Ooops, oh dear, never mind

A real shot of Saturn.

Ah, autumn is starting. It’s a bit cooler, temps in the high twenties and low thirties, but more noticeable are the cooler night time temps. We got down to 11deg last night. I start out on top of the covers, no fan, but move under the doona around 1.30am for a good sleep. Still cold showers, I think I can last until April.

I heard one of Michael Moseley’s health programs last week explaining the immune system. It made the point that when we’re put into “fight or flight” mode, ie stress, our body produces hormones and chemicals (I can’t remember the details) which boost our immune system, temporarily. We don’t want these chemicals all the time as they can be harmful, but they did recommend a cold ending to your showers, to stimulate this release. This was referring to the UK where a cold shower would be really cold, so my fully cold showers wouldn’t be quite the same but close enough, I think. So I’ll continue.

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I felt very embarrassed and stupid this afternoon. I pride myself on having a very good sense for where the corners of my car are. I almost never nudge anything, but I must admit I did nudge a car in the shopping centre car park today.

It was at very low, crawl speed as I pulled into a bay. I looked and there was no-one in the car. Once I’d parked I got out and was embarrassed to see a woman talking to the driver in the car (he must have just got back) and pointing at me. Uurrgh. The guy got out and looked at his rear bumper (plastic, like mine) and there was a fairly large white mark on it from my car.

Luckily he rubbed it with his hand and most of it came off – it was really very light. He was very good about it. I apologised deeply and he said, “Oh, it’ll be OK. It’s OK.” Phew, thank goodness. I said sorry again and it was all done, but I was highly embarrassed.

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I’ve got my appointment to have my COVID injection (I’m not going to use the cliche word, jab!) It will be the Astra Zeneca one. I’m booked in on 13 April at my local medical centre. It’s only a 5 minute appointment, they’re planning to get a lot done and because we have to sit in the waiting area, they have to rush us through as they don’t have enough room for a crowd.

Then it’s a 12 week wait for the second one. I’m feeling a bit impatient because I’ve really, really got the hots to go to Melbourne or Sydney to buy one of those Peugeot 407 Coupes and drive it back. Really keen. Stupid.

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I’ve had a call from the installer to come out and fit two hand rails for me, one in the shower, one in the toilet. This is a free service from Osborne Park Hospital Rehabilitation Centre for “aged” people like me. Yes, free. No charge. Not bad. I didn’t ask for this. They just seem to have my name in their books and phoned me one day a few months ago to ask if they could call out here to see what I need.

So that’s what happened. The lovely Sophie came here a couple of weeks ago, measured up and wrote things down, and here we go – he’s coming on Monday. Fine with me if it’s free.

I must admit, things are getting harder. My balance in the shower is not as good as it was and I have to pull myself up with the door frame from the toilet. My fault, if I lost 20kg…….

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I’ve finished another book, science fiction this time. It was Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. What a strange book. I don’t know quite what to say about it, except that I finished it, so it held my attention to the end.

Set far in the future, it’s the story of a six year old boy called Ender Wiggin (hence the name), who’s picked at a very early age as being exceptionally bright. He’s taken from his parents and brother and sister to be sent into space to a training school where for the next five years he’s put through leadership and combat training with other boys his age with games in zero or low gravity in a simulator.

The objective is to find the future commanders of space warfare fighting forces to defend Earth against a future attack by aliens called Buggers (really?). He does exceptionally well and eventually is put in charge of what he thinks is the final training session, against massively outnumbering Bugger forces. He wins, of course, and comes away exhausted. Only then do the regular army commanders tell him that it wasn’t a training session, it was the actual final battle with the real aliens.

There’s a lot more to the story, including all the dynamics of his relationships with his brother and sister, and a rather lame ending, but it’s very well written. If it held my attention despite the weird story line, it must have been good.

I’ve always liked science fiction provided it’s based on science. I’ve always found most so-called SF books are simply stories of Earth situations transferred into space, ie cops and robbers, cowboys and Indians. No deal, not for me. Or else, they start out with a good idea, such as launching a mission to the Sun with a giant sun shield, but degenerate into a stupid story of space ghosts or similar.

The best author I’ve ever read was Dr Robert L. Forward. His doctorate was in astrophysics and it showed. Unfortunately he couldn’t develop believable dialogue very well, writing childlike dialogue at times, but his space situations were very far thinking and solidly based in science and physics.

The current king of SF, for me, is the Brit, Stephen Baxter, once again a PhD in astrophysics so he is qualified. His stories are truly mind expanding, but I must admit I find his books lack tension. The stories, although interesting, tend to meander along with nothing much happening.

However, I read his book Titan a couple of years ago, about a voyage to Saturn’s moon, Titan, to scope it out as a refuge for an Earth colony. Considering it has a surface temperature of about -200C and is frozen methane, it seems a tall order, but boy, that one held my attention.

I’ll buy any new Stephen Baxter book that comes out.

