Saturday, November 24, 2012

The rattle in the box

'R, how is old is this computer?'
'Couple of years.?
'That's what I thought.'

The fan has started rattling. I can't remember taking the case off and cleaning it. That might help. Instead of the whole case coming off, just one side comes off with only a couple of thumb screws holding it in place.

Was it dusty! Earlier I had asked for a can of compressed air at DSE, but they don't sell it, much to my surprise. I recall checking somewhere once before and the cost was about $20, for a can full of nothing but air. I can't be bother taking the car out to the big hardware store. I will do as I have in the past and use the vacuum cleaner and a brush.

Interesting, under the fan blades are fins, only seen once the dust was brushed and sucked out. With the side still off. I plugged it in and started it. The rattle was still there. Switch off and switch on and I held the fan blade still, but still the rattle was there. There must be more than one fan. I think the one I cleaned was the CPU fan.

I put the box on its side and ah, there is another fan at the top, facing downwards. It too is dirty. This is the power supply fan. I unscrewed the four screws holding the power supply unit in place, unscrewed a guard and the fan dropped a bit and I was able to wipe the blades clean. It was a bit fiddly to get the fan in position and screw the guard on at the same time, but with the help of metal skewer, I managed. All back together now. The noise has stopped, yay.

Hang on, the noise has stopped because the fan isn't working at all. I judged it time for some serious technical intervention. I whacked the side of the tower and ever so slowly the fan started to move. Well, at that speed, it is not going to cool anything. I wonder as the machine warms up will the fan loosen up, and that it what happened and it is quiet now. Whether it starts again once the computer has been turned off and on is another matter. I certainly see it as a temporary fix but this video was interesting. Peel back the sticky label in the centre of the power supply fan and put a few drops of sewing machine oil in and make sure the label re-sticks.

Or I may just take the computer to the doctor. I did check the receipts and it is five years old, but was upgraded last year.

Warning: Make sure the power is always disconnecting before fiddling in the box and if there is a switch on the power supply, turn that off too. There can be considerable power stored in that part of the unit. In fact don't do as I did, unless you know what you are doing, leave it to an expert. I did not not know what I was doing but I never do. Pull it apart and see what you as an amateur can do.

A Garden Walk Pt 2

Before we left the gardens, I briefly puzzled over the purpose of this what looks like boiler. I concluded we are standing where there was an old greenhouse and this was the heating stove.

At the exit is an eco-centre, whatever that means. I would guess this colourful display shows discarded plastics that can be found in our seas. Don't discard your plastics.

As I have name dropped before, in the eighties we lived next door and were friends with artist Albert Tucker's sister. He spent the last years of his life in a large rambling house at the corner of Blessington and Herbert Streets. A plaque notes his residence.

We had lunch at what might be called Lola's Tapas or Charlie Brown's. Neither name sounds familiar but it was a lovely meal.

I can't read this here but I understand this is the full text, spread over three metal ribbons. I love it. The artist is Simon Perry.

“They wandered by it’s sane seas because it was a more generous city, not as mean as the others, where they would be singled out as being queer if their lipstick were skew whiff or buttons undone, or speech slurred or hands shaky and yellow with nicotine”.
History of St Kilda — Anne

Friday, November 23, 2012

Disappointing Travel Moments

Poor Diane. While travelling in NSW with her TOH, the waterfalls they came across were nearly dry, or if not dry, severely depleted of water.

I am sure everyone has had disappointing travel moments and we are no exceptions.

In a similar vein to Diane, we travelled by chairlift to Kuranda out from Cairns and returned via a scenic railway. There were spectacular views of Barron Falls, but alas, there was barely any water flow.

We took R's sister and brother in law up into the stunning Blue Mountains from Sydney, only to find a summer mist had brought visibility down to a few metres.

I so wanted to go up the Blackpool Tower. I was disappointed to find that you had to pay an outrageous price, which included a circus. I did not go to Blackpool to see a circus. I went to see the tower, trams, the beach and the nightlife.

Then our most recent disappointment, the funicular train up Penang Hill in Malaysia was closed for maintenance the day we visited.

I would be happy to hear of your disappointing travel moments. 

The unorthodox tennis serving style of Monsiuer Hulot

I was going to put up two shorter videos of firstly M. Hulot buying a tennis racquet, and then playing a game, but even though I have seen the shorter clips more than once recently, this longer clip really made me laugh.

Do you want another one next Friday? I have M. Hulot's flat tyre in mind.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

The bus fillum

The funny thing about the bus racist video is that the victims were French. The bus scum will not know of Rainbow Warrior or Moruroa Atoll, and so have no reason to hate the French. They certainly won't know about their English antecedents hatred of the French or the wars against them, or the residual English dislike of the French.

