Archive for the 'random' Category

29
May
11

My grandad in police pursuit

My grandad used to drive a purple Holden Statesman. When I was a child I remember on trips he would always drive 10 km/hr faster than the highway limit (which I tend to do now). Later is his life though he took to driving at a more leisurely pace. He’d be wearing his brown corduroy hat, Nana would put on an Irish folk cassette, and they would cruise. He was probably conscious now of his slower reflexes, but I always wanted him to hurry up.

Men's Vintage Hats

There’s a funny story regarding his purple Statesman. One day in the pouring rain he was driving back from the west of Melbourne on the Westgate freeway near Southgate. He was cruising in the right lane well below the speed limit. A sedan sped up and closed right behind him. It started flashing its headlights, and as grandad explained later that it looked like it had Christmas tree lights on. He thought someone was playing a prank.

And that’s the way it went for kilometres. My grandad in the fast lane, going slow, in the pouring rain, being pursued by an unmarked police car.

It’s always since been a matter of curiousity to me. If an unmarked police car is trying to pull you over, can you ignore it, and claim later that you didn’t recognise it as being a police car because it was unmarked. I probably can’t use that defence anymore, but I hope somebody tries it for me!

Eventually grandad figured it out and pulled over. The policeman was very frustrated. Tough luck copper! He probably realised he’d pulled over a lovely, old,  yet slightly confused couple, and he’d look more of a tool if he booked them! Go grandad….

04
Jun
09

Marysville, bikies and coffee

Since the bushfires devastated Marysville earlier this year I’d been keen to visit. We were up there last July staying in a mate’s place, and Anna’s relatives had lived and run a shop there. We’d been to Marysville many times.

(Also, I was interested to see what a bushfire could do, having been a protected suburbanite all my life.)

When we arrived, the place was buzzing, or at least rumbling. Bikies everywhere! There’s a great ride through those hills I hear.

The bakery cafe is still intact and open, and a little cafe up the road has set up on the nature strip, so I had a choice when it came to coffee! The main street has been otherwise cleared, the rubble removed.

Going up a side street the remains of houses still lie waiting. There are green shoots. The destructive force has left. There is an indifference in the landscape. I don’t feel shocked?

I imagine the commerce of the town will get back on its feet quickly. Portables will be brought in for the ski season. Accommodation will be tight; people will daytrip from the city instead. But you’ll get a decent coffee, maybe even some booze by then. You’ll get ski-hire, and some pottery.

But I wonder if the people who lived in the rubble away from main street will be back. Perhaps this is the Marysville visitors didn’t know. The people who lived in a little slice of heaven.

As you ride back through the Black Spur, there are blackened areas, slightly blackened areas, and completely untouched, green areas. You wonder at a force, that on its day forced a wide front of fire by fluke of timing and wind changes through a small township and valley, wiping the township out as though it were a fleck of dust on an old roadmap.

01
May
08

Whatever happened to globalisation?

The protesters, the politicians, the corporations, the sweat shops, the headlines. Where did they all go? The products of globalisation are still with us, but the term has faded.

It came up in conversation tonight with a former colleague. My take on globalisation had been mostly indifference, as long as individuals could have the same benefits as multinational companies.

We pondered why Australian mortgage holders couldn’t transfer their debt to the US where interest rates are lower?

I recanted a story I’d read once of a US software developer who outsourced his tasks to India and kept pocketing his wage. (Google for it, I don’t want to dob the bugger in!)

There was interesting case recently in Australian Federal Court. The issue was whether genuine Ralph Lauren clothing purchased in the US could be ‘parallel import’-ed legally into Australia and sold here. Polo/Lauren claimed that its copyright had been infringed. However, the proceedings were dismissed with costs. My take is that if clothing producers can swan off to the cheapest place for production, why can’t consumers, or importers on their behalf, swan off to the cheapest place to buy the goods?

I picked up this book five or so years ago: The Collapse of Globalism: And the Reinvention of the World” by John Ralston Saul. I literally picked it up off the bookstore shelf, just because I found the title cheeky and confronting, but I didn’t buy it. The word “globalisation” was everywhere at the time. The title seemed fanciful. Fast forward a couple of years and I found myself flicking through it again, and found myself agreeing with its tenets. I bought it.

Today national interests are to the fore. The US is at war. China and India are ascending. There are oil and food shortages and there is no common and binding economic consensus…. yet!

13
Feb
08

Suicide at Glenferrie station?

Passengers on Lilydale, Belgrave and Alamein train lines had to find a different way home last night.

Announcements at Flinders St Station described an “accident” at Glenferrie station. The Connex web site described an “incident”. Parliament station advised a “girl” being “struck by a train”.

The two Melbourne newspapers (online versions) have no articles I can find with the words “glenferrie”, “lilydale”, “station” or “passenger”.

So we guess that someone committed suicide at Glenferrie station.

Either it is not reported because the reporting may encourage copy-cats, or it is not reported because suicides on train lines aren’t newsworthy. Maybe both…

Update: Read comments section for further information from people who were closer to the incident.

Update 2: More information at http://www.railpage.com.au/f-p1006685.htm

Update 3: Not entirely comfortable with this. I blogged because there was nothing in mainstream press. I must have been up in the google searches so people have posted some comments here which I think are appropriate and suitable – to my standards anyway. Please let me know if you think any part of this blog distasteful or unsuitable.

Update 4: There’s a thread here speculating on the deceased, and possible motivations, if you are interested.

29
Jan
08

My Australia Day Weekend

I reflected on our lack of identity over the weekend. Who are we Australians? I read a few news articles which were anxious to define us. I think “big media” needs to catagorise us though, purely to sell ad-space. It probably riles them a bit that we defy definition.

