Saturday, June 11, 2011

No no Russell

Russell, no, don't do it. Stick to safe subjects like religion and politics.

Too late, he did it.

Da trains and trams

Melbourne has a new tram map. It has been a long time coming so it is a damn shame that there are some glaring errors and some things that could have been done differently to more truly represent the real life situation. Getting a new map right can't be easy, but wasn't it shown to many people for comment first? I think the new map is ok, apart from what are fairly minor errors, but still, errors. Have a look, it is very pretty.Link
It looks like Sydneysiders are finally going to get their new Waratah trains. What a farce that became. Who is to blame for extensive delays and cost overruns? Both the previous government and EDI Downer who built the trains. Is it just so difficult to build a train? Train construction happens around the world and there has been more than a century of experience.

Here is one of those whacky proposals for Melbourne's trams that will quickly be forgotten. Remember a previous one? All suburban trams that use St Kilda Road will terminate once the tram reaches St Kilda Road and passengers will need to transfer to shuttle trams.

There is an argument that to relieve tram congestion in Swanston Street, some trams should be diverted along other Melbourne Streets. Marvellous, redirect trams to where people don't want to go. The Swanston Street/St Kilda Road trams are already overcrowded. How is having less of them going to help there? Ah, yes that Footscray to Caulfield rail tunnel will help. How is it progressing? Half dug yet is it?

Another part of the plan is for new track to be laid in Park Street, South Melbourne and a tram run along Park Street through South Melbourne. How many years have I been hearing about the construction of the missing link in Park Street? It will be echoing in my ears when I am on my deathbed.

And the very latest pie in the sky? A tram along Hoddle Street and Punt Road. I am beyond even laughing.

I am not sure if Sydney caught it from Melbourne or Melbourne from Sydney, but aren't we just so fed up with grandiose announcements and then nothing.

Later Edit: Some of the problems with the new tram map can be found here.

Friday, June 10, 2011


It was a Sunday in town and we walked along the Bourke Street Mall. I can imagine one busker who does the almost static concrete look can make some money. But four of them? All donations divided by four? They are not going to get four times the donations of a single performer. They did have quite a crowd surrounding them though.

R has a workmate who owns a shop in Royal Arcade. RA has received a makeover and it is looking very fine. An offshoot from the arcade is still under renovation and I found this spiral staircase intriguing.

Look Dina, Tim will have somewhere to eat when you all visit Melbourne. Dina will probably comment that Tim doesn't eat Korean food.

These glass windows were very nicely done.

An old sign in Globe Alley.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

44 gallons

What a marvellous product was a forty four gallon drum. The last time I checked, they had changed to 205 litres. Would they have been imperial gallons or US gallons? They usually contained oil or kerosene but could hold any liquid. I think you get a forty four of molasses.

I suppose there was a refundable deposit or change over system. They would not have been cheap to make. But oh the uses they could be put to. If you are not sure what one looks like, take a look at Adelaide and Beyond.

Incinerator, cut the top off, cut a hole down the bottom for ash removal and air and they lasted for years. If you want to be posh, leave the lid on and add a chimney.

Barbecue, cut lengthways vertically into half, add a stand and a some wire for a grill and you have a great barbe.

Heating, as above but just for warmth. Or standing up as an incinerator. Get the sides glowing red hot.

A water or feed trough for animals.

Put some bedding in and it becomes a crib for a sick calf or other animal.

An inverted half with the end removed becomes a dog kennel.

There is just no end of uses for the good old forty four gallon drum. Just remember a cut drum can be sharp, soften the edges.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Hand Wringing over Cattle

It is superficially good news the live cattle export trade has been stopped, to Indonesia at least. As Ann points out, what about the sheep?

I thank no one for doing what had to be done. As I heard on radio, why are so many people contacting politicians about the animal cruelty and very few did about the boat arrivals when their boat sank and many died. That is because animals aren't making decisions for themselves. They don't have the wherewithal to do so. They have no capacity to understand or rationalise what is happening to them.

It seems politicians, trade representatives et al have been swamped by protests after the Four Corners tv show went to air. I can't remember the last time I contacted a federal politician about anything, but my local member Mr Danby received a short and succinct email from me, to which he did briefly respond in a form manner.

