Saturday, March 03, 2012

A shiny new machine

The old laptop had become intolerably slow and erratic. We could have reloaded the operating system and it would have been ok, but what we wanted was something for travelling that did not weigh a ton.

Over months we have discussed the replacement, Ipad? Android pad? Tiny net book? An Ipad would have done for travel but I use the computer to back up photos when we are travelling. I suppose you can do with an Ipad, but I don't know how and it is so simple to just plug in the camera cord. Also, would it be useful for the rest of the year when we weren't travelling? Would it get used?

For that reason we decided on this fairly light lap top or perhaps it is a note book. It works beautifully and is just as fast as this desk top machine. It is a Toshiba Satellite Pro T110, if that is of interest to anyone.

Jayne suggested some time ago that she received good service at MLN Computers. I subsequently bought a wireless router there and I was pleased with them. Our nearest is opposite Vic Market and as we travelling along Kingsway to buy the new machine, I noticed what looked like a new MLN shop in Kingsway. Was it the same place with a new branch? Was it open? Well, we weren't going to abandon the tram on the off chance, so we continued on and bought the new machine at the shop opposite Vic Market. I have subsequently learnt that it is a new MLN shop in Kingsway and it is very convenient for us.

See the little thing stuck in the side of the unit? It is a transmitter for a wireless mouse. Why did we not buy one of those years ago.

Friday, March 02, 2012

This week's flowers

Morticia visited.

A ship set sail

I always imagined boats were only launched by slipping gracefully down a slipway stern end first, perhaps after a bottle of champers has been broken over the bow. Apparently not. Rather undignified isn't it.

Of course some are still launched the traditional way, but oh dear, there are days when things just don't work out in spite of everyone's best efforts. Note the bloke in the orange hard hat. After applauding, with great complacency he looks away, confident of a successful launch. He looks back I expect just in time to proclaim, oh bother.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Shame on us

I was recently reminded of something we Australians should be very ashamed of, more specifically some residents of the New South Wales town of Kincumber near Gosford.

Run out of town is probably an American expression, but it best describes what happened to the van Grafhorst family when they tried to enrol their daughter in pre school. Their daughter, Eve, contacted HIV as a baby from a blood transfusion. I won't say all, but parents at the pre school insisted Eve wear a plastic face mask and for some even that wasn't enough and threatened to withdraw their own children from the pre school.

The van Grafhorsts moved to Hastings in New Zealand where they were treated well by the local community and shock, horror, no one contracted HIV from Eve.

Eve died in 1993 at the age of eleven. Her mother subsequently received a comforting letter from Princess Diana.

So much for the tolerant and embracing Australia that that is said to look after mates when they are in trouble. Take a bow New Zealand.

More photos from Down Below

I suspect this chap standing on the dividing strip is out to prove the traffic light red light camera is faulty. He was there for quite some time, but I doubt anyone has watched that set of traffic lights more than I have and I have never seen it flash anyone who was obeying the signals or speed limit, apart from when some unusual situations occur.

Oh, look at all the people waiting for a tram. No worries. A tram is coming.

The tram came and was full and went. This is not unusual now. A set of lights later and there are even even more people waiting. It is very strange to me how the old W class trams used to move people so efficiently, but these modern tram just can't cope with the number of people who want to use them. 5pm week nights sees this happen every night. What misery for people. They can't fit on the first tram and the next one will be crowded too.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

It just goes on

While Australia is hardly lily white when it comes to the way we slaughter our animals for human consumption, Indonesia and the Middle East have time and time again shown that they have a total disregard for the welfare of animals during the slaughter process.

All the regulations put in place and money that was spent after the Indonesian scandal was exposed by animal welfare activists last year seems to have been to no avail.

Just my bad luck that last night I was able to see ABC's Late Line where they showed quite horrible scenes of what can only described as torture of Australian livestock in Indonesia as they went to death.

The authorities are following it up of course and their spin doctors are spinning faster than the best spinning top. Yet, weren't we told that the actions taken last year were to prevent this inhuman method of slaughter?

Clearly the actions haven't worked and there is really no alternative now but to permanently ban the live export of animals. No ifs or buts or we can do it better. The chances have been given and the same problem still exists. How clearer could things be than that?

Airport Link

Wouldn't a train to the airport be a marvellous thing for us Melburnians? I reckon so and it is absurd that we don't have one already.

But would I use it? Let us assume R and I are paying full fare and I don't consider Skybus a serious competitor against us getting a taxi. A taxi costs about $65 and gets us to the airport in less than half an hour.

If our airport train was to be similarly priced to Sydney's and Brisbane's, then to catch an airport train from the city to the airport would cost around $15 each, plus a two hour ticket tram ticket each and we are nearly at $20 each, $40 for both of us as against adding another $12 each and getting a taxi. So, price is not going to convince me.

