Saturday, July 02, 2011

I must have kicked a ........

Well, I certainly got the hat trick today.

1/ Chemist Warehouse. Waited ages for our scripts to be filled, and then they missed one of mine. We had a lot to do, and we just could not wait any longer. I will go back at a quieter time, like I normally do.

2/ Chemist Warehouse still. I go to pay with my card. No card. It is lost. I had another card to pay with or R could have paid. Called and cancelled the card. So long as it has not been used, no big deal really. I doubt I dropped it in the street anywhere. It will turn up, but is now useless. I always put it in the same place in my wallet and it is a real mystery to me as to how it has vanished from my wallet.

3/ I was reading through your blog posts and a virus alert popped up. Then several popped up. The virus checker dealt with them. I decided to do a full computer scan, and it went downhill from there. Eventually all I was left with was a bare blue desktop. Restart, half the icons are missing, some of the remaining ones are greyed out, but still work. There is nothing in the start menu programmes, but the programmes are still all there and usable. I have spent a several hours searching for info on the net, but to not much avail. I have managed to make the computer usable, but it is pretty sick.

Funnily we were discussing about getting a new computer. This one is 2 years and six months old. I decided to wait for three years. There wasn't anything wrong with this one that a Windows reload would not have fixed, but I think I would like to move on from XP to Windows 7 and have a nice new clean machine. R is struggling with $$$ at the moment. I will just pay for it myself.

Now, tomorrow. In a week's time it is Little Jo's fourth birthday. Things are planned and arranged, which don't involve us. Mother refused to travel down to the Bellarine for Little Jo's birthday and asked if we could just catch up here at our place for a modest celebration. It has rather gotten out of hand.

Tradie Brother
Ex Sis in Law
Ex Sis in Law's beau
Ex Sis in Law's beau's two daughters
ABI Brother
Bone Doctor
Little Jo
Dreaded Nephew
Oldest Niece
Oldest niece's beau
Chainsaw niece

Sixteen! Worse, are normal Saturday night dinner out did not happen, so I said to friends, just drop in Sunday afternoon if you like.

Lordy. I think we have spent about $80 on food already, plus $30 on balloons and Sister will have probably spent $30. Sorry starving Biafrans, it is not your week.

I don't think we have had such a family get together since R's last significant birthday. Oh yeah, we have. For Sis in Law's mother's funeral.

Why do we bring such stress on ourselves?

El Alamein

I quite like the Mayor of Sydney, Clover Moore. She is quite a progressive person and is pushing ahead full steam with bicycle lanes for lanes for Sydney cyclists against opposition from all the right wing shock jock radio hosts that seem so prevalent in Sydney, the NMRA, that is the motoring association, and the incumbent Liberal Party state government. She has long being pushing for light rail in Sydney City. God, how much does Sydney need a tram service from the Quay to Central.

Clover has long been a friend of gays and lesbians. Ask the youngest and most vacuous queen on Oxford Street, and he will know of Clover and know she is 'ok'.

I really do though question her wisdom at being a state politician and Mayor of Sydney. Surely either job is enough! I am with the Liberal Party on that at least.

But Clover made a mistake, well she and her cohorts at City of Sydney. I first visited Sydney in 1983 I think. I last visited it 2009. Sydney has changed a bit in the intervening years. One thing that did not change was the El Alamein Fountain in Kings Cross. Australia wide, there is no where like Sydney's King Cross. That is not to say it is an attractive place, but it is unique.

Clover wanted to completely redo the area in Kings Cross where the El Alamein fountain is sited. The locals fought long and hard against the redevelopment, and they won. The area is to smartened up, but not remade into something else.

The people were victors over a grass roots type politician. That has got to be good. Only about half a million dollars were wasted before the redevelopment was canned.

Now, who had their hand up for a well overdue ibis culling programme? They weren't there in the eighties.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Pull 'em up laddie

Something light on a Friday evening to precede the weekend. Let me find a photo. A picture tells a thousand words.
A sagger, one who wears their jeans very low slung. He looks quite nice, but if he was walking along the street wearing a shirt with his pants like this............well, no not him really. He is wearing his low slung jeans with style. Let me find another photo. Yes, this will almost do. I am hard pressed to find a photo of someone wearing their jeans in particularly ridiculous manner, hip hop style excepted. His trousers look a bit silly. I so want to tell young men of their clothing malfunction.

