Nearly there

ImageThree ships. Tuesday 30 October about 5.30pm. Pentax K-5, ISO800, Pentax 50-200mm lens.

Phwoar. It’s good to be pain free. My leg has nearly healed (heeled? Boom, boom) and I reckon I might even be able to leave the bandaging off after tomorrow. Debbie, the S/C nurse said she may not have to come on Friday. Not that I don’t want to see her, but it’ll be a sign I’m out of the crisis.

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I’m still on Ciprofloxacin though, and will be for the next two weeks to finish the course. Can’t risk another infection. The Four Corners program on antibiotics last night was truly frightening. There’s no question, if the pseudomonas bug becomes antibiotic resistant, I would lose my leg as the spread of the necrosis was so quick and the penetration so deep. Pseudomonas is already penicillin resistant. Scary.

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What strange weather. So hot on Saturday but so cool now. I had breakfast with friends at Soda cafe on the beachfront this morning, sitting outside, but when it was time, we all felt the need to leave as we were getting too cold.

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I’m utterly frustrated in composing my book on Java. Everything has been going fine for 100 pages, but now that I’m doing the final 10 pages, it keeps crashing every time I try to do proof outputs with pictures on the page. Text only is fine, but when there’s a picture on the page as well, it crashes with a cryptic message. Maybe I don’t need to worry about outputting the proof pages (full resolution checks). Maybe I ignore the proofing process and just output the entire book as a pdf and take it to the printing stage?

Similarly, at this moment I’m sitting watching the spinning wheel after I tried to insert a picture at the top of this page. It won’t upload the image (it’s only 87KB, fds!) but neither can I stop it.

So I’ll just hit Publish Post and hope.

Nope! An hour later, after I’ve been to the shops, it’s still spinning its wheels. This is a new attempt.
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Who you? What you doin’?

I completely forgot about these photos that were taken on 15 Sept. I reckon this is a young kooka from the group I saw on 1 July.  These photos were taken with my 120-400mm lens (180-600mm on the Pentax K-5) at full zoom, hand held. I just upped the dial to ISO800 and the image stabilisation took care of the rest. You couldn’t do this in the days of film!

Busy bodies

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In the thunderstorm a few hours ago, I was mostly asleep. I heard noises but I thought it was just the wind banging my blinds.

I awoke to find Minnie missing. The front wide gate was closed but the small gate was resting on the latch from the home open yesterday. In other words, I think she got out there. She thinks she can run away from thunder.

By coincidence, I’d removed her collar last night to change the registration tag. Groan. She’s on the loose with no collar. It’s raining. I don’t feel like chasing her.

But I thought I’d better, so I headed out the gate. Just at that moment, a bloke brought her to the front lawn. Thank goodness.

But he proceeded to reprimand me for the sore on her right cheek. “Do you know she’s got a big sore?” in a fairly strong tone. Well, she’s 14 years old, I said.

“Have you got some zinc cream? Otherwise the flies will be driving her mad.”

Gee, thanks mate. I couldn’t say anything, but mind your own business! Do you think I don’t know? It’s not true – she doesn’t have any trouble.  I’m glad he returned her, but I don’t want to be ticked off by a stranger thanks.

A guest on Russell Wolf’s radio program the other day was saying he was offended by someone making a gratuitous remark about his hairy body in a gym pool. “Do you have to pay extra to use the pool?” Yeah, very funny, and the caller was pretty upset about it.

It reminded me that I’ve had cracks made about my beard – it was pure white, and twice in lifts women have made cracks to their kids about Father Christmas’s beard, without my permission.

It boils down to manners. I’m afraid they are being lost.

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Home open yesterday and only one visitor, which is a bit discouraging, but it was a young guy and he brought his dad along, I’m told, looking at it as an investment.

What’s encouraging is that two more houses a few doors down have come onto the market as well. One is on sale for $930,000 and the other for $880,000. These are all the same sized blocks, so that makes mine an absolute bargain in comparison at $729,000. If the young guy could afford this house, he’d be setting himself up for a big gain by doing some hard work to fix it up. The median price is $850,000 in this street.

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Speaking of that, Barry asked me to phone the council and find out if any building permits have been issued since the house was built. Apparently, some buyers will discover some anomaly after the sale is done and come back at the seller months or years later. By disclosing up front, caveat emptor.

What they told me is that there have been no permits issued since it was built. That means the bedroom added on before I arrived in 1986, and I think it was done not long before, was never approved! Bloody hell. There’s nothing wrong with it, it’s a pro job, but I never thought to ask.

