Saturday, October 16, 2010

Not another balloon photo

Yeah, more balloons. Mostly I don't take much notice but there was a bit of a problem with these two. The first landed on a field very close to the playground where we take Little Jo. Usually they land much further into the park in a more open area. The second one clearly intended to land there but hovered stationary for a time. How can it remain stationary? I don't know.

It then rose and drifted off again and landed further into the park. Landings seem to be seldom text book and very variable but I don't know of any serious mishaps in Melbourne. I recall one landing on the island in Albert Park Lake and the occupants had to be 'rescued'. Here is a link to our balloon flight a couple of years ago.

Friday, October 15, 2010

They Missed

There are few people in this world that I hate enough to wish they were dead. Ex Victorian Liberal Premier Jeff Kennett comes close. Like one Mrs Thatcher, he not only did not care about the working class, he detested them and did his best to create a climate of fear before trying to crush them. While he pandered to his rich business mates, he believed in the trickle down effect to prosperity. Prosperity may have trickled down, at the speed of refrigerated treacle.

So it was no surprise to me that he was shot at twice, so says he. I would have thought there was good reason to shoot at him more than twice.

I don't recall it happening during his reign and funnily there is no newspaper record. A blogmate in the know has no recollection and nor does his personal security police officer. The Police have no record. The media have no records.

Amusingly the person at the head of Beyond Blue, a philanthropic org to combat depression, is a person who caused much depression and despair, one Jeff Kennett.

Kennett is not a fool. He is up to something.

The Thing about Surgery

Have I already complained about how much my surgery cost? I have top health insurance and I am so much out of pocket. For the same treatment in our public system, I may have had to wait a few months but it would have cost almost nothing. The only thing I can say is that I received first class care from all concerned, but then I have received good care in our public system in the past.

What did puzzle me somewhat is infection control. I recall Step Father in a public hospital before he died. I recall dyke heart transplant friend in hospital with an infection. I recall Mother in hospital trying to get her blood pressure under control. In common, gloves and alcohol hand wash pumps everywhere and someone to lecture you if you did not use them and missed the notices.

Yet in the private hospital and surgeon who sliced me up, no gloves and no hand wash to be seen.

Very strange.

Six plus weeks after my surgery, I am still suffering. I am ok at work because I don't need to move much. I have numbness and tenderness. Why wasn't I told in advance about how long it would take me to recover?

Grandma would have loved velcro instead of laces for her corset. I have to wear one to keep everything tight.

Ok, written a good while ago, 15/10. I don't wear the corset anymore and I have no problem doing anything but I still have numbness and tenderness. I suppose it is well over a month since I saw the specialist and he had no interest in seeing me again. I saw my own doctor a month ago and he said yes, it can be long recovery. Last night I wrote an email to Bone Doctor seeking some reassurance that I am in a normal recovery situation, but I did not send it and deleted it this morning. I am getting better all the time, but it is just taking so long. Everyone has stopped asking how I am, assuming because I engage in a normal way that I am recovered. But I am not.

I have finally sorted out all the bills and claimed what I could from either Medicare or my health insurance. I still think private health treatment for the health insured is absurd. It might be good if you are in pain and on a long public health waiting list for non urgent treatment, but in the future, I will go with our public system.

Being manipulated aint always bad

Say there is a bit of bribery at the local council and an inducement has been offered by a sporting club to get a playing field into the park. Council knows there will be protests over the loss of some trees and alienation of park users. The council announces it is going to remove all trees from the park to allow for many sporting fields. Locals and park users are outraged and strongly protest. Eventually council buckles and says only three trees will be removed and one sporting field allowed. Local and park users are relieved to only be losing a few trees. Presto, council gets its bribes and sporting club gets its oval.

While there is no connection and just for the want of a name, I think of it as the Madden Method. Such is the manipulative way we are dealt with by our betters these days.

Chile may not be a first world country and I don't want to spoil the marvellous rescue of the trapped miners but I am sure they painted a worse case scenario for the rescue of the miners deliberately.

To quote,

We should have them out by christmas.

Seems somewhat less.

We should have them out in three months.

Seems somewhat less.

We should be able to lift them in 48 hours, first to last.

Seems somewhat less.

Politicians will always be political and manipulate.

But truly, what a joyous occasion. I was listening to the radio as the first trapped miner was being lifted out and I immediately turned on the tv to watch. My eyes filled with tears in gladness, in spite of much worse happening around the world as I type.

