the WAFFLE page

November 30, 2012. Well, I'm glad that's over! During the past few weeks, every time I thought about today's appointment with the dentist, I reminded myself that an hour later it would be all over; never to happen again. And that's how it is right now. It was a rather harrowing ordeal with 6 needles and lots of pushing and twisting, then more sutures because there was exposed bone on that side of my mouth as well. Liam said I'll be sore for a week... same situation as last time. The anaesthetic hasn't worn off yet so at the mo I don't feel too bad. Anyway, I've got mouthwash and pain killers so I'll be right.

Liam has spoken to the prosthetist who sent his bill to Medicare in time to qualify for payment. That means I'll see him in about 3 weeks (once the gums have settled down a bit) and get the dentures organized. By 2013, I'll be a new G with a sparkling smile!

NC Art wrote earlier:  I don’t envy you but I do wish you good luck with your dental demon on Friday. I will soon face that devil to have a couple of molars extracted. One is loose and useless for chewing. Another simply shattered and left the root to be excavated. Brrr, and OW!

As to selling encyclopaedias: My son could emphasize with the book selling saga. He got into the ‘business’ in college, drove to California and proceeded to unload a few bible and dictionaries on poor suckers who fell for the glib, fast-pitched gobbledegook. He soon realized he was working a big scam, lost heart ... and money because he wouldn’t go back to extort his down payment from poor working women. He still had to pay for the merchandise.
    Mitt Romney would have driven back home in a gold Cadillac and a bank account in the Cayman Islands. The huckstering business requires a profoundly flexible ethical code of honor.

Reminds me of a sales rep I knew well in my old radio days who happily referred to his clients as "victims".

It's several hours later and the anaesthetic has worn off. I'm in a fair bit of pain so I'm gonna try to sleep right through till morning. Gary

November 29, 2012. TX Greg has a couple of ideas for the Britannica: Perhaps the old Britannica's should go in the camper. Think of all the uses. Hmm leveling blocks, build a camp fire, oh I know a double use, reading material while on the loo and then paper to wipe, hahahaha

Charming. Did you know that set was "worth" (and I use the term loosely) $1500 when new? And that was 20 years ago. Mind you, the salesman's commission took a big chunk of that. I sold 4 sets on my first weekend and could have done very well if I'd genuinely believed in the product. But I knew I was selling something that would rarely be used by most people and felt guilty about persuading them to buy something they really didn't need. Britannica's sales training was poor in that regard; the emphasis was on getting a signature on the dotted line rather than doing the right thing by the customer. The boss had it figured out. Five minutes after entering a home, he would have worked out whether or not there was potential for a sale. If he thought not, he excused himself and exited post haste. Silly me would stick around and often waste a couple of hours with dummies.

One woman tried to start an argument and insisted that the Britannica would soon be out of date, so I asked her if the Bible was out of date. Then I asked her how much she'd spent on magazines and newspapers over the past 10 years, and what did she have to show for it. Hehe. But she was a nasty piece of work, so I packed up and left.

Well, how to waste an hour or so on eBay. I figured I'd upload the Britannica ad today and start it Saturday in case I don't feel so good after seeing the dentist tomorrow. But for some reason I couldn't upload the pics successfully... except for one that finally uploaded after several tries, and also after disconnecting and reconnecting the modem umpteen times. What a waste of time! Grrrrr.

From the Beeb: For the first time in living memory, New York City - whose murder rate has hit a 50-year-low - experiences a day entirely free from violent crime. Wouldn't that be nice if it became the norm?

US President Barack Obama is to have lunch with defeated election rival Mitt Romney in their first meeting since his victory, the White House says. Wouldn't you love to be a fly on the wall?

Dutch authorities have decided to approve a motion abandoning a law under which it is a crime to insult God. A majority of parties in parliament said the blasphemy law was no longer relevant in the 21st Century. The legislation, introduced in the 1930s, has not been invoked in the last half century. I wonder if that's distinct from insulting a person because they believe in God.

Hobbit mania erupted in New Zealand's capital for the world premiere of Peter Jackson's new trilogy. The first of the three movies - prequels to the Lord of the Rings trilogy - was shown at Wellington's Embassy Theatre on Wednesday evening. Stars flew in for the event, which saw Wellington rebranded as "the Middle of Middle Earth". Tens of thousands of fans - some in costume - gathered around the theatre for the screening. I'm afraid I've not read any of the books nor seen any of the movies. What a pleb!

Germany's ruling coalition is calling for a ban on bestiality - or the practice of having sex with animals. The German parliament's agriculture committee is considering making it an offence not only to hurt an animal but also to force it into unnatural sex. Offenders could face a hefty fine. I doubt we'll see thousands of protesters lining the streets hehe.

How are you at handling rejection? How much do you know about famous rejections throughout history? Try the BBC's quiz. I failed miserably.

Well, after having showered and seen myself naked in the mirror again, looking like an Auschwitz resident, I can tell you with expert authority that there's a certain part of the male anatmony that is not affected by weight loss. In fact, the skinnier you get, the bigger it looks.

And so ends another day... a rather quiet one apart from having a few more goes at trying to post the Britannica ad on eBay. Bugger it. Some other time. I'm not feeling too thrilled about having 10 teeth pulled tomorrow morning, as you can imagine. Hopefully, the discomfort and hassle won't be as bad as the last time with the exposed bone infection. And by mid morning it'll ALL BE OVER! Apart from laying me low for a while. I'm not sure if I'll be in the mood to contribute much Waffle over the weekend, so apologies in advance. Wish me luck! Gary

November 28, 2012. Yesterday, while I was photographing the interior of Our Lady of the Rosary church, I figured I'd arrive home to upload the pics to the comp and see an apparition - a ghostly figure of Jesus or something - that would change my thinking forever and turn me into a born again Christian. I was convinced that the chance meeting of the lady who invited me inside was actually divine intervention by the Heavens to rescue me from my sinful ways and return me to the flock. Fortunately, no such apparition appeared on the screen and I'm still my good ol' bitter and twisted self.

However, I must say the church interior was rather inspirational and very beautiful, not to mention architecturally striking. Things have changed a bit since I was a good Catholic lad. The altar now faces the congregation, as does the priest. The church was built during the depression years by donations from local parishioners with no government assistance. A fine effort by the Manning Valley-ites, I'd say.

I'm surprised the Nikon did as good a job as it did, considering it was hand-held in low light. The first few pics are of the little Presbyterian church across the road, a few exterior shots of the Catholic church, the flame tree down the road, the old courthouse, and then back to the Catholic church for the interior shots.  You can check out the photo album here.

NC Art forwarded this message (which I also forwarded to Justin's blog): 

The speaker of the Ugandan parliament has promised she will pass the so-called "Kill the Gays" bill in the next two weeks -- she called it a "Christmas gift" for the Ugandan people. The bill would legalize the death penalty for LGBT people and people with HIV or AIDS.

Uganda experts say that one way to stop this bill is to get pressure from banks that have significant resources invested in the country, such as Citibank and Barclays.

Citibank and Barclays together have hundreds of millions of dollars invested in Uganda and wield significant influence in the country, just as banking lobbyists wield influence with Congress in the US. Citibank and Barclays speaking out against the "Kill the Gays" bill might be the best -- and only -- chance to stop it.

Collin Burton is a Citibank customer who is also gay. Collin started a petition on asking Citibank and Barclays to speak out against the "Kill the Gays" bill. Click here to sign Collin's petition right now.

Citibank and Barclays are both big supporters of LGBT rights for their own employees, yet they invest money with a government that is threatening to execute LGBT people. "I expect Citibank and Barclays to live up to the values of equality and fairness, not just list them on their websites," Collin says.

If Citibank and Barclays speak out against the "Kill the Gays" bill, Ugandan legislators will see that they are risking the business relationships that keep their government afloat.

Click here to sign Collin’s petition asking Citibank and Barclays to issue strong statements condemning Uganda’s "Kill the Gays" bill. The bill could come up for a vote any day, so swift action is essential.

Thanks for being a change-maker,

- Mark Anthony and the team

That kind of bigotry is nothing short of barbaric, steeped in superstition and plain old ignorance. "A Christmas gift" for the Ugandan people? Who's she kidding? The woman is a moron, a mental-deficient, and a criminal, along with those who share her twisted views.

Justin says there are evangelical groups in the US that are actually raising money to assist the anti-gay cause in Uganda. They see it as doing God's will. Can you believe that? Yeah... come to think of it... I can.

Back from the dentist and another swish and suck. Other than the final extractions on Friday, I'm not sure what happens next. After November 30, I'll no longer be covered by Medicare for dental work so I'll have to wait and see what Liam has in mind. Hopefully, the prosthetist got his bill into Medicare before the deadline so that he can finish the job in December/January. It's all such a bother.

From the Beeb: A fourth person has died after eating soup made with poisonous mushrooms at a retirement home in northern California, local officials say. Three people from the Gold Age Villa home in the town of Loomis had already died after being taken ill on 8 November. I wouldn't know the difference between safe and poisonous mushrooms either.

NC Art just wrote to say A civilian warbirds enthusiast commented on Understanding Women paperback with, ‘‘And that’s just Volume One!”

A month or so ago I downloaded PhotoScape (the pensioner's PhotoShop) and used it for the first time yesterday to straighten a couple of photos of the church. Some were a bit lopsided because I didn't use a tripod. Anyway, today I had another fiddle with PhotoScape just to see what kinds of things I could do and came up with this:

I'm not really into manipulating images but I suppose it's handy to know a thing or two about the program. It has a range of options including using a number of images to create a single image (montage) which could be useful. Another is using multiple images to create an animated graphic. Yep, always something new to challenge the old noggin but I suppose it's better than sitting on a rocking chair, staring into space.

I've been checking Encyclopaedia Britannica on eBay and there's no demand for them. 70kgs of leather-bound, gold trimmed books nobody wants. There's one set that started at $10 and is now up to $50 with a day to go while others are asking 2, 3 or $400 with no bids. Sooooo, how the hell am I gonna interest anyone in MY set? I used to sell the damn things (in desperation) when I was in Canberra back in the early '90s. The company gave me a set for designing an ad campaign, including a matching bookshelf.

The only thing I can say about the Britannica is that it's a good look. Even if a person never uses it (and I haven't - it's as new) it's a great decoration for a home office, or even the home itself. Visitors automatically think you're intelligent hehe... that you know everything. So that's what I'll sell... the look... the fact that it'll improve a buyer's image. I'll also include a few pics of individual books open at a colorful page... maps, foldouts (such as human anatomy), etc. Maybe I can convince someone it's a "must have" and get a few hundred bucks. As they say in the ad game, sell the sizzle, not the sausage. Even the bookcase is worth a few bob. One thing's for sure, it ain't going in the camper!

Anyway, it's wrap time, ladies and genitals... telly and belly, then a good night's snooze before it all happens again. Thanks for listening, and don't forget to tune in again, same time, same station, same fossil. Gary

November 27, 2012. The little Phillips has attracted double the number of views of the Astor and it's only the beginning of day 3. The Kriesler is lagging but I expected that.

From NC Art: Curious about the George Rennie sculpture of Cupid and Hymen, a bit of research disclosed that as a politician, the artist in 1842 proposed a Scottish settlement in New Zealand, which is now known as Dunedin. Actually, many people apparently think the statue is outright homoerotic. Google around a bit to discover photos from all angles. “Cody and Wingnut” might be an appropriate title"? What cute butts! Hehe.

Yes, well you know what they say about the eye of the beholder. Some people might think the sight of a cow's butt is erotic. But I do agree that Georgie boy knew a thing or two about human anatomy in its most ideal form. The other night on telly, I watched Michael Palin's Brazil where he visited Rio. The main beach is divided into areas... one for the oldies and families, one for the gays, one for the poor people from the hillside ghettos, and one for the young and beautiful. The thing about Cupid and Hymen is that, when you're made out of marble in your most perfect state, you don't age. Mind you, you don't do very much else either.

From the Beeb: The White House has increased pressure on Republicans to allow a rise in tax rates on the wealthy in a deal to avoid the forthcoming "fiscal cliff". Limiting tax loopholes and deductions, as some Republicans have suggested, would not yield a "balanced approach", spokesman Jay Carney said on Monday. Tax cuts passed under George Bush are set to expire on 1 January. Yeah... I guess one man's balance is another man's imbalance.

A Florida man choked to death in October after eating dozens of live cockroaches in a contest to win a python, an autopsy has found. The body of Edward Archbold, 32, tested negative for drugs and Broward County medical examiner ruled the death was an accident caused by "asphyxia". Archbold collapsed and died soon after the promotional event at a pet store in Deerfield Beach, Florida. No other illnesses were reported among some 30 competitors. My initial reaction was one of revulsion. Then I remembered this pic of Tony Abbott, leader of the federal opposition in Oz.

Norbert posted this pic and I suggested he show it to a toothpaste company. He replied saying it's already on his dentist's wall!

Oregon Richie tells me he's been burning the juniper in his fireplace to keep his house cosy. Not here, mate. We've been sweltering in 30+ C temps this week and it's not even summer yet.

Back from Mark's Barber Shop. He's usually late returning from lunch but it's a hot day and I suppose he was eager to enjoy the comfort of his air-conditioned shop. Anyway, it feels good to be shorn. I dunno how L&S stand all that long hair down to their shoulders. Mark's pretty good... he even trimmed my eyebrows and ears. I told him about the dental saga and how much I'm looking forward to pizza sometime next year. So he asked me if I'd tried putting one through the blender hehe.

NC Art just emailed a pic of a new book: The one we have all been waiting for! "Understanding Women" is now out in paperback.

I've been meaning to take a pic of a flame tree at the roundabout just up the road. There was nothing else to do and my brain is suffering heat stroke or something, so I wandered up there and discovered that the battery in the Nikon was flat. Damn! I came home, changed the battery, and went back. There's a few of those around town but that one is the most spectacular. You can see the carpet of red petals at the base.

On the way back, I remembered a pic of the original Catholic church I'd seen on the web. The little church is hidden at the back of the church hall. So I wandered up the lane and took a few pics. A woman at the back of the main church asked me if I'd like to come inside for a look. "I'd love to!" So in I went, dressed in track pants, flip flops and a T. The main church is magnificent with a vaulted timber ceiling that would rival some of the best in Sydney. But I was unprepared... no proper lighting or tripod. So I did the best I could with hand-held. I'll put an album together soon.  Here's a pic of the exterior.

So there ya go, just when I thought it was a dull day with not much happening, I get invited into the local church because I happened to be at the right place at the right time. Maybe I looked like I needed cheering up or something.

Anyway, it's that time again and I must attend to other matters. Hooroo! Gary

November 26, 2012. Early days yet but, as I suspected, the little Phillips mantle radio is getting a fair bit of attention. NC Art was inspired to write about the hassle of moving house: When I read your comments about ridding yourelf of clutter—such as radios—my mind turns to the hassle of moving from a 3,000 sq.ft. house to a 900 sq. ft. cottage. The stuff one accumulates over forty years is stunning. Big, heavy furniture-cabinets, tables and desks of gargantuan proportion can boggle the mind when puzzling over who might want them, how to move them, and what they might be worth to someone somewhere.
    My children had their homes well-stuffed already. Some of those massive pieces would overrun the space in a museum of furniture. The hell of it was that several pieces were made by high end makers and accumulated through friends in the furniture making business. In desperation, I offloaded a few favorites to my kids anyway to keep them in the family. Salvation Army and Goodwill Industries got a windfall in things useful for people who need most everything; truck-loads regularly dropped off over many days. 
    Oddly, I miss none of it now!
    And oddities cropped up. One tall secretary desk would have been worth $30,000 IF it had brass covered sideposts. I discovered that from an antiques magazine. A retired furniture designer looked at the thing and said, “NO AMERICAN MADE THIS!” He opined that it was South American rosewood and made in early 20th century or before. Funny thing, it cost me nothing; a gift from a preacher who sometimes accepted gifts from grateful sinners he had counseled. How strange is this world. My son has this antique and prizes it.

