Death warmed up

© PJ Croft 2021

Uuurrrgh, ten days since the last post, with eight days of a bladder infection laying me low. I had a very mild one a month ago, with no symptoms and only picked up by a routine test. This one started on Thursday 14th with a fever for several hours, with very painful ‘you know whats’. I wasn’t able to get a GP appointment until Saturday 16th and he prescribed an antibiotic. I’m still on it and it makes my stomach feel upset, so I’m staying at home, near the toilet and bed. I’m not doing much writing I’m afraid.

I’m very slowly getting better but I’ve had to beg off a couple of meet-ups, I’m very sorry. As well, the atrocious weather keeps me at home. I like going out, but not when it’s wet and windy and cold, sorry. As soon as it warms up …

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Huh! Word Press has changed the font and spacing again. I do not like this dense Times New Roman. I liked the font and open spacing as it was last time I composed a post. This Word Press blogging software is CRAP! You can’t complain directly, of course, only via a forum. I don’t like it!

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I am in a bad mood, hence the caps and italics. Sorry. The pain in my feet is very bad. It would qualify as chronic pain. There is a medication solution but it’s an anti-depressant and causes me insomnia and other side effects, so I had to stop it a few years ago. I suppose I’d better make an appointment to see the pain specialist again. I can’t remember his name.

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One thing I’ve been doing is posting many, many of my photos on Facebook. I’m not sure whether that’s a good idea or not. People seem to like them but I’m worried that I’m overdoing it.

I admit it’s a “look at me, look what I can do” attitude and that’s a bit childish. But if I don’t show them, if I always keep them hidden, then what’s the point? Will people only see them after I die? No, not at all. Actually, dying won’t guarantee anything. Someone would have to make an actual move to show them, and that’s very unlikely.

Speaking of dying, it’s very heavily on my mind these days. I’m quite anxious about it, how it will happen and the aftermath. The aftermath won’t affect me, but I worry about how the division of my possessions will occur. I am getting help.

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I think I’ve mentioned this already but I’ve watched all episodes of SAS Australia on Channel 7 and I admit I like it. It’s about Australian sportsmen and women and other ‘celebrities’ who submit themselves for an SAS/Special Forces selection process, run by four former UK SAS men. Yeah, you think it’s very blokey and rah rah, but it’s rather fascinating to watch how these people conduct themselves under the extreme training exercises.

I was extremely impressed by some of the women, and one in particular, Jana Pitman. She’s a former dual Olympic gold medallist in running, who then after retirement, did medicine and trained as a doctor. WOW! She’s a high achiever. She comes across as a very nice person and someone you’d want to have on your side. She is one of the last five but runs out of physical strength and stamina at the last exercise, so has to be eliminated. Even so, she’s the only woman finalist and is to be admired.

All through, the crew are emphasising how much psychology and mental attitude play in survival. How the body can keep going, keep taking punishment as long as the mind doesn’t quit. Remarkable. One remarkable woman was Kerry Stoddart, also an Olympian and gold medal winner, who entered and did most of the course at age 53! She finally had to quit only because of an injury, but she is a remarkable woman.

There are 14 episodes with some follow-ons and I’ve watched it all and enjoyed it. NB: I only ever record it, then play it later and fast forward through the commercial breaks. The barrage of ads and promos is more than I can bear.

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I’ve mentioned the tyre pressure monitoring system in the Peugeot 407 before. There’s a pressure sensor in each tyre valve and if the pressure drops below a certain value, a warning shows on the dash display, including, if you catch it at the right moment, which tyre it is.

A few weeks ago it showed the warning and I deduced it was the left front, but I was a little surprised that it seemed to be only 0,1 Bar down from the normal 2,2Bar. A quick pump up and all was good.

Last week it showed again and I checked both fronts, with no error. Then I checked right rear and there it was, again down by 0,1Bar. Pumping it up fixed the problem.

