Cutting the mustard

Near Northam 2017 © PJ Croft 2021

Aaarrrgh, I’ve just knocked a glass jar of mustard off the shelf and smashed it on the tiled floor. I suppose it’s good that the gooey mustard contained the glass and stopped it from spreading everywhere. And I was wearing sandals so my feet were not endangered. Smells quite nice, too. It was truffle mustard, but I’m damned if I could ever taste any truffles.

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I can hardly believe it but I’ve got the TV on and switched to the AFL Grand Final at Perth Stadium. That’s Australian Football League football, for those who don’t know.

I’m not usually a footy fan or watcher and since these are two Melbourne teams playing, I don’t really care either. But this is historic – the first time an AFL Grand Final has ever been played in Perth, so I thought I should at least have a glance as the game progresses. The teams are Melbourne (I think they’re nicknamed the Demons?) versus the Western Bulldogs (nickname? The Dogs, I think.) Both have red and blue colours, just different shades and patterns.

I don’t care which team wins. I have a slight preference for the team with Western in their name, but …

Ho hum. Perfect day for it, cloudless blue sky, no wind, 23deg.

PS: Melbourne won, and by a big margin. They doubled the Western Bulldogs score. That qualifies as a thrashing. Ho hum, do I care? No.

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Peripheral neuropathy, i.e. nerve pain in the extremities. Mine’s due to diabetes, but I gather it has other causes.

Nonetheless, mine is bloody bad, and has got worse in the last year or so. Head jerking, eye watering, cry-out-loud ice-pick jabs for 10 secs or so, every few minutes, often much more frequent. Constant stinging, burning, aching pain.

The treatment is duloxetine, an anti-depressant, and it works for me, but it also causes me insomnia so I can’t tolerate it. Tramadol, same. Ordinary paracetemol, not strong enough.

My latest med is Panadeine Forte, paracetemol + codeine. It works very effectively, but again, insomnia! What’s wrong with me that all these things interfere with my sleep? I took it on a day last week at about 0830 and within half an hour, I could feel it working, the pain subsiding. But I tried to have an afternoon nap and it was hopeless, I just lay there. It took about 12 hours for the “hyped” feeling to fade away.

I would definitely qualify for CBD oil, cannabidiol, which is available here now, but the cost is very high – about $200 for a month’s supply, I believe. I guess I’d better try it once to see if it’s effective enough.

Btw, I found a sufferer’s group on Facebook and joined up, but it turns out to be US based and is full of bullshit. People on there are linking it to COVID vaccination. I haven’t found anything useful so far and I’ll be bailing out.

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I mentioned that I’ve been watching a bit of commercial TV lately, such as this Grand Final coverage on Seven and the Aussie Salvage Crew, Outback Truckers, SAS Australia and so on. But good grief! The commercial breaks are so long as to be utterly intrusive. Many times I think the breaks are longer than the program segments.

When I used to do the program switching, breaks were simple, just four commercials and back to the program. Only four were allowed, and a maximum of two minutes per break, eight minutes per hour in prime time, 11 mins per hour outside prime time.

But the TV stations applied massive pressure, the Australian Broadcasting Control Board was abolished and morphed into ACMA, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, the powers were limited and commercial stations became “self-regulated”. The result is that ACMA is toothless and there is almost no regulation.

Therefore we have a promo going into a break, then at least five commercials, many times six or seven, then another promo, and another, then a “teaser” showing a sponsor’s name going back into the program. Many breaks are five minutes or more.

It’s bad enough that I don’t watch live. I record anything I want to watch on my digital HDD recorder, then replay it later to watch, pressing the >> button when the break starts. This is not FF, it’s a button that finds the next “chapter break”. This means I skip directly from the end of one segment to the start of the next. Aaaahhh.

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Going nuclear

Kids in Singapore 2004 © PJ Croft 2021

Interesting times indeed. But first, the weather report: brrrrr. My tiny fingers are frozen. It’s a fine sunny day, but Spring sprang, then has sprung back a bit. Lots of rain yesterday and last night.

