Saturday, October 29, 2011

Err, what?

I am just home from a nice meal out. The night is now spoilt. An email from a friend who is returning from Malaysia next week tells me Qantas planes are grounded. I check the electric newspapers and it appears to be true. I cannot believe it. This was Australia's proud airline, owned by the people. It is now a public company and operates to make a profit without a social conscience or a care for the Australian public or its workers.

Its CEO ups his pay to $5 million, even though he cannot manage industrial relations, the share price keeps dropping and it hasn't paid a dividend for many a year. Now the CEO has grounded all of his planes. If this is the new modern Australia, I want out of it.

Cooking the kiddies

You just gotta love a mother who tries to cook her baby son twice in one day in a car, accidentally of course. Frail perhaps? Maybe she was stressed? Methinks she needs to chill a bit and then focus. While it is less of a problem nowadays with remote car locking, let me stand on a big box and tell you something.

Never ever put your keys down inside your car. Keys go into an ignition switch. Otherwise, they should either be in your hand or on your person. They don't go onto a seat because your hands are full. They don't temporarily sit in the boot while you pick things up. Just do not put your keys in the car unless it is into the ignition switch.

For the purposes of this post, children = pets. Don't be cooking either of them.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Green Eyed Monster

Last year I remember Scott bought an advent calendar from a large London department store. It looked wonderful. He filled each window with treats and probably scoffed them all himself. I bookmarked something that would lead me to getting one sent to Australia from London for myself this year.

I followed it up a couple of weeks ago as this awful christmas nonsense is approaching. Ouch, ok, it is permanent and made of wood and looks fantastic, but at around £90, never mind postage, I don't think so.

I then slipped into a stamping foot, I'll hold my breath until I am blue in the face, tantrum mode. I want an advent calendar. I must have one. I am insanely jealous of Scott's advent calendar.

Ah, some dude in Germany makes very nice ones, although hardly to the standard of one from a large London department store. I have ordered one. It looks great and is about 1/2 a metre by a 1/4 metre, if that makes sense. It is quite cheap really at only €8 but the postage, oh the postage, €20.

It was my second online purchase for the day. This could become addictive.

The first was to a research something in R's old home town. I wanted the death details of his grandfather. Shhh, don't tell him. It is a surprise. Don't I know what the perfect gift is? Details of your dead grandfather!

As easy as it was to buy something from Germany over the net, it was extremely difficult to do so from England. Visa has something called verisign and Mastercard has something, oh, I don't know. Secure something. I used my Mastercard. I entered the last three numbers on the back of my card, but then it wanted a password. I tried the number again and the third time, I was locked out.

I rang my bank. The lass reset my secure whatever and after I hung up, I tried again and once again I was locked out after a couple of tries. I rang the bank again. I was given detailed instructions with a temporary password to get secure whatever. I was also told to use my name exactly as it was on the card. I went through the process twice and then it occurred to me that maybe I have to use all upper case and include the Mr. but too late, locked out again.

I rang the bank again and the chappie stayed on the phone while I proceeded and all was well. In the mean time I had to answer a couple of phone calls and deal with a text message. I was very asweat, if that is a word. I would estimate I typed in my credit card number twenty odd times, read it out over the phone about eight times and typed it in to the phone four times.

I then went back to the website and paid the money after following the process that I was still not sure about. I was actually surprised when it worked.

Maybe it is because I am getting old, but honestly, I have been using a computer and the internet since about 1996. I remember back to when it was easy to pay for something over the internet. Why is is so hard now? As I said, perhaps I am just getting old. At least I had the fortitude to stick at it for over an hour. In time, no doubt I will just say, screw it, I'll go without.

Cave in at the Highrise

The roof of the lift caved in, well, a stainless steel panel came unstuck. I rather like the rustic look of exposed roof joists? but perhaps a Wunderlich panel could be fitted.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I saw her. I saw her

Twelve noon. If I am going to London Government House Drive to see the queen, then I'd better get a move on. Melbourne could not have turned on a better day weather wise if she tried. It was sunny, not hot, and a nice breeze. HRH must feel the cold a bit though as she kept her coat on.

Our gardens, unlike three years ago when they were dry and horrible, looked fresh and inviting. The building is the Shrine of Remembrance.

The vine on Victoria Barracks has mostly come into leaf, relieving its hard exterior.

Let's Beat Bowel Cancer indeed. Note the spook near the statue plinth. I took a better second photo, but he had seen me had ducked behind the statue by then.

Even army civilians were interested and stood on the barracks balcony.

There is an air of anticipation with the royal tram's headlights glistening tantalisingly in the distance.

The apartment complex called The Melburnian dominates with the very tall Eureka building and the silly spire atop the the State Theatre. I believe HRH believes in homoeopathy. The Melburnian is sited where the old Prince Henrys Hospital was demolished. It was originally a homoeopathic hospital, before it rid itself of hokus pocus medicine. The ever learned Jayne tells you about it here.

