Bunker bunkum day 108

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Gion district, Kyoto 1992.  © PJ Croft 2020

What a glorious day, warm sunshine, clear blue sky, about 23deg. Winter?

But did you notice – last month was our warmest June on record, at an average max. of 21.4degC. Global heating is real.

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Aaaarrrrgh, this Lenovo laptop is getting annoying. After my friend’s wasted trip out here yesterday, this morning I’d nearly finished getting it set up with him as the user and installing several free programs when he phoned and said he’d come out here again (I was going to drive it in to his place, but he said no, he’d come out here).

I forgot to say on the phone that I’ve discovered that the camera set into the screen seems to be faulty.

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The image from the Lenovo laptop camera. It varies a little when you wave your hand in front, but never gives any more than this.

That’s it. That’s all you get from this Lenovo laptop camera. My friend said, “I’m not going to accept that. Unless it works 100%, it’s faulty. Send it back and I want a refund.”

I tend to agree, but he was annoyed again, and I was embarrassed, and it was another wasted drive, and I’m the one who has to do the return and get a refund. I  tried going to on-line support, but their support section is down for the weekend for maintenance. Yes, THIS weekend.

I was tempted to say that this is what you get when you choose a low cost computer, but I was the one who recommended it, knowing his price range. On paper, it’s great – Core i3, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, 15″ Full HD screen and a DVD drive built in for $742. Good specs.

But a faulty camera. So back it goes, with me having to do the repacking and sending. I won’t dare ask for reimbursement of the shipping cost. Bugger!!!!

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There was pretty bad news for photography fans like myself this week – Olympus are folding their tent and giving up.

It’s not a complete abdication – they’ve sold their photo hardware manufacturing business to a company called Japan Industrial Partners. What this means, we don’t know yet. Will Olympus equipment continue to be manufactured? We don’t know. A press release or two suggested it will continue in some form, but we don’t know.

I first bought into Olympus in the early 1980s with the OM2-SP (Spot Program) and over the years I bought quite a bit of their gear, mainly second hand. At one stage I had the 18mm, 21mm, 28mm, 50mm, 135mm and a couple of Tamron zooms with the Adaptall mounts – the 28-50mm and the 70-150mm Tamrons. As a matter of fact, I replaced a dropped and damaged 70-150mm Tamron just recently for $50. It’s a very handy lens and sharp enough, though not up to modern standards. My OM2-SP is sitting up on my shelf now.

Mainly, I wanted Olympus for their macro and flash systems and I found almost all of these second hand: T28 flash, T32 flash, T-Power control 1, T8 Macro flash (one side of a pair), and the T10 Ring Flash. Plus several adapters, connectors, cords and a tilting flash handle that got hot and drained its batteries each time I tried to use it. It was stolen in my burglary in 1991.

I still have almost all this gear in a box in the garage. The OM2-SP sits on the shelf collecting dust, and it’s even still got a half finished Fuji slide film in it. I must finish it and get it processed, if I can find an E-6 processor in town. I think there’s one. I have no idea what’s on the first 20 or so frames. That’ll be interesting to find out. Even though the film has been sitting in the camera for 20 years or so, I’m sure it will still give me results. They may be not as good as when the film was new, but with scanning and digital processing, I’m sure I’ll be able to get good results from it.

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By the way, on my Japan trip in 1992, this very same OM2-SP was one of the cameras that took all these shots I’m posting. I took the OM2, its 28mm Zuiko lens and the 50mm Zuiko, I think. And I took a Nikon FE2 with the 75-150 Nikon Series E lens.

PS: no, I forgot – the Nikon I took was the F601 and the main lens was a Tokina 20-35mm, with the 75-150 Series E. The 20-35mm was a great choice – it’s ideal for interiors and hand held shots in low light. Wonderful results.

Can’t remember what else – maybe a Nikon 35mm lens? And for the first time, I shot the entire three week trip on Fuji Reala colour negative (print) film, buying rolls of it as I went from shops in Japan. I shot about 36 rolls, mostly 36 exposure. Each roll of film cost about A$8-10 (?), so the cost of the film alone was substantial (36 x $8 = $288), but when I got back to Perth it all had to be processed and prints made. Each roll cost about the same – $8, so another $288. In 1992, that was big money.

The interesting thing is, at the time I liked the prints and put them all into those sticky-paged albums. I was pretty proud of the results.

But after I “retired” in 1999, I had the time to spare, and I bought a Nikon LS4000ED film scanner. I’ve still got it here. That 4000 means 4000dpi, meaning high resolution! The files are about 35MB for each image.

I spent about four months, maybe more, and I scanned every single one of those 36 rolls x 36 exposures, and the results were magnificent! If I thought the prints were good, the scanned images were a revelation. I can’t show a comparison because the prints are long gone, but this:

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was flat and dull in the store print, but it leaps out from the screen. Likewise:

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I still have all these Japan images stored on this PC and as you can tell, I like ’em.

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Speaking of Japan, the gardening program on the ABC last night was on Japanese gardens and in particular, the Kenrokuen gardens in Kanazawa. (I’d almost forgotten those names.) We went there and I have these shots:

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Kenrokuen Gardens.   ©  PJ Croft 2020

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Kenrokuen Gardens, Kanazawa. With tongue firmly in cheek, this is the Japanese Olympics Garden Viewing Team on a training exercise.    © PJ Croft 2020

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They were posing for some group photo, but I stole the shot. Lovely girls, but look at the top left girl’s expression.   © PJ Croft 2020

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Likewise, I’ve had some old slides sitting in plastic slide pages (remember them?) for many years and I pulled some out a few days ago. Some have stuck to the plastic and deteriorated badly, but they look like abstract paintings now. I need to set the scanner up again to get them into the computer, but I’m quite excited about it. ASAP.

