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Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australia. Show all posts

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Summer Beach Essentials

Summer Beach Essentials by violetfrog featuring a red beach towel

It's summer in Australia so here are the summer beach essentials for the Christmas and New Year period! 

Christmas in Australia is a little different to the snow-covered wonderland of our northern neighbours. We have barbeques, beach cricket, yacht races, picnics and dinner in the backyard. Instead of mince pies and roasts with potatoes, we often have salads, seafood (especially prawns) and fruit salad for dessert.

What you will need: Plenty of shade, sunglasses, dressing with a 50s feel but with a modern twist, and some Christmas reading on your Kindle!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The news has been reporting a number of assaults and robberies at Melbourne train stations - particularly those located on the Frankston/Pakenham/Werribee/Cranbourne lines, plus the city stations. I have observed an interesting (and I think effective) way of driving away the criminal element that seems to be having an effect on gangs of teenagers who like to hang out at train stations.  

I witnessed it first at Glen Waverley station - it's quite simple:

The most hideous musak you have ever heard in your entire life blasted through the loudspeakers. No loitering groups seem to want to listen to the latest musak version of "Tie A Yellow Ribbon" for the tenth time in a row.

Now this is no laughing matter, train stations have become quite dangerous of late and there seems to be a lack of ideas on how to protect the innocent people who just need to catch a train.

The muck-up antics of hundreds of kids were not deterred by this musak onslaught. Probably because the din from hundreds of excited year 12s would drown anything out, even "Reggie Dixon's Tango Treats".

This is a tactic that can be applied at other high risk stations to basically drive people away using the power of uncoolness. This doesn't solve the problem, it's only part of the solution.
Other measures could include extra bright lighting at all stations (not just "premium" stations), effective CCTV coverage. CCTV coverage is no good if there is nobody around to help those in danger. CCTV captures video bytes for the news - the important part is deploying the police, using station masters, ticket inspectors and various other security personnel. These tactics could be used in the loop and inner-city stations to usher people in and out of the city quickly.

The idea of blasting musak acts as a kind of repellant dog whistle to those who would not wish to be associated with "Blame it on the Bossa Nova" or any other other related songs. I noted that Taylor Dane seems to drive people away, and I have observed Anastacia to work just as well. The people at Connex have clearly done their homework because they never seem to play anything like The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac or any other artists likely to be appreciated by all.

I suggest Connex implements this policy throughout other stations in Melbourne, along with the vitally important policing and monitoring measures to ensure that crime at Melbourne train stations is kept to a minimum.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

According to a recent AAP article, a world blue singlet record has been created in Deniliquin, New South Wales by a large bunch of ute fans at the 2009 Deni Ute Muster.

Translation - lots of people (especially guys wearing blue singlets) who like utility vehicles got together to do some very Australian stuff. This includes admiring other people's utility vehicles, standing around with a VB can in a stubby holder and, of course, donning the obligatory blue singlet for the world record attempt. 2230 people were successfully 'mustered' (heh heh) together to break the previous record for the blue singlet gathering.

Now, back to the main game - fashion.

The basic blue singlet is the mainstay of Australian male fashion. In many suburbs, regional centres, and remote outback stations, a blue singlet shirt will be found on the back of the "Aussie Bloke".

Popularised by shearers, it can be seen modeled by truck drivers, ute lovers, farm hands, tradesmen, pub frequenters and even the great Paul Hogan.

Accessories can include but are not limited to:

blue heeler dog
thongs (not the underwear - the footwear!!)
stubby holder
big floppy hat
cowboy hat
hat with corks on it
excessive sunburn

For some reason this post is making me want a beer...

You can get it any old how. Matter of fact I've got it now.


Image courtesy of TheBlokeShop

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The idea behind the Australian Government's stimulus package is to increase the cash spent on Australian products, Australian businesses and in Australian communities. "Buy Local" is the catchcry.

