At last!

I’ve finally done it. I’ve finally bought another car. Notice I don’t say “a new car”. I’ve really, really bought another car – another Mitsubishi station wagon in white.

That’s my car now.

Except this time, it’s a Verada station wagon, a 2004 Ei Series 2 model. So much for all my talk about buying a Mercedes? To be honest, I’ve been put off by all the horror stories about unreliability and parts costs. Lotto.

For years I’ve been thinking what a pleasure my 2001 Magna is to drive, but seeing it slowly deteriorate. It was all those years of being parked unprotected in the sun at the old house. It’s faded the paint and allowed some rust spots to form, including a big one on the roof. The windscreen was sandblasted when I bought it and has always been poor. But the engine was great and I didn’t want to give it up.

I always wanted a Verada, but afaik, they never made a station wagon Verada. I was wrong. I saw this one on Facebook’s Marketplace. It’s 3 years younger and looks good in these photos (the advertiser’s a dealer called Cheap Cars). It was advertised at $2490. I thought I should be able to haggle it down to $2000, which I was prepared to pay.

The RH tail light lens is broken.
Wood grain.
Nice, but no security code.
Five speeds. Brrrm, brrrm.
Mag wheels! Oh, I can feel the difference (not).

But when I enquired, he said he had to withdraw it because it needs new front tyres, new brakes and it has an oil leak. He couldn’t justify the costs and was going to send it back to an auction place.

I was very disappointed. I thought about it for the day, then called him back and asked if it was legal to drive. Yes, so further enquiry resulted in him saying he just wanted to get what he paid for it. That was?  $1200! So that’s what it cost me. I am very pleased.

Now that I’ve got it, it’s got quite a few things needing fixing, but nothing I can’t handle. Lots of tar spots; a broken rear tail-light lens; a small dent and scratch on the right front guard; corrosion and paint loss on the roof rack mounts; a hazy left front plastic headlight cover; a muffler leak; and lots of paint blemishes. Also the interior roof lining has fallen down (just the cloth, not the whole thing). And the radio/6stackCD has no security code, so it stops working after 5 mins. But at last, I’ve got something I’ve always wanted – a co-tanger radio antenna. Yes, the antenna is snapped off so there’s a bent up coat hanger stuffed in there. Plus the tyres, brakes and oil leak to fix. There’s a few weeks work there.

But it’s got: wood grain! Yeah, it’s plastic wood grain, but I like it. Velour upholstery. It’s got a leather bound steering wheel and handbrake lever; buttons on the wheel for the radio/CD controls; a 5 speed auto gearbox; a semi-manual gear shifter; TCL traction control for the front wheels; alloy (mag) wheels, yay, my first ever set, including on the spare!; lights in the footwells; map reading lights; extra grab handles and coat hangers; a 10 speaker sound setup; a roof rack; a tow bar, again yay, I’ve never had one.

The engine bay looks a lot cleaner and neater than mine, even though it’s the same engine.

So I need to spend a few hundred dollars, maybe more, but it will give me a car worth keeping to enjoy for another 5-10 years, maybe see me out.

Peter (two cars) Croft.

I’ve still got my old one, the 2001 TJ, and I’ll hang onto it while my partner is here for the summer so she can be independent. She likes that idea. Then I’ll give it to a friend who really needs a bigger car to hold all his tools and machinery for his work. A Mazda 2 is just too small.

I’m not finished yet. Once the “old” Magna is donated away, there are some very tempting bargains. I never knew this marketplace existed until a month ago, and now I’m addicted.



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Here I go again

Pete horse 1950

Me on my hobby horse  c1950.

I wasn’t going to get on my hobby horse again, but I can’t resist.

It seems Mr Simon Birmingham, while he had ministerial authority, took it on himself to reject some research grant proposals after they had been approved by the relevant vetting body of academics. He assessed them by their titles as being frivolous and not rigorous enough. So now they are going to have to pass a further test, the National Interest Test. So that makes him the Head NIT.

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These have come in quick succession.

Speaking at Sweden Game Conference 2018, former Telltale narrative designer Emily Grace Buck says it’s time for a “really serious conversation about potentially starting a union”.

The backstory is that software game developers wherever they are, including in Australia, regularly work 12hr days or longer, sometimes 6 or 7 days a week, for no extra pay. They burn out. So the idea has dawned that maybe they need to form a union. Yes indeed.

And more evidence has come out that it is very common in this country for farmers and fruit and vegetable growers to exploit backpackers and casual workers at rates far below the minimum wage. They are blackmailed by the bosses holding passports as “security”, then charging high rent fees for their accommodation and other illegal practices. You know the story, but figures have been released showing that at least 70% of workers are being exploited this way.

This is what unions do if people will belong, support these workers by application of the law. telling them of their rights and dealing with these ruthless employers. If only the workers will join.

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So I’ve joined ALP. I’ve finally put my money where my mouth is. I tried to join a couple of times back in the ’90s, but something went wrong both times and my application didn’t go through. Now it has. I think I get my sheriff’s badge and baseball bat next week.