If I have an appointment in the city, I allow half an hour to get there by tram. This covers me because if the tram and bus service completely fail, I can walk to the city in this time, obviously depending on where I need to be in the city. I would add another 15 minutes to get to Southern Cross Station.

So, there is 45 minutes and it would be hoped the train would get us to the airport in less than 15 minutes, but you need to factor in waiting time for the train too, maybe 15 minutes.

So, in total one hour and fifteen minutes as against thirty minutes in a taxi. And don't forget about hauling cases on and off trams and trains.

It really doesn't look terribly viable for us to use the much longed for airport train.

Unless, the line was was incorporated into the proposed Footscray to Caulfield rail tunnel. It would mean a five minute walk to the Domain Interchange and hop on a train that takes us directly to the airport, or even with one convenient change along the way. That would be so convenient, I wouldn't care how much it cost.

I wrote this Tuesday morning and co-incidentally, a Crikey writer published this afternoon.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Embarrassing Moment #21

Many years ago a gay friend of a gay friend had an Indian born partner. My friend was also Indian, so I suppose he is allowed to be racist against his own countryman. He called this other Indian guy Bomba.

I ran into my friend's friend and asked how Bomba was.
Bomba, the guy you were seeing.
His name is Kevin. Why did you call him Bomba?
Warren calls him that.
It's not his name. I've never heard him called that.
Oh, sorry. I didn't know. Must dash.


This will go down now nicely, from The Guardian.

German tax collectors volunteer for Greek duty

Finance ministers in two German states have offered to send in officials to help with tax collection in Greece, but it is unclear whether such assistance would be welcomed

Old Adelaide

Papers I want to keep that are not appropriate for the filing cabinet get shoved into my wardrobe. Every six months or so I sort them out and put them in their correct home. I did so during Sunday killer heat. We had done food shopping in the morning and R said he had no intention of leaving the place again for the day. Fortunately our air con was working well, unlike someone's who resorted to cruising travelling on trains to stay cool.

I had not even filed our Adelaide trip brochures and I had left out the brochures from our last Adelaide holiday to scan a few for general amusement. I got on with it.

I think Adelaide's Festival Centre was quite new when we were there.

Look at those usurious prices for tours.

Anyone remember the Old Mill Restaurant?

Look Sydney, they had air con buses and trains way back then.

Is it a red bear? How long do they live? Very cute. It is probably dead now and how could it compete for attention against the present Adelaide Zoo's pandas? This is a high gloss booklet and I can't imagine I paid for it, so I guess it was included in the admission price.

We tried to see where we stayed at West Beach when we were in Adelaide, but couldn't find it. I wish I had checked this and noted the address. No doubt it has gone now and is something smart.

See River, I told you they changed all the bus route numbers.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Good riddance

Note that I have not bothered to mention the pachyderm in the parlour over the past week or so. What is there to say? Now it is apparently over, I have revised my view of PM Gillard.

To keep with the animal theme, I am a dinosaur and I don't care much for the modern Labor Party and its extreme pro business and at times anti worker agenda. But I must say, I have a new respect for Gillard. I just hope she can keep the momentum going and if I could be so bold as to offer her some advice, talk to the people Julia. Tell us what you have done, what you plan and most importantly why. No doubt your advisers will advise you on how to get re-elected. Take on board there advice, but you don't have to follow it. Do what you think is right. Your people aren't stupid, talk to them, tell them why.

Because the alternative to you being re-elected is the extremely conservative, bible bashing, worker attacking, socially regressive, stuck in the 1950s Abbott is just too horrible to contemplate.

Gawd, can't even take refuge in New Zealand now as their conservative PM is nearly as bad.

Later edit: What I was going to say in this post, is thank god the Abib person has gone. He and his ilk are what is wrong with the Labor Party.

The Child

We double booked. When Brighton Antique Dealer rang and asked us to hers for a drink and nibbles then dinner across the road at her local Italian restaurant on Friday night, how could we say no. We had forgotten that Bone Doctor was giving a lecture in the city on Saturday and so she and Little Jo were staying Friday night and we were looking after Little Jo on Saturday.

Well, we could combine the two. Bone Doctor and Little Jo have to have dinner too, so they can come to BAD's soiree. I changed in the car at work, in 35 degree heat. My clothes were lovely and warm as if they had just come out of the dryer, but that is not what you want when it is 35 deg. Bone Doctor picked up R and we arrived within ten minutes of each other. BAD had her usual collection of miscreants, but tonight they being her neighbours in her posh Brighton retirement apartment complex, the youngest being about seventy.

Also there was our ex NT politician friend and his Fijian Indian boyfriend. I amazed at how chummy the misogynist old curmudgeon has become with BAD. Maybe he sees her as a fellow political traveller, and I suspect she is.

Little Jo was sooky and shy. After drinks and nibbles we went to the restaurant.

Our food at the restaurant was fine. The service was excellent. I won't name the place though as I consider the food is overpriced. Little Jo grizzled on and whined away and mock tears, until some food arrived at the table.

