Saturday, January 11, 2014

Melbourne Comedians

I devour podcasts like a hungry beast. Most of them come from our ABC Radio National. I have heard that podcasting has saved Radio National. The download figures are extraordinary compared to real time listeners. What RN produces is quality and is probably downloaded all over the world, like BBC podcasts.

But I also like some light relief in my podcasts. In the past, Frank and Benny in The Two Fat Lattes on Joy Melbourne were very amusing. For a while gay comedian Adam Richards amused me with his podcasts, but he disappeared, returned and then disappeared again. The stalwart of Melbourne comedy podcasts must surely be Steele Saunders with I Love Green Guide Letters. Also the Coodabeens have entertained me over the past year.

But maybe Steele wasn't the first. Tommy Dassalo has made more podcasts than Steele and his Little Dum Dum Club podcasts are very good.

I don't really get why talented comedians make podcasts. There is not much in the way of direct earnings to them, especially from the likes of me who doesn't do Apple and the Itunes store. Maybe it is an awareness thing, to get their names known? It is succeeding as I am writing about them. But is a male on the downhill slide to sixty really the audience and the demographic they want? I, who have rarely paid to see or hear anything on the internet, did donate $10 to Dassalo to hear his anniversary special. I haven't listened to it yet but consider it as payment for other podcasts. I could have donated $0 and still downloaded it, but the payment process was easy, so I did pay.

I have praised Steele Saunders and I Love Green Guide Letters in the past. I am now recommending you to have a listen to Tommy Dassalo and Karl Chandler at the Dum Dum Club.

I briefly felt I had a connection with Tommy Dassalo. His parents don't swear and don't tolerate swearing at all, rather like my parents. But we are generations apart. The difference is Dassalo now swears and I don't. Well, I may for effect at times on very special occasions. But the Dassalo podcast swearing is minimal compared to what I have heard on Steele's I Love Green Guide Letters. Why do comedians think fuck is a word that will get the crowd on side? 'Maaaaaaaattttttteeeee. He is a great comedian, down to earth. Swears a lot.' Is that how it works? I feel old.

R is known to use the eff word more than I do, yet after seeing I Love Green Guide Letters live at Melbourne Town Hall and having no idea what the show was about, I can summarise what he said by saying, 'Why do they have to swear such a lot? It was funny enough, but all the swearing was a bit much'.

As a podcast listener of I Love Green Guide Letters, I was a little more sanguine about it, having heard it all before. While Libby Gore is a thoroughly professional fill in host on ABC Melbourne radio, it was good to hear her use the eff word appropriately when she was a guest on the afore mentioned podcast.

Yes, if you have the time, podcasts made by a comedians make some great listening.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Burnt Cops

Three police getting badly burnt after a gas explosion in a suicide attempt by someone with mental health issues is awful. The two relatively new policewomen suffered the worst burns and are fortunately in the care of the Alfred Hospital's burns unit, where you could could not get better clinical care in the world.

Vic Pol, our police force, has began a fund raiser appeal for the officers, and I expect it will receive significant donations. But I would like to ask why is the appeal warranted?  I genuinely want to know.

Firstly, I expect Work Cover will be paying their medical costs. If the matter was unrelated to their work, then our public health system would pick up the cost I would certainly hope the treatment would be no less. In theory, Work Cover will continue to pick up the cost of their treatment and rehabilitation for as many years as it takes.

At some point they will granted a lump sum payout for their injuries, that is compensation for their pain and loss.

Their wages will still be paid, although they will possibly lose penalty rates and shift allowances, which are a substantial I think.

If they can return to work, duties appropriate to whatever disability they are left with will be found for them.

If they don't recover well enough, the new National Disability Scheme should pick up any pieces that might have been missing in the past. They will be dealt with sympathetically by every department who is involved in their case. Not everyone is, but police officers injured when on duty assuredly are.

Once recovered, and hopefully they do fully, I would quite happily chip in for a holiday to Disneyland or whatever they wanted to do.

But really, what is the need for the fund raiser? Is Vic Pol's care for its officers injured while on duty so inadequate?

The Downhill Blogslide

You can tell things are crook and and in rapid descent when I start posting cat and dog videos.


Thursday, January 09, 2014

Protecting the Youf from Themselves

The youf shall not climb poles with the electricical at the top.

The youf shall not belly wriggle over a pipe, not shall they pretend they are tightrope walkers.

The youf shall not climb tall structures.

I did them all and survived, but I didn't graffiti anything along the way.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Someone stole Step Mother's Playmates

My stepmother was born in Casterton, in south western Victoria, but before long she she was growing up in a tent on the banks of the Murray River that divides the states of Victoria and New South Wales.