Your story is pretty much what Auction Room was about on telly last night, Art... high end furniture made specifically for clients. One designer insisted on visiting his clients' houses to see what kind of furniture they already had. If he didn't like it, he refused to design anything new for them. Fussy bugger. Much of the stuff was designed in collaboration with architects and was unique to a particular house. Veeery expensive. One lot that sold for $1500 had been donated to a charity. Australian design was revolutionized after the war when thousands of people from Europe emigrated to Oz during the 50s and 60s.

What Art says about accumulating things is true. It's okay while you're living in the house but a total pain in the ass when it comes time to re-locate. Before I bought my little house in Glebe, I could pack everything I owned into a car. Thirteen years later when I vacated Glebe, I had to hire a big truck. And that same scenario has happened about half a dozen times since. NO MORE! I've had it with moving bulky stuff. Whatever doesn't fit in the camper gets sold or discarded. I could move a thousand times on the Odyssey and never have to pack a damn thing! How wonderful!

Interesting that Art doesn't miss any of his furniture now. We spend most of our lives believing that we're obligated to possess things. Hehe. But often times possessions end up becoming excess baggage. I watched an interview with a woman who, as a young person, went to the Horn of Africa to work for a charity. She ended up liking the place and the locals and decided to stay. She even married an Afar tribesman. During a visit to Sydney, she stayed with a relative who remarked one day that she'd forgotten to buy bread at the supermarket, so the woman offered to walk to the local shop. When she arrived, she was overwhelmed to see such a huge variety of different bread styles. Hehe. She didn't have a clue which one to buy! "Where I live," she explained, "bread is bread. Milk is milk. We don't have all this confusion."

So I'm curious to experience living the life of a vagabond, with my only possessions being what I need and nothing more. Oh really? That's debatable. I'll probably have more than some vagabonds, such as those whose entire worldy possessions are on their backs. At least I'll have a fridge, cooker, utensils, transport, a roof over my head, solar, TV, computers, phone, cameras, camp furniture, a bed, porta potti, hehe... yeah... well, a bloke doesn't wanna quit the civilized life altogether! Still and all, it'll be interesting to document my thoughts and observations about living as a "person of no fixed abode".

That woman I mentioned... the one married to an Afar tribesman... she was talking about how the Afar are being dispossessed and treated unfairly because of their traditional lifestyle as nomads. Governments like to keep tabs on people. Citizens must have a street address, a telephone number, a tax file number, ID and all that other 'Big Brother' stuff. For me, I'll need a permanent mailing address for certain things such as the electoral office, driver's license, medicare, vehicle insurance, centerlink etc. There are a few companies in Oz that offer such a service - scanning incoming mail and emailing it to you, then forwarding it to an address you nominate - which is not all that expensive. And it keeps things tidy.

From the Beeb: Some confetti at the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday in New York appears to have been made out of confidential police documents, a US media report says. They included sensitive data such as social security numbers and banking information for police employees. They were shredded horizontally, not vertically, leaving text visible. Oh, dear...!

Back from the dentist and another swish and suck. They squirt stuff in and swish around with a little suction thingy. It hurts the exposed bone area for a while but it settles down again. One more of those on Wednesday and then on Friday the BIG one... final extractions. Merry Christmas.

And now back from the pharmacist for a couple of magic potions, and the supermarket for a bit of this and that. And there was a $300 bill in the mail box for compulsory third-party car insurance. There'll be another one soon for comprehensive insurance. Ain't life a bitch?

So if I look back over the past year (ignoring the cancer op, radiation, teeth, etc) am I any better off? Well, lemme see, I have a Ford ute, a pretty good camper, a new Nikon DSLR, a new digital TV, a spare notebook computer, and a few nick nacks like a sleeping bag, camp table, padlocks, etc. Soooo, I guess that's not too bad. In fact, given my fiscal circumstances, it ain't too bad at all. Hehe. I feel better now.

By the way, remember that lymphedema I had? And the massage and the mask? It seems to have gone. I don't wear the mask anymore, and I only massage occasionally just to soften up the neck muscles. So there ya go... no more swollen face in the mornings.

Time to call it a wrap and check out the boob toob. Spicy meatballs and a bubble and squeak for the tummy. And later, zeds time. Gary

November 25, 2012. TX Greg wrote: He (Larry Hagman) will be truly missed.....

Dallas was on telly here too and just as popular as in the US. So was Jeannie which is still running on pay TV. L&S watch it. But I'm not a soap watcher so although I was aware of all the publicity and the popularity of Dallas, I never followed it. Not even the "who shot" episode. Anyway, another participant in the passing parade has passed. I've always associated "the passing parade" with sitting at a window table in a cafe and watching the people outside walking to and from... all busy heading this way and that while you catch a brief glimpse of them before they're gone.

Speaking of species and parades and such, I favorited one of Norbert's SCUBA diving pics this morning; an amazing shot of lion fish. Or should that be a shot of amazing lion fish? And while I'm at it, here's another spectacular shot by Mieke. Photography is a wonderful thing, yes?

Just took pics of my radios on the camp table in my bedroom (with the Fuji compact) and then posted them on eBay, separately. It'll be interesting to see what they fetch. I've kept the reserves pretty modest in comparison to prices I've seen at other auctions.

Astor mantle radioPhillips mantle radioKriesler valve radio.

There are heaps of those things for auction, and I've seen models that look like my little Phillips selling for several hundred dollars. But I'm not a collector so I'm not aware of subtle model differences or rarity or whatever it is that makes a particular radio highly collectable.

From the Beeb: Gangnam Style, the dance track by South Korean pop phenomenon Psy, becomes YouTube's most-watched video of all time with more than 805m views. That's incredible. We can only guess what might have been if the Internet and social media had been around in the days of The Beatles and Beatlemania.

The body of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat is to be exhumed on Tuesday, Palestinian officials say. His body is to undergo tests to find out whether his death in Paris in 2004 was caused by poisoning. So much for RIP.

Email is a good way to keep in touch with the docs, ya know. I got a reply from the doc in Port Macquarie and also one from the doc in Sydney today. Nothing of great importance... just that I wanted to know if I should temporarily suspend any of the new medications before, during or after the final teeth extractions next Friday. I'll be glad when they're all gone, ya know. This whole dental thing has been such a bother! Hopefully, 2013 will be a very good year... with lotsa pizza!

The operation last January and the radiation during the middle of the year all seem so distant now, almost as if they never happened. Must be the way the brain archives certain memories that are unpleasant... which explains why we refer to certain periods as "the good old days". Actually, I'm not sure I can refer to any period of my life as "the good old days". Even during my time with Cody I was struggling to survive and pulling every rabbit out of the hat that I could think of. Things have settled down a bit now and I think my "good old days" are about to happen. Odyssey, here I come!

Anyway, despite having put the scrapbook together, I'm not the kinda person who dwells on or in the past. Once I've been there and done that, I like to move on. Next! And that's the way it'll be on the Odyssey... a continuous adventure with a never-ending horizon and a never-ending story to tell (with pics!). Sounds awesome.

Another thing I've discovered in my antiquity is that the past is not there any more. It doesn't exist. There are memories, of course, and certain memorabilia, but you can take those with you. They're portable. At least in my case they are. There are no real attachments to things like home or job, or family (he said, stuffing his face with chocolate mousse). So I'm free to "cast my fate to the wind". I suspect I'm the product a rogue gene; a distant ancestor who was restless and perhaps a dreamer. None of my brothers is like me, nor my parents.

Just think - I could have spent today in the Tasmanian wilderness amongst the ferns and pristine streams, or in Broome checking out the pearling boats, or in Coober Pedy having a beer in an underground dwelling, or in Albany visiting the whaling museum, or in the middle of the Nullarbor videoing a bunch of wild camels. What on earth am I doing here??? Oh well... patience is a virtue.

Here's a bloke in Tasmania checking out a bit of kindling for his campfire.

Hmmm, back to reality and dentists and medication and shopping and tray back utes and saving money and all that humdrum. Time for a bit of telly - At The Movies, a couple of critics discuss the latest releases - Auction Room, a great show about auctions...last week it was about antique radios - Australian Story, about a war artist in Afghanistan and how his experience there changed his life - and the good ol' 7 o'clock News... and dinner. Gary

November 24, 2012. Satdee again! Not that it means much to me. I'm retired! Sort of... It's just that I do what I wanna do instead of what someone else wants me to do. 

Modern technology is a wonderful thing, yeah? Well, not always as NC Art points out: Damn near everyone who is younger than I grew up speaking technolese and thinking digital. I was always and still am analog brain-wise. Programming any gadget is a mighty tussle. I even have a watch which keeps time in accord with a cesium clock on a mountain top in Colorado – except for the change twice a year. Then I must position the watch facing WNW overnight to catch a radio signal from the mountain observatory. Often it takes two days to catch up. What a bother just to have correct time within 1 second per thousand years.

A Citizen 21-jewel automatic I bought from Singapore a few years ago for $50 gains about a minute a week hehe. But that's okay. I'll start worrying about it when I turn up for an appointment 24 hours early.

    And other stuff becomes puzzlements too. I have a new gizmo that serves as a wireless printer, scanner, copier and FAX. Small and tidy at one fourth the cost of my old clunker that died. Today a bloke called with some financial data and I asked him to fax it. First time I’d tried that on this wizard. Didn’t work ‘cause phone answer machine butted in and blocked it. And it took half an hour to figure out how to turn answer feature off. Pfuuuttt! So much for brave new world of speedy labor saving devices.

It's easy to empathize with Art for getting pissed at constant changes in technology. As soon as you learn one thing, you've gotta learn another. Younger people don't understand the value of things like a pair of favorite slippers; old and worn but exquisitely comfortable. I rented a car to make the trip to Tamworth a year or so ago to collect Das Busse. The damn thing was bristling with gadgets whose purpose would forever remain a mystery... I had to drive immediately to Tamworth, 300 kms away. About a third of the way there, a warning light and buzzer came on. Hello? What was that all about? I finally figured out it was telling me that my backpack was sitting on the passenger seat and not strapped in by the safety belt. Sheesh.

On the other hand, if I hadn't forced myself to learn webmastering back in the late '90s, I'd still be relying on some other person or persons to do it for me. And you know what they say about too many cooks.

You're out in the desert, right? No water to be seen anywhere. So how do you fill a bottle with 3 liters of fresh water? Or, more correctly, how does the bottle fill itself? Amazing stuff from the Beeb.

Here's another interesting story: Britain's top code-breakers say they are stumped by a secret code found on the leg of a dead pigeon. The remains of the bird were found in a chimney in Surrey with a message from World War II attached.

My dad owned a 1954 Desoto. The car's gone but the service manual ain't. He bought it used at Dymocks for 32 shillings back in the early '60s. It's a hard cover printed in 1957 by Popular Mechanics, Illinois. My older bro must have thought it wasn't worth anything so he gave it to me (along with everything else that wasn't worth anything hehe) after dad died back in 1979. Well, it all depends on who owns an old Plymouth and whether or not he needs a service manual. Yeah? So I listed it for auction on eBay, starting bid $20. The cover is a bit worn but there are no tears or anything, and the interior is very good with no marks. Sooooo, we'll see what it fetches by this time next Satdee. I'll auction the radios next.

Actually, I just got myself motivated and dusted the radios, and then took some pics on the front veranda but they're not very good... and neither is the dusting. So I'll do a better job tomorrow. As for now, it's five-ish and I've been buggerizing around wasting time today. Lots of thinking but not very constructive or productive... although I did investigate some of the manual controls on the Fuji S7000 which I've never bothered to use. It's high time I stopped being a scaredy cat. Gary

November 23, 2012. A thing of beauty!

Is it just me or have auto manufacturers stopped making classics? I may be wrong but I don't see any of today's crop becoming future classics.

More on Thanksgiving from NC Art: This side of the pond we celebrate Thanksgiving by howling about the crass commercialism that’s running wild this year. Big stores are opening in the afternoon, at night, and before sun up on Friday. But citizens of Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island will skip the foofaraw because “blue laws” enacted in colonial times are still in effect. No stores allowed to open on this holiday at least. Dunno if the law applies to Sunday and other assorted “days of rest.”

There's been a lot of talk on news and current affairs programs lately about traditional retailers having a hard time competing with on-line retailers. You can buy anything you like on-line at any time, day or night, holidays included. 

And here's Art with more on old radios: Yep, a crystal radio was once part of every kid’s young days. I made one, nailed it to the windowsill behind my bed and drifted into dream time listening to music. Drawback was when I turned over with clunky headphones on and wounded my earlobe.
    Also once had a fine portable radio with AM, FM, short wave and marine band. Bought for 50 bucks wholesale through a relative in an appliance store. Carried the thing to Alaska and all over the U.S. until no parts were available to replace old vacuum tubes, condensers, etc. The thing would occasionally bring in airline chatter. I listened to Radio Free Europe and Radio Free Cuba shortwave stations operated by the government and aimed to Communist regimes in the western hemisphere. Citizens who sneaked to listen to our propaganda sometimes paid a high price for their audacity. 

Which also brings back a few fond memories for Oregon Richie: Yeah... pretty cool about the classic radio sets.  I might have mentioned once to you that.... way back in the past as a young teen I was pretty hooked into the short-wave radio listening thing, and sometimes sent "listener verification reports" to stations, and in turn they would send a "QSL" card to verifty that.  Now, then.... the then highly powerful RADIO SOUTH AFRICA station not only sent me that, but their quarterly magazine called "RSA Calling", which did a few things... first being that it enchanted me, next that it gave me a serious feeling about wanting to visit that faraway place, and lastly... sort of pissing off my Dad who as a rational adult was furious about the political and apartheid social structure of the country.  Oh, well... I just thought it was cool.

Richie and Art's interest in such things is not surprising; they both enjoy reading and travel, and are now fluent in Aussie speak, with words such as mate and bloke and g'day. Hehe.

Meanwhile, BR João has some illuminating things to say about winged lads: You said the two guys in a sculpture you displayed some days ago look androgynous. I don’t think so, they look what they are, young boys. Every young boy or girl look androgynous. This sculpture is called Cupid Rekindling the Torch of Hymen. It’s a strange name for us today, when we think of hymen as a part of women’s anatomy. But Hymen was the Greek god of marriage. The “story” in the mind of George Rennie, the sculptor, was that Cupid is blowing the torch hold by Hymen as a symbol of renewal of marriage by love. Wow, what a novel, just a Victorian could imagine such plot. My explanation is more simple: Rennie was an Uranian (there’s a lot of them by Victorian times) and wanted to sculpt two beautiful naked boys and to satisfy Victorian hypocrisy at the same time. Cupid or Eros is always represented as a very young winged boy. Hymen (also referred as Hymenaious, although imprecisely) hasn’t a canonic representation. The statue is now in the sculpture court adjoining the central courtyard of Victoria & Albert Museum, where I took the attached photo.

João is another bloke who loves to read and travel.

I've been doing a bit of practice with the Nikon lately using flowers as guinea pigs, so I decided to make an album of the best of them. I posted it today.

And just now, my 2013 calendars arrived. It's so cool to see the pics in print. Red Bub does a great job with the printing on high quality art paper. The calendars are also quite large... 16.5" x 12". I'm just back from giving Averil hers and she thinks it's the ant's pants.

Jeez, has it been a year already? I just received a notice from Roads and Maritime Services that the ute is due for registration. Rego is free but not the roadworthy inspection, so I'll have to book her in for a checkup and service. That means insurance will be due again. Just when you get a few bob in the bank someone comes along and says gimme, gimme, gimme.

