What a debacle!

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Northern invaders?           © Peter Croft 2014

Lord the Viscount Rabbott VC and 37 bars of Moonee Ponds has been rattling the sabre for the past couple of years, trying to scare the country about the “Daesh death cult” and stirring up fear that the hordes from the north are coming to invade us. Sound familiar? It’s the Menzies Liberal government all over again. The story that the communists in Viet Nam had to be stopped lest the red menace work its way down through Asia to our shores, the so called Domino Theory. It was utter bullshit, but unfortunately it led to Menzies and Holt lobbying the US government to “invite” Australia to commit troops to fight the Communists. The idea that the US pressured us was later shown convincingly to be a pack of lies.

The result was about 500 young Aussie guys being killed in the Viet Nam war and many, many others being maimed and injured. The survivors are still suffering horribly and killing themselves even now. Courtesy of the Libs. This is the Liberal way – they love a military solution to perceived threats.

Boot camps are an offshoot of this. Queensland was the latest state to try it under the discredited Newman government (Newman was a former Army officer, of course. They love these military guys).

Once again, the scheme has had to be dismantled in Queensland at a cost of many millions of dollars as a failed idea. They learnt nothing from the failed WA Liberal government’s boot camp in the outback near Leonora in the late 1980s under then attorney general Cheryl Edwardes. That had to be abandoned too as a failure. I think the cost was about $5m.

thNow history is again being repeated. Lord Rabbott and his henchmen have asked the US to ask us to commit RAAF planes to bomb in Syria. This is Viet Nam all over again. This government lobbies the US, applying pressure for them to “invite” us to commit more military force. Why? To make us feel unsafe and to make it look as if the government is doing something to stop the invading hordes. It’s stirring up fear, all over again.

Now they’ve created this quasi-military style Australian Border Force. Notice that name – Force. They are authorised to carry guns and wear navy blue uniforms so dark that they look like blackshirts.

Then they schedule an exercise alonside Victorian police, also carrying guns, and transport guards, for crying out loud. They announce beforehand that they’ll be stopping and questioning “anyone who crosses our path”.

So who are they most likely to question? Why, anyone with Asian features, Indians, Pakistanis, Chinese, racial selection, in other words. There is no legal requirement for anyone to carry a passport or visa on them in this country, so what did they hope to find? What about UK or Irish people, who are often overstayers and visa violaters. How would the Border Force troops know who was a likely suspect?

It was a farce from the moment it was conceived. It had to be called off after street demonstrations (good on ’em). The top Border Force guy held a press conference and shoved the blame down the line. The guy at the top took no responsibility. What a guy.

But the point is, this Border Force is yet another attempt by this awful government to create the impression that we need armed men on the streets to stop the invaders, the “death cult”.

How many fiascos does it take to make people realise that this is an utterly incompetent government? Every week, almost every day, a fresh debacle.

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Union is strength cropLiberal governments have been trying to tell us for years that we don’t need unions, that it’s much better for employees to deal one-on-one with employers, that employers are good guys and will deal fairly with employees.

Well, yet another nail in the coffin of that idea. It turns out that many franchised stores in the 7-11 chain have been employing students and backpackers at only half the award rates and making them work up to twice normal hours! It’s not all the franchisees, but a substantial number of them agreeing in secret to do it.

So much for the fairness idea, once again. What a crock of bullshit, the idea that employees can trust employers to have their interests at heart. Many do, but many many employers exploit their workers any chance they can get. It’s shown time and time again.

Don’t need unions? Trust the nice employers? Bullshit!! Unions work for employees’ rights. They have to. If you oppose the idea of unions, then you don’t care about the exploitation of employees. Simple as that. How else do you put it?

Postscript: it gets worse. The way the 7-11 managers did it, i.e. forced the casual employees to work these long hours, was to blackmail them! When the casual employee first started the job, the owner/manager told them they had to work 40 hours or more in the first week to establish their employment. Of course, the employee wanted the job so they complied.

But this contravened the 457 visa conditions, where the employee is not allowed to work more than a certain number of hours a week (20 I think). So these nice guy employers then told the employees that if they didn’t accept the half pay and long hours, the employer would report them to the Dept of Immigration for breaching the 457 visa conditions.

Nice, huh? We can trust employers, right? Employers have employees interests at heart and would never do them wrong, right? We don’t need unions, right?

