Saturday, December 21, 2013

Even more Myki Madness

Snip from an email from a friend. He is internet savvy and just being stubborn I expect. I think he was away when his Myki renewal email arrived and he missed it.
I went to the City today; got off at Central; my MYKI would not work as it has “expired” on 5 December!

Well, the lady there at the ticket office made a new card for me immediately; no hassle EXCEPT  “You have an automatic top-up authority on this card sir; that will no longer be valid; you will have to renew that”!

Can I have the form then please  . .  . Oh there is no longer a form; you have to go on line and do it sir  and if I don’t have a computer to go on line????   well you will have to go to an Internet Cafe and do it!
Anyway, I want to detail R's problematic renewal of his Myki concisely.

He travelled by tram to Flinders Street Station and as you don't have to touch off on a tram, he didn't. He queued to renew his card. Staff said you can't because it wasn't touched off. He was escorted through the train barrier and out again and was now touched off. He queued again. Instead of being issued a Senior's Myki, he was given a normal one. He pushed into the newest queue and obtained the correct card.

A couple of weeks later he went online to add money to his Myki card balance and the system would not accept it. He called the Myki office and after a long wait in a queue, it was discovered they had registration details for his original card and the wrongly issued non Senior's card, but not his current and valid one. Sir, it will be fixed within two weeks. Where did that leave him? He had to use a machine on the street to top up his Myki so that he could travel. Yes, eventually the matter was sorted and he was notified by email. 

If only, if only, the brief email Myki sent about the need to renew his card said, your card must be touched off to renew your Myki, none of this would have happened and it would have been a smooth process that would take one minute and he would not be bad mouthing effing Myki to anyone who will listen. Instead he spent about 15 minutes at Flinders Street Station and a bit less than an hour on the phone with two calls including phone queue time and some time on the net.

I am in the process of emailing Myki about the matter. Perhaps I should just cut and paste this. (cannot, 1000 character limit)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Why wasn't I told?

Gattina mentioned in a comment on my blog that in the early 60s Belgium was completed hard wired for television, meaning there was no need for aerials in the sky to watch tv. I mentioned this to R, and apparently England was partly hard wired. I have one word for that I will investigate in depth and perhaps write about later, Rediffusion. How come I don't know about it? How come R never told me about it?

Maintaining your position as a big fish in a little pond

Little Britain was an exceptionally fine British BBC sketch comedy series which began in 2003. It is not a show I would rewatch, not because it wasn't brilliant, but the shock value would be lost in a second viewing. This sketch from the first episode features Daffyd, the only gay in the village, a Welsh village to be more precise. You can find a more realistic account of gay life in a Welsh village at John's blog, along with tales of his life, neighbours and his 73 animals.

The narrator is Tom Baker, of Doctor Who fame.

I rather like cock (note: edit for clarity), but if the word offends you, then don't watch the clip.

You only have to see the first 15 seconds to see how brilliant the show was. Funnily I saw the same drawing on a tram shelter at the bottom of Calantina Hill this week.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Pussies Licking

This may be a photo repost. I think the barbeque came from McEwens Hardware and it was called a Wendy. Light up the Wendy will you hon. John recently lost one of his favourite roosters. Unlike with your children, you can have favourite pets. Post a barbeque in 1987, Thomas and Tuffy patiently waited for the Wendy rack to cool before getting stuck into what ever was stuck to the bars.

Tuffy is on your left. We had a mutual working relationship with him. He would stay with us if we fed him. He also had a working relationship with the black and white Thomas. We have to live together so I will tolerate you, but don't expect us to be mates. Tuffy had a tough early life and I suppose you could say we rescued him.

Thomas was the opposite. He was a quite large cat, although he does not appear to be in the photo. He was affectionate to the point of being embarrassing. He was constantly rubbing against legs, jumping up onto laps, seeking affection wherever he could. He would purr at the drop of a hat and unfortunately drool when you patted him. Ten minutes of Thomas on your lap and you would have a significantly sized wet spot.

Although we think Thomas was a bit older than Tuffy, they both died of old age within twelve months of each other. It is always hard to pick the right moment for that final trip to the vet, but I think we got the quality of life balance right. We shed a tear as Tuffy went. We blubbed likes babies as Thomas went and drank too much that evening. I'm glad we had a female vet, who was just great. Sometimes women can comfort in a way men never can.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Economic Stimuli

When retired ex Minster for pink batts Peter Garrett writes his memoirs, I expect within the tome will be an explanation about the pink batts scheme, which was free ceiling insulation for all houses without it or replacement of worn out insulation, as part of economic stimulus plan for Australia during the Global Financial Crisis.

