Saturday, December 31, 2016

I am Tap Tap Man

That is how R describes me. It seems I tap tap tap away at the computer keyboard.


ORQ = Old Rice Queen, an older white guy who likes younger Asian guys. Any connection I have ever had with Asian guys has been very mutual.  It pains me to say that there are some older gay white men who very much take advantage of younger Asian guys, who might or might not be gay. Often it is quid pro quo deal

I am on speed and the ham bone

If you are reading this, we are now connected to the National Broadband Network and it works. This is a hybrid system, an invention of our present government, where some will have first class fibre to home internet, and some won't. Ours is fibre to the building and then comes through our copper telephone wires. We have chosen to go with TPG, the company that wired up our building for fibre and installed electronic boxes in our basement. Mind, the NBN has boxes there too, as does another company and then a new empty electronic box appeared just before Christmas, but it is empty.

I will digress a little. Mother had her medical alert system connected to the NBN for free and she did not request it. NBN has run past Mother's place for some time and as I understand it, once you can connect to the NBN, you have 18 months to connect and then your copper phone system will be shut off. I called up about Mother's phone and when it might have to be switched to the NBN. The person I spoke to wanted her details, but I refused, saying I was just making a general enquiry. I received the appropriate answers. All good. In a remarkable coincidence?, the next day Mother was called and told by a technician he would visit her home on a date in February and connect her phone line to the NBN. She will be given a new phone at no charge and I think she may pay less for her phone service.

It was quite a simple process for us to connect to the NBN. It will cut our phone/internet bill from about $130 a month to $70. There is a one off charge of $30 and the modem was free with an 18 month contract. The data is unlimited and the speed up to 100mbs. I have just checked and mid afternoon on school holidays when it is unbearably hot outside, it is about 70mbs and the upload instead of Telstra's miserly at best 5mbs, is nearly 40mbs.

I ordered the service on the 23rd, the modem arrived on 28th and later that day a tech person sent me a text saying to call him when we received the modem. I called and he could do it the next day, the 29th. He arrived promptly at midday, plugged in the modem and the phone into the modem and then went to the building's basement and perhaps twisted some wires together and voila! We have NBN.

We keep our phone number, although it may take 24 hours before it is back to working order. Six hours after the changeover, we can call out but can't receive incoming calls. We have free calls to all Australian phones including mobile phones, with the exception of 1300 numbers, and 100 free minutes overseas calls.

While I am pleased to be free of the Telstra shackles, it was with some sadness I called and cancelled our Entertainment Super Bundle. I've been a Telstra customer for 40 years and an internet customer since they gave a very cheap deal on cable internet connection in the late 1990s when we lived in Balaclava. I am also a very minor shareholder. But unless Telstra can offer us something better, our mobile phones will be next.

This cable around the corner will disappear.

And it has. It is an expensive cable but very stiff and hard to store. To the rubbish room.

Sitting in this corner of the kitchen makes the new modem not so visible to guests. It can broadcast to the west wing of our apartment, that is my bedroom. Off topic, but what can you do with a leftover Christmas ham bone? Pea and ham soup, hence the soaking dried peas and amazingly I will be cooking.

Too big missy. It won't fit. I have handy hacksaw at the ready. Cleanliness in the kitchen is so important, don't you think.

It is now the Friday the 30th. R was banging on and on about why we could not receive calls on the home. Around 10.30am I called TPG. The technician said if our phone did not work 24 hours later, we should call. It was 22 hours later. After about 45 minutes on the phone, I was finally advised that the porting of our phone number could take up to 5 working days and I should be patient. We then went out. By the time we were home, a little after 1pm, the phone was working correctly. We should have trusted the technician. 

Yesterday after two failed attempts a month or two ago, and a fail by Mazda Service because of a change of our email address, finally I rid our computer of any programme that said Mazda and downloaded their latest application to update our sat nav and finally it worked. No longer are we warned after crossing the Sandringham train line in Greville Street Prahran that there is a level crossing ahead. The outbound red light camera in Dandenong Road at Chapel Street was removed many years ago, so it will be interesting to see if I still get a warning about that. I like Gattina's name for her GPS, Madame GPS, or something like that. We now call ours that.  

I really felt we were on top of matters tech.......until I decided to log in to the TPG website to change our generic password, as I had been told to do. About an hour later, the internet was not working. I spent the next hour on the phone to TPG tech support as she followed her script in front of her. It seemed I should have changed the password for the modem as well. The password was reset to the old one and I ain't touching that again. To note, TPG's tech support is vastly superior to Telstra's. I spoke to about four different people, and from their accents, they were all in the Philippines, but they were great and I could understand them. It was so much quicker to talk to someone than Telstra's laborious phone tech support. 

