Glorious rain

Sample image taken with Panasonic FZ1000. This is my favourite camera now.

Aah, rain, glorious rain. Buckets of it. It’s raining steadily right now. We love it, we need it, more please.

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I had my second COVID booster vaccination yesterday. That means I’m quad-vaxxed now. That should stop that pesky virus in its tracks.

I was scheduled to have the annual flu vaccination on Saturday, but they’ve contacted me to reschedule, because they lost power to the fridge containing the vaccines, ruining them. It’s now set for 10 May.

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In the past few months I’ve changed my diet considerably, mainly in the quest to cut the carbs and eat more protein. Instead of cereal and fruit for breakfast, this is what I’m eating:

It’s capsicum, red onion, small tomatoes, olives, shredded chorizo sausage, feta cheese (and cheddar cheese sometimes), liberally doused with olive oil, Tabasco sauce and ground black pepper. YUM!

Lunch is usually one of the packaged four chorizo slices, plus four crackers and four slices of cheese. With either no sugar lime soda or just cold water to drink.

Is it working? Do I feel any better? No, and no. My weight hasn’t changed, maybe gone up a little, and I still feel low energy and the need to sleep in the afternoon. Sigh. At least the food tastes good.

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I’m always wary of shopping at Woolies, as I’ve written many times before. The first thing I always do when I’ve gone through the checkout is go and sit down and examine my till receipt. Recently I’ve felt they’re improving. I haven’t found many errors.

But this takes the cake:

Admittedly, it’s a short dated markdown but I bought two of them. One was OK, but when I opened the second one this morning, by sliding the cardboard cover off, I found someone had pulled the plastic covering off the salami compartment and it was empty! The cheese compartment was still sealed.

So what’s happened? Has an employee felt a bit peckish? Or a customer? Whatever, it’s pretty annoying. Do we have to check the packaging of things we buy now?

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At last, at last! I’ve got my email client, Mozilla Thunderbird working again, with access to all my folders at Gmail. I don’t know how it happened but last Saturday I got a password confused, I can’t remember how, and BANG, I could no longer see all my Gmail folders. It was because I couldn’t log in to Gmail, “Authentication failure” and I struggled with passwords for the next three days. GRRRR!!

It’s a long story, thankfully faded in my memory now, but today I had the idea of uninstalling Thunderbird and reinstalling it. Bingo! This time it worked and I can see all my folders again. I have scores, maybe more than a hundred of them stored on Gmail’s server, as I file an awful lot of my emails, anything that looks as if I might need it one day. Such as Synergy and Kleenheat bills and so on.

Actually, I’m fairly well protected because I use a program called Mailstore Home. It’s German software and the Home edition is free. I’ve been using it to make backups of my email folders for years. It’s a little obtuse to use, but you can just set it to backup your entire Gmail account and about 15 mins later, it’s done. The backup is stored on your C: drive but you can also export the backup file to a USB stick or a CD for extra security.

The backup is totally searchable so if you want to find all your correspondence for a subject, you can just search on one word such as Pemaron and in a couple of seconds there will be a list of all the emails containing that word. Or Veronika. Very handy. Recommended.

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I’ve been spending a lot of time lately watching YouTube video clips on guys doing mechanical repairs on cars. A Lot of time.

There are four guys in particular that I really enjoy – Alex on LegitStreetCars; Samrac (just search on the name); Johnny at CarNinja; and a German guy at M539Restorations. This guy is a barrel of laughs, a German with a great sense of humour. He seems to be BMW trained as that’s mainly what he works on, although he does a Jag or two.

Johnny, the CarNinja, what a nice guy! Quietly spoken, with a European accent although he’s in Kansas, USA, he mainly works on European cars, mainly BMWs. His personality just projects – you’d be happy to have him work on your car. Between these two, I’ve learnt a heap about BMWs. I know what a Vanos is now.

Alex is in Chicago, and is Mercedes dealer trained, but he seems to have left full time employment to just do his YouTube clips now. Thanks to him, I know quite a lot now about Mercedes, and especially the ABC pneumatic self levelling suspension fitted to high end cars such as the S series and the CL I remember when I thought I might be able to own a CL that everyone warned about the ABC suspension, but although it’s very complex, it’s not to be feared.

