the WAFFLE page

June 30, 2013. Sundee! TX Greg reckons I should invest in some cool stickers for PJ. 

Hmmm. I wonder what Greg has stuck on his. 

Actually, I'm not into stickers. Most of the GNs have famous quotes under their signatures on the forums and I get the impression it's because they can't think of anything original. I feel the same way about smartass quotes on t-shirts. Or logos like Nike. 

Meanwhile, NC Art writes: The espionage industry has been around since two primitive tribes occupied adjacent hunting grounds. The Bible is replete with spy stories. Some nations have carried it to a highly sophisticated art form and abused it wildly. Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany used elaborate systems to gather dirt on allies, foes … and their own citizens. Family members were paid to rat out relatives and neighbors, who often just disappeared. Great way to settle grudges and eliminate a brother-in-law.

   Interestingly, the US, Australia and some others were fairly slow in institutionalizing spy systems. In the US, WWII was the catalyst for an Office of Strategic Services—OSS. From that the Central Intelligence Agency was born and grew swiftly as the Cold War raged. Then comes other clandestine operations, several in number. And, unfortunately each kept its own methods secret, rarely sharing its material to the embarrassment of the nation sometimes.

   The NSA [National Security Agency] is the outfit in the spotlight at present courtesy the guy who ran off with classified stuff. Adding to the mass, the army has its own intelligence agents, as does the navy. What else? Who knows! Well the FBI is pretty sneaky, and is supposed to dig out domestic criminal stuff, but gets into some snarky stuff off shore anyway.

   The hell of it is that while necessary, there’s always the sure danger it can all get out of hand. “The Man Who Was Thursday” is a delightful spoof on a group of anarchists, each named for a day of the week. And all of them turned out to be double agents spying on the others. Hilarious satire.

Getting out of hand is what worries me. Imagine hiring a private dick to spy on somebody and he turned out to be a double agent working for the person you were paying him to spy on.

Steve W wrote in relation to Josh's comments yesterday: Let me say at the outset, I love Americans - they are unfailingly polite and courteous and I like visiting their country.........but they are so unbelievably, 10 out of 10, fully paid up members of the most naive people on Earth. They will listen to and believe all of the crap that is fed to them by their own Government. It is scary......and particularly because they still carry weapons which they are told they all need and is their right, irrespective of the tens of thousands of people that those same weapons kill every year. And worse still, say that the massacres of young children wouldn't happen if the populace were armed - armed......there are more goddam weapons than people in that country and there has yet to be one occasion when a potential massacre has been prevented or halted by a member of the public using their constitutionally approved firearm!

Fair dinkum, I wouldn't allow the average American to carry an umbrella!

I know you couldn't publish this, but gee they get on my goat........and wish they would leave my f'ing goat's getting nervous!

Hehe. Well, Steve, you were wrong about my not being able to publish your comment. If stuff is written without malice and makes a legitimate and relevant point, then it's okay by me. What's more, it wouldn't surprise me if many Americans agreed with you.

I'm not sure there's such a beast as 'an average American' or an average Australian for that matter. I suppose every nationality and culture has certain idiosyncratic behaviors common to its population but I don't know about one type of person being representative. I don't think of myself as being your average she'll-be-roite-mate-no-wukkers Aussie, for example. But I do like meat pies and tamaaaata sauce.

However, never let it be said that FL Josh gives up easily: You are right that whether one considers someone exposing state secrets a "whistleblower" or a "traitor" depends on which side one is on.  I notice your government has been very concerned that such "whistleblowers" will embarrass ASIO in the public's eye.
"[T]he whistleblower website would spill 'highly sensitive and politically embarrassing’ secrets."
"The bill has many similarities to the Patriot Act in the United States." "The Patriot Act has infringed on US citizens’ civil liberties." "[T]he new ASIO bill [which] passed in Australia, ... could have the same effect."
I gather you and your government are on different sides.

In some instances we are, and I'm not the only one, which is why we have elections. But you're still missing my point, Josh. I'm not saying our government doesn't have secrets. Of course it does. But it's the way ASIO goes about its surveillance, and under what authority, that is different to the way the CIA and the NSA operate in the US.

From the Beeb: Germany's Der Spiegel magazine says it has seen a secret document showing the US has bugged EU offices in Washington and at UN headquarters in New York. The paper says it was shown the 2010 "top secret" document by fugitive ex-security analyst Edward Snowden. The US National Security Agency document allegedly outlined how it spied on EU internal computer networks, referring to the bloc as a "target". The plot thickens.

The Rolling Stones' hit-packed Glastonbury debut has been hailed as "the high spot of 43 years" of the festival by organiser Michael Eavis. The band opened with Jumpin' Jack Flash, with Mick Jagger prowling the stage in a green sequinned jacket. He repeatedly thanked the crowd and, after It's Only Rock 'N' Roll (But I Like It), joked organisers had "finally got round to asking us" to play. Who woulda thunk those old geezers would still be boppin' all these years later?

Dozens of people across western US states have been treated for exhaustion and dehydration, as the region is continuing to bake in a heat wave. A man in Las Vegas is believed to have died from a heat-related illness. Air-conditioned "cooling centres" have been set up in California, Nevada and Arizona, as officials warn the heat could be life-threatening. Temperatures in some areas are expected to be near 54C (130F) - close to the world's all-time record. Climate change skeptics please take note.

Opponents of same-sex marriage in California have filed an emergency petition to the US Supreme Court to try to halt gay weddings in the state. The move comes a day after a federal appeals court in San Francisco lifted a ban that had been in place since 2008. Many Californian gay couples then rushed to get married. I don't get it. If same sex couples wanna tie the knot, what the hell does that have to do with heteros?

Police in Brazil say they have detained four men in connection with the murder of a five-year-old Bolivian boy in the city of Sao Paulo. Brayan Yanarico Capcha was shot in the head by masked robbers who complained he was crying too much during a robbery at his family's house. His family said the boy had begged the robbers not to be killed. He was in his mother's arms when they shot him. Trash the bastards.

Australians have an ingrained reluctance to eat their national emblem, but a number of chefs are now championing kangaroo meat as a delicious - and environmentally friendly alternative to beef and pork. Ew! Far too gamey for me. I've cooked it for L&S and it smells terrible.

A 1937 steam locomotive has run along the section of track where a another locomotive set an unbeaten world record 75 years ago. Bittern, an A4-class engine, a contemporary of Mallard, the world's fastest steam locomotive, set off from King's Cross station for York. Mallard set a record speed of 126mph near Grantham on 3 July 1938, which remains unbeaten to this day. Up to 250 people were on board the train, which reached 92.8mph.

Grey Nomads or Geriatric Gyspies? Here's an interesting article from the Sydney Morning Herald that a GN posted on the forum.

Rain, rain, go away... will hopefully be the case next Tuesday when it clears to sunny and pleasant conditions, which will be welcome for winter, and the remainder of the school holidays. We've had enough rain lately to last until spring. Andrew was saying it's wet and boggy out his way, and the ground won't dry out because the sun's too weak this time of year. Which reminds me, we were talking about how some GNs, depending on where they are, catch rainwater in buckets or other containers (off the rooves of their campers). Andrew's small farm relies on rainwater tanks as well. He should be back here during the week sometime when it fines up to connect all the electricals and install the new power board/strip. That'll be cool.

Once Andrew has finished his jobs, I'll see how much remains in the kitty for the gas fitter. He should be pretty cheap, actually, because there's only a bit of copper tubing to replace and a gas bottle to buy. Then I'll be able to test the fridge on gas. Fingers crossed that it works okay hehe. Soooooo, dear Breth, provided the weather is okay, it shouldn't be long before I can organize a mini Odyssey somewhere locally for a taste of my future lifestyle.

I wasn't particularly hungry last night so I didn't try the chow mein. I'll do that tonight and relax with a bit of telly. Y'all be good now. Oh, and Art? Don't forget tomorrow's Waffle refresh day. Gary

June 29, 2013. Despite the rain, Andrew turned up this morning and fixed the brake/turn/stop lights on the camper. I thought it might be a simple job but it wasn't - took about an hour and cost me $80. Serves me right for pulling the wires out in the first place, I suppose. Anyway, it's not only fixed but a lot tidier because he fitted special tubing to the existing wires which keeps them nicely bundled.

We got to chatting and it turns out that Andrew and his missus toured Oz for 3 years in an F100 towing a caravan. "I'd make a perfect hobo," he laughed. He also said if it weren't for the kids and his family responsibilities he'd be off doing what I wanna do - travel Oz. So he knows a thing or two about camping and caravans, etc. These days he lives on a few acres up the coast a bit (Moorland) and runs a few cattle but his auto elec biz is his primary income. Incidentally, while he was on the road travelling Oz, he had his auto electrician sign which he put up each time he stopped to camp and picked up regular business from other travellers. He also volunteered his opinion of the way PJ is set up in terms of height and stability. "I've seen worse." Hehe. He agrees that provided weight is kept below the waistline and in the storage bins, it should be fine. He said the bigger caravans that weigh two or three times more than PJ are a lot less stable.

So now that the lights are fixed, I can motor around town legally.

FL Josh wrote: You had in your Waffle of June 28, 2013 the following: (see yesterday's blog entry if you're interested in reading it again)... That’s where you and I are so different. As an American, I am not embarrassed to learn that the CIA had secret surveillance programs going on because I know enough about my country to know that is what the CIA was created to do, conduct surveillance on foreigners. You explain how such covert operations, "using secrecy and stealth," could not happen in Australia because the Australian people would have to approve such. You do not know your own country.  If the people approve everything, how is it your spy organizations, the ASIS, existed for 25 years before the people ever learned about its existence.  I found a link to provide you with some information about Australia’s spy operations and one of the paragraphs contained the following, comparing your spy operations with the CIA.  See how your opinion of the openness of Australia's way of doing things compares to the American publics knowledge of the CIA:

"Our intelligence agencies are also far more secretive than those overseas, affecting an air of subterfuge that sometimes borders on the comical. The existence of ASIS, for example, was only publicly acknowledged in 1977, 25 years after it was formed." (Click here if  you wanna read more...)

To me, Snowden is a "traitor," not a "whistle blower." Perhaps you would feel differently if he had leaked information that compromised Australia’s intelligence gathering operations, operations necessary to keep people like you safe.

A: ASIS existed for 25 years before the people ever learned about its existence because that was 35 years ago, Josh. I'm talking about now. We no longer have the White Australia Policy either, and Aborigines have land rights. A lot has changed since 1977. Next!

A: If Snowden had leaked information in Oz that revealed ASIO had gathered intelligence by unlawful means, it would be ASIO that was in trouble, not Snowden. That obviously doesn't apply to the situation in the US because the US doesn't have the same laws. And that is my point.

Whether Snowden is a traitor or a whistle blower depends on which side of the fence you're on. In any case, Josh, you say tomata and I say tomaaato, and never the twain shall meet. It really doesn't amount to a hilla beans, ya know.

Just about to whizz up the road for a few groceries and.... battery's flat as a tack. I was gonna put it on the charger then remembered I don't know its history or how old it is, so I figured I'd be better off getting a new one. NRMA road service is on its way. They're a bit dearer than regular retail but it's less hassle, and they're guaranteed for 2 years.

All done! $159 ain't cheap! But I guess it's good for 3 years. And now I can finish my coffee. That's how you get people to arrive. I made coffee this morning and Andrew arrived. Made coffee again a little while ago and the NRMA bloke arrived.

BACK! Aren't you glad to see me? Roite, beef chow mein is cooked. I was gonna have chicken but the beef was on spesh at $3. I skipped the cabbage and used a can of mixed veg and a small can of diced capsicum (bell peppers). That'll go well with the noodles.

That was my second drive of PJ and I'm kinda getting used to it. I can feel the tires on the road now. Before, the truck was so light, and the tires so hard, there was no sensation of rubber contact. Now, with the extra weight, I can sense the change in the way the tires make contact with the road surface - particularly when the surface is uneven. Steering is lighter now too with the difference in weight distribution. As to the softness of the ride compared to the way it was previously, I'm getting used to that too. It's still a pain to reverse into the driveway but that will be solved when the rear view camera is fitted. In the car park, I choose a spot with two vacancies so I can drive through to the second and park nose front for forward exit.

From the Beeb: The US has warned Americans not to travel to Egypt and has told non-emergency diplomatic staff to leave, as clashes continued in the country. The state department also urged US nationals in Egypt "to remain alert". The warning came as at least three people - including a US citizen - died in clashes between supporters and opponents of President Mohammed Morsi. Middle Eastern hotheads.

The West should have tried talking to the Taliban a decade ago after they had just been toppled from power, the UK's top general in Afghanistan has said. Gen Nick Carter said it would have been much easier to find a political solution when they were on the run. Just what we need, an expert in hindsight.

A US appeals court has lifted a ban on same-sex marriages in California, following a Supreme Court ruling. The order was issued by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Within moments, gay weddings resumed at the city hall - the first such marriages in the state since the voter-approved ban in November 2008

Here's another trip back to '57 when Elvis was King and the Beatles still hadn't sprouted pubes.

And that's it from me and Waffle for another Satdee. Chow mein and noodles tonight which should be good. I don't think chow mein should be topped with cheese but if you don't tell anyone, neither will I. Byeeeee! Gary

June 28, 2013. FL Josh wrote: This looks like something you will be enjoying live often on your odyssey... There's not a helluva lot that blows me away like this video did, Josh. Thanks a stack for sending that link. Absolutely stunning. And yes, I really do hope to see something like that during my travels.

You used the word "chickeny," to describe how something tasted and I think the correct term would be "fowl tasting."  I think the British spell fowl with a u as I have seen both spellings.

We use the 'u' version here too: 
Offensive to the senses, esp. through having a disgusting smell or taste or being unpleasantly soiled.
(in sports) An unfair or invalid stroke or play, esp. one involving interference with an opponent.
Unfairly; contrary to the rules.
Make foul or dirty; pollute.

Fowl on the other hand refers to birds of a feather sticking together. Or plucked and BBQ'd.

Here's a picture of the giant zircon you mentioned GNs Graeme and Sue McDonald discovered. The McDonald's can have a ring made from it and when people see Sue wearing it, they will exclaim, "My gawd, is that a real zircon or just a diamond?"

The size of that stone surprises me actually. I would have thought it was bigger. Obviously, zircon is more valuable than I thought. Amazing innit, for 40,000+ years Aborigines ignored all the rocks and minerals of Oz because they couldn't see the value. They were more interested in animal skins, bark, ochre and didgeridoos.

NC Art wrote: You blokes change prime ministers like people change socks … frequently. Hmm, not a bad system in many cases! We could learn something from a parliamentary system.

   That ’57 Chevy was a treat. I owned one that wasn’t so flash, but it was great for hauling a growing family and all that junk to shore vacations. One year I bought a roof rack to tote the overplus of stuff. The thing was a horror. Held down by suction cups plus straps which were installed through the top of windows and buckled under the roof. Above 40 mph the thing vibrated with a rumble that sounded like a volcanic eruption. One trip was enough to consign it to the trash heap of history. Sheesh.

Ah yes, shades of the roof rack on my old Kombi. Unloaded, it would hum at 60km/h. Not 59 or 61km/h but 60. And for some weird reason the old Kombi liked sitting on 60 rather than 59 or 61.

Ya know what? I was thinking this morning about all the money I've wasted during past years on Odyssey MkI, and more recently all the money I've spent on Odyssey MkII. It's a lotta folding stuff, dear Breth. BUT. The waste is history, and the spending is coming to an end soon. Sooooo, I'll be able to start saving again. The Odyssey ain't gonna last forever, and one day I'll want to settle down somewhere, so it's comforting to know that I'll have a nice little nestegg stashed away in the bank for such an eventuality - enough to rent something decent and live comortably while I write a book or two and reminisce about my travels.

As I wrote Richie earlier, this is a first for me. I've never been fiscally prudent in my life; not until this dream came along. It was live for today and bugger tomorrow. Now, of course, being the owner of PJ and all the goodies that go with it, I can see clearly how pounds really do take care of themselves if you take care of the pennies. And it's all the more remarkable because I'm on a pension. Who says you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear?

Mind you, there are times when I wonder if I'm being realistic. A GN this morning posted pics of his new Jayco motorhome, which is now undergoing its finishing touches after 3 months of assembly at the huge Jayco factory in Oz. Gotta be at least $100,000 worth, which makes PJ look pretty ordinary. I couldn't help feeling somewhat deflated after looking at those pics. Then again, I suppose there'll be people who will look at PJ and say, "Jeez, I wish I had something like that."

Here's another gem from NC Art:

Why, Why, Why?

Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are almost dead? 

Why do banks charge a fee on 'insufficient funds' when they already know there is not enough money?

Why does someone  believe you when you say there are four billion stars; but have to check when you say the paint is still wet?

Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?

Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?

Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

Whose idea was it to put an 'S' in the word 'lisp'?

If people evolved from apes, why are there still apes?

Why is it that no matter what color bubble bath you use the bubbles are always white?

Is there ever a day that mattresses are not on sale?

Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized?

Why do people keep running over a string a dozen times with their vacuum cleaner, then reach down, pick it up, examine it, then put it down to give the vacuum one more chance?

Why is it that no plastic bag will open from the end on your first try?

How do those dead bugs get into those enclosed light fixtures?

Why is it that whenever you attempt to catch something that's falling off the table you always manage to knock something else over?

In winter why do we try to keep the house as warm as it was in summer when we complained about the heat?

How come you never hear father-in-law jokes?

The statistics on sanity is that one out of every four persons is suffering from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best friends -- if they're okay, then it's you.

From the Beeb: South Africans have been holding an all-night prayer vigil for former President Nelson Mandela, outside his former home in Soweto. The crowd have been singing and saying prayers for Mr Mandela's health, on what is now his 20th night in hospital. South Africa's first black president - an icon of the anti-apartheid struggle - is suffering from a lung infection. President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday that the 94-year-old's condition had improved, but still remained critical. "He is much better today than he was when I saw him last night," Mr Zuma said after speaking to Mr Mandela's medical team.

The shock wave from an asteroid that burned up over Russia in February was so powerful that it travelled twice around the globe, scientists say. They used a system of sensors set up to detect evidence of nuclear tests and said it was the most powerful event ever recorded by the network. More than 1,000 people were injured when a 17m, 10,000-tonne space rock burned up above Chelyabinsk.

President Barack Obama has ruled out diplomatic "wheeling and dealing" in attempts to extradite US intelligence leaker Edward Snowden. Speaking on a visit to the West African nation of Senegal, Mr Obama said the case would be handled through routine legal channels. "I am not going to be scrambling jets to get a 29-year-old hacker," he added. Meanwhile, Ecuador's President Rafael Correa said the country had yet to decide whether to admit Mr Snowden. I'm hearing a lot of people saying Snowden is the guy in the white hat while the US government is the one wearing the black hat.

A disgruntled viewer is suing Japan's national broadcaster for "mental distress" caused by an excessive use of words borrowed from English. Hoji Takahashi, 71, is seeking 1.4 million yen ($14,300; £9,300) in damages from NHK. "The basis of his concern is that Japan is being too Americanised," his lawyer Mutsuo Miyata told the news agency AFP

Yeah? Well, maybe we should sue somebody for making our roads too Japanized. Anyway, that old bloke is simply a bitter old fart because he's witnessing a slight modification of a Japanese tradition. It happens everywhere, and always has. The only reason things change is because people want them to change, or vice versa. Japan's culture, like all cultures, is not protected by isolation anymore. The world is a smaller place, and the internet makes the exchange of ideas and cultures so much easier and faster. But even in times past, Britain was busy borrowing (stealing) words and phrases from French and other languages to enhance its own. More recently, America has been hugely successful in exporting its culture to many parts of the world. Here in Oz, if we go to the cinema to see an American movie, we don't refer to it as "foreign" even though technically that's what it is. I don't see Art, Greg, Richie, Josh et al as foreigners - nuts, yes, but not foreign.

As to Mr Snowden the whistle blower, many people argue that the only way a corrupt system can be exposed to the people is by way of a whistle blower. Here in Oz for example, ASIO (our version of America's CIA) is bound by legislation which is presented to the people before it's enacted. In other words, ASIO can't operate in ways that are not approved by the people. If it breaks the law, heads roll. That's apparently not the case in America. Surveillance by the CIA was being done covertly, using secrecy and stealth, and the public (although not particularly surprised by the whistle blower's revelations) were never asked to approve the CIA's modus operandi as it applies to private individuals. The American public was never consulted. And that's what motivated Snowden to expose what he saw as a grave injustice.

This turn of events is very embarrassing to the US government, of course, because America promotes itself as the exemplification of democratic honesty and transparency. Clearly, this is not the case.

Goodness, gracious me! I've just expressed a political viewpoint!

The D-Type Jaguar: A wonder of style and engineering: Lesser-known than the popular E-Type, the streamlined structure and breathtaking looks of the D-Type make it Jaguar’s true masterpiece, writes Jonathan Glancey. A most interesting article; as much about art as about a classic auto.

As you well know, some of us have been known to have had brushes with the authorities on our way home from the odd social session over the years.  A couple of nights ago, I was out for a few drinks with some friends at the Marriott Hotel and had a few too many beers and some rather nice red wine.  Knowing full well I may have been slightly over the limit, I did something I've never done before: I took a bus home. Sure enough I passed a police road block but as it was a bus, they waved it past. I arrived home safely without incident which was a real surprise, as I have never driven a bus before and am not sure where I got it.
A Mom visits her son for dinner who lives with a girl roommate. During the course of the meal, his mother couldn't help but notice how pretty his roommate was. She had long been suspicious of a relationship between the two, and this had only made her more curious....

Over the course of the evening, while watching the two interact, she started to wonder if there was more between him and his roommate than met the eye. Reading his mom's thoughts, his son volunteered, "I know what you must be thinking, but I assure you,we are just roommates."

About a week later, his roommate came to him saying, "Ever since your mother came to dinner, I've been unable to find the silver plate. You don't suppose she took it, do you?"

He said ,"Well, I doubt it, but I'll email her, just to be sure." He sat down and wrote :
Dear Mother:
I'm not saying that you did' take the silver plate from my house, I'm not saying that you did not' take the silver plate But the fact remains that it has been missing ever since you were here for dinner.
your son.

Several days later, he received an email from his Mother which read:
Dear Son:
I'm not saying that you 'do' sleep with your roommate, and I'm not saying that you do 'not' sleep with her. But the fact remains that if she was sleeping in her OWN bed, she would have found the silver plate by now, under her pillow.

Will this rain ever stop? Yes, I just checked the weekly forecast, and the rain will begin to ease next Wednesday. Vacationers travelling north from Sydney for the school holidays will be totally pissed off about the next four days of rain. I'm not too thrilled about it either. We've had enough already. It also means Andrew the sparky won't be here till later in the week - IF he's not too busy catching up with other work. On the poz side, that will coincide with next pay day so there'll be more bikkies in the bank. I loike bikkies.

I weighed myself in the bathroom (which makes sense since I was the only one there) today and I've gained a kilo or two. It's the noodles ya know, and the cheese. Love that cheese! It melts and binds all the bits, and tastes wicked. But tonight I'll have to make do with a can of spring lamb and garden vegetable soup instead of my own creation. I've thickened the soup a little with a few whizzes, so that I can spoon it over noodles and add the cheese. Should taste okay, and keepy the tummy happy. BTW, did I mentioned my taste is improving? Yes, the old buds are finally awakening from a long hibernation that goes back to the cancer operation as well as the radiation. Tea was tasting like hot water, and has only recently begun to taste like proper tea again. I love my cuppas in the morning. Gary

June 27, 2013. Andrew the sparky phoned this morning and asked if I was sitting down. Hehe. He quoted "between $600 and $800" for the whole job. And you can bet your bottom rupee that he means more like 8 than 6. It's a lotta money but he's talking quality materials, like a Redarc solonoid that automatically shuts off the truck battery from the house battery when camped, heavy-duty cabling to handle the amps, plus his labor to fit it all as well as the rear-view camera. And fix the camper brake/stop lights I trashed when I pulled all the wires out. He's pretty busy during the next few weeks so he'll probably do various jobs as time permits. No worries - I'm not in any hurry. He asked me if I had another quote and, being the quintessential Mr Honest (or Mr Dummy) I said no. I'd rather quality than a cheaper quote anyway. There are a number of jobs involved and it doesn't take long for the hours to mount up - plus parts.

So, it's a good thing I haven't contacted the gas fitter yet. He can wait till all the electricals are taken care of. I'll also postpone any more shopping for a while hehe. Actually, I've spent that much already on the battery, ladder, Camps book, CB radios, smoke and CO alarms, camp oven, fire extinguishers, etc. And then there was Stan the Man's charges for clearing all the overgrowth a while ago and fitting the camper to the truck. Sheesh!

BTW, Andrew discovered a couple of 12V outlets I hadn't noticed. One in the storage bin near the AGM battery and another at the front of the camper on the passenger side just behind the tray uprights. There are also two white plugs there that TX Greg thought were relics from the past but apparently they're 12V outlets. The cigarette lighter style outlet is behind a little black rubber cap.

