Kaboom!

Wow, another thunderstorm today (after the ripper yesterday). About midday I was in the kitchen and saw a flash, then less than a second later, Kaboooom! the crack of the lightning was like a cannon shot. This is is the closest I’ve ever seen and heard a lightning strike. The power stayed on, nothing else happened and there was no more that I saw, but that was a beauty.

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I had a doctor appt today and was sitting in my car, dressed as a woman as I do nearly every day when I go out. Two young women came to my window and said “Got any change? We need to catch the bus”, or something similar. I said no, I don’t use change any more, sorry.

Then one of the girls said, “Are you a man or a lady?” I gave my sweetest smile and said, “Guess”. One of them said “Lady”, but the other one said “Nah, you’re a man.” I just laughed.

Then I went into the surgery and just after taking my seat, one of these girls came in and asked for a glass of water. Uh oh, I thought. The receptionist got up and went down the passage to get the water. I watched carefully in case the girl reached over the counter, but although she swung around a bit and gave me a good stare, she didn’t try anything.

Then the other one came in and asked the same thing. The receptionist told her there’s a public toilet across the way, to use that. She objected that it’s dirty, and the receptionist again got her a cup of water and she left. I had a chat about it and she was aware of them. There’s no doubt they were up to no good. I think she should have refused their request for water.

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Continuing the credit card saga: last night and today, I tried to use my old bank’s Visa card as a test, and again it was declined. Dammit! What’s going on? I phoned them and was told a block had been placed on it because of two bad PIN entries yesterday. I can’t understand how that happened, but anyway, in return for changing my PIN they unblocked it and I was able to use it to buy the CPAP machine. I didn’t want to have to drive over to Joondalup again, in the rain so it’s lucky it’s free delivery. It should arrive Friday, I hope, but I have the dentist at 10am. I hope they contact me because I hate these chases.

For the new bank’s Visa card, I phoned them as well and found it too was blocked. Probably a scam, they said. Yeah, well, last Friday I got a message on my phone, supposedly from Australia Post, you need to pay $2 extra postage to release a parcel. Since I’ve been getting many parcels recently, I didn’t think too much about it and entered my credit card numbers to pay the $2. Nothing happened.

As soon as I said this, the bank lady said “Scam”. Yes, it’s a scam and fool that I am, I handed over my numbers. I got a message from P&N Bank soon afterwards from their Fraud Watch line asking me to phone them. I tried, but was told they were too busy, please try again later. Which I neglected to do.

Fast forward to today and that was what had caused the block on my card. Upshot, the card had to be cancelled and a new one issued, that’ll be $10 charge. So that scammer cost me $10. Oh well. At least my old bank’s card is working again, but while talking to them I noticed that the annual interest rate is 20.24% !! This the Commonwealth Bank folks. I’m working my way away from them. I’ve been with them 33 years, they reminded me today, but that didn’t stop them slashing the interest paid on my Saver account to almost zero recently, and they didn’t tell me, so they are losing my business. Nasty, unethical, dishonest bank.

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We’re being told, quietly, to start preparing for a pandemic, so I made my start today. I’ve started buying non-perishable foods and asked the pharmacy for two months’ worth of medications. No problem, they’ll do it.

I could also grow my own vegetables. I have the garden space and now that I’ve got the reticulation sorted, things are looking quite good.

Many years ago I saved a newspaper article about this very thing. I remember showing it to a couple of mates and got a dismissive response, they just laughed it off. Well………….

What a day, what a laugh

(C) PJ Croft 1992, 2020

The laugh first:

Zensonic massive 900w with 2 teach 120w speakers. Got it from the shead and tested but some who some light got off and I cannot put it in the proper line to get sound. You may be lucky and get sound This only for someone that know who to fix or need for parts. The speakers they very loud and they working with my other amp.

Get that? A nine hundred watt amplifier! Price? $15. Yes, step right up ladeez and gennelmen, the price includes two 120W speakers as well! Do you know who to fix?

