Friday, March 25, 2016

Trains and the devil

Where you begin and where you end on the internet can be very different places when you sit down to to find something out.

When in Canada I heard about a spiral tunnel used by trains. That sounded like fun to me. Faster Daddy, go faster. Alas we are talking about Canadian freight trains which cautiously crawl all over the country's often very rough terrain, so there is no speed involved here.

The spiral tunnels replaced a very steep but only temporary new train line at Kicking Horse Pass to link Canada's west coast to the east.

I've looked at several clips and found what I think is the best one to demonstrate the tunnels. Hmm, I like the music that accompanies the clip but there is no information about the track. I knew one day there would be a use for Shazam when I first downloaded it to my phone many years ago and it resides on my newest phone. It only took a couple of notes for Shazam to tell me the track is called "The Devil's Gotta' Earn", by US born and very talented Brett Detar. He is not too shabby in my view. Well, sorry, he is shabby, but cultivated shabby.

Here is the clip of the spiral tunnels, 2:21 with the peek a boo moment at 1:25. We are away for a few days, so probably no posts until after Easter.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Mother's Roof

Neil Mitchell is a tabloid radio broadcaster in Melbourne. Tradie Brother was asked to call him by Mother over her bad insurance experience. While I have not listened to Mitchell, I expect he does a fine line in an old and poor pensioner widow cheated by an insurance company. I don't know what her problem is. While I would not recommend API Insurance as it uses overseas call centres staffed by people with strong and unintelligible accents, and it is quite dilatory in responding, it was quick off the mark by having Mother's roof covered by sheeting when rain came into her bedroom.

The company made some repairs, which I am not sure it was obliged to do. Mother told the company she could not cope with tradesmen at 7.00am as she does not rise until 9.00 and then has her jobs to do. That would be showering and feeding the cats. Mother made it difficult all along the way by being inflexible, as she always is.

Mother's bedroom ceiling is damaged by water, but Tradie Brother established it was sound and now dry. I am not sure in what manner, but the insurance company attended and fixed her roof, up to a point. I expect to get rid of her, the company offered her $2000 to fix her ceiling and repaint at her own convenience, which she accepted. A cheque is in the mail.

Nevertheless, Mother feels unsatisfied and was priming R to call Neil Mitchell. R cleverly preempted her by saying he thought she ended up with quite a good deal. To my way of thinking, given she had spent nothing on her roof for around 40 years, the insurance company could well have denied her claim as she had not maintained her roof at all. It is fair that the company pays for her damage, but I think the company has done its part and has no further responsibility.

At least with Mother receiving a cheque, we won't have to pay the excess on the insurance claim.

Later: R suggested when I call Mother tomorrow to wish her happy birthday that I ask her if she has received the cheque.  It was promised in two weeks and it has been about three weeks, and if it has not arrived, I expect she would have mentioned it. If her answer is non-committal or negative, I will ask her for a phone number to follow it up.  I guess she has the cheque and has banked it and is not telling my siblings about it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

What Sup

The life of a retiree and a working person:

Tuesday 15th, attend Good Guys to correct previous purchases. Lunch, Sandbar, Middle Park. So nice to lunch at the edge of the sand with water views.

Wednesday 16th, nothing much, just work.

Thursday 17th, R takes Mother out. Picks up Dog Jack on the way home. Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo arrive a little before 6 and go off to a recording of RockQwiz at The Espy. I arrive home from work at 7 and Little Jo and ourselves ate R's most excellent lasagne. Sis, Bone Doctor and Little Jo stayed the night but I saw neither of the former two as I was off to work before they awoke.  They were gone before 7.30 to make the 1:20 journey home for Bone Doctor to start work and Little Jo to get to school. Rain was falling heavily, so it must have been an awful trip home.

After R's last volunteer shift, he had a good and harsh whinge about the roster person who writes impossible rosters. Par for the course. He had very bad thoughts about her, as he has in the past. He was a bit upset when he was called Thursday morning and told the roster person at about the age of late 50s was dead. As poor as she was as rostering, at least she made the calls to volunteers on Thursday nights to let them know their starting time for the next day. Her quick replacement forgot to make the calls, so R assumed he did not have to attend on Friday.

