Saturday, August 12, 2017


Yes, still being spammed badly enough to keep comment approval on, which is such a nuisance. This one amused me. What a cheek!

obviously like your website but you need to test the spelling on several of your posts.
Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very bothersome to tell the truth 
however I'll surely come back again. 

An anniversary

Just to note, fifteen years ago on the tenth of August 2002 we moved to The Highrise. We had sold our Balaclava house and bought The Highrise for a little more than we sold our house. Somehow we ended up with a much larger mortgage than we expected.

I was 45 when we moved here, still ever so energetic and nothing physical was ever a problem. Fifteen years later, I look back at the time with a moment of wistfulness.

I was never keen on a high rise apartment, and any R took me to did not impress me until I saw this one, flooded with light, spacious, three bedrooms, two car spaces and fantastic views.  The ceilings are not 7'3" 2.2m as in most apartments of this vintage, but 9'2" 2.8m. I put conditions on us buying it. You will not ever mention moving again. That has failed. It must have fast internet. We soon found it out was backbone wired by Telstra for Foxtel and cable internet. I did not insist on it, but the day we moved a very attractive blonde Scandinavian born chap was here to connect our computer to the cable internet. Thank you R. Fifteen years later, now with a high speed fibre optic connection, the NBN, our internet speed is not much faster than it was when we moved here.

We did realise after a time that we did not need to worry about debt, as we had an investment property, that was always a negative drain on our finances, along with the mortgage here. We sold the flat and that paid off all debts. We paid a bomb in tax ($25,000?), but it was due and while it could have been reduced by being dishonest, I sleep easily at night. For the first time in my life, enough money for decent holidays, a newish car and not quibbling about a couple of dollars. Well, I do still quibble about a couple of dollars.

It would be a massive understatement to say that life has not changed since we moved here and in some ways not for the better, but I still love our apartment as much as the day we first saw it. It is now worth a lot of money but I think we could have done just as well on the stock market with the equal to its purchase price. Its value is not important to me, until we try to spend the value of it. Live a life of luxury and nothing for the family. But guessing when you will die is so problematic.

This is the layout. The balcony faces east, rising sun and all that. I am in bedroom 1, R is in 2 with his wall mounted tv and the drying washing is in 3.

Bedroom 3 is the more interesting because many people have slept there. Little Jo more than most. Sister and Bone Doctor, Our Friend in Japan, our friend from Larrikins End, Hippie Niece and her partner and another time with her friend, Firefighting Nephew and his mate, Tradie Brother, ABI Brother, Mother, one of our Brother Friends, Prince Harry, Jon Bon Jovi, Ben Cousins, Step Mother, R's sister and her husband, R's other sister and her girlfriend,  me when my bedroom was flooded. I've probably missed someone who has slept in our spare room. We tell them we change the sheets after each visitor, haha. They are the same sheets unchanged on the bed that we put on the bed in 2002. Probably due a session in the Fisher and Paykel top loader. Extra soap powder required but I won't waste fabric softener for visitors' bedding.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Love your work Tim

The guns are drawn and loaded. May the best plebiscite organisers win. No surprise about where the fabulous Tim Minchin sits, and it is not on a fence. Strong language warning. What would a Minchin clip be without strong language.

Funny Friday

We ignorant Australians don't know much about European politics. Here is what I think I know about Chancellor Merkel of Germany. Correct my errors at your will. She was born and lived in the old East Germany. She has a husband but that does not mean she is not a wearer of sensible shoes. She was a scientist. Her spoken English language skills are poor or heavily accented so she does not speak English in public. She is seen as extremely dull and boring by other western countries. She let in a lot of Arab immigrants and many Germans were not so happy about this, but perhaps through their prosperity, they will wear that.

The Chancellor remains a bit of an enigma to many of us.

