Saturday, December 15, 2012

Drip drip

It was only in June when we put our new air con unit in. It should have lasted longer. 'My dearest, water appears to be running down the wall. I wonder why?'

I eventually rigged up just the red mop bucket in the perfect position to catch the drips. It dripped about a litre of water in three hours, and it wasn't working that hard.

Call to where we bought it, not our problem, faulty installation. Call installer. After one cancelled time to come, he did eventually, and rectified the problem just as described on a DIY You Tube video. If it wasn't under warranty, I would have fixed it myself, especially as the unit in the YT vid was the same make as ours. The guy in the You Tube vid is just brilliant. In our case, it was a poor connection where the drain pipes meet in the unit and it just needed to be properly sealed, rather than a blockage. I think the installers apprentice may have not done what he was supposed to.

Friday, December 14, 2012

The tipple in my water, cheers to fluoride

It amuses no end, nay disturbs me really, how people know better than scientists who base their opinions on evidence. Evidence can come in different forms, but if you talking matters medical, medical scientists have probably conducted peer reviewed, double blind trials. Scientists are conservative folk. They are loathe to open their mouths unless they are sure and if they are not, they will qualify with lots of wishy washy words.

Where something like 97 per cent of climate scientists agree that humans have and are causing global warming, why is there still doubt? The dissenting scientists don't have good statistics to back up their anti climate change views. They, quite cleverly, manipulate data to suit their purposes.

The World Health Organisation is a well respected and conservative organisation. So when they say fluoride added to water is good, as long as it is not too much, then I believe. You can read their opinion and details here. Without any doubt it is beneficial to the health of children's teeth. Have a look at the stats for Ballarat child tooth decay, one of the last of Victoria's large cities to receive fluoride in its water.

Here is what the Australian government has to say about tooth decay in children and the benefits of fluoride, based on studies and scientific findings.

Personally, I wouldn't have a clue. I can only base my opinion on what scientists say. Scientists don't always get it right, but I would rather trust their opinion than that of an uninformed amateur.

In an absolutely disgraceful move, Queensland Premier Newman has dropped compulsory fluoridation of the water supply, leaving it to local councils with very vested interests. As always in life, it will be the poor kids who suffer the most, as they won't have access to good dental treatment and their less than great parents won't be proactive.

I may not be here in twenty years, but if you are, do have a look around the local Queensland dole offices at the jobless with no or very bad teeth and thank Premier Newman.

Melbourne Temperature

Last Thursday, 38 degrees, 100F.

Today (5th) 18 degrees, 64F.

Saturday, 37, 98F.

For those of you who don't live in Melbourne, when the wind blows from the north, it brings superheated warm air from the inland central desert area of Australia. It is a bone dry and searing heat and is usually accompanied by nasty and dirty wind and that is when we have bad bush fires.

The pattern usually starts with a nice sunny day, the next day gets quite hot, maybe 30 degrees and the following day the hot northerly wind arrives, followed not too long after, a day or two mid summer,  by a cool southerly wind and the temperature drops right back.

This applies to Melbourne in the south of our state of Victoria. It is hotter in the north of the state. The weather works much the same for Tasmania, although being further south, it is a little cooler there.

It also applies to to a lesser extent to Adelaide in South Australia, but other states and their capital cities have quite different weather patterns.

Sydney never gets quite as hot as Melbourne, It is more humid and has a higher rainfall than Melbourne. Its far western suburbs can have a very different temperatures to Sydney City and the salubrious eastern suburbs. There are exceptions, but Sydney weather is often the opposite to Melbourne's weather

PS This is a bit old, like two weeks. The weather remains as variable as ever.

Build a bridge? I expect they should have, a proper one

Corrugated iron barrel drains usually work well enough, but not in this instance. For a time, it just looks like just a bit of water flowing over the road, before nature unleashed its full force on a man made structure. You may find watching the video like watching paint dry. I found it mesmerising. You should have your sound turned on to hear when the beast from the earth appears. In an even longer version, the drain can be seen lying many metres away amid the bush.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

It goes on and on

Talkback caller: I only go to the city from Templestowe two or three times a year. I don't want a Myki card as it will expire in between trips.