According to the NineMSN Managing Money section:

  • A $900 bonus will be paid to taxpayers with taxable income up to and including $80,000.
  • A $600 bonus will be paid to taxpayers with income exceeding $80,000 to $90,000.
  • A $250 bonus will be paid to taxpayers with income exceeding $90,000 to and including $100,000.

Here are some ways you can spend your stimulus money while supporting the local economy:

Book a holiday within Australia.

This is one of the best ways to support the Australian economy. You will be supporting a number of businesses. If you travel by car, you will be supporting petrol stations, roadhouses and restaurants. And lets not forget pubs. The money from your holiday will go to bed & breakfast owners, motels, hotels, pubs and backpackers. If you travel by rail, you will be supporting the rail workers, ticket collectors, drivers and station masters. If you travel by plane, you will be supporting Australian captains, baggage handlers and stewards.

Photo courtesy MaxEphotos.

Local Restaurants and Pubs

This week I have passed a number of restaurants with empty tables and no activity whatsoever. If you want to help the local economy, go to a restaurant and enjoy your meal, knowing that the money goes towards the restaurant staff, owner and manager. Attend a local pub and have a counter meal. See a local band, thus supporting the live music community. In these times, it is a good idea to go out and let one's hair down once in a while.

The People in Your Neighbourhood

Look around your local main street or shopping precinct. You will find hairdressers, beauty salons, clothing shops, bookshops and cafes. Look in your local yellow pages guides. You will find carpenters, window glazers, mechanics, cleaners, gardeners and painters. Enlist some help around the house and help local businesses in the process.

Make Small Changes

If you look around, you can find amazing local produce to replace the generic items you have been buying up until now. Australian made wines and cheeses, vegetables, eggs and delicacies. The Victoria Market has a great selection, or you could try South Melbourne, Chapel St or the equivalent in your state. Visit your local grocer, have fun finding the best produce from local growers. You will be reducing transport costs (good for the environment) and supporting Australian farmers.

Pay off your credit card

Some commentators scoff at this notion. I have two questions. One, what kind of an economy frowns on paying off debt and saving? Two, how did we get into this crisis in the first place? Irresponsible lending by greedy so-and-sos. Another thing that seems to have eluded the critics, if you spend your stimulus money on credit card debt, the bank gets the money. But then your finances are given more freedom. You can use the money you would have spent on credit card repayments on something nice like a road trip or at least a very large pub crawl.

And for those of you who say you don't want the stimulus money? Please donate to this blog using the paypal button and I will promise to spend it in the local community.

You might also be interested in this offer, it seems that the guys at are now paying people to go shopping and giving away a bunch of free stuff as well. The Free E-Guide "Get Your Purchases Free" is now available for download.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The great digital television revolution. Ah, the choice, the channels, the unending variety. Or so we thought. This morning Ten HD presented Round 1 of the Accenture Match Play Golf Championship.

Tiger's comeback after months of injury was much anticipated. The coverage began at 6am. The excitement of seeing Tiger back in action and playing against Brendan Jones from Australia was a recipe for a brilliant morning's viewing.

And then... outrage. The coverage of play was cut short to make way for the highly time-sensitive (note sarcasm) "David and Kim" morning show.

The same bloody mind numbing and banal David and Kim morning show that is being shown on the other Ten Digital channels. Obviously Ten HD found it imperative that it be shown on Ten HD just to make sure that nobody misses the extremely missable David and Kim show. All us golf tragics were expecting full coverage - many other groups were set to come through, including little known (note sarcasm again) players such as Ernie Els. It was not that the official coverage had finished, it's just that Ten HD decided not to show it anymore. Surely, Ten HD you can spare one little channel to see the coverage through to its conclusion.

Important note: I have discovered that the coverage begins again at 4:30pm today, which is a welcome relief. Hopefully this coverage includes the wrap up as well.

