Saturday, September 24, 2016

Long train rounding Horseshoe Curve

In competition with the Canadian train going through the spiral tunnels which you can see here, is this I suppose drone taken video of the Horseshoe Curve in Pennsylvania. I like to know about what I am posting about, so I needed to see where the state of Pennsylvania is exactly. I knew it was kind of east coast.

Harrisburg is the capital of the state and I vaguely recall something about the Harrisburg address. Other cities you may have heard of are Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. It borders a number of states, including New York and also Lake Erie, one of the great lakes divided between the US and Canada. The video is 1:04 and there is a great jump at :38 to take in the full curve.

I know we have very long trains in Australia, but not too many of us see them. This is a very long train.

Friday, September 23, 2016


Our campervan trip becomes nearer, in early October. There is a series of short videos to explain our van to us. The vehicle should be an auto diesel Mercedes, the Britz Ventura. Sorry about the strong Kiwi (New Zealand) accent. They are all about 1 minute or less. Well, not the first, which is not so interesting. Although they are brief, I don't really expect you to watch all of them. No matter how much I googled, I could not find out these basics until I found the links on Britz website. Dealing with the water, sullage and lavatory somewhat concerns me.

That put paid to my plan to steal power from family and friends. Things have changed and we may only be with such for two nights. We could buy an adapter for $90 that smooth out the 10 amp household supply to the 15 amp caravan, but we deemed it not necessary.

As you may have noted, while we have to be plugged in to charge the batteries every couple of days, I expect this could extend to three days without being plugged in, and all that won't work from the batteries is microwave, air con and power points. We have a kettle that we can use for tea and coffee.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Altona Village

I don't know if it is called Altona Village or not. Perhaps it is called Altona Beach. The train station is called Altona. It is a lovely spot and far less busy than its historic neighbour, Williamstown.

At times we travel across the big West Gate Bridge to go to a DIY car wash. It is spacious and cheap, unlike the car washes on this side of town which are neither. It is only about 15 minutes to get there, but there is usually an agenda, lunch, and of late in Altona.

I am not so fond of Norfolk Island Pines, but they tolerate the salty air and look ok at the beach. They were brought to Australia, presumably from Norfolk Island, to use as ship masts, but they very easily broke.

We walked out to the end of the pier after lunch. A couple of people had caught fish.

Another strange plant, to me at least.

It is too difficult to explain the ANA but if you are curious, check here.

I've seen better murals, especially at the other end of Pier Street. I took these in 2011 of brilliant murals. I insist you look at them, and what lovely comments I received for the post.

After lunch, we walked out onto the pier and I was getting a little cross. Why are all these young people taking a stroll on the pier but instead of gazing at the views or water, they are staring at their phone screens.

We sat on a bench for a while to watch the views and talent walking past. Almost every young person was staring at the phone, which set me off on a rant about what the future brings for those obsessed with their phones. Anyone who stares at their phone screens longer than I do is obsessed, like anyone who drinks more than me is a lush or alcoholic. One lad even had a phone in each hand, his eyes darting from one to the other. Then we twigged, or rather R did. Pokemon Go! I have seen it mentioned on Twitter that Altona Beach is a hotspot for Pokemon Go players.

Yes, I have shown you these sculptures before, but aren't they quite good.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Half of us don't want

Dear Mariam Veiszadeh,

I sorry that half of Australia has voted against people of your religion being allowed to immigrate to Australia. While I don't know what it like to be black or of not the mainstream religion of a country, I have a black skinned friend who is often the only black person in the room, so to speak. I wonder how he feels. He copes, just, at times I think.

What you have to understand is that while Australians like me try to be tolerant and accepting, women in long robe Darth Vadar black with their faces covered is very alien to us. More than that, it is quite horrid and rightly or wrongly we feel these women are repressed. 

We hear endlessly about Moslem terrorism and it is a serious problem. Assuming you are a Melbourne person, you would also know of the dreadful Moslem crime family here in our western suburbs.

May I ask you that why in spite of you wearing a head covering, supposedly about modesty, why do you have perfect makeup and perfect eyebrow plucking and painting? I really don't get that at all.

