the WAFFLE page

April 30, 2012. Going once, going twice...! Sold to the man chewing his left elbow. Yes, ladies and genitals, the deal is done, and I am now the owner of an old slide-on that's seen better days but, hopefully, still has a few left to see. Meanwhile, I've confused the hell outta Oregon Richie... he still thinks I bought the Windsor in Queensland. Nope, I've ended up with the old Freeway just up the road from here at Laurieton. I'll deposit $3000 into the seller's bank account today, then the balance on Thursday, after which the seller will deliver the camper to my abode where it will sit on legs until I manage to sell the Ute and buy a trayback replacement.

Meanwhile, I feel kinda numb. I've actually done it... I bought a camper, and it's left me practically penniless. But, dear Breth, within the next few months, I will have a complete "rig" - to use an Oregonian term - that will take me far and wide, across the endless plains and fertile fields of the Land Down Under.

TX Greg is not so convinced about the wisdom of my decision: I still wish you would consider some small caravan. Found a really neat one........ Way more storage (frees up the Ute's bed too) than a slideon. Easy to hitch up and tow, so can be left at the campsite and frees the Ute to runabout. I really like the poptop over a tent camper, easy set up, and solid side walls!!!

Well, the slide-on has solid side walls and NO set up! There are advantages and disadvantages no matter what I get, and I've given long and detailed consideration to all of them over a couple of years (with a couple of major boo boos along the way). Besides, nothing's set in stone. If I don't like the slide-on at some point, I can always sell it and get something else. But, the way I see it, can you imagine hauling a caravan along a road like this? Or trying to find a double-length parking space in the main street of Braidwood? Even the horse and buggy has a problem. And, of course, there are problems like this one.

The last time I bought a house (not counting Bluey and Das Busse) was in 1978, which is about the same time the slide-on came into the world (1980 I think Dan said). I remember thinking "what the hell have I done?" after I'd signed on the dotted line for $31,000. These days, $31K doesn't even buy a decent new motorhome. But I don't care about the Joneses. How would a vintage slide-on look on a ute like this one? If it looks familiar, it's a Holden similar to Tough Titties. Which reminds me, I haven't thought of a name for the slide-on yet. How about Trailer Trash? Actually, the more I look at the pics on eBay (and I have several times), the more I think of it as my new "home". I haven't really had that feeling of "belonging" since I sold my little joint in Glebe 21 years ago.

NC Art read an article in the New York Times: "Homophobic? Maybe you're gay," and says, This bears out what many people realized a long time ago. Art. Yep, nothing new about that.

Just got an email from Art to say there was no Waffle on the 30th. He's right ya know. It's the 1st now and I've just woken up, realizing I didn't post this yesterday. Oh dear... Gary

April 29, 2012. Oregon Richie thought that photo yesterday looked very much like Cody. Yep, and there's a good reason for that... it was Cody. TX Greg wanted to know if I have any more "unpublished" photos. Nope. That's it. The pic would have been taken in 97/98 when Code was 15/16, prior to meeting Mark. Was it Steve who introduced Code to floral boardies? Those khaki ones look a bit lamo.

Greg also pointed out that I missed winning last night's auction of the Freeway camper by mere seconds. Yes, I knew it was close. I was hesitant about bidding again because it was stretching the budget a bit too far. Also, I had a feeling I was destined to buy the Windsor in Queensland for $3500. Not as many goodies, perhaps, but in better overall nick. Or as Greg wrote: Lost the bid by only 26 seconds. Maybe that's a good thing, because that Windsor looks in way better shape :)

The seller of the Windsor wrote and said she'll phone me after 10am today. She phoned last night but I was in bed already - Lindsay took the call. So I'll know soon enough what the story is. It's too far away to inspect before making a commitment to buy, so I'll have to commit sight unseen (apart from the pics) and then drive almost all the way to Maryborough which will involve an overnight stay in a hotel/motel somewhere. Remember Tamworth? Sight unseen? $3500? Das Busse? The Nightmare? I don't expect a repeat of that little adventure but nonetheless I do hope I can manage to chew what I'm biting off this time.

I just noticed the add-on rear view mirrors attached to the original wing mirrors on the ute carrying the Windsor. I was wondering about that. Seems like the wider body of the camper necessitates an expanded view. That'll take a bit of getting used to... as well as the lack of vision through the rear window. I reckon one of those reversing cameras might come in handy as well.

The other day NC Art talked about Australia's rainforest and how it's been decimated since the "invasion" by white Europeans. Here's part of an email I received from Get Up this morning: Right now the ancient Tarkine rainforest is under threat from being open cut mined. Thousands of GetUp members took action and challenged Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke to visit the area, to experience it for himself, before he considers applications to mine the area. I just returned from showing the Minister around the Tarkine forest, and I wanted to give you the inside story on how the campaign is going. We recorded a 2-minute video of the visit you really should see. 

Lynne, the lady with the Windsor, phoned to say there's a bloke arriving at her place today to have a look at the camper. She'll let me know if he buys it. Meanwhile, she told me that the bloke who owned it before her had it on a Falcon tub ute and said it was too heavy - that it slowed the ute on hills and caused fuel consumption to skyrocket. Maybe she was trying to get rid of me. In fact, I suspect she was because she added a couple more reasons for me to lose interest in the camper, like how expensive the hydraulic legs are to fix (and that one of them was dead already), and how she's had to add airbags to the rear suspension of her Hi Lux 1 tonner to handle the weight. However, she also said she's selling the old camper because she bought a newer one with a shower and loo... which weighs even more! Ooer!

So, ladies and genitals, here I am back at square 1. No, I'm not. I just got an email from eBay to say I've got a second-chance offer on the Freeway. The winning bidder reneged (he's not a local so it wasn't because he saw the camper in the flesh). But the seller says there's a local who is interested, and if I don't respond within 24 hours, he'll take the other guy's cash. It's all so confusing. I think Lynne's stories have turned me off slide-ons unless they're sitting on a heavy-duty truck chassis.

Then again, what Lynne said might be a whole lotta bullshit. Check out this thread I found about old Ford utes and slide-ons.  It's about a third of the way into the story.

So what am I gonna do? The Freeway is cheap, particularly considering it's bristling with extras like a/c, solar panel, deep cycle battery, 240v inverter, CD stacker, 2 x awnings, elec water pump and stainless steel tank, wind-up legs, gas/elec fridge, stove, extra storage bins, etc. Sure it's got a few dings but that's expected for less than $5000... and unless I win Lotto I'll never have enough to buy anything better... and probably never see an opportunity like this one again. So, that's it. Do it or don't. There's no in between. Gary

April 28, 2012. When did I buy my Porta Potti Continental? I think 3 or 4 years ago - used on eBay. It has a pretty small seat so I've always wondered if it was a kid's model, and I got dudded. I've not used it yet but for some reason this morning I decided to do a little investigating via Google and found this. For your info, mine has twin chambers and the plastic bellows are fine. I'm not sure why they call it the Continental though... maybe Europeans have smaller bums.

Meanwhile, the slide-on camper took a $600 leap late yesterday up to about $2750, which is not surprising. And I expect it will take a few more leaps before the end of the auction at about 7 tonight. 

However, the saga is but beginning BECAUSE quite by accident, as I was checking out something else on the net, I saw a message "you may also be interested in this". Hello? $3500? That's pretty cheap, but it's in Queensland, quite a distance from here. The camper is designed for a tub ute like mine which means I don't need a trayback. At least not yet. Somewhere down the track, I'll get a trayback so that I can put those two vacant spaces on each side of the camper floor to good use by installing metal storage boxes... and maybe a couple more below the tray as well.

And now to surfing. NCArt wrote: The Endless Summer? While reading a story on Kelly Slater I had to think of Cody. Slater is possibly the greatest in the sport and won competitions around the world, including one at Bell's Beach in Australia in 2010 when he was nearing forty. Injured in the first round, the consensus was that he was too old, but he came back and won. According to the writer, he fell in love with the sea at five years of age, got a belly board at eight, but decided to stand up on it because it was too tame. Interesting story and interesting man.

Yes, The Endless Kelly. Cody mentioned him often in dispatches and obviously had a high regard for his ability. Cody also mentioned his dad teaching him to surf in the "mush" when he was a "little Cody" because he wanted a surfing buddy. And he got one. But it wasn't just the surf Cody loved, it was the sea itself... something Mark came to realize after he took an interest in sailing. Of all the summer jobs Mark could have taken after he graduated from high school, it had to be sailing; something about which he had never expressed one iota of interest during his school years. The only other job Mark had after school was in a pizza joint as a waiter... and suddenly Cody and Co were spending half their lives there hehe.

Well, the auction for the camper with all the goodies - the one just up the road at Laurieton - has 1.5 hours to go, and is still currently sitting on $2750. The seller of the other one in Queensland hasn't responded to my email or phone call yet. By the time you northern hemisphericals read this, it'll all be over... and I'll either have a camper or I won't. Gary

April 27, 2012. Yes, dear Breth, it's a lot harder to find a camper in my price range than a ute, so if I'm lucky enough to get this one I'll be laughing. One of the great advantages of this camper is storage... there's a stack of it. Bit of a shame about the Ute though... it ain't easy to find one as good as mine for what I paid, but she's a tub ute and not suitable for this camper. People with lotsa money don't have these problems, ya know. BTW, the seller has uploaded more pics of the camper since yesterday.