I’ve also got some shots of places that family will recognise from long ago, but shot on infra-red film. Interesting.

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There’s a full moon tomorrow night, and it will have Jupiter and Mars aligned with it. Now that I have my Nikon P950 with its 2000mm lens, I would be able to get some good shots. However, the weather forecast is for cloud and rain, I think. Same for Monday when the alignment repeats, but again it’s 100% forecast for rain. Ho hum.

Bunker droppings day 107

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Japan 1992   © PJ Croft 2020

What a glorious day. Sparkling clear blue sky, 21deg max. Nice.

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I admit I am very sensitive. I was told some years ago that I could be called hypersensitive. I notice things people say and do and it makes me upset sometimes, like now.

I’ve been buying and setting up a new laptop for a friend of mine using my credit card because he doesn’t have one. It’s fine, he paid me today, that’s not the problem.

I was hoping to be able to pass it over and so I’ve been setting it up for him as he’s not very expert, to put it politely. He came here today so that I could give it to him. But first I had to add him as a user and delete myself, as my name got on there when it first arrived and I was setting up Windows 10 for the first time. I hadn’t been able to do it because I didn’t know his full details.

But to add a user, it involves setting up a Microsoft account. When you do that, you have to put the user’s email address in, but the next step is that MS sends an email to the user’s email account with a code. My friend’s email address is OK, we know that, but he didn’t know his password so we couldn’t access it and see the MS code. Therefore we were stuck.

That meant we couldn’t proceed. I could tell he was annoyed at making a wasted trip and he made a remark about how it would have been better if I’d set it all up at his place as he thinks he knows where his password is. Thinks. Then he made remarks about how this new laptop is no use to him and it may get sent back, or be dropped into the bin. And he got up and left quite suddenly.

Bloody hell, I’m upset. I’ve spent quite a few hours already installing free software and an anti-virus program for him. But because he can’t remember his email password, we can’t proceed and so he’s upset with me, making snarky remarks.

Yes, I’m sensitive. I suppose someone else would have given him snarky remarks in return (“Why can’t you remember your passwords? Why can’t you keep a record?”) but I’m not like that. My pulse is racing and I’m having trouble getting my mind away from this.

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I put the new battery into the Honda MDX a couple of days ago, cleaning the battery compartment before I dropped it in and ensuring the terminals are clean and tight.

The car hasn’t been started or driven for a couple of months, so I was a bit nervous, but it started first time and after a little lumpiness, the engine cleared its throat and idled smoothly. Great. So I let the foot brake off and put it in reverse with my foot on the accelerator. Nothing, except the creep you get at idle. I tried to increase the engine revs but nothing I did would make it go any faster. I hurriedly put it back into forward and let it creep back into the garage. Wouldn’t want to be stuck half in, half out.

It’s as if the accelerator is not controlling the engine. Strange. I haven’t done anything that would cause that. The clue is that there’s a Check Engine warning light on, but what does it mean? I do actually have an OBD (On Board Diagnostics) reader which would tell me, but you have to get under the dash to plug it in and I can’t contort my body enough to do it. I suppose it’s possible that the car has decided it wouldn’t be prudent to drive with this fault, whatever it is, so it’s stopping me.

I think I’ll phone the RAC to come and give me an idea what’s wrong. I would guess that there is no mechanical cable, that the accelerator controls a voltage to feed to the engine and its computer, but I don’t know. Could it be a faulty potentiometer?

If it needs mechanical work, so be it, but it’s probably something simple as the car hasn’t been driven recently. I did notice before I started it that the radiator was looking dry, so I filled it with distilled water, and the oil is near the lower mark, but it’s not dry – it’s still within the bottom and top marks. Odd.

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I’ve been meaning to mention that Sunday evening ABC-TV program Operation Buffalo again. What a weird program. I’m still watching it after four episodes, but it’s losing me. It can’t seem to make up its mind whether it’s serious drama or a comedy. As I’ve said before, it’s like parody. Some of the acting is slapstick, yet last Sunday there was serious shooting (with guns) and a woman got shot right in the forehead. It’s not comedy. But the acting is so over the top that I’d be embarrassed if it was seen overseas. Oh well.

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I’ve now got all my wi-fi devices connected to my iiNet modem again, after realising that the password has changed. But my land-line (VOIP) phone is still not working. I’ve been through all the phone settings and the iiNet modem settings and nothing looks wrong. I’ll go through the modem settings one more time but this is annoying! I’ll tell iiNet that I don’t want to pay for the past two weeks for this phone, because it hasn’t been working and it’s not my fault.

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There was an ad in The West yesterday for a vegetable/vegetarian chain of shops in Perth, and it’s the first time I’ve ever seen truffles advertised for sale. The price? $2 per gram!  That’s $2,000 per kilogram. This is bullshit. There’s no way it can cost that much. They’re just exploiting us.

I’ve never even smelt truffles before, let alone seen them. I’m tempted to go and buy a couple of grams just for the experience.

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Grrrr, I’ve finally managed to get the owner set up on this new laptop, once he gave me the password for his email account so that I could get the code that Microsoft sends when you set up a new account.

What a rigmarole! You can’t be a user on a PC with Windows without setting up a Microsoft account, whereby they try to get you to give them all your information and let them send you all their advertising and so on.

I’ve now got the new owner’s name showing as the main user and the person who signs in, but I want to remove myself now, and I can NOT find a way to remove myself. It says, To remove a user, click on your account and select Manage.

But which account? The new owner, or me? When I try to follow this instruction, i.e. clicking on Manage, it just starts up a web browser and gives a dog’s dinner of options, but I cannot find a “Remove User” button.

