We lost power last night in the storm

Things I learnt when we lost power:

Take-away pizza by torchlight a bad way to have dinner.

A Smart Meter won’t keep the juice flowing if there’s problems in the local distribution network.

I don’t have enough torches. At least one per person would be good.

The Dolphin mini LED torch I got recently is really good. Will get a couple more of these I think.

Thank goodness for mobile internet, and having a phone that still has a charge in it.

If you’re not sure who your electricity distribution company is, try the list here.

The United Energy Distribution web site is quite good, and accessible via a Smart phone. It shows you maps of the affected area and so on, but is not to be trusted entirely — our area vanished off the list when their estimated recovery time of 8pm passed.

The UED phone service was more candid, with a more up-to-date (?) estimate of after midnight.

The early night didn’t do us any harm. I was glad to get the extra sleep.

Questions I still have:

If the power was off from about 4pm, until sometime overnight (perhaps up to 12 hours)… is the stuff that was in the fridge still okay? The milk seems to be all right (as far as I can smell), but what about frozen food?

PS. Jeremy noticed that some ice that had been loose in a container was still frozen and loose; eg it hadn’t even melted enough to stick together, let alone into water and then frozen again. Which to me suggests all the food should be fine, as (in the freezer especially) the temperature never got very high.

Lunch on the Restaurant Tram

It was actually a present from my last birthday: a lunch on the Restaurant Tram.

Boarding was at 1pm sharp near the casino. Presumably they don’t like to hold up service trams coming from St Kilda or Port Melbourne. It was a fleet of three out for lunch, and we were told to board the front car, number 4. (I can’t quite read the photo, but the records indicate it was MMTB 938, first in service in 1948.)

Restaurant tram arrives for boarding

Restaurant tram appetiser

On boarding we found the appetisers already on the table, and ordered the entrees and mains (a choice of two possibilities for each; all including meat — it seems you have to notify them in advance if you want the vegetarian option). Champagne and wine was forthcoming — I’m not much of a drinker, but whatever plonk they were serving was very nice.

Marita and I swapped the food around so we got to try everything. After the mains there was a cheese platter with tea or coffee (and an option of another after-lunch drinkie — we both chose Bailey’s) and a couple of little chocolates to polish it all off.

Restaurant tram passing Elizabeth Street

All the food was very tasty, and while perhaps on its own (eg in a conventional restaurant at this price) it wouldn’t win any awards, with the great service and the novelty of the experience it made for a very very satisfying meal.

And the route? From the Normanby Road starting point, the tram went north up Spencer Street, east along Bourke Street, along Spring/Nicholson Streets, then west down Latrobe Street, turning south down William Street, along Kingsway, then into St Kilda Road. From there we rolled down to St Kilda Junction, along Fitzroy Street and The Esplanade, and all the way down to the end of Acland Street.

Mohawks in a convertible, Acland Street St Kilda

From there we went back along The Esplanade, into Fitzroy Street, but then reversed into Park Street, following the 112 route back in towards the City. In Albert Road we manoeuvred out of the way to let a service tram overtake, then continued on north along Clarendon Street. We reversed again at the casino, and then headed a short way down the 109 light rail, just past Southbank depot where we once again reversed back to the pickup point again, arriving just on 3pm.

Daniel and Marita on the Restaurant Tram

We didn’t see the other trams in the pack until we arrived back, so I assume they must have taken other routes around the place. After all, on a tram network the size of ours, there’s plenty of possibilities.

The tourists and locals dispersed, and Marita and I strolled back to Southern Cross to catch our trains home, a little light-headed and very full.

I’ve got to say, it felt very civilised rolling along the street with all that good food on the tram. I’d definitely recommend it.

(No, they didn’t have Myki readers aboard, and no, the trams weren’t showing up on Tram Tracker. But the departure and arrival were dead on time.)

Bananas

Yesterday on the way to work I saw two people, both of whom were carrying nothing more than a banana.

Banana

Is this the done thing nowadays? In this time of expensive bananas, it is some kind of status symbol or something?

The police/doughnut cliché

Jeremy noticed that when there are stories on the TV news about the Simon Overland/Sir Ken Jones senior police controversy, often stock footage of the two of them in front of a doughnut shop seems to get used. It got a run again last night.

Sir Ken Jones and Simon Overland

It seems to have almost become the equivalent of the Myki machine falling apart footage.

This web site (which may or may not be authoritative) offers some interesting theories on how the cliché developed:

My understanding about the cops/donuts stereotype is that the donuts were largely incidental.

The bigger factor was that ‘back in the day’, donut shops were the only places open all night where the cops could get COFFEE.

PS. I also meant to say, the stereotype appears to have started in the USA and spread to elsewhere. After all, doughnut shops are not actually very common in most countries.

I’m not a drinker

I’ve never been a drinker.

Oh sure, there were the social pressures in my uni days. But it’s a habit I just never picked up.

My parents weren’t drinkers. My partner isn’t a drinker. It’s just not my thing.

I’m not a teetotaller though. Occasionally (perhaps a few times a year) I’ll indulge in a beer or a glass of wine, but (particularly since the discovery that alcohol can sometimes help trigger cluster headaches), most of the time I’ll decline and stick to water.

So I find it a little puzzling that some people drink to excess. I can understand the enjoyable, social drink if that’s the kind of thing you like, but binge drinking, to the point of being sick? Why would you?

I suppose everybody’s different.

Time to go shopping

Both my digital camera and my electric shaver are on their last legs, in need of replacement.

I don’t think either has done too badly.

The Canon A70 camera was bought in April 2003, and from memory cost me about $600 at the time. The technology has got better and cheaper, and I expect a replacement (hell yes I’ll get another Canon) will cost about a third of that amount, and certainly won’t require 4 AA batteries to run.

The Philishave 6867 shaver was, as I recall, bought in 2002. From memory it cost a bit under $200. It too has gone the distance, though a couple of years ago the battery started misbehaving, making it necessary to shave while plugged into the mains. Now however one of the heads has broken, so it’s at two-thirds capacity.

Sadly Choice magazine hasn’t reviewed men’s shavers since 2004, but I’d happily buy Philips again.

Also in the land of consumerism, I invested in two bananas yesterday. At $11.98/kg, the two of them cost $4.65. Ouch. Tasty though.

Oh yeah, I also have to buy new shoes. I hate buying shoes.

Spam-flavoured macadamias

My kids were in Hawaii over Christmas with their mum for a family get together.

They looked for something uniquely Hawaiian to bring me back, and settled on this.

Spam-flavoured macadamia nuts

I love getting a souvenir that is truly unique to a place.

It’s just as is labelled on the can. They’re macadamias, but they’re spam-flavoured.

Who knew?