Do we have permission to delete your data, sir?

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Guess where?  © PJ Croft 2016

My Samsung tablet PC has now been away for 18 days being fixed, when I was told “3-5 working days”. I gave it to Samsung with the complaint that after their last system software and BIOS update, it was no longer possible to make it sleep using the power button. It was “put it aside and wait for it to time out and go to sleep”, or completely power it down. It was quite clear cut: before BIOS change, working normally, press power button briefly and it went to sleep. After BIOS update, no effect on a brief power button press.

In addition, intermittently, on power up it showed only a black screen with the mouse pointer, or a white screen with mouse pointer, and nothing else. The only remedy was to keep pressing the button until it finally powered down and restarted.

This only happened after Samsung’s system software update of Saturday 3 September.

I dropped it at Samsung’s booth at Joondalup shops on Monday 12 Sept and the sleep fault was quite evident. The intermittent boot-up problem was not, but I had no doubt it would show. I was told they’d call me or text me when it was ready. I emphasised that I wasn’t keen to have people poking around in my data. They should make themselves a new user. For that reason, I didn’t divulge my password.

Nothing happened until Tuesday 20 September when I got a call from Tech Works in Sydney asking me for my password to get into my computer! I was very reluctant but agreed under persuasion. Why couldn’t they just do as I asked at Joondalup, just make themselves a new user with admin permissions? Bit of a worry.

Again, nothing happened until Sat 24th when I missed a call from them. I phoned today and the guy said, “Sir, do we have your permission to delete your data?”

What? You mean reformat the hard drive?! No! Why do you need to do that?

“We need to do it to fix your computer sir.”  No! Would you let someone reformat your hard drive? No! It has stuff I haven’t got backed up. “Do we have your permission to erase your disk, sir?” NO!

“We need you to calm down sir. Do we have your permission?” NO! Just return it to me! Patronising prick.

So I went to Joondalup to speak to the guy I spoke to 18 days ago. He wasn’t there. I explained to another guy and said I question the competence of this mob. I said, if it comes back with the faults still present, I’m going to start asking for a return and refund of my money. Not happy. So I await a call to say I can collect it. Not happy!

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Sydney Harbour Heads from the Centre Point Tower.  © PJ Croft 2016

A month into spring and we’re still freezing, as if it were mid July. I’m sick of this cold. I reckon it will suddenly change in a couple of weeks.

My 15 mins of fame

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This was rather nice. This US photography blog is generally regarded as the nicest on the web, because Mike Johnston is such an amiable guy. I comment reasonably often, maybe once a week, so to see this post this morning was quite a pleasant surprise.

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2016/09/180000-comments.html

It’s a bit like winning the lottery, but I’m afraid there’s no prize.

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I saw the gastric surgeon today, doing my usual train to the city and walking from Elizabeth Quay station via the freeway lakes to the Mount Medical Centre. Gah! A max of 16C but icy, arctic, easterly winds blowing along Mounts Bay Road. Brrrr! It’s spring, haven’t you heard? Marvellous, these lakes, and being spring, fecundity has broken out.

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Yes, that’s a black swan nesting right near the shore, unworried by humans.  All images (C) PJ Croft 2016

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Mama Swan, sleeping.

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A mumma duck and her six chicks.

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This is Dad, I think. What kind?

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A Night Heron, (thanks Tom) He must have been sleepy because he just stood there.

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Waiting for the showers.

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The surgeon says there’s nothing to be done about the vagus nerve, but if I’ve got large gallstones, as shown by the C/T scan, they could be causing my dizziness and faint spells. It will be best to have the gall bladder removed, as there’s the danger of (a) a stone blocking the bile duct, or (b) a stone moving down the bile duct. Both would be quite dangerous.

So there’s yet another pending operation. I shouldn’t complain, I’m reasonably healthy for someone who’s nearly 70. But everything hurts! All my joints and muscles ache. Urrrgh.

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It’s the last opportunity to fill out my census form before Sunday. I started to do it on-line just now, but no, it specifically says at the start that it applies to people who were in this house on 9 August. I wasn’t here, I was in Bali, and I can prove it, so I can’t complete the form.

I’ll bet I get a “please explain” letter.