Yet although it was only 15deg yesterday and 18deg today, it’s forecast to be 29deg next Wednesday. Wow, that’s a range.

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I’m sure that deal to drop the French submarine project in favour of the US/UK has been months in the planning, but what a convenient time to announce it, hoping to distract and cover up the Christian Porter scandal.

For my foreign readers, Christian Porter is my local member of the federal parliament. He’s a man of huge ego, ambition and arrogance and entered federal parliament with his eye on becoming prime minister one day, I’m sure.

But, while he was Attorney General, a huge scandal came out involving his past. It was reported on, and he chose to sue the reporter (personally) for defamation. However, for various reasons he had to withdraw the action, but not before incurring huge legal costs for himself, of the order of a million dollars or so. This was his own personal law suit so he is liable for his own costs.

Last week he told the parliament that someone, he says he doesn’t know who, has donated a sum of money, he doesn’t know how much, into a “blind trust” to help him pay these fees. He says he doesn’t know who did this.

What a crock of shit. He is a top lawyer, a former attorney-general and someone who puts himself up as a man of honour, yet he can’t see the blatant double standard. Even Malcolm Turnbull, another top lawyer and former prime minister, is shouting from the rooftops that this stinks. As he says, it’s the equivalent of some guy coming to his office with a mask on and handing over a bag of money and saying he expects nothing in return. Pull the other one!

Anyway, this was turning into a huge scandal for the government, so what better way to drown it out than to make this big announcement of a deal with the US and UK that we’re going to dump our French submarines and build our own, with US or UK supplied nuclear reactors as power plants.

Sure, it’s a big deal, but the Porter deal won’t go away. As one journalist wrote today, Memo Government, we can think of more than one thing at once, you know.

Yet another feckup by this terrible, awful, corrupt Liberal government.

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Even though I’m a total Labor man, with sympathy for the Greens, I’m not totally anti-nuclear. I’m a science guy and I know that technology exists to make small reactors that are some of the safest things on the planet, due to all the science and engineering that has been developed over many decades.

The US and UK have been running nuclear powered subs for a long time and there has never, repeat never, been an accident on a sub. Holy moley, there are hundreds of submariners and scores of nuclear subs which occupy berths in ports in the USA and UK. Do you think they’d risk this if there was any chance of a nuclear event or accident?

As for Adam Bandt (leader of the Greens) saying that we’ll have floating Chernobyls in our harbours, well Adam, I think you made a wild exaggeration there.

My comment on all this is (a) there is not a snowball’s chance in hell of these subs being combat ready for at least 15 years, until 2035 at the earliest. To think they will be ready for us to use when we need them is wishful thinking.

And (b), we can’t even get enough seamen to man our existing subs now. How are we going to get the submariners to run these things?

And (c), here we have yet another Defence Department stuff-up costing us $billions of wasted money, down the drain, on yet another failed project. The huge amounts of money going to waste on military projects in the past few decades are mind boggling. The Department of Defence has a lot to answer for. In my opinion, they are just flat-out incompetent.

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Phew, enough of venting for now. A bit of praise for a change. I hate to admit it, but I’ve been watching 7Mate (the TV channel) lately and I’m enjoying it. Ugh, this is a channel that’s aimed at the bloke down at the pub, singlet and shorts and work boots, high-vis vest, with, shall we say, limited interests.

Yet I’ve been watching SAS Australia, Outback Truckers, Heavy Haulers (whatever it’s called), and Aussie Salvage Squad.

I shouldn’t be attracted to any of them, being the kind of guy who likes concerts by the Berlin Philharmonic and intellectual dramas like Silent Witness.

But SAS Australia grabs me. Why? I confess to admiration for Ant Middleton, the main ex-SAS guy. He has charisma to burn and seems to me like the kind of guy you’d want to be around in an emergency.

