March 31, 2014. When I used to make my own pizza using Lebanese
bread as a base, I took great care to distribute the toppings evenly. But
L&S didn't care much for pizza so I crossed it off the menu. Then I
used to share a weekly pizza with Averil and order take away on Cheap Tuesday
(works better if you pronounce Tuesday Chewsday like we do) from Eagle
Boys and get a supreme with double everything in the hope that the topping
would cover the entire pizza instead of leaving bare patches. It worked.
Which brings me to FL Josh's tale of pizza woe: Speaking of haves
and have nots and posh homes, this past Thursday I got a craving for pizza
and instead of a Digiorno's from my trusty grocery store ("It's not delivery.
. . it's Digiorno's."), I splurged and went online and ordered a Papa Johns
Pizza with the works to be delivered. When it arrived, the first
thing I spotted was it looked like they forgot to cut part of it.
I then discovered they didn't, it was just that when they ran the cutter
across it, they did it so sloppily that some of the slices were twice the
size of others. I also noticed that they put the toppings on so sloppily
that some slices had none of a certain topping whereas the slice next to
it had a little pile of the topping. The amount of pepperoni was
pitiful and what there was of it was sliced so thin, I could see through
Papa Johns was started in 1984 by "Papa" John Schnatter. He
is now 52, still owns the company, serves as its CEO, and is the company's
chief spokesman in their ads, and
the ads are very effective.
But when I went to find where to call or write to complain about
my pizza, I found they keep that information well hidden because they do
not want feedback or comments from customers. But I did find that
Papa John is worth $600 million now, and has a HUGE home, with a guest
home that is HUGE, and he was a major supporter of Mitt Romney in the last
election and is very outspoken against Obamacare. He is a major "have."
The fact that he is such an admirer of Mitt Romney told me that
Papa John is out to make as much money as possible, keep costs as low as
possible, and forget about quality. In your ads, just hype the pizzas
as quality without backing that up with a quality product, which sadly
is the "American way" now. This is clearly John's business plan and
of course, he knows it since he controls the show, so for me to think by
contacting him, I would be letting him know one of his stores is dropping
the ball, is foolhearted for all I would be doing is letting him know the
store that made my pizza is following his business plan exactly as instructed.
Yep, there's nothing as infuriating as a pizza with the mushies on one
side but not the other, or a large crater where there's no pepperoni. Perhaps
Schnatter has discovered that most recipients of pizza delivered couldn't
give a toss about neatness. There's a program called Checkout on ABC TV
here that (among other things) exposes the difference between the content
of a TV commercial or image displayed on a product's packaging, and the
actual article itself. The other night they showed a can of strawberries
with a label depicting plump red strawbs alongside the actual contents
on a plate which revealed limp gray blobs in a pale liquid. ABC TV is funded
by public subscription and government so doesn't have any commercial content.
The show also deals with consumer rights.
In my experience, I have rarely seen a product that matches the image
on its packaging, especially in relation to processed food. While on the
subject of food, I bought American style peanut butter the other day, which
according to the label has a robust sweet and salty flavor made with long
roasted peanuts. Tastes pretty good (I use it in smoothies). It's also
darker and less oily than Oz style. Furthermore.... I'd always thought
baked beans had been around forever but no, not in Oz. It was during WWII
when American troops were stationed in Oz that we discovered part of their
standard issue was baked beans. A few enterprising farmers started planting
navy beans but it took them a while to figure out how to harvest them -
they tended to lay flat on the ground. So they developed a variety that
stood upright, which meant it could be harvested by the same machines used
for wheat, etc. Most of the world's navy beans are grown in the US and
Canada. Oz is a very small player, but we do love our Baked Beans and tamaaaaata
Francois sent a couple of vintage pics yesterday - a bicycle built for
three, and a dentist plying his trade back in the old days:
Makes you wonder if future generations will think we look as ridiculous
as we think previous generations did. In other words, are we already ridiculous
without realizing it?
As it turned out, I did have to go to the Nut and Bolt shop - the screw
bolts supplied with the telly weren't the right kind for the wall bracket.
The old bloke at the N&B place didn't have spacers to suit so he made
an alternative with 4 screw bolts, 4 nuts (which act as spacers) and 4
washers. He charged me one dollar for the items, nothing for the advice,
and they work just fine. His old mate asked me about PJ and said he has
a similar one in which he's toured Tasmania and the Northern Territory.
He reckons slide-ons are a great idea.
From the Beeb: The impacts of global warming are likely to be "severe,
pervasive and irreversible", a major report by the UN has warned. Scientists
and officials meeting in Japan say the document is the comprehensive assessment
to date of the impacts of climate change on the world. Members of the UN's
climate panel say it provides overwhelming evidence of the scale of these
the skeptics remain unconvinced.
In pictures: German photographer Frank Herfort has spent several
years travelling across the former Soviet Union, taking pictures of the
grand buildings constructed since
the fall of Communism.
US Secretary of State John Kerry has announced no breakthrough on
Ukraine, following four hours of "frank" talks with Russian counterpart
Sergei Lavrov. Mr Kerry said he told Mr Lavrov that the US still considered
Russia's takeover of Ukraine's Crimea region to be "illegal and illegitimate".
He said he had stressed that no decision on Ukraine's future could be made
Alistair Cooke: Long-lost letters from 1970s America. An
interesting peek at the past.
And now it's goodbye to the last day of March! Has my situation progressed
so far this year? Yes and no. I could have done without the awning accident
hehe. But the doc in Sydney says things are improving so I suppose that's
March 30, 2014. I often hope to link photos posted on the forum
by GNs here on this page but most of them are pointers and shooters. However,
there are exceptions like John who knows a thing or two about what makes
an image special. Click
on the thumbnails. Can you imagine those places being home for a few
days or a week?
The other day, Mieke posted a pic on Red Bubble of a rock face in West
Oz that kept deepening its color as the sun set. She mentioned counting
the seconds for a time exposure in her head and that she really needed
to get a stop watch, so I asked if it was a case of trial and error in
determining the correct exposure. It was. She tried 60 seconds at first
but it was too dark. Then she tried 120 seconds at f22, ASA100. I would
have been in a tizz buggerizing around with manual settings as the light
rapidly disappeared hehe. But
she got it.
BTW, if you haven't seen my favorites for a while, click
here. RB has some awesome clickers.
So who wrote "Animal Farm"? JimM says: ah gary, methinks Josh tumbled
down the wrong (Or)well, as in George Orwell authored Animal Farm.
And NC Art says: To quibble a bit, Orson Welles did not write Animal
Farm. That was George Orwell.
To be fair to Josh, I think George is what he meant to say but suffered
a 'senior moment'. He also wrote a mammoth tome in response to the equality
question which is waaaaaay too long to paste here. However, he did summarize
with: I have come up with a system for categorizing people, putting
everyone into one of three categories. There are those who produce
more than they take from life and they keep things going. Without
them, society would collapse. There are others who sort of tread
water, taking from society about the same as they produce. They don't
help but they don't hurt either. Then there are those who suck more
from society than they contribute and they are a drag on society and hold
it back. Haves and have nots can be in any of the categories.
You have "haves" who gain their wealth by burdening society with the excess
profits they bleed from it, and so they take more than they contribute.
And you have "have nots" like Mother Teresa, who contribute far more to
society than they take.
To my mind, the question of equality is like the short bloke who spends
his entire life trying to prove he's the equal of the tall bloke while
the tall bloke couldn't give a rat's ass.
I'm getting pretty damn good at making these trifles ya know. Actually,
I make two in identical containers so that I use the whole pack of jelly
crystals, the whole pack of jam rolls and almost all of the double thick
custard. I don't overdo the sherry either... there's only so much the cake
will absorb before becoming soggy.
From the Beeb: US Secretary of State John Kerry has diverted his
homebound flight at the last minute, for hastily arranged talks on the
Ukraine crisis with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The decision
came after President Vladimir Putin spoke to President Barack Obama by
phone late on Friday.
A Chinese and an Australian ship have failed to identify remains
from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight after their first day in a new
search area. The two ships retrieved objects from the Indian Ocean but
none was confirmed to be from missing flight MH370, Australia's
maritime authority said.
An official photograph of Prince George with the Duke and Duchess
of Cambridge has been released ahead of their tour of Australia and New
Zealand. The eight-month-old is pictured in his mother's arms while Prince
William holds their dog, Lupo. In the image, taken by royal christening
photographer Jason Bell, the family is looking through an open window at
their Kensington Palace home. Nice
By the way, interest in Australia becoming a republic has waned, especially
with regard to younger people. The analysts say it's all because of the
popularity of William and Kate. You can bet they'll attract plenty of attention
when they arrive Down Under. Our
new Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove automatically became a knight
when he was sworn in the other day. Later, as he was about to enter his
official new residence, Government
House in Canberra, he nodded at a TV camera and said, "Nice digs."
But Sir Pete also has a second official residence... Admiralty
House at Kirribilli in Sydney. 'Nice digs' is an understatement.
I saved a fortune today by checking stuff on eBay and not buying anything
hehe. Matter of fact, I advertised my stereo and CD collection for
sale - for a pittance, I might add. I tried to auction it once before hoping
for maybe $200 with no takers. This time I'm asking $85 or best offer.
When it comes right down to it, it'll either be sold or trashed. It sure
as hell ain't coming with me. Meanwhile, I'm not short of stereos - there's
one in the car, one in PJ and I have my MP3 player. All the music CDs are
on flash drive.
So that's it for Sundee, dear Breth. Gary
March 29, 2014. On the subject of equality, FL Josh writes: Your
comment as to how you treated L&S that, "In some cases even more equal,"
reminded me of Orsen Wells' classic book, "Animal Farm," and the commandment
the pigs running the farm came up with, "All animals are equal, but some
animals are more equal than others."
The fact is people are not equal and because of that, they can be
classified as to their differences and that means we cannot have a classless
society. And whenever you have a situation of haves and have nots,
there will be a battle, the have nots arguing that the haves just got ahead
because of lucky breaks and the haves not wanting the fruits of their labor
going to support the lazy have nots.
Ah, well there ya go. So why is it that some people are lazy while others
are fulla beans? I know, Josh, that you are successful because you work
hard and are ambitious. Is that because you choose to be? Or is it because
you're busy by nature? Wouldn't you rather be lazy and sit around all day
doing nothing? Of course not. It would drive you balmy. Similarly, does
a lazy person choose to be lazy? Or is it their nature?
If laziness or industriousness are not matters of choice but matters
determined by genes that also determine differences such as color, height
and intelligence - none of which affects a person's right to equality -
then why is it that the rich are considered superior to the poor?
Did Einstein choose to be a genius? No. However, the benefits of his
discoveries are shared by all humanity, and rightly so. Does it therefore
follow that the rich have a responsibility to share their wealth with the
poor? Did the boarding house manager have a right to profit from vulnerable
psychiatric patients by giving them substandard accommodation and food
in return for 90% of their pensions? Do professions such as law and specialist
medicine have the right to charge unaffordable fees for the dispensation
of justice and health to the masses?
Questions, questions, questions, and I'm not sure I could be bothered
figuring out the answers. Some would argue that the lion is more equal
than the antelope; that all predators are more equal than their prey. But
Nature strikes a balance so that all things co-exist. In Nature it's not
a matter of equality but of balance. It seems to me that in human society,
the balance between equality and inequality, between the haves and have-nots,
has never been successfully or equitably struck.
I know that I'm servile by nature, and always have been. When I managed
and promoted my band I worked much harder for them than I ever did for
myself after going solo. The reason I created Aussie Odyssey was to provide
myself with a stage and hopefully an audience. An audience needs to be
entertained which drives me to perform as a writer/photographer. Otherwise
Well, after that little pep talk, I did a couple of jobs on PJ, made
two lots of raspberry jelly for trifle, two evening meals, a vege juice
and a smoothie.
William Bullimore is back on Red Bubble. Judging
by this shot he posted today, he's been snooping around the opal diggings
at Coober Pedy and meeting the local characters. Now there's a bloke who's
king of his castle and master of his own destiny - Brian the Fossicker
- surrounded by his prized possessions. I'm looking forward to meeting
characters like Brian one of these days.
From the Beeb: Russia's Vladimir Putin has telephoned President Barack
Obama to discuss the US proposal for a diplomatic solution to the crisis
in Ukraine. Mr Obama suggested that Russia put a concrete response in writing,
the White House said in a statement. According to the Kremlin, Mr Putin
suggested examining how the situation could be stabilised. Sounds
Brutal beatings, sexual abuse, and electric shocks are being carried
out on detainees, including teenage children, in Egypt, according to testimonies
gathered by the BBC. As many 20,000 people are estimated to have been held
since last July in a sweeping clampdown on dissent. A growing number are
now emerging from police stations and prisons with serious
allegations of torture.
For the first time same-sex couples are now legally allowed to get
married in England and Wales. Politicians from the main parties have hailed
the change in the law. David Cameron said the move sent a message that
people were now equal "whether gay or straight", but some religious
groups remain opposed.
Italy's government is selling off hundreds of executive cars used
by government officials, in an online auction on eBay. A list of 151 car
makes and models for sale has been posted - among them are dozens of BMWs,
Alfa Romeos, and Lancias. There are also nine high-powered Maseratis owned
by the Defence Ministry, and a couple of Jaguars. Alan
And that's it for the last Satdee in March. Hooroo. Gary
March 28, 2013. FL Josh wrote: The fact that you do not believe
in a class system must be a comfort to Lindsay, because it means you consider
him your equal.
Yes, it's a sobering thought, Josh... even those we barely tolerate
are equals. In some cases even more equal. Lindsay has the master bedroom
and the entire living room while I have the former dining room and sleepout.
It's my fault because when we first arrived here I wanted to make this
a nice home environment for Lindsay and Sue. I donated all my furniture
and appliances for our mutual benefit (they had none, and still don't)
and I even bought an extra fridge because mine wasn't big enough for all
of us. I also bought a washing machine. Sue was under my care but not Lindsay,
nonetheless I included him in all the meals I cooked (7 days a week), shopping
and general housekeeping chores. Matter of fact, they didn't have a bean
to bless themselves with when we were evicted from our flat in Petersham
which left me to pay all the moving costs, hire car, fuel, lease bond,
etc, (on my credit card) to establish ourselves in Taree. So you see, Josh,
I could be accused of treating L&S as even more than equals.
And now, at the risk of boring you...
The reason L&S didn't have any money when I first met them was because
their carer was also the manager of the boarding house where they lived
as psychiatric outpatients. Actually, they lived next door, but in a flat
paid for by the boarding house manager. I lived in the same block. Their
carer took almost their whole pensions for accomodation and meals leaving
them with a pittance to spend on personal stuff. When the block of flats
was sold for renovation, all tenants were evicted. Lindsay found a nearby
house and asked me if I wanted to share it. After all, I had furniture
and appliances and they didn't, which suited L&S as well as the boarding
house manager. Two years later, the boarding house was closed by some government
department on the grounds it was unsuitable for the wellbeing of the outpatients,
the manager was no longer L&S's carer, so I took over the job of caring
for Sue because I was unemployed and desperate. Shortly after that, we
were evicted again because the property was sold, and I used the internet
to find this house in Taree.
As far as L&S were concerned, I replaced the boarding house. They
had every right to expect me to provide not only care but also furniture
and appliances. That was their mentality. The only money I took from them
was their share of rent, power and groceries. Suddenly, they had access
to their pensions. They were rich! In return, I was paid a carer's pension
by the government so I cost them nothing. They had never had it so good
- a comfortable, large furnished house, a 7-day cook, and all the shopping
and maintenance taken care of. They had never seen rump steak or T-bones
at the boarding house but they regularly did here, as well as roast chicken,
fresh seafood, etc., all the things enjoyed by "normal" people.