Excuse me young man. Your trousers are falling down. You need to hitch them up. No, not the token adjustment that you constantly indulge in, but pull them up properly. You look particularly inelegant when you run with your phone in one hand and holding up your jeans with the other. Allow me to hoy them up for you. There, now tighten your belt. See, you can reach things in your pockets now and even put your hands in your pockets and not just your fingertips.

Care needs to be taken in the US state of Louisiana where it was proposed that the wearing of jeans in such a matter should be illegal.

Here today, gone tomorrow

The Dalia Lama has been to Australia. The first time I recall him visiting Australia, VicRoads took control of their traffic lights and gave him a clear run. Never mind that I sat at a red light for five minutes. Even old Betty did not get such treatment from VicRoads when I saw her just but passing by. She had police at all intersections to clear the traffic and she didn't travel to Springvale like the Dalia.

The Dalia novelty seems to have worn off a little. He is an amusing bloke though, with such an infectious laugh. Melbourne's top rating breakfast radio announcer seemed to be a bit sceptical about the old Dalia and his marketing prowess.

Broadcaster Faine this morning queried our PM about gay marriage and her opposition to changing the marriage act. To his credit, he pinned her down to her saying it was not a politically pragmatic opinion, but a personally held belief. Well done Faino, but then he screwed up by suggesting that because she is LIVING IN SIN (my words) with a man, that her view on gay marriage should be different. I don't see the connection at all.

So, now I know where I stand with Julia insofar as gay marriage goes. I don't care about it, but a lot of fellow gays and lesbians do. I'm not the marrying kind.

Back to the Dalia. He is a religious bloke at the end of the day, but he does talk wisely. His politics are shaky though as he did not know our PM is a woman. Our PM did not meet him. I approve. The less we have to do with religion, the better, and ditto for her. I hope she remembers this should old Ratzinger visit again. Thankfully Jews and Muslims don't seem to have heads to visit and bother people. I suppose Betty is head of the protestant church? Certainly the Church of England.

PS I just remembered a very important Jewish leader visited and with Melbourne's main synagogue opposite us, that did cause some traffic problems. At least he did not preach to the non converted.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Blogspot Alert

Wish someone had done this for me. Blogger won't work with Firefox as of about noon EAST. 400 message. It appears to be not just me. Do not adjust your set and don't try to fix what you haven't broken. It works ok in Internet Explorer, except Blogger seems very hard to edit with IE.

An evening promenade

LinkThere are three Art Series Hotels and I think more are planned. Each hotel is named after a well known Australian artist. We can see two of them from the Highrise. The Olsen is in a regenerated part of South Yarra, in behind the old bakery/cable tram shed on the north western corner of Toorak Road.

The other we can see is the Cullen in Commercial Road, Prahran. We have eaten there a couple of times and it had problematic early days.

The most recent Art Series Hotel to open is the Blackman and although we can't see it, it is only a block away. Its rear faces Queens Lane. R and I used to sometimes walk along Queens Lane, admiring and criticising or just commenting on buildings and new building progress. But our usual walking time, around 4.30 pm meant many cars were exiting carparks and they caused us some botherations, so we stopped walking Queens Lane (R was getting to the point where he was going to punch out an aggressive motorist. Me being of a less violent nature, was going to carry a syringe full of battery acid, only for the paintwork mind).

But last week we took a walk down memory lane and walked the Lane. We stumbled across the Blackman Hotel, even though we knew it was there. There is the chef, among the bins, having a smoke and a play on her phone. We turned the corner into the side street that the Blackman faces. Oh, a terrace, coffee, cakes, glam. We partook, which made it a very short work and the benefit of the walk cancelled out by cake. I rather liked it and will go back for coffee and cake again. It is a big hotel and seemed busy enough, as does its sister in Commercial Road.

On the way home, these are trees which have leaves that appear in spring, mature in summer, go pretty colours in autumn and fall off in winter. It is winter and the trees are still just holding their leaves. I don't know what they are, but I suspect a non fruiting fruit tree variety. That they still have leaves is a testament to how hot and bright our city has become.

There is a lot to like about the apartment block Deva. The lack of balconies is reason enough for me to not like them. I think it is an office block conversion. The garden is starkly formal and ordered, and guess what, I like the garden. (make your character assessment of me now)

I have noted one famous resident who lives in nearby Balencea, out walking his dog. He only appears on our televisions around Australia Day in some television advertisements. Bahhh. Click on the photo to see the clock properly. I love the way it peeks out.

I have a vague memory that the old mansion in front of the Blackman is a private house. I have seen interior photos. It is sumptuous. The Blackman is built in its former back yard and outbuilding area.

