Sunday, May 24, 2015

When things go wrong, mostly

Or a connection to River's Sunday Selections. Some from Twitter, some from Facebook, some from me, some from elsewhere. I tidied up the hard drive.

Craig, did you or your antecedents have anything to do with this? Too much to ask you for a location, I expect. Does Whiteinch in the title mean anything?


Prahran is a hard word to spell if you don't know how it is spelt, don't you think? If I was a stonemason, I think I would double check the spelling. Prahran is a corruption of the indigenous words for 'land partially surrounded by water'.


There was some kind of delay to trams down below. Two tram patrol cars were parked nearby.


This lad sprinted away from the trams. Maybe something to do with delay, maybe not.


Of course it will fit.


One for you White Angel. What street in Launceston? Photo by David Nowell.


The tender read: Supply bus with roof mounted air-conditioning suitable for 40 degree plus temperatures. Mate, the cheaper 35 degrees rating is fine. They won't know the difference.


Here is an own goal by our trams, one having severely damaged a tramway patrol car.


The worst thing about this photo is that the silver ute may drive off leaving the car next to it that was forced to park at an angle get snapped by someone like me. Very much chicken and egg.


Saturday, May 23, 2015

It is all a terrible misunderstanding

Blog issues.  A great blogmate publishes the same comment twice on my blog. While it has also happened to  others, this person is the only one who persistently comments twice. Should I email and tell the person not to comment twice? Of course not, it is an internet/computer thing. The blog writer has not control over it. Blogspot will sort it out, eventually.

A second blogmate stopped commenting on my blog. This is a person who I thought I had a good connection with. I thought the person was busy with life but still managed to churn out blog posts. That is until I noticed the person commenting on other blog mates' posts but just not mine. I looked and I had disappeared from the person's list. I had been dumped, so I thought. I sent an email to enquire why. I would not do this with everyone, but as I said, I thought we were well connected. Guess what, some computer internet issue again.

A third blogmate made a comment on my blog as to why I no longer post a comment on their blog.  The long and the short of it is, I did make comments but the person receives comments only as emails and there was no arriving email for my comment on the person's blog over a decent period. The person thought I had stopped commenting. Earlier, the person had stopped receiving my posts on however the person receives blog updates.

Sometimes blog mates just fade away. They stop posting, you stop posting. They change to not responding to comments after they always used to and no longer comment elsewhere either. Isn't that just like real life where friends can fade away? There was no deliberate intention. It is just how things happen at times in life.

With the exception of the first case above, it you feel like you like you have wrongly been dumped, send a nice email to the person and ask why. My email in the second case solved the matter, as did the the person's email in the third case solve the matter.

I expect if you ask R, he would say I say I spend far too much too much time in blog world. While I have real life friends, some of who were just blog mates, I really do take my blog world seriously as part of my life.




A memory and some irony

Today R posted a photo of me on his Facebook page. He showed me the photo. I look old. I don't feel old but the lens tells the truth. I asked him if he tagged the photo and he didn't know what I meant. He has tagged it now so I suppose it will appear on my FB timeline. The photo was taken during last year's European holiday in Rudesheim, Germany. I did not realise this time last year we were in Europe. I would do the whole holiday all over again as it was so good.

This led my mind to wander and think about a moment of irony. None of you will ever confirm if what I think is irony actually is. I think we were in Wursberg and wanted to buy a tram ticket from a machine and there was a skanky ho with her frog spawn in a pram standing in front of the ticket machine. We had to ask the stupid cow to move out of the way. We bought our tickets, the tram arrived and we boarded. The well groomed blonde woman with a child in a pram had to ask the two stupid fat old Australian queens to move out of the pram area on the tram. Quid pro quo. There are only three characters in this moment, excluding the baby. She did wrong and then we did wrong.

We had an experience when out for dinner tonight that was unpleasant, but we would do well to remember, none of us is perfect and we all make mistakes.

Are you slightly curious about what happened tonight? Let me explain it thus.

Gay men become invisible to young gay men at about the age of 40.

Women become invisible to young men by about 35.

A 67 year old gay man trying to order food over a bar to a  teenage female European backpacker when a young and attractive young Aussie lad rocks up to the bar becomes very invisible. R was furious and the lass certainly knew of his displeasure. We walked out and had an ok meal at another nearby pub which was a bit ordinary in the decor stakes, but the staff were lovely.

