Brisbane things

Last weekend, and this we did some things that are very Brisbane, at least to me.

We went to the APT- the Asia Pacific Triennial.  This is a contemporary art celebration that the Queensland art gallery(ies) have put on for the last 20 years.  I have been to all of them, except the first one, which predates my family arriving in Brisbane.  It’s always interesting.

From there we went to the Lifeline Bookfest.  The largest second hand book sale in the southern hemisphere.  We went back this weekend too.  Now that we don’t buy physical books much (Kindle household) we do tend to be very selective, but often there are treasures that are otherwise hard to find.  Plus, it is good fun for the slightly obsessive.  These booksales are like the graveyard of books that were in 3-8 years ago, and sometimes people group them all together.  I didn’t get a picture of the 30 + Dan Browns in a row, but we did accumulate a fantasy series on one table that was rather impressive (we at one point owned two copies of a book in the series).

So many Books!

The rest of the weekend (including the Monday public Holiday for Australia Day) has been very quiet.  An ex tropical cyclone came down the coast and caused a few issues.  Rain and wind from Saturday through to Monday, with particular force from Sat night to monday morning.  Flooding in the creeks, and lots of wind damage.  We got away fairly unscathed we are on the top floor of a small unit building and cleared our balcony- so the worst part is the leakage around doors and windows.  Our neighbor’s balcony shade has been destroyed and the park down the road flooded.

The storm has left Brisbane, although the flood peak will not happen until tomorrow.

Things we learned this weekend

Not much- it was a rather slothful weekend overall.  Although we did wake up at about 5 am to try to take pictures of the sunrise at Wellington Point and were thoroughly thwarted by the mass of clouds hanging right in front of where the sun was.  Blue sky above our heads, rain at the sunrise bit.

Greg learned that suburban coffee is ridiculously expensive.  He mostly buys his cappucinos in the city where competition is fierce.

I learned that Salvos do not recognise empty alcohol bottles, and try to sell them as fancy glassware.  Yes, I saw an empty Chambord bottle for sale in a Salvos store.

We learned that if one sprays fly spray in the vicinity of an operating toaster, it dies.  I have this vague recollection that this might actually be in the manual for some appliances (really, because I couldn’t understand who would do such a thing), but it is not in our manual.  Apparently it shorts it out.  Permanently.  So we have a pretty new toaster that will never feel fly spray when it is turned on (or plugged in I hope) .

15 cloves of garlic that have to be cut up into little pieces is a lot of garlic.  We ran out of the stuff in the jar at the wrong time.

And not much else.

PS.  If you have a spare $17 grand or so, and don’t know what to get me- may I suggest this*

Apart from the fact that I have wanted to go to Antarctica since forever, and that it is a photo expedition.  Sigh.

And because I am a compliance person, and I given some grumpy lectures on advertising guidelines…

*Disclaimer: I in no way expect any one to buy this for me.  It is just something very nice that I would like very much.

Saturday doings

It’s been a pretty busy Saturday.  The house we are renting is up for sale, (for an insane price on the premise that if a taller house is built on the site it will have city glimpses) which means open houses. I gather people actually show up for these, but that may be because the pictures used are from the last time it was sold, 3 years ago, when it was in much better condition.  The current owners bought on the hope of tearing the house down and building, renting while they got everything organised.  As a result there has been zero maintenance done, except where the tenants have thrown a hissy fit (that would be us).  Anyway, the city glimpses is garbage- I have a city glimpse if I lean forward at my desk and crane my neck, but should the people across the road and down three doors decide to build one story higher those views will be gone.  Anyway, we worked out today the house probably has termites too, so not a great buy. Anyway, the early morning is spent tidying up so it is semi presentable- no dirty dishes, no laundry lying around, that kind of thing.

Once that was completed, off to the mower shop to put the mower in for a service.  I was feeling pretty bitter about this- it is a 2nd hand mower and we basically going to pay what it cost us all over again for the service.  But then I saw the price of new mowers.  So far it’s still cheaper to stick with the old one.  And we have a mower shop in the neighborhood.

Then on to the post office, to post the printer someone bought from us on ebay.  Packaging that up was an interesting exercise.