We may well know before then as there is to be a Royal Commission into the scheme because separately four young men who were installing batts died. The RC is purely political. It is an area within the respective State Coroners' Offices jurisdiction, but the present government want some blood to be spattered over the Labor Party.

That is the scheme was put in place too hurriedly, and poorly administered and monitored, which must surely be the conclusion of RC. The minister responsible, Garrett, seems to have known it was wrong, but he could not or would not stand up to the power of Prime Minister Rudd.

Well, we shall see what the RC comes up with.

Now dear taxpayer, why did you not buy a new digital tv to replace my mother's analogue tv? It would have been a good bit cheaper for you.

Analogue television signals in Melbourne were shut down in early December. A government funded scheme was set up to help pensioners who could hot afford a new digital television to receive a digital set top box and for it to be installed and the home owner shown how to use it.  That's all I thought it was.

Although our family was divided about whether to buy Mother a new tv or to use our spare digital recorder which works like a set top box, it was decided give the digital recorder a try. Mother was reluctant. She came up with stories of pensioners having set top boxes catching fire, exploding, not working etc. She tried a few games, but she was not in a position of power because of her not receiving an electric bill for nine months and knowing we would pay most of it if it arrived. It was unreasonable of her to expect us to buy a tv too. She had R put the box away in a cupboard but Bone Doctor insisted getting it out and connecting it up. She no doubt was aiming to sit in front of the tv the day the analogue signal went off and calling one of us to tell us her tv would not work. I had previously tried the device and it worked fine with her television and Bone Doctor did the same when she connected it up.

The first day all was ok. The second day she said she heard clicking noises and it would not work. She knew the set top box scheme was administered by Social Security so she called them and someone rang her back to make an appointment to visit her to see what the problem was.

The next day she tried the set top box again and it worked and continued to work fine. Nevertheless, she did not cancel the appointment. The technician turned up and told her that the aerial was very old and needed to be replaced. If the cost was coming out of her pocket, or ours for that matter, we would have said no, the tv is working fine and there is nothing wrong with the picture.

But we weren't paying. You, dear taxpayer footed the bill for Mother now having the tallest tv aerial in town, anchored by guy wires through the roof tiles into the roof timbers, then it being wired into the house with a new plug with some kind of interference suppressor. I should think the full price would be over $1000. Why didn't you just buy her a $600 HD digital TV?

We thank you dear taxpayer.  Hang on, I'm one of you! Mother costs me one way or t'other.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Some Commercial Road snaps

Sydney's Oxford Street used to be referred to as the Gay Mile. Melbourne's Commercial Road in South Yarra and Prahran used to be called the Gay Metre. It is barely even that now, perhaps a gay centimetre but hey, every centimetre counts.

As far as I know, the only gay thing about Commercial Road now is the Beat Bookshop, formerly located in Greville Street.

Well, there is a bit of the gay still in Izett Street, off Commercial Road. 'Mummy, why is that man touching the other man's bottom?' 'He likes him in a very special way.'

Onesie? I have heard of these things. In fact I have seen people wear them in public. Is that a web address? It is unlike any I have seen.

 They are appalling and make track suit pants with tee shirts look like haute couture.

T'was the Blue Elephant, then Red Orange, now Carpe Diem. Will the day be seized? I doubt it. In the early or mid nineties I met up with friends for lunch before going to Midsumma Carnival. R would not come. I had just bought my first mobile phone. I asked R to call me while I was at lunch. He did and my phone rang. People looked on in with great interest as I took the call.

Once Freskys and lastly Mojitos, now closed. It was something else before Freskys. Ten points if you know. We've been waiting for almost a year to find out what New Taste is and when it will open. An extra ten points if you know the name of the Chilean born guy with the initials of CR who worked there in its first guise and sometimes performed a number on a table top.

NBHD Neandertahl? Well, I never. It was Priscillas, a bar, and next to it on the left was Cafe 151 where we breakfasted often, in a later incarnation Rae's Basement, then associated with Heaven Now, now a Chinese restaurant.