Jewish Museum Warhol Exhibition

While I had been to the museum before, R had not, so I guided him around. I made sure he went to the very back to see the synagogue behind. Unfortunately my phone photo is not great.

The Warhol exhibition was good and I thought the curation was excellent. It doesn't take too long to make your way around the exhibition, depending on how much reading you do. Some of Warhol's art are masterpieces. I was interested to note he 'did' the late Australian Loti Smorgon. I say did because I think it may have been a screen print rather than a painting. 

The exhibition closes on Tuesday so if you are interested, don't dilly dally now. Here is Loti with Andy.

 

Generally photography wasn't allowed, but it was encouraged at this large photo. No, I did not selfie (am I the first person to use selfie as a verb?) and instagram. 

 


Friday, May 22, 2015

A big day on the camp calendar

I've never done Eurovision. No, I don't mean attended, I mean taken much notice of it. I might try this year. Here is a start with a video of the past winners back to when the contest began in 1956, just a short excerpt from each.



Is it called a wild card entry? Australia has been given a run through to the final with our odd choice of Guy Sebastian. I mean, he is ok, but has he got that certainly quality? A slightly camp quality, dare I say? I suppose he will do a professional job. I'll see if I can find a photo of him that makes him look a bit interesting. This is the best I can do.


I really only took any notice of Eurovision when Dana International won. A transvestite? From Israel? Then last year another odd type won, a  bearded Viennese bloke in a dress called Conchita Wurst. All very strange. Not sure that I care to see men getting dressed up in frocks.

Eurovision is covered by our multi-national broadcaster SBS. If you are a fan, SBS has a terrific website with all you need to know.

Our local coverage is hosted by the delicious Julia Zemiro and the entertaining Sam Pang but apparently SBS found the need to find a hyper critical and judgemental fashionista to add to the coverage and found the person in its own newsroom.

Here are Julia and Sam.


Looks like The Chin got the new gig. The promotional video is quite clever and amusing.


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Getting Closer

Everything that had to be paid for our holiday in about a month has been paid. We have airport to hotel transfers in Vancouver by the tour company and I have worked out when in New York, where we will arrive to from Toronto, we will get a bus from LaGuardia to the Port Authority Bus Terminal with then a short walk to our accommodation. We leave from Newark Airport, so it will be a train from Penn Station to the airport. Why is there not a train from LaGuardia to Manhattan?

What about getting from the airport in Toronto to our hotel? Firstly I need to know which airport we arrive and depart from but if it is the main one, Pearson, then that will be good. I have checked before about transport to our hotel from the airport and kind of came up with nothing but a hint of a train in the future. Jeepers, it is a city of over 2 million people and there isn't a train to the airport? Melbourne with a population of over 4 million...............um, doesn't have a train to the airport. Maybe it will just be a taxi. Easy but not in my mind a travel experience.

But wait, I revisited where I read something about a train in the future and it was dated 2009. Maybe there now is one. More searching. Under construction, it seems. Eureka! We will be there early July and the new airport train begins operation on the 6th June. Perfect, as long it runs near to our hotel. Right, its city terminus is Union Station. Now where are we staying? Fairmont Royal York and lordy, after checking a map it is right opposite Union Station.

The hotel was built in 1929 and it is rather grand looking. We did book early so maybe that is why it did not seem expensive. Maybe we will have original 1929 rooms, unchanged since then.




Now I need to find out more about the public transport Presto card. Travel is much cheaper using the card. We will only be in Toronto for three nights, two full days and one day will be taken seeing Niagara Falls, giving us one full day to see Toronto. I expect we may well wish we had a little longer there.

Here is a map showing our tour route in Vancouver or British Columbia to be more accurate.


Sister, Bone Doctor and Little Jo will be in the north of England when we finish our holiday. They asked if we could join them there, we thing so we could share some accommodation cost with them. As it stands, they will sleep on R's sister's lounge room floor. While Cathay Pacific was very helpful in that they were happy for us to fly home from London instead of New York, the two airfares from New York to Newcastle at this late stage in peak season would cost $5,000 and that is only to London. Forget it.

