the WAFFLE page

June 30, 2010. Wrote a bit more of chapter 1 of Love Is... The first chapter is always the most difficult, I think, because certain things need to be established without giving the whole plot away. I intend to write one chapter a week.

Chris the fence bloke is here. He replaced all the busted panels in the colorbond fence pretty quickly, and now he's working on the mail box. Lindsay said he spoke to one local passer-by who said a bunch of Aborigines who moved into the hood recently have been causing trouble - lots of break-ins, etc. So I guess it's only a matter of time before the cops catch up with them. It's a pity that certain Aborigines who cause trouble give the good Aborigines a bad name. They're not all tarred with the same brush despite what many people say. Take young Josh for example. He rose to the rank of captain of his school, and is now at university studying to be a teacher. His peers would do well to follow his example instead of kicking people's fences in.

This house is pretty secure... security grills on every window, deadlocks on the doors. The previous owner was meticulous about security... obsessive even. I heard she drank a bottle of scotch a day so she needed to protect her stash. Yeah?

Beeb time: The man chosen to take charge of the US military in Afghanistan, Gen David Petraeus, has warned of an escalation of violence in the coming months. "The going inevitably gets tougher before it gets easier," he told the Senate Armed Services Committee, which backed his nomination to lead the war. The general said troops were engaged in a contest of wills with the Taliban and promised a more co-ordinated approach. A battle of wills it is, and wills can be extremely stubborn. Oil clean-up activities like skimming and controlled burning are halted because of the arrival of Hurricane Alex in the Gulf of Mexico. Sorry guys, just passing through, won't be long. US chat show host Larry King announces he is to end his record-breaking nightly show in the autumn. Larry who? Sorry hehe... we don't get that show in Oz (that I'm aware of). Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says he hopes a series of arrests over an alleged spy ring in the US will not harm US-Russian relations. Mr Putin told former US President Bill Clinton in Moscow that US police had "let themselves go" and were putting people in prison. Ten people have been arrested in the US and one in Cyprus after an FBI inquiry. The Russian foreign ministry has said the US allegations are baseless and a throwback to the Cold War. Well, time will tell. A man who says he is an Iranian nuclear scientist claims to have escaped after being abducted by US agents. In a video shown on Iranian state TV, he says he has escaped in the US state of Virginia and is now on the run. Mr Amiri disappeared a year ago while undertaking the Hajj in Saudi Arabia. The US has strenuously denied abducting him, but ABC News reported in March that Mr Amiri had defected and was helping the CIA compile intelligence on Iran's controversial nuclear weapons programme. Coming soon to a cinema near you! The Italian government is appealing to the European court of human rights to overturn a ban on classroom crucifixes. This case against crucifixes was brought by a woman who argued that her children had a right to a secular education under Italy's constitution. Last year the court agreed with the mother, saying parents should be able to bring up children as they saw fit. Her victory caused uproar in Italy, where 90% of the population describe themselves as Christian. I attended a Catholic school and look at what happened to me! A US surgeon, dubbed "Doctor Death" by Australian media, has been found guilty of the manslaughter of three patients in his care in Australia. Jayant Patel, an Indian-born US citizen, worked at a Queensland hospital between 2003 and 2005. He was also convicted of grievous bodily harm against a fourth patient. Patel will be sentenced on Thursday. The bloke should never have been allowed to practice medicine in Australia... He had already been banned from conducting surgery in the US states of New York and Oregon. 

I've been trying for the past day or so to make this piece work. I think it works now. Not an easy piece to write.

Also, I've added a few new images to my Red Bubble favorites which I think are worth a peek.

Well, this Love Is... story is taking up a fair bit of time so I guess this Waffle page will suffer a little. Only so many hours in the day ya know. I haven't even showered or shaved today! What a grub! Blame the internet. There was a time when I could do all kinds of things in a given day, but now I'm addicted to the keyboard.

Last day of June... guess what tomorrow is? Hint: somebody's birthday. Gary

June 29, 2010. The kettle went bung this mornng. So I mentioned to Lindsay that we need a new one. "I'm not paying $25 for a kettle. We might not be here long after we get back (from England). Who knows?" Well, there's a revelation that wasn't intended. Anyway, I went to one of those cheapie discount stores and got an electric kettle for $10 on spesh. Cordless, auto switch off, and it even boils water!

I also did a bit of shopping and scored quite a few markdowns, so the savings almost paid for the kettle. Hehe.

I wrote a bit more of chapter 1 of Love Is... this morning and started to get into a rhythm. So far so good. I'll email copies of each chapter to a couple of friends as the story unfolds just to get feedback. FL Josh, Oregon Richie, Ohio Jace, Rio Joao and TX Greg. So be honest, guys. And I hope you have MS Word.

Lovely and blue today, and not all that chilly. In fact, it's quite nice in the sun. Which reminded me to check when 3237 will be back in Taree for heritage steam train rides. Wednesday July 7. But you can't phone the railway station. Oh, no. You get a central Countrylink number, probably based in Sydney. So I'll have to go to the local railway station to get tickets and times. Taree has a staff of one and maybe one or two trains a day, so it's not exactly hectically busy. In fact, when I caught the XPT from Sydney to Taree back in 2002, there wasn't a soul at the station! I had to phone a taxi cos there were none of those either! Dozen madder. A ride on a steam loco will be worth it. And I'll shoot a li'l movie!

Beeb time: Ten people have been arrested in the US and charged with spying for Russia. They were allegedly part of an operation where agents posed as ordinary citizens, some living together as couples for years. They are accused of conspiracy to act as unlawful agents of a foreign government, a crime which carries up to five years in prison. Nine of them also face a charge of conspiracy to launder money, which carries a 20-year prison sentence. Why didn't they just read the New York Times to get their information? Unless, of course, the Times doesn't know all there is to be known, in which case, neither do we. Hmmm. Taiwan and China are to sign a landmark trade agreement which will remove tariffs from hundreds of products. Money speaks all languages, yes? Media mogul Oprah Winfrey climbs back to the top of the Forbes Celebrity 100 after being deposed by Angelina Jolie last year. The meek may inherit the earth, but the meek sure don't inherit showbiz fame. The former US commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, who was fired last week by President Barack Obama, is to leave the US Army. He was dismissed after criticising US administration officials in a Rolling Stone magazine profile. Mr Obama has nominated Gen David Petraeus to replace the sacked general. Imagine that 50 years ago... black man fires white man. The US Supreme Court has restricted the rights of state and city governments to enforce controls on gun ownership. The US's highest court ruled by 5-4 that a ban on handgun ownership in the city of Chicago was unconstitutional. Justices said the US Constitution protected the right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defence. A civilized society would have no need to keep and bear arms, soooooo... The US Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by the federal government in a long-running case in which it sought huge damages against tobacco firms. Tobacco firms wouldn't exist if there were no consumers. 

Yes, we're always looking for somone to blame, What that solves, I'm not sure.

Oregon Richie sent a link to Craig Ferguson's interview with Desmond Tutu, which I can recommend watching. But first, watch this little clip where Ferguson talks about his impressions of having met Tutu. And then watch the interviews. They're in 4 parts. I'm not a religious person as you know, but I have to say that Tutu is one helluva man.

Where did the day go? Dunno, but it's almost gone. Gary

June 28, 2010. As you know, I've been thinking about my new book. I figured out the characters and some of the sub plots but not the major plot. So this morning I went over my notes again and WHAMMO, the lead character's identity came to me. So then I began writing chapter 1 and WHAMMO the major plot came to me. You know how it is... every journey starts with a single step, so I took the step and suddenly I knew where I was headed.

This project is really important because Aussie Odyssey depends on it. My previous books were valuable lessons in what NOT to do in terms of being commercially successful. This time, I'm focused on the market place and what publishers want. At the same time, I won't discard the values I hold dear. It will be a story about succeeding against the odds, and it will embrace virtues such as tolerance and understanding. And yes, it will be a romance hehe.

Actually, when the main elements came to me this morning, I began to feel passionate about the telling of this story, and passionate is what I need to feel if I am to write a successful book. A story without passion is a job, and a job is not what I want. I expect it to take about 6 months, which is fine. A bit of honest feedback as the story unfolds would be cool but I don't wanna put it on the net before I submit it to a publisher.

Ohio Jace wrote: There was a biologist on TV saying 1 Trillion creatures have died in the Gulf oil spill. The blue fin Tuna may need to be placed on the endangered species list since it only spawns in two places the Mediterranean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. There are two newly discovered flatfish that live nowhere else on the planet and are already very rare.

Well, they did say that it was the worst natural disaster in US history - or something like that. It's a major wake-up call at the very least. I watched a program last night on Oz TV about the great, great grandson (give or take) of Charles Darwin, who is in Oz buying up large tracts of cheap land and dedicating them to the regeneration of endangered species. He explained that this is the ONLY planet we humans can inhabit, and that there's NOWHERE else for us to go, so what are we doing fucking it up? I reckon he's got a point there. Australia has one of the world's worst reputations for extinctions.

Jace also asked about the proposal for Jewish settlement in Tasmania during and after WWII: Yes, it did happen and was taken very seriously.

Earlier today, I put a bunch of lemons in a box (after being spiked by thorns, thank you very much) and placed it just outside my fence with a sign, Free Lemons. So I checked just now to see how many lemons had been taken and somebody took the whole bloody lot including the damn box! What a Scrooge!

Beeb time: Leaders at the G20 summit in Canada agree the richest members will halve their budget deficits within three years. So who said money isn't everything? Voters in Kyrgyzstan have given clear approval to a new constitution giving parliament more power, officials say. With nearly all the votes counted, the election commission said 90% of voters were in favour of the plan to limit the president's powers. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said he feared the move could fuel extremism. Oh? What would you call recent events? Mexican singer Sergio Vega has been shot dead only hours after he had denied reports he had been murdered. The 40-year-old singer, known as El Shaka, told a website he had increased security measures after a number of Mexican musicians were killed. Musicians performing narcocorridos, songs celebrating the lives of drug barons, often become the targets of rival drug gangs. Don't ask me to explain it... I'm just taking notes. The Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has announced a new cabinet which focuses on stability. Key posts at the treasury, finance ministry and resources ministry remain unchanged. Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was not made a minister but Ms Gillard said he could be if her Labor party wins the next elections. "If the government is re-elected, I will be very delighted to welcome Kevin Rudd into the cabinet in a senior position," she said. If... yes, if. Stay tooned. England weathered a dramatic late collapse to beat Australia by one wicket with five balls remaining and seal the one-day (cricket) series in Manchester. Delete that... I didn't mean to post it. China's President Hu Jintao has accepted an invitation for a state visit from US President Barack Obama, the White House has said. How cordial. A crystal-studded glove belonging to the late pop star Michael Jackson has sold at a US auction for $190,000 (£126,000). The glove, worn during the Jacksons' 1984 Victory tour, was among over 200 items on offer, which sold for just under $1m (£664,055) in total. In that case, I won't throw away my old undies. The length of a man's fingers can reveal how physically aggressive he is, Canadian scientists have said. The shorter the index finger is compared to the ring finger, the more boisterous he will be, University of Alberta researchers said. I wish I'd been aware of that before I met some of the people I've known.

Well, the meatloaf is in the oven, and soon I'll throw in the spuds and pumpkin, and make the gravy. Just the thing for a winter's night. Just like grandma used to make... 'cept this is grandpa. Gary

June 27, 2010. There ya go... two photo shoots in two days. That takes care of June. But my legs are killing me after all that bending and squatting yesterday. It's all in the angle of the dangle, folks. It's called perspective, and it can make all the difference.

Nice quiet Sunday morning in sleepy Taree. Well, it started out that way. Just now, two police cars with sirens blaring shot out of the cop station and whizzed up the road towards Wingham, quickly followed by a paddy wagon on patrol, also with siren blaring. I have no idea what the drama is about but it must be pretty serious.

BTW, Chris the fence man was here yesterday to inspect the damaged fence and mail box. He'll be back next week to make repairs.

Justin's blog has an interesting article about condoms being issued to school children in Provincetown - even to first graders. So, being the pot stirrer that I am, I posed the question: When do we start teaching kids how to use a gun? When it's loaded? Anyway, this article will no doubt stir up some fiery comments hehe. Nothing like a lively debate to keep the convo rolling along.

Not a bad winter's day... cool but bright and sunny. When I say cool it's currently 13C (10am) with a forecast top of 17. Not exactly Speedo weather but not freezing either. I'll leave that to Oregon Richie and Ohio Jace. I was 50 before I saw my first real snow, and I've not seen it since. Frankly, if I never do again, I won't be disappointed.

Beeb time: US President Barack Obama has said North Korea must be "held to account" for the sinking of a South Korean warship. He said he stood with South Korean leader Lee Myung-Bak, and condemned Pyongyang's "irresponsible behaviour". And...? Kyrgyzstan is pressing ahead with a referendum on a new constitution despite fears it could inflame ethnic tensions. The proposed constitution would give parliament more power and set the stage for a general election in September. Several hundred people died in clashes between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks in the south of the country earlier in June. Same old us and them problem. I wonder when all humanity will refer to itself as 'we'? I'm not holding my breath. China's President Hu Jintao has accepted an invitation for a state visit from US President Barack Obama, the White House says. Oz got the flick a while ago but I suppose China is more important. The Vatican has stepped up its criticism of raids by Belgian police investigating alleged child sex abuse, calling the detention of priests "serious and unbelievable". Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State, said "there are no precedents, not even under the old communist regimes". The Vatican continues to insist that it doesn't live in the real world. China has banned its 2.3 million soldiers from internet blogging, state media report. A new regulation prohibits the People's Liberation Army (PLA) from creating websites or blogs, citing confidentiality concerns, the official Xinhua news agency says. China operates vast internet censorship, dubbed the "great firewall of China". Nuff said. Ghana became only the third African side to reach the quarter-final stage at a World Cup after Asamoah Gyan smashed home an extra-time winner to knock out the USA. Oops! A top German court has ruled that it is not a criminal offence to cut off the life support of a dying person if that person has given their consent. I agree. A cup of coffee each morning may wake you up, but a new study suggests caffeine might hinder your short-term recall of certain words. Caffeine made it harder for people to find a word that they already knew - the "tip-of-the-tongue" phenomenon. No worries. Do a Google. And now, dear Breth, the answer to the question human beings have been asking themselves for thousands of years: why do flamingoes stand on one leg

One Red Bubbler is from Toronto Canada, and she makes a comment about the G20 and G8 conferences there... the chaos and disruption caused by protesters. She says it's like a war zone.

Speaking of Red Bubble, I took a detour down to the river on my way to the shops and saw this... follow me, lads!

Right, I've heard criticisms of Australian humor before but this one really cracked me up.

And now it's getting late... almost sunset time... time to think about throwing a shrimp on the barbie... except the shrimp will be chicken, and it won't be a barbie. And I've just turned the heater on. Once the sun sets, the temperature plummets 10 degrees. Gary

June 26, 2010. Another day older and deeper in debt... so the song goes (Sixteen tons and what do you get?) Well, it's Old Holdens Show n Shine day and what happens? RAIN. I hope it clears up before the show ends at 1:30 this afternoon. Photographing wet cars is cool... no worries... but getting wet while you're doing the clicking ain't cool.

It's a bit nippy as well... not real cold but a tad fresh. That's winter I guess.

Oregon Richie sent a link to a story about a kid with a passion for news reporting. He runs a small town newspaper, and has been since he was just 9 years old. He's 12 now. It's always inspiring to see kids living their dreams.

As to the specialist being away and not being able to see my skin cancer until August 2, my regular doc says I'll have to join the waiting list for surgery anyway and that could be some months on the public freebie system. Obviously, the skin cancer, despite looking a bit of a worry, ain't life threatening in the short term. *Shrug* I would prefer to keep my leg tho hehe.

Beeb time: Germany's chancellor insists Europe's leaders are making good progress in talks with the US on bolstering economic growth. Mr Obama is worried that a series of deep budget cuts announced by European countries may delay global recovery. Er... yeah. I don't understand any of that stuff. The US warns North Korea against actions that could worsen regional tensions amid concern it is set for new missile tests. And? N. Korea is playing games, and it's about time we stopped the kiddie talk and got serious. Michael Jackson's father files a wrongful death suit against the doctor charged with his overdose, a year after his death. And it's all about...? Pakistan will start monitoring seven major websites, including Google and Yahoo, for content it deems offensive to Muslims. I think it's also about time we monitored those websites for content deemed offensive to believers in Santa Claus and Donald Duck. Suspected Jamaican drug lord Christopher "Dudus" Coke has pleaded not guilty to US charges of drug and gun-trafficking. Mr Coke, 41, entered the plea in a New York court after being extradited from Jamaica on Thursday. Mr Coke waived his rights to challenge the extradition. If convicted, he faces life in prison. "It wasn't me, your honor!" Yeah, right. South Africa's police are investigating after thieves stripped a police station of all its contents, down to the kitchen sink. The office was under renovations and ready for re-occupation when the thieves hit, reports South Africa's Times Newspaper. The robbers helped themselves to everything of value - including doors, cupboards, basins, cutlery, tiles, furniture, electrical equipment and mortuary fridges. Waste not... A Swiss man has been sentenced to five months in jail and three strokes of a cane for spray-painting graffiti on a train in Singapore. Oliver Fricker, 32, a software consultant, admitted breaking into a depot and vandalising the train. The judge called it a serious breach of security. Caning in Singapore involves being struck with a wooden stick on the back of the thigh, which can leave permanent scars. Probably not a big deal for people who eat brains from the skulls of live monkeys. The Vatican has expressed shock at raids, including the "violation" of a cathedral crypt, by Belgian police investigating alleged child sex abuse. As well as searching a couple of main Church offices and a cardinal's home, police had drilled holes in two archbishops' tombs, said the Church. Prosecutors said the raids were over alleged "abuse of minors committed by a certain number of Church figures". Shock, violation and abuse, huh? 

