the WAFFLE page

March 31, 2013. March marches on, roite? And another one bites the dust. 

Remember the Beach Boys and Heroes and Villains? Great harmonies, thanks to the genius of Brian Wilson. Weeeell, I was listening to my little music machine last night. The clarity of the ear buds is amazing. Rather than all the voices blending to make a single sound, I could hear all the voices separately, including one that was doing a "dee, dee" thingy hehe. It was like being in the same room with those guys. And I'm still using the ear buds that came with the machine. The Sennheisers haven't arrived because of the Easter holidays. So one can't help wondering what THEY'll be like!

I'm also taking more notice of lyrics. You hear everything as clear as a bell. No way you could use ear buds as background. It's definitely foreground and in your face. Or ears.

I've been getting quite a few responses from GNs after reading the scrapbook. One read the whole thing from 6am till 8.30am. Another said she remembers me from 40 years ago when I was wheeled around town in a wheelbarrow for a charity thing, and kidnapped by the local high school kids. Steve W was a student at the same school, but was out fishing that day. He remembers it though. Anyway, it's all good. I'm a star again!

BTW, cherries. Yes, cherries. One GN was complaining about gout, and several others recommended bottled or canned sour cherries used in making pies or desserts. They say it works a treat for gout as well as arthritis. So I thought of NC Art who has a prob with arthritic fingers. Cherries, mate. Try cherries. It's something to do with cherries being anti-inflammatory.

Back from shopping. The checkout chick was a checkout bloke - young fella in his teens. Soups were on spesh again at $2 a can so I bought quite a few. "Do you want all these in the one bag?" the young bloke asked. "Sure," I said. So he explained, "I just don't want to make the bag too heavy for you." I looked at the bloke next in the queue and said, "He must think I'm an old bloke." Oh well... Anyway, it was very nice of the young bloke to offer. As it happened, he put them all in the one bag which I lifted with... well, I lifted it.

From the Beeb: The US music producer and pioneer of digital recording, Phil Ramone, has died aged 79. Ramone is regarded as one of the most successful producers in history, winning 14 Grammy awards and working with stars such as Ray Charles, Bob Dylan, Elton John and Paul McCartney. He produced the first major commercial release on CD, Billy Joel's 1982 album 52nd Street. I remember when digital recording was introduced. Wow, 30 years ago already!

An Iraq war veteran who lost the use of his legs in the conflict has decided to end his life. Tomas Young has also written a letter to former President George W Bush and ex-Vice-President Dick Cheney, accusing them of being responsible for what happened to him and others injured and killed in Iraq. 

Quiet Easter Sunday. Not many people up the road either. I was kinda half hoping to end the month with another series of pics and a photo album but I've been a bit lazy. Next month, PJ will be all one piece - a genuine, dinki di motorhome - so I might do an overnighter somewhere. No stress. Leave here in the middle of the day, arrive somewhere to take photos as the sun sets, sleep overnight, wake at sparrow's to capture the morning light, and leave when it suits me. Even if the gas and new AGM battery are not fitted by then, that's okay. One night won't hurt. I'll bring a couple of vacuum flasks with tea and soup. And my little music machine. Yeah? 

I feel terribly guilty about being too lazy to be out with my camera when the light is at its best in the mornings and evenings - softer and without harsh shadows. So being there as the birds are singing their dawn chorus, or as the clouds turn pink at sunset, will be ideal. I can be lazy and still get great photos hehe. Or how about this pic... can you imagine being there with a couple of snags sizzling on the campfire, dangling your feet off the end of the jetty and watching the clouds change color? Or how about an early morning walk along the beach as the sun rises? Here's another beauty.

One GN, a woman almost 70, was saying she was still suffering from post-operative heart probs and other assorted conditions when she decided to hell with it, and took off in her mini van and trailer hehe. She's having a lovely time and reckons she feels better now than she did at home. She's living on the pension and manages quite well. Saves for a while and buys the things she needs to make life more comfortable. She spends her time kniting and crocheting and reading - and, of course, keeping in touch with other Nomads on the forums. Can't remember who said it, but someone said I'll probably add an extra 10 years to my life once I'm on the road enjoying the tranquility of the gypsy lifestyle. Mighta been Oregon Richie. But he's got an ulterior motive: he just wants me to hang around so I can keep updating the journal with stories, pics and vids.

Actually, I have two goals. One is to spend as long as poss travelling Oz and doing the journal thing. And the second is to have a bit of time left over when I'm too rickety to travel anymore to write a book or two and assemble "the best of" pics into a picture book. Then I can sit on the veranda in my  rocking chair and reminisce with a cold beer and an old dog at my feet. I don't intend to have a headstone, but if I did I think I'd have inscribed, "What a bloody ride!"

Meanwhile, boils and goils, it's time for this old geezer to de-waffleize and soft chairize with a bit of tellyize and soupize. Two bucks a can, mate. Can't go wrong. And I've got the blitzing down to a fine art. I buy the chunky soups with lots of meat and veg, then give them a couple of quick bursts with the blitzer - not enough to turn them into a blitzed puree but just enough to minimize the lumps so that they retain their body. Life's a compromise ya know. Good luck with the cherries, Art. Next thing ya know you'll be tickling those keys like Liberace used to tickle his ivories. Gary

March 30, 2013. The other day on a GN forum I wrote something that inspired one bloke to check out my scrapbook on the AO site. He was impressed, and said so on the forum, recommending it as a good read. Next morning I checked the site stats and discovered the visits had spiked to a record high, the highest in the history of the site by far.

It was back in 2010 that I was inspired to digitize all the scrapbook pics and write the story of my life from about 20 to 50-ish. The scrapbook had been gathering dust for decades, like a forgotten heirloom in an attic. It was almost as though that large chunk of my life had never existed; that it was totally irrelevant. So here we are at the time of year when a resurrection is celebrated. Two in fact. Mine and the other bloke's. That huge spike in visits by people interested in reading about my exploits has certainly lifted my spirits.

With a bit of luck, the same thing will happen to Green Room one of these days.

Just back from a dose of inner shedness and reading the Kenwood stereo manual. I even started at Page 1 which is unusual for me. I wanna know everything in 2 seconds. Anyway, I managed to sort out the menu and a few things, and came to the same conclusion I did some months ago... that the thing works but won't receive via the AM or FM band which probably means there's no aerial. I'll have to get someone to check it out. The aerial on the truck is missing as well despite the car radio receiving a signal.

From the Beeb: North Korea has said it is entering a "state of war" with South Korea in its latest escalation of rhetoric against its southern neighbour and the US. A statement promised "stern physical actions" against "any provocative act". Shades of Nazi Germany and the invincibles.

Oregon Richie's not a huge fan of Pyongyang either: Well yes there is always news these days about the POPE and of course the DOPE and his half psycho sidekicks that like to stir up the muck.  I swear that gang are like children who throw things around, yell and scream and demand attention from the world to "pay attention to us !!  WE are important !!".  They are nuts.  They are pathetic.  The majority of the world would wish that they remain locked behind their borders and just float in the rancid moat of their creaky boat, to... put it one way.  Otherwise....

So what else is happening? Not much, I'm afraid... at least, not here. It's one of those lovely autumn days with about 24C outside, the kind of sun you can soak up without feeling the heat. No humdittity either. Very pleasant indeedy. BTW, one of the GNs said the remnants of a recent cyclone in Western Oz has brought rain to the Nullarbor and nearby dry areas of the south west of the state, and the whole place is carpeted with fine green grass, like a bowling green, and lots of wildflowers. Sounds wonderful! He named his post 'a reason to visit the Nullarbor' but others have written to say who needs another reason? They say it's fascinating no matter what time of year it is or what kind of weather it is. One GN got seriously bogged there. After rain, you get patches of off-road black clay that looks like a smooth tarred surface. Beware! Your wheels will sink up to the axles! The guy said there was a patch near a roadhouse, so being unaware of the trap, he thought, "Oh, goodie, no one is parked here! It's all mine!" Hehe. Luckily, the area had mobile phone coverage so he was able to call roadside assistance in a nearby town.

There's currently an exodus of GNs from the south to the tropical climes of northern NSW and QLD. Everyone's following the sun. Bit early though. Winter's still two months away. But that's more or less what I'll be doing. And that's another cool thing about the GN forums, the members are from all over the country at any given time (some like the colder months in the south) so you're constantly getting reports from all corners as well as the interior. For example, there are always peeps saying they're headed towards such and such and asking what the weather is like and what camp sites would anyone recommend, etc. They're usually bombarded with respondents who know the area quite well. No wonder the site is so popular. And it's free! It even has a monthly cyber magazine.

Anyway, ladies and genitals, this Satdee has quietly slipped away without all that much happening. I presume the tourists are enjoying the local beaches and hinterland and good weather. What was I saying about nothing happening? Sue just took another fall. I had to wake Lindsay. He plonks Sue in front of the telly and goes back to bed expecting her to stay in her chair. Yeah, right. She gets the wanders and goes investigating. She was near the vacuum cleaner so maybe she wanted to play with that. Oh, how I long for the day when those two are miles and miles and miles away and no longer a part of my life. Peace at last! Apart from the nearby hard-of-hearing camper who loves hillybilly music, of course. Gary

March 29, 2013. Cranky Yankee, NC Art wrote: Economic Stupidity - National debt to GDP ratio at 90% is a national disgrace, but what to expect from a disgraceful national legislature? The federal U.S. minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. Some states set it higher because they must to keep workers. A big problem is that America has become more of a service economy as opposed to manufacturing. Then there are gaping holes in regulations which employers use to avoid liability. Temporary and short time workers are often not carried as “employees,” to avoid wages, benefits, and work hour laws. 

   Are we cutting our own throats? You better believe it, but the great God of Big Business has become synonymous with Government. Banks, Big Oil and the likes of General Electric tell the politicians what they want and they buy it. When President Calvin Coolidge said, “The business of America is business” back in the early 20’s we hadn’t seen anything yet!

   And yep, we still fight the world’s wars, even the losing ones, because some folks think we should police the world … and it’s damned profitable for lots of people if you discount the dead & disabled, and the taxpayers who aren’t rich enough to hide their income from the government.

   Do you pay income tax on your pension (Social Security) checks? I do. 

No, Art, I don't pay tax on my pension. And I'm allowed to earn a few tax free bucks on the side ($50 a week or something like that). But as someone pointed out on The Drum the other night, the less people earn the less they spend because they can't afford to, and it's spending that stimulates the economy and creates jobs. $7.25 an hour is outrageous. On the other hand, we have auto manufacturers in Oz that are tetering on the brink because of the high Australian dollar and labor costs. When I was a kid, everything from clothing to household appliances, cars to industrial machinery, was made in Oz. Not now. It's hard to find anything at all these days that's made in Oz. If you wanna buy a truckload of iron ore or a tonne of bananas though, no worries.

Saw that on the GN forum. I also saw this little story about a bloke sitting at his computer. He yelled to his missus in another room, "When I die I'm gonna leave everything to you!" And she yelled back, "You already do, you lazy bastard!"

And this one about a little old lady who phoned the local newsagency. "Where's my Sunday paper?" she demanded. "Today's Saturday," said the newsagent, "Sunday's paper comes out tomorrow, SUNDAY!" There was a pause, and then the newsagent heard the woman mumble, "Shit! That explains why there was no one at church either."

From the Beeb: North Korea says it has put missile units on stand-by to attack US military bases in response to US stealth bomber flights over the Korean peninsula. State news agency KCNA said leader Kim Jong-un signed off on the order at a late-night meeting of top generals. The time had come to "settle accounts" with the US, KCNA quoted him as saying, with the B-2 flights an "ultimatum". See what can happen when you truly believe you're right about something that's patently absurd?

President Jacob Zuma says South Africans "must not panic" as ex-leader Nelson Mandela undergoes treatment for the recurrence of a lung infection. Funny thing about people who are prone to panic. What good does panicking do? 

Iran, North Korea and Syria have blocked what would have been the first treaty to regulate the $70bn (£46bn) global trade in conventional arms. Life is fulla suprises but that's not one of them.

The young man who killed 27 people in a massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, owned an arsenal of weapons and ammunition, court papers show. More than 1,000 rounds of ammunition, a bayonet, several swords and knives were among the items found in a search of Adam Lanza's home. Details of the searches were publicised after a court seal lapsed on Wednesday. And there's another non-surprise.

Goodness gracious me! Look at the time! It's almost 6-ish and here I am buggerizing around on the GN forums and lost track of time. Better skedaddle. Gary

March 28, 2013. TX Greg responded to my "eagle has landed" piece yesterday: And hopefully we won't hear "Houston we have a problem" :)

Hehe. Greg also suggested I let Jeff Gordon take PJ for a test run around the block. Jeff who? Greg tells me Gordon is a huge NASCAR racer over there in Merry Cah. Here's a vid of him in disguise, testing a Camaro with the salesman who has no idea it's a practical joke. Funniest thing I've seen in a while. I think that salesman needed a new pair of underwear? hehe

Steve W also wrote, with "Libelous Comment" in the subject line: "They're just as bad as fishermen with their piscatorial pursuits." Now hang on Gary - fishing is one activity where size really does matter! 

Meanwhile, all the bills are paid for the time being and it's back to waiting for next pay day to take the next step towards "lift off". I watched The Drum last night and the subject got around to America's "working poor" and how we don't want that happening here in Oz. The basic rate for the lowest paid workers here is $16 per hour. It's 8 or 9 in the States. The minimum wage here is $630 a week. The average is not far short of a grand. And the Aussie dollar is still somewhere around $1.05 US. But the cost of living in Oz is high... real estate, petrol, cars. On the other hand, we have free medical and hospital for those who can't afford it, and subsidised medications. Another interesting bit of info was our gross debt - 10% of GDP. The average for the world is 50%. America's is 90%.

After watching telly last night, I listened to my little music machine for a while, slouched in my easy chair. It was like being in a room full of expensive stereo equipment and yet it was just a $30 plastic box in my pocket, smaller and thinner than my mobile phone, with a pair of ear buds. And inside that little box is my entire CD collection. How's that for awesome? Oregon Richie was talking this morning about technology: There are many thousand-fold degrees of computing power in what the iPhone 5 that Becky has in her hand than the entire computing power and guidance in the entire Saturn V, Apollo, service and lunar module "stack" that went to the moon, takes up about 99.99 less space and weighs probably 99.999999 etc less.  Hmm.  Amazing.

He also mentioned Citroens: That Citroen DS series was quite innovative, too. The later SM, called the Citroen "Supermachine" in this country was an incredible vehicle, too.. and if I recall... 'bout the year I graduated from HS or just after became the Motor Trend "Car of the Year", which of course... freaked out a lot of Yankee car lovers.  BUT !!  Those huge boats with the rocket and aircraft inspired things more or less as the space program got going were... pretty funky to look at.

Pretty funky then... absurd now. They certainly didn't age gracefully like the American cars of the '30s and '40s did. It was a different story in Europe and Britain though, they pretty much resisted the fins craze and kept their styling fairly conservative. Take Mercedes Benz for example, and go back through several decades... you'll be hard pressed to find a model that, even now, doesn't look as good as it did in its day.

Back from shopping. What happens when pension day is the day before the shops close for Good Friday, and all the holiday makers arrive in town for the Easter Break? Yeah. Pandemonium. The checkout chick I had was super efficient. She had my bag packed and my receipt and change in my hand, ready to serve the next customer, while I was still fiddling around with wallets and trolleys. What a madhouse! I also managed to empty the coffers of quite a few bucks on necessities. I hate necessities. They're no fun at all!

From the Beeb: British scientists develop a new way to create an entirely synthetic vaccine which does not rely on using live infectious virus, meaning it is much safer. I like it, I like it

A US law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman only has been sharply criticised by Supreme Court justices at a landmark hearing. A judge considered the court's swing vote joined four liberal colleagues in questioning the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (Doma). Legal analysts speculated that the law, which denies various federal benefits to gay couples, may be struck down

Human toll collectors at one of the world's most iconic bridges have been replaced with an electronic system that photographs licence plates. The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco has closed its traditional toll booths to try to speed up traffic and save money. Finishing their last shift, some of the toll-takers hugged and cried as they left their booths. "Our DNA is embedded in this bridge... we are part of it," said Jacquie Dean. Sydney Harbor Bridge is the same. I drove over it for years every weekday when the toll was 20 cents. 

The internet around the world has been slowed down in what security experts are describing as the biggest cyber-attack of its kind in history. A row between a spam-fighting group and hosting firm has sparked retaliation attacks affecting the wider internet. It is having an impact on popular services like Netflix - and experts worry it could escalate to affect banking and email systems. Five national cyber-police-forces are investigating the attacks. Life without death, good without evil, black without white - you just can't have it.

Walk On By singer Dionne Warwick has filed for bankruptcy in the US after amassing debts of almost $10 million (£6.6m) in taxes since 1991. The singer's liabilities include nearly $7m owed to the IRS (Internal Revenue Service) from 1991 to 1999 and more than $3m in business taxes owed to the state of California, where she lives. Warwick, 72, has sold more than 100 million records since the 1960s. Speak of the devil... I was listening to her singing Cole Porter the other day. She had a rep of being difficult and a total bitch as well as a perfectionist. In any case, I would never have expected to read that headline.

This year marks 150 years since the Battle of Gettysburg, perhaps the most important - and certainly the bloodiest - battle of the American Civil War. Coinciding with that anniversary the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is staging a landmark exhibition of what are being described as ''the finest and most poignant'' photographs from these cataclysmic four years in which an estimated 750,000 Americans lost their lives. The Met's chief curator of photography, Jeff Rosenheim, has also written a book - Photography and the American Civil War - to accompany the show. He's been speaking to Michael Maher.

I had no idea that 750,000 Americans were killed during the Civil War. And they didn't even have to leave their shores to make it happen. How tragic is that? How catastrophic? Unthinkable in Oz. Hell, we didn't even have a barney with Mother England (unless you count cricket). I was listening to Australia's former military chief the other day commenting on the wisdom of joining the coalition of the willing to invade Iraq. He said it was a mistake but then added, "all war is a mistake". I agree. On the other hand, just like life and death, good and evil, black and white, you can't have peace without war. It's just not the way things work.

Anyway, time for me to toddle off to telly land and DRINK dinner. Sheesh. Weather's fine and sunny - even summerish - so I hope it lasts over the Easter weekend for the holidaymakers. Gary

March 27, 2013. NC Art wrote: Congrats on finishing the music project. Wish I could get something finished. My printer balked a week ago and it’s just now decided to play nice again. Frustrating it is never to know why it kicks out and what we did to get it going again. My son jumped into the act and tore his hair out. Seems the IP changes for no reason anyone can explain when internet goes down … or something. Damn these gadgets that use digital logic while I can think only  in analog!