I’m quite impressed that it shows an error with quite a small loss of pressure, and I’m reassured that you can continue to drive without too much worry. I like it.

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I’ve just taken a couple of strong Panadol and I’m going back to bed.

Winter again? Go away!

A page from my Japan book, available for purchase. © PJ Croft 2021

Brrrr, it’s been grey and raining and blowing and cold again today. What’s going on? This is mid way through the second month of Spring! The seasons really have shifted; summer hangs on longer too.

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I had to go to a doctor’s appointment in Joondalup Hospital this morning. Normally this takes only 15 minutes, almost all on the freeway, but because they’d warned me that parking at the hospital is very restricted due to building works, I left home at 0630 for an 0815 appointment. I’d slept badly, so I was awake early, so I just decided to go early.

This put me in the thick of early peak hour traffic, and I was pretty annoyed at the attitude of the drivers. The aggression! The speeding! The lane hopping! Why? The traffic is not that heavy, yet drivers, probably the tradesmen in their big 4WD utes, seem to have to overtake and push their way through. At one stage I could see a kilometre ahead and nearly all were in the overtaking lane.

Thank goodness I don’t have to drive in that each day.

As it turned out, I got parking right in front of the hospital main entrance with no trouble.

The appointment was just a routine check of my leukemia, and he didn’t find any problems. He pointed out swellings on the back end of my jaw, which I hadn’t even noticed but seem to be lymph nodes, but he didn’t seem worried about them. My vitamin D is too low, so I need to take extra, but that was all. See him again in January. That’ll be $100 please.

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I’m a bit grumpy about some work I had carried out by a pair of electricians last week. I got them via the RAC tradesman service. All I needed was replacement of five kitchen downlight globes and five LED sparkle lights in the bathroom (I mean, miniature bi-pin lights over the mirror). I had to get these guys out because the lights are offset from where you can get the ladder, and I’m not confident of keeping my balance.

Anyway, one of the replacement lamps (LED G10 bi-pin) went off again just after they’d finished up and left. I managed to wave and whistle and attract their attention and got them back. It seemed to be a bad connection on the pins of this LED lamp over the pantry door. He wiggled it around and it seemed to come good, so they left again.

But it failed again just after they left, so I sent an SMS message to the phone they had used to tell me they were coming. No response. I emailed the RAC at the address they’d used – again, no response.

Now a second lamp has failed in the kitchen. It had been buzzing (the transformer in the ceiling had) and now it’s dead. I hope the transformer hasn’t failed.

What do I have to do to get their attention? Rhetorical question – try again. But my tiny hands are frozen 🙂

I supplied the bi-pin LED mini lights for the bathroom, sourced from Wish.com. In daylight, they looked fine, but I’ve found that at night, they are too dim. I’ve noticed on the packet that they’re only 1,5W. Looks like I’ll have to buy some more, locally, of higher wattage (power). Then I’ll have to install them myself, which will involve placing one foot on the bathroom bench. I’ll let you know. If you hear a scream …

Anyway, the sparkies said the lights are covered by warranty, so I have to try contacting them again.

PS: I’ve had a call from both the sparkies’ boss and the RAC saying they’ve had my complaint and are coming out to talk to me. 6.30pm: a guy (the sparkies’ boss) came and said the kitchen lamps are old and inferior and he recommends they all be replaced with new ones which have a transformer incorporated. He says they’re about the same price as the replacement LEDs that I paid for last week. So that means I’m up for a new set of complete lamps, and their fitting. Grrrr. As I said to the guy, I’ve been in this house for eight years and this is the first time those halogen lamps have failed. And I have those lights on most of the day and evening. I don’t want to have to spend money if I don’t have to.

Anyway, he’s going to do a quote for me. I wait with bated breath.

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I’ve been posting a lot on Facebook lately, sets of images from my files numbering 57,700. Many are not for public viewing but many hundreds or more are. People seem to be appreciating them.