The desktop, the printer, two mobile phones, two tablets and the tv are now all connected to NBN. Is it in practice faster? Yes, for downloading video files. The very naughty Sven's videos arrive much faster, but for web browsing, not noticeably so, remembering that our cable internet was very fast.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Word Censorship

Moments earlier, the man stopped outside Revellers Bar when he heard James Bruce say "my n-----", Melbourne Magistrates Court heard on Wednesday.

This is a snip from The Age. James Bruce and his brother beat a black man severely. They are before the courts and the legal system and given they have pleaded guilty, we can only hope they are dealt with severely. A third brother tried to stop the assault. 

Still, what could be worse than a foster father killing his twelve year old foster daughter, as is alleged happened in Queensland. Also alleged is that she may have been pregnant to her foster parents' son. Twelve years old, she was. Horrid.

We had our own words to describe our native population for which we should be ashamed, such as boong, gin, lubra and more but so far as I know, nigger has not generally been used in Australia, aside from as a reference to American blacks. Perhaps American blacks is now too unacceptable. I probably should say, those of African American heritage.

But what I take issue with is The Age reporter, or The Age editorial committee, or the sub editor, which I believe has been outsourced to a New Zealand company,  not printing the word nigger as part of reportage. Clearly nigger is an ugly and loaded word, but that is not a reason not to print the word when quoting. 

Elaine Moir

(I had no text here. I think she died and in the 70s organised the air lift of orphans to Australia from Vietnam)

Boxing Day Christmas

Boxing Day had us headed along the M1 freeway to the Mornington Peninsula for another Christmas dinner. As we approached Warrigal Road, the road leading to largest shopping centre in the southern hemisphere, Chadstone, the two freeway exit lanes were stationary for about a kilometre before the exit. As we passed over Warrigal Road, cars were stationary in all directions. It was worse once we passed Warrigal Road. The traffic coming in from the east was single lane banked up for about five kilometres. Boxing Day sales were on, but on everywhere. Why would people put themselves through such as misery, never mind actually finding parking, to save a few dollars.

The traffic was quite heavy on the roads and we arrived late to Ex Sis in Law's. R had made the requested coleslaw and we had Sister's left over Christmas pudding to contribute. The afternoon was a mix of fine food eaten casually and much amusement. As said R on the way home, it takes children to make a good Christmas Day. We had bought a bottle of expensive Scotch and and box of chocolates for Ex Sis in Law as a thank you. In return they gave us a bottle of boxed champagne cuvee. What a pity the champers within the box was so much cheaper than the box indicated, the names were very similar. In fact the bottle did not perfectly fit the box. We didn't come down in the last shower but always remember it is the thought that counts.

I can't show many photos as they were nearly all of people. Little M received a bubble machine as as a Christmas present and wow, could it pump out the bubbles, that is until the fluid ran out or the eight batteries went dead. (R is suspicious about their agenda. I don't care)

Middle, pregnant with twins, Niece interrupted the celebration with for a sex reveal of her yet to be born children. She and her partner brought two large tall boxes and the sex of the twins was told by the colour and words of balloons released from the boxes. The first box was opened and up went pink balloons and It's a Girl. Chanting happened for the second box, boy, boy, boy, but it was another pink balloon release.

We had only been to Ex Sis in Laws abode once before, for Middle Niece's birthday, but I clearly remember how Ex Sis in Law's nasty dog attacked the party balloons. It seems the collective memory did not remember this. So no sooner were the balloons released than the dog attacked and deflated them. Fortunately someone was filming and the video is probably worthy of funniest home video entry. I might put it on You Tube so you can all see it. I have to think that through. The last of six balloons to deflate.

Nephew and his betrothed had bought Tradie Brother an inflatable Superman suit. They helped him put it on and slowly he inflated to a huge size. He pranced around and I can't really paint a word picture of how funny it was. His cigarettes were confiscated but he did get awfully near a rosebush. He did not accidently deflate, but purposely did so when he wanted to smoke. R wittily remarked to Nephew's betrothed, he will wear that to your wedding next year. He would if allowed, and if you hear reports of an inflated superman wandering on the Mornington Peninsula, that would be my brother.

We laughed and laughed the whole afternoon among maybe thirty direct and indirect family. Mother was going to go but then called it off as ABI Brother was going to the Boxing Day cricket test and transport was difficult and it was supposed to be hot. It was not hot and a cool sea breeze dominated and had some of us reaching for our stoles. We nearly bought the same bubble machine for Little M. Lucky we did not as someone else did.

