Oooomph!

R13-018

© PJ Croft 1992, 2017

Pity about the giant bunny that died on a flight from London to the USA. Well, there’s no mystery – it was being sent to O’Hare airport. It would have been mortifying for any self respecting bunny.

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A few days ago I said how much I liked the movie Passengers. I was even toying with the idea of buying the Blu-ray version. It would be a bit silly, but there ya go. I said it was speccy even as a normal standard def DVD.

So I was browsing in JB yesterday and looked at the shelf for 4K Ultra-HD Blu-rays. There it was, Passengers in 4K, and you get a normal Blu-ray disc in the box as well, two discs, $45.

Well, I haven’t got a 4K player, even though my TV is 4K, and this is a powerful incentive to buy one. As well, the waiting is over for Planet Earth II, the remake of the BBC series with David Attenborough. That’s on the 4K shelf too, unfortunately at $75, but …

4K players have halved in price in the past year, so I’m countin’ the pennies. The Samsung is $395 and the Panasonic is about the same. Hmmm.

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What is this 4K? Skip this if you know already.

When we changed from analogue to digital TV in 2000, the number of pixels in the vertical edge (the picture height) was set at 576 for Standard Definition. That’s because the number of visible lines in analogue was about this number (625 lines minus some lines which were used for other purposes and were hidden on the old tube TVs), so digital TV was designed to look about the same.

The traditional aspect ratio of standard def was 4:3 or 1.333 width x height. That made the number of horizontal pixels 576 x 1.33 = 768 approx. That’s SD.

When we changed to digital and flat panel displays, suddenly it was possible to fiddle with the parameters, and the aspect ratio was widened to 16:9 or 1.77:1, nearer to movie aspect ratios. A wider picture just looks a lot better, as well. That’s the standard used for normal DVDs, which even though they’re not HD, look pretty damn good. That’s because the techniques of video compression have improved tremendously in the last 15 years or so.

Digital transmissions are also capable of multiple data streams, usually one high data rate for High Definition and three at Standard Definition. These data streams fit into one 7MHz channel width, formerly used by one analogue channel. Nice, eh? Four channels where there was one, and because it’s digital, “no snow”, no ghosting, and stereo sound, all much higher quality than analogue.

So with a high data rate stream, we can have more pixels on the screen. The next step up was to increase the vertical pixels from 576 to 720. Multiplying that figure by 1.777 (for 16:9 aspect ratio), we get 1280 across. This is mid range high def. I’ve just made a short 9 minute video segment for Vimeo and that’s what I used: 1280 x 720 pixels. This has been used for broadcasting on the Seven Network, who rather misleadingly called it High Definition for some years. It sort of is, but it’s not Full High Definition.

That’s the next step up, where we have 1080 pixels picture height. Again, applying the 1.777 16:9 aspect ratio, the horizontal pixels number 1920, and this is called Full HD, 1920 x 1080. This is as high as broadcast TV goes and is the resolution on Blu-ray discs.

Manufacturers being what they are, wanting to make us buy new TVs and so on, needed a new selling point, so they came up with “4K”. They doubled the number of pixels both vertically to 2160 (2x 1080) and horizontally to 3840 (2x 1920).

That means the screen is now 4x the number of pixels of Full HD, and it’s called Ultra HD or 4K. This is roughly the screen width in pixels – 3840 is roughly 4000, yes?

But the data rate for this is far too high for broadcast, over-the-air TV reception and this is not likely to change. Therefore there’s no 4K free-to-air TV and probably never will be. The only way to get it is a high speed internet connection, i.e. fibre optic, or the new 4K Blu-ray discs. You need a new 4K Blu-ray player for this. At the moment, only Samsung and Panasonic make them, but Sony is bringing one out soon, and in a year or two they’ll be selling them at $99 in Coles. Ha!

So that’s what 4K is all about. So endeth the lesson.

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Another bad night last night. I’ve been using Phenergan and it works, but the hangover effect, even at the minimum 10mg dose, lasts for hours after I get up.

I’ve been recommended to try a different one, so last night I took a prescription melatonin pill. I went to sleep quite quickly, but woke again after 2 hrs and even though I felt totally relaxed and half asleep, I still couldn’t get back to sleep. I was still awake at 3am. I lay there until 4am but gave up and got up. Worked on a book project, had a hot milk cocoa and a bit to eat and went back to bed at 7.45am, but only dozed for an hour. I feel reasonable now, so I’ll keep going.

