Saturday, November 29, 2014

It's a petunia, petal

The cactus on the balcony has gone to god, well more like down the rubbish chute. There was not a lot to choose from at the large green shed gardening department. Apparently there is high demand at this time of the year. Who would have thought that. While I like the colour of this petunia, it was a bit leggy. I thought it might spread a little once it had free space around it, but it did not. Google to the rescue!

How good is the internet. I remember when the our computer fan stopped working and You Tube showed me exactly how to put in a new one. I took the computer to the shop for them to do it. Then there was our new air con unit that started dripping inside. A You Tube video showed me exactly how to fix it. We called the man back to fix it. Our oven door handle is loose, which requires the door to be taken apart to fix it. The internet showed me an exploded view of the door and all the parts and how it fits together. We will get a man in to fix it. Truthfully, I have lost confidence in myself to fix things. I used to think nothing of pulling things apart, fixing them and putting them back together. Now, I prefer to pay.

Nevertheless, I was prepared to take on the petunia. A little net searching told me more than I needed to know about care of petunias. I deadhead it nearly everyday but I have been doing it wrong. Pulling off the dead flowers is not enough as within the area where the petal grows from are seeds. These need removing, so you pinch it off a bit down the stem. But the stem looks ugly, so what I now do is cut the stalk above closest leaf. I wouldn't expect anyone to go to such bother if they have a mass of petunias growing in their garden, but when you have two balcony plants, you can be quite fussy.

So to remedy the legginess of the plant, I gave it a haircut and a week or so later, it has responded very well. Photo is from when it was first trimmed. Kill or cure I reckon.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Waterfall Fail

Or perhaps it is a perpetual waterfall, self re-newing. Kinder River is a short waterway in Derbyshire, England.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Karl Stefanovic suit experiment

It has been reported world wide so you may well about Karl Stefanovic and his suit he wore for three months (or one year?) on air and no one remarked at him doing so. I don't know much about Karl except he ok looking, co-hosts a morning tv show and once appeared drunk on air.

His wearing of the same suit for three months was to demonstrate the difference between how male hosts on tv are judged in comparison to female hosts. While he wore the same suit, the comments and criticisms of what his female co-host wore continued to flow in. It was an interesting and productive experiment.

While it does not say I am free of sexism, when I watch tv I pick on men as well women but there does seem a lot more to pick on woman on tv about. Why is it so?

Men's suits are disguises They cover over imperfections. All they have to worry about is tie selection and that their wife has ironed them a shirt. This is not quite true, as some men can look very hot in a suit but most don't. They just conform.

Let me advise on air woman presenters. Buy a good quality female suit, tasteful and smart. Wear it for every on air appearance. Reduce your make up to that of male on air presenters. Wear the same jewellery or none at all and don't change your hairstyle.

I hear them cry, but I want to look good and attractive and that is what my boss tells me I have to be. Well sister, it comes at a price. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Open Letter to Prime Minister Abbott

Dear M Rabbit,

It is well known that a NSW based Prime Minister does not garner the votes in our state that a Victorian based Prime Minister might. But sheesh, the admired PM, the late Ben Chifley, was from NSW and for goodness sakes, we voted for him. If you are a good Prime Minister, we Victorians can overlook state wars. Chifley was mostly a decent bloke.

Tone, mate, we desperately need money for our public transport system but if you say your government won't fund public transport for any state, ok, that includes us. Though Tone, the federal government has long funded suburban public transport, even that bloke Gough's party who's funeral you recently attended.

But now Tone, sorry, I am feeling less friendly, Mr Abbott, you have now said that you won't give Victoria $3 billion to fund an underground tunnel that is a bit more than just a tunnel. It destroys parkland, properties galore, involves ugly overground infrastructure and seems to mainly built for the benefit of trucking magnates. I don't think of it as being the Fox Tunnel for no reason.

That is ok Mr Abbott. We don't really want the tunnel, so you can keep your specific money for that. 

But Mr Abbott, I do not like to be threatened. I do not like you to threaten to withdraw $3 billion from Victoria if we elect the Labor Party in our state election, no matter what the money is spent on, allocated or withdrawn.

Prime Minister Abbott, do not threaten Victorians like that. We will vote how we will and you must deal with the result. If ever a politician was poorly advised about a media statement, you were on this one. You are Prime Minister of Australia, not Prime Minister of Canberra and New South Wales. You have done little for Victoria, rarely been here and I think that will be reflected in the result for the next federal election. Politicians of your standing are not normally so stupid, but I think you have really alienated the Victorian state vote.

Your citizen,

Andrew Highriser.

The visiting currawongs

Birds seen from the balcony:

Unidentifiable bird of prey
Yellow tailed black cockatoos

Unwelcome birds landing on the balcony:

Indian mynah
Pigeon or dove

Good birds landing on the balcony:

Sulphur crested cockatoo
Butcher bird

Birds landing on someone else's nearby balcony:

Long billed corella

And now the latest. Remember how I said I'd recently noticed the call of currawongs for the first time, although others commented they have been around for a long time. Well, here we go. Currawongs are now added to the list. They seemed to balcony hopping, probably looking for spiders. We surface spray our balcony railings to discourage spiders, but once the spray wears off, spiders quickly return. I sure other balconies have very high spider populations.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The people, oh the people

In about 1982 we were living in East Malvern and traffic was quite heavy in Waverley Road where it joined Malvern Road. A year or two later the South Eastern Freeway was extended further inward to Toronga Road and lo and behold, the traffic in Waverley Road was gone. How good are freeways! Yet, a decade or more later I was in the area and inexplicably, Waverley Road was even worse than it had been ten years earlier. That is two lanes of inbound to the city traffic sitting stationary. Why aren't they on the freeway? Oh, that is two lines of stationary traffic too.