From the Beeb: A Vienna court sentences a woman to life in jail for killing her ex-husband and her lover, and hiding their dismembered bodies in her ice cream shop. Ew!

Two people have died and dozens were injured after a pile-up involving some 100 vehicles on a foggy motorway in the US state of Texas. More than 50 people were taken to hospital and at least eight were critically hurt, local media report. It happened at Interstate 10 near Beaumont, about 80 miles (130km) east of Houston, on Thanksgiving morning. I suppose you've seen the footage on telly but here it is anyway.

Over the past few weeks, movie buffs have been enjoying the new trailer for a forthcoming Lindsay Lohan film. The Canyons, a low-budget indie production written by American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis, and due for release in the new year, has raised eyebrows for two reasons. Aside from the public's continuing fascination with everything Miss Lohan does, the choice of male lead has also caused something of a stir. So what does that mean? That porn stars are legitimate actors?

It was a nervous time for film photography when digital cameras took off in the 1990s, and seemed set to take over entirely. But with some help from Vladimir Putin - then deputy mayor of St Petersburg - the little Lomo camera became a retro cult classic, and showed film had a bright future. Interesting story with pics about a 35mm film revival.

Yes, the wait after sending the film away or visiting the processing joint. Remember how those 60-minute processing shops erupted all over the place? I suppose digital has put an end to those... although there are just as many (if not more) print places for digital images now. The thing that bugged me about film, apart from the waiting, was getting a bunch of duds you'd have to pay for. I was on holiday down the south coast back in '64 for 5 weeks, taking pics of everything that moved. I posted each exposed roll of film to the lab back in Sydney who onsent the slides to my home address, so it wasn't until I got home over a month later that I finally saw the pics! Including the duds. I still shoot duds with digital but it means I can experiment - keep the goodies and flick the yuckos.

Five bells again and time to soak up a bit of telly on ABC News24. Actually, I watched an interesting show last night called Kitchen Cabinet where Annabel Crabb (an ABC journalist) visits the homes of Aussie politicans for a bit of a chat around the dinner table. She brings the dessert and they cook the meal. It's all very informal and lots of fun, and a chance to see "the human side" of people we never really get to know. Amanda Vanstone was on last night and she was a real hoot. A large woman of Italian heritage who loves her pasta and wine... and a joke. Here she is at home with her dog, Gus. She even makes his liver doggy biscuits. And here's Annabel. Yes, all good stuff. Gary

November 22, 2012. TX Greg wrote: Well it's that time again, all of us over here stuff our faces till our pants buttons pop off. I'm really thankful this year that you are doing better, yet slower than hoped, but the right direction :)

Thanks, Greg. I'm sure Waffle and my dream of doing the big tour play a significant part in keeping me going. I dunno what I'd do if it weren't for those things and the support I get from peeps like you. Love the dog in that pic. Anyone who's ever owned a pooch knows exactly what that bloke is thinking. Subtle they ain't.

As to old radios, NC Art wrote: Those radio pix took me back to childhood. My dad was an afficianado of radio broadcasts, mainly news “on the hour” and country music. An older brother sold appliances in a department store in another city and often brought a new radio marvel home on a weekend to show of its wonders. From table sets to huge floor consoles, and with new advances in speakers and range of signal. Old models had one small, tinny speaker and the ears demanded more. So onward to tweeters, huge midrange howlers and on to bass subwoofers as the decades slipped by. 
    I remember Philco, Stewart-Warner, General Electric and a dozen other brands, most of which no longer exist. And the plain old furniture radios have faded into the twilight of civilization. Now everyone runs around with an i-something and ear plug, listening to “their” own music library of tunes by the thousand. My son has a smart phone he uses for e-mail, music, weather and godknowswhatall web surfing. Also good for tuning out babble that goes on around a movie studio while painters and carpenters are screaming at each other.

And Oregon Richie wrote: Pretty cool pics of the old radio sets and they are very neat.  I have the two very old original furniture sets here at the Rancho, plus a very classic Zenith TransOceanic short-wave portable set which was THE cool radio to own back in the day and a newer Grundig AM FM and Shortwave table-top set which is based on a post-war German design.  Then I have a much newer Grundig "Yacht Boy 400" small and advanced shortwave next to my desk here, so... I suppose I have enough radio sets in this place.  I was such an avid short-wave radio listener when I was young, and the love of that has never really left me... and, as it's said... it was the original information superhighway well before the age of the internet.  I'd strung hundreds of feet of wire antenna on the roof of our house in Eugene and thought that listening in to the world from all over the world was just the most cool thing.

And I responded with: Yep, the larger bakelite radio like the one I have sold for almost $160 yesterday (+ about $80 freight). The little Phillips that was $60 on eBay yesterday still has a couple of days to go before the auction ends. I've seen those up around $2-300 and even more. So my 3 radios could be worth a couple of deep cycle batteries! I was never into short wave but I do remember my crystal set and WWII bakelite headphones and being totally blown away by something with a cat's whisker, a crystal and copper wire wound around a cardboard tube, etc, that could run on nothing but fresh air. The next thing I remember was buying a furniture style HG Palmer stereogram for 59 guineas (guinea = one pound one shilling) in 1959 when I was 15. That was probably about $1000 in today's money.

I also remember the first vinyl album I bought, Henry Mancini's Theme from Peter Gunn. My younger bro plugged his pink Maton guitar into my stereo and practiced the theme until it drove the rest of us nuts. But he went on to become a fairly proficient guitarist (he was a leftie, but nobody told him to change the strings so he played the thing upside down), and formed a band with a group of local kids. That changed my life and I became the band's manager, which led to becoming a DJ in a disco, and then an announcer on radio. Who woulda thunk?

So that made me write: My scrapbook is full of destinations which turned out to be stops along the way rather than rungs on the same ladder. And here I am as a result hehe... still footloose and fancy free. It's appropriate that the rest of my life will be spent visiting places that are not destinations but merely stops along the way. My final destination will be the one where I don't wake up next morning. As we say in Oz, "no flies on that bloke, but you can see where they've been". Put the scrapbook and the Odyssey together and there you have it... the life and times of GK. I think I was born to take notes. Hehe.

And now, ladies and genitals, here's my latest creation which seems appropriate; That Was Then, This Is Now...

I fiddled a bit with that one. The original was the other way around but I had to swap the two subjects left to right for the sake of the title. I also cropped the original which was landscape format. I tried a couple of shots using portrait but they didn't work as well as this version. Quite effective, yes? I first saw that title on a vinyl LP in a second-hand record shop and have never forgotten it. At the time it occurred to me, "You said that 20 years ago, what now?" Youth has yet to learn that time is a speeding locomotive.

NC Art also wrote: Your dental report seems to be more hopeful now, so congratulations to you and your medical support gang. Yep, as I mentioned to Richie this morning, I dunno where I'd be without the pension and Medicare. It's been a rough year and it ain't over yet. Which reminds me, I need to pick up my new medication today. Bloody pills, pills and more pills. I feel like one of those old fashioned money boxes

From the Beeb: A ceasefire between Israel and the Hamas movement which governs Gaza comes into effect after a week of violence and nearly 160 deaths. And now it's kiss and make-up time. Yeah, right. Can you imagine living in a place like that? 

What's even more scary than a redback? An elderly couple were left "shocked" after they found a snake wrapped around a toilet seat in their home in Paisley. They've named it Lulu hehe.

Guess what? Remember those dud batteries I bought for the Nikon that no workies? I discovered they're not decoded for use with Nikon cameras. So I took a punt on an Aussie retailer on eBay who sells non-genuine (but high quality) batteries for Nikon that ARE decoded, and... yes, they work. $30 instead of 60 or 70 for the genuine R tickle sounds good to me.

Speaking of genuine R tickles, I just got back from the pharmacy. $75 for my new medications. Sheesh. And that'll be every month (or 25 days for the one that costs $52). It'd be cheaper to be dead. But you guys would miss out on all my piccies if I carked it, so I better not. Anyway, if the meds work, I might only have to take them for six months or even less. Fingers crossed.

I also bought some easy-to-eat foodies like hash browns and bubble and squeak. Do you have bubble and squeak "over there". Grandma used to mash up all the leftover veg from the previous night's meal, form them into cakes and fry them for breakfast. Anyway, my dears, it's coming up to that time again when yours truly must... well, not exactly must, but you know what I mean... toddle off to telly land. Gary

November 21, 2012. A lovely day, sunny and bright, and another appointment with Nancy to clean the gum wound yet again. Once she's washed and cleaned it, she takes a couple of pics with a smart phone, sends them off to Liam in Sydney and Bob's yer uncle. He's able to monitor progress of the healing as well. Modern technology, folks. Bloody marvelous.

I'm also having a marvelous time with the Nikon since I've discovered the magic of manual focus. Now I can be far more selective about the composition and content of a picture than I was by relying on auto. I posted this one on Red Bubble this morning. And I took this one just a while ago. It's a whole new ballgame.

From the Beeb: Gaza has come under renewed heavy bombardment, as agreement on a ceasefire to end a week of violence remains elusive.According to Netanyahu, Israel has no choice.

Back from Nancy and the cleaning thing. Progress is good, and she's offered to supply me fortnightly with the anti bacterial scripts. I'm also booked in for the next 4 appointments including November 30 when Liam does the final extractions. Eeeek! Dunno what happens after that except that I'll be on a bunch of new medications from Dr Clark, the head/neck specialist in Sydney, for at least 6 months... or until this exposed bone thing is completely healed. That makes setting a definite departure date for the Odyssey very difficult, so I guess it'll remain a play-it-by-ear game for a while. *sigh*

Back to using a camera's manual controls... instead of taking a pic of something you see, manual manipulation of focus, aperture, shutter speed, etc, means taking a pic of "how" you'd like to see something. So you get creative input into the way the image turns out. Many Bubbleonians rise before sparrow's to get to a location before sunrise and then set up in anticipation of photographing something at first light. Light is everything in photography (even fill-in flash or the use of a reflector). But those guys are either serious amateurs or pros. On the Odyssey, I'll be in a position to take advantage of first light and dusk or sundown. It's all rather exciting, really. And being constantly on the move means I'll be "exposed" to far more opportunities than I could ever hope to get by living in the one spot. It will also mean I'll eventually build a portfolio of prints which I could use as a "traveling exhibition". 

Lenses are the thing, but they ain't cheap. They can add enormously to the scope of photographic possibilities. So one of these days...

I sent a pic of a GM "furniture" radio to Oregon Richie the other day. Here's a smaller mantle/shelf version of an Aussie "Empire" radio on auction on eBay for how much? The auction is about to end so I hope the pic is still there. If not, the final bid was $781. I have a couple of old bakelite shelf radios from the 40s, and one 50s plastic portable. Probably worth a few bob. I'll sell them before I leave on the Odyssey, together with other stuff I can't (or don't want to) take with me. They won't fetch anything like what the Empire fetched but even so... This one is the same as one of mine. The 50s one is identical to this (but it's not bakelite). And the third one is like this except it's brown bakelite and doesn't have the "lightning" thingo. It's amazing what collectors will pay for stuff. The two smaller radios I have were given to me about 30 years ago. I paid $60 for the bigger one.

It's been a funny kinda day. Red Bubble introduced a new thing that I fiddled with and got myself into trouble. I knew it. I've been trying to figure it out all day (on and off). Damn it. Otherwise I seem to have kept myself busy without really accomplishing anything. Ever have those kinda days? So now it's time for the evening ritual. I think I'll be naughty tonight and cook up a bunch of chippies! Gary

November 20, 2012. Not the most thrilling of days weatherwise, ladies and genitals. But that dozen madder. I have no particular place to go (remember that song?), except here in my head.

I was doing my sums this morning. It's amazing how little sums become big sums when you take a longer view, yearly instead of weekly or monthly, for example. Currently I get a rebate for my rent added to my pension, which makes my combined rent + power about $5500 per year. They are two bills I won't have to worry about on the Odyssey. Over 5 years, that's $27,500. You can do a helluva lot with $27.5K my man. But when you're living hand to mouth, paying your bills each pay day like a good little pleb, you tend not to think beyond the next week or two.

I was also thinking about "stepping outside into the garden for a bit of inspiration" and coming back with a photo of a Bad Hair Day. Can you imagine what "stepping outside" will mean on the Odyssey? Hehe. You name it, and it'll be just outside the back door at one time or another.

NC Art didn't spend many years in the print/photography biz for decades without learning a thing or two about art, ya know. So he wrote this in response to the Beeb article yesterday about male nudity: Artfully displayed nude males may be too high a hurdle to achieve. But there’s no accounting for taste. At first blush, the body masculine complete with genitals is likely to be a turn off for most people because there’s nothing inherently beautiful about those appendages. That said, the Greeks did a good job of playing down the grosser aspects by draping an inconspicuous penis over a demure scrotum. And the entire sculpture followed the golden mean of proportion as decreed by a static world of art critics. Every part of the form had to meet exacting standards of size, length and curve ratios.
    Happily, some non-conformist broke the rule by portraying a leg at an angle which suggested motion and the race was on.
    My guess about abhorrence of nude males is just this: Hardly any females were—or are—sculptors and painters. Therefore men set the art standard by carving and painting likenesses of subjects which appealed to their own sense of beauty ... actually erotic senses more likely. Think beautiful boobs, butts and other smooth appendages.
    So, it follows that women might therefore have made the nude male just as popular if they had the opportunity to follow their own ideas and set their own standard of beefcake. Museums would be full of sinewy butts, rippling abs, and substantial balls and grand woodies!
    Could be that a modest approach may break the taboo. Example: more use of prepubescent males such as a fountain which once occupied the rotunda of our capitol building. The working part of this fountain featured a small boy peeing into the pool below his perch. The little fellows do grow up y’know. 

Yes, "an inconspicuous penis draped over a demure scrotum". The blokes in that pic don't look masculine at all... rather androgynous, actually... unlike this oneAndrogyny is a term derived from the Greek words anér, andr-, meaning man, and gyné, meaning woman, referring to the combination of masculine and feminine characteristics. This may be as in fashion, sexual identity, or sexual lifestyle, or it may refer to biological intersex physicality, especially with regards to plant and human sexuality. Wikipedia

Art also forwarded a plea by a high school student in Ohio to support his efforts to "make our school more accepting and safe for gay students, but the administration won't let us." I forwarded it to Justin's blog.

From the Beeb: Israeli air strikes have killed at least 105 Palestinians in Gaza in six days of violence, Hamas officials say, as militants continue rocket fire on Israel. When Hamas decided to launch its missiles into Israeli territory, did it expect anything less than the response it's getting? I think not. I think Hamas is quite happy to sacrifice its own people in order to stir up hatred towards Israel. And I think Israelis are too stupid to see what Hamas is doing. So are the Palestinians for that matter.

But getting back to angelic boys, when religious artists decided to stick wings on androgynous youth, did they realize they were creating six-limbed creatures? Birds are four-limbed. Flying insects are eight-limbed. Are there any six-limbed creatures other than mythical angels? Steve gave Cody wings but that doesn't count. Superman, on the other hand, uses a cape rather than wings, which Clark could never have successfully secreted under his shirt anyway. Can you honestly imagine a big set of wings flapping about in a phone booth? Incidentally, what happened to Clark Kent's clothes after Superman emerged in his tights and gymboots? I don't remember Superman wearing a bum bag.

