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Useless shit in Melbourne [28 March 2008|11:49 pm]
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[Current Music |'Oceans Rise' by Borknagar]

Wow, it's been a good few days since I posted. No particular reason, except that I've been a bit busier than I expected to be, and the postwhorehouse over on Interference has sucked away lots of my Internet time. I thought that I'd be feeling a bit lonely, what with Mum and Alan going back to Queensland after an all-too-short visit and Kate no longer in my life, but I've found myself more social than I have been in a long time. I've met up with folks from Interference a few times and that's been very nice, and harmonybear (Kat) and I can't seem to stop heading out and acting like we're railfans. Yeah, me, a railfan, what a surprise. I still can't believe I met a fellow albino railfan in Melbourne though.

Anyhow, while I've been out and about these last couple of weeks, I've found various examples of useless shit in Melbourne that I've photographed and shall now share.

Useless staircase in Melbourne University's Brownless Medical Library.Collapse )

Useless ramp by Dynon Road, North Melbourne.Collapse )

Useless railway tracks at Spencer Street and North Melbourne railway stations.Collapse )

And that's it for useless shit in Melbourne. Maybe in my next post, I'll include something useful!
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(no subject) [16 March 2008|11:58 pm]
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[Current Mood |hothot]
[Current Music |'Hallways Of Enchanted Ebony' by Agalloch]

What a remarkably social weekend. I went out for hours on both days. I would be lying if I said I could remember the last time I did that. It was fantastic too, and I would love more of the same in the coming weekends. I really don't get out much, but I always enjoy myself considerably when I do, and I'm sure I would be a much happier individual if I didn't hide inside my apartment so much. I would also be a much happier individual if the oppressive heat we're experiencing would go away. Today was amazingly uncomfortable. Tomorrow, my favourite tutor is giving the weekly lecture for one of my courses at uni and I really want to go, but unbelievably, the lecture theatre is not air conditioned (what century is this, people?!) and the forecast is for 39C. Ouch. I'll feel terrible if I don't go, but when I went to that theatre in 32C, I nearly passed out. I don't even want to think about what 39C would be like. I have to go in to the Royal Historical Society tomorrow for a meeting in the morning, but thankfully their building is air conditioned.

This heat is awful. It's making me put things off. I'm not going shopping until it cools down. I'm skipping lectures. I'm avoiding absolutely anything that requires me going outside any more than I must, which means I keep delaying having my hair cut. My hair has gotten too long and is a bit uncomfortable in the heat, but the walk to the hairdresser seems even less desirable. I guess I'll be waiting until an anticipated cool change rolls through on Thursday. I'm really not handling the heat well at all. I'm considerably thankful that I am not in Adelaide, which sounds like the very furnaces of Hell.

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(no subject) [15 March 2008|11:55 pm]
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[Current Music |'Les Iris' by Alcest]

Well, I had a very nice and very exhausting day today. This morning, I had a lovely morning tea/brunch with a group of other Melburnians with albinism. Then afterwards, harmonybear and I went trainchasing in the city. This involved a considerable degree of walking in rather warm weather, and was thoroughly worth it. There is truly something delightful in not being a lone train nerd for a change! What a good day. My legs are killing me in a way I wasn't aware they could kill me, but it was for a good cause, so I'm not complaining! Absolutely need to do that again.

I would love to post some of my three hundred and seventy photos of trams and trains, but they are all on the Mac and for reasons I am not entirely able to determine, the Internet is refusing to work on it at the moment. I've started a thread over on Whirlpool, an Australian IT forum, so hopefully the issue will be resolved. If it looks like taking a while, I'll just burn them onto a CD and copy them onto the Windows. I've a shitload of photo posts I need to make.

On a completely unrelated topic, I hadn't played Alcest's Souvenirs D'un Autre Monde in a little while, but I've put it on this evening and it's blowing me away all over again. Truly the album of 2007, despite how astonishing Porcupine Tree's Fear Of A Blank Planet is. Neige is an absolute fucking genius. Shoegazer meets positive black metal with traces of post-rock? It shouldn't work, and yet it is one of the most stunningly beautiful things I have ever heard. If I were to do a list of greatest album openers of all time, Printemps Emeraude would certainly be on it, and Tir Nan Og would appear on the equivalent list for album closers.

