Saturday, December 18, 2010

Thieves at the Highrise

It would seem I stole some stuff. Any day soon I expect I expect the heavy hand of PC Plod to fall upon my shoulder and R named as an accomplice to my crime.

'Your Honour, it was an innocent mistake.'

'Highriser, on balance I find your evidence and defence implausible. Send him down', as he places a black cloth on his head.

Saturday food shopping is always stressful for me. I have to hold myself back from the way I shop and consider the way R likes to shop. We shop very differently. I take a list and stick to it and see nothing else. R browses and takes his time at choosing. But then he worries that we have so much to do and starts to get panicky while I know less haste and staying calm is best. Talk about opposites, doubly.

Sometimes at the supermarket I do the check out transaction, sometimes R does. I guess it was my turn and I could sense R watching me, ready to pick up on any mistake I made. I do the same to him, but I am kind enough to never mention it. By the time I had finished transacting, he had scooped up the shopping bags and was out of the building. I scooped up the remainder and we headed to the car, only to then go to the other supermarket for what they had for cheap.

So we visited two supermarkets and consequently I am unsure of in which I committed the theft.

When we were safely in our garage and unloading our shopping into our jeep to bring upstairs, I remarked to R about how much shopping we had bought.

Once upstairs I noticed a large packet of crisps of a brand I did not know. Hmm, R has bought some odd crisps. I noticed he was looking intently at the packet of crisps, but nothing registered. With retrospect, he was probably thinking the same.

A large bag of tomatoes. I did not see them go into the fruit and vegetable basket at the Harry Heng's green grocery shop.

Bah, I have told R time and again about the poor economics of packaged salad vegetables and he has now bought some.

The clincher to what I had done was the two fresh chickens. Why buy uncooked chooks when you can buy them ready done at the supermarket.

It could have been R but I think it was more likely me who picked up someone else's shopping on the way out of one of the supermarkets. Perhaps the bags were set aside for a home delivery. Perhaps they belonged to the two homosexuals in front of us who as we exited the supermarket who were sitting on an old persons supermarket bench seat looking intently at their shopping receipt. I particularly noticed them because one of the homosexuals was a stout 5 feet and the other a lean 6.5 feet.

R wrestled with his conscience for a while I stated no way was I driving back to Prahran in heavy traffic to return the goods. We had to go into town in the afternoon, so eventually I suggested we could get the tram or bus back to Prahran, return the booty, and get the train to the town.

The end result? The crisps were quickly consumed, terribly salty, the tomatoes eaten as fruit, the greens added to a salad and we need a recipe for how to roast a chicken? We know how to roast beef and pork, but it is a long time since we have roasted a chook. Two fresh chooks for the marked discount price of $8 is very cheap, so I am not expecting much.

But every time the phone rings, I am expecting the voice of Commissioner Overland to ask me to call into our neighbouring police station for a chat.

Aussie Hamburger

I am not liking Australian Food's hamburger recipe. Garlic indeed.

Given that I don't really cook, I am not sure that I am qualified to say how an Aussie hamburger should be created, but since when did lack of knowledge ever stop me?

Toasted buns, well, a hamburger bun cut in half and toasted both sides. No soggy bun. No sugar in the bun. It should have lots of salt though. We need the iodine in our diet.

Spread tomato sauce on the bottom half of the bun. Ok, if you are one of those foreign types, you could rub a clove of garlic on the bun first to make it a little more palatable.

Place on the bottom half of the bun a coarsely ground and fatty minced beef patty cooked on a grill plate.

Crisply fried slices of onions broken into rings should be stacked onto the meat.

Onto that a fried egg with a still runny yolk. I don't think free range eggs are appropriate for the Aussie hamburger.

A rasher of fried bacon over the egg and not your crisp type shattering bacon, just a a rasher of lightly cooked bacon.

Slices of ripe tomato. No exotic tomatoes just a firm but ripe supermarket tomato.

A slice or two of tinned beetroot, preferably the Aussie grown beetroot, from New Zealand.

Top with sliced iceberg lettuce. Do not use rocket or any other foreign lettuceii.

Now you need a condiment. No Hungarian paprika or chilli powder. What is required is finely ground white pepper. Masses of healthy and exceptionally well nourished Australians have been brought up on fine white pepper sitting on the dinner table, even if they have never added it to food.

More tomato sauce on top. Heinz is fine. We have forgotten the war. Rosella sauce is made by a good old Aussie overseas owned company. But my preferred is our national bird symbol brand, White Crow.

In contention is whether a slice of Kraft cheddar cheese should be laid on top of the hot mince patty. Pre sliced cheese wasn't around when the Aussie hamburger was invented so it must be a later addition. Given Kraft sliced cheddar has no taste, it is a moot point.