Now the questions about mine safety in Chile must be asked. I hope China and its ilk have been watching.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Spech Day

It is my birthday. It hasn't been bad until this last minute when I blurted something out on the phone to a well wisher which resulted in a highrise bedroom door slamming shut and I am left alone.

Ten cards, three sms, four phone calls and two emails. Really, I am of an age where I would rather skip birthdays, but hey, I love the love.

Bunurong not Bunnerong

Somebody in the highrise miscalculated as to how long it would take to travel to Bunurong Memorial Park for the service for Sis in Law's mother. Let us just say, although I calculated and added a margin, someone thought even more time was needed. Hence, we arrived with plenty of spare time, so we investigated one of the two lakes at the Park.

It was only two year's ago when Sis in Law's father died that I had my first visit to the Park, and then again when Step Father died. I was prepared to be condescending about a cemetery in Dandenong. I would have been wrong. Bunerong Memorial Park is lovely and very peaceful. It must have been around for longer than I thought, as there are many graves and plaques there already and there is plenty of room for expansion. I only had my phone to take photos.

Something is being built. Is it for Greek heritage people? Reminds me of the nuclear bomb memorial domed skeleton building in Hiroshima.

One of the lakes. Some of the rocks have plaques set into them.

Dolphins or porpoises (porpi?)

The lake from the opposite side to the earlier photo.

A frog was among the many smaller water feature sculptures.

After the service helium balloons were individually released en-mass. I had never seen this done before at a funeral and it was a very nice and light hearted conclusion. I was a bit slow getting the phone out to take the snap, hence they got a away a bit.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Coroner Questions

Pants came a little bit close to being blown up for my liking. You can read her piece on that terrible London day here. I suppose many came close to being a victim of survivor.

Fortunately by the time we were in London in three years later, my memories of places affected by the bombs had faded. One was near Edgware Road Station, Edgware Road a street we were in a few times. Another was near Kings Cross Station, a station we used. Edgware Road is a street where a lot of Middle Eastern men and I would assume many get there by catching the Underground. Seems an odd place for Muslims to set off a bomb.

I have started following the coronial inquest of the 2005 London public transport bombings where fifty two people were killed. You can hear a seven minute recording of some of the confusion among Underground and Control Room staff. Click here for the recording from the Guardian to listen. The best that can be said is no none seemed to panic.

From the Guardian.

staff did not call a code amber, in which the entire underground network is closed, until 9.19am, almost 30 minutes after the first three bombs had been detonated.

Snipped from The Independent.

The inquest heard that the emergency response was marred by a series of failings that might have delayed urgent medical care to those underground. They included:

:: Staff at the London Underground co-ordination centre continued to tell colleagues the incident was not terrorist-related at 9.32am, 44 minutes after the first explosion;

:: The Piccadilly Line manager, based at Earls Court, could not make outgoing calls from 9am onwards because the telephone system was overloaded;

:: Firefighters waited for confirmation from Tube staff that power was off, despite a police officer placing his foot on the third rail at Aldgate;

:: Confusion over which direction the Algate train was facing, which part of it was damaged, and whether it was in Aldgate or Aldgate East;

:: Emergency services were sent to Praed Street, in Paddington, instead of Chapel Street, where Edgware Road station is located, and to Liverpool Street, not Aldgate;

:: One of the Tube's specialist response units was still stuck in traffic in Clapham, south London, at 9.40am, as it waited for a police escort.

No doubt London Underground had emergency procedures but I hope they have refined them since then. I hope Australia's various underground train systems have very good emergency procedures. I know Melbourne and Sydney have had rehearsals. In a disastrous emergency such as the London bombing, many many are dependent for perhaps their lives on not so very many people. It is just no good being wise after the event. Fail safe systems must be in place and must work among chaos and confusion.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Road Rage #51

This is probably quite an inner Melbourne thing. Stupid drivers can be found everywhere but can any be more stupid than those who drive on our two lane roads that have trams in the middle and no right turn lanes?

The front car arrives at a set of traffic lights with its right indicator on, intending to turn right of course. If I was following such a car, I would check with my mirrors to see what was behind me and steer left and go around the car on the left hand side. Easy. If the car in front is not indicating to turn right then I would just stop behind. If you move into the left lane beside a car travelling straight ahead, then you will have to merge or force your way in on the other side of the intersection because parked cars will be in your lane. It is annoying in such situations when the lights go green and then the car in front indicates to turn right and you are stuck behind it but hopefully you can still pass to the left of the car once it moves out into the intersection.

