Gotta do it, gotta gotta do it.

I went to see this car yesterday and it’s even better in the “flesh” than in the pictures. The web photos don’t do it justice. You can see the deep red colour here –

I thought I wouldn’t like the colour, but I do! The only thing I don’t like is the wheels and skinny tyres, but the guy has the originals and will put them back and reduce the price substantially. I don’t especially like the Mazda wheels either, but I’d rather buy some second hand BMW or Mercedes wheels. They do come up on Facebook.

It’s immaculate in presentation, obviously well looked after in its 25 year life. It looks near new inside, clean as a dog’s bowl.

I took it for a short test drive (the owner trusted me to go solo) and it felt great. It is a fuel injected V6 after all. I could wish that the auto transmission allowed Tiptronic or semi-manual operation, but you can’t have everything. This is the Ford Probe that I always wanted, just in Mazda form.

I must admit my size doesn’t help with entry and exit, but too bad. I love it. Watch this space.

By the way, the Melbourne guy returned my money as promised so no problem there. He was a very reasonable guy. Neither of us incurred any costs except that he renewed the Victorian licence for three months, but he would have had to do that anyway.

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I’m being driven mad by my mouse. It has become hesitant, sometimes not responding at all. It’s a cordless infra-red and of course, I’ve cleaned the LED and sensor and the desktop, but with little improvement. I have other mice, I’ll have to try them. The thing is, I’m doing so much writing on this PC, both for my photos on Facebook and for my contribution to a book project on our experiences at TVW7.

We are supposed to limit our contribution to 2,000 words and four photos. Whaaat?! I can’t condense 33 years down to that. I’ve written 3,085 words so far and I’ve only reached year 4, 1970, of my tenure. I’ve said I may have to publish separately as an Engineering supplement, or a book of my own.

I find the words just pour onto the “paper”. I remember so much, so many names, so many visual memories. Better get them down now before something intervenes to stop me.

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I’m in the Lost Bali Group on F/B and wow, what a hit. My photos stand out for quality and the stories I tell about them. People seem to like them.

I’ve started a web site which displays my images with a watermark copyright notice and puts a price on them. You can look freely, but the price allows you to download a clean, full sized copy. The company, Picfair, even offers a printing service (which they call giclee, meaning inkjet) or even framed or canvas prints. This is not under my control and I don’t know their prices yet.

Anyway: https://bullsnapper.picfair.com/

Censorship

Sutri and me, 1983.

Facebook craziness. I’m a member of a group called Lost Bali on Facebook, dedicated to photos from the years up to 1990 before the southern part, at least, was overrun by Aussie and then Chinese tourists and rampant Jakarta money-fuelled developments.

When I first saw this group, I noticed most of the images were fairly poor quality, photos of prints, poorly shot slides covered in dirt and hairs and so on. I immediately thought, “This is right up my alley”. I have hundreds of photos from those years, all shot on slide film and expertly scanned (by me!) and looking good. So I started posting, and it’s been a hit, I can tell you.

However, one shot in particular has earned me a 24hr instant ban by Facebook. Why? Because, gasp, it shows nipples and breasts.

Here’s the photo.

A tourist guest at the Kuta Seaview Hotel, Bali, in 1983. I wish I knew who she is.

Isn’t that shocking?! Quick, cover your eyes. Don’t let any children or worse, pregnant women see this, it may cause a miscarriage.

Here’s another of their group.

Wow. Facebook believes this could cause world wars to break out or pandemics of disease. They’ve made it very clear that I can’t post such degrading material, even though I blurred the nipples out myself.

So look at your own risk, at your own peril. I’m sorry to place you in such danger but there it is. Good luck.

Uh oh.

Damn, blast, bugger. The deal’s off.

When I got the guy to send the licence papers for the MX-6, the VIN and so on, he definitely provided them, but it showed that the car is a 1995 model, not a 1996 as advertised. It’s even a February ’95 build, first purchased in July ’95. As well, the valuation guide shows that these models are worth $4,500 to $5,500. I thought $6,000 looked OK for a car of such low kms and in what seemed immaculate condition, so I didn’t quibble about the price.

But yesterday and today, the truth started coming out and I got a bit upset. I asked advice from Barry and he said he’s most worried about the dings in the bumpers, and if it’s been on the market for three months, if it’s so good, why have other potential buyers let it go?

