Another one!

Venice, 2008 © PJ Croft

The Economist magazine always makes up clever subheadings for their stories, and for cleverness, I reckon this one takes the (fish)cake:

Fish tongues, a Norwegian delicacy harvested by children
The piece of cod that passeth all understanding
I laughed out loud.

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It’s happened again! The sixth time! Once again, I’ve had my money refunded via Paypal for my order for Sony Clié batteries. No explanation, no accompanying email.

It’s beginning to look like these batteries are unobtainable, rendering my device to the status of paperweight. Booger.

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Also once again, my trip to Joondalup yesterday, for what I thought was going to be the actual operation to cut the Squamous Cell Carcinoma out of my temple, turned out to be another false trip.

At least the surgeon was there this time, but all he did was take another look at the lesion, tell me that a skin graft would need to be taken from somewhere to cover it, and fill out the hospital admission form. That’s right, I’m going to have it done in hospital and be anaesthetised. That’s good, because I’m pretty nervous about them cutting a deep hole in my head.

Anyway, I then had to fill out another form for the hospital, and my job will be done on Tuesday 11 May. Crumbs, waiting, waiting. And they charged me $70 for this visit.

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Dang!

This is the one I want.

Hah, a week after I bought my Peugeot 407, another one has come up for sale that’s much more like what I wanted, albeit at a much higher price.

When I was thinking about Mercedes, I was sick and tired of them all being black. What’s wrong with people, I thought? Don’t they want any colour in their lives?

But now that I’ve bought my silver 407, I want black. To me it looks much more elegant and sporty. But look at this!

I love that leather colour! That’s what I want! And, it’s got a sun-roof. I haven’t seen another one advertised with these features so I thought it was European spec only. Yet here it is, for sale in Sydney and it’s done 8,000km less than mine, 126,000. It’s the 2.9L petrol version, non-turbo.

The bad news is that the asking price is $8,990, and it’s in Sydney. Dog, I feel like trying to change over. At the price I paid last week, $4,400, I think I’d pretty soon get a buyer here for mine.

On the other hand, a respray of mine to black would be a damned sight cheaper, counting the cost of going to Sydney and driving it back. But then I lose the fun of that trip.

Also, there’s another one came up a few weeks ago that’s black with white leather upholstery, very nice too.

This one’s in Melbourne and the ad was removed last week, so I thought it had been sold, but it’s back. It’s a dealer, so they probably had a buy that fell through. This one’s $7,495 so you can see I got a real bargain last week. Assuming there’s nothing serious wrong.

There are only two main things: the air-con doesn’t get cold and the ultrasonic parking distance sensors don’t work. Obviously, neither stops it being driven and can wait to be fixed.

I drove it a fair distance yesterday (to Ascot and back) and it’s a nice drive, but there’s a bit of vibration and a slight shuddering at times, nothing serious. Also there’s a lot of air buffeting if you have the windows down, seemingly at any opening. Even opening the passenger side a bit doesn’t seem to help.

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We had our two-for-the-price-of-one Northam Senior High School 2020/21 Reunion yesterday. We had to cancel last year due to the virus but we held the annual event this year. It’s amazing how we’ve stayed in touch all down the years.

This is the class of 1960-64. I’ve heard that a couple of other groups have occasional reunions, but we hold ours every year by popular demand. We’ve heard from a couple of former teachers that we were a fairly outstanding group of students and I think we’re proving it. We’ve haven’t produced any geniuses or Nobel Prize winners, no doctors, one lawyer, a couple of good science support people and several teachers, and several nurses. And farmers.

This was our 57th year, so we’re coming up to 60 years in 2024 when we’ll all be 77 (all born in 1947). There are quite a few names in red ink in our database of 216, red for deceased, unfortunately.

The school is holding a big reunion on 15 May for the school’s centenary. It will be at the school in Northam. Strangely, many of us are in two minds whether to go. It covers all years and obviously, there will be hundreds of people that we don’t know. We feel that we get enough from our own reunions. Apparently the head mistress is being fairly prescriptive about what will happen and we don’t feel we need to be pushed around.

The other factor is the weather. As the farmers said yesterday, mid May is when the rain usually starts. I’m not sure. I wouldn’t mind going for a drive (in my new wheels) but I may not stay long. A couple of the ex-Toodyay boys (who used to get the bus to Northam) are planning to book hotel rooms in Toodyay and have a drinking night of it. I could be in that.

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I had another wasted trip on Friday. I had to go to Joondalup anyway so I thought I’d go on to a place I’d checked out in a Morley shopping centre that does replacement keys for modern cars. I checked with them on Facebook Marketplace that they could supply my Peugeot key and the price. Yes, $99.50, no problem.

So I made the quite long drive (everywhere’s a long drive from Butler!), found what I thought was the right shopping centre (it’s dense around there) and went in to find the multi-service kiosk.

Wow, it’s like an Asian marketplace, densely packed with small shops like a Malaysian or Indonesian shopping arcade. It was rather nice actually, with all the smells of spicy foods, Malaysian, Thai, Indian, Middle Eastern, Lebanese and so on. And small shops packed with brightly coloured and LED-lit cheap electronic stuff, just like Singapore. Nothing that interested me, I’m afraid, but if I need any LED strings or lights, I know where to come.

