John Lennon Knew

John Lennon sang, “Nobody told me it would be like this”. How true.
All my life I told myself  “All dogs end in tragedy” as my reason for not having a pet. It was from experience: I’d seen dogs die in our family and although I didn’t grieve as I do now, I still remember them.
What a paradox. A pet dog gives unbelievable pleasure and keeps on giving. But at the end, owww, oooooowww, it’s so hard.
Minnie 31 May 2012 6.30pm
Minnie is 13, going on 14, but she’s still OK. She still as all her teeth and they are fine. All her senses, hearing, smell, taste, sight — no problems. She still eats properly, has a fine appetite, crunches the bones, excretes properly, sleeps properly, all is good, except for walking and the lumps. You can’t see it in this shot but she’s got a big lump in her right side and a big “sore” on her right face cheek. She doesn’t seem to be in pain from these – she doesn’t scratch, she sleeps on the lumpy side. But it can’t be fun for her.
But she insists on sleeping outside! It rained heavily today, but she stayed out in her “dirt pit” until the thunder started, then she finally came in when I insisted. She was scared by the lightning (so was I!) and came up really close to me, but she’s soaking wet and covered in dirt! I really want to comfort her, but it’s a bit messy.
Then an hour later the rain set in again. After a while, I wondered where she was and looked out the front. There she was on her cushion, but it was out in the rain! I called her inside and she came when I insisted, but again, wet through and not exactly pleasant to comfort. I gave her dinner inside for once, on her cushion so she wouldn’t have to move.
Then about 7.05pm I moved, to get my dinner. She immediately got up and went for the door! I tried to get her to stay inside in the warmth but, no way.
I just don’t know. Is  she OK? Is she in bad pain? Jeez, this is hard.

Video Recording

Boy, I’m quite pleased with my new HDD/DVD recorder described yesterday.
The difference was noticeable as soon as I hooked it up and turned it on. The pictures through the machine are much better than the old one. Panasonic seem to have got their technology right in upscaling standard definition to 1080p — it’s noticeably better than before, even though the old one purported to do the same. There’s a new depth and saturation to the pictures.
Second, I no longer need to worry about recording conflicts. Two programs to record at the same time? At first I started my usual triage decision, but now, no problem, just push the OK button. Quite pleased, in other words.
I’m just shaking my head in open mouthed disbelief at the moment.
a) Julian Assange has today lost his appeal in a London court against extradition to Sweden to face trumped up charges, from a setup orchestrated by the CIA, to get him back to the USA where the US government will try to legally murder him for legally publishing information that was revealed by one of their own soldiers and which they failed to protect. I have no doubt they are mightily upset about it, but there is every chance they will try very hard to murder an Australian citizen for it.
Sweden, you have sunk into the sludge at the bottom of the pond. I used to think the Scandinavian countries were the good guys of the world, but I wipe Sweden off that list.
The USA of course, continues on its murderous, genocidal course, not content with killing their own citizens, mental retards, youths, ethnic minorities and anyone of a darker skin colour. Now they want to kill an Australian for offending them.
b) the member for Alfred Cove, Janet Woollard MHR has this afternoon embarked on the next step of her campaign to help her son, and her, avoid facing his responsibilities over the horrendous boat crash in 2007.
She’s used her electorate office and time and public money (!) to send 14,000 letters on what she denies is her parliamentary letterhead, but which she admits looks quite like it, to plead her case to her electorate. Her son has avoided his responsibility for the awful injuries and medical costs to his passenger by declaring bankruptcy, but she pushes the blame back onto the victim!
I loathe this woman and her son. Is there a stronger word? I’ll come up with some, trust me. She calls herself Doctor Janet Woollard. Her doctorate is in nursing. To me, she is the antithesis of a nurse.
These people (MPs and the medical elite) command huge fees and salaries, live in an expensive suburb, yet they continue to tell us that their son is “a good boy”, can’t afford to pay and is being persecuted over this awful mistake.
Sue me, Janet, please! I would love to face you in court. You are going through purgatory at the moment and you deserve every second of it. Long may it continue because you are bringing this on yourself. As Russell said, if you just paid up, it would all go away and you could sort it out in private. You could then force your good boy to pay you back, as I’m sure you would. Stupid women.
We have not heard the last of this. All power and thanks to John Hammond who is acting for the victim. Go man, go. 
c) Speaking of doctors, Bashar Al-Assad, the head of state of Syria, is a medical doctor, an eye surgeon. He trained in the UK and therefore I’m certain he took the Hippocratic oath to “Above all, do no harm”.
But under his authority his army are executing children and women, non-combatants, innocents, guilty of no more than being in an area where people, his own citizens reside, simply because he believes they oppose his rule.
To practise medicine, I assume he was or is registered with the British authority, the British Medical Association, the BMA. I’m trying to find out whether he was, or still is. He must be banned? Stay tuned.