Just got a message from a Youchewb friend (Cody) who suggested I watch this little gem. Well... what can I say? 

Okies, the Old Holdens shoot went okay. Didn't get drenched but there was rain still on the shiny cars which proved to be interesting photographically. It wasn't a big display but big enough to be worthwhile, and I bumped into a couple of old friends there. Check out the pics here. Anyone notice TT's bro in there?

Well, not a bad day. At least I got to press the shutter button a few times and had a bit of fun. In a week or two (not sure exactly when) I'll be doing it again when ol' Puffing Billy returns to Taree. That should be cool, especially if I can score a ride on the thing. Ya know, I rode on old trains twice a day, every day, for many years as a kid and took it for granted. And now? Yeah... it's a whole new thrill. Hehe. It's the same with the old Holdens... they were a dime a dozen back in the old days, and now they're turning heads again. Actually, I remember the days when a new model Holden made the front page of the daily newspapers. Yeah, it was a BIG deal!

And now it's chef time again. Rump steaks. Gary

June 25, 2010. Back from the Winter Orchid Show. As expected, it was held indoors at the Uniting Church complex so the ol' flash kept firing. However, some of the pics turned out okay.

Well, yesterday was a momentous day for Australian politics. In less than 24 hours, the Labor party movers and shakers managed to oust Kevin Rudd as PM and install Julia Gillard as the new PM. I have to say that I felt sorry for Rudd when he made his speech. He was holding back tears with obvious difficulty. And I admit that I was rather impressed with the way Gillard handled herself when interviewed by Kerry O'Brien on the 7:30 report. Aussie politics are gonna be pretty interesting over the next six months, not to mention entertaining, before the next election. Opposition leader, Tony Abbott, is gonna be dancing around in the ring with a feisty redhead... and now he has the added challenge of criticising a woman as opposed to a man, which will make things far more complex if he wants to avoid being seen as sexist.

Yep, no matter who you vote for, Aussie politics sure ain't gonna be dull for a while. Hehe.

Beeb time: US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has told the BBC that the world "cannot depend as much on the US as it did in the past". He said that other major economies would have to grow more for the global economy to prosper. Not sure what he means by 'depend'. A bomb blast at the offices of Greece's public order ministry in Athens has killed a close aide to the minister responsible for counter-terrorism. Police said the victim had opened a parcel bomb. The explosion happened only metres away from the office of the minister, Michalis Chryssohoidis, who was unhurt. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou said the bombing was a terrorist attack. So far no group has said it was beind the bomb. Terrorism is cowardice. And that's all there is to it. Suspected drug lord Christopher "Dudus" Coke arrives in the US after being extradited from Jamaica. Your time has come, Dudus. Don't expect any sympathy. Australia's new Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has assured US President Barack Obama that she supports the military campaign in Afghanistan. She said she had told him by phone "he should expect to see Australian efforts in Afghanistan continuing". Australia has about 1,550 soldiers in Afghanistan, mostly training Afghan National Army recruits. When Gillard's father received news of his daughter's rise to PM he said, "Let's hope she doesn't become another Margaret Thatcher". Hehe. Mining companies in Australia have expressed hope of reopening discussions about a controversial mining tax with the country's new prime minister. Julia Gillard, who has been sworn in as Australia's first female premier, said she was "throwing open the government's door to the mining industry". Her predecessor, Kevin Rudd, had slumped in the polls after proposing a 40% tax on mining profits from 2012. Mining giant BHP Billiton said it was "encouraged" by Ms Gillard's comments. That proposed mining tax was the straw that broke Rudd's back. LaToya Jackson has claimed her brother Michael was murdered because he was "worth so much more dead than alive". Speaking during a TV interview, the singer demanded what she called "the truth" surrounding the star's death in June 2009. Earlier this week music trade magazine Billboard reported that the royalties accumulated since the star's death had earned the Jackson estate $1 billion (£677 million). In an interview with GMTV she said: "Personally I think it is a slap in the face, not just to Michael but to the entire family. It's totally unfair, it's wrong and it was not an accident. "Asked whether she believed the star was murdered, she added: "I never had a doubt." The thick plottens.

Ohio Jace just wrote about a 10-year-old American kid who refuses to take the Pledge of Allegiance because of these final words: ...with liberty and justice for all. Check out the CNN link, and be sure to watch the video.

Jace also says they had a 5.0 earthquake which originated in Canada but was felt in Ohio: ...severe thunderstorms, and tornado warnings. There was wind damage but no confirmed tornados. The quake caused no damage just frayed nerves. I can imagine! The earth hasn't quite cooled down yet, ya know. There's still a lotta bubbling and hissing going on under that crust we're all sitting on. Maybe we arrived a little early.

Anyway, tomorrow I'm off to see the Old Holdens show n shine, which should be good. It's nice to see those old girls still trundling around the place, and it'll be even better if I can score a decent pic or two. Gary

June 24, 2010. Started making notes for Love Is... today... lead characters, etc. Not sure about the plot yet, but I ain't gonna stress about it. I'll just make a few notes each day until I feel ready to launch into chapter 1. I've decided to write the story in the first person, though... from the point of view of Bobby Stevens, the main character.

The primary motivation for writing the book is to make a buck. This time, I'll be mindful of the commercial aspect to being a novelist, and what publishers look for. I really don't like my chances of getting this damn Odyssey underway while my income is limited to a pension. Soooooo... maybe a book that sells a few thousand copies can fix that. Motorhome, here I come! 

Joao wrote: Australia 2 X 1 Serbia, a beautiful  Socceroos’ victory. It’s a pity they didn’t pass to stage 2 but their last game showed that Australians already have a good football. I’m waiting for them in the next World Cup in Brazil. Socceroos rule! Joao included this graphic he made hehe. He's a clever boy, ya know.

Well, it's good news that the Socceroos managed to redeem themselves after that embarrassing loss to Germany. "The Socceroos held onto their lead (over Serbia) and departed the 2010 FIFA World Cup with the respect of the football world intact once again, despite finishing third in their group," says Match Review.

In and Out day today... money in, money out. So I've been shuffling a few numbers around on Netbank. Remember the days of writing checks and putting them in envelopes and licking stamps? Gone! You don't get money any more. You get numbers. So a bunch of numbers are added to your bank account, and you distribute them according to your bills. When I was a kid, we were given a brown envelope on paydays with actual money in it... notes and coins. And when I worked overtime, we were given "tea money". Tea was the common expression then for dinner - the main meal of the day. So I'd get about 12 shillings for tea, spend about 2 bob on a sandwich and a drink, and make 10 bob profit. Hehe. Jeez, 12 shillings these days is $1.20. That wouldn't even buy you a sandwich. Back then it was worth 20 times more.

Beeb time: The top US military commander in Afghanistan is removed from his post after his criticism of leading Obama administration officials. Freedom of speech has its limitations, I suppose. Julia Gillard becomes Australia's first female prime minister after former PM Kevin Rudd stands aside from a party ballot. I never liked Rudd the Dud but Julia Gillard? Bloody hell. That's even worse! Bring on the next election! Oil is gushing unhindered into the Gulf of Mexico after an underwater accident at the site of the current major leak. BP was forced to remove its containment cap after an underwater robot bumped into the venting system, the US coast guard say. Gas had risen through the vent that carried warm water down to prevent ice-like crystals from forming in the cap. Without the cap, the only means of collecting the oil is a ship at the surface that sucks up oil and burns it. BP said on Wednesday evening it had begun "operations... to reinstall the cap", Reuters news agency reports. BP's Bob Dudley, who has taken over from chief executive Tony Hayward as manager of the company's spill response, said a few hours earlier he expected the cap to be working again within a day. Well, if there's a silver lining to this big black cloud it's that it's unlikely to ever be repeated. Drug use is moving away from cocaine and opiates and towards synthetic drugs such as amphetamines, the UN says. In its World Drug Report it says it expects that soon there will be more people using synthetic drugs than opium, heroin and cocaine together. Seems to me that if we were to rid the world of all evil, we'd have to rid the world of human beings. An award-winning lawyer and activist has been jailed for three years in Syria, human rights groups say. Mohannad al-Hassani, head of the Syrian Organisation for Human Rights, was tried for spreading false information and "weakening national morale". Hassani has defended a number of pro-democracy activists and campaigned for the repeal of the law used to jail him. Democracy? Ooer! That's a sin against Allah! A "blue period" Picasso has fetched £34.7m at auction in London. The 1903 painting, Portrait of Angel Fernandez de Soto, was expected to fetch between £30m and £40m at the sale where total receipts could reach £230m. The Picasso, described by Christie's earlier this year as "one of the most important works of art to be offered at auction in decades", was owned by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Art Foundation. :-/ 

So Australia has its first female Prime Minister. That would be cool if it weren't Julia Gillard. Newspaper reports say she should capitalize on her "honeymoon" prime ministership and hold an early election. Sooner the better I say. I can't stand the woman. But what I think isn't necessarily representative of what the nation thinks. Heaven forbid if Julia becomes the darling of Oz politics! I might even move to NZ.

Right... shopping's done. The checkout chick said, "You don't normally buy this much!" So I explained that I was also shopping for my neighbor. "And you can blame her for all the cakes and biscuits and sweets." The woman behind me in the queue said, "Are you sure?" Hehe. "YES, I'm sure!" Averil does have a sweet tooth ya know... loves all those things. Then I noticed that the woman had a block of Nimbin cheese amongst her groceries. Nimbin is hippy country up north of here. So I looked at it and said, "That might have funny stuff in it." "No," she said, "I've tried it... no funny stuff. But it would probably sell better if it did!"

Nimbin was just getting started as a hippy colony back in the early '70s when I worked at a radio station up that way, but I never visited the village. I'll make up for that on the Odyssey. It's a bit more respectable these days but still has its dropouts and counter culture. Should be pretty interesting.

That time again. T-bones for THEM and whatever for me. I'm easily pleased. It keeps the peace. Gary

June 23, 2010. Back from the doc. The biopsy of the splotch on my leg revealed.... eeek! Skin cancer. That's one the doc missed about 2 years ago. He thought it was eczema, and then the pharmacist said it was a fungal infection. Hmmm. So I've been referred to a specialist, David Simons, who operated on my previous skin cancers, and a hernia. But he's away for a month so the earliest appointment is August 3. And that's just for a look see. The actual op could be any ole time. It will require the cancer to be dug out and repaired with a skin graft. So it looks like 2/3 days in hospital. How delightful.

Well, I suppose when you've done a few miles, things start to deteriorate. Old Kev, before he passed on, said, "The two most important things (as you get older) are your peepers and your legs." Kev wasn't an intellectual so he missed something that I would have included. Hehe. By the same token, if your legs go, you notice it. If your eyes go, you notice it. But if your brain goes, you're unaware of it.

And now back from the pharmacy with a bunch of medication repeats and a stack of "low-adherent" bandages. The one I used to cover my lesion stuck, so the nurse had to buggerize around this morning trying to unstick it before she could remove the stitch. Yeah, well, what the hell do I know? Anyway, I'm gonna need a lotta bandages before I get to see the specialist in 6 weeks.

Beeb time: Police in Jamaica arrest suspected drug lord Christopher "Dudus" Coke, wanted in the US, after a long manhunt. People who profit from the misery of others ain't on my Christmas card list. US President Barack Obama was angered by a magazine profile in which the top military commander in Afghanistan criticised senior administration officials, the White House says. President Obama said General Stanley McChrystal had shown "poor judgement". The general has been summoned to Washington over the Rolling Stone article, for which he has apologised. In the article by Michael Hastings, entitled The Runaway General, Gen McChrystal is characterised as facing up to a key enemy in the war in Afghanistan: "The wimps in the White House." Many truths are uttered in jest, yes? A US federal court judge has blocked President Barack Obama's six-month moratorium on deep water oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The moratorium was put in place in the wake of the massive oil spill triggered by an explosion at a rig in April. The judge said the lengthy ban was "invalid" and could not be justified, as the negative impact on local businesses was simply too great. And that's what is generally referred to as the other side of the coin. The President of East Timor, Jose Ramos Horta, is due to open a new embassy for his young country in Canberra - a gift from the people of Australia. The embassy has been financed through charitable fund-raising. It is thought to be the first time one country has gifted an embassy to another. Hmmm, I wonder what Indonesia's comment will be. Indonesia has 210m more people than we do, and they're right on our doorstep. Oops! Michael Jackson's estate has made more than $1bn (£677m) since his death a year ago, according to estimates by trade paper Billboard. Are there any ATMs in Heaven? A former captain of supersonic jet Concorde says it was a "beautiful piece of engineering". Efforts are being made in France to get one of the retired jets off the ground after seven years. Captain David Rowland, President of the Royal Aeronautical Society, told BBC Bristol that Concorde was a "delight" to fly. "The smile spread across my face the first time I flew it and it's still there," he said. Yep, just like the Super Constellation, the Concorde is a classic that should be preserved.

When I lived in Petersham, quite near the Sydney airport flightpath, I saw a Concorde coming in to land from a distance. The noise of those jet engines, even from some miles away, was deafening, far far louder than any modern jet aircraft. I also saw a Constellation flying. It too was some miles away, but I could still hear the deep drone of those massive radial engines... a much more pleasant sound than the Concorde's jets, I might add.

Yes, a lot has happened in a little over a century since Wilbur and Orville did their thing with the Kitty Hawk in 1903: The craft soared to an altitude of 10 feet, traveled 120 feet, and landed 12 seconds after takeoff. 

Not the most thrilling of days but I did manage to recharge the Sony battery in readiness for the orchid shoot on Friday. Orchids schmorchids you may say, but I'm after that ONE killer shot that makes it all worthwhile. And now it's you-know-what time. Gary

June 22, 2010. How come time flies faster when you're a sexagenarian than it does when you're a kid? I mean everything else slows down so why doesn't time? I don't get it.

FL Josh wrote and re-sent the link to the Youchewb vid of the dog eating with its "hands". This one works and it's very clever. BTW, I've written to my ISP to ask about why my replies to Josh bounce. I don't have that prob with anyone else for some weird reason.

Weather today is D for Dreary. Cloudy and wet. But it's not very cold, for which I'm thankful. Oregon Richie wrote to say that a lot of people he knows are expiring. Yes, it happens. You get to a certain age and start noticing that your friends and associates are dropping off like ten pins. Yes, once you're into your 50s and 60s you're getting closer to perch time, and it's something you think about. A lotta peeps throw on the Nikes and jog around the block but I'm afraid I'm too lazy for that. I'll probably do more walking and maybe even cycling on the Odyssey out of necessity, but it won't be for health reasons. My interest in photography will also take me places I otherwise couldn't be bothered going. But that's different to jogging around the block. Jogging for the sake of jogging is BORING. If I'm gonna go somewhere I wanna come back with pics and a story!

There was a documentary on TV recently about old war vets in Britain who spend their final days in a military nursing home. One of them said he was reticent about making new friends there because they keep falling off the perch. He was being serious, and I can well understand his concern. These days I tend to limit my attachments to things like laptops and cameras which are replaceable.

Speaking of TV programs, I watched Travel Oz last night but missed almost all of a story about Connie, the super constellation still flying the skies of Oz. It brought the Queen to Broken Hill way back in the 50s, and also Elvis Presley to Australia. A ticket for a round-the-world trip on Connie cost the equivalent of a year's salary back then, which would be over $50,000 these days. Hehe. Anyway, I did a check on Youchewb and found this historic footage of a corporate video made for TWA back in the early 50s (in 3 parts).

Beeb time: Faisal Shahzad pleads guilty to all charges in connection with an attempted car bombing in New York's Times Square. No problem, Faisal. Allah will take care of you. The man running the $20bn fund to compensate victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill promises to speed up the payment of claims. 20 billion. That's more than the GDP of some countries! Bloody mindboggling. The UK's most senior diplomat in Afghanistan, special envoy Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, is leaving his post. The diplomat has been critical of Nato and US policy, and said talks with the Taliban should have greater priority. That's more or less what Chamberlain said about Hitler. The wreckage of a plane carrying a group of Australian mining executives in West Africa has been found, Cameroon's information minister said. Nine or 10 bodies had been found, he said, as hopes faded for survivors. One of Australia's richest men, Ken Talbot, was on board, with five other Australians, and one US, two British and two French nationals. Yes, folks, it's a long way down when you're in one of those things. Three Australian commandos and a US soldier have been killed in a helicopter crash in southern Afghanistan, Nato officials say. There was no indication of enemy involvement. Australia's armed forces chief, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, said the three men killed were from the Special Operations Task Group. It is the country's deadliest single incident in the nearly nine-year war. Nine years and still counting. Teaching stroke patients to sing "rewires" their brains, helping them recover their speech, say scientists. By singing, patients use a different area of the brain from the area involved in speech. That means I'm in big trouble. The quest to live longer is one of humanity's oldest dreams and three isolated communities seem to have stumbled across the answer. So what can they teach us about a longer life? Read the article here

Nine years so far in Afghanistan. WWI lasted 4 years - the "Great War". WWII lasted 6 years. But back then you knew who the enemy was. You bombed the crap out of Germany or Japan. But not now. We're not at war with Iraq, we're at war with insurgents. We're not at war with Afghanistan, we're at war with the Taliban. Shades of Vietnam - the Viet Cong. So who the hell do we bomb the crap out of? The big question, of course, is how much longer can these wars last? I've heard Aussie spokespersons say it will be some years yet, but exactly how many they don't specify.