Likewise, I’m a big fan of another UK author, Robert Goddard. He’s nothing to do with SF but he’s very prolific, writing mystery novels, mostly set in the south-west of England. The thing is, he’s a great story teller, in fact I’d go so far as to say a very skilful story teller. He’s written many books, more than 30 I think, and I’ve read them all. He writes a new one every year and I think it’s time I checked to see if there’s a new one.

Fist-U-La

Me with the lovely Sutri, Bali April 1983. © PJ Croft 2021

Wow, summer is hanging on. Halfway through March and it was still 37.6C today, with 38C forecast for tomorrow and a string of 30s after that. I’m not complaining, just saying. They said last night would be uncomfortably hot, 22C min, but I had no discomfort. It was a beautiful night.

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The headline refers to my GP getting the results from my CT scan last week and although I feel fine and am not having any trouble, the scan showed a possibility of a fistula, a bridge between the colon and the bladder. The worry is that this could cause leakage into the bladder and repeated bladder infections (I’ve had a few, not many).

So he wants me to have another CT scan with a barium drink this time. Apparently this is not a common request so the clinic are chewing their pencils and will get back to me. That’s OK, I’m not having any discomfort or any problems. I can wait.

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My PC crashed in a big way yesterday. All I did was re-start as requested by my antivirus program (Kaspersky) and clunk! It wouldn’t boot again, not even into the BIOS. I was slightly worried for a while.

But I got into the guts, removing the graphics card and the memory modules and tackling all the accumulated dust. There was a lot. It took me about an hour.

Then I put it all back together and heyo! Away she went. It booted up smoothly with no complaint. Just goes to show, it’s not hard. I’d suspect it was mainly the wiggling and jiggling of the motherboard that was the main way it was fixed. It’s always worth a try. So that was a relief.

I built this computer in 2013 with fairly high end components (Core i7 2.6GHz CPU, 2x 4GB memory modules, 500GB Solid State Drive) and it’s lasted me well. I don’t feel any need to upgrade it.

On the other hand, my laptop is an ASUS touch-screen tablet with a magnetically attached keyboard. It runs Windows 10 but that and being touch screen are about the only things to recommend it.

The main problem is that the battery only lasts about 2½ hours. It has two USB ports, a type A and a type C, but the type C is used for charging and it really needs to be on the charger all the time, so that port is not usable for anything else.

As a computer, it’s OK and runs fine. It’s just that, with that short battery life, I never feel confident about taking it out with me, especially when I’d like to attach a DVD drive and watch movies with it. It wouldn’t even last a plane ride to Bali (3.5hrs).

I’m tempted to replace it with something more modern with better battery life and a higher spec. What would I choose? Maybe this?

ASUS Zenbook 14.

Weight only 1.13Kg, with as much power as this desktop, and up to 16 hours battery life (so they advertise). Price? Basic, $1,152. I’m sure it goes up as you add extras. I’m not saying I’ll do it, just musing. There are some fantastic laptops out there, as powerful as desktops. With OLED screens, better than desktops.

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I’ve got the car hots again.

2006 Peugeot 407 Coupe. This one’s only done 82,000km and seems overpriced at $12,990 at a dealer in Melbourne.
Side view
This one’s done 131,000km and is $6,950. Private sale.
This one’s a 2006 and has done 155,000km, $7,850. Rear view. I like that!

They have either a 6cyl petrol or a twin-turbo 6 cyl diesel engine. I’ve never considered a diesel, but it’s supposed to be an exceptionally smooth and quiet engine. Twin turbo? Phwooaarr.

These cars are almost unobtainable in WA. There are only three on Carsales, Australia-wide. You find a few 407 sedans and wagons here in WA, but no coupes. These were $72,000 cars in 2007. All leather inside.

I always thought I needed a station wagon but these grab me. They go for an average of $8,000 now. But all in Victoria, NSW or Queensland, never WA. I can dream. Anyway, I need to get rid of at least one of my existing cars first.

One drawback is that the indicator stalk is on the left, as per a European car. Very annoying!

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Grrrr. I made a trip into the city by train last week and parked my car directly opposite the Butler train station in the shopping centre car park. I knew it was a bit risky but because my left foot hurts, I was leaning heavily on my stick and walking slowly and wanted to reduce the distance I had to walk. It saved me about 250m.

When I got back at about 2.55pm, there was a damned sticker on my windscreen telling me I’ve been fined $65 for overstaying, marked 2.52pm! Wilson Parking Enforcement Services.

This is a small area of the carpark, little used because it’s so out of the way, away from the entrances, so not many cars there. I’d noticed the car I parked next to when I arrived, because it looked so nice and I’m interested. It was an Audi A1 in a beautiful deep red. It was still next to me when I got back, but it didn’t have a fine sticker!

I can’t say exactly what time I arrived there but it was around 10.30am, maybe a bit later. They’d pinged me at 2.52pm, so that makes it 4 hours 22 mins maximum in a 4 hour area.

I’m going to dispute this fine! (a) I dispute the time – they must have marked my tyre right at the minute I arrived, very unlikely; (b) why was my car pinged and not the Audi?; (c) I’ll plead my disability, although I don’t have a disability pass; (d) I don’t think I was away for 4 hours; (e) if you prosecute me, it will probably cost you more than the fine in lawyers and court time; (f) if you do this, the shopping centre will lose my business – there are plenty of other places I can go. That will cost you hundreds of dollars a month.