I can only assume this is all Charles Blackman art work, or representations of such.

NB, if the lighting, sun angles and clock time seem wrong, it it because I forgot the camera and went back to take the photos a couple of days ago in the morning. Actually the clock was wrong anyway. As if I would out on the streets at 9.30 am. I may have well had my act together by 10.30 though. Daylight saving clock problem, methinks.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Melbourne of the past

Poetry by Barry Humphries. I like the reminder of things past. I believe he penned this for the opening of the renovated Myer Mural Hall. I took a snap of the mural hall through glass before it was opened.

Tonight as we forgather
In the Myer Mural Hall
I take you to a far off time
Almost beyond recall

When the Paris end of Collins Street
Was elegant and pretty
Before Melbourne struggled to
Resemble parts of Kansas City

When Pioneer buses roamed
And Ansett flew the skies
And ladies all wore hats and gloves
And gentlemen wore ties

When records were played with needles
Before grown men gelled their hair
And before all those kerosene tins
Piled in Federation Square

Before fish was christened seafood
Before organic free range chooks
When Toorak matrons would have died
For tea with Dallas Brooks

When Delphine sold those lovely frocks
With the '50s frills and flounces
And the sexiest men in Melbourne
Were radio announcers

When the Manchester Unity
Was our solitary skyscraper
And sport was on the back page
And not the whole damn paper

When at 6pm the hotels closed
And you couldn't get a drink
When the trams were a subtle cream and green
And the yellow page pink

We used to sit here with our mothers
Sipping tea and lemonade
And watch that very new phenomenon
A mannequin parade

Beneath Napier Waller's frescoes
Of legend and of myth
We would watch June Dally Watkins
And, if we were lucky Bambi Shmith

Box Hill is now an inner suburb
Which once lay on the fringe
And in those days we had Prime Ministers
That didn't make us cringe

Who could have dreamt the Melbourne Club
Would have McDonalds as a neighbour
Or that the Australian Labor Party
Could possibly misspell 'Labour'

A lot of people ask me
If I'm going to retire
Just because I well remember Myer's
Before we learnt to call in Myer

But did Nellie Melba
Ever tire of giving voice
So long as there's a possum listening
I don't have any choice

For I love my life upon the stage
And I love being on the telly
And I only hope I'm going to have
More farewells than Nellie

Well Routed

My computer shop moved from Balaclava to St Kilda Road, St Kilda several years ago. That was ok. Now it has moved to Moorabbin, too far to go. When I was moaning about my struggle with technology, Jayne mentioned the company MLN in Bridge Road, Richmond, to buy a router. I looked them up on the net and they had a more convenient branch for me beside the Victoria Market. I can catch a single tram to there, and so I did and the suggested router was reduced from $79 to $59. The service was helpful. I described, desktop pc with cable net, want to connect a laptop to the same connection. I liked the place and perhaps I have a new computer shop.

The router was easy enough to install and it works. There are issues though, which I will torture with at some other time. Just one issue, I needed an id number from the already installed unit that was sitting under the desk. I needed a torch and a magnifying glass, so small was the print.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Coming Out

I have decided to come out as a gay man. There you have it. Are you shocked? I have seen five decades plus and this is the first time I have officially come out.

I have never really found the need to come out. If you read my brief profile blurb, it says I am gay. I expect saying it there has saved a lot botheration. That is pretty well the extent of me coming out. How can I come out when I have never been in?

As I age and the hormones don't race like they used to, and what a relief that is, this coming out business for gay men puzzles me. In gay media I constantly hear tales of teenagers stressing about coming out. I don't get the point of it.

At some point in my life, R appeared to my family. They accepted him. At some point the Bone Doctor appeared in Sister's life, and she too was accepted. (I recall writing to Mother saying that I hoped Bone Doctor would be accepted as R was. Mother never mentioned the letter or replied and she hasn't accepted Bone Doctor as well as she did R. Perhaps more about personalities).

I suppose most of my readers are of a certain age and have children or may, or have a while ago. Modern thinking is perhaps that you ask them? Once you know, you can smooth a path for them, make them comfortable in their sexuality, educate them about STDs, tell them that it does not matter. Hey son/daughter, you can even have children now.

Forget it. At the age of 16 and if you have brung them up right, they are close to being an adult. Just let them work things out for themselves. God forbid that they have to decide anything at that age. They don't have to come out and you don't have to second guess them.