It’s All Happening

After trying for several months to find a way to resurrect the DVD drive in my HDD/DVD recorder, without success, the pageant on this Sunday has given me the excuse to buy a new one.
I bought my first hard disk recorder in about 2004 (I never wanted a VHS machine!), but it only had a single analogue tuner. I could record programs to DVD, but only from the analogue channels (ABW2, TVW7, STW9 and NEW10, remember them? They die next month by the way, off the air, transmitters switched off! I predict screams from people living in the country regions. No more fringe area reception via tall antennae.)
In about 2007 I replaced that analogue machine with my present one that has a single digital tuner. I can record digital channels, but only the Standard Definition ones (so no recording, or watching through the recorder, of ABC News 24, Nine’s GEM, TenHD etc).
Then a few months ago, the unit’s DVD drive started refusing to believe there was no disc inserted, so I can’t get programs off the hard drive or even play DVDs. I’ve tried to live with that for as long as I can, but the Thames Jubilee Pageant coming up on Sunday night has kicked me into action, so I’ve just bought a new Panasonic recorder with twin Hi-Def tuners, able to record two HD programs simultaneously. (See next item)
It means I’ll also be able to get things off the disk drive to DVD. Annoyingly, the web page of the shop I bought it from clearly says the unit can also play back BluRay discs. No it can’t. “Oh, no mate, that’s an error, sorry. There’s no BluRay playback.”  Gee thanks. I’ll be checking their web site tomorrow and if the error isn’t fixed, I’ll make a complaint.
Anyway, the Pageant on Sunday night is on ABC 24 which means it should be in 720p High Definition with stereo sound, so I’ll be able to record it. Since it goes until 3am and I will be toasting the queen, there’s a good chance I’ll fall asleep!
You’ll appreciate why I sound a bit incredulous when I show you this:
That’s what a videotape recorder used to look like when I first started work in 1966. I am very familiar with this machine because I used to operate it. You can see the tape on the gold reels – all 5,400 feet of 2 inch wide tape which could hold one hour (a bit more, 70 mins actually, you hoped) of black and white TV. If you were lucky. There were so many things that could and did go wrong!
L-R: Me, Ross McDonald, Ken McKay, Gordon McColl on Friday 25 May.
It looks a bit funny because we were having to dismantle it, and it’s big and heavy. 
Why do we have to dismantle it?
Because it’s in the Wireless Hill Museum in Melville and someone in the council has decided that the museum is not popular enough (despite it being locked all the time, viewing by arrangement), so it all has to go.
What you can’t see in my photos is an enormous radio transmitter, twice the size of the VTR, that also has to be dismantled and moved out. But where can we take them? We don’t know! We (the people who are vitally interested in this history) have no money, no way to move this stuff (it needs cranes and trucks) and nowhere to store it except in sea containers somewhere.
As you can see, we’re not exactly young, fit and able guys, but it seems we’re all there is.
You can read much, much more about this at and the very top article, only posted yesterday, explains more about it. (You’ll also find many, many of my photos covering 30 years of TV technology on the web site as well, eg
Unfortunately, it looks as if all this historic equipment, not to mention all the program material in all its different forms, may well be lost. Why? Because almost no-one cares. There’s no money, no storage premises, no display premises and even when we had these ideal premises, we’ve been kicked out.
So next time you record hi-def digital colour video onto an SD card, this is how it all started. But who cares?


O’yea, o’yea, o’yea. Good news. The Thames pageant will be shown live on ABC News24 on Sunday night starting at 1030pm WA time.
This channel is 720p Hi-Def, so it should look good. The sound will be just as important so whack it up loud!
I don’t know whether my voice had any influence in this change, but I’ve certainly been shooting emails out in the past week to anyone I think may be able to help. Looks like it may have paid off.  Thank you anyway, whoever made this decision.