We will get Sister's pudding bowl and our coleslaw bowl back later. We left at about four after saying goodbyes. The preggers Niece was cuddled up in bed with her Best Friend Forever as we said goodbye to her.

Cute guy count for the day, 0.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

La Morte

We saw the late Debbie Reynolds perform at The Palais in St Kilda many decades ago. She was a brilliant performer and I think seeing her for me was one of my very early adult experiences at seeing someone on stage. These days, 84 is a youngish age to die, no better than average. What can you do but deal with it with some black humour I came across on FB.

I was sitting at the tram stop at RMIT. Ok, There were plenty of trams I could catch home, but I just sat for a while, judging people. Yes, yes, no, no, yes, maybe, perhaps on a desperate night. It only happened a couple of times, where I said to myself, oh yes, oh yes, please. Take me, marry me. I want to have your babies. One of my school teachers once told me I had a good imagination. Not sure that I am putting it to good use. I didn't leave women out either. The highest compliment I could pay would be that, she looks interesting. My judging of men is much more base.

I think that while in this world there are some stunning looking people, ninety percent or more are just average looking. I being among the very average looking can take solace in the phrase, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. I never had far to fall and so looking older does not worry me overly much. Being too big around the girth does though but are skinny old men that appealing really? Oops, a blog mate's husband who we have met is older and I shall say he is trim and slim, not skinny.

It only remains for me to insert a picture of a good looking man and/or a woman, or both. I need to think about this. Personal taste is important but I don't really have personal taste in men so far as skin colour, blond or dark, hairy or smooth or whatever.

Ok, I lie. I like Latin looks. Smooth skinned and coffee coloured. Black haired and with a Spanish or Portuguese accent. Madonna has excellent taste in men. But really, I like a lot of looks, from cute blonde to punks, to Asian guys, to (get your dictionary out) scallies. Oh, and then there are African Americans with huge appetites and huge.....whatever. Imagine being 'bothered' by them in the middle of the night, constantly. Stereotypical yes, but a nice thought.

That is all quite instinctive, but what about women? I become much less superficial and look for quality but still attractive.
It is a bit funny that am considerate of my core readership and don't go too far when I am talking about men, gay matters, and sex, and even general life. The aforesaid core readership is around an average of 60 years old, so I don't want to offend my middle aged and older readership.

Except, I suddenly realised, I am nearly of that age. Hels gave me that clue, that my older female readership is not prim and ever so proper. These are not older women to whom I should show a dignified respect, but my equals. They have grown up in the same era I have. They have had the same experiences.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Machines and sexism

Does it apply in other countries too, where so many machines are known in the female form. I've given the matter serious consideration for ten seconds and have come up with the emphatic conclusion that knowing machines as female is very sexist.

Our last two new cars have been so characterless that they were never given names. Our previous cars all had names, male name but cars often received female names, so much more useful to use for swearing when the car won't start.

A few years ago local tv games show host Andrew O'Keefe, nephew of Mother's lust object singer the late Johnny O'Keefe, was filmed when drunkenly falling into a Chapel Street gutter with a cigarette in his hand.

O'Keefe is quite a high achiever by what I see on the tele box (I think that is Fen Speak) yet how interesting it was to see him humanised, fallible and susceptible to vices no less than the rest of us.

Perhaps in inanimate objects I like perfection but to be human is to fail at times. Our brains are huge and within our brains is not only what we have learnt, what is instinctive but our also emotions, our foibles and our weaknesses. The human brain is truly extraordinary, far above that of any other animal, yet in spite of that, it does not always work so well.

It sounds like I am about to establish an apologetic reason for Hitler's behaviour, but at least he and his cronies had conscious thought and it was a plan carefully thought out in an almost clever plan. Unfortunately for him, other clever brains stymied his efforts, eventually. Worse still is thrill kill. What on earth is in their brain that makes that happen?

Perhaps they have inferior brains, more akin to lower mammals, like the Australian dingo (a dog like creature) who once have sated their hunger by killing sheep, will continue to kill sheep, but not for the reason of hunger. They will abandon their dead prey and not return. Cats, not content to kill and eat, will slowly torture their prey to death.

(Well, that is interesting. I wonder what point I was going to get to? I must have been drunk)

Christmas 1

Christmas has gone on and on. I must break it into bite sized chunks. Christmas Day went down well. Nine people dined well, gave out gifts and then had pudding. Milky coffee coloured twin bearer niece cancelled the night before. Five months preggers with twins and you are not feeling well! How dare you! Her bright and bubbling personage was missed. Her half finished sentences and bumbling and blabbing speech were too.

R cooked a splendid feast. Our Hairdresser Friend gave R a tip. Cook the roast vegetables in duck fat. It worked. There was leftovers of everything, except for roast vegetables, much to my disappointment.