This whole process has made me realise just how difficult computers are for the average person. I’ve been using Windows for nearly 25 years, but I’m bamboozled by so much of this. I’m not stupid, but so often Microsoft says, “Do this”, but when I do it, if I can find it, I don’t see what I would expect to see. This is crap.

Oh well, chicken breasts with cheese, and roast vegetables, cooking now in my Breville Air Fryer oven (roasting, of course). One aluminium tray, no washing up.

Bunker bulldust day 106

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Kyoto 1992.  © PJ Croft 2020

I’m beginning to think it’s time I dropped the Bunker bulldust title. I’m not really bunkering any more as we’re back to normal here in Perth, Western Australia. No virus here.

I had lunch with friends in the Dome restaurant across the road yesterday and I saw no sign of any restrictions on spacing. In fact we were quite crammed in the “Function Room”.

There were several large tables with five or six diners (we were six as well) all trying to talk and I found the noise level pretty difficult. I could only pick up about half what my opposite was saying. I don’t think my hearing is especially defective, it’s just the problem most people have of being able to follow a conversation in a noisy crowd. It’s lucky she just droned on, in long, boring stories such that all I have to do is nod as if I’ve heard her. Many times I had time to think to myself, “What is she talking about?” I lost the thread five minutes ago.

In fact, I was pretty miffed yesterday. I had spoken on the phone the day before with the “Head Girl” about our meeting and since the restaurant is only 100m from my place, I said why don’t we adjourn to my house after the lunch and we can have coffee and talk some more. “No”, she said, “we can do all our talking in the restaurant.” I was pretty offended by that, refusing my invitation, speaking and making the decision for all the others without asking them. As it turned out, as I said the noise level prevented proper conversation and it would have been much easier in my house, but I was effectively prevented from inviting the others because the “Head Girl” had said no.

When it came time to wind up, we were all standing there continuing the conversations. I wanted to say, “Come on over to my place”, but I just gave up and quietly walked away. Fuming. Am I wrong? Am I upset over nothing?

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High up in the North in the land called Svithjod, there stands a rock. It is a hundred miles high and a hundred miles wide. Once every thousand years a little bird comes to this rock to sharpen its beak. When the rock has thus been worn away, then a single day of eternity will have gone by.
Hendrik Willem Van Loon

This is from a web site called https://what-if.xkcd.com Highly recommended! It’s a very intelligent form of doggerel, answering strange What If questions. I love it.

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Did I say? Broome tourist people are pleading with us to come up there as they need the winter visitors. So what’s to stop me doing the drive now?

I’ve only ever been as far as Exmouth and North West Cape before, in 1987 I think.

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North West Cape NP 1987  © PJ Croft 2020

Generated by Carsales Image Server on 01:20.17 10/07/2016

Honda MDX, same colour as mine. For some reason, car sites rubbish the styling. Why? I love it.

I’ve got the Honda MDX which would be quite a nice vehicle for a long drive like that. It’s got two brand new tyres on the front and a new battery. It’s easily configurable for sleeping in the back.

But two things are stopping me – CPAP and a means of powering it, and I don’t have any camping gear. Well, not much.

If I were in a powered camping/caravanning site, then power wouldn’t be a problem, but many of the best places to visit don’t have any power or even toilets. Therefore I might need an extra battery fitted to the Honda, and that would be costly – about $500 including the battery, I’d guess. And I’d have to buy a porta loo.

I guess I could just take one of my small folding tables, and I’ve got a nice folding chair (that will take my weight!). That’s really all I need.

Do I need to battery power my CPAP? Would I really want to rough it out in the unpowered wilds? Probably not. I don’t have the energy that I used to have in 1987. I’ll keep thinking it over………. and the time will slip away and I won’t get anywhere. Ho hum.

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I’m getting a bit annoyed. I ordered a Lenovo laptop computer on behaf of a friend who doesn’t use credit cards, and it’s supposed to be delivered here. I got a confirmation email last week with a tracking number and a delivery date of 29 June, that was Monday.

Nothing came, of course, nor yesterday, and nothing has come today either. I have to sit around here waiting for the doorbell to ring. The web site still shows my delivery as scheduled for Monday two days ago. Grrrrr.

Post Script: stone the flamin’ crows, just ten minutes after I wrote this, there was a rap at the door and when I opened it, there was the delivery box. The guy didn’t wait for a signature, he was already in his van and moving off. OK, well, that’s fixed.

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Speaking of loving car styling:

 

Screenshot_2020-07-01 2007 Peugeot 407 SV HDi Auto(1)It’s a Peugeot 407 Wagon, 2007 model. I love it. I want one. It’s only $7,888. But it’s in Sydney and we can’t cross borders. It’s also a diesel and I said I won’t buy a diesel car due to their particulate emissions which are cancerous. I still love that styling, though. They don’t make ’em like that any more.  The look of a car is all important to me. I want to own cars that I like the look of. Luckily they’re all more than 10 years old and affordable.

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Did I mention? After my internet loss last week, and its mysterious return 24hrs later, I found all my wi-fi devices were no longer connected and I couldn’t connect in the normal process. I thought the wi-fi wasn’t working.

Late yesterday afternoon, I decided to tackle the problem and went into the modem Toolbox with all its settings and diagnostics.

To cut a long story short, after much fiddling I found that my wi-fi password had changed. It was previously an easy one for me to remember but it stopped working after the iiNet support guy got me to do a hard reset of the modem. But luckily the password that works now is one I had stored in my password program. It was just luck and guesswork that made me try it. Why did it change? Harrrrumph!