It's truly amazing that we are getting 15 new channels this year, unfortunately it seems that some of the content has so far been duplicated. With any luck, this will be sorted out throughout 2009.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Congratulations to Laura Davies, who won her second Australian Open this week. She is a deserving champion and her swing has to be seen to be believed. Many of the commentators have all but written off the more experienced players, expecting the younger players to automatically win because of their age. Wrong!! You cannot write off players like Laura Davies or Karrie Webb, and you certainly cannot underestimate their ability, creativity and ingenuity to recover and mount a winning charge.

Karrie Webb was visibly disappointed with her performance but she is still Australia's best golfer and no doubt we will see her winning again in no time. She was gracious enough to give me her autograph, even though she probably would rather have been somewhere private to reflect after the game.

During the presentation, I was glad to discover that all proceeds from the Australian Open ticket sales will go straight to the Red Cross Bushfire Appeal. The haze from the fires was still visible throughout the tournament. It was a proud moment and I commend the organisers of the event for their generosity.

A small but important note to the Australian Open organisers: Please set up the will call office/tent at the MAIN entrance to the golf club. This will ensure that people can actually find the entrance and get in. It would also help if the attendant at the main gate had a clue where the other entrances were located so he doesn't send people off in the wrong direction, down the wrong street and headed for nowhere.

Were it not for the extremely kind guy in Car Park B who gave us a lift after we had been walking for at least ten minutes in the wrong direction in hot sun, we would not have found the entrance, which was a poorly marked, unlabeled side street leading to a long dirt road between a football oval and a primary school, at least a couple of kilometres walk from the front entrance. How anyone expected people to find this secret hollow is beyond me. Thank you Car Park B guy, you know who you are and you are a legend.

I received a great lesson from one of the Golf Pros from Drummond and found out much about my swing and the appropriate clubs to use. I didn't realise the importance of club fitting and consultation.

When I swung a hybrid Callaway Diablo for the first time, I realised what I could actually achieve with the right equipment. I was suddenly hitting the ball further than I have ever done in my life. I have always been curious about hybrids for some time, now I realise why they are so popular. It's simple - they are so easy to hit. I also discovered that because of my height and strength, I should not be using standard womens' clubs. Instead I fall in between the male and female clubs categories and I need taller clubs to make them easier for me to hit. I now realise that many of my clubs are probably too short for me. But I can't complain, I got them for $5-$15 each!

I will be shopping for new additions to my set, including the new tour Callaway x-22 and possibly one of the new Diablo drivers. The prices are reasonable at the moment - they can be found for $80-$100 each (excluding the driver!) on sale. I will be checking Drummond Golf and House of Golf for new specials and be sure to check the "Hot Specials" page for new deals this week.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Red Cross Bushfire Appeal urgently needs blood donations to assist the burns victims injured in the terrible fires throughout Victoria.

If you are between the ages of 16-71 and weigh over 45 kilos, you may be able to donate blood. The process of giving blood takes from 5-10 minutes, not including time for filling out a questionnaire and recovery time.

Please check the Red Cross Blood Service site for further conditions. If you need more information on eligibility, check the FAQ section or take their quick quiz.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Victoria's bushfires have been all over the news but we cannot begin to understand what these people are going through. If you feel the desire to help (as many Australians do!) please donate to the Red Cross Bushfires Appeal 2009. Please be wary of email scams masquerading as this legitimate charity organisation.

According to the Red Cross website:
  • Australian Red Cross DOES NOT send unsolicited email to the public requesting donations.
  • If you receive an unsolicited email alleging to be on behalf of Red Cross or collecting for Red Cross, immediately delete the message and do not forward or otherwise circulate it.
  • Do not respond to these messages or provide any personal details to unsolicited email that you may receive.
  • Only make an online donation to an Australian Red Cross Appeal at

Go to the official Red Cross Website to donate or call 1800 811 700

Please do not call 000 if you are worried about relatives / loved ones. The information line for the Country Fire Authority Victoria is 1800 240 667. Please do not visit the areas just to drive by and look. You will be in the way. Firefighters and investigators need to do their job without interference and the people of these devastated areas need to be left respectfully to grieve and rebuild their lives. Please do not donate clothing or other items to the Red Cross at this time - a cash donation is the most effective way to help during this appeal.