Barry wants me to go back and ask for copies of the original plans from when it was built. I think it was 1972 or thereabouts. Wish me luck.

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Leg is vastly improved, thanks. I only have an antibacterial film, a pad and a pressure sock over it now. The skin has almost closed over, just a 3mm diam. area left. No pain any more. Debbie, the Silver Chain nurse, thinks this coming M ,W, F might be the last visits needed. My main wish is not to have to put my leg in a garbage bag to shower!

Actions and Reactions

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You didn’t know I was at Yalta in WW2, did you? They wouldn’t listen to me.

Many times, I wonder if people think about the consequences of their actions.

I’ve been guilty of making hasty moves or judgements, but I long ago learned to wait and think about something before I go to the next step. Some people never learn that lesson.

Last Friday I bought a computer case, a small one designed to hold six disk drives called an Array case. I had ordered it based on the web description.

When I unpacked it, I realised I’d made a mistake – it was hard to get into (a minimum of six screws to be removed on each side) and hard to install the drives – no slide-in bays, all screws. Plus it needed a motherboard to work. I’d made a mistake. A $249 mistake.

I repacked it carefully as close to the original as I could get. Today I took it back to the shop and told them the story, asking if I could exchange it for a normal tower case and PSU and saying I would buy some RAM to take it past the $249 value – extra cash in other words.

They seemed happy to do it but took it out the back to inspect it. I waited a fair while, then they called me in and said No, we can’t take it back, it’s got scratches. I couldn’t see what they meant at first, but by angling the light, I could see two faint scratches in the brushed aluminium about 12mm long by less than 1mm.  They said that meant they couldn’t sell it as new so they wouldn’t accept it.

OK, but although I didn’t let on, I was embarrassed and upset. I took it away with me, but they immediately lost the sale of the other items I was going to buy today. They also lose my business for the foreseeable future. I’m not going to go back for some time. There are plenty of other places to buy. Silly move, guys.

I would have spent nearly $1,000 total over the next few months. I’ve decided to build a new PC, using the Intel Z77 motherboard with an i5 CPU which has an on chip video codec. At the moment, to output my Venice Concerto 30 minute show to Blu-ray mpeg4 takes around 2 hours. I hope to cut that in half, at least.

OTOH, I may not. Time is one thing I have plenty of.

I was going to write something else here, but I’ve just erased it. For the very reason I mentioned above.

Updates

Yesterday Debbie, the wonderful Silver Chain nurse unwrapped my leg and we both said Wow. It’s looking a lot better after being left alone over the weekend. I was virtually pain free too.

Monday 22 October

It might look a bit gory now, but you should have seen it three weeks ago. It was gross. This is good progress. It’s hurting a bit now, but bearable.

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A few weeks ago I found the name of the WA General Manager of Carpet Call, the firm that treated me so badly in July. I wrote him a letter of protest a few days ago.

I’m often asked, “What were your expectations? Did you expect this person to behave any differently than what you got?”  Well, my expectation was that the GM of a company, finding that he has a grievously upset customer, might express surprise, might seek to sooth the customer, might try to preserve his company’s reputation and might be prepared to say sorry.

Instead, what I got was more abuse. He phoned me yesterday and there was not the slightest sign of contrition. It was aggression, belligerence, sarcasm, cold callousness and a get lost attitude from the start. I’d signed off on the job and that was the end of the matter. What was I expecting, some kind of compensation? Yes, I was. No chance.

It was so unpleasant that I ended up hanging up on him.

What a way to run a business. He’s a Scot. Up to now, I’d never met a Scot that I didn’t like, but this guy was UNPLEASANT. No wonder the firm is so bad to deal with, it comes from the very top. I thought afterwards, this guy is probably bringing up kids. Poor kids. They’ll grow up with his abusive attitudes, for sure.

I’ve often read about psychopaths in business situations. Now I think I know what it means. Devoid of feelings. Uncaring about anyone else. Now I know. So I will continue to say, deal with Carpet Call if you want to come away bruised and regretful. They’ll oblige. The experts in the trade? Yeah, experts in mistreating customers.

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We had another open house on Saturday and another couple came through on Sunday. He was a builder/renovator looking for his next job, so I hope it might spark an interest. I can’t wait to get out of this house. There are too many bad memories now.

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I’ve been battling with wi-fi speed on this computer (the desktop Core-i7 unit) ever since I built it in 2009. I used to use a Netgear USB wi-fi LAN stick to connect to the wireless internet router, but could never get above about 10Kb/s, slower than dialup speed. Then I tried a “3” USB modem with an external antenna, with no better results.