After a long search down narrow aisles, I finally found the multi-service kiosk but they didn’t know anything about the key I wanted. “No, cannot.” Wasted trip. Maybe I had the wrong shopping centre because there is another one across the other side of the main road.

Anyway, I had a very nice lunch of my favourite, Malaysian Kueh Teow. It wasn’t nearly as good as the one I had in Mandurah some years ago (with my cousin Tom, hi Tom), which I think was the best I’ve ever had. By then I was too tired to try to cross the busy main road so headed for home. There are plenty of other suppliers.

Oh, I forgot, after my rant about my four failed attempts, or was it five, at buying Li-Ion batteries for my Sony Clie, I found another supplier whose web-site said they have stock, so I placed yet another order. So far, three days later, all is quiet, no rejected payment, so maybe this time I’ll be successful.

But the price! I ordered two and the total, with postage, came to just under A$100. I was probably silly to have ordered two, but given how scarce they are, I’m sure I’ll be able to sell one on if I decide to.

Assault & battery

It’s happened again! I wrote in the last post about the difficulty ordering replacement batteries for my Sony Clie PDA, and how my orders always go wrong. Well, I found another supplier in the USA just after writing that, and at a good price, so I placed an on-line order for two and got a very pleasant reply email confirming my order and saying they’ll be despatching them soonest.

Well, today I got an email from Paypal to say that my money’s been refunded. Nothing from the battery company, just the refund with no explanation. That’s the fifth time! What do I have to do? Keep trying, I guess. I must get a result sooner or later.

I bought this device in 2003, by the way, and I think it cost about $1200. No, not that much – can’t remember. It’s a bit like an iPad, I guess, long before iPads were invented. It has the digital camera, video recording and playback, a voice recorder, music playback, note taking, phonebook, Bluetooth and so on. Palm operating system. Very advanced for its time. But it didn’t take off, probably because it was too thick and heavy. I didn’t use mine much, although I did take some nice photos, before I ever got my first proper digital camera. I’ve still got it, obviously and I’ll probably advertise it on eBay. Plenty of people have a nostalgic desire to own one.

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I had my vaccination on Tuesday and I did notice some side effects yesterday. My arm was a bit sore and I felt more than usually tired (although I always feel tired, due to the leukemia, I think). It also felt a little bit like having a cold.

But it’s all gone away after a good night’s sleep. No problems now. I’m very glad I’ve had it.

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I was all keyed up to have the skin cancer removed from my temple yesterday, but that was another damp squib. The surgeon wasn’t there! I didn’t have to wait too long this time, and once again was asked to wait in a really cheap looking examination room. After about ten minutes, a different doctor came in and he knew nothing about my case, asking me what had happened. I explained and said I wanted to know the result of the biopsy. Oh, OK. He looked it up and yes, it is a squamous cell carcinoma. It will have to be removed and probably a skin graft put over it. Well, whoopee, I think I already knew that.

So he led me out to reception again and asked me to make an appointment for next week when the surgeon will be present. So next Tuesday it is. It was a wasted trip, but at least they didn’t charge me this time.

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My “new” car, Evie le Pug, needs new keys. The one key I got works, but the remote lock/unlock buttons are mashed. I’ve found several local suppliers, a couple of whom say they can do it, so I’m probably going to Morley tomorrow to buy two new keys at $99.95 each.

After some more driving, I find it’s enjoyable with good handling and plenty of acceleration, but I wouldn’t call it a smooth ride. There’s a fair bit of NVH, noise, vibration and harshness. There’s a little bit of front wheel wobble, so it looks like a wheel alignment is needed. I haven’t checked tyre pressures, they may need adjusting. There’s a suspension switch for “S” – Sport and it doesn’t seem to do anything, so maybe it’s on?

Many of the switches in this French car are a bit strange, so I think I need to study the handbook.

Bon jour, je presenté Evie

This is a web photo, but mine is exactly the same.

Meet M’selle Evie, my new French girlfriend. She’s a Peugeot 407 Coupé. I’ve been looking at them on-line for months but they all seemed to be in the eastern states. I assumed they hadn’t sold very well in WA – they never came up locally. Well, now she’s mine!

Suddenly last Saturday, there she was, on Carsales, in Manning on the south side of Perth. I could hardly believe it, the model I wanted with the engine I wanted, and at about half the price I expected to pay, compared to all the ones in the eastern states.

Again, a web photo.
This is my actual car. I’m calling it Evie because the number plate is 1EVI.

I picked up the phone and arranged to come and see it. The guy said he’d had lots of enquiries but no-one had turned up yet. I said “I’ll be there in an hour.”

When I got there, it was still untaken and I said, provided there’s nothing major wrong, I want it. So we talked about it, I went and got some cash for a deposit and arranged to come again on Monday, that’s yesterday, with the balance. Price? $4,400. It’s not exactly a big outlay for what is a very fancy car, in excellent condition, only 133,600km.

So what is it? It’s a 2006 Peugeot 407 Coupé, with a 2.7L V6 twin turbo diesel engine. These were $72,500 new in 2006 so it’s depreciated as far as it’s going to go, I think. Due to their relative rarity, they may start to increase in price.