The auction ends about 7pm tomorrow, and there have been about 2000 visitors so far. My bet is that bidding will start getting pretty lively just before the auction is due to close, and I suspect final bidding will be close to the $10K mark (unless I'm the only one who recognizes what it's worth). Being a Saturday night might help - not so many people at home and/or on eBay. Fingers crossed but I don't like my chances.

I notice bidding started at $1, but has slowed a lot since getting to $2K. It's the serious guys from here on in. There are also a couple of pop-up camper trailers (those with canvas pop-out beds at both ends) at good prices but, despite being tempted to change my mind, I prefer something that sits on the ute tray and doesn't need setting-up on arrival (or separate registration). A slide-on is also much easier to park in the street because it only occupies one car-length.

I've been watching bidding on a Coleman pop-up camper which hung around $3050 for ages and then jumped to $3555. It's still there with 10 minutes  before the auction ends. Incidentally, it's about 10 minutes away from where I live! And yes it's tempting hehe. 5 minutes to go. 1 minute to go. Up to $3605 with seconds to go! Sold at $4070 at the last possible moment hehe. Jeez, talk about nail biting.

I expect the same thing to happen tomorrow night with the slide-on... serious bidders going beserk at the last minute. I'll be very surprised if I manage to stay in the bidding. But... ya never know. Gary

April 26, 2012. Pay day, bills day, wtf day. Wouldn't it be nice if the government paid me about 10 times more than I need for bills and stuff? Then I'd have all that loverly money to play with.

The night shot of the courthouse I took last night ain't bad... nothing award winning... but at least it won't be a big deal with future night shoots. The more you understand about all those knobs and dials and buttons on a sophisticated DSLR the less daunting they are... AND the more useful they are! Anyway, after spending the past 14 months taking pics of the Taree Courthouse renovations, I've finally put the album together.

My Thomas the Tank Engine money box was getting pretty heavy so naturally I was getting increasingly curious about how much loot I'd managed to stash away in dollar and two dollar coins. I took it to the bank today to have the contents counted by machine. Surprisingly, there were  two other people ahead of me in the I'm not the only hoarder. Anyway, despite the heavy weight of the coins which I figured might be somewhere around the $500 mark, mine totalled $363. Oh well... So I paid it off my Mastercard.

Here's a slide on camper that "could" be a bargain depending on how the bidding goes on eBay. The auction finishes in about 2 days, and currently the bidding is increasing by $25 increments. I've asked the seller a question about the base... are the two side storage boxes removable so that the camper can fit a tub ute. If not, and I bought the camper anyway, I'd have to get a trayback. The thing about this particular camper is that it has a lot of goodies, like roll-out awnings, 4-wind-up legs, solar, 240v inverter, etc... AND it's at Laurieton, which is between Taree and Port Macquarie. Just up the road! Compared to what I've seen for sale elsewhere over the past year or so, it's gotta be worth about $10K at least. To my mind, it would be worth buying and storing until I got myself a trayback ute. But that depends on the bidding... if it goes over $5K it'll be out of my reach. As of now, it's just below $2200. Stay tuned.  Gary

April 25, 2012. Last evening, I took the camera up the road and learned quite a few lessons in how not to... But I also learned quite a few lessons in how to... take night shots, that is. What I really need is a tripod as tall as I am. The one I have is about 5' which means I have to stoop to adjust things (in the dark), and that can be a real pain. In any case, the last couple of nights' boo-boos have taught me some useful tricks - and all in the space of about an hour. Tonight, it'll be a case of third time lucky...or maybe third time ready.

In the process of learning about night shoots, I've also learned a thing or two about aperture priority mode and shutter priority mode. Auto mode can't blur running water, for example. You need to select a slow shutter speed for that. And to blur a background, you need the right aperture. Manual focus helps as well. Auto is great for a vast range of shots but certainly not all. I used to know all this stuff back in my manual camera days but I've lately become a slave to auto. Getting lazy in my old age.

It's ANZAC Day in Oz (Memorial Day in the US). Anyway, it's the day we commemorate all those who have fought in various wars down through the years, beginning with WWI (and the Boer War in our case). In Oz, it's the only day of the year that the Law turns a blind eye to the playing of Two Up by diggers in pubs and clubs, which is where they retire after Dawn Service and The March through town.

I just heard a fighter jet fly low overhead. That's not something you hear every day in Taree. Speaking of jets, here's something NC Art wrote the other day that I forgot to include: Our local newsrag reported today that Qantas Air has given General Electric (GE Engines) a fat contract for engines to be built in a plant right in our area. A big cash infusion would do wonders for local optimism.

This is a more recent dispatch from Art: Click, got your picture! I have a snapshot of my father taken with a Brownie box camera. Better than most of the stuff I see from a cell-phone source, to boot. And the old Kodak with lens perched on an extendable bellows track was no slouch either. And the best nature shot I ever got was with a $49 Canon taken of Mt. Ranier with doughnut cloud circling the peak. This was from an airline window with the lens contacting the glass to prevent reflection. A fluke, but a nice one!

Someone said fitting a Box Brownie inside a cell phone is probably not a great marketing idea. But it's true that the old Box Brownie did a great job. I have scores of family photo album pics taken with one of those things. I also remember the old Kodak bellows cameras. One thing I learned only recently was that Kodak invented digital photography. My first digital camera was a Kodak (which I still have). Now I also have 3 Fujifilm and 1 Sony.

Art continues: Go take some pix of koalas before they are extinct. From an estimated 10,000,000 when the white men invaded Australia, there are now but about 10,000 left. The eucalyptus trees they preferred have nearly been all eradicated in the name of progress. And, the ones left are being finished off by cars and dogs. If you're interested, go to National Geographic on line to see photos and map of the east coastal forest as it was and as it is now. A lot of the change has occurred from 1950 to 2001!

Here's one I managed to take in early 2011... the only pic of a koala so far. I'm aware of the decimation of rainforest in this area. Taree and the entire Manning Valley together with many neighboring areas were major timber producing regions up until relatively recently. Just a block from this house is a large motel/restaurant complex that used to be a timber yard a few decades ago. Nonetheless, timber remains a viable industry in many parts of the mid north coast but with selective logging and continuous reafforestation.

I saw a program on telly recently about a bloke who built a house of straw. Not only that, he set fire to it and proved that it was fireproof. Straw is cheap, plentiful, and renewable. He also said straw could be used instead of forest timber to make toilet paper and paper towels. 26 billion rolls of toilet paper, worth about $2.4 billion, are used every year in America alone. So who cares? How many straw houses are being built in your neighborhood? What does a straw bale house look like?

Some stores decided to close today, being a public holiday. However, the supermarket opened at 1pm as did the department store (where I bought a Fiskars pruning saw for $10) but the pharmacy decided to remain closed so I dipped out on my medication. It's for cholesterol so I guess it's not life threatening. Lindsay is getting all domestic as well because he splurged on a stainless steel kettle for about $20. Hehe. It's not a bad looker either... a bit of class from a most unexpected source.

Oh... and how am I feeling today? Not too badly. Seeyaz tomorra. Gary

April 24, 2012. Oregon Richie's mom passed away peacefully last evening. She was 93 or thereabouts. Richie was there at her bedside, along with the rest of the family. That's about it, isn't it. Raise a family and pass on the genes. Anything else we leave behind is a bonus. I'm still working on my legacy hehe.

I'm hoping it'll be a photo, or maybe even a couple. I could be wrong here but I think this is Australia's most famous photo (as opposed to icon). It was taken by Max Dupain in 1937. Anyway, legacies are for the living to be concerned about. Once the sun stops shining, that's it... no more hay. 

'Nature, forever unvanquished by the ages, is a bounteous blessing to the life of man.  We all need nature far more than it needs man.'  Max Dupain 1988

I'm going through Dupain's Exhibition Photography on the official website just to absorb what he saw as worthwhile photographing. He spent a lot of time visiting places familiar to my parents as well as me during my youth. His work is not only very interesting but also very relaxing to study. At the end, I felt rejuvenated and convinced that the world is not such a bad place to be in.

'All I want the audience to say about my work is - "that's beautiful". I know this is ... out of kilter with the contemporary view of world events, industrial societies...wars, horror, violence and the desire for power. But if photographers want to expose all this and try to change the social pattern - they're welcome.'  Max Dupain 1980s

I've taken a lot of pretty ordinary photos in my time but also some worthwhile ones. Maybe I should switch to black and white. :o) I'm not sure what the ratio of worthless to worthwhile should be but I'd reckon if 1 in 100 shots turns out to be a "Sunbaker" you're doing pretty damn well.

Of course, when Dupain was running around taking shots with his Rolleiflex or whatever, not many people owned a camera, and if they did it was probably a Box Brownie. Since the advent of the internet and the digital age, there's been a revolution. Now anyone with a cell phone has a camera, and they carry it wherever they go! An increasing amount of footage used by Television News is shot by amateurs using their cell phones. I wonder what Dupain (1911-1992) would have said about the digital age and the explosion of camera devices. Gary

April 23, 2012. TX Greg found a couple of vids about that snow canyon I posted yesterday. That's a cool pic of the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route in Japan. What a drive.... And here's another one: Here's how they clear the road.... What I want to know is, when that all melts does the road turn into a river???

What surprised me was traffic driving on the left. I didn't know that was the case in Japan. Greg also says he's sorry to learn that the latest radiation dose is getting to me. Yes, it is but it's starting to abate. When I spoke to the nurse at the hospital a couple of days ago, she said it'll get worse before it gets better. And then before ending the call she said, "Enjoy your weekend." Hello? Anyway, it was pretty bad over the weekend but I think that's when it peaked. It's not too bad today (Monday). At least the swelling has subsided a little. 