They even threaten to tow my car away and impound it if I don’t pay. Bloody hell, what is this, East Germany?

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I’ve started watching a new show on Netflix, The One. It concerns a medical research firm that has found a way to use DNA to match people to their perfect partner, their unique love match, “The One” person in the world for them.

The problem is, married people, or people in committed relationships, take the test just as a joke, and find they are not with their perfect match, and in some cases The One is someone they know. This is causing marriage breakups, badly enough that laws are being considered in parliament (this is in Britain).

The problem is, there seem to be at least two side stories, one involving a murder, one involving another love story, constantly flipping back in time, and the main characters resemble each other in looks. All this means that after three episodes, I’m totally confused. Who are these characters? What does the murder have to do with the main story?

It’s an utter mess. Not recommended.

However, tragic that I am, I’ve started The Big Bang all over again. Yes, I’ve seen it all before on free-to-air in the past ten years, then watched it all again, all 250 odd episodes in the past four months, and now I’ve started it again. I never tire of it. Tragic.

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Back to cars – the Honda’s problem the other day was not the new battery, nothing to do with that. It was to do with the auto transmission, where it doesn’t realise it’s in Park. There’s a small rectangular slot next to the transmission shifter and you have to use a screwdriver to release the shifter. This is in a $75,000 car! (That was the new price in 2005 – I paid $3,000.)

So I don’t have to worry about the battery being flat, I just have to carry a screwdriver, or a key to put into the slot. Crazy.

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Huh! I just tried to phone the ABC Perth radio show with Geoff Hutchison to tell a story, but on both numbers, 0437 922 720 and 1 300 922 720, all I got was “This number has been disconnected” and “This number is not in use”. What?? They say a hundred times a day to call these numbers. This was the first time I’ve ever tried to call, and I got that! Huh?

Anyway, the discussion was about sleep apnea and getting along with your sleeping partner.

My funny story was that, ever since I’d had my CPAP machine, I’d wondered how I’d cope with the embarrassment when I slept with a woman. The funny bit was that it came about and as we were preparing for bed, I said, “Er, I need to tell you that I use this machine called a CPAP.” And she said, “Oh, that’s OK, so do I.” Hah ha ha ha ha. Problem solved.

Struthious

Chinese temples. Amazing. How did they get all the building materials up there, holy helicopters?

Hey hey, what a great election result last night. Labor not only won in a landslide, they exceeded the predictions. Poor old Zak Kirkup, the Liberal leader, lost his own seat and has quit politics. Labor won 53 of the 58 seats! The Libs only have two seats. Two! They no longer qualify for political party status, meaning they don’t qualify for government funding as a party. The Nationals, with only four seats, are now the Opposition.

The Liberals only have themselves to blame. They have made absolutely stupid decisions and statements, including former leader Liza Harvey’s backflipping on whether the border should be opened or kept closed, and (now former) leader Kirkup’s concession of defeat six weeks before the election was held. Wow, what confidence in his own candidates.

This means Labor can go back and revisit things they couldn’t in the first term, and one of those will be the reappointment of John McKechnie as the commissioner in the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC). That should mean the exposure of the corruption material found on a laptop belonging to a former Liberal MP. That’ll be interesting, to say the least.

In my own electorate, Butler, my local Labor candidate John Quigley, the Attorney General, was returned with ease. He beat the Liberal woman and my neighbour wasted her vote. Ha ha ha.

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The headline is a new word to me, struthious. At first I thought it was a made up word, slang, like “s’truth”, but I looked it up and it’s a genuine word from ornithology, meaning the class of flightless running birds like ostriches or cassowaries. But in this case the author meant ostrich-like, head-in-sand like, unwilling to face the truth.

She was referring to a woman friend in Queensland who was living on welfare of $560 per fortnight, but paying rent of $502 per fortnight, leaving her $58 per fortnight or $29 a week for everything else – food, petrol, electricity, gas. She sold everything, even her fridge, but was slowly starving because she couldn’t afford to eat properly. This is not some third world country, this is Australia, Queensland. In this Liberal government’s eyes, if she’s poor, it’s her own fault.

And in the words of Anne Ruston, the Minister for Women’s Affairs in this filthy, corrupt, hard-line federal government, if we gave them more money, they’d just spend it on gambling, drinking and cigarettes. She is very hard line.

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This has to change! Never in human history have so few gained wealth so quickly and in such quantity. Some of these filthy rich are even becoming embarrassed by their wealth, although very few. You couldn’t even spend this amount of money. A few of them are giving it away, but far too few. This is obscene, especially at this time in history.

Our Gina’s in there, notice. It’s only a few years ago I saw she was listed at $8bn and I thought that was excessive. Now she’s tripled it. I haven’t noticed any charitable donations. What the hell does she do with all that money? She pays it to lawyers, I think, trying to keep it from her children.

