Snap!!

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I’ve written before about coincidences and how I seem to be prescient, thinking of things or events before they happen. Well, I had a beauty yesterday.

During the afternoon I was browsing my music collection on the PC (using the Helium cataloguing program) and happened to choose to listen to Beethoven’s Symphony no. 1. No reason, I just thought I hadn’t heard it for quite a while so I listened to it all the way through.

Then last night I was editing the recorded TV programs on my hard disk recorder. One of them was a movie from SBS the night before called Bad Words (an American movie about a spelling bee – it doesn’t matter). I started to play it and what should the music under the opening titles be? Beethoven’s Symphony no. 1. I shook my head in disbelief. This really is weird. There is no link, no way I could have accidentally known or heard this movie’s start. I shake my head in amazement.

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Beethoven’s symphonies are such a treasure and the sequence is so interesting. I’ve been listening to them for more than forty years and never grow tired of hearing them. At one stage in my twenties I used to be able to recall the opening bars in my mind of each of the nine symphonies. I can’t do them all now, but certainly I can still remember the best known ones.

Numbers 1 and 2 were written when Beethoven would have been hearing Mozart’s works. Beethoven was 21 when Mozart, who was 15 years his senior died and Beethoven must have been heavily influenced by him, so his symphonies 1 & 2 owed something to Mozart, although they show distinctive touches of Beethoven’s gift for melody and are delightful to listen to.

Then he broke the mould, defying the conventions with the great Symphony no. 3, Eroica, the Heroic. This was new music, owing nothing the the style of Mozart or any of the other past composers. It introduced discordant notes and powerful emotion, something new to his audiences. He still had his hearing and knew exactly what he wanted to say. The audiences were shocked at the time, but the music has more than stood the test of time. This is my favourite of the symphonies and I must have listened to it a hundred times or more in the last 40 years, always finding something new or familiar. I never tire of it.

Number 4 was something of a return to the Viennese style, more dance-like, as if to atone for his blasphemy and once more appeal to his audiences. After all, he depended on his concerts and music sales for his livelihood.

Then came the famous Symphony no. 5, the best known opening in the world’s memory: Da Da Da Daaaaah, Da Da Da Daaahhh. This once again broke new ground and was unlike anything ever written before. Its enduring popularity after 300 years testifies to its greatness.

Again in symphony no. 6 he returned to a quieter style, naming it the Pastoral, evoking scenes in the country, blue skies, birds, a lovely dance, a passing storm then a peaceful ending.

Symphony no. 7 is something of an odd man out in the sequence, somewhat bombastic but full of melody, yet not as memorable.

Symphony no. 8 is one of my favourites, especially the second movement, marked allegretto scherzando, dancelike, almost metronomic in its rythm.

Then comes the other contender for most famous, the great Symphony no. 9, universally known as Beethoven’s Ninth. It consists of five movements, whereas all his previous symphonies had only four, and introduced the human voice with the orchestra for the first time in a symphony in the famous and well known final movement, subtitled Ode to Joy. By this time Beethoven was almost totally deaf, yet he could write this, hearing it only in his mind and transferring the sounds to musical notation on paper. To me the third movement, adagio molto e cantabile is one of the most sublime pieces of music ever written.

No-one writes music like this, as great as this any more. Why? What was it about the period from about 1685 to 1950 that produced so many geniuses and prodigies, writing so much great music? Why has it stopped? Will we ever see or hear anything like it again?

Arguments invited. On a postcard please, with a money order for $10. 🙂

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I finally got around to installing four IKEA CD towers a few days ago. I’m ashamed to say that they sat there for more than two years, waiting to be screwed to the wall and the shelving to be inserted. I have trouble getting up the step ladder these days, but I got a burst of energy a few days ago and now it’s done, helped by having a small impact drill. That makes all the difference when drilling into brick. Zoom, like drilling into butter, and the drill point doesn’t have time to wander.