Second, I like seeing the people who have put themselves up for the challenge of doing this gruelling course. Many of them come across as very interesting people, and by jingo, they must have courage to do this. One of them is a former tennis star, a woman, and it turns out she’s a doctor too. I’m impressed. In fact, many of the women are the most interesting.

Outback Truckers – heavy haulage trucking through some of the most interesting country. Seeing what goes wrong and how they fix their trucks and tyres. The shocking quality of our roads! Most of the remote townships in the north depend on big trucks getting through with supplies, once a month or so, yet the trucks have to battle corrugations, narrow roads, dust, sand, and mud! As soon as it rains up there, the roads turn into mud slides. These communities shouldn’t have to put up with this. There’s got to be a better way.

Heavy Haulers – I’m fascinated by watching how they load these enormous loads, usually much wider than the truck that’s carrying them. The skill at negotiating narrow roads and tight corners, low bridges, and the crappy road surfaces too.

The new show, Aussie Salvage Squad, is based in Busselton, WA. It’s set around another charismatic guy who with his wife, owns an enormous ex-army truck, which stupidly, they call Christopher. It has an 800hp diesel engine which drives all eight giant wheels, so its pulling power is enormous. It has a huge winch on the back which deploys steel cable about 30mm in diameter. They also have a big Mercedes Uni-mog, also with winches front and back and tyres the size of ship bumpers.

These guys will go anywhere in Australia so we see rescue operations such as earth moving machinery that’s become bogged in seas of mud, partially or fully sunk boats, beach rescues of sunken or wallowing boats, derelict cars in national parks that have to be removed from deep gullies and so on. I confess, I find it fascinating, especially when it shows places in WA.

The main conclusions I see are first, the very bad road conditions once you get out of the big cities and the costs this causes to the trucks and the people in the remote areas. Second, the damage being done to the existing roads all the time by these heavy trucks and loads. More ports so that the big loads can be transported by sea, then relatively short roads from the ports? If I ruled the world …

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My favourite photography blogger (Mike Johnston The On-line Photographer) said today that he doesn’t find sample galleries in equipment testing of much use or interest any more.

I’ve commented on his blog that I don’t find them as much use as when DPReview was based in London, before it was bought by Amazon and moved to Seattle. I loved the sample shots they got by walking around the streets of London, so much that I downloaded many of them and I go back and look, from time to time. For example:

Fuji S100fs sample.
Fuji S100fs
Fuji S100fs

I wish I could show more – this folder for this camera alone contains 158 images and I have many more folders for other brands of cameras.

These three images were taken with the Fujifilm S100fs camera, which I bought in 2008 and took on my Europe trip. Even though it’s 13 years old and way out of date, I won’t part with it. I still marvel at the sharpness of my photos from that trip, and with a fixed lens of 28mm to 400mm, with image stabilisation, I never found myself short. The fs in the name is short for “film simulation”, meaning it has a built in capability to adjust the output images to mimic Fuji’s film looks, like Velvia, Astia, Provia and so on. I always liked Velvia slide film, with its extra saturation and vivid colour.

A few more samples from different cameras:

Sigma DP1 (I bought one of these cameras)
Sigma DP1
Sigma SD14
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA E-PL2 (I own one of these too)
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA E-PL2
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA E-PL2

I have hundreds and hundreds of marvellous images – I wish I could show you more.

By the way, over the past few months I’ve been posting many, many of my own images on my Facebook page and I invite you to look. These are just samples, selections of, say, 16 images out of a folder of 150 or more. I have thousands upon thousands – I wish I could show more. I should set up a web site …

That day

Singapore 2002. © PJ Croft 2021

September 11, 2001. The 20th anniversary of that terrible day in history.

In terms of number of deaths, it doesn’t rank with other calamities and atrocities. More Jews would have died in the gas chambers and civilians in the fire bombings in WW2 Germany than the number of Americans who died in the towers.