Now they want video too. Can do, but I’ll have to get back into video editing. I have around 2,700 video clips from the 2008 Europe/UK trip alone which have remained unused, unseen. Here goes.

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I’ve got a new USB headset with microphone now, so I hope to start speech-to-text so as to aid my writing.

I’ve been trying to get started on my memoirs for years, but to no avail. Writer’s block, big time. I’ve had an idea – to imagine I’m telling my life story to a friend. As if I were speaking to her. I think that might work and I’m quite excited at the idea. Watch this space.

Succession

Now this is a beautiful car.

Turned out grey again. After a nice sunny morning, clouds have come over and my fingers are frozen. Ah well, can’t complain, sez he, complaining again. (Now I’m ready to post, it’s nice and sunny-blue sky again. Thank you.)

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Talking about the man who has everything, I’m in the bad habit of buying DVDs but never getting around to watching them. I’ve probably got a dozen sitting there waiting for me to look at them. Stupid.

The reason for mentioning this is that I saw a short review of Succession last week, calling it one of the best TV dramas ever. Hmm, I thought, I’d like to see that. But it’s on HBO pay-TV, so I resigned myself to waiting for some other time.

Last night I decided to have a quick shuffle through the stack on my little table. You guessed it, there was a boxed set of the whole first season of Succession. Crazy! I bought it, perhaps nearly a year ago, and it has sat there, forgotten. Now it will probably wait another six months for me to watch it.

Speaking of watching TV, Fires on the ABC. Good stuff, but hard to watch. So mournful last week.

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I must stop buying “stuff”!! I’m in the process of getting rid of as much of my junk as I can. When I moved here in 2013 it was cathartic, throwing out years and years of “stuff”, clutter. I actually filled most of a 3cu.m. dumper bin. Moving into this house felt like moving into a new, clean environment. “I will not clutter it up again”, I thought. So what’s happened? I’ve cluttered it up again. It’s the way we are, I suppose.

I’ve got a kitchen full of utensils that I never use. A potato masher – never used. Half a dozen carving knives. How many does a guy need? I only need one. Two manual tin openers. And so on. Out, out.

I’ve realised that I have a wardrobe full of male clothes that I almost never wear any more. These were favourite T-shirts, so much that I had two or three of a couple of designs. But now I never wear them. Out, out!

I got rid of a favourite suitcase last week. I have a newer one but occasionally, on trips to Bali, I used to use two suitcases. I doubt that would ever happen again.

Even in my women’s clothes, I have so much stuff that my wardrobe is almost bulging. Stuff I’ve bought but never actually worn. Several garments crammed onto one hanger. Out, out! I don’t spend big money, by the way – it’s all bargain bin stuff or from Wish or the op shops.

Last year, no, 2019, I discovered Wish.com and kinda went mad. I haven’t totalled up all I’ve bought and paid them, but it would be well over $1,000 worth. Just small purchases, $5, $10, but it all adds up.

Then I had to get plastic cases, drawers for it all, so the result is all these electronic components, small motors, small printed circuit units like voltage regulators, small gears, tools I thought I’ll need for my model railway.

But I don’t think I’ll ever get around to building it. Holy moley, I’ve got about $1,000 of track and rolling stock, another $1,000 of model bits like trees, shrubs, fences, overhead lights (miniature ones), traffic lights and so on. All waiting to be put to use. But no urge. Sigh. One o’ these days, Doris.

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I see the Catholic Church is at it again. That Training Academy for Paedophiles! A report has been published in France telling of around 3,000 French priests who, since about 1960, have molested around 300,000 young children! Most of them were boys, only about 10% girls.

What a shocking, disgusting, stomach churning thing. The Catholic Church, with all its gold robes and statues, all its money, all its power, all its magnificent buildings, churches, idols to God and Jesus. Commandment: Thou shalt build no false idols to me. So the Catholic Church (and others) builds massively expensive gold plated false idols. Yet they are filthy perverts who molest children.

