Ear, ear!

Kyoto 1992. © P J Croft 2020

Busy day today. First job was two new tyres for the Honda MDX. I had that blowout/tyre shredding incident on the left rear a couple of weeks ago and today I finally got my act together and had a mobile tyre guy come out and do the job for me.

You have to buy two tyres for him to come to your home, but I needed two so that was good. Both fronts are now new and the left rear is the best of the rest, with the least good as the spare. $127 each for 235/65 R17.

Crumbs, I’m glad I didn’t have to deal with that spare. It’s suspended underneath the back on a wire rope and you have to get down on the ground to deal with the centre boss. Too hard for me these days.

I’m glad that’s done as I can sell with a clear conscience now.

Ahem! My face is RED! I’ve been saying since June last year that the cruise control on this Honda isn’t working. It was, but it stopped working after I recharged a severely flat battery. The battery was disconnected for a while while I did it. There’s a fuse for the cruise control and I thought that might have been it, but it tested OK. I thought I might have the wrong fuse, but it was too hard and I put it aside.

Duh! Duh! On the MX-6, you have to push a switch on the dash to allow the cruise control to work on the steering wheel. Could it be…? Yes, there it is, a switch on the MDX dash, hidden from view by the steering wheel. Push it on and suddenly the cruise control works again. Bloody ‘ell, sometimes I feel very stupid.

I took the opportunity to wash the mag wheels and tyres and it looks very good now. Just three small jobs to get it ready for sale.

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Next was an appointment at an audiology clinic, owned and run by an old school friend and her son. I shouldn’t say “old” school friend, we’re the same age, after all.

I’ve been noticing marked loss of HF response in my right ear for a couple of years, and recently a “bone conduction” feeling and rattles when I change my head attitude. Something in the Eustachian tubes. Same as when you can’t clear your ear after a plane flight.

After a thorough test, yes, marked loss of high frequencies and lower sensitivity than the left, and redness of the ear drum. “You need to see an ENT specialist, mate.” OK, so that’s to come.

Then we had a coffee and a long chat in the coffee shop next door. We’ve known each other for 56 years now. Urk.

Funny, when I filled out the information form when I arrived, one of the questions was, “Do you now or have you ever smoked?” Yes/No.

How do you answer that? I had to circle both Yes and No. Yes, I used to smoke, No I don’t smoke now.

When I commented on it saying it was ambiguous, they said they’d never had anyone comment on it before. Huh?

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Holy smoke, I’ve just had a call on my landline from an 02 number, which I ignored because they are always scam callers.

Then my mobile rang, also with an 02 number. This time I thought I’d better answer and sure enough, it was a guy asking if it is me, with an Indian accent, and saying he wanted to talk to me about some computer scheme. I don’t mind admitting, I shouted at him, “FUCK OFF, YOU INDIAN CRIMINAL! GET LOST!” and hung up.

Damn if I didn’t get two more calls on the mobile soon afterwards with the same 02 number. I hung up on both without answering.

This is becoming a real problem. I heard a radio program in the early hours last week by a Canadian guy who has actually gone to India researching this and worked with the Indian police investigating these scam calls. It is a tens, hundreds of $millions problem now, all coming from India. The scammers make enough money from gullible people that they can afford to buy private jets now!

The interviewer asked if he could see any end in sight. The guy said, flat out, no. They cannot see any way to stop it, because the scammers change identities and locations too fast. Therefore we have effectively lost control of our land-line phone system in this country, and in USA, Canada, the UK and New Zealand, all the English speaking countries.

How???

This is incredible. Yesterday the words Epstein-Barré syndrome popped into my head. It’s some medical condition, I don’t know anything more than that.

But in tonight’s episode of Doc Martin on the ABC, one of his patients is diagnosed with Guillaume-Barré syndrome! Sure, it’s not exactly the same, but it’s near enough to trigger my thoughts of “pre-cognition” again. I don’t even know if that’s a real term, but bloody ‘ell, it should be, ‘cos I got it.

