Saturday, August 18, 2012

Hefferlumps are in town

This plate explains what Mali in the City is. Apparently there are fifty of these elephants spread around the city and its perimeter. They are just great, and going by the number of people photographing them and the number of kids clambering over them, they are a huge attraction. It is the simple things in life, at times.

 Outside Melbourne Central.

At the Town Hall.

Still at the Town Hall.

The sun was glinting nicely off the water wall.

It looks a bit like a pig but I think it is a dog. We have photos of Little Jo mounting the beast last christmas when R took her in to town to see the Myer christmas windows. Btw, I've heard Adelaide's Rundle Mall pigs are for the smokehouse. How sad.

A tram elephant, in the City Square.

St Paul's pigs.

Now this one is inventive, a woolley mammoth.

At Fed Square.

Slowly the last bits of Hamer Hall are coming together.

The owl watched us have brunch, ready to attack any poor sparrow that bothered us. I can't bear pigeons, gulls and doves hovering around while I am eating, but I don't mind sparrows. Good on yer owly. Only sparrows around and not intrusive.

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Friday Laugh

Thief that I am, I have stolen this from Fruit Cake. It deserves to be spread widely. Gerard Hoffnung was born in Berlin to Jewish parents and attended school in England where initially because of the war, he remained.  He had the finest sense of timing of any comedian I have ever heard, as this piece recorded in 1958 illustrates perfectly. If you don't laugh, you are a misery.

The Bricklayer's Lament.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Our Lanes - our minor but vital blood vessels

This is facing one of Melbourne's lanes from one of Melbourne's lanes, this particular one being ACDC Lane, named after the Australian rock group in its honour. I was amazed to see once see in Hosier Lane an Asian wedding underway, with graffiti as the backdrop for the nuptials. Hosier Lane had a valuable Banksy stencil, until council  contractors cleaned it off. Though this one was not in a lane, Banksy's work is not respected by plumbers.

While some of our lanes are graffiti art canvases, some are just filled with tables and chairs for outdoor dining. Others have tiny doorways to both tiny and large bars. I believe Laneway Culture was coined to describe what happens in our lanes. For mine, Laneway Culture is overrated, but still, it is a useful word. Somewhat behind Melbourne, Sydney is developing its own Laneway Culture.

Melbourne's lanes have been a very important part of our city. When Hoddle drew up his grid of our city streets, it was insisted by others that the lanes be added. Major thoroughfares are perfect for getting briskly from one part of town to another, but lanes are for wandering, looking around and discovering. City or inner suburbs, if I have the time and there is a lane, I will use it in preference to a street.

The lanes do rather get in the way of developers though. They like to acquire the space to make even larger developments. When Lonsdale House was tragically demolished so too did Calendonian Lane next to it disappear. It will come back though, bigger, to allow large trucks delivery access to whatever is built there. Perhaps this is what Lord Mayor Doyle recreating lanes post or during development. I am not sure how our Lord Mayor imagines history is recreated. Some of the appeal of our lanes is that they are not sterile and neat. The destruction of Calendonian Lane was purely profit motivated.

What to do to save our lanes? Well, you can sign a petition. It is worth going to the site just to see photos of  very different laneways to the one I have included in this post.  Have a peruse. Click on this following link. Melbourne Heritage Action operates with the support of the National Trust Australia (Victoria).

I'll finish with this snip from an email I received, ' Current policies only concern pedestrian access and only fully protects about 10 laneways from being lost – the other 80% of the laneways could be sold or have their character destroyed. Most of the little warehouse buildings that are home to the ‘hidden’ laneways bars and clubs are not protected at all. Recently a whole section of ACDC lane wall was demolished, to be replaced by a grid of apartment balconies. '

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Facebook Ads

I reckon it's the algorithms wat dun it. I remembered studying algorithms at school. Was in Pure Calculus or Applied Calculus? Maybe it was in Trigonometry. Did I actually do any of them? I must have, as at least one one of them was compulsory. Otherwise, I have no memory of them, except the fairly harsh and sarcastic teacher, Mr Robinson, who was fond of throwing chalk very hard at any student who appeared to be 'drifting off', and Stuart Bremner showing me his stiffie moving under his pants.

I didn't get past the first sentence before going off topic.

Yes, algorithms. I have a vague, possible wrong, idea about what they are in relation to computers. I expect Face Book has rather a lot of them.