Then I put a proper PCI wi-fi network card in with an antenna. Nope, no better. This year, I bought a new TP-Link wi-fi card with three antennae! I went through all the things I can think of – shifting to another PCI slot, installing the latest driver, re-installing Windows (for another reason), reinstalling the motherboard drivers, everything. It’s no better. It can’t even reach my Canon Wi-Fi printer 3m away! This means it’s definitely a Wi-Fi problem, not an internet problem. My laptop, two rooms away and separated by brick walls, can reach the printer and the wi-fi modem with no trouble.

Last week, in desperation, I passed the problem to Tech-Life magazine’s resident guru.  He went through all the answers I’ve already tried and apart from suggesting updating the motherboard BIOS, he admitted defeat too. I’m glad it’s not just me.

So I’ll try the BIOS. I’m always nervous at doing this because I had an update failure a few years ago. When that happens, you’re left with a completely dead motherboard, which can be $200 – $300 worth. In that case, I was able to get a replacement BIOS IC (the actual integrated circuit) from a place in Florida, USA, that specialises in things like that. It worked. I went to that amount of trouble because this was a dual CPU motherboard in the days when there had to be two sockets and two CPUs. Was it worth it? Naaah. I ended up ditching it all, including the CPUs, into the bin last year in the big throw-out.

The PC I’m using is mainly my video editing and slide show machine, so connecting to the internet and wi-fi is not that important. But it’s time to build a new one. Three to four years out of a CPU/motherboard is a long time. Now, the CPU has a video codec on the chip especially for video work. Amazing.

Coming good

ImageIn doing my book on Java, I did some digging for the shots of Jakarta in 1996 and this was one of them. This was at the “Crew House” where I lived and that’s Tini, who did all the cooking for us (me, and a cameraman who was hardly ever there). Yes, that’s sweat on my shirt and in my hair. It was always humid. But it was a great time.

I found a whole roll of neg film that I’d hardly looked at before, so I scanned it today and brought back all the memories.

Amazingly, as I looked at the photos and battled to remember the guy’s name, it came to me – Arun, I’m pretty certain. After 16 years! I don’t think he and Tini were husband and wife – he was just the house handyman. He was very shy and hardly spoke. Just worked quietly in the background. Always there if I needed help with anything.

This will be a major chapter in my book. Probably a dozen pages worth. The memories are flooding back. I’ll need Vic’s help to remember other names, though. C’mon Vic! Stop working – you’re 72, FGS!

I’ve found that in the newest version of the book composition software I can output a PDF copy and individual full resolution page proofs. That means I can take it to a local print shop and get quotes for a better price. To get it printed in Sydney was going to cost about $150 per copy!  I may even distribute it as a PDF – that’s a viable way and almost cost free. Not as nice looking though.

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Yesterday was the first day I’ve felt reasonably normal in the past couple of weeks. I’m still taking Panadeine for the pain, but it’s under control now and when the bandage came off this morning, the improvement was very clear. Still another couple of weeks of semi-daily Silver Chain visits, though.

It’s funny that each day, Silver Chain applies a silver lining, literally. They use silver impregnated sheets as an antibacterial dressing under the bandage. It seems pretty effective. The sheets are about 60mm square and mainly black with a silver sheen to them.

But the silver sheets are kept under lock and key at HQ. That seems odd to me. Silver is not that expensive as a metal and especially so since the film market has dried up.

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Another home open tomorrow. There’s a bit of interest being shown, a few nibbles according to Barry. But I have to go to the Stirling Council and check if any building approvals were ever issued for alterations before I bought the house in 1986.

Apparently I need to protect myself against potential future claims for things that might have been done before I bought this house! This is terrible. People turn to law for anything now.

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I bought a computer disk drive case this week, designed to take six hard drives. I have nearly a dozen sitting there with all the stuff from last year – music, movies, TV shows and images.

But since I had to order it in, I couldn’t see it beforehand. it turns out to need a server motherboard, which means effectively building a computer. I would have been far better off simply starting a new computer from scratch, which I’ve been thinking of doing anyway. That way I can use this existing computer as the server.

So I need to carefully pack it up and see if Netplus will let me exchange it for a tower case and power supply. I hope they will. I’m a good customer.

My life as a photog

A few montha ago I joined the Pentax Forum, an on-line community for Pentax owners and enthusiasts. They ask you to introduce yourself, so this is what I wrote. It may be of interest.
 