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I’ve had an email threat to ransom me by locking up my computer. The trouble is, by the time I found the email in my Spam folder, the deadline date had passed and nothing happened. Try this for size:

How it was:
In the software of the router to which you were connected that day, 
there was a vulnerability.
I first hacked this router and placed my malicious code on it.
When you entered in the Internet, my trojan was installed on the operating 
system of your device.

After that, I made a full dump of your disk (I have all your address book, 
history of viewing sites, all files, phone numbers and addresses of all 
your contacts).

A month ago, I wanted to lock your device and ask for a small amount of 
money to unlock. But I looked at the sites that you regularly visit, 
and came to the big delight of your favorite resources.
I'm talking about sites for adults.

I want to say - you are a big pervert. You have unbridled fantasy!

After that, an idea came to my mind. I made a screenshot of the intimate 
website where you have fun (you know what it is about, right?).
After that, I took off your joys (using the camera of your device). 
It turned out beautifully, do not hesitate.

I am strongly belive that you would not like to show these pictures to 
your relatives, friends or colleagues.
I think $948 is a very small amount for my silence.
Besides, I spent a lot of time on you!

I accept money only in Bitcoins.

He’s talking rubbish about the “adult” sites, and nothing happened. I’ve made a full backup of my C drive and a rescue disk anyway, so I’m ready.

Then a few days ago the landline phone rang. By the time I got it to my ear, some woman with an American accent was saying “… have detected a threat to your router. Press 1 to reset or 2 to hang up.”

I didn’t know what to choose and a few seconds later the phone call ended. Nothing further happened. I don’t know whether it was a genuine automated call from iiNet or some other prank call. Weird.

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I use video editing software called Canopus Edius. A few days ago I had the idea to look on YouTube to see if there was anything about it. Boy, was there!

How about 131 clips, totalling 10.7GB and with a total running time of 21hrs 21mins. And that’s just the ones in English. There are hundreds more in Hindi, Urdu and Tugulu (and funny, they are all about using stolen versions of the software, called the “crack” versions. Pakistani and Indian, all.)

Now I’ve got to try and absorb all this knowledge. It’s good stuff if I can organise it all.

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I’ve never been clear about the difference between turtles and tortoises. I heard a radio talk about it a few days ago.

Turtles have webbed feet, live in water and although air breathing, don’t venture far onto the shore of water bodies. Tortoises are land animals, have separate toes and go to water bodies to drink, but otherwise dwell on dry land. So now I know.

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I’ve noticed that whenever I park at underground carparks at the shops, the scrape marks on the concrete poles are nearly always red paint. I wonder why. Maybe it’s all the Ferraris.

 

Hypocrisy

Paki rage

“NINE YEARS ago Asia Bibi, a poor farm labourer from Pakistan’s tiny Christian minority, went to fetch a jug of water from a well for the Muslim women working beside her in the fields. It was a hot day. She took a sip before passing the water on, inadvertently initiating a furore that has lasted ever since.

“On October 31st the Supreme Court overturned the verdict of the lower courts and acquitted Ms Asia of blasphemy. The charges stemmed from her neighbours’ anger that an “unclean” Christian had dared to share their drinking vessel. Ms Asia’s fellow fruit-pickers had demanded she convert to Islam. After she refused, a mob accused her of insulting the prophet Muhammad—an offence punishable by death in Pakistan.”

Courtesy: The Economist

Islam is a non-violent religion, a religion of tolerance. So we’re told over and over.

I agree with Richard Dawkins; there are two religions in the world that are truly dangerous. The first is Islam, and the second is Roman Catholicism. Absolutely agree. Religion is a mass delusion. It can have benefits, such as the Salvos and other caring organisations run by churches, exclusively Christian churches as far as I can see.

But throughout history all the wars, periods of darkness, torture, partitions, repressions, pogroms, mass genocides (witness the Rohingyas) have been due to religion. It is the scourge of mankind!

Witness Pakistan itself, created by the inability of Hindus and Muslims to get along, and what was formerly called East Pakistan and is now called Bangladesh was due to one sect of Islam being unable to get along with another. And Shi’ites and Sunnis, even in the same religion, are ready to tear each others’ eyes out!

It’s barbaric and cruel. Religion is the cause of hundreds of millions of deaths over the centuries of history. It may be the death of us all now that nuclear weapons are being openly displayed again. Dog help us.

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Aaah, warm sunny weather again. Not real warmth yet, but I’ve thrown the light blanket off the top and don’t need to wear a cardigan any more.

I’m floating the idea of buying a car in Brisbane and driving it back to Perth. I wish I’d done it a month ago when it was still spring, because the east looks as if it’s heading into heatwave conditions already, and the cruel drought is still in force, making large parts of the country dry and dusty. I suppose sticking to the coast, which I would do, will still see plenty of green.

It’s still just a vague plan at the moment, but I’d better do something to firm it up soon or the car might disappear. I’ve been looking at it for at least a month.

Screenshot_2018-11-01 2009 Mercedes-Benz CLK350 Avantgarde Auto MY08

Don’t assume I’ve got money. It’s nine years old and not expensive, half the price of a new small car.

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Aaah, Aussies, don’t you love ’em?

Grassy thongs

Sand on your feet after being at the beach? Slip these on and wipe all the sand off as if you were walking on lawn.   🙂 😉

As advertised on Facebook.