The recommendation is to try Nature’s Own Complete Sleep >>Advanced. I thought it might just be valerian, but it has ingredients I haven’t seen before – Lactium (hydrolysed milk protein, oh yeah); Ziziphus jujuba (what??) aka Spine Date; and Humulus lulupus (hops). What bullshit. At least it’s gluten free.

I’ll try it tonight. At $25 for 30 tablets, it had better work.

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I’ve had an email from Air Asia – I’ve accumulated enough bonus points for a free flight. That’s unexpected and a nice surprise. I have to make a booking on Monday 1 May, that’s just choosing a flight date, not actually travelling. I haven’t been considering a trip, but here’s a kick along. I can’t consider anything until after the cataract problem is fixed, whenever that is, and my visitor at the end of May has departed back to Bali. I like planning, though. I don’t have to go to Bali, although that’s probably the only choice.

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Another nice surprise. I’ve been reading up on what you need to do when you connect to the NBN, and one thing is that your house phone sockets need to be rewired to work with the NBN modem. The NBN company don’t help you with your normal phone. That becomes a VOIP phone and it needs to be configured.

Anyway, I read that Telstra normally charges for the phone socket rewiring, but it’s free for Age Pensioners. Wow! I’m glad I saw that. otherwise the charge is $240.

This is not a simple changeover. I’m fairly smart about techo stuff, but I was left bamboozled after reading this article. I might have to get a company to do it for me.

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I need fibre! I’ve edited together a 9 minute video segment of an event in Bali last year. The resulting file was originally 14 mins and 1.2GB in size! I had to go back over it, cut 5 mins out and reduce the quality. That got it down to 440KB, but even that is taking 5 hours to upload to Vimeo. I’m doing it for this one, but it’s unacceptable. I need fibre.

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Good movie

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I watched a DVD last night called Passengers. Very good! I nearly wrote “excellent” – not quite, but close.

It’s a good idea, a spaceship far in the future on a 120 year trip to a planet in another galaxy that is Earth-like and has been partly colonised. They call it Homestead II. The spaceship is carrying 5000 settlers and 50-odd crew in sleep pods. They’re meant to be automatically woken by the ship’s computers when they near the new planet.

But the spaceship encounters an asteroid swarm and one or more rocks get through the shield and punch through the ship, damaging the computers. As a result, one of the sleepers is woken. He gets up (recovering amazingly quickly, like in five minutes – oh yeaaah?).  The trouble is, it’s 90 years too soon, 90 years until it reaches the destination. And he’s the only one, alone on this giant ship.

He sticks it out for a year, but nearly goes crazy with loneliness and the idea that he’ll die alone, and he falls in love with one of the sleepers, a woman named Aurora. Funny, you can see clearly through the plastic pods, even though I assume they’re frozen.

Anyway, he figures out a way to wake her, and for a year or so they take the time to fall in love. But eventually she finds out he woke her early (cleverly done) and that they’ll die of old age before reaching the destination. She gets a little bit angry! A little bit? She is furious.

I won’t give the rest away, but the thing about this movie is the computer graphics. Amazing! I was really impressed. They’ve even got the science fairly right. And there’s a swimming pool on the “ship” (of course). The sequence when the artificial gravity fails and the effect on the pool is fantastic. Computer graphics are now so realistic!

In short, highly recommended. I reckon I may even watch this a second time after a decent interval, and I rarely want to watch a movie twice. My copy is a standard def DVD but it’s available as a Blu-Ray and it would be even better. The space-ship shots are spectacular.

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I’ve thought a lot about this idea of travel to other stars and I reckon we are “imprisoned” by the laws of physics. Unless there’s some breakthrough such as using worm-holes, I don’t believe we’ll ever be able to travel to another planet around another star.