Hi from Perth, Western Australia. I call myself PCPete because that incorporates my initials and I’m big in PCs. I’m 65, retired from 45 years as an electronics tech in a commercial TV station. My job started in the days of valves (toobs, for you Yanks) and went through every phase of electronic development to the point of being computer and network support in the Graphic Arts department. Pretty interesting work, and supporting graphic artists (Photoshop, Wacom tablets, PCs and Macs) was right up my alley. It also helped that most of the artists were gorgeous, intelligent women, too. I LIKE graphic artists. They combine artistic skills and computer skills. Nice.

My photography started in 1967 using my father’s 6x6cm (2 1/4″ square in those days) Voigtlander twin lens reflex, using 120 roll film. Scale focusing only! No focusing aids. No split image. No ground glass screen except for seeing the laterally reversed image.

 
No light meter either. That taught me to estimate exposure. Using Panatomic-X 125ASA, the sunny f16 rule said that correct exposure was 1/125th at f16 or 1/250th at f11. Simple. Since most days are sunny here, I learnt to estimate exposure very early in life. Black and white film had great latitude so errors were forgiven, but opening up for the shadows became second nature.

I even shot Ektachrome 64ASA 120 in that camera. It was very expensive to buy the film and with only 12 shots per roll, I became careful and frugal. It was good learning. I’ve still got those Ektachrome 6x6cm slides. I even bought a second hand Rollei 6x6cm slide projector in the 1980s. Seeing those big slides projected was fantastic. Like a fool, I sold it a few years later, too cheaply.

My first SLR in about 1968 was a Praktica Nova 1 with 50mm Tessar lens, made in Communist East Germany. The lens mount was M42 Pentax screw thread. I put my first roll of film through it, 25ASA Kodachrome X, and posted it off to Kodak in Melbourne for processing. A week later (yes! we had to wait a week to see results in those days), the box came back in the post and all it contained was a loose roll of uncut film, no slides. The film was blank, black.

Imagine my disappointment – there was a note in the box from Kodak, “There seems to have been a problem.” It was all unexposed film! I hadn’t threaded the film properly and it hadn’t gone through the camera. Oh, I was so disappointed.

However, the next roll went through and that was the start of a lifetime of photography. No meter in the camera in those days – you either estimated exposure or used a separate light meter, which I didn’t have.

I mostly used Agfa CT18 after that because I liked the European colour palette it gave. It wasn’t what we now call E6, but a similar process, and it was processed in Perth. But unlike Kodachrome, it faded badly and nearly all my Agfa film has faded away. I’ve scanned some in recent years and managed to salvage a few.

My next camera was a Konica Auto Reflex T3 in 1974, bought in Singapore on my way to Britain and Europe. It came with a Konica Hexanon 50mm f1.7 lens and I added a Vivitar 135mm and later a Vivitar 28mm. Good combo, or so it seemed then. Shutter priority auto exposure – a bit revolutionary then but I loved it. A great camera and I’ve still got the slides from that Euro trip – mainly CT18 and nearly all faded to purple, but … scanning has rescued most of them and now they’re stored on CD-ROMs.

I sold it in about 1980 to a work friend and he lost it in a burglary a year or so later. At work he said, “You wouldn’t happen to have a record of the serial numbers by any chance?” On the spot, I said, “Yes, the body number was 586755 and the lens was 7627303.” Just like that, from memory. I do that sort of thing. I can remember nearly all the number plates of my cars going back to 1970 [UK 985; BE 412; UEM 601; UHW 800; um, XRZ 077; Camry wagon …?; and now 1AXS 877] and many of my old phone numbers too. I know the numbers of both my VISA cards from memory.

It’s not a “photographic memory”, ha ha, it’s just that I learned the trick of moving things from short term to long term memory by visualising them “out there in space” and repeating them over and over. Once in long term memory, they are there for keeps, just about.

My friend never got the camera back, I’m afraid, but he bought a Canon film (pre-automation) whatever-it-was, oh, AE-1 with the insurance money.

After that, I moved through Minolta XD7, XE1, XM/XK (still got that one!), to Pentax Super A with 50mm lens, my first Pentax. Some of my best keepers were with that camera.

I sold the Super A in the 80s to a mate who dropped it, sat on it, never read the manual, complained bitterly that it was faulty (he never learned to use it properly) and it finally stopped working entirely due to too rough handling. He used to complain bitterly that the viewfinder LCD figures went dark. It was because his baseball cap covered the light window in the pentaprism! “Well, the camera is poorly designed, then”, was his response. Duh. He blamed me for selling him a faulty camera. Great mate.

