Friday, July 01, 2016

Just you wait, Higgins, just you wait

Outside our supermarket last Saturday a man was handing out shopping bags emblazoned with the name Kelly O'Dwyer, who is the sitting member for the Liberal Party (conservative) for what is the normally the very safe seat of Higgins. Higgins was the seat of former treasurer, Peter Costello. R took one of the offered bags without thinking too much about what he was doing. I soon questioned his sanity, to walk around with a bag promoting the Liberal Party. I then walked five steps behind him. I am not with him. What would people think of us?

We had done most of our shopping at Coles and were just popped into Woolworths for a couple of things that Coles did not have. I suppose I was distracted. I paid for the four items, R picked up the supermarket bag and I picked up...........oh no, the Kelly O'Dwyer bag. I didn't even think about until I was nearly to the car and realised what I had done; that is exhibited myself to the great unwashed in the Prahran car park as a Liberal Party supporter. Oh, the shame, the terrible shame and not even seeing the normally such pleasurable sight of the Sheriff  wheel clamping a shiny black BMW could alleviate my embarrassment.

O'Dwyer and the Liberal Party are a little worried about her normally safe seat as another candidate is doing well in the media polls. Jason Ball is The Greens candidate. He is personable, gay, an activist, a former Aussie Rules football player and after seeing him in real life yesterday at a pre polling booth, much more handsome than when he appears on tv or in photos.

Jason Ball, oh tall one, with Greens Party leader, Dr Richard Di Natale.  Tall players often play in the ruck position of the footy field. I think he'd be quite a good ruck.

We have both used ABC's online Vote Compass to see where we sit on the political spectrum. It made R confused but something happened in the media yesterday, I know not what, that eased his mind and he has now decided who to vote for. Vote Compass tells me I am to the left of The Greens, making me somewhat of an extremist. I am a fairly conservative person, so that is an odd result.

Is it an old Australian saying? 'Don't vote for the bastards, it only encourages them.' There may be some truth in that, but vote we must, or at least attend the polling booth and have our names crossed off. It is the law. I like another saying better, 'whoever we vote for, a politician will be elected'.

Many people, who are normally confident about who to vote for, seem unsure this election, myself included. We are perhaps rather disillusioned with the major parties. Perhaps I should say more disillusioned than we normally are. Perhaps not in the House of Representatives, which is first past the post after preferences are allocated, consider your vote carefully in the Senate. Some good things have come from having minority parties in the Senate, but you won't hear any of the major parties admitting that.

To wrap, as you vote, take ten seconds to remember what a privileged society we live in, where we can freely have our say about who governs us.

This was composed on the notebook computer with a screen I can barely read. Commas, full stops and specks of dust look the same. The photo was taken with the tablet computer, the first time I have used its camera, and uploaded from there. It is a messy business.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

I am about to die

We have an external hard drive as a back up. It is just as well as today I was informed by the pc repair company that of the two drives on our computer, the failed drive contained everything. Why weren't they shown separately so that I knew where things were? Counting the cost of this loss is yet to fully measured. I don't know how the back up drive works and I don't have much faith in it. I manually backed up everything before we bought the new computer. The computer returns tomorrow, without anything on it.

We received a scare letter in the mail today about the new underground Metro Rail to be built nearby. R is in a foul mood about it and is banging on about why didn't we move when the project was announced. Well, who would have known we would be almost be sitting on top of a railway station. If everything is true in the letter, during the construction period we are in a dire situation living here.

I am in a foul mood because I had almost completed the process of migrating our Telstra isp email to Gmail. All I need is a code word in our Telstra email, but it just won't open.

Wise people say things like, one day your hard drive will crash and you need to have everything backed up. Wise words, but after twenty years of losing almost nothing, I was complacent. Take a lesson from that.

I am ready to open a vein, but instead I will go to bed and watch on my tablet a cog railway train in Switzerland climb a mountain, or perhaps, ten things to dislike about Australia.

Almost a proper post done for tomorrow morning. It may be a while before the next one.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


For quite some time I have been a reader of Janine's blog. Local history, a bit of the personal,  travels to Africa and to India; all have been a fascinating read. Not so long ago she began a series of posts that come under the tag of This week in Port Phillip District, read Melbourne. The posts are both serious and amusing, and tell of some of the history of our city but not in a dry historical manner. We even get the weather details from back then.

I was wondering, should I email That's So Pants and suggest, nay, insist she write something about Brexit. No need, Pants came through. Here is her Brexit post, a great read.

Blimey Blighty, what have you gone and done?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Loving Technology

I received a call from the computer repair company today. This gets a bit techy but I will try to keep it simple. In a desk top computer and like in a lap top and note book computer there is a spinning disk, like a dvd. It is called the hard drive. That is where everything is stored and usually has your operating system. In your phone of tablet, it is a solid state or flash drive. No moving parts.

The failed desk top has two drives, a normal spinning disk hard drive, where everything is stored, and a solid state. Our operating system was stored on the solid state drive, which was good, Switch the computer on and it was up and running in ten seconds and ready to use.

It is supposed to be reputable known brand which I won't name until I have it confirmed by the computer shop. Nevertheless, it has failed after just a few months and that is why the computer would not start up.

