Archive for November, 2008

Terror attacks in Mumbai

Last night, terrorists attacked several buildings in Mumbai, India. Latest news confirmed foreigners were the targets of these attacks. Our colleagues have been covering the events on the Mumbai Metblogs.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has a hotline for people with relatives and friends in Mumbai. The number is 1800 002 214. Consular assistance is available on +61 2 6261 3305.

Our thoughts are with those affected by these attacks.

The Australian Masters’ in Town …

I mean the golf! Who better to create publicity for the event but John Daly.
Known for his abilities to hit for long distances, he is also notorious for his other abilities, such as gambling and drinking. The latest being found drunk unconscious in front of a Hooters restaurant.

Many golfers will enjoy watching him play, because he behaves like a typically Australian. Drinking and smoking while playing golf. Personally, I would like to see him finish a can of beer per hole, breadth-tested on the last hole and winning the championship! Then the police can cart him off for DUI (Driving a golf ball while under the influence! :)

Otherwise, there are tamer golfers to watch, Stuart Appleby, Robert Allenby, Craig Perry, Peter Senior, Rod Pampling etc.

I guess Mastercard are no longer sponsoring them, therefore, no free entry for mastercard holders. Tickets are at $30 each day, $80 for all 4 days, or $50 for just the weekend.

Check out the Australian Masters website for the latest on tee-off times.

It just hailed (at my place) … followed by

Just what we all need. A dose of Mother Nature at its finest, we had the hot weather a couple weeks ago, thunder and lightning since yesterday and now hail!

Does wonders to the image of Melbourne as a tourist destination, when friends from the UK are asking me to say hello to the Sun on their behalf.

And I was thinking of attending the “Strawberry and Cherry Weekend Festival“, being held in Bacchus Marsh. Thought it might be a good day for strawberry picking (not).

Oh, guess what, the sun is out now. What’s the chances of seeing a rainbow now?

The Student Housing Action Co-operative!

Because landlords, real estate agencies and governments have worked to increase rents in Melbourne and make it as hard as possible for those on low incomes (such as students) to live, and because universities (such as U of Melbourne) have worked to bleed cash from as many international students as possible, while tossing them to the mercy of predatory landlords in the surrounding area, a group of students have taken over the vacant premises at 272-8 Faraday Street in Carlton and turned it into a student-run co-operative housing project.

This is an abandoned building owned by the university, that has been sitting there – empty – since the counseling service was moved out in 2005. The occupying students have apparently brought the building up to health and safety standards and intend to turn it into a permanent student housing co-operative. They run free vegan food nights on Mondays and barbeques on Friday evenings. They’re trying to set up skills sharing workshops, so if you have some useful skills/training to impart and are willing to do some volunteer training, they’ll probably be happy to meet you.

You can find them online here:
Student Housing Action Co-operative blog
SHAC Petition to “University of Melbourne Council”

Not tomorrow, but the next Friday, the University has told them to leave the otherwise empty property. So Friday the 28th November will be a rally from 12-2pm. If you can get down there and want to show your support for this sort of initiative, i’ll probably see you there. (Video cameras might also be an excellent thing to bring along if you have one, in case the University tries to waste the police’s time by calling them in to restore the property to it’s empty, useless state.)

Victoria’s Annual Olive Festival

Olives anyone?
Olives remind me of Tuscany, sun and wine; a relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon with friends and family. This year’s Annual Olive Festival will have it all, weather permitting.

The 8th Annual Olive Festival will NOT be held at the usual Mt Atkinson Olive & Nut Grove Farm but at the Witchmount Estate, which is accessible from Melton Highway. A short ride from home, Witchmount is next to the Windmill restaurant, another place which you can’t miss from the road, it boasts a windmill!

There will, of course, be the olives and olive-derived products, namely locally produced olive oil. I mean why purchase overseas products made months or years ago when you can buy locally produced, fresh olive oil?

So, make it a day trip, and a family one, there will be cooking demonstrations, live music, as well as children’s activities.

Entrance is free, parking is free, tasting samples will of course, be free. Event starts at 10 am and finishes at 5 pm.

Do not forget that, Witchmount Estate is also famous for their Shiraz, winner of the Best Shiraz 2008 of the Syrah Du Monde of France.

Walk Against Warming and Prahran Skate Comp this Saturday

Saturday, 15 November
1 pm
Federation Square
More information

One of the biggest skate competitions, as part of the Viva 2008 with world music, international food stalls and other entertainment.

Saturday 15 November 2008
11am – 6pm
Prahran Skate Park
Princes Gardens, Prahran
More information

Another tool for minimising water waste

The majority of houses waste a great deal of water each day when people run taps waiting for them to run hot – for example in the kitchen, bathroom sink and shower. Some claim up to 10 percent or more of household water is wasted while you wait for the shower or taps to run hot.

If we look at the average water use in a Melbourne household, with an average of 200 litres per day per person during water restrictions, and an average Melbourne household having two to three people…. the water wasted waiting for taps to run hot could be 40 or 60 litres a day.

A three person Melbourne household wasting 60 litres per day this way is 22,000 litres per year.
Water usage + sewage disposal = $1.0248 / kl + $1.3392 / kl = $2.364 / kl * 22 kL = $52 per year down the drain. Also, the price of water is set to double over the next few years.

If 60 m² of your yard was gardens for growing fruit and vegetables, it would only require about 33,000 litres per year. This isn’t even taking into account grey water capture (bathroom and washing machine water) which could be 89,000 litres p.a. and/or rainwater harvesting off your roof.

Another important fact point is the greenhouse gas emissions associated with water use in Melbourne. The delivery of potable water in Melbourne means the equivalent of 0.173 tonnes of CO2 is emitted per mega litre (1 million litres). Wastewater in Melbourne is associated with the equivalent of 0.875 tonnes of CO2 emitted per megalitre.

Water wasted by running taps until they run hot is both potable and now wastewater, so the combined CO2 emissions associated with it is about 1 kg CO2 emitted per 1000 litres – all for water that was not used – the emissions were for nothing. If we look at a Melbourne household with three people, wasting 22,000 litres per year, we find that 22 kg of carbon dioxide (or if you prefer, 440 black balloons) is emitted per household each year just running taps to hot.
(more…)

Savers Special!

Savers Thrift Stores are having a savers special today. 50% off all used merchandise! If you have never been to a Savers store, it is a recycle store, where clothes, furniture, toys, books and everything else you can think off that people have donated or given away in a usable condition are resold. Diabetes Australia is a major beneficiary of the stores. Most clothings are in very good condition. On occasion, I have found clothes that are brand new for less than 5 dollars.

With a recession looming over the horizon, there is nothing better than being thrifty and helping a charity at the same time.

Tomorrow is a holiday because

  1. Its Melbourne Cup Day
  2. Opportunity for people to dress up/down and get drunk (But, isn’t that every other day?)
  3. I’m going to predict a rain soaked day!

I’ll never understand why its a holiday, just for a horse race!

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