Ugh!

Nissan_Juke_Midnight_v2_lights_webgraphic-604My new contender for the ugliest car on the road. Perhaps ever. Nissan should go and stand in the corner.

NISSAN_Juke_Personalisation White W2 2carI can’t bear to look at it. Designers, hang your heads in shame.

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There’s an Italian cafe in the main street opposite the pub here called Carlo’s. A few months ago I wanted breakfast and sat out on the pavement. But I was mightily offended when the waitress told me if I sat outside, I would have to pay in advance. In other words, I was a potential non-payer, a potential crook. I was angry and I haven’t been back since. (In the same way that I haven’t been back to three service stations near me because they insist I have to make my car face inwards. In other words, I’m a drive-off risk! My protest that I’m a local was met with, “They all say that, mate.” OK, no more business from me! I go to the one that doesn’t make a fuss at Quinns.)

A new Dome cafe has opened opposite the pub overlooking the lakes. I’ve eaten breakfast there twice and it’s OK, if a bit expensive ($19 for bacon and eggs and coffee).

Then a sign appeared outside Carlo’s – Grilled bacon and eggs and FREE coffee, $8.50. OK, I’ll come back, so I went there this morning. But they wouldn’t supply what they advertised. I said I wanted the special on the sign, bacon and eggs and coffee. That’ll be $17.50, she said. What? The co-owner comes over and mumbles something. I say I want the special. $17.50 she says. But. but … No, she wouldn’t budge for some reason.

Like a fool, I didn’t make a fuss and paid up. I can’t understand why I did. But, what the hell? OK, that’s it, no more business from me. I’ll go to the Dome from now on. Go out of business Carlo’s – you can’t treat your customers like this.

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I’ve become a fan of the TV program “If You Are The One” on SBS2 at 7pm most nights. It’s made in China, transmitted in Chinese with English subtitles. That’s fine, it’s easy to watch. It has a charm about it due to the host Meng Fei, the two assistants Le Jia ( a very smart guy) and Huang Hu, a gorgeous lady.

It features 24 beautiful girls looking for a marriage partner and a succession of guys who try to convince them. Very entertaining.

But I can’t help noticing how the girls don’t hesitate to make sexist, disparaging remarks about the guys. He’s too fat, he has narrow shoulders, he looks too young, he looks too old, he isn’t sincere, he doesn’t have enough ambition and so on and on. The poor guy just has to take it. Many, many guys are knocked back by all 24 girls.

If the roles were reversed, with guys making comments about the girls, there’s be an outcry. Hypocrisy’s a funny thing.

APEC Blue

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APEC Blue sky – my photo of Tien an Men Square during APEC. Pure luck. © PJ Croft 2014

From The Guardian 18 December 2014

“The volume of discontent [about Beijing’s air pollution] has been rising since Beijingers got a chance to see exactly what clear blue skies looked like last month [November], when miraculous weather was laid on for visiting world leaders, in town for the high-profile Apec summit. With the kind of draconian measures unseen since the 2008 Olympics, the entire region was locked down to guarantee clear skies for the precious week. Production in all factories within a 125-mile radius of the city was suspended, half the cars were banned from the roads, schools were closed, and public-sector workers were given compulsory holidays. No weddings were registered, no passports issued, no taxes paid, no fresh products delivered, and no banks open. Bodies went uncremated and burials were partly suspended.”

“The result? A climatic Potemkin facade of perfect blue skies – which soon became an internet meme, coining the term “Apec blue”.

“ ‘It’s not sky blue or ocean blue. It’s not Prussian blue or Tiffany blue,’ wrote one user of the microblogging site, Weibo. ‘A few years ago it was Olympic blue, and now it’s Apec blue.’ It quickly came to mean something of fleeting, artificial beauty, probably too good to be true. “He’s not really into you,” went one recurring online saying. “It’s just an Apec blue.”