In the 1990s we used to see Tracy Ullman and Ruby Wax on our tv. That was before our ABC tv was dumped by Britain's BBC in favour of a commercial television here. It seems Tracy Ullman goes on and on. Here is she recently playing Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel when visiting Britain for Brexit talks. This is not hilarious, just clever and a little biting. 2:00

Thursday, August 10, 2017


There is a chap I know. I see him from time to time. He is about 60 and his wife of a similar age and they have three grown up sons. He may well have been gay in his early life, back when he was a London and then a Sydney bus driver. He and his new wife rented a nice old Tudor style flat in Balaclava. They then mortgaged themselves to the hilt and bought a house in the suburb of McKinnon. He worked hard, often doing a lot of work overtime and outside of work did gardening and lawn mowing. She too worked hard and they prospered. If you know anything about property prices in McKinnon, they were once quite reasonable, like when they bought their house. They are anything but reasonable now.

As a bonus, her mother also bought a house in the same street, a few doors along. She died and they inherited quite a bit of money from the house. He has also had some smart financial advice along the way. Neither are at all pretentious, she with a very nasally strong Australian accent. He can be a little bit gushing and a bit too gay at times.

We did socialise with them a couple of times but our lives were very different and we did not become great friends. They were just pleasant people, and they did buy an old piece of furniture from us once. We have been to their home a couple of times as they steadily renovated and once attended quite a good party they held.

They have travelled quite a bit and that was their plan for retirement. As he said, we have plans and we have the money.

A couple of months ago she found difficulty in moving and had to give up work. Doctors suggested it was a pinched nerve or, because he speech had changed, perhaps a minor stroke. Tests were done. He was vague about it when I asked him the results.

How many muscles are in the face? Many! When I asked him yesterday, as I write, how she was, every muscle in his face twitched. It was amazing and disturbing to watch, as his mind raced through whether he should tell me or or not. He did and I guess I am quite honoured that he trusted me enough to tell me, whereas he won't be telling many others as he does not want pity.

She has Motor Neurone Disease, also called ALS and Lou Gehrig's Disease. I knew nothing of these aside from the names. I took a crash course with Doctor Google and her outlook is not good and it seems to be one of the most cruel diseases anyone can have.

As we spoke about it, he came close to cracking up, and because of that, so did I. All our plans have gone, our lives are finished. No, I said, your plans are no longer appropriate, but you still have your lives to live and to make the best of. That was before I knew anything about the disease. They will still have a life, but it is not going to much of a life and not for very long.

Things like this happen all over the world all the time to people, but it is just a bit different when it someone who you know.

Random ramblings

This is in danger of disappearing into the black hole known as unfinished posts, so as there is nothing else prepared for today.....

In Barcelona, R yelled at me for something. It was so unimportant, I cannot remember what it was. Ah, yes, something I wrote on Facebook. R's Sister pulled him into line and while R and myself rarely kiss nowadays, he gave me a goodnight kiss, as good as an apology. I get nervous about things. R gets stressed and his stress explodes in a most unreasonable manner.

Just before Little Jo arrived, R was once again stressed, and he yelled at me over a trivial matter. I put up with it and went and collected Sister and Little Jo from the train after he refused to come.  He was fine once Little Jo arrived.

My back problem had not gone away. R was right to criticise me for not doing anything about it, but it kind of felt like it was getting better, then became bad again. After a couple of large glasses of Scotch, I complained to him. All I wanted was a little tea and sympathy, not a tirade about what I haven't done. I am scared and frightened about what has never happened to me before. I can barely walk for two minutes but I so like walking. On whose blog or comment did I say sometime people just need a bit of help by a kind word or two? But if you don't speak up, how is the other person supposed to know? Wow, another kiss before bedtime.

Don't worry. I am not a powerless abused partner. I can stand up for myself if I have to but mostly that makes it worse. There is much to be said about letting sleeping dogs lie and not disturbing them while they have bad dreams.

