Saturday, January 05, 2013

Lum is not really Australian, what

I only have a very vague recollection of her, but Binny Lum, who died in November, was clearly a high achiever both as a woman and being half Chinese. I suspect many young, and perhaps older, Australians do not know that Chinese have been in Australia almost as long as us whities.

Binny does look very glam, with what I hope is fake, but suspect is not, a fur stole. Glam or not, she interviewed some very important people, from international movie stars, to ballet dancers, to artists. I don't know where, which, what or how, but I recall she had a beautiful speaking voice.

Thanks to Andrew of Television AU who pointed me in the direction of The Age OB.

Down Below

Always something going on down below. First crash of the New Year was New Year's morning, at about 4.30am. Just home from work, I had the balcony door open, and so heard the screech and contact.

 I do love a smart sombrero.

 Is it appropriate for a monster like this to use our street? Note the car waiting to turn right and blocking the truck. Will the driver abort the turn and allow the truck to proceed?

 The car did abort the turn and proceeded straight ahead. Pity cars won't do that for buses.

 What is wrong here? Well, the car at the top of the photo is facing the wrong way in a one way street. Although stopped at lines, the lack of any facing traffic light might give the driver a clue that something is not quite right.

The other car is waiting to turn right, in precisely the wrong place to bring up a turn arrow. It needs to be stopped at the stop line to activate the turn arrow. Fancy that, stopping at a stop line. What an extraordinary thing to have to do.

The car in the intersection gave up their right turn and went straight ahead. After a set of traffic lights, with opposing motor cars dodging around the car in the one way road, the driver gave up, turned left and then made an illegal u turn to get to the required road. Note, the red car is sitting exactly in the correct position to activate the turn arrow.

Friday, January 04, 2013

Hulot Friday

What would Friday be without a little Hulot?

You would walk uphill?

Is an interest in funicular railways unhealthy? Possibly, perhaps especially if they are the alternative to exercise by a decent uphill walk. The first funicular that grabbed my attention was one in Kent, England. I signed a petition to save it and have it restored. It now has been and there is plenty of information around about the Leas Lift.

I heard that there was a funicular railway in Zahgreb, Croatia. Let me look. Yes, certainly beats walking up a steep hill. It appears to be functional, without being too stylish. Croatia is hardly a rich country, so functional will have to do.

I remember Jayne and Lance, affectionately known as JayLa, mentioning that there was a funicular in Budapest, at Castle Hill, and so there is and doesn't it just look gorgeous. There is no point in me repeating the history of it when it is spelt out at You Tube if you go to the You Tube website. Suffice to say, it is has been there in one form or another for a long time. It looks very stylish.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Missionary Aborgines

I am not offering an opinion here, just stating what I have observed and noted.

I watched a tv show about young female Mission Aborgines evacuating Croker Island, off the coast of Australia's Northern Territory, during World War II.

The women in 2012 are obviously much older now. They seemed to have lived quite suburban lifestyles, as non Aborignal white Australian's do. They were well spoken, and nicely dressed in an age appropriate manner. The programme was quite moving as they revisited where they grew up, and met up with long previously unmet family.

What struck me was that they are just like us. Us being white Australians. They talked like us, dressed like us. Hey they could almost be honorary white Australians, except they were black. (to forestall the well meaning defenders, that is irony).

I mentioned the tv show to our NT ex policeman/politician friend and he readily agreed. He said that the Mission educated were so clean, well dressed, organised, intelligent and dealt with their extended families very well. They were well respected by their kin because they were educated and knew white person ways.

Could the mission educated woman from Croker Island be an example for a direction for the future welfare of our Aborigines? Well, it is hardly a traditional way of life for Aborigines. Some, or most of these women when they were girls would have been abducted from their family.

It is a complicated and messy business, and brighter minds than mine have addressed the matter. Of course none of the problem impacts on me in the Highrise, but I would like my country to work better for its original inhabitants.

There must be an in between  way. One thing I am sure of, education is a key.