Come to think of it, the boarding house manager never treated L&S
as equals. They were always frightened of him and never dared question
his authority. But then I came along, treated them as equals and have been
taken for granted ever since.
Wet, wet, wet is the way it's been here for about a week. Bleh. But
from tomorrow the clouds will have cleared and it'll be sunny for the following
week with temps in the mid to late 20s... almost summery. Perfect for a
mini Odyssey, yes? Only one prob... I'm skint after paying all those insurance
bills, plus $500 for the new radiator and $300 for Andrew, with the $650
insurance excess for the awning incident still to come. Never mind, once
the smoke clears, I'll be back on track to start saving again... provided
those pesky power poles stay outta my way.
But back to the wet for a tick, farmers in the eastern states of Oz
are thrilled about all the rain they've had recently, which has improved
livestock prices at saleyards and turned parched fields into lush green
pastures. It's also radically improved the prospects of winter crop plantings.
Not all drought areas were fortunate to get rain but that's how it is on
the land. Some get lucky and some don't. But their turn will come eventually.
From the Beeb: New satellite images from Japan have shown about 10
objects that could be debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight
MH370. Japanese officials quoted by Kyodo news agency said the objects
were in an area of the southern Indian Ocean close to previous sightings
of possible debris.
The UN General Assembly has approved a resolution describing the
Moscow-backed referendum that led to Russia's annexation of Crimea as illegal.
It comes after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed to a loan deal
with Ukraine worth
President Barack Obama says six million people have signed up for
health insurance through his signature healthcare overhaul programme. Mr
Obama announced the figure in a conference call with supporters days before
the end of the sign-up period for new enrolees. The figure falls short
of the White House's initial
goal of seven million.
Well, despite the fiscal cupboard being a bit bare, I popped into Sanity
while I was at the Mall shopping and started my DVD collection with Great
Gatsby, Behind the Candelabra, Avatar and Gladiator. Four movies for $50
which ain't bad. And somewhere down the track I can either sell or swap
them. There are a stack of movies I would never watch in a fit so I'd rather
buy this way than bulk on eBay where you never quite know what you're getting.
Back at home I found out the hard way that you can't copy them to flash
drive hehe, but this comp and the 18" TV have DVD players.
And that's it for today, Ls & Gs... time for a little telly. Gary
March 27, 2014. There ya go, through the magic of the internet,
my compulsory third party vehicle insurance is paid and PJ is registered
for another 12 months... all on line. Too easy. Trouble is, Lindsay has
discovered the ease and convenience of having his share of the rent and
power transferred from his bank account to mine automatically, which means
I don't have a brass razoo on me to pay Stan the Lawn Man. He likes the
old cash-in-hand routine.
I know that tipping in the US is widespread and, in certain establishments
like bars, it's the only way some workers get paid. So how does electronic
payment affect people who rely on tips? Back in the days when I regularly
frequented restaurants, paying by credit card involved "the bill", an itemized
account to which you added your tip, signature and card for collection
by the waiter. I gather that's all changed with the introduction of scanners
and PINs. Anyway, bugger tipping. I'm a poor pensioner these days.
From the Beeb: Field Marshal Abdul Fattah al-Sisi has announced that
he has resigned as Egypt's military chief in order to stand for the presidency.
In a widely expected announcement, he said on state TV he was appearing
"in my military uniform for the last time". Field Marshal Sisi led the
overthrow of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in July after mass opposition
protests. Correspondents say he is likely to win the presidency, given
his popularity and the lack of any serious rivals. Thank
god I'm an Aussie!
The US and EU are discussing "deeper sanctions" against Russia if
there are "further incursions into Ukraine". US President Barack Obama
said "energy is obviously a central focus of our efforts", acknowledging
it "will have some impact on the global economy". He was speaking after
talks in Brussels with EU leaders. In a keynote speech later, he said Russians
"will recognise that they cannot achieve security, prosperity and status...
European aviation giant Airbus has signed a deal to supply 70 jets,
worth more than $10bn (£6bn), to China's state-owned purchasing agency.
The deal had been on hold because of a row between the EU and outside countries
over carbon emissions tax on flights. The breakthrough came during a state
visit to France by the Chinese president, Xi Jinping. Now
that's what I call a big ticket item.
Male university students in North Korea are now required to get the
same haircut as their leader Kim Jong-un, it is reported. The state-sanctioned
guideline was introduced in the capital Pyongyang about two weeks ago,
Radio Free Asia reports. It is now being rolled out across the country
- although some people have expressed reservations about getting the look.
don't blame them. What a nerd.
Speaking of nerds, or those accused of being thus, our Prime Minister
Tony Abbott has reintroduced damehoods and knighthoods to the Australian
honors list. Critics, including those who favor Australia becoming a republic,
say Abbott is turning back the clock. It doesn't really bother me one way
or the other because titles don't mean much to me. Coming from a rogue
Irish background I would never curtsey to Betty or refer to her as your
royal highness or majesty. Nor would I ever call a judge your honor or
worship. Sir or madam is about as far as I'll go and I'm even reluctant
to do that. I have nothing against Betty or judges - it's just that I don't
believe in a class system. Here's
a link to the story.
Good thing I never served in the military. I would have been permanently
in the brig.
And here we are, at the end of a shortie. Back tomorrow with.... who
March 26, 2014. FL Josh researched "homely": I noticed the
article on Chrysler talked about changes to the Chrysler Sebring aimed
at "minimizing the fundamental homeliness" of the model, which I took that
to mean the fundamental ugliness of the model. I found online dictionary
definitions supporting my understanding of the words homely meaning "not
pretty or handsome : plain or unattractive" and homey meaning "comfortable
or familiar like home" but then I Googled for a British definition, and
looking for British definitions of "English" words gets tricky online because
in the great swallow of the internet, those terms are to most, synonymous,
but I finally found one saying that when homely is used to refer to a person,
to the British, it means "warm and domesticated in manner or appearance"
whereas to those in the US and Canada, it means "plain or ugly."
I personally have never heard the word used to mean anything other than
There ya go. As Winston Churchill said in a speech at Harvard; "The
United States and Great Britain are two countries separated by a common
NC Art also commented: Homely and homey still give trouble, eh. When
my daughter was I high school, we hosted an exchange student from England
who got off on the wrong foot by pronouncing as “homely” the bedroom we
had carefully furnished for her. My wife’s eyes turned to steel until I
recalled the term from my war years in that tight little island. Language
misinforms and misleads as well as it communicates meaning.
Then there is a phrase spoken rapid-fire in a thick Cockney dialect
which threw me for a loop one fine evening. While trying to navigate a
call from a public telephone box, the operator threw this at me: Presbutnaye!
After a round of huhs and whatsays I finally discovered that I was supposed
to press button A. I mumbled “sorry” and got her reply quite clearly: “I
should think you would be!” So much for us dumbass Yanks.
Josh went on to say that a potted plant is what I meant when I said
pot plant. True. He also suggests that the portable antenna sitting on
a pole outside might require adjustment. GNs check the position of the
nearest transmitter on the internet and point their antennas accordingly.
a multi-directional as well. Or is that omni? And Netflix? Netflix
is not in Oz but there are Australian alternatives. The problem with downloading
movies or watching them streaming live is the ISP cost of downloading/uploading
data. It's prohibitive. Ditto using a plug-in USB television receiver.
As to books, I don't have the patience - my mind keeps wandering. I have
a hyperactive brain. Busier than a one-armed bricklayer in Baghdad. The
only way I can get the damn thing to stay focused on one project is to
be either physically engaged in that project or writing about it.
Soooooooo, when camped at a place where there's no TV or internet signal
(rarely I would think), and it's raining cats and dogs, and I'm bored to
tears, the best option to amuse myself is to have a collection of DVDs.
I can build a collection over time by spending $20 a week. When I have
a decent assortment, I can swap with other GNs from time to time to keep
it fresh. Yeah?
Another way of relieving the boredom is to take an umbrella on a photo
shots can be very effective and interesting. It's not something one
would normally do on a wet day but "out there" in adventureland anything
goes. Actually, it's raining now. I keep looking out the window and
thinking 'will I or won't I? Nah. Nuttin' around here I ain't seen before.
It's all boring.' But "out there", that won't be the case - or an excuse.
From the Beeb: The search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370
has resumed after weather conditions in the southern Indian Ocean improved.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa) says 12 aircraft are taking
part in Wednesday's operations. Some relatives of the passengers are refusing
to accept their deaths, saying no wreckage has been found. There were angry
scenes after Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said analysis of satellite
data showed the plane had almost certainly ended its journey in
the southern Indian Ocean.
In Pictures: Mini enthusiasts gather at Brooklands. Ah, yes,
the wonderful little Mini. I owned only one in the mid '70s but it
was impressive and fun.
How's this for luck? The other day I bought ten $2 lottery tickets in
sequential order. Yeah? And yesterday I won a prize... a free ticket for
being one off a prize winning number. Hello? Ten consecutive numbers and
I win a one off? Sheesh. At least my tale of woe is not as bad as Lindsay's.
He's not at the "office" today so I assume he's blown his nestegg on the
slots... Sue's $8000 and his own couple of grand. He's done it before -
once back in the early 2000s when as Sue's carer I had to get the bank
to deny him access to Sue's account. He'd blown the lot. But then, a few
years later, the bank issued him with a debit card (to replace his passpook)
and asked if he'd like it linked to both his and his wife's accounts. Dumb
teller. That was about the time of my cancer op so I was no longer Sue's
How did I know the card was linked to both his and Sue's accounts? Because
he was paying Sue's half of the rent and power without having to ask her
to sign a withdrawal form. Ditto medical bills, etc. He thinks I don't
notice these things but I notice EVERYTHING. However, I refrain from commenting.
I don't want him to know that I know what he thinks I don't.
So what's it gonna be like being free of dickheads? It was back in '89
when my ex-biz partner talked me into financing a production team to develop
a TV program which ultimately cost me my house and put me on the professional
slippery-slope. Since then, 25 years ago, I've been surrounded by dickheads.
Is it me? Is there something about me that attracts crooks and loopies?
I dunno. But as soon as I can munch on a pizza, I'm outta here - free as
a bird with not a single soul to bother me. For the first time in a quarter
of a century, my life will be my own to live as I please. Imagine that.
The Odyssey will be about a number of things including discovering who
I am. One of my clients when I ran my own copywriting biz said, "Gary,
you're so self-effacing." I had no idea what he was talking about until
he explained. "You're a very talented advertising writer and yet you arrive
here at the agency on
your bicycle and come into my office wearing your yellow helmet as
if that were the norm." He drove a V12 Jaguar coupe. Hehe.
Well, to me it was the norm. One time I was all ready to collect a famous
Australian golfer from Sydney airport in my VW camper when my ex-biz partner
insisted on hiring a Hertz BMW. He sat in the back and asked me to drive.
When the golfer got into the car, I turned on the ignition and the radio
blared. Do you think I could find the volume button? "It's all about image,"
my ex used to say. Yeah, right. Image schmimage. He was fulla shit.
So, PJ, in all her humble and self-effacing glory, is an integral part
of the Odyssey, just as my bicycle and yellow helmet were an integral part
of my copywriting business. No airs, no graces, no bullshit. How refreshing!
One time, the director on a shoot for the TV program I was involved
with yelled, "Where's the script?" We
were shooting a golf match that day with Greg Norman and 3 other people,
another golfer and two fishermen. "How are you supposed to script a golf
match?" I asked. And that's the way the Odyssey will be. No script. Each
adventure will unfold as the sun rises on a new day, and I'll never know
quite what to expect. But I'll be there with my cameras and keyboard at
So who is Gary Kelly? You'll have to wait a while for the answer to
that question. I reckon Gary Kelly hasn't blossomed yet hehe. Ask me again
in five or ten years.
It's exciting really. Most geezers my age are writing their memoirs
and reminiscing about their careers. I'm a late starter. Gary
March 25, 2014. Andrew was a good find. He not only takes care
of all the auto electrics but also jobs like TV antenna installation and
a wall bracket. He should be here shortly.
Speaking of TVs, FL Josh wrote: Back to your comment, "a telly adds
a touch of homeliness to PJ.???" Could it be that you meant
to say "a telly adds a touch of homeyness to PJ.???" I could understand
a TV making PJ more homey but if it is making PJ more homely, that must
be one ugly TV.
Come to think of it, I have heard American references to homely as it
relates to looks, as in a girl's appearance. But I don't think it's used
here in Oz. "Odd" is another word that has a different meaning here. We
often use "odd" to mean occasional, as in going to the cinema to watch
the odd movie, or the pub to have the odd beer.
Meanwhile, Steve W feels that my reference to "tenting" yesterday needs
clarification: just wondering if the use of the ruler under the bed
clothes was actually pretending ……that were you making “a tent” anyway?
I remember in my teenage years I constantly had “a tent”, no make that
“big top”, going on.
Ah yes, I remember now - Cody often mentioned tent when he spoke
of Speedos. Seems I'm back to my innocent self now that Code's no longer
with us. Or maybe it's just age catching up with me.
Well, there ya go... my antenna and pole fit nicely into the storage
bin and all the wiring/leads are done, as is the wall bracket. The pole
comes in three detachable sections with the antenna permanently fixed to
the top section. The bottom of the pole is open-ended so I'll get a large
plastic tent peg to hammer into the ground and then place the pole over
top. Too easy. Yep, a portable pole is much better than a permanent fixture
that affects PJ's height and wind resistance. Also there are no drilled
holes or waterproofing to worry about.
Now all I gotta do is get the nod from NRMA insurance about having the
new awning installed and I'll be sweet.
From the Beeb: When we think of the US Declaration of Independence,
the signature of the founding father John Hancock often comes to mind.
More than two centuries after its signing, his handwriting is instantly
recognisable and his name has even become slang to describe any signature.
A new exhibition at the National Archives in Washington explores the stories
behind the famous and little known signatures that have made their mark
on history. But electronic methods of communicating - email, Twitter, Facebook
- have more or less replaced the need for pen and ink. Most of us today
don't even sign cheques, and legal documents are just as valid online as
they are in print. So what will history make of our email sign-offs? Can
a text from a cell phone reveal anything about the sender? The
BBC's Jane O'Brien finds out.
Authorities in the US state of Washington have found six more bodies
after Saturday's huge landslide, bringing the number known to have been
killed to 14, say police. Officials now say as many as 176 people may remain
unaccounted for after the 177ft (54m) wall of mud hit near the town of
Oso, north of Seattle. Search crews have worked day and night, using helicopters
and laser imaging. But officials admit they have little hope of finding
survivors in the muck.
When a formerly top-shelf athlete is demoted to the minor leagues,
there are two options. One, fight like Hades to get back to the bigs. Two,
acknowledge with grace and humility – or with tantrums and finger-wagging
– that you’re slouching toward the twilight. Chrysler has wisely opted
for option one. The brand launched its fully redesigned 200 mid-size sedan
at Louisville Slugger Field in the US state of Kentucky, home of the minor
league affiliate to the Cincinnati Reds baseball club. And
whaddaya know, the article uses the word 'homeliness'.
The wall bracket for the TV is a fairly heavy duty one able to carry
35kgs but my 18" LCD is more like 2 or 3kgs. As a consequence, the bolts
supplied with the bracket are way too big for the back of the TV. Which
brings me to the Nuts and Bolts shop in Taree. It's been there forever
in the industrial part of town - a drab brick warehouse with a well-worn
track across the lawn to the narrow front door. Inside on the concrete
floor are scores of metal cabinets with open shelves stocked with thousands
of nuts and bolts and washers and whatever of all sizes and descriptions.