Now, if the victims were black or Indian or Moslem or Chinese looking, Jewish even, I could understand it. They are surely fair game for that type of bus traveller.

But chaps, you really did pick on the wrong people. They are kind of like us, except they don't wash too often.

Right or wrong, you lot are now known world wide. Minimal impact on your lives I suppose. You were unemployable anyway,  a waste of space.

The Visitor's Bed

 I wish we'd done it when we replaced R and my beds after mine was deluged by an upstairs flood, but we have now. Visitors have a new and hopefully comfortable bed. Not that anyone ever complained about free accommodation at the Highrise, but it makes us feel better.

It is virtually the same bed as I bought, just slightly updated. In spite of it being for sale with a 45% reduction, it was about the same price. We got rid of the old one in a hard rubbish collection. Chainsaw Niece wanted it, but then she didn't. Mother asked about it. Mother, if it was any good we wouldn't be replacing it.

One more piece of furniture replaced, with a few more less major ones to go. Having to buy a new air conditioner set us back somewhat this year.

Note: I am aware of issues in the last post when viewing it on my basic blog site. I have investigated, to no avail. My solution is to keep on posting and push the problem out of sight.

Vizard and Oliver

Clendore, at 18-20 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda, corner of Park Street has recently been sold by Steve Vizard, best known as a comedian and tv show host. The asking price was around $8 million and it sold for around $7 million.

Vizard was investigated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission and the Commonwealth  Director of Public Prosecutions and both found Vizard did not have a case to answer over allegations of insider trading when he was a member of the board of  Australia's privatised telecommunication company, Telstra.

ASIC did take civil action against Vizard for breaching his duties as a director. The case was settled with Vizard paying a $390,000 fine and agreeing not to take a company director's position for three years. In spite of the agreement, a Federal Court Justice ignored it and disqualified Vizard from holding a company directorship for ten years.

Allegations were made that ASIC and the DPP had gone soft on Vizard, with both ASIC and the DPP denying that they had.

I rather dislike dishonest people. I particularly dislike rich people who take advantage of their positions to benefit themselves. As a person, I have never liked Vizard anyway. He has always seemed smarmy to me.

I wrote the above some time ago. We now have a jockey, Damien Oliver, confessing to betting a substantial amount on a favourite horse to win in a race while he rode the second favourite in the same race. Guess what? The favourite won and Oliver came in sixth. If it looks like a duck............ The paltry penalty was a ten month suspension from riding.

Our only weapon against cheats is to think badly of them and place their names in the shame files. I do.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

From the medja

Speaking on ABC radio on Wednesday, Mr Giddings also said a new rail link to Avalan would cost $150 million, compared to the "billions" to put one through to Melbourne Airport.

Read more:
Speaking on ABC radio on Wednesday, Mr Giddings also said a new rail link to Avalan would cost $150 million, compared to the "billions" to put one through to Melbourne Airport
Avalan hey. Nice work at The Age. I make typos, but writing is not my profession.  

How about the racial abuse on a bus? What scum. Even if caught, whoever threw whatever broke the window might receive a couple of hours of community service. Clearly menacing abuse will be judged not worth pursuing. We can only rely on shame.

Photo from The Age.

This is Jill Brookes. In July she was bashed by a thief in her second hand book store until she was unconscious. Her skull was smashed and she suffered serious brain damage. Some months later, she is undergoing rehabilitation; regaining the use of her hand and learning to walk, although she is unable to speak and is fed through a tube.

The offender, who had not been caught, stole $200. I hope he is caught and severely punished, but he won't be. He may receive a couple of years in gaol. For a life ruined, I should think about fifteen years would be appropriate. Why are magistrates and judges always so lenient with cases of assault? They wonder why the community get exasperated with light sentences. Violence on another person should be punished much more harshly.

A Garden Walk Pt 1

When people take a visitor to our fair city to St Kilda by tram, be it the 3a, 16 or 96, it is usual to hop off the tram right in the middle of 'the buzz'. But there is another way to do it by slowly awakening their senses.  This occurred to me as we alighted from the 67 tram in Brighton Road and walked a short distance along Dickens Street in Elwood to the St Kilda Botanical Gardens, or Blessington Street Gardens, if you like.
Elwood has many fine apartment blocks, and some not so fine ones.  This is a fine one.

You simply must click on this photo to see the fantastic balcony ironwork.

Into the gardens via the south east corner.

The roses aren't quite in full bloom.