It was the shock of how easily these religious terrorists were able to bring America to its knees that hurt so much. And the way it was so visible, and so front and centre, in your face in the news that made us take notice. There have been worse mass killings recently, but they are not covered by the news media in the same way and are not so spectacular, so we note them and lament, but then we move on. I’m thinking of the atrocities in Burma involving the Rohingyha and the Uyghyurs in western China and the religious purges of Muslims in India and the list goes on and on. These are also terrible crimes involving mass deaths, but they don’t involve America, so Americans largely don’t care.

That’s the thing, Americans only care about the things they know about, and for a country so profoundly ignorant of anything outside their borders, well, it doesn’t get covered.

If President George “Shrub” Bush hadn’t been in power, we would be so much better off today. His decision to punish the terrorists by invading Iraq, not Afghanistan, was one of the most monumental mistakes in history. The cost was more than 100,000 Iraqi civilian lives and over 5,000 US soldiers’ lives. US soldiers are still dying today, at the rate of eight suicides a day, due to that mass murderer’s decision, along with the other mass murderer, Donald Rumsfeld. He’s now burning in hell, but Bush is still to face the music.

Our little man, little Johnny Howard, Bush’s boot licker-in-chief, committed us to the war in Iraq without any consultation with parliament, and so we’re still bearing the consequences today. We lost brave men in that futile war too and like the US, we’re seeing former soldiers take their own lives at an alarming rate now.

So typically for the USA, they think 9/11 is all about them, but they have thought they have the God-given right to invade and kill in other countries for the past century. They only have themselves to blame when they get some blow-back.

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The twin-towers happened on a Monday evening our time in Perth. New York is 12 hours different, so 9am in New York is 9pm previous day here.

I must have been watching a VHS movie on that Monday evening, I think, because I didn’t see anything on TV and went to bed in blissful ignorance. It was only when I awoke and heard the ABC news next morning, Tuesday 12th, that I realised what had happened. I was hearing something about the World Trade Centre collapsing. Whaaaht? So from then on, I was glued to the TV.

Dad had died only a few weeks beforehand, at the beginning of August, so I was still feeling pretty fragile from that, but for the rest of that Tuesday I remember feeling very depressed about this spectacular tragedy. I went out to the shops just to get out of the house and among some people. It helped a bit. The feeling didn’t last and the next day I felt better, but I will agree I felt great sympathy for Americans that day. Tempered by, as I’ve said, feelings that they must have expected some kind of revenge for all the things America has done.

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I’ve had a long phone chat with one of my favourite cousins in Brisbane today. We’re both electronics men, he nine years younger than me at 64, and still working. As he says, he feels no pressure to retire because he’s still on top of his game and I don’t think there are many young Turks looking to take his job. As I said, if you’re still enjoying the work, then just keep going.

We were talking about how great phone cameras are these days and I should have mentioned a little gadget I’ve just bought –

It’s called a CapGripImpact, and it’s a grip for your phone. I’ve found I don’t use my phone for photos much because I can’t hold it easily and reach the photo button on the screen at the same time.

This acts as a handle for your phone. It has spring loaded grippers, like a car mount, which hold the phone and gives you a “grip” shaped like a camera grip, with a BlueTooth button for the shutter. You just pair it with your phone and then use the button as a shutter button. As you can see, the button slides out and you can use it as a remote shutter release. It works for video as well, of course.

It cost about $35. Mine arrived yesterday and it works as advertised. I plan to leave it on permanently as I’ve always had a bit of trouble gripping and holding my slippery phone. I might even consider some glue or double sided sticky tape to ensure it stays on. https://capgripimpact.com/

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I am the original “Man who has everything.” I’ve been watching mechanical stuff on YouTube recently and thought a power screwdriver looks like a real handy thing. I must get one of those, I thought.

So I was rummaging in my closet just now and found a box on the shelf, containing, you guessed it, a battery operated power screwdriver. Hah. I’d forgotten I had it. It’s only an Aldi WorkZone cheapie but I’ve found their tools to be very good quality. And cheap!