But I’m a bit frustrated – IKEA’s famous quality control seems to have slipped a bit. I bought these four towers at the same time, but I’ve found that two of them are different to the other two:

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Notice how the hole size is different? The one on the left’s holes are smaller than the ones on the right, and you can see by the size of the pins. The left one is half thin, half fat, the right one is all fat. All the small holes had to be enlarged to take the pins! They were too tight to just push in. Luckily I have a tapered reamer that I could twirl with my fingers because there’s no way to get a drill in there. It was very tedious. Luckily I had just the right number of pins of each size with a couple of spares.

Also, these cabinets are described as “Black/brown” but I’m damned if I can see any brown in there. They used to make a “Red/brown” which was about the colour of jarrah, very nice, but they stopped it many years ago. I don’t like this black colour – I chose it because these are against a dark blue wall, but I wish I had bought white now. Bit late.

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The saga of the Honda MDX radio reception continues. I measured the continuity of the connection between the antenna on the roof and the plug in the dash the other day and it appears to be open circuit, dammit. I tried to see where the wire from the roof would come down the body side channel by removing a rubber coupling but no luck, you can’t distinguish any wire from any other.

I suppose the simplest and most likely explanation would be a break at the plug itself, behind the radio. That’s where the most stress and movement would be. I have yet to check it. Watch this space.

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Tenth Anniversary

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Around 2001.

I just realised it was ten years in May that I started this blog, 24 May 2009. I’m up to 1,057 posts so far and I don’t see myself stopping. Happy 10th birthday, me.

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I’ve just done a 1hr drive each way to drop off the trike (the adult three wheeled tricycle) to its new owner in Alfred Cove. It turned out to be an Indian lady, mid to late 50s I’d guess, and what a warm reception I got. She was very pleased with it and once I’d tightened everything and pumped up the tyres to her satisfaction, she got on it and rode it around her front yard straight away.

She was very grateful for my trouble in delivering it and gave me a big, warm, cheek to cheek hug. Very gratifying. I was worried she wouldn’t be able to ride it as she has some minor disability, but she was fine.

Funny, I thought I was talking to a guy on Facebook, by the name of Aman. But it wasn’t a-man, it was A-woman. 🙂

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There’s talk of making long service leave “portable” at the moment, meaning that if you’ve accumulated, say six weeks with employer A, on your way to 13 weeks after 10 years, then change jobs to employer B, you should be able to carry over your six weeks accumulated to your new employer. And so on.

Now, everyone knows I’m a union guy and all for long service leave, but this is ridiculous. Long service means what it says. It means a reward for loyalty over the ten years, or 15 years as it was under the TV Industry Award.

But if you change jobs part way through, then you haven’t given long service. How can you expect new employer B to pay for the time you accumulated with employer A?

And if I were employer B and I found out you had all this leave owing that I was going to have to pay for, I would think twice and three times about taking you on.

Besides, where’s the incentive to stay on and give loyal service to your first employer? This is a ridiculous idea and should be stomped on. More annual leave, sick leave, study leave, bereavement leave, parenting leave, fine, but not this.

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Americas Cup 1987  © PJ Croft 2019

Still no radio reception on the new A/V radio in the Honda, dammit. I thought I might have failed to push the antenna plug in far enough, but a check when I got home showed it was in. I’ll have to check the continuity between the antenna on the roof and the antenna plug at the radio end in the dash. Not hard to do. I hope it’s not a fault in the roof lining somewhere, or the door pillar channels. Watch this space.

I’ll have to get a wheel alignment check too. The whole car vibrates, although not the steering wheel, and I can hear a swish swish in the tyre sound.

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I’m back to having a bit of insomnia, not as bad as the epidemic up to last year but enough to be annoying. I get to sleep fine withing 10 mins or so, but wake again around midnight for some reason and have trouble dropping off again.

However, my reason for writing this is that I’ve discovered a nice source of relaxation sound. On DAB+ digital radio, the ABC has a lot of channels and the one next to ABC Perth 720 is ABC Kids.

During the day they play PlaySkool type music, but I’ve realised that after midnight (I’m not sure when it changes) they play non-stop ambient sounds with added musical instruments. I mean it’s trickling streams, the sound of small waves on the beach, the sighing of wind in the trees, a waterfall and so on. Mixed in are long single notes, sometimes changing pitch, sometimes dualled with some other instrument, flutes, oboes, clarinets and so on, sometimes electronic. Very slow and repetitive, ideal for meditating and relaxing. I find it works. I leave it on, quietly playing and I soon drop off. Recommended.