He wanted to sell it on eBay even in its non-working state but I persuaded him to give it back to me, (which he grudgingly did, making me feel bad for asking), and I’ve still got the 50mm f1.7 Pentax KA MF lens in front of me as I write. I can use it now on my K-5.

Early last decade he asked me to look out for a good second hand camera for him. In about 2003 I spotted a Pentax Z-70 fitted with a Sigma 28-70mm AF lens for $200, and like a fool I bought it on his behalf. “Oh, no,” he said when I showed it to him, “I want a digital camera now, not a film camera” and refused to take it. What a great mate! I was very upset, but just had to swallow it, so I’ve still got that Z-70 Pentax film camera.

I moved on, in film days, through to Nikon (FE2, F801 and F601 – I loved that F801, and some lovely Nikon glass, including the 200mm Micro-Nikkor. I also had a 300mm IF-ED Nikon lens. Phew, those were nice lenses. MF, but smoooooth fingertip focusing.

Then I was seduced in the 1980s by Olympus OM and I had that, as well as the Nikon gear. The Olympus OM2SP body cost $275 brand new, “duty free” for a traveller! It was a good bargain.Those were the days – every trip was anticipated by a fantastic period of working out what I’d buy “duty free”, because you could really save on the retail cost in those days. Singapore was still bargain alley, too. Not any more, I’m afraid.

 
The Minolta and Pentax Super A had gone by then. I wanted the Olympus for its flash and macro system and I found a used T10 Ring Flash, T-Power Control 1, new Macro Flash Shoe Ring (in KL, Malaysia, but I could never find or afford the Macro Twin Flashes to fit it) and 18mm, 21mm, 28mm, 50mm and 135mm OM Zuiko lenses. Beautiful stuff. The trouble was actually getting the things shown in the Olympus catalogue – they were always unavailable, but I found a lot in used condition.

I even adapted the Nikkor 200mm Micro to the Olympus OM2SP body by mounting two T-adapters back to back, Nikon on one side to take the Nikkor lens, OM bayonet on the other to fit the camera body. Yes, it didn’t focus to infinity of course, but this was macro work – I never shot at infinity focus.

That way I got 200mm Micro-Nikkor sharpness with smooth finger tip focusing, with the OM system’s flash capabilities. In those days, with film, that mattered a lot. I walked Malaysian jungle trails with that lot on a tripod, heavy as hell, slipping and slithering in the mud. I got some nice shots for the time.

Then in 1991 I lost the lot in a burglary! Yes, around $15,000 worth of gear, all gone. All in great camera bags too, just handy for the burglars to walk away with. Bastards.

I got the insurance money but I had to settle for the second-hand values, because that’s how I’d bought a lot of it. I had (and still have) the serial numbers of everything, but none of it was ever recovered.

It included all the little extras you collect – double element closeup lenses, flash and remote cords, a grey card, many adapters, you name it – all gone. I could have cried.

I had the payout money so I just had to start again. I re-bought much the same stuff. All second-hand again, and I’ve still got my replacement OM2SP and 28mm and 50mm lenses, with a T20 flash and the T10 ring flash/T-Power Control – they missed those. I also bought another s/h Nikon F801 and re-bought a 200mm Micro Nikkor a few years later, but it was never the same.

We’re up to about 1996 now and I had bad sleep apnea without realising it. My life went to shit. Too tired to do anything. Lost interest in photography and most else. Lots of problems at work. Too tired, and no idea what was wrong. Doctors did all the tests for fatigue but never thought of sleep. I was drinking myself to sleep as self medication. Travel became impossible because I fell asleep at the wheel (micro sleeps). On planes, I felt as if I was choking as my head and chin drooped to my chest.

Then in 1999 my company called for voluntary redundancies. At age 52 I had no debt so I jumped at the chance to retire early. I was so tired I thought my life was near an end anyway so I may as well enjoy the freedom. That’s what it does, befuddles your mind.

In February 2000, I told the doctor I was falling asleep at the wheel and running off the road (I was!)

“I suppose we’d better get you checked for sleep apnea”, he said. I finally had the sleep test in June 2000. Bingo – I was waking on average every 60 seconds, all night long, without knowing it (I sleep alone). My blood oxygen levels were going as low as 85%. No wonder I was tired. No wonder I was type II diabetic. No wonder I was developing heart disease.