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It’s now two weeks, more than 10 working days, since I dropped my Samsung Tab Pro S tablet PC off at the kiosk at Joondalup for a fix to a BIOS problem. I was told 3-5 working days. I dropped it off on Monday 12th and as of now, the 23rd, I still haven’t had any news of when I’ll get it back.

As well, I had to give them my password and I’ve been getting notifications from my internet security program that it’s been accessing the internet. GRRRRR! Not happy, Samsung. They didn’t even start work on it until last Tuesday. I’ll bet it comes back with “No fault found.” They should not have needed to go into my Windows desktop. It’s a BIOS problem to with the power switch. You don’t need to fiddle with the machine to fix that.

Finally

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Uluru, 1993, from 10,000m  © PJ Croft

Another of my PhotoCD images that I haven’t seen for a while. It needs further colour balancing, this was a quick job.

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Millaa Millaa Falls, near Cairns, 1993  © PJ Croft 2016

Finally, finally, I have a dry shower recess floor. I took the hacksaw to the shower taps yesterday to replace those spiky monstrosities. It went well. The only problem is that there’s not enough thread to use the very nice chrome dress rings around the base of the tap housing.

So now I can turn the water off completely, without having to break my wrists in tightening to stop drips, and it no longer drips.

Now to do the six other tap handle sets in the house. Whoever designed those taps should be shot.

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Speaking of being shot, the Syrian and Russian governments have forfeited their right to live, in my opinion. Such savagery, such barbarity, such evil sub-humans who would deliberately attack aid convoys, hospitals and ambulances, and rain poison gas down on the civilian population, then deny it in the face of eye witness reports and photographic evidence, forfeit their right to life. Putin, I’m talking about you.

In my opinion, the US and UK should use their bunker buster bombs to bomb the Syrian presidential palace and government buildings out of existence. Do the same to the airfields the Russians are using.

Enough! The barbarity of this war is unprecedented. The laws of war mean nothing to Bashar al-Assad and his evil cronies. This guy is a mass murderer, worse than Hitler, almost, and Putin is the same. They must be killed before they can kill another child.

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Johnstone River Walk view from Palmerston Hwy, near Innisfail, Qld 1993. (Thanks Tom).   © PJ Croft 2016

Aaarrrgh, my blood sugar has gone out of control. Normal range is 4-6, usually I was keeping mine around 6-8 in the morning, 8-12 at night.

Now my morning readings are 12-13 and my evening readings are 16-23.

Why? My Toujeo slow release insulin pens expire this month; I’ve changed from the twice daily Byetta to the new weekly Bydureon; and I’m in emotional pain. All three are combining, I think. I’ll have to switch back to Lantus twice daily fast-acting insulin, and go back to the twice daily Byetta injections until this is sorted out. The third factor I can’t do anything about. Only time will heal that.

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It’s too late for climate change. Nothing can stop the death of the Earth now. It’s too far advanced and no-one cares enough. This is how the planet ends, folks.

In the news this morning, Greenland is melting far faster than was predicted, and we’re in line for sea level rises of 6-7 metres! Sure, it’s 50-100 years off, but there’s no stopping it now. Elizabeth Quay? It will be under water in 30 years. Barnett, you utter fool.

Tree dieback in Hawaii and in the USA is out of control. Whole forests are dead or dying due to beetles, allowed to flourish due to increased temperatures. It’s catastrophic damage, no less, and there’s no cure. And when whole forests die, the knock-on effects are also devastating, to wildlife and other biota.

The Barrier Reef has been largely killed off north of Cairns due to sea temperature rise. It’s happened this year! It’s not a slow thing, it’s happening right now.

Place your head between your legs and kiss your arse goodbye. Have pity on your kids. Tell them to buy land high up!

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I visited Aldi for the first time this afternoon. It’s only been open a few weeks. What a jumble of a shop. Vertical drill press? Near the feminine hygiene products, not far from the frozen foods and safety helmets and tool boxes. 4K UHD TV? Right next to the lawn fertiliser. Crazy jumble of products.

What did I buy? A packet of two German Rosti, ready to heat, a frozen Chinese dumpling soup, Aussie made for $3.69 and an Aussie Camembert cheese for $2.69. Their prices are certainly cheap.

There are many German made foods, of course, so if you’re inclined to need sauerkraut and rosti and weisswurst and so on, you’ll feel right at home. I used to know someone who might have liked this shop.