Anyway, time to think about what's for dinner and a bit of telly. Cheers, Gary

November 19, 2012. Oregon Richie wrote to shed a bit more light on Radiance: I believe that Radiance and her sister-ship were built around 2000 or so and entered service the following year.  I can recall seeing a big splash on the ship on a "Cruise Travel" magazine before my Mom and I set sail on her.  As noted, it had some advanced design elements and probably were introducing those massive "Azipod" prop systems... which were huge electric motors in a bus-size pod which could rotate about 360 d's or so and are now pretty common propulsion systems.  You probably saw the great glass area amidships, and in that "atrium" or "centrum" area of the ship the elevators ( or "lifts" ) were also glassed in and gave a great view of things.  It is a classy looking ship, all in all... and not quite as "blocky" as some of the later construction cruise ships.

Naturally it's a rough environment which they operate in, and maintenance, painting, glass cleaning, and everything else is a constant.  Nearly every ship I have been on has work going on non-stop but not in an obtrusive way, and saw these carriage-things that moved up and down and horizontally all the time so they could paint and clean glass.  I obviously love ships but also think that the quite small expedition-ship I was on in DSA, the "Mare Australis" was really neat, and being able to actually visit the navigation bridge and engine room on that ship was a cool experience.

NC Art has a slightly different view: Finally, don’t look too close at the waterline of those beautiful cruise ships. Some are real rust buckets and don’t age as well as aircraft carriers. I sailed on one that was a real dog. Nothing worked except the machine that made rotten fish odors blow through air ducts. It was ordered off the sea after our cruise to Bermuda. Another liner was “retired” after we cruised to Alaska on it. Too old to refurbish one more time.

But back to Radiance for a mo, I remember reading that it has pool/billiard tables that are fitted with individual gyro stabilizers to keep them level during transit. The ship also features a mini 9-hole golf course. It's a tad flasher than my camper but the idea is the same... a mobile home. Here's a different kind of radiance... a gardenia in yesterday's rain...

You can blame Oregon Richie this time: Nice set of pictures of the floral variety you posted and a nice set of the Sydney scene and harbour snaps.  That's a very beautiful port area, for sure... complete with some of the most iconic structures in the world, when one instantly can recognize the grand old Opera House and the famous bridge, too.

Yep, here's a pic taken in 1929 of Bennelong Point where the Opera House stands now. To the right/center is Circular Quay minus the skyscrapers and to the far right is where Radiance was docked last week. Back then, the Harbor Bridge looked like this. It was opened in 1932. Here's another shot c1895 of Circular Quay and Bennelong Point prior to the existence of both the Opera House and the Bridge.

And speaking of photos, here's one I happily discovered of Satyr (cast in bronze) with a great story attached thereto. It's on permanent display now in the Botanic Gardens near the Opera House.

Just back from the backyard looking for a bit of inspiration and guess what? I love this. I've called it Bad Hair Day:

Remember Ray Stevens' hit Everything is Beautiful (in its own way)? Yeah... there ya go. When I got back inside and sat here in front of the comp, I noticed a bug on the back of my hand from buggerizing around in the garden, so I instinctively flicked it off. OH, NO! It was a lady beetle! God knows where it is now. If I'd realized in time I could have taken a macro shot of it. Too late now.

From the Beeb: The UN secretary general calls for an immediate ceasefire as Israel's pounding of Gaza enters its sixth day and Hamas rocket fire goes on. Remember when armies used to line up in front of each other and charge? Nothing's changed much. 

On the other hand: US President Barack Obama says Israel has a right to defend itself from missiles being aimed at the country by militants in the Gaza Strip. Speaking in Bangkok during a tour of Asia, he said that "no country on earth would tolerate missiles raining down" on its people. He added that any effort to resolve the conflict in Gaza "starts with no missiles being fired into Israel's territory." Even Hamas would agree with that. They don't believe it is Israel's territory. Back to square one.

British scientists reverse paralysis in dogs after injecting them with cells grown from the lining of their nose. Make a note of that next time you need a conversation starter at a party.

An exhibition in Vienna probes our attitude towards nudity - people in the West have become accustomed to the naked female form, but male nudes can still shock. Before the show opened, the museum even covered up parts of its own posters, saying they had caused public outrage. Yes, it's true. An Australian artist was on telly the other night saying that male nudity still has the power to shock, but he insists on painting footballer's willies anyway. I think it's because male genitalia is more aggressive than female, which can easily and subtley be "hidden".

A huge waterspout has been filmed off the coast of Batemans Bay in the Australian state of New South Wales. I was emailing a Red Bubble friend last night and mentioned the water spout, which I was watching on telly. She lives in Bateman's Bay. "You mean there was a water spout here and I missed it???" Go figure. The BBC clip also mentions the storm damage in northern NSW. Taree missed all that, thank god. I heard the warnings on the car radio earlier in the day.

NC Art commented on a tragedy involving a 7 y/o girl being taken by a salt water crocodile in Oz the other day: Terrible about the child eaten by a cocodrillo. Even the swagman and the jumbuck stayed out of the billabong water. But here's another story about a drunk who tried to straddle one yesterday.

This morning, Nancy did the clean and squirt thing again and reported that I'm looking much better and that the healing is going very well. She also asked me about the prescriptions thing. The Sydney doc is happy with Nancy doing the scripts. She said she'd pop into the chemist I go to to organize the details. So it's all good. I see her again on Wednesday. And she gave me another protein drink today hehe... kinda like a blue star in class for being a good boy. She says it's cool that we can "hang out" together. I have a way with the ladies ya know.

And here we are again, time to call it a wrap. Remember that savory mince (ground beef with veg) I made the other day? I defrosted it, whacked it back into the pan, added a couple of bay leaves and a can of chopped tomatoes with basil and garlic, and let it simmer. It's still simmering. I'm trying to de-lumpify it to make it as tender as poss... kinda like a beef and veg porridge that slides down the screech without needing to chew or whatever. Should be okay. I think I'll serve it in a bowl with parmesan sprinkled on top. And freeze the rest. Bon appetite! Gary

November 18, 2012. Another wettie, but that's okay. The flowers are having a wonderful time! Speaking of which, NC Art writes: Yer blooming flower fotos are vurrie good, my mate! That's all the encouragement I need.

Takes a while for hibiscus to open fully on rainy days. I snapped this guy from behind (on the veranda). Ditto this next bloke:

Art also has a thing or two to say about medication: Incidentally, don’t rule out completely the long series of meds ...antibiotics I presume ... to beat down the jaw infection totally. Years ago I had a serious eyelid infection which responded quickly to several kinds of meds only to recur within days. A specialist took a culture and determined it was a chronic infection of squamus cells and spreading to cheeks and nose. He prescribed a broad spectrum antibiotic, starting with massive dosage, and then reducing to a maintenance level strength continuing for a year. The theory is that regimen keeps the bacteria suppressed and reduces chance of mutating into resistant strains. It worked and no recurrence ever. That was over 20 years ago.
    Bad news is that it was catching; half the people in my office got it, but none so bad as my case. The local eye doctors called it “Art’s Print Shop Syndrome,” Oops!

The hassle for me is having the specialist in Sydney and needing a new script for the antibiotics each week but Nancy says she's happen to help in that regard. I've let the doc know about her offer.

Meanwhile, Oregon Richie has been on board Radiance of the Seas: That ship "Radiance" is quite a nice one; it's the ship that I took my Mom on in the spring of 2002 on a fairly short "Pacific Northwest" cruise.  It is a bit unique, with gas turbine engines for one thing and designed with a LOT of glass area.  It's really nice and a lovely cruise ship... nicer than the Norwegian ship that Becky and I were on of about the same size and tonnage, but... can't have it all !

When I wandered around close to the ship I thought it looked a bit "lived in". There were a couple of rusty areas that made me think it was getting on in years. According to the website, it was a bit over a year old... but that referred to the time since its last refurbishment, not its original launch. It's still an impressive tub though. I was just being a bit picky about the rusty bits. I walked right along the wharf as hundreds of passengers were lining up for bus tours, and heard lots of American accents. As I told Richie, I was tempted to yell something like, "Oh! Lots of Canadians in town, I see!" Hehe.

I put together my calendar for 2013 last night and ordered 4 copies. I give them to friends around here, which has become a tradition over the last 4 years or so. Click the right arrow to see all the pics. I think it looks pretty cool.

Did I win a prize in last night's Lotto? Yeah... well... sort of...
Division 4  4 Main numbers
Prize Pool: $1,871,785.00
78812 winners, each received $23.75

Jeez, do you realize how hard it is to crack 4 out of six numbers? And all I get is $23.75?

Here's a giggle from Justin's blog. It's an ad for Gay Marriage but a funny one... with a bunch of gays threatening to marry straights' girlfriends if they don't support the same sex marriage issue.

From the Beeb: Israel strikes Gaza from the sea and air, hitting a media building, as its bombardment enters a fifth day and militant rocket-fire goes on.  Nothing surprises me about those two. Nothing. The Beards and Funny Hats Brigade that believes we were smarter 6,000 years ago.

Tens of thousands of people have protested in France against plans to legalise same-sex marriage and allow gay couples to adopt. Police said at least 70,000 took to the streets in Paris; there were other demonstrations in the cities of Lyon, Toulouse and Marseille. They included Catholic groups and other backers of traditional family rights. So tell me, how does my right to marry whom I choose affect a protester or anyone else for that matter? And if the answer is that gay marriage affects God's law then why not let God deal with it? I'll tell you why. Because he can't. He doesn't exist.

Australian police looking for a missing child say they have found what appear to be human remains inside a crocodile. The seven-year-old girl was swimming with her family in a remote waterhole in the Northern Territory on Friday, when a saltwater crocodile attacked and dragged her under. A day later rangers shot dead a three-metre-long reptile in the waterhole - or billabong. The local community believed the billabong was safe What a tragic way to learn they were wrong.

What's dirtier with more germs, your toilet seat or your kitchen chopping board? Click at your peril.

Just back from the supermarket... 30 cans of Kirk's lemon squash for 50 cents each! Plus a punnet of strawbs and a banana. But no Santa.

I tried Nestle vanilla flavored Sustagen in a smoothie today but it was ikky. On the other hand, it's good for you, with vitamins, minerals and fiber so I figure I'll throw in strawbs and/or banana to improve the taste. And the lemon squash? It's one of only a few soft drinks I like, and I'm off the wine while I have "dry mouth". In fact I'm off anything that might give the bugs an even break. I've put on a bit of weight during the past few days... not much, just 2 kilos but it's an improvement.

Anyway, it's time for a wrap, a bit of telly, tucker (I think I'll whip up some scrambled eggs and cheese) and lots of zeds. Gary

November 17, 2012. Pretty soon, I'm off to see Nancy for another clean and inspection to make sure the healing in my mouth is progressing. The key to everything at the mo is that healing process. Everything else is under control and doing nicely.

However, the $64 question remains how long will it take before the healing process is complete? No one seems to know. The doc in Sydney on Thursday said it could take up to a year. So I'm thinking should I postpone the Odyssey for that long? I'd rather not. Once I have a flat tray ute, what's stopping me? There's no urgency to make a decision just yet but by February, depending on how the healing is progressing, I may decide to begin the Odyssey but limit my travels to places not too far from where I need to be for medical/dental attention. My physical address will change to a permanent mail addy in Gosford (one of those places that receives and forwards mail on behalf of its clients) and my main phone number will become my mobile #.  Otherwise, for contactability purposes, nothing changes. Soooo, between appointments I could be anywhere. When I see the doc in Sydney, I'll be in Sydney (or thereabouts). When I see the doc at Port Macquarie, I'll be in Port. When I see Nancy or Liam or my prosthetist or my own GP I'll be here in Taree. No worries. The only restriction on the Odyssey will be not to stray too far from "home" until I get the green light medically.

I heard the announcer on ABC radio yesterday talking about spending 2 months with her hubby touring around the Oz outback "living out of our 4WD and sleeping in our swags every night under the stars. And I thought to myself, what a fantastic country this is! So diverse, so much to see!" Yeah... tell me about it.

Back from Nancy and a clean up... in fact, several. She's delighted with the healing process, "much less red than the last time I saw you (Wednesday)". And she gave me a choc flavored protein drink. She fancies me ya know. I bring out the maternal instinct in her... this poor old geezer needs fattening up. I'm sure a free protein drink is not normally part of a patient's dental treatment.

Roite, been busy putting an album together of the pics I took in Sydney last Thursday.

Weeeell, whose protein drink tastes better? My smoothies or Nancy's store-bought stuff? My lips are sealed. Far be it for me to speak ill of someone behind their back...BUT I am having a banana smoothie right now.

That was a couple of hours ago. I've been busy posting stuff on Red Bubble and showing off. Hehe.

Isn't that pretty? It's agapanthus beginning to bloom... a touch of rain makes it look more like a birth, and I love the colors sharp against the soft background. I posted the full version on Red Bubble together with a couple of the Radiance. Anyway, it's time for me to shoot through until we meet again tomorrow! Gary

November 16, 2012. Poor ol' brave and battered, G. Yesterday's visit to the specialist in Sydney was good and bad. The good news is that the initial surgery is healing well and there's no more cancer. He stuck a scope thingy up my hooter and through the passages to make sure all was well. The bad news is the dentist's surgery (stitching a flap of tissue over the exposed bone) is pretty much worthless. The only two options (apart from playing the wait and see game) are hyperbaric oxygen which is similar to the treatment given to divers with the bends. It requires me to be in Sydney and is over a long period of time. Also the evidence to support the treatment as effective is so so. There's also a drug treatment plan which requires regular doses of anti biotics every day. Normally, they're available only as a 5-day script so I'd need more than one new script every week from the doc for at least 6 months. The other drugs are also not listed on the Pharmaceuticals Benefit Scheme so I would need to pay full price. I emailed the doc after getting the info from my local chemist and asked him if we can maybe forget the anti biotics (in lieu of good oral hygiene - regular salty water mouthwashing, rinsing with antiseptic mouth wash, etc) and go with the other two, one of which is vitamin E based to encourage oxygenated blood from capillaries to assist healing the affected area.

So it appears to me that everything (even the dentures, which are now on hold) hinges on how long it takes the gum tissue to become healthy enough to cover the current exposed bone and minimize the risk of any further infection. Meanwhile, the situation will need constant monitoring. If any infection does occur before the healing process is complete, I'm in deep poo. How will that affect the Odyssey? Whilever I have 3 docs, 1 dentist and 1 pharmacist on this case, I'm inclined to think travel is off the agenda. I don't like the idea of changing horses mid stream. 

NC Art has a few tips for gaining weight: Keep a supply of tasty, fatty snacks right at hand all day, and chunk a few in your pie hole frequently. Cheese crackers that melt in the mouth work right well, as does chocolate chips in buttery snacks. NOT recommended for overweight blokes, but might help you. I learned to stay away from the stuff when I was heavier than my doctor approved, but that was from beer ... and whisky drinks made with sweet mixers. Now I’m totally off the booze and back to my high school weight of 140 pounds! Skinny butt won’t fill out my pants, but still nearly six feet tall. Gravity has taken away a good inch or so.

Gravity can actually add a bit to some things though hehe. Meanwhile, Art commented on the solar eclipse: I’ve also been cheated on the solar eclipse thingy. When I was six years old there was a partial in my area, so Dad took me to the cow pasture, made a grass fire over which we smoked bits of glass to peer through to prevent retinal burns. The eclipse wasn’t much, but the experience was fun. After that, every viewable eclipse was obscured by clouds. Bummer. A really good lunar eclipse occurred at 1.00 a.m. when my son was eight, and a cub scout eager the see the thing. I rousted him from bed and into the back yard for the event. It is an eerie feeling which kind of spooked him. After a few minutes, as leaves took on a weird appearance and it seemed the air got cooler, he sidle up close to me and finally said, “Dad, is it ok to go back to bed now?” I understood his creepy feeling years later when a near full lunar eclipse occurred in late afternoon. As earth encroached on an unseen moon, birds started heading for nests in confusion, and the phenomenon of crescent moon images was cast on the ground under trees. Gaps in leaves acted as camera lenses to produce hundreds of dancing moons. I made a funnel with one hand and painted myself with those pretty little crescents of moonlight. Neato!

