Saturday, February 01, 2014


(I am over this unfinished post. Time for some clearing out)

 In spite of getting our first computer in about 1995 and connecting to the internet, I am not very good with computers. I know some bits about them and I have often been called on to help people but my knowledge is quite limited. I really don't know much about the working bits. I used to pull things apart when I was younger, to find out how they work. I have now lost confidence in doing such things.

I think it was also about '96 when I bought my first mobile phone. Just a year or two later I was sending text messages. I'm not cross but I just wonder how I, who was almost on the cutting edge of technology, have fallen so far behind. People not born when I sent my first text message can write a message on their phone four times faster than I can. Their nimble thumbs flash across the phone pad, while I stab, or drag, away with my forefinger. Ok, I don't make too many typos and I do  use caps and I do punctuate, but even so, the kiddies are miles ahead of me.

Apparently my camera can wirelessly send my photos to my computer. I tried and it did not work.  Here is a critical point. If I really cared a lot about wirelessly sending photos from my camera to the computer, I would work it out. Google helps, and there are always kind people out there who will help. But it wasn't something I really cared about that much. I just thought I would have a try.

At times I feel quite overwhelmed by technology but there is no real reason why I should. I pick and choose the bits of tech that I feel I want or need. 

Halogen to LED

I am surprised that it was six years ago when we first tried LED lights to replace our halogen lights. As I noted at the time, the technology was not quite there but I knew it would be soon.

A couple of times I have enquired at a lighting shop about them and of course read up about them, but the more I learnt, the more confused I became, the main point being do we need new transformers or not to put in LED lights. I concluded it was preferable but not essential. I put it in the too hard basket, and we decided we would do something when one needed replacing. Amazingly the light in each bathroom has lasted 17 years, since the building was new. They are glass covered, so that may make a difference, but they certainly get plenty of use. The two in the kitchen have been replaced, as have their transformers by yours truly.

Now I dislike bits of advertising material falling out of newspapers and magazines, however, one caught my eye. It offered  replacement of halogen lights with LED including transformers for $27. In the fine print I noted there was a service fee of $30 if less than ten lamps were replaced.

A phone call to the company and within two days we had the four LEDs installed and we are very happy with them. They are brighter, cooler and use a tiny amount of electricity.

You can pay anywhere between $25 to $70 to have LEDs fitted to replace halogen lights but this scheme is subsided by the government. The company is called Embertec and I recommend it. It also supplied our tv shut down power saving devices a few months ago. They are very professional. The total cost was $140 for the four replacements.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Who is she?

Two more celeb photos from

The first is the very recognisable Mr Spock from Star Trek, the actor being Leonard Nimoy.

But who is this stage hoofer? She is still alive.

Here she is, at home, doing something normal people do. You can't work it out?

Got it? No? Does colour help?

It wasn't until I showed R this photo that he worked out who she is.

I will add a recent photo once someone answers correctly.

Later edit:

Rubye was the first to correctly guess it is Betty While, best known for her role as Rose in The Golden Girls, a US sitcom from the nineties. Any gay male who does not know now who she is better hand in their gay card as they exit the building. 

Here she is as most of us will remember her as the naive and dipsy member of the house of women with Swedish heritage . Unfortunately most of the photos of her from back them seem out of focus. Funny about that.

Here she is more recently. I believe she was in Australia in 2010 to promote her auto-biography written by herself about herself. (go on Victor, if you dare. At least I warn you now) After seeing her on tv, I thought she was a bit past it and going through the routine and somewhat pathetic. I am all for old people being out there, but in her case I don't think it worked.

She made an ad for New Zealand, last year I think. It is late at night now and this is new to me, so I will watch the ad tomorrow but if you want to see it, it's here. I'm off to sit on the lanai for ten minutes and off to bed.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Navy, lost at sea

A conservative government bashing our national broadcaster, our ABC, again. Who would have thunk it. Prime Minister Abbott says the ABC is on everyone's side except Australia's.

I too am a quite sceptical about our navy making refugees hold hot engine pipes and being burnt as they were towed back to Indonesia. The ABC reported the story and showed photos, but of course they could not verify the story and made that quite clear. Is The Abbott saying the allegation by the refugees should not have been reported? Our ABC just reported. It did not say the story was true and made it quite clear that the story was unverified.