People, stay away from these criminals! Keep your children away. Reject this church. In fact reject all religion. Religion is evil! “Suffer the little children to come unto me.” Yeah, right – the priests are wringing their hands at the thought of playing with little boys genitals. Evil! Suffering children? They don’t care.

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Honda MDX, the same as mine, colour too.

I’ve still got my 2005 Honda MDX and although I thought of selling it earlier in the year, I don’t think I will now. I love mine. Although I have the Peugeot, that sporty coupe, I tend to choose to drive the Honda when I go shopping because it’s just so pleasant to drive. Sure, it’s big and heavy, but it’s smooth and powerful and has loads and loads of room.

Mine has these wheels.

I can hardly believe I’ve got one of these. I remember when they came out, in the 1990s I think, and I boggled at a V6 cylinder, twin overhead cam, fuel injected, on-demand 4WD in this great body. All leather:

Phwoooaaar, I thought, but at $75,000 I would never be able to have one.

Well, 25 or so years later, I got one. And I love it. Very reliable. Mine had a few small faults but I’ve fixed most of them, so at $3,000, what a buy. I won’t sell now.

I read the reviews and they say it didn’t sell well in Australia mainly due to the awful styling. What??!! I love the styling, are you crazy?

Lexus UX250h
This is awful styling. Ugh!

The only thing I don’t like is the foot operated parking brake, US style. Kicking it off is not too bad, but lifting my left foot high enough to push it on is a pain, literally.

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I’ve finally finished the latest Robert Goddard novel, The Fine Art of Invisible Detection. Hmmm, I think he’s lost it. That’s the third recent novel of his where I’ve finished it and thought, “I’ve wasted too many hours reading this book.”

Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great novelist but I think he’s getting past his prime. This one lacked tension, lacked a good story line, was far too twisty in a plot that lacked credibility. Others may disagree but I haven’t enjoyed his last three books. Pity. But if you want some great reads, just start with Past Caring, his first novel from many years ago, and you’ll have many months of good books ahead of you.

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I’m almost embarrassed to admit it but I’ve been absorbed by SAS Australia on channel 7. It’s gung-ho, military style he-man stuff, but I am very impressed by the four UK guys, ex-SAS men themselves. I don’t know if the show is scripted or whether they generate their own dialogue and ideas, but their insights and psychological discoveries about the amateur soldiers impress me.

Most of all, in this series, I am impressed by Jana Pitman. She is a double gold medal Olympic athlete in the 400m running and 400m hurdles. Then when she retired from athletics, she entered medical school and is now qualified as a doctor. Wow, wow. I am so impressed.

Now she’s the only woman remaining out of five survivors so far of this SAS test on TV. She must be tough! And she’s 1.8m tall, too, so she could beat me up. I think she’s great.

At first I thought this series was set in South Africa, judging by the mountains and scenery, but I’m realising it’s here in Oz, somewhere in the Blue Mountains in NSW, I’d say. It looks great, massive mountains, rugged cliffs, fantastic views. It makes me want to go there and see it. One o’ these days, Doris.

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Speaking of Doris, which was my grandmother’s name on Dad’s side, even though I didn’t renew my subscription to the MyHeritage genealogy web site, they keep sending me emails about links they find.

But at A$330 for a year’s data, I’m not tempted. Especially when I get something like the latest, where they’ve found a new link to “Arthur Adolph Dubois, my Great-great-uncle’s father-in-law”. Um, no, I don’t think that adds greatly to my tree. I’ve gone sideways enough. If they could go further back than the 17th Century, I might be interested, but they’re too expensive. I’m surprised they haven’t phoned me and begged me to rejoin.

And another, and another…

Japan, Ogimachi village. © PJ Croft 2021.

The title carries on from the last post, Another bad Liberal. They’re going down like nine-pins. It’s all “alleged” of course, we can’t be specific, but I’ll say it: Liberal Party politicians are more likely than not to be involved in dodgy dealing, unethical conduct, sham deals or outright corruption.