Little Jo had a raspberry drink, don't tell Mummy. A bowl of shoestring chips and some pizza, don't tell Mummy, and an ice cream sundae, don't tell Mummy. Not BAD, but one of her neighbours illustrated to me how older Brighton women stay slim. They eat a meal of lettuce for dinner.

Back to BAD's for coffee. She had some unusual meringues she had bought at her local bakery. They were cup cake like, but hollow inside, the hollow lined with jam. Very tasty.

Next morning Little Jo wanted to go for brunch. She had in mind the place across the road where R has taken her twice. She still doesn't know the proper name of what we refer to as Nanny's Restaurant, aka Maccas. Mother likes going to her local one when someone will take her, often Sister and Little Jo.

Little Jo was determined to be difficult, she whined and whinged and tried to create some fake tears. I don't want to wait for the bus, as we sat in the shelter. Look out, here comes the tram, we will catch that instead. I don't like trams. R gave her a ride on the merry go round as soon as we arrived and against my advice, gave her a chocolate milkshake, which meant she ate little else but a few chips to top it off. While they waited for me to finish my triple stack of pancakes with mixed berry and sauce, with ice cream, R took her to kids play area but he did concede that she is just too old and too big for such things as crawling tunnels.

Her humour did improve as they day went on. Once back home we took her down for a swim, which was very refreshing on such a hot day. I was pleased to see she can jump into deep water and swim unaided. Sister was like a fish when she was her age and the local pool was very close to Mother's where Sister grew up. In fact Sister was a non local person who helped save the pool from the advances of the cost cutting local council.

After swimming Little Jo reluctantly had a bath and reluctantly had her hair washed. R used to give in to her so often, but I note now he is becoming firmer as she gets more challenging. She pulled the bath plug out before her hair was washed. R just refilled the bath and made her get back in for her hair wash.

There is no doubt she is spoilt and gets too much of her own way, but that seems to be the way children are brought up now. I think some things are negotiable with children, but mostly not and I don't believe in offering them unlimited choices, so a phrase like 'what would you like to eat', is wrong. 'Would you like this or that?' is much preferred if they are to be offered a choice at all.

Some craft was done, some gingerbread men made and Bone Doctor returned. Within fifteen minutes of their departure, the High Rise was back in order.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


I am pretty good now when I save photos I find on the net. To the front of the original file name, I add something that is meaningful to me, that is maybe the location, followed by a full stop, then the person's name who took the photo and another full stop and then the rest is the original file name. I failed to do so with this photo and I have no idea where the place is, what it is or who took it. Identify the spot and or the photo owner if you know please. The activity does look like fun.

The joys of inner city high rise living

The air con unit on the building next door was upgraded mid winter a couple of years ago. It wasn't until summer that we knew why. It seems a supplementary cooling system was added to it. It roared into life the first hot day we had the following summer but it took us time to work out what the noise was. The noise was very loud, but as it only came on when it was hot it wasn't a bother as we had everything shut up then anyway. It always shut down around six pm until eight am and never ran at weekends.

That was until New Year's Day this year when it started going on and off even in mild weather. Worse, it was doing it at night time, whether it was hot or not. It was impossible to have a window open at night and even during the day the noise was very annoying when a window was open. At night it would usually switch on and off three times within ten minutes and then be silent for an hour or two.

A couple of days into the new year, R and I went to find the building's manager. We couldn't find him but we did find his office that had his phone number and email address. I sent an email, without a response. I rang him and it went to his message service. I left him a message, without a response.

Then I found out the building's property management company and rang the property manager. he was quite uninterested and spoke as if he was in the middle of doing something important on a computer, you know, when there are pauses while someone's brain is processing what they are seeing on the screen and what you are saying, all at the same time. He told me the unit was faulty and there was a wait for parts to repair it.

I let it go for another few weeks, then I again emailed the building manager, and no response.

Last week, I wrote a letter to the property manager, without a response.

As I understand the laws, which I can't find the details of at the moment, the operation of commercial air conditioning is restricted to civilised hours. This is aside from the level of noise clearly breaching any other regulation.

I also understand that local councils are the first port of call for noise breach enforcement, even though the regulations are proscribed by the Environment Protection Authority.

This week I composed an email to the City of Port Phillip, intending to cc it to the EPA.

I took a couple of sound recordings, the first of what it sounded like when it stopping running but then I got lucky and caught it starting up, which is better. The sound files were going to be attached to the email. I took the recordings while lying on my bed with the window open.

I had not yet sent the email, but lo and behold, maybe the slightly annoyed and slightly threatening letter did the trick as some poor lad was out in the 38 degree heat yesterday presumably fixing it. Fingers crossed. We have putting up with this for what, eight weeks.

The 19 second video I just made is a still of the lad working. The unit starts up just at the end so don't turn your speakers up too much because you can't hear much.