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They’re everywhere! Italians, I mean.
I’m dealing with the CBA and the two guys I’m talking to are as Italian as they come. This is from CBA Netbank. See last item below.

Phew, I thought retirement was supposed to be a quiet time. It’s not quiet for me, that’s for sure, not just yet.

I had my first potential house buyer through yesterday, even before a sign has gone up. Barry says he’s had five enquiries from the web just by saying “Coming soon.” This guy said no, but I don’t care. We’re going to have a home open next Sunday, so we’ll see what that produces.

The house looks a lot better now with the new carpet, and I’m sure it doesn’t smell of dog any more. I must admit I’d let Minnie get a bit dirty and pongy but I’ve been struggling a bit myself. I gave her a good wash yesterday, though, and lo, she’s actually white. Five shades lighter, anyway. I did it in my bathroom with a long nozzle and warm water from the shower tap. I reckon she liked it a lot.

She’s really in fine health. The big tumour in her side looks bad, but it really, truly doesn’t bother her. She lies on it to sleep. I think the facial tumour is drying up, too. She pays it no attention. She still walks OK, slowly like me, but OK. In fact, she actually ran up my driveway a few days ago. For a 14 yo dog, she’s in fine shape.

When I left the house to Barry yesterday, I took her to the south side of my house and shut her in behind the wooden gate. She quite likes to sleep on the dirt there, so she was OK.

I’ve also made a good acquaintance with my north-side neighbour but one. His name is Peter, too, and he said they’ve just got a young Labrador and will look after Minnie for me, so that would be ideal. Better and better. He’s seen the ambulances arrive each time, once last year and three times recently, so he’s curious and knows I’ve got a bit of trouble. Nice bloke.

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My internet continues to drive me up the wall. I still can’t get ADSL landline, so I rely on wireless. I complained to Vivid that I can’t stay connected and after all their checks, “Sorry sir, we can’t help you. It’s just a poor reception spot. Have a free 6GB as compensation.”

Big help. I downloaded a 266MB program yesterday and it took around 16 hours! This is from IBM’s US servers. My download speed was consistently around 10KB/s, not much better than dialup speed. I tried repeatedly pausing, hoping to get a better TCP link, but it never improved much.

I wrote to Minister Conroy about three weeks ago pointing out that I’ve been trying to get ADSL for 12 years and written twice before in the past 10 years to ministers with no result. There’s been no result this time either so far.

So last week I walked into the den of iniquity, Telstra! I swore I’d never deal with them, but reports of their 4G USB modems made me weaken. Besides, I’ve reached desperation point.

Nope. 4G is only available within 5Km of the city centre. Huh! OK, what about a landline connection again? Yes, but it’ll cost between $96 and $299 for a reconnection and there’s no guarantee it will be capable of ADSL, Same as 5 years ago. I just have to take my chances.

OK, what about 3G LTE? This is Telstra’s answer to 4G for the rest of us, a USB modem solution.

Yes sir, definitely possible, but for 4GB a month, around $90/month on a 12 month plan including cost of modem. What??!! I said I’m an aged pensioner – I can’t afford that. Sorry, that’s it.

So no deal possible. I just have to live with Vivid, now Optus, at dialup speeds or a bit better. And he said my service, although it was 4G when I bought into it with Vivid, is now only 3G with Optus. I was never told of this. Crap!

All I can hope is that I’ll do better at Kallaroo. I really think there will be ADSL available at the village. Surely there must be? The Telstra exchange is right nearby and there’s a big phone tower there too. Patience. Meanwhile, I’m going to kick the minister again very soon.

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This new anti-arrhythmia medication, amiodarone, is not very nice. I deliberately didn’t look up side effects initially, but I’m aware of them now. I don’t like what I feel and read.

First, I really think it’s a blunt instrument. Maybe it works, but it’s not without long term effects. It takes months to permeate all through your body (they call it loading), into all the cells and organs, fat included and if you stop, it will take at least 6 months to wash out. It would still be working its way through me now, three weeks after I started it, so I’m not getting the full effect yet. Half life 58 days!

Yes, the AF has stopped, but that was quite probably being caused by the sotacor. There’s no guarantee that the amiodarone is the cause of it ceasing.

The side effects are mainly an awful metallic, toothpaste taste in my mouth all the time, vision change, and skin spots, small bleeds from any scratching. But I’m more worried about hepatic and thyroid effects long term, and greying of the skin, which doesn’t revert.

I’m going to discuss it, obviously, but I want to slowly reduce the dose, maybe even to zero, to see what happens. It will take months, as I say, for it to dissipate. Plenty of time to notice if I get any AF again, but I feel reassured now, that AF won’t kill me. If it comes back, OK, I restart. Under doctor’s orders, of course. No amateur advice please.

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Meanwhile, I feel so much better that my thoughts are on a return to Bali. Only a quick visit, and not in the villa. Can’t stay there. Not allowed. It has to be 100% rental and I mustn’t stay in it unless I pay full commercial rate and I don’t want that. No, I’ll stay in another place. Maybe in a month or two, when I see what happens with my house sale and move.

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My back lawn area is now all prepped for roll-on lawn. Just got to get the retic going again and then 90 sq.m. of lawn (2 tonnes!) delivered is $690. I reckon it’s a waste of money, but Barry wants it done, so … Ideal growing season, of course. Couch Wintergreen. There’s a little bit of couch in the ground already, so it will suit. Very tough grass! I’ve never been able to kill it off completely, even using glyphosate.

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Meanwhile, my slide-show/video-show Blu-ray production is coming along beautifully! I’ve finished one using only still photos, 11 minutes titled Il Grandioso di Venezia, set to Vivaldi, but the next one is Concerto di Venezia in four movements (Movamento) with more traditional Italian music and LOTS of HD video.

Each “movamento” is around 6-7 minutes, a mix of stills and video, and on a theme, eg Canali, Shoppi, Populi and finally Arti, Musico and Cathedrali. I’ve done the first three and I’m working on the fourth. I’m still fine tuning the first three – it’s a long way from finished, but another month or two should see it completed. It’ll total about 30-40 minutes, I think.

It’s not designed to sit and watch all the way through in one sitting. It’s meant to be something you have running and each time you look, you’ll see something new that will grab your attention for a minute or two. Blu-ray only, I’m afraid. The quality is magic in HD and I’m not going to compromise it by dumbing it down to ordinary DVD.

The music is the only problem. I’m using a commercial CD of accordion and mandolin stuff and it’s good, but I need something better and royalty free, or royalty paid, that is. I’m not going to steal someone else’s work – I pay for everything. So I’m on the hunt.

As a friend of mine says, the sound is 60% of any video production. Yes, 60%, more than half. More important than the vision. At this moment, I’m playing my Blu-ray Baraka around the corner where I can’t see it, but the music and sound alone is enough. Sound is vital to any video production.

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Come to think of it, here’s a good excuse to drive into the city this afternoon and go to 78 Records and see what they’ve got. Are they still in existence? I haven’t been in there for about three years!

Ciao.

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