Did you note the pretty and interesting cow face I included in my post? I was attempting to tug at heart strings, maybe successfully, maybe not. Both sides play this game. This morning I heard a farmer come up with some doozeys. The poor Indonesian child sitting down to dinner with a bowl of rice and no beef to go with it. Worse was, the north of Australia will be full of farmers hanging from trees. I do feel some sympathy for the farmers, but you can't tell me they were all so ignorant. Their representative bodies certainly were not. It was known it was happening. The authorities have had years to do something about it, and they have not fixed the problem at all.

Let me just wonder how the banning came about? We'll use the word Minister as representative of the government and Trade as the industry representative.

Tuesday, post the Four Corners show:

Minister: Trade, there are emails, phone calls and letters arriving in high volume. We are going to do something tough.
Trade: We realise this Minister. We propose banning exports to all but a dozen or so Indonesian abattoirs.
Minister: Ok, I'll run with that and see how we go.


Minister: Trade, it is getting worse, not better. Did you hear how many signed that blasted Get Up petition? I think I am going to have to ban exports.
Trade: We have some other proposals Minister.
Minister: The public just aren't wearing it. I am going to have to ban. Let's face it Trade, you have had thirty years to get it right and now this has all blown up and it is the last thing we need at the moment.
Trade: Well Minister, at least it stopped carbon chat for a couple of days.
Minister: (Glares at Trade) So what are you proposing?
Trade: We have some ideas Minister, but it is difficult, cultural issues, sovereign rights, religious matters.....So problematic.....


Minister: Trade, can you guarantee that this is the last time ever the government will have to deal with such a matter?
Trade: We can't do that Minister. As I have previously explained, how can we control what happens once the animals leave our shores?
Minister: You know what this means Trade. Come Wednesday I am going to have to make that announcement.
Trade: Yes Minister. Will there be compensation and how long will the ban last?
Minister: Get out. Come back and see me when all the fuss dies down.

The above may be close to or very remote from what actually happened, but one thing for sure, the government did not act out of concern for cruelty to animals and nor is the trade. They are doing what the Australian public has forced them to do. Well done all of you who participated.

Lighting the highrise

I don't post much about the building now. Mostly because I don't know much as neither R nor I are on the owner's corporation committee any more. At times I miss the information about what is happening, that is the goss, but being on the committee is damned hard and you have to have a very thick skin.

However, I have picked up a few things that have been happening related to energy conservation. Some things I don't agree with, such as turning off the building's central cooling system, but others I do.

The car park lighting is sensor activated and has been since we have lived here. As you drive in, banks of fluoro lights come on. It is divided into four zones and they are activated on an as need basis. The car park had two long tubes in each fitting, and from each fitting a tube was removed and a green ended much lower wattage tube replaced the one that was left. I was a bit annoyed about this only in so far as it was not done on an as a tube needed replacing basis. They were renewed with one fell swoop. All old tubes were removed and who knows what happened to the them. Waste.

About three or four years ago, it was decided that instead of the interior halogen downlights being 50 watt, the building could manage with 25 watt. And so it could. It made little difference and the 50 watt downlights were progressively replaced with 25 watt downlights.

Between the lifts is a wall lamp with candle globes. On the pool level a new fluoro globe was installed on the wall between the lift. It was horrid and gave out a nasty light. However, a nicer toned light was found and now all those lamps are low wattage fluoro.

Back here, we tried LED lights in our kitchen. Never be on the cutting edge of technology as we were then. It was a failure. But much has happened in the three years since.

About six months ago an even lower wattage LED bulb to replace the building's halogen lights was sourced from Tasmania. How much lower? Four watts. A 4 and a 6 were trialled and the consensus had it that the four gave better light. Go figure, but I saw it with my own eyes. The 4 watt LED lights are progressively replacing what were originally 50 watt halogen lights with no appreciable reduction in lighting.

Just doing a quick bit of arithmetic. Our building's public lighting probably has (brain cogs working) 5 plus 5 plus three plus many floors plus outdoor, plus foyer, ah something like four hundred halogen lights in public areas. There has to be a good cost/benefit for the replacement with expensive LED lights.

With his investigations, Daniel brought this post to a head in what was forming in my mind. That is, replacing our own halogen downlights with LEDs. I was a bit scared when I read his post though, because the cost of the LEDs to replace the halogens seemed extraordinary.