There’s a serious proposal in the USA to design a 100 year voyage to a likely star. But …

  • Unless hibernation can be perfected, and I mean perfected, the crew would die of old age before reaching the destination.
  • They would have to reproduce in space on the voyage, with all the risks, both medical and social, that entails.
  • They would have to pass on the goals and enthusiasm for the mission to these children, along with all the technical and engineering knowledge. That’s not a simple task.
  • No mechanical or electronic parts will last 100 years without failures. It’s beyond our capacity to design and build stuff that would last forever without breaking down.
  • Advances in science are happening faster and faster. Imagine being on that space ship, 40 or 50 years out, no possibility of stopping and reversing, and getting a message that took 20 years to reach you, “Um, sorry to tell you, guys and gals, but due to advances we’ve made, there will be a welcoming committee on Planet X to greet you. We’ve found a way to reduce the travel time taken to a few weeks, so we hope you enjoyed your 100 year holiday, but we don’t really need you now.”

No, I think this kind of travel is at least 50 years in the future, if not more.

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I bought a Sandisk SD card reader a couple of years ago, at a cost of about $35. The thing is, it’s a UHS-II card reader. These cards have a few extra contacts and are Ultra High Speed for use in 4K video recording, which I do.

But last year it broke, refusing to take the card, just letting it flop loosely in the slot. I tried what I could, but as it’s totally sealed, welded/glued plastic, I couldn’t open it up.

Last week I thought, I’ve got nothing to lose, it’s busted anyway, so I took to it with sharp knife and pliers. Bingo, I got it open without too much damage. Now I could see the bare SD card holder but I couldn’t see a problem. I was fiddling around and suddenly something fell out. It was a micro-SD card! A 1GB micro-SD, some spare card that would have been in an adapter which I’d inserted to check what was on it, and it must have somehow fallen out of the adapter and into the bottom of the SD card holder.

Now the normally sized SD cards slot in properly and it works again. It pays to try.  I’ll glue it back together now.

By the way, I bought that adapter on-line at $35, but when I tried to buy a replacement at Leederville Camera House, their price was $90. I said no thanks. When I got home, I rechecked the on-line price, still the same, so I emailed the link to Camera House and complained. They replied and said they could reduce their price to $67. Gee thanks. It pays to shop around.

The same thing happened last year. I bought a Sandisk 64GB micro-SD card along with something else. When I got home, I realised I’d been charged around $225! I checked on-line and I could have got it for as low as $55.

Luckily I hadn’t opened the packaging so I took it back and got them to reverse the transaction. Because I was leaving for Bali and needed it, I bought the same card over the counter at the airport duty free shop for $90. Beware the rip-offs.

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I found a web site that, by analysing your answers to a series of 20 questions, estimates your mental age – http://mymentalage.com/  I tried it and it says I’m 29!

I think a series of tries would be required, assuming the questions are different each time? I’ll try it again soon.

PS: I tried it again. The questions are the same every time! I varied one answer and it told me I’m 31. No confidence. Ignore it unless you need an ego-stroke.

And how about this? It’s an age calculator, from your photo.

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I like that one!  How Old do I Look?   You need photos of yourself in jpg form.

Never give up

Front 87a

The Trigg house, 1987, the year after I bought it. “Beautifully landscaped native gardens”, the ad said. I spent probably $10k getting all the massive trees out of that block. My choice, of course, and it was an excellent investment, increasing ten-fold in value by 2013.

In the 1980s I used to have a gardener come once a month or so at my house in Trigg. I had a small tree that I’d planted myself but it looked dead and I asked him to pull it out.

No, he said he had a policy, “Never, ever give up”, and he kept watering and coddling it, and eventually it did burst back into life.

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Although I loved living in that Trigg area, the house was a bodge job. No lintels over the doors and windows! Thin-wall copper water piping that ruptured. Five septic tanks in the back yard, five! All had to be decommissioned and a couple of them broken up and removed when the deep sewerage came through.

Water from the roof valley running down the inside walls. Bright yellow painted walls with turquoise door frames. A parquetry floor that had never been sanded and varnished. No architraves on some of the doors. Jungle green paint on some walls, bamboo pattern wallpaper, navy blue paint with mirror tiles on one wall. The washbasin in the bathroom sitting suspended from the drain-pipe, with no cabinet. Missing kitchen cabinets. A new bedroom added on that was too narrow, because the previous owner had not wanted to shift a window as was needed.

Back yard 87L

My back yard, 1987. That was hard work! Peter Partridge dwarfed by the massive trees.

Back yard 87g

Slowly I got it cleared. All the tree branches had to be pulled up the side of the house to the street verge. Months of hard work.  Broken septic tank under the corrugated iron sheet. That timber paling fence fell down.

