Saturday, December 17, 2022

How to piss off Kiwis, #101

Amazing Maps is truly amazing, with New Zealand off Australia's west coast and not where it is off our east coast. Mind, it would be very convenient. Perth to Rottnest Island, see the quokkas, and then a short hop to see the Kiwi bird in New Zealand.

Lovely Lunch

I cannot say they are close friends, but we have known Mk a very long time via our late friend David and we know each other well enough. Mk's older partner died maybe a decade ago and he found a new partner, Indonesian born TG.

Mk's earlier partner was an heir to McEwans hardware store empire and Mk hasn't worked for many years, being rather comfortable, as they say. But like me he still worries about money and how much is spent down to the dollar. It can be in your upbringing to be thrifty or just from your own nature.

Anyway, we have caught up Mk and Tg twice this year for lunch at a cafe. This time they invited us for lunch at their place. The day before R and myself agreed we were not looking forward to it, but it turned out to be fine. Tg cooked a lovely meal, the wine was nice. I only had two glasses. I am not a daytime drinker. 

We have been to their apartment but it was perhaps 20 years ago on a New Year's Eve to see fireworks from their building's rooftop. At 11pm on NYE and not being the driver, my memories are not clear. That was before Mk's first partner died. We had great fireworks views at midnight, back in the day when fireworks were such a novelty.

Anyway, they live in a low level at high rise apartment on the beach front in Beacon Cove, part of Port Melbourne. Their three bedroom apartment is perhaps valued at around AU$2 million. It is very nice without being over the top. Tastefully decorated, modern and comfortable. The building itself is very nice too.

Now the problem is how to reciprocate. We know how to have people for dinner but we have never really cooked a lunch for guests. Mezza platters?

They have a balcony with city views and one with sea views. I chose the sea view balcony to take a gander. 

The redundant Princes Pier which once even supported a train track. Some train track is still on the pier. In the distance is the Port of Melbourne where ships, to use an old joke, plasma tvs arrive from China and the ships leave empty.

That looks like a big boat at Station Pier. I wonder what ship it is?

Closer up photo of Princes Pier. The redundant pier pylons have been kept, which is rather nice. If you want to see a very stylish photo of the pylons check out Roentare's photo here

I found a balcony gap where the cruise ship name was clearly on show. No wonder it looked big.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Cop Killers

As Caro mentioned at the end of a blog post, Australia is mourning over the death of two police officers in Queensland, as reported shot down in a trap when investigating a missing person's case. The missing person was one of the assailants who along with brother and the wife of one of them deliberately shot at police to kill them, and two of the four who were attending were killed. A fire was lit in long grass to unsuccessfully flush out one of the surviving police and the smoke attracted a neighbour to the scene who was also fatally shot. The perpetrators of the terrible crime were killed in a specialised police force shoot out after a six hour siege. Six people died. 

It is just so awful and barely comprehendible. 

One of the murderers, the missing person, was not so long ago a school principal, his wife who also shot at police a school teacher and I don't know about his brother who perhaps owned the house. 

Why is the question. They were right wing conspiracy theorists, freedom fighters, anti vaxxers, anti Covid lock down and busy in right wing internet sites. You get the picture but it doesn't explain why they murdered two police officers innocently going about their job, along with a concerned neighbour. We really need to know why.

In some countries the killing of police does not make headlines but I am pleased that our headlines did and the horror people feel and the concern Australia wide. 

Vale Rachel McCrow, Matthew Arnold and Alan Dare.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Two in one

I had a post written for today but I am not happy with it. I need to find a non sexual photo of a black male prn star showing his hand. 

Our federal government is introducing domestic and commercial price caps on natural gas and a code of conduct for coal export companies. I don't care to look closely at it and therefore understand it. Suffice for me if it is Labor Party legislation and the conservative Liberal Party with its focus on big business, and energy companies are against the legislation, it must be ok. The problem addressed is that domestic consumers of energy are paying world prices for what is produced cheaply here. For some reason Australia decades ago accepted paying the Singapore price for oil even though we export oil. That happened a long time ago, but it doesn't make it right.

Now to some blog housekeeping. Things I did to my old blog layout many years ago, I have no idea how to do now. However, I did tidy up the ugly copy and paste link to my my old blog archive. I am sure there was a simpler way to do it in the past than creating a page and then making a gadget link to the page. 

The next task will be to add a Blogmates list. I think that will be easier, but likewise my old list was quite a creation with different lists and I can't remember how to do that. This will be a simple list of current Blogmates and blogs I read. Naturally regular posters and commenters will be the first to be added. It is not so bad to have things a bit simpler. 

It is said photos always improve a post. Here is an interesting sunset. Wow, so behind. December last year.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022


This is a post inspired by Cathy who mentioned Quora in a recent post.

I did once join Quora with an old identity. I received a daily email about something. I can't remember actually stopping the emails, but I guess I did.

For some reason with my newly created Google identity, I am receiving Quora notifications again, with a teaser headline and perhaps the first sentence. Click on the link to go to Quora to read the full post.

I clicked on one link to read the full post, something like 'Why do British people say sorry all the time?' The Quora algorithm decided I was interested in similar posts and keeps sending me emails about similar British matters.

