All at sea


My cabin on the Arcadia. It was quite spacious, with that lounge being very comfortable and a writing desk with armchair to the right. There was a 19″ TV with satellite reception of BBC and Sky News.


My cluttered desk.


The bed was very comfortable and with the ship’s stabilisers, there was almost no motion. I had to place my CPAP on the chair and stretch the cord to the desk. No power next to the bed.

It’s become clear now why my ticket on the Arcadia was cancelled. The woman at the Holiday Planet travel agency in Stirling St, Perth, failed to pass on my BPay payment to P&O.  She’s told me so.  She’s apologised profusely and said it’s the first time in nine years it’s happened.  So why did it have to happen to me!?

As I said, she gave me $200 on board credit and has offered another $200 as compensation off any other cruise I do.  I doubt I would want to deal with them again, though.  As I’ve said, this was a slack, complacent attitude.  Even though I told her twice that I couldn’t log in to P&O’s web page using the booking number she gave me, it didn’t alert her to a problem.  She just brushed me off, saying she often has trouble with that web page.

That goes along with an email I sent alerting someone that I was coming, but getting no answer and being told it wasn’t received. Now I’ve been told that four of the letters I sent out to reunion people a few weeks ago weren’t received, even though the addresses were correct.  “Please send another letter.”  Yeah, at my cost in time and stamps.  Gee, Australia Post must be so unreliable.

Out of ten letters I sent to reunion people a few weeks ago, not one person has replied.  I feel as if I’m wasting my time and effort sometimes.

There seems to a black hole above me, sucking things into it, my luck included.


Along the same lines, for some years I’ve had the idea that Panasonic products are better, so I’ve chosen a DVD/HD recorder and fridge of that brand and often thought of buying a bigger Panasonic plasma TV (I haven’t).  But lately I’ve come to realise that I’m not happy with Panasonic.  The fridge rattles.  Something in the door is rattling and it’s not what I put in there.  I’ve rearranged the contents many times, and banged the door and plastic pockets to no avail. It stops rattling for a few minutes, then starts again (while the compressor is running, I mean).  It’s very annoying.

The DVD/HD recorder is too slow.  Every operation involves a wait of several seconds before it happens.  Bit sick of it.  I’ll try another brand next time.

Then there’s my Pioneer BluRay player which has failed completely, as I said a few weeks ago, and my older Pioneer DVD player, which I use as a CD player because the sound is so nice, but it refuses to read any CD which is not bog standard CD spec,  eg HDCD or similar.  I bought a nice CD in Singapore, but it won’t play it.  Grrr.  And the Pioneer amplifier which has only two knobs on the front, and tiny buttons with tiny grey-on-black lettering that I can’t read.  Phut!  Why did I buy it??  I didn’t look hard enough at the product, only at the price, that’s why.


Watching TV last night, I saw something moving below my eye line.  It was a tiny frog, about 25mm in size, hopping across the floor.  We had a very heavy rain yesterday morning for over an hour, so the water probably brought it out, and it must have hopped inside through an open door.  It went under the TV bench and stopped hopping, but I can’t find it now.


Yuccas!  Those nasty spiky plants, you can’t call them trees.  I’ve got at least a dozen around the house, including one with a trunk about 40cm in diameter right next to a wall.  It’s going to damage the wall eventually.

There were two guys digging some out next door the other day, so I spoke to them and they are going to remove most of mine too.  They’ve quoted me $800, plus $280 tipping fees.  Ouch.  Spiky in more ways than one.  These are useless plants.  They give no shade and drop their sharp fronds when dry, but you can’t kill them except by digging them out and poisoning the roots.  The big one near the wall will be too hard to dig out completely, so they’ll have to cut it off at ground level and poison the stump.  Terrible work – they have to wear protective gear to avoid being cut or spiked.

They’re all through this suburb.  The developers plant them because they grow very quickly and won’t die.  Useless things.


Australian Personal Computer magazine have their 400th issue out now and it prompted me to send them a scan of a hand written list I made in 1993 of the cost of computer components then.

I paid $980 for a 486 motherboard!  I didn’t record the cost of the CPU but it would have been $300 or so.  $125 for a keyboard.  $120 for a mouse!  I remember that one – it was a two button Logitech even back then.  $99 for a 5¼” floppy drive and $89 for a 3½” floppy.  You needed both back then.  $400 for a 40MB (megabyte, not gigabyte) hard drive.  $250 for a VGA graphics card.  Plus sound card.  No on-board graphics and sound in those days.  $1170 for an NEC 15″ colour monitor.  And so on.

By contrast, I’ve just bought all the bits to make up a new computer, a Core i7 4770 3.5GHz CPU with 8GB of RAM, very fancy motherboard to suit with 10 USB sockets, six of them USB 3, HDMI graphics, on-board sound, a 256GB SSD and so on.  Including a very fancy Fractal Design R8 case, about $1,100 all up.  The cost of computing has fallen to about 1/10th what it was, allowing for inflation, for far better gear.  We’ve got it good these days.


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