Daniel’s theory of paving: The better it looks, the slipperier it is.

I reckon the better a paving surface looks, the slipperier it is, particularly in the wet.

Asphalt: ugly, but grips well, even in the wet.

Tiles (as platforms at Flinders Street station have been converted to, but thankfully not ramps) and blue-stone (increasingly common on CBD streets) look nicer, but are more slippery.

And some types of tactiles (bumps, for the vision-impaired) often aren’t that great in terms of grip either.

Flinders Street station ramp

Agree? Disagree? Is it my shoes?

Selling shoes

So, those very nice but badly sized Ecco shoes I bought a couple of months ago… I’m finally selling them on eBay:

I bought these shoes recently. I wore them a couple of times and then realised I’d made a huge mistake: I had got the wrong size. Could I return them to the shop? No, not really – there’s now a teensy bit of wear on them – not noticeable under normal conditions, but enough to make them no longer “as new” for the purposes of returning them to the shop. Trying inserts didn’t work for me, so I’m selling them here.

They retail for about $200, so I’ve learnt an expensive lesson: make sure the shoes fit before you leave the shop.

Nice though the shoes are, they had a compatibility problem with my feet. Sigh. Hopefully someone wants them.

Last week I did in fact finally find a pair of sneakers that I like and that fits properly: a rather nice pair from Geox, which are much more similar to my old favourite pair of Eccos than anything Ecco sells now. And they fit.

So, if you’re a Euro size 44 (Aus 9 1/2), please buy my shoes.

Update: Sold for AU $78.69!

I hate buying shoes

ShoesI’m good at some things, and bad at others.

One of the things I’m worst at is buying shoes. I hate it, I’m not good at it, and while I don’t always stuff it up, it seems like I certainly do sometimes.

I went to replace my Ecco shoes. They’ve been great; have lasted many years, but are finally on the way out.

The old ones: European size 44, which is theoretically about what I wear in Australian shoes: 9 1/2. They fit great.

FAIL 1: Somehow I managed to come out of the Ecco shop with a new pair that are also size 44, and very nice, but which are too big.

It’s not like I didn’t try them on. But looking back I can only assume I didn’t really pay attention to how big they were. Or if I did, I may have had it in mind that earlier this year I had problems with one of my pairs of shoes being too small, and over-compensated.

FAIL 2: After purchasing I then wore them outside a couple of times before really noticing the problems, so now they can’t be returned to the shop as they’ve worn very slightly.

There’s too much space in the toes. That might be solvable with thicker socks, but they’re soft leather so they bend in the wrong place when walking, hurting one of my feet.

I’ve bought myself a pair of shoes I can’t use. On sale, but still not cheap.

How can I be 38 years old and still stuff things up like this?

(I find it pretty embarrassing actually. I’m posting it here publicly to teach myself a lesson so I don’t do this again.)

How does one sell a pair of shoes? Ebay? (Anybody wear size 44 and want to buy these?)

Clear the credit cards for action!

Do I walk a bit funny or something? The heels of the two pairs of shoes I most commonly wear (the Monday to Friday work shoes) are wearing away on the outside edges. Further, one pair is re-developing the same hole which I thought was comprehensively eliminated a year ago. And in the same position of the same shoe. Strange, since the repair bloke fully redeemed it and gave it an entirely new soul.

Since the end of financial year stocktake sales started yesterday, maybe it’s time to go on a shopping spree. Stock up on the stuff I need now at sale prices, rather than later at full price. Off the top of my head, I could do with buying:

  • New pair of work shoes and a new pair of runners, which are also aging. I’m a shocking shoe shopper, racked with indecision. For the love of God, if you know me, don’t volunteer to come along.
  • Something in the casual winter wear department. Maybe a nice shirt and a jumper or two — I’m not quite as bad at clothes shopping as I am at shoe shopping.
  • Perhaps some new work shirts, as some of my old ones will start to self-destruct before too long.Tick
  • A couple of nice new ties. Certainly at least one to replace the nice blue tie I had that got splattered with something very messy (but very delicious) one dinnertime, and I foolishly thought I could try and clean myself, thus avoiding drycleaning. Nuh uh. In fact the eventual dryclean got rid of the original stain, leaving signs of my cleaning attempts. Sigh. Don’t even try.Tick
  • A dressing-gown, for use in preventing freezing my arse off when moving around the house after getting up. My existing gown is unfortunately deficient in this respect, as it has developed a hole in precisely that location. Apart from the temperature factor, not very dignified when going out onto the driveway to get the newspaper.Tick
  • Perhaps look out for something in advance for the kids for their July allotted XBox game.
  • I’m not totally against the idea of, at some stage, obtaining a frying pan which has a matching lid, rather than a mismatched one from a different, long since disposed of, pan.
  • My cordless phone has gone ga-ga, so it’s probably time for a replacement, so I am no longer tethered to the kitchen counter to make untimed phone calls.Tick
  • Might be time to pick up a drill too, for those occasional… uhhh… drilling forays. And lazy screwdrivering.
  • Need a new couch, but will probably wait until I get into a new house. Umm. Whenever that happens.

Yesterday I ventured into Myer briefly, and fought through the crowds to obtain (at 25% off) the XBox game Halo for a bit of grown up MA blast-the-shit-out-of-aliens action. It got incredibly good reviews: the all-time highest rated game on Metacritic. Had a quick go of it last night, and it appears to live up to the hype. More on that later.