“Returning to Beijing during the Apec week was like arriving in a completely different city. What had been a ghostly world of streets that disappeared if more than a block away, became a wide-open place of grand avenues terminating at distant mountains, visible for the first time.

“And back at the British School, the smog dome was empty. Pupils were enjoying a rare outdoor lesson beneath a different kind of artificial roof – the crystal clear canopy of Apec blue.”

Still here, but …

Nagasaki Peace Park © PJ Croft 2014

Nagasaki Peace Park © PJ Croft 2014

I’m pretty quiet, for a couple of reasons. I’m still recuperating from the trip, still feeling very tired, weak and a “punched in the gut” feeling. Blood tests show signs of an infection of some kind, but not enough to worry about, apparently. Thyroid, contrary to being under-active, as I thought it might be, is actually slightly over-active. But not enough to do anything. CLL markers up a bit, but nowhere near enough to do anything. (Besides, there’s nothing to be done!)

The doc says, just be patient. Use pro-biotic yoghurt to try to reset my gut flora after all these weeks of high dose antibiotic for my legs. So I’m still spending a lot of time sleeping. I came back fired up to do all the things that need doing, but I’ve only tackled a few things so far. Be patient …

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At least my legs are far better than they have been since last year. There are no skin breaks or dry areas and even the lumpy cellulitis on the left leg is much reduced. I credit daily Dermeze ointment. Messy, but effective.

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Back in September I got pinged by a parking Nazi at Joondalup for having an expired ACROD sticker. Fair cop, I had been slack renewing it but the replacement for 2014-15 was literally in the mail.

So I wrote to the council, pleading guilty and enclosing my cheque for the $60 fine, but arguing that the original sticker had been issued last year for a genuine reason, that the reason still existed, I was sorry I was slow but my replacement sticker had arrived and enclosing a photocopy of the new sticker. I asked that discretion be used to waive the fine.

Trouble was, I forgot to post it before leaving on the trip. I carried it in my bag, looking for an opportunity to post it, but it was only in the Nagasaki Peace Park that I finally found a post office and sent it off. I wondered what the council would think about my letter arriving from Japan.

When I got home, the first letter I opened was a red page from the council saying I hadn’t paid the $60 fine and it was now $134. Pay up!

But there was another, thicker, letter from Joondalup Council as well. I wasn’t game to open it for the first week, but I finally did, to find that they had waived the fine! First offence and all that. Don’t do it again. Wow, I won for a change. They didn’t return my cheque, but it hasn’t been cashed.

But here’s the curious part. They admonished me, not for the expired sticker date, but because I wasn’t displaying the sticker number properly. They enclosed printouts of the photos the parking guy had taken.

But the photos prove that I was displaying the number! What are they talking about? The number and all the details are clearly visible in the photos. The only possible explanation is that the words ACROD Parking Permit are half obscured by the windscreen shading at the bottom, but you can still read it. All the important wording is higher up and clearly visible.

So what are they talking about? I don’t know. I suspect incompetence. But I just have to shut up and be quiet about it and count my blessings that I don’t have to pay $134.

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One good thing about being ostracised by your family is that there’s no Christmas shopping to do.

And after sending Christmas cards diligently to family members and friends for 40 years and getting almost nothing in return, I’ve given up on that, too. “Oh, I don’t send cards” — the implication being, “I’ve gone green”, or “No-one sends cards any more, that’s so 1980s”. But in reality, you’re just too lazy.

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I don’t think this blog is worth continuing. The virtually complete lack of feedback/comments is too disheartening. People ask me about the trip in emails and, after giving a bright reply, I say “Yes, all the details are right here” and link to the blog/daily diary. It later becomes clear that they have not followed the link, or haven’t read anything.

I’m sick of being told, “No, I don’t read your blog” / “I don’t read blogs” / “I won’t read your blog” / “I haven’t got time”. Utter rudeness. The single comment I got recently was completely irrelevant to anything in the blog.

I can just as easily write this as a private diary. I’m wasting my time writing on-line. I’ve got better things to do. Goodbye.

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