Aced it!

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Sometimes you have a win. Behold my new Pioneer AV CD Radio in the Honda. It’s taken about a week, getting the old unit out, getting new mounting plates and fascia (the surround to match the Honda’s shape and colour), getting a wiring harness to mate with the Honda, then cutting and joining all the wires (about 16), hoping I’ve got them matched up. Then checking carefully.

I need to drive it on Tuesday, so I put it in this afternoon. Bingo. It worked first time. What a relief. Still, it should, because I was careful. It’s not completely fixed in yet because I still need to connect the USB cable to the back. Annoyingly, there’s no USB front socket, so I’m going to have to carefully cut a rectangular hole in the car’s fascia somewhere to mount the USB socket I have on order. And the green wire is supposed to go to the handbrake (or in this case the footbrake) which stops you playing DVDs when the brake is off, ie while driving. I’ll do that tomorrow, but I might just ground it and to hell with the restriction. Shhhh.

No improvement in my radio reception in the garage, but I’ll check that out on the street later.

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I bought one of these yesterday from Aldi. It’s an airbrush paint sprayer with 1/6HP compressor. It’s for very fine spray painting of hobby things, in my case the model railways, if I ever get around to building a layout. Crumbs, it’s more than four years since I bought enough to start the build, but I’ve been quite distracted since with all the trips to Bali and the guest here.

Besides, I used to think I had enough room to build it in the house, but somehow… the space has been used up. I may build it in the drying court outside the house. It’s a space 18m long by about 3m and the garage opens onto it by a seldom used roller door. Ideal. It’s just exposed to the weather, that’s all. A minor detail.

By the way, model railways must be the only hobby where the models are too good when new. Real railways are filthy dirty, grimy, with diesel spills along the track and rusted rails. All the model bits have to be weathered, and that’s where the airbrush comes in. I’ll be mixing the paints from their pure base colours to make dirt colours, then spraying in a messy way so as to look old and real, not glossy and neat. There are people who sell their services weathering models. It’s expensive because it takes a lot of time and trouble. I’ll do my own.

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By crikey, I’m a fan of Aldi’s tools offerings. I’ve bough quite a lot of stuff in the past year or so: two small table saws (one to be sold as the second one is better); a small 8″ mitre saw; a miniature bench grinder; a power knife and blade sharpener; two adjustable stands for cutting wood etc; a Li-ion jump starter/tyre inflator/torch; a small engraver; two pairs of axle stands; a trolley jack; and half a dozen or more sets of drills, hand saws, etc etc.

I’ve found all these to be great quality and about half the price you would pay at any normal shop. Yes, half price, because I check before I buy. The trolley jack was $30. Good luck finding one at the auto shops for that.

I bought a set of eight screw drivers yesterday for $7.99! I hardly need them, but at that price I can carry them in the car. Excellent quality.

They’ve got a mitre saw rail stand at the moment for $49.99, but that’s too much for me. There are still 14 left in the pile and they are a slow seller, obviously. They’ve been there for three weeks now and I’m watching to see the price drop when they need to clear bench space. I thought it would have happened by now, but I’ll check next week.

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My West Indian lime tree is finally bearing fruit. I planted it about five years ago and although it grew well, it remained fruit free. I was wondering if it needed a lady friend in the neighbourhood for pollination, but I needn’t have worried as it started fruiting early this year, in the summer. They were very small to start and seem to grow slowly (a tropical tree in cold weather, of course) but there are a dozen or more showing now. But thorns! It’s hard to pick them because the branches have nasty spiky thorns. Luckily I only need one occasionally. Leather gloves.

Oranges! I was pleased to buy a 3Kg bag of navels for $6 a few weeks ago at Coles, but now they’re down to $4 for the same 3Kg. Bargain. They must really be fruiting.

Rain, glorious rain

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Busselton 1993   © PJ Croft 2019

As I write it’s raining steadily, with no wind. It was bit cool (17C in my house) but with the aircon on heating mode, made possible by solar power, it’s very comfortable. I like a nice sunny day but this is great. Admittedly, there wouldn’t be much solar power being generated, but my two-monthly bills are down to $45 now so I can afford to be warm.

