Monday, September 12, 2005

melbourne threatened

The government says a new tape claiming to be from a member of al Qaeda and warning of attacks on Melbourne and Los Angeles, appears to be authentic.  Prime Minister John Howard says the threat should not interfere with next year's Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.  Attorney-General Philip Ruddock says the content of the tape appears to be little more than anti-Western rhetoric, and should not be given too much weight.  The video surfaced on the fourth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, and was sent to American broadcasters in Pakistan.  It features a masked speaker, believed to Californian Adam Gadahn, who apparently converted to Islam at an Orange County mosque as a teenager. Meanwhile, Victoria's Premier Steve Bracks and Opposition leader Robert Doyle say Melburnians should not be worried by the threats mentioned on the al Qaeda video.

 

Don't panic about attack threat

Tape may be genuine, PM says

Ruddock takes threat seriously

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Bolt on Chernobyl and New Orleans

Yes I might get shot by some people, but I occasionally like Andrew Bolt's columns in the Herald Sun.  One article I wish to show you that's quite close to my own cultural background, is about the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster that raises many questions that I've read over the past few years regarding the reporting of deaths that have occurred at the accident and from the accident.  I've also left a link to yesterday's (Wednesday) column on the handling of New Orleans before and after Hurricane Katrina.

Hurricane of lies - here

Chernobyl myth meltdown



THE hoax of the Chernobyl cataclysm must now surely be exposed, and the lessons learned.

The Chernobyl Project, a United Nations agency, reported this week that the known death toll from the 1986 explosion of the infamous Ukrainian nuclear power plant was just 56.

Not 56,000. Just 56.

What's more, the project's latest study says after almost 20 years of research, "we have not found profound negative health impacts to the rest of the population in surrounding areas, nor widespread contamination".

All this will come as a shock to people who trusted green activists to tell them the truth. As I've noted before, nothing about Chernobyl has been so extraordinary as the untruths told about it by zealots keen to scare us off nuclear power.

Greens city councillor David Risstrom, for instance, has claimed "thousands" died at Chernobyl.

Greenpeace said it was actually 2500. But Labor frontbencher and green activist Peter Garrett preferred to claim "the accident caused the deaths of more than 30,000 people".

ABC's PM program once put the predicted toll at "75,000 deaths from radiation" by 2001, while the Australian Conservation Foundation said "250,000 people have died as a result of the Chernobyl tragedy".

The truth? Just those 56, or fewer than the number of Chinese miners who die each month digging for coal.

Hmm. Makes nuclear power seem like it's safe or something. So shouldn't the greens be happy?

a new era beings and another nears its end

After two fires and a much delayed opening time, Hoyts Melbourne Central opens today (Thursday).  With 11 Cinemas, allocated seating with wider seats, two Directors Suites, Lounge 9 contemporary lounge bar and the Half pipe; the bean bag style cinema experience.

Hoyts Melbourne Central will replace the current Bourke Street complex, but there is no known date for this complex to close but it's not too far away, so for all you movie, theatre lovers this is the time to go see a movie or do whatever for the last time in Bourke Street and then upgrade yourself in Melbourne Central.

OPENING WEEK SPECIAL : $8

Just click on the pic for more info.

I will be taking shots of the Bourke Street complex and it's new replacement next week.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

marriage bill approval

Good news comes with an update, but click on the below link for more info and links. 

California Legislature Approves Gay Marriage Bill

Let's hope Arnie approves.

tourism prospects

This was an article I found in the Herald Sun today which may prove to be very beneficial if it comes to fruition.  The site is perfect and there can be many developments achieved from this project including a rise in employment for the area.  Just think about it, improved Jetstar services, Werribee to Geelong Rail Electrification, Bus service from Lara to Avalon, increased growth in Lara, the amount of business that would be generated from increased tourism and much more.

Disney wishes upon a Jetstar



AVALON airport is being considered as a site for a the first Disney World in Australia.

US Disney executives inspected Avalon last month as part of a tour of possible Australian sites.

Sources said the group, which was entertained by airport owner Linfox, was impressed with the location and the presence of cut-price airline Jetstar.

Jetstar flies to Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide from Avalon, and hopes to carry one million passengers through the airport annually by 2008.

"A low-cost airline flying around families appealed to Disney," a source said. "This is the site that interests them the most."

It is believed other sites looked at were Docklands and Werribee.

Avalon airport manager Tim Anderson declined declined to comment.

A spokesman for Linfox chief Lindsay Fox also declined to comment.

Disney operates theme parks across the world, including in the US, France and Japan.

Its latest park opens in Hong Kong next Monday.

Treasurer John Brumby said global tourism and leisure companies such as Paramount, Warner Bros and the Walt Disney Corporation were constantly monitoring the Australian market for opportunities.

He said the State Government could not comment "at this time".

Saturday, September 03, 2005

watching severe weather

I normally view the Severe Weather website which comes under the responsibility of the World Meteorological Organization which tracks the many Cyclones, Hurricanes and Typhoons including other severe weather patterns. It's always interesting watching the progress of tropical storms during formation and when and if they do hit landfall.  One image here is of Typhoon Nabi that could either hit southern Japan or even China, but the current infrared image of the Typhoon is spectacular with a perfect eye and a great radius.  A wonder to see, but you really don't want to be anywhere near them, except for those who lovely photographing them.

Friday, September 02, 2005

California marriage bill clears Senate.

Handing gay rights advocates a major victory, the California Senate approved legislation Thursday that would legalize same-sex marriages in the nation's most populous state. The 21-15 vote made the Senate the first legislative chamber in the country to approve a gay marriage bill. It sets the stage for a showdown in the state Assembly, which narrowly rejected a gay marriage bill in June. Will Gov. Schwarzenegger sign it if it passes? It doesn't look good so far. more

after katrina : the current situation

New Orleans is slips into anarchy is rapes, shootings and dead bodies lying out in the open in the wake of the devastation left by Hurricane Katrina.

A detachment of 300 National Guard troops, who have served in Iraq, have been authorised to shoot to kill "hoodlums" in the hurricane-ravaged city of New Orleans.

Unfortunately many of the Aussies that are currently in the devastated area have as much luck as any other person in being evacuated.

It seems that this is getting a bit too much for George W Bush having called past US Presidents Clinton and Bush for counsel on the current situation that will take quite some time to resolve. But that's still not going help the slow response from Washington, even though Bush does insist that help is on the way.  Much too late for many.

But anyone can help by showing their support to the Red Cross.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

ty's out of fashion

Ty's out of fashion



QUEER Eye For The Straight Guy's fashionista Ty Henschke has had a nasty dose of his own reality.

The star of 10's short-lived Australian version of Queer Eye is taking stock after his fashion label Ty and Melita was placed in the hands of an administrator earlier this month.

Henschke said the label was working to fill its final orders.

"Summer 2005 will be our last season. I imagine you will be seeing it (the range) until the end of the year – there are some fabulous pieces coming through," he said.

"It has been such a harrowing time. I want people to know with Ty and Melita, we really loved what we stood for, but business can be tough, especially in fashion these days.

"You definitely have not heard the last of me. It (fashion) is in my blood. I can't do anything else. I can't even pull a beer in a pub."

Henschke and his business partner Melita Turcsan founded the Prahran-based label four and half years ago.

The sexy, stylish, attitude-laden designs found instant fans among fashionistas, celebrities and the glossy magazines.

Lisa-Marie Presley, Paris and Nicky Hilton and even Jada Pinket Smith wore Ty and Melita pieces over the years.

The profile of the label and that of Henschke leapt when he was picked for the Carson Kressley role in the Australian version of Queer Eye For The Straight Guy last year.

Henschke admitted juggling the label and filming and promotional commitment for Queer Eye could have added to the downward spiral of the business.

