Saturday, January 29, 2011

Outrage? Slander? Truth? Just former planning minister Justin Madden

Sorry, this is a bit stale but still of concern. From The Age:

Upon completion, Martha Cove (that would be Safety Beach methinks, previously known as Shark Bay) will reportedly include 1150 homes configured as medium-density houses and flats, at least 600 marina berths, a shopping centre and parks, development manager Jamie Jowett says.

The project was approved in 2002, after the site's then owner — renowned for getting difficult south-eastern suburb projects through planning at the time — made its largest-ever political contribution. By early 2005 when the first stages were being marketed, more donations were made to Labor MP Tim Holding and former Narre Warren MLA Dale Wilson.

Mr Madden made the decision to "call in" decision-making powers for the project earlier this year on the request of developer the Barton Group, and has since formed a working group to review a proposal. At 38 levels, the proposed tower (below) would make Box Hill recognisable from anywhere in Melbourne with an eastern suburbs aspect.

In South Yarra, a consortium of developers has been granted approval to demolish the historic Capitol Bakery building on the north-west corner of Toorak Road and Chapel Street, and replace it with the suburb's most iconic landmark so far.

The $150 million Capitol project will soar to 38 levels and include apartments atop a new shopping centre.

Port Melbourne's tallest buildings rise about 20 levels. But The Age recently cited a senior government source as saying a Kuwaiti billionaire sheikh's development company had received a "nod and a wink" that approval would be granted by the Planning Department after yesterday's election for a 28-level, $200 million glass tower overlooking Station Pier.

Original date: 02/12/10


Why did I take this photo? I can't recall. It is Soda Rock I think. Before it was Johnny Rockets or something like that, an American style hamburger joint. Underneath is a night club where taxis queue on Monday mornings and give R botheration when he is going to work. He lowered his passenger window one Monday morning and recounted to me that he heard a dude asking his bitch to suck him.

It was originally a cable tram engine house, back in the days when the Toorak tram only went as far as Irving Road and not Glenferrie Road. I think it also ran the cables for the Chapel Street trams, but I am not so sure about that.

The building is to be demolished soon, for what? You guessed, smart apartments.

Across Toorak Road was South Yarra Arms hotel, now Sportsgal. I bought my first dope outside the South Yarra Arms, as the Skyhooks song goes. A wee bit south down Chapel Street was the abattoir. Lol, there are still abattoirs in Chapel Street, the meat is a bit different.

Originally written 24/03/10.

Friday, January 28, 2011


Sorry folks. Dealing with spam is taking up too much of my time. I don't like doing it but I have switched word verification on. See how I go.

Bourke Street Mall amble

Just a few photos from Melbourne's Bourke Street Mall.

This is the very nice David Jones building. There other DJ building is nearly directly across the mall. This was originally the old Coles store. I can remember eating in Coles Cafeteria once. The staff all wore nice uniforms and there was a dumb waiter for either the food, the dirty dishes or both.

A nice non matching pair. There is on old sign on the one on your left, Public Benefit Bootery.

The Royal Arcade entrance. RA has just had tidy up and it is now filled with natural light.

Myer has a very big frontage. Look at the wonderful windows that are now being used. They were all covered over before its major reno.

The other David Jones store, originally Buckley and Nunns. The name Buckley and Nunn is still there in kind of mosaic panels.

Barry Humphries is fond of mentioning the Leviathan Building. This is it on the corner of Bourke and Swanston Streets.

Across Swanston Street is this very ordinary building, ugly in fact. However at night by the use of clever lighting, it looks quite pretty and very blue. I have looked for a photo online, but I can't find one. I have seen one before.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Art Deco Calendar

This year we did not receive a calendar as a gift so again I bought the Art Deco and Modernism Society calendar. I believe they are still available at through the society's website. You can see last year's here.

Food, food, glorious food

Food I did not grow up with as a youngster but now like.