Then on to Lifeline Bookfest.  This is a semi annual (held the week around Australia Day and the week around the Queen’s Birthday) 2nd hand booksale and it is HUGE.  Biggest 2nd booksale in the Southern Hemisphere.  It has gotten more organised over the years, and I have noticed that the prices have gone up.  It used to be that the quality in the unpriced(cheapest) section was reasonable, but now it is not so great.

Anyway, I have a Kindle (electronic book) so was not anticipating spending much.  We had a budget of $50, which will generally buy a lot of books.  It has been a few years since I went on the morning of the first day of the sale, and I remember why now.  It was packed.  People use shopping trolleys- the big, deep, wire shopping trolleys to transport their books, and they fill them!  Not me, I have never rented one of the shopping trolleys.  I rely on the fact I have to transport the books home to act as a brake on the book buying.  Anyway, one of  the things about going the first morning is that certain sections ( science fiction) get picked over pretty quickly, but there are often books that are no longer in print in that section.  Today there was a pile of science fiction short story magazines dating from the 1970’s to now.  Someone obviously just got rid of their collection.  They had Fantasy and Science Fiction, which I once subscribed to, Analog, and Asimov’s science fiction.  A lot of the short stories in those magazines have never been published anywhere else.  We spent upwards of half an hour trying to find key authors and blew past out budget (even with most of the magazines priced at $1 or $2).  And to be honest, if we had stuck t solely those magazines, we might not have done so, but we also bought a puzzle and I found a couple other books I wanted.

Then we had to wait in a queue for about 30 minutes to pay.  Standing behind a fairly vacuous gen Y chick and her boyfriend.  I had to listen to her conversation with her friend behind us for half an hour- not brilliant.  At one point she made fun of a romance anthology ” Outback Grooms” – obviously too cheesy for her NIcholas Sparks, John Grisham reading self.  I too have been known to pick up John Grishams and Dick Francis novels from this sale – it is a cheap way to gain such books.  I just think someone who reads Nicholas SParks doesn’t have much of a romance mockery leg to stand on.

Then, after lunch, we drove the mini sewing machine we sold on eBay down to Logan. It’s a small purple sewing machine- pretty darn awesome.  Then we went to Ikea.  Ikea was really crowded.  Maybe people getting ready for uni, or more likely replacement items for flooded homes.  We were so good at Ikea, we only left with the items we went for- light bulbs.

I actually did half an hour on the stationery bike at a decent pace.  I have to start training in earnest, have just signed on to do a Triathlon in May.

Friday Morning in the flood zone

Since I live in BrisVenice and still have electricity and internet, my random thoughts on the situation.  Yes, they are on the superficial side, I know that some people have suffered terrible tragedy and loss, these are the random thoughts of someone who is luckily on the periphery of the flood.

For those who wish to help out – information on donating to the Premier’s Flood Appeal is here

Contrary to what news reports around the world seem to believe – there isn’t anyone “fleeing” the city.  Yes, some people had to flee from their homes but we can’t “flee” the city.  All of the main highways out of the city are cut (although the airport is working)

News channels don’t really have that much to say.  This becomes much more apparent when they are running full time on the emergency, and you have the chance to sit and watch.  They reuse footage for days and interviews for hours. I am definitely going to have a different take on “emergencies” on the tv after this.

Anna Bligh- much better speaker in an emergency than Julia Gillard. And while I am on that – look 2 female leaders, actually eleceted to the posistions they are in- leading the state and country.  Australia is sometimes more progrssive thatn I think.

It’s sunny outside, I can’t go in to work (CBD definitely flooded and off limits) but have ability to work from home.  It’s hard to concentrate.

Now that the emergency has passed, I am considering such things as:

1. Will the Lifeline bookfest be held (due to commence 15th Jan in flooded Southbank) I want my cheap books!

2. Will riverside property really get cheaper?  Some of the flooded suburbs were very expensive. Although I no longer want the one bedroom ground floor apt in New Farm.

Tuesday musings

It is shaping up to be an interesting week, full of fun!

December seems to bring out the crazy in Brisbane drivers (or perhaps non locals driving in Brisbane).  On Saturday I watched as a car fishtailed around a roundabout, due to a failure to understand the physics of driving on wet roads, twice in the last week some person has decided to change lanes into my car (yeah it is small, but not that small) and today I watched someone turn onto a one way (clearly signed) street in the wrong direction. I was right behind them in the lane and it was a surprise, but I kept driving through the intersection, so I don’t know what happened next.