Later: maybe I subconsciously heard a promo for the show that mentioned the words. I don’t remember it, but there’s a logical explanation for everything.

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Lovely day today. Crumbs, 41 deg yesterday, yet 26deg, and lightly raining today. Beautiful, misty rain. I actually drove home in the MX-6 with the sun-roof partly open. No rain comes in, even when stopped. Nice.

Only trouble is I really had a bit of trouble seeing out the back window, but when I reached for the rear wiper switch, there ain’t one. That’s a bit of an omission.

More

If you’re looking to see my Bali 1980s images: https://bullsnapper.picfair.com/

I’m adding images almost daily but it’s a slow process. I can only add about 25 at a time, then each one has to have a short title, a longer concise description, then keywords, at least six added. The keywording takes ages. They are single words that would come up whenever a client is searching for an image to use. It is incredibly tedious work, although I’ve found a keyword generating site that returns up to 25 words. But many of the words are not appropriate and have to be modified or deleted, and other words added.

Then the large images are uploaded, which can take an hour or more.

The prices are as suggested by the Picfair company. I can control these prices and I’ve reduced the price they initially suggested. Whether anyone’s prepared to pay the price for an image, time will tell. Nothing so far.

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More on the MX-6:

  • It’s got no exhaust note to speak of, not that I’ve noticed anyway, although being hot weather I’m driving with the windows up and air on.
  • The auto shift is labelled L-S-D-N-R-P. It’s a four speed and I hoped the S position might mean Sport. It kinda does, it just uses the lower three speeds only, neglecting fourth. But you have to push a button on the stick to pull it back to S. That’s not exactly sporty.
  • The cruise control has to be switched on first with a button on the dash behind the steering wheel, then you press the Set button on the wheel itself. Why two actions? There’s a green indicator in the dash to show it’s on, but in daylight it’s barely visible.
  • There’s no central locking. It’s key-in-the-door only.
  • The key slot in the steering column is infuriating! You can’t see it, being behind the steering wheel, and I can never find the slot. Even when I use my finger to feel for it, the damn key still doesn’t want to go in.
  • There was a user manual with the car but no log book, so I have no idea if it’s been serviced recently. Considering how well the car seems to have been looked after, I’m not too worried.

So a bit of the shine is wearing off and I’m finding the annoyances. I still choose to drive it over all the others, though. No regrets.

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I mentioned using Phenergan to assist with ear clearing, as well as a sedative, but it’s noticeable how quickly I’ve become used to it. I really noticed that watching TV and working on the laptop at the table last night, I felt myself becoming more alert and awake as 11pm approached

I took the Phenergan then and I got to sleep for about 90 mins last night, then woke and couldn’t get back to sleep. I got up at 3am and worked on the computer until 5.30am, slept until 9am and I feel awful now. Waiting on the Silver Chain lady to come, usually around midday, then I can go back to bed for a while.

Pains in my feet! Yow, yow, yow. Someone suggested ibuprofen and paracetemol. A type II diabetic can’t take ibuprofen – it causes liver damage. It does a bit in normal healthy people too, but they can tolerate it. Not diabetics. So I read.

I’ve never found paracetemol to be very effective. According to the chemist, it works for some, not for others. Maybe I’ll take some Panadol Osteo now to see if anything’s changed.

I can’t take Tramadol due to insomnia. I can’t take aspirin as I’m already on another blood thinner. There’s not much else.

However, I’ve received my first 100ml bottle of a “special oil” – maybe I’ll call it Central Business District oil, from the Wish website. Maybe that might help. I doubt it, but it cost about $5 so not much is lost if it doesn’t work.

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Oh come on cleaner, I don’t feel good.