Meat & fish cuts:
Rack of lamb (that cut was fed to the dogs)
Chinese pork sausage
Smoked cod
Lamb shanks (more for the dog)

Curry of any kind
Chicken Maryland
Pasta with sauce (tinned spaghetti was awful)
Stir fry
Thai curries
Hot and sour soups

Rocket (and other salad leaves. It was Iceberg all the way. I didn't even know the name Iceberg back then)
Salad onions (purple or red)
Spring onions

Kiwi fruit
Nashi pears
Ya pear
Mangos (a bit of the Dan Quayle's here, tomato-tomatoes, potato-potatoes. Why not mangoes? Why not avocadoes?)

Expensive breakfast cereals (It was either corn flakes or Weet Bix/Vita Brits. We never ate it, but Mother always had All Bran on the breakfast table. As a special treat, Frosties, Fruit Loops, Cocoa Pops, Honey Smacks).

One of my favourite sweets:
Gulab Jamun

Actually, no other cheese than Kraft cheddar which came in a blue cardboard box. Occasionally Coon Tasty.

Black pepper
Vinaigrette for salads
Seed mustard

If you are of a similar age to myself, perhaps you could add what I have missed.

I recently challenged a foreign born person at work. Why do you need to have rice with every meal? It is like your potatoes, was his reply. Nay, I said. I don't eat potatoes every day with every meal. I eat food from all over the world.

While I can't really come at sushi (lordy, even tradies buy sushi for lunch now) and its kindred, how good is Australia that we can get and eat food from all over the world. I suppose it is the same to a greater or lesser degree in all Western countries. Why can't Asians and Indians eat other foods? Ok, they do a bit, but not with any gusto.

Gusto, I remember eating there in Aomori. Suddenly there are Gustos everywhere in Australia, but of a generic kind.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Same Same Digi Radio

High five, he said, and I did. I think it was the first time I have ever high fived an adult male. His hand felt not hard as I imagined it, but quite soft. He is of Greek heritage you see and even though I may have had some experience with those from the Mediterranean, I was a bit surprised at the softness of his hand. He is a work mate, and not a dark haired Greek, but fair. I believe they come from the north of Greece, or does that only apply to Italians?

Of course he is nice looking. Would I be telling you about him if he wasn't? I would go so far as to say he is hot. He is a bit older now than when he started at my workplace, but is ageing well. He has a slight Euro/born Aussie accent, which I really quite like. I am not arrogant enough to say that I don't suffer fools gladly, but I do get bored very easily and I often roll my eyes in a non visible manner, especially at work. He thinks along the same lines as do I. He is one of dozen or so at work, 300 odd, who I can complain to about workmates. He does his job exceptionally well, perhaps better than I do. My customer service skills are lacking. He is just so nice, he can't help but be helpful.

I better add a bit more background. In years past I had my own personal fag hag. I worked with her and she was possibly a dyke. Her girlfriend thought so. She was a bit fragile at times. She left my workplace to become a 'receptionist' in a brothel. Ah what fun we had. Lunches out, giggling insanely under the influence of something. Pulling out her falling out hair extensions on a tram. I even inflicted her on V. once. Remember Helena at Cafe 151 V? I probably owe you an apology. Helena was confused. She also liked blokes. I recall her having a fling with a St Kilda Road, St Kilda, tattooist. He sounded hot. Part Maori I believe. Last I heard, she was married with two children and living in the country. It wasn't until she left, that I learnt she had been living in a unit next door to Mother and she and Step Father had had many chats.

Fag hags are quite useful though. As well as being good fun, they tell you about straight guys. She had a two girl threesome with my afore mentioned straight workmate. It was a good while after she left my workplace that she told me about him and what happened. I am sure you don't want the base details :-P. Of course her tale added some excitement to my thoughts of him.

Can I give him a name? Nick will do. That is a good Greek name. I told Nick about Helena's frank revelations. His face went red.

To the point. He started saying something about AM radio on the radio and I realised even he could talk nonsense. A digital radio can do FM radio, but not AM. Because I already knew he was smart enough, there must be something to this. It is when you are not directly looking at the screen, he said. He held his radio on an angle. It had to be at the right angle to see, which seemed to entail him resting his bare arm on mine. I felt his chest pressing on my shoulder. I felt his leg resting atop mine. I felt entangled. We parted. What is going on here?