TX wrote: This is amazing. A guy that owned a Chevy dealer in Nebraska for over 50 years has over 500 old vehicles with 50 of them brand new, that have less than 10 miles on the odometer. They will be all auctioned off in September and I'll bet we're talking millions.

Fascinating stuff, Greg. I watched the vid (I'm glad she doesn't shoot video for a living) and was amazed that such a situation could develop over so many years. Some of those cars still have the protective plastic covering on the upholstery. Now I have a better appreciation of the phrase "gathering dust".

FL Josh wrote: What a GREAT collection of photos in the Historic Photos album.  Major thanks to NC Art and you, Gary, for gifting us with them.  So thought provoking.  So emotional.

And speaking of NC Art, here's the ol' bugger now: The photo of skulls reminding soldiers to take anti-malarial Atabrine pills gave me chills. As a young lad I had “mild” southern malaria which tossed me between spells of bone-cracking chills and raging fever. The treatment was quinine tablets, so bitter that I usually regurgitated several of the things until one dose stayed down. Quinine became scarce and expensive, and Atabrine was developed while I was still suffering. Not quite so bitter, but bad enough for me to remember forever!

   “Four Children for Sale” says it all about the horrors of the Great Depression in United States. Most people have forgotten it and now follow monetary policies designed to make a few people richer, but likely will cause another hellish crash. Greed blinds even smart people, eh?

And not only greed, Art. I'm realizing more and more as I get older that "smart people" are just as susceptible to being dumb as the dummies are. It's enough to shake one's faith in human nature. Hehe. Or maybe human intelligence. Or maybe humanity period.

I was rather chuffed with the way I fixed the problem with some of the historic photos last night. They were apparently corrupted to some extent so I used ACDSee to convert them to .jpg. They were already .jpg files but I overwrote them and it fixed the corruption prob. See? I'm getting more "intuitive" about compy things as I get more experience - able to solve problems that would have baffled me at one time. Old dogs and new tricks, mate. 

Last night, we had a leadership spill in the Labor party - PM Julia Gillard out, Kevin Rudd (the dud) in. Rudd was elected PM in '07, then he was dumped in favor of Gillard in '10. Since then there have been 3 leadership challenges by Rudd supporters. The first two failed, but last night's got him over the line by a margin of 57 to 45. It's been an ongoing saga and a joke, really. Labor party members were finally convinced that next September's general election was headed for catastrophe with Gillard at the helm so, in a desperate attempt to save their own political skins, they've rearranged the deck chairs and re-installed Rudd hoping for a miracle.

Gillard is famous for a number of things, not the least of which is her outburst in parliament when she accused the leader of the opposition of being a misogynist. It made headlines around the world. Check out the vid before I go any further.

Okies, now you can appreciate this little gem I saw on the GN forum this morning. Cracked me right up.

Well, September's general election was a fait accompli according to the pundits but that's not necessarily the case now. My money's still on the Libs to win but at least the battle between Rudd and Abbott will have its moments. Gillard, meanwhile, will retire from politics instead of contesting her seat.

From the Beeb: Kevin Rudd has been sworn in as prime minister of Australia, a day after he ousted Julia Gillard as leader of the Labor Party. Mr Rudd took the oath at Government House in front of Governor-General Quentin Bryce. He then addressed parliament briefly, paying tribute to Ms Gillard, who is stepping down from politics

The US Supreme Court has overturned a law which denied federal recognition of same-sex marriages. The Defence of Marriage Act which was passed in 1996 meant that gay couples were not entitled to federal benefits and could not seek the same tax reliefs as heterosexual couples.They also declined to rule on Proposition 8, California's prohibition of gay marriage, in effect allowing such unions to resume in the state. President Obama has welcomed the court's decisions

Anti-drug agents in the United States say 225 people have been arrested in a major international operation against synthetic drugs. Some 1,100 lb (500kg) of drugs have been seized in the US, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), officials said. Arrests have been made in the US, Australia, Canada, Barbados and Panama

Here's a story of a GN couple striking it lucky while fossicking near Alice Springs in the North Territory. They found a big zircon stone valued at $15000. Woohoo!

Checked out the telescopic ladder today. Took it out of the cardbox box. It's surprisingly heavy, which I suppose means it's pretty robust - built to European standards, whatever that means. Haven't tried it yet but it looks like it'll stow away in the storage box with the camper jacks no problem. Is there anything this GN ain't got? Don't answer that.

The '57 Chevy is where we got our '60-'62 Holdens from. I like the look of that old bus from that angle. The board looks cool too. I was 13 when that thing rolled off the assembly line. Wanna know which one has aged more gracefully?

Well, time to think about fooooood. It was too wet and miserable today to go shopping, and I've eaten the last of the tacoodle. Jeez, that was good, especially with melted Colby cheese. I've really been looking forward to dinner since I started the noodle creations. I'll do something chickeny next. Chickeny? Yeah, y'know, like tomatoey, spicy, Asiany, tasty or whatevery. And then a bit of telly. No doubt PM Rudd will be hogging the cameras tonight and being totally predictable. "Why did you lie so many times about not challenging for the leadership, Mr Rudd?" "That was then, this is now." Yeah, I'm a politician, remember. Hehe. Gary

June 26, 2013. I've been adding a few favorites to my Red Bubble site lately. You can check them out here. Some really awesome stuff.

And here's a bunch of smiling faces in my garden this morning. If you look closely, you'll see a giant Australian ant fossicking amonst the jonquils. 

Yesterday, I cleaned the inside of the camper windows and discovered red dirt that looked like it had been there since the big drought of the '80s or whenever. Seems the old girl has done a fairly adventurous trip or two in her time. I also discovered that the winder on the back window is broken. No biggie. All the others work so there's heaps of ventilation. I'll get it fixed one of these days - somewhere.

TX Greg wrote: Glad to hear you found a sparky that knows his thing. Makes sense to keep the two separate and keeps it totally safe. You did a great job explaining it, I just could have understood it faster if I didn't have to decode the Oz accent, hehe... powerboard = powerstrip, power points = plugs

Roite. Yep, it's a good thing that the regular sparkies gave me the flick cos otherwise I wouldn't have found Andrew, who's an auto sparky and really knows his campers, batteries, inverters, etc. By the way, he says the 300W inverter is a bit small but to try it for a while. I can always plug a bigger one in later if I think it's warranted. He also mentioned a generator for charging the battery during cloudy or wet weather, but aside from the expense I'm not keen on carrying extra fuel. If need be, I can always hang out at a caravan park overnight and use my small battery charger to re-charge the AGM.

More prezzies arrived! The CO alarm, the telescopic ladder and Camps Australia Wide #7.

FL Josh wrote: Your comment about being surprised that Stephen Fry was lonely to the point of attempting suicide reminded me of that great Simon and Garfunkel song, Richard Cory. Well, there ya go, I don't remember that song at all. Josh also mentioned that he loved Art's guide to retiring. Yeah, great stuff.

Meanwhile, Steve W says: Having done a lot of travelling, do not skimp on a roof rack or basket. I made that mistake with a cheapo and the damage that it did made the price of a good one seem cheap. I only use Rhino racks and baskets now. My 2 bobs worth anyway!

Just spent a couple of hours putting the historic photos (the ones Art sent yesterday) album together and some of the photos decided to go crazy. Dunno what that was all about - from black and white to an orangy color that lost a lot of detail. They look okay in a regular viewer but not in Jalbum for some reason. Anyway, forget it today, I'll try again tomorrow. I hate time-wasting exercises! Wot? Dat me talking? The bloke who took the longest route between two points to put the Odyssey together?

It's also been a dreadful day weatherwise. Started out okay, all bright and shiny, and then came the clouds and showers, not to mention a cold wind. So I've been using the hot water bottle between me and the chair.

From the Beeb: The US and Afghan presidents have "reaffirmed" their support for holding talks with the Taliban, despite an attack in central Kabul on Tuesday. Barack Obama and Hamid Karzai agreed in a video conference that a peace process was the surest way to end the violence, the White House said. They also reiterated their backing for a Taliban office in Doha. Maybe other people understand the Afghan situation better than I but it seems a mess to me.

A capsule carrying three Chinese astronauts has landed safely after a 15-day mission in space. The astronauts travelled on the Shenzhou-10 craft to China's space laboratory, the Tiangong-1. Yep, we're the big blue and white one.

Australia and Japan take their fight over whaling to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague later, as public hearings get under way. Australia is to argue that Tokyo's scientific research programme - under which it kills whales - is commercial whaling in disguise. And the whales are none the wiser.

Supporters of former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd are seeking to force a Labor leadership vote aimed at ousting Julia Gillard, reports say. A petition calling for a caucus meeting to vote on the party leadership is being circulated among Labor politicians, Australian reports say. Australia is set for a general election in less than three months that polls suggest Labor will lose. It'll be a disaster for Labor whichever way it goes. As Labor PM Bob Hawke said back in the '80s, "a party that can't govern itself can't govern the country".

US President Barack Obama has laid out a package of measures aimed at curbing climate change, including limits on emissions from power plants. He also unveiled plans for an expansion of renewable energy projects, improved flood resilience and calls for an international climate deal. Administration officials had earlier rejected the idea of a "carbon tax". President Obama pledged in his inaugural address in January to act on climate change in his second term.

Viewpoint: Did our brains evolve to foolishly follow celebrities? Our obsession with celebrity culture is a result of our poorly adapted brains, argues social anthropologist Jamie Tehrani. Yep, I believe so. In fact we created a celebrity to explain our existence.

And now something you've always wanted to know but didn't realize it - or something like that. We know how oysters make pearls, but how can they be perfectly spherical? A new theory says their remarkable structure allows them to naturally rotate in the shell

I was hoping for some funnies on the GN forum but nothing today. And I've run outta time because of that album kerfuffle earlier. So, it's time to update and attend to my evening routine.

Hello! Way past my bedtime but I fixed the prob with the Historic Photos album and posted it. Gary

June 25, 2013. Before I fergit, here's a pic on Red Bubble of something taller than PJ. On weekends, I used to ride on a bus just like that from Belmore to Enfield baths as a kid on weekends. I think the fare was twopence. Wonderful memories.

Anyway, it's all excitement here. Andrew the sparky arrived and checked out PJ. He's a whizz. Sussed out what the previous bloke had done with the wiring, battery, inverter, etc, in no time. In essence, it's a rough job. He used the phrase "back on itself" to describe it. Can't explain it myself, but he's going to wire the 240V inverter separately to the external power input (for use in caravan parks) so that it has its own powerboard. When I camp using the AGM battery, I'll use that board. When I'm using mains power at a caravan park, I'll use the existing power points installed by the previous owner.

As I suspected, Stan blew a fuse yesterday fiddling around with the plug for the camper stop/turn lights hehe, so Andrew did a quick fix and now I have my parking lights back on the truck. He also checked out TX Greg's rear view camera. No probs. And he's gonna check out a few bits I need like a solonoid that automatically disengages the truck battery from the house battery when the engine's not running, and get back to me within a day or two with a quote for the whole shebang. Sounds good to me. Andrew has my total confidence. He's a cheerful chap, probably 30-something, and waves his arms all over the place when he explains things. Hehe.

The postie's busy. The gas bottle gauge arrived as well as the pair of Midland CB radios. Bit of a problem there... I can walky but I can't talky. However, I do love my prezzies! As I mentioned to OR Richie this morning, I'll miss my little shopping sprees on eBay when PJ is finally complete. Oh well, one journey ends and another begins.

TX Greg wrote: Don't forget that the sparky needs to correct that stupid double ended male plugs to keep someone, mainly YOU from getting shocked. A really simple fix for that would be to install what's called a Double Pole Double Throw Switch. It looks like a light switch but has three positions. When you flip it one way it will use the inverter power and the other way will use power from the land line cable. The center position would be totally off.

Thanks, Greg, but Andrew seems to have all that sorted by keeping the inverter system separate from the mains. He wasn't too impressed with that double ended male plug either hehe.

There's no place for the spare tire under the truck? Agree a wind deflector would really help with that much flat area. Check out this home made one...

Yep, there's a spare wheel in a cradle under the tray but I figured I could use the space on the roof for a second spare. As to the wind deflector, I'll check with Peter the engineer along those lines. Also interesting to read what that guy says about economy - 48mph returns the best mileage. 70mph uses a third more fuel. 80mph uses half as much again. 48mph is close enough to 80km/h which is what I'll be doing.

From the Beeb: Militants have attacked the presidential palace and government buildings in the Afghan capital, Kabul. More than half a dozen explosions were heard as they clashed with security personnel at the palace's eastern gate, the defence ministry and a CIA station. The police said all of the attackers were killed. The Taliban said they carried out the assault. I don't get it. Don't the Taliban want western forces to leave the country? Perhaps the Taliban is worried about having nothing to fill in their time when the west leaves. They've been warring for hundreds of years so maybe they enjoy it.

South Korea has issued a cyber alert after an apparent hacking attack on government websites. The website of the presidential office was one of several official and media sites hit by an apparently co-ordinated attack on Tuesday morning, reports said. The identity of the hackers was not known, a government statement said. The incident came on the anniversary of the start of the 1950-53 Korean War, which divided the Korean peninsula. Clue or coincidence?

The US has criticised Russia and China after fugitive Edward Snowden left Hong Kong for Moscow. President Barack Obama said the US was pursuing "all the appropriate legal channels" in pursuit of him. US Secretary of State John Kerry has said it would be "disappointing" if Russia and China had helped him evade an attempt to extradite him. No wonder the US is embarrassed. For years the US has been accusing China and Russia of doing the very thing they've been doing in secret all along hehe.

Homophobic attacks have reached dangerous levels in sub-Saharan Africa and must stop, Amnesty International has said in a report. Governments are increasingly criminalising "homosexual acts" by seeking to impose new laws and draconian penalties, it adds. This sends the "toxic message" that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are criminals, Amnesty says

Comedian Stephen Fry has thanked the "warm, caring majority" who contacted him after he revealed he had attempted suicide in 2012. Writing on his website, Fry said "the outburst of sympathy and support that followed my confession" had touched him "very deeply". "I am luckier than many of you because I am lonely in a crowd of people who are mostly very nice to me and appear to be pleased to meet me. But I want you to know that you are not alone in your being alone." That surprises the hell outta me. I never would have thought Stephen Fry was lonely!

Saw young Keiran today - had to look twice before I recognized him. His face is looking more Aboriginal as he matures into a young man, but he hasn't lost that impish grin. It's more prominent than ever, if anything. He has a little puppy, a black something or other. Very friendly. "I don't want it to be a guard dog, it'll kill people."

NC Art sent the following series of options for retirees in America looking for the ideal place to spend their remaining years:

Retire to Phoenix, Arizona where...

1. You are willing to park 3 blocks away because you found shade.

2.. You've experienced condensation on your butt from the hot water in the toilet bowl.

3. You can drive for 4 hours in one direction and never leave town.

4. You have over 100 recipes for Mexican food.

5. You know that "dry heat" is comparable to what hits you in the face when you open your oven door.

6. The 4 seasons are: tolerable, hot, really hot, and ARE YOU KIDDING ME??!!


You can retire to California where...

1. You make over $250,000 and you still can't afford to buy a house and your monthly taxes equal your house payment.

2. The fastest part of your commute is going down your driveway.

3. You know how to eat an artichoke.

4. You drive your rented Mercedes to your neighborhood block party.

5. When someone asks you how far something is, you tell them how long it will take to get there rather than how many miles away it is.

6. The 4 seasons are: Fire, Flood, Mud, and Drought.


You can retire to New York City where...

1. You say "the city" and expect everyone to know you mean Manhattan ..

2. You can get into a four-hour argument about how to get from Columbus Circle to Battery Park, but can't find Wisconsin on a map.

3. You think Central Park is "nature."

4. You believe that being able to swear at people in their own language makes you multi-lingual.

5. You've worn out a car horn. (Editorial: Note if you have a car, or a driver's license, or even know how to drive).

6. You think eye contact is an act of aggression.


You can retire to Minnesota where...

1. You only have four spices: salt, pepper, ketchup, and Tabasco ..

2. Halloween costumes fit over parkas.

3. You have more than one recipe for casserole.

4. Sexy lingerie is anything flannel with less than eight buttons.

5. The four seasons are: winter, still winter, almost winter, and construction.

6. Nobody has ever heard of "global warming."


You can retire to the Deep South where....

1. You can rent a movie and buy bait in the same store.

2. "Y'all" is singular and "all y'all" is plural.

3. "He needed killin" is a valid defense.

4. Everyone has 2 first names: Billy Bob, Jimmy Bob, Mary Ellen, Betty Jean, Mary Beth, etc etc.

5. Everything is either "in yonder," "over yonder" or "out yonder."  It's important to know the difference, too.


You can retire to Colorado where....

1. You carry your $3,000 mountain bike atop your $500 car.

2. You tell your husband to pick up Granola on his way home and so he stops at the day care center.

3. A pass does not involve a football or dating.

4. The top of your head is bald, but you still have a pony tail.

5.  The "four seasons," are hunting, skiing, cycling, and snowed in.


You can retire to the Midwest where...

1. You've never met any celebrities, but the mayor knows your name.

2. Your idea of a traffic jam is ten cars waiting to pass a tractor.

3. You have had to switch from "heat" to "A/C" on the same day.

4. You end sentences with a preposition: "Where's my coat at?"

5. When asked how your trip was to any exotic place, you say, "It was different!"


FINALLY You can retire to Florida where...

1. You eat dinner at 3:15 in the afternoon.

2. All purchases include a coupon of some kind - - even houses and cars.

3. Everyone can recommend an excellent dermatologist, proctologist, cardiologist, urologist, neurologist,  or anything ending in 'gist.'

4. Road construction never ends anywhere in the state.

5. Cars in front of you often appear to be driven by headless people.

6. Golf courses and medical centers outnumber every other form of entertainment.

Art also sent a series of fascinating historic photos which I'll assemble into an album and post later, probably tomorrow. Thanks, Art. They were really neat.

Here's a GN who's currently motorhoming in - of all places - Turkey! Check out the pic!

Sex at 68. I just took a leaflet out of my mailbox, informing me that I can have sex at 68. I'm so happy, because I live at number 72. So it's not too far to walk home afterwards. And it's the same side of the street. I don't even have to cross the road!

One GN suggested a Rhino basket for the roof rack. The smallest is 4' 1" long - too long for the Courier cab. And it's $175 plus fittings and shipping! No thanks.

And that's it for Chewsdee! Been a glorious day in the sun. 17C ain't all that much but if there's no wind or cloud, the sun is most pleasant. Nights and mornings are chilly though, and the heater's on at the mo. I'm also looking forward to a steaming bowl of tacoodle with a heap of melting Colby cheese. It's rather like mozzarella but with greater depth of flavor. Mmmm. Gary

June 24, 2013. Busy, busy, busy. Yeah... busy wasting time. Stan the Man turned up to spray the weeds so I got him to take a second look at the plug for the camper stop/turn lights. He got some working, and some not, so that was useless. Then Nancy did her thing irrigating my mouth. Then I phoned a bunch of sparkies who all said "don't wanna waste your time, mate, you're better of phoning so-and-so who knows more about that kinda stuff than I do". Yeah, right. You mean the job's too small and not worth your time. One recommended I get in touch with an auto electrician but that would mean leaving the car there all day and having to organize transport there and back. UNLESS the auto sparky is MOBILE! So I checked the phone book and there's one due here tomorrow to check out PJ and quote on the job. BTW, TX Greg's rear view camera arrived this morning.

So now it's after 1pm and half the day is kaput. 

TX Greg wrote: Well that was some awwwwesome news to read. Congratulations on the first test flight :) One small step for Gary, one giant leap for A/O.

I told Lindsay this morning that I made the local paper hehe, and then brought Greg's graphic up on screen. Lindsay thought it was real until I asked him who was reading the newspaper. Then he realized it was a joke. He's not the full quid, that boy. Thanks, Greg... I love it! I also posted it on GN.

Oh yeah... I was telling Stan earlier about the test flight yesterday and how nervous I was. "You'll know it's on there, alright!" he said with a grin. What an understatment. But it sums up the experience, really. I don't know what I was expecting yesterday but there was no way driving the truck was gonna be anything remotely like it was before - not with an extra 700+ kgs on the back.

FL Josh wrote: Concerning your puzzlement that Justin didn't hope to die, do you really think his religion teaches there is no purpose in living and the only goal in life is to die ASAP and cash in on the free goodies?

His religion was also mine for many years, Josh. I was educated at two Catholic schools and spent several decades thereafter believing all that stuff. Anyway, does it really matter what I believe?

As to the roof rack, you might want to consider an aerodynamic enclosed carrier.

Not really suitable for my purpose, Josh - carrying a spare wheel. But I do accept the aerodynamic principle. I'm thinking two roof bars connected by a mesh tray of some sort. Maybe I can get Peter to design and make one. I'm also thinking that the shape of the wheel lying flat will act as a deflector.

OR Richie pointed out that the recent Chevy pics symbolizing those halcyon Happy Days of yore are a tad misleading in that they were not days of blissful jollies and delight for many minority groups. Too true, too true, too true. People who stutter are a minority.

Race day at Cunnamulla. Crowds of people everywhere you look. A bloke pushes his way through the people around one of the bookies.

"M-m-mate," he stutters, "I b-b-backed a f-f-five t-t-to..."

"Go on, get out of the way will you?" the bookie responds. "Can't you see I'm busy?"

The bloke goes but shoves his way in again within a couple of minutes. "Hey, m-m-mate, I t-t-tell ya I b-b-backed a f-f-five t-t-t..."

"I'm getting a bit annoyed with you. Get! Now! I'm busy."

Once more the bloke goes but almost immediately turns back and pushes his way in. "HEY! I'm t-t-trying t-t-to t-t-tell ya I b-b-backed a f-f-five..."

The bookie interrupts, pulls a $20 note out of his pocket and says, "Here. Now piss off. You're wasting my time!"

The bloke seems satisfied, walks off towards the race track entry. Meets his offsider who asks, "How'd you go, mate?"

Bloke says, "Well, I t-t-tried t-t-to t-t-t-tell him I b-b-backed a f-f-five t-t-ton Isuzu into his M-m-mercedes and he g-g-gimme $20...!"

From the Beeb: Nelson Mandela has become critically ill in hospital, the South African presidency has announced. President Jacob Zuma said he had visited Mr Mandela and spoken to his wife and medical teams. South Africa's first black president, 94, was taken to hospital in Pretoria earlier this month for the third time this year, with a lung infection. Poor old bugger. They keep patching him up and he keeps coming back for more.

Fugitive former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden is due to fly out of Russia in the next few hours in a bid to seek asylum in Ecuador. Reports suggest he will be on an early afternoon flight out of Moscow, heading first to the Cuban capital Havana. Washington says it is urging countries in the "Western Hemisphere" not to let Mr Snowden enter their territory. Hero or villain? Depends on your point of view.

As an eight-year-old boy Rich Gelfond used to shine shoes to earn some money. At 16 he was running his own newspaper in New York, with a circulation of about 25,000. The paper attracted national advertisers and he would walk up and down Madison Avenue selling space. As someone who showed such entrepreneurial spirit as a child, it is perhaps not surprising that he has ended up running a large and successful business.

Mieke the photographer person sent me this link to a "best of" video showing clips of amazing feats of balance, daredevil stunts, spills and thrills and all kinds of amazing stuff. Well worth watching!

So where am I? So much happening lately my head's spinning. Sparky's organized for tomorrow. Gotta organize the gas fitter and a gas bottle. A few more things to get at the local camping/outdoor shop. Talk to Peter about the rear bolt-on bar and roof rack. And that's pretty much it! For now, anyway. Depending on what the sparky and gas fitter charge for labor I should have enough left in the budget for a 200W solar panel to replace the old 60/70W BP panel, but I'm in no hurry for that. I won't be heading off permanently for a while yet - got the op on the gum and dentures to sort out before the Big Lap. Nancy says she wants me outta there before Christmas.

BUT, I got me a camper to go, with all the goodies, so a few Mini Odysseys will be in order. There's a stack of places an hour or two north, south and west of here. Hell, I could even do an overnighter in the backyard! And take the laptop with me! I don't feel complete without my laptop.

BTW, I did a bit of shopping today but rather than take PJ I walked up to the Mall. Hehe. I made it - and back. Prolly did me the world of good but I was a bit buggered when I got home. By the same token, not all that long ago it would have been a feat impossibeele. It's all those noodles ya know.

Well, that's it for today ladies and genitals. It'll be interesting to hear what the sparky says tomorrow. Gary

June 23, 2013. Later today I hope to take PJ for a test run around town. I attached the old brackets to the rear of the tray as a temporary measure to prevent possible backslide until I get the new bar. I also discovered that the previous owner had penciled the wiring colors of the camper lights (to match the indicator and brake lights) on the inside of a storage bin lid. Woohoo! But he only did three of the colors and there are others, so I better not fool with fixing the plug myself. Dangit. For a while there I thought I had the problem solved.