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The idea of bottom mounted freezers in fridges is crazy and I wish I’d never bought mine. When the freezer’s at the bottom, then every new thing you add just goes on top of what’s in there already, making a pile. You can’t see what’s in there most of the time. When the freezer is on the top or at the side, you can stack things properly and see what you’ve got. I have no idea what’s at the bottom of mine, so quite often I buy new frozen stuff, not realising I’ve already got some.

Time I replaced my fridge, I think. I bought it when I moved here in April 2013 and chose Panasonic, but although it works (and there’s never any frost in the freezer), it had a bad rattle for a long time. That seems to have gone away, but for how long?

I have a problem, though, in that the fridge space is only 850mm wide. Nearly all new fridges are 910mm wide, that’s in the French door style that I want. There’s no prospect of widening the space – not feasible. Therefore my choices are severely restricted. However, LG makes one that would fit, if tightly.

LG 594L Slim French Door Fridge, in Matte Black Finish, GF-B590MBL
GF-B590MBL
594L Slim French Door Fridge

It’s 835mm wide x 1787mm high. I have to be able to get my hand in beside the left side, because there are light switches there. Although I love the design of this house, the placement of light switches is just stupid. A couple are way in on the inside wall of a room, so that you have to enter the dark room and reach for the switch. In the main bedroom, there are overhead lights for the bed, but the switch is on the opposite wall. If you want to use the overheads, you have to get out of bed and cross the room to turn them off, then go back to the bed in the dark. Brilliant design. The result is, they never get used. I’ve actually bought a new wall plate with an infra-red remote control, but because it’s made in China, it doesn’t fit the existing hole in the wall. Must get onto that.

Anyway, the other reason I dislike my existing Panasonic fridge is that the door opens from the left, meaning against the wall. A French door fridge would allow me to mainly open the left door, so it’s easier to get at things.

I’ve always preferred white appliances and didn’t want black, but I’m surprised at how good the dark finish looks in the flesh. It’s not jet black, it’s just a dark grey brushed stainless steel. I like it.

Getting back to freezer storage, although the freezer is at the bottom on this one, it’s all slide out drawers so you can pack things properly. RRP $2799. Should be able to get it cheaper. Yes, $1,986 from Appliances Online, including delivery and removal of old fridge. Hmmmm.

I wish I could justify the in-door chilled water and ice dispenser, but you pay another $600 for that and it takes up a lot of internal space in the left door. No, I can make ice in the freezer compartments for $0.

Get out the back, Zak

Nice, eh? It’s a dove found only in Vietnam and Thailand.

Humid, 28deg, quite cloudy. Got a bit of rain last night, which is always welcome.

Re the above dove or the dove above, the notes say that there is actually no taxonomic difference between doves and pigeons. Pigeon = dove. I didn’t know that! I’d always wondered. However, I wonder what the doves and pigeons say, because they look different.

Cocky conversation.

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Huh, WordPress has changed fonts again. Both the title font and the body font are a flavour of Helvetica. I wonder what I’ll see when I publish this. I do not like this editor or the way they keep making changes.

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I’ve just come from the doctor – it’s another bladder infection. Nothing serious, just a bit stingy and should be cleared up by an antibiotic. But he was concerned enough to send me for a CT scan yesterday. I don’t know the result yet, but we talked about how quickly we can get tests done here. He’s from the Philippines and said you can get fast results there if you can pay, but it you can’t, you wait. He’s also trained in the UK and said doctors there have been told no hip or knee replacements are to be requested until further notice. They’re snowed under. But what is the GP supposed to tell the patient in pain and immobile? Once again, if you can pay £12,000 (AU$21,818) you’ll get one, but who can afford that?

However, I’m a bit peeved at having to wait nearly two months for an appointment to have my cyst looked at. It’s painful now, and getting bigger, deeper and bleeding a bit. I’m worried. There’s going to be a helluva scar (right temple).

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I can’t believe the stupidity of some people. There’s a big black sign outside the polling place nearby for the Anti Compulsory Vaccination Party in the state election tomorrow. Anti Compulsory Vaccination? What are they talking about? Vaccination is not compulsory. Maybe I don’t understand. Do they mean for kids? MMR and whooping cough and things like that. Well, if you object to these vaccinations, take your children and go and live in the desert. The stakes are too high to have potentially highly contagious kids running around.

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The election is going to be interesting. The Liberals just don’t deserve any success because they are just not competent. At their press conference to announce the costings of their election promises yesterday, they weren’t ready! They didn’t have their figures ready and were just an embarrassment. They humiliated themselves. This was a repeat of Colin Barnett’s performance in 2013, I think it was, when he announced they were going to build a canal from the Ord River Dam to Perth! Quite apart from the simple impossibility of the physics, when he showed the cost, immediately the journos could see that the figures were wrong. Yet all he could do was stonewall. “No, they’re not. No, they’re not.” They bloody well were wrong, but he humiliated himself.

This is the party that calls itself the party of business, representing big and small businesses. Yet they can’t even do simple arithmetic. They paid a high power accounting firm to certify their numbers yesterday, but the accountants had to state that all they’d been asked to do was check the numbers, not balance them. So what happened? Blundering, bungling, embarrassing crap at the press conference. What a joke. They do NOT deserve any election success at all tomorrow.