I pulled my digi radio out again and switched it on. I immediately saw what he was on about. There are kind of non readable things on the screen that you can only see at an angle. Look Nick, I can see it too. He then positively draped himself over me to see it. I felt sensations that I had not felt since I was a teenager.

There is nothing wrong with young straight guys teasing older gay men. I quite approve of it. He knew that I knew what he was doing.

The question is why did he do that?

I have thought about what some fun with him might be like many times in the past, but it had never really jelled in my mind. I tried to think about it again after this incident, and still it doesn't work for me.

What I can vividly imagine is him softly singing a Greek love song into my ear and I am melting under his ministrations, I can feel his weight, his skin, his breath and his soft voice in my ear, but I don't know where to go to from there. This is not the gay sex I know.

There is little in life that surprises me, but hmmm, I am a bit taken aback about what that was all about.


A rich person who does good works is Australian of the Year. I guess he is better than a rich person who does no good works. I consider some recipients of Australia Day awards very worthy, most not. That Watsons Bay bloke who has offered comfort and tea to those considering suicide at The Gap is among the worthy. Officially, he has prevented 160 from making the dive. Unofficially, perhaps 400.

While I like Jessica Watson and admire what she achieved, how did she help anyone in any other way than the very oblique?

Ex Federal Treasurer Costello received an award, for just doing his job. I have done my job, where is my award? Andrew Highriser, for 32 years of faithful service in your employment.....I guess they know how much I dislike about my workplace and only apathy and a lack of ambition have kept me there.

There are countless numbers of people who voluntarily contribute to our community in many different ways. Where are their awards? Ok, a few do get them. More should receive them, at the expense of the rich who are just doing their job.

There are three or so places I plan to leave some money to. One will be a wildlife carer operation. How many of those wildlife carer people received an award? How many working single fathers of four received an award? How many Sea Shepherd volunteers who have saved countless whales have received an award?

May as well go back to giving out Sirs and Dames.

The Destructor

Sounds like an Arnie movie title.

I thank Miss Ann O'Dyne for her assistance with her freely shared knowledge.

It was a pleasant warm night as R and sat on our balcony sipping our cocoa (who spluttered then?) and sortin' the world before retiring to rest. What's that building? R queried. A new building has appeared on the horizon. I don't know. We tried to pinpoint its location, but we could not at night.

Slightly in distance new high rise buildings don't enter our consciousness until they are poking a few stories above surrounding buildings. There is a boom in highrise building in South Yarra now. Cranes to the left me, cranes to the right, the old succumbing to the developer's might.

At some point the next day I remembered the building and took another look. In the daylight I could tell it was a bit behind the Jam Factory. What large site is there that could have large highrise buildings built upon it, I wondered. Right, online maps. I could only note a large barren site from an aerial photo.

Now, I could have worked it out myself, but in my experience, it is better to ask someone who might know of some 'colour' surrounding whatever you ask them about. Contact Miss Ann O'Dyne.

Within a the bat of a bat's eyelid, she replied. It was The Destructor! That is the local Prahran tip and incinerator. She added plenty of colour in her response, much of which won't be of interest to you.

Would you believe right back in 1908 there was a letter to The Argus newspaper complaining about the smoke from The Destructor. From Trove.

16th June, 1908
Sir,-Yesterday the Prahran destructor
was again making itself most obnoxious to Hawksburn local residents. It was pouring out a huge volume of smoke, which borne by the north west wind, carried its disagreeable odour over houses and gardens far and near. How much longer is this intolerable public nuisance to be allowed to pollute the neighbourhood?
Yours sincerely,
Hawksburn resident.

Here is a relevant photo at Picture Victoria. I don't believe The Destructor was closed until at least the late 1990s, maybe even into the 2000s.

Jam Factory (seems to be covered with green mesh) with the new building on the site of demolished Prahran Destructor. I always assumed the chimney was part of the Jam Factory but it seems to be The Destructor smoke stack. Maybe I should actually take a look at what is there. When is my next day off.

