Saturday, November 06, 2010

Buggery Telstra Again

Remember not long ago I changed our phone/internet plan. In summary, free local calls, free trunk STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease?) what are they called now? (Operator, give me Long Distance Tennessee!) calls and free calls to Telstra mobiles. And very cheap international calls and calls to other mobiles. The clincher was very fast cable broadband with a 100GB allowance. That was in September.

Towards the middle of October I wondered why the phone bill had not arrived. I rang up. The bill had been sent but our apartment number was missing from their database. A duplicate will be sent and the time for payment extended. Just over a week later, still no bill. Another call, and of course another battle with their voice recognition system. If the voice recognition system asks for my phone number, why do I have to give it again when I eventually talk to someone? Another duplicate bill will be sent and while they now have our street address right, the post code has changed to Melbourne City 3000 instead of Melbourne St Kilda Road, 3004.

Finally the bill arrived and I perused it with interest. But wait, it is the normal bill for this month. Last months shows as unpaid and there is a $5 penalty for not paying. Steam was coming out of my ears by now. While I was still annoyed, I called again. I did not abuse the lass on the end of the phone, but I was clearly angry and upset. Only three times in my life I have not paid a bill on time, only twice it was my fault and it was only a matter of a couple of days. I have never paid Telstra late for 30 plus years, so I felt insulted that they accused and penalised me for late payment. I suggest the computerised billing system needs an alert for regular payers who miss. Hey, the software notices, this is a good customer who pays on time. Something is not right here. We better pass this on to a human to look at before sending out a overdue penalty.

Of course the penalty was waived. I had no intention of paying it regardless.

Upon my death bed, I will be arguing with Telstra about something. But I am old enough and smart enough to know that it could be any phone company/internet provider that I could be arguing with on my deathbed.


By Sue Dohnym,(very good) State Political Reporter

The Victorian Government yesterday commissioned a Feasibility Study to investigate the shortfall of funding for more feasibility studies.

And so the clever and humourous piece goes on. I don't think I can directly link to it but if you go to Walking Melbourne and the Forum and search for feasibility.

I am heartily sick of feasibility studies, especially ones that tell you something is black when you know it is white. If it for the public good and people need it and will use it, then just build it. That is what we pay tax for.

If the State Opposition is elected, they will have another feasibility study into a rail line to Doncaster, except they are calling it an examination of the route it might take. As one wag suggested recently, for a couple of hundred bucks, they could hire a helicopter, fly over the traffic congested Eastern Freeway in the morning peak and conclude that a rail line is required.

A Thatch

There are thousands of shops with accommodation above them all over Melbourne. There are thousands of shops with empty accommodation, the space unused or used as shop storage. They are such a waste of what could be reasonably priced accommodation. This one seems to occupied at least.

I particularly like this one in Glenhuntly Road Elsternwick. Not too many come with a balcony. I wonder if it was once one of a pair. It is said ex British PM Thatcher grew up while living above a shop. Good enough for her.... Could we nick name such an abode as a thatch?

Friday, November 05, 2010


I am in a dilemma gentle readers.

For the last decade or so I have voted federally and state for The Greens but I have always made sure my preference ended up with the Labor Party.

I am a proud member of a union, I believe in caring for the environment, I believe in social justice, I believe in equal rights for gays and while I don't particularly care for gay marriage, I support those who see it as obtaining equal status. I strongly believe in good publicly funded education for children, I believe in publicly funded health care, I believe in looking after disabled people, I believe in a womens' right to choose, I believe in fair taxation to benefit the greater good, I believe in public transport... I could go on.

Aren't these all matters that the Labor Party are supposed to support. Aren't they the ideals of the Party? I used to think so.

The alternative, voting for the party who supports large businesses and rampant capitalism, excessive private profits, cares little for workers, cares little for the less fortunate in society, would have the richest people paying the least tax (as a percentage they do already), would ruin our public transport system and build freeways to every corner of the country, right through suburbs with flyovers everywhere, cares not for the environment any more than when when problems affect profits, would shut down public health care except for only the poorest of poor, would privatise every public asset, would demolish important historic buildings purely for private, my conscience would not allow me to vote for them. (If you doubt what I am saying, take a read of the book Weevils in the Flour and note just what the unfettered excesses of capitalism can do in a so called decent society)

But the Labor Party has lost its focus on its ideals. It still talks the talk, but has become a moderated shadow of the Liberal Party. I don't think I can support the Labor Party anymore.

I am not sure how I can vote to prevent my preferences going to the Labor Party without my vote going to the Liberal Party. I may just vote for The Greens, but vote informally. My vote won't count, but my displeasure will be noted.

There is not too much governments can do or not do that can't be undone or fixed by a following government. There are two that come to my mind though. Turning public land into private land is one, and the destruction of historic buildings and streetscapes is another. It is the latter that I feel most strongly about. I don't know if Planning Minister Justin Madden has been worse than his Labor or Liberal predecessors, but it certainly seems like it.

Martin Foley, my local Labor Party member, will not get my vote and while it is for many reasons, none would possibly tip me more than the State Government's Ministry of Planning and Planning Minsiter Madden's destructive actions. I hope the inner Melbourne Labor politicians who lose their seats in the forthcoming state election know where to firmly point their collective fingers. And Madden just thought Lonsdale House was an bothersome old building and the fuss would quickly die down. For some, seeing Lonsdale House destroyed in the name of pure profit was a life changing experience.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Sydney Birds

I was quite pleased to recently hear that there are resident Little Penguins under Manly Wharf in Sydney. They are very threatened, but a lot of volunteer time and authority resources have put in to protecting them. Let us hope the survivors of what once was a significant population can thrive.

