OK today

I’m better today. My heart rhythm was back to normal when I awoke this morning (very easy to tell) and I feel better. Very light sleep last night, though, full of dreams, and I feel very tired. Saw the doc this morning. “Keep taking the tablets and see me if you have problems.”

And no, he doesn’t know any doctor in the US who could prescribe a CPAP for me, but says why not try Hong Kong or Singapore or KL? Yeah, hadn’t thought of that. Go and pick it up, maybe.

Wot a day

I had to go to Centrelink today. Time’s up to notify them of my change in assets.

I set out at about 1.15pm and ran into a monumental traffic jam going south on Marmion Avenue. It took about 20 minutes to go 500m from Quinns Rd to the Hester Ave roundabout! Why? A big truck, concrete type, had rolled on its side just into Hester Ave and they’d narrowed the lanes down to one. But it would have been fine if people had just kept their speed up going through the roundabout – the other side was completely clear. But no, every car crawled through to take a good look at the accident. Bloody hell! That was the only reason for the blockage.

OK, I went to Centrelink Joondalup. I saw a sign that I thought was C’Link, but was actually Family Services I think, so it took me about 20 mins to find the right building and park.

There’s only 1 hour parking allowed. Terrific. I figured it might do.

There was a big crowd. I took a seat thinking she’d said about 1/2 an hour wait.

An hour and forty minutes later, my name was called at last. It wouldn’t have mattered except that (a) I was busting for a pee and (b) my heart fibrillations chose that time to start up quite badly. I was feeling a bit dizzy and breathless and wondering whether to abort the wait. But after waiting 90 mins, I didn’t want to give up.

Finally, my name was called and I started the interview. It seems I’m going to lose 50% of the interest I’ve earned on my term deposit of the leftover cash from the house swap. The highest rate of income tax is only 45%.

While I was talking, my bladder was becoming more and more painful, so I had to ask, plead, for a loo break. It turned out that there is a pair of Parisian style loos across the road from the C’Link offices – metal cabinets with sliding doors and automated facilities. Thank goodness for that.

By the time we finished all this, it was 4.20pm. Luckily, although I’d overstayed my parking by an hour, there was no ticket. Given I was displaying my ACROD permit and had two paid 1hr parking slips, so it should have been OK.

Next time, I reckon it’ll be quicker to drive to the Innaloo office – I only had to wait 30 mins there last week, with a very small queue in mid afternoon.

Nearly forgot – while driving to Joondalup, I had the closest near-miss I’ve had in a long time, at a roundabout. A guy on my left didn’t slow, he just charged in and kept going. I reckon we came within a metre. He wasn’t slowing or stopping for anyone, full speed ahead. It was a Toyota Aurion government car, 1QB ??? male driver.

My heart is still playing up at 9pm. Fibrillations aren’t as bad, but still there and my chest is sore in the centre. I’ve done the appropriate things – extra dose of tablet, extra aspirin, GTN spray close at hand. I have a doctor’s appointment for 9am tomorrow morning. Can’t wait.

Surprise

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This was my computer in January 1991. It was a basic XT 8086
machine with 1MB RAM, a monochrome monitor, and an
NEC dot matrix printer which cost around $700,
I think. The printer alone, I mean.

I got a surprising email this morning. It’s from the editor of Australian Personal Computer magazine – can I please send him a photo of myself at least 1600 pixels wide, as high resolution as possible.

I entered a survey/competition in the magazine a few months ago about why PCs are still better than tablets or laptops, asking for examples of where tablets just can’t compete and asking for a slogan. I found this pretty easy and although I can’t remember the slogan exactly, I thought it was pretty good at the time.

It seems as if I might have won something. The next issue, due out about mid May, will tell.

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The black dog is still hanging on, biting hard. All work has stopped. I see the doc tomorrow.

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I’ve just been listening to Norman Swan on the ABC. It seems people with atrial fibrillation (i.e. like me) often have cognitive impairment, difficulty making decisions. They don’t know why, but they guess that microscopic clots are forming and clogging the brain’s fine blood vessels, leading to mild Alzheimer’s-like symptoms. Hmmm.