Bullshit! Unions are the bulwark between weak employees and rapacious employers. I’m not saying all employers are like this, of course not, but there are too many stories like this.

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It’s tough at the top. Not!

Hazlewood Vic La TrobeIn these posts I’ve made remarks that the Liberal Party takes backhanders from the big companies, the big miners and banks and so on. I didn’t have any particular facts to go on, just many, many articles and inferences in the news.

Well, I’m not the only one who thinks this way. See http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-08-26/frijters-foster-battlers-and-plutocrats/6725118

A few select quotes:

  • … 65 per cent of the richest people in Australia had amassed their wealth via political connections rather than via innovative businesses.
  • Over 80 per cent of the wealthiest Australians have made their fortunes in property, mining, banking, superannuation and finance generally – all heavily regulated industries in which fortunes can be made by getting favourable property rezonings, planning law exemptions, mining concessions, labour law exemptions, money creation powers and mandated markets of many stripes.
  • … the list abounded with mining magnates who enjoyed favourable government concessions; CEOs of superannuation funds who personally benefited from government guarantees locking hundreds of thousands of people into doing business with them; banking and finance CEOs who received government guarantees and favourable legislation; and the largest group of all – property developers who rely on rezoning and other favourable political decisions.
  • The last budget could have been written by the super-rich and the Treasurer is already making noises about more income tax cuts that will predominantly favour the rich.

Why is the Liberal government so favourable to the big companies and the super rich? Follow the money trail. I’m not suggesting that the politicians are taking bribes. I am saying that their friends are the big guys in big companies and they look after friends with an eye to the future, setting themselves up to have a very comfortable time after they leave parliament by way of directorships and consultancies and such like. Politicians, from local government up, don’t do favours for businessmen without expecting some kind of favour in return, even if later in life. Follow the money.

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It’s been two years since Mr Abbott became top dog, and in this time we’ve lost so much. Massive cuts to our ABC and the SBS, thousands of experts forced out of the CSIRO, attacks on clean energy, pensions and social welfare – not to mention efforts to dismantle our world-class Australian healthcare and education systems. No generation has been spared, no working family left unscathed.

And despite widespread public consensus they’ve overstepped their mark, Mr Abbott’s Government continues to ram through his radically conservative agenda. He’s now becoming isolated even from his own cabinet colleagues.

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Yamaha T-500I’ve just received the replacement Yamaha TD-500 DAB+/FM/AM tuner, the replacement for the faulty one that I had to return last week.

This time it’s working. Mostly. But the damn remote control is not! Is there no end to the faulty goods I’m getting? On top of the faulty supermarket bills, always in the supermarkets’ favour, almost never in my favour. The system is weighted against us, the individual.

Add to that the rotten TV and radio reception at this location. It’s only the ABC I’m concerned about. But with the budget attacks from this evil Liberal government, designed to damage the ABC simply because the politicians think they are being excessively criticised, I think the chances of getting any improvement are zero.

Grrrr grrrr grrrr.

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No sleep at all last night, not one minute. I felt sleepy when I went to bed, but gave up after two hours of trying. I got up, had a hot milk drink and some computer time, felt groggy and tried again from 4.30am to 7.30am, but no luck. I’ve just had three hours from 11am to 2pm, but this is getting to be a problem.

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Torrential rains and floods on the NSW south coast. If I’d bought a car in Melbourne last month and hit the road as I thought I would, I’d be in that area now. Crumbs, with all the snow as well, it might have been a washout.

It drives home (pardon the pun) how WA’s climate is so different from the east coast. It’s 24C today, and we’re heading for another record low rainfall for the month and the winter. Yet on the east coast they’re drenched. WA is another country. We’re different.

See the connection?

images“… a new report, released yesterday by the Foundation for Australian Youth, which said that over the last 15 years the income growth of the top 1 per cent has been a whopping 42 per cent higher than that of the bottom 90 per cent of workers.” [- See more at: https://newmatilda.com/2015/08/25/income-top-1-cent-grew-almost-half-see-if-you-can-guess-how-bottom-90-did#sthash.LqLDDgRM.dpuf]

The upper crust, the CEOs and finance guys and managers get pay rises of 42%. The workers get bugger all.
Union membership has consistently fallen for 20 years. See the connection? Managers and CEOs hate unions. See the connection?
If you won’t support the union, you’re a coward and a parasite. You get what you deserve. Unfortunately, your workmates who do support the union don’t deserve to get your shit.
Later, in one of the comments:  “Only some people deserve the benefits of human knowledge. The rest are lucky to be alive.”  I agree.

