Saturday, March 15, 2014

Dangerous Tram Loading?

Speaking of jumping on moving trams.....

This clip used to be on You Tube and I published it once from there but alas it has been removed. It shows old Sydney trams very effectively clearing the race going crowds from Randwick Racecourse in 1928. I guess if you are not so spritely, you hang back until the crowds have gone.

Some of the trams briefly stop but most do not. Click here to watch. Imagine buses trying to move crowds like that. Impossible.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The Red Army Gets Lucky

I expect if you googled Russian Red Army, you may find some horrible things. I know the treatment of new recruits can be brutal, to the point of death, but then that has happened here in Australia too. The Russian Red Army Choir performing popular numbers is clearly an effort to humanise the organisation and put kinder thoughts about the army in your mind. A form of propaganda? Of course I won't mention the U word that's been in our newspapers for weeks.

I couldn't make my mind up about which video to post, so you get both and you can choose.

I think visually this one is better and with better lighting, but I think they may have been performing for a Western audience and the sound doesn't seem quite right. How hot is the fair haired lead vocalist! I wouldn't mind getting lucky with him.

This one looks more original and the sound seems much better. But then the filming does not seem so classy and lead singer's hair is not as good as in the one above. Shallow, I know. You could watch both. I have a few times over the past couple of weeks while going about house hold duties.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Comeng Jumpers

A silly lad and his friends forced open the door of a Melbourne Comeng branded train. The lad jumped out of the train when it was still at some speed.

While not at such a speed, many is the time years ago I jumped off a moving train with its doors open, or a moving tram that had no doors. Many people did and they learned the technique of doing it. I think I could still do it, but describing it is hard. I think you face the direction the vehicle is going and step forward briskly or even run as you get off. I don't recall a massive number of train and tram injuries to people back then.

After all, trains had doors that could be open at any speed, and apart from the open doorways on a tram, the other side in warm weather would just have a drop down bar at about an older toddler head height. Astonishingly, people and kids did not fall out, although I recall the occasional pram shooting out the doorway of a tram as the tram turned a corner, usually with no damage to the baby.

Back then, I also saw someone skittled by someone jumping off a tram that was at a high speed. The old days were not always great.

So yes, you can safely jump off a moving train or tram, but not when it is going fast. The lad jumped off the train when it was still travelling at speed and could have hurt someone. He is stupid and more stupid because he put it on Facebook and alerted the world to it.

Our Metro Trains have massively over-reacted in advance and is already installing recessed finger grips to open the heavy train doors, as against the very convenient push handles that are on most Comeng trains. The big lever handles make it easy to use to open the doors for older and disabled people. The recessed finger grips are not. I expect the cost of changing all Comeng train handles will be over $100,000.

You can see the video of the lad jumping off the train here, but how often does that happen and how dangerous is it really. Teenagers heal well and quickly. I never thought I would say it, but we are really in a nanny state. People need to take responsibility for their actions and not expect the state to look after them.

Yes, I am in a grumpy mood today, abortion and train jumpers. It is my first day off after ten days of working and what do I hear? Motor cars racing around an inner suburban park, aka Melbourne's Grand Prix, is nasty. But I no complain. The race was here before we were, but I hated it and everything it stood for long before we moved here.

Keep Your Rosaries Off My Ovaries

It is almost euphemistically called the Fertility Control Clinic. Most people know it as the East Melbourne Abortion Clinic. It is not only a place where women get pregnancy terminations. Here is a line from its website:

"the Fertility Control Clinic is the leading private provider of pregnancy termination, family planning and reproductive health."

Now I doubt anyone could argue that abortion is a desirable thing. It isn't, but the alternative can be worse.  You may have a different view to my own and you are entitled to it. For what it is worth, I think it should be available for the asking up to a mid period of pregnancy and later in some circumstances. Note I said I think, based on nothing really, except I believe it is the woman's right to choose. But I think there should be some rules in place, as there now are.

Some people seem to think getting pregnant and having a termination is a pleasant thing. I am quite sure it is not. No woman plans for this situation to happen. While for very few it may be no more than a long doctor's appointment, I would guess it is a very distressing and emotionally draining experience for the majority.