This is Facebook Marketplace and is another example of these illiterate yokels flogging rubbish.

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What a ridiculous day. I decided it’s time to buy a new CPAP machine to replace my 12 year old S8. A company called Perth CPAP in Joondalup are pushing good deals, $1599 for virtually any machine, any brand, and it includes a mask and tube too.

So I phoned to check stock and tootled off at about 1pm, found a parking spot right outside the door, used PayWave for the first time on a parking meter, and ventured inside. Just as well, because it was bloody hot today, 34deg. and I was feeling it.

After a long, largely unnecessary instruction from the guy, it was all boxed up and I went to pay. Visa card attempt 1, declined. I’d just cleared the balance owing this morning, so I was a bit annoyed. Attempt 2, declined. OK, try another bank’s Visa card. Also declined. What??!! Tried my EFTPOS card, also declined. What??? This was embarrassing.

OK, what if I go and get a bank cheque? No, doesn’t want that, he’d have to go to the bank. OK, what about cash? No, same thing, have to go to the bank. So what do I do? The guy behind the counter had no answer.

I decided I’d have to go to the P&NBank branch at Joondalup. They checked everything and couldn’t see any problem. After a long talk I went to an ANZ ATM and tested my Visa card. No problem, it accepted my PIN for a balance enquiry.

So after a bite to eat, I drove back to the CPAP shop, confident that I knew the PIN and that my Visa card was working. CLANG! Declined again. I fiddled around with another card but still no luck. I asked if he could invoice me and I’d pay on-line. No, can’t do that.

So I left and walked across the street to an ANZ branch and tried their ATM and again, it accepted my card and PIN and told me my balance. What??!!

So I went back to the P&NBank in the Joondalup shops and told them about it. They didn’t know the answer, but said do you want cash, then? OK, I said, so I took a wad of notes and headed out the door. Then I remembered, not only does Perth CPAP not accept bank cheques, they also close at 4pm, which time it almost was. Damn, damn, damn. What a stupid business.

I decided to buy some groceries and while doing it, heard loud rumblings. Hmmm, noisy stockroom they have, I thought, but it went on and on and soon the rain was actually coming through the roof into Woolies. I waited a while and had to walk to the car in the steady rain, but too bad. That was a big, violent thunderstorm that moved fast down the coast and ripped up trees. The mud and debris on the road home showed how much water had flowed in my area.

OK, I got home and thought I’d try buying on-line. This time I chose PayPal as the method. I use PayPal all the time and never have any trouble. But this time, again, my P&N Visa card was declined! What???!!!

I tried again using my actual Visa card numbers. Declined again.

That’s where it rests. For some reason, my Visa card won’t work. It did a few days ago. I don’t feel like driving over to Joondalup again to pay cash for the machine, given how lazy he was. I’ll have to get the card fixed, then order on-line again. No rush. Bloody ‘ell!

Bali video

In case you missed it, this is the first segment of my Bali DVD, for demo. It’s chapter 1 of eight chapters, so it’s quite a substantial DVD.

This is a small window version. Click on the vimeo logo to go to a larger version.

Leave a comment if you would like to find out how to buy a copy.

Say what?

(C) PJ Croft 1992, 2020

Time for a language blast. I’ve just seen a Facebook comment:
“Nine did not he working there either” Huh? (Referring to Channel 9.)

It’s not some foreigner’s comment, it’s a local name. It was in reply to someone saying so-and-so was trained at Channel 9 once. People seem to write on Facebook without looking at what they write and certainly not re-reading so as to correct their errors. It’s complete carelessness. If they care so little about what they write, why should I care about what they’ve written either?

It’s also time to raise the use of “so” to start sentences again. It’s become chronic. Even people in high scientific and managerial positions seem unable to speak without prefacing their sentences with “So…” It’s not just in this country, it’s in interviews I hear from the BBC and other UK stations too.