Ugh! Ugh! I was very naiive when I bought it. It took me three months to make the decision.

The amount of work I put in to get that house into some kind of shape …! Luckily I was pretty fit in the 1980s and 1990s, until sleep apnea got me and it all slowed down and stopped. It was hard to find a buyer, but it was a classic case of “worst house in the best street” for value. I got all the value increase though, ten-fold in 25 years. The buyers in 2013 will have seen very little gain since. Sorry, luck of the game.

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Holy cow, I saw a near crash yesterday in the shopping street near me. I was behind a small car travelling at about 30km/h, when a car started to pull out of a parking bay in front of it.

I could hardly believe my eyes, both cars continued to move and the car on the road in front of me didn’t brake, not until the last second. He stopped no more than a few inches from the car that was pulling out, and that car continued to move out as if it had some right to do so. It did not. No indicator either. Amazing. No accident, but it was close.

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What did I say a couple of weeks ago? We should build a gas pipeline across the country to supply our abundant reserves of LNG to the east coast.

That’s the proposal that’s being put forward at the moment. Told ya. But what we should do is apply a resource tax on the gas we supply to make up for the GST that’s being ripped out of WA. Obviously this would be delicate, but where there’s a will ….

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I’ve been awake all night again, completely unable to get to sleep. I was tired when I went to bed at about 10pm, took two valerians, read for half an hour or so, felt really sleepy and turned the light off, but I just lay there for what seemed ages. Eventually I looked at my watch – midnight. Grrr. I never got to sleep at all, despite some more reading, and got up at 4.30am. I’ll have another try soon at about 8.30am.

It’s annoying because there’s a concert on at the Concert Hall at 10am. I was thinking of going, but I’m too woozy to make it. Sibelius Symphony no. 2, one of my favourites.

Damn, this insomnia is a huge problem. I was getting good sleep by using small doses of Phenergan last week, but the effect stopped working so I’ve had to stop it for a week or more until it starts working again.

Aaaaarrrrgh

buss-lightning1

Busselton lightning 1993.   © PJ Croft 2017

What a rotten night. I got to sleep at about 11pm but was woken by a power failure at 12.52am. Most people would sleep through such a thing, but my CPAP blower goes off and suddenly I can’t breathe properly. That wakes me quick smart.

It stayed off until 3.30am! No light to read by, a bit of restless leg syndrome, a too warm-too cool feeling, diabetic pain in my feet, it was bad. Luckily my battery radio worked.  And I was able to read the Economist on my tablet.

But my house alarm was driving me nuts with a beeping sound from the keypad. I must admit I’ve been lax in not getting around to changing a faulty sealed lead-acid battery for “keep alive” power, and that meant one of the keypad panels had gone haywire and was beeping incessantly.

Finally, the power came back on at 3.30am, but that meant one of my hi-fi amps came on with FM noise at high volume. I had to get up to turn it off. But I couldn’t make the alarm panel shut up. It was only a beeper, not the house screamer. At that stage.

Eventually I could stand it no longer so at 4am I got the ladder and climbed up into the closet to open the alarm cabinet and reset it. I turned the mains power off but when I tried to open the cabinet, it triggered the full bore house alarm! It is LOUD! I couldn’t stop it.

I couldn’t get one of the screws holding the door out. Damn. Eventually I got it, but my house alarm was going off for more than 5 mins at 4am. Sorry, neighbours. Mind you, I wasn’t the only one – each time the power fails or is restored around here, several house alarms go off. Everyone has an alarm, they were part of the estate houses when they were built in 2004, along with good reticulation watering systems, which is great. Unfortunately, alarms going off are such a common thing that no-one takes any notice of them. Thieves could just ignore them, really.

Anyway, eventually I got the alarm cabinet door open and unplugged the battery. Still the alarm was going! It finally stopped when I unplugged the mains power again.

Sleep was out of the question now, so I made coffee and settled down to look at the computer. Damn! The power went off again at 4.20am! It stayed off, so I tried to get back to the bedroom and literally walked into a wall and door, it was so dark. No damage, luckily, and the power came back on just as I was feeling my way into the bedroom.

So now at 5am I’m wide awake and internet browsing, which means I’ll have to daytime sleep again. I’m trying not to do that, but …

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A couple of years ago I remember thinking that the world was going to hell, that we were witnessing the end of this civilisation.  Little did I imagine then how bad things would become in just two years.