   What is that auto you tossed in? I note it has doors that open the wrong way. I do recall a few made that way, but the beasts were dangerous. Open the door when moving and the wind tears it off. If child does it, there goes the tyke too!

   Other fun: My wallet went in the wash this morning, along with all the crap one must carry about in it. Wallet only 45 years old, and a one dollar souvenir bill from 1957 honeymoon trip to Bahamas. Memories!

Citroen, Citroen, Citroen! But I've just learned something about why they were called suicide doors. I hadn't thought about them being opened while moving. Now it makes sense. Meanwhile, I hope your wallet papers survived the washing machine. What a bummer!

Francois wrote: yep the "traction avant" was launched by Citroen in 1934 and was the official vehicle of the milice during the nazis' occupation... then with the liberation taken by the french forces who helped to liberate France, so very present in the marches in towns...
During years it was the only one (as says its name) which was driven by the forward wheels.

As a kid, the "traction" was my dad's first car in 1953: I remember he bought it 700,000F, a fortune! And he kept it 10 years, riding more than 250,000km... It was the time when kids could be in the forward sit, and I was on my mom's knees, with my older bro behind amongst the camping stuff. We visited the whole France and Italia: my parents were teachers and we'd all 3 months of hollidays: happy time! No one everywhere, the campings were rare, and we discovered nature and naturism. Pity, there was no digital cams... So quite no pics of this epoca.  Guess what was my dad's next car?  this one of course: DS19 Citroen next one...

And there's another thing I've learned... traction avant... avant in French means before, so the traction was "before" the rest of the car. Loved those DS Citroens and their self-leveling fluid suspension. I remember the London to Sydney Marathon back in the late '60s or early '70s. The cars were on their final leg to Sydney with a Citroen comfortably leading the pack when the Citroen was involved in serious accident and the driver and navigator were killed. Of all things, a boring Hillman Hunter took the lead and won the race. How disappointing!

Here's Art again: Badder than old King Kong … Badder than a junkyard dog……. Sheesh, I danced a million miles listening to an orchestra blasting out that song.

G’day Gary,

   So ‘small is cute’? Wingnut had a lot of worry about the size of his jewel while comparing with other guys, poor kid. 

I was thinking more in terms of publishing, Art, but I know what you mean about youth's fixation with appendage size. They're just as bad as fishermen  with their piscatorial pursuits.

   Anyway we didn’t think too much about design overkill when oohing and aahing over those sleek, long, autos with their flamboyant fins, grilles, and anything large and shiny that could be hung on them. 

   A marvelous Volkswagen print advert was a spoof of all that flash. Over several pages in magazines, the company proclaimed…

It can go fast and slow

It can go up hill and down hill

It can go forward and backward

It can stop and turn around

Isn’t that amazing?

Doyle, Dane, Bernbach sure had a lotta fun with those ads for the VW Beetle and Kombi. They were genius in my book, and had a huge influence on my work (later) as an advertising copywriter. I remember the ad for the 1962 1/2 model. I think it was bumper overriders. Anyway, they said they couldn't wait till 1963 to introduce them. Hehe. Improvements that caused a sensation with Beetles wouldn't rate a mention with other makes. Modern marvels such as the inclusion of a fuel gauge, wider fender lamps, a wider lamp over the rear licence plate, rounded tops on the front seats, all introduced separately and with great fanfare. No wonder those Bugs sold in their millions all over the world. I can't imagine anything like the Beetle ever happening again. It's been outsold since by the Golf and Toyota's Corolla but who cares? The Beetle had simplicity, charm and character that will never be replicated.

Just been listening to more music on my little machine. I figured out a few more of its secrets the hard way. Even with my 4x reading glasses (normally kept in the car for maps, etc) I still couldn't read the user manual. I was a second away from throwing the damn thing in the trash bin when I discovered something I was doing wrong. Last night I was singing its praises on the GN forum when one bloke asked if I'd tried Sennheiser ear buds. He has a $95 pair he says are extraordinary. Bit high for me so I checked eBay and saw a $30-ish pair for $18.50 with free postage. The normal packaging is missing, apparently, but who cares? You throw that away anyway. But they're new and from a reputable dealer in Sydney. If they're twice as good as the cheapies that came with the player I'll be happy. If they're three times as good I'll be ecstatic! The blurb says they have a better fit in the ear canal and improved bass. I gotta say, this little gadget is one of the best things I ever bought. The wonderful world of music (denied for years because of THEM) is now mine again. And I don't need a room full of amplifiers and speakers to access it! Bloody marvelous.

And ya know sumpin? If it hadn't been for the Odyssey and the problem of where to put all my CDs, I wouldn't have thought of it.

From the Beeb: The US Supreme Court is to consider whether to strike down a law denying federal benefits to same-sex couples, a day after weighing a gay marriage ban. The Defense of Marriage Act denies gay couples access to federal benefits under its definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman only. On Tuesday California's Proposition 8, which bans gay marriage, was scrutinised by the nine justices. A ruling in both cases is expected before the end of June. Canada must be wondering what all the fuss is about. Same sex couples have had equal rights there since 2005.

Pope Francis has decided to shun a grand papal apartment on the top floor of the Vatican's Apostolic Palace in favour of a modest two-room residence. His spokesman said he was "trying out this type of simple living" in a communal building with other priests. In doing so he has broken a tradition which is more than a century old. By the way, has anyone consulted God about all the palatial extravagance exhibited in thousands of cathedrals and mosques built in his honor around the world while millions of "his children" are starving?

Qantas Airways has won a final approval form Australia's competition watchdog for its partnership with Emirates. The alliance is seen as key to Qantas' attempts to turn around its loss-making international operations. Seems fitting to me. We used their camels in the early days to explore Oz.

US President Barack Obama has picked the first woman director of the Secret Service. Julia Pierson, formerly Secret Service chief of staff, will succeed Mark Sullivan, who announced last month that he would retire. The agency was caught up in a prostitution scandal last year during a presidential visit to Colombia. Yep, there's nothing like trusting a woman to keep a secret. Hehe.

North Dakota has banned abortion once a foetal heartbeat can be detected - as early as six weeks - in the most restrictive law of its kind in the US. Governor Jack Dalrymple signed a second law banning abortions based on genetic abnormalities. Correspondents say the laws are in part an effort to close the state's only abortion clinic, in the town of Fargo. The measures, which take effect on 1 August, make no exceptions for rape, incest or the health of the mother. Allow religion to influence politics and this is what you get.

There was a story last night on 7.30 about street preachers in Sydney at shopping malls harassing passers by with their zealous approach to saving souls. Many people stopped to argue with the preachers which only made the situation worse, as well as futile. When interviewed, the two leaders of the group told of their former drug addiction and lives on the streets before "finding" Jesus and the Bible. Why is it that these kinds of people go from one extreme to the other? What's wrong with the middle? People in the middle don't live on the streets as drug addicts, nor do they stand on street corners using loud hailers to preach fire and brimstone. Anyway, there's one thing you never do with zealots, and that's argue with them. It's pointless.

Motown songwriter-producer Deke Richards, who was behind songs including The Jackson 5's first three US number one hits, has died aged 68. Richards, who had oesophageal cancer, died in a Washington state hospice, Universal Music said. Jeez, 68, and here's me about to start a "new life".

The folding phone charger that fixes a problem plug. One scratch to a laptop is all it took for designer Min-Kyu Choi to redesign the power plug – with award-winning results. He and his business partner Matthew Judkins talk to BBC Future about a simple but ground-breaking rethink

Just back from my dose of inner shedness and took the latest goodies down with me - kitchen tools and mozzie bracelets - as well as the MP3 player. Music in the camper at last! As I sat there, I thought about footage I've seen of rocket launches over the years, with a bunch of scientists and engineers in their white coats sitting in front of their computer consoles in a large room, hoping and waiting for the "eagle has landed" signal. Then they erupt into cheers and dancing and hugging as if all their calculations, trials, testing and technology depended on luck more than anything else. And that's how I feel about my first drive around the block with the camper on board the truck. I've thought the exercise through time and time and time again - the chains, the bolts, the turnbuckles - and I'm still nervous as buggery. It won't be until "the eagle has landed" that I'll finally be able to relax. I'm dreading it.

And that's it, ladies and genitals. Pay day tomorrow but car insurance and roadside assistance membership renewals will get a big slug of that, then it'll be another two weeks before I can think about an AGM battery. I'm expecting the next power bill to arrive any day now as well. Hehe. Talk about swimming against the tide. But I am making headway, albeit very slowly at the mo. It's a good thing I'm determined to hang on to this dream whatever it takes. Gary

March 26, 2013. Oregon Richie wrote: I loved the pic of the black classic car and while it looks familiar I can't quite place it.  I do dig 'em !!

Did you hear that, Francois? Richie doesn't know what kinda car that is. Tsk, tsk. And he's in the car biz! Maybe there weren't many in the US back then, but there were quite a few running around the streets of Paris when the Yanks marched down the Champs Elysees during the Liberation of France in August '44 (a few days before I was born). The thing that endears me to those old Citroens is how they kept that lovely old '30s style right up to the mid '50s in defiance of fashion. However, when Citroen did change, whoa! Look out world!

The MP3 player arrived yesterday but I didn't notice it until late, so naturally I was eager to try it out. Yeah, right. The user manual had such fine print I couldn't read it, even with the aid of a magnifying glass. So I buggerized around for an hour or two pressing buttons and getting totally bamboozled before I finally figured it out. BUT THEN I noticed glitchs in several of America's tracks. Oh no! Don't tell me all the albums are like this? Luckily, they weren't. So I cleaned the America CD and re-recorded it. It's all cool now. Had me worried there for a while though!

The player uses a USB connector to record stuff from the comp and to charge the battery. Can't rely on plugging it into the comp every time I need a re-charge so I invested $10 in a USB charger that plugs into a wall socket. Right now I'm listening to Jim Croce. He's great. Listening to music through ear buds is an incredible experience and one I hadn't anticipated. It's VERY personal... just you and the music. It's like having a special and intimate relationship with the singer or band that you don't get by listening to conventional speakers. And the clarity is amazing. I can hear musical nuances I'd never noticed before. Onya Jim. I'd never realized just how good you are. And I just love your version of Leroy Brown, baddest man in the whole damn town.

And another thing! There were a bunch of tracks of fav songs of mine on the comp, single tracks I'd downloaded from the net from time to time, but Windows didn't wanna know about them. I copied them anyway to a folder called oddsandsods just in case the MP3 player was friendlier about music that didn't measure up to whatever Windows insists it should. Yes, folks! They work! They're in WMA format too - no worries. I did the same thing to several tracks a few days ago - 5 folders called Oldies01, 02 etc. Haven't listened to them yet but they should work too! Those Chinese people are much more tolerant of such things.

It was 1959 and the automotive industry had reached the pinnacle of... uh... design conspicuousness and flamboyance:

Yep, if you had one of those in the drive you'd made it. Mind you, you'd need a pretty long drive. Remember that TV ad for the VW Beetle parked in the drive next door with delivery vans arriving and taking all kinds of goodies inside? 1959 was the year Alaska and Hawaii became the 49th and 50th states of the US, the year Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper were killed in a plane crash ("the day the music died") and Ben Hur starring Charlton Heston was released.

From the Beeb: Australia's trailblazing indigenous TV programme "Living Black" is celebrating a decade of bringing stories of triumph, resilience and tragedy to a national audience. The country's longest-running indigenous news and current affairs show has survived tight budgets and management changes to become a beacon of broadcasting in a country where indigenous life can be ignored by the mainstream media. I've watched it many times. It follows the rule: if you have a good story to tell, it doesn't matter what color it is.

Boeing says that a test flight to check the 787 Dreamliner's new battery system "went according to plan". Sounds less complicated than learning how to work an MP3 player.

The US Supreme Court is to consider two landmark cases on gay marriage in back-to-back-hearings this week. On Tuesday, the justices will weigh a California constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions, passed after gay marriage became legal there. On Wednesday, a federal law defining marriage as between a man and a woman only, for the purpose of taxes and benefits, is up for review.

Australia has announced it will close its main base in Afghanistan by the end of the 2013. Defence Minister Stephen Smith said the closure of the Tarin Kot base in Uruzgan province was in line with plans to bring the majority of Australian troops home by the end of the year. Responsibility for security in Uruzgan will then be transferred to Afghan forces. Most international troops are due to leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

An app created by a UK teenager has been acquired by web giant Yahoo in a deal the BBC understands to be worth "dozens of millions" of pounds. Seventeen-year-old Nick D'Aloisio's Summly app summarises news stories from popular media companies. Set for life, yes? Oh to be that smart as well as fortunate.

No doubt that the internet has created lots of opportunities for enterprising people over the past few decades, including me. How on earth could I have established two "media outlets" of my own without the internet? I love to write and I love photography. Perfect! We're not talking Rupert Murdoch here but who cares? Small is cute. I don't even wanna think about what I'd be doing now if it weren't for access to cyber space. For starters, I'd need a helluva lotta filing cabinets!

So here we is again at 5pm ish. There was a dense fog this morning at sunrise and I thought about going down to the river for some interesting and atmospheric pics. It was between that and my morning cuppa and downloading email. Hehe. Oh well, there'll soon come a day (lots of them) when such scenes will be just outside PJ's door and within a few steps. BTW, Richie was talking about taking pics of people and how uncomfortable they can be, especially with a stranger. So it's a matter of breaking the ice and getting to know them - nice and slow. It's also handy to have a 55-200mm lens like mine. You can get great candid portraits without shoving the thing up someone's nostril. In fact, at lots of gatherings I've been to, people tend not to notice the camera after a while - or a few drinks. So when an opportunity like this morning's passes me by, I don't worry about it too much. There'll be plenty more, and in much more convenient circumstances.

So it's telly and nourishment time, and later I'll relax with my little music machine for a while and soak up some relaxing sounds without disturbing anyone. Lindsay came to my door at midnight last night and said, "I'm going to bed now. You're not gonna play any more loud music are you?" For God's sake, it was for about 10 minutes while I was checking the America album for faults and it WASN'T loud. It was barely audible. That dimwit just does things like that to get on my goat. Grrrrr. So I gave him an oral serve hehe, and he was as quiet as mouse this morning. Gary

March 25, 2013. And that's it! All the CDs are copied onto the backup drive as well as a 16GB memory stick. It's taken forever - well, several days - but there's well over 100 hours of music there (2143 items). I bought 6 different colored key-ring name-tag plastic thingies to attach to the memory sticks. Beats a stick-on label. They wear and become useless after a while. The color coding helps too... the red one is Kellys Kompilations 1-25, and the green one is the entire album collection.

And while I was shopping, I walked past the Homewares shop with a table full of specials out front. Ooer! So I bought a good pair of stainless steel tongs with rubberized grips, a nifty spring-loaded stainless steel whisk that spins as you slide the vertical handle up and down (great for eggs, cream, etc), and a slotted spaghetti lifter with a stainless steel handle. All very posh looking stuff for $10 the lot. And all destined for PJ, of course.

TX Greg wrote: When I saw Francois pic of the burning 5th wheeler I thought someone had photoshopped the name "Inferno" on the side. Nope, that's a real product... Not the best of names to give your product when that happens. Here's a news blog post on the fire with another pic...

I remember you saying you were getting a fire extinguisher. You really should think about getting two, one for the rear by the door and one to mount in the cabover. I don't recall you mentioning a smoke detector in there. You should put one on the center ceiling in the front of the bed just behind the fridge door. You may still get false alarms from cooking on the stove, but the stove vent should be open anytime cooking which should help avoid that. Our codes today require that those cabover beds have either an escape window or hatch. I like the vent hatches. They make for great ventilation and an awesome view on a starry night.

Tho I doubt you will consider that, they are quite easy to use. Since the height from the bed to ceiling is short, once you pop the latch and stand straight up your butt will be above roof height, making it easy to set on the roof. Then scoot over on your ass and slide off the front onto the hood of the truck. And yes if it WAS on fire you could do it without even thinking twice. But you know what, as a friend once said, "It's not what your thinking about or planning for that will get you!"

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, Mr Worry Wart! I did mention getting a couple of fire extinguishers, one for the cabover and the other near the rear door. Remember, the thing's only 8' long + cabover. Just as importantly, I also mentioned a fire blanket - much better for instant, no-mess response if something catches alight on the stove. It would also be useful to shield myself from flames if I had to run through a fire. A smoke alarm is a good idea - I've just added it to my list. As to the hatch, I like the starry nights idea. :)

From the Beeb: In 1975 an air force sergeant made history when he came out, to challenge the ban on homosexuals in the US military. Leonard Matlovich became a figurehead for gay rights, but he could not have foreseen that in 2013 the US Supreme Court would be considering whether to overturn a ban on same-sex marriages. If there's only one story you read about gays in the military, this is the one.

Meanwhile, in the land of the Frankies...Hundreds of thousands of people have taken part in a final protest in Paris against a bill to legalise same-sex marriage and adoption. There were scuffles and police fired tear gas as the protest spilled over onto the Champs Elysees, the avenue which runs past the president's palace. 

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has unveiled a new front bench, days after an abortive leadership vote she called "unseemly" and "self-indulgent". Late last week, she survived a challenge after rival Kevin Rudd, a former prime minister, declined to contest a leadership ballot. On Monday Ms Gillard named replacements for a slew of cabinet and junior ministers who had supported Mr Rudd. Who needs an opposition party when you already have one built into your own party? Tony Abbott and the Liberals must be rubbing their hands with glee.

South Korea has signed a new military plan with the US to counter what officials call North Korean "provocations". The plan provides for a joint response between both countries in the event of an incursion or a limited attack from the North, officials say. Here we go again.

And that's it for today's Waffle. Things will be back to normal tomorrow now that all the CD copying business is done - at last. That's one job I don't want ever again. BTW, William Bullimore wrote and thanked me for thinking of him regarding my suggestion to associate his photography with someone famous. Billy's unemployed, at a loose end and feeling down at the mo so a bit of a rocket up the clacker is rather timely. He's too good to be wasted. Way too good. Go Billy!

Yeah, been there done that. What about a pitcher of one of my fav old timers before I go?


March 24, 2013. Just when I thunk I was getting near the end of copying my CD collection, I discovered a stack more in a drawer that I'd forgotten about! Sheesh! Oh well... I'll get around to them another time. On thing's for sure, I'll need more than 8GB memory sticks, especially now that I'm copying at highest quality. CDs may be on the way out, but at least they kept the music in pristine condition for many decades. Elton John was the first CD I bought almost 30 years ago and it's still perfect. Prior to that I had a substantial vinyl collection but that's all gone. One of the great things about the changeover from vinyl to CD was being able to buy twin-disk albums of the "best of" various artists.