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The saga of the misfiring Verada is unresolved, but at least it’s running normally. Yesterday I was going to use the Honda with the new battery, but wouldn’t you know, when I tried to start it, all the warning lights came on, and the radio, but nothing but “click” when I turned the key. Damn, damn, damn! I had to use the Verada, with my heart in my mouth, but I drove it for about 10km with no trouble. The fault’s gone away.

I was going to take it to the RAC in Joondalup but not today. Next week. (Yeah, procrastinating again.)

I measured the Honda’s battery and it showed 12.56V, so it should have started the car. I put the battery on charge and it’s a showing full now so I’ll have another try at starting it tomorrow. It’s possible it didn’t think it was in Park.

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I’ve got another 14yo kid to do some work for me. He advertised on Neighbourhood and called around yesterday to talk about the work. I thought he might start right away but no, he has a busy weekend and wants to start on Monday.

When I asked what he wants to be paid, he just said $35, i.e. for the whole amount of work I showed him. He estimated 3-4 hours, so I don’t mind. It’s just some weeding at the front, garden cleanup at the side, spreading some garden soil at the back and cleaning the patio windows. If he does all that for $35 I’ll be happy.

Crumbs, 14 years old but he’s as tall as me and weighs not much less. As I said to him, the previous kid brought his mum to check me out, but this new kid could bash me up if he had to. He’s big. Blank face too, not very bright.

Assault and battery

Books I’ve read, awaiting disposal.

The photo above is in response to a Facebook post today with a cartoon in favour of reading. You don’t need to persuade me. I’ve read all those books in the past eight months or so, and more. There are still quite a few piled on my bed, next to my bed and back in the bookshelves. Yes, I like reading. But I keep buying books before I’ve got around to reading the ones I’ve got. Hah.

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Oooh, what a gloomy day. Clouded over, little breeze, no rain, humid, 32deg. Warm last night – I nearly put the aircon on, but resisted. I got my latest power bill a couple of weeks ago and despite the solar power, it still cost me about $170, although I can’t be sure due to the arcane way the billing is shown. However, due to the Labor government’s $600 power credit, it didn’t cost me any payout so I’m happy.

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Only two days to election day and Labor looks like doing well, to put it mildly. They deserve to win. That’s the point, the Liberal government of Colin Barnett 2013-17 was a disaster, leaving the state around $35 billion in debt (when they had been left a balanced budget by the previous Carpenter Labor government!). Labor replaced them in 2017 in a landslide because people were fed up with the Liberals’ incompetence, financial mismanagement and broken promises, aka lies.

Labor has delivered on their promises, of good government and competence. They got the state budget back into surplus in this, their first term and are reducing that massive debt. This, despite the shock of the pandemic. They are widely praised for their competence and leadership in keeping WA virtually free of the COVID19 virus. We had a couple of lockdowns, one at the beginning, last March, and a week-long one about a month ago, but WA is free of restrictions and people appreciate it.

I’m looking forward to Saturday evening to see just how much Labor wins by.

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Pet peeves time. One of the most common words being said and written during this pandemic is pre-existing. Pre-existing? Please tell me, how can something existing be pre-existing? If it exists, how can it be pre-existing?

Next one: pre-prepared. Airline meals, soup kitchen meals, school meals are all called pre-prepared. Of course they are! That’s why they’re called prepared in the first place. Why add pre in front?

Next: an Americanism that’s being picked up and adopted here – acclimated. Why not the word we already have, acclimatised?

Next: the word shown seems to have been forgotten. People have showed good behaviour. He has showed how to do it. Show, showed, shown – the correct word is shown.

And the usual ABC rubbish: sink, sank, sunk. The ABC nearly always says “The market sunk today.” No it didn’t, it sank! Just like your standards have sunk, ABC. This also applies to drink, drank, drunk.

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In this brouhaha (Etymology Dictionary: 1890, from French brouhaha (15c.), said by Gamillscheg to have been, in medieval theatre, “the cry of the devil disguised as clergy.”) about Meghan and Harry, the royals are worried about her colour?? What colour? To me, she’s just got the kind of suntan and skin-tone we all wish we had. I don’t see any “colour”, in the racist sense. She’s beautiful, gorgeous, lovely. What more do you want? Many of the world’s most beautiful women are darker than her. So what? If she was criticised for that, then what a rotten family to marry in to.

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Damn, my lovely Mitsubishi Verada has let me down. I bought it as a cheap second-hand car in November 2018 for $1,250. I knew it had been in an accident but it had been fixed up, looked OK and ran well and I’ve had almost no trouble. I’ve replaced the brakes and exhaust and had the roof lining replaced. Plus a new rear tail-light assembly.

But ever since I’ve had it, about once a month or less it would give a big mis-fire, just once, for less than a second, then carry on as if nothing’s wrong. But it was so intermittent, like once a month, even once in two months, that I knew it would be impossible to reproduce to be able to fix it. The “Check Wallet” (Check Engine) light had been coming on intermittently for months, but I assumed it was the power steering fluid being low, and it didn’t affect the driving, so, like Penny in Big Bang Theory, I ignored it. Ha!