Saturday consisted of cleaning the backyard for a BBQ, riding my new scooter down to the shops, cooking some meat, then going to the local civic centre to watch the traditional fireworks. They were also traditionally late. Whilst waiting in the service road across the way, we copped some passive smoke from a pregnant mother. Hubby was watching their two boys (who didn’t seem to too stunted). “Come here Jordan”, he yelled. I was reminded of this old, entertaining, despot’s quip about us being the “white trash of Asia”. Continue reading ‘My Australia Day Weekend’

01
Dec
06

Movember Done

Last chance to give guys… Here’s a pic of the final ‘tache for you.

The Mo’ City Rollers (our work team) did over $1100 which is a bloody good effort so many thanks to all who gave.Mo and the dawg

16
Nov
06

Half way through Movember

Mo Mo

As some people might know, I’ve been growing a moustache for Movember. Here’s my effort so far.

If you haven’t already, please donate as it’s going to some great causes. My Mo Bro number is 13260

(Update: I’m up to $320 in on-line donations plus about $70 in cash. My team at work is up to $710 so thanks to everyone who has given thus far)

12
Jul
06

Terrorist Hysteria

The media hysteria surrounding this current “foiled plot” annoys me. The implication is that we are facing a particularly new threat in the guise of liquid explosives. Not true. Authorities have been aware of this particular type of threat since – at least – 1994 (12 years) (see here). Also not fully reported is that these types of explosives are unstable and hard to manage. See:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4780391.stm?ls
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5633568
So while it is true that there are a committed bunch of nutters trying to cause “carnage”, most of us will never have to deal with the threat first hand, and if our intelligence and security organisations do their jobs, and our politicians start to address the root causes of terrorism politically (instead of milking the mass media generated fear), the future could be a much happier place.

I choose not be afraid. It’s much easier and more reasonable to live that way.

I was unfortunate enough to be listening to Fox FM the other day, yet it provided me unexpectedly with a pearl of wisdom from Ray Parker Junior: “I aint afraid of no ghost!”

(And as I finished writing this a couple of articles appeared on The Age site today which I think restore some balance:
“Terror aims high again” and “Who benefits from new hysteria about security?”)

08
Jul
06

Petrol in Camberwell

I was strolling across the carpark in Camberwell today when a young lady in distress came up to me. She told me that her car had been syphoned for its petrol and she needed a hand. She was vague but apologetic.

The facts seemed to be that she had come across from Brunswick West to visit a friend, thought she had half a tank, but when returning from the shops found that the car would not start. She had asked others for help but had not had much help. Of course this is Camberwell:  whitebread aussies with loads of loot, so pretty much what you’d expect. She’d have been better to break down in Brunswick West.

Actually to tell you the truth I doubted her story, but thought I’d walk her to the petrol station, borrow a jerry can, give her $5 of petrol, have a chat to a stranger and no harm done really.

Did you know the Safeway Petrol station at Camberwell does not lend jerry cans?! I had to buy one: A $13 jerry can, and $5 worth of petrol. Not that I was counting. The service station attendant was a cool guy and very apologetic so I cursed the evil Woolies empire under my breath. They’re making millions. People complain about the lack of community today and organisations like Woolworths make petty decisions which allow them to profit at others misfortune. Great business leadership guys!

So ranting and raving (in my head only) I walked the lovely lady back to her car. I found out she was a student. Her car confirmed this: a bombed out Astra, like the one I used to own when I was student, although I didn’t tell her this. I’m surprised to see a guy sitting in the driver’s seat reading a book!  This guy was <em>reading</em> a book while his girl – or friend – was out begging for petrol. What a lazy arsehole!

I left and wandered off trying not to feel too smug about helping someone out. She had asked for my details so she could pay me back. I had mumbled something about helping the next person if she could.

I walked to the bottle shop to find a nice wine and some whisky. I just had to tell someone my story so I barked out my disillusionment with Safeway petrol station policy, and Woolies in general, to the checkout guy. (Checkout people have to listen that’s why they are so great!). But then, as I pick up my liquor to walk away, I realise I’ve just spent $50 at the new Dan Murphy store, owned by the same “evil empire” I had just been “going off” at.

F***ed either way!

03
Jul
06

Reflections on Soccer and Nations.

A lot has been written about the national loyalties of Australian soccer supporters. It seems to have stirred the likes of Andrew Bolt who just doesn’t “get it” apparently.

I often stop for coffee at a particular cafe and the store owner and I talk about travel. She is born in Australia to Greek parents. She thinks of herself as Greek. That’s the way she feels. I can’t really argue with that. I can’t tell her how to feel.

I know of people who have supported their “ancestral” nation for the last 30-40 years and so continue to support them before Australia now.

Then I see supporters who have adorned themselves in the colours of both countries when the loyalties have been divided.

Then I see clusters of young men, full of piss, smashing windows and generally running amok.

It’s just a game, right!?

And then I read articles like Bolt’s that draw parallels with French riots, Sydney riots and branch stacking. This is maybe taking things a little too far.

A colleague went to Germany as an Australian supporter. He is Greek-Australian. Whenever he tried to drape the Australian flag over his brother he would be rebuked: “Get that Union Jack off me!!” What would a Greek-Australian see in the Union Jack? Even England doesn’t play under this flag. No-one at the World Cup does.

Another new phenomenon is to see supporters’ cars with flags. But yet again you rarely see the Australian flag, but rather the green and gold adopted flag.

So what does it mean to be Australian? Or specifically what does it mean to be Australian to a non-Anglo Australian soccer fan? And what is it with the Union Jack?




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