It’s all leather upholstery inside, with every driving feature you can think of: six speed automatic with Tiptronic manual, Electronic Stability Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, electronically controlled dampers for Sport or Comfort mode. Emergency Brake Assist, power seats, laminated double glazed windows for sound insulation, JBL sound system, automatic headlights when it gets dark, automatic rain sensing wipers, air con of course and heated seats … you name it, it’s got it. No tow bar though.

The thing is, being a diesel, torque is 440Nm at a low 1,900 rpm and power is 155kw (208HP) at only 3,500rpm. That means it’s powerful at lowish revs, right where you want it. And it pulls hard when you’re trying to idle along in dense traffic.

It has two gauges for temperature – unusual. One is for water, of course, is the other one oil temperature?

It has a couple of problems – apparently the aircon doesn’t get cold and the parking proximity sensors are not working (there’s a switch to switch them off low down on the dash – I wonder if the guy had switched them off and didn’t realise it – he seemed a bit clueless about the car).

I was a bit concerned that it seemed sluggish to move off from stopped, at first, but I realised after a while that it was switched to Snow mode, shown by a snowflake symbol in the dash display. That meant it started only in second gear, to avoid slipping. No wonder it felt funny. Switching that off made a big difference.

Being a French car, the damned turn indicator lever is on the left and the wiper wand is on the right. However, I drove home the long way last night, via Fremantle, taking about an hour, and I was soon used to it.

I am pleased as Punch! It fits what I wanted – a very stylish car, a 2 door coupé (I don’t want four doors! Four doors are for family men with kids! I’m a bachelor!), a rare car – I don’t think I’ve ever seen another one in Perth. It says “rare”, “unique”, “style”, “taste”, “discernment”. And at a very cheap price too. The guy said he wanted a quick sale. He got it.

Now I have to sell Vera, the Mitsubishi Verada. I’ll say I want a quick sale too, I’m ready to haggle. $2,900 and I’ll come down from there.

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My car is silver, to my mind a very boring colour.

I want one like this, black. I wonder what it would cost for a re-spray.

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What is it about battery suppliers? I’m looking for replacement LiIon batteries for my old Sony Clié PDA (Personal Digital Assistant).

sony clie」的圖片搜尋結果 | New technology gadgets, Electronics gadgets, Retro  gadgets
Sony PEG-NZ90 Clie. It has a 2Mega Pixel digital camera.

I found a supplier in the USA, New York, I think. I ordered two batteries and paid on Visa. A month later, no explanation, no email, just a refund into my account. I assumed no stock.

Last year I found a stockist in New Zealand so fired off an order, paying by Visa. Nothing happened for about two months, so I said, “What’s happening?” The guy said, “Uh oh, I’ll check the order.” Again, no answer for a month or more, over Xmas and New Year. I enquired again. He was on holidays. I enquired again a few weeks later.

“Oh, sorry”, he said. “We don’t send overseas. I’ll refund your money.” Don’t post overseas? From New Zealand?! Anyway, I got my money back.

Next was a supplier in the UK. There was some foul-up when I tried to order, but the answer came back, “No stock, sorry.” There was nothing on their web site to say no stock.

Next was a Canadian web site. It all looked good so I ordered two batteries, for a total of A$54 and got an order confirmation email. Again, I waited two months with no delivery, so I shot an email off last week asking why.

No reply, no explanation, but I’ve noticed a refund into my Visa account from them, so at least that’s something.

Four attempts, four fails. What is it with these companies? I’ll try again.

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I’m having my Astra Zeneca COVID vaccination at 2.15pm today, and I’m looking forward to it.

But I’m not looking forward to tomorrow. I go back to the doctor to get the result of the biopsy on my squamous cell carcinoma, and I assume the operation to cut it out. From what I’ve been told, he will cut 1cm out (wider) all around from the roughly circular lump, which is going to mean a hole roughly 3.5cm in diameter in my right temple, and probably quite deep. Ugh. It would seem to me that he’ll need to do a skin graft to cover it.

I guess I’m nervous about the unknown. I’ll know tomorrow.

Autumn

Autumn foliage. © PJ Croft 2021

Still warm, mid to high twenties each day with little or no rain. There’s an interesting situation developing off the NW coast of WA, where two cyclones have moved south, separated but circling each other like a giant dance. This makes their path unpredictable. They are shown as possibly joining up and moving on a line south, then crossing the coast well north of Perth and moving inland. If they do, the forecast is for LOTS of rain, maybe next Sunday and Monday.

Sunday is forecast for heavy rain. I look forward to it. I like variable weather.

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Oslo railway station

I watched a Norwegian movie on SBS the other night, called Earthquake (about, y’know, earthquakes ‘n’ stuff) and one of the scenes showed a magnificent view of the Oslo railway terminus from a high building viewpoint. Aaah, good plan for a model railway, I thought, so above is a panorama I made from Google Earth today. Here are a few more views.

Lookit all dem goods wagons and containers!

I wouldn’t try to reproduce the whole lot but it’s a good plan. Now to try to get it into the modelling software called Anyrail. I haven’t done much recently but it’s always in my mind to get back onto it.

