Archive for June, 2005

John So – Mayor of the World?

Voting is now open for World Mayor 2005 – and John So is a finalist.

He is one of 550 Mayors from around the world who were originally nominated and the only Australian mayor to make it into the final 65 -what an achievement. Vote now!

Of thick morning fog

Wow, was it foggy or what this morning?

Couldn’t see much of the cars that were in front of me in the traffic this morning. And there was a large fog patch right next to the huntingdale golf course the night before.

What was interesting about the patch of fog near the golf course was that you can see that there was no fog before it, and no fog after it. And the fog was quite thick too.

It truly is winter with the morning fog, and the morning and night coldness. Average night temperature I’ve heard to range from about 4 degrees celcius up to 6 or 7 degrees celcius.

The cold weather makes it even more tempting to stay in bed those extra few minutes in the morning after the alarm goes off. Because I always wake up “on the hour”, I set the alarm to radio mode so when it goes off I hear some sort of news on the radio. Usually I tend to listen out for today’s weather so I know how to prepare myself for the instant hit of chilliness as soon as I get out of bed (or is how cold we feel really a mental issue? Maybe if we think we are in a tropical paradise sleeping on a deserted beach we might instantly feel warmer?). I always grab my jacket off the chair now.

At least the past few days we’ve actually have had beautiful sunshine, rather than soggy rain. But i’m sure the rain will come sooner or later.

The evil of plastic

Safeway seems to be trying to encourage people to use those environmentally-friendly “green” bags instead of the “evil” plastic bags. Which is good. I’m cool with that. I just wish they weren’t being so aggressive about that.

Yesterday, I went shopping at the QVC Safeway, and got some $50 worth of groceries, which were somewhat heavy and bulky. At the cashier, while I’m still busily unloading everything from the baskets, the guy asks me “would you like to buy a green bag?” Hmm, no, thanks, not right now. “How about this ugly-looking reusable plastic bag for 15 cents?” (I’m paraphrasing, of course). No, not really. “Hmm, you see, we’re running out of plastic bags.” I look over to the next position, which is closed, and see a large stack of bags there; I don’t say anything and keep on unloading the groceries.

At this point the guy seems to give up, reaches down and comes back with one plastic bag (smart move; if he had insisted that there weren’t any bags available, I would have given up on the products and walked one block over to Coles). He puts everything he can fit in there, which was about 25% of what I was buying, and then looks at me and says nothing. Realizing I wasn’t going to do anything, he reaches down again and grabs another bag. This repeats twice more, and concludes with all my groceries packed into four (quite heavy) plastic bags.

Now, here’s the interesting part. While this process happened, the next cashier, the one with a stack of bags, opened. Before calling the next customer, the girl picked up all of the bags, put them under her “station” and replaced them with green bags. She then said to the customer (who didn’t see that happening) that they were out of plastic bags, and would he like to buy a green one? No, he wouldn’t. Would he like to put the groceries in his backpack, then? He thought for a second, and decided to buy two green bags.

Now, as I said, I’m all for replacing plastic bags with reusable ones. But I don’t see forcing customers to buy green bags under false pretences as a particularly good move (unless they were really running out of bags and trying to save whatever they could for later; that sounds very unlikely, though). We usually take our own bags to the market whenever possible, but it’s not always feasible: if you’re already out and decide to stop by the supermarket, you’re not going to have bags with you; the supermarkets need to be able to handle these customers without treating them as enemies of the environment.

Winter is here…

I realize that writing about the weather if you’re in Melbourne is like writing about, say, bombings if you’re in Iraq. It’s something that simply happens, you can’t do much about and you don’t even think about it after a while; you just feel lucky to get out of it alive (and dry).

But, can someone please turn the heating back on? Whoever flicked the switch to the “winter” position went a little too far this time, I guess: 3 degrees at night right in the CBD, and -2 in Yarra Glen? Come on!

In any case, this weekend is just gorgeous! Sunny, light wind, few clouds… enough to give you a false sense of security and send you out in the world dressed for a sunny autumn afternoon, and then send you back in for a heavier coat. Still, gorgeous. Perfect to go out and bask in the sun for a few hours. Enjoy it while we can, because (a) the sun is still setting very early, and (b) our good friends at the Bureau of Meteorology tell us the rain is coming…

Yes, Melbourne is recruiting!

The Melbourne Metroblog is currently looking for new authors for our group blog.

Think you know Melbourne? Want to share your Melbourne experience with everyone else?

