Saturday, April 07, 2012

Communication Problem

No words are really required except some people say accidents happen in slow motion. This has that feeling.

Friday, April 06, 2012


Admittedly the tram trip was a little slow. I was sitting opposite R who was facing forward. Behind me were five school girls, all dressed in de rigueur frayed cut off denim shorts. I gazed contentedly out the window at our big brown river as the tram crossed Princes Bridge. Between the Arts Centre and Little Collins Street I counted nineteen excited "oh my god"s sprinkled liberally into their private school girl chat. They will go on to be or marry influential people who will preside over we commoners.

I wonder what the girls would say if they saw a bad car crash happen in front of their eyes. OMG just wouldn't cut it.

Warm buns

Kath in Geneva is always a good read and I am making reference to this post where she talks about bread among other things.

Here are some easter buns or hot cross buns if you like. They came from a chain bakery who's name starts with B and it is not Brumbys. The buns are very nice, except they now package them into packs of eight, rather than the traditional six. Forcibly upsized again. We bought these last Saturday and today, Thursday, they are still deliciously fresh.

But should they be? Have you all seen photos of the the McDonalds hamburger that was kept at room temperature for years and it never decayed?

I fear our buns might be the same.

Here is a relevant snip from Kath's piece. It is rather concerning really. Btw, if baguettes in France are anything like baguettes in its old colony Vietnam, then they are superb.

Long, thin baguettes comprise 99% of all bread sold and consumed in this part of the world. Crusty, fresh and flavoursome, it is designed to be bought and devoured on the same day. No preservatives are added, so twenty fours later your forgotten Pain Genovese would function better as a sturdy fence post than a breakfast option.

We often partake of fine coffee at Depot de Pain at the Blackman Hotel. At times we add a muffin on a plate to our cup of coffee. I was initially surprised that Depot de Pain was not an S & M sex on premises venue. From Kath I learnt the true meaning of pain. Ohhh lordy, that sounds bad.

Enjoy your easter time, with or without buns. It is a time to celebrate the death and the rising of christ, or dis christianity and praise allah, or work and earn penalty rates or just some time to catch up with friends or family.  I happily celebrate easter, in a non religious but cultural manner.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

The Weather

My best night time photo, coming from a very low base.

The sun rises.

Even when it is pouring rain, the sun still rises.

And as all good things come to end, so does the sun in the western sky.

Whinging about friends

Well known Melbourne drag queen Renee Scott died a couple of days ago. I should qualify this as I think she lived as a woman. As Pokeys was a gay institution for many gay and lesbians, so was Renee who performed there for pretty well all of the time Pokeys was open. Maybe a reader or two might have been to Pennies, at the same venue.

It was sudden, a heart attack at the age of 61. The last time I saw her, she was behind the bar at The Prince of Wales Hotel in St Kilda, The Prince, when I sat outside in winter sunshine one afternoon and drank a refreshing beer. She looked good for her age. Maybe there had been a tuck here and there.

I emailed a couple of friends the same link as above. A micro second after I clicked send, I regretted doing so. Sure enough, my regret was soundly based.

He rang ten minutes later. I/we email him which reminds him of us, and he rings. I let it go to the answer machine and he left a brief message. Shortly after R arrived home and chastised me for not answering and insisted I call him back.

I protested.

It is absurd. If I wanted to speak to him on the phone, I would have rang him. Instead I sent an email because I didn't want to talk on the phone, something I generally dislike doing anytime but I know at times I have to. All very well for him. He is retired with spare time. I work over forty hours a week, usually spend over an hour each day commuting and we have seen him three weekends in a row. Enough. He asked what we were doing over easter. I told him, which truthfully included no time for any catch up with him. He is a bit lonely, even though he has a somewhat neglectful partner.

I have learnt two lessons. I will no longer email him unless I am walking out the door. I will no longer tell R about such an email and phone call.

You may well think I am being an utter bitch to a friend, but if things don't work for me, they won't work for the other person either. I do with good grace, or not at all, unlike some people who do something and then moan and whinge afterwards, just as I am now because R was insistent that I call him back.

Speaking of phones, just as dinner was served tonight, Tradie Brother rang. I answered because if I call him back later, he will probably be four sheets to the wind. For once he may have had an excuse. He had to put his twelve year old Labrador down today.  We saw Aus just a couple of weekends ago and it was clear to us that we would never see him again. He was your typical big slobbery Lab, always with a smile on his face. The kids are so sad too about the loss of their childhood dog but I am a firm believer in the old quote, it is better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012


R went to a truck show. Don't ask why. Although work related, I just can't see a connection. He came home with a bag of bits, the nicest thing being a water bottle with pretty pictures on it.

Insert plug A into socket B

As you know, haa, you have forgotten, we are holidaying in Malaysia later this year. Google certainly hasn't forgotten. Mr Google, I have booked our accommodation, so you can stop offering me Penang hotel deals on every which site of yours that I go to.