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Over the past five years or so I’ve bought several capsule coffee makers from Coles and Woolies when they’re on special, usually around $60 or so. I say several, because they have generally not lasted long, failing for one reason or another. Coles were good in exchanging one which failed and the replacement is still working.

The point is, they all use different types of capsules. I know of five different types (shapes) which are all incompatible. I always resisted Nespresso from the start because I wasn’t prepared to toe their line and only buy on-line or from their snooty shops.

However, getting to the point, because I’ve had three different types of machine I’ve now collected boxes of four of the five types. The machine that took my favourite type died a few months ago (leaking more coffee into the reservoir than into the cup). I was reluctant to buy another machine of the same type and thought I might finally switch to a Nespresso compatible machine, since nearly all the capsules on the supermarket shelf are now “Nespresso compatible” and quite reasonably priced.

But browsing eBay I came across this:

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Coffee madame?

It’s an Ovation multi-capsule machine. By having exchangeable, insertable holders, it takes four different sizes of capsule. The red one at the top is Lavazza and down below, right to left are Caffitaly, Nespresso (Coles equivalent) and the brown one at the left is espressotoria, the only one it can’t take. The one not shown is Expressi, Aldi’s type which I don’t use.

It’s made in Italy, but oddly the eBay machine sold is refurbished, i.e. not brand new. The supplier is in Sydney. I wonder why they’re refurbished? It’s fine though, except that due to poor packaging, mine arrived with a hole broken in the water reservoir. Luckily it’s high up so I can nearly fill it with no leakage. The price was $75 with postage from Sydney included. The one I was going to buy, the Philips Nespresso, was $139.

It comes with four different capsule holders (one shown exposed at the top) and a matching base (grey oval button in the opening at the front) for each type of capsule. It works well and I’m very pleased. It means I can use up my stocks of Lavazza capsules and buy Coles Nespresso compatibles which come in a big range of coffees and are very reasonably priced. I also still have my working espressotoria machine so I can offer five types of brew. Coffee anyone? Feel free to drop in anytime.

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I never cease to be amazed at the carelessness of ABC newsreaders at times. I heard one Sydney reader talking about “Glysophate” recently. I think he meant Glyphosate.

I reckon I’m the only one left on Earth who knows how to use correct tense or matching tenses. I’ve been collecting examples of mixed up tenses and I’ve collected about 50 or more so far, plus other grammatical atrocities:

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I don’t know what I’m going to do with it, but once a pedant, …

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Speaking of which, I advertised something for sale on Facebook Marketplace last week and dealing with the enquiries is painful. Most people can’t be bothered with capitalisation or punctuation, and spelling and syntax are optional. I kept having to repeat myself when answering their questions. I found myself getting annoyed and had to discipline myself so as not to give offence. Luckily I made the sale last night so it’s over. I have to deliver it on Tuesday as the guy sounds as if he’s a bit housebound.

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I’m having fun at the moment:

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That’s the Honda’s electronics bay, awaiting the installation of my new Pioneer A/V DVD/radio device. “Car radio” sounds a bit inadequate these days.

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That’s it at the bottom.It’s a pity about the gap between the upper and lower units. I’ll have to do some jiggling to make them meet better, I think. Those holes on the right don’t match up.

All the buttons and knobs on the old CD/cassette/radio have been replaced by that one touch screen and the few buttons on the left. That’s the way electronics is going – replace mechanics with electronics. I have to re-wire the harnesses to match each other yet.

The unit has provision for a reversing camera, but I don’t have one yet and a connection has to be made to the reverse gear, or the reversing lights. It also has a wire marked for the parking brake. I assume that’s to prevent DVDs being played while the car is not parked? It has a USB input too, but the socket is at the rear, so I have to run the cable somewhere so it can be plugged into from the front. That’s going to be tricky and ugly.