I greeted our Indian Fijian friend after a more than a month of his long holiday in Fiji, with the greeting, 'well, you've put on a tan'. He is quite dark skinned and looked very black tonight. I was almost eating my words as I said them, but no regrets. He has been invited to work at the medical practice where I attend. One would assume he will be able to see my medical records. Oh dear.

Thinking that through, there is no reason why medical reception staff would have access to patient medical records, although no doubt they could if they really wanted to.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Wong and the kiddies

Our federal conservative governing party has decided that if it cannot get legislation for a plebiscite (kind of an opinion poll and non binding on the parliament) through the parliament for  a vote on same sex marriage, it will conduct a postal plebiscite for which no legislation is required. This is instead of just having an open vote in parliament on the matter. It seems the extreme conservatives within the party wield a lot of power.

Little Jo lives in a very civilised middle class area with high education levels and that she has two mothers and no father has not really being a problem, with more curiosity than anything nasty being said. Not all children of same sex couples have it so easy.

Senator Wong is a parent and in a similar situation with her female partner. I can't say much more than have a listen to Penny Wong in the Senate and hope that you will have nothing to do with legitimising this appalling postal plebiscite that the Liberal Party has come up with. Let it tear itself apart. Clip from The Guardian. 2:17

Coming to suburb near you

In my opinion, overpopulation is the biggest problem in the world. As a wealthy country, why are we overpopulating Australia and ruining our lifestyle? It is all about big business and rich people and companies making huge profits.

I hate crowded public transport and as an alternative to our frequent but crowded tram service, R and I both used the buses that pass by. But, we have lost our nearby bus stops with the recent road and tram works and then anyway, the routes are to be altered and would not suit us mostly anyway. But we do have nice new tram stop opposite The Highrise. I quite happily don't get on the first tram and then get on one soon behind that is not so crowded.

I think I would get a taxi cab or an Uber before I would try to get on a train in such an overpopulated city, such as Dhaka in Bangladesh.

It is one thing to see crowds on train roofs, but quite another to see close ups of people actually getting up there, including women and children. We'll begin with crowded roof photos and then see what really happens personally.

Family nearly aboard here.

Child on.

Wife/Mother on. Not sure if he managed to get on. 

Coming to an Australian city near you soon. 

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

A Lonely VIP in Paris

This is just so wonderful that I have to share it, from Bloomberg Politics. Thanks for sending it to me, you know who. Just in case you don't know, Macron is the newish President of France and Prime Minister Jussy Trudeau of  Canada is the longest senior politician among the trio. I don't have to tell you who Trump is.

“Macron appeared to form a special bond with Trudeau, with television cameras lingering on the two Generation Xers strolling down the hill conversing in French while Trump, at 70 the oldest G-7 leader, stayed behind to wait for a golf cart to give him a lift through the narrow cobbled streets.”

I left the book on the cooker and a bag lady took it

Bag man seems to be internationally known and not just an Australian expression. From Wikpedia, A bagman is a person designated to collect or distribute illicitly gained money.

Yet how is a bag lady not the same thing? A bag lady is a destitute old woman who sleeps on the streets and carries her belongings around in bags. Nothing like a bag man. So queer.

Also queer to me is the odd pronunciation by some British people of words like book and cooker, the latter being what we call a stove or oven or hotplates. I am trying to think of something that rhymes with the way some British people pronounce the words, but I cannot. I can't even do it in writing.  It is an alien vowel sound to Australians and probably to many English people too. It is not quite right but try bewk or cewker. Weird!

Years ago when I used to go on to gay chat lines I came across someone who I enjoyed chatting with and in a moment of indiscretion I divulged to him where I worked. Ah, he said, you would know A****. A is a tall Spanish looking Filipino who seemed to be gay to me. I asked the guy who I was chatting to, is A gay? Oh yes, he said. A is definitely gay. He said then with such confidence that I know A....well, no need to go there. I should have gone on to ask him how A being gay sits with his strong Catholic beliefs. A used to send us Christmas cards, always with a God Bless at the end.