Behind the counter are a couple of old blokes who know all there is to
know about nuts and bolts. I heard about it a few years ago from a chemist
who said her handyman father often goes there, sometimes just for a look
around. So, that's where I'll sort out my bracket bolts and washers. Incidentally,
you can buy what you need, even if it's only 4 bolts and 4 washers hehe.
Hang on a tick. Why doesn't a bloke check the box the TV came in to
see if there are any screws/bolts already supplied for a wall mount? Hello?
Guess what? Yeah... forget I mentioned the Nuts and Bolts place.
God knows what time it is in Florida but it's after 4pm here and Josh
just emailed his concern about my my intended purchase of a "pet": You
mentioned the idea of a pot plant in PJ. Is that legal in Oz?
Here in the States, that would send you off on an entirely different odyssey!!!
Har-de-har as Wingnut used to say with added embellishment. I wonder
what Billeeeeeee does about that? He's a self-confessed pot-head. But,
no, my pot plant will be a far less controversial species - more your ordinary
backyard garden variety - perhaps a flowering cactus. I know the states
have border issues with fruit and vegetables (because of fruit fly and
certain diseases) but I think a plant will be okay.
Andrew commented today, "PJ must be just about ready?" Yes, it is but
I reminded him about my gum problem, then added that mini Odysseys were
still on the cards - short camps around the Mid North Coast, and there's
no shortage of those, including one about 15 minutes from his house. He
says he sees campers there all the time. He lives at Moorland about half
an hour up the highway on the western side. I've been up around that way
it's very pretty country.
Thanks for dropping in to Waffle, folks. See you again tomorrow. Gary
March 24, 2014. Is everything really bigger and better in Texas?
TX Greg says: Seems it wasn't that long ago I was telling you about
the huge overhead TV at the Cowboys Stadium (now called AT&T Stadium).
Well if that wasn't big enough our Texas Motor Speedway just finish, for
the moment, the world's
largest HD screen at 215 feet wide and 95 feet tall... Last week they
were testing that thing at night which made for some really spooky glow
in the clouds.
Speaking of TV (but not quite as big), I spotted something worth recording
this morning... at 11am there's a 2-hour doco, The Story of Mercedes Benz
which should be interesting. After that, there's a movie with Nicole Kidman,
And still on the topic of TV, FL Josh wrote: "a telly adds a touch
of homeliness to PJ.???" Yeah, like a doormat or curtains or a kitchen
sink. Just the look of a TV on the wall helps to turn a camper into a home.
I'm even toying with the idea of a small pot plant if I can figure a way
to keep the thing from becoming a missile during transit... something living
that flowers often. It'll be my pet.
Last night I saw a Hindu Indian standing in his undies in the Ganges.
Just before he plunged himself into the water he shouted "Aussie, Aussie,
Aussie, Oi! Oi! Oi!" The progam was about two Aussie families of Indian
origin that travelled to India for the "Holy Dip", the annual Hindu festival
that attracts about 30 million people to a single town on the banks of
the holy river.
And STILL on the topic of TV, Andrew just phoned to say he'll be here
tomorrow morning to work on the antenna pole and fittings.
Remember when I bagged that GN's shot of the rising full moon the other
day? His nick on the forum was Rowdy Rabbit, and he died shortly afterwards.
Oh, dear. Now I feel terrible. But I guess that's pretty much par for the
course on a forum frequented by oldies - they keep falling off the perch
more regularly than forums for younger peeps. I'm not sure what the average
age on the GN forum is but most of the members seem to be in their 60s
Yes, home sweet home. Gotta have a place that "feels" like home, even
if it's on the back of a truck. As a kid, I used my school ruler as a pole
under the bed covers to prop them up like a tent hehe, and pretend I was
camped somewhere. When people visited my little house in Glebe, I'd wait
till they were gone and then sit in the various chairs they occupied during
their visit to see the place from their perspective. More often than not,
I'd be tempted to rearrange things to improve the look and feel of the
room. I was forever rearranging that joint trying to get it "right". Anyway,
that's how I feel about PJ. When I return from a photo shoot or a bush
walk or whatever, I want to experience that "good to be home" feeling...
a sense of belonging no matter where I am.
Travellers who stay in motels and hotels and live out of a suitcase
are different. Obviously they don't mind being in unfamiliar territory
24/7, surrounded by things to which they have no sentimental attachment.
I'm sure I'd feel totally lost in those circumstances.
From the Beeb: Turkish forces have shot down a Syrian military jet
they say was violating their airspace despite warnings. Turkey's Prime
Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned such action by Syria merited a "heavy
response". But Syria accused Turkey of "blatant aggression", saying the
plane had been over Syrian territory at the time. The incident reportedly
occurred in an area where Syrian rebels and government forces have been
fighting for control of a border crossing. Turkey and Syria - once allies
more than 500 miles (800km) of border.
Nato's military commander in Europe has issued a warning about the
build-up of Russian forces on Ukraine's border. Supreme Allied Commander
Europe Gen Philip Breedlove said Nato was in particular concerned about
the threat to Moldova's Trans-Dniester region. "The problem with [Russian
President Vladimir] Putin is that he doesn't want to talk to - not only
to the Ukrainian government - but also to the Western leaders," Mr
Deshchytsia told the BBC.
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road is Elton John's best-selling and most enduring
album. Over a two-week recording binge, it grew from a single to a double
album, its 17 tracks including hits such as Bennie and the Jets and Candle
In The Wind. Its release came at an exciting period in the star's career.
His previous record, Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player, released
just nine months earlier, had become his first UK number one. Using a combination
of new and archive interviews, here is the story of the album by
the people who made it.
Well, so much for recording movies on free to air commercial networks.
The movie is broken up into several files. The first one plays for about
10 minutes and that's it. The other files don't play at all. Oh well, back
to the drawing board.
There's a bit of discussion on the GN forum about grammar and spelling.
This is a comment from Dorian who (I think) has a deliciously dry wit:
biggest annoyance is the pretentious old farts who write in SMS-ese like
their vacuous adolescent grandchildren. I don't understand this silly affectation,
but I did get an insight into the adolescent brain when one of them wrote
something like the following:
im having a problem with a hard drive model number abc123 (the
model number is in uppercase) ...
Apparently there really is a stigma surrounding the use of the Shift
(or Caps Lock) keys. Perhaps would-be nonconformists are terrified of being
ostracised by their peers.
To me, it seems that illiteracy has now become kewl. Perhaps it's
a bit like trying to disguise your baldness by shaving your head.
And that's it from me, dear Breth. Gary
March 23, 2014. TX Greg responded to Barnacle Bill's question
about touring the US: Now Gary think about it, what have you been saying
all these years about paying rent there on that house?
You didn't say how long Bill planned on touring here. I take it he
is planning on a few months at least if not longer in which case it would
be better to purchase an older used RV. Then he still would have something
to sell instead of flushing all that rent down the loo, right?
Yep, makes sense to me. I know a bloke here in Taree who planned a 12
month trip around Oz and decided to buy a new motorhome for about $100K.
He figured he could sell the MH for about $20K less than he paid, which
is pretty cheap for 12 months accommodation and transport. Cheap for him,
that is... he's worth a few bob.
There's also a GN on the forum who free camps in his MH and is always
buying new things for his rig. He's on a pension and uses the money he
saves on rent. I've been messaging him privately lately with basic tips
on photography so he just bought himself a refurbished Canon
It'll be interesting after being on the road for a year or so to see
just how much better off I am financially with no rent or power bills other
than gas and petrol.
From the Beeb: Two Chinese military planes have arrived in Perth
in Australia to join international search operations for the missing Malaysia
Airlines jet. Crews are scouring vast areas of the southern Indian Ocean
for a fourth day. Two sets of satellite images showing floating objects
in the area have raised hopes that the jet may be there. Fancy
that! Chinese military planes in Oz.
Russian troops have stormed a Ukrainian airbase in Crimea throwing
stun grenades and firing automatic weapons in the air. Reports say at least
one person was injured during the assault on Belbek base, near Sevastopol.
The base is now said to be under Russian control. Earlier, several hundred
unarmed protesters seized a Ukrainian naval base at Novofedorivka, western
Crimea. Russia formally annexed
the Ukrainian region on Friday.
In an emotionally-charged speech to both houses of parliament at
the Kremlin on 18 March, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a fierce
defence of his country's treaty to absorb Crimea. Crimean officials say
the peninsula voted overwhelmingly in favour of the move in a referendum.
But Kiev and the West have said the vote was illegal and that Moscow's
actions amount to a land grab. Here, BBC diplomatic correspondent Bridget
Kendall analyses key
moments from Mr Putin's historic speech.
Five people on a skydiving trip have been killed after their light
plane crashed at an airfield in Queensland, eastern Australia. The Cessna
206 hit the ground and burst into flames shortly after take-off on Saturday
at Caboolture Airport, north of Brisbane. The pilot, two skydiving instructors
two skydiving customers were killed, police said.
Major League Baseball is currently being played in Sydney at the converted
Sydney Cricket Ground, with the LA Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks
touring here - real Americans who look just like real people. Bloody amazing.
I'm not a fan of baseball (or cricket for that matter) so the only reason
the TV is on is because The Train Robbers with John Wayne and Ann Margret
was scheduled at 4pm. I was gonna record it to flash drive but the baseball
is running overtime! Drat! It's 4.30 now and there's no way the movie is
gonna make it. Double drat!
I checked one of the movie sites on the internet the other day and read
the terms and conditions. Yep, as I suspected, NO RECORDING! It's the same
with Lindsay's Austar (pay TV). But it's different with free to air telly.
FTA doesn't broadcast many movies but there are a few - oldies but goodies
- so I'll just check the TV program each day. I bought a 32GB flash drive
the other day. If I can fill it with movies it'll be handy on the Odyssey
when I'm out in the sticks with no signal.
Telly-watching is not something I associate with travelling Oz - I suspect
there'll be far more interesting things to occupy my time - but it'll be
useful to have available, and I do like to keep up with news and current
events. Besides, a telly adds a touch of homeliness to PJ.
Photography will be numero uno on the Odyssey with the journal a close
second. I was rummaging around in my bag of tricks today and discovered
things I'd forgotten like a set of lens filters, and two screw-on attachments:
wide-angle and telephoto. The wide-angle stretches my 18mm zoom down to
about 10 or 12 (like a fisheye) and the tele increases my 200mm zoom to
about 500. I don't think the quality is high but they're made in Japan
so I guess they're not too bad.
Anyway, time to beetle as Code used to say. Gary
March 22, 2014. Here's a goodie on the GN forum... understanding
BTW, Barnacle Bill is selling his Magnetic Island property and fishing
charter biz and thinking of touring the US in an RV. His question is, does
he rent an RV or buy one over there. Any suggestions or comments?
Yesterday, I was mystified as to where Google search disappeared to,
so TX Greg wrote: Well the Google search box is working this morning
on both the main index and the waffle index, so either you already fixed
it or it fixed itself. Ah, well there ya go. Definitely the latter
- I'm too dumb to know anything about fixing it.
And what a delightful Satdee morning it is! Sunny and bright and not
too hot. Lindsay is off to the office (pub and slots) and I daresay Sue's
$8000 legacy is dwindling rapidly. But that's his business.
Here I go with my Popeye and Bugs Bunny juice again. I cheat a little
now with bottled apple juice which I add to the freshly squeezed leafy
green and carrot. And it doesn't taste too bad despite looking a little
scary. Eeeek! I also discovered something about soup. Canned soups are
boring... usually too watery and lacking in substance. So one day I happened
to see a can of Harvest
braised steak and onions on spesh for a dollar, so I bought it without
thinking too much about it. The other day I pureed it and used some with
noodles but it turned into glop. Then I used the rest as a soup and whaddaya
know? It was great! Thick, tasty and filling as well as nutritious. So
that'll be my "soup" two or three times a week. I haven't been eating any
meat lately so the braised steak and onions will rectify that.
From the Beeb: The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane
has now entered its third week, with rescue teams scouring remote seas
in the Indian Ocean. Satellites detected debris two days ago 2,500 km (1,550
miles) south-west of Perth in Australia, but planes have so far failed
to track down the objects. The search in the Indian Ocean is being led
by the Australian
Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa).
Pope Francis has launched a stinging attack on the mafia, warning
gangsters that they will go to hell unless they repent and stop doing evil.
"Blood-stained money, blood-stained power, you can't bring it with you
to your next life. Repent," he said. He was speaking at a prayer vigil
for relatives of those killed by the mafia. "There's still time to not
end up in hell, which is what awaits you if you continue on this path."
they'll believe it.
A US federal judge has struck down a ban on gay marriage in the state
of Michigan. Two Detroit-area nurses successfully argued that the ban violated
their rights under the US constitution. One local official said she would
start issuing marriage licences to same-sex couples from Monday, but the
state is planning to lodge an appeal.
US First Lady Michelle Obama's week-long visit to China which began
on Thursday has generated mixed reaction in the media. Xinhua hails her
trip as "a stroke of 'gentle diplomacy' on the part of Washington" , while
the Chinese edition of the Global Times says that it could help dispel
mistrust between China and the US. It explains that "pure friendly interactions"
could prove to be more effective that "any other measures" when it comes
to building trust between the two countries. Other
media take a different view of Michelle Obama's visit.
Here it is late afternoon and I've been naughty, just buggerizing around
and being lazy. So it was a good thing FL Josh wrote: Here is a collection
of overlooked pictures from
right after WW II. I spent quite a while being transfixed by those
photos. Definitely worth a look!
And then, Josh wrote again with this: Here are 24 of the winners
of the 2014 Sony
World Photography Awards. Goes to show that photography is not
just a matter of pointing and shooting - although some of the prize winners
were exactly that (albeit by an experienced shooter).
So I guess you could say that today's blog is more of a Joshle than
a Waffle hehe. Thanks, Josh. All good stuff. Gary
March 21, 2014. Easy come, easy go. Not surprisingly, the email
sent to me yesterday saying I was the beneficiary of $2M was too good to
be true as TX Greg wrote: It is a scam. Just
Googled "tom crist scam" and got over 100,000 results.
Just glad to hear the new cam works great :) Me too!
FL Josh was also on the trail: Okay, I'll bite. . . what's a TAB?
Totalizator Betting. The Tote was an on-course government operated betting
facility at race meetings where you could choose to bet with private bookmakers
or the Tote. Usually, you got better odds with the bookies. Then I think
it was about the '70s that the government established betting shops in
cities and towns called the TAB to counteract the proliferation of illegal
betting shops and individual bookies operating from home. The TAB was eventually
sold to private enterprise as was State Lotteries but the governmecnt still
rakes in the taxes. There was an illegal SP (starting price) bookie in
our street when I was a kid. He had a brand new Holden while the rest of
the neighbors struggled with old bombs.
And as for you being chosen to receive funds from Tom Crist, gimmee
a break. Did the email contain personal information to show you how
he learned about your predicament, (no) and how he had seen your
website, (no) and how he wants to help you travel around Oz and
take pictures? (No). The email didn't ask any details about myself
or provide a clickable link apart from the news item about Crist.
Did you try Googling "Tom Crist email scam"? (No. Can I go now?).
BTW, Josh also wrote yesterday: Here is a link to a very inspiring
person, double amputee Amy Purdy. Talk about making lemonade when
the world gives you lemons. . . A remarkable lady indeed!
Also yesterday, I received a snail-mail letter from the insurance company
acting for one of the owners of the cars damaged by my awning spill the
other week. They wanted my quote number and details about my insurance
company, so they're obviously not in any great hurry. Today is 2 weeks
since the accident and nothing's happened so far regarding repairs. Bleh.