So having thought about it, I called the deal off and asked for my money back. The guy agreed without rancour, so I expect to see it tomorrow. I hope.

The other point is that the price was not just $6,000, it was $7,300 with the trucking fee and luckily I hadn’t booked or committed to that.

So, what a bugger. I was looking forward to driving it. But I have other ideas and may buy something else (selling the Honda and possibly the Verada), while I keep looking for another MX-6.

Postscript: I’ve found another one – same specs, 1995, auto, 4WS, 158,000Km, a couple of suburbs away in Perth. $1,000 lower in price, and I won’t have to pay $1300 to have it relocated. My only complaint is that it’s bright red, Ferrari red. Most guys would like that, but I prefer the darker colours, especially that deep sea green. I wonder if the owner has had it repainted as it doesn’t look like an original colour.

Anyway, I’m going to see it on Sunday and I’ll be a bit more careful this time. RAC inspection.

My money has not come back from Melbourne so far. I texted the guy this morning and he phoned me back to assure me it would be done in the next two hours, as he’s busy with work. Nothing so far……..

PS Friday morning, still no money has appeared. I hope he’s not going to cause trouble. He said he had posted me the licence papers and the vehicle transfer form last week, by snail mail that is, so if he is going to play games, then I am the legal owner of that car and with the licence papers in my possession, I could cause him grief as well. Let’s hope it never comes to that.

Eventful days

1996 Mazda MX-6 4WS coupe. I don’t like the wheels,
so if I can I’ll replace them with BMW ones.

I’ve bought it. The Mazda MX-6 in Melbourne. It’s a 1996 model, 106,000Km, series 2 (the last made) with 4-wheel steering. Obviously I haven’t seen it in the metal, but I’ve been talking to the owner and we get along well. I’m having it trucked over and I hope to have it within the next three weeks or so. The cost of trucking is probably a little less than driving it back and saves the wear and tear, both on the car and me. I’m excited.

UPDATE: Tuesday…. in exchanging details for insurance, it seems the car may be a 1995 model, not 1996. Shit!! I’m messaging the guy about it.

That means the Honda has to go asap. I just have to fix the radio antenna problem, put the original radio back (easy job), replace the right rear power door lock mechanism, get the cruise control working again and give it a good clean and detail. It’s a very nice car but too big for my needs. I have other ideas for touring.

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It gave me a bit of a fright on Saturday, though. I was showing some UK friends all the new developments up the coast and at Eglinton I was just doodling along, luckily, when slap, flop, rumble and I realised I had a tyre problem. The left rear tyre had split on the inside wall and was half off the rim by the time I stopped. We were so lucky it happened at slow speed. I wouldn’t be so happy now if it had been at 80Kmh on Marmion Ave, or at 100Kmh on the freeway.

I got the RAC out and he had the changeover done in less than 10 mins. It’s easy when you’ve got the right tools, i.e. a trolley jack and rattle gun. The wheel nuts came off with no effort. My spare was fully up to pressure (because I checked it last summer and pumped it up) so that helped. Torque wrench to do the nuts up and sign here please.

He did pick another tyre which is nearly illegal, so I have to get two new, or near new, tyres. Another expense, but at least I’ll be able to sell it with a clear conscience.

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My latest water bill last week came in at $313 for the two months, and I hadn’t even been using the retic system. Ouch. So I realised I had to fix the slow leak around my main sink swivel mixer. I’d already bought the replacement, so I had a plumber out this morning to do the changeover. You need a special tool to reach up under the deep twin basin sink. It’s an Aldi tap and we found it was missing two small O-rings on the hot and cold flexi tubes. At first it looked like it might stop the job, but he used plenty of thread seal tape and says it should hold. It’s not ideal, though.

$150 for an hour’s work, with me supplying the parts. Aaaarrrrgh.

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Then my good mate Danny arrived for a planned visit, and after lots of talk and coffee, he helped me get the power radio antenna reinstalled in the Verada using a new “rope”. He had the advantage of having done it before, so that made it easier. It still took a lot of fiddling, but at last I’ve got a lovely smooth antenna that rises and retracts. I always wanted a power antenna, and now I’ve got one. Yaaah!