Until yesterday. It died at the lights just near here, but luckily started again straight away, but then did it half a dozen times more while I got it home. Even backing into my garage, it died four times.

So yesterday I called the RAC. The guy brought out his fancy OBD analyser but no luck – “Cannot communicate.” He tried a much smaller, cheaper OBD reader – same thing. The engine ran fine for him, of course. It stopped once while we were doing something else, but it started again OK and continued running. He said there was nothing he could do until the fault showed but suggested I get it transported (ie trucked) to the Joondalup workshops and they can do a full test, looking for diagnostic problems.

He emphasised that with my membership level, it would all be at no cost. The trucking, the diagnosis, all “free”. I said to him that along with HBF, I am extremely pleased with the service I get from my membership. (It’s 55 years this year. I deserve a medal, I reckon, or at least an elephant stamp.)

While he was here, I bought a new battery from him for the Honda. It cost $204. That will teach me to be more careful about ensuring there’s nothing draining the battery when I’m not using the vehicle much, and to keep it on the charger. He took the old battery away for me as well, saving me a trip to the dump (recycling centre, I should say).

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The shocking story from federal Parliament House just shows how what goes around, comes around. The bad things you do come back to bite you, sooner or later. The man in question, the Attorney General Christian Porter, made a big show of his macho swagger when he was younger and in law school at the University of WA. He wrote things in the law school’s magazine about how he was going to “smut his way” through uni, and wrote derogatory things about women, even then. Drew a stick figure of himself with a huge dick and balls. Was alleged to be a member of a male parliamentary group calling themselves the Big Swinging Dicks.

A talented woman has accused him of rape when they were 17 and 16 and she has died since by her own hand. That alleged act, if it happened, ruined her life to the point where she ended it. We can’t directly blame him and he denies it ever happened, but since she is gone and never submitted to a police interview, then he can maintain his denials to eternity because there were no witnesses and no evidence.

In these circumstances, and given his track record, who do I believe? One guess. He’s getting what was coming to him. He’s got two failed marriages and two children as well. Nice guy. Not.

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Speaking of Penny, would you believe I’ve started watching The Big Bang Theory again? I find I never tire of the jokes, which are very, very good, and it just gives me a comfortable feeling after seeing and hearing all the bad news all day. I remember watching this show at least ten years ago and it’s been shown on Nine, then repeated on Seven (even while still being shown on Nine, remarkable), and now it’s being shown on Ten too. Not surprising – it’s a ratings winner, I would say.

I just finished watching all twelve seasons on Netflix, around 240 episodes, and now I’m starting again at series 1, episode 1. I’m a tragic.

Prattle, prattle, blah blah blah

Cute, eh? Bali 2017 © PJ Croft 2021

The seasons they are a’changin’.

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When I first moved out here, to the “Deep North” in 2013, I was plagued by very weak digital radio reception with lots of fading. I bought auxiliary antennas with some success, but not much.

Then about three years ago, it improved greatly, to the point where I thought, “No problems.” The fading was gone. Great.

But about three weeks ago, something changed and now the fading is back. I can hardly get DAB+ reception on my bedside radio any more. It’s not the radio, the reception has deteriorated on my car DAB+ receiver as well, whereas a few months ago I was remarking how good it was.

At first I thought it might be some quirk of the change of season, with the sun angle interfering, but I’d expect that to vary with the time of day and to have gone away by now. I believe there’s a repeater for these northern suburbs up here somewhere. I wonder if there’s some problem with it. This is just VHF reception at about 206MHz, so it’s not exotic or difficult.

I think I’ll have to do some Googling and try to contact someone. It’s quite possible that there may be a fault in the repeater, but like me, everyone assumes it will come good and doesn’t speak up.

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Damn, I’ve discovered another drug that I need, but causes me insomnia. I’ve got some Prodeine, a mix of paracetemol and codeine, that was prescribed for me around 2017. I need it for the chronic pain in my feet from diabetic neuropathy, and also an ongoing ache in my left foot from the pronation. It works! It’s very slow to act, taking around three hours before I suddenly realise it ain’t hurting any more.

But I’m sure now that it causes me insomnia. I hardly slept at all last night, same as the night before, when I’d taken the Prodeine both nights. Normally I can sleep quite well.

So that’s another drug that causes insomnia for me (the other is Tramadol). Damn. I need this pain relief. I take Panadol Extra but it has almost no effect.

I’d be interested to try cannabidiol oil, which in theory we can buy over the counter now, but the cost! I believe it costs more than $200 for a month’s supply. I can’t see myself paying that. Oh well.

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The rotten scandals in Canberra parliament house are amazing and depressing. These guys are supposed to be getting on with the job of government, but mostly they are either rootin’, tootin’ or shootin’. They cannot be putting their full attention to their portfolios and departments.