These days, peeps are into iTunes and downloading songs from the net but I've lost touch with the music scene over the past few years. Besides, I've got enough to last me forever. And even longer!

Another perfect autumn day. I can tell by looking out the window. I SHOULD BE OUT THERE! But I can't be two places at once. Besides, I will be soon enough - and for a very, very, long time! One of the GNs, a 69 y/o woman, wrote this morning that she was having trouble with her box trailer hitch which had dislodged from the tow ball because the jockey wheel broke. She was having trouble lifting it herself, and there was no one around. Everyone on the forum said they wished they were there to help, and offered their sympathy. So I said I wished I was there too cos I like to take photos. Hehe.

TX Greg wrote: Could you just imagine having your morning cuppa and see your own walking ad come strolling by :)

He must have teeth. Did you see pics on the news of the Australian rescued after being captured by terrorists in the Philippines? He posed shirtless before the cameras to show how emaciated he is. He was described by one journalist as "painfully thin". Yeah? Well guess who else looks like that?

Speaking of teeth, this is from the Beeb: South Africa is one of the worlds most popular destinations to dive with sharks in their natural environment. This video, caught on camera by Bryan Plummer on his first shark dive, shows the possible dangers entailed. The divers got more than they had bargained for as the shark completely ignored the bait and went straight for the cage.

Australia's biggest city, Sydney, has switched off its lights for an hour as the Earth Day climate change protest gets under way across the globe. A small crowd cheered and applauded as the skyline went dark. The Opera House was lit in a deep shade of green to symbolise renewable energy.

Children should be allowed to get bored so they can develop their innate ability to be creative, an education expert says. Dr Teresa Belton told the BBC cultural expectations that children should be constantly active could hamper the development of their imagination. Couldn't agree more. As a little kid with older bros too old, and a younger bro too young, I learned to turn our backyard into a wonderland of adventure full of imaginary friends. And I still do it. Did y'all think Oregon Richie, TX Greg, Ohio Jace, Francois, NC Art, Steve W and others were real? Hahahahaha! Nah... just figleafs of my imagination.

Aerial footage showed cars, trucks and vans completely buried under snow drifts in Cumbria, after blizzard conditions on Friday and overnight into Saturday. Snow, sleet and rain have disrupted transport and power supplies in much of the UK. Amazing footage. Check it out.

Remember that photo I took of the pencil pine foliage? It didn't attract much comment so I figured it wasn't all that good. UNTIL William Bullimore favorited it. There ya go. Just a little while ago Billy answered a comment I made about his latest offering. I asked him where does he go when he has nothing more to prove? He said he'd been uninspired for months now because he'd reached a peak without having had much commercial success. So I told him a story about an enterprising photographer back in the '80s (I think) who got the idea of approaching Sydney's top rating breakfast radio announcer with the concept of publishing a picture book called Gary O'Callaghan's Sydney. O'Callaghan was synonymous with Sydney, sending cheerio calls to pilots and crews flying in and out of Sydney airport, fire crews, nurses, the milkman, police on duty, you name it. And he'd been numero uno for decades. O'Callaghan liked the idea, and so did a publisher because of O'Callaghan's fame and association with the city. So the photographer went ahead, getting up early every morning for a week, taking photos of all the landmarks at dawn as well as commuters, garbage collectors, taxi ranks, street vendors, and other people starting the day when O'Callaghan was on air. The book sold like hotcakes. The photos (all in black and white) were great, and the title gave it instant appeal. So I told Billy to take a leaf outta that photographer's book and put his thinking cap on. He's already got a stack of exquisite shots of Australian landscpapes which would be perfect for Paul Hogan's Australia, for example. Billy needs a challenge, as we all do. You can't just keep taking photos forever without DOING something with them.

Anyway, Billy needs a break. He's a brilliant photographer who's lost his way.

Speaking of pics, I see wet concrete. Someone's been washing their car before taking a photo.

And now for something a little more dramatic. Francois sent a pic the other day of a burning 5th wheeler. Could have been a photoshop job but these pics certainly aren't. They were posted by a GN on the forum: Here's a fire that destroyed a van and tug, giving severe burns to the occupants, happened at Banka Banka station awhile back, I believe a pilot light on a fridge ignited petrol fumes from fuel that came out under pressure from a jerry can being opened to fill a generator.

Not much left of that rig. Anyway, time for me to treat the old buns to my fav chair and watch a bit of telly, and then treat my gums to dinner. Hehe. Gary

March 23, 2013. Satdeeee! But I spent most of it fiddling around with ripping music and saving files to the backup HD and USBs. It's such a tedious job! I also discovered that stuff I copied a couple of years ago was not ripped at the highest quality setting so I might do them all again... just a few a day until all the stuff is done in best quality MP3. Then I'll sell the CD collection.

So now I'm kinda pooped. Yesterday, I crashed about 8.30pm and slept like a log till after 7 this morning. But at least I'm doing things for the Odyssey. I checked the bank account this morning and realized it was a good thing I didn't pay comprehensive insurance on the truck last pay day. People keep dipping their sticky fingers into my account and taking bits and I would have been overdrawn. It's not due till early April so I'll pay it next pay day, Thursday. And then I'll have to lay low for a while - too much going out and not enough coming in.

One of the solo GNs rented a motorhome for a week to do a "trial run". She reported in every day with an account of where she went and what she saw and who she met. She was having a wonderful time. Her account today was about yesterday, a couple of nice places she visited and the people she met there. She's back home now after having returned the motorhome and keys, and can't wait to sell the house, buy her own MH and set off around Oz permanently. Yeah... I know how she feels. So near and yet so far.

NC Art sent this today:

Lovely dog, too. Akshully, lots of GNs travel with pets, which restricts their freedom somewhat, but they don't mind because they've become so attached. And it's easy to tell why after seeing the pic of that sweet labrador. Best not to have a pet in the first place, says me. I'll save that for later when I'm bloody ancient and unable to travel any more.

From the Beeb: An Australian man kidnapped 15 months ago by an al-Qaeda-linked group in the Philippines has been released. Lemme just say I'm glad I'm not travelling around the Philippines.

Newly elected Pope Francis is set to have lunch with his predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict, at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo. I must say that Francis seems a much happier pappy than Benny was, with a ready smile. For example: The Pope has stunned the owners of a Buenos Aires newspaper kiosk, by phoning directly to cancel his order. Luis Del Regno and his son Daniel delivered papers to the former cardinal's residence every weekday. Daniel said he thought it was a prank when a caller earlier this week introduced himself as "Cardinal Jorge".

Quentin Tarantino's Oscar-winning Western, Django Unchained, is one of relatively few Hollywood films depicting a black cowboy. In reality there were many, some of whose stories were borrowed for films starring white actors. The most common image of the cowboy is a gun-toting, boot-wearing, white man - like John Wayne, or Clint Eastwood. But the Hollywood portrayal of the Wild West is a whitewashed version of the reality. It is thought that about a quarter of all cowboys were black

The Porsche 911 is 50 years old, but against the industry’s backdrop of relentless reinvention, it seems virtually unchanged. Even today, we are effectively only on the third major model generation, making the jump from a contemporary 911 to a vintage model feel strangely seamless. Nearly all the major ingredients have been retained since 1963, even in the latest generation, known internally by its codename 991. You face five big round dials. You have superb visibility and surprising comfort. Everything feels a bit less intimidating than in other sports cars. A classic lives on

Meanwhile, Waffle will live on again tomorrow. Time for me to take a rest after a tiring day. Gary

March 22, 2013. Yesterday, I thought I was a real smartie pants with the MP3 thing, but since then I've learned a lot more!

I wrote that line at about 8 this morning and it's 5.30 now. When I set out to do something I become obsessed, and insist on getting it done asap. But I'm buggered after a day ripping CDs. All the Kellys Kompilation stuff needs all song titles/artists typed in manually so it's taken all day. And it's still not quite finished yet. But it's gotta be done and it should be finished tomorrow.

Francois wrote: btw do you know the origin of the word "kangaroo"? I just read that when europeans arrived they asked to an aborigine what's the name of this jumping animal? And he answered "Khan gu rhu" which means "I don't understand"... true or not, funny of course. (Here are) some pics taken in australia (during floods).

Thanks for the pics, Francois. You've given me something to fill today's Waffle since I've been such a naughty boy. As to the origin of "kangaroo", I've heard that story before but I'm not sure if it's true. Possible.

Francois also sent a couple of pics of trucks with problems and says he hopes my luck is better:

Well, I better skedaddle. Gary

March 21, 2013. I've come a long way since yesterday with the MP3 thing. It was a very worthwhile learning curve. I also checked eBay for prices on CD stackers and they're worth a bit, maybe 1 to 200 hundred, so I'll sell the one in the camper. It's a Kenwood. I got stung by that NCH MP3 conversion software yesterday though. I was busy converting my music collection when the bloody thing stopped to tell me it was a trial version and to hand over $20 if I wanted to keep going! Buggers. Oh well... $20 well spent I suppose. It's a good program... it remembered where I left off last night. I'm doing more converting now... lots to get through!

I'd forgotten what a varied collection of music I have... orchestral, big band, pop, rock and roll, blues, classical... I'm looking foward to being alone out in the middle of the Nullarbor with Bolero blaring one night.

NC Art wrote: I was born 50 years too soon. Never heard of YKW, but it sounds like something I would have checked out when [much] younger. Oh well.

Hope you get the music mystery solved. Even guys with experience run into incompatibility snags. My son has been an adept with all that stuff since childhood, but a few months ago went nearly bonkers transferring his music library to a new system. Later he has put all of it on a smart phone so he can listen with an ear bud while working on a movie set or just driving the lawn tractor. Hell, I can’t even handle a DVD. My disc player’s tray is stuck and I can’t dislodge it without wrecking the HI FI features of the telly speakers. “Spend more money” is the motive behind all this fragile crap.

You can copy DVDs to USB memory sticks as well, and use the stick instead of the disk and tray. At least on my telly you can. Anyway, I splurged on an MP3 player... $30 for a Chinese one with 16GB. Can't download iTunes direct from the net but can use the USB port to copy music from the comp. Fine with me. It has those ear buds for private listening on the go or when noise is a no no. It has an FM tuner as well. Yes, I know... gotta watch the spending BUT...

Akshully, as I continue to convert the albums, I continue to discover music I didn't realize I had. The Beatles? I don't remember buying that? Maybe I didn't. *Blush* Maybe it was a prezzie I've forgotten. Blame Old Timers. Anyway, I'm nearly finished the albums I've recorded to HDD (don't remember that either hehe) and next I'll do the Kellys Kompilations. Remember those? I haven't played music in this house for ages cos one of THEM is either watching TV or sleeping. There's some great stuff there though... Supertramp, Steely Dan, America, Rod Stewart, Santana, ABBA, Beach Boys, Queen, Fleetwood Mac, The Doobies... heaps of great stuff. And yes, even a bit of ol' Blue Eyes with Antonio Carlos Jobim. Glenn Miller? Yep. PJ will be a veritable disco on wheels.

Roite, now I can concentrate on Waffle. I've been preoccupied.

From the Beeb: Barack Obama is due to arrive in the West Bank city of Ramallah for talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. The Israel-Palestinian conflict is likely to be at the core of the talks with Mr Abbas. The American leader will only spend a few hours in Ramallah, before heading to Jerusalem to give a speech. Mr Obama made his first trip to Israel as president on Wednesday, holding talks with PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Old mates from way back, Barack and Benny. NOT.

Australia has one of the most brutal political cultures in the democratic world, in which party leaders are dispatched with abandon. As yet another prime minster faces a threat from her own side, has the country become the "coup capital" of the world? It's a mess, and it ain't over yet. Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard calls a leadership ballot in a bid to resolve who should lead the Labor party into September's election.

South Korean officials say unidentified hackers used a Chinese IP address to launch a massive cyber attack on banks and media firms on Wednesday. Now there's another part of the world I'm glad I don't live in. The other is the Middle East.

A jury has recommended the death penalty for a man found guilty of luring men to their deaths with bogus jobs ads on the Craigslist website. A judge will decide the fate of killer Richard Beasley, 53, on Tuesday. Oregon Richie has mentioned Craigslist but I had no idea what it was. I didn't ask because I figured it had something to do with a bloke named Craig and a list. Was I close?.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has issued an apology to people affected by Australia's forced adoption policy between the 1950s and 1970s. Tens of thousands of babies of unmarried, mostly teenage mothers, were thought to have been taken by the state and given to childless married couples. Many women said they were coerced into signing away their children. Shame, shame, shame, along with the White Australia Policy.

The US state of Colorado has tightened its gun laws, to impose limits on the size of ammunition magazines and expand background checks for gun buyers. It makes Colorado the second state after New York to pass gun control measures since 26 people were shot dead at a school in Connecticut in December. Heading in the right direction.

And that's about it. Didn't even get my dose of inner shedness today, but I did manage a quick bit of shopping just now and, apart from a few groceries, bough two 8GB memory sticks. 8GB can take about 2000 songs so that should be plenty big enough. I've got 2 x 16GB for the Nikon but it takes high res pics. It's all rather jolly isn't it, all this exciting technologicalness.

Just caught the news... Julia Gillard's leadership challenge was unopposed and she remains PM through to the next election in September. Simon Crean, who forced the challenge by remarks he made yesterday, was sacked from the front bench and dismissed from his exectutive position hehe. Oh well, Madam Butterfly is still at the helm, at least for a while. I can't stand the woman and, according to the polls, I'm not the only one. My money's on a change of government in September. Gary

March 20, 2013. Well, I ask someone if copying all my CD music to a USB memory stick is a good idea. Yes, he says, he's done it and has all his albums on one stick. Then another bloke says they need to be reformatted as MP3 if you wanna play them on the car radio. Then another bloke says if your car radio doesn't play MP3 then buy an MP3 player. So I check out MP3 players and wonder if Apple iPods and MP3 players are the same thing. I read a bunch of stuff and still don't know. Then I discover that not all players are the same. Some will fit certain speaker docks while others won't. And then I wonder if speaker docks are only made for Apple iPhones or MP3 players as well. But I'm still not sure if I need an MP3 player anyway. All I wanted to do was copy my CD music to a USB memory stick. But how do I play a USB stick? And to complicate matters even more, does the music really need to be converted to MP3? Just because MP3 players are called MP3 players doesn't mean they're restricted to the MP3 format. They can play many other music formats as well. So here I am going around in circles and more confused than I was before I asked the initial question.

So here's the deal. The car radio installed in the camper, with speakers built into the cupboard doors above the kitchen bench, is an ideal place to have a radio and stereo. It's up high and outta the way. But the stereo is old and needs replacing. It's a radio/cassette. The speakers are Altec Lansing so they can stay. The CD stacker mounted under the cupboards can go. Who the hell needs a CD stacker if CDs are redundant? So when I have a new stereo installed, I'll make sure it can somehow accommodate a USB memory stick and play the music recorded theron. Yeah? In other words, the new stereo will determine what I need and what I don't.

At least one problem is solved: where to put all my CDs (except gifts): on eBay, that's where. Once they're copied, I have no need for them.

One day closer to YKW? FL Josh wrote: You said in your Waffle of the 19th, "another day closer to YKW."  I had never heard of YKW so had to look it up.

YKW - the largest "lifestyle" commercial club in North Carolina. We have our parties in our own private 12,000 square foot club, not in a house or hotel. . . . The purpose of our parties is to provide a place that is more than a traditional "swing club". It is an adult social party, a place where people are free to explore their sexuality in a fun, but safe social setting without pressure. . . . They provide: a Love swing, Exam table, Stripper pole that spins, Showers, and a Massage table.

I guess I missed the Waffle where you announced the change in the purpose of the Odyssey, from photographing Oz to photographing, uhhh, ummm, "other things." 

North Carolina, huh? I wonder if NC Art knows about it. Intimately, even. Speaking of the old devil: Ok, you can stick to the qwerty keyboard cause that’s all you have…except for touch screen icons. And the touch typing version is for the birds. My Kindle Fire e-reader is all touchy-feely and I hate it. Incidentally, I also learned touch typing in high school classes, but also learned the etaoin shrdlu right along with it in a print shop after school. So it dozen madder. Actually, my fingers are so blasted arthritic now that my fingernails hit the screen instead of ball of the finger. ! Bummer.

Sorry to hear about the arthritis, Art. That's something I dread happening to moi at some stage. I rely so much on my digit dexterity.

I think I might have this MP3 thing figured out at last. One GN suggested an FM receiver that plugs into the car cigarette lighter. It takes SD memory cards or USB sticks. Selected a frequency, tune the car radio to that frequency and Bob's yer uncle. But the music needs to be converted to MP3, so I downloaded Switch Sound, a program that does batch converting. That was free. So if all that works, I won't need to change the radio/cassette in the camper because all I'll need is the FM radio band. Sound cool to you? My only question now is will the transmitter plugged into the ciggie lighter draw too much power when the engine's not running and flatten the battery. BTW, the transmission signal strength is about 10 meters (30 feet). I just took a punt and bought one from China on eBay for $10.

From the Beeb: South Korean officials are investigating a suspected cyber attack that has paralysed computer networks at broadcasters and banks. Broadcasters KBS, MBC and YTN told police their networks were halted around 14:00, Yonhap news agency said. Two banks, Shinhan Bank and Nonghyup, said their networks were affected. The cause of the problems remains unknown. Last week, North Korea accused the US and its allies of attacks on its internet servers. The plot thickens.

Barack Obama is flying to Israel for his first trip there as US president, amid protests and tight security in Israel and the Palestinian territories. The war in Syria and concerns over Iran's nuclear ambitions will loom large in talks, say correspondents. But US officials are trying to lower expectations that Mr Obama will seek to make significant headway on restarting the Israel-Palestinian peace process. The world will watch with interest.

US lawmakers will ditch a plan to ban assault weapons, all but killing off a key part of a gun control campaign prompted by a recent school massacre. Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein said her proposal would be left out of the firearms control bill. Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid made the decision, saying the proposal could not get enough votes. Well, we all know who calls the "shots" in this stoopid game.

Meanwhile... A US teenager smirked as he was handed three life sentences without chance of parole after admitting killing three students in a high school cafeteria. Wearing a T-shirt with the word "killer" hand-written on it, TJ Lane, 18, taunted victims of the attack in February last year in Ohio. Yeah... what can you say?