And again, and again …

Caught again. Woolies again. Gettin’ sick of this:PineappleMarked as $2.50, charged $5.00. Do I go back to Joondalup, 15Km and 15 mins drive away? Woolies scores $2.50 off me.

On Saturday Quinns IGA got me too. A pack of asparagus clearly marked down to $2.99, but I was charged $3.99. How to boost profits – add a dollar to every bill. Multiplied by all the customers each day, that’d be several hundred dollars. Nice work IGA Quinns. Cheats.

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Another one! Here’s the box:

FishboxAnd here’s what’s inside:

Fishbag HHuh?

FishbagYes, the box is twice as big as the contents. Surprise, surprise. Gotcha. Well, they won’t get me again. I won’t buy this product again. Grrrr. The fish wasn’t very nice either.

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I wrote Sunday’s post below (23rd) before reading The Saturday Paper. The editorial is one of the hardest hitting I’ve read in a long time. It shows up the terrible repression, torture, rapes, child abuse and violence in the Nauru detention camp, our Australian concentration camp. https://www.thesaturdaypaper.com.au/2015/08/22/close-nauru/14401656002275

The government’s policy is to make detention in these Australian gulags worse than the conditions that made the asylum seekers leave their own countries, so that word will get back not to make the attempt to escape the persecution at home. What a terrible way to do it.

There’s no doubt that the Australian company contracted to guard the camp is rotten, violent, corrupt. The guards regularly rape the women and abuse the children. All this is done while our Liberal government turns a blind eye and threatens doctors and care workers with jail if they speak out about it.

This Liberal government constantly says what awful criminals the people smugglers are, but the Australian guards are worse! And they are being paid by this awful government, let loose on the asylum seekers in our name! This is nearly as bad a the Nazi prisons. There are no gas chambers, but prisoners have been set on fire by the rapists!

We must speak out against these atrocities being committed by this awful government. I urge you to write to Peter Dutton, the minister, and to Abbott, that sanctimonious, misogynist prime minister, that awful man. Not in my name!

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I’m writing this at 4am. Can’t sleep again. Went to sleep quite easily at about 11.45pm but woke at 1.30am and that was it. I lie there in a twilight zone, nearly asleep but still aware. I lasted until 3.30am but have given up. I’ll have to catch up in the morning. I’ve been using Valerian, the herbal sedative and it works pretty well, but it hangs over. It takes many hours to wear off. I’ve been trying to do without it but … Very, very tired yesterday. Can’t get much done.

The other problem is itching. It’s not a rash, it’s just constant small itches all over, like hair follicles. Scratch one small area and another starts, constantly. I believe it’s part of being elderly. Bugger. It’s OK now that I’m sitting up.

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 I’m watching The Island with Bear Grylls on SBS, where two groups of 14 men and women have been dropped on separate small uninhabited Pacific islands and left to fend for themselves. It was episode four last night and it’s very good. The women have settled down and aren’t bickering so much any more. They caught a pig and ate well, enough to rescue them from starvation, but it’s only a couple of days’ worth of food. They still haven’t learnt to fish.

The guys have had a big bust up, but one of the guys is doing well catching fish, so they eat pretty regularly. They’ve got through the bust up now, and are far better at organising themselves and keeping their fire going. They can do teamwork much better. The women are getting better, but they’re not doing as well as the guys. Good program.

But the pestilence of the commercial breaks! SBS is atrocious. There’s a 10 sec sting leading in to the break, then a 30 sec promo, then three or four commercials, then another promo, then another promo before getting back to the program! They endlessly repeat the same promos. It’s so bad that I’m recording all the programs I want to watch, then replaying and fast forwarding through all the breaks to get away from this endless, repetitive crap. So they drive me a way from the commercials, defeating their aim. Too bad, but I can’t watch the awful promos with fast flashing clips where no shot is allowed to remain on screen for more than a second, usually less. I can’t watch them! Eye tearing rubbish. Ugh.

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No action on the car yet. I was just too tired yesterday. I’ve virtually decided to go with the Mercedes CLK550, although the much cheaper CLK350 is tempting. I’ll have to have a test drive. Maybe later this week.