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Satay production line, Sanur. Wonderful smell!

A couple of weeks ago I found a Facebook group called Lost Bali, dedicated to photos from the 70s, 80s, 90s before Bali (the south part) became corrupted by rampant development and excessive tourism.

I saw that most of the photos posted were very poor quality, being photos of paper photos, dirty slides, orange faded negs and so on.

Anyone who knows me knows that this is right up my alley. I have hundreds of shots from 1980 on and have put the best into a 40 page book. So I started posting.

Wow, the reactions. People are loving my shots, giving hundreds of Likes and many comments. I posted some page proofs of my book and people are asking where they can get a copy. Unfortunately, it was composed in about 2014 and the Photobook company hasn’t kept my project on file, so I’ll have to rebuild it. That’s OK, I like the idea of fixing one or two things and adding more images.

However, I think this is my opportunity to redevelop the book in electronic form as a PDF file and/or a FlipBook, and to make some money from it. I hope to find a way to distribute it in encrypted form, and people would buy a serial number or licence which would unlock a copy.

So that’s what’s going to keep me occupied for the next few months. And once I’ve done that one, I can add my other books on Java, Malaysia, Japan, Venice and even WA! I’ve done 13 serious books so far, so maybe this might pay for my next car. Yaah!

Look what came up

Mazda MX-6

Dammit, I’ve wanted one of these for years, and one has come up for sale on Facebook Marketplace. The MX-6 in this shape was produced from 1991 to 1997. Unfortunately this is a 1992 model, but it looks to be in great condition. It’s done 194,000Km. Price? $2,000.

The same chassis and engine was used to produce the Ford Probe, the US version that I’ve also lusted after. Ford owned a chunk of Mazda at the time.

Ford Probe, based on Mazda MX-6

At first I was sure I’d buy the Mazda, but then reality set in. I’ve got to get rid of the Honda first. I enquired on it but decided against it.

But I can’t let it go! At that price, it’s affordable. I think I’ll phone the guy this evening and arrange to see it asap. More pics:

Such good condition! And rare in Perth.

STOP PRESS: Damn, thought I’d better check the field and there’s a much better one, a 1996 model with only 102,000Km in Footscray, Melbourne, admittedly for $6,500 but… And it’s in the dark bottle green that I like so much. Tempting!

PPS: this one (the red one above) has sold, but I’ve bought this blue-green 1996 model in Melbourne.

I wanted to fly over and drive it back, but considering it’s mid-summer, possibly smokey and a bit hazardous, and weighing up the costs, it’s easier, safer, and a bit cheaper to get it trucked over here, so I’ll be doing that. It costs $1300, door to door.

?????????!!!????????? Then there’s this one:

Lexus SC400 Soarer

A 1992 Lexus Soarer with 159,000Km. Also $6,500 and in Perth. It’s a 4 litre V8 turbo coupe with Lexus build quality and reliability. It looks to be in superb condition. But the colour! Dull. I’d love to own it, though. I want them both, the Melbourne MX-6 and this.

PPPS: no, the Lexus doesn’t have the flair and style I want. I’ve decided I’ll sell both the Honda and the Verada, have just the MX-6 for a while, and possibly later buy a 2005 Honda Odyssey for touring. Hah.

Warm ain’t it?

A weather station sold by Wish. About $25. I might buy one.

Phew, it was fairly cool for the first week of the month, but it’s warmed up and looks like continuing at around 35C every day for the next week.

But thank goodness we’re not experiencing what the east coast is going through. That’s scary. When you have to go and jump into the ocean to escape flames and smoke, that’s bad.

The worst thing is that this is almost a mass extinction on a smaller scale. This is showing us what it’s going to be like in the future with rising temperatures and continuing drought. And, as they say, even if the drought broke and we had massive rainfall, this would be another catastrophe as water, mud and floods meant more misery.

And it’s almost certain that these conditions will repeat from now on, to a greater or lesser extent. Climate change is real!

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In fact, if you think about future archeological digs in a few hundred years, if there’s anyone doing them that is, they are going to find a layer of ash and charcoal marking 2019/20 over there.

This year will also mark the extinction of huge numbers of small animals, insects and birds. The knock-on effects will be incalculable. Nature interlocks. The loss of one group, one species, will badly affect the food supplies up and down the chan with unpredictable effects. Good luck everyone.

