Saturday, October 13, 2018

Monday Mural

Yes, it is not Monday but I am away.

Joining with Sami and others for Monday Mural.

As wonderful as they are, and take a look here at Hels post of some of the murals to be found on grain silos in country Victoria, you don't have to go to the country to see massive mural like those. We have one right here in inner Melbourne on the side of of a public housing block in Collingwood.

Collingwood is a very old part of Melbourne and an interesting area. It is very diverse, ethnically and in many other ways. Honestly though, I feel out of place there. It is so different to my side of town.

They are all pictures of residents of the block. One anecdote I heard was that one of subjects when asked if she would like to be painted, she thought it would be a small picture on a bus shelter or similar and was surprised to see herself appear larger than life on the side of the block.

The downside I suppose is that some residents have paint on their windows, a small price to pay. It is on the southern wall and is protected from the worst of the sun, and so should last quite well.

Up up and away

All being well, we should be approaching South Africa from Singapore as this is published. As usual, nothing will be posted by me while I am away. Depending on internet connections, I may well be skulking around your blogs. One difference this time is that I am going to turn on comment moderation for all posts to stop spammers.

After spending a few days in Cape Town we slowly travel through South Africa to the national wildlife park, Kruger, where hopefully we will see lots of wild animals and not be eaten by any of them.

We've got our rand at the ready. While Mandela's face is on one side of every note, on the R50 note there is either a younger Mandela or a lion on the other. I guess one is an older note. The conversion rate is pretty easy, just drop the last digit and you have the near enough value in Australian dollars.

South Africa seems to take its electricity very seriously. The pins are massive. I assumed being a former British colony, the British plug would be used, but not so. There are not too many countries where this plug is used, so Murph dictates my very expensive international travel plug bought last year in Barcelona does not have the appropriate pins.

The little Aussie plug inserts here.

Without this device, we would die. It will charge our phones, tablets, cameras and one e-reader.

Now where is my pith helmet?  See you all down the track.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Funny Friday

The main actor here went on to become quite famous as a comedian, a lead role in the movie Babe about a pig, a same sex marriage advocate after coming out as a lesbian and I think she is one of those people you seldom hear a bad word about, Magda Szubanski. She is delightful.

Here she is as Lynne many years ago in the tv show Fast Forward.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Missing Work

Four weeks of leave in October. One week of Rostered Day Off leave in early December. Christmas week off from accumulated leave. Work all of January until the 3rd of February, then Long Service Leave until May and then eight weeks holiday until July. It is pretty unlikely I will return to work in July 2019.

Workmates urge me to use up sick leave, and I know my doctor is compliant. I was actually so stressed by work a couple of months ago, he gave me sick leave for one week. It did help. But in all conscience I can't just 'use up sick leave'. It is there for when you are sick. I have over one thousand hours of sick leave that work has to budget for, but can reduce on their balance sheet once I retire.

I worry that I won't adjust to having this all this extra time in my life. I worry that R and myself will struggle with so much more time together. I worry that I won't get off my backside and join in things that interest me. I worry that I won't have enough money to support myself.

But at the end of day, I've had enough of work and the twice daily commute in increasingly congested traffic. I've been advised that I have enough superannuation to provide a sufficient income until I can receive the old age pension at 67. Bastards, it used to be 65 and I miss out by ten months.

There is not much I will miss about work. While I try to regulate my my work times to almost normal day times, that is start at 6:30, break from 10:30 until 2:30 and finish at 6:30, many is the time I have been up for work at 4am or still working from the night before at 3am.

But what I will miss is my workmates. They are both locally born and from all corners of the globe but predominantly now the Sub Continent. I get their warts and all view of the world, about Australia and their countries of their birth and all in between. Years ago there were quite a number of rogues in the gallery, but not now. Mind, the rogues used to be great fun people, just not with a strong and decent work ethic....some without ethics at all.

The coffee machine at work was broken. This causes me maximum inconvenience. The short black coffee is drinkable with a little hot water added and cost $1. I had to allow extra time to go to the nearby 711 to get coffee, also $1. It is of about the same quality as the work machine produces. It is hot and it is wet but not proper coffee like I would have in a cafe that would cost $3.50.

While the machine was making my coffee one day in the 711, a workmate who was paying for his coffee called out, what coffee are you having? I replied and he paid for my coffee. What a nice thing to do. Perhaps I am not the evil uncaring person I paint myself as at times. Ha, thinking about it, over the years many people have bought me coffee at work and I don't think I have ever bought anyone coffee. I have offered at times, but people always said no. I did buy a chocolate bar for a student once, who turned out to be a non chocolate eater. Many years ago one student bought me a bottle of Scotch after successfully completing her training. She was not a natural at the job, but I got her through it.