Yes, the weight loss thing is a bit of a worry. Oregon Richie commented on it yesterday but at least I'm back to eating the same as I was before the dental surgery.

The overnight trip to Sydney was uneventful. Only one snorer and even he snored fairly infrequently. I arrived at Central at 7am, trained it to Circular Quay and took a few pics of Radiance of the Seas. But the weather was overcast and disappointing so I trained it back to Central, cabbed it to the doc's for my 9am appointment, and then decided I was too buggered to spend a whole day in Sydney running around with a camera. So I cabbed it back to Central, swapped my ticket for the earlier trip back to Taree and arrived home just after 5pm. Soon I was stacking up zeds and slept till about 7am.

It's interesting to compare the size of Radiance (in blue) with Titanic:

Class & type:  Olympic-class ocean liner (Radiance class cruise ship)
Tonnage:  46,328 GRT (90,090 GT)
Displacement:  52,310 tons
Length:  882 ft 6 in (269.0 m) (962ft (293m))
Beam:  92 ft 0 in (28.0 m) (105.6ft (32.2m))
Height:  175 ft (53.3 m) (keel to top of funnels) 
Draught:  34 ft 7 in (10.5 m) (28ft (8.5m))
Depth:  64 ft 6 in (19.7 m)
Decks:  9 (A–G) (12)
Installed power:  24 double-ended and 5 single-ended boilers feeding two reciprocating steam engines for the wing propellers and a low-pressure turbine for the center propeller; output: 46,000 HP (Gas turbine)
Propulsion:  Two 3-blade wing propellers and one 4-blade centre propeller
Speed:  Cruising: 21 kn (39 km/h; 24 mph). Max: 24 kn (44 km/h; 28 mph) (22 knots (41km/h; 25mph)
Capacity:  Passengers: 2,435, crew: 892 (2502 passengers, crew 859)
Notes:  Lifeboats: 20 for 1,178 people

I would have thought a ship is big as Radiance would have dwarfed Titanic but apart from the gross tonnage, Radiance is not all that much bigger in external dimensions. I'll put an album together of the pics tomorrow or the next day. Meanwhile, here are a couple I took of Central where a lady I was sitting next to discovered something rather interesting. And here's a wide view of the station itself.

Oh yes, almost forgot, NC Art told me about a bloke who was asked if he had to choose between Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, which would he prefer. So he said he'd prefer to spill half an ounce of Crown Royal than forget where he kept the bottle.

Well, it's past my normal knock off time. Been "at it" for about 12 hours emailing doctors and dentists and buggerizing around with all kinds of things that have consumed my day, including this Waffle. I'll be back at it tomorrow with pitchas. Gary

November 14, 2012. TX Greg is concerned about my weight loss: I'm really worried about you losing so much weight. I hope the doc can give some insight as to what to do and if this should be a real worry. I guess I've never known how tall you are, I'm guessing around 5-10 so by this chart you would be about 50lbs.under weight. Oh geez by this chart I need to lose about 30lbs. Hoping you get more rest today and can make the trip Thursday.

You guessed right... 5" 10". My normal weight (for a skinny bloke) is 65 kilos, so I'm down 15 kilos or about 30 pounds. I decided last night to take matters into my own hands so I emailed Liam. BTW, what I have is called osteoradionecrosis and/or an infection. Osteo is bone, radio is radiation therapy, and necrosis is dead/death. Liam agrees that in the interests of my health, nutrition is the number one priority, so the bottom suture has to go in order than I can feed myself. Nancy took a photo yesterday with a smart phone and sent it immediately to Liam, who says he can still see exposed bone. He's written a letter to Johnathan Clark, the cancer specialist in Sydney whom I'll see tomorrow morning. Meanwhile, Nancy's cleaning of the wound every other day will hopefully prevent any further infection. She's not charging for that, by the way, probably as some sort of compensation for wasting time trying to save my teeth in the first place.

While I waited for Nancy at the surgery yesterday, I heard the receptionist quoting prices for extractions to someone on the phone: $150 a pop. I had 10 out on Saturday. That's $1500, plus a bit of surgery which probably brings my total bill for 1 hour close to $2000. Whoa! There's another 10 teeth to go yet, plus dentures. I think my case is a bit different though... for starters, Medicare stipulates what can be charged for certain procedures, and allows $4250 max for the entire process through to dentures.

Back from seeing Nancy and the cleaning routine. The healing process is coming along pretty well, she says. She also removed some stitches and, more importantly, snipped off part of that exposed bone that was a bit sharp, probably causing most of the trouble with the tongue. So at least I can eat and drink in "some" comfort. It's still a bit sore but not as.

From the Beeb: Tens of thousands of tourists and astronomers gathered in northern Australia to glimpse a rare total solar eclipse. There had been fears that cloudy weather would obscure the eclipse but the clouds parted just as it began, drawing cheers from the crowd as the full spectacle came into view. Kids do the same thing in front of the TV when you're trying to watch it. Check out the eclipse footage here.

Here's a must-see from Ansel Adams, photographer extraordinaire and his dramatic and evocative landscapes of American Nature. They're on exhibition in London but you can see marvelous examples here.

More than 100,000 Americans have petitioned the White House to allow their states to secede from the US, after President Barack Obama's re-election. The appeals were filed on the White House's We the People website. In total, more than 20 petitions have been filed. One for Texas has reached the 25,000-signature threshold at which the White House promises a response. The last time states officially seceded, the US Civil War followed.

Anyway, it's time for me to post this Waffle and then set the alarm for 1am so I can get to the railway station for the trip overnight to Sydney. Let's hope I bring back some cool pics! Gary

November 13, 2012. Well, I'm sleeping so much even my automatic wristwatch is running several hours slow. It's the only way to cope, though. As soon as I starting moving around, the sutured wound starts throbbing. Eating and even drinking is impossible without a pain killer.

And that last para was written about 8 hours ago. I weighed myself earlier in the bathroom... down to 50 kilos now (just over 100 pounds), so I bought some stuff I can eat. The suture makes even swallowing difficult. 

Crossing the road on foot the other day, I paused for a Rodeo/Izuzu ute carrying a slide-on camper and noticed how high the camper sat. It was even more noticeable as the ute proceeded down the road to the traffic lights... close to 10' in total height from the ground. But it didn't look lopsided or anything, and the track of the ute didn't seem too narrow for its load.

Dave in Ormond Beach wrote to say his dad had all his teeth out at about my age: as I recall, it was just a case of teeth out, dentures in with no complications. And I suppose I am going down that road not too far from now, as I'm doing my best with only little more than about half of my ivories. Remembering your bout with cancer several months ago, I must say that your mouth and its contents have had more than their share of problems this year. Pity your tongue, it's had an especially rough time of it. When all of this current business is behind you, lets hope you get all of any other potential health problems out of the way before going on your odyssey across the wide open spaces of Oz. Having to deal with anything of that nature on this trip would be a real bummer (as the kiddies say).

Dave also made a wise decision to postpone a trip which would have seen him in the middle of Sandy territory recently. His relatives on Staten Island are still without phone (and probably power). And Dave's long time mate Spooky died recently so Dave adopted a new puddy tat from the local shelter and they're getting along just fine, which is great to hear.

And me? Well, I've got a bit more healing to do I'm afraid. So back to sleep I go. Gary

November 12, 2012. I'm feeling kinda drained at the mo, Ls & Gs... not inspired to do very much at all. Just back from the dentist, Nancy, who washed and checked the sutured surgery. She needs to do that every 2 days until it's healed and further infection is no longer a risk. The prosthetist, meanwhile, is worried about Liam charging like a wounded bull and leaving nothing for the dentures hehe. I phoned Medicare and from the original allowance of $4250, there's $3871 remaining after the stuff Nancy did earlier. Then I phoned Liam to let him know the prosthetist Rod needs $1350 left in the kitty for his contibution. I passed that info onto Rod and he seems to be happy. But he says there's no point in actually making the dentures until I've had all my teeth extracted, and even then sometime after my jaw has had a chance to settle into its new shape. I guess I can live with that. At least the dentures will fit properly.

BTW, the gums themselves are okay. Although the actual process of having many teeth pulled out of your skull is "an ordeal" to quote TX Greg, it doesn't take long for the pain to subside and the bleeding to stop. The worst part of the whole procedure, in my book, is the damn needles... about 8 of them. In this case, it's the surgery and the sutures that bother me. The side of the tongue rubs up against the sutures which feels like barbed wire. The wound is still sore as well. But I'm sure the second round of extractions will be okay, and take a lot less time to start healing.

A little while ago a parcel arrived... two spare batteries for the Nikon. I bought them cheap from mainland China... $18 for 2 with free postage. I've seen genuine Nikon batteries at $69 each! BUT... after I bought the batteries I read that the camera will reject them as being unsuitable. One is charging now so I'll know in about an hour.

NC Art reckons I'm forgiven for getting a bit slack in the Waffle department. He also comments on the the right to vote: About that voting thing, Americans are so damned independent they cherish the right not to vote. Years ago an old woman was asked about how she voted. “Oh I never vote. It only encourages them, y’know!” Takes all kinds I spose.

TX Greg also wrote to say the infected bone was a bummer but at least Liam found it and dealt with it on the spot. Greg also brought me up to speed on some technical issues we're having with Cody's site and host.

Steve W also wrote to say things could always be worse: Good on you Cobber, you are a trooper. Sorry that you are going through all of this. Not sure this will make you feel any better, but a very dear mate of mine of over 30 years, was diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer August of last year. He lives in San Fran and is now in the final stages and am going at short notice to see him whilst he can still communicate and enjoy bits of life. Gary, you and I have survived cancer, but if you get cancer of the Pancreas, well, no one survives - it has a 100% mortality rate. So, for what little it is worth whilst you cope with all of this shit that has landed in your lap (or face) it could have been worse. You will still get to do the Odyseey, my mate Chris won't and he is 57. I am very sad. Savour every moment.

And I suppose if you looked around hard enough, you'd find someone even worse off than your mate Chris. Anyway, I'm going back to sleep. It's the only effectively way to deal with this situation for the next few days. Oh yes... the cheap Nikon batteries were rejected. Oh well... Gary

November 11, 2012. TX Greg wrote to say he hopes I made it home and am resting. Yep, I slept from about 2pm yesterday to midday today, Sunday. Greg says he's sure having all those teeth removed was an ordeal. An ordeal it was! But the dentist Liam discovered a bone infection, which meant he had to stop the extractions and perform surgery... remove the infected part of the bone, cover the exposed area with tissue borrowed from elsewhere, and stitch it up. So that meant extracting only half my teeth... those on the upper and lower right. The rest are due for extraction November 30, the last day before the Medicare thing ends. I certainly hope nothing goes wrong on that day because there's no Plan B.

Steve W also wrote to wish me well.

Meanwhile, the prosthetist phoned early yesterday. Last Thursday he spoke to Nancy the dentist who told him the dentures weren't needed just yet because she and Liam the specialist were doing "an assessment" on Saturday. Oh really? Nancy's not up to speed on this. An "assessment" wasn't the case at all. Liam started by advising me of the risks associated with leaving the teeth in. They would eventually rot and fall out anyway because radiotherapy kills blood flow to the roots and jaw bone. Also, my ability to produce saliva is severely restricted, which affects my immune system's ability to control bacteria in my mouth, which in turn increases the risk of infection if all teeth are not removed. This was all news to Nancy who's not a radiation specialist like Liam. He works out of Westmead Hospital and teaches at university in Sydney. He apparently makes trips to Taree (and perhaps other country areas) to perform work other dentists can't do. 

BTW, Liam also said if this infection doesn't heal as he expects it to, it'll be a job for the cancer specialist in Sydney and a six month stay in hospital. And Nancy wanted to save all my teeth? Where the hell was she coming from?

I'll phone the prosthetist on Monday morning and tell him to go ahead with the full denture. It'll need to be finished before the month to qualify for Medicare. In mid January, six weeks after the second set of extractions, when the jawbone finally settles into permanent shape, the dentures will need to be readjusted. That'll cost about $100 but I can handle that without Medicare. It's the $2000 dentures that would have been a worry. Not to mention all the extractions and surgery.

Here are a couple of paras I wrote yesterday morning but didn't post:

I had second thoughts about that pic yesterday of the frangipani. The flower could have been a bit more crisp. I figured maybe I should adjust the viewfinder diopter (if that's what it's called) to suit my eye for more accurate focus. But yesterday I posted the pic on Red Bubble and also submitted it to Old Farts of Red Bubble, a group that demands high quality images only. And this morning I noted that it had been accepted. So there ya go. I'll do the diopter thing anyway.

Also yesterday, one Bubbler commented on a pic of a lotus I took years ago. "Nice," was all he wrote. So I replied, "Me or the flower?" This morning he answered, "Yes." Hehe.

But back to using manual controls on the camera and, more importantly, having the confidence to do so. Traveling around Oz with a camera continually on auto is no good; a waste of opportunities. The pics need to be better than average if I'm to take full advantage of unique situations that are presented to me. And there should be no shortage of those. I'm reminded of what my father told my mother when he was teaching me to drive: "He'll never get his license; he's too nervous." That was 50 years ago.

Just after I turned 50, I woke one morning in Canberra, looked at the ceiling of the Kombi and thought, "Is this all I have to show for 50 years?" I was still smarting over losing my house. I've since learned that losing a house ain't the end of the world. Next year, when I wake one morning and look at the camper ceiling, I certainly won't be thinking what I thought in the Kombi. I'll have a different attitude entirely. Outside will be a new world waiting to be explored and photographed and written about.

From the Beeb: CIA director David Petraeus resigns from his post because of an extra-marital affair, saying he has shown "extremely poor judgement". Falling in love has nothing to do with judgement, which is why it can be so dangerous.

President Obama says the wealthy must pay more taxes under any political deal to avert a looming fiscal crisis, but a top Republican rejects the plan. We're off to a great start, then.

I hear that about 40% of the vote was white. The US demographic is changing, which is something the GOP doesn't seem to understand. Or didn't. Hispanics are a big part of "the majority of minorities" that make up the ethnic mix of America today. Maybe that's what Obama meant when he said Romney was back in the '50s. Even Florida was won by the Dems.

Back from the dentist. Liam is a radiation specialist and teaches at University in Sydney. So he knows a thing or two. And now I do too. 

And that's when I decided to sleep. And which I'm gonna do again now because if I sit up or move around, the surgical wound begins to ache again. I'll write again when I can. Gary

November 9, 2012. I was surprised yesterday when Ohio Jace said 54% of elegible US voters voted. Makes me wonder what the Aussie turnout would be if voting weren't compulsory here. It seems strange that so many peeps take democracy for granted when there are billions of others in the world who would give their eye teeth to have the right (and privilege) to elect their representatives. One Aussie journo the other night said most Americans she'd met were surprised to learn that voting is compulsory in Oz. In defense of our system she reasoned, "You're going to get a president anyway so why not have a say in who it is?"

It's teeth day today. I'm tempted to buy a hand puppet. Anyway, I'll take a pic of my new pearlies later and post it. Remember young Josh? He has a perfect set of teeth... both shape and color. So now I will too! Fingers crossed that once the gums settle down, I'll be able to eat proper food again. Even things like a simple sandwich! This has not been one of my better years, dear Breth.

How's that for a pic? I called it First Out of the Blocks. I decided to try manual focus on auto at 50mm instead of the usual macro setting and I think the result is pretty spesh. It's a frangipani from the tree growing in front of the house. Their perfume is just awesome. Funny thing is, years ago with my Olympus OM1 I used manual settings all the time no worries, but I kinda lost my nerve after using all these modern auto digitals. Not now, though. The kid's back!