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My CPAP machine stopped working a few weeks ago (water got into the works from the humidifier). I’ve taken it apart (it’s nearly five years old, way out of warranty), but I can’t make it go. Luckily I’ve still got my original fixed pressure machine from 2000, the S6.

My S8 Autoset cost me about $1,700 in August 2008. On the web you can find new models (S9 Autoset) available in the USA for $1,050. The same machine here costs $2,200! And it’s an Australian company!

I was seriously thinking of ordering from the US, until I followed the asterisks. They will only sell to US citizens at a US address accompanied by a prescription from a US doctor.

You can guess who imposed those conditions – not the sellers themselves, but Resmed, the Australian makers of the machines. They will restrict stock to any seller who tries to sell to Australians. This is BAD.

I intend to write to Resmed, saying “Please explain why your machine costs twice the price here as the US. Your answer will be copied to Ed Husic MHR”, who is conducting a parliamentary inquiry into predatory pricing by software companies like Adobe, Apple and Microsoft.

I’m wondering whether my GP might know a doctor in the US who would write me a prescription based on my 13 years of use of CPAP. And get the machine shipped via a US forwarding address. To save $1,200 it’s worth a try, even if freight was $100 or so.

A big change

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I went half way down the steps yesterday, about 35.
It tightens up the thigh muscles!

Change in location, change in living arrangements, change in where everything is, both in the house and where I go to shop. It’s not easy. A change is as good as a holiday? It doesn’t feel that way.

In retrospect, I wish I’d been content with my lot. It’s done now, and I can’t go back, and I have a marvellous new house compared to the old one. But … it’s very unsettling.

I had no choice really. The old place needed major fixing and I had almost no money, not enough for all the work it needed.

But I’m missing it. Don’t underestimate what being familiar with an area means. I knew a lot of people around there and I enjoyed the Klub on Friday nights. I’ve tried to make myself go down there (on a Friday afternoon, I mean), but there’s always some reason I can’t. I could make the effort tonight, for example, but I feel a stomach upset. Plus the worry about the long drive back here after a few (low alcohol!) drinks …

I’ve fallen into a black hole at the moment which is darkening my view. I’m sure when I can get out of the pit, I’ll have a much better outlook. Seeing the doc next Tuesday. Bloody hell, it takes a week in advance to get an appointment with him.

It means I can’t make decisions about things. I should be out choosing furniture, but I can’t make myself go out. Yes, I can order on the internet, but I’ve made some bad choices recently so I need to see things first.

My ADSL is connected now, but I have to ring iiNet to get it working and I can’t make myself do it. Black dog.

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Minnie is worrying me a bit. She’s taken to doing her business, both pee and poo, inside the house at times. Mostly just peeing. Someone suggested it may be because the previous owners had a dog and she’s marking her new territory. I don’t know. I hope it stops. Lucky I’ve got white ceramic tiles through most of the area – it’s just the bedrooms that are carpeted. She’s peed on all four carpet areas.

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One thing I’m finding is that everywhere is a long way. If you forget something, there’s no ducking back home for it or doing a round trip.

It means I’m using the freeway much more. A few weeks ago I mentioned the good driving on the southern roads (Forest Highway etc). Well, not in Perth. The stupidity of drivers on the freeway amazes me.

  • driving about 1 car length behind, at 100Km/h
  • dashing up behind a car in front, then having to brake
  • weaving between lanes – passing at high speed in the right lane, then crossing to the left lane to exit
  • driving in the emergency lane (mainly on Marmion Avenue)
  • 4WD drivers mounting the curb and driving on the median strip to get to the right turn lane
  • driving with no lights at dusk
  • trying to stay in a lane that’s heading for a closure, thereby causing merging problems for everyone

Need I go on. Cars that simply will not stop at traffic lights, going through red lights. Where are the police? They do it because they can get away with it!

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Image

Hangin' around. Maybe they feed them?

Grump grump. I’m sounding like an old man. I got my ACROD permit the other day, so I guess I must be.