The only way the human race will enjoy lasting peace is to agree to disagree, to be tolerant, and be content to share the world. But, given the nature of humanity, and its long history of bickering, I don't like the chances of that ever happening. So, in the face of such depressing pessimism there's only one thing to do... make a cheese and egg jaffle for lunch.

Meanwhile, I'm kinda itching to get OUT THERE and do a little happy snapping, which I haven't done in a while. Although I've done orchid and old Holdens shoots before, there's always something new to learn, and some new way of photographing a familiar subject. You can take 57 shots of a particular subject and end up with 56 also-rans and one standout. I suppose that's the carrot at the end of the stick for photographers... that one elusive shot that makes it into the Hall of Fame.

I'm also contemplating writing another story - a book. I've come to the realization that my stuff so far ain't mainstream - the wrong genre as the publishers keep telling me. So maybe I'll play their game. A romance - boy, girl. BUT with a twist hehe. I'm not terribly motivated but maybe that will change. I'll start by making notes about the characters, plot and sub plots, and when I get the bones (structure) of the thing organized then I'll start writing. I won't publish it on the net tho. Publishers don't like that.

However, the working title is 'Love Is'. Love is what? you may ask. Well, read the book. The plot - at this stage - is to create two central characters who are perfectly normal, Romeo and Juliet, but who happen to have a bunch of rellos and friends who are anything BUT normal. Therefore, I hope to please the publisher who wants something commercially viable, the reader of romance stories who wants - well, heterosexual romance with all its normal accoutrements, and those members of the reading public who want something 'different'. It's gonna be tricky but I'll give it a shot. Actually, it could be very interesting... I've got a few ideas rolling around already.

And now... yes, you know what I'm gonna say already. It's that time of day again. Anyone who thinks it takes five minutes to write all of the above can think again. It takes all day - on and off. Actually, I watched an interview last night with Les Murray, a famous Aussie poet, of whom it's said, "He writes like one of Botticelli's angels". He was asked some very interesting questions about inspiration, among other things. Most fascinating. He said of poetry: "It condenses things that prose takes much longer to explain." That in itself is poetry. Yeah? Well said, Les. Read the transcript here.

Din dins time. Gary

June 21, 2010. Yes, I know... going on 66 and still carrying on like a teen. It's a worry.

So I've been thinking about taking the Sony out of mothballs and using it for the orchid shoot this Friday. It's only a 5MP camera but it has a whizz bang Carl Zeiss lens - great for close-ups. I haven't used the Sony for months... probably a year. Poor thing. Orchids are the most amazing flowers... truly spectacular, and I'm hoping I have enough experience now to do a decent job. I tried before and didn't do so well... all kinds of dumb mistakes. Oh well...

Guess who's a member of Red Bubble? Joao! He's been a member since January and I've not heard a peep until today when he commented on my newspaper delivery pic, and gave me a bit of cheek about the Socceroos hehe. Get clicking, Joao, we wanna see more pics of Brazil!

FL Josh wrote and gave me a Youchewb link to a dog eating with its "hands" but the link didn't work. Maybe the clip was removed from Youchewb for some reason. Anyway, I replied to Josh's mail but it bounced ... AGAIN. Dunno what the prob is.

Actually, that reminds me of a camping trip I took to Kangaroo Valley with a mate and my dog Kelly. We went into town and dined at the local pub... out on the terrace, al fresco. So I plonked Kelly on a chair at our table and she ate with us... T-bones. I carved hers up, by the way, so that she could eat without tearing the damn thing to pieces and making a mess. At the time, it all seemed quite normal to me... two guys and a dog sitting at the same table eating dinner. But I suppose it did look a bit odd to some observers... although I can't remember any of the other diners being particularly perturbed. Mind you, it was Kangaroo Valley hehe. AND... I can't wait to get back there one day.

I think that kinda behavior was the reason my mother thought I was a bit strange. She was often critical of my idiosyncrasies. My brothers agreed with her assessment - that I was the weirdo of the clan. My father was cool, though... I'm pretty sure he never realized I was actually his kid. And come to think of it, maybe he was right.

Beeb time: Governing party candidate Juan Manuel Santos has won the final round of Colombia's presidential elections. With almost all the votes counted, Mr Santos had won 69% of the ballots and was more than 40 points ahead of his rival - Green Party candidate Antanas Mockus. Mr Santos shares outgoing President Alvaro Uribe's tough line on security. In his victory speech, he told the country's main rebel group, Farc, that their "time had run out". He said there would not be "the slightest chance of negotiations" with the rebels and demanded they unilaterally release the hostages they hold. They won't, of course, so it's get tough time. Actions speak louder than words, Mr Santos. A BP document has revealed the company estimated that 100,000 barrels of oil a day could, in theory, flow from the ruptured Gulf of Mexico well. Mr Markey - a senior Democrat and chairman of one of the committees investigating the Gulf spill - said the document raised troubling questions about what BP knew about the size of the spill and when they knew it. "First they said it was only 1,000 barrels, then they said it was 5,000 barrels, now we're up to 100,000 barrels," he told NBC's Meet the Press programme. BP says the worst-case scenario figure of 100,000 barrels a day was irrelevant because it was based on what might happen if the well's blowout preventer was removed, which the company had no plans to do. So what's the latest news about the cleanup? Anyone reporting on the cleanup? Yoo hoo! Wakey, wakey! Rank outsiders New Zealand pulled off one of the biggest World Cup shocks of recent tournaments by holding defending champions Italy to a memorable draw in Nelspruit. Oh dear. The Socceroos performances to date have been bad enough, but don't tell me the EnnZedders are in with a chance! That's even more embarrassing! Thousands queued for the opening of the Harry Potter theme park, where they were greeted by the films' stars, including Daniel Radcliffe. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened at the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida on Friday. Universal Orlando spokesman Tom Schroder said 5,000 people were waiting to get in before the park opened. Radcliffe said the park, based on JK Rowling's hugely successful novels, was the "next part of the Potter legacy". Forget about Einstein and Galileo, people much prefer Donald Duck and Harry.

Yep, the Taj Mahal, pyramids, cathedrals, mosques, theme parks... they all have something in common ya know. But I'm not gonna say what it is cos there's a distinct possiblity I might be struck by lightning.

TX Greg wrote to say that he's very proud of how Codysworld turned out, and thanked me for allowing him to be part of it. Hello? He did a fantastic job, of which I'm sure Cody would heartily approve - not to mention Steve. I think Greg's involvement has made a huge difference, and I thank him for his dedication. Greg also brought to my attention that the site was finished just in time for Cody's birthday, July 1. Not a bad kinda prezzie, yes?

Last night, I was deep frying chips when the handle and basket decided to divorce. So there was a basket fulla chips in boiling oil, and me holding a handle with nothing on the end of it. Not good, ladies and genitals. Not good. I used two tongs to lift the basket outta the oil but it was all a bit precarious, and the grip wasn't enough to give the chips a good shake Drama, drama, drama. Anyway, I finally managed to save the chips but I was gonna throw the basket and handle away. Then I thought, no, I'll take a shot at fixing it. The handle was attached to the basket by two pop rivets, which had worked loose because of all the shaking over the years. I do my chips like a Brazilian uses maracas to play Samba de Amigo. Shake, baby, shake. I know my chips are cooked to perfection if they sound like a maraca when shaken. Chick chicka boom boom. So I de-popped the rivets and found a couple of self-tapping screws from somewhere (I hoard things in jars) and voila... fixed. And now I'm thinking of calling my chips chick chicka boom booms instead of chips. Fish 'n' chick chicka booms booms. How's that? Is this fossil awesome or what? Joao will be sooooo jealous!

Well, this IS the Waffle Page ya know.

And now it's - yes, you guessed it... that time again. The sun is setting, the air is becoming quite brisk, and it's time to think about closing doors, turning on the heater, and donning the chef hat. Pork chops and spuds for THEM, which is an excuse for me to pig out on something Asiany. I love Asian food but they don't. Well, bugger 'em. Actually, that's not true. There's a lotta Asian stuff I wouldn't eat in a fit. Gary

June 20, 2010. Sunday! And not a bad one, either. 19C today and sunny. I hope the weather stays nice for the next few weeks. Next weekend, I'll do the orchid show and the Old Holdens Show. About a week after that, the old steam loco, the 3237, is due back in Taree so I'm planning on getting a ticket to ride! Stand by for a bunch of pics and a new mini vid.

Rather than go through the complicated and boring fixit thing with AVS, I deleted the whole shebang and downloaded the program again. So I hope it works. Haven't tried it yet. As a backup I have Windows Movie Maker but that's a freebie and not as comprehensive as AVS, which has all the bells and whistles. Bells and whistles... get it? Steam loco? Yeah.

Meanwhile, I wrote a little ditty last night for Red Bubble. And just now I posted a pic of newspaper delivery in Taree.

Young Albert wrote from Denmark to tell me he scored A+ in all his exam subjects. How's that for cool? I suspect the world will soon have an Incan science genius. Albert is into science. But he's also into psychology. So we might have an Incan Einstein, or we might have an Incan Freud. Hehe. For those of you who are a little confused, Albert was adopted as a Columbian baby and raised in Denmark.

Well, TX Greg - the cheeky bugger - decided I deserve an award for all the "hard work" over the last 10 years, and talked Daniel into presenting the award. He even convinced Daniel to get all dressed up for the occasion in a tux. Years ago, I created an award for Cody and he got all emotional about it. I didn't think it was all that special but he did. And I'm pretty chuffed about this one too. Cody would have hosed himself laughing at the graphic hehe. And if anyone dares tell me that it's a good likeness, I'll break his nose.

Beeb time: BP CEO Tony Hayward comes under fire for taking time off to go boating instead of dealing with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. What's the difference between a boardroom and a deck on a boat? Talking is talking no matter where it takes place. Besides, time out refreshes the brain. A former Rwandan army chief is in a critical condition after being shot in Johannesburg in what his wife said was an attempt on his life. Being shot is an attempt on his life? Well, there ya go... ya learn something new every day. US president welcomes China's suggestion that it will allow a rise of the yuan, which many in the West say is undervalued. Yes, folks, we must have a level playing field... whatever that means. Gunmen have killed the mayor of a Mexican town on the border with the United States. Manuel Lara Rodriguez, 48, was shot dead in Ciudad Juarez, where he had fled a month ago after receiving death threats. He was the mayor of Guadalupe Distrito Bravos in Chihuahua state. Guadalupe is at the centre of a wave of violence involving rival gangs smuggling drugs to the US. Hundreds of its residents have been killed and it is listed among the most dangerous towns in the country. Those gangs need to be taught a serious lesson... and quick. And if you happen to be an American citizen who uses illegal drugs, and who is reading this, you're just as much to blame as anyone else. Denmark came from behind to defeat Cameroon in a pulsating match that ensured the African team became the first to be knocked out of the 2010 World Cup. Go Albert! Australia overcame the first-half dismissal of Harry Kewell to battle for a draw against Ghana that keeps their slim hopes of reaching the World Cup second round alive. It was an impressive display from the Australians who had been lambasted by their national press after a meek opening performance and suffered the hammer blow of having a key man sent off for the second game in a row. The Socceroos could still emulate their 2006 effort of reaching last 16 in South Africa if they defeat Serbia in their final game on Wednesday, while Ghana need only a point against the Germans to advance. Go Aussies! Daphne Brock was one of a number of women, now in their 90s, who visited Germany in the 1930s as part of their cultural education. They were aristocratic teenage girls at the time and their experiences in Germany in the years leading up to the war provide a unique insight into the rise of Nazism. Daphne tells Rachel Johnson about the "terrifying" experience at a Hitler rally. Listen to Daphne's voice over during an interview, right to the very last sentence.

So, now the criticism of BP is about the CEO spending time on a boat. BP's critics are really on a trip... an obsessive mission to hang the accused. I'm not a supporter of BP per se - I really couldn't give a damn about the company - but it annoys me that some people are more intent on venting spleens than fixing the problem. It's like those old Hollywood Westerns where the crowd gathers in the main street. It's not the guilt or otherwise of the guy with the noose around his neck that concerns them, it's the hanging they wanna see - a public spectacle. Yeah? It's as plain as day to me. The critics want blood. And then they go back to their houses and feel good about about having watched a man strangled to death. Gimme a break. The real issue here is the gulf cleanup. Focus on that. Justice can come later.

Incidentally, if anyone disagrees with my point of view, by all means say so. I'm not adverse to criticism. It's just that this Waffle Page allows me to say what I think without interference from a boss, and I'm having a whale of a time. I think most people are compromised at some point in their lives. Don't say that in front of the wife. Don't say that in front of the children. Don't say that in front of the boss. Don't say that on the air. Etc, etc. So you can imagine how intoxicating it is to have the freedom of my very own blog such as this!

I am aware of the risk (if that's what you call it) of expressing views that may offend some readers of this blog. By the same token, I'm not running a popularity contest here. Frankly, I don't see the point of being the person some others would prefer in order to attract the numbers. That would be a lie. And I don't like telling lies. What you see is what you get.

Actually, for some months now, young Albert has told me that he wanted to change his name. He wanted to be somebody else - to assume a different identity. He even set up a blog with a false name and said he was 20. So I told him that was a load of bullshit, and that he should present himself to the world as the person he is. No apologies. No excuses. No pretending. So lately his email to me is signed "Me". Hehe. That's the way, Albert. Tell 'em to go jump if they don't like it. This is me and this is what you get. You no like? Too bad, baby.

In essence, if you wanna know who your real friends are, be ...................... (fill in blank space).

I realize, of course, that for some people it's too late. They've spent years, even decades, creating a false persona that, if dismantled, would destroy their personal world. Go figure.

And now to something completely different. I've often heard that breaking an egg into a jaffle iron works pretty well, but I've always been suspicious of the outcome. Eggs are all runny, right? However, today I decided to give it a shot. Old fashioned jaffle irons used over a campfire or on the stove top are now called toasted sandwich makers, and are electric. But anyway, the principle is the same. Two slices of bread with crusts removed. Spray internal surfaces of jaffle iron with cooking oil... just a little bit. Place one slice of bread inside. Break egg into cup, stir with fork to mix yolk and white. Pour a little onto slice of bread. Wait for bread to soak up egg, then add a little more until all egg is positioned without spilling. Add topping of cheese, and a little ground pepper. Top with second slice of bread. Close jaffle iron. Cook until nicely browned. Yum! I had one for lunch. I figure it cost me probably 30 cents.

Cody used to talk about toasted sarmies, and I suspect he was referring to jaffles made with an electric sandwich toaster. They're pretty good, but out in the bush with a camp fire or gas cooker, the old fashioned jaffle iron is the way to go. Even here at home I use an old fashioned jaffle iron with the extra long handles (cast iron) on the stove top. It's gotta be 40 years old or more, and as good as the day it was made. It's the kinda thing you never wash. No, no, no. Keep it well greased, scrape off the crusty bits if necessary, but NEVER wash it. (No undies jokes, please).

Okay, the sun's disappearing and it's a bit chilly again (despite being a pleasant day), so the heater's on. Soon, I'll take the condoms off the sausages and use the mince to make rissoles... chopped celery, onion and a bunch of goodies... and crumbed. Yum. Serve with fried eggs and chips. I'm here to tellya, dear Breth, that if I'd been around when J. Christ was doing his thing, and he'd tasted my rissoles, there would have been 13 apostles.

Jeez... imagine Saint Gary at the Pearlies. I'd be letting all the scallywags in.

Right... time to get my act together. Kitchen time. Checkyaslater. Gary

June 19, 2010. Posted the last of the Codeman chapters today. So that's it. MrB is over, Codysworld is done, and now it's onto whatever's next.

A bunch of hooligans - drunk and high on something - were outside last night making a helluva racket. This morning I discovered they'd trashed my new colorbond side fence - four panels seriously buckled. They also tried to trash the letter box but Chris did a pretty good job of securing it. It's a bit bent but still there. So I reported it to the cops - malicious damage. Not much else I can do. Like I've said before, there's no law against idiots giving birth to more idiots, so there'll never be a shortage of morons.

BTW, when the constable asked for my birthdate she said, "Oh, that's my mother's birthdate!" "Really? So she's almost 66?" "Yes, she is!" "Well, there ya go."

Averil phoned later and asked me if I knew about the fence. "I don't know if it was them or not but whenever new Aborigines move into the area there's always trouble." I suppose she has a point, but on the other hand there are no Aborigines in Afghanistan or Pakistan. I didn't say that, though. Trouble makers can be any color or creed. In my view, it's all about what's between their ears and has nothing to do with anything else. I really do believe that the human brain is just a lump of putty that can be molded into whatever shape the moulder desires - just like a piece of pottery. The sad thing is a lump of putty is always at the mercy of the molder. And who might that be? Show me a lump of putty that molded itself.