Well, the good news is I got my folding camp table - not the one advertised, it's HUGE, but a smaller one. The bad news is that the dental prosthetist's office and workshop is closed. He also doesn't answer his mobile/cell. And all my teeth will be permanently relegated to history tomorrow. I've left a message and sent an email so we'll see what happens.

I also picked up my new ticket from Taree railway station where the female attendant was decidedly bitchy. To begin with, I arrived at the ticket office and had the nerve to interrupt her private phone call, then she gave me the third degree about why I didn't just print a revised copy of my ticket on the net. When I explained I was just following advice from the bloke I phoned yesterday, she carried on like she was doing me some kinda huge favor. What a miserable old witch.

The guy at Sam's Warehouse was the opposite. When he dragged the folding table from the storeroom at the back of the store and brought it on a trolley all the way to the front only to hear me say it was way too big, and that I wanted a smaller one for camping, he happily obliged and went all the way back to the storeroom to get me a table that's just right.

I've just had a good look at it and opened it up. Weeeell, better than I expected. It's an Oztrail brand which has a good rep. Steel, plastic and MDF (MDF is a uniform density panel with a fine and smooth surface ideal for shaping and routing.) I assume the MDF stuff is the table top. It's braced underneath and has a mirror-finish top in a mid-gray pattern with 1"-deep brushed steel edging. Very attractive. Load capacity is 30kgs (60lbs), so it's nice and sturdy. It also has a built-in carry handle. And all for $30 which is a great price. I've done well!

From the Beeb: Fresh from his election win, Barack Obama will this month become the first US president to visit Burma, the White House says. He will meet President Thein Sein and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. In a statement, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Mr Obama intended to "speak to civil society to encourage Burma's ongoing democratic transition".

Edgar Feuchtwanger: A Jewish childhood on Hitler's street. An interesting article about a little boy who remembers Hitler and the looming Nazi threat. He and NC Art were growing up at the same time but in very different circumstances. But they would both end up in London.

And that's it. Friday and no new teeth. I've called his mobile several times... unavailable. Also, the email bounced. I'll phone again a bit later and, if that doesn't work, again in the morning. It's all a bit of a worry on the eve of the big tooth exodus. Good thing the Monday appointment in Sydney has been moved to Thursday. Oh well... let's see what happens tomorrow. Gary

November 8, 2012. All the Aussie commentators I watched yesterday agreed that it was the extreme views of the Tea Party - comments such as the conception of a fetus during rape is "God's will" - that brought the GOP undone. Their opposition to same sex marriage was another reason as articulated by this excerpt from an article posted on Justin's blog:

Maine and Maryland deserve a round of applause and our heartfelt thanks. They were among four states with same-sex-marriage referendums this Election Day, and if official projections are correct, they just approved it at the ballot box, where it had never succeeded before. More than that, they guaranteed an entirely different conversation from now on. Opponents can no longer broadly and blankly say that the growing number of politicians who support gay marriage are outside the mainstream; that President Obama is outside the mainstream; that opinion polls charting a rapidly increasing favor for same-sex marriage are somehow not reflective of the mainstream. While Maine may not be the most representative state in America, it’s also not some goofy, freaky, Bohemian tributary of the mainstream.

Yep, Bob Dylan knew that back in the '60s. If you don't change with the times, you get left behind.

Ohio Jace also noticed the fate of the right wingers: At last, the election is over. WOOHOO!!! With barely half those eligible voting (54%) some 60 million are very happy campers, me included. I voted early a couple weeks ago, but my brother waited until the last minute, taking the oldest grandson (14) along for the experience, since he will be eligible to vote in the next presidential. I used a paper ballot (old fashion way) and they used the newest voting machine (computer screen).

Let's hope Congress will cooperate with the President this term unlike the last when the GOP's only goal was to defeat Obama in 2012.

Remember Richard Mourdock ( is that gift from God that I think even if life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen”) and Todd Akin (“women who are victims of what he called 'legitimate rape' rarely get pregnant") ? Well both were defeated in the election giving the Dems two more seats in the Senate.

What eggheads. And yes I remember clearly those Tea Party ratbags who swore vehemently to make Obama a one-term president. They behaved like the fanatics they are. I wrote a line on Justin's blog today: Ya know, if Romney had not asked God to bless America, he could have been president elect right now.

NC Art had this to say: Yep it was satisfying to see my man Obama win another term as US President. At least one sorehead Republican means to keep the war hot. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell avowed to work with President Obama...well as long as Obama agrees to concur in all issues the Republicans want. True bi-partisanship, what? All for the good of the country, my ass.

I worry about the true motives of politicians. Are they in government to serve the people or to serve their own political agenda? One commentator on telly last night referred to the house of reps as in "gridlock" and another said it "wasn't working". What's the point of a government elected by the people if it can't govern? I gather from what some people say that Reagan and Clinton were able to negotiate with both sides of the house to compromise on "gridlock" issues, so I guess it boils down to strong personalities and a talent for persuasive argument.

Art said the other day that horses were dumb: I should revise my opinion of horse intellect. I lost 60 bucks on the Kentucky Derby once. My bet to win, placed instead. My bet to place, showed. The nag I backed to show was way back somewhere. No horse in the race ever bet on a human. Smarter than me, eh?

I worked with quite a few race callers during my time in radio - John Tapp, Ian Craig, Paul Ambrosoli, Ray Warren, Des Hoysted, etc - and remember how they worded their tips. "Whatever beats it, will win", was one. "Should be right there in the finish", was another. "Sure to give a good sight", another. Hehe. One professional punter who did very well at the game was an ex-bookmaker, banned from the trade as well as racecourses for his role in substituting a look-a-like horse for another in a race (the Fine Cotton affair). Anyway, this guy knew a thing or two about form and how to play the odds. He studied the form meticulously and then calculated the odds needed to make his choice a worthwhile bet. He made a good living as a professional punter but, by the same token, put a lot of effort into researching and choosing his bets wisely.

From the Beeb: US President Obama and his family return to Washington as attention moves from his re-election to the need for a budget deal with Congress. Yep "we got work to do!"

Australians are perhaps more famed for their sporting feats than for their technological innovation. But a new children's book, Australia's Greatest Inventions and Innovations, by Christopher Cheng and Lindsay Knight, aims to change that. Here are 10 eye-catching inventions that come from the land down under. 

Meals on Wheels just arrived at the door for Sue. Apparently they had a Melbourne Cup sweep and Sue won a prize... a tin of chocolate cafe-style creme wafers... for the horse that ran last.

Speaking of winning, the results of Tuesday's $100m Lotto just came through. Three numbers, one short of what's needed for a minor prize. Oh, well...

I've often spoken of Mieke who lives in Derby, North Western Oz, near Kimberley country. Recently, she met a pilot and was given the opportunity to photograph some of the Kimberley from the air. How's this for a stunning shot of virgin coastline? Click on the pic for a larger view. Mind you, much of that country is pretty much inaccessible by ordinary vehicle so I'll have to settle for roads more traveled. That is, unless I spend a few bucks on a 4WD organized group tour.

Back from a trip into town to buy plastic cereal bowls and a fold-up table. The tables haven't arrived yet but the bowls were 40 cents each. Four for $1.60. How's that for a bargain? The folding tables are pretty nifty - the legs fold in and the top folds in half to form a carry case. Perfect for the Odyssey. I'll try again tomorrow. On the way home, I heard a song on the radio that really got me bouncing around and tapping the steering wheel. As soon as I got home, I searched Youtube. Almost 50 million views already? How come I'd never heard the song before?

Got a call from the cancer specialist's office in Sydney... can't see me Monday cos the doc will be in surgery. But can see me 9am Thursday, otherwise it'll be next year. I told them I'd phone back and confirm. First thing I did was check the Overseas Passenger Terminal's arrivals and departures. No worries! Radiance of the Seas will be in port, docking at 6:30am. Pretty much the same as Pacific Jewel - pointy end, blunt end, lots of decks, 90,000 tons, etc. So that'll do. Then I phoned the local railway station to change my booking, and confirmed my appointment with the doc. I'll train it from Central after arriving at 7am to Circular Quay, take lots of pics of the ship and surrounds, do a ferry trip to Darling Harbor, wander around there for a while videoing stuff, then cab it to the doc's for the appointment, and then spend the rest of the day buggerizing around Sydney till the late afternoon train leaves for Taree. Meanwhile, I'll have a few more days to recover from Saturday's dental extractions. Sheesh. What a week!

When I angle-parked rear to kerb outside Sam's Warehouse, I was between two cars. I braked when I figured I was close to the kerb but I kept going backwards. I increased pressure on the footbrake but that didn't work. So I practically pushed the pedal through the floor. Then I realized what was going on. The woman beside me was moving forward, leaving her parking spot. Has that ever happened to you? It's a bit like stepping onto an escalator that's stationary for repair. You're so used to it moving, you tend to trip. Same thing at the other end when you step off.

Ohio Jace attached a pic to his email, a "bush baby" without a stitch on. I checked if there was any need for a bandaid but couldn't see any. Sunscreen could be the go though. Hehe. Don't blame me, dear Breth, it's people like Ohio Jace and TX Greg who keep leading me astray. Anyway, it's vamoose time and a bit of telly. Gary

November 7, 2012. The horse that won the Melbourne Cup yesterday, Green Moon, is Irish by the way. Explains the "green" in moon. Yesterday was also the draw of Oz Lotto's biggest ever jackpot... $100M. I checked the results this morning but "due to unprecedented demand" they won't be available until late this afternoon. And on top of all that, there's the Obama/Romney contest. Busy day.

Oregon Richie wrote this morning to say: Interesting that if the whole WORLD could vote then our President would win with about a 3 to 1 margin.  Romney tries to convince us all that we have shamed ourselves in the eyes of the world but he's about as on track as a derailed freight train.  A fraud and a phony and like one panel said... if you are a liberal, a conservative, or a libretarian, or whatever... he's YOUR man since he's taken YOUR position at one time or the other.  Scary bastard, so far as I am concerned.

To my mind, anyone who can argue in favor of Mormonism (or any other religion or ideology that represents right wing views) is capable of rationalizing anything or justifying anything. Simple as that. You don't need facts. You don't need reality. You don't need to prove anything. The world is fulla peeps who confuse fact with opinion. It's just the way some human beings are. And there's no shortage of gullible believers who are willing to go along with it.

I watched a program on telly last night hosted by an ABC (Oz) journalist/author, Annabelle Crabb. She toured Florida in a rented vintage VW Kombi and interviewed all kinds of people, mostly Republicans. One of them was an old Vet dressed only in Speedos and riding a bicycle. "You seem to be an eminently sensible man," Annabelle joked as she spoke to him in the street. Hehe. She also interviewed a bunch of rowdy youth (most shirtless), drinking from suspicious looking jars. "No Obama," they kept chanting while one insisted on poking his head into frame and pulling faces. Annabelle was 6 months pregnant at the time. One street protester, holding a pair of Mormon underwear, asked, "Would you vote for a man who wears these?" "I'd have to think seriously about it," she answered. She's quite funny... not to mention diplomatic. Then he asked her how she felt about abortion. "In my case, I think it's pretty obvious," she smiled. She also interviewed a number of politicians of both persuasions, being careful to remain neutral. Their answers were predictable enough. Incidentally, she seemed to enjoy being behind the wheel of the old Vee Dub and changing gears with that long-throw stick. No probs with left-hand drive.

One guy she spoke to on board his moored cruiser talked about Reagan and Clinton. "Those men were bigger than America's problems," he said. "But America's problems are now bigger than the men."

During the show, Annabelle visited a gun shop. "I've never been inside a gun shop before," she explained to the assistant. "How should I behave?" "You're doin' just fine," he said. "Just fine." Then he showed her a number of handguns including a little Derringer. She slapped her cheek as if she'd been struck by a bullet and said, "Ouch!" but the attendant didn't get the joke.

On another show, one commentator described the presidential campaign, especially in the swing states, as an "assault". He said one TV channel ran 22 consecutive political ads in a single news break. He said people were getting up to 20 phone calls a day from political parties asking whether they intended to vote and, if so, for whom. Most Americans, he said, couldn't wait for the campaigns to end. In fact, they were so fed up with the whole "assault" they didn't care who the hell won. They just wanted it over.

Watching programs like those makes me realize how fortunate I am to be an Aussie.

It's mid morning at the mo and there's nothing on the Beeb yet about how the figures are going. However, I did read one story about computer glitches at polling booths. One guy complained that he selected Obama on the touch screen but got Romney. Another guy complained of exactly the opposite prob. Oh dear...

I see one tweet that says Romney has only written one speech for tonight. Hmmm. Meanwhile, Democratic strategist James Carville predicts "the ass whuppin' cometh". Hehe. I'll be watching a special edition of The Drum tonight hosted by John Barron who hosts Planet America. It's on now, actually, and should be very comprehensive. At the mo, mid afternoon in Oz, it's 250 Dems to 206 GOP electoral college votes. And now Florida has fallen to the Dems according to Jed Bush who phoned Romney with the news. Just now, Fox told Obama that he's won Ohio. I hear that Obama is ahead on the popular vote as well. And that's it... 275 college votes to Obama. It's all over, folks, at 3:20pm Oz time the president has won a second term. Chicago is partying big time! I wonder how long it'll take for Romney to read the speech he didn't bother to write? So much for God being on the side of Romney and his belief that he was destined to become President of the United States of America. (290/206... er, 303/206 now)

The consensus of the panel here is that Obama needs to hone his bipartisan skills, and work with Republicans in congress to solve problems with the economy. They agree that his partisan approach thus far needs to become history. It's time for all Americans to work together. One person noted that after a long and bitter campaign costing over $2B, nothing's changed. It's all back to the way it was before.

The New York Times Borowitz Report sums it up succinctly.

And now to another topic from the Beeb, why are people so mean to single people?

Plans to legalise same-sex marriage and allow gay couples to adopt are to be discussed at a meeting of the French Socialist government. France already allows civil unions between same-sex couples, but it was a campaign pledge of President Francois Hollande to extend their rights. He is now facing tough opposition to the idea. We have the same situation in Oz... stubborn peeps resisting the inevitable.

I just watched Romney's concession speech after phoning Obama to congratulate him on his win. I thought he handled himself very well... it was a gracious and appropriately short speech. Now I'm waiting for Obama's victory speech before I post this edition of Waffle. 

Okies... the victory speech is over. I thought it was mostly predictable albeit well-crafted but I was heartened to hear him talk about a bipartisan approach, and working with Romney and the GOPs to solve America's major problems, including climate change. So that's it from me, folks! It's been quite a day. Gary

November 6, 2012. The consensus amongst commentators I see on Oz telly is that Obama will scrape in. One says Obama will actually do better than most people expect.

Meanwhile, today is "the race that stops a nation" day - the $6M Melbourne Cup. I watched a story on an owner/trainer last night who said Aussies have lost the plot in preparing horses for long distance races (3200 meters/2 miles) and as a consequence most of the field is comprised of runners from overseas or horses with foreign blood. He named his horse Ethiopia after that country's long distance runners. It's the only "true blue" Aussie the race, to be ridden by well known provincial jockey Rhys McLeod (the horse's regular rider) rather than one of the high fliers. If Ethiopia is first past the post, it'll be a fairy tale win. Early betting has the horse at 19/1.

Prince Charles and Camilla are here for the event after visiting Longreach yesterday, and I think it'll be Camilla who will present the trophy. It's as much a fashion event as anything else, and the media focus is bound to be on what Camilla is wearing (along with all the other ladies). Hats are the big item.

