Friday, May 21, 2010

Coming to you live

My posts over the last week were prepared in advance and just touched up. They weren't published when they were first written as they were lacking and probably still are. I have even struggled to read your blogs this week, as I have been so short of time. Family matters intrude and work has mega intruded.

What family matters, you ask? What, you didn't? You are not such a caring and sharing person?

Tuesday night Mother rang in a panic. ABI Brother was due back from his over 50s singles holiday on Queensland's Daydream Island in the afternoon but he was not home by evening. Phone calls back and forth and contingency plans put into place should he not return by the next morning. About 9pm he answered his home phone and I told him to immediately call Mother. Lesson learnt, and I learnt it when Sis in Law called Dreaded Nephew in Thailand and a Thai answered the phone. She went into panic, thinking her son had been murdered. She did not realised that calling a mobile outside Australia is a bit different. Strayed off, next time make sure we have ABI Brother's itinery and insist he gets a mobile phone.

Wednesday night. Sis, Bone Doctor and Little Jo stayed. That night we learnt that who we thought was Little Jo's father was not. Little Jo's adultish half brother and sister have been told about their half sister. They are kewl with it and will probably pay a bit more attention now to Little Jo, as a half sister rather than a child of friends. Little Jo just loves meat. It will be a miracle if she turns into a vegetarian. She ate two small lamb chops herself and not too much in the way of salad or spuds.

Thursday R was unwell and could not go to work, but he was well enough to take Little Jo to see The Wiggles at the Palais in St Kilda, thereby using up his birthday present from Sister. He and Little Jo enjoyed the show very much.

Mother is in hospital for tests. R must go to Valley Hospital and collect her and stay with her until Sister arrives tomorrow. No sooner has her private health benefits kicked in, she is getting her, no ours, we are paying, monies worth.

Sister has sold her house in Geelong, kept the flat in Murrumbeena and bought a house near to where they are on the Bellarine Peninsular. They intend staying in the area. Bone Doctor has women who wear sensible shoes queuing up for PAP smears, just by word of mouth. Initially seemed strange to me, but then I go to a doctor who is gay, so there you go. It will be good for Little Jo to have some stability. She has already lived in Geelong, northern Victoria, central Victoria, Murrumbeena, in a provided place on the Bellarine and now finally, move into something permanent on the Bellarine. She is not even three yet.

Not finished yet. I made the mistake of sending a text to Sis in Law before I went to bed last night. Just as I went to sleep, she rang. She is head over heels in love with a guy she met via the net a mere month ago and they have announced their engagement. He has bought her a ring although the marriage will be a long time away I think. Talk about teens in love, except she is early forties and he is my age. She is a grown woman and I believe in love at first sight. The Gay Uncles have not met him yet.

I also learnt that Tradie Brother asked Sis in Law for a divorce a few months ago when he had his girlfriend, who has now bolted, up to point.

Weird. Family was not a part of our lives for a long time and now they are. Combination of Little Jo arriving and Step Father dying and our happiness with our present friends and no desire to seek now ones.

Friends are important though, even net friends. For those of you wondering about Jayne's absence from the www, she has not shot herself...........yet.

New Internet

It takes friends to point these things out. Telstra never helps me, no matter how long I have been a loyal customer and always sung their praises. Well maybe I have been critical of them, but so I should be.

Back in the late 1990s, it took a friend to point out a good deal to transfer from no name dial up to Telstra cable. For the cost of about $100, men dug up the street, and patched it up again, dug along the side of our house, installed a box, brought a modem and connected it up and sorted out the computer to deal with cable internet. It was a dream after dial up.

Recently a blog mate started using, I think, ADSL2, and posted a speed test site. I checked our cable at the speed test site and it was considerably slower than ADSL2. I was not particular concerned though. I considered our net connection fast enough for us.

Yet again, another friend steps up to crease and mentions an ADSL deal Telstra had just notified him about. I took a look, and sure enough, it applies to cable too.