Later: As I thought, we do not need a visa to visit the US. Our agent has informed us we need an ESTA. What? All Nationals of the U.S visa waiver program (VWP) countries who plan to travel to the USA will require an approved Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA).

The language was blue as R spent half an hour filling in the online form and paying $US14 and then it was my turn. I was no help suggesting that people from the US visiting Australia may have to do something similar. I seem to remember visas were easier paperwork than having visas waived and filing an ESTA.
 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Now't written

I have just realised at this late hour I have nothing ready to publish tomorrow, so here is a quickie.

It is my day off tomorrow, which is today when you are reading this, unless you are in GB or US, which will be last night.........forget it,  after eight or nine days of work. I was looking forward to a drink or two once home, dinner and not having to rush off to bed. Work went well today. The increasingly long drive home went well. I am home, yay. Push the button in the lift for our floor at the lift stops at floor 11. Doors do not open. Lift does not move. Press emergency button. Someone will be there within twenty minutes was promised. Luckily I was at an interesting bit in my ebook. I sat on the floor and read. Twenty five minutes later the tech must have arrived and the lift moved to floor 12 and the doors opened. I exited and walked the stairs for a few levels and finally home. 

I have to pick R up tomorrow afternoon from his volunteer job and then we are going to an Andy Warhol exhibition. Hope we have time for coffee somewhere. I am in the process of my annual three day cooking of pea and ham soup, to be eaten tomorrow night. I will get the bread maker out and make a crusty loaf to go with my very nice and mature soup.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Yoghurt tasting

Some months ago R pointed out a new yoghurt on the supermarket shelves. I rather like yoghurt and I don't even mind natural yoghurt, although it can be hard to find. I had stopped eating yoghurt because anything other than plain yoghurt was so full of sugar. That is not what yoghurt is meant to be.

The new yoghurt was Chobani Greek style yoghurt. It was quite nice and no added fat. But fat is not our eating issue or yours, it is sugar and I think Chobani had a lot of sugar.

I began a search for the best yoghurt and I found it. I tried a Greek style yoghurt made in the Margaret River area of Western Australia, surely a good place for yoghurt when the area produces such good wines. It was nice enough but there seemed to be an aftertaste. I suspected a chemical sugar alternative.

My next yoghurt choice was from clean and green Tasmania, our island state. If there is a way to go, Tasmania should really go heavily down the clean and green road. The world will be at its feet. The Tamar Valley yoghurt was really nice, until I read the label, made from local and imported produce. So disappointing.

Here is a new one on the supermarket shelves, Gippsland Dairy. Gippsland is a region in Victoria to our east and much of it receives good rainfall and has rich soils and so is ideal for dairy cows. Their yoghurt was the best I have tasted. It is creamy with fruit swirled through it but not really sweet. Made slower to taste better, the label says. But again, made from local and imported ingredients. What is going on here? Is it the fruit that goes in the yoghurt imported? Can't we grow our own berries? Australians were recently alerted to the dangers of imported frozen berries from China.

Our labelling laws are a disgrace. We want to know what goes in our food and where it comes from, but the food companies must be fierce lobbyists as although new labelling laws have been talked about for years, nothing happens. How many Goodman Fielder shares do our politicians own?

Monday, May 18, 2015

Mother's Day

Not exactly topical am I with Mother's Day over a week ago. Mother asked to go to the Dick Whittington Tavern in St Kilda for lunch and quite a number of the family turned up. The great niece was not her usual self. I think she was a bit tired but a few smiles were extracted. She can now just walk, but does not seem in a hurry to take any more than a few steps. Non Dreaded Nephew threw her about a bit and that brought some laughter.

It was a rather nice family get together and as always, the hotel staff were brilliant.

The table was nicely set. I had to remind staff when free champagne was offered to Mother, that there was a younger mother with us too who might like a glass. Most of us chose to eat the delicious steak special for only $20.


Tradie Brother held his dog up to the pub window and then brought him inside. Staff were quickly on to him to see if the dog was an aid dog, which he isn't and so was quickly booted out.



On the way home, what is that coming up the rear?


