Saturday, November 01, 2014


A week of 5am rises this week has left me feeling a little very ratty this Saturday evening. Fortunately tomorrow is a later start and I will sleep in, until about 6.30. Driving home from work was such a trial. I swear if I had a gun in the car there would be a few less stupid drivers on our roads.

I hope you enjoy tomorrow's post. It was a pretty good day, although family is always exhausting but without Mother around, less exhausting.

A retired priest acquaintance makes many Christmas cakes at this time of the year, I think for charities to sell. Mid cake making he left his flat and was found in his apron wandering the streets of Armadale in a confused state. He had suffered a stroke and is now in a private rehabilitation hospital. If he remains there for a while, we will visit him.

I just had a call from our local Labor Party candidate. Of course I know your name, comrade. He will probably get my preference, although in my present mood, I will just pay the fine for not voting. Having had my electorate changed, I haven't caught up with candidates as yet, apart from the Liberal sitting member, the well known Clem Newton-Brown who once made a comment on my blog. Clem, East West Link is a bad idea and a waste of money. Prahran did have a secondary school until Kennett shut it down and sold off the land. The daytime clearway in Punt Road might be good, but I suspect it will just move congestion points to elsewhere.

We visited our travel agent last week to discuss next year's holiday. Oh the cost. Poor poor nieces and nephews. There will just not be any money left when we die. The Highrise will be mortgaged to the hilt. To give you some hints, there will be a train ride in some mountains, a big waterfall and a city that never sleeps. it will be nice for just the two of us to travel without travelling companions.

I tried to improve the look of my blog by re-arranging things and with a new and a cleaner look. It was a disaster. I think it is back to how it was, almost, and I am now telling myself, if it ain't broke it don't need fixing.

It is two weeks since I have washed my sheets. Tomorrow will be two weeks and one day and no immediate sign of me saying it is one day since I washed my sheets. 

How old is the new car? A couple of months? Someone has already opened a door onto it and damaged it. I am trying to build some outrage, but I don't have the energy.

I just took a photo of a tram passing The Highrise for future use. While doing so, I noticed my left sock has done a 180 degree turn on my foot and the Bonds is now on the top of my foot instead of the sole. It's a queer thing.

Derby Day here. I won't even mention blokes' fashion but oh did I see some tragic women today. Clearly the best dressed women were not on my horizon. My vote goes to the woman who just crossed the road below The Highrise. She still had her shoes on, she was clutching her hat and dress simultaneously as a southerly blast came through and the fat old bloke she was with looked quite prosperous. Actually, I will mention men's fashion. There was a group of about twelve men at a tram stop in Commercial Road we saw when we were driving to Prahran to shop. They had floral suits on, and all with grey hats. They looked terrific and I saw them on ABC tv news this evening.

There must something good I could say about my life, something positive, something uplifting. Yes, I am sure there is.............

Memo to ABC and BBC

I read. I read a lot. I read a lot of electric newspapers quickly, but perhaps without much retention. But I am heartily sick of hearing of about problems in Middle East, problems in Africa, Ebola, the sweat shops of the sub continent, the lack of human rights in so many countries and refugees. I don't like humans, or animals for that matter, to suffer or not have a good life, but my care genes are all used up. So please ABC/BBC, lay off the ad nauseum wall to wall coverage of the worst areas, the Middle East and Africa. I am over it and I just don't care anymore.

And to pre-empt you public broadcasters, Australia does not need a huge coverage of American elections. Salient summaries will be adequate, thanks, and not blow by blow descriptions.

Friday, October 31, 2014

How to make other people's photos your own #101

Some times I save photos you post. It is not really about the quality of the photo, or the skill as a photographer. There is just something about the photo that really appeals to me. Here are a couple of examples. The first was taken by Victor of Someone 1 4 Me in Sydney's Centennial Park, I seem to recall. It was posted quite a while ago and is just such a luscious photo. I saved it and I had not forgotten about it.