The brawler van standing by in case Occupy Melbourne anarchists, to quote the Herald Sun newspaper, should make an appearance.

The Duke alights. This prat standing on the rubbish bin did not care about whose view he blocked. Worse were anti carbon tax protesters who held large banners aloft and so blocked off a good area of standing room.

There she is. There she is. I frantically snapped with my camera unaimed. And then she was gone in the bat of an eyelid. I used a very bad word, repeated twice, under my breath as I discovered somehow the camera had switched to the photo stitch setting. Oh no. This was the only photo of her I ended up with. While I was so prepared, everything happened so quickly.

For those worried about whether she and the Duke might be wrestled to ground by ticket inspectors for not paying their fares, appropriate fares for them were bought by an equerry. That will defray the costs, not.

There she goes up Government House Drive to the substantial abode of the Governor of Victoria for a lunch of whiting and asparagus.

After people snapped their photo here, many of them turned and ran up the hill to catch another glimpse or snap.

I intended to go on to the Queen Alexandra Gardens to take some photos, but the barricades prevented crossing the road all the way back to Flinders Street Station. I made my way to the station and caught the train to Windsor for some shopping. The photos can wait for another day.

The fountains in front of the National Gallery of Victoria sparkled. I walked slowly as already my feet were a bit sore from standing for so long.

The Yarra River never sparkles, but it looked quite nice as I crossed Princes Bridge. Renovation works are progressing well on Hamer Hall. Just remembered a post from back in 2007 when I last took a photo of the litter trap. Worth a look.

Now HRH has left the building, I shall revert to being a proper republican instead of, I'm a republican but...

Cold Children

There was recently a piece in one of daily papers about cold children, that is those who are distant, unemotional and unresponsive to others emotions. It went on to say how they can become killers, even at young ages. It made reference to a double murder in Newcastle in England. Hey R, do you remember this back in 1968?

He certainly did. At the age of 10 Mary Bell killed Martin Brown, aged 4 and at 11 she killed Brian Howe, aged 3. Mary lived with her mother on the West Road, and R recalls peering into where the house where they lived after the murders. The second child was killed on wasteland very near where R lived. Mary was convicted of manslaughter due to diminished responsibility at the Newcastle Assizes and she was detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure. She was released in 1980, aged 23, and in 1984 gave birth to her own daughter. In 2003 she won an order for her and her daughter's anonymity for life. Her daughter is seemingly very 'normal'.

Maybe some of you remember the case. I cannot, but I can certainly remember the subsequent murder of James Bulger.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Lizzie Tram

I was just sure they would select a black person to drive Betty and Phil from Fed Square to Government House Drive, but no, from the minorities of gays, lesbians, Asians, Anglos and others, they chose a woman and not a black person who would really represent Melbourne's trams, and I think the back up driver is a woman too. Ah well, she looks presentable and no danger of Phil making another bad taste comment about race. Rumour has it that the internal driver's door has been removed in case Betty or Phil want to have a word with her. No Phil, don't touch that lever and don't press that big red button.

It rather keeps with the girl thing that has happened in Australia. HM gets off her plane and is met by our Prime Minister, a woman, our Governor General, a woman and the ACT Chief Minister, a woman. HM goes for a cruise on Brisbane River and is met by the Queensland Premier, a woman and the State Governor, a woman. Jesus, people might get the wrong idea and actually think women have a lot of power and influence in Australia. Well, there is Gina Rinehart, but I'll save dissing her for another day.

Herald Sun newspaper.

Mal Rowe.

Back in 1954 when Liz first visited Australia, Sydney went to some effort in decorating trams. I am not sure if she rode on them. The roof crown is rather camp, is it not? I expect half of Australia turned out to see her then. Now it might be half a per cent, no, not even that. Note the quality of the photos from back in 1954 (always good to say something nice when you steal online photos).

Noel Reed.

Noel Reed.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Dear Absolute Radio


Ms Emily Dean c/o Frank Skinner Show, Absolute Radio.

My dearest Emily,

we out here in the colonies sometimes have delusions of our importance on the world stage. It seems some of you in the mother country are alert to what happens in the far flung corners of your pink bits on the map, such as Alun, the cockerel, Cochrane who knew our Prime Minister was born in Wales, but dear Emily, for a learned person, you are disappointing. Our Prime Minister's name Gillard is pronounced with a hard g. The first letter of her name does not sound like the g in Gillette of the razor blade folk.

Feel free to contact me should you need any minute nuances about Australia explained.

Thank you for your time.

Best wishes,

Stop, thief

We were in our local green grocer, one that happens to sell many other lines as well as fruit and vegetables. The woman who we have named Mama San (a name we use for any older Asian born boss lady) rushed out from the back room speaking loudly and excitedly in Chinese to the girl operating the cash register. She was also pointing to the kindly looking older European gentleman who the cash register lass was serving.