"I think you could attribute elements to it," he said.

"But it was filmed at a time (December) where my role within the business was not as crucial as it would have been in, say, February-May when you are designing and putting ranges together.

"I don't regret my time at Queer Eye.

"When my year started off I was thinking it was going to be one thing, but it has evolved into something else. It has been a big life lesson for me to never take anything for granted and never bank on anything."

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

nsw politics : the on going drama

NSW Politics is turning more into a drama as the days go by with the former Opposition Leader John Brogden, admitted into a hospital after attempting to commit suicide just days after resigning from the leadership of the NSW Liberal Party.  After apologising for his behaviour at a function last night and labelling former NSW Premier Bob Carr's wife a mail-order bride, the Carr's refused to accept his apology.  However after last nights events they've decided to forgive him and also mentioning that we're a forgiving society after sounding not so forgiving at the beginning of the week.  Mr Carr today said Mr Brogden could still have a future in politics.  It is a sad situation that someone would have to resort to trying to take their life to be able to achieve the recognition that they deserve, but then that's the sort of behaviour you do need to be careful of in politics.  It raises the question of how tolerant and forgiving can people be just to raise a point.

More information is available here.

driving along the towleroad

I've been meaning to post this article when I first looked through the August issue of DNA, but there is an article about one spunky blogger that many guys might come to appreciate. Well apart from those gorgeous brown eyes and well everything else that goes along with it, you'll find that certain style with his blog that attracts the readership it has today.

Andy Towle, former editor-in-chief of the national gay publication Genre, talks about the evolution of his blog towleroad.com and the various issues, controversy and other hot topics that forms the basis of his blog.  He started out as a fiction writer and poet and having work published in various magazines and then working at 20th Century Fox in LA in feature film development and then working as a music editor for an Australian dot.com. Watching and reading news constantly and always making sure that his camera is with him to capture that one moment, he posts 7 to 6 posts daily with no end in sight.

The interview goes on to cover some general points about various legal aspects of his blog in relation to American censorship and of the big gay issues of the day and his anticipation of the movie Brokeback Mountain (stars Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal) and cruises past his previous experience in managing Splash bar and with his educational past.  Finally ended on the gay culture being a generic brand and not really saying much on beards so not to offend any teddy bear he knows.

Overall, I am a constant visitor of his site and have always found a good piece of information whether it is juicy or just some clarification on other articles that I have read in other blogs or sites.  You'll always find that element of photographic surprise that would lift your heart rate a beat to two more.  It's good entertainment and of good value and well worth a read.

Click on the pic to go to his site.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

beer, storms and a smashing ending

It's great to be at home at this moment, but mind you it was a good night tonight.  Having met up with a friend of mine going back to New Zealand in a couple of weeks after all these years living and working in Australia.  Meeting up at the Victoria Hotel in Footscray, only just opposite the railway lines and perfect for the gunzel's and fans that would meet up there.  I'm the type of person that wouldn't mind trying any beer that I might see on tap or in the fridge and one particular beer caught my attention for the rest of the night and that was Carlton Black.  It had a nice taste, but unfortunately it's not so hard to find information of it online and it doesn't exist on the Fosters Group website.  Moving on, my attention was focused on three guys playing pool and it seems that I did attract their attention but nothing much was achieved from that much to my disappointment.

Being an ordinary pub with a TAB and meals, pretty good meals from what I could see.  I glanced at the menu on the blackboard trying to decide between the rissoles with mash or porterhouse with chips and salad.  Well I eventually chose the porterhouse and it seems that she just could not program salad into the register properly so it would only arrive with a bun and chips and this small piece of meat that would be called porterhouse.  I was severely disappointed, but at least it tasted good.  Well one of the guys ended up ordering the rissoles and I regretted my decision even more when his plate turned up with two rissoles that were double the size of the porterhouse.

By this time I had received a call from my brother ringing up to say that the weather had turned foul and that if it was bucketing down in St Albans, it would be pissing down in Footscray and when I opened the door I saw it all.  After having a couple more rounds and goggling over a couple of guys playing with the darts competition next to us, it was time to make a move and I had every intention of helping my friends home and not allowing them to go home in the conditions present outside.  Well just racing to my car just directly on the other side of the street and I was soaked as soon as I entered the car.  Dropping the both to their designated locations and seeing the occasional flashing of lightning and the constant thrashing of the wind and rain against the car, it was time for my interesting trek home.  Well I haven't driven through this much rain since the February storms, but the wind was just shocking. Driving along Sunshine Road and going past the usual road block at Ashley Street from flooding and then driving around the growing gutters before reading the southern tip blackened out tip of Sunshine.  That in itself was extremely dangerous and hazardous to drive through with water along vast stretches of the road and no ability to use high beams as that would affect the other drivers on the road.

Then there was light and the reassurance that everyone would see which side of the road they are supposed to be driving on.  With half of St Albans Road flooded, I finally did arrive home much to my own relief and settled down to a cup of Vanilla, Honey and Nut tea.

Chatting away to a few guys online, there had been an issue of what I would be doing for my 27th in October.  I have a couple of times ventured off to the Caulfield Cup for my birthday, but thought this year that that wouldn't be possible until I checked their website tonight and much to my relief I know where I'll be on the 15th of October and there may be an incentive this year in attending.  But first things first, I still need to get past my niece/god daughter's christening and at the same time I need a new suit and also help organise the next blog slosh meet.  Oh well, but that's part of the fun.

 

cafecruise : sabroso

Seddon in Melbourne's West, is one suburb that has come up rather well in the past year or so as a little Mecca for a variety of entertainment.  There never use to be much in this particular area of Seddon, just the usual shops, a dingy look bar and a few other odds and sods.  Thoughts and views have changed and Seddon has a few gems just waiting for you.  One of those particular gems is Sabroso.

Sabroso

Last time I was at Touks (formerly known as the Charles St Bar, review to follow later) with Warren, he mentioned that Sabroso had a very good Tapas menu, but wasn't sure whether they kept the menu since Sabroso changed hands but was keen to investigate.  That night we left Touks to go for a walk around the shops in Seddon and to have a walk past Sabroso and I was pleased with what I saw.  We decided that we'd meet up the next night to see what they have for offer.

Warren was already there and I ordered a Gin and Tonic at the front bar.  Upon entering, you'll notice a big screen showing the football at that time on the wall to your right and a lounge area to your left with the main counter and bar facing directly in front of you.  We decided that it was time to make ourselves comfortable in the dining area.  The decor is really interesting with light brown curtains draped over the walls with lighting provided by maroon coloured light shades.  Much to our delight, the new owners of Sabroso have kept the tapas menu along with certain items that Warren had sampled the last time he was here.  Warren ordered two items and I ordered one more, giving us 3 delicious mouth watering items from the tapas menu.  One of the items that I do recommend anyone to try is the Saganaki.  This is pan-fried Greek cheese with lemon drizzled over for that extra tang. Moving from one piece to the other, enjoying each other's company and a glass of Sav Blanc, Sabroso has a lot to offer on their menu.

Service here was really good and the guys are always good for a chat, especially if your near the bar.  They'll also be there to help you with any choices on the tapas menu or on the main menu itself.  To top off a good feed, it's always good to end off with a nice latte.  Don't forget the good touch of a candle on the table.

Whether your here just to relax and have a drink in the lounge and look at the TV or you want something light to eat, then the tapas menu is for you.  But then if you really need a good feed, then you'll have plenty to choose from on the main menu.  It's not so hard to find a place to park in the street, but just be careful that you may become very comfortable inside.  The interesting thing is that Sabroso has also been featured in Qantas's in flight magazine a couple of months ago.  Go for it.

coffee : piazza

sabroso : 2 gamon street seddon. t : 9689 0203

rating : 5 out of 5

 

cafecruise : spiga

I've been a bit slack in this area, mainly because most of the time I would have to switch on my brain to do this, plus at the same time I've been to the usual haunts that I've already reviewed thus far.

