Saturday, November 12, 2011

Winking Eye

This pedestrian bridge is one of many that span the River Tyne in Newcastle in the north of England. While we did not set out to see it in operation, I was a bit disappointed when we happened upon it just after it had opened and closed. We did walk across it.

It is called the Gateshead Millennium Bridge and links the southern side of the river, Gateshead, with Newcastle on the northern side. It opened in 2001 and quickly acquired the nickname, The Winking Eye. If you watch this slightly sped up video, you will see why.

Hot Tube Guys

Who thought I had missed spelt Hot Tub Guys? Would I ever go for something so obvious as bare topped men in a spa (rhetorical)?

Have you noticed the link to Tube Crush on my sidebar? Each day it features a couple of, usually hot, guys anonymously snapped while they are travelling on The Tube. Some are absolute knockouts. I subscribe to it with google reader so it only takes a second to check each post. I no want to love them long time. Now this guy below is pretty typical of what is posted. Yeah, nice looking, but ho hum.

Oh, muscles on this one. But muscles aren't exactly equipment for doing the biz with though. I don't dislike muscles, but they are not my thing.

Sometimes a guy with exotic ancestors will get a gig. I don't mind a bit of the exotic, but I do wish he would do something with his hair.

More muscles. If you don't love him, it matters not. His self love is enough for him.

Not Mr Perfect but pretty nice.

Among the beauties, sometimes someone doesn't quite make the grade in my books. You couldn't say this guy is a knock out, but there is the promise of wickedness and sleaze about him. Gentle? Caressing? Considerate? None of those, but you could be in for a very wild time.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Shocked and a bit teary

I knew this would happen sooner or later. I thought I might have even been the first, but apparently not. Those of you who read the same American blog will know who I am talking about, or you soon will once you catch up on her blog. You know, at times you come across people in the blog world who you instinctively connect with and you know they are a decent person. The longer you read their writing, the more shading of their life comes to the fore. They transform into a real person in your life, someone you may think about even when you are not sitting at your pc. Such it has been with that person and I hope it continues for a good while yet. (just to note, it is not the Dina who is obsessed with Australia)

It takes me back to when Dame M died. My newer readers will not know who she is, but there is a tag for her and she is in the 'cast list' and a good few of you went through her death with me.

In a quiet moment and only to me, Dame M told me she was dying. I was taken aback but quickly recovered to say, 'Don't be silly Dame M. You will be fine.'

It would have saved, me, and her many friends a lot of worry and her a lot of fighting and angst had I just said, 'Ok, so how do you want to go about this Dame M? How can we make it better for you?' Instead we constantly nagged her to seek medical treatment, insisted she see a doctor, who was very out of her depth when she was confronted by a dying woman who was refusing any tests, when all Dame M wanted to do was die at home, in comfort. She did, more or less, only going to hospital two days before she died but it could have been so much better had I have taken what she said as the truth.

Like many Chinese under Chairman Mao had to write self criticisms, I have certainly mentally written my self criticism. If someone tells you they are dying, it is probably true and you support them through what may or may not be a difficult time in the best way you can, but at their leisure.

What got up my goat's nose this week

I saw Banyule when it was an art gallery but then it was sold by Kennett the Evil. It was a pretty location, looking out over the valley and it also looked great as we floated above it in a balloon. But vacant land.....can't have that. There are profits to made for business. Resident Judge of Port Phillip will inform you much better than I can.

I may have listened to ABC's Radio National Book Show once or twice. I can only listen to so much on the wireless, notwithstanding podcasts. Romana Koval, its presenter, is on extended leave, after seemingly being frozen out. While I particularly remember Romana from her 3LO days, I know she is a first class presenter, and when people like her have trouble with management, so do I.

We have become too relaxed about shops. We were ripped off for $6 by Target this week and I was ripped off by $3 at a bakery. These put me on alert, and so picked the $5 short change in a cafe yesterday. I've had my whinge about supermarkets for the week and R should have known better, but just because two tissue boxes are of a similar size and a similar price, it does not mean the top brand one is good value, not when instead of there being 200 tissues in the box, there are only 95.

Wow, a snap train strike, The Age reports.

Metro services halted after train strike

As an attention grabbing headline it worked, but the story was about a man who was struck by a train.

I am rather good at whinging, aren't I. I could go on. I will leave you with these photos, the first of the Victorian streetscape of Swan Street, Richmond. The second, the beginning of the destruction of the Victorian streetscape of Swan Street. The project has been approved by the amusingly named Heritage Victoria. Their web site talks the talk, but their actions do not walk the walk. City of Yarra better damn well take the case to VCAT, oh, perhaps not. We know what VCAT is like. Photos from The Age.

Remembrance Day

You are supposed to shut up and keep still at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month as a mark of respect for the dead in the Great War.