Most have you might have picked up a tiny hint that I am gay. I'm subtle, I know. So why hasn't the all knowing, ruin your reputation for the rest of life, Face Book not? Targeting Face Book advertising seems to have worked out I am not married. It seems to know my age, yet it cannot work out that I am gay.

Now, if I meet someone my age and they have not been married and show no interest in girls, bells would be ringing and lights flashing.

Face Book, I confess to being gay. I am an open book. Everyone human seems to have worked it out, why can't you, you ever so clever algorithms? So you can now stop adding your targeting advertisements for straight meeting internet sites. It is really starting to  piss me orf. I don't want to meet girls for romance, although walking along the beach with a clever mature woman might be ok. Always good to keep the options open.

While I am at it, no Scruff, I do not want to meet old gay men. I have quite enough of those in my life too, thank you very much. 


No bloody noise? No, that is not what NBN stands for. It is National Broadband Network, our fibre optic internet and telephone cable system now under construction. Many complain about the cost, but as has been said, the copper wire telephone stood us in good stead for one hundred years, and so shall the fibre optic cable for the next one hundred, that is unless someone comes up with something even better.

A very small area of remote Australia will not be covered by the NBN fibre optic cable. They will get a subsidised satellite service or other.

Every so often I have thought of what River said about the NBN. I meant to follow it up and eventually I have. Except so far down the track, I have forgotten the suburb in Adelaide that River moved to but it wasn't too far out. River said that she will not be able to get the NBN. While I don't disbelieve her, I need to look for myself. I'll just look at the NBN website and maybe I can work it out. I couldn't, but the map is interesting.

Oh dear, the Highrise is not going to get NBN either. Daniel won't. Jayne should. Jah Teh certainly will. I think Lord Sedgwick is out. Miss Ann O'Dyne appears to be in. Pants, that would be a no. Victor, you're in within three years.

I can only conclude that areas are prioritised. Perhaps there is a higher priority for areas that lack cable or ADSL2.

Anyway River, I think you will get the NBN fibre optic, just a bit later than many others do, maybe the same time we get it.

I can't imagine that we will need faster internet that what we now have, but then the salesman who sold us our first computer said that 2gb of storage would be all we would ever need. Now we have 1000gb, if that is what a terrabyte is, that is enough, for now, provided I use other media for storage.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Train from Oakleigh

Jayne tipped me off. Thanks Jayne. There is an exhibition at the Oakleigh and District Historical Society about trains heading east to Gippsland from Oakleigh. South east too, as the South Gippsland railway line to Yarram was included. It was well worth spending fifteen minutes looking at the stuffs.

Something I was not aware of and learnt about on the day was that construction of the railway line did not begin in Melbourne and slowly extend out as it was built. It was constructed in disconnected sections with the very last section completed being through to South Yarra and the city.
1879 - April 2nd Gippsland railway completed. This line was opened in sections, Morwell to Sale [June 1877], Oakleigh to Bunyip [October 1877], Moe to Morwell [December 1877], Bunyip to Moe [March 1878] South Yarra to Oakleigh [April 1879].

The long metal rod is a staff for single track railway working. When there is only a single track, you don't want trains crashing head on into each other, so therefore the metal rod is placed in a holder by one train crew at a point along the way. Until it is placed in the holder, no other train can enter that section of track. The next train in the opposite direction will collect the staff and place it in holder at the other end of the section to allow the next train to pass by. It works well if train crews follow the rules. Because this staff is notched and fits into something that prevents train movements if it is not in position, it is pretty well fool proof. An alternative is for a staff to be handed over from one train driver to another before they enter the single track section. It sounds foolproof, but it was not.

An old time table. What a ripper. It shows trains going to Mirboo North. Yes Wil Anderson, back then you could get a train to Maffra. I remember seeing the train shunting and goods yard area at Maffra. Trains still ran on those lines when I lived in Gippsland. I have heard that the Melbourne to Geelong modern diesel electric train now takes longer than it did when it was as steam train. I have made a careful examination of the Gippsland train table, and believe me, the Gippsland train is much quicker now than years ago. Much much quicker. I can't understand why the old one so many years ago was so slow.

Without researching, I don't know why passengers would have to change at Nyora. The line didn't branch off there did it? I'll check a map. Mein gott, it did. The line branched off to Wonthaggie there. Lordy, once the train reached Korrumburra, there were two more branches, one to Coal Creek and one to Outtrim. Never heard of the place. Obviously the train split at Nyora and tough if you wanted to go to Wonthaggie and you were in the front. Trains splitting happens all over the world, often with problems when idiots don't read their seat allocations properly.