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OK, next job – setting up the new laptop for Keith. He wants to use the dictation (voice recognition) feature for word processing, a feature of Windows 10. I know it works for MS Word, but he doesn’t want to have to pay for the whole suite when he only uses one part of it. OK, I’ve installed the free Libre Office, but at the moment it doesn’t want to cooperate. It doesn’t seem to accept voice dictation. Bugger. I don’t know what to do about that.

Then it’s back to installing the new AV/Radio into Vera, the Verada. Never bored.

Bunker bulldust day 104

Singapore

Singapore. Beautiful photo. Not mine! I wish it was. From the Guardian.

A bit of winter today, but I can take this, no trouble at all. It’s about 17degC and intermittent rain, but with blue sky breaks. My only concession to winter is that I wear a wind cheater instead of a T-shirt (not as well as). Otherwise it’s shorts and sandals as usual. I don’t feel the cold. Bah!

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Well, Western Australia (WA) is now virtually Covid-19 free, and free of social distancing restrictions. As of midnight last Saturday, everything’s open again, bars, nightclubs, restaurants. I’ve just made a booking for tomorrow in my local restaurant and I asked about 2sq. m rules. She said leave it to them, they have the tables separated as required.

I also heard on the news that WA now has no virus cases in hospitals. That’s pretty reassuring. Some people get blasé and think restrictions, checking-in and mask wearing are infringements on their personal rights, but what about the rights of hospital staff, the ambos, nurses and doctors who are in mortal danger attending a Covid-19 sick patient.

The leader of the “Liberal” (actually, conservative) Party, Liza Harvey, is being very vocal about how we should be opening up our borders because it’s so bad for businesses. Businesses? They take priority over people’s safety? It would only take one person entering the state to be a carrier without symptoms to restart the virus here. She’d see the state locked down again and her beloved businesses would suffer even more. She’s a mad woman! She’s way out of step with the public and even with her own party. It’s good, as far as I’m concerned. I want to see the Liberals lose the next election as badly as they lost the last one.

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By the way, some people have been getting on their high horses, complaining about having to leave their name, address and phone number at restaurants, saying it’s an invasion of their privacy. People can look and see your number and address. What?! First, if you feel the need to be private, don’t go out in public, then. Simple.

But secondly, it’s only a few years ago that we had paper phone directories, remember them? There, for anyone to browse, was your name, address and phone number. If it didn’t bother you then, why are you so paranoid now? Ridiculous.

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I’ve been running the CovidSafe app on my phone since May when the federal government implored us all to install it. I wasn’t worried about being “tracked”.

But yesterday I uninstalled it after i read a report that said not one example had been traced since the app was introduced. Not a single use has been made of it, despite over 6m downloads and installations. The government paid some company over $1m for that! It’s useless!

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This government spends money as if it were water on things that concern them, such as prosecuting journalists and pursuing court cases on whistleblowers, yet they’re cutting funding for science and technology ( the CSIRO, just when we need it ), Tech Colleges, Universities, schools, hospitals, you name it.

Yet they’ve just announced (quietly) $200bn on new defence equipment. Two hundred billion dollars! On equipment that will go obsolete before it’s ever used for its purpose. Or more likely, will be frittered away in bungled contracts for massively overpriced equipment, or equipment that’s never delivered. The record of the Department of Defence is literally criminal. Do a bit of googling and you’ll find all the scandals going back decades of HUGE mistakes costing $billions. Like buying obsolete helicopters for the Navy that were so defective they were never put into service and are just stored away somewhere! It’s sickening. No-one was ever held to public account for this blunder. It’s such a blunder that you have to ask, just why was the decision made. I think the answer’s obvious. Some official or public servant suddenly became very rich.

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I mentioned that I lost my internet connection last Tuesday, and it came back, mysteriously, almost exactly 24hrs later. It’s stayed OK so I though it was just one of those things.

But after the iiNet support guy got me to go through the wi-fi modem settings, I’ve discovered that although my desktop PC is connected OK, because it uses a cabled connection, none of my other wi-fi devices will work. That’s the laptop on my dining table, my landline phone, my hand phone and Netflix via my Panasonic HD Recorder.

I’ve tried everything I can think of with no result. Grrrrrrrrr!PS: 17.30 – add my car GPS to the list. It won’t connect either, but at least it’s telling me why – very weak wi-fi signal. This is the answer – the wi-fi modem just ain’t putting out any wi, fi or not. My desktop PC works because it doesn’t use wi-fi, it uses LAN cable. OK, that’s progress. I might be able to fix this myself.

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Bloody iiNet. I’ve just had a call from them to tell me that they’ve cancelled a visit from a tech as they consider the problem fixed. Not so fast, I said, and told him of this new problem. Oh, he said, well please call support and tell them. Goodbye.

So now I’m in for another difficult support call with low level phone line, heavy accents and satellite delays from South Africa. Bloody iiNet. They used to be the best in the business, Perth based, but once the Perth owner sold out to TPG it’s all gone down the drain. I’m going to have to change ISP.

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I spent nearly two hours carefully cutting a 24mm x 12mm rectangular hole in my car’s plastic “woodgrain” radio fascia yesterday, to fit a USB socket.

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This is for a USB lead to the back of the Pioneer AV unit I’m installing. It went OK although I wish it was a little bit angled left, if ya know what ah mean. Just for the visual effect. It worked fine. I have a small engraving tool with abrasive steel bits and I used a conical bit (with a sharp end) to smooth the cuts and get into the corners. I had to work very carefully as I didn’t want to make any mistakes.

It’s nearly ready to go into place in the car as soon as I can get the wiring harness sorted:

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Mitsubishi car connector on the left, Pioneer radio plug on the right. You can’t buy a ready made adapter. In theory, joining all the wires of the same colours should do the trick.