Well, ladies and genitals, I've spent much of today buggerizing around with this MP3 thing. It ain't easy when you know bugger all about something to begin with. I also spent a fair bit of time and energy on cutting back overgrowth around the back of the house. These ain't just weeds, but bloody trees! I had to use a small saw as well as pruning shears. Thank god for the liquid food I'm on now... no way I would have had the stamina a few weeks ago. I managed to clear about 4 wheely bins worth of stuff, which is a bit of a worry since we only have one wheely bin. Gary

March 19, 2013. Got my dose of inner shedness this morning. It's another magnificent autumn day, as well as another day close to YKW. Can't wait to be tapping on this keyboard, describing the day's events at a nice place somewhere, and assembling the photos into an album. *Sigh*

One of the best things I've discovered in recent times is the GN forums. Reading various accounts of their travels and adventures has banished any fears I had about becoming an itinerant and living in a camper. I've never encountered a happier bunch of people in my life before. Even the little old ladies doing it solo are raving about how wonderful it is to be a vagabond. One woke at the crack of dawn, took some photos of the rising sun, mentioned the perfect stillness of the morning and how invigorating the fresh air was, and made friends with a duck. Then she did some "housework" which took all of 10 minutes. This is her "trial run" in a rented motorhome. She has to hand the keys back on Friday and is dreading it. Then she'll go back to saving for her own MH before she sets off around Oz permanently.

NC Art wrote: Comments on keyboards bring to mind the standard for the marvelously efficient and user friendly keyboard of the Linotype machine. That layout could have obviated a lot of problems associated with the qwerty layout of typewriters and computers. Sadly, the idea was discarded because it was thought that operators would balk at re-training on a new keyboard while simultaneously wresting with entering data on these newfangled computers. Too bad.

   Go to Google, enter etoin shrdlu and look at the keyboard illustration. Don’t panic at the apparent cumbersome aspects of three keyboards in one. The separate capital (caps) keyboard layout would not be necessary and could be accommodated by a shift key as on typewriter. And, many people use a numeric pad on computers instead of top row on the standard board.

   The thing promotes high speed keyboarding with little fatigue and no recorded cases of carpal tunnel syndrome seen in typists using the querty layout. Briefly, the Linotype layout is designed so the most used and most doubled letter are clustered in order of use frequency. Three fingers and the thumb of the left handle the most used keys, he little finger of left hand is always above the space bar.  Four fingers and thumb of right hand handle all the rest.

   Sound cumbersome but it is not so in practice. And there is no problem with a typewriter user learning the Linotype keyboard because they are complete different routines. Think of riding a bicycle and driving a car; no confusion.

   The engineers were wrong and we’re stuck with a tiring, inefficient, cumbersome, unnatural device to run a stupendously efficient computer. Left foot in 1850; right foot in 2050.



Pining for an ETOIN SHRDLU computer 

I learned to touch type on QWERTY so that's what I'm sticking to, Art. BTW, I was checking out a brochure (bro-sha in Oz) from an electronics retailer and saw lots of new computers with touch screens. They didn't appear to have CD/DVD players. Is that because you can now use USB memory sticks to hold music and video? That would be cool. I have stacks of music CDs that take up too much room (or will in the camper), so if I could copy them to USB memory sticks that would be ideal! Or does the music need to be converted to MP3 format?

From the Beeb: Frank Thornton, who played Captain Peacock in BBC comedy Are You Being Served? has died at the age of 92. Thornton died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Barnes, London, on Saturday, his agent David Daly said. What a great show that was! Here's a short tribute on Youtube.

India beat Australia by six wickets in the third Test in Mohali to complete a series victory over the tourists. In a tight finish on the final day, skipper Mahendra Dhoni smashed three consecutive fours to earn victory with 15 balls remaining. Oh dear! I watched part 2 of Australian Story last night about Ricky Ponting who captained the Australian cricket team through its golden years in the noughties when it was unbeatable. One of the all-time greats of cricket is Ricky Ponting, and sadly missed.

A US university student may have been planning a massacre before he killed himself instead, authorities have said. James Seevakumaran, 30, was found with explosives and firearms in his room at the University of Central Florida. Officials said he pointed a gun at another student, who called the police, before pulling a fire alarm and shooting himself. Hundreds of students were evacuated early on Monday but classes were held after the explosives were removed. The incident occurred as the US holds an emotionally charged debate about how to curb its gun violence epidemic.

Funny about the arguments used by those who support gun ownership. They compare banning assault weapons with banning cars because they also kill people. Oh? Drivers need a license. Drivers need to obey speed laws and road rules. Certain kinds of cars are banned from the roads if they don't meet strict safety regulations. So how can you compare cars with guns? I can understand individuals needing to arm themselves in a wild west situation, but the west ain't wild anymore. We live in a civilized society these days, with a police force and courts of law to handle disputes and violations. Paw no longer has to gallop off into town every time there's a ruckus. He makes a phone call. Can you imagine Chuck Connors punching numbers into his cell phone in the opening scenes of The Rifleman? Actually, they'd have to change the name of the show to The 911 Man.

Iraqis would have rebelled against Saddam Hussein if there had been no invasion and it would have been "a lot worse than Syria", Tony Blair has said. Iraqis previously "rose up in large numbers and were killed in very large numbers", the former UK PM said. Asked if he had regrets, he said: "How can you regret removing a monster who created enormous carnage."That's answering a question with another question. In other words, avoiding the question. I think most people in hindsight believe that the war in Iraq was a mistake - a very costly mistake - and that handling the situation there could have been done differently. But, of course, that's all hypothetical now. Hopefully, the world has learned from its mistakes. The fact that the world is reticent about getting physically involved in the Syrian conflict is probably a result of what occurred in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Is that me talking? As a younger person, I didn't really have views about such events, much less any desire to express them. Maybe I'm watching too many current affairs programs. That may change on the Odyssey when there's a lot happening around me that has nothing to do with world events and politics. One of the things I'm looking forward to is meeting lots of backpackers and tourists from overseas, and listening to tales of their experiences and especially how they view Australians and Australia's culture in comparison to their own way of life. That should be most enlightening.

Anyway, after a pretty lazy day it's time to de-wafflize and catch a bit of telly. Seeyaz. Gary

March 18, 2013. If you're interested in the history of the Sydney Opera House, there's a new site that covers everything from the design, engineering and construction of the building and through forty years of performance and events. This interactive documentary can be explored for minutes or
hours, at your own pace or by choosing to time your journey.

Here's a shorty - a vid of a new type of VW motorhome. Expensive but radical. I like it!

My solar shower arrived today. $10 from China. I've since discovered they're the same price just up the bloody road! Dozen madder. I'll get a spare anyway just to have spare hot water through the day for washing clothes, dishes, etc. If it doesn't get used, no worries. Just put it out again next day.

FL Josh wrote: In the Waffle for the 16th you say "I've discovered that adding any kinda fruit to the liquid food I'm having now turns it into a bulky froth."  I'm guessing this happens when you mix everything in the blender.  Would you get better results if you ran the fruit and everything except the liquid food through the blender, then pour the blended mixture into a glass containing the liquid food and stir?

Now there's an idea worth trying. I spilt a whole can this morning. I'd already poured it into a jug when I ripped a paper towel from the roll. It's difficult to see the perforations on this particular paper so I gave it an extra hard tug which sent the jug and contents flying all over my track pants and the floor. There I was standing barefoot in a pool of sticky goo, unable to reach a stack of old newspapers without walking the goo even further across the floor, when Lindsay came into the kitchen, said "Bloody hell!", and then disappeared out the front door to the shops. Thanks very much.

BTW, since changing from powdered supplement to liquid food, my stamina and energy levels have improved quite dramatically.

FL Josh also has this to say about market vendors being filmed: As to what happened at the market, many vendors use such places to sell counterfeit or stolen items, and some may even have warrants out for their arrest, and such people don't want anyone gathering evidence that could be used to get them in trouble with the law.  Telling them you want to post it on the internet for all the world to see isn't going to go over big with such people and may motivate them to do whatever it takes to get the memory card from your camera.  Probably the best thing you could say when confronted is, "No speaka de English."  If they say anything more, just shrug and shake your head like you don't know what they are saying and leave.

Actually, it did occur to me that the guy who got upset was rather thuggish and intimidating, not unlike people I've met with criminal or standover backgrounds. I'll steer clear of those places in future.

From the Beeb: Q-W-E-R-T-Y. Six letters that define so much of our waking lives. If they are not there on the screen in front of you, chances are they are only a click away. In some ways, these six letters are a triumph of design. They’re wired into our brains, replicated on keyboards, phones and tablets across the world – and have changed very little since Milwaukee port official Christopher Sholes used the layout to stop mechanical levers jamming on a 19th-Century typewriter. Interesting article about our finger tips and how their sensitivity could be far better utilized than current keyboards (including piano) and touch screens allow.

How's this for uncluttered, clean and simple? A 1953 Porsche before the marque got all hairy chested:

I saw one on an antiques show, parked in the drive as the owner's kid went hurtling past on his trike just inches from the highly polished duco hehe. The bloke nearly had a seizure.

And here, in my (not so) humble opinion, is one of the cutest little cars ever designed - the Fiat Bambino. And I figured out why... it's got a cute little butt. I was rescued from a homophobic bully once by an Italian co-worker who told the bully if he wanted to mess with me, he'd have to mess with him first. My hero! The Italian bloke said he'd drive me home because the bully might be waiting outside after work, and this is what he drove me home in.

Speaking of pretty things, on the way back from the letter box I noticed the autumn colors of one of the pencil pines in the front yard... huge things that have been growing there for decades, probably 7 or 8. So I took a few pics, selected one, enhanced color, contrast and sharpness in Photoscape, and posted it on Red Bubble. I don't normally use image enhancers but this one didn't seem to live up to what I'd seen with the naked eye.

How-bloody-ever, it'll take a while, maybe quite a while, before I get anywhere near the standard of my mate Billy Bullimore. Hell he's good.

Steve W just wrote in relation to the vendor at the market: There is an awful lot of 'hot property" offered for sale at the markets and have been involved in investigating this in the past and the first step is to obtain photos of the products and then follow up with either a visit from the police or the legit owners of the stock. I would suspect he was a tad nervous about the origin of his products and for future reference, he is in a public place and you are not taking the photos for financial gain then you are more than entitled to shoot away……..and in his case I would use a .45.

Yep, the more I think about it, the more I'm inclined to believe I got off lightly hehe. I did have a pistol pointed at my head one time - at the Hilton nightclub in Sydney, but that's another story. Just after the market bloke told me to piss off, he noticed a customer waiting to be served and attended to him. The customer, who had overheard what was said to me, and, moreover, how it was said, looked decidedly uncomfortable. Hehe. BTW, Steve, I repeat your address in my head every day without looking at it.

Time now to check out a bit of telly. I watched Attenborough's Galapagos Islands last night, with those weird looking lizards - iguanas. The whole place is a fascinating study of evolution and how a specific environment, isolated from the rest of the world, can produce many unique species. The forests, for example, are not populated by trees. They look like trees, tall with narrow trunks and spindly upper branches, but they're actually giant dandelions. So unless there's a planet just like ours, with the same kind of atmosphere, weather, geography, etc, we're unlikely ever to see a species like us. Gary

March 17, 2013. TX Greg wrote: This isn't like filming a car show or scenes of landmarks. You're directly shooting vid of people and their personal goods. And yes I can see how some people could be "camera shy" and would take offence to be filmed. The last bloke you were filming from the REAR of their booth and YES that shot looks CREEPY. That bloke probably thought you had the hots for his wife! Perhaps the best approach to this type of filming instead of "Just fooling around", tho I know you were rattled at that moment, would be, BEFORE you cut the camera on, to first introduce yourself and say you are doing a vid for YouTube and would they like to be included. The ones that say no, then no worries move on, the ones that say yes will probably ham it up for the cam and make for a much better interesting vid :)

I dunno if goods on sale in a public place can be described as personal, but I take your point, Greg. The main reason I didn't ask permission is because I still sound weird without teeth. I hate being thought of as a mental deficient who needs humoring.

Oregon Richie wrote: Well, I see you went off to see what would happen at the market and now we all know.  Kind of a rough, crude, and scurvy character if you ask me.  Who knows.  Maybe there is a case to be made for something like photophobia.  I have taken lots of pics at festivals and such but I might have asked if I could take some casual shots first.  With a camera, that is.

Well, I also put it to the GNs on the forum and they hit the nail on the head: Hey Gary........I don't know what his problem was, people nowadays are very testy about having their faces all over the net, which in one way I can understand, wouldn't want mine there, but it makes you think that a lot of people probably earn a lot of cash money at markets, and don't want anyone to know about it............especially the government or centrelink.

And this one: There is a lot of money made out there at markets and not a lot of way of tracking it, that is why you see the same people doing a circut of markets, they all will tell you where they will be next weekend........but hey, can't really blame them.

And this one: With a reception like that, it's a good thing you are leaving town!!! A lot of guilty consciences there. Were you wearing a Centrelink tshirt? I used to sell flowers at a farmers market and was always having photos and videos taken, even had a microphone shoved in my face for a radio station interview. We were a much happier bunch than that lot. Used to spruik for sales, stir up the regular customers and other stall holders.

NC Art took a different tack: Can’t decide whether Oz is competing with US for the fattest people on the planet, or if you just like to catch imposing lardbottoms in your camera lens. Whatever. Maybe the avoirdupois contestants just like to waddle around fairgrounds.

Oh, well, at least I got a bit more practice at editing footage. And I've learned something - don't shoot anything with money involved. As to lardbottoms, I don't remember knowing or seeing any when I was a kid. But things were different then... no KFC, McDs, frozen dinners or whole supermarket aisles devoted to junk food. As a teen at work, my lunch was a sandwich and juice, either that or a "home cooked" meal in the company canteen and a cup of tea. At the mo I'm so skinny I look like a skeleton inside a tight nylon stocking.

Yesterday, I forgot to mention something else TX Greg wrote: "not fully set up yet" Geez sheets and a pillow is all you need to just sleep. Honestly, you make it sound like there's some fear to sleeping in there. Maybe you're subconsciously worried it might fall off the jacks? You could go out there and take a nap for a hour or two just to try out and see if that mattress agrees with you :) 

Yeah, I meant more than just sleeping. I'd like to spend an evening and morning, watching a bit of TV or listening to music, writing something with the laptop, then sleeping overnight, waking in the morning, making a cuppa, peeing in the porta potti, and getting a feel for the whole experience. I keep reading about it on the GN forums and it's giving me itchy feet. I have yet to read a single comment from a nomad who hasn't been totally impressed with life on the road (apart from weather, traffic, or other irritations). They love meeting each other as well but I'm not so sure about that aspect.

One GN this morning described the final few weeks before the big departure - getting rid of decades of accumulated junk - selling what's saleable, giving much of it away, taking the rest to the dump, etc. As one commenter put it, don't let possessions hold you back. It's true ya know. Many things we own actually own us.

There's a 12V 260AH AGM battery on eBay for $1.79. Not bad. But it's a 4-day auction hehe. Another 105AH with the auction ending late tomorrow is currently $225. Might be an idea to keep an eye on those. Another seller in Sydney has several 120AH at $99, used but "in excellent physical and mechanical condition". They're 5 years old though, and pick up only. On the Odyssey, it would pay to be in a large city before buying big ticket items.

Another thing I forgot to mention the other day was the reaction of the food chemist at Abbot when I phoned to ask why their liquid food supplement froths when used as a base for smoothies. At first the receptionist transferred me to another department, then that department transferred me to another, etc, until I was finally connected to a chemist. When I explained what had happened, she got all defensive: "I'm not a dietition, I'm a food chemist. Our supplement is not supposed to have anything added. Yadda, yadda." All I asked was what might have caused the thing to froth - the fruit, the yoghurt or the egg. "It could have been one or a combination of things," she said as if I'd accused her of something hehe. Funny innit. People get so defensive when there's really no need to. Anyway, by process of elimination I discovered it was the fruit, and passed the info on to my nutritionist. So now I don't add fruit to smoothies made with the liquid supplement, and do to smoothies made with cow or coconut milk. Simple. But I had to figure it out for myself.

Just back from shopping and scored with soups on spesh at $2 each. Campbells are introducing a new line so the oldies are getting the flick. Suits me. AND I LIKE THE COURIER. Once the camper's on and she stops trying to throw me outta the saddle it'll be better hehe. She's a bit skittish empty. But I like her. Not sure why exactly. I've always liked driving floor shifts - probably stems from my Beetle days when I was a harem scarem leadfoot. I'm rather more sedate these days but still enjoy the feel of a stick shift and clutch. Vroom, vroom!

From the Beeb: The new Chinese President, Xi Jinping, has said he will fight for "the great renaissance of the Chinese nation," in his first speech as head of state. He stressed that the economic development would remain the ruling Communist's party's priority. He also addressed the growing inequality gap and spoke about the need to tackle corruption. Did you know China used toilet paper thousands of years ago?

Pakistan's PM hails as "a victory" for democracy the completion of a full term by an elected government for the first time in the country's history. Really? I had no idea. Since Pakistan was founded in 1947, government were often overthrown in coups, toppled by political infighting or end in assassinations or murders. And there's another thing I was unaware of.

Declassified tapes of President Lyndon Johnson's telephone calls provide a fresh insight into his world. Among the revelations - he planned a dramatic entry into the 1968 Democratic Convention to re-join the presidential race. They also shed light on a scandal that, if it had been known at the time, would have sunk the candidacy of Republican presidential nominee, Richard Nixon. By the time of the election in November 1968, LBJ had evidence Nixon had sabotaged the Vietnam war peace talks - or, as he put it, that Nixon was guilty of treason and had "blood on his hands".

One GN on the forum was talking about hitch maintenance, lubing and greasing. So smartie pants here commented, "Yep, couldn't agree more. Always lube your trunnions and grease your balls, I say." I didn't add a smiley, just kept it straight, and the posts since mine have not commented on it. Hehe. Oh well... BTW, I have no idea what a trunnion is.

Oh, and one bloke commented on Kombis, saying he really liked them, and had found a great video of a Kombi meet on Youtube. Guess whose video it was? Yep, a Fossil Fillum, so I told him so. I'm becoming famous!

After 5-ish now and the weekend went that-a-way. Took the Nikon camera bag with me when I went shopping and did a detour around the river. Nothing happening. I still haven't used the 55-200mm lens yet. So now it's time to check out the telly and think about s o u p . One day I'll look back on these times as 'those bad old days'. HAPPY ST PATRICK'S DAY!  Gary

March 16, 2013. There are some nasty people about. I nicked over to the local showground this morning to shoot the Saturday morning markets to see if I could produce an interesting video. One bloke was selling dog beds and pooch stuff. After I'd taken a couple of shots he came over to me and asked what I was doing. "Just fooling around," I said. Then he virtually accused me of spying. "Taking photos of a person's stock without asking permission," he growled. So I repeated my reason for being there - just fooling around. "On your way," he demanded. "Understood?" So I nodded and wandered off.