Anyway, just as I'd psyched myself up to take PJ for a whirl, clouds began to assemble. So I decided to postpone the whirl for a bit. If I'm gonna tip over, I'd rather not tip over in the rain.

No luck on eBay or anywhere else with the roof rack so I left a note on the GN techies forum. One suggestion is two single bars connected with aluminium mesh (like security door mesh) to form a platform. Not a bad idea. MI Bill suggested browsing a wrecking yard. There are a couple of those in town. I've decided to call him MI Bill now because he lives on Magnetic Island, just off Townsville QLD. He's the one with the red Courier.

Just took a shower and am waiting for the hair to dry while I enjoy a cuppa. I wish this test were over and done with. I'm visualizing all kinds of horrible scenarios.

BACK! Weeeeell, that was kinda spooky - like dismounting a bone-shaking, bucking bronco and stepping onto the deck of the Queen Mary. PJ kinda floats along, and you can feel the gentle sway as she rocks with the road undulations. It's a much softer ride than I was getting before, to put it mildly, which was most disconcerting at first. Then I remembered I only had 50psi in the rear tires, so I headed for the servo and pumped them up to 60, which is as high as the air compressor would go. It made a difference but I'd like 5lb more as recommended by the handbook under a full load. Apart from running around town, I took a straight stretch heading south then went around the roundabout and headed back across the Martin Bridge. From there I drove into the CBD and did some shopping, then drove home. Reversing into the drive was a bit tricky. I couldn't see the gap between the gate posts until I was almost aligned straight ahead. Took up part of the road as I buggerized around hehe but traffic was very light. Reversing will be much easier when I'm tuned into TXG TV.

Oh, did I mention that the camper didn't move? That it's still on the tray exactly where it was before I left? I have to say, though, that was the most nervous I've been since I first got behind the wheel of my first car back in '62. I crawled around the first roundabout (just in front of the house) in second gear, and every roundabout after that. I also negotiated a couple of deep gutters - mine and the entrance to the Mall parking lot - visualizing PJ doing the Hawaiian Hula as the wheels sank one by one. Hehe. I was also studying the faces of other drivers and pedestrians expecting to see expressions of horror. But no, not even a glance.

There was only one moderately steep hill on the trip which PJ handled with ease. No problems starting from rest either, or climbing steep gutters, so it seems the Courier will handle the weight okay. Nonetheless, it's gonna take a few more drives, including a longer run along the freeway, before I become fully acclimatized. It's a totally different car to the one I'm used to, and nowhere near as frisky or stiff. Braking distance is still fine albeit a little longer, and steering is fine. 

NC Art wrote: I asked an English bloke why they had the steering wheel on the right side and drove on the wrong side of the highway. He gave me a pitying look and said, “Because that’s the only proper way of course.” Seems you Aussies can’t take a hint either. The Chevy Bel Air was a classy machine, and had a good run fer shure.

    Calgary was muddy when I drove through the wretched place in 1949. Yet there was something exciting in the air. Oil had just been discovered in the mud and shale, and oil companies were just be-ginning to find ways to get at it. Now, it flooded to no one’s surprise, and to make matters worse a big pipeline has sprung a leak and spread oil over hundreds of acres. The authorities claim there’s no environmental threat, of course. There’s money to be made, y’know.

   Justin sure had a scare, but glad to know he’s cancer free and on the mend.

Yes, now there's a God-fearing Christian lad who often speaks of the Heavenly Afterlife. But given the opportunity for an early boarding pass, he declined hehe. He'll have the next 6 to 8 weeks of recuperation to absorb the gravity of his experience and do some serious contemplation. But he's getting it pretty easy compared to what I went through. I'm not bitching, but he's in the care of his family and his lover whereas I had none of that. I even had to catch a bloody train back to Taree alone. No help from L&S either. They can barely take care of themselves let alone anyone else. So it was up to me to take care of myself. If you remember, there was a period of some months after the operation where I could hardly put a sentence together. Even showering took every ounce of strength I could muster. A couple of times I had to take a plastic chair in with me. I must be one helluva tough old bird. Hehe. I also had a dream - and she's parked in the drive as we speak.

Thanks, Art. Hehe.

From the Beeb: New clashes have taken place in Brazil despite President Dilma Rousseff's attempt to respond to protesters' demands and halt the violence. Trouble was reported in Belo Horizonte and Salvador, the two cities hosting Confederations Cup matches on Saturday. I wonder what Joao thinks of all this non-carnivale activity?

US President Barack Obama has promised to outline his plan to deal with climate change in a speech at Georgetown University on Tuesday. He said it would include measures to reduce carbon pollution and to lead global efforts to fight climate change. Mr Obama has said repeatedly he would tackle climate change, but has been blocked by Congress. He is believed to be planning to pass the new measures by executive action, meaning he will bypass Congress.

A wing walker and her pilot were killed when their biplane crashed during an air show near Dayton, in the US state of Ohio. The plane carrying Jane Wicker overturned and hit the ground, bursting into flames in front of spectators at the Vectren Dayton Air Show. Oh dear, what a terrible thing for all those people to witness - kids included.

Well, there goes Sundee, and another weekend. Tomorrow I'll organize a sparky and gas fitter. During the week I'll also visit the local wreckers to see what they might have in the way of roof racks - otherwise I might talk to Peter the engineer about making something. Most, if not all, of the remaining stuff I need for PJ I can buy locally. And that'll be it! Job complete!

Oh, and another thought about PJ's center of gravity - there's no water in the fresh water tank yet. It's 50 or 60 liters so that's 50 or 60kg when full. It's situated just behind the truck cab, east west at floor level, and acts as a stair to the cab-over bed. I'm not familiar with the tank but it should have baffles to stop sloshing when not full. The truck's fuel tank is situated just under the water tank, and that's another 70kg when full... all amidships.

Sunday, June 23, 2013, the day I drove PJ for the first time and survived! I'm sooooo glad that's behind me! At least I'm not terrified of the thing any longer hehe. Gary

June 22, 2013. Last night's poke around eBay ended up with a bit of a spend. This is the telescopic ladder I bought. And this is the pair of UHF hand-held radios. I also bought a copy of Camps Australia Wide #7.


I spent a few hours in the glorious sunshine this morning putting stuff in the storage bins. It's amazing how much stuff fits in there! They swallow stuff like an anaconda! And I haven't even touched the sides yet. Thought about tidying the current battery which has one terminal covered in green gunk but thought better of it. Too much spaghetti so I'll leave it to the sparky to get rid of that battery and replace it with the AGM. The old one could be worth keeping as a spare cranking battery. Hmmm. I also attached the padlocks I bought ages ago on spesh - keyed alike which is handy.

TX Greg wrote: Texas mission control to Gary, tie downs look secure. Are we ready to start count down to test flight? :)

I'd prefer to wait till after the sparky and gas fitter have done their thing, and Peter organizes the bolt-on bar across the back, but I'll probably take PJ for a quickie around the block before that - maybe put some extra air in the rear tires.

Speaking of diarrhororrors did you ever see the episode from Top Gear call Campervans. This makes PJ look very short... At the end of that show the guys play a trick, hehe.... The full episodes of Campervans Parts 1-4 can be watched here...

Love that home-built motorhome, Greg. That's a hoot! Thanks for the links!

FL Josh wrote to suggest I may want something a little bigger than the Courier: You may want to trade your ute for something like this to mount your camper on... Thanks, Josh, I'll keep it in mind. :-/

Justin from the Dunes Blog has been seriously ill lately - and I mean seriously - right in the middle of his graduation. But he's on the mend after major surgery and headed back home to Provincetown MA where he will spend 8 weeks recouperating fully. You can read about it here.

Carp (gold fish) is an introduced species to Oz that causes major problems in our rivers, destroying habitat for our own species causing their demise, muddying rivers and burrowing into riverbanks causing erosion. Here's one river gum that's been attacked by carp. Bill, the bloke with a similar rig to PJ and keen fisherman, has a recipe for carp. It's the carp and rock method. You boil a rock and a carp until the rock is soft, and then eat the rock. Europeans and Asians eat carp but Aussies won't touch them. Pity because eating them out of existence would be a good thing.

Here's a phenomenon in Broome WA that happens at very low tide when the exposed ridges in the mudflats cause the shallow water to look like stairs to the rising moon. Staircase to the Moon.

A devout middle eastern gentleman entered a black cab in London.  He curtly asked the cabbie to turn off the radio because, as decreed by his religious  teaching, he must not listen to the music because, in the time of the prophet, there was no music, especially Western music which is the music of the infidel. The cab driver politely switched off the radio, stopped the cab and opened the door. The Arab Muslim asked him, "What are you doing?" The cabbie answered, "In the time of the prophet, there were no taxis, so piss off and wait for a camel!"

BTW, FL Josh thought this video was really clever, and I concur indubitably! Or something.

From the Beeb: The US justice department has filed criminal charges against a fugitive ex-intelligence analyst who leaked details of a secret surveillance operation. The charges against ex-National Security Agency (NSA) analyst Edward Snowden include espionage and theft of government property. I'm sure many people like myself will follow this case with great interest.

At least three people have been killed and more than a 100,000 forced to flee their homes as floods triggered by torrential rain hit western Canada. Officials have ordered the evacuation of the centre of Calgary, Alberta, after both rivers that flow through it, the Bow and Elbow, overflowed.

Buzz Aldrin calls for humans to colonise the Red Planet. On 21 July 1969, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first set foot on the surface of the Moon, it appeared as though mankind was on the verge of a new age of space exploration. Now, one of the original lunar pioneers believes the time has come to make another great leap for mankind. Buzz Aldrin thinks that manned missions to Mars should take place sooner rather than later - within the next quarter of a century. And we shouldn't stop there. He thinks we should begin planning a permanent colony on the Red Planet

US aviation officials are investigating a near-collision between two jets in the skies over New York City. On 13 June, a Delta Airlines Boeing 747 and a Shuttle America Embraer E170 came within 200ft (60m) vertically and half a mile (800m) horizontally from one another, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said. Both planes landed safely. US aviation regulations require planes to be 1000ft apart vertically or three miles horizontally

5-ish already so how about a bit of Happy Days Americana from 1955 before I go?

Isn't it gorgeous? And here's an interior shot of a '55 Chevy Bel Air. You'll notice that it's the passengers who do all the driving over there.

Did you hear about Tiger Woods and Stevie Wonder having a bit of a natter in a bar? Tiger asked Stevie how the singing was going, to which he replied that it was going okay, and then asked Tiger about the golf. Tiger said he was having a few problems with his swing but that it was all fixed now. Stevie said he sometimes has problems with his swing, too, but he takes a break and doesn't think about it for a while, and then it gets back to normal. "You play golf?" Tiger asked. "But you're blind! How can you play golf if you can't see?" 

"I've been playing golf for years," Stevie explained. "I get my caddy to stand in the middle of the fairway and call to me. I listen for the sound of his voice and play the ball towards him. Then, when I get to where the ball lands, the caddy moves to the green or farther down the fairway and again I play the ball towards his voice."

"But, how do you putt?" asks Tiger.

"Well", says Stevie, "I get my caddy to lean down in front of the hole and call to me with his head on the ground and I just play the ball towards his voice."

Tiger: "What's your handicap?"

Stevie: "Actually -- I'm a scratch golfer."

Woods, incredulous, says to Stevie, "We've got to play a round sometime."

Stevie: "Well, people don't take me seriously, so I only play for money, and never play for less than $10,000 a hole. Is that a problem?"

Woods thinks about it and says, "I can afford that; OK, I'm game. $10,000 a hole is fine with me. When would you like to play?"

Stevie: "Pick a night."

And there goes another Satdee! Might check out eBay again tonight for a roof rack - a shorty for utes. So be good dear Breth and I'll be back with another sermon tomorrow. Oh, just remembered, I posted the Prayer for Granddad on Just Joking yesterday and one woman (who didn't get the joke) asked if the little girl was my granddaughter hehe. Oh dear... Gary

June 21, 2013. Roite, this morning I attached the tie downs to PJ, and it looks pretty good. Nice and tight.

In the pic below, you'll see the holes originally drilled for the brackets which are now redundant. All I need now is a length of 1" square steel tubing to bolt into those holes to stop any rearward slide. It probably won't happen but it'll give me peace of mind if I'm travelling up a steep grade. I phoned Peter the engineer bloke and he's gonna pop in next time he's passing to measure it and check it out.

And now one last pic just to give all the Nervous Nellies the diarrhororrors...

NC Art wrote: Apologies to Stan for re-naming him Sam. Whutevuh, the farming background explains a lot. Old time farmers … and probably modern ones also … had to be handy with tools, or anything that got the job done including muscle. My dad was a farmer and had to be a carpenter, electrician, plumber, machinist, and everything else needed to keep the wheels turning or mules harnessed. It was a hard life, but most farmers I knew were pretty happy most of the time. Astonishing, since two bad crops in a row could finish them off.

   Chuckled over the Tabasco sauce thingy. I once heard a woman say, “I’m so damned old I had to buy another bottle of Tabasco.” A little goes a long way, but I’m on my third or fourth bottle! Go figure. 

Yes, I'm partial to a dribble of Tabasco too. Which reminds me, I've got the measurements of the tacoodle thing right now- right amount of noodles to meat, liquid and cheese - and it tastes yummy. The cheese is New Zealand shredded Colby which melts into the tacoodle. 

Here's something else from Art: A Prayer For Granddad...

Dear God, please send lots of clothes to all those poor ladies
on grandad's computer.  Amen.

TX Greg wrote: You asked if I had "Any more questions?" How many surfers do you think you can fit into PJ's bed?, hehe. You mean without me in there? Hehe.

You had some really good answers there (about PJ), which tells me you are thinking things over and yes that does ease my mind :) Eases mine too, mate. 

Francois wrote to tell me he hasn't been too well lately: 1st I need a surgery for a hip replacement and I've much pain and can't do anything: walking is difficult, driving too, not speaking of boating! I can't nomore go and swim, so my back and neck are painful too. The surgery will take place at the end of July maybe. Winter has arrived and the cold temperature isn't good for my old bones and yes, 15c (this morning) is really cold when you've taken bad habits around 30c.

Same here in Taree, Francois. Sorry to hear about the aches and pains, and I hope the surgery is successful and gives you a new lease on life.

2nd  I worked 3 months around my house to insulate it and giving it a good appearance to try to sell it and go away to have a secure surgery in France and despite many advs to sell it I'd not a simple call. Bad time to sell anything here: the time is hanging to the vote on the independence of New Caledonia in 2014... Kaledony or Kanaky or ???: they're fighting about the name, the flag etc ! Anyway I think I'm stuck here for some years...

Well, it's not a bad place to be "stuck", Francois hehe. Could be a lot worse! Francois also has some concerns about PJ's height, and suggests I take it easy until I become familiar with its behavior in different conditions. Too true, Francois. Easy does it! And I take your point about the shock absorbers, although the Ironman helper springs will assist in that department. I'll know more as I gain more experience driving it over various surfaces. And the angle taken by your vehicle is not only dependent of the gradient of the rodway but above all of the rocking after a bump... Yes, that happens often to caravans and other vehicles with poorly distributed loads. They hit an undulation in the road and, if the speed is too great, start to rock side to side, or sway. If the driver doesn't correct the sway quickly, it can, and usually does, end in a rollover. GNs on the forum are always talking about that kind of thing. Inexperienced drivers go for the brakes, which is a no no. The only way to get out of trouble is to "drive" your way out. However, if speed is kept to a safe limit in the first place, these situations can be avoided before they begin. As you say, Francois, time isn't money for us retired oldies. 

Just got a PM from the GN webmistress to say some old dear complained about Art's nipples and asked to have the pic removed from the Just Joking forum hehe. Oh well... takes all kinds. No biggie.

And now something else from Art: If you think Oz has some weird terrain, check out the moving rocks in Death Valley and volcano in Hawaii … or other curiosities. How Do Death Valley’s “Sailing Stones” Move Themselves Across the Desert?

From the Beeb: More than a million people are reported to have taken part in protests in about 100 cities across Brazil, the latest in a wave of anti-government rallies. Violence erupted in many places and an 18-year-old man died when a car drove through a barricade in Sao Paulo state. Protests began more than a week ago over high transport fares but are also highlighting corruption and the cost of next year's football World Cup. They're a pretty excitable lot, these hot-blooded Latins.

On the other hand: Brazil's Ambassador to Britain has said that, despite the ongoing protests, recent research shows that Brazilians are content with their lives and have a positive view of the future.

A Jewish Israeli man has been shot dead near Jerusalem's Western Wall after a guard mistook him for a Palestinian militant, police say. Gunfire was heard on Friday morning at the wall - one of Judaism's holiest sites visited by thousands of worshippers each week. Police say the guard shot the man after hearing him shout "Allahu Akbar"

The Ministry of Defence closed down its UFO desk because it served "no defence purpose" and was taking staff away from "more valuable defence-related activities", newly released files show. The desk was shut down in December 2009 despite a surge in reported sightings. Hmmm. I suspect the U in UFO will forever remain U.

Yep, we humans have an obsessive predilection for wanting to believe in wicked witches, spooks, boogy men, aliens and anything else that scares the bejesus out of us hehe. Remember those gargoyle thingies? Imagination is a wonderful thing... sometimes.

Thanks Ls & Gs for all the contributions and for visiting Waffledom. Keeps me occupied and out of trouble. God knows what dreadful things I'd be getting myself involved with if it weren't for this. Tomorrow I'll do a few more things with PJ, like sort out the storage bins. Just checked netbank and noted that my $1000 interest-free advance from Centerlink arrived today, so now I can attend to sparkies and plumbers and spend a few more bob on other things I need for PJ, like a collapsible ladder, roof rack, UHF hand-held radio, and Camps 7 (the traveller's Bible). Can you believe I'm now this close after all the crap over the past 3 or 4 years? Every time I walk down the backyard and see PJ parked there it's like a mirage - like it can't be real. About a block down the road, there's a motorhome similar to PJ parked in the front yard of a block of flats. I've seen it often as I drive home from shopping or wherever. I'd look at it and think, "One of these days..."

So now I'm wondering how the hell I managed to stay positive after so many disappointments and frustrations, many of which I brought upon myself through impatience and pig-headedness. I can tell you one thing; if I had to start over I wouldn't hehe. Once is enough. More than enough, actually. Is there a sense of accomplishment? Not sure. A sense of relief perhaps.

However, this is only the beginning. And maybe that's the scariest part hehe. Anyway, for now its a bit of telly and a bowl of tacoodle, and maybe a bit of a poke around eBay to see what goodies are there. Gary

June 20, 2013. One of "those" mornings - and it's midday already. Had a comp prob that took the phone techie ages to sort out using a program called Teamviewer which enabled him to work on my comp remotely from the ISP site. But the solution meant getting in touch with Microsoft and/or Avast (my virus software). All too hard, so I'm bypassing the prob by using my ISP's mail server instead of Windows Mail. If you see 'spin' in my reply email addy, don't worry about it. Comcen is now Spintel but gary@ either one works.

AND THEN the tap water here went all weird and I phoned the local water mob. There's been a break in a main somewhere around here and the water's gone milky - air bubbles. No biggie.

NC Art wrote: Glad for you and the big step taken to get you rolling. Stan is a diminishing breed of people who can do just about anything, so make nice with the bloke. Also, I was a bit anxious about the marvels of a rear view mirror sans a camera to see what’s in the blind spot behind your rig. A friend bought a camera for her new Volvo and sings daily hymns to its value.

   And yeah, your rig looks top heavy, but the weight distribution goes a long way to stabilize. Experience tells me that you will find handling beyond the open highway a bit tricky until you gain familiarity with odd sensations when cornering and maneuvering in tight places. And take care that a railroad overpass doesn’t scrape your house off its foundation hehe.

Yep, Stan is a jack of all trades - originally a farmer. He explained to me one time that farmers are required to fix all kinds of things on the farm - buildings, fences, vehicles and other machinery, etc - so that explains his manual and mental dexterity. He sold the farm some years ago and moved to Taree where he set up a lawn mowing biz. He sold most of it a while ago so he could semi retire, but he still works every day. He's done quite well - nice house, a couple of cars, large caravan and a work ute. As to railroad overpasses and the like, one GN warned me about the same thing, and posted this pic:

How embarrassing! 

FL Josh wrote: Well. . . have you had a chance to test the inner shedness of PJ in the new configuration????? Yes, I've had a chance... but haven't taken it. It's interesting because it just goes to prove that my #1 priority remains Waffle and the AO site. Everything else takes second place - and cool weather lately hasn't helped. There's a wind chill factor that makes it feel about 5 degrees colder than it really is.

And now TX Greg sticks his bib in: Well I'm not trying to "rain on the parade" but only hope that if we all put our thoughts and ideas together that you can embark on a happy and safe journey :) The camper might appear top heavy to some, but the real question is, what is the true center of gravity of PJ and the most angle it can take before, well you know.

An interesting Jeep blog about figuring center of gravity... I was rather surprised to see the side roll between the 40 to 48 degree range. That makes me wonder if PJ's could be as low as the 20 to 30 degree side angle. You mentioned that area above the camper waistline is basically shell, but that shell does have quite a bit of weight. And don't forget about the fridge, which weighs more than you, and that is at the very top with the LP bottle below. I also started thinking that was odd for them to put both those items on the one side stacked together with nothing to really to offset that weight on the other side other than the cloths closet. You know how you said that battery was heavy? Wait till you pick up a full LP bottle. And I didn't realize, but you are going to need a ladder to change out the bottle and even to reach in the compartment to turn the bottle on and off.

Ok just for fun I did a quick photoshop pic without PJ's storage box...

Hmmm, now see that looks more like a normal truck camper to me. No I'm not saying take the storage box off, I'm just using the pic for reference. So the storage box is about one foot tall and the camper was originally made to be in a tub bed instead of a tray back which would also be about another one foot difference. So basically the camper is only about two feet taller than the manufacture built it for. So the big question is how much is this two foot difference really affecting the center of gravity??? We know it will play a role, no pun intended, but how much is the sixty-four million dollar question.

Well, first to center of gravity. The Jeep diagram is for a 4WD negotiating rough terrain. PJ won't be driven on any roads like that - or off road. Dirt roads, yes, but nothing that would cause the vehicle to tilt more than a few degrees. Next, the fridge. I doubt it would weigh as much as me. It's only a metal box. The gas bottle is a 9kg capacity. The bottle weighs maybe 2 or 3 so that's a total of about 12kg (25lb). The reason it's forward of the camper is to put the weight in the center of the vehicle rather than at the rear to equalize distribution. The weight of the fridge and gas bottle on one side of the camper will be offset by the weight (27kg/60lb) of the AGM battery in the storage box on the passenger side. Other heavy items like tools, jacks, etc will be distributed evenly in the storage boxes on both sides.

And now to height. Bill's is a tub type sitting on a flat tray with no side storage boxes. His is 2.7m high. I just measured mine at 3m. So mine is 0.3m taller (12"). His Courier is a later model 4WD with a higher tray - probably 6" higher. As you can see, there's not much difference between his and mine in the clearance height between the roof of the cab and the floor of the cab-over. Remember, earlier this year he did a 15,000km trip with no problems at all (apart from an altercation with a service station awning). What's more, Bill's a keen fisherman and travels rough country to seek out the best spots.

I concede that removing the bottom storage box would allow the camper to sit lower and probably more securely, but being on the road permanently, I need that storage. The 4 jacks go in there for starters.

All this got me to thinking about the tires. Back when you got the truck I thought you said something about it needed a couple of tires, but I don't remember you saying you got them.

Yep, I had the two front tires replaced with 8 ply light truck tires. The rear tires are fairly new and also 8 ply light truck. BTW, Bill put his rig over a weighbridge. His camper weighs 720kg or about 800kg loaded. I'm guessing mine will be closer to 900kg fully loaded. The Courier is legally able to carry 1300kg. As to the gas bottle compartment, I just checked it. It's a little high but won't need a ladder - maybe a box or something to stand on, or maybe not. Any more questions?

I was really impressed with the Ironman helper springs. PJ does look to be setting very level :) Oh and have you jumped into PJ's bed yet now that she's on the truck? It is sooooooooooo much fun and relaxing sleeping on shock absorbers. François could relate, as kind of like sleeping on a boat :)

Bill swears by the Ironman helpers. He drove his without them and says it was okay but not great. So he fitted the helpers and they made a huge difference to stability and ride. And testing the bed? Nah... been too busy buggerizing around here at the comp and whatever. Today is disappearing rapidly as well.

I appreciate the input, Greg, and all the research you've done. Hopefully I've eased your mind about a few things. I intend to drive PJ carefully and to suit whatever conditions I happen to encounter. Most GNs in motorhomes or towing caravans stick to 85-90km/h (55-60mph). It's safer, allows more reaction time in unexpected circumstances, and provides optimum fuel economy.

BUT, Greg has the final say: HAHAHA, Here's a twist to the old saying "If this trailer is a rockin...