I’ve said I want to hit the road, take the new Merc on a drive east across the Nullarbor, but with all this tiredness I’m not sure I could do it. Or whether it would be prudent. Often I’m not 100% alert when I’m driving, I must admit.

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I bought a new Microsoft keyboard yesterday, a smaller, flatter one, trying to save space. Boy, it’s hard to get used to after the old full size one, the original sized keyboard from the 1990s. It only cost $18, so if I can’t get used to it, no big loss. My fingers are having trouble finding the keys, but it’s getting better. Push on.

Puncha!

Credit ESO M. KornmesserI had a puncture yesterday. Actually, the left rear tyre of my car did. I hadn’t used the car since last Monday and I’d walked past it and hadn’t noticed anything wrong, so I think it was a slow leak. Anyway, I went to go out yesterday morning (just to buy the papers – at Quinns*) and found I couldn’t.

That’s the first puncture I’ve had in over 30 years. I often think about it. The last one was down in Pemberton in the early 1980s on the Honda Accord. In those days I changed the tyre myself, but I started to do it yesterday and realised the nuts were too tight, the jack was too hard and the spare was too soft.

I called the RAC and he made quick and easy work of it. Crumbs, trolley jack, impact nut driver and the wheel was off in about two minutes flat, if you’ll pardon the pun. Then spare on, and an air hose like you see at service stations and I was a goer. I have a small foot pump but it was making no difference at all. Waste of effort.

The cause of the flat was immediately obvious – a screw through the tyre. So that’s what that clicking sound last Monday was.

What a bugger, because I’ll have to buy a new tyre and since I want to sell the car very soon, I didn’t want to spend any money on it. Can’t be helped. The RAC guy quoted me $91 for a new one, so it’s not too bad.

Crumbs, the accent on the RAC guy! He was a Scot, with the thickest Scots accent I’ve ever heard. I could hardly understand him unless he was facing me and I could read his lips, not that they moved much. Nice guy, from the Loch Lomond area of Scotland. He told me the town but I couldn’t understand him. Nice guy, been here 10 months.

  • Why do I drive to Quinns, about 5Km, just to buy the papers? Because it’s the nearest newsagency that sells The Saturday Paper. I support a new newspaper, and it’s a good read. You should read Richard Ackland’s summation of the royal commissioner Dyson Heydon. By the judge’s own writings and words, be is a very, very conservative man with ideas more in tune with Jo Bjelke Petersen’s madness. He ruled in favour of the tobacco companies against cigarette plain packaging, for example. He suggested the 2008 GFC was not real and ruled that the federal (Labor) government should not be allowed to take measures to safeguard this country. Very, very odd.

    Of course, he was chosen as the royal commissioner in the attempt to smear trade unions and Labor precisely because the PM thought he would do a good hatchet job. Oh what a tangled web we weave, …

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Wow, I’m wrestling with the car decision. I spoke on the phone to the owner of the CL600 on Friday and it seems genuine. He’s a big businessman and has four other cars. Needs the garage space, he says.

What a magnificent car. A 6 litre V12 engine in a 2-door coupe.

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Two tons, 0-100Km/h in 5.4 secs, 250Km/h top speed. The drawback is that every running cost is high. The cost of repairs would be frightening. The fuel economy is about 18L/100Km around town, vs 12L/100Km in my present car and the same in the CLK that I’m also thinking of.

I’m thinking, well, I’ll just own it for a year or so and drive it very gently. Yeah, right. But how can I see this, be able to own it, but pass it up? I can’t hep thinking that in five years’ time, I’ll say, “Gee, I wish I’d bought that CL600!”

On the other hand, the CLK550 that I’ve been looking at is a bit cheaper, has only done 43,000Km (vs 69,000Km) and would be easier to drive and park (I assume). Performance wise, it’s slightly better – 0-100Km/h in 5.2 secs, same top speed. Seven speed automatic, which should be super smooth. And 6 years younger. Big factor.

Then in the same yard, there’s a CLK 350 for the much cheaper price of $21,777. That’s a big saving. It’s done 107,000Km though, which Barry sucks his teeth at. Reaching the age where some work might need doing, expensive work.

Hmmm, tough decisions, but very enjoyable to think about.

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I’m back on my hobby horse of tilted photos again. A US photography blogger has just moved to the Finger Lakes area of New York state, and he suggested we Google images of the area.

