Category Archives: Grumpy Old Lady Stuff

A sad story

I bought myself an I-river Story e-reader on the weekend.  I wanted an e-reader with a qwerty keyboard because particularly when I’m doing “work” reading, I take notes- usually on a piece of A4 scrap paper that I fold in half and insert into the book, adding extra pages as I go.  With a keyboard, I thought, I could take notes as I go- albeit probably shorter than I am used to, as the keyboard is very small- but it would mean that I wouldn’t have scribbled A4 half-pages scattered around the place.  I didn’t want to be tied in Kindle’s publishing format- it seems that EPub is working out as the common format, and I resent that the Kindle doesn’t support it.  I was hoping that I-river would reduce its price in competition with the Kindle, but no such luck.  I made a deal with myself that I wouldn’t buy it until August, in the vain hope of a price-reduction, and last weekend I finally made the purchase.

So far, I’ve been really disappointed- so disappointed that I can hardly bear to look at the thing. The instructions are HOPELESS- barely one paragraph on a fold-out sheet with every other language known to mankind.  There’s a manual on the I-river itself, which is perverse as you need to be able to use it to read the manual.  To be honest, I just don’t get how to use the wretched thing.  The opening screen gives you 2 options: 1. Charge battery  2. Connect removable disk.  What disk? The little card that came with it? Do I need to charge the battery first?  Stuffed if I know.   But I do know that to make your computer recognize it, you have to select “Connect removable disk”.  The I-river is the “removable disk”.  Is it just me, or is this a rather obscure instruction?  Then, about 40 pages into the manual, I learn that I need to download software from the I-river site.  Would it not have been useful to have that information up front? What ever happened to Step 1, Step 2, Step 3.   Sometimes I can get my computer to read it; other times I cannot- is it faulty, or am I faulty?

Along with Tony Abbott (shudder), I am not a tech-head (nor do I aspire to be Prime Minister), but I’m not an absolute dunce with technology either- although I suspect that my children would beg to differ.  I am the only person in the house who can programme the video, for example.  But this I-river has me stumped.  I think I’ve been sold a pup.

I shall let you know if I ever get to like it.

Miles Franklin and other stuff

Well, I shall have to be seriously disgruntled, won’t I?  A poor decision in my opinion.

There’s much else to enrage me in the newspaper and news this morning. 

  • Protecting the profits of large energy companies and their distribution networks by not embracing the desire of ordinary householders who want to make use of the sun that streams onto their roof. 
  • Importing trams and trains from overseas: surely the public transport needs of Australia as a whole could justify one major manufacturing centre in the country
  • MisterRabbit looking smug
  • What happened to the photograph of the young woman in that mining executive plane crash?
  • European governments going all hairy-chested over who can cut their deficit the most harshly.  Wasn’t it resistance to this type of economics that averted depression two years ago?  Has the world economy really rebounded that strongly?  Do I dare mention the words “double dip recession”?
  • Just to prove how shallow I am, Stephen Milne (I am a St Kilda supporter). On second thoughts, I should leave this one alone.

Bah, humbug!

The Rechabites might get me yet

When I was twelve years old and  in grade six at Heidelberg Primary School, a crusty old gentleman from the Independent Order of Rechabites came weekly to instruct us about the evils of alcohol.  There was a statewide exam at the end of it, and I’m rather proud to say that I won the state prize with a score of 91%.  I was awarded a book which I have since lost without regret and a beautiful certificate which I do regret losing because from memory it was a highly ornate document with beautiful copperplate writing.  Prize notwithstanding, I have never been a teetotaller; I  am not one now and I find the whole idea of the Rechabites rather quaint.

But I’ve got to say that I’m finding the emphasis on alcohol over the last few years rather overwhelming.   I know that I’m hypocritical here- looking back I don’t know why we felt we had to drink champagne at our children’s birthday parties and I don’t think I’d do it now.  I am disconcerted that every celebration of a sporting triumph, a career achievement, an opening of some civic building or service etc. needs to be marked with alcohol.  I don’t know why bars and bottleshops  have to stay open all night.  I find the idea of going to work in the morning while the nightclubs are disgorging the last of their patrons quite unnecessary.

I was puzzled to find this advertisement on the label of Spring Valley apple juice.