The Market Hotel, The Market, Checkpoint Charlies, Three Faces....this gay venue has had many names. It has been gutted and only the fa├žade kept. It is no longer gay and has been re-purposed. An acquaintance had too many 'light beers' there and thought he could fly. He jumped from the gallery to the dance floor and fortunately did not land on anyone, but not so fortunate for him, he broke his leg. A Filipino friend in the nineties, who could not speak English very well, won the karaoke competition with his perfect rendition of My Way. He was just brilliant and deserved the win. I can never forget Miss Candy's tribute to Lindy Chamberlain with her number, A Dingo's Got My Baby.  The Emerson seems to have opened. Watch it go broke and then sold on to another sucker.  Further along the street was The Exchange, another gay hotel. We may have been there once or twice. One may have even attended the venue in drag after a ball at the Carlton Crest Hotel in Queens Road. I fell off my heels and dropped my drink. R kindly helped me up with a brutal yank on my arm and then said to friends, 'time to take this drunken slag home'. The Exchange became D&M but I recently noticed the name D&M has been removed.

Small ugly shops were demolished to become this. Well, I am not sure what this is yet. Commercial Road is becoming a canyon of tall buildings. A little to the right is Porter Street, but we won't go there with reminisces.

I remember when Market Plaza was under construction. I rather wish it had not been constructed. Some buildings in the background built many decades before have stood the test of time.

I am surprised Moot closed. I supported them for years by buying sunglasses there, until they changed to only designer sunglasses made in China and in glass display cases. Maybe not a good business decision.

Oh, the Asian grocer has closed. Where will I buy the lap cheong for my fried rice? Right, the supermarket now. It was cheaper at the Asian grocer. Maybe that it why it has closed.

Bang, in Cato Street. No, not gunshots. It was the name of a gay clothing shop. I think the owner was called Dean White. He was a stunner. He moved to Sydney and left the shop under local management. It quickly failed once he left.

Lastly, as named. I may well have been pierced in places at this place when I was younger and adventurous. Counting up, four. But my ears were pierced at a chemist.

I suppose it is no surprise that The Piercing Urge does body piercing.

The next two photos exhibit a perfect business model. I have two tattoos, on my upper arms. I rather like them. No intention of having them removed. My tatts are nice. Covering your body or worse face and neck with tattoos is not nice.

The photo shop in the background is very good and has nice owners. I used to use the gay friendly chemist also in the background. Once while getting a couple of prescriptions filled, one went missing. The staff woman accused me of taking it. Why I would steal my own medication, I do not know. She eventually found it down among the jelly beans and other rubbish they push at you laid out on a bench below the counter. I was furious and immediately changed from being a customer to a non customer of Commercial Road Pharmacy. This was several years ago and it may have changed hands and that Greek heritage cow is no longer there.

Oh, while our original inhabitants in Australia practised it, it is a bit much for me. I was not sure what the display would show next. I shut down the camera and peered up the street for a tram or bus to take me home.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The hum drum of life

I was left to my own devices for about 15 minutes in Prahran while R went about an errand. I went to Coles supermarket to get something.

In a very gay and laconic gay drawl one young staff member remarked to another very obviously gay staff member,

"I need a red christmas tee shirt...........doesn't matter.........don't worry about it."

The other replied,

"Tony, your lack of a red christmas tee shirt is the least of your problems."

It amused me, but not as much as the apparent difference between male and female feet. I went to a place that used to be TSL, The Stock Liquidator. It has changed its name and is now a Bond's shop. TSL used to sell mostly Bonds clothing. Just what I need, a pack of three socks, the same black socks with a little colour at the toes I have bought there before. But wait, they are women's socks, so the label said. Well, I can't be buying women's socks.

There are some pretty obvious physical differences between men and women, but I would have thought that the feet were much the same. I didn't buy the socks as they were marked with woman foot sizes and I don't know my equivalent.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Sunday Selections - Christmas Prep

See if River, Jackie and Elephant's Child have come up with a Sunday Selection this week.

There is not much in the way of the first attempt at the christmas cake left now. In fact, it has gone. Apart from being a little black on top, it was very good.

We can't make our own mince pies in Australia and have to import them?

Well, if they were half as good as these ones from Waitrose, there wouldn't be an imbalance in trade. The sachet of Tangerine Sugar was a nice extra touch.

Mother gave us this silver plate cutlery about thirty years ago. She must had still have had some money then. It is years since it was used but we will need it for christmas day. I expected it to be more tarnished that it is. You used to be able to buy a product that you put in water and soak the silver in it but it does not seem to be obtainable now, so I will have to sit down with the Silvo and polishing clothes.

Our building's christmas tree, same as last year and the year before, and the year.......

I'm not sure if these candles in a neighbour's window are christmas related. Nice though.

The preparation of christmas cake number two. The fruit has been soaking in whiskey for a few days. More whiskey is ready to go into the cake.

The butter and sugar are creamed and the flour, spices and egg is ready to be added.

And ready for a cool oven for a long cook.