We were sitting having coffee in QV shopping centre opposite a suitcase and luggage shop. I noticed electric conversion plugs for foreign countries. This started a discussion and I suggested to R that Malaysia would use the same plugs as Singapore, which uses the same as Britain. It turned out I was correct. After coffee we were passing an el cheapo shop and decided to check how much they were. Only $6, so we took two. With phones, camera and laptop needing charging, plus my electric shaver and toothbrush, we need two now.

Back home I decided to look up what the internet said about Malaysia's power supply. I came across a Wikipedia entry that I found quite fascinating. It was a table of power plugs around the world. For a start, Australia is one of very few countries that has only one type of plug and as far as I know, it has never changed. The same plug is used in New Zealand and many of the Pacific Islands, including Samoa, but what about Western Samoa under US influence?

Now work this out. Why would the Australian plug be used in Argentina? Even odder, why would it be used in Tajikistan? There is really no where else that uses an Australian plug. The problem with Argentina is they reverse the wires in their plugs. Positive becomes neutral and vice versa. In my expert opinion as an amateur rewirer, it doesn't make any difference. Please use a licensed electrician and don't take my opinion.

The unified Vietnam does not have unified plugs. The north use the Euro plug and the south the American plug. But in new hotel developments built by Hong Kong or Singapore developers, the English plug is used. I am sure that annoys the ex colonial owners, the French who visit their in ex colony in large numbers.

Could this explain why Aussie plugs are sometimes used in Tajikistan? Did we fund some big development there?

My memory is telling me something about Argentina. Let me check. No, wrong. It was Paraguay. I was thinking of the Australian socialist settlement in South America and it wasn't Argentina. Can't imagine why Argentina would use Australian plugs at all.

R tells me that when he was a kid in England, if you bought an appliance, it came without a plug. You fitted you own plug to suit what ever type of socket you had. His family's clothes iron was plugged into the light socket. Oh, the luxury of an electric iron after using irons that were heated on the stove. (just noticed I have said that before in another post)

When we went to Japan, I had to do a little adapting to the plug converter as the laptop earth plug would not go into the two pinned adapter. As for Malaysia, we should be ok with our converters. I note they have a way of forcing in non compliant Euro plugs into the English sockets there. If you want a bit of a chuckle, Pants explains about English plugs here. Surprising that it went on until the eighties at least.

If you are not familiar with them, this is a good old Aussie plug and socket, well sockets actually. It should be a crime to install a power point that only has a single socket.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

A fine musician

Jimmy Little was a fine musician and it is sad to hear he has died. Thirty four albums is astonishing. This is my favourite of Jimmy's and if you know of a better version, then say so.

Women can't read maps

Plenty of men can't read maps either and for a man to ask directions from someone else is self emasculation for some.

However, woman can draw maps and rather well it seems.

While we in Melbourne are very attached to our Melways Street Directory, in London they use the A to Z. For other Australian capital cities, could you please leave in comments the name of your popular street directory?

The original London A to Z was the work of a woman by the name of Phyllis Pearsall.

Phyllis was a portrait painter and with a map in hand in 1935, she set off to a party and promptly became lost. She was not at fault as the map was poor and very old, but the best that was available.

Right, thought Phyllis, I 'll make my own. And so she did. She walked 3.000 miles of 23,000 London streets.

She designed and proofread and with the help of a draughtsman, in 1936 the first London A to Z was published and it quickly became a great success.

When we were in London a few years ago, we took with us an A to Z that a friend gave to us. It was from the mid sixties and we barely used it as it was so out of date. Free maps were readily available. Then when we returned home, he wanted his A to Z back. Cheek. He gave it to us. I gave it back of course.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Old Crocks

I am the oldest of four. In descending order, Highriser, ABI Brother, Tradie Brother, Sister. I am the least fittest of my siblings. While I did play badminton for a year or so with a friend in my late teens, that was the extent of my sporting achievements. If any other sort of ball came in my direction, I would run away. The ball was not there for me to catch or hit. It was there to hit me and it will hurt.

Tradie Brother's two daughters and son all have sporting injuries that are already causing them problems.

Given I am the oldest of my siblings, I should have joint pains, a bad back and a hurting knee. I have none of these, yet my high sport achieving siblings all have issues with joints and muscles and these are not improving as they get older.

My advice to someone young to ensure good health in older age?

Don't play sport. It will damage your body.

Walk a lot, don't run.


It may have well come from a tv show called Kingswood Country, a particularly racist and misogynistic tv show. I expect is also could accept a few other 'ists'. However, it was quite funny in its time.

I am not really sure if the phrase came from the show or was around earlier, the phrase being, Warm the set and cool the tinnies. 

I've been known to use the phrase, perhaps after we have been out all day on social matters and it is such a relief to get home and plonk into a chair.

If you know straight away what it means you are probably of a certain age and living in Australia at the time of the tv show. I am just curious as to how widely this would be understood. Perhaps if you do instantly know, hold off to see what others say and then come in later with, I knew that. I'll republish with detail at a later point.

So what does warm the set mean? What does cool the tinnies mean? If you in the US, step up to the plate. UK, step up to the crease.