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My appointment with the plastic surgeon finally came around on Tuesday, after a seven week wait! What a factory the place was. Doctor’s surgeries are usually fairly pleasantly decorated and furnished places. This was like a …. I dunno, business premises/factory/sports centre. It’s called Redimed and they deal with all kinds of medical/physio things. The waiting area is vast, with around two dozen chairs and low quality room dividers for the staff to sit behind, with cheap folding tables in front of them.

Anyway, the point is I waited more than an hour before my name was called! I was getting pretty restless by then so I was glad my time was finally up. I was shown into a small, bare consulting room with the cheapest of cheap desk and two chairs, plus an examination table. Was my waiting time up? No way. I had to wait another half hour before the doctor finally showed up! I was pretty browned off by then. That’s the longest wait I’ve ever had.

Anyway, it was to look at what I’ve been told is a cyst on my right temple, but may be more sinister, as doctors say. I can tell you, it’s been growing in size and becoming more painful in the seven weeks I’ve had to wait for that appointment.

Anyway, they took a piece for a biopsy and I go back next Wednesday for the next step. Obviously, it will have to be cut out and it’ll be a deep and wide hole. It’s about 12mm wide now, and quite sharply painful. They had to put two stitches in after the cut. It’s hurting.

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I had to see the GP today about my C/T scan of the bladder last week, and the report was, “All clear”. No problems. So the original problem was just a bladder infection.

While I was there I asked if my Astra-Zeneca vaccination next Tuesday is still going ahead. Yes, he said, they have supplies and I’m a high priority customer, so it’s all go. That’s good to know.

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The pandemic is taking its toll on the shops at Clarkson. There are several new boarded up casualties lately, including a greengrocer that’s located just outside Coles yet has survived for several years. I always wondered what they were thinking, since their prices were no cheaper. The only thing was that they had a bit wider range of exotic fruits and vegetables. Not any more – they’re gone now.

April Fool

Sanur sunrise Jan 2011 © PJ Croft

The 1st of April, Mum’s birthday in 1924. Nearly her centenary, wow. She died in 1996, I should add, at age 72, so I’ve beaten her.

I haven’t seen any April Fool’s Day jokes today, except the one about Voltswagen. Stale already. I haven’t even bought any hot cross buns. I should avoid them, being type II diabetic, but I wouldn’t mind having one or two, toasted with butter. Yum!

Crikey, it’s 35deg today, starting the second month of autumn, and the hot weather is scheduled to continue for several more days. It was 39deg last Monday. Crazy. Yet it rained at 4am on Tuesday morning. I happened to be awake at the time and heard it coming down hard, but only for a couple of minutes. It was enough to soak the gardens and lawns, though. Nice.

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I had the second bladder CAT scan on Tuesday at Joondalup Hospital. Crikey, the queue just to get into the parking area stretched right out onto the main road. It took me 15 minutes just to get to the boom gate. Luckily I’d seen a car pull out and go, so I had a space immediately. My point is, that parking area is atrocious. There are always long waits for a space, and when you’ve got an appointment, no matter how early you try to be, it never seems to be enough to stop the anxiety rising.

Anyway, the scan was simple and I await a call for the results. I think it was “an abundance of caution”, otherwise known as CYA, (Cover Your Arse), on the part of the GP. At least with bulk billing it’s cheap (like, no cost to me).

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It’s good to see house prices rising again. Good for me, that is, as an owner. Not so good for buyers, but with interest rates so low they don’t have the worry of never ending mortgages, even though they need big loans.

For me, as a reverse mortgage case, at last the value of the house should be increasing faster than the interest rate on the loan. That’s what makes a reverse mortgage work. I want my house to increase in value.

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Why did Coles remove the swing “gates” from their supermarkets some years ago, but reinstate them about a year ago?

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Coles are testing me; they stopped stocking my favourite Vietnamese Pho Noodle soups a few months ago. Then a few weeks ago they stopped stocking my addictive favourite cashews with the skin on. Now they’ve stopped selling my favourite frozen pizzas, McCains Sourdough varieties.

Given that Woolies sell the pizzas and have much a nicer range of ready cooked meals, I may have to switch. I used to complain on this blog about Woolies being very unreliable on their checkout scanning but I have to say, it seems to have been fixed. I’ve done a bit of shopping for my groceries at Woolies in the past year and I’m not noticing any errors any more. Good for them.

Ooops, oh dear, never mind

A real shot of Saturn.

Ah, autumn is starting. It’s a bit cooler, temps in the high twenties and low thirties, but more noticeable are the cooler night time temps. We got down to 11deg last night. I start out on top of the covers, no fan, but move under the doona around 1.30am for a good sleep. Still cold showers, I think I can last until April.

I heard one of Michael Moseley’s health programs last week explaining the immune system. It made the point that when we’re put into “fight or flight” mode, ie stress, our body produces hormones and chemicals (I can’t remember the details) which boost our immune system, temporarily. We don’t want these chemicals all the time as they can be harmful, but they did recommend a cold ending to your showers, to stimulate this release. This was referring to the UK where a cold shower would be really cold, so my fully cold showers wouldn’t be quite the same but close enough, I think. So I’ll continue.

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I felt very embarrassed and stupid this afternoon. I pride myself on having a very good sense for where the corners of my car are. I almost never nudge anything, but I must admit I did nudge a car in the shopping centre car park today.