Perhaps all Aboriginal boys should be sent to Melbourne Grammar, and the girls to Presbyterian Ladies College.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Christmas Newsletter

Do you send out a newsletter with your christmas card to friends and family? We have a couple of times but we dropped it as it seemed to give a rather false impression of our modest lives. It rather sounded like we were bragging about our lives. I save that for my blog. I don't care for it all in real life.

Mother forwarded to me two newsletters she had received with christmas cards. One was from a cousin and Mother had annointed, no, that is not the right word, annoted? Anatoned. Still not right, but you know what I mean. Yes, comments scrawled in the margins. Ok, the cousin's children are absolutely high achievers and  extremely successful, thankfully none are property developers, but more academic types.

Ah yes, the cousin has travelled the world in the last year, first class of course. The actual cousin, her husband's mother died a couple of weeks ago.

At 93, she is the last of my mother's aunts and uncles to die. She was the baby of thirteen children and married well and was very comfortably off. In a teetotal non gambling family, she was a rebel, and stayed up late playing cards while smoking and drinking. Yet once she married, she became very proper, albeit quite controlling. I think it is fair to say she bullied my grandmother, her sister. It was probably never said but it could have been, 'Moo, how did you let your daughter marry a someone who does not go to church, drinks beer and is only a builder?' What was said was 'Moo, your place is looking shabby. You really ought to spend some money and brighten it up'. 'Bertie, you really should give Moo some money to get some new clothes. She was wearing that coat the last time we called'. 'Moo, I much prefer sugar lumps for my tea. Is that so hard?' 'Bertie, please guide our Studebaker reversing out into North Road. We don't want a scrape from the gatepost like you did to your Zephre'.

Auntie Marj used to take my Mother to the pictures and Mother remembers her quite favourably, in spite of Auntie Marj grabbing stuff from my late grandmother's house that she thought should have been hers.

Another cousin phoned Mother to tell her about the death of Auntie Marj and offered to pick up Mother and take her to the funeral. Mother said to them that she did not feel well enough to go to the funeral. I told Mother she should. Mother took what I said on board, but it ended up being a killer hot day, so Mother did not go. It is perhaps the first significant funeral Mother has missed, but I don't blame her. She is 78 and her first and second husbands have died. Her best friend died. Her best friend's husband has died. All her older rels have died. As hard work as Mother can be for us children at times, her grand children show her the utmost respect and kindness. I am not sure about the impression I have given you of my mother over many posts, but should you meet her in a casual manner, you would like her.

The second newsletter. Mother asked if I could print them and send them to Sister. Mother in an accompanying letter questioned whether these looked like brag letters. I gave it some consideration, an I agree with her. They were bragging.

The second newsletter was from her bridesmaid, who married a C of E minister who went on to be an Archbishop in the north of Australia. Funnily, I once mentioned him to our ex NT policeman and politician friend, and he knew him.

'I knew him. Couldn't stand the prick', was the reply. 'Err, you don't need to think about that then?' Political differences, I suspect.

I suppose you can write a christmas newsletter without it sounding boastful, but I think it is quite difficult.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Stinking and Brighton Pt 2

The day continued with no further connection to the Titan Arum or Brighton.

Finally R received a call from Harvey Norman in town. After four weeks in for repair, his Garmin sat nav device was ready, replaced actually. We went in to collect it but first thought to have dinner in town, but where? We did not feel like Asian food, so we had quite a nice pub meal at Young and Jacksons and then went to HN to pick up the new sat nav.

By then it was getting on for dark, so we made our way to the town hall illuminations where we took some photos, which you have already seen.

 I had the lamb.

 R had the fish.

 On Young and Jacksons rooftop is a cider bar. It is not very large by quite a nice space and with St Paul's steeple looming over you, reminding you that you ought not overindulge.

 This painting called Chloe has hung on the walls of Young and Jacksons Hotel since 1909.