From the discounted $69 per month(normally $79) for 25gb at 8mb per second, we now have for $49 the same 25gb but at the speed of 30,000 mb per second (maybe it is 3000 or even 300. Sloppy of Telstra not to make it clear. Check this link) Seems a big difference, but that is how I read it.

I was warned that our eight year old modem might not be up to the speed increase or could even fail, but it hasn't happened. The transition was seamless. Initially, I did not notice a difference. I was just pleased it still worked. But the more I use the computer, the more I am noticing the net is super lightning fast.

I am not sure I want Krudd's super fast fibre optic. Well, not while Telstra limits us to the absurd 25gb download limit. A friend tells me Optus is offering 100 plus gb for the same price.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Electric

I am so excited to be able to use the word diaphanous. Do any of my readers swan around in diaphanous gowns? I am asking you ladies as well. The lady in the diaphanous clothing is switching on a light switch, which I expect allows electricity to flow to a light bulb.

Before our power supply was privatised, the marvellous government owned State Electricity Commission supplied our power. While it was a bloated and overstaffed institution, the power always flowed through well maintained wires, barring a disaster and even then, repairs were quick, in the suburbs, city or bush.

But there were a few suburbs that bought power from the SEC, and resold it to their residents. I am only guessing, but maybe they originally they produced their own power. I recall that the City of Box Hill and City of Coburg, or was it Brunswick, had their own power companies. The largest surely was City of Melbourne.

Again supposition, but was Melbourne Elec tric Supply Co. Lt. a private company? Never mind, you can get real admiration from me if you can tell me why there is the gap on the post card in Elect ric. A simple typesetting problem? Are you sure?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Buses for Melbourne

Somewhere south of the Highrise, new tram tracks were being laid. A line of replacement buses was inching forward as the buses unloaded their passengers onto trams. I not like lines of buses. I am like most Melburnians and love a good whinge about trams, but I'm glad we have them.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Special School

From the north of Victoria to the south, from the east to the west, school zone speed limits are standard. Ridiculous times in my opinion, absurd locations at times and absurdly low limits in some places, but that is how it is.

Except, not for the children who attend a school in Balaclava Road, East St Kilda who obviously have very influential parents. While I admire their achievement, I think it is wrong for the State Government to make an exception.

Most of us have to work within the system. Not so for the Balaclava Road school. They changed the system for themselves only. What power!!!

As this link shows, 8.00AM to 9.30AM and 2.30PM to 4PM is standard. This did not suit the Balaclava Road School, Beth Rivkah College I believe. They lobbied hard and had their speed limits changed to 7.00AM to 9.00AM and 2.30PM to 5PM.

Good hey. Don't fit in with society, but change society's rules to suit you. I like the principle, even if I do not like the result.

A ciggie laugh

I was only half paying attention but I think she was calling from the US. She called into Jon Faine's radio program to complain about increasing taxes in Australia for smokers.

I need to think about this an awful lot more but she would not concede that smoking was bad for your health yet she seemed to recognise that smokes die younger. I need to think about what follows because there could be some logic in it. I immediately thought of the movie, Thank You for Smoking. One argument in the movie by the spinner was that it was not in the tobacco company's interest for smokers to die prematurely. The company does not poison them. They want them alive and continue to consume their product.

But what the US lady was arguing was about the cost to to health care systems by smokers. She argued that smokers cost society less. They die prematurely, and therefore the cost to society is less for health care and less for pensions and other care.

There could be some logic to this. I am not sure. Dame M, a heavy smoker, died at the age of 82. Had she not smoked, perhaps she could have lived to be 100. If she had to choose, I expect she would have chosen the path she took. While she was delighted at her minions being always there, she was not really someone who would want to 'be cared for'.

