Saturday, January 01, 2011

I just won't go

I so did not want to go to our friend's place for dinner and stay on until midnight. Five hours is too long to be sitting around. R felt obliged and I struck a deal. We go for dinner and come home for midnight. R had been saying for weeks how good our last NYE was when I had to start work early on NYD and so we were both in bed before midnight.

However, to our friend's place we went and there were a few people we know and as I was not the driver for the night with the aid of a couple of glasses of cheer and I got through the evening until after midnight with surprising ease.

We watched Melbourne's midnight fireworks on tv, ho hum. We had earlier watched Sydney's early fireworks, the kiddie show, and it was brilliant. How could ours possibly compete with Sydney's.

With the aid of some whiskey, R and I sat and summarised our year before hitting the hay at 3am. We both concluded it had been an expensive one.

Sorrento Photos 1

A sincere happy 2011 to my readers.

Apologies about the sunshine and warmth if you are somewhere cold. No not really sorry, suffer. The first few photos are in Sorrento Park.

This depression is in about the centre of the park. Green, lush and established and just beautiful.

A bed of roses. Too high maintenance for most local councils. They would rather spend the money on weird art and what is a state and federal government responsibility, housing for the poor.

I do like a jolly old rotunda. Behind is the packed kids play area and tables where we ate our fish and chips.

I suppose you call this a vista.

Triple boat ramp. Later it became very busy and chaotic. I don't know how the boats didn't crash into each other.

Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo arriving on the Queenscliff to Sorrento Ferry. It leaves either side of the bay on the hour and the trip takes about forty minutes.

The famous or infamous Hotel Sorrento. Opposite is the police station, very handy for the coppers and the police station has fine water views.

Friday, December 31, 2010

The King's Speech

It was a very nice movie. It wasn't brain taxing, just enjoyable. We saw it at Como Cinema, a cinema that is usually on the quiet side. I ummed and ahhed about whether to book or not. I looked a the online booking system. I had a bad experience with one of the large movie chains when making an online booking once.

I don't think it has ever happened to us that we could not see a movie because it was sold out. I imagine it would be very disappointing so I rang the telephone number. Yes, the lass said, it will be busy, book your tickets now and arrived early to collect them. I am pleased we did as the movie sold out just after we bought ourselves a drink.

We are usually so behind in seeing a movie at the theatre, everyone has seen it and so we are not used to a full theatre. It felt a bit odd in a packed movie theatre. Thankfully it has good air conditioning. Maybe I missed something, but I had to get down on my hands and knees to read the seat row letter and could barely make out the seat numbers. Even old theatres had illuminated seat row indicators. Our second last movie was seen at Gold Class and this time I rather missed somewhere to rest your drink. Getting to your seat was made more difficult by non lift up seats.

I knew nothing of the movie before we went, so I was surprised to Australians Geoffrey Rush and Guy Pearce in the cast. They were excellent as were all the actors. Nor did I have any knowledge of the movie subject.

But we left the movie with some puzzlement. R is not a royalist and probably has the attitude of his English sisters who if asked would say 'those parasites have nothing to do with our lives. They are irrelevant'. I don't much more about royalty than what has happened in my lifetime, but I knew enough to work out who the people in the movie were.

R could not work out that George VI's wife was the gin swilling fag hag who only died a couple of years ago at around the age of 100. Her recipe for a long life was perhaps Gordons and Benson & Hedges.

I worked that much out at least, but I was puzzled over George's wife. Even once back home it took some seriously googlying before I came up with the name May. May? Never heard of a Queen May. Of course she went on to become Queen Mary, the king's consort. Ah, Queen Mary. My searching efforts were hampered by a big ship of the same name.

I just clicked my movie tag button and in 2009 I saw one movie at the flicks. This year I have seen three. Doing well.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Just Another Thursday

Be it us sitting at a table at a smart cafe in South Yarra, or dining at the Apostle in Queenscliff, we are the little fish in a very big pond. If you like, the cheapest house in the street. The poor among the rich. Most people we mix with have more money than we do. Mother saliently remarked when we dined at Apostle, there are some people with money here.

We keep punishing ourselves by going where rich people go, well sometimes. We mix with the poor too at times, unwillingly.

We outdid ourselves today with a visit to Sorrento. The good burghers of Sorrento are so rich, they can afford to have annual flowering plants and roses in their park, not something seen in the City of Port Phillip, or much in the City of Melbourne.

It was christmas guilt over not making a huge effort to attend Sis in Law's Boxing Day lunch. I called her and asked if she would like to do lunch between christmas and new year. Sure she said. Let me know so that I can arrange time off work. I did and suggested Thursday. We imagined a lunch somewhere in Frankston looking over the water with just Sis in Law, perhaps where she meets her gay friends for breakfast. I am not sure that I care to mix with homosexuals. Perhaps I shouldn't say snowball given the northern hemisphere is experiencing snow, clearly for Britain and the New York, for the first time. Otherwise how could they not be coping?

