Saturday, October 20, 2012

Check your speling

Between the time when we referred to the dictionary to check spelling and your computer spell checker, there was an interim period. There was a machine to check your spelling and help you with words. To make it work, I would have to put four AAA batteries into it, and I can't be bothered.

Essentially you put your badly spelt word into the machine and it would correct the word or give you options. While it was a little slow to use, only marginally quicker than picking up a dictionary, it was quite a clever machine, but no match for today's spell checkers. Must apologise for the years of grime build up. Household management has been slack. Ah, hang on, cleaning fiddly things is my job, oh dear. I should have turned the camera flash off. It doesn't look that bad when sitting on the shelf. I think I'll just put it away now, perhaps never to be seen again.

Birthday Gifts

 Oh look, a parcel arrived from the Orient. Whatever can it be?

It is a very flexible camera tripod and look at the lovely birthday card with a photo of an old Osaka double deck tram. There was a disappointing aspect to the present though. The bubble wrap bubbles are too tough to easily pop. R is probably relieved.

Two of three bottles of red medicine I received and as you can see the tripod also has an attachment to hold a mobile phone for hands free chat or to use as a phone camera tripod.

 Someone had been busy writing on the
fine linenbutcher's paper tablecloths.

I tried to save a piece of chocolate ganache for Jah Teh, but the hotel staff whisked the remains out to the kitchen, from where it disappeared to a mysterious place.

On the morning of my birthday, crowds passed the Highrise in celebration of my special day. The photo is strangely out of focus.

Doesn't the little open curl of ironwork look so innocent? Not so innocent when we were at Sunday lunch  and Non Make Up Niece, while carrying a tray of drinks brushed past the chair and the open curl hooked her jeans belt keeper. She didn't spill a drop. We did have a good laugh.

Well, the birthday has gone for another year. Oh yes, R gave me a theatre ticket for us to see the musical stage show, South Pacific and another friend gave me this tee, still not noticing after many years that I don't wear tees. This is the train that we did not get to go in Penang, it being closed for maintenance.

Friday, October 19, 2012


I took this photo ages ago. Anyone know where it was taken? It is within greater Melbourne.

Bush Bashing

This is an American election free zone, so I am referring to forests, often called bush in Australia or used by politicians to describe a certain voting demographic eg This policy will go down well with the bush.

To be bushed can be to be lost,
or confused,
or tired.

Go bush, and you disappear into the countryside. It is a very useful word.

You can also go bush bashing in your bush basher. A bush basher is an old car or motorised vehicle whose appearance you don't care about and you drive into the bush, usually along old logging tracks or fire tracks. These are inclined to get overgrown at times and so you will flatten the vegetation as you go, hence you are bashing the bush.

Now, I seem to be posting quite a number of staged You Tube clips and  maybe I have done it again this time. Never mind, observe the bush bashing train, possibly in Georgia or South Carolina, or it could be near Napoleon in Ohio, or even near Tunbridge Wells in England. I suspect all are just guesses. Turn your sound on, as the music quite suits.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


You must have seen all the loser number plates, where people get their third or fourth option for their personalised car number plate. I can't give you examples, as they don't work so well with computer fonts. It amazes me that people spend money on such things, at times on very old and cheap motor cars. Someone should set up a website for loser number plates, the ones that have to resort to misspellings or numbers to find a close approximation to what they really would like.

But I reckon this plate was worth paying for. Prahran supermarket carpark and thanks to R for drawing my attention to it. I walked right past it without noticing it.

Greasy Greiner

I never liked that Greiner bloke when he was Premier of New South Wales but he has a plan. A plan to relieve Sydney's chronic traffic and transport problems.

It is no surprise to me that he comes up with a solution of building more freeways, or in this case, probably tollways that can earn money for his him and his rich mates. Even someone with the dimmest of intellects now knows what happens when you build more freeways. Unsurprisingly they fill up with traffic. I have seen this happen so many times. I recall arriving in Sydney by car on a Friday night around 2000, using the M5 and South Dowling Street. At one point, I almost gave up and headed back to Melbourne. On another visit, I recall the being in a tunnel of the same M5 and almost choking to death on engine fumes. I feel sorry for the locals who must put up with such conditions all the time.