Nothing like a good rotunda.

Ever such neat rose beds.

A nice arbour walk in the distance.

There is no getting away from it. Councils just love strappy things, which I am not fond of.

A tall featured palm.

I am so glad Rain Man has been repaired and the pond is has been restored. The glass house can also be seen. Note some very dark folk enjoying the water on their feet. It is unusual to see the very dark people in St Kilda. Making assumptions, I wonder if this scene was what they dreamt of when they left their own troubled country.

I could have never gotten in so close with the old camera. The brighter the sunlight, the more water fall,s as the pump is solar driven.

You must agree, it is a delightful setting. We exited via the north west gate. A few more photos from the day in another post.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Stop the warring

I have been giving a little thought to the Middle East of late, you know, weighing the pros and cons, this side shouldn't have done this and that side shouldn't have done that. I agree with that, one side, but I agree with that, the other side.

But then along comes a photo that catches you off guard, as I found this to be one to be. Your powers of logical reasoning go out the door and you no longer give a flying fuck about who is right and who is wrong. The whole thing is just so so wrong.

Photo from the Huffington Post.

Bus blockage

If I need to go anywhere west of Swanston Street in town, I catch a bus rather than an overcrowded tram. It doesn't seem to matter what time of the day now, trams are crowded. It wasn't like that when we first moved here in 2002. A bus was a poor option back then.

Really, the bus is still a poor option. Buses are a bit quieter than ten years ago, but still rough riding and rattly. I would get a tram if I knew I could get a seat. If I am on my own, I pick and choose trams, like today when coming home, I waited for a not too busy tram with aircon, as it was 32 degrees, in the eighties in the old money.

But I caught a bus into town. It took forever to travel from Crown to Bourke Street. There is absolutely no favouritism for buses once over Queens Bridge at Flinders Street.  A little before there is some favouritism with a bus only lane and then the bus is allowed to travel along the tram lines. The last time I went into town by bus, last week, a building construction company had taken over the very short section of bus only lane. The whole trip by bus through South Bank is very slow, with so many turns.

That is nothing compared to travelling to Prahran by bus, as I did yesterday. I really got the hat trick.

St Kilda Road is, by official standards, a boulevard. From one side to the centre it is footpath, nature strip,  parking lane, two lanes of traffic, a grassed median strip, a parking lane, a single traffic lane and a tram lane. It repeats to the other side. The bus travels in the single centre traffic lane, which at intersections widens without parked cars to allow vehicles to turn right. But the lane widths are narrow and if a car in a right turn lane is not really over to the right while waiting for a turn arrow, the bus can't get past.

A picture tells a thousand words. In this case, the bus can get past the right turning red car, but so often they cannot. The bus sits there facing a green light, with traffic behind it, unable to move because of the right turning car. The lights will go red and the red car will get the green arrow, then the lights for the cross street will go green, and then eventually once that cycle has finished, the bus can proceed.

There are three intersections where this can happen in St Kilda Road, and I copped them all. While there is some priority for trams along St Kilda Road, the section from the Arts Centre to Commercial Road is atrocious for public transport, with buses getting blocked, narrow and dangerous tram safety zones for passengers, and no platform stops, not even at the the major Domain Interchange, which I suspect is not being rebuilt as we wait eternally for an announcement on the construction of Metro Underground. I can't wait for Premier Baillieu's pre election announcements, like his last ones, reconstruction of Balaclava Station and construction of Southland Station.What happened?

If you are in the outer 'burbs and don't even have a bus, blocked or otherwise, near you, you have my sympathy, but this is all about me.

Monday, November 19, 2012


To anyone with a mechanical mind, this is a wondrous machine. I had my own personal demonstration of the machine a few years ago, along with a commentary. It is a steam driven sewerage pumping machine, now converted to electricity. It is located at Melbourne's Science Works in Spotswood. We have taken Little Jo to Science Works three times now, but I doubt she would be interested in the sewerage pump. For me, the machine is a marvel.

Chaps and fashion

This is not as the subject line might lead you to think.

I doubt many of my Melbourne readers have not heard of the Chevron Hotel. It was at the corner of St Kilda Road and Commercial Road. Before high rise hotels were built, for a time it was a place to stay for the rich and famous.

In the early days of the 2000s it was ripped apart and turned into apartments. I recall someone telling R that the noise levels from the other apartments was horrendous and the person moved out, solely because of the noise. I think this would be in the original part, not the new additional building.

In the nineties within the Chevron was a nightclub called The Dome, presided over by a drag, Miss Jane. We never attended as we were getting a bit too old for late night clubbing. Not so our electrician at the time, a gay man who was older than myself and was an attendee at the venue and died on the premises. Heart attack? Drugs? Combo of both? Who knows.