And here's something NC Art is sending only to his intellectual friends:

Remember Ling Lau Sweet Chariot? Well, this is a different Ling Lau. He's the bloke who sold me the smoke alarm which arrived a little earlier today. So I decided, with a little prompting from TX Greg and FL Josh, to get a wee dose of inner shedness "in the new congifuration" and take the smoke alarm and another do-dad with me. Yep, it's quite a novel sensation to feel springs underfoot rather than concrete blocks. There's a bit of wobble when I move around. I also tried the bed. Not sure if it's quite the same as Francois experiences on water but there is a feeling of 'wafting'. First thing I noticed was how far I can see - over the top of the garage and down the street to the other houses hehe. And there's so much more light now that PJ is clear of the garage wall on one side and all that foliage on the other. Oh... and the windows need cleaning.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll get a bit of time to attach the turnbuckles and chains so that I can drive around town and get a feel for the thing, as well as do a bit of shopping. No more parking undercover at Woolies. Now it'll be across the road at the open car park.

Here's a pic from the GN forum of the Opera House during the recent Sydney light show. 

And here's a post I spotted yesterday on the GN forum from someone with a very special offer - one that I'd have been eager to accept some years ago. What an adventure!

Hi everybody, I always intended to buy a vehicle and buzz off for a while but went to Cambodia instead.

I have leased a house here and hope to start teaching English soon to people who need conversational English for work, tuk tuk drivers, cafe staff, for example. I thought "G'day Mate" a good name for the school as this is what the locals all say when they know youre from Oz.

I would love some help, short or long term if anyone would like to join me. I don't need money, just moral support and help teaching 1 hr a day maybe.

My house is at Sihanoukville, a beach tourist area so there is western food available, some english spoken and the people are so very cheerful and friendly. Everything is cheap, living is easy. I can show you around town.

I'm an old gal, 72, and I would welcome long or short term visitors, male, female, couples, all good. I have 2 spare AC bedrooms with bathrooms I would rent $50 a week a room. Both furnished with queen sized beds. But I may be able to pay you for some teaching time I hope. All negotiable.

Love to hear from you.

Tellya what, if something like that had come along when I fell on my ass in the mid '90s, I'd be in Cambodia now. Isn't it amazing what you find on GN?

What did I just say?

From the Beeb: Consumers are becoming more willing to pay for online news, although most still choose not to, a study suggests. The percentage of UK-based web users who read paid-for content had more than doubled to 9% during the past 10 months, it said. Gains were also seen in the US, France and Germany, although Denmark bucked the trend. We've been spoiled by all the free stuff. But I supposed paid-for content will become more accepted as newspapers move from paper to digital. I had no qualms about parting with sixpence to buy the Daily Telegraph every morning before catching the train to work, as well as the Sun or Mirror on the way home.

Smart socks and rings are among the latest wearable tech to be announced. US-based Heapsylon says it is developing sensor-equipped socks that help their owners monitor their balance while walking or running. Meanwhile, Chinese company Shanda has unveiled the Geak Ring - a finger-worn device that can unlock a user's smartphone or pass data to others. I wonder what they'll do with undies.

Slim Whitman, the American country singer known for his yodelling abilities, has died at the age of 90. His son-in-law confirmed he died of heart failure overnight on Wednesday at Orange Park Medical Centre in Jacksonville, Florida. Whitman had a string of hits in the 1950s and through the 1970s.

And that's about it, boils and goils. Been a hectic day! Hopefully, tomorrow will run smoothly and I'll get a few things done to PJ in readiness for her first foray into the world on the other side of the fence. Heater's on, telly will soon be on, and then it'll be time for nourishment! Gary

June 19, 2013. Whoa! What a day yesterday! And, as they say, what a difference a day makes. I've looked out my bedroom window a million times at PJ sitting in the yard "whole" - just like a real motorhome. It's been a helluva long time coming, with many disappointments along the way. I was so excited yesterday I posted some stuff and pics on the GN forum, only to have one woman determined to rain on my parade. She said she would never buy anything like that because it looked too top heavy and unstable. After I explained a few things, she carried on about cross winds. I kept my cool and explained a few more things. Eventually, she settled down and wished me well.

But I can understand why people are concerned about PJ's height. TX Greg wrote: Congrats and WOW it is so neat to see PJ as ONE !!!  I must admit I am a little amazed at how tall she is. Steve W also expressed concerns: I know I have mentioned this before but my concern about the rig being top-heavy and now seeing it in place, I am still concerned. Once all bolted down I would urge you to visit a reputable suspension shop for their opinion. Just my 2 bob's worth.

Well, if you analyze the phrase "top heavy" you get top and heavy. Hehe. The area above the camper waistline is basically shell. All the serious weight is below the waistline. So it's an optical illusion, exacerbated somewhat by the camera wide angle. Bill, the GN who has a similar rig, and who incidentally has already had an altercation with a service station awning, says his handles pretty well. He covered 15,000 kms recently on a trip with no problems and no mishaps (apart from the awning). He was the one who suggested the fitting of the Ironman helper springs, which was done a couple of months ago. He says they work a treat. In fact, Bill's is worse because he doesn't have the storage bins fitted. His floor area is much narrower than mine because his was designed to fit between the wheel arches of a tub tray. Mine sits on the whole 8' x 6' surface area.

FL Josh wrote: What a great day you had and what a thoughtful gift from TX Greg.  If the other guy you were expecting to help you load the camper had shown up earlier, he might not have been as clever as Stan and you might not have gotten it fitted so well, so it all worked out for the best.  Now, when you go to the places where you do your normal business, you are going to have to try to resist the urge to say, "Hey, can you close your register for a minute and step outside and see my camper???"

I appreciate Josh's restraint in resisting any "I toldya sos" hehe. But it is most fortuitous that Stan was able to revert to the original plan of sitting the camper base between the side rails of the tray. It was easier than I thought because the camper has a bit of sway when it's on jacks, which allows the camper to be maneuvered into place as it's being lowered. It's a very snug fit - and relief for me, I must admit.

As to the brackets at the back that are now unsuitable, I'll replace them with a straight bar that runs the width of the tray, and bolts on to stop any rearward movement of the camper. Vertical movement is taken care of by the turnbuckles on each corner. Forward movement is not a problem because of the uprights behind the truck cab.

Well, if I were any more excited I'd need a straight jacket. BTW, TX Greg included extra in his donation to cover installation of the rear view camera, which was most generous of him. I guess Santa figured I'd been a good boy and deserved something spesh. :o) Youre very welcome. And speaking of psychic, I was also thinking about surfers, HAHAHA. Did you see that has two video inputs? You could add another camera, or watch any other device video thru the mirror :) Make sure you tell the sparky that you want to be able to turn the camera on at any time and just not in reverse! That will require a wire (12V+) that power ups with the engine running (So as not to drain the battery) to be run to the camera instead of tapping into the backup light for power. I also like the way it clips over the existing mirror and with the short wire pigtail there, you can easy remove and hide it to keep from getting stolen :)

Oregon Richie wrote: At long last.... yes !!  Seeing the pictures of the truck and camper were very nice and must excite you a great deal !!  It will be fun to do a few "orientation drives" in the near future, too.  Looks like it will be just the ticket, indeed. He also sent this pic with a note to say move over Qantas, PJ is now taking over the route to Uluru.

And now you know why the outback is called "The Red Center".

Wanna see a monster croc? This pic was taken back in 1914.

Mid afternoon now and I haven't done any more to PJ - too cold and windy. There are even light snow showers west of here at Barrington Tops. The next 7 days will be more of the same, cool to mild, tops of 16C (61F) with the chance of isolated showers. Definitely winter, and will be for the next 2 and a half months! I know what OR Richie is thinking... 61F is NOT winter!

From the Beeb: The UN says 7.6 million people became refugees in 2012, with the total number now higher than at any time since 1994. A report from the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says that Syria is "a major new factor" driving up refugee numbers. The report say 55% of all refugees come from five countries: Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Sudan and Syria. How depressing.

Four US soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan, hours after the US announced direct talks with the Taliban. The soldiers were killed by "indirect fire" from insurgents at Bagram air base, US officials said. So near and now so far. Imagine how the families feel.

US President Barack Obama has arrived in Berlin at the start of a visit during which he will address crowds at the city's famous Brandenburg Gate. He last addressed Berliners as a presidential candidate in 2008 - drawing a crowd estimated at 200,000 in the once-divided city. He's certainly sprouted a few gray hairs since those heady days.

Nasa's Cassini probe is going to try to take a special picture of Planet Earth. The spacecraft will include our home world when it makes a giant mosaic of Saturn and its ring system. In the Friday 19 July portrait, Earth will be almost a billion miles in the distance - a mere pixel in size. Oh, Galileo, where are you now?

In today's era of cell phone cameras and instant snap shots, it's hard to imagine a time when photography was difficult, technical and time consuming. But in the mid-19th Century it was confined to a few pioneers. In the United States, they included the brothers Henry and Charles Meade, the subjects of a new exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington

Something else I should mention about yesterday's job with Stan. FL Josh would have been horrified if he'd been there. I was. In fact, I couldn't watch and had to go inside the house while it was happening. When he decided to shave a few millimeters off the length of one of the skidboards, we raised the camper on its jacks and then I drove the truck forward until it was clear. Stan used a large power saw but not in the usual way clamped to a bench. He sat on the lawn underneath the camper and hand-held the saw upside down, with a finger on the safety switch to stop it working, and then, pushing upwards from the underside, positioned the spinning blade so that it sliced into the skid. After slicing a small section, he moved his bum a bit further along and did the next section, until he had cut a series of slices, something like a perforation, along the length of the timber so it could be peeled off. How's that for dangerous? And all for a lousy $70. Now you understand why his parting words were, "What other dickhead would do a job like that?"

The proper way to do the job, of course, would have been to remove the skid from the base of the camper, perform the trim on a bench, then re-attach the skid. But Stan took a shortcut because 1) I don't have a bench, and 2) he didn't have the time. All's well that ends well, I suppose, but it was a pretty hairy situation - and yet another chapter in the rollicking adventures of The Birth of PJ.

They were funny looking buildings, that were once a way of life,
If you couldn't sprint the distance, then you really were in strife.

They were nailed, they were wired, but were mostly falling down,
There was one in every yard, in every house, in every town. 

They were given many names, some were even funny,
But to most of us, we knew them as the outhouse or the dunny. 

I've seen some of them all gussied up, with painted doors and all, 
But it really made no difference, they were just a port of call. 

Now my old man would take a bet, he'd lay an even pound, 
That you wouldn't make the dunny with them turkeys hangin' round. 

They had so many uses, these buildings out the back," 
You could even hide from mother, so you wouldn't get the strap. 

That's why we had good cricketers, never mind the bumps, 
We used the pathway for the wicket and the dunny door for stumps. 

Now my old man would sit for hours, the smell would rot your socks, 
He read the daily back to front in that good old thunderbox. 

And if by chance that nature called sometime through the night, 
You always sent the dog in first, for there was no flamin' light. 

And the dunny seemed to be the place where crawlies liked to hide, 
But never ever showed themselves until you sat inside.

There was no such thing as Sorbent, no tissues there at all, 
Just squares of well read newspaper, a hangin' on the wall. 

If you had some friendly neighbours, as neighbours sometimes are, 
You could sit and chat to them, if you left the door ajar.

When suddenly you got the urge, and down the track you fled, 
Then of course the magpies were there to peck your head. 

Then the time there was a wet, the rain it never stopped, 
If you had an urgent call, you ran between the drops. 

The dunny man came once a week, to these buildings out the back, 
And he would leave an extra can, if you left for him a zac.

For those of you who've no idea what I mean by a zac, 
Then you're too young to have ever had a dunny out the back! 

Dunno who the author of that dunny ditty was but it was posted by Sarg on GN. A zac, by the way, is 2 thr'penny bits (treys) or sixpence (5 cents today). My dad said it cost thr'pence for admission to the Saturday flicks when he was younger. 3d = trey, 6d = zac, 1/- = bob (or deaner), 2/- = 2 bob. "Silly as a two bob watch." 1 pound = quid, 10 bob = half a quid ($1 today). All make sense? Dozen madder.

And now a quick lesson in how to speak 'strailyun:


I was down on Riverina, knockin' round the towns a bit,
An' occasionally restin', with a schooner in me mitt; 
An' on one o' these occasions, when the bar was pretty full 
an' the local blokes were arguin' assorted kinds o' bull,
I heard a conversation, most peculiar in its way, 
Because only in Australia would you hear a joker say,
"Where yer bloody been, yer drongo? 'Aven't seen yer fer a week; 
"An' yer mate was lookin' for yer when 'e come in from the Creek; 
"'E was lookin' up at Ryan's, an' around at bloody Joe's, 
"An' even at the Royal where 'e bloody never goes." 
An' the other bloke said "Seen 'im. Owed 'im 'alf a bloody quid, 
"Forgot ter give ut back to 'im; but now I bloody did. 
"Coulda used the thing me-bloody-self; been orf the bloody booze, 
"Up at Tumba-bloody-rumba shootin' kanga-bloody-roos." 

Now their voices were a little loud, an' everybody heard 
The peculiar integration of this adjectival word. 
But no one there was laughin', an' me I wasn't game, 
So I stood around an' let 'em think I spoke the bloody same.
An' one of 'em was interested to ask 'im what he'd got-
How many kanga-bloody-roos he bloody went and shot- 
An' the shootin' bloke said, "Things are crook; the drought's too bloody tough; 
"I got forty-bloody-seven, an' that's good e'-bloody-nough." 
An' this polite rejoinder seemed to satisfy the mob, 
An' everyone stopped listenin' an' got on with the job,
Which was drinkin' beer and arguin' an' talkin' of the heat, 
An' stickin' in the bitumen in the middle of the street; 
But as for me, I'm here to say the interestin' news 
Was "Tumba-bloody-rumba shootin' kanga-bloody-roos."

I won't copy and paste this one. It's a very funny story about a gay flight attendant.

And here we are again. Pay day tomorrow so I'll sort out the budget and figure out what needs to be done next week. Till then it's telly and... oh yes... the tacoodle turned out pretty well - not as nice as a taco with those wonderful tastes and textures of sour cream and salsa and the crunch of chilled lettuce, but not too bad all the same. Better than soup! Gary

June 18, 2013. Before I go any further, here are a couple of links to interesting things on the GN forum. This one is a pic of a shredded tire that caused one GN a bit of grief out in the sticks in the Northern Territory. And this one is a new thread I started with a couple of pics from the family album taken in the late 1920s of my parents and friends camping.

And speaking of the late '20s, NC Art wrote: If that folding ladder you buy does not have non-slip steps, be cautious and find a way to make them safer. I once had such a device with smooth aluminium steps, plopped a wet shoe on it, slipped through and peeled my shin skin. Too late, I added strips of ridged rubber to the step. It didn’t cure my bloody leg, but prevented a recurrence.

And thanks for the link to that French semaphore telegraph story. I didn’t know about the thing and thought it was a literary invention in “The Count of Monte Cristo.” Live and learn.

Isn't there a story about Rumple Shin Skin? And yes, gotta be careful with ladders, even in nylon stockings. A couple of prominent Aussie showbiz personalities in fairly recent times came to grief while using ladders and ended up seriously injured in hospital.

Stan the Lawn Man arrived so I asked him to help me carry the AGM battery down to the outside laundry where it's closer to PJ. Whoa! He carried it himself! He's one of those macho types who's got a thing or two to prove about being 70 hehe. That's okay with me! So then he started giving me heaps about not having the camper loaded onto the truck yet and yadda, yadda, yadda, bitch, bitch, bitch. So I pointed out that it's not loaded yet COS NO ONE WILL BLOODYWELL HELP ME. Then he took at look at the camper and studied it for a while and said to my utter amazement, "Okay, let's do it now." About an hour later it was loaded.

BUT... he wasn't happy about the way the camper sits on pallet boards and fixed to the deck. So he went on and on an on and on about how it should be loaded and talked himself into doing it for me hehe. His suggestions were all my original plans anyway but I was forced to look for alternatives because I didn't have the tools to make it happen. Well, he does. And as soon as he's finished the lawn he's off home to collect his tools and come back here to do the job. "It'll cost ya!" Fine by me. Stan is a "shoulda" person... shoulda done this, shoulda done that, shoulda done the other thing. It's pointless trying to get a word in edgewise or explain anything. I'm sure he is still blissfully unaware that all his suggestions were my ideas to start with. Never mind. I'm happy play his game.

It's a good thing I didn't try to load the camper myself. It was an awkward job because it was sitting on uneven and sloping ground. It's now sitting on level ground on the truck. But it needs to be lifted again, and the truck driven forward, to accomplish the jobs he has in mind later this afternoon. So how about that? Out of the blue, Stan arrives and it's all go! No appointments, no warning, no nuttin.

Almost evening now and the job's done. Stan reminded me several times of what a wonderful bloke he is before leaving. "What other dickhead would do a job like that?" I still have to fit the turnbuckles and chains but I'll do that tomorrow. As it turned out, the camper is now sitting directly on the tray so the brackets I had made don't fit anymore. That's okay - I'll get Peter to make a couple more, and this time he can do the measuring on site. The camper sits snugly between the raised edges of the tray side rails, so it can't move sideways, either way.

Stan had to use a power saw to trim a few millimeters off the length of outermost skidboard to make the base fit between the raised edges of the side rails - something I couldn't have done. Then he used a metal saw to cut two obstructions off the tray that would have prevented a totally flat surface. Something else I couldn't have done - the steel bolts that held them to the tray were rusted solid. Sparks flew everywhere when he did that job.

There was one more job he didn't do. I'd forgotten to unplug the lead that connects the van's indicator/stop lights to the truck's towbar. When I drove the truck forward to lift the camper for the second round of jobs (mentioned above), the wires pulled out of the plug. Dammit! I'll have to get the electrician to look at it when he comes to connect the battery, etc.

You'll notice that the space between the roof of the truck and the floor of the cab over is more than usual. There's enough room to install a roof rack (basket type) to carry a spare wheel. My thinking is that the shape of the wheel lying flat will act as a bonus wind deflector. You can also see how the rear skidboard, under the storage box below the door, fits between the tray rails.

So, for about three hours work, including the initial loading this morning, Stan charged me $70. Not bad, eh? And it's a good job too.

Now that PJ is parked in open space, I can get busy loading all the other stuff into the storage bins, and put the padlocks on. The electrician and gas fitter can access all they need as well. BTW, that ladder is from a swimming pool and hooks over a couple of brakets bolted to the channel rail. It's in the garage now, and PJ has a lock on the steering wheel. Can't afford to let anyone steal my baby.

So there it is, ladies and genitals. PJ at last! It's only taken about 5 years hehe. Not quite finished yet but almost. I helped Stan with a bit of the heavy work and have bruises and cuts to prove it. I'm gonna be a stiff and sore old bloke tomorrow! 

Oh, before I go, I checked email and one of them was from Santa in Texas: Thought I would get you a little prezzie for PJ. To make this simple so the shipping and all won't get screwed up I just put the money straight to your PayPal account so you can do the ordering direct. Make sense? So what did I get you, you ask?

I can show you where you're going,
I can show you where you are,
I can show you where you've been,
What am I???

Ohhhhhhhhh, Greeeegoreeeeeeeee! That's fantazamagorrical! Just what the doctor ordered. You must've known something was gonna happen today - psychic. I always suspected you were a bit on the spooky side. BTW, the rear view wing mirrors on the truck work just fine with the camper on, but of course they can't see what's directly behind the truck. It'll be handy when I'm parked at a beach and all the surfers are... nah... forget it. I shouldn't have mentioned that. *ahem* I like the way it fits over the existing interior rear view mirror as well. Very nifty, mate, and thank you very much.

Well, that's enough excitement for one day. Time to take a break. More tomorrow! Gary

June 17, 2013. OR Richie commented on linear and cyclic perceptions of time: And there too is a bit of a coincidence with your leading paragraphs on WAFFLE regarding some rather intellectual if not theoretical gray-matter munchies for which the brain can chew on. "Albert Einstein once said that the difference between the past and future is only  A STUBBORNLY PERSISTENT ILLUSION.  Time is just another dimension, like distance.  We have no trouble looking forward or backward along a path, so why not along time, too?" 

So I wrote: Yep, linear and cyclic time. As a young bloke I used to think that if we exist in the constant present, then there's no place for the past to go, and no place for the future to be, so the only thing that must exist is now. But I couldn't quite get my head around it. It's interesting to ponder there being no past though, except in our memory. Freaky. But I guess it would explain eternity - no beginning and no end, just the ever present.

This morning I was pleasantly surprised... thrilled even... to receive a pic from TX Greg I thought I'd lost somewhere. I remembered it from the ad on eBay for the camper, showing the extended awnings and storage bins. I wonder if you're going to need a ladder to pull the legs down for the side awning? I see in the photo that the crank handle is long enough to reach. I also see the legs on the rear awning latch to clips on the sidewall. Now maybe it's just the camera angle of that pic, but the rear awning looks too low for the door to close. Whenever I put those awnings on they always came with a roller wheel to mount on the upper door corner so incase someone had the awning too low the roller would push up on the canvas and not tear it :)

Good idea, Greg. On the original (larger) pic, I can just see the tip of the door above the awning and it appears as if it is higher than the canvas. I'm wondering if those telescopic legs can adjust a bit further to raise the height of the awning. I'll have to check it when the camper is on the back of the truck. Otherwise I'll have to invest in a roller wheel. I'm also getting a collapsible ladder... but as you say, the crank handle seems long enough. Looks like the brake/indicator lens was missing back then, but it's on now.

The manufacturer of Freeway campers (like mine) changed its name in 1978 to Winnebago after a deal with Winnebago in the US. But recently Winnebago in the US tried to stop Winnebago here from using the name. Winnegbago Oz appealed the decision and won.

Whoosh! Been buggerizing around with a bunch of things today, including an irrigation by Nancy. All's well in that department. She asked about my weight and was I eating more. Not really. I mentioned that I was stuck for an idea for tonight and she suggested Mexican! Yes, I love Mexican... so I bought ground steak and Taco seasoning/sauce and shredded cheese. No corn shells, of course... no teeth. So my version will be tacoodles. Hehe.

From the Beeb: Napoleonic semaphore was the world's first telegraph network, carrying messages across 18th Century France faster than ever before. Now a group of enthusiastic amateurs are reviving the ingenious system. Before the web, before the computer, before the phone, even before Morse code, there was le systeme Chappe

A new wine cork that screws into the bottle is being unveiled. But why is there still so much snobbery in the battle between traditional cork and screw-top? The sound is unmistakeable. A scientist might talk about the explosive pop of a wine cork in terms of pressure or elasticity. But for wine lovers, the distinctive creak and pop means something good is happening. It triggers associations - social intimacy, relaxation, nuanced aromas, celebration - that go far beyond just a slug of alcohol. Yes, I've heard that screw tops are more efficient than corks, but is efficiency what it's all about?

Apart from that, Syria is set to dominate the G8 summit, Turkey faces strike action over government crackdown, an English Rose wins the US Open, and the Kremlin opposes the idea of a no fly zone over Syria. All the usual stuff. 

Roite, the taco minz is simmering. I'll chuck in the bottle of taco sauce and mix it through since I'm having it with noodles. Then put the grated cheese on top of each serving. Are you with me? Dozen madder.

One bloke on the GN forum, asked in response to my mention of women drivers being able to handle buses, trucks, dump trucks at mining sites, and fly planes, if a cockpit is where a male pilot sits, should a box office be where a female pilot sits. Hehe. He shouldn't be allowed out.

And in response to that, a GN wrote: Ah yes - the early morning dawn chorus in caravan parks - the screeeeeeech of smoke alarms!!!!!!! Others say hair spray and insect repellant sets them off as well. Looks like I'll have to figure out a way to stop my smoke and CO alarms from crying wolf.

That's it for Mondee, ladies and genitals. Time to bung on the telly and test my culinary experiment with the tacoodles. Looks good, smells good BUT... all will be revealed tomorrow. Gary

June 16, 2013. Something just made me wonder how Australian Aborigines measured time before European settlement...

Perception of time differs across cultures. In the Judeo-Christian culture time is perceived as having a ‘linear’ form (i.e. past–present–future). People from this culture often ‘visualise’ linear time categories as follows: the past is ‘behind us’, the future is ‘in front us’, and the present time is ‘where we are (right) now’. The linear concept of time is based on the notion that time is going in one direction and is durational and chronological. According to Geertz, our awareness of ourselves and others as growing, developing and ageing beings across the life span is a major source of our perception of time as linear in nature.

Some cultures do not perceive time as an exclusively linear phenomenon and their time calendars consist of multiple and simultaneously existing time categories such as ‘practical time’, ‘social time’, ‘religious time’, ‘dream time’, etc. Many Indigenous people and a number of non-Indigenous cultures do not perceive time as linear and describe it as having a ‘circular’ or ‘cyclic’ form. According to such a conceptualisation of time, time is perceived as ‘static’ and the individual person is ‘in the centre of time’ (i.e. surrounded by concentric ‘time circles’). Life events are placed in time along and across the ‘time circles’ according to their relative importance to the individual and his or her respective community (i.e. more important events are placed closer to the individual and are perceived as being closer in time; unimportant or irrelevant events occupy peripheral time circles, although some of them could have happened very recently according to linear or ‘practical’ concept time).