The second was taken more recently by Walt of Another American in France in the village of Avallon not too far from where he and Ken live. It really is a cracker of a photo with such a trendily dressed young person in such an old village showing its autumn colours.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Observing the young men and their manners

As most gay men of my age would do, we watch younger straight men. Is there something a bit gay about this one? How nice could this guy look if he only did his hair a bit better. You can do sexy sagging of jeans but you can also do the silly sagging.

I was amused to watch a young man running for a tram, well more jogging. What really amused me is the young man jog to catch a tram is no faster than walking, but it looks like he is making an effort. Having noticed this once, I kept up my observations. It is quite true. Young men make an effort to speed up by jogging, but go no faster than walking.

A quite handsome lad left the tram. His mate stepped forward from near where I was sitting at the tram stop to greet him. They did this hand slap thing that I don't have a clue about and then did a man hug, which from what I observed is like an air kiss. They did not really touch each other when they hugged.  They were trendy young straight men, and after observing them, I feel terribly terribly old and out of touch.

Somewhat reminds me of when we last saw Oldest Niece at my birthday lunch. She neither greeted me nor wished me happy birthday, but I was very pleased she, her partner and Little M came.

We saw them off at Tradie Brother's place. I am inclined to do the dutiful kiss of the cheek, that I had to do with great aunts and grandparents when I was a kid and now at times do with Mother. Oldest Niece seemed to reject the dutiful kiss and go for a quite strong and embracing hug goodbye.

My first straight man hug was from R's brother in law's sister's husband. I got it so wrong and felt embarrassed afterwards. There was no need to press cheek on cheek. I didn't really know what was happening.

Kiss on the lips or on the cheek? Hug or not and how tightly? High five or hand slap?

Right, here is what I feel comfortable doing. Men don't hug. They shake hands. If you make an effort to dominate with a hand shake, I won't like you but your grip should be firm. I simply do not like limp wristed, weak handshakes.

Women, a soft handshake on meeting, which is like fingers touching and not a firm man handshake. On departure, maybe a cheek kiss. If I kind of know you already, we go straight for the cheek kiss on meeting.

It is all so complex now. It used to be so simple. I feel so old. I would love to know how you similarly aged people deal with all this. River, do you kiss your children when you see them? Victor, how do you greet your friends? I could ask more of you by name, but the list would be long. Feel free to speak up regardless.

Alas, I am just too old to be a modern young hipster and know about all these things. Here is a gratuitous photo of hipster and Melbourne comedian and actor Ash Williams.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Should I help?

I began to reply to this email and I was interrupted by something and did not finish the email. It is a little without salutations and politeness in my opinion and so I wonder if I should bother? Perhaps I could write a brief reply and see if a friendly politeness follows and I would then give more detail. What do you think? I would spend half an hour at least writing a reply. Am I being precious? Oh, yes, it did not work in the copy and paste, but her name and phone number were included.

We are thinking of purchasing on the apartments in an off the plan development due for completion around 2018 - 19

Do you have any comments about high rises and high rise living?  Any negatives and positives would be appreciated thanks.

Aus Design Rules

There are car design rules in Australia. The new Mini Minor to be imported into Australia had to move its speedometer from the centre of the dash, as it used to be in the old Minis, to a position that was thought more visible, closer to the driver.

One large 4WD vehicle had to add supplementary rear lights down on the bumper bar because it was thought that the normal lights were too high for motor bike riders to see, which was nonsense and the addition of the bumper lights rather spoilt the look of the vehicle.

Both of the above examples are bureaucrats justifying their jobs. 

What they did miss a few years ago was Peugeot vehicles with such dim rear indicators that could barely be seen flashing being allowed to be imported unmodified. I don't know how many times I have not seen flashing rear indicators on these Peugeot vehicles that were actually flashing.

Our new car has a reversing camera. It is just as well as because the sills of the windows are so high, you can barely see anything from the car. Our authorities are not game to take on basic car designs, but these high window sills that are found on most cars are dangerous. Your view of the external is quite inhibited. Each time we have bought a new car, the visibility from inside has become worse. Feel sorry for toddlers too who are sitting too low to see out the car windows.