Unlike myself who knows little of NSW laws, Step Mother knows more than I do. She knows about the country New South Wales in a way I don't. While my upbringing was not privileged, I did not go without and I grew up in a house and not in a tent on the edge of a river. Step Mother did it tough and who would blame her if she had a serious chip on her shoulder and at times offended almost everybody. That Father loved her far more than he ever loved Mother is to her credit. In reference to a previous post, the noise that emanated from Step Mother's and Father's bedroom was as horrendous to teenage lad, as it was marvellous.

Where am I going with this. I must complete it as I like what I have already written so far.

Father, Step Mother and myself were sitting on the riverbank of the Murrumbidgee River, dangling a hook as they say. I was about 19. Step Mother had squeezed out the adolescent black heads on my back and then told me I should have a girlfriend to do such a thing. Father then spoke of wonderful young nurse at his local hospital who might be an appropriate marriage prospect for me. It wasn't the last time he suggested a woman who might be suitable marriage material for me.

Some years later after Father died, Step Mother gave me a good serve for getting her drunk on whiskey the night before. What? I got myself drunk too! Some home truths came out and I asked her why Father never accepted me as being gay. The ever caring R, was as kind to Father as he is to rest of my family. Clearly Father knew we were in a relationship but he never recognised it. Step Mother could only reply with a fudged answer. Yes, Father knew, but he could not understand.

My father was very clever in a practical manner and also in a learned manner. He read books, he could fix anything, he could speak Latin and tell you the hypotenuse of the circumference of the radius, whatever. The records of his breeding cattle were meticulous. As a builder he would question architects about the foolishness of their plans and was proved correct. He played Australian Rules Football, danced beautifully and was on many local committees. When a new school Head Master began at the local school who the locals instantly disliked because he was young, had long hair, holey jumpers and played a guitar, Father defended him to the school committee and he stayed and in time became respected by all.  Did I grieve terribly when Father died? No, not really. I felt sadness and now I feel some loss as there are things I want to ask him about, but personally, I don't really miss him. Our connection was never so great and the year 2000 was a long time ago now.

I am not sure what I was going to write about now but my fingers have run fast. It began with Step Mother and so it shall conclude. Step Mother living on the banks of  the Murray River on the NSW side had Aboriginal playmates, who were also impoverished and lived in similar humble circumstances. Children don't see colour of skin or different culture. I am trying to think of a year, perhaps 1948. One day, Step Mother's Aboriginal playmates were all taken away by the authorities.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Late for the Boxing Day Sales

We had a list. Too heavy to carry home on tram, R proclaimed. We will go to Chadstone. What? I am scared of Chadstone, the largest shopping centre in the Southern Hemisphere.  My Chadstone phobia turned out to be unfounded. We went early and found a parking space right at the front door. But first breakfast. This looks nice. It was well staffed with pleasant young people. But hey, they forgot our order and after we finished our coffee that came almost immediately, we enquired why our food was taking so long. Five staff in an almost empty cafe and our food order was lost. Grrrr.

Our 'table number'.

A wall inside adorned with doors.

The shopping list was as follows:
New dinner set.
New towels.
New steak knives.
Printer ink.

We tried four shops that sell towels and ended up getting what we wanted in Myer. All these old towels that never get used are going to the RSPCA. I have washed the new towels and I have red fluff all over my black jeans. They are going to be troublesome, I can see. The blue ones are going too. They show the stains where you dry your hands on them very badly. I have had enough of trying to keep them clean. There is a photo here of when we bought the last set, the blue and grey ones in this photo. We are keeping the grey set and  one of the older sets for guests. Two new towels, bath mats and one hand towel, $102, discounted from $145.

The oldies and the new ones, washed and once dry, ready to use. The blue ones are going too, but they had to be washed first.

We tried three shops before we also found steak knives we liked at a good price in Myer. Our old ones have wooden handles and after over twenty years of use, they are suffering severely from diswasheritis. I think they came from Coles. We saved stamps and could get a knife and fork about once a fortnight. We had four sets. Six new steak knives at half price, $16.

We tried about about seven places for a dinner set, wanting only dinner and side plates, and cereal bowls. Our old set is chipped and marked. In the last place we tried, we found just what we wanted. They are very good quality, not too light and not too heavy and the bowls and plates not absurdly large. Two sets of four at half price made them $120.


Printer ink has gone up a bit. While the four pack of ink is a little cheaper, we already have a spare black ink cartridge from the last time when we bought the four pack. While we bought them at Dick Smith, a friend told us to go to Harvey Norman and ask if they can do a better cash price, and they always do for him. God forbid that we should run out of ink and Little Jo could not print something.