A pint, thanks

Image

My huge shower. It's great. But the bench top is timber and the varnish
has deteriorated badly from this shot. Much work needed.

My first visit to the corner pub tonight. It was OK, but I don’t think I’ll make it a regular visit.

They have a huge range of beers and ciders on tap, and my first order was for a half pint (285ml) of Hoegarden, a Belgian wheat beer which I particularly like. I nearly choked when he said the price – $7.60. For a half pint! That’s not even a middy.

Next I had a pint of Heineken at $7.40, but even that choked me a bit. I decided that was it – it’s too expensive to drink there unless it’s a special occasion. These are double the bottle shop prices.

I noticed that nearly all the barmen have UK accents, as do the staff at the bottle shop across Marmion Avenue. The bar was also decked out in English flags, the red cross on white background as opposed to the full Union flag. I asked if it’s a special occasion. Turns out next Tuesday is St George’s Day. Crumbs, this sure is a UK outpost. I don’t mind, but it’s a pity the pub isn’t done in more UK pub fashion. It’s very modern/trendy. Huge restaurant area and good food by the look of the menu.

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I went to Centrelink yesterday to change my details. There was virtually no queue, which was good, but I still waited more than half an hour. Then I got a guy who was quite aggro in his questioning of my house sale. I didn’t realise I needed my settlement documents and he was a bit sarcastic about it. I’ve found them now so I’ll go to Joondalup next week. But I can do without his attitude.

Launch window

Do the people at Air Asia think about what they’re doing? This ad arrived in my Inbox this morning:

Image

Launch fares? In South Korea? At this time? Don’t they read the news? At least it’s a good laugh. I wonder if Kim Jong Un sees the joke.

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I’ve been doing my laundry yesterday and today (for the first time here … ) and realised I have the ideal area for my model railway – the garage has a smallish roller door opening onto the drying court, which is also on a sliding door from the laundry of course.

If I can find the key to unlock the roller door (it means getting down on my hands and knees, very hard these days), then I can build the main layout in the workshop side of the garage and run the track out into the drying court, which is a good 15m long, at least.

This is what I’ve always wanted, long runs. There’s not much of interest in watching trains go around and round a small oval track. I want wide curves and looong runs, point to point. This will be ideal. I’ll need to weatherproof it all, of course. For the roller door to close, I’ll just make a hinged drop-down section. Easy.

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My landline phone was connected today. I’m not going to broadcast the number here. I’ll tell those who need to know by email.

ADSL will be available within five business days, they tell me. That’s what they said last week.

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I bought a Panasonic phone system from one of the cheapest advertisers that came up in my web price search, because they had stock.

It arrived on time, as promised, and today I got an email from the manager or owner of the business giving me his email address and telling me that if I ever have a problem with an order, to email him personally.

Well, I liked that and emailed back and told him so. Well done. I’ll probably give them (Ryda.com.au) more business and won’t be so nervous about it now.

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Similarly, I ordered a photographic item from B&H Photo in New York a few days ago. They are a bit of a legend for service in the photographic web community.

Stap me, but I got an email from Moshe at B&H asking me to confirm by email that I am real and that this was my order. How about that?

The item I ordered, by the way, is a Colour Munki Design. It’s a monitor and printer calibrator. It looks like a large retracting tape measure, sort of square. You use it to adjust your monitor to give the correct colours, then after it’s done that it prints a test page with a colour test pattern on it. After allowing it to dry for 10 mins, you run the device over the colours on the paper and it reads the result of the printer’s action. It makes adjustments to the printer driver software and tells you to do the print again. You repeat the analysis and it makes a final adjustment, then you should, in theory, get a perfect match between what you see on the screen and what comes out of the printer.

I’m talking about a high end A3+ photo printer here, which uses 8 ink tanks at $20 each and paper that costs $3 – $4 a sheet. Making dud prints is bad news.

The Colour Munki costs $441. I figure it will pay for itself in a year or two, considering the number of times I’ve thrown prints away in disgust.

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Holy smoke!