A couple of years ago a new person started at work. He is a tall nicely proportion bearded and very handsome Sikh, who wears a turban. I am so old now, I am generally ignored by new staff, especially by the influx of positive action female staff. They are polite and friendly but I am a sixty year old gay man. I have nothing in common with 20 to 40 year old women. They won't be my friends.

But not so the Sikh Indian, who seemed to like me and made an effort to get to know me. Why is this man being so nice to me? I still don't know. He has now stepped up on a rung at work, drives a new white Mercedes, volunteers in his local community and is positively the nicest person you could meet, aside from being hot as anything and makes me feel weak at the knees whenever I see him, and behave like dumbstruck teenage girl.

A few weeks ago I relieved him from a shift and he gave me a biscuit. Try that, he said. Oh Sukyi, I want much more from you than a biscuit. Nevertheless, that was nice. The biscuit was very good and reminded me of a childhood sweet called Coconut Rough. The next time I saw him, I told him about the Coconut Rough of my youth. I think he is quite ambitious and follows the adage, be nice to people on the way up. I mentioned about the sweet to a gay workmate who quickly deflated my ego with, he's given them to me in the past.

In my work mailbox this Thursday morning were my payslips and another of the same sweet with this sticky note. What a nice thing. There are some things about work I will miss.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Paywalls not withstanding

I really hope you can read newspaper article below. For much of his working life R was in the field of care for the mentally and physically disabled, mostly adults but some children. Some of the children were Downs. It is an area I have some knowledge of, via R.

Some people say, better that they died at birth. It never is. With the right care, the most severely disabled can have a reasonable life. At times in the '80s teenagers Damien and Aiden, Thalidomide victims, stayed with us for overnight stays at weekend. They were miniatures of what a teenage boys should be and totally dependent in every area, had virtually no voluntary movement, and if their brains worked normally, it must have been horrible for them. But I doubt their brains did work properly. Nevertheless they could express anger, frustration, sadness, and being teenage boys, arousal that made it difficult to get nappies on them at times. But what I remember most about them was their laughter and giggling.

At times we knew what was so funny, but often enough we did not know what they found so funny. They were, back then, in well funded government care and I reckon if you life involves some laughter, it is better that you did not die at birth. They both died before they reached the age of twenty. They laughed and made a difference to the world as here I am decades on fondly remembering them. Damien was dark haired and freckled and seemed cheeky in some way. Aiden was blond and angelic.

So if you can, have a read of this story from a mother of a girl with Downs at a Downs Syndrome conference in Glasgow, from The Age. I hope you are not geo blocked or paywall blocked.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

R knows

The conversation goes like this.

Anything on tomorrow hon?

I know he knows it is a loaded question and I knew he would say, not really. And I would say I  have a plan. I replied, I will buy you a cup of coffee at Aunty Peg's. Just by the name of such a place, it would interest me. First class coffee will be guaranteed. Top marks if you can work out why we might have coffee at Aunty Peg's. A place I have never heard of and what is my reason for visiting the area.

It is a bit hard. Here is clue. Hels recently took photos of a silo murals in country Victoria., yet to be published on her blog .

That kind of day

It was that kind of morning.

I printed out a colour document and the colour was wrong, indicating the ink had run out. Load in the new cartridges, print a head alignment sheet, click print again to print the document. No, no paper left. Open filing cabinet drawer for new paper, and there is none loose, so I had open a new ream of paper.

So many bits and pieces done, including washing and drying my sheets and attending to matters for our forthcoming holiday.

It was that kind of afternoon.

I decided a train trip would restore my sense of serenity. My intention was to travel to the new suburban extension station called Mernda, about an hour away. The Epping line became the South Morang line and is now the Mernda line. Crazy! Two stations have also been added between South Morang and Mernda, named Middle Gorge* and Hawkstowe. Light rain was falling and each time the train started off from the station it would kangaroo hop as the wheels lost traction.........ah, that isn't go to work for an international audience. Rephrased, like a learner driver sometimes starts off in a manual gear change car.