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Then I went through the big Masters hardware shop looking for bargains as they’re closing down in December. I took the opportunity to buy two more casual outdoor chairs for my patio, to join the two I had already.

I bought a big garden stake to hold my curry leaf tree up straight, a toilet roll holder and three pot plants, forget the name, for my garden beds. Things are looking very fertile and ready to spring into spring at the moment. I managed to spread green fertiliser on my verge lawn yesterday, and spray the weeds. I have all the time in the world to do this now that I’m no longer distracted by Bali.

Carrying on

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Indian Ocean off Bali.  © PJ Croft 2016

A pilot has been posting photos on a photography blog I read regularly. I found them interesting, but not exceptional. These are some of mine.

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© PJ Croft 2016

These were taken in the 1980s when we had room to swing around in the seat and shoot out the window. I can’t do that now. The plane was a 747 in those days, even to Bali. There was room to move.

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A 747 wing, from Bali. The colour is from use of a polarising filter. © PJ Croft 2016

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McDonnell Ranges, Central Australia. © PJ Croft 2016

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The Olgas, Central Australia.  © PJ Croft 2016

The above two shots were from the inaugural flight of Compass Airlines’ service from Perth to Cairns in about 1993. The return fare was $200, I think. Great trip. These are all film, of course.

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I mentioned last week that I dropped my Samsung tablet PC off at a Samsung kiosk at Joondalup to have a warranty problem fixed. I was told, 3-5 working days.

Well, Friday came and went, yesterday, the 6th day came and went, and no news.

This morning I got a call from a PC repair company in Sydney, asking me for my password so they could get into my PC. I specifically asked the Samsung guy here to make a new user because I didn’t want someone poking around in my things. But this morning they insisted they had to have my password so they could do a backup.

Grrrrrrr! I gave it, but I have worries. It’s now 7 working days. When am I going to get it back? I find it odd that they can’t do a backup without opening my user name. Anyway, this is a BIOS problem. Why do they even need to access the desktop? Suspicious! Not happy, Samsung.

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Look at this!

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It’s a little town called Punaikiki on the west coast of NZ. It’s in the news because a French hitch-hiker went ballistic after he waited four days unable to get a lift there.

Too bad about him, but wow, what a fantastic place. This makes me want to up sticks and move there. It’s inspiring, to me.

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I fitted my new gas struts to my car on Sunday. Yes, it was easy. Ball and socket joints. Prise off the spring clip and they pop off. Boy, that tailgate is heavy if one strut is missing!

Place the new socket over the ball, give it a tap to make it spring into place, and it’s done. Repeat for the other side. About ten minutes. Now the tailgate springs up and I have to haul it down. Good.

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In the 1990s, that once great firm Kodak came up with PhotoCD. It was film images scanned by Kodak for us and recorded onto the relatively new gold CDs, supposedly indestructible, with a minimum 100 year life.

The images were digitised at a highest resolution of around 4,000 x 3,000 pixels or similar, a seemingly fantastic resolution at the time. The files were about 30MB in size, and you could have 100 images per disc. They were compressed into the .pcd format, and there were five different resolutions in each file, ranging from thumbnails to the full size.

The discs could be played onto your TV screen by using a PhotoCD player, and I owned one at one stage (it was very cheap, because no-one wanted them). It also played CDs of music, but not DVDs because they hadn’t been invented then. (I think when I moved in 2013, I literally trashed the player because I couldn’t get anyone to take it.)

I got four PhotoCDs made, each one containing 100 of my images. I still have them. But I can’t open the files!!! No-one cares about PhotoCD any more. The discs will last me 100 years, but I can’t use them. Duh!

I’m sure I’ll find a program to open them, but I don’t have anything among my dozen or so programs at the moment. Grrrr.

PS: OK, no problems, I’ve found that the ancient shareware program Irfanview opens and converts them, so problem solved. I’ve just batch converted 50 images and found that although I had many of them, there are quite a few that were lost in my big disk crash in early 2014. I haven’t seen them for some time. Yay!

PPS: No, there are more problems. The .pcd files I have on my hard drive only contain the mid-sized resolution, what they call “base”, which is 768 x 512 pixels. This is far from the 3,000 x 2,000 pixel highest resolution.

