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

Image

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.