The Gippsland line might have the honour of being the only Australian train line to be converted from electric to diesel. It was once a busy train line when briquettes were hauled from the Latrobe Valley coal mines to Melbourne for households and industry. As polluting briquettes were phased out, the line became much quieter and with the electric locomotives at the end of their lives and needing replacement, a decision was made to use diesel electric engines, so during the 1980s, the line was de-electrified. There should have been howls of protests, but I recall none.

One does likes one's tomato sauce bottle secured should the train lurch over points. What secured your wine bottle? Ah yes, it was either a quick beer or a cup of tea when the the train paused at a station.

There is nothing like having a useful boi around, especially one on a train platform.

I pressed down the shutter button and examined the photo. The pie warmer/dual urn turned out to be silver in the photo, when in fact it was a brassy colour. I tried again, and still it was silver. The camera lies. It was a brassy colour.

Dining cars, refreshment rooms, luncheon cartons, hampers and fresh fruit. You might now get a stale sandwich for five dollars.

R pointed to the object on the top shelf. What is it? To hold your wine bottle? Silly lad he is. See sauce bottle above. The silver plate tea and coffee were engraved with the initials VR, for Victorian Railways, just like one of my mother's forks. Oh, Father had a mate called Victor Richards.

The seven ten to Gippsland stopping all stations has been cancelled. Please wait for further announcements. VLine apologises for any inconvenience caused.

There were some nice posters in the windows to view from the outside. This is the Oakleigh Hotel. Is that the hotel in Dandenong Road? The absurdly now named Leighoak?

Grandmother and her sister vociferously described the atrocious waste of their City of Oakleigh council rates monies being spent on converting Eaton Street into Eaton Street Mall in the 1970s. If they were alive now, they would probably be complaining about the cost of City of Monash renovating the Eaton Street Mall. It was a nice sunny day and the mall was busy and full of atmosphere.

A dated post on the South Gippsland line,

Monday, August 13, 2012

US Jigsaw Quiz

Man hours between R and myself, about five for five hundred pieces. Not a bad buy for $2. I doubt any of my Australian readers would know which city this is, but one of you from the US might?

Blood in the Water

Well, the end of the Olympics in London is happening as this is published. It is fifty six years since the Olympics were held in Melbourne and by the reporting, it was a wonderful, albeit modest, Olympic Games. However, it was marred by one particular event. This is pretty well straight from Wikipedia, but it tallies with what I already know.

Also relevant is that R recently saw the movie The Door, part of which focused somewhat on events in Hungary around the same time our Olympics were underway. I was scratching my head to remember the events but eventually I did and I was able to explain to R what happened, but I had the year totally wrong.

A student demonstration in Budapest turned into an uprising against the Soviet backed Hungarian government. It seemed it might succeed but then the Soviet tanks rolled into Budapest. The Hungarian water polo team were in the hills above Budapest and watching the suppression from above, and then fled to Czechoslovakia before travelling to Melbourne to compete in the Olympic Games.

Once in Australia, they learnt fully of the quelling of the uprising and they were of course very concerned for the families and friends as three thousand Hungarians had been killed in the suppression of the uprising.

To use an English term, it was hardly surprising that when Hungary played against the Russia in water polo, that things 'kicked off'.

It is said that the water in the now demolished Olympic Pool in Melbourne's Batman Avenue turned red with blood. This seems an exaggeration, but blows were clearly exchanged. This photo, recently re-published in The Guardian, shows one Hungarian victim and the photo shot around the world, such as it could with technology back then. As Zador emerged from the pool, the Hungarian crowd, mostly being fairly recent immigrants to Australia, went wild and stormed onto the concourse and verbally abused, spat at and shook their fists at the Russians. The police soon restored order and Hungary was declared the winner and went on to win gold.

Zador sought and was granted asylum and moved to the United States and went on to coach swimmer Mark Spitz.

I suppose it was minor league compared to what happened some years late in Munich, but Olympic Games have certainly had some dramas in the past. The biggest drama for this Olympics seems to involve social media. Long may that continue.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


Usually our flowers are great.

Even the tulips remain erect. Our flowers usually stretch to a week before they look bad.

But sometimes we make poor choices. Two days and we couldn't bear them any longer and chucked them out.