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For my readers outside WA, the only major road between Perth and Adelaide, the next major city ~2,500Km away, was closed for 12 days until Friday, due to bushfires out on the Nullarbor Plain near Norseman. Too much smoke made driving too dangerous.

I had been toying with the idea of doing an eastern states drive this summer, so I would have wanted to drive through all the areas burnt, from northern NSW, down the south-east corner of NSW and Victoria, returning to WA via the Adelaide Hills, also badly burnt, then back to Perth across the Nullarbor where I would have been stuck due to the closure of the Eyre Highway. I would have been caught up in all that, if I’d gone.

It looks now as if my chance has gone for several years at least, that’s the foreseeable future.

Imagine being stuck at a roadhouse on the sole road out on the Nullarbor Plain, sleeping in your car, the roadhouse running out of bottled water and toilet paper, 42C (112F) temperatures, nothing to do for two weeks. I’d go screaming mad. No way to escape, except to drive back to Adelaide, of course.

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Back to the mundane. This was an offer from Amazon US the other day:

Amazon US price, in AU$920

This was the same product on Amazon Australia.

Amazon Australia. Same product, only AU$1405 more expensive here.

Please explain, Amazon. This is rubbish.

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Article in The Guardian today, re the limits of Moore’s Law, illustrating the shrinking size of transistors and space on chips.

That’s not the CPU/transistor side, although it may be the back side. Almost all those lumpy things are capacitors and resistors.

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A guy I used to work with at Channel 7 has started a project in a Facebook group, to compile a book about TVW Channel 7 Perth from 1959 to 2017 when it was all demolished.

This is right up my alley, something I’ve wanted to do myself, but only from the Engineering viewpoint.

He’s calling for contributions, but the request is for about 2000 words and only four images. Whaaat?

I’ve told him (on F/B) that this would hardly cover my introduction. To recall all my memories, mostly good, from 1966 to 1999, with a selection of four from my hundreds of images? He must be mad.

In fact this puts me off contributing. I can’t squash it down that small. The editing would be too severe. I’ve said I’ll write my piece as economically as I can and submit it, but I don’t know if I’ll accept those conditions. I might go back to my original plan to do an Engineering history.

Happy New Year 2020

Bali sunrise © PJ Croft 2016, 2020

Don’t you love the way 2020 tripples off the keyboard? Easy typing.

Yes, the start of a new year after a rather dull 2019. Not that I’m complaining. I did a Bali trip in May and came back feeling fitter in my legs after a month of pool exercise every day, and lots of walking and climbing stairs. But it soon wore off. I just can’t get myself moving here, apart from walking around the shops. I know I have to, I just lack the will power. Must try harder. Dammit, I’ve got a treadmill here, why can’t I use it?! I do a bit, but not much.

OK, new year resolution no. 1, do it!!!

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New Year resolution no. 2, just do it! I did it.

New Year’s Eve, at a venue in Perth with Isabella, a good friend. It’s an LGBTI venue, but that’s OK, I’m a lesbian. 😉

It takes a bit of courage to go out like this, but no-one stares, no-one cares. Attitudes have changed a lot in the past 15 years. I no longer fear it.

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I decided to check my automatic watering controller just now. I haven’t looked at it for a while and opened the cover nonchalantly, only to find that a nest of wasps has taken residence inside! I jumped back smartly and although they buzzed around, they didn’t attack me. I was most worried about a wasp or two getting up my shorts or shirt. That would have been fun.

I found that some low-life has cut the nozzle and snap fitting off my side hose again. Grrrr.

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The Verada is making bad noises. I think it’s the power steering pump belt as it squeals whenever I steer either side. I hope it won’t be expensive to fix.

I don’t know whether to keep these cars. The MDX is unnecessary and has to go. I like it, but it’s going to cost me $450 approx for the next six months’ licence.

The Verada is nice, but these squeals and the shock absorbers are a worry. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a near new car.

By the way, I always wanted a Mercedes CL, yeah? One finally came up for sale in Perth, a 2003 model. He started at $12,000 and came down to $9,950. I was sorely tempted but as I’ve said, it won’t fit in my garage. It must have sold. One day, Mabel!