Clearing decks, wait for some more brief and poor posts.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Spanish Stork (not stalk and not rude)

Kiwi Nomad is a very distant relative of mine. We went our own ways a few generations ago, but our rels both hail from the same Italian village in Switzerland. She has my admiration as she has walked the Camino Trail across Spain. Enough ingratiating.

KN posted a link to a webcam in Spain that is sitting above a pair of storks who have just hatched their chicks. The cam is is a cross between watching paint dry and live action. I find it compulsive. Click here.

Was Washing Machine, Now about a car.

I don't suppose there was more than one model made, so it must have been the same as this one. The Lightburn washing machine, firstly owned by my grandmother and then passed on to my mother. It was called a twin tub, but the washing tub rather resembled a concrete mixer. With only a chip heater to heat bath water, Mother used an electric immersion heater to heat the water in the machine. It was a very efficient clothes washer........and destroyer of fine clothes, buttons, zips, in fact pretty well anything except a pair of tough dungarees.

So it is not so strange that Lightburn also made concrete mixers. Lightburn was an Adelaide company and wait for it, the company was so pleased with its washing machine and concrete mixer effort, they made a motor car. It was produced between 1963 and 1966 and they managed to sell 363 units. The car had a fibreglass body, a two stroke engine which drove the front wheels and it could travel as fast backwards as it could forwards, which wasn't terribly fast but possibly alarming if you were in reverse. Mr Lightburn's intention was to knock car maker Holden off its perch, but who knows why, this did not happen.

The Zeta did have some good points. The front seats could be removed and clipped to the roof to use the car roof as a viewing platform for sporting events etc. But generally motorists found the most use for the seats on the roof as a comfortable place to wait for the roadside service van, while peering up the road for the man who they had now had quite an intimate relationship with.

It ain't what you would call pretty.

New TV

I am sure I moaned on long and hard about our tv failing earlier this year. Claim against Samsung still pending. I did write a letter but perhaps Samsung doesn't do letters and I need to call. I'll get there, eventually. Seems kind of redundant now as our tv screen got broke and it went the City of Port Phillip electronic recycling station. Must say though, when an object collides with an lcd tv screen, the broken screen makes a very pretty pattern.

I don't think of us as consumers of cutting edge technology, but the old 42" LCD cost us $3200. Our new 46" cost $2000. 46" is perfect for our place. Nice and big when sitting and watching and easily viewable from the kitchen area.

I will just conclude with the picture quality in lcd tvs has advanced immensely in three or so years. The sound is also much better

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Stonnington Pipes

I suppose there are some apartments in there somewhere, but all I see is the beautiful restored mansion and beautifully kept gardens. Do you recall how I puzzled over these inlet pipes in at least two posts? Purple pipe is for recycled water delivery and the other one to fill the pool. I will guess that there were some filling problems, otherwise why now do the pipes need such clear labelling?

The 'Sus' Neighbour

Nice meal of corned beef and vegetables and our friend's place in South Oakleigh after work tonight. I undressed in the street from work clothes and changed into civvies as R arrived on the tram. No hooting of horns or flashing of lights. We et a lamington sponge too. Just the three of us was nice. Friend was taking advantage of his b/f being away and so cooked beef which the b/f does not eat.

As we stepped out of the lift when we arrived home, our Honk Kong born neighbours were getting in with freshly baked and still warm buns. Take some, they said. We took one each. They were very sweet and bland. Some Asian food I like, not all.

I am only guessing, but since they had an open box of just cooked buns, they were visiting someone in the building. I am guessing it might be the HK woman who is leaving the building, a long time resident who caused the body corp a bit of trouble by her erecting a satellite dish on her balcony. The dish is not allowed but protocols were quickly enacted to allow access through cables to Asian tv from overseas.

Our neighbour who gave us the buns had her son in tow. He would be twenty now, so he was twelve when we moved here. He has turned into a nice looking and polite young man. But really, what healthy young male aged twenty goes out with his mother at ten o'clock on a Saturday night?