There would be those who probably miss Diamaru leaving Melbourne Central, but then you have the people like myself who are really glad that it's gone and has allowed for the shopping precinct to be given a new clean breath of health.  For the passionate coffee lovers, this has brought forward a few more cafes in every nook and cranny offering you that every piece of escape from the real world.  This is where I'll show you part of that new world right here in various stages and personally, I've only been to a small handful myself but I know where they all are.

Spiga

Set at the beginning of Menzies Alley, Spiga is the first cafe you would come across coming from the railway station or from the northern end of the city.  With the espresso counter greeting you right on the pathway with the lovely canisters of T2 tea, you walk into the cafe and observe the dark colours of the wood panelling directly behind the main counter.  For those who love sitting with or on cushions in a cafe or a bar you'll adore the lime green cushions that are resting up against the window along the long black cushioned bench.  I don't know whether it was a late Saturday afternoon, but it was fairly quiet in there, but if you walk past on a Friday afternoon you'll have fun trying to find a seat at times. 

The main speciality at Spiga are the pizza's, but then at the same time you could enjoy that with a nice glass of wine, whatever takes your fancy.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to have a look at the menu since I was only there for a latte, but I did notice a selection of cakes also available.  The latte was of course just right and I just love it when they glam it up.  My only problem was with the countless number of broken sugar sachets.  Talk about a sticky situation.

Seating is available inside and outside the cafe, with the outside area fully covered.  Sit back, relax and enjoy the atmosphere of shoppers and workers walking or rushing past you or just watch the people sitting down in the other cafe's as well.

I've been here on a few occasions and have found the staff to be quite friendly and no nothing for me to look at.

If you ever wanted to do a cafe crawl, well this is one cafe to be in.

coffee : genovese

Spiga bar cafe : shop 2, menzies alley, melbourne central 360 elizabeth street melbourne. t : 8676 7515

rating : 4.5 out of 5

 

Monday, August 29, 2005

work, info, play

It started off as one of the most annoying but usual organisational skills with work, finding out at the last minute whether I had to go to the Metlink stall at the Latrobe Uni Open Day in Bundoora.  Well considering I everyone else on my roster was starting at 10.30 and working at the Footy, I wasn't too fussed if I didn't need to go to the open day knowing that it was going to be a great day weather wise.  Compared to a fortnight ago when I was at the RMIT Open Day, everything was organised through the work email and I knew everything that was supposed to happen.  A couple of phone calls to my Team Leader and I was a 10am start at Latrobe.  At that time I thought that I couldn't complain knowing that I would still get to finish early there, even better being a Sunday. 

The day started quickly, giving myself only just less than 30 minutes to shit, shower and shave and race out the door to the glorious weather awaiting me outside.  Knowing last time that I didn't need to wear the uniform, but have something displaying the logo.  Last time I wore a good casual jumper, but this time I thought I'd take my name tag since it has the logo and my name on it of course (comes in handy for trade recognition for later), but I was silly enough to forget to take my name tag from work and wore the baseball cap instead.  Arriving there much to my surprise there were people everywhere already carrying Latrobe bags and it wasn't even 10am, okay so I had to find the post office after referring to the map in the Melways and then I would have to ring Zoanne.  Arriving there I was amazed on what they had to offer to the students in the range of services and there was no shortage of coffee, especially where my stall was located.  Meeting up with Zoanne and noticing the disappointment that we were going to be inside and not outside in the lovely weather, I was introduced to Richard (in uniform) who's a Tram Attendant for Yarra Trams who'd be working with me today.  Later (I forgot her name but she's a sweety), one of my colleagues from Malvern Depot arrived (in uniform) as well to help out at the stall.  The weird thing about being inside were the tables where each individual stall was located on.  Unfortunately that part of the room was still stuck in the 80's and I don't think where was any point of return, except to head back out the door.  Expect trestle tables, we were greeted to hexagonal tables with seating attached to the table.  So you did not have to the luxury to move the chair if you wanted to and the carpet matched with the decor.

As usual I would try to flirt with the cute guy at Caffeine which was just next to the staff and facilities stall next to ours, but not to much avail and I didn't stop trying (just smile a lot), but I did buy a few latte's there over the course of the day.  We were provided with a lunch pack from the uni (catered for by The Union) that included a ham salad wrap, a small Greek salad, a muffin, mandarin and a juice, but nothing stopped me from being a bit adventurous later.  During one of my breaks, whilst listening to Nova and their guys playing games with some of the kids, I decided to investigate the Indigenous stall's BBQ.  For $2 you could purchase a simple hotdog or for an extra 50 cents you could be more adventurous and I had every intention of doing so and could purchase an Emu, Kangaroo or Crocodile sausage and bun.  Well I've had Kangaroo meat before, so I was deciding whether to have Emu or Crocodile and chose the Emu. It was good and had an interesting aftertaste, but just tasted like a normal gourmet hotdog.

With heaps of information given to the many people enquiring how to get to the university from the many different directions, it was all worthwhile.   The perve factor was extremely high as well, so I couldn't complain, especially of one of the staff volunteers who was just hot. 

On one particular occasion whilst visiting Caffeine, I noticed a range of cartoons and photos of some signs.  I managed to take a few pics of them with my phone, but there was one good one from the London Underground on display right next to the pick up counter.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

after grogblog

Pleasant company, good food and drink, internet gossip, transport info and cricket on TV, that was Melbourne Grogblogging 2.  After a shaky start everything eventually worked out when we found a new location with plenty of room and good food to eat.  It was good meeting up with a few people after reading their blogs, but it's always good to meet new people and some that I already knew.  After heading to a Hotel on Cardigan Street, a small number of the group trek over to a pub in Peel Street before it was time for myself to retire and go to sleep to get some rest before work.

No there were no scandals, nothing raunchy or juicy, so no gossip for me to say.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

a weekend of waiting

All the Western Bulldogs needed to get into the eight was to beat Collingwood by 4 goals.  They got their wish by beating Collingwood by 41 points and are in the eight but only just.  To stay in the eight they'll need to rely on Melbourne, Brisbane and Fremantle losing for them to hold onto eight position. Mind you Collingwood need Carlton to lose for them not to get the wooden spoon for this year.

Time to keep our fingers cross.

Round 22

Western Bulldogs 21. 15. (141) def. Collingwood 14. 16. (100) at Telstra Dome

 

Scruffed: Magpie Scott Burns grabs Dog Matthew Robbins. Photo Courtesy Herald Sun

Thursday, August 25, 2005

around the footscray wharf

Driving past this particular area everyday going to and from work and many times on my days off going into town there are certain times where I wish to get a jump ahead of the traffic and will take some of the side streets to avoid the slow drivers on the road.  Little would you know about some of the hidden treasures that are actually located in these streets and how much history there is in relation to the connection of the Maribyrnong (known at the time as the Saltwater River) River to the western suburbs and to Footscray.  Today I decided to take my camera with me and would do a walkabout after I finished work.  It turned out to be a lot better than expected with a beautiful sunny afternoon.

Here is just a sample of some of the pics taken.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

absolut raspberry..... question time.

Before I decide to actually buy a bottle of Absolut Raspberry, I'm just wondering whether any people have actually tried it and wonder what their opinion is of this particular version of raspberry.  I have been told that there is another brand of raspberry vodka that doesn't actually have a great taste, but it all depends on how good the vodka is and of course the raspberry content.

One thing I can say is that Absolut Mandarin tastes really good.