Somewhat less liked in Sydney are ibis. At some point when we visit Sydney, we always end up getting a highly priced and poor meal at a cafe adjacent to the Alamein Fountain in Kings Cross. I have been to Sydney perhaps eight times, but it was only the last two visits when I saw ibis walking around outdoor dining tables searching scraps. One of the cafes near Alamein Fountain was the first place I noticed them, then later I think at Darling Harbour. I can cope with sparrows around when I am eating, but any other flapping creatures will have me stamping my foot at them. I did not like the ibis walking around me. But why did they appear in inner Sydney?

It is suggested the lack of food and water because of the drought, they are wading birds, drove them to populated areas. Now that water is aplenty over NSW, will they leave their inner suburban haunts? I doubt it. We humans are very dirty animals and leave a lot of unconsumed over food around.

Research tells me Little Penguins are what we in Victoria know as Fairy Penguins. They are cute but they smell. We have them living at St Kilda Pier and further afield, notably Phillip Island where a doco was made about them and has been screening on ABC1. The doco went down a treat in the UK.

This is an ibis and the photo is from Atoned blog. I don't think they are ugly. He writes, I think it is he, These ugly, ugly birds (Ibis) were all over the place in Darlington Harbor.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

The good or the evil

R's expenditure on Melbourne Cup day, work sweep, $5, barbecue sweep, $10, TAB $30. Incoming from TAB $77.20 . Profit $32.20. Gambling is a great idea. Everyone should do it.

My expenditure, work sweep $5, barbecue sweep, $10, TAB, $20. Incoming from TAB $7.30. Loss $27.70. Gambling is evil and wicked and a waste of money.


After heavy rain, the cracks in the asphalt showed up strongly as the surface dried. I wish I had a better camera. I wish I knew how to use a better camera. While taking the photo, I noticed that the bluestone edging has just been relaid. I never noticed. Great that they did not use concrete.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Race Call

I don't normally pay much attention to the Melbourne Cup race call on tv. I did a bit this year and some other races. I noted a pronunciation problem. Conquering, a horse, should not sound like cock ring.

But worse, or more amusing depending on your view, was the phrase, 'and it is Shocking up the rear'.

Profit and loss statement tomorrow. Who won the barbecue sweep? The art collector rich Jewish divorcee who's cup day dress up head piece came from South Melbourne Market. We know her quite well but it was the first time I have seen her in outdoors daylight. The sun is not a friend to older people or drag queens, or those in between.


I was just asked yesterday by a visiting tradie, as I have been many times by other visitors, you must get blasé about the view and not notice it anymore. My answer is always the same, never.

I had no real interest living in a high rise apartment until I opened the front door and saw the view out the lounge room windows. Ohhh, I like this, I can recall thinking.

Some eight or nine years later, I am still mesmerised by the views at times and spend quite a bit of time just looking out, noting changes, the waves on the bay, leaves browning and falling, green leaves appearing, building projects, traffic, trams, people, lights that come and go, illuminated advertising signs, weather, birds, distant views and I expect I could keep on adding. R is the same.

Yet some people take little notice of the view, often people who don't like heights. The only time I feel uncomfortable is if I look directly down below from the balcony, like with my head at ninety degree angle.

Our last house looked out onto our quite nice paved courtyard, but the other windows faced a paling fence topped but a neatly maintained potato creeper. My bedroom had a side window too, as well as one looking out to the street, but it was close to the street and so I had the blind nearly closed most of the time.

I suppose you can adjust to anything, but I might take quite some time for me to ever adjust to not having a big picture view. I don't have plans to not have a view.

And today out the windows? Warbling magpies, lots of people on the street, but being Melbourne Cup Day, they are different to the normal week day people. One of the Wilhelmsen container ships had just sailed. It is bright red, so very noticeable. It is a frequent visitor to Melbourne.

I am just back with betting slips and a newspaper and so I will sit down and stab at the form guide with a biro. We are then off to the Brighton Antique Dealer's annual Cup Day barbecue. I just rang work to find out I have Red Ruler in the work sweep. A group of people I have never seen before just exited our building in their race day finery. Lots of women in pretty hats passing by, lots of atrociously dressed men passing by. Stretch limos are heading up Toorak Road to the rich areas to collect their race passengers. The sun was out briefly. It may not be such a bad day.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Its not my party but I'll still cry if I want to

I wrote half a post of an anti American diatribe. It was actually an attempt to explain why Australians have issues with America and some of its people. I might finish it one day. We enjoy having a tea party with our niece Little Jo. Sadly the pair of words tea party has been commandeered by some loons in the US.

Smitten by Britain is taking back the words.


Just caught sight of the old air system being lowered nearby.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


I have never noticed this horse trough before. It is in Punt Road just before Toorak Road heading north. Imagine the impact on Punt Road traffic if a horse actually stopped to drink there and blocked the traffic lane. I didn't drop the flowers in the trough.

Where is Little Jo?

Later edit: She has been to Stradbroke Island and when the photo was taken, was enjoying the delights of Gold Coast theme parks. Doctors conferences indeed. What a lurk.