Remember my moon shoot? I had to postpone it because of PJ's radiator
repair. But a GN camping at Green's Lake took a photo. That's MY moon he
shot, and he didn't even do it properly. Nonetheless, other GNs commented
on how great the shot is. Great, my ass. It's overexposed and out of focus,
likely caused by pressing the shutter without pausing half way to allow
the camera to set exposure and shutter speed. AND it's badly composed.
it out. See what happens when people don't know what they're doing?
Next full moon is April 15 with the moonrise at 5.30pm. Daylight saving
ends at the end of this month so it should be dark when the moon rises
in April. Hopefully, the weather and all other variables will be cooperative
for my moon shoot. I have a dental appointment the following morning so
I'll do the shoot locally, just down the road on the bank of the Manning.
Come to think of it, I'll check out the scene the day before to see exactly
where the moon rises.
One of my ab fab cars is the '48 Ford, like
the one in Karate Kid, so this vid is of particular interest to me.
Josh sent the link along with this note: I received an email today of
the death of Frank Hagerty, founder of Hagerty Insurance for antique and
collector cars, 79. I have my '63 Valiant insured through them. Here
is a video in memory of Frank and his quest to locate one of the nine
original 1948 Fords that became Sleeping Bear Dunesmobiles, and which he
got a job driving when he was a teen, until they found out he did not have
the required chauffeur's license as he was too young to get one.
From the Beeb: An international search of the southern Indian Ocean
has resumed for a second day as authorities try to locate a missing Malaysian
airliner. Four military planes, including two Orions belonging to the Royal
Australian Air Force, are taking part in the search, the Australian Maritime
Safety Authority (Amsa) said
in a statement.
On 23 March 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act
into law, promising quality, affordable healthcare for all Americans. Four
years later, a survey from the Pew Research Center found that the majority
of Americans still don't support the law. But as the deadline to sign up
for coverage looms on 31 March, the number enrolled in healthcare has now
passed five million. If
Oz didn't have Medicare I'd be as dead as a doornail.
An Indian comedian aiming to skewer India's skin lightening culture
has filmed a satirical advert for an intimate skin lightening cream - especially
for men. Its creators say they want to highlight "the absurdity of the
trend" in which lighter skin is considered more desirable. The video has
been viewed more than 200,000 times since it was posted
on YouTube on Friday. The
rest of the Beeb story is here.
The former leader of a US church that was widely known for its inflammatory
anti-gay protests has died, his family has said. The Reverend Fred Phelps
Sr, founder of the Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas, died on Wednesday
evening at 84. The church, made up mostly of his family, rose to international
notoriety with its practice of picketing funerals of fallen US troops.
It claimed their deaths were punishment for America's tolerance of gays.
Reverend? Not in my book.
Grubs like Phelps are nothing more than low-life advocates of hatred
and discrimination who use the Bible to support their claims. The Bible
is useful in that respect; it can be used by just about anyone to support
any cause, good or evil, depending on how it's interpreted... rather like
a gun. Might is right, and there's no one mightier than the Almighty? Righty?
Just back from a little shopping, including a small bottle of Mylanta
antacid. Been getting a lotta reflux lately for some reason. The trip was
also my first drive since the new rearview cam was installed and it's great,
with a good, clear view - better clarity than the old cam even with a smaller
And now it's time for me to say hooroo kangaroo, zippety do Woolloomooloo
wallaby stew! Hang on a tick! Where the hell did the Google search engine
disappear to on AO? How strange! Gary
March 20, 2014. Andrew, Andrew, wherefore art thou? We've had
a few showers this morning so I hope it fines up for Andrew's arrival.
Meanwhile, yesterday I got a bit adventurous and made two trifles, this
time with lime jelly, lamingtons (sponge cake with chocolate and desiccated
coconut), sherry and custard hehe. Lindsay has his doubts about the lime
and chocolate. But what the hell, you only live once.
Steve W responded to yesterday's mention of the Thai elephants and sent
a couple of pics: An elephant joins us for breakfast...
And here's one emerging from a clump of bamboo...
Big fellas, aren't they? Good thing they don't jump all over you like
dogs do. Down, boy! Down, boy!
It's raining pretty heavily now, but that's okay. Andrew's been and
gone. The new rearview cam works really well, with a crystal clear image
on the monitor and an extra wide view. The monitor is better situated too
on the dash. I cut a slit in the dash mat so it pokes through no worries.
So as far as I'm concerned, this is TX Greg's prezzie. As to the old one,
well that's all part of the learning curve, and it's not the first or last
mistake I'll ever make. All's well that ends well, I reckon, and that's
all that really matters.
Before it began to rain again, Andrew showed me a short roof-mounted
pole for the antenna. However, after discussing how it would be fixed to
the roof with screws and waterproofing, etc, and how it would affect the
height of the van as well as wind-resistance (sitting up there in a 100
km/h breeze) he suggested I might prefer a portable setup - a pole I can
stab into the ground at a camp site, onto which I can mount the antenna
and connect the cable. Yeah? Sounds like the way to go, folks! He would
have all the cabling and everything organized so that it's inside the storage
bin with the pole, AGM battery and inverter. A portable pole setup would
also mean I can move the antenna around and use the rabbit ears. So that's
settled, and he's gonna look around for a suitable pole. BTW, the antenna
is about the size of a small kite, 15" x 13" x 1", easy to stow and light
as a feather.
You know those emails you get from someone who says you're a beneficiary
of a large amount of money? Well, I've had a few over the years, mainly
from African states, but the one I received today is a bit different. It's
supposedly from this
guy, Tom Crist, who won a Canadian lottery and is giving all the money
away to charity, namely cancer charities. In the email, it says to contact
his barrister Morgan Martins via email. The email addy has a New Zealand
address. That seems a bit suspicious, right? A Canadian with a barrister
in New Zealand? Well, except for a report on the globalnews item that says
Tom Crist is travelling South East Asia. Hmmm.
So it occurred to me that maybe - maybe - Tom read about my battle with
cancer on this web site and thought I deserved a bit of a break after all
the crap I've been through, and also read about my plans to tour Oz on
the smell of an oily rag. Yeah? Possible - maybe. Then I Googled Morgan
Martins barrister from New Zealand and couldn't find a match. Hmmm again.
Lastly I sent TX Greg the email addy to check it out and see if he can
find something odd about it.
What a bummer to think there's a chance this might be genuine but in
all probability is not, and is nothing but a dirty rotten scam. Dammit.
How to ruin a bloke's day.
From the Beeb: Two objects have been seen that could possibly relate
to the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, Australian PM Tony Abbott has announced.
Australian vessels have been searching in the southern Indian Ocean for
the aircraft, which disappeared on 8 March with 239 people on board. Mr
Abbott said the objects had
been identified on satellite imagery.
The death of fashion designer L'Wren Scott has been ruled suicide
by hanging, New York City authorities say. The cause of death was announced
by the office of the medical examiner after Scott's body was discovered
in her flat by her assistant on Monday. Police earlier said there was no
sign of foul play and no note was found. So
many questions, so few answers. Poor Mick.
Should we worry about natural resources running out? As Rachel Nuwer
discovers, that’s the wrong way of looking at a far more complex problem.
Of all the world’s materials, which one will “run out” first? The more
we consume as a society, the more we hear about how vital ores and minerals
are dwindling, so it seems logical to assume that
a few may be about to disappear.
Meanwhile, the TAB gave me a $10 voucher to use as a bet on any horse/dog
race I choose, so I checked out the races in QLD and chose a nag called
Gangsta for a place bet. If it runs a place (1st, 2nd or 3rd) the TAB takes
its $10 back and I get to keep what's left. If it doesn't run a place,
the TAB loses its $10 and it costs me nothing.
And that's my story for today,,, rear view cam, a philanthropist's beneficiary,
a TAB freebie, a technicolor trifle and elephants. That's quite a mix!
March 19, 2014. And there goes another irrigation - and I'm not
even a farmer. Speaking of strange terms, FL Josh wrote: In paragraph
3 of the Waffle for the 18th, you say, "Back from the elephants."
What does that mean. Is it an Australian colloquialism?
It is if you're talking about being drunk. If you're "elephants" (elephant's
trunk), you've had too much to drink. But in Steve's case, he spent a month
after Christmas in Thailand with a group of people dedicated to saving
elephants. This is what he wrote back in November: In Asia, in particular
Thailand, the plight of the elephants is different, but no less stressful
and unfortunately the result, much the same (as in Africa) - they are used
and abused. Can I point your readers to http://www.elephantphotographer.com/
and there are some links as to how we can all help - every bit counts,
even if it is simply awareness.
Andrew just called. He'll be here tomorrow about 10 to tackle the reversing
cam and then see how he goes for time regarding the other jobs. So that's
good - nothing wrong with a bit of progress.
I've been thinking about the kinds of places I'll visit on the Odyssey,
and how such places are normally frequented by day trippers and holiday
makers. They go there for the day, or occasionally for a week or two. And
then they return home. Bummer! I find it hard to get my head around the
fact that my visits won't have a time limit, and that home will be wherever
I happen to hang my hat. I still have strong memories of various places
I visited as a kid with my parents on weekends or school vacations - magical
places far removed from the daily humdrum of suburbia - scenes of beaches,
rivers and bushland settings - barefoot people in straw hats and sunnies
with nothing better to do than relax and enjoy the outdoors. But the reason
those memories have always been special to me is because they were out
of the ordinary events that contrasted strikingly with everday life. And
that's precisely what I find hard to get my head around... how could such
special times possibly become an everyday occurrence?
I strongly suspect that the only way to truly appreciate the nomad lifestyle
is to actually live it.
From the Beeb: Ukraine's military says an officer has been killed
in an attack on a base in Crimea, the first such death since pro-Russia
forces took control in February. Ukraine has now authorised its troops
to fire in self-defence. The attack came shortly after Russian President
Vladimir Putin and the leaders of Crimea signed a bill to absorb
the peninsula into Russia.
The Rolling Stones have postponed their Australia and New Zealand
tour after the death of Sir Mick Jagger's girlfriend L'Wren Scott. The
celebrated US fashion designer was found dead in her New York flat on Monday
in an apparent suicide. Sir Mick earlier said he failed "to understand
how my lover and best friend could
end her life in this tragic way".
Three decades after David Bowie's worldwide hit Let's Dance, the
remote Australian community where the video was shot is hoping its link
with a pop icon will save it from extinction. A
great read and insight into the harshness of the Aussie Outback.
Hmmm, well that's a shortie! Never mind. Seeya tomorrow. Gary
March 18, 2014. Mid Coast Ford (under the Big Oyster) is a pretty
large set-up, with another branch half an hour away at Forster-Tuncurry.
And speaking of big, the bloke who drove me home (same bloke who came to
the rescue when PJ's awning spilled out the other week) pointed
to a Ford Ranger parked in the service area and said, "That's the replacement
for your Courier, Gary." My Courier looks like a baby by comparison. He
has a '99 turbo diesel 4WD model, the one after mine, which is also bigger
but not as big as the new Ranger. He uses his for fishing (towing the boat)
and taking stuff to the local dump.
Anyway, my little bus will have a new radiator installed later today
and I'm pretty chuffed about that. I hope to get many miles out of that
old girl before we part company.
Back from the elephants, Steve W wrote: I appreciate your frustration
at the delay of you heading off. It also frustrates me! You will get there
mate……..I just hope I’m still around to see it!
Hey, gimme a break, it won't be that long before I hit the road!
I’m sure you have mentioned which Nikon you have but cannot recall.
I have always been an Olympus man but just acquired a second hand Nikon
D200 and the difference in “the feel” of the Nikon is amazing. Also what
do use for post production? Have just bought Lightroom and whilst still
playing, I find it amazing. Its a whole new world. Can’t wait for you to
go out and capture it for us all.
I had an Olympus OM1 for years - great camera. The Nikon is a D3100
which is the entry level model for DSLR photography. Nonetheless, it's
pretty sophisticated. As to post production, most of my shots are straight
from the camera. I do very little post, and when I do I use a freebie called
Photoscape for the basics. The pic below is straight from the camera except
Lightroom is often mentioned on Red Bubble by serious photographers,
but I wouldn't have a clue what it's all about. Yesterday, I experimented
with selective focus which I rather fancy for certain situations.
TX Greg wrote this response to my comment yesterday about needing to
get "out there"... "I need stimulation!" HAHAHA ... and sent this
Texans are like that ya know. Subtle they ain't.
But back to photography, yes, it's a winderful hobby if you can learn
to think outside the square and open your mind to all sorts of creative
possibilities. The trick, according to many successful photographers, is
to understand how the camera sees the world as opposed to the way our eyes
do. Once you appreciate the differences, you can take advantage of them.
From the Beeb: Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree
recognising Crimea as a sovereign state, paving the way for it to be absorbed
into Russia. The decree said it had taken into account Sunday's referendum
in Crimea, in which officials said 97% of voters backed breaking away from
Ukraine. The EU and US said the referendum was illegal and imposed sanctions
on 21 officials from Russia and Ukraine. Crimea
was taken over by pro-Russian gunmen in late February.
Sir Mick Jagger is "completely shocked and devastated" by the apparent
suicide of his girlfriend, fashion designer L'Wren Scott, a spokesman says.
Scott, 49, was found at 10:00 local time (14:00 GMT) on Monday by her assistant
in her New York City flat. Police are understood to be treating it as a
suicide, though the medical examiner has yet to determine
an official cause of death.
Scientists say they have extraordinary new evidence to support a
Big Bang Theory for the origin of the Universe. Researchers believe they
have found the signal left in the sky by the super-rapid expansion of space
that must have occurred just fractions of a second after everything came
into being. It takes the form of a distinctive twist in the oldest
light detectable with telescopes.
Well, PJ's ready for collection and someone is on the way to give me
a ride! How cool! Will I take a pic of my new radiator? Nah. That would
be silly. Besides, you can't really see much of it. Since arriving back
home, I note that I still have my old cap, old fan, old hoses, etc. What's
new is the casing and core. Anyway, it's a good feeling to know I can drive
for as long and as far as I want without worrying about overheating.
With a bit of luck, Andrew will turn up later this week or Saturday
to do the TV wall bracket, digital antenna and reversing cam. Then I'll
fix the rego and insurances, and PJ will be sweet for another 12 months.
Oh yeah... the new awning. Not sure when that'll happen but I guess there's
no hurry. Sooner rather than later would be good though. :)
And now it's time for me to call it a wrap. Bye for now! Gary
March 17, 2014. St Patrick's Day! I'll wear one of Sean's Ts...
it's olive green so that'll do. According to Shane Leslie on today's calendar,
"Every St Patrick's Day, every Irishman goes out to find another Irishman
to make a speech to."
Back from the dentist and another irrigation - in and out in less than
10 minutes. I'm part of the furniture now so they're taking me for granted.
They squeeze me in between regular appointments cos it's a freebie on account
of Nancy's mistake to begin with. But now that Nancy is in Darwin, I don't
get the royal treatment any more.
New radiator tomorrow which will be nice - one more 'to-do' crossed
off the list. A few more to-dos, a bit of fancy fiscal shuffling, and then
I can get back to normal - and steer clear of power poles.
Funny how things can change in an instant. Everything's bowling along
nicely and then whammo... a sudden and unexpected change of plan. I noted
this morning the expression "ill-fated" as it pertained to Scott's expedition
to the Antarctic. Does that mean it was doomed to fail? How can anyone
know what is doomed or what is not? It's only in retrospect that events
are revealed. To my mind, fate and destiny can only exist if the future
exists, which it doesn't. Nor does the past exist. A fossil is not a thing
of the past, it's a thing of the present. All it does is reveal what happened
at a certain point in time, but it belongs to the here and now. And I'm
here to tell you that no one has ever found a fossil from the future hehe.