Don't worry about trying to look elegant while eating an Aussie burger. You cannot. The question always is which part of the burger is going to fall out first and where on your shirt will it land.

Sorry to you Jews, Moslems, Hindus and Vegos. The Aussie burger is not for you. If you are catholic, you can't make one on Friday.

Who of us make them anyway? They are much better from Harry Nguyen's fish and chip shop.

Originally written 10/11/10.

Officer South

I was on my way to Mother's a week or so ago and I planned to buy something to eat along the way. This service facility is quite new and there is a similar one on the opposite side of the road. If they have tried to make souless, they have succeeded very well. However, it was very popular and lovely and cool inside on a warmish day. It is in Officer South, a place I never knew existed.

The main reason for stopping here, but not mine on this day.

Bare earth, concrete, bitumen, harsh lines and lost productive farmland.

There was a coffee bar, a McCafe and McDonalds, a KFC and one unknown to me, Coolabah which sold sandwiches and better looking hamburgers than the afore mentioned place, and other food stuffs. I ain't tellin' what I had.

Friday, December 17, 2010

So Cross Leaks

It was only after I wrote the subject line that I realised readers might think I am talking about Southern Cross Station's leaking roof. Well, not a leak really, more like a minor collapse. Nay, let us call it a major collapse. Hail piled on the roof and parts of it failed. Who paid for the repair? Taxpayers, an insurance company, Metro or Connex, the contractor? Who knows?

In these public/private, PP, deals, we don't get to know the financial details of what public/private companies do.

I am not going to defend Kosky's record as transport minister any more than to say she wasn't the one to reinvent public transport to make it work and she had to deal with what was given to her. But, she was the one who in an absolutely extraordinary move locked away the financial details of Southern Cross Station for fifty years. So let me see, say 2055 you can read about how Southern Cross Station was redeveloped and who spent what and how much of taxpayers dollars went into the pockets of the developer, who seemingly also gave us a white elephant shopping centre.

The Labor opposition will continue to trot out lame reasons why they lost office. They could start looking at matters like the above to work out why traditional Labor voters did not vote for them. You lie with dogs, you wake up with fleas.

So come on someone. Do a SoCrossyLeak website.

Santa and Little Jo

Little Jo seems to have overcome her fear of santa. She told santa she is getting a pink bike for christmas. Sister said no, and has repeatedly. Bad luck Little Jo, maybe next year. Now where did her blonde hair go?

Hoho, Sister has been conned into taking Mother to meet up with a friend for dinner at Fountain Gate tonight. Good luck with the parking Sis.

Crack man in the highrise

The window crack man arrived at the highrise to take a look at our window. Poor installation he said. Maybe a screw fixing point. Might have been ok for ever, but it was the tinting wot done it in. The temperature difference was too much when the sun was on half the window and it broke at a vulnerable point. Of course I was quite right on several fronts, least of all that the crack would get worse. Yes, owners corporation will pay, maybe even for the re tinting. Meanwhile Copperwitch's previous comment worries me whenever the wind blows.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Metering Mother

Mother has used a very scientific method of checking her power consumption in an effort to reduce her electric bill. She goes to the front door and sees how fast the meter wheel is spinning around. She has decided that the electric kettle is the culprit for her large electric bills and says that the wheel spins more slowly and the water heats more quickly if she heats water for her tea in a saucepan on the electric stove hotplate. She takes no notice of what other appliances are on when she checks, or whether the air conditioner compressor is running, or just the fan.

Ah well, harmless enough I thought, until I saw her carry the boiling water in the saucepan to her tea cup. Admittedly it is only one step, but I can see potential for disaster. I will have to get scientific and show her that the wheel is not spinning significantly faster when using the kettle. What she does need to do is get over her paranoia about the kettle boiling dry and so stop boiling a full kettle of water every time she wants a cup of tea.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Xmas Isle Disaster

I had half a mind to write a post about Abbott's boat phone, or perhaps something like 'well that might stop the boats'. That is, until I read The Age headline, 'Babies clinging to debris'.

Help the Sydney lady out

Not just her really, me too as I am quite curious.

Sydney Eye has been peeping over fences. Click here and see what you can make of this apparent cooking or heating device in what seems like a really wrong place.

Stick your laneway

Melbourne, the coffee capital of Australia. I will wear that. You can get good coffee almost everywhere in Australia now, but it wasn't always the case. Melbourne led the way. The worst pretending to proper coffee I have had was in the Queen Victoria building in Sydney. Not only was the coffee atrocious, it was served in a kind of awkward tulip shaped mug with a handle. Worse, it cost a third more than a decent cup in Melbourne would have cost.