Well I did, and I’m amazed at the sloppy images I found. Some examples. In each case, original on left, my correction on right:

New_12 New_11 New_10 New_9 New_8 New_7 New_6 New_5 New_4 New_3 New_2 New_1

I don’t understand how these can be released by their owners with these tilted water horizons. I wouldn’t allow it.

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Good to see that this incompetent, cruel government is digging itself into a deeper and deeper hole. The royal commission is going off the rails, having lost credibility. The cabinet is leaking like a sieve. The government’s climate change abatement figures have been shown to be a pack of lies (by Bernie Fraser, no less, the former head of the Reserve Bank, a pretty credible guy). New atrocities are surfacing weekly at our concentration camps on Nauru and Manus. The list is endless. This must be a one term government. They are just too awful.

You started it, buster.

B0224hiThe Victorian Liberal Party has discovered that someone has embezzled, stolen, around $1m of party funds. They’re all foaming at the mouth about who could have done this.

Michael Kroger, the prominent Liberal man in Melbourne, was being interviewed on TV about it, and he linked it to the ACTU and unions in the biased royal commission hearings!!!

Bloody hell, I nearly choked on my chip. It’s a Liberal man who has stolen this money from the Liberal Party. What’s it got to do with unions???

OK, you dish it out, mate, you can take it. The funds were stolen because that’s what Conservative people like that do, people who seek power in Liberal branches. It’s been shown that they accept donations from members of the Australian mafia (Four Corners). They’re remarkably quiet about that. They are crooks and thieves and embezzlers whenever they see the chance. How the hell can you link this to unions? Disgusting behaviour on the thief’s part but sickening slander from Mr Kroger. I spit.

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Probably going to test drive that Mercedes tomorrow, Saturday. Barry has looked it over and says it’s mint! In immaculate condition, still with that new car leather smell.

But I’ve found there’s another CLK in the same dealership, a CLK 350 which is a 3.5L V6. [A CLK by the way, is a 2-door coupe, the same size as a normal large family car. I know 2 doors might be tricky at times, but I virtually never carry more than one passenger so it doesn’t matter to me. The thing is, a 2 door says Hey, I’m a bachelor, sporting man-about-town. I want that! Anyway, the seats are electric, power driven, so when you want to get into the back, you just push the switch and the front seat moves forward. Ha.]

This CLK350 has done 107,000Km, substantially more than the one I’ve been eyeing (43,000Km), but it’s substantially cheaper too, $21,777 vs $36.500. That’s a big saving. That’s swaying me.

But I’ve discovered another beauty in Perth, a private sale. It’s a CL600, a 5.8L V12!

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Phwoooaaar.

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It’s a 2000 model, a bit old, but it’s only done 69,000Km. It’s in immaculate condition from the photos. I’ve spoken to the owner and he’s an oil exploration company CEO who has a young wife and child and four other vehicles. He needs room in his garage.

Speaking of which, it’s 4.994m long and I wonder if it would physically fit in my garage. I think it would with millimetres to spare, which would be no good. I wouldn’t be able to get at the boot. I’ll have to measure the garage.

Although it’s a V12, it has cylinder deactivation, meaning under light load, slow or stopped, six of the cylinders shut off to save fuel, making it a straight six. Amazing. He says you don’t notice it happening, of course, as it should be.

He’s willing to knock $1,000 off for a faulty CD player, making it $39.000. That’s not much different from $36,500 for the other car. Hmmmm. Tough decision.

The problem is, when it’s working it’s fine, but repair and servicing costs are very big. In theory, it only needs one service a year. I hope.

Another point is it has rarity value and may appreciate in value. Possibly.

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More crooked pictures. From yesterday. In each case the wonky one is first:

City crooked

Tilted to the right i.e. CW

city straight

Level waterline.

Dam tilted

Tilted to the left.

Dam untilted

Levelled waterline.

Tuncurry tilted

Tilted to the left.

Tuncurry untiltedIn each case above, the first image is tilted one way or the other. In the second pictures, I’ve straightened them. This is glaringly obvious to me. Why do they publish them without fixing them?

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I’ve had my claim for return postage for the faulty Yamaha tuner accepted by PayPal. The Sydney shop phoned me yesterday to say they’d received it, confirmed it is dead, and sent me a photo of the box and label. That was enough for PayPal. It’s only $35.40, but … I never thought I would need to use this PayPal service but it’s worked well. Good thing.