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Photo credit: Shanghai

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Good

The Living End
The first mighty chords blasted through Acer Arena, blowing the Veronica's eye makeup off. It worked. Everyone was awake and alert and ready for a night of great music. The Living End finally received a well-deserved ARIA for Best Rock Album. The band set the bar high in terms of performance and unfortunately many of the acts that followed crashed into this bar like that drunk Russian high jumper.

Nick Cave
Best Male Artist. The quality of the songwriting, the musicianship, the brilliance, the...
*whack!* sorry, I got carried away there for a moment.

Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu
A beautiful, moving performance. I got teary and I realised that I couldn't even understand the words. The beauty of his music transcends language.

Kasey Chambers and Shane Nicholson
Keep on rattlin'!

The Bad

Gabriella Cilmi
It's dangerous to be carrying six pointy glass things while drunk and balancing on heels. Please stop talking.

Delta Goodrem
Highest selling album ARIA. This speaks volumes (literally!) of the state of the Australian Music Industry. There must be more Australian 12 year old girls than I thought.

The Veronicas
These miniature Elviras are giving me nightmares. Make the Leprechauns go away, mummy. I promise I'll be good.

The Ugly

The Presets
I can put on a dance beat and whine while holding my nose as well. I just don't make other people listen to it. Dressing up like a Muppet only makes it worse.

Surely this disturbing trend of bad music masquerading as something sophisticated must come to an end. It just requires a certain level of awareness from the general population. Perhaps the abomination of The Presets winning best album will be the last gasp of this rather tedious era. Prediction for ARIAs 2009 - more rock, less schlock.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Yesterday, the 13th of February 2008, the apology finally came.
For the first time in a long time, I am proud to be an Australian.

View the apology to Indigenous Australians delivered by Kevin Rudd in Federal Parliament :


Today we honour the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

We reflect on their past mistreatment.

We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were Stolen Generations – this blemished chapter in our nation’s history.

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.

We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.

We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.

For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.

To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry.

And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry.

We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation.

For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.

We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians.

A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.

A future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.

A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed.

A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility.

A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I loved being on holiday, it was like having a pressure valve released. I felt like a new person after 12 hours of being away. I do however have mixed feelings about staying at the Great Ocean Hotel (aka Top Pub) in Apollo Bay. I guess I could start by summarizing the good and bad points : -

1. The balcony overlooks the mountains and the foreshore. And you can hear the ocean. And you can see the golf course from the balcony and out of the hotel window.

2. The beds are comfy. Good mattresses. I slept like a log every night.

3. Guest soaps and guest towels. Very cute - old world charm etc.

4. Ye-olde building, wood panelling and if you pretend hard enough, you could be in a seaside English town. Apart from the flies and the drunken a@#$holes yelling various obscenities outside the window. Except that some of the drunken a@#$holes WERE English backpackers. And Scottish. And French?!?! In fact, we may have been the only Australians staying at the pub. The noisiest and nastiest loudmouths running rampant in the street were Australian however - possibly even locals. Scary stuff.

5. Okay, I think I've inadvertently switched over to the bad points. Oops. Okay, when we turned up at the hotel, lugging bags and wanting to just crash and go downstairs and have a beer, the guy at the counter said "here's your key" with a big smile. So I go upstairs to find an unlocked room with no bedding on the bed, no towels, no soap, nothing at all. A mattress protector on the bed mocked my tired legs and brain. I thought, what the crap do we do now?