But snowball our lunch with Sis in Law did.

Sister invited herself and said go to Sorrento for lunch and we will come across on the ferry. Ok. Sister suggested a booking at the Sorrento Hotel.

I informed Sis in Law. Oh, she said. I am bringing my new beau and his three kidlets. I straight away picked up that Sorrento Hotel would be a big cost to them. Right, we decided on fish and chips on the beach.

Nay, said Sister, the park opposite the Sorrento Hotel where Little Jo can play. We will catch the 11.00 o'clock ferry across.

You are going quite early noted Oldest Niece. I have to work later but I will come and bring my betrothed.

Right, this is turning into a serious family gathering. Better see what ABI Brother and Nanna Fudd, sorry Mother, are doing.

In spite of Mother saying she couldn't possibly be ready to go out by 10.00, she was and arrived with her salad roll. I can't eat fish and chips is something we knew was on the long list of things Mother can't eat.

Mother and ABI Brother were terribly late due to traffic and ABI Brother doesn't have a mobile telephone. R and I alternated with trips to the parking area to greet them and guide them to where we were in the park. Sounds easy. It wasn't.

Sister and Bone Doctor went off to get the fish and chips, $120 worth. Sis in Law's Beau's children just adore Little Jo and entertained her. It was a cracker of day. After lunch we went down to the beach below for paddling, swimming or sunburning. Sister caught the 4.00 o'clock ferry home and we all departed. It was a two hour drive home. I will save the rant about car drivers for another day.

An art gallery, R cried out. We had to stop. Interesting stuff at GaGa. The artist's son was looking after the shop. He was a nice lad, albeit perhaps preoccupied with his online laptop girlfriend in Vladivostok.

In spite of sunscreen and a hat, I am a bit singed. R is much worse. He has skin that doesn't need sunscreen, but he is quite red.

Surely that must be the last family contact for a long time. Nah, Tradie Brother is home alone, his divorce from Sis in Law in effect on christmas day. He is depressed. Might try to give him an interesting day out on Monday.

Photos of the day will follow.

A Massacre

I recently read a piece in Fairfax Press about what was, up until Port Arthur, the worst massacre in Australia. I am sure that is what the article said. I asked around the family table if anyone knew which was the worst massacre before Port Arthur and no one knew. Sister piped in with the Myall Creek massacre, which stopped me briefly. I didn't know how many were killed at Myall Creek, but this was not the answer I read.

At Myall Creek, 'brave' convict settlers and a freeman killed 28 Aborigines, mostly women and children, in 1838. To the administration's credit, justice was pursued but after a trial, all were found not guilty, in spite of the Justice directing that there was no difference between killing an Aborigine and killing a white person. Before they were released another charge was laid against them and at this trial, seven were found guilty and were hanged.

Australia's worst massacre in the twentieth century was at Port Arthur in Tasmania where 35 were killed by Martin Bryant.

But the one suggested as the worst before Port Arthur in the article I read was the Whisky Au Go Go fire bombing in Brisbane's Fortitude Valley where 15 were killed. I have a vague memory of it. There were a couple of drums of fuel oil ignited in the foyer of the nightclub and the fireball shot upstairs. The fire escape door handle and the fire escape stairs had been greased. Of the 100 in the club, many escaped by jumping from windows. Among those killed were a couple of band members and their extra vocalist.

Photo of the burnt out Whisky Au Go Go from Brisbane Times online.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wallowing with joy at the misery of others

Only a mother could love this creature, Bernie Ecclestone, the person behind Melbourne's Grand Prix. He cost us $43 million with his event here last year. Who knows what it will be next year.

Oh look, he was attacked and robbed. What a shame. Bet he wished he hadn't said this a month or so earlier.

"You have to remember we have a lot of problems in England, Oxford Street and places, and in New York people get mugged," he said.

"They look for victims, they look for people who are a little bit slow and simple, but the people who look a bit bright, they never go after them."

We can only hope Baills puts a stop this Grand Prick nonsense.

And so that is christmas

Lordy that christmas is over. We agreed to look after Little Jo today, Tuesday, while Sister and Bone Doctor went to view cricket(insert any sort of sport). They came the day before and we did the Mother transfer thing, where ABI Brother came from where he had been staying to pick up Mother and return her to home. How can we entertain Little Jo? We took her to see the Fairy Tree in Fitzroy Gardens. She had seen it and was not so impressed. If Little Jo could not get into the Tudor Village and walk among the miniature houses, she was still not impressed.

