Saturday, February 18, 2012


These are known as Strandbeests by Dutch artist Theo Jansen. I was passing by in a tram and saw one in action so I had to visit Fed Square to to take my own videos. Pretty cool huh.

This is the littlun.

And this is the bigun.

Friday, February 17, 2012

I feel unloved

Thanks for the tip off Jayne.

Sadly they seem to have missed Queens Road and St Kilda Road residents from their community chats, never mind the squillions of dollars in council rates that they receive from these two streets. Only the Balaclava meeting is easily accessible by public transport from the Highrise and Balaclava and St Kilda Road are chalk and cheese.

Councillors from the City of Port Phillip are hosting conversation tents across the municipality and are inviting the community to drop by and have their say on the progress of the Council Plan 2009-2013, and about Council’s priorities for the future.

The conversation tents offer an opportunity for the community to meet their local representative face to face, ask questions, bring an issue or idea to their attention, or simply just to say hello.

Come to a conversation tent

1. Saturday 4 February at Elwood Community Market (Elwood Primary) 8:30 am – 11:30 am
2. Saturday11 February at Bay St, Port Melbourne (outside Coles) 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
3. Saturday18 February at Gasworks Farmers Market 8:30 am – 11:30 am
4. Saturday25 February at the South Melbourne Market 8:30 am – 11:30 am
5. Saturday 3 March at the Veg Out Farmers Market 8:30 am – 11:30 am
6. Sunday 4 March at Carlisle St, Balaclava (cnr Nelson St)

Yep, I truly feel unloved by City of Port Phillip.


Maybe you are quite familiar with the word diaspora. I am just a poorly educated person, so I am not. It is one of those words that I know enough to accept it in a sentence and not look it up as if it was a completely strange word.

Did you know the Scottish football team Glasgow Rangers has gone broke? Receivers have been appointed.

I wonder if Glasgow Rangers have gone broke because their spokesperson knew how to insert diaspora into his statement of the team's situation? Dreaded Nephew lived in Glasgow for a year or so. Back in Australia now, I have not heard him use the word. Maybe he lived in the wrong area and Scottish diaspora can be heard coming from many Glaswegians.

I've just had a shower and spent the few minutes trying to think how I could slip diaspora into a blog post, but it is not coming to me at all. Don't worry, I'll get it eventually.

Coming out when you're out

One of Melbourne's worst keep secrets is out. Magda Szubanski is gay. She outed herself on tv. Not sure who she outed herself to, but never mind. Unfortunately she is probably not widely known in younger circles and therefore has perhaps passed her time as a useful role model for young lesbians. Well, not a role model, but as an apparently successful gay person. Never mind. I would hardly blame her for not coming out at the zenith of her comedy career. Anyway, good on ya Magda. Here is a clip from an old comedy sketch show, Fast Forward. Lynne was one of my favourite characters. Given I never really watched the show, I am surprised how knowledgeable I am about Fast Forward. Ah, bad memory. Tradie Brother called me useless because I did not know who Uncle Arthur was. I must have watched the show a bit after that.

Oh dear. I should try harder to keep up. FruitCake posted about Magda too and used the same clip. I composed this the day after her tv appearance. I should have published straight away. Still, it does show what excellent taste FruitCake has since she agrees with me.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Every one needs good neighbours

Des and Joan lived next door to Mother when she moved to her house some thirty five years ago. Joan left Des and he was lonely. He brought out a Filipina bride and she and Des lived next door to Mother for many years. They had their own children. Des died, leaving his widow to her own devices. Like many Asian born women, she is quite competent at looking after herself and now at the age of around sixty, she is still working.

Des and Joan showed Mother many kindnesses when she was on her own before she met Step Father. Step Father was kind to them too when he came on the scene. When Des was left alone, Mother and Step Father were very supportive, as they were when he brought his Filipina bride to live with him.

When Des died, Step Father especially and Mother were very kind and supportive to the FB. When Step Father died, FB was very supportive to Mother. They are now two widows living side by side who had very different beginnings in life, but are connected in their loneness and they know they need to help each other. So much for Mother's statement so many years ago, 'ah, Des has got one of those Philippine users from Thailand or somewhere'. I guess you well and truly have the gist now.

The FB returned last week from the hospital where she works and then popped down the street to get some items from the supermarket. Within half an hour she returned home and when she opened her front door, things were scattered on the floor and she could hear noises. She relocked the door and went into Mother's and they called the police.

The police could not immediately attend so Mother and FB bravely or foolishly went inside the house. Of course the robbers had long gone, seemingly bolting after hearing the door the first time. There was no cash to be had, only some expensive jewellery, which they missed and three expensive watches and a new camera, which they did not miss.

Two old widows slept alone that night, separated by a paling fence, both with their windows closed and lights on. FB summoned her daughter to come and stay with her. Mother summoned ABI Brother to come and stay with her.

As for the police, fail. They arrived two hours after being called. Widows afraid and in distress are apparently not a high priority for the local and probably understaffed police station.

'Mate, did a burg today, but fuck all there. Just a load of shit and useless fuckin' watches. Fuckin' shit town with nothin' worth stealing. Fuckin' Asians are suppose to keep cash in their houses. Fuckin' nothin'.'