MX-6

I’m still loving this car and feeling grateful that it was such an easy purchase. The owner was Filipino, a permanent resident working as a mechanic on big trucks, and he was a nice guy. His given name was Magno, and he said many people call him Mango. Considering he has a very healthy mango tree with hanging fruit in his front lawn, it’s appropriate.

Without any haggling he dropped his asking price considerably. I hope it isn’t because of a guilty conscience, but I haven’t found any hidden defects yet.

For all its good points, I’m finding a few minus points:

  • There’s no trip computer of any kind. This was 1995, so too early for that. There’s just a single mechanical trip meter.
  • The ride is pretty stiff and bumpy. If I have the money sometime, I’m sure a set of adjustable shocks would smooth it out.
  • The brakes need a very hard push and don’t feel all that effective even then. They feel lumpy too. I think the discs need skimming. Shouldn’t cost too much, I hope.
  • The radio space is vertically offset from the binnacle below it, so it’s single DIN height only. I have a lovely Pioneer AV unit but it’s double DIN height. I can’t see any way I could fit it.
  • It’s hard for me to get in, but I’m learning to slide in. Getting out is much harder. I have to lift myself with my right thigh muscles while holding myself up on the door pillar. Yow, it hurts, but I’ll get used to it, and my leg muscles should develop. The doors are very wide too so I look for parking spaces with lots of room.

Apart from that, not much to complain about! I love it!

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By the way, in case you don’t know the terms single DIN and double DIN, it stands for Deutsche Industrie Norm, the German Industry Standard. Years ago the Germans developed these standard widths and heights for car radios and AV devices and luckily the Japanese came on board so that it’s all standard. Any radio usually fits any car.

However, for some reason many car makers, Honda being one, put radios in some models which are totally non-standard and would never be able to be swapped out for another brand. I’ve been looking at Honda Oddysseys:

Look how the controls are part of the dash. Notice that the CD slot is down near the floor! How could you substitute a new AV LCD display unit in there? You can’t. Still, the inbuilt unit is quite comprehensive.

I’ve been looking at this model for some months. They go for about $5,000 and are bloody luxurious. Leather and woodgrain, and room enough to sleep in the back. After I’ve got rid of the MDX and the Verada, I might buy one for touring and then that will do me. I only want the 2005 model. To me, it looks the best and has the leather and woodgrain. Later years dropped the leather for velour and changed the dash considerably. Nope, 2005 for me.

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I’ve had a partially blocked right ear for several months and despite a good hard wash out at the doctor’s surgery, removing a good buildup of wax, it didn’t improve as much as I’d hoped. He says my Eustachian tube is partially blocked and recommends blowing up a balloon to clear it. It’s just like after a plane flight where your ear won’t clear. It’s kinda worked too, with pops and squeaks, but I still get changes in my hearing in that ear with changes in my head angle.

He also said anti-histamines will help, so I needed no more encouragement to go back to Phenergan. I used that before when I had the insomnia problem. It really works in getting me to sleep and keeping me asleep, but gee, it slows me down in the morning. Only from about midday onwards do I start to feel awake with a bit of energy. Yes, I know, take the Phenergan earlier in the evening, but I want to be awake to watch my TV and I forget to take it.

It’s also psychologically addictive. I tend to think, no, I better not use it, but come bed time it’s too tempting. Hmmm.

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It was interesting on TV last night: on a program about alternative therapies, the Sydney surgeon Dr Charlie Teo said that Asian and Chinese people don’t have the genes for ear wax and underarm sweat glands. They don’t sweat in their arm pits. How about that? I didn’t know. He used himself as an example as he’s Asian.

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I’m up to 5,783 words in my TVW history and I’m still only up to the late 80s. I’ve only just started the Americas Cup period 1986/87. Boy, that was a tough time for me. Stress city. Torn between being a tech fixing faults and having to be in Master Control with one ear always on the talkback listening for “TVW, this is ATN, what have you got for us?”