Mother asked what temperature we had out aircon on, as it was 36 degrees outside and quite ok inside. It wasn't really ok. It was too warm inside, the aircon was working at maximum and three times I pressed the 'powerful' button to get extra cooling. The oven was pumping out the heat, as were the human Highriser bodies who were very busy.  R and Bone Doctor argued nastily about the air con blowing on the dining table. R snapped and told me to turn the air con off. I refused. Nevertheless, Bone Doctor was wrong and R won a point score. Yes, the air con was blowing on a couple of people. I would have quite happily sat at those seats instead of at the head of the table :-P, and commanded a brother or two to do so also. Ah, they were sitting in those seats. I am not sure how it went so wrong between R and Bone Doctor. After everyone left, R was calling her for everything. Partly perhaps because she scooped up all the silver and gold foil wrapped chocolate dollar coins on the table into her bag to take home, as she did a couple of years ago. Charitably, I suggested maybe she gives them out to poor kiddie patients at her doctor practice. (Three days later, R got cheapskate BD to pay for our dinner. Tale to come)

Photos are important for blog posts. Dog Jack's mum has gone home for Christmas to be with her family in Launceston, so Jack is with us. Within the Highrise, he is great. Out on the street, not so much, as he tries to lift his leg on a bicycle, a car wheel, a building or a motor bike instead of grass and trees, and likes to take on a Rottweiler or two.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016



There is no doubt our Victorian State Government under Labor leader Brumby panicked about the drought in the noughties. A desalination plant was built in haste and the workers to build it named their price, via their union. Isn't that what conservative politics is about? Supply and demand?

Monday, December 26, 2016

Vale George

A very sad day. Even to my untrained ear, he sounded like a very fine singer. About ten years ago I bought my last cd, Ladies and Gentlmen The Best of George Michael.

One loves to wallow in memories

Tim Watson has a nice enough looking son, , who got into a spot of bother over drugs. Tim Watson in now a Melbourne Channel 7 tv sports presenter, but although he is now quite old, he was once a cute and hot AFL football player.

My Bucket List

My bucket list is not nearly as ambitious as that of Fun60 in London, but is is a list of things locally I want to see. It is here to remind me.

Victoria Gardens in Prahran. (done)

50 minute free tour of Federation Square.

River ferry upstream from Princes Bridge. We've done downstream to Docklands, the Williamstown ferry and the Sorrento to Queenscliff ferry.

Audio guided walk of Melbourne University (done).

See the meerkats at Royal Childrens Hospital.

Backstage tour of Hamer Hall.

Holocaust Museum in Elsternwick.

Boating on Botanic Gardens lake.

Walk the old Rosstown railway route.

Walk the length of Merri Creek (done).

My dear American and unfinished posts

While on holidays instead of posting a Flood Friday with unfinished posts I have become bored with, over a week I will post them all. The internet addicted Highriser on holidays is a dangerous creature. I was going to say, we kick off here, but that doesn't sound very Australian, so, we bounce the ball here. Don't feel obliged to comment, but please do so if you are inspired. Normal posts will not have the Flood Friday tag.

Votes NY, San Fran, LA.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Christmas in Melbourne

With it being daylight until 9:00pm in December, Australia does not really do much in the way of window decoration or street lighting for Christmas. The children should be in bed by 9, not out on the streets. But there are efforts at decorating in the streets. Here are a few photos I have taken over the last few weeks.

Christmas banners in the Greek precinct of Melbourne. None for Chinese in the Chinese precinct.

While we took Little Jo to see the Myer Christmas windows, the adults of The Highrise had already taken a look. It was a really good display this year and did not have the heavy hand of commercialism pressing down upon it as much as some years. Of course the book on which the windows is based was available for sale. The story is of a girl being taken by her grandfather to Lunar Park, an amusement park. There is some animation in all of the eight? windows.

The merry go round horse flies to the stars.

Southbank pedestrian bridge gets a bow.

Children found this very enticing in Federation Square. Not sure why as they could only stand there. Nothing else to do.

But Fen with her camera at the ready shows how a little lighting makes it come alive. Note, Fen has not posted on her blog since October, but you can find her on Instagram and Twitter, where she is quite busy.

Malvern Town Hall. Malvern is an expensive area about seven kilometres from Melbourne city.

Unlike me, again, Fen gets out at night.

Brunetti in the City Square, which will disappear for the construction of the Metro Rail.

Children queue to see Santa at the City Square. Not a bad place for them to rid themselves of an excess of energy.