What else did Greiner come up with? Well, he did not come up with any new train lines, a sure way to ease traffic problems.

A second harbour rail crossing? Nah, we won't do that. Stick an impossibly expensive construction figure on that and no one will want it.

I have hard that in the worst case, it can take fifty minutes to travel from Central in the south of the city to the Quay in the north. It is not so far, yet the sheer number of cars and buses makes it an incredibly slow trip. So how about one street closed to traffic with a light rail connecting the two? One tram can replace three buses or more and are so much more comfortable. Greiner says no.

Greiner is not totally against trams. He wouldn't mind one running from the University of New South Wales to Central. Well, is that where everyone along the way wants to go? Many would no doubt, but at best it would only service two city railway stations, when there are about half a dozen. Run it on from Central to the Quay, and it is starting to look really useful. On to The Rocks, Barangaroo and Darling Harbour and the crowds will flock to it. How many buses would that remove from city streets? A lot. If built as I suggest, it would be so successful from day one, it would have to be expanded.

Greiner does have a plan for buses though. Put them in tunnels underground at a cost of $2 billlion or more. Ah, Melbourne had such a plan for trams many years ago. The stupidity of the idea was noticed before anything was seriously done.

Greiner is a tosser.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Macca in Tecoma

McDonalds has its place in our world and our cities. But there are areas that must surely be off limits for McDonalds. One can't imagine at McDonalds in Salamanca Place in Hobart, nor in Hahndorf in Adelaide, not in the main street of Katoomba in Sydney's Blue Mountains or in Melbourne's Dandenong Ranges.

But guess what? Once again the evil VCAT, Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal has struck, and given approval for a McDondalds in Melbourne's Dandenong Ranges, specifically in Tecoma.

Local residents don't want it. Local council doesn't want it. Once again VCAT rides over what local people want.

Locals are haven't given up yet. They are 'sitting in'. Link here.

VCAT constantly goes against what local residents want. Surely one objective of VCAT is to buffer  local people against multinational interests . From what I see, VCAT supports big business and property developers and now, even multi national food companies. VCAT is an absolute disgrace, proved time and time again.

Our present Liberal Government says nothing, because their developer  and multi national mates are party donors and VCAT is certainly swinging to their interests. You may call me on that, but the proof is in the pudding.

First CD

No not Cross Dresser. On the first of October, the cd  as we know it turned thirty years old. Their period in high usage was considerably less than records that preceded them. Yes, people do still buy cds, but for how much longer? I haven't bought one for years.

We bought a cd before we had a cd player. We knew a friend was going to buy a new cd player and would sell us his old one for $100. I am guessing this was about 1990 or maybe a little earlier, so it was a decent amount of money.

The biggest difference between cds and records for most people is that over time cds don't acquire crackles and pops or scratches like records. I can put the first cd I bought into the player now and to my ears it will sound exactly the same as it did over twenty years ago.

And our first cd was?

Madonna's Immaculate Collection. How gay is that!

C'mon. 'Fess up. What was the first cd you bought?

The Illegals

I wrote a post referencing Fruit Cake's recent series of well argued posts about refugees in Australia.  What I wrote was inaccurate and illogical and I am not prepared to put the time in to research details.

I will just state what I think, which may or may not match facts.

People who are claiming refugee status when they arrive in Australia are entitled to come any which way they like. If it is by a leaky boat, fine. If is by airplane, that is fine too. There is nothing illegal about a refugee trying to gain sanctuary.

We have experienced people who we pay to judge whether they are dinki di refugees or not. I suspect most are not, but are people who want come to Australia for a better life. I suspect many have been accepted as genuine refugees who are not. But I suppose we have to trust the system.

I also suggest that the arrivals' status should be determined within one month and a decision made. To have people in camps and in offshore processing places for extended periods is cruel, especially when if the department is doing its job and most will be sent home.

Yes, some people live in crap countries and I was born lucky enough to live in an ok western country.

