Busy busy busy

Busy busy busy. So, what have I been up to?

I’ve been disorganised. A pile of mail grew steadily over the last week or two on a chair in my study/spare room/computer room (whatever I’m calling it this week), and – not for the first time – the pile included a credit card bill that went unnoticed until about a week after the due date. Now, this is not something that the Bank are going to chuck a spaz over and demand my cards back for, by any means. Quite the contrary, they must be delighted that yet again I have inadvertently missed the end of the interest-free period, and chi-ching, another $11 in interest is going their way. Damn. It’s not like I didn’t have the money to pay it off – I was just too disorganised to find it and pay it.

In a second example of my lack of organisation, I got a nudge from the friendly people at the State Library regarding archiving this diary in the National Library of Australia’s Pandora archive. It went something like this:

  • Mid-2002 Them: Hey, watcha reckon?
  • Me: Sounds good. Let me read your web site, I’ll get back to you.
  • … many months of inaction …
  • April 2003Them: umm hey! So watcha reckon?
  • Me: Oh jeez, sorry, forgot. Yeah, what the hell.
  • Them: Cool.

So now it’s up. Mucho cool. I’m not entirely certain that my ramblings really constitute something of cultural significance, but it’s nice to know they will live on if I end up destitute and unable to pay my web hosting bill.

On Thursday night I went to the Comedy Club in Lygon Street to see some stand-up for the Comedy Festival. As someone who hasn’t been to the Comedy Club before, I reckon they could do with a tad more signage. They’re next to the Nova cinema, which has plenty of signs pointing to it from the street, pointing up the escalators, etc, but unless you know (or guess) that the Comedy Club is also up the escalator, you wouldn’t find it.

[Remains of Toorak Grammar]
Remains of the building formerly known as Toorak Grammar
A beer at Catherine’s on Saturday night

Once I did find it, I spent most of the evening laughing my arse off, which was just what I needed after a busy day working hard, not to mention after walking up and down Lygon Street looking for a comedy venue.

On Friday night, following a lead on a friend who could get me a good price (thanks Les), I splashed out on a digital camera plus a few accessories. Well, okay, so I’m meant to be saving my money, but it was about time I had a new toy to play with. Hopefully it will liven up these pages at least, though right this instant I’m having trouble thinking of anything relevant that I could show a picture of.

Hmm, maybe it’s time for a new round of the Grooviest Thing in Melbourne?

On Saturday, taking full advantage of a limited time offer of good weather, I went out for a walk. I was walking past a real estate agent’s office, when my mobile phone rang. It was a real estate agent from the office I was walking past. She offered to let me look at the house I’m interested in on Sunday. Cool.

After hanging up I got on the train and went and had a walk around Armadale, a scouting trip on behalf of my friend Danielle, who will be down in Melbourne next week. In the late nineteenth century one of her ancestors was headmaster of a now defunct school in High Street, so I had a look around and found it for her, and made use of my handy dandy new camera to take a few snapshots. A shame, a once proud building is now derelict, its land taken over by a used car dealership. In stark contrast to similarly aged beautifully restored buildings elsewhere on the street, it sits neglected as it probably has done for decades – wood rotting, windows broken.

Later on I went for a bike ride. It was a longer ride than my previous one, but I felt less sore afterwards. I think it’s doing me some good, and my pedalling muscles are growing accustomed to being used again. Or maybe they appreciated that I stopped twice during the ride – once to take a phone call, and once to chat to a friend I saw walking along. That kind of thing happens when you walk or ride your bike.

On Saturday night, over to Catherine’s soon-to-be former flat to help her celebrate moving out. A kind of house cooling party. She and her boyfriend Christian are going house-sitting in the wilds of North Caulfield for a few months, which should be an interesting test of their sanity and patience, given that the owners of the house in question are total clean freaks. C&C have orders to leave their shoes at the door, and there might well be hell to pay if so much as a dent is found in the floorboards when the owners get back.

On Sunday I had a look at the prospective house, dragging Peter along to cast a more informed eye over it. It looks promising. The dream I have of finally being in control of my own place with no miserly landlady holding back on repairs could come sooner than I’d hoped. The last time she collected the rent, she was still singing the praises of the awful carpet – the same carpet that has holes in it growing bigger by the week. Anyway the next step is to make enquiries as to how much megadosh I can borrow, and if that goes well, head back to the house for a more thorough look.

I spent much of the afternoon with the kids at my mum’s place, and was there when the afternoon rain deluge started. Within a few minutes, her superbly landscaped back yard had flooded (and not for the first time, either). The kids put on gumboots and had a terrific time sploshing about in the impromptu lake. Damn. Maybe I should get some gumboots too. It looked like fun.

The rain let up for a little while, but by 5:45 when I was out driving, it was pouring down again. Bucketing down. Pissing down. I’m trying to say there was a lot of rain. One road I was driving along had flooded gutters for about 2 kilometres.

I needed to go to the supermarket, and decided that Coles in Caulfield would be a good choice, due to it having an undercover car park. Okay, so I was driving to get my shopping, making me a SMOG PRODUCING TARMAC LOVING REVHEAD ENVIROBASTARD, but in that amount of rain, who could blame me. Seriously, the way it was raining, and footpaths and gutters flooding, any pedestrians out there were getting seriously drenched, umbrella or not. Anyway, I made up for it just a teensy bit by taking along my cloth bags. And I had been out anyway, it was (almost) on the way home.

I peered ahead, where the road dips under the railway bridge. The left lane had a lot of water, but the right was okay, so I used it. I reached the supermarket, and silently heaped praise on the builders who worked on the underground car park at Caulfield Plaza, who had managed to keep it free of puddles, where the council people who built the nearby streets had so obviously failed.

Coles are happy enough to use your cloth bags. At least, happy enough for you to pack the stuff in them yourself, unlike Safeway who will merrily pack the bags for you. No matter. I drove out, headed for home, back to the bridge and… oh… what’s that next to the roundabout… two fire engines parked nearby, lights flashing… oh, what’s that under the bridge… a car stuck in the water with its hazard lights on… I thought at that point that a U-turn and a hunt for a different route home might be in order.

The alternative route proved to be less soggy and hair-raising, though I did see a cab come within a whisker of a major crash by turning right across a bunch of other cars. Never a good idea. I got home, tramped upstairs, and cooked Laksa, the perfect thing for a cold Sunday night.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.