Now there's a bloke who's paranoid about something. His stall was in full view of everyone in a public place. Maybe it was his "Aussie Bra" he was nervous about. Probably made in China. I was about to photograph the sign when he approached me. Anyway, the incident coupled with his attitude took all the fun out of my being there. I continued to take shots of other stalls, etc, but I was half expecting stall owners to kick up a stink and tell me to piss off. You'd think they'd welcome publicity but apparently not.

3pm now and I spent about 4 hours editing the vid which is being uploaded to Youtube at the mo. You can judge for yourself whether the bloke who bit my head off was justified or not. Anyway, it gave me something to do hehe. It's a lovely day too, and it was nice to get out in the sunshine and wander around for a bit, even though I was a bit shaken by the aggressive attitude of the stall holder. I feel better now that I've edited the vid and "gotten my revenge". Hopefully, the word will get around town. He'll probably beat me to a pulp if he sees me again. 

BTW, I was wearing my Ohio State 0 tee and a bloke approached me to say he was from Ohio and a Buckeye supporter. There ya go... right here in Taree.

From the Beeb: The US unveils plans to beef up missile defences on the West Coast to counter the threat from North Korea, after its third nuclear test last month. I'm glad the US is taking the N. Korean threat seriously. As a mate of mine says, those who choose to ignore history are likely to repeat it.

The Catholic Archbishop of Durban, Wilfrid Fox Napier, says paedophilia is "not a criminal condition" and requires treatment not punishment. I suspect he's right. Children are not designed to be sexually attractive to adults so it has to be a mental thing. Police have just busted a large pedo ring in Oz after discovering massive amounts of child-abuse material. A child under the age of 10 was also found living in one of the houses raided. Suspects range in age from 22 to 76 and come from all walks of life.

The US state of Maryland is poised to abolish the death penalty after its lawmakers voted 82 to 56 in favour of the move. The measure now needs to be signed by Governor Martin O'Malley to become law. Correspondents say it will be a formality as the Democratic governor has campaigned for five years to have the death penalty repealed. Once signed into law, Maryland will become the 18th US state to abolish executions.

Excavations for London's Crossrail project have unearthed bodies believed to date from the time of the Black Death. A burial ground was known to be in an area outside the City of London, but its exact location remained a mystery. Thirteen bodies have been found so far in the 5.5m-wide shaft at the edge of Charterhouse Square, alongside pottery dated to the mid-14th Century. Analysis will shed light on the plague and the Londoners of the day.

Influential US Republican Senator Rob Portman has renounced his opposition to gay marriage. The Ohio senator said he began to change his mind in 2011 after his son, Will, revealed he was gay. Sen Portman said that his former views on marriage had stemmed from his Methodist faith. What's he saying? That he was wrong? And now he's not because his son is gay? How convenient.

Roite, well that's it for Satdee and its unexpected bit of excitement at the country markets. I'm in the mood to do another video now. :) Gary

March 15, 2013. The froth that ate Taree. I've discovered that adding any kinda fruit to the liquid food I'm having now turns it into a bulky froth that's like fairy floss (that colored stuff on a stick made from sugar). It's like trying to eat a mouthful of air. What a bummer. 

So what exciting things are on today's agenda? Here's what one GN wrote: Found a great free camp behind the Harness Club at Nyah. Big area, trees around the edges, toilet, dump point and drinking water on tap! Will stay a few days then head towards Yorke Peninsular for Easter.

You get that kinda thing all the time on the forums - people discovering great places to camp and recommending them. Grrrrr. It's quite frustrating for me at the mo, still waiting my turn. It wouldn't be so bad if I had something constructive to DO in the meantime but, other than saving, which is not the most thrilling of pastimes, there's nuttin.

Actually, there is. I haven't done a photo album or video so far this month. Hmmm. I'll have to figure something out.

Back from the shops. Went there to buy a spare umbrella for the car (cos I'm bored) and came back with a tarpaulin - and no umbrella. It's a fairly large tarp - roughly 10' x 10' - useful as an outdoor floor or extra shade cover or whatever. $17 was cheap enough. I already have an older one that came with the camper.

As I mentioned to Richie this morning, each time I'm tempted to sleep in the camper overnight in the backyard I remind myself that it's not fully set up yet. And I ain't gonna spend a night down there without being surrounded by all my goodies, let alone any longer. Apart from being mobile and having a different view every couple of days on the Odyssey, my basic daily routine will have a lot in common with my current one - porta potti and camp shower notwithstanding. I have NO intention of roughing it.

From the Beeb: As Syrians mark two years since of the start of the uprising, the EU is set to discuss lifting its arms embargo to supply rebels. China and Russia will no doubt have something to say about that.

Samsung has launched its latest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S4, which allows users to control the device with their eyes. Bloody amazing. I still haven't tried touch screen yet.

Animal activists in the US have reacted angrily after a shark being used in an advert for the Kmart chain died of apparent stress. The white-tipped shark died in an outdoor pool in Los Angeles. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) said whistleblowers had informed it of the death. Hmmm. I'm not one for cruelty either but on the other hand no one's complaining about hauling in a fish with a hook in its mouth.

Japanese people often fail to understand why neighbouring countries harbour a grudge over events that happened in the 1930s and 40s. The reason, in many cases, is that they barely learned any 20th Century history. I myself only got a full picture when I left Japan and went to school in Australia. It'll be interesting to talk to Japanese tourists on the Odyssey.

A sharply split US Senate panel has passed a bill to ban assault weapons, but the measure is viewed as unlikely to go much further in Congress. Polls show a majority of Americans back a ban on assault weapons. Yeah, but they're only the people. What the hell do people know? At least, that's how I read the republican attitude.

Which reminds me, there was a topic being discussed on a GN forum the other day about personal safety while camping. A couple of GNs admitted carrying rifles but stressed that they were responsible gun owners. Then someone told the story of a camper running his generator at night and annoying other campers. There was a loud bang and, early next morning, the bloke with the generator discovered a hole in it made by a 12 gauge shotgun. He left soon afterwards. But it just goes to show that not every gun owner is responsible, and it only takes one or two to cause trouble.

Another shortie today I'm afraid. Maybe it's a lack of inspiration caused by a lull in proceedings. Maybe I should start thinking about a vid. There's a market on tomorrow morning at the showground - lots of stalls, all kinds of colorful things on sale, plenty of people, lots of activity and spruikers shouting their wares. Hmmm. That might be a fun thing to do. I'll think about it.

Meanwhile, it's bum on the soft chair time. Gary

March 14, 2013. Just back from checking the snail mail and spotted this. Pretty cool, yes?

It'll be interesting to see what comments I get from Red Bubblers. I think it's a pretty magic shot for a number of reasons. It's one of those situations you could easily miss unless you develop a habit of thinking like a camera. I'm not as clever as my mate Billy Bullimore but I do have my moments. And to think it was as close as my front veranda. Actually, pretty soon, EVERYTHING will be as close as my front veranda!

Here's another thing I spotted today. A classic early 50's Jag on an auto newsgroup:

Oregon Richie will no doubt comment on that curvaceous beauty. He's a fan of the old Brit sporting machines, especially the V12 Jags. Very noice.

Some intellectually challenged twit flooded my guestbook with a heap of crap from porno sites yesterday. So I spent ages deleting them all only to find them returning. Bugger that. So I ditched the "simple CGI guestbook" in favor of commercial freebie (but I have the option of going ad-free for a small annual fee). There was only one legitimate guestbook entry in the old one so I copied it over to the new one, which also has a security feature to stop spammers. In any case, I can manage it and delete anything that sneaks through.

TX Greg wrote to say he likes the new GB but also asked why I didn't use the same mob that supplies Cody's new one. Weeeell, I'm not too impressed by Cody's (even though Greg is). Besides, I didn't think of it at the time. I really HATE those "you're the millionth visitor" ads that jump around with a 'click here' sign. If any appear on my new GB I'll take the ad-free option.

Beeeeeeeuuuuuuudiful autumn day today. Started out a bit nippy but the day is stunning, with no hum dittity. Perfect weather for camping. :) Gotta nick up the road for a bit of shopping soon - nothing very interesting. Got paid this morning but it soon vanished. AND, I won two minor prizes in Lotto two days in a row! $13.70 and $22.10. They reckon everything happens in threes. Hmmmm?

My gooseneck LED lamp that came with my lap table takes 3 x button batteries, right? So to buy them they come in pairs, right? And if you buy 2 pair you've got one more than you need, right? That's okay. I have a quartz clock that uses 1 button that lasts for about a year. But marketing peeps do that kinda thing. There are often twofa specials at the supermarket... twofa the price of one. Wot's wrong with half price? You might only buy one, that's wot.

From the Beeb: Argentina's Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is elected as the Catholic Church's new Pope Francis, the first Latin American in the role. I wonder if he'll comment on the Faukland Islands hehe.

Former senior Khmer Rouge leader Ieng Sary dies while on trial for genocide, a UN-backed court in Cambodia announces. Happens a lot with those bastards...leaving it till they're at death's door before bringing them to justice.

President Barack Obama says the US is engaging in "tough talk" with China about hacking attacks, although he plays down talk of a cyber war. Diplomacy is all about walking on eggshells.

An Illinois man has survived an 18ft (5.4m) fall inside a sinkhole while he was golfing, two weeks after another sinkhole swallowed a person in Florida. Mark Mihal, 43, was investigating an unusual depression when the earth gave way on the 14th hole of the fairway in Waterloo, Illinois. I could say something about playing 19 holes but I won't.

US consumers shrugged off higher taxes to boost retail spending by 1.1% in February from the month before. It was the biggest rise in five months.

Bit of a shorty today, ladies and genitals - blame the snoozes. Every time I have a smoothie loaded with goodies I crash out in the chair. Which reminds me, every old geezer deserves a favorite comfy chair and I've seen some folding/camp ones with loads of padding and a high back, just the thing for these tired old bones on a lovely day like today parked under PJ's awning out in the fresh air somewhere. But that's a luxury I'll think about once I've got all the important stuff. Gary

March 13, 2013. My Red Bubble mate Billy Bullimore, aka William, has been working his buns off posting stuff that's also posted elsewhere, enhanced and incorporated into a slide show. The kid's really got what it takes ya know. His work is exemplary, and it's obvious that he goes to a lot of trouble to get the best shots.

William has also done a lot of traveling around Oz. Check out this slide show which includes a couple rippers of Uluru

I know William is keen to become professional but it ain't easy to break into that business. Probably a case of who you know. But he's persistent so hopefully it's just a matter of time. I wish him well.

How many days old are you?

Birth date: 29 Aug 1944

You are 25033 days old. Which is 3576 weeks and 1 day.

That's 68 years and 196 days, including 17 leap years*, or 68 years, 28 weeks and 0 days.

In other words, that's 823 months. Therefore, you are 68.5 years old.

You were born on a Tuesday, your last birthday was a Wednesday and your next one will be on a Thursday.

That's interesting cos Tuesday's Child is full of grace, which was my nickname for many years (as in Grace Kelly). I always knew I was full of something, so it's nice to know it's grace hehe.

I read on the GN forum that Winnebago USA has stopped Winnebago Oz from using its name, which it has since 1978 (formerly Freeway). So obviously the two companies are not affiliated which is something I've often wondered. The change comes after US-based Winnebago Industries, which has been manufacturing motorhomes in Iowa since 1966, won a legal battle to prevent local manufacturers and dealers using their brand name. Winnebago Oz is appealing the decision but in the meantime will be known as Avida.

Modern airliner? Well, there's one thing you can say for the old Douglas, it's still flying.

From the Beeb: Cardinals will begin their second day of deliberations over who should be the new pope, after the first round of voting proved inconclusive. Not surprising. They're not used to making decisions. Everything's in the Bible.

A campaign to rename a Nevada mountain after Ronald Reagan is gathering pace. Why are Americans so fond of naming peaks after their presidents? The summit rises up from the Mojave Desert's arid expanse, looming above the garish sprawl of Las Vegas. It's an impressive sight, which at present goes under the name of Frenchman's Mountain.

The Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles agrees to pay out nearly $10m (£6.7m) to settle four clergy sex abuse cases. This seems to be an issue that simply won't go away.

A woman reversed her car into a Dunkin' Donuts restaurant in Philadelphia on Monday, causing diners to flee. CCTV from the store shows Bobbie Markous accelerating in reverse, crashing through the front window.

A study of Neanderthal skulls suggests that they became extinct because they had larger eyes than our species. As a result, more of their brain was devoted to seeing in the long, dark nights in Europe, at the expense of high-level processing. Yeah, well maybe there's something in what they say about people with small, beady eyes.

The US airline regulator has approved a set of fixes to the battery of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, clearing the way for the aircraft to resume flights.

A historic palazzo in Rome that houses a key Vatican department is also the home of a well-known gay sauna.

Well, it's about time I toddled off to la la land again to see how the world's been getting along today, and have a bit of chicken, mushroom and wild rice soup. :-/ And yes, I had my daily dose of inner shedness today... just for a little while to measure something. :) Gary

March 12, 2013. Yep, "inner shedness" was the expression Kevin McCloud used to describe his guests discovering the joys of a shed. Mine happens to be a shed on wheels but it's still a shed. TX Greg wrote: Here's the full episode on You Tube. Just click the pointer up to about the 43:00 minute mark so you can skip over and get straight to that line which is about at the 43:45 minute mark... That really is a cool line he says there and yes I see how that totally applies to your dream :)

It's also worth watching the full episode for those of you who haven't seen the show. It's the final episode with a montage of scenes from previous eps to bring you up to date with how the shed has taken shape since the idea was born. Interesting that McCloud drives an old Peugeot ute as well. Here's a song by John Williamson called All Australian Boys Need a Shed. Meanwhile I like "inner shedness" hehe.

The only thing I'm waiting for is Stan the Lawn Man to arrive with his brush cutter to trim all the tangled growth along the side of the driveway where the Freeway is parked. It's on the driver's side of the truck which will make it difficult to use the side mirror as I reverse under the camper. Once that's cleared, I can phone Chris to help me mount the thing. It'll make the storage bins accessible as well so I can start to store stuff there, including the gel AGM battery when it arrives at the end of March.

NC Art wrote: What man can do is just amazing … internal combustion engines and nuclear bombs. But where are the tooth-growing farms when we need them? Pfahh!

Nancy, the dentist, loaned me her industrial-strength food processor this morning but I haven't used it, and don't think I will. It has a large jug on top that looks like a major cleaning job. The plastic jug I use and hand mixer is a cinch to clean - all over in a minute - and light as a feather. Admittedly it has a problem grinding volcanic rock to a powder but I can live with that.

Speaking of industrial strength, my 3M velcro arrived so I took it down to the camper. I'll figure out where to use it later when I get used to living in PJ and become familiar with what goes where. Any excuse to get my daily dose of inner shedness. I just sit there and look around, fiddling with things and trying to imagine what it's gonna be like. I expect my first night's camp will be decidedly weird.

Back in 1941 Ford was experimenting with the way things would be, but never were...

And here we are 70+ years later with cars still made of steel. Early caravans were made of plywood and later of aluminium. PJ is aluminium with a "stick" frame as Richie calls it. Apart from faded paintwork and a few minor dings from overhanging branches and hail, it's still in pretty good nick too.

From the Beeb: Cardinals gathered in Rome to elect a new pope will begin voting later on Tuesday, with no clear frontrunner in sight. Hmmm, me suspects it has something in common with the Titanic's deck chairs. Anyone hoping for radical change in the church's attitude will be disappointed I fear. How is it possible to hang on to tradition whilst embracing change? Even Betty saves the crown jewels for ceremonial occasions and otherwise gets about in contemporary clobber.

The people of the Falkland Islands vote to remain a UK overseas territory, in a referendum held amid pressure from Argentina over its claims on the islands. I'd have been very surprised if the vote had gone the other way.

A court has blocked a ban on the sale of large sugary drinks - including soda - from restaurants in New York City, a day before the law was to take effect. Judge Milton Tingling ruled that the measure was "arbitrary and capricious", after industry groups sued the city. The law would forbid the sale of drinks larger than 16 ounces (473ml) in food-service establishments. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the judge was "totally in error" and has vowed to appeal against Monday's ruling. The American Beverage Association, which is leading the fight against the ban, welcomed the decision. Not much point in turning 21 these days hehe. There's always some bureaucrat trying to treat adults as kids.

Mardi Gras police brutality claims shake Australia. Sydney's Mardi Gras parade is one of the biggest gay and lesbian festivals in the world and a highlight of the city's social calendar. But allegations of police brutality at this year's event are still reverberating across Australia. A most unfortunate incident considering the march included police representing the gay community.

In the world of design, the best ideas are often those which evolve as the world around them changes. As BBC Future begins a new four-week series called Imagineering - looking at the design and redesign of everyday objects - Jonathan Glancey looks at how great design often draws on what has gone before. Yes, as I suspected, it's difficult to improve on something unless that something already exists in some form or other. A most interesting article.

For some reason just now, I was remembering standing at a lookout near Gloucester, a town about an hour's drive inland from here. The lookout has a commanding 180 degree view of a huge fertile valley surrounded by mountains (on one of which I stood), with Gloucester nestled in the distance below. On the floor of the valley is the main railway line that runs all the way from Melbourne in the south to Brisbane in the north. I could see a freight train snaking its way through the green patchwork of farms. It was probably a kilometer or more long but looked no more than a few centimeters as it meandered this way and that, slowly swallowing the enormous distance ahead. And I thought "this is the kinda place you visit" until I suddenly realized the next time I'm there I'll probably camp overnight. See what I mean? Everywhere I go is home for as long as I want it to be. How radical is that? It's gonna take a bit of getting used to, I'm sure.

5-ish again!  And another day closer to you-know-what. Gary

March 11, 2013. TX Greg wrote: You really need to set the camera up to do a vid of the mating of the camper and truck. That would be really cool to see your dream coming together as one. I know I've show you this vid before. You could do one like this and speed the film up also.... And that gives me the name of the vid "Loading the camper, my Aussie dream coming together".

Problem is, Greg, the camper is jammed between the garage and a lot of trees and vines, with nowhere to place the camera for a good view. I'd prefer to have someone else reverse the truck while I run around doing the vid from different angles but no one's available. Also, I'm pretty certain Windows Movie Maker has no speed up control. 

GNs have been discussing various techniques regarding reversing caravans into camp sites at caravan parks. Some of the women have difficulty which means repeat performances that inevitably attract a crowd of gawkers hehe. How embarrassing. At least once the Freeway is loaded, it stays loaded. Then my only concern will be anything lower than 3 meters, such as tree branches, awnings, etc. Gotta get used to that. Width won't be a prob... it's only about 6" wider on each side than the tray.