  • The Middle East, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Iran all either in full blown war or threatening it.
  • Turkey voting to have an absolute dictator in charge, with unlimited power, in place until at least 2029. What are they thinking?!
  • North Korea making credible threats of a nuclear strike, and no way to stop them except a pre-emptive military strike.
  • Britain and Brexit causing a massive problem for Europe, with Russia rubbing its hands with glee and sizing up the opportunities for trouble it presents.
  • This will mean a further decline of Britain as a world power. Their armed forces used to be a serious factor in keeping the peace, but they’ve been decimated by budget cuts for years. They’re building two new aircraft carriers, but they have no aircraft for them! Their navy is a shadow of what it used to be. Tragedy.
  • China militarising the South China Sea and threatening anyone who dares to challenge its land grab.
  • The US rejecting all the scientific evidence for greenhouse gas emissions and undoing all the good work of the Obama presidency.
  • An absolute idiot, uneducated, unintelligent, untrained in history and diplomacy now in charge as US President.
  • The decline of quality journalism and the seeds of distrust deliberately sown by the US president.

and the list goes on and on. I was pessimistic before, but I’m downright scared now. This will not end well.

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By the way, I’m dealing with a dietician at the moment, not a dietitian. I was unsure of the spelling so I looked it up. Dietician with a c is the UK English spelling and dietitian with a t is the US spelling. I’ll stick with UK English, thanks.

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After all that, I had an hour’s sleep then went to Joondalup for brunch. I wanted to use my birthday present from friends, which was a Dymocks voucher card. Nice.

I bought “Paul Keating, The Biography” with the card. It’s a massive book, 650 odd pages and will take me months to read, but I’ll read it. In my opinion, Paul Keating is the greatest prime minister Australia has ever had. Unfortunately he had a foul mouth and an acid tongue in the 1980s, which put most people off, but underneath that unlikeable exterior, he was and still is one of Australia’s great thinkers and doers. I wish he was still in politics now.

I also bought a couple of books on science, “50 Ideas of Einstein”, and one called, “You Probably Thought This Was Simple, But It’s More Complicated Than That.” Great title. It’s about skewering some of the more silly and outrageous scientific misconceptions in the popular press and media.

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Then I visited Woolworths supermarket. I did this only because I know they have a made to order Japanese food kiosk. I saw a TV program a couple of weeks ago about a hugely overweight Aussie guy who goes to Japan for two weeks to learn about the Japanese diet. He spends his two weeks eating nothing but their food and learning how to prepare his own, does a lot of walking in the process in Tokyo, of course, then comes back to Australia (Brisbane) and does another month on his own Japanese cooking.

Result? He loses 24kg weight and all his blood tests, lipids etc head back towards normal.

My blood tests and lipids are brilliant, no problems there, but I have a bad weight problem. It’s occurred to me that if I went to Joondalup every three days or so and bought my Japanese food at this kiosk, ready made, and stocked my fridge with it, I might be able to replicate this. I like Jap food and I reckon I could live on it, especially if I cooked my own okonomiyaki, vegetable omelettes. I regard cooking as a waste of valuable time, so I don’t want to go that far. Just a thought. I chatted to the two oriental-looking staff and they sounded encouraging. Which they would, of course.

But then I made the mistake of buying some general groceries. I say ‘mistake’, because it’s my experience that Woolies will try to rob you any chance they get.

Sure enough, when I checked my till receipt as I left the store, as I always do with Woolies, immediately I found two major pricing errors, in Woolies’ favour of course.

Two tins of soup which I’d taken from a corner shelf and marked at $1.68, scanned at $3.59 each! And two packets of hard crackers from a basket, marked as 2 for $6, scanned at $6 each! I had specifically asked a staff member as the price tag was vague, and I was assured that 2 for $6 was right. It bloody well was not!

So that was pricing/scanning errors totalling $19.18. This is not trivial and I am fed up with Woolies. Don’t shop at Woolies supermarkets unless you enjoy being ripped off! It happens every time for me. I won’t shop there these days. This has been going on for years! I will have to write a letter of protest to the management. Or put it up on Facebook. Hmmm. Coles, on the other hand, are exemplary. I don’t usually bother to check my receipts because they almost never make an error. If they can do it, why can’t Woolies, and why does Woolies never improve?