Perhaps she meant the money will expire. It won't. The card will after four years and she will get an email informing her that it is about to expire. I expect within that four years, in fact much sooner than that, an easy replacement system will be developed.

She sounded like she was an edjicated person but obviously not in the way of Myki. Yes, there are issues with Myki, but not as many as are put about.

Another caller mentioned all the cruise ships that are arriving at Port Melbourne, and how are they supposed to know about Myki? Firstly, I think they would be told in advance by ship staff about what to do. Secondly, I am sure the shop at Port Melbourne's Station Pier sells Myki cards. Thirdly, I have heard many of them get whisked off on a bus to NOT see Melbourne, but perhaps the Dandenongs, much to the chagrin of the Red Shirt volunteer guides who are there and waiting to help them see Melbourne.

I have observed on trams quite a few clunky sounds when people attempt to use their Myki cards. It is the typical kind of sound you hear when something on your computer doesn't work. It is a clearly negative sound. I've not always been watching, but from what I saw on tv tonight, people move their cards around.  My and R's Myki cards work while tucked away in our wallets. Most people present their cards raw.
For goodness sake, put you card to where you are supposed to put and hold it there. Don't jiggle it up and down. The speed at which your card is read is a serious issue, but moving it around over the reading point just will not help.

Chosen Reading

The Age Green Guide recently posted a list and details of the top twenty, or was it fifty, tv shows for the year. I may have seen one or two of them. I have seen some wonderful tv shows this year, yet very few made the list.

I am more at home with The First Tuesday's Book Club list of ten Australian books you must read before you die. I think I have read them all and I connect with them. The list went on for more than ten books on the website.

  1. Cloudstreet - Tim Winton (not read, but has long been on my list)
  2. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak (not read, I've heard more than enough about WWII and the holocaust. Yes, your point that I have not read them all is valid)
  3. A Fortunate Life - A.B. Facey (brilliant. I was steered to it by Mother)
  4. The Harp in the South - Ruth Park (she is a wonderful writer and before I die, I will read all of her books. Not too many fiction writers can bring on a Royal Commission)
  5. The Power of One - Bryce Courtenay (recently became 'the late'. Despised by the literati, but loved by the common types, including me)
  6. Jasper Jones - Craig Silvey (What? Never heard of it)
  7. The Magic Pudding - Norman Lindsay (A fantastic book that I only got to appreciate in my teens)
  8. The Slap - Christos Tsiolkas (Great contemporary writer. He spoke to me and I have rarely disliked every character in a book)
  9. The Secret River - Kate Grenville (I've read something of Kate's, but not this one)
  10. Picnic at Hanging Rock - Joan Lindsay (Classic)
  11. Seven Little Australians - Ethel Turner (Another classic)
  12. My Brother Jack - George Johnston (Just brilliant)
  13. My Brilliant Career - Miles Franklin (Good, but do see the movie)
  14. True History of the Kelly Gang - Peter Carey (One can only take so much Carey. Not read)
  15. Eucalyptus - Murray Bail (Missed this one too)
  16. Power Without Glory - Frank Hardy (If you want to know Melbourne, it is a must read)
  17. The Broken Shore - Peter Temple (Worthy, I am sure. But I haven't read it)
  18. Monkey Grip - Helen Garner (She talked to me and almost my generation)
  19. The Riders - Tim Winton (Better read Cloudstreet first)
  20. The Tree of Man - Patrick White (Indigestible. The only thing White wrote that was pleasing to read was his autobiography)
My own additions, Elizabeth Jolley's, The Well and Sally Morgan's, My Place. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Drive Home

I normally get to work in twelve minutes. I allow twenty minutes. It takes bit longer to get home, especially in the evening at knock off time, twenty plus minutes.

Tonight it took forty five minutes, and that was using my back street knowledge. Unfortunately many others have back street knowledge, and I would have done just as well to stay on Highway One. I have never seen evening traffic congestion like I did tonight.

There is/are just too many people in Melbourne. Our Federal and State Governments who are responsible for the misery that driving in your car or using trains, trams and buses has become in Melbourne. Individuals can do nothing. It is up to our governments. Punish or praise them when you vote. They need to remember how fascism, army coups and revolutions start.