Speaking of chronic, I renew my offer of $10 to any journalist who can show me an article he or she has written in the past five years that does not include the word iconic. You must be able to prove it was written before this prize offer, of course.

Iconic has become the worst cliche word in the history of the English language, I say, and if you can’t write without using it, maybe you should consider another occupation.

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I picked up a nice lens off Facebook Marketplace on Thursday. I’ve had a Pentax K-5 for ten years now, with a Sigma 10-20mm, a Pentax 18-45mm, a Pentax 55-200mm and a Sigma 120-400mm to go with it. Not a bad lineup, eh?

But they are quite large lenses, not ideal for just carrying one lens and when I saw a Sigma 18-125mm for $100, I liked it.

That’s 27-190mm in full frame terms, a good walking-around and travel lens, so I bought it. I really shouldn’t invest any more in this Pentax system as I rarely use it, but it produces very nice pictures and the price was OK, so I took it.

The seller turned out to be an Indonesian guy named Herry from Jakarta, so we had a good chat. He works at Perth Modern School which is where I met him. I have an invitation to visit him as he is going back to Jakarta to live soon. That would be nice. If I ever get there. Unfortunately, this Covid-19 virus puts me off going anywhere at the moment. My friend Yudi in Sanur is making terrific offers to stay in his hotel, which he has really turned into a lovely place, but I can’t risk going there. One day when this is all over.

I read yesterday that the only place in Indonesia that they can even test for the virus is in Jakarta, so if you noticed symptoms in Bali, you would be on your own. I wouldn’t even risk going to a hospital in Bali for fear of catching either Covid-19 or any of the other infectious disease while your immune system was down.

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I drove the MX-6 into the city and home again on Thursday, and it solidified my thoughts that maybe I won’t keep it. The main reason is that I find it so hard to get in and out. Getting in’s not too bad as I can just slide in down the seat, but getting out I have to rest my right arm on the top of the seat back, grab the window with my left hand, swing my right leg out and haul myself out, leaning hard on the door pillar while I do. I can do it but it’s not easy. Being a 2-door coupe, the door is wide and you need to have room, or be careful about hitting the car alongside.

The ride is also quite hard and bumpy (fair enough, it is a sports car) and the brakes need a hard push, so hard sometimes I think they won’t stop me in time. The steering is the best bit, sharp and responsive, and so is the engine. It feels quick, even within the speed limits.

The lack of a rear wiper, the lack of a left foot rest, lack of any kind of electronic fuel computer… you have to notice it’s a 25 year old car. I don’t think I’ll lose any money on it and it has rego until September. It’s a great buy for someone young and fit.

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When I bought the replacement tablet (replacement for the one that’s lost somewhere, still not found), I bought a 4G phone model, and a Telstra data plan to go with it. It’s great that it’s always on-line, ready, not needing wi-fi passwords to use.

But the data plan was $25 per month for 10GB. I thought at the time that it was a bit expensive. Well, today I paid the second month’s bill and found that of my 10GB data allowance, I’d only been using about 100MB per month! That’s 1/1000th of my allowance.

Therefore I’ve reduced to a 5GB/month $15 plan. That’s the minimum. Obviously even that’s more than I need. I might have to shop around in a month or two.

Ear, ear!

Kyoto 1992. © P J Croft 2020

Busy day today. First job was two new tyres for the Honda MDX. I had that blowout/tyre shredding incident on the left rear a couple of weeks ago and today I finally got my act together and had a mobile tyre guy come out and do the job for me.

You have to buy two tyres for him to come to your home, but I needed two so that was good. Both fronts are now new and the left rear is the best of the rest, with the least good as the spare. $127 each for 235/65 R17.

Crumbs, I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with that spare. It’s suspended underneath the back on a wire rope and you have to get down on the ground to deal with the centre boss. Too hard for me these days.