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I think I need to get out more. I’ve developed a caveman habit this winter, staying at home and not going anywhere.

As well, lately I’ve started driving the Honda MDX a bit too, and I’m realising what a pleasure it is to drive. So, combined with hearing on the radio how great the wildflowers are at the moment, due to the wet weather we’ve been having, I think a trip must be in order. Nothing planned as yet, and this coming week is still forecast to be wet, but it has to be soon.

I used to drive quite a bit and it’s a long time since I felt that open road feeling.

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Another car has just gone past and blown its horn! What is it with people around here? I hear horns being blown many times a day, every day. It’s against the law. The law says you can only blow the horn if in imminent danger of a collision. I saw this car – I can see the roundabout from where I’m sitting as I type, and there was no danger of a collision in this case. It was just a driver blowing the horn to say, “Hi.” Not good enough, not allowed.

Warmth!

In the Long Bar of the Raffles Hotel, Singapore 1992. PS: Holy smoke, that’s near 30 years ago!

Aaah, I can open the front door and feel a warm breeze for the first time in months. 30degC today, lovely. Yet it’s only a few days since we had rain showers, and a couple of days to the next lot, but sure enough, my neighbour was out with the hose, watering his garden this morning. What is it with these garden watering zealots?

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Spring, sprang, sprung – I will spring, I sprang, I have sprung. For goodness sake, stop saying the economy sprung! It sprang, dammit.

It’s the same with drink, drank, drunk – I will drink, I drank and I have drunk.

Sink, sank, sunk – the ship may sink, it sank, it has sunk. Not “The ship sunk.”!

Sink, sank, sunk,
Who woulda thunk,
That the media,
Would write such garbage junk?

The standard of English is in decline. The millennials working with words these days should demand their money back from the schools and colleges, because their teachers have failed them. They have failed to learn proper English. It’s a disgrace.

Why does it matter? Because we stumble over their coarse grammar and spelling, needing to go back and re-read their words to be sure we understand their tortured prose. When I say we, I mean we who take pride in being correct.

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Speaking of colleges, on listening to ABC radio this morning, we were told of yet another case of a teacher at various Catholic schools in WA and later, South Australia, who was a paedophile, a sadist and a sexual predator on young boys.

This man was a teacher at religious schools and colleges, including the most prestigious, such as Aquinas in Perth, who was later accepted into the Catholic priesthood, who taught hundreds of boys, and who daily wielded a leather strap to the point of sadism. He occupied positions up to principal of these Catholic schools and colleges.

The speaker this morning was Dave Kelly MHR, a current minister in the state government, who said he was one of the many boys who suffered this abuse and feels he has to speak out. The teacher he named has died, but the point of speaking out is that he, the state government minister, has tried to get the colleges and the Catholic hierarchy in WA to “open up”, to own the problem and to tell what they know and make contact with all the former students, but they refuse.

This is yet another example of the cover-up being waged by the Catholic church over the hundreds, thousands of examples of sexual and physical abuse of children by priests over many decades.

On the ABC News website this morning is a long story about the almost incredible crimes of the Catholic church in Canada, where mass graves are being uncovered, unmarked, but containing thousands of buried children. Again, it’s a horrific story of child abuse and torture by the church. The upper levels of the church hierarchy knew, yet they kept silent and condoned it.

When I grew up, we were in a very religious family where we were taught about Heaven and Hell and Jesus and Satan. The message was that Satan was ever present and if you did wrong, you might go to this Hell, somewhere underground, and Satan, although invisible, was ever watchful and waiting to ensnare youngsters like us.

Well, I lost religion many decades ago and my view now is that we don’t need to look underground for Hell, or through the mist for Satan. They are right here, right now, in organised religion. These churches are evil personified, hell on earth. They are paedophile training organisations. If a man grows up wanting sex with boys, well, he knows, just join the church and become a priest. It’s not just men, women became nuns and abused girls too.