Facts, figures, strictures, news stories, discrimination, personal experiences, work mates, religion, culture, food, opinions and everything else have flowed into to my life about Moslems. 

I was once identifiable as a gay person when I travelled on a bus, mostly by the way I dressed and just a touch of subtle make up. Just a touch, mind. I am now old and not really recognisable as a gay person. Does the younger me ring a bell for you?

I have had 'fun'with some Moslems over the years, make of that what you will. But you know Mariam, not once in my life have I ever heard anything positive about gay people from people of the Moslem religion. I have heard about male rape, vigilantes, hanging and stoning though.

While it might be about thirty years apart, your bus trip may not have been dissimilar to mine, yet your religion shows no acceptance or tolerance towards people like me. Even the Moslems at my work have no acceptance or tolerance of gay men. They accept me because they can pretend I am not gay and I don't wear it on my sleeve.

So, sorry Mariam, I am among the half who did not vote but would have to stop Moslem immigration. Not once in my life have I heard a Moslem say anything positive about gay people. 

Not quality data

From The Age.

1. Participation

Census head Duncan Young told Fairfax Media that "over 94 per cent" of occupied households have completed a census form and he expects that to reach 95 per cent by Thursday evening. "From here it's about making sure that quality is there for every small population group and every small population area.""We are certainly past the point that makes it a high quality data set for analysis," he told Fairfax Media.
After some mail notifications I did finish the census form. My main concern was the implications of the data storage and in the future it becoming available to the ruling government, with names and addresses. This is so alien to Australian's concept of census, where the data is stored separately from your name and address. The collapse of the website on the night and the suspension of the website for days was also a factor. I partook of a few glasses of wine, and completed the census. I have no idea what I wrote or ticked, but I expect it was very unreliable data. Sorry Hels, but historians must view the 2016 census with some cynicism. There is no reason to not describe it as a disaster, in spite of spin from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Alternate views

In spite of the loss of the Art Deco Lonsdale House, the view from the corner of Swanston and Lonsdale Streets is not too bad, if you look along Lonsdale Street.

Not so good looking down Swanston Street from the same place.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Transport Tuesday

Daniel Bowen's posts are always interesting, but this one raised some thoughts for me. It is about whether we use the 12 hour or 24 hour clock. At work I have to use the 24 hour clock, so I am quite familiar with it, but I do convert the time in my head to the 12 hour clock. It is rare that I convert much back to the old, so far as the metric system goes.

As I have written before, we are going backwards with our metrication. Because of the tyre inflation equipment that garages import from the US being in pounds per square inch, everyone has forgotten hectopascals and no one is learning them now. I think we are losing kilojoules back to calories, and although we are pretty good with weights, the weight of babies is still  described widely in pounds. I at times might say an inch rather than 2.5 cm, or a yard if a distance is a bit short of a metre and I can readily convert 20cm to 8 inches. At times I will say somewhere is miles away, but other times I will say kilometres away. I do not say clicks, kays or kilOMetres. Former late Prime Minister Whitlam told us that it is KILometres and had Greek roots. Nothing wrong with that.

For once, I don't really have an opinion on which is to be the preferred time format. Most people here are more used to the 12 hour clock, but that is not a reason to not change. I'd rather see decimal clock, with ten hours to the day instead of 24.

Daniel also linked to a post by Marcus Wong, pointing out how confused time formats are at both Metro Trains and our country rail service V/Line and when they are on one display, it looks chaotic. Fancy catching a suburban train at 2:22 at Flinders Street to arrive at So Cross Station at 2:27 to catch the 14:45 to Bendigo.

What we do need here is consistency by our train folk.


The retro fitted public announcement system on our B Class trams is quite good. I don't know why the tram driver yesterday felt it necessary to duplicate them with his own similar announcements. For goodness sake, shut up.

Last week we went to Richmond by tram. The C Class does not have a recorded public The driver would not shut up on the PA system. I wish she would pay full attention to driving rather than hearing her own voice. I was somewhat bemused and a little cross when she announced, 'The next stop is located for your convenience between Russell and Exhibition Street'. No Ms Tram Driver, it was much more convenient when there were stops at both Russell and Exhibition Streets. She was young and quite new, I think, and probably did not know.


