Saturday, April 23, 2022

The Life Sentence

Blog mate Caro is out having dinner this Friday night with her life partner as they celebrate being together for forty five years and she sums up their time together very well, with her summary striking a chord with me. I thought mine and R's forty three years was impressive. 

Past or present, can any of you do better than forty five years? If you want to spice your comment up a bit, what is your loved one's really annoying habit?

Congratulations to Caro and Himself. 

Friday, April 22, 2022

Visiting the Sanctuary

Most Victorians will immediately think of Healesville Sanctuary and they would be right. It wasn't always but is now part of the Zoos Victoria empire, including the Werribee Park Open Zoo and Melbourne Zoo.

Melbourne Zoo's focus in on the clearing native forests in Asian countries for palm oil production. Very important. Healesville's focus is Australian forest animal habitat destruction, especially the clearing of trees. 

Healesville also especially focuses on breeding up endangered animals and conservation, along with looking after wildlife in trouble. It wasn't much when I visited it as a schoolboy, tramping along muddy tracks to see a few poorly housed native animals. It is now a huge and very professional place. 

Sister, Bone Doctor and their daughter Jo mentioned they were staying for three nights in a farm cottage near Healesville. Hippie Niece chipped in, we want to go to the sanctuary! My partner can come on Tuesday and my twin daughters will love it. I made negative remarks because of the weather forecast which were of course ignored.

It was very early start for us, leaving home at 9.00 for the one and a quarter hour drive. Rain absolutely pelted down while we travelled on the Eastern Freeway. R suggested we should abandon. I replied, if it remains bad, we can just meet for lunch, even though we had already booked and paid for our tickets.

The rain did clear but remained threatening with grey skies. We stopped at a famous bakery for some sustenance and then met Hippie Niece and her family. Sister, Bone Doctor and Jo turned up a bit later, after their nearly three hour drive. 

By 2pm after having seen many animals and the Birds of Prey show, we were whacked (there you go Sandra, not knackered) We left just in time as the heavens opened on the way back to the car. No matter, we had a great time.

With such dark skies and just my phone, my photos were a bit disappointing but here is the pick of them.

This is a bird. I forget what. It is quite big.

Koala and it is not a bear. 

The claws are massive.

Why did the koala come down to the ground? It sat stationary and a large puddle appeared underneath. I did not take photos to give the koala some dignity. There was little dignity in sitting in your own piss.  

A little unusual to see kangaroos so active during the day, but it wasn't exactly a day for lying in the sun.

A tree kangaroo, I think from Papua New Guinea.

On the wrong side of the world, some of our trees grow upside down. 

Corenderrk Creek flows through the sanctuary. 

I should have taken my camera. It is difficult to use a phone to take longer distance photos and fast moving flying birds. 

I think this is a barn owl. 

I didn't get photos but the most stunning bird was the endangered Electus parrot. 

A cockatoo unfurled a banner.

Wipe your bum with recycled paper. 

On to the parrot aviary. 

I think this is a red tailed black cockatoo.

Busy destroying a nesting box.

I wish I could remember the name of this bird species. It was very still and relaxed at people being just a metre away. 

This sculpture at the parrot aviary was rather good.

Thankfully this creature is extinct. Megalania was a poisonous carnivore goanna, weighing 600 kilograms. Chase you, catch you, bite you with poison and then munch you up.

A Tasmanian Devil. It is better when you see two fighting each other. Not a fight to kill perhaps but is looks quite savage.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Very low level fame

A tertiary PhD student made contact with me with the request that could we have an online chat about Pandora. Of course we can attractive young man. R asked me why I was participating. My single word answer was vanity. While I have nothing to be vain about, I am my mother's son. Seriously, recording history is important and I take some pride in being part of it and Pandora. 

You are screaming with 'What is Pandora'? No? It is part of Australia's public web archive and it includes blogs. The man was especially interested in my blog post response to being invited to be Pandored in 2007 as you can read here at the archive. My blog had a rather different look then.

I was concerned about the method to use, the suggestion being Microsoft Meetings, as during extreme lock downs we had group online gatherings with friends using various less than perfect online systems.

The student lad made it so easy. I downloaded the Meetings app to my tablet, clicked on the link he sent to me and it all just worked. His first thought was probably, 'I didn't realise how old this dude is and of a rather worn appearance'. Maybe not. Not everyone is like me. His questions were focused and reasonable and he was of a pleasant and friendly character. I just wish my speaking skills were better, but I kind of strung enough words together. 

I do have one issue though. The last time I was interviewed, about public transport, I declined to use Meetings, having never heard of it and they were then happy with a phone interview. My $50 department store voucher reward duly arrived. But this lad did not ask for details of where to send a voucher! C'est la vie. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Note to my bro

Busy day yesterday as you will see in time. ABI Brother was on the phone night before last right as we sit for dinner at 7. I let the call go through to the message service. He had clearly had a drink. I've shown him at least three times how to operate his small tablet, but still he can't. Below might be better, to have something written to refer to.

We have ordered a new desktop computer, so I disappear for a day or thirty, I will be busy with the new machine.

ABI stands for acquired brain injury. He struggles with some things.

Hi brother.

Hold your tablet with the the large button on the face of device on the right hand side.