What gets into people? And when is the church going to be fully held to account, especially the Catholic church?

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Planned obsolescence department, or, did you think your product would last beyond next month?

Have you noticed Nespresso’s ads for their coffee pod machines lately? You know the shape, like a cutoff cone at the bottom.

Well, notice the shape of the pods in the ads. They are a different shape. Now they’re shaped like a hemisphere, a half dome.

Which means they probably won’t fit in your existing machine. Neat, eh? You’ll just have to buy a new machine.

Which is why I’ve never bought a Nespresso machine or bought their pods.

PS: I’ve since realised that the new shape pods are for a new machine they’ve just introduced. OK, so they don’t break the old models, but you can see the strategy.

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Unfortunately my multi-pod machine is still busted (because I haven’t fixed it), so I’m forced to use coffee tubes. I quite like Moccona Extra Strong. Unfortunately they some have sugar in them, but are not too sweet.

Which leads on to – Nestle 98% Sugar Free Latte coffee tubes. I bought a packet of these yesterday, 10 tubes for $3.50, but sugar free? They have <2% sugar, but only when you think, “This is too bloody sweet!” and read the fine print do you find that they add artificial sweetener! To me, they taste sweeter than coffee with sugar.

I can’t tolerate them so today I wrote to Nestle.com.au and told them to stick their tubes. I’ve had an acknowledgement but I await a further reply.

PS: Wednesday – Nestle have replied saying they’re sorry I don’t “love” their product, but nothing about changing anything. Instead, I have to send them my full street address and home phone number and they’ll send me a voucher, which has to be activated by me generating a PIN code on their web site, and so on. NO NO NO, forget it. I’ve tipped their “lovable” but sickly sweet coffee into the bin and vowed never to buy it again.

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Which reminds me – I bought a software program a couple of weeks ago, Topaz Sharpen AI. The AI stands for Artificial Intelligence, of course.

Well, apart from being pretty damn slow, how about this?

As well, it tells me there’s an upgrade available, would I like to download and install it? Unfortunately, the process throws up an error message and won’t go any further. I’m pretty fed up.

I’ve emailed them and their answer is to go back to an earlier version, and await further communication. I’m not happy. US$49.

Warming up slowly

Deepavali Indian festival, Singapore 1986. © PJ Croft 2021

Bloody cold, wet and windy on Sept 1, cool and grey Sept 2, sunny but cold 16deg Sept 3 and now sunny and clear but cold enough that I’ve got the heating on in the daytime.

Yet it will be 25 on Monday and 28deg on Wednesday, I think. Wow. Changeable.

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Singapore 2004 © PJ Croft 2021

For the past 4-6 weeks I’ve been posting many samples of my thousands of images on my Facebook page, especially the ones I’ve put into book form. I’ve done 13 books total and five CDs and DVDs.

I’ve deliberately included the words about the books, “Available for purchase, A3 size, 40pp, hard cover” and similar for the CD/DVDs. I don’t specify a price but it’s about $40 for an A3 book.

I’m getting a lot of love from my F/B friends and readers, lots of likes and some praise.

But NOT ONE person has made any enquiry about purchasing. Not an iota of interest. I’m dumbfounded. Especially after I bought two copies of a book one of my former work colleagues had made earlier this year. Does he return the favour? Nope.

For years, people have said, “Gee, you ought to try and sell these.” Well, I bloody am trying, but I have never been able to sell anything except a few copies of the Croft Histories to family members.

I can’t even give them away! Some years ago (2001, actually), I offered a framed print of any of my photos to two people, as a gift. They just said, “No thanks.”

I was and still am fucking insulted. What a nasty attitude. Even if you don’t like my images or style, you don’t refuse an offered gift!!! They could have taken their gift and put it in a cupboard if they found it too horrible to look at, but not these two fucking idiots. I am hurt and upset.

