Sunday, October 29, 2006


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Polly's Goose Step

Captured this morning. The cat couldn't care less.

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Here's my new look blog which I've brightened up and I've also revamped. I got a little annoyed with the Trudeau comic strip below overlapping onto the sidebar and being unreadable when it was reduced......... so increased the width of this main section. There's a lot of wasted space down the sides with some of the blogger templates.

It was trial by error, adjusting floats, adding in lines and chang text and line colours. But after around one hundred previews and a few saves, I think I've got it right. I used Mandarin for a couple of things, so 'spose I better put in their familiar "Trashed by Mandarin" icon.

The older, greyer...... dingy old header is below.

Post edit: I've just realised that my headers are now in the centre, so will have to remember to post photos neatly in the middle!


Press meeting with "Fear Itself"

House to share ad from the early 80's

This for rent advertisement is mentioned in a Phillip Adams column in an old Christmas edition of The Bulletin dated December 23 1980. This is in the "old days" when the Bulletin was the organ for rather well to do lefties. Ads for Dunhill cigarettes, Pierre Cardin accessories, European cars, Internationial airlines and large ther various multi-nationals feature prominently.

I've always remembered the ad for some reason, couldn't find it on the here it is reproduced in all its glory.

"TWO BEDROOM HOUSE: with fireplace, garage, workshop and large yard. $200 per month. No children, no pets, no smokers, no drinkers, no drugs, no gays and no free thinkers; no Buddhists, no Baptists, no Moonies, no Junies, no communist sympathisers, room deodorisers nor tranquilisers; no creeps, no punks, no fools, no losers, no onions and hold the Mao. In fact never mind... I'm going to sell the property and move to Denver or India or some place. (And no musicians.)"


Image courtesy of ektarama at Flickr used freely under Creative Commons


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Lane Rage

This from Sunday's Sydney Morning Herald

LIFEGUARDS are to be trained to handle violent and verbally abusive patrons after an explosion in pool rage at the state's swimming venues.

The Royal Life Saving Society of NSW, which trains 3000 pool lifeguards a year, said it planned to introduce conflict resolution instruction in its courses next year.

The society's aquatic and safety services manager Grant Davis said the move was in response to a national survey of pool managers that showed most guards were verbally abused on a daily basis and some were being struck by patrons.

Arguments are breaking out among lap swimmers over swimming speeds and lane etiquette, forcing lifeguards to intervene.

"There have been lifeguards physically assaulted," he said. "There have been lifeguards thrown in pools."

Mr Davis said the society had polled 200 pool managers and guards across the country in the past three months to find out what areas of training they wanted boosted.

The overwhelming response was better methods of dealing with pool aggression.

"It's definitely on the rise and lifeguards are having to deal with bad behaviour rather than their main role of supervision," he said.

Mr Davis said one of the causes of aggression towards guards was lane rage incidents between swimmers, which spilled over to involve others.

He said guards were forced to intercede when lap swimmers disagreed about what was an appropriate speed for a lane or bickered over perceived breaches of etiquette. The clashes could turn violent.

"A lot of pools these days are increasing their leisure areas and swimming school areas," Mr Davis said. "This takes away from the lap swimming areas which means people are forced into a smaller area and this brings about pool rage. It's always been an issue but it's becoming more and more common."

As a swimmer I haven't seen above mentioned cases of lane rage. However the "taking away from lap swimming areas" I have seen. Regular aqua aerobics sees a the burly looking aerobic nazi woman barking orders through a clip on amplifier, playing Bon Jovi and bad techno to around twenty people in the pool. Signs on the wall say something along the lines of "During aeobics ecercises the windows in the Swimming centre will be closed. We apologise for inconvenience this has caused.". Three lanes closed.

Summer sees the bringing out a large inflatable jumping castle sort of thing......three or four lanes closed.

School trips take four lanes.

"Squad on some nights takes about 5 lanes leaving three lanes at night.

I usually try to go swimming off peak. It's cheaper and quieter.......I'll often have the whle pool to myself. I haven't had to lane share much and when I do it's usually pretty civilised, suppose it comes with my height people tend to shy away from starting anything!


I 've a part-share in a leased hayburner (Aust colloq: horse) which will be racing in pacing/trots/harnes racing later this year. There are eight of us from work each chipping in thirty bucks a week. It should be fun, we get to go to races now and then sporting "owners" badges. I know nothing about horses, or racing or betting so this is a whole new world to me.

Leasing is a good option as if the horse isn't up to scratch, we can get a new one. But so far the signs are good according to the trainer. If it wins money, there's a confusing split of the winnings but I think it works out to about 60% for the leasees. Trotting seemed the best option, gallopers were way to expensive (a minimum $1000 a week in training, track time and rider fees) and dishlickers (greyhounds) just don't pay as much.

A trotter seemed the best option for some blue collar lads.

We are still to name it, I've always though Jimi Hendrix songs would make good horse names so I put forward my choice, "Purple Haze". The naming is still to be approved through the Australian Harness Racing Council. The top choice is "Argus Tuft", "Purple Haze" being the second choice.

I went to have a look at the beast late this morning at John (the trainers) horse farm......(there's a proper horsey word for horse farm.....can't think of it). It was great, reminding me a little of my Grandfathers old farm now a vineyard in the Adelaide Hills.