In July 2000 I had my first night of sleep on a CPAP machine, and I awoke next morning feeling refreshed for the first time in about 10 years. I’ll never forget the feeling of energy I had that first day! Ten years of wasted life because two successive family doctors never thought to get me checked for sleep apnea. Damn.

I’d actually passed up an offer made in May 2000 to work in the TV Centre at the Olympics in Sydney because I knew I’d be too tired and wouldn’t be able to handle it.

Now in July 2000, I was free to travel again, and despite the scare stories about full planes, I found seats easily so I went to Sydney for a week as a visitor during the Olympics and loved it. I had enough energy to just walk around and enjoy the atmosphere, carrying my camera gear. No particularly great photos, but even so I was back into it. Btw, my sharpest shots were from an Olympus Stylus point and shoot film camera. Olympus makes great lenses. More on that in a minute.

In Singapore late in 2000 I bought my dream camera, a used Contax G2 with 28mm, 35mm and 90mm Zeiss lenses. Film camera of course. Digital, although becoming available, was still too low res, then.

Then digital took off and in 2004 I bought my first, the 8Mp KonicaMinolta A2. I still have it and love it, but it isn’t up to the standard we expect now.

That got me going, as well as buying a Nikon LS4000 slide and film scanner. I spent the next three or four years scanning nearly all my film and slides, thousands of ’em. There’s more to it than it looks and the more I did, the better results I got. I used to get the scanning work from my old TV station too, but that died off after a few years. I’ve still got the scanner and the Contax gear, but I gifted all my Nikon film gear to my young niece who has talent, along with a Mamiya C330 6x6cm TLR. She uses it well.

Next has been a succession of digital cameras: Canon 40D (nice, but all buttons same size and shape – sold off with all my Canon lenses etc to a young friend); Canon G9 (nice too, but a crap optical finder – also sold, boy that’s another story!); Ricoh GX1 (OK, but sold it cheap to a good mate in return for favours); Fuji S100fs (still got it, took it to Europe in ’08, love it but it has flaws) —

and finally, the Pentax K-5 in October 2010, with 16-45mm and 50-200mm Pentax DA lenses. I’ve since added a Sigma 10-20mm f3.5/4.5 and the Sigma 120-400mm APO.

As you can see, I like to chop and change, but I don’t buy boats or cars or motorbikes or jetskis or go to expensive restaurants. Cameras are my heroin, my collectables. To me, a camera like the Contax G2 is a fine object, near the pinnacle of engineering, manufacturing and styling. A beautiful object.

Now I spend my retirement at 65 on the computer doing all the fantastic stuff that computers can do: scanning (LS4000 and Epson 4990), cataloguing (ThumbsPlus), manipulating (ThumbsPlus and Photoshop Elements if I have to), printing (Epson 2880), framing (matt cutter), making slide shows (Photodex ProShow Producer), editing hi-def video (Canopus Edius Neo), burning shows to Blu-ray  and, oh yeah, taking a few photos with the K-5. Unfortunately they tend to be a lot of dog shots.

And still it goes on, this camera addiction! Only a few weeks ago, I received delivery of my latest, an Olympus E-PL2 with 14-150mm lens for $600 the pair. My first micro4/3 gear.

Why? Last year I bought an adapter on eBay from Hong Kong which adapts my Zeiss Contax G lenses to micro4/3 mount. At last, I can use this legendary glass on digital. Focusing is manual, of course, by a little finger wheel, as the lenses have no focusing ring, but we’ll see. Better than letting them gather dust on the shelf or mould in the bag.

I hope maybe next will be an OM-D E-M5. Photokina in September was going to show a new Panasonic high-end whopper, but I don’t think the G5 is enough to tempt me. I’m (we are) still hoping for a Pentax full frame. There’s no end in sight. I ain’t finished yet!

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Go away, black dogs

It’s been a tough week. My leg is getting better, slowly, but each day is a fight against pain. It’s a pretty well established sequence by now – it’s not very painful when I’m ready to get up, but as I put my feet on the floor and the fluid redistributes, it hurts quite a bit. I stagger to the bathroom.

By the time I’ve showered (with a black garbage bag tied over my left shin) it’s not bad.

But then the Silver chain nurse arrives and changes the bandage. That relieves the pressure and soon after the jabs of pain start again. At first it’s bearable, but I’ve been told to take pain relief before it builds up, so I take two Tramadol or Oxy and within an hour, I’m getting woozy, but the pain is still bad. It slowly subsides by midday or 1pm, but I have to sleep, or doze anyway. By 5pm it’s just a background thing, still sore but not really painful.