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Trouble is, I’ve got a couple of wires that don’t match. Lucky I’m not charging by the hour, because I’ve spent hours poring over the wiring diagrams (literally with a magnifying glass as the print is so fine). I’ve done this before and it should work, but I’m always a little nervous that there’ll be a puff of smoke and something will be damaged. Nah, she’ll be right, mate (that good Aussie expression). 🙂

STOP PRESS: I’ve found a pre-made wiring set on-line, from a shop just up the road, so I went out and bought it. It cost about $39 but at least it’s plug and play. It should just work.

The difference with this installation is that it’s a DAB+ radio (that’s why I bought it) and the antenna is for VHF reception around 170MHz. The antenna is a stick-on type on the inside of the windscreen on the passenger side, which means a fine coaxial cable has to be poked down the A pillar and behind the dash to reach the centre console. I’m not sure of my dexterity to do that. We’ll see, to use a Trumpism.

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I’ve just seen a US female comedian doing a routine where she imitates Trump’s voice with her own mouth. It looks as ridiculous as he sounds. The man is illiterate, incoherent, imbecilic, uneducated, ignorant and racist.

When you put together Trump, Bo-Jo Johnson, Bolsonaro, Kim Jong Un, Putin and a few other hard right wing repressive loonies in power now, then add in the Covid-19 pandemic and runaway climate change……… It makes you wonder what else can go wrong. I shudder to think.

Bunker bulldust day 101

A supernova in the Large Magellanic Cloud, which lies about 160,000 light years from Earth.

Supernova 1600 in the Large Magellanic Cloud.

I’m watching a documentary on the Hubble Space telescope at the moment. It’s a 4K Ultra Hi Def download from YouTube and it’s magnificent. So sharp! And the music alone is worth listening to. It’s about 45mins long but I had to stop last night. I’ll finish it tonight.

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I would have posted day 100 yesterday but I was robbed of the chance by iiNet, the ISP. My internet connection failed yesterday at about 10.20am. I waited a while (an hour or so), cycled the power on my modems and rebooted my PC. Nothing.

I phoned iiNet Support at about midday and over a very low level phone line (they’re a phone company, but their phone is always too quiet!), and a very heavy South African accent that I could hardly understand, they led me through a complete low level reset of my modem and all its configuration. Result? No change.

“I think you’ve got an authentication problem.” Big help. I explained that I’m on HFC (Hybrid Fibre Coax) with Opticom as the provider. Will they call Opticom to report it. “No, I can’t do that.” Why not? “We don’t talk to Opticom.” What??!!

“I’ll put in a report to my manager and we’ll get back to you.” When? Needless to say, they didn’t. I had no internet all night and still this morning.

I did finally get a call from a woman, again heavily accented and hard to understand, who said someone will call to arrange a time for a tech to call here, as they think it’s a hardware fault. Will I be home? Of course I will. Did I get a call? Of course not!!!

Suddenly, at 10.18am, the red light turned green and I had internet back again. I had to reboot the PC to reestablish the connection but it’s been OK ever since.

Someone seems to have called at about 4.50pm but I missed the call.

I’ve put in a very bad report on their customer survey, saying I’m going to switch away to a new ISP. My experience is that iiNet say they’ll do things, but they just don’t. They promise something will happen, but it doesn’t. I’ve had enough! Don’t use iiNet.

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Saturn, imaged by the Cassini spacecraft. One of the great pictures of all time, IMHO.

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I’m changing the car radio/CD for a Pioneer touch screen AV unit with DAB+ tuner. This view makes me think of a patient on an operating table with his guts exposed and all the tubes and veins and nerves exposed.

I need to drill two large holes in the plastic surround. One will be for another cigarette lighter socket (at present, it’s in the centre console arm rest “cubby” which is hopeless. The other will be a USB socket for the USB input to the AV unit. This will require very careful drilling as I don’t want to make a slip or mistake.

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Woolies

I’ve just been out shopping at the Woolies at Butler. look at this mess. No shopping trolley wipes and an overflowing bin. I am not a fan of Woolies.

Bunker Bulldust day 99

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The 50mm normal view. Can you see the drain on the other side?

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Zoomed in, 2000mm hand held. Nikon P950.

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2000mm hand held.

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2000mm hand held. Nikon P950

Another beautifully warm winter day, 20deg. This is very easy to take. I’ve only been wearing a T-shirt all day.

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Bloods taken for the three monthly check this morning, which required fasting, so I had a very nice brunch at the shops afterwards. The cafe is roped off to make us stay apart so it was a bit crowded, but it was OK. That doesn’t make sense, but you know what I mean.

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I had a very nice comment left on the blog yesterday that’s still giving me a warm feeling:

I happened to randomly stumble across your blog when I was looking at purchasing a Mazda MX-6 and saw that you had written about the exact same one I was looking at! I’m actually looking at purchasing a car very soon and I never expected that it would result in me finding your blog.

I never comment on blog posts, or even read blog posts, but yours is so real… It’s quite inspiring and I’d love to be able to build one like this I could look back on later on in my life.

Just wanted to let you know that your blog has been a bit of joy in my day.

Crumbs, you don’t get that every day. I am very pleased.

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What an amazing kerfuffle about the sexual harassment by the former High Court judge. It’s still developing; another prominent Perth woman lawyer has revealed today that she’s been sexually harassed many times in her 30 year career (so far), but she mentioned two particular judges of the WA courts (who are now retired) who made deliberate physical assaults on her on occasions, and one even found out where she lived and went to her house on more than one occasion such that she considers he was stalking her. He was a senior judge! She can’t name them but she was completely believable and serious. How far does this go? It seems there are more revelations to come in the eastern states case. It’s astounding.