There were small bantams running around with their chicks, a couple of dogs, big old pine trees filling the air with their scent and horse paraphenalia in abundance. John (the trainer ) was shoeing a couple of horses and his wife and daughter were running a few other horses through their paces. I couldn't count the number of bridles, blinkers, driver buggies and other horse type things around the place. As I wrote before, a new world.

One of the other part share-owners and I went off and had a quick look at the hayburner which had just been gelded as he was getting a little bit too aggressive. He seemed to be in fine spirits despite the recent loss of certain male bits. I rubbed his nose and got a few pics.

Anyway here he is, "Purple Haze"........ well that will be his name to me.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Sweet packaging.

Moff has posted a sweet "Pride of Arabia" package design on some roasted coffe beans he picked up from his local Canadian supermarket.

Here's one I picked up in France. It's the striking circa 1930's le cabanon chilli paste which tastes more like coriander than chilli although it has a bite to it. You squeeze it out like toothpaste from the tube. It appears two different graphic deigners drew the two groups of chillies, never still works for me.

Another one I was going to bring back from France was the Banania box which has the same brilliant colours. I didn't bring it back suspecting it would be seized by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection service on the flight in. They're tough on "raw foodstuffs" coming in on flights. Banania has powdered bananas in it, so I wasn't taking chances.

The design is not that politically correct these days either.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Sometimes you're lucky.

Took this on a cruiser bobbing around Sydney Harbour and it seems to be popular on Flickr so I thought I'd share it

The Oyster Shucker

This guy was sitting in his glass booth shucking oysters at the Sydney Fish Markets as people looked on. Hell of a job, he didn't seem to fazed by it. I'm not normally that keen on oysters, however I had a Oyster Kilpatrick and a Oyster mornay thing as part of a small seafood platter which was delicious.

The markets were busy, busy, busy for a Friday lunchtime, it's as busy as it used to be on a Saturday about ten years ago. There were a real melting pot of cultures, Vietnamese, Japanese, Germans, an Aussie or two....even some Pacific Islanders speaking French (I'm guessing Vana'atu) all enjoying fresh fish and the Sydney spring sun.

Here's a few more pics from around the markets. I enjoyed a lovely fresh plate of various delicacies accompanied by a good Belgian beer. Lovely!

Doing the deal. A punter parts with some hard earned moolah. Most of the stock sold at the markets is fresh off the boats from the morning's catch. Prices are chepaer than in the suburbs as transportation isn't included in the deal.

Choosing carefully......... bloody lobsters (crayfish) were $59.90 a kilo!

A large trout gets weighed up for tonight's dinner.

A layer of Scnapper ready for the barbeque. These would be considered undersized where I grew up. Our local postman used to sell 6 and 7 pound Schnapper he used to catch in the bay.

[Yorkshire accent] They were gurt big 'UGE things when I was a lad, these are bluudy sardines. [/Yorkshire accent]

Sidenote, where ever there are schnapper there are Noahs ( sharks.....Rhyming slang Noahs ark.....get it?). Schnapper used to also be plentiful around Sydney Harbour near the sugar mills in Balmain. Rumour has it there are a few dead horses at the bottom of the bay in the area, these horses were dragged in the bay by overloaded sugar carts. Sad........

Sometimes you can be lucky if you're quick with the camera. A forklift driver, working in the business end of the fish markets out the back, enjoying a fresh fish lunch in solitude with some hopeful seagulls looking on.

Lovely bit of signwriting. "If the fish was any fresher, it would still be swimming."

Old ladies selling stuff on Saturday.

Apologies for the hiatus......I've been kinda busy and can never remember what to write about.

Anyhooooooo.....I was in Leura two Saturdays ago and the little general hall which every town dotted along the mountains seems to have, had a "craft fair". I popped in for a look.

In reality it was a couple of stands with goods made by little old ladies, doing some charity work for Retina Australia. This charity appears to be the real deal all volunteers. (Sidenote; I'm going to do a story on Greenpeace one day....pieces of work)

So there were the crafts laid out in all their finery. Crocheted tea cosies, those weird kupie dolls with a dress to cover your toilet roll, handkerchiefs with embroidery on them.....that sort of thing. The "folk art" thing hadn't hit this mob, so I missed out on those strange "folk artsy" corporatized versions of things that little old ladies make to keep themselves occupied.

But I wasn't interested in "crafts" there is another goldmine on these stalls.

I love these stalls when they've got a range of preserves, jams and sauces. It's the real deal. Strawberry jam made with strawberries, water and sugar (pectin perhaps) put in a bottle or jar that has been carefully put away for a "jamming". It tastes great and always seems to have more fruit and flavour than those "packed full of fruit" commercial brands you buy in the supermarket. There's also a strange variety of bottles and jars with all sorts of different lids, which adds to the experience.....lovely.

So, I picked out a strawberry jam, a plum jam and a plum sauce in anonymous looking jars with a small white tag to let you know what it is. The deal was sealed and it was popped in a "Leura Pharmacy and Gift Shoppe" brown paper bag that has also been squirrelled away for just an occasion.

It will be sad to see these sorts of stalls go in the future, I'm not aware of too many people who still do their own bottling anymore. In any case, I'm going to stock up on more of these lovely preserves.