The man in question at the moment condemned himself by his own writings and words when he was in law school at UWA in the 1980s. He wrote things in the yearbooks that he should have been ashamed of at the time and was known for his arrogance and misogyny then. Now it’s come back to bite him. He’s also been through two failed marriages, with the devastating consequences on his children. He was accused of another lot of bad behaviour last year, and now this. Yet he’s the Federal Attorney-General! How can anyone deal with him with any sense of decorum or respect?

Never forget, this guy was responsible for most of the unlawful Robodebt scheme that wrecked the lives of tens of thousands of the weakest and most vulnerable, and led directly or indirectly to hundreds of suicides! For my overseas readers, this Liberal (Conservative, right wing) government is wedded to the idea that if people are poor, it’s their own fault and if they are getting social security, they are probably cheating the system by understating their income.

So this nasty government came up with a scheme of using the department’s computer records to make welfare recipients prove their incomes, from all sources, going back seven years. They had to try to come up with pay slips and tax records, by contacting multiple previous employers if they could. If they couldn’t prove their incomes (could you?), then the government used an averaging method, based on assumptions, and hit the weakest, poorest in society with massive, multi-thousand dollar bills, payable on demand.

But slowly, over a period of years, a Melbourne law firm gathered evidence and led a class action law suit that finally proved this scheme to be UNLAWFUL! Yes, the attorney general, the chief law officer of the land, was running an unlawful scheme that led to hundreds of deaths. The commonwealth government is having to pay back over $1.2bn of debts to these poor people. It’s a bit late for the people who killed themselves.

This caused huge distress throughout the community and as I said, led hundreds of people to commit suicide! The head of the department at the time and the main instigator of this scheme is the man who is now pleading for us to believe him and to give him the benefit of the doubt! The gall! The sheer hypocrisy.

This is the most corrupt government in the history of this country. If you need any evidence, see https://www.mdavis.xyz/govlist/ It’s shocking, absolutely shocking! How can you vote for this slimy, stinking, criminal mob?

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Early bird

Great shot. Not mine. Perth city last week. Photo © ABC.

Phew, quite humid today, but very pleasant. No rain.

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I voted today. Yes, eight days early. I had been thinking that it’s walking distance to Butler Primary School, which is the usual polling place, but I wasn’t looking forward to the walk, then shuffling along in a long line, then walking back again.

But when I checked the places where I could vote early, I found that there’s one right across the car park in the main street, right here. Easy walk. And when I went there, there was no queue at all, straight to a clerk’s position and bingo, it was all done in five minutes.

Even the voting is easy – this time Labor has the donkey vote in the bag. They have the number one spot (for John Quigley, the A-G) and they want us to number 1-2-3-4-5-6 straight down the form. That puts the Liberal candidate at number 3 but that’s better than an anti-vaxxer or a WAXIT (secessionist) or some other looney. So that’s good.

For my overseas readers, we have compulsory voting in Australia, and I’m all for it. Compulsory voting is not quite correct – it’s simply compulsory to attend, have your name ticked off the list and take your voting slips. What you do after that is up to you. If you want to leave them blank, or scribble all over them, or write some angry obscene words on them, you can. As long as you attend, get marked as such, and put your slips in the box, that’s compulsory voting. It’s not hard.

Anyway, even if that’s too much for you and you don’t attend, the fine is only $20.

Compulsory voting is important! Just look at the USA and the UK. In the USA, only about 46% of people bother to vote (I think that’s right). That means a government or president can be voted in by only 24% of the population and candidates or parties with big budgets can use their financial resources to effectively buy votes Also, and I find this incredible, almost unbelievable, state governments can pass “voter suppression” laws. These are laws that require people to have certain documents or fit certain legal requirements in order to vote. Guess who these laws are aimed at – yes, black people and unemployed or low income, low intelligence people. What a rotten country.

In the UK, they have “first past the post” voting, meaning the candidate with a simple majority of the votes wins. That means that if there are only five candidates, for example, the candidate who gets 20.1% of the votes wins, even though 79.9% of the voters didn’t want him or her. This is ridiculous. Britain is supposed to be one of the leading countries in the world, yet the iniquities and inequalities in the UK boggle my mind. Not to mention the blundering and bungling in this time of COVID19. Thousands of people have died because of Boris and the Tories’ ineptitude.

No, “compulsory” voting is the best system, least open to corruption. Long live.

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After I voted I went next door and booked myself an appointment for Saturday 17 April. What appointment? That’s the day of our high school reunion and since I’m going all dressed up, I’m having a complete makeup job. Yeah, knock ’em dead.

I also said I think I’d better do a trial, so I’m going to make another appointment for a week or two from now. The cost is $85, about what I expected. But when you think it only lasts one day before you wash it all off, phew…

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I’m certainly not going out much. Look at the lack of activity in the second part of the month. Saving money on fuel.

And Bam! Thank you ma’am

© Getty Images

What a change. Most of today was a normal summer day, warm 30deg, calm, light wispy clouds. Then 60-90mins ago, the clouds came in from the N-E, and lightning and thunder started and rain started, too. Yesterday we had 23mm in the 24hrs, which is above the 19mm average for the whole of March. This was the rainfall radar map at 6pm.

