Saturday, November 13, 2010

Visiting Daiso Pt 2

Just some of the products on the shelves of Daiso that amused or interested me.

If you are thinking, to put it crudely, I am taking the piss at Japanese people's expense, I will at least confess to taking the piss, as I would anywhere including Australia. If you seriously want to market to Australia, you need to get the language right. But as Daiso only sells trinkets, it matters little and my post is more likely to incite people to visit a Daiso store in Australia.

Yes, they do use covers for the external part of air conditioners in Japan, to keep the snow out I suppose. I wish they would uncover them at times and switch the damn things on, especially when it over 25 degrees and very humid. Note, it has an 'elastic rubber opening for a snug fit'. There'll be at least one of you out there who is thinking of something else. I'm appalled!

Poor kid is looking worried. He is not sure which orifice his mother is going to shove the ear clean stick into.

Black cotton buds for your ears. I quote, 'Both tips with spiral shape' and 'Ear wax can be seen clearly on the tips after using'. If you can see ear wax on your black tip, then you better go for another good deep in burrow then.

I am not sure what I would stick into a unisex fragrance bag.

Many Japanese home have softwood timber floors, so someone's gran has knitted these cute little chair leg socks to protect the floor and keeping the chair legs warm is just a bonus. Sorry, no plain, only patterned is available at this time.

I think these are chocolate bars and they stood nearly a metre tall.

Not for christmas please. I don't want storage pockets that I can use to 'tidy the storeroom' with or to 'collect the clothing and small things'.

But I may be interested in the men's menthol wet sheet containing powder, if you can tell me what it is. I can tell you where I would not be putting anything menthol near.

Why did I think of coppery red hair when I saw these 'wide terry cloth turbans'? Actually, I thought of the same person when I saw the metre long chocolate bars.

I am not that interested in the dot holiday. Don't ask me. But the 'men's oil blotter' could be quite useful. I usually carry a make up compact for the purpose...if that what the blotter is for.

I could think of some uses for the Beautipon, but they are probably not what Beautipon is made for. I wish I had spent an extra $2.80 and bought one so that I could show you what I mean. The Beautipon will remain ever mysterious to me. I am sure I found something similar in my mother's wardrobe after Sister was born.

Visiting Daiso Pt 1

Last Saturday we took a visit to the new Daiso store in Victoria Street Richmond, also known in Japan as the 100 Yen shop. Daiso here, with everything priced at AU$2.80 should be known as 227 Yen shop.

The place was packed and things were were snatched off shelves faster than staff could restock. A queue had formed out the door for people to line up to pay. Not a saucepan lid handle to be seen though. Of the staff, I only saw one recognisably Japanese person, in appearance anyway.

The street entrance to Daiso was not finished, so we had to access it from inside the collection of shops. At last there is a supermarket in this part of Victoria Street, a Woolworths.

Right next to the entrance to Daiso was another of those el cheapo shops, Chicken Feed. I have never seen them on the mainland, only in Launceston. I recall the name amused me greatly at the time, not so particularly now.

Oh yes, we bought a couple of bits and pieces at Daiso and none of this recycled bag nonsense. Without asking our goods were shoved into a marvellous plastic bag, of the type strong enough to strangle a whale.

I am sure R bought something sensible. I didn't. I just bought myself a Shinkansen at $2.80 per piece. I am very pleased with my Bullet Train. It is up high on a shelf so Little Jo cannot play with it.

Media Mother

Oh dear, Mother is in one of those quality magazines again. Not That's Life this time. No, more upmarket, Take 5, and twice no less. Not the best photo of her at all.

She had left a cryptic message on the answer machine that we should go and buy a copy for a laugh. One newsagent, sold out, second sold out, two supermarkets, sold out. Finally a tattslotto shop that sold magazines, second last copy.

Hmm, I see she earnt $100 for her efforts. She can now pay me back some money, ho hum. Perhaps I should encourage her media endeavours.

Slow Mail to Austria

Our friend in Japan sent my birthday gift in plenty of time, yet it took a month to arrive. R suggested it went via Austria as a good bit of our mail does, or used to, but there was no evidence of that. Australia and Austria are often confused. In Austria there are bumper stickers and the like saying, 'There are no kangaroos in Austria'. Even the South Koreans are struggling with the spelling similarities, with the modellers of leaders attending the G20 Summit having our Prime Minister dressed in traditional Austrian garb. What a hoot! The internet has a lot to answer for. I only saw a fleeting image of the corrected doll, but she seemed to be in all black and looking rather like Madame Mao.

Without checking, does anyone know what the SAL is on my birthday parcel? R saw the sticker and knew straight away.