And speaking of refusing gifts, about five years ago I made copies of two of my best DVDs and gave them as gifts to five friends at a coffee morning one day. I’d gone to a lot of trouble, recording them as BluRay HD discs and printing sleeves for the DVD cases.

When I handed them out, hardly anyone commented or thanked me, except in a brief manner, and no-one has ever said they played the discs or made any comment. And one woman handed them back to me at our next meeting, saying she hasn’t got a BluRay player and so can’t watch them, so, no thanks, here are your discs back. Fuck me dead!!! How bloody rude! She didn’t have to say anything.

I despair. Yes, I am very sensitive, but …

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Books. I did tire of World War 3 books somewhat and picked another one about a future cyber war, initiated by China, of course. The author is John Birmingham, a Brisbane journalist. I’ve read three of his earlier books and found them so good that I re-read them a few years later. I liked his writing, in other words.

But this one —– sorry John, I’ve had to bail out. The story line is good, but while I’m reading I’m thinking “Get to the bloody point!!!” His narrative is so dense, so clogged up with byways and characters that I’m thinking, “What the hell is this? Why is this person in this story? I don’t care what brand of hair shampoo she uses or what alcohol he drinks.” It just rambles on and on, in flowery prose, lively, to be sure, but I’ve got bored, I’m afraid. Sorry John.

Now I’ve started an actual paper book again, by Robert Goddard, The Gentle Art of Silent Detective Work. Strange title.

Goddard is a prolific British author who writes roughly a book a year, and has been doing so for about 30 years, meaning about 30 books and I’ve read them all. That’s how much I like him. His early books are better, in my opinion, but the latter ones are still good. I’ll automatically buy and read anything he writes.

I’ve hardly started this latest one but it’s set in Japan at the moment. I shall report.

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Music: in 50 years of hi-fi and music listening, I’ve collected about 1,100 CDs, about evenly split between classical and the rest, including electronics (Vangelis, Mike Oldfield), modern jazz (Pat Metheny, Mark Isham – very underrated), quality rock (Pink Floyd, Kid Loco), nostalgia (Beatles, Stones), MOR (Carpenters, Irish) etc etc.

Including ABBA!

I love ABBA, always have. I love the harmonies, the catchy tunes, the rhythms, everything. They got old and retired, but now they’re back! I’ll buy this new album I think, although I can just listen to it on Amazon Prime Music without having to pay any more. Anyway, welcome back ABBA.

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Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate,
That Time will come and take my love away.
This thought is as a death, which cannot choose
But weep to have that which it fears to lose.

Shakespeare Sonnet 64.

Sonnet 64 is a great example of why people always say “You should never let your past interfere with your present”. Barret argues that sonnet 64 “provides an example of past-oriented natural habitats that might interfere with the productive considerations of the future”. In other words, because the speaker is letting the past overwhelm his thoughts, he therefore cannot think positively about the future due to past habits or tendencies.

Ring true?

Spring is sprung

Near Cairns, 1989 © PJ Croft 2021

Spring is sprung
Da grass is riz
I wonder where da boidies is
Da little boids is on da wing
Ain’t that absoid?
Da wings is on da little boid

If you’re old enough to remember, Jimmy Durante.

Aah, first day of Spring, after August, always the hardest month in my opinion. Unfortunately, although it seemed wet, we didn’t make the average rainfall. Never fear, there’s plenty of time for more rain yet. It’s grey and threatening now and tomorrow is supposed to bring a real winter blast, with the possibility of snow down south.

Remember that expression? When women wore petticoats and they slipped down to below their skirt, showing the lace edge, we used to say, “It’s snowing down south.” But women don’t wear petticoats any more, I don’t think. I never see the lace edge any more. Pity.

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I’ve just been listening to two WA state Liberal officials, Peter Collier, one of the two Liberal members of parliament, and David Honey, the state director, trying to weasel their way out of answering questions about the disgusting report into the Liberal Party’s monumental loss that came out last week. The report that described The Clan, a group of four male powerbrokers who seem to enjoy wielding power by branch stacking to get their way.