A couple of decades ago R and myself were on a tram and there was a collector for an environmental organisation on the tram. They used to dress up in koala suits and collect money using a slotted bucket. I can't remember what someone commented to the person in the koala suit, but he clearly said sotto voce, 'I should have caught the train'. Over the years R and myself have used the expression when we get caught in traffic or have a slow and/or unpleasant tram trip. The tram trip back from Richmond was tedious. We should have gotten off the tram at Richmond Station and caught the train.

PS It must be nearly time to have another go at Americans who alone in the world use their weird date format.

PPS What do you think of a 24 hour time clock?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Posting too often

Perhaps I should be using Twitter. Is it a sign of mental illness when you post on your blog too often? You may have picked up that I am on holidays from work and I am also a wee bit stressed by personal problems.

The gay marriage plebiscite hangs over us. On tv a famous dyke Polish immigrant exchanged words with a famous Scottish musician immigrant married to Thai born women and they discussed modern Australia. They were in furious agreement.

When our Prime Minister and Her Majesty's Leader of the Opposition both are quite happy for gay people to marry, why are we spending millions of dollars on this plebiscite?

It would not be so bad if it was a binding vote. The plebiscite will indicate the opinion of the people, but it is not binding and members of our governing Liberal Party (Liberal Party really should be put in inverted commas) have already stated they will not vote to approve gay marriage.

I understand this has been forced on our Prime Minister by his party. Tossers. God save us from the Liberal Party.

Meanwhile, advocates of gay marriage, bide your time. There will be a time when it when it just goes through parliament without any fuss.

I'm hungry

Old Indian saying, 'slowly slowly catchy monkey'. Things are softening at The Highrise. While there was no dinner again tonight, I found some beautifully presented beef curry, rice, peas and carrots in the fridge for dinner. It was from last week and only a very small serve.

R is out tomorrow, taking old people to some outer suburb for lunch. He gets a free lunch. I will cook fried rice tomorrow night, lest I starve to death. R may or may not eat some. He has barely eaten for two days, so he must be hungry. I bought him a doughnut today from Bread Top at QV, but it sits uneaten on the bench. I think he did have a packet cup of soup for dinner.

But I am hungry for a proper meal. I am not game to have the other half of the can of soup from last night that sits in fridge. I left it out overnight on the stove top before putting it into the fridge this morning. I will have it for lunch, when ambulances are not so busy.

Today I pondered what I would have for lunch when I was out. Not having had a proper dinner last night, I justified having KFC, only a couple of chicken wings and a few chips. I only ever buy a snack at the chain fast food places, but I would die for a big bucket of original recipe fried KFC chicken and see the grease run down my hand to my wrist and then down my arm.

Updated Cast List

The link to The Cast of the Reality to right of my blog page tells you who is who in my life, and I have just updated the list.


I have a few Equinox like dates. The Australian equinoxes (you prefer equinnoxies?) fall at end of calendar months. Spring begins the 1st of September. Autumn/Fall begins the 1st of March. Europe, Britain and North America? prefer a better date, the 22nd of those mentioned months, I believe. Much more sensible. It can be stinking hot on the first of March here, but by the 22nd, it will have cooled and autumn is on the horizon.

I have my own ways of judging the seasons. Spring arrives when we get our first day of 20 degrees. Autumn arrives when we get our first day under 20 degrees. Winter has arrived when we get a week of temperatures below 20 degrees and summer has arrived when we get a week over over 20 degrees. (20 is 68F)

Then there is my shower that I judge the seasons by. Twice a year in spring and autumn for about a month, I can just turn my hot and cold tap on in my shower and the water temperature will be right. In winter I turn both taps on and then reduce the cold. In the summer I turn the hot tap on, then the cold and then back off the hot water.

Cold water is stored in a tank on the roof before being pumped around the building, so if the earth is not responsible for warming the cold water, then it must warm a little in the tank.

It was rather wet last week, so I gave the balcony plants a leaf wash. The rain was coming in on an easterly and unusually completely wet the balcony, and my socks too when I walked out there in them and did not look down. There has been flooding in the western part of the state, and with some more falls tomorrow and Wednesday, more flooding is expected. Of course many farmers will complain that the rain is coming at the wrong time, because that is what farmers do.