 

Tough going

Cairns 130

Yow, love hurts. I’m trying my hardest to recover the situation, but “heart of stone”. No forgiveness. A lifetime of hurt blocks any attempts. The fault is not all one way, for sure, but … I get so frustrated that I write angry words. I’m slowly breaking the habit, but I sometimes slip.

Feelin’ pretty low. One of my down periods. I know what to do, it’s all in hand.

Cricket Cairns

I’ll be chirpier soon, I hope.    © PJ Croft 1987, 2017

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A bit of a schedule has built up.

  • 1 May – medical appointment, just routine.  Probable follow-ups.
  • 15 May – appointment at the SCGH eye clinic re cataracts and glaucoma.
  • ??? May – cataract operation, I hope.
  • 30 May – arrival of my Balinese mate to stay with me. We’ve been talking about this for years (since January 2011) and I’ve always said, just say the word when you want to come. He finally has.  I don’t know how long he’ll stay. Heh heh, he owns a hotel and restaurant in Sanur.
  • ???  soon –  another attempt at the Very Low Calorie Diet. Gotta lose this front bump! It’s dangerous.

No Bali visits planned, but “ya never know yer luck in the big city.”

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Look at that black sand. The smell of the clean sea breeze was fabulous. That’s the Bali Beach hotel in the distance, the only major multi storey hotel in Bali, built during the Sukarno era.

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Meanwhile, I have to get moving on doing another Photobook or two, or I’ll lose my vouchers. I have until July. I managed to sell one copy of the Croft History vol.1 and four copies of volume 2 recently. Lucky, because I ordered them last year (even 2015?) on spec and the buyers melted away. I was a bit optomistic then, but it’s all worked out. I still have one copy of vol. 2 on the shelf.

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I changed my dripping tap washers today, a pair made by Doust, an Aussie company, and touted on the packet as “Drip Proof.”  Ha! Ha hah! They lasted three weeks. I can’t see how they wouldn’t leak. They are hard plastic with just a soft neoprene rubber insert. It got flattened in short order.

They only cost $3.50 so there’s no point making a fuss, but I’ve put simple ones in their place. Crumbs I’ve had trouble with these bathroom fittings! Almost unending. Simple problems, but annoying. Nothing serious, thank goodness.

One of my friends lives in a house which was built in 1926. He’s had no flushing toilet for a while due to rusted galvanised steel pipes. He’s got a good plumber mate who made short work (45 mins) of putting copper replacement pipe in and now he’s revelling in a good dunny!  Funny, ‘cos he’s from Dunny, Dunedin that is. 🙂

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A Bali tour boat. Note the white radome for radar. Modern.   © P)J Croft 2016, 2017

Last rites

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Murchison River, WA. Someone wrote in to the newspaper and said “Why is Australia called the “wide brown land?” Dumb question.   © PJ Croft 1987, 2017

It’s just over a year (12 March 2016) since the great Bali romance kicked off, and a year today (13 April 2016) that she came to visit me in this house.

What a year! Probably the most exciting of my life. But not all in the right way, and now it looks as if it’s all over. I tried my hardest to keep it going and thought I’d succeeded a couple of times, but long built-in prejudices against men were too much for me.

Among other problems was, many times, not understanding my jokes and when something I said was a joke. I had to adopt the practice of explicitly stating when I was joking. Even that didn’t work sometimes.

It’s true, the German sense of humour is much different. I found an article from The Economist magazine on it, and I have to agree. Germans take what you say literally, even though the Aussie dry wit is not meant to be taken seriously. I found this out to my cost.

I admit I made mistakes, but even though I apologised sincerely and profusely when it was pointed out, there was no forgiveness. I’m a male, you see, and males are oppressors of women. No allowances, no forgiveness, no understanding.

So endeth the lesson. I’m bruised, battered, depressed and sad. I really thought I’d cracked it at 69/70. I gave it my best shot, but it was never going to be good enough. I was up against a lifetime of prejudice. I didn’t stand a chance. Thinking back (my memory is fantastic) the signs were there from the very beginning, from within the first week and month, but I didn’t realise. I do now.

I’m back to being alone, and it ain’t easy!