Gorgeous day today, 10 degrees cooler than yesterday but it's still
warm cos yesterday was bloody hot! And, yes, I've got the guilts about
being here instead of "out there". My Odyssey has to be the longest countdown
in history which is just as embarrasing as it is frustrating. And every
day like today is another day wasted.
One of the things I'm looking forward to is having the Nikon almost
permanently around my neck. Every new place I visit will be a treasure
trove of photographic opportunities and the more photos I take, the more
I'll learn about techniques. Half an hour ago I was out in the yard experimenting
with a few shots, but opportunities are pretty limited around here. I need
inspiration! I need stimulation!
Yep, imagine stepping through the door and into the vastness of the
outback, or a lush green valley ringed by mountains, or a beach that stretches
for miles... all at your doorstep, accessible 24 hours a day so that photos
can be taken when the light is at its optimum. Talk about kids and candy
stores. Seventh heaven!
The difficulty with photography, of course, is trying to get images
- especially of iconic subjects - that are different. There are thousands
of shots of Uluru, for example, that are pretty much the same. It's just
a big rock in the desert. But how big? Here's a shot that demonstrates
how big by
including a chopper in the picture. It's also been taken at either
sunrise or sunset to give it extraordinary luminescence.
I probably won't have the opportunity to shoot an aerial of Uluru (or
of anything else for that matter) so I'll have to look for other ways to
make my shots different. But that's my aim - to end up with a collection
of pics of Oz that stand out from the crowd. Otherwise what's the point?
The Sydney Harbor Bridge is another icon that's been photographed countless
here's a good shot. The photographer has omitted the northern pylon
but included the Opera House. Looks like the pic was taken from the Luna
Park wharf on the western side with a long exposure to smooth the harbor
water. Very noice.
From the Beeb: Some 95.5% of voters in Crimea have supported joining
Russia, officials say, after half the votes have been counted in a disputed
referendum. Crimea's leader says he will apply to join Russia on Monday.
Russia's Vladimir Putin has said he will respect the Crimean people's wishes.
Many Crimeans loyal to Kiev boycotted the referendum, and
the EU and US condemned it as illegal.
Some 25 countries are now involved in a vast search operation for
the missing airliner that disappeared over a week ago, Malaysian officials
say. The search area - from central Asia to the southern Indian Ocean -
takes in large tracts of land and sea. An already complex search operation
has become even more difficult, Malaysia's acting transport minister says.
Crew, passengers and ground staff are being investigated after it was confirmed
the jet was commandeered.
Do you log in or log on? Do you log off or log out? I see all versions
so I guess they're all correct.
Time for my Popeye drink. Bleh. Actually, it looks worse than it tastes
(if you're not particularly partial to lawn clippings).
And that's it said the button battery in my clock. No warning, no nuttin
- just seeya later. But I had a spare didn't I? A couple of spares, in
fact. However, it's also time for me to say that's it... for today that
March 16, 2014. Homophobia... one
of the great speeches of all time, in my opinion. Not to mention a
tribute to the eloquence of the Irish.
Did I say my name is Gary Patrick Thomas Francis O'Dooley Kelly? There
What a lovely morning, sunny and bright with ne'er a breath of wind.
Autumn is wonderful because we get cooler mornings and evenings with summer
daytimes. No autumn colors here in the sub tropics though - that's the
preserve of cooler climes like Canberra which is famous for its thousands
of deciduous trees planted throughout the city.
FL Josh sent a link to a bunch of historic photos that have been colorized,
giving them a magical quality that eerily brings them into the present.
most impressive collection. Thanks, Josh.
Just got a call from the owner of the second car damaged by PJ's awning.
The cops told him I was just out of hospital so he thought he'd wait a
couple of weeks. The cops were right about a second car, dammit. Good thing
I had comprehensive insurance on the vehicle - repairs to even minor damage
these days is horrendously expensive. The bloke's name is Warren, same
as my younger bro, with an uncanny likeness in his voice as if my bro had
done a Lazarus. Spooky!
As I suspected, Lindsay did the no, no, no trick when I asked him if
he could record a movie or two for me on USB. He automatically sprang to
the conclusion that it was all too complicated - until I explained that
I plug a USB stick into the TV and he simply presses record at the start
and end of the movie. If he's sitting there watching pay TV, it's no big
deal to press a button and record direct to USB. So then he relaxed and
said there are a couple of good movies coming up soon and he'll happily
oblige. I'm not sure pay TV channels encrypt movies during broadcast so
that they can't be recorded or won't replay in another device like a TV
or computer from a USB stick. Do you know if that's the case or not?
One of the great things about owning a ute, is that there's only half
a car to wash... especially on a hot day like today with the sun threatening
to turn roads into rivers of lava. For some reason the camper doesn't seem
to attract dirt - maybe it's that grooved siding that directs the wind
in a particular way so that it blows the dirt off. However, I suspect two
hours on a dirt road might put paid to that theory.
NC art wrote to say he's had experience with scammers: Scamnation!
Yeh, the scammers will getcha if you don’t watch out … and even when you
do. Awhile back while merrily Googling away, a pesky window popped up and
while trying to get rid of the thing I clicked a misleading option. A week
later I got a cheap watch in the mail and a charge of $95.00. While battling
the buzzards about that, a second watch arrived. That was too much. A call
to their California office and a promise that they would hear next from
the attorney general of North Carolina got their immediate attention. I
also advised that the watches were in the dust bin in case they wanted
to pick them up.
Next day my account was cleared of all charges. They don’t like the
FBI on their tail I suppose. The language of these scammers is hard to
decipher and easy to bollix up trying to get them out of one’s hair.
Yep, they place a big X in the corner of the window to make you think
that's the way to get rid of it, but clicking it does exactly the opposite.
Those crooks are not even subtle!
From the Beeb: Crimea is set to vote on whether to re-join Russia
or stay with Ukraine - a referendum condemned as "illegal" by Kiev and
the West but backed by Moscow. Russian troops have taken de facto control
of the majority ethnic-Russian region, and voters are expected to support
leaving Ukraine. Crimean Tatars are boycotting the vote, pledging
their allegiance to Kiev.
My guess is that in ten years from now, after Ukraine has enjoyed the
benefits of being part of the EU, Ukraine will be prosperous while Crimea
languishes economically and regrets its decision to re-join Russia. Something
akin to the way it was with Russian occupied East Berlin.
The communications systems of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370
were deliberately disabled, Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak has said.
According to satellite and radar evidence, he said, the plane then changed
course and could have continued flying for a further seven hours. He said
the "movements are consistent with the deliberate
action of someone on the plane".
Richard Branson left school at the age of 16 and set up Student Magazine
with one of his friends. He went on to start Virgin Records in the 1970s
and is the founder of the Virgin Group. In the 1980s he formed Virgin Atlantic
airline and the 1990s saw the arrival of Virgin Mobile and Virgin Trains.
He is one of the most successful businessmen in the UK and an icon of entrepreneurship.
His latest project is Virgin Galactic, which he hopes will one day become
a space tourism company. Here
are his Top Ten Tips for success:
It was pretty wild and wet in Taree for about 10 or 15 minutes mid afternoon
as an electrical storm passed over. Lindsay arrived home with the news
that a few large trees had blown over uptown. The power was also down,
and closed a lot of businesses. It's only just come back on and it's after
So that means I better skedaddle for another day. Gary
March 15, 2014. The mash spud and tuna didn't work. Well, it
did but I don't have the saliva to help it along its merry way. Which brings
me to FL Josh: I was talking with a friend yesterday and he told me
his father has been diagnosed with cancer, it being located on his chin.
He said another relative of his had cancer of the mouth about five years
ago, and after all the radiation and other treatments, lost much of his
ability to make saliva but over the years, it returned. Maybe you
will have the same outcome.
It's not as bad as it was last year so it's improving slowly. Peeps
with normal saliva don't realize just how important it is to swallowing
Lately, I've been pestered by some Chinese bloke who wants my domain
name and says he'll get it whether I like it or not. So I forwarded his
reply to my response to TX Greg: It's
total scam trying to trick you Gary. I Googled the first line part
"Our company based in chinese office, our company has submitted the" and
got hundreds of results. And be careful as some of these are even including
contact info that seems to appear as even more real.
Thanks, Greg. They're out there - criminals and assholes - innocent
little babes in their mother's arms at one stage. I guess it's just the
way it is, and something up with which the rest of us must put. Makes you
wonder about people like Brett
Cowan, serial pedophile who's just been convicted of the rape and murder
of 13 y/o Daniel Morcombe on the Sunshine Coast in QLD. A TV station found
a clip of Cowan being interviewed in the street by a roving reporter some
20 years ago (he was a serial offender even back then) and he came across
as a very pleasant young man, a reformed druggie who was now a committed
Christian and all-round nice guy. What a monster that charming persona
was hiding! He's now 44, father of 3 children and, according to media reports,
has shown no remorse.
It's interesting how we study mug shots of criminals in an attempt to
find an indication of the evil that lurks within. But it's often not apparent,
which makes the rest of us all the more vulnerable.
From the Beeb: Russia and the US have "no common vision" on the crisis
in Ukraine, Russia's foreign minister has said, after talks with his US
counterpart. However Sergei Lavrov called his London meeting with John
Kerry "constructive". Mr Kerry said the US was "deeply concerned" about
Russia sending troops to the Ukraine
border and in Crimea.
Australia has announced it will buy unmanned surveillance drones
from the US to protect its borders and commercial interests. The fleet,
to be based in Adelaide, would provide the defence force "with unprecedented
maritime surveillance capabilities", PM Tony Abbott said. The drones would
also be used to protect energy resources, he added. The drones, which are
still being tested by the US navy, can remain airborne
for up to 33 hours.
in pictures: 8-14 March 2014.
And here I am after a bit of inner shedness drinking a glass of repulsive-looking
green stuff. The things a bloke has to do to get healthy! Why didn't god
put vitamins and minerals in Coke? Why is all the good stuff bad for you?
A classic period of automotive styling for Britain was during the 1950s,
and no British mark exemplifies the art better than Jaguar. Here's
a collection of images copied from newsgroups over time. These days,
of course, most new cars look like they were spat out of the same wind
If you've ever had an accident opening a can, you'll
And there goes another slow day... but after all the drama of the last
week or two, I'm not complaining. However, I am looking forward to all
the PJ jobs being done soon so that I can plan another mini Odyssey. Summer's
gone and winter's only a few months away! Gary
March 14, 2014. TX wrote: Well I'm sorry the cam prezzie took
a crap. How odd what you described about revving the engine and it would
come on. Perhaps maybe it was bad solder joint inside on the circuit board.
Just sad how cheap things are built today.
Yep, a real bummer! That occurred to me too Greg but I reserved comment
until I was aware of your feelings. Of all the things that went bung it
had to be your prezzie. According to Andrew, it's the monitor as well as
something to do with the transmitter. It died slowly, at first responding
to revving the engine but then later faded away completely. The new one
has a smaller monitor (3.5") which sits on the dash rather than hang from
the rear view mirror. I was thinking maybe Andrew can re-use some of the
wiring he's already installed.
As I checked prices on eBay, I noticed that very few reversing cams
are now available without wireless operation. Hopefully, this new one from
SuperCheap is less complicated and more robust, with less to go wrong.
As to the digital antenna, Barnacle Bill's got the same one and he says
it works a treat, although it's a little fragile for bush-bashing and being
walloped by overhanging branches. Hehe. He tends to venture where no man
dares in his quest for good fishing spots.
If I could just bore you with Andrew's assessment of the best place
for the TV wall mount. The rear wall near the door doesn't have the strength
to carry the load so
he's gone for the wardrobe, which was my original choice. But he's
figured out a way to brace the interior of the wardrobe with timber to
support the weight of the mount as well as the telly. It's the better spot
really cos it's on the same side as the inverter and power board. So it's
Stan the Lawn man was mowing when he saw me yesterday carrying the TV
to the camper and said, "Are you gonna instal a TV? What do you want a
TV for?" I ignored him cos I figured he was gonna say something about watching
TV when you're on holiday. So who's going on holiday? Not me. This will
be my permanent home. Does he have a TV at home? Of course he does. Stick
to the day job, Stan.
Here are a couple of pics I saw on a newsgroup this morning showing
"the good old days" before main streets were paved and motorists got bogged.
In a second incident, a helping hand from another motorist saved the day
by towing a stricken car out of the mud using reverse gear.
Imagine a scene from a Hollywood western with the street swept clean
of horse manure, while ladies in long dresses with parasols crossed from
one side to the other. Yeah, right. It must never have rained in the old
From the Beeb: Russia's ambassador to the United Nations has told
an emergency meeting of the Security Council that Moscow "does not want
war" with Ukraine. Vitaly Churkin was responding to a direct question from
Ukraine's interim PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk. But Mr Churkin gave an impassioned
defence of Crimea's right to hold a
referendum on whether to join Russia.
Police have arrested a man suspected of driving through a pedestrian
area at the South by Southwest festival, killing two and injuring 23. Rashad
Charjuan Owens, 21, will be charged with two counts of murder and 23 of
assault, Austin officials said. Police said the driver fled as they tried
to stop him for drink driving and driving
through a barricade.
More than 150 people were evacuated from a US Airways flight after
a Florida-bound plane's front landing gear collapsed on a runway. Flights
were halted at Philadelphia International Airport as those on board exited
the plane via inflatable ramps. Hannah Udren was one of the passengers
on the plane, she
filmed the scene on the runway.
I think it's about time people with smart phones were taught the basics
of how to shoot video. Grrrrrr.
Drama-free today. Nice and quiet. Even Lindsay hasn't farted all that
much or complained about anything. Did a bit of shopping which was uneventful
except for the checkout chick asking how I was. Why can't they just leave
it at g'day? It's much less complicated and requires no thought. PJ's radiator
needed a top up but not all that much. Can't wait for that to be fixed
and out of my hair. I quite like the old bus ya know. Nothing fancy but
does the job, and she rolls along pretty well for a 2-tonne rig pushed
by a 2.6 liter donk.
I bought a couple of larger spuds to experiment with something. I'll
boil and mash one spud with butter and milk, add a small can of tuna with
tomato and basil, dried onion flakes and two handfuls of grated cheese
and mix it all together. It's kinda like the recipe for a fish cake but
not fried. Frying creates a crispy coating which I have a prob with, so
I'll try it this way. Yeah? Sounds okay but ya never really know until
it's in the gob and destined for the screech. Pity I can't have chips with
it. DON'T MENTION CHIPS.
NC Art sent this today. I put it on the GN forum so you can read the
comments as well. The
Top Ten Country & Western Songs.
And that's it from me until the morrow! Gary
March 13, 2014. The government was nice to me again today and
put some more money in my account. Isn't that nice of them? They obviously
reailze I have a few bills pending.
Today should be interesting with Andrew coming to fix the rear view
camera and install a couple of things. TX Greg wrote: I'm confused by
your comment "My insurance covers $2000 worth of claim" I'm hoping
you mean the $2,000 is the policy amount for add-ons like the awnings and
NOT the entire camper. PJ should have a total value insured of at least
$10,000 if not more.
Yep, $2000 is for the awning(s). The camper is insured for $3200 cos
that's all they reckon it's worth, and the contents for $5000. A total
of $10,200. The truck is insured separately but only for $2400. I paid
$2500 for the Courier plus extras like helper springs, bull bar and now
the radiator. Considering what else is out there, and the kinda money other
people pay for their rigs, I think I've done okay. Just gotta keep the
thing out of harm's way.