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I’ve always been an optimist in technology. I’ve always thought there could well be a technological fix for atmospheric CO2 and global warming. Right now I’m listening to the BBC interviewing a US scientist who has discovered a way to take CO2 from the air or any source, split it into oxygen and carbon and the carbon comes out as carbon nano-tubes which are used in carbon-fibre for high strength materials.

The plants to do this can do it with solar power, and he suggests putting plants in the desert areas of Australia, among other places. It’s still only a lab demonstration and it may not work out, but it’s grounds for optimism.

Fed up!

DAB radio

DAB+ radio coverage Perth metro. See me? I’m firmly in the red “poor signal” area. Damn!

Is there no end to my radio/TV reception and internet troubles??! At the Trigg house, only 12Km from the city, I was plagued with digital TV dropouts. I had to erect a 5m pole with a fringe area antenna, with a masthead amplifier to get acceptable TV reception.

For years I had to make do with dial-up internet at 28Kb/s, then 56Kb/s maximum (but I never got better than 35Kb/s). Then, when ADSL (phone line digital) access came along in the early 2000s, there was no line available in my street. I had to make do with wireless internet from Vivid, which never lived up to its sales pitch. It too was slow and prone to constant dropouts. The best I ever got was about 200Kb/s, I think, when they were advertising 9Mb/s. Bulldust.

It was the same for DAB+ digital radio – prone to fading. Just me moving around in the room was enough to make it fade out. FM was also variable.

But at least I had good old AM, for 720ABC, Radio National etc. Good solid AM reception, noise free, but low, low-fi.

Now at this location. I had hoped my troubles were over. Ha! In some respects they’ve only got worse.

Good old AM radio is so bad, so noisy as to be almost unlistenable here. Bloody hell, the 6WF high power transmitter is in Hamersley, “just down the road”; but “just down the road” from here is about 25Km away. That should be OK, but the poor soil conductivity in these coastal suburbs means poor signal strength. (Why? Because radio reception depends on a conduction path through the soil, through the “earth” literally, back to the transmitter. Amazing, eh? That’s electronics for you, that fantastic, fascinating subject.)

As you can see above, ABC DAB+ (digital) radio is officially shown as poor in this area. What’s so frustrating is that I can get 23 other digital radio stations fine, but the ABC stations I want (720Perth, Radio National and News Radio) are very iffy, prone to fading with the weather or my body movements. Only the ABC gives trouble! I can’t get the ABC stations at all on my new Sony tabletop receiver. Grrr.

FM radio is good, but FM doesn’t have the stations I want. So, two out of the three transmission media are very poor here and the only good one doesn’t carry the stuff I want. Ha!

OK, internet. I thought at first I’d be able to get ADSL2+, the fastest phone line internet, but no, I can only have ADSL, the lower standard one. OK, I thought, that’ll do. But the best I ever get is 1.3Mb/s. Most of the time that’s not bad, but I can never watch YouTube or any news item video and have it play smoothly. It always stutters and gives me the Please Wait symbol.

At the moment I’m throttled to 256Kb/s, having exceeded the quota for the month. It’s like being back to dial-up – I wait up to 5 minutes for pages to load, sometimes never loading. I’m downloading the non-beta version of Firefox at the moment and it’s been downloading for nearly an hour so far! I’m not sure if it’s dropping out and restarting: every time I look it seems to have gone back to the start.

Then I thought of internet radio – no radio reception required. I’ve just tried it on this computer (admittedly at the throttled speed and again, hopeless. Stopping and starting, stuttering, repeating, then dropping out. Unuseable. It’ll probably be OK when I’m “unthrottled” on 22nd August, but it’s the same as any other internet connection – mostly it works, but often it doesn’t.

So yesterday I thought, OK, time to change to fibre. I had previously thought it was available to me, not from the NBN but because the whole suburb is supposed to be cabled as a model planned suburb.

But when I checked with iiNet’s web site, it tells me it’s not available at this address. Dammit! I thought when I checked last year that it showed I could get it.

So summing up – poor TV reception, prone to dropping out. Rotten AM radio reception. Totally variable digital radio reception, also prone to fading and dropping out entirely. Good FM reception, but only on some stations (with a northern suburbs repeater), and not carrying the stations I want. Lowish speed ADSL internet. No fibre internet.