As the train departed Ruthven Station (no, as I learnt from the train announcement, it is not the name Ruth pronunciation) , an announcement was made that because the train in front had hit a person, this train would terminate at Keon Park, (where there is a turnback facility), and return to the city. I was so close but so far. Now I am going to have to take the trip again to complete my all Melbourne suburban rail journeys. I left the train to stretch my legs knowing it would take time for the driver to change ends and it did take some time. People seemed to know the score for bustitution for trains, and huddled out of the light rain under a nearby shelter. I checked a phone app and the next train towards the city was at 1:43, which may well have been the train that hit the person and I guessed this train I was on would become the 1:43, correctly as it turned out. But it left five minutes late. Spitting and hissing steam with brightly glowing cinders flying past the windows, the train flew back into the city. Ok, it was an electric train, but it did go very fast at one point and passengers were nearly launched off their seats on a rough bit of track. Great fun. I had a mosey around City Basement Books and then went home. So many books. Gee people write a lot.

* I believe the name is something to do with Harry Potter, and if there is a gorge nearby, I can't see one on a map. Probably refers to a gorge related to the Plenty River.

There wasn't really much of interest to me to photograph and I had forgotten my camera, but nowadays the phone camera is mostly as good, and in low light, better.

Some lichens like it hot and some lichens like it cold. Out on the open platform, this one must like it hot.

Dreary and boring Keon Park Station, waiting for the train to depart.

Parrots of sorts have been very topical this week among mural snappers, eh Grace and Sami. Not good enough for a Monday Mural post.

Construction of these government owned high rise residential flats in Richmond  followed the slum clearance programme of the 1950s and 60s.

You don't really see ads for overseas tourism for and in your own country unless you travel overseas. This one caught my eye.

Then the screen changed to this.

Just finished dinner, a jar stir fry sweet and sour. Very nice. Thanks R. I stepped out onto the balcony to see a young chap running after a sulphur crested cockatoo that was running along the gutter at the edge of the road. He put it back onto his shoulder and continued to walk along. This should be tomorrow's post, but for some reason I am publishing it early.

Monday Malaise

I have felt a little queer this Monday. Stop right there! We had decided what to do today, last night, kind of. We discussed it. I became firmer about it this morning. Let me turn back the clock to two weeks ago.

Myer had Levi jeans on sale for $70, reduced from $100 but not in the style and size I wanted, black, 511s 32 32. I used to know the metric size for my jeans but Australia has gone backwards with metric measurement, thanks to the mighty US of A imperialism. Our jeans used to be marked in metric, as were our tyre pumps. I asked the dedicated Levi salesperson at our department store Myer, staff put in by other companies that have no real knowledge of the store, and cannot help with anything else. No, she said, we don't have that size. Let me check. Yes, there are some ready to be unpacked. Come back in a couple of days. Can I buy them online from Myer? Of course Sir. No, the internet said no. Not in my size. So Myer doesn't have any of the jeans in my size? In its vast empire around Australia.

While I was at work on Saturday, R was in town and checked on my behalf. Still my size was not there.

I went to Myer on Sunday while R was off selling soft drinks at The Block property of the tv show fame in St Kilda, as a fundraiser for his volunteer organisation. We met up after his shift for a sausage in bread from another  fundraiser stall. The area was crazily busy, but after our sausage, we found a good coffee place. The staff earlier at Myer were so helpful, but they only have the tools they can work with. The cute young man behind the counter checked, two pair available. Ah, he said, they must be in the delivery dock and may not be unpacked for two days. He then went off to look at shelves. I have no  complaint with the staff at Myer. They are always so helpful, when you can find one. He ran into the same Levi lass who a couple of weeks ago I saw. She told him what she told me a couple of weeks ago. That size is in the delivery dock, ready to be unpacked. I say, damn you Myer. It is not your staff that are wanting. It is your organisation.

With nothing planned this Monday I typed 'cheap Levi jeans Melbourne' into the mega search engine. Ok, DFO (direct factory outlet) at South Wharf and at Waterfront City.

We caught the tram to the DFO, I waved towards Ad Rad's apartment building just in case he was out on his balcony and watching passengers alighting from the City Circle tram.

Plan A was the Levi store at DFO, brunch and then home. Plan B was DFO, Waterfront City, brunch, Levi store, Would you believe that at the first DFO I bought the right jeans for $10 less than Myer had them on special, $60. I get annoyed as I know what a cheap price you people in the US pay for Levi jeans.

We had a nice brunch at the Boat Builders Yard.  The weather was divine. I savoured the hipster options, smashed avocado  or tatties with pulled pork, and chose the latter.

Once home, I spent an hour online and on the phone renewing our electricity contract. I have done something I have never done before, given a company the right to direct deduct from my bank account. What is your electricity tariff? 17.6 per kw/h is ours? Supply charge, the same,  per day. You really don't want to know about me downloading a csv file, then uploading it to another website, and then being full of knowledge, pressing points to the lass on the phone.  She eventually came through, and we now have a good deal.