You will already have turned the device on. Press this centre button and everything will be disappear and you can see your home screen where all the on screen app buttons show. Click on any of them and you will go to what you want, be it Gmail, Facebook, YouTube or whatever.

While pressing this button will take you to the home screen, nothing has closed down.

Below that button is a touch button and I know it is hard to see on your tablet, but it is there. Pressing that screen touch button will show a vertical cascade of whatever is open on your tablet. Screen touch at the top of which ever programme you want to view and it will become full screen and operable.

Above the centre button is another touch screen button which is just a 'go back' button, to use to return to the previous screen in whatever you are using.

I suggest until you become quite familiar with the operations, don't try to use it when you have had a drink or Mum is earbashing you. Under no circumstances try to change passwords or anything important when you have had a drink.

The key button really is the centre button that takes you to the home screen where you can click on any of the apps, and screen swipe to the right to see more screens with more apps.

I hope this is helpful.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

A brief acquaintanceship

A number of lurid tabloid style titles for this post came to mind, such as 'Death on the Balcony', 'Death of a new friend'...You get my drift, but I think the use of such a title might alarm the punters.

We don't see a lot of insects this high. The occasional fly and butterfly perhaps, more often moths and ladybirds/ladybugs. For our first couple of years here we never saw an ant then there was a mass ant invasion of my hair removal wax. I got rid of them and for maybe eighteen years since we've never seen and ant since. Tiny spiders nest in crevices on the balcony. Although our apartment is well sealed, R has his bedroom window open and night and while I've never seen a spider inside, we do get the occasional cobweb. 

This visitor arrived on our balcony on Friday. He/she looked interesting and seemed quite content on the barbeque handle. In the evening it moved to the balcony glass just near the barbeque. 

I didn't see it for my first 'check planet Earth is still working' Saturday visit to the balcony but it was right on about the 7am sunrise and maybe the sun was in my eyes. An hour later it was certainly present, having moved along to the centre of the glass.

By 10am, something looked wrong. It was hanging by one leg and its antennae were still. We were out by 11.30 and did not return until 4.00 and of course it had gone. It had died and while all its its feet had released, one remained. The last must have let go while we were out. I felt sad.

My long and extensive 15 second research tells me it was a grasshopper or locust. It looks like an Oriental grasshopper but probably isn't. 

Monday, April 18, 2022

Musical Monday

Listen to which ever version you like, or none. 

As I do, I totally missed the Scissor Sisters in early 2000s. I found them in about 2015, maybe because the lead singer Jake Spears identified as being gay. Yes, I am that shallow. After looking at the clips, who would have thought! No matter if he is gay or straight, he is certainly one sexy dude. 

Official video music clip Take Your Mama Out. Over produced?

Live at the Brit Awards.

My fave is at London's Hyde Park. Wow. I thought it was Glastonbury. Jake has been to the Mick Jagger school of stage prancing. 

Ah, Scissor Sisters did perform at Glastonbury in 2010. I have no knowledge of the woman in all of these clips, and she looks pretty good too. Behind every good man...even gay men.

I checked with Fire Fighting Nephew and he was at Glastonbury in 2009. He saw Tom Jones, Bruce Springsteen and Nick Cave.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Sunday Selections

 Joining in with Elephant's Child and River for Sunday Selections. As usual for me, random photo that haven't had a gig elsewhere. 

Grumble grumble. Every so often Household Management insists I cook fried rice. I overheard him say I am not a messy cook.

The Supreme Court of Victoria.

Plantings outside Melbourne Town Hall for the religious Harvest Festival. I hate them as they always look so scruffy in contrast to the usual lovely annuals. 

Crepe myrtles in flower lining Margaret Street, South Yarra.

Too big Missy.

Two weeks earlier R cleaned the balcony glass and then this milky fluid ran down from the apartment above as I was sitting there. I yelled and heard sorry back.

So many people forget to remove their Alfred Hospital visitor sticker from their clothing. They are reminded before they cross Punt Road to the tram stop.

I think Yorkshire Pudding recently showed a boot cleaner at a venue entrance. Paved roads, paved footpaths, paved carpark, yet still at the quite new Club Officer there is a boot cleaner next to an LED uplight and clearly it sees use.

Sculptures at St Kilda Community Gardens.

Naughty Fire Fighting Nephew was trying to teach Little Ju to say Putin and then mock spit. He could have taught her worse.

Just what I needed, a public phone near the dentist. Well, private garden actually.

After leaving the beachside cafe with Ex Sis in Law, her husband and Little Ju. Just a scratch mate! Bald headed bloke looks like he might be about to choke out the other driver. See the photo at its largest by right clicking, open in a new window.

Learners in little yachts on Albert Park Lake. Larger yachts on Port Phillip.

He wasn't seriously sprinting but slowly running down Toorak Road with police in a car in pursuit. The car swung onto the wrong side of street and the possible offender danced (sic) across the road. But our finest was quick out of the car and nabbed him.

The guy looked quite gay to me and clearly drug affected.

An ambulance completes the story.

More bother from the apartment above. Some netting thing was hanging down from their balcony. It kept catching our eyes and was very distracting, especially when swaying in a breeze. After five days R went up and pointed the problem out to them and they apologised and pulled it up.