I intended to boycott Cadbury chocolate once I found out that Kraft really was taking them over, but doubted I would be able to, and I realised today I have not had cadbury chocolate in the last couple of months. Yay.

I have just agreed to be the functions/events coordinator for my soccer club next season.  What was I thinking?

I still want to be a contestant on the Amazing Race, but can’t find a willing partner.  Anyone with a US passport want to embark on a traveling adventure?  Alternatively, since there seems to be an Australian edition, I can hope they do a second season.

My horoscope this weekend said that I would gain a prize, but not lotto. On Monday, my sister offered me tickets to U2.  Does this mean that horoscopes can be correct? Or is it like a broken clock- right twice a day and wrong the rest of the time.

I am sure I had some wonderful other musings, but they have fled.

Driving concerns

Dear Brisbane drivers,

It would appear that you are as irritated by the morning commute as I.  Here are some tips that may make the driving experience less frustrating.

  1. Use your indicators.  You know, the stick thing coming out of the wheel that makes little flashy lights happen so the people driving near you understand when you want to change lanes.  Once you have mastered the art of turning these on, it is time to learn how to use them appropriately.  This means using them BEFORE you try to merge into another lane.  Generally speaking driving up alongside a car, slowing to match their speed exactly and failing to turn on your indicator lights does not tell the other driver “please let me into the lane in front of you.”  What it actually tells them is “ I couldn’t be bothered waiting in this slow lane, so I jumped into the lane moving faster (because it isn’t a turning lane) drove really fast and picked a weak looking car to muscle in front of without bothering to abide by the rules.” Alternatively it just tells them that you can’t drive correctly.  Either way the person in that Micra isn’t letting you in because she doesn’t know that you want to be in that lane.  And incidentally, if you wait until you are about to hit the side of the car to turn on the indicator, it doesn’t really help.
  2. Speed limit.  This is a wonderful thing that tells you how fast to go in a given area.  I understand that it can be difficult to drive at the limit when the road is full of cars.  However when there are no cars in front of you, the light is green and you don’t have an indicator on (see point 1) to tell the person behind you that you want to change lanes, please drive at the signposted limit, not 20 k below. I am talking to you old 4WD from NSW.  The fact that once you changed lanes after (FINALLY ) putting on the indicator, I passed you while driving at slightly less than the speed limit should indicate that you were driving too slowly.
  3. Parking.  Once you reach your destination and park your car please take care to park in an appropriate place.  Choosing the narrowest part of a one way street, where there is a yellow line, is not advisable.  It blocks traffic (including emergency vehicles) and people get upset.  I now have the city council number on speed dial and enjoy the process of watching people saunter up to their illegally parked cars and discovering the ticket attached (yeah I am a horrible person).  Presumably you are staying in the backpacker hostel because you want to save money?  Then a $300 parking ticket isn’t a good thing.

Once you have mastered these items I am sure the driving experience will be much improved and we can move on to other issues, such as the appalling interaction between pedestrians and drivers that Main Roads has created.

Yours Sincerely,

Persnikety Chickadee

Random Crankies

I haven’t been blogging much lately, too much on I think, and a general feeling of meh. Anyway today on my way to touch footy I began composing this, although I have to admit that I feel much better after playing a game of touch.  Sport really is good for you!

Some random cranky thoughts from the last week.

On Saturday I saw three different people allowing their toddlers to ride on the front of their shopping cart (the bit where the groceries go.  WTF?  Do they want to break their noses?  Especially cranky about the woman with 3 in the cart, who tried to run me over.

Why do people in Brisbane take corners at 20 kph?  The speed limit is 60- it is perfectly possible to do a corner at 40.

The individuals responsible for the street signage in Brisbane need to be locked in a car with someone who doesn’t know the city and whose only navigational aid are those signs.  If they haven’t worked out the error of their ways after that they need to be fired.

And the people in Main Roads who create T intersections where the cars trying to turn a corner can only do so when  there is a walk signal to cross that road need to join the sign people.  There are at least 2 of those intersections in the City and they are irritating to pedestrians and drivers.

To the people who take their small child in a stroller in a competitive fun run.  Don’t.  Unless you are willing to run at the back, and acknowledge that you annoy the daylights out of everyone else on the road.  And even then I have my doubts.

Why do people always want more than you can give?

Rant over.