Saturday, April 12, 2014

A laugh and dinner

Only $20 a ticket, plus $6 booking fee which is so annoying, we decided to see a Comedy Festival performance. As a long time listener to Tommy Dassalo's podcast, Little Dum Dum Club, I thought we might see him live, so we did. It was in a very tiny room at ACMI called the Games Room and consisted of tiered benches, most uncomfortable. There were about twenty people there on a Tuesday night and the performance was good, but I am inclined to enjoy two performers with a good rapport. One comedian on stage, with a small audience and being funny for an hour is quite a challenge, but Dassalo succeeded.

We had dinner at the venerable hotel Young and Jacksons and finished off with a drink at the rooftop cider bar where we had a chat to a pleasant young Irish lad who was either just being friendly or he may have thought two older gay men might buy him a drink. We didn't.

We were home by nine and while it is an effort to go to things at times, we are pleased we did.

Daylight Saving Botheration

Our clocks went back the weekend past. I finally have that hour I lost in Spring returned to me. I shall make a point of not dying during daylight saving time when an hour of my life is stolen. Nevertheless, I like daylight saving and I would not care if it went for the whole year. Who cares about daylight in the morning except cows and curtains?

The clock changing business seems to get easier each year. There was time when your phone asked if you wanted to update to the new time. Even the computer asked that, sometimes on the wrong weekend when the government changed the dates. Now they just do it. There was the VCR to change.....well many things. Not so now.

Our television and PVR updated itself as soon as they was turned on, as did digital radios. I had to adjust the mantle clock, the wall clock and the spare room clock radio. R had to alter his bedside clock. My bedside clock has a digital radio. I never know how to set the alarm on my clock when it is daylight saving. I know the clock will correct itself once the radio is switched on, but what do I do the night before? How do I set the alarm for the next day. Ditto phone. It seems with your phone, just set your alarm to the right time to get up the next day and let the phone look after the time change.

Digital clock radio is more problematic, but never say Highriser is beaten by technology. I switched the clock radio on and turned the volume to zero and overnight, I expect at 2am, it corrected the time. When a heavy and bleary eye cracked open at 5.30, it was very pleased to see the clock radio said 5.30. I knew it was 5.30 because I checked on my phone. The phone won't get the time wrong, surely.

Just the car clocks to do. Mine is easy, with a twist of a knob. R's is very complicated and requires a read of the car manual each time change. (I played with the clock while sitting in traffic on my slow journey home from work because there are too many people in Melbourne. I worked it out, but it wasn't easy)

Later: I forgot the microwave clock. It is a shocker to set. It took R and myself five minutes to work it out when it was new. Now we have forgotten. We might just leave it for a few months and then it will once again be correct.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Who is Dominic Cooper?

A Jewish lesbian comedian is not unusual. While Miriam Margolyes is an actor rather than a comedian, she can also spin a good yarn (tell a good story). I don't get the Professor Spout reference in the title. Is it something to do with Harry Potter?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Leave Replacements at Our ABC

I used to write a bit about tv and radio but I don't think I have for some time.

Generally when tv and radio presenters go on holidays, their substitutes are not as good as your favourite presenter who you are very used to. It is not a good idea to for presenters to allow themselves to be replaced by someone better, summed up by be careful who replaces you while you are on holidays.

At ABC TV and ABC Melbourne Local Radio, formerly known as 3LO, we have two fill in hosts at the moment.

7.30 or as we prefer to call it, The 7.30 Report, presenter Leigh Sales is on maternity leave. It was an interesting experiment having two hosts for 7.30, Sales and Chris Uhlmann, alternating nights. While there was nothing wrong with Uhlmann's presenting, he lacked the warmth of Sales and was quietly relegated to reporting from Canberra. He is now host of  ABC Radio's morning current affairs show AM  and he does a very fine job in the role.

While Sales is on leave, her replacement is Sarah Ferguson (not her fault she got that name), a first class investigative reporter and I seem to recall her reporting for radio current affairs too. She took a little time to settle into the role, but once she did, her brilliance at interviewing was a pleasure to behold, as politicians twisted and turned under her concise and demanding questions. I actually prefer her to Sales, but that is just personal taste really. Both are very good. ABC TV current affairs is awash with brilliant women.

Leigh Sales was a former host of Late Line, now on leave as host of 7.30.

Sarah Ferguson, somewhat more attractive than the other one.

ABC Melbourne radio morning's Jon Faine is Australia's premier Local Radio broadcaster. He has been doing it for a very long time and is very good at it. At times I ponder who could possibly replace him if he left. Fill in hosts have come and gone and I never cared much for any of them. But there was one who I liked who took on his task when he went on extended leave to drive from Melbourne to London with his son. Some six years later she is again filling in for him now while he is on leave.