Friday 18th. While tidying up after hurricane Bellarine family left at an early hour, R was quickly called to work on Friday. He had to take Dog Jack out for a quick walk and rush off to work. I arrived home at lunch time quite puzzled. Where is R? He said he wasn't working today. Perhaps as discussed he is doing Saturday shopping on Friday, but no, the shopping trolley is still at home. I guessed he went to work, in spite of him saying he would not go if a mistake had been made. Unlike me, he is such a kind person, hey Jah Teh. He was so dog tired and exhausted when he came home, I had to guide him through paying online the deposit for the kitchen from his bank account. He had recovered by the time I arrived home at 7pm. The evening was spent discussing plans for Saturday, my day off, in the company of the Scottish Doctor.

Saturday 19th. My visage looked extra plain when I rose at 7, no doubt the fault of the Scottish Doctor. Nevertheless, I had to function and I did. I was showered by 8. The appliance delivery person was to call at 8 to deliver to us our kitchen appliances. R left home at 8.30 to attend a work training course. I took Dog Jack out just before R left. 9am delivery man called. I'll see you between 1 and 3. Ah, that makes our plans for the afternoon sticky. We are going into town to buy easter eggs, see a movie and have dinner. Fortunately the delivery was just after 1, so R had time for a wee nap and Dog Jack got an extra walk for the day.

We went into town on the tram of course. But it is Grand Prix weekend, so the trams are operating differently. As we arrived at the tram stop, people were being turfed off a tram that was returning to St Kilda. We waited with the crowd and caught the second next tram to arrive and it was nearly empty so we had a seat. But we were then turfed off the tram at Flinders Street and not a tram behind us was to be seen. R was very cross with Yarra Trams and soundly berated the customer service person and then I had to listen to his moaning while we walked from Flinders Street to Bourke Street. He was not at all distracted by the Indian dancers in the City Square, not even by a bearded hipster in a pink tutu on a monocycle.

The glitzy world of Target's Easter egg department distracted him from wanting to blow up Yarra Trams. We bought eggs. For the first time we only bought eggs for people who we will see at Easter, rather than the extended family to be given youp to a month later.

We were a bit early to see  to see the movie and so we had coffee and cake. For a short time we queued behind old people buying movie tickets to the same movie we were seeing, in spite of there being seven other movies showing at the The Kino Cinemas. We enjoyed Lady in the Van. Maggie Smith, as the best English actors do, played herself and she did so brilliantly. Pathos was involved and the actor who played playwright Alan Bennett did so with wonderful restraint. Knowing nothing in advance of the movie, about one third into it I clicked that Alan character was based on Alan Bennett.

We had a nice enough meal afterwards at a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown. With our bag of Easter eggs in tow, we were given a table for four. A table for two was next to us and soon a man in maybe his late forties sat with a man in his early twenties. It quickly became clear they were not father and son. I was idly gazing around when I noticed at another older man with a younger man. This pair was more obvious by the way they were dressed. Ah, there are two dykes in the corner there. R said, don't look now but two more have arrived, that is two more gay guys. We are drowning in a cesspit of homosexuals and lesbians in this inexpensive Chinese restaurant.

Afterwards we struck an interesting situation when we went to pay. R offered over his card and the madame said something like, Sir, there is a credit card fee if you use your card. I forget the figures she mentioned and she then came up with a figure for cash that was less than the original amount. We were both a little flummoxed by what was going on. I had enough cash, so I paid the reduced amount. Confusing people in such situations is a tried and true tactic when something not quite right is going on. While we weren't cheated, I expect taxpayers may be losing out somewhere.

Sunday 20st, nightmare at work, while R travelled to the Mornington Peninsula for a barbeque to celebrate Little M's 2nd birthday..

Monday 21st, Dog Jack's mum is supposed to pick him up at about 12. Her flight is delayed, twice, and she eventually gets here from Launceston at 4. It has taken her the whole day to make a 50 minute flight. Nice work Jetstar. The Brother Friends have returned from Thailand after a month away. The not so well one spent two non consecutive weeks in a western hospital. Tomorrow Ex NT Politician/Policeman will return from his travels.

Timelines are jumping about, so as I write this, Tuesday, it is R's birthday. Thursday it is Mother's birthday and Monday is Step-Mother's birthday. We are off to the Bellarine for Easter.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Survey. Please help

I don't have time to set up one of those proper survey monkey things, so I will keep it simple with an easy to answer question and I would really appreciate your response.