Last night I took a few shots of the flood-lit police station and courthouse but they didn't turn out very well. Some of the lights were brighter than others and it seems the camera had difficulty getting a good average reading. Most of the shots were over exposed. So it appears I'll have to experiment with manual settings and do the ol' trial and error trick...take several shots using different settings and pick the best. It was also a pain in the ass working with a tripod in the dark, trying to get my horizontals and verticals right. 

As I took the last shot, a car appeared in the police station driveway so I took the tripod out of the way, and stood back. It wasn't a police car so I figured someone had finished their shift and was going home. But the car stopped as it reached me and the window wound down. It was a young woman who asked a few questions including, "What are you doing?" I figured since I was holding a tripod and camera it was pretty obvious but I answered anyway, and explained that the flood lights weren't switched on during the day. She finally got the message, wished me well and drove off. Not very bright some of these cops ya know.

Next time, I'll try B setting (bulb) which allows the shutter to remain open as long as the shutter button stays pressed. Normally you would use a remote shutter release but I don't have one. And I won't bother with a tripod. I'll steady myself against a tree or pole or whatever, or maybe use a monopod. It can't be any worse than last night's results.

Paul from Joburg wrote: Have you seen the movie: "World's greatest dad!" (Robin Williams) Do you have something to do with it? Very similarities in there... He's talking about my relationship with Cody, but the answer is no to both questions. However, Cody did wish me Happy Father's Day one time - the first and last time anyone has.

Meanwhile, NC Art reckons I should check my watch: Actually you must have slept 24 hours instead of 12. There was no Odyssey posted for Saturday! Anyway, hope your misery abates sooner than quickly.

For the past hour, I've been watching short photography tutorials on Youchewb. There's a heap of them and they're all pretty informative... not to mention free! Knowledge is power, right? Gary

April 22, 2012. 12 hours sleep last night, and several long naps during the day. I feel a little better today but still not hundreds (as Cody used to say). I spat a bit of blood last night so maybe it's true and not metaphorical about the razor blades and barbed wire in my mouth.

Until the effects of the last blast of radiation subside, I'm afraid there's no chance of jumping into the Ute to look for somewhere to do a photo shoot. I'm just too preoccupied with the soreness of my mouth and tongue. However, I'm gonna try my first night shoot tonight, just after dark when the new courthouse and the old one next door are lit up. They're just a short walk up the street. I'll use the old S7000 on a tripod with "night" setting, where I choose the scene (night) and the camera chooses the aperture and shutter speed (up to 3 seconds). Since I don't have a remote shutter release, I'll use the self timer which delays the shutter by a number of seconds to prevent camera shake.

I've had that camera about 4 years and it's taken me all this time to get around to a night shot. I'm such a pathetic scaredy cat.

As to the short film that won Tropfest NY in 2008, Mankind Is No Island, looks like there's a copyright issue. The Australian producer has made it unavailable in the USA (perhaps at Tropfest's request). The film has attracted over a million views on Youtube despite being unavailable in the US, which says a lot about its popularity.

I slept several hours today which gave me some relief from the mouth soreness. I'll stay awake for a while now, drink a can of nourishment, watch a bit of telly and hope that I can sleep another 12 hours tonight. I could take pain killers but I'd rather not. I'm hoping I'll be almost back to normal-ish tomorrow or at least by Tuesday.

Here's a pic a friend sent me today. I've never seen anything like it, and I wonder what kinda monster machine cleared all that snow!

I'll let you know tomorrow how my night shoot turned out. Gary

April 20, 2012. Got a call from Port Macquarie hospital's oncology to ask how I'm fairing after the last blast. She wasn't surprised to hear about the soreness, so I suspect she's aware of the extra zing they put into the final dose. She said it'll probably take a week to settle down. It even hurts to speak!

The weather has improved... nice and sunny and warm today, and will continue that way for several days. So if I'm feeling okay I might jump in the Ute and find something to photograph. One exhibition I'm curious about is a display of famous hats (or at least hats worn by famous people) at the local art gallery. That could be fun, and even artistic!

I'm keen to try the new camera's video capability, which allows use of the zoom... not that I'm a fan of lots of zooming in vids but it could be handy. The question is... what'll I do a vid of? I'd actually like to do a serious short film one of these days. Here's one by an enterprising Aussie that won quite a few awards. It's called Mankind Is No Island, and is shot entirely on a cell phone.

Sorry for the shortie again today folks, but the only way I can deal with the soreness of my tongue and jaw is to sleep, or at the very least remain still. Gary

April 19, 2012. And another wettie. It'll improve from tomorrow they say. I checked the weather map and almost the entire east coast of Oz is WET!

I've decided... no more tube. The stuff in the cans doesn't taste THAT bad so I'm drinking 3 a day orally. All I have to do with the tube is take water through it occasionally (flush it) to keep it clean. If my weight remains consistent over the next 2 to 3 weeks, then I'll inform the hospital and make arrangements to have the tube removed. It's a real pain in the ass ya know. I've gotta remember it when I roll over at night in bed, it gets tangled up in my clothing during the day, and it's a bloody nuisance when I shower.

I informed Lindsay this morning as I emerged from the loo that the light bulb in the toilet needed replacing. "Yeah, I know," he said, "it went last night." Oh? Last night? And he didn't replace it? Anyway, I did.

Front door's been busy today... the doc, meals on wheels, my special food, and my new/used camera! The camera was well presented, still in its box just like new, except for a few minor blemishes. It was immediately obvious that the S1800 not in the same class as my S7000 (which retailed at about $1000 new). The S7000 is sturdier, bigger, features manual as well as auto settings, has a hotshoe for external flash, a bulb setting and a manual focus ring. But the S1800 has a super zoom and more megapixels. 

The S1800 also doesn't have a threaded lens barrel so you can't attach filters or a lens hood unless you have an adaptor. An eBay seller in the States has them, plus the filters and other goodies. But I might try the camera as is before I spend any more dough. The use of a hood on a wide-angle zoom of the S1800's capability could cause vignetting. The two main advantages of the S1800 over my other cameras is its awesome zoom capability and the fact that the zoom can be used while shooting video. That will be very useful in certain circumstances.

NC Art wrote and said he had a bit of trouble accessing the Odyssey site. I had a bit of trouble with intermittent connection yesterday too - maybe it had something to do with the heavy rain up and down the coast. Art also commented on beaches and how things have changed: What happened to Burleigh Heads reminds me of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. When I was young the beach was about all it had, and a good one. One could drive into "town" and rent a cottage for a night or a month. For a short stay we brought our own food and alcohol of choice. Sunning and swimming was daytime activity and a visit to the Pavilion at night. The Pavilion had an open-sided dance floor connected to a fishing pier. Boys hunting girls and doing that motionless dance step; motionless except for slow pelvic gyrations. Now the place we knew is a traffic clogged area of tourist trap souvenir shops, bars, and "private" clubs where anything is ok until the police bust in. The beach lovers have moved north along the coast and stay in high rise air conditioned hotels with full service dining and valet service. This is progress!?

I don't believe it is progress, Art. But you know what they say about supply and demand.

Anyway, I haven't been feeling all that well today. I think the hospital gave me a mega blast of radiation last week, and it's beginning to tell. My tongue and lower jaw/teeth are particularly sensitive, and I'm salivating too much. Last night in bed, I had to swallow every few minutes or so which meant I couldn't sleep properly. Also the saliva tasted gross. It's not so bad today but it's still uncomfortable. It'll pass, of course, but the only way I could get through the day was to take regular naps, which explains this short waffle. Seeyaz tomorrow. Gary

April 18, 2012. Another wettie - a good day to stay indoors. 

The recent radiation must have upset my tongue and jaw so I won't even bother trying anything adventurous with food for a week or two. I had a terrible time with meatballs and spag last night even though the meatballs were small. Just when I think I'm making improvements, those zappers come along and bugger everything up again.

My dietitian phoned and said the aim now is to get rid of the stomach tube. So what I have to do is take one of the cans of stuff I normally use with the tube and pour the contents into a tall glass. Add milk, flavoring (coffee, chocolate, vanilla, etc) and ice cream and whip into a shake. Then consume orally. If I can do that with one of the three cans I consume a day and keep my weight consistent, great. Two cans a day? So much the better. And three? Goodbye tube. Mind you, I can drink the contents of the cans straight but it doesn't taste all that good.

I was telling Richie the other day that the road pictured below (April 16) with the old Wolseley and Ron was the main drag down the south coast all those years ago. It was very much a string of sleepy little villages back then. But things have certainly changed in recent times - check this out. Here's a pic of Burleigh Heads  up near the Queensland border during the '60s with lots of campers in their caravans. This is Burleigh Heads today. Burleigh Heads is between Coolangatta and Surfers Paradise. I was there in the early '60s when there were NONE of those high rise buildings to be seen anywhere along the coast. The only holiday accommodation available was a camp ground, a caravan park or a room in a guest house.

Mind you, I won't be staying in anything flash on the Odyssey. Simple and basic - that'll be me. Jeans, flip flops and T. I prefer it that way.

Not sure what the story is today but I've been sleeping a lot. Could be something to do with last week's radiation, or even the weather. Anyway, whatever the cause, my creative juices are not flowing, so we'll see what happens tomorrow. Gary

April 17, 2012. TX Greg is at it again. This time he's commented on Ron's surfboard: I see a surfboard on the Wolseley. I didn't know (or remember) that YOU were a surfer??? You're right... I wasn't. But I did try standing on that thing a couple of times in VERY shallow water while Ron took some pics. I used to have the photos but the 35mm slides must have perished cos I don't have them anymore. Greg also sent this link to a turkey balls fest in the US. Ugh! They've gotta be joking, right?