Maybe it does not apply to all, but I expect many parents fear for their teenage children because they remember what they were like at that age. Of course it was different back then and there weren't the dangers that are around today. I can't agree. I think it was more dangerous back then.

All they need to know is that they have your love and support, wherever their path takes them. Society really needs to remove a lot of pressure from teenagers in many areas and recognise that teenagers are now much more worldly and educated in the ways of life. But they are still teenagers.

(this post could do with a good polish, but I am over it)

Out for lunch

R had an appointment last week, which required him taking a day off work. Co-incidentally it was my day off work too. We decided to go to the beach for lunch at the Sand Bar. It was lovely and cozy inside but pretty cold outside. It is a rare occasion that we would go out for such a lunch, but we enjoy it when we do.

As we were discussing which type of wine to have, a text arrived for R cancelling his appointment. After he dealt with that and no longer having an appointment, the discussion of glasses of wine changed to which bottle. I had chilli and something mussels. The mussels were small, but made up for it in quantity. Delicious.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Myki tickets, electronic stored value public transport tickets, will pretty well be the only ticket for our metropolitan public transport by the end of next year. Who knows why it will take that long. The sooner the better in my opinion. It is proposed that tickets won't be available to buy at all on trams. This is quite a concern to me, but should it be?

I cast my mind to when we have travelled when on holidays in the last decade and what we did when using public transport in strange cities or country. We have used trains, trams, ferries and buses. What we did was find out first about tickets well before we wanted to travel. In fact I mostly did it before we left home. Just as well as I did for England. The train trip from London to the north east cost us £14 each. Had we booked once we were there, it would have been around £90 each.

It really wasn't hard to find out in advance and often a decent saving could be made with a little knowledge of the system that operates wherever you are going.

The only exceptions were using the local bus when we were in our friend's town in northern Japan and when using local buses in Newcastle in England. In both cases we had local people with us to advise and so did not bother finding out in advance.

So really, I think it is not so hard to be prepared for travel by buying a ticket before you get on a tram. Myki tickets will be available at railway stations and I assume on buses and there are decent savings to be made by using a Myki rather than the old Metcard.

I also assume off vehicle methods for buying a Myki ticket will be wide spread, such as the outlets where you can buy a Metcard and vending machines.

But don't we always have to cater for the lowest common denominator.

Being a good house guest

'It's ok ABI Brother. Don't worry about making the bed. I am going to wash the bedding anyway.'

That is what I would have said if I saw him attempting to make the bed. He didn't.

Matters tech

I mentioned that my new phone was chewing through my data allowance and running the battery down in couple of days, even if the phone wasn't used. I tried process of elimination, but I wasn't getting very far.

I am just not so interested in playing with this new phone. I used to love the learning a new phone experience, even though at times it was frustrating. However, eventually I did sit down and play and there we go, a setting that says 'running apps', and there were all these things running in the background, tracking my path around the city and switching on Wifi as it suited. Damn that. I shut them all down, and lo and behold, almost no data consumption and the battery is lasting for days now. If I use an app that switches some background activity on, I switch it off after I have finished using the app.

Those in know will know about rooting your phone. This is clearly an American expression as the phrase 'rooting your phone' gives Australians a particularly interesting mental image. As our American friends root for a team, here that would be an orgy. Rooting your phone means that you can get control of what it does and what appears on your screen. I can't be bothered rooting my phone. It must be an age thing. My new phone just does not excite me. I find it boring to even play with my new phone, let alone root it.

The big kahuna, the desktop pc, the one I use all the time is getting a little tired. Windows reload would sort it out, but oh, reinstalling everything, backing up everything, hours spent. Can I avoid that? I could just buy a new computer, not so expensive now and transfer from the old one if it can be picked up as a drive. I don't know. I could get an external hard drive and transfer stuff to that, and then back again to the new one. A Windows reload might be easier. What I have done is remove about 30gb of 'movies' to dvds, movies I will never watch again I suppose, and that has improved things.

And then there is the laptop. During the day, when it is not used, the internet connection via the dongle is not too bad, but at night time when R likes to sit in front of the tv and peruse property sites, it is bad. Hey, we have cable internet. Why can't we send that to the laptop wireless? We can. Telstra shop shuffled us to phoning Telstra. Phone Telstra who shuffled us back to the shop.

From what I can see, all we need is a wireless router. As mentioned, we visited the Telstra shop and Dick Smith Electronics in town on Saturday afternoon. They were mega busy, both had loud music playing. I want to go home. I might just go to Office Works where they don't have loud music, at least. If I get the right person with good knowledge, one who can indulge a less than tech savvy old man, I will be happy.