I already know the answer for Victor, Gattina and Diane. They don't.

The question is that if you have your blog set up to receive an email when someone comments, like me, do you receive the email when I comment on your blog like you do from everyone else?

I ask because I need to establish if it is my blog settings at fault or something else somewhere.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Musical Monday

Sophie Tucker never hid the fact that she was Jewish. One of her biggest hits was the tearjerker, My Yiddishe Momme, which she recorded in English and Yiddish. Although it is an old recording, it is quite a delight and there is no hiding the pathos.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Anti vaxxers, natural remedies and tossers

I read this story at The Age but it seems to be a direct copy of what was published at The Independent, without attribution. I don't believe The Independent is a pay wall site, originally started by a collection of journalists, so you should be able to read the story well enough from here.

What a nice looking Canadian daddy the poor dead boy had, but was he a nice daddy? I think at best he was a misguided, alternative and religious tosspot. He and his wife are before the courts in Canada.

Here is a snip from the article,  In his death, some see dangerous medical quackery. In his parents’ trial, however, others see a witch hunt.

“Isn’t losing their child punishment enough?” one local wrote in the Lethbridge Herald.

“Children have a right to evidence-based medical care, not just prayer and useless folk remedies,” shot back a commenter.

Hmm, evidence based medical care........I think that is what I approve of, that is evidence based. By evidence based judgement, homeopathy is a load of rubbish, as are anti vaxxers.  I don't so quickly write off natural cures but if it is serious, see a doctor.

Sunday Selections

River may not join us this week for Sunday Selections, but others will participate.

Nothing too exciting to post today. Just a few photos I took about a month ago when walking in South Yarra.

Strange building, I think converted to a house. I wonder what it was. The brickwork on the set back looks original.

Hard to work out what it may have been. Clearly not a normal house.

Some strange little windows. Although the lintel looks original, the brickwork and mortar around the window are more recent.

There doesn't appear to have been any change at this window.

And nor at this one, except there seems to be a metal lintel, so perhaps the window was just cut in and the sill bricks look modern.

At the rear you can see a massive lintel and new brickwork below it. There was a very large opening there for some reason. Was it a stable?

This house, perhaps because of its colour, has always grabbed our eye, quite unlovable as it is. It's one bedroom and from memory the asking rent was around $650 pw.

And this where these horses and carts should operate, not on our busy city streets. There are something like forty of them now. They are all getting quite out of hand.

The tall building with the dominating white lift towers in my blog header photo is Domain Park Flats, designed and built in 1962 by Robin Boyd. It was certainly innovative and stood a little higher than Edgewater Towers, which I featured in last year's Open Day post. In fact it was Melbourne's tallest residential building and aimed at high end own your own buyers. An artist and critic criticised the two lift towers as "monstrous excrescences". Oh my, how I would like montrous excrescence. I am just not sure how.

I do rather wonder who was slipped what for permission for such a dominant building to be constructed amid low rise housing.

Peering into the public areas from the outside, it appears to be quite original. There is a mix of 2,3 and 4 bedroom flats. I recall the rear getting a makeover, maybe in the 1990s. Olive trees were a curious choice but I guess they are ok. Underneath the rear is carparking as there is on the level of the trees.

They all seem very well cared for. I heard that Una Fraser, mother of our former and late Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser lived in one.

Certainly not flashy or glitzy though. The higher flats would have nice views over the Botanic Gardens and probably of the city.

Can't see a lot of the public area in the photo. A quote from Wikpedia "with all internal joinery finished in flat-polished walnut". One does like one's walnuts polished. It was Melbourne's first high rise housing to incorporate air conditioning, very advanced for the 1960s.

What is not very evident is that the building is very shallow, that is it does not go back far, only two rooms deep perhaps. That might be visible if you expand this photo.

Ok, heading back home, past  St Thomas Aquinas Church. We can see the side and rear from home. It is all front.

Oi Bro, Lets Chill? How very un-Melbourne Grammar like.

An increasingly popular way to move young children around. Can't we go back to the old days where you could just give them the tram fare? In my day we were so poor, we only had our father's back to ride on.