The 1950s saw Australia’s Italian Renaissance which now leaves its traces in the tourist traps of Lygon St. Well they’re not too bad, but if you wanted to go to a good Italian Restaurant you’d have to know what you were doing to get a really good one in Lygon St. But things have been changing. With the slow, grinding, ongoing depression European bureaucrats have cooked up for their populations there’s a steady flow of migrants from the worst hit ‘periphery’ countries.
And the owner of the DOC chain of restaurants is sponsoring them out and giving them work in his three restaurants – one on Lygon St, one on Faraday around the corner and one at Mornington (where the vegetable lasagne is to die for.) The most popular is the Faraday St Pizza joint (which – very rarely for Australia - has queues outside it), but our favourite is the Carlton Espresso on the Eastern side of Lygon between Faraday and Grattan. There wonderful waiters and waitresses who I presume are here on ‘backpackers’ visas, treat you to fabulous Italian hospitality and completely fabulous food. The papardelle porcini mushroom is fantastic, as are waiters Ameliano, Andrea, Leon, Martina and any number of others. Most of the waiters are men. And a preponderance of the diners are women. Then again one of the waiters is called Eros, so I guess it’s not that hard to guess what some of the drivers are.
In any event lots of these people are here and trying to get into Australia. They’re all incredibly nice people and being italians lots of them are very well trained. One of them (a really nice person – like them all really – in her mid-twenties from Tuscany) - has a degree in economics and engineering is doing research assistance for Lateral Economics! It seems to me, while we scour developing countries to snaffle their resources of skilled labour to enable us to maintain the shitty wages we pay teachers, nurses and such like, we should be over in Europe with our shingle out on the street trying to get some more great migrants from Europe.
Anyway, I thought I might do an op ed on this. And here is my bleg – and why this post is here. Since my column is published in both the Age and the SMH, can someone point me to some similar phenomena in Sydney (it would even be good with a different ethnicity).
Regular Troppodillians will have observed occasional attempts by me to get something regular going on Troppo regarding films. None have come to anything. Anyway, I’ve just completed a couple of deadlines and have a couple of free film passes obtained last year which only last till the end of June.
So I’m in the market for a good film (preferably on at the Nova Cinema where the pass is from). So please feel free to fill me in. I hesitated to put up this bleg, but I always feel OK about blegs if I think they could be useful to others, and it occurred to me that it would be worth making this a regular feature of Troppo – say monthly.
So below, please let me know of any film recommendations, and please let me know if you think it would be good to post this bleg regularly. With Fairfax on its knees, as Humphrey Gocart says at the end of Casablanca, this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
I’ve been asked to pontificate on this subject on national radio on Sunday night. My main message will be that yes, manufacturing will be smaller than now and will generally follow the trend it’s been following and that that’s fine. There’s not much that’s special about manufacturing, though perhaps in areas of national specialism it’s a host of important R&D. That’s not true in the iconic areas like car manufacturing which have relatively high levels of technical skill, but are – alas – run as back offices of other countries.
Anyway, perhaps others have wise words and thoughts that are worth spreading.
Having promised myself that I’d buy a Mac when they brought out a netbook sized MacBook Air, I did just that about nine months ago. I got forced out of Macdom many yearsafter I began on a Mac in 1986 I’ve been meaning to write a review of my experience FWIW but haven’t got round to it.
- I was quite surprised at how much I had to figure out in making the transition from Windows. There are a surprisingly large number of small differences and when you’re used to one way of doing things it’s surprising how often one way of doing things needs to be unbaked into memory and something else baked in.
- Steve Jobs’ famous arrogance is on display with far more things that can’t be changed and customised to your own preferences.
- I expected to find the Apple software better designed, but it’s not. If anything – and this is now after nine odd months, I think it’s slightly worse. The Task Bar in Windows was always a snappy device, but I didn’t realise how good it was till I discovered the dock is definitely worse. If you’ve got lots of windows open the task bar lets you navigate to different windows quickly. On the Apple it’s usually two rather than one click away. Sounds like a small thing but it’s irritating. Still perhaps there’s a way of doing it I don’t know of. So generally I’d rate the operating system somewhat inferior to Windows in terms of convenience and intuitiveness.
- The trackpad in the Apple is seriously better than Windows. However this isn’t a big deal for me because I use external keyboard, screen and mouse most of the time.
- The Apple hardware is lovely.
- Ultimately my experience hasn’t made me, like many a baked on Apple fan. But I’ll probably keep with Apple for a funny reason. I can’t stand the Microsoft Office ‘ribbon’ which is compulsory in Office from Office 2007 on. Of course the best thing to do is to simply transition out of Office but unfortunately it’s impracticable given how much I have to interface with people using Office and Open Office won’t read Microsoft Office documents without formatting glitches. However Apple has managed to get Microsoft to do for its Apple variant what it should have done all along which is to provide menus at the same time as indulging it’s obsession with the ribbon. Anyway, that means that until Microsoft changes its policy in the Windows world, I’ll probably stick with Apple computers.
- Which brings me to the main subject of this post. Until a week ago, my battery lasted around 3 1/2 hours. Now it lasts around 1 1/2 hours. I don’t know of any setting I’ve changed. The fan seems to come on more though even when it’s not on the meter seems to show much less time is left in the battery than before. Anyway, this all suggests that, like old copies of Windows, the OS degrades in efficiency over time and needs reinstallation from time to time – if so that’s another reason I’m not happy but there you are. 1 1/2 hours is enough for most plane rides. Any clues O Troppolishous ones as to how I can fix this? (And yes, I’ve checked the power settings and there doesn’t seem to be anything particularly unusual in there.)
This year my accountant got sent accounts which as far as I could see involved writing the totals of a spreadsheet into the tax return and pressing ‘send’. OK, it might have been a bit more than that, I don’t really know, but what bugs me is that the documents she got indicated something like an $8,000 refund and when she drafted the return it had a near zero refund. Was this because she had a better grasp of the tax applicable? No it was because she didn’t transcribe the numbers properly.
For this I got charged $866.25 and that was for my personal return. There’s also the company . . . In any event, I’m after a new accountant. I don’t want or need anything fancy. Someone who is reasonably diligent and preferably someone who has some ideas from time to time about structuring a small business. If they come from Melbourne that’s well and good, but it’s by no means essential – we have post and email these days, and the person who does the books is in Queensland.
If you’ve got an accountant who’s Just Great, please let me know either in comments or by email on n g r u e n AT g m a i l DOT c o m