It has been proved that our navy illegally went into Indonesian waters to return refugees. Australia has had to apologise to Indonesia. Our ABC has reported the matter, but ABC presenters' comments have been a little cynical and so they should be. The Abbott minions have mentioned rough seas and ship equipment failure for the incursion.

Come on. Do any of us really believe that in 2014 an Australian navy ship does not know exactly where it is?

A Bus Awash

I think this is the third repost of a favourite photo of mine, the Blackpool tram in the swirling waves from the Irish Sea but I also add another, of a bus attacked by the waves in Blackpool. When we were in Blackpool in 2008, sea defences were being improved and as I have not heard the city mentioned in the news over the period of wild and windy weather in England, I guess the work was successful. One seaside town had just completed sea defence work and the defences thoroughly failed. Shades of Japan's inadequate tsunami defences.

Blackpool now has very modern trams, replacing the quirky older models such as the open air boat tram, the open topped double decker, along with the more conventional double decker such as the one we road on, similar to the one below but older. Photos from the BBC.

This is the type of tram that you will now travel on in Blackpool, a tram made by Bombardier, which has made many trams here for use in Adelaide and our newest Melbourne tram. Finally I have cleared my confusion about Bombardier. It is Canadian company with its headquarters in Germany. There is only one tram route, along the seaside for 18 kilometres. A lot of work was done and money spent in preparation for the arrival of the new tram. The system was shut down for a whole winter and some. Photo from

We rode on the double decker. It was fun at the top and front peering through the salt sprayed windows. The following photos are from Wikipedia.

The Blackpool to Fleetwood tram is the oldest continually operating tramway in the world, so I've heard. This is the boat tram, decorated for the Blackpool Illuminations. Imagine ten kilometres of lighting as a public spectacle, and using over one million lights. The Illuminations happen over the month of October.

An open topped single decker.

And an open topped double decker, so appropriate for English weather.

If you have not ridden on a Blackpool tram and you ever have the chance then do so, but be prepared for them being driven ponderously slowly in comparison to Melbourne trams.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Party

We avoid parties, unless they are hosted by someone we know well. Actually, we don't really get asked to them anymore. I'll call him Sech, as he is ethnic Indian, 50 years old and looks about 35. He plays competitive soccer and is quite nice looking and speaks English almost like an Australian.  His partner is 70+ gay white male and they live in a modest house in the inner suburb of Richmond, which would be worth a lot of money as Richmond has become a very desirable suburb. It is south of Swan Street towards the river, and east of Church Street, on a hill. You can see the city buildings over the rectangular sports stadium from the street.

This is not unusual, but as well as his older partner, Sesh has temporary boyfriends, usually from Asia. He ran a recent marathon in Penang and someone he met along the way who is now staying with him here in Australia while on holidays.

Our friend, who checked with Sech if we could attend the party said, Sech will get drunk and we won't eat until ten o'clock so we shall dine first at the Palmerston Hotel, near your place. Our Bother Friends dined with us too at the hotel but did not come to the party. As we arrived, why are you so late, the question was asked. It was explained that we had already eaten.

Now I really don't like parties. If I am to attend one, I need wine, lots of wine. We did take a bottle of wine, but probably drank more than one. R was driving, so he was his usual moderate self.

We had a terrible fight in the car between the pub and where we had dined and Sesh's abode. I had already looked the address up on Google Maps on my phone, but R was insisting on using the sat nav, which I didn't really know how to work immediately. Thirty five years of argument history came up in a fifteen minute drive. Such is life.

We snaffled the last parking space in the street. Parking in Richmond is problematic now. At the eastern end of the street is a large park, which I know nothing about but will investigate in the future.

As our friend said, Sech did get drunk but he functions and the meal was served at 10pm, but how regretful we were that we ate earlier, when the delicious smells of curry were wafting about. Everyone else hoed into the tucker, but we already sated guests did not. I have no issues with a meal at 10pm occasionally.  I was so wishing we had not eaten earlier and had an appetite.

Oh yes, there was a gorgeously friendly dog in attendance too. The women's final of the Australian Open was on the tv and it kept peoples attention until the game concluded. I said, if Li cries, I will too. She didn't and nor did I.  As parties go, it wasn't a bad one.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Work Blue*

I had a serious disagreement with someone at work. He is not someone I see often and he has suffered a bout of cancer and his appearance has changed a lot and I did not initially recognise him, but his behaviour was poor form and I told him so, half way through realising who he was.

