Friday, August 27, 2010

At last

It really gets up my goat's nose when annual awards are given out to people for just doing their job. You know, all those public servants who get paid very nicely and then are awarded with a a couple of initials after their name. Captains of Industry, who have made squillions and get a gong for hosting occasional charity dinners, and thereby increase their profile. We in Australia have a proud history of it and it goes back to Britain where it is also still practised.

It used to be the same for Victoria's father of the year award. It was always someone famous who seemed to be an impossibly high achieving and busy celebrity of sorts and was yet was the perfect father!!!

So good on you Chris Berry. I have never heard of you and doubt I will gain, but you sound to be a deserving recipient of the award.

Counting Down

I first saw these traffic lights in Orchard Road, Singapore in 2008. The red seconds count down indicating how long you have to cross before the lights go red. Just over a month ago, I saw similar in Tokyo, where progressive red or green bars were used as an indicator. Both great ideas. Why not in Australia?

We now have such a device in my least favourite place in Melbourne, Camberwell Junction. I dislike the Junction so much that I am not going there to take a photo to show you. A red countdown second indicator has been installed for pedestrians crossing Riversdale and Camberwell Roads on the eastern side of Burke Road. VicRoads must perceive this to be a problem area.

But do VicRoads do it smart? In Singapore once the indicators shows zero seconds, that is it. The traffic light goes red at zero seconds. Oh no, not for Melbourne. Here a good bit of time still follows the display showing zero seconds before the traffic light turns red. Once people realise that there is still time to sprint across after the zero shows, that is exactly what they will do. Still four seconds showing? Still time to walk across after mentally adding the extra time. Zero does not mean zero. It makes the display worthless. VicRoads might argue it adds an extra measure of safety. Not how I see it. More likely a bit of mental game to further restrict pedestrians crossing that interrupts the flow of cars turning left, not that I have any tolerance of pedestrians illegally crossing either when they interfere with turning cars.

Elsewhere, the traffic light has just turned green and you press the button to bring up the walk signal and damn. You must wait until the next cycle. Grrr. Tough. I walk anyway, although not disrupting turning cars. I'll leave that for someone else to rant write thoughtfully about.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Great Traffic Wall of China

The 100 kilometre traffic jam in China has amused me no end, and some others it seems. It is mainly trucks of course. The jam is slowly clearing with speeds now up to 3.2 km/h...ah, sorry, no, that is 3.2 kilometres per day.

With some nice lateral thinking, China is investigating putting rails on either side of the freeway and having a bus travel on stilts down onto the rails over the top of traffic. While China is doing some wonderful things with high speed passenger trains, perhaps they better look at high speed freight lines. All those trucks sitting for day after day costs.

I wanna see photos of this massive traffic jam. Google showed me a few general photos of bad Chinese traffic jams.

I liked the quote from one female driver who said, if you see a food cart coming along the line of traffic, you know you are in for a long long wait. She may well have added if you see a Portaloo coming.

This is the freeway traffic jam. Why doesn't the truck at the very front just move on and everyone else follow? Hmmm, I just started thinking about all those trapped truck drivers, so frustrated and bored. Hmmm indeed. You'd just have to spit after the first few. I've heard it can be ever so fattening.

We all know how freeways solve traffic problems, as do roundabouts.

Darls, just popping down to the shops for some fags. Back in five.

Please my friend, you go first. No no, you first please, thanks. Charmed, I'm sure. (I really should give credit to this one. Damn, can't find it now)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Homophobia #1 and #2

I can cope with overt homophobia much better than I cope with ever so subtle homophobia. I think one dictionary describes homophobia as 'an intense dislike of homosexuals'. Cool, I know where I stand with that.

It is the subtle casual remark or comment that gets me.