Share me your opinion.

council eyes local trams

From the Herald Sun. 

Council eyes local trams



TRAMS could soon be rattling around the outer suburbs under council plans to fix public transport problems.

Wyndham City Council, in Melbourne's outer west, is considering a plan to establish its own tram network around Werribee and Hoppers Crossing.

Other councils have also floated the idea of using trams to ease transport woes.

Wyndham councillor Peter Hawkins proposed the tram service to improve public transport.

Cr Hawkins is in the US and could not be contacted. But in a written proposal he said trams would be a cost-effective solution for people without cars.

The council has formed a group to investigate the costs, funding and routes.

The proposed tram network would service shops, schools and train stations in Werribee and its surrounds.

A similar move is being considered by Hobsons Bay Council. A consultant suggested trams should run along two of Williamstown's main streets.

Town planner Peter Tesdorpf has recommended trams run down Ferguson St and Nelson Place as part of a wider extension of the council's light-rail network.

Mr Tesdorpf said fixed-rail was better than buses because it was permanent and attracted business.

Hobsons Bay councillor Angela Altair said the council needed to consider all transport options.

Mr Tesdorpf said the State Government needed to consider expanding its fixed-rail network across Melbourne.

"If the Government is serious about achieving its target of 20 per cent of trips on public transport by 2020 . . . they are going to have to invest a lot of money in new fixed-rail public transport in the middle and outer suburbs," he said.

a day at the movies

Another animal interest story featured in today's Herald Sun. 

Sshh, be quiet, it's about to start



LIKE most hard-working students, these seeing-eye dogs in training enjoy kicking back and watching a good movie -- especially one with a cunning canine as its star.

The flick that Qui Qui, Clover and Xavier are watching is a three-minute model-animation A Dog of a Day, a caper comedy starring Roger the Jack Russell terrier.

These 18-month-old labradors must learn to sit through movies as part of their seeing-eye dog schooling.

"Their control is amazing. I know my lab at home couldn't sit like that. It's all just part of their training," Seeing Eye Dog Australia spokeswoman Jenni Heenan said.

A Dog of a Day is funded by dog food company Schmackos and is directed by the company that makes its commercials.

Singer Kamahl, who is no stranger to animation after his voice was used in the Academy Award winning Harvie Krumpet, has a cameo role in this film.

"I'm not allowed to say what he does, but he steals the show," Schmackos spokeswoman Jane Brook said.

The animation will play before selected features at cinemas from September 1.

Qui Qui, Clover and Xavier and other dogs can be sponsored through SEDA. Call 1800 037 773 or visit www.seda.org.au.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

risky media

During my routine rounds of checking out websites for any interesting articles or just something that would catch my attention, I was glancing through the DNA Magazine website and noticed that a picture of last month's magazine had a censored sticker placed over the briefs of the guy.  At this time I did not have a copy of the latest issue, but I did have the July issue.  I purchased the August issue which showed the following apology and shared a bit of light on why the picture was censored.  The interesting side to this was that there was also a picture of the July issue in the Letters to the Editor uncensored.

Last month's cover of DNA deeply offended people of the Hindu faith.  As editor, I would like to sincerely apologise.  Let me state very clearly that it was not my intention to deliberately cause offense, to antagonise or show disrespect to Hindus.  I did not realise that the illustration on the garment depicted a Hindu deity.

As part of a story on last month's cover model, I secured a package of images and the picture was among them.  We did not shoot the photograph ourselves.

In response to emails of complaint, we have changed the image on our website so that the offending garment is no longer visible.  The issue is no longer on sale at newsagencies.

In answer to some of the frequently asked questions I received via email: Yes, I would have used the picture if the garment portrayed Jesus or a figure from another religion.  I don't believe underpants depicting religious figures are indecent or derogatory.  No, I am not offended by any part of the human body.  Yes, I do have spiritual beliefs.  I believe an individual's relationship with their god or gods is personal and that representations (whether a stained glass window, a statue or a part of underpants) is immaterial to that relationship.  Let me also state emphatically that the image was not used as a publicity stunt to attract increase magazine sales.

I understand that I have offended the Hindu community, I regret this, and ask that my sincere apology be accepted. I respect everyone's beliefs and I will be more sensitive to these issues in future.

I would like to thank Rajwant Singh, editor of The Punjab Express, for his understanding and advice in this matter.

Andrew Creagh, Editor

It is understood on how certain items and issues can be offensive to some, but not all.  In today's environment, we are exposed to a wide range of issues and entertainment and much has changed from what we were able to view in the past.  However we as a society are also becoming more reserved about smaller issues compared to the big picture.  Media is a medium that will allow itself to be creative, informative and unrestricted in what it can portray to a wider audience.  To deny the right of what you can show or sell in a magazine should not be restricted due to the fact of religion or other cultural factors. Every individual has a right to themselves to be able to decide on what they want to see and do without being smothered by a community that would think it would be immoral to do so. Removing a magazine of the sack of one part of the community is something they should not have done, but you still are able to purchase the magazine through DNA if you haven't been able to do so.

We are not experts in the world on every issue or with knowledge of every religious or cultural item and we will also endeavour to ensure that we try our best as a media outlet on whatever that may be, to do what we can to appease the general audience.  To restrict is to deny.

That's my thought anyway (and not of the magazines).

a gay boy in vermont

This is a letter sent to me from a friend which I'd share with you.

 

The following is a very strong and moving letter written by the mother of a gay boy in Vermont ...

"Many letters have been sent to the Valley News concerning the homosexual menace in Vermont. I am the mother of a gay son and I've taken enough from you good people. I'm tired of your foolish rhetoric about the "homosexual agenda" and your allegations that accepting homosexuality is the same thing as advocating sex with children. You are cruel and ignorant. You have been robbing me of the joys of motherhood ever since my children were tiny.

My firstborn son started suffering at the hands of the moral little thugs from your moral, upright families from the time he was in the first grade. He was physically and verbally abused from first grade straight through high school because he was perceived to be gay.

He never professed to be gay or had any association with anything gay, but he had the misfortune not to walk or have gestures like the other boys. He was called "fag" incessantly, starting when he was 6.

In high school, while your children were doing what kids that age should be doing, mine laboured over a suicide note, drafting and redrafting it to be sure his family knew how much he loved them. My sobbing 17-year-old tore the heart out of me as he choked out that he just couldn't bear to continue living any longer, that he didn't want to be gay and that he couldn't face a life without dignity.

You have the audacity to talk about protecting families and children from the homosexual menace, while you yourselves tear apart families and drive children to despair. I don't know why my son is gay, but I do know that God didn't put him, and millions like him, on this Earth to give you someone to abuse. God gave you brains so that you could think, and it's about time you started doing that.

At the core of all your misguided beliefs is the belief that this could never happen to you, that there is some kind of subculture out there that people have chosen to join. The fact is that if it can happen to my family, it can happen to yours, and you won't get to choose. Whether it is genetic or whether something occurs during a critical time of fetal development, I don't know. I can only tell you with an absolute certainty that it is inborn.

If you want to tout your own morality, you'd best come up with something more substantive than your heterosexuality. You did nothing to earn it; it was given to you. If you disagree, I would be interested in hearing your story, because my own heterosexuality was a blessing I received with no effort whatsoever on my part. It is so woven into the very soul of me that nothing could ever change it.

 
For those of you who reduce sexual orientation to a simple choice, a character issue, a bad habit or something that can be changed by a 10-step program, I'm puzzled. Are you saying that your own sexual orientation is nothing more than something you have chosen, that you could change it at will? If that's not the case, then why would you suggest that someone else can?

A popular theme in your letters is that Vermont has been infiltrated by outsiders. Both sides of my family have lived in Vermont for generations. I am heart and soul a Vermonter, so I'll thank you to stop saying that you are speaking for "true Vermonters."