 An unusual angle at QV to view Storey Hall at the RMIT education building. I don't like it.

 These are from Boxing Day when the queues put us off seeing the Corpse Flower. The canna lilies are just gorgeous.

It was worth the effort just to see the cannas.

 Some pratt has etched a happy birthday greeting in the grass with weed killer.

The lovely lily pond nearby, with not many flowers.

Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy 2013

Last year I gave out a couple of blog awards. The recipients did not collect their prizes, so this year I will go down a different track.

Technology just amazes me. No doubt younger people take it for granted, but I do not. When I woke last Saturday morning, our Metcard switch off day,  via Twitter I quickly learned that the last Metcard ticket was issued on a tram at 2.30 am between St Kilda and Malvern. Ten years ago, how would I have ever known that. Whether the information is accurate and/or particularly interesting, is beside the point.

I was looking on this computer at free Amazon books for my new Kindle. I selected one and there was an option, send it to Andrew's Kindle. I clicked, and by the time I rose from my seat, walked across the room, picked up and switched on my Kindle, the book was there. Just amazing. I went back to the computer and clicked send and receive on my email, and there was the account, for $0.00.

Don't we all like to have a go at the Weather Bureau? Or BOM, Bureau of Meteorology, as it is now known. BOM now does seven day forecasts with absolutely incredible accuracy. BOM has the biggest mother of a computer to help them, but their forecasts are amazingly accurate now, especially if you just ignore 'chance of a shower', which usually means a shower if you are in the wrong place at the wrong time.

For Friday, BOM has said it will be 39 degrees. They may be a degree or so out, but I am damn sure it is going to be a very hot day.

So yes, take a bow for 2012, BOM. You have excelled in the last couple of years.

I shall be working NYE, from 7pm to 4am, with little extra reward. No partying for me and any kind of sleep pattern I like to have is completed screwed. I don't care so much about the former, but I hate disrupted sleep patterns. No, I won't be pulling beers or making cocktails. R has advised me to have dinner before I start work and then have snacks. Probably a good idea. He has made me a lasagne, a comfort meal, knowing how I am dreading the night. I am just lost trying to work out how to deal with such working hours. I was told when I started the job that shift work was involved. The worst case is your start at 5 am or finish at 1 pm. How that has changed. Years ago a vexatious person told me I should get a proper job. I should have listened. While I very rarely don't front up for work, I can well expect that it going to take me more than one day to recover from such absurd hours and I will possibly be unwell on the next working day and take a day's sick leave.

Yes, I am grumpy as I write, but I will get over it. Nevertheless, happy new year. We at the Highrise have a bit to look forward to in 2013 and I hope you do too.

[Insert fireworks picture here, or bubbling champagne in a glass. Damn it, I am in a foul mood and can't be effing well be bothered and my moaning about work has ruined what was supposed to be a nice and happy post]


In a recent post I wanted to use the word ass. But that is an American word for what we say, arse. I should have used the Australian word arse. Arse, ass, what's the diff?

Arse and ass are surely interchangeable, but I cannot interchange them. Arse is a swear word and ass is naughty word, like bum.(The exception to this is when Eliza Dolittle says, 'move your bloomin' arse'.)

I have recently been listening to podcasts of I Love Green Guide Letters. Green Guide is a weekly supplement in our our daily newspaper The Age. GG covers tv, technology, space and photography. Its raison d'etre is a tv programme listing. It has a page for reader's letters, usually complaints and this is what the afore mentioned podcast focuses upon. The podcast is quite amusing, but last week's episode had one or more of the participants using fuck in almost every sentence.

The podcast has tackled in depth the disappearance of the staples that held our GG together, and that the green pages, the ones relevant to tv, now have a white border, making them difficult to find. Also, there have been complaints about Tom Waterhouse appearing left, right and centre on our tvs. Each week, when an anti Tom Waterhouse letter was published, the GG letters editor would place increasingly large photos of Tom Waterhouse, further aggravating people and stimulating them to write even more anti Tom Waterhouse letters. Very amusing.