Shothole Canyon

How I’m feeling?  Shot-hole Canyon, Cape Range, nr Exmouth, WA  © PJ Croft 1987, 2017

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However, as they say, when one door closes, another opens. I’ve been contacted a couple of days ago by my old Bali friend Yudhi,  from the villa days. He’s coming to Perth on 30 May. We’ve often talked about him coming and I’ve offered to pick him up and accommodate him, so that’s what I’ll be doing. This will be his first visit, although he travels widely. He’s recently been to Japan, for example.

I mention this because he has a wide range of friends in Bali, and owns a large (but cheap and simple) hotel and restaurant, so it’s possible I might be able to go up and meet people through him. Maybe Balinese ladies? 😉 🙂

This gives me the kick in the backside I need to finally attend to the jobs around this house. Such as replacing fly-screens and cleaning windows.

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What’s the big deal about gall bladders? I’m not noticing any difference now mine’s gone. I was told to look out for diahorrea or a general feeling of stomach upset. I’ve been testing things by eating the same as I always did, but I’m not having any problems. Let’s hope it continues that way.

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However, the surgeon’s dietician wants me to go onto a severe diet, the Very Low Calorie Diet for a month or two, lose a heap of weight, then go onto the 5:2 diet to maintain the loss.

I did this before in 2007/08 and lost 28kg then, so I know I can do it, but at the moment I’m feeling the Bali loss too heavily. I will do it, but the will-power is not there right now. Soon.

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Every time I go out driving on the roads, I see at least one car or vehicle with at least one dud tail or brake light. Every time! People don’t check their tail and brake lights. Negligence! It’s so easy to do – just park reversed in to a shop window and put your foot on the brake. So easy, but people don’t do it. Negligent!

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Next door’s dog is still barking in full voice. It is driving me nuts! I hate to do it, but I’m going to have to complain. The barks come every five seconds from dawn until 10.30pm or later. It’s not every day, I don’t know why some days are quiet, but I never hear the owners trying to quieten the dog.

I won’t involve the council, but I’ll have to put it in writing or something.

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I’ve just been out to buy some new tap washers. A couple of months ago I bought two packets (of two) made by Doust in WA. Revolutionary, they said. Never have a drip again, they said.

So a month ago I put a pair in. They lasted three weeks before the drip was back, worse than ever. Very disappointed. A friend said he talks to plumbers and they say to use just the simplest, most basic washers. Don’t bother with anything fancy.

So that’s what I’ve bought this time, still Australian made, but pretty ordinary. I’ll put ’em in tomorrow.

Star gazing

Trengganu boatROC b

Kuala Trengganu, Malaysia  (C) PJ Croft 2017

Wow, if this is autumn, let it last all year. Perfect fine weather, 30-31C days, low humidity and cool nights. ‘Course, a bit of rain would be nice … oh, yeah, Easter is weekend after next, and it ALWAYS rains at Easter.

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I watched Stargazing on the ABC last night and I must say I was quite impressed. It could have been boring, but they kept it moving with a range of different stories and scenes. I’ll watch ep. 2 tonight.

But it was very noticeable that nearly all the panel, except Julia Zemiro, are Poms! Don’t we have any Australian astronomers of note? Of course we do! It wasn’t until the end and the BBC logo on the end credits that I realised this is a UK production, based on a UK format. Huh. Not all that impressed.

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I was browsing DVDs in a shop today and saw Arrival, that new movie about extra-terrestrials. I thought about buying it. Dang, I realised I’d bought it about three weeks ago, laid it down on the pile and forgot all about it. OK, now I have something new to enjoy.

I was reminded of watching the 1980s movie The Abyss with Ed Harris a few nights ago. Well, Ed Harris wasn’t with me, he was in the fillum, but, y’know … I’ve watched that movie at least three times now and I still think it’s one of the better movies of this type. The space/ocean ship at the end is quite ridiculous, though.

R30-022

(C) PJ Croft 2017

I’ve taken to waiting until about 3pm at Clarkson shops to buy $5 containers of Chinese food from the food hall stall when they sell the leftovers to close down. Today I bought two, carefully placed ’em in the bottom of my trolley, then visited another shop. I grabbed my two bags from the top of the trolley, but forgot about the Chinese food. Of course, someone had walked off with my trolley when I came out. Yes, I bought another two later, but at least she threw in a free fried rice this time.

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