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All these photos (except the Busselton one) are from my phone camera, by the way. Damn this is neat – take the photo, nice big screen to frame it, autofocus, auto flash, send it to Dropbox immediately, then go to the PC, retrieve it from Dropbox onto my desktop, fix it up a bit (rotation, cropping), use Ctrl-Alt-E for my preset resizing and it automatically places it in my Bloggers folder, bring it into WordPress and here they are. So easy. You couldn’t do this with film. No way.

Good news, bad news

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Phuket, 1984  © PJ Croft 2019

I thought I’d had a stroke of luck yesterday. I found a backup of my D:\Images drive from 2009! By installing a 30 day evaluation copy of Acronis True Image, the software I owned and used back then, I was able to open and restore the backed up folder. Hallelujah. That was the good news.

The thing is, when I moved here in 2013 I had all my images on a striped pair of disks (RAID-0). It meant that the disks had to be kept together and run as a pair. But in all the confusion of reassembling my computer after the move, somehow I got them separated and mixed up, so it meant I lost everything. Baaaawww.

Luckily I had backed almost everything up to CD-ROMs, so I was able to laboriously restore things. Almost. I hadn’t kept everything up to date, but that’s what I had to go on with.

But here’s a second chance, I thought. Everything backed up in 2009. Wow! What nuggets of gold am I going to find?

Well, after many, many hours yesterday comparing folders, at least 120, more if you count sub-folders, I only found a few extra images and nothing startling. That was the bad news.

I actually have 52,229 images of various kinds, making up 600GB on my current images drive. Not all of them are my photos; I keep several folders of interesting images I find on the web and especially on photography web sites, but most of them are mine or Dad’s photos. I have a huge archive of Croft family photos. It’s a great pity no-one shows any interest in seeing them or keeping them safe. When I die….

Dad never threw letters away and at one stage, when I had access to them, I scanned more than 55 to digital form, and I still have them. But a family member took it on herself to donate the physical letters to the Battye Library before I could finish, so they are lost to us now. Didn’t ask my permission, didn’t tell me, just gave them away. Total arrogance! And then she forgot she’d given them away, and asked me to return them, but I didn’t have them and didn’t know they where they’d gone to! Craziness. It put me under huge stress at a very bad time. I bitterly, bitterly resent it.

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Bangkok 1988  © PJ Croft 2019. This is film, Kodachrome 64 I think, scanned at 4000dpi. It is sharp!

Thank goodness for the web! I’m finding that all my questions about my cars are answered either in forums or on YouTube.

I’m swapping radios between cars at the moment prior to selling the Magna, and there are demos on YouTube about how to remove and reinstall. Not that it’s all that hard, but the Honda looks a little tricky at first. It should be easy enough, according to the demos.

I want, actually, need a reversing camera for the MDX and was not sure how to install one. I don’t relish trying to thread a cable from the tailgate through the internal wiring channels of the car, but it looks as if a wi-fi wireless camera should do the trick. I bought a well priced Pioneer LCD head unit a couple of weeks ago, which has a camera input. Another job to do.

The cruise control has stopped working too, and that’s talked about quite a lot in the forums. It seems there is a fuse, but there’s also a cable which runs near the battery negative line. Apparently it gets dislodged. I was removing the negative cable a couple of weeks ago, so maybe that’s it. Another reason can be the brake light switch under the brake pedal, and I’ve got a new one on order. I hope it might explain the VSA light being on all the time too. It’ll be a bugger to fit, working in the footwell, but it has to be done.

I’ve also found a small classified ad for a brake repair place in Joondalup who will do new pads for front or back for $109. “Give the little guy a go”, they say. I think I will with the Verada. That’s the most urgent job, and once that’s done I’ll be able to drive it regularly. Maggie has to go, but I have the dilemma of the oil leaks and the cost of fixing them. Almost more than the car is worth. What to do? I would give the car away to someone who needs it.

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7 former PMs

Seven living former PMs. Four of them are Labor, and they are the best ones, the ones who got things done. The three Liberals did nothing while in office except show their racism.

I was flamed on Facebook for my sour comments about the dirty cheating Liberal win on May 18. Some former work colleagues said they took offence at my comments about them not caring about so many things. I didn’t reply. A guy I worked with at TVW7 and used to respect has popped up now and suggested I’m a hypocrite (he didn’t use that word, I’m not sure he knows it) for driving and flying.