If you'd like to read more of that article, click here.

Hmmm, so it's all about perception, which means that all human knowledge is the result of the way we perceive things. Sounds a bit biased to me hehe. Maybe that's why so many humans need to believe in a god. There was a story on telly the other night of a Pakistani Muslim who now lives in Oz after being educated in the US and working as a journalist in the UK. In order to come to terms with his Muslim heritage, he researched all religions, including his own, and found "human fingerprints all over them". He's now an athiest. Coincidentally, he's also a professional comedian. He told the story of arriving in Oz after a lifetime of surviving terrorists and suicide bombers only to be almost killed by an errant kangaroo. It appeared from nowhere in front of his car doing 110km/h on a country road and caused him to swerve. The car spun, overturned, and he was hospitalized for weeks.

NC Art was inspired yesterday, after perusing Humor for Smart People, to send this: An old poem begins... 

I shot and arrow into the air, 
It fell to earth I know not where…

A wag parodied it thus:

I sneezed a sneeze into the air,
It fell to earth I know not where, 
But rigid and froze were the looks on those
In whose vicinity I snoze.

Hehe. Yes, especially in crowded elevators or trains and buses. Ew! I'm wearing red undies today - new ones - and the brand along the waistband is WOW. Hehe. God only knows what my doc will think if he ever asks me to drop my daks.

Speaking of daks, TX Greg wrote more on the subject of gas bottles and level indicators: Geez you were quick to hit the "Buy it now" button, hehe. Did a little research on how that gauge works... "Liquid crystal thermometers are widely used as forehead fever indicators and fish tank thermometers. Placing a liquid crystal thermometer on the tank can visually indicate, by a color change, where that temperature dividing line is. The level of the liquid propane is where the temperature dividing line occurs between liquid and gas. Since it's a thermometer, it reads temperature. Remember, a temperature difference exists only when the gas is evaporating from a liquid to a gas state. Therefore, it will display a great color change, the best when the gas valve is turned on and the gas is flowing. If the gas valve is turned off, there's no flow. The temperature on the outside of the tank stabilizes and hence very little color change on the indicator strip."

So basically, and easy enough, you need to remember to always check the level only while the stove is burning and has been on for a few minutes. 

It would be good to have two bottles so that swapping an empty one for a full one could be done anywhere, anytime. But there's nowhere to put a spare at the mo. Maybe I could have a cradle fitted somewhere.

Speaking of awnings... were we? Oh... I thought we were. Anyway, during my dose of inner shedness I read the Fiamma awning booklet. Yeah, right. Trying to follow those diagrams ain't easy, and the way the camper is parked now I can't access the awning. It's too high for one thing. So I came back inside and searched Youtube. Voila! Fiamma how-to vids all over the place. I hadn't realized that the legs and arms are packed inside a tube, so that the whole awning is self-contained. The camper has two - one at the side and another at the rear. The operation of different models varies a little but they're basically the same. No biggie. I'm glad I checked it out though cos I was about to invest in poles ropes and pegs.

Back in the early 50s there were Chevrolet utes running around Oz, and suspiciously similar utes called Holden. 

Soon the Chevies went back home and the Holdens bred like rabbits.

From the Beeb: Thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets of Tehran, shouting pro-reform slogans and hailing Hassan Rouhani's election as president. The reformist-backed cleric won just over 50% of the vote and so avoided the need for a run-off. Mr Rouhani said his win was a "victory of moderation over extremism". So far, so good.

North Korea has proposed high-level talks with the US days after cancelling a meeting with South Korean officials. The National Defence Commission said in a statement it wanted "serious discussions" with the US to "secure peace and stability in the region". Hmmmm.

After a string of newsworthy errors, a stumble through the annals of time to choose a few favourites from history. It has been a hectic few days for news of mistakes. Well, yes, I know that to be human is to err, but we experienced connoisseurs of the bish and the blunder look out for the ones exemplifying that to be human is also often splendidly absurd. If I might quote Puck, from the Bard's timely A Midsummer Night's Dream: "Lord, what fools these mortals be!" Outstanding mistakes of all time.

Oregon Richie wrote to suggest I not let the little things (for the Odyssey) obscure the big things too much. I'm not aware of overdoing the little things. Toilet paper is a little thing but assumes far greater significance if you discover too late that you've forgotten it. Batteries are little things but big things can't operate without them. Anyway, I've got almost all the big things covered - camper, chains and tiedowns, truck, bull bar, helper springs, AGM battery, solar, awnings, fridge, stove, tools, porta potti, camp furniture, cameras, yadda, yadda. I was absent minded one time and doubled up on cutlery. And I've got two pair of tongs. Hehe. There are a couple of bigger items still to go but they can wait till after the electrician and gas fitter do their thing and I have a better idea of where my budget stands. And, of course, further bits and pieces can be organized on the road as the need and/or opportunity arises.

I won't know about the denture situation until after I see the doc in Sydney in early August. And it's winter. Spring would be a good time to depart but we'll have to see about that. The good thing is that everything concerning PJ will be in readiness well before that. Oh, and about GPS thingies - I read an interesting article on the web last night about GPS incorporated into smart phones. Seems like the way to go. They're not cheap though - but ya git two gizmos for the price of one.

Nonetheless, Camps Australia remains the travel Bible. I bought the 4th edition some years ago thinking I'd be on the road by now hehe. I'll upgrade soon. Most of the GNs use it and quote the listing number when they mention the place they're camped at. You can even download it to your smart phone and use the GPS function in conjunction with it.

And there goes another one. Telly time and din dins. Gary

June 15, 2013. TX Greg wrote re gas level in propane tank: You might want to check this out.... Hmmm, they don't say how it works, but they do state it doesn't require the hot water trick. This one is magnetic, so would be great if youre swapping out with pre-filled bottles. Just don't leave it on the return empty bottle! The other way to check the level in the bottle is to pour hot water down the side and the area that feels cold is the level.

Thanks, Greg. I just bought the magnetic stick-on indicator. Another prezzie! Speaking of which, I just took the others down to the camper. The camp oven is an impressive piece of work. Must be smart dudes over there in Wichita. Too easy to set up and then fold away. I was a bit worried about that nifty casserole baking dish I bought a while ago being too large but it's not... it's just right. The oven is limited to 8" x 8" baking dishes/trays for ideal circulation which is plenty big enough for me. Even when I bake bread I'll bake half loaves. The oven also allows the second burner to be used for other things while baking. And everything stows away nicely in the cupboards. Oh! I discovered inside the closet something I hadn't noticed before - 2 x 12V plugs (same as the ciggie lighter in the truck). That'll be handy for certain things.

Workspace in the camper is good too... kitchen bench space in front and the table behind - plenty of surface area to put things while preparing a meal or unpacking groceries, etc. For bulky items that need to be stored temporarily, the cab over bed is ideal. So it's all good. Playing cubby houses as a kid was never this much fun.

I read some comments yesterday on the GN forum about GPS devices and which were the best, yadda, yadda. But now I see that smart phones also include a GPS in their options (not to mention all kinds of apps). So why buy two devices when one will do? In any case, I'm not sure just how useful GPS will be. It's not like I'll be on the road all the time, and I'll have the latest version of Camps Australia Wide with a stack of maps. There are also sites on the internet you can access for travelling Oz.

Back from MORE shopping. I'm becoming a shopaholic. Just kitchen utensils and bakeware to fit the oven - all on spesh, of course. Even a rolling pin! Six items for $34 which was cool. The medication from the pharmacy cost more than that... $52. Sheesh. When I got back to the camper to sort out all the stuff, I had to find a new way to organize what goes where. I insist on order in the kitchen... a place for everything, and everything in its place.

From the Beeb: Early results from Iran's presidential election put the reformist-backed candidate, Hassan Rouhani, in the lead. Official figures give him 51% of the five million ballots counted so far - well ahead of second-placed Tehran mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf on 17%. Although all six candidates are seen as conservatives, analysts say Mr Rouhani - a 64-year-old cleric often described as "moderate" who has held several parliamentary posts and served as chief nuclear negotiator - has been reaching out to reformists in recent days. Looks encouraging.

Facebook received 9,000-10,000 requests for user data from US government entities in the second half of 2012. The social-networking site said the requests, relating to between 18,000 and 19,000 accounts, covered issues from local crime to national security. Microsoft meanwhile said it received 6,000 and 7,000 requests for data from between 31,000 and 32,000 accounts.

Google is launching balloons into near space to provide internet access to buildings below on the ground. About 30 of the superpressure balloons are being launched from New Zealand from where they will drift around the world on a controlled path. Attached equipment will offer 3G-like speeds to 50 testers in the country. Access will be intermittent, but in time the firm hopes to build a big enough fleet to offer reliable links to people living in remote areas. Good idea for travellers too!

A UK aircraft engine claimed to be the most efficient in the world faced its toughest test on Friday. A Trent XWB, produced by Rolls Royce, was fitted to the new Airbus A350, which made its debut flight from Toulouse, France. The new engine includes novel technologies designed to shave off weight and minimise fuel consumption.

Oregon Richie wrote: I sent you a link about this trip our President is taking to Africa, which is interesting enough but the nearly 50 pictures in the slide-show is the real reason and I thought it was very interesting.  Most things like that are, and so many of his poses and events and things he does around the office are really so very different than the image usually presented of other Presidencies.

Some research company just phoned and asked if I could spare 2 minutes to answer questions about media usage, so I said "fire away" and she hung up. Hehe. Maybe "fire away" sounded like something else. It ain't easy articulating some words without teeth. Actually, the gas bottle bloke at Bunnings yesterday told me twice he didn't have any full bottles and appeared to be irritated by my questions. You know those jokes about retards that use speech impediments? Yeah... that's how I feel.

Speaking of retards, Lindsay just announced that he was going to the shop for something, so I asked if Sue was okay, and if she'd been to the toilet. "Yeah, she's sound asleep... even the Bank of England couldn't wake her up." He has a problem with metaphors, that bloke.

    The sharing of marriage....

The old man placed an order for one hamburger, French fries and a drink. He unwrapped the plain hamburger and carefully cut it in half, placing one half in front of his wife. He then carefully counted out the French fries, dividing them into two piles and neatly placed one pile in front of his wife. He took a sip of the drink, his wife took a sip and then set the cup down between them. As he began to eat his few bites of hamburger, the people around them were looking over and whispering. Obviously they were thinking, 'That poor old couple - all they can afford is one meal for the two of them.'

As the man began to eat his fries a young man came to the table and politely offered to buy another meal for the old couple. The old man said, they were just fine - they were used to sharing everything. People closer to the table noticed the little old lady hadn't eaten a bite. She sat there watching her husband eat and occasionally taking turns sipping the drink. Again, the young man came over and begged them to let him buy another meal for them. This time the old woman said 'No, thank you, we are used to sharing everything..'

Finally, as the old man finished and was wiping his face neatly with the napkin, the young man again came over to the little old lady who had yet to eat a single bite of food and asked 'What is it you are waiting for?'

She answered...


Humour for smart people ...

The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again invited readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are the winners:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.

2. Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

3. Intaxicaton: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realise it was your money to start with.

4. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

5. Bozone ( n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future. 

6. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid. 

7. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high 

8. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

9. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

10. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer. 

12. Decafalon (n.): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido: All talk and no action. 

14. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly. 

15. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor ( n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.

And the winners are: 

1. Coffee, n. The person upon whom one coughs. 

2. Flabbergasted, adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained. 

3. Abdicate, v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.

4. Esplanade, v. To attempt an explanation while drunk.

5. Willy-nilly, adj. Impotent. 

6. Negligent, adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.

7. Lymph, v. To walk with a lisp.

8. Gargoyle, n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.

9. Flatulence, n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a steamroller.

10. Balderdash, n. A rapidly receding hairline.

11. Testicle, n. A humorous question on an exam. 

12. Rectitude, n. The formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists. 

13. Frisbeetarianism, n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.

Time to flee again, as in catch a bit of telly - nothing much on Satdee nights though. But I've had a good day with my camper domestics, and visualizing the time I get to use all those things when camped somewhere exotic. The best is yet to come! Gary

June 14, 2013. Here we are again... almost 3pm. I've been playing with prezzies again or, more correctly, buying them. The AGM battery arrived earlier than expected - this morning - and it weighs a ton! Even the young courier remarked on how heavy it was and he was the strong, muscular type. Took all my strength just to get it inside the front door!

Later I went shopping for a 9kg gas bottle but Bunnings didn't have them full. No matter - next time. They're $55 BTW - $22 for the gas. Once you've got a bottle, you exchange it each time you need a refill. Bunnings didn't have collapsible ladders either. So then I went to Supercheap Auto and found a collapsible rake. It works like a Chinese paper fan which makes it easy to stow in one of the storage bins. They're useful for cleaning up camp sites and raking over campfires (it's a metal rake). I also spotted a folding umbrella to keep as a spare in the car. So that was $20 worth. But after a bit more buggerizing around town I decided to go back to Supercheap Auto and buy a 12V air compressor for tire inflation. It was on spesh during stocktake and I saved almost $20 on that one. :o) Originally $70 but I got it for $52. I also have a foot pump with gauge - Averil donated it to me after old Kev next door died.

So there ya go... 3 prezzies yesterday and another 4 today!

NC Art forwarded a bunch of notes written by little kids to "Dear God" which are wonderfully innocent and sweet. Too many for Waffle so I made an album. Thanks, Art - I got a kick outta reading those.

From the Beeb: Syrian forces under President Bashar al-Assad have used chemical weapons "on a small scale" against the opposition rebels, the White House has said. A senior aide to President Barack Obama said the US estimated 100-150 people had died in "multiple" attacks. Ben Rhodes said the US president had decided to provide unspecified "military support" to the opposition. What a terrible mess that place is in.

Millions of voters across Iran have begun casting their ballots in the country's presidential elections. Although all six candidates are seen as conservatives, one of them, cleric Hassan Rowhani, has been reaching out to the reformists in recent days. The election will decide a successor to outgoing leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. His eight years in power have been characterised by economic turmoil and Western sanctions against Iran over its controversial nuclear programme. Same recipe, different cook?

A radio presenter has been suspended in Australia for asking Prime Minister Julia Gillard in a live interview if her partner is gay. Howard Sattler suggested to Ms Gillard that her partner of seven years, Tim Mathieson, had to be homosexual because he was a hairdresser. Ms Gillard characterised his comments as an absurd generalisation. Sattler is from Perth. I dunno about Gillard's partner being gay but he would certainly need a keen sense of humor.

After many years on the drawing board and $15bn (£9.5bn) of investment the latest potential blockbuster from Airbus is due to make its long-awaited first flight on Friday. The A350XWB (extra wide body) is an aircraft which Airbus says will set new standards in fuel efficiency and environmental performance. The long-range, twin-engined plane is being pitched as a direct rival to Boeing's radical 787 Dreamliner, another airliner which claims to have taken aircraft technology to new heights.

An angler caught a giant catfish after a two-hour battle during which he was dragged neck-deep into a lake. Daniel Sibley, 21, of Blaby, Leicestershire, landed the 108lb 4oz (49kg) "beast" while angling for carp at Bluebell Lakes, near Oundle, Northamptonshire. It is thought to be one of the heaviest ever caught with a rod and line in the UK.

A man has been warned after he dialled 999 to complain about a prostitute's looks after meeting her. West Midlands Police said they were contacted by the caller who said he "wished to report her for breaching the Sale of Goods Act". The force said the call was received at about 19:30 BST on Tuesday complaining that the woman was not as attractive as she had claimed. Officers have now sent the man a letter warning him about wasting police time. Hehe.

The Grey Nomads photo comp has been won. Click here for the top 10 finalists. And when you've finished perusing those, click here for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd placegetters.

Well, time to vamoose. I haven't even had time to open the boxes to my prezzies yet to check if all the contents are there. I can't remember ever having bought this much stuff before, not even when I had my little house in Sydney! And it's not over yet! Plus, there's a bunch of stuff I already have from buying sprees in the past... porta potti, tool box (with tools), camp table, camp chairs, cooler boxes, hydraulic jack, tarps, a zillion padlocks, bicycle rack, pop-up shower tent, beach shade, and god knows what else. Hehe. Five star camping, folks.

So, that's it from me. Catch you tomorrow. Gary

June 13, 2013. Almost 3pm and here I am just starting Waffle. Santa Claus arrived wearing a motorcycle helmet - and she was a she - riding a little red 90cc Honda. Rudolph? My prezzie was from Tran Dung Khanh. Who? The Vietnamese bloke from whom I bought the 2 x drip coffee makers. They're only small, made for proper coffee cups and not mugs like I'm used to. But I made a coffee just now and it worked a treat - with  no dregs. I'll use a cup next time.

Santa #2 arrived shortly afterwards - a bloke, 20s, slightly overweight and driving a van. His prezzies were the Coleman foldable camp oven and two piezo-electric gas ignitors. Two? Yeah - the deal was a pair. Coleman is in Wichita, Kansas just like the old cowboy movies I remember as a kid, but the oven is made in China. It's surprisingly heavy, as are the two ignitors. So I've been playing with my new toys.

Speaking of toys, TX Greg found another example of the camo undies, but I have to say I have no idea why see-through undies would be camouflaged. Hehe. BTW> Did you happen to see this pair of Camo... "Contour pouch shaped to keep package supported front and center for lifted effect" :)

Francois wrote yesterday with something interesting, sent to him by Dio. Anyone remember Dio from the old chat days with the FunTB crowd? I do. Anyway, this pic of a 1910 Ford serves to illustrate the way things were just over 100 years ago:

Here are some statistics for the Year 1910:
The average life expectancy for men was 47 years.
Fuel for this car was sold in drug stores only.
Only 14 percent of the homes had a bathtub.
Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.
There were only 8,000 cars and only 144 miles of paved roads.
The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.
The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower !
The average US wage in 1910 was 22 cents per hour.
The average US worker made between $200 and $400 per year.
A competent accountant could expect to earn $2000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year, a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a  mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.
More than 95 percent of all births took place at HOME.
Ninety percent of all Doctors had NO COLLEGE EDUCATION! Instead, they attended so-called medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press AND the government as 'substandard.'
Sugar cost four cents a pound.
Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen.
Coffee was fifteen cents a pound.
Most women only washed their hair once a month, and used Borax or egg yolks for shampoo.
There was no such thing as under arm deodorant or tooth paste.
Canada passed a law that prohibited poor people from entering into their country for any reason.
The five leading causes of death were:
1. Pneumonia and influenza
2, Tuberculosis
3. Diarrhea
4. Heart disease
5. Stroke
The American flag had 45 stars.
The population of Las Vegas Nevada was only 30!
Crossword puzzles, canned beer, and iced tea hadn't been invented yet.
There was no Mother's Day or Father's Day.
Two out of every 10 adults couldn't read or write and only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.
Eighteen percent of households had at least one full-time servant or domestic help.
There were about 230 reported murders in the ENTIRE U.S.A. !
I am now going to forward this to someone else without typing it myself. From there, it will be sent to others all over the WORLD...all in a matter of seconds! Try to imagine what it may be like in another 100 years.

Well, I reckon that's about as possible as my father (born 1903) trying to imagine what the world would be like now. He gave up in 1969 when he watched the moon landing on telly and figured it had to be a hoax. And here's something you might not know about 1910 - the Australian Nation was just 9 years old.

From the Beeb: The US electronic spying chief has said massive surveillance programmes newly revealed by an ex-intelligence worker had disrupted dozens of terror plots. In a US Senate hearing, National Security Agency (NSA) Director Keith Alexander defended the internet and telephone data snooping programmes. I agree with him. We live in a world now that necessitates compromise in terms of privacy issues if we are to maintain an acceptable level of security.

North Korea has blamed South Korea for "arrogant obstructions" that it says led high-level talks to be cancelled. South Korea's "deliberate disturbance" by changing the head of its delegation made "the talks between authorities abortive", North Korea said. The planned talks, which followed months of raised tensions, were aborted after the two sides failed to agree on the composition of the delegations.

Secret life of the cat: What do our feline companions get up to? Ever wondered what your cat spends its time doing when you're not around? Where do our purring pets go when they disappear through the cat flap? Armed with GPS tracking devices and micro-cameras, a team from BBC Two's Horizon programme in collaboration with the Royal Veterinary College set off to a Surrey village to find out.

South Africa's first black President Nelson Mandela is "responding better" to treatment in hospital, President Jacob Zuma has said. Mr Zuma told parliament he was happy with the progress being made by Mr Mandela after a "difficult few days".

Just got a note from eBay to say the AGM battery was posted today and estimated delivery is next week, which fits into the schedule just fine. Then I'll organize an electrician.

I recently picked a new primary care doctor. After two visits and exhaustive Lab tests, he said I was doing fairly well' for my age. (I just turned sixty-something.) A little concerned about that comment, I couldn't resist asking him, 'Do you think I'll live to be 80?'
He asked, 'Do you smoke tobacco, or drink beer, wine or hard liquor?'
'Oh no,' I replied. 'I'm not doing drugs, either!'
Then he asked, 'Do you eat rib-eye steaks and barbecued ribs?'
I said, 'Not much... my former doctor said that all red meat is very unhealthy!'
'Do you spend a lot of time in the sun, like playing golf, boating, sailing, hiking, or bicycling?'
'No, I don't,' I said.
He asked, 'Do you gamble, drive fast cars, or have a lots of sex?'
'No,' I said...
He looked at me and leaned forward, 'Then, why do you even give a shit?'

And on that note, ladies and genitals, the time has come for me to say hooroo and bung on the telly for a bit of edification. Byeeeee. Gary

June 12, 2013. Steve W has something to say about maggots: I must apologise but am a few days behind in my reading of Odyssey but had to comment regarding maggots. I agree that (farming maggots) makes a lot of sense as they are a great source of protein…….however, since maggots are the laval form of flies, what happens if you can't harvest the maggots in time……..a huge outbreak of flies……just what we need in Oz. Also, did you know that maggots have been used as bait for fishing for hundreds of years as, again, everything loves them but to give them a better persona, they were usually called "gents". Make of that what you will!

I found this on a fishing forum: Gents is short for the old english word for maggots which is gentles. Look it up in the oxford dictionary. Another contributor to the forum said he remembers 'gents' being used in England when he was kid living there.

TX Greg, on the other hand, was more interested in the undies: You should have gone with camo undies. That way you can stroll around camp and no one will see you :)

Back from a dose of inner shedness, and nodded off again. This time I unpacked the sleeping bag which I bought last year sometime. Which way's up? Buggered if I know. But I like the side zip on my left (near the entrance to the cab over) so whatever that is, it's up as far as I'm concerned. No it's not! I just checked the pic. Hmmm. Anyway, it's very comfy so I kicked off the shoes and gave it a test run. Pretty soon I was stacking up zeds.

From the Beeb: Google, Facebook and Microsoft have asked the US government to allow them to disclose the security requests they receive for handing over user data. The move comes after recent reports claimed that US authorities had direct access to the servers of nine major US tech firms, including Google and Apple. David Drummond, chief legal officer of Google has written to the US Attorney General seeking permission to publish "aggregate numbers of national security requests, including Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) disclosures - in terms of both the number we receive and their scope". "Google's numbers would clearly show that our compliance with these requests falls far short of the claims being made. Google has nothing to hide," he said in the letter.

A video featuring Devon school teachers dancing behind unsuspecting students has become an internet hit. Teachers at Honiton Community College wanted to offer their Year 11 pupils a unique leaving gift. The students, who thought they were being interviewed for an advice video for new pupils, were unaware of the stunt until they saw the film. Teachers with a sense of humor! I like it!

Russia's lower house of parliament, the Duma, has passed a law imposing heavy fines for providing information about homosexuality to people under 18. The measure was passed unanimously and will become law when approved by the upper house and President Vladimir Putin, a virtual formality. What if a homophobe passes information? Does that count?

I was thinking this morning, for some obscure reason, about my not having kids. There was a time, if the opportunity had presented itself, that I would have liked kids. But not now. No way would I want any kid to go through what I've been through - or even risk it. It's a biased point of view, of course, but so are all points of view hehe. I think Cody was the final straw for me. He was the son I never had, as well as the mate I never had. And then, down from a cloud in the sky came the fickle finger of fate and snatched away his life. Just like that. *poof* Gone. Steve was a godsend. He had far greater difficulty than I dealing with Cody's death so, naturally, I focused on helping him which, in turn, helped me... and I think it also helped many others who followed the lives of those two lads. It was a diversion - a very addictive one - and one with many, many special moments, not the least of which was the patch-up between Steve and Mark and the enduring friendship that followed.

But having said I wouldn't want to bring a life into this world, how do I feel about my parents having brought mine into this world? Well, you know, if it exists then you do what you can with it hehe. You make the most of it. I figure the Odyssey will give me the opportunity to do something useful and worthwhile; something I can share with others to brighten up their cornflakes, just as my volunteer Waffle assistants brighten up mine. It may not amount to a hill of beans in the great scheme of things, but it's MY scheme of things that's important to me.

