Saturday, September 26, 2015

Just another Saturday and an Officeworks fail

I was all geared up to buy my new phone today. We had a lovely brunch out in Glen Huntly with friends and then did the weekly shopping at the nearby supermarket, which was a bit frustrating as we did not know where anything was. If R had a blog, you would be reading his post about trying to return the supermarket trolley and retrieving his dollar coin.

After a little rest, we set off to South Melbourne Officeworks to buy my new phone. I was now decided on the latest, the S6, 32gb, white. Sorry, not in stock. I will check nearby stores. Nothing at South Yarra. Ditto QV. There is one at the Bourke Street store. I will ring and check for you. Yes, it is a returned phone but it will be further discounted.

For the first time in five years, I drove into the city. For the first time in over 30 years, I parked the car in the city. Oddly, there were old style meters to insert coins into. $5.50 an hour!!! We chanced it that the 17 remaining minutes on the meter would be enough. Coming home, a bus sat on my car tail, all the way from the city to home. I would normally be on the bus, which obviously would get me home in the same time. It was weird to be in Bourke Street between William and Queen and for it to be so quiet.

The lad in the shop knew I was coming and quickly produced a box that did not contain a phone. He was embarrassed and I was cross. He tried everything he could but nevertheless, like in my workplace I have to suffer customer wrath because of the the inadequacy of management, so did he. My parting remark was, I can buy the phone on your website and have it delivered in two days, but if I buy online, it may well not be from Officeworks.

I mean like we like to do the right thing and support Australian retailers and their shops, but when something like that happens, you really wonder why you bother and don't just do it online.

R said, get on the phone once we are home, and so I did. The lad at where we have bought our last three phones was very candid. He said, we can't sell them for $868. We pay $895 for them. As up until now a loyal Telstra customer, I called one Telstra city outlet, and the phone rang out. I called another and the lass said no, we cannot match that price.

We are looking after dog Jack for a few days and my mouth was now matching what is to be seen at his rear.

I called Officeworks in Elsternwick, no don't have the phone. I was now obsessed. I called Moorabbin with the thought that we might unannounced drop in on Jah Teh  or Fen for a cuppa. The lass at Moorabbin was helpful and looked at other stores. She told me what I already knew, that if a store has one phone, it will be a return. She tried a few. Look, she said, three at Glen Waverley. I called the store and confirmed, so Sunday we will journey to the countryside of Glen Waverley. I looked at how far the store was from the station and not so far, but then remembered the Glen Waverley line is partly shut down with buses between stations, so a drive it is.

If I don't buy a new phone tomorrow, just kill me and put on my stone, done in by good friendly Aussie service. Correcting that, there was nothing wrong with the staff service, it is high up management that is the problem. I could order the phone at our local Officeworks and would take a number of weeks to arrive. I can buy it from their website and it will be delivered in two working days. Anyway, it was worth the visit to the store in person to have couple of questions answered. No doubt I will bore you with those at a later time.

The personal

I haven't mentioned family for a while. Ex Sis in Law was on national commercial tv last week, showing her and her husband's prize winning pies made at the bakery they run in a small Gippsland country town.

Hippie Niece has booked a Contiki Euro trip next year, beginning with her own free time in London and at some point staying with a friend in Amsterdam and another friend in Poland. It is pointless to ask her details. She has no idea of geography. She is hopeless in some ways but can charm her way through any situation. I have no fear for her safety if she is captured by The Taliban. They will be glad to be rid of this lass who mostly chatters incomprehensibly. But of course, I do adore her and love her for how she is.

It is school holidays but no sign of Little Jo visiting. Sister and Little Jo have taken Mother to Phillip Island to stay for a few nights. How bloody awful the weather has been for the first couple of days of their visit. Mother said, I just know my daughter is going to bully me. They are quite different personalities. Mother goes to bed late and gets up late. Sister goes to bed early and gets up early. Mother likes a two hour afternoon nap. Waste of time, says Sister. Mother likes to be warm when it is cold. Sister doesn't feel the cold much. Dearest Mother, she bullies everyone. Occasionally, if I can be bothered, I will stand up to her. We siblings don't take too much notice of Sister but R being a sensitive soul gets quite offended by her at times. The problem between them is that he is quick to find fault with her, and she walks on tenterhooks and so is always wishy washy with him, when he wishes she would be more direct. But at least once she did really wrong by R in my opinion. Me saying, that is just how Sister is. She is family. What can I do? does not help.

Oh yes, I remember the impetus behind this post. Jacqueline making me think of shredded letters. Conversations in your head.