Well Jim, I do have solar power, and if I could sail to Bali I’d do it, but there is no choice. If I could walk or ride a pushbike everywhere, I would, but distances are too great in Perth and there is no alternative.

But at least I’m trying to do something, however little it is, not just sitting on the sidelines making snide comments and voting for a corrupt, incompetent government which embraces climate science deniers. If you voted for them, didn’t vote Labor, you’ve branded yourself as being in the Liberal image of incompetent, corrupt fools with little ability or knowledge. I thought better of you Jim. I was mistaken. And I’m embarrassed and ashamed that Australia, my country, is so far down the world table in action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In fact we’re not reducing them at all, we’re increasing emissions! Shameful. Do you care, Jim? It seems not.

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I’m torn. I find the winter cold a bit hard to take these days. It’s not that bad, not by a long shot (I still wear my shorts and sandals), but my fingers are a bit stiffer and I find it hard to get moving and doing things.

I could be in Bali. I could be warm every day, swimming, walking to the beach.

But I have a daunting list of interesting, highly satisfying jobs to do here and when I’m in Bali, when I’m not in the pool I’m just reading, eating and drinking, doing Facebook and wishing I were back here. I’m torn. I don’t know what I want more.

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A few months ago I bought this HP wireless flat keyboard, like a Mac one, and it comes with a tiny USB wi-fi ‘dongle’ to communicate. That sits in the row of five USB sockets at the top of my PC. For a long time it worked fine.

But last week I plugged a new 256GB thumb drive into a socket near the dongle and since then I’ve had all kinds of trouble with this keyboard. Slow operation, delays, extra characters added, lots of weirdness. It took me a while to realise it’s the thumb drive causing it. I have to remove it when I want to do serious typing, like now. I’ve also found just having a USB cable plugged in near the wi-fi dongle but just dangling with nothing connected also upsets the keyboard. Hmmm. I’ll try moving the dongle around to the rear of the PC.

I had more to write but my brain is a bit cold.

 

Back to “winter”

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I’m home since Sunday to glorious winter weather, warm sun and almost no wind for the past few days, but no rain either. Now, Thursday, it looks hopeful that we will get rain tonight. To my readers outside WA, it might seem strange to be wishing for rain, but May was the driest on record in SW WA since records began in 1900. We’re in drought, and the farmers are dry seeding in the hope of rain still to come. Highly variable climate these days.

Bali of course was beautiful weather for the whole month. Almost no rain, sunny 30deg days every day. Low humidity at this time of year. Boring. 🙂

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Satay mass production, Sanur night market  © PJ Croft 2019

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Semawang Beach  © PJ Croft 2019

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In Chili’s, aka The Beach House  © PJ Croft 2019

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The flight home was uneventful but I admit my body shape makes for an uncomfortable journey on these cattle class planes designed for small Asian frames. Three and a half hours is about all I can stand these days. I’d go Garuda if only they didn’t leave so early in the morning. I can’t ask my friends to pick me up here at 4.30am for a 7.30am departure. Luckily I have a great friend who drives me there and collects me, but I choose my flight times to suit him, after work or on the weekends.

The size of Aussies! Watching them file onto the plane you realise just how big and fat we’ve all become. It’s rare now to see someone normally shaped and of normal weight. Women especially.

I was highly embarrassed by two Aussie blokes in Ace Hardware in Galeria, Kuta. They were dressed like Hell’s Angels-meet-Beachcombers-meet-Dracula, torn, dirty, daggy shorts hanging down showing bum cracks, straggly beards and one guy was drinking a can of beer at the checkouts! This would be illegal here, and I’m sure it is in Bali too, as well as being offensive. I wish I could have said something but they looked mean and I’m a coward.

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I’m also finding Bali has become expensive. It depends where you eat, of course, but it was my habit to have lunch of a club sandwich and lime juice at a bar a few doors away from our hotel.  The bill came to Rp100,000 or the equivalent of A$10. Add a coffee and it was nearly $15. This is nearly Perth price, and this was no fancy place, just a sports bar showing footy and playing loud music at night.