I am not sure how the world has moved to design cars from form over function.  It is all about the design and the looks and not about the practicality. This won't get any better in the future. Expect sleeker looking cars with less side and rear window area and more dependence on cameras and alert systems.

Argh, I am still trying to get used to reversing by camera. As R said when he watched me reversing into a car space, you don't trust what you are seeing in the camera, do you. He is right. I don't but I am getting there.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A St Kilda Saunter

I went to St Kilda to walk out onto the pier to see how the boat moorings have been re-arranged. This is Alfred Square on the Esplanade. To the left and out of the photo is St Kilda's oldest house, a single storey and rather plain building. I've showed you the house before and I can't be bothered finding the post. You should have been reading then and remember.

Looking from the beach out to the pier and St Kilda's famous rebuilt pier kiosk.

The old boat moorings. I expect these posts will be removed.

The new moorings are on the other side of the pier return, that is where the pier turns to the right at the kiosk. This area houses penguins in the rocks, as our Friend in Japan once showed us. It was a nice little calm area where the leatherbacks* used to tan their crinkly old hides . I'm not sure I like this at all.

There was a strong and warm wind blowing from the north. It nearly blew my cap from my head.

While the need for this extension to the breakwater is not apparent in a north wind, I can assure you that you could observe its effectiveness when there is a cold southerly blowing.

Looking towards shore. Visible from your left to right is an apartment building on the Esplanade, Luna Park, The Palais Theatre cloaked in a covering and Edgewater Apartments.

A mosaic before the pier.

The crumbling Palais Theatre which our State Government will not stump up money to repair.

Luna Park and as is said, just for fun.

What was doing here. Ah yes, I had to buy some special light bulbs at the lighting shop. This is very nicely renovated Greyhound Hotel, host of many gay and lesbian nights.

My own local council of City of Port Phillip is made up of three amalgamated councils, Cities of St Kilda, Port Melbourne and South Melbourne. The name on what was once the St Kilda Town Hall is curious, because we don't generally call our town halls, city halls. The flag on your right is the Aboriginal flag but I don't know about the one of the left. St Kilda has a large population of of gays and lesbians so at appropriate times, the gay rainbow flag can be seen flying. St Kilda also has a high population of Aborigines, drug users, immigrants, backpackers and middle class tourists, Jews, prostitutes and the mentally unwell. If you live in St Kilda, you are either an 'interesting person', or you like to be among 'interesting' people. At times I observe children on their way to or from their private schools and I wonder about how they feel about living in such a diverse community, as opposed to their classmates who would mostly come from very wealthy white suburbs. Are they envied at school or disparaged for where they live? Do they embrace or reject where they live? It is nothing to see a famous person walking one of their small children to the local primary school.

*Old men and women who spend a lot of time maintaining the very dark tans on their saggy old bodies.

Monday, October 27, 2014

That was the storm that was

I would not generally say I am afraid of storms. I quite like them, with lots of lightning and thunder and a torrential downpour. I did not even mind being woken at 2am by the storm we had last night. However, when lighting went down the side of building and the thunder clap was sharp and deafening and the loudest I have ever heard, I was finding this storm disturbing. One more loud thunder clap and the action drifted a way a bit. From my bed I could watch the lightning dancing in the skies and listen to the rumble of the thunder.

All over by the time I had to go to work, but I don't know if our building took a direct hit, but none of the doors would open, including the one to the carpark or any other I tried. The building had gone into lock down with the only way out by pressing the emergency door button at the front door, and then you could not get back in. How do I get to work? Trams were not running yet and I would be late even if there was a tram to catch. I had to get a taxi which cost me $20 and of course my umbrella was in my car. Not happy Jan.

There are some quite good photos of the storm here.