A is now married with two young daughters. He still looks quite good as he enters his forties, but he does not change his fabulous hair weekly as he used to and now it is of a 'sensible' style. Not long after it was confirmed to me that A was gay, A's  photo popped up in the gay press out at a venue.

To more recent times, at work A was asking advice from a non first language English speaker about a word. Andrew Big Ears immediately tuned in. The advice A received was kind of wrong without being wrong.

I wish I could remember what the word was now, but I cannot and later I corrected A. I said something like, while it is not wrong, this is the better, shorter and more concise word to use.

I went on to tell A about my pet hate of people saying orientated. Orientated is quite correct, but why not just say oriented. For mine, they are the same and I don't know why you would use a longer word when a shorter one will do. While I know I am right, perhaps you can explain to me why orientated might be a better word to use than oriented?

God help those who are not English native speakers and weren't brought up with the language. Even I don't understand my own language, and one can only resort at times to saying, no rules, that is just how it is.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Mystery Bill

It has been very cold in Melbourne this winter. We expected a horror electric bill, but we were pleasantly surprised. Electricity prices vary from company to company and state to state but I don't think our service charge and charge per kilowatt is bad, no matter how some parts of government and media try to frighten us into thinking the price of electricity has skyrocketed. I remember us having electric bills of $600 for the winter quarter here.

Last year we used 29.41 kw of electric each day for the same billing period. For this very cold winter, we have used 18.91 kw each day. How can that be? The aircon heating has been working hard to warm us and everything else has been normal. Well, not quite. This year we were away for two weeks of the billing period, so that would account for what? 92 days as against 78 days. I don't know. One of you smart people can do the sums but I don't think that would account for that much of the difference.

The other difference is, remember how the element in our aircon drip tray broke down and I disconnected the wire. It is like an old fashioned kettle element and at times I often thought it was working when it did not need to.

I have been bailing out the tray. This is so dependant on humidity. Two weeks went by and the tray dried out. Then I had to bail out about five litres of water. It dried up again and then we had some decent rain last week, and shock horror, the tray filled with water nearly to overflowing. I took out close to twenty litres of water, about five gallons. Yet it rained today a little but the tray is pretty well dry.

I think the element in the tray is 2400 watts and it not working has saved us quite a bit of electricity consumption. The element must have cracked and it has now completely broken through. The tray and element is nearly fifteen years old and so did serve us well, but perhaps rather expensively. I would like a system that I could turn on or off with a switch to steam away the water. But at this stage, I will just bail water as required but I am not sure how it will go in summer. I think the aircon generates quite a bit of water when it is humid, but then it does evaporate away much more quickly too.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Little Jo visits Pt 2

After visiting the synagogue for Melbourne's Open House and lunch at Riverland at Federation Wharf, we took Little Jo to see the Wallace and Gromit exhibition at ACMI, Federation Square. I wished I had more knowledge about the makers Aardman. They have made some terrific movies using clay animation. Here are a few of their sets.

I reckon this bloke, who may or may not have been a missing person, looks like the former mayor of Geelong, Daryl Lions.

As rare as hen's teeth.

He is an unapologetic meat eater.

She wants to live in a warm tropical country, not cold old England.

Err, yeah, didn't The Beatles do that?

Shaun the Sheep.

Working tools.

You may know what movies these sets are from. I don't.

Some of the photos are not so good, but look ok when very small.

Bolton le Sands (England), where sometimes it does not rain for days, haha.

Note the mittens on the forklift.

After seeing all the exhibits, Little Jo and R made their own clay (plasticine) models and with the something like ten Ipads set up with scene sets, they made their own animations. R only used ten frames of photos to make his movie, so not so good. Little Jo used her full quota of 25 frames to make hers, and we used the email facility to send them to our eddresses. Here is Little Jo's.

Sister spent some time watching some rough and foreign, well interstate, football match at Docklands and arrived here an hour before Bone Doctor and the three of them then headed home. It was a very nice time spent with Little Jo.