They described women in the movement as the “Sandwich Makers”.

These two guys ducked and weaved and prevaricated and basically said, We’re not gonna talk. They used pathetic excuses like rules preventing them from talking. They wouldn’t talk about anything.

As the radio announcer said, OK, if that’s your attitude, how about we don’t take anything you say seriously, until you will talk about this? What a nasty, pathetic mob. How anyone can support the Liberal Party is beyond me.

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Then there was the radio interview with Senator Michaelia Cash, Liberal, who is the federal attorney-general, the top law officer in the country. Appointed after my local member, Christian Porter, formerly attorney-general and would-be PM, was forced out after those scandalous revelations.

She was talking about Clive Palmer’s latest legal challenge to WA’s hard border closure due to the pandemic. She says, we had better get used to the idea that this time, it might succeed. That the High Court might rule that WA’s closure is unconstitutional.

But she sounded very definitely as if she wants the challenge to succeed. She’s talking as if the federal government will be backing Clive Palmer, even though they wouldn’t dare.

What is it with these incredibly stupid Liberals? They seem to be doing everything they can to be electoral poison in WA.

Well, I think WA will vote to tell them to stay on their side of the border in the next election. WA stands a good chance of voting for a federal Liberal wipeout, just as we did in March in the state election. Hooray. I think there’s a good chance WA will swing the entire election to Labor next time. Yaah!

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I’ve done a big Facebook post today of images from my trips to Malaysia years ago. Starting in about 1990 I made several trips, often starting or finishing in Singapore. I have hundreds of images as a result:

Penang
KL railway station. Those four ladies in the centre were looking at me taking the photo and smiling. I sort of knew, yet I was too shy and walked away. Fool!

I used to think a lot about choosing to retire to Penang, as property prices there were quite attractive in the 1990s. Medical care is very good there due to the many doctors and nurses who have trained in Australia and take huge pride in their skills and qualifications.

Malaysia has always been an Islamic nation, but in those days it was low key and very tolerant. Alcohol was freely sold, much like here. I never felt any religious intrusion.

But how things change. Islam has now become much more prominent in Malaysia and I wouldn’t consider moving there now. What a pity. Maybe I’m misjudging; I admit I haven’t been there for all these years, relying on news reports.

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My Honda MDX has not had much use this year, basically gathering dust and costing me money in the licence fee and batteries. But in the last few days I decided to give it a drive and as you expect from a Honda, it started first go. No coughing and spluttering, it just up and ran smoothly. Pumped the tyres up, backed it out and drove it around the block to ensure it kept going.

Then yesterday I put it through the car wash. When I was stopped, and the machine started, it was uncanny. I had my foot on the brake, but the movement of the carwash machine made it seem as if the car was moving forward. I jammed my foot harder on the brake as I was sure I was going to break out forward. Of course, it was just an illusion. Phew.

It costs me about $900 a year to keep it licenced, so why do I keep it if I hardly use it? I dunno but I just love that car. It drives so nicely, even around town, and feels so solid and roomy. I’d be confident on taking it on a long trip, even though it’s a 2006 model, 15 years old. Yet it’s a Honda and it has a 3.5L V6, twin overhead cam, fuel injected, four wheel disc brakes, on-demand 4WD, air-con, power everything including sunroof, and all leather. It feels GREAT. I love it and I don’t want to sell it.

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I’d love to buy this. It’s a laser engraver, but it will cut thin materials including thin plywood. I’d love to use it to cut parts for model buildings for model railways. But 219 Euros means A$370 approx, expensive for something that would probably only get minimal use.

And how about this?

It’s an image sensor, about 20 million pixels but capable of frame rates of around 160 frames/sec. I just show it here to show the beauty of the layout. This is electronics, folks! Beautiful.