Ali Moore lives in Singapore where she is a freelance correspondent and presenter for BBC World News and also works for Newsday and Asia Business Report.

I think she is just brilliant in her role as radio Faine's leave replacement. She is sharp, witty, warm, has excellent diction and a great breadth of knowledge, just what is required for the role. Of course there is no need for her to be attractive when she is on radio, but she is that too. Beauty, brains and the gift of the gab. Perfect.

ABC hosts need to be very careful about who replaces them while they are on holidays. Sales and Faine have both made very poor choices by choosing excellent substitutes.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

It went up like a Hindu widow

Last year after visiting Buchan Caves while on our road trip we stopped at the sweet little Buchan village for a bite to eat and coffee. I took a photo of the timber hotel dating back to around 1890. Alas last night it burnt down.

As this photo by Susie Edwards published in The Age shows, very little is left. Tres tragique.

Our last visit to The Bellarine

It was hard to believe it was a year since we had been to Sister's place, the last time with R's sister and brother in law when we stayed in a cabin in the caravan park. But there is photographic evidence of new things at Sister's and Bone Doctor's place.

We took an afternoon walk at Point Lonsdale Beach. This is looking towards the village and the lighthouse. Behind the lighthouse is the open water of Bass Strait with the calmer water this side being Port Phillip Bay.

'The Heads' names the narrow opening to Port Phillip Bay. On this western side is Point Lonsdale and on the eastern far side is Point Nepean. This photo is looking towards Queenscliff from Point Lonsdale.

No R, we shall not buy an apartment here overlooking the water. I simply will not live above a shop.

Sister has a new side and rear fence.

The side fence is tall enough to give them privacy when rinsing sand off using their new outdoor shower.

Year before last, 40 degrees and we were minding Little Jo while they were doing some sporting thing. The air con wouldn't work.  They have finally replaced it. It certainly won't wear out from overuse.

This is new too. They encourage Little Jo in all ways to take up sport, but she is not so interested. She does not take after either mother.

 New water storage tanks too.

Lunch at Dunes, Ocean Grove, looking out of the panoramic cafe windows at the surf school underway. I took this outside the cafe.

The bridge from Ocean Grove to Barwon Heads taken from The Bluff, with the caravan park below. Do you know your Seachange history?

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

A pretty large barrel of pork

I don't move in truck driver circles nor mix among those good folk of the leafy eastern suburbs. If I did, I might come across someone who thought the State Government's east west road tunnel across the north of inner Melbourne is a good idea. I certainly haven't come across anyone in my life who thinks spending $8 billion on the tunnel is a good idea, hang on the figure seems to have jumped to $12 billion.

This project has become a political liability for the State Government. Always one must look for either a payoff to someone, such as a trucking magnate, or votes, and I just can't see the votes in it for the government.  I am quite mystified.

The government has managed to get the story off the front pages for a time with some grandiose public transport initiatives. Our public transport seems to be becoming less reliable and more overcrowded. The train tracks, wires and signals are all very old and big money needs to be spent on them. Removing level crossings is also necessary so more trains can run, and that is very expensive.

Now the government has announced the virtual abolition of Zone 2 in the fare system, taking out $100,000,000 of revenue. This  is crazy. It will cost the same amount to travel one tram stop in the suburbs as it will to travel in a train for an hour.

Daniel Bowen ex president of the Public Transport Users Association has done the sums. To journey one station from Flinders Street to Richmond will cost $1.38  per kilometre. To journey many stations from Flinders Street to Pakenham will cost $0.06 per kilometre. While I don't think charging users from Flinders Street to Pakenham $1.38 per kilometre would be fair, the election promise just seems absurd. So who will benefit? Voters in outer marginal seats, of course. Well, unlike the road tunnel, that makes sense, although I think voters everywhere care more about a frequent and reliable service more than price.

Another promise made at the same time will see trams within the Central Business District and Docklands free for everyone. Of course if you arrive in the city by tram, train or bus using a two hour ticket, your ticket is probably still valid for at least one tram ride without paying more. If you have a public transport day ticket, you can ride on trams all day.

Who will benefit from this? Some overseas students who live in the city, and local people who live in the city too. From my observing of who is collared for fare evasion in the city, the overseas students are very reluctant fare payers anyway. There will no benefit to myself or R as we will still have to use our Mykis to get to town, not very far away.

Tourists staying in city hotels will benefit. They can ride around the city on trams for free, but they usually want to go to St Kilda Beach or Chapel Street, so they will have to pay anyway.

Who will benefit is office workers did not catch public transport to town and home again later, and who like to get about the city in their lunch break, and business people who like to lunch and use the tram to get to a restaurant. Are these people worthy of free tram travel ?