I don't mind. Some can be quite amusing, interesting even. I guess there was quite a pile on for the last snip. 

I gotta answer this one - at least from a personal/consumer perspective.

My US bank in Texas offered phone app-based internet payment a couple of years back. I thought this is great - finally, like our UK ‘Faster Payments System’ I can pay/transfer money to someone in seconds. Nope. The app sent a signal (email?!) to someone in the bank’s office. They printed out a check in a day or a few, then MAILED it, snail mail, to the recipient. That’s the US banking technology c.2015.

We had fiber optic internet at our house in London in 2008 - i paid for 50MB/s and got it, solid and steady. We used AT&T in Houston, and got about 2mb/sec in 2015 over a cable modem. In the middle of the night, maybe 15.

Oh, and water boils in the kettle in the UK in about 30 seconds!

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Transport Tuesday

When cruise ships arrive at Melbourne's Station Pier, those who haven't booked coach tours will probably mosey their way to the City. The obvious way to travel is by the 109 Port Melbourne tram which will take the ship passengers from the tram terminus to the centre of the city.

But with perhaps 2 to 3 thousand people leaving a ship within a hour or two, how can such a large number get to the city on a the normal 109 tram? I would really like to say that Yarra Trams puts on terrific extra services to get ship passengers to the centre of the city, but it doesn't.  

It is listed on the Public Transport Victoria website so I assume it under government control, contracted by the gov to provide the service. The 109 bus is lauded as an express bus to the City but it is at the mercy of Melbourne traffic, whereas the tram isn't. 

The 109 bus was suspended when cruise ships ceased to operate because of you know what. It used to dump passengers at the Arts Centre and passengers would have to walk or then catch a tram to the City proper. 

So where do cruise ship passenger who receive the strong promotion to use the 109 bus, rather than the perfectly good 109 tram end up now? 

Myki is our public transport stored value card and there is a tourist card offering discounts to tourist attractions, but I think for just a day visit as is normal for cruise ship passengers, it is probably not worth buying one. The standard card costs $6 and you will need to add $9.20 to that for a day's travel on all public transport. Hmm, that's $15.20. The tourist card is $16 and gives you a day's travel. You may as well buy that, even if you don't use any of the discount benefits. PTV is Public Transport Victoria. Read on...

Travel from Station Pier to Melbourne city

Your ship will arrive at Station Pier in Port Melbourne, six kilometres from Melbourne city. To travel into the city, you can take Bus 109 City Express to Stop 115 Casino/Southbank, Queens Bridge Street.

From here you can walk or continue your journey via tram into the city.

The bus shuttle and trams cost a normal public transport fare and you must travel with a myki which you can buy at the PTV ticket booth inside the Cruise Terminal.

Travelling to the city

You can catch either a tram or a bus from Port Melbourne into the city, however the shuttle bus is the only service that runs directly from Station Pier into the city.

The Bus 109 City Express shuttle runs direct from the Cruise Terminal on Station Pier to the city, stopping on Queens Bridge Street. The journey takes approximately 20 minutes.

Dumped right outside the Casino with a confusing way to get to the City centre. I smell a rat. The 109 tram takes less than 20 minutes to the centre of the city. The 109 express bus is not quicker and it is just a bus. Many people in the world who don't have trams in their towns would like to experience a tram ride, but no, that is not what PTV encourages. Instead PTV wants cruise shop passengers to catch a bus to the Casino rather than insisting Yarra Trams provide a proper tram service for extra passengers. That rat scent is extra strong. Ducks, quacks, walks, resemblance. 

There is a solution. A second tram track needs to be built at the Port Melbourne tram terminus where large capacity trams can be stored with drivers all ready to take the influx of cruise ship passengers into the city proper. Older Australian's will pay about half the aforesaid prices. Foreign tourists the full price. Cost benefit? It is an extra tram track that won't be used at all for half the year but will cost little to maintain. It will be there for use when it is needed during the cruise ship season and the extra trams will make a profit if the bus is discontinued. 

Monday, December 12, 2022

Monday Mural

I am joining in with Sami and others for Monday Mural.

These adorned a utility box in the Mornington Peninsula town Somerville. I thought it was very nice and not really simple art with initial impressions. Well done that boy/girl.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

The Podium

When Little M visited and R and she were swimming, I took a look around our facilities and I was pleasantly surprised.

The public bathroom has been renovated and modernised since the last time I checked.

New sauna heating.

A new tap within the sauna to supply water to pour on the sauna heating unit to make humidity.

The surfaces hadn't changed. I suppose the timber is cedar. 

There are better controls for both the sauna and the air conditioning. The unit controlling the ambient air temperature in the pool is now sealed and can't be fiddled with.

The gym equipment looks quite new. I know at least one piece was donated. I just admire it from a distance. I don't want any complicated involvement.

The only disappointing concern was the paving badly needs pressure washing.

The barbeque and the gate to the tennis court.

Towards the building entrance.

The garden was looking particularly lush.

Words #397

I pronounce words so differently to many people in Australia. I don't know why. It is just how I speak. Here are some  examples. Integra...