The wet weather has really set in here in li'l ol' Taree... heavy rain and flash flooding for the rest of the week, easing next Sunday. How dreary! One thing I'm gonna have to do on the Odyssey is stay one or two steps ahead of Mother Nature and keep an eye on the longish-range weather forecasts. I don't wanna get stuck camping in mud. Eeek!

Got an email to say the seller of the Fuji S1800 posted it today. I paid for it on Saturday. Hello? Oh well... that means I'll probably get it Thursday. The current weather is not exactly conducive to photography anyway so it's no biggie... it's just that I'm curious to have a fiddle with it, and check that 18x zoom. That should be fun!

I suspect by the time I'm ready to get a slide-on camper, I'll swap the Ute for a trayback. I've noticed that maybe 80% + of used slide-ons for sale are designed for traybacks. They sit higher than those designed for tub utes (like mine) because the flat tray is above the rear wheels, but they do have some important advantages. The width of the floor area is as wide as the tray (the full width of the vehicle), which provides more storage space (usually accessible from outside the ute via side boots). Vacant areas forward and aft of the rear wheels, beneath the tray, can be used to hang extra storage boxes. And lastly, reversing under the raised slide-on to re-position it on the tray is easier.

Anyway, whether that happens or not dozen madder. If I find a slide-on to suit a tub ute before I sell the Ford, fine. No worries. First in, best dressed.

Lookie, lookie, it's late already and I dunno where the time went. Yes, I do... I was daydreaming about stuff and lost the plot. Anyway, time to think about feeding this old bod and maybe catching up with the news on telly. This new digital wide-screen cheapie works really well ya know... audio is a bit tinnie but otherwise it's a ripper. And I like all the free digital channels as well! Gary

April 16, 2012. Roite, Mundee mornin, and not a very nice one... cloudy and gray with a distinct possibility of drizzle.

Remember I said I had some fragile old slides digitized recently? This is a pic of my Wolseley 1500's timber dash. I thought it was very posh, but in fact it was fulla bloody rattles. All the screws had worked loose. The Wolseley was my second car, bought in 1964, and that pic was taken from our drive looking across the road at the houses opposite.

Here's the Wolseley again but this time somewhere on the south coast of NSW back in '64. My mate Ron and I went on a camping trip for 5 weeks around Christmas, stopping at various beaches along the way. The car had run outta petrol so Ron volunteered to hitch into the nearest town. He was just about to raise his leg and fart as I took that pic. He managed to hitch a ride back as well so he didn't have to do much walking. And the song I remember from that trip? The Righteous Bros - You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'.

I Googled a few recipes, looking for an easy gravy to go with the turkey balls I'm gonna make later. I found one, but I also found a great recipe for chicken balls for kids. Kids recipes are more fun. :o) Turkey instead of chicken? No problem. Anyway, it's too easy, and they're oven baked, not fried so I can have them with sweet chilli sauce instead of gravy. Can't wait!

TX Greg suggested I had problems with the Fuji zoom on the weekend because I was gawking at the talent on the beach instead of paying attention to... whatever. *ahem* The nerve of that guy! Anyway, he said what I really need is a zoom like this. Yeah right... Lesson No. 1 in being inconspicuous.

I started fiddling around with the Remington shaver last night and got frustrated with trying to read the little booklet's cleaning instructions and deciphering the drawings. So I got an idea. Youtube! Sure enough, I found a couple of really helpful vids there that explained the procedures clearly, and showed EXACTLY how to remove and replace parts. So now I'm ready to try it... when my whiskers grow a little, that is. I have none on some parts of my chin and jaw, and almost zip on my neck thanks to the radiation. Cool with me though. I couldn't care less if they never grew back. Actually, it's the ones up my bloody nose and in my ears they shoulda gotten rid of! And my feral eyebrows! Those things go bloody beserk if I don't trim them.

The turkey balls are in the oven... should be ready in about half an hour, with a bit of a shake or two during the process to even the cooking. My tongue is still a bit too swollen to be eating such stuff but bugger it... I can't wait. I'll just try a few and dip them in sweet chilli sauce. Mmmm.

Well, not so easy. The tongue is so damn big it makes it difficult to get the turkey balls in my mouth for chewing and swallowing... but I can JUST ABOUT manage, if I take it slowly and carefully - one at a time. I think the swelling will go down in a few days to a week... I'm still fresh from the last radiation. Oh well, I'll save the remaining turkey balls as leftovers and put them in the fridge for later. Grrrr.

It's late in the afternoon now and, sure nuff, it's been cool and drizzly all day. Not a good day for camping, folks! Not a good day for trying to eat turkey balls either as it turns out. But... not to worry... things will get better. I'll be less ambitious tonight and have soup for dinner... pumpkin. Gary

April 15, 2012. Well, the Crowdy Bay photo album is now posted. Some pretty pics there, including a couple of the kookaburra who was responsible for jamming my Fuji zoom. But I got a few good shots of him anyway. 

Meanwhile, I Googled the zoom problem and found a forum. One guy had a solution without having to send the camera away for repair, so I figured I'd give it a go. But before I could unscrew the lens-barrel to expose the zoom sheath, guess what? The problem disappeared! So now the camera is back to normal! BUT, last night, thinking that I was probably gonna have to trash the camera, I checked eBay and found a later model (2010) with all kinds of tricky gizmos including an 18x optical zoom for $129, and the auction only had an hour to run. Yep, I won the auction and got the camera for $130 (with free postage). How's that for a bargain? The 18x optical zoom + 6x digital is equivalent to a 500mm telephoto which used to be as long as your arm, and with this camera it can be used while taking HD video... great for things like surfing footage. Check out the S1800 review here.

The scary thing for the high-end manufacturers like Canon and Nikon is that these far cheaper alternatives are giving the big guns a serious run for their money. And Fuji is leading the charge.

Here are a couple of comments on the pics of my radiation mask. This one is from TX Greg: "smug"  no way, it's cool to see a smile on your face again and that youre winning this battle :)

Funny, but I'm not thinking of it as a "battle"... more like a process or an experience that will lead to a positive result. I'm not feeling negative about it at all... although a couple of months ago I was not so confident. BTW, smiling is not so easy yet cos my lower jaw is still a bit stiff and numb.

And this one from NC Art: That radiation rig you had on looks like medieval chain mail the knights wore under all the metal suits of armor. All dressed up, but couldn't mount the horse without a boost from a couple of servants. What stupidity. As for shaving, I don't like it myself so I limit myself to once a week. Hehe....
My face I don't mind it,
You see I'm behind it;
It's the people out front gets the jar.

Yes, I'm always shocked by what I see when a photo is taken of my face. It looks so different from this side! Far less distressing.

Showered, shaved (no, not the Remington... it needs to be on charge for 24 hours before first use), and currently munching on a kids' snack...  cheesy macaroni in beef sauce. It's got 'Parental Supervision Advised' printed on the pack. But that's cool... I didn't break or spill anything, and it tastes pretty damn good. It comes in a small snack-size microwavable tub, and it's a good source of protein (which is what Cody used to say... but we won't go there). I'm actually getting pretty adept at keeping my numb tongue away from my teeth as I experiment with more "lumpy" stuff. Mmmm... it actually IS good! One of the dietitians at the hospital suggested them... she gives them to her kids when they pester her for something to eat. And they were on spesh @ 2 for $3. 

100 years ago, the unthinkable happened to the unsinkable. TX Greg sent this link to a CBS report.

Anyway, I've been buggerizing around this afternoon and the time has vanished. Enjoy the Crowdy Bay pics. It's time for me to do the usual telly/dinner thing and then catch a good night's sleep. Actually, that's one thing I don't have a problem with... sleep! 10 hours no worries. Gary

April 14, 2012. What a perfect day weatherwise! I left Port Macquarie about 8am but not before one of the other lodge guests gave me a tip about taking the coast road from Laurieton to Crowdy Bay. I shoulda known better... I got lost... So I went back to my original plan and turned off the Pacific Hwy further south and did a bit of a photo shoot around the national park camping area and also Crowdy Head. I can tell you one thing... it ain't crowded! Miles and miles and miles of pristine beaches and only a handful of people (metaphorically speaking). It's a bit late now so I'll post the album tomorrow. However, I will post this shot.

If I look a bit smug it's because I don't have to wear that bloody radiation mask again! Talk about claustrophobic! You can see a couple of the clamps they use to keep your head pinned to the bed frame. The fit is as tight as a second skin. And in case you're wondering, Buckeyes is the Ohio footy team Sean follows. The shirt is one of the 10 million he's given me already over the years.

I had a prob with the bigger Fuji after the shoot at Crowdy Bay. The zoom jammed, and I can't free it. Looks like a repair job but that could be more expensive than what the camera is worth, especially if I have to send it to Sydney. The camera is 8 years old. It would be a shame to trash it because it's a great camera. If I do trash it, I'll get another Fuji because I've got a lot of Fuji accessories. BTW, the above pics were taken with the little Fuji compact held at arm's length.

Did a little shopping back at Taree... mostly FOOD including a few experimental goodies that are "almost" normal food (if you count kids' snacks as normal). But I did lash out on some turkey mince/ground that I'll roll into small balls (mixed with onion and herbs) and fry before smothering them in some sort of chicken sauce/gravy. I should be able to handle that. Maybe with a bit of mashed spud. But tonight I'm gonna try scrambled eggs again, this time without the sticky cheese that caused me all kinds of grief last time.