No full albums from 2008 have seriously captured my imagination yet, though I am highly impressed by Agalloch's EP entitled The White. It may not have an individual track of as high quality as Kneel To The Cross from the Of Stone, Wind, And Pillor EP, but its often folkish and very desolate atmosphere is stunning. The run of Pantheist/Birch White/Sowilo Rune is of the most evocative in the band's history.

Now time to go collapse from exhaustion somewhere.
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(no subject) [14 March 2008|09:24 pm]
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[Current Mood |hothot]
[Current Music |'Veil Of Maya' by Cynic]

God's fortunate that he doesn't exist, otherwise he'd have a lot of explaining to do with regards to Melbourne's boilingly hot weather.

As it is, I merely scowl at the weather systems and wonder where the hell autumn's got to.
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(no subject) [13 March 2008|01:23 am]
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[Current Mood |tiredtired]
[Current Music |'Drown With Me' by Porcupine Tree]

OK, some quick notes, since I've neglected this. Mum and Alan have been visiting since Monday, and it has been really lovely to see them. Especially Mum. She looks a bit healthier than I expected, actually, except for her arm that's shockingly bruised - her dehydration meant that when a nurse tried to draw blood, it was hard to find a vein and Mum's arm got seriously messed up. We've had a few nice days, just doing stuff around the city. Today - well, yesterday now - we went to the Melbourne Zoo. My tram route goes past it, so I've seen it very frequently for the year and a bit that I've lived here, but never actually gone in! I hadn't been to a zoo in years, and I must say, the blue penguins, meerkats, red pandas, and elephants are made of all kinds of SuperWin. I took a disturbingly large amount of photos, and I'll share some of the best ones in the coming days. Though I was a bit bothered by how some of the animals appeared a little bored, or that they needed larger enclosures.

In completely unrelated and I suppose somewhat weird-sounding news, I had an interesting experience on Tuesday. I was waiting outside uni on Swanston Street for Mum and Alan, just photographing trams. Now, it's no secret that I'm an albino - but I have never actually met another human albino. I've owned an albino cat and encountered plenty of other albino animals, but not another person. So there I am, excitedly photographing a tram of the Z1 class because I didn't previously have any photos of Z1s in my collection, when what do I see but this albino woman walk right past me. I had to look twice and I just about said something! Now, I think it's pretty sweet to be an albino, but I'm sure not everyone feels the same way, and I just don't like to bother people or intrude in the first place, so I didn't say anything. But wow. For 21 years, in my own little slice of existence, I've been the only one. Now I'm not. It's one thing to know as a sheer matter of fact that you're not the only one, but quite another thing entirely to actually encounter somebody else and see that fact manifested before your very eyes. And then just to cap off my day, one of only three Z2 trams still in operation rocked up and I went back into photography mode.

And since it's now very late and I need to be up in some seven hours, I shall end here and disappear for sleep. I hope you're all well. My apologies for being considerably absent lately.
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A bunch of train photos. [7 March 2008|11:58 pm]
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[Current Mood |tiredtired]
[Current Music |'Sever' by Porcupine Tree]

So, I've caught the photography bug. Today, I had my first meeting with my contact at the Royal Historical Society, which went very well. I'll write more about what I'm working on once I know little bit more detail about the project. After the meeting, I figured I would go and photograph some trains and trams ... so I spent about thirty minutes doing that. It was all good fun. I'm such a nerd. Tomorrow, I'm seriously thinking of going and riding the Stony Point train, which is currently a diesel-hauled carriage train but I hear will be replaced by Sprinter railcars in the very near future. I want to ride it just during regular service, and since I've nothing else to do and would like to get out of the house, I might as well go tomorrow. It will give me a chance to do a lot of reading, including some of the details of the Royal Historical Society project I'm working on, and it will satisfy bot the railfan and the photographer within me.

So, in any case, I thought I would post some of my earlier photos of trains and get them out of the way before today's stuff and all the material I'm sure to take tomorrow. I've posted plenty of tram photos, but I hadn't gotten around to posting any I took of trains! These photos are from 25 January and 17 February and were mostly taken at Spencer Street Station in central Melbourne. My knowledge of Victorian trains is even more basic and rudimentary than my knowledge of the trams, so if I've made any mistakes, hopefully somebody out there can correct me!