Speaking of the great scheme of things, I spotted another of Mieke's photos on RB this morning that blew me away. It's a pano, so click on the image to enlarge it. Pity it's not full-screen but I'm sure you'll be impressed nonetheless. Lake Dove is in Tasmania, by the way.

Also, on RB, I spotted this delightful houseboat with more character than a roomful of NC Arts. Again, click on the image to enlarge it. It's just fantastic!
Yes, that's what I call the ultimate in floating inner shedness.

Donald Duck and Daisy Duck were spending the night together in a hotel room when Donald wanted to have sex with Daisy. 
"Do you have a condom, Donald?"
"No, but..."
"No buts, Donald, no condom, no sex. Maybe they have them at the front desk."
So Donald went down to the lobby. Five minutes later he was back in the hotel room. 
"What happened? Didn't they have condoms?"
"They had a whole box, Daisy, but I told the clerk what he could do with them."
"What are you talking about?"
"He asked if I wanted him to put them on my bill."

An Australian tour guide was showing a group of American tourists the Top End. On their way to Kakadu he was describing the amazing abilities of the Australian Aborigines to track man or beast over land, through the air and under the sea. The Americans were incredulous.

Later in the day, as the group rounded a bend on the highway they discovered, lying in the middle of the road, an Aborigine... He had one ear pressed to the white line, whilst his left leg was held high in the air! The bus stopped and the guide and the tourists gathered around the prostrate Aborigine...

"Hey Jacky," said the tour guide, "what are you tracking and what are you listening for?"

Jacky replied, "Down the road about 25 miles is a 1971 Valiant Ute... It's a red one the left front tyre is bald... The front end is out of whack, and him got bloody dents in every panel.... There are 9 blokes in the back, all drinking warm sherry. There are 3 kangaroos on the roof rack and 4 dogs on the front seat." 

The American tourists moved forward, astounded by this precise and detailed knowledge. "God Lord man,  how do you know all that?" asked one.

"I fell out of the bloody thing about half an hour ago!"

I'm half tempted to sleep in PJ tonight but I won't. It would mean buggerizing around with the Porta Potti and making a thermos of tea. Some other time. As to more spending, I'm holding off till I get the sparky to do this thing, and then the gas fitter. I really don't know what their labor costs will be. Once those two jobs are done, I can budget for the rest of the stuff (of which there's not all that much, really). Getting closer, dear Breth! Gary

June 11, 2013. Chewsdee! And another day closer to whatever it's closer to. You can quote me on that. Nancy will be peering into my mouth again shortly, and squirting stuff in there while the nurse does the Hoover trick. Ho hum. One day I'll be munching on pizza remembering these times and how brave I was hehe. Nah... brave schmave. You just do it cos there's no option. And you don't bitch about it cos there's no point.

NC Art remembers Robert Frost: The sigh is symbolic of all the consequences of choosing not to travel with the herd on the easier road, the independence of a loner, if not a misfit. Actually that describes Frost quite well. A crusty, testy man with little patience for foolishness…or what he considered foolishness. I heard him recite some of  his work in 1948 when he was a bit doddery and forgetful with age, and he had to resort to printed copies. He candidly admitted that he was getting forgetful.

No matter, I’ve read nearly everything he wrote, and love the imagery and the honest and surprisingly compassionate view of human nature.

He spoke at John F. Kennedy’s inaugural, and that was a pitiful performance. It was outdoors, cold and windy, and the poor old fella had to fight to keep the papers from flying away. Durable old New Englander!

I'm familiar with the consequences of choosing not to travel with the herd on the easier road and the independence of a loner. Long before I was old and crusty, a boss called me obstreperous. I had to check the dictionary but couldn't find it. Eventually, I realized he'd mispronounced it "opstropolous". So much for him.

Back from the dentist. As usual, it was lunatic time:

What did you do on the weekend, Gary?
I can't remember.
(To everyone in reception) Gary had a wild weekend... he can't even remember what happened. Hahaha.
I bought a watering can.
Oh... that's exciting! What color?
Olive, ha ha. Not green... olive! Ha ha.
With a detachable spout.
Oh, that's even more exciting!
And a hatchet.
Having trouble with the neighbors, Gary?
Not any more. And you know those taps in public parks with the handle removed?
You bought a handle?
Yep... a 4-way one.
Now that really is exciting!

That's not how I remember dentists from my younger days. They were all formal and boring. Not these guys.

NC Art sent this beauty: The IRS decides to audit Grandpa, and summons him to the IRS office. The IRS auditor was not surprised when Grandpa showed up with his attorney. The auditor said, 'Well, sir, you have an extravagant lifestyle and no full-time employment, which you explain by saying that you win money gambling. I'm not sure the IRS finds that believable.'

I'm a great gambler, and I can prove it,' says Grandpa. 'How about a demonstration?'

The auditor thinks for a moment and says, 'Okay. Go ahead.'

Grandpa says, 'I'll bet you a thousand dollars that I can bite my own eye.'

The auditor ponders the scenario for a while and says, 'It's a bet.'

Grandpa removes his glass eye and bites it. The auditor's jaw drops. Grandpa says, 'Now, I'll bet you two thousand dollars that I can bite my other eye.'

Now the auditor can tell Grandpa isn't blind, so he takes the bet. Grandpa removes his dentures and bites his good eye. The stunned auditor now realizes he has wagered and lost three grand, with Grandpa's attorney as a witness. He starts to get nervous.

'Want to go double or nothing?' Grandpa asks 'I'll bet you six thousand dollars I can stand on one side of your desk, and pee into that wastebasket on the other side, and never get a drop anywhere in between.'

The auditor, twice burned, is cautious now, but looks carefully and decides there's no way this old guy could possibly manage that stunt, so he agrees again. Grandpa stands beside the desk and unzips his pants, but although he strains mightily, he can't make the stream reach the wastebasket on the other side, so he pretty much urinates all over the auditor's desk. The auditor leaps with joy, realizing that he has just turned a major loss into a huge win.

But Grandpa's own attorney moans and puts his head in his hands. 'Are you okay?' the auditor asks.

'Not really,' says the attorney. 'This morning, when Grandpa told me he'd been summoned for an audit, he bet me twenty-five thousand dollars that he could come in here and piss all over your desk and you'd be happy about it!'

Don't Mess with Old People!

Back from shopping. The bloke next to me at the checkout had no teeth either, and the CC said she broke a tooth on the weekend, so we all had a good ol' chat about being gummy. Glorious sunshine today, the kind that's warm without being hot. I could camp in this kinda weather forever.

From the Beeb: An ex-CIA employee who leaked details of US top-secret phone and internet surveillance has disappeared from his hotel in Hong Kong. Edward Snowden, 29, checked out from his hotel on Monday. His whereabouts are unknown, but he is believed to be still in Hong Kong. Earlier, he said he had an "obligation to help free people from oppression". It emerged last week that US agencies were gathering millions of phone records and monitoring internet data. Interesting comments about that bloke on The Drum last night, including the fact that he had access to all kinds of ultra-sensitive material he could have released but chose instead the surveillance details because he felt that it affected the privacy of ordinary Americans. Oddly enough, when ordinary Americans were asked about the leak, the vast majority shrugged and said they already figured that kind of surveillance was happening anyway, and/or they didn't really care.

A German World War II bomber has been raised from the bottom of the English Channel. The Dornier Do-17 aircraft was shot down off the Kent coast more than 70 years ago during the Battle of Britain. Believed to be the only intact example of its kind in the world, it has lain in 50ft (15m) of water on the Goodwin Sands.

Activity observed in the brain when using a "mind machine" is similar to how the brain learns new motor skills, scientists have found. Participants' neural activity was recorded by using sensors implanted in their brain, which were linked to a computer that translated electrical impulses into actions. The researchers believe people will be able to perform increasingly complex tasks just by thinking them

Photographs from former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr's personal archives that have never been seen before have now been published in an e-book. They range from his childhood growing up in Liverpool during the forties, to his life on the road with the band. The musician described the collection as "a trip down memory lane" with the band-mates he calls "his three brothers". They were the days.

FL Josh mentioned empathy the other day, which reminds me of a program on telly that filmed several dogs to see how they would react to their owner crying, as well as the presenter crying. Most of the dogs didn't react except to lift their head off the floor to see what the noise was all about, and then promptly went back to sleep hehe. But one of the dogs did react empathetically, both with its owner and then with the presenter. When I was a kid I had a little pooch called Scamp. I'd pretend to be dead on the lawn and she'd sniff around trying to figure out what the problem was. Then she'd run to the back door to alert mom. As soon as I'd "miraculously" recovered and called her, she jumped all over me. So I guess all dogs are not empathetic, just as all humans aren't. On the TV program, they also tested young children. Toddlers tended to mimick their mothers and cry, but not because they were empathetic. They were sad for themselves and made no attempt to console the mother. Older children of 2 or 3, had learned that the sadness belonged to the person crying, and not themselves, and therefore gave comfort to that person out of empathy.

Weeeeeeell, it's that time again. Whoosh! No sooner outta bed than the sun's disappearing again. Did I tell you I bought a pack of 3 undies? All different colors? I should take a photo... not with me wearing them though. Hehe. Heaven forbid!  The elastic busted in the last pair I wore and I had to trash them. Apart from the undies and groceries, I resisted the temptation to buy anything else - for now. I expect a bunch of stuff to arrive this week - battery, camp oven, whatever. That'll be fun! I love prezzies. Gimme, gimme, gimme. Gary

June 10, 2013. FL Josh wrote: You missed my point on the company selling the battery.  It was not that they have some negative feedback, but that they are dishonest.

Well, there's a first time for everything, Josh.

Thanks for the explanation on cash for comments.  Based on that, I gather the advertising you were doing for the drive in and auto dealership was not advertising they had paid the radio station for and the radio station had assigned you to do the copy, but instead was something you were doing behind the radio station's back.  Didn't the radio station figure this out pretty quickly?

Yes, they did... so quickly, in fact, they actually organized it for me. I guess they figured it was cheaper to let the sponsors give me free cars and burgers than for them to.

As to people being killed with guns in America, there are on the average 11,000 firearm related homicides a year here, and if we did away with guns, a percentage of those that would still be killed, the killer just using a different method.  There are an estimated 2.5 million crimes thwarted each year in the US because the criminal was confronted by a victim with a firearm.  Also noteworthy for comparison purposes is that about 50,000 people die each year here from secondhand smoke, and if we did away with smoking, none of those would be killed by other means by the ex-smokers. 

Yep, there should be more thwarting, I say. Thwarters unite! I think I'll get a t-shirt made with THWART on it.

As to government surveillance, your comment was that if you have something to hide, don't put it on the internet.  The issue in the news has to do with recording people's activity on the internet, such as the searches they make.  In our country, that is an invasion of our right to privacy.  Oz may be different with your government having the right to open your mail and enter your home at will to do a search, or do other such invasions of privacy, but here, we are supposedly protected against such, and it is one of our most important constitutional rights but it seems to be getting eaten away.  In my work, I see case after case where the government presents evidence at a trial that may be quite innocent but they present it in a way that makes the defendant look seedy and guilty.  So with the government watching everything we do, it gives them limitless ammunition to twist around in order to paint someone out to be something he is not.

I know the feeling well. *sigh*

On the love thing, you say that is something you know nothing about, which I picked up on from your comments the day before and was the reason I chose to use the word "sad" for it showed that you have never been in a truly loving situation with another, where you loved unconditionally and were loved in return unconditionally, be it family, friend, or significant other.  True love is actually less common than people think, for a significant segment of the population is simply incapable of feeling love.  I haven't seen any studies tying the ability to truly feel love to high levels of empathy but I am convinced there is a direct connection for how can a person with little or no empathy truly care about another.

I figure love is something that grows and matures with time. Nature has a little trick - cupid with his bow and arrow, except the bow and arrow is actually a chemical that floods the brain and causes an instant physical attraction - lust. That physical attraction then has the opportunity to take root and grow into the condition we call romantic love (as distinct from love between siblings/parents/friends etc). But my lack of expertise (and experience) regarding romantic love is compensated by what I know about unrequited love, Josh. Unrequited love is often equated with the idea that for every action there is an equal and reciprocal reaction. When person 1 falls in love with person 2, and person 2 is unresponsive, person 1 gets pissed off with the lack of an equal and reciprocal reaction and endeavors to make person 2's life as miserable as his own.

I'm a skeptic, Josh. 

As to your question about hatchets, yes I have used them, as well as splitters and axes. I also have a saw - two - a small fold-up pruning saw and a 500mm hand saw. But hatchets and saws have something in common with porta pottis. There was a discussion recently on the GN forum about porta pottis. Many GNs have carried them in their caravans for years without ever having used them because most parks and camping sites have loos, just as they have showers, fireplaces with stacked wood provided by park caretakers/managers, and coin operated electric BBQs. Add to that the gas stove in the camper and the need for hatchets and saws becomes something of a rarity. But it's good to have them "just in case".

Who else but TX Greg? See, they are easy to take with you, hehe. You should post that pic on GN :) I just did. :)

I really liked what you said about life being a journey and the Odyssey is not a destination. You really reminded me of Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken"... That's a pretty cool vid and relates so much to what you're about to do :)

The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Thanks, Greg.

From the Beeb: A former CIA technical worker has been identified by the UK's Guardian newspaper as the source of leaks about US surveillance programmes. Edward Snowden, 29, is described by the paper as an ex-CIA technical assistant, currently employed by defence contractor Booz Allen Hamilton. The Guardian said his identity was being revealed at his own request. The recent revelations are that US agencies gathered millions of phone records and monitored internet data. Big Brother is Here.

The annual conference of the secretive Bilderberg Group is meeting near Watford, with some leading political and business leaders from the US and Europe. American "shock jock" Alex Jones joined Times columnist David Aaronovitch to discuss it - and ended up disrupting the show in spectacular fashion. Presenter Andrew Neil described him as "the worst person" that he had ever interviewed. Alex Jones believes in Big Brother. Hehe.

Thousands of naked cyclists have ridden through the streets of Mexico City to mark the World Naked Bike Ride. The event is to raise awareness of the importance of cycling for exercise and as a way to reduce fossil fuels. Organisers say riding naked also highlights the fragility of the human body and the need for drivers to be more careful on busy city streets. No way you'd get me to ride mine on busy city streets.

Message to Oregon Richie: just got my second "returned mail". For some reason AOL is not accepting my reply to you. I'll try sending it via TX Greg.

As to the water container with pump action, a GN suggested something else... a 12v shower that plugs into the car ciggie lighter. Like the hatchet and porta potti, it's something you'd use if there were no shower available at the camp site. Another GN uses a small spray bottle with warm water and a toweling cloth for a "quickie" inside the van while standing on a towel. Others avail themselves of coin-operated showers at roadhouses. And there are those with larger RVs that have an inside shower and loo, but that requires carrying a LOT of extra water.

Oops! No connection. Redial. Nope. Try again. Nope. Unplug modem and replug. Nope. Reboot computer. Nope. Change modem to another USB port. Nope. Phone ISP. Engaged. Try again. Engaged. Try again in 5 minutes. Still engaged. Try the modem again. Nope. So what now? Wait.

Not only is it a public holiday but it's also 5pm. Murphy's Law? Ooer! Here we are 20 minutes later and we're back in biz. Just checking the GN forum before I update AO and saw this... another spoken version of The Road Not Taken, and very nice it is too.

A noted psychiatrist was a guest speaker at an academic function where Nancy Pelosi (Speaker of the United States House of Representatives) happened to appear. Ms Pelosi took the opportunity to schmooze the good doctor a bit and asked him a question with which he was most at ease.

'Would you mind telling me, Doctor,' she asked, 'how you detect a mental deficiency in somebody who appears completely normal?'

'Nothing is easier,' he replied. 'You ask a simple question which anyone should be able to answer with no trouble. If the person hesitates, that puts you on the track..'

'What sort of question?' asked Pelosi.

Well, you might ask, 'Captain Cook made three trips around the world and died during one of them. Which one?'

Pelosi thought a moment, and then said with a nervous laugh, 'You wouldn't happen to have another example would you? I must confess I don't know much about history.'

Roite, toime to vanish into cyber space and catch a bit of telly - which basically means I haven't vanished at all. Gary

June 9, 2013. I've got the buyers bug. Couldn't resist just one more purchase last night before hitting the sack - a carbon monoxide alarm. GNs have been talking about CO and the dangers. I also remembered something missing from my list - a tap key. Wot dat? It's a multi-purpose handle that fits taps in public parks with the handle removed by the local council to prevent nitwits and vandals turning on the taps and wasting water. I'll get one from the local hardware store, plus one of those pump-up water containers, and a watering can with detachable spout.

Bewdiful day! Sunny and bright with a clear blue sky. And the Smarty Pants Award goes to TX Greg for figuring out NC Art's brain teaser yesterday:

I think Art knows a primitive form of text messaging, hehe

FUM? =  "Have you ham?"
SVFM. = "Yes, We have ham."
FUX? =  "Have you eggs?"
SVFX. = "Yes, we have eggs."
OK, MNX. = "OK, ham and eggs."

I got as far as "have you" and gave up. But Greg couldn't resist commenting on my remark yesterday about the sparky and gas fitter: So if the sparky and gas fitter aren't coming along here's a handy one you can pack in PJ, hahaha... No comment.

Isn't shopping fun? I'm now the proud owner of a new watering can with detachable spout, a 4-way vandal proof tap key and a hatchet. Bunnings didn't have a large container with pump action so I settled on the hatchet (which was on my list anyway). It's guaranteed for 25 years which will make me 93.

From the Beeb: US President Barack Obama and Chinese leader Xi Jinping have ended a two-day summit described by a US official as "unique, positive and constructive". US National Security Advisor Tom Donilon said Mr Obama had warned Mr Xi that cyber-crime could be an "inhibitor" in US-China relations.

Officials from North and South Korea are holding their first government-level talks in more than two years. The talks are taking place at Panmunjom, a military compound in the demilitarised zone between the two countries. Talk is cheap... but more importantly cheaper than war.

Former South African President Nelson Mandela is spending a second night in hospital where he is being treated for a lung infection. Doctors say there has been little change and his condition continues to be described as serious but stable. To quote OR Richie, He deserves the best of care or at least a graceful passing.  He was and is on balance a magnificent and visionary human being.

Watched an interesting story on a science show the other night about a bloke who operates a maggot farm. Maggots? Yeah, he reckons the future of the world's ability to feed itself depends on two things: Better food distibution (with less waste) and improved production efficiency. As to waste, he pointed out that a lot of the food we feed to farm animals is wasted because it takes up valuable agricultural land that could be used for growing crops for human consumption. We feed poultry pellets made from grain. We feed farmed fish pellets made from fish leftovers. He suggests feeding them maggots instead. Maggots are pure protein, which is why chooks love 'em. And if you use maggots to devour a heap of rotting organic matter, they'll turn it back into usable protein to feed something else. He estimates that a third of the world's food is tossed out and ends up as land fill. Feed it to the maggots, he says, or make better use of it in the first place. So there ya go, maggots are cool.

Well, I got more than a dose of inner shedness this afternoon - I nodded off! Very pleasant it was too... cozy and relaxed. Pity I needed to return to the house to pee and make coffee. 

For a lotta peeps, Ferrari is the ultimate macho machine. A mate of mine has one. He also has Parkinson's Disease so he can't drive it. It sits in his garage till one of his friends pops in and they go for a drive. Meanwhile, he can't bear to part with it. When I first met him in the early '70s, he was struggling to get on his feet. By the time he was in his 50s, he was the owner of a successful advertising agency and a multi millionaire. He sold the business and is now retired, living in a luxury apartment with his wife on the Gold Coast. To him, I suppose the Ferrari is a symbol of his wealth and success - the young Dutch immigrant who arrived on Australia's shores virtually penniless but with high hopes. In any case, I've never been a fan of Ferrari. I'm not sure why. Maybe the styling is too aggressive or something; too macho; too much testosterone. But this morning while cruising an auto newsgroup, I saw a Ferrari I really liked - graceful, elegant and classy. It's a 1967 model.

As to symbols of success, I suppose they are things that represent the achievement of whatever it is one sets out to achieve. For my mate Mark, it was a successful business and wealth. He had something to prove for sure. When he married (for the second time) he hired the ballroom at the Regent Hotel in Sydney and invited everyone he knew (including me). Must have cost him a fortune. For me, it'll be the realization of the Odyssey - nothing to do with wealth, nothing to do with power. If lots of peeps visit the web site over the years and get a buzz from reading my adventures and checking out the pics, that'll do. Entertaining people is what drives me.

When I bought those things at Bunnings today, I got a real sense of satisfaction. The tap key means I can access fresh water in parks and reserves. The watering can means I can transfer water to the tank in PJ. The hatchet means I can chop wood for a camp fire. Ya can't do those things with a Ferrari. Hehe. It's the same whenever I buy something for the Odyssey. They're like little pieces of the jigsaw - little pieces of the dream - and they all have a special meaning. Kinda like decorating a room in anticipation of a birth.

So that's what the Odyssey is all about, ladies and genitals. It's about a dream.

I often hear people quote the adage, life is a journey, not a destination. Yes, that's the great thing about the Odyssey. There's no destination hehe. 

And here I yam on a Sunday evening as the sun goes "over there". It's a long weekend this weekend - Betty's Birthday. It's not her real birthday but a day chosen to celebrate the link between Oz and Mother England. How much longer that lasts, in its official sense, is a matter for debate. Half the pop wants Oz to become a republic and the other half is content to keep the country the way it is, a constitutional monarchy. I tend to favor the latter but there is an increasing number of Aussies from countries and cultures that have no affiliation with Britain, and who fail to see the relevance. I suppose becoming a republic is inevitable but it won't mean much other than replacing the Governor General as the respresentative of HM the Queen with an Aussie. The system of government will remain the same - I suspect. Gary

June 8, 2013. Nudja Satdee! I had my CD collection on auction on eBay for the past week starting at $49. Nuttin. Zilch. Not a brass razoo. There's simply no interest in CDs or stereos any more. Might as well take it all down to the Sallies and give it away. I've read quite a few comments from GNs who are selling up before hitting the road, and they're having the same experience - no takers.

FL Josh wrote to inform me that the seller of the AGM battery has had a few complaints from disgruntled buyers. He suggests buying from a retailer that has lots of stores scattered around Oz so that I can claim on warranty if I need to. And he suspects that the battery is made in China. Of course it's made in China, and it's no surprise to me that the seller's feedback is not perfect. As to warranty, there's no way I'd bother claiming warranty once I'm on the road with no residential address. We're talking $250 here, not $2500 or $25,000. I've given up asking GNs what they think of certain brands - you get those who say a particular item is brilliant and those who say it's terrible. You get those who say they've had no problems at all and those who say they've had nothing but trouble. Hehe. So I'm prepared to take the risk. Besides, Paypal automatically insures all purchases up to $20,000 if the seller can be shown  to be at fault.

I did a search and found what one GN had to say about autoelecau (in reference to someone asking about 4WDextreme): can't pass comment on the charger and have not dealt with that eBay seller. However a fav seller of mine 'autoelecau' has the same unit for the same price. I've bought a lot off autoelecau and found them great to deal with, and usually as competitive or better across the board than a lot of others. 4wdextreme and autoelecau both have 100% feedback so service could be similiar.

Josh also wrote: I found terribly sad your puzzlement as to why people would choose to be married for a long period of time, particularly your speculation as to what the reasons might be for people who choose to do that.  Nowhere did you mention love. 

Quite right, Josh. I didn't. It wasn't intended to be an exhaustive, in-depth analysis of a subject about which I know virtually nothing. And finally, Josh wants to know what is meant by "cash for comment". In the US, people like Tiger Woods do commercials for companies like Buick and Buick gives them free cars. The reason you're aware of that, Josh, is because it's public knowledge. Cash for comment is when the arrangement is under the table; endorsements made without proper disclosure of the relationship between the endorser and the endorsee.

Meanwhile, as I expected, NC Art's heart was all a-flutter at the mention of Esther Williams: Oh yeah. A large print of Esther Williams was the prime pin-up art in our barracks in England during that old war. Twenty four horny young men kept their batteries fully charged even without ever plugging into a generator!

I'm glad I never served in the armed forces. God knows what the other guys would have thought about my posters of Snap, Crackle and Pop.

As to ethnic speak, Art poses this little brain teaser:

An old man goes into a cafe in a neighborhood of recent immigrants.


How long did you take to translate, Gary? I'll let you know when I know, Art. :-/

Well, just did the measurements for the AGM battery. No problem - room to spare. So let's check my purchases over the past few weeks: AGM battery, stove-top fold-away oven with thermometer, piezo gas lighter (2), wireless smoke detector, power outlet lid, drip filter coffee maker (2), fire extinguishers (2), fire blanket, solar LED garden lights (6), folding adjustable table. There have been assorted kitchen things as well. The list is getting shorter but there's still a fair bit to go, including an electrician and gas fitter. Not that they're coming with me, you understand.