We’re actively looking for new individuals who want to blog about Melbourne and share their Melbourne with the rest of the world.

So c’mon Melbourne, let’s show the world what we’ve got! And why we’re one of the world’s most livable city!

To apply, fill out this form.

Note there is a requirement of posting at least 3 entries per week. This isn’t really very much. Some posts can be short ones, some posts can be just a photo with a few comments.

You can even just talk about your weekend at the footy. Or something you saw. It’s really up to you, it’s your view on Melbourne, so you decide :)

More water for Melbourne

During my drive home, aside from observing the night sky, I heard on the radio that the State Government plans to reconnect an old dam which was previously disconnected from the main water supply due to poor water quality.

The news report said that the government plans to spend money to reconnect the old dam and to improve the water quality.

Just found a news article on this on the website.

It’s good news, but still, as I’ve said previously, we still need to look after one of our most valuable natural resources.

This global weather change has been bad worldwide. There’s been flooding due to excess rain, there’s been droughts because of not enough rain. I think there must be a way to change what we’re doing to our dear planet Earth. It needs to be revitalised. Our worldwide natural resources are not unlimited. It will all end someday.

It’s a full moon tonight

On my way home tonight driving through St Kilda from Port Melbourne, I was looking up at the sky, it was dark but not overly cloudy.

Right smack bang in the middle of my vision though was this bright white ball. Yup, it was the full moon!

It was the brightest thing in the sky. I couldn’t make out any stars in the sky though. Afterall, it was only just after half past five in the evening.

It was one of those moons you see in the movies, where people start turning into werewolves and start howling at the moon. I could almost hear the howling in the back of my mind.

To either side of the moon was a small band of clouds. If I had my camera with me, would have definately taken a photo. Nature just has a way to present itself in many ways to different individuals.

Where’d the sun go?

Today, June 21st, is the shortest day of the year in Melbourne (as well as other places in the Southern Hemisphere).

It is the winter solstice, it also coincides with the longest day of the year for those living in the Northern Hemisphere (Summer Solstice).

The length of the day in this case is determined by the amount of time of daylight. Have a look at the Melbourne Planetarium website for a bit more information on it.
Very fascinating.

Is Victoria still the “Garden State”?

It’s definately getting colder now, I can feel it (the winter chill) on my hands later at night. Guess we should all start wearing warmer clothing. It’s definately not going to get any warmer for several months now. It’ll get cooler. There’s a bit of rain out there now, which is good, but what’s perhaps not that good is that it’s still not raining substantially at the water catchment areas. Which is where we ideally want it to be.

Melbourne has quite tasty water :)

Not to knock the water of anywhere else, but I remember when I had a bottle of water with me on my trip to Sydney a few years ago. I had just finished my waterbottle but still felt a bit thirsty, so got a bit of chilled (at room temperature) boiled water. My mind was whirling, the taste of the water was quite different. It wasn’t just me. There had to be something different with the water. My tastebuds weren’t going crazy on me, right?

Anyway, I guess nobody really starts to appreciate what they have in front of them until it’s yanked out of their reach, even if it is temporary. Let’s not let our water disappear for good before we do anything about it. I know a lot of people are trying their darndest to save water. And I know some people who do sometimes, and sometimes forget.

I’m sure many Melbournians will remember our previous number plates prior to Jeff Kennett’s introduction of the “Victoria – On The Move” number plates, which was the green coloured, “Victoria – Garden State”.

I’m not quite sure as to why we are the Garden State, but my guess would be because traditionally we had been a state with much fields of green grass, flowers and so on (things that would make up a garden). You only have to go as far as some of the Parks and Gardens in Melbourne and you’ll see it. The Botanical Gardens are just splendid. But, they do need water. Which is a precious resource right now.

Venturing just over an hour out of the heart of Melbourne during the Queen’s Birthday long weekend I could see quite evidently what would be one thing that inspired the “Garden State” monicker for Victoria. What I saw the further out of the city I went was these quite tall trees, some of which were gum trees as well as a few others which names I’ve now forgotten.

Iron Chef

I was watching Iron Chef the other night, the challenger being a top chef from China having a cook-out with the Japanese cuisine Iron Chef. Of all possible ingredients there are in the world, the choice this time was eggs. Of all food, its eggs.

That must have been the most difficult ingredient to cook with. Well, especially for me, I detest eggs. I mean, what can you cook with eggs? Surprisingly, both chefs created several dishes, including desserts.

If I am ever asked to decide an ingredient, I am going to say soya sauce.

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