I'm not bothering, but what I will do is listen and watch this clip and wonder about war.

It was believed that, supposedly England's greatest ever, Prime Minister Winston Churchill said 'It is better to jaw-jaw than to war-war’. I'm very inclined to agree.

Mad World by Gary Jules.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Twelve plus forty

Some forty years ago yesterday, I could well have been sitting on my grandparent's gate post in South Oakleigh, watching the traffic and listening to my transistor radio, tuned to 3XY, Where No Wrinklies Fly.

Occasionally in the background I would hear my grandparents call out, 'Come inside, before you get taken'. I ignored them but I really wanted to ask, 'Grandma, if I get taken by a big strong man, what will he do to me?'

Forty years later find me sitting on our balcony, watching traffic. It is a little different. I am still watching the traffic, but watching the weather too. My radio is now digital rather than a transistor and I am listening ABC News Radio and not a pop/rock radio station. Oh, that lad crossing the road looks cute in his singlet.

Some things change, but the essence doesn't.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Exciting weather, or maybe not

A storm hit Melbourne tonight. It had been forecast for days and in my experience, such a lead up ends up being a disappointing and undramatic storm. Not so in some parts of Melbourne though. This is my effort at capturing the foreboding approach. While it wasn't quite sunny, the eastern sky was quite light and reflecting on the buildings. Others have done better, or differently.


Frisky Librarian's:



Later Edit: Tony's: (used by The Age)


A cold front is approaching and mixing with moist warm air. We are going to get wet.

Speed is good

Maybe it was a seconds inattention by a motorist, maybe it was another reason, but we have seen that even on England's fine motorways, you are never safe from being involved in a horrendous accident.

We in Melbourne are certainly not immune from spectacular and multiple fatality crashes either.

My only experience of English motorways was driving on the M6, the motorway north to Glasgow, for a few hours, return from Carlisle to Preston. I can't imagine there could be safer roads in the world than the M6.

English motorists treat motorways and fellow motorists with respect and they are a pleasure to drive on at the 70mph (112km/h) limit where you sit in the middle lane and rarely need to change lanes. Of course this all falls apart once off the motorway where English politeness kicks in and everyone tries to give way to everyone else, resulting in very slow traffic movement. My advice to Australians contemplating driving in England is to forget their Australian ways and go with the much more relaxed English manner of driving.

But when reading a report of the Somerset multi vehicle pile up, I noticed that England is about to increase the motorway speed limit to 80mph (129km/h). Oh, that is not great timing.

On the face of it, it seems much more dangerous to travel what is nearly 30km/h faster than we do on our highways and most freeways. Certainly if something goes wrong, it is going to have a much worse result at the higher speed.

I would argue that it is less likely for there to be crashes at the higher speed. Who hasn't driven on a highly engineered Australian freeway at 100km/h and wondered why you can't go faster and then a high level of boredom overcomes you. Even our few freeways that have 110 limits can get boring. I will go for 120 limits on our country freeways, and 110 on many of the rest and see what the crash statistics show up.

Going up

It has recently occurred to me that some people aren't aware my blog header photo is one I took from our balcony. I should replace with a better and up to date but not sure I can be bothered. I am guessing I took the photo in about 2005 and the view has rather changed with the Dandenong Ranges slowly disappearing behind newly erected tall buildings. I am not sure what is going up behind the housing commission flats on the far right of the photo, but you can see the cranes are busy. I suspect they are the same cranes that can be seen towards the end of Fen's post when she went streetwalking.

The far left building is incomplete and may well get taller yet. Still to come is a highrise building that will block out the unmarked grey building, headquarters for Channel 10 and another building is going up on the site of the old Longford Cinema site, but I am not sure how tall that one will be.

The black lines point out the new buildings that were not there five years ago. Click it for a better view.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

This is ABC TV calling in the Asia Pacific

When we were in Vietnam, we became a bit hungry for Australian news. Vietnam's internet then was painfully slow dial up and checking an Australian media site was not worth trying. Bringing up an email page was as best as could be managed, and that took time. I expect Vietnam has moved on.

But hey, satellite or cable tv brought us Australia TV to our hotel rooms. Maybe we received some news headlines, but hour after hour, day after day, were repeats of the Australian soap tv show A Country Practice. It became such a laughing point.

That was when a private company, the Channel 7 network, had the rights to broadcast Australian tv to Asia/Pacific countries. I can't recall if subsequently the ABC was awarded the broadcasting contract or won it in a tender. Regardless, the ABC has been broadcasting tv of a high standard to the Asia/Pacific for many years now.

Then it came up for tender and the publicly owned Australian Broadcasting Corporation must tender against Rupert Murdoch's Sky TV. It appears to be a very divisive matter within our Federal government, seeming that our foreign minister KRudd supports Sky TV. But leaks from the government have become so bad, the whole process has been cancelled and ABC has the rights to broadcast for the next six months.