At least there was visible improvement this morning – less redness and signs of scabbing forming. The area seems less too. They assure me we’ll get on top of it, but this week has been a write-off, unable to do much except sleep and write a bit. I’ve got a home open on Sunday and I’ll try to do some vacuuming, but I tire very quickly.

But this morning, I felt stomach upset too, and felt quite down in the dumps. It’s not surprising I suppose – constant pain does this, and the antibiotics must be making me feel queasy. Two more days and I’ll be finished those.

I’m certainly paying a price for not looking after myself, not taking things seriously enough. The stress of all I’m going through with all my battles and financial troubles isn’t helping either. I’m full of good intentions about exercise and walking … now to live up to them. It sure took me by surprise. When you realise you’ve got a problem, you’ve already really got a problem. Kapow.

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At least one good thing has come out of it. I was nearly ready to send my Java book off to the printers last weekend, bit it was delayed to to the above. Then yesterday, I realised I’d forgotten to include a huge chunk of text and photos from my 1996 spell in Jakarta. I would have kicked myself if I’d sent it off last weekend.

So today has seen the writing of five A4 pages of text, and a plan of what photos to include. Unfortunately, as I said, they’re in a box in the shed, but which box and where exactly? No problem – I know the negs are there, so I’ll find them.

This was a marvellous time for me and I have a store of stories to tell. It’ll be good to get it down into book form at last, 16 years later.

On and on and on

I spoke to soon on Tuesday evening – the pain wasn’t bad that day, but yesterday it was back with a vengeance. It starts up when the dressing is removed and reapplied by Silver Chain. The fluid in the leg redistributes and the pain starts soon after. 8/10 again.

I had to take two Oxys, then an hour later when they had no effect, I took two Tramadol as well. That helped a bit, but I became so drowsy I slept for two hours. Not sleep, just dozing, still aware of the pain. It was better by 5pm, bearable, and I got to sleep OK last night, but woke at 1:30am and I’ve only dozed since. It’s 7am now.

At least the Pseudomonas seems to have been stopped. The ooze is no longer green. We’ll see what it’s like when it’s unwrapped today.

Ha, I was just thinking of writing “there’s a sliver lining” to this, when I realised there really is a silver lining. Silver Chain for one thing, but also, they’re using silver impregnated dressing strips. Silver is a good antibacterial agent.

So is honey. I should try that in other areas myself.

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The silver lining I was thinking of is that I’ve been delayed in sending off my latest book for printing. It’s a photobook, not a literary masterpiece, but contains a fair amount of descriptive material.

I thought I’d finished it and was nearly going to press the Send button, but realised late yesterday that it’s far from finished. It’s a book on Java, and I’d forgotten to include my 1996 stint in Jakarta working at the production company.

That was absolutely one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, so it’s definitely worth adding in. I wasn’t doing full-on photography then, but I’ve got enough photos to make a chapter, as well as many good memories to write about. Another few days’ work, then. Actually, the photos (slides and negs) are in a box down in the shed. I had to just throw ’em into boxes last year, so finding what I need will be a challenge.

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I’m awaiting a parcel delivery from Sydney that I ordered on-line last Saturday. They emailed me back on that day that the parcel had been despatched, with an Australia Post tracking number.

Following that track, AP doesn’t show it entering their system until Monday at 1330, and then nothing since then. Five days to come from Sydney? That’s if it arrives today!

Anyway, it’s a JVC car CD/radio, but it includes DAB+ in the tuner. At last! Two years of DAB+ and only now are car tuners including it. I’ve been frustrated.

However, I’m excited about this unit. It also includes Bluetooth so it can act as a hands-free phone interface, and has USB and aux inputs, as well as an iPod socket. It looks a million too, double DIN height with a smooth glassy minimalist fascia, for $249. I’m looking forward to it.

Fitting it will be fun, not. My car does have room for a double DIN height unit, but the existing car dash is only a single height slot. I doubt I’d be able to get a Mitsubishi fascia after 11 years, so I may have to take a mini saw to it. It doesn’t matter – I doubt I’ll be looking for re-sale value after all these years.

If I can go out today, if I’m not too groggy from painkillers, I’ll need to get a JVC adapter for the radio interface. That may not be easy.

Ciao.

Ouch. Ouch! Yow!

Yowww. Yoowwww! Aaaaargh.  Errrrrrggghhh. That’s me in recent days, Sunday and yesterday particularly, yelling with pain. It’s mostly why I haven’t written anything here for a week.