What we did not plan to buy is new milk jugs. One of our old ones is a lovely cream coloured jug in a classic shape and was bought second hand thirty years ago. The other is newer one and it is chipped and has been thrown out. Milk jugs, you wonder? We make our own milk from skim milk powder. Remember, if you tempted to try 'watery milk' as Little Jo calls it, it must mature overnight in the fridge. We always have full cream UHT milk at home for visitors. New jugs, reduced from $50 to $20 each.

We will keep the old cream jug but throw out the blue jug. 

I had at hand one of those tear off maps of the shopping centre. Nonsense, said R. I know where Dick Smith is and confidently marched on. A minute or so later, he said, you have a map. You better check. I did and we found it but got thoroughly lost on the way back.

While there are many nice shop windows and things of beauty inside Chadstone, like all shopping centres of its style, the outside is horrible. However an attempt at making things a little more pleasant around the building has been made.


The consumerism did not end that day though, it continued the next after that evening R boiled a pot dry, picked up the vegetable steamer and the knob came off. It dropped into the sink and a leg broke. It is not very old, but today I bough a new plastic one. It was more expensive than the metal one, $24, and hopefully it will last longer. Fortunately I could buy this in town and not face Chadstone again.


Monday, January 06, 2014


A couple of pictures I came across from a tumbler that amused me enough to save them.

I haz own entrance, not for mouse or Fido.

Why do I think Mr Budgie was responsible for the trouble? Was he playing with a wire with his beak that he should not have been?

Aide de Memoire

I hope I remember I have a blog to check details when dementia sets in. I doubt dementia will be an issue for me. I will die well before dementia sets in.

I still have not convinced Little Jo that H is pronounced aitch. It seems no-one under the age of 50 cares. I wrote it down so she could read how it was spelt, but I overestimated a six year old's spelling skills.

Her first word at The Highrise was chizz, repeating,  meaning cheese as she banged on the dishwasher door. White appliances all look the same at that age. Chizz is contained within a white appliance and satisfying for a hungry toddler.

She has forgotten that we live in the Tall House. It is now R's place.  Auntie Andrew is not forgotten though, when ABC 4 Kids online goes wrong or the printer won't work.

She is a carbon copy of Sister, in looks, manners and temperament. This is both good and bad. She does have some added cleverness from her father, a person unknown to us. She knows her father and half brothers. She is too young to understand the significance but I wonder how that will all pan out in the future?

Bone Doctor complains, 'which Miss C am I being bossed around by today'? 'Mother or daughter'? 'Bone Doctor', I say, 'just pay the bills and enjoy the ride'.

I think I have forgotten the story of Cinderella. I asked R why Little Jo is drawing sad faces. It is part of the story you effwit, was his thoughtful reply. I can see where Little Jo is coming from with her spelling of Cinderella but if she sounded the word out, she might get closer.

Unconnected, but Mother is a writer of letters, at times very long letters. I have one from her of fifteen pages, but in her older age, it has reduced to about three to five pages. Just in case ASIO intercepts her letters, she sticky tapes down the envelope flap, which does our paper shredder no good at all. My brothers aren't  really writers, but it seems I am. Sister is too, having being published in many newspaper Letters to the Editor. Today she posted on FB that she had a letter published in the Geelong Advertiser. In spite of me looking online, I cannot find Geelong Addy letters. Her initials are MC if you have a hard copy. 

This was supposed to be in lieu of a proper post tomorrow because it wasn't finished. It has taken on a life of its own.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Outer Circle Line Day 4 The Final

It was forecast to be 23 degrees with a cool breeze, along with it being first day I have had free for nearly a month, which made it the perfect day to complete my walk of the old outer circle line from Fairfield to Hughesdale.

Walk 1 was from Fairfield to East Kew.
Walk 2 was from East Kew to East Camberwell.
Walk 3 was from East Camberwell to Ashburton.
Walk 4, this final one, was from Ashburton to Hughesdale.

I caught the train from Flinders Street Station to Camerberwell and changed to the Alamein shuttle train. Unlike the last time, the change of trains went smoothly. The train passed by the sweet little and graffiti free Willison Station.

I left the train at Ashburton and discovered a little wall garden growing on the High Street bridge.

Looking back towards the city where the line widens to double track from single track. There is a siding to the right.

Ashburton used to be our local shops when we lived in the area. It was, and appears that it still is, a good and quite busy shopping centre. I noticed that are now many places to have coffee and food that weren't there in the early nineties.

I have seen these markers in places where you aren't on a road, such as at Albert Park Lake and along the water front at Spotswood. They make sense as it is difficult to identify your location by street names when you aren't near a street.