I did not know there was a gay rainbow crossing in Fitzroy Street, St Kilda.

Jim Stynes was an Aussie Rules football champion who died of cancer at a quite young age. This walking and cycling bridge is named after him.

I don't think I will ever see the Yarra River blue, but it is the river we have. Red is always good, hey. Do I see Queen Vic somewhere?

Monday, October 08, 2018

Monday Mural

Joining with Sami and others for Monday Mural. 

I had seen this mural near South Melbourne Market many times I expect but I never took much notice. I just thought I would take a photo of it, without any real reason and the photo was taken with my phone. I did not rush to transfer it the desktop screen, but once I did, I was rather impressed. Ah, no wonder it is good. It is by artist Cto. I photographed one work of his or her here and another here. They are all most excellent.  It is clearly a commissioned work, on the side of commercial kitchen equipment outlet.  Another of his work I was going to photograph is at an accommodation place in North Melbourne, but it is within an internal courtyard, so no can do. Grace, you mentioned he had painted some work in Perth and you were going to check?

Sunday, October 07, 2018

Not my Opera House

Sydney is Sydney and Melbourne is Melbourne and ne're the twain shall meet. But what about these lighting projections on the 'sails' of the Opera House? Horse racing apparently, and let me not spoil this post with facts. The details of a horse race are to be projected onto the sails of the Opera House. You all know what it looks like, and here is a simple photo from Our ABC. Pretty cool huh and very identifiable as being in Australia, and Sydney.

You'll be able to see the horse colours, their numbers, jockeys and all kinds of other information for a horse race I have never heard of projected onto the sails. I suppose that is the point of advertising.  The boss lady of the Opera House said no, but the boss lady of New South Wales, Our Glad, said yes at the behest of an appallinging rude shock jock radio broadcaster, (do scroll down to Other Cases) who has a couple of mates and co company owners who are very involved in horse racing. Rum and Rebellion is alive and well in New South Wales. 

I've heard a rumour. Next week Aldi will have child safe trampolines on special and Aldi has been granted rights to project a community child health and exercise advertisement on the sails of the Opera House, featuring photos of guess what? Yep, a trampoline, on sale, so, snap it up now at Aldi. Do get there early, as stocks won't last.

The commercialisation of public space, public buildings and public transport makes me sick in my heart and I am very disappointed to learn that Our Glad, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, has submitted with seemingly base animal lust (I didn't need a thesaurus to find another phrase for bitch dog on heat) to the wails of commercial interest and in particular the exercable Alan Jones. 

Kiddies, put your hands up if you know what the most corrupt sport in the world is? Yes, boy at the back with pigtails, you are correct, but everyone knows that about horse racing. I meant beyond that. I thought that would go without saying. 


I just couldn't get it together last night to write a post for today. I blame it on being the eve of the start of my holidays. Here is something anyway. Better late than never.

It is our building's annual bicycle audit. A small sticker is stuck to every bicycle and notices go up around the building to remove the sticker from your bike. Any bike that has a sticker left on it goes into storage and after a time is disposed of. Legal? I really don't know but the audit has happened for many years and I was involved setting it up, and there has never been a complaint.

I went down to the basement to remove the sticker from my bicycle to find someone had locked their bike to my bike. I wrote a note and taped it to her bicycle seat (it was a girl's bike) and it was soon unlocked from my bike and moved. There is a fixed pump in the room and I used it to pump up my tyres. I dunno about riding the bike. I am exhausted just pumping up the tyres. I was very conscious  of not straining my back. I found an old paint can to sit on while I learnt how the pump nozzle clamps onto the tyre valve. Eventually I understood.  A drop of chain oil and The Apollo will be all ready to go out into the fresh air. Whether it will go out or not is a moot point.

This is the bike room, a sectioned off area in the basement. Also in the basement is a storage area, where household items are stored before council collection, including abandoned bikes, and another area where there are water pressure boosting fire pumps, the fire  sprinkler system pump (how Grenfell Tower in London never had such a system, I do not know) and a basement drainage pump.

There is another bike room but it only holds about 20 bikes.

There's The Apollo, green and white, next to the car. The door to the left leads to the pump room.

Behind the metal doors is the storage area for other bits. You can see where I got the paint can from to sit on.

When we were painting the basement before it was turned into bicycle storage, the maybe six of us tried to chat as we were working, but the acoustics are so weird, we could not hear each other properly, so we gave up chatting and just painted.