The projectors for the light display on the Town Hall. We saw it last year and it was ok. Fen does not think it was anything wonderful. Once you see projections, I find they lose their appeal, a bit like fireworks for me. Living here, I have seen so many fireworks and no longer bother watching them usually.

Christmas themed flower displays, very popular with tourist snappers.

Melbourne Town Hall.

A rather odd 'Christmas Tree' in Melbourne Central shopping centre.

A bit more like proper trees, but is that the best QV shopping centre can do?

Lastly, our sideboard and Christmas tree, and Christmas Eve we laid the table. Bit of mismatching happening but given I very much doubt we will be doing it again, it is not worth expenditure on things that will get used once. R has excelled this year, perhaps because he has time to fiddle. If it is your thing, Merry Christmas to you, and if not otherwise enjoy.

I laughed: Tech lesson #157

I posted this photo on FB I came across on Twitter and the comments are slightly altered to protect the guilty. Tradie Brother eventually joined FB after previously saying it was evil and led to the break up of friends and family. He is a real prankster and is very amusing at times. He puzzled Mother for some time when he stuck fake flowers in a couple of her garden bushes. He admits he is not tech literate and only accesses the internet with his phone, and he plays the ocker bogan (chav or redneck) so well. He can actually write proper English quite well.

Me: A photo for Tradie Brother. No TB, you are too old to be climbing trees.


TB: Ihadadreammedobetter

Oldest Niece: you need to put spaces in dad

TB: How

Oldest Niece: The button that says space

Flip Mate

I have a Filipino workmate. I've known him a long time but we aren't friends. We just have a chat at times.

Once back in the days when I would participate in gay chat lines, yes Hels, IRC, I came across someone who was friendly and we chatted for a while and he then asked me where I worked. I normally don't say, but for some forgotten reason I did. He asked me if I knew A, a Filipino. Of course I did. The chat went back and forth and eventually I asked if A was properly gay. I am sure it wasn't phrased like that though. Oh yes, was the reply, he certainly is. Some time later, A's photo appeared in the gay press with a rather nice looking white guy while they were out at a venue.

A is tall, nice looking and seems to have a lot of Spanish blood, as some Filipinos do. He always had terrific thick black hair and the most modern styling of his hair, with a style and or colour change almost fortnightly. But something happened and suddenly the hair went flat and boring.

What happened, may you wonder. He married, a woman, and had children. He no longer pops a Christmas card in my work letter box, just as well because they always concluded with God Bless. Even in his old gay days, he was quite religious, a Catholic of course.

Recently I asked him his age. Straight guys are usually honest about their age. He told me an age which my mind quickly calculated to him starting at our workplace at about the age of ten. There is still a little bit of the gay about him. Does he have a bit of gay action on the side of his marriage? I don't know but so many I know do so, yet have a seemingly good marriage.

Being gay and being married and with children is a very Asian/Indian thing. It is not exclusively so though. Note the number of men at gay pick up parks etc with a child seat in the back of their car. We happened across such a place by chance in our western suburbs, and the number of cars there with child seats in the back was extraordinary. On recent holidays we came across another similar place at Batemens Bay, that is guys absent from their cars, somewhere in the bush and child seats in the back of their cars.

Word Grumble

Invoice and receipt....such a simple words. You pay for something and you receive a receipt to prove you have paid. It's a brilliant system.

If something is wrong with what you have bought, you can prove when and where you bought if you return it. If you are buying for someone else, no need to write the price down or try to remember the price. You receive a receipt. If an item is tax deductible, you have the receipt you have proof for the tax department. If you are a business person, you can put all the receipts together for later book keeping entry.

At times you receive an invoice, or a bill, stating how much you need to pay.

But now, when we are being asked to pay for something, it is called a tax invoice. Likewise, when we pay, we receive a tax receipt. Why this change? It is an invoice or receipt. Why add tax to it?

Just a reminder of my least favourite words, orientated and orientating. It is oriented and orienting. Why add unnecessary extra syllables?

Thought for the day: The only good thing about cheddar cheese from the supermarket is that it does not crumble like feta cheese does when you stab it with a fork.

The plans

I am on holidays for two weeks. Yippee! It will pass quickly. Saturday will be food shopping day. I have been told by Household Management that we must be at the shops by 8am. I expect many other people will think the same. Might be better to go at 5pm and pick up cheap unsold hams and other goodies. I expect some people also have that plan.

Christmas Day we are hosting for ten, including us. Preparations have long been underway, mostly by the retired R. I just say shouldn't we do this, or shouldn't we do that, or not do that. We will have Mother, ABI Brother, Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo, Tradie Brother and his son the Firefighting Nephew, former non dreaded, former dreaded nephew (dreaded as in dreadlocks) and Hippie Niece, aka, Firefighting Niece, or Chainsaw Niece, but now Aged Care Niece. With her will be her unborn coffee coloured twins. Firefighting Nephew's betrothed will call in mid afternoon.