But fate would have it that we found the dragon slide, so she entertained herself for a bit, interrupted by schnacks, as she used to say. She was a bit tired so we took her home. At 6 I drove Sister's car to the local La Porchetta where we met them fresh from the cricket. It was a nice meal and they went off for drinks with friends at the Temperance Hotel in Chapel Street. They were back by nine and we had a reasonably early night.

Tuesday we fried up eggs and very nice left over ham for breakfast and while I cleaned up, they all went down for a swim and spa. Sister and Bone Doctor went off to the cricket and again in Sister's car we took Little Jo to the sand park in Albert Park. She played for a while there and back to the car and moved down to Sandbar for coffee. We stayed over an hour as Little Jo had made friends with other kids and was having a good time. We lounged in deck chairs and make our coffee last.

Sister returned mid afternoon and R made left over pork sandwiches and they departed. We restored the apartment to its normally neat state but no sooner had we rested a bit, Sis in Law, her new beau and his three kids called in for coffee on their way home from Scienceworks. They did not stay too long. I amused them with my retro robot game q and a.

By 6pm there was peace in our time. I poured myself a large drink.

Hydrangeas as we entered Fitzroy Gardens.

Miniature Tudor Village.

The Fairy Tree.

Dragon Slide. Of course I had to try it too.

Next day the Albert Park sand park.

So relaxing. I should have zoomed in closer on the bare top volley ball player.

Nothing odd about a dog on a paddle board is there?

Never a right time

I have wanted a new Melways Street Directory for a good while, but the time was never right. I thought I would wait until City Link was complete so that I would have that clearly showing on the edition of Melways. Then I decided to wait for Eastlink to be completed and the alterations on the merge of the Calder and Tullarmarine Freeways. But wait, there are the West Gate Freeway alterations. Eventually you have to bite the bullet, for motorways and toll roads just keep on getting built, so my new street directory does not have Peninsula Link marked as a completed road, but it shown as dotted lines with exits and entrances.

I use Google Maps and Melways online all the time. On my phone I often use Google Maps. However, I still like the hard copy to give a sense of proportion and overview, and the myriad of extra detail. Btw, Melways online has had a makeover and the stupid seven buttons at the top to enlarge or reduce have gone and it now operates with a sliding + or - or with your mouse thumb wheel. So much better and not before time. I am very much enjoying flicking through my new Melways and learning stuffs I never knew.

ABI Brother was taking a look and pointed out on a map to me an oddity. East of Pakenham where the Pakenham Bypass was constructed, a couple of minor roads were terminated where they met the Bypass. One, Ryans Road, had a train level crossing which became redundant when Ryans Road was cut into two. However, the bells and flashing lights still operate as the train passes through, even though there is now nothing to protect and has not been for two years. I'm quoting my brother on this, so I hope he is right.

Later Edit: Timespanner found an online news story about the crossing. You can see it here.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Its my ticket MYKI

Bails, the new Premier of Victoria who is of the dynastic Balliue, Bailleu, Baillue/Myer, whatever, family has decreed a review of out new ticket system known as MYKI. I have no problems with it, except sometimes a slow response at a machine. R is a newcomer to the system. He ought not receive a MYKI charge on a Sunday but he did. He called the call centre and they informed him that that charge was for the previous day's travel because he did not touch off on that day. We scratched our heads. Did R forget to log off on the bus? No, we didn't catch a bus the day before. Operator said it was a tram non log off. But you don't have to touch off on a tram he wailed at the operator. It would seem if you want your accounts in order, the charge matching the day, you do. R wasn't overcharged, but if you know you have free travel on a certain day and see a MYKI deduction when you touch on, then it is clearly a problem.

There are other issues with MYKI, but as I said, it works well for me. Oh the cost of the system though. Way too much. Regardless, Bails would be crazy not to continue with its roll out as so much money has been spent on it already. It is not a bad thing that he is getting an auditor review.

I am a bit surprised at the low take up of MYKI though. I thought you may have saved a few cents here and then but then I saw a chart that compared the Metcard cost of travel against the MYKI cost, and the MYKI savings are considerable. You are talking of a saving between 50 cents and a dollar for each casual ticket purchase.

I'd suggest you get out there and get yourself a MYKI ticket while they last and save yourself some money.

Minor Boxing Day Sale

Not really, Queenscliff ignored Boxing Day sales and traded as usual, expensive. R couldn't resist a pair of sea rock climbing shoes for Little Jo. They are pink and almost look like ballet shoes. You can wear them in or out of the water and they have good grip for walking on rocks.

We visited Apostle for sustenance not of the spirit, but the stomach. The coffee and muffin were fine. It is Sister and Bone Doctor's favourite.