Jeez, it's not all that long ago I was shopping around for a camper... looking, looking, looking, till it drove me crazy. Anything around the $5K mark was trash, and even those at double the price were labeled "needs a bit of TLC". Yeah, right. A bit? I was over the moon when I saw PJ with all those extra goodies and a renovated interior. Then I was pipped at the post during the auction but the bidder reneged and eBay gave me a second chance offer next morning.

After that it was months of searching for a decent flat bed ute with pretty slim pickings for the money I could afford. Then along came the Courier virtually in my own backyard for $2500. Actually it was closer to $3000 but the seller relented and took $2500. There was also the worry of getting a decent price for the old ute but I got lucky again. I'm soooo glad it's over! On the other hand, it was worth all the stress and strain to get this far, with not all that much further to go.

I'm trying to phone that oral surgeon in Port Macquarie but his line is constantly engaged. Must be a popular man. Ah ha! Got him! Like I said, he's a busy man so Wed April 17 is the earliest he can see me, but at least it's here in Taree just down the road a bit. It's a consultation so we'll go from there. He'll be away most of May (school holidays) so if he operates it'll be June at the earliest. *Sigh*

From the Beeb: A suspect in the abduction, rape and murder of a student in the Indian capital, Delhi, has been found dead in prison, his lawyer has confirmed. Unconfirmed reports say Ram Singh was found hanged in Tihar jail, Delhi. What possesses guys like him to commit such heinous crimes is beyond me

Before I forget, on DIG 1940 last night I discovered that it wasn't the Spitfires that won the Battle of Britain, as many believe, it was the Hurricanes. Hurricanes shot down more Nazi aircraft than the Spitfires and ground fire combined.

Maths genius Mary Cartwright was a modest soul and one of the early founders of chaos theory. It's time we recognised her massive contribution, says historian Lisa Jardine. In his Mathematician's Apology, published in 1940, the great mathematician GH Hardy argued emphatically that pure mathematics is never useful. Yet at the very moment he was insisting that - specifically - "real mathematics has no effect on war", a mathematical breakthrough was being made which contributed to the wartime defence of Britain against enemy air attack

I suspect music and math go together. I'm hopeless at both. I still haven't figured out how to use a calculator properly. Square roots and percentages are way over my head. And algebra? Forget it. I remember SF Jim commenting one time about Rashi, my English grammar teacher (on line). Jim said, "Rashi may know a lot about English grammar but you know more about people than he ever will." Hehe. Pity I didn't use that knowledge to protect myself from some of the ratbags I've known. I used to be terribly naive, believing there was good in everyone and always giving everyone the benefit of the doubt. Now I know better.

Roite, time for a coconut cream smoothie with ice cream and choc/hazelnut. Remember that dreadful stuff in cans I used to pour into my stomach tube? I just ordered more. Jo Pretty, my dietitian, says the powdered supplement I've been having has no calories. "It's for people who DO eat normal food." So it's the tinned stuff from now on, except that I'll use it as a base for smoothies with all the other stuff... egg, fruit, yoghurt, flavoring, etc. I'm getting tired of my undies falling down. Jo registered me with Home Enteral Nutrition, which means it's home delivered (free) and heavilly discounted for outpatients... 24 cans @ $1.60 a can.

Wot? No traffic?

BTW, I posted a pic from my Scrapbook page on the GN forum yesterday cos someone mentioned OB, short for outside broadcast. It reminded me of my old radio days. Anyway, the pic was of 2KY's 50th anniversary and I was pictured there along with the other "stars". Then it occured to me that 2KY's 100th anniversary is not all that far off! Bloody hell! Just 12 years away. Youth has no real comprehension of time, which probably explains why there are so many GNs on the road, getting the most out of what's left.

After 5 again and time to toddle off to telly land and the dreaded soup. Gary

March 10, 2013. Oregon Richie wrote: Ah... I got a nice cozy feeling looking at the pictures of the CAMPER again.  Stove top, cupboards, and place for everything and everything in it and all that good stuff.  Yes, I could do that.  I have at times expressed a wild and somewhat comical desire to do so with my lass and she seems... not to debate it very much, ha ha.

And TX Greg wrote: Wow, that is a really neat stove. I have never seen one with that bottom grill feature before. Here's a portable one like it with breakfast about ready....

Mmmm, scrambled egg on toast. Mine looks pretty ancient but those things don't wear out, and I'm sure it'll do the job for a long time yet. I'll probably invest in small single burner portable with a gas cartridge for outside cooking as well (or spare). Might be safer to do deep frying outside.

BTW, a grill is perfect for grilled cheese on toast. Toast one side of bread, turn over, butter, place slices of tomato on top, then slice of cheese, pepper, return to grill. Serve when cheese melted or browned. Some peeps prefer the tomato on top but I like the cheese browned all over.

In my stove pic, behind the tissues/TV antenna is a drop-down bench that can be lifted to provide a middle bench between the lower one and the cupboards above. Pretty nifty. The fairly large table behind where I'm standing is also a useful bench area. You need lots of bench space when cooking, and especially when kneading dough for bread.

Yep, the Freeway is well designed for an oldie - very compact but everything is there and virtually within arm's reach. The seating/dining area is larger than normal with plenty of room to stretch out full length for an afternoon nap, yet storage space hasn't been compromised. I'm very happy with the layout and wouldn't change a dayum thang. Once it's mounted on the Courier I'll do a video of whole shebang, inside and out.

One GN wrote in response to another's new motorhome with a nice view out the window, "Real estate agents are always saying Location, Location, Location." Good point. Life on the road means million dollar views without the million dollar price tag. Instead of something like this, you have something like this. Instead of something like this, you have something like this. Or maybe something like this.

From the Beeb: Uhuru Kenyatta promises to serve all Kenyans "without fear or favour" after being declared winner of the presidential election by the smallest of margins. Funny how most democracies are fairly evenly divided between two major parties. In our last federal election, we ended up with a hung parliament so 2 independents and the Greens sided with Labor giving it sufficient seats to govern. The vast majority of Aussies are pissed off though, and Labor looks like getting trounced at the next election in September, including the independents.

The birth towns of Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler are divided on the issue of how to deal with the legacy of the dictators who slaughtered millions. In some ways it would be hard to imagine two more different places than Gori in Georgia and Braunau am Inn in Austria. Interesting article.

Britons must "work in harmony with nature" to preserve rural areas for the benefit of "our successors, particularly grandchildren", the Prince of Wales has told the BBC. The prince, due to become a grandfather in July, was interviewed for BBC One's Countryfile programme, which he guest-edited. He warned that nature was "a great deal more powerful than we are".Yes, some misguided people think humans and nature are two separate entities.

Dentists may one day be able to replace missing teeth with ones newly grown from gum cells, say UK researchers. The team from King's College London took cells from adult human gum tissue and combined them with another type of cell from mice to grow a tooth. Not so weird... Albert wrote and wanted to know if I could grow new ones.

5-ish again. BTW, that Salvage Hunters program last night wasn't all that good... I was hoping the guys would be looking in the most unlikely places for the most unlikely treasures but no. It was fairly ordinary stuff. Oh well... Dig 1940 is on again tonight... last week they found bits of German warplanes buried in craters caused by the crash - Stuker, I think. And Attenborough's Galapagus is on. Seeya. Gary

March 9, 2013. My email login keeps failing and has since late yesterday after all those bogus emails flooded my in box. Actually, not my in box but the server's. I shut down Windows Mail to prevent accidental downloading of mail to my comp. I'll phone my ISP shortly. Tech service doesn't start till 9am Satdees. Anyway, it's a pain in the butt.

As a kid, I used to keep a written account of all the car makes I saw around the streets. I think I got to 40-something but certainly nowhere near 4000!

Here's an interesting photo I found on one of the GN forums. I think it's in Tasmania. Certainly makes PJ look pretty flash.

Quite a few GN post pics of their rigs on the forums. There was a Ford Transit fitted out professionally that really didn't have anything better than PJ has. In fact, PJ's sleeping quarters are better... none of that fold-up, fold-down business, or a mattress comprised of several foam cushions butted together. Mine's an inner spring double with a completely flat surface. On the outside, the Transit looks better but mine's just as good on the inside. And the Transit was valued at $30,000. I bought mine for $4,700 + $2500 for the Courier. Neh, neh, neh, neh, neeeh, neh.

Took a while to sort out the email prob this morning with the techie but it was caused by a phishing email getting my password. Dam! I've had that password since 1997. Anyway, my ISP gave me a new password but it was a computer generated thing I could never hope to remember. I tried to figure out how to change it to something else but couldn't. So I phoned the ISP again and had to wait online again for AGES. Turned out that only they can change the email password. What a waste of time today has been!

TX Greg wrote: Now do you think you're going to remember to remove that "cardboard" box BEFORE you light the stove, hehe. You said that space is behind the stove? I'm looking back at the stove pic and wondering what the space / opening is for under the stove knobs? Might be the fresh air draw for the burners. And it looks like the stove sets in a separate (heat shield) metal box, which makes me think the stove might be on a quick gas disconnect and can be taken outside and used also. I've never seen a stove like that one before.

I was wondering how long it would take before someone freaked about a cardboard box being behind the stove. Yep, the stove is encased in a metal heat shield but is screwed to the cabinet.

Pretty nifty, huh? Lift the lid and there's your twin burners. The space underneath the burners is a grill/toaster controlled by the middle knob. The collapsible oven will sit on top of the burners. Under the stove is a cutlery/utensils drawer but the bulky stuff takes up too much room, hence the box at the back. So you can relax, Greg. It's all good.

Francois wrote to give me a couple of links to places in Oz where I can buy citronella oil: I like the scent as much as insects seem to dislike it, and in more this oil doesn't make durable stains: I put it on my pillow twice a week in the evening, just wetting my finger in the bottle, and in the morning the stain has disappeared leaving the scent. Francois also suggested that if I have any trouble with a permanent address for licence, rego etc, I should check out the boaties at a marina. Many harbour have this facility for the peoples who live on a boat, even they're travelling around the world. And it's really cheap. Thanks, Francois, but Steve is fine about me using his address so I'm happy with that. I've even memorized it!

NC Art wrote: The temp variations inside your refrigerator are about right. Crisper and  meat tray should be a bit cooler than area for eggs, milk, and such because some things keep better than others at different temps. So don’t fret.

   Speaking of cool, your young science friend knows about that! Reminds me of a home health physical therapist who helped me after my busted back saga. She asked me why I was studying her face. She was from Columbia by way of Sweden after adoption in infancy by a Swedish engineer who later emigrated to the U.S. where she attended university. A dark skinned Svenska? Problem resolved. She was also good at her profession; made me bend joints that were frozen and exercise flab musculature ‘til I wanted to kill … but she was too pretty to damage! Hehe.

Yep, Albert is a pretty smart lad and I suspect he'll go a long way in life. His adoptive parents are quite wealthy and gave him a good upbringing and education in Denmark, including a grand piano in his bedroom. They also adopted his older bro.

From the Beeb: Australia's capital city turns 100 this weekend, but Canberra, like so many other purpose-built capitals around the world, is still struggling to convince outsiders that it has more to offer than political hot air, says Madeleine Morris. I lived there from '92 to '95 and found it sterile and boring.

The US state of South Dakota has enacted a law allowing school districts to arm teachers and other school staff. The law's backers say it will prevent mass school shootings like a December massacre in Connecticut that killed 26. Why not take it a step further and arm all the kids as well?

Stargazers could enjoy a rare spectacle as a bright comet swings into the Northern Hemisphere. The icy mass, called C/2011 L4 Pan-Starrs, should be visible with binoculars or a telescope from 8 March. But in the following days, it will become even brighter and could be seen with the naked eye.

And there goes another Waffle, ladies and genitals. There's a program on telly tonight called Salvage Hunters that sounds interesting... a couple of peeps who travel the world looking for old treasures worth saving. I enjoy that kinda thing. I suppose PJ belongs in that category. Hehe. Gary

March 8, 2013. TX Greg wrote: You put the same link as the "child poverty" story on the line for the "parked next to a new Rover". Thilly me! Fixed now. I didn't have my camera with me yesterday so this is a shot from the net. Tried to find a BRG one but couldn't. Oregon Richie also brought the mistake to my notice. He's a Rover fan, particularly Land Rover.

FL Josh wrote: You say your new refrigerator thermometer came with batteries.  What nifty feature(s) does it have that makes it need batteries compared to a standard refrigerator/freezer thermometer (see link). Nice looking thermometer. Nothing nifty about mine. It's digital with an LCD screen so I guess that's why it has batteries. It's in a plain plastic casing. I noticed interior temps can vary quite a bit. The egg tray was 8C, the crisper was 7C and the meat tray was 4C. The thermometer can vary + or -1C

This is one I use in the back of my refrigerator is virtually identical but prices are a lot different there from here. I have different ones on the door of the refrigerator and in the freezer.  I recently noticed my freezer was staying at 0 F (-18 C) but the temperature in the back of the refrigerator was up to 48 F (9 C).  I called the repairman and he found the defroster heating elements had burned out, allowing the coils behind the freezer to become a solid block of ice so that air being blown through to go into the refrigerator section and cool it could not get through.  The repairman installed new elements and all is well again.  I have a back up refrigerator in the garage for such emergencies so didn't lose any food. 

Now I need another one for the stove-top oven. No good putting plastic in there! Or batteries for that matter. I'll make my own ground beef rissoles and bake them with a can of chopped tomatoes and other goodies, topped with grated cheese. Mmmmm! I make a pretty mean meatloaf as well so that's why I need an oven. And bread! Don't forget baking my own bread! Campfire cooking? Yep, I'll do that as well. Got a cast iron griddle that weighs a ton. Not much good for fried eggs though... unless you like them corrugated.

Young Albert wrote again: That reminds me, my studying project of the Gymnasium was Immunotherapy in regards to curing Cancer with cytotoxic killer cells. It was veeery interesting, I worked with professors and scientists --- Got an A+ in the project. It gives double grades on my exam papers for university. Oh! And also I joined Project Forskerspire, which is like this ... Elite student program. I made it through and got a diploma for it :) Working with High Temperature Superconductors (Physics) again, working with scientists -- I even had contact with the leading scientist on the field! A professor from Princeton University! :) As you can see, Albert is still firing in the brain department. For those of you who are unaware, Albert was born in Colombia and adopted as an infant by a couple from Denmark where he was raised. Plays a mean piano too. Here are some pics he sent during Christmas 2009.

Funny thing happened on the GN forum. A bloke who'd been saving for ages finally bought a used Toyota Coaster to convert into a motorhome and posted a pic of it. Other GNs copied the pic and used a photo manipulation program to write stuff all over it hehe.

And one GN says he'll need to attach one of these to the side of his bus...

I'm beginning to realize these "oldies" really haven't changed much since their teens. Another GN calls his generator Jenni, and the others wanna know who this "Jenni" is, and what happens when he presses her buttons. God knows what stories I'll have to tell when I finally get "out there" and meet some of them.

So, where am I at today? Pretty much the same as yesterday. I'd love to buy some more goodies but I better lay low for a while. I'll pay the last of the insurance policies on pay day next week but I'll have to wait till the following pay in 3 weeks to splash out on a Gel AGM battery. Bummer. By then I should have the camper mounted. Then it'll take another 2 weeks before the gas fitter does his thing and the auto electrician connects the battery etc to the solar panel and fits the twin battery isolator. So how long is that? 5 weeks all together from now. Then another 2 weeks to finish the job with an oven, telescopic ladder, and other bits and pieces. So we're talking mid/late April if all goes to plan. BTW, the age pension increases by $76 a month after next pay day so that'll help. Little things into big things grow, as the song goes. $76 will buy my oven!

From the Beeb: North America is home to many religious communities, one of which - the Hutterites - believe that living communally and separately from what they refer to as "the world" will secure them a place in heaven. A film crew was allowed to observe them at close quarters for four months.

A man described as a spokesman for Osama Bin Laden has been arrested and will be tried in New York City, the US has confirmed. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith was captured within the last week in Jordan, Congressman Peter King said on Thursday. Mr Abu Ghaith is Bin Laden's son-in-law and played a role in plotting the attacks of 9/11, US officials said. No shortage of loopies "over there".

The US Senate confirms President Barack Obama's nomination of John Brennan as the new CIA director after a senator's 13-hour speech delayed a vote. Is that a filibuster or a fullabluster? Or maybe a sillybuster.

BTW, on The Drum last night they were discussing, among other things, a federal government inquiry finding that the legendary heroism of Simpson and his donkey (at Gallipoli) is more myth than reality. One of the panelists on the show left America to live in Oz 20 years ago, and has been an Australian citizen ever since. He said one of the things he loves about Aussie culture is its sense of irony. "We celebrate the ANZAC tradition every year with a national long weekend holiday, parades of marching diggers from all wars in every town and city, diggers playing two-up in pubs and clubs right across the country, and all because of a battle we lost." Hehe. Then he went on to say that if something like the enquiry into Simpson and his Donkey happened in the States, and found that one of their legendary heroes was based on myth rather than fact, they'd all be devastated. Not in Oz though. Never let the facts get in the way of a good story. Hehe.

Oops! What was I saying about spending? Just ordered 50 citronella wrist/ankle bands, $12 including postage. That should keep the mozzies at bay. I've seen candles here in Taree, but I'd rather the mobility of a band. Francois mentioned oil or essence but I can't find it anywhere. And do I have a compass? Yes, I do. A bloke in Sydney gave it to me in the late '90s.

I got lost one time on a day trip to a national park around here somewhere. I went for a walk and didn't realize it was a loop, so when I ended up at a deserted dirt roadway I thought I was miles from anywhere when in fact I was only 100 meters from where I started.

Just now, the oncologist from Port Macquarie emailed with the name and number of the gums/exposed bone doc and asked me to call him and make an appointment. It'll be interesting to see what he has to say after taking a look at my prob. If I'm gonna cook all those yummy things I mentioned before I'll need TEETH! And the sooner the better. Trouble is, the doc sent the fax number instead of the phone number. I hope he reads my follow up email before 5pm. It's 3.45 now. *IDEA* I did a Google and found the number. His rooms are open Monday to Thursday and today's Friday. Sooooo, yeah.

I've shut down Windows Mail. Someone is flooding me with returned mail messages - bogus, of course. So I phoned my ISP but they're getting a stack of calls so maybe I'm not the only one who's being flooded. A hacker? Who knows. But I can receive mail using my ISP's mail server without it getting into my computer. I always check stuff before I download it anyway. Jeez, there are some fuckwits out there. Wouldn't it be nice if all we had to do to keep the fuckwits away is wear a citronella wristband. Hehe.

Anyway, the doc wrote back and said he fired his secretary.