I wouldn't mind a comfy arm chair as well as the folding chairs I already have (leftovers from the old Kombi) - something conducive to midday siestas. But that's not on my essentials list, so it can wait. Some things I don't buy on eBay if they're available locally at the same price. One GN recommended a 20 liter pump-action water container like those used for spraying weeds/lawns. You use your solar bag to heat water during the day, then transfer the hot water to the container, pump up the pressure, and use it to shower. It does away with the need for an electric pump and/or hanging the solar bag. Yeah?

Also a watering can with a spout from which the spray attachment can be removed. You use it to fill the camper water tank when you can't attach a hose from the tap. How sensible. 

And a bucket to place at the end of your kitchen hose to collect gray water rather than let it annoy the neighbors. Then you can dispose of the gray water at a more appropriate location.

From the Beeb: Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Barack Obama have begun a two-day summit in California. The two leaders spoke of overcoming differences and forging a new relationship between their countries. President Obama spoke of "areas of tension" and mentioned their rivalry in the Pacific, North Korea's nuclear ambitions, and cyber espionage. See what happens when you've got something the other guy wants?

At least five people are dead and several others injured after a gun rampage in the beachfront city of Santa Monica, California, police say. The attack began at a house and ended on a college campus where police say they shot the gunman in the library. The gunman was in his late 20s and had been carrying an assault-style rifle, say witnesses. You'll continue reading such stories while ever the gun laws remain as they are. And that's a fact.

A man accused of imprisoning three women for about a decade in his home in Cleveland, Ohio, has been indicted by a grand jury for rape and kidnapping. Ariel Castro faces 329 charges, with 139 counts of rape, 177 of kidnapping, seven of gross sexual imposition, three of assault, and owning criminal tools. The 52-year-old also faces two counts of aggravated murder for terminating one of the women's pregnancies. Three Hail Marys and you'll be right, mate. Heaven awaits those who repent.

President Barack Obama has defended newly revealed US government phone and internet surveillance programmes, saying they are closely overseen by Congress and the courts. Mr Obama said his administration had struck "the right balance" between security and privacy. I agree with one of the commentators on The Drum last night who said if you have something to hide, don't put it on the internet. Simple.

To mark what would have been the 100th birthday of photographer Robert Capa, the Atlas gallery in London is holding an exhibition of his work. It comprises a wide range of prints from his time in Spain during the Civil War through World War II, and ending with the Indo China conflict where he lost his life. Photo journalism versus art.

It is not often that one automaker sends birthday wishes to another, but it is not every day that Europe’s most famous sporting automobile turns 50, either. This week, the BMW Group – by way of its Mini division – cheered Porsche’s 911 on the occasion of its big five-oh. The gift? A photo shoot, pairing a classic Mini with a first-generation 911 Targa. The two cars do not have much in common, beyond the early motorsports successes that sealed their reputations among enthusiasts. No matter: The images are pure eye candy.

I have a real soft spot for the little Mini. In 1959 when they were first introduced to Oz (with the 850cc engine and sliding windows), I took an interest in buying one for my first car. I had the obligatory brochures and posters. But when it came time to buy in 1962, and I was old enough for my learner's permit, I hadn't saved enough and lost patience. So I bought a used Morris (at least it was a Morris). Three years later, I bought a Beetle. In those days, if you owned a Beetle you were automatically a Mini hater, and raced them every chance you got. I was about 30 before I bought a little used Mini. They'd been beefed up to 1100cc by then, and had wind-up windows. I was most impressed with its handling and performance, as well as the sound it made as it burbled along the road. But then a nice man offered me a new Valiant every few weeks if I said complimentary things about his car dealership on air, so the Mini became redundant. But our short time together was enough to convince me that they were indeed a great little machine and a lot of fun to drive.

Speaking of motorized wheels, here's what OR Richie had to say about that T-Rex thing yesterday: That "trike" thing is an interesting creation, too.  Most trikes are done with aftermarket components and assemblers but having two front wheels and one rear it would seem to be a very modified Can Am "Spyder" three wheeler which has been on the market now for a few years.  That's the way they are built, and I am betting that with some engine modifications that's probably what that thing is.

As to the V12 Bentley, seems it ain't a V: Interesting too that I believe the vehicle has a three-bank W 12 engine rather than a V-12.  Three banks of 4 and some versions can use two cylinder heads for the three and others use three for three.

Roite. Well, my little bus is just a straight four, north south - bang, bang up and down - driving the rear wheels. It's surprisingly long though... maybe a foot longer than the average family sedan. It's all tray - 8' long.

It's been another cloudy and wet day. So much for yesterday's forecast. However tomorrow is supposed to be "mostly sunny". No one turned up to offer assistance with putting PJ together so my attempt at fortune telling went pear shaped. Must be some kinda psychological rocket reminding me that it needs to be done, and fairly soon if I'm to get sparkies and gas fitters to work on it. Imagine that... me, finally the proud possessor of a proper motorhome.

Ya know, I don't care how many times I've rationalized it, and how many positive comments I've read from GNs who are out there enjoying "the playground" (and have been for years), it's still a weird feeling to think that I can throw a dart at a map of Oz and that's where I'll be at some stage. No fence, no mail box, no street number. One GN wrote this morning that he was in some town up north in QLD for the rodeo, and there were 100 RVs in the park, twice as many as last year. He'd arrived from spending a week somewhere or other, and then after the rodeo he plans to be somewhere else. Hehe. How the hell do you get used to that? What happened to A to B and back to A? Weird is what it is. Weird.

Telly time again, and more of that curry which wasn't bad. Not the best I've tasted but not bad. The best is a recipe I've been using for decades, from an old Common Sense Cookbook, designed for new brides. It contains a lot of the old fashioned dishes that "mom used to make", which I particularly like. Seeya! Gary

June 7, 2013. G'day and tenjooberrymuds. TX Greg wrote: Way too early in the morning to get my pea brain to finally get that. For some reason I kept wanting to think old CB radio talk and thought the tenjoo part meant 10-4. Then I finally got it, with no help to google as the answer doesn't pop up anywhere. THANK YOU VERY MUCH, HAHAHA

When I first saw the word I didn't have a clue. But as I read the story and saw it again about half way through, the penny dropped. The rest of the convo about breakfast cracked me up. Room Service: "Ow July den?!?... Pryed, boyud, poochd?" Hehe. Whoever wrote that yarn is very clever. I love this next one too!

A  Muslim was sitting next to Bill on a plane. Bill ordered a whisky.

The  stewardess asked the Muslim if he'd like a drink.

He replied in disgust "I'd rather be raped by a dozen whores than let liquor touch my lips!"

Bill handed his drink back and said, "Me too, I didn't know we had a  choice!" 

Lovely day today - if you happen to be at 32,000 feet. But down here on terra firma it's wet and cool and DREARY! Not much good for people relying on solar panels either. However, the rest of the week and into next week is looking good with plenty of sunshine, which is something I'll be happy to see on the Odyssey. Gotta have my lecktrickety.

Then again... I suppose my habits will change. Here in Taree I tend to rely heavily on the internet to pass the time - I never write Waffle off line. But on the Odyssey there will be much more to see and do, and places to go, and photographs to take, and a bicycle to ride. Yep, come to think of it, when the weather's fine I'll most likely be out and about most of the day. Updating AO will be done at night... and perhaps not every night depending on who's around. Comparing my routine here with the one on the Odyssey will be like comparing apples with oranges.

There's one thing I won't be doing though... and that's socializing to the extent many GNs do. It's like a big club for a lot of GNs, organizing get togethers, and visiting old friends. I'll be too busy with the camera and the keyboard to devote much time to jawing. I'm on a mission to document everything that happens for the next whatever years. And then? A book or books.

From the Beeb: Russian President Vladimir Putin and his wife Lyudmila have said their marriage is over. The couple, who had been married for 30 years, made their divorce public on Russian state television after attending a ballet performance. "It was a joint decision: we hardly see each other, each of us has our own life", Mr Putin said

I often wonder about people who stay married for very long periods, or short ones for that matter. In my case, I can't imagine sticking to a decision I made during my youth. I've changed a helluva lot. But I suppose if two people share a life together with children and grandchildren, those things help to bind them. It would also help if their lives run in parallel. And I suppose there are those who remain together because of convenience, and/or a lack of opportunity to do otherwise.

US swimming champion-turned-movie star Esther Williams has died in Los Angeles aged 91. Her spokesman said she died peacefully in her sleep. She had been in declining health due to old age. A national swimming champion by the time she was 16, her success led to a career in Hollywood "aqua-musicals" designed just for her, in the 1940s. NC Art probably lusted over Esther.

The drive-in at 80: What next for an American icon? The American drive-in was born eight decades ago. But with only 350 left in the US, Tom Brook takes a look at what the future holds for this symbol of a bygone age

Ah yes, the drive in. During '69 and '70 the Drive In was my Saturday night ritual. I did the ads so I got free entry and free burgers and drinks. Many years later, one of Sydney's leading radio personalities was charged with "cash for comment" and it was a very serious matter. Mind you, he was getting a bit more than burgers and drinks but even so, what I was doing was against the law. In the mid '70s, when I was working at a Sydney radio station, I used to get a new Valiant to swan around in every few weeks. I didn't get to keep them but the fuel was free. 

Yesterday, I posted pics of the new Bentley. Its 6 liter, twin-turbo V12 produces 616hp. "There is something deliciously absurd about a 5,445lb lounge accelerating from zero to 60mph in 4.3 seconds while massaging its occupants’ lumbar regions, but the Spur makes an addicting pastime of it."Check out the road test.

Roite, the minz curry is simmering on the stove and smells pretty good. Just the thing for a winter's night.

My lid for the power outlet on the camper arrived. Isn't that exciting? Okay, maybe not so exciting, but this is the first time in my entire life I've ever bought a lid for a power outlet. Camping opens a whole new world of interesting things... like ground sheets, and tent pegs and porta pottis. How many of you can claim to have a stove-top whistling kettle? I can. Ooer, that reminds me - better add a gas gun lighter to my list.

Justin hasn't been updating his Dunes blog for a week or so but he did say recently: So it seems very likely I will participate in Commencement/ Graduation which takes place in early June . . . . .we are somewhat late. . .just goes to show ya the University doesn't want to let go of us!  Ho Ho Ho... So Ho Ho Hopefully that's what he's doing, being busy with graduation ceremonies and celebrations. I've emailed him anyway.

Two Irish couples decided to swap partners for the night. After 3 hours of amazing sex, Paddy says "I wonder how the girls are getting on".

Wot dat? A trike? A bike? A three-wheeler car? Maybe OR Richie knows. He's a bike man. It's called a T-Rex, if that helps. In any case, it's not the sort of thing you'd ride around in if you were planning to travel incognito.

Late in the day but the cloud has cleared which means tomorrow will be as forecast, pleasant and sunny. I have this little idea in my head that someone will help me put PJ together tomorrow. Dunno why - I just do. I'm ready - I just need someone to lasso and haul into the backyard. And don't say Lindsay. I bought some extra chains the other day and also extra-strong turnbuckles.

I think I'll start part of the Big Spend a little early since the AGM battery will take 10 days or so to get here by courier. This is the one I'll order tomorrow after I've checked the measurements of the side storage bin. Should be an easy fit. For an extra $65 I could get a 130ah but I don't think I'll need it since I won't be running the fridge on elec. All I need the battery for is lights, a bit of TV, laptop and charging camera/phone batteries.

And that's it for today, ladies and genitals. Time for the you know whats. Gary

June 6, 2013. A pretty butterfly landed on the wall outside just beside me as I absorbed the warmth of the morning sun. So I came back inside to grab the little Fuji and... yes, you guessed it. The pretty little butterfly decided to flutter off somewhere else. But the sun is nice.

NC Art wrote: I am puzzled about that double brick construction with space between wall brick. Seems to me that insulation of air between walls would be rather efficient. Once heated from within, the residual heat should last for hours with little additional expense. Likewise, night time cooling should hold for hours of daylight’s sun-warming effect. But what do I know? Less and less I fear.

Yep, the more we know the more we realize the less we know. The cavity of air between the two brick walls helps to keep the house from getting too hot in summer, and too cold in winter. That's the theory. But in winter, the sun is not strong enough to heat the external wall so the house stays cold during the day. If it were heated from the inside it would be fine, but heat = $$$. On a day like today, I'd be sitting outside PJ in the sun, with the laptop plugged into one of the external power points in the side storage bin (where the AGM battery is stored). But that's not really practical here. 

For proof, I have no idea what all that is about links, http, html jargon. For me links…maybe.. open in separate window using Google Chrome [tab] which I close to move out and on to another. I got to this computer crap w-a-a-a-y too late.

Maybe Chrome does the separate window thing automatically but I still use Firefox (and sometimes IE). Anyway, opening a new window while keeping the old one open means you can swap between the two, and then close the new when you're finished and resume where you left off. Make sense? Dozen madder. I don't really understand HTML either but I do know a few bits of code that make life easier. And now that Greg has told me about target="_blank" I know a bit more. I use an HTML editor (Netscape Composer) to write these web pages. It's a WYSIWYG program that allows me to type normal English while it converts it all to HTML in the background. Pretty nifty, really. Makes me look intelligent.

Whatever, it’s somewhat amusing to consider you will  go on an odyssey into the wilds of Down Under … but carrying a house on motorized wheels, equipped with TV, radio, telephone, computer, bed, cook stove, and all the civilized accoutrements of electrified modern life. Then, stopping where many other creature comforts are on site. Parks with showers and toilets, and security lights even!

Just recently, the bicentenary of the crossing of the Blue Mountains, south west of Sydney, was celebrated with a re-enactment of the original crossing by three courageous explorers, Wentworth, Blaxland and Lawson in 1813. The fledgling settlement was growing but also in danger of starving. It desperately needed to find suitable land for farming, and so the three adventurers set off to find a way across the seemingly invincible barrier, the Blue Mountains (part of the Great Dividing Range that runs all the way from southern Victoria to a group of small islands off the top of the northernmost tip of eastern Oz). Those blokes did it tough on foot with pack horses and dogs. Now, of course, you can drive the route they opened in air conditioned comfort. Ditto touring Oz. Can you imagine an army of gray haired sexagenarians and septuagenarians exploring Oz if they had to rough it in tents and live on wallaby stew? I donna theenk so. Most have their laptops, phones, GPSs, various appliances, CB radios, etc, as well as Taj Mahals on wheels. Mine doesn't exactly belong to the Taj Mahal class but it still has all the goodies.

Which reminds me of plurals. The host of The Drum the other night used the expression 'Ms P' hehe. Sounds weird. We're used to hearing MPs. But MP is an acronym for Member of Parliament. The plural is Members of Parliament. But that's the first time I've heard the acronym Ms P. Shortly after he used it, the panel went back to using MPs.

FL Josh wrote: I, too, have been doing what TX Greg does, right clicking on a Waffle link and pressing "w" to open it in a separate window. The link to your Red Bubble stuff, when I left clicked on it, did indeed open the page in a new window, as did the other links in the Waffle for the 5th.

And that's how all links will be from now on. Josh also sent this link to an article on smokers costing business $6000 more per year to employ. It cost my ex-employers a bit more than that. When I left one station, they replaced me with 3 people, and 2 at another station. Would have been cheaper to keep me hehe.

NC Art sent this: Two little boys are going to the hospital the next day for operation....  Theirs will be first on the schedule. The older boy leans over and asks, "What are you having done?"

The second boy says,  "I'm getting my tonsils out, and I'm afraid."

The first boy says,  "You've got nothing to worry about.  I had that done when I was four.  They put you to sleep, and when you wake up they give you lots of Jell -O and ice cream. It's a breeze."

The second boy then asks,  "What are you going in for?"

The first boy says, " Circumcision ."

"Whoa !" the smaller boy replies.  "Goodluck, buddy. I had that done when I was born.  Couldn't walk for a year."

Wanna see a tug and 5th wheeler from the late 20s early 30s?

Here's a custom built RV from one of the GN newbies. Veeeeeery nice.

Back from a little shopping. Jeez, it's not hard to spend money! And I'm pissed off that two people with shopping trolleys were yakking away in an aisle and preventing me from getting what I wanted from the shelves. When I did get access, I wasn't concentrating and picked the wrong brand of noodles which cost twice as much as the home brand. Grrrrr! I didn't notice at the checkout either cos the CC wanted a full medical report. I had to order more of my hospital food today too, which is expensive.

Never mind, I'm still reasonably on track for the Big Spend in 2 weeks.

From the Beeb: Syria conflict: US condemns siege of Qusair: The US has condemned the Syrian military's attack on Qusair, a strategic town over which it gained control after a bloody siege. The White House also called on Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah to withdraw fighters from Syria, where they have been helping government troops. According to commentators on The Drum last night, the big worry is who's worse... the rebels or the incumbents?

Australia's election: 100 days to go: "Australia, it seems, is not having an election on 14 September," says the ABC political presenter Barrie Cassidy, "but a handover. Never before has there been this level of expectation that a government is about to be thrown out." And good riddance.

Paris Jackson, the daughter of late pop legend Michael Jackson, is in hospital after attempting to kill herself, a publicist has confirmed. Paris, 15, is "doing good" and recovering, said Angel Howansky, her grandfather's publicist. Money and fame ain't everything.

An 84-year-old Florida woman has won the largest unshared jackpot in US lottery history - a prize of $590m (£383m). Mother of four Gloria MacKenzie, who retired to Florida from Maine, bought the ticket in Zephyrhills on 18 May. I heard on the radio today that the bloke in the queue in front of her stepped aside like a gentleman and let her go first. So she bought the ticket that he would otherwise have bought. Oh dear...

Anyway, silly woman buying lottery tickets. Doesn't she realize no one wins those things? 

Now what did I see on the auto newsgroup this morning? Oh yes... a lovely and sophsticated Bentley...

They finally got the styling of that front end right... a pleasing blend of traditional and modern. What a lovely thing. OR Richie enjoyed the MGB yesterday, which I knew he would: And of course the MGB-GT is one of my all-time favorites.  I just love that car.  British though it is they had a German firm... Karmann, I think... do the styling for it.  There are probably less than 2,500 of the MGB-GT V-8 models left in the world because Rover could simply not supply enough of those aluminum V-8 engines ( such as in the LR ) and they are fabulous cars and literally collector items now fetching big bucks.  But that is a car I love.

Do you understand tenjooberrymuds? You often hear tenjooberrymuds here in Oz - multiculturalism, you see. Anyway, this is a very funny piece on GN. I won't cut and paste it... you can read it on site. Hilarious!

And that's about it for Thors Day as Richie calls it. Time now to check the telly and have the last of the savory minz. I'll do a curry tomorrow - mild cos my taste buds are still sensitive. Back same time same station tomorrow! Gary

June 5, 2013. TX Greg wrote: Your walls are actually double thick in brick? I've never seen or heard of that before. Is there an air gap between the two layers? Most people here think a standard brick wall adds structural strength to a house, but that's not true. It's more for looks and maintenance as the brick is just free standing on the slab with several straps attached to the inside wall to keep the brick from moving around.

Yep, double brick with an air cavity between. This house was built in the early '30s. All pre-war brick houses in Oz were double brick, with the inner wall made of rough bricks that didn't need a pretty face. Plaster was applied to the inner wall by hand and trowel. The bungalow I was raised in was double. I remember my mother referring to the post-war houses as "only single brick" as if they were inferior. They were called brick veneer. Replacing the inner wall was a timber frame lined with plaster board. I guess building materials were scarce during the early post-war period. My little house in Glebe was a terrace - shared side walls on both sides, but they were double brick. It was built in the mid 1800s. From pictures I've seen on telly of new housing estates, brick veneer these days seems to be the norm.

Many government-built housing estates after the war and during the early '50s were timber-framed and clad with 'fibro' (fibrous cement sheets). They had no insulation qualities at all but they were cheap and quick to build. Later, people attempted to 'modernize' them with cladding made to look like brick but it was even worse than the painted fibro. Then real brick cladding - sliced brick stuck on sheets - was introduced but it wasn't a success either because you could always tell a house that was originally fibro. Then came vinyl cladding made to look like weatherboard. Averil's house next door has vinyl cladding and it looks okay. My garages and the laundry use the same material.

As to links not working: I've notice in the past few days YouTube has been having some problems with vids playing. It seems they just lock up. I've had to dump and clear the temporary internet files in IE then go back to the link for it to play. Not sure if that's the same problem Richie and Art were having. 

The other thing I do when reading the waffle is to right click on any link and open in a new widow. That way the waffle page is always open and I don't have to keep using the back button to keep reloading the page over and over again as I look at each link. Are you sure your Netscape Composer doesn't have the option when inserting a link for it to auto open a new window? The code for that is really simple...
<a target="_blank" href="http://YOUR LINK GOES HERE.htm"> Basically it just adds the ( target="_blank" ) between the <a & href=

One way to find out, Greg. Here's a link to my RB Favorites page, with two new favs - a shot of a boatshed on a lake in Tasmania, and one of St Peter's Basilica in Rome. Do you see a new window to the right of the Waffle page? There an 'extra HTML' button in the Netscape link window. I just typed target="_blank" in there and whoopee do. How come you didn't tell me that 12 years ago?

Anyway, if you look at Mieke's boatshed pic enlarged you'll notice how well she's framed it with the tree, and used the side lighting to highlight the bark as well as some of the foliage, and the mountain in the background. It's a stunning shot, and she's managed to capture the magic of that place perfectly. The St Peter's Basilica shot is just awesome with its detail, and it goes to show the extraordinary lengths to which religious hierarchies are willing to go in order to create an atmosphere that convinces the faithful that there really is a God.

Exciting news on telly last night. A medical professor just back from a cancer conference in Chicago said that a major breakthrough in the control of cancer cells has been discovered. I don't understand all the technical jazz but, in essence, till now cancer cells have managed to obstruct the body's natural defences in order to multiply. The immune system just sits there, waiting for the trigger to go into action. But the trigger doesn't come. This new drug simply unblocks the trigger, and the immune system goes into action, killing the cancer cells. The prof said that further trials are necessary before the new drug can be introduced to the public - which is a pity because trials so far have been nothing short of jaw dropping. He says the drug should be freely available in 12 to 18 months. It's not a cure, he said, but the next best thing to it. In my case, with mouth cancer, a simple drug could have killed all the cancer cells without the need for an operation or radio therapy (at least that's the way I understand it). The drug has been tested on melanoma cancer, but he says it's good for various types including lung, kidney, head and neck, breast, prostate, etc.

Imagine that, one little pill will make all that complicated and dangerous surgery as well as those hugely expensive radiation machines redundant. I guess some people are gonna be pissed off about that.

From the Beeb: There is no doubt Syria's government has used sarin during the country's crisis, says France's foreign minister. Laurent Fabius said lab tests in Paris confirmed numerous uses of the nerve agent, adding that those who resort to chemical weapons must be punished.

10 things you might not know about India: For many people writing about India, the common cliches of Delhi belly, lengthy traffic jams, bureaucracy, corruption and yoga retreats are the subjects that fill the column inches

The president of Ohio State University has announced he will retire after an off-colour joke about "those damn Catholics" at a rival college. Here we go with more political correctness.

Naturalist Sir David Attenborough has cancelled a tour of Australia that was scheduled to begin next week in order to have heart surgery in London. According to tour organisers Lateral Events, the 87-year-old broadcaster has been advised by his cardiologist that he is in urgent need of a pacemaker. Good heavens, the old geezer is as old as NC Art!

It was most pleasant in the sun today so I took a ladder down the backyard and had a close look at the pop rivet situation. Got rid of the old rivet and realized I need a hole... a small hole. I don't have a drill so that's as far as I got. Then I took the fire extinguishers into the camper and fixed the brackets to the walls. One just to the side of the entrance to the cab over (next to the bed), and one inside the back door just above floor level where it can also be accessed from outside the van. The brackets are stuck on with 3M pro quality velcro so I'll wait a day or two for the adhesive to set before I add the extinguishers.

I was telling Richie this morning that once the camper is on board the Courier, and I start filling the storage compartments, cupboards and other areas with my stuff, I'll have a very different attitude towards it. At the moment there's a bit of stuff in there but it's still largely a shell - and a shell ain't a home. Know what I mean? Once all my stuff is in the camper, there'll be no reason to be in the house, and nothing to miss about the house. Er... well, depending on how well I adapt to the porta potti hehe. But I keep reading reports from GNs about freecamps where the facilities are quite good - fresh water, loos, covered picnic tables, BBQs, and even showers and town power in some cases. So it's all rather civilized "out there". And if I have to rough it a bit in more remote areas, I'm sure I'll manage.

Pay day tomorrow so that means a few more bob in the kitty. Will I rush out and buy something? No, no, no, no, no. I'll walk out slowly and buy something. Well, maybe a few small things. Then it'll be just 2 weeks before the next pension and the 'Big Spend'! I'm looking forward to that, dear Breth. It's been a long time coming.