I think I have to retrieve the actual CD to get the big files. I hope I can! I have the CD, that’s not the problem.

So much for Kodak’s 100 year life. So much for Kodak. A once great company, brought down by stupid, complacent, vain, arrogant managers.

New tricks

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That’s one month’s supply, 4 pens, with my 15″ laptop for a size measure.

I started a new regime of weekly injections of the diabetes drug Byetta this morning. This is a weekly injection, instead of twice daily.

Byetta is a drug that stimulates the pancreas to produce what insulin it can in the presence of food in the gut. It was supposed to be used 15-30 mins before eating, so that it had time to ‘prime’ the pancreas once we started eating. But using it twice daily was literally a pain, and judging the 15-30 min interval was very difficult.

This new one is a powder to be mixed in a viscous fluid just before injection, in a special pen. It apparently forms a bubble of the mixed fluid under the skin of the abdomen, to be slowly released over a week. Clever.

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The weekly pens are much more bulky than the previous monthly pen, and I have to carry four per month (one per week) instead of just the one. They have to be kept cold, 2-8C, so travelling will actually be more difficult than before. (Not that I’ll be doing much travelling now. All my Bali plans have turned to ashes. Dust off, start again?)

I believe the main insulin injections are also soon to be available as a weekly, so that will be another welcome change. Not available yet, about another 6-8 weeks, I think.

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The census was held (or not held, depending on your point of view) while I was away last month, 9 August. When I got home, I found I have a census form and a bar coded number. I have until the 23rd to fill it out and send it in, I believe.

But if I was out of the country, I am not supposed to be counted, so I’m not sure what to do. I like doing these census forms and I believe in the usefulness of the data, so I’m tempted to just do it and send it in.

What a shambles that was. The Bureau of Stats says it was a denial of service attack that brought their website down, but University of Woolongong IT academics say there is no evidence from an analysis of net traffic on the night of any abnormal activity to indicate a DDOS. They say it was just poor software design that caused the breakdown.

We pay millions of dollars for this software, but it fails. Wasn’t it properly tested??!! Who’s going to take the blame? Someone must.

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I’m just starting to notice a change in the light, from winter to a spring and early summer look. Thank goodness. I’m still feeling cold, half way through September. Brrrrr.

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I’ve just finished reading a book, Can We Live Here? by Sarah Alderson, a British Londoner who, with her husband and three year old daughter, decided they’d had enough of the hectic London working life and set off on a round-world air ticket, trying to find a place where they wanted to live.

First stop was India, Mumbai, simply because they had friends there. Nope. Then to Goa, down south, where they liked it but found it incredibly hot, dry and dirty, and with limited things to do and not very nice living. She’s a freelance writer/author, so she needed to be able to relax and write for her living. Nope again.

Next was Singapore. Far too expensive, and far too glossy/clinical. I could have told them that, saved them the trouble. Nope again.

Penang? Sorta liked it, but dirty beaches. Not much else said about it, but they didn’t like it enough to stay. Move on.

Bali for a short stay. Aaah, that’s more like it. Nearly chose it, but …

Had to come to Perth for work reasons. Liked it, incredibly clean, beautiful beaches, great lifestyle, but far too expensive. I can’t argue with that. They liked it here, but couldn’t afford to live here. Move on.

A short stay in the USA, but fat people, bears, plastic grins, no thanks.

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Near Ubud, 1980   (C) PJ Croft 2016

So they ended up back in Bali again, specifically Ubud, and rented a house. The husband was a freelance designer and did a lot of commuting to Singapore for his work, but the wife was able to integrate with both the expat community, weird as it is, and a lot of the locals. It’s a long story, but they ended up staying five years in Ubud. It makes a great read. It’s not a how-to book, most definitely not a guide to living in Bali, more a collection of her blog posts and random experiences, especially about her daughter growing up in the Balinese way, free of TV and advertising pressures, learning how to play and make friends, going to a Green School where the kids learn to live with nature, having their own rice paddies and growing their own vegetables.

