Some small idea of what it feels like to be on a bad medication.
[Edit:  3 August 2012 – see item Headed Holy Shit – Anti-depressant!

I’ve found it was 8-12 August 2003, and specifically Sunday 10 August 20003 that is described below and the drug was  Edronax ]

[Edit: since writing this, I’ve found it wasn’t 2007, but it did happen and I’m not sure which year yet. I may be mistaken about the drug too, but I have yet to find the diary entries. I’ve gone back through the ABC’s search engine and I can find references to Robert Drewe’s book, Shark Net, which was the program I saw, but not the year it was broadcast. Watch this space.]

Hol-ee-smoke! Good grief! Did you see the ABC’s 7:30 Report last night?

It was about an anti-depressant called Efexor. It is strongly suspected to cause compulsive gambling addiction, completely out of the control of the people who take it.
I should know. I was on Efexor for a week or two, in about 2007 I think. I have diaries, I’ll look it up.
I don’t blame the doctor who prescribed it – he was trying desperately to find an antidepressant that worked for me. I tried them all, including Efexor, all the SSRIs, NRIs, tricyclics, MAOIs and I dunno what else.
What I remember is the most disturbing, anxiety filled, terrifying week or more of my life. I can pinpoint it because it was the week that the ABC screened the documentary on Eric Edgar Cooke, the Nedlands serial murderer, on a Sunday evening. I can look it up.
What I remember is that I’d been out that day to a friend’s place and it was a cold, dark, wintry day. While there, I was feeling almost out of my body, out of control, trying desperately to hang on, to appear normal.
I must have done, because she didn’t notice anything and I guess I kept myself together. But I do remember I had to make an early excuse to leave.
I drove home along the Freeway (yeah, it was a Sunday) feeling very disturbed, very disembodied, very anxious, very strange. I was fighting to keep hold of my anxiety, but I did. I have some experience in this. 
(Yeah, and I was driving at 100Km/h on the Freeway in this state. I absolutely had to get home, that’s all there was to it. It was a cold, dark, wet, windy day. In fact, I remember having trouble controlling the car in the wind. What was I supposed to do, pull off the Freeway and lie down and succumb to this fear? Not possible. I had to hang on. Obviously I made it without incident.)
I got home and had tea, then some beer of course, (yes, I know, but that’s my routine and I wanted comfort) and sat down to watch the doco. But my scalp was crawling, my shoulders were tense and aching, I kept seeing odd things in my peripheral vision. I was sitting next to my back door and I had to close it as I was scared. I was in fear, a strange kind of fear.
The doco was all about dark places and a murderer, and I was feeling weird – I can’t fully remember what else I felt but it wasn’t an urge to gamble, just an urge to stop this awful drug!
I must have stopped taking it and went to the doc and we tried something else, but … ugh!
I will have to consult my diary but I do know I never want to see that drug again. How this could have been properly tested before release is beyond me. Obviously now, it wasn’t, but how many people’s lives have been ruined? Luckily mine wasn’t. I don’t gamble.

Good paintbrushes!

Rainy Loch. One of my best.  © PJ Croft 2008, 2012
I had the classic photographer’s situation today. While waiting for Barry, Pawal the carpet salesman was looking at my photos on my walls. I took the opportunity to show him a few prints, including one of a close-up of beautiful blue-eyed dragon fly on a stalk.
“Gee,” he said, “You must have good camera.”
No, no, no! I said, would you have said to Rembrandt or Picasso or Leonardo, “Gee, you must have good paint brushes.”
It’s not the camera! It’s how you use it.

Ya wouldn’ be dead for quids!

