Saturday, November 03, 2012

Bringing a tale and a photo together

A while ago I read somewhere that there was a Big W in South Yarra. News to me. I meant to check where and I forgot. Then I heard mention of it again, and I thought, must be in the Jam Factory, but never bothered to check.

The third time I heard about it, right enough is enough. Must have taken over the closed Borders book shop part of the Jam Factory. No hang on, Topshop opened there. I checked where it was and a visit fitted into my plans for the day. It is in Chapel Street between Toorak Road and the river.

I left the tram and to my surprise, there was not only Big W, but a supermarket along with cafes of course, and speciality shops. How did this happen before my eyes and me not knowing about it?

Our view of the Como building is disappearing behind a Toorak Road highrise development. I once posted a  photo of the evening sun glinting off the Como building, but that won't happen again once Como disappears.

But we did get a serious reflection from this new recently built building. It is rather tall and not at all in proportion with its surrounds. Having said that, I don't mind the design, and guess what? At the base of the building is where Big W and Woolworths have opened. As Dorrie would have said, why wasn't I told?

I checked out the car parking cost, should we want to get our large and heavy box of washing powder from there and it is complicated. It is $2 for the first hour, but if you spend money in a shop, you get the first hour free, after going through a complicated process of taking your receipt to an office and claiming a refund. $30 or more spent, and you get longer parking, following the same process. I think I would rather pay $2, which is probably what they are banking on to pay the wages of the attendant who does the free parking refund. What?

The area bounded by Toorak Road, South Yarra Station, the river and a bit east of Chapel Street has been transformed from a light industrial area to a modern and quite thriving area. I don't really have an opinion yet as to whether it all works, but it is better than Docklands. 

Friday, November 02, 2012

Pejic at The Cup

I was quite interested to hear Andrej Pejic will be attending the soon to be held Melbourne Cup. Andrej will be supping champers and nibbling canapes in the posh sponsor Swisse marquee at Flemington, as any international supermodel should. I first mentioned him in 2010. Take away the make up and stylist work, and you still have an impossibly beautiful looking lad.

All empty air headed beauty and no brains? I don't think so. He grew up in the socio-economically disadvantaged area of Broadmeadows and attended Melbourne High in South Yarra, a selective government school, so he is clearly no fool. I don't know, but I would like to think he is a nice person, in spite of his fame.

First World Problem?

I feel so fortunate to live a city in the first world, a place where things just work, a place where we are safe and protected by the rules put in place by authorities. We have many health and safety rules and regulations and they are worth the bother the sometimes cause us, because they protect us. So, I would assume what is in this video is perfectly safe. It must be a trick of a camera.

I feel inclined to blame Metro, our private train company, but no. These are government owned rail tracks, and they are responsible for them, no matter how they might like to pass on blame. That it is a single track is a disgrace in itself.

Rod Williams, the maker of the short video has many fine Australia wide train videos on You Tube.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

The Saturday Morning Maid

Her name was Kathy. Did we really call her the maid? I can't recall, but the memory must have come from somewhere. Did Mother need a Saturday morning maid? Perhaps. With four children, a husband, and one to three brothers' in law to cook, clean and wash for, perhaps she did.

This is a bit of guess work really, but I think Kathy made the beds, washed the breakfast dishes, swept and mopped the floors, sorted out washing, ironed, cleaned the bathroom and made lunch.

Meanwhile Mother readied herself and us to attend the afternoon football match, perhaps an hour's drive away and in the evening,  the local dance. When the local ladies kept her at arms length and described her as a city person, she went on to play the part with no clothing or shoe expense spared. Her clothes came from city shops, well Oakleigh, Chadstone and the City. Her makeup was expensive and shamed the locals' touch of lippy and dab of powder. The teenage girls of the area took note of Mother's style, and copied her. Post the football season, the maid still came. Perhaps it was an attendance to the tennis then.

Kathy used to flirt with my uncle. I expect they did the biz at some point. Mother must have found out and in a rage of jealously, she sacked 'that filthy bitch'.

There was a replacement maid, but I can't remember who she was.

After years of neglect, Father finally had enough and bolted to the comfort of a lady he knew in town who went on to become Step Mother. The once very profitable farm struggled on until it was sold, with Father commuting between his 'slut' in town each evening and daytimes working at the farm.

The farm was eventually sold and so how did Mother support herself and her children? She become a maid, well a housekeeper for a gentleman with his own children in South Gippsland who was happy to accept Mother's three children. I was away on my own by then. It did not turn out to be a Brady Bunch scenario. When the South Gippsland gentleman started to behave in an ungentlemanly manner, Mother fell on her knees before her father, who took in his daughter and grandchildren into his home for a time. He prevaricated for a time about buying Mother a house in  spite of three adults and three children living in a house meant for two adults. The constant bickering in the house was becoming intolerable and bless Tradie Brother, the mud pies he started throwing at front door brought the cheque book out and nearly four decades later, Mother is still in the same house he bought for her.

