Yup, another year

Me train veranda

Who’da thought that Laughing Boy here would be 71 now?  (About 1951, age 4)

It’s that day again, 12 February. My 71st birthday. There’s nothing to distinguish this milestone except that I’m here to write this and it’s a prime number. Primes somehow seem ugly to me: 6 is neat, curvaceous, but 7 is boring, just two strokes. Oh well.

I’m writing this at 4.30am after another fruitless attempt at sleep (why do we say fruitless? I wasn’t seeking fruit). My sleep has been very erratic recently, many nights of fairly normal sleep, such as Saturday night, but then it’s back to insomnia again. Some days I sleep to excess.

Oh, damn!! I just remembered, there was a lecture about sleep disorders on Saturday and I forgot all about it. Damn. There doesn’t seem to be any cure for insomnia anyway, just the usual strictures about “sleep hygiene”, darkening the room and so on. How come I can drop off easily during the day when the room is quite bright, but not at night when it’s dark?

Anyway, I heard recently that kiwi fruit are a good sedative food, so I’ve just had one. Not tired yet.

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I’ve been watching repeats of the US TV series on SBS, The Good Fight. It’s about a firm of lawyers in Chicago (who are almost all “people of colour”) who take up good causes, like union fights with employers. It’s good enough to watch twice, at least. I was hoping it was a second season, but no. Maybe that will come after the re-runs.

Anyway, the title’s been making me think: every series seems to play on The Good… for its title these days. As well as the above, we have The Good Doctor (on 7), The Good Wife, The Good Place, and I’m sure I saw The Good Men the other day. Not much imagination.

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I watched a BluRay movie the other night called Life. Although it’s action packed and with fantastic sets, it’s just another take on Alien: a spacecraft returns from Mars and docks with the International Space Station. It brings a sample from Mars which seems to be a life form. Of course, they rush the examinations and it turns out to be growing exponentially, enough to grab and crush the tech’s hand and get out of the containment by breaking through his glove. It escapes from the isolation lab and starts killing the astronauts. It looks like an octopus.

All kinds of mayhem occurs until there are only two people left, a man and a woman, naturally. They realise they have to stop it from reaching Earth, so the guy sacrifices himself by luring it into his escape capsule with him, which he launches on a trajectory out into deep space, while the woman re-enters Earth’s atmosphere. Or does she? The capsule splashes down in the ocean somewhere near Thailand, by the look of it, but when the fishermen start to open the capsule door, we see that it’s the guy in there (there’s been a mixup) and he’s in the grip of the evil octopus and is pleading with them not to open the hatch. In vain, because they do open it. The end.

Very good space station shots, but the story line? Rubbish. Another Alien. Pah!

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My eyes have settled down with their new lenses, but I’m afraid my distance vision is not as good as it was with glasses before my cataract operations. I can do without glasses for most things, including driving, but ironically, I can’t see all the detail that my fantastic 4K TV displays. I watch without glasses as my +2.0 reading glasses are not effective at the distance from the screen, but that distance is either too far or too close, I’m not sure. I’m sure I’m not getting the benefit of my luxurious ultra hi-definition screen, though, dammit.

I’m also noticing slight double vision. Typing this, wearing my reading glasses, I’m seeing a faint repeat of the text a millimetre above and slightly right of the main text. The surgeon said I have strong astigmatism, and suggested that needs further correction. In any case, I think I’ll have to go back to wearing bifocals full time. Not yet, I’ll give it more time, but…

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With all the talk about having strong passwords these days, I started using a new password keeping program a few months ago, Dashlane. I’ve been using a program called Portable Safe for many years and it’s good, but Dashlane got such good reviews that I thought I’d try out the free version. Its strong point is that it recognises any place where you’re required to type in your name and/or email and any other data and supplies it, and offers to insert the password as well in the required field. It works very well. But when you don’t have to remember or look up passwords, you forget them!

It’s like the evil octopus in that movie, it gets a grip on you and you realise after a while that you have to keep using it. It offers to generate passwords for you, very strong ones, and once you’ve done a few of these, it has its grip.

In fact one of its features is that it will change every password for you to a new strong one with one click. I have over 200 passwords. If I use that feature, I think I’m locked in.

It stores all your passwords encrypted in “the cloud”, which is good, so when they offered a three computer licence for about $15, I took it. I’m hooked now.

It’s pretty easy to use, and works as advertised. It does save typing, and remembers numbers and such, so I recommend it.

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I mentioned getting a new exhaust. Of course, the complete exhaust needed replacing, not just the muffler. $550! Yow! It was last replaced in January 2013 (in the midst of all my stressful moving house) and I’m pretty sure I remember it costing about $400 then, maybe $450. That’s a lot of price rise for five years. Can’t be helped.

Then I asked them to check my tyres (silly boy!). Two needed replacement, so that added to the bill – about $850 total. Urrrgh. Owning a car is expensive, but not having one is unthinkable. I might be banned from driving for medical reasons one day, so I’d better think about it.

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