Some will lose, as our friend will who delivers documents from his city law firm. He is given an annual ticket to use trams in the city to deliver documents. He sees as part of his wages because it also covers him for his travel from home to to work and back. But I can't see his firm giving him an annual ticket if tram travel within town is free.

Living where I live, it is very much user pays. We pay dearly to live where we live. Everything for us costs more and we get much less benefit under the same council as when we lived in a house in Balaclava. Every so often I have a go at our at Mayors, now Amanda Stevens, and local councillors, now Anita Hovarth, about the unfairness of it, and they make soothing noises, but nothing changes. The building we live in contributes something like $130,000 in rates to City of Port Phillip and we get little value for what we pay. A very long St Kilda street full of free standing houses might contribute about the same.

Ok, I chose to live in such an expensive area, but I want a bit of fairness too, and reducing the fares for Zone 2 travellers and free public transport in the city is wrong. Trams within the city and peak trains from Zone 2 areas are already overcrowded. Both these election promises will make things even worse.

Later edit: A terrific piece by Alan Davies, writer for 

Monday, April 07, 2014

Mother News

Sunday before the one just past, Mother had her second Sunday 80th birthday celebration with late Step Father's family who all hail from a very extended area of Geelong. Sister and Step Father's daughter got their heads together and arranged a picnic in the Geelong Botanical Gardens. As it was the week before when we went to the Cuckoo, Mother got herself into a state of nervous panic, and the week before to the point it was infectious and we all thought it would go so wrong, but it didn't and we had a wonderful time. And so it was the same for her second birthday celebration.

Step Father's family treated Mother like royalty, not as someone to be tolerated like her own children do, and some thirty people turned up. There was some cash in envelopes, which made Mother extra happy. Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo organised it, along with Step Father's daughter. I was working and R would not go without me as he doesn't know that side of the family, well I don't either really. ABI Brother took Mother, so there was some family representation.

Mother had a fantastic time with family most of whom she had not seen since Step Father died some four years ago. There is clearly a strong connection with them. She did not put a foot wrong and remembered all their names and their family member's names. My eyes glaze over. I can't remember many of them. R has been dispatched to buy a pad of thank you notes for Mother to write to send to all who attended.  She was asleep by 9 that night and did not wake until after 10 the next morning. Nothing like an older person actually doing something to make them sleep without drugs.

Maybe I can slip this photo in without my blog being discovered by family. Mother always starts off with full make up, but it quickly vanishes. The day of Mother's birthday and the birth of her first grand child did not co-incide, but the dates are close. While nothing has changed and she still moans on, even she would say she had a great 80th birthday over two weekends.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Fab Photo

I won't repost it here, as I have with one or two of his in the past. Here is the link to a photo by Michael Blamey I really like. She seems so full of joie de vivre.

Sunday Selections

Check for River's, Elephant Child's and Jackie's Sunday Selections.

I like seeing the outline of old buildings on newer buildings. Extra good if there is the outline of a chimney. Strange, the site has been like this for awhile and I had not noticed.

Our friend in Japan gave us this plant years ago. When we moved from our house, we gave it to a friend. At some point we decided we would like back and he happily returned it. It needs little water and thrives in the heat.

Not so this ornamental chilli. R bought it for $8 instead of a bunch of flowers. It lasted a little longer than a bunch of flowers, but not much. It is so rootbound, the pot cannot retain any water.

A Crepe Myrtle at an office building nearby. I am not so keen on the colour of the flowers, but the tree is a good shape.

The camera did not do a bad job capturing these balloons at a distance against the rising sun.


Come quickly, R shouted as a balloon drifted past the Highrise at a distance of a few metres away. I was too slow, but it wasn't far away when I snapped.

The RAAF wastes money by flying The Roulettes over the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

The RAAF wasting even more money by flying an F18 over the Grand Prix, although it is ever so loud and exciting.

An outrage has been perpetrated at So Cross Station, perhaps better known as Southern Cross Station, even better known as Spencer Street Station. What is down the back from these nasty track suit pants and shapeless tops that clearly will not contain a decent set of bosoms.

It is terribly difficult to photograph.  I found from my reading that there used to be a viewing platform. I managed to stick the lens of my camera through the arm hole of a brassier and catch a little of the scene.

I shoved aside a rack of jockstraps and got the end of it. Half of it is one shop and the other half in another. Its relegation is an absolute disgrace. The mural was unveiled in 1978 after five years of work by the artist. It was in storage for a year or so while redevelopment of the station was underway and after a good clean was resited in 2007 with a viewing platform reached by stairs or a lift.

All that is gone now. It is stuck down the back of a couple of shops and very hard to see as an overall work. It is a shameful way to treat such art. I understand it belongs to the State Government and it is the responsible authority.