I am paying a fortune for phone and internet access.

My phone is Vodafone prepaid and I’m having to pay $30 on average probably every two weeks. I reckon that 20 minute wait on hold to change my Medicare address last night probably cost me around $5 or more. As soon as I finished the call, I got a low credit text message when I’d recharged less than a week ago.

Now, this morning, my Telstra USB wireless modem was taking ages (5 minutes or more) to bring up any page except Telstra’s own home page. Yep, the $40 credit for 1GB I bought only last week had run out already. When I check my usage, I find over 1GB was used two days ago. I didn’t download that much! It’s Microsoft’s automatic Windows updates that are doing it, downloading in the background without me being aware of it.

I’ve just had to recharge that with $50 for 3GB to get me through until iiNet starts, this week I hope. Now I have to spend another $30 for my mobile, again until iiNet’s SIM card arrives in the post this week.

That’s $60 to $80 per fortnight I’m paying on average. Grrrrr, Not to mention the Vodafone Network Busy messages I’m getting all the time on my mobile. Hopeless.

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I keep forgetting to mention: apropos the ending of analogue TV broadcasts tomorrow, in August last year I received a letter from the Digital Switchover government taskforce. As an Age Pensioner, they told me I was eligible to receive a free digital decoder (“set top box”) if I phoned a 1 300 number.

Even though I have two already, I thought I may as well get my freebie, so I phoned the number. After a lot of talk, I mentioned that my main problem was a bad antenna connection leading to intermittent No Signal messages in a poor signal area (Trigg, for goodness sakes!) I used to be able to fix this myself, but getting up high is a bit difficult now.

We can help you with that, they said. We’ll send an antenna installer to your home. Please nominate a password so that he can identify himself (how many female antenna installers do you reckon there are? None, I’ll wager).

So I waited, and waited, and waited. Months went by with no installer visit. Knowing I was going to sell, I just gave up. Another empty government promise.

Then a couple of weeks ago while I was at Alan’s place at Margaret River, I got a phone call. “Mr Croft, we’re ready to send someone to fix your antenna. When would you like him to come?”

“What???!!! That was seven months ago. I’ve sold the house and moved since then.”

“Oh. Well, sorry about that. Anything else I can help you with?”

Oh, get lost. I didn’t actually say that, but I did say I’m pretty annoyed. What a foul up. What poor service. What typical inefficiency. Very unimpressed.

Never jump too soon

Harman Kardon HK3390 amplifier - I've got one coming

I was at Lakeside Joondalup shopping centre yesterday. What an enormous place! I actually got lost at one stage – there are so many entrances and exits I couldn’t find my way back to my car. I reckon it’s bigger than Whitfords, and that’s pretty big.

Anyway, I was only after pillows, sheets, rubbish bins and mundane stuff like that. But having found there’s a JB HiFi, I couldn’t resist a browse around.

I was sorely tempted by two items, and that’s the reason for the title. Luckily I didn’t jump at them.

One was a Pioneer A10 stereo amplifier. I’ve been one amp short of a symphony since I had the big garage sale in 2011. I’ve got two speaker systems, but only one decent amp. Here was a basic stereo amp, plain and simple, marked as on special (big yellow and red sticker) for $497. Being a fan of Pioneer’s musical sound, I was interested. I asked the salesman to confirm that it has a remote control. Yes sir, he said. Well, he didn’t actually say Sir. I think it was more like, “Yeah, mate.”

Well, no, actually. When I got home and checked, I found that no, this does not come with a remote, and that “special” price of $497 is only $2 less than the full recommended retail price. So, beware.

While checking this, I browsed other amps and other brands and found a Harman Kardon tuner amplifier with equivalent specs (better, actually). Harman Kardon is a long established and well respected brand in hi-fi, so I took note of the price – $311 from Amazon. What?!

Long story, but I found that the Australian rrp is $599, and even paying $100 freight from the USA or wherever their distribution centre is, it’s still $100 cheaper ordering it on line.