What's with the date?

12th December, 2012
December 12, 2012
December 12th, 2012
Twelfth day of December, 2012

I'm not getting it right, am I.

So what is so special about the date? Well, today it doesn't matter whether you use the numerical American date style or our Euro/Brit numerical date style, but that happens once a month, I suppose.


Southbank is a suburb in its on right, with its own postcode, 3006. It begins as you cross the southern bank of the Yarra River and covers quite a large area west of St Kilda Road and as far south as Dorcas Street. At a guess I would say it has the highest number of residential and office towers of anywhere in Melbourne, perhaps Australia. There are some pleasant areas within Southbank, but much of it is canyons of tall buildings, although it has a better feel to it than Docklands.

 The interior of the renovated Hamer Hall is ok, but it has lost its sumptuousness.

I am not convinced that the new works with the old.

Down lower near the riverbank a huge Japanese restaurant has opened. I'll give it twelve months.

Looking across the sparkling blue water of the Yarra River to the north bank and the CBD.

I can just imagine how these coloured additions would be described by the architect or artists.

Old building, yes, old sign, no. South Bank hasn't been around for that long.

A name to be taken seriously, Carlton and United Breweries. Beer is good.

At the rear of the National Gallery of Victoria, opened 1968. The protuberance almost looks like it should have arrow slits in it. Note the bricked up area, perhaps what was a doorway.

There is little reason to hang around the back streets of Southbank. Most of its history has been destroyed and much of it was only industrial of no great merit anyway. I was catching the number 1 tram after coffee at Southgate. If you are a little confused, Southgate is an area within Southbank.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Just another Sunday

I am absolutely exhausted. A visit to Mother's always has that effect on me, well us really. Any energy we have, Mother manages to drain from us.

10.20 Depart the Highrise and travel on the pay road to ABI Brother's place, near Mother's, with the our old computer that will be be a new and functioning computer for ABI Brother. If you are not up with acronyms, ABI stands for Acquired Brain Injury. Brother rode his bike straight out onto Highway number one in front of traffic. He has no memory of why. We can only surmise.

11.10 arrive at ABI Brother's place. Plug in computer and work out what we need to buy. His crt monitor has a fixed cord, so to use our old pc connected to our old lcd screen, we need a cable. We also needed a longer printer connection cable and his mouse with a ball barely worked.

11.50 Depart to shops for said cables. Don't worry about the cost. Cables and mouse cost $50. ABI Brother reimbursed me.

12.16 At Mother's, ready to go out for lunch.

12.25 Call Tradie Brother. We are going to lunch at the Pakenham (Railway) Hotel. Are you far away? Meet you there, was his reply.

12.45 At hotel waiting for Tradie Brother.

1.00 Tradie Brother arrives. Much discussion about meals to order.

2.15 Meal finished, very good I might say. Tradie Brother has some local socialising to do. Moi, R, ABI Brother and Mother head back to Mother's place. She orders ABI Brother to make her a cup of tea. Good idea, as if she made the tea, we would never get done.

2.16 R can you put up christmas decorations, empty the vacuum cleaner and vacuum. Highriser son, drop me at the shops and pick me up at 4, and in the mean time, can you and ABI Brother take these couple of blankets to the laundry. My washing machine is far to delicate to deal with them.

2.30 At laundry putting blankets in machine. ABI Bros drove me back to his place and and I connected up the cables and hey, they worked. His modem had not arrived, so no internet connection. He has lost his cd for the printer, so no printer connection, but otherwise, our old computer appeared to be working well.

3.15 Called R. Come and pick me up. I could no longer stand ABI  Brother's pitch dark house, so I walked up the street and R arrived. I dropped him back at Mother's to finish her chores. He noted the comings and going at the house next door where Mother's neighbour and friend suicided. Apparently an older Kiwi woman has bought it.

3.34 I am at the laundry and surprisingly no one has stolen Mother's old blankets from the washing machine. I put them in the dryer for 15 minutes. I go to the supermarket for a couple of bits and then collect blankets.

3.57 I pull up at the rendezvous point to collect Mother who has been christmas shopping. She had found a walking frame come shopping trolley for in store shoppers, and made full use of it. She does not carry any time piece as the world adjusts to suit her, but amazingly she was on time.