Despite inopportune timing, the new radiator is a blessing. It's something
I won't have to worry about "out there" for quite a few years, depending
on how long I keep the truck. As far as I can tell, she's in pretty good
nick. Those old buses do 3 or 4 hundred thousand clicks no worries if they're
serviced regularly, and this one has done about 160K.
Stan the Lawn Man is here so I filled him in on events lately. He's
still laughing! Yeah, right... hilarious. One of his customers lives in
the street where my awning spilled out and told him all about it. "I heard
about it," Stan said to me, "but I didn't know it was you!" Yeah, well,
I get around ya know.
Andrew's here trying to figure out what's wrong with the rear view camera.
Better you than I, Gunga Din. Things attached to lots of wires ain't my
Well, mid afternoon now and Andrew didn't fix or instal anything. He
says the reversing cam monitor is stuffed - all the other bits are fine,
and there's nothing wrong with the wiring. While he was here he sorted
out the mounting strategy for the telly wall bracket, and also took a look
at the digital antenna. That will need to be mounted on a pole so he's
gonna sort that out. He left me to shop around for a new reversing cam
which I did, and bought locally at SuperCheap Auto for $120. Not all that
cheap but they say it's $80 off RRP. It's also not wireless (which Andrew
recommended). Reversing cams don't sell like they used to cos in-car GPS
devices have them built-in. SuperCheap only had two models in stock, mine
and a wireless one.
From the Beeb: Satellite images of possible debris from the missing
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have been released on a Chinese government
website. The three images show what appear to be large, floating objects
in the South China Sea. Previous sightings of possible debris have proved
fruitless. Vietnam and Malaysia have
sent planes to the area to investigate.
US President Barack Obama has welcomed Ukraine's interim prime minister
to the White House and pledged to "stand with Ukraine" in its dispute with
Russia. He warned Russian President Vladimir Putin the international community
"will be forced to apply costs" if Russia does not remove its troops from
Crimea. Earlier, leaders of the G7
group of nations issued a similar threat.
US police have caught a man in Colorado after a dramatic car chase
involving multiple stolen cars. A news helicopter captured footage of the
incident as the man, named by police as Ryan Stone, fled
from police and carjacked two vehicles.
The northern Australian city of Darwin has been hit by a major power
failure, shutting down schools and businesses. The power cut - which was
caused by a tripped circuit at a sub-station - affected the entire city,
as well as towns up
to 300km (185 miles) away.
So there goes a day that promised a lot but delivered very little, on
the home front at least. Actually, that's not quite true... Andrew had
the opportunity to check a few things out before tackling the new jobs
sometime next week, so he's all the wiser for that as well as prepared.
So everything's organized... radiator, awning, reversing cam, telly mount
and digital antenna, as well as rego and insurance. And the money? I'll
manage. Hehe. Only just, but I'll manage. Then, hopefully, the gods will
leave me alone for a while so I can build up a buffer between me and poverty.
March 12, 2014. Well, rather than risk a trip to Nabiac with
a dud radiator, I sent an email to the caravan repairer with attached photos
of the awning damage and asked for a quote. If he doesn't like that idea,
there's no time limit on getting an insurance quote according to the NRMA
so I can make the trip next week.
The wall bracket for the telly arrived this morning so Andrew can check
that out tomorrow when he fiddles with the rear view camera. He thinks
the camera's prob is likely to be the wireless transmitter.
Meanwhile, the fitting of the new radiator next week at Ford means I
have to cancel the moon shoot the night before, dangit. I was looking forward
NC Art wrote: That telly program about Earth getting where it is
didn’t tell much about where all the water came from. Seems that for a
long long time there were clouds forming around the ball. A critical mass
ensued and triggered electrical activity … lightning … which triggered
condensate from the cooling gaseous cloud resulting in rain. Not just afternoon
showers but RAIN as in frog stranglers that lasted for a few million years.
If that theory doesn’t work it still makes a good story.
Yep, I wanted to keep it simple. But it's interesting to note just how
long it took and how co-incidental it all was. Makes me wonder how anyone
can believe in creation. The sheer size of space is another thing, with
Earth being no more than a microscopic speck.
Sheesh, these insurance repairers are pretty cheeky. Just got the quote
for awning. Earlier, I checked an on-line caravan place for the price of
a new awning unfitted and it's a tad over $900 but the repair place wants
$1360 plus labor, fixings and adhesives which comes to a total of just
under $1700. My insurance covers $2000 worth of claim so it doesn't affect
me. Even so...
From the Beeb: Russia's leaders are refusing all negotiations with
their Ukrainian counterparts, Ukraine's acting President Oleksandr Turchynov
has said. Mr Turchynov told the AFP agency that Ukraine would not intervene
militarily in Crimea, even though a secession referendum there was a "sham".
Meanwhile interim Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is travelling to the
US to meet President Barack Obama. On Thursday he is due to address the
Security Council in New York.
New Zealand is to hold a referendum on whether to change the national
flag, Prime Minister John Key has announced. Mr Key, who on Monday called
an election for 20 September, said the vote would be held within three
years. The current flag shows the Southern Cross constellation and includes
the Union Jack - the UK's national flag - in one corner. Mr Key said the
flag represented a period of history from which
New Zealand had moved on.
The Kiwi flag is very similar to ours, with the Union Jack featuring
prominently. There have been rumblings from time to time in Oz about changing
the flag, as well as becoming a republic, but so far nothing's happened.
The situation is fairly evenly divided.
Twenty-five years ago Sir Tim Berners-Lee was working at a physics
laboratory at CERN, in Switzerland, when he came up with a proposal for
the World Wide Web. Since then the web has become a system used across
the world to allow people to share and access information. (Here is) A
selection of people whose lives have been transformed or influenced by
the web explain what
it has meant to them.
Well, I know what the WWW has meant to me... it's given me the opportunity
to create a couple of web sites including this one, which gives the dream
of travelling Oz so much more emphasis and impact, especially from a sharing
perspective. Photography is another of my interests which wouldn't be the
same without the internet. Go the web!
Meanwhile, I'm feeling a bit battered and dazed by recent events and
suspect it'll take a while to recover. I'm not ill or depressed, just not
my usual chirpy self. Gary
March 11, 2014. Off to Ford shortly. Hopefully, PJ will breeze
through the rego inspection and service without any nasty surprises. I've
had enough of those to last me a while. Bleh.
Back! They're good people out there, friendly and helpful. The girl
who drove me home was chatty (when she managed to get a word in edgewise).
She's the girl I phoned at Ford the other day to ask if someone could help
me with PJ when the awning exploded. Meanwhile, Andrew just phoned - he'll
be here around lunch time Thursday to check the rear view camera. He'll
also fit the wall bracket for the TV and the digital antenna. So it's all
From the Beeb: China has urged Malaysia to "step up its efforts"
in the search for the Malaysia Airlines passenger plane that disappeared
on Saturday. Malaysia said it was widening the hunt, after days of searching
found no trace of the plane or the 239 people on board - most of whom were
Chinese. Rescue teams from nine countries will now scour areas stretching
from the Malacca
Strait to the South China Sea.
Nato is to deploy reconnaissance planes in Poland and Romania to
monitor the Ukrainian crisis. It gave the go-ahead for the flights on Monday,
a Nato spokesman said. "All Awacs [Airborne Warning and Control System]
reconnaissance flights will take place solely over alliance territory,"
the official said. It comes as Russia cements its control of Ukraine's
Crimea ahead of Sunday's referendum to join Russia. Ukraine
and the West say this is illegal.
I happened to watch a quiz show on telly last night and one of the constestants,
who had trouble with some of the answers, kept saying "nothing is coming
to me". Oh? Where is it supposed to come from? Maybe answers, like space
debris, are floating around in space somewhere. That's how I feel at the
mo, waiting for Ford to phone. My brain's gone nigh-nighs.
Speaking of space debris, there's an organization in Oz that believes
we should be doing something serious - and soon - about cleaning up the
mess before the entire satellite communications network is destroyed by
a series of collisions. They say if the situation remains unchecked, outer
space will become impenetrable due to a barrier of debris surrounding the
earth. They're in the process of motivating authorities in other countries
to mobilize an international clean-up effort. How sensible. Satellites
aren't just toys anymore... they're vital for modern civilization and communications.
I also watched a program about how the planets formed. After the Big
Bang, space was full of debris flying around all over the place. Chunks
of debris collided, fused, and became larger as more rocks impacted. As
the size of larger chunks increased, gravity came into play - the bigger
the planet, the stronger the gravitational pull. Eventually, planets became
what they are today. Earth took 4.5 billion years to grow to its current
size. It's still being bombarded by space debris, but it's mostly dust,
with an occasional meteorite. Along with the rocks came the four basic
elements needed for life. At roughly the same time, the moon impacted the
Earth, bounced off and became a satellite planet. The moon's gravitational
pull gives the Earth balance and prevents it wobbling. It also creates
tides, without which early sea creatures would probably never have ventured
onto dry land.
Once the earth settled down and stopped being bombarded, it began to
cool and form a crust. And you know the story from there. Anyway, that's
it in a nutshell, which is all very interesting. Earth didn't just appear.
It grew into a giant pile of rock from flying debris.
More importantly - and relevant from my personal perspective - is a
call from Ford just now to say that PJ's ready, and that they'll be here
in 10 to collect me.
Serviced, ready for registration and.... needs a new radiator. I knew
there was a leak in the cooling system but I was hoping for something less
expensive than $500. Oh well... that will be done next Tuesday. I'll have
to can the awning quote tomorrow - Nabiac is a bit too far to chance the
radiator failing so it can wait a week. Gary
March 10, 2014. TX Greg sent a link to pics of a huge storm that
rolled into Sydney last week when I was there - but I was on a train back
to Taree and missed it. However, one of the photographers from Red Bubble
was there with his camera (of course) to
capture the event for posterity in pano.
Back from the denteest and all is well. I told them about all the drama
that occurred last week and added, "So much happened, it all seems like
ages ago!" So I'm wondering if that will also apply to the Odyssey. Here
in Taree, where I'm stuck in a regular routine, time seems to vanish without
a trace. But "out there" with lots of faces and places and assorted adventures,
it may seem like a long stretch between events. I hope so. Hehe. When you're
getting on a bit, and you're acutely aware of the limited time remaining,
it would be nice to have Father Time slow down a bit.
I researched moon photography last night on the web and discovered a
few good tips. There I was thinking I have a responsibility to make my
moon shoot next week something super special as if it were gonna be my
final opportunity. I'm silly that way, always expecting too much of myself
instead of being willing to practice and learn from experience. Anyway,
I'm armed with a bit more knowledge now and feel more confident about it.
The full moon rises Monday March 17 at 20.29. Forecast is for hot with
possible shower. I'll stay overnight and get the sun rise next morning
at about 6.
There's a million images of moon rises on the web, including
this one over water, but at Wingham Brush I'll have the Manning River,
trees, mountains in the background and maybe a pier or something in the
foreground to make it more interesting. Hopefully, there won't be too much
cloud cover, although a few whispy clouds would be nice. Fingers crossed.
Lindsay wants his undies. He apparently caught some sort of infection
in England because of the bad weather there (and being accustomed to more
moderate weather here) so will be in hospital for another few days on a
diet of mush. Neh, neh, neh, neh, neeeh, neh. Serves him right... I've
been putting up with mush for over a year.
Roite, well that's today's chores done and I can relax a bit. I spotted
a pic of 77 y/o Pearl on the GN forum this morning. She solo travels in
her Mercedes motorhome, sets up camp with two awnings and a shower tent,
walks the camp with her two dogs to check out the scene, swims in the lake,
throws her own nets to catch red-claw yabbies for dinner, and has a fine
old time touring Oz. How's that for spirit?
From the Beeb: A multinational team searching for a missing Malaysia
Airlines jet are investigating possible debris spotted in the sea south
of Vietnam. Vietnamese navy planes have reported seeing what could be fragments
from Flight MH370, which vanished almost two days ago with 239 people on
board. Relatives of the missing passengers have been told by the authorities
prepare for the worst.
Tens of thousands of people in Ukraine have held rival pro-unity
and pro-Russian rallies, as Moscow continues to strengthen its grip on
Crimea. Pro-Russia supporters beat up their opponents in Sevastopol, Crimea.
In the eastern city of Luhansk, pro-Russian activists seized regional offices
forcing the governor to resign. UK and German leaders telephoned Russian
President Vladimir Putin to urge him to pull back from Crimea. The
region is to vote to secede next week.
To a chemist, it is a three-dimensional cubic lattice of carbon atoms.
To most of us, it is the ultimate status symbol. But everyone needs to
realise that perfect diamonds can now be mass-produced in the lab. It was
the US giant General Electric that first figured out how to bake a diamond
back in the 1950s. A
most fascinating article.
I meant to comment on the condition of PJ's now-demolished awning's
plastic casing. It was pretty old and obviously not UV treated, so the
plastic was brittle and faded. It still worked okay but it would have needed
replacing sooner rather than later. I was also lucky that the impact affected
only the awning, and not the camper itself. Small blessings, I guess.
A new 3-meter Fiamma wind-out similar to the old one is about $900 unfitted.
Another brand, with an electric 12V motor drive, is about $100 dearer unfitted,
but I dunno if I like electric motors. I'll know more on Wednesday when
the repairer does the insurance quote.
Oh well, knock 'em down one by one and see what happens. Seeya tomorrow.
March 9, 2014. Well.... I haven't felt this fit in ages! The
hospital treatment for the chest infection has had almost miraculous results.
For months, I've been dragging myself to the loo of a night, having to
sit for a pee. During the day I couldn't stand for long periods. If I did
a few tasks around the house or in PJ, I'd have to stop and sit for a while
between jobs. When I walked to and from the car to the supermarket, I'd
have to pace myself, and take advantage of any seating available to rest.
And on top of all that was the shallow breathing, tight chest and coughing.
And now? It's a total transformation. I was up bright and breezy at
6am with no dizzyness. I attended to the usual morning routine without
any sign of fatigue. And I feel fine! Last night, I ditched the noodles
in favor of steamed fish with lemon and parsley sauce (which has been sitting
in the freezer since all my teeth were removed over a year ago). Mashed
it with a fork and down the hatch. There's a bit left over which I'll have
with a vegetable patty and cheese sauce tonight. Bubble
and Squeak - is that what you call vege patties over there? My mouth
feels a lot better - almost no soreness - so eating is easier. I think
it's due to the vegetable juice I've been having these past few weeks -
lots of nutrition being absorbed into the gums to improve healing.
The medicos have been telling me to eat more and I'll feel better. But
I figured it was the other way around - feel better and eat more. Hehe.
And it's worked! It's the breathing that's done the trick. Lots of oxygen
into the blood stream. My condition over the past several months has really
had me worried about my ability to do the Odyssey properly - going for
walks, long photo shoots, riding the bike, doing chores around the camp,
etc. But now those fears are gone. What a relief!
Jeremy, my ex-neighbor in Glebe, sent a link to this
site which is a Flight Tracker. Click on any plane anywhere in the
world and get details of the airline, aircraft type, country of origin,
destination, height, speed, etc. Nothing about the in-flight menu though.
Jeremy also sent these pics of his son, Declan, who's one of the two
Alka Seltzers in the large glass of water (dark shorts) viewing a giant
croc in Darwin, Oz.
The things people do for a thrill.
From the Beeb: The search is continuing for a Malaysia Airlines plane
that has been missing for more than 24 hours. Marine rescue teams worked
through the night to search the sea south of Vietnam, while the aerial
mission resumed on Sunday morning. Flight MH370 disappeared en route to
Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, with 239 people on board. At a news briefing
in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday morning, officials said there had been no sign
of any wreckage. I
feel for those poor relatives and friends waiting for news.