So I did. Therefore I’m getting a very fine 80W per channel FM/AM tuner-amplifier with a full remote control and better specs for nearly $200 less than the Pioneer from JB at Joondalup.

I try to support the locals, but when the difference is that big, it’s very hard.

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Likewise, I was also attracted by a 50″ Panasonic plasma TV, marked as “last one” at $797. It’s true, Panasonic are quitting the plasma TV market. Too much competition from the Koreans, Samsung and LG.

But a little research has shown a similar story – $797 is no bargain and it’s not the performer I thought it would be. It’s a year out of date and LED backlighting has taken over to produce better results. Again, don’t jump too soon.

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I had to change my Medicare address and found that they offer 24/7 phone service. So at 5 past six on a Sunday, I figured I wouldn’t have long to wait.

Hah! First, twice I was dumped by Vodafone – Network Busy.

So I tried again 10 mins later and got to the recorded messages, but even at this day and time it still took me 19 minutes of waiting to finally get a human voice. This is terrible. Obviously, there are not enough staff being employed to answer phones at any time.

I still need to contact Centrelink, but they are Mon-Fri 8am – 5pm for this kind of thing. Ho hum. I think a personal visit will be needed. I reckon my sympathy stick (walking stick) would help here, but I can’t find it since about Thursday. Damn.

Have a coldy? Don’t mind if I do.

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Nasty spiky things.

Ain’t this rain beaut? For the first time in decades, I have the sound of rain on my tin roof. It’s not a big deal for me, but it’s a nice change. And to be cool again … let’s hope the summer is ended.

Quiet days yesterday and today, but my new fridge arrived yesterday and it’s beaut too. The change from 390L to 552L is very nice. Luckily, the delivery guy didn’t mind taking the old one away. It was running, and running, and running, never switching off. It was getting so cold that everything froze, even on the min setting. I was going to donate it to a charity, but as it was faulty, I couldn’t. It’s probably a simple fault, but I looked hard and couldn’t see any obvious problem.

I bought the first of the safety bars I’m going to install in the shower cubicles too. The tiles are too slippery for me these days and all that expanse of frameless glass scares me, not to mention the sharp edged aluminium surrounds. I dread the thought of slipping and falling on that.

I also used the en-suite shower for the first time this morning. Up to now I’m using bed 2 and bathroom 2. I have my bed in the main bedroom, but no side tables or QB quilt – it’s just not quite ready to occupy yet.

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I ordered a new Panasonic cordless phone with Bluetooth today. Three handsets, and extras up to six can be added later at $89.95 each. As you may notice, I’m a fan of Panasonic appliances. They have a very long track record in electronics and made good broadcast TV equipment, so that counts with me. I also like their design. So far, I’ve got Panasonic fridge, DVD/HD recorder, phone, microwave oven and possibly soon a Panasonic flat screen TV.

I also have huge respect for Sony, don’t get me wrong. These are companies with decades-long track records in electronics, research and development, industrial design and broadcast engineering. This counts big with me.

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The reticulation came on again at about 9pm on Wednesday night, i.e. for the second time in the day. Interesting. It sprays a bit on Minnie, but she doesn’t move. She doesn’t care if she gets wet. She’s a dog, dammit. Mind you, the back lawn is ponging a bit. Must get onto that.

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Also interesting was the visit I made to the pharmacy attached to my doctor’s rooms at Merriwa. It’s small and run by a young Indian looking woman with a broad Aussie accent. I thought I’d give her my business. She’s very nice.

But she told me she hasn’t yet gained PBS accreditation and so can’t give me Concession priced drugs. She said it’s very difficult for her but she doesn’t expect any action from the relevant government departments until near the end of this year! She said I really need to use the Jindalee pharmacy across Marmion Avenue from me (walking distance). It’s part of a big chain. Yeah.

So I was going to leave when she asked if there was anything else. I said well, I’ve been thinking about interactions between all my drugs, and showed her my list. As I was the only customer, she set to it.