I’m glad that’s done as I can sell with a clear conscience now.

Ahem! My face is RED! I’ve been saying since June last year that the cruise control on this Honda isn’t working. It was, but it stopped working after I recharged a severely flat battery. The battery was disconnected for a while while I did it. There’s a fuse for the cruise control and I thought that might have been it, but it tested OK. I thought I might have the wrong fuse, but it was too hard and I put it aside.

Duh! Duh! On the MX-6, you have to push a switch on the dash to allow the cruise control to work on the steering wheel. Could it be…? Yes, there it is, a switch on the MDX dash, hidden from view by the steering wheel. Push it on and suddenly the cruise control works again. Bloody ‘ell, sometimes I feel very stupid.

I took the opportunity to wash the mag wheels and tyres and it looks very good now. Just three small jobs to get it ready for sale.

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Next was an appointment at an audiology clinic, owned and run by an old school friend and her son. I shouldn’t say “old” school friend, we’re the same age, after all. Friend from high school days.

I’ve been noticing marked loss of HF response in my right ear for a couple of years, and recently a “bone conduction” feeling and rattles when I change my head attitude. Something in the Eustachian tubes. Same as when you can’t clear your ear after a plane flight.

After a thorough test, yes, marked loss of high frequencies and lower sensitivity than the left, and redness of the ear drum. “You need to see an ENT specialist, mate.” OK, so that’s to come.

Then we had a coffee and a long chat in the coffee shop next door. We’ve known each other for 56 years now. Urk.

Funny, when I filled out the information form when I arrived, one of the questions was, “Do you now or have you ever smoked?” Yes/No.

How do you answer that? I had to circle both Yes and No. Yes, I used to smoke, No I don’t smoke now.

When I commented on it saying it was ambiguous, they said they’d never had anyone comment on it before. Huh?

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Holy smoke, I’ve just had a call on my landline from an 02 number, which I ignored because they are always scam callers.

Then my mobile rang, also with an 02 number. This time I thought I’d better answer and sure enough, it was a guy asking if it is me, with an Indian accent, and saying he wanted to talk to me about some computer scheme. I don’t mind admitting, I shouted at him, “FUCK OFF, YOU INDIAN CRIMINAL! GET LOST!” and hung up.

Damn if I didn’t get two more calls on the mobile soon afterwards with the same 02 number. I hung up on both without answering.

Postscript: I had another call on my mobile “handy” while I was in Coles on Wednesday, another 02 number. I thought I’d better answer it. Bugger me if it wasn’t an Indian accent again. I nearly got aggressive but being in Coles I couldn’t raise my voice. This time I managed to catch (with difficulty) who he said he was calling for, and as it wasn’t Microsoft or Telstra, I thought I’d better listen and be a bit more polite.

It turned out to be the radio survey company whose book I filled out last week. He was calling to confirm that it had been collected and he asked questions about the collector and whether he’d been OK. Yes, no problem.

But as I said, this guy had an Indian accent! Holy smoke, we get so many scam callers with Indian accents, how come this survey company chooses a guy with this accent to make their legitimate calls? Isn’t it asking for trouble?

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This is becoming a real problem. I heard a radio program in the early hours last week by a Canadian guy who has actually gone to India researching this and worked with the Indian police investigating these scam calls. It is a tens, hundreds of $millions problem now, all coming from India. The scammers make enough money from gullible people that they can afford to buy private jets now!

The interviewer asked if he could see any end in sight. The guy said, flat out, no. They cannot see any way to stop it, because the scammers change identities and locations too fast. Therefore we have effectively lost control of our land-line phone system in this country, and in USA, Canada, the UK and New Zealand, all the English speaking countries.

How???

This is incredible. Yesterday the words Epstein-Barré syndrome popped into my head. It’s some medical condition, I don’t know anything more than that.