My workplace has various divisions. One is well known to harbour many homosexuals. I won't call him a workmate as he is no mate of mine, but in front of me he made an unpleasant remark about where he used to work, in the division full of homosexuals. Should I out myself and pull him up? I have in the past. I did not this time. His remark was mild but if he went any further, I had my hand on the trigger. It is not just about me. It is about the workplace. Some may call it political correctness gone mad, but you just can't make anti female comments, racist comments, anti religious comments and homophobic comments in public. I learnt my lesson at work. A standing joke among our friends is oh, Sunday morning, can't make it, church you know, or variations on that. How was I to know that the workmate I was speaking was actually going to church on Sunday morning.

I just advise str8 guys to make sure they are only talking to 100% heterosexual males when they make anti gay comments or jokes. These pooftahs are insidious creatures. They are everywhere in guises you may not recognise.

That is one thing and fairly personal and ever so minor. The next I am very annoyed about. There was a same sex marriage rally in the city. I was on a tram and an anonymous voice boomed out of the loud speakers from the tram control centre about disruption to the services.

Sometimes when I am on a tram I have heard the control centre mention who the demonstrating group is that is disrupting the tram service, but not always. Often it is just 'a demonstration'. It was not the words that I heard from the person at the end of the microphone. It was the verbal raised eyebrows. I feel like complaining to Yarra Trams. Maybe I will, maybe not. They ought to have a policy as to whether the demonstrators who disrupt the service are named and shamed. It they are to be named, it should be in a non judgemental manner, without any vocal inflexion.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

More Barangaroo

Here is a good illustration of what I was on about re Barangaroo. Sydney - City and Suburbs published these photos today from Walsh Bay. It is a rather nice looking apartment which pays service to its historic site. I would like to live there, if I could afford it. I like to be near the sea. Beaches don't really interest me, but the sea does.

But click on the link below and you will see the property's location, that triangular area in the centre. The expanse of concrete to your left is the northern end of Barangaroo, where there will be enormous towers. Drag the map and you can see how close it is to Observatory Park and The Rocks.,151.202618&z=18&t=k&nmd=20100801

The White Magnolia Tree

As winter progresses I know the absolute worst of winter has passed, in theory, once I see Japonica Camellias blooming. But nothing heralds the season of spring to me more than noticing the first magnolias. Except here in the apartment, everywhere we have lived if there wasn't one there already, we planted a magnolia.

In Richmond I came across this fine Magnolia Soulangeana, then later in the day, one I perhaps have posted a photo of before, a white Magnolia Denudata in South Yarra. Its scent is exquisite. As developers get their hands on large blocks with individual houses and build a forty story tower right up to the fence lines, trees such as Magnolias are disappearing from our suburbs.

Will we have to travel to the Deep South of the United States in the future to see splendidly large magnolias? I hope not.

PS, I was going to post a You Tube clip of a song about a magnolia tree. After ages of fruitless searching, I established that there was a poem called The White Magnolia Tree, but it was nothing to do with the tear jerker song, which also took time to find, Honey, by Bobby Goldsboro.

Monday, August 23, 2010


It is all about perception. The killer is in the last line, not the first to share you views on the matter.

I am a St Kilda Road resident of eight years and I have read every issue of 3004 since its inception from cover to cover and I appreciate receiving each issue. However, I was very disappointed to see that 3004 (the org or just the mag?) has nailed its political colours to the mast by including a flyer promoting Liberal Party political aspirant Clem Newton Brown. It was a waste of paper anyway as we are St Kilda Road Albert Park District residents.

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for your feedback and I do take on board your comments. Thank you.

I do not believe Melbourne Media has nailed any political colours in principal as this was a paid flyer by Clem Newton Brown that we have for over 10 years provided equal opportunity to all government, council, political, religious, corporate/small businesses and not-for-profit organisations to be part of.

We do make note on page 3 above the front cover image that “The opinions in this publication do not necessarily represent the views of The Editor or The Publisher © Melbourne Media Pty Ltd

For this particular issue of 3004 News, only Clem Newton Brown took the opportunity for the paid space (of an inserted flyer) but invitations were extended to all the above mentioned as per our rate card. We also have to take into consideration, both sides of St Kilda Rd and for that very reason we extended the invitation to all political parties with the upcoming elections.