The US has warned Russia that any moves to annex Crimea would close
the door to diplomacy. US Secretary of State John Kerry told Russian counterpart
Sergei Lavrov that Crimea is part of Ukraine and Moscow should avoid military
escalation. Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama has been discussing
the deepening crisis with world leaders.
Italy's culture minister has expressed outrage over an advertisement
by a US weapons firm showing Michelangelo's David holding a rifle. Dario
Franceschini said the image was offensive and violated the law. A number
of Italian media web sites carried the image of the advertisement showing
David holding a bolt-action rifle. The advertisement, from Illinois-based
ArmaLite, carries the line "a work of art" in promoting the $3,000 rifle.
advertising industry attracts some pretty weird people.
So what did I do today? Despite the shortage of funds, and all the large
bills coming, I bought a wall bracket for the 18" telly and a digital TV
antenna. If Andrew is gonna turn up to check the reversing camera wiring,
I might as well take advantage of his being here with all his tools. I
also inflated PJ's tires for the trip to Nabiac on Wednesday for the awning
insurance quote, and did a little shopping. Ford service is on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, NC Art sent this little story:
A fifteen year old Amish boy and his father were in a mall. They
were amazed by almost everything they saw, but especially by two shiny
silver walls that could move apart and then slide back together again.
The boy asked, 'What is this Father?'
The father (never having seen an elevator) responded, 'Son, I have
never seen anything like this in my life, I don't know what it is.'
While the boy and his father were watching with amazement, a fat
old lady in a wheelchair moved up to the moving walls and pressed a button.
The walls opened, and the lady rolled between them into a small room.
The walls closed and the boy and his father watched the small numbers above
the walls light up sequentially.
They continued to watch until it reached the last number. and then
the numbers began to light in the reverse order. Finally the walls opened
up again and a gorgeous 24-year-old blond stepped out.
The father, not taking his eyes off the young woman, said quietly
to his son..... 'Go get your Mother'
Well, that weekend disappeared pretty quickly. The awning drama seems
like only a minute ago. By the way, the power pole that I brushed - that
damaged the awning casing - is the same pole (well, the previous pole's
replacement) that was hit
and toppled by a runaway gas tanker in 2011 just outside this house.
Remember that? I was woken at 6.30am by the sound of an almighty bang,
then a crack, then the sound of electicity sparks.
So now it's telly time and a bit of relax to wind up the day. Catch
you again tomorrow. Gary
March 8, 2014. Another weekend! Jeez, they come around quickly.
Well... did yesterday really happen or was it a bad dream? Hehe. I guess
life can be like a hospital emergency department at times. Fix one patient
and before you know it, another is wheeled in for urgent attention. No
time to think about it, just accept it and get on with it.
My new purple puffer works well. Slept like a baby last night and when
I did have reason to expectorate it was easy. Not long ago I would have
spent hours trying to clear my lungs and/or throat. I also noticed late
yesterday, when I did the shopping, the walk from the car to the mall and
back was no effort at all. Piece of cake.
FL Josh wrote: I am so sorry to hear you have been diagnosed with
emphysema. I would have much preferred you to have been diagnosed
with pneumonia since it can be cured. They should schedule for tests to
see which of the four stages you are in, and they can then work with you
to develop a plan to maximize your life span. No worries, Josh. I'm
not sure which stage it is but the doc at the hospital said I'd be able
to do everything a bloke my age is normally capable of - walking, cycling,
etc. She was aware of my travel plans. I also mentioned it to my GP yesterday,
saying that I used to think emphysema was a death sentence. He shook his
head to mean no. So it's a matter of taking the right meds and avoiding
anything that might exacerbate the condition.
And thanks a bunch for the hugs and kisses, Josh hehe. That was very
generous and I appreciate that very much. You're right about it pouring
when it rains. By the same token, there's no value in bitching about it.
TX Greg wrote and suggested I might get Ford to check the alternator
during the service next Tuesday. He reckons if the battery has enough oomph
to crank the engine, it should have enough to power the rear view camera
even on idle. I'll charge the battery anyway. In fact, I'll attend to that
No I won't. Can't disconnect the battery cos the connections to the
poles (or whatever they're called - oh yeah, terminals) are too tight!
So I called NRMA roadside service AND THIS TIME IT'S A BREAKDOWN. Kinda.
Ish. I'll ask the bloke to check the alternator while he's here. Meanwhile,
I'll have a cuppa while I'm waiting.
It's amazing what's stored in PJ's bins. Yesterday, Graham wanted a
hammer. So I gave him a hammer. Then I said, "If you need a porta potti
I got one of those too. Or a 12V shower hose? Anything you need, just ask.
We Gray Nomads carry everything." This morning, when I tried to open the
bin, one of the padlocks was sticky so I gave it a squirt of WD40. Fixed.
Then I got the right spanner for the battery terminals. See what I mean?
Those bins are a veritable treasure trove of goodies - something for every
NC Art just wrote: OK Mr. Kelly, You’ve had your allotment of tribulation
for awhile. The hell of it is, awhile ain’t forever, so keep your shorts
clean lest some bloke steals your pants while you’re strolling thru the
Well, the NRMA bloke was helpful. Battery is fine, alternator is fine,
and it seems the fault with the camera is in the wiring or perhaps the
camera itself. I'll get Andrew to check it out (Sorry, mobile service is
temporarily unavailable. Please try again later). Meanwhile, the NRMA bloke
checked the radiator and topped it up with water. I told him I was having
it serviced by Ford on Tuesday, and that I often have to top it up with
coolant. Then I learned some valuable lessons - NEVER mix brands of coolants
because they can interact and become like an acid, causing all kinds of
damage to the cooling system. Good thing he warned me about that because
I was about to run out of the old brand and start using the new one. However,
I have already been using a coolant which is probably different to the
one Ford used last time the car was serviced. Too late! The NRMA bloke
told me to toss the coolant and use water if need be. Moreover, if the
system was okay, it shouldn't need top ups between servicing. So there's
another Pandora's box waiting to happen, it seems. Oh, and I don't need
to charge the battery. He also said the terminal connections don't need
to be removed before charging either. So that's something else I've learned.
(I'm sure it was different with TT).
And in the middle of all that, Lindsay phoned. I heard him leave the
house at some ungodly hour during the night, and it turns out he phoned
an ambulance to take him to hospital (copycat) where he's on level 5 in
some sort of trouble with blood sugar levels or something. As he puts it,
"there's a few things wrong". He wanted me to bring some of his stuff up
there - just as the NRMA bloke was pounding on the front door. Aaaaggggghhhhhh!
Back from delivering Lindsay's things, and filling PJ's tank. The rear
view camera won't work at all now... just keeps bleeping. There's a lot
of nose-to-kerb angle parking here in Taree, including where I parked at
the hospital, so it ain't easy to reverse out into the street without being
able to see a damn thing! No screech of brakes? No horn blaring? Keep reversing.
She'll be right mate, no worries.
Andrew called. He's at a country show up the highway with the kids (being
Saturday) so he'll give me a call when he's in Taree and check the camera
wiring, etc. There's only a 30-day warranty on the item (Australian retailer,
eBay) so if it's a dud, it'll be back to square one. We'll see.
From the Beeb: Malaysia Airlines says it has lost contact with a
plane travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, with 239 people on board.
The airline said in a statement that flight MH370 disappeared at 02:40
local time on Saturday (18:40 GMT on Friday). It had been expected to land
in Beijing at 06:30 (22:30 GMT). The Boeing B777-200 aircraft was carrying
227 passengers, including two children, and 12 crew members. Oh
dear, just when you think it's you who's having a bad day.
A stand-off involving pro-Russian soldiers at a Ukrainian military
base outside the Crimean city of Sevastopol has reportedly ended without
incident. A BBC correspondent saw two lorries from Russia's Black Sea Fleet
outside the gates, surrounded by armed men. But no shots are believed to
have been fired, and the men and lorries reportedly left after "negotiations".
Troops wearing Russian uniform without insignia have blockaded bases since
taking control of Crimea last week.
The 2014 Winter Paralympics have been opened by Russian President
Vladimir Putin in a spectacular ceremony. The ceremony at the Fisht Olympic
Stadium in Sochi was themed Breaking the Ice and featured music, dance,
special effects and fireworks. Shame
the event has been upstaged by the current political crisis.
Building three "Great Walls" across Tornado Alley in the US could
eliminate the disasters, a physicist says. The barriers - 300m (980ft)
high and up to 100 miles long - would act like hill ranges, softening winds
before twisters can form. They would cost $16bn (£9.6bn) to build
but save billions of dollars of damage each year, said Prof Rongjia Tao,
of Temple University, Philadelphia. And
real estate values would rise.
Visitors at the Geneva motor show expecting to see the latest Ford
Focus or Subaru Forester would have been surprised to find an apparent
Bugatti Royale standing head height in their way. History buffs would be
momentarily at a loss for words when their friends asked, “What’s that?”
And those who have ever described anything as merely an engine on wheels
would be washing their mouth out after visiting the Palexpo centre. All
were made manifest at the 2014 Geneva motor show.
It's late afternoon now, peaceful and calm, as though all the recent
dramas were a figment of my imagination. I wish! Also, now that I'm feeling
much better, my appetite is improving - really looking forward to dinner
(despite being the regular mediocre noodles and cheese). Polished off the
last of the trifle earlier so I'll have to make some more. Yum! Gary
March 7, 2014. Did I say Albert? I meant Alfred. Albert is my
friend from Denmark and also the name of one of the cross streets at this
intersection. Royal Prince Alfred hospital is the one I was at in Sydney.
RPA for Alfred. I'm getting old and forgetful ya know.
Speaking of forgetful, the X-ray taken a couple of weeks ago showed
no sign of infection, which is why my local GP didn't bother to alert me.
Things can change pretty quickly, though, as the later X-ray demonstrated.
Fortunately, the prof mentioned the word 'infection' during my Sydney visit
which alerted me to the possibility and caused me to take action.
I still have the lung infection of course, but getting rid of phlegm
is much easier now that I can draw air into my lungs. Before, I didn't
even have sufficient air to blow my nose! Shortness of breath has been
a recurring problem for many years, come to think of it, so I've probably
been suffering infections for ages without realizing what was going on.
Thankfully, that's no longer the case and won't be again.
Off to see the local GP shortly to discuss the latest events including
Back. The GP checked out the new X-ray, read the report, and gave me
a prescription for a "purple puffer" which I'll use morning and night to
prevent a recurrence of breathing probs in the future. So he says.
BUT, I had other chores to do - shopping, laundry, etc, so the intention
was to park in the street in front of this house, come inside, get organized,
and resume the chores. However, another parked car put paid to that idea.
It took up the whole damn double space, so I had to make a quick decision
to park on the downhill side of my drive. Just when I thought I might be
a little too close to a power pole, *crunch!* I sideswiped the pole, knocked
the crap out of the fiamma awning casing and used several expletives to
express my displeasure. A few minutes later, I drove to a canvas repair
place two blocks up the road but didn't make it before the whole awning
unraveled and spilled onto the road. PJ is now parked outside a house with
the fiamma sprawled everywhere. Walked home to phone help. NRMA roadside
assistance didn't wanna know cos it's not a breakdown. NRMA insurance didn't
wanna know cos they don't have a spare person available to assist in unbolting
the awning so I can roll it up and stow it in the camper. I can't unbolt
it cos I still have shortness of breath. So I phoned the Ford dealer and
pleaded with them to send someone out - and I'll provide the spanners.
They're busy but they said yes... as soon as someone is available which
shouldn't be too long. They're gonna give me a ride up the hill as well,
to where PJ is. So there ya go.... MORE DRAMAS.
Once that prob is sorted, I can phone NRMA insurance again and get the
claim organized. They'll either fix the current one or pay for a new one,
and charge me $200 excess. Oh, and did I mention a loose connection in
the rear view camera? Yeah.
Not over yet! Two cops just arrived at my door to inform me that the
awning damaged two other vehicles as it fell off. I was unaware of that
so I "left the scene of an accident", which is an offence. Oops! But the
cops understood that I had no idea of damage to the another vehicle. In
fact, one of the owners came out of his house, checked his car and didn't
say anything so I assumed his car was okay. He must have checked again
after I left, and phoned the police. Anyway, the cops have my name, address,
license and insurance details and are happy for me to stay here and wait
for Ford. Sheesh. What a day! So it appears NRMA insurance will have a
little more than just an awning to be concerned about, even if damage to
the other vehicle(s) is superficial. These days, if a pigeon so much as
craps on a fender, you get a whole new fender.
Incidentally, the cops version of "two other vehicles" must have been
a trick question. There was only one car parked in the street.
Just called Ford again to make sure they haven't forgotten me. "Graham's
gone to lunch." Do people still do that... take time off for lunch? I'm
having all kinds of dramas here and Graham's gone to lunch? That's not
what I said to the receptionist though. Anyway, when he comes back she's
going to get him to phone me. Meanwhile, I'm worried about this being Friday
and having PJ stranded in a strange street with a buggered fiamma scattered
over the footpath all weekend!
And this is where the lack of teeth comes into play. It's difficult
enough to explain things to a whole bunch of people on the phone in the
first place without the pronunciation issues associated with being toothless.
"Gary Who?" I have a prob with 'L'. When the cops arrived, I could tell
they were thinking I was some kind of mental deficient. But they eventually
warmed to me.
And the good news? Well, NC Art wrote, which is always a plus: I
think the barefoot female (at Central Station) was taking pictures of her
pedal digits. When it comes to selfies there’s no accounting for taste.
And, I thought the fotos from your trip to Sidney and Glebe were good.
The lowering sky seemed to soften sharp edges but without losing detail.
Keep up the hacking, hawking, coughing, wheezing and whatever ‘til the
old lungs get clear and robust. You need lots of wind to argue with the
Odyssey trekkers you’ll meet.
Art also sent this link to spectacular
new pics of Niagra Falls frozen over.
Any war plane tragics out there? A GN posted a link to a whole bunch
of pics of WWII planes from various countries at
an air show in China.
Graham from Ford turned out to be a treasure. He studied the thing for
a while, figured out how to detach it, asked if I had a hammer (which I
did) and within 10 minutes he had it rolled up and inside the camper. I
asked him to add the bill to my service bill next Tuesday and he said,
"No worries, mate. This is a freebie." What a wonderful gesture, and one
I desperately needed after all the crap I've been through. Those bits of
plastic on the fence, by the way, are from the damaged car. I thought they
were off mine. I dunno what part of the car they're from. The damage was
obviously caused by the awning's arms flailing around in the breeze.
So I arrived home, did the insurance thing and now have to get a quote
from a repairer. Great Lakes Caravans is at Nabiac, about a half hour down
the highway. He suggests the old awning is ratshit and I'll need a newie...
maybe a press-button powered one. Oh yeah, speaking of power, I noticed
the rear view camera beeps a lot. It's on when the engine is revving, but
shuts down on idle. Almost flat battery methinks (from too many short trips
around town) so I'll put it on an overnight charge on the weekend.
Then I did the shopping, spent a fortune on meds, and here I am at 5.30pm.
Seems like it's been an expensive day... with the two insurance claims,
mine for the awning, and the other from the owner of the damaged car, I'll
be up for my insurance excess of $650. Excess is only $200 for the camper
but the NRMA reckons it's the truck's fault, which has the higher excess
payment, and which is the one I'll have to pay (but not both, thank god).
And that's on top of about a grand's worth of rego and insurance bills
due by the end of the month. Hehe. I dunno who it is up there in the clouds
who's testing me but he's sure as hell doing a bloody good job. Sheesh.
It's enough to drive a bloke to drink.