We then took a cruise around town in the most stylish vehicle we could find. Mother used to ride her father's Clydesdales. Sister and Tradie Brother used to get dinked on the back of a horse to school. I did not know of this horse riding family history. As not fond of horses as I am, I rather like Clydesdales. They don't have that flighty look in their eyes.

In yesterday's post I left out that a cruise ship was ready to pass out through the heads while we were on an evening beach walk (Diamond Princess). The channel which the ships must follow has them heading directly for the Point Lonsdale beach and they swing left and pass through the heads. Once past, Sister tells me they travel west for a bit before heading on their normal route to the east. The ship passengers would have had a fine view of the illuminated 36 metre tall pine.

For sale if you are interested.

We gave Little Jo a chef's hat and apron, powdered pancake mix and some cooking utensils. She whipped us up a fine batch of pancakes for breakfast.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Non Highrise christmas

This has been the first christmas that either we did not host for the family or didn't involve a good bit of travelling. We stayed at Sister's christmas eve and christmas night. Mother and ABI stayed too, except ABI Brother left christmas night to stay with a friend before going to the Boxing Day cricket test match. He thought he had lost the tickets when he pulled out his street directory when he was lost on his way to his friend's place and they spent a couple of hours driving the streets of Footscray looking for them. They resigned themselves to not going however next morning the tickets were discovered in his car.

We all found somewhere to sleep at Sister's. Bone Doctor and Little Jo camped outside in a tent and Little Jo loved it. I slept on the floor one night and a sofa bed the next. Tradie Brother and his son Dreaded Nephew visited for christmas dinner. We took several walks to and from the beach and a couple of evening drives to look at christmas lights.

Mother was painful. We are all the more convinced half or more of her problems are anxiety related yet nothing we say or suggest is taken much note of by her. Sister will deliver her here shortly and then ABI Brother will take her home.

It was a pleasant christmas and quite relaxing. We visited Queenscliff on Boxing Day before we journeyed home and after some rest went to our Brother Friends house for more food and conviviality with friends.

Sister gave me this retro toy. I suppose it works by magnets. You turn the robot to a question, life him up and place him on the shiny circle and he spins until he stops pointing to the answer. R says he remembers the toy from his childhood, but I don't. There are several sheets of questions, some I don't know the answer to.

Christmas morning I kept hearing emergency fire sirens coming from different directions. Eventually the reason became clear. Santa was driving the streets and handing out lollies. What a great thing to do for kids on christmas mornings. Well done the volunteer Country Fire Authority.

The 36 metre tall Point Lonsdale Norfolk Island Pine which has been decorated since the mid 1960s. Not a great phone camera photo, but the tree was great.

Thanks so much. It is lovely.

One ought not appear ungrateful but what do some people observe around them?

For more than five years you will have only seen me in a shirt with a collar, with or without a jacket. It is a long time since I have worn a tee, yet a friend twice has bought me tee shirts he has picked up cheaply in Asian countries. They are kind of ok tees, if you are in the habit of wearing tee shirts. Clearly he has never noticed that I don't. Young men and women don't seem to care about their flab being exposed when wearing a tee shirt, but I think for me a proper shirt is a bit more flattering. I am not a fool in so far as what I am wearing or not wearing is not going to matter to many, but it matters a bit to me. You can't make silk purse out of sow's ear, but you can present it with a little parsley to garnish.

At some point Mother must have noticed that we had a lot of antique furniture. She appears to have not noticed anything about our style of decoration since. The antiques were ditched long ago but she seems to think that dark brown timber picture frames are the go for us.

She did get mine partly right this year with a nice black and sliver picture frame with a picture of Late Step Father in it, but although Mother has a good eye for clothes and what works, surprisingly she chose a photo of Late Step Father wearing a blue Hawaiian shirt with a v neck red and black diamond shapes knitted jumper.

Well I may wonder about what I receive. Mother excelled herself with R's christmas gift, an empty photo frame surrounded my a mirrored border decorated with chrome filigree and bits of coloured plastic made to look like jewels. We will not even put it out when she visits tomorrow in a pretence that we like it. I wish she would show signs of senility so we would have something to blame.

We did receive some nice gifts, but tonight I am feeling reactionary about this christmas cheer and botheration.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Willow

ABI Brother has tickets for the cricket on Boxing Day. Sister has some for the third day. Ho hum, boring. I understand interest in sport. I never really get the passion for it. However, there is one thing that can arouse my interest in sport and this time it is cricketer Mitchell Johnston. Might Mitchell be an offside spinner or does he just whack a ball to the outer?

Pics from Fairfax Press and The Guardian.

Later edit: I said to Bone Doctor that maybe cricket wasn't so bad and that I was developing an interest. She replied, 'What's his name?'.