Saturday, May 21, 2011

'Tis a curious thing

Not years but for decades we have been hearing of the evils of coal powered electricity generators. In Victoria it is especially bad as we use wet brown coal to fire ours.

But we are all enlightened now are we not? Everyone seems to be, except our state government who has announced the construction of a new coal fired electricity generation plant. It may will be more efficient and less polluting, but is it a wise decision? If it were for short term use, perhaps, but you don't build a large electricity plant for the short term. It will still possibly be generating and spewing out filth into our atmosphere in thirty years time.

We have the technology now to generate electricity without causing such an impact on the environment. The technology goes ahead in leaps and bounds and becomes cheaper and cheaper, yet we are taking such a backward step.

Ah well, I might not be here in thirty years time so it won't be my problem. Sorry and good luck kiddies.

Gratuitous and Luscious Saturday

Often? Generally? Permanently? I feel very sexually dead. This is not a bad thing as both it, and in my young days what was called self abuse, keeps me on the straight and narrow. But at times I like to recall the driven me of years past. As R used to be fond of saying, when he was young he would have stuck it in a tin of worms.

He is a handsome young man, is Pablo. Perhaps I should revise my harsh opinion of Pablo Instant Coffee. I came across his photos at Beauty and the Hunter blog. Would I do him? Well yes and no. In my head I would, but really I couldn't be bothered. What you reckon Copperwitch? Same for you? Nice to look at but oh, the effort. Too hard. He could just stand back and satisfy himself while admring our beauty and then peel us a grape or in your case, unwrap a chocolate.

He would be a very nice accompaniment to wheel my shopping trolley though. How very Frank Thring.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Fire in the sun

Dog tongues hang from the sides of their jaws. Birds seem to lack the energy to fly. People walk slowly, conserving their energy and in vain trying not to perspire. A heavy heat haze hangs over the city with barely a breath of moving air. A building appears to be on fire. Don't you think the photo is a good illustration of the hot day?

Maybe not. It was cold, the sun was on a low path in the sky to setting and briefly reflected its light from the building. In thirty seconds the reflection had gone.

The easter project

OMG, this is the missing post from blogger melt down and it has returned to drafts from scheduled.

I know this is really asking for it, but the easter project was R painting the two feature walls in the lounge/dining area with a special paint and it is now complete, paint, $200.

Six red cushions, which was two too many, $200.

An original piece of artwork. Don't ask me what it is or will be forced to be both inventive and economical with the truth. $400.

And we wonder why in spite of not having children to support, we don't have any money.

On the other wall that received the treatment is the large Miro print retrieved from storage, that is under a bed.

Next to the kitchen above the drinks trolley is the previous seen metal sculpture of I guess an hombre and hombress. Or a gaucho and a gauchess.

The main thing is that we are very happy with the result of the easter project. This is the first really decent lounge suite we have ever had. A couple we did wear out, but as Oldest Niece says, paraphrased, it will see you out Uncle Andrew and Uncle R.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

So who were those women?

Below is the full photo. Note the chains on their ankles.

In 1965 Merle Thornton, mother of Sigrid, and Rosalie Bognor chained their ankles to the brass bar rail in a Brisbane pub, the Regatta to be specific. You could argue that they should have focused on superannuation for women, equal pay, non dismissal from the public service once you married, but in their own way by their well attended by press publicity stunt, in time they really did bring change to women's rights in Australia.

Back when I was a yoof, pubs had public bars, saloon bars and ladies lounges. Public bars were for men of the tradie variety where you could probably only get beer of one variety from the tap and your glass would be refilled as a new glass never kept a good head on your beer. There may been a bottle of Corio whisky to use as a chaser for your beer. For the elderly gents, there was possibly a bottle of Remy Martin brandy behind the bar too. The floor was perhaps terrazzo and the walls tiled. The bar could be hosed out and it often needed to be.

For the business types, there was the saloon bar. They often had bar stools to sit upon and the more classy barmaids were rostered to serve in the saloon bar.

Then there was the ladies lounge. Men could not enter unless accompanied by a lady. Ladies were though of as pretty common if they went into the ladies lounge on their own. They must be serious drinkers, thought many. The ladies lounge was probably the arse end of the pub, small and with a tiny bar that was attended by staff from the other bars, if they had time. Ladies lounges were an advance on the shuttered window that ladies had previously received their drinks from.

Of course no decent woman would ever be seen in a pub, ladies lounge or not. They were not allowed in the public bar, and only just perhaps tolerated in the saloon bar if they were accompanied by a man.

Why weren't women allowed in the public bar? I very much doubt there was a law, but maybe it was. It was certainly a social convention. Now there are very few places where women are not allowed to go, apart from the very obvious ones, male toilets (breached), gay male sex on premises venues (breached) and the Melbourne Club.