So I go downstairs and tell the guy. He acts like it's no big deal. I slowed down my speech and said "So the room I specifically requested and that you told me would be ready - is not ready. On the day we said we would be arriving." He looked blank and said "yeah?" like he didn't understand. He was about 20 years old and his arrogance was starting to get to me. "So what are we supposed to do now?" I asked.

"Oh, yeah. You can have this room instead. It's nicer anyway. I don't think the cleaner's been in this week."

Fine, I thought. Trudging up the stairs again, we looked at this room. It had no TV and no curtains and the sun was streaming in like something out of Raiders of the Lost Arc.

I ask you. How the crap could you get any sleep when you get full sun at around 6:30am? We'd wake up suntanned! So I trudged down again, quite composed under the circumstances, and told him there were no curtains. He gave me yet another key. Another guy from the hotel was a bit more helpful, he told us he would call the cleaner and try and get our original room ready for the next day of our stay.

I opened the door and found yet another room with no TV, no table and no mirror. My partner and I looked at each other and both thought "stuff it! This will do." We realised they were not likely to get it together to fix up the room we originally booked. And we were right. They did, however finally get the room ready and let somebody else stay in there instead of us. At that point, we couldn't be bothered worrying about it anymore.

6. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention the bathrooms. Ha!!! The shower head in the female showers was busted. In fact, it has been that way for over 18 months - the last time I stayed in the hotel! How much trouble would it be to get a wrench and fix the dang shower head? I ask you. Here is a picture of me trying to have a shower in this ridiculous contraption:

And here is a picture of our room. It was designed for 2 people (double bed) + 2 more people in bunks. How cosy. The bunks gave us somewhere to put our luggage, I suppose!

Excuse the mess, there was hardly any floor space!

On the second night, the hotel completely ran out of toilet paper. It was getting late and we went downstairs to ask for it to be replaced. The guy we spoke to (another employee) said "I've just knocked off." Well, that's great but could you get someone to help us? I mean just because you've knocked off, and are getting pissed at the very place where you work, it doesn't mean that the problem has gone away. Around 6 people staying on the floor without toilet paper for the night? Or more? It doesn't bear thinking about. So after hunting around for ages and asking various people we finally got someone to do something about the TP situation. At this point we should have been getting paid by the hour!

Then, later that night, the same guy from the desk on the first day let a bunch of loud drunken thugs from off the street into the hotel. They proceeded to rush up and down the halls banging on the walls and doors bellowing "any good looking Sheilas here?"

1. People actually say Sheilas?
2. I'm glad I was asleep with the door locked. My partner was glad of this as well. He was on the balcony at the time, watching these thugs run rampant through the private halls of the hotel, while the guy who WORKED there leaned over the balcony yelling obscenities at people in the street at the top of his voice.

But despite all these bizarre experiences, the price of the hotel was good ($60 per night for the room) and we had a brilliant relaxing time. I wouldn't recommend this place wholeheartedly, but it was kind of ok. The 20 year old guy got a complaint from yet another guest about the obscenities and the balcony situation and ironically he said to us "what does he expect, staying in a pub?"

Hmm. Well, I suppose I expect a basic standard of accommodation. A room that is made up when you arrive, a shower that works, toilet paper in the bathrooms and a certain level of security from unhinged thugs on a drinking rampage.

In terms of the star rating system, for a backpacker hotel, I'd give it 1.5 stars.
* = Clean basic accommodation with simple furnishing and facilities.
* * = Moderate accommodation with comfortable furnishings and facilities.

I took points off for no TP, grotty shower curtain and no mirror etc. I added points for the comfy bed. That's as much as I can give them, I'm afraid. At least until they can get the place in order and take it a bit more seriously.

Monday, April 02, 2007

I would like to say I enjoyed the trip from Melbourne to Geelong travelling with V/Line. But...(and there was always going to be a "but") the trains don't seem as quaint and old-worldly as they used to. I'll start with Spencer Street Station, where the Journey began. Actually, it's called "Southern Cross" Station now which I think is bollocks. What the hell does that mean, for a start? Southern Cross? The station is located at Spencer Street. Spencer Street made sense. Now a whole bunch of tourists from overseas are lost in space trying to work out where Southern Cross station is supposed to be.