Apart from food, I bought a new Remington 3-head "pivot and flex" titanium bladed shaver (cord and cordless - rechargable). You can even wash the thing after shaving. How cool! It's the mid-range F5790 model and was on spesh at $96. I've always been a regular blade shaver but I HATE shaving, so what the hell... I'll give this thing a shot.

What an exciting day! I should get out more often. Pity about the bigger Fuji though. I really like that camera. Gary

April 13, 2012. Bloody acronyms! I was watching a news program last night on telly and everyone was talking about the introduction of the GFC. What the...??? So I did a Google... Global Financial Crisis. 

The Westpac rescue chopper was back again but this time it hung around for a while, probably waiting to take the patient somewhere else after emergency treatment here. I watched it start up again, rise a few feet, turn 180 degrees, gain a bit more height and then tilt forward as it headed off. They don't seem to tilt forward as much before heading off as they used to... this thing was almost level. Anyway, they're bloody fascinating machines. I've always found them so.

Speaking of machines, the radiation monster gave me a zap under my head yesterday and again this morning. Dunno what that's all about, but the machine has about 4 large arms that rotate and swivel and stretch as they search for teensie bits of the patient to micro toast. This afternoon I'm due for my last zap... the final quarter of this April quad. Then it's wait and see time until the end of May when I'm assessed.

Nothing wrong with my appetite. Just back from the canteen with a "Flake" chocolate bar, another Bago Bluff boysenberry yoghurt and a triple size ANZAC "that might be a bit hard for you, darling" biscuit. But then the lady said, "It'll be alright if you make a cuppa and dunk it." I agreed. Besides, I've eaten all the freebies in my lodge room.

Just heard on the news that North Korea's latest attempt at launching a long-range missile failed miserably, consistent with their previous attempts during the past decade. And I understand that security guard Zimmerman, the guy who shot young Trayvon, allegedly in self defense, has been arrested and charged with 2nd degree murder... a good thing in my opinion.  And a Qantas airbus has completed a test flight from Sydney to Adelaide using biofuel made from recycled cooking oil obtained from McDonalds restaurants in the US. It's 4 to 5 times more expensive than regular aviation fuel at the mo but is expected to be in regular use in the relatively near future.

Well, my last radiation zap is over and as a parting gift they gave me the mask. I've taken a few photos but I can't upload them to this netbook. I'll do it when I get back to Taree tomorrow. I can't say I'm a big fan of cancer or its treatment but I have quite enjoyed the company of the staff here, including Paula who manages the Rotary Lodge. They've all been great, even Dr Scruffy. So in a way I'm sorry to be going. One thing they all agreed on is that I fit in quite well cos I'm as nutty as they are. Actually, I guess that's gonna happen a lot on the Odyssey... getting to know people and then having to move on.

And moving on is what I'm about to do... Watch a bit of telly, sleep with the ghosts again (there are some weird noises in the early hours in this room lemme tellya, knocks and bangs and rattles... noises I don't hear during daylight hours), and take off early tomorrow morning. I'll do a detour to Crowdy National Park on the way back home and do a photo shoot.

So far, nothing untoward has happened on this Friday the 13th, but that could change depending on the ghosts tonight. :o) Gary

April 12, 2012. Mmmm, mmmm. This is good! Just back from the hospital canteen. I was starving! So I bought a tub of natural yoghurt smothered in crushed, mixed berries. The yoghurt is firm and fresh, almost like soft ice cream and the berries are awesome! The brand is Bago Bluff from the local dairy co-op, and far better than anything I've tasted from the supermarket. Wow, I had no idea yoghurt could taste so damn good! The container is fairly generous too, 250g. Not bad for $3. The canteen is run by a group of ladies and some of the hot food there looked delicious, like their own home made chilli chicken or rissole burgers. Ohhhh... how I wish I could eat solid food!

The radio therapy machines have been suffering a few maintenance problems today so the operators are way behind. I had to wait 2 hours this morning, and I expect they'll be late again this afternoon. Oh well... At least this time they'll ring my lodge room and let me know when they're ready. It's only a minute across the car park.

Oregon Richie was born this day in 1956, which makes him 56. He was better looking then. But '56 was a significant year for Oz. It was the year TV was introduced Down Under as well as the year Melbourne hosted the Olympic Games. Holden jazzed up the last of the iconic FJs before they were replaced by a new model, and I was 12 and in my second last year of high school. It was also the year my eldest nephew was born.

I think the '56 Olympic Games were the first to be televised. But we didn't have satellites back then so the footage (did we have video tape back then?) had to be flown overseas before it could be telecast.

Bob the receptionist phoned my room and told me to get my butt over there for radiation, but then I went crazy and started entertaining the other people in the waiting room. It was fun actually, and I was getting some good laughs. But my dietitian interrupted and took me to another room to give me a lecture about eating more stuff with lumps. Fair enough. The sooner I get rid of this stomach tube the better. She also gave me a bag of samples that I can take orally... high energy stuff. 

It's late now and I better post this Waffle, and then attend to... I won't call it dinner. Next zap 8am. Gary

April 11, 2012. Here I am at the Rotary Lodge, Port Macquarie for the third time. Yep, it certainly flies. The young doc (the scruffy one) said, "I saw you the other day!" I thought he meant somewhere in Taree but no, he said he saw me down by Flynns Beach, Port Macquarie taking photos. That was on the Saturday morning a month ago before I drove home! See what I mean about flies? By the way, the doc had had a haircut and trimmed his beard, and was looking almost human. But then I checked his shoes under the desk and they were still scuffed hehe. Anyway, he asked me a bunch of questions about the radiation treatment and how I was fairing, and then checked my neck for lumps. He'll assess my progress again in six weeks, which is about the same time the Sydney specialist will check me over.

The hospital was super busy this morning because of catch-up after the Easter break.

NC Art wrote: 

    While Americans are moaning over jobs being outsourced to China, etc., for the cheap labor, one industry is impervious to such a fate. That is a genuine American product highly prized in other parts of the world. Australia and Canada are large importers, while some places--Muslim nations in particular--make poor customers. Anyway 60 countries are now customers, including the Philippines, Mexico and Vietnam.

    The product: Sperm! Frozen of course.

    It is a growing commercial venture with an increase from one sperm bank in 1965 to 675 today. And its value in 2008 was worth $67 million. Men with PhD degrees command higher fees than lesser intellectuals, but any healthy guy can donate.

    Finally we have a recession proof business model that's fun! Masturbation rules!

I watched a program on telly recently about a bunch of young people who discovered they were siblings because they had the same donor father. He was eccentric to say the least... a dropout who lived in an old motorhome parked at a California beach. He was heavily into conspiracy theories as well, something about government agencies kidnapping citizens. The kids were happy to have their curiosity satisfied but, after meeting their biological father, were not keen to establish any kind of ongoing relationship. And I can understand why.

Some time ago I watched another program about sperm donors. One of them was rejected because his sample lacked the minimum sperm count. It was a huge blow to his ego. He was devastated! 

British Boy Band One Direction arrived in Sydney this morning to the howls and screams of fans. Their first down under tour was booked out in 3 minutes, and they're the first British group in history to debut at No.1 in the US with their debut album. The boys all auditioned separately for Britain's X Factor and failed to make the cut, so judge Simon Cowell got them to form a band. Not a silly idea as it turns out. 

Anyway, the presenter on ABC radio this morning as I drove to PM was talking about how each generation has its own boy band. I forget who hers was but 20-something years ago they toured Oz and she wrote a letter to her favorite member and sent it to the hotel where they were staying. She professed her undying love and carried on with all the usual fan hype but was later totally crushed when her letter wasn't answered. Hehe. Funny now but not back then.

I've been through the crush thing a few times. How embrarrassing! Not to mention dangerous. Crushes can be incredibly intense. There's a chemical produced by the brain that can cause us to become obsessed with another person for no logical or rational reason ... can't remember what it's called, but it was mentioned on Justin's blog some time back. Anyway, that's one drug that can't be outlawed cos God made it. Gary

April 10, 2012. Justin posted this link on his blog - Emmanuel Kelly's performance on X-Factor. Emmanuel is a victim of chemical warfare in Iraq. He and his brother were found as infants in a shoebox by local nuns and placed in an orphanage where they were adopted by an Australian woman.

I'm usually skeptical of the way talent shows portray the reaction of judges and audiences towards contestants with a disability, and obviously I'm not the only one. Here's a critique of Emmanuel's appearance by a fellow stage performer who is also disabled.

Meanwhile, NC Art wrote: Go to for a lookee at what's being discovered (or uncovered) in Colombian (South America) coal mining pits. Talk about BIG, the Paleocene epoch had some hot spells and heavy snakes!

Here's a link to Huffington Post's article on the Titanoboa which includes a link to the Smithsonian magazine's article about Columbia.

Yesterday, I asked Steve W why it took 40 years for him to tell me I was an excellent DJ: I like to give a "considered" opinion……….and I'm a very slow considerer!!!

I chatted with Averil yesterday and mentioned the Graham Nash thing, and not knowing that he was the founding member of The Hollies. After I'd talked for 5 or 10 minutes about Crosby, Stills, Nash and The Hollies, Averil said, "He died in a plane crash, didn't he?" "Who?" "Buddy Holly?" "What's Buddy Holly got to do with it?" "That's who I thought you were talking about." Sheesh. 