Who do woman have to thank for breaking down the barrier of the taboo about women entering public bars? Merle Thornton and Rosalie Bognor, who walked into the public bar of hotel in Brisbane and chained themselves to the brass rail. I don't think women really wanted to enter public bars, but making the point that they should be able to if they wanted to was pretty valid in my book.

So ladies, next time you find yourself staggering out of public bar pissed as a parrot, thank Merle and Rosalie.

The Regatta was/is a gorgeous looking hotel. The one Bjelke-Petersen missed.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Who are they?

I have cropped this photo a little, as the full photo might give the game away, but do you know who these two women are and how they changed Australian society?

New phone day 2

Forgot to publish this one.

Sorted photos. Turned on gps. I never switched it off and it worked when I picked the phone up, but somehow it got turned off. R's phone was the same.

Swype is brilliant. I can imagine once I have used it for a while, it will be so much faster than hand writing an sms. Really, it is already faster. I don't have young person mobile thumbs. I even tried the on screen writing with my finger and that worked, but I don't write really anymore, so that was slow.

Yesterday I was really struggling with a qwerty keyboard on a phone. I am getting there fast.

The phone tells me where free wifi cafes are. I doubt I will ever use that facility, but it is nice to know I can.

I am not deleting anything yet, but in time I will get rid of all the things I will never use, or maybe not as per Fen.

Lack of nag feature for sms is still an issue.

Sms set up I am not so keen on.

Non Seasonal

Every easter R gives me a chocolate bilby, usually bought from Haighs. It is fine chocolate and part of the profit goes towards to conservation of bilbys and their habitat. Good work Haighs. See a bilby photo and read about what Haighs is sponsoring. Haighs, you can email me for my address to send a chocolate selection to.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


We have a friend who often says g'day. He is a gay and most gays don't say g'day. My Tradie Brother and ABI Brother both say g'day. I use g'day advisedly at work. Some you say g'day to, some you don't. Can I explain who I say g'day to or who I say some other greeting to? I cannot. I have grown up with g'day. I suppose I use it appropriately and instinctively. Some people around the highrise, younger males, I might say g'day to. I would certainly not say it to a female stranger or a man dressed in suit. There is no conscious thought about it on my part.

More than once an Indian resident in Australia, probably visiting students, have said to me, good day mate, with perfect diction and a heavy accent. Nah, doesn't work at all. I smiled inwardly. Their cultural educators have done a bad.

Dina in the US has been musing over the use of g'day, I think it is a word best left native Australian speakers. It is not that we mind or care that much, but it just won't sound right. Best to use your own greeting term. We are very used to hearing American greeting terms via our televisions and movies.

The Brits and Irish don't care. They just greet us as they would someone at home. European visitors to Australia are inclined to be more formal.

While there are greeting terms that I don't use, there are a lot that I do. Why do we have so many ways to greet someone?

Really though, it doesn't matter. Being friendly and saying whatever form of hello you choose is nice.


New Phone, day whatever

I kind of have the new phone set up like I want it. R is finessing his phone too. He makes many sounds of exasperation. He is very impatient with technology. I have learnt not to be. Calling a mobile phone a stupid thing is not nearly as effective as calling a person stupid. The phone stays smugly silent.

I am now trying to improve my Swype technique. Swype, yes I had never heard of it either, is that you write on your phone by dragging your finger over the displayed qwerty keyboard to spell a word. It is a very fast way to write. The trouble is as a ten finger touch typist, I don't know where the letters are very well on a qwerty keyboard. My fingers know where the letters are when I type with both hands, but I am not so good on looking at the keyboard and knowing where the letters are. Hesitate when you are Swyping, and you are screwed. Delete, delete, delete.

You know what is really pleasing me about this new phone? You use your forefingers. I was feeling like a dinosaur using my fingers to type an sms on a keypad when all the younguns do it with their thumbs. Now I am modern again.

R has downloaded the Handcent app and he seems happy with it. Thanks Fen.
Today I will back my phone up. Thanks Tony. Well, maybe. See how I go.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Birds

I had an offblog email conversation with Red Nomad. She seems to be quite a nice person. She knows about birds and her dearest Pilchard knows even more. The bird in this post is not a coot, but a purple swamp hen. It has other colour descriptive names but essentially it is of the variety an eastern swamp hen.

Some years ago I spied a book in my mother's book shelves, Neville Cayley's What Bird is That? 'Oi! That's my book. I want it.' And so I took it.

It is a good book, I think that now because it helped me confirm what Red said, although of course I knew she was right, but it is also a good book because on the inside cover in childish writing I wrote, THIS IS A GOOD BOOK. I think every bird to be seen in Australia is in the book with the birds details, their locations and with hand painted illustrations of the birds reproduced on glossy paper.