4.10 At mother's. Coffee was made and  birthday cake appeared, courtesy R, for ABI Bother's birthday which was last weekend, but no one was free.

4.55 Bolt from Mother's. Forgot to pick lemons from her tree for Highriser gin and tonics. Forgot to put ladder back in garage. R decorated Mother's place fabulously for christmas. 

5.45 Home, pre dinner drinks poured. Family duty done until christmas day.

5.50 R moans on about Mother. Yeah, and? She is 78 and she is not going to change now.

6.00 The commercial tv news comes on, murder, mayhem and telephone pranks.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Myki Machine

While the Highrise Myki cards are dealt with online, we also have a card for Little Jo. We don't have the details of the account and it is quite some time since she has used it.

What happens if you don't use your Myki card for three months? Well, I will tell you. The government will steal your money and you will have to add more money to it to travel again, and that could take days to register.

Not so, of course. Whatever balance is on your Myki card remains there. The only issue is when you top up your card online and then don't use the card for three months.

I thought there was a machine at Domain Interchange, but apparently not, so I remained on the tram to Flinders Street. I popped Little Jo's card onto the reader and quickly the balance showed in a positive enough way for future outings. Just for the heck of it, I added a dollar. The screen remained static. Why?

Firstly I had to do the Myki machine bend over. Secondly, while not in direct sun, I could not really see the screen very well. It is not bright enough. I had put on the appropriate distance spectacles. I lowered myself further. Oh my aching sacroiliac. Ah, I see. I have to press the OK button.

I have no issue with the machine function. It did as I thought it should.

R worked in the field of disability education for over twenty years. I have full sympathy for the disabled and I know their issues back to front. I note shops that are inaccessible to the disabled as I walk past them. I note carparks where roofs are too low for a mini bus used to carry disabled people. I note many areas where things are made harder for disabled people for no good reason.

But, should the majority be so disadvantaged by the height of these Myki machines for the benefit of a tiny percentage of people?

Melbourne under the evil Kennett empire bought cheap trams from Europe so that the disabled can access them, if there is a raised platform stop. The tram floors are low to the ground, at the expense of smooth riding and cornering. When they turn a corner, the wheels don't swivel but stay straight ahead. Imagine how that feels inside the tram and imagine what it does to the steel rails. You can actually see the bits of metal ground off when you cross the road at a corner where these trams run.

Disabled people do need to be able to get on and off trams, but not by buying rubbish trams and the whole tram does not need to be low, only the entrance or entrances. Nor should Myki machines have a screen two feet off the ground.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Sunday Selection

River always does a Sunday Selection with photos she has taken and not used, but with her online photo storage issues, I don't know if it will appear today. Ah, her post did appear.

A green flying thing on our balcony. No idea what it is. The new camera automatically chose macro when I was taking the photo.

 Cards done and dusted and cards from friends have begun to arrive.

 What was this bloke doing with an Australian flag and some kind of device below it.

 It wasn't Australia Day, if that is what you are wondering.

 As I was about to step inside from the balcony, I thought, that view might look ok in a photo.

For years window cleaners have complained  about the system on top of the building that they connect up to to before abseiling down the side of the building, cleaning windows as they go. This device has now been installed on part of the building. It is a track so that they can move sideways while they are suspended. It looks a little too light weight for my taste.

The Season is coming

My advent calendar arrived from Germany. I bought a more fun one for Little Jo and posted it to her. They only cost a few euro each, but I am too embarrassed to tell R how much I paid for shipping and handling. I am not doing it again.

The tree in the foyer always goes up in early December. It seems to have a new set of LED lights this year.It looks department store tasteful as ever.

I like our tree to go up two weeks before christmas and be gone by the new year, but Little Jo visited last weekend and wanted to put the tree up, so R obliged her.

At work yesterday, twelve times I said, sorry, got something on. It was the work christmas bash, lots of wonderful exotic food, drinks and a band. I had nothing on but I did not want to go. I had promised to bring home hamburgers for our dinner from the fish and chip shop. With a couple of drinks and good tv, is my preference. The work party will be full of foreign types, who know I love them dearly, but just can't do the work of parties anymore.