Why? Because the Liberal philosophy is: laws are for little people, they don’t apply to me, they are just a speed bump on my road to make myself and my friends and family rich. NB: my family and friends. Liberals see themselves and their immediate circle as far more important than society. They believe that anyone who has trouble “making it” in society is just not trying, not worth thinking about.

In case it’s not clear, I despise Liberals.

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Brrrr! Brrrrr!! It’s too cool. This is the second month of Spring, yet it’s still too cool and wet. The seasons really have shifted, haven’t they? Oh well, the summer is longer to compensate.

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I was supposed to be going out to meet a lady right now, but she asked to be excused due to a tummy bug.

The story is that I was in the city in February last year for a Perth Fringe Festival event, a high class strip show meant for women, especially women who like women (wink). I was dressed appropriately, shall we say. I went in on the train and arrived early on a very warm evening, so I walked up William St to a bar and had a pre-show drink. As I was walking back toward the venue (Yagan Square), a woman was walking toward me. She was alone, very attractive and also dressed in a very zany style. Our eyes met, she stopped to talk and we had a very, very nice brief encounter. She was at pains to tell me her name and asked me to friend her on Facebook, which I did immediately. We’ve been following each other ever since, for 20 months. I learnt a bit about her but would never have taken it further. Well, maybe not “never”. I had been toying with asking her to meet for coffee, just in the interests of building a bigger circle of friends.

She got in first. On Saturday I got a comment from her on one of my posts that she’d like to meet up. I moved our conversation to Private Messaging and we had a very nice chat, she being very complimentary about me. Nice! So we were supposed to meet for a date tonight, but she’s called in sick. Anyway, it’s too bloody cold.

So, wow! I’ve been asked out on a date by a very glamorous woman. That’s a first for me, although I’ve missed many signs and opportunities before. I am hugely flattered. She knows I dress as a woman and she said, “So do I.” Ha ha ha ha, GSOH. Looks like it will have to wait a week or two, but we will meet. She’s mature, with a 35yo son, but that’s good.

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Speaking of dressing female, I had lunch with six other guys I used to work with at Ch.7 last Friday and I went as Peta, dressed female. This is the first time any of them knew about it or have seen me as a woman, so I was a little nervous, but I needn’t have worried, of course. A couple of the guys didn’t even realise who I was. Who was this woman sitting down at our table?

The irony is that way back in the 1990s, it was a topic of conversation at our Ch7 lunch table in the cafeteria about a guy at Channel 10, a technician, who used to go to work dressed as a woman. This was a quite ribald topic, of course, but I stayed silent, thinking, “Good on you mate – I wish I had your courage.” I never met him/her, don’t even know her name, but I hope it all worked out for her.

On that topic, I have an appointment with a urological surgeon on Wednesday morning. Nothing drastic, nothing major.

Ho hum, another bad Liberal

Dieng, Java 1989. These two were cousins. I reckon I would have been on a good thing with the young lady, if I’d been able to stick around. She took a shine to me. But she was Muslim.

Well, the Bureau of Meteorology is not doing too well in forecasting at the moment. Yesterday and today were supposed to be wet, wet, wet, yet Wednesday was pretty dry and nice all day. It rained early yesterday morning, yet since about 8am it’s become sunnier and nicer.

Today’s forecast is for 100% chance of rain, 15-25mm. I have a lunch scheduled and was hoping for a fine Spring day. Which will it be, rain or shine? It seems to be a flip of the coin. (Hint: it rained.)

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Yet another court case involving a former Liberal Party politician – today a former Liberal Treasurer of WA has been charged with a potential criminal offence and is in custody (meaning he’s in a cell). This guy was once seriously put forward as the potential “next” premier of WA. This is the guy who made sexual innuendo into an art form. He quit politics under the smell of scandal. The charge relates to domestic abuse. What a nice guy.