Picking the winner of the Melbourne Cup is like winning a lottery so most Aussie punters elect to spend their money on an office sweep where the punters' names and horses are drawn from a hat. Then everyone downs tools for the big race mid afternoon on the first Tuesday of November. Many workers even take the afternoon off and go to a pub, club or restaurant for a Melbourne Cup luncheon. It really is the race that stops a nation. What's the bet even Aussie diggers in Afghanistan take a break to listen to "the Cup"?

But for me at the mo, I'm off to see the doctor, the wonderful doctor of Oz. I need to renew a few scripts and get a few skin cancers burnt off... although I'm sure there are a couple that will need surgery. Bleh. Those things just keep popping up outta nowhere... neck, arms, shoulders.

BACK! No change... same medication... need a few skin cancers surgically removed but no hurry. When I told the doc about having all my 20+ teeth removed next Saturday, he said to the young medical student who was with us, "I'm glad I'm not a dentist". Yeah... well I think in this particular case I'd rather be the dentist than the patient. The student, by the way, thought it rather odd that photographing a ship and having a cheeseburger for lunch were my main priorities next Monday when I visit the cancer specialist in Sydney.

Just heard the race on radio... won by Green Moon at 20/1 with 2nd and 3rd "any old price". The favs bombed out so the bookies will be cheering. Ethiopia ran a pretty good race up in the leading bunch for most of the journey but couldn't handle the dash to the post. He finished about mid field. This report from the Beeb bragging about the British connections.

Earlier on radio a bloke told the story of a couple of horses at one end of the bar in a pub, and a greyhound at the other. "I was in a race the other day after a slow start," said one of the horses after taking a sip of his beer. "I was tailing the field as we came around the turn into the straight but there was a bloody wall of horses in front with nowhere for me to go. Then out of the bloody blue I got this burning sensation in my rump and I took off like a rocket, shot past the field and hit the post a length in front." "Really?" the other horse said. "That's bloody amazing! Same thing happened to me last week. I was midfield on the fence, pocketed by a bunch of other horses with nowhere to go. Then all of a sudden I felt this burning sensation in my butt and I took off between runners and flew down the straight to win by a long neck." The greyhound had overheard the horses' convo and trotted down to their end of the bar. "G'day, fellas," he said as he placed his bourbon and coke on the bar, "I couldn't help overhearing what you blokes were saying. Same thing happened to me a few days ago at Wentworth Park. I drew box 5, which as you know is the worst box, and dwelt at the start. The field was way ahead with 100 meters to go when I felt this burning sensation in my arse and I took off around the field and flew down the outside to win by a head." "That's bloody amazing," said one of the horses as he turned to his mate. "A talking dog!"

From the Beeb: US presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney make closing arguments on the last full day of campaigning before an election too close to call. Edge of your seat stuff. At the last federal election in Oz we ended up with a hung parliament with 3 independents holding the balance of power. After much deliberation, they sided with Labor to form a minority government. And what a mess it's been ever since.

"One voice can change a room. And if it can change a room, it can change a city. And if it can change a city it can change a state. And if it can change a state it can change a country. And if it can change a country it can change the world. Iowa you helped us change the world," Obama said as he came to the end of his speech. "Are you fired up?!" 

And now to the family album: Obama and Romney through the years.

Oh yeah... also on the radio in the bathroom I heard the announcer talking about being able to accept rejection to get a business up and running. Col Sanders was knocked back over 1000 times before finally convincing someone to invest in Kentucky Fried Chicken. He was living in the back of a car! I do the same thing with the Odyssey. There are a million reasons why it can't be done, not the least of which is the age pension, my sole income. But I keep visualizing camping at various places, and talking about visiting iconic Australian towns and locations. I also buy things like kitchen stuff, cushions, sleeping bags, padlocks and other things for the trip. According to the experts, the more real a dream becomes in your mind, the more likely it will materialize. It's a matter of convincing the subconscious which is 90% of your brain rather than the conscious which is 10%.

I suppose the "power of positive thinking" is the reason guys like Hitler inexplicably rise to the dizzy heights they do. How many times has someone replied to being asked "how did you do it?", with "Nobody told me I couldn't."

So there goes another day; one day closer to the Sydney trip on Monday. The forecast for next Monday at the mo is sunny and warm. But for now it's telly time - bit early for the presidential election though which will happen overnight our time, with counting through the day. I'm sure all my American friends will be glued to the toob. Gary

November 5, 2012. Turns out that Oregon Richie printed Greg's graphic of Cody and Table Mountain years ago. It still sits on top of his bookcase and he sees it every day... a poignant reminder of not only the Codeman but also of Richie's visit to Cape Town shortly after Cody's death.

Richie also sent the link to this election map graphic which shows the current distribution of DEM/DOP preferences.

News quips indicate that the Romney campaign is getting weepy as the campaign winds down and probably have a good hunch that they will lose.  Of course, they may blame this or that or Guv Christie of NJ and the hurricane and the baffling will of God but who the hell cares.  I just LOVE all those hard-core "red" states who want less government, hate that the government "redistributes" wealth, yet... as Guv Christie pointed out... having no problem in accepting federal relief funding since he pointed out that NJ sends MORE to the federal government than they usually get back... well- fair play.  And roughneck places like Wyoming and most of the other "red" states get much MORE from the federal government than THEY ever pay in !!  Double standard, yeah?  A dash of utter delusion, yeah?  A touch of hypocrisy, yeah?  Go figure... and someone has to, because obviously THEY can't !!!

Hehe. NC Art also has some thoughts on TV antennas: Right about antennas. My daughter moved into an apartment in Richmond after college and could get no picture on her tiny B/W telly. I found a long metal cooking fork that worked fairly well.

As to horses: Horses as a rule are incredibly stupid. The patient training a person can laboriously impart by intense repetition must be practiced daily. All will be forgotten by the horse within a few days of inactivity. Yes, they are beautiful—if well fed, curried and cared for incessantly. Still they will walk on your foot with malicious glee.

Campdrafters on the story I saw said pretty much the same thing... that back in the old days the majority of horses were used to pull things or as some form of transport. It was only a select few that had the potential for campdrafting. And even then, they needed daily training.

Art was having trouble clicking on the link to the BBC story on the old WW1 photos of Aussie diggers, so I sent him the original link via email: It worked. Thanks evers. Reminds me of some stuff I saw as a small tad. The orphanage main building was originally a military academy and still stored there were old rifles, uniforms, and photos from the Great War. A stereopticon with photoprints gave the image a 3-D appearance. I thought it was near magic! So there ya go, another satisfied customer.

And last but not least: A New Jersey chap wrote to advise that he now has power and will be able to flush his toilet when the pump has filled the reservoir. His generator is strong enough to power a few lights. His problem was caused by an “asshole neighbor who refused to take down a rotten tree, which fell and took down the neighborhood.” Yep there’s more of them than we need.

Which brings me to the porta potti: no batteries or motors, no whizz bang technology... just a hand pump at the rear to pump water into the bowl, and a foot pedal at the front for flushing. Poo in peace. Unless, of course, a western brown pokes its head through a gap in the tent. Actually, there's a famous old Aussie country song about what you might find in the outdoor dunny:

There was a red-back on the toilet seat
When I was there last night,
I didn’t see him in the dark,
But boy! I felt his bite!
I jumped high up into the air,
And when I hit the ground,
That crafty red-back spider
Wasn’t nowhere to be found.

I rushed in to the missus,
Told her just where I’d been bit,
She grabbed the cut throat razor blade,
And I nearly took a fit.
I said, “Just forget what’s on your mind,
And call a doctor please,
‘Cause I’ve got a feeling that your cure
Is worse than the disease.”

From the Beeb: The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have been given a glimpse of village life in Papua New Guinea. A choir of women in floral shirts and grass skirts welcomed the couple, who are on a tour to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee year, to Boera. In a speech, he introduced himself in the local Tok Pisin language as the "first child of Mrs Queen", which brought cheers and applause from the crowd of about 5,000 people. Yep, and the Royal Couple will tour Oz next, arriving in Longreach, the birthplace of Qantas, this week. And guess what the Royal dinner will be? A barbie. Hehe.

Britain's oldest man is celebrating his 110th birthday. Mr Dean, who was born in Tunstall, Staffordshire, on 4 November 1902, says the secret of his longevity is being lazy, but his family says it may be down to a potion he drank in India. Asked how he felt, he said: "A year older than when I was 109! It has been a long year but I feel much better now. I can't say enough (about the birthday celebrations), it's all very kind and I did not expect it and of course I shall have another one when I am 130." His son, Christopher said the family had its own theory about his long life. "When he was out in India, just before World War I, he was given an elixir by a local there. "He did a favour for one of the locals and this guy said, 'drink this and you'll live til at least 100'. "And he said being naive 'I just drank it' - this muddy mixture and here he is now - no one can argue with that now."

Speaking of India, I saw a story on telly last night about an Indian bloke who's 95. His wife is in her 50s and they've just had a son. He said he owes his long life and virility to no meat, no fish, no booze... just a vegetarian diet and lots of hard work in the fields. He still works every day (and bonks the missus at night).

Back from a little shopping and posting a letter. The post office had picnic dining sets on sale so I bought one. All the plates, napkins, goblets, S&P shakers and cutlery are packed away in a nice carry bag, which means they don't rattle around in the camper. There's even a little tool with a corkscrew, bottle and can opener, and pen knife. How sweet. The only thing missing (that I don't have already) is a set of melamine bowls. I already have oodles of glass and china stuff but that's no good on the road. If I ever slide off the side of a mountain road and tumble a thousand meters to the valley floor the last thing I'll need when I get there is broken glass and crockery.

Remember when Post Offices only sold stamps and stationery? Not now, folks. They sell everything... computer stuff, cameras, printer ink, phones,  electronic gizmos, toys, games and all kinds of goodies including picnic sets.

BTW, I know what you're thinking... the S&P shakers will spill stuff in transit. No, no, no, no, no. They're nifty little plastic dooverlackies with screw tops that cover the shaker holes. Down there for dancin' ya know.

On the way home, I was behind a Winnebago motor home at the traffic lights. It had to be 10' tall if it was an inch, but was mounted on a dual-wheel truck chassis. My camper weighs 3/4 of a ton so it should be cool. Too bad if it ain't.

I wonder if I'll be signing off at five-ish on the Odyssey. Dunno. We'll have to wait and see. I could be busy sticking bandaids on a surfer or something. Or on the beach taking sunset pics. Or throwing a shrimp on the barbie. Or wrestling a wombat. But for now, ladies and genitals, it's the dreary old suburban routine again. Byeeee. Gary

November 4, 2012. TX Greg wrote to remind me that it was he who created the Cody graphic I posted yesterday. Was cool to see you reposted my old graphic. Hard to believe it's been eight years since I made that for you. Yes, Greg was very talented back then. Hehe. 

BR João also wrote: Eleven years without Cody. An automatic answer put by Steve in Cody’s email address let me know the sad news. I have exchanged no more than half a dozen brief emails with Cody and suddenly I was devastated by his lost. I could imagine what those which really know him were feeling. But you’re right, it was also a new beginning to many things, what proves he’s still alive in so many hearts. 

I remember Cody telling me about the bloke who offered to translate his stories into Portuguese. He was pretty chuffed about that. João goes on to say: Very impressive the photos of Australian soldiers of World War I. Old B&W photos have some kind of intensity we don’t find in modern ones. Coincidentally I’m reading Eric Hobsbawm’s The Age of Extremes. He describes the absurdity of the massacre in the Western Front. The guys on the photos were going to participate in the Offensive of Somme. Just in the first day of this battle English Army (including Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, South Africans, Indians) had 60,000 casualties. At the end 420,000 young men were dead just in Allied side. And the lines moved just a few miles.

Yes, absurd is a most appropriate adjective. "It seemed like a good idea at the time."

Probably it was all gays’ fault. If pastor John McTernan was right this is a logical conclusion. He blamed gays for Hurricane Sandy and some other tragedies. It was comic if it wasn’t tragic.

McTernan is living proof that you can be an utter dickhead and still deposit a weekly salary in your bank account. According to McTernan's logic (and those of his ilk), God doesn't approve of homosexuality. Therefore, instead of eliminating homosexual behavior in an instant (which is within his almighty power) he chooses to send the destructive might of massive storms and other "acts of God" to kill and maim innocents, including the very young and the very frail, as a "message" to the faithful. Hello? Even if there were a God, I don't believe he could be anywhere near as dopey as McTernan. But as SF Jim used to tell me, "God has a sense of humor". Hehe. I suppose he meant that people like McTernan are a product of that.

Paradoxically, while we all may have a sense of humor, we don't all agree on what constitutes something funny.

Rodeos have never appealed to me... cowboys getting a pretty hairy ride on a bucking bronco or bull fail to capture my imagination. But campdrafting? I watched a story about campdrafting on Land Line last night... a uniquely Australian sport that involves a horse and rider peeling a cow from a small herd, steering it into an open arena, and "encouraging" it to run a figure-eight course. Hehe. It's pretty tricky, and not many horses understand the object of the game. It takes a pretty smart horse with sharp reflexes to do the job well. Back in the early pioneering days, campdrafters often argued about who had the best campdrafting horse. The disputes led to organized competition which still exists today. In fact, campdrafting is the most popular sport involving horses outside of thoroughbred racing. I found it most entertaining watching the horses try to anticipate and out-maneuver a cow's attempts to run a straight line instead of a figure eight. Sometimes a cow gets tired of playing silly buggers and simply refuses to budge from a particular spot. Hehe. Nuttin can be done about that! The great thing about the game is that any rider can go from winner to loser in no time flat. So it gives all riders, no matter what their level of skill or experience, the chance to become a champion. Campdrafting is the bush's answer to polo.

I can understand why certain people become very attached to a horse and form a strong bond. They're pretty amazing animals. And there's not much that can match them for grace at speed.

I've just been checking forums about digital TV antenna and prices on eBay. What kind of reception do they have? Is it any good? Yadda, yadda. I've had an indoor antenna for years (probably the best part of 20) that I used with an old analogue TV in the kitchen. But we no longer have analogue... we've gone totally digital. The antenna is an 11" diam mesh dish with an infinity shaped aerial in front and a couple of telescopic rabbit ears. Would it work with a digital HDTV? One way to find out. Yes, it does. Took a bit of maneuvering and extending the rabbit ears but it works. Actually, it works with digital much better than it did with analogue. It's also got a built-in amplifier and gain control knob. I can't remember what I paid for it but it wasn't cheap. It's an Archer brand. Sooooo, that's coming with me on the Odyssey. It was covered in dust and grime so it's had a clean up. Saves me buying a new one, yeah? However, I can't expect to get decent signal strength in many areas I visit. Depends on how isolated they are. Not that I watch much TV anyway... just the news and current affairs mostly with a few docos thrown in. I also have a feeling I'll need to use the TV's auto tuning each time I camp in a new area.

I did read one comment on a forum about metal roofs blocking TV signals. The camper has an aluminium roof. Hmmm. Oh well... Maybe it'll work near a window or doorway. I also read a comment from a skeptic who said all the bullshit about digital antennae and all the fancy bells and whistles are just that... bullshit. He reckons a couple of bits of wire or a metal coathanger will do the trick. Actually, I remember the first time I saw an old coathanger used as an aerial was on a caravan way back when I was in my mid teens.

BTW, using an indoor antenna in a camper instead of an outdoor means you don't have to make a hole in the wall for the lead. I have a strict rule - me inside, bugs outside.

From the Beeb: US presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney address large crowds as they criss-cross key battleground states ahead of Tuesday's election. One thing I heard the other day I found fascinating. In order to win pre-selection in the primaries, Republicans tend to appeal to the far right in order to bolster support for nomination. Once secured, they then change tack to appeal to the middle ground in order to win sufficient votes in the general election. No wonder Romney is criticized by some sections of his party for not being conservative enough. Anyway, here's a vid featuring Bill Clinton telling voters what a great job Obama has being doing. 

