Closer and closer

Mandurah storm front, March 2002. Fujifilm 6x9cm transparency. © PJ Croft 2021

A fine Spring day, 30deg, and yet the forecast is for rain and possibly small hail – but only in the eastern and southern suburbs. Hail? In Spring?

Which reminds me, there was a map of the whole country (Australia) showing a high probability of well above average rain in the next few months. It shows that almost the whole of Australia will get it – except – you guessed it, the South West of the continent, yes, the south west of Western Australia. We miss out again.

It’s a mixed blessing, living here. We’re spared the droughts and fires and floods on the east side, but our rainfall is about half what it was 40 years ago. The change occurred quite suddenly, in 1977. I can remember it because I made a trip to the UK that year and I told a few Pommies in bars that we went for three months with not a drop of rain that summer.

At the moment we get most of our drinking and washing water from two sources: underground aquifers, and desalination plants. But there has been a news story in the last few days saying we have to get used to using even less water, because the underground sources are being used up faster than they’re being replenished, even though we’ve just had the wettest October on record. But it’s not enough.

I’m doing my bit – I’ve stopped showering 🙂 No, not really, but as I’m not perspiring and don’t need to satisfy anyone’s olfactory sense except my own, I’ve cut showering to every third day or so, about twice a week. It’s fine, I don’t pong. I’ll step it up as the weather gets hotter and I perspire more, though.

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I have around 1100 – 1200 CDs which I have “ripped” to folders on a hard drive, so that rather than physically get a disc, put it in a drive and press a button to play it, I use software on the computer.

I use a freeware program called MusicBee ( https://getmusicbee.com/ ). (This picture below is from MusicBee’s web site – it’s not my music collection.)

musicbee music management software interface

I was using another program called Helium, ( www.imploded.com ) which I liked, but they’ve just dropped support for Windows 7, so it’s goodbye from me. They do give a free version which is sort of OK, but when you try to click on a feature, it tells you you have to buy the full version. Yeah. I did actually pay for the full version a couple of years ago, but with the next upgrade I found I would have had to pay again, so they lost me.

I know I’m slow to upgrade Windows on this desktop machine but Win7Pro 64bit does everything I want at the moment and upgrading is too difficult. I know there’s a way to get the Win10 upgrade for free, but you have to update the motherboard BIOS first and it never seems to be the right time.

Anyway, back to the topic, MusicBee. This is the main interface screen:

The column on the left is the alphabetical list of every music folder (at the location I’ve specified). I tell it to scan E:\Music\MusicCDs and away it goes. Notice that “Beatles, The” shows that it contains 12 albums, meaning it groups artists with the same name in one group. My biggest collection is Mozart with 33 albums (i.e. CDs) matched by J.S. Bach with 33 and Beethoven with 26. (The grey Bee image is where it can’t find a real image.)

Notice how each CD has an image of the CD cover with it. I love this – so colourful. I don’t have to generate those images, the program either takes the small image dropped into the folder when the CD is ripped, or if it doesn’t find one, it goes out to the web and finds one itself. Brilliant. You can edit any listing and substitute any image you want, of course.

The centre panel shows all the covers in a particular folder, in this case Beethoven. Click on any cover image and you get a list of the tracks.

Double click on a cover image and it will play the whole album. Double click on any single track and it will play just that track.

But on the right is a column showing it’s in DJ mode, which plays a random selection from all your folders. It’s endless and never repeats, which means I’m enjoying everything from Mozart’s Piano Concerto no. 27, first movement at the moment to Bill Haley’s Rip It Up (appropriate) to Bridge Over Troubled Waters and so on.

My reason for writing is that one of the tracks played about an hour ago was xxxxxxx, in other words I can’t remember the title. It’s what’s called semi-classical, very choral, but not by any well known composer.

The thing is, the title is a well known one and it’s just at the edge of my consciousness. Each time I try to recall it, it comes just a little bit closer, but it won’t reveal itself. There, I nearly had it just then. If I recall it before posting this, I’ll write it in. Damn, it’s just hanging there …

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My reason for writing the above, about a fading memory, is that at age 74¾, I’m finding it harder to recall things. I’ll get them eventually, but it’s not quite as instantaneous as it used to be.

I’ve noticed for many years that stress kills my memory recall, for me. By that I mean any kind of pressure, overt or not. For example I was sitting in the doctor’s surgery last week to get some reissued prescriptions. Usually I can summon up the names, both the generic name and the chemical name, straight away, e.g. Pradaxa – exenatide; Pravachol – pravastatin; Lyrica – pregabalin; Ryzodeg – ryzodeg. Ha ha. Easy one that one.

I really want to write my memoirs, or autobiography, whichever you want to call it, while I still have the memories, but they’re slowly fading, just a little bit, and I can’t get started!

I had an idea a couple of months ago – I need to imagine I’m telling my life story to someone else. I reckon I can do that. It’s all there and it spills out when I start. It’s just starting that’s the hard part. I wouldn’t be the first writer to say that.

Another way to do it is to dictate it. A lady friend showed me a few months ago. There’s voice recognition software in an app called Live Transcribe for Android phones which uses the phone’s microphone to listen as you speak and it converts it into a text file. I just tried dictating to it and the transcription is perfect – there were NO spelling errors. This is brilliant. The only thing is, I can’t remember how to get it from the phone to my computer. I was shown, but I can’t remember. It can’t be too difficult.

Anyway, whenever I’m lying in bed my mind is dictating the story. But it’s only my mind – the phone is not on. How come I can tell this great story in my mind, but I can’t speak it out loud? Probably just a matter of getting started and practising at it, like anything.

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Phew, another close one. When I went to drive the Honda MDX yesterday, I found the driver’s side door open (in the garage, that is). That’s what I’m worried about, that the courtesy lights being on will flatten the battery again. Trouble is, I’m damned if I can remember leaving the door open. I never do that. Speaking of memory, as I was …

However, the battery was OK. I think there’s a timer on the courtesy lights. Thank goodness.

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Being diabetic, I choose sugar free soft drinks, when I’m not drinking nice cold water, that is. Often that’s Coke No Sugar, but I only have a can once a week, or maybe twice.

I just discovered a new drink yesterday in Woolies. It’s called Nexba Immunity. It’s a mixture of ginger with echinacea. It comes in 330ml bottles, strongly labelled “sugar free”, and I like it. It’s still too sweet for me, but most things are. I can taste the ginger though, which I like. $6.40 for a four bottle pack.

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What disgusting antics are being performed by the anti-vax protestors! Disgusting, revolting scumbags. What they are doing is holding the rest of us to ransom. The longer they refuse to be vaccinated, the longer we have to wait for the state borders to be opened up. That hurts all of us who took our vaccines early.

But worse than that, if they have refused vaccination, they can be virus spreaders to the rest of us. And if they get sick themselves and go to a hospital expecting treatment, they are endangering all the nurses and doctors. Holy smoke, the selfishness of these scum, the anti-vaxxers.

On top of that, the death threats against politicians! Who do these protestors think they are?

As far as I’m concerned, no measures are too harsh. They should be segregated into prison camps and left to infect each other. They should get no hospital treatment if they get the virus. Full crack down!

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