I told R after the last time that he was not to do Christmas again, as he approaches 70, but is happy to do it once more. My goodness, the effort he is putting in. At least he has the time. Even with the time, I am not sure I would do half as well..........who can I call for catering?

Of course we had a lovely Christmas lunch last Sunday with our friends. But does Christmas end on Christmas Day? Oh no it does not. Ex Sis in Law had invited us to her place on Boxing Day for another Christmas lunch. After Mother insisting that we check if Ex Sis in Law has cooling, she has agreed to attend to see her grand children and great grand children. It will be lovely to see Ex Sis in Law, her partner, Middle Niece and her two daughters, toddler Little M and baby Little Em.

ABI Brother wanted to stay here on Christmas night so he could be bright and early at the Boxing Day test cricket. Mother reminded him that he had to take her home after Christmas here. Missed a minor bullet there. He is no bother though.

This evening Bone Doctor called from their home phone to R's phone. R was busy cooking me a delicious chicken schnitzel, so I answered. Why do people play games with whose phone they call? Apart from can we bring anything more for Christmas Day aside from the formerly discussed Christmas pudding and brandy custard and cream, is there anything else? Bon bons? No, we have too many of those already. The normally very even Bone Doctor sounded stressed. She has had a rough week at work, with patients not being at all obliging about turning up on time for appointments, this last day being the worst when her whole appointment schedule fell apart . Then after Christmas there will be the flood of Pap Smears, from women who can't seem to find the time throughout the year and save it for their summer holidays. I don't know the details of pap smears, but I guess it is preventative health. Sounds quite unpleasant to me but the dyke Bone Done Doctor is a popular person to do Pap Smears.

The actual point of the call, and as R will tell you, they only call when they want something, this time can we look after Little Jo on the second day of the test cricket when they will attend the MCG. Of course we can. As if we would say no to Little Jo. I will be Nasty Uncle and restrict her computer access. Maybe we will swim in our pool, make craft and drawings. We are are looking after Dog Jack over Christmas, so he will need walking and Little Jo will have to walk Dog Jack with us. Bone Doctor pointed out that Little Jo tries to do many things at once, including being on the internet. She will have her internet time here, but it will be focused, as will be other things.

My theoretical parenting is brilliant. It just never seems to work.

Friday, December 23, 2016

The ten quid note

I have seen this sketch before, quite some time ago, yet I didn't remember the punchline and it came as surprise to me. It is not belly laugh stuff and Dave Allen gives a very restrained performance. It is a stretch to say it is one the funniest sketches of all time. 2:45

Thursday, December 22, 2016

An apple shop in town

Opinions on the merits of Federation Square are often strong. Some, like myself, over time have grown to like it. It is a vast space over the top of what was railway yards. Within it is public art galleries, performance space, houses SBS TV and Radio, shops, bars and restaurants, I could go on.

I suppose you would call this part the public space at Fed Square. There is a proposal to demolish the colourful building on the right for a multi storied apple shop, a large glass cube. A glass cube does not seem appropriate for apple storage. While Fed Square sits well above the river and I do agree it could be better connected to the river and this will be part of the proposal, I am not sure the price will be worth the destruction of an important part of Fed Square. However, just up the street is a fruit stall and I know it sells apples, and so I don't want to see the look of Federation Square ruined by demolishing an integral part of the square for a shop to sell bloody apples. Besides, apple consumption is steadily falling around the world.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

R thinks....

It is not often that R thinks about world affairs. He asked me the other day, how is Israel so rich when it all looks like desert? Off the top of my head, I replied, technology, arms and Jewish money coming from the US. These were only guesses on my part. It is a good question and a chance to learn.

Alas, it proved very difficult  to research as there is so much biased reporting by those who either support Israel or hate Israel. What did seem reliable was quite technical and not suitable for a lightweight blog post. It does seem I wasn't far wrong with what I replied to R off the top of my head though.

What is undeniable is that Israel is, with only a couple of faltering steps, an amazing economic success story, coming in about sixth in world in income levels. There are many qualifications that can be put on this figure, including it being only second to the US with inequitable wealth distribution and having a large black market within its economy.

Not sure I will ever visit Israel and I would probably only go to Tel Aviv, a very western city on the Mediterranean coast.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Mother's neighbours and the US health system

Mother is 82, I think. She has good neighbours, who she manipulates over time to be her servants.