It was at very low, crawl speed as I pulled into a bay. I looked and there was no-one in the car. Once I’d parked I got out and was embarrassed to see a woman talking to the driver in the car (he must have just got back) and pointing at me. Uurrgh. The guy got out and looked at his rear bumper (plastic, like mine) and there was a fairly large white mark on it from my car.

Luckily he rubbed it with his hand and most of it came off – it was really very light. He was very good about it. I apologised deeply and he said, “Oh, it’ll be OK. It’s OK.” Phew, thank goodness. I said sorry again and it was all done, but I was highly embarrassed.

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I’ve got my appointment to have my COVID injection (I’m not going to use the cliche word, jab!) It will be the Astra Zeneca one. I’m booked in on 13 April at my local medical centre. It’s only a 5 minute appointment, they’re planning to get a lot done and because we have to sit in the waiting area, they have to rush us through as they don’t have enough room for a crowd.

Then it’s a 12 week wait for the second one. I’m feeling a bit impatient because I’ve really, really got the hots to go to Melbourne or Sydney to buy one of those Peugeot 407 Coupes and drive it back. Really keen. Stupid.

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I’ve had a call from the installer to come out and fit two hand rails for me, one in the shower, one in the toilet. This is a free service from Osborne Park Hospital Rehabilitation Centre for “aged” people like me. Yes, free. No charge. Not bad. I didn’t ask for this. They just seem to have my name in their books and phoned me one day a few months ago to ask if they could call out here to see what I need.

So that’s what happened. The lovely Sophie came here a couple of weeks ago, measured up and wrote things down, and here we go – he’s coming on Monday. Fine with me if it’s free.

I must admit, things are getting harder. My balance in the shower is not as good as it was and I have to pull myself up with the door frame from the toilet. My fault, if I lost 20kg…….

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I’ve finished another book, science fiction this time. It was Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. What a strange book. I don’t know quite what to say about it, except that I finished it, so it held my attention to the end.

Set far in the future, it’s the story of a six year old boy called Ender Wiggin (hence the name), who’s picked at a very early age as being exceptionally bright. He’s taken from his parents and brother and sister to be sent into space to a training school where for the next five years he’s put through leadership and combat training with other boys his age with games in zero or low gravity in a simulator.

The objective is to find the future commanders of space warfare fighting forces to defend Earth against a future attack by aliens called Buggers (really?). He does exceptionally well and eventually is put in charge of what he thinks is the final training session, against massively outnumbering Bugger forces. He wins, of course, and comes away exhausted. Only then do the regular army commanders tell him that it wasn’t a training session, it was the actual final battle with the real aliens.

There’s a lot more to the story, including all the dynamics of his relationships with his brother and sister, and a rather lame ending, but it’s very well written. If it held my attention despite the weird story line, it must have been good.

I’ve always liked science fiction provided it’s based on science. I’ve always found most so-called SF books are simply stories of Earth situations transferred into space, ie cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians. No deal, not for me. Or else, they start out with a good idea, such as launching a mission to the Sun with a giant sun shield, but degenerate into a stupid story of space ghosts or similar.

The best author I’ve ever read was Dr Robert L. Forward. His doctorate was in astrophysics and it showed. Unfortunately he couldn’t develop believable dialogue very well, writing childlike dialogue at times, but his space situations were very far thinking and solidly based in science and physics.

The current king of SF, for me, is the Brit, Stephen Baxter, once again a PhD in astrophysics so he is qualified. His stories are truly mind expanding, but I must admit I find his books lack tension. The stories, although interesting, tend to meander along with nothing much happening.

However, I read his book Titan a couple of years ago, about a voyage to Saturn’s moon, Titan, to scope it out as a refuge for an Earth colony. Considering it has a surface temperature of about -200C and is frozen methane, it seems a tall order, but boy, that one held my attention.

I’ll buy any new Stephen Baxter book that comes out.

Likewise, I’m a big fan of another UK author, Robert Goddard. He’s nothing to do with SF but he’s very prolific, writing mystery novels, mostly set in the south-west of England. The thing is, he’s a great story teller, in fact I’d go so far as to say a very skilful story teller. He’s written many books, more than 30 I think, and I’ve read them all. He writes a new one every year and I think it’s time I checked to see if there’s a new one.

Fist-U-La

Me with the lovely Sutri, Bali April 1983. © PJ Croft 2021

Wow, summer is hanging on. Halfway through March and it was still 37.6C today, with 38C forecast for tomorrow and a string of 30s after that. I’m not complaining, just saying. They said last night would be uncomfortably hot, 22C min, but I had no discomfort. It was a beautiful night.

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The headline refers to my GP getting the results from my CT scan last week and although I feel fine and am not having any trouble, the scan showed a possibility of a fistula, a bridge between the colon and the bladder. The worry is that this could cause leakage into the bladder and repeated bladder infections (I’ve had a few, not many).

So he wants me to have another CT scan with a barium drink this time. Apparently this is not a common request so the clinic are chewing their pencils and will get back to me. That’s OK, I’m not having any discomfort or any problems. I can wait.