Meanwhile in Africa, a starving woman sees her starving child die. Put the huge of amount of money that we waste on refugee matters into education of the masses in Africa. This is a long term solution. Educated people don't overbreed but dictators don't like their masses to be educated.

Education is the only thing that will save the third world human race from its propensity to breed and populate.

As for the boat people, I don't care anymore. Let them drown at sea for their foolishness. Of course I don't mean that literally, but the politics of the boat arrivals  is ever so wearing.

There is always the Malaysian option. No, not the one Julia proposed, the real Malaysian solution, when they just pushed boats arriving back out to international waters and let them drown.

Someone who is thirty years old has probably heard about the 'illegals' for most of their life. They must be well over it too.

If someone's life or well being is at risk, they should be up for consideration. If they have made it to Indonesia or Malaysia, they are probably safe once there.

We will decide who comes to our country, so ex PM John Howard said. Much as I despise him, I don't disagree.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


What year was this? Maybe 1998. Our street in Balaclava flooded. Across Chapel Street in the distant part of the photo is St Kilda Primary School. The view of the school past the playgrounds is now blocked by one of Kev 07's school hall type buildings. Our house, although set low, did not flood and R's car only had wet wheels and he was ready to move it if necessary. I was at work. I drove home so cautiously with water, water everywhere, but eventually the Humber failed to proceed because of a wet ignition system about a kilometre from home. I walked home with brolly held aloft and returned later with a can of dewatering fluid for the distributor and fetched the car home.

Silver Balls

My grandmother was quite a good cook, especially of cakes and biscuits but oh the mess she would make. The kitchen would be covered in flour and anyone who ventured into the kitchen would probably get covered too. Batters would fly, spattering walls, bits of dough would fall to the floor and icing would dribbling down the fronts of cupboards. Pot and pans, spoons and spatulas, cake tins and beaters, dry goods and wet goods would be all spread over any horizontal surface. Not one item of plastic equipment was without a melt mark where it had been put on a not cooled down hotplate.

Half the problem were that she had worn the same spectacles for a couple of decades and she never liked to have the light on during the day.

'Mum, for goodness sake, turn the light on,' Mother would protest.
'No need to waste the electric,' came back the reply.
Now I rather wish Mother had picked up a few tips on economical living.

Her cupboards were a trove of unusual to us ingredients. In one cupboard was a jar of tiny silver balls, used for cake decorating. I don't think she ever used them as the amount always stayed the same. My brother and I used to get them out and play with them. Played what, I don't recall, but no doubt childhood imagination worked out something.

I saw some of those balls in the supermarket last week and to my astonishment, they have a name other than cake decorating balls. They are called cachous. I don't know how to pronounce the word and it is unlikely I will ever need to know but I would guess it is rather like the nut variety, cashew. It is not their only name though. They are also called, dragées.

Monday, October 15, 2012

She doesn't look Jewish at all

That is a line from one of my favourite tracks from the movie Cabaret, if you didn't know. While not my favourite movie, it is well up there and it is one I have seen more than any other.

Our family is diversifying, as are many in Australia. Not only has Non Make Up Niece a partner who was born on a South Pacific Island, now Dreaded Nephew has a Jewish girlfriend, well, he has for some time.

Mixing genes is such a good thing. There should be more of it.

How the other half live

Sister justified a stay at Crown Towers by stating that it was holiday time and they had not been anywhere. A quarter was knocked of the normal accommodation price for footballers, wives, associates and hangers on for some football award night. It is complicated, as the accommodation was also tax deductible for Bone Doctor.
Whatever, Crown Towers is fabulous accommodation. Classy and posh, I would say, with great views.

Sorry Little Jo. When you have a bath at the Highrise, there isn't a built in tv to watch from the bath and we don't do dual wash basins. There were so many lights switches, I could have been busy for an hour playing with them.