I just googled the phrase, and it may well have come from somewhere more recent than said tv show.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

No April Fool

I didn't do an April Fool joke post this year. Even last year was only a review. Nothing inspired me. But gee I laughed when I saw this one at a well known disreputable type's blog.


My plan for the day was not ambitious. Our new beds will be delivered in the morning. In the afternoon I will get my hair cut and do a bit of shopping.

Ever so simple. It begins with calling the building manager two days ago book the lift. That mean protection covers will be put up and the lift operation will be manual. I had also rang around to get bed removal prices. $145. $40 surcharge for above ground removal. Booked them for next Tuesday, my day off.  Price another, $200. It costs me $120 in tip fees he moaned. It was clear he did not want the job. Confirmed with the $145 place for removal. We could get rid of them in a council collection. It would mean either dumping them in the rubbish room in full view of cameras and earn disrespect of people who we know, or asking the building manager whether we could store them in the basement until the council collection. We decided it was all too much for us to cart four bed pieces down to the basement. We will just have to pay.

7.30 Get out of bed. I wash my hair with shampoo to get rid of product because later I will get my hair cut. Product glues up the buzz cut machine and I don't want to have to pay to have my hair washed as well.

9.10 Bed delivery man calls. I'll be there between 11 and 1. I text R as he is a bit worried as our lounge suite delivery last year was not without problems.

9.45 Bed delivery man calls. I will be there earlier. I tell him he must use the car park access in the lane at the rear of the building.

9.50 I call Building Management to inform him of delivery time.

10.50 Beds arrive. I call Building Management and he isolates the lift. I meet the delivery guys. One is clearly in charge. He is tall, slim and has dark exotic looks and he was not unattractive. The other was white but as he never spoke, I was barely aware of him.

10.55 I realise Building Management has not set car park door to stay open. I go off to find a piece of paper to block the electronic eye.

11.00 One of the bed bases is wrong. There is confusion, phone calls. Sorted, if I stay home this afternoon, the correct ones will be delivered. Well, there goes any shopping and a haircut.

11.20 The new mattresses come up and one base. I am very hot and bothered. More phone calls to the warehouse by delivery man. Warehouse wants the base they have just brought up back. I don't know why, but ok. We had paid a deposit, the balance payable on delivery. I refuse to pay the balance, so I pay $1000 and I will pay the rest when the bases are delivered.

11.40 Going down in the lift I comment, perhaps with a subconscious motive, about the high cost of bed removal. No probs, we will do if for $100, cash. Call R to check if this is a good idea. We could end up without a bed to sleep in. Well, I suppose we could sleep together in the spare bed. Confirm deal. It will save a lot of hassle if everything goes to plan.

11.50 Two old mattresses, two old bases, two men and me squashed into the lift. It was so an accident that I was pressed up against the one I liked. Believe me?

12.00 Inform Building Management that the lift protection needs to stay up. It has to be removed by 4pm and lift set back to auto for evening traffic as people return form work and school. Check with delivery guys that it will be.

12.10 I am hot and stressed. I still have sort out the stuff that was under the beds and vacuum the floor and clean the wall skirting where the beds sit.

12.15 I sit at computer and open a joke email from a friend. I laughed heartedly. It was very funny. Try it here. It is not long and you don't need to know the foreign language. Felt slightly better.

12.30 Watch a recorded tv show about West Australia's Black Carnaby Cockatoos. Very interesting and I am suitably distracted.

1.30 Potter about cleaning and do bits and pieces. I want to go across the road to the cafe for some decent coffee, but after putting my shoes on, I change my mind. I wouldn't enjoy it as I wouldn't be relaxed.

2.00 I decide 3.00 is the deadline. If I haven't heard from the warehouse by then about the bases, I will call them.

2.40 The warehouse rings. We will be there within the hour. Different delivery guys to this morning. He seemed to want to chat. I just wished they would get going. They had to come from Noble Park, via the city store and be here by 3.40. Possible but tight I would have thought. If they are on time, it will just be four o'clock when they finish.

3.40 On the dot they arrive. Friendly is very nice but is it necessary to shake hands? One white base and one dark grey? Surely not. I call R and hang up as he driving on his way home. He calls back. Yes, he says, the dark grey one is mine. Meanwhile, the older delivery guy was on the phone to the store to check the details. Before he hung up he wanted to hand the phone to me to pay the amount owing. I don't have my wallet with me, so no cards. The older guy did not seem to have a clue about anything. I told him earlier that delivery was via the carpark in the lane, but he had  pulled up at the front of the building and being quite insistent that he could bring the bases in through the front door. It is most definitely a no no. Fortunately the younger big bruiser Islander guy did have a clue about things.

4.03 They are gone and I inform Building Management it is all over. Apologise for the lateness and detaining him. It will take him five minutes to take the lift protection down and he finishes at four.

4.15 R arrives home and we get stuck into putting bed legs on, sorting out bedding etc.

6.00 Finally all is done. A trestle table stored under one bed will not fit under the new beds, so it will have to go.

Worth it? I haven't had a brand new bed since I was a kid. Always someone else's swapped or paid for. Yes, it was worth it. The new beds are fantastic and I had a great nights sleep .