Stop the presses

*Andrew rubs eyes as he wakes*

What is today? Empire Day?

Oh, it wasn't until last night that I remembered today is Australia Day. R asked about the car positions and I said that I was going to work first in the morning. Of course you are he said, I am not working.

We bashed off to the local for a meal. Why is it so busy? Duh, public holiday tomorrow.

R is going to our friend's annual Oz Day barbeque. I shall regretfully attend work and earn my day's pay, plus 1.5 times on top of that. Maybe not so regretfully.

Now kiddies, please be restrained tomorrow with your use of the Australian flag. Bragging and chest beating and holding your hand over your heart is not the Australian way.

Even the newcomers to Australia have learnt this, as R told me. He was a rather hot young Mediterranean born guy who vaguely works with R. F*** Australia, he said. I don't give a f*** about Australia. I just want a f****** day off and get f****** p*****. He is taking being Australian to the extreme. I like recognition of Australia Day in meaningful ways.

A bit of Aussie music is a good way to celebrate Oz Day. Last year I put up a clip of Sounds of Then. It was just performed live on tv at a concert. The recorded version sounds better. I thought this year to maybe put up Solid Rock or Treaty.

I am not fond of country music and I don't like western much either. However, this is what you getting this year.

When Slim Dusty died, our ABC ran a late night news tribute, concluding with a Slim Dusty track. Slim's Redback on the Toilet Street is an amusing song, as is Pub With No Beer, but when at the end of the tribute to Slim and our ABC played a Slim track that I had never heard before, tears ran down my face as I listened.

Just don't forget as we celebrate, we Australians come in many guises, those who have been here for hundreds of thousands of years, those of us who are of mid to late twentieth century born and our newest and many in between.

Slim Dusty's Looking Foward, Looking Back. A restrained happy australia day to you.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Usurious Origin

A fourteen percent increase in our electric bill Origin? Just not cricket. I can afford it but many can't. Is it too early to blame Premier Teddy? Well, he was a party member of the government who privatised our electric. No good has come from that at all. In fact quite the opposite.

Got 'em

Two lads in Thailand have been arrested for the murder of a good Samaritan here in Melbourne. A third is still being pursued. The ever intelligent Herald Sun has mug shots of the accused with their eyes covered. They are all Thai citizens.

Accused number 1. Brown eyes, black hair
Accused number 2. Brown eyes, black hair
Accused number 3. Brown eyes, black hair.

I guess if any of them weren't, they would have been caught much sooner.

Surfer Boi

The Herald Sun tabloid newspaper is a fine and accurate record of Melbourne's news, as long as you like your news with a particular slant.

But what a beat up this is. Beat up by Metro too. The Darwin principle applies and there should only be minimal delay to the service. It is not a complex murder investigation.

In Africa, South America and the sub continent, people regularly ride on train roofs as passengers. Better that our Metro train operators concentrate on signals which seem to fail so often, rather than those who are silly enough to ride on train roofs and harm no one except themselves on the very odd occasion. Of course they still need to pay their fare.

Milko Milko

Time Spanner wrote of the milk divide cartel in Auckland in days before you could buy milk in supermarkets.

As a kid on a dairy farm, I had to often get the billy of milk from the dairy. I was quite proud of my billy can swinging skills. I could swing the billy can in all directions including over my head and never a drop was spilt. Oh, I just remembered throwing a can of milk at my brother. He was very sticky. I am sure he deserved it.

In early farm days milk cans were used and simple dip of the billy into the can resulted in a lot of cream which would settle on top in the billy can. While I like a pavlova and cream on my tinned cling peaches, I hated the cream on top of the milk. Later came the modern refrigerated milk vat. My brother would dip the billy can into the milk vat and if the agitator hadn't been working for a while, yes, more greasy cream. I used to take the milk from the tap at the bottom of the vat and again if the agitator hadn't been working, not a drop of cream. So much nicer.

My grandparents for a time had their milk delivered in bottles, sealed with foil caps but in my memory, they walked to the local milk bar daily to buy bottles of milk.