This is 2015? Not in my universe.

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On the same lines, Windows 10. I’m eligible for the free copy on all three of my computers, but I’ve made at least three attempts (i.e. I’ve let it go ahead and download itself, all 2.7GB of it) on this computer so far and all three times it’s bombed out with a completely obscure error message:

Win10 install error 8Aug15Clicking Get Help with this error leads to nowhere. Therefore at this stage, the Win10 download is Not Working! Did I really think it would? Nah. I’ll have to wait until after the 22nd and try on one of the other computers.

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The final episode of the three “The Politician’s Husband” was on Sunday night, and I still maintain it should be called The Time Traveller’s Husband, because it still showed it was made in MMXXIII, that is 2023. Some script assistant has made a goof, and no-one picked it up.

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I’m a fan of the Bear Grylls Island programs, where 14 women and 14 men were dropped on two Pacific islands and left to fend for themselves for 6 weeks. Three episodes in, it’s time to draw some conclusions.

The women are hopeless! From the very beginning, whingeing, bickering, moaning, arguing, bitching, complaining and generally not co-operating. Two of them have dropped out – couldn’t take it. The rest are literally going around in circles, getting hopelessly lost, starving, becoming seriously dehydrated, and all the time whining and fighting each other. No plan, no leadership, no working together. They can’t keep a fire going.

The men, after a bad start, are a complete contrast – good humoured, co-operative, resourceful, able to plan and set tasks, with a working fire for water purification that they can keep burning. Admittedly, two guys had a big dispute at the start and both left after the second day. Very poor. Another has left a week or so in with illness, and another is being far too lazy. But the men work as a team, always getting on with each other, gathering masses of dry firewood and storing it to dry, keeping the fire going, catching a Cayman croc for food. Sure, they nearly starved, but they got past it.

So, men, good marks. Women, hopeless.

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Bear Grylls’s favourite speak is Repetition, Repetition, Repetition and so on. Planning, planning, planning, that sort of thing. And so is SBS. Bloody hell, the barrage of repetitive promos! Endless repeats of the same boring promos for weeks on end. It’s so bad that I record all the programs and watch them later, fast forwarding through the commercial breaks to escape the repetition.

But now they’re even repeating the programs a few days apart! The Island programs are shown on Monday night, then repeated on Saturday night. What the … ? Until I realised this, I was wasting my time watching on Saturday night. Now, don’t bother. Very annoying.

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Just waiting on Barry to inspect the CLK550 Merc at the car yard for me. I’ve pretty well decided to go for it. Good low mileage (43,000Km) so it should be OK. (6pm Tues, he’s just phoned and is looking at it right now.)

Then I want to hit the road. I think I might do a drive to Albany (via Margaret River for a night or two). I haven’t seen Albany in ten years, at least. With global warming, lower, cooler latitudes will be better. Only day dreaming, but I’d like to see it again.

Then, I want to drive east, across the Nullarbor. Probably the final chance I’ll get to do it – everything’s getting harder these days.

That Mercedes will be a very pleasant way to do it, I hope. Cruise control, seven speed automatic, active suspension, electronic stability control. anti-lock brakes, Bose sound system. Air con, of course. Leather seats. Steering wheel paddles for gear changes, and buttons on the wheel for radio and phone. In-dash TV screen and DVD player. Built-in GPS. This is a $130,000 car when new, don’t forget. All luxury included.

I want to option it up a bit and there’s a firm in Melbourne that imports Merc add-on bits from Germany. Wood and leather rimmed steering wheel for example, veneered wood centre console compartment lid, dress trims for head and tail lights, wood gear shift knob. AMG style grille etc. I’m not sure I want these, I’m just window shopping.

But it’s a fairly nervous idea – to set out alone across the Nullarbor. I’ll need to spend at least one night, possibly two on the road, in a parking bay. I won’t be able to drive all day as I used to; I’ll need to take it easy. If a breakdown happens, it doesn’t bear thinking about. Or hitting a ‘roo. You don’t get Merc service out in the middle of nowhere.

As for fuel economy, it’s the same as my present car, the V6 Magna. Both are about 12L/100Km around the city, improving to 8L/100Km on the open road. Not great, but pretty good for a big, powerful V8. Acceleration 0-100Km/h in 5.2 secs, by the way, and a 250Km/h electronically limited top speed. That’s supercar territory.