In the shopping centres it’s the same or more expensive, at the chain cafes. An average meal of one dish and a juice comes to around $9-10. An ice cream is $5-7. Coffee is $3.50 on average.

To eat out at our favourite beach restaurant, the one we call Chili’s, cost on average $100 for the two of us, admittedly for two courses and a shared dessert crepe, and including happy hour cocktails (3 for $15) and a bottle of wine. We choose to spend this, we could eat more cheaply, but not by much. If we did without the wine…

Anyway, expect prices up near Perth levels these days if you stay and eat in Sanur or any of the other “nice” areas. It’s getting to be a bit much for me.

Another example: I bought a floor standing fan, the cheapest type, that I’ve bought here for $12 at times, maybe $16 at most in BigW. In Ace Hardware Kuta, the lowest priced fan of this type was $31. They were at pains to test it for us first, and to explain the two year warranty.

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Sanur  © PJ Croft 2019

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Feel like some triple sex? Order a margarita. And under Irish Cocktails (plural) just one, Irish Coffee. Oh, and a Deli Quiri anyone? I think they mean Daiquiri.

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I’ve got a luvverly bunch o’ coconuts, all standing in a row.  Ten for $10 delivered.

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Notice the escalator? It finishes about 1.2m above the ground floor. You go down a ramp from there. It looks like either someone stuffed up the order, or they got a used one. The up escalator is fine all the way from the ground floor to the upper floor. That’s Bali.

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Unfortunately the Bali taxi drivers continue to bemoan the lack of business, not enough tourists they say. Maybe the prices have something to do with it, but I fear the rest of the world is tightening its belt. People are thinking the overseas holiday is no longer affordable, and it’s true. The boom is bust and Bali needs to realise it.

Actually taxis are about the one thing which is still cheap.  Flagfall is Rp7000 or about 70c and most trips come to $5-7. There’s a minimum charge of $3 in Sanur as most places are pretty close.

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The volcano continues to rumble and smoke, and they say it erupts on average every 5.6 days. That’s  a good thing, I think, because it relieves the pressure. The airport closed briefly on one day, but it didn’t cause much trouble.

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A beautiful full moon at the beginning of May.

It’s getting darker outside and a few drops of rain are falling, so let’s hope the heavens open soon. Time for my nap.

Update Friday: yes, it rained steadily from about 5pm yesterday, and it was heavy at times. There’s a lot more to come, we’re told. Yay.

Sakit!

Bali night fisherman. (C) PJ Croft 2019

I’ve been feeling sick (sakit) all week, and not from anything I ate, not Bali Belly. It’s from something I’ve been force fed until it’s made me nauseated, anxious, depressed and hollow. Another three years of this awful, loathsome government. I wrote a Facebook post about it and I’ve been flamed for it by guys I used to work with, calling it offensive. Well guys, I can’t see what you’ve got to be offended about. You voted for this nasty, cruel, corrupt, callous government, not me. I’m the one who is entitled to be offended.

I was tempted to respond and I may still do, but better to let them backslap themselves while they count their money, because that’s all it is. True conservatives, afraid of change. I’m comfortable, don’t change the system, I don’t care about anyone else, I like it the way it is, benefitting me.

In case you don’t get my problem, this is a government that:

  • uses deliberate cruelty on refugees to the extent of suicides and sending them insane (and for the 100th time, it is not illegal to be a refugee);
  • includes climate science deniers;
  • has no policy for climate gas reductions and transition to renewable energy;
  • is demonstrably corrupt;
  • practices vindictive prosecutions e.g. Bernard Collaery;
  • which is even criticised by retired judges for bias and vindictiveness;
  • is in breach of international law re refugees, and is being censured by the UN;
  • has an attorney general who cares nothing for these breaches, i.e. no integrity;
  • who are deliberately suppressing wages for ordinary workers, while at the same time awarding massive tax reductions for the wealthy;
  • who are deliberately reducing the wages of the lowest paid;
  • who have ministers who are utterly arrogant, lazy and incompetent;
  • who have alienated the indigenous people of Australia;
  • who are demonstrably racist;
  • who are out to cripple the ABC, that great Australian institution, because they don’t like being criticised;
  • who are passing laws which target freedom of speech and freedom of association, fundamental to a free society;
  • which includes members who don’t understand the distinction between ‘propriety’ and ‘proprietary’;
  • which included and defended the most biased Speaker in the history of the Parliament until she was forced out by her own arrogance;
  • which is beholden to Rupert Murdoch and will do his bidding;
  • which is backed up by Murdoch’s totally biased newspapers and journalists, the “Catholic Boys’ Daily”. Yet they accuse the ABC of bias!;
  • which deliberately crippled the National Broadband (fibre) Network to suit Foxtel and Telstra, two private companies, one owned by Murdoch;
  • which tried to do a dirty underhanded deal on East Timor, our impoverished neighbours, robbing them of $billions in oil royalties;
  • which interfered with the mail and prevented a letter I wrote to a refugee from reaching him. It is a crime to interfere with the mail, but this govt doesn’t care.