What women going through such a situation do not need is to be harassed by a motley crew of anti abortion protesters when they visit the clinic.  Here is a snip from the Herald Sun:

"The Fertility Control Clinic in East Melbourne says patients have been intimidated by protesters for decades, called murderers and whores and told they were going to hell as they tried to enter the clinic."

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle, Melbourne City Council and Victoria Police seemed to have no problem getting rid of the Occupy Melbourne protesters in the City Square during the global financial crisis, yet none have done anything about the abortion protesters. Protesters is a vague word in this case. They have been described as intimidating bullies.

Can you in your wildest dreams imagine this harassment happening if it was men in the same situation?

Well, finally the FCC is taking Supreme Court action against the council for failing to enforce laws that would move on the protesters.

 Gawd love 'em. No one else would.

Give way to the Queen

The Queen Mary 2 is back in Melbourne. In my hard copy cruise ship list published last year, she was supposed to be here yesterday, the 11th, but she is here today, the 12th. This has caused complications.

Cruise ships normally dock at the lovely Station Pier. Station Pier is also used daily by the ferry called Spirit of Tasmania. Not a problem normally but also at the pier is another cruise ship Celebrity Solstice. Two cruise ships have at times used Station Pier, along with the Tasmanian ferry.

Photos from Visit Victoria.

Evidence. Two cruise ships and the ferry.

But I guess the pier is just not big enough for a normal cruise ship, the ferry and the huge Queen Mary 2. QM2 is the largest cruise ship to visit Australia and Celebrity Solstice is the third largest. No room at the inn. Will royalty precede over the more common cruise ship? For once no, and QM2 is docked at the industrial Webb Dock among shipping containers full of bits for motor cars. No leisurely departure from the ship, no coffee fortification at a smart cafe, no wander along the beach and catching the tram to the city for roam around our fine Victorian period buildings. No, those leaving the ship are being minibused away, past cranes, containers and other sundry port workings. Suffer the rich.

Photo from The Age.

Later. I made it my business to be in St Kilda later in the day as the QM2 departed, back lit by the sun, her grey silhouette looked glorious.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Speed is of the essence

How do you say Thalys? I say it Tarlis. Maybe it is Taylis. It is the high speed express train that will transport us from Amsterdam at the conclusion of our Euro river trip to Brussels. Train travel is not cheap in western Europe, but for an extra ten Euro, we are travelling first class.

Depart cruise 10.00, 11.18 Thalys depart Amsterdam, arrive Brussels 13.08, Eurostar depart Brussels 14.52, arrive London 16.03 (one hour time difference).

Now this is interesting. I put us on an alert list for our train journey from London to Newcastle as it was too early to book. At about 10.00pm many days later the email alert arrived.  11.00am is a civilised time to catch a train in London, as the the hotel check out will probably be 10.00am. £30 for both of us. We paid £24 in 2008. Not too bad. I noticed only £49 to go first class. That might be nice and we would not be in the company of that dreadful woman from Darlington who talked non stop for the journey north in 2008.

I am a cautious person. I got our paperwork out, double checked times and dates. 'R, come and have look at this and make sure I have it correct'. All good and click buy the first class, but the session had timed out.

I went back and our details were still all there. Take two.  Well, the first class price of the 11.00am train had jumped to £89.

These varying fares depending on on how early you book and what time you want to travel are quite mysterious to we Australians who are used to set price fares. We might book a few days before if we think a train might be in high demand, but then we don't really use trains to travel such distances. We are more likely to fly and yes, I am sure there are very cheap flights that could be had, but train travel is enjoyable and part of the holiday. Air travel is to be endured.

In a plaintive and whining tone, I asked R what to do, and with confirmation from R, I went ahead. So what did I do? Pay £89 for first or £30 for economy?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Primogeniture and ectoplasmic

My, they are big words and words I recently read on blogs. They were not out of context but I had not heard of them. Do you all know already and I am the ill educated one?

Pull the first word apart. ture, is always kind of an ending thing and of no consequence. Look at primo and gen. Gen might be gene, and it is. Primo, prime, first. Prima donna. Could I suggest prime gene? While I looked it up when I read the post, I have forgotten already. Prime gene is not telling me enough.