I am happy to hear that for years you have read our publication from cover to cover and trust you will continue to do so. To produce our free quarterly publication to all St Kilda Rd residents and businesses, we rely on advertisers to produce and distribute.

I wish to thank you for you time in sending me your email with your concerns and trust you will do so in the future.

I will also forward your email to our Publisher as you are not the first to share your views on this very matter.

Many thanks again Andrew

Yours truly,

A different slant on Barangaroo

The developers must have heard that there was some unhappiness with what is proposed at Sydney's Hungry Mile, aka Barangaroo. Ah, they thought, we will appease this unhappiness by making the buildings even taller and they have. Here is the latest artist's impression taken from the Sydney Morning Herald.

Note one side of the water is low rise and this side will be highrise. Barangaroo almost looks to be an extension of the city with high rise buildings dominating. Matters not too much perhaps.

But, in between Barangaroo and Sydney city are people, real people living in their houses and going about their daily lives. There are businesses and local shops for local people, post office, pubs, churches, splendid views from Observatory Park. The samll area is known as Millers Point and it will be hemmed in on all sides by high rise.

Melbourne's Docklands must be over ten years old now and I think it is a fair call to say it is a planning disaster. Many people will call it as such. But look at the property prices there, I hear you cry. Ah, the tricks developers and agents get up to to maintain the prices.

Is Sydney about to make the same mistake? At least Melbourne's Docklands doesn't have much impact on the surrounding areas. Barangaroo certainly will.

View Larger Map

Sunday, August 22, 2010


I liked Maxine McKew as a television presenter. I loved her when she was not only a member of the Labor Party that defeated John Howard's Liberal government in 2007, she actually caused Prime Minister John Howard to lose his seat. I still get waves of nice feelings when the result became clear.

She has now lost Bennelong to a former sports person. Just goes to show how hated Howard became. It was not people voting for Labor or Liberal. It was people voting against John Howard.

I am not sure what to make of her dummy spit last night. After it was clear that she had lost her seat but before she spoke, I assured R that the party will find her a safe seat for next time, but I doubt it now. What she said was possibly correct, but I don't think it was the time to say it. Isn't this sort of frank chat best saved for inside the party?

Maxine is clearly a very capable person but I suspect once she was elected, she was told to sit down and shut up. Her light was not allowed to shine, hence her convincing defeat. Her partner/husband is from the very left of the Labor party so I would guess her own politics are similar. Maybe she was dangerous to the Labor Party that seems to have forgotten what it is, that is the political arm of the union movement.

Well done to Adam Bandt, being the first ever Green member elected to the Reps. The Greens doubled their 2007 vote. Extraordinary and well done them. It amuses me that no matter what negotiations go on in the Reps, including with Bandt, to get legislation through, the Greens can stop it in the Senate as they now hold the balance of power.

Family First Senator Fielding has been given the flick. I don't like passionately religious people saying yah or nay on matters that affect me. They never see the trees for the wood.

Sister now lives in the electorate of Corangamite. She had seen virtually no advertising for sitting Labor member Cheeseman, but had been flooded with Liberal contender Henderson advertising. The seat is still in doubt. Unless there is a redistribution, I would call it as a future Labor seat owing to changing demographics. I did not know Sister was a Greens paid up member. She handed out how to votes for the Greens and has done so before.

Lordy, Mother voted. ABI brother took her to the polling booth. Doesn't she know she doesn't have to vote at her age? She told ABI brother exactly where to find an easy parking space, and then no doubt voted Liberal.

I shan't make any double entendre remark about a hung parliament, no matter how much I want to. Suffice to say I don't mind a hung parliament. Negotiations are good. Work Choices was a result of a government not having to negotiate, and look what happened to that government!