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. Β© 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. If you want to follow this up, please leave a message in the Comment box below, with your email address so we can talk.

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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. πŸ˜‰

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

I am so happy that there are still more to comeπŸ™πŸ½
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! πŸ™‚

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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? πŸ˜‰

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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?
πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ (No offence meant, mate!)

Gotta do it? I did it.

I don’t mean the car. I did that too, and I pick it up tomorrow. That excitement is still to come.

I was at the performance last night, dressed as a woman, and daringly!

No, I mean that last night I went to a Fringe Festival event in Northbridge and I went out of my way to be daring. I went dressed as I thought appropriate for the performance. It was a show called Burlezque, a troupe of seven lesbian women performing burlesque on a small stage in a tent, so it was quite an intimate setting. I was seven rows back. It was kind of high class strip-tease for women, very very good. I got tired of all the screaming young women in the audience, though.

I threw caution to the wind and went out dressed out-rageously! I was dressed as a woman, but a very, um, daring woman. I took a couple of very unflattering photos but I dare not post them. Maybe….

And, I took the train into Perth and home again, so I was exposed, unprotected. Yeaaah. But I might as well have been the businessman on his way home from a banking meeting for all anyone cared. I expected trouble from young guys, but nope, nothing. Didn’t even look at me. Bagus!

What amazed me was how, in the city, nobody stared, nobody laughed, no-one pointed. Imagine yourself walking naked in public through crowds. You’d expect stares, yes? I wasn’t naked, but I expected stares and hard looks, yet no-one gave me a second glance. It was a bit disappointing in a way.

However, while walking along William Street, from having a glass of sparkly brut at the Moon LGBTQI bar-restaurant, a strange looking woman was walking towards me. She did a double take and touched my arm to stop and talk, which I was very pleased to do. She was quite attractive, but looked a little zany, wearing a top hat with goggles on it and she was covered in more heavy jewellery than I’ve ever seen on anyone. It must have weighed kilos. Anyway, we talked and we actually kissed a couple of times, which was wonderful. She told me her name and to find her on Facebook, which I’ve done and sent a friend request. She lives in that area and it looks as if we might even have a mutual friend. Anyway, it seems I’ve made a new friend. She’s quite attractive to me.

I was also very pleased that on the way home, a young woman sat next to me and talked to me, asking how I felt and so on. I told her what I was doing and why, and she reassured me and was wonderful about it.

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2007 at a woman friend’s place.

I think it’s about time I declared that after a lifetime, 70 years of suppressing my desire to dress as a woman, I’m coming out and doing it now. Nota bene, I’m not gay! I call myself a male lesbian, a male who wants to be a woman but who exclusively loves women. Guys, go away.

Those 70 years have been torture at times. I never went out dressed until 2006 and the Cross Dress for Red Cross fund raising campaign, and the subsequent ones in 2007 and 2008. After that, I had mostly lost my fear, but still only did it occasionally. My beard was my disguise and my armour.

However, I’ve noticed a change in society’s attitudes. The constant LGBTQI publicity has made people much more aware of gender fluidity and diversity. I don’t feel any need any more to be anxious or even to fully hide my maleness. I used to fear being caught in a lie, with some male clue showing through, but not now and no-one bats and eyelid any more. On the contrary, I get smiles and compliments sometimes.

This year I feel I’ve crossed a threshold. I nearly always dress female when I go out now and it feels wrong if I don’t. It’s so easy and natural for me. Strange, so late in my life. Oh, all those wasted years when I had to hide it. Aaaarrrrgh. It was hard.

As well, I’ve always had gynaecomastia, prominent man-boobs. I hated it when I was younger and it caused me terrible embarrassment. Going to the beach was an ordeal. I used to swim with a T-shirt on in an effort to hide my boobs. Unsuccessfully, of course. The benefit, though, is that my skin has not suffered sun damage, especially my complexion. I have the smooth skin women would die for. I have the no-wrinkles gene. I hardly need to do any makeup, actually, just a light liquid toner and nice lipstick. When I’m made up, I look pretty damned pretty, if I say so myself. Too bloody over weight, though, but if I lost too much weight, I would develop loose skin. Hah.

And man-boobs? I’m 24DD in bra size! I can easily find bras in that size, too.

A male friend took this shot in 2006. I love it.
A female friend took this. I love this too. 2007, I think.
November 2007. Flashing a bit. πŸ™‚
February last year 2019, at that Moon Restaurant. People like me can feel at home there.

Funny, on three occasions while I was working, in my thirties and forties, my fellow techs said, “Gee Pete, when are you going to start wearing a bra?”

The irony is that I would have loved to wear a bra. I yearned to do it. But I had to keep my deep, dark secret. I couldn’t tell anyone. Especially not Mum! She would have been all over me, trying to show she understood and probably trying to help me dress and do makeup. She wanted to interfere. It was hard, very hard.

