Clothes, Consumerism, Toxic Custard newsletter

Belt up: Stockade Leather

A shout-out to a good shop which doesn't have a web site of its own: About once every decade I buy a belt. They last that long -- I get them from a place in Elsternwick called Stockdale Stockade Leather (552 Glen Huntly Road), which I'm amazed is still in business because their stuff is so resilient -- they must get a lot of repeat business. It looks rather like their belts are made i

Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

We suggest you don’t hit this bus

This is an old pic, but a classic. I thought I'd lost it, but it showed-up while sorting through some old files on the computer. I did once ask someone at Ventura about it -- he said one of their staff had taken the photo, and from memory also said there had been no serious injuries -- which means you don't have to feel guilty if amused.

Home life, Toxic Custard newsletter

Home loan: some progress at last

Here's a graph of my home loan, which I got just over nine years ago. The loan was approved in August 2005, but only took effect in October that year (the huge leap on the left). In the first year or so I was able to pay it down a bit. It only took me about 8 months to get the balance down to 95% of the initial loan. With interest burning up most of the payments, it took another 5 years

Consumerism, Toxic Custard newsletter

The umbrella wrapper

This is near the entrance to one of the local supermarkets. I understand what it is -- it wraps your umbrella in plastic -- I just don't understand why such a thing is needed. While it's nice to see them catering for pedestrians (since I'd assume few people coming from a parked car would bother with an umbrella), I have yet to see anybody actually use it. Seems to me if you arrive wit

transport

#Myki: touch-on, touch-off, touch-on, touch-off

Here's an interesting issue with Myki which has always been around to an extent, but which has got worse with the switch to exact two-hour fares. The problem The Myki software uses the two hour expiry of a fare as the time after which it assumes the next touch of your card is also a new fare. This implementation is in contrast to the fare rules, which say your fare lasts for as long as the trip

Geek, music, Toxic Custard newsletter

Thinking again about hi-fi

One of my long-term objectives is to update my sound system. My current system is a mix of devices collected over many years. The horrible old brown Sanyo speakers I've had since I was a teenager, which originally came with a Sanyo DC J3K receiver and turntable (click through for some photos of what this looked like... some still survive to this day, obviously -- though my speakers are bigger a

Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

Traffic light programming is why your CBD tram trip is start, stop, start

It's not uncommon to see trams stopped at traffic lights along Bourke Street, sometimes in queues, at locations where there is no stop. If you've wondered why your tram journey is start-stop, it won't surprise you to learn that the lights are all over the place. With the handy-dandy stopwatch function on my mobile phone, I timed the lights along the central and western section of Bourke Street

Film, Toxic Custard newsletter, TV

Doctor Who breaks new ground for television

It would seem Doctor Who is breaking new ground in some interesting ways. They've engineered a "world tour" which involves the show's stars jetting around the world for live appearances in 6 cities around the globe over about a week. It's just about finished now... I'd imagine they'd be suffering horribly from jetlag by the time they get back to the UK. It was a set of public screenings for fan

Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

Waste of money: New automatic signs for platforms where few trains stop

Those LED automated signs on station platforms are known in the biz as Passenger Information Displays, or PIDs. In recent months they've been installed at a lot of stations along the Frankston line. They're handy because they provide you with realtime departure information, without having to press the Green Button, which often doesn't work or takes ages to get to the vital bit of information: h

Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

You shall not pass

I know it's been around for a while, but I was quite struck the other day by these traffic lights on the corner of La Trobe and Swanston Streets, facing southbound traffic coming down Swanston. The left and right arrows are for motor vehicles (which can go left or right, but not straight ahead). The middle two are for cyclists (which have their own "Copenhagen"-style lanes) and trams. They go w