Thames Pageant Update

I’ve had a reply from the ABC saying they don’t have the rights to show the Thames Jubilee Flotilla live!
They’ll be showing a delayed program at 6pm on Monday 4 June, but it’ll obviously only be edited highlights and if it’s on ABC1 it will only be in standard definition.
I can’t believe it. This will be an event which has not been seen since the 17th century in the times of Charles I and will never be seen again in our lifetimes, yet we won’t be able to see it live or in full.
It’s like saying that a manned landing will be occurring on Mars next month but we won’t be able to watch it due to rights, or costs, or lack of demand.
The BBC will be covering it in full in hi-def, so there will be a feed available. So where can we see it? I don’t know and I can’t seem to find out. So disappointing. We can get the live web feed but I doubt it will work for me on my limited bandwidth connection. So disappointing.
I hope I’m mistaken and if I am, I’ll happily correct my comments.

Next next

PS to below: I’ve searched the ABC-TV website and according to their program guide, there is NO broadcast of the Thames pageant scheduled on Sunday 3 June!
Naturally I’ve emailed them asking why, but after 48 hours there’s been no reply and I don’t have much hope of satisfaction.
Funny, we’re told repeatedly that Queen Elizabeth II is Queen of Australia as well, but we get lower status than Europeans at UK immigration counters, are not allowed to work in the UK even though people from the EU are, and now it seems we won’t get to see this pageant.
I hope I’m wrong, but …
I’m bloody psychic! I see the future! I’m convinced of it.
Yesterday (Monday) morning I was dreaming just before I awoke and the dream vividly showed a side yard of a house somewhere in a city. In the dream there was a blue painted steel fence above a brick wall and oddly, a crane or something was installing rectangular blue painted steel mesh columns spaced about 2m apart inside the railing fence. Weird, brief, but a very clear dream.
Then last night (Monday, same day) I watched 4 Corners on the Madeleine McCann missing girl in Portugal mystery. In the program they used quite a lengthy shot of – a wall with blue painted steel railings on top! Same blue, similar style!
Coincidence? Pretty strange.


The new Royal Barge
I don’t know any more than what you see, but it’s a start. The start time in London will be 1pm, which will be 9pm our (WA) time, Sunday 3 June.I haven’t found any TV broadcast info yet. I’ve searched the ABC’s website but found nothing obvious. I hope they will devote their hi-def channel, News 24, to a full broadcast, free of interruptions until its finish time of 5pm GMT, 1am WA time.
The RAAF balloon that “crashed”, no, sorry guys, had an unscheduled stop last Thursday, came down in Shardlow Loop Carine. That’s Peter Partridge’s street and he was there. So were nearly the entire suburb after a while, apparently, but it was a pretty unusual event. I briefly saw the balloon in the air but that’s all.
I was returning from the shops where I was amazed to see, among the biscuits, nuts and sundry groceries, recordable DVDs in Black & Gold packaging! Yes, these ultra hi-tech discs which used to cost a fortune and come in gleaming jewel cases are there in 25 disc spindle packs among the food items.
Then in the newsagent, I saw 1Terabyte USB3 portable hard drives in blister packs for $156 or something, among the rulers, pencils and envelopes. Computers are now sold in Retravision, 8GB USB thumb drives come in double blister packs at the Good Guys where you can buy Mum a wi-fi router for Mothers’ Day… is nothing sacred?!  
What other commodity or service has fallen so far in price than electronics? It’s all due to the cleverness of electronics engineers that this is happening. They never stop finding better, cheaper, faster, easier ways of making electronic products. Would that people in other industries had the same aims and abilities.
I proudly call myself a precisionista now. If you read Zoltan Kovacs’s articles in Saturday’s West Australian pages, you’ll know what I’m talking about. We used to be satisfied with the label of pedant, but I like the new term better.

Credit ESO

Isn’t that nice? It’s two galaxies colliding somewhere light years away in space, but astronomers have nick-named it Tinkerbell.