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Boys in the band, Ubud 1980   (C) PJ Croft 2016

But it’s hard for the woman to earn money, and she gets job offers, but they’re in London, and her husband gets a job offer he can’t knock back, again in London, so after five years she reluctantly decides the experiment is over and goes back “home”, in November 2014, to a British winter. It’s almost heartbreaking even to read about it, but she says it’s not permanent, that they will be setting off on their second quest soon.

It was noticeable that she feels Bali is being ruined by the swarm of tourism and people like us buying up land and building our retirement villas, but concreting over the rice paddies and jungle in the process. Having seen the traffic choked streets of Ubud recently, I can’t argue with that. Bali streets were never designed for the giant tour buses clogging them these days, nor the swarms of motor bikes, all angle parked. There are five million people in Bali, but there must be 10 million motor bikes. It’s awful.

The book is a bit hard to read. She’s a talented writer, very entertaining, but the language is fast, machine gun like, very English/London slang/colloquial. Worth it though. A memorable book.

Better than perfect

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A friend said he likes cirrus clouds. Near Canal Rocks, WA.  © PJ Croft 2016

I had my six monthly eye examination yesterday and yes, I have glaucoma. It’s called the Silent Blindness, because there are usually no symptoms until it’s too late.

But he said mine is very early stage and although I’ll need nightly eye drops soon, I don’t need to start yet. That’s good, because twice daily Byetta injections and once nightly insulin injections are enough for me. There’s the prospect of both of these becoming weekly soon, with new formulations, so that will make things easier.

My headline is because on being asked to read the chart, I was able to read all the letters, right to the bottom line. This is perfect distance vision. It’s because I wasn’t too tired yesterday, having slept OK. When I’m tired, my vision goes blurry.

Yes, I have the start of cataracts in both eyes, but it’s too soon to do anything yet. Watch and wait. OK about that. Now I can get new glasses made, and they’ll have to be graduated focal.

One more appointment to go on the 23rd, the gastric man about vagus nerve. Then I can head back to Bali and the warmth.

Seeing the GP this afternoon and I’ll be asking to see a pain specialist. I have chronic pain in my feet and legs from diabetic damage, and it’s severely affecting my sleep, which affects everything else. I have strong pain medication but I worry about the side effects.

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My comment about failing gas struts on the tailgate of my car produced a tip to look on eBay. On Sunday I found what I need for $24.95 a pair, postage included! I ordered and they arrived this morning. Fast service! Now to fit them. It’s supposed to be easy, but it doesn’t look easy …

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Six months ago I was all fired up to change my car, but having met my new partner, it makes no sense to have a good car sitting in the garage when I’m away so much in Bali. (Yes, we’re still together, and I think it will stay that way. Won’t it dear?)

PS: Hah! So I thought. I was in it for the long haul, despite all the traumas I was enduring, but it seems my sentiments were not returned. In a complete surprise to me, I’ve been given my marching orders. So much for fidelity. It’s much overrated.

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But if I were to change, I think my ideas have changed. I think I’d go for a Ford Territory now, specifically the SY II Ghia model, produced 2009-2011. This is to get the revised “non-collapsible” front suspension, a well known fault with earlier models.

This would be to do some long range driving, possibly towing a van of some kind. Yes, fuel consumption is high, but it’s about the same as my present car, around 12L/100km around town, 8L/100km country, so it doesn’t scare me.

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But I’ve noticed that most are either black or a very dark colour, and single toned, i.e. without the rather nice two toned “body pack” that looked so good to me. Odd.

 

They go for around $20,000. Just another day dream of mine. I really must stop this.

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Another death wish driver yesterday, two actually. Very heavy traffic on West Coast Highway, Scarborough. A car breaks down in the left lane, so people, including me, start looking to slowly edge out around it.

A motorbike rider doesn’t care about this and charges through between cars, then has to swerve to avoid a car moving out to change lanes! Doesn’t slow down, just charges through. I have NO sympathy for motorbike riders. They ALL break the law, so they get no quarter from me.

My turn, and I slowly ease out (we’re at walking pace) and in my mirror, I see a car two cars back come out from around the car behind me, accelerating, and she (it was a pink Hyundai i20 and I caught a glimpse of a female head) charged straight through and past me, missing me by centimetres as I was halfway into the right lane by now. She was going through from behind, no matter what.

I marvel at the Bali way of driving, but this is much worse than that. The arrogance, the aggression, the get-out-of-my-way attitudes here! It’s awful.