Costa and Tony

Most ABC TV watchers and most Australian gardeners who tune in to tv gardening shows would know this bloke, Costa Georgiadis. To say he is a hairy dude is an understatement. Some people like him and some really don't. If you can cope with his appearance, he is competent and likeable as host of Gardening Australia. But I do like to label people, to put them boxes, to fit them into my mind.

So who is Costa's wife? He does not appear to have one, nor children, and has mostly lived at his parent's home in Bondi. What to make of that? Is Costa gay? Not interested in any type of relationship? I've not heard gay rumours, but then I am not very closely in touch with those who know such things.

A long time broadcaster on ABC Radio has retired. Off and on over the years I have listened to Tony Delroy's Nightlife and at times his literary luncheons. More recently I have only downloaded podcasts of segments of his show that interest me. Although I have never heard him say he is gay, it must be the worst kept secret in ABC radio land. It was quite obvious to me when I first began listening to him. He has been a terrific broadcaster over so many years, but I can't help feeling sadness that he did not use his high profile in both city and rural areas and come out as being gay publicly. By doing so he could have done so much good, especially for closeted country people. Of course it is his personal business and private life and he certainly isn't obligated, but I think it is sad he did not when he really had nothing to lose.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

No speakies

No speakies is happening in The Highrise. Apparently no cooking either. Order a pizza my dearest? No, not for me, bitch face. It seems we are on a diet.

I opened a tin of Cream of Chicken Soup. Instead of following the directions of adding half a can of water and half a can of full cream milk, I added half a can of water, quarter a can of skim milk and quarter a can of cream, plus some paprika. I have failed as a chef. I also accompanied the soup with some Vegemite smeared toast.  That was the nicest part.

It is a great start to my six weeks of holiday. Oh well, shite has happened in the past and will happen in the future.

I forecast three days until equilibrium is restored at The Highrise.

Sunday Selections

Joining in with River and others for Sunday Selections, with my contribution just being some random photos.

This metal utility cover looked new to me. Surely there is not an iron foundry in our inner northern suburb? Apparently there is, although it has moved to Coburg, which is still quite close. Davies & Baird is a very sophisticated and modern company.

What a queer plant. I think I may have seen a photo of one on River's blog. What is it?

Dan Murphy's, the liquor retailer moved from an old premises in Chapel Street to a new one across the road perhaps a decade or more ago. Dan's is now owned by Woolworths, a South African company, I believe. The clock that sat very comfortably in the old premises in a alcove came across to the new premises where it does not really work very well visually, but I am pleased it was kept.

There is a scare campaign underway about the construction of Metro Rail underground and the Domain Station, which will be constructed by cut and cover rather than like most of the rest of the tunnel which will be bored. Many elm and plane trees will be felled, but replanted. The figure for the number of trees to be cut down varies wildly, depending on which vested interest you listen to. The project will affect us, hopefully in a minor way. I don't mind the scare campaign though, as it may result in a better outcome. Our building is one of 12 apartment buildings, the G12, which is protesting against the impact of the construction of the station. I may write more about it later.

While I had seen crested pigeons in northern Victoria, I am fairly sure they have only been seen in Melbourne for around the last decade.

I had not seen the newspaper marker's marks for a couple of months, but he or she is back at one of my favourite outdoor cafes.

A little Swan Lake to promote an exhibition of the works of French impressionist painter Edgar Degas at the National Gallery of Victoria. The lasses were returning to the College of the Arts on the same tram I caught home. They were very good.

I think the Chemist Warehouse has closed at the corner of Elizabeth and Bourke Streets and has now opened its new shop where the electronics retailer Dick Smith's premises was, below ground level in the company of Japanese retailer Daiso. Daiso must be very happy with the extra bodies passing by the entrance to its store. Chemist Warehouse in the city is incredibly busy.

Another day, more newspaper markings. There does seem to be a focus on numbers.

Can you read this? We only bought a couple of things and something must have gone wrong with the scanner. We paid $00.04, 4 cents that is, for half a butternut pumpkin. Bargain, and we did not complain that we were being undercharged.