Damn old thing overtook us. I don't think it is the case in UK and maybe not in other countries, but in Australia you can overtake on the inside lane. Perhaps that is why our highway/freeway traffic is so chaotic, with everyone weaving all over the place. I remember the car and lane discipline when driving on the M6 in England. It was brilliant and everyone knew their place. I would appreciate if you could indicate in comments about overtaking on the inside lane in your country. Of course some of you will be doing so on the wrong side of the road.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

A tale of two neighbours part 2

She doesn't have a computer so I have no hesitation in calling our upstairs neighbour Julie. If she needs something from the internet, she rings her brother in Hawthorn and asks him. She doesn't visit her brother as she does not get along with her brother's wife.

How do I know so much about Julie? We have known her as a fellow building resident for quite a long time. She bought her apartment shortly after we moved here and we have brief chats, usually about holidays, past and future. She is well travelled.

We ran into her a week ago and out of the blue she said, you must come up for a drink one evening before you go away in June. Lovely we said. I am sometimes available at weekends or a working day during the week. I thought is was a casual invitation that either she or we might follow up at some point in the future. Yes, must catch up sort of thing. We were on our way into town and as soon as we were back home there was a knock at the door. Security breach!!! It was Julie. She can see our balcony and see if we are at home if we step outside. What about next Saturday, say 5.30, she asked. R invited her into the lounge room and we would have done the obligatory show her around our place except I had washed my bedding and thrown it in a heap on the bed with my stained old doona and mattress protector on show . I checked my work times and I was not working so we agreed.

By 5pm on the day I was thinking, this was not a great idea. I don't want to go, but we were obliged. We had bought a nice bottle of wine as a gift. I said to R, I wish it was like in Europe, where people invited to someone's home would insult their hosts by taking anything. Maybe things have changed in Holland now, but my father and step mother's Dutch friends explained some 35 years ago that the hosts will provide the appropriate food, drinks and cigarettes. A little information from people 35 years ago who were then in their forties talking about the Holland of their youth could be well out of date but I like the concept.

The Australian way is to take something, and it is a bit naughty if you take wine as a gift that you plan to drink. That did not happen in this case. Our gift was accepted and white, red or beer was offered.  Julie said, I usually have beer before dinner in the evening, and ripped the ring pull off a can of Heineken and poured it into a glass. I had earlier said to R, we could excuse ourselves after an hour or so, saying that we are going out for dinner on this Saturday night. I corrected myself. She can see us on the balcony and I am sure she can even if just our lights are on. As it was, a friend had invited us out to dinner nearby and he called to tell us he was downstairs at ten to seven. We had chatted for an hour and twenty minutes, yet I could have stayed as Julie was interesting and I thought I did well enough with the conversation, and R is an expert in conversation.

Julie lives three floors above us, and at the front of the building. While as I expected, she can't see the same detail on the ground we can, her views are terrific. We can't see Gunn Island in Albert Park Lake. She can. We can't see down St Kilda Road all the way to the Junction. She can. We can't see the MCG. She can. We can't see half of the city, she can.

Although only two bedroom, the non bedroom area is as large as ours and without very much in it; a small dining table and chairs, a lounge suite with the chairs facing the couch over a coffee table and not much else apart from filled bookshelves lining one wall. She uses the main bedroom at the front as a sitting and tv room. However, the apartment certainly does not look bare, with her own art and works she has collected from around the world in her travels. There was nothing of great note, but some pieces I found interesting among the eclectic collection.

I don't know if she was ever married and there has never been a mention of children. She is the daughter of policeman, a trained teacher who taught in London for a few years before returning to teach in Australia. She retired at the age 38, seeming to have received a payout for some dodgy education department happenings. All very hush hush.

It is hard to guess her age but I wouldn't be surprised if she was seventy. Although she has an older BMW, like many cars in the building, it sits there unused for weeks at a time.  But unlike me who does not get my bicycle out for weeks months years, she is a keen cyclist and member of an older women's riding group.

She has a friend who knows our friend, the Brighton Antique Dealer, and I am thinking maybe we should invite her out to dine with us we next meet up as a group and BAD is attending. Just a thought. R would probably be cold on the idea.

Anyway, it was very pleasant hour or so. We could mix more with fellow residents and have been invited out a couple of times, but we have declined, probably because of my work commitments. I can't really remember.