I’ve compiled this list purely from memory. I don’t need to quote anyone else here. I could go on and on; the list is endless, but I rest my case. This is hopeless. I keep thinking of new examples. People have very short memories. You would vote for a government like that?

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OK, what now? I’m already putting my money where my mouth is. I donate at small scale to several activist groups; I subscribe to newspapers and magazines, I don’t just read them on-line for nothing; I belong – to Getup and the ALP; I sign on-line petitions; I inform myself so that I get my facts together and right.

But I think the time has come to do more, to become more active, because it can’t go on like this, unchallenged.

I was accused of being a “militant” last week. No I’m not! Wrong word, Wal. If I were a militant, I’d be out manning barricades, picketing, carrying placards, hurling eggs. I’ve never done that in my life, never even attended a demonstration, but this will have to change.

The first thing I’ll do is start writing letters, real paper letters, to Liberal politicians demanding answers. Tie them up, take up their time. Hold them to account.

By the way, in 2012 I had been doing just this, emailing the Liberal Minister for Health Dr Mal Washer, asking him how he could live with his conscience after swearing to the Hippocratic Oath, yet do and say nothing about the deliberately cruel treatment of asylum seekers, something as a doctor he should have been very concerned about. “First, do no harm.” Remember that, Doctor Washer? I used strong speech and the occasional swear word, I admit, but I was NOT abusive: I don’t need to be, I have enough words.

He never bothered to reply personally, but one day I got a door-knock to find two black suited police officers who said they were from the “Dignitary Protection Squad” to check up on me. His staff had sicc’ed ’em onto me!!

 So much for free speech. So much for Liberal Party politicians’ ethics. (I could say a lot more about what happened, but no time. My rights were infringed, put it that way, but I was tired, a bit sick and too intimidated.)

Anyway, we True Believers now have to become more activated. Like charcoal, we have to burn! I will start attending ALP meetings, doing what I can. I’m not saying I’ll become militant, but activist at least.

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This is the last week here in Sanur and it’s been very quiet but fine. Perfect weather every day, even a couple of times when it got a bit cloudy. Almost no rain, once or twice at night.

Gunung Agung erupted on Sunday night about midnight. V said she felt it a bit here, but I didn’t. There was an airport closure due to ash, but it seems to have passed. I fly out next Sunday afternoon.

We’re off to our favourite restaurant in all Bali, the Beach House but what we call Chili’s, because it used to be called the Stiff Chili. It’s right on Semawang Beach at the end of Jl. Kusuma Sari, about 10 mins walk from here. I’m a bit hot when we get there, but it’s instant relief because you get the beautiful breeze straight off the sea to cool down. Not only that, the food is fantastic, the menu extensive, the drinks cold, the cocktails strong and the prices OK. Can hardly ask for more. It’s owned by an Aussie from Melbourne and we’re regulars there now. They also have a head waiter called Wayan who’s amazing. He always remembers me even a year apart and speaks English, Balinese, Bahasa, Italian and a bit of Spanish and French. All self taught, from TV and the customers. My partner speaks passable Italian so they converse like old amicis.

It’s a Mexican night tonight and Happy Hour starts at 5.30pm, so we’ll be off soon. We tried another restaurant two nights ago called Jack Fish, down the lane, but shall I say, so long Jack. Not good enough.