You invoke the memory of the brave people who have fought on the battlefield for this great country, saying that they didn't give their lives so that the "homosexual agenda" could tear down the principles they died defending. My 83-year-old father fought in some of the most horrific battles of World War II, was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart.

He shakes his head in sadness at the life his grandson has had to live. He says he fought alongside homosexuals in those battles, that they did their part and bothered no one. One of his best friends in the service was gay,and he never knew it until the end, and when he did find out, it mattered not at all. That wasn't the measure of the man.

You religious folk just can't bear the thought that as my son emerges from the hell that was his childhood he might like to find a lifelong companion and have a measure of happiness. It offends your sensibilities that he should request the right to visit that companion in the hospital, to make medical decisions for him or to benefit from tax laws governing inheritance.

How dare he? you say. These outrageous requests would threaten the very existence of your family, would undermine the sanctity of marriage. You use religion to abdicate your responsibility to be thinking human beings. There are vast numbers of religious people who find your attitudes repugnant. God is not for the privileged majority, and God knows that my son has committed no sin.

The deep-thinking author of a letter to the April 12 Valley News who lectures about homosexual sin and tells us about "those of us who have been blessed with the benefits of a religious upbringing" asks: "What ever happened to the idea of striving . . . to be better human beings than we are?"

Indeed, sir, what ever happened to that? "

Friday, August 19, 2005

a new home

With a quick change of names the swap from darkseason to semaphore is now complete. All that leaves now is for everyone else to change their links and favourites. Semaphore Junction is now in it's new home. I do hope to be a bit creative on here and will post any unusual or usual postings so stay tuned and thanks heaps for you support.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

semaphore junction

This is something I've been thinking of doing for quite some time.  I've been using the name DarkSeason for quite sometime, even during an on and off again situation a few years ago before reintroducing the name back on my then website. It's always been in the back of my mind to think of another name, and I have had part of the new name in my head and hadn't thought of the right way to introduce it.  Well for once I'll have a name that won't be associated with a rock group in Europe and something that is more close to home for myself.

So what's with the new name?  Since I do work for the railways and also have an association with them, there are many aspects on what you may like about them and I've always had the attraction with infrastructure.  One piece of infrastructure that is vanishing from our scene is the Semaphore signal.  With the advent of modern technology and the cost cutting measures of reducing staff and centralising signalling systems in one location, the many good yards and stations which housed signal boxes with at times many semaphore signals ever present are now fading into history. 

sem·a·phore  n. :

1.  A visual signaling apparatus with flags, lights, or mechanically moving arms, as one used on a railroad.

2. A visual system for sending information by means of two flags that are held one in each hand, using an alphabetic code based on the position of the signaler's arms.

But why the Junction?  Well I didn't want to have Semaphore just by itself and had always tried to think of a addition word to add to it and finally Junction popped up inside my head.  The general aspect behind the name is a place to come together and exchange views and ideas (even though I'd have to start it off).

junc·tion n. :  A place where two things join or meet, especially a place where two roads or railway routes come together and one terminates.

At the end of the week I will be changing the name of the address to this site to semaphorejunction.blogspot.com and the current address of darkseason.blogspot.com will not work.  The only unfortunate thing is for the people who have not seen the change of name will not know what's happening, but that's a risk I'll have to take since I'd just like to consolidate things. 

I do have things planned and this is just the beginning of something new and exciting hopefully for myself.

fundamental laws

LORENZ'S LAW OF MECHANICAL REPAIR:

After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch.

KOVAC'S CONUNDRUM:

When you dial a wrong number, you will never get a busy signal.

CANNON'S KARMIC LAW:

If you tell the boss you were late for work because you had a flat tyre, the next morning you will have a flat tyre.

O’BRIEN’S VARIATION LAW:

If you change queues, the one you have left will start to move faster than the one you are in now.

BELL'S THEOREM

When the body is immersed in water, the telephone rings.

RUBY'S PRINCIPLE OF CLOSE ENCOUNTERS

The probability of meeting someone you know increases when you are with someone with whom you would rather not be seen.

WILLOUGHBY'S LAW

When you try to prove to someone that a machine won't work, it will.

ZADRA'S LAW OF BIOMECHANICS

The severity of the itch is inversely proportional to the difficulty of the reach.

BREDA'S RULE

At any theatrical event, those people whose seats are furthest from the aisle will arrive last.

OWEN'S LAW

As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.

HOWDEN'S LAW

You remember you have to mail a letter only when you're near the mailbox.

Thanks Tony for this.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

greg wins aussie bb05

The winner of Australia's Big Brother 2005 is Greg with Tim coming in 2nd place. Greg initially entered the House under the clever guise of Logan, swapping places with his twin brother David at BB's will. After the twins spent lock-down being preened to look as identical as possible, Greg was swept away quietly to the Isolation Room whilst David was thrust into the limelight to meet the HMs.  Keeping up the act proved too difficult for the twins and they failed to fool their HMs for the pre-determined two weeks.  Greg was cornered by his fellow HMs who outright accused him of being a twin. BB allowed David to re-enter the House as Logan, and the twins continued life in the house as one entity.  The object of both Kate and Christie's affections, Greg chose Christie to be his pashing partner throughout his time in the House. Their on and off again relationship confused Christie to no end but Greg seemed quite clear about his decision not to let it get too serious.  Yet at there have been many times where Greg's heterosexuality had been question, even more so when he request a wand and hotpants.

The final moments in the BB house with Greg and Tim relaxing in the Rewards room and choosing their final outfit that they would wear that very night. It would be interesting to see how things will pan out with Greg out of the house. Stay tuned.

The only unfortunate thing was that I missed out on the whole show since I was at work.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

open opportunity

Well it's not always that I have the opportunity to have an interesting shift at work or be given the opportunity to have one good easy shift, well I hope it will be a good easy shift.  Well tomorrow I have the opportunity to have easy shift giving information to new prospective tertiary students at the RMIT Open Day at the main City Campus.  Working in the Metlink marquee with as far as I know a Yarra Tram and Metlink employee (hopefully someone good looking). So I'll have plenty of coffee opportunities and the perve factors should be nice and high.  Hey I can only enjoy it one way or another, so if you've got nothing better to do tomorrow, why not come down to main City Campus between 10am and 4pm.  Hope to see you there.

spunky anthony winner uk big brother

Anthony has been crowned the winner of Big Brother 2005 with 57.3 per cent of the public vote, which leaves Eugene in second place!

After an excruciatingly long wait, delightful Davina broke the news to the trembling pair.

A giddy Anthony could barely believe the overwhelming news. "Oh my God! Granny Hutton, I've done it!" he screamed, running around the living room.

So near but yet so far, Eugene congratulated Anthony, the public's favourite, on his glorious victory and prepared to be released back into the wild.
 

Source : Channel 4 website

Thursday, August 11, 2005

looking to the stars

I do have many interests such as photography, trains, weather and any natural phenomenon such as storms, volcanoes, but I also have an interest in looking at the skies whenever I have the opportunity.  I remember the first time I looked through a pair of binoculars when I was living in Newcastle in 1986 and went to my local school to see Halley's Comet, to then looking through a telescope and seeing the rings of Saturn.  Every now and then I do venture to NASA's site and even more so the Hubble Telescope's site and view any new pictures or developments.  Here are just a couple of shots that I'd like to show you of a vast amount in their library.

hubble peers into a celestial geode

saturn

images copyright@stsci.edu

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

loop and fancy free

It's a great feeling being able to work with another gay person at work, and I don't really get that opportunity since I'm the only "known" gay male working from the North Melbourne depot. Today was one of those days where I was able to work with a colleague with similar interests, but not entirely similar tastes.  However whenever I drooled over a guy, he would drool as well. But this time doing security patrols on the City Loop stations, and the first for myself on mid-shift, all I could say that there was plenty of eye candy for both of us to look at.  Unfortunately not enough for the other two working with us, not enough good looking females to get their attraction.  There have been a few occasions where I've managed to with my colleague, but this was the first time where I would spend most of the shift with him and it was a great and exciting experience.  Apart from finding out some information about a cute station staff member and constantly drooling over the towel poster with the hot body guy (I might update this bit when I look again).  But I did manage to get him to drool when I showed him the cover of the latest issue of DNA. This being the occasion where he's never seen the magazine and just the look on his face was priceless. 