The result was a half hour talk about various things, including one question from me: “How do you get off Amiodarone (the anti-arrythmia drug), given it has a half life of 29 days?” Her answer was, “You don’t.”  That’s scary. She said she spent a lot of time learning about it at pharmacy school and “It’s a messy drug.” It has toxic side effects in high doses (liver damage, mainly, but also thyroid interference) and as she said, getting it out of your system without bringing on fibrillations would be very difficult. Damn!

I’m only taking 100mg daily, half the dose prescribed, and when I told the cardiologist he immediately said, “That’s fine.” If that’s doing the job, stay there.

Next time I talk to him, I intend to ask about very gradually reducing the dose (e.g. down to 90mg for a month, then 80mg for another month etc) to see if I can change to another anti-arrythmia drug, long term. There are other drugs available.

The main problem with Amiodarone is the awful taste in my mouth, all the time, as if I’ve been chewing gum. But I worry about the liver damage reputation and irreversible greying of the skin. We’ll see.

From there, the discussion on moved to why I feel so tired all the time. The answer is my weight, of course, and she was very good at convincing me that my idea of eating little during the day, skipping meals, is actually priming my body to spike insulin to store food as fat as hard as it can because it thinks it’s being starved.

She came out with a good theory – for breakfast, eat like a king. For lunch, eat like a peasant. For dinner, eat like a pauper.

The idea is to have a good breakfast to start the day, but divide it into two, one at 8am (e.g. porridge, low GI oats) and the rest, maybe eggs, wholemeal toast, again low GI at 10am. Then have a big wholemeal salad sandwich at lunch, filled with lots of veges and just a little cheese or other flavour adder. Divide that in two and have half at midday, the other half at 2 or 3pm. Then for dinner, more veges, small amounts of fish or lean meat etc, again with some reserved for 9pm or so.

The idea is to teach your body that it doesn’t need to spike insulin levels, as food is plentiful, so as to stop the starve/excess cycles. I can believe that. I’ve heard it before and it makes sense to me.

That led on to some more personal talk. Her 55 yo father has been given two months to live from a brain tumour, so she was full of advice about living life and allowing yourself to feel happy by doing things for others. It was almost getting religious, but not too blatant. I can see her point.

So from a quick visit to buy medications, it turned into a 30 min free life lesson. That’s OK. I wished her well and felt that I could give her some advice in return: make sure there are no problems between you and your father before he goes. Talk everything out. It worked for me. I had no problems grieving in 2001. Still don’t. I’d long been dreading Dad’s passing, but in the end, it wasn’t a problem for me.

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Crumbs, I’m not a gardener but this “garden” is boring. Just about every plant is a yucca, nasty spiky things. Every inch of soil is covered by stone chips. It’s very harsh and I don’t like it much. Anyone want some bags of white quartz chips? Free, take it away.

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Unpacked a few more boxes yesterday and today and I’ve started a box for stuff to go to the Salvos shop across the road. Gradually, a bit of order is starting to appear, although I find I’m moving items from one temporary position to another. Huh.

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One priority is going to have to be an anti burglar mesh across the top of the back fence. It’s brushwood, which Baz reckons tea-leaves don’t like, but it’s only about chin height. You can look over it into my garage and yard. It feels uncomfortable. There’s a wall mounted holder for the spare door remote in the garage. Oh yeah? Give a thief the means to open the garage door? Not likely.

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I got my old analogue-tuner LCD TV going last night, and although it was good to watch TV again, analogue is crap! Full of interference and noise and low resolution. Only four more days and the analogue transmitters will be switched off for good.

People don’t realise that these transmitters have had to be kept going long beyond their design life (by 15 years or more, at around a $million per transmitter) by the guys (there are no women!) at the stations. The stations were told analogue transmissions would end in 2003, so they weren’t going to spend any money on new transmitters, no way. Even spare parts (they still used valves in the very high power stages) cost thousands of dollars.

The analogue  switch off was supposed to happen around 2003 according to the government’s (Howard government’s) original timetable. But it kept being put back and back because the introduction of digital had been bungled since 1999 and not enough people had digital tuners (aka “set top boxes”). How expensive flat screen TVs could have been allowed to be sold without digital tuners makes me angry. Consumers didn’t understand that they were up for big dollars to receive digital on their big flat screens.

