Still here, just …

This is a television production control area. Does it look dystopian to you?

Brrr, another cool and cloudy day. It was nice yesterday but it didn’t last and we’re back to winter, 19C today but only 17C tomorrow! Fair go, that’s too cold.

The bladder infection is much improved but I’m not 100% yet. Very tired and still in a fair bit of pain from other sources. So many jobs waiting, so little energy or drive.

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It’s not everyday you find an article about model railways in the newspaper, but this has appeared in today’s Guardian:

Highly unusual. Look at the cost – a quarter million GB pounds! That’s nearly half a million dollars. The layout is 60m long and is in O gauge, the most expensive size. Most O gauge locos cost around GBP500, or around $900. For one loco!

This guy sold a business that clearly made him a lot of money and while in lockdown in Britain, he decided to build a dream layout. He’d never built anything before, but what the hey … That reminds me, I must get onto building mine. Ha ha ha.

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My current book is

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I’ve been a daily reader and big fan of The Online Photographer blog written by a guy called Mike Johnston in upper New York State, USA. He started the blog in about 2003 and that’s when I found it. He’s a gifted writer and has been a magazine editor and contributor for many years. Highly intelligent. I don’t much care for his photography, but he probably doesn’t think much of mine, either.

Over the years we’ve actually corresponded a bit, as he takes emails sometimes, and I feel I’ve got to know him. He makes no secret of the fact that he has scraped the barrel at times in trying to make a living from doing the daily blog.

Therefore I decided a couple of years ago to pay for what I take by contributing to his Patreon page, to the tune of US$8 a month or about A$129 a year. I believe in paying for what I use.

But lately his postings were becoming more erratic, with days going by with no writings. He’s open about the reasons – ill health sometimes, the need to take breaks and so on.

But a few weeks ago he announced that he would from now on only be posting on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. That’s how it’s been, mostly, with a few extras thrown in. The reason is that he wants to concentrate on writing a book, a novel he’s been working on for some time.

I’m in a bit of a quandary, because I’m finding the blog much less interesting as a result. He’s writing about American sporting heroes, pool, American cars and so on, things that don’t interest me.

Therefore, I’m feeling less inclined to support him. So, do I continue the Patreon donation at the same level? I haven’t decided yet. I’ll give it a few more weeks and see how it goes.

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I’ve just had a knock at the door and it was an Asian guy who was very pushy, holding some literature about the MacCallum Institute. He had a lanyard with an ID card but he didn’t show it to me.

He led off by making some comment on my stomach shape (yeah, thanks a lot, mate), then pointing to the carpet, visible in my ‘computer’ room. He was asking if it’s carpet or just a rug. Huh? Huh??

Then he launched into asking me if I know about different types of cancer and if I know anyone who has cancer. Huh??!!

By this stage he was annoying me and I said, “Mate, what’s all this about? Are you going to ask me for donations?” He said “Yes”, so I said No, goodbye.

What an idiot. He came on far too strong, and the questions about my carpet? What was that about? I have the impression he was checking me out and trying to be invited inside. No mate, go away.

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Pffft! Bloody AMP, the Australian Mutual Provident Company. Once a great Aussie life and general insurance company, now a burnt out shell.

In the 1990s they de-mutualised, meaning they went from being owned by policy holders to being a public company with shares, bought and sold on the stock exchange. When they did this, they were regarded as blue chip and valuable. Policy holders were allocated these shares according to what value policy/s they held. I didn’t hold a policy but a guy I worked with did and he wanted to sell his shares.

OK, I said, I’ll take them off your hands. We agreed I would buy them at the market value, hence I got 155 shares at $20.02 per share, i.e. a total of $3,103. That was around 1996.

Since then they have steadily fallen in value to today’s price of $1.16 each!! My initial $3,103 investment in “blue chip” shares is now worth $179.80. Shit!

It’s reached the stage where we are being asked to opt-in if we want to keep our shares, or they will be sold for us and the money sent to our bank account.

If this was due to some natural disaster it wouldn’t be so bad, but it’s due to utterly incompetent and dishonest management. This once proud company was shown during the 2017 banking Royal Commission to have lied, stolen and hoodwinked its customers and employees. It was shown to be a shonky, dodgy, dishonest company. As a result, it has cost me nearly my whole $3,000 investment. I am angry, but there’s bugger all I can do about it. I’m taking the only action I can, to let them sell my shares for me. At least that way I’ll avoid broker’s fees (I hope and assume).

What a rotten company. Just another in the long list of nasty, dishonest Australian companies and businesses. I used to think Australia was free of the corruption and bad management of foreign companies, but I no longer believe that. Australian business is rotten to the core. It’s being exposed more and more every day.

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