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My PC crashed in a big way yesterday. All I did was re-start as requested by my antivirus program (Kaspersky) and clunk! It wouldn’t boot again, not even into the BIOS. I was slightly worried for a while.

But I got into the guts, removing the graphics card and the memory modules and tackling all the accumulated dust. There was a lot. It took me about an hour.

Then I put it all back together and heyo! Away she went. It booted up smoothly with no complaint. Just goes to show, it’s not hard. I’d suspect it was mainly the wiggling and jiggling of the motherboard that was the main way it was fixed. It’s always worth a try. So that was a relief.

I built this computer in 2013 with fairly high end components (Core i7 2.6GHz CPU, 2x 4GB memory modules, 500GB Solid State Drive) and it’s lasted me well. I don’t feel any need to upgrade it.

On the other hand, my laptop is an ASUS touch-screen tablet with a magnetically attached keyboard. It runs Windows 10 but that and being touch screen are about the only things to recommend it.

The main problem is that the battery only lasts about 2½ hours. It has two USB ports, a type A and a type C, but the type C is used for charging and it really needs to be on the charger all the time, so that port is not usable for anything else.

As a computer, it’s OK and runs fine. It’s just that, with that short battery life, I never feel confident about taking it out with me, especially when I’d like to attach a DVD drive and watch movies with it. It wouldn’t even last a plane ride to Bali (3.5hrs).

I’m tempted to replace it with something more modern with better battery life and a higher spec. What would I choose? Maybe this?

ASUS Zenbook 14.

Weight only 1.13Kg, with as much power as this desktop, and up to 16 hours battery life (so they advertise). Price? Basic, $1,152. I’m sure it goes up as you add extras. I’m not saying I’ll do it, just musing. There are some fantastic laptops out there, as powerful as desktops. With OLED screens, better than desktops.

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I’ve got the car hots again.

2006 Peugeot 407 Coupe. This one’s only done 82,000km and seems overpriced at $12,990 at a dealer in Melbourne.
Side view
This one’s done 131,000km and is $6,950. Private sale.
This one’s a 2006 and has done 155,000km, $7,850. Rear view. I like that!

They have either a 6cyl petrol or a twin-turbo 6 cyl diesel engine. I’ve never considered a diesel, but it’s supposed to be an exceptionally smooth and quiet engine. Twin turbo? Phwooaarr.

These cars are almost unobtainable in WA. There are only three on Carsales, Australia-wide. You find a few 407 sedans and wagons here in WA, but no coupes. These were $72,000 cars in 2007. All leather inside.

I always thought I needed a station wagon but these grab me. They go for an average of $8,000 now. But all in Victoria, NSW or Queensland, never WA. I can dream. Anyway, I need to get rid of at least one of my existing cars first.

One drawback is that the indicator stalk is on the left, as per a European car. Very annoying!

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Grrrr. I made a trip into the city by train last week and parked my car directly opposite the Butler train station in the shopping centre car park. I knew it was a bit risky but because my left foot hurts, I was leaning heavily on my stick and walking slowly and wanted to reduce the distance I had to walk. It saved me about 250m.

When I got back at about 2.55pm, there was a damned sticker on my windscreen telling me I’ve been fined $65 for overstaying, marked 2.52pm! Wilson Parking Enforcement Services.

This is a small area of the carpark, little used because it’s so out of the way, away from the entrances, so not many cars there. I’d noticed the car I parked next to when I arrived, because it looked so nice and I’m interested. It was an Audi A1 in a beautiful deep red. It was still next to me when I got back, but it didn’t have a fine sticker!

I can’t say exactly what time I arrived there but it was around 10.30am, maybe a bit later. They’d pinged me at 2.52pm, so that makes it 4 hours 22 mins maximum in a 4 hour area.

I’m going to dispute this fine! (a) I dispute the time – they must have marked my tyre right at the minute I arrived, very unlikely; (b) why was my car pinged and not the Audi?; (c) I’ll plead my disability, although I don’t have a disability pass; (d) I don’t think I was away for 4 hours; (e) if you prosecute me, it will probably cost you more than the fine in lawyers and court time; (f) if you do this, the shopping centre will lose my business – there are plenty of other places I can go. That will cost you hundreds of dollars a month.

They even threaten to tow my car away and impound it if I don’t pay. Bloody hell, what is this, East Germany?

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I’ve started watching a new show on Netflix, The One. It concerns a medical research firm that has found a way to use DNA to match people to their perfect partner, their unique love match, “The One” person in the world for them.

The problem is, married people, or people in committed relationships, take the test just as a joke, and find they are not with their perfect match, and in some cases The One is someone they know. This is causing marriage breakups, badly enough that laws are being considered in parliament (this is in Britain).

The problem is, there seem to be at least two side stories, one involving a murder, one involving another love story, constantly flipping back in time, and the main characters resemble each other in looks. All this means that after three episodes, I’m totally confused. Who are these characters? What does the murder have to do with the main story?

It’s an utter mess. Not recommended.

However, tragic that I am, I’ve started The Big Bang all over again. Yes, I’ve seen it all before on free-to-air in the past ten years, then watched it all again, all 250 odd episodes in the past four months, and now I’ve started it again. I never tire of it. Tragic.