I call this my mundane shot – nothing special, just my backyard in interesting light.
What an amazing day! What an absolutely fun, amazing day! Anyone who thinks I would be dead has got the wrong guy.
It started off with the rainbows in my post below. That got me in a good mood. Then I fixed the big PC – that got me feeling even better. Then I fixed my DAB+ radio (new speaker). Better still.
Then I got some good writing done, including my blog, writing to congratulate the ABC 7.30 Report on last Friday’s episode and then commenting on the US/Australia economic situation on The On-Line Photographer http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2012/07/open-mike-how-rich-do-you-have-to-be.html#comments . The guy who writes this, the best photography blog on the web, Mike Johnson, is a deep thinker, philosopher, excellent writer and all round nice bloke (despite being an American!).
So that took me to 1.30pm when Pawal, the carpet guy arrived to measure up and show me samples. I’d been to Carpet Call on Saturday and he was supposed to come at 11am, but asked if he could come at 1.30pm. Yeah, no problem because it gave me time to fix the PC and print my drawings out.
I showed him my drawings and measurements, and he went around verifying them and calculating, then brought the samples in.
I had said, and I reinforced, it’s not my decision what the carpet should be – I’m leaving it to Barry as he’s the one who has to sell the house. I don’t care how bland the carpet is, I won’t be here. It’s rental material.
At that stage I called Barry and told him the carpet guy was here. “I’ll be there in 5 minutes”, Barry said, and he was.
This is Barry Wood, Bazza.
What followed was one of the funniest, most interesting hours I’ve ever seen or had!
Here I had two salesmen battling each other. Pawal is Indian. Bargaining, haggling is in his blood and he won’t mind me saying that. Barry is the consummate salesman, cars and real estate. He fights tooth and claw for the client. In this case I was the client.
I laughed until tears were streaming, but I had to shut up and let Barry handle it. It was like Yes, Minister last night – Sir Humphrey said to Jim Hacker, “Please Minister, just be quiet and agree with me” when talking to the French Ambassador. This was just like that. 
This was two professionals slugging it out. This was theatre. I tell you, if it had been left up to me, as I said to Pawal, I would have said, go away, I want to get another quote or two, because his initial price was way, way above the “whole house for $2,000” advert. It was close to double that, and I’m only talking 85 sq. m. of carpet.
But Barry saved me about $1,000 today. It was a battle royal! Barry knows Pawal’s area boss, so he asked to talk to the guy when Pawal checked back with the office. Haggle, haggle, haggle – Indian against professional salesman. It was classic theatre. I wish I’d been able to record it!
As a result, I’m getting underlay and nail strips, whereas I would have buckled and said nah, no underlay, glue strips. AND I’m getting my 2nd bedroom recarpeted in that price, whereas I would have let it stay with old crappy carpet.
So I’m paying nearly 50% more than the $2,000 advertised whole house price, but that was with no underlay, and I’m getting quite a lot more area than I thought I needed.
While all this was happening, the weather changed from the blue sky day it had been to this:
It’s still blue, but thunderstorm blue. Minnie had been outside:
But she came inside and stayed inside.  The tree I saw this morning all golden became this:
I think the conifer “leaves” have changed their direction because it’s not as gold, more green.
Then Barry stayed for a single beer and went through both the St Ives sales, to see what the history of the villas is, and then my street and the Trigg area sales on the REIWA website. This is agent only info, not available to me, so now I have printouts of the history of both areas. Invaluable.
And finally I phoned Mike and Troy to ask if they can come on Thursday afternoon and Friday morning to move furniture around while the carpet is laid. Yeah, no problem. Phew! Very grateful.
What a day! Just shows – I had no idea when I awoke this morning listening to the gloomy world news.
Oh, and now I’m listening to Rossini.

And PS: no-one will read this. I have two “friends” in particular who have pointedly said, No Pete, I will NOT read your blog. See what I mean? I am sloughing them off. I don’t think they actually know the meaning of that word, let alone how to pronounce it. Hah, pah.

Who’s a clever boy, then?

Trigg sunset.  11 July 2012  © PJ Croft 2012
I  said I can fix anything?
The carpet man is coming today so I needed to get the big desktop PC back and running. I upended it, took cards out and reseated them, took the memory sticks out and reinserted them, tightened screws, tidied cables away, pressed the CPU down into its socket, connected cabled keyboard and mouse and powered up again.
Good as gold. I give Windows credit – it offered to do a repair and roll back and up came the system, solid and stable again. SO FAR! Enough to get my drawing printed out anyway.
Therefore I’ve been able to print out exactly where the carpet is to go and calculate the area – 73.36m2, which is almost exactly what they offer for $2K. Bob’s your father’s brother.
I have also scanned the floor plan from the villa I saw yesterday, flipped it L-R to the layout I saw, and I’m now going to vectorise it and redraw it with interpolated dimensions for the sales lady, as well as myself.
The supervisory woman said to me yesterday, “Oh, you know computers, do you?” I said, lady, I can do anything, including fix them. She said “And teach them?” I said yes, and I like doing that. She looked pleased and I think I will fit that village like a glove.
I have rediscovered my classical CD stocks as well recently. My eight year old Pioneer DVD player gives a particularly sweet CD sound, so combined with my wonderful old Tannoy Mercury speakers, I’m listening to a lot of music now, as I used to do.
I would love to hold music appreciation sessions in this village. I have absorbed a lot of knowledge of serious music in 50 years of listening and I can tell almost straight away what a piece of music is, ie name and composer, the period it was composed in, and a bit of the background of the times. In fact, one of my favourite things is musical quizzes – ie play a piece, even as little as one chord or one note, and name the piece or composer etc. I admit it’s an ego thing!
That was the hard part when I first started all those years ago – I didn’t know where the composers fitted in the musical spectrum, who was who. Now I do.
I’m listening to Richard Strauss, Metamorphosen at this moment. I feel as if that’s what I’m doing, metamorphosing.
In fact I’d use the words phase transition, a change from one state to another. My only worry is that I’m going to run out of time, that I’ll be struck down by some disease before I’ve had time to do all the things I want to do.  I think I’d better have that colonoscopy after all.
PS: I’ve discovered WordPress blogging software and it seems far superior to this Blogger bucket of bugshit. I will be transferring all my stuff over, slowly. I’ll put up a link.

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Fortune favours the prepared.
I got up a little earlier this morning, just as the rising sun in the east was illuminating the western sky. This is from my back patio. I was standing there clad only in my jocks, shivering, afraid to stop photographing and go inside, because I know from experience that the light can change and things can happen suddenly.
When I turned, I saw this.
Yesterday, I saw this
Blue shed
And finally:
It was actually raining, but Minnie wants to be out there
As I said, silver linings and pots of gold at the end of rainbows and after storms.