But someone doing that I can cope with. What I hate is the idiot who is going straight ahead and yet pulls up behind a car turning right instead of stopping to the left of the car. And then the innocent, the believers and the naive will pull up behind the car going straight ahead in the belief that no one would be stupid enough to pull up behind a car turning right at traffic lights. This can ricochet back to the point where no one can get past because of parked cars and the fool still will not move to the left and pass the car turning right.

I can cope with the nasty drivers on the roads. I can cope with the aggressive drivers on the roads. I can cope with those who whizz past me when I am travelling at the speed limit. I can cope with those who think it is safer to drive 20 kph less than the speed limit in perfect conditions. I can even cope with the 18 year old blonde female P plate drivers, but oh, I struggle with the just plain stupid. It is lucky we citizens of Australia generally can't carry guns, or I would have one and take them out and thereby considerably add to the intelligence quotient in Australia.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The World of Banking

Sometimes tv ads are remembered for decades and become part of our national culture. Who can forget 'Not happy Jan'. I am not sure if Barbara from bank world fits into this category, but the ads must come close. This is my favourite.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Changing Times

I hate dressing up like a pox doctor's clerk for funerals, but I do make an effort. I have never owned a suit, but I have 'good pants'. I take my pair of jeans along to change into later, along with my normal shoes. However, I have noticed some very downmarket dressing at funerals I have been to recently. What? You aren't on the funeral merry go round yet? Just wait. You will be.

Sis in Law's mother has five lovely daughters some of whom now have grandchildren. How many death notices were in the major daily newspaper? Three, one from our side of the family, one from Sis in Law and one from another daughter.

Mother placed ours. I did not like the wording, concluding with 'another link in the chain broken'. Is she having a go at the separation of our respective families due to the impending divorce of Sis in Law and Tradie Brother? R and I told her we did not like, but she went ahead. I gave her half the cost of the notice in cash and the call came, Andrew, here is the reference number. They won't let me pay later and I don't have a credit card. That is money I won't see again. (And proved to be true today)

Sis in Law left Tradie Brother's name out of the death notice, he who has done so much for her late mother and known her for 20 plus years, yet Sis in Law included her new fellah, who she has known for three months. Regardless of issues between Tradie Brother and Sis in Law, poor form.

I am not sure who is responsible, but Sis in Law's notice had her son's name, Dreaded Nephew, spelt wrongly and a misplaced comma made for four readings of the notice before it made sense. Nephew's name is not an unusual one, standard spelling.

I suppose I will keep my disapproval to within our side of the family about excluding Tradie Brother. Mother is ropeable about it but she is not saying anything to Sis in Law at a time of sadness for her either.

Then there are flowers! My modern interpretation is that if you can't attend a funeral that you ought to send flowers. Sis in Law's father's funeral, one wreath from our side of the family and one from his side. Step father, one wreath from us, and one from his brother. I recall attending funerals where there were racks of flowers.

The funeral is Saturday. What an extraordinary day to have a funeral! Seems Chainsaw Niece had a school trip to Tasmania and so the funeral was delayed.

Sister is not going. It is a long way for her to come and a long day to put Little Jo through. She celebrated Bone Doctor's father's 60th birthday by attending a family lunch on the Mornington Peninsula. As they weren't paying for lunch, they could justify bringing their car across on the Queenscliff to Sorrento ferry. They called in and saw Sis in Law, so she feels that is enough.


And written after the funeral. It was a shocker and not because it wasn't well conducted. Three speakers aside from the celebrant, Oldest niece and Dreaded Nephew, Sis in Law and Chainsaw Niece, and one of the departed's grandsons, 35 years old, and his father. Note there are six listed because no one could make it through without cracking up. No one could even get started for minutes. It was very raw emotion and even those who are not prone to tears at funerals gave up and shed tears. I cry at the drop of hat but I didn't expect I would much today but to see so many people in such a mess, I and everyone else couldn't help themselves. A perfect stranger would have been in tears.

Anyway, that is done and dusted. Mother, as the last one standing, was paid her due respect at the afternoon tea following.

Run rabbit, run rabbit, run run run

Barriers! Bah, they sound like thunder as they are unloaded from the trucks. I know what this mean, that is we can't easily go east today. I was tempted to enter, snort, this year but on doctor's advice, best not to. Next year I will. Besides I have to work, my first day back.

The annual Melbourne Marathon, sold out for the first time with over twenty thousand competitors, the largest marathon in Australia.