Saturday, February 08, 2014

The Home War Front

Rogue parliamentarian Jeff Shaw spoke on the news. R spoke how he hated people who spoke in reasonable voices and in a very controlled manner. I wondered if he was referring to me. R poured his third pre dinner drink and it was on for young and old. Well that was last night. Tonight he cooked a lovely meal. I dined alone and he left his and went to bed with a door slam. Time always heals, but the process is not nice.

I am not sure why we have to endure such weather conditions when we are so far south of the equator, but we do.

Living under a conservative government

What a curious and odd thing is happening in Western Australia. We land based critters, known as humans, go into the water and get eaten by sharks in their environment, a couple of people a year it seems in Western Australia.

WA Premier Colin Barnett stands tall for the citizens of WA against the destruction of his population by shark attack, with at least six of his citizens lost to sharks during his term in office. Given voting averages, about three people who voted for him. Hunt, kill and destroy sharks and he has set up a facility to do so. I think three sharks have been caught, and killed. Meanwhile thousands of sharks travel up and down Australian water coastlines. You go out into deep water, and you take your chances. There is little threat to people just paddling or swimming near the shore at beaches.

I suppose this is about the environment and apparently the Abbott government has applied to delist Tasmanian forests from World Heritage listing. What an extraordinary backward step.

I am not sure if our the correct title for him is Federal Minister for the Environment, but no matter. On the edge of Australia's Great Barrier Reef a private mining company wants to dredge hundreds of thousands of square metres of sea bed and dump it on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. I was alert and alarmed when I heard about it. The Liberal (Tory) (Republican) party Environment Minister has approved the project. I became truly alarmed when he said it was just picking up sand from sand and dumping it on other sand. Be afraid, very afraid on that one.

Of course the Liberal Party is always ready to attack workers' rights. And so has PM Abbott. He attacked the workers' conditions at a fruit canning factory, and has already been proved entirely wrong. He is a very nasty man.

I can live with a Liberal Party Prime Minister, but not a nasty and coldly calculating one like Abbott.

I thought this was quite inappropriate at the gay Pride March this year, so inappropriate in public anywhere really. Such language. Our political leaders are there to make the Australia a better place and while we may not agree with them, there is no need for such vehemence. But yet......I secretly smiled. Good on you man.

Just in case you can't see it properly, here is almost the full text.

Friday, February 07, 2014

Who is this this pretenious twat Pharrell who needs a spelling lesson?

I suppose when a song enters the mighty ABC Local Radio play list, it is time for me to take notice. Got to keep up with the younguns, you know.  Let me recall, what was the last play list entry? Otis Reading with Dock of the Bay? Well, there may have been something a bit more recent but it seems the play list is designed to offend no one, but often pleasing no one either.

Well, it looks like this one has made the ABC Local Radio playlist and received a Grammy award, no wait, more than one.

Album of the year:  Random Access Memories by Daft Punk.

Record of the year: Get Lucky by Daft Punk with Pharrell Williams,
It's a great and catchy tune, but the clip is bit boring.

Who is this vaguely attractive Pharrell Williams? Gosh, he is 41 years old. I hope I still look that good when I reach his age. Oh no, his son is named Rocket Man. It is well worth googling the very high achieving and talented Mr Williams.

He has his own song and I rather like it, and it is a really good clip. If you aren't able to catch the title of the song in the clip, it is called Happy. After watching it you feel kind of, happy. Yeah, happy.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Israel and Tel Aviv

The conflict between Israel and Palestinians is ever present. I have sympathies for both sides. I certainly don't like new Israeli settlements being built on Palestinian land. The whole 'who owns what' is such a hangover from British times when arbitrary lines were drawn on maps.  Britain may have built marvellous railway lines in their colonies and protectorates, but they did get it wrong in many areas.

An expression often said in Australia is, like chalk and cheese.

Within Israel are the towns of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and the cities could not be more different. They are like chalk and cheese. Jerusalem is quite religious, whereas Tel Aviv is a more free and easy place. You won't be surprised then to know that big business and foreign embassies are all located in Tel Aviv. Being a coastal city helps too.

Tel Aviv won the best gay city of the world competition in 2012. It may be because it spent a million plus sheckles promoting itself as such, to the point of sending gay Israeli dancing bois to bars around the world.

NB This is not a gay Israeli dancing boi but if he is interesting private dancing bookings with me......

A younger gay person who I know who has been there said he had a great time. An Indian born workmate who took his mother there also liked it. Tel Aviv really does sound like a good for western people visit.

But then I heard a term new to me, pinkwash.  Tel Aviv is a great place for gays, but if you are a gay Moslem, then maybe not so much.

Tel Aviv may well have sold its embracing of gays around the world with its pinkwash, but still the intractable conflict between Israel and Palestine remains.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Early days of a bathroom reno

Household Management managed to snap off my towel holder in my bathroom while he was cleaning. It was a kind of twenty centimetre wide plastic arm. It was not great for spreading out a towel. It was also yellowed, as old plastic does. Did me a favour really.

