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.

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