Archive for June, 2007

Last Chance to Smoke

Sure, we’ve blogged and blogged about it, but the smoking ban is finally here.

Tonight is your last chance to smoke in a licensed venue. Though it’s a little unclear to me how it’s going to work. Are bars just going to stop you from lighting up after midnight? Bar Open seems to have interpreted it as last night being the last night. At least that’s what I got from the sign they’d posted – then again, I may have been a bit impaired.

So, it may be a cruel trick on some of you smokers that the ban kicked in last night. Sorry to gloat, but my clothes won’t smell like smoke anymore. And Melbourne’s climate is pretty mild – you could be in NYC in winter, shivering with your fellow smokers in a couple inches of snow. Or in St. Paul, MN, where they probably have to dig each individual out of a snow drift.

The good news? According to word of mouth, and maybe an actual study I’m too lazy to find, the ban improved the love lives of smokers in NYC. Since they had to go outside with people with whom they already had something in common (and something to bitch about), the quiet outside the bar gave smokers a chance to meet and talk. And have lots more sex than non-smokers, according to lore (and previously mentioned possible study).

So, smokers – you may have to light up outside, but use this opportunity to chat up your fellow banishees. You can have all the sex you want as long as my clothes and hair smell nice in the morning.

Ice Skating in Docklands

I always seem to realize there is ice skating in the city after the fact but not this year. Starting from this Saturday is the Docklands Winter Wonderland. It features a snow dome where there are a multitude of wintry themed activities inside. The main event at the Winter Wonderland is its ice skating, particularly the night skating which features a DJ playing dance and disco music. It’s only here for 2 weeks, so book now.

Docklands Winter Wonderland (Ice Skating)
June 30-July 14

website

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Red Door Burlesque – Sunday Nights through the mysterious red door opposite RMIT

On Sunday night I and a friend (S) went along to Red Door Burlesque, at The Order Of Melbourne on level 2 of 401 Swanston Street, opposite RMIT (It’s the red door just beyond the 7-11 and the Druid’s Cafe, heading out of the CBD). (Contact them on (03) 9663 6707.)

It was an excellent night out. The Order of Melbourne is a restaurant/bar on the second level (at the top of about four flights of stairs); it has a large dining area, a DJ booth, a trapeze hanging from the ceiling, and, of course, a stage. The mood is very Victorian (the era, not the state). There is no dress code, but S and I felt a little under-dressed compared to the other patrons. And i’m not talking about standard shirts and ties; i’m talking gothic (once again, Victorian) sorts of outfits, one or two of which looked home-made. I almost wished I had a top hat and cane. It’s not just a place you go to, it’s a place where you’re invited to participate in the atmosphere. Of course, both S and I were in jeans and biker jackets, and nobody seemed to mind.
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Flood warnings and heavy rainfall over southern Victoria.

If you are like me and planning your travel itinery for the winter (break, if you are in university) – give this week until about mid-next week a skip and stay safe in the city.

Roads are going to be wet, slippery, and visibility probably low as South Victoria takes a beating from heavy rains over the next few days. Flooding is expected over the Gippsland region

Paraphrasing how Hughesy Loses It on Rove, “Where are the BLOODY catchment areas?! People are drowning and they say we’re having a drought!”

Canal Road

Nothing too interesting happens in Carlton North. It’s generally a quiet and mostly residential area. Much to my surprise when coming home this evening, I saw huge lights and many people gathered around a couple of nice houses on Drummond Street.

Super sleuth Neil went to investigate and apparently Channel Nine is filming a new show called Canal Road. It’s a legal and medical drama filmed around Melbourne and according to sources (a security guy on the street) it has a “CSI” feel to it. It stars Brooke Satchwell (Matt Newton’s ex punching bag) and is premiering in 2008. Let’s hope it does well so we can see our great city featured every week.

The Daily Telegraph: Brooke’s kiss of life

Picture via Herald Sun

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Tribute to a hero…

It’s been a week since the tragic death of solicitor Brendan Keilar and the horrific city shooting. Last night, I had written a hand-made card with a little note crediting Brendan’s selfless nature. I stopped short at ‘incredible bravery’, as people only thought he was brave after he died. Had the gunman Chris Hudson not wielded the gun and shoved Brendan instead, Brendan would not be placed on the pedestal.

However, I feel incredibly saddened by the nature of Brendan’s death. I feel for his family and wondered what he did that morning he left for work. Did he kiss his missus goodbye? Did he tell his children he loves them? I tried placing myself in his shoes, and tried to comprehend the magnitude of the loss if I were the one who was shot.

With card in hand, I made the short trip from RMIT to the corner of Williams and Flinders Lane.
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Private Health Insurance

Thinking about private health insurance? Thinking about reducing your Medicare levy surcharge? Need information? There are two websites I visit. Iselect was the one I used to use for deals until I realised that not all the private health insurance companies are listed with them.

So, these days, I visit the private health information site. It has a comprehensive listing of what’s available in each state. It explains some of the benefits (or disincentives) of private health insurance, namely the medicare levy surcharge for those earning more than $50,000 (for individuals) or $100,000 (for couples). There is information about the Lifetime health cover too. The search facilities are not brilliant but there are links to the health fund’s websites.

By combining both, one can pretty much cover all the funds that’s available!

Melbourne Price Check

We’ve had random comments about people asking us to inform them about immigration, overseas students coming in from India/Pakistan, etc., and so forth. I generally don’t think the Metroblogging Melbourne crew is generally qualified to write on these topics, but if you’re after that sort of information, do check out: Melbourne Price Check. (link thanks to someone on Twitter)

Its touted to be a guide to life in Melbourne, and from what I gather, focuses largely on those coming in from India/Pakistan. Looks like they might have started out from the Orkut (Google’s, somewhat failed, stab at social networking) “study in Australia Community”.

Hopefully those leaving us comments find the blog useful. There are useful bits and bobs about airline luggage limitations, if overseas drivers licenses are valid, permanent residency pass marks, what to do in the weekend, what it takes to get a student visa (from India), campus accommodation, and lots more.

About $800 million made yearly thanks to speed/red light cameras

Whether speed camera related headlines are to sell more papers or not, I think there are some interesting statistics to gather from the article in The Age titled Thousands risk driving ban.

  • Claims of 45,000 Victorian drivers being on the brink of losing the license
  • As of May 31 2007, 29,016 drivers had 10 demerit points, and 16,459 had 11 demerit points
  • Compare this to 2005, and we have 9,000 more at the same time snapshot (why are statistics from last year missing?)

But the really juicy stats are:

  • More than 150 speed cameras
  • More than 83 red light cameras
  • $843 million in fines and regulatory fees in 2007-2008
    • This is a 6.2% increase in the 2006-2007 estimate of $793.3 million

It ends the article stating: Revenue collected from fines forms part of the
state budget.

Don’t speed. Don’t beat red light cameras. Be a little more patient. Fight the urge to go even that 5km/h higher on the highway (at 100km/h, its very easy to just go over the limit when going down a slope). Watch those roads that have slopes, and “drive with your brakes”. Embrace being late.

Pets in trams

One of the more infuriating aspects of travelling in a tram is – discounting the exhorbitant and unreasonable fare hike and perpetual smell of urine – the double standard lenience granted by tram drivers and inspectors with all things furry. Yes, I’m referring to pets in trams.
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