A few weeks ago R was asked by Mother when he as usual took her out on a Thursday to ask me to organise her children to contribute $30 each for some pointless medical treatment. I think it was for an osteopath visit. Somehow along the line it changed to a cortisone injection for her arthritis. I decided I will not be Mother's tax collector and she must ask each of her children individually if she wants money for something. I don't mind doing the collection. R supported me and I said I will tell mother so. R said, don't worry about it. She will be focused on something else next week. But no, she asked R if he had mentioned it to me. Once again I decided to ignore it, with R's support. I should have called her, but I thought she would give up on it.

No, a third time she mentioned it to R and R was getting a bit stressed and I left it until the last minute before calling her before his next visit. "Have you spoken to your sister about this and what is she doing?". Bone Doctor suggest osteoarthritis practitioners are quacks, so Sister relayed. Now Mother is focused on the cortisone injection, which has to be guided by an expensive scan. Nonsense, Bone Doctor relayed via Sister. I do them all the time. You need to know using examination where the problem area is that is where you inject. Now Mother has become scared about cortisone injections and decided not to have one.

The shredded letter. I am getting there.

I spoke to Sister on the phone. She was frustrated with Mother although the money is not really an issue for Sister, she was frustrated. R was yelling at me to sort it out.

I was so over it. I stuck $40 in an envelope, wrote on the envelope, Mum Cortisone. Of course the money will just go into her purse and be spent any old how. "What's this?" R asked. "Give the $40 to Mother tomorrow please".  I was so annoyed. Annoyed with everyone but primarily with Mother. I typed her a note at a time that was getting quite late at night.

"Dear Mother, if you want money for something special, you know your children will be forthcoming. But you caused quite a bit of trouble between R and myself, so thanks for that Mother. In the future please ask your children directly and not through R and I am not going to ask my siblings for money for you." The italicised  bit was left out but as for over a month and I did nothing about it, I think she may get the idea.

"Your loving son,
Andrew."

I furtively took the money from the envelope, wrote a new envelope and included the note with the money before I went to bed.

5am and up for work and I wrote another envelope and left the note out and just put in the cash.

Meanwhile Mother's chemist has changed hands. She has had an account there for nearly 40 years but always with an unpaid fluctuating balance. Mind, I expect she played her part in making the chemist owner a very rich man. She has to pay it in full now, around $300, so she went to Social Security and received a loan which will be deducted from her pension. Maybe when she turns 85 she will become responsible with money? No?

Sorry if this is a bit all over the place and difficult to read. I could fix it, but I might miss reading your latest post.

Later: Mother rang this Friday night and as we passed the phone back and forth to each other before one of us answered, I got the short straw. She was at her most fabulous best as she kept me entertained about her mini holiday for more than half an hour on the phone. I paint such a negative image of her, but she is quite wonderful at times. She must be to have so many people at her beck and call. She is such a good talker. I have her seen her charm a tram load of sullen Melbourne passengers with my own eyes. Getting a grudging grin on a Melbourne tram passenger's face is quite an achievement. I am so not like my mother yet R reminds me that in many ways I am.

Friday, September 25, 2015

I work hard for my phone

I wrongly scheduled  posts yesterday, and so two posts at the same time. Now I have to write a new post for Friday and me working hard is a good justification for me getting a new phone. Mine is Samsung S3. The S6 has recently been released. We each bought an S3 well over two years ago, just as the S4 was released.  We are always behind the eight ball, not always a bad thing with technology.

R's S3 is almost pristine and he is happy to keep his. Mine is battered, scratched and chipped. It has slowed down, the battery flattens quickly. It has done hard yards not as a phone or a text machine, but as an MP3 player, a modem, a news reader and as a general internet browser.

I don't want the flashy Samsung 6 Edge. Just the more practical Samsung 6. I could buy it online very cheaply but apparently such phones may not be quite Australian, which can make a difference. I almost got burnt once before by buying a previous phone online.

My phone company won't come to the party with a good price. They want me to enter a new contract and pay a lot more than my $20 a month. If I buy the phone outright, I can stay on my present plant, which I am happy with. To buy a phone outright, Telstra want an outrageous price, as does Samsung itself.

The best prices I can find at a shop is at Officeworks.

I don't mind being a bit behind and perhaps I should buy the still available Samsung S5 for $629. But then for only $239 more at $868 I can have a new S6?

Such a dilemma and I have prevaricated for a couple of months now and R is making groaning noises whenever I bring it up.

So phooey on Telstra for treating a life long customer like a new18 year old customer and not giving me or us a good deal on a new phone. And I have news for Telstra that they may find a little disturbing. It now costs us pretty well $120 per month for 200gb of data for cable internet, pretty well free land line and calls and an entertainment package through a box that we found useless and disconnected it (it made our bill cheaper to take the entertainment package). $70 for fibre internet as against $120 for cable internet is very tempting. Be afraid Tesltra, be very afraid.