Now wireless routers are interesting devices. I have never experienced them, but they seem to cause a lot of botheration too.

Why oh why can't I find the motivation to indulge some young people, some tech savvy young people. All my friends know less than I do. Note to self, in the next life, mix with people younger than oneself. But then someone senior to myself pointed out that you can use your phone as a modem for a laptop. Lordy, it does your head in.

On the plus tech side, R finally Skyped. He Skyped his youngest sister in the north of England. Much good came out of that, not.

R expects me to be able sort all these tech things out, but it ain't easy. Does me 'ead it does. But then I think back to early days of computers and electronic devices, and they are so much better now.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Working Niece

Oldest niece is slowly training to be a teacher. My sister is a teacher. Sister teaches year 10, 11 and 12 lads. I think she does a fine job with them. Her love of sport no doubt helps greatly. In my own right, I was a teacher of sorts once. Not a proper one mind. My blog seems to be littered with comments by ex teachers. I put that down to that they can string a sentence together.

I feel a bit proud of oldest niece, even though we have never connected well. She has done a teacher placement at a school in a very socially underprivileged area. At the end of her placement, her students made up a board with their thank you messages. It is hanging in her Dad's place, that is Tradie Brother's place. I was a bit gobsmacked at the messages. The kids are actually quite literate and can write a thank you message to their teacher for the week. Ok, there were a couple of clangers, but generally, nice and well written messages, and mostly in far better hand writing than I can manage.

Maybe our state education system is not quite as bad as it is painted.

New car for moi?

Oh, we are really going back now, back to my blog in 2005. The photos of the car were not photos of my car, but mine was the same. I bought it in about 1986 and sold it to a private school educated boi who was then at Melbourne Uni and lived in a dilapidated terrace in North Melbourne with his girlfriend. I knew his address because that is where I sent the parking fines he incurred after he took the car but before it was transferred to his name. He was a handsome strapping young man with a voice to die for. That was about 2000. Yes, because that is when R bought his new car and I bought his old car. We have done that again since then. R bought his new car just as my father died. R bought his next new car just as my step father died. Marvellous timing.

I did like my Humber, as impractical as it was. It started to rust badly. The driver's seat started to shed stuffing. It gleamed after a polish, but the sheen would quickly wear off and it returned to be a dull grey. I could have coped with those gradual failures, but it did not have air conditioning.

First car, VF Valiant, bought from my grandmother after my grandfather died.
Second car, Series IV Humber Super Snipe, bought on my own.
Third car, Mazda 626, a hand me down from R.
Fourth car, Hyundai Lantra, hand me down from R.

I can see that in a year or so I might have some money to buy my own car just because I can. I am quite impressed by cars that can fold their side mirrors in.

Today in the Prahran carpark, I observed one of those large monster cars lowering its own tailgate at the push of the owner's remote control unit. I nudged R, 'look at the show orf'. Well, not really, that is how the tail gate lowers.

These are pretty spesh things to have in a car aren't they? Auto fold in mirrors, auto closing tail gate. In Melbourne you could probably go to a government school in any old car, but to prove your worth at private schools where you drop your child off, you need a car with the above car features. The tail gate must automatically rise, the child collects their school bags, and the tail gate lowers. And don't forget the power that a huge black Euro vehicle gives you on the road. Yes, you do still have to vaguely obey the road rules, but hey, they are rules for the poor folk really.

One can be consumed by envy and thoughts of the destruction of the self satisfied middle class. Yet I am not, so far as cars go. I am quite happy in my cheap Korean import.........well, until I see a Jaguar. I am then full of envy.

I think I should have a Jaguar. I think I am owed one, or at least due one. I don't want a new one that might cost?? I don't know. I haven't checked. I don't believe in buying new cars, certainly not new cars with no features when for a lot less money you can buy a top of the line used car with everything that opens and shuts., raises and lowers and blinks.

I should look at second hand Jags. I know it will cost a lot for maintenance, but I think I am owing myself. Should you be reading this and you are ready to upgrade your old Jag for a newer one, then do email me. Oh, my readers seem quite happy with their pleb cars and don't own Jags. Never mind.

Bucket list seems to be a popular term now. A Jag is added to mine.

This was written a while ago. I have looked online at some Jags. Huge price differences but something decent around ten years old can be had for $12,000. Something extra special of a similar age, $20,000. Anyway, probably just day dreaming.