My left shin has been a bit ulcerated for most of this year, probably longer, and I hadn’t worried too much about it. It didn’t hurt or get worse, just itched, but the hospitals have looked askance and told me to get it looked at.

It was being dressed at the GP’s surgery in the past few weeks, but the week before last, it got away. Staph bacteria, so I took an antibiotic for that, but it didn’t improve. Then last week it got redder and angrier and spread to the whole shin, weeping like mad (watery exudate coming through the skin). I’ve got photos from each day, but I don’t think you’d want to see them. OK, maybe one, but I’ll tone it down.

Image

That’s literally toned down, only 50% saturation. It looks a lot worse in full colour.

But on Sunday, after the Silver Chain nurse left, it started hurting real bad and got worse. By 1130 am it was 8 or 9/10. Panadeine Forte wasn’t helping. I could hardly think or speak.

Emily the angel  took me up to a Whitfords medical centre open on Sunday and luckily there were only two people waiting. The doc got the results of a swab from last Thursday and it was Pseudomonas and Enterococcus, so I’d been wasting a week on penicillin because P. Monas is penicillin resistant. He prescribed two different antibiotics.

He also prescribed oxycodone, which I would have resisted if it wasn’t for being given one capsule in Joondalup Hospital a few weeks ago. It’s an addictive painkiller if misused, so I got a very small dose.

Well, this pain was so bad that even that didn’t stop it. I also had Panadeine Forte but I wasn’t sure if I could use both. Emily said I could, so by bedtime I was OK but drowsy.

That was Sunday. On Monday in the morning it seemed much better and the Silver Chain nurse re-dressed it and all seemed fine. But by 11am the pain was baaaack. Yow! 8/10. Again, oxy didn’t stop it, or didn’t seem to. I took another one at 4pm and it slowly subsided and I slept OK last night.

Today it’s much better. Still hurting at times, but only 5/10 and OK at this moment. Let’s hope it continues to improve.

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All this has made it impossible to clean up the house and do the odd jobs I need to do for the house sale. No energy, limping badly. I might need to get the boys back to do some work. They’re cheap workers, but I’m not sure they’re good value. Each time, I look at the results of two hours paid work and think, “It didn’t get done.”  All the things I ask them to do seem to get forgotten.

Maybe if I stand and supervise them? Do this, then do this next, no, this! Maybe I’d be better off getting someone older and more professional.

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Oh yeah … remember my awful experience with the company called Carpet Call in July? Where I was forced to leave all my furniture and belongings outside for the entire weekend because of a gorilla of a carpet layer?

Naturally, I documented it all and made a written complaint. The complaint was very restrained, on Barry’s advice.

A few weeks went by and I got a call from the WA Lay Manager asking me to re-submit my documentation. That told me they’d either lost it or binned it. Great start. This was early September.

By the last week of September I’d heard nothing, so I sent another email setting a deadline of 30 Sept.

On the last business day I got a call from some guy called Jacob at head office of Carpet Call. He accused me of having an “altercation” with the carpet layer. That’s a lie and defamatory as far as I’m concerned. Then he told me Carpet Call would not be doing anything for me.

I said, “You realise I’m not satisfied and will take this further?” He didn’t respond.

So, let battle commence!

What a rotten company. This is the worst customer experience I’ve ever had and I’m not going to lie down and take it. It’s all documented, with photos, and physical evidence of the nail strips they left lying around, and with four witnesses.

What an amazing attitude! They don’t know who they’ve taken on. This will rebound on them, that’s for sure. I have nothing to lose, but they have already lost the business of one of the witnesses and they have a LOT to lose. Stupid fools. I have lots of ideas.

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Despite all this trouble, I’ve finished my book on Java at last. It’s a Photobook, a coffee table book with photos and text. I compose it using Photobook’s software, then send it off on the ‘net  to Sydney for printing. I did one in 2010 on the South West of WA and it was a big success, so I started this next one on Java the same year.

All the troubles of 2010, 2011 and this year have meant it’s lain idle for too long, so I’ve finally buckled down and finished it in the last few days. It’s ready to be sent off, but I need to be careful that my internet connection is solid because it’ll take at least an hour to send off. Maybe I’ll do it overnight, when the net is a bit quieter.

These books aren’t cheap. This one will cost about $140 I think, with 95 pages. And I need two copies. You get 10% discount off the second copy, but …

I’m afraid the second copy of my first book on the South West is in Bali. I loaned it to someone up there and despite saying how expensive it was and I needed it back, I didn’t get it. Oh well. I hope it’s being looked after.

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Phew, tired.