Ohio Jace wrote. Seems like little Sean Cody doesn't like peas. Neither does Jace for that matter. I wonder why that is? I quite like peas, and I just love pea and ham soup! However, the peas used in soup are those really hard ones that need to be soaked overnight. Green peas fresh from the pod (uncooked) are nice too; kinda nutty. And those snow peas (sometimes called sugar peas) used in stir fries are totally wicked. Anyway, the Ohio gang are all doing quite well and enjoying the summer weather. Today in Taree ain't too bad... sunny and 18C. Hehe... Jace and Oregon Richie are always bitching about their harsh winters, and I can't blame them for thinking winter in Taree is a joke. How-bloody-ever it would be nice if the temp was somewhere between the mid and high 20s.

I noticed in a brochure today from a local electronics store that the Fuji Finepix S1600 Ultra Zoom is just $278. Whoa! 12MP, 3" LCD, 15 x Optical zoom, 28mm wide angle and HD movie mode. Now that's pretty cool. Unless you're a pro or really serious amateur, that camera can handle just about any situation you could think of. And for less than $300, it's a steal. Yes, I know... I've got 4 cameras already, 2 of which are Fujis.

Have you checked out my favorites on Red Bubble lately? I've added a few stunners.

Beeb time: The UN announces a flash appeal for Kyrgyzstan, where it says 400,000 people have been displaced by inter-ethnic fighting. It's easy to say, isn't it... 400,000. Takes just two seconds. BP denies claims by one of its partners that its handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill amounts to "gross negligence". I can't imagine that an experienced company like BP, with an international reputation, could be guilty of "gross negligence". Something went terribly wrong yes, but BP is not a backyard operator. I really do believe that BP's critics are getting far too carried away with their need for vengeance. I mean this is becoming a town square hanging from the Wild West. Supporters of Burma's detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi mark her 65th birthday, as world leaders call for her release. Release by whom? Those she would destroy? Hehe. Drinking several cups of tea or coffee a day appears to protect against heart disease, a 13-year-long study from the Netherlands has found. Those who drank more than six cups of tea a day cut their risk of heart disease by a third, the study of 40,000 people found. My father was a major tea drinker but he suffered a heart attack at age 64. I suppose it could be argued that if he hadn't drunk so much tea, he might have suffered a heart attack much earlier. Anyway, he survived to age 76. A high-profile former Roman Catholic priest in Italy has been charged with sexual abuse. Pierino Gelmini, 85, is alleged to have abused 12 young people at a drug rehabilitation centre he had founded. He denies the charges. Mr Gelmini left the priesthood two years ago to defend himself. Here we go again. Poseidon Adventure director Ronald "Ronnie" Neame has died in hospital in Los Angeles at the age of 99. The British film-maker, who died on Wednesday, never recovered after suffering from a fall, said family friend and BBC correspondent Peter Bowes. London-born Neame also worked as a cinematographer on films including Blithe Spirit and In Which We Serve. He directed The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, starring Dame Maggie Smith. She won the best actress Oscar in 1969 for her portrayal of the inspirational teacher of six young girls. Neame also co-wrote screenplays including Great Expectations and Brief Encounter. Can't ask much more of a bloke than that. Singer Phil Collins has received the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame gala. The singer, who has sold over 100 million records as a solo artist and with the band Genesis, said writing a popular track is "a complete accident". Yeah, I guess it is... you never know what works until after it works. The US has carried out its first execution by firing squad in 14 years. Convicted murderer Ronnie Lee Gardner, who had spent 25 years on death row, was executed soon after midnight local time (0600 GMT), after a final appeal had been rejected. And it's goodnight from Ronnie

Fair dinkum, I really don't understand this popular mentality of trying to crucify BP. For God's sake there's a crisis that needs urgent attention while all these people are busy finger-pointing and playing the blame game. That's not gonna solve anything! Get together and combine forces to fix this damn thing! Help BP do its job and stop fucking around with dumb politics and point-scoring! Jesus Christ, people annoy me!

It's getting to that time again... sun's going down, heater's on, and I'm about to head for the kitchen. Or is that TO the kitchen? Dozen madder. I'll end up in the kitchen anyway whether it's for or to. I'm pan frying scotch fillet steaks and onions for THEM and I'm having a steak and Guinness gourmet pie. And then, it's telly time... the usual Saturday night crap. Talk to any TV station programmer and he'll tell you that everyone goes out on Saturday night, so there's no point in scheduling quality programs. Hehe. You don't need to be a genius to be in the television industry, ladies and genitals... just a dickhead who thinks he's a genius. Gary

June 18, 2010. I think my ISP is down. At least I hope it's them (or the local phone exchange) and not a prob with my computer or modem. 

Weatherwise it's a nice day. Yesterday was down to 13C but today is a more respectable 17... and sunny. I really need to get OUT THERE before the end of the month so that I have something to post on Aussie Odyssey's June Journal. I'm getting a bit slack in my old age. Hmmm... just checked the local council events calendar. There's an old Holdens show-n-shine Saturday 26th. Yeah, that would be cool. And there's a winter orchids display Friday 25th.

FL Josh wrote about the BP oil spill in the gulf. Seems they have similar problems in the board room.

Beeb time: BP chief executive Tony Hayward has been told by an angry US Congressional panel his firm ignored dangers when drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. House committee on energy and commerce chairman Henry Waxman said BP's "complacency" before the 20 April rig explosion had been "astonishing". He accused Mr Hayward of "stonewalling" for failing to answer his questions. As a public relations exercise for BP, the hearing was a disaster, a BBC correspondent says. Venting spleens ain't gonna clean up the mess, guys. Get real. Work together. Kyrgyzstan interim leader Roza Otunbayeva has flown to Osh in the south of the country after the worst ethnic violence in two decades. At least 191 people were killed in fighting between Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks around Osh and Jalalabad. About 400,000 people have been displaced by the unrest, with many Uzbeks fleeing into Uzbekistan. The Red Cross (ICRC) has described the situation as an "immense crisis". Us and them... same old, same old. The US state of Utah is preparing to put convicted murderer Ronnie Lee Gardner to death by firing squad, the first such execution in 14 years. The US Supreme Court rejected a final appeal, meaning Gardner - who has spent 25 years on death row - will die at 0005 local time (0605GMT) on Friday. Gardner, 49, chose the firing squad as his method of execution before it was banned by Utah in 2004. He will be only the third man put to death in that way in the US since 1976. Barbaric... both him and his executioners. A sailor has returned to shore after spending more than three years at sea without touching dry land. Reid Stowe, 58, docked in Manhattan after his 1,152 day voyage, and was greeted by his girlfriend and 23-month toddler who he had never seen. Mr Stowe left in the 70-foot (21m) two-masted sailing boat in April 2007. Guinness World Records say they are looking into the claim that the trip sets a new record for the longest voyage. Which all goes to prove...??? Slowly but steadily, a decade-old business around the dead and universally despised dictator Adolf Hitler is emerging as a small-scale industry in India. Books and memorabilia on the German leader's life have found a steady market in some sections of Indian society where he is idolised and admired, mostly by the young. The numbers are small but seem to be growing. Don't be surprised. If it can happen once, it can happen again. Thousands of tonnes of food are binned annually in the UK because of confusion over use-by dates. But those willing to overlook the labels are finding big online discounts on food past its prime. Yes, I do that all the time. Stuff that's approaching its use-by date at the local supermarket gets marked down, and if I happen to be Johnny on the spot, I snaffle it. I scored 4 kilos of spuds the other day for half price. I reckon I save $20 to $30 a week by buying mark-downs.

Yep, our weekly grocery bill averages about $90 - or $30 each - which works out to be $4.30 a day per person. And that includes household cleaning stuff, toilet stuff, bathroom stuff, food, beverages, etc. We don't starve... we enjoy steak, chicken, fish and all the usual goodies... even some not-so-usual goodies. Being a good shopper with a keen eye for specials, and a versatile cook helps. :o)

Speaking of cooking. Yeah, it's that time of day again... almost. Which leads me to ponder how much I'll spend on food on the Odyssey. If I get lazy and buy take-away or dine in restaurants/pubs, it'll cost me a fortune. But if I cook at "home" I'll spend virtually nothing. I can easily whip up a decent meal for a buck or two. No, no, no... not THOSE kinda bucks... although that remains a distinct possibility. "Yoohoo! Burgers anyone?"

Hmmm. Getting a bit carried away there. However, I am conscious of living cheaply so that I can save money. After all, I'm not gonna be fit enough to travel Oz forever, and there will come a time when I'll need to settle down and rest my weary old bones with some sort of permanency - which will require a few dollars in the kitty. Down there for dancin', yeah? Then I'll do a Quentin Crisp and say, "If you wanna hear my stories, it's your treat for dinner." Gary

June 17, 2010. Today I reformatted the Codeman chapter about Mark's visit to CT for Cody's 19th birthday, which was destined to be his last. It was written in late June, 2001, almost 9 years ago. But it seems eerily current, as if time will forever stand still for that special occasion.

Ah, I remember now... the reason I dumped Windows Movie Maker in favor of AVS was because I had a lotta trouble uploading WMV to Youchewb. Well, as I write this, I'm giving it another shot. I used Windows Movie Maker to make another vid... the same one that I had trouble with using AVS. It all works perfectly on my comp but whether or not Youchewb accepts it remains to be seen. Fingers crossed. It's a random series of photographs I've taken during the past whatever, put to the music of Tommy Emmanuel, a brilliant Aussie guitarist.

Okay, at this stage it looks cool... 10 minutes to go... 5 minutes to go... 1 minute to go... 100% completed. Yes! It worked! Woohoo! Check it out, baby.

Back from shopping.... AGAIN. But I scored a few specials. We'll be dining on chicken schnitzels with cheese and hash browns tonight. Dunno what I'd do without the convenience of Bluey. Pensioners like me are not supposed to be able to afford a car... but I manage cos I don't party. Onya, Bluey... you're a good girl.

Beeb time: US Congressmen prepare to grill BP boss Tony Hayward, a day after the firm agreed a $20bn fund for victims of its oil spill. And why didn't Congress grill BP before the event? Go figure. Vultures know when it's time to attack. Israel's deadly assault on a ship carrying aid to Gaza increases the chances of a regional war, Syria's president tells the BBC. Forget it, baby. I don't like the way Israel acted either but it's not wise to pick a fight you can't win. Days of communal violence in Kyrgyzstan have sparked an "immense crisis" in the area, the Red Cross (ICRC) says. Some aid has begun to arrive in the region, but the ICRC says refugees are running short of basic supplies such as food, water and shelter. Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes because of the violence between ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks. Once again, I have to say that living in a country like Oz has spoiled the hell outta me.The United States is expanding its sanctions against Iran because of concerns about its nuclear ambitions. Washington said the individuals and institutions targeted were helping Iran to develop its nuclear programme. Stay tooned. Pop star Prince is to receive a lifetime achievement honour at the Black Entertainment TV (BET) awards later this month. "Prince is dynamic. Prince is genius. Prince is music," said BET president of programming, Stephen G Hill. Well, there ya go, I must have missed something

Yes, I still believe that all this finger-pointing at BP for the mess in the Gulf is an attempt by the finger-pointers to distance themselves from all responsibility. Ya know, BP was there because it was ALLOWED to be there. I mean if you invite guests to your party and they trash the joint, whose fault is that?

Last night's forecast said today was gonna be nice, like 20 C. Yeah, right. God had something else in mind. Like cloudy, drizzly and cold. So I put the heater on just now... 4pm. Bit early but bugger it. Actually, when it was really cold in CT, Cody used to describe it in inches hehe. Yes, that kid was a one off. I know his story off by heart, but even 9 years down the track, I still shake my head in disbelief when I read his own accounts of his life. He was outrageous... but he did it with style... Cody's own inimitable style.

There's a site on the net that has a link to Codysworld. I really like the words written by the webmaster:

You might know that if you lost someone you loved very much you try to hold on to your memories, pictures and anything else that makes you remember....and not forget.
You might have heard that some parents leave their sons or daughters room intact.....even years after their death.
The friends of Cody did the same.
- after their friend died at the age of -only- 19 they decided to keep his personal webpage online.
In remembrance.
Its a pretty special tribute to a friend: check it out.....

Spoke to Averil today, and Sue was there... wife of Stan the Lawn Man. Sue and Stan recently arrived back from a caravan holiday up the coast in Queensland, So Sue got chatting (and she loves a chat) about attending the reception for Jessica Watson, the young girl who recently sailed solo around the world in the pink yacht. Sue needed to take a pee, so she went to a row of porta loos. When she'd finished her pee, she noticed two feet under a gap in the door of one of the loos. They were in a peculiar position so she bent down to take a closer look. Then another pair of feet became visible. By this time, Stan had arrived and asked what the hell she was looking at. "There's four feet in there," she said, pointing to the gap under the door of the loo. "And they look like their doing something weird. I don't know if they're male or female." Stan checked out the scene for a while, then got bored and wandered off. But Sue stayed. She was curious to know who the feet belonged to. "They were too big to be female," she said to Averil and me. Stan eventually came back and told Sue to forget it - that they were due to be somewhere else. By that time the two pairs of feet were in a standing position but the occupants of the loo had failed to emerge. So the mystery of why four feet were in the same porta loo will remain unresolved hehe.

And that's it for today, boils and goils... schnitzels in the pan, hash browns and corn fritters in the oven, and almost time to eat! Gary

June 16, 2010. Yesterday's visit to the doc resulted in the doc inspecting my splotch and saying, "What have you done?" Yeah, like it's my fault? Blame God! Anyway, he thinks it might be cancerous so I'll be back at 3pm today to have a piece removed and sent for a biopsy. Ultimately, I'll need a skin graft. Oh well... at least he didn't turn up with a chain saw.

When I told Lindsay, Chicken Little emerged to say the sky was about to fall in. "You won't be able to go around Australia!" So I told him I've had lots of skin cancers removed, and it's only localized anyway. It's not like I'm riddled with the stuff... not yet.

Beeb time: Barack Obama vows to 'make BP pay' for damage caused by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, in his first Oval Office TV address. I still think the market for petroleum products needs to share some of the blame. If it weren't for the insatiable demand for oil, there would not have been a spill. The Bloody Sunday killings were unjustified and unjustifiable, the Prime Minster has said. Thirteen marchers were shot dead on 30 January 1972 in Londonderry when British paratroopers opened fire on crowds at a civil rights demonstration. Prime Minister David Cameron said he was "deeply sorry". Yeah, right, almost 40 years down the track. They should have been sorry on the day itself. Mexico places new restrictions on the use of the US dollar, in an attempt to limit money-laundering by drugs gangs. Once again, it's supply and demand. If there was no demand, the drugs gangs would have no power. So who is to blame? Sperm whale faeces may help oceans absorb carbon dioxide from the air, scientists say. Australian researchers calculate that Southern Ocean sperm whales release about 50 tonnes of iron every year. This stimulates the growth of tiny marine plants - phytoplankton - which absorb CO2 during photosynthesis. The process results in the absorption of about 40,000 tonnes of carbon - more than twice as much as the whales release by breathing, the study says. Poo is cool! Maicon produced a moment of pure Brazilian magic to set the five-time champions on their way to victory in their opening game against North Korea in Johannesburg. The Brazilians, ranked number one in the Fifa rankings, were expected to cruise past the team in 105th place in their Group G encounter. But on a difficult evening they had to wait until the 55th minute to break the deadlock as the North Koreans proved more than capable opponents. Jeez, and the Socceroos are up against these guys? Sheesh. People with plenty of a B-vitamin in their blood appear to be at a reduced risk of lung cancer, even if they smoke, a European study suggests. High levels of Vitamin B6 and the amino acid methionine cut the risk by half, a study of 400,000 people suggested. These occur naturally in nuts, fish and meat or can be taken as supplements. I've been taking B complex supplements for donkey's years. 

It's Oregon Richie's first day today at his new job with a Hyundai dealership. He was previously into ATVs and motor cycles. So I thought about how it is to be 50+ and involved in a whole new routine. I think we all get comfortable with familiar circumstances, especially as we get older. Old habits die hard, as the saying goes. So it'll be interesting to see how Richie settles in to his new environment, with new people and new ways of doing things. I think younger people are more adaptable and find it easier to assimilate, but we'll see.

And that got me to thinking about the Odyssey, and how my current cosy routine will be a thing of the past. EXCEPT MY MORNING CUPPA! There's no way I'm gonna start the day without my morning cuppa. There's also no way I'm gonna survive without my laptop, internet connection and fav websites. As to whatever else is associated with the life of a vagabond, and how I handle it, remains to be seen. Hehe. I've gotta be crazy.

AVS finally answered my request for help. They need more information, like what I had for breakfast, and I'm pissed off about having to write a looooooong diatribe about what I did, when I did it, how I did it, exactly when the fault(s) occur, and whatever else. It's all too hard. So I checked my free version of Windows Movie Maker. I don't remember why I decided not to use it instead of buying a copy of AVS. Anyway, I'll give Movie Maker another shot and see if it works okay. If it does, AVS can go pack sand. Stay tooned.

Meanwhile, I'm farting around using up time until I depart for the doc's. (And yes, I'm wearing clean undies). Not much I can do until I get back. And even then it'll be too late to start a major project. Grrrr.

BACK! And I weigh a little less. Sooooo, if the sample turns out to be malignant, it's off to hospital for maybe two or three days. WHAT??? I asked the doc if he was serious and he said yes. Bloody hell. On the other hand, if it's not malignant, they'll have to figure out some sort of medication to clear up the "lesion". This getting old business is a pain in the butt - BIG TIME.