The two dykes who rented next door were only there for one year and they were caring and sharing people with dogs. As I cracked to R, they weren't there for long enough for Mother to really get her claws into them. Nevertheless, one of the girls called in during the week and Mother was in the backyard tending her garden and did not hear the doorbell. The lass left a potted up hanging basket full of flowers, a $50 shop voucher and a Christmas card saying, you are still the best neighbour we have ever had.

I paint my mother in a very negative manner and that is how she is with her children and R, but she isn't like that with everyone. Clearly the girls liked her muchly.


If you are not a resident of the US you are probably a little mystified about the US health care system. Possibly even US residents are a little confused by their health care system. Obamacare made some improvements, the major one in my opinion being that health insurance funds can no longer refuse to cover people who are ill or seen as a high risk of becoming ill. The system will undoubtedly be altered by Donald Trumpet, but how?

Take a listen to this very interesting podcast from ABC Radio National. I think it should work for overseas listeners too. You can 'listen now' or right click and download to listen to at your leisure.

The Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare as it is known – was signed into law by President Barack Obama in March, 2010. It aimed to reform the American health insurance industry and to finally provide health coverage for the millions of Americans who had none, but President-elect Donald Trump has promised to repeal and replace Obamacare. So what is Obamacare and just how successful has it been in terms of covering those millions of America that before 2010 had no health cover?

While I am sure Obama regrets what he did not achieve, he was always reassuring, calm, polite, humorous and a brilliant orator. Being a statesman came naturally to him will be missed.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Musical Monday and I play the piano

Friday night was dinner out with friends at a rather good Indian restaurant, and I can recommend Kantipur in Hawthorn Road, Caulfield. It was our first time there and we will return. It was a combined Christmas get together and a birthday celebration. I invited a workmate along and my instinct proved to be correct. He got along with everyone and has asked to be included in future catch ups. Unfortunately we had to leave before the birthday cake was brought out as we had to pick up Little Jo from the Parkview Hotel just down the street.

Sister and Bone Doctor had been to Bone Doctor's sister's registry office wedding. Little Jo was flower girl. Afterwards they late lunched at an upmarket Fitzroy hotel. Sister and Bone Doctor did not ask to stay here. Maybe they find it too cramped in our third bedroom, in spite of it having a good mattress, an overhead fan and Bone Doctor usually sleeps on the floor on a lilo that she keeps in our wardrobe. Or maybe they did not want to ask after being very negative about us visiting them in our campervan in October.

Little Jo had a quick bedtime story and went straight to sleep. I awoke at 6.30, got up made myself coffee and went back to bed, but I turned on the computer and opened the 'safe' browser, the one we never use, IE. Ten minutes later, sure enough she was awake and at the desktop. I got out of bed again and gave her a glass of water and went back to bed and used my tablet. At home she is forbidden from getting out of bed before 7.00.

R said at some point, she is like Auntie Andrew. She doesn't sleep a lot.

By 8.30 we were in town looking at the Myer Christmas windows. I now have about 12 Myki public transport cards, most just found. Some came with credit on them but they are all exhausted now, including the child card with a negative 70 cents balance. We had to use Little Jo's registered card. I checked the balance on the latest I had found, and $7 on it. Great to give to a visitor to use. We had breakfast at a cafe. R and Little Jo went to see the gingerbread house display at Melbourne Town Hall, while I went off shopping on my own to buy R's Christmas present and a few other things. By the time I arrived home, R and Little Jo had put up our Christmas tree. God, it was only 10.30 in the morning. As I say, if you have stuffs to do, you've got to get up early.

While Little Jo accepted breakfast at a cafe, the reward was to cross the road to McDonalds for lunch. Bad timing at noon, just as construction workers flooded the place. I was forced to look at so many bare tradie legs, some slim, some muscley, some hairy and some smooth, not that I took much notice. I have gone from being ambivalent about McDonalds' food to downright not liking it and that experience was a confirmation. I had a double cheeseburger, chips and a Coke. The Coke was ok. Little Jo ordered it all on the screen, but she didn't pay for it.

Sister and Bone Doctor arrived a bit after 3pm to collect Little Jo.  We chatted for a while. I told them I had two weeks off at Christmas and they asked if we would be coming to visit them. What I wanted to say no, we weren't welcome in October, what has changed? Mother and ABI Brother will stay at Sister's for a week from the 28th. I used that as an excuse and then said we planned to stay at Marysville for a couple of nights while I am on holidays. R's eyebrows lifted, as this was news to him.

Today Sunday, as I am writing, we went to a Christmas dinner at our friend's house, with his partner and his brother and sister in law. Great food and good fun and lots of laughs, but tired again tonight. We find social outings so exhausting now.