When a bender begins and when it ends is not an exact science.  However, our not so rigorous testing proves that when the bender has been and gone, it leaves behind a primordial need to consume something of substance, something so angelic and good, it probably grew on a tree- and preferably for that something to be almost like an apple in liquid form.

This is APPLE JUICE, remember…consumed by children, old people, people who are just plain thirsty and not necessarily recovering from a bender. Why does it have to market itself this way to everyone who buys it?

Then in the weekend’s paper there was a rather trite column about “how to decorate a Christmas tree” by Kate Duthie This is the last thing I need to read, given that  I have decorated my Christmas tree three times this year so far after it has fallen down twice this year (or maybe I do need to read that article, particularly the part where it tells you to make sure that the tree is stable before putting anything on it).   But the last paragraph particularly grated:

Whatever you do, make it fun.  Involve your family and friends, pop some champers and make it an event.

An event? Champagne? It’s a CHRISTMAS TREE for Christ’s sake! (I feel I can say that without blasphemy).  Why do you need a drink to put up a Christmas tree?

Bah. Humbug.

The naughty Age website

‘The Hungry Beast’ on ABC1 ( I suppose we’ll have to start using those numbers now that there’s ABC1, ABC 2 and ABC 3) had its last episode last week.  I gave up after about five minutes of the first show thinking that I really must be getting very old, but a couple of weeks later I persevered and found it interesting but variable.  A bit of a curate’s egg, so to speak.

But one small segment they had discussed the difference between the online sites for newspapers and the actual newspaper itself. You can see it here.  They argue that otherwise respectable news sites ensure that their page displays words that are likely to be turned up in a search for sex online.  And you know- they’re right! I was looking at today’s Age website – and now let’s face it, the Age is not renowned for its lascivious coverage. But even the dowdy old Age website has two uses of the word “sexy”, one “topless”, and a “bra” on today’s site.

I’d be pretty willing to bet that there’s similar words every single day.

The Resident Judge Reckons 8/11/09

that newspapers are increasingly being used as an outlet for the activities of lobbying firms.  It’s just “he said/she said” being mouthed by ventriloquist politicians, ‘spokesmen’ and ‘independent’ commentators.

The Age yesterday had a register of the climate-change lobbying companies- easily found yesterday;  I couldn’t find it on the site today- I had to find it through the Centre for Public Integrity which then had a link to it through the Sydney Morning Herald.   The PDF file showing the large companies, the lobbying companies who contract to them, and the lobbyists and their policitical connections can be found at

The advisers and staffers, on both sides,  are coming out to play.  And we’ll uroll our newspapers in the morning and think that we’re reading “news”.

Meanwhile, Rupert and Little Johnny are whipping themselves up into a frenzy.  A plague on all their houses.

The Resident Judge reckons 4/10/09

…that the clutch bag, which is supposed to be all the rage for Fashions on the Field is another way of ensuring that women remain decorative and useless.  As if the hobbling high heels are not enough, now we have to shuffle along,  clutch bag in hand or wedged tightly under the arm.   How is one to hold a drink, hold on to one’s hat, nibble on a canape etc. with just one hand?  Not really my problem and not high on the world’s priorities but frustrating and demeaning nonetheless

Uncivil ugliness

Saturday’s Age had a feature about the rising anxiety over the State Government’s proposal to move the city’s urban limits out further, and the opposing anxiety over high-density living and local amenity.  It pointed out a number of inner-city sites that had been left vacant for many years where high-density development could add to the city’s housing stock without moving further into semi-rural areas.

One of the aerial shots accompanying the article showed a large expanse of land near North Melbourne station that has lain vacant since Solomon Lew purchased it 17 years ago.  What struck me was the huge FCUK sign draped across the deserted factory building on the site.  Unfortunately the Age online article doesn’t show the photograph, but you can see the building I am talking about  here. You might also want to consider the vacuous, clinical approach that the advertisers have taken in this “project”.

I also don’t want to post the picture here because I find it crass and offensive.  I’m well aware of the smarty-pants, smirking, superior marketing decision behind the choice of the FCUK brand.  But why shouldn‘t people find it offensive?  Why should an obscenity suggested on a  billboard impose itself so insistently and aggressively onto the public consciousness?  The brand proprietors can take the high moral ground and protest that the word in itself is not obscene, but these four letters have not been chosen randomly: they know full well that the cognitive pathways of a population literate in English will automatically read the word differently.

This is swaggering, arrogant visual pollution, and I resent having it forced upon me.