Train goodness. You know that deep down inside, you care. Go on.Collapse )
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Because trams are all kinds of awesome [27 February 2008|11:53 pm]
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[Current Mood |blankblank]
[Current Music |'Friends Are Evil' by Jesu]

I've posted some of my photos of trams recently, but it was really just a mishmash, whatever I photographed when I was out. So today, I thought I'd do a proper run-through of the tram fleet for the out-of-towners, using my admittedly very rudimentary and basic knowledge. I'm sure anybody with more of a clue can easily correct and enlighten me. This is, after all, just an exercise in generorkish fun, and trams cheer me up. I should also get around to posting some of my railway photos soon too. I haven't taken many, just around Royal Park and Spencer Street stations, but it'll be a change of pace at least.

So without further ado, here's more of my shitty photography with a veneer of being informative.

W class.Collapse )

Z class. That's the zed class, people.Collapse )

A class.Collapse )

B class.Collapse )

C class.Collapse )

D class.Collapse )

We also have five new trams coming, on loan from France until 2011 ahead of a government plan to procure more trams. Amusingly, some French leaves have delayed the introduction of these trams to service. I'm looking forward to seeing them around and photographing them. I hope they retain the yellow livery seen in The Age's article. It's much more attractive than the bland fog grey and white that Yarra Trams currently uses on most of the other trams.
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(no subject) [21 January 2008|09:42 pm]
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[Current Music |'Epidemic' by Blackfield]

I got back from New Zealand this morning.

I've a mass of thoughts swirling in my head on different topics and it really is tremendously difficult to make sense of them or to put them in order. I suppose I shall try. I guess most insistent in the back of my mind is the knowledge that I probably just saw Grandpa alive for the last time. I am trying not to let this come to the front of my mind though, with varying degrees of success. Strangely enough, what bothers me the most is that I didn't say my standard "have a good one" to him when I left ... then I realise that was probably better, as I quite consciously chose to say "see you later". Because damnit, I am going to see him later. He's stubborn; he'll hold on as long as he bloody well can. Apparently he looks good at the moment; to me, he looked much worse than when I saw him in July 2007, but those who've seen him recently think he's improved as a result of his recent radiation treatment. That treatment is for comfort, however.

I got the chance to talk to him about Tangiwai, much more extensively than I expected. I was quite taken aback by the details I did not know, and remarkably enough, almost all of the family stories are true - and omit the most astounding parts! The only part that was significantly wrong was that he ended up in a tree; he in fact ended up on the edge of the river and somehow climbed the bank. He does not know how he did it. Those of you who've looked closely at the photos I have posted will surely agree with me when I say that it looks impossible. I will write up some more at a later stage in some kind of tribute.

I also find that on every trip, I miss New Zealand more - I guess because on every trip, it's even longer since I left, but it has never stopped being thoroughly familiar and entirely my home. I have a similar familiarity with Melbourne today, the Gold Coast unfortunately, and I'm sure if I went back, the University of Queensland's St Lucia campus and immediately surrounding suburbia too. However, it does not feel like home. It doesn't matter how many times I write "Australian" in response to customs forms asking "nationality as shown on passport", and it doesn't matter how much I love Melbourne and think it beats Wellington (or any other city I've visited) hands-down for livability. At the end of the day, it is not my home. I would give up anything, even my sense of independence that Melbourne gives me, to move back to my childhood home in Raumati Beach, have a job at Victoria University in Wellington, and do the looong commute every day. As much as I hate long commutes, I'd love it simply because of the part of the world I would be in. At the very least, I hope one day to have enough wealth to rock up at my childhood home and make the owners an offer they cannot refuse and establish it as a holiday house, somewhere to spend the summers away from Melbourne's heat.