Now, the music. When we were in Bourke Street Mall on that Saturday, I heard a busking band playing something. Fellahs, if you were the Saturday morning players in the Mall, I wasn't able to come up to listen to you or donate, but you were great. I really liked what I was hearing and wondered what it was. I Shazamed it with my phone and the results were inconclusive and I was already lagging behind R and Little Jo, with them having turned the next corner. I was not sure if the result was correct as a damned tram got in between my phone and the band.

Once home, I tried da, da, da da da into my phone in the privacy of my ensuite, but Shazam would not recognise it as being tuneful. No surprise there. Score one against Little Jo, she did not know about Shazam. Just as we were about to go for lunch I downloaded a free piano playing app to my phone. Little Jo did not have internet experience at all until she was about 7, but at 9 1/2, she is a digital native. She took the phone from me and very quickly saved her recordings of Three Blind Mice and two other easy pieces. Once home, I tapped away at the piano keyboard on my phone and eventually came up with enough correct, nearly all flats and sharps for the riff notes for Shazam to give the name of the track. I could give you the original, but I don't mind this one played on a harp but there is another harp version and I can't decide between harps, so I give you both. The Bourke Street Mall band played it terrifically.

You think we are very busy socially... Sister and Bone Doctor went to BD's sister's wedding and then for lunch, stayed overnight in a hotel, went to party in Spotswood the next day, picked up Little Jo, went to a Rainbow Family Christmas party late afternoon and then to a dyke 50th birthday party, back to the host of Rainbow family to stay the night and then home in the morning.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

I am appalled

Social events have left me exhausted and I didn't think I would post anything for Sunday and I didn't on Saturday. But outrage can be such a motivating emotion. Thanks to Twitter Metro Man, and Dame ODyne for the retweet, and Channel 7 tv news.

Indeed, when your superiors up to the CEO work at weekends, then perhaps it is appropriate for big business to talk to workers about reducing penalty rates. My own job would not be worth doing if it was not for penalty rates.

The evil State of Victoria's dictator in the 1990s, Premier Jeff Kennett, had plans for trains. Instead, belatedly, five of the train lines have been extended, service intervals have been reduced, trams run later in the evening and earlier on Sundays, we have weekend all night trains, trams and buses and the construction of public transport reformation is underway, by the construction of the Metro Rail underground.

Like almost? all western countries, Australia's poor are getting poorer and the rich are getting richer. That someone can spend AU$326,000, US$238,000, €228,000, £191,000 on an almost empty small timber box on the beach is beyond belief. Such wealth should be taxed back to sensibility before the working class rise and call for their heads. The problem is that working class aren't too badly off here. Our working poor are not terribly poor and our taxes look after most of who are in need, with some gaps. I am still outraged about the inequitable wealth in Australia.

I am in the mood for going on, but I am so tired, I would get really silly. I wanted to mention the grass on top of Parliament House, but so tired. Good night.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Nancy Boys

By their laughs, R and a friend used to enjoy watching Allo Allo. I never found it particularly clever, often a constant stream of double entendre lines. In fact I quite disliked the show I didn't really get. Maybe I can appreciate it more now, well I have found clips that make me laugh. This is an amusing compilation referencing the sexuality of one of the characters, Gruber apparently? I remember something about a fallen Madonna with big boobies, but I am not going to bother to look. Big or small boobies are not my thing. The only Madonna I know is well past her prime, but she does have good taste in hot men.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Watching paint dry

We made a second trip to Station Pier to see a ship set sail, this time on time. We gave up the last time with another ship when it left very late.

It was turning out to be a bit like watching paint dry but then did become a little interesting. Beware, I am going to talk about thrusting, at times.

The ship, Pacific Jewel, looked old and without balconies. How old? Wikipedia tells me Crown Princess was built in 1989 in Italy for the Sitmar Cruises. In 2002 P&O bought Sitmar and she was renamed A'Rosa Blu. She was refitted in Singapore in 2004 and renamed AIDAblu. Another name change in 2007 saw her become Ocean Village Two. She received her current name in 2009 when she was transferred to her new P&O home port, Sydney.

Ropes tying her to the pier and nice and tight.

Right thrusters on to move her in towards the pier so that the ropes slacken and are able to be unhooked.

What is going on here? Hundreds of seagulls have appeared and are out the front of the ship and in a feeding frenzy. The thrusting has clearly churned up something in the water.

The last of the ropes is unhooked and they disappear into the ship's innards. With a bit of left thrusting, she moves away from the pier.

As she ponderously moves forward, the feeding frenzy moves to the rear of the ship.

So that is a tick for me, watching a ship set sail and I shan't bother again, unless I can wave off someone I know.