Alamein Station, the last station on the line. It was built in 1948 when the line was extended to service the new government built housing commission estate. Of course there was the original line that ran from Ashburton to Waverley Road Station, but that was fully removed in 1940, the steel used to to make bullets to shoot at the Hun and Japs.

There are still some of the original Housing Commission houses but most have been altered almost beyond recognition.

A quite neat original.

While it offended many good housing tenants, a politician was heard to proclaim that you can easily tell which houses are rented and which ones are owned.

This is much more like the current housing standard in Ashburton, many being built on the bones of the original housing commission stock.

Good to see the railways keeping up with the latest technology.

Whoa, someone has nicked the train track. I am not sure of why there is a fibre optic train cable running along where a train hasn't run for 100 odd years. I knew of some staunchions south of Alamein Station, I had no idea they stretched for about one kilometre, complete with power lines.

The photo on this information board would be taken not too far away from where I was standing in the photo above. It was most likely farmland, maybe with some cows, perhaps an orchard or two and market gardens.

Through the trees I could see Sacre Coeur Girls School in Glen Iris and the Eureka tower at Southbank. I am about ten kilometres from the city.

This is the last of the staunchions.

The wires drop down into Gardiners Creek valley and disappear, I assume underground. The original train line to Waverley Road Station crossed the valley on Black Bridge. So why is there a kilometre of staunchions that have never seen a train? Clearly there were serious thoughts of extending the line when the Alamein extension was built.

From The Argus, 1947. Mr M. J. Canny, one of the Rail- ways Commissioners, said yesterday that the name of the new station had not yet been decided (Alamein). The new line might eventually be extended three-quarters of a mile to East Malvern, along the old Outer Circle route.

This photo from the State Library was taken in 1926 and shows the timber Black Bridge over Gardiners Creek valley, long after the trains ceased to operate.

There is certainly some good infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians. The path then curves to the left....

....and here I am on the bridge over Gardiners Creek. A little upstream from here Scotchmans Creek joins Gardiners Creek. To the right of the visible path is the Malvern Valley Golf Course. I have seen this land underwater in the 1980s when the creek flooded. It was quite spectacular.

A billabong with an appreciative wading bird. I crossed the golf course, protected from round white missiles by high wire fencing, open at some parts.

The bridge over the Monash Freeway to East Malvern Station is quite new. Note it is walled in over the freeway to prevent the youf dropping things on cars passing by below.

Ramps lead down to the station platform.

No one knows what a freeway looks like, so here is a photo. After crossing the bridge, I became a little confused as there seemed to be two linear parks. I followed the wider one, but I discovered something later that may be relevant as to why there are two linear parks and which the train may have run along.

I reached Waverley Road. In the 1980s this was rough and open parkland along where the Outer Circle Line ran. The then City of Malvern decided to turn it into an urban forest. Thirty years later, that is exactly what is there. I remember our dog running through the newly planted park with its many native bushes. It now feels very much like Australian bushland.

I wasn't aware of this, but within the Urban Forest are the embankments for platforms of the Waverley Road Station. I think I worked out where they were. A duck doesn't mind that this billabong water is a bit murky.

T'was very peaceful and pleasing to see that dog walkers kept their pets on leashes so as to not scare any wildlife.

I crossed the 'Great Three Chain' Dandenong Road from the City of Stonnington to the City of Glen Eira and entered through this attractive rustic gateway into the last section of the Outer Circle line park. To the left across the road is the southern end of the Urban Forest and the hoardings hide an area that used to be a large car sales yard.

There was so much seating along the linear park from City of Booroodara, through the City of Stonnnington into the City of Glen Eira, but very very few seats in the shade. Why? I had just come across one under a lovely shady tree, but there was a boy on his bike staring up into the tree and looking for something, right at the seat. I didn't think it would look good if sat there. Fortunately I came across this shelter and had a rest, some nibbles and a drink.

Is this not a splendid golden elm?

You can see I am back in the posh area. A very grand house peeps down on me.

I would say this house is quite new, but decorated in the Federation Style, and very nice it is too.

Drinking fountains now often have a dog drinking tap, but mostly not a bowl below. This one is very well done.

A play area for children but there was a girl sitting in part of it, thus again a child in the way of a better photo.

Here I am at the end of my journey, roughly near where the Outer Circle line joined the now Pakenham and Gippsland line.

Up the ramp to the modest Hughesdale Station and off home.

I have since seen a map and learnt that there was also a north west curve connecting the Outer Circle Line to the mainline at East Malvern. Could that be the reason for two linear parks south of East Malvern Station? Probably not, just a thought.

I am very excited to learn via Jayne, that a documentary on the Outer Circle Line is in production. I can't wait.