Thursday, September 24, 2015

The water wall

At the northern end of the City Square facing Collins Street is 'the water wall'. I don't know if it has a proper name. It is irresistible to children who simply must touch the surface and the water. Many adults must have a feel of the water too. Teenagers arrange leaves, usually plane tree leaves in autumn, to form words on the wall. Strangely the leaves cling to the vertical surface. You can easily find videos of sticking leaves on YouTube.

The wall can look terrific in the right light. Here is a photo and a few seconds of video. I've just noticed there is name next to the water wall, John Mockridge Fountain. It was gift to the city from the late architect and bears his name. It was designed by Aspect Landscape Consultants and PL Fountains in 1998.




The floral season

It is wisteria blooming time in Australia. I love wisteria and at one house we used to have it trained along trellis sitting on top of the back fence but it is hard beast to keep under control. I seem to recall the blooms appear on two year old wood, so great care is needed when you go at it with an axe and chainsaw. Please don't bother bringing white wisteria into the post. Who cares about white wisteria. I am talking mauve wisteria, proper like init.

The Japanese like to torture control plants to a very fine degree and the results can be quite special.

Take a look here at a 145 year old wisteria to see what I mean. Just magical. Yes, you need to click the link where I say take a look 'here'.

Here is a little preview.



Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Canadian politics #101 and a little pleasuring

Education can be entertainment too, with pretty pictures. When we holidayed in Canada, I heard or read the name Justin Trudeau. I added two and two and came up with four, correctly guessing he is the son of Pierre and Margaret Trudeau. What an interesting time it was when viewing Canada from afar when Trudeau was in power. He led the Canada's Liberal Party and was Prime Minister from 1968 to '79 and again from 1980 to '84. Can anyone outside Canada name another Canadian Prime Minister? I can only think of Pearson and I only know that because I recently discovered Toronto's airport is named after him. As you can see from this snip from Wikipedia, the Canadian Liberal Party is far more progressive than the Australian Liberal Party. The party sits in the middle of the political spectrum.

Among the party's signature policies and legislative accomplishments include universal health care, the Canada Pension Plan, Canada Student Loans, peacekeeping, multilateralism, official bilingualism, official multiculturalism, patriating the Canadian constitution and the entrenchment of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the Clarity Act, restoring balanced budgets in the 1990s, and making same-sex marriage legal nationwide.

Now the son of Pierre, Justin, leads the Liberal Party of Canada and fancies his chances of becoming Prime Minister. An election has been called and after an extremely long lead up to voting, the election will be held on October 19th.

The polls have the three main parties at about the same, around 30%, the other two parties being the Conservative Party (right) and the New Democratic Party (left). Greens are on about 6% and BQ, which I am guessing is a pro Quebec party, about 3%

So there's your learnin' for the day. How about some photos of the candidate Justin. So what do you think? Would you vote for Jussie? I would love to show my appreciation to Jussie for his political efforts had I half a chance.

A conservative Jussie who won't frighten the voters. 


Serious Jussie, expounding party policy perhaps.


Jussie, it is rude to point at someone's fat gut.


Oh my Jussie, what strong and powerful muscles you have and such nice armpits. (I feel faint. Someone get me the amyl smelling salts)


Jussie, the camera is on you. Stand up straight and don't slouch.


A public transport using Jussie.


I hope this is not a 'power of positive thinking' Jussie.


Jussie likes to socialise and have a beer.


Jussie must listen to his voters. "Oui Madame Bolger, I agree dog droppings in your local park is a serious matter."


A bearded hipster Jussie.


It was once said to a friend about me, 'What a shame he is gay. He is such a nice guy'. Jussie, what a shame you are married and with children.


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Child neglect on Broadway

I hate to name drop, but when we saw a live show on Broadway (This post must be interrupted by someone questioning the statement that Andrew hates to name drop) a glamorous couple sat in front of us. No wonder the tickets cost so much. Are you getting this? We are in posh seats on Broadway. She reminded me of our fellow High Rise bearded media person resident's former wife who still lives in the High Rise but in her own apartment. Our fellow theatre goer woman was superbly dressed, had perfectly coloured and straightened longish hair and her make up was as if she had just stepped out from a department store make up do over.  Her husband/partner was a little older and gone to seed somewhat. He was well turned out as well, wearing a white cheese cloth shirt, perfectly styled hair and a not quite natural tan.

