Bip, Bip, Hooray

It’s been golden light this afternoon.
This shot was taken early in the sun setting process.
Notice how it’s burnt out in the whites.
It’s the JPG file from the camera, and is not what I was seeing.
This shot is no masterpiece but notice how the whites are all there? This isn’t exactly what I was seeing either, but now I have the choice to adjust it as I want.
That’s because it’s the RAW file, recorded alongside the above image in the camera at exactly the same time (simultaneously), but not processed (turned into a JPG file) by the camera for me.
That allows me to make the decisions about exposure adjustments later, saving the highlights and lightening the dark areas as I choose.
Provided I set the menu, I get a RAW file for every shot, alongside the JPG file. Double indemnity. A bet each way. The RAW file adds 15MB or more for every shot, but with SD card prices so low, … ?
So endeth the lesson. I’m a bit peeved because I set the camera up on the tripod and set the intervalometer to take a shot every two minutes to capture the changing light. When it got dark I went out to look, and found it hadn’t even started the sequence! I hadn’t realised you have to confirm the menu setting and press OK before the sequence will start. Duh. I’ll try again tomorrow night.
I’m being driven mad at the moment (well, I was mad already, really) by a BIP! every 10 seconds from a smoke alarm in my spare bedroom. It means “replace the battery”. It started a couple of nights ago but stopped after about an hour. Just reminding me.
But this time it isn’t stopping, so a few hours ago I got the ladder and set about changing the battery.   (7:30pm Ah! It’s stopped. Battery’s flat. Good. I’ll sleep tonight.)
Gloom. I can get up the first step of the ladder, but my just legs will not lift me to the next step. I tried every way to get up high enough, but it was getting dangerous, so I’ve had to close all the doors between the alarm and me and put up with it so far. The battery will conk out eventually, but if it continues to bed time, I may have to get a rake and just pull it down off the ceiling! It’s only a $15 double-sided tape stick-on, so it’s no loss, and I have a proper mains powered unit in the passage nearby so it doesn’t matter. But … sign of the times. I’ll have a couple of young guys here next week and they’ll do the job (battery or new one) in 2 minutes.
I read last night (Sunday) that it was Bloomsday, the anniversary of James Joyce yesterday. I haven’t read any of his works, but I’m aware of them (Ulysses, Finnegan’s Wake etc.) Notoriously difficult to read, but if people still worship them a century later, he must have got something right!) What I wasn’t aware of is that copyright on his works finally expired on that day, yesterday, 108 years after his death in 1904.
Aha, good news, it seemed. What I didn’t know is that his grandson, Stephen Joyce, living in America, is the world’s worst copyright enforcer and rights litigator. see  Even now, more than 100 years after his grandfather’s death, he stomps on anyone, even academics, who tries to quote from his grandfather’s works.
It even extends to denying James Joyce admirers permission to read from his books at celebrations in Dublin, at the shops and pubs Joyce wrote about. It even extended to a man who had memorised whole sections of the books so that he could recite them at meetings from memory. This grandson got a court order and the Dublin organisers had to cancel the celebration events! Obviously, the guy is a nutter.
Even so, it’s not over. Even though the copyright has expired, courts routinely grant extensions and may well do so again in this case. Pshaw!
Phew! Greece pulls back from the edge of the cliff. They have a long way to go, but at least the hatred party, the neo-nazis, the anti-immigrant party, have failed in their quest to gain power.
Note I said anti-immigrants? Hatred of “illegals”, immigrants, people they think have no right to be there. Hatred of foreigners. Queue jumpers. Boat people. Why don’t they join the queue, go through the proper processes, stand in line outside the embassies where the Taliban can pick them off.
I’ve been told, seriously, by someone I once respected, that Northam army camp has been turned into a luxury hotel for illegals while our army soldiers have to live in sub-standard accommodation. No need to check his facts; a mate told him this and he believes it. Sick.

Losing the business

Storm clouds gather  © PJ Croft 2012
ABC radio 720 is talking at this moment about about all the businesses that are disappearing from the suburbs. They are talking mainly about the western suburbs and saying that the last independent hardware shop is closing down today. Not quite true, because someone phoned in and said there’s still one in Subi or somewhere, and I know the Scarborough Hardware shop is still open, but when I go there, I’m usually the only customer!
I wrote four years ago (2009) about all the businesses around here that have gone, vanished, since I moved into the area. I’ve lived at my address in Trigg for nearly 26 years now and I’ve seen a lot of changes. When I think about it, they’re virtually all for the worse.

I needed to buy some light globes today, 60W reflector types or similar, nothing special. In 1986, when I arrived here, I would have had the choice of a walk to a supermarket and a hardware store just 500m up the street from my place, a supermarket at North Beach 1.2Km away, or a choice of two other supermarkets, a hardware store and two department stores at Karrinyup Shopping Centre 1.6Km away.

Today, I would have to go to Karrinyup for a choice of one supermarket (Woolies) and one department store (BigW), stocking hardware items, and that’s it.

Today’s radio talk set me thinking about what we’ve lost around here (within 2Km radius) in the last 25 years or so. These are the things we’ve lost:

Three service stations, Caltex Trigg, Ampol North Beach and Mobil Karrinyup;
Two taverns (Karrinyup Tavern and the Flora Terrace hotel);
Two supermarkets – Macs at Karrinyup and Macs/Foodland in Trigg (independently owned);
A doctor’s surgery (North Beach);
Two delicatessens (Trigg and North Beach)
Two video libraries (North Beach and Karrinyup)
One bank (Westpac North Beach);
One newsagent (Trigg);
Two greengrocers (Trigg and Karrinyup);
One bookshop (Karrinyup);
One CD/DVD shop (Karrinyup);
Three hardware shops (Trigg, + two at Karrinyup);

They’re all gone. All that’s left is Karrinyup Shopping Ctr with one supermarket and one greengrocer and North Beach Plaza with the same, except that the supermarket at N. Beach is so hopeless that we have to drive elsewhere to do our grocery shopping.

What have we gained?

An expanded and much improved post office (North Beach, franchised);
An ATM, but it’s a Redicard type which attracts charges;
Two nice, but expensive, beachfront cafes;
An improved walkway along West Coast Drive.

I can’t think of anything else. I’ll be happy to be corrected.

This is very disheartening. There is no hotel or tavern anywhere on the coast between Scarborough and Sorrento Quays, 8Km apart. No full service hardware stores apart from the all-pervasive Bunnings are left except one in Scarborough Beach Road, which I deliberately patronise whenever possible, but it’s a 5Km drive. I have to drive everywhere now.

Until three years ago, there was a small shopping centre 500m up the road with a service station, supermarket, good deli, greengrocer, fish & chip shop, hairdresser, chemist, hardware shop, newsagent, dress shop and St Vinnies. It was bulldozed and turned into a mass of identical townhouses. The fish & chips, chemist and hairdresser are housed in the complex, but that’s it.

This is a clear trend. The Coles/Woolworths duopoly is now dominant except for IGA. Twenty years ago there were at least four other grocery chains; full service petrol stations; full service delis; hotels where you could have a quiet drink and a reasonable meal; local banks; local video libraries…

This is a beachside suburb with a median price of around $1m, but we have to drive to other suburbs to get anything. What’s going on? It seems to be a chicken and egg situation – people go elsewhere because there’s nothing here, so no-one can afford to risk setting up here because people shop elsewhere. Is that it? I’m not sure.

Comments, please. PC 

The above was written four years ago, 2009. Now in 2012 it’s still true and NO-ONE had any comment.