A famous Liberal son is also in the news now for allegedly being associated with alleged dodgy property schemes.

The damning laptop which threatens to expose even more of the scandals surrounding at least one other ex Liberal politician is still being sought by the Corruption and Crime Commission.

Week after week, month after month, more and more comes out about the criminality of the Liberal Party of WA. They do not deserve to exist as a political party.

It is vital that we have a strong newspaper and journalism tradition to expose these things. I’m not much impressed by The West Australian and its Channel 7 ownership and bias, but at least there are some good journalists still trying to fight the good fight.

PS: Hah! Prophetic headlines. I wrote the above paragraph yesterday, and today yet another Liberal politician has bitten the dust. Although she hasn’t been charged with any crime, and is presumed innocent, Gladys Berejiklian, premier of NSW, has resigned. She was very, very foolish in her choice of “boyfriend”, another Liberal MP in the NSW parliament and is alleged to have “looked the other way” while he did dodgy deals.

As I said, when the mud is flying, it sticks to Liberal Party people. We need a federal ICAC!

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Speaking of fighting the good fight, I’ve long admired the US TV series, The Good Fight, shown on SBS and Netflix. It concerns a law firm in Chicago which is owned almost exclusively by Black lawyers. Except one of the principals is a white woman. I suppose it’s to hang some of the story lines on, but she does a fantastic job. This firm is left wing Democrat aligned and anti-Trump to the eyeballs. Hilary Clinton features a bit. It’s right up to the minute – the present episodes are about the storming of the Capitol and so on.

They’re into series five now. The first few series were magnificent – crackling scriptwriting, engaging stories, likeable characters. I enjoyed it immensely and I’ve got it all recorded. It’s good enough that I’ll go back and start from series 1, ep. 1 one day.

But I’m sad to say that the current episodes have descended into silliness. Several of the major characters have departed and the law firm is being rebuilt, with power struggles for who is in control.

I’ll stick with it, but it’s clear that there have been changes in scriptwriters, too. Crazy characters, weird stories. I still highly recommend watching from the start, if you haven’t seen it.

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This was 2012 but all these guys were with us today.

I’ve just got home after a lunch with six other guys I used to work with at Channel 7 for so many years. Of course, I went dressed as Peta and this was the first time any of them knew, or have seen me in my new persona. A couple of the guys didn’t recognise me until I spoke up. Everyone was very polite at first and didn’t say anything, so I had to fill the gap at one point and explain myself, to much polite laughter, but it was fine and we all had a good time. It’s a pity it was raining so much; when I booked it several weeks ago, I was hoping for a nice warm, sunny Spring day. No such luck. Would you believe, I forgot all about a group photo. There we were, all techo people and none of us thought of a photo. Duh!

I had fish tacos. Bloody hell, I could have made a better dish than that. The tacos were just three soft circles of flatbread. The fish was three small cubes (one on each flatbread), about a 20mm cube, of some tough fish that hardly tasted of anything. On a bed of chopped up red cabbage! No other vegetables. Drizzled with a dressing from a bottle. I could have done a better job!! $22.

One of the conversation points was: Who’s doing the book? Who wants to write a book about our Channel 7 days? Me, me me me, pick me. I’ve been writing it in my head for years and here is someone else thinking about it too. I’d better make a quick start because I don’t want someone else to jump in first. I say this because I know I can write interesting, lucid, entertaining prose, my memory is fantastic and I have hundreds of photos. In addition, I can lay it out, attractively, ready for publication.

I will call for contributions but I’ll have to very diplomatically say that I reserve the right to edit, in order to correct spelling and grammar and preserve the style.

I mentioned to someone (a young lady in a shop who I talk to regularly) that I need voice to text software so I can dictate. Being young and “phone savvy”, she said, hey, you’ve got it on your phone, and showed me how to use Google Docs voice to text on the phone. Shazzam! This means I could lie in bed and dictate at any time. This could work!