I had to laugh at the nurse. I mentioned to the doc that I was wearing new undies as I dropped my jeans, and sat on a chair. Then the nurse asked me to lie on the operating table, but she was worried that I'd take a tumble because my jeans were around my ankles. However, the doc explained to her that I was accustomed to having my pants down hehe, and I had to tell him to shuddup. "Don't tell them EVERYTHING!" (He had a university student from Sydney with him). So it was all very jolly as he explained to the student how I was gonna be carved up. I'm hearing all this medical talk and felt like saying, "Hey, I'm not a corpse yet!" So the student did the carving and stitching and here I am. I go back next Wednesday to have the stitch removed, and to find out whether or not I'll need further surgery.

Yep, kitchen time again. THEY are having rump steak with onions and I'm having a gourmet pie... steak simmered in Guinness. I had one a while ago and it was awesome. They were on spesh the other day so I bought 2 for $6. Gary

June 15, 2010. Chewsdee. FL Josh wrote about laces: You referred to shoelaces that don't stay done.  There is a reason that happens.  A properly tied shoelace is a square knot with loops, and it does not come undone.  Some people were improperly taught how to tie their shoes and they tie a granny knot with loops and they don't stay tied.  The way to tell is if the loops naturally lie pointing right and left, it is a square knot with loops and if they lay up and down, along the axis of the foot and leg, it is a granny knot with loops.

There ya go. Don't ever say you don't learn things on AO.

Ohio Jace also wrote: From Waffle: you poor folks down under thinking 13C (55F) is cold. Many here would not even have the heaters on at that temp. That is still Speedos weather here, or for those of us too old to wear Speedos, shorts and T’s.

Jace goes on to say: It was 31 C and very humid today (Sun) as we sat in the outdoor stadium to watch our favorite neighbors graduate from Ohio State. This was the largest graduating class ever with over 8,500 peeps doing the honors. I decided not to wear a suit, just Dockers and a dress shirt. Some of the graduates were wearing shorts under their gowns so…. This was only the second time we have ever been in the stadium; the first time was the graduation of our two (sons); ages ago.

That must've been nice. I've never been to a graduation. I know that Jace and June have a very special affection for their neighbors... almost like one big family. Oregon Richie also went to a graduation party at his neighbor's place the other day and had a great time. So here I am at 65 and never been to one. What have I missed out on? I had to do a Google for Dockers tho... men's pants with an anchor logo, some sort of "hello sailor" thing. I remember June telling me that Jace had a nice butt, so maybe it has something to do with that... sailor's pants always show off the butt... so I've heard. :-P

A year or two ago, my doc diagnosed a red splotch on my leg as eczema, and he recommended an ointment. Then a pharmacist said it was a fungal infection and recommended a different ointment. Well, the damn thing has gone berserk and I suspect it's ulcerated. An hour ago I managed to peel off the bandage without screaming too much and then phoned the doc. He was too busy to take the call so I spoke to a nurse, and she's booked me in for a dressing at 4:30. Bleh. Well, at least the doc will be present to inspect the dressing. If he walks into the room carrying a chainsaw I'll start to get worried. I'm falling apart, ladies and genitals. 5 minutes ago I was 30. What happened?

Let's do a Beeb before I have to go through all this shit: US President Obama asks supporters to back a campaign for clean energy, as he visits areas affected by the BP oil spill. Better late than never, I suppose. Funny how people come up with solutions after a disaster... but not before. Thousands of ethnic Uzbeks have massed at the Uzbekistan border in an attempt to escape violence in Kyrgyzstan which has left at least 138 dead. Reports suggest that Uzbekistan is considering closing its borders as the build-up continues, despite requests by the UN to keep it open. The United States has called for a "co-ordinated international response" to the violence. At least 1,761 people have been injured in four days of clashes. People who live in counties like the US and Oz have difficulty understanding that kind of mentality because we're just one big melting pot. A clash between rival gangs in a Mexican prison leaves at least 28 inmates dead, in another day of drug-related violence. Sounds like it's safer on the outside. Showering may be bad for your health, say US scientists, who have shown that dirty shower heads can deliver a face full of harmful bacteria. Tests revealed nearly a third of devices harbour significant levels of a bug that causes lung disease. Levels of Mycobacterium avium were 100 times higher than those found in typical household water supplies. M. avium forms a biofilm that clings to the inside of the shower head, reports the National Academy of Science. Is there anything we do that doesn't have some sort of risk?

That business about the Aussie Socceroos losing 4-0 to Germany yesterday is sooooo embarrassing. The commentators say it could have been 8-0 if Oz hadn't been so lucky. "It could have been a major embarrassment instead of just an embarrassment." Seems the Oz team is too old... experienced, yes, but too old. The average age of the Germans is 26. They're fast, quick-thinking, and well trained. I suppose the Socceroos will do their best to regroup and improve their tactics, but there's not a lotta confidence in their ability to beat Ghana in the next round. Oh dear. It'll be a bloody miracle if the Socceroos get their act together. Mind you, if they do... you'll hear the bloody cheering "over there".

Stan the Lawn Man is here making his usual racket. He and his missus are back from a couple of weeks holidaying on the Queensland coast. "Shoulda stayed there," he said. Hehe. Maroochydore is one of his fav places. Just checked and it's 21C (70F) there at the mo. Stan agrees with Ohio Jace that Taree doesn't suffer a harsh winter. Stan was a farmer near Goulburn in NSW where it gets into the minuses. He told me about riding a motorcycle on his farm in sleet, which is like riding through airborne razor blades at high speed. "I had to keep my head down to avoid having my eyes sliced to ribbons, and I almost hit a fence." No wonder he sold the farm and moved here. No sleet in Taree, folks.

I just showed Lindsay my new invention... a red milk bottle top covering my wound and held in place by packing tape hehe. He wasn't impressed. But the bottle top stops the tape from sticking to the wound, so when the nurse removes it, voila... no problem. I've just showered and washed it clean. I expected it to sting like buggery but it didn't. Jeez, I'm brave! Where's my medal?

You know that thing when you hear a song on the radio and the damn thing plays over and over and over again in your head? Yeah, well Stevie Wonder won't go away. He's singing "I just called to say I love you". Great song. One of many, actually. The guy's a genius. BUT... sheesh.

One of the Codeman chapters I reformatted and posted today was one where he hadn't written for 6 weeks, and then got the guilts. Hehe. I suppose I must've been frantic at the time. But such dramas tend to sort themselves out in time, which is something we should keep in mind when we're going through a tough period. Retrospect can give us a much clearer perspective. Yeah? But it takes patience, and perhaps a thing called faith.

Well, it's getting close to the time I have to fire up Bluey and head out to the doc's surgery. I wonder what the nurse will say about my milk bottle top invention? Then I'll get back here to cook fish 'n' chips for the kiddies. Gary

June 14, 2010. Shopping, shopping, shopping. Shopping is like dusting or mowing lawns or doing the dishes. They never stay done! I hate things that don't stay done. Like shoelaces that keep coming loose. Or a runny nose when you've got a cold. You see, people keep adding to the kitchen grocery list. It never ends. 

However, I managed to get a shot of the local courthouse and put it on Red Bubble just for something to do. I also wrote a little piece for Red Bubble as well. And at the supermarket I used the auto checkout, which I NEVER do... but one of my fav checkout chicks was manning the thing so I got all brave and gave it a shot. I still don't like it tho.

Chick? Manning the auto checkout? Yeah, well... whatever.

My Brazilian mate Joao wrote about the World Cup: German beat Australia. But I don’t think it was a bad result, it was only a predictable result. German is one of the best teams in the world (in World Cup numbers it’s the second best). And the best team that already played in the present Cup – I saw all the matches and can say this. The referee was too hard with Cahill. It’s a foul that deserved a yellow card, but not a straight red one. I hope Aussies could win Ghana and Serbia and pass to the round of 16. I’ll be supporting them with all my enthusiasm (but without any vuvuzela). GO SOCCEROOS!

Isn't Joao a sweetie? I'm not really a follower of soccer (or any sport for that matter) but events like the World Cup and Olympics make even me sit up and take notice. And vuvuzela? I had to do a Google, and discovered that a vuvuzela is one of those noisy plastic trumpets that everyone (almost) uses to make a bloody racket at sporting events. No thanks.

Beeb time: Israel sets up an internal inquiry, with two foreign observers, into its deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla last month. It's not the sort of publicity you need, guys... especially if you wanna be seen as the goodies. You've even got the Red Cross offside. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expresses alarm at the scale of inter-ethnic clashes in southern Kyrgyzstan. Inter-ethnic. There ya go. Tribes. Us and them. Germany provided a real signal of intent with a thrilling demolition of 10-man Australia to get their 2010 World Cup campaign off to a flying start. Coming into the tournament without injured talisman Michael Ballack, doubts over the future of coach Joachim Loew and the second-youngest squad in the competition, many might have expected Germany to struggle in South Africa. But if their effervescent display in Durban is anything to go by, the three-time champions could be real contenders for the title come 11 July. Has the fat lady sung already? Am I missing something here? President Obama's comments about the BP oil spill were not "anti-British", the American ambassador to London has said. Obama administration officials have used the old name "British Petroleum" when making criticisms of the firm - sparking controversy in the UK. US ambassador Louis Susman said Mr Obama had used "British Petroleum" perhaps once, but was keen to say "BP". "Tip toe, through the eggshells, to the shadow of an oil spill, and tip toe through the eggshells with me..."

Well, I suppose the focus is on the World Cup in Safrica. Naturally, I'm rooting for Oz but it doesn't look too flash at the minute. As we all know, the Germans can be very determined chaps.

Anyway, it's time for din dins. I'm doing the leftover chicken chopped and added to pea and ham soup, along with diced ham and a handful or two of peas. But Lindsay doesn't want diced potato added. Why? Buggered if I know. So I'll do grilled cheese on toast fingers instead.

These guys have gone from eating crap at the old boarding house and not complaining to being picky with me as the cook. And I'm getting pretty pissed off about it. Grrrr. Gary

June 13, 2010. Just back from chatting to Averil. Sat on her front step in the sun rather than going inside cos it was WARM. She was sitting just inside the door, also in the sun. When I left after about an hour, she said was my face was pink hehe.

Well, tried a few more things with this damned AVS software but couldn't solve the problem with the audio track breaking up. But I sent a message to AVS letting them know what I did. Hopefully that will help them solve the mystery.

Now this little bloke might look pretty ordinary but he's a butcher bird, and his song is just wonderful. I hear these guys' melodies every morning, and there's quite a variety of tunes in their repertoire. Their pitch is perfect even down to complex semi-tones. Never heard them in Sydney but they're quite plentiful up here on the Mid North Coast.

TX Greg added more stuff to Codysworld today... interviews, The Continuum, Codeman wall and Cody Movie. Check the bottom of the page for the links.

Beeb time: Kyrgyzstan's interim government has given security forces shoot-to-kill powers in a bid to stop ethnic fighting which has taken nearly 80 lives.  It also declared a partial mobilisation of the army to combat "destructive forces and criminal elements". Thousands of ethnic Uzbeks have been fleeing what they say are ethnic Kyrgyz gangs in the southern city of Osh. Almost 1,000 people were also hurt in the worst unrest since President Kurmanbek Bakiyev's overthrow in April. Russia says it does not plan to intervene despite a Kyrgyz request. Is it the old European tribal thing? I thought that kinda mentality went out with the stone age. On the other hand, maybe the stone age never went anywhere. Pakistan's intelligence service has direct links with the Taliban in Afghanistan, a report claims, but Pakistan denies it. Nothing about Pakistan surprises me (unless they win the cricket). A top US Coast Guard official has said that BP's plans to contain oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico from a blown-out well do not go far enough. Rear Adm James Watson gave the oil firm 48 hours to identify "additional leak containment capacity". And if they don't? I mean who else is gonna go in there and fix the damn thing? JC? Japan's Hayabusa probe returns to Earth on Sunday, releasing a capsule into the atmosphere that scientists hope will contain samples from asteroid Itokawa. If the 40cm-wide conical disc survives the blistering heat of the descent and can deploy a parachute, it should touch down in Australia at about 1400 GMT. Just about everything else from Japan has ended up in Oz so why not the probe? Restaurant critic Egon Ronay has died at the age of 94 after a short illness. Ronay, who was born in Hungary in 1915, wrote his first guidebook in 1956 after managing several restaurants and contributing to the Daily Telegraph. Now that's what I call a life well spent... all those years eating and drinking in restaurants! Bliss! England's pack threatened to earn them a remarkable victory in the first Test but Australia held on to win in Perth despite being butchered in the scrum. Neh, neh, neh, neh, neeeh, neh. Rescuers in the US state of Arkansas are searching for more than 20 people missing after floods swept through campsites in a national park. At least 18 people were killed in the floods on Friday and more than 20 others taken to hospital. Rescuers say bodies may have been washed away and the search for the missing could take days if not weeks. How awful... camped out in the bush enjoying nature and whammo. Disaster. Goalkeeper Robert Green suffered a World Cup nightmare as England were forced to settle for a disappointing draw in the opening game of their campaign against the United States. Stay tooned. A 16-year-old US girl who ran into problems trying to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world has been rescued in the Indian Ocean. Abby Sunderland was picked up by a French fishing vessel some 2,000 nautical miles off the Australian coast, maritime authorities said. It is not clear yet whether the 16-year-old will be taken to Australia or the French territory of Reunion near Mauritius off eastern Africa. So it could be either "owyagoinmate" or "bon jour, mamselle". We hear a lot about the Taliban but who are they?

Yes, another cold evening, so I got my hospital table... one of those little tables on wheels that slides over the bedside and positions itself to allow bedridden folks to eat their breakfast or whatever. You know the ones? I got it years ago from somewhere or other. Until about half an hour ago it was in the spare room piled with junk. Now it's minus the junk and alongside my bed with the portable TV sitting on it, ready for tonight. I think it's gonna become a permanent fixture, at least during winter. I'm thinking it'll probably be handy in the van as well... as a table for the laptop.

You know I'm a huge fan of Dudley Moore, but was he a comedian first and musician second, or a musican first and comedian second? You be the judge. Then again, you may want to change your mind. What a terrible tragedy that he met his end with a brain disease. But at least he used it well while he had it.

And now, ladies and genitals, it's that time of day again... din dins. Lindsay wanted scrambled eggs and chips. The chips are home made but I must confess that I didn't lay the eggs. If I ever decide to give it a shot, I'll do a video. I've also decided to throw in a couple of leftover rissoles for good measure. Sayonara and hooroo for now. Gary

June 12, 2010. Worked on the new vid today... got all the stills organized, added the transitions (fades) and then added the sound track. The sound track breaks up during replay. Why? Who knows. I downloaded the sound track again in case there was a problem with the first download. No problem. Plays fine in Windows media. But on the vid? Same problem. It breaks up. Why? I dunno. Wrote to AVS help. When will they answer? Who knows. I can't begin to tell you how frustrating this is. Meanwhile, I'll put the project on hold till I can figure it out... one way or another.

Meanwhile, just got a note from AVS to say that my request is being attended to. Okay, I'll cool my heels. Grrrr.

You hear about people being busted for child pornography on the news but it's not often you recognize the culprit. Last night on ABC TV news there was a story about Andy Muirhead, presenter of the popular ABC TV series 'Collectors' and breakfast presenter on ABC radio in Hobart Tasmania. He is also a well known stand up comedian. I'll bet that revelation has floored quite a few people. Police raided his house and seized computer equipment. He's been bailed till August 2 when he'll face the charges in court.

Beeb time: UK PM David Cameron will discuss the Gulf of Mexico oil spill with US President Barack Obama, as pressure increases on BP. Jeez, talking about fiddling while Rome burns. At least 16 people have died in the US state of Arkansas after floodwaters hit campsites in a mountainous national park, state governor Mike Beebe says. Two dozen people were taken to hospital and some 30 others remained unaccounted for. Helicopters are taking part in the search in a remote, mountainous area in the state's south-west. The operation is focused on campsites along the Little Missouri and Caddo rivers in the Ouchita Mountains. Just what a bloke preparing for an Aussie Odyssey needs to know. He tried once, he tried again, he tried a third time - but each attempt to break the shop window rebounded on him. The still unidentified burglar was throwing a rock at a shop in Wellington, New Zealand, which sells skateboards and streetwear. But the rock just kept bouncing back and knocking him on the head until he, and a watching accomplice, gave up. Police say they hope the experience has knocked some sense into the burglar. I could make a rude remark about N Zedders but I won't. The World Cup has opened amid jubilant scenes in South Africa, but Nelson Mandela missed the event after a car crash killed his great-granddaughter. Zenani Mandela, 13, died when the car taking her home from a pre-competition concert in Soweto overturned. The car's driver was arrested and charged with drink-driving. Very very sad indeed. A 16-year-old US sailor who went missing while sailing solo around the world has been found safe and well. Abby Sunderland's yacht was spotted by an aerial search team in the southern Indian Ocean, midway between Australia and Africa. A Qantas Airbus A330 search plane - scrambled from Perth early on Friday - spotted the teenager's boat, called Wild Eyes, and made contact with her. Now THAT'S a search plane! A 90-year-old woman from West Yorkshire has amazed her fellow golfers by hitting a hole in one. Mary Tattersall made the 181yd (165m) shot on the second hole at Shay Grange Golf Centre in Heaton near Bradford. The pensioner, who has only been playing golf for two years, said she felt amazed and stunned to have achieved the feat. She took up golf at age 88 hehe. Bloody hell!