I don’t know what to do about this submission. If I say it myself, I write damned well and I simply will not compress 33 years down to four pages and four photos. It’s ridiculous.

As well, I’m a pedant and a stickler for spelling, grammar, syntax and punctuation and I will not allow anyone to edit my work. Most of the writing I see on the web is juvenile, ungrammatical, misspelt atrocious rubbish. People don’t care about their writing. I’m not letting anyone change my submission.

So I suspect I may have to decline being in this TVW History book and publish my own PDF book, available for download if anyone wants it. It’s likely to be at least 50 pages and fifty photos. We’ll see. The deadline isn’t until December, so there’s plenty of time to sort this out.

Meanwhile I made a comment on the F/B page yesterday and the administrator seems to have blocked it. I’m annoyed. We’re not going to get along, I think.

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My Wish orders have just arrived for today and one of the items is a 100ml bottle of CBD Oil, that’s CBD as in cannabidiol oil. I wondered if it would get through customs and it has. There should be another bottle coming. It’s either free or about $5 so even if they confiscated it, too bad, no loss.

I didn’t have any particular plan for it, but boy, my feet hurt from diabetic neuropathy. Non-stop burning, aching, with stabbing pains at times, enough to have me crying out with the pain. The stabbings only last seconds, but they still bloody hurt. It’s slowly getting worse.

So we’ll see how we go, whether it works. I have no expectations. If it works by placebo effect, all to the good.

Planets?

You need specialist equipment to do something like this. Courtesy Vimeo.

Wow. This is the work of Video Artist Thomas Blanchard in the USA. At the end you will be offered links to more of his work on Vimeo. Recommended.

Such as this one!

Again, credit Thomas Blanchard and Vimeo.

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Dog, I’m enjoying the MX-6. It drives like it’s on rails. It’s a sports car so the ride is a bit bumpy but I’ll happily put up with that. But it doesn’t bump steer. The MGB used to do that and it wasn’t good. No, the steering on this is its strong point, sharp, accurate and precise, a joy.

I can see the bulges of the body from my driver’s seat, including the rear “shoulder” over my shoulder in the door mirror. The previous owner put those small circular stick-on convex mirrors on the exterior mirrors and they’re surprisingly effective.

The Sony radio fitted is giving me the shits. It won’t hold its settings and keeps reverting to demo mode. Otherwise, it works fine, but I’ll swap it out asap. And the car has a power antenna! All these years I wanted one, and now I’ve got two.

The boot is shallow but surprisingly deep. It wouldn’t be the best car for airport luggage, but I doubt I’ll be doing much of that any more, since my reason for going has gone.

Yes, I’ve taken all the free character assassinations I can take. I’ve had enough in that department. When I thought there might be love, I could take it, I could take anything, but now that I have firmly, repeatedly been told there is no love, and there never will be, then I won’t take the abuse any more. Pity, damned pity. We were so well matched it was incredible, and so it proved in the end, incredible. Not believable.

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My photo contributions to the Lost Bali Group (how apt at the present time) have proven a huge success and requests for a book, so I’m working on two at the same time. I mean it’s the same book, just in two software programs (they’re not apps!).

One is the old Photobook, now called Momento, and the other is Affinity Publisher, a DTP program. The former is for book printing and the latter is to publish as a PDF “book”, although since this is DTP, it can also be printed as a paper book.

It’s all a matter of cost. The Momento books cost around $40 each to me when I buy a voucher, so I’d need $45-50 to buy one if you place an order with me. Even then, I’m not making much, am I?

I’m also limited to 40 pages for that price and the cost of adding more is prohibitive. At say two images per page, that means only 80 at the most, and I have nearly 400 available. Not all deserve a place, but a helluva lot do.

The PDF book obviously has no printing cost and no size limitations, within reason. My task is to work out how to get payments for it. I’m sure there’s a simple software solution but I don’t know it at the moment. Apparently Paypal can be used to take payments, to be credited to my account and the buyer has the protection of Paypal’s returns policies. To be investigated.