Samrac (I assume his first name is Sam) lives on a small farm in Florida, near Orlando, and what beautiful country it is. He owns around a dozen high end cars at any one time and his specialty is buying damaged cars from auction sites, fixing them up, owning and driving them for a while and “flipping” them, that is selling them for much more than he paid for them, plus the cost of the parts to fix them.

His current project is a BMW X6 with a twin turbo V8 that he bought, almost undamaged for about US$16,000. It was behaving weirdly, with flashing displays and changing itself into Park while driving occasionally, and so on. It turned out to be a blocked drain hose from the sunroof, down the A pillar, filling up with water and overflowing into the footwell, soaking the electronic modules. It took a long time to figure this out but the culprit was the power seat control module, under the driver’s seat. Once he took that out, it all came good.

I’m fascinated by all this, the diagnosis, the disassembly, the sourcing of spares and so on.

But this Samrac guy and Alex in Chicago – what motormouths they are! They talk non-stop! It can get a bit overwhelming at times, but I ain’t sick of it yet.

It gives me a bit of self confidence to do my own repairs. For example the aircon doesn’t work in the Peugeot 407. Before I watched these YouTube clips, I wouldn’t have known where to start, but now I know where the compressor is located and what to look for. I very much doubt I’ll attempt to fix it, but ya never know.

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On this theme, the Honda is going and driving well now. I thought I had a power steering fault (heavy steering and squealing noises), but a Y/T clip showing a guy changing O-rings on his power steering pump showed me where to look and what to look for. Duh! It turned out to be just low power steering fluid. Once refilled and the steering exercised a few times, it’s good as gold now. Easy.

I forgot to mention – ever since I’ve had the Honda MDX I’ve been using standard 91RON unleaded fuel. I don’t know why, I just assumed that’s what it takes.

However, when I filled up yesterday, ahem, for the first time I noticed a sticker on the inside of the fuel door saying to use 95RON. Wha…? Why haven’t I noticed this before?

Anyway, I just added the 95RON to the tank, mixing it with the 91RON that was in there already. That’ll be fine, no problem. But what an idiot I am.

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I’ve got the broken wiring for the Pug’s boot lid switch exposed now and I’m “gettin’ around to” replacing the wires. It’s quite a tricky path, needing wires to be pushed down the rubber tube connecting the boot lid to the body. I’m “war gaming” it in my mind as to how I’m going to do it. I’ll post some photos (one o’ these days).

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Speaking of photos, and Anzac Day just passed on the 25th, how about this:

Troops returning from WW2 to New York. Claustrophobia, anyone?

I have hundreds of spectacular photos that I’ve collected in recent years, into a folder I call “Great Images from the Web”. Unfortunately, most of them are copyright and I don’t have permission to show them. However, there’s no reason why I can’t make a private slide show, set to music, to show to friends.

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Speaking of cameras, one of my favourite cameras of all time, that I owned, was the Nikon F801.

N8008 was the US name for the F-801

It just fitted my hand and all the controls (there weren’t many) fell right under my fingers, such that I didn’t have to search. I gave mine away about 15 years ago to a relative (who shuns me these days, has not made contact in 9 years. I’m upset about that.)

Anyway, there was a successor, the F801S, which I never owned but would have liked to.

Well, blow me down, a guy in Mandurah is selling two F801Ss and an F801 for $150 for all three. I’m crazy but I want to buy them. But I must be mad, because (a) they are film cameras and (b) I don’t own any Nikon lenses. He says they’re OK, but you can’t be sure until you’ve shot a roll of film and had it processed. This is expensive these days – $20 or so for a roll of 36 shots and another $25 (guessing) to have it processed. Compared to digital, which costs essentially nothing.

Anyway, if I want to shoot film, I’ve already got four film cameras – Contax G1, Contax G2, Olympus OM2SP and Pentax MZ70. No, no, calm down Pete. Don’t be stupid.

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I’m finally watching the entire series of Line of Duty on Netflix. Wow, wow! This is British television drama at its finest, tough, complex, compelling, dramatic. Edge of seat stuff. Far, far better than US TV programs which are a joke in comparison. I can’t think of a single US program which compares.

I’m also watching Doc Martin right from the beginning, series 1 episode 1. This program has been around for a decade or more and I have watched it, off and on, on free-to-air. But now that I’m seeing all of it, I’m realising that I didn’t see all the episodes and/or series at the time they were aired. A lot of it is new to me now, familiar though the program is. I’m really enjoying it, second or third time round.

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