It's June. I don't remember June being this bloody cold but I've just turned the heater on... 4pm. That's ridiculous. But it's too damn cold not to. Must be a cold front or whatever the damn things are called. I'm not looking forward to the power bill in a few months, I can tell you that. I just checked my Journal entry for June last year. June 30, 2009. June (winter) weather continues to be pleasant - fine and 23 C today - so I had a little chat with myself and convinced myself to take Bluey for a run in the countryside... Lansdowne, to be precise, which is a short drive north of Taree and to the west through lovely rural countryside. 23C? Not today, bro. It's probably more like 13. Winter is not my scene at all. Cold schmold.

Anyway, the rump steaks are frying in the pan and my PIE is in the oven, so it's time to attend to my kitchen duties and feed the troops. I wish there was something else I could add but it's been a pretty ordinary day. Gary

June 11, 2010. Well, today is not as hectic as yesterday and I've managed to get a few things done. Made a bit of progress with the latest movie project but it's not finished yet. Getting there, though. It's harder than you think!

I gave a lift to old Ken yesterday when I saw him walking home. "It was my birthday yesterday," he said, "and I turned 77." Whoa! But he's doing okay, and walks uptown twice a day. His next door neighbor Joan is 86 and also walks uptown a couple of times a day. Averil is 76 but her legs have packed it in. It's the luck of the draw. My eldest bro is 80 and he was up on the roof fixing something recently... still rides a bicycle and works (as a hairdresser) twice a week.

Winter's here with a vengeance. Last night's temp was down to single digits so I went to bed early and watched my little portable TV. Daytime temps aren't too bad... late teens. I bought that little color TV about 2 years ago in anticipation of the Odyssey, or at least a bit of camping overnight locally. BUT I'M STILL HERE! It was a waste of money really cos analogue TV reception will be entirely redundant by 2013. It's all digital now. Even Averil bought a new digital TV a few weeks ago. So I might as well get a bit of use out of the portable before it becomes junk.

Beeb time: As many as 40,000 barrels (1.7m gallons) of oil a day may have been gushing out from a blown-out Gulf of Mexico well, doubling many estimates. The US Geological Survey says that flow rate could have been reached before a cap was put on the well on 3 June. BP's chairman has been asked to meet Barack Obama next week, amid assurances from the UK and US that bilateral ties will not be affected by the crisis. UK PM David Cameron and President Obama will discuss the spill at the weekend. What a waste of a precious commodity! Ya gotta be more careful next time, guys. Nelson Mandela's great-granddaughter has been killed in a car crash after a concert on the eve of the World Cup. Zenani Mandela, 13, died when travelling home after the concert in Soweto, the Nelson Mandela Foundation said. No-one else was hurt. There's a bloke whose been around for almost a century through thick and thin, and there's a girl whose made it to only 13. There's nothing fair about life. A US teenage girl sailing solo around the world is thought to be in distress in a remote area of the Indian Ocean. Californian sailor Abby Sunderland, 16, was last heard from at about 1300 GMT on Thursday before emergency beacons were activated, her brother said. An aircraft was scheduled to depart from Perth, on Australia's western coast, on a four-hour flight to Ms Sunderland's location, Australian Maritime Safety Authority spokeswoman Carly Lusk said. "Owyagoin, Abby. In a bit of strife there, darling? No worries, mate. Never fear, the Aussies are here." Drug enforcement officers in the US say they have arrested more than 2,200 people in an investigation targeting Mexican trafficking rings. The joint operation lasted almost two years and culminated on Wednesday with more than 400 arrests across 16 states. Officers also seized considerable amounts of methamphetamine, marijuana and heroin. Good. Keep up the good work, chaps! Uganda police are investigating after a marijuana plantation was uncovered in the garden of a convent. A regional police chief told the BBC that plants covering one acre had been found and uprooted in the southern Masaka district. Two nuns and two porters have been questioned. One of the nuns has been quoted by local media as saying the marijuana was used to treat farm animals, such as pigs. Southern regional commander Emmanuel Muhuirwe told the BBC News website that only the porters had been arrested - not the nuns. Holy smoke! South Africa is preparing for the start of the biggest football tournament on earth, the World Cup, which gets under way on Friday in Johannesburg. It is the 19th staging of the showpiece event and will be the first time it has taken place in the continent of Africa. Cody was a rugby fan but I think he would have been pretty excited about this! Google is "almost certain" to face prosecution for collecting data from unsecured wi-fi networks, according to Privacy International (PI). The search giant has been under scrutiny for collecting wi-fi data as part of its StreetView project. Google has released an independent audit of the rogue code, which it has claimed was included in the StreetView software by mistake. But PI is convinced the audit proves "criminal intent". Oops! This is bad news! I hope the best thing since sliced bread doesn't mean we gotta go back to square one and start slicing our own bread again. Pope Benedict XVI has strongly defended the Catholic Church's rule of celibacy for priests, speaking to 10,000 priests in St Peter's Square in Rome. He called it a sign of faith in an increasingly secular world. Good. The last thing we need is a lot more little Bennys running around. Drinking three or more cups of tea a day is as good for you as drinking plenty of water and may even have extra health benefits, say researchers. Tea not only rehydrates as well as water does, but it can also protect against heart disease and some cancers, UK nutritionists found. Experts believe flavonoids are the key ingredient in tea that promote health. Yes, folks, I couldn't do without my morning cuppa.

And speaking of the World Cup, Joao wrote today. Coincidentally, he was also mentioned in the Codeman chapter I reformatted today, when Cody told me about a Brazilian guy who offered to translate Cody's stories into Portugese. Cody was pretty chuffed about that. Tomorrow (maybe already today in Australia) the Football World Cup begins. I’m happy cause Australia, South Africa and Brazil are there. Here’s a “votive” graphic of my three teams in the Cup. Tchau. João

Okies, chicken's in the oven, spuds are in the oven, and in an hour from now they'll all disappear into 3 hungry tummies. WITH GRAVY! BTW, I mentioned the Archibald fountain in Hyde Park, Sydney, the other day... here's a nice pic posted by a Red Bubbler. Oh, and young Cody Simpson has posted a new vid on Youchewb of his rise to fame. There's an Aussie kid going places. And good on him! Gary

June 10, 2010. Whoosh! Gone! Got paid, paid the bills, did the shopping, and now it's 5pm. I also had a bit of a fiddle with my latest movie attempt... a selection of my pics put to music but it got a tad complicated and I realized it wasn't gonna be done in 5 minutes... which is the usual limit of my patience. Sooooo, I'll have another shot at it tomorrow. It needs to be interesting and entertaining, so whether I like it or not, I'll have to spend a bit of time on it.

Sorry about the lack of Waffle today, folks, but that's the way it is sometimes. There are only so many hours in the day. Gary

June 9, 2010. Just had a quick peek at Youchewb and found this guy composing music on his piano. Awesome!

I reformatted two more Codeman today, one of which was chapter 112, one of the classic tales of the Cape Town scallywag... and out came the tissues. You have to laugh at Mark's predicament though hehe. There he was minding his own business and cruising along when Cody walks into his life, and things would never be the same again - to put it mildly. Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, he walks into mine. I think the same can be said for everyone whose life was touched by Cody. He was unique, and will forever remain so. I realized the other night that you were like no other person that I’ve ever met or will ever meet in my whole life, Mark wrote. And he was right.

It's a bright sunny day with blue sky, but there's a bit of wind chill. Bleh. Winter is NOT my favorite season. I know it's necessary for the birds and the bees and all that nature stuff but I STILL don't like it. Up north in Oz there are only two seasons... the wet and the dry. During the north's so-called winter (the dry), you get temps of 30 C during the day. Hello? Sounds okay to me. Lemme check Cairns at the mo: Yep, sunny, min 21, max 28. And Darwin? Sunny, min 21, max 31. Here in Taree we're not even getting those mins as our max! Mind you, I prefer Taree's summer to that of the tropics. Summer humidity in the tropics (at least for me) is unbearable. It ain't called the wet season for nuthin ya know. So the trick is to do what the migratory birds do... move with the seasons.

Beeb time: Iran faces its toughest sanctions for failing to comply with UN demands over its nuclear enrichment, the US says. The Security Council is to vote on a fourth round of sanctions to tighten financial curbs on Iran, while expanding a limited arms embargo. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said they were "the most significant sanctions that Iran has ever faced". But Iran's president warned his country would not agree to nuclear talks if the sanctions were imposed. Is that what they call a Mexican standoff? Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich "didn't take a dime" but trusted the wrong people, his lawyer said as the trial began. Mr Blagojevich faces 24 charges, including attempting to sell President Barack Obama's vacant Senate seat, racketeering and attempted extortion. But apart from that he's a fine upstanding citizen. At least two tonnes of cocaine with a street value estimated at $1bn has been seized in The Gambia, bound for Europe. In addition to the huge haul of drugs, the Gambian authorities have arrested a dozen suspected traffickers, and seized large quantities of cash and arms. And here I am at 65 and never even seen a grain of the stuff. China has defended its right to censor the internet in a document laying out the government's attitude towards the web. It says the country has the right to govern the internet according to its own rules inside its borders. Websites, blogs and information deemed sensitive by the Chinese government is routinely blocked using a range of technological tools, dubbed the Great Firewall of China. The 'country' has the right? And what constitutes 'the country'? A handful of unelected bureaucrats? A Polish law that can force some rapists and paedophiles to undergo chemical castration has come into effect. The legislation, passed by Polish MPs last September, applies to men who rape children or immediate family members. In those cases, I believe castration should begin at the neck. A woman from Cwmbran, Torfaen took out a bank loan and lived on beans on toast for a year to pay £1,800 in vet bills after her pet chicken injured its leg. Vicky Mills, 24, was heartbroken when Lily, a Rhode Island Red, got her leg trapped in a barbed wire fence. Despite the costs, Mrs Mills told her vet to try to save the limb rather than have her put down. When the treatment failed, she paid for an amputation. Is that love or lunacy? On the other hand, maybe love and lunacy are the same thing. Snakes may be declining across the world, according to a global study. Researchers examined records for 17 snake populations covering eight species over the last few decades, and found most had declined markedly. For reasons that are not entirely clear, some populations shrank in number abruptly around 1998. And if you're not unhappy about that, how would you feel about an increase in the rat population?

For those of you who haven't seen the battle of the snake versus the rabbit on Youchewb, check it out.

Unelected bureaucrats? Hmmm. Well, I suppose parents are unelected bureaucrats. Kids are brought into the world without their consent and bossed around by a couple of people who consider the kids too dumb to make their own decisions. Maybe dictatorships are run by people who figure what's good for the family is also good for the country. Religion thinks the same way. Do what you're told or go to hell. You don't have a say in the matter, dumb dumb.

I just downloaded a piece of classical music that runs 1:45... Canon D and Gigue for wind quartet by Pachelbel. No, I've never heard of it either. But it sounds okay for a musical backing to a series of my photos made into a short vid. Later, I'll go through all my shots and choose 30-ish images to include. Not sure how the whole thing will turn out but there's only one way to find out! If it scrubs up okay, I'll post it on Youchewb. If not... er... I'll go back to the drawing board.

And here we are... kitchen duties. Rissoles, chips and fried eggs. The supermarket didn't get a delivery of sausage mince yesterday so I bought sausages instead, which I skinned. It's like peeling condoms off willies. All very phallic, really. Then I added chopped onion, chopped celery, mixed herbs, ground pepper, a few shakes of dried garlic, and a teaspoon of curry, formed them into rissoles, rolled them in bread crumbs and voila... Kelly's Rissoles. Mucho better than plain sausages, lemme tellya. Gary

June 8, 2010. Still no winning numbers in Lotto... not even a minor prize. But ya know, the odds are in my favor of winning something substantial provided I live for another 2 or 3 thousand years. Hang in there, mate - that's the key.

Oregon Richie sent a link to Craig Ferguson's late late show opening, which I thought was very funny. The guy has a superb sense of delivery and timing. But before I paste the link, I'm reminded of something from my mid teens. There was a guy at the office where I worked who had the ability to get away with the most outrageous behavior... like putting his hand up the girl's dresses. One day I overheard his answer to someone's question: "How do you get away with doing that stuff?" And he said, "I just pretend I'm drunk." Now that was about 50 years ago but it stuck in my mind. And I thought of Craig Ferguson who battled alcoholism for many years. So I figure he uses the same technique... stay sober but pretend you're drunk. That way, you can capitalize on the funny stuff you do when you're drunk and uninhibited, but remain sober and in control of your wits. Yeah? So here's Craig doing his thing.

Baby oil day today. I rub it into my hair and scalp early in the morning and wash it out early afternoon. It keeps my scalp relatively free from psoriais. I look like I walked underneath a flock of pigeons with diarrhea but it's worth it.

Now there's an interesting word: diarrhea. The problem with dictionaries is that you need to know how a word is spelled before you can look it up, which can be infuriating. And if you type what you think is the correct spelling and use spellcheck, you get "no suggestions" if it's not recognized. But with Google, you type in what you think are the first few letters and whammo, up comes a list of possibilities. How cool is that? Who the hell needs a dictionary? This is heaven on a stick as far as I'm concerned. Answers in an instant... bewdiful!

Just checked a couple of brochures from local electronic stores - the price of notebooks and laptops is amazing! And so are the deals on wireless internet connection. One superseded notebook is only $399! It's all happening folks.

Beeb time: Ten Nato soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan in the deadliest day in months for the International Security Assistance Force (Isaf). In the worst of several attacks, five US soldiers died in an improvised bomb blast in east Afghanistan, the US said. Five other Nato troops were killed in a spate of attacks across the country's restive South and East, where Isaf is battling the Taliban. The militants have been waging a battle to overthrow the US-backed government. Makes you think about insecticides. If they were truly effective, they would become redundant. But they never do. South Africa has deported 10 suspected Argentine football hooligans who police say were planning to disrupt the World Cup. The men, part of a larger group of about 80 fans, were arrested at Johannesburg airport and found to be on an entry blacklist. South African police have said the move shows security preparations ahead of the games are paying off. Good. Piss the dickheads off before they cause trouble. US Coast Guard chief Thad Allen has warned that cleaning up marshlands and other habitats affected by the Gulf of Mexico oil spill will take years. Adm Allen also said oil giant BP needed to do better at getting money to people and businesses affected by the spill. An estimated 11,000 barrels of oil a day are now being funneled from the leak by a new containment cap, he said. President Barack Obama told Americans they would "get through this crisis", despite the damage to the economy. He's right... it's just a matter of when. And it's a lesson learned the hard way, as many lessons are. UK scientists claim to have developed laser technology able to sense hidden explosives. The technology could help to detect landmines and roadside bombs and to improve airport security. A step in the right direction. But I think someone with a bit of clout like Pope Benny should ask God for the secret to a dog's nose. The US is looking for "new ways" to address Gaza's humanitarian crisis amid tensions over last week's deadly Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid ship. Vice-President Joe Biden said the US was working with Egypt and other partners on fresh ways "to address the humanitarian, economic, security and political aspects of the situation". Human beings need to find ways to co-exist. The only alternative is confrontation. And we don't want that. In a bad mood? Don't worry - according to research, it's good for you. An Australian psychology expert who has been studying emotions has found being grumpy makes us think more clearly. In contrast to those annoying happy types, miserable people are better at decision-making and less gullible, his experiments showed. While cheerfulness fosters creativity, gloominess breeds attentiveness and careful thinking, Professor Joe Forgas told Australian Science Magazine. Abso-bloody-lutely. Couldn't agree more. Now you can all go to buggery while I think about what I'm gonna write next.

Okies, all scrubbed and showered and clean. The interesting thing about the baby oil in my hair is that while most of it is washed away (with ordinary soap) some penetrates and stays, making my hair all soft and bouncy and yummy - just like on the TV ads. Now all I need is a face lift.

Right, din dins time. Averil and I are sharing a pizza... double everything. The joint was packed! It's cheap chewsday ya know. So I'm back from getting the pizza and doing a little shopping for THEM. THEY are having chicken burgers with hash browns and corn fritters. Rush, rush, rush. I hate rushing. I whizzed around the corner of my street in front of a cop car, and I was almost certain he'd pull me over. But he didn't. He was on his way back to the cop station for coffee, which fortunately for me was more important to him than booking some old geezer with a lead foot.

And that, ladies and genitals, is that. Gary

June 7, 2010. Goodness me, 1:30pm already and I haven't even started to waffle yet. Actually, I'm wondering how much Waffle I'll be doing on the Odyssey. At the mo, I pretty much have all day to spend at the comp, but I expect that to change on the road.

TX Greg is working on several things for Codysworld - the Continuum poem and my interviews with Cody. There's also a note written by Oregon Richie back in 2003 guaranteed to bring back a few mems for him. Greg will create the links next weekend - meanwhile he gave me a sneak peek. Greg also sent this little gem the other day. Code would have certainly loved it. Hehe.