I was given two options which came down to one. Pay $99 to just remove the solid state drive and then load Windows 10 onto your spinning hard drive. You will lose everything on your hard drive when Windows is reloaded. The other option, buy a new solid state drive to replace the old and Windows can be loaded on to that and you won't lose anything. Cost, $300. I went for that option.

We have another external hard drive, used as a back up. It is supposed to back up our computer, with everything to be able to retrieved. It was plugged in and the lights flash at times, but I have no idea how you would retrieve your files from and no faith that I could manage that.

There are lessons to be learnt. Don't buy a computer by mail order from another city, in our case Sydney. While the company will honour the warranty and cover the costs, how do you pack up a computer tower to post it? How long will you be without it?  In preparation for connecting to the NBN, we had decided to to change our general email ISP address to web based address, Gmail. I had set up our joint account just the day before the drive failed. We have lived and died with our ISP email, but here is a reason why the paperless office won't happen. While we can access our ISP email now over the net, there are a lot of emails stored there that I don't think we have access to, including all the emails between us and the company we bought the bought the computer from. I don't have a clue who it is. All our bills, banking stuff, so many things come into our ISP email, so it will take quite a bit of changing. While ISP email is great to use, it is caveman stuff.

I am just so depressed about the whole business. Buying a computer by mail order, admittedly with advice from a friend who had done the same and recommended the same to others who did and all was well. I am cross with myself that I have not recently manually backed up. I am cross with myself that I have not taken the time to understand how the automatic back up works. I am cross that I rely on ISP email and not changed to web email much earlier.

I am writing this on a not very old note book computer, maybe four years old and while it is lovely to type on once you fingers get used to the tighter spacing of the keys, this morning when I switched it on, it would not start. It kept trying and at times a message flashed up, 'attempting computer repair', Apparently is repaired itself as after 20 minutes it did come to life. Its battery is buggered and will only work when plugged in to power.

How come my phone and tablet solid state drives are so reliable, but not the one when it is within a proper computer?

Monday, June 27, 2016

Trades Hall

I forgot I had almost finished this post, so in spite of no desk top pc, here is a post with photos.

Trades Hall was recently featured on tv, inspiring me to visit for a look see. Externally it is fine building. Internally, it is both historic and a wreck. There was a recent fuss about the state Labor government granting money for some renovations. Gee, a Labor government is criticised for granting money to a trade union organisation, its support base.

Australia has a federal election coming soon, before the US presidential election but after the British Brexit vote.

The original Trades Hall was built in 1859, but was significantly upgraded by 1925.

The wind always blows the wrong way when trying to photograph flags. One of the flags is the Southern Cross.

Opposite Trades Hall is The Curtin, I think formerly The John Curtin Hotel, named after former Labor Prime Minister John Curtin.

This area was in ok nick. Out back through some doors was a modern building, I expect where all the real union action happens.

Twice Australia voted to not compulsorily send young men to war. Nevertheless, many went and were killed.

I think I recall a huge renovation of Trades Hall some years ago, but clearly it does need some work.

On the diagonally opposite corner is a memorial.

The triple eights, 8 hours work, 8 hours play and 8 hours rest.

Not in my time but I remember the slogan being; eight hours work, eight hours play, eight hours sleep and eight bob a day, bob being the slang namef a shilling. It is just as well that the last of eighty cents a day has been dropped. Big business would have us working for 80 cents a day if it had its way.

The earlier facade is in Lygon Street, Carlton. This southern side is in Victoria Street.

The radicals are in house on this side.

Just this week another person was killed in a workplace accident. You should be able to do your job and work in a safe environment.

I have been a proud member of a workers' union for 37 years. At 25 years of service I received a horrid silver platter from my work place that lives in a state of almost perpetual tarnish but I happily received my 30 year membership polished wooden plaque from my union. When I retire after 40 years as a member, I expect to receive honorary membership.  

Sunday, June 26, 2016

I should have thought this Brexit thing through

My dream that I will never follow up is to live in England or Europe; maybe a Cornish village near the sea, maybe in Brighton, maybe in a Portuguese village or maybe in Vienna or Cologne or Budapest. I had the right before Brexit, even as a multi generation Australian. Let me explain.

R has always maintained his British passport. If he allowed it to expire, as an Australian citizen, he would have no right to live England. He has always kept his options open. I remember his British Passport. I was sturdy and strong cardboard, dark blue, with gold embossed writing. When he renewed the last time, it was much more difficult than conducting the process via the High Commission in Canberra as before. He had to send his old passport and his Australian passport to London, and received in return a Euro passport, a rather cheaper and nastier version of his British passport.

R's Euro passport gives him quick access without queuing in England and Europe but after he used it to travel from Newcastle to Amsterdam, he concluded there was no point, as once quickly through immigration, he had to wait for me with my Australian passport who was in the 'Others' queue. English Immigration has queried him why he does not use it when he last travelled on an Australian passport. He has to point to me and say he is travelling with an Australian friend, and then immigration becomes suspicious.

With me being his partner, we could have lived anywhere in England or an EU country. I don't know what will happen about Euro passports post Brexit, but Ireland remains in the EU and in the fine detail of Irish legislation, if you have an Irish parent of grandparent you can take up an Irish identity and have an EU passport and guess what!!!! One of R's grandmothers was Irish.

So I can dream on about us living in an old cottage in St Ives in Cornwall, or maybe a gorgeous old apartment in Vienna,