The index is excellent but as a child I found a flaw, Roman numerals for chapter and plate numbers. The book has an odd mix of Roman and English numerals. I must have found it hard to understand these Roman numerals as with a red Biro pen, on every page I wrote the chapter number using an English numeral.

The book was first published in 1931 and has been reprinted many times. My edition was a 1969 reprint. Had I not defaced it and lost the dust cover, it might actually be worth more than the price I paid for it new, $5.95. It is available for around $30 new (paperback), last reprinted in 1991. I guess a hardback like mine could be $50.

If you see it around second hand, it is not a bad book to have for reference.

Country Bumpkins

What an extraordinary thing. The new comedy from Matt Lucas and David Willams, Come Fly with Me, is not being screened in country Victoria tonight as it might be too much for unsophisticated country folk. I don't think I have ever heard of any thing like this happening before. I am truly gobsmacked.

What a pity our ABC did not buy it as they did with League of Gentlemen and Little Britain and we would then have nationwide complaints about the show being in poor taste , instead of complaints only coming from the capital cities.

Of course the show will be offensive. Sadly some do take it all too seriously. I had a good internal laugh at Chris Lilley's latest effort on our ABC. Angry Boys was cleverly written, as to be expected, and at times had me squirming. The character Gran is a prison officer in a juvenile detention centre. Just from memory:

'Ok, football game boys. Form two teams. Light skins over here, dark skins over there. Yes Tommy, I know you are aboriginal, but your skin is pale. Get over with the light skins.'

Tallest Tree in the World

So where is the tallest tree in the world? Somehow I think it might be in California, but I am not sure why I think that. It might be a sequoia tree?

But back 19th century the tallest tree in the world was just a couple of hours drive from here in a town I remember a little as they were members of our local football league and I spent some boring Saturday afternoon childhood years there. Thorpdale is a very rich soil potato growing area. I think dairy farming happens there too.

The tallest tree in the world was a mountain ash tree, Eucalyptus regnans, was found near Thorpdale and a surveyor with a theodolite checked its height and found it to be 114 metres tall, 375 feet.

So back in 1880 what did they do with the tallest tree in the world? A plaque? Cut a tourist road through the bush for people to see it? Build a tree top walk way? Nah, none of the above. Australia being unfortunately full of Australians ever back then, they cut it down of course.

There are taller trees in the world now, but if the tree was not chopped down, it may well be competing against California's sequoias. Thorpdale would truly be on the world map and in every edition of Trivial Pursuit.

I remember my father complaining about mountain ash trees. Hard as a rock and blunt your saw in five minutes and they won't burn either. Mountain ash are still the tallest hardwood trees in the world.

Later edit: Jayne found this marvellous link to more about the tree.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

One flash or two?

While sitting in the lounge room at the Highrise in the evenings, flashes from down below reflect from our blinds. Since the speed/redlight camera has been installed, we have seen many flashes; the camera takes two shots, two flashes.

But another flash has appeared, a single flash. I investigated thoroughly and intensively, by taking my drink out onto the balcony.

The tramway authority has done something to the wire that is in front of the Highrise, but only the wire for the trams going to the city, not the outbound ones. Where the tram pantograph meets the overhead wire, an electric flash occurs as tram passes. The flash is quite a pretty colour but it does not happen every time. This is curious. With trams passing the Highrise in huge numbers, I get to know about them, especially their roofs and overhead wiring and the pantograph things. Maybe there is something on the wire? I never think to look in the daylight and it is a bit far away to see properly. I wondered if some variety of tram flashes and some don't. That would be odd and after study, no matter what variety of tram it is, it flashes, or does not.

I have worked it out now. The flash happens when the tram is under power. If the tram is coasting, no flash, as it not drawing the electric power. There is never a flash from the trams going the other way. Why has this flash device been installed?

City Snaps

Rest assured my Kiwi friends, your Bank of New Zealand is safe and secure here in Melbourne with funds invested in a good solid piece of real estate. Ah, but wait. Now owned by the National Australia bank.

These French made trams that roam some of Melbourne's streets have only just begun to receive all over advertising. While it may make them look pretty on the streets and be profit making, it makes it very difficult to see out of the windows when you are in unfamiliar environs. It is almost impossible to see through the tint and advertising at night. Yarra Trams seem to think it is fine to block passengers' views from their vehicles to the outside.

Go home. Go home. Can't youse all just bloody well all go home and give me back my sleepy Melbourne streets for me to be firing a cannon down.

There used to be a tram Lonsdale Street, albeit a cable tram, a long time ago. A very poor bus service has been running for varying lengths along Lonsdale Street, but much attention has now been paid to the service and now there is a frequent bus service running the length of the street. I am not sure how popular the service is and I have not used it yet, but four different people arrived at the stop the wait for a bus in the thirty seconds I stood there.