Damn, I’d like to see that

The finishing line. Wish I could be there. Picture credit: Me!
Wow, I’ve just read (see here  and here) about the Thames river festival to be held in London on Sunday June 3 for the Queen’s Jubilee. Wow! I wish I could be there. This is the first I’ve heard of it.
The Olympics leave me cold. I’m sure it’ll be great for people who like sport, but crowds, transport, security, not to mention cost mean I wouldn’t go even if I could. But to see a spectacle of royal barges, music, massive peals of bells, fireworks and colour even bigger and better than they used to do it in the 17th century would be near the top of my list of things to do before you die.
As the article says, the procession will take 90 minutes to pass any given spot and will be loud, colourful and best of all, advertising free. It will surpass anything seen in the past 300 years.
I’m sure they’ll be recording it and I’ll line up to buy a BluRay DVD. I hope they do it justice.

PS: Yeah, why don’t I just go? I just checked airfares – Singapore – Paris return for ~$1050. Eurostar to London to avoid the delays at London airports. But I can’t even get my shoes on or walk to the shops these days. Not feasible. Not a hope.


 In the post before this one I said I bought a Lotto ticket on the strength of the PIN chance.

Well, that one didn’t win, but the next one did. Yes, folks, I’m a Lotto winner. Don’t start queueing, though. I won $12.90 (the ticket cost $7.85). I think this is the first time I have ever won anything at Lotto or the lottery.

What are the chances?

Aaaaah, I love this cool, still, damp weather. Perth used to be the Windy City. I didn’t like the way the wind was always blowing, gusting, swirling the leaves, bending the branches. Maybe I’m imagining it, but it seems to me it’s much calmer these days along with less rainfall and warmer temperatures.The climate is changing.
I did a double take the other day — my supermarket checkout bill was an anagram of my PIN. I’m not going to say what the number was, but I immediately thought, wow, what are the chances of that?
Well, the chances are one in 10,000 of course. Four numbers, four digit PIN. Sooner or later they must come up. BUT, what are the chances of them coming up in the same order as your PIN? Those are different odds. I’m still working it out.
Yes, I bought a Lotto ticket. No, I didn’t win. What are the odds of that?
A website I visit every day posted this image yesterday:
Full-disk image of Earth from Russia’s Elektro-L satellite. (NTs OMZ)
In the comments section I said, “Best thing about it? The USA is nowhere to be seen. And for once we can see my home town, Perth, Western Australia.”
Being a US website I expected a few sarcastic replies, but instead I got 9 Likes and mine is the most popular comment. Wow.
You can see a 1.2 Giga pixel version at It’s pretty interesting.

We lost

You may remember the post a few weeks ago (15 March) about the destruction of the trees at the ovals near here. Well, we lost the fight.
At a meeting of Stirling Council last Tuesday, the vote went about 14 to 3 to spend $5 million on a new football club, so nearly all the trees in the photo below will be bulldozed.
All for the chop
One of the things I find most disheartening is that most people don’t care. I mentioned it to my “friends” at the club on Friday night. All I got was blank looks and so-what shrugs. “When did you last walk under those trees, Crofty?” was one response. My turn to say, so what? Whether I use them or not now, plenty of people do. But more importantly, dozens, scores, hundreds of birds do. I’ve been watching them for 25 years.
One of the councillors is quoted as saying, “they build what the community ask for.” The community in this case is the subset of parents who have kids who want to play football. I can’t believe that subset is a majority. It’s more that they have the ear of the council.
It’s not as if they can’t play football now. There’s already a full sized oval and a smaller, but still legal-sized oval, plus a clubroom. But, not content with having 95%, the sporters want 100%, or even 110% by the time they take over the car park area as well for the clubhouse.
I think it’s summed up by a Holden SS ute I saw at the shops yesterday. A big sticker in the back window said, “Don’t like my driving? Call 1-800-EAT SHIT”. How nice.
How nice to be getting some rain and coolness. I got my March /April electricity account yesterday and it was less than half what I used for the same time last year. That’s because that time last year was hot, hot, hot – 33/34C every day from January right through to May. I was running the aircon nearly every day, whereas I haven’t needed it now for many weeks. Good.
I drove up the street round the corner from me yesterday and saw a For Sale sign on a house I know to be the home of Cyril, a fellow dog walker who was 92 last time I saw him, which was more than a year ago. I can guess what the for sale sign means, then. He was a widower with only his dog Tina for company and he was very hard of hearing, which made it hard to talk to him much, but … he was a nice bloke. Thick Yorkshire accent. I wonder what’s happened to Tina?

Sorry for the strange ending — the blogging software went bad on me last night and I was too tired to correct it.