I did some hard core researching today. I can't find out where our building's new lights are coming from. They look the same as these that come from Green Concept Australia, in Moonee Ponds. Most of the LEDs have many more diodes. These only have five. I am not sure if that is good or bad. The cost is about $25 per lamp. Daniel looked at StarLux 6w which although priced at $60, are selling for half price at $30. This is one of the building's new LED lights.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Two 5 minute galleries

I popped into the The National Gallery of Victoria (Fed Square) (how other states hate us having national in the name) a couple of weeks ago to see ManStyle, an exhibition of men's clothing from the eighteenth century until now. It was worth a five minute peruse.

I then headed to the Town Hall to see Crepuscular. I had never heard the word but you can find out about it at the linked website. It perhaps took ten minutes to check. I like these quick look exhibitions. Who wants to spend a whole day looking at old pictures. Much better to take a digestible bite.

As I left Fed Square via the atrium, I crossed Flinders Street and joined a throng heading up Hosier Lane. Actually, there were several throngs, all there to examine the graffiti. Eventually I reached Flinders Lane after being impeded by the throngs and trying to avoid being snapped as a piece of graffiti.

Oh, a doorway, a staircase, a sign reading shopping centre. No shopping centre in this part of Collins Street that I know about. I climbed the stairs and sure enough, a few shops of the high end label variety and a large but deserted eating place. In fact the whole area was very deserted. From the outside I saw that I had been in 161 Collins Street, sandwiched between the T&G building and the rather nice one below.

Here are the red sticks at Fed Square. The bands around them were added later to stop kids pulling them to the ground and then letting them go. Bloody destructive vandalistic kids. But I am an adult. How was I to know you weren't supposed to do that and that it wasn't a piece of interactive art. They made a lovely clatter when I let them go.

A moat surrounded the cubes in the shopping arcade. It was very nicely done.

The cubes are lovely and although I saved looking closely at them for another time. I think they represent stages in Victoria's history.

Next door to 161 is this fine building. The windows are boarded up. I hope something nice is happening.

Across Collins Street is Scots Church. Last time I looked, this fountain was empty of water but not empty of rubbish. Now it is back on to delight passers by.

The Block in Richmond

Seems like I was too subtle for many. The houses under tarps post of the Near Map showing Cameron Street, Richmond are the houses being used in the new series of The Block on Channel 9. While I wasn't an avid viewer of the previous series, I am sure I will watch this local series keenly.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Get the camera out

Getting the camera out is what I would do. History needs to be recorded. Bugger the dead and maimed.

However, it does strike me as very odd that some bystanders at where a tram collision took place had an immediate instinct to climb on board the trams and fake injuries. Where does such an instinct come from?

Takes my mind back to when some Australian Greeks and Italians used to fake car accident injuries, or even stage car accidents.

Memphis, Tennessee (0ne thing you can always be sure about, spell checkers will get American place names right).

Clearly the trolley did not go 'ding, ding, ding' loudly enough.

In what one MATA spokeswoman deemed a "disturbing aspect" of Wednesday's trolley collision at Main and Auction are witnesses' claims that bystanders attempted to board the trolley and fake injuries after the crash.

Spokeswoman Allison Burton said witnesses saw at least eight people run at the trolleys following the wreck.

Onboard security personnel asked onlookers to stay back, said Burton, but the door of the second trolley was forced open from the west side and at least two people climbed in, witnesses said.

MATA workers who were some of the first responders after the crash told Burton they saw a man and woman "really trying to be a part" of the accident.

Household Tasks

You may be interested at how R and I divide up the household tasks. No? Never mind. Read on if you will.

Coooking: R. I cook once in a blue moon and then only special things. If he is fed up with cooking, he has only to say so and we go out or get take away.

Cleaning up after cooking: Me mostly. Although if R has had a day off and I have worked, as well as cooking he usually cleans up too.

Washing: My department. I wash, dry and fold. R washes his own bedding though.

Ironing: We each do our own.

Dusting, bathroom cleaning and hard floor cleaning: R, however I do clean my own shower.

Vacuuming: Me

Window, mirror and picture cleaning: Me, I have a sharp eye for a smear.

Skirting boards and the rare cobweb: Me

Flowers and indoor plants: R

Outdoor plants: Me

Balcony, barbeque and gas bottle replacement, and exterior air con cleaning: Me

Light fitting cleaning, internal air con cleaning, lamp cleaning and lamp bulb replacement, range hood and dishwasher and washing machine cleaning: Me

Stove cleaning: Me

Fridge cleaning: R

Tech machine maintenance: Me

Finances: Now, entirely me, but it wasn't always so. Things changed and the role naturally fell to me.

