two years ago and it was christened yesterday and did a fine job. It was a lovely afternoon, with too much drinking and too much eating and a lot of laughing.

See first photo below. 'What are these steel uprights for BAD?' 'Next door's sail cloth supports. Don't worry, they are on his side of the fence. His workers came into my yard to put them up without asking. I asked them what they were doing and told them to get out.'

BAD went on, 'He saw me in the street a few days later. He said, "How are you today you old c***?"' Now I know they have been warring, but hardly the way to speak to a sweet seventy six year old lady. Maybe not so sweet.

Her latest battle with him is over her tv reception, she has had to extend the antenna, and now it is cooler, she found her chimney flue for her decorative fire would no longer work and had to be extended. He told that she could not attach the brackets to his house. She did anyway.

One victory I can recall is windows on the side of his house extension were disallowed and the screen of trees in the first photo had to be planted.

That's a nasty stain

I know about nasty stains. We have had two dogs and two cats, the dogs from pups to death, and the cats from teens to senility and death. There have been careless people in our houses. We have been careless at times.

I think I am repeating myself, but I wrote a long time ago about when I stepped off a ladder onto a full tin of paint and tipped it over. No more painting was done that day as I spent the rest of the day cleaning up, almost successfully.

Of course it is a natural reaction to yell at a dog if it does something wrong, so when he stepped into the paint tray and I yelled, he took off, leaving a wonderful trail.

We were in the middle of polishing woodwork when friends called in and one of them kicked over the bottle of Marveer. That was fairly challenging.

Another friend used to like to make us and himself coffee when he visited. He would overfill the mugs and then carry them with his less than steady hands to us. Much coffee dribbling.

Little Jo has caused her fair share. Stains on the carpet were almost a thing of the past until she arrived. The latest was a cup of milk.

The mega stain was when R dropped a bottle of red wine on the kitchen floor tiles, next to the carpet. As well as staining the white tile grout, it flowed onto the carpet. Not quite as bad as upending the paint tin, but pretty bad. The paint was on old carpet though, the red wine here. Bleach cleaned the grout.

In times past, I sometimes used to step in grease at work, and then walk it on the carpet. That actually was easy to clean.

You only really need two things to spot clean carpet, white spirits, aka Shellite, for grease stains, and wool wash for the rest. Bleach to clean the grout was a one off.

If none of those work, you just live with the stain.

So, c'mon. Fess up. What is the killer stain you have made?

Monday, May 03, 2010

Anzac 4 and the rest

Last Monday was a public holiday for us to celebrate Anzac Day which was the day before. This is such a good idea.

In the true Australian spirit, we went shopping, to Chadstone, shock horror. Parking was a nightmare, it was so crowded, there is nothing there that I want that I can't get in town, coffee was lousy and outrageously expensive and food as you get anywhere. Chaddy's only salvation was that there was some very hot talent around. We bought nothing but food and coffee.

We drove inched from there to that huge office supply place in Warrigal Road to buy ink for the printer.

On to the Brother Friends' place to admire there newly painted lounge room, repainted in exactly the same colour, except the name of the colour has changed, and to assist with their computer problems. I could not fix it.

I think it has a virus. It would only continually restart if started normally. It would run in safe mode, but there was little that I could do while it was in safe mode. I did empty temporary files and temp net files. But it seems it was well infected. Microsoft does show the list of what is causing trouble, from viruses to worms, but will not let you fix it without registering and I assume paying. I advised a trip to the sick pc shop.

Teen Chainsaw Niece turned up out of the blue on Friday night and stayed over until Saturday afternoon. Sister and Little Jo turned up Saturday night for Sister to go see her Hawk football team loose miserably and they stayed the night. We had a full on social thing today, Sunday.

Bone Doctor will stay one night next week. Then Sunday is Mother's Day and so Mother will require attention and ABI Brother will stay one night following week.

Who's bright idea was it to buy a three bedroom apartment with recreational facilities in a central location?

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Thai Lao Friendship Bridge

Some of the things I find interesting must seem odd to you.

I remember when this bridge opened in 1994 and at the time, I felt some pride that it was an Australian initiative and that we paid for it. I don't actually know if it has benefited Laos but it must make life easier for the locals, but perhaps the nefarious too. (hey, doesn't using the word nefarious make me sound smart. I just need to slip paradigm in somewhere soon. I better find out what it means first) It is now called the First Thai Lao Friendship Bridge, as I think number four is presently being constructed.

Now, who was it who insisted it was strongly constructed so that a train could travel across it? I can't recall, but someone did, against those who wanted a cheaper version. Guess what? A train track has now been added and trains use it too. Cars have to stop.

The King of Thailand left his country for something like the first time in fifty years for the opening of the bridge, and has never left since.

It may well have been ABC radio's The World Today that alerted me to the construction of the bridge. I recall asking workmates from the respective countries about it but none knew of it. What I did glean at the time was that Thailand drives on left, as we do, and Laos, an former French colony, drives on the right. I suppose it is not the only place it happens in the world, but how do the drivers change sides? I imagined an overpass of some type but a simpler system of traffic lights was used. I am so disappointed to learn this. I imagined some sort of flyover that changes the traffic from right to left.

Sister has driven on the wrong side of the road in the US. Very brave, not sure that I could do it.

But wouldn't it be very weird switching from one side of the road to the other?

As is said in chatrooms, 'stats?'

Over one kilometre long, 12.7 metres wide and high enough for a 13 metre variation in the height of the Mekong River.

Here is a very flattering photo from the designer's website, AECOM.

Volvo iPhones

I am a member of an email group that often receives posts sent from member's mobile phones. While I don't think they can stop it happening, and so I don't thing they are aggrandising themselves for having an iPhone, there is a footer that comes with the email saying 'Sent from my iPhone'.

I don't have an iPhone and I can email without my phone adding, 'sent from my Ultra Touch'.

It rather reminds me of when Volvo cars always had their headlights on when being driven. There was nothing the owner could do to stop the lights being on, and given the general standard of driving by Volvo owners, it wasn't such a bad thing. Volvos no longer compulsorily have their lights on and I suspect in time, 'sent from my iPhone' will disappear too.

Who could forget the very loud turn signal noise on motorbikes. Don't seem to hear that now either.

The next microwave oven we buy will definitely not have the 'nag' feature. If I am stupid enough to forget I have put something in the microwave, then it is my bad luck. I don't want three piercing beeps every minute to remind me. Mind you, there will probably always be a cup of warmed up coffee gone cold in the microwave that I have forgotten about.

Do you have some auto thing happening with your bits of electronics or car that you hate?