Should you have a maid, treat her kindly. You never know when you might become one.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Do not knock

This appeared in our letterbox on Tuesday. I feel a doorknock coming on this evening, which I won't answer as I don't know what you are supposed to do. Give lollies? We don't have any of those. An apple would not impress. I do have some almost use by date prunes left from last year's christmas cake. Might they do? Best not to respond to a knock.

Another Day, Another Crash

This happened about 10.30 last night. I am not sure how it happened. The bus was travelling south. How did it end up in the middle of the tram tracks? How did the taxi get hit on driver's door?

The bus was moved shortly after I took this photo. There were emergency service people and police all over the taxi, and under it, in the back, under the bonnet. Maybe it was stolen. I have heard nothing in media.

Beware the Rhino

Yarra Trams has run what I understand from the media to be a successful campaign over a long period using a rhinoceros on a skateboard. The slogan goes something like, 'A tram can weigh as much as thirty rhinos and you wouldn't step in front of thirty rhinos'. I certainly wouldn't and nor would I deliberately step in front of a tram. However people do it all the time, with fortunately very few people being hit. Looking at tram workings from the under the tram would not be pleasant. Mobile telephones and portable music playing devices are causing pedestrians, especially the young, to become distracted by their devices.

But where did the advertising company get their figures? I have done some back of the envelope arithmetic, with a calculator. Later edit: My figures are nonsense. See comments for correct figures.

Average weight of most common rhinoceros 225kg x 30 rhinos = 6750kg.

Average weight of a Melbourne tram 2450 kg.

While anyone could pull my arithmetic to shreds, it is vaguely on the mark. At 4000kg, Melbourne's heaviest tram is still well short of the weight of thirty rhinos. So, I would suggest a tram equals more like ten rhinos, but it a moot point when one rhino is all it takes.

The campaign has recently been given a fillip with the addition of multi lingual advertising. Some people have been having fun working out the many different languages. Should you be a linguist, do have some fun with it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Carlton for Hels

In my last post about Carlton, Hels asked if I had taken any old house photos in Carlton. I did not that time, but I have taken a few before.

Carlton Snapped

I was up Carlton way. Once you cross Victoria Street on Swanston Street, you are officially in Carlton. It has rather a mix of buildings with some quite poor quality high rise buildings built to hold the many many overseas students. They are often described as hot shoe boxes.

This one is colourful, if nothing else. Did you know University of Melbourne, within Carlton, has its own postcode, 3010?

The Queensbridge Hotel. Pubs and students go remarkably well together.

This to be demolished building is unremarkable and housed the offices of the Electrical Trades Union. I was very amused by their blatant visible support on the building fa├žade for a Greens candidate rather than a Labor candidate, a couple of elections ago.

What was that song my father used to sing? Little boxes, on the hillside and they're all made out of ticky tacky and they all look just the same. Something like that.You can hear it here.

A bit of facadism happening here. I've seen worse.

An 'interesting' building commissioned by Royal Melbourne Instituted of Technology. RMIT does have a history of such things, mostly bad, but I don't mind this one.

Can you work out what business is conducted in this pair of terraces, now one place. Clues are, privacy and the colour of the awnings. Apparently men arrive, I won't go into it.

A colourful passing tram, advertising Madagascar. As I can see a date, it must be a movie, rather than an ad from the Madagascan Tourism Authority. The green on the road is a designated bicycle lane, Copenhagen style, and it was Melbourne's first. It seems to work well enough with the biggest problem being pedestrians absent mindedly walking across the lane.

The City Baths were extensively renovated internally in the 1980s and the exterior was restored. It was money well spent and has since been well maintained.

Not keen on this one, on the site of the old Carlton and United Breweries. It was supposed to have the within its face a portrait of William Barak. Developer's cutesyisms often get dropped.

The disused tramway signal box, once used to direct trams to the old Victoria Street shunts or trams going on to East Coburg and Moreland. We are in Melbourne CBD now, Central Business District.

Pop star Pink is in Australia. I wonder if she had visited a pink building. She might quite like 'There's no other store like.....'.

A rather odd temporary building on the banks of the Yarra. There was some drinking and carousing going on there the one evening last week as we passed by when returning from the theatre. Possibly it is something to do with Melbourne Festival.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Washing the Man right out of your Hair

We saw South Pacific last week. It is a wonderful show and although I thought I had seen the movie, I had not as I remembered nothing of plot. The acting was terrific with Lisa McCune shining but for mine, and perhaps it is partly the character she played, Kate Cebrano was brilliant in her role as the Tonkinese street vendor, Bloody Mary.

The only thing that marred the evening was the atrocious seats at the Princess Theatre. I don't know if I could ever sit through another performance there.

Peninsulee Peninsular

I expect most of my readers are pedents and spelling police in some way. I am selectively pendantic. The better you write, the more likely I am likely to be pedantic about your writings.