The funniest thing that would have happened today was nearly been locked in a room at one of the stations, but thanks to quick thinking by myself, I then found a door which led us to the path of freedom. Sampling a really great Yellow Chicken Curry at the Spicy Noodle Cafe with good company, finding out that a colleague is really good with quizes and also have a great dinner at home and then finishing off with a couple of glasses of Sav Blanc (writing this). After unfulfilling recent activities being uneventful and disappointing, today was perfect to put me back on my feet and look ahead once again.

It's given me the idea to probably do a little monthly review on each issue.  As if I've got enough to talk about on here, gives me an excuse for more.

Stay tuned for more info on today's events and there will definitely be more.

bbuk spunky anthony

Apart from looking every now and then at our Aussie Big Brother house and seeing what the spunky Greg has been up to, well considering it's good that we still have a good looking guy still in the final 3 in the house. But at the same time, I've seen been looking at the progress of the UK house which currently has 4 housemates left and the ever hot and spunky Anthony is still in the house.  Reading about the escapades with gay housemate Craig who's infatuated with the spunky male, but unfortunately I don't have the privilege to be able to watch scenes, but I will share with you a selection of pics of the spunky male taken within the last couple of weeks in the UK house. Pity he's not in Australia or in other words I'm not in the UK house. yum

Well I have to drool in my blog ever now and then.

melb grob blog II

It's that time of the year where the grog blogging community gets together to eat, drink and share minds, plus it gives you the chance to meet the people hiding behind their blogs. If you want to know more info, just go to Chris Fryer's site. This time I'll be able to make an appearance.

cafecruise : max brenner melb central

The time is here and if you really want to play with your taste buds and get your lips around some beautifully made chocolate, or just sink your teeth in the added pleasures of the menu, but then have the thirst of drinking some chocolate rich delights. How sweet can it be when you have a place like Max Brenner's?  Opening their first store in Melbourne inside the QV shopping precinct, the Bald Man also opened up a store in the revised and refreshed Melbourne Central complex.

The Melbourne Central store is larger than the QV store and has more to offer on the menu to suite anyone with chocolate in mind.  Unfortunately I have not had the opportunity to sample the coffee, but given all of my attention to the chocolate drinks on the menu.  I do tend to hover around the hot chocolate variations. 

Max Brenner's at Melbourne Central, provides ample seating both inside and outside the store.  All the seating outside is undercover and the wall opposite the store is painted in Max Brenner colours and pictures that are very reminiscing from the 40's and 50's era.  Once you walk inside the store, you'll walk past two large vats, one with milk chocolate and the other white chocolate.  To the left of the entrance is the gift shop, showcasing a vast selection of delectable chocolates available for purchase or you can purchase some to have with whichever beverage you end up choosing, if you can find the heart to actually place one of the chocolates in your mouth.  The general atmosphere will just make you think that you're in and olde time chocolate shop.

Having been to this store quite a few times, I have found the staff to be helpful at most times, this final time I did find them to be much more helpful and more creative when it came to delivering latte's to my colleagues upon discovering that I was taking shots.  From Chocolate Fondue to the delicious banana and chocolate ice cream crepe that I ordered this time, you will also be given a small jar of warm melted milk chocolate that you can dip your crepe or other delicacy in (apart from the fondue which you'll be doing anyway). Eventually I will have to sample the coffee and also let you know where their coffee actually comes from.

If you're a fan of chocolate, then there is nothing bad I can really say except that you just have to go and enjoy it for yourself.

coffee :  unknown

Max Brenner Chocolate by the Bald Man :  Melbourne Central, Shop DE5 Vic 3000 T : 9662 6000

website : www.maxbrenner.com.au

rating : 5 out of 5

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

photographing a planet

Since I'm a regular visitor to a volcano website which has gone under some renovation over the past month, one of the features that I noticed was that their pictures are being provided by Google Earth, so I took the liberty to go explore and find about about the program in which I then downloaded and had a quick look through.  The shot of below is my neighbourhood and my house is somewhere in there.  From what I've observed looking around, this shot was taken on a fairly clear day in 2004 as I did have a look around the Docklands, but could not completely place a date.  There is the occasional chance that a cloud will get in the way of a shot. This is only a beta program so there are still many bugs to be worked out, but I'm sure the people at Google will do their best. Over time, I might decide to take a few snap shots of various places around Melbourne or even around the world as I go off to explore this great planet.

 

Monday, August 08, 2005

bb05 - the final 3 + 1

This is the final week of Big Brother here in Australia and the final three are Greg, Vesna and Tim.  Odds are that the final two will be Vesna and Tim and that Greg will be leaving on Sunday.  Even though I think he's an absolute cutie and that there is much more to the story about himself, but whether we'll hear much from the rumour mill after BB is a wait and see and I'd love to report it if I could. But the final week in the BB house has been interrupted by a special guest, Portuguese transsexual Nadia Almada, the most popular housemate and the winner of last years UK BB house will be gracing the Aussie house.  So far it's been an interesting first couple of hours since she has entered the house and the housemates are extracting as much information about Nadia's BB experience. How much will this affect the final week?  Wait and see.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

a moment passed

The candle is out; the moment had passed without comment.  Not a single attempt in being able to know of what could happen in the relationship.  Just get drunk, go quiet and not reply back to a single message said by myself.

 

Now I know where I stand and the rest is history.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

sex crazed felines

It's that time of the year where my place ends up becoming the meeting place for the cats on the block.  Besides having a gorgeous looking female cat currently residing here, her own feelings are very mutual in that she does not want to have any part in it at all.  So far from today, I've counted 6 cats frequenting around the house, the unfortunate thing is that they are also able to go underneath the house and they do it so well, no matter how many times you try to shoo them off.  You either get one or two cats at any time during the day, even in the wee hours of the morning, meowing to their hearts content or you get the other pleasant experience of one cat against the other, in one instance before I typed this blog I actually caught occur in my back yard with 5 cats in the very area. What really pisses me off, especially when I arrived late last night from work, was the stench of the tom cats making their areas.  One particular area is right at the front door.  No wonder why my little pretty one doesn't want to go outside with these so-called four legged macho hairballs marking her territory, especially when she's not interested.

Well I guess it's time for me to find a citrus formula to spray around the front and back yard, and hope it has some effect on these love horny beasts.  I might even have to borrow Mum's Pomeranian.

Oh by the way, cat number 6 wasn't around at this time for comment.

Monday, August 01, 2005

a moment

Let me share this moment with you and it's not one of those moments that just happens in an instant, but a moment that can last for a long time.  It really began when first saw his face at my very front door.  From the first hand shake, to watching myself growling at the tea plunger in the kitchen and chatting away in the lounge commenting over the interesting and pathetic talent on Australian Idol.  You're sitting on the same sofa, but at the near ends, as time moves and you're lost in each others conversation and you move closer.  You laugh and smile and then have that unpleasant feeling that he has to go even though you don't want him to.  There is no hand shake, but he walks to his car.  You still have a brief chat and then there's the simple goodbye kiss, just a little peck, the brief pause as you gaze into each others eyes and then once again as he steps inside, but you get that feeling that there is something more that can be achieved from this.  The window is down and gesture my head inside the car and then show what my feeling and his would be at the same time and give each other a long passionate kiss.  As you would know from that, the candle has been lite, but can it evolve more from that simple yet wonderful beginning?