How outrageous was that McDonalds paid piece on Ospray Winfrey's Australian promotion? The Melbourne inner cafe latte set despise McCafes and would not be seen dead in them. Starbucks has failed in areas where the inner cafe latte set congregate.

But do not be mistaken, do not be misled, Melbourne's laneway culture is a load of shed.
A few people who have graduated on from spraying graffiti on trains to spraying advanced 101 graffiti on laneway walls.

This coolest bar that you have to fight your way through stinking dumpmaster bins to get to will close in two weeks, only to have another owner/sucker come along and spend heaps to renovate and so the cycle goes on.

Am I sounding old and bitter and ranty? I mean to. Melbourne's so called and overpromoted laneway culture has no relevance to me. I have my fave places in the city to eat, drink or whatever outdoors, and none are in laneways.

Don't get me wrong though. I like our laneways and how they have been changed into something beyond just being service lanes, but truly, the laneway culture thing has gone overboard.

Now shop verandah bars where you sit on the awning of shop roofs are another matter. I like them.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Dispelling a myth?

I think it is a myth that the Flinders Street Station clocks were ever removed and digital replacements were installed. I have read that the old clocks were removed and digital installed and there was such an outcry that the old clocks were reinstalled.

This is how I remember it. There was a plan to remove the clocks that indicated the departure times on our various suburban train lines and replace them with digital clocks. The clocks had previously been manually adjusted by railway staff with a long pole that presumably turned something in the clocks to adjust them. There was a public outcry and instead the existing clocks were converted to electric operation and adjusted from a central location. It took quite a long time before the converted clocks became reliable indicators. But no, I don't think there were ever digital replacements. If you can give me specifics that they were, please do so.

You can see the clocks at this great post at Melbourne Curious, which again repeats the digital myth. The clocks can be seen clearly about halfway down the page.

Not a report of my demise

I don't like dobbing, but in this case I think I am justified. R was with Little Jo in Prahran and I had one more thing to get so I told them to go to the bus/tram stop and catch whatever came along if I didn't make it and I would catch the next one home, which is what happened.

I boarded the bus along with another passenger who knew the driver and they had a chat along Commercial Road. The driver was obviously distracted as he almost missed a stop near the Alfred Hospital.

Much worse was when we were sitting at a red light in Commercial Road and he pulled the bus out into the service lane against a red light. He slammed the brakes on and nothing hit us and the passenger who he was talking to broke off the conversation and scuttled down to the back of the bus. I am not great at talking and driving, but I let the conversation go, not my driving. Clearly this bus driver is not great at talking and driving either, so best that he is warned not to do so.

I don't dob lightly but when the public is put into significant danger as it was, then I don't see that I cannot.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Oprah Tram

We were having a spot of lunch at a French deli in Bourke Street and looked who passed by, well an image of her on the side of a tram. I would just hate having my face enlarged to that size. I guess this tram will have its appearance changed fairly quickly as Oprah has been and gone and is no doubt now describing Sydney as the most beautiful city in the world.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


I am not sure if our new state government has a minister for major events. Our last one did, I think. (I am getting so good at using wishy washy words so that if I get something wrong, I don't get stressed about something I don't really care about or I consider matters.)

But our last Minister for Major Events was derelict in his duty for not somehow stealing away from New South Wales the Schools Spectacular. The tv broadcast has just finished and it gets better and better each year. The standard of performance quality was wonderful. One lass in her last year of school belted out a rendition of Cry Me a River that Julie London would have been proud to put her name to. Another lass did a fair old job with 'that' bit from Madame Butterfly.

Of course as they lads are only school boys, I take no notice of their future potential of being gorgeous hunks.

Well done kiddies, schools, production and music staff and our ABC.

St Kilda and Footscray tram

A clever person recently suggested something I whole heartedly agree with, that is extending the St Kilda tram, 96, through Elwood to Elsternwick Park or even to Elsternwick Station. No doubt public transport experts will say, well, it already well served by private bus services and they would be right, but there is something about trams that creates usage, a confidence you have when something runs on rails. The present bus service does not give a connection to the city without a change to a tram or train either. To me it is just obvious it would be very successful and would pretty well follow the route of the tram line that was closed down in the sixties, or was that fifties.

Another proposal I have heard is to run a tram from Docklands to Footscray, presumably along Footscray Road, aka, Docklands Highway. While I am all for the expansion of our tram system, I am not so sure about this one. Trams work best for people to hop and off for shortish distances. They work well to deliver people from the inner suburbs to the city, but are always slower than trains. If I have a choice to travel a decent distance, the train will win every time. There certainly would not be much in the way of hop on hop off passengers along Footscray Road. It would be for commuters between Footscray and Docklands and doesn't a train do that already? No doubt it would be useful for some people, but I doubt the numbers are there, unless there is going to be substantial housing development along Footscray Road.