Try harder

First ever shadow of a single atom. Credit Griffith Uni, Brisbane. Bet that was hard.
JFK: “We choose to go to the moon, not because it is easy, but because it is hard.”
I chat on a Canadian photography blog (although the guy seems to be as much politician and financier as photographer – he welcomes political chat).  
A couple of weeks ago he mentioned an article from NY about how US/NY uni students aren’t willing to put any effort into learning “hard” software any more, like MS Office. All they want to use is Facebook, Twitter and texting. Even email is too hard for them now. This uni guy said he has to work hard to stop his students texting him all the time.
This led other blog participants to make general comments about who needs Office any more – far too many features you never use etc etc. Same for Excel.
As you can imagine, this got me going and I started talking about how hard is better – if you don’t try, you never achieve, anyway you think Word or Excel is hard???
Somehow I got onto what I used to do and saying I can fix just about anything, including cars, washing machines, electrical appliances etc.  I got one woman saying, bet you don’t know anything about nature and plants etc. Well, as it happens, … 45 years of photography.
Blow me down, two hours later my 17 year old washing machine (Westinghouse Laundromat 425), which has never faulted in all this time, started overflowing onto the floor. It didn’t matter as the laundry drain took it all, but the coincidence was a bit odd. I baled a bit out and let it go on.
It finished the load and I thought no more about it. Until the next wash several days later (I only wash once a week, with two loads.) It did one load OK, but overflowed on the next. Same process. Bale it out.
I thought about it, wondering whether to pay for a repair or start thinking “new machine”.
Then it hit me – hot water washes. Almost all my washes are in cold water, so the hot inlet valve never gets used. On these two rare occasions, I’d used hot water. It had run in but couldn’t shut off.
OK, on the net looking for a replacement hot water inlet valve. No! Too old. No parts available. Machine type not even listed on parts sites.
OK, nothing to lose then. Took the back off, found the valve, right on the hot water inlet (tricky eh?). Took the valve out (with some difficulty) and slowly took it apart. Made of white nylon.
I found that the seal which shuts the water on and off was a bit corroded and not closing properly. A bit of work with a scraper and file, plus a bit of wiggling and twisting and it went back together and back in. Works now. For how long is another question, but it cost me nothing, certainly not $600 – $800 for a new machine. Anyway, I’ll just stop using hot washes.
So my point is, hard is good. Try. Don’t take the easy route. There’s huge satisfaction in doing something hard and pulling it off.
I can fix anything. Except tumours on a dog.


New horizons
(Btw, see the dots in the top part? Sensor faults in my initial Pentax K-5. Pentax replaced the entire camera under warranty. Great service. Very pleased.)
I took a drive up to a northern coastal suburb today to view a retirement village and get some information.
Wow, glad I did. It was a sparkling winter day, cool, but clear, cloudless sky. I came back along the coast road and I was nearly running off the road because I was staring at the sea all the time.
I wanted to take photos but I thought, “You can’t photograph this. It’s too wide and too shimmering. No photo can take it all in. Forget it, just look. It’ll still be there tomorrow.”
The village will let me bring Minnie and has a heated pool, spa and gym. Just what I need. It’s time.

Strange bedfellows

NW WA coast somewhere.
“Politics throws up strange bedfellows”. I never thought I would be agreeing with Geoff Cousins, that extremely wealthy ex-advertising man who seems to be a self appointed intellectual, but I am.
He’s warning the chairman of Woodside, Michael Chaney, developers of the James Price point gas hub, not to proceed, due to environmental dangers.
I admit I’ve been sitting on the fence about this. The local aboriginal owners agreed to the development a couple of years ago. That was good enough for me.
I even agreed with Colin Barnett! I’m not anti-development. We need jobs, we need to do things, we need the wealth from royalties and sales. I’m not automatically against development.
But when an avowed Liberal and conservative says STOP, I listen. I should revise my indifference. He wouldn’t be saying it’s dangerous without doing his homework.
So, I concur. Stop the plan to send the bulldozers to James Price Point.