I left the rest of the merchandise in Myer and DJs to the hardcore nutter shoppers. But when I have time in the next day or two, further bargain-hunting will commence.

Shoes, Woolf, movies and snow

The semi-traditional weekend update.

On Friday night I bought some shoes. This is something of an achievement, as I am majorly crap at buying shoes. I’m better at buying clothes than I was, but the shoe-buying skill still eludes me somewhat. It had to happen though – my usual work shoes, having put up for some time with five-day-a-week wear, were showing signs of stress. Time to get a second pair, get the first ones repaired, and rotate thereafter. After a failed attempt at Chadstone on Thursday night, I moseyed down Bourke Street after work and by some miracle fairly quickly found a very nice pair. Very nice. I’m wearing them now. I’m still getting used to them, but they’re muy cómodo. I’m telling you.

Saturday I headed out with the old pair to the local shoe repair place up by Carnegie station. The parallels between car repair and shoe repair were immediately evident, the bloke behind the counter tut-tutting, looking over them and telling me how much work was going to be involved to fix the hole in the bottom of one of them and to re-do the sole and heel, and how it was going to cost $50. Yikes. I pondered this for a little while, and just like when the car mechanic tells me some extraordinary amount of repairs is needed, decided to go for it. After all apart from the hole they were a quite serviceable good pair of shoes (which cost me three times that originally).

Then I caught a tram to
Elsternwick library
, where according to the online catalogue there could be found a copy of Virginia Woolf’s "To The Lighthouse" waiting for me. I’ve been scrabbling around for something to read other than the morning paper, so when this came
highly recommended
I thought I’d give it a go, though I’m in no mood to be buying any more books when there are still some waiting to be unpacked at home, so borrowing it from the library seemed like a good option. Even if they did make me pay an outstanding sixty cent fine before I could take it.

I started reading it while waiting for a tram back, and obviously looked so engrossed in it that the old lady also waiting there felt compelled to alert me when the tram arrived. With the distractions of Glen Huntly Road noise and movement all around, I found the first few pages rather heavy going, and this may instead be a book that requires as its reading environment a quiet room, a comfortable chair, and a cup of tea at hand.

[Mount Donna Buang]

The summit of Mount Donna Buang on Sunday. My handy-dandy camera’s pan feature came in handy again. Click it for a nice big version (379Kb)

That evening it was time for an evening out with an ever diminishing number of friends. Dinner for seven, a movie and post-movie dessert for four, and eventually just two of us left for a wander around Readings. No matter, all thoroughly enjoyable. The movie ("A Mighty Wind") was very amusing, and gets a thumbs-up from me.[Thumbs up]

The traffic jam on the way to the snow.

But no traffic up at the summit.

On Sunday I took the kids on our annual outing to the snow atMount Donna Buang. The snow report was very favourable, with heavy falls having occurred earlier in the week, and it seems a lot of other people wandered up the mountain that day, as there were queues along the way – twice on the road, and another to hire toboggans. No matter, a chance to eat our picnic lunch. But after the queues was the mountain, the glorious snow, the sun shining down on the summit, and the joys of skidding down the slopes on a bit of hard plastic. The waiting and the long drive were worth it. Even forgetting to take gloves wasn’t a problem.

That night I caught some of the Concert for Holly/cancer awareness, in between watching a tape of Saturday’sDaily Show. The Daily Show (Global edition) purports to focus on international events covered by the previous week’s Daily Shows aired in the US, but actually it’s more of a best-of compilation with a few "international" links thrown in by Jon Stewart. Some of these links are of doubtful value – the wisecracks about different languages might be amusing to an apparently insular New York studio audience, but I cringe a little when they come up. But the rest of the show is, at least to me, a very funny look at US current affairs. Something along the lines of an American version of CNNNN orBackberner. With anSBS-added blur to obscure the Comedy Central logo in the corner.

When the tape had finished, the Concert for Holly came back on. Problem was, having missed the start, I had no idea who Holly was. It eventually became apparent from watching (and checking the TV listing) that she was Holly Robinson, who had died of cancer, and before she’d died of cancer had hung about the Channel 10 studios. Possibly some kind of Channel 10 gopher or something. The concert itself felt like a Big Gig re-union show, and now I’m wondering if Holly was related to Ted "1990s ABC Comedy Supremo" Robinson.

I once went to a taping of The Big Gig. It was after its halcyon days, the sunset period, when the edge of its comedy was rather less sharp than it had been. Arguably the funniest stuff was all in the audience warmup, material which wasn’t aired, such as theDoug Anthony All Stars doing their impression of Christian youth camps ("Running and leaping and praising God!") And so this resurrection of a lot of the Big Gig characters like Candida and Shirley Purvis felt a bit stale, though the Sandman/Flacco bit and some other segments raised a smile.

The DAAS sung "Throw Your Arms Around Me"yet again – will that damn song never die? It was fabulous the first time they did it – as with their "Heard It Through The Grapevine" (which to their credit they have never repeated), the context made it what it is. Lowest of the low brow innuendo and savage biting sarcasm suddenly give way to a beautifully performed song. A masterstroke. That’s been lost in the subsequent dozen performances – now it’s just tiring.

The addition of some unbearable visiting English boy singer (Gareth someone) and his forgettable song (which they tried to convince us was good by noting that it was a UK hit) did nothing to help. I mean, if it’s a concert specifically dedicated to a particular person, what is the point of shoving in an import like this, someone who has undoubtedly never heard of the person being honoured, and is only trying to gain some publicity for an assault on our local CD-buying teenagers?

Ah well.