Too big, missy

The area of Greater Melbourne is nearly 1,000 square kilometres. This takes in areas that are still farmland, but good farmland continues to be given over to housing. Melbourne has a population of around 4.5 million and astonishingly the population the grown by 25% since the year 2000. Is it any wonder we complain about services not keeping up. This population growth is simply not sustainable and must be curtailed and never mind us suffering a declining standard of living if it is not curtailed, we have already suffered a decline in living standards, as anyone who tries to move about the city knows.

Australia is often accused of being a racist country and at times there may be some truth to it, but generally we live in harmony which is astonishing given around 25% of Australians were born overseas. Given immigrants don't normally go to the countryside, this must mean a figure of perhaps 30 to 35% of Australia's two big cities city dwellers were born overseas. Maybe it is higher.

Australia has been labelled as having the fourth most expensive cities in the world. No doubt there is a basket of goods and services that measure such things, against the wages people earn. Or is it judged by the value of overseas currencies? Yes, Australia can be expensive if you stick to tourist areas but even in those areas there are bargains to be had. Pubs, or hotels if you like, can offer great food at very cheap prices. Asian food can be very cheap. Even accommodation bargains can be found. Clothes can be quite cheap too. However, if you like labels on your clothes, riding around in taxi cabs, fine dining and going out to clubs at night, you will find it expensive.

In my blog you mostly see the inner area of Melbourne. Once outside the inner area, there are vast estates of mostly single storey housing sprawling for many kilometres. It can be depressing to see, but I tell myself there are people living in these houses with happy lives and who are quite content. Some may never visit the inner area of Melbourne. It is not part of their lives.

Governments have policies of increasing the population densities in the inner and middle areas to slow the urban sprawl, when the inner area is already very dense and overcrowded, yet they won't fund the public transport needed to move people around and so even people in inner areas still need and have cars.

It's is all quite exasperating. Two things I came across recently. Japan built its first Shinkansen (high speed) train line in 1964. Japan was not a rich country then and it borrowed the money from the World Bank. Now Shinkansens shoot all over Japan at 320 km/h and this will be increased to 360 km/h by 2020. They are still extending the system with a line opening to the northern island of Hokkaido in 2016.

About the same time will see the opening of the Eurostar train line from London to Amsterdam. Australia has spent tens of millions of dollars investigating a high speed line between Sydney and Melbourne via Canberra, and we have nothing, not even a plan. Instead of the miserable airport experience we endure to get to Sydney and back, we could be there in three hours by train, from the middle of Melbourne to the middle of Sydney.

The line could be built in about 10 years for about 80 billion dollars, which is not a fortune for this rich country. The money could be borrowed very cheaply as we are such a good credit risk. But in ten years time when we are a city of 5 million we still won't even have train to get us to our airport, never mind Sydney. Actually we may not even need a train to the airport if we could go to Sydney by high speed train, but then it could travel via the airport too.

Governments! Bad!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sunday Selections

River just keeps coming up with her Sunday Selections for our delectation.  My photo cupboard is nearly bare of un-themed oddments, but here are a few.

R's unpaid workplace called him desperate for someone to come to work. As he did not have anything planned and in spite of my warnings that they will expect more and more from him if he succumbs to such calls, he went. To his surprise they called him back to the office when he had finished and they said, while we don't normally do this, we were desperate, so thank you, and presented him with a bottle of decent champagne and a thank you card.

Not sure where this came from but unlike the slogan says, it did not fit.

When I was taking photos of the memorial flowers on the tree outside McDonalds I noticed things were pretty messy in the street from McDonalds and Subway food place wrappings etc. Clearing rubbish from the street is the responsibility of Melbourne City Council, but do you think McDonalds has a moral responsibility to keep the streets outside of the stores clear of litter with their name all over it? These open topped bins are quite useless as ravens just hop into them and throw rubbish out until they find something tasty.

Oh, so there is no garlic bread with the pasta matriciana then my dear? Fortunately there was some more, so just a ten minute delay to dinner.


We have lift off.