A friend grew up in Calcutta, oh, Kolcata , whatever. The delivered milk was not to be trusted. It did not come in cartons from a factory in the sixties but in a container, probably a billy of sorts, and direct from the dairy.

My friend used to get their milk straight from the cow's udder. Well, sort of. A man and a cow would arrive and the cow would be milked in front of my friend's mother into a container she supplied. There was no chance of milk dilution to increase profits with filthy water that could cause them to become ill. (just occurred to me that the person milking could have water pump up his sleeve)

I would guess that milk dilution was a problem in both Australia and New Zealand before the heavy regulation of milk supply began and believe me, in the sixties and seventies is was very regulated.

We drink skim milk at home, mixed in jugs, but if we are having visitors we buy a carton of fresh milk. I hunt the fridge shelves at the shop for just plain milk. It is terribly difficult to find a carton of 'just milk'.

One thing about milk hasn't changed though, as I have noticed with Little Jo. Kids still end up with milk moustaches.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The head hard drive

I recently heard someone liken the human brain to a computer hard drive. There are similarities. At times there is something you are trying to remember and you can't, just like with your computer hard drive when you can't find something. Of course if you have a good filing system on your hard drive, you should be able to find what you want. This does not work for the brain. But there are some little things you can do to help your brain, such as the one I have written about before for spelling Woolloomooloo. These are called mnemonics and I need a new one to remember how to spell mnemonic.

Another is word association. At my work there is a chap and let me call him Troy, as that is his name. For some reason I had a mental block about his name and I just could never remember it until I started thinking of him as Helen, Helen of Troy. It was better than calling him darls, as I had started to do. I don't know him that well and it seemed a little too informal. Lucky that I never called him Helen.

I find it just so annoying that of maybe a dozen telephone numbers I know, half are redundant. Why does our brain hold this useless stuff? Why can't it dump such stuff in the recycle bin and make space for new things we need to remember. While not many of us now remember phone numbers, because we don't need to, I suppose passwords and other numbers have taken up the space.

A few months ago I changed my card that I use to log into online banking. I had used the old card for a long time and I knew the 16 digits on my card and never had to check. Now with the new card, I cannot remember the numbers and have to drag it out of my wallet every time I want to use online banking. Worse, I don't think I will ever learn the numbers. Maybe my brain is too old now?

I would like the good bits of a young person's brain, like the brains of young people in shops who can look the umpteen numbers on a product's barcode, look away and enter them without a pause into the cash register. I hate them.

I see young people texting and they can do it at such speed. Kiddo, I was texting back when you were in nappies, I feel like saying to them. They would be justified in replying, well grandpa, how come you can only text at half the speed I can.

I think I do know what my brain's problem is. I have filled it up with a tiny bits of, and incomplete knowledge about too many things. There is not one thing I know a lot about. I have read too much and absorbed too little. If I had my time over, I might just change my brain a bit to make sure it became an expert at a few things, rather than its present state of being a jack of all trades and master of none. But then I am not too bad as an all rounder in a trivia comp. I has me uses.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Shoe Drama

How many bloggers could write about shoe laces and get a comment response? Oh, I have set myself up for failure. I ripped the broken lace out and threaded the new lace exactly like the non broken lace. If you look closely at the photo you can see that I missed the bottom holes. I should have put my specs on. Second try and I got all eye holes but the new lace did not match the old one. I complained to R and he was sympathetic. I tried again and again got it wrong. Please, how hard is it to put in new laces?

As wrong as my laces now were, I decided no one really looks at my feet and they have stayed wrong.

Oh, but the sheet. I bought a new one. A black fitted sheet at Myer post christmas sale, so much better value than Target. I bought new pillows too. I hate them, but I have grown accustomed to them. I did not put the new sheet straight on my bed as I had recently washed my bedding. I will put it on next change of bedding. My bed is queen sized, how appropriate. I will go to my grave wondering how I ended up with King Size Single Bed Black Fitted Bed Sheet. I even had R with me to supervise my purchases.

Myer may not sell things for the cheapest price, although at half price they would be hard to beat, but there no problem with exchanges. I got the last one of the correct size and still at half price.