Food'n'drink, Health, Toxic Custard newsletter

FebFast: No junk food for a month

I've just enjoyed my last takeaway pizza for a month, including leftovers for lunch today: I've signed up for FebFast, where participants are encouraged to refrain from something for the month of February. They've got a few variations on it: FebFast Smoking -- no point in this, as I don't smoke. FebFast Social Media -- Noooooooooooo. FebFast Alcohol -- I barely drink, so there'd

transport

#Myki Monthly and Weekly Pass fares: more expensive than ever compared to daily fares

On many public transport systems, they go out of their way to encourage what we in Melbourne call Passes -- sometimes called Season Passes, Periodicals, Monthly or Yearly tickets: a fixed price for unlimited travel for a period. For the system, the benefits include reduced transaction costs, getting a bunch of money up front, and the promise of customer loyalty, at least for the Pass duration,

Home life, Toxic Custard newsletter

House repairs and renovation

Happy Australia Day! Now I'm going to do the Australian thing and talk about real estate. Later this year it will be ten years since I moved into this house. It's got me pondering maintenance, repairs and a little bit of renovation. It started when I got my stepfather, who knows more about this kind of stuff than me, to look over the place and identify what needed fixing or upgrading. He cam

Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

Now mostly no monetary benefit from touching-off your #Myki

As far as I can see, since the January zone changes, there is now no monetary benefit to touching-off your Myki for trips in zone 1, or zone 1+2. This is because the Myki Money Default fare (the fare it assumes you should be charged if you touched-on, but never touched-off) is normally the same as the fare incurred for those trips anyway: $3.76 full fare, or $1.88 for concession. This means

driving, Toxic Custard newsletter

Thoughts from the road

I don't drive as much as many people (my average kilometres per year figure is about half the national average), but here are some recent random observations... Seat belts. Why do some people wait for a few hundred metres before they put on their seatbelts? Do they think they're somehow immune from accidents for the first minute or two? Petrol prices are down at the moment. It's unclear if t

Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

The pros and cons of the new #FreeTramZone

Some of the arguments in favour of the Free Tram Zone seem very simplistic. Shaun Carney built a whole opinion piece around this in the Herald Sun on Thursday: basically, it doesn't matter if it's poorly thought out, sucks away resources, and doesn't get people out of cars -- if it's cheap or free, it must be good -- and hang the consequences. Things aren't that simple. The Free Tram

Film, Melbourne, Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

1978 film “Mouth to Mouth” includes scenes of Melbourne anti-freeway protests

The recent anti-motorway protests in Melbourne are nothing new. In fact the very same area was subject to protests in the 1970s, when it was proposed to link the Eastern Freeway to the Tullamarine Freeway by way of an aboveground link, by converting Alexandra Parade to a freeway, ploughing through neighbourhoods in Collingwood, Carlton and Fitzroy. Film and television can sometimes provide litt

Photos from ten years ago, Toxic Custard newsletter

Old photos from January 2005

Continuing my series of old photos from ten years ago... At the house in Carnegie, we had an old slide (which eventually got left there for whoever moved in after us) and a trampoline (which came with us, but in the end when we'd tired of it, got given to relatives who would use it more). Here I am mid-bounce, with my ancient Reg Mombassa Mambo for Greenpeace anti-car t-shirt. Back when I

Toxic Custard newsletter, transport

Public transport system signage – mostly improving, but some is getting vaguer

At any station with multiple platforms, especially when they're not adjacent (eg an island platform), you're going to need to know which one your train leaves from. At many it's easy -- one platform is going towards the City, one is away. Some stations have three platforms. The third track is often used for peak hour expresses, and the platforms used can vary across the day. My local station

transport

Another glitch with #Myki: It pays you $1.52 to travel further

Over the years there have been various problems with the Myki ticketing system. Some have been self-inflicted, such as the lack of a single use ticket, which was the result of a Coalition decision in 2011. Others are down to poor implementation, such as the slow and inconsistent read times for cards, or the difficulty that trams and buses have in detecting which of Melbourne's two gigantic zones t