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I heard on the radio this afternoon that if you go for a driving test, the car must have a handbrake in the centre console between the front seats. This is because the inspector must be able to pull the handbrake on in an emergency situation.

I didn’t know this. It’s interesting to me because the Honda MDX has an American style foot operated parking brake. It must be legal because it’s an Australian spec model, but there’s no handbrake between the seats. I bloody well wish there was, because I hate the foot brake. I keep reaching for the handbrake, forgetting the footbrake. Guess I’d better not go for a driving test.

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As a result of Liberal government pressure on the ABC, in the form of freezing of funding regardless of inflation, the ABC has now announced further cuts. The 7.45am full 15 minute radio news bulletin, the last full bulletin left, is now gone, replaced by a 5 minute bulletin. This cuts into the 30 minute AM news program, reducing it to 25 minutes.

This is on top of the cuts of AM and PM a couple of years ago from 60 minutes to 30 mins. and the loss of the Lateline 30 min TV news digest program last year.

This filthy Liberal government are engaging in deliberate suppression of news and information. Have you noticed that Mid West TV, the community supported TV station is gone? This was a decision by Malcolm Turnbull a few years ago when he was Communications minister. It was delayed for some time, but Mid West TV went off air last year. Turnbull’s ruling was that the government needed the spectrum space and the community TV could just go onto the internet. Has it? Who knows? But I doubt they have many viewers now.

This Liberal government is deliberately suppressing information. They have become intolerant of news and comment. They are pursuing journalists they don’t like, they refuse to answer questions, they show their dislike of probing questions, they pursue whistle blowers with sheer vengeance.

This government is instituting a totalitarian state by stealth. They MUST be resisted! I will be writing a lot more on this.

Bunker bulldust day 96

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Nikon P950 @ 2,000mm hand held.  See below for the normal eye view.

Another glorious winter day, 23deg and yay! it’s the winter solstice and the days start getting longer again. Our winters are not hard to bear, but I do prefer the summers.

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A couple of weeks ago I mentioned my belief that the tendency to left wing progressive politics is directly related to intelligence. High intelligence = Labor, low intelligence = Liberal (actually they lie as usual, they are conservatives).

Here’s a quote from The Guardian today: “In western countries, people with high education levels have been moving steadily to the left, while people with less education have been moving to the right, as French economist Thomas Piketty’s latest research shows.”

So it’s not just me.

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Yesterday I mentioned Crikey, a web site dedicated to a deeper analysis and with a bit more irreverent and iconoclastic viewpoint. It  was started by Stephen Mayne, who’s best known as a shareholder activist. He buys shares in companies so he can attend annual shareholder meetings and ask hard questions of the CEOs, CFOs and board members who don’t like being put under pressure. I’ve known about it for several years but being a paywall site, I held off subscribing.

However, in this lockdown period, and saving money by not having to spend it on fuel for the cars (noticed that?), I decided to subscribe at last. I’ve taken out a three month subscription at the moment for $55, but I think I’ll continue, especially as they’re offering 12 months for $99.

When you do the sums, it’s a 5-day a week newspaper for 38c a  day. Likewise, I subscribe to The Guardian for $120 a year. That’s a 7 days a week newspaper for 33c a day. That’s a lot cheaper than printed newspapers were. The only drawback is it’s harder to wrap the food-scraps up in. 🙂

I raise the article about how priests in the Catholic church are simultaneously employees and not employees according to whether the church is in court or whispering in the PM’s ear as an inspiring article. It revealed something that hasn’t been in the public’s knowledge and needs to be known.

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Nikon P950

I mentioned that I’ve received my new camera, shown above. Its claim to fame is that the lens goes from 24mm at the wide end to 2000mm at the long end. That’s longer than the longest telephoto available in the film days. That would be pretty useless without image stabilisation and/or a tripod, but stabilisation is supposed to allow hand holding in good light. I put it to the test yesterday. Here’s a scene at 50mm, normal eyesight view:

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You can just see a yellow spike in the water just to the left of centre (right click and choose View Image to see it bigger). Now here’s 2000mm:

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That’s sharp! Handheld and with no post-processing sharpening. Here’s another shot:

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That’s the 50mm “normal” view. Here’s 1000mm:

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And here’s 2000mm:

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Here’s the reverse view at 135mm, medium telephoto:

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See those rocks in the distance?

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There’s a shag on the rocks. All handheld in a moderate breeze. I’m impressed. I shot a bit of 4K video too but I can’t show it here in its full quality due to this website’s limitations. I’ll just say it’s nice, although you do need a tripod at the long end when shooting video.

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A few weeks ago I made a complaint on iiNet’s website about having to buy an extra data package due to exceeding the 250GB monthly limit. I said that most other ISPs have no limit, and Telstra in particular have been upgrading their 25Mb/s customers to 50Mb/s at no charge. It was boosted by an article I read recently that said “the vast majority” of Australian customers are on 50Mb/s. I felt, in view of my 7 year loyalty, that I should be better treated.

A couple of weeks later I got a call from iiNet, in a very hard to understand accent from their South African support centre, with a satellite delay to make it harder, to ask me about my complaint. I explained it all again and the guy said he’d pass me on to the next level.

I was put onto another lady who turned out to be in the Philippines. I explained it all again and she put me on hold while she talked to her manager. Eventually she came back and said someone would give me a call about it.

Needless to say, no-one has called. Meanwhile, I’ve noticed that TPG, iiNet’s parent company, are advertising Unlimited Data in their advertising.