Why on earth would one of Rupert's propaganda machines be considered for broadcasting Australian tv to immediate world? Could anyone accuse the ABC of not doing a good job with the Australia Network? Here is a link to today's programme guide. Note the diverse range of programmes with something for everyone.

I'd expect the Liberal Party to want a big business to run the Australia Network, but why is the Labor Party pushing it? Odd business indeed.

Empty shelves and demographics

Not the Highrise shelves. They are bulging. The apparent neatness of the Highrise does not extend to the inside of the pantry.

But when we shopped on Saturday, Prahran Coles supermarket shelves were rather empty of their promised specials. As R's bathroom is also the public bathroom in the Highrise, he likes it to look smart. Shampoo and conditioner bottles must be the same brand, bottle shape and colour. His shampoo was on special for $3 off. Marvellous. But the conditioner was not there, evidently sold out, which seemed odd at 9.30 am on a Saturday morning.

At about 9.40 I noticed my soap, Cussons Imperial Leather, was on on special too and I needed some. Empty shelf again.

9.45, Schweppes soda water is on special for $1 a bottle, soda water being an essential for watering down the Highriser wine. You guessed it, none on the shelf.

Coles are so busy pushing their own in house brand, they are seriously neglecting what their customers want. The one we used to buy, Kirks, has disappeared altogether. I really don't believe that the shelves emptied of Schweppes between when the shelf stackers left overnight and 9.30 in the morning.

But with a Woolworths adjacent, we were not powerless and bought the missing products there, although settling for a lesser quality soda water and an entirely different brand of shampoo and conditioner. My soap was in plentiful supply, and cheaper, even if I did have to buy twelve cakes.

Unexpectedly, in the afternoon we popped into Coles at Caulfield for a cake to take when we were visiting a friend and there was a plentiful supply of soda water. Too late for us. (we don't normally take supermarket cakes when visiting, but time was not on our side.

Patrons of Coles in Caulfield, mostly overseas students, seem to not care for soda water, whereas the inner suburban lushes latte set seem to consume rather a lot of it.

Some of you will know the delightful checkout chick River. Perhaps she can explain why shelves are empty at such an early hour.

My guess is that it is management incompetence, perhaps under estimating the required stock or higher management still, not supplying enough stock. Regardless, it is very annoying. ABI Brother who visits the supermarket almost daily, would have taken a rain check. We did not have the time to muck around.

Monday, November 07, 2011


I thought I knew what Pathe was, that is an English news reel company. I noticed in a photo of a cinema in Amsterdam that Peter published, the sign Pathe. Peter informed me that Pathe owns the cinema among others. I better find out more.

There is British Pathe, the one I know, that has historical footage going back decades.

Then there is UK Pathe, film distributors.

Pathe in the Netherlands own the largest number of cinemas in that country.

Pathe International is probably connected UK Pathe, film distributors.

The latter three all seem connected but British Pathe seems to be on its own.

Pathe was begun as a French operation in 1896 by, surprise, the Pathe brothers. It has a complicated history, but you can read about it if you wish. I'm off to watch a newsreel.

Lady Lav

If you recall, I took Mother to Lady Lavender's Tea Rooms a few weeks ago. Here are some photos.

Mother told me the whole of this area used to be lavender.

The wee garden was quite nice.

Victorian chairs always look so nice. Victorian chairs are not always so nice to sit in.

And then the rain p..., ah, pelted down.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

The stupid lift people

We were on the fifth floor of Myer today and needed to go to the basement level. Rather than use the escalators, we used the lift. There must have a lot of people up looking at tech stuffs on the sixth floor as the lift was nearly full when it arrived going down. Room for us was made. The lift stopped at the fourth floor but the family with a pram realised they could not fit in.

A grandmother pointed out to grandson, look at the screen, and you can see the floor number.

We arrived at ground floor, R stepped out to let people out and no one moved. There was a bloke with a pram effectively blocking most people's exit, but still no one moved. Suddenly it dawned and they all left the lift leaving R and myself to go one level lower to the basement. What is wrong with people? The lcd screen said ground, the lift indicator said ground floor and the audio announcement said ground floor. Idiots!

After the lift cleared, it then filled up with people wanting to go up, when the lift was going down. Oh, we are going down first, was the cry. Myer lifts are very good, almost made for idiots and I can't imagine how they could made more 'user friendly', but still people struggle.

God save me. As the old expression goes, it is enough to drive you to drink and as R makes kedgeree for dinner, I may just pour us a large one each.

Ok, I will be a bit charitable. I use lifts a lot. I understand them. But are they really so hard to use or understand for novices?