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Spooky

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Goin’ fishing.   © PJ Croft 2016

Oh, this is spooky! Last night I was reading a book called Can We Live Here?, about emigrating from the UK and finding a place to emigrate to. (Hint: the favourite begins with B and ends in i and has al in the middle. Ubud, to be specific. Perth cracks a big mention as a great place to live, but dull and very expensive. Agreed. And she says it has a nice flat bike path right around the river foreshore between the bridges.)

That’s not the spooky bit. The author mentions the movie Alien at one point, and the young girl called Newt who features with Sigourney Weaver.

In the Guardian this morning, in an article about a US TV show, this line: “He looks less comfortable making eye contact with other human beings than the little orphan girl Newt from the movie Alien.”

Sure, it’s a coincidence, but just a few hours apart, and in completely different contexts. Amazing!

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I was reading at various times like 1am, 2.30am, 4am and so on. Insomnia! I never used to have trouble sleeping, but this is a terrible problem for me now. I only got one 2hr stretch of proper sleep and the rest was just dozing, interspersed with my terrible itching. My right leg starts to intensely itch in one small spot, but I have to resist scratching because if I do, it spreads like a fire. It’s diabetic nerve damage, not a rash.

But now I’ve developed dermatitis on the back of my hands, for some reason. I’ve never had this before, it’s only started in the past few months. This itching really is a rash.

I bought a little bottle of a liquid called Pain Strike yesterday, which is based on oil of cloves, a natural anaesthetic. I’m hoping it might help. It seemed to help a bit last night, along with Panadeine Forte and Tramadol. The pains in my feet are very bad too. This is chronic pain and it’s rare that I get a good night’s sleep these days. Not good.

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Ever since I bought a new fridge when I moved here in April 2013, I’ve regretted my choice. It’s a Panasonic bottom freezer (a bum freezer?), and I’m sick of having to bend down all the time. As well, it has a rattle that drives me nuts. I’m sure there’s something loose in the door. And the door is hinged on the right (as nearly all fridges are), which is the wrong side for my kitchen. (Incidentally, Fisher & Paykel have at least one model that allows you to specify the hinge on either side.)

Anyway, I’ve considered changing my fridge, but I’m severely restricted by the width available, about 800mm. Anything in double door style is almost always around 900mm wide.

Well, a Good Guys catalogue in the paper last week showed a Hi Sense side-by-side French door fridge-freezer only 794mm wide. So I called in the the local Good Guys on Saturday to see what it looks like.

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Um, not only do they not have it, they don’t even have the same catalogue which I have. They don’t know the model, even though it’s clearly shown in the catalogue I got. I checked the catalogue date – “On sale 4-24 September”. Crazy. “We can get it in for you sir.” But I’m not going to buy such a major item without being able to see it. Looks like they lose a possible sale.

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Anyway, I can only think about changing if they’ll take my existing fridge as a trade. This is just another of my musings. Probably won’t happen.

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On the other hand, I think I’m going to have to buy a lawn mower. For the past three years I’ve been getting the guy who does my neighbour’s lawn to do mine, at a cost of $30 a time. Front verge and back lawn. It gets done about 5-6 times a year, so I’ve paid out about $500 so far!

But he’s disappeared and I’m told he’s retired down south, so I haven’t had a cut for about 4 months.

I saw an electric mower advertised at Bunnings for $178 the other day. I don’t really want to own a mower, but the economics are plain – it’s far cheaper to cut it myself. Being electric, it should be cheap to run and maintain.

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Ever since a Samsung system software and BIOS update two Saturdays ago, my Tab Pro S tablet has changed, such that I can no longer put it to sleep by tapping the power button. It’s either on, or it’s shut down. I can put it aside and wait for it to sleep, but that’s hardly satisfactory. In addition, it’s intermittently started booting up with just a black screen with mouse pointer and nothing else. Can’t proceed, can’t shut it down. Only by trying repeatedly will it finally boot.

This is so obvious and such a glaring change that I thought they must quickly come out with a fix, but nothing happened. What to do?

Bingo, a Samsung sales/service counter appeared in the centre mall at Joondalup shops last week, just when I need them. So I took my machine along yesterday and left it with them. Three to five working days, they tell me. Here’s hoping.