It stands for Surface Air Lifted. I am unsure of its world history but it was introduced in Australia in 1971. I can find no evidence that it is still available in Australia, certainly not at the Australia Post website. Either it has been discontinued or Aus Post don't want it used.

Essentially SAL means your mail travels by surface in the country it is sent from and the country it arrives in and by air in between the two countries and costs you a bit less to send a parcel.

It doesn't explain why the parcel took so long to arrive but R, who has some knowledge in this area, tells me in it is given very low priority at mail centres and is only sorted after normal Par Avion parcels have been sorted. It can be left at the bottom of the pile, so to speak, for a good time.

Does anyone know if SAL does exist in Australia?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Sexy Older Man

Can older blokes still be sexy? Generally not. I am Exhibit A, if it pleases the court. Less than ten but more that five years ago I realised I had lost my 'pull' on the streets. From what I have observed of straight men, many never realise that they have lost their pull with the lasses and continue on regardless in spite of their bad skin, bad hair, and very bad shapes. For some reason they think that at the age of 50, 60 or even older, that a twenty year old lass has a thing about bulging grey haired fat gutses. Wow, all I had to do was type Waters in my blog search facility and I have written about sexy older men before.

It seems a long time ago when I saw the tv series The Monocled Mutineer. It was a first class production from where else but England, as was the the movie I first saw him in, Withnail and I, an absolute gem of a movie. Back then Paul McGann was one sexy dude. Now, at fifty, he is still one sexy dude. In the first photo he was 26. Now he is 51. Be advised, there is a hair dye alert.

Another Day, Another Funeral

This time it was good friend's very old mother, in her nineties. Our friend kindly sent lovely flowers when R's Mother died and he turned up unbidden at Step Father's funeral. I certainly would not have taken a day off work to attend, but since the funeral fell on my day off, I decided to go. Once R realised the funeral was near his workplace, then he decided to go too and took the afternoon off.

We did not want to end up with two cars and have to drive home separately so I caught the train to Blackburn where R picked me up. I was worried about missing the train, I do cut things finely at times but I was at Flinders Street Station in plenty of time and caught an earlier train than I intended. It was an interesting enough trip, one I have made a few times before. Even in the middle of the day, there were few vacant seats.

As I was early, I decided to get off at Box Hill for a squiz at what has been happening there. Stuff all from what I could see. There were many Asian shoppers and via my blog someone told me about the escalator problem there whereby many Asian people stand on the right of the escalator and prevent anyone walking. Yep, they weren't wrong about that. How about a few signs Metro?

I went to the electric bank to extract some money and wished I had have been there a month or so ago when this wisteria would have been in full bloom.

But really the mall part looked quite shabby and run down.

Back on the train to Blackburn and R arrived a few minutes after I did. Well done Metro. Clockwork. We had time to have some lunch first and ummed and ahhhed over where to have it. We ended up having something from a chain store bakery. We sat outside in the heat because it was marginally cooler than sitting inside in the heat.

Onward to the funeral venue. Damn, look there is a pub next door with meals, pokies, outdoor decking, air conditioning. We were a bit early still so R availed himself with coffee and I treated myself to a refreshing gin and tonic.

The funeral was a pretty dry eyed affair. Our friend's mother was suffering from dementia and her death was no surprise to anyone, although up until a few weeks ago, she had been living at home. We had never met our friend's parents, only our friend's sister in law and brother. Luckily three other gay guys were there to support our friend and we knew them, so we had someone to chat to. Our friend's partner is a Fijian Indian and not a pale skinned guy and he really stood out. I guess most people there knew who he was. It must be very hard to go to things like that when you know how much you stand out.

The celebrant or whatever he was was a dryish middle class older white male. Professional, but so so boring compared to the last few funerals I have been to where the celebrants were younger woman.

We drove home using the East Link tunnel and the Eastern Freeway. We gave a lift to a retired priest friend of our friend and dropped him at Victoria Street where he could catch a tram into town. A forty minute funeral and maybe thirty minute coffee and nibbly things seem to take the whole day.

Eleventh Hour of the Eleventh Day, 1918

It was about 2005 when we attended an Anzac Day dawn service at Melbourne's very stately Shrine of Remembrance. I recommend everyone should attend the service once in their lifetime. It was beautiful and very moving. One day I also hope to go to a small local Anzac Day service, perhaps in a country town. I rather fancy seeing the ceremony at Adelaide River in the Northern Territory, a place which was bombed by the Japanese in World War 2. We were there quite early one morning and it is truly a beautiful cemetery. Here are a couple of photos from our visit.