I put more stuff into the Freeway today... casserole dish (still in box), pocket watch bits, thermometer, etc. It feels good to open cupboards and see MY stuff in there. It personalizes the thing. Makes it feel like home. I also noticed a space behind the stove about 18" x 5" deep. Perfect for a long box with an open top to store all the kitchen tools - tongs, serving fork, kitchen knives, spatula, hand mixer, stove-top toaster, etc. Nooks and crannies, mate. Everything needs a nook and/or a cranny.

Jeez, almost 5.30. I've been making a box for the back of the stove. Not the flashest box of all time but it'll do. It's outta sight anyway. I made it from an old cardboard box, cut up and "re-purposed". It fits just nicely and holds all the bulky kitchen tools (like the meat tenderizer I was whacked over the head with back in the late '80s). If I find a wooden box about the same size in my travels, cool. Otherwise this'll do.

Aaaaaaand now, time for a bit of telly and eeek... soup. Actually, soup ain't all that bad. I've worked out how to blitz it without turning it into a puree. Experience is a great teacher, yes? Gary

March 7, 2013. Just made it to the loo before Sue. She takes FOREVER! I long for the exclusive use of my porta pottie! Lindsay pissed me off this morning also when he made it to the bathroom before I did. And now Sue's got the weepies for some obscure reason. Oh dear...

The issue of having a "permanent" residential address for the purposes of driver's license, car rego and insurance remains unresolved. My older bro is not interested in the "responsibility at our age", Averil is more or less housebound and not computer literate, and I don't really know anyone else. However, Nancy the dentist is very good to me and friendly, so I'll ask her next Tuesday when I visit. One way or another, I need to find somebody willing to allow me to use their residential address.

The electoral role turns out to be fairly simple. You register as an itinerant and they continue to use your last address (this one) for voting purposes. From then on you vote absentee.

For the next four years, I'll need to see the head/neck specialist in Sydney and the oncologist in Port Macquarie every 3 months or so until I get my final clearance. That will mean I need to be back in NSW 4 times a year, but 3 months between appointments should allow me pretty extensive travel interstate. I'll just need to plan my wanderings to coincide with the docs. It'll also mean I can continue to use my local GP in Taree for regular check-ups and prescription renewals. Sound like a plan to you?

As to a fixed departure date, well, that depends on a few things including finances. I have one more insurance policy to pay for, $420, then a gel battery, gas fittings, and labor costs for installation that will be about $600 all up. I have a list of other things I need like a stove-top oven, telescopic ladder, etc, so I've still got a ways to go before everything is finalized. I'm down to a few hundred in reserve at the mo. Nonetheless, I'm streets ahead of where I was even just a few months ago. Almost all of the expenses are establishment costs, so finances will improve dramatically in a few months.

"Thinking aloud" and sorting out the situation by putting it all down on "paper" is cool. It enables me to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Otherwise I think I'd be overwhelmed by the complexity of it all. I remember someone's advice about how to reduce the size of all the files in your office in tray... deal with one file at a time.

Someone on the GN forum today said they'd settled in nicely to life on the road after only a few weeks, and that the most complex decision of the day was whether to make tea or coffee. I intend to make a thermos of tea at night so I don't have to buggerize around in the morning, and can rise early enough to check out the sunrise (minus a sea of red roofs and TV antennae) and maybe take a stroll along a beach at dawn. Sounds pretty idyllic, yeah?

Once upon a time, this was considered idyllic:

An aircraft carrier on wheels... '59 Buick. Talk about extravagant! Oregon Richie said he was driving a loan car this week... a 90-something Cadillac Eldorado 2-door. My truck is a 2-door. Not as flash though. Coincidentally, that pic was scanned by Max on my birthday in '02.

From the Beeb: Venezuela begins seven days of mourning after the death of President Hugo Chavez, with crowds accompanying his coffin through the streets of Caracas. We cross now to our Waffle correspondent in Oregon, Richie: I am fairly certain that not too many people are really that sad that Hugo Chavez has gone to that great gathering of the troops of tyranny up there.  Only the would-be and suck-up despots who were kissing up to him are probably sad and terrified about their futures.  The guy was a piece of work and strained international relations "in this hemisphere" and as a major oil producing country could play games with oil supply and prices with the best of them.

BTW, I heard somone on telly the other night say that the difference between America's Gross Domestic Product and its outgoings is the same as the entire Australian economy.

Child poverty in the US has reached record levels, with almost 17 million children now affected. A growing number are also going hungry on a daily basis. Food is never far from the thoughts of 10-year-old Kaylie Haywood and her older brother Tyler, 12.

Time's going pretty quickly today despite not having all that much to do. No appointments. No dramas. Maybe a bit of shopping (there's always something!) My fridge thermometer arrived today. 27 C in the house. But it takes a while to read the temp inside the fridge. Been in there over an hour and is down to about +8 C but it should get down to about +3. It cost just under $5 including postage of $1. So if the importer can sell them at $4 and make a profit, imagine what the Chinese are making them for! And that price includes 2 x button batteries.

Back from shopping, parked next to a new Rover. Took a while for me to figure out what it was but it's based on the compact Jaguar. Very nice looking car in BRG with leather seats. Here's a shot of the interior.

While I was at the Mall I saw a table of specials at the Homeart store, a porcelain square casserole with tempered glass lid and chrome-plated metal stand for $8.70. Original price about $40, marked down to $30, then to $15 and I got mine for $8.70. How's that for a steal? They only had 2 left. Do I really need it? Hmmm... yeah, probably. It's a good size for me, not too big, and just right for the stove-top oven. Besides, at $8.70 for something that nice how could I resist? The old Freeway is getting flasher by the minute!

Now, what was I saying about being an itinerant with no fixed abode? Steve W, AO's resident piscatorial expert, has come to the rescue by offering his address as my official abode for license, rego and insurance. He lives near Kellyville. How about that? No, they didn't name it after me. It's also not far from Bobbin Head where my parents used to take us kids for picnics. Lovely spot. So there ya go... another problem solved... as soon as I memorize the address, that is.

License, please, driver.
No worries, officer. Nice day.
Is this still your address?
Yes, it is, officer.
No, the other one.
Which other one?
The one near Kellyville.
And what exactly is your address, driver?
Address? Er... it's not far from Bobbin Head.
Where exactly?
Where? Er... I'll think of it in a minute, officer. Don't tell me... it's er, er...

Actually, I do have a piscatorial question for Steve. As a kid, we used to play in a local swamp (Parry Park) which was mostly bush back then. Apart from leeches, part of the local fauna was little fish. Dunno what they were - grey and about an inch long. We didn't have goldfish or even a fish tank at home so I brought a couple of these little fish home, put them in a bowl and left them in the laundry. When I returned home from school next day they'd jumped out of the bowl and were dead on the floor. Always wondered what kinda fish they were. Anyway, I had more success with tadpoles.

Time to flee once again. Almost time for The Drum. Gary

March 6, 2013. Back from Peter's engineering place. He charged me $50 cash for the brackets and holes which is cool with me. It's beer money for him. We got to chatting and he's had motorhomes for donkey's years. A keen camper and fisherman. He mentioned some fantastic places he's camped but also bitched about having to come back to the business to pay the workers etc. He's 66 and itching to hit the road permanently but it's the same old story... the business and his responsibilities, etc. I told him just to bugger off and that I'd see him on the road one day. I think he wants to sell the biz but that's easier said than done. Meanwhile, he's not short of a quid.

So I went across the road to the nuts and bolts shop and bought bolts, spring washers, etc, came home and realized I'D FORGOTTEN MY NUTS! Went back, came home, tried them for size and they're just dandy.

I meant to mention that when I picked up the Courier at Ford yesterday there was a large motorhome in the service area... a monster compared to mine. If mine's C class then it was a B. Pretty big but not as big as a bus.

You know those marker pins Google has on its maps? My web site counter uses the same kinda pins on the "recent visitors map". I noticed one in Portugal lately. Guess who that is? I’m visiting Portugal. In Lisbon I took that examples of artistic photography. The address is Avenida da Liberdade, 200 – Edifício Victória (200 Liberty Avenue, Victoria Building). I almost entered to ask for a visa to visit Oz and to know Nullarbor. With that classic name and the beautiful landscapes you have been posting (of the Nullarbor), it’s something I hope I could make same day. Tchau. João

Nullarbor means "place with no trees", by the way. Thanks, João, and I trust you're enjoying your visit to the homeland of your language.

Went on a mini spending spree on eBay last night. Solar shower bag (5 gal - 20 liters), 3M roll of velcro (industrial strength), and a rubber mat with holes for keeping sand and dirt out of the camper. I was tempted to buy more but I gotta watch the pennies for a while.

TX Greg took another stab at the shed thing: Well the only other word I can think of would be "deja vu" ? I'm like you, I just hate getting "TOT", tip-of-the-tongue phenomenon. For me it could be minutes, hours or days, then all of a sudden what I was trying to think of just pops in my brain.

Nope, not deja vu. I thought of something this morning that's kinda close. When McCloud was observing all his party guests having such a great time acting like kids again, he said (something like) "it brings out their inner shedness". I felt a bit like that when I bought my nuts and bolts this morning. Nuts and bolts are wonderful things ya know.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez dies at the age of 58 after a battle with cancer, his vice-president announces. I'm one of the lucky ones.

New York's Dow Jones share index sets a new all-time high, while London's FTSE 100 closes at it highest level in five years. Good. Maybe our dollar will go down to where it belongs... 75 cents US.

Demolition crews in the US have removed a house to reveal a sinkhole which opened last week, killing a man in his sleep.

I put a question to the GN forum about "the place a car is usually garaged" which is a requirement of driver's licences and vehicle registration as well as insurance. Initial responses weren't much use but now that peeps have had a chance to think about it I've had a few interesting responses. The electoral roll is another pain in the ass, as voting is compulsory in Oz. It seems there's no way around failing to nominate a permanent residential address. Failure to notify various authorities and/or insurance companies of a change of address within 14 days is an offence punishable by a hefty fine or, in the case of  insurance, for the policy to be declared void. Lots of GNs travelling for indefinite periods nominate their kid's address (siblings, friends, etc) even though they don't live there, or garage their vehicle there. False declaration? It's an issue I need to resolve before I become a gypsy.

Meanwhile, time has caught up with me after doing lots of buggerizing around today. Catch you tomorrow. Gary

March 5, 2013. After some years absence, Albert from Denmark wrote again. He's 18 now, out and in a "relationship". Finishes school in 6 months and plans on visiting Oz hehe. I'll have to hide somewhere.

NC Art wrote about sink holes: Florida sees a fair amount of sinkholes because it covers a layer of limestone which fractures when underground water is depleted from too much draw-off or diversion. But the ground also does odd things in places other than Florida.

   About 20 years ago in a town near my home in Western North Carolina a great sinkhole swallowed part of a parking lot and part of the street fronting the shopping center. A water main began leaking and progressively worsened unknown to anyone until a man watched his new Buick drop headfirst out of sight in the lot. Then the fight started between the stores, the city, the paving company, the utility departments over who was responsible. And everyone was suing everyone else.

   This continued for years, with big losses to the stores because customers couldn’t access them, and huge cost to the city and inconvenience to motoring public until it was ironed out. A real mess! Ah, those best laid plans…..

A GN reported on a forum the other day that a sink hole had opened up in a causeway at Gayndah in QLD. It's about 30' wide and 30' deep and getting bigger as the flooded Burnett river pours into it. I know they do happen in Oz but I think they're fairly rare.

Art also sent this link to the Smithsonian Institute and an article with pics about color, form and texture... photographing snakes. Eeek!

TX Greg suggested 'nostalgia' as the word I was trying to think of yesterday in relation to sheds. Nah, that's not it. It's more like a subconscious thing - a penchant for something we're not necessarily aware of but is nonetheless there... lurking. It's annoying when a word you're familiar with and have used a million times goes walkabout and refuses to surface when called.

No call from Ford yet about the noise in the Courier's engine. I'm getting impatient. Well, whaddaya know! I must be psychic. The phone just rang. The noise is a "lifter noise" but minor, and doesn't last long after a cold start. They suggest leaving it alone, otherwise it's a big job taking the engine apart. Fine with me... just pretend I didn't say a word.

Earlier, I got a call from the oncologist in Port Macquarie who knows a doc who specializes in exposed bone problems after radiation therapy, like the one I have in my lower jaw. So the oncologist, Jacques, is gonna phone me again later with an appointment to see the guy for an evaluation. Early days yet BUT it could mean TEETH! That'd be cool!

Roite. There goes another $600-ish on 3rd party insurance, registration and rego inspection certificate. Ford said they found minor lifter noise only for 1-2 seconds when cold - to fix would mean the engine will need to come apart. Recommend not to worry while only minor. Replaced blower fan - inoperative, needed for rego inspection.

I also visited Peter the metal bender on the way back. Bad timing - they were about to have lunch. But I showed him where I wanted the holes drilled for the brackets and he suggested tomorrow morning. "Not at 9am because we break for morning tea. It's all your fault... 38 hour week because you voted for Whitlam." Whitlam was PM from '71 to '75 hehe. But it's true I did vote for him even though I don't normally vote Labor. When I admitted it to Peter he said, "Get outta here."

So the ol' bank account has copped a bit of a hiding lately. So much for the $2500 I got for the Ute. I thought it was a fortune and enough to buy all kinds of goodies hehe. Yeah, right. I still have comprehensive insurance to pay on the Courier (already got the camper insured) so that brings my total insurance up to about a grand.

From the Beeb: Premier Wen Jiabao's work report opens China's annual parliament session, setting in train the final stage of the once-a-decade leadership change. We have them about every five minutes here in Oz. Federal, state and council.

A Florida man whose bedroom was engulfed by a sinkhole as he slept is presumed dead. How - and where - do sinkholes open up? Check the story here.

At least nine people have died (frozen in their cars) after heavy snowfall hit the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido over the weekend. One of the victims was a father whose body was found wrapped around his daughter's to keep her warm - ensuring her survival.

The US soldier who arrested Japanese Prime Minister Gen Hideki Tojo to face trial for war crimes at the end of World War II dies aged 93. RIP.

A man dressed as the caped crusader Batman has handed over a wanted man at a Bradford police station before disappearing into the night. Police said the costumed crime-fighter marched the 27-year-old man into Trafalgar House Police Station, in the early hours of 25 February. The man was charged with handling stolen goods and fraud offences. Well, how about that! Stay tuned for the movie!

5-ish again. I was thinking about all the dough I'm spending, including on things like medication, rent, etc, and how fortunate I am to have it to spend. Some people don't. Glass half full, yes? Anyway, time for the usual thrilling end of day routine hehe. Actually, it's not too bad. Could be worse. I asked the doc in Port Macquarie today about getting food supplements cheaper (like I used to when I was registered as an outpatient). So Jo the nutritionist phoned this afternoon and organized everything. She also suggested I go back to the liquid supplement I was having before rather than using the powdered stuff because the liquid stuff has more calories, which is important for weight gain. She's got a stack of freebies there so she'll leave them at the front desk for me to pick up when I get to see the other doc who's the exposed bone person. Does all that make sense? Gary

March 4, 2013. Well, the Courier is at Ford today getting a rego check. There's a bit of a tapping noise in the engine at start up when cold, so I've asked them to check it out. Hopefully, nothing serious. Got chauffered back in a new Falcon which is a lovely car, and a LOT different inside to the way they were back in 1957. Fancy getting into this Buick the morning after a big night on the town, seriously hung over:

Here's a pic I like. Great point of view:

TX Greg wrote: Wow, Gary do you really still have your old Thomas the Tank Engine lunch box? That could be worth some bucks on EBay.

Ok, I get you having a model VW Kombi, but who gave you the cute little Airstream Christmas Ornament? And is that a US $100 bill I see in there??? That was one clever pic old fossil :)

Thanks, Greg. Nope, that's a fairly recent purchase of a Thomas the Tank Engine money box. I use it for one and two dollar coins. The Airstream was a gift from Ohio Jace and June about 5 years ago shortly after I got the idea for the Odyssey. The US bill is $20, also a gift from Jace and June. I have 4 of them... waiting for the value of the Aussie dollar to take a nosedive. But it seems like it'll be a loooooong wait.

Orlando Beach Dave wrote: Just a short note concerning the sinkhole and related death in Seffner, Florida.  They are not too common, although I'm sure you only hear of those happening close to, or directly involving, a house or other fairly large building. This is the first I ever heard of a sinkhole which directly caused a death, at least since I have been retired and in full-time residence in the state - about 22 years.  The man was in bed, and that together with all other furniture in the room dropped into the hole which was probably widening and deepening at the time. His brother made a heroic attempt at saving him, but the whole thing happened too fast and he was lucky to be saved himself.  A horrible ending, that's for sure. Some time before I retired, perhaps in the 1980s, there was an extremely large sinkhole in a suburb of Orlando which wiped out around half a city block, as I recall.  There was no death there as far as I remember; that crater is still visible today.  I think I read somewhere about that being the largest known sinkhole ever in Florida.

Half a city block? That's a BIG hole! Speaking of holes, there were a bunch of GNs yesterday on the forum talking about those new Dometic bubble windows on caravans and motorhomes - the ones with the built-in blinds and screens. Most of the comments said they were trash; that the blinds didn't work properly or that the screens got dislodged by the breeze, etc. They didn't like the Dometic skylights either... they let too much heat in for an Aussie summer. So I wrote about my old Freeway and its wind-out windows, separate screens and curtains instead of blinds. No problems. And I mentioned the aluminium box-section roof hatch with a square of insect screen below that collects leaves and assorted crap. How do you clean those things? Stand on the roof with a Hoover? Nope. You use a hair dryer on its coolest setting, one of the GNs suggested. How brilliant! The bloke's a genius! Then another GN said you can get 12V hair dryers, and that they are also good for drying wet undies and things on rainy days. So there ya go. Obviously the previous owner or owners of my camper didn't think of that cos the leaves and sticks look bloody ancient.

Roite, I've started a LIST of things I intend to get for PJ... and it's growing. I'm always thinking of things... I need this, I need that... and then I lose track of what's in my head (or used to be). Hence the list. Just bought a $5 digital thermometer on eBay for the fridge. Peeps on the GN forum are always talking about their fridge temps so I figured I'd better get one.

Oregon Richie wrote that I've probably got my tie downs figured out. Yes, I do. A combination of turnbuckles, brackets and bolts, and chains. Whether or not it all works satisfactorily is theoretical at the mo hehe. I'll be the official test pilot soon enough and I sincerely hope I've got it right. It arrived here last May strapped precariously to a box trailer having survived a 50km trip so I guess if it can survive that my system should work a treat.