Tattslotto: Same numbers for three decades have not been productive. R's job.

Shopping: R, although I help if I am not working on Saturday and I sometimes buy bits and pieces in between.

It works out fairly evenly and it is not something we have ever really discussed. Each task fell to the one who the task suited, had the time at the right time of the day or who did it best.

About the only thing we disagree on is who answers the phone, and we can do a right back and forth on that. In the meantime the phone rings out.

There was one time though about the oven. R said it needed cleaning. I said, I only just did it not long ago. He said, you are doubting what I am saying? I wasn't really, and it did need cleaning, but it wasn't long since I had cleaned the oven. But of course you never complain about anything that happens in the cooking process if you want the cooking to continue.

Late edit: I left out the loading and unloading the dishwasher. There are no rules. We both do it, as suits.

Repaint of Illoura

I consider the approval of the demolition of the St Kilda Road mansion Illoura to be a criminal act. How could they. Sadly it is one of many.

This grand building replaced it....well, I suppose the architect liked his design. I quite like the angled windows. Makes for some interest at least. It is a wide building with a central atrium and a few shops. Mostly though, it is offices. It was looking quite shabby and you can see the original paintwork at the front and top. Over the past few weeks it has seen some imaginative repainting. No, they are not shadows on the angled window ledges but paint. It rather looks like the sun always shines from the east. While it is not quite a silk purse, it is a big improvement.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

A NearMap view of a Richmond block

So what is going on here then? Ah, top right is DTs Hotel, a gay venue for more than ten years but now for sale including the freehold. It is Molly's local and favourite watering hole. But what is under the blue tarps in Cameron Street? You will probably have to click to see the larger view.

View Large Map

Adelaide or bust

Busy busy weekend. Out each night and work both days. What have I written in advance. This'll do.

We are to holiday in Adelaide mid year. This is my idea. We last visited Adelaide in the winter of 1983 I think, not long after the Ash Wednesday fires. We drove along the coast as close as we could and saw the burnt trees at Aireys Inlet. I can't imagine we did the whole trip in one day, so we must have stayed somewhere along the way. I have absolutely no idea where. Effectively, we did the Great Ocean Road and the Condamine. Our neighbour Mrs Sutcliffe insisted that we go past the area where Stormboy was made.

South Australia then had a government tourist bureau in Melbourne and they were very helpful. In 2011, I don't think it now exists and we book and organise using the internet. I think we stayed at West Beach, although it could have been Henley Beach. The tourist bureau found us digs and it was quite nice, owned by a married couple. Over the phone I had asked for them for a double bed. There was confusion and then disapproval when we arrived and they realised that we were two men sharing a double bed. R was terribly embarrassed, but I was on a gay rights mission. Of course now, we not only do we not want a double bed, we want separate rooms.

The beach was wide, clean and open. Pity it was midwinter. R has fixed holidays even back then did. I can't remember a lot of what we did. Of course we went to Glenelg. Of course we rode the sole tram to the city and back. We looked around the city. We went to the zoo. We went to area where there was a small purpose built sound stage, which I think was near the banks of the Torrens. We walked through the parks.

One memorable outing was a bus tour to the Barrossa Valley wineries. It was an excellent trip. Another day we drove to Hahndorf.

We have a travel agents six days in Adelaide, but practically it four days.

We leave late from home and stay at Sister's on the Bellarine. Next day visit the Otway Fly and back to Sister's and stay another night. Next day head to Mount Gambier by the most direct route, visit a friend along the way, and stay the night in a motel and the following day visit what is to be seen in Mount Gambier. I have found heaps of things to see there. The next day, unhurriedly, set off for Adelaide. Booked into a big big seaside caravan park cabin for our accommodation. We are paying a premium, so we should hear the lapping of waves. Day one of six has gone.

Days 2, 3, 4, 5, I am not sure. Day 6 we will probably head for home early.

If we were relying on public transport, I doubt we would fit too much in, but we will have the car and so can get around quickly enough.

We will visit the tram museum at

We will see Glenelg again and explore.

Of course we have to travel over the new tram extended tram route and experience both types of new trams.

See the city naturally.

Victor Harbour is on the agenda and I think I would like to take another winery tour by bus.

The whole point of this post was to ask Adeladians for suggestions for what to do when we are Adelaide, and while I would be quite happy for any suggestions, ah, I think I may have filled our time already.