In the mid 1970s there was discotheque in the below ground area of the Chevron called Babes. I worked there behind the bar for a couple of nights. It was a great venue for its time, but I could not cope with the noise levels.

By the 1980s a gay bar called Chaps had opened. As bars did back then, it closed at 10pm. I recall it as being a place to sit at tables with friends and have a drink, and that was what we did. Did it have any entertainment? Did it have loud music? Not that I can remember but apparently it did. If you are a local person and female, you simply must have heard of the larger than life frock designer Alannah Hill. Here is a snip from the Facebook group, Lost Gay Melbourne. 

The first time i clapped eyes on Alannah Hill was on the dance floor of Chaps, in a tattered fake flapper dress, fringing all ripped, white spike heels and a pink, or was it green mohawk.

One of my main memories of Chaps was a night when a nice looking but vicous queen called Jodie, who worked for Ansett Airlines, glassed someone in the spacious men's toilets.

Slowly other gay venues opened in Melbourne and Chaps was no more.

Here are a few photos.

 This is mine taken as The Chevron was undergoing conversion to apartments known as Chevron Green.

The finished product.

Some older photos. I think I can see an FX model Holden, so this photo would be post 1948.

A hotel with a swimming pool. Fab!

The Commercial Road entrance, but I am not sure if this was the main entrance. I think the main entrance was, well, I will show you in another photo.

The dining room looks to be a classic, of the period. I like it heaps.

This photo is very old. After passing through the lynch gate, the path seems to lead towards a St Kilda Road entrance. I certainly do not remember the building on the other corner. The empty trailer (dray?) behind the horse seems to be designed to carry lengths of timber and I would suggest that it is a cable tram travelling along St Kilda Road. Melbourne had an extensive system of cable trams, mostly replaced in the early to mid nineteen hundreds by electric trams with route extensions. Sydney went for the steam tram option, with only a couple of cable trams where the hills were too steep for steam trams.

The Chevron Hotel opened in 1934 and I think cable trams in St Kilda Road disappeared soon after. Such an interesting building with so much history, but still stands today.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A fab photo

Another ripper photo posted at Shorpy, this time from Disneyland circa 1967. It is a big photo and absolutely full of colour. I love it. Here is the link.

At the checkout

It hasn't happened for awhile, but there was a time when supermarket checkout barcode scanners were were slow and unreliable. Actually, it still happens in Dan Murphy's, where the number related to the barcode sometimes has to be manually entered  into the register. The numbers are many digits long, yet the check out chick or chap glances at the numbers and seems to be able to enter them all into the register with one hit. Amazing. I can't recall barcode digits being manually entered in supermarkets for quite some time.

I am sure it is a thing you can learn. I have tried with my bank account when I make a transaction and write down the record, but I can't get much better than six or seven numbers, however it is an improvement on my past three numbers at a time. 

I really wish I knew someone who worked at a supermarket check out to ask how they remember so many bar code numbers. Perhaps the first few digits are always the same.

The local foreign places

Pretty well within one kilometre of the Highrise are many foreign embassies.

We can look down on the flags of the Malaysian Embassy* at 432 St Kilda Road. Our Malaysian friend Manny was astonished to see his own country's embassy from the Highrise.

One of R's ex workmates lives next door to the Turkish Embassy, at 24 Albert Road. Her husband's father painted trams. Her husband grew up in a yellow and cream weatherboard house, the same colours as our trams were back then. Employee bonus. Take home a pot of paint.

The Italian Embassy used to be somewhere near Domain Road and Park Street in South Yarra, but it is now at 579 St Kilda Road, along with many medical offices.

What were all the protest white crosses, in a lawn, across the road at the Indonesian Embassy about? I can't remember. 72 Queens Road.

With much trepidation, I took photos of American Embassy at 533 St Kilda Road from across the street. I was sure the CIA or our Federal Police were about to pounce on me. The forecourt was covered in flowers post 9/11. The front of the American Embassy is now a car tow away zone and protected by the Federal Police. What paranoia. We don't have terrorist bombs in Australia.

Turks and Greeks might hate each other, but their embassies are close by, 37-39 Albert Road for the Greek Embassy, across the road from the Turkish Embassy.

The Thai Embassy, I was quite unaware of its location. It is at 566 St Kilda Road. That has got to be new.

France, ears prick up Grace?.  342 St Kilda Road. I know where it is, but I cannot imagine which building.

*Embassy, Consulate, High Commission. No matter. You get the idea.