Ah well lads. You did achieve something. You traumatised two older women. Nice work.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A Budapest Christmas

I haven't posted a tram or train photo for a while. Jane and Lance mentioned to me about the decorated christmas tram that runs in the streets of Budapest when I posted some photos of Melbourne's decorated christmas tram. I must say, it is a fine effort by the authorities in Budapest. You don't have to watch much of the video to see what the tram looks like.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

You can't just wish people a happy Valentine's Day

I've been known to rant about Valentine's Day. Imported culture. Money making by the media. Profiteering by florists and chocolate companies. Capitalist manipulation of the masses. Bah, humbug.

But gee it sweet when you receive a card and I think this is the nicest card I have ever received, thanks R. Btw the chocolate on the envelope is now a tradition and I would demand to know why, if it wasn't there.

Truly amazing...snow in London

If the weather becomes excessively hot in Melbourne, or it rains heavily, our public transport system is prone to collapse and our roads almost stop functioning. Given we do have some extremely hot days in a normal summer and at any time can have heavy rain, why our systems cannot cope puzzles me. I've expressed an opinion before that there is insufficient drainage for our overpopulated inner areas but it is obviously more than that.

Mayor of London Boris Johnston warned of bad weather a few weeks ago with heavy falls of snow forecast. He was quoted as saying that systems were prepared and resources ready to cope, and what happened? The system collapsed as soon as snow fell. No sooner had a train poked its nose above ground, it failed or some part of the system failed.

Like in Melbourne with hot weather and heavy rain, it is like London has never seen snow before. It is like the city is undergoing an extreme weather event.

Is this an Anlgo problem? I don't hear of failures like that in Europe, where some parts get much more severe weather.

I can appreciate that snow can get so bad that things just can't operate, but was London's snow that heavy?

Perhaps the complexity of modern systems are to blame. Take for instance a week or so ago where I train was stuck at Darling Station after overhead wires became entangled. At the next station towards the city where High Street crosses the road at Glen Iris Station, the boom automatically came down and stayed down, no doubt because of fail safe systems. This caused horrendous delays to trams, local and non local motorists.

Have we become so clever that in perfect conditions everything works like a Swiss clock, but as soon as something is not quite right, we just fall in a heap.

Monday, February 13, 2012

I keep thinking of this and is amuses me no end. Maybe it won't you, but never mind.

I was listening to a podcast of a Jewish author being interviewed who had written a supposed novel, but it was almost autobiographical. He was talking about the book and I think it was his father he was referring to.

You probably have to know a bit about Jewish settlement in Melbourne to really appreciate it, but he said about his father, and I can't remember it verbatim, he was one of the few "holocaust survivors" who had never left Rathdowne Street.

Who said you need a picture to paint a thousand words.

Aussie Day Flypast

I rushed to the balcony with my camera to snap the RAAF Roulettes as they flew past, and then went back inside. I rushed to the balcony with my camera to snap the RAAF Roulettes as they flew past, and then went back inside. Yes, I did this several times. I didn't know they were going to hang around for so long. Consequently, I was never quite ready with the camera, but I took a few ok shots.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My Politics

I suppose over time my political opinions have become clear to regular readers and Comrades. I would describe my politics as me being a green voting rusted on Labor voter. I want to vote Labor, but I just can't find the party as I knew it anywhere. I suppose perhaps that I am rusted on to Labor ideals, rather than the modern practical party.

Personally, for my hip pocket vote nowadays, it doesn't matter too much. I am of a generation that has large voting numbers and I like my inner city coffee flavoured pinot gris and my taxes being spent on inner suburban public transport and the kultcha stuffs.

But the essence of me is still there. I am the person who likes their essential services owned by government. A government that places priority on the care of the less fortunate in our world, starting in our country of course. I like Australia to be for Australians, wherever they may have come from. I don't like seeing our country taken advantage of by overseas interests.

I could go on until this becomes an incoherent rant. Instead I urge you to read FruitCake's much better written post. I couldn't fault a thing she said.

Android Apps

When I bought an Android phone, a Samsung, I knew full well that I would not be able to access the range of applications that were available to Iphone users. For the less knowledgeable, Android is just an operating system for phones, like a Windows operating system or an Apple operating system for computers. The Iphone made by Apple has its own operating system and the other serious contender used by other phone manufacturers is Android.

I am quite happy with the apps available to me. I have filled two screens with apps that I have used once or twice and never used again. Seriously, there are some very useful apps and I use them all the time.

What I did not expect, especially how the number of Android users has grown over the past year, was to be ignored by major media organisations. So far as I know, I can't get a radio app for ABC Radio. I can have a news app, but not one that I can listen to radio stations with. No matter, someone has developed one that I can listen to pretty well any digital radio broadcast in the world. I stand to be corrected, but as far as I can see the ABC does not have a radio app for Android.

Ditto Joy Melbourne radio. Iphone only.

The Age? Yep, Iphone only.

This amused me when I was hunting around on ABC's tech novice site. I clicked a link and here is where I went.

This is not a beta versus vhs battle, may the second best win, and it did. Iphone may well be favoured by most people, at the moment, but it would be a foolish media organisation that ignored the 'other'.