Here is a picture of the "new and improved" Southern Cross station:

I call it "The Birdcage". And I think that's being nice to it. It looks like a great big dirty chicken coop. I don't know whose bright idea it was to change the station into a large barn but I liked it better before.

The glossy photos of Southern Cross don't actually show the crapness of the design. I suppose it's trying to be "modern". You know what? It's a nightmare. You can't find anything. The staff are unfriendly. The V/Line ticket counter is hidden underneath a secret passageway that requires a map and lots of legwork to find. I can't stand it.

The old Spencer Street station was cute. And daggy. That's what's wrong with Australia. It's daggy but it doesn't want to admit it. So it tries to be modern and cutting edge and ends up looking even more dorky. Come on Australia, embrace your inner dag. It's okay.

Here it is (*sigh*) The old Spencer Street. Complete with kiosks and seating areas for people to congregate and greet or farewell loved ones.

But now, to the actual journey itself. My partner and I were crammed into this tiny carriage (only a 3 carriage train!) with a whole bunch of other travellers. Why there were so many, I will never know. The Swimming perhaps? The Airshow? Don't know. All I know is I don't want to go through that again. We were seated next to an obnoxious lady who actually picked a fight with us because we had a lot of luggage. Then she put her feet on our bags, then insulted us. We were flabbergasted. And we had to ignore the scheming harpy for 1 whole hour. That is not easy when someone is goading you and making nasty comments every 10 minutes. What a cow. Actually scratch that. I like cows. What a horrible banshee of a woman. I think she came from South Geelong and I hope to never run into her again.

So apart from the nasty woman and the crowded carriages and another weird lady eating a sandwich very loudly in front of us, the trip was forgettable.

I remember a time about 18 months ago where we got a V/Line train from Geelong to Melbourne. We found a quaint carriage with a hallway and sliding doors to these little booths, like in those old movies. It looked a little like this one:

The window had little curtains and the snack car was still active. I miss the snack car ladies and the conductors with the whistle. Perhaps those days are over. Are we moving forward? No. We're regressing and devolving (is that a word?). V/Line used to be charming. I hope one day they will be again.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Ahhh. What a way to start the morning. This brilliant AC/DC T-Shirt arrived in the post this morning. It was gift wrapped very nicely and even came with a free gift - a black rubber bracelet! It felt like it was my birthday and I was turning 15! Here it is in all it's glory:

*Sigh* Original vintage AC/DC top, Bon Scott lineup, circa Highway to Hell.

I managed to bag it for $6.99 - it was delivered in 2 days. What more can I ask for? Well, lots of things. That car from Supernatural for a start. And 2 tickets to Seattle. And a Google Page Rank of 5. But I digress. I remember being in Olympia, Washington at a school dance and AC/DC came on the loudspeaker, sending everyone crazy. I stood up on a table and declared that AC/DC are Australian. I was yelled down, nobody was prepared to believe me. Yep, that's right. In Olympia, these people thought that Nirvana may have been Australian, and AC/DC were American. Oy Veh.

Why then, has AC/DC lane been recently opened in the heart of Melbourne CBD? And why does it say in Wikipedia that the band was formed in Sydney in 1973? It is widely known that members of the band spent time living in Prahran, VIC. And where did people think AC/DC were in the "Long Way to The Top" video? Swanston Street, San Francisco? I don't know. Sometimes I just don't know.

Okay, Bon Scott was born in Scotland, and Angus & Malcolm Young were also born in Scotland, but they all emigrated to Australia. And Phil Rudd and Mark Evans were born in Melbourne, Australia. So there. I'm tired now from my rant. I'm going to get a coffee.

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