Would you like to see what sporty Brits were running around in in 1970? (apart from flares and built-up shoes)

Still a good look over 40 years hence. Pity the same can't be said for yours truly. *sigh* Anyway, skedaddle time. There was one kinda half decent joke on the GN JJ forum. A bit laborious so I'll paraphrase it. An old lady went to the local market to buy cat food but the checkout chick refused to sell it to her unless she could prove she had a cat, on the grounds that too many older peeps were so poor they resorted to eating cat food. So the lady went home and brought back her cat. The next day she wanted dog food and got the same response from the checkout chick, so the lady went home and brought back her dog. The following day, the little old lady needed toilet rolls... I'll leave you to figure out the rest.

So it's telly time, and noodles time, and update time! Seeya. Gary

June 4, 2013. Chilly morning, dammit. Nice in the sun though but this house is summer proof with its high ceilings and double brick walls, which explains why it doesn't warm up in winter. I'm off to see Nancy for another irrigation shortly, and a bit of small talk. She's by far the friendliest and most personable dentist I've ever encountered. So the little walk there and back will get the blood circulating. Then I'll have a nice hot cuppa when I get back.

Back! She's a funny girl. I told her that I'm a normal, respectable person until I walk into that room, and then I become some sort of lunatic. I also accused her of not being a real dentist because real dentists don't behave like she does. Hehe. "And not only that, there's nothing on your walls to say 'I am a dentist!'" So she reckons she's gonna get an 'I Am A Dentist' badge to wear. I mentioned that my appointment with the doc in Sydney yesterday was put back to August 5. She responded by saying we've been hanging for quite a while now. "I've had relationships that haven't lasted this long," she grinned. 

Both Oregon Richie and NC Art said they had probs with yesterday's Waffle loading. Art said most of the links didn't work. Got the waterfall pic and one image of Cape Town under a blanket of hail, then zilch, nada, nuthin! No links would open at all. Frustrating. Any thoughts? I checked this end and it all worked fine, so I dunno. Hopefully whatever the cause, it's somehow resolved itself.

Art also wanted me to describe the fire blanket. Well... it comes folded in a plastic bag about the size of a novel with a hole at the top for attaching to a wall hook. Hanging from the bottom are two short straps. During an emergency, you pull the straps which drag the blanket from the bag as it unfolds and readies itself for use. The straps act as handles so you can throw the blanket over a fire - usually a stove-top fire caused by hot fat or oil. The blanket smothers the flames and starves them of oxygen. Dunno what the material is but it complies with Australian Standard 3504.

I'm doing quite well. Not only did I save some bucks on the fire extinguishers yesterday but I also won $11.10 on Lotto last night. That's the fourth small prize I've won in the past couple of weeks. Ooer! Is it some sort of sign? Hehe.

And there goes another $20 - a lid for the power inlet on PJ which is missing. I figure the sparky I get to fix all the electrics and solar stuff won't have one so I'm being proactive. The lid was less than $10, the rest was postage. But buying on line saves buggerizing around looking for some caravan parts place. I also bought a smoke alarm on eBay.

From the Beeb: Hollywood actor Michael Douglas did not say he developed throat cancer because of oral sex, his publicist has said. Douglas, diagnosed with cancer three years ago, was quoted as telling the Guardian his strain of cancer had been caused by HPV (human papillomavirus). But in a statement to the BBC, the 68-year-old actor's spokesman sought to clarify that Douglas was not talking about his own cancer. The World Health Organization says HPV can cause cancer of the head and neck.

And it's not only cancer we're talking about here, dear Breth. It's tornados, earthquakes, tsunamis, assorted pillaging, and plagues. Ask any Baptist minister from the Deep South and he'll tell you that the Lord said go forth and multiply, not go forth and do all that other funny stuff. That's not multiplication, that's algebra which, as we all know, doesn't make babies. Are you with me? 

I got a gum infection way back in my early 30s and dreaded having to tell the doc how I got it hehe. Fortunately, he didn't ask. A dose of penicillin fixed the problem, no worries.

Anyway, it's no wonder that society gets its knickers in a knot about sex. It's such a grotty business - all those juices, and sweating, and making weird noises, and writhing, and grunting... It's simply at odds with our perception of human dignity. For example, exposing one's nose in public is not referred to as decent. In anatomical terms, there's no such thing as decent exposure, only indecent. And it's only referred to as indecent when a naughty bit is flaunted. Why indecent? Because it's associated with sex. And sex is associated with crude animal behavior. It's unbecoming to humans. That's why the Lord said "go forth and multiply" hehe. No mention of heavy breathing and juices in that sentence. No. Nothing naughty at all. In fact, the Bible never refers to juices, only seed. Seed is not naughty. Juices are naughty. Are you with me?

Humans are crazy, yes. But you have to admit they're a wonderful source of amusement.

How's that for clean, uncluttered lines? It's a Jaguar XK8. We say Jag-you-ah and you say Jag-war. There's not all that much reminiscent of previous Jaguars except for the subtle hip, that clever bubble in the hood and the oval grill similar to the E type from the '60s. Very posh.

Here's a couple from the GN Just Joking forum:

And that's when the fight started:

My wife and I were sitting at a table at her high school reunion, and she kept staring at a drunken man swigging his drink as he sat alone at a nearby table.
I asked her, "Do you know him?"
"Yes", she sighed,
"He's my old boyfriend. I understand he took to drinking right after we split up those many years ago, and I hear he hasn't been sober since."
"Oh my!" I said, "Who would think a person could go on celebrating that long?"

Saturday morning I got up early, quietly dressed, made my lunch, and slipped quietly into the garage. I hooked the boat up to the van and proceeded to back out into a torrential downpour. The wind was blowing 50 mph, so I pulled back into the garage, turned on the radio, and discovered that the weather would be bad all day.
I went back into the house, quietly undressed, and slipped back into bed. I cuddled up to my wife's back; now with a different anticipation, and whispered, "The weather out there is terrible."
My loving wife of 5 years replied, "And, can you believe my stupid husband is out fishing in that?"

There's a bunch of them if you'd care to browse.

Anyway, been a pretty quiet day (as well as cool and cloudy) - even the Beeb is quiet. When I saw the Michael Douglas story I thought, Ah ha! Here's a chance to employ my Waffle skills and write a few paragraphs of nonsense. Hehe. It's called 'padding'. So now I can turn my attention to a bit of telly and dinner/tea/supper/chow. When I've finished the savory mince, I think I'll try a curry. Those packet sauces are pretty good - no waste - just mix and cook. And the noodles give it a bit of bulk. Not quite what I'd like to be eating but better than soup every night - and I am putting on a little weight. Gary

June 3, 2013. Mieke, my friend in Derby, WA, near Broome, is a sensational photographer but this time she's really done it with this waterfall shot. It really is magic. When you get there, click on the pic to enlarge it.

Cody's hometown of Cape Town was inundated with hail on the weekend. TX Greg sent a couple of links: Geez the weather is just crazy everywhere. Check out these Cape Town hail photos from yesterday... And this guy gets a little overboard watching it hail, hahaha...

FL Josh wrote to say he has no comment to make about yesterday's Waffle. He says we can both have a day off.

I wrote Ohio Jace last night asking him to choose something from my PJ list as a prezzie for the Odyssey. I still have USD80 that the Ohio gang has sent over a period of time. I've been waiting for the Aussie dollar to come down before exchanging it. It's down about 10 cents US on what it was a month ago so I guess that'll do. That is a good list you have there. After some thought I've decided that the fire extinguisher should be at the top of the list so....

I figured you'd choose the fire extinguisher, Jace. I checked the local hardware store this morning and they have them plus a fire blanket for about $80, so that's two prezzies from the Ohio gang! But Jace has more news...

We are still waiting for our first grandchild. He is about a week late so should arrive any minute now. How does Aidan Christopher sound?

Aidan Christopher sounds great, mate. Go for it! And congrats on the birth - which as you say could be happening as I write this! Bloody amazing isn't it, and you didn't have to do anything. Well, you did, but not this time. Sooooo... no shortage of baby sitting jobs for a while yet!

Here's part of what I wrote OR Richie this morning: I watched the final episode of the Dismissal of the Whitlam government back in '75 last night and it was horrific - the way those power manipulators managed to get their way. Whitlam was an idealist who wanted the best for ordinary Australians. It wasn't until he retired from politics in the late '70s that he was finally vindicated by people who began to write him, thanking him for introducing free education at universities, medicare, Aboriginal and women's rights and other social reforms that transformed their lives. As one commentator said on the show last night, "in Australian politics, there's pre-Whitlam and post-Whitlam, and you can't say that about any other politician." Whitlam was the first international politician from the West to embrace China. His visit there preceeded Nixon's. Whitlam abolished the White Australia Policy and embraced Aboriginal land rights among other things.

Whitlam and Fraser (the incoming PM) absolutely loathed each other. One observer said you could see the hatred in their faces when they confronted each other in Parliament. Now, decades later in their old age, they're great mates. Whitlam was asked in recent times why he and Fraser were friends now despite Fraser having engineered his dismissal as PM, and he said, "Well, no one's perfect."

Anyway, politics is one game I'm glad I never got involved in.

Richie is also pleased to know that PJ is nearing completion: I went over pictures of PJ and the camper again this morning.  I'm yearning of course to see them properly mated as a made-for pair with a certain driver to complete the trio; the triangle if you will.... the "Delta" symbol which represents a very sound and strong structure... or in this case, your personal SAFARI, and a great photo-safari at that, and of course, being Kwa-Swahili for "journey".  Like no other, of course.

Well, Jace, I'm back from getting the Ohio gang prezzie. On the way to the big hardware store (Bunnings) I stopped at Super Cheap Auto to see what they had. Da da! They had fire extinguishers on spesh, so I bought two plus a fire blanket - all comply to Australian standards. How cool! One for the entrance to the sleeping area, and one for just inside the rear door. The blanket will be in the main kitchen area. AND... there's enough change left over for a smoke alarm which I'll get next.

From the Beeb: The US Army private accused of leaking large numbers of classified documents to Wikileaks is due to face court martial in Fort Meade, Maryland. Pte Bradley Manning allegedly sent 250,000 diplomatic cables and 500,000 battlefield reports from Afghanistan and Iraq to Wikileaks in 2009 and 2010. He has pleaded guilty to 10 of the 22 charges against him but not to the most serious charge of aiding the enemy. The slow arm of the law - he was arrested 3 years ago.

The crocodile population of tropical Australia has exploded in recent decades. How are people learning to live with the creatures in their back gardens? From behind a steel fence, a fully-grown adult crocodile - Harold, a heavyweight at 4.6m (15ft) long - peers at me suspiciously. Despite the security, it is unnerving to be so close to such a fearsome predator, especially one that won't take his eyes off me. Here croccie, croccie, croccie. Nice croccie, croccie, croccie. Now don't you bite me, you naughty little reptilian person.

One of Australia's leading indigenous figures, singer Yunupingu, has died at the age of 56. The lead singer of Yothu Yindi died at his home in the Northern Territory after suffering from kidney disease. Yunupingu was a significant cultural figure whose music helped bridge the divide between white and black Australians. Treaty - what a great song.

Goodness, gracious me, I've just had another little splurge. Some time ago, Francois suggested paper filters for making coffee so that I don't have to worry about using lots of water to clean the plunger of ground coffee beans. I couldn't find any paper filters at the local supermarket - only ready-made coffee bags (like tea bags) which are expensive. So I took a look at eBay and discovered a Vietnamese stainless steel drip coffee maker 2 pce for under $10 ($14 delivered). That'll do. Just tap the used beans onto a paper towel, give the container a quick rinse, and Bob's yer uncle.

Well, I think I've done well today... a couple of fire extinguishers, a fire blanket, coffee maker and a smoke alarm to come, all for less than $100. I hope I'm as lucky with the rest of the stuff on my PJ list! Shopping can be fun! Especially when everything can be nicely accommodated by PJ hehe. NO MORE PACKING AND UNPACKING. Yeah, been there, done that waaaaaaaay too many times!

So now it's telly belly time again. Oh, and since there are no pop rivet experts here, I figured out how to do the job myself. :-p Gary

June 2, 2013. Dreary, dreary, dreary. Wet and chilly. And the rest of the week? Fine and mild to warm. So there ya go.

Last night I went to bed thinking what's the bet FL Josh will say a Model T is not a Thunderbird. Well, I wasn't all that far wrong. You said that a Chihuahua was a Wolf and that you were an ape.  Hot damn, I've been looking for someone who thinks like that.  How would you like to buy a 2013, Rolls Royce for only $500.00.

So now I can say that FL Josh has accused me of being a fool; that he's insulted me. Alternatively, I can say that I know I'm not a fool so therefore I'm not insulted. Yeah?

It's true that the car in the photo is not a 2013 Rolls Royce, but both cars nonetheless do have something in common. A chimpanzee is not a gorilla but nonetheless they do have something in common. A rabbit is not a rat but nonetheless they do have something in common. A human being is not an ape, but... well, you get the picture.

Now, if the indigenous footballer in Oz was insulted because someone called him an ape, what does that mean? Let me put it this way, if I'm not insulted by FL Josh's insinuation that I'm a fool because I know I'm not a fool, does it follow that the footballer is offended by the 'ape' insinuation because he's not too sure if the ape reference is lacking credibility? By the way, those are questions, not statements - as was my comment about chihuahuas and wolves.

Lemme tellya something about insults, ladies and genitals. When I went down the tube back in the '90s, I wasn't called a failure, but I was treated like one. I know a thing or two about the pain and hurt caused by an insult, spoken or unspoken. I know a thing or two about being treated as a reject; avoided by former friends and colleagues. I know a thing or two about the struggle to claw back self respect alone and against all odds. When a football star is called an ape by a 13 y/o girl, and stops the game to have that girl ejected from the stadium, questioned by police, and vilified on the front page of every newspaper in town as well as on the screens of all the television stations, that's not the reaction of a man who's being kicked while he's down and defenceless. He turned an incident overheard by a handful of people within close proximity to the girl (including himself) into a national headline. Predictably, political correctness being fashionable, all the celebrities and politicians and commentators and anyone else with a voice jumped on the overcrowded bandwagon to denounce the evils of racism.

Anyway, racism is just another stupid device used by morons to elevate themselves. It's a form of bullying. Paradoxically, that's what the footballer did to the 13 y/o girl. Instead of consulting her and showing her the error of her immature ways, he publicly shamed her. We're constantly reminded by Nature that all living things are equal. If they weren't, microscopic bugs wouldn't be able to kill human beings. In my book, all races, creeds, genders and cultures are equally regrettable.

NC Art is at it again: Recalling those awful raincoats made my skin crawl. In cold weather they were too stiff for moving in. Hot rainy days, they stunk and boiled you like a lobster. And they were heavy as a mediaeval knight’s metal armor. And, you’re right about boring porn. Even the performers seem to be wondering how much longer we have to keep up with this stupid stuff. Gets so old so quick, like watching race cars go round and round in a cloud of choking exhaust fumes for four hours.

If it weren't for society's paranoia about all things genital, there would be no porn. It's the forbidden fruit syndrome. The sight of a naked ankle. Kids snickering in class during biology.

Um, Darwin didn’t commit much to atheism or some sorta belief. He was supposed to study for the church, but found observable science a helluva lot more interesting. Thank you Charley! Actually, he was kept out of the Royal Academy of Science because he was not a priest, and therefore didn’t know how the world was made in six days … by God! 

Yes, I remember watching a doco about Charley and his findings on Galapagos. His original intention was not to dispute the Bible's teachings but the more he researched his subject, the more he realized he was indeed doing just that. It was his greatest conundrum - to publish the truth or conceal it.

Telly was a bit lamo last night, as it tends to be on Saturdays, so I watched a cooking show on one of the more obscure free to air stations. But it was worth it cos I learned a neat little trick to improve the flavor of the humble burger. The chef fried the onion and garlic in olive oil before adding it to the burger mix. I've always added it raw. Thilly me. The burger mix was otherwise pretty straight forward - ground beef, ketchup, Tabasco, beaten egg, breadcrumbs, chopped parsley, s&p, and the cooked onion and garlic. Also, he removed the hot pan from the heat before adding the patties to seal on both sides, then put the pan back on the heat and turned the patties every 30 seconds till done.

Have you noticed the use of the word 'issue' lately? Everybody's having issues. Politicians have issues - actually, they have a range of issues, or even a broad range of issues. Medicos have issues. Economists have issues. Sports people have issues, such as those with performance enhancing substances. People who have a disagreement have an issue. Racism is an issue. So is same sex marriage. I can't remember having heard the word 'issue' used all that much 10 or 20 years ago. Now everybody's into it.

An old man in Miami calls up his son in New York and says, "Listen, your mother and I are getting divorced. Forty-five years of misery is enough."

"Dad, what are you talking about?" the son screams.

"We can't stand the sight of each other any longer," he says. "I'm sick of her face, and I'm sick of talking about this, so call your sister in Chicago and tell her," and he hangs up.

Now, the son is worried. So he calls up his sister. She says, "Like hell they're getting divorced!" and calls her father immediately. "You're not getting divorced! Don't do another thing, the two of us are flying home tomorrow to talk about this. Until then, don't call a lawyer, don't file a paper, DO YOU HEAR ME?" and she hangs up.

The old man turns to his wife and says "Okay, they're coming for Christmas and paying their own airfares."

Checked the Beeb earlier today and again just now and it's all a bit ho hum - which may not be such a bad thing. Anyway, I'll be glad to see the end of today weatherwise. It's easing off a bit now but it's been pretty wet and wild. The rest of the week is looking quite good. I've also been thinking about who I can con into helping me load the camper. The fence bloke and Stan the Lawn Man look like renegers so maybe Alex the bloke who sold me the Courier is a chance. He was friendly and helpful six months ago and seemed interested in what I had in mind. Hmmm. He works as a barman at the local sailing club. Maybe I could pop in for a beer. Meanwhile, the "big spend" is about 2 weeks away so I better get cracking.

Well, that'll be interesting. At the end of this month, PJ will be a reality complete with all the goodies. I'll be broke, of course, but at least all the major expenses will be over and I'll be able to focus again on saving. Imagine that! Bluey, Das Busse and all the other frustrating interruptions of the past will be dead and buried. Finito. The only thing holding me back now is a set of dentures. And a garage sale.

Yes, I'm nervous. It's a major departure (no pun intended) from the life I'm used to. I think it'll be wise to have a trial run or two before the biggie, just to settle into the new routine and get the feel of it. The Big Day will, of course, depend on the doc in Sydney. I'll be seeing him August 5. On August 29, I'll be 69 - the year I started my first job in radio, and the year I first left home to start a new life.

But for the mo, it's time for the telly and nourishment... and a bit of dreaming. Gary

June 1, 2013. How does the song go? June is bustin' out all over? Not too much bustin' here hehe. Cloudy and cool but the weatherman says it'll improve later in the day. FL Josh wrote: Interestingly, your seasons change on different dates than here in the States.  Your Winter starts on June 1st whereas our Summer starts between the 19th and 23rd of June, whenever the summer solstice occurs. We're a bit lazy in Oz. In reality our seasons change with the solstice too but we settle for the first day of June, September, December and March.

On Voltaire, one of my favorite misquotes is, "I may disagree with what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to tell such lies."

Yes, and one thing I've noticed about being an athiest is that if you meet another athiest you don't ask them which denonimation of atheism they belong to. Hehe. Bill Gates is in Oz at the mo on a selling mission for his charity work. During an interview he was asked if he believed in God. He thought for a moment and said, "I believe in some sort of higher being, yes." Actually, I can't remember whether he said 'God' or 'higher being' but he was pretty vague about the matter. I think many non-believers are frightened of the word 'athiest' because it's so final. Once you've committed to being an athiest you're doomed to eternal damnation.

Another interesting aspect of the 'ape' case, and that footballer who took umbrage at being called 'ape' or 'King Kong', is that all human beings have the same ancestral heritage. Both the insulter and insultee share the same evolutionary origin. But human beings like to disassociate themselves from apes. Apes don't go to heaven but humans do. Apes don't wipe their butts but humans do. Well, how about a thoroughbred? Is it still a horse? Is a chihuahua still a wolf? Does God have a penis? I think there's a lot of wisdom in the old children's adage that sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

Critics of Darwin during his time poked fun at his preposterous notion of human beings having descended from chimpanzees. Everybody knew that the human race began with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, created in the likeness of The Almighty. Darwin was a ratbag. Not only that, he was an infidel! We were the children of God, not the children of apes!

So, it seems to me that there are people in our midst who are apeists... those who find it insulting to be associated with apes... those who think that apes are a lesser form of being - unworthy of respect - despite our common ancestry. Apes are animals but humans are... well... different. It says so in Genesis.

Am I an ape? Yes, I am. And frankly m'dear, I don't give a damn.

As to TX Greg's suggestion he move to Oz and join you in PJ, did you mean by your comment, "Only if you don't mind being permanently horizontal," that, "No one rides for free?"

We'll ignore that, won't we Greg.

Thanks to NC Art for forwarding the hatch pic. Art also wrote: I’ll try to remember to refresh (the Waffle index page). Or I will write another snarky comment for you to enjoy.

That old truck did bring memories. Very much like the T Model Ford used as a school bus by the orphanage. That one had bench seats running along each side and one in the center. Could handle 15 youngsters. Also had side curtains that rolled down and fastened to keep [some] rain out, but not quite efficiently.

No starter, the thing had to be cranked by hand, an operation which could break an arm bone if the crank handle kicked back before you let it go when the engine fired. Ouch!

Yep, things have changed amazingly. I recently mused that if the internet and digital cameras had been invented when I was about 12, I could have gotten wealthy selling porn vids of myself posing provocatively over the next 10 years! Hmm, if a purveyor wanted a shot sans pubes I would have charged much more for the itchiness of growing a new patch. Poor Wingnut missed that opportunity too, hehe. He was sooo proud of his silk.

Kids and teens who bare all for the titillation of their peers and others are a dime a dozen now. I think it's probably a good thing that porn will hopefully become commonplace to the point of being BORING, which it is. As to school buses, on rainy mornings I caught the bus on the corner of our street. It wasn't a school bus but did the job and stopped at the railway station not far from the school. It was a late '30s Chevrolet truck with a bus chassis, and I remember how steamy it was when crowded on wet mornings, with the strong smell of damp rubber boots and raincoats. Raincoats were made from rubberized material back then.

And now to rivets, a popular topic with many Australian families. There's a rivet missing from PJ. Actually, it's not missing, it's just separated from the two bits it used to join. Now it's wobbling around in one of the bits. How to get it out of its hole is a problem. It wobbles but it's stuck. I've tried pulling it with long nose pliers but to no avail. Is there a rivet person out there who knows how to remove a dead rivet? It's part of a hinge arrangement on the flap that covers the front window of PJ which allows the flap to be raised and lowered. The twin at the other end has also lost its rivet but has been replaced by a screw, which is what I'll do with the current rivet.

A GN the other day suggested an all-purpose remedy for anything mechanical - hit with a hammer. And if that doesn't work, get a bigger hammer.

Actually, I spent a bit of time getting a dose of inner shedness this afternoon and even cleaned the stove top and sink with Ajax. I was thinking about what I might miss about living in this house. The space? No, I don't think so. The furniture? No. The kitchen? No. The neighbors? No. The bathroom? Yes. So what will I miss apart from the bathroom? And then it dawned on me that my life here revolves around the internet and my web site. There's nothing else I'm interested in, except the Odyssey, of course. As long as I have my laptops, cameras, phone, wireless dongle, music, radio and TV, I'm sweet. And the comforts the camper provides.

When I go to Sydney to see the doc, by late afternoon I can't wait to get back to Taree. But it's not Taree per se, or indeed this house I long for. It's my THINGS. Hehe. I'm a fish outta water without my things. One of those things is internet connection so when I'm checking out some place in Oz that doesn't have a signal, you can bet your sweet bippie I'll be itching to move some place that has.

Sounds like an obsession, doesn't it. All my eggs are in the AO basket. Well, there was a time when all my eggs used to be in another basket that went belly up. But the main problem with that basket was it was controlled by other people. Hopefully, this basket will avoid that fate.

From the Beeb: A new series of tornadoes has swept through the US state of Oklahoma, killing at least five people, including a mother and child, officials say. The tornadoes struck near the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, where 24 people were killed by a violent tornado nearly two weeks ago. Okies I've heard interviewed on TV simply shrug and say it's something you learn to live with.

A law banning smoking in some public places and restricting tobacco advertising is due to come into effect in Russia on Saturday. Smoking will be banned at workplaces, housing block stairwells, buses and commuter trains and within 15m of train stations and airports. In 2014, the ban will be extended to restaurants, bars, ships and trains. Russia has one of the highest smoking rates in the world with around 40% of its population smokers. Remember Kot? He was never without a packet of ciggies handy.

Scientists have discovered that about one in thirteen people have flexible ape-like feet. A team studied the feet of 398 visitors to the Boston Museum of Science. The results show differences in foot bone structure similar to those seen in fossils of a member of the human lineage from two million years ago. Darwin would be impressed

And there goes Satdee and the 152nd day of the year. Gary


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