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At the same time I’m responding to the call for contributions to the TVW Channel 7 History book being organised by a guy I worked with. I’ve written over 5,000 words so far, that’s more than 10 A4 pages and I’m now up to the early ’80s. By Dog, there were a lot of people through that company. I actually have a list of all the staff who worked there, whatever departments, and it stands at over 800 names. I knew most of them and my memoir is going to be very nostalgic. We had some terrific people, fondly remembered. Some not so great ones too, but not too many.

So my time is occupied. Bloody Facebook! It is too intrusive! I think I’ll have to drop it soon, it just tkes too much time and causes too much angst for me. I admit I’m an angry man on-line. My blood boils at the politics and I can’t help myself commenting. Not good. I’ll get out completely, I think, and regain a good slice of my time.

Books, DVDs, etc

Odalan ceremony, Sanur 2018. © PJ Croft 2020

I’ve posted a lot of my Bali photos in a Facebook group called Lost Bali recently and people ask if there’s a book of them. The simple answer is yes. Here’s the cover and a couple of sample pages:

Cover of my book Cinta Bali. Right click and choose View Image to see it bigger.

I composed this book in software from Photobook, now called Momento https://www.momento.com.au/ The deal is, you buy a 40 page voucher, compose your book on your PC and send it off to Melbourne. They send it to a printer in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and 10 days later it arrives here by post. The cost to me was approx. $40 per copy. I would have added more pages but the cost rose alarmingly, like $1 per extra page. I’ve done a 105 page book on Java, but each copy cost me $270.

Unfortunately, when they changed ownership they didn’t keep my orders, so I’ll need to start from scratch and recompose the book to get more copies. I have the original to work from, of course. I only have three copies at the moment, and one of those seems to be “lost” to someone who “borrowed” it and hasn’t returned it in two years, despite multiple requests!

The gist of all this is that I will take orders for book copies, but I would need to charge $50 per copy. That would get you a beautifully printed copy (I’m very pleased with the quality, and I’m fussy) delivered to your door. Worldwide? I don’t know. I’d have to try it.

I invite expressions of interest, and you would need to provide your mailing address for delivery.

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However, that’s not all. I’ve also done an interactive CD-ROM called Journey to Bali. This is like a DVD, but plays on a PC, not on a TV. It consists of chapters and you can go back and forth. Nice Balinese music.

And I’ve also done a DVD version which does play on a TV, but it just plays through, you can’t interact by choosing options.

This has nice music too but not Balinese due to royalty complications.

The cost of these would be $25 including postage to your home address. I produce these myself, so I’m not dependent on any other company.

Here’s a sample:

I made these more than five years ago and in light of new information from the Lost Bali postings, I’ll have to amend a few of the titles. That will take a little time.

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But that’s not all! I’m a bit proud of the Java book I’ve mentioned. Here’s the cover and a few sample pages:

The final title is Java, the Other Side of Bali.

As I’ve said, this is more than 100 pages and weighs at least 1Kg, and is costly, so I may have to re-do it as a PDF book so that it weighs nothing. Watch this space.

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And! I’ve also done an interactive CD-ROM (meaning you can navigate and choose different chapters and pathways) on Japan. That trip was probably the most photographically productive I’ve ever done. The CD contains more than 300 images.

Yes, it’s me, in 1992.

I’m still working on a book and DVD of that trip. One day… So if you want to order or enquire about anything here, pcroft810@gmail.com.

I encourage you to browse my blog. I try to be entertaining and I’m a bit different! Cheers. 😉

PS: one very nice guy called Noel has commented thisly:

I am so happy that there are still more to come🙏🏽
Your pictures are a daily balm to my soul amid all the other images of what we are going through and will likely experience if we as humans do not change our ways.

Wow. Thank you very much Noel.

Done!