But in tonight’s episode of Doc Martin on the ABC, one of his patients is diagnosed with Guillaume-Barré syndrome! Sure, it’s not exactly the same, but it’s near enough to trigger my thoughts of “pre-cognition” again. I don’t even know if that’s a real term, but bloody ‘ell, it should be, ‘cos I got it.

Later: maybe I subconsciously heard a promo for the show that mentioned the words. I don’t remember it, but there’s a logical explanation for everything.

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Lovely day today. Crumbs, 41 deg yesterday, yet 26deg, and lightly raining today. Beautiful, misty rain. I actually drove home in the MX-6 with the sun-roof partly open. No rain comes in, even when stopped. Nice.

Only trouble is I really had a bit of trouble seeing out the back window, but when I reached for the rear wiper switch, there ain’t one. That’s a bit of an omission.

More

If you’re looking to see my Bali 1980s images: https://bullsnapper.picfair.com/

I’m adding images almost daily but it’s a slow process. I can only add about 25 at a time, then each one has to have a short title, a longer concise description, then keywords, at least six added. The keywording takes ages. They are single words that would come up whenever a client is searching for an image to use. It is incredibly tedious work, although I’ve found a keyword generating site that returns up to 25 words. But many of the words are not appropriate and have to be modified or deleted, and other words added.

Then the large images are uploaded, which can take an hour or more.

The prices are as suggested by the Picfair company. I can control these prices and I’ve reduced the price they initially suggested. Whether anyone’s prepared to pay the price for an image, time will tell. Nothing so far.

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More on the MX-6:

  • It’s got no exhaust note to speak of, not that I’ve noticed anyway, although being hot weather I’m driving with the windows up and air on.
  • The auto shift is labelled L-S-D-N-R-P. It’s a four speed and I hoped the S position might mean Sport. It kinda does, it just uses the lower three speeds only, neglecting fourth. But you have to push a button on the stick to pull it back to S. That’s not exactly sporty.
  • The cruise control has to be switched on first with a button on the dash behind the steering wheel, then you press the Set button on the wheel itself. Why two actions? There’s a green indicator in the dash to show it’s on, but in daylight it’s barely visible.
  • There’s no central locking. It’s key-in-the-door only.
  • The key slot in the steering column is infuriating! You can’t see it, being behind the steering wheel, and I can never find the slot. Even when I use my finger to feel for it, the damn key still doesn’t want to go in.
  • There was a user manual with the car but no log book, so I have no idea if it’s been serviced recently. Considering how well the car seems to have been looked after, I’m not too worried.

So a bit of the shine is wearing off and I’m finding the annoyances. I still choose to drive it over all the others, though. No regrets.

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I mentioned using Phenergan to assist with ear clearing, as well as a sedative, but it’s noticeable how quickly I’ve become used to it. I really noticed that watching TV and working on the laptop at the table last night, I felt myself becoming more alert and awake as 11pm approached

I took the Phenergan then and I got to sleep for about 90 mins last night, then woke and couldn’t get back to sleep. I got up at 3am and worked on the computer until 5.30am, slept until 9am and I feel awful now. Waiting on the Silver Chain lady to come, usually around midday, then I can go back to bed for a while.

Pains in my feet! Yow, yow, yow. Someone suggested ibuprofen and paracetemol. A type II diabetic can’t take ibuprofen – it causes liver damage. It does a bit in normal healthy people too, but they can tolerate it. Not diabetics. So I read.

I’ve never found paracetemol to be very effective. According to the chemist, it works for some, not for others. Maybe I’ll take some Panadol Osteo now to see if anything’s changed.

I can’t take Tramadol due to insomnia. I can’t take aspirin as I’m already on another blood thinner. There’s not much else.

However, I’ve received my first 100ml bottle of a “special oil” – maybe I’ll call it Central Business District oil, from the Wish website. Maybe that might help. I doubt it, but it cost about $5 so not much is lost if it doesn’t work.

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Oh come on cleaner, I don’t feel good.