Well, well, well, Ford just phoned. A week or two after I bought the Courier I asked them to check the internal blower fan and they said it was working. This time they said it wasn't working hehe, so they replaced it with a second hand one. Cool. But they couldn't hear any tapping noises in the engine - they said it was running quiet as a mouse - so they're gonna keep it overnight and check it in the morning when it's cold. The engine, that is.

Just measured one of the two storage boxes under each end of the sofa in the camper. The seat that runs along the wall is above the long external storage box that contains the house battery, inverter, etc, and tons of room for other stuff. It's lockable from the outside. The two ends of the sofa that jut out at right angles to the long section have an internal box underneath that measures a bit over a foot square and 18" deep. It's heaps big enough for all the spuds, onions, bottles, cans and other heavy groceries I care to carry. Dunno what I'll put in the other one, but there's no shortage of storage both inside and out. In the sleeping area, there's a useable space between the end of the mattress and the far wall. I figure that's where all my camera bags will go rather than clutter up one of the main cupboards. Adequate storage is soooooooo important! I don't wanna be towing a box trailer like some nomads do.

Time for a quick story. An old bloke went to the doc for a regular checkup and the doc suggested a sperm count. He gave the old bloke a jar with a lid on it and asked him to take it home and bring back a specimen. A week later, the old bloke returned with an empty jar. "What happened?" asked the doc. "Well," the old bloke began, "I did like you said and took it home. I tried with my left hand and nothin'. Tried with my right hand and nothin'. Then I asked the missus if she could try so she gave it a go with both hands and nothin'. Then she tried with her mouth, first with her teeth in and then without. Still nothin'. So we asked our next door neighbor to come in and give it a go. She also tried with both hands and even her armpits but still nothin'." "You mean to tell me," said the doc almost in shock, "you asked your neighbor to try?" "Yeah. We all tried but none of us could get that bloody lid off!"

Belly and telly time again. Oh, BTW, it was the final episode of Kevin McCloud's Man Made House last night. He had added a few more creature comforts like a hot tub made from the aluminium cowling of a scrapped jet aircraft engine, heated by an outside brick fireplace. Water is from his natural spring. He sheared an alpaca and had the wool made into a bathrobe by the local yarn spinning ladies with their looms - all manual labor - and it took 200 woman hours to make. And he and his mates carved a chunk of wall to turn it into a drop-down veranda, complete with a manual pulley system made from old discarded machinery bits and "re-purposed". The wall, once fitted with a sturdy floor, weighed 4 tons. Then he had a big party with all the locals and helpers in attendance. Those who hadn't seen the hot tub before, or the drop-down veranda, or the alpaca robe or indeed the shed itself were like kids at a fun park... taking turns in the hot tub, inspecting all the handiwork and even trying on the robe for size. McCloud reckons the shed has given him his youth back. It's every kid's dream to have a shed. Dammit, I can't think of the word he used but it's when you have a longing for something from your childhood; a great desire to re-live a special experience. Whatever the word is, McCloud put "shed" in front of it. He turned from the camera to observe all his guests having a wonderful time and said, "It brings out the shed***** in us." Anyway, I agree. PJ for me is part cubby house and part shed. It's a plaything, albeit a serious plaything. When it's my official home on the road, I'll be a kid again. :) Gary

March 3, 2013. No doubt there'll be some pretty pissed off campers on the east coast of Oz right now. The rain is forecast to last for a couple of weeks, and there's already extensive flooding in areas north of here. Inland it's a different story, sunny, warm, and bright. Head west young man! That's the beauty of covered wagons with wheels.

A Red Bubble mate was impressed with my pic of the pocket watch and spare bits, and said he'd like to give it the HDR treatment. High Dynamic Range. So I emailed him the original in color and he sent it back all HDR'd. He also invited me to post it on RB. Click to enlarge the image.

William Bullimore does some fantastic work so it's always flattering when he singles out some of my stuff and favorites it. Ditto Mieke Boynton. I don't profess to be anywhere near as talented as they are, or as technically proficient, but I do have my moments hehe. If practice has anything to do with getting better, I'll look forward to keeping the shutter button active on the Odyssey. The mind boggles at all the possibilities that await me out there.

Used the little Fuji compact to take that pic just now - spur of the moment stuff. And yes, the base of the lamp needs a polish. Hehe. I am sooooo not into housework.

NC Art wrote: In the American South, cotton was once a reliable cash crop until the Great Depression knocked the props out and it couldn’t be sold for five cents a pound. Added woe was the boll weevil which bored into the cotton boll [pod] and chewed up the cotton fiber. It was a desperate situation when the insect spoiled the crop. Here’s the advert for a great weevil killer,


Send $1.00 for guaranteed weevil eradicator!

All material and instructions for ridding your farm of this pest!

Here’s what the dollar bought: Two small blocks of wood labeled A and B with instructions:

Place the weevil on Block A

Place Block B on Block A

Strike smartly with a hammer and you will be rid of the boll weevil forever.

There’s a sucker born every minute. –P.T. Barnum

I wonder how many crooks are born every minute. Hopefully, I'm past giving people the benefit of the doubt. Been there, done that way too many times.

From the Beeb: Rescue teams in Florida have called off their efforts to recover the body of a man swallowed by a huge sinkhole under his home. Jeffrey Bush, 36, who is presumed dead, disappeared into the sinkhole that engulfed his bedroom while he slept on Thursday night. I've never heard of anything like that before, and it seems sinkholes are quite common in Florida.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, in a rare interview with a British newspaper, accuses the UK government of bullying and naivety. And why wouldn't he? He's an expert on both.

Thousands of people have attended a lavish party to celebrate Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's 89th birthday in the mining town of Bindura. Mr Mugabe was presented with a cake said to weigh 89kg (196lb), and gold coins were minted to mark the occasion. The celebrations cost about $600,000 (£400,000), reports say. I hope he chokes on it.

Firefighters in Poland say a small dog probably saved the life of a three-year-old who went missing from her home overnight in freezing temperatures. The child, Julia, vanished on Friday and was found lying in marshes several kilometres from her house on Saturday morning, with the dog by her side. I love to read stories like that. Dogs are my fav people.

New York's Botanical Garden is hosting one of the world's largest annual orchid shows. Running between March 2nd and April 22nd, the Orchid Show has 3,000 different types of orchids from around the world on view. And orchids are my fav flowers.

Sydney's Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras was a big success last night despite the weather. It was the 35th anniversary of the event. During the first, back in the '70s, the cops raided the march and arrested the participants. Now they're marching in the parade and proud to be there. How times have changed!

People outside Oz wouldn't know Peter Harvey if they fell over him, but he was a legend here. His face was a familiar sight on television for 40 years as one our leading journalists, a pro to his bootstraps. He'll be missed for sure after dying of pancreatic cancer at age 68... still working up until a few weeks ago. The public, politicians, fellow journalists... everyone loved and respected Peter Harvey. "I've always been a glass half full and not a glass half empty person," he said during his last interview. "And for the past few months (since the diagnosis), it's been glass half fulls." 68 is not old. Sheesh, I'm 68 and about to launch myself into a new life as a gypsy! Not that I haven't had my share of scares... heart attack at 58 and cancer at 67. But I'm a glass half full person too. Peter's story is here if you care to read it + a recent interview with him about his many exploits around the globe.

So what's on telly? To mark the 70th anniversary of 1940, presenter and archaeologist Jules Hudson goes on a journey of discovery into Britain's darkest and, in the words of Winston Churchill, "finest hour". That sounds good... it's called DIG 1940. Kevin McCloud's Man Made Home is on again too, so that'll keep me amused for a while. Gary

March 2, 2013. Someone on the GN forum this morning posted this link to a story about a woman towing a caravan (wrongly called a campervan in the story) that jackknifed. My response was that I would never drive a tall vehicle in gusty conditions. The way my old VW Kombi got blown around in the wind was bad enough.

Also on GN was a private message to me from a woman who said she was impressed with the Aussie Odyssey website, and ALSO Green Room. She bought a copy and said it was a great read. What a lovely way to begin my Satdee. It's always gratifying to be appreciated. Actually, Jim left a comment on Justin's blog that complimented me on my wit and "take" on things. So I thanked him and said I agreed with him, and that I thank God every day for doing such a fine job on me hehe.

Rain, rain, rain again, and all last night, but according to the forecast it'll clear later today. I need to do some more shopping. They say January this year in Oz was the hottest on record. I suspect February will be the wettest. On the same report, it was said that people 27 years old and younger had never experienced a summer in Oz with "average" temperatures. Every summer since 1986 has been warmer than the last.

Steve W wrote: As the Waffle's resident fisho, that fish in the photo  "was undersize so they threw it back" was definitely not a mulloway (or as also known in NSW as a Jewfish - not to be confused with the fish in WA which is a Dhufish). Glad I cleared that up!! No, really, you're welcome.

Gimme a break, Steve. At least I knew it was a fish - and it wasn't even crumbed!

Now that the pillows and sleeping bag are in the camper, I was half tempted to sleep there last night. That's the thing about pillows and sleeping bags and all the other things that make a house a home. Lots of GNs are happy to call themselves "homeless", and one yesterday wrote that he'd never go back to living in a house. It's amazing for me to read that kinda thing. Any fears I might have (or have had) about being "out there" as a person of no fixed abode are baseless according to many GNs. I guess the freedom of being able to go where ever you please when you please becomes an addiction for many. Again, I'm reminded of John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley when he filled up at a service station and the owner said he envied Steinbeck's freedom. But after Steinbeck asked him why he didn't just pack up and go, the bloke came up with a million excuses as to why he couldn't. Hehe.

Not all GNs choose to be permanently on the road. Some retain their house as a home base and travel for extended periods on a regular basis. But even they can't wait to hit the road again not long after returning home. I haven't tasted the freedom yet, nor the adventure, but I seriously suspect that the real GK will stand up once I do.

Warning about E-bay: If you buy stuff on line, check out the seller carefully. Be careful what you purchase on eBay. A friend has just spent $100 on a penis enlarger. Bastards sent him a magnifying glass. The only instructions said, "Do not use in direct sunlight."

Four old retired guys are walking down a street in Yuma, Arizona . They turn a corner and see a sign that says, "Old Timers Bar - ALL drinks 10 cents." They look at each other and then go in, thinking, this is too good to be true. The old bartender says in a voice that carries across the room, "Come on in and let me pour one for you! What'll it be, gentlemen?" There's a fully stocked bar, so each of the men orders a Martini. In no time the bartender serves up four iced Martinis - shaken, not stirred - and says, "That'll be 10 cents each, please." The four guys stare at the bartender for a moment, then at each other. They can't believe their good luck. They pay the 40 cents, finish their Martinis, and order another round. Again, four excellent Martinis are produced, with the bartender again saying, "That's 40 cents, please." They pay the 40 cents, but their curiosity gets the better of them. They've each had two Martinis and haven't even spent a dollar yet. Finally one of them says, "How can you afford to serve Martinis as good as these for a dime apiece?" 

"I'm a retired tailor from Phoenix ," the bartender says, "and I always wanted to own a bar. Last year I hit the Lottery jackpot for $125 million and decided to open this place. Every drink costs a dime. Wine, liquor, beer - it's all the same." 

"Wow! That's some story!" one of the men says. As the four of them sip at their Martinis, they can't help noticing seven other people at the end of the bar who don't have any drinks in front of them and haven't ordered anything the whole time they've been there. Nodding at the seven at the end of the bar, one of the men asks the bartender, "What's with them?"

The bartender says, "They're retired people from Australia. They're waiting for Happy Hour when drinks are half-price." ~~~~~~~~

AN old woman was sipping on a glass of wine while sitting on the veranda with her husband. "I love you so much," she said, "I don't know how I could ever live without you." Her husband turned to her and asked, "Is that you or the wine talking?" She replied, "It's me.... talking to the wine." ~~~~~~~

Sheesh! Back from shopping and parting with $154. $82 of that was for pharmaceuticals and my powdered food supplement. But I also bought a ready-stocked first aid kit for $26 with 126 pieces. It's easier than farting around with making my own. A decent bag is $10 without anything in it. And I bought a spare umbrella for the car. I had both a first aid kit and umbrella in the old Ford but forgot to remove them. They were on a shelf behind the front seat. The bloke who bought the ute hasn't contacted me so he's no doubt claimed them for himself. Probably figures he paid too much for the ute anyway hehe. And the rest went on groceries. This staying alive business is expensive ya know. I just checked my savings account which took a pretty hefty dive. But on the poz side, I noticed my savings had earned $0.02. :-/

Saw my local doc at the supermarket. He was shopping for pizza base and toppings to make his own. Just the thing for wet and cool weather. He's obviously the alpha male - his son was pushing the trolley around while dad filled it from the shelves.

In 1957 I was in my second year of high school. TV had been in Oz for a year. Toyota started selling cars in the US beginning with the Crown and the Land Cruiser. Eisenhower was president and Nixon was vice president. Elvis Presley at 22 buys Graceland for $100,000. The Boeing 707 flies for the first time. The first attempt by the US to launch a satellite fails. And.... GM launched the 1957 Buick Century:

And here we is again @ 5-ish. I knew a radio announcer, Tony Langshaw, who used to add "ish" to his on air time calls after a pregnant pause. He was very girly but had a deep, deep voice. I think he sings in a male choir now as a bass baritone. He lived in a modest little terrace house with his mother in Leichhardt which he insisted on calling Leichhardt (pause) heights.

Time now to check what's on telly and think about feeding the face again. BTW the weather didn't clear. The bureau has changed its mind and forecast showers until Tuesday! Gary

March 1, 2013. I remembered to change my calendar watch setting this morning, so that's encouraging. I read a story on the GN forum this morning about an elderly couple who had been married a long time. They were sitting on the sofa watching telly when the wife became irritated with her husband using the remote to constantly switch between the fishing and porn channels. "Oh, for God's sake," she said eventually, "will you just leave the damn thing on the porn channel? You already know how to fish!"

I was out in the camper yesterday installing the new pillows and the sleeping bag. It was a hot day so I opened the hatch to cool the thing down a bit. Later, early evening, a sudden storm broke. I went to the bedroom window and looked out at the rain whipped up by a gusty wind that was blowing the rain almost horizontally towards the camper. Oh, no! THE HATCH! I'd forgotten to close the hatch! About five or ten minutes later, the storm subsided briefly so I went down the backyard to close the hatch. Then the storm resumed and the rain fell in sheets for about 20 minutes. Fortunately, there were paper towels in the camper so I was able to mop up. Also fortunately, not all that much rain had penetrated the camper... just enough to wet the table and floor. But the second and much longer burst of rain would have caused a bit of damage if I hadn't closed the hatch in time. So there ya go... I must get into the habit of remembering these things. I've already had nightmares about dragging the rear ladder around behind PJ after forgetting to put it back inside the van. Maybe I need a check list.

The 12V LED lights work well. It's a soft white light because the oyster covers are opaque. If I needed a brighter light, I could use the 240V globes, or the florescents above the door. It's all very cozy though.

There's a 69 y/o woman on the GN forums who's a pensioner. She had a farm but lost everything during a long drought. She now lives in a campervan and uses free camping sites. She wrote this morning: In this year I have added a trailer and a tent and tarps.   A stove made from a gas bottle.   3 solar panels and a small generator to boost batteries when needed.   2 deep cycle batteries and a big 12v fridge.    chucked an excess of saucepans etc and excess clothing as well.  kept simple clothes that can be washed by hand.   also added an annexe mat which is great as it gives a clean space just outside the door.  another lap top added as well to make net contact easier.  lots of other small bits and pieces as well.   I have all I need to set up 'camp' and from now on it is save , save, save.   until I can up-grade.  It is an interesting way of life for sure and so long as you don't want all the bells and whistles is achievable on a pension.

So there ya go... achievable on a pension. I think she's done remarkably well this past year.

Back from the metal bender. No one there. So I went to the supermarket and saw a $1 shop. Sunglasses (100% UV protection), glasses pouch, 4 x clothes hooks that swing flat when not in use, various gauze swabs and crepe bandages + special bandage-cutting scissors + pack 50 bandaids for spots (for my first aid bag), roll of magnetic strip (for keys, etc, to attach to metal), all for $10. Not a bad haul.

So, how's the coconut cream smoothie with choc/hazelnut? Sensational! I've only ever used coconut milk/cream in cooking (curries) before but it's awesome in smoothies.

NC Art sent a link to a vid of the world's best drinks waiter. I've posted it before but if you haven't seen it, check out this Russian dude.

From the Beeb: Pope Benedict XVI officially resigns, saying that he now "will simply be a pilgrim" starting his last journey on earth. Me too... but mine will be confined to Oz.

Bradley Manning, the US Army private accused in the Wikileaks case, pleads guilty to lesser charges but may still be prosecuted for aiding the enemy. And we all know who the enemy is... you and me, the mushrooms.

There are those who disagree and argue in favor of governments keeping secrets from their constituents, but I just don't trust politicians who consider themselves above the need to be transparent. Once consultation with and approval by the people goes out the window, we might as well be living in a dictatorship. If you believe that governments have a need to keep secrets, how can you be sure of anything they tell you?

To the Japanese government, they are terrorists. To a US federal appeals court, they are pirates. To at least one retired Australian rear admiral, their actions are life-threatening, counter-productive, and even have the potential to destabilise the Asia Pacific region. To many in the global environmental movement, though, the sea-borne activists from the Sea Shepherd conservation group are brave and buccaneering heroes. Heroes or villains? Take your pick. It all depends on which side of the argument you're on.

The US Congress adjourns for the weekend without passing a deal to avert $85bn (£56bn) in budget cuts scheduled to take effect on Friday. And then, of course, there are governments that find it impossible to govern.

And that's it for March 1, except for Heinz butter chicken soup and a spot of telly. BTW, I watched Catalyst on the Road again last night (the show last week was about the Nullarbor and the incredible cave systems). They were still on the Nullarbor but spoke with a couple of scientists (paleontologists?) who were working at a dig for megafauna and found the skeletal remains of a large wombat-like creature that weighed 3 tonnes and roamed Oz some 50,000 years ago. They also found a large, live brown snake on the main road. A local snake expert immobilized the thing so everyone could take a good look and said, "this snake could kill you 18 times." Bit repetitive, I thought. Before he freed it, he told everybody to move back and remain motionless. The snakes apparently only attack moving objects. Sure enough, when it was released, it slithered off into the scrub. They also headed for the coast and found a beach where the fishing was excellent. Locals were catching one type of fish (mulloway) in the breakers that were about five to six feet long! The one in the pic was undersize so they threw it back. They caught Australian salmon too, quite large fish, apparently good eating fresh but yukky otherwise. I've tasted the canned stuff and it's horrible. They're a totally different breed to salmon from the northern hem.

Hooroo! Gary


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