This is just another in the long line of major bungles by the various departments of communications going back to the 1950s. I know a lot about this! But it’s a bit technical so people can’t understand it. These bungles have cost this country billions! It’s still going on. Especially in Defence. The waste of money, year after year, decade after decade. People don’t know.

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Today I made a point of setting up my Sony 32″ Full HD TV. Why? Because Silent Witness starts a new series tonight on ABC1. For me, this program and Foyle’s War are the epitome of good TV. Superbly written and acted, with believable stories and excellent characters. My only worry is that this new series of Silent Witness (series 16, by golly) will be another horror show like the last series.

I was so put off by the excessive horror, visual violence, gore and bad taste that I protested to the BBC and the Silent Witness production web site. I couldn’t watch those dozen or so episodes late last year. I was just revolted, and I said so. We’ll see what tonight brings. I hope they’ve listened.

Aye aye, net

 4 Pymore 038 fix

This is my patio. Obviously this photo was taken in winter,
but when I saw it first thing this morning,
it was actually wet, and so was Minnie. At first
I thought it had rained overnight, but then I realised
it's Wednesday and the reticulation had been on.

I’ve just signed up for iiNet broadband internet and home phone. Yay!!!

I went to a Telstra shop and their minimum is $95 a month, admittedly for 200GB of data. Since I’ve been living with 3GB a month, I don’t need that.

With iiNet, I get 20GB a month on ADSL1 plus home phone for $59.95 a month. Yes thanks. That’s all I need. ADSL1 is “only” 12Mb/s, but since I’ve been living with less than 1Mb/s, or even down as low as 160Kb/s for years, that’ll do me. It’ll be looxury.

As well, I’m bundling my mobile phone for $20 per month extra, which is a fixed fee. At the moment with Vodafone I’m buying $30 slabs which seem to run out after about 2-3 weeks. I’m forever paying, sometimes up to $60-90 per month! I’m sick of them.

So I look forward to notifying you of a new home phone number soon. My mobile number will stay the same. It takes about 5-10 working days, apparently.

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I wanted a new fridge, but my old one is in place and I thought, nah, it’ll do a few more years. Fridges are expensive! I bought a Panasonic fridge for the Bali villa and it cost about $750 there. Similar Panasonic fridges here cost double that and upwards! We are being ripped off, I reckon.

However, my 20 year old Westinghouse has not stopped running in two days and won’t regulate the temperature. All my food in the main compartment is freezing, even on the minimum setting.

I’m sure I could get it fixed, but no, it’s time for a new one, so I’ve decided on a Panasonic after much internet research. RRP is $1799, but it’s available from one of the local chains for $1399. My Westinghouse is 390 litres and the new one will be 552 litres. More beer!

It’ll be white, too. I’m not a fan of stainless steel. I like white. The only disappointment is that I wanted it to be left hinged, but that’s not available. F&P and one or two others have left hinged door models, and Samsung even allows you to reverse the door yourself. Clever.

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Still making slow and steady progress unpacking. The problem is, I need cabinets to put my stuff in or on. One thing that’s surprised me is that although there’s a laundry cupboard, there’s no broom and mop closet. I suppose I can hang them in the garage, once I clear the space.

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I have not been able to watch TV (apart from at Alan’s place) for nearly two months now. Do I miss it terribly? Not really. But I’m almost at the point where I can set my TV up again and it will have a familiar feeling of comfort about it.

My TV is a 32″ Sony LCD. I never wanted anything bigger in my old place, but this is going to look very small in this house. I may need binoculars. They’d go with the pith helmet, ration pack and walking stick when I walk from one end of the house to the other. This is a big house compared to my old one.

Note to self: don’t buy another TV; don’t buy another TV; don’t buy another TV! You don’t need it.

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PS: I meant to say – I have not yet been to the pub on the corner. How’s that for self restraint? Five days and I haven’t walked the 100m. Of course, it might have something to do with my tired, aching feet.