Beeb time: The EU could play a bigger role in ensuring aid gets into Gaza and weapons are kept out, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has said. He urged Israel to accept an international probe into the deaths of nine activists on a Turkish aid ship. He spoke alongside UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, who said Europe would maintain pressure on Israel. Israel, which blockades Gaza over fears of rocket attacks, has ruled out international involvement in any probe. Will the Middle East be any different in another 50 or 100 years? Doesn't look like it. Two men arrested at New York's John F Kennedy Airport have been charged with conspiring to commit an act of international terrorism. US authorities say they intended to join a jihadist group in Somalia and kill American troops overseas. Mohamed Mahmood Alessa, 20, and Carlos Eduardo Almonte, 24, were held before they could board separate flights to Egypt and then continue to Somalia. They must be wondering whose side Allah is really on. Tornadoes and thunderstorms have killed at least seven people in the US state of Ohio, officials say. At least 50 houses were destroyed and many more damaged in north-western Ohio, local firefighter chief Todd Walters told AP news agency. Several people were taken to hospitals as the storm left an eight-mile (13km) path of destruction, hitting Lake Township particularly hard. The extreme weather also affected parts of Illinois and Michigan. I hope Jace and the Ohio gang are okay. We had a smaller taste of that kinda weather just north of here recently. Scary stuff. A containment cap on a ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico is now funnelling off 10,000 barrels of oil a day, BP's chief executive Tony Hayward says. The amount has risen since Saturday, and implies more than half the estimated 12,000 to 19,000 barrels leaking each day is now being captured. The spill has been described as the biggest environmental disaster in US history. Mr Hayward told the BBC that BP would restore the Gulf to its original state. Progress at last! The Australian police have been ordered to investigate Google for possible breach of privacy while taking pictures for its Street View service. Australia's attorney general said he had asked police to probe the internet giant following complaints that Google had gathered personal data from some unencrypted wi-fi services. Google has admitted doing so, but apologised, saying it was in error. Careful, guys. Don't kill the goose that laid the Golden Google. The most beautiful tweet ever tweeted has been announced by broadcaster Stephen Fry. Fry, whose musings on micro-blogging site Twitter have attracted 1.5 million followers, announced the winner at the Hay Festival. The winning tweet read: "I believe we can build a better world! Of course, it'll take a whole lot of rock, water & dirt. Also, not sure where to put it." Marc MacKenzie, 41, from Canada, said he was "pleasantly surprised" to win. Nice one, Marc. One of Britain's rarest stamps has been sold for £400,000 by a Jersey-based stamp dealer. The 1904 6d Pale Dull Purple (I.R. Official) was sold to an anonymous private buyer by Stanley Gibbons Investment. The stamp was issued on 14 March 1904, but was withdrawn almost immediately after issue. Only 19 sheets were ever printed and on withdrawal, almost all were destroyed. For the man who has everything. Sheesh. Pope Benedict XVI has called for an urgent international effort to resolve tensions in the Middle East, at the end of a three-day trip to Cyprus. The Pope used the trip to draw attention to the plight of Christians in the region, whom he said were being both persecuted and ignored. Persecuted and ignored? Yeah, right. How do you do that? Honey has been known for its healing properties for thousands of years - the Ancient Greeks used it, and so have many other peoples through the ages. Even up to the second world war, honey was being used for its antibacterial properties in treating wounds. But with the advent of penicillin and other antibiotic drugs in the twentieth century, honey's medicinal qualities have taken a back seat. But that might be about to change - thanks to one New Zealand based researcher. Interesting story - read the article here

Ohio Jace must have read my mind when I referred to the tornadoes there: Also from Waffle you mentioned tornadoes and how rare they are in OZ. Ohio (where they are fairly rare too) had a series of them over the past three days. Seven peeps died in Ohio Saturday. The closest (not confirmed) was only 11 miles from home. The worst of the damage was in the northwestern part of the state. Other states were hit too of course.

Locally, we have been under a flash flood warning since Friday due to a string of thunderstorms (4 Friday afternoon, 3 overnight, and 5 Saturday afternoon and 1 early Sunday morning). There would have been even more storms if they had not merged together as they crossed the state. Considering all the rain, we only had 1.75 inches locally, but a lot more to the north, which swelled my creek to overflowing and the river to flood stage.

Jace also commented on my piece about Albert: From Waffle I think Gymnasium is the European equivalent to the U.S. High School system. After completing primary school, which can go as long as 10 years the student enters into a 2 or 3 year program to prepare for University. High school in the U.S. starts at age 14/15 and goes 4 years with graduation at 17/18. Didn’t Cody and gang go to grade 11 and then continue only to the matrical year if they were going on to University or is the final year Matric for all? 

I think Safrica has the same system as we do in Oz. Primary to year 6, junior high from years 7 to 10 (School Certificate), and senior matric from years 11 to 12 (Higher School Certificate). Kids of 15/16 can leave school after year 10. If they choose to, they can attend technical college to study a trade. In my day, high school was years 7 to 9 which was the 'Intermediate Certificate', and senior matric was further 2 years which was the 'Leaving Certificate' or 'Matriculation'. From there, elegible students attended university. If I'd gone through to Matriculation I would have turned 16 that year, about 2 years younger than most students. But I turned 14 in year 9, passed the Intermediate, and shot through like a Bondi Tram. Byeeeeeeee!

Again from Waffle. Is that guy in the Hyde Park Fountain (Video) showing his Willy?  That would be a no-no in parts of Yankieland.  Also is that the same fountain Shannon posed in?

I'm glad you said 'posed', Jace - I thought you said something else there for a minute. Yep, that's Apollo depicted in the Archibald Fountain in Hyde Park, Sydney, the one in which Shannon stripped down to his Speedos. Across the road (College St) is St Mary's Cathedral. Adjacent to St Mary's is (was) the Registrar General's Department (of births, deaths and marriages, and also land titles) which is where I started work as a beardless 14 y/o wide-eyed, freckle-faced kid from the burbs. I remember well buying my lunch at a sandwich shop and ogling the nudies in the fountain. It was the first time I'd ever seen naked statues. Hehe. But they all had little weenies... even the big muscular guys wrestling some kinda beasts had weenies. The women, of course, were much more discreet about their naughty bits. That was my introduction to the big, wide world. And look at me now - a bloody disgrace.

Actually, it's just occurred to me why all those statues in the fountain are naked... THEY'RE WET. Makes sense, right? Ya can't have fully clothed people in a fountain! There ya go... it's taken me 65 years to figure that out. Not quick, but I get there eventually.

Well, sunset time, and time to think about din dins again. For a bit of a change I bought beer-battered fish cocktails and Pommes Noisettes to go with them. Yep, that'll go down well, with a squeeze of lemon. Adios, amigos (cya round like a rissole in Oz). Gary

June 6, 2010. I forgot to mention yesterday that Ohio Jace wrote, and he mentioned those poor brown pelicans (an endangered species) covered in oil in the Gulf area of the US. I saw the images on telly and felt soooooo sorry for those poor creatures. I was tempted to grab a bucket and detergent and catch a flight to Lousiana. Our local pelicans are living in paradise by comparison. In fact, compared to a lotta places around the world, the mid north coast of NSW IS paradise.

Jace also wrote: There is a species (of pelican) in South Africa that has found a new food source. Over fishing has depleted their normal source of food so they adapted, finding the young of Albatross an easy meal. Normally, only one Albatross parent would leave the nest to fish, but they too are finding it hard to find food, so both parents are leaving the nest and the young are unprotected. The Pelicans are taking advantage of the situation and scooping up the chicks to take back to feed their young.

Yes, Nature can be cruel. No, that's not correct. Nature is nature... neither cruel nor kind. Life does whatever it needs to do in order to survive, and it has nothing to do with our human concept of fairness.

According to Jace, the Ohio gang is doing okay, including the pair involved in a motorcycle accident a while ago... bruised and battered but slowly on the mend.

Albert from Denmark wrote: Oh first of all, to mention my exams. I've been through .. seven exams so far. 3 left, I've only got my grades for two of them, and that's been two times A+ So it's going really great :D couldnt be better in fact ^^ A+? Is that all? Bloody disgrace if you ask me. You'll have to lift your game, Albert. :o)

It was Albert's last day of his current school before he moves on to what he calls 'Gymnasium' over there - I guess it means college. It is a bit empty not seeing your class any more. Since I was 8, every day I woke up and saw the same 22 people every day, and bang like that - It's over. Forever. I'm not gonna see them again. They are all going different places, some even other places in the world.- I'm still jealous of my mate going to Australia, I'd love to do that, but then again, that's me in 3 years, so I'm not too bothered.

Yes, forever. But forever is not a vacuum. It's a space filled with other things and that's the way the continuum works. Yeah? It's hard to leave certain things behind but, in many situations, it's also the only way to move forward.

Beeb time: An aid ship intercepted by the Israeli military while trying to break the blockade of Gaza has arrived in the Israeli port of Ashdod. Israel says its soldiers boarded the Irish-owned Rachel Corrie from the sea and did not meet any resistance. The incident comes five days after nine people were killed in clashes when troops boarded a Turkish aid ship, prompting international criticism. Turkish officials have released details of autopsies carried out on the nine dead activists, saying a total of 30 bullets had been found in their bodies. One of the activists was shot four times in the head, the officials said. Go figure. BP's latest effort to stem the Gulf of Mexico oil spill captured 6,000 barrels in 24 hours, a US official says, raising hopes of success. Encouraging news, and not before time. A film that broke box-office records in India has won nearly all the top International Indian Film Awards - often called the Bollywood Oscars. The comedy 3 Idiots, starring Aamir Khan and directed by Rajkumar Hirani, won 16 out of 27 awards, including best director and best film. Has anyone seen an Indian film? What are they like? A court in Cairo has upheld a ruling urging the government to consider stripping of their citizenship Egyptian men who are married to Israeli women. Not all of us live in the second millennium ya know. Hundreds of dogs and their owners have descended on the Sydney Opera House for a concert specifically for canines. Organisers say the event, the work of American musician and artist Laurie Anderson, is the first of its kind. Ms Anderson called it "an inter-species social gathering on a scale never seen before in Australia". It featured the cries of whales and high-pitched electronic sounds inaudible to human ears, accompanied by a bass guitar and violin. As an April Fool's joke when I was a DJ on a radio station, I told listeners that I had a record specifically made for dogs, that wasn't audible to humans. So I shut down the station for 60 seconds. When I resumed normal broadcast, I got a flood of calls from listeners saying their dogs really enjoyed the record. Hehe. Yeah... boom boom. Next! 

How about that business of stripping Egyptian men of their citizenship for being married to an Israeli woman? They must think the last pyramid was built yesterday. I really don't understand why so many cultures and religions place such great emphasis on the ancient past. I mean if pyramids were so important why aren't we still building them? Why aren't we still feeding Christians to the lions and watching gladiators murder each other? Why aren't we still burning witches at the stake? Why aren't we still convinced that the earth is flat? I get the feeling that some cultures and religions are paranoid about losing something if they let go of the past. Well, in one respect they're right... they'll lose their ignorance.

You see, dear Breth, if the headlines in tomorrow's Sydney Morning Herald read something like: MAN CRUCIFIED - RISES FROM DEAD, we'd all go, "Yeah, right." But because it's believed to have occurred 2 thousand years ago, it's credible. Oh? Why is that? If it happened back then, why not now? Why hasn't someone parted the sea lately? Why hasn't anyone put a bullock on wood and prayed to the Lord to send fire? Or assembled a bunch of trumpeters to fell the walls of a city? You know what I'm saying here? If those things happened today they'd be dismissed as fantasy - or worse. On the other hand, if you pluck some crazy idea from ancient history, it's accepted as credible. 

There was a group of people in town recently with a stall at the local mall... MYSTERIES OF THE ANCIENTS REVEALED. Oh? By whom? And what did the ancients know that we don't? To put it another way, what does a grade 6 student know that a grade 12 student doesn't?

Don't mind me, folks... just thinking aloud.

I received a note the other day from my power company that said I'll be moved from 5% renewable energy to 10%. There ya go... 10% from wind and solar. That's a move in the right direction. On the Odyssey, of course, it'll be 100% gas and solar... there's no other option when you're out in the sticks. Which reminds me, I still gotta save up to buy a solar panel and deep cycle batteries, and they ain't cheap.

Have you checked to see what I've added to my RB favorites lately? Naughty you! So check.

Meanwhile, if you feel like a little trip around my old home town of Sydney, click here. It's an amateur vid but not too bad. Gary

June 5, 2010. Satdee. Another one. They keep popping up like a field of gophers. Boing, boing, boing.

Just witnessed an interesting motoring scenario. I stood on the verandah and watched a learner driver practice reverse angle parking. The car behind stopped, but the car behind that one decided to overtake on the inside as the learner was getting ready to reverse park. Hello? How dumb can you get? And that third car was driven by a supposedly licensed driver! They're out there, ladies and genitals... they're out there.

It's a funny situation in Taree. We have parallel parking and angle parking (wide streets). But the angle parking, depending on which street you're in, can be either rear to kerb or nose to kerb but not both. Why? Who knows? Bureaucrats don't always make a lotta sense ya know.

More shopping today, dangit. It never stops! Lindsay has this annoying habit of writing stuff down on the list just after I've been shopping. And how do I react? I say nothing. There's no point. He's a dill. I've known that drongo for 12 years or more and we've never had an intelligent convo. Not one. He's incapable of it. In some respects, it's a blessing. Hehe. The less I have to do with L&S the better.

And now to politics. Australian politics are in a mess. We've got Rudd the Dud in charge and as if that's not bad enough, Julia Gillard is his deputy PM - the painted lady with red hair and those AWFUL fingernails. I can't stand her. And to make the situation even worse, the treasurer is Wayne Swan, with a nose like someone rolled a bit of putty and stuck it on his face. I can't stand him either. The three Labor stooges - Rudd, Gillard and Swan. The Liberal party is not doing much better and by default a lot of voters are turning to the Greens whose leader Bob Brown is the world's most boring person with a monotone to match.

One bloke I rather like is Joe Hockey, the shadow treasurer. He's a generously proportioned chap with a cheeky Aussie sense of humor and ready smile - as well as a quick mind. He challenged Tony Abbott for the leadership of the Libs but lost. Abbot is not a bad choice but I still prefer Hockey. Meanwhile, if the current leadership of the various parties stays the same for the next federal election later this year, I'll vote Liberal even though I'm not all that enthused. My main concern is that Rudd gets the flick.

Beeb time: US President Barack Obama has said it is "way too early to be optimistic" as he makes his third visit to the oil-hit Gulf of Mexico coast. Earlier BP expressed confidence that a new cap placed over the ruptured well in the Gulf would capture most of the leaking oil. But it said it could take 48 hours to know if the system was stable. Mr Obama has been briefed in Louisiana by Adm Thad Allen, the US official leading the disaster response. Number 1 priority is to get the thing fixed, and then they can play politics. If you've ever observed ambulance guys and paramedics, they attend to matters that require the most urgent attention and ignore the rest. Israel insists it will stop the latest aid ship sailing towards Gaza, amid continuing anger over its blockade of the territory. As Golda Meir, former PM of Israel once said, "We have nowhere else to go." About 80% of al-Qaeda's leaders in Iraq have been captured or killed during the past three months, says the country's top US commander. Only eight of the group's 42 chiefs in Iraq remained at large, Gen Ray Odierno told a Pentagon news conference. But he cautioned against complacency, saying that, even with the setbacks, al-Qaeda was trying to regroup and would remain a problem for years. "I will never take my eyes off of al-Qaeda," said the general. Very sensible. Just when you think your garden is free of weeds, guess what? Scientists have claimed that eating soy could help prevent men from developing prostate cancer and from going bald. US researchers found a molecule produced in the intestine when soy is digested stops a hormone which can fuel prostate growth or cause baldness. Writing in the journal Biology of Reproduction, they said the finding could explain why Japanese men, who eat more soya, rarely have prostate cancer. Okies, I don't eat soy, I have a full head of hair and no prostate cancer. Boom boom.

This photography business is getting outta hand ya know. I can't go anywhere without whipping out the Fuji and snapping at something. Other people see bell peppers but I see PHOTO OPPORTUNITY! Yeah... it's a worry. But they are pretty, and I love all that red. Once again there was sufficient available light for the flash not to fire. Flash pics are not desirable - the light is too harsh and not evenly distributed.

Many Red Bubblers take their work very seriously, and love to boast about their features and accolades - which is understandable. Typical me, though, does it for a bit of fun and I don't take it all that seriously. I simply don't have that competitive streak. But I do appreciate being able to share my stuff with others, and the opportunity to get a bit of feedback which helps with the learning process. Even just observing the work of other RBers teaches me a lot. However, if you asked me to get up at sparrow's to shoot a sunrise on a beach I'd tell you to go to buggery. :o)

Lindsay is not too thrilled about tonight's dinner... Italian meatballs in diced tomatoes with basil and garlic, and mash potato. "Do you want a sprinkle of Parmesan on the meatballs?" "Nah." Why do I bother? Good question. I think it might have something to do with maintaining the status quo for the time being.

So there ya go. Life wasn't meant to be a picnic... apparently. But it does have its moments. Hehe. Gary

June 4, 2010. Is there a carburetor specialist in Taree. YES! I just checked the new phone book and gave them a call. Everything about Bluey (except for a few little rust spots I gotta fix) is just fine. But that carby prob is driving me bananas. The first guy buggered it by installing a kit the wrong way, and Nissan doesn't wanna know about fixing someone else's problem. Besides that, only the head mechanic there knows anything about carbys but he's not a specialist. I could live with it but I'd rather not. Even if I sell Bluey, I don't want a potential buyer bitching about a faulty carby. Sooooo, that's the plan. The rust spots can wait a little longer.

I thought the weather here in Taree was pretty ordinary but it's nothing compared to what's happening further north at Lennox Head... roofs blown off, caravans overturned, trees felled... scary stuff. Tornadoes are a rarity in Oz.

Cars are interesting to me but I'm not what you'd call an enthusiast. However, I was rather taken with a Citroen prototype I saw on a newsgroup this morning, so much so I downloaded a few pics and created an album. I think Citroen might be onto something special here.