Here is what Wikipedia says.

Primogeniture is the right, by law or custom, of the firstborn child to inherit the family estate.

While in the western world this has been disappearing in more recent times, it does at times still happen, as it did to a friend of ours whose older brother inherited the family farm and she and her sister got nothing.

Now, ectoplasmic. While ectoplasm has a biological meaning, I think this what was meant where I read the word:

An immaterial or ethereal substance, especially the transparent corporeal presence of a spirit or ghost.

Yes, I can see how that could be used in a more general sense. However, I can't imagine that I will be able to slip either words into a blog post or general conversation. And that's my learnin' over for the day.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Helpful Neighbours

Jackie has a ripper tale about when husband put some eggs on to boil and then went out.

While it is a bit different, ABI Brother also had an experience of helpful neighbours. He was away, having taken Mother down to the Bellarine to visit Sister for a couple of days at Christmas. He returned home to find his power and gas switched off and food spoiled in his refrigerator.

Someone was walking past his place and he thought he smelt gas at Brother's house. He called 000 and the full emergency services responded, fire brigade, police, State Emergency Service volunteers and his gas company. 

It was ascertained that there was not a gas leak and no cause for alarm was found. However as a precaution, his gas and electricity was shut off. (Who ordered that?)

Brother took it in his stride. I would be mega pissed orf.

Brother with his acquired brain injury, ABI, is a strange specimen. He concerns himself with money down to the cent, yet has no compunction about spending $10,000 on a three week holiday following cricket in South Africa. He will lend Mother money, but she has to pay it back also to the cent, before he will lend her any more. Much of how he is now is a result of the rehabilitation by the Transport Accident Commission. I am not critical of them, because they did a marvellous job, but he is a bit strange at times. Before his accident, he had a mobile phone. That was more than a decade ago, yet he won't have one now. It will cost too much, he says.

For years he paid an ultra cheap broadband company for his internet, which  didn't really work, to the point where he did not really know how to use the internet. He now pays quite a high price to our big telco and has excellent service. He does seem to be able to email at least and do some internet things.

He will fly into Melbourne at 6pm on Sunday and we have realised it is a convenient time for us to pick him up and bring him back here where he will stay the night before catching the train home. I emailed his Cape Town hotel to tell him. Who knows if that will work. Who would have thought how difficult a nine hour time difference would be to make a phone call, but it has proved to be so. I expect Grace would endorse that last last sentence.

Then I realised it was Grand Pricks week and my work had changed. Instead of not working Sunday and Monday, I am now not working Thursday and Friday. R will have to go to the airport on his own to pick up ABI Brother. What seemed like a kind thing to do has gone wrong and all fallen to R to do.

Later: The airport pickup went well and ABI Brother had a great holiday in South Africa. His favourite  place was Cape Town.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Suday Selections

I am getting low on photos now for Sunday Selections. Too much working. Check what River, Elephant's Child and Jackie have posted for the week.

Funny old frame with a modern poster at Flinders Street Station. Normally I like such old things to be kept, but it just looks shabby. There are a couple of them. I wonder if Australian National Travel Association is still around.

It seems the ANTA is no longer around, but I have just worked out what they used to hold. A poster like this example.

 Third world problem, no lavatory.

I have quite a number of tools, but it is rare now that I need more than what is here in these two boxes.

These are great for fixing spectacles and for use on small screws such as remote controls. They came from the Two Dollar Shop, and guess how much they cost? You are all so clever to get the answer correct.

No not a new style of parking in St Kilda Road, but a crash.

We had a few days of warm humid weather and condensation was pouring out from the air conditioner. Rather than just drip from the balcony, the heating element evaporates the water away. I bet it costs a bit to run though. The water must reach a certain height in the tray before it switches on.

Before we tinted The Highrise windows, the reflected light in the late afternoon could be blinding and we would have to close the blinds. Now we only close the blinds against the direct sunlight in the morning.

Don't know why I took this photo of my bedroom and set it aside for posting.

Marina is not a ship I recall visiting us before.

The pumpkins outside Melbourne Town Hall have disappeared a couple of times and have been replaced. R took these with his phone and did quite a good job.

Why? I don't know.