Yesterday Blossom Flower Girl attended a service to commemorate Remembrance Day in a pleasant and quintessentially Australian suburban setting. There wasn't a grand memorial edifice. There weren't rows of poplars or other exotic trees, just your humble old gum trees with a backdrop of suburban houses. I particularly like the third photo down. How the lads fighting and dying in mud in France during World War 1 would have dreamed of gum trees. Have a look at the Melbourne Daily Photo post here.

Of late all I ever hear from returned service men is that war is stupid and should be avoided at all costs. I think World War 1 may well have been one of the most stupid.

Lest we forget.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hammering the message home

It is enough to make you hate someone. I am sure Leonard Cohen is a talented and entertaining musician. He is good enough to incite one blog mate to journey south from Sydney to see him perform at Hanging Rock. The event seems to have been organised by ABC Radio. I really hope the weather is fine and a good time is had by all.

But oh, the relentless promotion of the event on ABC Melbourne has driven me crazy. It has been so relentless, I am kind of hating the dude. Umm, don't tell me it is Saturday, a day with a forecast of storm and tempest?

Anglo Indian Movies

There was a brief time in the eighties when Anglo Indian movies had high appeal. I really mean English Indian movies. We saw a few of them. I loved them.

It was one of the most erotic things I have even seen on the big screen, that is when the actor Daniel Day-Lewis dribbled champagne from his mouth into his Pakistani lover's mouth when celebrating the success of the opening of their laundrette in the movie My Beautiful Laundrette.

I asked R and he can't remember any details of the movie either, but we both loved Sammy and Rosie get Laid.

There are not too many movies I have seen twice, but Bhaji on the Beach was one of them and I enjoyed it just as much the second time. If you like fast US dialogue and action packed, it is probably not for you. Think more along the lines of the Kumars at Number 42. In fact I think the actor who played Sanjeev's mother may well have been in Bhaji on the Beach.

All fine movies in my memory. I should think they would still stand up.

But is it art?

I suppose it is an art installation. It wasn't there much more than a week I think. A sign informed me the land belongs to Vic Track. Vic Track is part of the public transport bureaucracy responsible for train and tram tracks. I can't judge its artistic merit, but as I always say, if it attracts attention and make people stop, look and wonder, then it works. It was set up on some unused vacant land near Moreland railway station.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I am still recovering from my surgery in September. I wish I had have been told that it would be such a long recovery. In a couple of days it will be two months later and I no longer need to wear 'the girdle'. Sometimes I have it off and it is a relief, but sometimes it is nice to put it back on and have no irritation from clothing. Hanging loose is not always good.

I suppose most of my readers are of a certain age, so I expect some will connect with what I am saying.

Even before my op, I started thinking about my age and how old I was. Fortunately I have kept my looks, my hair and my physique, so outwardly I present ok. (the first person who comments otherwise will get a good slapping)

Seriously, I am starting to think about the future without me. Will I die a quick and sudden death? Will I die a long painful one? Will I be able to stay home and die in my surrounds? Will there be anyone around to care for me? Or will I die in a horrible hospital? Will my genes kill me? Will my lifestyle kill me? Will my environment kill me? Will I die from work stress?

Will Little Jo in the future google herself and find her baby and toddlerhood irredeemably Pandored? Will she know that I loved her with a passion as strong as her fave Uncle R? She is more than the sum of the parts.

Every so often I hear things that will might or will happen in the future, and they excite me and things I want to be around for. 2030 is not unreasonable for me is it? Surely by then we will have a Rosie the Robot and jetpack travel?

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Giving me the Woolies

Bah, why isn't our local Safeway store in Prahran changing its signage to Woolworths? I had been wondering when it would be rebadged, in fact why it did not seem to be getting done? Everyone else's is. And why haven't self check outs been installed? Ah, a notice upon a wall explained it all.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Sydney Taxi Trip, take two

Perhaps my mind is made up that we were minorly cheated by going to the airport via the Loo. It was ten o'clock on a Saturday morning when we needed to go to the airport.

There is a kebab joint on the eastern side of Darlinghurst Road, Almost, if not, at the corner of Bayswater Road. Outside there is a taxi rank. We caught the cab from the rank and the cab was facing south, in the direction of the airport.

Answer me these. Can you turn right from Darlinghurst Road into William Street? I know you can. Can you turn right from William Street into Bourke Street? I am sure you can. I made an illegal three point u turn there in a hire car. But a right turn into Bourke Street is allowed. Once in Bourke Street, can't you then turn left and enter a single lane tunnel that connects to the Eastern Distributor that gets you to the airport?

Why would you want to go down to Cowper Wharf Road?