This week's guest was Sam Pang, who hosts our coverage of Eurovision, along with the gorgeous Julia Zemiro. ILGGL dug out letters criticising Pang and Zemiro for their coverage of Eurovision. This week, there was not excessive swearing, just a couple of times and easy to ignore.

I made a Face Book comment about the swearing on the site, but instead of being called a stupid old retentive fart, I was ignored. Perhaps my comment was valid. The offending episode reminded me of how I thought the brilliant Tim Michin's performances were spoilt by the excessive use of of swearing.

I truly don't mind the words fuck or arse, but talking specifically about fuck, why does it have to punctuate every sentence by some people. Isn't it a swear word best kept for when something terrible happens, or the very least, dramatic effect?

Gosh, I feel very very old and out of touch at times.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Post Net

Across Kingsway at Illoura this business has appeared. I don't believe it is open yet, but what is it? A parcel service? Neither I nor Bush Babe are very impressed with Australia Post's service this year, so maybe some competition will be good for the behemoth Aus Post.

Ok, I have had a look at Post Net. You can here.

Stinking and Brighton Pt 1

I wanted to look at something at a speciality shop. There wasn't a branch in town, but one at Southland Shopping Centre and one in Church Street Brighton. It was a busy day for me. I needed a haircut, in Prahran, and a couple other bits and I wanted to see the Titan Arum at the Royal Botanic Gardens. Given christmas traffic and parking difficulties, no way did I want to take the car.

So Brighton's gain is at the expense of Southland due to there not being a railway station at Southland, even though it was promised by the present state government. Not a sodding sod has been turned.

A nice Art Deco block of apartments on the way to the gardens.

One day I will enter St Thomas Aquinas' church. Maybe thunder and lighting will happen.

Our public schools are very impressive in Melbourne.

Of course I use public schools in the English sense. These glorious green playing fields belong to the top private school in Melbourne. It is a curious thing that many of our government schools are in poor condition with lousy facilities, yet we taxpayers contribute towards these fine institutions.

The Titan Arum was magnificent. The lass in attendance told me it might flower two days before christmas or christmas eve. As it turned out, it flowered christmas day afternoon. The plant is also known as the Corpse Flower, owing to it stinking like rotting meat when it is in full bloom. It only flowers every seven years and it is a quite rare and endangered tropical plant. There were stories about it on ABC Melbourne on  Boxing Day morning. Oh no, no publicity. It will get too busy. R said it would be on the tv news that night, so I thought that afternoon after work would be our only chance to smell it.  With R we walked to the gardens for a whiff. Well, there was a queue a mile long, so we didn't bother. The queue the next day stretched out of the gate of the gardens and along The Tan. Well, I am glad I went when I did. I will just let some meat rot, and get the same smell.

I had not been in the RBG's tropical greenhouse for many years.

I loved this vertical garden.

While these bananas are growing in the greenhouse, given the right conditions, bananas will grow in Melbourne, but I don't think they will ripen.

This is it, the Titan Arum. I did take a better photo, but I am sure you don't want to see old grey haired ladies in the photo.

This is the frill that later opened out wide and that is when the plant stinks.

Tram to South Yarra and train to Middle Brighton. I have arrived on a different planet. No rubbish on the ground, not even a cigarette butt. Not one, not not one overweight person to be seen, except for me. Plenty of tight older faces and scrawny necks though. I saw just one black face. Even the traffic seemed ever so polite as the large black SUVs crawled along Church Street. It must be one of the last bastions of white middle class Australia. I bought what I wanted, well more than what I intended and headed back to Prahran. You see the same people there, but they are mixed up with every other variety and social status of people you could come across.

I do like a Moreton Bay Fig, this one at the corner of Park Street and Domain Road.

I am now in Middle Brighton. Funny, in spite of me mentioning that there were no overweight people, this lady has decent sized hips, shall I say.

Even the railway station was very pleasant.