A copy of Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa, believed to have been painted at the beginning of the last century, is to go on display at Australia's National Library. The work, which is a perfect replica, is thought to have been painted by the artist Mortimer Menpes between 1900 and 1909, along with dozens of other masterpieces as part of a 38-piece collection. Yes, a most interesting story I saw the other night on local telly. Oz was at the ass end of the world in those days and very few people could afford to travel by ship to Europe to see the great works. So the next best thing was to copy them and put them on display here. Hehe.

Here's an interesting vid about the changing state of US ethnicity. Minorities becoming majorities.

And for those of you interested in aircraft, the last airworthy "tin triangle" in Britain is to be retired. I remember seeing a Vulcan Bomber at an air show when I was a tyke and I can still recall how impressive it was. Anyway, nothing lasts forever.

And that's it for the weekend, dear Breth. Gary

November 3, 2012. Eleven years ago my best mate was a passenger in a car that crashed at 160kph, killing him and the driver. The Codeman was no more. The day I received the news from John, Cody's neighbor, seems like yesterday. But although that incident brought to an end Cody's life, it was the beginning of Steve's new life and a relationship between the quintessential blond surfer and the fossil from Oz that would result in a profoundly moving story being told.

Coincidentally, November 3, 2001 was also a Saturday.

NC Art told me the story of an old woman prospector who rode into town on a hot and dusty day. She hitched her mule to a post outside the saloon when a young gunslinger, holding a pistol in one hand and a bottle of whisky in the other, appeared on the boardwalk. "You ever dance, old lady?" he smirked. "Never had a mind to," she replied. A crowd began to gather as the young gunslinger continued, "Well, let's see you dance now,"  he laughed. And with that, he began shooting at the woman's feet. Predictably, she lifted her knees and hopped around to avoid the flying bullets. After firing his last round, the gunman, still laughing, holstered his pistol and turned to go back inside the saloon. The old woman reached for her pack mule, pulled out a double-barreled shotgun and cocked both hammers. The loud clicks carried clearly through the dry desert air. Laughter from the crowd quickly dropped to a murmur. Pausing as he heard the clicks, the young gunslinger turned slowly to face the woman. His bulging eyes met her steely gaze, then focused on the large gaping holes of those twin, rock-steady barrels. "Son?" the old woman began softly, "You ever licked a mule's ass?" 

From the Beeb: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg caves in to fury over his plans to press ahead with the storm-battered city's marathon, and calls off the race. I suppose he wanted to reinstate some semblance of normality but there's a time and place for everything.

US presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney embark on a final frenzy of campaigning on the last weekend before polling day. The consensus from hosts and guests on Planet America last night was Obama by the slightest of margins. That's how I see it too.

BTW, Willard Mitt Romney was called Billy before he entered kindergarten. One day he decided he didn't want to be called Billy any more so he insisted on being called Mitt. Is Mitt short for something? Apparently not. His middle name of Mitt was chosen in honor of his father's cousin Milton Mitt Romney who played quarterback for the Chicago Bears in the '20s.

A recently-discovered collection of images that show soldiers taking a break from the horrors of the Western Front are the subject of a new exhibition in Australia. The photographs were developed after their negatives were found in an attic last year. They were originally taken by a French couple in northern France and sold as postcards to soldiers during World War I. 

The US economy added 171,000 new jobs in October, which was much more than had been expected. One of those was in Oregon where Richie's wife applied for and got a job, which has delighted them both. More cookies in the cookie jar.

Back from snaffling a few bargains up the road including 4 cushions for the camper... dimpled ones that can double as cushions for camp chairs which tend to be a bit rough on the ol' rump. Besides, cushions are the kinda nick-nacky things that turn a house into a home. I'm a bit girly at heart ya know. Hehe. Should I get a little 'Home Sweet Home' thingy to hang inside? Bit kitsch. But... well... maybe.

And now it's pancake time again... this time with a smear of butter (the proper cow stuff) and genuine Canadian maple syrup.

200 years ago Oz was full of squatters, which is what I'll be on the Odyssey... squatting here and squatting there. And I'm not necessarily referring to the porta potti here. Imagine that, millions of square kilometers of land no one owns, except the crown. Just park and voila... yours for as long as you want. I reckon a bloke could get used to such a lifestyle. The Aborigines did for tens of thousands of years and saw no reason to change.

Quiet day, so I just popped outside to take a pic with the Nikon for something to do.

Aren't the colors lovely? And check out how delicate those petals are. The kit lens on the Nikon is pretty good for general shooting but there are much better lenses available which I'll think about one day.

Anyway, time for a bit of telly and whatever. I'm watching Obama at the mo in Ohio making a pretty rousing speech to the faithful. He seems bouyant. Hmmm. Not long to go, folks! Gary

November 2, 2012. And now, everything you ever wanted to know about 'hankerchiefs' from our resident expert, NC Art: The thing is spelled handkerchief because it is a hand sized kerchief. Of course Brits coined hanky for verbal utility.  Remember that Christmas poem line “Ma in her kerchief and me in my cap were just settling down for a long winter’s nap.” So the kerchief is a head scarf basically, but larger squares are worn around the neck and sometimes knotted at the throat. See cowboy uses to ameliorate a sunburned neck; also useful for mopping sweat from face and eyes.
    The handkerchief invention is credited to King Richard II which I suppose is good because I don’t remember anything else about that royal chappie. 
    Then it was long a necessary part of gentlemanly attire, worn in the breast pocket and folded in an amazing variety of ways. Plain square, one or two or three or even four points done just perfectly. Also a puff or a double puff style was in vogue. 
    As a youngster I had to learn ways to fold the blasted things and display just so for fashion’s sake. Often made from dyed silk and totally useless for snot catching! Remember Cody sick with flu asking Wingnut if he wanted to see the product of great sloppy sounding blow? Hehe. EW! And there was some idiotic fashion of tying the corners in knots and wearing on top of the head.

That's all very interesting, actually. I never realized there was a connection between head scarves, breast pocket thingies and cowboys' knotted neck attire. I also now realize that 'hanky' (which is also Oz vernacular) is misleading in that it omits the 'd' from 'hand'. And yes, I do remember Cody explaining in explicit detail to Mark why it was preferable to use toilet paper to clear one's nasal and bronchial passages in cases of severe 'flu than a hanky because of what one might find in one's pocket after several successful blows. Cody wasn't impressed with tissues either because he said they end up with two holes in them after a decent blow.

And me? I have a box of tissues in each room, as well as one in the camper already. They're called "facial" tissues on the box... no mention of noses or snot.

From the Beeb: The US death toll from Sandy tops 90 as swathes of the East Coast battle to recover, three days after being battered by the massive storm. It's very sad for relatives and friends, of course, but given the widespread damage and severity of the storm, the death toll could have been a lot worse.

How much does masculinity matter in Presidential elections? Here's an interesting clip about that very subject.

Well, that's the end of my hospital food - the canned stuff I used to take through the food tube. I figure I'll stick to normal stuff now, including smoothies (which is what I'm having for breakfast). I also have a large can of Sustagen, which you add to milk. It's "hospital strength" and has all the goodies including fibre. I'm hoping once the old teeth are out and the newies are in, I'll be able to manage simple things. Depending on how my mouth feels in Sydney, I might even take a shot at a McD's cheeseburger for lunch.

Got a call from Port Macquarie hospital earlier. They'd forgotten about my appointment with the doc in Sydney this month and wanted to see me for a check. Anyway, no worries, that's all sorted. But it seems I need to see one or the other of those guys every 3 months, which is gonna be a bit of pain on the Odyssey. The one at PM on Feb 11 will be cool cos I can fit that in before I leave the area. The next one will be in May, probably in Sydney. And the next in August which is when I intended to be swanning around the Top End. Oh well... I'll just have to grin and bear it I suppose. At least on the day of the appointments, the doc's office won't be far from "home".

How about a glass-bottom frypan so you can see when the underside of the pancake is done? I'm fulla brilliant ideas, ya know. Millions. Anyway, this pancake is more crepe-like than the previous... less bulk and far more delicate... with little crispy bits around the edges. I'm having it with sugar and lemon. It'll be even better once I'm fitted with my new cutters and mashers. At the moment it's a bit like trying to hammer a nail with an orange.

World Vision's Christmas card and small gift for Anyel in Nicaragua arrived today for me to fill in the details and greetings, so that's all done and will soon be on its way to my little grumpy bloke. He'll be 4 in January. It's a long way from what my parents did for me over the years; housing, clothes, education, food, birthdays, Christmases, etc, but at least it's something. NC Art knows all about the cost of raising a family. I dare say that being a parent is one of the toughest jobs going. And maybe even thankless in many cases.

From the Beeb: US consumer confidence jumped to an almost five-year high in October, according to a closely-watched survey. The Conference Board's Consumer Confidence Index rose to 72.2, up from 68.4 in September, largely due to improvements in the US jobs market. Good news but is it too late to influence the election? I'll be watching Planet America tonight.

A US court hands a 17-year sentence to a man accused of plotting to attack the Pentagon and the US Capitol with explosives-laden model aircraft. What a weird age we live in. Hang on. Do we? Name an age that wasn't weird.

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeell, there goes another Waffle. Cody used to call his email to me "offloading" - an opportunity to get stuff off his chest. Waffle is like that for me. I can see my thoughts in print like a painter sees his ideas on canvas. Better out than in, as my father used to say before leaning sideways on a chair. There was a bloke on QI the other night who said he used to do that in school during class, and the teacher accused him of cheating because he appeared to be spying on the next kid's work. Hehe. Oh dear... that reminds me of the phantom farter at my school... but it's probably better not to go there. Lindsay's claim to fame is that he can fart and burp at the same time. Sad but true. Gary

November 1, 2012. Yep, a brand new slate. This time last year I was the proud new owner of a Ford Ute. Seven months later I'd be the proud new owner of a Freeway camper. And in between I'd have half my throat ripped out by a couple of surgeons. All very jolly. In about a week I'll be the proud new owner of a full set of China Clippers, a pic of which I will post on Waffle. Actually, last night on QI I saw a pic of a toothless bloke with his bottom lip wrapped around the tip of his nose hehe, about to launch into a mug of beer. I used to know a bloke who could draw his lips together into a sort of figure 8 and mimic a fish. Great party trick provided it's not performed twice at the same party.

NC Art writes: Indeed Sandy had plenty of misery to dole out. Right here, there was gusty wind and plenty of rain. The airport suspended all flights for two days because most flying from here involves the northeast. But off the coast of NC the made-for-movie replica of the Bounty  went down in the storm. Coast Guard helicopters got most of the crew off safely, but last I heard, one crewman died and the captain had not been found. The three-masted schooner was built for a 1962 version of Mutiny on the Bounty  with Marlon Brando as Capt. William Bly. I preferred the older film starring Sir Charles Laughton. I can still hear him barking, “Mr. Christian, come here!”

Yes, I remember the Bounty. It was one of the tall ships that sailed into Sydney Harbor to re-enact the arrival of the First Fleet (of 11 ships) for the bicentennary on January 26, 1988. I was there bouncing around on a 53' ketch outside the heads. I've since toured the replica of The Endeavour which was interesting to say the least. And in less than 2 weeks I'll be snapping away at the Pacific Jewel. My fondest memories of boats, though, is doing the Huck Finn trick with my younger bro in a clinker built row boat up the Georges River as kids.

BTW, as far as the navy is concerned, there are only two types of sea-going vessels; ships and boats. Do you know the difference? One is above the water line, and the other below. Figured it out yet?

Art also comments on what I wrote yesterday about remembering things from our earlier years: The things people remember. Curious. Some 15 years ago I discovered a contact for a chap I went through high school with and called him. It was ten minutes before he finally dredged up a faint memory of me. Curious indeed, because we were bosom buddies for a good number of boyhood years. I remembered not only him, but his twin brother and their three older brothers. Wot th‘ell?

It's like that journo I quoted the other day who said "There's nothing more ex than an ex-employee". I get the impression that the only thing that really matters in life is what you are here and now. However, there are exceptions. If what you were, and what you did still exist, as in movies, works of art, architecture, etc, then you're still relevant.

The forecast temp for today is 35C, which is relevant cos it's HOT. 

Well, that was easy enough. Just logged on to Country Link, entered all the details for my train trip to Sydney and return, paid for it, printed it, and put it in my backpack. All done "in the comfort of your own home" as they say in advertising.

QI last night talked about a book of etiquette written by a Dutchman in the 17th century that became part of the curriculum for British schoolboys. One of its instructions was about the use of hankerchiefs: Do not offer your hankerchief to another person after use. Offer to share it only when washed and clean. After blowing your nose, do not inspect the hankerchief as if it were filled with diamonds and emeralds. Another interesting tid bit was how one should respond to being greeted with 'how do you do?' It's impolite to answer 'fine, thank you'. One should correctly respond by repeating 'how do you do?'

Last night I broke my Halloween rule. I answered a knock at the door to discover a little person covered by a sheet with big eyes drawn on it. "It's Halloween and I'm dressed as a ghost," said the voice. "Well, you scared the living daylights out of me! What am I supposed to do now?" The little person removed the sheet to reveal a boy of about 7 or 8. His young mother was standing nearby with some girlfriends. "I say trick or treat and you say treat and then give me some lollies," he said in all seriousness. "Oh... well when I was a little boy I ate too many lollies and all my teeth fell out, so I don't have any lollies. How about I give you a dollar and you can buy some lollies?" That seemed a reasonable proposition so he nodded. Then I put a 2 dollar coin in his little bucket. He was a cute little bloke so I didn't have the heart to disappoint him.

On the subject of money, I heard a bloke talking on the car radio about the gold rush in California during the mid 1800s. Edward Hargraves, an English migrant who had been living in Oz for 17 years, read about the gold rush and sailed to California seeking his fortune. But lo and behold, there was something very familiar about the Californian gold fields landscape. He soon realized he'd seen that kind of topography before back in Oz. So he hightailed it back to his adopted country, arrived in Sydney, and within days had set off on horseback for the western plains on the other side of the Blue Mountains. His main purpose was to find sufficient gold (using the panning and wooden cradle techniques he'd learned in California) to win the 10,000 pounds government reward for finding a significant area of payable gold deposits, plus an annual pension of 250 pounds. Once those rewards were secured, he published information about the location of the "rich" gold fields and Australia's first gold rush began. But he was a con man. Although some prospectors managed to stike it rich in places like Sofala and Hill End, Hargraves hadn't found any major deposits himself. He was hoping where there was smoke there was fire hehe. But it didn't do him much good. He died in 1891 leaving an estate worth less than 200 pounds.

Roite, while I was up the road, I bought ground beef and mixed veg. In a pan, I fried chopped onion in butter, added the beef and browned it, added one of those flavor base thingies in a sachet, a cup of liquid from the canned mixed veg, stirred, added the veg, stirred, and now it's cooling. Later, I'll make creamy mash potato. When that cools, I'll spoon the savory beef into plastic containers, top with mash, put the lids on, and refrigerate... and have one tonight. Then I'll wash the pan and pot, store them, and it'll be like I was never there. Boom, boom. The trick to making savory beef (or savory mince as we call it) is to keep it thick so if you serve it with mash or on toast it doesn't drown everything. Nothing worse than soggy toast.


From the Beeb: President Barack Obama is to resume an election campaign suspended in the aftermath Storm Sandy, which devastated parts of the north-eastern US. Obama got a big wrap from the republican governor of New Jersey for his personal assistance in attending to the devastation, so that certainly won't do his electoral prospects any harm.

Anyway, ladies and genitals, it's time once again to shoot through. Hehe. Aussies and their weird lingo. I hope din dins will be as tasty as I reckon it will - gotta fatten up those saggy buns ya know. Gary


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