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Back to cars – the Honda’s problem the other day was not the new battery, nothing to do with that. It was to do with the auto transmission, where it doesn’t realise it’s in Park. There’s a small rectangular slot next to the transmission shifter and you have to use a screwdriver to release the shifter. This is in a $75,000 car! (That was the new price in 2005 – I paid $3,000.)

So I don’t have to worry about the battery being flat, I just have to carry a screwdriver, or a key to put into the slot. Crazy.

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Huh! I just tried to phone the ABC Perth radio show with Geoff Hutchison to tell a story, but on both numbers, 0437 922 720 and 1 300 922 720, all I got was “This number has been disconnected” and “This number is not in use”. What?? They say a hundred times a day to call these numbers. This was the first time I’ve ever tried to call, and I got that! Huh?

Anyway, the discussion was about sleep apnea and getting along with your sleeping partner.

My funny story was that, ever since I’d had my CPAP machine, I’d wondered how I’d cope with the embarrassment when I slept with a woman. The funny bit was that it came about and as we were preparing for bed, I said, “Er, I need to tell you that I use this machine called a CPAP.” And she said, “Oh, that’s OK, so do I.” Hah ha ha ha ha. Problem solved.

Struthious

Chinese temples. Amazing. How did they get all the building materials up there, holy helicopters?

Hey hey, what a great election result last night. Labor not only won in a landslide, they exceeded the predictions. Poor old Zak Kirkup, the Liberal leader, lost his own seat and has quit politics. Labor won 53 of the 58 seats! The Libs only have two seats. Two! They no longer qualify for political party status, meaning they don’t qualify for government funding as a party. The Nationals, with only four seats, are now the Opposition.

The Liberals only have themselves to blame. They have made absolutely stupid decisions and statements, including former leader Liza Harvey’s backflipping on whether the border should be opened or kept closed, and (now former) leader Kirkup’s concession of defeat six weeks before the election was held. Wow, what confidence in his own candidates.

This means Labor can go back and revisit things they couldn’t in the first term, and one of those will be the reappointment of John McKechnie as the commissioner in the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC). That should mean the exposure of the corruption material found on a laptop belonging to a former Liberal MP. That’ll be interesting, to say the least.

In my own electorate, Butler, my local Labor candidate John Quigley, the Attorney General, was returned with ease. He beat the Liberal woman and my neighbour wasted her vote. Ha ha ha.

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The headline is a new word to me, struthious. At first I thought it was a made up word, slang, like “s’truth”, but I looked it up and it’s a genuine word from ornithology, meaning the class of flightless running birds like ostriches or cassowaries. But in this case the author meant ostrich-like, head-in-sand like, unwilling to face the truth.

She was referring to a woman friend in Queensland who was living on welfare of $560 per fortnight, but paying rent of $502 per fortnight, leaving her $58 per fortnight or $29 a week for everything else – food, petrol, electricity, gas. She sold everything, even her fridge, but was slowly starving because she couldn’t afford to eat properly. This is not some third world country, this is Australia, Queensland. In this Liberal government’s eyes, if she’s poor, it’s her own fault.

And in the words of Anne Ruston, the Minister for Women’s Affairs in this filthy, corrupt, hard-line federal government, if we gave them more money, they’d just spend it on gambling, drinking and cigarettes. She is very hard line.

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This has to change! Never in human history have so few gained wealth so quickly and in such quantity. Some of these filthy rich are even becoming embarrassed by their wealth, although very few. You couldn’t even spend this amount of money. A few of them are giving it away, but far too few. This is obscene, especially at this time in history.

Our Gina’s in there, notice. It’s only a few years ago I saw she was listed at $8bn and I thought that was excessive. Now she’s tripled it. I haven’t noticed any charitable donations. What the hell does she do with all that money? She pays it to lawyers, I think, trying to keep it from her children.

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The idea of bottom mounted freezers in fridges is crazy and I wish I’d never bought mine. When the freezer’s at the bottom, then every new thing you add just goes on top of what’s in there already, making a pile. You can’t see what’s in there most of the time. When the freezer is on the top or at the side, you can stack things properly and see what you’ve got. I have no idea what’s at the bottom of mine, so quite often I buy new frozen stuff, not realising I’ve already got some.

Time I replaced my fridge, I think. I bought it when I moved here in April 2013 and chose Panasonic, but although it works (and there’s never any frost in the freezer), it had a bad rattle for a long time. That seems to have gone away, but for how long?

I have a problem, though, in that the fridge space is only 850mm wide. Nearly all new fridges are 910mm wide, that’s in the French door style that I want. There’s no prospect of widening the space – not feasible. Therefore my choices are severely restricted. However, LG makes one that would fit, if tightly.

LG 594L Slim French Door Fridge, in Matte Black Finish, GF-B590MBL
GF-B590MBL
594L Slim French Door Fridge

It’s 835mm wide x 1787mm high. I have to be able to get my hand in beside the left side, because there are light switches there. Although I love the design of this house, the placement of light switches is just stupid. A couple are way in on the inside wall of a room, so that you have to enter the dark room and reach for the switch. In the main bedroom, there are overhead lights for the bed, but the switch is on the opposite wall. If you want to use the overheads, you have to get out of bed and cross the room to turn them off, then go back to the bed in the dark. Brilliant design. The result is, they never get used. I’ve actually bought a new wall plate with an infra-red remote control, but because it’s made in China, it doesn’t fit the existing hole in the wall. Must get onto that.