I think that’s it for iiNet. I’m going to switch away. They used to be the best in the business when they were Perth owned and supported, but they’re crap now that they’ve sold out to TPG who have a reputation for being ruthless. I’ve been unhappy for some time and there are alternatives. Time to give them the big kick.

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Bunker bulldust day 94

20Nov16 585

Sanur, 2016  © PJ Croft 2020

A beautiful day, only 18deg but I don’t seem to be feeling the cold. I had washing on the line yesterday when it was so wet, but managed to get it dry and off the line just before it started raining again. It’d had a nice rainwater rinse.

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I’m pretty upset at the moment. I’ve just read an article on Crikey Why In God’s Name (I’m a subscriber, more on that in a minute) about the Catholic church in Australia. It’s been in the news because Catholic priests have been getting JobKeeper payments of about $1500 a fortnight since they started in this pandemic period.

But this is about double what priests are usually paid and the church has been asking the priests to return about half this payment. This is illegal. Employers, nota bene, are not allowed to withhold any of the JobKeeper payments or set any conditions for employees to receive it. The government pays the employer and the employer must pass it on, 100%. So, the Catholic church is acting illegally by asking its priests to return half their payments.

But since so many Catholic priests were found to have been sexually abusing children and young men in the past decades, it has mounted a legal defence that the church is not an employer and priests are not employees, so the church can’t be held legally responsible for the crimes of the priests.

So if they are not employers, why are they getting JobSeeker payments for their “employees”?

Well, it’s because they asked the Prime Minister! He’s a real God Fearer, don’t forget, a member of that Happy Clappy organisation called the Hillsong Church. Although he didn’t disclose it to us, he authorised the Catholic Church to get the JobSeeker payments. It pays to have friends in high places, doesn’t it?

So, although no members or employees of media, theatre and the arts, and no universities or employees of unis are eligible, and are “dying” as a result, the PM’s church friends have been given special treatment.

Do you feel any outrage? Do you see any hypocrisy? I’m so angry!

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Along the same lines, ever since Australia started its own system of awards for service, the “Ocker Awards” as they’re sardonically called, people have been a bit cynical about who gets them. It turns out we’ve had a right to be, because Crikey has done some analysis of who’s been getting these gongs. And lo and behold, it turns out that the awards committee that chooses the recipients is stacked with Liberal Party members, and up to77% of the awards have gone to Liberal Party members. What a surprise!

Let’s never forget the ludicrous new awards that that loony Liberal polly, Tony Abbott, instituted without any authorisation, without even telling his own cabinet before announcing them, the Australian Knighthoods. What a joke. He made three Aussies Australian “Knights”, thus instantly devaluing the existing top Ocker Award recipients, then the following year he made the Duke of Edinburgh an Australian Knight! It was obvious that the Jook thought this was ridiculous, although he was too polite to say so.

The Liberal Party of Australia is a corrupt institution and is an embarrassment to this country. I despise them.

Bunker bulldust day 92

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Ball’s Pyramid, 551m, off the coast of NSW, featured in the TV program mentioned below. That’s Lord Howe Island in the distance. Credit: NSW Tourism

Wow, day 92, three months of self-isolation. Not really. As I’ve said, it’s no hardship for me and I don’t hesitate to venture out now if I need to. In fact next Tuesday I’m going to meet up with one of my “photo-dawg” mates for a brekky at a restaurant, the first time we’ll be doing this since early February, I think. (I can tell because I write all my spending down in my notebook, remember? Very useful.)

It will be an opportunity to show some photos from my new Nikon P950 camera, I hope. I was going to go out just now but the rain set in so I’ll wait a while. It should be OK a bit later.

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Lord Howe Is

Lord Howe Island.  Credit: NSW Tourism

I’ve been singing the praises of the ABC’s co-production, with a French company, of Australia’s Ocean Odyssey, about the eastern Australian ocean current. What a magnificent program. It’s shot in high definition and it shows, beautifully detailed colour, perfectly shot and graded. The underwater shots of fish and mammals are fantastic. There have been two one hour episodes and I think next week will be the last one. Highly Recommended!

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Screenshot_2020-06-17 ASTER Web Image Gallery

Oh yeah?

Er, I don’t think so. A South Pacific Island in the middle of Western Australia? If you click on the link, sure enough you get an image of a tropical island. 🙂  I guess I might try and contact them to tell them of this mistake.

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I’ve been reading a biography of Albert Einstein for the past few weeks. It’s one of those door stopper books, about 10cm thick, almost too big to hold. Have you noticed how big and thick books have become in the past decade or two? As I say, unwieldy and difficult to hold when you’re reading in bed, which is the only time I do read books these days. Consequently I only get through 10 or 20 pages a night, which in a 550 page book, which this one is, takes many nights.

Anyway, I was wondering if it would hold my attention (it was only $9.99) but it definitely does. Einstein himself was really just an ordinary bloke although being more than 100 years ago, the times were pretty different to now. He had a good sense of humour and seems to have been quite a nice bloke. He had love lives and married, fathering two sons. One was quite like him, but the other son had a mental condition and needed care. Unfortunately Einstein fell out with his wife and although it took years to get a divorce, he moved away from Zurich to live in Berlin with his new love. She was actually his first cousin, but it didn’t seem to matter.

Anyway, I’m gripped by the book. The author (an American) has done a magnificent job of research, incredibly detailed with references. He even goes deeply into the science, explaining first the Special Theory of Relativity, then the later steps to make the General Theory. I suppose it helps if you know a bit about it before you read it, and it would definitely need a strong interest in physics, but that’s me. I’m only about 40% in but I look forward to bedtime to get into it.

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The other thing I’m reading is Silicon Chip magazine. I’ve been a regular monthly reader for decades and have not thrown an issue away since 2013  (yes, storage gets a bit ridiculous). In fact I subscribed for the first time a couple of months ago so I get them in the mail now.