1995 Mazda MX-6

Holy handbags, Batman. Here’s the new Batmobile. That shine is genuine. It’s been beautifully looked after, and I must pledge to keep it in this condition.

The owner brought it to my place this morning (and caught me still in bed at 9.30am), so we did the transfer papers and I transferred the balance of his price. I must have an honest face or something, because without any prompting from me, he knocked another $500 off the price, making it $3,500.

He’d advertised it at $5,500 with those snarky black alloy wheels and low profile tyres. I asked him what he would drop the price by if he put the original wheels back on. I would have hoped for $1,000 reduction and not expected to get it, but he just thought for a bit and said $1,500. Yowee. I agreed. That made it $4,000. Then today, as I said, he took another $500 off to make it $3,500. Bargain! It turned out the guy is a mechanic, working on Isuzu trucks for a major dealer, so he knows his stuff.

He also said if I wanted to buy the wheels and tyres he’d taken off, he’d sell them to me for $700. Wow. He’s a mechanic and business dealings are obviously not his strong point. I said I’d think it over. Maybe I should buy them, I have got used to their looks.

So now I have to work hard to get the Honda ready for sale. I hope to get at least what I paid for it. That will pay for the MX-6.

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It drives beautifully, of course. It’s a V6 front wheel drive, with four wheel steering. That makes the steering beautifully sharp. On roundabouts where I usually have to slow right down and kinda pull the car around, in this it just sticks to the road and where I point it, it goes. On the freeway entrance at Reid Highway to go north, it’s a 40Kmh tight 270deg LH turn with a tightening radius. In my other cars, it feels as if I have to slow right down or I’ll tip over. Not this. Turn the wheel and it sticks like glue and just goes. Change lanes? Move the wheel sharply and zow! it changes in a second. I love it.

The only thing is it’s an automatic, which is what I wanted, but that doesn’t encourage gear shifts. I note there’s an S setting on the shift, and when I’ve had a chance to read the manual, I hope that might mean S for Sport. I don’t know yet.

Also, I have a very nice Pioneer Android 7″ double DIN car audio unit with digital radio, but the dash in this isn’t designed for double-DIN. It could probably be cut to make it fit, but I wouldn’t do it myself, and frankly the dash is so original and in such nice condition it would be a travesty to cut it. It has a Sony single height Bluetooth radio/CD at the moment, and I actually have a Kenwood single height radio/CD with DAB+ digital stored away too, so it looks like that will be going back into service. The difficulty with DAB+ car radios is that they need a special antenna which sticks to the inside of the windscreen, and the lead has to be fed down the pillar and behind the dash. That’s hard for me to do, so I might have to take it to a fitter.

Also, if I’m selling the Honda, I’ll remove the Pioneer 7″ A/V radio I went to so much trouble to fit. I’ll put the original radio/CD back. It’s a good unit, it’s just that the antenna doesn’t work, so that’s got to be fixed.

That will give me two double height A/V units spare. I might have to buy another car to use them! 🙂

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Parking will now be a problem – three cars in a two car garage, so the Verada will have to occupy the laneway for a while until the Honda goes. I had the Magna out there for six months last year and it wasn’t a problem.

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Yesterday I talked about how I went into the city, Yagan Square and Northbridge, dressed as a woman for the Burlezque performance. Well, to prove it, here I am.

Before leaving home. That clip was holding my cardigan closed and I had to go to the pharmacy to get some safety pins before I caught the train. Later, in town, I just took it off completely and went bare, bare shouldered, bra only.
On the train going into the city. Hardly any passengers.
The performance stage for Burlezque.
On the way home. The carriage was crowded but no-one looked or stared or paid me any attention! What’s wrong with them? Do they see weirdos every day? 😉

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By the way, just in case you think I’m a weirdo, there are a few of us around:

This is a Facebook marketplace ad. He’s selling the trimmer. Gets your attention, doesn’t it?
🙂 🙂 (No offence meant, mate!)