Sunday, January 29, 2006

Melbourne skyline

Smoke of a distant fire.

When is a fog not a fog?

When it is smoke. This is the fallout from the bushfires that have been raging around Victoria.

We had some reasonable rain yesterday which helped with some of the fires, but there are still a couple threatening some communities. Now this has drifted across the city. With the warmth and humidity in the air, and very little breeze, it looks like it might be hanging around for a while.

There is almost a palpable weight to it. Eyes are itchy, skin feels tacky. It's also bad news for people like S, my partner, who have asthma.

While on the subject, a big thank you and well done to all the firefighters who have put in so much over the last week or so. You folk are truly heroes.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Does he read my blog?

I reckon the Channel Ten weather reporter must have come in and read my blog, and taken my advice when it comes to predicting the maximum temperature. On Thursday he said it was "bloody hot."

All right, I know he doesn't visit the Retreat. Just a little fanciful thinking on my part.

He was right, though.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Everyone has a multitude of thoughts running through their heads at any one time. Sometimes it's hard to focus on just one thing. Here is a random selection.

  • Three people killed in the current bushfires raging around our State. One was an accident, but the other two fell victim to the flames. Were these deaths preventable? Such a loss.
  • Australia's richest man, Kerry Packer, died on Boxing Day. We are now being told that, despite his 7 billion dollar empire, he is going to have a tax payer funded memorial service at the Sydney Opera House. Estimated cost is expected to be in the hundreds of thousands. Meanwhile more than 70 percent of the working population is earning less than the so-called average wage. So typical of the current government.
  • Found this article on honour killings in my Web wanderings. A bit of an eye opener.
  • Not looking forward to going to work.
  • I really need to buckle down to my writing. I'm such a slack tart.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Line of the day.

"There's nothing wrong with me, so there must be something wrong with the Universe." - Dr. Beverley Crusher (Gates McFadden), Star Trek: The Next Generation/ "Remember Me".
You know, I work with someone who thinks like that.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Why don't they just say, "It's going to be bloody hot"?

You have to feel sorry for the weather reporters, don't you?

I mean, the poor beggers can only pass on to us the same information that they've been given by the Bureau of Meteorology. What the weather does next is totally out of their control. Yet, if the weather doesn't behave exactly as predicted, it's those same reporters that cop all the flack, and get called ten different kinds of idiot for not getting it right.

Take this weekend - which is yet to finish - for example. Friday was going to be hot, but not especially unbearable. The predicted temperature was 33° Celsius (91.4° Farenheit); the weather decided to go to 38°. Yesterday was supposed to be 35° Celsius (308.15 kelvin); try 41° (32.8° Reamur) instead.

Get the picture? Whatever the weathermen predict, the weather tops by an average of five degrees. So, seeing as the predicted top temperature for today is 43° Celsius (569.07° Rankine), are we going to reach 48°? If we do, it's highly likely the remaining solid part of me that is able to write this will have capitulated and blended into the puddle already on the floor.

I reckon there should be a cut-off point for reporting the predicted temperature; if only to give the weathermen a means of protecting themselves from the wrath of the extremely sweaty population. If the temperature is going to be higher than 30°, instead of giving an actual temperature they should be allowed to say that it's going to be bloody hot.

That way, they've covered all the bases, and we can say they weren't bloody wrong.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Sunrise, January 20, 2006.

Not especially a good beginning to the day.

Very blustery, threatening thunder storms, and already a very warm 25° Celsius, so the wind isn't very refreshing.

The kind of day when you go 'Blechh!'.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Sunrise, January 19, 2006

Thought I'd share our sunrises with you every now and then.

This morning is very pleasant. Still, a cool 17° Celsius.

The kind of morning when you feel good, despite facing the prospect of going to work.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

When pigs flee.

Last week’s announcement by Taiwanese scientists of the successful breeding of fluorescent green pigs, has had unexpected fallout in Hollywood.

One of the movie town’s heavyweights, Miss Piggy, announced in a press release that she and Kermit the Frog had separated, and that she was filing for divorce. The press statement said that Miss Piggy had long believed Kermit of infidelity, and the appearance of the green pigs in Taiwan was the proof her suspicions were correct.

Close friend and confid├ínte, Link Hogthrob, said that Miss Piggy was so distraught she cancelled all appointments for the coming week. ‘This is the last straw,’ said Hogthrob. ‘Sure, their relationship has had its ups and downs, but the frog’s constant playboy antics have finally worn thin. As far as I’m concerned, he’s nothing but pond scum.'

Close friends of Kermit the Frog had closed ranks around him and were refusing access. When asked for his thoughts on the matter, Kermit's long-time comedy partner Fozzie Bear's only comment was, ‘What can I say? He likes Chinese.’

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Bathroom buddy.

This handsome critter felt an urgent need to make use of our toilet this morning. True to form, it parked itself in the spot most likely to cause mayhem; directly above the toilet.