The girl said told the man that he had something in his coat pocket that he should not have. She insisted he show what was in his pocket. He held his hands outstretched flat, indicating he had nothing. The girl became more insistent and then Mama San started on him. He pulled his wallet from his pocket, again indicating that was all he had in his pocket. The Mama San's voice rose even louder and she was air jabbing in the direction of his pocket. Eventually out came a tin of tuna.

We were being served by another person and at that point we had paid and we left as it appeared the drama was over and the tuna thief caught red handed. We walked to the car and put our goodies in the boot and headed towards the supermarket. Ah, drama was not over.

Mama San and one of her male staff, one that shows a rather nice rear cleavage when he is bending down and stacking melons, had the man corralled outside the shop and I could see they had other merchandise in their hands, presumable extracted from his pockets. We diverted a little to hear what was going on. "You never come back to my shop. You never come here again", Mama San was screaming in his face. An Aussie couple walked past and I heard her say to him, "Don't interfere", and they did not. I am not sure what interference they thought to do. Things seemed to be being handled rather well.

I always thought cctv in the green grocers was a bit over the top, with even display screens around the shop. But apparently not, and when Mama San is not watching her staff like a hawk from the shop floor, she is obviously in the back room monitoring the cctv.

I doubt he will return to the shop and he is lucky the cops weren't called.

The Gongsater Twins

Jeb immediately came up with the answer about the tv show I could not remember the name of. It was Fat Cow Motel. It had male twins in the cast. They were both blond and rather ethereal in my memory. After finding out the name of the show, I thought I would find a photo of the twins to remind me what they looked like. BUT, internet says no. They are not to be found, well not photos anyway. It is like they deliberately don't want to found.

It took time to even find out their names. The harder it became, the more obsessive I became. At one point I was nearly convinced there was only one of them. While the show was running, I walked past both of them in Glenferrie Road. They appeared to be in character, although perhaps they are always like that.

IMDB has one listed as Carl Henrik Anders Gangsater and the other as Carl Johan Emil Gangsater. They are listed as being born on October 29, 1980 in Stockholm. (hmm, perhaps I should check with James?) One alternate name, Henrik Gangsater. At IMDB they are both noted as being in the talent show Popstars in 2001 and the tv show Crash Palace. I vaguely recall that. I go to the cast list and they are not there, but the characters were called Lars and Sven.

I am getting very annoyed. Who are they and what happened to them?

Here is a clue, an alternative spelling of the family name, Gongsater. Ok, one uses the Henrik Gongsater, but still nothing in the way of a photo or much information. Sometimes Carl Henrik Gongsater, still nothing. Let me try the other using the same name format, Carl Johan Gongsater. Okies, they were in something called Jeopardy. At last, a photo of them. But IMDB again does not have them in the cast list.

I try another tv show they were in, The Big Arvo, a kids show. Nothing. Another, Wild Cat? Not listed in the cast list.

I am giving up. They use various names and there is so little information about them, it seems they don't want to be found. I did well to at least find the photo.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Da Liz do cometh

A rich old woman, born to rule, a parasite on society, an irrelevance in the 21st century, a perpetrator of the English class system, an imposer on her frail sister who she would not allow to marry the man she loved. Yeah yeah yeah, indeed.

Yet, I promised to love honour and obey her until the day she died. She was omnipresent, her photo hung everywhere. I never feared her. You don't fear a benevolent ruler. I may have thought god was above her, but only just.

Wednesday is my day off, the very day she will be in Melbourne. My conscience is torn. I believe this will be her last visit to Australia, so shall I mix it with the bused in school kiddies to catch a glimpse of her as she passes by on a tram or shall rant against her reign? You can guess. She is my Queen. I am sometimes amused at how non practising catholics can never overcome the guilt that was planted in them at a young age. Amused I might be, but I understand. The republican me has been torn asunder at the thought of seeing her.

This seems a good time to slip in something R told me a while ago about the pink bits. Back in the 1950s pink bits meant something different to what it might mean now. A teacher with a pointer was showing R's class the pink bits on a wall map of the world, the countries that were still colonies or Commonwealth. Even I remember those maps. A very young R wondered why if he and his country owned all these places around the world, then how come he went to bed hungry at night because there wasn't enough food?

Memories of London Pt 2

It wasn't all hot guys.

Looking out from The Old Shades while having lunch in Whitehall. It may be sacrilegious, but I did not like English pubs much. They always seemed cramped and dingy.

The Gherkin at St Mary Axe. I was so excited to see it.

'There will be no advertising on the banks of the Thames!' ' But ve haf vays and means'.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Memories of London Pt 1

I have fond memories of London, like your traditional British red telephone box in Edgware Road.

The street of government, Whitehall. The camera went off accidentally. You believe me? You may have to click this photo to see it properly.

Praed Street, where Boris's banned bendy buses didn't quite fit in lanes.