Gloucester is a small town about an hour's drive west of here with a population of about 2,500, so I wondered what rents were like there compared to Taree. I happened on a rural property about 10 minutes out of town. Looks to me like a self-contained flat attached to a house. My guess is that the farmhouse is occupied by a widow (judging by the feminine touches to the decor) who is looking for company as well as a bit of extra income. Anyway, check out the photo album and the views. Looks like a stunning place.

Well, no more freebies in the stomach-tube din dins department like it's been for the past couple of months. My dietitian has registered me with the Home Enternal Nutrition program so that I can buy it "at the special price" and have it delivered. But I'm not sure how long I'll be needing that stuff, or when the tube will be removed. Maybe someone can tell me these things when I'm in Port Macquarie over the next 3 days. But I'm not counting on it. Hehe. Yeah... Fawlty Towers.

This is the time of evening I should be thinking about what I'll have for dinner. Grrrr. I miss breakfast and lunch but most of all I miss dinner. And to make it worse, I can smell Sue's Meals on Wheels, which are prepared by the commercial kitchens at Club Taree. Grrrr II. Anyway, I'll post this Waffle and turn on the telly. Then tomorrow morning it'll be off to Port Macquarie for my final series of zaps. Gary

April 9, 2012. Speaking of Cody (which I was yesterday), TX Greg has organized Cody's new guestbook and archived all the old stuff on Codysworld. So any time you wanna say g'day, you know where to go.

Meanwhile, Steve W wrote: As a past DJ (and an excellent one I may add, as I listened to you every morning getting me off to school when you were at 2GO), like yourself, how could you not remember that Graham Nash was part of the Hollies!!!! Anyway, dozen madder, just get well and get on the trip. By the way, another legend of the radio past, Ian MacRae is getting a new radio station on the air in Sydney's West……there may a job going for you!!!!

You can only remember things you know or knew, Steve. And there's a helluva lot I don't know and never did. Ah yes, Ian MacRae. He used to say things like "how's your left elbow?" The article about the new radio station 2GW (greater west) is a year old. Is that the station you're talking about? Anyway, Macca has put on weight, but he's still got lots of hair. As to me working in radio again, I don't think so. Radio studios have clocks on their walls to constantly remind you that certain things need to be done at a certain time. I'm past all that now... I don't even have an alarm clock. Well, I do but it's not switched on.

The first thing I noticed about that studio was NO TURNTABLES! And no cartridge machines either. I go back a long way, ya know.

Oregon Richie turns 56 soon and is starting to look for positive aspects to aging, hehe. He sent this Huffington Post article about the "mature brain" and its "boundless potential". To my way of thinking, life is about being productive PERIOD... no matter what time of life it is. Playing golf or fishing all day ain't my idea of being productive. I figure you're gonna "rest in peace" for long enough, so you might as well make the most of the time you have on this planet.

By the way, last night I watched Australia, the Time Traveller's Guide, about the jurassic period when Oz had its fair share of dinosaurs, including one herbivore that weighed 400 tonnes. Obviously those blokes wouldn't survive in the harsh, dry environment of today's Oz but back then, 100 million years ago, give or take, Australia was one big lush tropical rainforest from coast to coast with lots of dino salad. 

Queensland has the world's only known fossilized evidence of a dinosaur stampede, where scores of smaller dinos standing on the muddy banks of a billabong were surprised by a large carnivorous dino and scattered in all directions. Broome in Western Australia is well known for its dino footprints, while Coober Pedy in South Australia is well known for its opalized dino bones.

When Europeans first settled Oz they thought it was a "new land". How wrong they were. Oz is as old as the Earth itself, 4.5 billion years. Which makes me wonder if Benny watches science programs. Probably not. It's interesting to me that science can't claim anything to be fact until it can be proved, and yet religion can claim the existence of an invisible deity and the resurrection of Jesus into Heaven on the third day after the crucifixion with no proof whatsoever. The problem with science is that all it offers is knowledge whereas religion offers salvation and a free harp.

And that's it for Easter Monday and the Easter Holiday weekend in Oz. I heard on the radio this morning that holidaymakers eager to beat the traffic home were themselves clogging up the main arteries back to the cities. Then they'll be back at work tomorrow and the rush and bustle of peak hour. Sheesh. What madness! Here in Taree, peak hour lasts about 5 or 10 minutes. Gary

April 8, 2012. I got the idea for Aussie Odyssey about 4 years ago, and since then I've paid about $20,000 in rent. Now that's the kinda dough I could have used instead to buy a pretty nifty camper. Yeah? There's gotta be a lesson in there somewhere.

Well, in a few days from now I'll be in Port Macquarie again for my final blast of radiation therapy. But of course, the result of that won't be known for some weeks or maybe longer. I suspect they'll call me back for some kind of medical assessment in May. Meanwhile, they'll be encouraging me to take more food orally. They work in mysterious ways up there at Port Macquarie hospital... not a very talkative lot.

Anyway, I'm looking beyond that... I'm not gonna sit around here twiddling my thumbs forever. It's time for a bit of action! Trouble is, I need to be motivated. Cody motivated me. Steve motivated me. J motivated me to write the books. And then Aussie Odyssey motivated me for a while, but I started getting lazy... or maybe I ran outta places to go around here. I found it increasingly difficult to get off my butt and GO somewhere, mainly because I'd have to turn around and come back home. If I had a camper and could stay wherever I happened to be, there'd be no problem. Also, if wherever I happened to be was new to me, I'd automatically be motivated to investigate the local scene and take lots of piccies!

You see, dear Breth, a bloke like me needs to be constantly stimulated in order to be motivated, and that means a regular change of scenery. NC Art wrote to say he'd re-read some of my old stuff: Last night the diary of Daniel popped into my head and I made an association I had missed while reading his unlikely tale. It was about his trip to SA for a swim competition and other odd entertainments with Kyle and his buds. At one point, they met a redheaded teen from Oz who called himself Gary! This young fellow with green eyes had some hankerings he did not understand until....WOW...he read the full book and loved it all. What else did I miss about an author putting himself in a fictional story? Hehe, just coincidence I guess.

Something my older bro once said comes to mind. He was talking about the odd behavior of teens, and how they needed to do silly things on their road to maturity "to get it out of their system". Well, I never did. As a teen, I was too sensible to be silly. I missed out on all the crazy stuff. So when I wrote Daniel, I saw it as an opportunity to go back to my teen years and "get it out of my system". I was so successful, I could never write that kinda stuff again... not in a fit. As my mother used to say about boys and their weird ways, "he's just going through a phase".

What did Cody once say about me? "You're pretty teenie for a fossil." Hehe. Yes, I was, but not any more. I'm old and grumpy now.

It's interesting that I was never able to act on stage; to change my persona and assume another character. But I could do it in private, when no one was looking, and I could also do it in my head. When I wrote about Daniel I became Daniel, when I wrote about Paul I became Paul, and ditto all the other characters, including adults. I remember young Danny from California, a fan who truly believed that Daniel and Paul were not only real people but also separate individuals. He was shattered when I told him they were both me. But he got over it after a while, and we became good friends. That happened with quite a few fans.

Anyway, that was a phase... the MrB phase... a part of history that will never be repeated... just as Cody's life will never be repeated (or anybody's, for that matter). Gary

April 7, 2012. Religion in politics? As one commentator on Planet America said, America has been about religion right from the very beginning. G & G... God and Guns. It began with the Pilgrims. It spawned Billy Graham. It even gave rise to a new religion, Mormonism. It has "In God We Trust" printed on its banknotes. And its presidents end their speeches with "God Bless America".

A prominent American evangelist said that 61% of Americans have at least some religious belief or attachment compared to Canada's 20-something percent, Britain's 17%, and France's 10%.

Here in Oz, our Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, is an athiest, female, childless, unmarried, and living with a man. Her Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Penny Wong, is the first openly lesbian member of the cabinet. Wong became a proud mother recently when her partner gave birth to a daughter. Yes, we do have a religious right here. But unlike America, where the religious right is pretty much exclusively associated with the Republican party, it's evenly spread across both sides of the Australian political spectrum.

Anyway, it appears that religion in politics and/or politics in religion in America are here to stay, like peas in a pod.

Here's what NC Art has to say about the subject: About the only thing to say about religion in politics or politics in religion is that they make strange partners: Incompatible and mutually destructive. Each corrupted by the other until both are twisted into One Great Lie. Oh well, whaddaya expect from humans? We even screw up the weather, huh?

Art also suggested I use a blender to puree any food with lumps or chunks in it. Well, I don't have a blender. Never bothered to buy one or use one. By the way, that savory mince and vegies didn't work last night. Too lumpy. Never underestimate the value of a skinny tongue with feeling, ladies and genitals. It's there for a good reason. Meanwhile, nobody seems to know when mine will get back to normal. 

Sue has had a busy day today - two falls. And Lindsay has had a busy day cursing her, and threatening to put her into a nursing home. He won't, of course. He needs his inflatable doll. What a pair. Meanwhile, I've been mulling over my future, trying to make sense of the uncertainty. I become a little concerned at times about not belonging to any one or any place. Independence is cool but it can also be kinda scary, ya know, especially when you're getting a tad long in the tooth.

I've had a few stays in hospitals lately... two weeks at Royal Prince Alfred, and two shorter stays at Port Macquarie. The only visitor was my ex-neighbor in Glebe who brought me the wireless modem for my netbook. Having no visitors is not something that bothers me particularly, but it does remind me of where I stand. Be careful of what you wish for, yes?