Another day, another truck hits bridge

What on earth is going on with all these trucks hitting bridges that they clearly can't fit under? Another one today, although slightly different this time as an unknown was on the truck, that is something the truck driver did not really know the height of, a cherry picker that was on the back of his truck.

It took R one and a half hours to get home from work, nearly double the time.

Mostly the trucks that hit bridges are of a standard height. I've known a truckie or two in my time. My step father was one for quite a while. They tend to be quite sensible but there are quite a number of rogues. One thing for sure. None of them want to hit a bridge and lose money, possibly lots of money if they are prosecuted, and so they should be.

My minor theory is that they are driving a different truck to what they normally drive. Ho hum, not sure how well that stands up.

What about this one? The posted signage heights are incorrect and falsely low. The truck drivers get to know about the falsely low height signage and know there is a bit of an allowance built in, a safety margin if you like. They think, I am only two centimetres over. Allowing for the falsely low limit, I will fit. A culture of disrespect for low bridge signs and their posted height limits develops. I would suggest that bridge height limits need to be accurate within a couple of centimetres.

It is just my own theory. It could just be that the truck drivers are fucking idiots.


See the pipes sticking out from the balconies at the top of our building? They are called spitters. They pour out water when it rains or if someone had a hose out on their balcony. I pointed them out to Tradie Brother one day and he was horrified at the idea. In his opinion, rain must go into gutters and downpipes and disappear from sight. They are great to watch when the rain is heavy. The force of the water can send a stream out quite a long way.

Now, who is thinking what about anyone standing below? Well, they don't really go into an area where there might be a lot of people and as the stream falls towards earth, it breaks up into large drops. It wouldn't be great to be standing below, but not as bad as you may think and if it was raining that much, then you wouldn't be standing outside.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Help me Sydneysiders

Not sure why this crops up in my mind every so often, but I wonder if we were taxi cheated the time before when we were in Sydney. We were certainly cheated last time using the airport train. Only local knowledge can tell me. I was chatting to a Thai businessman a good while ago. I realised he had been taxi ripped off big time for his trip from Melbourne Airport to his city hotel.

We caught the cab in Darlinghurst Road in the Cross at the south facing rank to go to the airport.

I thought we would turn right into William Street, right into Bourke Street and then into the tunnel to get to the airport.

Instead the driver turned right into Victoria Street, probably right to get to Macleay Street and then Wylde Street and Cowper Wharf Roadway and maybe up Bourke Street or onto the Cahill Expressway, where I see there are tolls. I think it was Bourke Street though.

Waddya reckon Sydneysiders?

Loose in a world of sensible shoes

The inner northern suburbs of Northcote/Thornbury have a reputation of being popular with ladies who wear sensible shoes. I recently visited there and found little to interest me but I'll make the best of it. High Street is a very long street of shops and while there are some interesting ones in the mix, there is a lot of walking to cover all the shops.

Today's quiz is for you to tell me what this car panel beating premises was built for? I think the photo is by Mal Rowe. The rest are mine.

The area in my mind begins once you cross Merri Creek in High Street. In times past you would have alighted from the Clifton Hill cable tram, crossed the Merri Creek Bridge and then boarded another cable tram to continue your trip along High Street as far as Dundas Street. Read what Jayne had to say about it.

You then cross this longish bridgie causwayey thingo. Now I used to know about this. Research. I can't get the search words right. It is essentially a bridge with a solid base and it divides the area in two. I suppose it stretches for about half a kilometre. You can see the city skyline quite well from the tram. V, did you tell me about it?

Nothing wrong with organic, except the price. Seems that if it is grown without expensive fertilisers, insecticides at whatever else chemicals, it costs more. Perhaps they pick the bugs off by hand.

Northcote Town Hall, built back in the days when a town hall looked like a town hall.

I knew I would forget the name of this very trendy looking cafe. While on the surface it appeared to be a place where women with sensible shoes like to visit, they mostly had babies with them, so they were only pretend women with sensible shoes. Hmm, there has been an explosion in the number of babies in the area, but not an explosion in the number of fathers. Hmm indeed. Oh, I just found the name of the cafe, well restaurant actually. It has had some terrible reviews. Best I say nothing. I don't have any money.

I thought this building was just gorgeous.

Parts of High Street have a nice streetscape. Clearly Planning Minister Madden hasn't taken much of an interest in the area, yet. But there are parts that are not so nice too, with more recent but shabby buildings. Our friend in Japan used to live in the area, but after scanning a map, none of the street names jump out at me. V?

Oh, and how did I get there? I walked to Punt Road and caught the Punt Road bus to Clifton Hill and then the tram. I will avoid that bus route in the future. What a nightmare trip.