So I guess I better stay home in case anything else happens. Got my
leafy greens, a couple of pears and nectarines, eggs, cream, meds and I'm
set for a bit of telly to see if anyone else out there has had a worse
day than mine. Gary
March 6, 2014. Breathing is pretty good ya know. Matter of fact,
I could get used to this. Slept peacefully all last night with no breathing
or coughing probs after I called emergency late yesterday and was admitted
for treatment of chronic chest infection and difficulty breathing. Pretty
scary, actually. But the Taree hospital staff were fabulous and had me
ship-shape (ish) after a few hours. The doc, Alyson, said "You don't leave
here empty handed - you've won prizes of steriods, antibiotics and a ventolin
puffer." There's enough medication for a week's treatment, and I get to
keep the puffer in case I experience breathing difficulty again.
FL Josh wrote to ask why the doc in Sydney (a medical specialist - head
and neck - as well as a professor) didn't organize a chest X-ray at the
hospital there. The X-ray had already been done here in Taree at the base
hospital two weeks earlier but my GP hadn't informed me or the Sydney doc
of the results, so the Prof organized my GP to fax them. Meantime, I had
a train to catch and didn't hang around. While I was in hospital last night,
they took another X-ray and discovered a degree of emphysema (the cumulative
result of 50+ years of smoking), an infection causing my shallow breathing,
but no pneumonia or anything major. The degree of emphysema is such that
it won't affect my normal activities but it does make me more susceptible
to lung infection.
When I first arrived at the hospital I was speaking in single words,
taking breaths in between, but after treatment I was back to normal sentences.
So there ya go, there's life in the old dog yet. I was worried for a while
that it would seriously affect my AO plans. Or worse. Eeeek!
Josh added: I liked your picture of the old winch. I know it
was tough for you to do your photos not feeling well, but you were a real
That's me, folks! Troop, troop, troop. With a dash of troppo for amusement
The first email I read after arriving home from hospital last night
was from OR Richie. The respiratory problem came back big-time and put
me in a state which was about one day short of hospitalization. I
was exhausted constantly but staggered back to my doc a little over a week
ago, in great pain, literally drowning in my own lungs with no energy and
everything else that goes along with.... well, it's called Pneumonia.
Let's just say it's been bad and only the last few days have I felt better,
back on getting back on with everything, and somehow managed to avoid missing
Some super high powered antibiotics and corticoid-steroids did a
good trick and after another two hour session at the clinic this morning,
I'm told I am a "million times better" but have to watch it a bit, so now
it's like coming back to life.
The bugger is trying to steal my thunder! Can you believe that? Yeah,
what a coincidence!
Now the thing that strikes me about this whole episode is that two people
can read the same report on Waffle but get a different message. FL Josh
reckons the sky is falling in and I'm about to cark it, but TX Greg doesn't
see it that way: Glad to hear the Sydney trip went well and the doc
gave a good report. Now just get the local doc to recheck that possible
See? No panic. Texans are like that... which explains why they talk
Greg also writes: The pics turned out great. I was surprised at the
inside of the Royal Prince Alfred hospital. It kind of reminds me of what
you might see here in a old court house. We tend to preserve things like
old court houses, yet seems like everything else gets torn down and rebuilt
all the time.
Oz had that problem during the mid 20th until the greenies and building
unions started kicking up a stink, demanding the preservation of historically
significant buildings. Good thing they did or a lot of what was worth preserving
would have been demolished (like the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney
which has been restored to its former glory - and what a stunning building
it is). Since then, it's been amply demonstrated that new and old can co-exist
quite happily. I thought my streetscape view of Hegarty St (opposite my
old house) looked pretty spiffy. In my day those houses were in varying
states of repair but now they're all well cared for and looking good.
Speaking of photos, while I was at Central station getting ready for
the trip back to Taree, I spotted a couple of backpackers and used the
little Fuji compact (far less obvious and intimidating than the Nikon)
to capture the scene.
The bare foot caught my attention in the first shot. Somehow it seemed
at odds with the smart phone. In the second shot you can just see the top
of the backpacker's head on the right. All that hording around the walls
means that Central Station is getting a makeover. BTW, those interior pics
of the RPA were taken using supressed flash and just the natural light
to capture the stained glass windows. Worked pretty well.
In the morning, before cabbing it to Glebe Point, I had coffee at the
station, and as I sat there I was trying spot the Aussie. Soooo many Asians,
Middle Easterners and people from the sub continent! Even the coffee shop
was staffed by foreigners. After leaving Hegarty St and hailing a cab,
my driver - a turban-clad Indian with beard - pulled up outside the main
entrance to the RPA and refused payment. "You're free to go," he said,
"have a nice day." What a nice man and such an unexpected gesture!
My train left Sydney at 2.40pm which explains why I missed something
TX Greg wrote about: You didn't mention seeing or getting caught up
in this storm... Some
wicked pics there.
NC Art sent this link to a vid explaining the
differences between a man's and a woman's brain - as told by a comedian.
From the Beeb: US Secretary of State John Kerry has described a meeting
with his Russian counterpart over Ukraine as "tough", but promised to continue
talking. Mr Kerry said he was committed to working with Moscow to ease
the crisis. Russia's Sergei Lavrov refused to meet his Ukrainian counterpart,
whose government Moscow
does not recognise.
People will be advised to halve the amount of sugar in their diet,
under new World Health Organization guidance. The recommended sugar intake
will stay at below 10% of total calorie intake a day, with 5% the target,
says the WHO. The suggested limits apply to all sugars added to food, as
well as sugar naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit
concentrates. UK campaigners say it is a "tragedy" that the WHO has taken
years to think about changing its advice.
Jeremy, my ex-neighbor in Glebe, offered a choice of coffee or tea and
I chose tea - black with a half teaspoon of sugar. Sugar? Wot dat? He searched
high and low in the kitchen and couldn't find any, so he borrowed a little
(and I mean a little) from a neighbor. I thought everyone kept sugar
in the pantry.
FL Josh sent another link to a vid: Here
is a video guaranteed to bring a tear to your eye. Very touching,
but also not without its dangers. Kids are headed for teenhood with all
its volatility and pitfalls so I sincerely hope everything works out well
for those two. I loved the kid's response - so endearingly forthright and
And that's it from me for today. Been a bit of wild ride these past
few days hehe, but I'm still here pumping and grinding. Got me a moon rise
followed by a sun rise to shoot week after next, and I'm looking forward
to that. I wanna be a whizz bang photographer before I hit the road so
I can take full advantage of a wonderful opportunity and an endless supply
of subject material. Sounds like fun, yeah? Gary
March 5, 2014. It was quite a day in Sydney yesterday. No point
in telling the story twice though, so you'll find it in the AO
journal along with the link to the photo album. Back to Waffle tomorrow.
March 3, 2014. Roite, that time of year again. PJ's booked in
for a full service and rego check Tuesday next week at Ford. Once that's
done, I can re-register and insure the rig. There goes another truckload
of dollars! This is year I'm supposed to pay off all my credit but it's
the third month already and I haven't even started yet! No wonder they
call it the 'never never'.
Interesting comments from GNs about cheapie antennas, yes? Ask what
people recommend and they talk about the expensive gear or going satellite
or whatever. But ask who's got a cheapie and whether or not it's working
okay and you get an entirely different response. Anyway, all that antenna,
wall bracket stuff will have to wait until next month when I can afford
Well, that was lovely. Just had a major phlegm attack less than 12 hours
before my trip to Sydney. I took medication with a smoothie and the medication
decided to tickle the throat. Buckets of phlegm followed and it was high
drama there for a while, with difficulty breathing, etc. Aspirin is the
worst offender if it doesn't disappear down the screech before it gets
a chance to irritate. Anyway, it's settling down now after about 90 minutes
of mayhem. I think I'll stick to water when I take aspirin in future.
This phlegm business is recent. Not long ago I could sleep 10 hours
without a problem. If I'm not wrong, it coincided with substituting coconut
milk for dairy milk in smoothies. The other change is taking meds with
a nightcap of V8 juice instead of water. I make my own veg juice during
the day but I don't see that as an issue.
It's late afternoon now and I've had a snooze which improved things.
But I'm still not hundreds - my chest feels tight and I can only shallow
breathe. That phlegm attack knocked me about a bit. I'm loathe to do anything
that might cause another upset, especially after cancelling last month's
appointment with the doc in Sydney. So I'm gonna take it easy and relax
before it's time to leave for the railway station. Gary
March 2, 2014. Well, the local farmers can't complain about the
rain we've had lately. Time for a bit of sunshine, though. The kiddies
wanna go out and play! With the Nikon, that is.
Had another look inside PJ and there
is a second spot for the 18" telly. Perfect fit too with the CD changer
gone, and without having to relocate the drop-down bench. There are also
studs behind the wall lining for strength. Hmmm.
As to cheapie TV antennas, I started a thread on the GN forum with
some interesting responses.
From the Beeb: Ukraine says it has put its army on full combat alert
after Russia's parliament approved the deployment of Russian troops to
Ukraine. Acting President Olexander Turchynov said he had also stepped
up security at key sites, including nuclear plants. Russia's Vladimir Putin
requested extra troops to protect Russian interests in Ukraine. It came
on a day of pro-Russia rallies in the country. The move has been met with
alarm from Western leaders. And
not just the leaders.
Last night Sydney staged its Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras for 2014. Check
out the pics.
Found a way to simplify the 'leafy greens' part of juicing. Instead
of buying different vegies every other day, I get a bag of washed and prepared
salad which has a variety of leaves and other things. A $6 bag lasts a
week in the crisper even though the leaves wilt a little after 3 days or
so. Dozen madder for juicing purposes. And it's easy. Just a good handful
of leafy greens together with a carrot, slice of lemon, and an apple and
Bob's yer uncle. Carrots were on spesh at $1.30 a kilo but they keep well
wrapped in foil in the crisper. So does celery. So there ya go... all sorted.
I'm having a juice now. Not what I'd call yummy hehe, but reasonably
palatable - not to mention healthy. Gooooo gums!
I'm not looking forward to the train trip to Sydney and back on Tuesday
- such a bore - but I will be compensated by the Glebe shoot. No doubt
my visit to Hegarty St will arouse a whole bunch of memories - good and
bad. But that was then and this is now. 'What ifs' don't apply in real
life. What does apply is making the most of whatever circumstances one
finds oneself in. And on the Odyssey I'll have more bloody circumstances
than you can poke a stick at. Hehe.
It's pretty hard to be stimulated on a wet day in Taree with nothing
much going on. That'll change once I hit the road. The newness alone of
each place I visit will be sufficient to keep me mentally charged for a
day or two. And once the charge begins to fade, I'll be off to the next
adventure. No time to be bored. No time to be twiddling thumbs. No time
to be reminiscing. That's what this kid needs. Constant stimulus to keep
the keyboard and shutter-button fingers busy.
Yep, today has been so dreary it shoulda been cancelled. When I had
teeth I could whip up a batch of scones or a pecan pie (jeez, it's been
ages since I made one of those!) or something else interesting on a wet
day. But not now. It's amazing just how far-reaching the effects of being
toothless are. Everything from health and diet to socializing and communication.
Not to mention being creative in the kitchen. It's enough to seriously
depress a bloke.
Nancy is due back from Darwin some time this month for a visit, so it'll
be interesting to see if she notices any positive changes in my oral condition
after introducing the juice experiment to the equation. Ditto the doc in
Sydney. I need some good news! I'm a patient man but this is ridiculous!
Actually, I'm not a patient man but I can be if I need be.
One GN reckons this sign is from a golf
course in Scotland.
And now, folks, a
new deodorant for seniors.
I was just about to remark about Lindsay not being home yet when lo
and behold, who should drag a suitcase up the ramp? This time, Sue stayed
behind in England and is sitting on her sister's mantle shelf. Anyway,
L is glad to be home after that long flight followed by 5 1/2 hours in
the train to Taree. He said he can't wait to use our loo. He reckons there
were huge queues waiting to use the Airbus loos in economy so he gave up.
He also had no luck on the train hehe. Charming. Just what I needed to
And now it's time for a bit of telly and a chair better suited to my
bony butt. Gary
March 1, 2014. The TV saga continues. TX Greg wrote to say: "Winguard"
Did you mean Winegard??? Been using their products for many years. Have
one on my Winnie and even use their model RS-2000 here at the house...
RS-2000 is what I would recommend. Easy to install and no cranking
and adjusting for signal.
But I found this
new Wineguard on eBay which is made in the US but suited to Oz conditions.
On the other hand, according to Greg: Their Sensar IV crank up model
is the best one, but would be a MAJOR pain to install, as would require
a solid base plate to attach. This one also use the same base as the Sensar
IV model. To install this on PJ's roof, because there is NOTHING in the
roof to support that base, someone would have to fab up a solid flat plate,
say 1/4 inch aluminum, that would span the distance between the roof studs.
The metal plate would screw into the metal roof and screw direct to the
studs. The antenna base then would be mounted on top of the secured plate.
BTW> Don't laugh at my drawings, it's late here and I'm sleepy, hehe :)
Thanks, Greg. I knew you'd suggest something. :)
Greg also points out that the model he recommends is easier and simpler
to fit, but if reception is poorer, particularly in regional areas, then
I reckon it's worth the trouble of getting the Sensar. Some GNs are so
addicted to their daily dose of telly they spend thousands on satellite
dishes and other sophisticated equipment. No thanks. I ain't that desperate.
Wineguards aside for the moment, as I mentioned yesterday, my amplified
indoor antenna works fine with my 18" TV but not the 7". The prob with
the 18" is there's nowhere to store it in PJ during transit without risking
damage... UNLESS I create a permanent spot with a wall mount. There's one
place where a wall mount can be fitted; on the
side wall of the wardrobe/cupboard. It's only a masonite type veneer
so it's not very thick. Some sort of support plate (similar to the one
Greg recommends for the roof) attached to the inside of the wardrobe wall
is needed to carry the load of the TV which is about 5kgs (10 pounds) -
plus handle the added stress of movement while travelling. I'd have to
speak to Jason the metal fabricator about that. Adjustable
wall mounts are not expensive... maybe $30 or so. But it would certainly
solve the problem of where to place the larger TV during transit (or viewing,
for that matter).
The side of the wardrobe is also convenient to power points (inverter
or mains). As to the mini TV, that could serve as my outdoor TV. The Wineguard
can be fitted with a splitter - one connector inside and the other in the
outside storage bin (on the awning side). Meanwhile, I can use my current
indoor antenna. Got rego and insurance coming up so the Wineguard will
have to wait a while. So will Jason. Did I mention the spare tire? I keep
Satdee, and my last day of peace! Lindsay arrives home tomorrow - back
to the farts and flip flops. Woe is me.
From the Beeb: US President Barack Obama has warned Russia there
will be "costs" for any military intervention in Ukraine. He said he was
deeply concerned by reports of Russian military movements inside the country.
Ukraine's acting president has accused Russia of deploying troops to Crimea
and trying to provoke Kiev into "armed conflict". Russia's UN ambassador
said any troop movements in Crimea were within an existing arrangement
with Ukraine. Ukraine's
changed, mate. Or haven't you noticed?
About half the personnel serving in Afghanistan's security services
are illiterate, despite huge investments in teaching programmes, according
to a survey by a US watchdog. "I always regret not being able to read or
write," says Ali Akbar, a
34-year-old soldier in the Afghan army.
In pictures: 'Australian vernacular'. How Australian life has changed
over the past 50 years. Hmmm.
Not my kinda photographic style.
The GN forum has an interesting thread about
school reunions - some enjoyed them, but it seems the majority didn't.
I've never been to one, and have no plans to. The day I walked out of school
for the last time I made a conscious effort not to look back. I hated the
Well, there goes the first day of March (down here, anyway). Catch you
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