But despite my misgivings about traveling solo around Oz, being by myself much of the time, and having to rely on you-know-who for everything, it does sound a tad more exciting than living in a flat next to a bunch of geriatric neighbors. It also sounds a tad more exciting than waiting for my cancer treatment to end, and my wounds to heal. Sitting around here doing bugger all is driving me nutz. Gary

April 6, 2012. My friend Mieke sent this link to an amazing musical performance. Blew me away. Loved the understated humor as well.

Here it is, after 3pm already. Another perfect day weatherwise and I was tempted to go somewhere, but running around with a stomach tube dangling in the breeze ain't a good look. So I napped a little and pretty much wasted a nice day. Shame on me.

Crosby, Stills and Nash are on tour in Oz at the mo. I watched an interview with Graham Nash as a photographer. He carries a camera everywhere he goes - "When Elvis Presley comes around the corner riding on the back of an elephant, I'll be ready". He said he fell in love with photography at age 10. I didn't know he was born in England or that he was a founding member of the Hollies. I thought he was always a part of Crosby, Stills, Nash (and sometimes) Young. Anyway, he's a keen photographer and has had a lot of his work published. At one stage of the interview, he referred to his "eye" for photography, which I thought was interesting because quite a number of his shots are candids... spotting something unusual and capturing it before it vanishes forever. I gathered he's more into candids than posed shots. Also interesting was what he said of his music, "I write in pictures."

I like all of CSN and the Hollies stuff, but one that really stands out for me is Marrakesh Express. Now that I'm aware of Nash's background, yeah, I can recognize the Hollies and the English accent in that voice. When Nash was getting the Hollies organized, I was taking a photo of my dad's Standard Vanguard and my Wolseley 1500 through the open window of the back room above the external laundry at 40 Garrong Rd., Lakemba. Just behind the lattice fence is my favorite tree (a camphor laurel) that I practically lived in as a kid. I can remember taking that pic cos I thought I was being rather creative.

My dad had a Kodak Box Brownie but he only took photos when there was an occasion, like a family gathering, outing, or an event like a birth or Christmas. I never waited for an occasion... those two cars parked in the backyard was occasion enough for me. I just wish I'd ALWAYS carried a camera. There were times I had one, and times I didn't. These days, people have them built in to their cell/mobile phones which they are never without, and they have the internet as their "family album".

God knows how many pics I've taken for Aussie Odyssey already... probably thousands... and I haven't even started yet! By the time it's all over, it'll probably be millions. Hehe. But the fact that thousands of pics of Oz and its various icons, landscapes, cities, towns, etc, already exist doesn't bother me at all. I reckon there's always a new way to see something. I proved that when I went to Sydney late last year.

Anyway, I'm gonna experiment with a bit of savory mince and vegies tonight and see how I go. The sooner I get used to eating with my mouth the sooner I can get rid of this damn stomach tube. And I'm looking forward to Planet America on telly tonight... the program will be about religion in politics. Gary

April 5, 2012. Easter long weekend. I'm constantly surprised by people who factor Easter into their schedule. Like, I can't do this cos it's Easter or I'll be doing that cos it's Easter or "Have a nice Easter..." To me it's just another 4 days and I forget that other people don't see it that way.

I heard on the radio that traffic is chaotic on the Pacific Hwy with holiday-makers leaving early to avoid the... yeah, right. Sorry guys, but it seems like everyone else had the same idea. At least the weather is great for the holiday weekend... lots of sunshine, blue sky and warm temps. Perfect.

I made the mistake of Googling my ex-biz partner's name today and it appears he's been doing quite well back in Canberra, using his contacts in government and semi-government organizations to set up a production business of which he is CEO. His resume looks pretty impressive but, then again, he doesn't call himself "silver tongue" for nothing. I still think he's a creep so maybe it's all bullshit. But he can be quite pursuasive and it doesn't surprise me that he's done a Phoenix. Makes me wanna puke.

On the other hand, maybe I should try doing a Phoenix of my own! Got any suggestions? How about taking a trip around Oz and documenting my experiences? Of course, it's all been done before... so how can I make my attempt different? I think I'm all thunk out today. Been sitting here writing stuff and then deleting it. Writing more stuff and then deleting it. I reckon nothing much will happen until I actually get my act on the road... then I should have oodles of stuff to write about. In fact, I think the Waffle page will disappear in favor of a daily journal. The only reason Waffle exists at the mo is cos I ain't goin' nowhere! But that's okay... I'll just be rearranging some of the furniture when I make the changes.

Many of the travel journals/blogs I've seen on the net are inconsistent and/or haphazard. They make an entry and then there's nothing for weeks or months. With me it'll be daily, and that's that, even if I happen to stay in one spot for a week or so, I'll still have plenty to report. At times when I'm out of range and can't get on line, I'll write anyway, and post it when I'm back in touch. The Camps book, which lists all camp sites around Oz, uses symbols to let you know which sites have internet/phone access and which don't, so I'll always know in advance whether I'll be in touch or not and can advise you accordingly.

Too much thinking and not enough typing today, dear Breth, but that's the way it goes sometimes. Checkyaz tomorrow. Gary

April 4, 2012. TX Greg wants to know if the Ute smells like a new car. Nope. She's a bit ancient for that... 20 years old next year. But you can buy scented stuff which works pretty well. Greg also drew my attention to a couple of typos I made yesterday. Hehe. He's getting even for me being picky about his. Basically, this laptop keyboard is ultra sensitive, and if I don't lift my fingers above the keys when they're not being used, and they accidentally touch something, they'll send all kinds of weird messages to the CPU. However, I can't blame keyboard sensitivity for spelling mistakes.

NC Art is being cheeky as well: Even at 29, Gary Kelly looked like a smartass. Meh!

Hmmm. Well, one of my bosses called it 'charisma' hehe. But I think Art is closer to the mark. The problem was, I was blissfully unaware of my limitations, and took on roles for which I was never formally trained and often ill equipped. If I'd realized how hopelessly inadequate I was, I would never have had the temerity to volunteer my services. It's the same with the Odyssey... the only reason I think I can do it is because I don't know I can't.

Here's something interesting ... a blog run by Chris and Amy who are currently touring Oz. They refer to Oz as 'Down Under' so they must hail from 'Up There'... somewhere.

TX Greg got a bit of a surprise at work today: This morning I was emailing and joking with you and a few hours later we're sitting at work in horror watching this live...... Over twelve tornados this afternoon but a miracle no deaths reported yet. Some homes in one spot wiped off their slabs. All safe here and no damage, this time. I thought of Cody this afternoon and one of many reasons I admire him. His slogan about always hugging his parents before he left the house, coz you never know.

Yep, scary stuff alright... trailers being tossed about like sheets of paper. Anyway, I'm glad you remained a spectator and avoided becoming a victim, Greg.

Another terrible story is that college shooting in California. Sadder still is that it's only a matter of time before the next one occurs. Also getting prominent news coverage here is the shooting of that young black boy by a security guard.

I watched an interesting piece about compulsory voting versus voluntary voting last night. Some Aussie got fined for not voting and he's challenging it in court. But one Aussie commentator who spends much of his time in the US said he's always being asked by Americans to defend compulsory voting. He made this point about what's happening in the US at the moment with the Republicans: America has high unemployment, a housing problem, an impossible debt, an unpopular war in Afghanistan, etc, and yet Rick Santorum is talking about moral issues such as same sex marriage and contraception. Why? Because where you have voluntary voting, politicians need to attract voters by bringing fringe issues to the fore; emotive issues that appeal to minority groups such as the religious right. The Aussie also pointed out that no country has voluntary taxation hehe.

Had a techie here fixing a prob with the comp's auto backup to the external hard drive. "You could do with more RAM," he said. So I asked him if the internal HDD of a laptop could be upgraded and he said yep. So after Easter and my last radiation zap at Port Macquarie, they're the next jobs... RAM and internal memory.

The thing that annoys me about techies when they try to teach you something or explain how something works, is that they insist on sitting in the driver's seat, pushing all the buttons, while you sit to one side watching a blur of action without understanding any of it. I used to be a driving instructor, and I can tell you that I never sat in the driver's seat and taught a pupil sitting in the passenger's seat. A pupil learns by DOING.

Anyway, it's late and time to post this stuff. I'm getting a little ruffled by too many things happening at once. Gary

April 3, 2012. Chewsday already. The upholstery bloke drove me home this morning and will phone me this afternoon when the job is finished. He was quite impressed with the old Ute as he drove it to my house. "Good old truck, these," he said. The sign outside his biz says 'Motor Trimmer'. Shortly after I arrived at 8am the guard dog gave me his sniff of approval, and then stood there waiting for a pet.

As TX Greg said, Tripod closing HTML-Gear was no April Fool's joke. So now they're offering another free web site building program. What happens when that one eventually closes down? Like I wrote the other day, I run my own web site... I don't trust the freebies.

Greg also got Oregon Richie mixed up with Rich (TVRman). He thought Richie sent me the old comp to get me outta trouble. Nope. I didn't know Oregon Richie back in the late '90s. Greg also said I mentioned my tongue is still numb but that I neglected to say whether or not my speech has improved. Yeah, I'm talking a little better (so others say)... and more clearly. Back in January, when I was in Royal Prince Alfred, the bloke in same ward as mine who had the same operation (but by a different surgeon) couldn't speak at all! He was also given a tracheostomy.