Events pretty much went according to script with only some minor improvisations from the Huntsman. S was first to discover it, Muggins was enlisted to remove it, the Huntsman eventually gave in to an irresistable force and moved on. It's like one of those formula romances for which Barbra Cartland was so famous; the plot never changes, just slight variations on the theme.

Variations on the theme were as follows;

  1. S had managed to use the toilet some time before the Hunstman put in an appearance, so she was relatively calm when greeting me with the news as I finally stumbled out of bed.

  2. I had just woken up and needed to go, as you do. S suggested I might want to hold on, but I couldn't. It's a strange experience, trying to aim accurately while also keeping one eye on the intruder. Visions of a spider leaping onto vital components added to the tension.

  3. We were able to find a container under which the Huntsman would easily fit. S suggested I coax it down to the floor and drop the container over the top of it. I vetoed that idea immediately, stating that when these hit the floor, they generally hit it running and, still being half asleep, there was no guarantee I would be able to cover it before it ran up someone's leg. S assured me that it wouldn't be running up her leg.

  4. The broom was seen by the Hunstman as a challenge, not something to run from. This necessitated a revision of strategy. Eventually, the water spray bottle S uses for ironing was called into battle. The Huntsman took several direct hits before it was convinced life would be better outside the window.

Just as well the spider did decide to move on. There'd be three people demonstrating the pee pee dance otherwise.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Miss Leo's melodramas.

Just a short note to draw your attention to a new link on my sidebar.

MissLeo's melodramas is a new blog set up by youngest daughter, E, who is an extremely talented artist. It' s her first foray into the world of blogging, and naturally her steps are a bit tentative, but given time, I'm pretty sure it will become one of the best blogs on the Web simply because of her talent.

You can click on the button below to visit. She is quite open to comment on her work, so feel free to express your opinions.
Terrific images by a talented artist.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Storm and Gull.

One of the photos I took on yesterday's trip to the beach really captured my imagination. It left me with a yearning to create, so this afternoon I took mouse and Paint Shop Pro in hand, and ended up with the picture below.

I reckon it's good enough to hang in the Retreat. Now, I wonder which wall it would look best on ...

I think you can see the full-size version by clicking on the picture.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Four seasons in one day.

In Melbourne, there are three main topics of discussion; football, other sports, and the weather. Possibly the reason these three subjects hold such fascination for the populace is their extreme unpredictability. Soothsayers, druids and auspexes who can foretell with any degree of accuracy what may come to pass, are held in the highest regard, and many a glass of beer has been sacrificed and the foamy dregs interpreted in the pursuit of such esteem. But of all the denizens which inhabit this spiritual realm, there are none braver than he who dares predict the weather.

As I mentioned in my post ysterday, we were hot - bloody hot - and the weather prophets were auguring more hot for today. When my partner, S, and I staggered out of bed this morning after an almost sleepless night of tossing and turning and sweating, we were quite ready to take their word for it. The house had retained a lot of the warmth from the previous day, and opening up the doors and windows, we discovered the outdoors was only marginally cooler. Exhausted and listless, we began psyching ourselves up to the prospect of facing another unbearable day. The only glimmer of hope on the horizon was a late cool change which had also been prophesied.

An hour or so later, we were allowing ourselves a cautious optimism. The sky had become slightly overcast, and a cooling breeze had sprung up. Of course, any native Melbournian will tell you that this doesn't mean anything; it could all about face in a split second. Later on, though, it had gotten more overcast, and we were ready to admit the air temperature had indeed dropped, whilst the breeze had strengthened. Sitting on the back steps, drinking tea, we agreed that the soothsayers had gotten it wrong yet again. There was no way it was going to get as hot as they had predicted. In fact, it was so pleasant, I suggested to S we go to the beach and wade in the water whilst savouring the breeze. It would also be a good excuse for me to play with my new digital camera which I got for last Christmas, this Christmas. S thought that was a good idea.

After dropping E (daughter) of at her auntie's place, we headed off to the beach. The weather had deteriorated pretty rapidly, and the sky was starting to look somewhat venomous, but we figured what the hell. We were out of the oven disguised as a house, and there was wonderfully cool air coming in the car windows. The closer we got to the beach, however, the darker it got. By the time we reached our destination, the rain was pelting down, and the breeze had matured into a solid wind.

This wasn't a problem as far as we were concerned. S and I both love walking along stormy windswept beaches. Because the weather has chased most people away, you get a sense of space that's practically impossible to find in a big city. It's then that you could imagine that you're the only people in the world at that very moment, and it was easy to imagine that today. Walking down on to the beach in front of the surf club, we were met by a blast straight of the Antarctic continent. It was freezing. The wind was giving the seagulls grief. The waves were thuimping onto the sand. And, apart from four (fool)hardy souls in the water, it was absolutley deserted. These pictures that I took give you some idea of the conditions. Pity I can't transmit the smells and the noise.

Less than twenty-four hours ago, we were sweltering. Coming back from the beach in the car, we had to have the heater on low.

But hey! That's Melbourne weather.

Four seasons in one day.