Okies, Beeb time: A fire in a densely populated part of the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka has killed more than 100 people. It began after an electrical transformer exploded, engulfing housing blocks and shops in flames. Nimtoli district is crammed with buildings and roads are narrow, making access for the emergency services difficult. The BBC's Mark Dummett in Dhaka says the city is one of the most densely populated cities in the world - and Nimtoli is its most crowded district. He says many people live in badly constructed multi-storey buildings with no fire escapes or safety equipment. Count your blessings, bro. BP is to lower a cap on to the Gulf of Mexico leaking well - the second phase of its latest attempt to stem the flow. I wish them luck... for everyone's sake. The prime minister will visit Cumbria later as police continue to investigate the 12 killings carried out by gunman Derrick Bird. David Cameron, who will be accompanied by Home Secretary Theresa May, is to meet senior police officers. Bird, 52, also wounded 11 people before shooting himself in the west of the county on Wednesday afternoon. Mr Cameron said on Thursday there should not be a "knee-jerk reaction" to changing gun ownership laws. Oh? Why not?

Jan Gray wrote. His latest biz is dental drill repair, and he's just fitted out the first of a fleet of 10 vans to run his mobile repair biz. The guy's nutz. He thinks big but he doesn't stop there. He goes out and makes it happen. Actually, I think he's scary as hell. I can imagine his wife being terrified to ask him what he's been up to when he arrives home each night. "Hello, darling. I'm home." "Shuddup. I don't wanna know." Shit its expensive though that van is $120K on the road fitted out and stocked but that’s life I guess.

Strongtorquedental? What's the bet he wishes he'd thought of drillguys in the first place? On the other hand, this 'formerly' thing could be an advantage. I mean who's to know I wasn't formerly Alexander the Great in my last life? Or Tutankhamun? Or Hopalong Cassidy? So I could print my Aussie Odyssey biz cards as Gary Kelly (formerly Jesus Christ) for example. Cool, huh? Yes, folks, I'm full of wonderful ideas. It's the genius gene ya know.

Anyway, back to firearms. I hate the things, particularly when they're in the hands of Joe Blow who can snap at any time and cause unspeakable heartbreak. There are those who insist that gun ownership is the inalienable right of every citizen, and that's their prerogative. But not for me. I'm a wuss. I've even gotta think twice about grabbing the Mortein. On the other hand, don't ever mess with me when I'm holding a fly swatter.

Come to think of it, why do we hate bugs so much? I think it's because they're weird - like they're from another planet. Way too many legs, and they're small. When was the last time you found an elephant between the sheets? It just doesn't happen, right? But when you peel back the covers and spot some creepy crawly you freak. And by the time you grab the swatter it's gone. But where? You could tear the whole bedroom apart and never find it. So you spend the rest of the night wondering where the hell that bug went. And every time there's the slightest noise or something touching your skin, you leap outta bed and check. Nothing. No bug in sight. But you know it's there, somewhere... lurking. You don't get that problem with elephants.

I know I've mentioned it before, but I love that story about Cody and his mates on a hike when Wingnut decided to put a lizard in Mark's sleeping bag. Hehe. Mark was afraid of nothing... Mr Tough Guy... except when there's a lizard in his sleeping bag. He shot outta that tent like a speeding bullet.

Anyway, we've reached that time of day again... kitchen time, time to throw the proverbial shrimp on the proverbial barbie. But it's not a shrimp and it's not a barbie. It's scotch filet steaks and onions and chips... home made chips, of course. And hopefully, there'll be no little tornadoes visiting Taree tonight. Eeek! Gary

June 3, 2010. Oregon Richie was the only one to answer my question yesterday about why I'm "me". And... why are you YOU ?  Just 'cause you are, Gary.  Every experience and every thing you ever did, and every job you ever took, ever webpage you opened, and even every phone call you ever made in your whole life brought you to where you are and are sitting RIGHT at this moment.  For me... I rather acknowledge it as further proof of the ol' Jurassic Park "Chaos Theory". It's chaos, I tells ya !!

Right. Well, that's cleared that up. :-/

Not a very pleasant day today, ladies and genitals... cloudy, wet and ikky. To make it worse, I've gotta bit of shopping to do. Bleh.

Back from shopping. I spotted one of the checkout chicks shopping and said g'day. "Shopping is such a pain," I said, "but chatting with you guys makes it bearable." Then I asked her about working for Woolworths, and if the company had a rule about staff behavior after hours out on the town. "None of their business," she said. "Actually a few of us get together sometimes and have a night out." Then she smiled and added, "Oh, yeah," which I took to mean they party pretty wild hehe.

Earlier this morning I saw a pelican fly over my house with a few lazy flaps of its wings. Then it glided all the way over the rooftops to the river... so gracefully and without effort. The smaller birds are always flapping like mad to keep aloft but not the pelicans. It's a breeze for them and their huge wingspan. Later, I drove down to the river and took a few pics of the pelicans. Nothing spectacular but they make an interesting subject, and you never know when they're gonna do something unusual. A fisherman there wasn't too pleased though. "Piss off ya bastard," he said to one of them.

Glided. Now there's an interesting word. If the past tense of hide is hid, why isn't the past tense of glide glid? And why is the past tense of ride rode? I give up.

Beeb time: Hundreds of activists from the Gaza-bound flotilla receive an enthusiastic welcome in Turkey after being expelled by Israel. And who's rooting for Israel? No one that I'm aware of. Investigations into what made a taxi driver embark on a rampage which left 12 people dead in Cumbria may centre on a family row, reports suggest. Derrick Bird, 52, went on a three-hour shooting spree which began near Whitehaven and ended when he turned the gun on himself in woods near Boot. It is being reported Mr Bird may have been involved in a dispute with his family over a will. Eleven people were also hurt as he drove around targeting victims. How do you explain such utter madness? I guess you can't. Six astronauts are set to lock themselves into a mock spaceship in Moscow to simulate an 18-month mission to Mars. Perhaps not all that dissimilar to the long sea voyages early explorers took to discover new lands on planet Earth. Prosecutors say they are investigating the leader of Germany's Roman Catholic bishops on suspicion of aiding and abetting the sexual abuse of children. Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg is suspected of allowing the re-appointment of a priest accused of child abuse in 1987. She'll be right, mate... three Hail Marys and you'll be forgiven, no worries. A lightning bolt has struck nine people waiting to see the Old Faithful geyser erupt at Yellowstone National Park in the US state of Wyoming. All the visitors were on the boardwalk or walkways around the geyser when the single lightning bolt struck. Yeah, that stuff is frightening as hell. I drove through a serious storm one time and those damn bolts were zapping all over the place. Sir Paul McCartney has performed at the White House after picking up an award from US President Barack Obama. The former Beatle, 67, played as part of a concert in his honour, having been presented with the third annual Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. Among the songs he performed for the Obama family was the ballad Michelle, with lyrics directed to the First Lady. Bloody amazing... the kid from Liverpool at the White House. Former US president George W Bush has created an account on the social networking website Facebook. Mr Bush's Facebook account was given the thumbs up, or "liked", by over 20,000 users within its first few hours. Well, well, well... apparently we ain't heard the last of GWB just yet. One of the largest collections of Sir Winston Churchill memorabilia, including an unsmoked cigar, has sold for nearly £600,000 at auction. The items were sold by US publishing magnate, Steve Forbes, who amassed them over three decades. That's pounds, dear Breth... British pounds. An Australian Rules football team has suspended one of its star players for saying that homosexual players should not reveal their sexuality. Writing in a newspaper column, Jason Akermanis said it was too controversial to have an openly gay player, and urged them to "stay in the closet". His club, the Melbourne-based Western Bulldogs, has banned him for two games. Akermanis the dill. The Volkswagen camper van celebrates 60 years of production this year - and for its generations of fans, the love affair is far from over. They lie on their backs in oil, get pulled from side to side by their brakes and greet steep hills with a nervous sigh but when you are truly in love nothing really matters. The owners of vintage VW camper vans are a dedicated bunch, lavishing care, attention and money on their beloved wheels. They are the first to admit their "Combis" stop badly, weigh a ton, are underpowered and prone to electrical failure - but despite the faults, they remain a magnetic pull. Campers have been the vehicle of choice for globe trotters, festival-goers, surfers and rock stars for six decades. I owned one for 7 years and cursed the damn thing a million times... but I had great affection for it nonetheless. Read the full story here.

Yes, it was all pretty remarkable when men first set foot on the moon, and that was over 40 years ago. I was 24. And now it looks as though I might live to see men on Mars... from a safe distance, that is. Seems to me that modern monkeys are destined to populate the solar system and perhaps beyond. If that's the case, the evolution of mankind is still in its infancy. We've only just started.

The other night I saw on telly a program about Aboriginal cave paintings that showed a particular kind of bird (emu type) that became extinct 40,000 years ago. Hello? And Adam and Eve were here 6,000 years ago? Yeah, right.

It's getting dark, and all the cars have their headlights and wipers on in the rain. They're all heading home to their warm houses and comfy living rooms, and kitchens, and the smells of cooking, and their loved ones, and their televisions showing their favorite programs. Home is a welcoming place on cold, rainy nights after a day's work. Makes me wonder about camping on the Odyssey. Maybe home can be something other than what we think it is. Stay tooned.

Right, time to think about feeding hungry mouths. Gary

June 2, 2010. Just over a decade ago, when I lived in Petersham, Sydney, broke and desperate, my computer died and I had no way of replacing it. So a mate of mine, Jan Gray, appeared outta the blue with a computer made of bits and pieces and gave it to me. It had a 1GB HDD. Woohoo! Well, that old thing kept me going back in the early days of MrB. So about 12 years and several computers later the phone rings. "G'day, it's Jan Gray." Hehe. Somehow he'd tracked me down. Jan has always been very entrepreneurial. He was into hand-made soap when I first met him. Why? Because no one else was selling soap at the local markets. Boom boom. Later, he ran an employment agency specialising in IT. Next he was running a pizza restaurant. And now? Well, soap + IT + pizza = dental tools. Yes? Maybe not, but Jan doesn't see things the way most of us do. If repairing dental tools can make a quid, then why not? BUT... that's not all he's into. How about this? Yes, custom rods. The bloke's a lunatic. But I forgive him because he saved my ass back in '98. Mind you, he does have a panel-beating background so he's familiar with cars (as well as women).

Here's a Youchewb vid of a Toyota V8 engine he's building for a '40 Ford.

I'm convinced that people don't understand writers. Writers lock themselves away and live in their heads. Being a painter ain't so bad... at least an observer can see a room full of canvases and paintings and paints and rags and easels and general mess. But when people observe a writer they see a person sitting at a computer... and that's it. In the old days, a writer would sit at his desk pounding a manual Olivetti and have papers all over the place including several in the waste paper basket. But that's all changed since the advent of computers. There's no paper, no waste, no mess - no evidence of any physical activity. To the observer it looks like the writer isn't actually doing anything. Oh well...

Beeb time: Israel says it will release and deport all foreign nationals seized on board an aid flotilla trying to break its blockade of Gaza. More than 100 Arab nationals were due to leave early on Wednesday, with Israel aiming to complete deportations within 48 hours. At least nine pro-Palestinian activists died when Israeli commandos raided the six-ship convoy early on Monday. Israel says its troops acted in self-defence, but campaigners deny this. Amid ongoing diplomatic concern at the incident, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the situation in Gaza "unsustainable".Yes, well that's one way of putting it. The US government has begun criminal and civil investigations into the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Attorney General Eric Holder has announced. He would not say which companies or individuals were being targeted. Earlier, BP launched a new attempt to try to contain the spill from its well using undersea robots to cut off the fractured pipe and seal it with a cap. BP said the spill - the largest in US history - might be capped within 24 hours, but success was not guaranteed. I don't get it. Who's the criminal? BP for drillling or the government for allowing them to do it? The White House has said it "welcomes the demise" of al-Qaeda number three and Afghan operations chief Mustafa Abu al-Yazid. US officials say they believe he was killed recently in the tribal areas of Pakistan in an American drone attack. One drone kills another drone. Former US Vice President Al Gore and his wife Tipper are separating after 40 years of marriage. The 2000 Democratic presidential candidate and his wife cited "a mutual and mutually supportive decision", in an email to friends. Mr Gore, Bill Clinton's vice president, won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his work on climate change. Mrs Gore is a longtime advocate on mental health issues. The couple married in May 1970. People grow, which can mean growing apart. I really don't understand this "until death do us part" vow. How can anyone make a vow for life? Fish are being threatened by rising levels of man-made noise pollution. So say scientists who have reviewed the impact on fish species around the world of noises made by oil and gas rigs, ships, boats and sonar. Rather than live in a silent world, most fish hear well and sound plays an active part in their lives, they say. Yep, silence is golden, as they say. And I do long for the day when I'm out in the middle of nowhere hearing only the crackling of my camp fire. Homer Simpson has been named the greatest TV and film character of the last 20 years, according to a Entertainment Weekly survey. The cartoon character, best known for his love of eating, beat schoolboy wizard Harry Potter to the top slot. Don't blame me. I wasn't on the voting panel. Three judges have been shot dead at a court in China's southern Hunan province by a man armed with a submachine gun, reports say. Three other judges were injured before the man, who was also carrying two more weapons, killed himself. Xinhua said the man had been motivated by revenge - he was reported to have divorced his wife three years ago and was unhappy at the way the court divided their wealth. Nothing I can add to that. 

Speaking of campfires and silence and being in the middle of nowhere, I still wanna know why I'm me. Why not someone else? I really don't understand what causes one of trillions of eggs being matched with one of trillions of tadpoles to become me. Was I me before the egg and tadpole met? And if so, what kinda me was I? Or did I become me after they met? Does anyone out there have an answer? If my mother had married another man (she told me about a tailor who was interested in her) would I have been me with a different father? Or would their child have been someone else entirely? In fact, why wasn't I born as one of my brothers instead of me? Same eggs, same sperm, different individuals. Just to complicate matters and make the puzzle even more mysterious, where does "me" go when dementia sets in?

I think most individuals at one time in their lives question who they are and what the hell they're doing here.

Another thing that puzzles me is so-called free will. Who controls the brain? Do I control my brain or does my brain control me? And if my brain controls me, then who am I? Hehe. I had a thought the other day... if some people could see themselves as I see them, they would not want to be who they are. Similarly, if I could see myself as some others do, I would not want to be me. All very weird, yes?

Anyway, as a mate of mine back when I was about 20 said, "You think too much." Maybe he was right. I give myself headaches. Maybe that crackling campfire in the middle of nowhere contains the secret to mental bliss, rather like Cody's dawn patrols, sitting on his board on the back line, watching the sun rise over Table Mountain and just "chilling out" - Cody's version of meditation.

Well, kitchen time again. Porterhouse steaks for THEM and Asian thingies for me. Gary

June 1, 2010. Well, well, well, here we are, June 1. Ol' eagle eye here was bringing the wheelie bin back in from the street when I spotted something unusual in my grapefruit tree. So I rushed inside and grabbed the camera. How many people do you know who've managed to capture 4 locusts sunning themselves on a grapefruit? None, right? So now you can tell all your friends you actually know someone who HAS.

How's that for a claim to fame?

Just got a note from TX Greg to say that he's posted all the Steve stories on Codysworld. Today is a holiday here, does that mean I get holiday pay, haha :) Cheeky bugger. TX Greg introduced me to ground coffee. Before that I used to drink that horrible instant stuff. Now I wouldn't touch instant with a barge pole.

What's for lunch? Noodles, of course. I just love 'em... but they fog my glasses. Grrr. Okay, let's check the Beeb:

UN Security Council members condemn Israel ahead of an emergency session on the Gaza aid flotilla raid, amid world fury. Oops! Can you pedal this bike backwards? China ramps up efforts to become a supercomputing superpower, as one of its machines is ranked second fastest in the world. I suspect it's gonna be a very different world in another decade or two if China continues its march... which I have no doubt it will. India's economy grew at an annual rate of 8.6% in the three months to March, largely thanks to growth in manufacturing, official data has shown. That marked an increase on the 6.5% growth seen in the previous quarter. And there's another one on the march

Not much of a news day, I'm afraid. But it does strike me that all empires eventually go the way of past empires, such as the British, the Romans, the ancient Greeks, the Persians, the Incas, etc. It seems to be the natural cycle... the new replacing the old.

So you thought film was dead and buried? A Red Bubbler mate just posted a lovely B&W shot of Brisbane city, taken with a Rolleiflex camera using Kodak film. He's doing a photography course at university and is taking his art very seriously. Good on him. I, on the other hand, wanna know everything in 5 minutes and am way too impatient to learn anything properly. William's been doing architectural photography lately which is quite an art in itself. Surprisingly, during my time on RB, he's favorited a couple of my attempts, and has complimented me on aspects of my images I didn't even realize were there. Hehe. More ass than class, that's me.

Actually, it's true ya know. I've had psychologists and various other academics remark on stuff I've written, and they've mentioned things I've never heard of. "Oh? Did I really do that?" I mean I left school at 14. Hated the place and couldn't wait to flee. So much for my mother wanting me to be a lawyer or a journalist. And my father? Well, he gave me impression he didn't even know who I was.

Another slow day, and my brain is not pumping out very much... although I did manage to add a bug pic to my portfolio hehe. You get days like that, though, when the cells just wanna have a little vacation and stack up a few zeds. Gary


← Older posts      Waffle Index      Newer posts →
Return to Home Page