Then came City Link, which is marvellous unless you want to use it in peak times. My teeth gnash as I sit in stationary traffic and know I am paying directly from my pocket for the experience. Liberal Party politicians are fond of saying, what would Melbourne be like without City Link and a widening of the pay roads they took over from the government that were previously free to use. I would suggest during peak times, the traffic would be no worse.

I think it was before City Link when the Ring Road opened. Almost from day one it was disaster. It wasn't too long before it had to be remade and widened, and is still a horrible road to drive on and is regularly congested.

The Calder Interchange on the Tullarmarine Freeway used to get horribly congested and the government spent millions re-designing it and the design was good. But guess what. It now gets horribly congested.

The government spent a huge amount and caused a long period of inconvenience while it had the Monash Freeway widened and improved. Yep, that would be the road you sit on in your barely moving car. 

Sister was the first person to drive me along the new Hallam bypass some years ago. We agreed, two lanes in each direction did not allow for an increase in traffic and my hasn't traffic increased, to the point where cars more often than not in peak traffic are stationary.

Let's build a bypass around Geelong. Well, many cars use it, but traffic along the main route through Geelong but I would suggest it is no better and just as congested as ten years ago.

But this is the clincher for me. When we first moved to The Highrise some Friday nights the traffic would get into a horrible mess, with traffic banked up down St Kilda Road and and cars from Toorak Road blocking up the intersection and I thought it was a bank up of traffic trying to get onto the West Gate Freeway. When the entrance to the West Gate Freeway was redesigned and built at a huge cost and with the addition of massive flyovers, I thought the problem would be solved. It was not. The traffic below The Highrise is in a mess every night now. It is the sheer volume of traffic. My journey time from work to home has increased immensely. I am really not happy.

A huge expenditure on public transport is needed, but that will only ameliorate the problem. The real problem is the the huge population growth, mostly from immigration, permanent and non permanent. While a higher birth rate is regularly mentioned, what is not pointed out is that is immigrants with the higher birthrate.

Australia has built its economy, and quite successfully so far, on a Ponzi scheme of huge population growth.  Meanwhile, we suffer a lowering of our living standards by such a high population growth. Ponzie schemes eventually collapse and I have no reason to think Australia won't at some point in the future. Eventually our major cities transport systems will just grind to a halt, that is the roads, the trams and the trains.

The answer? Stop population growth. It will mean a collapse of many industries and as we are a rich country, we will assist all of those affected. We then catch up on infrastructure by borrowing money at very low interest rates because we can and then perhaps think about increasing our population.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Myki for visitors

If you are a visitor to Melbourne or parts of Victoria and you want to use public transport, you need a Myki (money) card. You can buy these from machines around the city at tram stops, at railway stations and from newsagents and convenience stores for the cost of $6 for an adult card or $3 for concession and seniors.

Put some credit on the card when you buy it and touch the card on when you board a train, tram or bus, and touch it off when you leave a train or bus. There is no need to touch off when you leave a tram as the fare charged automatically defaults to the minimum payable*. That is all you need to know really. You don't need to know how it works. It just does. Make sure you hold the card still and not look like a tourist by waving or moving the card all over the place.

How much money to put on your Myki? Adult $25 will last you three days and allow you to travel on public transport each day for the day. $12 would be enough for people of a certain age for the same. 

Ok, you want to know a bit more. The fares that will be deducted will be either a two hour fare or a daily fare. It does not matter which form of public transport you are using. The system is inter connected for all trains, trams and buses and within the two hours or within the day, it does not matter how many times you use public transport or what type of vehicle (note that, Sydney).

These prices are for an adult and seniors or pensioners are correct at this date. There is not a concession or senior's fare for overseas visitors excepting child fares. Interstate visitors with a State Seniors Card can buy concession tickets as can interstate age pension card holders.

Full fare first then concession and seniors fare for travel in Zone 1 which covers an area of about twelve to twenty kilometres, or seven to twelve miles, radiating from the city centre.

2 hour $3.58 and $1.79
Daily $7.16 and $3.58

Weekends and public holidays:

$6 capped full fare and concession as above. Victorian seniors travel free on weekends. Interstate seniors pay concession fare.

* It becomes a little more complicated if you only travel in zone 2 on a tram, but few visitors to Melbourne ever will.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Countdown's 40th

The child me always urged my Pop to get home by six o'clock Sunday night from what inspired outing we had been on to watch Zig and Zag on tv. The young adult me urged R and our friends to get home by six o'clock Sundays to watch Countdown. I expect we chatted through the boring bits and most of it was, with very second rate pop performers, but for the all the dross, it was memorable on so many occasions.

ABC TV has shown the first part of their 40th anniversary tv show of Countdown, hosted by the marvellous Julia Zemiro. I an not sure if I want to thank our ABC or accuse them for milking the show for all its is worth so many years later. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the anniversary show and I was there at the time, watching the screen. While you may hear 'f*** my bitch' in modern pop songs and see extraordinarily overt gyrations by scantily clad women on tv now, it was not so back in the days of Countdown. It was all done in such good taste with nary a reference to anything sexual as you can see in this brief clip. Did this go to air? I don't remember it. I think I would.

Part 2 of the Countdown anniversary show screens tonight on our ABC.

I think the already poor quality video has been further reduced once uploaded to blogger. I will add this You Tube video which will be deleted in a couple of days.