I forgot to mention that when I drove uptown the other day, I got caught at the railway crossing and had to wait for a freight train to pass. I should've brought a cut lunch. How long are those things? It seemed to go on forever! So I had time to wonder how many individual trucks it would take to carry a load that big. The train was being hauled by 3 locos, manned by two men. Seems to me that rail is by far and away the most cost effective way to move stuff around but it doesn't appear to be as popular as road transport for some reason. I suspect rail doesn't promote and market itself very well.

And here we are, ladies and genitals, a little after midday and the Ute's hack home looking like a million bucks with its new floor carpet (charcoal gray)... which fits perfectly. Cost $180 for fitting but it was worth it to get a professional job. On the drive back to the workshop, the upholsterer raved about the Ute again, and how well she handles...reckons it's probably had a front-end suspension job. As a motor trimmer, he's into doing up old cars, especially utes. He drives a new Holden ute.

And speaking of cars, does yours fly? Well, if it doesn't then it's outta date. However, what I wanna know is what are you supposed to do if a cop flashes his lights and orders you to pull over.

NC Art wrote: The document I sent is one that was drummed into my head as an apprentice printer. Every journeyman printer knew it by heart and usually had a copy posted in the print shop somewhere. I had one that was lovingly printed in a beautiful old type face on aged parchment in gold leaf frame. All us old printers believed the manifesto was our bible! With the age of real mass mis-communication no one gives a shit! Click here for the page Art is referring to, and then click Text version of This is a Printing Office below the graphic.

Yes, times change. In the early days of radio (the 1920s and 30s) ABC newsreaders in Oz used to dress up in a suit to read the news even though the audience couldn't see them. Hehe. Now it's jeans and sneakers.

Who dat? Ooer! Dat me! Well, it was me back in 1973, which would make me 29 at the time . The photo was taken by a mate at a place called Bowraville near Nambucca, not all that far north of Taree. And no, it's not a dirty shirt... it's an old 35mm slide, one of 60 I had digitized and picked up today.

And now it's time to depart, dear Breth... nothing like the Ascension into Heaven or anything like that, no, just an ooroo before I post this Waffle and go about my nightly duties. Gary

April 2, 2012. TX Greg has been busy with Cody's guestbook: The new Guest Book Archive is complete: It links on Cody's main page under "Old Guestbooks". Well done, Greg. I checked some of the early entries and saw TVRman. A TVR was a car he had. Anyway, I was dead broke and using an old 486 comp which was too slow to run a web site (although Kostik disagreed, and said he was running his web site with an old 486 hehe). Anyway, Rich (TVRman) sent one of his old pentiums from the US to Oz to help me out. The damn thing was as big as a fridge. That was about 13 years ago when MrB and Daniel were just starting out. For me, it was another lifetime ago.

I also made a couple of small changes on Cody's page. I reset the margins so it will look good on both the new wide screens or the old low res. Also I removed the "Recent Updates" and replaced it with a link to some awesome webcams in Cape Town :) I see the old guest book is still up, so will wait to see what they really do. When or if they do delete it, I can create a simple guest book right on the site that also stores it there. Hope that all looks good to you :)

Yep, it all looks great, Greg. Thanks for all the hard work, m'boy. Simple guest book, huh? Aussie Odyssey had one at first but the operators closed it down and I didn't bother with another. Does AO need a guest book? Whaddaya reckon?

Meanwhile, my mention of the early days of TV yesterday got NC Art reminiscing: 

    In 1948 I joined a small group of college mates for a trip from Athens, GA, to Atlanta, GA to behold the wonders of television. Radio Station WAGA was about to launch the first televised programming in the state. The folks at the station were positively giddy with anticipation of this great leap forward. Of course it was primitive in appearance and remained so for another decade of snail paced improvements.
    And in my tiny home town in South Carolina, people were acting like kids before Christmas as they fretted away the months before Charlotte, NC station WBT would become WBTV! A friend bought his mother an expensive floor model set and proudly parked it in her living room. Ms. Marie was thrilled--until the first commercial she saw was for personal deodorant. Sternly advising Joe that such personal things were not mentioned in polite society, she ordered the beast banished to his bedroom. She never watched TV again!
    I did not even own a set for many years. The lady who I was to marry had one in her apartment--a five inch table model! We did not watch TV much since courting was strenuous sport and much more interesting.
    This week finds me gnashing my teeth over the spotting service from internet service. Crawling speed, disconnects, dropped signals, and devil knows what all. We still ain't got it all together, friends.

Yes, I too have had more than my fair share lately of slow speeds and assorted problems with internet connection. But back to the introduction of TV, it wasn't launched until 1956 here in Oz, to coincide with the Melbourne Olympics. Even Holden jazzed up the old FJ a bit. Color TV wasn't introduced until 1975. I'm not sure if the PAL system refers to both B&W and color, but apparently Oz waited for the European/Japanese PAL system to become available because it was superior to the NTSC system used in America. The Yanks rushed in and got the booby prize hehe.

Meanwhile, I gotta learn the difference between 'with' and 'and'. Yesterday, when I saw the word 'puree' on a Weight Watchers' tub of fruit, I thought, "Hello! Something other than pureed apple!" And I bought 4 tubs, one of which I opened just now. Hello? Chunks of peach? What happened to the puree? Oh... the label says peaches WITH mango puree. Not 'AND'. Anyway, it ain't puree... it's juice. So here I am struggling through the chunks of peach with a tongue that doesn't know what its doing. The tubs weren't cheap so I'm not gonna throw them away. You'd think a former advertising writer would know better, yeah?

Surprisingly, I am getting through it... being careful to chew the cubes of peach and not my numb tongue. So basically, it's the numb tongue that's preventing me from eating regular food... that's all. It's still swollen but not too badly.

Oregon Richie wrote: I noted what ART had to say yesterday and he's fairly well spot-on with his view.  So many Yanks DO indeed think they are exceptional and one-up on the rest of the world and when they manage to discover that some nations are a bit better off, have better national services and a higher standard of life they get sort of pissed.  How dare they !!  Curse them Aussies !!  Damnation to those Norwegians !!  Don't they know that WE are AMERICANS, for crying out loud !!

That said, American culture and innovation have had an enormous impact on the world... and this here new fangled internet thang is just one example. Mind you, it took the Krauts to come up with something like this, and the Poms to come up with something like this, and the Aussies to come up with something like this

Funny about the past, innit. You feel like you can go back there and see things as they were. On my right is an old '40s bakelite valve radio that once broadcast the end of WWII, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, all the old radio serials and quiz shows and, of course, the coming of television. I like things that remind us of the past. Well, some of it... not all of it.

Time for a spot of potato and leek soup in a mug, I reckon, and a bit of telly. In the morning, I'll take the Ute to Taree Upholstery to have the new floor carpet installed. How exciting! Gary

April 1, 2012. It was 10am at this time yesterday, and now it's only 9am. No daylight saving. I dunno why they call it daylight saving. I tried it once. I took a glass jar outside and filled it with daylight, and then screwed the lid on and brought it back inside. But the daylight disappeared. Don't ask me where the hell it went cos I don't have a damn clue!

Speaking of disappearing, TX Greg wrote about his success with saving Cody's guest book entries: I think it was easier to reformat the stories, hehe. But it's saved and I'm working up the pages :)  Should only be about five pages. A ton of cool old memories :) Hopefully will have ready tomorrow. BTW> I am deleting out all of Geoffrey's BS entries!!!

Yes, that was the SA bloke who said he was familiar with Cody and a friend of Wingnut. Some people will do anything to be noticed. More recently, a reader of The Codeman wrote and said this was definitely Cody's local beach. Whether that's the case or not, I'm not sure.

NC Art also had something to say about internet mischief: This Internet thingy is one strange beast. Whatever we do with it in the 'privacy of our own home' stays graven in stone for all ages to come and prying eyes of hackers to see. Conversely some master of the universe can and will wipe out grand chunks of literature, history, science research at whim. Ars longa, tempis whatever. Or not. What a world is this hi-tech age.

What a world indeed. But we only have the past to compare it to hehe. It may look pretty ordinary by comparison to what lies in store 50 or 100 years from now. But I suspect the days of wonder are disappearing. When I was a kid, the latest model Holden was featured as news on the front page of newspapers, and people crowded around the windows of shops that sold TVs to watch the flickering black and white screens. One night, our family went to my elder bro's girlfriend's parent's house to watch their telly, one of the first in Sydney. It was a PYE and I was 12. We tend to be pretty blasé about such things these days.

Back from checking out where Taree Upholstery is, and it's a good thing I did. Took a while to find it, which is not what I wanna be doing on Tuesday morning when I take the Ute there to get the new floor carpet installed. Then I did a bit of shopping and found some interesting things... passion fruit pulp in cans to mix with creamed rice. Pureed peaches and mango (because EVERYTHING else seems to contain pureed apple which is pretty damn tasteless), some more potato and leek soup which is yummy, and custard.

Lindsay is watching football on telly and keeping Sue informed of who's a dickhead and who's not. Mind you, according to him, they're all dickheads. Sheesh, he's such a twit! And he might as well be talking to an inflatable doll because Sue has no idea what the hell he's babbling on about.

Last time I was at Port Macquarie I took a few pics around town. Next time, in 2 weeks, I'll turn off the highway about half way back to Taree and check out a place called Crowdy Head. There's a couple of camp grounds there, and I've often thought it would be a good place to "test" the slide on camper for an overnighter when I get it.

And there goes the first day of April, quick as a flash, gone forever. I'll have to turn on the telly news to see if I missed anything. Gary


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