I’m located between Ocean Reef and Yanchep, between the 50km and 100km circles.

I love this weather. I like things changeable, not boring old sunshine all day.

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Very interesting that the federal government cabinet minister is going to front up to a press conference tomorrow and deny the accusations levelled against him by the woman who killed herself last year, after she alleged he raped her in 1988.

Well, he would deny it, wouldn’t he? I’m afraid I’ll believe the woman and all her friends who knew the story and the details she told. Why would she commit suicide if there was nothing in it?

As to who the guy is, they were at school or uni in Adelaide in the early ’80s. All you need to do is search on “cabinet minister+Adelaide+1985” or similar, and in my mind only one name comes up. However, I’ll be very interested to see who it is tomorrow. I’m probably wrong, but that just illustrates why the real culprit must out himself, so that his colleagues are not unjustly accused. What a shocking, sad, awful story.

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Oh, Windows! So much variety. It works properly one week, then the next week something changes and you have to work out what it is. I’m plagued for the last few months with long delays accessing the disk drives, i.e. i click on a drive, or right click, and I have to wait 20-30secs before it will show the contents. I didn’t do anything to make this change!! It’s obviously the disk powering down to conserve power but I don’t want that.

The latest new thing is that whenever I move the mouse pointer near the edge of the screen, or move it quickly, it moves sluggishly for a second or two and goes bing-bong, the sound. Why?? I don’t know what I’ve done or how to fix it. Grrrr.

Wham! Whack!

Cairns stormy sky 1987 © PJ Croft 2021

Wow, what a change. Right on cue, 1 March, the season has switched from summer to autumn, almost winter in fact. The sky is clouded over, it’s quite cool enough to be wearing a pullover and it’s been raining, a lot.

About an hour ago there was a flash of lightning and less than a second later came the thunderclap. That was close. But apart from another weak flash five minutes later, no more. Odd. Anyway, what a change. I slept all night on top of the bedclothes with the fan running, but I wouldn’t do that now. Too chilly. And my washing’s on the line too, getting a good rainwater rinse.

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I’m feeling a bit depressed at the number of posts I’m seeing on F/B and in all the news reports of people I know or knew who have been struck down with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. It seems to be much more prominent these days, although it’s probably because it’s out in the open now, whereas it used to be hidden by relatives.

This is a serious disease. I’m sure there are many researchers working as hard as they can and as funds permit to find a cure. Let’s hope one day we’ll be able to vaccinate against it as easily as we can for measles, pneumonia or shingles, not to mention COVID.

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“It’s one thing to sit in cabinet, the ministry, or the party room with colleagues who have no apparent compunction about using public money for partisan gain. It is quite another to sit next to a man who is accused of raping a schoolgirl but won’t stand up and face up.”

These words are written by Michael Bradley in Crikey.com. He’s their legal affairs writer and is a lawyer himself. He’s referring to the allegations against a sitting cabinet minister in this damnable federal Liberal government. One of the sixteen men sitting at the cabinet table has been accused of anally raping a sixteen year old girl in 1988, before he became an MP. She suffered the consequences so badly that she killed herself last year, but not before making a written complaint to police.

Unfortunately, her death means the likelihood of a prosecution succeeding died with her. However, the charge still stands and means that one of the most prominent men in the Liberal government committed that rape and is responsible for the death of this woman last year. Yet he stays silent! And so does the prime minister, who must know who he is. From the article, the crime was committed in Adelaide when they were in education together, so that narrows it down. Some journalist will out this guy sooner or later.

What will happen then? The government lost the vaccination-sceptic and climate science denier Craig Kelly to the cross benches last week, and so lost their one seat majority. If this rapist is forced to resign – and he should leave parliament – they will lose the balance of power. Therefore there is a strong incentive for the PM to hush things up, but how long can that last? What a crap mob.

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This is a head strap for the CPAP mask I wear to bed. In Australia, it costs me $65 for a replacement. Daylight robbery! But from Wish.com I can buy it for A$4.55 + $1.38 postage. Guess which one I choose. They’re identical as far as I can see. That means ResMed in Sydney has been ripping me off for the last 20 years. I need to replace it about once a year, so that’s 20x($65-$5.93) = $1,181 I’ve been overcharged. Bloody robbers, ResMed.

Likewise the mask itself. From ResMed I paid around $250 for an Ultra Mirage mask in 2008. But —

From Wish.com, A$38.54 + $15.62 post = A$54.16, roughly one fifth of ResMed’s price. I have actually bought one of these. ResMed, no wonder you’re doing so well on the stock market, ripping off your customers like this. And I haven’t got on to the blowers – average price in Australia, $1500, but on Wish.com from China, around $450 + $6 postage. Another saving of $1,000. I bought one locally last year. I felt I had to buy the genuine article as I was nervous about quality and warranty, but I still think we’re being badly ripped off.

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Aaaaarrrrgh, I am fed up with noisy, rasping, thundering motorbikes and cars. One has just gone by and it drowned out the music for 10 seconds or more. Yet to do anything about it I would have to have number plates and dates and times. Not feasible. Grrrr.