I have a history of correcting people about correct place names, and so therefore left myself wide open to be corrected in that area. One of my little pet pedantic things is Warrigal and Warragul.

Warrigal is a major north south road in Melbourne's eastern suburbs.

Warragul is a town in west Gippsland

They both have the same entomological origins, that is our Aborigines' word for dingo, or Australian native wild dog.

Daniel has corrected me in the past about the word, and via Twitter I note he still has issues with the misuse of peninsula and peninsular by others.

Whatever he said, I have now forgotten. Let me refresh my memory. Right, peninsula is a noun and peninsular in an adjective. I am a learnin' already. I recall a noun is a naming word. You have big nouns, like  Andrew, or little nouns, like frottage (just thought I might spice it up a bit to keep your interest). No, hang on. Frottage is a doing word, so it must be a verb. No, it is a noun. Frottage is not a word you normally use, you just do it. It is not like you ask someone for frottage.

I'm getting confused. English is really hard. I can't remember what an adjective is. Ok, adjective modifies a noun. Am I getting there?

Well,  peninsula is surely a noun. It is the jutty (my country, my word) out bit from the mainland.

Does it not follow then that it should be Mornington Peninsular, where Fruit Cake lives, peninsular qualifying the noun Mornington, and likewise, Bellarine Peninsular where Sister lives.

If I said Fruit Cake lived on a peninsula on the eastern side of Port Phillip Bay, that would be right. Confusing things further, is Frankston actually on the peninsula? The simple changing of 'the' from 'a' could change the spelling.

This English language learning is so hard. Can you spell out the peninsula(r) rules in one easy rule?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday Selections

River always does a Sunday Selections, each time using a few photos she has taken and never published online. Here are some random photos of mine taken over the last couple of weeks.

Oh dear. A crash. The van turned in front of the tram, but by alacrity with which the other driver got out and rushed to give his details to the van in the collision, I expect the car may have had a green arrow to turn and  tram was at fault.

The fire looked to be close by, but it turned out to be a pile of burning mattresses in the outer suburb of Knox.

I am one of those anti Halloween types, but still, this is quite a display in Toorak Road West, I assume for Halloween.

Must put spectacles on when snapping, as I nearly didn't catch the lass sitting in the window having her lunch.

I saved this photo of Melbourne's Marathon to use, but then forgot about it.

The quite lovely Windsor Railway Station. While I approve of infrastructure, unfortunately a piece of infrastructure was in the way of the lens.

A birthday gift of one's own

After five years to the month and 9,912 photos and a few short videos, I have replaced my camera. This is my third digital camera. I can't say the upgrade from my first to my second made a dramatic difference in the quality of my photos but the first camera, taking four AA batteries, was not great to carry around.

I loved my second camera. It was so small and light and easy to slip into my pocket. It has been to England, Europe, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, along with Sydney and Adelaide and all directions radiating out locally from Melbourne. It's been in cars, vans, trucks, trains, trams, buses, planes, ferries, bullet trains and bicycles. It did not travel on the back of an animal though. In all its travels, it has let me down once when I forgot to charge the battery. Funnily, even though it is being retired, I was still recently learning about some its features. In summary, I would say it was a good camera and with a weight of 150 grams, very easy to always have on me.

I started looking around for a new one a few months ago, or as R puts it, procrastinating and dithering about buying a new one. I checked some prices with Manny in Malaysia and the saving was not huge. I looked at prices on the net and the savings did not seem to compensate for personal service at a shop and an Australian warranty. Nor did I want to go  into a shop for a physical examination of cameras with helpful staff at my side and then buying over the net. I did go into the large retail chain, the one headed by a cranky old bloke, a few times to look at them but nothing felt right about a camera there. I did not like their up-sizing deal if you wanted a memory card.

Yesterday, ah Thursday, I went to a specialist camera shop, the one with the camera museum above, and got what I thought was a good enough deal, assisted by a very helpful and knowledgeable young sales man. That he was so hot your fingers would burn if you touched him, was quite irrelevant and played no part in my choice. I have never seen such an obviously straight guy with such perfectly groomed fingernails.

While I would have loved to have bought an DSLR camera, as I said earlier, I wanted one that is compact and light enough to carry in my pocket.

The Canon IXUS HS510 fitted the bill nicely and weighed in at only 15 grams heavier than my old one.  Because of Highriser blog lag, it may be a while before you see any photos it has taken and I doubt anyone will be able to tell  the difference on screen. It is 10 megapixels and x12 zoom. Any more zoom than that and the camera starts to get bulky.

The old and the new. I am not sure that I like the touch screen controls. I find the screen works best if you use the stylus, part of the wrist strap. I did initially have to calibrate the touch screen. I suppose I will get used to the new method of operation. Like all things, by playing with it you become familiar and an expert in what you want it to do.