Life moves too fast. It's weird that I'm 21. My father bought three wines in 1987 - well, obviously he bought more, but he specifically bought three, a red (for the life of me, I forget what, a pinot noir?), a late harvest riesling, and a port. We opened them after my birthday dinner and had a good evening drinking them. I seem to have acquired a taste for port. I grew up on wine, but only tried port sparingly and never really liked it, but the last time I had it was many years ago. However, the port actually proved to be my favourite, despite how much I love a good Kiwi late harvest riesling. It also turns out that I really do hold my drink extraordinarily well. I drank enough on both Saturday and Sunday nights to get most people I know fairly sloshed, while I did not even approach tipsy. That was pretty fortunate really, given the travelling on the days that followed both evenings. I incidentally had the longest birthday of my life. With family in New Zealand and Australia, I've had long Christmases and birthdays before, but my 21st managed to stretch from the day itself, the 17th, right through to the 20th when we had a lovely birthday lunch at Grandma and Grandpa's and a good barbecue back at Dad's place. Wow, that was only yesterday. It feels a world away.

I think most bizarrely for me, in the last week, I had a handful of moments - brief moments, but moments all the same - where I actually felt comfortable. I am not comfortable in social situations. My mind is always flying, always analysing. I cannot mentally relax, even if I look at ease to other people. I think I am actually quite good at putting up a kind of appearance of confidence, quite by accident as nothing could be further from the truth. However, being around certain people - both grandfathers and a couple of people in Queensland - actually put me at ease. I thought I would always be too nervous to talk to Grandpa about Tangiwai, but it was actually amazingly good ... I only returned to my standard discomfort when it was over and we went to eat lunch. I remember a time when I didn't find it this hard to relax and when I didn't subject everything to methodical and extensive thought and second-guessing. It was nice, albeit unexpected, to have brief returns to that.

So there's a smattering of thoughts, all very tired as I have been up for 20 hours after only a modicum of sleep. I hope all of you had a good few days. I took shitloads of photos, so I'll make some entries in the coming days that present them and more closely detail where I went and what I did. My photography sucks but it hopefully does the job.
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(no subject) [14 January 2008|11:28 pm]
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[Current Music |'Missing Presumed Drowned' by Straitjacket Fits]

I was thinking of writing a serious entry today, but then I started to feel like shit and I'm simply not up to it. So instead, I would like to share some more photos. I went for a walk around Brunswick West this afternoon, and since having a digital camera is still a bit of a novelty for me (yes, I am aware of how behind the times I am), I took it with me and got some photographs. I still don't feel comfortable taking photos though, even when it's not of trams. A camera's always been something to get out for special events, so taking photos of mundane, ordinary things feels odd. I can't help but wonder what passing people think, and I'm always very careful to avoid getting anyone else in my shots. I'm sure almost everybody else is paying absolutely no attention to me. It's just not what I'm used to. Plus I don't like making overt displays of wealth, and I feel that things like digital cameras and iPods constitute that.

But I come from a family that didn't even have a CD player until 1998. DVD player? I had access to one belonging to other people 2003-06, but I did not get my own until 2007. I go to movie rental stores nowadays and I'm amazed by how much they're taken up by DVDs and how small - or sometimes even non-existent - the video section is. I walk in and can't shake the feeling that I want to rent a video!

Anyway, I'm getting off topic. Here's some photos from my walk. My inner Melbourne suburb and trams and random stuff.

Photos.Collapse )
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Because trams are cool. Cooler than you! [10 January 2008|11:49 pm]
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[Current Mood |geekygeeky]
[Current Music |'Assassing' by Marillion]

Alright, three tram entries in three days, that's a bit excessive. But this is the last one. It's also probably a bit more interesting than yesterday's entry, which was wildly nerdy even by my standards, and has some non-tram related Melbourne shots. All of the photos were taken between 3pm and 4:30pm on 9 January 2008.

Firstly, the non-tram Melbourne shots: hello, drought!Collapse )

The only decent photo I took with a train as the main subject.Collapse )

Trams in and around Royal Park.Collapse )

My favourite photo from the day's outing.Collapse )

I think to an outsider - or to a tram fan like myself - the pedestrian tram signs are pretty neat.Collapse )

Random stuff in Royal Park, including a pathetic excuse for a hockey stadium and a weird lopsided 'archway'.Collapse )

A final two trams.Collapse )

Well, I think this is the coolest entry I have ever made. I am sure everybody else begs to differ.
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