Yes, great views, but I found all the blokes there in black suits for the award night a little intimidating, albeit very attractive. 'Andrew, do you know which famous older has been footballer you were just standing next to while you were waiting for the lift?' 'Nup', was my reply. Once I was told, I said ohhhhhh. Do you think he has some good drugs on him? Later going down in the lift, a very handsome young man in a suit got into the lift with his plastic wife. He too is a famous footballer. Sister was kind of hiding from him. Later she explained that he was one of her ex students, one of the one per cent she could not stand, in his case because of his arrogance.  A handsome and arrogant football player....hmmm. His photo in last week's daily Little Paper did not do him justice.

The maid brought up some champers and ice, but Little Jo had filled the ice bucket with Barbecue Shapes. She dished them out in a very miserly manner and I unluckily picked up a broken half size one, which I had to beg to get refunded for a full sized one. I won though. As I pretended to put half a shape back in exchange for a full one, I kept the half one and  I snatched a full one. Little Jo, maybe when you are older you will get one over me, but not yet.

Sis and Bone Doctor gave us a tour of the guest facilities. The pool, spa and tennis courts were wonderful and quite put the Highrise recreational facilities into perspective.

I love fancy mirrors, unless I am standing directly in front of them.

I wanted to show Little Jo the fire show, but she was not really interested. She was tired. I am never too tired to see the fire show. Barbecued seagull anyone? Seagulls have learnt that less smart insects get fritzed by the flames, so they hang around to catch the charred remains.

If you are not familiar with Melbourne, the fire show goes off on the hour from about a dozen towers along the river bank in the evening. I have seen it so so many times, yet I always go back for more.

Bone Doctor's ticket for the event did not arrive on time, so another was couriered to her. Then at the last minute, the original arrived. Two tickets, so one for Sister too. R and I took Little Jo outside while Sister went into the bash where she skolled a couple of drinks and crammed in some canapes. After a bit of fun with a busker, we went to the food court. Little Jo had started her day by waking her Nanny at six o'clock when her Nanny does not normally rise before nine.Sister mollified Mother with a cup of tea in bed.

Sister and Little Jo went on to Doncaster to meet up for a play date with a friend and then on to the hotel for the evening. Little Jo was exhausted and became very grisly, only wanting her Mummy when we got to the food court where we were to dine.  I had to call Sister and tell her to come and look after her child, spoiling her unplanned and brief night out. Bone Doctor partied on, and why shouldn't she. She puts up with rather a lot from our family and her daughter.

By eight fifteen, we on the 220 bus homeward bound. Older people do like early finishing times.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Fifty Five Shades of Grey

I told R I did not want a fuss for my birthday, but what has he done? He has closed down St Kilda Road for a procession to celebrate my birthday. Some of my minions look very attractive.

Last night we celebrated my birthday at the Dick Whittington Hotel. I find restaurants hard going for a decent number of people. Pubs are much better if it is more than a few. Staff at the Dick are fantastic, perhaps acknowledging that over many years, we and our friends have spent rather a lot of money there.

Noted that The Dick has turned 150 years old. I must check that out.

All but one partook of Dick liquor. As usual, no one chose the Dick cheese platter. I've never seen anyone have the Dick cheese. I can't imagine why.

Off to a family bash lunch now for my birthday at the Cardinia Club. It sounds much grander than it actually is.

It was going to be me, R, Mother and ABI Brother and Tradie Brother for lunch. The Bellarine Family are busy. The kiddies are normally too busy. But no, Chainsaw Niece, renamed No Make Up Niece and Teacher Niece, renamed Make Up Niece have invited themselves and their partners, and asked Non Dreaded Nephew to come. 

What is going on? Why the sudden interest in Uncle Andrew?

I can only put it down to a remark I made a few months ago when before a show, when we dined with Ex Sis in Law and her daughter Make Up Niece. 'We'll pay for dinner'. 'No no, we will pay our share.' 'It's ok Make Up Niece, it is coming off your inheritance. You get it now or later'. I said nothing about the reverse mortgage that I plan for my old age.

Of course the above in nonsense. Non Make Up Niece found out from her father, Tradie Brother, that he was coming to my birthday lunch and she obviously had nothing on, and nor did Make Up Niece.

Well, the day has begun sunny and with little wind, a good omen to begin my fifty sixth year on planet Earth.