Anyway, the other reason I dislike my existing Panasonic fridge is that the door opens from the left, meaning against the wall. A French door fridge would allow me to mainly open the left door, so it’s easier to get at things.

I’ve always preferred white appliances and didn’t want black, but I’m surprised at how good the dark finish looks in the flesh. It’s not jet black, it’s just a dark grey brushed stainless steel. I like it.

Getting back to freezer storage, although the freezer is at the bottom on this one, it’s all slide out drawers so you can pack things properly. RRP $2799. Should be able to get it cheaper. Yes, $1,986 from Appliances Online, including delivery and removal of old fridge. Hmmmm.

I wish I could justify the in-door chilled water and ice dispenser, but you pay another $600 for that and it takes up a lot of internal space in the left door. No, I can make ice in the freezer compartments for $0.

Get out the back, Zak

Nice, eh? It’s a dove found only in Vietnam and Thailand.

Humid, 28deg, quite cloudy. Got a bit of rain last night, which is always welcome.

Re the above dove or the dove above, the notes say that there is actually no taxonomic difference between doves and pigeons. Pigeon = dove. I didn’t know that! I’d always wondered. However, I wonder what the doves and pigeons say, because they look different.

Cocky conversation.

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Huh, WordPress has changed fonts again. Both the title font and the body font are a flavour of Helvetica. I wonder what I’ll see when I publish this. I do not like this editor or the way they keep making changes.

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I’ve just come from the doctor – it’s another bladder infection. Nothing serious, just a bit stingy and should be cleared up by an antibiotic. But he was concerned enough to send me for a CT scan yesterday. I don’t know the result yet, but we talked about how quickly we can get tests done here. He’s from the Philippines and said you can get fast results there if you can pay, but it you can’t, you wait. He’s also trained in the UK and said doctors there have been told no hip or knee replacements are to be requested until further notice. They’re snowed under. But what is the GP supposed to tell the patient in pain and immobile? Once again, if you can pay £12,000 (AU$21,818) you’ll get one, but who can afford that?

However, I’m a bit peeved at having to wait nearly two months for an appointment to have my cyst looked at. It’s painful now, and getting bigger, deeper and bleeding a bit. I’m worried. There’s going to be a helluva scar (right temple).

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I can’t believe the stupidity of some people. There’s a big black sign outside the polling place nearby for the Anti Compulsory Vaccination Party in the state election tomorrow. Anti Compulsory Vaccination? What are they talking about? Vaccination is not compulsory. Maybe I don’t understand. Do they mean for kids? MMR and whooping cough and things like that. Well, if you object to these vaccinations, take your children and go and live in the desert. The stakes are too high to have potentially highly contagious kids running around.

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The election is going to be interesting. The Liberals just don’t deserve any success because they are just not competent. At their press conference to announce the costings of their election promises yesterday, they weren’t ready! They didn’t have their figures ready and were just an embarrassment. They humiliated themselves. This was a repeat of Colin Barnett’s performance in 2013, I think it was, when he announced they were going to build a canal from the Ord River Dam to Perth! Quite apart from the simple impossibility of the physics, when he showed the cost, immediately the journos could see that the figures were wrong. Yet all he could do was stonewall. “No, they’re not. No, they’re not.” They bloody well were wrong, but he humiliated himself.

This is the party that calls itself the party of business, representing big and small businesses. Yet they can’t even do simple arithmetic. They paid a high power accounting firm to certify their numbers yesterday, but the accountants had to state that all they’d been asked to do was check the numbers, not balance them. So what happened? Blundering, bungling, embarrassing crap at the press conference. What a joke. They do NOT deserve any election success at all tomorrow.

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The saga of the misfiring Verada is unresolved, but at least it’s running normally. Yesterday I was going to use the Honda with the new battery, but wouldn’t you know, when I tried to start it, all the warning lights came on, and the radio, but nothing but “click” when I turned the key. Damn, damn, damn! I had to use the Verada, with my heart in my mouth, but I drove it for about 10km with no trouble. The fault’s gone away.

I was going to take it to the RAC in Joondalup but not today. Next week. (Yeah, procrastinating again.)

I measured the Honda’s battery and it showed 12.56V, so it should have started the car. I put the battery on charge and it’s a showing full now so I’ll have another try at starting it tomorrow. It’s possible it didn’t think it was in Park.

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I’ve got another 14yo kid to do some work for me. He advertised on Neighbourhood and called around yesterday to talk about the work. I thought he might start right away but no, he has a busy weekend and wants to start on Monday.

When I asked what he wants to be paid, he just said $35, i.e. for the whole amount of work I showed him. He estimated 3-4 hours, so I don’t mind. It’s just some weeding at the front, garden cleanup at the side, spreading some garden soil at the back and cleaning the patio windows. If he does all that for $35 I’ll be happy.

Crumbs, 14 years old but he’s as tall as me and weighs not much less. As I said to him, the previous kid brought his mum to check me out, but this new kid could bash me up if he had to. He’s big. Blank face too, not very bright.