The next time we would meet, would just clarify that.  You sit either side of the table in the restaurant chatting continuously, completely oblivious to the surroundings and to the menu that is in front of you and the constant reminder of the staff whether you have decided on what you want to order.  As time goes by, you find out more of each other and of many things that make each other they way how they are.  Dinner goes by quite well, but you feel that more comfortable surrounds would be preferred and we then retire to the lounge in his apartment. Once again and quite frequently we are down the path of conversation and at the same time observing the coming and goings on the TV, he then makes himself more comfortable and rests his head on my lap and I place my arm around him, just to look into his beautiful deep brown eyes sends me off into another world that I would stay in. All this would continue until it is my time to adjourn and head off home to bed.  With enough passionate embrace to be able to last without each others company until the next time, we once again part.

With the continuing communication via phone or on the computer, we still are able to let each other know how we are doing apart from each other and of our feelings and concerns.  Through one hazy moment, in that time of doubt the next meeting would then help put my mind at ease on any situation that may occur and would also allow for myself to help him in this time of need.

A deep and meaningful moment, only interrupted by a coffee urge from myself, but only to be continued sitting in the car watching the sun set over Port Phillip Bay, my mind was put at ease and I felt more comfortable and at the same time I felt that he was comfortable and more at ease as well. I felt as there was much achieved by this important conversation that we did have to have and the night would only be better for both of us.  Having his head resting on my shoulder and our arms in embrace as we watch the life of the bag and the lights of the city shine upon them, it was time to move on to our next destination.  I love it how he likes the affection that is given to him and I love it how he does the same to myself.  No matter how good, weird or boring a movie can be and the unfortunate problem of seating without retractable arms, that is never a problem in sitting close to each other and still enjoying each other's company.  Unfortunately there always comes a time where you have to part company once again but still give each other a reminder of there feelings and affection towards to you.

I know it's only the beginning and it's been such a short time, but there are instances that make you think how much you like someone.  If you can actually work out any concerns or doubts that you have at the very beginning, then you might actually be on the path where you are able to achieve what you both may want in return.  I enjoy the conversations I have with him, the constant good communication, embracing each other and having that moment to be with each other is something I would not want to be taken away, just to be with him is enough for and spend time with him.  This is something I would love to have grow into something much more beautiful and it can happen.  Something for us to always enjoy and moments to always look back upon.  

For me to be with you.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

homophobe housemate

Homophobia rears its big head on Big Brother with Housemate Kate launching a swinging attack on (male to male) gay men affection in public.  During a game of truth and dare, Tim was dared to kiss Greg. After much laughing and a few quick pecks, the girls weren’t satisfied, telling them to get a bit of tongue in there.

Kate said the small amount of kissing between the two boys so far was more than enough and that she felt physically ill after witnessing the sight. “I’ll vomit. That was disgusting. I’m homophobic.” She explained. “That really freakin’ scared the shit out of me.”

Kate then shocked even further, when she went on to say that she only hates men who are gay. “If I were to kiss a chick, it wouldn’t matter. Two guys, yuck. I hate it and I fear it.”

Kate even attacked Greg and Tim personally, saying that they should have just pretended, rather than subject her to the disgusting sight of two men kissing. Tim and Greg were quick to defend their actions, Tim saying it ‘wasn’t in the spirit of the game’ to pretend and both boys arguing that there’s nothing wrong with guys kissing each other.

The revelation of Kate’s nasty homophobic side has left housemates and BB fans dumbfounded, some of Kate’s most loyal supporters now saying she’s lost them.

To make matters worse for Kate is that she is  now up for eviction this week after Tim used his points to save Greg, throwing Kate into the nomination ring. With the unwarranted outburst by Kate on Day 75, this will make the perfect opportunity for people to boot Kate out.  I've already placed my votes.

Information from BehindBigBrother.com

 

Friday, July 22, 2005

questioning smartcards

The most annoying I've had to put up with during my last 9 days at work was the constant question from people in regards to the new smartcard ticketing to be introduced in 2007.  First of all if people were paying attention to the news or to any other media that this was just an announcement by the government that they had awarded the tender to the Kamco consortium.  Nothing had indicated whatsoever the full details of how the system would work or that you would find out the very next day on what every single detail the new system would entail.  On the presumption that the travelling public think that Public Transport staff would know every single detail of the new system and that they would be complete expert and would put their minds at ease or just complain that it's a waste of money and what use would it be to them.  Just put your brakes on!

I ended up going to the DoI's website to find out some information about the new system, even though I knew I wouldn't find a great deal but would know that the general basics of the system would be available for viewing.  The best place to look was in the Frequently Asked Questions, this is the place that would actually answer the basics for the system.  The rest we would have to wait and see to the trial process begins.  But now since I know about what's on that page, does that mean I'll share the information to my lovely commuters.  Of course not.  I made the effort to go look for the information and they can do the same in whatever means possible for them if they don't have online access.

Yes the current format of the ticketing system will remain, but you will not be using the magnetic strip tickets.  The new system will ensure that you do get a better value from your journey if you clock on and clock off, but will penalise you if do not clock off.  How everything will work will be revealed later, but at this stage there's no point in asking any PT staff member.  The ticketing system is the responsibility of the Transport Ticketing Authority and not of the Public Transport Operators and many people should keep that in mind as the same with the current system.

Stay tuned and be patient.  All will be revealed in time.  The same response will be given by me even at work. 

Monday, July 18, 2005

marketing safer eggs

Last sighted many years ago in a children's storybook and the last time in pieces.  Humpty Dumpty has come out of retirement and is assisting Connex in their next segment for their "A Safe Way to Travel" marketing campaign.  To be shown on all commercial channels and to make his debut in the mainstream papers, Humpty will demonstrate the various safety initiatives that have been introduced on trains and on stations. "We felt that Humpty was a character that most people were familiar with," Connex CEO, Bruce Hughes said.  "As he is well known for being fragile we thought that his need for caution provided us with a perfect scenario to demonstrate the updated safety options that are now available on the train network."

Lets hope this exceeds Connex's eggspectations that it can have fun in showing people the lighter side in safer train travel or this campaign may be beaten buy the opposition and whisked away.  Makes for a good omelette.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

cafecruise : red star

Here I am once again running behind with cafecruise since I have visited a large string of them in the past 3 weeks, so I will be doing some catch up on here in the next week as there are a few good cafes to share with you all.  I was anticipating reviewing 2 cafe's in this cafecruise, but unfortunately the first cafe that I was going to review didn't have a business card and I can't find them listed in the White Pages.

Upon a recent visit to the Daylesford area, my first priority of the day besides having a look around at the antique shops and the other knick knacks also including places such as Puppy Phat and Feline Groovy, I was also doing the cruise to find a suitable cafe to start my day off and have my first caffeine fix.  I've noticed the cafe on the corner for quite some time and I remember when the building was also under renovation for quite sometime before they managed to finish it and open up for business.  But alas I will not be able to do a proper review of Koukla cafe since I don't have the address, and so I will not give them the credit of doing a review.

Now that I'm refreshed and that my stomach has now been satisfied, we drove down towards Hepburn Springs.  Apart from pointing out where a friend of mine lived and then discovering later one that a couple of my friends were actually there when I drove past unbeknownst to myself, we continued on towards the Hepburn Springs Reserve.  Not too far away, I noticed a cafe on the right hand side of the road that I've didn't notice last time I was here and thought that we would check it out later on.  After our walk, and driving back towards Daylesford, I decided to stop and check out the cafe.