This evening I was checking my personal Facebook page, that I essentially use for family stalking, and I discovered a couple of weeks ago he, no doubt searching for me by name, has sent me a friend request.

I feel a bit sorry for him really. But I have no regrets about speaking my mind and I would not have approved him as a friend anyway. No wonder I have barely have any Facebook friends.

If you are my friend on my personal or Highriser Facebook, that is because I either know you or we have a good connection and I like you. I don't think there is anyone on my Blog Roll who I would not have as a Highriser friend.

*Blue is an Aussie term for an argument or disagreement.

Revisting Berwick Gardens

Remember when we visited Wilson Botanic Park in Berwick mid last year. The gardens were lovely but of course the roses weren't blooming then. Some time in early December we re-visited the gardens, after the full show of roses. R's back was playing up and we did not have a lot of time to investigate the garden to its full extent, but we will revisit.

The roses were past their full flowering period, but you can imagine how stunning the gardens must have been at the height of the blooming period.

R's back did not stop him bending over to smell the roses. So few had much of a scent.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Is it the 27th already?

Aborigines fought for our (Australian) flag. I heard that somewhere but I forget where or the context. No matter. I doubt many Aborigines think well of the Australian flag. To them it probably represents many of the wrongs of the past.

A radio presenter friend has a new phone answering person. R spoke to her on the phone one day and she was absolutely lovely. Our friend tells us that she has two exceptionally attractive sons in their twenties. She is what is, or was known as a Burgher, in the colonial country of Celyon, now Sri Lanka. Burghers, a mix of Sri Lankan and Portuguese are normally pale skinned, but not always. They were often schooled at Catholic church institutions, and so speak English very well.

From knowing many Anglo Indians and Burghers from Ceylon, they regret when the British left their colonies and left them to their own devices.

While I know there were many wrongs done to colonial countries, Australia included, by our then British masters,  we and some of the former colonies have inherited some very special laws and manners of governance from Britain that should be treasured.

In some ways I dislike the self satisfied Australia for so many reason, but then I take full advantage of it and live a quite comfortable life in Australia.

Australia was Aboriginal first before Britain invaded the country, and that is exactly what happened, so I don't mind if Aborigines want to protest about Invasion Day. The facts and our mistreatment of the native population cannot be denied. But we are here now for good and bad and we are all Australian. 

The Headmaster wrote a note on Australia's report card: Could to better but natural talent and luck makes Oz an ok place. 

PS This should of course been posted on Australia Day, yesterday, but in typical Australian fashion it is up the day after, on the public holiday for Australia Day.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday Selections

Check to see if River, Jackie and Elephant's Child have posted a Sunday Selections.

This little whimsy was on a concrete wall at QV. I suppose it is Christmas related.

Before Christmas we bought flowers and arrived home to find a bunch from R's Sister. In time most of the flowers from his sister died, except the lilies, which R combined with the others we had bought. 

Outside Hamer Hall is a new walk of stars of the performing arts. This one is for ballet dancer and choreographer Steven Heathcote.The markers are somewhat underwhelming.

A tweet from Yarra Trams informed me of a delay to Flinders Street tram services because of an ill passenger. The passenger must have been very ill, with many police cars and ambulances attending. Not so great for people relying on trams to get to the tennis.

The Australia Hotel is no more, but there still is an Australia Arcade. This bin looks quite old, especially because it has a receptacle for cigarette butts.There were more of them. I wonder how old they are. Could they be from the Australia Hotel?

We thought the crowd had gathered to watch a game of oversized chess. Normally the crowd is much smaller for chess. We were pleased that we checked what people were looking at, as we caught the tail end of Sven's performance. 

I thought he looked Scandinavian, and so called him Sven, but as he went around collecting money for his performance, he kept saying 'merci', so I can only conclude he is French. Calmez-vous, Mme. Grace.

What sort of woman knits up yarn and then goes out to yarn bomb the City Square? Exactly as I'd imagined, well nourished women of a certain age. I saw them putting their works in place a few days earlier. What a way cool thing to do. In 40 degree heat, no poles will feel a chill.