While most of the fittings in my bathroom are white, there is some silver, the cupboard door handles at least. Why not add some silver, brushed stainless steel to be precise. R, I have to work. Can you go to the big tin shed shop and get something new. If the width of the towel rail was made to fit, it could not have been a better fit. I am not sure why the woodwork looks brown. It isn't really. It is a high gloss two pack finish, eggshell?,  that has kind of changed to an ivory colour. We repainted a couple of years ago, but we didn't touch the the high gloss woodwork.

R bought the matching toilet roll holder too, much nice than old plastic one. I will leave out the bother of fitting them, drills, nails, hammers, spirit levels, stud finders, screws, plugs and then the repair, filling, sanding and paint. Just a five minute job really.

This is the next project, a new toilet seat and lid. I scratched it with the ladder it when painting a few years ago. It has become worse, not helped by R who thought needed a good clean and got stuck into it.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Hosting a dinner party #101, minus

We had two friends around for dinner. It has been years since we have done such a thing. Our dyke friend and our hairdresser friend came, with our dyke friend suggesting take away pizza for dinner.

But I stepped up to the crease and produced a very nice entrée of stuffed olives, cheeses, quince paste, houmous/beetroot dip and biscuits while we chatted. I then heated and browned the lasagne I had made earlier and set the table and put out the salad, condiments and dressings. The garlic bread was perfect. Dessert was from a packet mix, but the chocolate mousse topped by raspberries and cream was very nice.

Ok, that is a lie. R did all that. I helped a bit along the way, but it is best that cooks are left alone when working. I take notes when R is cooking, in case I outlive him. I think I have it right. Dessert always begins with frying up onions.

When I noticed our two guests getting up to pour themselves another glass of wine, I realised I am a bad dinner host. They had to drive, so that is my excuse for not topping up their drinks.

Our dyke friend brought dog Jack with her. That was fun. Jack is not a dog who is normally focused on food. But recently someone who looked after him fed him tidbits under the table. To our great amusement, like as you try not to laugh at something a toddler has done which is both naughty and funny, while we ate our dinner, Jack removed the chunk of blue vein cheese from the platter on the coffee table and was rolling it around on the floor, busily licking away.

I went outside for a breath of fresh air and when I returned, our Hairdresser Friend had spread out white powder on our black reconstituted granite benchtop and was lining it up with her her credit card. "Do you have as straw Andrew?", she asked.  It took me about an alarming two seconds to realise she was kidding. It was bi-carb for her indigestion.

I suppose you could call it a dinner party, but I think there is a good reason why dinner parties are so twentieth century.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Geelong Flyer

In 1938 a train similar to, if not this one, ran the Geelong Flyer, an express train between Spencer Street Station in Melbourne, now Southern Cross, and Geelong Station. The time to Geelong was 55 minutes and the return journey took 57 minutes. Uphill?

Photo by Ash Williams.

76 years later train technology including tracks and signalling has improved immensely with European, Japanese and Chinese trains travelling at speeds over 300km/h. Sadly we are not blessed with such train foresight in Australia but with the VLocity trains pictured below being able to travel at 160 km/h surely would show some time savings for the Geelong trip and yes, it is quicker and even the fastest train makes a stop that I don't believe the Geelong Flyer had to make.

In 2014 the trip to Geelong is 52 minutes, a saving of a whole 3 minutes. Are you impressed? You may be more impressed by the return journey to Southern Cross, the fastest being 56 minutes, a saving of 1 minute.

76 years of huge technological advances in railway operation and that is the best we can do, shave a minute or so from the trip time.

It will be interesting to see what the time the trip will take once the Regional Rail Link is completed. It will mean the country trains from the west and north will no longer run on suburban tracks, but on their own dedicated lines. The distance will be a bit longer but if there is not a significant improvement in the time the trip takes, it will seem the cost of the RRL at $4 billion has been a waste.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

A Fly Past

I wasn't home, but R took some snaps (along with an upside down photo of his face and a short video of his feet) of the Australia Day fly past by the Roulettes.


Koels are evil birds. They wake at daylight and for hours make a hideous and repetitive call. Destroy Will Robinson, destroy. (That may be a misquote)

Koels disturbed our peace at the Blue Wren Motel in Mallacoota. I moaned about the noise here when we were on our road trip last year.

Now I hear that they are in Castlemaine. Why didn't any of your climate change warners mention about koels coming south as the country warms?

A little further research and to my surprise they have recently been heard on the outskirts of Melbourne, at Ivanhoe.  You may think the sound is not so bad, but when it goes for hours, it is awful.



Most Koels migrate from Australia to New Guinea and probably eastern Indonesia and even further north, but some remain in northern Australia. During breeding season, they are found in northern and eastern Australia, south to about Nowra, New South Wales, although occasional birds are encountered further south.


Common Koels are found in tall forests and are common in suburban areas.

Seasonal movements: 

In late September and early October each year, Common Koels arrive in Australia from their northern winter homes to breed. The Koels leave southern Australia in about March.

Might have known it, immigrants and they just so should not be this far south.