Red Star Cafe

Only been open for a couple of months, this makes it a new addition to the area and also located on the same block as the Palais and a rainbow stickered Motel.  On the left side on the front of the cafe, you'll notice a quaint little display of a red framed picture with a table and chairs with a cup and saucer resting on a newspaper and a stainless steel milk pot.  Walking inside, there is a little tourist information area to the left and you continue on to walk into a large room with tables and chairs laid out and an interestingly red painted arch directly ahead.  All along the left wall are book shelves filled with books.  If you continue on to the small back room, you'll notice an immense large solid wooden coffee table and along the wall are old theatre seats.  On wondering where to make ourselves comfortable, I noticed that there is a little alcove at the front of the cafe.  In this alcove are two different styles of sofas. Both being made of leather, you have two black, straight top sofas facing each other and on the left side of the alcove and on the right two right curved top sofas facing each other.  Both with coffee tables against the wall with a vase of flowers.

I only ordered a cafe latte, which was a lot better than the one served at the previous cafe and the milk was doing done a lot better, but there could have been improvements which would add to the style of the cafe.  The only disappointment I had inside the cafe was that when we first arrived it was absolutely perfect, nice and quiet with the perfect atmosphere to relax in.  Well that theory went out of the door when some noisy kids came in.  Oh well!  Take out the equation of the kids and you'll notice that the cafe has a certain peaceful atmosphere about itself.  Interesting thing, I did end up counting 7 different types of light shades in different parts of the cafe.  It was pretty cool. The counter located at the rear of the cafe next to the kitchen.  It seems that the cafe is operated by two people, who I may presume that they may be a couple, far from myself assuming that. Being a quiet time, service was very good and the two chaps quite friendly.  I didn't get to have a chance to have a proper look at the food menu, but they do offer a variety sweet and savoury treats.

Seeing the traffic going past in this lovely country atmosphere, and the feel of the cafe with the means of just relaxing and taking it all in, I found it rather worthwhile and a good finish to a good day.

Coffee : Grinders

Red Star Cafe : 115 Main Rd Hepburn Springs 3461, T : (03) 5348 2297

Rating : 4.5 out of 5

Saturday, July 16, 2005

lack of understanding with driving

Driving on the roads is becoming more hazardous as the days go by.  It is still very easy for people to obtain their drivers licence even with the 120 hours campaign being enforced by Vic Roads.  The major concern I have for when people have the need of obtaining a drivers licence is the many language options that are available  for those who don't speak or have a proper understanding of the English language.  Far from me with the inkling of sounding racist, but from my experience the night before of a situation that could have turned into a very serious accident.  I had now had enough and will now spill out some of my thoughts, particularly those of a certain community.  For those who wish to migrate to Australia or even declare themselves refugees, they have already made the choice to leave their homeland and go to another to start a new life.  But when they do arrive here, regardless of their status, they will try in every effort to continue their existing life that they had packed up or were forced to pack up and take with them.  Australia is ripe of the picking, it is a wonderful country that will offer the individuals and families freedom.  Freedom to do whatever they want by whatever means possible.  When they cannot do what they want to do, then it is time to rort the weak legal system of Australia, a system riddled by an abundance of loop holes.  It's a perfect opportunity to go to your local representative, who could also be a friend of the family, or is related some where along the family chain and make use of such situations and opportunities. 

Australia is a melting pot for a immense range of cultural diversity.  There are a large number of people who set out to achieve the most they can of their new found freedom and these same people do the best they can to help educate everyone about the many talents and skills that they have brought over and they also learn from all the other cultures and the general community in itself on how to best still have pride with their own culture, but also make the effort to change and adapt to the new surrounds and environment.  It is understandable that driving through cities such as Brisbane and Sydney and you observe some street signs in dual languages, and that likewise in other countries, including Asian countries that you will also see English in their road signage.  This goes to assist visitors to help move them on their way to where they are going to.  Understanding road laws is one area where this has also been carried on to.  The official language of Australia is English and that it should remain so in regards to road laws in every state and being able to obtain your drivers licence.    This however is not the case, and is being scrutinized by certain communities. 

Everywhere you go on the road in the State of Victoria, and you'll notice all signage is in English.  Your drivers licence is also in English and all the legislation and paperwork relevant to it.  However you don't grasp the understanding of the English language, but you wish to have the means to drive on a road.  I understand that there should be "guides" in other languages explaining certain aspects of understanding road laws and being able to obtain a drivers licence,  but to do the majority of the test "not in English" (no I don't know what happens when the Vic Roads Officer is in the car), defeats the purpose in properly understanding the road laws and the laws of the individual states and the Commonwealth of Australia.  It is a requirement that you do understanding what you are getting yourself into in the first place and you must take responsibility of any, if not all of your actions.  You've completed both tests, practical and theory and you now have your licence in hand.  Let's get ready to wreak havoc!

I live in an area that I have observed over the years that I have been living here, a community changing rapidly.  From not much of a presence, to a rapid expansion of a general presence.  Walking down Alfrieda Street in St Albans 10 years ago and I would have found a different variety of shops or many nationalities that were present in the area.  Now you'll find a majority of the shops are of Vietnamese decent and not a lot of difference unfortunately between them.  A similar case is in Footscray, in that you would find a large variety of shops which were owned by Greek and Italian families, as the tide change, so did the demographics of the area and you'll find a large majority of Asian own shops and restaurants.  This can also cause problems on the road.  Sure you find a lot of idiots on the road, but I have found that these are always the ones who can cause the blatant disregard to the other motorists.  Unfortunately, more recently I have come across more problems with drivers of a certain community than I have with others.

Without myself rambling on too much now, since if I wanted to expand on other issues on the road, then I would and could, but I'll finish off with my experience last night, which is very similar to a few more that I have encountered, especially around my area.  Driving home from work along Dynon Road, I thought I'd go into Footscray and pick up a couple of items of clothing before meeting up with a friend later.  Since I thought I'd go to Forges, I knew the simple way of going to the car park where I would find plenty of parking and it would be easier for me to drive out and continue on my way home.  So I'm at the lights and turn left into Irving Street, railway line and Footscray Station to the left and the Footscray Market to my right, just as I had a clear signal to go straight through the turn, only 5 metres away, a blue Commodore does a u-turn from the parking strip on the side and cuts right out in front of myself.  I slam the brakes on, quickly changing my gears to control the car and stop only half a metre from the drivers door.  I slam the horn and notice a female Asian driver, who then ways and drives off leaving me to continue my way and pick up my heart.  This situation could have been different and could have had a more serious response which could have resulted in that driver being seriously injured or worse killed.  But as I know how my car works and how to control it, being 50 km/h down that street, I had already reached that speed prior to slamming my brakes.  From my observation, this was also a full licenced driver and I just thought it was entirely not acceptable but it's what we have to put up with driving on the roads.  I don't mean to be picky on a particular culture, but I have had enough, especially from the same culture in itself.  But I know, nothing will be done to help improve it.

Monday, July 11, 2005

new camera

I now have a new toy to play with and it's quite large and heavy in my hands.  But sorry to disappoint some, but it's actually a new camera.  It's a slight bit heavier than it's predecessor and it has higher and sharper resolution.  With a couple of changes where some buttons are placed with a few extra editions.  I gave the camera a test on Saturday and had cafe latte at Fed Sq, took a shot of the book market and the sheds.  Moving off to the Tramway Museum at Hawthorn, unfortunately some pictures didn't turn out properly, but it is part of the learning process of a new camera and getting use to the size, weight and capabilities.  Upon returning back into town I did test the camera out on a few night shots.  I hope to show many pictures later from this camera.