I wanted to look up a model railway project a few weeks ago, and once I started reading and going through other back issues, mainly 2014 to 2017, crumbs, it’s like I’ve never read them before. I’m really enjoying reading them as if they’re fresh issues again.

But wow, electronics has changed. I can do the older stuff, but so much now is based on the Arduino microprocessor, which is a computer on a small printed circuit board. It’s very cheap, about $10-15, but you really need to understand how to program them and connect it all together. I’ve been left behind in this area.

The other thing is that electronic components are a bit difficult to handle and solder now.

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See that white thing on the right? Now look closer and see the tiny white thing just above centre? Now look even closer and concentrate on the small white rectangle at the bottom of the grey area. That’s a surface mount resistor! It’s so small it’s hard to see, let alone pick up and solder. There are no wire leads, you have to place a tiny drop of glue to hold it in place, then use a tiny soldering tip to solder each end to a pad on the board. Yow!

See the black thing on the left? That’s a plastic container, upside down. When I detach it from the cardboard and sticky tape and turn it over:

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I’ve placed it next to an SD card to show the size. That’s a surface mount integrated circuit. Again, it’s hard to pick up and will need very careful soldering to the printed circuit board. Yoweee! My eyes are a bit bleary these days and this is getting a bit hard for me.

Anyway, I still find it interesting. These are two “hard to get” components for a Silicon Chip model train controller which I’m thinking of building. Two actually. I’ve bought two sets of PCBs and these parts. They are actually for an old style DC controller to get me going. I’m a great believer in DCC but as I’ve said, the controller is Arduino based and I just don’t understand it. (This is the January issue, this year.) There’s no kit available so I’m faced with building this quite complex thing from scratch. I’m baulked by it. Annoying.

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I should add that I’ve been reading these electronics magazines since 1960 when Dad gave me my first copy of Radio, TV and Hobbies magazine, as it was then. That’s 60 years! I was trying to build a crystal set at the time, when we lived in Rockingham. That’s what got me started in electronics. Thanks Dad!!

R, TV & H became Electronics Australia in the 1960s sometime, and I claim the credit for the introduction of the Letters to the Editor pages as I wrote making the suggestion in about 1966. The letters pages started  the next month. I never got any acknowledgement, though.

Electronics Australia died in the 1980s, amazingly. It seemed to be a fixture, but not so. Silicon Chip had started up “just down the road” with one of the EA journalists as the new boy, the upstart. And thank goodness, it’s still going now. The original upstarter was a very, very conservative editor (no such thing as global heating, etc) and I thoroughly disliked his attitudes, but he’s retired now.

Which is leading me to say that they’ve scanned the entire output of the magazine from its inception back in the 80s and all these issues are available as PDFs on USB thumb drives. They’re not cheap, costing $100 for each decade, $500 for the lot. I might buy the ones from the late 90s through to now, two or three sticks at $100 each. Then I can give away my collection of the paper issues a last.

A couple of weeks ago I actually got a bit ruthless and tossed my entire collection of about 30 issues of Mercedes Enthusiast mag into the recycle bin, along with about 20 copies of DIYODE, the other electronics hobbyist magazine. I kept thinking I was going to scan the interesting articles, but I never got around to it and lost interest.

This DIYODE magazine is another example of projects all based on microprocessors and using 3D printed parts. This is all a bit beyond me, I’m afraid. I’ll stick to my model railways. Actually, what better application is there for 3D printing? I would love to be able to make my own small plastic buildings, bridges and so on. But at ~$1400 for a good 3D printer, I’m not ready for that. Not to mention the space it takes!

 

Bunker bulldust day 89

Lake Hillier WA

Lake Hillier, WA       Picture The Guardian

It’s a little more like winter, but I haven’t been tempted to wear anything warmer than my T-shirt yet. Lovely 20deg days with a bit o’ rain and a bit o’ sun. Nice.

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More WA shots…

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Albany, WA. Calm waters, or ocean surf, take your pick.

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Off Coogee Beach.

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This is a shot of a right-wing anti-vaccination/Covid-19-is-a-hoax demonstration in Sydney last week. Funny lookin’ star on the flag, yeah? It’s missing a point. This is the six point Jewish star. Seems to me, THIS IS A PSYCHO OP. Anyway, since when does our flag have a red background?

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How about this?

You received this message because you are a registered member of Meetup. You cannot unsubscribe from Meetup emails that provide important updates about Meetup’s policies. Please visit your account settings to adjust all other email settings.

What?? You cannot unsubscribe? I don’t even know what this Meetup mob is. I don’t remember joining it and I don’t want their emails.

OK, I’ve had a look at their website and I vaguely remember something about it but I don’t remember how I joined, I haven’t done anything with them, and I can’t find any way to unsubscribe and disengage. Crazy.

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Things are getting back to normal. I went to the Clarkson shopping centre on Friday and the cafes and food hall are open again. I didn’t actually eat there because I’ve developed different habits now – I skip lunch, mostly, so I don’t need to eat in the afternoon.

However, despite only having two meals a day, and small meals at that, my weight stays stubbornly at the same level. I eat much less than I used to 20 years ago, but I weigh more and I can’t get it off. It’s because I’m less mobile, I know. Sigh.

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People complain that it’s hard to find work. I put an ad up on NextDoor, the neighbourhood website, looking for a young person to clean and polish my cars for payment. Answers? Nothing. So what are young people complaining about?

I also just answered a Facebook ad for car radio installations, telling the guy what I wanted done. He immediately said no, didn’t want the work. Phut!

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Dull day today. Not much happening I’m afraid, sorry.