They brought their children with them to see the stage show Matilda on Broadway. The angelic son of about ten years of age sat between husband and wife. The ever so pretty daughter of a year or so older than her brother sat to left of her mother.

So, right to left, we have father, son, mother and daughter in front of us. I don't think they came to Broadway from Harlem or The Bronx (Andrew, now you are showing off your New York demographic knowledge. You really are such a tosser)

What really intrigued me was that the mother caressed her son, kissed her son, cuddled her son, stroked his hair and held his hand and talked to him. She just ignored her daughter sitting on the other side of her. The daughter may have been twelve years old. She stiffly and resolutely watched the Broadway show. If I had not seen them all together as they arrived, I would have thought she was a kid on her own who had a ticket to the show. None of that father daughter connection. None of any mother daughter connection. She was out on her own, although with her brother and parents and was just totally ignored by all she was with.

It was so weird to the point of being spooky. The situation really quite disturbed me and seemed so appropriate to the show. I hope the daughter likes reading books. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Musical Monday

Copying River, here is my effort for Musical Monday but it is a double bunger.

Scott has had a few different blogs over the years. His latest, Edwardian House Renovation has been very interesting to follow, as he detailed the progress of he and his partner's renovation of their three storey Edwardian house in the English town of Leicester. What a challenging undertaking and what a success. Scott even extensively researched the houses' history. When they first moved to England from the Melbourne suburb of Murrumbeena, it was to Liverpool, where they also renovated a house. Any time Scott mentioned the river running through Liverpool, I thought of a certain song. Can you guess?

Also when I see the Spirit of Tasmania sailing across the bay from our balcony, I think of the same song although our bay is hardly a river. Ferry, cross Port Phillip Bay......doesn't really work, does it. This clip has some really nice stills of I assume Liverpool. Ferry, cross the Mersey by Gerry and the Pacemakers, 1964.



Sometimes when I am in a certain mood I think of another ferry song. Don't Pay the Ferryman, Chris de Burgh, 1982.



Of the former, I know one line, Ferry cross the Mersey.  Of the latter, only two, Who pays the ferryman. Just get me to the other side.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Sunday Selections - Libraries and stuffs

Joining in with River and others for Sunday Selections.

The City of Melbourne realised some years ago that with the increasing number of residents in the city, it did not have a lending library and so opened the City Library in Flinders Lane. It is extremely successful and always busy when I have been there.


Just outside the traditional perimeter of the central business district within the city, populations also grew and so a lending library was provided for residents of Southbank. The building in this photo is used for community purposes. It is just off Kingsway in City Road.


This plaque explains former uses of the building.


An annex at the eastern side houses the library. Unfortunately it was closed on the Friday morning when I visited.


Across the road another historic building has been saved. Pity about the advertising.


Looking at the eastern wall of the main building. There is a forest of high rise towers in the location.


Just across Kingsway, another significant building has survived.


The residents of Docklands also wanted a free lending library, and so it came to pass. This one was open and I was very impressed. Public libraries may have gone into the history books but successful libraries reinvented themselves and this very hi tech library is a great example.


This area is all new to me, so I had a look around after leaving the 48 tram at its terminus. The library has a large forecourt and is well planted with trees. Bolte Bridge can be seen in the background.


An interesting and crazy sculpture.


More housing is being built across the Yarra River on the south bank.


Another shot of the sculpture. I like it.


On the other side of the library in the earlier photo is Victoria Harbour.


This construction has only a few seats within, presumably for the use of local workers to eat their lunch.


An avenue of peppercorn trees. I suppose the designers know they grow into very large trees.


Rule of the sea, everything must give way to sail.


Docklands Stadium has had various sponsors since it was built and at the moment the sponsor is United Arab Emirates based Etihad Airways.


A new area already has disused tram tracks. No doubt a property developer wanted the tram moved, and so it was, a bit to the east.


The train drivers had stopped work for a meeting and the normally bustling Flinders Street Station was very quiet, with only a few staff answering enquiries and strangely a very large police presence. A sandwich shop owner complained in the media that he had to throw so many sandwiches as there were no customers over the period of the four hour train stoppage. Given there was many days notice of the stoppage, when does he make his sandwiches?


I checked on a small exhibition at the Town Hall gallery. Crowds flocked to Melbourne city to celebrate Victory Europe Day, 1945.


Some things never change outside the Town Hall.


And some things do. These planters normally hold flowering annuals.


And what about us?, the good burghers of East Melbourne asked. We want a lending library too. With all the beautiful old buildings in East Melbourne, I am surprised that this thing had to be built. The library inside was less hi tech than Docklands and not terribly large. However, it was so so busy. I am very pleased that libraries have a secure future, in the medium term at least.