The irony is, too, that when I’m dressed and made-up, with my natural hair, when I look in the mirror, there’s Mum looking back at me. All my aunts used to say, “Oh Peter, you look so much like your mother!” As a boy and young man, I hated it! But now I can see it.

But that’s over and I’m here to state that if you meet me, I will probably be dressed as a woman now. My neighbour knows and we have girl-talks. The funny thing is, it used to be almost impossible to find women’s clothes to fit me, but women have, er, grown to Plus Sizes so I have no trouble now. I’ve also completely lost my fear and anxiety when buying female clothes, and I haunt the racks of specials in the larger sizes for bargains. Easy!

So there, it’s out and I feel good about it. At last!!!!!

Oh, the stories I could tell.

As well, how lucky I am to find a partner who is completely with me in this. If I had to hide it from her, it would be intolerable. I’m wearing one of her dresses in the Moon shot above. We can share clothes! I bless my stars and her. Thank you, V! Thank you, thank you.

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So finally, I can post this picture:

60 years separate these pictures. I find the similarities remarkable. Yes, both are me.

How about that?

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PS: I’m picking up the red Mazda MX-6 tomorrow. I’ll have to dress male, though, unfortunately. My black stick-on long fingernails from last night might give me away, of course… πŸ˜‰

Gotta do it, gotta gotta do it.

I went to see this car yesterday and it’s even better in the “flesh” than in the pictures. The web photos don’t do it justice. You can see the deep red colour here –

I thought I wouldn’t like the colour, but I do! The only thing I don’t like is the wheels and skinny tyres, but the guy has the originals and will put them back and reduce the price substantially. I don’t especially like the Mazda wheels either, but I’d rather buy some second hand BMW or Mercedes wheels. They do come up on Facebook.

It’s immaculate in presentation, obviously well looked after in its 25 year life. It looks near new inside, clean as a dog’s bowl.

I took it for a short test drive (the owner trusted me to go solo) and it felt great. It is a fuel injected V6 after all. I could wish that the auto transmission allowed Tiptronic or semi-manual operation, but you can’t have everything. This is the Ford Probe that I always wanted, just in Mazda form.

I must admit my size doesn’t help with entry and exit, but too bad. I love it. Watch this space.

By the way, the Melbourne guy returned my money as promised so no problem there. He was a very reasonable guy. Neither of us incurred any costs except that he renewed the Victorian licence for three months, but he would have had to do that anyway.

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I’m being driven mad by my mouse. It has become hesitant, sometimes not responding at all. It’s a cordless infra-red and of course, I’ve cleaned the LED and sensor and the desktop, but with little improvement. I have other mice, I’ll have to try them. The thing is, I’m doing so much writing on this PC, both for my photos on Facebook and for my contribution to a book project on our experiences at TVW7.

We are supposed to limit our contribution to 2,000 words and four photos. Whaaat?! I can’t condense 33 years down to that. I’ve written 3,085 words so far and I’ve only reached year 4, 1970, of my tenure. I’ve said I may have to publish separately as an Engineering supplement, or a book of my own.

I find the words just pour onto the “paper”. I remember so much, so many names, so many visual memories. Better get them down now before something intervenes to stop me.

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I’m in the Lost Bali Group on F/B and wow, what a hit. My photos stand out for quality and the stories I tell about them. People seem to like them.

I’ve started a web site which displays my images with a watermark copyright notice and puts a price on them. You can look freely, but the price allows you to download a clean, full sized copy. The company, Picfair, even offers a printing service (which they call giclee, meaning inkjet) or even framed or canvas prints. This is not under my control and I don’t know their prices yet.

Anyway: https://bullsnapper.picfair.com/

Censorship

Sutri and me, 1983.

Facebook craziness. I’m a member of a group called Lost Bali on Facebook, dedicated to photos from the years up to 1990 before the southern part, at least, was overrun by Aussie and then Chinese tourists and rampant Jakarta money-fuelled developments.

When I first saw this group, I noticed most of the images were fairly poor quality, photos of prints, poorly shot slides covered in dirt and hairs and so on. I immediately thought, “This is right up my alley”. I have hundreds of photos from those years, all shot on slide film and expertly scanned (by me!) and looking good. So I started posting, and it’s been a hit, I can tell you.

However, one shot in particular has earned me a 24hr instant ban by Facebook. Why? Because, gasp, it shows nipples and breasts.

Here’s the photo.

A tourist guest at the Kuta Seaview Hotel, Bali, in 1983. I wish I knew who she is.

Isn’t that shocking?! Quick, cover your eyes. Don’t let any children or worse, pregnant women see this, it may cause a miscarriage.

Here’s another of their group.

Wow. Facebook believes this could cause world wars to break out or pandemics of disease. They’ve made it very clear that I can’t post such degrading material, even though I blurred the nipples out myself.

So look at your own risk, at your own peril. I’m sorry to place you in such danger but there it is. Good luck.